Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #Reviews – #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Crimethriller Jaye Marie, #Thriller Mark Bierman


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

The first review is for the poetry collection by Bette A. Stevens that celebrates the beauty the state of Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Joy M.Lilley 5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 August 2021

Bette brought this glorious place to life for me.I enjoyed the poetic verses accompanying each season. knowing parts of the United States of America, Maine is one not as yet visited. It now sits on my bucket list. Thank you Bette for a most enjoyable literacy journey through your words.

Other books by Bette A. Stevens

51X5ZRwOLhL._UY250_51jdrgaOEaL._UY250_am-highresolution-bw-border

Bette A. Stevens, Buy: Amazon US –and : Amazon UK – Follow Bette: Goodreads – Blog:4 Writers and ReadersTwitter: @BetteAStevens

The next author with a recent review is Jaye Marie for her crime thriller Cross fire

About the book

DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems.

Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job

One of the recent reviews for the book

Aug 11, 2021 Colleen Chesebro rated it five stars it was amazing

DI Snow is ready for retirement until his partner Detective Jim Harris is murdered. This single event sets into motion the department’s hunt for Jim’s killer. When Jim’s replacement, Ruth Winton, shows up, Snow takes an instant dislike to the woman. She seems competent, but there is something about her that rubs Snow the wrong way.

When more bodies start piling up with the same wounds that Jim received, Snow considers the murders are all connected. He knows time is running out to catch the killers, but he has a problem. His health has taken a turn for the worse. If he’s too ill to find the killer, who will?

Leave it to me to start a series with the third book! However, I found “CrossFire” to be a standalone book. There are references to DI David Snow’s other cases, but nothing I couldn’t follow.

The book reminds me of some of the British mysteries I watch on Amazon Prime. As the suspense built, I kept turning pages, eager to find out what happened next. The characters are interesting, with Snow taking on the characteristics of the troubled detective. I found him to be a likable guy. There is great detail paid to the backstory of the murderer, which helped to propel the story forward.

If you like psychological mysteries, this was a good read. I’m excited to read some of this author’s other mysteries. Perhaps I should start with the first book in the series!

Books by Jaye Marie

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Jaye Marie : Goodreads – Jaye Marie: WordPress Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2

The final author today is Mark Bierman with a review for his novel a thriller set in Haiti, Vanished which I can highly recommend.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Elizabeth Gauffreau 4.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Read!  Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2021

Mark Bierman‘s novel Vanished opens in a Haitian prison with a game of cards turned violent, followed by an earthquake. The chapter ends with the escape of a prisoner who will play a pivotal role in the novel.

Enter young widower Tyler and his father-in-law John, two Americans newly arrived to help build an orphanage for the beleaguered island. No sooner do they get settled at the American-sponsored Rescue Mission than the young daughter of one of the Haitian staff is kidnapped.

When Chantale goes missing, the Rescue Mission organizes a search of the surrounding neighborhood. The search comes up dry, and the leaders of the Mission take it no further, resigning themselves to Chantale’s all-too-common fate. Attempts to enlist the aid of social work agencies are also unsuccessful. Tyler and John decide to find Chantale themselves.

At the same time, they are well aware of the enormity of what they’re facing. If the problem of child slavery is so great that you can’t save all the children, should you even try to save just one? What about all the other children? John in particular struggles with this question as the violence escalates later in the book.

The narration employs alternating points of view, including the kidnappers’, to advance the plot and build tension. ( The third person narrator’s use of passive voice–when a sentence begins with the object of the verb, and the subject is not stated–made the action a little hard to follow in places.)

I was struck by the lengths to which Tyler and John would go to save Chantale, a little girl they didn’t even know. Equally striking were the lengths to which the kidnappers would go to prevent them from doing so. As a skinny, terrified little seven-year-old, she has negligible value as a manual laborer–yet the fight to save her is violent, bloody, and protracted.

In the Afterward, Bierman explains that he wrote the book to raise awareness of human trafficking. He chose Haiti as a representative location because his family had been on missions there. Even as I was reading it, the book raised the question in my mind of what form of writing is most effective to call attention to a serious social problem: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, investigative journalism?

The intent with choosing fiction is to give a particular social problem a human face in the form of living, breathing people the reader can care about. On the other hand, particularly when a writer is very passionate about his cause, there is a risk of authorial intrusion into the story. I am gratified to report that Bierman does not sacrifice the characters or the plot to serve his cause, as worthy as it is. Vanished is a compelling read from beginning to end; at no time did I leave the story.  

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #WWI #Family Judith Barrow, #Thriller Mark Bierman, NorthernIreland #Thriller Jane Buckley


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

The first book today with a recent review is The Heart Stone by Judith Barrow

About the Book

1914. Everything changes for Jessie on a day trip to Blackpool. She realises her feelings for Arthur are far more than friendship. And just as they are travelling home, war is declared.

Arthur lies about his age to join his Pals’ Regiment. Jessie’s widowed mother is so frightened, she agrees to marry Amos Morgan. Only Jessie can see how vicious he is. When he turns on her, Arthur’s mother is the only person to help her, the two women drawn together by Jessie’s deepest secret.

Facing a desperate choice between love and safety, will Jessie trust the right people? Can she learn to trust herself?

A recent review for The Heart Stone

DGKaye 5.0 out of 5 stars Love and War and Family  Reviewed in the United States on July 24, 2021

This is a beautifully written heartfelt story that takes place during the beginnings of World War I through 1921. It’s the story of love and war and the people whose lives are affected, painted beautifully with imagery and prose by this talented writer who is known for her heart-wrenching family saga historical fiction storytelling. It’s a story about struggles, love, hatred, abuse, survival, and highlighting the strength of the women left to endure.

Jessie and Arthur are best friends since childhood, now teenagers at the tender age of 16, who’ve discovered their friendship has blossomed into true love, Arthur decides he must enlist to join the war, despite his not being of legal age yet.

Jessie’s widowed mom runs a bakery and Jessie works alongside her mom to run the store, but at the news of upcoming war, quite a few bakers enlisted, leaving mom with the decision to marry Amos Morgan, head baker, who Jessie detests and remains puzzled why her mother would succumb to allowing Amos into the family business by marrying him.

In her own worries, Jessie and Arthur’s friendship turns into a romantic relationship just before Arthur announces he’s enlisted – under-aged, but the thrill of asserting his manhood calls, and he volunteers to join the fight with his country, England. This decision leaves Jessie distraught and tightening her bond with Arthur’s widowed mom, Edna, as they can share their worries and commiserate together.

