Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Memoir Marian Longenecker Beaman, #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Memoir Patty Fletcher


Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet Marian Beaman


Marian Longenecker Beaman is a former professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. Her memoir records the charms and challenges of growing up in the strict culture of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in the 1950s. Marian shares her story to preserve these memories and to leave a legacy for future generations.

She lives with her artist husband Cliff in Florida, where her grown children and grandchildren also reside

One of the recent reviews for Marian’s memoir

Joy Nwosu Lo-BamijokoVINE VOICE 4.0 out of 5 stars An Eye-Opener!  Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2021

This book was a learning process for me. First, I have never heard of the Mennonites until I read this book. It would seem that this religious group lived in a world of their own within the real world. They were against so many rules that we take for granted, and they lived by their own rules.Marian Longenecker was brought up in this exclusive and well-protected family. The children attended their own churches and were taught in their own schools, where everything and everyone conformed to the same rules.

Marian grew up always at loggerheads with her father, and she was severely punished in a way that only people in their secluded life would punish a child by whipping and getting away with it.

Looking at her parents, her father, Ray, mother, Ruth, her grandmother, Fannie, or her aunt Ruthie, one could not tell where she got her stubbornness from. As much as she was stubborn, her father was high-handed.

They were three sisters, Janice Jean and Marian, but Marian was the only one who was always at loggerheads with their father. She grew up believing that the father did not love her. She was smart, a straight-A student, but her parents never acknowledged this. One event stood out for me. She graduated high school, a straight-A student, and her father could not buy her ice cream to celebrate! When he gave her gifts, it was usually a run-down, rickety gift, like the bicycle gift.

She took everything in her stride, continued doing well in school, passed her exams, and became a teacher. As a Mennonite school teacher, she was expected to observe a dress code that she said made her feel like a Nun. She always dreamt of escaping the shackles of her Mennonite upbringing. Then Cliff came into her life and gave her the courage to leave her family in Pennsylvania and migrate to the South to teach.

The author was able to paint the canvass of her life with such vividness and dept that I could understand and empathize with her story and learn about the culture of the Mennonites. I loved her description of the great dinners served in her family, and the succulency of the meals served. The story is an eye-opener for me.

Marian Longenecker Beaman, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Marian : Goodreads – blog: Marian Beaman – Facebook: Marian Beaman

Meet Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

A selection of books by Jacqui Murray

A recent review for Against All Odds

The Quest for Home is book 2 in the Crossroads series and continues with leaders Xhosa and Pan-do’s quest to find a new home for their combined People.

This book gets off to an exciting start with the People recovering from the wreckages of the rafts they had used to escape an unexpected attack. Bad weather caused the rafts to crash or sink long before their intended destination. Leader Xhosa knows the People will need to take time to recover from the catastrophe and then follow Hawk’s directions on foot and not by raft. Unfortunately, Hawk will not be accompanying them, but at least she still has Pan-do, her quiet and sensible co-leader, and Nightshade, her unbeatable Lead Warrior.

Like the previous book in this series, The Quest for Home is incredibly well researched and I became completely immersed in the period and setting being approximately 850 thousand years ago. The twin goals of the People, to survive and to have children to continue the species, quickly became my goals and I shared Leader Xhosa’s anxieties, worries and sweated over the difficult decisions she needed to make. It is interesting to see the same social issues such as abuse of females and murder raising their ugly heads in this ancient society and it brought home to me how little real progress humankind has made in certain areas, despite huge advancements in other areas like technology.

Xhosa continues to grow as a character and her leadership skills expand. She starts to understand the benefits of softer skills such as negotiation and protection of the weaker members of her People. Unfortunately, Xhosa is still not able to see the increasingly bad character traits in certain of her colleagues and this causes her a lot of misery and pain down the line.

Pan-do continues to be the steadfast and calm leader he has always been and remains completely devoted to his daughter, Lyta. Pan-do’s determination to keep the peace and not cause conflict is sorely tested in this second story. There is only so much goading anyone can take.

