Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Smorgasbord Bookshelf 2022- Share an Extract from your latest book – #Children’s – Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam Hurdle

I’m excited to be at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Magazine. She features me today and shares an extract of Tina Lost in a Crowd with an insightful review from Marsha Ingrao. Please hop over to visit her blog. She invites authors to share an extract of a poem from your book.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase your latest book and sell some more copies.
  2. Gain more reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of your other books that are available.

Today an extract from a children’s book by Miriam Hurdle – Tina Lost in a Crowd. A book that I can highly recommend.

About the book

Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000…

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BOOK REVIEWS: #MYSTERY – JACQUIE BIGGAR, #YA – YVETTE CALLEIRO, #CHILDREN – D.L. FINN

I’ve read many interesting books last month and this month and am happy to share the reviews with you.

Virtually Gone: A Julie Crenshaw Murder/Mystery by Jacquie Biggar

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Virtually Gone by Jacquie Biggar is Book 6 of the High-Tech Crime Solvers, but this book reads well as a stand-alone book. Julie Crenshaw is a Vancouver Island Broadcasting System reporter assigned to investigate a series of sexual assault cases. The last victim, Emily, is raped and killed. Detective Matthew Roy is at the crime scene when Julie wants to interview him. He only agrees to do so because Julie is his partner’s girlfriend. The rise of crime in recent years frustrates him. These cases particularly upset him because his half-sister was raped and murdered ten years ago. It’s his determination to get this predator.

The plot develops tightly and moves along at a steady pace. Some evidence, such as Emily being pregnant, takes the investigation all over the place. Other evidence makes Matt think the current rapist on the loose is the same one who killed his half-sister. He gets a sketch of a suspect’s profile through high-tech phenotyping using DNA. He uses other high-tech that lead the chase closer to catching the killer. But it’s like a cat-and-mouse game and the suspect is outsmarting them for ten years.

I’ve read Jacquie’s romance books. It’s a delight to discover her talent in thrillers. In this book, she presents a seamless explanation of the high-tech using DNA to do profiling that tracks down the suspect. She also describes the investigation protocol well throughout the story. I enjoy murder mysteries and this book kept me hooked from the beginning. I read the book in one sitting and finished it in half a day.

Amazon Purchase Link

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HYPE by Yvette M. Calleiro

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I love the cover of HYPE. Cecilia (Cici) in the story is the girl wearing the cheering leading uniform. Gaby is the girl in gothic style. The face with duct tape crossing the mouth describes the horror and the girls’ fear of speaking out. The story is told in the first person POV. I find it intimate to listen to Cici telling her story.

Yvette Calleiro creates this story with the seamless blend of her experiences as a high school cheerleader, later a high school teacher, and the observation of the TRUST counseling at the school. Cici has everything a teenage girl hopes for, a loving mother, a comfortable home, co-caption of the cheering leading team, and a sincere relationship with Ryne who won the title of Prom King. Whereas Gaby is a self-absorbed and gothic-looking girl every student tries to avoid. Cici’s world turns upside down when her mom remarried John, bringing Gaby to be her stepsister. Cici is happy for her mom to marry a loving guy but dreads having Gaby in the same house. The unthinkable happens after John and Gaby moved in. John rapes her and threatens the safety of her mom. Cici then finds out Gaby is John’s stepdaughter who suffers from the same fate. The girls have become friends and talk at school. They are afraid that they must allow John to abuse them for one more year before they leave the house for college.

The story is well constructed. Young adults can identify many high school activities and social life in the first half of the book. The second half of the book powerfully describes the predator who appears to be a wolf in the sheepskin who preys on the teenage girls. He looks smart, friendly, and successful. He is skillful to threaten these young girls to keep their mouths shut while continually abusing them for a lengthy period. I’m glad to learn that some high schools have TRUST counselors who establish a trust relationship with the students to help them during crises. I was glad that it came to a clever ending. Highly recommended.

Amazon Purchase Link

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Dolphin’s Cave by D.L. Finn

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This delightful fantasy book is one of my favorite books by D.L. Finn. The story is set in Maui, Hawaii. Coral is a fifteen-year-old girl whose parents disappeared in a plane crash going from Oahu to Maui in Hawaii. She has lived with her Aunt Ruby for eight years. She has a recurring dream about riding a dolphin going into the depth of the ocean. The dream is always the same, but short at leading her to the crash site to find out about her parents. She wants her aunt to take her on a vacation in Maui to solve this mystery.

