Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Memoir #Cancer Miriam Hurdle, #Romance Ritu Bhathal, #Crimethriller Carol Balawyder

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is the poignant memoir by Miriam Hurdle…it is an inspiring read and I can recommend The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.

About the book

In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.

One of the reviews for the book

Writing about a personal cancer experience as a therapeutic activity to cope with the emotions and physical changes that accompany diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis can be very beneficial to the person going through it.

However, making the transition from writer-based prose in the form of a cancer diary or journal to reader-based prose as a published cancer memoir poses a challenge. Miriam Hurdle faces this challenge head-on in her cancer memoir, The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.

She begins by introducing the book with a Foreword in which she directly addresses the reader and explains her reasons for sharing her story: “I’m grateful to be alive, to give to others, and to receive from them.” Throughout the book, she never loses sight of the fact that she is telling her story to someone else. As a reader, I greatly appreciated this consideration. I also appreciated the family photographs she included, as her family played such a vital role in her journey of survival.

Key scenes–such as receiving an unexpected pathology report after a routine surgery–are dramatized so that the reader can experience the events and their accompanying emotions with Hurdle, rather than being told about them secondhand. She also includes italicized interior monologue, making the reader privy to her thoughts at the time, reinforcing the immediacy of the narration. In addition, she balances the experience of what she went through at the time with her current reflections on it now, so that readers can benefit from both perspectives on her cancer experience.

Hurdle includes just enough researched information about the type of cancer she had and the details of her own instance of it to give the reader a clear understanding of what she went through without feeling overwhelmed or getting the impression of reading a medical case study. (Make no mistake: the details of the treatments and their side effects are portrayed with brutal honesty.)

If I had to give just one reason to recommend that others read The Winding Road–regardless of where they are in their lives or their health–it would be that witnessing the support of a loving family and the incredible kindness shown to Hurdle by everyone in her personal and professional circles can serve as an antidote to the hatred and strife that characterize our current troubled times. Medical science aside, as critically important as it was, Miriam’s cancer journey gave me hope.

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

Also by Miriam Hurdle

Discover more about Miriam Hurdle and buy the books:Amazon US And:Amazon UK Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle – Blog: The Showers of Blessings – Twitter: @mhurdle112

The nex book today is a lovely and engaging romance that I can recommend, Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal. Look out for Ritu’s new book soon.

About the book

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set. Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

One of the reviews for the book

I truly enjoyed this book and let out a huge sigh when I finished it so am very pleased to know there is a second on the way. That’s a sign of a good book, when you just want to keep on reading forever.

I love romantic fiction, the escape, the will-they-won’t-they, and this book delivered all of that in full, and I was fully willing on Aashi from the minute Arjun is introduced to us.
However, this book had so much more to it than a simple love story, it taught me things. It taught me a little more about Sikh culture (the novel is jam-packed with domestic detail that gave it such warmth, for example – mustard oil on the doorframes) and as the characters travel from Birmingham to India, it taught me about their destination in a way that made me want to explore in a lot more depth.

Two things really stood out for me, the insightful, wise way that the author wove the family relationships, the love between these characters and the pressures that expectations can bring. I loved all the relationships in this book, parental-child ones, siblings, best friends, community – all were written in a way that you could really relate to and that drew you in.

The second was the way the author described her settings. At points I felt like I was in India, experiencing the chaos and the colour of the Bangles market, travelling to and visiting the Golden Temple complex and the gardens of Jallianwala Bagh, learning about the massacre that occurred there. It was all so evocative, all my senses were stimulated at the vivid descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, tastes. I found myself racing to read this, to take myself back to the world that the author created and I am very much looking forward to the next in the series. 

Read the reviews and buy the bookAmazon UK And: Amazon US

Also by Ritu Bhathal

Find out more about Ritu Bhathal and buy the books:Amazon UK  and : Amazon US- Blog: Ritu Bhathal WordPress Follow Ritu: Goodreads – Twitter: @RituBhathal

The final author today is Carol Balawyder – with her coming of age crime thriller...Just Before Sunrise

About the book

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.

But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…

Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.

She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.

As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.

Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.

One of the reviews for the book

Nadine has her sights on her wealthy husband Logan’s life insurance, and the quickest way to cash in is to murder the older man. An affair with Charlie, Logan’s stepson from a previous marriage, guarantees her an accomplice. When photos show up of the man’s drowning, Nadine and Charlie start planning a second murder, but this time, they need someone to take the fall. Enter Maya, a sixteen-year-old trying to get off the streets and turn her life around. Charlie plays Maya, entrances her, and Maya is completely taken in.

The pace of this suspenseful read moves along quickly right from the start. I held my breath as I could see Maya making one mistake after another and falling in love with a man who was manipulating her and setting her up. Fortunately, at age sixteen, she has some allies looking out for her, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

The story is free of graphic sex and violence. It unfolds in multiple POVs, all third person except for Maya, whose chapters are in first person. I liked Maya as a character. Despite her naivete, she’s a believable teen with a full backstory and range of emotions. Nadine and Charlie were utterly devious, and I enjoyed their scenes, eager for them to fail. A subplot between two secondary characters threads through the main story. A fast-paced, suspenseful read that I highly recommend to fans of coming-of-age thrillers. 

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

A selection of books by Carol Balawyder

Discover more about Carol Balawyder and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews : Goodreads – WebsiteCarol BalawyderLinkedIn: Carol Balawyder – Facebook: Carol Balawyder


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #YA #Dystopian Teri Polen, #Psychological #Thriller Audrey Driscoll, #Mentalillness #WomensLit Anne Goodwin

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is the second in the Colony Series and I can recommend you begin with book one which is terrific. Teri Polen, The Insurgent (The Colony Series Book 2)

About the book

If a megalomaniac threatened your family, would you give up your freedom for them? Would you give up your soul?

Asher Solomon is faced with that choice. And makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Exactly as Director Silas Reeves expected him to.

Unable to live as the Colony’s premier assassin, Ash retreats to a corner of his mind, ceding control of his body to the alter-ego he was engineered to be—Subject A36. As he’s unleashed to battle the Insurgents, the only family he ever knew, the tide of war shifts in Silas’s favor.

Combined with his expansion into new territories, the director is poised to take over the world.

But the Insurgents don’t give up easily. Not on their cause, and not on their people. With the help of a few double agents deep in the Colony, they stand a fighting chance at ending Silas’s reign.

In order to shut down the program, they face almost insurmountable odds. And their most dangerous foe—their former champion turned killing machine, A36.

