Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – May 4th 2022 – #Spotlights Winona Kent with The Story Reading Ape, Marcia Meara with John W. Howell, Robbie Cheadle with Colleen Chesebro, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau


Welcome to a small selection of posts I have enjoyed recently and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full. Thanks Sally.

In the first post The Story Reading Ape is joined by author Winona Kent who shares her writing journery from a very creative pre-schooler… through the highs and lows of mainstream publishing, scriptwriting and self-publishing.. a fascinating story.

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember.

I was about five when I first discovered this ability to keep myself entertained. I wouldn’t actually learn about crucial things like the alphabet for another year, so, much like a primitive cave-person, I drew pictures on my bedroom wall. Much to my mother’s dismay. She bought me a pad of paper after that, and some crayons. And encouraged my grandmother in England to send me crayons, too, and coloured pencils. And more paper.

Head over to discover more about Winona and her publishing journey: Meet guest author Winona Kent

Next Marcia Meara puts John Howell under the spotlight and extracts ten things we may not know about him…the secrets are out.

Good Morning, Everyone! Today I’d like you to help me welcome a great friend and supporter of writers everywhere, #StoryEmpire member John W. Howell. I think you’ll really enjoy John’s post today, so let’s get things rolling!

Thank you, Marcia, for having me on your #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe feature. When we initially talked about doing this, I explained to Marcia that the first item on the list would be the fact that I have evolved into a close imitation of Howard Hughes. You may recall in his later years; he became a recluse. Marcia being the kind and generous person she is, thought that would be an excellent beginning to the list. So, with that encouragement, here are the #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe. You will note the Howard Hughes one is not there because you already know that one. 

Head over to find out what secrets John reveals: Ten Things You May Not Know about John W. Howell

Robbie Cheadle is host to motivator and syllabic poetry ambassador Colleen Chesebro talking about relationships and her writing. This is part of the blog tour for the second of the Wordcrafter Poetry Treasures collections.

Today, I am delighted to host Colleen Chesebro for Day 7 of the WordCrafter Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships anthology blog tour. Colleen is an accomplished poet and a leader in the blogosphere of poetry and new poetry forms. I am grateful to Colleen for everything she has taught me over the past few years.

Thoughts on relationships by Colleen Chesebro

Writing poetry about the theme of relationships for the second Poetry Treasures anthology took me on a thorough analysis into my past. It took me years to figure out I was an introvert.

Extroversion and introversion are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. How you receive and give out energy determines where you fall on this spectrum. But people can fall anywhere on the spectrum. 

Head over to enjoy this spotlight: Wordcrafter Poetry Treasures Book Launch and Poet Colleen Chesebro

Elizabeth Gauffreau hosts a wonderful poetry reading event with an amazing cast of poets from around the writing community sharing their selected poems.. head over to watch and listen.

I had a wonderful time hosting Poets in the Blogosphere on April 23. Here is a recording of the event for those who missed it.  Featured Serena Agusto-Cox, Luanne Castle, Ken Gierke, George Franklin, Stephanie L. Harper, Carla McGill, Robert Okaji, Merril D. Smith

Head over to enjoy this wonderful collaborative collection read by the poets: Poetry Reading – Poets in the Blogosphere Recording

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full… Sally.

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Dystopian #Elderly Alex Craigie, #Shortstories D.L. Finn, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau


In this first feature for the Smorgasbord Bookshelf I am sharing authors whose books I have read and can personally recommend along with one of my reviews for their books.

The first author today has written books that hit close to home in many respects.  Alex Craigie is a brilliant observer of life and human interactions.

Meet Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Both books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the NHS at its heart.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

Books by Alex Craigie

My review for Someone Close to Home February 15th 2022

This fast paced thriller plays into the fears of most of us. Those where we end up incapacitated, unable to communicate in the hands of strangers, some of whom may not have our best interests at heart. It is a page turner as the reader becomes engaged in a race against time and the danger that awaits.

