Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – Reviews – #1960s Jane Risdon, #Mystery Amy M. Reade, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano.

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

The first author today with a recent review is Jane Risdon for the 1960s Only One with Christina Jones.

About the book

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But, after a romantic summer together, they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the colourful and final year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Trekker Girl 4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into the 1960s  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 December 2020

Written from the the diaries of two young women who are in love with the same man, this is an interesting collaboration between these two authors. Seamlessly moving from one perspective to the other, this book kept me interested and intrigued by the possible outcomes.

I loved the 60s setting with music, fashion and culture references that rang true to that era and the age of the two girls.

A blast back to the swinging 60s and a fun read which I thoroughly enjoyed and I will be searching out other titles from both of these authors.

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

Also by Jane Risdon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – AndAmazon US–   Blog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread –  Twitter: @Jane_Risdon

The next author is Amy M. Reade with a review for her Christmas themed The Worst Noel (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 1)

About the book

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love, and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder.

As a single mom, small business owner, and president of the local Chamber of Commerce, the last thing she needs is to find a dead body on the floor of her jewelry shop on the busiest shopping day of the year. And as if that isn’t enough, Lilly has to deal with a deadbeat ex-husband, a mother with declining mental health, and two teenagers.

But when a second body turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. Can she figure out who killed the victims before she becomes one herself? And will her family’s Christmas be merry…or scary?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lori Caswell/Dollycas VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Read  Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2020

Dollycas’s Thoughts – Lily Carlsen has made a good life for herself and her teenagers, Laurel and Tighe after her ex decided years ago that family life wasn’t for him. Her brother Bill is a police officer in town and they both watch over their mother who lives down the street from Lily. The kids are a big help too as the tentacles of dementia start to take control of their grandmother. The family also has a lovable pup named Barney.

Lilly owns the local jewelry store and is president of the Chamber of Commerce. She works long hours but has raised some really good kids. She has been getting ready for the holiday rush and is excited about the Black Friday shoppers But when she arrives at her store she finds the back door unlocked and as she ventures inside notices the vault is open and a dead body on the showroom floor. The body belongs to a woman Lilly has a history with through the chamber. So even with a brother on the force, she finds herself a suspect in the woman’s murder.

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

 Also by Amy M. Reade

51dikCmd-RL._UY250_House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US  – And: Amazon UK – Blog: Amy Reade WordPress  –  Goodreads: Amy Reade Goodreads –  Twitter: @readeandwrite

The final author today with a recent review is Gwen M. Plano for The Culmination: a new beginning – this is the third book in 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 recent reviews for the book

“The Culmination” is the third book in the Contract Series. I loved all the books, but this one topped them. It touched me on a level of reality and fear, bringing the idea of hope in our current cold social climate. It starts after the second book and an assassination attempt. There is a group determined to cause mayhem and stop anyone in their way, including heads of state. There’s not only exciting action but developing relationships and political intrigue. I found a lot of what was going on in the story relevant for current times. Where Ms. Plano took this story is a place where I could imagine the right things being done in the middle of chaos. I loved the American Vice President with her logic and heart. Beautifully written and thought-provoking with scenarios all too familiar, some heartbreaking, and some tender. This book not only scared me but offered an optimistic option at the same time. I highly recommend it and the whole series.

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

Other books by Gwen Plano

Read the reviews and buy the books: : Amazon UKand  : Amazon US – follow Gwen : Goodreads –website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano


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

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews – #ParanormalThriller John W. Howell and Gwen Plano, #Thriller Toni Pike.

Welcome to the series where I will be sharing a selection of book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

My first review is from 2018 for The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth by John W. Howell and Gwen Plano.

About The Contract

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires. A Great summer read.

My review for the book

The Contract is a fusion of fantasy, thriller and romance and is the debut novel of the new collaboration between John. W. Howell and Gwen Plano.

I have read all of John Howell’s books and enjoyed, so I was eager to find out how these two popular writers would rise to the challenge of collaborating.

