Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Reviews – #PostApocalyptic Terry Tyler, #Fantasy C.S Boyack, #Memoir D.G. Kaye


Welcome to the Friday Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves and a new release.

The first author today is Terry Tyler with a recent review for Patient Zero a collection of stand alone short stories.

About the book

The year is 2024.
A mysterious virus rages around the UK.
Within days, ‘bat fever’ is out of control.
Patient Zero is a collection of nine short stories featuring characters from the post apocalyptic Project Renova series. All stories are completely ‘stand alone’.

1. Jared: The Spare Vial
Jared has two vaccinations against the deadly virus: one for him, one for a friend…

2. Flora: Princess Snowflake
The girl with the perfect life, who believes in her father, the government, Christian charity and happy endings.

3. Jeff: The Prepper
What does a doomsday ‘prepper’ do when there is nothing left to prepare for?

4. Karen: Atonement
She ruined her sister’s last day on earth, and for this she must do penance.

5. Aaron: #NewWorldProblems
Aaron can’t believe his luck; he appears to be immune. But his problems are far from over.

6. Ruby: Money To Burn
Eager to escape from her drug dealer boyfriend’s lifestyle, Ruby sets off with a bag filled with cash.

7. Meg: The Prison Guard’s Wife
Meg waits for her husband to arrive home from work. And waits…

8. Evie: Patient Zero
Boyfriend Nick neglects her. This Sunday will be the last time she puts up with it. The very last time.

9. Martin: This Life
Life after life has taught the sixty year old journalist to see the bigger picture.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Chilling  Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2020

I’ve been avoiding pandemic books (since there’s enough of that going around in real life these days), but decided to give this collection of nine short stories a try. Great decision (pats self on back). All of the stories take place in the same world, a place being ravaged by a “bat virus.” They read like vignettes, and I was completely drawn in by the characters and their situations. It was fascinating and chilling at the same time.

Each story focuses on a different character, often living through a different stage of the pandemic. Some of them are alone, others with family or friends. Some are highly prepared, others not so much. What I really enjoyed about the collection was how unique each story was and how believable! Yikes. I could absolutely see these tales happening in my neighborhood.

The deadly pandemic is the driving force behind the stories, but the characters bring their own situations, logic, and emotions into their choices. Not all of them survive, despite the best of plans, and for those who do, the world will never be the same. This isn’t a long read, and I recommend it to sci fi fans who enjoy a fictional pandemic and great writing.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: 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: Goodreads Blog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4

Now for a recent review for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony (The Hat Book 3) by C.S. Boyack

About the book

Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.

The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exists? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up blood sucking?

Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Dec 16, 2020 Jessica Bakkers rated it Five Stars

I’m a huge fan of C.S. Boyack. From the moment I read “The Hat”, I was hooked, and after “Viral Blues” I concurred that these stories about a snarky talking hat and his symbiotic friendship with ‘gal-with-a-heart-of-gold’ Lizzie St Laurent, were my favourite stories in Boyack’s impressive repertoire. So, when I learned about a new ‘hat’ installment, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney”, I was jazzed to say the least.

“Mrs Moloney” picks up where “Viral Blues” left off, with Lizzie and the Hat just doing their thing, working gigs, getting by, and obsessively shopping the internet for stuff a five-hundred-odd year old hat finds cool (forgive me if I’m off on the Hat’s age – his history is so damn rich it’s hard to keep track of his age, and you know, he hardly shows any wrinkles).

Lizzie and the Hat soon come across a sorry excuse for a vampire – Kevin – and after a few jests about the lad’s teeth (which makes me think he must have British ancestry), they decide to help the poor sod to find his sister who’s been kidnapped as take-out by a bunch of cowboy vampires. Sound weird? Yeah, well, it’s Boyack!

The story unfolds in an unhurried way, with Lizzie and her band taking on country music festivals and gigs to try and track down the vamps. This provides plenty of comedic fodder with lines like:

“Then we have their anthem, ‘Friends in Low Places.’ Believe me, play this one and they’ll all pay attention. They’ll all sing and give up on any riots they have on their minds. In fact, if you blow the lyrics, they won’t even notice because they’ll be singing them.”

Boyack does his usual excellent job of dropping music into the story (loving that ‘Bad Things’ got a mention), and again floors me with his acute understanding of the female brain (like Lizzie lamenting her ‘long face’ and how certain styles of hat don’t work for her). There’s humour aplenty, and though the Hat was a bit more grumpy (or morose) this go around, his and Lizzie’s relationship has really blossomed into a buddy cop relationship… or a long-suffering marriage. I can’t decide which.

