Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #Historical #WW2 Paulette Mahurin, #History #Communism Mark Lee Myers

Welcome to the first of the Cafe Updates for the week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review is for the recent poetry collection, Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle.

About the collection

What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.

What thoughts are hidden
Behind her immobile face
Quite expressionless
Eyes cold and indifferent
Scrutinising me – hawk like

This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.

A recent review for the collection

D.L. Finn 5.0 out of 5 stars A unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse! Reviewed in the United States on August 30, 2021

“Behind Closed Doors” is a unique assortment of symbolic, free and rhyming verse that creatively show us what is hidden behind one of those closed doors. Plus, I loved seeing some of the beautiful fondant cake art. Some poems moved me while others had me thinking, but all touched on an emotion. The tankas may have been my favorites, but I enjoyed them all. Here are a few favorite lines. “as she danced, unfettered/in her own, glittering world/The stars gave her hope/allowed her to soar….” “Desperately, she peers through the dimness. An assorted array of items drift past her….” “Gratefully she sinks/Into sleep’s loving embrace/Thoughts gently unfurl/Reorganising themselves/Answer revealed in sweet dreams,” and “The crimson rose/Stands tall and alone/A stately queen….” A great glimpse into current events through a poetic eye. This is a poetry collection I recommend.  

A selection of books for adults and children by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.


Read the reviews and Buy the books :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Follow Robbie : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration- Twitter: @bakeandwrite

The next review is for the latest book by Paulette Mahurin set in WW2 – Over the Hedge.

About the book

During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam.

Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers.

Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Linda Jamsen 5.0 out of 5 stars The enduring human spirit shines through  Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2021

This is a heartwrenching, riveting story of three courageous members of the Resistance who risked their lives to save Jewish children during the Nazi Occupation of Holland. Although I am familiar with similar stories of Dutch citizens, most notably that of Miep Gies, who helped the Frank family in hiding, I wasn’t aware of the efforts of this heroic trio. (One of them later served as Senator from the Netherlands and was also a European Parliament member.) Without hesitation and under extreme duress, they secretly moved children at risk of deportation to Nazi concentration camps, first to a daycare center, then across a hedge to the neighboring college. From there, they were taken in by Dutch families, although tragically, never saw their parents again.

This is a difficult read due to the extreme and senseless violence and abuse inflicted on innocent Jews. It’s also painful to read how the Occupation turned family members and friends against one another in order to make 7,5 guilders, or the price on a Jewish head. The author does a good job of keeping each of the story threads open and intriguing. It’s a suspenseful read which you’ll want to continue to the end because you hope against all hope that all three—and the 600-plus children they saved—will survive. I won’t give away the ending but will admit I needed a tissue or two.

Kudos to the author for this engaging book on a tough subject. Her research was very thorough, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she has a personal connection to someone in the story, perhaps one of the children who survived.  

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

Also by Paulette Mahurin

Profits from Pauline’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Paulette : Goodreads – Blog: The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap on WordPressTwitter: @MahurinPaulette

The final review today is for Mark Lee Myers and his book The Tomato Smuggler: How One Man Stood Up To Communism.

About the Tomato Smuggler

A son’s tribute.

His father waged war without bullets, triumphing over communist oppression during Dictator Ceauşescu’s final decade in rural Romania.

Communism robbed freedom, so Nicolae’s father led the family to subtle and overt resistance to retain their dignity. The Cismigiu family built a thriving tomato business and smuggled tomatoes to market to survive. Creatively defying tyranny brought harassment and intimidation directed at what was most valued: family, a prized workhorse, and their tomato farm.

Zeal to keep the spirit of freedom alive came at a cost many could not pay, even the death of a friend during one of their harrowing, midnight tomato smugglings. Joy and sorrow were interwoven into the fabric of the family’s life story, but they focused on happiness and contentment. Grandpa always believed the Americans would come and liberate Romania after WWII but never lived to see the day. Ironically, his dream did come true. It skipped a generation and impacted Nicolae.

One of the recent reviews for the book

vikram 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!  Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2021

This book is really good! I love the historical fiction aspect of the book. The book is based on Romanian life after and during WW2. Which isn’t something you see very often! It’s definitely a book where you need to like the genre to really get into it. Overall a very good and interesting book!  

