Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Shortstories Cathy Cade, #Science Fiction A.C. Flory, #Historical Apple Gidley

Welcome to the first of the author updates with recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author today is Cathy Cade for her short story collection Witch Way and other Ambiguous Stories.

About the Collection

Characters who aren’t all they seem – or are they? You decide.

A tale inspired by the White Rabbit, one set in the shadow of Vesuvius, and one in a garden pond.

Meet Mirlings and Brownies, a misguided confidante, an unlikely Samaritan, a trainee mortician, and a witch  …or not.

A recent review for the collection.

Phil 5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant collection  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 May 2020

Cathy is an excellent writer. The well written short stories and poetry in this book are varied and eclectic, the product of a wonderfully fertile imagination.

My favourite but only just, is probably Witch Way, I loved it from the moment of my first reading and have reread it several times.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Also by Cathy Cade

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read reviews and follow Cathy: Goodreads

Connect to Cathy via her website: Cathy Cade

The next author is A.C. Flory with a review for Vokhtah – Book 1 of The Suns of Vokhtah

About the book

Vokhtah is not a gentle planet. Ravaged by twin suns, it tests all living things in the battle for survival, but none more so than the iVokh.

Intelligent, and clever with their hands, the iVokh [literally meaning ‘small Vokh’] live in eyries under the protection of their huge, winged cousins, the Vokh. However when the Vokh battle each other, the first casualties are always the small creatures who serve them.

The only place on the whole planet where iVokh can truly be safe is in the Settlement, an eyrie ruled by the Guild of Healers rather than a Vokh. Yet even there, change is coming, and not for the better. Thanks to the healers’ obsession with abominations, even the Settlement may soon become a battle ground.

As one of the few healers not terrified of abominations, the Blue is determined to save the Guild from itself. It leaves the safety of the Settlement with a caravan of Traders, intent on manipulating the Vokh into dealing with the abomination themselves. However life, and iVokh politics, are never simple.

Aided by just one reluctant ally, the Blue struggles to survive in a savage landscape where even the elements are vicious. If it dies without completing its mission, the Settlement could well die with it. Yet what can two, frail iVokh do in a world where the predators are all starving, and iVokh are very much on the menu?

Time is running out, for both the Blue and the Settlement.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Mar 11, 2020 Audrey Driscoll rated it Five Stars – it was amazing Recommends it for: Readers of serious science fiction.

This book is remarkable for the imagined world on which it’s set. Vokhtah has two suns. Its dominant life forms are the Vokh, creatures I visualized as similar to pterodactyls, and their smaller cousins and supporters, the iVokh. Most of the story is about the latter. These creatures are not human. Humans do not exist on this world, but human readers can relate to the thoughts, dilemmas, and emotions of the iVokh who are the primary actors.

The Vokh reign like feudal lords over their eyries, which are managed and maintained by the iVokh, who are divided into a variety of physical types with different abilities, including (in the case of a few) telepathy and mind control. Traders are a clan who distribute goods among the eyries, and Healers are a guild with skills and knowledge to maintain life, and end it when necessary. The interactions of the groups are governed by iron-bound protocols and traditions and complicated by secrets and enmities. Sex, especially for the Vokh, is a brutal, violent business, but outside of mating occurrences, there is no gender. The only personal pronoun is “it.”

This is not a quick, easy read. I re-read the first half of the book before writing this review to make sure I understood some of the details. The characters, even the sympathetic ones, don’t actually have names. They are designated by ranks and titles, some of which change over the course of the story. The reader is plunged into this alien world on the first page and has to figure out how things work while following the action. Some might give up in confusion, but the dilemma of the Drudge who is the first character encountered is eminently relatable. By the time that’s resolved, I was thoroughly engaged in the world and the story, keen to find out more about the strangely fascinating creatures with two hearts and inflatable wings.

The book features a constructed language (conlang), but it does not appear frequently enough to be daunting. There is a helpful glossary at the end, which also explains how the creatures vocalize. Otherwise, the prose is clear and straightforward, with description kept direct and businesslike. There is no hyperbole. Dialogue is minimal, even though the iVokh have a characteristic (and curiously attractive) way of expressing themselves.
Setting aside the alien aspects, the theme of this book is change and difference. Individual characters, and the groups to which they belong, must come up with ways to cope with situations they find unacceptable or challenging. Both the physical environment and the social structure are harsh and unforgiving. Transgressions come with a high price.

It appears this is the first book in a series, and indeed much remains unresolved at the end. I hope a second volume is forthcoming

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by A.C. Flory

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow A.C. Flory: Goodreads

Connect to A.C. Flory (Meeks) via her blog: A.C. Flory WordPress

The final author today is Apple Gidley for the historical novel Transfer

About the book

Transfer traces the lives of those on Anna’s Fancy, the Clausen estate on Saint Croix in the Danish West Indies, handed down through three generations. An historical novel and the sequel to Fireburn (OC Publishing 2017), Transfer sees Niels Clausen, the illegitimate child of a Danish landowner and his black mistress who both died as a result of the 1878 worker revolt, leave his adoptive mother’s sugar plantation and sail to England to continue his education.

With the help of Toby, a British aristocrat, Ivy, a lady’s maid turned lady and her botanist husband, Timothy, Niels challenges the perceptions on the streets of London of a black man at the turn of the 20th century. His development as a writer and political protagonist continues as he travels to Denmark and France where he meets up with childhood friends, Javier and Fabiana Gomez, before returning to Saint Croix.

The Danish West Indies face an uncertain future as the declining sugar industry lessens Denmark’s interest in their colonial outpost. Niels becomes increasingly involved in the future of the islands as war looms and concerns grow that Germany might covet a presence in the Caribbean. Will the islands’ security be guaranteed by the transfer of power to America?

The highs and lows of Niels’ life are punctuated by the crossing of oceans and cultures as well as the political manoeuvrings of a turbulent time in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Dianna 5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining  Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2020

What an entertaining story, one of two books. Fireburn , the first and now Transfer, the second book allow you to visit what life was like in St Croix VI back in the day. You’ll be absorbed deeply into each characters personalities and experiences. Truly engaging and so hard to near the end of the book without craving more. Thank you Apple for your talent to combine St Croix history and landmarks with fictional characters. Truly sensational!!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Apple Gidley

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Apple: Goodreads

Connect to Apple via her blog: Apple Gidley WordPress

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm.. thanks Sally.

14 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews -#Shortstories Cathy Cade, #Science Fiction A.C. Flory, #Historical Apple Gidley

  1. Thanks for sharing my review of Vokhtah, Sally! I’m just now most of the way through ACFlory’s Innerscape trilogy and blown away by it. I’m already anticipating that bereaved feeling one gets after finishing a really good read.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I absolutely loved Audrey’s review of Vokhtah, precisely because I knew it was not super accessible, yet she ‘got it’. I don’t think there’s anything a writer appreciates more than that. Thank you ladies. You have made my Sunday! -hugs-

    Like

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 24th – 30th May 2020 – ABBA, Jelly Beans, San Francisco, Resilience and Laughter | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.