Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton

Absolutely delighted to feature While the Bombs Fell which is written by Robbie Cheadle and her mother Elsie Hancy Eaton.

About While the Bombs Fell

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?

Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes

Head over and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Time to take a closer look at books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves.

James rated it it was amazing 25th July 2018

I’m in absolute awe thinking about the creativity within the Cheadle family. Their culinary and literary talents are fantastic. In one of their newer books, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook, Robbie Cheadle and her children take us on an extraordinary journey to the sugar crystal caves which are in danger of melting. Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet save the day showing us how much they love the world they live in. I need to try one of these recipes in the fall… all the creations look delectable. The stories are adorable. It’s the perfect way to bond with children on a lovely weekend where you stay in to have fun! 

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads:

Connect to Robbie and Michael


Thank you for visiting and I hope you will head over and buy Robbie’s latest book.. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – Dinner – Taster Menu with Robbie Cheadle, Patricia Salamone, Leslie Tate, Carol Taylor, Debby Gies, Noelle Granger, Marjorie Mallon and Mary Smith

Welcome to the third of the end of summer party meals today. Afternoon Tea is a time for sandwiches, cakes and scones… and I hope my guests today have brought their appetites with them. Later on this evening.. a dinner party to round the day off. And tomorrow Sunday Lunch.

I asked my guests if there was one particular food that they could not live without and hopefully I have catered for all of their tastes if not I hope they will enjoy the menu I have selected. I have also asked for their music requests and I have drawn four of the choices out of a hat to play in each post.

Those tracks that there is not time for will be shared during next week in special editions of the Blogger Daily.

With that out of the way I hope you will enjoy this opportunity to meet blogger friends in a slightly different setting, and also new contacts that will increase your blogging pleasure.

This is a party and if you are popping in then please do not leave without leaving you name, a little bit about yourself and the link to your blog and to Amazon if you are an author.

My first guest is children’s author  Robbie Cheadle co-writing The Sir Chocolate Series with her son Michael.Robbie is also the author of While the Buzz Bombs Fell, a biographical novel set in WWII based around her mother’s childhood years. We can also expect another new release as part of a YA supernatural/horror series under the name of Roberta Eaton and at her new blog Roberta Writes

Here is a brief background for Robbie and you can find out more on her website along with amazing recipes  Bake and Write

Robbie Cheadle was born in London but tragically lost her father when a baby. Her mother immigrated to South Africa when Robbie was three months old, and they have lived in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant specialising in corporate finance, but still amazes us with her writing, blogging and fabulous baking skills. She is married to Terence and they have two great boys, Gregory and Michael and they now live in Johannesburg.

Here is a selection of Robbie and Michael’s books on Amazon


Here is one of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves

This latest adventure of Sir Chocolate contains some of the most beautiful decorations in the series so far – the Chrystal Cave must have taken ages to construct and the other fondant figurines are lovely. The recipes are ideal for children as it shows them to make aeroplanes and wind mills with wafer biscuits. Sir Chocolate and Lade Sweet embark on another adventure to make sure that the sugar crystals won’t melt and they would still be able to make cool drinks for the inhabitants.

Robbie says she loves grilled prawns and chips… and it so happens that one of the starters this evening is some grilled prawns…

And to kick the music off this evening, here is Robbie’s request for Making Love Out of Nothing At All by Air Supply. Robbie says she loves this song because it reminds her of her relationship with her husband Terence.

Another starter to enjoy as the guests chat to each other, smoked salmon and cream cheese and chives on oatcakes, and also  a glass of wine direct from the Smorgasbord Vineyards……in Italy so I hope that my next visitor will enjoy.

My next guest is the lovely Patricia Salamone who was born in Queens, New York to her Italian mother and German father. The Italian influence always dominated in her home, and from that seed, and her tip to Sicily in 2002 to meet relatives, was born her first memoir The Italian Thing Amazon. I am particularly happy to see Patricia here as she has had a very tough year with complications from a knee replacement and the return of cancer for the fourth time, which she is determined to beat again. A very strong lady who is an inspiration to us all. You can read some of her wonderful fiction serials on her blog The Writer’s Desk

One of the terrific reviews for The Italian Thing.

Michele DeLuca  5.0 out of 5 stars This story inspired me to begin planning my own trip to Italy

As a woman raised in a large extended Italian-American family, I have to say that the author and her husband lived out my dream: to go to Italy and meet with long-lost relatives.Every bit of their adventure as recounted in this book, helps me to understand even more about the traditions and behavior of my own beautiful extended family, especially the endless meals and delicious, lovingly made food.

This is is a simple travel account written by a joyful storyteller, but the author’s sense of humor and love for the people they met and the experiences they had, elevates it to a culinary adventure that made me smile from my heart. I am inspired now to create my own trip and hope it is just as love-filled and delicious.

Patricia requested I Hope You Can Dance by Lee Ann Womack, and I will be playing that during the week in the Blogger Daily

 Time for the salad course and my next guest has a preference for green olives, and there are plenty to be found in this Greek Feta cheese salad with tomatoes.

Meet author Leslie Tate who shares a little bit about himself on his Website

On my website I post up weekly creative interviews and guest blogs showing how people use their imagination in life, in many different ways. I studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and have been shortlisted for the Bridport, Geoff Stevens and Wivenhoe Prizes. I’m the author of the trilogy of novels ‘Purple’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Violet’, as well as my trans memoir ‘Heaven’s Rage’, which has been turned into a film. I run a comedy club, a poetry group and a mixed arts show in Berkhamsted, UK.

You can find out more about Leslie’s books on Amazon

Here is a review for Leslie’s latest book Violet

Violet is a beautifully written study of life: its trials and tribulations as well as its joys and delights. It tackles many of the most important questions of humanity – the dichotomy of religion and faith, duty and free-spiritedness, imprisonment and freedom, sickness and health, battle and surrender and, of course, love in its many manifestations.

The ‘love in later life’ story centres around Beth and James, both of whom have a failed marriage behind them but both of whom are willing to take the ultimate risk of starting again, seizing the day and opening themselves to the happiness as well as the heartache that love can bring. The plot is revealed through a variety of techniques: narratives, conversations, phone calls, letters, poetry, dreams and imaginative descriptions of photographs and a garden map. It is poignant, happy, sad and sensitively-written with many references to art, poetry, architecture, music, faith and nature which are all important to the protagonists.

