Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – #Poetry Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath, #Supernaturalthriller Mae Clair, #Poetry Miriam Hurdle


The first book with a recent review is for poetry lovers  Roads: A Journey With Verses – Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath

About Roads

“Roads” is a poetic rendezvous that takes the reader on a panoramic journey, making one pause, ponder and celebrate life.

The book is a light, alluring read that instantly strikes a chord and elevates one’s spirits. A trove of 60 poems, it is quilled with beads of nine virtues: Courage, Wisdom, Serenity, Love, Hope, Strength, Joy, Compassion and Gratitude. The verses encapsulate life’s ebbs and flows while prompting the reader to enjoy its simple pleasures.

“Roads” is a book that you would want to keep on your bedside, for a quiet read before retiring for the night or for the morning wisdom to seize the day. With poems revolving around emotions that each of us experiences, “Roads” very easily develops a personal connect with the reader that is defiantly refreshing.

“Roads” is a journey with verses. Take it on yours.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Roads: A Journey With Verses’ by Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath is a brilliant collection of poems that talk about life, love and the paths that mold us, values that mentor us, and pay a tribute to the persons who hold our hand through turbulent times to make our journey smoother.

In perfect sync with each other, Smitha’s tenderness is complemented by the exquisite style of Vandana who lashes out at societal norms that fetter us to the threshold, trying to slash our wings to compress us into compartments. Bold and chilling, her poems question the dogma, the exploitation and injustice that have been meekly accepted in the name of parochial diktats. Raising voice against subjugation, she calls upon shedding “the mask” and “darn the rules.”

One of my favorites, ‘Writer vs. Woman’ validates the power that lies dormant within the so-called fragile woman who proudly declares: “Do I need a better armor when words are my defense?” Realism percolates through their words as they capture a thousand emotions with élan. ‘Miss You When You’re Gone’ touches the most precious memories of letting go and break free from the stifling love that lingers despite the pride of watching our children soar toward the horizon of their choice. All mothers could relate to the pangs embedded within the words of Smitha.

For a person like me who values emotions and relationships, these poems are heart-warming. Along with tender moments of nurturing love and trust, self-belief, determination and courage stand out to reassure that there is no need to be swayed by the age-old traditions of embracing the defined roles. These poems would tug at your heart; stirring a thousand moments that stand and smile at you, reassuring that roads of life may be arduous yet shimmer with hope and happiness.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Connect to Vandana via her blog: My Feelings My Freedom

Smitha V

Connect to Smitha via her Blog: Life a Teacher

The next author with recent reviews for her latest release is Mae Clair for Eventide (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 3)

About Eventide

The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tripower53 VINE VOICE – 4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice addition to the series January 4, 2020

This book is an excellent addition to the series.

Madison Hewitt witnessed the stabbing death of her husband some time ago. She has now declared herself recovered and a bought an old house in an isolated spot in Pennsylvania.

But all is not well in her new house. There are noises – and that cistern in the basement!!

This story move back and forth between the present and the 1890’s. Something very bad happened back then and the old house has held on to it.

Tension ratchets up as the story goes along. Ms. Clair is a fantastic writer. Her stories are filled with reality. That is to say, the reader could almost believe that the events are really happening. The book is remarkably well written and plotted. One event follows another in a logical progression. The characters are colorful and likable – for the most part. I liked Madison, her slightly psychic sister and her new beau. Well done, Ms. Clair! More please.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mae on: Goodreads

Connect to Mae via her website: Mae Clair

The next book is an award winning poetry collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude written by Miriam Hurdle.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

Jan 02, 2020 H.R.R. Gorman rated it Five Stars


As I read through many of these poems, I had a feeling like I was reading the book of Psalms. Miriam is a fitting Psalmist, I’d say – her zest for life and ability to see the Creator in all things is admirable and amazing. Reading this book made me feel like I was intimately connected with he author.

And Miriam Hurdle, I dare say, is someone everyone should know.

If you enjoy poetry or want to be inspired, this is a great set of poetry. I read the poems one or two a day (sometimes I’d cheat) and try to soak them in. I don’t know if this is the way I was supposed to enjoy it, but I think it worked for me.

Also a hint: there are some photos in this. I can’t comment too much on them because I have an old Kindle that didn’t show them in good quality. If you want full effect, go f

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read reviews and follow Miriam: Goodreads

Connect to Miriam via her website: The Showers of Blessings

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two under your arm..thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair -#Saga Judith Barrow, #Poetry Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath, #Crime Sue Coletta, #YARomance Angie Dokos


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

My first book today is one from an author that I can personally recommend, having read all of her family saga series featuring the Howarth family… A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow is the fourth book and the prequel to the series.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I loved it… A page-turner that keeps you hooked. The story line has lots of twists and turns and you feel yourself moved on so many different levels. As the book unfolds it gives you moments of tenderness and love, hatred and spite all blended together with conflict, prejudice, guilt, grief and a desperate longing for change. Judith describes the period so well, with some very graphic, cruel and harrowing episodes, enabling you to empathise with each character in turn. I particularly like the fact that the story held together to the last page. 

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Judith: Goodreads

Connect to Judith via her blog: Judith Barrow

Another wonderful gift for poetry lovers is the collection  Roads: A Journey With Verses – Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath

About Roads

“Roads” is a poetic rendezvous that takes the reader on a panoramic journey, making one pause, ponder and celebrate life.

