Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Poetry Annette Rochelle Aben, #autobiography Lucinda E. Clarke, #Poetry Anita Dawes, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore weekly news with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first book with a recent review is a collection of poetry by Annette Rochelle Aben – A Haiku Perspective 2016..

About the collection

Welcome! Prepare to be entertained, enchanted and encouraged to tell YOUR stories using an ancient Japanese technique of writing poetry. To tell a story with seventeen syllables, we create haiku. Each poem in A Haiku Perspective 2016, tells a story in its own unique way. A Haiku Perspective 2016 is a modern day, American poet’s way of celebrating life through her love of writing, haiku!

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Robbie Cheadle5.0 out of 5 stars A sprinkling of happy dust Reviewed in the United States on March 28, 2021

I am a fan of Ms Aben’s lovely haikus and other poetry. She is one of the most uplifting people I know and her writing makes me feel happy and able to face the world which isn’t always a happy place. I think this is a real gift. I often have a peep into one of the poet’s books when I feel in need of some happy dust. A few examples of her work from this book are as follows:

“Ahh
Nice moments are grand
Giving us distraction
And Great Memories”

“Smile
Sometimes life hugs you
Just when you least expect it
A whisper of hope”

From Born to Bless
“You’ll be the rainbow
The moment your remember
You always were”  

A selection of other books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Annette: Goodreads – Blog: Annette Rochelle Aben WordPress – Twitter:@YouAreTheExpert

The next author is Lucinda E. Clarke for Walking on Eggshells:Surviving Mental Abuse

About the book

Walking Over Eggshells is an autobiography that tells the story of a mentally abused child, who married a “Walter Mitty” clone. They moved from England to Kenya, from Libya to Botswana and on again to South Africa. It took all her courage to survive in situations that were at times dangerous, sometimes humorous, but always nerve wracking. She had a variety of jobs, different types of homes, and was both a millionairess and totally broke. She met royalty, hosted ambassadors, and won numerous awards for her writing and television programs. She also climbed over garbage dumps, fended off bailiffs, and coped being abandoned in the African bush with a seven-week-old baby with no money or resources. She admits to being the biggest coward in the world, but her survival instincts kicked in and she lived to tell her story. This book will make you laugh and cry and hopefully inspire others who did not have the best start in life either. All names have been changed to protect both the guilty and the innocent – and that includes the author as well!

A recent review for the book

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 March 2021

Walking Over Eggshells is one of those books that keeps on surprising from start to finish. Several times I found myself thinking, ‘Well nothing could possibly top that!’ and each time, something did. This is a remarkable true story ; a sweeping tale of cycles of extreme poverty and unimaginable wealth in locations spanning different countries and cultures. From Benghazi to Botswana the pace never lets up and the book is peppered with shocks and tragedies. The author lightens the narrative with remarkable humour and I was left with admiration for someone who could experience the hardships and ordeals that she did and yet come through it all with an objective viewpoint and a smile on her face.
Walking Over Eggshells will make you want to weep, rage and cheer. It’s one of those gems that deserves to be read. Give it a go and be prepared for a bumpy, emotional, ultimately satisfying ride.  

A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Blog:WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke — Follow Lucinda:GoodreadsTwitter: @LucindaEClarke

The next review is for Shadows by Anita Dawes.

About the book

A collection of Anita Dawes best poems – about love and longing – hopes and dreams – there will be something for everyone…

One of the recent reviews for Shadows

Balroop Singh 5.0 out of 5 stars Short and focused  Reviewed in the United States on April 4, 2021

‘Shadows’ by Anita Dawes reflects on the shadows of life, some of which stay behind us while others inspire to drive away sadness and despair. The themes are universal and symbolize love, darkness, light, time, goodness and dreams. Most of the poems are short and focused. I like the clarity of style and thoughts.

‘Color me Red’ brilliantly describes the moods and yearnings of the poet; ‘Broken’ touches upon those moments of disillusionment and desperation when we need an affectionate touch to reassure ourselves and ‘Nine Gates’ is a little ambiguous but I guess the gates refer to our journey of life, with a message of caution at each step.

Wrong Mouse would make you smile. This collection is a nice assortment of challenges that life throws at us and how we handle them.

A selection of other books by Anita Dawes

Read the reviews and buy the books – Amazon UK And:Amazon US follow Anita:Goodreads – Blog: Jaye and Anita’ Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2

The last book today with a recent review, is a murder mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

A recent review for the book

Steven Williams4.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Read – Better Winter Read Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2021

I read this book during lockdown, over the winter and it was honestly such a beautiful adventure. It served as a bit of an escape which I thoroughly appreciated. The book is full of action, intrigue and romance. Romance has never really been a selling point for me when it comes to novels, movies or really any storytelling medium, but Sharon does it well. I highly recommend this book, if you are going on vacation to anywhere but the Galapagos. I also highly recommend this book if its a dark and dreary winter, and you need to envision yourself somewhere else. The book is set somewhere wonderful and the mystery keeps you engaged for the long-haul.

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – follow Sharon:Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries – ‘Pot Luck’ #Finance – Working with a Financial Planner by Sharon Marchisello


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from author and finance expert Sharon Marcisello with a post that is shares her concerns about turning over out assets to a financial planner.

Working with a Financial Planner by Sharon Marchisello

A friend of mine just took an early retirement package and immediately turned all his savings over to a financial planner. He’s ecstatic. I’m worried for him.

I’m not saying he shouldn’t work with a financial planner. Unlike me, he has no interest in managing his investments. He can rebuild a car’s engine; I don’t even change my own oil.

But whether you do the work yourself or hire someone to handle it, you still need to know what you’re getting, and how much you’re paying.

For Christmas, I gave him and his wife a copy of my personal finance book, Live Well, Grow Wealth. They have yet to read it. (The problem with writing about personal finance is, the people who could really use the advice aren’t interested, and the people who are interested already know about most of it.)

Before my friend visited the financial planner, I suggested he ask some questions. The most important one: how does the adviser get paid? I reminded him that in Chapter Six of my book, I cover working with a financial planner/adviser/broker/whatever and provide a list of questions/points to consider. If he and his wife didn’t want to read the whole book, they should at least skim those few relevant pages before their meeting.