Summing up, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney” is a great read, especially if you’re a fan of Lizzie and the Hat, and cements why these characters are my favourites in the Boyack universe

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

The final author today is D.G. Kaye with a recent review for her memoir Words We Carry

About the book

“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?
D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.
Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.

A recent review for the book

Luv2read 5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book  Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2021

What starts with the author’s explanation of why she wrote the book: namely to share negative experiences and obstacles in which self-esteem issues and insecurities when faced and dealt with blossom to learning self-love; this is a remarkable revolutionary read. One I wish I would have read in my earlier teen years when I struggled with my own self-esteem issues. Self-perception baggage from wounded egos, what weighs us down, fester and damage the soul the author writes. So true. This is so well written that it’s not just an enlightening educational tool but a wonderful read from a woman not afraid to show her underbelly, huge heart, and she does it with much authenticity and talent. I resonated with so much of what she wrote in these enlightening pages, but what stands out the most is how I slid down the rabbit’s hole due to my desire to want to belong, to socially fit.

I suppose all of us who relate to this unfolding have a personal story of our own. Mine was rooted in a family dynamic that made it difficult for me to have friends to my home and consequently I missed out on social bonding that helps develop a strong sense of self. It wasn’t until later in life, in high school and university, that I encountered warm satisfying friendships. By then the damage was done. I just wish I had this book in my earlier years to have helped my younger, more formative self. Thankfully, it’s never too late to unwind wounds and deepen self-love, which is another thing I found from this beautifully powerful read. In summation, let me say I am grateful I had this recommended to me by a friend, someone whose words I respect. This gem of a book did not disappoint. Highly recommend.

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

Other books by D.G. Kaye

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon USAndAmazon UKBlogD.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads –  Twitter:@pokercubster

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews -#Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #postapocalyptic Terry Tyler, #Authors Anne R. Allen – #FREE #Mystery Sharon Marchisello


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

The first author is Jacqui Murray with a recent review for Survival of the Fittest: Book One of the Crossroads Trilogy

About the book

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home. Written in the spirit of Jean Auel, Survival of the Fittest is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion.

Chased by a ruthless enemy, Xhosa leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands following a path laid out decades before by her father, to be followed only as a last resort. She is joined by other fleeing tribes from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant, all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, tragedy, secrets, and Nature itself, Xhosa is forced to face the reality that her enemy doesn’t want to ruin her People. It wants to ruin her.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia, where ‘survival of the fittest’ was not a slogan. It was a destiny. Xhosa’s People were from a violent species, one fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened their lives except for one: future man, a smarter version of themselves, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Apr 12, 2020 Jacquie rated it Five Stars

After Xhosa’s father dies, she must prove her value as leader of The People. Chased from their homeland, they must undertake a perilous journey through treacherous lands and savage tribes.

“Does anyone challenge this warrior?”

Her hands were neutral, giving nothing away about her feelings. When Xhosa rose, like mist from wet hot-season grass, everyone snickered except the Primary Female. A wisp of a smile touched her lips.

“I too am prepared. Nightshade, I challenge you.”

MURRAY, JACQUI. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST (THE CROSSROADS TRILOGY BOOK 1)

Along the way, they befriend Others making the same journey, each with unique talents that benefit the tribe and more than once saves them from certain death.

This book was so well-written I was sorry to turn the last page (cliffhanger alert!) and had to buy the next story in the series, The Quest for Home, to find out what happens to Xhosa, Nightshade, Pan-do, Zvi and all the rest of the characters I’ve become invested in- well done!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Jacqui Murray

Read all the reviews and buy the books:   Amazon Author Page US

And: Amazon UK

 Read more reviews and follow Jacqui: goodreads

Connect to Jacqui via her Blog: Worddreams

The next author with recent reviews is Terry Tyler for her post apocalyptic thriller Blackthorn.

About the book

The UK, year 2139.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block, until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision, and promises to bring hope back to the people’s lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift’s spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor’s loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder’s message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

A recent review for Blackthorn

Cynical J 5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 March 2020

A fantastic book that keeps you gripped until the last page. part of a series but I didn’t know until the end, makes no difference though as its a fantastic stand-alone book that when finished just made me want to read the backstories starting with, Tipping point. Blackthorn is dystopian, it rolls around religions and how humans abuse and get comfort from them. really enjoyed it and cant wait to read the others in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And : Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Terry Tyler: Goodreads

Connect to Terry via her Blog: Terry Tyler Blogspot

The third author today is Anne R. Allen with a review for her non-fiction guide – The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors

About the book

Book Authority named The Author Blog to the “Best Blogging Books of All Time” in September 2019. It’s a fun, easy-does-it guide to simple, low-tech blogging for authors who want to build a platform, but not let it take over their lives.

