My 5-star reviews of books by Sally Cronin, blogger and writer extraordinaire

Sally Cronin and her blog Smorgasbord Invitation is a household name around WordPress. She’s one of the most generous bloggers this side of Sunday, and how she manages to keep up her wide range of posts continues to amaze me. I think she has a workshop of elves in the attic.

If you’re not already a fan, check out her blog for book and author promotions, reviews, music, humor, food and health tips, short stories, and poetry. All that, and….

she’s an exquisite writer.

I couldn’t think of a better way to thank Sally for her kindness than to share my reviews of some of her books. You can’t go wrong with any of these.

5-Star reads by author Sally Cronin

(In no particular order)

(click on cover for global link to Amazon)

Life is like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet

I’m a fan of Cronin’s short stories and snagged this anthology the day it came out. The author describes it as a collection of short tales that reflect “the complexities of life, love, and loss.” That’s a fit description. There are stories of kindness, family, grief, courage, and second chances. The characters are ordinary and relatable, but they’re also extraordinary in those moments that define who they are as people.

The first story in the anthology, The Weekly Shopping, is hilarious if not a little ominous, but the rest of the selections are touching. Many are heartwarming, and I wanted to hug the characters. I enjoyed the whole collection but my favorites were: The Scratch Card, The Charity Shop, The Date, and The Gardening Assistant. Between the stories are selections of syllabic poetry. A crown cinquain entitled The Birds was just beautiful. I highly recommend this anthology to anyone who loves well-written short stories about life.

***

Just an Odd Job Girl

Click on cover to order

One of the books that flew west with me was Sally Cronin’s Just an Odd Job Girl. In more ways than one, it’s a great summer story.

I picked up this book while on vacation and thoroughly enjoyed it. A quick read at 156 pages, the book begins with an older Imogen. At 50, she’s on her own, traded-in by her husband for a younger “fast-tracker.” After 25 years of raising children and keeping house, she feels frumpy and bored, and decides to find a job.

The temp agency asks for a resume of her work experience, and all she has is a long list of pre-marriage odd jobs, starting with a summer stint as a teenager at a seaside gift kiosk and rambling through temporary positions with a dental office, department store, bar, funeral parlor, boys school, and country inn.

As the reader joins Imogene on a reflective journey through her odd jobs, it’s impossible not to laugh at her antics, the colorful characters she meets along the way, and the predicaments she gets herself into and out of. What I enjoyed most, was young Imogene’s humanity. She’s a wonderful combination of funny, compassionate, resourceful, and fearless. I couldn’t wait to see the fix she got into next.

In addition to laughs, Just an Odd Job Girl has a lovely message for young adults as well as those of us getting on in age: that life is full of opportunities, that wonderful people are everywhere, and that you are never to old to grow. Get your copy for the beach or backyard hammock. You won’t be disappointed.

***

Life’s Rich Tapestries: Woven in Words

Cronin is a master storyteller and this collection of poems, flash fiction, and short stories makes for a delightful afternoon. The first part of the book is comprised of syllabic poetry with themes based on nature, the human experience, a love of animals, and a bit of magic. Following her poetry, Cronin offers a number of 99-word flash fiction stories, and then dives into her short stories for the bulk of the read.

The short stories were my favorite part of the book as the author writes with a great deal of heart, which comes through beautifully in her plots and characters. Most of her work is positive in nature with a focus on the goodness found in life. Like her poetry, Cronin’s short stories are arranged around themes: dogs, cats, and speculative fiction (which includes a broad range of tales). My favorites were Great Aunt Georgina, and The ‘1812 Overture’ but there are many others that I thoroughly enjoyed. A highly recommended book for all ages.