The story is set in the present and the daily anquish of Megan who suffered a stroke and has been placed in an understaffed and cheap care home, where support for recovery is not on the menu. As she lies in a bed, dependent on a variety of carers, some dedicated and some sadistic, Megan also has all the time in the world to reflect on her life from a childhood marred by tragedy and manipulation, through a successful classical musical career, a love that brought light into her life and the disastrous outcome of a doomed marriage to a narcistic and violent bully.

These two timelines have converged to bring Megan to a place where past wrongs by others result in her torment and intended death at the hands of an avenging psychopath

The author has created memorable and relateable characters. Your heart goes out to Megan as she is swept through life on the whims and cruel intentions of others, willing her to find the strength to escape the chains that are used to keep her under control. The evil in both men and women who hold the keys to those chains is chilling and malignant, and the entitlement and disdain shown to her by those who should love and nurture her is heartrending.

Alex Craigie is the master of suspense and maintains a pace that is breathless with the reader turning the pages anxious to find a glimmer of hope for the doomed Megan.

Horror and fantasy novels that portray monsters and evil are easier to read as they can be dismissed as imaginary… This thriller is however definitely close to home in many respects and it makes it all the more compelling a read.  I can highly recommend.

Alex Craigie, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alex: Goodreads – Alex Craigie via: Facebook

The next author is D.L. Finn and I have read one of her books for adults and her collection of shortstories that are great for adults and children alike.. a versatile writer who engages her reader from the first page to the last.

Meet D.L. Finn

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

A selection of  books by D.L. Finn

My review Tree Fairies October 2021

This is a lovely set of three stories that introduce us to two children whose camping adventure would lead to a discovery of ancient wisdom and the need to participate in a life- long guardianship of a wonderful forest.

Not everyone believes in fairies, but even those who are sceptical, will find themselves engaging with the magical cast of characters the author has created.

There are parallels in the history of the fairies, to the way humans have split from the old ways to seek their fortunes in the cities. Those who left the forest generations before, have lost the respect and appreciation of the power of nature and its gifts.

The stories span several years, the involvement of the two children and their family, and their close relationship with the fairies over generations is heartwarming.

With the threat of an ecological disaster, ancient wisdom, magic and modern technology must combine to save the forest.

The stories will enchant children and young teens and even oldies who like to be reminded of childhood fairy and adventure stories.

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

I have read both books by Elizabeth Gauffreau and can highly recommend them both. A novel set in the days of the vaudeville and a poignant poetry collection beautifully written.

Meet Elizabeth Gauffreau

Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Curriculum & Assessment for Champlain College Online, where she is an Associate Professor. Her fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and several themed anthologies. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband.

Books by Elizabeth Gauffreau

My review for the collection 13th November 2021.

As we get older we lose more of those we love, and grief is one of the hardest of life’s experiences to comes to term with. Brief eulogies that express love and respect for a person are often more meaningful than longer testaments to their life.

This is the case in Elizabeth Gauffreau’s collection of syllabic poetry. Brief glimpses into the lives of her parents as they met and married, followed by early childhood memories and the teen years.

The wonderful early family images set the scene and the words bring them to life. They are emotionally engaging and evoke the reader’s own memories and also regrets for lost opportunities to share more moments with those no longer with us. For example:

27 Edgewood Road

clearing out the house
entering forbidden rooms
hidden photographs
baby picture never seen
her pride in me now showing.

A collection for reflection and enjoyment.

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Twitter: @LGauffreau

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Fair – #Recent #Reviews – #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Crime Fiona Tarr, #Thriller Jack Talbot, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack


A last look at recent reviews before Christmas…

The next collection is by Elizabeth Gauffreau and I am sharing my recent review Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance

About the collection

“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review

“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review

A recent review for the collection

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and lyrical book of poetry! Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2021

Grief Songs by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a beautiful and compelling collection of poetry and photographs.

Gauffreau is a skilled story-teller, and her poetry and pictures create moving portraits of her family that draws the reader into her lovingly created images and remembrances.

