Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Update – #Reviews – #Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Scifi #Crime Natalie Cammaratta, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

The first book today with a recent review is Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau, a wonderful novel about Vaudeville in the 1920s and the story of life and love on the road. One I can highly recommend.

About Telling Sonny

At nineteen, pretty, vivacious Faby Gagne is still waiting for her life to begin. The time is 1924, the place Enosburg Falls, Vermont. With school over, her time is now occupied with mundane chores and avoiding the crossfire of resentment between her mother and her grandmother.

As the time approaches for the annual vaudeville show to arrive in the village, Faby watches the posters go up with increasing excitement. She is the best kind of audience for the Small Time: she does not discriminate.

When the show comes to the Opera House at last, Faby catches the eye of charming hoofer Slim White, who sets a course for her life that she never could have imagined.

A recent review for the book

Reviewed in the United States on July 21, 2021

If you’ve ever pinned a photo from Tiger Beat to your wall as a young girl, you can relate to Faby Gagne. Though the time is the 1920s, Faby’s star-struck infatuation with small time vaudevillean hoofer, Slim White, is perfectly relateable – except that Faby is a high-school graduate, not a pre-teen. Her naivete is exposed when Slim turns his attentions on her, solely to suit his own purposes.

In Telling Sonny, Gauffreau creates complex and believable characters and evokes a distinct sense of time and place. I adore small-town America and enjoyed following the path of the entertainment circuit of the day. Faby’s experience as an unexpectedly pregnant, married woman – ill-prepared for either role – makes the reader wince in sympathy. We want to prevent her from making these mistakes with her life, but are powerless to do so. And we understand that this sort of situation has been all too common in our nation’s history.

This book is an absorbing read and includes interesting twists up to the end. We find that Faby has found success as a mother, but we are left wondering if she could have found a way to invite more love into her life. Even her equally naïve sister seems to have managed to achieve that much. Though the story is melancholy in many ways, it leaves one feeling hopeful in the end.  

Also by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Website/blog: Liz Gauffreau – Family History: Liz Gauffreau – Facebook: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @lgauffreau

The next book with a review is the debut novel by  Natalie Cammaratta – Falling and Uprising.

About the book

My star is rising, and I shine. Always.

Serenity Ward is the golden girl of Kaycie. She never questioned her city’s status as the last dry land on earth. The Establishment takes care of its citizens…or so she thought. But now she’s seen the map!

Why would they lie about other islands just beyond the horizon? In a city built on falsehood, figuring out who to trust is its own challenge, but Serenity pulls together a feisty group who all want the same thing—an end to the government which has hidden a world from them.

Bram’s anger drives his own desire for revolution. Being from another island, he was selected to be a brainwashed marshal in service to Kaycie, but he knows what’s going on all too well. Hidden in plain sight, he is ready to draw blood to free the islands. Only dealing with Serenity is the one thing he wasn’t prepared for.

Can two people who were never supposed to meet stop fighting each other long enough to remember who the enemy is?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Ricky and Taryn 5.0 out of 5 stars Top 10 list  Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2021

I have been a fan of dystopian novels my whole life, from Hunger Games and Divergent to Brave New World. Falling & Uprising hits that sweet spot for me. There’s just enough unknown, enough romance and friendship it has landed itself among my top 10 favorite books/series. A lot of events went in directions that were unexpected and the end was just enough of a cliffhanger to leave you wanting more. Really hating that I have to wait for the next book in the series  

Read the reviews and buy the book:Amazon USAmazon UKFollow Natalie: Goodreads – BookBub: Natalie Cammaratta – Facebook: Natalie Cammaratta – Instagram: Natalie Cammaratta Writes – Twitter: @bynataliecamm

The first author today is Colleen M. Chesebro with a recent review for Word Craft Prose & Poetry. This is another book that I can highly recommend.

About the guide and collection

Are you ready to learn how to craft Japanese and American poetry? Consider this book the first step on your journey to learning the basics of how to craft syllabic poetry. Inside, you will discover many new forms, syllable combinations, and interpretations of the different Japanese and American forms and structures of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, renga/solo renga, gogyohka, haibun, tanka prose, the cinquain, and its variations, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry.

So… what are you waiting for? Let’s craft syllabic poetry together!

