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 sally.cronin@moyhill.com 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: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG
Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/

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: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B009UC58G0
Blog: http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

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

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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 https://teagansbooks.com/2018/06/02/hullaba-review-and-review-hullaba-lulu-9-1/.

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: http://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM
Blog: https://teagansbooks.com

at-paperback

Robbie Cheadle is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Robbie Cheadle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

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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 (sally.cronin@moyhill.com)

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Deborah A. Bowman, C.S.Boyack, Linda Bradley, Sarah Brentyn, Christine Campbell, Anne Casey, Luanne Castle, Robbie Cheadle, Colleen Chesebro and Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their listing which also includes a link to buy the books but also discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts too.

Here is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore.

Deborah A. Bowman, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Bowman/e/B00MDD6QMS
Blog: https://www.bowmanauthor.com

Please visit Deborah’s Amazon page or her blog to view all her books.

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One of the recent reviews for Annie’s Story

on March 20, 2018

Annie’s Story is a magical tale of a wee lass born into harsh times in the colonial colonies of America. Born stunted and without hope, she blossoms into a wonderful child who is loved by all in her Scottish colony. The story follows Annie and her grandmother who is the healer and wise woman of the colony as they walk through the hardships and horrors of this time.

I adored Annie and her grandmother and the other characters in the Scots colony. The characters are so well written that I moved with ease through the book, sometimes moved to tears by the horrific events in the American colonies and Scotland.
The author doesn’t hold back and although painful at times, a strong voice is needed to write about the horrors of sectarianism which is still so much a part of Scotland today.

I highly recommend this book, it is not a weekend read, rather it is a novel that you lose yourself in.

C. S. Boyack, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY
Bloghttp://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Please visit Amazon to view all of Craig’s books.

N.B – The Enhanced League is FREE until Friday 30th… get your copy now..

One of the recent reviews of The Hat.

The Hat by C.S. Boyack is such a great read. The main characters are a young girl, Lizzie St Laurent, a twenty-one-year-old college dropout whose grandmother has died and who has been left to fend for herself in a city far from home and the Hat. Lizzie is working a couple of jobs to pay the bills and keep a roof over her head. She also has a deal with the landlord whereby she keeps the garden tidy and trim in return for free utilities. Lizzie is struggling and when her uncle doesn’t want to give her a keepsake from her grandmother’s estate, she helps herself to one from the back of the removal van. Boy, does she make a good choice. She ends up acquiring a hat that can communicate with her, transform its shape, transfer her to a “safe house’ built by her grandfather and teach her how to play a musical instrument. What is even better is that the Hat is magically bound to Lizzie’s family and is there to assist her out of tight spots in life. When the baby of a friend of Lizzie’s is stolen, the Hat is right there by her side to help her rescue the babies form a band of ruthless kidnappers.

Along the way, Lizzie will have some fun experimenting with great fashion items and meeting some interesting musicians. The Hat is a fast-paced novella which will keep you turning the pages, giving you lots of laughs along the way. I rated this book five stars out of five.

Linda Bradley, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS
Website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com

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A recent review for A Montana Bound Christmas.

Uncaged Review: When we last left John, Maggie and Chloe in the Montana Bound three book series, we had our happy ending, and it ended in a good place, I was happy with the series. Imagine my excitement when Ms. Bradley sent me this fourth installment – and a Christmas one at that!

I’m not going to give a lot away, but I think I see even better closure for a couple more characters. This book alternates point-of-views each chapter – and I liked seeing in the thoughts of the other characters like John’s father and his ex-wife. If you’ve read the Montana Bound series, this is a welcome addition, and if you haven’t – you can read it as a standalone, but to get the full impact of what these characters have been through, start at the beginning, Maggie’s Way.