The concept is intriguing, and the opening chapter sets out this well, with the introduction to two souls, who had little time on earth to enjoy their love of each other. They are tasked by the divine council with preventing a major catastrophe on earth that could threaten mankind, but it will mean that they will be separated and have no memory of their task. Their hosts are two people with the knowledge and skill set to overcome the threat, but they are thousands of miles apart and both in mortal danger.

The writers do a good job of bringing these two characters together; now infused with the souls who have been contracted to neutralise the upcoming disaster. Watched and abetted  by guardian angels, their relationship begins with subterfuge, but quickly becomes attraction, and then love strong enough to take them through to the end of their endeavour.

This love story runs parallel to the fast escalation of violence and intrigue that reveals hidden agendas and treason in high places. The story has a good pace and there is plenty of action to keep the thriller lovers engaged with a number of surprising twists and turns in the plot along the way.

The final confrontation is a fitting climax to the story, bringing together all the players and their roles in the conspiracy, in an action packed battle of good against evil.

I am sure that this writing duo will go from strength to strength following this creative and exciting debut.

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

Other books by John Howell

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand on: Amazon UK – Goodreads:John Howell Goodreads Blog: John W. Howell. com – Twitter@HowellWave

Other books by Gwen Plano

Gwen Plano, Buy: Amazon US – and  : Amazon UK – follow Gwen : Goodreads – website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano

The next review today is from 2019 and is for the psychological thriller by Toni Pike…..Desolation Bluff

About the book

Blind romance author Oliver Cameron uses the pen name of Fidel Amore and thinks he has the perfect life at his country estate near Desolation Bluff. After a honeymoon in Paris, his wife Vanessa continues her work as his assistant. His friend Ray is the business manager who lives in the gatehouse and also acts as the public face of Fidel Amore, doing all those book-signing trips that Oliver never wanted to attend. Helen Dunkley is the housekeeper devoted to him since childhood – but she detests the two newcomers.

Complications set in when Ray, working on his old car, accidentally backs into Oliver. His injuries appear minor but the next day he suddenly regains his sight. Oliver wants Ray and Rachel to be the first to hear his good news, but when he finds them he uncovers a shocking betrayal.

A game of cat and mouse begins – and with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, it turns deadly.

A short suspense novel that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

My review for Desolation Bluff

Desolation Bluff is packed with suspense and action.

Life is challenging enough for those with a sight impairment, when trust of those around you is essential. Oliver Cameron feels blessed to have a highly successful writing career, loyal housekeeper, a wonderfully supportive wife and best friend and back from honeymoon, he couldn’t be happier.

As we become involved in the story, and are party to events that Oliver is not aware of, it is easy to become angry on his behalf as the depths of betrayal are exposed. How will he deal with the revelations that unfold? Seeking revenge requires careful planning but people will go to great lengths to protect their secrets. For some of those who are looking out for Oliver’s best interests, this can be dangerous. Especially when an unexpected ally turns up on the scene who might be less likely to be intimidated.

The characters are well drawn and the plot moves along at a good pace. It is easy to take sides as the story develops and the climax leaves you on the edge of your seat…. and Desolation Bluff.

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

Other books by Toni Pike

Toni Pike, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1


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



Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #FamilyDrama Margaret Lindsay Holton

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Hugh W. Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

I’m a passionate blogger and have been blogging since February 2014. My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my posts on blogging tips. I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging since I first discovered it. All of the tips and advice I give are free of charge and will cost you nothing apart from, maybe, a little bit of your time.

I have always enjoyed writing, and the fact I suffer from a mild form of dyslexia has not stopped me from enjoying the passion I have for writing.

Now in my fifties, I thought it about time I let my writing become public. Becoming a blogger seemed to be the perfect way for me to do this. Blogging has put me in touch with hundreds of other writers, many of whom have been supportive and helped me with my writing.

I lead a happy life and always try to stay positive. I share my life with John, my wonderful civil partner, and our two Welsh Cardigan Corgis, Toby and Austin.