Months pass no word from Arthur, but Jessie, now pregnant from their last goodbye stint continues to visit the the heart stone up the hill where they declared their undying love forever before Arthur left. Meanwhile, Amos the pig, married to Jessie’s mother, finds every opportunity to ‘touch’ Jessie. This was enough for her to revolt and move into Arthur’s mother’s home with her as a safe place and company to raise the baby.

Time passes and there’s no word from Arthur, but Jessie keeps in touch with her friend Clara, married to Stanley, Arthur’s best friend who also enlisted for war. Stanley eventually returns home – in a wheelchair, but home. Jessie travels to visit them in hopes to discover some news about Arthur.

Back at the bakery, Jessie’s mom falls ill and becomes bedridden, putting more pressure on Jessie at work – and more time around the pig, Mr. Morgan. After mum passes, Morgan takes over the bakery, even though it is rightfully in mum’s will left to Jessie, and that presents another interesting tidbit as to how he took over and what happened after; karma perhaps? And then suddenly, another baker, ‘old’ friend of Jessie’s, Bob Cleg, proclaims a sudden desire for Jessie. Somehow these two end up married – not in a good way, and a lot more dramatic things happen along the book to keep us turning the pages, and alas, Arthur returns home! This changes the dynamic of things to come now that Jessie is unhappily married to a man she can’t stand and the love of her life returns. And to find out what happens next, you are going to want to read this book!  

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

Also by Judith Barrow

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

The next author today is Mark Bierman with a review for his novel a thriller set in Haiti, Vanished which I can highly recommend.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

W.T.Hammond 4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!  Reviewed in the United States on July 12, 2021

I finally got around to finishing Vanished and the only negative thing I can say is that I’m sorry I didn’t read this earlier!

This was a powerful read about the controversial and real topic of human trafficking/child trafficking.

The story’s backdrop is the island of Haiti.

Multiple characters tell the story as it unfolds to a exciting ending. The characters kept me invested to keep reading.

Great read overall. Fantastic work by Mark Bierman!  

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

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

Delighted to welcome Jane Buckley to the Cafe and Bookstore with her debut novel Stones Corner Turmoil. This is the first in a four book series with book two available soon.

About the book

Be warned! Stones Corner Turmoil is a gruelling read. It’s harsh but importantly truthful and objective. If you love a terrific thriller with individual stories that form a cataclysmic ending then this book is for you! At the same time, learn what everyday life was REALLY like in Derry during those dark, harsh times.

Caitlin McLaughlin is just like any other teenage girl: during the week she works at the Rocola shirt factory in Stones Corner, Creggan where she has become secretary to her boss’s dishy nephew James. At the weekend she likes music and trips into the city with her best friend, but this is Derry 1972. A simple trip to the shops can lead to life-changing injuries or death and staying at home can be just as dangerous when the British Troops raid house to house .

Robert Sallis is a private with the Royal Fusiliers recently posted to the city. He’s repelled by the way some of his fellow soldiers behave; wary too of civilian feelings running high against the occupying army. Accidentally separated from his patrol in Creggan, he’s discovered by Caitlin hiding in her family’s garden. He expects the worse but having seen enough violence too close to home, she doesn’t give him away. Instead she prefers to daydream about her charming boss who has made his feelings for her plain. A Catholic girl from the Bogside and the Protestant heir to a big local employer….

In her youthful innocence, Caitlin believes their love can overcome the triple obstacles of politics, class and faith. Meanwhile Robert, newly recruited to British undercover forces, is closing in on a terrorist strike in the heart of the city centre.

One of the recent reviews for the book

After Bloody Sunday, things are still volatile in Northern Ireland. The British forces in Derry, exhausted from lack of success, are zealous for payback. Private Robert Sallis is in his barracks, trying to understand the hatred with which he and his mates are daily bombarded.

19-year-old Caitlin McLaughlin is terrified by the sounds of invading helicopters. The Brits already have her brother Martin, who’s friendly with the Provos. Now they’ve come, causing as much destruction as possible, for her father Patrick.

A girl is wooed by the fervent Republican Kieran. Kieran convinces her to set up a honeytrap for soldiers.

Caitlin and her sister Tina try to carry on. Caitlin, her face black and blue from the soldiers’ blows, goes to work at the only remaining shirt factory. The boss’s nephew, James Henderson, catches her eye.

Her father has a heart attack in custody, and a neighbour rushes them to the A&E, through aggravating checkpoints and impossible traffic. There’s been a bombing, and the A&E is swamped. Her father is badly beaten, unresponsive, and not expected to last the night.
James, in his uncle’s opulent dining room, finishes his partridge dinner, surrounded by Protestant businessmen, politicians and policemen. The factories are threatening a strike against internment. At work, James needs a secretary, and her supervisor suggests Caitlin, warning him that she’s ‘a Papist’.

As he and Caitlin pursue a clandestine love affair, James plans a conference with both sides of the sectarian divide, hoping for a rescue strategy for the factory and peace for Derry.

All these characters interconnect in complex and heart-wrenching ways, finally climaxing at the fateful conference at the City Hotel. Stones Corner-Darkness, Part II of the series, deals with the fallout from this event.
The characters are rich, and the plot moves along at a good pace. The dramatisation is great and the dialogue believable.

My only niggle was that I found Robert’s naïveté a bit surprising. Surely British troops in Northern Ireland knew precisely what their historic role was. James seems a bit clueless, too. The characters at the extreme ends of the Republican/Orange spectrum—Kieran and Charles Jones—are a bit one-dimensional, but that’s alright, as all the other characters are well developed.

This novel is gorgeously written, with careful editing. We feel the terror of the raid on Derry—the down-draught of helicopter blades, the rattling of rooftiles, the salivating German Shepherds—the agonising grief at her father’s death.
I rate this 5 stars Plus.  

Print copies available: Jane Buckley Writes

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USFollow Jane:Goodreads –   website: Jane Buckley Writes – Facebook:Jane Buckley Writes – Twitter:@janebuckley_sc

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 -#Thriller Mark Bierman, #Fairystory Cathy Cade, #Family Alex Craigie


Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet Mark Bierman

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman’s childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non.

Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this “country boy” to life in the big cities.

After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

Mark’s  debut novel – Vanished

One of the recent 5* reviews for the book

Catherine A. Hamilton, author of Victoria’s War 5.0 out of 5 stars Witness the dark secrets that are kept about human traffickers in this debut novel!  Reviewed in the United States on March 29, 2021

Everyone has heard of the horrors of modern-day human trafficking. We have perhaps even conjured images in our mind when we see a child who seems to be too far ahead of his mom or dad at the park! But who knows the parent of child who has been kidnaped?