Gauffreau uses the traditional Tanka form for her poetry, and she shows great skill in weaving her stories and memories together. For those who love poetry and family, this book will engage them and make them want to find their own family photos.

Grief Songs is an excellent book of poetry, it is lyrical and lovely, and I give it my complete recommendation. It will capture you and move you.

Beautifully done!

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @LGauffreau

The next review is for Fiona Tarr and her recent release – Deadly Deceit (Foxy Mysteries Book 3)

About the book

When Liz Jeffreys changed career paths from high-class escort to PI, she knew it would be exciting. What she never expected was to be investigating the attempted murder of Detective Jack Cunningham’s powerful father—not after everything the corrupt Judge had done, especially sanctioning a hit on her.

Jack is close to cracking the case, until his apartment is raided by a specialist task force investigating outlaw motorcycle gangs. When they find drugs, Jack finds himself on suspension and under investigation. Despite their past and his father’s history with Liz, Jack must turn to her to clear his name and solve his father’s case.

With their budding relationship heating up, Liz will do anything to uncover who framed Jack and help clear his name. But is she willing to lay her life on the line to save his father, after everything he’s done?

Curl up, grab a cuppa and indulge yourself with this mystery, slow burn romantic suspense novel. For lovers of J.D Robb, Janet Evanovich and Melinda Leigh.

One of the early reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on November 23, 2021

This is book 3 in this slow burn romantic suspense mystery series.

When Liz Jeffreys changed career paths from high-class escort to PI, she knew it would be exciting. What she never expected was to be investigating the attempted murder of Detective Jack Cunningham’s powerful father—not after everything the corrupt Judge had done, especially sanctioning a hit on her.

How much will the truth cost? Will Liz be successful in her new career?

This exciting book will keep you on the edge for hours with lots of twists and turns,
Who knows what will happen next ,read on to find out.

A selection of books by Fiona Tarr

Read the reviews and Buy: Amazon Au Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Follow Fiona: GoodreadsWebsite :A Time 2 Write – Twitter: @FionaTarr

The next review is for the recently released debut novel by Irish author Jack Talbot, a thriller set in the world of the sport – The Hurler

About the book

Hurling, revenge, atonement, murder….

A missing man, a tenacious female sergeant, a murky world of criminal activity and murder, all set in motion when local family man and hurler Jim Rourke goes missing….

When family man and local hurler Jim Rourke goes missing in Oldcastle, a troubled call from his wife sends Sergeant Britney Kent delving into his disappearance. Initially, the incident is dismissed as trivial by her colleagues. However, when another man is found murdered at a local hurling field, Britney is convinced there is a connection. This murder is closely followed by that of a high-profile sports correspondent and the connection is only enforced.

With victims piling up, Britney finds herself on the trail of the sadistic killer known only as ‘The Courier.’

However, as Britney digs deeper, it is made clear her interference in the investigation is unwelcome. Deep suspicion of corruption and criminal connections come to light. Britney finds herself wondering who she can trust. Is the killer really one of her own?

Only by unravelling the connection between the hurler, the criminal underworld and corruption at the highest levels, will the killer be revealed. But all is not what it seems.

With time running out, can Britney save this latest victim and in doing so, save her career?

In Jack Talbot’s thriller ‘The Hurler’ we learn how the ancient surrogate for war is more than just a game. And that all may not be as it seems.

A recent review for the book

dylan m. 5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for GAA fans  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 December 2021

A really great thriller. Delighted to support an Irish author, especially on a topic close to my heart. Highly recommended to anyone interested in GAA  

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

Connect to Jack Talbot: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Website: Jack TalbotFacebook: Jack Talbot – Facebook Author Page: The Hurler – Follow Jack: Goodreads – LinkedIn: Jack Talbot

And the final recent release with a review is from C.S. Boyack.. the third in a great series The Wreck of the Lanternfish

About the book

James Cuttler created a peaceful spot for he and his wife to settle down. Far from the war that ravages their homeland, far from the reputation he earned as the notorious Captain Bloodwater, and far from responsibility.

