Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Micki Peluso, Judy Penz-Sheluk, Annika Perry, Jemima Pett, Toni Pike, Teri Polen, Allie Potts, Debra Purdy-Kong, Vashti Quiroz- Vega, Amy M. Reade


Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week or so.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their listing which also includes a link to buy the books but also discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts too.

Here is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore with their recent reviews.

Micki Peluso, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Micki-Peluso/e/B002BLZ7JK
Blog: http://mallie1025.blogspot.ie/

An extract from one of the recent reviews for The Whippoorwill Sang

on March 2, 2018

“Memories” I looked forward to reading this book, because my sister and my brother-in-law had lost four friends in one night to the acts of a drunken driver. This accident left six orphans behind, and my sister and my brother-in-law would forever remember their anniversary, the 20th of September, as the day two sets of good parents lost their lives to a drunken driver.

This is a book which needs to be read by anyone who ever had the audacity to get in behind a wheel and drive under the influence of alcohol. There is just no excuse and hopefully more and more countries will enforce legislation to impose maximum sentence on those who think it’s okay to destroy others’ lives in such a callous manner.

I loved that the author had the courage to write her story. She has a wonderful engaging style of writing, clear crisp dialogues and writes with brutal honesty when describing her feelings throughout the book.

If you have not had a chance to read this memoir, I encourage you to do so. Especially the second half of this account will stay with you for a long time!

Judy Penz Sheluk, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04
Blog: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/

Please visit Amazon or Judy’s blog to view all her books

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An extract from a recent review for A Hole in One..

Emily Garland has landed on her feet after her previous bouts with murder and mayhem, and in the process, she has gained a new friend and partnership in Lount’s Landing’s delightful antique shop. Arabella Carpenter, eager to move on from her life’s left turns, opened up The Glass Dolphin antique shop, and with her new friend and partner taking on the advertising and promotions, success might be more than just a pipe dream. The ladies are sponsoring the Hole in One prize at the charity golf tournament, but instead they get involved in another murder mystery. The victim is Arabella’s ex-husband’s estranged father, having been out of the picture for twenty-five years, and when motive, means, and opportunity seem established, he becomes a serious “person of interest.” From there I couldn’t put the book down…

Judy Penz Sheluk has penned an excellent follow up to her first Glass Dolphin Mystery, and although you can start here, I highly recommend you not forget book one, “The Hanged Man’s Noose.” As a beginning or as a prequel, it is excellent, too.

Annika Perry, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/
Blog    https://annikaperry.com

One of the recent reviews for the collection

I think this book is a good read. Annika Perry is a perceptive observer of the human condition, and has a gift of harnessing the humdrum minutiae of everyday existence and bringing it to life in short, concise, well told stories. She also includes the occasional entertaining poem and limerick to further demonstrate her talents and add to the variety. As a bonus, Ms Perry includes notes at the end of the anthology, explaining her motivation for writing the stories, many of which, directly or indirectly, are borne out of her own experiences.

Jemima Pett, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Jemima-Pett/e/B006F68PVE
Blog http://jemimapett.com

Please visit Amazon to view all of Jemima’s books.

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A recent review for The Princelings of the North on Goodreads

Jan 31, 2018 Victoria Zigler rated it Five Stars

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book since I heard it was going to be coming out, and was not disappointed! This book is an excellent addition to this series. The plot is entertaining and exciting, while the characters are interesting and believable (yes, I know they’re guinea pigs, but there’s no reason a guinea pig can’t be a believable character).

Toni Pike, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y
Website www.tonipike.com

One of the recent reviews Holy Spear of Magus

Deborah Wall McGraw4.0 out of 5 stars Holy Spear of Magus delivers February 20, 2018

The Holy Spear of Magus is the latest in the story of Fletcher and his battle with a hateful subgroup within the Catholic Church. By now, we know many details of the protagonist and the various villains so the story is more interesting when you start with volume 1 and work through them. This one takes them to several interesting spots around the world in the search for the holy spear. That is one of my favorite parts of mystery books: the details of foreign places. An very satisfying escape.

Teri Polen, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V
Website: https://teripolen.com/

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An extract from a recent review for Sarah

Teri Polen’s SARAH is the stuff that will keep you up at night. It’s the perfect blend of lighthearted teenage banter and blood-curdling horror elements. Shades of the television show Supernatural will keep fans of theWinchester brothers engrossed from the beginning through the last spine-tingling word of the epilogue.

Cain starts out as an affable teenage boy who too soon has become the man of the house because of the untimely death of his father. The addition of his best friend Finn creates a dynamic duo—the two clearly are as thick as biological brothers and their interactions are so enjoyable. Cain has typical teenage problems—love, academics, sports—until his life changes for the worse.

I love a good ghost story, and SARAH is one of the best ones I’ve read in a while. I blew through it—it was such an easy and exciting read that I finished it in one afternoon. But I’m left fervently wishing for a sequel, because I don’t want to say goodbye to these characters. If you like horror, you’ll love SARAH. It’s a must read.

One of the reviews for Watch and Wand

The Watch and the Wand is the second book in the Gene Assist Series, a dystopian tale dabbling in genetic engineering. The science is intriguing and complex and it’s possible to see nano technology invading our lives in the not too distant future.

This book starts after the breakdown of society and 15 years after the conclusion of book one: Fair and Foul. Stephen’s dull life comes to an end when he meets Bean, a girl on the run from the dangerous Watch. With Bean, he sets off into the unknown world where nothing is quite what it seems.

This story has quite a few twists and turns. Potts toys with the reader, setting up mysteries and slowly revealing the answers, and often leaving the characters’ motives and agendas hidden. In particular, Bean was hard to read, and for a long time, I wasn’t sure I trusted her. Stephen and Bean are the strongest characters, three dimensional and consistent throughout. Dialog is realistic, the pace zips along, and the action scenes are exciting.
I didn’t read the first book, Fair and Foul, and wished I had. I would recommend starting there as Potts doesn’t bog down the reader with much backstory in book 2 (primarily because Stephen is in the dark about what’s going on outside his experience and he’s the pov character). I would have liked to know more about how the challenges in the world developed. Great sci-fi story for YA readers and up.

Please visit Amazon to view all of Debra’s books
A review for Deadman Floating

In Deadman Floating, Debra Purdy Kong introduces us to her likeable protagonist, Evan Dunstan, who is butting heads with his superiors in his current role as campus security officer, while en route to his dream job in municipal policing. Interfering somewhat with Evan’s professionalism is his pursuit of a potential girlfriend, which is what causes him to fail to report his discovery of the body of a miserable and frequently inebriated campus maintenance worker. Obviously an unfortunate accident—or, maybe not!? In this fun, quick read, the first in the Evan Dunstan Mystery series, Purdy Kong tightly weaves a twisty plot that will hold the reader’s attention to the very end.

An extract from the most recent review for The Fall of Lilith

I have seen this book described as “epic” and I agree, not only for its length (it is two books in one) but also for its topic. It does talk about all things in Heaven and Earth, near enough, from the creation of the angels and the battle of good and evil to the fall of the angels and their revenge plans once on Earth (that don’t bode well for humanity).