I write about life because I find it so fascinating. I have many stories to tell, some of which I have started to put into a book. I think my life has been incredible and I want to share it with anyone who wants to listen. I am also an excellent listener, and I love to be interactive with other people. I guess you could say I am a ‘people person’.

You will find some of my short stories and flash fiction on my blog, and I hope you enjoy reading them. Flash Fiction has become a big part of my writing, and I enjoy participating in various writing challenges.

Books by Hugh W. Roberts

One of the recent reviews for Glimpses

Apr 27, 2020 Liesbet rated it Four stars really liked it

After reading Roberts’s second story collection, “More Glimpses”, I looked forward to checking out his first one, “Glimpses”. It didn’t disappoint! Again, the e-book’s cover, layout, and table of contents with summaries of the stories are professional and attractive. The stories are sad, sweet, romantic, funny, unimaginable, devastating. Most short; some on the longer end. The reader’s emotions are bound to swing between extremes as the characters encounter different situations in these well-written tales.

Elements of surprise pop up as Roberts continues to draw you in and baffle you with his twists and endings. I especially enjoyed his series of vignettes about a bride and groom, ending with “Mother of the Bridegroom”; a brilliant finale! Other favorites: “The Easter Bunny”, “What If Summer Never Arrives?”, “Lipstick”, “The Gingerbread House”, and “The Library”.

Because of the diversity of the stories and Roberts’s masterful use of his imagination and craft, there is truly something for everybody in his books – and on his website, “Hugh’s Views & News”. There, he’s been creating a plethora of wonderful new stories, worthy of a third collection!

Hugh Roberts, Buy: Amazon UK – And on: Amazon US – Follow :Hugh Roberts Goodreads – BlogHugh’s Views and NewsTwitter: @HughRoberts05

Meet Gwen M. Plano

Gwendolyn M. Plano, aka Gwen M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir. In Letting Go into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse, Gwen bravely recounts a violent marriage and the faith that opened her heart to hope, to trust, and to awe. Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a powerful story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s inspiring account of learning how to forgive the unforgivable, recover her sense of self, open her heart, and honor the journey home.

Gwen’s second book, The Contract between Heaven and Earth, is the first of her thriller series and is co-authored by John W. Howell, published in June 2018. Author Jan Sikes wrote that “The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit.”

The Choice: unexpected heroes, the second in her thriller series, was published in June 2019 and continues the story.

Books by Gwen Plano

One of the recent reviews for The Choice on Goodreads

May 27, 2020 Jill rated it five stars it was amazing

After getting to know Gwen Plano through her blog and reading her extraordinarily candid memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love: Discovering the Extraordinary after Abuse, as well as her thriller, The Contract, I looked forward to reading the sequel, The Choice. I recommend reading The Contract first, but if not, no worries, Plano does an excellent job providing the reader with the backstory in her Foreword. The Choice is a thrilling page-turner with romance sprinkled throughout, which I loved. If you enjoy a fast-moving story, filled with suspense, romance and well-developed characters, I highly recommend this book!

Gwen Plano, Buy: Amazon US – and  : Amazon UK – follow Gwen : Goodreads – website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano

Meet Margaret Lindsay Holton

About Margaret Lindsay Holton extract from Wikipedia

Margaret Lindsay Holton is a Canadian artist primarily known for her ‘naive-surreal-folk-abstracts’ oil and acrylic paintings, pinhole photography, short documentary film productions, poetry and literary novel works.

Holton is the winner of the K.W. Irmisch ‘Arts Person of the Year’ Award in 2016 from the City of Burlington. In 2018, she received the Alumni of Influence award by University College, University of Toronto and was nominated for the Premier of Ontario Arts Award.

Holton studied English Literature at the University of Toronto, and produced her first written works in the 1980s. She began her first novel, Economic Sex, while working as an English tutor in Spain in 1984. This literary work was published by Coach House Press of Toronto, under pen-name, Ali Janna Whyte, in 1985.