Nightshade continues to exhibit selfish and greedy behaviour and increasingly assumes the mantle of the abuser and future despot. His manipulative ways are obvious to the reader who see certain situations through his eyes, and it mounts the tension hugely to know more than either Pan-do or Xhosa do and to watch them make mistakes.

Wind, the twin brother of the aggressive ‘Big Head’ Thunder, makes a reappearance in this book and plays a much bigger role. He is an excellent warrior, but is also empathetic and kind with an ability and desire to teach others. There is a spark between Xhosa and Wind but they are not of the same origins and that appears to be an insurmountable problem.

People who enjoy a good novel with an interesting historical setting based on solid research will thoroughly enjoy this book.  

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacqui: goodreads – Blog: WorddreamsTwitter: @WordDreams

Meet Patty Fletcher

Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020 she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020 King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. It is her hope to one day return to The Seeing Eye® for a successor guide.

Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn. She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast.

Books by Patty Fletcher

A review for Pathway to Freedom

Dec 29, 2020 Christy McMakin rated it five stars it was amazing

I met Patty last November and was immediately intrigued by her authenticity and witty personality. Over the past year we have become great friends and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her on a personal level. When I heard her new book was ready for purchase, I immediately ordered it! Due to my busy schedule, I read a little here and there, until finally, during the holiday, I was able to sit down with book in hand, really delve into the book and I was captivated! Patty’s story is one of trauma, perseverance and overcoming. Her writing style draws you in and will leave you laughing one moment and crying the next, all the while standing in awe of her honesty and transparency.

As a person of sight, I had no idea of the vigorous training it took to pair someone with their service animal and I completely appreciated every single detail Patty shared of her training with Campbell at The Seeing Eye. As someone who has also suffered from domestic violence, I appreciated Patty’s willingness to allow her readers to see inside her personal battle with the mental and emotional trauma that you experience at the hands of an abuser. Anyone who reads this book will be informed, educated and inspired 

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon USAnd :Amazon UK – Follow Patty: GoodreadsWebsite and Blog: Patty’s World  Twitter: @Bubbalee04

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – Reviews – #Afghanistan Mary Smith, #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Mystery Mary Anne Edwards


Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves

The first author today is Mary Smith with a review for her novel set in Afghanistan, a book that I can highly recommend…No More Mulberries

About the book

No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jan 25, 2021 M.J. Mallon rated it 4.5 stars really liked it

I really enjoyed No more Mulberries. The story’s strength lies in its cultural detail, and in its great variety of characters. The tale transports you away to Afghanistan to a country we all have heard a lot about, but few have ever been there. It doesn’t shy away from mentioning the truth of living in Afghanistan where losing face and a woman’s place and freedoms are far different than in the west. It also touches upon the stigma of leprosy. And yet, with all the trials and tribulations there is a sense of how much Miriam loves this adoptive country, so much so, that she decides to convert her faith and become a muslim.

It is a slow burn of a story, with much detail in the beginning explaining the path that took Miriam from Scotland to living in Afghanistan. It is also a love story, and in some ways a love triangle between the ghost of her dearly departed first love, who was killed, and her new husband Iqbal with tensions apparent especially towards the end of the story.

The ending was emotionally powerful and brought all the threads of the story to a satisfying conclusion. I began to understand Miriam’s motivations.

A well-written, engaging story which I would highly recommend especially to those who appreciate cultural stories about family, marriage, love and honour.

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

Also by Mary Smith

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Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK –  Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

The next author today with a recent review is Jacqui Murray for Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy) A series that I can highly recommend.