The author’s writing style in this book is reminiscent of the Bible, although the story is told from quite a different point of view, and it deviates from the narrative most Christians are familiar with (I am intrigued to know how the story will resonate with readers not familiar with the Christian tradition, although the world building is detailed enough for anybody to be able to follow the events). I am not a big Fantasy reader, mostly because I am not that fond of lengthy descriptions (I admire authors who do it well), although this story has the added interest of providing a major variation on a story many of us are familiar with. As typical of the genre, there is plenty of telling (in fact, all the characters are storytellers, and we get to hear the angels’ voices often, narrating their own adventures, or even fictional ones, like a fascinating story Lilith narrates in book 1), and beautiful descriptions of Floraison, the part of Heaven inhabited by the angels, of the angels, and also of the creation of Earth, and of Earth itself in book 2.

Amy M. Reade, Buyhttp://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2
Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

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One of the recent reviews for Murder in Thistlecross

With its engaging heroine, sinister castle, and shadowy intrigues, Murder in Thistlecross is a true gothic suspense novel, but not of the Victorian era as one might expect. Reade places the gothic elements seamlessly into contemporary Wales, essentially creating a new genre: the modern gothic mystery. One gets so happily immersed in the spooky mystery that the occasional appearance of a cellphone is a surprise as well as a reminder that what once was old has been made new again. I enjoyed the believability of a gothic mystery that seemed as if it could really happen today. I Also felt I had enjoyed a vacation in the beautiful Welsh countryside.
Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the authors and their books on social media. Thanks Sally
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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Balroop Singh, Jack Eason, Toni Pike, Amy Hoff and Lynn Otty


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Author Update where I share new releases and recent reviews for authors in the Cafe and bookstore.

The first author today with news is Balroop Singh with a new review for her poetry collection Emerging From Shadows.

About Emerging from Shadows poetry collection

From darkness into light, from despair onto the wider ways of hope…life oscillates between sunshine and shadows. Emerging from shadows is a choice, which lies dormant, which can be gently inspired by self-talk. Each poem in this book banks on the hope of emerging stronger, saner, positive and resilient. Each poem in this book would talk to you, revealing layers of enclosed emotions. Each poem would divulge a secret path that could lead you into the world of poise and serenity.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Vashti Quiroz-Vega  5.0 out of 5 stars What A Good Poem Does, Nothing Else Can Do.  February 1, 2018

“Emerging from Shadows” is a beautiful and profound collection of poems. The poems covered countless emotions both dark and bright, reflecting the many trials and tribulations as well as triumphs that a person faces throughout life. The kind of person that is strong-minded and willing to learn and grow from these experiences. I felt like an intruder as I read, because this book felt like a diary in verse.

When reading the book, I kept pausing to recite the verses out loud. So many of the lines drip from the tongue:

The dazzling rays of sun
Had to pierce through you,
To reach me, while
The moonlight was all mine.

The best books, and that includes poetry books, make us smarter. They teach us new things and make us question what we know. This book is smart without being pretentious. It is also heartfelt, honest and inspiring. I highly recommended it to all poetry lovers.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Shadows-Poetry-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B073YLWLG1/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emerging-Shadows-Poetry-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B073YLWLG1

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

Connect to Balroop Singh via her blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

The next author with a new review is Jack Eason with his historical novella Autumn 1066.

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley

One of the recent reviews

Although not the genre I would normally read I must say I enjoyed this book. If you can imagine a documentary with a powerful and authoratative narration of one of the bloodiest events in Britain’s history, that’s what the author has achieved. His historical knowledge blended with a diverse mixture of characters means this is a gripping work of fiction.

Buy the book – Amazon US –  https://www.amazon.com/Autumn-1066-Anglo-Saxon-dominance-ended/dp/1546685308

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1546685308

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY

Follow Jack and read other reviews on Goodread: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4026249.Jack_Eason

Connect to Jack via his website: https://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/

Now for a new release from Toni Pike, the fourth book in The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series – Holey Spear of Magus.

About the book

THE MAGUS COVENANT WILL BE FULFILLED AND TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY WILL BE SWEPT AWAY…..

Jotham and Madena Fletcher remain dedicated to finding the Simonian Sect whose goal is to destroy the Christian Church. They leave their baby daughter at home and travel to Krakow in Poland to investigate a theology professor known as the Guardian of the Spear. Meanwhile, a mysterious Hungarian arrives at the hilltop monastery of Saint Dimitrios in Greece in search of an ancient relic that is rumoured to be buried there.

When a large Pentecostal Church in San Diego is crippled by a cyberattack, Jotham heads there with young computer genius, Eugene Beaudreau, to find out if the sect is responsible. They meet Pastor Silas Conrad and his strange family who are all obsessed with the Holy Spear and its curative powers.

When two monks arrive from the ruthless Brotherhood led by Father Dominic, Jotham is catapulted into a desperate struggle to track down the Holy Spear and stop it falling into the wrong hands. He races to Europe – but his enemies are more diabolical than he could possibly imagine.

Don’t miss this action-packed thriller!

There are three other books in this series – enjoy Jotham Fletcher’s continuing story.
Book 1: THE MAGUS COVENANT – The secret that will change the world
Book 2: THE ROCK OF MAGUS – Code Red in the Vatican
Book 3: THE MAGUS EPIPHANY – Ancient treasures and a new revelation

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spear-Magus-covenant-fulfilled-ebook/dp/B079KK9F8S

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Holy-Spear-Magus-covenant-fulfilled-ebook/dp/B079KK9F8S

Also by Toni Pike

A recent review on Goodreads for The Magus Covenant – Book 1 The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series.

Nov 07, 2017 richard w calvert rated it it was amazing  · 

Great biblical fiction – This story was a cleverly crafted fictional work that expertly intertwined many characters to make a fulfilling and intriguing start as the first of many new books in series By Toni Pike embarks on a tantalizing new series which is well written and excellent by an exquisite author who I look forward to reading every book in her new series.

Find out more about Toni Pike, read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14736589.Toni_Pike

For more information on Toni connect via her website: https://tonipike.com/

The next author with a brand new release on 3rd February is Amy Hoff with The Connoisseur.

About The Connoisseur

Loka’i is known for its excesses. The cultural capital of the world is famous for its food, its wine, and its pleasures, but the jewel in the crown of the city are the men of the famed harem of Loka’i, chosen by the Connoisseur.

Aiea, a young girl, is chosen as the next Connoisseur of Loka’i. She is immersed in a world of luxury and beauty, with a lingering darkness behind the gilded veneer. The shadow of war threatens to upset everything those in Loka’i hold dear, and the carefree tropical days on their island.

A world of beauty and hedonism, choice and sacrifice, The Connoisseur is a story of the sea, island life, and the importance of a good bottle of wine.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Connoisseur-Amy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B079KJ2NBK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Connoisseur-Amy-Hoff-ebook/dp/B079KJ2NBK

Also by Amy Hoff

One of the reviews for Caledonia.

Mar 24, 2015 Seumas Gallacher rated it it was amazing with Five Stars

Come, be enchanted by the Selkies and the Faer Folk in an unusual crime setting…

…I’m totally biased about this book because I was born and bred in Glasgow, where the story is set… notwithstanding that, readers with no knowledge of the city or its tough reputation will appreciate the gritty characterisation of the setting as much the players in the narrative… it is superbly imaginative and clever of the author to wrap the present-day human heroine, Leah Bishop into scenarios with Selkies, the Faer Folk and a modern vampira… all done with admirable credibility… murders of the Faer by one of their own kind is uncommon, and Bishop’s travails and eventual solving of the crimes is superbly handled… the colour and delicacy of the unconscionably beautiful male Selkies is a constant delight as the chapters unfold… regardless of whatever genre is your usual… this tale will tempt you all the way through…. most enjoyable…

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-Hoff/e/B00U5ZN8EA

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amy-Hoff/e/B00U5ZN8EA

Read more reviews and follow Amy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1258585.Amy_Hoff

Connect to Amy via her Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/officialamyhoff

The final author in the update today is Lynn Otty to with a recent review for her debut release.  Having a Ball & Other Stories.