An author blog doesn’t have to follow the rules that monetized business blogs do. This book teaches the secrets that made Anne R. Allen a multi-award-winning blogger and one of the top author-bloggers in the industry.

And you’ll learn why having a successful author blog is easier than you think.

Here are some things you’ll learn in this book:

*How an author blog is different–and easier to maintain–than a business blog
*What authors should blog about at different stages of their careers
*Choosing the right blog topics for your genre and audience
*How one type of blogpost can build your platform quickly
*Basic SEO tips that don’t make your eyes glaze over with tech jargon
*How to write headers that will grab the attention of Web surfers
*How to keep your audience by learning the tricks of content writing
*Essential blog and social media etiquette rules
*What happens to your blog when you die?

One of the recent reviews for the book

kimberly 5.0 out of 5 stars Take away-writing blogs are different  Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
I have known for years that I need to start a blog, but have always felt intimidated. In this book, the author makes it clear that writer blogs are not for monetization and are therefore different from most of the other blogs out there. It took a huge weight off my mind and now I feel better able to start.
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Anne R. Allen

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Anne on: Goodreads

Connect to Anne via her blog:  Anne R. Allen

Sharon Marchisello has her murder mystery, Going Home FREE over the weekend 25th/26th April – sounds like a great addition to your reading list.

About Going Home

Michelle DePalma expected to jet into Two Wells, Texas, check on her elderly mother, and hurry back to her orderly life in Atlanta, where she has a happy marriage and satisfying career. Instead, she finds her mother, Lola Hanson, hovered over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver, Brittany Landers.

Since the events of 9/11, one month earlier, Lola’s memory loss has amplified, and the family suspects Alzheimer’s. Now Lola can’t tell anyone what happened to Brittany.

The agency that provides home care for Lola promptly withdraws its services. Michelle is stuck in her home town longer than planned as she cares for a mother with whom she has never been close and tries to prove her innocence. The police officers who investigate the crime are old antagonists from grade school. A secret thought to be long buried—that Michelle bore a son out of wedlock and gave him up for adoption—surfaces when a surprise daughter-in-law and granddaughter show up, distracting Michelle from her quest to solve the murder. And then she stumbles upon a motive which makes Lola look even more guilty.

“Going Home” was inspired by the author’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and explores the challenge of solving a murder mystery when a potential witness cannot rely on her memory. Written from the prospective of a baby boomer forced to reverse roles with her parents, it crosses into the mainstream genre of women’s fiction and touches increasingly common issues such as elder abuse and end-of-life decisions.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Gerri A. 5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read with an unexpected ending  Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2019

I enjoyed reading Sharon Marchisello’s contemporary story of returning to her small hometown of origin in Texas and finding her aging mother in crisis. Not only is the mother disoriented and confused, the dead body of her caregiver is lying on the floor. Thus opens Marchisello’s murder mystery, with includes lots of real-life emotions, dilemmas, and situations. The main characters have histories that go back to their childhoods, with the inherent difficulties of forgiving, forgetting, and letting go. An unexpected guest at the mother’s front door, with her ten-year-old daughter in tow, generate both interest and concern as the guest finesses herself into the family. Law enforcement considers various murder suspects among the motley crew of caregivers who had had access to the protagonist’s increasingly vulnerable mother, each with believable motives and many opportunities. The prime suspect becomes the elderly mother herself, who is unable to offer a coherent account of what happened. Tension increases when the identity of the unexpected guest becomes apparent, and the protagonist must reveal a deep secret to her husband. The twists, turns, and unexpected ending will keep mystery lovers turning pages until the end.