Sarah Brentyn, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Brentyn/e/B01N410987
Blog: https://sarahbrentyn.wordpress.com/

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An extract from a recent review for On the Edge of a Raindrop

I enjoy reading short story collections and was intrigued by this anthology. This was my first introduction to flash fiction and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Not only did I find the cover intriguing, but the book’s title reached out and grabbed me. And yet, it was the introduction to the book that really drew me in:

“There is a world inside a drop of water. Molecules desperately clinging to one another to keep the surface tension strong. To keep from being broken. That bond is at once sturdy and fragile. It keeps the drop together but, with one seemingly small act, can burst. These are the lives depicted in this book. On the Edge of a Raindrop explores the darker elements of human nature.” Author, Sarah Brentyn

Brentyn sections this flash fiction collection into three categories: Mindscapes, Lifelines, and Microbursts featuring stories that evoked emotional responses from the reader. The first two sections feature stories around 100 words each. The last section was filled with 50-word snapshots of micro-fiction, much like mind-photos, whose mental images literally flashed in my brain.

I read these stories slowly savoring the words and connecting to her prose much in the same way I do with poetry. These story impressions led me into the dark recesses of the author’s mind, ever mindful of the lives of her characters and how they hung at the edge of the raindrop.

Christine Campbell, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2
Blog: http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com

 

A recent review For What It’s Worth.

A brilliant read. I am so tired coz i just couldnt put it down at night. Kept saying just one more page and then another and another. This author’s use of language and descriptive text transports you in all her books and she has done it again with this one. I was so impressed with how this author portrayed real life events. Real sensitivity and knowledge. Well worth the money. I can not wait for her next book.

Anne Casey, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Lost-Things-Anne-Casey/dp/1910669903
Website: http://www.anne-casey.com/home.html

A recent review for the poetry collection

This is just absolutely gorgeous poetry; really touches your heart, touches your soul. Loved it. Julia

Luanne Castle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Doll-God-Luanne-Castle/dp/0692334882
Website: http://www.luannecastle.com

A recent review for Kin Types

With the prose and poetry found within Kin Types, Castle enters the lives of her ancestors with prose by exploring their pasts through genealogy and the family stories, photographs, and ephemera that reveal that genealogy. However, because the past is often defined by what little we know of our ancestors, that knowledge can be scanty. That’s my situation.

So I ordered Luanne’s book to gather ideas for my own family history writing project. All I have left of the tragedy are photographs, letters of sympathy, yellowed newspaper clippings, locks of hair. How can I ever understand this history fully? Perhaps by doing what Luanne did, that is, entering the lives of her ancestors via genealogy, photographs and ephemera.

Kin Types will inspire you if you wish to research your own family history or simply desire to connect with your ancestors through the power of writing.

Robbie Cheadle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

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A recent review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees

Deborah A. Bowman, author 5.0 out of 5 stars A Work of Art; Sweet Treats of Magical Creatures; Recipes; and a Darling Story in Verse! January 11, 2018

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.

Colleen Chesebro, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Stone-Chronicles-Swamp-Fairy/dp/1541015967
Website: https://colleenchesebro.com

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One of the most recent reviews for The Swamp Fairy

A beautifully told tale about an orphaned teen, Abigale Forester, who is uprooted from her home in Illinois after her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance. She is sent to live with her Aunt Magnolia in Florida where she is given a plot of land owned by her mother. This land is more than just a swamp.

Abigale realizes the value of this plot of land when she experiences its magic. It is inhabited by fairies and plants that have magical healing properties. She soon realizes through some ethereal visits from some of these fairies on the land that her role is to protect the swamp and all its creatures and plants from harm.

When Abigale and her aunt receive threats to their lives if they do not sell the land, Abby turns to friends for support. Abby’s mother gifted to her a magical necklace made from the calcite stone in the swamp to give her strength to do what she needs to do in her role as protector.

The author has created a lovely tale of the magic and mystery of fairies. This is an enjoyable read not only for middle-graders, preteens and young adult girls but also for adults like me. I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating tale and look forward to more in this series. This talented author enables the reader to see the fairies as real creatures who are benevolent and only want to help mankind.

