Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Children’s #Binmen Sue Wickstead


Over the course of the summer months I will be sharing the recommended authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf along with their books and a selected review.

The first book today is a poetry collection by Bette A. Stevens – My Maine – Haiku through the seasons.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Elizabeth Gauffreau5.0 out of 5 stars For Readers Drawn to the Constancy of the Seasons  Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2022

I was first drawn to Bette A. Stevens’s poetry collection, My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons, because I have connections to Maine myself, and I’ve become interested in syllabic poetry the past few years. For readers with similar interests, I would recommend My Maine as a must-read. For general readers, I would highly recommend the collection just for the sheer enjoyment of it.

The paperback is beautifully laid out with color photographs emblematic of a particular mood of the season. On the facing page, a series of haiku speak to each photograph. The book also features appealing section dividers and lettering. I mention the book design because it added another dimension to my reading experience, which I appreciated.

In terms of form, haiku aligns perfectly with observational nature poetry. The poems in My Maine follow the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count used for haiku written in English. They break with tradition by employing metaphor, alliteration, and rhyme. For me as a reader, this breaking with tradition to serve the needs of each poem ensures that the collection as a whole is more than an exercise in form. (Form purists may disagree with me!)

I read the book twice, and my experience reading My Maine for a second time was quite different from my first reading. With my first read, I wished that each poem had been placed on its own page, so that I could savor them individually without being distracted by the others.

The second time I read the book, I immediately realized that the placement of several poems on the same page was not a design layout decision. Each series of poems can actually read as a single poem moving through a progression of thought. The fact that my second reading experience was different from my first is the hallmark of a book that is rich in nuance, cohesion, and resonance.

Recurring imagery, metaphors, and themes also lend cohesion to the collection, including the land and people’s relationship to it, ties to the past, music, gardening, how light changes with the seasons, and how rain changes with the seasons.

I cannot end this review without citing my favorite poem from the collection:

Potholes irk drivers
As roadways turn to washboards
Kids giggle in back.

In just three short lines, Stevens evokes the contrast between the adult’s experience of spring as a car’s front end knocked out of whack and the child’s experience of spring as a carnival ride in the backseat of the family car.

Finally, I highly recommend My Maine to anyone looking for a constant in tumultuous times. The book will be a comfort.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens for Children and adults

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette:Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter:@BetteAStevens

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About Bette A. Stevens

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). The author has also published the photography and poetry collection MY MAINE: Haiku through the Seasons

Stevens’s children’s book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO! was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England in a family whose poverty and alcoholism mark him as a target for bullying by young and old alike. This short story is a prequel to Stevens’s début novel DOG BONE SOUP (KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017).

The next book today is David’s Bin Day from the prolific children’s author and teacher Sue Wickstead.

About the book

What is it like to be a binman?

As a bin lorry clatters down the street one morning, a little boy is watching with interest.

Just like the binmen, David is wearing his brightly coloured bobble hat, and he is ready to tidy things up.

But everything in his home begins to disappear!

And what happened to Daddy’s important letter?

“David’s playtime adventure stirs up a bit of trouble in this sweet book about playing pretend.” Sarah Flores, Write Down the Line.

One of the reviews for the book

dash fan 5.0 out of 5 stars 5☆ A Light Hearted, Sweet Children’s Picture Book  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 April 2022 –5☆ A Light Hearted, Sweet Children’s Picture Book

I always look forward to Sue Wickstead children’s books and David’s Bin Day, was a super fun picture book that will capture children’s imaginations.

David loves Wednesday’s as it’s Bin Day Collection and he loves nothing better, than watching the Refuse collection.
He even has he’s own Bobble Hat just like them.

Once the collection has finished David sets out to pretend to be a Binman, collecting all the rubbish he finds laying around the house… nothing is safe when Binman David is on the case! lol

I really enjoyed this light hearted picture book. Children will definitely be able to relate to the story as refuse collections happen every week. The only thing lil thing is some might prefer the terminology refuse/waste collectors instead of binmen.
It also teaches children to pick up rubbish and throw it away and to pick up toys after they have been played with. So it teaches children about responsibilities and even you could talk further and discuss recycling etc …

Once again Sue has written a Heart-warming story, with beautiful illustrations and relatable characters.

The length is perfect for younger readers and I think it’s best suited to ages 4-8years.
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to read more of Sue’s books, then I highly recommend you do ( see my blog for more books) I can’t wait for Sue’s next book! 

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

A small selection of books by Sue Wickstead

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – More reviews: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Sue Wickstead – Facebook: Stories Sue – Facebook: Teacher Page – Twitter: @JayJayBus – LinkedIn: Sue Wickstead

About Sue Wickstead

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author with Award winning books.
Shortlisted in the Wishing Shelf Book awards. and has written children’s picture books with a bus theme. In addition, she has also written a photographic history book about the real bus behind her story writing.

Her bus stories are about a playbus. Have you ever been on a Playbus?
When Sue’s two children were young, they attended a playgroup on a bus, but not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey, exciting though this is, but a Playbus stuffed full of toys to capture their imagination!

For over 20 years, alongside her teaching career, she worked with the charity, the Bewbush Playbus Association.

As part of the committee she painted the bus, worked in the groups, helped raise the profile of the project and its work and was part of the team involved in raising funds to replace the old bus with a newer vehicle. This led her to write a photographic history book about it.

‘It really was a fun journey to be involved in’, said Sue. The bus really got into her blood and became a work of the heart.