Beth and James experience intense joy as well as deep despair and anguish and are not afraid to show their vulnerability, anger, sense of injustice and coping strategies in a very open and honest way which draws the reader in. Throughout the book we get to really know them – their life experience, love of nature, spirituality, appreciation of the arts and their deep and immortal love. We are, indeed, taken to ‘the place where love makes us whole’.
Mary Rose

Leslie is married to Sue Hampton who was here earlier today for Afternoon Tea and has requested the Second Movement of Beethoven’s last piano sonata opus 111 which was played as he walked down the aisle. However the piece is over 25 minutes long, so I hope that he will forgive me for substituting one of my favourite pieces, The Moonlight Sonata.

It is now time for the Fish course and I have opted for delicious Salmon, and in honour of my next diner, it has a spicy and tangy Thai dressing.

Carol Taylor has been a fixture on Smorgasbord for over a year now with her first series that we wrote together, Cook from Scratch and now with The Food and Cookery Column.

Here is Carol in her own words: Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

There are now hundreds of recipes to enjoy, created and perfected in Carol’s kitchen in Thailand. With a background in the hospitality trade, and years of experience of working with exotic flavours, it is no wonder that Carol is writing a cookbook, which I will have great pleasure in promoting.  You can catch up with Carol’s life in Thailand and many delicious recipes each week, as well as her travels in Thailand, on her blog Retired No One Told Me

While Carol was on a break from the column this week, I hit the rewind button and shared her recipes for Salmon including a lime, coriander and chilli sauce.

Carol also writes fiction and has contributed to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Carol requested Puff Daddy and I’ll Be Missing You... and I will be playing that later in the week on her column on Wednesday.

My next guest requested that she be sat next to Carol (who supplied the dish) as she loves Pad Thai when it is authentically prepared, and so here it is to accompany the Salmon dish.

Debby Gies, author D.G. Kaye is also a treasured member of the team here on Smorgasbord, having recently joined us with her amazing Travel Column. Debby is incredibly supportive of her fellow writers and if ever you are in need of a friend and advisor then look no further.

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives. You can find out more at her eclectic blog D.G. Kaye Writer Blog

A selection of Debby’s books all the books and read the reviews on Amazon

A recent review for Conflicted Hearts

I give this author kudos for revealing the deepest parts of her soul and sharing her experience with readers. Many readers, myself included, will identify with many of this author’s feelings of loss and abandonment in childhood. The guilt, anger and resentment felt growing up and the sense of urgency to break free was well-described—even to the point of triggering in me some of the feelings I also experienced. These are feelings that when held inside eat away at us and make us physically and emotionally unhealthy. Letting go of the guilt, anger and sadness is sage advice. This is a must-read self-help memoir for those who have harbored resentment and have yet to let go.

Debby has selected So Amazing by Luther Vandross, which is the song that she chose to walk down the aisle to. She says it reflects the way her husband made her feel then and still does.

It is now time for the main course and since the nights are getting a little chillier for us in the Northern hemisphere, I have chosen the rich and tomato infused Beef Goulash served with some Bastmati Rice.

It is time to introduce you to Marjorie Mallon who writes as M. J. Mallon, who I hope has been enjoying the oriental flavours that she loves with the previous courses of prawns, and Thai dishes. She is the author of the YA Science Fiction Fantasy novel The Curse of Time Amazon

Here is a little about Marjorie and her blog Kyrosmagica

What can I tell you? Well before we start I’d like to suggest that you might want to pull up a comfy chair, sit back and enjoy my blog, Kyrosmagica, which is all about the magic of writing, my love of books, crystals, laughter, and much, much, more! I’m writing a second novel, and blogging, of course, writing book reviews here, and on Goodreads, and Amazon, and in fact anywhere else that will have me! Being an open minded type of gal, I like to review a wide a range of genres as possible, including YA, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Asian Literature, Detective, LBGTQ, and from time to time when I’m feeling brave I read dark thriller, or perhaps a horror more Kyrosmagica

The most recent review for The Curse of Time on Goodreads

Jul 29, 2018 Karen rated it it was amazing

This book introduces you to 15-year-old Amelina Scott, living in a rather unusal home. With The Curse of Time, M. J. Mallon has created a well-crafted paranormal teen story that made me follow Amelina as an invisible ally; inwardly cheering her on as she tried to find a solution for her family’s issues. It is a very compelling read that draws you close to Amelina and her quest. M. J. Mallon introduces Amelina with utmost care, she is a complex and believable teenager, and you want to find a possibility to support her. The story has a steady yet fast-paced flow, still leaving you sufficient opportunity to grasp the situations. Even if I am way past my teenage times – I had a great time reading this first book in the Bloodstone series. I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

This is a book for you if you like paranormal and occult stories with believable characters, mysteries, the young adult genre per se, and if you appreciate great story-telling. Highly recommended

Marjorie requested The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd as it reminds her of her youth… and I will be playing that later in the week on the Blogger Daily.

It is now time for some dessert which I hope everyone has room for and there will be some cheese to follow. Cheesecake usually goes down well and I know that there are some chocolate fans in tonight too.

And also something a little special for my next guest whose birthday it is today. Happy birthday Noelle and I hope you enjoy this pavlova made with strawberries and cream

Noelle Granger, writes as N.A. Granger and was recently a guest on the Getting to Know You interview and if you want to know about knitted swimsuits, and their distinct drawbacks, then head over and read.

Noelle grew up in Plymouth, MA, in a rambling, 125 year old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming and she was one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke college with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents,the last 28 years of which were spent in the medical school of the University of North Carolina, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction.

Apart from the three Rhe Brewster Mysteries, Noelle has also had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction,published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine.

Noelle’s books and their reviews can be found on Amazon


One of the recent reviews for Death In A Mudflat

Another great mystery by N.A. Granger! The plot is intriguing, as mystery after mystery piles up and one senses a connection between seemingly unrelated murders. The small college of Pequod is also visited by drug traffickers and leads to several tragedies. Through all of this, Rhe Brewster is on the trail with her sidekick, Paulette, taking a larger role than in the previous books. Of course the Chief of Police, Sam Brewster, is still there trying to do two jobs at once: his own and attempting to keep Rhe from endangering herself — a job too big for just one man. Altogether another fantastic mystery read!

Although Noelle requested Peace Train by Cat Stephens... I thought that since this was a special occasion…here is something more appropriate for her birthday. A little Jazz Piano with Jonny May.

My next and last guest today loves cheese so I am ending with a mixed platter with a glass of red wine…

Here is the lovely author Mary Smith who has been a generous supporter of my blog, and so many others in the last few years.

