Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – Reviews #Romance Ritu Bhathal, #Paranormal Romance Stevie Turner, #Poetry Denise O’Hagan


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update with new releases and reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today with a recent review is Ritu Bhathal for Marriage Unarranged.

About the book

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set. Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars A light-hearted jaunt to India  Reviewed in the United States on November 9, 2020

This is a light, romantic jaunt from England to India and back again. When Aashi finds a used condom in her fiancé’s bathroom, the wedding is suddenly off. Her family is angry and embarrassed, but they support her decision. A trip to India, originally to purchase a wedding gown, becomes a vacation for Aashi and a chance to unwind and heal. Her two brothers and her best friend Karin go along.

The romantic story is fairly straightforward, and it unfolds at a leisurely pace. What held my attention was the story’s immersion in India’s rich culture and setting, specifically the bustling city of Delhi. The main characters are England born and raised, so the influences of their dual cultures were interesting to see played out, and the details of life in India were fascinating. Bhathal clearly incorporated a wealth of personal experience into the narrative.

The characters are all likeable, except for the cheating fiancé, though I felt a twinge of sympathy for him by the end. All in all, this story was about family, culture, self-esteem and independence, love and friendship. Recommended for readers of romance and women’s lit.

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

Also by Ritu Bhathal

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – andAmazon US- Blog: Ritu Bhathal WordPress Follow Ritu: Goodreads – Twitter: @RituBhathal

The next author today is Stevie Turner with a recent review for her paranormal story Partners in Time

About the book

John Finbow, a successful writer, and his wife Kay move into Southcombe Rectory, a large Victorian house that has been empty since the 1960s. It had previously been owned by the Cuthbertson family who had lived there for generations. Their marriage is under strain, as John, 39 would like children before he gets too old, but Kay, 34, does not.
When John is working in his study soon after moving in, he is disturbed by the sight of a young woman who appears out of the blue on his sofa. Emily Cuthbertson, whose old bedroom is now John’s study, was 25 at the time of her death and the youngest of 8 offspring of the late Reverend Arthur Cuthbertson and his wife Delia. Emily had died in 1868 but is now unwilling to leave behind her old life on earth, due to having missed out on a family of her own whilst being a companion to her widowed mother. Emily is still desperate for a husband and children, and John is the answer to her dreams.

One hundred and thirty years separate them. Will Emily and John’s love survive time’s relentless march?

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Dec 12, 2020 D.G. Kaye rated it Five Stars

Emily lived and died in the mid 1800s, except she never left her home. Meanwhile back in 1996 John got a nice advance for his screenplay and bought a big old house – an old rectory, for him and his wife Kay to live in – only, they weren’t alone. John meets Emily when she appears on his sofa in his office, and the two connect. John is wanting to have a child and Kay isn’t interested, while Emily who has missed out on marriage and having children is only too happy to give John a child.

Here’s where things go eerie. Emily’s ghost remained in the rectory and John’s office was once Emily’s bedroom. They fall madly in love, and the fun begins when John’s wife Kay discovers the relationship her husband has with the ghostly Emily and discovers John impregnated Emily.

It’s a paranormal story, so yes, the ghost gets pregant, and from there on become the shenanigans of a mischievous and possessive ghost where Emily’s place in John and Kay’s life becomes whacky and controled by Emily’s decisions and wraths.

Sure, we can ask why on earth Kay didn’t take off immediately after her husband confides in her what the heck is going on, but again, it’s a paranormal story. And despite the strangeness of the whole situation, I remained flipping the pages as I had to find out how this ghost could be stopped from controling and ruining lives.

There is plenty of suspense in this tale about a family haunted by a domineering ghost as Turner cleverly blends this story of family, and paranormal, into a thriller-like tale of love, possessiveness and intrigue that will keep us guessing at every plot twist. Can Emily be tamed? Will Kay hang around? Will Emily ever leave?