About the book

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of the People’s long search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Terri 5.0 out of 5 stars Now That They are Home…  Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2021

Jacqui Murray knocks it out of the park again with the third book in the Crossroads Trilogy. Set 850,000 years ago, thoughtful and compassionate leader Xhosa fearlessly guides her people to their final home in what we know as modern Spain. Meticulously researched, the setting invites the reader to feels the heat, the flies, and lurking predators as Xhosa’s people navigate their home and surroundings. Definitely a page-turner, Murray deftly weaves the flaws and ordinary humanity into the characters which flesh out the probable personalities of Homo Erectus. Despite Xhosa’s chronic headaches, Seeker’s spiritual capacity and oddness, Wind’s stoicism, and Pan-Do’s experience and capacity to accept his emotions, the People exist and thrive in a cohesive group with an insatiable will to survive. Loyal wolves round out the group and provide a unique perspective to the series relating to the domestication of some mammals. If you are into pre-historic fiction, I highly recommend Murray’s Crossroads Trilogy.

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

Also by by Jacqui Murray

Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow Jacqui: goodreads – Blog: WorddreamsTwitter: @WordDreams

The final author today is Mary Anne Edwards with a review for the first book her mystery series and a look at the new covers for the books – Brilliant Disguise: A Charlie McClung Mystery (The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 1)

About the book

Are you sure you could tell the difference between murder and suicide?

Having had more than enough of the big city, Detective Charlie McClung moves to a small town looking for a simpler life.

Turns out his first case is the most complicated of his career.

A young woman is found shot and while everyone is telling him suicide, his gut, and the dead woman’s beautiful neighbor, are telling him something quite different.

How far can he dig before he uncovers secrets never meant to be unearthed? Throw in a shady police chief and an unexpected love interest and McClung quickly finds himself with more trouble than he ever imagined.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Hunter Tondee 5.0 out of 5 stars So good I immediately read the 2nd in series, “A Good Girl”! Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2021

This book starts off with a bang and keeps going strong! Mary Anne does such a great job creating a mystery and paying attention to detail! So glad I was introduced to her books!

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

Also by Mary Anne Edwards

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – andAmazon UK Follow Mary Anne on: Goodreads – Website: Mary Anne Edwards Twitter: @maedwards58

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Children’s Toni Pike, #Humour J. E. Pinto


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Books by Jacqui Murray

A recent review for Survival of the Fittest
Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars  Very Engaging  Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2020
Verified Purchase
The story of five tribes of early man searching for living space is fiction, of course, but it is well researched and based on events that might have happened 850,000 years ago. These tribes traveled great distances looking for land that would provide their basic needs: food, water, shelter, and safety from other tribes who may want to drive them out, kill them, or even eat them.

Author Jacqui Murray expertly develops the main characters of each tribe, revealing their emotions and personality traits which are not so different from our own. But much more so than our modern man, these people, by necessity, had to be resourceful, fearless, and incredibly tough. Only the fittest would live to carry on.
The title of this fascinating novel is perfect. “Survival of the Fittest” is a book I did not want to put down. I was very happy to know there was more adventure to come in “The Quest for Home,” Book Two of this series.

Jacqui Murray, BuyAmazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow Jacqui: goodreads – Blog: WorddreamsTwitter@WordDreams

Meet Toni Pike

Toni Pike’s main passions are writing, travelling and spending time with family and friends, and she believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day. After starting her career as a veterinary surgeon, she later taught high school and had a successful career in the public service. She now lives in Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

Pike is the author of Dead Dry Heart – a psychological thriller, and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: The Magus Covenant, The Rock of Magus, The Magus Epiphany and Holy Spear of Magus.

She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. The One Way Diet is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. Happy Travels 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

Books by Toni Pike

One of the recent reviews for Brody Cody

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious fun for kids  Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2020

This book is a hilarious and fun read for young readers aged 7 to 13 years old. It is quite reminiscent, with its quirky and slightly dark humour, of Roald Dahl’s books, in particular, it reminded me a bit of James and the Giant Peach where James’ parents are eaten by a rampaging rhinoceros.

Cody, the young hero if this book, is raised by his relaxed and nonchalant father after his mother is mowed down unexpectedly by a runaway bus. Cody is spared because he flies out of his pram and across into the hands of the police constable who catches him like a baseball.