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all. Find out more at her new blog Mary Smith’s Place

Here is a selection of Mary’s books and you find more and reviews on Amazon

Here is a recent review for No More Mulberries on Goodreads

Jul 02, 2018 Darlene Foster rated it Five Stars

I bought this book because I love reading stories that take place in the middle east. I was not disappointed. Mary Smith has written a wonderful story about cross-cultures, family, relationships and Afghanistan. The detailed descriptions of the land, people and culture are fascinating. The story is told through the point of view of Miriam, the main character, who is a wife, mother and medical practitioner. It is easy to identify with her as she struggles to maintain a home for her family in a culture so different from her life in Scotland. Miriam also has to deal with ghosts from the past and feelings she has suppressed for too long which are having a negative effect on her marriage. This well-written book takes place in a troubled time just before the Taliban take control. Since the reader knows what will eventually happen, but the characters don’t, it keeps you on your toes and turning the pages. I highly recommend this book.

Mary requested Highland Cathedral to celebrate the beauty of Scotland and for your after dinner entertainment I have picked the version by a great band, Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Please enjoy with a brandy……

Followed by coffee with after dinner macarons

As with any of these parties, it is an opportunity to introduce yourself and leave your link to your blog and your Amazon author page. It would also be great if you would share the post as far as possible through the web…

My thanks to for providing the food that I could not make myself.

I hope you have enjoyed sharing dinner with us today and don’t forget to sign the visitors book on your way out the door… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Robbie Cheadle.

Thank you for joining me today and I am sure that many of you already are connected to children’s author Robbie Cheadle, who writes story and cookbooks in the Sir Chocolate series with her equally talented son Michael.. The exciting news is that Robbie will be publishing a new book later this year set in wartime Britain, While the Bombs Fell. We can also expect another new release as part of a YA supernatural/horror series under the name of Roberta Eaton. Exciting times ahead.

Before we get to know Robbie a little better, here is the official word on this talented author and poet.

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books

More about Robbie and Michael’s books a little later, now it is time to find out which of the questions Robbie has decided to respond to.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

I never really thought I had any fashion sense as I have a blatant disregard for fashion. My Mother, however, says that I do have a fashion sense, it just isn’t really like anyone else’s. She says it is quaint and quirky.

I am a chartered accountant by training. People have a perception of chartered accountants, especially the women, as having a very conservative way of dressing. Grey, black and navy suits are what come to mind, with formal shirts or blouses, nylons and high heeled court shoes.

I have never favoured these colours or suits of any description. I like to wear colourful and bright clothes in yellows, pinks, pale blues and oranges. During the summer I wear full skirts with frilly, tight fitting tops and flat ballet-style shoes. Alternatively, I wear short dresses with high heeled shoes and no nylons. I love cardigans and have at least 50 in my cupboard. I have a cardigan for every occasion.

Sally here: I found this lovely photo of Robbie on Facebook at a book show wearing a beautiful red dress.

During the winter I like to wear slim fit trousers in bright colours or which sport flowery patterns. I wear long shirts over these trousers with a jersey or cardigan, colourful scarf and often short boots.

Even my hair no longer behaves itself and has gone quite wavy over the past few years. I wear it quite long now and often loose and wavy with a clip to keep it out of my eyes. No short and sharp power haircuts for me.

What do you consider the best “cake” that you prepare – and have you the recipe?

The most popular cake I make is a moist and rich chocolate cake. It is best made in a deep tin. It is not ideal for fondant icing but, as it is my family’s favourite, I often use it, together with a lovely milk vanilla cake recipe, to make a marble cake which is suitable for fondant icing.

I made a short video of how to make the rich chocolate cake which gives the ingredients. I don’t like making videos, partly because my son, Gregory, never seems to have time to do the filming and editing now that he is in high school, and partly because I often do my baking early in the morning when he wouldn’t be around anyway and I am still in my pyjamas. I have never fancied marketing myself as a pyjama-clad baker.

Sally here: You can find a number of tutorial videos on Robbie’s Youtube channel but I have to admit that I was very engaged in her video on how to make my favourite…. Choc Chip Cookies.

What is your favourite childhood song and why?

When I was a young girl we did not have a television in our home. I had to entertain myself by reading books and listening to my Mom’s record collection on her old and battered record player. Before she gave birth to me, my Mom used to enjoy to go to the theatre in London as often as possible. She would buy the record of the Broadway production after the show. She had a huge collection of Broadway records. I loved these records. I used to listen to them over and over again and I learned all the words and would sing along. My younger sister, Cath, also joined me quite often and she also learned the words. Our favourites were Mame, Cabaret, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music.

When my family moved into our new house and my parents moved into the cottage on the same property, my Mom gave her records to me. I still keep them in the old trunk she brought with her from England when we first came out to South Africa when I was a little girl. I often pull them out and listen to them and sometimes the boys come and listen to.

Their favourite is The Warrior from the South African musical Ipi Ntombi.

What is something you look forward to when you retire?

I harbour a hope that when I retire, I will finally have the time to do all the things I want to do. At the moment, I work full time in a demanding job, help my boys with their homework, projects and studying and also write poetry and prose, bake and make my fondant figurines. As a result, I am always frantically busy and never seem to get everything done that I want too. I hope when I retire this will change a bit but it may not as I may just find new projects to take on.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I would love to live in England. I love the history and the literature that you find in England. I am not an outdoors person, preferring to spend my time doing fondant art, writing and reading to being outside. I try to squeeze in a bit of walking and pilates for health reasons but it is not a primary love.

I have travelled the UK a bit and my favourite areas are around Canterbury. I love the castles, Cathedral and other historical and religious points of interest. I feel quite familiar with this area now which is an added attraction.

I also enjoy Reading and the surrounding areas. I did enjoy Suffolk, and we have lots of family there, but I think if we moved we would need to be either close to London or Reading from a work perspective.

And I hope Robbie achieves her retirement dream and ends up living in the UK… and I thought that to end her interview I would share one of her music choices with this snippet from My Fair Lady.

Time to take a closer look at books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

About Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook.

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet get sugar water from the Sugar Crystal Caves to make delicious goodies for their shop. Unfortunately something is making the crystals melt. What can Sir Chocolate do? Includes four lovely new recipes.

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves.

This latest adventure of Sir Chocolate contains some of the most beautiful decorations in the series so far – the Chrystal Cave must have taken ages to construct and the other fondant figurines are lovely. The recipes are ideal for children as it shows them to make aeroplanes and wind mills with wafer biscuits. Sir Chocolate and Lade Sweet embark on another adventure to make sure that the sugar crystals won’t melt and they would still be able to make cool drinks for the inhabitants.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads:

Connect to Robbie and Michael


Thank you for visiting today and I know Robbie would love to receive your comments and answer any of your questions.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily # Book Reviewers – Monday August 4th 2018 – Robbie Cheadle, D.G. Kaye and Colleen Chesebro

Welcome to the first of the blogger daily posts of the week and today I am also sharing a couple of book reviews. They are always worth celebrating as are those who take the time to review. You will see that the bloggers today are also authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. I created that as a promotional platform for authors and as many are bloggers too, it is an opportunity to showcase their writing skills.