Bierman changes all this in “Vanished!”

Characters Tyler and John have both suffered recent loss, and are willing to risk life and limb to spare a Haitian woman the same pain. But why are they willing to look for a little girl who has vanished into thin air?

Well—you’ll learn why when you read this action-packed adventure novel. I’ll give you a hint, these guys believe that any child’s life is worth fighting for! No more spoilers! Except to say that the setting is the exotic Caribbean island of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake has devastated most of the island.

The island’s problems with human trafficking started long before the coming of the earthquake. An attitude of tolerance toward the problem shocks the protagonist, his friends – and the reader.

So, when Tyler and John face the evils of human trafficking head on, I was right there with them. This is a heart-stopping read that brings to life the horror of modern-day slavery, and the sad truths about any nation willing to look the other way. Is this a problem that is unsurmountable? Will Tyler and John give up? And to what lengths will these men and their unlikely “friend” go to save one little girl?

Witness the dark secrets that are kept about human traffickers in this debut novel!

Rich in detail! Riveting! I recommend it to lovers of action adventure fiction that sheds light on real-life criminals, especially those who traffic children.  

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UKFollow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

Meet Cathy Cade

Following a career in libraries Cathy began writing in retirement. Her writing has been published in ‘Scribble’, ‘Best of British’, ‘Flash Fiction Magazine’, ‘Tales From the Forest’, and ‘To Hull and Back Short Story Anthology 2018′. Her stories and rhymes also appear in the Whittlesey Wordsmiths’ anthologies ‘Where the Wild Winds Blow’ and ‘A Following Wind’ (also available from Amazon).

A novella, ‘The Pond People’, has been serialised on her blog at cathy-cade.com, where you will also find occasional short stories, flash fiction and verse.

Cathy lives with her husband and dogs, mostly in the Cambridgeshire Fens and sometimes in the shadow of London’s Epping Forest.

Books by Cathy Cade

A recent review for The Godmother

A modern Cinderella story with a cute adorable dog.
You may know Cinderella but do read The Godmother, it is way better!
Very entertaining! 

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Cathy: Goodreads Website: Cathy CadeFacebook: Cathy Cade Wordsmith.

Meet Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had two books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Both books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the NHS at its heart.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

Books by Alex Craigie

A recent review for Someone Close to Home

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars A page turner from start to finish  Reviewed in the United States on April 10, 2021

Someone Close to Home is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time. The story is told through Megan, who alternates between the young classical pianist to her disturbing time in a care facility. While the story is fiction, I found myself comparing Megan’s experiences with those of my mother.

Megan and her neighbor, Gideon, form a special friendship that blooms into a love story. Unfortunately, Megan’s mother is controlling and manipulative. Her dream is for her daughter to marry the playboy actor, Jordan. He tries to convince Megan he is in love with her, but the attraction seems to be based mostly because he is used to having women throw themselves at him.

If readers like villainous characters, this book has plenty. Some of the workers in the care home abuse the residents. There are moments where I was furious that the owner of the facility was far more concerned with profits and reputation rather than carrying for the residents most basic needs. About the only thing that I found challenging at times was trying to keep track of all of the characters as there are many caregivers and residents. I still have to rate the story five stars because the writing is excellent and the plot moves along at a steady pace. I know after finishing this book that this will not be the last book by Alex Craigie I will read.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alex: Goodreads – Alex Craigie via: Facebook

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Reviews – #MagicalRealism #YA Sian Turner, #Paranormal #Thriller Nola Nash, #Thriller Mark Bierman.


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

The first author with a recent review is Sian Turner for her magical YA upwards novel Sweet Erin

About the book

A book for anyone who has ever been eleven years old.

Erin Fitzwilliam-Beaumont hates her friendless life at secondary school until a mysterious app brings Carys Bowen into her life. The new friends are struggling to face their own demons when a surprise announcement from Carys brings a remarkable new dimension to the girls’ already unconventional friendship.

Will Carys help Erin find the fresh start she desperately needs, and can Erin help Carys restore her crumbling relationship with her father?

One of the recent reviews for the book

DB 5.0 out of 5 stars A novel for all ages  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 January 2021

If you enjoyed Matt Haig’s ‘The Midnight Library ‘, read this. ‘Sweet Erin’ is a well-written novel suitable for anyone of 9 upwards. It will appeal particularly to those struggling (or who remember their struggle) with adolescent issues such as bullying, relationships and school. Add in the mysterious shifts in time and space and here are all the ingredients for an exciting and thought provoking read. If you enjoy authors such as Margaret Mahy, Alan Garner and Philippa Pearce, add Sian Turner to your list.

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

Also by Sian Turner

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Sian: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Sian Turner Author WordPress – Facebook: Sian Turner Author – Twitter: @SianTurner1066

The next author is Nola Nash with a recent review for Crescent City Moon: Book 1 in the Crescent City Series

About the book

Things put underground in New Orleans don’t often stay there. Even things that should – like bodies, and secrets.

How do you fight an enemy you can’t see that can kill on a whim? In 1820s New Orleans, on the eve of her twenty-first birthday, Zéolie Cheval discovers the mangled body of her father murdered in his bed and a maniacal voice haunting the recesses of her mind. When the priest sent to comfort her is killed while the house is swarming with police, Zéolie becomes entangled in a web of mystery that takes her from the French Quarter, to the Ursuline Convent in the Ninth Ward, and deep into the Louisiana swamps.

Officer Louis Saucier, who is losing his heart to Zéolie and his grip on logical reality, helps her find the pieces to her puzzle. The mother superior of the Ursulines offers assistance from a mediumistic nun and a voodoo priestess, blurring the lines between the spiritual and the supernatural.

After opening the family crypt to find it uninhabited, Zéolie realizes that her father lied about her mother’s death – amongst other things. Now, Zéolie must come to terms with magic she inherited from her grandmother and the price that comes with it.

Step inside the magic and mystery of the 1820s French Quarter to see if an unlikely menagerie can help Zéolie take down a murderous maniac while she shields the officer she loves. Can she harness powers she didn’t know she had? Or, will she make the ultimate sacrifice?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Allison Hubbard 5.0 out of 5 stars Preternaturally delightful  Reviewed in the United States on January 22, 2021

Crescent City Moon draws the reader down to the heart of antebellum New Orleans, inviting them to savor every sensory experience involved in this fast-paced tale of witchcraft, voodoo, and accursed bloodlines–plus a bit of romance, too. Nash deserves her place next to Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite in the Hall of New Orleans Literary Greats, bringing to life the intricacies of this city and culture with skill and vivid detail. Ready to binge the sequel!