Billy Ray Chitwood, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q
Website: https://brchitwood.com

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

A recent review for Stranger Abduction.

“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.

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: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
Plus.googlehttps://plus.google.com/105609586198905397891
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

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: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074CDJPY9

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website: https://mjmallon.com/

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: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-Small-T-Balsara-ebook/dp/B07543NL6H/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/A.-T.-Balsara/e/B077THW3QL/

Also as Andrea Torrey-Balsara for children.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Torrey-Balsara/e/B077TKWPBY/

Connect to Andrea via her website: www.torreybalsara.com

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: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Sugar-Dough-Story-Cookbook/dp/1911070649

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolate-Sugar-Dough-Story-Cookbook/dp/191107064

Other books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael via their blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

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: https://www.amazon.com/Into-Eternity-Eternals-Book-3-ebook/dp/B073PT8XYR

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Into-Eternity-Eternals-Book-3-ebook/dp/B073PT8XYR

Also by Richard Ankers

 

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Richard-M.-Ankers/e/B01GEM7690

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-M.-Ankers/e/B01GEM7690

Follow Richard Ankers on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15271976.Richard_M_Ankers

Connect to Richard via his bloghttps://richardankers.com/

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: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
Plus.googlehttps://plus.google.com/105609586198905397891
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

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.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/starting-monday-27th-november-smorgasbord-free-christmas-book-promotions/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/smorgasbord-christmas-posts-from-your-archives-share-your-christmas-past/

Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List – Wedding Cakes and a very personal wish by Robbie Cheadle


Welcome in the last in the current series of Sunday Interview posts until the New Year. There will be so much going on in the next few weeks and we will all be very busy.. There will be a new theme in 2018… so keep your eyes open.

This week children’s author and master confectioner Robbie Cheadle shares the top two items on her ultimate bucket list.

Wedding Cakes and a very personal wish by Robbie Cheadle

I was quite sure that I didn’t have a bucket list. After all, I have a wonderful husband, two fantastic boys, a lovely home and an extended family. We go away on holiday every now and then and we get to see delightful places both in Africa and abroad. I would be greedy to think that more was due to me. I read an ultimate bucket list post by Paul Andruss recently and that changed my mind. On reflection I realised that there were two things I do want to happen before I pass on. The one is quite frivolous and self-pleasing and the other is a point of great anxiety for me.

I want to make a wedding cake

Ever since I started cake decorating about thirteen years ago I have had a secret ambition to make a wedding cake. All my family members are either married or unlikely to marry, as are most of my friends. None of us are really at the marrying age, we are more at the landmark fortieth and fiftieth birthday party point.

I think I will have to wait until the children of my friends and family are old enough to start getting married and the whole wedding thing starts over for me. This hasn’t stopped me practicing though. I have had a good go at my idea of a great wedding cake idea for the past two Christmases, one Christmas in July and one birthday parties.

The first Christmas was the year of the multicoloured roses. I made a three-tier fruit Christmas cake and decorated it with an arrange of thirty roses coloured pink, white and pale yellow.

Each petal of each of these roses was cut out and frilled and fluted separately. Each rose was assembled in three layers of different sized petals, starting with six small petals wrapped around the centre and being allowed to dry for a few days in a shaped silver foil cup. Once the first layer was dry, I applied the second layer of six larger petals and this was again left to dry for a few days. The last set of large petals was applied as a final layer and left to dry.

Each rose took one week to make, and I made about four at a time. The whole exercise took over three months.

The following year, I decided to use the same concept for my Mother’s birthday cake. This time I made gold roses for a chocolate ganache cake. It came out well and I made nine large gold roses using the same method as for the multicoloured roses cake but painting them with edible gold glitter when they were dry.

My Christmas in July cake last year was a floral wonderland which I created using a plethora of different flowers including day lilies and orchids, the making of which entailed the separate wiring of each petal, and a selection of roses, carnations and other smaller and easier flowers. I loved this cake which is the one I would have for my own wedding if Mr Fox would agree to renewing our wedding vows just so that I can make our wedding cake [he won’t – he thinks my reasons are shallow! Hmmmm!]