If you’re looking for a quick read that will keep you turning the pages and have you enjoying all the elements involved in this story, you will no doubt enjoy this book

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

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Stevie : Goodreads  blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress – Twitter: @StevieTurner6

The final author today is Denise O’Hagan – with a recent review for her debut poetry collection The Beating Heart

About the collection

The Beating Heart is an allusion to the continuous pulsing of feelings that lie beneath the surface reality of our lives. This collection ‘slips into the lining’ of various experiences from a childhood in the ancient city of Rome, whose ‘famous walls bulged with sanctioned corruption’ to the loneliness of a London bedsit, ‘narrow as a capsule, a chilly low-cost limbo’, to the lure of a Sydney bushwalk, where ‘mist lies over the grass, the trees, the everything, as lightly as a suggestion’. The elegant assurance of these meditative and melodic lines remind us that poetry can be, as the author believes, ‘a form of music’.

One of the recent reviews for the collection on Goodreads

‘We look before and after’, wrote Shelley… but this poet doesn’t ‘pine for what is not’;
rather she shows how memory transforms lives through the constant toing and froing of consciousness. Punctuated with moments of stillness, when we ‘see into the life of things’, consciousness is not chronological. Such moments of recognition are both poet’s and readers’; they illuminate matters of the heart and of the head…and how intertwined the
two are.

Ordinary details resonate: ‘our mothers down the generations casually/
Pegged our lives out there on the washing line’, gloves clutch ‘at brown paper bags/
like holy relics’, ‘Under the trees, a man’s rough call/ Blurry with drink and loneliness,/
Lingers in the hot air.’

This poetry affirms the power of recall:
‘And so your photo
Still sits in front of me,
A haunting, present absence.’

Take the time to read and reflect; this small, still book is ‘a gift for the taking.’

Also by Denise O’Hagan

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon UK  – And: Amazon US  Follow Denise:Goodreads –  website: Black Quill Press  Twitter: @DeniseOHagan3

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed the selection of books.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews- #Poetry Denise O’Hagan, #Historical Allan Hudson, #Novel Margaret Lindsay Holton, Dystopian Terry Tyler


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

The first author with a recent release is Denise O’Hagan, for her debut poetry collection, The Beating Heart..

About the collection

The Beating Heart is an allusion to the continuous pulsing of feelings that lie beneath the surface reality of our lives. This collection ‘slips into the lining’ of various experiences from a childhood in the ancient city of Rome, whose ‘famous walls bulged with sanctioned corruption’ to the loneliness of a London bedsit, ‘narrow as a capsule, a chilly low-cost limbo’, to the lure of a Sydney bushwalk, where ‘mist lies over the grass, the trees, the everything, as lightly as a suggestion’. The elegant assurance of these meditative and melodic lines remind us that poetry can be, as the author believes, ‘a form of music’.

‘Here is a poet who understands the extraordinary in the commonplace, the flimsy place of life. The poems mill to edges, ripple by recollection and poignancy – the intergenerational weight of knowledge in simple things, ‘with foldings of clothes pressed smooth as stone’, where the ‘paper-hin’ present is convulsed waiting on a child’s operation. O’Hagan’s mastery of the transcendence in moments, and the distillation of experiences, is the gift of a writer at the height of her powers.’ – James Walton, poet

‘Each and every poem in The Beating Heart penetrates deeply into the core of our existence. There is no path, crossroad or threshold this gifted poet fears to take with her astute observations of what is often taken for granted. The migrant, the traveller, the historian, the pioneer and the mother are framed within immaculate and harmonic wordscapes. There is not one missed beat within this captivating collection of what it means to be alive.’ – Angela Costi, poet and social justice advocate

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 09, 2020 Phillip Hall rated it Five Stars

If contemporary confessional poetry lacks the taboo busting drama of its mid-twentieth century origins, at its best, such as in The Beating Heart, it still has all the delicate lyricism, nuanced imagism and existential vulnerability of a Plath, Sexton or Bishop.

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

Also by Denise O’Hagan

Denise O’Hagan, Buy:  Amazon UK And: Amazon US  Follow Denise:Goodreads –  website: Black Quill Press –  Twitter: @DeniseOHagan3

The next author today is Allan Hudson who has a recent review for The Alexanders  1911 – 1920 Vol 1

About the book

In the turbulent waters off Saltcoats, Scotland, Danny Alexander dies in a boating accident. He leaves behind a wife, seven children and no hope. Dominic is the middle child. With a broken heart, his mother is forced to leave him with his bachelor uncle, Duff. None of them are happy with the decision.Eleven-year-old Dominic Alexander must earn his keep. There are no free rides. Yet despite the difficulties, he finds his place in the structured world of his uncle and overcomes his loneliness.Fortune and misfortune follow the young man until adversity forces him to make a decision that will affect the rest of his life. Is emigrating to Canada the answer?

