Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #Thriller Jacquie Biggar, #YARomance Angie Dokos


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

A recent review for the collection

Esther Suh 5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book! A thoughtful and fun poem collection of life Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020

I really enjoyed reading this book of poetry and in one sitting! I rarely buy books of poems because they can be so hard to understand or follow. But I found out about Miriam Hurdle’s book through her blog and ordered it to show support for a fellow blogger and writer. I’m glad I did!

The organization of her book was fluid to read in following the different stages of her life. Her introduction works as a perfect guide for the reader. Her poems ranged in topics from hope, failure, pain, heartbreak, reflections about family and nature, and some lighthearted ones about animals. My only regret is that I didn’t check out my order in color. Miriam told me about this beforehand, but I didn’t look into it too much. From the black and white pictures I could tell they would be beautiful in color. Thanks Miriam for rekindling my interest in reading poetry!

Miriam Hurdle, Buy also in Spanish and Portuguese: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle – Blog: The Showers of Blessings –  Twitter: @mhurdle112

Meet Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar is a USA TODAY bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want. That is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has also contributed to several successful anthologies.

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. She swears she can’t function without coffee, preferably at the beach with her sweetheart. 🙂

A small selection of Jacquie’s books

One of the recent reviews for Virtually Gone

Laura Furuta 5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfaul read…. Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2020

The story Virtually Gone (High-Tech Crime Solvers Book 6) by Jacquie Biggar is a thrilling book to read. It pulled me in from the start and didn’t let me go until the final page. It is a story that has mystery, suspense, and danger. I loved reading about the characters of Julie Crenshaw and Matthew Roy. Julie is an investigative reporter who when on a story is determined to follow it to its conclusion. The one that she is on now could be the case of a lifetime. Matthew is a detective who is frustrated by the fact that he hasn’t been able to bring a rapist to justice. When the suspect escalates his crime to murder, Matthew knows that he has to bring him in. The one question is how? Read this book to see if Matthew solves the case. This is a story that had me turning pages wondering what was going to happen next. I loved the way that the author writes about the technology used in the investigation. I also enjoyed the interactions and bantering back and forth between the characters. This is a fast-paced book that will keep you guessing. I highly recommend reading it.

Jacquie Biggar, Buy:  Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacquie : Goodreads – website: Jacquie Biggar – Twitter: @jacqbiggar

Meet Angie Dokos

I was born a reader and grew to be a writer. Okay, so the reading took a few years, but in the meantime, I was having someone else read to me. I enjoy hiking and love to travel. I currently live in Woodstock, GA with my husband and children. I love to read and write to escape reality and to live more than one life. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, WordPress, and other sites if you are interested. If you are entertained by my work, chances are your friends will be too, so spread the word, please. Thank you. Remember, live life one chapter at a time!

Books by Angie Dokos

One of the recent reviews for Roadside

L. Carmichael 5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Hopeful, Tender  Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2020

Roadside is a contemporary fiction / young adult / romance novel by author Angie Dokos. I’ve previously read another of her books, and when I saw she was doing some marketing for an upcoming tour of this one, I decided to move up the book in my reading queue.

Zayne, a ~20ish college student, finds the almost dead body of a young girl on the roadside with his dad. They take her to the hospital, and Zayne keeps returning to check on her. He feels a weird connection. When she wakes up, he learns her name is Serena. She was attacked and had been unconscious for days. She remembers a lot of details, and Zayne’s father does the investigating with the police to find her assailant. Clues remain in the forest by the roadside, but ultimately, this is a story about the aftermath, how to trust someone you’ve just met, and recovery.

Dokos creates memorable characters. This is a very simple, sweet, and touching story. There is complexity in the plot and relationships, but the writing is casual, easy to read, connective, and makes you feel warm and cozy, even in the scary parts. There’s a balance of light and darkness, given the subject matter, and in the end, you 100% root for Zayne and Serena to fall in love. But there’s a supporting cast you also find yourself keen to get to know. Best friends, siblings, parents, school administrators and staff… everyone plays a pivotal role. Just who did attack Serena and why?