***

What’s in a Name? (Volume 1)

What’s in a Name is a delightful collection of 20 short stories organized alphabetically by the names of the main characters. A few stories are dark, some are magical or humorous, and many close with a sense of poignancy. Cronin is a marvelous storyteller, and for a reader, spending an afternoon immersed in the lives of the people behind the names is time well-spent. For me, the last story in the collection “Jack” was the icing on the cake, but all the stories are unique and well worth the read. Highly recommended for any reader who enjoys short stories about the human journey.

***

What’s in a Name? (Volume 2)

I read the first volume of What’s in a Name and was eager to give the second a try. Volume 2 is a collection of short stories that picks up when the first ended, covering names starting with K through Z (Kenneth through Zoe). Cronin includes a bonus short story for a collection coming out later in 2018.

This is a quick read that I breezed through in a few hours, sitting outside in the spring sunshine. Many of the stories have older characters, covering a range of topics from heartwarming reunions, grief and loss, recovered dignity, and romantic love beyond the grave. There’s also a bit of happily ever after and match-making, as well as some swindling, and a taste of well-deserved murder! The variety is highly entertaining and kept me engaged throughout.

Cronin is a master storyteller and I recommend this collection (both volumes) to readers of all ages.

***

Sam, A Shaggy Dog’s Story

This read is a little more than an hour, but it’s an hour of cuteness and laughs. I’ve lived with dogs for most of my life, and the attitudes and antics of Sam, a Collie, were delightfully familiar. This tribute to a dog’s life is narrated by Sam himself, starting when he was a newborn and stretching into his old age. I rarely laugh out loud while reading, and this book was an exception.

Sam has a very funny (as well as adorable) perspective on life with accounts of his cat friend Henry, his love of chicken and sausages, his dislike of veterinarians, his job as a paper shredder, and his occasional encounters with “that Bloody Danny,” a little canine with poor manners. He relays his experiences with “cat speak” as well as his acquisition of several human words which are strategically employed to earn pieces of cheese.

The book is organized into short chapters by topic. This is a lighthearted and endearing read for anyone who loves dogs.

***

Flights of Fancy

I’ve read several of Cronin’s books of short stories, and this collection of eleven tales is as enjoyable as the others. I read it in a single afternoon, completely immersed. As usual, the author includes a wonderful variety of tales from touching stories of eternal love in The Other Side of Heaven and Curtains, to adorable cuteness in Henry’s Story, and humor in Psychic Parrot. Highly recommended for anyone who loves short stories and well-told tales.

***

About Sally

Sally Cronin is the author of fourteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb first published in 2001. This has been followed by another thirteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry. Her latest collection, Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet, reflects on the absurdities and sometimes tragedies that drop into our lives.

As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities in the Café and Bookstore on her blog and across her social media.

After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.

Thank you, Sally, for all your wonderful support of this blogging/writing/reading community.

Happy Summer Reading!

342 thoughts on “My 5-star reviews of books by Sally Cronin, blogger and writer extraordinaire

  1. I’m proud (and happy) to say I’ve read almost all of Sally’s books. She inspires me as a writer and as a writer who decided to publish her own book of short (short) stories. Keep ’em coming, Sally!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awesome, Pam. Sally is inspiring on a whole bunch of levels. And it’s so good to go into one of her books and know it’s going to be be great. Thanks for checking out the post, my friend. Hugs. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Besides being amazing, she’s a wonderful author, isn’t she?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. PeachyTO says:

    I’m happy to see this post and start following another member of this amazing community! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sally is immensely talented! I love her “voice!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, Happy Reading indeed! 😀😀 You’ve given us a feast of wonderful reviews and wow, Sally’s prolific writing shines out in all these books. Some I’ve read and others very tempted to pick up. A fabulous way to celebrate Sally’s work and yes, giving thanks to all her fantastic support of authors and their books! David and Sally’s amazing help and support has made all the difference to me!