A royal Prelonian houseguest is a constant reminder of what’s at stake half a world away, of the friends he put ashore to fight the war. He lives in a dream world that’s temporary, at best. It’s only a matter of time before his guest is identified and the black assassins come for her.

He mortgages his precious vineyard to pay for repairs to his ship. If nothing else, Lanternfish will be one of the most powerful ships in the war. He’ll need to avoid those on his own side who would hang him for piracy.

Serang is half a world away, leading her army of mercenary swordsmen toward the Fulminites. Mistrusted by both sides of the war, she appears as a third combatant on the battlefield. She may eliminate the mysterious order, only to succumb to the demons of her own tragic past.

Strap on your swords and hoist the colors one more time as the thrilling Lanternfish Trilogy comes to an end.

One of the recent reviews for the book

JanS  4.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying ending to the trilogy  Reviewed in the United States on December 12, 2021 

This is the final book in The Lanternfish Series, and I have to say it is an epic adventure from beginning to end. In this segment of the series, we see James Cutler go into debt to refurbish The Lanternfish and put her into service to help put an end to the horrible war between the Hollish and Prelonians. Only this time, his journey takes him from the high seas to a land war with adventures and mind-boggling risks galore. We see all of our favorite characters, Fala, Dan, Serang, Mal, Mule, Biscuit Bill, the Root Monsters, and the Palumbos play important roles in this part of the story. There is non-stop action from the time the Lanternfish sets sale until James returns to his home and wife.

The author did a great job of wrapping up all the loose ends for each of the many characters, including the Root Monsters. While I enjoyed all the adventure, the final wrap-up, and many happy endings had me smiling through a tear or two, especially with the lovable Root Monsters. If you love fantasy, action, a little magic, and a whole lot of realism, you will enjoy this entire series. I do highly recommend you start with book 1 and work your way through the trilogy to fully understand the final segment. Kudos to the author for this tremendous undertaking!

Head over to buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Craig: Goodreads – blog:Cold Hand BoyackTwitter: @Virgilante

 

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

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Recap – November 2021 – #Mystery Joan Hall, #Western Sandra Cox, #Children’s Toni Pike, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, History Patricia Furstenberg, #Poetry Colleen Chesebro, #Anthology Allan Hudson and Other Authors


Welcome to the recap of my book reviews in November and the first is for Joan Hall for her psychological mystery short story. House of Sorrow: Legends of Madeira

My review for the book November 1st 2021

I have read great reviews for this prequel to The Legends of Madeira series, and I was certainly not disappointed. Great characters, descriptive writing and a sustained air of mystery throughout the story.

Set in the 1960s, and the town of Madeira, we are introduced to Ruth who has lived in one of the few remaining Victorian homes in the street for most of her married life. Following the death of her husband, a former police chief, Ruth is under pressure from family to move into assisted living.

She reflects on her life in the house and town since the 1960s and we discover more about her background, marriage and the major events of the decade that impacted the nation and the world with both sorrow and jubilation

Ruth had loved the house and lavished time and effort to bring both the interior and the porch back to its former glory. A favourite in the neighbourhood with neighbours and their children she becomes a much loved part of the community.

Over the years there are veiled hints about the house and its previous owners. Ruth brushes them aside as superstition, and the active imagination of Sam a close neighbour and friend. Until suddenly one day it all becomes very real.

Now in old age and alone, she carries a burden. Whoever lives in the house next must be warned.

This book is a great way to introduce the town of Madeira and importantly the house, opening the door to the first book in the series which I am looking forward to reading.

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

Other books by Joan Hall

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Joan: Goodreads – Website: Joan Hall – Blog: Joan HallBookBub: Joan Hall – Facebook: Joan Hall Writes – Twitter: @JoanHallWrites

My next review is for Sandra Cox for the western romance another wonderful read, Tumblestar

My review for the book November 6th 2021

What can I say… Sandra Cox always succeeds in sweeping her readers away to the plains and towns of the West. Her characters are so engaging and even those who smell like rotten buffalo hides are drawn in great detail.