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

Also by Nola Nash

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Nola on: Goodreads –  WebsiteNola Nash – Facebook Street Team:Nola’s Second Line – Instagram:Nola Nash Writes – Twitter: – @NolaNashWrites

The final author today is Mark Bierman  with a review for his novel a thriller set in Haiti, Vanished which I can highly recommend.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

tpolen 5.0 out of 5 stars Tension-Filled Read  Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2021

I have a difficult time reading about cruelty of any kind toward children or animals, so I knew going in parts of this book would be a challenge for me. It’s a horrific reality that human trafficking exists in this day and age and is quite common in some areas. So common that when a young girl is abducted by slave traders in Haiti, very little effort goes into trying to find her. Tyler, grieving the death of his wife, and his father-in-law, John, are shocked at the lack of response and vow to find the girl and return her to her mother no matter what. With two Americans in an unfamiliar country taking on such an incredibly dangerous task it won’t be an easy quest. Who can they trust? Where do they even start?

I’d be lying if I said this is an easy read – it’s absolutely not. Tyler’s and John’s journey is filled with obstacles and dead ends, harsh truths, unsavory characters, and violence. Even when their own lives are in danger, neither is willing to abandon their search for this child. The subplots are just as compelling and tragic. Although it portrays very real atrocities that occur far too often, this story is also full of hope and inspiration. There is still good in the world and people who are willing to go to battle against evil.

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

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Read the reviews and buy the bookAmazon US – AndAmazon UK – Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

 

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Historical Romance Christine Campbell, #Afghanistan Patricia Furstenberg #Sci-fi Thriller Richard Dee,


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is Mark Bierman  with a review for his novel a thriller set in Haiti, Vanished.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

My review for the book 28th November 2020

This book is a challenging read, not because of how it is written, but the subject matter. We tend to picture islands in the Caribbean as having sun swept sandy beaches, luxury accommodation and smiling faces of the inhabitants, happy to see tourists pouring into their paradise. However Haiti has had centuries of political, economic and social unrest and suffered devastating natural disasters. Following one such event, the earthquake in 2010 thousands of men, women and children are killed and many more thousands are left homeless. They are left reliant on assistance from the outside world, including volunteers to help them rebuild. However, as well as the suffering caused by this natural disaster, there is  an underlying evil that thrives on misery and manipulates parents in dire straits, to offer up their children under the pretense of a better life.

Two Americans Tyler and his father-in-law John Webster arrive on the island following a tragedy of their own, with the loss of Joy, Tyler’s wife and John’s daughter from cancer. Hopeful that the physical labour of helping to construct an orphanage, will bring them both a measure of peace, they find themselves caught up in the violent world of the human traffickers preying on children in particular. From mines to plantations the trade in cheap slave labour is thriving and it is manned by thugs with money the motivator.

In a desperate search across the mountainous interior of the country, and forced to form alliances with those they cannot trust, and in some cases with those wishing them violence, the two men seek one child among thousands. Their story runs in parallel with heartrending accounts of others who have been caught up in the trafficking, who seek to escape, often at the expense of their lives.

The author has created strong characters across the spectrum of good vs. evil, and the story maintains its pace throughout the book. The mission Tyler and John have undertaken hurtles towards a violent climax and consequences that will need to be faced. A thought provoking thriller that serves as a reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a kinder world.

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

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And :   Amazon UK Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

Now something for historical romance lovers from  Christine Campbell and A Mountain of Memories.

About A Mountain of Memories

A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven.

As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there, though most of her memories of that day were lost as a result of its trauma.

Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watched the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs. Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.

What really happened on that mountainside?

A historic story folded into a contemporary story, the two linked by family, location and events.

One of the recent reviews for the book

K. Francis 5.0 out of 5 stars A truly captivating read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 September 2020

I have just finished reading A Mountain of Memories. This definitely has to be my favourite of Christine Campbell’a books that I have read so far.It is difficult to categorise this sweeping story into a particular genre. As another reviewer said, it is part romance, part historical, part mystery/thriller with some psychology thrown in.

Right from the beginning, I was drawn into the lives of the characters, Caitlin, Matt and Lexie. And then to explore how their modern day story links in with Mhairi,100 or so years previously, and all that happens in her life is just captivating.

Both stories evoked some strong emotions in me. I felt happy when they were happy, but I also cried when they experienced tragedy and loss.

Thank you, Christine, for producing another wonderful story. Now I just have to decide what to read next. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US
A selection of books by Christine Campbell

 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  follow Christine : Goodreads –  blog: Christine Campbell at WordPress – Twitter: @Campbama

The next author with a recent review is Richard Dee for his latest book, a sci-fi thriller, The Hitman and the Thief.

About the book

Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.

Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.

Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.

To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.

Can the hitman and the thief get the job done, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?

One of the recent reviews for the book

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced, exciting read.  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 October 2020

I really enjoyed The Hitman and the Thief. This novel has an interesting storyline which gripped me as the chapters sped by. This is a fast paced, easy read. The character of Dan and the thief Lydia are both engaging.

Dan is an ex-serviceman, now turned assassin for Fliss. His latest kill target is Kalindra, his boss’s rival.

But, who is Kalindra? And will Dan bungle it up?

Dan’s relationship with Hesta is under strain due to a certain temptation…

But, who can he trust? The revelations and twists leading up to the awesome ending – are subtle, (read carefully!) – but well done.

All in all, I would highly recommend this for readers who like mysteries, and who might enjoy the Sci fi environment of planets and ships (great world-building,) without it being too Sci fi heavy if you know what I mean.

I’m enjoying Richard Dee’s books more and more. I’d say this is my favourite to date. There is a unique aspect to his writing which I really appreciate. So, deserves the 5 stars.

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

A small selection of other books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UKWebsite: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1

The final author today is Patricia Furstenberg with her novel Silent Heroes, set in Afghanistan where families, troops serving their country and service dogs, face daily dangers. A book that I can highly recommend.

About Silent Heroes

Silent Heroes’ is a highly emotional read, action-packed, a vivid story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.

*’Silent Heroes’ is the ideal read for the fans of ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘Dear John’!*

When Talibans descends in the village of Nauzad and discover girls can read, a woman accepts the blame and is killed on the spot for breaking the Islam law. Her teenage daughter witnesses the sacrifice and swears revenge, her life and that of her brother becoming intertwined with those of the US Marines serving at FOB Day nearby. But the Taliban is infiltrated everywhere and friends or foes are hard to differentiate.