    Wishing you wonderful weekend and hope you’re coping with the superheat! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks very much Annika and I was very touched by Diana’s post and it reminded me yet again what an amazing writing community we belong to. Can’t imagine not being part of it.. have a lovely weekend..♥♥

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the visit, Annika. I couldn’t think of a better way to feature Sally than share my reviews. Especially since I’ve enjoyed all of her books without exception. 😀 (I seem to recall that David helped you with a book cover? Is that right?) Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Annika Perry says:

        Thank you, I’m having a lovely weekend – my son is home for three weeks, the most I’ll have seen him all year so one very chirpy mother hen here!😀

        David was amazing — when I was let down with ‘The Storyteller Speaks’ Sally & David stepped in quickly! David did all the formatting for the book and put it out on Amazon for me (well, I did press the publish button but only with him on the other end of a phone line to talk me through it all!) The cover I arranged through a excellent graphic artist in Australia. Later David was incredible with formatting ‘Oskar’s Quest’ – illustrated books are always a nightmare and I would never have managed this by myself!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh good, I thought I remembered David stepping in to help with The Storyteller Speaks. (I’m glad I didn’t get that completely wrong!) That kind of help is worth its weight in gold. And enjoy having your son home! Have a thoroughly chirpy time! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  6. dgkaye says:

    Had to scroll pretty far down to comment. ❤ A fabulous compilation of your stellar reviews for Sally's beautiful books. A beautiful tribute to Sally's writing, and congrats to Sal who must be over the moon! Hugs ❤ xx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Well, I’ll sing along. I’ve read and reviewed Sally’s What’s in a Name books, and I thought they were terrific. I heartily agree with your recommendations. And they’re perfect books for summer–just the thing for a beach read. : )

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Diana, The Ferryman and the Sea Witch just came. I am super excited. I will start reading it and prepare a guest post for my blog. I really cannot wait to read it.
    Excellent review.
    xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What a fantastic review, thank you for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  10. akanshakamal says:

    Wonderful review.. 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  11. A wonderful post celebrating Sally, Diana! It brought an instant smile. 🙂 Cheers to Sally! xo

    Liked by 2 people

  12. markbierman says:

    I agree with you 100% about Sally’s generosity and abilities, Diana. I am impressed and don’t know how she does it. ‘Life Is Like A Bowl Of Cherries,’ was a Five star for me, and now I’m looking to read more of her works. Congratulations, Sally! Thank you so much, Diana, for sharing your thoughts. Have a great day.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You write the best reviews, Diana! Sally deserves all the stars in the universe for all of her books and for all she has done for the writers and for the blogging community! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Wow. How on earth have I missed out on Sally’s blog all these years?! Clearly I have been living under a rock! 🤦🏻‍♀️Thank you for writing this post and introducing me to her. She seems as lovely and awesome as you are. ❤️

    PS…your book is supposed to arrive on Friday so I will be gobbling it up very soon. I can’t wait 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I hear u says:

    A lady of experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. jryb29 says:

    Amazing reviews! I think “What’s in a name” will be a very interesting read for me

    Liked by 2 people

  17. C.E.Robinson says:

    Incredible reviews, Diana. I’ve been following Sally for years. She’s a prolific writer, many great books & an informative website. She supports fellow bloggers and authors. And it’s nice to see her being supported here. 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 2 people

  18. These are wonderful reviews. Thank you so much for sharing💕

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I love this post supporting Sally! I have been following her reviews for a number of years!! Thanks for highlighting her!!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. mydangblog says:

    She sounds so creative and talented. I didn’t know her but heading to her blog this morning!

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Jennie says:

    Fabulous reviews, Diana. Sally is an outstanding writer.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Thank you Cindy.. lovely to be a guest of Diana’s and to meet new people.. enjoy your week.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. wow what a plethora of great reads and the Shaggy Dog sounds like a fun quick read.
    So awesome to share her great work Diana and hope your book is taking off. 💖💖

    Liked by 3 people

  24. They sound good, and the covers are beautiful. (The dog’s adorable face made me smile.)

    Liked by 3 people

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