Coral’s dream comes true when Aunt Ruby plans a work-related trip to Maui. Mr. and Mrs. Penny and their children Ben and Beth are going on the same trip. The first half of the story has a slow build-up with many fun activities such as sunbathing on the beach, watching the sunset, shopping, eating, and sightseeing. They remind me of my frequent visit to Maui.

The vacation turns into an adventure when a strange woman seems to spy on them and take photos of them. A strange man follows them, then pretends to fall in love with Aunt Ruby. A strange thing happens when Ruby is almost hit by a car when she crosses the road. Eventually, Ruby is in a car accident with a broken foot and sprained shoulder and ends up in a hospital.

Coral knows her aunt wants her to have fun. So, she, Ben, and Beth go swimming while Ruby is in the hospital. It is during this swimming that she meets the dolphin and the turtles that appear in her dream. The dolphin takes her to a golden city with the water people, where she discovers her hidden heritage. She also finds out about the spies trying to murder her aunt to control her. This fantasy story has a satisfying magical conclusion. I recommend this book to older children and young teenagers.

Amazon Purchase Link

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Blog Tour – Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

My friends, I’m very excited to host the Chocolate Fudge saves the Sugar Dog Book Tour for Robbie and Michael Cheadle. Please join me to welcome them and let them share this wonderful news with you!

Hi Robbie and Michael, please tell us about your latest book.

Thank you, Miriam, and friends.

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Imagine, living in a world…

… made of a giant gobstopper.

A world…

… where you can eat everything.

The trees, the houses, the flowers, and even the beehives.

The river is condensed milk, and the pond is cream soda.

Welcome to Chocolate Land!

Meet Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet…

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Sir Chocolate is round and fat,

He wears a waistcoat and brown top hat.

Lady Sweet wears a stripy skirt and top,

She looks just like a lollipop.

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From Book 1: Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries Story and Cookbook

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet run a shop where they sell their delicious homemade chocolates and soda pop. When they are not busy developing yummy chocolate recipes, they go about Chocolate land putting wrong things right.

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet have a son, Chocolate Fudge, the star of Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog.

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Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet,

Have a son, Chocolate Fudge,

A mild-mannered and kindly lad,

He’d never bear a grudge.

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From Book 8: Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog

Blurb:

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s son, Chocolate Fudge, sees one of Lord Humbug’s dogs struggling to stay afloat in the hot chocolate pond.

Can Chocolate Fudge save the sugar dog from drowning?

Includes lovely new recipes.

That’s wonderful information, Robbie and Michael.

My Review

I’ve read many Sir Chocolate books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle. Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog is another darling addition to the series. The story is told as limericks. Limericks are cute and fun to read. The characters and the scenes are Robbie’s fondant art. I must say that I’m very fond of this fondant art because each character has a unique personality. They’re expressive and lovable.

In this story, Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet have a son, Chocolate Fudge. He has a smile for everyone. The teachers love to have him in their classes. Fudge enjoys taking his dog to walk around the chocolate ponds every day.

One day, when Lord Humbug is out walking, his three dogs jump into the pond to chase the ducks. They scared the ducks, and the ducks flap their wings to escape. Two of the dogs are strong and good swimmers. The third little dog seems in trouble and on the verge of sinking. Chocolate Fudge must decide what to do to save the little dog.

There are delicious recipes throughout the book. This is a delightful book for children. They love to read the limericks and do the cooking with the adults.

Purchase Links

Paperback: https://tslbooks.uk/product/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Fudge-Saves-Sugar-Dog/dp/1914245547

Ebook: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/michael-cheadle-and-robbie-cheadle/chocolate-fudge-saves-the-sugar-dog/ebook/product-j7k4e6.html?page=1&pageSize=4

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Author Roberta/Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes two monthly posts for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms and Treasuring Poetry and one monthly post, under the name of Roberta Eaton Cheadle, called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Follow Robbie Cheadle at:

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

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New Release – Golden Healer by Marjorie Mallon

I’m delighted to have Marje Mallon on my blog as my guest today. Her new release Golden Healer is the second book in The Curse of Time series. In celebration of the new release, she shares with us the inspiration behind the series. She also shares the fantastic reviews and awards she received for her first book.

