Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – YAParanormal A.J. Alexander, #FamilyDrama Judith Barrow, #Urbanfantasy Anita Dawes


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

I am going to be choosing authors at random so that there is a variety of genres in each post to offer as many gift ideas as possible.

The first author with books for Teens and Young Adults is A.J.Alexander with the paranormal fantasy Sundance: 2nd book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series

About the book

Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’ seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good and evil. Follow her adventures as she discovers love, fights the good fight, and finds herself in the heat of battle trying to keep her wings from being singed.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jasmin 5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining and fascinating sequel  Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2020

Following ‘Soul Taker’, ‘Sundance’ is the second book in the Council of Twelve Series.
The book is less a simple sequel than a parallel story to the first part, which first surprised me, but then I was enthusiastic about that fact. I found it fascinating to read the story from a different point of view and to find the skillfully orchestrated connections to the first book.

One of the things I love about this book is to see Sundance grow up into a strong woman. Also interesting is her education. Even though the book shows many known characters and places, the book still allows the reader to re-explore the world, AJ Alexander created masterfully.

I look forward to read book number three in the series.

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

Also by A. J. Alexander

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Aurora Jean Alexander – Twitter: @AuroraJean_A

The next author is with a wonderful range of books that capture the complexity of family dramas is Judith Barrow with a review her latest book – The Memory.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga

One of the recent reviews for the book

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”—attrib. Mark Twain

I have nine brothers and sisters who must have grown up in nine other families because our memories just don’t match up. Each of us sees our past through the filter of personal experience, making us the unreliable narrators of our own memories. Yet somehow, it’s those memories that shaped the people we are today.

In Judith Barrow’s The Memory, it’s the memory of one moment in time that shapes Irene’s family and defines her life. In a brilliant structure, readers are swept along dual timelines as we try to understand or even identify that moment. First we’re introduced to an adult Irene. It’s 2002 and she’s taking care of her dying mother. In the midst of her exhaustion and resentment, Irene wonders if her mother is also experiencing that pivotal memory, “The one that makes hate battle with pity and reluctant love.”

But it’s also 1963, the moment eight-year-old Irene’s happy childhood changes forever when her baby sister Rose is born with Down’s Syndrome. Even as her parents’ marriage crumbles, Irene’s world is transformed. “That was the first time I understood you could fall in love with a stranger, even though that stranger is a baby who can’t yet talk. And that you could hate somebody even though you were supposed to love them.”

As the two timelines converge, the impact of little Rose’s life and death continues to shape every aspect of big sister Irene’s life. With her parents’ relationship becoming increasingly dysfunctional, Irene tries to wrap a cocoon of fierce love and devotion around her beloved little sister. She realizes her life isn’t like other girls, but with her grandmother’s support, she struggles on. One of her earliest friends, Sam, becomes her rock and then her husband.

But despite Irene’s love for Rose, her grandmother, and Sam, she can’t prevent tragedy from striking. Her parents’ marriage ends, effectively separating Irene from her weak but loved father, while sending her mother into a downward spiral of resentment. Her only ally at home, her grandmother, becomes ill. Irene’s dreams of a teaching career and motherhood are sacrificed to the needs of her family.

With the death of Rose, Irene and her mother are trapped an endless cycle of love and resentment shaped by one memory. But it’s a child’s memory of an event, and even Irene isn’t sure exactly what it means. Unable to leave the childhood home that’s her only connection to Rose, she turns to the ghost of her little sister for answers.

The Memory is quite possibly Judith Barrow’s masterpiece. The dual timeline structure is ideally suited to bring us to that critical moment in the past. What exactly did Irene see? She’s an unreliable narrator, a child trying to understand a single memory that redefines her life in one timeline, while in the other timeline she’s a woman who has lost everything she ever loved except for the memory of the sister who haunts her.

The writing is spare and elegant, with just enough detail to create a picture of Irene’s world. Told in the first person, we see Irene as she grows from a bewildered child determined to care for her ‘special’ little sister to a woman who sacrifices her own hopes and dreams to care for her family. Those who’ve been caretakers to parents suffering from alzheimer’s and dementia will also recognize the sheer exhaustion and thankless effort demanded.

But the other thing I enjoyed in what could have been a desperately dark tale was that Irene knew love along the way. She remembered her childhood days with loving parents, she cherished the love of her grandmother, and she accepted the bedrock certainty of her husband Sam’s love. Most of all, she had the memory of loving little Rose.