There is danger, adventure and of course romance with some heart stopping moments when it seems all will be lost… heroes and villains vie for attention, as do the magnificent wild horses that roam the prairies.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know rancher Coop Malloy, his multi-tasking cook, the lovely Randa and Coop’s niece Kalli and those who find themselves welcomed into their warm kindness.

Apart from the danger and heart stopping moments it is also a feel good read that you won’t be able to put down.

Highly recommended for western and romance fans.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAmazon UK

A small selection of Sandra’s books

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon UK –And: Amazon US- follow Sandra Cox: Goodreads – Blog: Sandra Cox Blogspot – Twitter:@Sandra_Cox

With Christmas in a few weeks I thought I might check out more children’s books and delighted to share my review for Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space by Toni Pike.

My review for the book November 11th 2021

The book does begin on a sad note with the death of Brody’s mother in an accident when he was a baby. However, he and his dad have become very close and lead a rather relaxed lifestyle with a flexible approach to nutrition and after school activities. Brody loves his father completely and their close relationship. He is therefore very put out when a whirlwind romance ends up with a new stepmother, a famous children’s author, who has different ideas about both suitable breakfasts and homework.

His friend Kyle becomes convinced that a UFO has landed, and it is rather coincidental that Brody’s stepmother, who seems a little too perfect, arrived on the scene at the same time.

We follow Brody and his friends as they investigate how his stepmother seems to have special powers of persuasion, and why despite their misgivings, they seem to be falling under her spell.

Many children are faced with loss of a parent or a split in their parent’s relationship which leads to a stepmother or stepfather trying to find a way to integrate into an established family unit. This story highlights this with a humourous tale involving overactive imaginations and a need on both sides of the dilemma to find common ground and acceptance.

Apart from an entertaining read, I think younger children who are experiencing this change in dynamics within their family would find it very helpful as they make adjustments in their lives. Also the adults who are attempting to win hearts and minds as newcomers into a new home.

The story is relevant in today’s society, the characters are all delightful and I can highly recommend.

Head over to buy the book: USAUKAustralia Canada

Also by Toni Pike for children and adults

Connect to Toni: Buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1

My next review was for the poetry collection,that is both poignant and thought provoking.  Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance -Elizabeth Gauffreau

My review for the collection 13th November 2021.

As we get older we lose more of those we love, and grief is one of the hardest of life’s experiences to comes to term with. Brief eulogies that express love and respect for a person are often more meaningful than longer testaments to their life.

This is the case in Elizabeth Gauffreau’s collection of syllabic poetry. Brief glimpses into the lives of her parents as they met and married, followed by early childhood memories and the teen years.

The wonderful early family images set the scene and the words bring them to life. They are emotionally engaging and evoke the reader’s own memories and also regrets for lost opportunities to share more moments with those no longer with us. For example:

27 Edgewood Road

clearing out the house
entering forbidden rooms
hidden photographs
baby picture never seen
her pride in me now showing.

A collection for reflection and enjoyment.

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

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Twitter: @LGauffreau

The next review is for Patricia Furstenberg – Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories

My review for the book November 20th 2021

What an amazing way to learn history, particularly of a country that has such a rich and tempestuous story to tell.

The author has written 100 word fiction for each entry dating back to paleolithic times with the historical background to the story following. The stories tell of a country that is tempting to invaders, inhabited by resilient and proud people, who have survived extraordinary periods of occupation by Romans and successive marauders from neigbouring kingdoms many times over the centuries.

Transylvania is showcased in wonderful photographs, either of the breathtaking scenery or surviving historical structures of monuments. It is clear that Patricial Furstenberg has a deep knowledge of the country and its history and a love and respect for it too.

She offers a guided tour through the ages using fiction and fact creatively and compiled with great skill.