About Having a Ball & Other Stories.

Having a Ball is a collection of seventeen short stories that deal in varying ways with the human condition. Lynn Otty’s characters range from children at the beginning of life’s adventures through to adulthood and the frustrations of old age. Their situations will amuse, sometimes shock but always entertain the reader. This is her debut collection.

Here are brief introductions to three of the  stories in the book.

The Power – A young girl who believes she has the power to bring people back from the dead decides to try that power out on a corpse in her father’s funeral home.

Blackcurrants – A monologue by an old woman who lives an itinerant life in Latvia after the fall of communism.

Under the Locust Tree – The final moments of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln’s.

 

A recent review for the collection 

Margaret Newlands  5.0 out of 5 stars A wee treat 4 January 2018

A book for dipping into, allowing time to reflect on each thought-provoking story. Touching and sensitive in the telling, the author takes the reader through nostalgic memories, inspiring a range of emotions. A lovely read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Having-Ball-other-stories-Lynn-ebook/dp/B077FBDDKW

and at Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Having-Ball-Other-Stories-Lynn/dp/197810801X/

Connect to Lynn via her blog: https://prairie796.wordpress.com/

I hope that you will have found a book or two to add to your reading pile. Thanks for dropping in. Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Toni Pike, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, Terri Webster-Schrandt, Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes and Tina Frisco


Welcome to the first author update this week and the first featured author is Toni Pike who has recently published The One Way Diet.

About the One Way Diet

Are you searching for the pathway to weight loss?

This is a no-nonsense guide to finding the slender person you dream about, with simple advice on how to lose weight by focusing on your goals. THE ONE WAY DIET is not just a healthy eating plan, but is also about coping with every aspect of your weight loss journey.

People often say to me now that I’m lucky because I don’t have to worry about my weight. How wrong they are! Five years ago, I lost more than thirty kilograms after a lifetime of weight problems. Every day since then, I make the lifestyle choice to stay slim.

I call this THE ONE WAY DIET because, when I followed this method, my weight moved in one direction only until I reached my goal weight of sixty kilograms. I’m giving you the benefit of my personal experience about weight loss, but there are no wild theories in this book. All you will find here is useful information and powerful inspiration.

You’ll find out why most people gain weight and what I believe is the most effective way to lose it. Discover how to keep yourself motivated and how to cope with the challenges of everyday life. Be prepared for each stage of your weight loss journey and learn how to avoid a weight loss plateau.

If your dream is to lose weight, then this book will give you the tools that you need to succeed.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/One-Way-Diet-pathway-weight-ebook/dp/B078B64JX2

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Way-Diet-pathway-weight-ebook/dp/B078B64JX2

Also by Toni Pike

A recent review on Goodreads for The Magus Covenant – Book 1 The Jonathan Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series.

Nov 07, 2017 richard w calvert rated it it was amazing  · 

Great biblical fiction – This story was a cleverly crafted fictional work that expertly intertwined many characters to make a fulfilling and intriguing start as the first of many new books in series By Toni Pike embarks on a tantalizing new series which is well written and excellent by an exquisite author who I look forward to reading every book in her new series.

Find out more about Toni Pike, read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14736589.Toni_Pike

For more information on Toni connect via her website: https://tonipike.com/

The next author is Deanie Humphrys-Dunne with a new review for her memoir – My Life at Sweetbriar: A Life Changed by Horses.

About My Life at Sweetbriar

What if you grew up on a horse farm and your single passion was to become a champion horseback rider? The problem is, you were born with a disability. Doctors tell your parents you’ll never walk, let alone ride. What will happen next? What does her dad do that changes her life? Will a failed racehorse and a handicapped girl become a winning team? This is the author’s true story of her journey. Even if Deanie prevails, will she find exactly the right horse to help her win?

A recent review for the book

This children’s chapter book is truly an inspiration. The author was born with a disability that impacted her ability to walk. As a young girl growing up on a horse farm, she wished that she could ride and jump and win horse shows. Her Daddy, being her biggest fan, helped her overcome her fears and various horses in her life improved her self-confidence. With a lot of practice and perseverance, she made her dreams come true. This book teaches children about following their dreams no matter what disability, fear, or obstacle they may have. While reading the book, I felt like I was right there with the author cheering her on. I love that she included pictures of herself, her family, and her horses. This is a great book for children about never giving up.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Life-Sweetbrier-Changed-Horses-ebook/dp/B0711P67DM

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Life-Sweetbrier-Changed-Horses-ebook/dp/B0711P67DM

Also by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/e/B003FFS15S

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/e/B003FFS15

Follow Deanie Humphrys- Dunne on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3309880.Deanie_Humphrys_Dunne

Connect to Deanie on her website: http://www.childrensbookswithlifelessons.com

Now for a review for a very useful book for bloggers by Terri Webster Schrandt.. Not only does Better Blogging with Photography guide you through using images in your posts, but Terri also offers you free photographs from her portfolio to use.

About the Book

There is truth to the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. As a blogger, are you weary of constantly hunting for images to illustrate the subject of your blog posts?

Perhaps you are a new blogger struggling to get more readers. Or a seasoned blogger continually seeking inspiration for quality blog posts.
This guidebook is designed to help you utilize your own images on your blog or website.

While free image sites abound, there are limitations to using so-called “free” images. Gone are the days when bloggers can innocently copy and paste an image from the web and paste it into their blog post.

What will you get out of this guide?

In each chapter I give easy but important tips for maximizing the use of images on your blog’s website and within each blog post.

Seven informative chapters walk you through–

  • the importance of using images;
  • the real dangers of using others’ copyrighted images;
  • easy ways to edit your images using free programs and apps;
  • building unending inspiration and content around your own images;
  • attracting readers with images used in quotations, blog link-ups, and other tools;
  • how social media sites link your images, and why you need them;
  • a list of image resources available.

After reading this short guidebook, you will want to grab your smart phone or inexpensive digital camera and start taking photos!

The most recent review for the book

This is perfect for a new blogger like me because the author lays out her tips very clearly and I was able to make changes to my new website. My website already feels more professional and I have a better idea how to attract more visitors now.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Better-Blogging-Photography-Maximize-Images-ebook/dp/B01I2NNLRU

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Better-Blogging-Photography-Maximize-Images-ebook/dp/B01I2NNLRU

Read more reviews and follow Terri on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15575050.Terri_Webster_Schrandt

Connect to Terri via her blog: http://secondwindleisure.com/

A new book for the writing duo – Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes.. non-fiction this time....Lazy Days : The holiday of a lifetime… hot off the press today.

About the book

This was our very first holiday. Two women, four kids and two small dogs afloat on a rented boat, 40 years ago. Miles of rivers and waterways to explore. Could we survive for two weeks, or would we end up in a watery grave?

Find out how we survived the holiday and each other in Lazy Days!

