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/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Christmas Update – Susan M. Toy, Marcia Meara and Toni Pike


sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-updateWelcome to the latest update for the cafe and bookstore and the first featured book was an Autumn Reading in November. One Woman’s Island the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives Series by Susan M. Toy.  This is the second book of Susan’s that I have read, and I enjoyed as much as Island in the Clouds.  The review will be uploaded to Amazon today.

51hb-tptcfl-_uy250_About the book

Running away from Canada, Mariana hopes to forget a failed marriage and the death of her husband by embarking on a whole new life. She moves lock, stock, and two cats to the small Caribbean island of Bequia. But the move brings more than she could have imagined. New friends ask her to help solve a recent murder in the expat community. And then there’s the problem of her neighbours, a young woman and her children. Seemingly abandoned by family and friends, Mariana believes they need her help!

By becoming involved, Mariana is carried along from wanting to simply “live with the locals” to being overwhelmed by their culture, one so vastly different to what she had left behind in Canada that she doesn’t know who among her expat friends she can turn to for advice. So she carries on regardless and discovers that Bequia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise it had promised to be.One Woman’s Island is the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives series that picks up again a few months in time after the first novel, Island in the Clouds.

My review for One Woman’s Island

Many of us have reached a crisis point in our lives and run for the hills. We seek somewhere to lick our wounds away from those who know us and also hope that we can break the cycle in new surroundings and with new friends. However, what rarely changes is our basic nature,  and in the case of Mariana her warm and caring approach to people is the cause of more challenges in her life.  I also know, having lived as an expat in several countries, that appearances can be deceptive and it takes time and understanding of the ‘local’ culture to be accepted.

Mariana wants to be involved in the lives and activities of those she meets whilst still enjoying her hideaway on the island of Bequia. Her attempts are not always successful and speaking her mind does not help the situation. But she is a passionate woman and is not deterred by the resistance that she meets; with very serious consequences. Throw into the mix a crowd of colourful expats with their own cliques and agendas, property land grabbing with violent murders and intrique and you have the recipe for a very good read.

You also get two books for the price of one as Susan Toy separates the chapters of the book with wonderful local Caribbean recipes that she has accumulated.. One of which caught my eye.. Bequia Lime Pie… definitely a recipe to be tried and tested.  This gave the book a unique flavour of its own.. and with the grey and wet skies of Ireland outside my window I thoroughly enjoyed my few days on the sun soaked island.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Womans-Island-Bequia-Perspectives-Book-ebook/dp/B01M27PD14

Also by Susan M. Toy

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Read the reviews and BUY both books: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Toy/e/B008WXIJ46

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Connect to Susan M. Toy via her blog: http://islandeditions.wordpress.com/

Sally's cafe and bookstore

The next update is for Harbinger  which is the third book in the Wake-Robin Ridge series by Marcia Meara.  All three books in the series have received excellent reviews and the boxed set which is available would make a wonderful gift.

HarbingerAbout the book

Continuing in the tradition of Wake-Robin Ridge and A Boy Named Rabbit, Marcia Meara’s North Carolina mountain series takes a shivery turn with the Appalachian Legend of Ol’ Shuck, the Harbinger of Death.

“. . . he felt the wet slide of the dog’s burning hot tongue on his face, and the scrape of its razor sharp teeth against the top of his head. A white-hot agony of crushing pain followed, as the jaws began to close.”

The wine-red trillium that carpets the forests of the North Carolina Mountains is considered a welcome harbinger of spring—but not all such omens are happy ones. An Appalachian legend claims the Black Dog, or Ol’ Shuck, as he’s often called, is a harbinger of death. If you see him, you or someone you know is going to die.

But what happens when Ol’ Shuck starts coming for you in your dreams? Nightmares of epic proportions haunt the deacon of the Light of Grace Baptist Church, and bring terror into the lives of everyone around him. Even MacKenzie Cole and his adopted son, Rabbit, find themselves pulled into danger.

When Sheriff Raleigh Wardell asks Mac and Rabbit to help him solve a twenty-year-old cold case, Rabbit’s visions of a little girl lost set them on a path that soon collides with that of a desperate man being slowly driven mad by guilt.

As Rabbit’s gift of the Sight grows ever more powerful, his commitment to those who seek justice grows as well, even when their pleas come from beyond the grave.

One of the recent reviews for the book and the series so far.

I’ve been following Marcia Meara’s Wake-Robin Ridge series since book 1 and each novel just keeps getting better. Harbinger is my new favorite. By now, the characters feel like family, due to the author’s incredible skill at building three-dimensional relationships and creating believable, relatable dynamics. Mac, Rabbit, Sarah and their friends are all people we care about. This is easily read as a standalone novel or enjoyed as part of the series. Either way, it’s sure to enthrall anyone who opens the pages.

This time around Mac and Rabbit become involved in a twenty-year old cold case at the request of their friend Sheriff Wardell. Although the revelations aren’t fully disclosed until the end of the book when the main characters and villain collide in an explosive final, Ms. Meara does a brilliant job of relaying how guilt can slowly push someone over the edge. The legend of Ol’ Shuck, a mythical black dog known as a harbinger of death is used to great effect for a heightened sense of the supernatural.

I hope there are more books to come in this wonderful series, as I have definitely become a devoted fan. Excellently crafted and engagingly told, this is a novel you won’t want to miss!