If you are not in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to enjoy regular promotions then please take a look at how you can be added to the shelves.

The first is by Robbie Cheadle for Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney… I will start you off and then ask you to head over to Robbie’s to read her review.

What Amazon Says

After 40 years of marriage, Olivia Glass thought she could handle the unexpected death of her husband. 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.

While an attorney searches for answers, 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.

Olivia challenges herself to re-assemble and save their relationships. But will the secrets destroy their family beyond repair?


“Author James J. Cudney’s début novel is both atmospheric and contemplative, and delivers a gut punch of family angst, devotion, and heartbreaking love” – Cammie Adams, Amazon review
“One of the best literary books I’ve read.” – Cathleen Townsend, Amazon review

Head over and read Robbie’s review for Watching Glass Shatter:

Robbie is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy:


The next author with a great review is Toni Pike for her recently released psychological thriller Dead Dry Heart featured in the Sunday Book Review from Debby Gies.. D.G. Kaye.

My Sunday book review this week is for Toni Pike’s – Dead Dry Heart. This book has all the elements of a captivating read with well developed characters and a rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal and murder, with the human elements of fear, remorse, and a questioning of truth.


Tyler Thompson is Australia’s young, brilliant and charismatic Prime Minister, riding high on a wave of popularity. But the past has come back to haunt him and there is a shocking secret from his childhood that he will do almost anything to conceal.

The one man who knows what happened twenty-five years ago is back – and he is hellbent on revenge. Tyler’s precious wife and baby have disappeared and their safe return will cost him everything: family, career and freedom.

But even that may not be enough to satisfy his nemesis – and the truth may be more terrible than he could possibly imagine.

A chilling novel about deceit, betrayal and murder, with twists and turns that you will not see coming.

Head over and read Debby’s Five Star review for the book:

Both Toni and Debby are authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Toni Pike, Buy:

D. G. Kaye – Buy:

The next post is from Colleen Chesebro and shares her experience publishing a print book with Amazon book templates. Useful for new authors and  those planning to go this route for the first time.


I’ve recently published and (republished one from CreateSpace) both of my paperback books using 6 X 9 Template for a MAC.

After practically pulling my hair out by the roots, here’s what I learned.

If you are starting with a Word document with the intention of copying and pasting into the Amazon template, leave it at the 8.5″ X 11″ size. I used 1.5 line spacing on one book, and 1.15 line spacing on the one I brought over from CreateSpace. I justified the text and added page numbers. On the CreateSpace book, I left it at the 1.15 line spacing with first-line paragraph indents because the size increased.  shares some great tips on formatting your novel. There is a debate right now as to whether or not you need to do a first line indent on paragraphs in fiction books. I did do it for my fantasy book, The Heart Stone Chronicles, The Swamp Fairy.

However, for my short story/poetry book, Fairies, Myths, and Magic ~ A Summer Celebration, I did not. I used block paragraphs. This is acceptable for non-fiction like memoirs, according to what I read at the above site.

Personally, if I’m reading a paperback, I would prefer block paragraphs, but that’s just me.

Head over and find out more from Colleen:

Colleen is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Colleen Chesebro, Buy:


Thank you for visiting and I hope you will explore these posts further… Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 10th July 2018 – Sharon Marchisello, Robbie Cheadle and Billy Ray Chitwood

Welcome to the daily post where I share some of the blogs I have visited. Apart from featuring articles that I found interesting, I am also sharing book review posts to entice you to buy more books…..

The first post today is from finance expert Sharon Marchisello who shares her expertise on making the most of your money when traveling especially in relation to booking transport tickets in advance.

The Link Between Fitness and Frugality

Being healthy and physically fit is a blessing. Not everyone has the capability or stamina to walk significant distances. But, as we realized on our recent vacation, taking the “shoe-leather express” whenever possible can save a lot of money.

We just returned from a 16-day cruise along the coast of Norway, stopping in many small to medium-sized towns with compact historical districts. The ship usually docked within a mile or two of the city center if not within easy walking distance of the major attractions. Yet in two of our ports, the ship’s tour desk sold tickets for a shuttle service at $8.50 per person, each way. Tickets had to be purchased in advance from the cruise line; we were warned we couldn’t decide on the spot to buy them from the bus driver once on shore. So, most passengers signed up to buy the transfers before we arrived.

After looking at maps and listening to talks from the destination port lecturer, my husband and I figured we could find better ways to spend $34. So, we walked into town. In both places, there were sidewalks and crosswalks to accommodate the locals and the more adventurous visitors traveling on foot. The areas we traversed seemed relatively interesting and perfectly safe, making the treks reasonably pleasant.

And what were most people who bought the transfers planning to do once they got off the bus in the main square? Walk around and explore the city. Some fellow passengers ended up not using their return tickets because when they’d finished sightseeing, they were closer to the ship than to the pick-up point for their bus.

Head over and read the rest of this useful and interesting post:

Sharon is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Sharon Marchisello, Buy:
Blog :

Now time to celebrate an award.. Robbie Cheadle was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Robert Goldstein...


The very talented Rob Goldstein nominated me for this award. You can read his entertaining post here: While you are visiting be sure to enjoy some of Rob’s wonderful artwork.

I liked Rob’s questions. Here they are with my answers:

Why do you blog?

I blog because I really enjoy the interaction with other, similar minded people. I have met so many wonderful writers, poets, artists, quilters and other artistic people through my blog. I enjoy the array of viewpoints, thoughts and creative outpourings that I read every day as well as all the lovely book reviews which have raised my TBR to house roof height.

What most frustrates you about blogging?

I don’t find blogging frustrating. If I did I probably wouldn’t do it. I sometimes feel annoyed by my own lack of technical expertise when I can’t get something right on my blog.

What do you enjoy most about blogging? I enjoy the lovely bloggers I meet and their interesting posts and ideas.

Head over and discover what else Robbie has to say for herself:

Robbie and Michael, her son are in the Cafe and Bookstore

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy:


Now for a special treat from Billy Ray Chitwood… an excerpt from his latest book ‘Hammer’s Holy Grail’ due out later in July.