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Sep 14, 2020 Sharon Beddoes rated it it was amazing

Born during a difficult time into an impoverished family, Dominic is sent to live with his uncle who grows to care for him deeply. Tragedy leaves Dominic again on his own and at a very young age he leaves his homeland to travel to Canada hoping to make his fortune. Follow Dominic as he uses all the lessons his uncle taught him to make his way in this strange new country.

Mr. Hudson weaves a wonderful tale of love and endurance and it is easy to become entwined with Dominic and those he meets along the way. I look forward in anticipation to the next chapter in the life of the Alexanders. ;

Buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Allan Hudson

Allan Hudson buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Allan: Goodreads – Website: South Branch Scribbler – Twitter: @hudson_allan

The next review today is for  The Gilded Beaver by Margaret Lindsay Holton

About the book

– What happens when an aspiring designer meets up with a big-wig financier? –

Winner of the Hamilton Literary Awards in 1999, ‘The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous’ has been updated in 2020 to reveal the author’s true identity.

Award-winning Canadian artist, Margaret Lindsay Holton explains, “I am free now from a decades-long agreement to hold-my-tongue until ‘one of us dies.’ The previously undisclosed client, ‘G’, passed on in March of this year in his 80th year. I can now claim this ‘story’ as my own.”

In this quasi-fictionalized account, Canadian fine furniture designer, Iris Ann Burdock, is introduced to one of Toronto’s financial-elite executives, Luke G. Henderson. He considers her, as well as a commission. The problem, for Iris, is that her recently-divorced client is moody and unpredictable. Iris must excavate his carefully-crafted façade to find the ‘real man’ in order to rise up to meet his design challenge. A witty and frustrating exchange erupts between them. Romantic sparks fly.

As the battle-of-wills escalates, Iris’s meticulous design efforts are contrast to her meandering solo sojourns to a 25-acre bush property in the backwoods of Muskoka. There, quiet reflection makes her question, again and again, what really matters …

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 16, 2020 Trish rated it Five Stars it was amazing

I loved this story. Iris is an up scale Canadian furniture designer and lover of all things nature. Her newest client is an eccentric millionaire who is challenging her on every level. This is her chance to create a masterpiece in the form of 4 chairs which truly represent Canada, one for each season of the year. This will entail the work of many experts and take many months. At the same time, we also journey with Iris to her piece of wilderness in Northern Ontario with its deep forests , boulders. lakes and wild animals. It was the language of this book that spoke to my soul. It was a 3 dimensional rather than a 2 dimensional experience. it read like a deep meditation on the flow of life contrasting the rush of the urban world with the stillness of deep Canadian forests. This book explodes into multi dimensions. I felt immersed in life. If you love this land and everything about it, if you love the best use of language, if you love good craftsmanship this is the book for you.

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

Books by Margaret Holton

Margaret Lindsay Holton, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Margaret:Goodreads Twitter: @TrillLINDSAY

 

The final review today is for Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2)  by Terry Tyler. A book that I can highly recommend too.

About the book

“Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society. The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.”

The year: 2061. In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make. Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine. One too many demerits? Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Rae Farrer is the ultimate megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding and content – until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever…

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’, the concluding book in the two-part Operation Galton series, and Terry Tyler’s twenty-first publication.

A recent review for the book

Cath 5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for fans of dystopian fiction!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 August 2020

Wasteland, the sequel to Hope, but don’t allow that to put you off. In my opinion, it could easily be read as a stand-alone, especially since it includes a short Hope re-cap.

What I find almost contradictory about this series is that the story-telling flows so well, so smoothly, with no slowness of pace, that you find yourself whizzing through. I think I read the whole book over five sessions. And yet at the same time you have to stop and consider the messages hidden within the text. Those messages remain in your thoughts long after you put the book down.