Cody is a happy boy who lives with no rules and little parental intervention. His father works from home in the afternoons, and is not given to checking on Cody’s homework or making sure it is done. They have an interesting diet too that comprises of sweet and sickly cereal in the morning and some fabulously unhealthy father created meals in the evenings.

Cody is happy and doesn’t believe he needs a mother like other children have. He has freedom and he is happy living with his father.

One day, Cody’s father needs to go away to an out-of-town conference. Cody cannot go with him and is sent to his friend’s home for this period. Cody’s friend has a mother and she sets about trying to mend Cody’s lackadaisical ways. Just before Cody is due to go home, he gets a quick call from his father telling him he has met and married a woman he met at the conference.

Cody is horrified and returns home quite determined to reject this new mother, but things don’t go quite according to plan. Cody discovers things about his new mother than lead him to believe she is an alien.

This really is a rollicking good story and young children will love it.

Toni Pike, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1

Meet J. E. Pinto

J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs. Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.

Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books.

A review for Daddy won’t let Mom Drive the Car

CuteAsADaisy  4.0 out of 5 stars Back Eyes  Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2020

As a mother of a daughter who is legally blind I absolutely loved listening to this book. It a group of short stories from a blind mother with a mix of life lessons, cute stories, frustrating moments from ignorant and some just plain rude people. She even included her solution to problems like using hot glue (brilliant and Thank you!) to baking recipes. I loved the stories about her “Back eyes” all mom’s have them! Whether you are blind or not this is a great book for parents in any stage. I liked the little stories format and would love to hear more from this author. The narrator did a great job and was easy to listen. This was a really fun and quick read.

J. E. Pinto, Buy:Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow J.E. Pinto : Goodreads –  Facebook: Author J. E. Pinto

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed meeting more of the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and discovering their books. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Familydrama James J. Cudney, #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Children’s Toni Pike


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

The first author with a recent review is James J. Cudney for his family drama Father Figure.

About the book

Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Abused by her mother, Amalia Graeme longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden New York City teenager, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. Father Figure is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 4.0 out of 5 stars Two women growing into their skins  Reviewed in the United States on May 31, 2020

This family drama alternates chapters between two women who, 20 years apart, are transitioning from high school to college. Amalia lives in rural Mississippi under the abusive thumb of her mother. Brianna is from New York City, and though she has a loving mother, she is desperate to know her father’s identity. Her mother, Mollie, refuses to disclose any details of her past.

In a way, the book is a character study, chronicling the two young women’s journeys from adolescence to young adulthood primarily through their sexual experiences and relationships, both positive and negative. This part of the narrative, for me, explored how each woman finally grew into her own skin.

I felt a great deal of empathy for timid Amalia, more so than for Brianna who is so persistent about finding out who her father is that she causes endless problems for everyone around her. It’s Brianna’s search that leads to the climatic end where the mysteries in the book are resolved.

The pace for most of the book felt very slow to me until the last 15% when things started coming together. Otherwise, the writing, characterizations, descriptions, and dialog are all well done. I think this read might be too long and slow for a YA audience, but I recommend it for readers of women’s lit and family dramas.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow James: Goodreads

Connect to James via his blog: This is my Truth Now

The next review is for the second book in The Crossroads Trilogy – The Quest for Home by Jacqui Murray. 

About The Quest for Home

Driven from her home. Stalked by enemies. Now her closest ally may be a traitor.