Not only do I have a greater understanding of the history of Transylvania but it has encouraged me to explore it further. Recommended

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

A small selection of other books by Patricia Furstenberg (some in Afrikaans)

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK Blog: Alluring Creations Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @PatFurstenberg

More delightful poetry in a multi-author anthology – Word Weaving #1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse – The Moons of Autumn. – Colleen Chesebro, Jules Paige and other Poets

About the collection

Word Weaving is a yearly poetry journal, and for our first issue, we bring you poetry crafted from a broad mix of new and established voices across the spectrum of Japanese and American syllabic poetry forms. Enjoy this collection of poems that celebrate the Moons of Autumn.

Contributing Poets:

Annette Rochelle Aben, Mona Bedi, Nancy Brady, Colleen M. Chesebro, Goutam Dutta, Bill Engleson, Elizabeth F., Andrea Finichiu, D.L. Finn, Jeff Flesch, Ken Gierke, Franci Hoffman, Thom Kerr, Sujata Khanna, Ruth Klein, Jules Paige, D. Wallace Peach, Gwen M. Plano, M. J. Mallon, R.V. Mitchell, Elaine Patricia Morris, Lisa Smith Nelson, Pat Raffington, Susmita Ramani, Kerfe Roig, Aishwarya Saby, Akhila Siva, Merril D. Smith, Willow Willers, Cheryl Wood.

My review for the Journal 25th November 2021

This is an excellent example of how a collaboration between writers can result in a wonderful collection of thought provoking and heartwarming poetry.

Syllabic poetry is a broad term for the formats such as Haiku, Rnga, Tanka, Haibun, Gogyohka, Cinaquain, Etheree and other Japanese verse. There are examples of many of these forms from the contributing poets in tribute to the autumn moon, and all stand out as poignant, witty and memorable.

Very tough to highlight favourites but here is a small taste which I hope will encourage you to read the collection in full. Apart from a wonderful 18 stanza Renga by the poets spearheading this collection, Colleen M. Chesebro and Jules Paige, here are two other examples of the quality of the poetry offered.

D. Wallace Peach

moonlight stitches lace
frosty hems on scarlet leaves
glints of fallen stars

Gwen M. Plano

the empress rises
summer and winter curtsy
nature holds its breath
while the symphony begins
fireflies dance in the moonlight

A lovely collection to dip into.

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And:Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor blog: Colleen Chesebro Twitter: @ColleenChesebro

This is my review for the seasonal collection of short stories featuring nine authors and their stories. Autumn Paths: An Anthology.

About the Anthology

Nine writers from both sides of the Atlantic, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have created this miscellany of stories.

These tales of family, mystery, intrigue, adventure, and suspense will take you across continents, through time and space in this world and others. With a linking theme of autumn, discover new landscapes, encounter new and intriguing characters, uncover secrets and lies, and witness the resolution of old enmities.

Take the first step on this roller-coaster of an emotional journey, and you won’t be disappointed.

My review for the anthology November 26th 2021

I enjoyed them all and if I was to mention just one or two to highlight it would be Winter Tar by Jeremy Thomas Gilmer – a glimpse into an Ireland in a post-apocalyptic world of the return of the Viking raids. And The Path to Redemption by Pierre C. Arseneault
which will strike a chord for anyone who returns home out of necessity when all they wish to do is leave their past behind.
If you are looking for a well-written multi-genre collection to enjoy then I have no hesitation in recommending.

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Reviews: Goodreads

To read more about the contributing authors.. here is the link to my full review: Authumn Anthology

 

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

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update #Reviews – #Fantasy M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Suspense Joan Hall


Welcome to the first of the weeks Cafe updates with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

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

About the book

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

Helen 5.0 out of 5 stars A great YA novel!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 September 2021

A great YA novel that will resonate with many young teenagers, as it touches on problems with feeling different, lack of self confidence, and difficult relationships with friends. The story is told through Ameline’s voice, with her anguish and confusion at her life, and the teenage characters are believable and well written. It touches on issues such as self harm and depression, but the author has written those scenes in a sensitive and compassionate way that is appropriate to the age of the readers.