One of the reviews for the book

I’ve been looking forward to the continuing story of Asher and his friends. “The Insurgent” picks up where “Subject A36” left off without missing a beat. Asher is put in a horrible situation where if he doesn’t do what Silas wants him to, Brynn and his family will be killed. He had no choice but to withdraw into himself and let A36 take over. He becomes the killing machine he was bred to be. The story was fast-paced, yet allowed us to get to know Declan, Brynn, and other characters better.

There were some unexpected twists and a deep look into what is really important in life. A society that only places value on the outside of a person and will do anything to get perfection, even if it means killing children, is an unsettling mirror of what could be if vanity comes before anything else. The characters are all flawed and have burdens to carry with them, but that makes it very easy for me to root for the insurgent’s success. This could be a standalone read, but I would start at the beginning, so you don’t miss anything. I loved this book as much as I did the first one and can easily recommend it. 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US And: Amazon UK

Also by Teri Polen

Discover more about Teri Polen and buy the books : Amazon US – AndAmazon UK Follow Teri: Goodreads – website: Teri PolenTwitter: @Tpolen6

Next a psychological thriller with a touch of horror. The first book in a compelling series
The Friendship of Mortals (The Herbert West Series Book 1) by Audrey Driscoll

About the book

Herbert West can revivify the dead – after a fashion. Miskatonic University Librarian Charles Milburn agrees to help him, compromising his principles and his romance with Alma Halsey, daughter of the Dean of Medicine. West’s experiments become increasingly risky, but when he prepares to cross the ultimate border, only Charles can save his life – if his conscience lets him.

More Details: Arkham, Massachusetts, 1910. Librarian Charles Milburn takes up a position as cataloguer in the Library of Miskatonic University. He becomes the keeper of the Necronomicon, an ancient book of secret lore kept in the Library’s vault.

Herbert West, a medical student with a dubious reputation, requests access to the fabled book, and Charles grants it despite his misgivings. So begins a friendship that takes Charles far from the rules of cataloguing and the conventions familiar to an honest young man from a good Boston family.

Herbert West can restore the dead to life, he says, and he persuades Charles to be his assistant. Their experiments, carried out in secret by night, in improvised laboratories and by stealth in the hospital attached to the university, achieve success – of a sort. Charles finds himself caught between the demands of his fascinating friend and his growing attraction to Alma Halsey, daughter of the Dean of Medicine.

In 1914, as war begins in Europe, Charles is both relieved and distressed to say goodbye to West as he sails away to France to serve as a medical officer. Over the next four years, West’s letters reveal a mixture of cynicism and black humour that hint at – what? Charles doesn’t know and would rather not guess. Engrossed in cataloguing the books of an eccentric professor, he develops an interest in alchemy as a way to transform the base into the excellent.

West returns from the War to a career as a surgeon utilizing techniques perfected on the maimed, dying …and dead? Lonely and self-doubting despite his professional success, Charles can’t bring himself to abandon West as his reputation grows and darkens. Rumours of illicit experiments overshadow West’s spectacular public successes, and he begins to crack under attacks from colleagues and threats from his gangster brothers. Beleaguered on all sides and under threat of investigation, West appeals to Charles for help. Charles is sympathetic until West reveals the perilous nature of his plan.

Vacillating between horror and hope and haunted by West’s misdeeds, Charles must draw on his knowledge of alchemy and his tottering faith in powers beyond himself if he is to save his friend’s life. Only his conscience stands in the way.

One of the reviews for the book

An extremely clever and skillfully written reimagining of Lovecraft’s episodic “Herbert West” stories. Driscoll does a marvelous job of imitating Lovecraft’s style in her descriptions and pacing. She also explores quite thoroughly the psychological motivations of West and the narrator, as well as other characters of Driscoll’s own invention, all of whom are quite well-drawn.

In the first three-quarters of the book, the different strains of horror, romance and philosophy are balanced perfectly. In the last quarter the philosophical aspects took center stage, and the story became a bit more of a literary fantasy. It still felt like a Lovecraftian story, but perhaps more in the vein of the Randolph Carter tales, whereas the first three quarters were more reminiscent of “Charles Dexter Ward”.

I had a few quibbles–the pacing is slow (though that is in keeping with HPL’s style), and some readers may be disappointed that character development takes precedence over plot in the last act. Overall, however, these are minor points that are entirely overshadowed by the magnitude of what Driscoll has accomplished: while remaining faithful to HPL’s distinctive style, she has created a compelling tale of literary horror that fleshes out his thinly-sketched characters in careful and nuanced detail.

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

A selection of other books by Audrey Driscoll

Find out more about Audrey Driscoll and buy the books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website:Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

The final book today is the latest release by Anne Goodwin and is the prequel to the excellent novel Matilda Windsor is coming Home… which I very much enjoyed.
Stolen Summers : A heartbreaking tale of betrayal, confinement and dreams of escape (Matilda Windsor)

About the book

All she has left is her sanity. Will the asylum take that from her too?

In 1939, Matilda is admitted to Ghyllside hospital, cut off from family and friends. Not quite twenty, and forced to give up her baby for adoption, she feels battered by the cruel regime. Yet she finds a surprising ally in rough-edged Doris, who risks harsh punishments to help her reach out to the brother she left behind.

Twenty-five years later, the rules have relaxed, and the women are free to leave. How will they cope in a world transformed in their absence? Do greater dangers await them outside?

The poignant prequel to Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home is a tragic yet tender story of a woman robbed of her future who summons the strength to survive.

One of the reviews for the book

In Stolen Summers, the reader is treated to an insider’s view into the injustices borne by a girl thrust into an institution seemingly hell bent on destroying her spirit.

We witness the deterioration of a courageous, loving and dreadfully wronged young woman into a shadow of herself, who survives the insanity around her by suppressing her feelings and adapting to the norms of the asylum; sacrificing her very self.

When a trip outside the asylum ends in disaster, Matty is again forced to repress her natural grief, as she is subjected to the most inhumane treatments available at the time.

With no escape, by the end of the book, Matty makes sense of the injustices heaped upon her, by mentally transforming the asylum into her country residence, peopled by servants and guests, who she treats with the courtesy befitting the lady of the house.

We are then led towards the beginning of Matty’s next chapter, told in Goodwin’s beautifully written novel ‘Matilda Windsor Is Coming Home’. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Also by Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin, Buy:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Anne : Goodreads – blog: Annecdotal – Twitter: @Annecdotist


Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Shortstories Beem Weeks, #Mystery #Thriller Joy York, #Shortstories Simon Van Der Velde

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first author is Beem Weeks. I enjoyed reading his novel Jazz Baby in the summer and can highly recommend. Today I am featuring his short story collection Strange Highway.