Right. He barely wanted to talk about what questions to ask, much less read about them.

The adviser came highly recommended. His parents and all their friends have been using the guy for years. He’s a vice president at a major financial firm.

“Did you find out how he gets paid?” I asked, after my friends had signed over their nest egg.

“Oh, he doesn’t charge us. We didn’t pay him a cent.”

Really? Is he a relative, doing them a favor? How does he stay in business if he doesn’t charge his clients for his services? “Are you sure he doesn’t charge anything? Maybe his fee comes out of the investments?”

“Yeah, it just comes out of the investments. We don’t pay anything.”

“Do you know what percentage he takes for managing your investments? One percent? One and a half?”

“I have no idea. I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. He’s a genius, so whatever he charges, it will be worth it.”

“Do you know what he’s having you invest in? Mutual funds? Individual stocks? Bonds?”

My friend shrugged. “He had us move everything out of Fidelity over to his firm. I guess it’s a mutual fund. My parents have been in it for years.” (I couldn’t help thinking about Bernie Madoff.)

“He sold everything?” I suspect the broker earned some hefty commissions from all those transactions.

“Yeah, he said it’s better to sell everything and start fresh.”

“Does he use publicly traded mutual funds? Or something proprietary to his firm?” (With publicly traded products, you can track performance independently. And if you ever decide to change brokerages, you can transfer the securities in kind, rather than having to sell everything at once, when it might be an inopportune time for some of them.)

Another shrug. “I don’t care about that. He said we’re on track to retire at 65 and we don’t have to worry. He said we’ve done pretty well with Fidelity, but it’s good we came to him when we did, because now we have the right mix going forward.”

My friend is happy, and I hope he’s right about being on track. He’ll never know whether he could have saved money… or how much.

What are your thoughts about working with a financial planner? I’d love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello 2020

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth.

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read  Reviewed in the United States

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

Thank you for joining us today and I know that Sharon would love your feedback… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries – ‘Pot Luck’ #Finance – Reversal of Fortune by Sharon Marchisello


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post from author and finance expert Sharon Marcisello with a post that is relevant for most of us in the uncertain financial climate we have been experiencing in the last ten months.

Reversal of Fortune by Sharon Marchisello

Even though stock market indexes have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels and unemployment rates are declining again, all is not well. While some industries are thriving, others are a long way from recovery.

Only time will tell if they’ll go the way of buggy-whip manufacturers after the invention of the automobile.

Event planners and owners of conference halls and theatres are still hurting. With so many free Zoom webinars now available, can organizers really charge as much for a virtual experience? All the businesses that supported large events are now scrambling for customers, and the smart ones are reinventing themselves. Could we see the return of drive-in movies?

My husband works in the airline industry, which has been hit particularly hard. In February, employees received record-breaking profit-sharing checks. In March, the airline cut its schedule by 90% and was burning through $50 million a day. Thousands of employees were encouraged—or forced—to take voluntary leaves or exit packages. Government assistance was the only reason the airline didn’t immediately furlough most of its workforce and demand pay cuts from those who remained. We all know that’s coming once the assistance runs out.

We used to take a lot of cruise vacations; in 2019, we took four. This year, none. We’d scheduled a cruise for April, but then the cruise line suspended its voyages ahead of the no-sail order. I still receive weekly emails from travel agencies touting enticing sailings—first for fall and winter of 2020, now for spring and summer of 2021—but I’m not biting. It took us over 60 days to get our refund from our April cruise that got canceled, and the no-sail order keeps being extended. I feel sorry for owners of travel agencies and people who work in the tour industry. I believe demand will return one day, but how long can they hang on until that happens?

Stocks in these industries have suffered accordingly. Investors have made money through short-term speculation, but if you purchased these stocks before March, you’re still in the red.

No one can predict the future, determine tomorrow’s winners and losers, so how do you prepare?

If you’re an investor, diversify. Tech stocks are hot now but don’t put all your money there. Remember the tech bubble at the turn of the century? If your nest egg is spread out among different baskets, you’re unlikely to lose it all if one sector tanks. As I mentioned, the Dow is soaring again, but a different mix is driving the averages.

If you’re an employee or a business owner, build expertise that will transfer across industries. Take advantage of downtime to learn new skills or update proficiency. Never stop networking and don’t burn bridges.

Having emergency cash is essential. I’ve done several posts about the value of accumulating and maintaining an emergency fund—at least three to six months’ living expenses in a liquid, low-risk account. The only reason most of the airlines are still in business was that they had billions of dollars in cash on hand, accumulated when business was booming. Even so, only government assistance saved them from burning through all that cash before revenues could return. Such a reversal of fortune!

Look for ways to shrink your financial footprint. Cut unnecessary spending, reduce debt. The less money it takes to sustain your lifestyle, the longer your emergency funds will last, and the less likely you are to suffer a reversal of fortune.

What are your thoughts about preparing for the unexpected? I’d love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello 2020

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

My review for Secrets of the Galapagos November 10th 2020

What an amazing location to set this novel which rapidly turns a cruise of a lifetime into a murder scene, and a deepening mystery about the star of the Galapagos islands, a giant tortoise called Tio Armando.

These celebrated islands are heavily reliant on tourism for the funding of conservation projects involving the unique flora and fauna, some of which is near extinction. There are several interested parties in maintaining this lucrative business opportunity and some are therefore keen to cover up discrepancies and even murder.

Things are not adding up on board the luxury cruise liner and the mystery deepens as one of the passengers appears to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This is followed as the passengers disembark for guided tours of the various conservation projects to find that promised exhibits are missing.

Giovanna is not only there to take in the sights and is on a mission to expose and get justice after being fleeced by a habitual conman, discovering in the processs that she is not the only one aboard the ship who has been taken to the cleaners. The subject of her investigation however has his own agenda, with prospective victims already  drawn into his schemes. Lives are at risk as well as fortunes and the action heats up in a race against time.

The author has written articles on her visit to the Galapagos Islands and clearly spent her time well on researching the various islands and conservation efforts. This gives the novel a very authentic  feel.

The action is played out on the ship, in the waters rich with marine life surrounding the islands and ashore as the group of sightseers visit scientific projects and the capital of the Galapagos.