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Facebook: Mark Myers Books – More reviews: Goodreads – Website: Mark Myers Books


Thanks 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, #Biographical #Fiction Roz Morris, #Poetry Robbie Cheadle

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

The first author is M.J. Mallon with a recent review for Bloodstone: The Curse of Time Book 1

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

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating multi-layered fantasy that, just might not be…  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 August 2021

A captivating multi-layered fantasy that, just might not be…

Fantasy novels are not my thing, although I do read them every now and then to test if I have changed. It’s a bit live olives, I don’t like them, but you never know…

So, why did I read this book? The answer is simple, I know the author to be an accomplished poet and, I do so admire how a poet can distil a narrative in a descriptively succinct and engaging way. I was not disappointed and even at the start of every chapter there is a short verse, which I truly loved. I also like books that have a narrative stimulated by an external source and this book is, I understand, inspired by the Corpus Clock in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, sometimes known as the Grasshopper clock – I looked it up and could see and imagine my own stories. (I’ve tried to add a pic).
However, my interpretation of Bloodstone might not be exactly as was intended by Mallon, but, this is how I read and enjoyed the book.

Amelina Scot, a 15 year old lives in a family home with what is described in the blurb as a dysfunctional family and, I can see why this might be seen as the case. In my mind though, I read this as a teenage girl, her body coursing with hormones, self-doubt, too many thoughts, too much angst, not least for her parents. Her father, now a mere shadow of his former self, no interest in anything and frequently on the missing list. And, mother, a worrier, for husband whom she no longer recognises, and a daughter she no longer understands and transposes this into displays of anger.

For me though, I saw this as depression and, a household depressed with no way out. The house is wracked with negative emotion and this is picked up on by Amelina, desperately looking for reasons why. A school friend went missing, where is she? Well, Amelina sees her trapped in the mirrors in the house and she converses with her lost friend. The cat, a muse? Certainly Amelina bestows feline special powers and it is all so real.

So, what is the answer? How can Amelina fix things, even her close friends seem distant as she becomes trapped in her imagination? An aunt gives her crystals and a paint set and, naturally, these offer Amelina a gift; to see as a seer, to paint as a manically possessed artist.

What follows is a wonderfully woven tale of heroes, villains, monsters, even the grasshopper, as time plays games with Amelina. So, regardless of how you understand the narrative, and no more plot spoilers, but I defy you not to become a tortured soul yourself; so read it. I am a slow reader, but it means I absorb so much and, maybe, I misinterpret, but Bloodstone is a novel that transports in mind, soul and spirit – 5 stars.

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 author is Roz Morris for her novel Ever Rest: How far must you go to come back to life?

About the book

I almost regret this is not a true story, because I believed every word.’ Amazon reviewer
‘Highly captivating, highly unusual… one of the best novels to come out of Britain this year.’ Garry Craig Powell, author, Stoning The Devil

Twenty years ago, Hugo and Ash were on top of the world. As the acclaimed rock band Ashbirds they were poised for superstardom. Then Ash went missing, lost in a mountaineering accident, and the lives of Hugo and everyone around him were changed forever. Irrepressible, infuriating, mesmerizing Ash left a hole they could never hope to fill.

Two decades on, Ash’s fiancée Elza is still struggling to move on, her private grief outshone by the glare of publicity. The loss of such a rock icon is a worldwide tragedy.

Hugo is now a recluse in Nepal, shunning his old life. Robert, an ambitious session player, feels himself both blessed and cursed by his brief time with Ashbirds, unable to achieve recognition in his own right. While the Ashbirds legend burns brighter than ever, Elza, Hugo and Robert are as stranded as if they were the ones lost in the ice. How far must they go to come back to life?

A lyrical, page-turning novel in the tradition of Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Ever Rest asks how we carry on after catastrophic loss. It will also strike a chord with fans of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones for its people bonded by an unforgettable time; fans of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, for music as a primal and romantic force; and Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air for the deadly and irresistible wildernesses that surround our comfortable world.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Ann S. Epstein 5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Past the Refrain of Loss  Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2021

In Ever Rest, Roz Morris forges an unlikely alliance between rock climbing and rock music to create an absorbing novel about an outsized figure whose life shaped people’s identities and whose death leaves them hanging off a cliff, teetering over an emotional abyss, and grasping for an artistic foothold. Twenty years before the book opens, rock star Ash perished while he and his bandmate Hugo were climbing Mt. Everest. Ash’s body was never recovered, leaving his girlfriend Elza, Hugo, and another band member Robert, equally lost and bereft. Grief counselors use the term “ambiguous loss” to describe the absence of a loved one when there is no body to offer definitive proof they have died — they may have disappeared in a disaster, never come home from school, or not returned after running an errand.