Read the reviews and get the book Free 25th/26th AprilAmazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Read other reviews and follow Sharon: Goodreads

Connect to Sharon via her blog: Sharon Blogspot

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope that you will be leaving with a few books to add to your reading list. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #ComingofAge Bette A. Stevens, #Writing Jane Sturgeon, #PostApocalyptic Terry Tyler


The first author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for Dog Bone Soup

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jan 19, 2020 Janet Gogerty rated  Five Stars
If you are not from the USA or have never been there you will surely know this country through the eyes of your television set. Starting with Hollywood and moving on to the television era this was the first country to project an image to the English speaking world and beyond. By the fifties and sixties other countries were catching up with television, but most of us will have grown up with American programmes, funny or glossy. As adults we know life is not always as portrayed on television. The story of Shawn and his family is totally captivating. Poverty is relative; if everybody is in the same boat there is no shame. Shawn’s family are struggling to eat, no running water, but they have a television set, most children at their local school are living the good life portrayed on television.
The late fifties and early sixties were prosperous, the space age had started, but not everyone was sharing the good times. For everyone there will be the shock of Kenedy’s assasination. Shawn as the eldest has to use all his ingenuity to keep the family going. This is also a universal story that happens in every time and place; the woman who soon finds out she’s married a loser, alcohol leads to domestic violence. The story wisely starts and ends with Shawn leaving to join the army; a poignant ending because he has achieved his aim, but at what price with Vietnam surely his destination?

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Bette: Goodreads

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog:  4 Writers and Readers

My next author is Jane Sturgeon with a recent review for her non-fiction  Writing on Water: Self Awareness.

About the book

Each one of us holds stories about ourselves and these drive our lives. Thoughts are attached to emotions and actions spring from how we feel. Old stories can be re-written, new stories can be crafted and discoveries are made along the way. It is the tapestry of life and yes, you can weave with whatever threads you choose. Loving support, fresh perspectives and new life tools can make all the difference.

A recent review for the book

Brigid P. Gallagher 5.0 out of 5 stars Words that Radiate a Beautiful Inner Wisdom  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 February 2020

Jane Sturgeon hopes her readers will “dip in and out as you need” and that her first book “gifts you a peaceful place to rest, reflect and find more self acceptance.”

She shares experiences from her life – unique moments of tenderness, the joy of Nature, of her two marriages, lessons on perfectionism, instinct, getting hijacked, staying small…
She has a beautiful gift for words. I particularly liked her creative writing exercise on sea glass:

“Because I am like sea glass; never perfect, never finished, and I have lived in so many places across the world that I have no roots. I carry my home in my heart. “

Although short in length, Jane’s book is not short on wisdom. It is indeed perfect for dipping in and out as you need.

Head over and buy the book: Amazon UK

And Amazon US: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Jane: Goodreads

Connect to Jane via her blog: Jane Sturgeon WordPress

The final author with recent reviews is Terry Tyler for her post apocalyptic thriller Blackthorn.

About the book

The UK, year 2139.

One hundred and fifteen years ago, a mysterious virus wiped out ninety-five per cent of humanity.

Blackthorn, the largest settlement in England, rose from the ashes of the devastated old world. It is a troubled city, where the workers live in crude shacks, and make do with the worst of everything.

It is a city of violent divisions, crime, and an over-populated jail block, until a charismatic traveller has a miraculous vision, and promises to bring hope back to the people’s lives.

Blackthorn falls under Ryder Swift’s spell, and the most devoted of all is the governor’s loyal servant, Lieutenant August Hemsley.

Twenty-one-year-old Evie has lived her whole life in the shacks. She and disillusioned guard Byron Lewis are two of a minority who have doubts about Ryder’s message. Can they stand against the beliefs of an entire city?

A recent review for Blackthorn

Feb 17, 2020 Scatterbooker rated it Five Stars

Blackthorn by Terry Tyler is a fascinating addition to the brilliant post-apocalyptic Project Renova universe. It examines what happens when religion is re-introduced to civilisation by a handsome and charismatic traveller generations after life as we know it has been wiped by the ‘bat fever’ virus.

Blackthorn is a very character driven novel and is told from the first person perspectives of three main characters who come from all walks of life in the new world. Evie is one of the working class “Shackers”, Byron is a guard, and Lieutenant Hemsley is very close to Governor Wolf North.

I loved how each character had their own distinct voice and the multiple POV really allows the reader the get to know all of the characters better, as it allows you to see them through the eyes of the characters too.

Although Blackthorn is part of the Project Renova universe, with many of the characters descending from people we have met in earlier novels, it can easily be read as a stand alone novel. I did enjoy finding out how the characters in Blackthorn were connected to characters from earlier novels, and it was deeply satisfying to be able see how some things played out so many years later.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And : Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Terry Tyler: Goodreads

Connect to Terry via her Blog: Terry Tyler Blogspot

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