The players are diverse and some of them you wouldn’t necessarily want to be trapped on a cruise liner with, but all have a part to play as the mystery unravels. There are some lovely interludes as we tag along with the passengers exploring this incredible region, where we are introduced to the wonders of the nature to be found there. And there is also the burgeoning romance between Giovanna and the young detective, who may be the only person who can bring all the threads of this mystery together to provide us with a satisfactory conclusion.

This is an exciting adventure as well as a murder mystery with the bonus of being a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos Islands.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

Thank you for joining us today and I know that Sharon would love your feedback.. another post from her archives in two weeks.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Release – #Mystery D.L.Finn, Reviews #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Memoir Joy Lennick, #Dystopian Teri Polen


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is celebrating a new release is D.L. Finn for her YA  mystery Dolphin’s Cave.

About the book

The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by D.L. Finn

One of the recent reviews for This Last Chance

Balroop Singh 4.0 out of 5 stars A unique murder mystery  Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2020

This Last Chance by D.L. Finn explores a unique connection between Angels, evildwels and humans. The story underlines the fact that love eventually vanquishes evil. I marvel at the descriptive details about the Angels and their efforts to protect us from those who might harm us. Finn builds up suspense right in the beginning; it continues to grow and a nagging tension keeps you riveted to hear the outcome. A snowy and cold backdrop adds another dimension to the murder of Amber’s sister and her own safety.

Amber’s character is admirable, as she is observant, amiable and brave. She resolves to solve the mystery of her sister’s murder despite all the scary signs of being followed. Her patience and grit in the moment of crisis is remarkable. Even Angels love her. Nester too is drawn to Amber, he struggles to communicate with the winged ones but is scared of being overheard by an evildwel. His transformation is another amazing aspect of the story. I wonder how Finn could convert it into a feel good story despite the anxious moments. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Website: D.L. Finn Author –  Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

Now time for some recent reviews

The first book today with a recent review, comes with my own recommendation and is a murder mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

My review for the book November 10th 2020

What an amazing location to set this novel which rapidly turns a cruise of a lifetime into a murder scene, and a deepening mystery about the star of the Galapagos islands, a giant tortoise called Tio Armando.

These celebrated islands are heavily reliant on tourism for the funding of conservation projects involving the unique flora and fauna, some of which is near extinction. There are several interested parties in maintaining this lucrative business opportunity and some are therefore keen to cover up discrepancies and even murder.

Things are not adding up on board the luxury cruise liner and the mystery deepens as one of the passengers appears to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This is followed as the passengers disembark for guided tours of the various conservation projects to find that promised exhibits are missing.

Giovanna is not only there to take in the sights and is on a mission to expose and get justice after being fleeced by a habitual conman, discovering in the processs that she is not the only one aboard the ship who has been taken to the cleaners. The subject of her investigation however has his own agenda, with prospective victims already  drawn into his schemes. Lives are at risk as well as fortunes and the action heats up in a race against time.

The author has written articles on her visit to the Galapagos Islands and clearly spent her time well on researching the various islands and conservation efforts. This gives the novel a very authentic  feel.

The action is played out on the ship, in the waters rich with marine life surrounding the islands and ashore as the group of sightseers visit scientific projects and the capital of the Galapagos.

The players are diverse and some of them you wouldn’t necessarily want to be trapped on a cruise liner with, but all have a part to play as the mystery unravels. There are some lovely interludes as we tag along with the passengers exploring this incredible region, where we are introduced to the wonders of the nature to be found there. And there is also the burgeoning romance between Giovanna and the young detective, who may be the only person who can bring all the threads of this mystery together to provide us with a satisfactory conclusion.

This is an exciting adventure as well as a murder mystery with the bonus of being a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos Islands.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

The next author is a welcome guest writer on the blog Joy Lennick, with a recent review for her memoir “My Gentle War”.My Gentle War a memoir, is about my paternal and maternal families and some of my experiences as an evacuee, especially to Wales, which still owns a chunk of my heart! Some of my Dad’s diary entries are included as they were such a contrast to mine!

It is the story of a young girl and her family. Ripped away from the home she loved, from her friends, and familiar surroundings, she spends her formative years in the comparative safety of the Welsh Valleys. With the World at War, and her father sent to the battlefields of Europe, her war is fought holding back tears whilst waiting for news of her father, never knowing whether she will see him again. This is the story of a young girl learning to live a new life, holding her family together in unfamiliar surroundings, all the while dreaming of the father that was forced to leave her. My Gentle War is Joy’s story.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars A child’s memories of Wales during WWII  Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020

This memoir focuses primarily on the years 1939 through 1941 when the author was 9-11 years old, a child living in Wales with her younger brothers during WWII. The children were sent to Wales to escape the more dangerous areas around London.

This isn’t a harsh story. It’s a recounting of life from the perspective of a child and is, therefore, full of fun and imagination and resilience. There are “ear-wigging” glimpses into the adult world, news of the war, and letters from the author’s dad who was serving in France. The sad and confusing realities of war surely intrude on daily life, but the focus is on friends and relatives, memorable gatherings and events. There are new trousers, dance performances, and games of truth or dare!

Lennick’s writing is witty and conversational, and she includes a handful of poems commemorating particular memories. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the brief jump ahead at the end to the conclusion of the war. The feeling of joy is palpable in the pages.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Also by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and by the books : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

The final author today is Teri Polen with a recent review for The Colony Series Book One – Subject A36

About the book

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars I can’t wait for the next book!  Reviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020

“Subject A36” is a YA story set in the future. There is a divide in how people are treated. The Colony contains the people who have all the money and power. They harvest good genetic traits from the insurgents or the have-nots, a process that kills the donor. The insurgents rescue those who are picked up to do the harvests. It’s a time where having a certain color of eyes or being intelligent means death to those who don’t live in the Colony. Seventeen-year-old Asher lost his family to this horrible practice and found his place on missions to release people from certain deaths. I love his relationship with his team, especially Brynn, the one who holds his heart. The connections feel very real to me and all the complications that go with hidden truths. This is a fast-paced story told in first-person through different points of view, which added to understanding the complicated world in which Asher exists. There are a lot of twists and surprises for Asher and his team. A couple of times, I was so invested in what was happening, sleep became unimportant. Although this is a YA read, it’s a story for adults too. I can’t wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I highly recommend this.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK

Also by Teri Polen

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Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Follow Teri: Goodreads – website: Teri PolenTwitter: @Tpolen6

 

Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

 

Posts from my Archives – Guest Interviews – Open House 2018 with Author Sharon Marchisello


For the next few weeks  I will be sharing some of the guest interviews over the last few years that I thought you might enjoy reading. I have updated the authors and books to today’s date.