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Thank you, Miriam, for inviting me to share my excitement about the new release of The Curse of Time series Book 2 Golden Healer with your friends!

M J Mallon

Book Information

Dedication

Dedicated to the one and only rollercoaster that I ever rode. It was in Portugal, and I was on holiday with my young family. I’ll never forget that day, I overcame my fears and rode a rollercoaster with the encouragement of my much-loved family, my husband, David, and daughters Natasha and Georgina. So, it’s time to ride another rollercoaster… I hope you will come along with me for this crazy ride! Let’s meet our fears together…

Blurb – Golden Healer

Golden Healer is the 2nd in The YA Paranormal Adventure Series – The Curse of Time.

I didn’t think my life could get any weirder, until the dreaded rollercoaster…

Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings.

Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder – a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers – Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again.

As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology, or the world of the paranormal. NOTE: This book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.

Golden Healer (The Curse Of Time Book 2) by [M.J. Mallon]

Purchase Links

Amazon

Books2read

The first book Bloodstone

The first book in the series Bloodstone has received many fantastic reviews and a finalist book award recently from Amazon influencer N. N. Light, receiving a review rating of 5 stars. Yes, she loved it a lot!

Bloodstone (The Curse Of Time Book 1) by [M.J. Mallon]

N. N. Light’s review – Bloodstone:

A magical invitation, that doesn’t tear up, urges Amelina to go to Crystal Cottage to seek out the hidden secrets of her family. Amelina Scott knows her family isn’t what you call normal and neither is her house. No one she knows has a girl trapped in the mirrors. When she receives an invitation to visit Crystal Cottage, she doesn’t know what to make of it. Is it a prank? Is it a trick? She decides to ignore it and throws it in the trash. Only it doesn’t stay in the bin. She tries to cut it up, but it doesn’t cut. It sings, it dances, it is somehow alive. She finally decides to travel to the Crystal Cottage to see what happens. Along the way, she meets Ryder and discovers magic (both light and dark) is all around. She interacts with magical people, beings, and objects while learning the truth of her family. What happens next will astound you, the reader. Are you ready for an adventure?

Bloodstone is an imaginative fantasy adventure I enjoyed from start to finish. From the first page, I connected with Amelina. She’s a delightful heroine. I could relate to her on so many levels. Everything from her curiosity to her reactions to her emotional state rang true. While it’s tricky these days to write an original fantasy story, M.J. Mallon wrote one of the most original fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. Taking bits from fantasy authors of the past, M.J. Mallon adds her own blend of magical realism and emotional coming of age to make Bloodstone a gem. The plot moves at a good pace with each chapter starting with a puzzle. What a creative way to keep the reader invested. The world-building is intricate and riveting. The characters are engaging and easy to connect with. Overall, Bloodstone is a brilliant story and when I finished, I wanted to read it all over again. If you’re a fantasy reader, you need to read Bloodstone. Highly recommend!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these two vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have traveled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumored that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

Her motto is to Do what Your Heart Desires.

And her favorite genre to write is a fantasy/magical realism because life should always be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Authors Links:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Buy Link Bloodstone (multiple platforms): https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW

Next Chapter Publishing Author Page:https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

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Book Reviews: #Romance – Jacquie Biggar, Staci Troilo #YA Horror – Teri Polen

Thank you for the TBR Challenge, Diana Wallace Peach. The Omicron surge is scary. I’m staying home as much as possible and doing decluttering of the Kindle. I’ve read three books in the last 10 days.

Perfectly Imperfect by [Jacquie Biggar]

Jacquie Biggar

Perfectly Imperfect is a lovely novella I enjoyed a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon reading by the fireplace. If you like steamy but not erotic romance, Jacquie Biggar’s Perfectly Imperfect is the right book for you. It has plenty of it from the beginning to the end.

Georgina Michaels borrowed money from the family to start the Bloomin’ Right food product company. The company’s finance is threatening her to file bankruptcy. She seeks business partners to keep it going because it is the way her Granny wanted. It’s her baby.

