Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – #Reviews – #Shortstories D.L. Finn, #Safety Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Sally Cronin’s Children’s Reading Room where she shared the reviews of Denise’s Tree Fairies by a 14 years-old girl and my book Tina Lost in a Crowd by a customer who shared her own brief terrifying moments of separating from her grandparents. Please hop over to read the reviews and share your thoughts.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Reading Room Update with reviews for books on the shelves.

The first review is for the latest children’s book from D.L. Finn –Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories

About the book

When reality and magic meet in the forest

It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy. Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not…

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Treasuring Poetry: Meet poet and author Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Writing to Be Read with Robbie Cheadle interviewing me for her “Treasuring Poetry” post. I had fun talking about my favorite poems. Please head over to visit and let us know what you think.

Writing to be Read

Today, I am delighted to host poet and author Miriam Hurdle for the July edition of Treasuring Poetry.

Welcome Miriam Hurdle

Hi Robbie,

I’m delighted to be your guest on Writing to be Read to talk about poetry.

Which of your own poems is your favourite

Among the published poems in Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude, several poems are my favorites in equal measure for different reasons. One is in the section of Songs of Marriage, one in Songs of Tribute, and one in Songs of Inspiration.

The time I wrote this post, my heart turns to the poem “Healthy Grieving” in the section of Songs of Tribute.

Healthy Grieving

Randy and my husband were true friends.

No appointment needed for

a barbeque, a movie or a game, just

knocked on each other’s door.

The conversation could go anywhere,

no worry about apologies.

When one needed…

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Book Review – The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by Diana Wallace Peach

I’m delighted to share my review of The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by Diana W. Peach. The book cover intrigued me when Diana first revealed it. She then announced the book release and posted the trailer on her blog. She is the master of trailer creation. I loved it. Diana’s books kept me up at night. I read The Ferryman and the Sea Witch almost in one sitting, only one and a half chapters short of finishing because I promised my hubby to watch the Netflix series with him. We watched until midnight. After he went to sleep, I was tempted to get up to finish the chapters but didn’t because I would want to write the review right after that.

The story is sensational, the language is beautiful, like music playing on the harp.

About the book

Blurb

The merrow rule the sea. Slender creatures, fair of face, with silver scales and the graceful tails of angelfish. Caught in a Brid Clarion net, the daughter of the sea witch perishes in the sunlit air. Her fingers dangle above the swells.

The queen of the sea bares her sharp teeth and, in a fury of wind and waves, cleanses the brine of ships and men. But she spares a boy for his single act of kindness. Callum becomes the Ferryman, and until Brid Clarion pays its debt with royal blood, only his sails may cross the Deep.

Two warring nations, separated by the merrow’s trench, trade infant hostages in a commitment to peace. Now, the time has come for the heirs to return home. The Ferryman alone can undertake the exchange.

Yet, animosities are far from assuaged. While Brid Clarion’s islands bask in prosperity, Haf Killick, a floating city of derelict ships, rots and rusts and sinks into the reefs. Its ruler has other designs.

And the sea witch crafts dark bargains with all sides.

Callum is caught in the breach, with a long-held bargain of his own which, once discovered, will shatter this life.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Ferryman-Sea-Witch-Wallace-Peach-ebook/dp/B095J5X8DW

My Review

Diana Wallace Peach’s The Ferryman and the Sea Witch is a well-constructed fantasy world with implications of reality. Her writing is beautiful and poetic. The leaders of the two countries had the power to defeat and overcome each other. Their needs and limitations held them back from exerting their power. They also didn’t want to jeopardize something of life and death of their own in the destruction of other countries. In order to keep the peace, the two countries traded infant hostages as a commitment until the prince and princess turned 16 years old. The time finally came, and Callum was the one who could do the swapping.

Brid Clarion’s officers captured a merrow, the Sea Watch Panmar’s daughter, in the mesh. Callum, the ferryman, demanded to free her, but the captain refused. The Sea Witch and merrow came in a swell to rescue. Finally, the caption allowed Callum to cut through the net. The Sea Witch’s silver tail splashed the swell, and her fin ripped the ship, which sank to the Deep.