Having written the history book Sue soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. So, she decided to write a fictional tale, his number plate JJK261, gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original project and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continues.

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

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Poetry Part Two – Bette A. Stevens, Elizabeth Merry, Mary Clark, Anita Dawes, Victoria Zigler


Some more poetry collections that will delight as gifts this Christmas…

The first poetry collection is by Bette A. Stevens that celebrates the beauty the state of Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Joy M.Lilley 5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid read Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 August 2021

Bette brought this glorious place to life for me.I enjoyed the poetic verses accompanying each season. knowing parts of the United States of America, Maine is one not as yet visited. It now sits on my bucket list. Thank you Bette for a most enjoyable literacy journey through your words.

Other books by Bette A. Stevens

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Bette A. Stevens, Buy: Amazon US –and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

The next author today is Elizabeth Merry with her poetry collection Minus One: With Haikus and Other Poems: The Story of a Life

About the collection

This collection sums up the life of the poet. It begins with memories of her parents, in The Red Petticoat: “The lighthouse sweep and beam/Of her glad eyes/Lit us all, haloed the room/Where we stood in a row/To admire.” And in Minus One: “Your absence grips my throat/Chokes my breath . . . How much of you is me/Stretching to close the circle?” Other poems cover growing up and speak of friends and lovers, moving forward to parenthood and beyond, to old age in Bones: “Don’t look too close/Disintegration has begun/And death will lend it speed/Until my bones are bare and/Waiting for the second coming . . . ” And to death in Mortality: “Tombstones/Pale and cold/Line up, waiting/For my name . . . ”

Throughout the collection there are sections of Haikus, many with accompanying photographs: “Child of my child, I/scoop you up and hug you, breathe/you in and keep you.” References to the sea and the harbour move through this collection, lending a special atmosphere. These poems are filled with the many emotions of our lives and will appeal to all of us.

A recent review for the collection

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars Rich & Nuanced Poetry about Aging Reviewed in the United States on June 12, 2021

The poems in Elizabeth Merry’s collection, Minus One: The Story of a Life, are rich and nuanced with the fluidity of time and memory. I found myself rereading a number of them, each time with a new layer of meaning revealed. Minus One is the poetry of paradox: death in life visible in every falling leaf and glance in the mirror.

As I reflect on my experience of reading this collection, I am struck by the power of its raw, honest emotion–yet the poems themselves are very finely crafted. The word choice is precise– often unexpectedly so–and each linebreak comes at just the right moment. I particularly appreciated the freshness of language and metaphor. In the title poem, for example, losing the first member of one’s immediate family becomes “My magic circle broken.” In “Words,” “Sudden shocks of grief / Or joy unwind us.” The desire to escape from the world and live a cloistered life becomes “ . . . peace, pale apple green, serene / Soft poultice on the quick of life.”

Haiku and photographs interspersed throughout the book offer brief, vivid glimpses into the natural world, each echoing a particular state of mind. The natural world as metaphor is further explored in two companion poems: “Seascapes” and “Landscapes.” Even with the anger and unpredictably of the sea, the freedom it represents is preferable to being “Street-locked and bereft” in an inland place, where “This bland wind has / no taste, no smell.”

The title poem, about the first death in the speaker’s immediate family, asks the question, “How much of you is me / Stretching to close the circle?” This question recurs in different forms as the collection progresses–and by the end, I couldn’t help but wonder: with each loss of a close family member, do we become more of ourselves or less?

One of my favorite poems in the collection is “The Red Petticoat,” in which the speaker describes her mother’s delight at receiving a red petticoat from America. The ending stanza left me thinking, I would like to know this woman:

Long left that room, that house
The woman has gathered her years
Carefully, tucked them primly away
Scented and folded neatly
Facing the rest
With a lifted chin
A grin and a new hat
The glow of the red petticoat
About her still.

Another standout is “Frances,” about the death of a younger sibling, “Gone out of turn before me / Our childhood memories / All lop-sided now.” These two lines express my own experience of losing my younger brother in a way I never could. And isn’t this why we read poetry?

Also by Elizabeth Merry for adults and children

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Elizabeth: Goodreads Blog: Embookstuff WordPress – Twitter: @ElizabethMerry1

Next on the list is Mary Clark’s poetry collection Into the Fire: A Poet’s Journey Through Hell’s Kitchen

About the collection

A young, aspiring writer comes to St. Clement’s Church on West 46th Street in New York City looking for a job in the theater. Soon she is helping run the church’s poetry program. The New York Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s features many well-known poets of the 1970s and 80s as well as up-and-coming and marginalized poets. The poetry scene, occurring alongside Punk rock and the waning days of experimental dance and theater, is part of the last widespread grassroots artistic era in the United States.

Into The Fire: A Poet’s Journey takes place in the rough-and-tumble Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side. This story is set in a neighborhood that reflects the passion of the times. By 1980, both the arts scene and New York neighborhoods are on the verge of change. The author’s life in the arts weaves in and out of the neighborhood’s narratives. She must make a choice between two possible lives.

St. Clement’s Church has a storied history in the arts, beginning with the American Place Theater in the 1960s to the present day. Cameo appearances in this memoir are made by Robert Altman, Amiri Baraka, Daniel Berrigan, Karen Black, Raymond Carver, Cher, Abbie Hoffman, Spalding Gray, Al Pacino, and Paul Simon. Erick Hawkins, June Anderson, and Daniel Nagrin dance through.