Ryns Turner is the son of a big business owner Mr. Turner, Sr. who makes investments in buying and selling small companies. Ryns went to Bloomin’ Right on his father’s request to do an inspection intending to have bigger shares and the right to sell it.

On a rainy morning in Seattle, Georgina and Ryns got stuck in the malfunctioned elevator and started a conversation, only to find out later that Georgina is the CEO of the Bloomin’ Right and Ryns is the prospective partner. They both have their own ideas about what to do with the company’s future and none of them wants to back down.

The book presents the two characters’ POV in alternate chapters revealing their thoughts and feelings. Georgina and Ryns seem to admire each other. The attraction intensifies throughout the several days of business interaction while they are critical and judgmental of each other.

The story is well-crafted with enough push-and-pull emotions and actions. Highly recommended.

Amazon Purchase Link

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No Such Luck (Keystone Couples) by [Staci Troilo]

Staci Troilo

Staci Troilo’s No Such Luck is a charming romance that took place right before Christmas, I felt the warmth coming out of the pages.

The beginning of the story was not pleasant when Piper Seidel was fired as a journalist for the third time. She was over-confident, arrogant, and thought she was invincible because she thought she was the best. She was wrong. Her boss fired her, had someone pack up her desk, and had the security escort her to the parking lot. Such a humiliation reminds me of a political situation that happened to the boss of my boss, except she was escorted to her office first thing in the morning, being watched while she packed up a few things. Piper was in shock. She checked the box of stuff. The office packed all her belonging except her good luck charm of the carnation Tommy Burnett gave it to her from their high school dance. Too late, she had lost it.

Piper drove her 20 years old car, hitting the road to head home earlier than scheduled. She was pretty downhearted by losing the job, losing the apartment, with no foreseeable bright future. Her parents were not prepared and had nothing for her to eat. She found herself at the grocery store two hours later, bumping into Tommy on whom she had a crush eleven years prior. She also ran into her best friend, Jack Rhodes, and felt guilty that she didn’t return his many messages.

A night out with her prince charming brought her from fantasy to reality. An honest talk with Jack gave her the right perspective of what she wanted in life. I enjoyed this cozy romance. Highly recommended.

Amazon Purchase Link

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Sarah by [Teri Polen]

Teri Polen

Teri Polen’s Sarah is a YA horror with a well-developed story. Sarah is a teenage ghost murdered and lingered in the attic of the 17-year-old Cain Shannon’s home. Cain’s dad died. Mom is a real estate agent. She purchased the home at a good price because of the ghost story. Cain tries to become the man of the house by helping his mom. He juggles classes, soccer, and takes care of a 7-year-old sister.

His best friend Finn’s parents are divorced. Finn is often with Cain to play games, munch on junk food, and crash on the couch when there are problems at home.

Many eerie things happen in his room. The attic door cracks open, furniture falls sideways, and things in the room are out of place. Sarah shows up to him. He is not afraid of Sarah and asks her about the murder. Eventually, Sarah tells him the names of the three boys who murdered her.

Cain is the soccer captain and Erin doesn’t leave him alone. He likes Lindsey but doesn’t know how to break up with Erin. During a soccer game, he hits the ground and suffers a concussion. After being discharged from the hospital, he has memory lapses and does strange things he normally doesn’t do. He breaks up with Erin in the school hallway. He finishes chemistry homework in the class with perfect answers.

Sarah takes advantage of Cain when he is weak during his memory lapses and uses his body to take revenge. Then she sucks enough energy from Cain to do the killing without Cain’s body. With each killing, she becomes more powerful. Her power gets out of control to threaten the safety of Can’s family.

I read the book almost in one sitting, kept turning the pages until the last few paragraphs. The characters, relationships, and teenage life are realistic. Polen did a wonderful job to build the story gradually to the climax. The horror details are as vivid as any scenes on a movie screen. I could see the semi-transparent ghost swiftly flowing and suspending several feet above the ground. The friendship of Cain, Finn and Lindsey is beautiful. Cain couldn’t have done what he did without the help of Finn and Lindsey. I recommend this book to young people and adults.

Amazon Purchase Link

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