With another eight reviews to go, there isn’t
much to say, except that I hope my thoughts on these books will whet your
appetites in reading them yourself.
Rocissono, Beyond the Wicked Willow
A rewarding read
MJ Rocissono knows his myths and uses them
deftly in his poignant coming-of-age story. It is a delight to read a well-written
saga that weaves in and out of various historical periods in an effortless way.
The young adult characters come across believable as well as amiable — their
mythical mentors and adversaries are powerful symbols for learning to
understand the everyday world they live in. Highly Recommended.
Romano, A risky Christmas Affair.
A well written (crime) caper.
Serena must think on her feet and take
uncalculated risks in this literary romp that takes the reader from Rome to
London and to Spain in less time that it takes to say fiddlesticks. The gallery
of characters includes Serena’s unfaithful husband, a luckless robber, and an
English MP. Naturally there are diamonds galore as well as big wads of money. Nina
Romano pulls all stops and hits bullseye
with this Christmas romp. The book is light and tempting: a perfect meringue.
Recommended for escapist reading on a dreary day.
Serena lives in Rome. Married. Unfaithful
husband. Attempted robbery. Shooting the robber in the hand. Transporting
diamonds to London. Selling them for her husband. Scampering off to Spain.
Bray, Blood Ribbon
Serial Killer on the loose
A thriller with a feisty heroine. That
being said, part of the thrill lies in experiencing fragments of the plot through
the serial killer’s eyes. Add to that, his foible for red ribbons and dunes as
well as his long-enduring success. His prospective victim survives and
dedicates her recovery period to find her would-be killer. Only a PI, a former
criminal investigator, goes all out to help her. He suspects that several
unexplained murders may be connected. Bray shows his psychological insight in the
way he handles his main characters. Highly recommended
Gauci, The Carpet Weaver of Usak
Poignant and well-researched
Anatolia at the beginning of the Great War.
The Greek and the Turks live in peace in a double village. They work together
but there is a clear divide. Then the assassination in Sarajevo pivots their
world into the war that would kill a generation of young men and destroy the
Ottoman Empire. This is the backdrop for the Carpet Weaver of Usak, a
heart-wrenching saga, of loss and war, but also of great love. To be precise,
it’s more than that. Gauci shows a deep knowledge, both of the historical
events and the carpet weaving procedure and trade. Her narrative illustrates
how the trust between two peoples that lived in harmony was destroyed. This is
a poignant narrative that touches on humanity in its many forms. Love and hate,
the horrors of war, friendship and neighbourly help is part of the warp and weft
of this highly recommended novel.
Mettner, Meatloaf & Mistletoe + Hotcakes & Holly
Mettner has a gentle voice
Two Christmas books. Two love affairs (that
end in happy marriages) between scarred and insecure humans. One small town, a diner with a difference, inspired by the
legendary Florence Nightingale.
Likeable and insecure, our first
protagonist must take over from her employer in the Nightingale Diner. She
doesn’t believe she can win love from her childhood friend and knight in
shining armour. He has similar doubts (not for the same reason) but takes up
the challenge. Her past, especially her mother, prevents her from thinking
In Hotcakes & Holly two employees in
the same diner, a waitress and the cook, experience their personal brand of
heartache. She because of her horrendous childhood etc. Moreover, she’s ill and
depressed because of an untreated thyroid defect. It takes trials and
tribulations for the two to find their balance.
Both books are touching and heart-warming.
Ms Mettner writes easy-going, lilting prose that fits her theme. Two enjoyable
Peterson Sheppard, Flint of Dreams
Dreams and Reality Intertwined in a Dizzying
A reluctant hero. A young man who must find his feet between
the easy choices that his background offers him (a criminal career) and the
harder, spiritual path that he’s predestined for. His counterpart is Breezy, a
voluntary fiend who works with chemically induced second sight and enjoying
gratuitous violence. Pare it down to these elements and you have the
traditional good versus evil epic. In Charles Peterson Sheppard’s hands, it
becomes much more than that. There’s nothing generic about the plot, and the
Native American scenes and dreams give a rare insight into a magnificent
people. Flint’s abilities propel him into unchartered territory, but his
self-doubt hampers him until it’s almost too late. On the other hand, his
counterpart has all the cards in his hands — and he plays them.