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lazy-Days-lifetime-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B077XX2TH1

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lazy-Days-lifetime-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B077XX2TH1

Books by Jaye Marie

A review for The Apple Blossom

I did wonder why there was a picture of apple blossom on the front cover of this book, which is a very short (14 pages) but factual story of the author’s thoughts and feelings on her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer (the treatments are not described in too much detail). However, the significance of the apple blossom became apparent as I read on. I finished the book in 20 minutes, and can sympathise entirely with Jaye Marie’s dread of radiotherapy, as I underwent 30 of these treatments myself for a different type of cancer earlier this year.

I would have liked the book to have been a little bit longer, and would have liked to read more about the after-effects of radiotherapy and whether the author suffered from on-going tiredness and lymphoedema (swelling due to bad lymph drainage) for example. After-effects can linger for years, and it would be interesting to find out if radiotherapy for different types of cancers all give similar after-effects.

The book was well formatted, and I found only a couple of typos. Doctors, nurses and radiologists try their best to make us as comfortable as possible during our treatment, but at the end of the day a course of radiotherapy is something that ultimately augments a cancer sufferer’s capability to endure. We can take along CD’s to try and blot out the clicking of the tomography machine, but it is unfortunately an endurance test. Well done to Jaye Marie though, for passing the test with flying colours!

Read the reviews and and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

Read more reviews and follow Jaye Marie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638857.Jaye_Marie

Books by Anita Dawes

One of the recent reviews for The Scarlet Ribbon

It’s rare these days to find an original concept in fiction but Anita Dawes has created an unusual story here. Maggie has been knocked down by a car and is in a coma, aware of her surroundings but unable to communicate. While in the coma, she also occupies an alternate world somewhere between life and death. Here she meets David and Annie, two characters who will continue to haunt her when she emerges from her coma.

The novel is beautifully written and the characterization is strong; the reader is rooting for Maggie from the start. It took me a little while to get into this story but from the point Maggie comes out of her coma I couldn’t put it down. The whole premise is thought provoking and I’d particularly recommend it to people who are interested in concepts of the afterlife. In particular, the ending will stay with me for a long time.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10

Read more reviews and follow Anita on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6586480.Anita_Dawes

Connect to Jaye and Anita via their website http://jenanita01.wordpress.com

The final author today is Tina Frisco with Vampyrie:Origin of the Vampire and its most recent review.

About Vampyrie

What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? Vampyrie brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility. Phoebe Angelina Delaney is a reluctant genius and compassionate hothead. She finds herself in a pitch-dark underground and doesn’t remember how she got there. Did she drink too much alcohol and wander off in a stupor, or was she kidnapped by a malicious element determined to make her life a living hell?

Sir Michael Alan David is a vampire – an enigma, charismatic and mysterious, who weaves in and out of Phoebe’s life. Does he intend to use his title as a ruse to draw her closer to an unearthly fate, or is he a cloak-and-dagger knight in shining armor? Too many secrets have been kept for too long. Phoebe must unravel the mystery in order to survive. Two major characters from the author’s first novel, Plateau join forces with Phoebe to battle the demons in Vampyrie.

And here is the most recent  review for Vampyrie

Frisco is a gifted writer who knows how to snare the interest of her reader from the very first page and to maintain that interest until the very last word. Although it is a vampire story with a unique twist, it is so much more. I was fascinated with the growth and maturation that the main character, Phoebe, experienced throughout the story. As I reached the end of the book I realized that this tale of human growth wasn’t just Phoebe’s, it applies to all of us as we struggle with self-awareness and acceptance. Frisco teaches us that our hearts, minds, spirits, and souls contribute to this journey of awareness and fulfillment and that none of us journey alone. This is not just another vampire story. I highly recommend this great book.

 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Vampyrie-Origin-Vampire-Tina-Frisco/dp/154112720X

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/VAMPYRIE-Origin-Vampire-Tina-Frisco-ebook/dp/B01N2UYDG6

Also by Tina Frisco

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Tina-Frisco/e/B009NMOFNY

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tina-Frisco/e/B009NMOFNY

Read more reviews and follow Tina on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6497599.Tina_Frisco

Connect to Tina via her blog and website: https://tinafrisco.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore the authors and their books further.  Thanks Sally

 

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and bookstore Author Update – Toni Pike, Jaye Marie and Christy Birmingham


Welcome to the Friday Cafe and Bookstore update where authors on the shelves can share new releases, fantastic reviews and offers on their books. Whilst I do make every effort to check all the authors in the bookstore every few weeks, it is very helpful if you drop me a line to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Just a reminder about some of the benefits of being in the bookstore.

You can enjoy regular updates that puts your work in front of my 26,000+ contacts here and on social media. Most of whom are authors themselves, but more importantly readers of books. You also belong to a growing community of supportive writers who are happy to share across their own networks.

For example. The average Cafe Update receives on average 40 to 50 retweets over the course of a week. Most authors that follow me have between 5,000 – 15,000+ followers of their own on Twitter. At the lower number your work is being promoted to over 200,000 potential readers.

I cannot promise that it will result in sales, but because I put the your name in the headline, it does mean that google picks the post up whenever someone searches your name. This boosts your own efforts to develop an online presence.

If you are not already in the Cafe and Bookstore then here is the post that tells you how:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Now for today’s featured authors and the first is Toni Pike with a departure from the Jotham Fletcher mystery thriller series which I will of course mention a little later. Today I am showcasing Toni’s latest book, published on March 26th, which is 100 Secrets to Love, Health and Wealth.

About the book

LEARN THE SECRETS TO FINDING A JOB AND CREATING A LIFE THAT YOU LOVE.

The author was once set upon by some wild ducks keen to defend their territory. Do you have ducks like that in your life, so out of control that you hardly know which way to turn? They are the ones that you need to approach and tame, then put into a line so that you can:

Increase your wealth, improve your health and achieve your dreams.

Here, Toni Pike shares her one hundred secrets to success. This guide can easily be read in just a couple of hours. In this short book, you will learn how to:
• reduce stress
• balance your budget
• make positive changes in your career
• guide your children
• declutter your home, and
• live life to the full.

If you are young, here are skills that will help equip you for the rest of your life.
If you are in the midst of your career, you will find ways to transform your journey.
If you are approaching retirement, you can learn how to make the most of that exciting time.

There are some people who might think that these ideas are so simple that everyone should know them. The truth is that many people never reach their full potential or even try to achieve their goals.

Open your mind, and see if you can use these methods to turn your life around. When you do that, you will find that your wealth will increase, your health is likely to improve and you will live the life that you have only been dreaming about for far too long.

There are ten chapters, each representing one of those ducks in your life that you need to tame:
Life – Making the most of every moment
Health – Looking after your body
Career – Finding a job you love
Money – Increasing your wealth and balancing your budget
Home – Simplifying your living space
Family – Finding harmony with your children and parents
Friends – Maintaining social contacts and searching for romance
Leisure – Choosing activities that enrich your life
Travel – Exploring the world
Technology – Using technology and maximising your productivity

Don’t miss this chance to transform your life!

Buy the book at its launch offer of 99p: https://www.amazon.com/100-Secrets-Love-Health-Wealth-ebook/dp/B06XW2V61J

One of the reviews for The Magus Covenant

A beautiful edge of the seat thriller based on Simon the Magician or Simon Magus mentioned in various places in the Bible. The way the story is woven, the characters developed, the twists and turns that the plot develops as it moves along makes the book alluring, fascinating and irresistible. The revelation at the end takes the reader by total surprise and makes this book a topnotch one! One gets enthralled as one goes through each page! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading Toni’s other book too!

