Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews -#Paranormal Mae Clair, #YA Darlene Foster, #Supernatural Don Massenzio


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

The first author is Mae Clair with a recent review for Cusp of Night: Hode’s Hill Series

About the book

The truth hides in dark places . . .

Recently settled in Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania, Maya Sinclair is enthralled by the town’s folklore, especially the legend about a centuries-old monster. A devil-like creature with uncanny abilities responsible for several horrific murders, the Fiend has evolved into the stuff of urban myth. But the past lives again when Maya witnesses an assault during the annual “Fiend Fest.” The victim is developer Leland Hode, patriarch of the town’s most powerful family, and he was attacked by someone dressed like the Fiend.

Compelled to discover who is behind the attack and why, Maya uncovers a shortlist of enemies of the Hode clan. The mystery deepens when she finds the journal of a late nineteenth-century spiritualist who once lived in Maya’s house—a woman whose ghost may still linger. Known as the Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill due to a genetic condition, Lucinda Glass vanished without a trace and was believed to be one of the Fiend’s tragic victims. The disappearance of a young couple, combined with more sightings of the monster, trigger Maya to join forces with Leland’s son Collin. But the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she comes to a hidden world of twisted secrets, insanity, and evil that refuses to die . .

One of the recent reviews for the book

After surviving a car accident that nearly killed her, Maya Sinclair moves to Hodes Hill, Pennsylvania. She decides to rent an old brownstone close to where Charlotte Hode was murdered over a century ago.

Maya is still haunted by the time she spent in the Aether, hovering between life and death in a reality where souls with unfinished business lingered. Now, she finds her perceptions altered, opening the doors to her own clairvoyance.

It doesn’t take long for the house to connect with its new occupant. When the clock reaches, 2:22 am known as the cusp of night, terrifying noises explode from the walls of the house. Eventually, Maya recognizes a figure from the Aether… what could it mean?

In a city where the people refuse to let go of the past, the night of the annually celebrated Fiend Festival finally arrives. The townsfolk dress up in costumes to resemble the terrifying creature that murdered Charlotte Hode all those years before. However, this year is different. Something is out there, and it‘s killed again!

It turns out that Hode’s Hill sponsored the spiritualist movement of the Nineteenth century in the form of the Blue Lady, a blue-skinned spiritualist who perpetrated a scam against unsuspecting townsfolk. Now, she uses Maya’s sensitivity to the Aether to carry out her task.

Clair skillfully incorporates the tragic story of Lucy Strick, the Blue Lady, with that of Maya Sinclair bringing the past into the future in a story that was so riveting I couldn’t it put this book down.

The author also displays a rare command over language that’s unique. Her vivid descriptions and settings put me in the story, as if I’d experienced the events myself. I’ll never look at my watch at 2:22 am again!

Maya Sinclair is the type of heroine I like the most. She’s flawed, but in a way that makes her seem multidimensional and very human. This town is full of characters, which makes the story even more realistic. The Hode family contains some despicable figures, but Collin Hode teams up with Maya to help solve the mystery of the blue lady.

If I could give this book a rating over five stars, I would. I rarely say that, but this series is exceptional. I’m already reading the second book (End of Day) in the series and have purchased the third book, (Eventide) as well.

If you love mystery and suspense with a healthy helping of the paranormal, you won’t want to miss this series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mae: Goodreads

Connect to Mae via her Blog/Website: Mae Clair

The next author is Darlene Foster with a review for Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action.

About Amanda in Holland

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah; as well as travelling the canals of Amsterdam, visiting Anne Frank House, checking out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and taking pictures of the flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than she could have imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed and filled with interesting titbits of information  Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2020

Amanda in Holland is the latest addition to the exciting Amanda series of books written by Canadian author, Darlene Foster. Each book in the Amanda series is set in a different country and details some of the amazing cultural and historical sites as well as dishes, drinks and clothes that are specific to that country. This aspect of the series makes it unusual and appealing to young and older readers.

Amanda, who lives in Canada, travels to Holland to meet up with her best friend, Leah Anderson and her father, who live in England. Mr Anderson is in Holland for business purposes and the two teenage girls are free to enjoy themselves seeing all the wonderful historical and cultural sites Holland has to offer. The story starts with a bang when Amanda is nearly ridden over by a woman on a bicycle on her first morning in Amsterdam. The woman’s behaviour is a bit odd and this event is followed by Amanda and Leah discovering a young puppy which has been abandoned in a box next to a rubbish bin around the corner from a cheese shop they are visiting.

Mr Anderson agrees for the girls to keep the dog until it can be taken to an animal shelter and this decision sets in motion a series of occurrences that draw Amanda and Leah into an exciting adventure involving selling animals from puppy farms and stealing rare tulip bulbs. While the two girls investigate the mysterious circumstances of the abandonment of the puppy and the strange behaviour of various individuals who keep turning up, like the woman who nearly ran Amanda over, they also visit a number of interesting places such as the hide out of Anne Frank of The Diary of Anne Frank fame, the Keukenhof Botanical Gardens and a Canadian war-memorial cemetery. Amanda has the picture of her great uncle Harold who disappeared in Holland during the war and whose grave she is hoping she might find. The two girls meet a number of interesting people and get to spend time with a number of Dutch people who introduce them to some delicious Dutch treats.

The book is action packed and filled with interesting titbits of information about life in Holland, WWII and perseverance and determination in unraveling a mystery.

Amanda is a clever and kind girl who will appeal to middle school and young teenagers who will admire her pluck

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other  books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

Connect to Darlene via her blog: Darlene Foster WordPress

And the final author today is Don Massenzio with a review for the supernatural Extra Innings: Can you go home again?

About the book

Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team. Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past. That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life? Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about old adage, you can never go home again? Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2020

Extra Innings by Don Massenzio is one man’s search to find more meaning in his simple life. The Langerton Chiefs, a AAA baseball team for the New York Yankees, have always been a significant part of Joe McLean’s life. He and his brother Mike have been lifelong fans. When the city council decides to tear down Maxwell Stadium to build a more modern facility, Joe decides that he wants a piece of the old stadium as a means of remembering his beloved Chiefs.

This meat of this story is not about baseball, however. When McLean purchases an old wooden stadium seat, he finds that he can travel in time when he goes to sleep in it. He understands that he is moving in time and recognizes the critical people in his life from days gone by, but each time Joe ends in a new period, he discovers positives and negatives. The problem is that no timeline seems to be perfect and continually finds things that are imperfect about his life that he goes about trying to fix before moving to another timeline.

It was a bit tedious trying to keep track of all of the timelines, but I found this to be an enjoyable read overall.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Don Massenzio

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and on Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and buy follow Don on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Don via his blog: Don Massenzio WordPress

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