A recent review for the guide and poetry collection on Goodreads

Sep 11, 2021 D.G. Kaye rated it five stars it was amazing
If you’re a lover of poetry and are interested in learning how to write syllabic poetry, or even just as a reader to discover all that’s involved in writing in the various styles of syllabic poetry, this is the book for you. Yes, there are plenty of books written on the subject for sure, but this author has a gift of born ‘teaching’. Her tutorials on how to, as well as great direction in explanations and wonderful use of examples allow us to clearly see what the author is explaining.Syllabic poetry encompasses various styles and syllabic counts with succinct descriptions, from both the English and Japanese style of writing Haiku. The author explains the differences in syllabic counts to various versions of Haiku, as well as teaching us the difference between poetic prose which requires no syllabic count, such as Gogyolka or Tanka Prose. We’ll also learn about many of the various forms of Haiku and Tanka with Haibun, which styles are written from a personal point of view, and writing about nature.

Chesebro takes us through all the various forms of writing syllabic poetry and shares with us the importance of writing poetry, “When we create poetry, we become better writers.” She goes on to explain that we learn from poetry, the brevity of words, urging us to use stronger word choices with minimal words that evoke vivid images. A wonderful guide book to introduce us to the meaning of syllabic poetry and the differences between Japanese and American Haiku. This author runs a weekly poetry challenge that I urge anyone interested in learning to write poetry from the basics and forward to visit her blog.

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And:Amazon UKGoodreads: Colleen at Goodreads – Website Wordcraft poetryAuthor blog: Colleen Chesebro Twitter: @ColleenChesebro


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


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Fairystories D.L. Finn, #Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Doglovers Andrew Joyce

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

Meet D.L. Finn

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her

A selection of books by D.L. Finn for adults and children

One of the early reviews for Tree Fairies

D. W. Peach5.0 out of 5 stars Three tales about fairies saving the redwood forests  Reviewed in the United States on June 12, 2021

In the redwood forest, the tree fairies and their human friends are tasked with protecting the woodlands and it’s creatures. They have the help of the Wise Trees who’ve watched over the land for thousands of years. In many ways, this middle-grade book is about real environmental threats, all crafted into age-appropriate and magical stories.

The three tales are connected, sharing the same characters, and each one addresses a different danger to the natural world. “Tree Fairies” introduces the forest fairies and kicks off their relationship with young Daniel and his human family who will save the land from clear cutting. “Roselle” addresses the illegal dumping of toxic waste. And in “Goldie,” the fairies drive off a pair of poachers.

There’s plenty of magic in the books and activities that middle-grade kids will relate to such as fairy school, writing papers, listening to parents, and standing up to bullying by the “city fairies” who’ve lost touch with nature. A fun read for kids who enjoy magical tales while learning about the importance of protecting the old forests.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Connect to D.L. Finn – Website: D.L. Finn Author – Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

Meet Elizabeth Gauffreau

An image posted by the author.

Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. She holds a B.A. in English from Old Dominion University and an M.A. in English/Fiction Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Curriculum & Assessment for Champlain College Online, where she is an Associate Professor. Her fiction and poetry have been published in literary magazines and several themed anthologies. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Liz lives in Nottingham, New Hampshire with her husband.

A recent review for the book
Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars Coming of Age in the Hardest of Ways Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2021

Telling Sonny is a compelling read about a naive girl, Faby, and her misfortune in being starstruck by Slim White, a vaudeville performer. Set in the 1920s, Elizabeth Gauffreau masterfully writes this poignant tale. Growing up in a small town, Faby and her sister, Josephine, look forward to the annual appearance of the vaudeville troupe who perform from town to town. Slim, one of the slick hoofers in the group, takes a special interest in Faby. She is fascinated more about the lifestyle than the man, but she meets him for several walks and shows him around the town.

On the last night before the troupe moves on, Slim takes advantage of Faby’s innocence and naivety and forces himself upon her before she understands what is going on. Months pass before Faby understands she is pregnant with Slim’s baby. She manages to keep the secret from her mother and father, but her grandmother, Maman Aurore, realizes the truth.

Slim, otherwise known as Louis Kittell, comes back to Faby after learning she is pregnant and takes her with him on the road. Faby finds the stories and lifestyle exciting initially, even though she knows little of the world’s ways. I had great empathy for her as it was a trying experience for such a naive girl. However, there were times I felt frustrated with her, especially the night Slim doesn’t come home all night, and Faby doesn’t even ask for an explanation when he leaves her alone at the theatre.