Last but not least, I made a rainbow fairy wonderland cake for last year’s Charity Christmas party. This was another great effort which included seven different fairies and a large number of flowers.

One of these days, someone is going to decide they want a wedding cake made by me and I will be ready when they do.

And the second item on my ultimate bucket list?

Well the other item I want is very personal. I want a cure for Michael. No more medicine, hospital visits, drips, operations and other nasty things. No more missing out on parties and camps due to illness and sore tummies due to copious antibiotics.

Modern medicine is making forward strides all the time and one day the doctors will make a great breakthrough and come up with the perfect solution for Michael. Until that great day, we soldier on and make up stories of what could have been if he didn’t miss out of some of the fun things of growing up.

After all a story is as good as a change sometimes, isn’t it?

My thanks to Robbie for sharing both her wishes and some very lucky person is going to love having one of her cakes at her wedding.

I think all of you will join me in sending out positive vibrations to help Robbie obtain her second wish. Let’s hope medical advances will eradicate not just the illness but also the anxiety that goes hand in hand with it. Love and hugs Robbie and Michael.

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

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River by Robbie and Michael Cheadle is a story and cookbook in one. It is the latest in a great fun series from a mother and her young son, the Author/Baker team of Robbie and Michael Cheadle​. Their series of gloriously illustrated books for younger children are quite simply unique.

The books tell of the adventures of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet and their friends. The inhabitants of Chocolateville; where everything and everyone is edible.

The concept was the brain child of Robbie’s son Michael. When he was a few years younger than he is now, and learning to read, he cleverly realised he could draw his mother away from dull lessons by weaving tales about made-up characters in a land of chocolate.

Equally clever (like mother like son, no doubt) Robbie turned it to his educational advantage by encouraging him write down his stories. So was born a family–friendly, cross-generational series that combined their love of spending precious family-time together indulging in favourite pastimes such as writing poetry, cooking, and it must be said, eating chocolate.

The series of books consist of cute and clever child-friendly poems, which adults can read to youngsters, and even encourage youngsters to read along. More family-fun time is guaranteed by the inclusion of uncomplicated recipes. Describing the scrumptious delights as simple; simply does not do them justice. Each recipe is designed to allow the youngsters to fully participate, thus passing on valuable life skills, and creating memories that will last both generations a lifetime, while also making fun things to eat.

The book and its predecessors are all illustrated with delightful figures made from fondant icing and sweets. Edible works of art that are easy enough for readers to copy: perhaps even making their own versions of Chocolateville for birthday parties and other celebrations.

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s latest adventure has an ecological message. It explores what happens when the river of condensed milk running through Chololateville dries up causing all the fish to die. This is a subtle way of introducing very young children to the world issues that will no doubt be plaguing generations for some time to come. Plus the guaranteed happy ending helps youngsters feel they can really make a difference to the world.

Any one of Robbie and Michael’s clever and unique books would make great presents with Christmas coming up. Not just for Kids but for Parents and Grandparents too! They are charming and packed with fun recipes and stories to turn every kitchen day into an adventure that brings young and old together to create enduring memories.

Perhaps it’s time to collect the set!  AND YOU GET TO EAT THE CAST.  AN OGRE’S DREAM!

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
Plus.googlehttps://plus.google.com/105609586198905397891
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Thank you very much for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share around the usual haunts.

 

Cook from Scratch 2017- How to make a Fishing Boy Cake by Robbie Cheadle


The very talented master confectioner, Robbie Cheadle, is sharing another of her wonderfully decorated cakes today that would make any child (of any age) very happy on a special occasion.

How to make a Fishing Boy Cake by Robbie Cheadle

I decided to make a fishing boy cake. My idea was that the boy would be asleep on a raft on a river running through a field. There would be fish, which would be laughing at the sleeping boy and a few cows in the field.