I loved all the characters, but Esme, the girl in the mirror was the most intriguing. I hope we find out more about her in future books! The mysterious cottage, the crystals, and Ameline’s dormant powers coming to life all added to the mystery of the story.

The descriptive narrative and suspenseful story line make this a great read. I look forward to reading the next instalment!  

Books by M.J. Mallon

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

The next review is for Elizabeth Gauffreau and her poetry collection released at the end of September Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance

About the collection

“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review

“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review

One of the early reviews for the book.

BonnieD 5.0 out of 5 stars A Loving Tribute Done in Tanka  Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2021

Grief Songs is a beautiful collection of Tanka poems, accompanied by family photographs. Each poem pays tribute to a family member and often goes behind the scenes, telling us what is happening “beyond the frame.” It is a wonderful and unique look at a family, both good times and bad.

To anyone who is unfamiliar with tanka poems, here is a quick definition: Tanka poems are Japanese in origin. They are very specifically 31 syllables, 5 lines. The first line has five syllables, the second 7, the third 5, and the last two lines have 7. The first three lines are supposed to evoke an image, and the last two describe an action or emotion based on that image.

In Grief Songs, Gauffreau gives heartfelt tributes to her mother, father, and brother George. Some will make you laugh, and some will draw a tear. My absolute favorite is Angelic, which is aptly named. It is accompanied by the most adorable, and yes, angelic, portrait of two children I have ever seen. Liz and her brother George look like the most beautiful, well-behaved kids ever to sit for a portrait in the history of time. However, the the last two lines of the accompanying tanka read: “George had cried piteous tears/while I railed against my bangs.” This made me laugh out loud–maybe not so angelic! The bangs in question remind me of a lot of pictures in my own family album of home haircuts where the bangs ended up a little too short, usually right before a school picture. This is just one example of the way Gauffreau brings the photos to life with her poetry.

Gauffreau’s ability to weave poems, even poems with strict guidelines, into very descriptive stories is quite evident in this book. A Goodwill Love Story is a great example of that. She describes her parents’ meeting, courtship, and marriage in 5 lines, 31 syllables, and we see pictures in our minds that go far beyond the accompanying photo.

Grief Songs will inspire you to pull out your own family album, remember your lost loved ones, and think about the stories behind the photos. It is a beautifully constructed book of memories full of joy, admiration, and pain.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @LGauffreau

The final author today is Joan Hall with a review for Cold Dark Night: Legends of Madeira

About the book

New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.

Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.

But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s one-hundred fiftieth year, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.

Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, Jason will be the next to die.

One of the early reviews for the book

Maura Beth Brennan 5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Small-Town Mystery  Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021

This book is classified as a thriller or mystery, but it will easily appeal to cozy-mystery-lovers. It involves a charming small town and a cast of appealing characters, complete with the mystery-solving main character, a town bossy busybody, law enforcement figures, and is devoid of extreme violence and coarse language. The story begins when Tami and Jason Montgomery move to the little town of Madeira, New Mexico, where Jason will serve as the town’s new police chief. Tami left her much-loved job as a journalist to move there, but soon finds her investigative tendencies engaged by stories she hears about the very house she and Jason occupy. And they’re definitely not good.

Of course, she sets out to learn more and joins the local historical society to take part in a project writing a book about the town’s past. The author skillfully weaves glimpses of the past with current events to create a feeling of impending danger. The characters were well-drawn and likeable. I loved how the author interspersed information about lunar activity and folklore into the chapters. The characters in this story were well-drawn and likeable, and the story kept me guessing. This is an engaging mystery with a satisfying payoff.

Also by Joan Hall

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Joan: Goodreads – Website: Joan Hall – Blog: Joan Hall – BookBub: Joan Hall – Facebook: Joan Hall Writes – Twitter: @JoanHallWrites

 

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

 

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews -#Life Pamela S. Wight, #Cyberpunk C.S. Boyack, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau


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

The first author today with a recent review is Pamela S. Wight for her latest release Flashes of Life: True Tales of the Extraordinary Ordinary

About the collection.

