Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Update – #Reviews – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #YAFantasy M. J. Mallon, #Romance Jacquie Biggar


Delighted to share some recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

Delighted to share a recent review for Balroop Singh… and her new collection…Slivers: Chiseled Poetry

About the collection

When I stumbled upon haiku – a Japanese form of poetry, I scoffed it away, thinking it to be too short and easy to write. My hubris got a setback when I was challenged to write it! My earlier efforts show how I struggled with the syllables that could convey a meaningful message. Slowly I discovered this art form, which I revere now. I’ve taken some liberties with the rules though.

The poetry in this collection is not traditional haiku and tanka but inspired from them.This collection focuses on micro-poetry, inspired from haiku, senryu, tanka and acrostic poems. Brevity and discipline is the hallmark of these poems.

A recent review for the collection

Cathleen Townsend 5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of haikus that should delight lovers of the art form.  Reviewed in the United States on July 15, 2021

I was so inspired by Balroop Singh’s latest volume of vivid verse that I endeavored to frame my review in haiku form:

Balroop re-creates
Light from above in new clothes.
Faithful fragments hanging;
Mini-windows showing
Truth in starlit slivers.

Ms. Singh’s work showcases much more depth and breadth than my little tribute, however. The topics, as usual, focus on the positive–healing, flights of imagination, and the beauty both within and without.

If I were asked to choose my favorite, I would choose the fanciful fantasy, “Night Fairy.” I suppose this is hardly a surprise since I write fairy tales, but still. Pay close attention to that one as you slowly nibble your way through this assortment of little gems.

A collection of haikus that should delight lovers of the art form.  

Other books by Balroop Singh

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

The next review is for M.J. Mallon’s new release of Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1) – Book 2 is following shortly.

About the book

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.

When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reader4life5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, magical read!   Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 July 2021

This magical young adult story is brimming with fresh imaginative ideas avoiding tropes often associated with fantasy. I was impressed with the unique vivid visual descriptions which brought both the settings and characters to life and the wonderful standard of writing throughout the story. A magical mystery unfolds for the main character Amelina, who makes discoveries during the plot, so we can enjoy seeing her grow in confidence and skill.

The story involves complex content which was difficult to follow initially but becomes more understandable as the story develops. The introduction of the antagonist, Ryder, really helps us to root for Amenlina. He is well written, and I enjoyed that he wasn’t given the typical look of a baddie but rather slowly and disconcertingly reveals his darker side, inserting himself between Amelina and her friends. I can see this being the start of a fabulous young adult series and hope there are more books to come!  

Books by M.J. Mallon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Website:M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

The final review today is for  USA Today Bestselling Author Jacquie Biggar – Secrets, Lies & Alibis (Wounded Hearts Book 8)

About the book

An elusive danger brings two obstinate lovers together for the sake of their unborn child

SAC Agent Amanda Rhinehold is driven to succeed, so it’s a bitter pill to swallow when she is forced to accept a demotion in order to distance herself from an error in judgment– one that leaves her pregnant.

Adam O’Connor uses his playboy image to keep anyone from getting too close. History has shown the people he cares about tends to get hurt, he’s like the proverbial bad luck charm. When an affair with his supervisor goes sideways and she leaves town, he figures it’s for the best, though his heart isn’t so sure.

When trouble comes calling, these two will have to sort their differences in order to protect their baby- and try not to fall in love in the process

One of the recent reviews for the book

specialangel  5.0 out of 5 stars Danger around every turn  Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2021

Secrets, Lies, and Alibis by Jacquie Biggar is the kind of book that haunts you long after you turn the last page. It is deep, intense, exciting, really keeps you on edge, you cry, you fall in love with characters and you must pay attention to every little incident or you will miss important information. I was easily hooked from the beginning. I absolutely loved this story. Adam and Amanda tugged at my heart. Their love was such a major element of this book, one in which if I felt as though I was suffering right along with them. I recommend it highly.

A small selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacquie : Goodreads – website: Jacquie Biggar – Twitter: @jacqbiggar

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Shortstories #Crime Jane Risdon, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano


Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, an educator, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in California.

Books by Balroop Singh

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One of the recent reviews for Magical Whispers

Apr 26, 2021 Jacquie rated it Five Stars on Goodreads

Magical Whispers is just what the doctor ordered! Filled with gentle lyrics to feed a tired soul, I found each poem uplifting and inspirational. The author took aspects of life and wove her spiritual nature among the lines, creating magic.

One of my favorites, Watch the Magic, portrays this beautifully.

Strokes of crimson herald the change
Ochre tries to meet at the edges,
With reverence I look around
At majestic branches almost bare.

Deep shadows dance around me
Wind and breeze compete to win.
Far away, at the horizon, gray scrambles
To steal some golden kisses.

A waterfall accentuates this beauty
And the valley resounds with a voice,
A familiar melody – melts all my angst
Now I know what allures me here.

Ferns flock like old friends
Blankets – that warm aching hearts,
Patterns of joy inked in green
Calm chaos that lay hidden.

That is the magic of a changing season
Just step out and watch the spectacle.
Mother Nature looks magnificent
In all her outfits.

Singh, Balroop. Magical Whispers: Poetry . Kindle Edition. Singh, Balroop. Magical Whispers: Poetry . Kindle Edition.
With every reread, I feel the tension leave my body and a state of calm and peace takes over- Balroop’s poems heal the mind and warms the heart. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

Meet Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon began writing following her successful career in the International Music Industry which has taken her all over the world working, including North America, Europe, Singapore, and Taiwan. She and her musician husband have worked with everything from Rock, Thrash Metal, and R&B/Pop to Chinese Opera.

She’s been involved in Artiste Management, Music Production, Music Publishing, and the facilitation of music for TV and Movie Soundtracks.

In December 2020 Jane signed with Linda Langton of Langtons International Literary Agency, based in New York, NY.

In 2014 Jane signed a publishing contract with Headline Accent part of the Hachette group.

Her co-written novel with best-selling, award-winning author Christina Jones is entitled ‘Only One Woman,’ and is published by Headline Accent. Christina and Jane enjoy a life-long friendship, and their shared experiences and love of the 1960s and the music scene, are the inspiration for their fictional novel about two girls and a lead guitarist whose band is touring and recording in England and Europe when they all meet. It is garnering rave 5* reviews from men and women. It is more than a love story, it is a social comment about the lives of those living through an era of social upheaval and huge world events.