The picture above shows the detail of the two cows that I made out of fondant for this cake. It also shows the fish with their heads poking out of the water. I didn’t make the fish – Beacon sweets have already perfected marshmallow fish and I saw no reason to try and improve on their creations. I sliced the heads of the marshmallow fish off at an angle so that they would poke out of the blue butter cream icing water.

I made the rocks out of larger peanut chocolate clusters and smaller Hokey Pokey chocolate clusters which I bought during a recent visit to Auckland, New Zealand. Coconut clusters would work just as well but I bought the Hokey Pokey clusters as an experiment [it turned out to be a rather nice one]. I used small flower cutters to cut out a number of orange and yellow flowers which I glued in clusters around the chocolate cluster rocks.

I made the fishing boy out of fondant. I also made the sail out of a sheet of fondant cut into a square and left to dry overnight. The raft is made from four TimTam biscuits which I also acquired on my New Zealand visit. I “glued” the TimTam’s together using royal icing. The mast was made from two thirds of a chocolate flaky which I cut to size.

CAKE ASSEMBLY

I made the actual cake from a large rectangular chocolate cake and a smaller square vanilla cake. I cut the “river bed” into the cake using a small, sharp knife. I then covered the whole cake with a layer of vanilla butter icing. I coloured fondant a lovely leaf green, rolled it out and covered the entire cake with a layer of green fondant. I used a small, sharp knife to cut away the excess fondant around the edges of the cake. I created the butter icing river using a light blue icing which I swirled around using the tines of a fork to give it a rough look like water. I used royal icing to attach the chocolate cluster rocks and cows as detailed above and attached the raft to the blue butter icing. And bingo, I had created my sleeping fishing boy cake.

©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: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
Plus.googlehttps://plus.google.com/105609586198905397891
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

My thanks to Robbie for sharing this recipe and please head over to her blog to catch up on some wonderful posts about the art of fondant icing and baking.

Smorgasbord – Posts From Your Archives – A Poem for Grandparents by Robbie Cheadle


Today a special treat with a poem from Robbie Cheadle from her archives.

My mother thought last weeks poem entitled “Who’s really free” was depressing. She said I should write something more cheerful and amusing. My Michael was tasked with learning a poem by Roald Dahl this week, entitled “Television” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Roald Dahl’s hilarious style of writing appealed to me and got me in the mood to attempt a more amusing poem. For some reason the concept of grandparents seems very topical in my life at the moment. It is my mother’s actual birthday tomorrow and this event is closely followed by the birthday of our Granny Toot’s the following week. My husband’s mother’s birthday rings up the rear on 4 December. With all this focus on celebrating the birthdays and lives of the older members of our family, I decided it was appropriate to write about grandparents. My latest creation in this regard is set out below. Please comment and let me know what you think of my attempt at a different style and flow.

Grandparents by Robbie Cheadle

You’ll find them everywhere you look;
Quietly observing from every cranny and nook;
Drinking tea with friends in a local tea house;
In a pet store showing the children a mouse;
Cheering on the team at a school hockey match;
In a chicken coop, helping the chicks to hatch;
At the hospital, bringing flowers to a friend;
At a play, watching until the very end;
They take the grandkids overnight;
They help resolve a sibling fight;
They build a pirate island in the sand pit;
They search and find missing soccer kit;
They teach our children not to stare;
And sooth them after a horrid nightmare;
They help us with our daily grind;
To our pressures and stress they are not blind;
They support us through our daily toil;
Although their comments can make the blood boil;
Their selective hearing can be hard to take;
You shout so loud, the dead could wake;
“No need to shout”, they say, “we heard you clearly”;
Sometimes its lucky for them, we love them so dearly;
The dinner is too salty, the cake is to sweet;
“Where did you find such frightfully tough meat”;
Its easier to sit back and let them cook the dinner;
Although watching them makes you feel like a sinner;
And their criticism of our parenting style;
Is enough our delicate feelings to rile;
There are so many positives to their involvement;
You couldn’t possibly bear any resentment;
I salute the moms and dads of the post war generation;
Who changed the world with their determined inspiration.