Bravo Jacqui! A fine read and meticulous research.” — Sue Harrison, author of the acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy,

Xhosa flees what she had hoped would be her new home after being attacked by invaders from the North. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands of what we now call Europe. As she struggles to overcome strangers around her and disruptions within her People, Xhosa faces the reality that her most dangerous enemy may not be the one she expected. It may be one she has trusted with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is an unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man spreads across Eurasia. Xhosa must regularly does the impossible which is good because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

A recent review for the book

Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars Power Struggles Handled Well  Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2020

The Quest for Home picks up where Survival of the Fittest left off. The overarching theme is to find a land that will support the tribes and provide the necessities of life for them. On this journey, several smaller tribes have banded together for safety and other benefits that a community can provide. However while dealing with the dangers the groups expect during a migration in search of a homeland, a power struggle develops between the leaders of the groups. The undermining of Xhosa, the main leader, makes her task of delivering her people to a new home all the more difficult. But Xhosa is no shrinking violet. She meets all the challenges meant to derail her – treachery thrown her way by traitors, cowards, and ambitious usurpers. Can she carry the weight of all her people’s problems and still fight the internal battles that threaten her leadership?

I was impressed by the author’s skill in developing the novel. The inner conflicts of the main characters are masterfully worked into the storyline to add tension to the major external conflicts. Each challenger for the leadership of the tribes has his own personality and reasons for wanting to lead. Each has a major flaw that becomes his own biggest problem. Add to the in-house intrigues and the natural dangers of weather and geography, the appearance of cannibals and other groups bent on killing them all, and you have the tension racheted up to the highest level. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next in the series.

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 US

And: Amazon UK

 Read more reviews and follow Jacqui: goodreads

Connect to Jacqui via her Blog: Worddreams

The final author today is Toni Pike with a review for her children’s book Brody Cody and the Stepmother from Outer Space.

About the book

Brody Cody is almost eight years old and definitely, absolutely, positively does NOT want a mother. His mother died when he was a baby but life with his dad is just perfect.

Brody is horrified when his father goes away to a publishing conference and returns with a wife, Pandora Smith, who is a children’s author. His life spirals out of control as he is forced to eat healthy food, do his homework and help with some chores.

Even worse, he and his friends suspect that his new stepmother might be an alien from outer space.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious fun for kids  Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2020

This book is a hilarious and fun read for young readers aged 7 to 13 years old. It is quite reminiscent, with its quirky and slightly dark humour, of Roald Dahl’s books, in particular, it reminded me a bit of James and the Giant Peach where James’ parents are eaten by a rampaging rhinoceros.

Cody, the young hero if this book, is raised by his relaxed and nonchalant father after his mother is mowed down unexpectedly by a runaway bus. Cody is spared because he flies out of his pram and across into the hands of the police constable who catches him like a baseball.

Cody is a happy boy who lives with no rules and little parental intervention. His father works from home in the afternoons, and is not given to checking on Cody’s homework or making sure it is done. They have an interesting diet too that comprises of sweet and sickly cereal in the morning and some fabulously unhealthy father created meals in the evenings.

Cody is happy and doesn’t believe he needs a mother like other children have. He has freedom and he is happy living with his father.

One day, Cody’s father needs to go away to an out-of-town conference. Cody cannot go with him and is sent to his friend’s home for this period. Cody’s friend has a mother and she sets about trying to mend Cody’s lackadaisical ways. Just before Cody is due to go home, he gets a quick call from his father telling him he has met and married a woman he met at the conference.

Cody is horrified and returns home quite determined to reject this new mother, but things don’t go quite according to plan. Cody discovers things about his new mother than lead him to believe she is an alien.

This really is a rollicking good story and young children will love it.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book:  USA  –  UK  –  Australia  –  Canada

A selection of other books by Toni Pike

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Toni on: Goodreads

Connect to Toni via her website: Toni Pike

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – #Family James J. Cudney, #Thriller Sue Coletta, #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray


Welcome to Wednesday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first book today with recent reviews is Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney.

About the book

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia’s husband unexpectedly passes away. But when Ben’s will reveals a life-altering secret, she suffers a blow no widow should ever experience.

Olivia learns that she gave birth to a baby who later died in the nursery. Instead of telling his wife what happened, Ben switched the child with another. And as if that’s not enough, Ben’s will doesn’t reveal which of their five sons is truly not hers.