She produced and edited ‘The Spirit of Toronto: 1934-1984′, a compendium of essays by religious leaders of 45 different faiths highlighting multiculturalism in Toronto. Launched at Fort York, a hard copy was presented to the Pope’s personal secretary.

Holton registered her artist’s press, Acorn Press Canada,[13] in Ontario, in 1997. As a writing artist, she published her second novel, The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous, (1999), as well as two books of poetry, On Top of Mount Nemo (2002), and Bush Chord, (2006, with an e-edition in 2012) under her artists’ imprint. The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous novel won the Hamilton Arts Council[14] ‘Best Fiction Award’ in 1999. Her third novel, and Finalist for the Hamilton Book Awards, TRILLIUM, was first released in October of 2018.’

Fine Furniture Design & Construction

Holton apprenticed with her father, the late Luther Janna Holton (1922-2002), cabinetmaker and sole-proprietor of Holton Fine Furniture of Hamilton before going into business for herself in 1986 as a Canadian fine furniture designer in Toronto under ‘MLH Productions’.

Her furniture works can be found in national public and international private collections, including the Royal Ontario Museum, (curio box & display cabinets), the Canadian Film Centre, (library reception), Stanley Ho of Hong Kong (bedroom & dining room suite), David C.W. MacDonald of Toronto (‘Temagami’ pedestals, ‘Wolf Settee Courting Bench’ & ‘Thee Mirror), Rosamond Ivey of Toronto (bedroom suite) and Elizabeth Hanson of Toronto (children beds).

Books by Margaret Holton

One of the reviews for Trillium on Goodreads

Mar 10, 2020 Mary Crowley rated it  Five Stars

A compelling family drama of love, hate and everything in-between. Trillium is a multi-family saga, told over several generations. A story of the European settlement in the wine-making region known as Niagara in the Golden Horseshoe region, Ontario, Canada. Spanning over a 250 year period from 1750’s to 2001.

Three men settle to make their fortune and raise their families. The story sweeps through each family story, moving onto the next generation, revealing unrequited love, family loyalties, misplaced trust, and retribution. As the financial success of those who have passed is handed down through inheritance, it brings with it greed and heartbreak. Characters to love and hate, leap from the pages, as the author has filled the storyline with descriptive prose throughout. I love this in a book, to be able to imagine the scene, the people because it really pulls you in to a story.

There are plenty twists to keep the reader compelled throughout, which is why I would recommend this book as a thoroughly enjoyable read

Margaret Lindsay Holton, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Margaret:Goodreads Twitter: @TrillLINDSAY

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed meeting more of the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and discovering their books. Thanks Sally.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #WarDrama Marina Osipova, #Memoir Cynthia Reyes, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #Poetry Frank Prem

Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first book today which has been recommended by several reviewers is a novella  Order No.227. From Stalin With Love by Marina Osipova.

About the book

“It is necessary to defend each position, each meter of our territory, up to the last drop of blood, to cling for each plot of Soviet land and to defend it as long as possible.” – from Order No. 227.

Based on the actual events on the Eastern Front of World War II, this short story is a rare account of a Soviet penal company, told from a perspective of a real person, the military prosecutor, Jakov Antonovich Krivenkov, and a fictional character, an ordinary Russian woman, Matryona, both caught in the horror of an impossible situation.

427,910 Soviet men shed their blood in defending their motherland in penal military units. They were to stop the enemy regardless of cost. Eighty percent of them did not survive. This is the story of thirteen of them.

One of the recent reviews for the book

anna kunkes 5.0 out of 5 stars War and Humanity September 17, 2019

“Order 227: From Stalin with Love” is the most recent entry in a series of books about World War II, written by Marina Osipova. I certainly enjoyed this one as much as her previous book “A Cruel Roman: A Novel of Love and War.”

The Stalin book consists of two separate, but related stories, about humanity, respect and love for people, regardless of their hope or nation, as well as the way in which people deal with wartime atrocities.