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

Find out more about Toni and connect via her website: https://tonipike.com/

The next update is for Jaye Marie who has a FREE offer for her book The Last Life: Introducing Detective David Snow.

About the book

Kate Devereau wakes up in a hospital, unable to speak or move. Her brain has shut down, refusing to acknowledge her dark and disturbing past, concealing a web of painful secrets.
Michael Barratt brought her to the hospital, insisting that her ex-husband had tried to kill her. And from the state of him, had tried to kill him too. He had been searching for Kate for years, ever since their doomed love affair, only to discover someone else had been hunting her too.

With the help of the DI David Snow, Kate will gradually piece her life back together, only to discover the nightmare is far from over.

Her first instinct is to run, but David Snow convinces her to stay and help him put an end to the nightmare. A nightmare that will get progressively worse before it gets better.
Haunted by his own demons, will the Snowman manage to catch the twisted killer?
Evil lurks in this story and people die, but amidst the tears and heartache, a lost love struggles to survive…

Also by Jaye Marie

 A review for The Ninth Life.

If you like the thriller genre that keeps up the momentum then this would be a good read for you. The pace never falters, building up the plot and characters with timely intervention. The author cleverly keeps the story centred around the main character, with the other players coming into the story and yet there are no plot holes or false timings.

Not once did I get bored reading it or find the story faltering at all – definitely one of those where ‘you need to know what happens next’ but I think the author’s gift when writing this is to keep the protagonist centre whilst keeping the reader constantly hooked. The antagonist is typically a nasty character, one whom the reader takes an instant dislike to and the edge he adds to the story is almost palpable.

Other characters are kept to a minimum but play pivotal roles in the story; the good thing here is you never know quite how they will turn out. Will your fears be unfounded? Or did you correctly guess the next step? The ending is not what you would expect (another good talent to have when writing) but you’ll have to read the book!

Find out more about Jaye Marie and buy her books: https://www.amazon.com/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

Connect to Jaye Marie via her website: https://jenanita01.com/

My next update is for poet Christy Birmingham who joined the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore in March. She recently received another excellent review for her collection Versions of the Self.

About the collection

Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration. Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

The latest review on Amazon

Versions of the Self is a collection of poetry that inspires and enthralls. Each thought-provoking piece is one to be savored. A variety of topics are explored, from nature (Painted Mountains) to simple pleasures (A Sundae Type of Day), from love to heartbreak. Ultimately, this collection is about relationships in all its forms. Christy Birmingham delves deep into the bonds of family (Tender Hands) and friendship, and she also examines the many ways love can go wrong (and right). But the most important relationship she writes about is the relationship we have with ourselves, or more specifically, with the many versions of ourselves that reside within us.

I have so many favorites within the pages of this book. In “Equality and Vision,” Christy honors women from our past, present, and future. Beautifully and delicately woven, “Introspection and Suffocation” resonated with me for many reasons. “Beauty, In Pursuit” examines our society’s relationship with trends and obsession with outer beauty. I could go on and on.

If you love poetry, or if you are interested in branching out and reading more poetry, I would highly recommend this book.

Read all the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Versions-Self-Christy-Birmingham/dp/0994094906

Also by Christy Birmingham

Pathways to Illumination is available exclusively at Redmund Productions: http://redmundpro.com/book-store/pi/

Read more reviews for Christy’s work on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7177834.Christy_Birmingham

Connect to Christy via her website: https://poeticparfait.com/

Thanks for dropping in today and if you would like to join the other authors enjoying regular updates then all it will cost you is time.  Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Toni Pike and Lorinda J. Taylor


Welcome to the first of the review specific posts this week.

I am putting together a separate post on how to encourage more readers to leave book reviews later today, but I do want to reiterate my intention in the coming months to focus on reviews of books as part of book promotions. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool that we have and we need to make it easier for our readers to leave their opinions good or bad about our work.  More about that in the specific post later.

In the meantime I am delighted to share new reviews for these featured authors the first being Toni Pike and The Rock of Magus: Code Red in the Vatican (The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) with a review by Terri Webster Schrandt

About the book

A CRISIS IS BREWING IN THE VATICAN – AND ONLY ONE MAN CAN PREVENT DISASTER…

Jotham Fletcher is back in a race against time to stop a sinister cardinal, a libertine sect and a homicidal priest.

Jotham Fletcher returns in another non-stop adventure that takes him deep inside the Vatican. Cardinal Alpheus has ambitions far more sinister and explosive than anyone could imagine and the death of Pope Linus is only the beginning.

Jotham is now a billionaire, dedicated to finding the Simonian Sect that wants to destroy the Christian Church and he employs Madena, a former army officer, to help him. They rescue a televangelist in Seattle but find the photograph of a cardinal who is soon elected as the new Pope, with Alpheus as his chief advisor.

The deadly Brotherhood re-emerges with homicidal Father Dominic at the helm and the body count begins to rise.

Jotham becomes the prime suspect in the murder of an archbishop in Spain and the unwitting hero after a devastating event in Rome. He has a secret that he dare not reveal and is on the run from the police once again. But nothing prepares him for the final confrontation at the Pope’s summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo.

The five star review from Terri Webster Schrandt: https://secondwindleisure.com/2017/04/13/book-review-of-toni-pikes-the-rock-of-magus/

If you enjoy religious conspiracy thrillers, you will love Pike’s exciting, fast-paced adventure that takes readers to Rome and into the Vatican.

Similar to Dan Brown’s main character, Robert Langdon in The DaVinci Code, Pike’s central character, Jotham Fletcher, also possesses unequaled expertise in a particular subject, in this case, the shadowy, religious figure Simon Magus.

I find it fascinating that Pike built her series around this little-known historical figure, a magician and cult leader at the time of the Apostles. Magus is mentioned in the Bible in Acts 8:9-24 as he tries to “buy” the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but was rebuked by the Apostles as a sorcerer and wicked charlatan.

The heart of Pike’s adventure lies in this fictional, 21st-century Simonian Sect, whose cult followers are nothing short of fanatical, according to her series.

Pike sets the scene for suspense, thrills and twists that lead readers to believe that Fletcher may not solve this mystery, as insurmountable odds stack against him and his female partner. I found the book to be a nail-biter and a page-turner!

The characters are believable, with Fletcher expressing doubt at one point, but using his shaky confidence to navigate the labyrinthine Vatican grounds as he and Madena attempt to solve the mystery.

Pike’s research is extensive and written from the perspective of having visited Rome. I personally love it when authors write from their intimate knowledge of a subject and from the locations they have been.

I highly recommend this adventure series and am looking forward to book #3, The Magus Epiphany.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Magus-Jotham-Fletcher-Mystery-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01J2M8M6K

Also by Toni Pike

Read about Toni Pike, read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

Connect to Toni via her blog: https://tonipike.com/

The next review is for the science fiction The Man Who Found Birds among the Stars, Part One: Eagle Ascendant: A Biographical Fiction by Lorinda J. Taylor with a review from Colleen Chesebro.

About the book

Robbin Haysus Nikalishin was born on 31 October of the year 2729 and ultimately became the first starship Captain to make contact with extraterrestrials. This fictionalized biography, composed 50 years after Nikalishin’s death, recounts the first 31 years of the life of a man who is hailed as one of Earth’s greatest heroes. During this portion of his life he enjoyed many triumphs, joys, and loves, but he was not immune to failure and tragedy. In 2761 a major space disaster completely changes the course of his life. Whether it will be for better or worse is left for the reader to decide.