Poets and writers include Carol Bergé, Ted Berrigan, Enid Dame, Cornelius Eady, Allen Ginsberg, Daniella Gioseffi, Barbara Holland, Bob Holman, Richard Howard, Maurice Kenny, Eve Merriam, Robin Morgan, Sharon Olds, Alicia Ostriker, Alice Notley, William Packard, Robert Peters, Rochelle Ratner, Grace Shulman, and Kurt Vonnegut, with mentions or discussions of Gregory Corso, Emily Dickinson, Dana Gioia, David Ignatow, Joy Harjo, Rashid Hussein, Kim Chi Ha, Denise Levertov, Audre Lorde, Anais Nin, Ron Padgett, Pedro Pietro, Muriel Rukeyser, and Anne Sexton, among others.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Monica Brinkman 5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing Look at a Time Past Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2021

I truly didn’t know what to expect when I began reading Into the Fire. Simply thought it was a tale of poetry and prose. I am so please to say it was much, much more!

Hell’s KItchen was a place and time I heard about, yet knew little of what it entailed. I thank Mary Clark for writing such an exceptional story of what it was like to live, perform, produce and create in those early days, and the challenges that seemed, at times, unsurmountable.

You will meet celebrities; many not so famous back in the day and you will find great works and such talent.

Go behind the scenes and get to know those who dedicated their lives to keeping the arts alive while battling confrontations of both religion and humanity.

This is a book worth reading as it not only entertains but gives the reader an inside look of what it took and takes to keep arts alive

You won’t put this book down; it is that entertaining Bravo Mary Clark. You show the greatness as well as the sadness of the era.

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

Also by Mary Clark

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #Reviews – #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Crimethriller Jaye Marie, #Thriller Mark Bierman


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

The first review is for the poetry collection by Bette A. Stevens that celebrates the beauty the state of Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Joy M.Lilley 5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 August 2021

Bette brought this glorious place to life for me.I enjoyed the poetic verses accompanying each season. knowing parts of the United States of America, Maine is one not as yet visited. It now sits on my bucket list. Thank you Bette for a most enjoyable literacy journey through your words.

Other books by Bette A. Stevens

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Bette A. Stevens, Buy: Amazon US –and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

The next author with a recent review is Jaye Marie for her crime thriller Cross fire

About the book

DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems.

Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job

One of the recent reviews for the book

Aug 11, 2021 Colleen Chesebro rated it five stars it was amazing

DI Snow is ready for retirement until his partner Detective Jim Harris is murdered. This single event sets into motion the department’s hunt for Jim’s killer. When Jim’s replacement, Ruth Winton, shows up, Snow takes an instant dislike to the woman. She seems competent, but there is something about her that rubs Snow the wrong way.

When more bodies start piling up with the same wounds that Jim received, Snow considers the murders are all connected. He knows time is running out to catch the killers, but he has a problem. His health has taken a turn for the worse. If he’s too ill to find the killer, who will?

Leave it to me to start a series with the third book! However, I found “CrossFire” to be a standalone book. There are references to DI David Snow’s other cases, but nothing I couldn’t follow.

The book reminds me of some of the British mysteries I watch on Amazon Prime. As the suspense built, I kept turning pages, eager to find out what happened next. The characters are interesting, with Snow taking on the characteristics of the troubled detective. I found him to be a likable guy. There is great detail paid to the backstory of the murderer, which helped to propel the story forward.

If you like psychological mysteries, this was a good read. I’m excited to read some of this author’s other mysteries. Perhaps I should start with the first book in the series!

Books by Jaye Marie

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Jaye Marie : Goodreads – Jaye Marie: WordPress Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2

The final author today is Mark Bierman with a review for his novel a thriller set in Haiti, Vanished which I can highly recommend.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Elizabeth Gauffreau 4.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read!  Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2021

Mark Bierman‘s novel Vanished opens in a Haitian prison with a game of cards turned violent, followed by an earthquake. The chapter ends with the escape of a prisoner who will play a pivotal role in the novel.

Enter young widower Tyler and his father-in-law John, two Americans newly arrived to help build an orphanage for the beleaguered island. No sooner do they get settled at the American-sponsored Rescue Mission than the young daughter of one of the Haitian staff is kidnapped.

When Chantale goes missing, the Rescue Mission organizes a search of the surrounding neighborhood. The search comes up dry, and the leaders of the Mission take it no further, resigning themselves to Chantale’s all-too-common fate. Attempts to enlist the aid of social work agencies are also unsuccessful. Tyler and John decide to find Chantale themselves.

At the same time, they are well aware of the enormity of what they’re facing. If the problem of child slavery is so great that you can’t save all the children, should you even try to save just one? What about all the other children? John in particular struggles with this question as the violence escalates later in the book.

The narration employs alternating points of view, including the kidnappers’, to advance the plot and build tension. ( The third person narrator’s use of passive voice–when a sentence begins with the object of the verb, and the subject is not stated–made the action a little hard to follow in places.)

I was struck by the lengths to which Tyler and John would go to save Chantale, a little girl they didn’t even know. Equally striking were the lengths to which the kidnappers would go to prevent them from doing so. As a skinny, terrified little seven-year-old, she has negligible value as a manual laborer–yet the fight to save her is violent, bloody, and protracted.

In the Afterward, Bierman explains that he wrote the book to raise awareness of human trafficking. He chose Haiti as a representative location because his family had been on missions there. Even as I was reading it, the book raised the question in my mind of what form of writing is most effective to call attention to a serious social problem: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, investigative journalism?