Hammer’s Holy Grail” is a relatively short read of 36,000-+ words. It will be published without launch, without fanfare (except for this blog post!) later this month! The book is about a kid who has an emotional family situation – angry father, his critical Appalachian uncertainty, gifted with football talent and a beautiful girlfriend he’s known since junior high.

Wesley Walton is a sophomore at Garden View University in Knoxville, Tennessee, has a great passing arm and faces a great future. The pro-football scouts are already looking at the kid with a golden arm.

Wesley meets a man named ‘Hammer’ who is both a decorated veteran and a person of great wisdom and with a unique hobby. Wes and Hammer become immediate friends.

The short tale follows Wesley’s football season as well as his parental love and woes. The book is not a ‘thriller’ or destined to be a classic by any means, but the pages do carry some interesting moments, and I believe it to be well-written… In any event, it will be an inexpensive read and one I hope the book buyer will like, PLUS, I’m giving you the first chapter free of charge in this post. Feel free in letting me know what you think.

So, no launch, no parades and graffiti, just my usual ‘do nothing’ marketing campaign with a hope some of you will buy the book, give me some ‘reviews’, and ‘PUSH’ it forward.

Here’s the first chapter (working on the cover):


Chapter One

The darkness and fog are palpable viscid sweat things crawling all over my flesh! A gentle wind stir comes and my skin does shiver dances. I swallow and it’s like I’m somewhere between passing out and regaining my breath.

My eyes cannot be trusted. I rub my eyes and they project things that are not really there. My mind questions the logic that brought me to that decision. My concentration is drawn to these vague flashing images that keep popping up in spaces to the front, sides, and back of me… I figure it’s the mind doing its reckoning! I’m likely trying too hard to see and my brain is trying to accommodate me.

Okay, I admit it. I’m a big boy, scared. I mean, there is no way this world can be this dark and foggy.

“Why?” Someone might ask, “are you so stupid to be standing where you’re standing?”

Head over and read the rest of the excerpt of Billy Ray’s latest book:

Billy Ray is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.


Visit Amazon or Billy Ray’s blog to view all his books.

I hope you have enjoyed this small selection of blog posts and will explore them further  thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday June 27th 2018 – Robbie Cheadle, Terri Webster Schrandt and Paddy Cummins

Welcome to today’s look at some of the interesting, informative and entertaining posts that I have read. Sorry not enough room to include everyone but rest assured you all provide a huge amount of distraction!!

The first post I would like to share is from Robbie Cheadle who is hosting Geoff Le Pard.  Talking about cooking with his mother and also his new release – Apprenticed to my Mother.. Here is a snippet… enjoy and then please head over to read the entire post.

Guestpost – Geoff Le Pard and cooking with Mother

Geoff Le Pard writes some of the most wickedly humerous flash fiction stories I have ever read. If you have not visited Geoff’s blog you are really missing out. You can read one of Geoff’s pieces here and see for yourself:

Michael and I are delighted to have Geoff over for a visit to tell us about his Mother and his new book: Apprenticed to my Mother.

Geoff le Pard

Geoff le Pard

My mother had strong opinions about motherhood, one of which was that when my brother and I left home, we would possess a range of skills that would stand us in good stead for the future. A large part of that motivation was my father, and specifically the fact he lacked any of what my mother considered to be basic skills. ‘I will not be able to look any of your girlfriends in the eye if I let you loose on an unsuspecting world as poorly prepared as your father.’

So it was that my brother and I were taught to cook. Back in the 1960s a boy’s education would include woodworking and TD – technical drawing – but never domestic science. It wasn’t an option even.

She knew she had to overcome several hurdles. One was that my brother was something of a fussy eater. The other day I found a letter he wrote home from University, during his first term in Bristol. ‘I hope to be home next weekend,’ he wrote, ‘so could you make sure you get in some celery and hot chocolate powder’.

Head over and read the rest of the post:

Both Robbie and Geoff are authors in the Cafe and Bookstore

Robbie Cheadle, Buy:


Geoff Le Pard, Buy:

71oYPlm6ZdL._UX250_My father and other liars v 4

Terri Webster Schrandt​ asks Where was the last place you felt like a tourist? Some popular destinations love to hate the influx of tourists in the high season, often forgetting it is what keeps the economy healthy.. Also I know from experience you can live on the doorstep of amazing tourist attractions and not visit them yourself! Head over and enjoy the photographs and leave your views.

Tourists gather on the beach in Coronado

The last week in June finds the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge exploring the theme “tourist.”

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere sees an abundance of tourists.

We all think we know who tourists are, but did you know that YOU are a tourist? Any time you step out of your locale, you become a tourist.

“Stop hating the tourist—after all, tourists are just us in other locations.” Dr. Greg Shaw

Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for the purpose of recreation, and the provision of services for this act.

Head over and read the rest of the post and contribute your views :

Sherri Webster Schrandt is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.



Now a little nostalgia for me.. In the early 80s I worked in the Lake District and lived up there three days a week. Part of my job was to promote the crystal glass works as a tourist attraction so I would go around all the other tourist hotspots to leave leaflets. It is a wonderful part of the UK and would happily live there. Author Paddy Cummins shares the life and homes of William Wordsworth in the villages of Grasmere and Rydal. Lovely gentle post about a time long gone but not forgotten.

Wordsworth’s two homes, Grasmere and Rydal Mount by Paddy Cummins

Image Paddy Cummins.

The area of the Lakes around the little villages of Grassmere and Rydal is where William Wordsworth (1770-1850) described as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”. Starting at the churchyard where Wordsworth is buried, you pass Dove Cottage, his Grasmere home, and follow a path to Rydal known as the “coffin route”. Like other “coffin routes” around Britain, it was used to carry bodies from a parish that didn’t have a burial ground to one that did. When you reach Rydal church on the walk, you will see that it has no graveyard. Also in Rydal you see Wordsworth’s other main residence, Rydal Mount, before returning along a path with great views of Grasmere.

Please head over and enjoy the rest of the post and photographs:

I hope you will head over and enjoy these posts as much as I did… thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the #Book #Reviewers – Chuck Jackson for Paul Kalanithi, Olga Nunez Miret for Guillermo Stitch and Robbie Cheadle for Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

Welcome to the post where I celebrate those who take the time to review books that we write. The other posts are usually focused on the authors and their reviews, so you are most welcome to contact me at with a link to your review on your blog or on Amazon. I will make every effort to feature you.. thanks Sally.

  • If you click the images of the books you will be taken directly to Amazon.
  • Where an author or reviewer is in the Cafe and Bookstore I will include their entry.
  • If a review has been posted to Amazon directly without a blog post, I will share the entire review with a link to the reviewers blog.