All heroes are human beings and all human beings are flawed, and the man the Earth came to know as “Capt. Robbie” was a very human man.

The review by Colleen Chesebro: https://colleenchesebro.com/2017/04/14/colleens-book-reviews-the-man-who-found-birds-among-the-stars-part-one-eagle-ascendant-a-biographical-fiction-by-author-termitewriter/

The date is October 31, 2729, and Robbie Nikalishin comes roaring into a not so perfect world. As a young boy, his father instills a love of space and flying into his young psyche. Robbie’s most prized possession is a tiny metal airplane, a gift from his father, that accompanies him through his life journey. That aircraft stands for his aspiration to become the captain of his own starship. Gifted with the ability to solve elaborate string theory mathematics, Robbie pursues his dream with a determination that propels him to the head of his college classes.

With expert detail and descriptions, the author immerses the reader into Nikalishin’s futuristic world. This first book covers his childhood and his teen years, eventually bringing you to the peak of his flying career.

What I loved most about Robbie’s character was how utterly human he was. From Robbie’s youth onward, I followed his experiences and saw first hand who Robbie the man became. It was a rare opportunity to witness the events that shaped a character’s personality.

Robbie’s personality is multifaceted, and at times, he comes across as self-sabotaging and selfish. Yet, I couldn’t help but like the guy. For all of his brilliance, he possessed an innocence that tugged at my heart. Sometimes he made his life choices so difficult that I couldn’t help remembering myself at a younger age and how I didn’t make all the best decisions either. However, all of that drama only adds to the allure of Captain Robbie Nikalishin.

I won’t kid you… this book ended with a cliffhanger of phenomenal proportions! Robbie’s story left me hungering for more and turning pages at an abnormally fast pace. I stayed up into the wee hours reading to find out happened next. My only hope is that the author, Lorinda Taylor, writes as quickly as I read. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together in the next book in the series. I loved this novel and have added it to my “Me Time,” category for science fiction.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Found-Birds-among-Stars-Part-ebook/dp/B01N0YBDYF

A small selection of books by Lorinda J. Taylor

Find out more about Lorinda J. Taylor, read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lorinda-J-Taylor/e/B007AKHZW4

Connect to Lorinda via her blog: http://termitewriter.blogspot.ie/

Thank you for dropping by today and please let me know about your new review that you would like to share or a review you have written for an author that you would like to give a boost to… sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Toni Pike, Andrew Joyce and Hilary Custance Green


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Welcome to the first of the March Cafe and Bookstore updates. The first author to be updated today is Toni Pike who has released the third book in the Jotham Fletcher Mystery series, The Magus Epiphany

519coziozel-_uy250_About The Magus Epiphany

ONLY ONE MAN CAN STOP THE REVELATION THAT WILL SHATTER THE WORLD.
Jotham Fletcher returns in a deadly quest to save his own family and unravel the mystery behind two ancient relics, the murder of a young woman and a shocking series of messages about an epiphany.

Jotham and Madena have dedicated their lives to stopping the work of the long-hidden Simonian Sect and the Brotherhood who will commit any crime to achieve the same goal. Their belated honeymoon in Italy is interrupted when they cross paths with the sect and hear news of a mysterious object left at the spot where Simon Magus died in Rome two thousand years ago. The hunt begins for answers – and soon they are both in mortal danger.

The maniacal new leader of the sect has a plan to rewrite history. Father Dominic, the head of the Brotherhood, flees across Europe with the help of a brutal killer. A strange series of messages about a solar eclipse has the world waiting for a revelation. And with Jotham’s family at stake, he must confront a nightmare from his past.

FEATURING: a fast-paced and gripping plot, mysterious relics left in Rome and Winchester, kidnapping, robbery, murder and a pursuit stretching from Assisi in Italy to an unforgettable climax in the Scottish Highlands.

By the book: https://www.amazon.com/Epiphany-Jotham-Fletcher-Mystery-Thriller-ebook/dp/B06WD6TCR6

Also in the series

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One of the recent reviews of the first book in the series The Magus Covenant.

A beautiful edge of the seat thriller based on Simon the Magician or Simon Magus mentioned in various places in the Bible. The way the story is woven, the characters developed, the twists and turns that the plot develops as it moves along makes the book alluring, fascinating and irresistible. The revelation at the end takes the reader by total surprise and makes this book a topnotch one! One gets enthralled as one goes through each page! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading Toni’s other book too! 

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Pike/e/B009I70E8Y

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For more information on Toni and her books and international buy links: https://tonipike.com/the-jotham-fletcher-mystery-thriller-series/

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My next update is for Andrew Joyce and it is my own review for Yellow Hair. The book was on my Christmas book list and I took the opportunity over my recent break to settle in and enjoy.

51zhg2sqivl-_uy250_About Yellow Hair

Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.

Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage written about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in this fact-based tale of fiction were real people and the author uses their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century.
This is American history.

My review for Yellow Hair.

As a child of the 1960s, and with a father who was a huge Western fan, it was easy to get carried away with the dramatic and sweeping misinformation that was paraded before us. John Wayne led the charge across the plains and the common theme running through these Hollywood epics was ‘the only good injun, is a dead injun!’

Then in my late teens I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown and my love affair with many of the western films was at an end.

I had read the reviews of Yellow Hair and I was interested to read this fictionalised version of actual events. I was not disappointed and as I was introduced to the back stories of the white settlers, and their often very pragmatic and desperate reasons for heading into the West, I began to see how it was not usually a malicious intrusion and greedy land grab but two cultures being misled and manipulated by the US Government and those with commercial interests.

You reach a point early on in the book; having been introduced to the settlers in this wagon train, when you are shocked into the recognition of how very dangerous their undertaking was and how unprepared the majority of them were.

Then begins the saga that becomes the story of a white man living as part of this besieged indigenous people, struggling to maintain their traditions and to survive the destruction of their way of life and the land that sustains them.

The list of injustices is very long, and the brutality of the clashes between the cultures, graphic and very disturbing. Peace was brokered time after time and promises were made that were only as good for as long as it took the ink to dry. You will be shocked at your sense of outrage as the behaviour of those in power and also saddened that these once proud and flourishing tribes should be so decimated in just 85 years.

Andrew Joyce does not pull any punches, but he presents the facts well and fairly. The thread that binds the story together, and humanises it, is the story of a young man with a foot in both cultures. Seeing the events and catastrophic impact on both settler and Indian through his eyes, will make you question much of the history written by the victors and then dramatised for our entertainment.

I recommend that you read the book for yourselves and you can find it here:

Read all the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Yellow-Hair-Andrew-Joyce-ebook/dp/B01LXOXHBI

Also by Andrew Joyce

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BUY all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Joyce/e/B00EUCFDTM

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Connect to Andrew: https://andrewjoyce.wordpress.com/

The final author update today is for Hilary Custance Green and her book Surviving The Death Railway – A POW’s memoir and Letters from Home.

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About the book

The ordeals of the POWs put to slave labour by their Japanese masters on the ‘Burma Railway’ have been well documented yet never cease to shock. It is impossible not to be horrified and moved by their stoic courage in the face of inhuman brutality, appalling hardship and ever-present death. While Barry Custance Baker was enduring his 1000 days of captivity, his young wife Phyllis was attempting to correspond with him and the families of Barry’s unit.