©Robbie Cheadle 2017

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Robbie and Michael’s latest book Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River Story and Cookbook

on 11 October 2017

I just love these rhyming stories about Sir Chocolate and his adventures. I could almost taste the “enormous milky jewel” condensed milk river! The recipes look delicious and so easy too.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Connect to Robbie and Michael at their blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

My thanks to Robbie for sharing this lovely poem and please do go over to her blog and enjoy all the wonderful recipes and articles.

I am so delighted that so many bloggers are sharing posts from their archives that deserve another audience.. MINE.. if you are interested in participating just send four links to sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am looking for human interest, informative, entertaining and humour…if you would like to promote your books.. then still email but we will look at doing a FREE promotion instead.

Quote Challenge Day Three – Going Gaga – various contributors


Quote Challenge Day Three

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for nominating me for this challenge… I love a good quote and you can read Robbie’s first quote here. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/quote-challenge-day-1/

Today a little humour from a delightfully witty book I got for Christmas once year, compiled by Rosemarie Jarski. Wrinklies’ Wit & Wisdom with quotes from the famous on Getting on a Bit or going GaGa.

Click on the image to buy the book.

I thought I would share a handful of my favourites but recommend this as a great stocking filler for the man or woman who already has everything!

You can’s turn back the clock. But you can wind it up againBonnie Prudden

“I once wanted to save the world. Now I just want to leave the room with some dignity” Lotus Weinstock.

Old men are dangerous; it doesn’t matter to them what is going to happen to the world” George Bernard Shaw

and last but not least!

“If you rest, you rust” Helen Hayes

It is customary to nominate three other bloggers to pick up the challenge.. I have done so in the last two days…However as this is my last day I am going to open this up to anyone who feels they would like to rise to the challenge.. thanks for dropping by and have fun.

Quote Challenge Day Two – John Gray – Mars and Venus Together for Ever.


Quote Challenge Day Two

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for nominating me for this challenge… I love a good quote and you can read Robbie’s first quote here. https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/quote-challenge-day-1/

Yesterday my quote was from Dorothy Parker and it was a poem War Song. I received that book when I needed a lot of encouragement to stay on a path I had chosen. That path led me to meet my husband David two years later and after about 16 years of marriage I thought that I should brush up my marital skills and bought this book…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/quote-challenge-day-one-dorothy-parker-war-song/

Here is my next selection.

You can click the image to buy the book.

Relationship skills for lasting love… I had enjoyed John Gray’s book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and was very happy to have an MOT a few years along.

I particular enjoyed the section “Masculine Skills for listening without getting upset!”

A couple of quotes did make me chuckle ( well there were more than a couple actually).. well actually roll about on the floor laughing!

“For men, the home has traditionally been a vacation spot. For women, it is a major hub of activity!”

A man must think about feelings before he talks about them, while a woman can feel, talk and think all at the same time.”

I did in reality do a little rethink after I read this book and perhaps I should read it again as we approach our 37th wedding anniversary this month.. you are never too old to take good advice.

It is customary to nominate three other bloggers to pick up the challenge.. knowing how busy you are I will not be offended if you cannot participate but it is an excuse to give your latest post a plug anyway.

Colleen Chesebro

Head over to read Colleen’s fabulous Halloween post: https://colleenchesebro.com/2017/10/26/fairies-myths-magic-author-spotlight-guest-posts-halloween-havoc-by-colleen-m-chesebro/

My collaborator on Cook From Scratch.. Carol Taylor who makes a mean Fish and chips: https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2017/10/27/fish-friday-british-fish-and-chips/

And finally today Balroop Singh and her wonderful poetry and who speaks to relationships too. https://balroop2013.wordpress.com/2017/10/27/poetry-too-speaks/

My third and last quote will be tomorrow night.  Thanks for dropping by.