The U.S. Marines fight with bravery to protect the civilians of Nauzad and to fend off the Taliban at Qala-e-Bost, thus protecting Bost Airport, a vital strategic point for the allies. Faced with questions about the necessity of the war, with the trauma of losing their platoon-mates and the emotional scars of battle, the US Marines race against time in one last battle of eradicating the Taliban before it is too late.

The War in Afghanistan is a contemporary, vitally important conflict whose meaning needs to be understood by the public worldwide. ‘Silent Heroes’ is a narrative about the value of life and the necessity of combat; the terror of dying; the ordeal of seeing your loved ones and your platoon-mates killed in front of your eyes; the trauma of taking a human life.

Read about very well trained MWDs, military working dogs, capable of detecting the smallest traces of explosives, working in the extreme weather condition environments, under the stressful battlefield situations that is the War in Afghanistan.

Smart and agile, at the end of the day what these dogs are looking forward to is the close bond they developed with their handlers, which call themselves the dog’s partners, brothers, daddies.

From the storyteller of the Bestseller “Joyful Trouble” comes a riveting, fictional account inspired by the War in Afghanistan, a battle that spanned centuries and has affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Bette A. Stevens 5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-read War Story!  Reviewed in the United States on September 27, 2020

Poignant and thought-provoking, Silent Heroes gives readers an up-close and personal look behind the scenes of war in one of Afghanistan’s deadliest provinces. The author skillfully ties together the lives and objectives of a Marine K-9 unit serving in Helmand Province and a local community trying its best to survive as the Taliban’s rampant rule kills, threatens, abuses and uses them for its own sinister purposes. The author does an amazing job weaving the ravages and ruins of war into a beautiful heartrending story that is an eye-opener. Highly recommended!

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

A selection of  other books by Patricia Furstenberg

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK BlogAlluring Creations Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @PatFurstenberg

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some great gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – #Thriller Carol Balawyder, #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Romance Linda Bradley


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

The first review today is for Carol Balawyder for her thriller Warning Signs

About the book

Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?

Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.

Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Anneli 5.0 out of 5 stars Drawn In  Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2020

Horror and gruesome killing upset me and I don’t like to read about these details. But author, Carol Balawyder handles the murder scenes in her novel about a serial killer so deftly that I just wanted to keep turning pages – never having the urge to hide my eyes – only wanting to know more.

Once I was hooked (on the first page), she introduced the characters gradually, allowing me to get to know them while keeping me on my toes with dilemmas they each struggled with. Ms. Balawyder expertly slipped in details that would be needed later to make the culmination of the plot flow easily. Nothing happens that seems contrived because the groundwork was laid earlier in the book.

Each of the characters had major flaws but they also had redeeming traits. Even Eugene, the serial killer, was not all bad. Imagine empathizing with a serial killer!

The tension regarding the murderer escalates, and we expect this, but when he befriends Angie, their internal conflicts come into play as well. We already understand why Angie would fall for someone like Eugene, because, by now, we know her personality. But will Eugene hurt Angie? What will Angie do once she starts to suspect that Eugene may be the killer?

What about Darren, the policeman who finds Angie attractive? Will his feelings toward her interfere with his murder investigation?

I was impressed by the way this novel’s plot flowed so smoothly, pulling me in as the characters I came to know so well became entangled in it.

After being drawn into the story on page one, I didn’t want to put the book down until I read, “THE END,” and even then I was thinking about it after I closed the book.

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

A selection of books by Carol Balawyder

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

The next author today is Mark Bierman  with a review for his novel Vanished.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Wanda Fischer 4.0 out of 5 stars Riveting and Heartbreaking  Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2020

Remember when Haiti suffered from a devastating earthquake in 2010? The country still hasn’t recovered from that tragedy. This novel begins by setting the scene for just how horrific the earthquake was, by describing the abject poverty of this country, in the form of the terrible conditions within a Haitian prison. The earthquake happens and some of the prisoners escape–into a country of chaos and deprivation, potentially worse than the prison they had lived in.

Enter two Americans, who decide to go on a missionary trip to Haiti with the aim of helping to build an orphanage. Tyler is John’s son-in-law, and they’re both recovering from the untimely death of Tyler’s wife (John’s daughter) from pancreatic cancer at a very young age. Upon arriving in Port-au-Prince, they meet Steve, the head of the mission, but they don’t spend much time there. Instead, they discover that the young daughter of one of the mission’s employees has been kidnapped and sold into child slavery by a trafficking ring. Then Tyler and John decide it should be their job to find the girl, no matter what it takes.

Although John studied Creole prior to their trip, he soon discovers that he only knows how to order a meal or ask for simple directions. The language barrier proves difficult in many ways; they must get help from the locals in order to get any clues where the traffickers have taken the girl.

John and Tyler embark on an ever-changing, ever-dangerous, emotionally and physically challenging adventure that takes them through Haiti to the Dominican Republic. They’re shaken at every turn by the differences in culture and the language barriers, as well as the pure evil they encounter throughout the novel.

This novel is eye-opening about the cruel world of human trafficking, whether in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world. The intense, sadistic power over the children is unimaginable; these children are slaves and considered disposable. They’re beaten, sexually abused, tortured and minimally fed. The author provides heartbreaking descriptions of inhumane treatment, and, although he assures readers in his afterword that the book is “purely a work of fiction,” what he includes in this novel is certainly true to what happens to children who have become slaves. Some are sold by their parents because they can’t afford to keep them, while some are snatched off the streets. This author’s characters capture the essence of this worldwide tragedy.

I recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read an exciting, unpredictable book. However, be prepared to encounter situations involving children that may be uncomfortable and eye-opening. It’s not for the faint-of-heart.

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

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Mark Bierman buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

I thought that I would catch up with a free offer that Linda Bradley ran in early September for – Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series book 1). Judging by the number of new reviews and ratings on Goodreads it did very well.

About the book

Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.

A recent review for the book on Goodreads

Sep 02, 2020 Sylvia Joseph rated it Four stars really liked it
A Test Of Love

A sweet novel of a home spun teacher, faced with the lost of a much loved husband, a 7 year old bright child who could make you laugh and also cry, and a very scary illiness that we all could be struck with and a strong will of being capable to cope with getting on with life of a new neighbor and a sneaky Mom, a Purple cat and a motorcycle that just gets started up but not taken out of the garage, this is a good story of strong wills and trust of many, makes for good clean reading and from a teachers side of reading problems. I recommend this book to all ages.