Books by Jane Risdon

A recent review for Undercover Crime Shorts

Apr 02, 2021 Jennifer Shepard rated it five stars it was amazing

This is the first book I read from this author and let me tell you that I loved it! Such a good book with great characters that keeps you obsessed with every page since the first one. The ending of this book.. come on! I just didn´t expect it! Can´t wait to read other books from this great writer! Amazing job! a must-read! A fantastic book that has it all! I happily endorse this story to any and all who are looking for a mystery enjoyable read and a completely different experience than anyone could imagine on their own. ¡Great book! 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USBlog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread – Twitter: @Jane_Risdon – Facebook: Jane Risdon 2

Meet Gwen m. Plano

Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It has received multiple awards and is an Amazon Best Seller. The Choice, the unexpected heroes is the sequel to The Contract. It is also a thriller, involving the attempt of an unfriendly nation to take over the world. The third book in the series, The Culmination, a new beginning is an action-packed military thriller that spans the globe and involves multiple Heads of State and the threat of World War III. Only love can change the fate of humanity.

Books by Gwen M. Plano

A recent review for Culmination

Karen Ingalls 5.0 out of 5 stars A GRIPPING THRILLER  – Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2021

Read the reviews and buy the books: : Amazon UKand : Amazon USfollow Gwen : Goodreads –website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Weekly News – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Fantasy Vashti Quiroz Vega, #Poetry Sue Vincent, #Mystery James J. Cudney


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

The first author today is Balroop Singh with a recent review for her poetry collection – Magical Whispers

About the collection

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whispers life into us.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Apr 19, 2021 Stephanie Ward rated it five stars it was amazing

Magical Whispers is a collection of poems, mostly quatrains meaning poems structured in stanzas of four lines. The poems focus on telling the secrets of Mother Nature in mystical, moving and meaningful ways.

My favoriites included “Watch Them…” about the sun and river meeting at sunset; “Only Memories Are Mine” that explores the feelings of a former habitant of a house and what’s left when you can no longer go inside; and “Life Is Much More” with a lesson about how to live.

A thoroughly enjoyable collection of poems from poet Balroop Singh. 

Also by Balroop Singh

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Balroop Singh, Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

The next author with a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for The Rise of Gadreel (Fantasy Angels Series Book 3)

About the book

In The Fall of Lilith, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega took readers inside the gates of heaven for a front-row seat to Lucifer’s rebellion. In Son of the Serpent, she introduced Dracúl, tormented offspring of fallen angels. Now, in The Rise of Gadreel, Quiroz-Vega is back with the next chapter in her Fantasy Angels saga—a gripping tale of hope and redemption set against the fiery backdrop of a demon’s insatiable thirst for power and revenge.

Lilith is gone, suffering the torments of the damned in hell. Satan, once known as Lucifer, endures endless agony in an earthly prison. Yet their foul legacy lives on, spread by a corrupted priesthood that uses the blackest magic to fan the flames of evil and hate throughout the world.

The former angel Gadreel, who fought and fell alongside Lilith and Lucifer, only to join Dracúl in his fight against them, is weary of war. Repenting of past sins, she wants nothing more than to be left in peace. But when a new threat to humankind arises, Gadreel is given the chance she has prayed for—the chance to earn God’s forgiveness.

Now, with the aid of Dracúl and a trio of uncanny allies—a man of air, a man of stone, and a woman of fire—at her side, Gadreel must find the courage to confront her past and forge a new future for herself . . . and the world.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Karen Ingalls  5.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner  Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2021

The final book of the trilogy is as good as the first two. The struggle between good and evil is wonderfully written with vivid descriptions. During some passages, the author leaves nothing to the imagination. And, there are passages that are not for the faint of heart.

An excellent book that is well worth reading.

Also by Vashti Quiroz Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US and : Amazon UK – Follow Vashti : Goodreads – website:Vashti – WordPress – Twitter: @VashtiQV

The next author is Sue Vincent with a recent review for her poetry collection Life Lines.

About the Collection.

“The pen paints the souls longing in jewel tones.”

A collection of fifty-two poems of life, love and inspiration.

There are joys for which we cannot find expression, moments that have a depth of emotion that can only be shared in images. It is here that poetry comes into its own, for the pictures we paint with words can conjure all the emotions of the human heart. From solitude to passion, from aspiration to the quest for the soul’s inner light, we seek to find ways to share our journey through life, to witness our footsteps as we pass through its shifting sands and cast a reflection on time itself. The poet is both mirror and reflection, framing the images of a human life and giving them a beating heart.

One of the recent reviews for Life Lines

MacTrish 5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 March 2021

The themes in Life Lines by Sue Vincent are varied, accessible and remarkable in their ability to let you see things through her eyes. Commonplace topics such as a sunset, are described so perfectly and with a fresh viewpoint that reminds us that this moment is unique – that this particular sunset will never return.

The mood varies but the quality of the writing never loses its power or its clarity. There is much to stir the soul here and the way that Sue Vincent captures the essence of things – whether it’s watching a lover sleeping, a mother appreciating what age and experience has done to her body or an awareness of the natural world that we’re part of. The commonplace becomes remarkable when we see it from her perspective.

It’s hard to write a review of poetry because it’s impossible not to introduce a subjectivity that picks out details that appeal more to one person than another. What I can say is that there are poems here that will satisfy everyone – even those who don’t think they like poetry. That is the mark of a remarkable poet.  

A selection of Sue’s books and those written with Stuart France.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKand: Amazon USBlog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent – Twitter:@SCVincent

The final review today is for the recently released book by James J. Cudney..Legally Blind Luck (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 7)

About the book

Surprising new family members. A hidden talisman. Deadly curses. Murder. Months after tragically losing a loved one, Kellan learns his relative’s death wasn’t an accident.

Someone has discovered a cursed talisman, and a rogue government agent will stop at nothing to retrieve the heirloom. Unfortunately, it has already changed hands and found its way on campus. Moments before Braxton’s controversial art exhibition opens, Kellan stumbles upon another murder victim, and it appears he might be next on the avenger’s list.

Can Kellan protect the talisman’s true heir and prevent the killer’s nefarious plan? Given all the suspects have ties to prominent Braxton citizens, he’s uncertain whom to trust. Together, Kellan and Sheriff April are determined to solve the mystery – via legal means or blind luck.