This is an interview with author Sharon Marchisello from January 2018 where she talks about her genre, her publishing adventures, most useful invention and activities she feels we should experience.

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

My chosen genre is mystery. I started out writing “mainstream” fiction, but when I was in graduate school at the University of Southern California, one of my professors suggested I pick a genre, as it would be easier to get published that way. He loved mysteries, but I wasn’t a fan, so I tried to write romance. I found I couldn’t make my stories fit the formula, though.

For my third novel, I got an idea for a mystery, and I had so much fun writing it. It’s like putting together a puzzle. I set up a crime and then created a cast of suspects, all with motive and opportunity. I wasn’t even sure who did it until I’d been writing for a while. Unfortunately, although I found an agent who shopped it around for a while, that book never got published.

Writing mystery teaches you a lot about using suspense, which is needed in any story to keep the reader turning the pages.

My fourth novel, Going Home, the first one to get a publisher, is also a mystery. It was inspired by my mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, which prompted me to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

Publishing my first novel was a long process. I began writing Going Home in 2003; it was 2013 before I finally got a contract, and 2014 by the time the book was released. It went through seven drafts. I pitched to both agents and small publishers that would look at unagented material. I paid $50 for a critique from an agent at a conference and he spent half of our 15-minute session on his cell phone making lunch plans. All he had to say to me was, “I didn’t like your heroine as much as I wanted to, but keep writing.”

The first draft was a cumbersome 100,000 words filled with backstory, flashbacks, interior dialogue, and the protagonist’s opinions about everything. I was lucky to find an excellent beta reader from my Sisters in Crime chapter. Her advice was to cut, cut, cut all the superfluous prose that didn’t advance the plot; what I had was a mystery, so focus on that.

Several drafts later, I had a lean, mean, 75,000-word mystery, but it was still getting rejected. One agent said she loved it, read the whole thing on an airplane. “But,” she said. “It’s not a mystery. It’s more about the relationship between mother and daughter. This needs to be a mainstream novel. Give it more layers, and take it up to about 100,000 words.” She said she’d look at it after I did the rewrite, but suggested I seek other opinions.

My manuscript never made it back to 100,000 words, but I managed to flesh it out to around 89,000. Since I hadn’t really done what she’d asked, I didn’t resubmit to that agent.
I had a small press ask for the full manuscript, and then I didn’t hear from them for six months. When I finally got in touch (at a new email address I’d happened to find online), the editor admitted she’d lost my manuscript before getting a chance to read it. (She still had the SASE.) She’d been afraid to ask me to re-send it, because she kept thinking it would turn up. She let me resubmit electronically, but then she ignored me again. After a few months, I followed up, and she said she’d decided to pass; she wasn’t interested in publishing fiction anymore. I had wasted almost a year with her, for nothing.

When I finally got a contract from Sunbury Press, I was afraid to tell many people, for fear of jinxing things. What if they went out of business or cut their list before they got around to publishing my manuscript? What if they changed their mind? As a result, I made a lot of mistakes regarding marketing: I didn’t build a website or start a blog, didn’t get on social media and create hype, didn’t try to get advance reviews and blurbs. In my contract, I was entitled to some free copies. But I didn’t realize they wouldn’t be sent to me automatically; I had to go to the publisher’s website and order them. So the book had been out more than a month before I had my launch party.

I’ve been in writers groups and networking for years, so I should have known better, but I’m the type who can only learn by making the mistakes myself!

In your lifetime what event or invention has most impacted your own life or work?

I’d have to say the word processor/computer. When I first started writing, I wrote in pencil, long hand, on lined notebook paper. By the time I completed a manuscript, I had so many scratch-throughs and arrows and insertions, I could barely read what I wrote. When I finished, I’d type it up on an IBM Selectric typewriter. That would be the first time it would be possible to show my work to anyone else and get feedback. But once it was typed, I was resistant to making changes, especially those that required major retyping. With Microsoft Word, I can pull up the document and add/delete/move text around and then reprint easily. Makes it much easier to do rewrites, and rewriting is probably the most important part of writing, if you want to produce a book that is fit to publish.

What are the top five experiences or activities that you feel that everyone should complete in their lifetime?

  • Travel – I’ve always been curious about new places and love learning about other cultures. Travel opens your eyes to different worldviews, different ways of doing things. And yet, in some ways, we’re all very similar. My husband and I have visited over 100 countries on six continents. When I finished graduate school, I got a job with an airline, and in my 27-year career, I took full advantage of the travel perks.
  • Reading – I can’t imagine not being able to read. It’s essential to learning, and discovering new worlds. It can take you away from reality for a few hours, into a new world different from the one you’re living in.
  • Having a pet – Nothing beats the unconditional love of a furry creature who can comfort you when you’re down and forgive you when you screw up.
  • Learning another language – Not only does it help you understand another culture, it helps you understand the structure of your own language better. I learned a lot more about verb tenses in English after I studied French and Spanish.
  • Creative Writing – I realize this is not for everyone, but for me, writing is essential to my sanity. I made up stories before I learned to write my name. Writing allows me to create a world where I am in control. Bad things happen to bad people. And the heroine, so much lovelier and more talented than me, can succeed where I fail, always saying the right thing and acting nobly.

Sharon’s latest book that I recently reviewed.

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

My review for the book November 10th 2020

What an amazing location to set this novel which rapidly turns a cruise of a lifetime into a murder scene, and a deepening mystery about the star of the Galapagos islands, a giant tortoise called Tio Armando.

These celebrated islands are heavily reliant on tourism for the funding of conservation projects involving the unique flora and fauna, some of which is near extinction. There are several interested parties in maintaining this lucrative business opportunity and some are therefore keen to cover up discrepancies and even murder.