The intent with choosing fiction is to give a particular social problem a human face in the form of living, breathing people the reader can care about. On the other hand, particularly when a writer is very passionate about his cause, there is a risk of authorial intrusion into the story. I am gratified to report that Bierman does not sacrifice the characters or the plot to serve his cause, as worthy as it is. Vanished is a compelling read from beginning to end; at no time did I leave the story.  

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Africa Ann Patras, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens


Welcome to the start of the Christmas Book Fair posts. With over 150 authors in the Cafe I need to start now to make sure that I include everyone on shelves.

I am going to be choosing authors at random so that there is a variety of genres in each post to offer as many gift ideas as possible.

The first author is Ann Patras who shares the story of her family’s life in Africa over three memoirs.. Today the third book in the series, Much More Into Africa, which would make a wonderful gift for adventurous members of the family.

About the book

It is four years since Ann and Ziggy moved with their young family from England to Zambia’s Copperbelt. During this time, their new life experiences and crazy antics were the subject of multitudes of letters to their incredulous family and friends.

Will they continue with their daft escapades now, as they change location to the country’s capital city?

This is where you find out, as the Patras family gets Much More Into Africa.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lindylou 5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 September 2020

Here we have the third instalment of Ann. Ziggy and the children’s lives in Africa and like the previous books it does not disappoint. More fun, laughter and adventures, forays into the unknown, giant spiders in the bathroom. As with the previous books this one includes letters written home to the family accompanied by pictures and Ann’s own drawings which are divine.

Ann loves Africa and its people, this all comes through in her unique style of writing which is an easy, relaxed style but always that underlying hint of humour is never far away.

Four years after moving to Kitwe there are big changes in the Patras’ life, Ziggy has changed job and they have now moved to Lusaka. Life soon settles down for the children busy with their school life and her husband with his work, Ann wonders what is there for her. Having left her friends behind she was at a bit of a loss…let’s face it with a houseboy there was little to do around the house.

Ann soon becomes involved with the Lusaka Gymkhana Club and here more fun ensues for the family and her stories of her and the children’s riding adventures were a joy to read about. She recounts their adventures of safaris which had me in awe of the animals, white water rafting experience (more Ziggy’s idea of fun than Ann’s but she enters into the spirit of it) this had me holding onto my seat whilst they were tossed around.

The family spend more time in the UK and it is a pleasure to read more of life for them there. There are also sad times for Ann in the UK and I cried along with her.

There is yet another job change for Ziggy, feeling that Zambia has no more to offer him along comes a change of location so I look forward to more of their adventures in South Africa.

Once again you are drawn into the stories and feel as if you are there experiencing it all with them, it is a totally delightful book to read and I have loved them all so far.
Thank you Ann for a thrilling and exciting read

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

The other books in the series

Ann Patras, Buy: Amazon UK –  And:Amazon US – Follow Ann:  Goodreads – Website: Ann Patras Author – Facebook: Ann Patras Author

Now something for fantasy lovers from Lorinda J. Taylor with  The Blessing of Krozem: A Tale of Ziraf’s World

About the book

What would it really be like to be immortal? And how important is the power of friendship and the need for communion with one’s fellow humans? On Ziraf’s World, a planet in a universe far away from ours, an old priest named Gilzara decides to ask the Dreamers for the gift of immortality, and Krozem the Creator of Humankind grants his request, including giving him the power to make others immortal. However, things go tragically wrong; Gilzara’s dying wife refuses the gift, and Gilzara is left to live his immortal life alone.

The Troil, incorporeal spirit beings who also inhabit this world, take it upon themselves to save Gilzara from destroying the token that holds the key to his immortality, but he continues to see himself as a freak and an outcast, unable to relate to any mortal. The Troil teach him the power of venwara – wizardry – and thus fortified, he returns to the human world, desperately searching for a connection. He finds it in Halrab, a young novice priest, and together they set out to climb the Starbell, the highest mountain in Ziraf’s World, the symbol of an unattainable goal.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Sep 06, 2020 Audrey Driscoll rated it Four Stars really liked it Recommends it for: Readers who appreciate literary fantasy.

Lorinda J. Taylor’s stated goal is “to write compelling fiction that delivers an emotional impact and leaves her readers with something to think about at the end of each story.” She has certainly done that with The Blessing of Krozem.

Who wouldn’t want to become immortal? Especially in a body that remains forever in a state of health and fitness. That is the gift bestowed on the priest Gilzara, one of the central characters of this book. It comes with the power—indeed, the obligation— to make others immortal as well, and with the expectation that the power is used wisely. But the gift coincides with a great loss for Gilzara, because his wife, Javon, refuses it and dies.

The creators of the world in which the story takes place gave humans free will, but also trick and test them. Because of this, the gift of immortality becomes a curse for Gilzara, a great responsibility to which he believes himself unequal. And as the only immortal human in the world, he is desperately lonely.

The other main character of the book is Halrab, a young apprentice priest whom Gilzara meets decades later, after much sorrowful wandering. Halrab is practical and optimistic, while Gilzara is a tortured soul. The establishment of friendship between the two takes many twists and turns, and constitutes the greater part of the story. Halrab is a sympathetic character. I could identify with him as he solved problems, made choices, and dealt with Gilzara’s many anxieties.

