Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Recent Reviews – #Lockdown M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Paranormal Marcia Meara


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

The first author today with a recent review is Marjorie Mallon for the anthology This is Lockdown that shares her own diary of events over that period about the pandemic and life as a family in lock down.. and the thoughts and poetry of others within the blogging community including myself.

About the collection

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

The full list of authors can be found on Amazon.

A recent review for the collection

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A well-rounded depiction  Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2021

This is lockdown is an unusual collection of diary entries, discussions, poems, and a few short stories written by a variety of people from different countries and backgrounds and recording their experiences and emotions during the 2020 lockdown.

The book is divided into three sections: Family Diaries of the author MJ Mallon, No More which contains poems and pieces from a number of different contributors, and Part 2 which comprises of short stories by MJ Mallon.

The Family Diaries is just what is says, a collection of diary entries from 28 February 2020 to 1 June 2020, setting out the author’s emotions and experiences during the first three months of lockdown. The author was in lockdown with your two daughters and her husband and her entries extend to cover some of their feelings and reactions to being confined to home for an extended period. I enjoyed the family’s attempts to stay cheerful and to make the most of their time through exercising, walking, and reading. Simple joys like cooking and finding a new statuette on a walk are highlights of this period, as is the pervasive underlying anxiety about the illness and the future. The author has also recorded some of the politics of the time and how the actions of leadership impacted on the psychology of the nation.

The contributions from other authors were equally interesting as the contributors were from all over the world. Some of the contributors are known to me through my blog and I really sympathized with their circumstances and anxieties. Some were new to me, but their stories were no less interesting. I found the contribution by Beaton Mabaso from Zimbabwe of particular interest as I live in neighbouring South Africa. Beaton’s experiences and anxieties about food supply, medical treatment, the ability to social distance in crowded communities and a government with limited ability to financial aid its citizens are similar to the circumstances of the vast majority of people in my country. The different impact of the lockdown and pandemic on developed countries where people fight the psychological battle of loneliness and fear, and developing countries were people face poverty and physical deprivation were highlighted for me. There are also beautiful poetic contributions from Sally Cronin, Debby Gies, and Frank Prem. Willow Withers wrote a powerful and overarching poem about the impact of “the plague” on society and the economy of Britain.

Part 2 set out some excellent short stories by MJ Mallon, my favourite of which was The Poet’s Club Fictional Short Story. This story illustrated the diverse impact of coronavirus and lockdown on teenagers and how it impacts on their socializing, learning, and ability to cope. If found this story to be insightful and realistic.

This is Lockdown is and excellent and well-rounded depiction of lockdown and the pandemic of 2020.

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

Also by M.J. Mallon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Website:M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

The next author today is Balroop Singh with a recent review for her poetry collection – Magical Whispers

About the collection

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whispers life into us.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Lorie Hope 5.0 out of 5 stars Peaceful and Meditative  Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2021

This peaceful and meditative collection of poems is like a surrender to Mother Earth and her intrinsic magic. The poems are thoughtful, free-flowing, and loosely connected to weave the reader through natural, mythic and magical worlds. My favorite poems are Love is Love and a Moon Fairy, both very different. Love is Love is like a dance of nature to welcome and embrace the unconventional and Moon Fairy is simultaneously heavy and wistful and reminds me of an old woman recounting her days. Whatever your takeaway from Singh’s work, you will be moved. I recommend this especially when you want to just slow down and breath a little and see the wonder and magic around us.  

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

Also by Balroop Singh

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Balroop Singh, Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Balroop : Goodreads – blog:Balroop Singh on WordPress – Twitter: @BalroopShado

The final author today with a recent review is Marcia Meara for book four in the Wake – Robin Ridge seriesThe Light.

About the book

The Magic is Back!

For Robert MacKenzie Cole—or Rabbit, as he’s known to all—the chance to accompany his family to see North Carolina’s infamous Brown Mountain Lights has him nearly dizzy with excitement. And what better night to watch this unexplained phenomenon unfold than Halloween?

But when the entrancing, unpredictable lights show up, Rabbit gets far more than he bargained for. He’s gifted with what folks in the Appalachians call “the Sight,” and it’s this extrasensory perception that enables him to spot the one light different from all the rest.