We learn the truth midway through the book, and the remainder is about dealing with the recovery and results of trusting someone you shouldn’t. How can you assign blame and fix the problem when the problem occurred so long ago, you feel bad for the assailant too? Okay, just a little, as (s)he did try to rape and kill Serena. No matter the circumstances, the person needs to be punished.

I enjoy Dokos’ writing style, and she makes you flip the pages quickly to keep investing in the story. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Angie Dokos, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  follow Angie : Goodreads –  website: Angie Dokos WordPress –  Twitter: @AngieDokos

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Fantasy A.J. Alexander, #YARomance Angie Dokos, #Mystery Diana J. Febry


Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first review is for Demon Tracker: 3rd book in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series by A.J. Alexander 

About the book

Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her.

She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?

One of the early reviews for the book

Allan Krummenacker 5.0 out of 5 stars This Universe Continues to Grow With Each Book… Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2020

In this third installment of the Council of Twelve series, the author throws us a curveball of sorts as she introduces not only a new character, but a whole new angle on the mythology of this series. It’s interesting to watch how the author is taking the over-arcing story of the series a step further with each new character introduced.

This time we get to meet a demon tracker, one of the best ever. However, her appearance could easily be mistaken for someone demonic herself, which is of course not the case. Besides those great horns on her head, what else is making her a target of the master of Hell. What is his connection to her and why is he so interested in asking questions about her parentage?

All our old friends are here such as the Council of Twelve, along with Sundance and Kate from the previous installments of the series. As well as some familiar foes and new dangers.

A jolly good read, which I highly recommend.

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 on: Amazon UK 

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

The next author is Angie Dokos with a recent review for Roadside

About the book

Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love?

One of the recent reviews for the book

L. Carmichael 5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Hopeful, Tender  Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2020

Roadside is a contemporary fiction / young adult / romance novel by author Angie Dokos. I’ve previously read another of her books, and when I saw she was doing some marketing for an upcoming tour of this one, I decided to move up the book in my reading queue.

Zayne, a ~20ish college student, finds the almost dead body of a young girl on the roadside with his dad. They take her to the hospital, and Zayne keeps returning to check on her. He feels a weird connection. When she wakes up, he learns her name is Serena. She was attacked and had been unconscious for days. She remembers a lot of details, and Zayne’s father does the investigating with the police to find her assailant. Clues remain in the forest by the roadside, but ultimately, this is a story about the aftermath, how to trust someone you’ve just met, and recovery.

Dokos creates memorable characters. This is a very simple, sweet, and touching story. There is complexity in the plot and relationships, but the writing is casual, easy to read, connective, and makes you feel warm and cozy, even in the scary parts. There’s a balance of light and darkness, given the subject matter, and in the end, you 100% root for Zayne and Serena to fall in love. But there’s a supporting cast you also find yourself keen to get to know. Best friends, siblings, parents, school administrators and staff… everyone plays a pivotal role. Just who did attack Serena and why?

We learn the truth midway through the book, and the remainder is about dealing with the recovery and results of trusting someone you shouldn’t. How can you assign blame and fix the problem when the problem occurred so long ago, you feel bad for the assailant too? Okay, just a little, as (s)he did try to rape and kill Serena. No matter the circumstances, the person needs to be punished.

I enjoy Dokos’ writing style, and she makes you flip the pages quickly to keep investing in the story. I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Angie Dokos

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos: Goodreads

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: Angie Dokos WordPress

The final author today is Diana J. Febry with a recent review for Trouble at Clenchers Mill

About the book

Somebody wants Richard Fielding dead.

Richard was looking forward to making a fresh start with his new wife, Alicia when they moved into Clenchers Mill. Then the attacks started.

Detained in the hospital after an unusual accident, he dismisses the claim his new wife is trying to harm him. He’s convinced the property attacks are the childish pranks of locals annoyed by his plans for Clenchers Mill. As a successful property developer, he’s seen it all before. Mindful of Alicia’s reluctance to involve the police he instructs Kate and Simon to make discreet inquiries.