Gauffreau does an excellent job of portraying Slim as an egotistical and self-centered performer. He tries to attend to Faby’s needs at times, but he’s primarily thinking about himself.

The most heartwrenching part of this great read for me was when Slim puts a very pregnant Faby on a train to travel two days back home by herself. The reader is left wondering what the reception for Faby will be when she shows up at home unexpectedly, nearly ready to have her baby. I won’t spoil that part of the story, which has a sad but realistic ending.  

Read the reviews and buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Website: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @LGauffreau

Meet Andrew Joyce

Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

Joyce now lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Books by Andrew Joyce

Resolution-800 Cover reveal and Promotional

My review for My Name is Danny

This book is a reminder of all the fun that the fans of Danny enjoyed each month, when he penned his own article about his adventures and encounters with humans and four-legged friends alike.

Not all was harmless fun as poisonous toads were ingested, and larger dogs underestimated this pint sized, fiesty defender. But for the majority of the last fourteen years, this lovely little dog has had an amazing life. Living on a boat with his human and training him to provide certain expected luxuries on demand such as turkey ham and hot dogs. Being petted and indulged at social gatherings at the marina hot spot and charming every lady he was introduced to. We discover his favourite things, such as car rides, and his insightful views on Christmas and human frailties.

For those who know Danny this is a reminder of his acerbic wit and  entertaining forthrightness, and for new readers an opportunity to view the world at ground level (well he is a small dog). It is fun and light-hearted and a feel good read that is an antidote to life’s trials and tribulations.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Andrew : Goodreads – blog: Andrew Joyce on WordPressTwitter: @Huckfinn76


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

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates #Reviews -#Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #DieselPunk Teagan Riordain Geneviene, #Pilgrims Noelle Granger

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

The first review today is for the novel Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau.

About Telling Sonny

At nineteen, pretty, vivacious Faby Gagne is still waiting for her life to begin. The time is 1924, the place Enosburg Falls, Vermont. With school over, her time is now occupied with mundane chores and avoiding the crossfire of resentment between her mother and her grandmother.

As the time approaches for the annual vaudeville show to arrive in the village, Faby watches the posters go up with increasing excitement. She is the best kind of audience for the Small Time: she does not discriminate.

When the show comes to the Opera House at last, Faby catches the eye of charming hoofer Slim White, who sets a course for her life that she never could have imagined.

A recent review for the book

Richard W. Wise 5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple but evocative tale.  Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2020

Telling Sonny, is an evocative and atmospheric tale featuring, Faby, a young, small town, girl from a conservative Catholic family just entering womanhood. The story’s beginning is not so unusual. Faby, allows herself to be seduced by a charismatic stranger who, surprisingly, “does the right thing” returns and marries her when she finds herself pregnant. But, as is often the case, doing the right thing, ends up being dead wrong.

We then follow the newlyweds on a series of mild adventures, as the increasingly pregnant Faby, moves from town to town, playdate to playdate with her new husband, America’s favorite hoofer, on the vaudeville circuit.

The author does an excellent job of describing the atmosphere of the small-town America of the 1920s. After a bit of a bumpy start, her prose stretches out and hits its stride in chapter two as the girl summarizes her situation: “Faby found herself confounded by their theme of commencement. It had been a year since her high school graduation and nothing had commenced for her, as far as she could tell.”

There are some wonderfully evocative passages: “They both laughed softly, the laughter hovering briefly between the two beds before drifting out the open windows.” And this pointed description of Faby’s first meeting with her new mother-in-law: “As Louis drove them back to the house in silence, his mother in the front seat beside him, Faby couldn’t recall ever having seen the back of someone’s head look so smug.”

If you are looking for a major theme and high adventure, Telling Sonny is not for you. However, if you can be satisfied with a intriguing tale of quotidian truth about real people, people, perhaps like your own grandparents, I’d highly recommend Telling Sonny.