The first author with a review of a book that sounds amazing is Chuck Jackson with his views on Finalist for the PulitzerWhen Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi. Here is an extract from Chuck’s post and I do recommend that you click the link to read more.

When I studied and enhanced my writing, I found successful writers’ advice was to expand my reading of books. I always have loved reading books, but it had been for relaxation and enjoyment. An escapism from career stress and life’s challenges. Now I have added another aspect to my reading. I am learning techniques, styles, and methods to gain writing credibility and reader’s attention.

If you are an avid reader, periodically you come across a book that talks to your psyche and leaves you emotionally moved. Sometimes it will be joyful, anger, or sadness. Whatever the emotion, it stays with you for days or months. I finished such a book and I want to share my feelings. If you haven’t read it yet, I wholehearted recommend you put it on your must-read list.

When Breath Becomes Air details Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s life as a neurosurgeon and his fight against advanced lung cancer. Yet it goes beyond his struggles, it challenges us to look at our own mortality and contemplate the way we look at our life. Does our life have the significance that will continue after we are gone? Did we spend our days, months and years on meaningless self-serving ambitions?

Dr. Kalanithi writing talent is formidable and belongs alongside the best authors of our time. Often I had to reread a passage to make sure I understood its deep meaning. What astounded me most was his desire to understand death and its respective placement in life. He felt it would enhance his career if he could help his terminal patients handle their mortality and convey the meaning of death

Please head over to Chuck’s website to read the rest of the review:  Review When Breath Becomes Air

Chuck is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Chuck Jackson, Buy:
Website Blog:

The next reviewer is Olga Nunez Miret who  has a regular feature on Tuesdays. This week a novella by a new author Guillermo Stitch – Literature

An extract from Olga’s Review for the book.. please follow the link to read the rest..

Today I bring you a book that is due for release early next month (the first of July) but is already available in preorder, and as there is a Goodreads giveaway you can access here, if you live in the USA, I thought I’d share it ahead of time, so you can be prepared. I hope to read more books by this new author, and I wonder if there will be more books about this very peculiar world he introduces us to in this novella.

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (author, check here if you’re looking for reviews) and thank Rosie and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novella, which I freely chose to review.

It is difficult to describe the reading experience of Literature. I have read reviews comparing it to noir novels (absolutely, especially the voice of the characters and some of the situations), to Fahrenheit 451 (inevitable due to the plot, where fiction has been banned and nobody can possess or read books) and 1984 (although we don’t get a lot of detail of the way the world is being run, the sense of claustrophobia and continuous surveillance, and the way terrorism is defined are definitely there), and even Blade Runner (perhaps, although Literature is far less detailed and much more humorous). I did think about all of those while I read it, is true, although it is a pretty different experience to all of them.

Billy Stringer is a mixture of the reluctant hero and the looser/anti-hero type. The novella shares only one day of his life, but, what a day! Let’s say it starts badly (things hadn’t been going right for Billy for a while at the point when we meet him) and it goes downhill from there. The story is told in the third-person but solely from Billy’s point of view, and we are thrown right in. There is no world-building or background information. We just share in Billy’s experiences from the start, and although he evidently knows the era better than we do, he is far from an expert when it comes to the actual topic he is supposed to cover for his newspaper that day. He is a sports journalist covering an important item of news about a technological/transportation innovation. We share in his confusion and easily identify with him. Apart from the action, he is involved in, which increases exponentially as the day moves on, there are also flashbacks of his past. There is his failed love story, his friendship with his girlfriend’s brother, and his love for books.

Read the entire post and review: Literature by Guillermo Stitch – Revew by Olga Nunez Miret

Olga Nunez Miret is also in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Olga Nunez Miret – Buy:

Please visit Olga’s blog or Amazon to view all her books


The third reviewer today is Robbie Cheadle who has enjoyed The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story by Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

Here is an extract from Robbie’s post.

Teagan Geneviene is an amazing writer and has an incredible blog where she shares highly entertaining episodes of her latest “pantser” story. Here is a link to a recap of her latest story, Hullaba-lulu

The Three Things Serial Story: A little 1920’s story has a little bit of everything in it – a touch of a romance or two, stolen goods, a kidnapping, a gang of ruthless men and a satisfactory ending. Teagan manages to achieve all of this in a well written and interesting way based on three word prompts provided by readers of her blog each week. I am frankly quite incredulous that a writer can weave three prompts into each episode and still come out with a story that makes perfect sense, entertains and flows. This approach has the added appeal of resulting in quite a unique story line.

Head over and read the entire post and the review: Robbie Cheadle – Review Teagan Geneviene – Three Things Serial

Teagan Geneviene is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Teagan Geneviene – Buy:


Robbie Cheadle is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Robbie Cheadle, Buy:


Thank you for dropping in today.. and if you have recently reviewed a book, then please let me know so I can feature both you and the author.. Thanks Sally (

Smoregasbord Posts from Your Archives – A visit to Te Wairoa The Buried Village by Robbie Cheadle

Today Robbie Cheadle shares a visit to an historic site in New Zealand with her family. A devastating event buried a village and took the lives of over 150 people. It is also the story of a brave woman called Sophia Hinerangi.

A visit to Te Wairoa The Buried Village by Robbie Cheadle

In 2016, my oldest son, Gregory, was part of the team from his school that won the South African leg of the Kid’s Lit Quiz. That year, the finals were taking place in Auckland, New Zealand and we grabbed the opportunity to visit this beautiful country. We visited many amazing places on the North Island and learned a lot about life in New Zealand but the most memorable place for me was Te Wairoa The Buried Village.

Te Wairoa was a Maori and European settlement located close to the shore of Lake Tarawera. The settlement was founded in 1848 by the Reverend Seymour Mills Spencer as a place where visitors could rest and stay on their way to visit the Pink and White Terraces which were considered to be the eighth natural wonder of the world.

On 10 June 1886, Mount Tarawera erupted, destroying the Pink and White Terraces and burying the villate of Te Wairoa. For more than four hours, rocks, ash and mud rained down on the village killing more than 150 residents.

The Buried Village experience comprises of a fascinating museum that houses a huge collection of objects that have been excavated over the past 80 years from the Mount Tarawera eruption and the Te Wairoa Archaelogical Site.

The museum provides a lot of insight into life in the settlement at the time of the eruption and tells stories of several the people who were living in the village. I found it to be a very emotional and intense experience to read the stories of these families and individuals, some of who were very heroic during the catastrophe, and learn of some of their tragic deaths. I became totally engrossed in their stories and seeing the excavated remains of their homes, buried beneath 1.5 to 2 meters of mud, ash and rocks was almost traumatic for me. I have always become very involved in such stories. I felt the same way when I visited the Titanic exhibition.