Kate and Simon are keen to find the culprit, but are inexperienced and blissfully unaware they are dealing with a determined killer toying with their prey before they strike. Their first case may prove to be their last.

One of the recent reviews for Trouble at Clenchers Mill

Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2020

When Richard Fielding is almost killed in a riding accident, his new wife is quick to blame the person who gave him the horse–his ex-wife, Cynthia. Convinced that the horse was drugged, Cynthia hires Kate Chapman to investigate. Kate asks her good friend and landlord, Simon Morris to assist her. When Kate confirms the horse was drugged, they must figure out who wants Richard dead and why. Their investigation reveals a slew of potential suspects from local pro-hunting advocates to those with more sinister intentions. But who is the culprit and will they succeed next time?

This is a very fun and enjoyable mystery. Kate is a blue collar girl while Simon is from a more privileged background and it provides some good conflict. The have’s and have not’s are clearly one of the themes. Though Simon makes his interest in Kate clear by the middle of the book, there wasn’t enough foreshadowing for me. The twists and turns are good and the reveal makes sense. Good job overall. I’m looking forward to picking up the next book in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Diana J. Febry

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on: Amazon US

Read many more reviews and follow Diana on: Goodreads

Connect to Diana via her Facebook page: Diana J. Febry

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair -#Saga Judith Barrow, #Poetry Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath, #Crime Sue Coletta, #YARomance Angie Dokos


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.

My first book today is one from an author that I can personally recommend, having read all of her family saga series featuring the Howarth family… A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow is the fourth book and the prequel to the series.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I loved it… A page-turner that keeps you hooked. The story line has lots of twists and turns and you feel yourself moved on so many different levels. As the book unfolds it gives you moments of tenderness and love, hatred and spite all blended together with conflict, prejudice, guilt, grief and a desperate longing for change. Judith describes the period so well, with some very graphic, cruel and harrowing episodes, enabling you to empathise with each character in turn. I particularly like the fact that the story held together to the last page. 

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Judith: Goodreads

Connect to Judith via her blog: Judith Barrow

Another wonderful gift for poetry lovers is the collection  Roads: A Journey With Verses – Vandana Bhasin and Smitha Vishwanath

About Roads

“Roads” is a poetic rendezvous that takes the reader on a panoramic journey, making one pause, ponder and celebrate life.

The book is a light, alluring read that instantly strikes a chord and elevates one’s spirits. A trove of 60 poems, it is quilled with beads of nine virtues: Courage, Wisdom, Serenity, Love, Hope, Strength, Joy, Compassion and Gratitude. The verses encapsulate life’s ebbs and flows while prompting the reader to enjoy its simple pleasures.

“Roads” is a book that you would want to keep on your bedside, for a quiet read before retiring for the night or for the morning wisdom to seize the day. With poems revolving around emotions that each of us experiences, “Roads” very easily develops a personal connect with the reader that is defiantly refreshing.

“Roads” is a journey with verses. Take it on yours.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

HarvestingHecate  5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging journey in verse 19 October 2019

This book of poems by two talented poets promises to take the reader on a journey and delivers and epic trip. The journey in question is that of life, and the book is split into sections that cover many of the big themes we all face on that journey: courage, wisdom, love, strength, joy. Both women contribute to each theme, offering a delightful contrast of views, imagery and tone. Smitha’s poems are intimate, emotional, drawing on a strength from within, while Vandana’s poems are open, assertive and sometimes confrontational.

The journey begins with ‘courage’ and it proves to be a positive and uplifting start. Smitha writes about daring to learn, fly, fail, even if the journey to success is not smooth. Vandana rails against rules and victimisation and demands that we drop the masks we wear. There is a nice rhythm to the collection. It moves inwards towards ‘wisdom’, ‘serenity’, ‘love’ and ‘joy’, then looks outwards to the world with ‘strength’, ‘compassion’ and ‘hope’. There are quiet moments and demands to be heard. There is sadness and joy, despair and self-assurance. And each poem is accompanied by a personal piece giving context to the verse.