An early review for Legally Blind Luck

Carla the Reader 5.0 out of 5 stars A Great cozy mystery with an interesting and twisty storyline.  Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2021

Once again, James J. Cudney has penned a cozy mystery that had me reading long after I should have gone to bed. In the seventh book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries we meet up with our intrepid sleuth Kellan Ayrewick and his family and friends. Kellan has found himself in the middle of another murder mystery, as well as having suspicions that the death of a family member might somehow have not been an accident. How such a small town can have so many murders, and how Kellan seems to be in the middle of them is one of the things that makes this series so interesting.

Kellan has been a professor at Braxton Campus since we met him in the first book when his dad encouraged him to take the job and move back home. He has an interesting relationship with his boss, but there seems to be some thawing in this book. I liked that we learned a bit about Miriam’s life and background in this book, it made her more likable. Nana D, one of my favourite characters, didn’t play as much of a role in this book, but that’s okay, there were others that made up for it. I enjoy Kellan’s family’s antics, but I also liked the new characters that appeared in this book. That is one thing I like about James’ books, his characters are well developed, diverse and interesting.

The mystery in this one was quite twisty and I enjoyed the history and story about the curse. It added a lot of enjoyment to the story, especially for this history buff. The plot was well-developed and with its many red herrings, I wasn’t sure who the culprit was. When the reveal came, it did not surprise me as it was one of my suspects, however the showdown was quite exciting. The ending of this one sets up a plot for the next story, but it was not really a cliffhanger, which I liked. The story has a great conclusion and all is tied up well. I definitely recommend this one to lovers of mystery, especially cozy mysteries.  

Also by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US and: Amazon UKWebsite/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney – Twitter: @Jamescudney4

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Recent Reviews – #Lockdown M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Paranormal Marcia Meara


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today with a recent review is Marjorie Mallon for the anthology This is Lockdown that shares her own diary of events over that period about the pandemic and life as a family in lock down.. and the thoughts and poetry of others within the blogging community including myself.

About the collection

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

The full list of authors can be found on Amazon.

A recent review for the collection

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A well-rounded depiction  Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2021

This is lockdown is an unusual collection of diary entries, discussions, poems, and a few short stories written by a variety of people from different countries and backgrounds and recording their experiences and emotions during the 2020 lockdown.

The book is divided into three sections: Family Diaries of the author MJ Mallon, No More which contains poems and pieces from a number of different contributors, and Part 2 which comprises of short stories by MJ Mallon.

The Family Diaries is just what is says, a collection of diary entries from 28 February 2020 to 1 June 2020, setting out the author’s emotions and experiences during the first three months of lockdown. The author was in lockdown with your two daughters and her husband and her entries extend to cover some of their feelings and reactions to being confined to home for an extended period. I enjoyed the family’s attempts to stay cheerful and to make the most of their time through exercising, walking, and reading. Simple joys like cooking and finding a new statuette on a walk are highlights of this period, as is the pervasive underlying anxiety about the illness and the future. The author has also recorded some of the politics of the time and how the actions of leadership impacted on the psychology of the nation.

The contributions from other authors were equally interesting as the contributors were from all over the world. Some of the contributors are known to me through my blog and I really sympathized with their circumstances and anxieties. Some were new to me, but their stories were no less interesting. I found the contribution by Beaton Mabaso from Zimbabwe of particular interest as I live in neighbouring South Africa. Beaton’s experiences and anxieties about food supply, medical treatment, the ability to social distance in crowded communities and a government with limited ability to financial aid its citizens are similar to the circumstances of the vast majority of people in my country. The different impact of the lockdown and pandemic on developed countries where people fight the psychological battle of loneliness and fear, and developing countries were people face poverty and physical deprivation were highlighted for me. There are also beautiful poetic contributions from Sally Cronin, Debby Gies, and Frank Prem. Willow Withers wrote a powerful and overarching poem about the impact of “the plague” on society and the economy of Britain.

Part 2 set out some excellent short stories by MJ Mallon, my favourite of which was The Poet’s Club Fictional Short Story. This story illustrated the diverse impact of coronavirus and lockdown on teenagers and how it impacts on their socializing, learning, and ability to cope. If found this story to be insightful and realistic.

This is Lockdown is and excellent and well-rounded depiction of lockdown and the pandemic of 2020.

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 US – And: Amazon UK Website:M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

The next author today is Balroop Singh with a recent review for her poetry collection – Magical Whispers

About the collection

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whispers life into us.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Lorie Hope 5.0 out of 5 stars Peaceful and Meditative  Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2021

This peaceful and meditative collection of poems is like a surrender to Mother Earth and her intrinsic magic. The poems are thoughtful, free-flowing, and loosely connected to weave the reader through natural, mythic and magical worlds. My favorite poems are Love is Love and a Moon Fairy, both very different. Love is Love is like a dance of nature to welcome and embrace the unconventional and Moon Fairy is simultaneously heavy and wistful and reminds me of an old woman recounting her days. Whatever your takeaway from Singh’s work, you will be moved. I recommend this especially when you want to just slow down and breath a little and see the wonder and magic around us.  

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

Also by Balroop Singh

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Balroop Singh, Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

The final author today with a recent review is Marcia Meara for book four in the Wake – Robin Ridge seriesThe Light.

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.

A recent review for the book

Reviewed in the United States on January 23, 2021

I could read a book about the 11-year-old Rabbit navel-gazing and be entertained. I’m in love with this character and as long as he’s in the story, I’m satisfied. Once again, Rabbit is using his gift of “sight” to solve murders and heal old wounds. In this book, one of the Brown Mountain lights is different from the rest. It’s full of sadness, and Rabbit wants to find out why.

This story has less violence and minimal danger compare to the previous books in the series, and though Rabbit solves the mystery, the more dire consequences unfold on their own. In this read, the focus has shifted somewhat to Rabbit’s expanding “family” as he spreads around his good will and makes connections with other good people. There’s a sweetness to this story and to these characters, and that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Rabbit’s journey and happily recommend Meara’s Wake Robin Ridge series to fans of paranormal fiction, addictive characters, and expert writing. I will miss this little guy. A solid five-star read

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

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore- Author Updates – #NewReleases – #Reviews – #Russia Marina Osipova #Western Jan Sikes, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Afghanistan Mary Smith


Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Marina Osipova a novel of love and fate – Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods

About the book

Two unlikely women with a shared history, two different turns of fate.