There is a gallery of minor characters
surrounding the hero and the villain. They’re fleshed out and believable,
especially the Chinese girl whose encounter with Breezy almost sends her over
the edge. Add a cast of agents, parents, scientists, insects, students,
drunkards, siblings, and you have a fast-paced, from time to time terrifying
and violent sit-on-the-edge-of-your-chair, modern tour de force.
Bazinet, Michael’s Blood
A Vampire with a Difference
A reformed vampire, guardian angels,
friendly humans, philosophy, questions about humanity, ethical awareness, and
blood. Not human blood but the essence of an angel. These are some of the
elements that make Michael’s Blood
unusual. Arel, the protagonist vampire, lives on rats when we first meet him.
This is the only allusion to Anne Rice and a certain interview. From the rat encounter,
Bazinet takes the reader into a new experience. Here, killing rats may well be
a symbol of Arel’s fall from grace. His guardian angel follows him through every
humiliation and offers a way to redemption. For a vampire, it’s hard to go
through such a transformation, especially as it is a gift bestowed by an angel.
Why? An angels’ blood forces the vampire to confront his past. Through this
experience, painful as it is, Arel gets to know a brave new world for vampires,
one where it is possible to grow and maybe regain an element of lost humanity. It
takes struggle, an alternative struggle between angels and this strange
derivation from humankind. Clearly, the angels never lost their love for other
beings. Is this the kind of love they once displayed for the daughters of men but
refined so that it will transmute angels as well as men?
Bazinet writes with assurance and panache
in this rare treat.
Hale, Church Mouse
Horror, Horror, Harrowing, and Compelling
Is this a horror story, a vampire novel, or
something else? It is a modern myth, steeped in cynicism. The Church Mouse of the
title is a young and gifted girl, who’s given up on life. Homeless, she leaps
to the chance of becoming verger in the church of her childhood. It doesn’t
matter to her that she has seen and heard horrors there already. It may seem to
be an easy job and a hideout from a too complex world. When she crosses the
threshold, she enters a nightmare: things go from bad to worse in quick
succession. The reader gets drawn in, and it isn’t easy to disengage. Step by
step and increment by increment, the true owners of the church’s underbelly
creep up on the protagonist and RH Hale’s readers. Cleaning a church after
weddings and church coffee sounds like an easy job, but this is just a cover
for the nightly workload. Are her new employers what they seem? Are they cultured
and knowledgeable, sometimes charming bohemians, or is there more to them than
meets the eye? The question will find an answer as the reader moves through
several rings of a Dantesque hell in the maze under the church. Rona is an
outsider, but her flirtation with vampires transforms her from an isolated
youth (every man or woman is an island) to a mighty power and, finally, she may
become part of a deadly covenant. Did RH Hale choose the protagonist’s name
with this in mind? Highly recommended.
Everybody agrees that it is important to
support indie authors. Everybody agrees that
buying a book and writing a review for it, makes all the difference for the
author. Why does it then seem next to impossible to get reviews, unless one begs?
If begging is required, here is my plea. I
believe that Snares and Delusions is well worth a read. I know that some people
must’ve read it but very few have taken a few minutes to write about it. It is
true that I’ve received some interest lately, and that has made an impact on
sales. What could, would, and or wouldn’t happen if people left a review? If you hated the book, write about it. If you
loved it, write about it. If indifferent, well, maybe you can’t be bothered,
but write about it anyway.
Authors don’t want to live in a vacuum. They love words. They would adore your words about their book. Maybe the market is swamped with books by unknown authors, but it is possible to see that as something positive. A cornucopia of books, what’s not to love about that? Rescue an author today. Write a review. Short critiques will be accepted with gratefulness, long and in-depth ones, with greed: vociferous and drooling. Make an author happy. Make my day?
© HMH 2019