One of the lead figures was a guide called Sophia Hinerangi, a woman of Maori descent, who spoke both Maori and English. On 31 May 1886, a party of tourists accompanied by Guide Sophia, sighted a phantom canoe. This was believed to be a warning of impending danger. When Mount Tarawera erupted in the early hours of the morning on 10 June 1886, Guide Sophia was the heroine of the night and sheltered 62 people in her small whare. Sophia’s whare withstood the force of the eruption due to its steep-pitched roof and strong timber walls.

After surviving the eruption, Sophia left the village and set up a new life in Whakarewarewa. Her incredible story of having experienced this terrible natural disaster combined with her knowledge and natural manner with tourists resulted in her becoming the Caretaker of the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve in 1896. Sophia put her status and influence to good use by encouraging local women to become guides, thereby, giving them the gift of independence through earning their own living.

©Robbie Cheadle 2016

Thanks for Robbie for sharing this story of tragedy and bravery. New Zealand is a stunning place to visit and along with its history the scenery is amazing.

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees.

This is the most creative children’s and bakers’ heavenly book I’ve ever experienced! This is definitely a one-of-a-kind treat!

There are no illustrations, just incredible photographs of “… visions of sugarplums that dance in their heads …”; made of chocolate with vivid colors and totally edible.

What an amazing collection of literature with uniqueness I’ve never encountered before, and I’m a collector of classic and unusual books as well as an avid reader and reviewer!

This little book is a treasure of mixed art for all ages. This BOOK is for families and generations to come. An incredible, delectable keepsake.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads:

Connect to Robbie and Michael


Thank you for dropping in today and Robbie would love to read your feeback thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – M.J. Mallon, A. T. Balsara, Robbie and Michael Cheadle and Richard Ankers

Welcome to the first of two Christmas Book Fair’s today.. I am aware that if you would like to buy a print version of a book then you will need to order soon. Expect a few double days going forward.

The first author with a book that would make a great gift for young adults who enjoy fantasy and science fiction is M.J. Mallon for her book The Curse of Time: Book One – Bloodstone 

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

The most recent review for the book

Enjoyable on 19 November 2017

The Curse of Time is a young adult fantasy novel set in Cambridge, England. This book has a complex mix of themes running through it, and at times my head did spin as I tried to keep up. Amelina is a likeable character. She receives enchanted gifts and dreams about an elusive cottage. Her parents can’t offer her the support she needs, and instead, she turns to Esme, a friend who lives in the mirror.

As a qualified crystal therapist, I liked the inclusion of crystals throughout the story.

Our clasped hands shook with fear. I waited, afraid to witness the effect the Black Obsidian would have on my friends and me next. Our eyes met, and we strengthened our hold, clasping our hands tighter. The blackness of the moment grew. A flowing ribbon of dark, velvety light encircled our hands and bound our palms together sealing our bond.

There is also a strong personal development theme running through the book which I enjoyed. As with all coming-of-age stories, Amelina grows as the story unfold. Learning who to trust, and how to use her gifts.

Enjoyable novel. I reviewed The Curse of Time as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team #RBRT

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads:

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website:

The next author with a brand new release is A.T. Balsara with The Great & The Small which she has written and illustrated…published at the end of October.

About The Great & The Small

Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Led by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember.

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable…

One of the early reviews for the book

The Great and The Small by A.T. Balsara spins a narrative that intertwines the adventures of Fin, a Tunnel Rat, and Ananda, an adolescent artist, as they negotiate the ups and downs of their respective communities. The framework of Stalinist political oppression and the Black Plague of fourteenth century Europe provide a backdrop for the dramatic, high stakes commentary on interpersonal relationships. Not only is the reader led into the complex intrapersonal angst of the characters in the story which triggers deep reflection along relatable themes of bullying, loyalty and free will, but also led to consider the thread of hope offered by complex iterations of love, sacrifice and service. All this, in an engaging, action driven story that is at once visually stimulating and acoustically active: Balsara’s descriptions and dialogue make the context and characters jump off the page.

The beauty of the prose, crafted as carefully as the illustrations, is matched by the engaging pace of the plot. Complexity is woven through creative use of dreams and flashbacks, a sophisticated switching between various points of view and quotes from fourteenth century witnesses at the beginning of each chapter.

I enjoyed the honesty of the motivations of the characters and their setbacks throughout the narrative. Social commentary was provided through character voices that were not paternalistic or preachy, and bolstered by the credibility of them being immersed within the web of crisis and triumph that peppers the plot. The development of character from beginning to end was believ- able, with realistic twists that relaxed any sense of contrived messaging. I find it noteworthy that a YA dystopia is couched within our shared human history, rather than a futuristic fantasy world: a valuable takeaway about the treasury of our common global experience to date.

This book is like a Z is for Zacharia meets Stuart Little mash up, with a touch of Harry Potter resilience mixed in. If I had to put it down, I couldn’t wait to get back to it. It’s suitable for classrooms, families and those who enjoy a dynamic story that will explore the complexities of individual freedom, trust and love as it relates to social welfare and global consequence.

And, if you weren’t a rat lover before this book, you might find yourself reconsidering, after the final chapter.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon US:

Also as Andrea Torrey-Balsara for children.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Andrea via her website:

The next authors with a whole shelf of children’s books that would make great presents for Christmas are Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

One of the excellent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook.

Who could not pick up Robbie and Michael Cheadle’s story-and-baking book, Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees Story and Cookbook (TSL Publications 2017) after reading this blurb:

“A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.”

This is a fun poetic story about the adventures of Sir Chocolate interspersed with wonderful recipes parents and kids create together–foods like Cheesy Bread and Butter Biscuits–accompanied by cute real-life pictures of the sugar dough creations, I have never seen a book that blended recipes and reading. How clever is that! Kids love cooking with parents, and now they can blend that with a favorite pastime: reading.

One more note: Robbie and Michael are mother-and-son. Not only will kids be inspired to cook with parents, but write and publish a book.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Other books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads:

Connect to Robbie and Michael via their blog:

And the last author in this morning’s book fair is author Richard Ankers who delights his followers to his blog with his flash fiction.

The next author celebrating not just the release of his latest books but fantastic new covers of his other two books, is Richard Ankers whose third book in The Eternals Series was published in July of this year.