The end of the 1930s. The specter of twisted paranoia of Stalin’s unrelenting dictatorship continues to tighten over the Soviet Union. NKVD, the country’s secret police, coerces University graduate Ursula Kriegshammer, a Soviet Volga German with special skills, into serving this regime.

Natasha Ivanova, a worker at a metal plant in Vitebsk, a city at the western border of the

When in 1941 the German Army invades Byelorussia, both women seem to be helping the cause to fight the ruthless occupiers. But when their paths cross, tragedy strikes and one must carry the burden of guilt. Will she ever find peace with herself and the way out of the trap fate prepared for her?

Years later, the daughter of one of them launches on a quest to uncover the heroic nature of her mother’s role in WWII, only to discover a heart-shattering revelation of her own parentage.

One of the early reviews for the book

Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods, by Marina Osipova, is an historical fiction novel set in World War II Stalinist Russia at the outset of the Nazi invasion of the Motherland, and throughout the war years. The novel starts out slow, detailing the lives of two women, leading entirely different lives in different cities. One of them is trained as a spy and killer, destined to lead a double life in service of Russia; while the other woman takes a different path, but one which, by coincidence more than plan, also winds her up in the same spider’s net.

Their paths eventually cross in the most unlikely, and in fact, shocking manner, and when they do, this story suddenly ramps up into a thrilling intrigue. While the threads of romance provide the humanistic link that pulls the reader along, there is another weave of brutality in this book that reminds us how terrible and shocking war really is – one that provides an inside view of Stalinist Russia, and the fascist Nazi invaders, and just how barbarous and callous both regimes were. One sees this war torn theater through the eyes of these two women, both loyal to Russia, and yet both torn by their circumstances, to the point where their patriotism is the death of their principles and self respect.

The author has done a brilliant job of painting a picture of just how cold and pallid and Spartan was the existence of the Russian people, not only because of what the Nazi’s did to them during the invasion, but also because of the very nature of Stalin’s oppressive grip over their lives and their minds, one which created a world of deprivation in the name of a demented ideology – one that demanded, by fear and terror, their unabated loyalty. One sees, through the eyes of these women, that both Hitler and Stalin were equally mad, and equally destructive.

We need more books like this, books that remind future generations to preserve unalloyed freedom and to ensure that tyrannical people and their divisive attempts to trade that freedom for something else, never sees the light of day again. This story will keep you transfixed, to the end, because you only really find out what happens in the final pages. A great read

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

Other books by Marina Osipova

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And on: Amazon UK –  follow Marina : Goodreads –  website:Marina OsipovaTwitter: @marosikok

The first author with a recent review is Jan Sikes for her latest release, the short story Brazos Wind…

About the book

War-torn drifter, Jack McClean is left with nothing but bad memories, scars, and a restless soul. When he stumbles upon a burning homestead, and an unconscious woman, beside the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, he stops to render aid. Grieving widow, Savannah Logan, sees no reason to live, and only wants to join her husband and children in their graves. But, Jack refuses to let her die. In saving her, he might somehow find redemption for himself and hope for a new tomorrow. Is it possible that both Jack and Savannah can find a new destiny in the changeable flow of the Brazos wind?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Yvi MC VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Western short story!  Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2020

I’m not a fan of Westerns, but I’ve enjoyed other short stories by this author, so I decided to take a chance. I’m glad I did. This story is set in Texas in the 1880s. Jack McClean is at a point in his life where he just wants to settle down. He’s seen enough killing and just wants to “retire” and enjoy what’s left of his life. Along the journey, he comes across Savannah, the damsel in distress. Her house has burned down and she is injured. Jack, being the gentleman that he is, stops to help her. The Brazos Wind pushed their paths together for a great ending.

This was a great read. The author did a wonderful job of letting me immediately fall into the characters’ lives and connect with each of them. As much as I wanted more in the ending, I also realize things weren’t that way during those times. She stayed true to the era, but left enough of a hint to let my imagination run wild with the wind. 😉

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

A selection of books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

The next book is Timeless Echoes a collection of poetry by Balroop Singh

About the collection

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Apple_Tree 5.0 out of 5 stars Poems for your collection.  Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2020

“Timeless Echoes” by Balroop Singh is a compilation of poems that center on the inner being. For example, each poem puts you in setting, tells you what you see, or begs to ask a question. Singh’s poems surround a symbolic self-awareness and give messages of affection, hope, and what we as individuals may perceive our road in this world is.

It’s been a while since I read so many pieces of poetry that I have forgotten how soothing and re-vamping the art is. Reading it at night was especially enjoyable for me. I also read several of them out loud to my husband to see what message he got from it. One that captivated me was “A Shrieking Echo,” it came like fleeting emotion of a random woman expressing her pain of having lost a child. If you like to collect poetry or want to find stillness in an over-stimulating world, this is the fit for you.

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

Also by Balroop Singh

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Balroop Singh, Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop on: Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter@BalroopShado

The final author today is Mary Smith with a recent review for her novel No More Mulberries

About the book

No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 27, 2020 Jacquie rated it 5* it was amazing

When Miriam literally runs into the man of her dreams, Jarad, she doesn’t realize what a profound impact he will have on her future.

Convincing his family doesn’t come easily, but in the end their love triumphs and the young couple marry. Miriam takes to the cultural differences of her new country and thrives- until the sudden death of her husband.

Lost, desolate, but determined to raise their son in his father’s homeland, Miriam agrees to wed Iqbal and travel with him to his village to act as midwife in his clinic. Iqbal is kind and generous, but rigid in his belief of a woman’s place in his home.

Over time, resentment builds and when Miriam is offered a chance to get away to a teaching school for a couple of months she decides to accept.

What follows is a journey into the past for both Miriam and Iqbal, who carries burdens of his own.

This story is written with an obvious affection for the Afghan people and their culture. I enjoyed learning about a way of life so far removed from mine. Though Afghanistan has its problems, it’s a beautiful country with kind and caring people.

I give No More Mulberries 5 stars- this is a must-read!