About the collection

If you ever find yourself on the Strange Hwy—don’t turn around. Don’t panic. Just. Keep. Going. You never know what you’ll find.
You’ll see magic at the fingertips of an autistic young man,
•A teen girl’s afternoon, lifetime of loss.
•A winged man, an angel? Demon—?
•Mother’s recognition, peace to daughter.
•Danny’s death, stifled secrets.
•Black man’s music, guitar transforms boy.
•Dead brother, open confession.
•First love, supernatural?—family becomes whole!
You can exit the Strange Hwy, and come back any time you want.
See, now you know the way in, don’t be a stranger.

One of the reviews for the book

This is a fantastic collection of short stories, many of which have a coming-of-age theme. The author has a talent for capturing young voices and setting mood, especially in earlier decades. Many of the stories carry the flavor of the 1950s and 1960s, breathing vivid life into the past. Weeks offers us a slice of Americana in each story. The voices are authentic, descriptions vivid, and the writing polished. Each and every one is a gem, but there are several I must call special attention to.

“Sweetie Girl”—poignant, raw, and sad—addresses the pain of Alzheimer’s; “Memory of a Robot” is filled with the magic of what makes a spring afternoon special; “Overcome (Holy Water”), takes a look at a flood in the Jim Crow south and the change in brings in people (it gave me goose bumps of the good variety!), “Wordless” is about a man learning to read, and his daughter setting a path in life. Finally, “Looking for Lucy” the story which closes the book addresses separation and forgiveness with a unique and brilliant twist.

This is the second collection of short stories I’ve read by Mr. Weeks. He truly has a talent for this form. Highly recommended! 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Also by Beem Weeks

Head over to find out more about Beem Weeks and buy his books: Amazon US And: Amazon UKFollow Beem Weeks: Goodreads Website/Blog: Beem Weeks – Twitter: @BeemWeeks

Another recommended book for you this week that I recently reviewed, a perfect gift for mystery and thriller readers. Genuine Deceit by Joy York.

About the book

Abandonment. Suicide. Murder. When a young woman finds herself unknowingly accountable for the past sins of her family, she must unravel their secrets and lies to stay alive.

When her grandmother is brutally murdered in her own home, Reagan Asher leaves her corporate job and rushes to her sleepy hometown in Ohio. She has barely entered the house before a second break-in attempt is made, prompting police to believe it’s not just a random burglary. Reagan’s lifelong friend Mattie asks Aiden Rannell, her brother-in-law and an ex-Navy Seal, to lend support and protection to Reagan as she navigates the investigation.

​Aiden suggests a ring that Reagan’s grandmother owned may be more valuable than anyone believes. Considering her frugal life growing up, Reagan dismisses the idea, showing Aiden an old pink box filled with similar colorful, ornate costume jewelry she and her friends played with as children. When they find a decades-sealed container with shocking contents supporting Aiden’s concerns, Reagan begs him to help her find the origin and if it is related to her Nana’s death.

​With the answers seemingly rooted in Reagan’s family’s past, they delve into her tragic childhood as the danger escalates. With each new revelation of betrayal and deception, Reagan begins to doubt everything she ever knew about her life.

My review for Genuine Deceit 26th November 2022

A terrific suspense novel with some unexpected twists to keep the reader turning the pages.

A mystery spanning decades begins to unravel as Reagan Asher encounters unsettling discoveries following the murder of her grandmother. To complicate matters she finds herself torn between her new protector and a boyfriend who may or may not be serious about their relationship. It is an emotional rollercoaster which is not helpful when her life and the lives of those she cares about are in danger.

The author does a great job of keeping the pace moving along and slipping in the reveals in a timely way to keep the reader glued to the story. Some of these are red herrings which result in the police and FBI are being creative with their investigations as they attempt to make the pieces of the puzzle fit.

All the characters are carefully crafted with strengths, but also the small imperfections that make them believable. Those on the dark side of the story are certainly well portrayed, and their attempts to retrieve what they consider to be theirs are chilling.

As Aiden’s and Reagan’s relationship develops, they are led into a complex and dangerous labyrinth built by a man and a woman with a secret they will go to great lengths to protect, and a criminal conspiracy from the past. There is plenty of action, romance, surprises and a great lead up to the climax of the story that both challenges Reagan’s belief in who she really is, and brings together a family separated by deceit.

I highly recommend this book to mystery and thriller lovers who love to be kept in suspense right to the end of the story.

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

Also by Joy York

Discover more about Joy York and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Follow Joy: GoodreadsWebsite: Joy York –  Facebook: Joy York Author – Twitter: @JoyYorkAuthor

The final book today is by Simon Van Der Velde – Backstories a short story I can also recommend with some interesting speculations about the back stories of some famous faces…

About the collection

Can you find the famous person hidden in every story? And once found, can you understand them?

‘Ingenious idea, brilliantly executed‘ – Daily Mirror

Backstories – ‘the stand-out most original book of the year’ – is a collection of stories each told from the point of view of one of my personal heroes, (or villains) back when they were just another Jew or black, or queer – back when they were nobody. Bullied, assaulted or psychologically abused, their road to redemption was never easy, and for some there would be no redemption, only a descent into evil.

These are the stories of people you know. The settings are mostly 60’s and 70’s UK and USA, the driving themes are inclusion and social justice – but the real key to these stories is that I withhold the protagonists’ identities. This means that your job is to find them – leading to that Eureka moment when you realise who’s mind you’ve been inhabiting for the last twenty minutes.

I should also add that this is a book that operates on two levels. Yes, there’s the game of identifying the mystery activist or actor, singer or murderer, but there is then the more serious business of trying to understand them. This in turn leads to the challenge of overlaying what you now know about these famous people onto what you thought you knew – not to mention the inherent challenge to your moral compass.

These are people you know, but not as you know them. Peel back the mask and see.

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth. Simon Van der Velde January, 2021

One of the reviews for the collection

Heroes or villains, idols or tyrants; when someone becomes an icon (for good or ill) there is a tendency for us to view them as a symbol and forget the actual person behind and before the archetype.

Backstories addresses this perceptual gap splendidly and gives us all pause for thought. Each of the fourteen short stories in this collection tells one of the very human accounts of a diverse set of individuals in such a way as to spark empathy and understanding in the reader only to pull the rug out from under their perception in the last sentence – sometimes explicitly, sometimes hinting strongly – where the identity of the protagonist is revealed. To find out who they all are you’ll have to read it for yourself – no spoilers here!

Very quickly this becomes a challenge and you begin to try and second guess the denouement before it arrives and occasionally general knowledge about the subject helps out, adding to the sense of achievement when it turns out you were right all along.

