Welcome to the first of the Cafe updates this week with recent reviews for books on the shelves.
The first review is for the recently released collaborative anthology with contributions from around the world, compiled by Marjorie Mallon, which also included her three month diary of life under lock down and some of her creative flash fiction and poetry. I can recommend This is Lockdown which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.
About the collection
An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.
The full list of authors are:
Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Humorous Dark Comedy,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction,) Fi Phillips , (Copy writer, Author,) Jeannie Wycherley, (dark stories, suspense, horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (urban fiction, teen/YA,)Tracie Barton Barrett, (Speaker/author,) Peter Taylor Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit romance, poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Reader, Blogger, Post Doctoral Researcher and Academic,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (huge supporter of indie community/blogger/author) Debby Gies (D G Kaye), (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, horror, urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (blogger, poet and writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (blogger, African storyteller.).Frank Prem (Poet, Author) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS .
One of the recent reviews for the collection
MJ Mallon begins this heartening book with a stunning foreword to mark the times that are sure to become part of a testament of our times in history on the 2020 global pandemic Covid19 that has rocked our collective world.
The book is broken down into three parts – Daily diary entries from the author, writer’s testaments, and thoughts in flashfiction/nonfiction stories, and poetry. Each contributing author evoking their experiences and thoughts.
Mallon has covered and documented life in lockdown, tracking events as they happen and the human condition scrutinized for its affects with shared incidents, displaying fears, finances, health concerns, and what a potentially killer disease portends. Her diaries touch on emotion as MJ expresses her own fears and concerns and observations at the days and weeks progress in lockdown.
Common threads I noticed from all writers: Loss of writing muse and creativity, restructuring of family life and function, adjusting to lockdown, and for many – overwhelming online ‘everything’ now, cutting into a writer’s work time and creativity.
This book is for everyone, for we all share the same common Covid fears and adjustments in this very world we all live in. A recommended read for reflection and to reinforce, we are not alone.
Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection : Amazon UK
And : Amazon US
Other books by M.J. Mallon
The next author is D. Wallace Peach with a recent review for Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1)
About the book
When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness.
Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul.
When his brother reaches out, open wounds begin to scar. But the tenuous peace won’t last. While those who rule the Vales yield to the lure of their ambitions, slavers of Ezar roam the countryside, hunting for human chattel. While one man manipulates the law, another heeds the souls of violence howling in his head.
Raze too listens to his soul’s whispers, and as danger intrudes on his quiet life, he has no choice but to return to his father’s world and join the fight.
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
The title of this book and its series drew my interest: Soul Swallowers, the first in D. Wallace Peach’s The Shattered Sea collection. Though I’m not much of a fantasy reader, the story was intriguing. Would someone swallow a soul for a good or bad reason, perhaps both? How does a sea shatter? After checking out the author’s blog and reading some of her own book reviews, this seemed like a great opportunity, so I purchased the book and read it last week. Now I get to share my thoughts with you…
The first few scenes are amazing. I quickly connected with the characters and the potential for this story. Raze was a fantastic protagonist, and I’m a sucker for love. His father, on the other hand, was definitely not a man to admire–but as a character, he was spot on. Stuck between love and loyalty, he had to make a decision, and Raze unfortunately will suffer the consequences. Immediately, the book grabs your attention and confirms you’re about to embark on a wild ride. From there, the story spans several years of Raze’s life, where he swallows souls, meets new friends and family, and learns how to survive in a world he cannot stand. Life is tough for those struggling in these lands, and the epic battle to win the war has only just begun.
Peach writes thrilling descriptions and settings. I could feel many of the backgrounds surrounding me as I read each chapter. Sometimes they felt realistic, others I knew I’d been transported to some fantastical foreign place. Ultimately, the story is about character relationships and the need to protect the future. While there are elements of fantasy and science-fiction, there is a fine balance so that readers have a solid foundation to ground them. I found myself more interested in the bonds Raze develops, the need and desire to free those around him from servitude. There is something strong in the moral tones and ethics of these characters that is highly admirable.
The writing quality is strong, and it is easy to read and stay connected. I’m curious what will happen in the future books. The cover is brilliant, and I love the imagination Peach brings to each and every scene and character. I got a Game of Thrones feel in the beginning… I’ve watched enough of the tv series to get a feel for its style, though I’ve never read the books. I’m keen to learn more about the true nature of a soul, and how it develops once it becomes part of another human being. A good read, glad I sampled from a different genre, and I would recommend it for most fantasy lovers.
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US
And: Amazon UK
A small selection of of other books by D.Wallace Peach
The final review today is for the memoir of retired teacher Pete Springer. They Call Me Mom
About the book
Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff.
Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)
One of the recent reviews for the book
Today, more than ever, children need role models and so do adults, parents too. And we need to re-learn basic responsibility and how this is a two way road.
Finding your inner voice and passion is what we all need to discover and Pete Springer paints us a vivid image in this book.
This is an entertaining read based on first hand experiences dripping with humor.
A book I wholeheartedly enjoyed although I already brought up two children.
A must read, wether you are a teacher or a parent. Grandparent too.
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US
and: Amazon UK
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have found some books to take away with you..thanks Sally.