The book’s central question is whether recovering Ash’s body will allow those who revolved around him to move past the refrain of his death to compose new verses for their own lives. As a fiction writer myself who balances multiple points of view (see my Amazon author page, I admired Morris’s deft blend of perspectives, which provide insight into those driven by their obsessions and the loved ones they in turn drive to anxiety and despair, exasperation and confusion. Her impeccable research into music-making music and mountaineering ground this soaring novel in both worlds. The memorable characters in Ever Rest will remain on readers’ playlists long after the book’s last peak is summited and its final note is sung.  

A selection of other books by Roz Morris

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – More Reviews: Goodreads – Facebook: Roz Morris Writer – LinkedIn: Roz Morris – Twitter: @roz_morris

Delighted to share the news of the recent poetry collection, Behind Closed Doors by Robbie Cheadle.

About the collection

What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.

What thoughts are hidden
Behind her immobile face
Quite expressionless
Eyes cold and indifferent
Scrutinising me – hawk like

This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Balroop Singh 5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic and magical  Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2021

‘Behind Closed Doors’ by Robbie Cheadle is an assortment of various styles – haiku, tanka, haibun and free style of poetry that is realistic; it touches upon various facets of life and captures many emotions in a subtle manner. Having read her ‘Open a New Door,’ I am quite familiar with Robbie’s poetry but some of the poems in this collection left me spellbound!

Inspiring you to rise from “hot ashes” to face new challenges, develop a new perspective and “break your shackles” to reach the improbable, there are many poems dripping with such positivity. ‘Stars in Her Eyes’ brilliantly reveals her “glittering world” when she soars on the “gossamer wings, empowered by the hope to gather the “fairy dust.” Beautiful imagery! The metaphorical poems ‘Contrasting Colors’ and ‘A Fairy-tale Come True’ are superbly written.

‘He Walks Away’ took my heart away, as a mother’s pride and pain has been captured so well in this poem. I could relate to Robbie’s words:
“Her kiss is no longer wanted as he seeks the lips of the other. It’s heart-wrenching to let go…”

‘Can you see the Butterflies’ is another masterpiece, rich with imagery, impelling you to rush outside to watch the wonders of nature. Read this collection and find answers in “sweet dreams.” Such is the magic of poetry!

A selection of books for adults and children by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.


Read the reviews and Buy the books :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Follow Robbie : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration- Twitter: @bakeandwrite


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





Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday July 28th 2021 – #WriterLinks D.G. Kaye, #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #Reviews D.Wallace Peach, #Finances Jim Borden

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed over the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy..thanks Sally.

The first post is from D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies and shares some great links for writers and well worth checking the post and the links out…

Writer's Tips

Writer’s Tips – #Canva Animation, #BookBub, KDP Tools, Famous Writer Advice, Slash Your #Wordcount

Welcome to the July issue of Writer’s Tips. In this edition we have tips on animation text for Canva, Lessons for Authors, How to Slash your Wordcount, Why some writers quit writing, and the new KDP tool for authors, and tips for promoting on BookBub.

Featuring Natalie Ducey, Anne R. Allen, Diana Wallace Peach, Jacqui Murray, Kathy Steinemann and news of a new marketing tool on Amazon: July Writing Tips by D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies.

The next post is from poet and author Robbie Cheadle who share two stunning poems about women by South African poets Tatamkhulu Afrika and Roy Campbell... I am sure you will love them.

Here is a short excerpt from The Woman at the Till by Tatamkhulu Afrika

She had a plain, hard face,
A head thrusted forward like a hawk’s.
Impossible brass triangles,
Improbable steel manacles
Cluttered her thin arms.
Clearly, she had little love for the world:

Head over to read the rest of this poem and The Zulu Girl by Roy Campbell : Robbie Cheadle with South African Poets and their poetry

Time for Diana Wallace Peach’s round up of her July reviews with boosts for some of our Cafe and Bookstore authors Balroop Singh, Mae Clair, Sandra Cox, Teagan Geneviene, Jacqui Murray and Jill Weatherholt, Jeremy L. Jones and Angela Panayotopulos

Another month of Awesome Reads! Thanks so much for stopping by to browse some wonderful books by indie authors!

July book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of historical fiction, poetry, a cozy mystery, western romance, family romance, two episodes of a fantasy serial, a sci-fi adventure, and prehistoric fiction. Phew! Something for everyone! I hope you enjoy the reads. 