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

Also by Linda Bradley

LB_MaggiesForkInTheRoad_400x60051pzpzjto6l-_uy250_

Linda Bradley, Buy: Amazon US –  And : Amazon UK – Follow Linda :Goodreads website: Linda Bradley Author – Twitter: @LBradleyAuthor

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – New release #Scifi Richard Dee, #Reviews Paul Edmondson, #Mystery Mary Anne Edwards, #Thriller Mark Bierman


Welcome to the new look Author Updates where I share new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves. If you are a new author and would like to be included in the cafe please check out the links in this post: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE author promotion.

Congratulations to Richard Dee on the release of his latest book The Hitman and the Thief on August 31st and you still have three days to pre-order the book at just 99c/99p.

About the book

Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.

Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.

Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.

To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.

Can the hitman and the thief get the job done, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?

One of the advance reviews for the book on Goodreads

May 13, 2020 Steven rated it Five Stars it was amazing

I’ve known Richard Dee now for some time now having reviewed all of his current Andorra Pett cozy-crime sci-fi novels. I’ve yet to try his steampunk novels but they are firmly on my radar. We spoke recently about an upcoming space-based novel, something very different from the Andorra Pett series, and so I came to read an early draft of The Hitman and the Thief.

Professional “problem solver” and hitman Dan Jones is tasked with the biggest job he could imagine – carrying out a hit for crime boss Fliss Bauer. A hit on one her biggest rivals. It also represented a chance to prove he still had what it took to occupy such a critical role in the Bauer industry. Dan planned the hit as meticulously as ever. He knew all his options – his entries and exits, where to stash a gun, how to get around the premises. But a chance encounter with a small time thief threw a spanner in the works, leading to the ultimate failure of the mission.

In a last ditch opportunity, Dan must now work with this thief, a person he has no desire to work with, in a bit to finally take down their mark. Can the two work together and make a success of the job? And more importantly is his new partner trustworthy? I found this to be a really great read. I found myself rooting for Dan all the way through. He seemed a genuine character, trying to do the best job he can. Dee has crafted a narrative littered with plot twists making for a page turning story with a dark mystery at its core.

While it had its light moments, this was a decidedly different direction when compared with his cozy space mystery series. The sci-fi elements were well done without overriding the narrative thread. The Hitman and the Thief made for a page turning read, that I couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to pick up where I left off. Not too often do I have the chance to read a book that I am actively looking for the next spare moment to dip back into. This is definitely a book worth reading.

Pre-order the book for August 31st for 99c/99p: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Richard Dee

Richard Dee, buy: Amazon US And: Amazon UKWebsite: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1

Recent reviews

The first review is for Paul Edmondson for Great Spirit of Yosemite: The Story of Chief Tenaya

About the book

Now in his old age, Chief Tenaya’s life and the lives in his tribe are changed forever…

In the Mariposa Indian War of 1850/51, the venerable Chief Tenaya is catapulted into leading his people into conflict against white man’s plunder of their land and culture during the California Gold Rush. His story is a tale of family love, death, tribal lore and spirituality, all of it torn apart by a lust for gold. In Chief Tenaya’s world, the pillages of war are set against the backdrop of daily rhythms of Indian life in the familiar landscape of Yosemite.

Through the interweaving of historical events with imagined and gripping storytelling, Great Spirit of Yosemite chronicles the extraordinary true struggle of the original inhabitants of Yosemite Valley, their determination to cling on to their heritage, and their ultimate sacrifices.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Gridley 5.0 out of 5 stars A New Look at the Native American Tragedy  Reviewed in the United States on August 10, 2020

This fine book of Edmondson’s tells anew of the culture clash between white American settlers and the Native Americans who occupied the land for millennia prior to white settlement. But it’s not a re-warmed version of “white might wins;” instead, the author lives within the mind and heart of Tenaya, chief of the Ahwahneechee Indians, settled in the California mountains. His foil here is, for the most part, one James D. Savage, who has lived among the various tribal groups long enough to understand their languages and ways, but who is given to trading and cattle raising.

Whites begin to encroach on Ahwahneechee territory, and war ensues – the Maricopa Indian War of 1850-51. Edmondson follows the tracks of this conflict, never leaving Tenaya’s emotional side. He alternates a skilled and passionate prosaic view of Tenaya’s loyalty to his people, his sly ways with Savage and other whites, with superbly written poetic paeans to Tenaya and his tribe. As such,the book has the feel of George Keithley’s poetic opus, “The Donner Party.” “Great Spirit of Yosemite” will no doubt add value to this canon of the white push westward, and the inevitable ceding of Native American homelands to them. It’s a powerful closeup of both sides of this particular conflict and should be read and appreciated widely.

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

Paul Edmondson, buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK  – follow Paul: Goodreads – Website: Paul Edmondson Author  

The next author today is Mary Anne Edwards with a review for How Deep is the Darkness:(The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 6)

About the book

Are you afraid of the darkness?

Charlie McClung has always known about darkness, it’s part of being a police chief.

But now it’s spreading throughout the town and creeping into his life.

With each body found, the killer deepens the darkness and McClung must put an end to it.

Now.

One of the recent reviews for the book

lori pattillo 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic murder mystery!  Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2020

I really enjoyed “How Deep Is The Darkness”! Loved some of the characters and loathed others which is how a good book should make you feel. I was surprised at the ending. I’m looking forward to reading another in the series! 🙂

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

Also by Mary Anne Edwards

Mary Anne Edwards, Buy:Amazon US – andAmazon UK Follow Mary Anne on: Goodreads – Website: Mary Anne Edwards Twitter: @maedwards58

The final author today is Mark Bierman  with a review for his novel Vanished.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Ama No Iwato 5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling book! Tragic story! Great Read!  Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2020

Vanished is a tough book to read but at the same time an exciting story and important theme. The author, Mark Bierman, has done a great job of blending the hard facts of life in Haiti with fast thriller-alike actions and believable characters. The novel starts with a description of the earthquake in 2010 and continues with the arrival of Tyler, John, Samantha, and Peter in North West Haiti, where a child/girl is vanishing from the local Rescue Mission.
As I read the book about hard (often depressing or gruesome) adventures of John and Tyler, it horrified me to consider that the young children like Chantelle were violated in all parts of the world at that very moment…

The book Vanished is rich in detail, and the author did a great job with the research or/and observations. The plot is well described: relationships, heartbreaks, hate, greed, family, love. The author’s ability to capture the nuance of human relationships in all their complicated forms was true to life yet felt like a very unique, new perspective.
Overall: phenomenally engaging, highly-suspenseful, dramatic, realistic… you can almost see how evil is hiding behind the faces of real people. There’re plenty of surprises in this book! It was hard to put down, and I find myself thinking about the plot and story a lot. Highly recommend!

