Welcome to the Monday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with new releases and recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
Delighted to share the news of the latest release by D. Wallace Peach of Allies and Spies (Unraveling the Veil Book 2)
About the book
Trust is as thin as a blade’s edge. Secrets abound. And no one is who they seem. Kalann il Drakk, the First of Chaos, makes a bargain with his brethren, in which the future of civilization hangs in the balance.
Thrust together by a sacred oath, a halfbreed goblin, a misfit elf, and a changeling spy unite in an uneasy alliance. But their mission to learn the truth of the strange disappearances must wait—for they owe a blood debt to the changeling queen.
In the Raveen Mountains, the cornerstones of Naj’s life crumble. Goblins assemble a massive shipment of crystals for the Borderland—enough to power Ka Radiff for a decade or, with a single spark, blow it apart.
In the elfin Riverlands, Alue learns of the clandestine Coalition. Rumors whisper of a vast conspiracy. But that knowledge pales in comparison to a startling revelation that shatters the foundation of her life.
When a dead goblin turns up on the slopes beneath the Veil, Talin has no choice but to admit to changeling crimes. The tenuous alliance falters. Treachery runs deep and wide. And in the changelings’ jungle, the queen releases her venom. The ground fractures. And only the truth about il Drakk’s cruel designs has the power to spare their lives.
A selection of other books by D.Wallace Peach
My recent review for Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1)
I have to say that fantasy is not a genre that I have read in recent years, but based on reading the excerpts and the reviews shared during the author’s book launch, I was intrigued to read the book in its entirety. I was certainly not disappointed, as the world building was exceptional, and the characters, from the three main protagonists to the minor players within the three cultural factions, were excellently portrayed.
Whilst this land that Elves, Goblins and Changelings inhabit is imagined, it has parallels to our own world with political wrangling between nations all seeking precious resources, especially those not abundant in their own territory. Governing bodies have their own agendas, and behind the scenes manipulation of the facts is driven by secrecy and greed, whilst more moderate voices are struggling to be heard.
The story unfolds as each of the main characters runs the gauntlet of events orchestrated by a hidden power that fractures the earth and the fragile peace that exists between the three groups. Through a series of unintentional encounters, they cross into forbidden territory, and are exposed to each other’s innate skills as they form an uneasy alliance to survive. As unrest and distrust between the groups grows, and their world teeters on the edge of war, that alliance is tested to the extreme.
I thoroughly enjoyed this page turning introduction to this series and meeting the three outcasts Elanalue, Talin and Naj’ar. I can highly recommend that you enter it too. The author has left us on the brink of what promises to be a very exciting next book as the three of them seek the truth about what is happening beyond the Veil.
The first author with a recent review is Heather Kindt with a review for her recent release, a YA Paranormal Fantasy, The Green Door (The Eternal Artifacts Book 1)
About the book
The game was supposed to be easy… enter the door, find the object, collect the prize money.
But nothing is ever that easy for Meg Covington. Her dad keeps a roof over her head, but college is out of the question. Her best friend, Brek, will leave for school, and she’ll be trapped in her hometown—that is until Meg discovers the flyer for Rosenbaum’s game hanging in the entryway of the record store.
Within the basement of the mansion lies the white passage, a hallway lined with colorful doors. When each door turns out to be a portal to another world, things get complicated quickly. If they find the object within the world, Meg will take her first step towards freedom. But is it really just a game, or a one-way ticket to something much more dangerous?
The Green Door is the first book in Heather Kindt’s young adult fantasy series. If you like strong female leads, adventure, snarky attitudes, and sexy sirens, then you’ll love the first installment in the Eternal Artifacts series.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2020
I really enjoyed this story. The author has a great imagination. Her world-building is fantastic. Her characters were diverse and each held its own unique personality.
I loved the closeness of Meg and Brek. I also loved their awkwardness in speaking about (or acknowledging) their feelings. I’m still not too fond of Carter, but that might be because I want Brek to win. Lol!