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

Also by Mary Smith

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Mary Smith, Buy:Amazon US – and:Amazon UK –  Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to take away with you.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Contemporary Olga Nunez Miret, #Poetry Frank Prem, #Poetry Balroop Singh


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore where I share recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Olga Nunez Miret – for her contemporary novel – You’re Never Too Old to be A Prom Queen

About the book

Have you ever found yourself in the unenviable position of being told that you are too … (fill in the gap with whichever word fits: young, pretty, thin, fat, short, tall, clever, silly, old…) to do something? Mildred, one of the protagonists of the story, had always dreamed of having a prom. But when she finished her studies, in the UK, that was not the done thing. Now, many years later and with time in her hands after having retired from her full-time job as a nurse, she is still thinking about it. She tells her husband, who is less-than-enthusiastic about her idea. After years of being told what to do, she decides it’s time to take things in her own hands. With more than a little help from her friends, her project starts to take shape.

What started as a challenge becomes a mission that engages the imagination and the hearts of all the people involved.

A heart-warming story for all ages about friendship, creativity, determination, and the power of a tight-knit community and of dreams.

A recent review for the book

June 27th 2020 Christoph Fischer

I really enjoyed this beautiful book. Told in parts in interviews with Mildred , her family, friends and new acquaintances of hers, this is a charming book about a woman making a life long dream come true.

Mildred is an instantly likeable character, a psychiatric nurse with a drive to help others. In her quest she meets a lot of other great characters with similar passions and resolves a few issues and problems on the way to her very own prom.

There is a wonderful air of diversity around the cast, people coming together and enriching each other’s lives. While the narrative documents the events and preparations taking place, the interviews cast additional light onto the characters, their past and likes and disliked.
Once again, Olga’s background as psychologist adds credibility and deeper insights.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a lovely story, engaging and warm characters and a feel good story through and through. A definite winner.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books in Spanish or English by Olga Nunez Miret

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Read the reviews and buy the books including audio: Amazon UK 

and: Amazon US 

Follow: Olga on Goodreads

Connect to Olga via her blogAuthorTranslator Olga

The next review is for a kiss for the worthy: Poetry inspired by the Walt Whitman poem ‘Leaves of Grass’ (A Love Poetry Trilogy Book 2) by Frank Prem

About the collection

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes,
the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also,
but I shall not let it.. . .

from Leaves of Grass

Drawing on the phrasing of Walt Whitman’s great late 19th century poem Leaves of Grass (above) Frank Prem has produced a collection of expansive and outward looking love poetry written, as always, in the unique style that allows every reader to relate.

Prem’s interpretations breathe new life into contemporary exploration of themes of love in poetry, and utilise Whitman’s original phrases to inspire a contemplation of the self in the context of landscape and the wider world:

and as they open
I realise
they are filled
with sweet perfumes

golden glory

wafted aroma

from a house filled (with the sensual)

a kiss for the worthy is the second of three collections that together comprise A Love Poetry Trilogy, with each revisiting outstanding work by stellar poets of the past to produce vibrant new collections. The first collection, walk away silver heart, draws on Amy Lowell’s deeply personal Madonna of the Evening Flowers, while the third, rescue and redemption, derives from T.S Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

This is a new kind of poetry that tells stories, draws pictures and elicits emotional responses from readers. Just as the best poetry should.

A recent review for the collection  

Jun 27, 2020 D.G. Kaye rated it Five Stars

This is the second book in Prem’s Love Trilogy. Prem has taken from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and once again, transforms his own version of thoughts and feelings putting his own creative spin on Whitman’s poetry by taking in and evoking the simple joys of life, love and nature.

Three of these poems stood out to me: – Clean (This soil, my air), transformed from ‘From this soil, this air’, Prem goes deeper – ‘A bootprint in the sand, breathing my own air – a cleansing’. And he takes the poignant line from ‘Born Here (an immigrant son)’, transformed into – ‘Born here of parents born here from parents of the same, and their parents the same …’, the author shares his own lineage on this controversial and au current topic. He continues – “Sing me a song of an immigrant, on the road – sing me the song of a traveller, I will join you in the chorus, for I carry, that same dusty weight.” ‘No to Espresso’ gives us a stunning conversion into the realms of addiction to the coveted java – which Prem expands on in stanza, elaborating on how caffeine affects.

Prem leaves us much to both savor and contemplate with his altered perspective on Whitman’s work. A mixture of emotion and perspective, cleverly re-wrapped into engaging bite-sized stories with robust meaning. I look forward to the last book in this beautiful series.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Frank via his blog: Frank Prem WordPress

The final author is Balroop Singh, with a review for her poetry collection Moments We Love

About the collection

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Miriam Hurdle 5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational poems of love in human relationship  Reviewed in the United States on June 22, 2020

Last year I read Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh and loved it. It delighted me to read Moments We Love by the same author. I enjoyed Singh’s poetry style. The poetry in this book depicted deep emotions, sensitive to human relationships, and appreciation of nature. It reflected the vivid imagination from the author’s personal experience and her observation of the surrounding circumstances.

The poetry collection is divided into three sections. Moments of Love in section one included poems of the passionate and magical feeling of young lovers, the lovers drifting apart, and turning against each other, and the return of love brought above by cuddling of the grandchildren. Moments of Harmony in section two included poems about nature and seasons. Moments that make Life in section three included poems about buried dreams, moment of tranquility, moment in waiting, moment of deceit, moment of waiting, and moment of new beginning.

Section three ended with the poems When I Go and The Last Smile as the author’s thoughts of the transience of life.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on: Goodreads

Connect to Balroop via her blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Family Christa Polkinhorn, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro


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 Balroop Singh

Balroop Singh, a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart.

She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in Danville, California.

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One of the recent reviews for Moments we Love on Goodeads

May 26, 2020 Smitha Vishwanath rated it Five Stars

Like the name suggests, ‘Moments we love,’ is a book that captures moments in life where the beautiful feeling of love exists. The book is divided into three sections – Moments of love, Moments of Harmony and Moments that make Life. Before each section is a beautiful personal quote – not more than three lines that sets the tone of the section. The poems follow the free-verse style and are not punctuated making the reading easy. There is a tenderness in each poem which reflects the poet’s nature. Even when the poet is angry about love being bitter, the feelings change but the tone is still gentle and sounds more like a learning. There is an absence of hatred but the presence of an inner strength. The book cover sets the tone of the poems.

If love was a three-dimension object, the poet has covered every side, every angle and every surface – the feeling of first love, the yearning, the doubts that one has when one is in love, the rift (there is a poem by the same name), the memories are some of the themes under the first section – Moments we love.