In his biggest challenge to date, Rabbit—aided by his daddy and his newest friend, Austin Dupree— begins a quest to learn more about the mysterious light. Their investigation unveils a web of cons and corruption none of them expected and exposes a brutal murder along the way.

Throughout all, Rabbit is unfaltering in his commitment to do whatever it takes to understand the truth behind the glowing orb and to determine how he can help it. After all, it followed him home.

A recent review for the book

Reviewed in the United States on January 23, 2021

I could read a book about the 11-year-old Rabbit navel-gazing and be entertained. I’m in love with this character and as long as he’s in the story, I’m satisfied. Once again, Rabbit is using his gift of “sight” to solve murders and heal old wounds. In this book, one of the Brown Mountain lights is different from the rest. It’s full of sadness, and Rabbit wants to find out why.

This story has less violence and minimal danger compare to the previous books in the series, and though Rabbit solves the mystery, the more dire consequences unfold on their own. In this read, the focus has shifted somewhat to Rabbit’s expanding “family” as he spreads around his good will and makes connections with other good people. There’s a sweetness to this story and to these characters, and that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Rabbit’s journey and happily recommend Meara’s Wake Robin Ridge series to fans of paranormal fiction, addictive characters, and expert writing. I will miss this little guy. A solid five-star read

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

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Murdermystery Terry Tyler, #Meditation Sue Vincent, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach


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

The first author today with a recent review is Terry Tyler for The Visitor: A Post-Apocalyptic Murder Mystery

About the book

In 2024, a mystery virus ravages the entire world. ‘Bat Fever’ is highly contagious and one hundred per cent lethal.

A cottage tucked away in an isolated Norfolk village seems like the ideal place to sit out a catastrophic pandemic, but some residents of Hincham resent the arrival of Jack, Sarah and their friends, while others want to know too much about them.

What the villagers don’t know is that beneath Sarah’s cottage is a fully-stocked, luxury survival bunker. A post-apocalyptic ‘des res’.

Hincham isolates itself from the rest of the country, but the deaths continue―and not from the virus. There’s a killer on the loose, but is it a member of the much-depleted community, or somebody from outside? Paranoia is rife, as friend suspects friend, and everybody suspects the newcomers.

Most terrifying of all is that nobody knows who’s next on the list…

The Visitor is Terry Tyler’s twenty-second Amazon publication, and is set in the same world as her Project Renova series, while being a completely separate, stand-alone novel.

A recent review for the book

loopyloulaura 5.0 out of 5 stars fast paced and completely absorbing  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 January 2021

Four lifelong friends plan to see out bat fever in a secret bunker but will they all survive long enough to get there? And once there, a murderer is on the loose in the village…
Amidst the coronavirius pandemic, this book is scary! Set in the same reality as the Project Renova books, The Visitor is a stand alone novel set in 2024. Coronavirus has been and gone, the world recovered. But the new disease is much more deadly and every case is fatal. The politics of the original books are still there with the vaccine programme (again, scary given the current situation!)

The Visitor is written from Jack and Avalon’s first person perspectives as well as various other third person viewpoints. This allows us to understand and feel their emotions as their loved ones die and they adjust to life in the village. The Visitor also has their own first person chapters so we anticipate their next move…
The murder mystery is a fascinating plot device which stands this book apart from the other Project Renova books. The fear and suspicion adds an extra element to the plot and provides extra character development. It engages the reader as we try to figure out who the mysterious Visitor could be and deduce their motive.

Terry Tyler is such a clever writer as she plays to our fears and makes her characters and situations very realistic. She has used the current coronavirus pandemic to underscore her plot and it supports our understanding of the events, motives and actions of each character we encounter.

The Visitor is fast paced yet the sinister build up to the murderous events is not rushed. The danger from the virus as well as from others within and outside the community is completely absorbing.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

A selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Terry Tyler: GoodreadsBlog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4 

The next author is Sue Vincent with a recent review for  Petals of the Rose: Guided Journeys

About the book

A series of guided meditations, designed to open aspects of the personality in as gentle and natural way as the petals of the rose open at the touch of the sun. Each inner journey will carry you to a haven within your own psyche from which to explore layers of your own being, learning their meaning and purpose. From mystical and silent castles, to the song of the unicorn… each journey takes you deeper into your inner being and carries you out beyond the stars. Stories stir the imagination, casting images upon the screen of mind that allow us to explore, in safety, aspects of our lives and being that we might otherwise avoid or overlook. There is a rich vein of experience in memory that can be mined for its treasures. One of the simplest and best ways of exploring the labyrinths of the mind is to do so through a guided journey.