Head over to enjoy the reviews and add a few more books to your TBR: Myths of the Mirror Book Reviews July 2

And the final post today is from Jim Borden who shares the emerging research regarding money and longevity….

Money May Not Buy You Happiness, But It Does Buy You a Few Extra Years

Researchers at Northwestern University say that every time another $50,000 is accumulated by middle age, an individual’s risk of death drops by five percent. In addition, for those who had stashed $139,000 more than a sibling, their chances of outliving them increased by 13 percent. 

Head over to read more about the research and add your thoughts: Jim Borden – Money May Not Buy You Happiness, But It Does Buy You a Few Extra Years

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the reviews in full.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 29th January 2021 – #FullMoon Joan Hall, #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #CoAuthorship John W. Howell

Welcome to a small selection of posts that I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full..thanks Sally.

The first post is from Joan Hall who shares the wonderful myths and legends behind the various Full Moons throughout the year.

January – The Wolf Moon

Hey, everyone. Hope the first part of this new year have been good for you. It’s no secret that I have a fascination with full moons. I think it runs in the family. My brother once hiked through Grand Canyon by the light of a full August moon.

Also, the original concept for my upcoming Legends of Madeira series was inspired by, you guessed it, the moon. I thought it would be fun to feature a monthly post with some facts, myths, or maybe even a legend or two.

For years, I’d heard the term Harvest Moon, but did you know Native Americans had names for each of the full moons? These varied from tribe to tribe and were often relative to the area in which they lived. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, these names traditionally applied to the entire lunar month, beginning with either the new or full moon.

January is known as the Wolf Moon. This has nothing to do with mythical werewolves. It came about because on cold January nights, packs of wolves are often heard. It was once thought wolves howled because they were hungry. However, wolves use howls to define their territory, locate members of their pack, and gather for hunting.

Head over to read the rest of this fascinating post about the legends of the full moons: Joan Hall with January The Wolf Moon and other legends

Robbie Cheadle, hosted by Kaye Lynne Booth, interviews fantasy author and poet Diana Wallace Peach about her favourite poems and the post also features a review by Robbie of Sunwielder.

Treasuring Poetry – Meet fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach and read my review of Sunwielder: An Epic Time Travel Adventure


Head over to find out more about Diana’s favourite poetry and her books: Treasury of Poetry – Diana Wallace Peach and a review of Sunwielder by Robbie Cheadle

Welcome to the first Treasury Poetry post of 2021.

Today, I am delighted to welcome fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach, who is sharing one of her own poems and discussing poetry.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

Thanks so much for the invitation to participate in your Treasuring Poetry series, Robbie. I’m honored. I think of myself as a writer of prose and a dabbler otherwise, but I love poetry and believe no creative effort is ever wasted.

This is a super hard question! I have poems that I think are well-crafted, poems that evoke personal feelings or memories, and poems that reflect a particular time in my life. Since “I don’t know” isn’t an acceptable answer, I’ll go with this one:
Flight of faith

When I was a child, I could fly
you and I hopped in dirt-road afternoons
and the dust-wind flung us over seas of wheat
scuffed shoes skimming the feathered awns
we whipped around the corners of the barn
in a home-sewn world of farm-hewn hands
our secret futures soared.

Read the rest of the poem and enjoy the rest of the interview and review: Treasuring Poetry – D.Wallace Peach with Robbie Cheadle

The next post is the third in a series on Story Empire by John Howell and Gwen Plano on the complexities of co-authoring a book..very helpful if it is something you are planning to do in the future.

Unsplash Image KOBU Agency

Hi SE ers, The Last two posts on co-authorship covered the informal and formal elements needed for a successful co-authorship relationship and how to create a shared vision. If you missed them, you can go HERE and HERE. Today I am covering the subject of writing coherency.

Creating writing coherency (in other words making the story appear to have been written by one author) with two writers is critical. Without writing coherency, the book authored by two separate individuals will appear disjointed and confusing. Gwen and I were elated when a couple of our beta readers commented about the coherency of our story, saying that it was “seamless.” This was most encouraging. We worked towards writing coherency through three means.

1 Follow one character through the story: Our story is centered on a male character and a female character. Each of us wrote from the point of view of both characters. But once we completed the book, I took the male character, and Gwen took the female character and followed them through the entire book to ensure that the dialogue and descriptive material were consistent.

Head over to read the post in full as this series does provide a comprehensive guide to co-authorship: Story Empire, John Howell, Writing Coherency in co-authorship part three


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