There is a equal mix of romanticism and rebelliousness in the poems. The poems are a light read and can be read by non-poets as well.

Balroop Singh, Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop on: Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

Meet Christa Polkinghorn.

Born and raised in Switzerland, I have always had the desire to explore the world outside of my beautiful but tiny country. I traveled in Europe, China, Japan as well as South America. Now, I live and work as writer and translator in southern California. My interest in foreign cultures informs my work and my novels take place in several countries. I published a volume of poetry (The Path of Fire). Now, I write and publish contemporary fiction with a focus on family drama/love stories (The Family Portrait trilogy) and family drama/suspense (The Wine Lover’s Daughter series). Aside from writing and traveling, I am an avid reader and a lover of the arts, dark chocolate, and red wine.

A selection of books by Christa Polkinghorn

One of the recent reviews for The Italian Sister

Kindle Customer LL 5.0 out of 5 stars Who wouldn’t want to live in Tuscany on a vineyard? Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2020

Nice storyline with a Tuscan backdrop. Makes the reader feel they are with the lead character. Very enjoyable. Interesting into On wine production.

Christa Polkinhorn, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Christa : Goodreads – blog: Christa Polkinhorn – Twitter: @cpolkinhorn

Meet Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Novelist & Poet who loves writing paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical, which may mean she is experiencing her second childhood—or not. That part of her life hasn’t been decided yet.

A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing poetry and storytelling. Colleen sponsors a Syllabic Poetry Challenge on her blog where participants can learn how to write traditional and current forms of Haiku, Senryu, Haiga, Tanka, Gogyoka, Tanka Prose, Haibun, Cinquain, Etheree, Nonet, and Shadorma poetry.

Colleen is a Sister of the Fey, where she pursues a pagan path with her writing. Colleen won the “Little and Laugh” Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community in November 2017. In 2018, she won first place for the “Twisted Travel” category. In 2019, she placed second for the Three Act Story category, with her piece called “The Game.”

Colleen lives in Arizona with her husband. When she is not writing, she is reading. She also enjoys gardening and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art.
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Books by Colleen M. Chesebro

An extract from a  recent review for Fairies, Myths & Magic

Jan 03, 2020 H.R.R. Gorman rated it it was amazing

As expected, this book is full of sugary sweetness and seasonally inspired poetry and shorts. The haibuns, as a whole, were really thoughtful and calming.

Another reason I was interested in this book has an interesting take on the world, cultures, and human relationships with nature. Written with a loving outlook on magic and paganism, its messages are a far cry from my own upbringing and beliefs, but I still very much enjoyed the educational/learning aspect. Colleen included several mythological teaching moments that makes the book rather accessible to a wide audience. Regardless of your own faith or lack thereof, her book is a gentle way to imbibe a different world view.

Speaking of gentle, the general tone was gentle and relaxing. The hotness and splendor of summer was definitely the star of the show, and the inclusion of many fairies was adorable.

Colleen Chesebro, Buy: Amazon US –  And:Amazon UK   –   Goodreads: Colleen at Goodreads –  Website:Colleen Chesebro – Twitter: @ColleenChesebro

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 – #GraphicNovel Sue Vincent and Stuart France, #Historical #1950s Bette A. Stevens, #Poetry Balroop Singh


Welcome to the first of the Cafe updates of the week, where I will share recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first authors are Sue Vincent and Stuart France for Mr. Fox: The Legend.

About the book

Mister Fox- The Legend…
A tale born of fire and dance, folklore and a mysterious Red Book.
Who is Mister Fox? Or… what is Mister Fox?

A graphic novel

One of the recent reviews for the book

I purchased the hard copy of this graphic novel and I was very pleased that I did. The artwork is very visually appealing and really adds to the enjoyment of this intriguing and mysterious story.

I was not familiar with the legend of Mister Fox or the dance which tells his story until I read this book. I was intrigued by the story of the crow that hatched a devious plan to steal the sun from old man fox who cared for it. The way in which the crow tricks old man fox and his vixen daughter reminded me of other myths and legends I have read, in particular, Brer Rabbit, which was a great favourite of mine when I was a girl.

Of course, as with all good tales, the crow gets caught and punished and is doomed to spend his life trapped in time, where he is cast by old man fox and his fox troupe, and surrounded by “seven leaping tongues of flame.”

The next part of the book tells the tale of how the story of Mr Fox came to in Yorkshire and associated with certain sports and revelries which have survived over the years.

According to this book, the fox dance is still performed on the night of the Hunter’s Moon in a secretive and mysterious way. The identities of the dancers are also a secret and only known within the dance troupe.

An informative, entertaining and beautifully illustrated graphic novel.

A selection of other books by Sue Vincent and Stuart France

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue: Goodreads

And follow Stuart France: Goodreads

Connect to Sue and Stuart through their book website:  France and Vincent

The next review is for author and poet Bette A. Stevens and her coming of age novel Dog Bone Soup: A Boomer’s Journey

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for Dog Bone Soup

Marian Beaman 5.0 out of 5 stars Bullied boy makes good after all  Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2020

Novelist Bette Stevens’ Dog Bone Soup is like “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” nurturing and heartwarming. Though protagonist Shawn Daniels grew up in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic dad and longsuffering mother, he also had a Mrs. Ashley who championed him, and an indomitable spirit that must have been written somewhere in his genetic code.

The Daniels family live in a ramshackle house without indoor plumbing or enough groceries in the pantry. Yet, the dark passages of hardship are tempered with a tone of optimism. Lines like these capture Shawn’s ability to find pleasure in the everyday: “Us boys were still in stitches—laughin’, hollerin’ and jumpin’ up and down—when we spotted Mrs. Nettle. It was funnier than watching a Laurel and Hardy show. There she was running up that road—bare footed, curlers dangling and her housecoat blowing every which way. She grabbed ahold of Ben by the hair and started slappin’ him around and cussin’ up a storm. That’s when Willie and me and Buddy shot off like bullets.”

Readers will root for the main character because they have come to care about him. And perhaps because he is bullied at school and deprived of the necessities at home, we tend to excuse Shawn’s stealing apples from his neighbors or sneaking around milking a farmer’s cows before sunrise. Early on, we understand that Shawn wants a better life for himself down the road, which may include college or the military.