As the two timelines converge, all of those loves combine in a single moment of realization that finally explains and then redeems the memory haunting Irene’s life. As a reader, when a character becomes as completely real to me as Irene does, I often find myself wondering what happened next for her. But Irene’s story is so perfectly and elegantly resolved that I know without a shade of doubt what her future holds.

The Memory is not a comfortable or easy read. But if you’re looking for a beautifully written, character-driven story with a dark base but superb resolution, it just might be the perfect choice.

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

Also by Judith Barrow

   

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

The final author today with an intriguing novel about the consequences of just one moment of chance when life hangs in the balance..Anita Dawes and The Scarlet Ribbon.

About the Book

When a dirty blue car mows Maggie down outside her local supermarket, she becomes trapped in the nightmare world of a coma patient.

In this very different world, she manages to rescue an abused and neglected child. But when it looks as though she will finally wake up, she cannot bear the thought of leaving the child behind.

But is this other world real, or was she just dreaming? And if it is real, can she help this child?

One of the recent reviews for The Scarlet Ribbon

Sep 03, 2020 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Scarlet Ribbons, also known as The Scarlet Ribbon, by Anita Dawes is a contemporary fiction novel that focuses on the afterlife and how one woman deals with the tragedy of a single moment in time, a moment she couldn’t prevent from occurring. I became familiar with the book after following the author’s blog and learning more about her collaboration with Jaye Marie on a variety of a projects.

In this tale, Maggie Haynes is hit by a car. Her husband witnesses the accident and is forced to watch his beloved wife put on life support when she falls into a coma. When Maggie goes under, her life seems to separate into reality and another world. In one path, she recovers and finds herself heading down a certain troubling existence… and in another, she’s somewhere beyond the Earth… not quite heaven or hell… not even clear of the specifics, but this new world can be quite scary. She’s able to ‘cross over’ to see some things happening back home, and it’s not always a good thing.

Can you imagine being able to watch your loved ones grieve? What if they decided to move on? Are you aware of how long you are in the coma? When Maggie discovers various connections with new people she meets in her confusing new life, she can’t help but think about how much is real and how much might be a dream. Is she trapped somewhere? Will she wake up paralyzed from the accident? Is she secretly already dead? What does her family think has happened? So many amazing questions to ponder while reading this book…

I enjoyed the writing style. At times, the author whisks you away into a dreamy state; even I was uncertain which world Maggie resided in during these moments. It’s a tough and scary topic, but Dawes pushes you to consider all the options and angles. What if you were meant to disappear for a while so that you could save someone else? A child who desperately needs your help deserves unselfish reactions, right? Maggie and her husband chose not to have kids but was this a reality check? When she visits previous periods in her family’s life, learning what it was like for them to grow up, it destabilizes her core… Maggie can’t be sure which life she wants to hold on to – new or old. And can she change her mind?

In the end, she dives deep into understanding her new world, with the help of some friends and possible a foe or two, and she comes out stronger. But it is the shocking surprise finale that left me wondering… how much of this could really happen in our future? Dawes pushes me to think about past lives, reincarnation, soul therapy, and so much more. I enjoyed the writing style and development on the worlds most of all. If you’ve got an open mind and a love of ethereal and other worldly existences, this is a good one to read. I’m left wondering what additional themes the author explores in her other books now! Must check one out in the near future.

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

Also by Anita Dawes

Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon UK – And:Amazon US –  follow Anita:Goodreads – Blog: Jaye and Anita’ Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope this has given you some ideas for gifts for Christmas.. thanks Sally.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair -YAparanormal A.J. Alexander, #HistoricalRomance Christine Campbell, #FamilySaga Claire Fullerton, #PostApocalyptic Sandra J. Jackson


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first author with books that are for young adults who enjoy the paranormal is A.J.Alexander with Sundance: 2nd book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series

About the book

Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’ seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good and evil. Follow her adventures as she discovers love, fights the good fight, and finds herself in the heat of battle trying to keep her wings from being singed.

One of the reviews for the book

Having read the first of this series “Soul Taker” I knew we were being introduced to new worlds and adventures and looked forward to the next installment. And I can safely say this second book in the series did not let me down. If anything I felt it really helped things take off even more.

Where in “Soul Taker” we were introduced to an existing angel who gets promoted from Soul Taker to Guardian, this time we see the beginnings of a angel’s rise. Born to parents who made a deal with God for a child, if even for only a short seven years, we watch young Cara grow not only in the mortal world, but in the next one as well. In Heaven she is given the name Sundance, and begins to learn her strengths and grow in skills to the point of being welcomed into another rank of Angels a “Warrior”, one of the first in a very long time.