The setting for this story is Ziraf’s World, described in the author’s Afterword as “a fantasy creation in a galaxy far, far away from our own planet.” The world is sort of like Earth, but also quite different. The sun rises in the west and sets in the east. Blue is the planet’s dominant colour. The mountains and even the moon are blue. So is the race of humans to which Gilzara and Halrab belong, although there are rumors of other human races in distant lands. Indeed, this world is full of colours—stars in shades of green, red, purple, and yellow, trees whose blue flowers open by moonlight, and a wealth of other plants and animals, each with distinctive names and characteristics. It’s a mountainous region, and the highest mountain has the captivating name of Starbell. I loved this aspect of the book.

Another group of characters are the Troil, mostly incorporeal spirits attached to winds, waters, caves, and other natural features. Several of them play key roles in advancing the plot. They are rather charming individuals, whose appearance and ways of expressing themselves add an element of lightness.

As with Taylor’s other books, this one includes a constructed language (conlang). I discerned some of its conventions as I read, and there is a glossary at the end. It reinforced the impression of an alien world complete in itself.

For me, the first two-thirds of the story read like a legend set in China, with its communities of priests, mountain and forest shrines, and mentions of distant and powerful deities. I envisioned the plot as though painted on silk scrolls. In the final four chapters, there is a greater degree of tension and immediacy. Crucial revelations are made, and Gilzara either succeeds or fails (I’m not saying which!) in using the blessing with which he is burdened. I could not imagine, when I started reading, what the outcome might be. The ending was satisfying but the story did give me a lot to think about, as its author intended.

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

A selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor.

All Lorinda’s books about extraterrestrial intelligent termites, starting with The Termite Queen, pictured, are only 99c on Amazon and Smashwords, through November.

Lorinda J. Taylor buy books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Lorinda on : Goodreads  –  Blog: Termite Writer Blog Spot – Twitter: @TermiteWriter

The final the perfect gift for poetry lovers-  a collection  by Bette A. Stevens that celebrates the beauty the state of Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Lisa Kradjian 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful collection… Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020

Organized by the four seasons, this lovely collection explores the landscape and communal spirit of Maine, through the year, the holidays, the blooms, the change in terrain. It is like a stroll through the town and woods and waters — a visual feast, with gentle and vivid language. Some favorites include:

Wide-eyed spectators
Shake their heads in wonder to
A spring concerto

From the Master’s hand
Lily of the Valley sings
Rejuvenation

Radiant leaves—now
Memories in our scrapbooks
Seasons travel on

I recommend “My Maine” highly.

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

Books by Bette A. Stevens

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Bette A. Stevens, Buy: Amazon US –and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have found some books to give as gifts this Christmas.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #Release #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Reviews #Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens


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

Very pleased to add the latest release from D. Wallace Peach to her other books in the cafe. Lords of Chaos (Unraveling the Veil Book 3)

About the book

In this thrilling conclusion to the Unraveling the Veil series, tensions mount and war looms.

After saving the changeling queen from a savage death, a second sworn oath sends Naj, Alue, and Talin to the mine where the first disappearances set the wheels of anarchy in motion. But it’s not the renders of Kalann il Drakk, the First of Chaos, who confront them in the blackness of the collapsed tunnels. It’s another foe, no less deadly.

When brutality strikes in the stone cells of the Authority, accusations and blame splinter trust. Once again, the fragile threads of loyalty that once bound the companions together on an impossible mission fray. The alliance finally breaks.

Naj, a goblin mage and traitor, returns to Jad’ra, determined to defend his home. With nothing to lose, Talin retreats to the changelings’ jungle to find his queen a stranger and his city on the verge of burning. Alue journeys to the Riverlands on a hopeless quest to enlist the aid of the elfin king.

All the while, the First of Chaos gloats. For only as allies will his three adversaries prevail. Above the hall of the First, his brethren, the Veil vanishes before the truth. The hordes of chaos descend on the known land, and the final battle begins.

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

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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One of the recent reviews for Allies and Spies

ACFlory 5.0 out of 5 stars No middle book sag here!  Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2020

After falling in love with the first book of the series, Liars and Thieves, I was a little apprehensive about whether the second book could live up to the first. Second books are a bit like the ‘middle child’ of a family. You get all the surprises with the first one so what’s left for the second?

I needn’t have worried. 😀 Allies and Spies sees the story grow up and out, both in terms of the plot and the characters.

I really didn’t like Alue very much in Liars and Thieves, but she really comes into her own in book 2. I can’t tell you what she does, but she saves both Naj and Tallin from a very nasty death. More importantly, she does so by coming into her strength. She’s always been brave, but there’s a difference between physical courage and the courage needed to overcome your own shortcomings. Or even to recognize them. Yet that is precisely what all three of the main characters must do if they are ever to solve the mystery of the disappearances that have claimed so many lives.

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

The next author is Charles E. Yallowitz with a recent review for Ravenous (War of Nytefall Book 5)

About the book

In the shadows of Windemere, fangs are sprouting from the least likely of maws.

News is spreading that wild beasts with vampiric natures have been attacking mortals and carrying off random victims. With the Dawn Fangs still a secret from mortal society, Clyde fears that these strange creatures will reveal his peoples’ existence before they are ready. Old enemies and trusted friends begin to disappear as the investigation goes deeper into a business that has been lurking in the shadows of Windemere for decades. Those who return are beholden to a new master whose cunning is matched only by her primal desires. As his allies disappear, Clyde is left with the one he trusts the most in all of the world to help him solve this mystery. Too bad Mab has her own secret that can cause more damage to Nytefall than any vampiric beast.

Is this how the Dawn Fangs will be revealed to Windemere?