Read all the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Harbinger-Wake-Robin-Ridge-Book-3-ebook/dp/B01GGXAJOG

Also by Marcia Meara

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Read the reviews and BUY all the books including the boxed set: https://www.amazon.com/Marcia-Meara/e/B00EUCXRU4

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Connect to Marcia via her website: https://marciamearawrites.com/

Sally's cafe and bookstore

My final update today is for The Rock of Magus by Toni Pike which was featured in a Summer Reading. A crisis is brewing in the Vatican – and only one man can prevent disaster. Jotham Fletcher is back. A sinister cardinal, a libertine sect, a homicidal priest and a race against time.

51g8lm4knl-_uy250_About the book

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.

FEATURING: a fast-paced and gripping plot, murders, police investigations, a political conspiracy, terrorism, religious mysteries, fascinating historical details, Vatican traditions, a love story like no other and an ending that you won’t see coming.

The most recent review for the book.

The conspiracy develops By Martin on September 3, 2016

The Rock of Magus continues the story of religious conspiracy in the very heart of the Catholic Church, further developing the story that began in The Magus Covenant. The new book has the same elements as the first — a likeable principal character, great action scenes, many geographical locations, love interest, and of course, conspiracy.

While continuing and developing the story, The Rock of Magus has a slightly different style to the first book. The fewer action sequences still satisfy the reader’s inner Mark Damon, but the plot becomes more nuanced, more complex, and climbs higher up the Church’s hierarchy.

Given that the second book continues from the first, it is best to read both in sequence, although it is easy for a reader who has not read the first book to pick up the plot.
This book is exactly what the front cover says — a religious conspiracy thriller. It is an exciting read.

Read the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Magus-Religious-Conspiracy-Thriller-ebook/dp/B01J2M8M6K

Also by Toni Pike:

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

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

Sally's cafe and bookstore

I hope you have enjoyed today’s updates and that it might have given you some ideas for gifts for the booklovers in your family and circle of friends. Please help spread the word.. thanks Sally

You will find many more books in the Christmas update directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-bookstore-christmas-update/

 

Smorgasbord Summer Reading – The Rock of Magus – A Religious Conspiracy Thriller – Code Red in the Vatican by Toni Pike


smorgasbord Summer Reading

Today’s book is the second in The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series  by Toni Pike.

The Rock of Magus – A Religious Conspiracy Thriller – Code Red in the Vatican

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About the book.

At last the Magus Covenant can be fulfilled.

Jotham Fletcher returns in another action-packed thriller that takes him to the heart of 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 as he flees to the Vatican to seek protection.

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.

Buy the book: Amazon:

USA     UK       Aus       Canada      France       Germany

Kobo

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/the-rock-of-magus

Also by Toni Pike – The Magus Covenant

Magus Covenant COVER

A selection of reviews for the book

An enjoyable story full of action and adventure. By Bookfan on December 13, 2015

Anglican Priest Jotham Fletcher is due to give a lecture about Simon Magnus at the church in Rome where Magnus died. Magnus was the leader of a religious cult that is thought to have vanished around 400 AD. When a mysterious robed man is found murdered at the church not long before the lecture, Jotham becomes the main suspect.

As rumours surface about a papyrus scroll mentioning Magnus, things get worse and more dead bodies start to appear. Jotham gets kidnapped and tortured and ends up on the run, a journey that takes him across Europe. Meanwhile his Lover Antonella might know more about what is going on than she admits.

It’s up to Jotham to fit the pieces of the puzzle together and find out what the Brotherhood, a religious order that will stop at nothing to protect their beliefs, has to do with it all? And did the Simonean Sect really cease to exist or are they somehow also involved? And can Iago Visser, the rich reclusive billionaire friend of Antonella, be trusted or does he have his own agenda?

This is a thoroughly enjoyable story full of action and adventure. The plot is well developed, gripping, fast-paced and suspenseful with unexpected twists and turns. The characters were interesting, not superhuman as in some action and adventure stories and all the more realistic because of it.

The book fits into the same genre as Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” or “Angels and Demons”. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good action and adventure novel.

A compelling story that will keep you wanting more from the very first chapter. By CeeDee49

I was on a longish cruise from the Med to Dubai when I downloaded this novel.

After the first chapter I was hooked and had to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. Being on a ship with so many activities it was difficult to find the time to read so it did take me 2 days to complete. For the last 4 or 5 chapters I kept telling my husband not to interrupt. I just had to know what was going to happen to Jotham. With 10 pages to go I just could not keep my eyes open anymore but first thing the next morning, long before breakfast, I completed this compelling story.

I can thoroughly recommend reading The Magus Covenant. It is very well written and does keep you on the edge of your seat. I do hope Toni has another book in her as she does have a talent for story telling.

Buy both books: Amazon:

USA     UK       Aus       Canada      France       Germany

About Toni Pike

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Toni believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day. After starting her career as a veterinary surgeon, marriage to an Air Force officer gave her the chance to live around the world and around Australia. She taught high school while raising children and later had a successful career in the public service. That included some time as a contract writer for the NSW Department of Agriculture, writing guide books for farmers.

Toni lives in Canberra, the capital city of Australia, with husband Jon. Her two grown children live in Melbourne and Brisbane. That gives her ample opportunity to indulge her twin passions for writing and travelling.

Link to Toni on her website and social media.

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/653500
Website www.tonipike.com
Author page on Goodreads
Twitter: https://twitter.com/piketoni1

Thank you for joining me today and please help share the news of Toni Pike’s new book by hitting a few share buttons. Sally

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