Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #reviews – D.G. Kaye, Toni Pike, Sarah Brentyn and Stevie Turner + 19 Writers.


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week.. More talented writers with recent reviews.

The first author today is non-fiction author D.G. Kaye with a recent review for her memoir P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy. Debby is here in both capacities today as an author and a reviewer

About the book

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

One of the recent reviews for P.S. I Forgive You on Goodreads

Jul 05, 2019 James rated it it was amazing

My month of memoirs continues with an autobiography by D. G. Kaye — ‘P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy.’ Although not quite a series, this is the second book by the author as she explores the impact of a narcissistic mother on her daily life. I read this before bed last night, and all I can say is that some people are dealt a very unfair hand in life. That said, it’s amazing to see how wonderful Kaye is handling all that she went through in the last ~50 years. What a great (but painful) read!

Imagine growing up with a mother who seems to intentionally cause pain for her children. The oldest of four, Kaye spent years letting the woman treat her horribly. In this introspective and emotional autobiography, we learn how and why she tolerated it. The memoir kicks off by letting readers know that the author’s mother has passed away, and this is the story of how she handled the decision whether to be there when the woman crossed over. Sick for many years, touch and go at times, it seems like every possible painful opportunity was taken to cause trouble for this family. It was heartbreaking not just because of what they went through but because you really want this to turn out to be a positive story.

In some ways, it does turn out that way… in death, you are often released from the troubles of the past. Not quickly. Not immediately. Not entirely. Kaye suffers to this day because of the trauma she went through. Emotional pain can be far worse and impacting that physical pain. Seeing how the author connects with her siblings and her aunt helps provide a sense of love and hope for her future. Kaye has a phenomenal way of sharing her past with readers… we feel as if we are there, but one thing is for sure — we were not. That… is fantastic writing.

There is a cathartic honesty in her writing style as well as how she processes the events of her life. On the outskirts, it might seem simple: (A) She’s your mother, you should stay and respect her, or (B) She’s been evil and nasty, you need to run away and forget her. Nope… Kaye fully provides the wide spectrum of all the scenarios that ran through her head, some positive and some not-so-positive. How do you make such a decision? Only a strong person can thoroughly see through the minutia to determine what’s best for both the victim and the victimizer (I might’ve made that word up).

If I could reach through a book to hug someone, this would be the prime one for it to happen. I’ve felt these emotions tons of times before when an author creates a character who suffers… but when a real-life woman shares the truth and the pain she’s gone through, it’s a whole different ball game. If you have a high threshold for reading about someone’s emotional suffering, I suggest you take this book on… it might give you the perspective you need to help others.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LWOYPRP

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/P-S-Forgive-You-Broken-Legacy-ebook/dp/B01LWOYPRP

Books by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby via her blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com

Now for a recent review for the recently released  thriller from Toni Pike…..Desolation Bluff

About the book

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

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

A game of cat and mouse begins – and with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, it turns deadly. A short suspense novel that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Desolation Bluff was a pleasure to read. Blind writer, Oliver, who writes under the pen name of Fidel Amore, is a workaholic who has his newlywed wife, Vanessa looking after Oliver’s administrative and public relations side of his novels. Oliver’s best friend – Ray, impersonates Oliver by doing all the physical PR work, showing up to book signings, etc, pretending to be Oliver, allowing Oliver his freedom to write without having to go anywhere to promote his work. What could possibly go wrong?

Blind at birth, Oliver is unaware of the shenanigans going on between his wife and his best friend until the plot thickens and Ray accidentally backs into Oliver on the driveway and knocks him down. One of the side effects from this was Oliver’s vision was miraculously restored – and this is when the story really heats up.

Oliver makes a decision to keep his newly restored sight a secret when he realizes that his wife and Ray have become much ‘closer’ than he was aware of. And so the games begin! – Somebody is murdered, and then another somebody is murdered, and Oliver realizes that he may be next in line!