Highly enjoyable, readable and entertaining, this anthology of tales has almost invented its own genre – and leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the second volume.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Also by Simon Van Der Velde


Find out more about Simon Van Der Velde and buy his books: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Goodreads: Simon Van Der Velde Twitter: @SimonVdVwriter 



Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts, #Crimestories Jane Risdon, #Historystories Lisette Brodey

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is Glimpses.. the first short story collection of two that I can recommend as the perfect gift  by Hugh W. Roberts.

About the book

After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who suffers from dyslexia, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book. Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.

‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.

If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh. Here’s what one reader has already said about the book. “If you’re looking for a thoroughly entertaining read, Glimpses is the book for you. Each story has been cleverly crafted; through Hugh’s wonderful imagination, he has the ability to whisk you away to many different worlds, past, present and future.

One of the reviews for the collection

A truly wonderful selection of short stories, an odd and eclectic range of topics and styles, but all of high quality writing and editing. The author mentions several times how he suffers from dyslexia and I would never have known.

Besides that issue, the stories take you away into different lives, from a ghost encounter, to complex marital issues (which seem to span a few stories, so interconnectivity adds to the interest) to the central and longest story “The Truth App.”, a personal favourtie of mine, along with the wedding stories.

Glimpses is an apt title, for these stories are not just glimpses into the characters but also into the mind of the author. Despite the change of genres and locations, there seems an underlying warmth and poetic perception of the world, sometimes more worldly than at other times, but always reflective and thoughtful. I’m not a big fan of short stories and prefer to get into lengtier literature so I can really get into the characters. Glimpses achieved in many a short story an engagement and connection between me and the characters that novels didn’t achieve.

Quite an achievement and a very enjoyable and touching selection. 

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

Also by Hugh W. Roberts

Find out more about Hugh Roberts and buy his books: Amazon UK – And on: Amazon US – Follow :Hugh Roberts Goodreads – BlogHugh’s Views and NewsTwitter: @HughRoberts05

The next author today is Jane Risdon with her short story collection Undercover Crime Shorts that makes for an interesting read and I enjoyed very much.

About the collection

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

One of the reviews for Undercover Crime Shorts

I love the stories in this book. Each one is a maze-like roadmap of intrigues, laden with twists, turns, and a surprise or two, that grabbed my attention right off the bat and didn’t let go. More than one had me glued to my seat in suspense. I could not divert my focus from the book until I finished reading it. The last piece, “Undercover,” is an extract from the author’s next novel which I cannot wait to read. As an author, Jane Risdon is a natural. She pens her stories in such a manner that you can see her characters up close in their surroundings, and you can follow the action as it takes place. Her writing style is most unusual in that she can write from the standpoint of an American, from that of one who is British, or from that of anyone of any nationality she chooses. I strongly recommend the book, “Undercover: Crime Shorts,” and I have the highest praise for its author, Jane Risdon. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Also by Jane Risdon

Discover more about Jane Risdon and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USBlog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread – Twitter: @Jane_Risdon – Facebook: Jane Risdon – Bookbub: Jane Risdon – WNB Network: Channel 6

The final book today is by Lisette Brodey…the mysterious and enticing The Waiting House: A Novel in Stories.

About the Book

From the author of Hotel Obscure

Once an opulent hotel for lovers of the Hollywood lifestyle, today the imposing building survives, somewhere, as an apartment house for those who wait. Not all know what they’re waiting for, but the residents live in flawed concert with those of undetermined existence, among relics of the past, as they wait for answers, for lost loved ones, and for purpose.

While the stories feature different characters, many of whom are recurring, each tale couples with its own unique reality … and is narrated by Conrad, the “grand master.” There is an overall story arc: part literary fiction, part Twilight Zone … both with a healthy dose of dark humor.

If you step inside, you’ll meet Ava Elisabeth, now in her 80s. After 40 years in Paris, she has returned. But why? Darah, the owner, is tormented by the sudden reappearance of her estranged mother, Millicent.

Kenny finds a way to overcome the despair of his missing wife. Fiona lives in the shadow of her once-famous, movie-star mother. Former Santa, Alejandro, punishes himself with solitude and sadness. A disturbed woman, Carolyn, waits for her TV prince to come. And Lee is tortured by random people who slide down walls near his fourth-floor apartment. Under the same roof, each soul has a different story … but all live in The Waiting House.

One of the reviews for the book

Sometimes you just know by the title that a book is going to be extraordinary. The Waiting House didn’t disappoint. The eclectic setting of a renovated vintage grand hotel into an apartment building serves as the perfect backdrop. Each story is cleverly introduced by the characters in residence. And best of all, the author lets us inhabit their colorful world of past, present, and future.

The author delivers the unexpected from the first page. After reading a few exquisitely written chapters, you realize something. This book is different in every way. Every fantastic way you’d want a story to be different. Yet, the tapestry woven has you wanting to meet these residents with their quirks, scars, and flaws because they’ve been made honest and compelling.

The author writes at an altitude that many great classic writers did. Expect to want to read every book penned by the talented author. 

Head over to buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A small selection of books by Lisette Brodey

Discover more about Lisette Brodey and buy her books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Lisette: Goodreads – Website/blog: Lisette Brodey – Twitter: @LisetteBrodey – Facebook: Lisette.Brodey


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. Sally


Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – New Book on the Shelves and my review – Fairies, Myths, & Magic II: Book 2: A Winter Celebration by Colleen Chesebro

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

Delighted to share the news of the lastest release by Colleen M. Chesebro. I loved the first Fairies, Myths & Magic and looked forward to reading this festive sequel and I was not disappointed.  A Winter Celebration

About the book

In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.

From autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, the Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.

Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.

My review for the book December 15th 2022

This is a delightful collection of poetry, flash fiction and short stories for any time of year but particularly during this festive season.

The collection begins with a wonderful introduction to the Winter Solstice with dates of the other seasonal festivities throughout the year. Also the background to the word ‘Yule’ and its significance in pagan beliefs along with some of the myths that linger on in our modern day celebrations. We also get to meet the winter yule faeries and their interactions with humans.  There are some intoxicating Green Fairies that will certainly encourage you to lose your inhibitions.

A poem celebrating Samhain is followed by a mystical story of a family deeply indebted to an unforgiving faery queen leading to revelations from the past and a desperate attempt to change the future.

This is followed by over seventy other amazing poems and stories that are a mixture of light and dark elements associated with mid-winter around the world. From the author’s home near Lake Michigan to ancient myths of Yule from the Shetland Islands, Ireland, The Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Russia, Italy, Ancient Greece, Germany, Japan and within the Native American Culture. All these legends have a very similar theme running through them.