The dialogue and depiction of the era are outstanding, the entire story told from Shawn’s point of view. It’s not hard to believe that the novelist is a former middle-school teacher who understands the heart and soul of a boy – and the era of the 1950s and 60s in which the novel is cast. I can imagine author Stevens may have had a young man similar to Shawn in her classroom at some point in her career. A great coming-of-age novel I can recommend for all ages.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Bette: Goodreads

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog:  4 Writers and Readers

The final author is Balroop Singh, with a review for her most recent poetry collection Moments We Love

About the collection

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

One of the recent reviews for the collection on Goodreads

May 26, 2020 Smitha Vishwanath rated it Five Stars

Like the name suggests, ‘Moments we love,’ is a book that captures moments in life where the beautiful feeling of love exists. The book is divided into three sections – Moments of love, Moments of Harmony and Moments that make Life. Before each section is a beautiful personal quote – not more than three lines that sets the tone of the section. The poems follow the free-verse style and are not punctuated making the reading easy. There is a tenderness in each poem which reflects the poet’s nature. Even when the poet is angry about love being bitter, the feelings change but the tone is still gentle and sounds more like a learning. There is an absence of hatred but the presence of an inner strength. The book cover sets the tone of the poems.

If love was a three-dimension object, the poet has covered every side, every angle and every surface – the feeling of first love, the yearning, the doubts that one has when one is in love, the rift (there is a poem by the same name), the memories are some of the themes under the first section – Moments we love.

There is a equal mix of romanticism and rebelliousness in the poems. The poems are a light read and can be read by non-poets as well.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on: Goodreads

Connect to Balroop via her blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Supernatural Mae Clair, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Children’s Janice Spina


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Mae Clair with a review for Book 2 of the Point Pleasant series… A Cold Tomorrow.

About the book

Where secrets make their home…

Stopping to help a motorist in trouble, Katie Lynch stumbles upon a mystery as elusive as the Mothman legend that haunts her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Could the coded message she finds herald an extraterrestrial visitor? According to locals, it wouldn’t be the first time. And what sense should she make of her young son’s sudden spate of bizarre drawings—and his claim of a late-night visitation? Determined to uncover the truth, Katie only breaks the surface when a new threat erupts. Suddenly her long-gone ex-boyfriend is back and it’s as if he’s under someone else’s control. Not only is he half-crazed, he’s intent on murder….

As a sergeant in the sheriff’s office of the famously uncanny Point Pleasant, Officer Ryan Flynn has learned to tolerate reports of puzzling paranormal events. But single mom Katie Lynch appears to be in very real danger—and somehow Ryan’s own brother, Caden, is caught up in the madness, too. What the skeptical lawman discovers astounds him—and sends him into action. For stopping whatever evil forces are at play may just keep Katie and Caden alive…

A recent review for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling paranormal read  Reviewed in the United States on March 17, 2020

Book 2 of the Point Pleasant Series starts off a few months after Book 1 ends but can be read as a stand-alone (not that I recommend skipping the first). Katie Lynch takes over as the lead character and shares the limelight with brothers Ryan and Caden Flynn.

Strange supernatural happenings are taking place in Point Pleasant—dead animals, UFOs, aliens, voices in the TNT bunker, and of course, Mothman sightings. Claire tangles in a secondary plot to mix things up a bit and provide some red-herrings. The plot is complex and the pace has to be quick in order to wrap it all up and still have time for some lovely character development.

The best plot won’t survive thin characters, and Claire doesn’t fall into that trap. Main characters, as well as secondary characters, are all unique and three-dimensional. Claire carves out time to provide an emotional foundation with a bit of backstory and to dive into their relationships with each other. I particularly like books that make me feel connected to the characters and this is one of those.

The Mothman becomes more intriguing as does Caden’s character and his connection to the creature. The emotion and compassion between them is particularly riveting, and I MUST read the next book for that reason. An excellent series with polished writing. I highly recommend A Cold Tomorrow to readers of paranormal thrillers and to those who enjoy urban legends.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

mae clair 2020

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mae: Goodreads

Connect to Mae via her Blog/Website: Mae Clair

The next author is Balroop Singh, with a review for her most recent poetry collection Moments We Love

About the collection

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

The late comedian, Richard Jeni, had a routine called ‘Love Songs.’ It chronicled how love songs on the radio were designed to specifically drive those who were not in relationships to the brink of suicide (the irony of Jeni’s death in 2007 by a self-inflicted gunshot wound is apparent).

You might wonder how that relates to Balroop Singh’s collection of poems, ‘Moments We Love.’ The author, in her preface, states that she looks for the reader to drink deeply of the emotions colored here. Yet poetry is transactional – not only what the poet brings in shaping these words, but what the reader brings with them when they open the book and read what is there.

The book is divided into three sections – Moments of Love, Moments of Harmony, and Moments that make Life. The poet’s style is free verse, stanzas of anywhere from three to five lines, more evocative of feeling than rhythm. Depending on your take in poetry, you might or might not prefer the style. But in every poem, Singh seeks to touch the reader gently, like a soft rain or a gentle breeze, not pushing the point as much as inviting the reader in to consider the moment.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on: Goodreads

Connect to Balroop via her blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress

The final review today is for the fourth book in the Abby and Holly Series: The Hidden Stairway by award winning children’s author Janice Spina..

About the book

Join the cousins, Abby and Holly, as they search for clues about who placed an urn up in their attic with the remains of a young girl who lived a century ago. Their old Victorian holds many secrets and the girls are determined to solve this mystery with the help of two ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva, who inhabit their home.

As the girls are searching for clues in their basement they discover a hidden stairway. Upon entering the stairway they find themselves unexpectedly catapulted back in time to a century ago. Will they be able to return with the answers to the mystery? If not, who will help them get back? Or, will they be forever lost in time?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Michelle Clements James 5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting adventure for Abby and Holly  Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2020

Abby and Holly are cousins who have special powers, they can see and speak to ghosts, and in this book, they find they can travel back in time with the reassurance that should anything go wrong, they will get help from their ghost friends, Felicity and Minerva. This opens an exciting new adventure for the girls, though it is quite worrisome for their mothers.
Once again, Janice Spina has created a riveting adventure for the cousins. I couldn’t put it down and I’m sure middle-grade readers will get wrapped up in the story as much as I did.