It is helpful for the reader to understand that, under Stalin, many people were arrested on weak charges and imprisoned and executed with no trial.
But it must also be remembered that not everyone involved in Stalin’s war effort necessarily agreed with his policies, and were not heartless, but that they had to do what they had to do in order for themselves to remain alive.

The first of this book’s two stories deals with a commanding officer, who tried to treat those destined to die under his charge with respect and compassion. It also deals with the regret and sorrow he bore in not being able to spare their lives.

The book’s second story deals with a woman who risked her own life in protecting Soviet soldiers and sheltering a German soldier from capture and certain execution. But who came to her home, and what’s happened there? Why did she did this? You will get answers to this questions as soon as you starting to read …

Thank you very much Marina for your excellent righting and I am looing forward to reading your future books with eager anticipation.

Also by Marina Osipova

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Marina on Goodreads: Goodreads

About Marina Osipova

Connect to Marina via her website: Marina Osipova

Now something for the lovers of memoirs with one of the recent reviews for her latest release is Cynthia Reyes, a gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Cynthia Reyes has published another excellent memoir, “Twigs in my Hair”, accompanied by lovely photographs from Hamlin Grange. The chapters are well-written, straight from her heart, the vivid descriptions leaving me with the feeling that I was there, too, seeing all through her words. Although I knew I would love this book based on her earlier memoirs, ” A Good Home” and “And Honest House”, I found myself particularly moved by her latest work, as she takes her readers through her early days and gardens in Jamaica, her first real teacher and mentor, Mr. Smith, to all the various gardeners she has come to know, learn from and share with over the years. Beginning with her accounting of her elderly mentor Mr. Smith, it became apparent that one’s relationships with others need to be tended just like our gardens, each person being different, with different needs.

Lives are gardens, blossoming and fruiting if carefully tended. Love of gardening and love of life, even in the face of physical adversity in the form of a serious accident, are the ties that bind this work to the heart of not only any gardener, but to anyone with an interest in life.

Also by Cynthia Reyes

And co-written with Lauren Reyes-Grange – Illustrated by Jo Robinson

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia : Goodreads

Connect to Cynthia via her website: Cynthia Reyes

And the next author with recent reviews is Gwendolyn M. Plano for a thriller The Choice: The Unexpected Heroes which is the sequel to the paranormal thriller The Contract co-written with John W. Howell.

About The Choice

The Choice: unexpected heroesis the sequel to The Contract: between heaven and earth. In the first book, a catastrophic political event threatens Earth. The heavenly leadership decides to execute extraordinary measures to ensure the survival and long-term viability of the planet. Two volunteer souls return to Earth and take human form as Brad Channing and Sarah O’Brien. They are ultimately successful in preventing the catastrophe, but lose their lives in the process.

The Choicepicks up where the first book ends, at an Air Force Base in northern California. The base commander invites Brad’s former Navy SEAL instructor to help him determine who is behind the murder of Brad and Sarah. It is evident that their deaths are part of a bigger plan, and the commander has an urgent need to thwart that plan.

A mystery unfolds which implicates key Washington D.C. officials. A confidential team studies the evidence and pursues leads. Eventually, they uncover a traitorous conspiracy that has as its goal: world domination. The pressing question is who can be trusted and who cannot.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This is a sequel jumps in where the first book ended. Someone attempted to assassinate the US President at an Air Force Base in northern California. The central characters, Brad Channing and Sarah O’Brien, from the first book died saving the President. The AF Base Commander, General Taylor, wants to know what happened and why former Navy Seal, Brad Channing, became involved and saved the President. He calls upon the Navy Seal Commander at Annapolis, Admiral Parker, to help solve the mystery. When Adm. Parker arrives at the AF Base, he meets Donna Tucker who had been Sarah O’Brien’s Best-Friend and asks for Parker’s help in finding out what happened to Sarah and Brad. Gen Taylor and Adm. Parker agree to let Donna help because Donna knows where Sarah kept all her journals about the assassination team.

Taylor and Parker are formulating their plan of action when nefarious forces begin killing senior Cabinet officials, starting with the Secretary of Defense who is killed shortly after returning to WASH DC after visiting Taylor and Parker.