Dystopian yes, and yet within touching distance because of the way in which our modern world seems to be panning out. This is what I find so thought-provoking. For example, the cashless society, the lack of individuality, obsession with physical appearance, aided largely by people’s obsessive relationship with their coms. Yes, we are heading that way!
I love the opposing ‘old’ worlds of Wasteland and ‘new’ Megacity. You cannot help but consider which, if either, you would prefer to live in.

This particular extract sums up our apathetic response to what’s going on all around us while we look on, waiting for someone else to do something about it: “Most of us base our life choices around the immediate problems facing our lives…only the very few actually try to alter the big picture; most of us complain without taking action… Like those who make politically or environmentally aware statements on Heart—demonstrating their awareness makes them feel they’re doing something positive, when in fact they’re just complaining to a wider audience.” Ring any bells? Social media? How many times have I found myself thinking that very same thing lately?

Another theme is the handling of migrants. I won’t say too much about it since I don’t want to give any spoilers. All I will say is, oh how easily the tables could turn!

Another point that comes across strong: how easy it is in the modern megacity, with its fads and fickleness, to fall from grace.

Finally, there were a few twists and turn I didn’t see coming which I loved!
All in all, an excellent read!

Read the reviews and buy the book:  Amazon UK – And: Amazon US
A selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Terry Tyler: GoodreadsBlog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – New Releases, Reviews, Offers #Poetry Denise O’Hagan, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie, #Fantasy Adele Marie Park


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update with new releases, reviews and offers for authors on the shelves.

The first author with a new release is Denise O’Hagan, her debut poetry collection, The Beating Heart, was published by Ginninderra Press August 17th.

About the collection

The Beating Heart is an allusion to the continuous pulsing of feelings that lie beneath the surface reality of our lives. This collection ‘slips into the lining’ of various experiences from a childhood in the ancient city of Rome, whose ‘famous walls bulged with sanctioned corruption’ to the loneliness of a London bedsit, ‘narrow as a capsule, a chilly low-cost limbo’, to the lure of a Sydney bushwalk, where ‘mist lies over the grass, the trees, the everything, as lightly as a suggestion’. The elegant assurance of these meditative and melodic lines remind us that poetry can be, as the author believes, ‘a form of music’.

‘Here is a poet who understands the extraordinary in the commonplace, the flimsy place of life. The poems mill to edges, ripple by recollection and poignancy – the intergenerational weight of knowledge in simple things, ‘with foldings of clothes pressed smooth as stone’, where the ‘paper-hin’ present is convulsed waiting on a child’s operation. O’Hagan’s mastery of the transcendence in moments, and the distillation of experiences, is the gift of a writer at the height of her powers.’ – James Walton, poet

‘Each and every poem in The Beating Heart penetrates deeply into the core of our existence. There is no path, crossroad or threshold this gifted poet fears to take with her astute observations of what is often taken for granted. The migrant, the traveller, the historian, the pioneer and the mother are framed within immaculate and harmonic wordscapes. There is not one missed beat within this captivating collection of what it means to be alive.’ – Angela Costi, poet and social justice advocate

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

Also by Denise O’Hagan

One of the recent reviews for the Mini Style Guide

 Charleann Davis 4.0 out of 5 stars A real eye opener an look at real style  Reviewed in the United States on March 29, 2020

A real eye opener about style.Opens your eyes to a lot of options.Never expected so much for! A mini style book.It’s opened my eyes in A lot of ways .Thanks so much for a great book.Can’t wait to see what’s next by this multi talented author.

Denise O’Hagan, Buy:  Amazon UK And: Amazon US  Follow Denise:Goodreads –  website: Black Quill Press –  Twitter: @DeniseOHagan3

The next author is Jessica Norrie with a recent review for The Magic Carpet.

About the book

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

A recent review for the book

Steph Warren VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story about family, diversity and the importance of stories  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2020

The Magic Carpet features a tapestry of different cultures, nationalities and generations, all woven together through a shared school, neighbourhood and a story-centred school project.

We get to dip in and out of the lives and houses of a diverse cast of children, parents, siblings, grandparents and friends as they all tackle the task of reinterpreting a classic fairytale in their own unique ways.