Fortunately these moving letters have been preserved and appear, edited by their daughter Hilary, in this book along with Barry’s graphic memoir written after the War. Surviving the Death Railway’s combination of first-hand account, correspondence and comment provide a unique insight into the long nightmare experienced by those in the Far East and at home. The result is a powerful and inspiring account of one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind which makes for compelling reading.

The latest review for the book

By OlgaNM on 28 Feb. 2017

Thanks to Hilary Custance Green (who edited part of her family history and that of many others) and to Katie Eaton from Pen & Sword Books Limited (www.pen-and-sword.co.uk) for sending me a paperback copy of this book that I freely choose to review.

As a reader, when it comes to stories about the war, I’ve always been more interested in the individuals (both in the front and back home) than in the way the battles were fought. I had heard, read, and mostly watched TV programmes and movies about Japanese war camps (I won’t forget Tenko in a hurry). Probably lots of people have. This book provides the personal experience of a family whose lives were affected and transformed by the war. We get to know Barton (Barry) Custance Baker, born in Malaya, before the war; we later learn of his marriage to Phyllis and then we follow him all the way back to Malaya and read on as he becomes father and prisoner of war. We also read (thanks to the correspondence of the period, some that reached its destination and some that didn’t) about Phyllis’s life, the thoughts of those left back home and the way they tried to hang on to hope.

The book combines letters from Barry to Phyllis about his life in the East, most of the time not sure if any of them would make it to his wife, letters from Phyllis to Barry, trying to keep up his spirits with news about their son, Robin, and his family, and the diary Barry wrote, containing more details about his time abroad, although always trying to emphasise the positive and understate the difficulties. The combination of these narratives creates a complex and complementary testimony of the varied experiences of the war for those on both sides of the conflict, such as the difficulty of being away and separated from those you love for years, missing the early years of a son you hardly know and worrying that you might no longer know your partner when you go back (or when they come back), and contrasting the often mistaken ideas and thoughts about what the other party might be enduring.

Barry’s parents thought he would be bored as a PoW, never imagining he would be building a railway line, the Thailand-Burma railway, appropriately called Death Railway, as it cost so many lives (not only British). That he, as an officer, might be engaged in heavy labouring work, starved and ill did not enter their imagination.

Barry also had little concept of life back home and did not have news of his parents’ move to San Francisco to help with radio transmissions in Malayan or later, of the death of his younger brother, John. He imagines there might be some restrictions and even danger, but not how unsettling the lack of news was.

Barry’s efforts trying to ensure he kept track of his men and that he did all he could to keep them safe were echoed by those made by Phyllis, who tried her hardest to create a network of information to share any news between the relatives and friends of the men in her husband’s unit, sending encouraging letters, and even creating a dossier with as much data as possible about all the men, to facilitate the task of the War Office in identifying and reporting their fate.

The book is extraordinary too because it clearly shows the tireless efforts they all made to try and keep in touch at a time when communication with each other wasn’t only a click away, and when sometimes years might pass without any news of the other person (and in the best case scenario the news might be years old by the time they get it). Forget about 140 characters on Twitter. The rules of their communication kept changing and at some point they could only send 25 words to their loved one, and that included the date. And the best they could hope for was a prewritten card with only a few words added by hand.

If physically the experiences are very different (although not full of gross details, we get a clear sense of the trials and suffering the men had to endure), mentally, the toll of the lack of information, of the separation and the impotence is clear on both sides. And those letters of mothers, girlfriends, uncles, asking for information about their loved ones, sharing the good and bad news, but always trying to encourage the other person, no matter what their lot has been, are impossible to forget. Even the replies to Phyllis request for particulars about the men convey so much more than what is written. It is amazing how a few words to describe somebody can be so full of feeling and be so touching, and how much they say about unspoken emotions.

As readers, we can but share in the feelings, and are touched by the hopes, anxieties, and stress of the situation. We are given an extraordinary insight into the lives of people whom we might have known, and who could have been our neighbours, friends, or family. We read about their joy at the impending reunion and their wish to get to know each other (and the worry that they might no longer recognise or like the persons they have become). Barry and Phyllis become our ersatz family and we’re happy to learn they had more children and lived happy and fulfilling lives. I was particularly moved by a moment towards the end of Barry’s life when he’s ill in hospital and for a moment believes he’s back at the camp. When his daughter (Hilary) explains to him what has happened since and he realises he’s ill and dying but has lived a full life he says ‘I’ll settle for that’. I hope we all can say that when our time comes.

Hilary Custance Green, the editor of the book, and Barry and Phyllis’s daughter has found the way of letting the letters and the diary tell the story, with very little explanation or unnecessary interference, other than minimal clarifications or explanations when needed. The material is powerful enough in its own right. She has done a great job and the book is a great memorial not only to her parents but also to all the men and women who went through the experience. At the end of the book, there is a call to anybody who might have information about families of members of the Men of 27 Line Section to get in touch with the editor. Don’t forget to pass the message on if you know anybody connected to the menor with contacts who might have more information.

In summary, this is a fantastic book for those interested in World War II, both from the point of view of war action and of the home front, those interested in stories about PoW, tales of human bravery, valour, endurance and the heroism of extraordinary ‘ordinary’ people. Don’t miss this book and don’t forget to pass it on to anybody who might have known a member of the unit.

 Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Surviving-Death-Railway-Pows-Memoir-Letters-Home/1473870003

Also by Hilary Custance Green

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Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hilary-Custance-Green/e/B0034Q4SEQ

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Connect to Hilary via her website: http://www.hilarycustancegreen.com

Thanks for dropping by today and if you would like to feature in the Cafe and Bookstore then please click on this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Smorgasbord Open House – Australian Author Toni Pike – The Magus Covenant


Smorgasbord Open House

My guest today is Australian author Toni Pike who grew up in a suburb of Sydney. She studied Veterinary Science at Sydney University and following her marriage to an Air Force officer she travelled around both Australia and overseas to postings in London and Washington D.C. Toni taught high school as her family grew up and later went on to work in public office; including some time as a contract writer for the NSW Department of Agriculture, writing guide books for farmers. Now permanently settled in the national capital Canberra with her husband, Toni has launched her career as a novelist.

Apart from her writing; family, taking long walks and catching up with friends over coffee are important elements in her life. We will take a closer look at Toni’s debut novel and will find out more about her second book in the series at the end of her interview.

About The Magus Covenant

 COVER_Magus Covenant

The Reverend Jotham Fletcher is in Rome to give a lecture on his PhD thesis about Simon Magus at the church where he fell to his death beside the Roman Forum. Magus was a cult leader mentioned in the Bible and his libertine sect disappeared by 400 AD. But did it really die out?

A robed man is pushed from the belltower of the church at midnight and Jotham becomes the prime suspect. His lover Antonella, an expert on ancient documents, has a shocking secret. Rumours fly about a papyrus scroll that mentions Magus. A ruthless Catholic Brotherhood will stop at nothing in their hunt for the Simonian Sect. And a reclusive billionaire has the chance of a lifetime to get his revenge.

Jotham is kidnapped, tortured and on the run. He races from Italy to England to Sweden. But the body count continues to rise and so does the heat in this non-stop thriller that will leave you breathless.

One of the recent reviews for The Magus Covenant

A real page turner. By sarah hardy on 9 Jan. 2016 Format: Kindle Edition

The Magus Covenant is the ideal read for fans that love books like The Da Vinci Code.

With short chapters and quite a fast paced storyline, I flew through this book in no time at all.