“Yule personifies the great darkness before the dawn, and before the growing light shines brightly again.”

Towards the end of the collection we are offered further explanations of the twelve days of Yule and the sacred plants, symbols, rituals and crystals associated with the season.

This is not just an entertaining read, it is packed with details about this festive season we all love. Deep rooted within so many of our cultures, it is a magical celebration that crosses different belief systems and differences to remind us of our connection to nature and the seasons. I can highly recommend.

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

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Head over to discover more about Colleen Chesebro and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor website and blog: Colleen M. Chesebro      – LinkedIn: Colleen M. Chesebro – Facebook: Colleen M. Chesebro Poet and Author

About Colleen M. Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction.

In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry.

Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch.

In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books.

Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

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

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Thriller #Mystery John L. DeBoer, #Malaya #1950s Apple Gidley, #Romance Stevie Turner

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is the latest release from John L. DeBoer... a fast paced thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed reading and reviewed as an ARC copy recently. It was released on December 13th. The Girl from Belgrade.

About the book

A young girl’s life is torn apart when her parents are killed in the NATO bombing of Belgrade, Serbia, during the 1999 Kosovo War. An embittered Katarina Petrovic grows up with a hatred for Americans and becomes a willing candidate for special training by Russian agents.

Alex Baker commanded an Air Force Office of Special Investigations unit until an incident forced him to resign his military commission. Still in his thirties, he finds a new career as the owner of a Manhattan-based travel agency specializing in tour packages. When his father is assassinated, Alex is promised to be kept in the loop regarding the investigation. The OSI, FBI, and CIA begin a global hunt for a female assassin who appears to be targeting American pilots involved in the Belgrade bombing.

Alex is suddenly thrust into the middle of the investigation when events suggest he could also be on the assassin’s kill list. Is the woman making threatening phone calls the one who murdered his father? Or is she the alluring Dee Norton he meets supposedly by chance? Piece by piece, the mystery is unraveled, culminating in a thrilling conclusion on the island of Key West.

My review for the book

Tragedy strikes for a little girl in Belgrade, Serbia in 1999 that will have repercussions on the lives of men and women twenty years later. The unscupulous take advantage of the vulnerable, and in this case, fan the hatred that has taken hold of a child to create a merciless assassin. Keen to do her master’s bidding to further their agenda, she also has her own hit list and revenge is her reason for living.

Time has passed for those who were serving in the armed forces participating in the war in Serbia. They have gone on with their lives, working, having families unaware that they have a target on their back. Until Alex’s father is assassinated and connections are made as to the reason for his death.

The story picks up speed as more characters come in to play that blur the lines of the investigation.Alex finds himself trying to figure out who and why, three women are playing fast and loose with his life and those around him.

The main characters are excellent and their roles in the plot carefully choreographed. There is suspense and action as the mystery unfolds, with reveals cleverly inserted to keep the reader on their toes. The fast paced story line is lightened with touches of humour and a developing romance between Alex and the mysterious agent whose background makes her the perfect hunter for the assassin.

I enjoyed the book very much and can recommend to readers who enjoy an action packed storyline with a great lead up to the exciting climax.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A selection of books other by John L. DeBoer

Head over to discover more about John DeBoer and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow John: Goodreads – Twitter: @Johnldeboer

The next novel today is set in Malaya post WWII which is both an adventure and a love story that I reviewed earlier in the year and can recommend. Have You Eaten Rice Today by Apple Gidley

About the book

The Emergency rumbles through the jungle, the kampongs, and towns as the communist uprising in 1950’s Malaya adds poignancy to the salutation, ‘have you eaten rice today?’ when hunger drives some terrorists to surrender.

Simon Frampton returns to Malaya as a rubber planter after failing to settle into civilian life in England after the War. His knowledge of the jungle is again put to use when a war-time covert force is reformed and renamed, Ferret Force, made up of Malays, Chinese and Europeans.

Dee Cunningham, an Australian nurse longing to escape the confines of Townsville, Queensland, joins the British Red Cross to help set up and run rural clinics in Malaya.

The violence of guerrilla warfare becomes the backdrop to their love story, but miscommunication leads to sadness. It is not until sixty years later, when Simon’s grandson Max comes to stay at his Dorset farm, when he finds a box filled with envelopes with Australian stamps, and the truth comes to light.

Have You Eaten Rice Today? is a poignant exploration of Malaya’s violent history, merdeka, and how love is found in unexpected places.

One of the reviews for the book

I love books that transport me to somewhere I’ve never been, and this book did just that! From page one I felt wrapped in the heat, conflict and politics of 1950s Malaya, what the British called its collection of colonies on the Malay Peninsula.

The story revolves around restless Englishman Simon Frampton, a World War II vet who returns to Malay as a rubber planter. Due to his wartime experience, he winds up participating in a clandestine force of Malays, Chinese and Europeans trying to win against Communist forces that rule the jungle and terrorize the locals in an effort to take control. Simon’s difficult life starkly improves with the arrival of Dee Cunningham, an Australian Red Cross nurse.

The author does such a great job of depicting the characters, descriptions and history of a region I knew so little about. I felt the humidity of the jungle, the desperation of villagers stuck in the middle of conflict and the immediate attraction between Simon and the spirited Dee.

This is a fantastic story for those who love to learn about the world while reading about love that grows under the most difficult of circumstances.

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

Also by Apple Gidley

Head over to find out more about Apple Gidley and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – follow Apple: Goodreads – Blog:Apple Gidley WordPress – Twitter: @ExpatApple

The final book today is the latest release by Stevie Turner – a contemporary romance on my TBR for my holiday reading – Falling.

About the book

Death seems preferable to wasting what remains of his youth in prison.

James Hynde, fortified by several tots of whiskey, climbs up onto the roof of Parker Mews’ multi-storey car park and peers over the parapet. The game is up. The police will soon seize his millions, the Maserati, the London townhouse, and the Caribbean mansion on Windjammer Island.

Should he jump feet first or hold out his arms and topple over and over like a somersaulting gymnast? He closes his eyes, feels the breeze on his face, and pitches forward into the unknown.

Sixty feet below, Olivia Benet, a budding ballerina, rushes along Parker Mews towards the entrance to the multi-storey. Her interview for the Royal Ballet had taken much longer than expected, and she has but a few short minutes left before her parking ticket expires.

James has no idea of the consequences his action will have on his and Olivia’s lives.

‘Falling’ made the finals of the 2022 Page Turner Writing Award.  