Some of my favourite poems by Smitha are: ‘The Night is my Refuge’, a soothing poem about the restorative power of the night; ‘Treasure the Little Pleasures’, an evocative poem about the importance of small things; ‘Hush Daddy! Don’t Fear’, a moving poem about caring for an ageing parent; ‘Tender Moments’, a quiet loving poem in which a mother watches her children sleep; and ‘The Little Corner Room’ about a haven in her grandmother’s house.

Favourites by Vandana include: ‘Today’, an encouragement not to put things off to a vague tomorrow; ‘It’s all in the state of mind’ captures that dissatisfaction of wanting something other than what we have; and ‘Wings of Freedom’, a soaring poem about hopes and dreams.

The book ends, appropriately, with ‘gratitude’. Smitha’s ‘Promise of a new day’ is a beautiful meditation on things to be thankful for, while Vandana’s ‘Moments of Gratitude’ has the rhythm of a prayer. This book is an uplifting, enjoyable and emotional journey with two very engaging guides.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Connect to Vandana via her blog: My Feelings My Freedom

Smitha V

Connect to Smitha via her Blog: Life a Teacher

For all crime thriller fans there is plenty of gifts to select from bestselling, award-winning, multi-published crime writer Sue Coletta and the featured book today with a recent review is Racked...

About Racked

It starts with an innocent stuffed animal. It ends in mind-numbing terror.

Five missing boys and an adult corpse found in the town’s water shed was only the beginning for Sage and Niko Quintano. After a hooded-stranger gives their son, Noah, a stuffed animal—the exact Christmas moose given to all the missing boys days before their abductions—their lives spiral downward into uncertainty.

Could Noah be the next boy to go missing?

As they piece together each cryptic clue, the future looks more and more grim. But what they soon discover blows everyone’s mind, the truth teetering on the unfathomable.

What does it all mean, and where do they go from here?

One of the recent reviews

Kindle Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Sue Coletta’s Racked October 13, 2019

A stuffed Christmas moose might be cute but also DEADLY!!!

Captivating, gripping, riveting…..Racked is a plot within a subplot. This emotional and psychological thriller is full of mystery, horror, suspense and fast paced.

Who is kidnapping young boys? Why are they being kidnapped? What is the relationship between the kidnapping and the stuffed Christmas moose.

Sheriff Niko Quintana and his wife, Sage, live in the isolated, wooded area of New Hampshire. Their young son, Noah and two fur babies, Rugger and Colt make up their small knit family.

A dead body, kidnapped young boys, dysfunctional families, abused families…. all blend together for an intense, scary, intimidating read.

The author gets inside the well written characters heads, presenting their inner workings to the readers to be able to understand the characters.

Supernatural elements abound. A Highly Recommended Read!!

A selection of books by Sue Coletta

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And:  Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Sue : Goodreads

Connect to Sue via her website/blog: Sue Coletta

The next book is a New Adult Romance by Angie Dokos with a recent review for  MacKenzie’s Distraction.

About the book

Mackenzie’s Distraction is a New Adult Romance about a young lady with a rough past and a promising future. Just when he career is within reach, tragedy strikes. A terrible accident and a family secret turn Mackenzie’s world upside down. She’s sure her life can’t become any more complicated, then she meets Trevor. Will he be just what she needs or the distraction that pushes her over the edge?

This book is not erotica, but does have sexual content. It includes some curse words, but not many. It doesn’t have any major violence.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Sep 27, 2019 Melanie Bennett rated it five stars

I loved it!
Mackenzie’s Distraction had it all!
Rivoting plot, awesome characters, family secrets, struggles, and romance. Very enjoyable, a great read.

Also by Angie Dokos

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos: Goodreads

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: Angie Dokos WordPress

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