But for all her skills and abilities, which have impressed even the Archangels, she still has much to learn. Her first assignment will take her back to Earth where she will experience not only pain, but love with a mortal. Is such a thing allowed?

You’ll have to read to find out the answers to that. But there is much more awaiting both the reader and Sundance. For her powers and skills have been noticed not only by higher authorities, but ones below as well. And soon she finds herself the focal point in a dastardly plot from the netherworld.

The author has done a brilliant job with this book in many respects, including uniting both her first and second books with a brief, but satisfying meeting between our former Soul Taker, and this new Warrior Angel. I very much look forward to more of this series which is just beginning.

Also by A. J. Alexander

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK 

Connect to A.J. Alexander via her website: Aurora Jean Alexander

For those of you who enjoy historical romances, here is one set in Scotland by Christine CampbellA Mountain of Memories.

About A Mountain of Memories

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

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

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

What really happened on that mountainside?

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

One of the reviews for the book

A lovely story of past and present mingled creatively. I was on the edge of my seat as the story unwound. It was interesting and like nothing I have read before. Once I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down. A wonderful story!

A selection of other books by Christine Campbell.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Christine on : Goodreads

Connect to Christine via her blog: Christine Campbell at WordPress

If you enjoy beautifully written family sagas then the next author will delight you and I can recommend having enjoyed the book myself. Claire Fullerton with Mourning Dove.

About Mourning Dove

The heart has a home when it has an ally.

If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.

But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Aug 05, 2019 leslie hamod rated it Five Stars

Alcoholism is not a choice, it is a disease. However, in this poignant novel it becomes a curse.Posey and her brother Finley are taken with their mother from the north, in Minnesota to Tennessee. A completely different world. A beautiful demonstration of life in the south, as tradition and the southern style transforms them. This is a touching story of the difficult growing up and transformation of a family , the finding of themselves and forgiveness of the past. Fabulous writing style, design of plot and the ease of reading. The characters are most!y sympathetic, barring some exception and they leave the reader hungry for more. A reader I intend to follow, congratulations! A highly recommended and MUST READ!

Also by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Claire on : Goodreads

Connect to Claire via her website: Claire Fullerton

And the next is a post-apocalyptic adventure from Sandra J. JacksonThe Escape Series Book 2 – Catching Butterflies: Search for Home

About the book

April and Beth have escaped, and their captor is dead. Freedom is in their grasp – if only they knew where they were.

With some memories returning, April and Beth struggle to find answers to their questions. What they know is that they’ve been vaccinated against a strange virus. But what happened to their family, and to the rest of the world?

As they head out, they stumble onto the compound where their nightmare began, but the empty building only brings more mystery into their lives. Soon, they encounter others wandering on the numerous trails throughout the woods. For April, finding her family is priority one; for Beth, it’s sticking to the trails.

How can April ever convince her to leave the forest… and why are they being hunted?

A recent review for Catching Butterflies on Goodreads

Oct 16, 2019 Nic Reeves rated it really liked it

Let me start by saying I did not read the first book in this series and jumped right in to the second book. April and Beth are two sisters who have just escaped their captors and are trying to find their way back to civilization. They have very little memories and struggle to fight through the haze. With only the contents of their backpacks to aid them, they brave the unfamiliar woods.
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They know they’ve been vaccinated against a strange virus, but they have no idea what has happened to their family or the rest of the world in the meantime.
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Held captive at a facility in the woods called C.E.C.I.L, they were subjected to mind control drugs and brainwashing. Now they must try to find their parents and see if anything has survived the deadly outbreak. April has the strange sensation that they’re still being watched and hunted. April knows they need to leave the trails and look for help, but Beth is still caught in the mind control and refuses to leave the dangerous looping trails.
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There wasn’t a whole lot of action in the first half of this book, but it did fill you in on the events of the first book, so I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything by starting with book two.
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Both girls have special abilities, which you will learn in the story, no spoilers here. All the children from the facility with special abilities have a hidden butterfly tattoo on the back of their necks. Hence the title, catching Butterflies. 🦋 The second half was redeeming and filled in a lot of questions and just enough information to keep you guessing for another book.
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I enjoyed this one, as did my 11 year old, and I’d read the third book to fill in more of the puzzle of the strange outbreak and how the world has changed in the aftermath. I liked most of the characters and the narrator made it easy to tell who was speaking with alternating voices which I appreciated!
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I would recommend this book to my fellow, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, adventure lovers.

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Sandra on: Goodreads

Connect to Sandra via her blog: Sandra Jackson WordPress

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