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

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Mark Bierman buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

 

Thank you for dropping by today and I hope that you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Mystery #Romance Lizzie Chantree, #Thriller John W. Howell


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

The first author today is Mark Bierman  with a review for his novel Vanished.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

John 4.0 out of 5 stars Intense and Riveting  Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Vanished” by Mark Bierman, a story of love, hope, despair and redemption. Two Americans, John and Tyler come to Haiti to help missionaries hoping that the distraction will help them get on with their lives.; John’s daughter, who was married to Tyler recently died of cancer and both are devastated.

When the seven-year-old daughter of their housekeeper is kidnapped and possibly sold into slavery, the two Americans vow to find her and bring her home. Since human trafficking is a major business in third world countries, few want to get involved in fear of reprisal. Setting out on their own in a foreign land becomes a major undertaking for the two men, who are pulled into the criminal underbelly of that trade market.

The two encounter major roadblocks, twists and turns, and both have to fight for their lives on several occasions. Their quest finally leads them to a mine on the other side of the country, and with help from the inside locate the missing girl.

The author does a great job in his descriptions, especially in showing the squalor in which these children slaves live. There are different subplots in the story which all come together at the end. I do have mixed feelings about the ending and think it could have been shortened. – unless, of course, the author is contemplating a sequel.

Even if this is a work of fiction, I’ve learned more about human trafficking and how widespread it is. I’d recommend “Vanished” to anyone interested in an edge of your seat roller coaster ride. Great job, Mark!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mark: Goodreads

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Amazon US Author Page: Amazon US
Amazon UK : Amazon UK

Connect to Mark via his blog: Mark Bierman WordPress

The next author is Lizzie Chantree with a review for Love’s Child

About the book

An award-winning romantic mystery novel, by internationally bestselling author Lizzie Chantree.

Friendship, loyalty and deadly secrets.

Jemima Trent is desperate to have a designer baby to keep up with her socialite friends, reconnect with her work-obsessed husband, Lucas, and regain some respect from her domineering father.

Something curious is happening and the number of women able to conceive each year is in decline, but no one seems to know why. Dr Cole believes that the answer can be found in a warehouse full of delinquent teenagers, where David Love and his pregnant girlfriend, Tilly, have been hitting the headlines for turning youngsters’ lives around. Dr Cole’s violent and callous employer will stop at nothing to discover the reason behind their success and why girls at the warehouse are able to fall pregnant.

Jemima finally tries to step out of her father’s shadow, but discovers they are more alike than she could ever imagine. David and Tilly vow to keep their secret, but have the lessons of the past been learnt and is the world ready for the truth?

Lies, deceit and betrayal, all in the name of love!

One of the recent reviews for the book

Ritu 4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 May 2020

I’m not sure what I was expecting with this first Lizzie Chantree novel, but it wasn’t the interesting twists within this delicious novel.

David is the product of a loveless marriage, and left with his degenerate father, he learns, the hard way, how to get through life.

In adulthood, he’s found a way to channel all the negativity into a project to benefit the community, and turned his bad experiences into something positive.

Finally, life is going great, with his girlfriend Tilly, pregnant, and happy, then things start to go wrong.

Love’s Child takes you on a journey of mysterious twists, exploring certain family dynamics, and ultimately, LOVE

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Also by Lizzie Chantree

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

And find more reviews and follow Lizzie: Goodreads

Connect to Lizzie via her website:Lizzie Chantree

And the final author today is John W. Howell with a recent review for his thriller My GRL the first in the John Cannon Trilogy.

About the book

John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, needs some well-deserved time off. He takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. His short-term plan is to become a charter fishing boat captain. John is unaware his craft has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a class of Annapolis Midshipmen on their summer cruise. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. To further complicate the situation, he was lying on the gun that killed her

John now has a more critical plan than charter fishing. He needs to convince law enforcement that he is innocent of the woman’s murder and to figure out why he was in the position of taking the fall.

John’s quest for answers takes him from the small fishing village of Port Aransas to eventually confront those who are holding him prisoner on the cargo ship carrying My GRL in the hold. The answers come fast and not to John’s liking. The chief terrorist has decided to lash John to the wheel of My GRL which is packed with C4 explosives and by remote control steer them to certain death at the Port of New York. The plan is to destroy the Midshipmen and the Intrepid museum. All this to satisfy the terrorists need for revenge on perceived grievances against America and the leader’s hatred for John.

If you like your heroes’ to be regular people and you want your thrillers to be exciting with plenty of twists and turns this is the book for you. It is the first in the John Cannon Trilogy.

A recent review for the book

Ama No Iwato 5.0 out of 5 stars Great thriller!  Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2020

The thriller My GRL is well-layered, intelligent, and intense suspense, where the buying of the boat is only the beginning… From there, the thriller races through stunning twists & turns – all the way to its revelation. Emotional and deeply satisfying prose narrated from a first-person (very engaging!); reads like a diary or as you see it from outside, still being inside at the same time. John W. Howell is a masterful storyteller who has perfected the art of suspense in his books. Don’t miss it!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy John’s books: Amazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow John: Goodreads

Connect to John via his blog: John W. Howell. com

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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Blogging Anne R. Allen, #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Childrens #YA Robbie and Michael Cheadle


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 Anne R. Allen

Anne R. Allen is the author of ten comic novels. THE GATSBY GAME, FOOD OF LOVE, and THE LADY OF THE LAKEWOOD DINER are available singly or in a boxed set called BOOMER WOMEN. She’s also the author of the hilarious Camilla Randall mysteries: THE BEST REVENGE, GHOSTWRITERS IN THE SKY, SHERWOOD, LTD., NO PLACE LIKE HOME, SO MUCH FOR BUCKINGHAM, THE QUEEN OF STAVES, and GOOGLING OLD BOYFRIENDS. She is currently published by Kotu Beach Press.

She also has a collection of short stories and verses called WHY GRANDMA BOUGHT THAT CAR.

She’s the co-author of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…A SELF-HELP GUIDE, written with Amazon #1 seller, Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Her latest nonfiction book is THE AUTHOR BLOG: EASY BLOGGING FOR BUSY AUTHORS.

Writer’s Digest named “Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris” one of the “Best 101 Websites for Writers”, and the blog made The Write Life’s list of the Best 100 Websites for Writers for 2017.

Anne is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and spent twenty-five years in the theater–acting and directing–before taking up fiction writing. She is the former artistic director of the Patio Playhouse in Escondido, CA and now lives on the foggy Central Coast of California with an imaginary cat and a lot of fictional people.