Callum survived. The Sea Witch’s daughter died because Callum delayed in setting her free. Since Callum attempted to save her daughter, Panmar allowed him to be the only one to cross the Deep between the countries of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick. The punishment for Callum was that he couldn’t step on land, and the price for crossing was a human sacrifice until royal blood satisfied her vengeance.

The queen of Haf Killick Caspia gifted a ship to Callum because he was the only captain who could cross the merrow’s trench for the trade without wrecking. She needed the fruits, vegetables, cloth, and other livelihood items for her country and the return of her daughter. She wanted to kill Thayne, the king of Brid Clarion, and take over his country, but her ships couldn’t cross the Deep.

The king of Brid Clarion, Thayne, didn’t pay the royal blood to satisfy the Sea Witch’s vengeance and cost hundreds of lives of Brid Clarion and Haf Killick as sacrifices. He kept the trade going with Haf Killick because he needed the treasure from that country and the return of his son.

Diana W. Peach skillfully constructed the twists and turns of the story throughout the book. It surprised me to find out Callum had a secret that kept him going as the ferryman and negotiator for the bargains that Panmar, Thayne, and Caspia wanted. His secret was revealed gradually in the second half of the book. The secrets and deceits from the two countries toward each other motivated them to continue their dealings as long as they could. Panmar, the Sea Witch, was not a wicked witch who started evil. She exercised her power only when humans didn’t keep their bargains. Caspia was the worst evil and manipulator of all three leaders. She got away with almost every mistake she made.

It was their secrets that kept me turning the pages until the last chapter. I was satisfied with its surprising ending. You would be into a treat by reading this book.

Ratings: Amazon Goodreads

The Trailer

Meet Diana Wallace Peach

Best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Author Links:

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Myths-of-the-Mirror/187264861398982

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach

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Thank you for your visit and reading. We welcome your generous comment.

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Thriller Iain Kelly, #Poetry Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Sally Cronin’s blog as she is updating the author’s details in her Cafe and Bookstore. Please head over to visit her and check out the fascinating features on her blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily…

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Book Review – A Ghost and His Gold by Reberta Eaton Cheadle

Blurb

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summons a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904. Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle? After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behavior towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.

A Ghost and His Gold by [Robert Eaton Cheadle]

Purchase Links

Amazon  

Lulu

My Review

This is the first historical fiction by Roberta Eaton Cheadle I’ve read. It’s presented in a double timeline of one which is in 2019 with Tom and Michelle just moved into a new townhome in Irene, South Africa; and the other is between 1895 to 1902, where the three ghosts Pieter, his daughter Estella, and a British soldier Robert came from during the Second Anglo Boers War in South Africa. The chapters are intertwined with Michelle’s telling the current story, and the three ghosts tell their separate stories.

Cheadle has done extensive research of the history in this period and covers many details by dates. The stories are character-based events through their lives, interactions, and dialogue.

At the onset of the story, Michelle described her experience in the new house as seeing shadows of people who were not there. On the night of the housewarming party, Michelle entertained several friends with her gourmet cooking and tasteful home decoration. Because of playing the Ouija Board game, a ghost appeared as a spirit who moved the hands of the players to spell his name as Pieter and said that he was from that house. In the following weeks, Michelle saw and heard of two other Ghosts, Robert and Estelle. These three ghosts were lingering for over one hundred years.

Michelle wanted to write a book about the Second Anglo Boers War. She went to the library to do some research and asked about Pieter. The librarian, who was a historian, told her that Pieter knew Khakis was approaching, and he needed to leave town. Paul Kruger gave him 30,000 gold Kruger coins for his safekeeping, and he buried the gold somewhere on his farm at the location of Michelle’s home. The librarian recommended some books for her reading.