This book was a thoroughly enjoyable read with interesting characters and great plot twist to keep me hooked all the way through to a most satisfying ending! #Recommended. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RCDRF86

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Desolation-Bluff-Toni-Pike-ebook/dp/B07RCDRF86

Also by Toni Pike

Read 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

Connect to Toni Pike via her website: www.tonipike.com

The next author with a recent review is Sarah Brentyn for her Flash Fiction collection On the Edge of a Raindrop

About the collection

When You’re on the Edge, It’s Easy to Fall  These are stories of lives on the edge.

A girl tortured by the world within her. A boy powerless to escape his home. A mother doomed to live with her greatest mistake. A man lost in a maze of grief.

Each raindrop provides a microscopic mirror of ourselves and those around us. But we can’t always trust what we see. The distorted images disorient the mind, altering our view of reality.

This second collection of flash and micro fiction explores the depths of the human condition and the fragile surface of our perceptions.

Dive into these tales of darkness and discover what life is like On the Edge of a Raindrop

Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.

One of the recent reviews for the collection.

Flash fiction is a curious beast to tame but Sarah Brentyn feels beyond comfortable making 6 lines leave you thinking, “What the hell happened?” Much like “Hinting at Shadows”, this collection would be something I would recommend to anyone who is facing writer’s block. Try to imagine micro stories so intense that they would make an amazing prompt for a long story or even a novel, that’s what she does so well and so consistently.

I will admit that some pieces hover near the waters of poetry, but Brentyn often pulls the reign to bring it back into the realm of prose. Page after page of inspiration await anyone who picks either of her collections and she proves once again that impact and word count are not correlated.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Edge-Raindrop-Sarah-Brentyn-ebook/dp/B077QM32S7

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Edge-Raindrop-Sarah-Brentyn-ebook/dp/B077QM32S7

Also by Sarah Brentyn

Read the reviews and buy the Collections: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Brentyn/e/B01N410987

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Brentyn/e/B01N410987

Read other reviews and follow Sarah on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32998449-hinting-at-shadows

Connect to Sarah via her blog: https://sarahbrentyn.wordpress.com/

And last but not least a recent review for the anthology Understanding that was compiled by Stevie Turner and featured stories of real life events by 19 writers.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

The contributors to the anthology.

Alienora Browning – Sally Cronin – Dorinda Duclos – Scarlett Flame
Bernard Foong – Darlene Foster – Janet Gogerty – Debbie Harris
Lucy V. Hay – Miriam Hurdle – Phil Huston – Pamela Jessen
Joe – D.G Kaye – Lynda McKinney Lambert – Jaye Marie
Clive Pilcher – Abbie Johnson Taylor – Beem Weeks 

One of the recent reviews for the anthology

I’ve delved into this book as if reading/listening to the lives of good friends who have gone through traumatic times, and come out of them with insight and wonder to write about them. Each ‘chapter’ of questions and answers is a story itself. And each discusses a part of life that gives pain and strength, fear and ultimately, even joy. Some stories grabbed me more than others; for me, the ones about struggling with weight issues, cancer, parental abuse, care giving, and depression lifted me with the courage that these writers show in writing honestly about their struggles, and their path to joy.

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

Read the reviews and buy the anthology for only 99c: https://www.amazon.com/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

And on Amazon UK for 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

Editor and publisher of the anthology Stevie Turner who also contributed an article on Thyroid Cancer.

Connect to Stevie via her blog: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update- #Reviews – Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Toni Pike and Jan Sikes


Welcome to the second Cafe and Bookstore Update this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

Delighted to share a recent review for the 6th book in the Sir Chocolate series of stories and cookbooks by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

About the story

Number 6 in the Sir Chocolate series: Five zoo animals go missing and Sir Chocolate needs to find them. Includes five lovely new recipes. Not only a storybook but a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to create wonderful recipes together.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle and her son Michael, in the delightful book Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five Story and Cookbook, combine children’s story, poetry and recipes together. The story is about a zoo in Chocolate Land with Fondant Five, namely the lion, king of the jungle, the gentle elephant, the elegant leopard, the bulky rhino, and the buffalo. Sir Chocolate cares for them. One day, these five fondant animals disappeared. Sir Chocolate found Fondant Cat who could help to find Fondant Five.