As with all of Spina’s books, there will be no objectionable language and there is always a life lesson – to be respectful to others, to be kind and considerate, to recognize and accept that there are differences in all of us. To parents, grandparents, and teachers – I recommend this be read aloud by children so you can have a lively discussion about the story and the lessons in ABBY & HOLLY SERIES, BOOK 4 – THE HIDDEN STAIRWAY. This is positively a 5-star book. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A very small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Janice: Goodreads

Connect to Janice on her blog: Jem’s Books

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Memoir D.G. Kaye


Welcome to the another edition of the Cafe and Bookstore author updates where I share recent reviews for the authors on the shelves.

The first author is Balroop Singh, with a review for her most recent poetry collection Moments We Love

About the collection

Moments of fragrant love that stand frozen in time, of dreams that dare not unfold, of passion that fleets by, of erratic joy that we meet at the crossroads of life, butterflies of time that add color to our dark moments to scare the demons away – I have gathered all of them in this book. Some of them whisper softly to create a magical aura while spring of life sings with them, trying to wipe silent tears. Mother Nature steps in with all her grandeur to breath quiet messages of tranquility.

Each poem would soothe your emotions with élan and add a dash of color to your life. Life – that doesn’t halt for your sad moments; that just floats by. You just need to dive in to soak in myriads of moments to discover how it could ignite positive tones. All the poems in this collection are imaginary but inspired from people around me, some of whom chose to share their frustrations and tremors with me. Sometimes I could read between the lines to pen my thoughts down.

Memories and moments merge here
Today when I return to share
The glow of rainbows
Embers of emotional entreaties
And smoldering debris.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars A Poetic Journey In and Out of Love Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2020

I was delighted to receive this book as a gift, as it had been on my to-be-purchased and read list for some time. “Moments We Love,” is a delightful collection of free verse and rhyming poetry dedicated to a subject dear to all of our hearts – love.

From the first page onward, I discovered that Singh’s poetry dealt with a wide range of human emotions, all drawing upon her astute observations of the human condition.

The collection lead me through the distinct categories of love beginning with young love and progressing into a more mature form of love, moving into memories of love, and even touching on the subject of forbidden love. By the end of the book, I was faced with the loss of love.

Several poems stood out to me: “Do You Remember?” a poem that touched on the memories of young love which left me filled with evocative mental images from days long ago.

The poem, “Isolated Child,” touched me deeply, reminding me of my own journey and how far I’ve come. My response to this poem is the essence of this book. Readers will find this poetic compilation a contemplation of their own journey in and out of love.

I’ve read several of this author’s poetic works. I find her prose and poetry down to earth and atmospheric. She marches to her own personal sense of rhythm and rhyme, making her verses something to treasure for the poetry lover in us all.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on: Goodreads

Connect to Balroop via her blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress

Now for a psychological thriller from Lucinda E.Clarke  with a recent review for her latest release A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: A Psychological Thriller

About the book

Leah’s nightmare began the day the dog died.

A few years earlier a fatal car crash took the lives of Leah’s beloved husband and their two babies, leaving her disabled. Life looked bleak. She was approaching forty, unemployed, broke and desperate.

Then she met Mason. He was charming, charismatic, persuasive, and a successful businessman, well respected in the community. His teenage daughter did nothing to welcome Leah into the family, but life is never perfect.

Then, two years into her second marriage, Leah Brand’s world is turned upside down; inanimate objects in the house move, her clothes are left out for the rubbish collection, pieces of furniture change places, there are unexplained noises and hauntings.

As the disturbances increase, everyone accuses Leah of losing her mind. Soon she begins to doubt herself and she starts to spiral down into a world of insanity. Is she going mad, or is someone out to destroy her? And if so, why?

A gripping, psychological thriller for fans of Mary Higgins Clarke and Louise Jensen.

One of the recent reviews for the book

T. R. Robinson 5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing read. 18 February 2020

This is an intriguing read that certainly lives up to its designation as a psychological thriller.

All characters are well developed enabling the reader to visualise and comprehend each. While detesting some they will take to others but will often find reason to question the accuracy of their sentiments. Most will be able to empathise with the protagonist who faces many bewildering ‘challenges’ and may often wonder how she manages to keep going.

The story is set within the usual day-to-day routines of most households however, what in many circumstances could come across as mundane and consequently boring for the reader, are anything but. This attests to the author’s unique ability to bring life to all her stories whether adventure, memoir, or thriller. Lucinda is indeed an excellent author.

The reader will find themselves constantly developing theories and then re-developing them as the tale progresses. This makes the book a lively read that retains interest and curiosity. In some ways the reader wishes to be proven right but would also find it disappointing to be so proven. The book does not disappoint in its ability to keep the guessing going up to, and past, the end.

Indeed, though there is some resolution it is not entirely complete and definitely leaves the reader with anticipation for a sequel. That is not to say there is no satisfaction in the ending although it would probably be more accurate to call it an intermission.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Lucinda E.Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda: Goodreads

Connect to Lucinda via her blog: WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke

And the final author today is D.G. Kaye with a review for her memoir Conflicted Hearts.

About the book

A Lifetime of guilt — What does it take to finally break free?

Somehow I believed it was my obligation to try to do the right thing by her because she had given birth to me.

Burdened with constant worry for her father and the guilt caused by her mother’s narcissism, D.G. Kaye had a short childhood. When she moved away from home at age eighteen, she began to grow into herself, overcoming her lack of guidance and her insecurities. Her life experiences became her teachers, and she learned from the mistakes and choices she made along the way, plagued by the guilt she carried for her mother.

Conflicted Hearts is a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and acceptance, an exploration of the quest for solace from emotional guilt.

A recent review for the book

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read! Reviewed in the United States on February 2, 2020

D.G. Kaye shares the story of growing up with a self-centered and narcissistic mother and the effect that this took on her self-esteem. I felt as if I were a character in Kaye’s life as she details the struggles of living with a mother who was unable to love and nurture her.

It is not a book filled with rage, but one of a girl’s journey to find acceptance and love. The author is not without loving figures in her life; her father and aunt provide stability and love.

While dealing with a sad subject, Kaye’s story is also uplifting as she eloquently describes the health struggles that she and her husband endure. Their love is evident as they support each other through their challenges.

If you want a book that pulls no punches and shares the highs and lows that all of us can relate to, this is the one for you.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Books by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

More reviews and follow Debby: Goodreads

Connect to Debby via her blog: D.G. Writes

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