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

Today is the International Day of Awesomeness and the authors at Story Empire decided to honor an awesome blogger, author, and supporter of the indie community: Sally Cronin.

Since I’m out and about today, this is a repost of my book reviews for Sally’s awesome books. Enjoy the browse and, of course, have an AWESOME day!

***

Sally 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 Mosaic: Random Fragments in Harmony

This collection of poetry kept me up late. I’m a fan of syllabic forms and like it best when the structure fades into the background, transitions are seamless, and the meaning and emotion of a piece rises to the forefront. Cronin’s poetry does that effortlessly. All poems within this collection are complemented by an evocative image that adds another layer of meaning to the words.

The book begins with a variety of syllabic poems focused on nature and the author’s reflections on daily life, including love, peace, aging, dreams, and loss. Some of my favorites were: The Day After, Birthdays, The Future?, Immortality-Writers, Spices, and …

A Toast to Life

Bottles
once filled with wine
have now been re-purposed
as decorative reminders
of fun.
A time
when friends raised high their glasses
in an affirming toast
to the richness
of life.

The latter part of the book changes to longer, rhyming poems about the author’s life, with a delightful focus on childhood, the teen years, travel, and friendship. My favorites in this section were Childhood Memories, Rebellion in Frome, The Lure of the Waltzer, and Farewell to Colorful Friends. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy syllabic poetry and reflections on life

***

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

I love 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 Reading!

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

  1. CarolCooks2 says:

    Fabulous reviews of Sally’s work and a well-deserved accolade for Sally she works tirelessly to support others…:) x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jennie says:

    Wonderful tribute to Sally, and well deserved. She is the best!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. […] D. Wallace Peach – Celebrating Sally Cronin blogger and Writer extraordinaire […]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Toni Pike says:

    Diana, this is a fabulous post – thanks for sharing your great reviews, Sally is such a wonderful writer. Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Val Boyko says:

    Thanks so much for sharing Diana💕 This feels such a heart warming connection ✨🙏✨

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jan Sikes says:

    What a fabulous tribute to Sally! I loved all of your reviews, Diana and there is no better way to thank an author than by giving a review of their work. I know Sally must be floating on a cloud but she is so deserving of the spotlight! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a great idea, to share Sally’s books and your reviews. I’ve read most of these and can’t agree enough about their excellence. Her writing touches deep emotional chords that I often have forgotten. Or ignored! for too long.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Adele Marie says:

    Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    Diana’s wonderful reviews of some of Sally Cronin’s gorgeous books. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Such a wonderful writer and figure she is! Your reviews too are amazing, D. Wallace. Plaudits to both of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I see a few I haven’t read yet- wonderful reviews for an awesome lady!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lady Tessa says:

    Sally is going to think I’m stalker-ish since I’ve already visited Staci and Mae’s posts. You’ve done a lovely shoutout Diana! All the best Sally 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  12. “A few stories are dark, some are magical or humorous, and many close with a sense of poignancy”

    I love the above description of ‘What is in a Name? (Volume 1)’

    Great post and excellent reviews, Diana. You make me want to read all of Sally’s books. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Beem Weeks says:

    Wonderful to see Sally promoted here, Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you for doing this for all of us, Diana! You’re awesome, Sally.💞💖😍

    Liked by 2 people

  15. HI Diana, what a wonderful idea and post. It is fabulous to see all your reviews of Sally’s books. I have also enjoyed them all.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Resa says:

    Great post about Sally and her books. They all sound delightful.
    Sam or Just an Odd Job Girl will be my first one, when I get finished turtle reading through my pile here. Yay, I found some of her books on Kobo. Actually, I’m about half way through Eternal Road by John Howell.
    Everything you say about Sally supporting the writing community sounds like you! ❦❦

    Liked by 3 people

  17. balroop2013 says:

    Sally is a wonderful writer and an extremely loving blogger. I’ve always admired her awesomeness. No wonder she is immensely loved around the blogosphere. Thanks for sharing her fabulous books Diana. Congratulations to Sally.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Joan Hall says:

    Excellent reviews, Diana. Great to see Sally getting some much deserved recognition!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Staci Troilo says:

    Lovely post and wonderful reviews, Diana. This was the perfect way to celebrate Sally today.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. janetsm says:

    Reading Sally’s blog always brightens my day. I agree with you that she must have elves in the attic.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. What an epic thing to do for Sally. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Marcia says:

    Another absolutely wonderful post to celebrate Sally Cronin’s utterly awesome … AWESOMENESS! And I love that you chose to share your reviews of her books, Diana! What a great tribute, and a super way to thank Sally for all her support and encouragement she offers to writers and bloggers everywhere. Sally truly is someone who makes a difference in this world, and I’ve loved all these great posts from you SEers! Thanks for a great post!

    And Sally, I hope you see just how important you are to your online friends and followers. You are one amazing lady! 🤗💖🤗

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Mae Clair says:

    Fabulous reviews honoring Sally. And I completely agree with you about those elves, Diana. I mean, seriously—how does this awesome woman get everything done? She is an inspiration!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Wonderful selection of reviews. Those ought to convince some purchasers.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Gwen M. Plano says:

    Beautiful, beautiful post, Diana. It’s lovely to celebrate Sally. In so many ways, she’s a gift to all of us. How delightful it is to showcase her awesomeness. Thank you! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

  26. 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 3 people

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

    Liked by 3 people

  28. PeachyTO says:

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

    Liked by 3 people

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

    Liked by 2 people

  30. 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 3 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 2 people

        • 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

  31. 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 3 people

  32. 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 3 people

  33. 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

  34. Crescent Reads says:

    What a fantastic review, thank you for sharing ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  35. akanshakamal says:

    Wonderful review.. 👍

    Liked by 2 people

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

    Liked by 2 people

  37. 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

  38. 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 3 people

  39. 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 3 people

  40. I hear u says:

    A lady of experience.

    Liked by 3 people

  41. jryb29 says:

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

    Liked by 3 people

  42. 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 3 people

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

    Liked by 3 people

  44. 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

  45. mydangblog says:

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

    Liked by 4 people

  46. Jennie says:

    Fabulous reviews, Diana. Sally is an outstanding writer.

    Liked by 3 people

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

    Liked by 2 people

  48. 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

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

    Liked by 3 people

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