Meditation and visualisation are not arcane practices in which a few indulge… we all use these tools every day, to navigate our way around the world and our lives. We ask ourselves ‘what if?’, creating imaginary scenarios before we act. We visualise the route we walk to work, or what the basket full of ingredients will look like, once assembled and cooked, on a dinner plate. There is no mystery in meditation… but when you give time and attention to the practice, it can open the door to many mysteries… including those of our own being…

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Feb 06, 2021 D.G. Kaye rated it five stars it was amazing

A small book that packs a punch for the soul. Sue Vincent offers up some wonderful calming and soothing meditations with guided imagery to help take us into a higher mindspace and bring us into a calmer sense of self.

This book offers simple meditations with painted visualizations in words (which this author is known well for) that aid in getting us into a meditative state and help to stir our senses by taking us into the imagery and leaving us to continue with wherever our imagination takes us.

A lovely book to keep at the bedside to use for those reflective moments, or when we just need to zone out and recompose.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Please visit Amazon to view all Sue’s books and those written with Stuart France.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKand: Amazon USBlog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent – Twitter:@SCVincent

The final author is D.Wallace Peach with a recent review for the fantasy Sunwielder

About the book

In a land on the brink of war, Gryff Worden discovers his family slaughtered, his farm in ruin.

Mortally wounded, he stumbles upon a timekeeper, an old woman of the northern forests, one who tracks the infinite paths of each life. She offers him a sunwield, a medallion promising to return him to the pivotal choices that swayed his life’s journey. Her only condition—he must wear the bronze charm until the end.

Now his story remakes itself, casting him backward in time to moments of decision and death. His old life gone, he no longer remembers the purpose of the medallion burning his chest. As he uncovers the sunwield’s power, new choices lead him on an epic adventure through war, death, friendship, life, and love.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A unique story  Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021

I do not read a lot of fantasy books, but I make an exception for D. Wallace Peach as her books are extraordinary and unique.

Gryff Worden is an ordinary man who just wants to help his uncle and aunt raise horses on their farm while raising his own family. Gryff adores his wife and two children, but there is bad blood between Gryff and the son of the Earl who rules his area. The hostility is emanates from Brant Loden’s side only, but it changes the course of Gryff’s life.

Gryff’s country is attacked by an aggressive nation who want to enslave his people and he is eventually morally wounded and his family murdered by enemy soldiers. At the time of his death he is visited by an elderly prophet who offers him another chance at life if he accepts the sunwielder, a bronze medallion which allows him to go back in time and revise decisions he made thereby changing his life’s path. I thought this concept was clever and unique. I have read other books where the hero can go back in time, but this particular method and the limited number of life choices offered by the sunwielder was something quite different and fascinating.

Gryff is a wonderful character, he is a good man and tries to do the right thing in all situations but he is human and, therefore, susceptible to various human failings like anger and resentment. It was most interesting to experience his going back in time and having to try an alternative approach when his previous choice failed. As Gryff moved further along his path, his choices improved and his self control and discipline increased allowing him to make better choices earlier and without constant intervention.

There is a love story thread that runs through the book and this is intriguing as the reader doesn’t know how his relationships with his wife and with his lover are going to turn out – his destiny in this regard is unclear for most of the book.

There are a number of characters in this book and it provides great insight into the frailties of men and how arrogance, greed, and hunger for power can destroy individuals and the people around them. Good leadership is a strong theme in this book and the importance of strategy and leadership in war and battles is highlighted.

The author writes the most beautiful and powerful prose and even without the incredible story, this book would have been worth reading just to experience the skillful writing. I highly recommend this book to lovers of fantasy and those who enjoy excellent writing.

A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach

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Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreads blog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter:@Dwallacepeach

 

Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Family Lisette Brodey, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton, #Fantasy Tyler Edwards


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review today is for the latest book from LIsette Brodey.. a story of family and relationships The Sum of our Sorrows.