Things are not adding up on board the luxury cruise liner and the mystery deepens as one of the passengers appears to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This is followed as the passengers disembark for guided tours of the various conservation projects to find that promised exhibits are missing.

Giovanna is not only there to take in the sights and is on a mission to expose and get justice after being fleeced by a habitual conman, discovering in the processs that she is not the only one aboard the ship who has been taken to the cleaners. The subject of her investigation however has his own agenda, with prospective victims already  drawn into his schemes. Lives are at risk as well as fortunes and the action heats up in a race against time.

The author has written articles on her visit to the Galapagos Islands and clearly spent her time well on researching the various islands and conservation efforts. This gives the novel a very authentic  feel.

The action is played out on the ship, in the waters rich with marine life surrounding the islands and ashore as the group of sightseers visit scientific projects and the capital of the Galagapos.

The players are diverse and some of them you wouldn’t necessarily want to be trapped on a cruise liner with, but all have a part to play as the mystery unravels. There are some lovely interludes as we tag along with the passengers exploring this incredible region, where we are introduced to the wonders of the nature to be found there. And there is also the burgeoning romance between Giovanna and the young detective, who may be the only person who can bring all the threads of this mystery together to provide us with a satisfactory conclusion.

This is an exciting adventure as well as a murder mystery with the bonus of being a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos Islands.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed discovering more about Sharon’s books and recommendations for life experiences.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Murder #Mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello


This week I have enjoyed reading the Murder mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

My review for the book November 10th 2020

What an amazing location to set this novel which rapidly turns a cruise of a lifetime into a murder scene, and a deepening mystery about the star of the Galapagos islands, a giant tortoise called Tio Armando.

These celebrated islands are heavily reliant on tourism for the funding of conservation projects involving the unique flora and fauna, some of which is near extinction. There are several interested parties in maintaining this lucrative business opportunity and some are therefore keen to cover up discrepancies and even murder.

Things are not adding up on board the luxury cruise liner and the mystery deepens as one of the passengers appears to have disappeared under suspicious circumstances. This is followed as the passengers disembark for guided tours of the various conservation projects to find that promised exhibits are missing.

Giovanna is not only there to take in the sights and is on a mission to expose and get justice after being fleeced by a habitual conman, discovering in the processs that she is not the only one aboard the ship who has been taken to the cleaners. The subject of her investigation however has his own agenda, with prospective victims already  drawn into his schemes. Lives are at risk as well as fortunes and the action heats up in a race against time.

The author has written articles on her visit to the Galapagos Islands and clearly spent her time well on researching the various islands and conservation efforts. This gives the novel a very authentic  feel.

The action is played out on the ship, in the waters rich with marine life surrounding the islands and ashore as the group of sightseers visit scientific projects and the capital of the Galapagos.

The players are diverse and some of them you wouldn’t necessarily want to be trapped on a cruise liner with, but all have a part to play as the mystery unravels. There are some lovely interludes as we tag along with the passengers exploring this incredible region, where we are introduced to the wonders of the nature to be found there. And there is also the burgeoning romance between Giovanna and the young detective, who may be the only person who can bring all the threads of this mystery together to provide us with a satisfactory conclusion.

This is an exciting adventure as well as a murder mystery with the bonus of being a wonderful introduction to the Galapagos Islands.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Thank you very much for dropping in and I hope that you have enjoyed this review for Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Releases #Reviews #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates where I share new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves. If you are a new author and would like to be included in the cafe please check out the links in this post: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE author promotion.

The first author today has her latest book on pre-order at 1$/77p for September 25th Tales from the Annexe: seven stories from the Herbert West Series and seven other tales by Audrey Driscoll.

About the collection

Seven stories from the world of Audrey Driscoll’s Herbert West Series, followed by seven other tales of illusions, delusions, and mysteries on the edges of logic. Discover Herbert West’s connections to Egypt, and how a dead man can help solve a mystery. Share Charles Milburn’s ruminations as he explores another dimension of his friendship with Herbert. Sample the treats on offer from an ice cream truck from Hell. Ride along with a dad who abandoned his ten-year-old son in the woods where something howls. Find out why a woman paints her bedroom a very special colour. Watch fifteen-year-old Ann as she tries to prove she belongs to the glamorous family on the other side of town. These and seven other curious encounters may be found in this annexe to the ordinary.

Head over to pre-order for 1$ delivered September 25th: Amazon US – And for 77p: Amazon UK

One of the recent reviews for Islands of the Gulf Volume 1, The Journey (The Herbert West Series Book 2)

Vic Hess 5.0 out of 5 stars A Macabre Adventure worth reading  Reviewed in the United States on July 27, 2020

A man of macabre background is described first through the eyes of his valet and then through the eyes of a widow who slowly grows fond of him despite the mysteries surrounding him. This is a well-written story, each paragraph either informing us or teasing us with questions, each paragraph conversational and through it all, you learn as much about the narrator as the subject of their discourse.

This is a well-planned story that has multiple plot points systematically delivering us from Europe, to Canada, to Boston, to New Orleans, to the Gulf of Mexico, and ultimately to the Strait of Juan de Fuca off of British Columbia. Ships and ports and mariners make the journey interesting to the reader, and, you are tempted to stay awake one more hour to get to the next chapter.

I gave this book five stars because of the quality of writing, the unique points of view which were expertly handled, and the unfolding story that kept me reading. Driscoll clearly works diligently on her writing and quite carefully on her editing. This is a very good book!

Audrey Driscoll, Buy:Amazon US – And:  Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website:Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

Now an early review for the latest release from Diana Wallace Peach and the first book in a new series. Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1

About the book

Behind the Veil, the hordes of Chaos gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.

Three unlikely allies stand in his way.

A misfit elf plagued by failure—When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.

A changeling who betrays his home—Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.

A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.

When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.

Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.

An early review for the book: Jacqui Murray August 29th 2020

D. Wallace Peach’s latest fantasy novel, Liars and Thieves (2020), Book 1 in her new fantasy series, Unraveling the Veil, is one of those stories you wish you could read again for the first time. The concept is simple–bad guys cause havoc and good guys must stop them. What makes it a story you won’t forget is how Peach reveals the characters, the plot, and the amazing world where they live:

“…they fed the Veil’s mass with heat harvested from the mountains’ core, from pristine forests and wildflower meadows, from creatures of hoof and wing. All withered, browned, and blackened. Then they stole the light from the dawn.”