I don’t read many books like The Magus Covenant and to be honest I really don’t know why as the whole church and religion storyline really fascinates me. The Roman Catholic Church for one has always been steeped in history with rumours and secrets that will always be something that intrigues many of us.

Jotham is on the run and you can really feel the adrenalin that is coursing through him and the constant mixture of emotions that he is experiencing. I enjoyed the closeness and relationship that he has with Antonella.

The Magus Covenant is a story steeped with lies and secrets. It’s one of those stories where you become a bit like the main character and trust no one. There are certainly some twists that I didn’t see coming that makes the novel even more enjoyable.

Buy The Magus Covenant

Amazon:

USA     UK       Aus       Canada      France       Germany

Smashwords       Barnes and Noble       Kobo

Toni the blogger

Apart from her own blog posts with articles on travel, writing and motivation, Toni also has written some guest posts including one for the Story Reading Ape earlier this year. The article is a guide to writers on how to include that adrenaline rush correctly and effectively when your characters are faced with flight or fight response situations.

‘This is a simple guide to adrenaline and its effects on the human body. An adrenaline rush is often referred to as the flight or fight response. You, the writer, put your characters into the most incredible situations and then decide if they will confront the enemy or run away – or do something completely unexpected. But what really happens when a person confronts an assailant or has a panic attack’?  Adrenaline – A Simple Guide for writers

It is clear from this next post that not only has Toni a love of travel, but that food in the various countries she has visited is also enjoyed. We take pizza rather for granted with huge variations in the crust and toppings depending on where you live. Here is a master class on Pizza when in Rome!

‘Pizza has become a favourite meal around the world, one that has been popular for decades. Australians love to go to an Italian restaurant with family and friends, choose several different varieties laden with all sorts of toppings and then share slices around the table. And they usually eat it with a knife and fork.

The method of eating pizza in Rome is very different. You may like to try the traditional approach and see how you enjoy it. It will certainly make you feel like a local.’ Eat Pizza the Roman Way

Now it is time to hand over the blog to Toni who has chosen her selection of questions about her family history, favourite television series, what she believes is the next big thing in the publishing industry and five experiences she feels we should all enjoy.

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If you have looked into your family history have your found any surprises that you can talk about!

 I grew up in a leafy suburb of Sydney, at a time when it was not considered respectable to have a convict in your family background. But now it is generally regarded as a badge of honour. Delving into the past, I have found more than one fascinating surprise.

The First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788. Fourteen years ago, I was delighted to discover that I could trace my descent all the way back to a marine on the Friendship, one of the convict transport ships. Private Thomas Williams had a relationship with Anne Davis, who arrived soon afterwards on the Lady Juliana, a ship transporting female convicts. It was nicknamed “The Floating Brothel” for reasons better left to the imagination. Before too long, their son Thomas Williams II was born and the rest, as they say, is history.

My great-great-great grandfather Richard Hunt arrived on a convict ship in 1816. His father worked at the Worshipful Company of Saddlers in London, where young Richard was tempted to steal some silverware. Transported to Australia, he soon became a respectable citizen: a farmer and lay preacher with a wife and five children. After his first wife died, he re-married and had five more children. Unfortunately, Richard was living in the town of Gundagai, where the early settlers had unwittingly built their settlement along the flood plain. In 1852, there was a raging one-hundred-year flood and the waters quickly rose. Everyone climbed onto their rooftops, but all the houses were swept away. More than 90 citizens were killed, including Richard Hunt and his second family.

Now I live in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. The hero of my thriller The Magus Covenant is in Rome to give a talk, but he is an Anglican Minister and rector of the oldest church in Canberra. It was built in 1845 and surrounded by a small graveyard, reminiscent of a church in an English village.

What is your favourite all time television series?

 The 1995 adaption of Pride and Prejudice, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, remains my favourite television series. Everything about it combined into a perfect synthesis almost as splendid as Jane Austen’s novel. The scenery and locations were the ideal backdrop, with a range of historic houses so well suited to the different characters who resided there. Through each episode, snippets of everyday life were revealed like a sumptuous visual feast for Jane Austen fans.

The series was recorded on film for a more painterly effect that enhanced the visual impact. Who could forget the luscious but refined Elizabeth Bennett, the dashing Mr Darcy and the incredible range of actors who all seemed to ideally suited to their roles. Most important of all, the screenplay remained true to the novel. It is the perfect story, where everything goes from bad to worse until finally all is resolved.

 What do think will be the next big development in the publishing industry?

I am certain that the next ten years will bring unparalleled changes to the publishing industry. Printed books will gradually be phased out and replaced by ebooks as an ever-increasing number of people adapt to using an electronic device for reading. The only exceptions will be printed books for young children and lavish coffee table books. The editorial process to produce an ebook will be reduced and the marketing process will increasingly become the sole responsibility of the writer.

The traditional publishing industry will slowly shrink until it finds creative alternatives to the traditional methods of publication. As digital publishing takes over, alternative forms of writing will increase their market share, including shorts stories, novellas and a range of non-fiction.

Online publishers are introducing more methods to ensure that published ebooks do not contain too many errors. At the same time, they are trying to ensure that all reviews posted are honest and unbiased. The standard of indie publishing is already high, and I believe that in the next ten years, the overall standard will improve and social media will become fully integrated into the world of publishing.

What are the top five experiences or activities that you feel that everyone should complete in their lifetime?

I love to travel the world, and my favourite mode of transport is to take a cruise. I never anticipated that I would be able to visit so many extraordinary places. I drew on some of those experiences in The Magus Covenant, as Jotham Fletcher races from Italy to England to Sweden.

There are five special travel activities that I recommend for inclusion on any bucket list. You will remember them for a lifetime, but none involve climbing a mountain or sailing white water rapids. I love to put my hero in great peril, but prefer safe activities for myself.

  1. Visit Petra in Jordan to feel like Indiana Jones as you walk down the winding sandstone canyon and then emerge into the vast archaeological site that was carved out of red stone.
  2. Sail along the Panama Canal, one of the world’s greatest engineering marvels. It takes an entire day to pass through six massive locks, Miraflores Lake and the enormous Gatun Lake that is dotted with small islands.
  3. Explore the ruins of the Temple of Delphi in Greece. It is one of the most beautiful sights in the world, set on the side of a hill and with views all the way to the coast.
  4. Wander around Taormina in Sicily, a wonderful old hilltop town that has the remains of a Roman amphitheatre and vistas of Mt Etna.
  5. Cruise through Alaska’s Inside Passage in early May, when ice is still floating in the water. See the spectacular sight of whales and orcas, mountains, fjords and glaciers.

Tell us about your work in progress, plans for your blog in the next year and any special events that are coming up that are very special to you.

I am currently working on the second book in the Magus series. The Rock of Magus should be released by the middle of 2016. Once again, Jotham Fletcher is the hero and this time there is a problem in the Vatican. He will be travelling from England to America, Spain and Rome in his search for the truth.

You can read more about me on my website www.tonipike.com or visit my Goodreads page Goodreads. I write occasional articles about travel, writing and motivation. This year I’ll be visiting Brisbane and Melbourne to spend time with my grown children and hope to spend some time in Britain and take a cruise to see the Norwegian Fjords for the first time.

Link to Toni on her website and social media.

My website www.tonipike.com
My author page on Goodreads
Twitter: https://twitter.com/piketoni1

My thanks to Toni for such an interesting response to her chosen questions and we would of course be delighted to receive your feedback.

Thank you for dropping by and please feel free to reblog and share.  Sally