Read the reviews and buyAmazon US – and : Amazon UK – follow Elizabeth: Goodreads – Website/blog: Liz Gauffreau – Family History: Liz Gauffreau – Facebook: Liz Gauffreau – Twitter: @lgauffreau

The next author with a review for her latest release is Teagan Riordain Geneviene for Hullaba Lulu: a Dieselpunk Adventure

About the book

Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure is a wild and wooly 1920s fantasy story. Lulu, the heroine is inspired by the song, “Don’t Bring Lulu,” from 1925 ― so are her pals, Pearl and Rose. My Lulu loves to dance, and freely indulges in giggle water. She snores and burps and says whatever she wants. Lulu is a snarky but good-hearted flapper. The song’s inspiration stops there, but the story is just beginning.Travel with Lulu and her friends on a magical, dieselpunk train that belongs to the smolderingly handsome and enigmatic man known only as Valentino. They get into all sorts of trouble, usually due to Lulu’s clumsiness. It’s an intense ride through a number of pos-i-lutely creepy settings, including “sideways” versions of Atlantic City and the Cotton Club. At every stop and in between, Lulu ends up creating chaos. There’s no telling where they’ll end up. No, Lulu! Don’t touch that!Lulu’s the kind of smarty, breaks up every party,Hullabaloo loo, don’t bring Lulu,I’ll bring her myself!;

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous and worthwhile read  Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2020

Hullaba Lulu is a fun and imaginative story set during the prohibition in the USA. Lulu has been raised by her grandfather who runs a speakeasy from an abandoned underground railway station. The story starts with a train appearing at the station on the speakeasy side of a rockfall. The train is owned by the mysterious Valentino and his angelbot assistants which are nothing like Lulu and her two best friends, Rose and Pearl, have ever seen before.

Before long, Lulu, Rose, Pearl and Grandfather are aboard the train and on the adventure of their lives. They travel sideways in time and visit Atlantic City, the Cotton Club in New York City and various other amazing and interesting places all seen through the skewed lens of sideways travel which results in these places being almost the same as in ordinary life, but not quite.

The author has managed to weave all sorts of fascinating titbits of information about flappers and life in the 1920’s into the tale as well as songs from that time, famous people and all every other interesting and trademark USA items you can think of like Ouija boards, automobiles, tarot cards and fortune tellers. The way they come into the story is so natural that it just seems quite right that they should be there.

There is strong characterisation in this short book and the author has a talent for creating strong female characters who are excellent role models for girls and women. I am always delighted that her women characters have healthy appetites, speak their minds and generally do not adopt the coquettish and ‘fake’ behaviour so common to women, even today.

Despite this book being reasonably short, it manages to delve into certain social problems that still exist such as the superiority of the wealthy and their habit of looking down on people who have to earn a living or whose lives are not as cut and dried with regards to relationships and lifestyles as their own.

False friendships, devious and misleading behavior, resentment and anger, all of these unpleasant and difficult emotions that hamper human happiness are featured, but they are off set by great loyalty, heroic behaviour, obtaining pleasure from simple things in life like eating a cheeseburger, and romance.

It is quite unbelievable how Ms Geneviene has managed to cover so much ground in this single fantasy book. It is a fabulous and worthwhile read and not one to miss out on.

Read the reviews and buy the book:  Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK- Rest of the World: Universal Link

A selection of other books by Teagan

Teagan Geneviene – Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Blog: Teagan’s BooksGoodreads:Goodreads Twitter: @teagangeneviene

The final review today is for The Last Pilgrim by Noelle Granger, a book I can also highly recommend.

About the book

This book captures and celebrates the grit and struggle of the Pilgrim women who stepped off the Mayflower in the winter of 1620 to an unknown world – one filled with hardship, danger and death. The Plymouth Colony would not have survived without them.

Mary Allerton Cushman was the last surviving passenger of the Mayflower, dying at age 88 in 1699.

Mary’s life is set against the real background of that time. The Last Pilgrim begins from her father’s point of view – she was, after all, only four when she descended into the cramped and dank living space below deck on the Mayflower – but gradually assumes Mary’s voice, as the colony achieves a foothold in the New England’s rocky soil.

What was a woman’s life like in the Plymouth Colony? The Last Pilgrim will tell you.

A recent review for the book

Bobbi 5.0 out of 5 stars “History” has never been so fascinating!  Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2020

I haven’t enjoyed history since boring childhood classes turned me off. But this “novel” (based on fact) was amazing! I learned so much about the 1620 voyage, the Pilgrims and their intense struggles, the religious and political growth of our young country, and even the real story with the Natives. What fun to see this epic life adventure through the eyes of a woman, Mary Allerton Cushman. This is one of those books you can’t wait to resume. I didn’t want an “education” but only a fun read. I got both!

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

Also by N.A. Granger

Noelle A. Granger Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Blog: Sayling Away – Goodreads:Noelle A. Granger – Twitter: @NAGrangerAuthor

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