A selection of books by Anne R. Allen

One of the recent reviews for  The Author Blog

kimberly 5.0 out of 5 stars Take away-writing blogs are different  Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
I have known for years that I need to start a blog, but have always felt intimidated. In this book, the author makes it clear that writer blogs are not for monetization and are therefore different from most of the other blogs out there. It took a huge weight off my mind and now I feel better able to start.

Anne. R. Allen, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Anne on: Goodreads – blog:  Anne R. Allen Twitter: @annerallen

Meet Mark Bierman

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman’s childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non.

Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this “country boy” to life in the big cities.

After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

A recent review for Vanished

Avid Reader 5.0 out of 5 stars  It reminded me of James Clavell’s “King Rat”  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 June 2020

Bierman’s novel Vanished reminded me of James Clavell’s King Rat. Much like Clavell, Bierman reels in the reader from the first chapter. The book blends the reality of everyday life in Haiti with the race of finding a missing child believed to be abducted by slave traders.

Bierman will not allow you to shield your eyes from the reality of human trafficking. What he does wonderfully and makes this book worth a read is getting the reader to root for the two main characters, as well as for those oppressed. You will be drawn into their lives and hold thumbs, prying for a happy ending.

Modern fiction at its best, shining a spotlight on the tragedy of child trafficking. A book with a powerful and important message.

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Mark Bierman buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

Meet Robbie Cheadle

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.

I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.

I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.

A selection of books by Robbie Cheadle and with Michael Cheadle.

41uwzl1aqpl-_sx260_

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies

L. Carmichael 5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Baking, Rainbows  Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2020

Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Rainbow Fairies Story and Cookbook is the 7th book in this series written by Robbie Cheadle and her kids. I’ve read all of the previous books, plus I’ve read several of the author’s short stories and full-length young adult novels. Robbie is a talented writer and I love sharing reviews and samples of her books. Let’s chat a bit about this new release…

Something is amiss with the rainbows… Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet must investigate. When they do, they learn that the fairies who create the beautiful splendor are sick. Our hero and heroine save the day, and then the rainbows are restored. During the time the fairies are sick, Sir Chocolate creates tons of new interesting ice cream flavors to share with the world. Some look good… some seem a little weird. But we wouldn’t know for sure until we tried them, right? Here’s where you get to sample some of the recipes and create a few treats for yourself.

The Cheadles are creative. The stories are fun. The treats look delicious. This is a great way to spend quality time with kids and promote kindness, literacy, baking skills, and companionship. I bought several of the books for my cousins and shared them earlier this year. I can’t wait to see what they post online. I also can’t wait to see what happens with Sir Chocolate in the next round of books. Go check ’em out now!

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Robbie on : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration –  Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Thriller Mark Bierman, #PsychologicalThriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Dystopian Alex Craigie


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

The first author today is Mark Bierman  with a review for his debut novel Vanished.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Pete Springer 4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and Tragic  Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2020

John and Tyler travel to Haiti from America to volunteer at a Haitian mission. They think they re going to help build an orphanage, but they quickly become embroiled in more sinister matters. A young girl, Chantale, is kidnapped from the local village, and the two Americans try to rescue her. The naive Americans quickly find out that they are in over their heads. Chantale is taken not for ransom, but into the seedy world of human trafficking.

The protagonists travel to a mine on the other side of the country where violence and slavery reign. Faced with the unfamiliarity of language and cultural differences, John and Tyler put their trust in a career thief, Janjak, to navigate through many issues they know nothing about.

Bierman’s fast-paced novel will have you holding on to the edge of your seat. While the subject matter is unpleasant at times, the writing is quite good. I found some of the rescue to be a little farfetched and highly coincidental. The end lacked believability for me. It was an engaging read, dealing with a serious subject.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mark: Goodreads

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Amazon US Author Page: Amazon US
Amazon UK : Amazon UK

Connect to Mark via his blog: Mark Bierman WordPress

The next review is for Lucinda E.Clarke A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: A Psychological Thriller

About the book

Leah’s nightmare began the day the dog died.

A few years earlier a fatal car crash took the lives of Leah’s beloved husband and their two babies, leaving her disabled. Life looked bleak. She was approaching forty, unemployed, broke and desperate.

Then she met Mason. He was charming, charismatic, persuasive, and a successful businessman, well respected in the community. His teenage daughter did nothing to welcome Leah into the family, but life is never perfect.

Then, two years into her second marriage, Leah Brand’s world is turned upside down; inanimate objects in the house move, her clothes are left out for the rubbish collection, pieces of furniture change places, there are unexplained noises and hauntings.

As the disturbances increase, everyone accuses Leah of losing her mind. Soon she begins to doubt herself and she starts to spiral down into a world of insanity. Is she going mad, or is someone out to destroy her? And if so, why?

A gripping, psychological thriller for fans of Mary Higgins Clarke and Louise Jensen.

One of the recent reviews for the book

M Ghosh 4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful story, brilliant ending  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2020

Set in suburban England, this psychological thriller has a rather routine beginning with Leah, a vulnerable woman recovering from the after-effects of an accident.

Soon after, the routine goes haywire and Leah goes through some very non-routine situations that make her begin to doubt her own sanity.

I loved Leah and felt myself following her with hope and trepidation. The suspense kept me turning the pages, and the ending made me pause and go ah.

This is a beautifully crafted tale, and needs to find more readers.

.Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Lucinda E.Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda: Goodreads

Connect to Lucinda via her blog: WordPress Lucinda E. Clarke

The final author today is Alex Craigie with a recent review for  Acts of Convenience

About the book

Imagine, if you will, a near future where governments adopt policies that suit them rather than the people they were elected to represent.

Imagine a near future where old age and chronic problems are swept away with expedient legislation.

I know; it’s an unlikely scenario.

However, it’s a scenario in which Cassie Lincoln finds herself.

It’s a scenario that compels her to take action.

It’s a scenario that leads to despair and danger.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

David P Western 5.0 out of 5 stars Too close to reality? A future to fear?  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 March 2020

I’ve given this novel 5 stars because the problems faced in this dystopian near-future setting are frighteningly real. As are the proposed solutions of the various governments in the story. Alex portrays how public opinion can be manipulated by those with money and power. Her concerns for the choices facing society in the not too distant future are clearly played out by a varied cast of characters. Alex has a plot that makes you think and ask, ‘What if…?’

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Also by Alex Craigie

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Alex: Goodreads

Connect to Alex Craigie via: Facebook

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