“The Veil thinned and solidified, releasing the energetic mass that had fortified it against the storm.”

Her choice of words, always spot on, are never wasted:

“…the ambition of a well-fed cat on a sunny sill.”

“Then they stole the light from the dawn.”

“He sniffed the air. Scents of blue snow and dank earth mingled with something new—the electric tang of power.”

The stunning reality she has built includes an eclectric mix of elves, changelings, and goblins, some purebred and others mixed, and all the problems and challenges that go with different cultures intermingling. To stop chaotic events that could destroy the world, these folks find themselves working with old enemies, relying on those they previously distrusted, and discovering new alliances.

Though presented as a fantasy world, it will remind you of real-life. As you read, you will never really know what the truth is, when something you thought you knew turns out to be upside down. This made for an excitingly fresh tale like few I’ve ever read. The detail she includes is riveting and in large part why you will think this world could really exist. To give you an example, read Diana’s explanation of what happens to an individual’s bones, hair, organs, and muscles when switching from animal to human.

“The skeletal changes came first. He sank to his knees as his oblong skull crushed inward at the muzzle and bulged in the cranium. His neck compressed. Shoulder blades and ribcage shrank while hip bones expanded and rearranged their connections to fibulae and spine.”

As with every book Peach has written, her world building is believable, her characters likable, and her plot never stops surprising readers. Grab a copy, sit back, and enjoy.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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D. Wallace Peach, Buy Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

The final review is for Sharon Marchisello and her recently released new crime mystery novel Secrets of the Galapagos

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Lisa Malice 4.0 out of 5 stars Secrets of the Galapagos a great read for fans of suspense!  Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed “Secrets of the Galapagos” not just for the page-turning suspense, but the virtual tour of the Galapagos. The story follows Giovanna Rogers, a young woman off on a cruise of the famed islands with her grandmother, in the aftermath of a failed engagement and business venture. Her troubles take a backseat to mystery when she tries to report the disappearance of another passenger during a snorkeling excursion, but nobody will listen. The plot thickens with suspicious characters, the murder of a tour guide, and unexpected twists and turns that ratchet up the danger for Giovanna as she closes in on the truth.

Buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book – #Crime #Mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

Today’s author is Sharon Marchisello with an extract from her novel, a crime mystery- Secrets of the Galapagos.  Sharon has also included some amazing photographs from her own trip to this extraordinary place

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

An extract from Secrets of the Galapagos

Laurel tugged at my flipper and pointed. I pivoted through the stream of bubbles in time to see a six-foot hammerhead shark, its flat head barely rippling the water it displaced. I could have touched its coarse gray skin had I dared. My heart pounded. In our dark wetsuits, did we look like seals? The guides said these Galapagos sharks were not dangerous unless provoked, but who knew when one might decide to add a little tourist delicacy to its diet of fish and crustaceans?

Her dark hair floating around her face, my new friend Laurel gave a thumbs-up. I returned the gesture. I sensed her radiant grin through her mask.

The shark glided away almost as quickly as it had appeared, replaced by a school of surgeonfish, their yellow tails and silvery bodies shimmering in the sunlight. I lost sight of Laurel as I floated among them like a mermaid.

I kicked my way to the surface and lifted my head to drain my snorkel tube. As I pushed a strand of wet hair out of my face, I glimpsed the band of white skin where my engagement ring had been—until last month. Don’t think about that jerk, I scolded myself. Focus on enjoying this incredible cruise. And the mission: justice. Our group had been snorkeling in the chilly waters of Gardner Bay for about an hour, and all I wanted to do now was get back on board the ship, dry off, and tell everyone over a tasty lunch of fresh seafood about our close encounter with the shark. Laurel would have shot some great pictures.

I pulled off my fogged-up plastic mask and rinsed it in the ocean. The sea had grown rougher since we’d started snorkeling, and dark clouds gathered. A wave slapped my face, sending salty water into my nostrils. I held up my right hand, the symbol for, “I’m ready to come in.”
Where was everybody?

“Laurel?” She’d been swimming beside me moments ago, snapping photos of the vast display of marine life.

I scanned the water for my fellow snorkelers and the guides hovering in the inflatable black boats called Zodiacs. Laurel and I had not strayed that far from the group … had we?
I put my mask back on and ducked underwater to see if anyone was still swimming beneath the surface. Nothing but fish. I didn’t care about the fish anymore.

The sudden sensation of being alone in the cold ocean sucked my energy. I took off my mask again, struggling to hold my head upright and tread water while I regained my bearings.

The steep volcanic outcropping where we’d congregated was on my left. It had been on my right before. I must have drifted to the other side. Seabirds squawked at me as if I had plans to disturb their nests wedged into the jagged, guano-coated crevices.

“Laurel?” She must wonder what had happened to me.

I dog-paddled around the volcanic rock and then sighted one of the Zodiacs—at least thirty yards away and headed back to the ship. A black speck in the distance must be the other boat.


One of the recent reviews for the book.

Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2020

This is an entertaining murder mystery with a large dollop of romance. The story is set on a cruise ship which is travelling around the idyllic islands of the Galapogos. The author weaves some lovely and interesting information about these island, the conservation programmes they have in place as well as the amazing wildlife that is found there, into the story which I really enjoyed.

Giovanna has recently had some bad experiences. She lost all the money raised from investors to build her dream non-profit veterinary clinic to a clever con artist and, as a result, her fiancee and business partner, Tim, has broken off their engagement. To make matters even worse, her best friend, Connie, is married to the conman, and helped entice her into his trap. Giovanna’s youthful looking grandmother, Michelle, talks her into going on a cruise to help her recover from these losses and move on with her life. Giavanna decides on the Galapagos as a destination because she has learned, via Facebook, that this is where Connie and the conman have gone and she hopes to somehow get an opportunity to confront him and get the stolen money back.