One of the reviews for the book

Falling has a unique premise: James Hynde, at the end of his rope, decides to commit suicide by jumping off a building. He lands on Olivia who is coming from an interview with the Royal Ballet Company and her dreams of becoming a ballerina are literally crushed while James has failed his suicide attempt.

Wheelchair bound, Olivia is intent on getting her revenge to the man who ruined her life.
Falling is a novel with two very well rounded characters filled with greed, money, revenge and yes, even romance as a relationship between Olivia and James ensues. Not an ordinary love story though, where, James’ motivation is guilt for having ruined Olivia’s dream while Olivia’s is one of bitter revenge. Two people marrying each other for the wrong reason.

About a quarter of the way through the novel Olivia’s revenge is blocked by several obstacles involving a mother-in-law, tainted money and the appearance of an ex-wife.
Life keeps knocking Olivia down while James, on the otherhand, is out to prove that he is not a deadbeat loser.

When Olivia discovers that her dream of opening up a ballet school is squashed by James’ dark secret, their marriage turns for the worse. Olivia wants a divorce which James refuses to give her and they end up being business partners.

In lockdown, will their business partnership survive?

I enjoyed this novel. It is a fun, light read with twists and turns that make it unpredictable.

The moral of the story, in my opinion, is spoken by Olivia’s mother:

“Don’t let what’s happened to you make you bitter. It’ll destroy the rest of your life.” 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

A selection of other books by Stevie Turner

Find out more about Stevie Turner and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Stevie : Goodreads blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress – Twitter: @StevieTurner6


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

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Photography #Poetry #Flash M.J. Mallon, #Women’sLit Toni Pike, #Family #Poetry Lauren Scott

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is  the latest release by M.J. Mallon and enjoyed the collection very much. Do What You love: Fragility Of Your Flame Poems, Photography and Flash Fiction

About the collection

Do What You Love is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.

With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.

One of the reviews for the collection

Nov 20, 2022 D.G. Kaye rated it five stars it was amazing

MJ Mallon has written a heartfelt book with memories, prose, and poetry, incorporated with stories of life, love, family, and nature. In some of her stories, she is in conversation with the fates: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, the three Moirai representing the cycle of life – birth, life and death, past, present and future. We will read shared conversations about meeting her husband, her homeland of Scotland, stories about children that grow up and leave the nest, and nostalgic stories of growing up with her parents. There are many beautiful images MJ intersperes amid her stories.

Stories from the heart is what I would classify this book – poignant moments that left indelible imprints on the author and will touch the reader, a reminiscing through life and new adventures. This book is a wonderful slice of life celebrated and spoken by the author through beautiful written words 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US – Amazon Ca

Also by M.J. Mallon

 Discover more about M. J. Mallon and buy the books: Amazon US –And: Amazon UK Website: M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

The next book that I can also highly recommend is a heart warming story of renewal by Toni Pike and is her latest release – Linda’s Midlife Crisis…

About the book

Meet Linda Lockwood: fifty, fat, frumpy and bullied by her horrible husband Ron and the vile students and principal at the school where she teaches English. But her life is about to undergo a total transformation.

Linda suffers a breakdown after a traumatic classroom incident, and that brings out the worst in Ron and devious principal, Wayne Forsythe. Then she is rocked to discover her husband has a shocking secret.

With her own determination and the help of friends and family, she starts to turn her life around. Her own success might be the best revenge, but life still has some more surprises for Linda.

One of the reviews for the book

Linda is an overweight teacher, bullied by her students, ignored by the school’s administration, and unappreciated by her husband who has no problem humiliating her, at home and in public. When Linda has a breakdown and is ordered to rest, her husband, feeling burdened, leaves her. The sense of relief begins Linda’s journey into remaking her life.

Linda faces few obstacles in her path beyond her own self-doubt as she forges ahead with some eye-opening determination. She has wonderful support from family and friends, and though most opportunities fall easily into her lap, she also takes risks. I’d categorize the story as Women’s Lit and though it’s fictional, it offers some practical advice on how to remake one’s life, as well as messages of empowerment.

The pace is spot on for a book light on conflict, and I finished it in a day. I enjoyed the array of well-developed characters, especially Linda who carries the POV. This happily-ever-after story would make a fun beach read. Recommended to Women’s Lit readers who are looking for a light and entertaining way to spend a few hours. 

Head over to buy the book Amazon: USAUKAustraliaCanadaand follow reviews on Goodreads

A selection of other books by Toni Pike for children and adults

Connect to Toni and buy the books: Amazon AustraliaAmazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter:@piketoni1

The final book today is the lovely collection which is another of my recommendations by Lauren Scott – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose

About the book

From the early woes of childhood and teen years, this collection of stories and poems paints a picture of young dreams and fears. But as adulthood sets in, these dreams and fears change. More than Coffee touches on love and loss, nature and endurance, marriage and parenting. In these memories, humor diffuses fear and taking risks proves to be a powerful method in boosting self-confidence. Through it all, whether in the wilderness near a sparkling lake or in the comfort of home, there’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. A poignant and reflective collection of verse and prose that is best enjoyed sipping your favorite coffee roast.

One of the reviews for the collection

This lovely book is a mix of a memoir about the author/poet’s life with some beautiful freestyle poems included after each prose section to enhance the emotion and moments shared. The memoirs are relatable and cover delightful memories of family brought back through inherited items and stories shared by family members as well as the author’s own life experiences including achievements, romance, parental love, and overcoming fears. The author’s personality and humour comes through strongly in her writing and poetry, as well as her joy and pleasure in the simple things in life.

My favourite poem in this collection and the one that summarised for me the spirit and essence of this book is Fulfilled.


Let me drink from the gaze in your eyes
Eyes that have me wildly mesmerized
Mesmerized under their vivid piercing spell
Spell which only you many cast over me
Me, with a heart madly in love
Love, a whirlwind of euphoric emotions so true
True in not only our hearts, but in our minds
Minds, fully aware of their endless thoughts
Thoughts so amorous of us entwined
Entwined in each other’s arms eternally,
Eternally, still to few seconds for our time together.

I recommend this book to people who enjoy basking in the bright rays of happiness in life. 

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

Also by Lauren Scott

Discover more about Lauren Scott and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Baydreamer – Facebook: Lauren Scott Author


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



Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Fantasy J. M. Murphy, #YAFantasy Janice Spina

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first author is Marcia Meara with the first in her Emissary Trilogy… I enjoyed all three books and can highly recommend them. Here is The Emissary

About the book

Was Gabe Angelino, the mysterious truck driver in Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2, really an angel, as Willow Green believes? Or was he simply a good man, determined to help a stranger in need? Find out, as author Marcia Meara reveals the truth in the first Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary.