One of the recent reviews on Goodreads for the book

Sep 28, 2020 Victoria Zigler rated it Five Stars it was amazing

This is another excellent addition to this series, which shows some fantastic character development, and has an exciting and action-packed plot. Some delicate topics – including both grief and addiction – are touched upon in this story, which were handled very well in my opinion. Had life not gotten in the way, I could have easily devoured this book in one sitting.

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

A small selection of books by Charles Yallowitz

Charles Yallowitz – Buy: Amazon US –  and:Amazon UK –  follow Charles : Goodreads –  Blog: Legends of Windemere BlogTwitter: @cyallowitz

The final author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for her poetry collection My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Lisa Kradjian 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful collection… Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020

Organized by the four seasons, this lovely collection explores the landscape and communal spirit of Maine, through the year, the holidays, the blooms, the change in terrain. It is like a stroll through the town and woods and waters — a visual feast, with gentle and vivid language. Some favorites include:

Wide-eyed spectators
Shake their heads in wonder to
A spring concerto

From the Master’s hand
Lily of the Valley sings
Rejuvenation

Radiant leaves—now
Memories in our scrapbooks
Seasons travel on

I recommend “My Maine” highly.

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

Books by Bette A. Stevens

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Bette A. Stevens, BuyAmazon US –and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Children Janice Spina, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens


Welcome to the third update this week for authors on the shelves of the bookstore with recent reviews.

The first author today is Balroop Singh with a review for her poetry collection Timeless Echoes.

About the book

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.

A recent review for the collection

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and meaningful freestyle poetry January 22, 2020

I started reading this collection of poetry by Ms Singh without reading the blurb and I soon picked up the subtle undertones of wistfulness and almost melancholy that run through these poems, linking them all with this common theme. This did make sense to me as the book is called Timeless Echoes. After I had finished the book, I looked up the blurb and knew that the emotions I had sensed were indeed a vital part of the book as the poems are intended to reverberate with the reader in the manner of the echoes of past loves, yearnings and regrets.

This is not to say that the poems are sad or depressing as there are many delightfully uplifting ideas that support the fact that who we are is a factor of the events and circumstances of our lives. The echoes of past joys, pains, trails, failures and successes are woven through the fabric of our souls.

“The dew on my dreams is still fresh

Sunbeams add a sparkle” is one of these inspirational lines from a poem called Echoes Of Life.

Some of the poems dwell on a love lost in the past:

“I know I made a wrong choice

Intoxicated by the wine of youth” from Silent Echo are lines from such a poem.

The poem reflects on life’s fleetingness and impermanence:

“Echoing within her … nothing is permanent from Captive.

There are reminiscences of love lost or unworthy:

“Dark despotic attitude…

Arguments I could never win” from Sardonic Shadows

I enjoyed these deep and meaningful freestyle poems and recommend this book to lovers of poetry and life.

Read the reviews and buy the book: 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 a recent review for the third book in the Abby and Holly Series: Secrets of the Trunk by award winning author Janice Spina..

About the book

Join Abby and Holly in Book 3 as the cousins discover a new presence in their old Victorian while they are cleaning out the library of old books. They are not sure if this specter is benign or otherwise. This being leads them to the old trunk they discovered in Book 2 which holds many secrets and puzzles that they feel compelled to solve.

They enlist the help of their ghost friend, Felicity, who inhabits their home. She is a benevolent entity that once lived in their house from a century ago. She watches over the girls and vows never to leave them unless they request her to do so.

There will be surprises and ghostly visits that will keep readers enthralled as Abby and Holly work together to uncover the secrets of the trunk.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Nov 24, 2019 Victoria Zigler rated it it was amazing Five Stars

This was an excellent read for middle graders, and those who are grown up but still enjoy children’s stories – especially fans of paranormal mysteries. The whole series teaches valuable life lessons children should be taught – and even some of us adults could sometimes do with a reminder of – but in a fun way. As with the previous books, this one has a fantastic plot, and a wonderful cast of well-rounded and relatable characters.

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

Also as J.E. Spina

Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Janice: Goodreads

Connect to Janice via her blog: Jem’s Books

The final author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for her poetry collection My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

‘My Maine’ is a gem of a poetry book celebrating the state of Maine through 150 haikus. Bette A. Stevens captures the essence and heart of Maine with wonderful and evocative poetry that flows easily from one to the next. Divided into four seasons each page is accompanied by a photograph taken by the poet, all stunning, reflecting the brimming beauty of her words. I am in awe how the poet has not only managed to bring alive the grandeur of the landscape, its mountains, pine trees and lakes but also writes with skill and a sense of humour about the minutiae of life in the state! The writer’s keen observation of life is evident throughout and her passion for nature and the wildlife is extraordinary and she conveys this to the reader with exemplary skill. This is a book I treasure and which I’ve read many times. I’m absolutely captivated by the ‘story’ of Maine, a state I feel I can now rightly call, every so slightly, ‘My Maine’!

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

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Author Update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the bookstore.

The first author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for her poetry collection My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

 JanS 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Descriptive  Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2019

This book of Haiku puts the State of Maine in a whole new perspective. The author takes the reader through each of the four seasons and through well-written Haiku, shows the unique aspects of the Pine State. I also loved the fun facts about Maine at the end of the book. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves Haiku, amazing photographs and has a fascination with Maine!

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

Time to catch up with Fiona Tarr and her latest book released in October 2019 Relic Seeker (The Priestess Chronicles Book 2)

About the Book

A young time-travelling, magic wielding Priestess and her gifted friends must retrieve an ancient Goth relic before it is used to change history.