This fun story book includes recipes for Lady Sweet Rusks, Buffalo Coconut Cake, Rhino Soetkoekies, Cheetah Cheese Scones, and Sir Chocolate Peppermint Caramel Pudding.

The book has beautiful photograph of the fondant animals and desserts. Students in the classrooms will enjoy the story, poems and photos in this book. I will read this to my granddaughter. I also love the idea of parents doing the cooking with their children using these recipes.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PVKZ851

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolate-Fondant-Five-Story-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B07PVKZ851

A selection of books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books:https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael Cheadle via their Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Now for a recent review for the recently released  thriller from Toni Pike…..Desolation Bluff

About the book

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

May 03, 2019 Debbie Harris rated it it was amazing  · 

I have enjoyed Toni Pike’s books before, particularly Dead Dry Heart and when she asked if I’d read her new novel Desolation Bluff I was pleased to do so for an honest review. I received an ARC at no cost from the author.

This story was interesting, riveting and full of suspense. The fact that Oliver Cameron was a romance writer and blind as well, made for an intriguing main character. When he was able to ‘see’ what was happening around him with his new wife Vanessa and friend Ray, it all became clear!

I enjoyed the location as I know the area quite well and could imagine it all happening there. The characters were well drawn and the story moved along at a good pace. It was all a bit over the top at times but this fitted in with the whole romance writing genre and made it a fun read. It wasn’t all happiness and light with a few deaths, but well written and highly enjoyable.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RCDRF86

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Desolation-Bluff-Toni-Pike-ebook/dp/B07RCDRF86

Also by Toni Pike

Read 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

About Toni Pike

Connect to Toni Pike via her website: www.tonipike.com

And for the final author today, Jan Sikes, a recent review for Flowers and Stone...

About Flowers and Stone

The epic love story begins here!

A hot Texas summer, dim-lit honky-tonk bars, a young naïve fledgling go-go dancer and a wild rebel Texas musician set the stage for this story.

1970 in Abilene, Texas finds young Darlina Flowers trying to figure out how to fit into the world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music and go-go dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician believes he’s lost all reason to care about his music career, his health and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. But, is it too late? Has fate already determined the outcome? Join Luke and Darlina on a passion-filled journey up and down Texas roads while Luke and his band entertain crowds along the way.

Can Darlina Flowers ever hope to fit in to this strange new world and even more important, can she trust Luke Stone with her heart?

Luke Stone, a good man who has made a career of bad decisions, falls as completely in love with Darlina as she does with him. But is it too late?

Will their eternal unyielding love survive the test of time, distance and iron bars?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes is a passionate love story that raises some questions. Since this is a true love story, I was all the time thinking how naïve young lovers are, why their decisions are capricious and why can’t they see reason. Love is said to be blind and if this is true, no story can ever illustrate it better than this one. I wonder how could Darlina continue to love a person who didn’t confide his dark secrets to her? I couldn’t relate with either of the protagonists, Darlina is too emotional and immature and Luke, a married man with children seems to be a womanizer. This love story may seem charming to young lovers.

The plot moves slowly as it revolves around two lovers and their world of music and nightlife but the good part is that it is unpredictable. It is Sikes’ simple and honest style of writing that would keep you engrossed. Having said that, I must mention that it is repetitive; uses too many curse words and doesn’t tell anything about the most crucial part of the story. Evidence details are missing and the ending is too abrupt. I closed this book, longing for more. Probably the next book contains the answers. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G062JBG

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Stone-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B00G062JBG

Also by Jan Sikes

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: http://www.jansikes.com

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

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.

IMG_Toni3

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