All three ghosts wanted Michelle’s attention. Pieter wanted his story told for a century, but nobody could hear him except Michelle. He told his story about the war, his injury, his given the gold Kruger coins to rehabilitate the citizens when the war was over. Robert left his diary written a century ago on her pillow, with the entries about how the British propaganda deceived the young soldiers to fight the war and that he admired the Afrikaans’ courage. Estelle intruded into her dream, screamed at her, but revealed that she was raped by a soldier and her stepmother was ashamed of her. Somehow Estelle was mad at her husband Tom and assaulted him. In the meantime, Michelle must deal with Tom’s alcoholism, which turned into something he used to mask his guilt in the past.

I thought all these three ghosts have something to do with the gold. The surprising ending reveals how the past of the three ghosts crossed and the reasons they lingered or were trapped on earth without being able to move on to the afterlife. This is an enjoyable reading.

Ratings: Amazon Goodreads

About Roberta Eaton Cheadle

I am a South African writer specializing in historical, paranormal and horror novels and short stories. I am an avid reader in these genres and my writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, the Bronte sisters, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough. 

I was educated at the University of South Africa where I achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honors Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. I was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000. 

I have worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and have written seven publications relating to investing in Africa. I have won several awards over my twenty-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

I have been published a number of anthologies and have two published YA books, While the Bombs Fell and Through the Nethergate. I have recently published my first adult novel called A Ghost and His Gold which is partly set in South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War.

Find Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Roberta-Eaton-Cheadle/e/B08RSNJQZ5

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites

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Thank you for your visit. Roberta and I welcome your generous comment.

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Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – #Safety Miriam Hurdle, #Malta Darlene Foster, #Environment Kathleen Jae

I’m over at Sally’s blog in the Children’s Reading Room. Please head over to read the updates. It’s a wonderful place to meet children’s book authors and find out more about their delightful children’s and YA books.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Reading Room update with reviews for books on the shelves for children up to the age of twelve.

The first author with a review is Miriam Hurdle for her first children’s book Tina Lost in a Crowd t

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 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?

This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults…

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Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam Hurdle: A Children’s Book.

I’m over at Claire Fullerton’s blog. She is featuring Tina Lost in a Crowd with her delightful and insightful review. She also included Carla’s review from Carla Loves to Read. Please head over to visit her. While there, browse around to learn more about her many awarding-winning books

Claire Fullerton Author

Book Description:

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 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.

My review of this delightful children’s book:

Third grader, Tina Tyler, looks forward to summer. It is the last day of classes, and she has had such a great school year that…

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Saturday Morning for Kids: Tina Lost in a Crowd #BookReview @mhurdle112

I’m over at Carla’s blog “Carla Loves to Read.” She read Tina Lost in a Crowd to her grandchildren and reviewed the book. Please head over to read this review and other information about books and reviews on her lovely blog.

Carla Loves To Read

This meme was started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers. As I am a grandmother, who loves to read to her grandchildren, a mother who loved to read to and with her children, and a retired teacher librarian, this meme really attracted me. If you love children’s books, or have a favourite from your childhood, join us in introducing them to a new generation of readers.


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Amanda in Malta by Darlene Foster – New Release Tour

I’m excited to have Darlene Foster on my blog to share with you about her new release Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (An Amanda Travels Adventure Book 8). When Amanda turned twelve, she made a wish as she blew the birthday cake candles. Here she is with her wishes come true – traveling all over the world.

I was curious about writing the Amanda series, so I asked Darlene to share with you her experience.

Is it difficult to write a series?

Writing a series can be fun. I love getting to know the main characters, Amanda Ross and her friend Leah Anderson. But I worry that the stories might get too predictable. I know my readers expect some things to be familiar, but each book needs to come with something new to keep it fresh and entertaining.

Coming up with new settings is easy for me as I love to travel. I often travel with an Amanda adventure in mind, taking tons of notes and pictures to be referred to later when writing the story. Coming up with a storyline that is original and exciting is not always easy.

A few things that have helped me get new ideas:

● Hanging out with young people to learn what they get excited about. I get many of my ideas from young people.

● Watching TV shows and movies that feature kids, but not necessarily kids’ shows. I once got a great idea while watching Midsommer Murders!

● Reading lots of books in a variety of genres including the classics as well as recently published novels, both adult and children´s books.