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

One of the reviews for the book

This book is so ridiculously entertaining, I couldn’t put it down. It plays on ALL the emotions—humor (in spades), sadness, heartfelt joy, anger, frustration, and a wonderful ending. WOW! The author knows how to tell a phenomenal tale and craft a good story. This is a relatively short read, but it’s a rich read with fully developed characters and plot lines. I especially loved the relationship (and witty dialogue) between Jake and angel Azrael.

After experiencing death, Jake is sent to Earth as an “emissary.” His job is to help others who are in trouble, or who might be on the verge of tossing in the towel. He’s not an angel, has some limited powers, but can still experience pain and emotions. He can also be snarky when he wants to be, especially when dealing with his “boss” Azreal. The scenes between these two are pure gold, and had me laughing out loud. The author has an amazing gift for sly humor. Yet, at other parts in the novella, she had me sniffling with numerous emotional scenes that expertly tug heartstrings. I’ve read other work by Marcia Meara and never come away disappointed. I’m hoping there will be more “Emissary” novels and novellas to follow this one. I HIGHLY recommend it! 

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

A selection of other books by Marcia Meara

Head over to find out more about Marcia Meara and buy the books: Amazon US And : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

The next book is for fantasy horror fans and is the Calloway Falls by J. M. Murphy

About the book

“Dark claustrophobic tale that packs a powerful punch.” – Wayne Laybury

The key to the multiverse is missing! During this great threat to all creation, Calloway Falls, a small town in North Dakota is cut off from the rest of the world, and nobody can get in or out. As the residents are pitted against each other, River, a displaced outcast, makes a pack with darkness to find the missing key.

Inside the trapped town, Pam Barrett is living a fake life. But as her society crumbles, Pam sees the secrets of her past unravel, exposing vulnerabilities she hoped would remain hidden. When River, posing as her husband’s cousin, meets Pam and forms a connection with her lonely son Danny, everything changes.

But the dark architect of the town’s isolation has only ninety days to find the key and unleash terror on the multiverse. Will River choose to ditch his dubious allies and remember his true purpose and will Pam find the courage to embrace a startling revelation.

Fast paced urban fantasy about two unlikely heroes who are thrust into a battle to save our world and all others.

One of the early reviews for the book

Barry m.5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Exciting Original  Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 20 October 2022

Lots of twists, Calloway Falls had me hooked from the start. The story is set in a modern-day town that is cut off from the rest of the world in a sort of parallel dimension and there is crazy tension between the people living there that gets worse with the lockdown. Added to that creatures from other worlds are locked in their own battle to find the key of the multiverse but are blocked from fully entering Calloway Falls because of some universal law, so they have to get the ringwardens to do their searching for them.

The main characters are believable and well developed and I especially related to River, who started out okay but got broken down by the world. Pam took a bit of getting used to but I liked her more and more as her character developed and she started standing up to that horrible husband of hers. Danny her son is an interesting character thrown into the mix and a question mark throughout the book. All in all it is a great story with an ending that it both stunning and uplifting. If you love a book you can’t put down with flawed, relatable heroes then this book is a must!

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

You can discover more about J. M. MurphyAmazon UKAmazon US – Goodreads – Facebook

The final book today is by Janice Spina and is the Teen and YA fantasyThe Unknown Territory: Gateskin Chronicles Book 2

About the book

The adventures continue in this addition of Gateskin Chronicles. Many new characters and creatures are introduced. Spells abound with magic all around. Many visitors come to Sovorotskina looking for asylum from the evil King Kaposkaran of Parotovina. Will King Gateskin accept them all or even be able to trust them not to be spies for the evil King?

Serena uses her powers to assist when wolves come their way. Other creatures are also about and threaten the safety of the village.

Kaposkaran finds himself in trouble when his village is attacked by creatures. Will he turn to Gateskin for help? If he does, what will Gateskin do?

There is a spy about in Sovorotskina. Will the spy be discovered and somehow stopped from undermining the magic of King Gateskin and his family?

One of the reviews for the book

King Gateskin, his family, and the people of Sovorotskina are back to fight off the enemy, evil King Kaposkaran of Parotovina. I have waited for this second book in the Gateskin Chronicles with great anticipation. As in everything, Janice Spina writes, her writing is always age appropriate and filled with imaginative characters and great stories. The characters in The Unknown Territory: Gateskin Chronicles Book 2 are beyond fabulous! The existing characters are consistent with the first book, The Legend of the Taken Ones: Gateskin Chronicles Book 1. The new characters follow in the tradition of the former characters with the addition of some fabulous new creatures in The Unknown Territory. If they’re good, they’re very good, but if they’re followers of King Kaposkaran, they’re diabolical. But can Kaposkaran be so evil that these followers are willing to risk life and limb to escape Parotovina and join forces with Gateskin?

Appropriate for both young adults and adults, I promise you will not be able to put down The Unknown Territory: Gateskin Chronicles Book 2. It is mesmerizing! I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Gateskin and the people of Sovorotskina in Book 3.
There is no way I can rate this anything but a five-star book! 

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

A small selection of other books by Janice Spina for children and adults

Discover more about Janice Spina and buy the books:Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina  


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

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Moonshine #WWII #Family Allan Hudson, #Crime #Paranormal Jaye Marie,#Shortstories Stephen Geez

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book today is the heartwarming novella that I can recommend and is by Allan Hudson… set in World War Two – Father.

About the Novella

In 1942 everything is going good for Tanner Hill. He has a good job, two healthy sons and a wife who loves him. As he makes lots of extra cash with his moonshine, he can afford many luxuries his neighbours cannot. And he’s not worried about conscription.

However, he soon realizes good things do not last forever. One argument after church with a disgruntled man with revenge on his mind and Tanner’s world is turned upside down.

Forced into making a choice, Tanner chooses to follow his brothers and enlists. He leaves for the fighting so far away as a private in the Royal Canadian Engineers.

It will be three years until Tanner returns home. It won’t be the same.

One of the reviews for Father

A. M. Smith-Nochasak 5.0 out of 5 stars Father holds the attention Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦

Set in rural New Brunswick during the Second World War, ‘Father’ tells the story of Tanner Hill, a happily married family man with steady work as a mechanic and a sideline as a moonshiner. A conflict after church one day leads to police attention to this secondary line of work, and Tanner, a few years older than the average recruit, decides enlisting is preferable to the alternative at home.

The book takes us into and through the latter war years, with the impact on Tanner, family members, and those he encounters. When Tanner returns, life at home has changed in significant ways, and all must cope.

