Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates where I share new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves. If you are a new author and would like to be included in the cafe please check out the links in this post: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE author promotion.
The first author with a recent release is Denise O’Hagan, for her debut poetry collection, The Beating Heart..
About the collection
The Beating Heart is an allusion to the continuous pulsing of feelings that lie beneath the surface reality of our lives. This collection ‘slips into the lining’ of various experiences from a childhood in the ancient city of Rome, whose ‘famous walls bulged with sanctioned corruption’ to the loneliness of a London bedsit, ‘narrow as a capsule, a chilly low-cost limbo’, to the lure of a Sydney bushwalk, where ‘mist lies over the grass, the trees, the everything, as lightly as a suggestion’. The elegant assurance of these meditative and melodic lines remind us that poetry can be, as the author believes, ‘a form of music’.
‘Here is a poet who understands the extraordinary in the commonplace, the flimsy place of life. The poems mill to edges, ripple by recollection and poignancy – the intergenerational weight of knowledge in simple things, ‘with foldings of clothes pressed smooth as stone’, where the ‘paper-hin’ present is convulsed waiting on a child’s operation. O’Hagan’s mastery of the transcendence in moments, and the distillation of experiences, is the gift of a writer at the height of her powers.’ – James Walton, poet
‘Each and every poem in The Beating Heart penetrates deeply into the core of our existence. There is no path, crossroad or threshold this gifted poet fears to take with her astute observations of what is often taken for granted. The migrant, the traveller, the historian, the pioneer and the mother are framed within immaculate and harmonic wordscapes. There is not one missed beat within this captivating collection of what it means to be alive.’ – Angela Costi, poet and social justice advocate
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
If contemporary confessional poetry lacks the taboo busting drama of its mid-twentieth century origins, at its best, such as in The Beating Heart, it still has all the delicate lyricism, nuanced imagism and existential vulnerability of a Plath, Sexton or Bishop.
Also by Denise O’Hagan
The next author today is Allan Hudson who has a recent review for The Alexanders 1911 – 1920 Vol 1
About the book
In the turbulent waters off Saltcoats, Scotland, Danny Alexander dies in a boating accident. He leaves behind a wife, seven children and no hope. Dominic is the middle child. With a broken heart, his mother is forced to leave him with his bachelor uncle, Duff. None of them are happy with the decision.Eleven-year-old Dominic Alexander must earn his keep. There are no free rides. Yet despite the difficulties, he finds his place in the structured world of his uncle and overcomes his loneliness.Fortune and misfortune follow the young man until adversity forces him to make a decision that will affect the rest of his life. Is emigrating to Canada the answer?
A recent review for the book on Goodreads
Born during a difficult time into an impoverished family, Dominic is sent to live with his uncle who grows to care for him deeply. Tragedy leaves Dominic again on his own and at a very young age he leaves his homeland to travel to Canada hoping to make his fortune. Follow Dominic as he uses all the lessons his uncle taught him to make his way in this strange new country.
Mr. Hudson weaves a wonderful tale of love and endurance and it is easy to become entwined with Dominic and those he meets along the way. I look forward in anticipation to the next chapter in the life of the Alexanders. ;
A selection of books by Allan Hudson
The next review today is for The Gilded Beaver by Margaret Lindsay Holton
About the book
– What happens when an aspiring designer meets up with a big-wig financier? –
Winner of the Hamilton Literary Awards in 1999, ‘The Gilded Beaver by Anonymous’ has been updated in 2020 to reveal the author’s true identity.
Award-winning Canadian artist, Margaret Lindsay Holton explains, “I am free now from a decades-long agreement to hold-my-tongue until ‘one of us dies.’ The previously undisclosed client, ‘G’, passed on in March of this year in his 80th year. I can now claim this ‘story’ as my own.”
In this quasi-fictionalized account, Canadian fine furniture designer, Iris Ann Burdock, is introduced to one of Toronto’s financial-elite executives, Luke G. Henderson. He considers her, as well as a commission. The problem, for Iris, is that her recently-divorced client is moody and unpredictable. Iris must excavate his carefully-crafted façade to find the ‘real man’ in order to rise up to meet his design challenge. A witty and frustrating exchange erupts between them. Romantic sparks fly.
As the battle-of-wills escalates, Iris’s meticulous design efforts are contrast to her meandering solo sojourns to a 25-acre bush property in the backwoods of Muskoka. There, quiet reflection makes her question, again and again, what really matters …
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
I loved this story. Iris is an up scale Canadian furniture designer and lover of all things nature. Her newest client is an eccentric millionaire who is challenging her on every level. This is her chance to create a masterpiece in the form of 4 chairs which truly represent Canada, one for each season of the year. This will entail the work of many experts and take many months. At the same time, we also journey with Iris to her piece of wilderness in Northern Ontario with its deep forests , boulders. lakes and wild animals. It was the language of this book that spoke to my soul. It was a 3 dimensional rather than a 2 dimensional experience. it read like a deep meditation on the flow of life contrasting the rush of the urban world with the stillness of deep Canadian forests. This book explodes into multi dimensions. I felt immersed in life. If you love this land and everything about it, if you love the best use of language, if you love good craftsmanship this is the book for you.
Books by Margaret Holton
The final review today is for Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler. A book that I can highly recommend too.
About the book
“Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society. The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.”
The year: 2061. In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make. Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine. One too many demerits? Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages.
Rae Farrer is the ultimate megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding and content – until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.
On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever…
Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’, the concluding book in the two-part Operation Galton series, and Terry Tyler’s twenty-first publication.
A recent review for the book
Wasteland, the sequel to Hope, but don’t allow that to put you off. In my opinion, it could easily be read as a stand-alone, especially since it includes a short Hope re-cap.
What I find almost contradictory about this series is that the story-telling flows so well, so smoothly, with no slowness of pace, that you find yourself whizzing through. I think I read the whole book over five sessions. And yet at the same time you have to stop and consider the messages hidden within the text. Those messages remain in your thoughts long after you put the book down.
Dystopian yes, and yet within touching distance because of the way in which our modern world seems to be panning out. This is what I find so thought-provoking. For example, the cashless society, the lack of individuality, obsession with physical appearance, aided largely by people’s obsessive relationship with their coms. Yes, we are heading that way!
I love the opposing ‘old’ worlds of Wasteland and ‘new’ Megacity. You cannot help but consider which, if either, you would prefer to live in.
This particular extract sums up our apathetic response to what’s going on all around us while we look on, waiting for someone else to do something about it: “Most of us base our life choices around the immediate problems facing our lives…only the very few actually try to alter the big picture; most of us complain without taking action… Like those who make politically or environmentally aware statements on Heart—demonstrating their awareness makes them feel they’re doing something positive, when in fact they’re just complaining to a wider audience.” Ring any bells? Social media? How many times have I found myself thinking that very same thing lately?
Another theme is the handling of migrants. I won’t say too much about it since I don’t want to give any spoilers. All I will say is, oh how easily the tables could turn!
Another point that comes across strong: how easy it is in the modern megacity, with its fads and fickleness, to fall from grace.
Finally, there were a few twists and turn I didn’t see coming which I loved!
All in all, an excellent read!
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.