Giovanna is in for some more hard knocks. While snorkeling with her new friend, Laurel, the pair get separated from the group and Giovanna is nearly left behind by the boat. Laurel disappears and no-one will acknowledge it except for Michelle and a few other guests who notice she is missing. Other unusual things are also happening on board the ship: Michelle gets hit over the head in the ship’s library, a memory stick with photographs of animals on it belonging to Laurel goes missing and one of the guides turns up dead in the swimming pool. Giavanna is determined to get to the bottom of it all and also to confront the conman if the opportunity presents itself.

Into this whole mix enters a gorgeous local policeman, Victor, who is investigating the murder, the disappearance of Laurel and who is interested in Giavanna.

This is a fast paced book with lots of action and some romance. I found it a bit hard to follow in a few parts because there was just so much happening and so many different sub-plots but on the whole this is an entertaining and interesting read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Other books by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Sharon: Goodreads

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Connect to Sharon

Blogspot: Sharon Blogspot
Blog WordPress: Sharon Marchisello
Facebook: S.L Marchisello
Facebook: Live Cheaply Be Happy
Twitter: @SLMarchisello

Thanks to Sharon for sharing this extract from Secrets of the Galapagos and I hope you will add to your TBRs.. thanks for dropping by.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Memoir Cynthia S. Reyes, #Poetry Annette Rochelle Aben


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

One of the recent reviews for Secrets of the Galapagos

Robbie Cheadle 4.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and entertaining  Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2020

This is an entertaining murder mystery with a large dollop of romance. The story is set on a cruise ship which is travelling around the idyllic islands of the Galapogos. The author weaves some lovely and interesting information about these island, the conservation programmes they have in place as well as the amazing wildlife that is found there, into the story which I really enjoyed.

Giovanna has recently had some bad experiences. She lost all the money raised from investors to build her dream non-profit veterinary clinic to a clever con artist and, as a result, her fiancee and business partner, Tim, has broken off their engagement. To make matters even worse, her best friend, Connie, is married to the conman, and helped entice her into his trap. Giovanna’s youthful looking grandmother, Michelle, talks her into going on a cruise to help her recover from these losses and move on with her life. Giavanna decides on the Galapagos as a destination because she has learned, via Facebook, that this is where Connie and the conman have gone and she hopes to somehow get an opportunity to confront him and get the stolen money back.

Giovanna is in for some more hard knocks. While snorkeling with her new friend, Laurel, the pair get separated from the group and Giovanna is nearly left behind by the boat. Laurel disappears and no-one will acknowledge it except for Michelle and a few other guests who notice she is missing. Other unusual things are also happening on board the ship: Michelle gets hit over the head in the ship’s library, a memory stick with photographs of animals on it belonging to Laurel goes missing and one of the guides turns up dead in the swimming pool. Giavanna is determined to get to the bottom of it all and also to confront the conman if the opportunity presents itself.

Into this whole mix enters a gorgeous local policeman, Victor, who is investigating the murder, the disappearance of Laurel and who is interested in Giavanna.

This is a fast paced book with lots of action and some romance. I found it a bit hard to follow in a few parts because there was just so much happening and so many different sub-plots but on the whole this is an entertaining and interesting read.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

Meet Cynthia Reyes

Cynthia Reyes is the author of A Good Home and An Honest House. Her children’s illustrated book Myrtle the Purple Turtle was published in October 2017 to excellent reviews.

Cynthia is a former journalist, producer-director and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. More than a hundred episodes of her programs appeared on network television. She won national and international awards and acclaim for her work, including The Children’s Broadcast Institute Award , The Trailblazer Award and The Crystal Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Television.

In October 2016, the country of her birth, Jamaica, inducted Cynthia into the Order of Distinction, Commander Rank, in recognition of her work in Canadian and international journalism.

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One of the recent reviews for Twigs in my Hair on Goodreads

Mar 10, 2020 Wendy Macdonald rated it Four Stars and really liked it

If you have ever loved a garden, you’ll enjoy this gardening memoir by Cynthia Reyes. She shows us her flower borders and introduces us to her favorite plants, trees, seasons, and people. Cynthia weaves humor and personal stories into the garden’s fabric so that by the end of the book you feel as though you’ve had tea with a good gardening friend and a tour of a lovingly landscaped Eden. Her husband’s excellent garden photography pairs well with Cynthia’s beautiful and inspiring writing.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And  : Amazon UK – Follow Cynthia : Goodreads – Website:Cynthia Reyes – Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaSReyes

Meet Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Tell Me A Story with Annette Rochelle Aben | The Magic Happens (TMH)

A love of writing, began for Annette when she was but a small child. Of course, she gives all the credit to her parents, who read to her and her siblings from the moment they were born. Once in school, teachers took over the roles of main influencers, as they required the students to do a lot of (wait for it… wait for it…) WRITING!

Over the years, Annette has been blessed with having both hobbies and jobs that required her to write. This resulted in her winning the admiration of peers and industry professionals alike. Publication lead to awards, which provided even more encouragement and now, Annette Rochelle Aben is a #1 Best Selling Author!

These days, Annette writes poetry books, coaches others through the writing of their books, and edits articles for the digital magazine The Magic Happens.

Along the way, Annette found time to explore the worlds of Aroma Therapy, Astrology, Bach Flower Essences, Crystal Therapy, Feng Shui, Hypnotherapy, Music Therapy, Numerology, Reiki, and Tarot. Guided by her Angels as to what to study and with whom, Annette turned many of her studies into sideline businesses

A selection of books by Annette Rochelle Aben

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One of the recent reviews for Think Tanka

Bette A. Stevens 4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Poetic Renderings!  Reviewed in the United States on February 29, 2020

Aben aptly describes Think Tanka as a collection of “short songs.” As an enthusiastic reader, rapt by the author’s introduction, I began “thinking in tanka.” I was impressed by the poems’ clever grouping by theme—adding to the enjoyment and ease of relating them to my own life. Ranging in scope from nature to human nature, Annette Rochelle Aben manages to strum the heartstrings and lift the spirit with her delightful poetic renderings. ~ Bette A. Stevens, author of award-winning children’s picture book Amazing Matilda and other books for children and adults.