This isn’t the Priestess Ariela’s first trip through time, but now she has friends along for the journey. When she arrives, she is alone, dressed as a servant, yet surrounded by opulence. Her guide and mentor, the Angel Raziel hasn’t given her a clue about her quest and she quickly finds herself serving a deadly enemy from her past.

Ariela realises that keeping her magical powers secret isn’t going to be easy. She is being hunted by a powerful magic wielder who is determined to destroy her and change history forever. In the midst of a violent and intense battle to protect the ancient relic Brísingamen, once worn by the goddess Freya, Ariela calls upon the strengths and powers of her friends and a group of strangers.

As Ariela gathers her allies, she realises her powerful adversary isn’t the only threat. She has been betrayed by someone she thought she could trust.

Relic Seeker is book 2 in a new series by Fiona Tarr. It is fast paced and offers a great read for young adults or adults looking for a fun, quick, weekend read. If magic and time travel spark your interest, then you’ll enjoy this fun, fantasy adventure.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2020

I really enjoyed reading another of Fiona Tarr’s novels. Relic Seeker is well paced, with wonderful characters and a good balance of adventure, mystery, tender moments, and surprises. Trust is a central issue, with costly betrayals littering the battleground when the characters find out who they can trust, and who they cannot. The stage is so well set and the action so well drawn that I felt like I was right there beside Ariela and Culaan, experiencing their heartaches and adventures. Although it’s not my usual thing, I loved the elements of time travel, magic and history. Highly recommended.

Also by Fiona Tarr

Read all the reviews and buy the books including a box set: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Kobo, B&N, Apple : https://books2read.com/u/bM92aB

Read more reviews and follow Fiona: Goodreads

Connect to Fiona via her website : A Time 2 Write

The final author today is D.Wallace Peach for Sunwielder which is also now in audio version.

About Sunwielder

In a land on the brink of war, Gryff Worden discovers his family slaughtered, his farm in ruin.Mortally wounded, he stumbles upon a timekeeper, an old woman of the northern forests, one who tracks the infinite paths of each life. She offers him a sunwield, a medallion promising to return him to the pivotal choices that swayed his life’s journey. Her only condition—he must wear the bronze charm until the end.Now his story remakes itself, casting him backward in time to moments of decision and death. His old life gone, he no longer remembers the purpose of the medallion burning his chest. As he uncovers the sunwield’s power, new choices lead him on an epic adventure through war, death, friendship, life, and love.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Avid Reader 5.0 out of 5 stars  Highly recommended to lovers of time-travel  Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2019

If you would be granted the ability to travel back in time and redo some of your life choices, would you take it?

What if strings were attached?

Without giving any spoilers away, I loved the way D. Wallace Peach handled the plot and the magic she instilled in the time-travel charm as well as the twists she put in the past being relieved. The worlds she created were fascinating and very well developed as well as full of political intrigue. It was amazing to discover how Gryff’s new life options affected those involved and the heartache he went through was gripping, well balanced by lyrical descriptions.

I found it hard to put it down, so many chores were put on hold until I finished the book…

Sunwielder is a page turner with a super clever plot, highly recommended.

A small selection of of other books by D.Wallace Peach

Read the reviews for buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Diana: Goodreads

Connect to Diana via her blog: Myths of the Mirror

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

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Children Pamela S. Wight, #Mystery Mary Adler


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first books that would make wonderful gifts for poetry lovers the fantasy novels of Fiona Tarr  and the featured book is her latest book released in early October Relic Seeker (The Priestess Chronicles Book 2)

About the Book

A young time-travelling, magic wielding Priestess and her gifted friends must retrieve an ancient Goth relic before it is used to change history.

This isn’t the Priestess Ariela’s first trip through time, but now she has friends along for the journey. When she arrives, she is alone, dressed as a servant, yet surrounded by opulence. Her guide and mentor, the Angel Raziel hasn’t given her a clue about her quest and she quickly finds herself serving a deadly enemy from her past.

Ariela realises that keeping her magical powers secret isn’t going to be easy. She is being hunted by a powerful magic wielder who is determined to destroy her and change history forever. In the midst of a violent and intense battle to protect the ancient relic Brísingamen, once worn by the goddess Freya, Ariela calls upon the strengths and powers of her friends and a group of strangers.

As Ariela gathers her allies, she realises her powerful adversary isn’t the only threat. She has been betrayed by someone she thought she could trust.

Relic Seeker is book 2 in a new series by Fiona Tarr. It is fast paced and offers a great read for young adults or adults looking for a fun, quick, weekend read. If magic and time travel spark your interest, then you’ll enjoy this fun, fantasy adventure.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Originally posted on Tales to Tide You Over

In keeping with the first book in The Priestess Chronicles, Relic Seeker has Ariela thrown into a new time and place to uncover her mission. She left with friends, but arrives alone, something that bothers her friends just as much when they discover her absence. Ariela is a servant on the Senator’s estate while the other two find themselves suspected gods, or at least the answer to prayers, in a nearby Goth village. This separation allows our heroes to tackle the problem from both ends as they struggle to figure out who or what they were sent to stop.

This is another adventure where Ariela and her friends must adapt while seeking clues to show why the angel brought them to this place. The Romans and Goths have a tentative alliance built on the need for mercenary troops and a willingness to accept Roman coin. An insidious rumor, whether true or false, is enough to undermine the peace as magic and rational beliefs clash.