About the book

Queen Serena and her allies have fled the Nordic massacre, taking Princess Linka with them. For Jean, it’s heartbreak; for Merryweather and the abandoned Aurora, far worse. Not even the return of a broken Prince Grella and a dramatic escape from an obliterated Hvit softens the blow of their loss. Tempers flare and the pursuit resumes.

Leaving the Arctic ice behind, Jean and the others must reconcile with both current and past deaths, as they close in on the Baltic home of the hated Duke Gorgon. Here, their enemies gather and confrontation is inevitable.

Under Merryweather’s frustrating tutelage, Jean marches from one infuriating revelation to another, but as the lies unravel and the truth unfurls, he discovers the Britannian is not the fool he’s taken him for. The enigmatic Merryweather appears the key to the greatest mystery of all. But will he ever show his true colors?

In the stunning climax to The Eternals Series, a brooding Jean must do what he’s never done before: place his trust in others. For only at the end of all things, as the sun dies and Shangri-La falls, will Jean know what it means to step Into Eternity.

One of the recent reviews for the book

C. Morgan 5.0 out of 5 stars A Vampire-Introspective-SciFi-Mindbender! November 9, 2017

So this is what Eternity looks like.” I felt the jaded disappointment in those words. I understood the sensation of wonder and the longing that could never be fulfilled. Although these words are spoken by a supporting character that only comes into the story in the second book of the series, they carry the sentiment of the entire trilogy.

Into Eternity took me on the final leg of a journey I never expected and could not have anticipated. It swept me off into lands unknown that were hauntingly familiar. As the dystopian landscape unfolded before me with horrifying clarity, the poignancy of this Vampire-Introspective-SciFi-Mindbender became all too clear and, like the masterfully developed characters that drew me into their tale, I experienced their terror, bitterness, and skeptical hope right along with them through page after page of plot twists that kept me guessing, literally, right up to the closing chapter.

Richard M. Ankers has woven a unique and unforgettable saga through the voices and lives of those we typically fear or despise; altering our own perceptions right along with the characters of this brilliantly penned epic.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Richard Ankers


Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Follow Richard Ankers on Goodreads:

Connect to Richard via his blog

Thanks for dropping by for the first of the Christmas book fairs today… I hope it has given you some ideas for gifts.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas posts from Your Archives – Making a Gingerbread Chapel by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

It is time for some fondant magic from master baker and confectioner Robbie Cheadle, with a delicious gingerbread themed cake that would make a wonderful addition to the Christmas tea table.

Making a Gingerbread Chapel by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

This weekend Michael and I made a Christmas present for our minister, Alistair. Alistair has young children and so we decided that a gingerbread house would be a splendid gift for him and his family. Of course, we can never do anything the easy and simple way so we decided to embark on making a chapel out of gingerbread. It was really great fun and not that much more difficult to cut out and assemble than a regular gingerbread house.

Making and cutting out the gingerbread chapel

Firstly, Mike and I made the gingerbread. We used the recipe that features in Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries. The video of me making gingerbread using this recipe is as follows:

Once the gingerbread dough was made and was chilling in the refrigerator for an hour, we measured and drew the pieces for the gingerbread chapel onto wax paper. We rolled out the hardened gingerbread dough and baked the gingerbread as sheets on baking trays. I then placed the wax paper pieces on the slightly cooled gingerbread sheets and cut them out using a sharp knife. I find it works much better to cut out the gingerbread pieces after baking as then they keep the form of each piece perfectly and it is much easier to assemble the house.

While the pieces of the gingerbread chapel were cooling and hardening, Mike and I made the royal icing to “glue” our chapel together.

Making royal icing

Mike and I made the royal icing using the recipe that features in Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries story and cookbook. The video of me making royal icing using this recipe is set out below:

Making the stained glass windows

We made the stained glass windows using boiled fruit flavoured sweets that I melted on a piece of wax paper in the over at a very high temperature (240 degrees celcius). I placed the gingerbread chapel sides, front and back on sheets of wax paper and then I poured the melted sweets into the window holes. I left these to set for approximately 30 minutes. Be very careful when you do this as the sweet mixture gets very hot and can burn you badly if you spill it on yourself.

Assembling the gingerbread chapel

Once the gingerbread pieces had cooled and hardened and the royal icing was made we could start assembling our gingerbread chapel. Firstly, I attached the front, back and two side panels to the cake board using royal icing. I used cups to hold the pieces in place while the royal icing dried and hardened. I then assembled the bell tower in the same way. I attached the bell tower to the front of the chapel using more royal icing. I then left the whole framework, supported by cups, to dry overnight.

The following morning, I attached the roof panels to the walls and left them to dry using cups to keep them in place. My gingerbread chapels was now complete and ready for decorating.

The final product

You can decorate your gingerbread chapel anyhow you like. I used jelly beans for the detail along the royal icing joins to give the chapel some colour. I used milk chocolate buttons to decorate the roof and white and milk chocolate buttons to decorate the bell tower. I added windowsills made from KitKat chocolates, cut to size. I made the ivy but cutting out multi-coloured green and white fondant and wiring them together using florists wire. I used Marie biscuits for the stepping stones and royal icing and mint sprinkles for the grass. I added some fondant mice just for fun.

Sir Chocolate and the trolls

Sir Chocolate and the trolls helped with the building. see them rolling up their ropes on completion of the job in the picture below:

©Robbie Cheadle 2016

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook on Goodreads

Linda Hill rated it it was amazing Books and chocolate – the perfect combination. On October 21st 2017

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Robbie Cheadle’s Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook, but it still took me by surprise.

Firstly, the illustrations (made from fondant and cakes) are incredible and enhance the narrative so skilfully. I got quite hungry just looking at the photographs and that was before I even got to the recipes.

I thought the rhyme scheme was very well maintained making the book good for slightly older reluctant readers as well as enhancing the vocabulary of younger readers. I don’t know if it was deliberate, but I really liked the concept of trolls saving the day. They are usually seen as negative and violent creatures and I felt the underlying message of being helpful and not judging others by appearances was perfectly pitched.

I really enjoyed the whole creativity of this book, not just from the imaginative story set in a land where all things can be eaten, but I loved the accessible recipes and the poem It’s A Boy, which came as a surprise and a more adult element to the book, too.

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook is a feel good, creative book that can be enjoyed on many levels by both adults and children of all ages alike.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

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Connect to Robbie and Michael


My thanks to Robbie for sharing this wonderful recipe that would make a wonderful Christmas cake for any age.. Please check out her wonderful blog with many more fondant figures and cakes to make.

The Christmas promotions have begun and there are a number of ways that you can participate and here are two posts to show you how.