The themes of cultural identities and cultural integration, and the struggle for immigrants to balance their own family history and traditions with their desire to ‘fit in’ with those around them are sensitively explored from a variety of different perspectives, giving plenty of food for thought, especially in our current social context.

The other overarching theme is that of the importance of stories and storytelling. The importance of ‘own voice’ story experiences, the unity of collaborating on stories; the way stories can be written and rewritten to shape reality into different patterns and change the way we think about the challenges we – and others – face.

More than a morality tale, though, this story paints a warm picture of each different family environment: their individual struggles and successes, dreams and fears. The characters feel like friends and neighbours, and I was thoroughly invested in what happened to them… still thinking about them long after I turned the final page.

This is a beautiful, skilfully-crafted tale that entertains and moves the reader (to tears on occasion!), and really makes you think about privilege, respect, diversity and what these things mean to different people. And, of course, it is perfect for anyone who loves a good story!

On the magic carpet with Xoriyo I’m a child again, whooping with joy and laughter, swooshing, swirling, fearless of the height. We’re children together, but also wise: we know the languages of the places we see, our homeland and those of others. We can communicate with any of our fellow travellers… Xoriyo sees curving blue rivers far below and she knows they are called meanders; she sees oxbow lakes, murrains and wadis and she knows what all these are too. On the magic carpet we understand all people we meet: the goatherd, the engineer, and his toddling twins. We may choose to wear whatever we like from abayas to swimsuits. We are confident in our choices and violence and ignorance can do us no harm.

Really there is no reason my daughter should not make friends at this school, new friends, who can take this journey with us through fresh places and new joys. We can have every passport and none, here; we can belong and invite others to belong with us. On the magic carpet we are free.

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

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Jessica Norrie, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPressGoodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie

And the final author today is Adele Marie Park  with a recent review for her new release Sea Dragons: Wisp II –

About the book

The malevolent and ruthless mage, Dante Asano is defeated but victory came at a horrific price.

Before Wisp and his companions could intervene, Dante possessed Pendra Thorn’s body. In order to stop Dante without killing Pendra, a magic sleep spell was cast.

A glass coffin warded with powerful spells encased her body while her mind fled to a favourite memory; unfortunately, Dante is also trapped with her.

The magical coffin will only keep her alive, and Dante contained for a short time.

A desperate plan to undertake a treacherous journey across an unknown sea means Wisp and his companions must disband. Some journey with Wisp to find an ancient spell to release Pendra and banish Dante’s spirit.

Those left behind must guard Pendra in a city under threat.

An ancient evil casts a shadow over Edra causing burgeoning unrest and setting the inhabitants against one another.

Wisp’s journey must be successful not only for Pendra’s sake but also for Edra itself.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Jul 29, 2020 M.J. Mallon rated it Five Stars it was amazing

I was lucky to be part of the beta reading team for Wisp II and was entrusted with an early copy before release. This a highly imaginative fantasy book with many aspects to it to keep you entertained. It is the second in the series continuing the tale from the first book which I read and enjoyed also.

The story begins with the news of the death of the senior law enforcer Nether Green. Could this be a murder case? Marsh fairy law enforcer Wisp is drawn into the mystery and must try and discover what has happened. Alongside this, there is a change in the tone of writing – becoming darker – in the sections devoted to Pendra who is sealed in a glass coffin. We are whisked away on a trip across the Great Sea to Samoyer, (Wisp’s father’s homeland,) to find a spell to separate Dante from Pendra.

There are times when Park’s writing takes you to a very special place drawing you into the narrative beautifully. An author to watch, a talent in the making.

I enjoyed the amusing dialogue which gave the protagonists a distinct voice and style.

I’d recommend reading the first in the series before continuing with WISP II (which I have also reviewed on Goodreads.)

My recommendation: 5 stars. Read this if you like dark fantasy tales which are full of intrigue, mystery and murder! A definite recommendation for fantasy readers, and may also be of interest to LGBT YA Fiction readers due to the (continuing love story between Wisp and Finn.) 

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

Also by Adele Marie Park

Adele Marie Park, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Adele: Goodreads –  Website: Adele Marie Park – Twitter: @Binky567

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