Toss in the emperor’s half-mad son, powerful relics from lost cultures, and a villain with a mission cutting a little too close to the heart of our heroes, and this book offers a more nuanced conflict. The view of the Romans, possibly a reflection of when they land, supports this additional complexity. Hints indicate it is the rule of Constantine who became a Christian rather than keeping to the Roman gods.

The separation of main characters allows us to discover the good in Romans and Goths alike, and learn something about both cultures. Our heroes make friends among the villagers and Roman staff who influence the course of their mission as well as expanding the characters we, as readers, come to care about.

The omniscient, rolling point of view (POV) had a few small hiccups where information is withheld to create what I consider false tension, but for the most part, the POV worked well and I never lost track of who held center stage. It allows the reader to follow both sides of a complex situation without a lot of explanation required as it would be if non-POV characters had to reveal what they’ve been doing off screen.

The spare, straightforward writing style, plus a lighter hand with the less appealing aspects of both Roman and Goth life, makes this novel a solid, fun read. It managed to draw my sympathies and endear me to characters new and old as they faced challenges to touch their hearts and minds. Relic Seeker raises interesting questions about the lines where cultures and people meet while exploring human struggles.

I enjoyed the story and spending time with familiar characters along with new ones. The series could easily have fallen into a pattern. Instead, it draws on the characters’ histories, along with changing times, to offer a brand new conflict and challenge our band of time-traveling heroes. It’ll be interesting to see how this is accomplished in the next book.

Also by Fiona Tarr

Read all the reviews and buy the books including a box set: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Kobo, B&N, Apple : https://books2read.com/u/bM92aB

Read more reviews and follow Fiona: Goodreads

Connect to Fiona via her website : A Time 2 Write

The next author with books for children, YA and adults this Christmas is Bette A. Stevens and her most recent release which is a poetry collection My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Harmony Kent 5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful little book November 13, 2019

A wonderful collection of Haiku. The author obviously loves the state of Maine in all its seasons. I enjoyed this little book enough to be inspired to put my review into a Haiku too

Evocative words
Awesome, alluring pictures
A wonderful book!

I’ve read all of Bette Stevens’ books and admire this writer greatly. My Maine gets a solid 5 stars from me.

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

And another author who writes for children and adults Pamela S.Wight and her featured book today is Molly Finds her Purr Illustrated by Shelley A. Steinle, and with an eye on perfect book gifts for the younger members of the family, I am sure that Molly will be a wonderful addition to any child’s stocking.

About the Book

Molly the Cat is lonely. No matter how hard she tries to make friends with birds, they all fly away from her. Even other cats don’t seem to like her. Friendless, Molly has no purr. But a wisecracking squirrel opens Molly’s eyes to a world in which friendship comes in all sizes, shapes, and species.

This delightful tale with dazzling illustrations sparkles with sweet insight that makes all readers purr with pleasure at the end.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I bought this book for my youngest granddaughter’s third birthday. I read it before giving it to her and thoroughly enjoyed it. Molly, the feral cat, was searching for friendship and her purr. She ran into animals who rejected her, but she kept looking until she found her circle. This has a wonderful message of friendship and finding that inner purr or what I thought of as the inner spark. The illustrations are charming and brought the characters to life. Locating the dragonfly on each page added to my delight. Adults will enjoy reading this to their children almost as much as I know the children will love having it read to them–or reading it themselves. I’m looking forward to sharing this with my granddaughter. I highly recommend this well-written and beautifully illustrated book.

Also by Pamela S. Wight

Read the reviews and buy all the books: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Pamela : Goodreads

Connect to Pamela via her website: Rough Wighting

Now for mystery lovers, the books of Mary Adler and her featured book today is her wartime mystery Shadowed by Death An Oliver Wright WW II Mystery Book 2.

About Shadowed by Death

San Francisco, 1944. Sophia Nirenska, a Polish resistance fighter who survived the Warsaw ghetto uprising, finds safety in California until someone tries to kill her. She insists political enemies want to silence her, but homicide detective Oliver Wright, on medical leave from the Marines, believes the motive is more personal. He and his German shepherd, Harley, try to protect Sophia, but she insists on doing things her own way—a dangerous decision.

Oliver guards Sophia as they travel from an Italian cafe in Richmond to communist chicken farmers in Petaluma where her impetuous actions put them both in mortal danger.

When Oliver rescues a girl and her dog who are running for their lives, he discovers the dark secret at the heart of the threat to Sophia, a secret with its roots in Poland. When he does, he is forced to choose between enforcing the law as he knows it and jeopardizing Sophia or accepting a rougher kind of justice.

Shadowed by Death accurately portrays the fears and troubles of the communities of northern California as they bear the burdens of World War II and celebrate the gift of finding family among strangers.

A recent review for the book

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A great Read! September 11, 2019

After reading the first book of this series, I decided to read the second book to find out what happened to the protagonists of the first book. This second book did not disappoint.

I remembered Oliver from the first story and his dog Harley. For Oliver, the war was over but for the Jewish Poles who escaped the war to find refuge in the United States of America, the war was still raging.

Sophia Nirenska, a Polish refugee and one of the underground advocates was very outspoken about the evils perpetrated by Russia and Hitler’s Germany. Her advocacy put her life in danger. Oliver agreed to protect her. Sophia, however, would always want to do things her way and that put her and Oliver in danger.

In the end, they found out who was the mole amongst them, the one thwarting their plans and causing the deaths of a good number of the underground fighters.

This is a great second world war story. Very interesting and well written. I enjoyed reading it.

Also by Mary Adler

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mary: Goodreads

Connect to Mary via her website: Mary Adler Writes

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