Olivia visits each of her sons to share a final connection before facing the truth that will change their family, and discovers that each of them has been harboring a painful secret, just like their father. But will the secrets destroy their family, or bring them closer together?

A recent review for the book

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars A Family Comes Full Circle  Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2020

I had previously read James J Cudney’s book, Father Figure, a few months back. I enjoyed that one so much that I knew I had to read one of his other novels. After reading the blurb about Watching Glass Glass Shatter, I knew this was the one.

This story centers around the Glass family, and a secret that Ben, the father, has kept for years. He and his wife, Olivia, have raised five sons, but what Olivia does not know is that one of her sons is not her biological child. When Olivia gave birth to one of the boys, the baby died shortly after, while Olivia was still in the hospital. Ben comes across a single mom, Rowena Hector, who is giving birth to a child during the same period. Rowena agrees to give her baby up because she feels she is unable to care for him.

This secret remains for many years. Ben had always wanted to tell his wife the truth, but before he can, his life ends in a tragic car accident. Ben’s will reveals the secret to Olivia, who feels quite resentful at first. There is a second envelope that tells which son is not their biological child, but Ben asks Olivia to do something before she examines the second envelope.

There are over 200 excellent reviews for the book: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow James: Goodreads

Connect to James via his blog: This is my Truth Now

The next author with a recent review is Sue Coletta for Hacked (Special Forces: Operation Alpha)

About the book

Shawnee Daniels wrongly assumes she’s being punished for innocently hacking the Police Chief’s photos. Okay, maybe not-so-innocently, but someone had to expose him for the dog that he is. When she arrives at the mandatory computer seminar, the FBI enlists her help in stopping a serial killer who’s remotely hacking vehicles while the owners are behind the wheel.

Why he’s targeted these people remains a mystery. None of the victims frequent the same places, some don’t even live in the same state. The only commonality is they all drive Fords.

When Detective Levaughn Samuels is taken hostage—his life teetering on the edge of a high-speed chase—there’s nothing Shawnee won’t do to save him, no line she won’t cross. And when her BFF shows up unannounced with problems of her own, she only complicates matters.

Can Shawnee stop the killer before she loses the only man she’s ever loved? Or will the ride of his life end in death?

HACKED is a Mayhem Series crossover novella.

A recent review for the book

Sherry Fundin 4.0 out of 5 stars Could this happen in real life?  Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2020

Shawnee Daniels is an unforgettable character that lives by her own set of rules…so I wouldn’t recommend getting on her bad side. She is a forensic hacker extraordinaire, working for the police. She makes me think of Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds. She is also a cat burglar, but we’re keeping that on the down low. I love a unique character and Shawnee fits the bill. Her BFF, Nadine, is quite the character in her own right. She is bubbly, effervescent and adds a lighter touch to the inherent danger that follows Shawnee around. I have wondered about this scenario in the real world and to see it play out in fiction is all too frightening. A quick reading novella that only whets my appetite for more.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Sue Coletta

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

AndAmazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Sue : Goodreads

Connect to Sue via her website/blog: Sue Coletta

The fiinal 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

Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars  Very Engaging  Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2020
Verified Purchase
The story of five tribes of early man searching for living space is fiction, of course, but it is well researched and based on events that might have happened 850,000 years ago. These tribes traveled great distances looking for land that would provide their basic needs: food, water, shelter, and safety from other tribes who may want to drive them out, kill them, or even eat them.

Author Jacqui Murray expertly develops the main characters of each tribe, revealing their emotions and personality traits which are not so different from our own. But much more so than our modern man, these people, by necessity, had to be resourceful, fearless, and incredibly tough. Only the fittest would live to carry on.
The title of this fascinating novel is perfect. “Survival of the Fittest” is a book I did not want to put down. I was very happy to know there was more adventure to come in “The Quest for Home,” Book Two of this series.

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

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