Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first author today is Ritu Bhathal for her romance Marriage Unarranged.
About the book
started ended with that box…
Aashi’s life was all set. Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.
But then Aashi found the empty condom box…
Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.
Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.
And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…
One of the recent reviews for the book
This book is beautifully written. I love how the characters are so different from each other and well described. I absolutely loved the holiday to India which depicted a very honest experience of India for Ritu I am sure. It certainly brought back a lot of memories for me. I loved how she brought out the best in it and how the characters embraced and enjoyed their experience of the country.
I read this through lockdown and found it hard to put down. I love the short chapters as I don’t always have a lot of time to read, however I kept saying ok..one more chapter and would that would turn into six! That’s a sure sign of a good book!
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK
And: Amazon US
Also by Ritu Bhathal
The next author today is Jane Risdon with a review for her collection Undercover: Crime Shorts.
About the book
Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.
One of the recent reviews for the collection on Goodreads
I take my hat off to this author. Jane Risdon has taken the genre of murder mystery short stories to a new level with this collection of six superbly different and unique stories. Each story is complete and stands alone with a proper story line which I really liked as I have read a number of short stories that feel incomplete, as if they are intended to be part of a larger work. There is also an excellent extract from a forthcoming novel included at the end as a bonus.
My personal favourite story was The Watchers which starts off on a horribly creepy note with the main character, Candice, being stalked telephonically by an unknown someone. The tension as she stands there with the telephone in her hand following the latest call is almost unbearable. “Her heart was making her blouse shake as it thudded faster and faster. Sweat ran down between her breasts and her legs felt as if they were going to give from under her. The constant ringing vibrated through her hand and up her arm.” Wow! I was shaking with Candice. This story certainly is not your standard peeping Tom tale and the twist at the end is clever and unexpected.
It is difficult in a short story to get your reader to really connect with your characters as you have such a short time to do this in. Jane Risdon has done it seamlessly in this collection and I really felt for all her characters. Sweet Sable – also known as the Red Siren, a gorgeous woman with her own agenda and the determination and ruthlessness to achieve it; China, the writer next door, who gets pulled into a very strange situation involving her neighbours and the Russian Mafia; Candice the seemingly innocent victim of a stalker but who has a past; the photographers who both had “the look”; a wealthy deceased woman with an extraordinary sense of justice and humour and a successful British diplomat whose encounter with a prostitute doesn’t go according to plan.
If you enjoy the murder mystery genre and like stories that are fast paced, exciting and unique, you will love this book.
Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK
And: Amazon US
Also by Jane Risdon
The final review today is for writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter and artist Leon Stevens for his poetry collection, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures
About the collection
Lines by Leon is a selection of poems, prose, and short stories that address the subjects of loss, struggle, and reflection. Inside these thoughtful contemplations are original observations about ego, behaviour, human relations, places, and the environment. Many of the pieces feature a lighthearted and even humorous take on a subject, and the author invites his readers to laugh, think, cry, and meditate on the wide variety of thoughts.
Scattered throughout the book are sketches of various subjects, many that relate to the poems and stories they illustrate; others speak for themselves.
One of the recent reviews for the collection
This anthology is fantastically emotionally aware. Stevens provides a personal perception on various key aspects of living, especially the human condition and environment, both natural and urban, in a casual yet deep manner. There is a great variety in tone throughout and each poem’s rhythm is appropriate to the section it features in.
I find As I See It especially relatable and love the honesty of Stevens’ interpretations of sociability. How I See also prompts the reader to acknowledge individual’s differences because the alternative, us being all the same, would be tremendously dull. How Many’s A Crowd also expresses the importance of quality not quantity in social groups, implying that having few close friends is of more value to them and yourself than having a million acquaintances. I came away from this particular poem reminiscent of an analogy that it is better to have five-pound coins than five-hundred pennies.
People and Places is rich in urban imagery, appealing to the reader’s senses with its casually cosmopolitan descriptions. There is a certain charm to how the narrator explores the world around them, regardless of whether or not their surroundings are minimal or flashy.
I love how each individual poem throws (sometimes subtly, other times in full force) at the reader a question for them to answer about life and their own way of living. How the narrator approaches social conventions in Just Say Yes is particularly self-aware and its honesty is what pulls me in, essentially stating that in some cases it is far easier to say ‘Yes’ to people than ‘No’ to avoid any form of argument, conflict, or even just to politely hasten the conversation so that it is over soon.
In short, this anthology is an emotionally and spiritually refreshing read. It affords the reader a moment to pause, step back from the fast-paced modern world around us and appreciate the beauty in simplicity. To appreciate nature, loved ones and oneself is of utmost importance. The brevity of certain passages also leaves room for reflection, whilst appreciating the background’s minimalist aesthetic with simple stick-figure illustrations and shady charcoal doodles.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books..thanks Sally.