This is not a text to be skimmed; every line, every detail, is there for a purpose and must be absorbed. The family history in the prologue grounds the story, and each event is significant. Characters are portrayed in all their strengths and weaknesses, without judgment. The war experiences focus on the pathos in each encounter. It is a quiet story, of the little moments. It held my attention, and remains with me. 

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

A selection of books by Allan Hudson

Discover more about Allan Hudson and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Allan: Goodreads – Website: South Branch Scribbler – Twitter: @hudson_allan

The next book is the latest release by Jaye Marie – Ghost of a Chance: (DI Snow series Book 4) – a crime thriller with a twist of the paranormal

About the book

A damaged detective, out of a job
A relationship on the rocks
What does the future hold for David Snow?
Just when he thought life couldn’t get any worse
A ghost with a grudge adds to his pain
A ghost hell bent on stopping him from rebuilding his life…

One of the reviews for the book

David Snow fails his fitness test after getting shot with a crossbow. As a result, he loses the detective job he loved. But that’s not the only thing in his life falling apart. His wife, Jane, is having a torrid and dangerous affair, and his attempt to work as a private investigator is ticking off Alan, a rival who seems determined to make him suffer. The only good thing happening in his life is Laurie, a college student with a couple of mysteries to solve. She becomes his sidekick, affectionately known as Nancy Drew.

The story unfolds in four POVs (for the aforementioned characters). David tells his story in 1st person and the other three in 3rd person. The pace moves along quickly with plenty of action and just the right amount of reference to previous books in the series. I had no trouble following and polished off the book in a single day.

The characters were complex and multifaceted. Laurie is a ray of sunshine, and it was a toss-up as to whether I liked her or David the best. Jane and Alan are much more troubled and less likable, particularly Alan who falls deeply into a villainous role.

The read seems to work well as a stand-alone, but two major plot threads are left open for a future book: 1) a creepy paranormal/possession case that David is investigating. And 2) an unexpected murder that points in a few different directions. For readers who don’t mind a couple of loose ends, both are reasons to look forward to the next book. Highly recommended to fans of crime novels and thrillers who enjoy a paranormal twist. 

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Also by Jaye Marie

Find out more about Jaye Marie  and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Jaye Marie : Goodreads – Jaye Marie: WordPress Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2

The final book today is a collection of short stories reflecting the human condition in all its glory and potential for loss which I read and enjoyed earlier in the year – Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

About the collection

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

A review for the collection

Gwendolyn Plano 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of Short Stories  Reviewed in the United States

Author Stephen Geez is a master writer. In this collection of short stories, he uses everyday situations to create unforgettable scenes. He has a unique way of bringing the reader into his fictional world. We see, we feel, we hear because of his writing style. Simple sentences, such as “She cleaned until the kitchen clock chimed midnight,” help the reader sense the frustration, the determination of the character. And, with such sentences, a reader wants more. I strongly recommend this collection. The writing is extraordinary, and the stories linger long beyond their concluding lines. 

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

A small selection of other books by Stephen Geez

Discover more about Stephen Geez and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More Reviews: Goodreads – Website: Stephen Geez – Website: Fresh Ink Group – Follow Stephen: Goodreads – Twitter: @StephenGeez – Fresh Ink Twitter: @FreshInkGroup – Voice of Indie Twitter: @VoiceofIndie


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



Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Murder #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Thriller Gwen Plano, #Historical #Romance Ailish Sinclair

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

If you are looking for a terrific murder mystery then I can recommend – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

One of the reviews for the book

Secrets of the Galapagos is like being on a trip and seeing all the sights of the Galapagos in this enjoyable mystery without leaving home.

The author takes the reader on an adventure with mystery, suspense and danger at every turn for the main protagonist, Giovanna Rogers. She intertwines some romance, intrigue, and murder. She catalogs the list of endangered species there with some fascinating information about turtles which I enjoyed. Giovanna has not gotten over losing her business and her fiancé because of a con artist. This trip may give her a chance to get even with this con artist who is also on his way to the Galapagos.

Even though I have never visited the Galapagos I felt as if I were there. The characters were varied and interesting keeping this reader engaged until the satisfying conclusion. I would recommend this story for all who enjoy learning about fascinating places along with an enjoyable mystery.

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

Also by Sharon Marchisello

Head over to find out more about Sharon Marchisello and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

The next book today is Gwen M. Plano with The Culmination: a new beginning – this is the third book in the exciting The Contract thriller series.

About the book

The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.

One of the  reviews for the book

Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.

I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.

A unique combination of character-driven and plot-driven fiction, I recommend this compelling tale to readers who enjoy strong character development and complexly-plotted intrigue. 

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

Other books by Gwen Plano

Discover more about Gwen Plano and buy the books: : Amazon UKand : Amazon USfollow Gwen : Goodreads –website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano

The final book today is the latest release from Ailish Sinclair… the historical romance Sisters at the Edge of the World.

About the book

When Morragh speaks to another person for the very first time, she has no idea that he is an invader in her land.

What she does next constitutes a huge betrayal of her people, threatening her closest relationships and even her way of life itself.

As the conflict between the Caledonian tribes and the Roman Sons of Mars intensifies, can she use her high status in the community to lessen the coming death toll or even prevent outright war?

Set in 1st century Northern Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a story of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and, ultimately, love.

One of the reviews for the book

What a marvellous book this is. I read it quickly, trying not to whizz through it once I got to the last twenty percent! The title refers to the relationship between Morragh and her sister, Onnagh; they are not birth sisters. Morragh was treated in the most brutal way as a young child, and Onnagh saved her.

The notes at the back of the book tell of the historical facts and theories on which Ms Sinclair has based this story. It takes place in a time before Christianity, when the ancient Scottish Taezali tribe believed in pagain spiritual presences. Morragh, in whose voice the tale is told, is mute – until the events of one spring and summer change her life and that of her community; the men from Rome have travelled north to conquer their villages and challenge every aspect of their existence.

Morragh is blessed with second sight and acute intuition; she is also able to see what might take place in the future. I love this aspect of the book – I am not usually a fan of the fantastical or supernatural, but her gift felt oddly real. Possible.

It’s a fabulous story, a real page-turner and so well written. It made me think about the passage and circle of time, of the constancy of the land on which we live and the transient nature of human life. Loved it. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Also by Ailish Sinclair

Find out more about Ailish Sinclair and buy the books:Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other reviews :Goodreads – Website:Ailish Sinclair – Twitter: @AilishSinclair – Facebook: Ailish Sinclair Author – LinkedIn: Ailish Sinclair


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