● Reading newspapers and magazine articles. I clip and save interesting and bizarre stories and go through the stack of clippings once in a while. There is usually something that will pop out and generate a new idea or two.

● Listening to conversations in coffee shops, on the bus, on the street, on the beach – wherever. Conversations between adults, kids, or teenagers can inspire excellent ideas. I have become great at eavesdropping.

● Asking “what if” often. What if Amanda did something she knew she shouldn’t? What if a character said something they wouldn’t normally say?  What if she walked down that alley? What if…?. Sometimes a character has to do something out of character to keep it interesting.

● Making sure every book tackles at least one new problem or issue.

● Introducing intriguing new characters in each book. Even minor characters can create interest and keep the series from getting stale.

● Bringing back a character from a previous book. I introduced Caleb, Amanda´s classmate, in the New Mexico book. He was so popular that he has returned in the Malta book.

● Being consistent in the details can be a challenge. A good memory helps, as do notes. I had Amanda wearing glasses in the first book and I don’t think I mentioned them in the next two! I have a list of all the characters names to be sure I don´t accidentally change any.

My Review

The twelve-year-old Amanda is a world traveler who visited an exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean. It came as a surprise when she received a postcard from her best friend Leah asking her to come to Malta, hinting there was something wrong. She did not know how to get to Malta from Canada. Her friend Caleb and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sorensen, were going on a vacation in Malta and would like Amanda to come along.

After arriving in Malta, Amanda went to find the house according to the address from the postcard but was told Leah was not there. It was like in some detective story that a mystery boy slipped a piece of paper written with lipsticks into her pocket, urged her to try again. It turned out that Leah asked this boy, Max, to connect with Leah to meet at St. Lucian Tower. The Sorensens wanted to go to a museum. While they toured the cave, Amanda went to the Tower and saw Leah. Leah revealed that the people in the house where they stayed wanted her aunt to steal an ancient figurine of Sleeping Lady.

I find that Darlene’s book is educational for middle schoolers and adults. I followed the tour along and learned many interesting facts about this island.

· Ghar Dalam means ‘cave of darkness’ and It is over 500,000 years old. It holds evidence of the first humans on the island, such as Neanderthal teeth, from 7,400 years ago.

· The Falconry Center has many rescued birds. Maltese falcon is called the peregrine falcon, known for its speed, it can reach over 320 kilometers per hour or 200 miles per hour.

· the Knights of St. John built The St. John Cathedral in 1572. As each knight gained wealth, he and his family donated art and decorations. The inlaid marble graves showed many knights were buried here.

· The 1980 Robert Williams’ Popeye movie was filmed in Malta.

Amanda’s crime adventure weaved through the sightseeing and the historical facts made this reading interesting and enjoyable. I highly recommend this book.

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (An Amanda Travels Adventure Book 8) by [Darlene Foster]

The Blurb:

 Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.


Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colorful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?

Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.

Be sure to read all the books in this exciting Amanda Travels series!
1. Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask
2. Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting
3. Amanda in England: The Missing Novel
4. Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone
5. Amanda on the Danube: The Sounds of Music
6. Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind
7. Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action
8. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

The buy links

Amazon Canada here  

Amazon UK here   

Amazon US here 

Barnes and Noble here 

Chapters/Indigo here  

About the Author

Darlene Foster grew up on a ranch in Alberta, Canada, where her love of reading inspired her to see the world and write stories about a young girl who travels to interesting places. Over the years she worked in rewarding jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, writing whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a house in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she enjoys spending time with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.

Contact the Author at:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter

Twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/darlene6490/

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Thank you for reading this post. We love to hear about your thoughts.

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Smorgasbord #Children’s Reading Room – Book #Review – Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam H. Hurdle

I’m excited that Sally Cronin features Tina Lost in a Crowd in her Children’s Reading Room with a fabulous review. Please head over to visit this post. While you’re there, browse around her other magazine features on nutrition, music, humor and a lot more.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Miriam Hurdlehas been on the shelves of the main Cafe and Bookstore for some years but now adds her new book Tina Lost in a Crowd to the shelves of the Children’s Reading Room.

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 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?

This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children…

View original post 411 more words

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