Read the reviews and by the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Annette: Goodreads –  Blog: Annette Rochelle Aben WordPress – Twitter: @YouAreTheExpert

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Poetry M.J. Mallon, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Paranormal Marcia Meara


Welcome to the Wednesday Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is M.J. Mallon with one of the reviews for her new poetry and prose collection, Mr. Sagittarius

About the collection

Twin brothers Harold and William love the magic of the natural world.

When Harold dies he leaves a simple memorial request.

Will his brother William and his sister Annette honour it?

Or, will the garden work its magic to ensure that they do.

A magical story expressed via an original compilation of poetry and prose with photographic images

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Feb 16, 2020 Colleen M. Chesebro rated it it was amazing

Mr. Sagittarius is the tale of two very different brothers and their only sister, told in poetry and prose inspired by the natural beauty of the botanical gardens in Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Montreal. The accompanying photographs complement the story, adding to the beauty of the author’s words.

We begin with William, who is mourning the loss of his brother Harold. However, he isn’t the only one feeling the pain of bereavement. Annette, the sister, also laments Harold’s passing. This loss forces the two remaining members of the family to come to grips with their grief in a most extraordinary way.

This is a charming poetic journey inspired by the author’s chance meeting with a dragonfly and a robin, sure to delight all readers. Yet, there is more than one magical tale spilling from this collection. By the time you reach the finale, Mr. Sagittarius reveals the wisdom of a life richly lived. 

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Also by M.J. Mallon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Read more Reviews and follow Marjorie on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Majorie via her website/blog: M.J. Mallon

The next review is for Sharon Marchisello and her recently released new crime mystery novel Secrets of the Galapagos…

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2020

This is an entertaining murder mystery with a large dollop of romance. The story is set on a cruise ship which is travelling around the idyllic islands of the Galapogos. The author weaves some lovely and interesting information about these island, the conservation programmes they have in place as well as the amazing wildlife that is found there, into the story which I really enjoyed.

Giovanna has recently had some bad experiences. She lost all the money raised from investors to build her dream non-profit veterinary clinic to a clever con artist and, as a result, her fiancee and business partner, Tim, has broken off their engagement. To make matters even worse, her best friend, Connie, is married to the conman, and helped entice her into his trap. Giovanna’s youthful looking grandmother, Michelle, talks her into going on a cruise to help her recover from these losses and move on with her life. Giavanna decides on the Galapagos as a destination because she has learned, via Facebook, that this is where Connie and the conman have gone and she hopes to somehow get an opportunity to confront him and get the stolen money back.

Giovanna is in for some more hard knocks. While snorkeling with her new friend, Laurel, the pair get separated from the group and Giovanna is nearly left behind by the boat. Laurel disappears and no-one will acknowledge it except for Michelle and a few other guests who notice she is missing. Other unusual things are also happening on board the ship: Michelle gets hit over the head in the ship’s library, a memory stick with photographs of animals on it belonging to Laurel goes missing and one of the guides turns up dead in the swimming pool. Giavanna is determined to get to the bottom of it all and also to confront the conman if the opportunity presents itself.

Into this whole mix enters a gorgeous local policeman, Victor, who is investigating the murder, the disappearance of Laurel and who is interested in Giavanna.

This is a fast paced book with lots of action and some romance. I found it a bit hard to follow in a few parts because there was just so much happening and so many different sub-plots but on the whole this is an entertaining and interesting read.

Buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Other books by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK 

Read other reviews and follow Sharon: Goodreads

Connect to Sharon via her blog on WordPress: Sharon Marchisello

The final author today is Marcia Meara for Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4: The Light, the latest in the Paranormal fantasy series.

About the book

The Magic is Back!

For Robert MacKenzie Cole—or Rabbit, as he’s known to all—the chance to accompany his family to see North Carolina’s infamous Brown Mountain Lights has him nearly dizzy with excitement. And what better night to watch this unexplained phenomenon unfold than Halloween?

But when the entrancing, unpredictable lights show up, Rabbit gets far more than he bargained for. He’s gifted with what folks in the Appalachians call “the Sight,” and it’s this extrasensory perception that enables him to spot the one light different from all the rest.

In his biggest challenge to date, Rabbit—aided by his daddy and his newest friend, Austin Dupree— begins a quest to learn more about the mysterious light. Their investigation unveils a web of cons and corruption none of them expected and exposes a brutal murder along the way.

Throughout all, Rabbit is unfaltering in his commitment to do whatever it takes to understand the truth behind the glowing orb and to determine how he can help it. After all, it followed him home.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mar 02, 2020 Cathy Ryan rated it Five Stars

I’ve enjoyed the previous books in this series very much. Eleven year old Rabbit is a remarkable little boy who has inherited an exceptional gift from his grandmother — what mountain people called ‘the Sight’, giving him the ability to sense and see things others cannot. He was brought up by his grandparents in the mountains of North Carolina and lived in isolation until they both passed away. After an arduous journey he found ‘the good people’ his grandmother had told him about and was adopted by Sarah and Mac.

In The Light, Rabbit wants to see the Brown Mountain lights on Halloween — a phenomenon that has been sighted and talked about for years without a satisfactory explanation being found. So Mac, Sarah, Rabbit and baby Branna take a late afternoon trip to Brown Mountain, with no idea of what they were about to witness.

Rabbit meets a new friend at the overlook. Austin Dupree is planning to do a dissertation on unexplained phenomena in North Carolina. Austin and Rabbit soon become firm friends and Austin becomes part of the family.

This is an intriguing story because the lights are a real event over Brown Mountain and I’m fascinated by the unexplained. I’d love to see the lights myself. What nobody was expecting was a mysterious light floating off by itself after the light display had finished. Rabbit sensed there was something different about it. Their subsequent investigation uncovers much more than they could have imagined and I love the way the lights have been woven into the plot.

The story is mostly narrated by Sarah with some third person perspectives. All the characters have evolved as the series continues and Rabbit is learning to cope with his ever expanding abilities and is committed to using them to help people whenever he can. The descriptions are, as always, wonderful and give a visual sense of place. A steadily unfolding plot uncovers the mystery of the lone light…

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Marcia Meara

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Marcia Meara on: Goodreads

 

Connect to Marcia via her blog: Marcia Meara Writes

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm…thanks Sally.