The book is a light, alluring read that instantly strikes a chord and elevates one’s spirits. A trove of 60 poems, it is quilled with beads of nine virtues: Courage, Wisdom, Serenity, Love, Hope, Strength, Joy, Compassion and Gratitude. The verses encapsulate life’s ebbs and flows while prompting the reader to enjoy its simple pleasures.

“Roads” is a book that you would want to keep on your bedside, for a quiet read before retiring for the night or for the morning wisdom to seize the day. With poems revolving around emotions that each of us experiences, “Roads” very easily develops a personal connect with the reader that is defiantly refreshing.

“Roads” is a journey with verses. Take it on yours.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

HarvestingHecate  5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging journey in verse 19 October 2019

This book of poems by two talented poets promises to take the reader on a journey and delivers and epic trip. The journey in question is that of life, and the book is split into sections that cover many of the big themes we all face on that journey: courage, wisdom, love, strength, joy. Both women contribute to each theme, offering a delightful contrast of views, imagery and tone. Smitha’s poems are intimate, emotional, drawing on a strength from within, while Vandana’s poems are open, assertive and sometimes confrontational.

The journey begins with ‘courage’ and it proves to be a positive and uplifting start. Smitha writes about daring to learn, fly, fail, even if the journey to success is not smooth. Vandana rails against rules and victimisation and demands that we drop the masks we wear. There is a nice rhythm to the collection. It moves inwards towards ‘wisdom’, ‘serenity’, ‘love’ and ‘joy’, then looks outwards to the world with ‘strength’, ‘compassion’ and ‘hope’. There are quiet moments and demands to be heard. There is sadness and joy, despair and self-assurance. And each poem is accompanied by a personal piece giving context to the verse.

Some of my favourite poems by Smitha are: ‘The Night is my Refuge’, a soothing poem about the restorative power of the night; ‘Treasure the Little Pleasures’, an evocative poem about the importance of small things; ‘Hush Daddy! Don’t Fear’, a moving poem about caring for an ageing parent; ‘Tender Moments’, a quiet loving poem in which a mother watches her children sleep; and ‘The Little Corner Room’ about a haven in her grandmother’s house.

Favourites by Vandana include: ‘Today’, an encouragement not to put things off to a vague tomorrow; ‘It’s all in the state of mind’ captures that dissatisfaction of wanting something other than what we have; and ‘Wings of Freedom’, a soaring poem about hopes and dreams.

The book ends, appropriately, with ‘gratitude’. Smitha’s ‘Promise of a new day’ is a beautiful meditation on things to be thankful for, while Vandana’s ‘Moments of Gratitude’ has the rhythm of a prayer. This book is an uplifting, enjoyable and emotional journey with two very engaging guides.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Connect to Vandana via her blog: My Feelings My Freedom

Smitha V

Connect to Smitha via her Blog: Life a Teacher

For all crime thriller fans there is plenty of gifts to select from bestselling, award-winning, multi-published crime writer Sue Coletta and the featured book today with a recent review is Racked...

About Racked

It starts with an innocent stuffed animal. It ends in mind-numbing terror.

Five missing boys and an adult corpse found in the town’s water shed was only the beginning for Sage and Niko Quintano. After a hooded-stranger gives their son, Noah, a stuffed animal—the exact Christmas moose given to all the missing boys days before their abductions—their lives spiral downward into uncertainty.

Could Noah be the next boy to go missing?

As they piece together each cryptic clue, the future looks more and more grim. But what they soon discover blows everyone’s mind, the truth teetering on the unfathomable.

What does it all mean, and where do they go from here?

One of the recent reviews

Kindle Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Sue Coletta’s Racked October 13, 2019

A stuffed Christmas moose might be cute but also DEADLY!!!

Captivating, gripping, riveting…..Racked is a plot within a subplot. This emotional and psychological thriller is full of mystery, horror, suspense and fast paced.

Who is kidnapping young boys? Why are they being kidnapped? What is the relationship between the kidnapping and the stuffed Christmas moose.

Sheriff Niko Quintana and his wife, Sage, live in the isolated, wooded area of New Hampshire. Their young son, Noah and two fur babies, Rugger and Colt make up their small knit family.

A dead body, kidnapped young boys, dysfunctional families, abused families…. all blend together for an intense, scary, intimidating read.

The author gets inside the well written characters heads, presenting their inner workings to the readers to be able to understand the characters.

Supernatural elements abound. A Highly Recommended Read!!

A selection of books by Sue Coletta

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And:  Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Sue : Goodreads

Connect to Sue via her website/blog: Sue Coletta

The next book is a New Adult Romance by Angie Dokos with a recent review for  MacKenzie’s Distraction.

About the book

Mackenzie’s Distraction is a New Adult Romance about a young lady with a rough past and a promising future. Just when he career is within reach, tragedy strikes. A terrible accident and a family secret turn Mackenzie’s world upside down. She’s sure her life can’t become any more complicated, then she meets Trevor. Will he be just what she needs or the distraction that pushes her over the edge?

This book is not erotica, but does have sexual content. It includes some curse words, but not many. It doesn’t have any major violence.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 27, 2019 Melanie Bennett rated it five stars

I loved it!
Mackenzie’s Distraction had it all!
Rivoting plot, awesome characters, family secrets, struggles, and romance. Very enjoyable, a great read.

Also by Angie Dokos

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos: Goodreads

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: Angie Dokos WordPress

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