Spooks and spies come out of the woodwork, literally bugs hid everywhere. Parker calls in a favor from Seal members across the country, who recover Sarah’s journals’ out from under the feet of the CIA. Her journals make it clear a shadowy character known as the Lion is trying to bring down the US government and other heads of state to reorganize the world in the Lion’s new order. People on and around the AF Base are being killed by remote controlled bombs but Taylor and Parker can’t find the connection that ties it all together.

The powers that be, whether in the Lion’s control or not, are wondering what happened at the AF base and why all the attacks continue at the base, putting even more pressure on Taylor and Parker to make sense of whose is attacking the President and the US government.

In the midst of this turmoil loves blossoms between Parker and Donna and Taylor’s old flame, Julie Underwood, is asked to present an expose on live TV.

Taylor and Parker have based the hopes that once the skullduggery is exposed on TV by Julie, the scheme will fall apart. The press and media assemble at the AF base to listen to Julie’s presentation when a shot is fired.

Did the Lion succeed in his plot or will love conquer all?

This is a fast-paced story with adventure and intrigue in the middle of a love story. It’s an easy read, well-edited and no typos. I enjoyed this book enough to order the first book.

Also by Gwendolyn Plano and co-written with John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and on : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Gwen : Goodreads

You can find out more about Gwen on her website: Gwen Plano

I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing three poetry collections by Frank Prem and his latest The New Asylum: a memoir of psychiatry is receiving wonderful reviews.

About the collection

The New Asylum is the third volume in a series of free-verse poetry anthologies and personal memoirs from Australian author Frank Prem (Small Town Kid, Devil In The Wind).

This collection is an exposé of life in the public psychiatric system, spanning five decades and describing sometimes graphically, sometimes ironically, often poignantly, and always honestly, a search for meaning in extraordinary and often incomprehensible circumstances.

The journey begins with childhood experiences of watching immigrant parents earn their living in the Mayday Hills Mental Asylum… progresses through the oddities and antics of psychiatric nurse training in the 1970s… on to the high-pressure coalface of managing regional centres facing an inundation of modern urban challenges… and finally, settles into the generally calmer waters of a small town residential facility.

Join Frank Prem on his New Asylum journey, and discover what it means to become that particular ‘mental health creature’ that is a psychiatric nurse.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Frank catches the essence of life in a few words, he has the gift of enabling you to see it all.
Because my wife is a nurse, I approached The New Asylum eagerly. I wondered what Franks vivid descriptions would make of psychiatry, a field he knows so well. For a lot of people, it’s a difficult subject and one that I thought might be difficult to capture with empathy.
I needn’t have had any doubts about the content. I was not disappointed in the way Frank describes it. Living with a nurse (of any discipline), you get to hear all sorts of stories about life on and off the wards.

While there is great sadness in the job, there is also humour and hope. The humour is necessary, without it, survival would be impossible for staff faced with the day to day travails of caring for the patients. These poems have it all, poignant, sympathetic and non-judgemental, they are infused with ‘nursiness’, that mixture of no-nonsense and kindness that’s the hallmark of the professional.

And it bought back memories, in fact, the whole collection is stuffed with perfectly observed vignettes of nursing and asylum life; the patients, the staff and the reality of the job. It’s impossible to single one out, they all contain nuggets.

My favourite two are The Smell of Stockings and Not a lot Anymore, In the first, Frank describes nursing shoes perfectly, my wife used to keep hers outside on the window ledge (for obvious reasons). In the other, an old hand sums up the categories of mental illness.
The poems are grouped into sections and take the reader on a journey through the asylum through the eyes of a student and a nurse. There are also observations and stories of life, seen from all sides. And they show that, in the midst of despair, there is hope. There are a cadre of carers, who even if they can’t cure, can make things better.

I recommend The New Asylum, it’s a sensitive handling of a subject that, for so long, has been ignored.

Also by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Frank via his blog: Frank Prem WordPress

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