About the book

In an idyllic suburb in Northern California, tragedy strikes the Sheppard family when Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is killed in a car accident. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car with her mother and survives without physical injury but remains deeply scarred on the inside.

Dalton tells Lily, his eldest daughter, that she must sacrifice long-awaited college plans and put her life on hold to take care of her sisters. Lily is torn between her devotion to family and an increasing need to find her place in the world — but how can she leave, knowing her family may crumble? Will her presence eventually cause more problems than it resolves?

The Sum of our Sorrows reveals how the aftermath of a family tragedy can precipitate sorrows never imagined. It is a tale of grief, hope, healing, coming-of-age, friendship, and survival. It is also a love story of two broken souls living through pain in search of better days and the renewal of one’s spirit.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write characters as I hear them speak to me. Some of these stories contain non-gratuitous expletives and sexual references. This book also contains some situations that may be triggering to some readers. If this is not to your liking, please don’t read this book. Thank you.

A recent review for the book

Jan 30, 2021 Richard Schwindt rated it it was amazing
Lisette Brodey is one of those authors who writes for her readers. It occurred to me while reading The Sum of Our Sorrows that if you like to lose yourself in a good story featuring relatable people (and a few nasty ones), Brodey, and this book in particular, was for you. It begins in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. Eighteen year old Lily, along with her 2 younger sisters lose their mother in car crash. Her fifteen year old sister is in the car and traumatized. Her father is devastated, drinking and seems to lose himself. In the weeks that follow Lily will lose her friends and dreams too. This family is tortured in its grief, and she has to hold it all together. The story follows her, and the subsequent events, leading to love, disclosure and redemption. I have rarely appreciated the writer’s commitment to good fluid prose more than in this book. It is a cliché to say that you were “captured by the story” but in this case I certainly was. I can see The Sum of Our Sorrows appealing to many diverse readers on that basis alone. Highly recommended, with tea by the garden.

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

A selection of books by Lisette Brodey

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Lisette: Goodreads – Website/blog: Lisette Brodey – Twitter: @LisetteBrodey – Facebook: Lisette.Brodey

The next author today is Claire Fullerton with a review for her novel Little Tea.

About the book.

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

A recent review for the book

T. Bakken 5.0 out of 5 stars Friends Reviewed in the United States on January 9, 2021

I knew in the first pages of Little Tea that Fullerton’s storytelling would transport me. Her descriptive passages about the humidity and verdant landscape are palpable. I knew I would feel at home in the female company of the three friends reunion on the lake. Fullerton weaves their past and present and deep understanding of one another together beautifully. What I didn’t know was that this story – of friendships, and first loves, and reliving the triumphs and tragedies of the past – would carry profound lessons on what it means to be happy, balanced, and open minded. Fullerton is a skilled linguist and philosopher – wrapped up in a fantastic storyteller. Little Tea is a gift I’m so glad I opened!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK

Also by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Blog: Claire Fullerton WordPress – Twitter: @Cfullerton3

Delighted to welcome Tyler Edwards to the Cafe and Bookstore with his books and today I am featuring his latest release the dystopian, science fiction novel The Outlands

About the book

In the ruins of the world that was lies the city of Dios, a haven protected from the hostile environment known as The Outlands. Ruled by an oppressive Patriarch, the people of Dios are conditioned in fear. The smallest infraction could result in banishment to the Outlands, a fate worse than death.

With his make-shift family of “Undesirables”, Jett Lasting struggles to find his place in a world where drawing attention to yourself can get you killed. His very existence is considered a crime. To survive, he must avoid guards, beggar gangs, and an ever-growing tension that could drag the whole city into chaos.

Jett unwittingly becomes entwined in a plot to overthrow the government where his choices could lead to freedom or the death of everyone he’s ever known or cared about.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Nancy S 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Story that will keep you on the edge of your seat Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2021

I couldn’t put this book down. If you like sci-fi, dystopian fiction, you must read this one. The twists and turns don’t stop. My only complaint is that it ended too soon!! Looking forward to the next book in this series.

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

Also by Tyler Edwards

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Tyler: Goodreads – Facebook: Tyler Edwards Twitter: @tedwardsccc

 

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