Wow! Life goes by in a flash.

Philosophers and mystics ponder the mystery of these flashes. Pamela Wight writes about life flashes in her short stories that include family and friends, love and life’s challenges. Wight’s “Flash Memoir” promotes the belief that we all share sparks of the extraordinary that occur in our everyday life. Each short story is true and brings a smile of recognition to her readers: that life transports and enthralls us in all its confusing, amusing, challenging, and astonishing ways. Each story is light-hearted and short – like a flash – but be prepared for a page-turner that keeps you in your seat, smiling.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful personal stories  Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2021

I have followed Pamela’s blog for the past two years. I also had read one of her novels, The Right Wrong Man, so I knew Flashes of Life would be excellent. When I sat down to start it, I didn’t intend to read it all in one sitting, but that is what happened. Ms. Wight’s writing style reminds one of listening to stories around the campfire. The book is divided into eight sections, but I would have difficulty choosing a favorite section. Many of the stories are delightful memories of her family as her roles as wife, mother, and grandmother. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as readers will recognize and identify with many of these feelings. I melted when she shared her love for her son-in-law and why she was glad her daughter married him. Equally humorous and touching, I highly recommend this book.  

Also by Pamela S. Wight

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Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Pamela : Goodreads – website:Rough Wighting – Twitter: @pamelawight

The next author with a recent review is C.S. Boyack for his cyberpunk futuristic Grinders..

About the book

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Harmony Kent 4.0 out of 5 stars A futuristic novel full of humour and real-world issues Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2021

‘Jimi Cabot rolled over in bed, but the black cat pawed her face once more.’

From this opening line, the author takes his readers into a futuristic world of robotic and/or holographic house companions, constant advertising, body alterations via various weird and wonderful implants/modifications, a grid that manages traffic, and a police Grinder squad, which is viewed as the police dumping place for officers they don’t want or who are past their prime. Jimi has other ideas after getting dumped into the Grinder squad, and when she pairs with veteran cop, Lou, things get interesting fast. Here are some lines which stood out for me:

(Lou talking to his ‘companion’) ‘You’re still cheaper than both my ex-wives, and you take no for an answer.’ This had me chuckling away … oh, the benefits of a non-human live-in!

and

‘Parenting advice from a hologram?’ I loved the indignation and humour in this whole exchange.

There’s a lot of information to take in, and lots of conversation in this novel, but it works. I enjoyed this read and soon got through the book. The writer brings us a satisfying ending with all the threads nicely tied up. Grinders gets a solid 4 stars from me.

A selection of books by C.S. Boyack

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Craig: Goodreads – blog:Cold Hand BoyackTwitter: @Virgilante

One of the advantages of having a Goodreads author page for your books is that advance reviews can be posted.. as in the case of the upcoming poetry collection by Elizabeth Gauffreau on pre-order at a special price for September 26th – Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance

About the collection

“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review

“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review

Another of the advance reviews for the book.

Jul 12, 2021 Robbie Cheadle rated it five stars

Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is an emotional depiction of the poet’s family and life told mainly through tanka poems linked to a specific family photograph. The collections starts with a poignant and beautiful trilogy of poems dedicated to the poet’s father and mother, both of whom have passed from this mortal life.

For me, the first poem was particularly striking as it demonstrated so much insight into the human understanding of death and the difference between a child’s perception of its permanence and that of an adult.

Each of the tanka poem takes a small step forward in the lives of the poet’s direct family and tells a story of love, life, and experience. Although, as the name of the collection suggests, each poem is tinged with the sadness of loss, they are also coloured with the joy of lives well spent.

This book is a quick read, approximately an hour, but it will leave you viewing grief differently and reflecting for a long time afterwards. 

Head over to buy the book at the pre-order price of $2.98 for September 26th:
Amazon USAnd for £2.16: Amazon UK

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads –  Website/Blog: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @LGauffreau

 

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