The plot was great! The author did a wonderful job of keeping you engaged in wanting to solve the challenge. I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the series. If you enjoy YA fantasy with twists and a love triangle, then you are really going to enjoy this book. 🙂
Also by Heather Kindt
The next author with a recent review is Carol LaHines for her debut novel Someday Everything Will All Make Sense
About the book
Someday Everything Will All Make Sense follows Luther van der Loon, an eccentric harpsichordist and professor of early music, as he navigates the stages of grief after the untimely death of his mother. Luther obsesses over burial practices, rails against the funerary industry, and institutes a personal injury suit against the Chinese takeout whose “sloppy methods” he blames for his mother choking on a wonton. Luther detests modern music and the equal temperament, the tuning fiction upon which it is based. He believes, like Kepler and the greatest thinkers of the Renaissance, that music is to be constructed according to the divine Pythagorean ratios.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Carole LaHines’ debut novel, Someday Everything Will All Make Sense, opens with a grabber of a scene: Luther van der Loon describing the death of his mother, who choked to death on a wonton as he tried–and failed–to save her with a badly executed Heimlich maneuver.
We come to know Luther as a hapless fellow, even before he failed to save his mother’s life. He is nearing middle age never having lived on his own, with no other family but his mother. He has protruding ears, a limp, and a sinus condition. If that weren’t bad enough, he is a failed harpsichord virtuoso turned associate professor of Medieval and Renaissance musicology, whose department has been relegated to the reviled animal research wing of the university.
After the trauma of his mother’s death, Luther is subjected to the indignities of the funeral industry, with descriptions reminiscent of Jessica Mitford’s The American Way of Death,
(which he makes sure to read in an act of psychic self-flagellation):
. . . the shelves of coffins, from the visibly cheap to the garishly expensive, finishes of polished mahogany, gleaming steel, and eternal bronze; satin-lined, with pillows and blankets to conceal the hideous drainages that in time would mar the interior.
The rest of her, in reptilian fashion, had adjusted to the outside temperature (in this case, the chilly 60 degrees of the funerary chapel, the thermostat no doubt set to ensure optimal preservation in the days before burial).
The rest of the novel consists of Luther’s narrating his grief journey. (He would object very strongly to the phrase “grief journey.” He is having none of his therapist girlfriend’s forays into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy when she loses patience with his constant perseverating over the gelatinous agent of his mother’s death.)
In addition to Luther’s black humor directed toward the funeral industry, his depiction of the absurdity of Academia provides some of the funniest moments of the novel, such as the results of budget cuts to one’s beloved annual symposium for scholars of the arcane:
Rather than a breakfast buffet in the Tishman Building vestibule, participants would have to choke down croissants and mini-bagels in the halls of the vivisectionist wing, fearful that an escaped chimpanzee (those not immobilized in a vice somewhere) might make off with their sliced cantaloupe.
Most striking about my experience reading Someday Everything Will All Make Sense was Luther’s use of language as first-person narrator. He has just gone through a horrendous experience and he tells us how traumatized and grief-stricken he is. However, I felt distanced from him, which is unusual when reading a first-person narrative.
Upon reflection, I realized that Luther is using the elevated language of black humor and arcane scholarship to distance himself from his grief, all the while insisting that he is expressing his grief. Ultimately, isn’t this a very human response, reflecting the absurdity of our need to make sense of a senseless event, and, ultimately, the inability of language to express the depth of our grief at losing someone we love?
And the final author today is Elizabeth Merry with a review for her recently released collection of short stories – We All Die in the End: Scenes from a Small Town.
About the collection
This is a diverse collection of interlinked stories set in a small, seaside town in Ireland. Some of them verge on the macabre; others deal with abusive relationships and many of them are grim. But there is humour here too – although it is dark humour:
“SADIE said nothing. She trimmed the fat off the kidneys and the liver, her fingers curling away from the soft, red slither and she held her breath against the faint smell of blood.”
“So, I watched Lydia and waited for some bloody nuisance of a child to come screeching after her but no child came. Well, that didn’t make any sense but then Lydia stopped and I saw her speak to the doll. Oho, ARTHUR, I said to myself and I threw down the cigarette. Oho, I said, what’s this? What have we here?”
“ANDY felt the unhappiness grow in his chest again. It was heavy and he fought against it. No, he said to himself. No. He held his arms up and out in front of him and made soft, crooning, engine noises.”
“ROSEMARY always made Dominic wait outside the door until she was in the bed. He could feel the slackness in her thighs and arms; he didn’t have to look at it as well. ‘Come in,’ she called when she was ready. Dominic bounced into the room half-undressed and dropped his shoes. ‘Wait now,’ he said, and brought in a bottle of red wine and two glasses.”
This is just a flavour of the great characters who people this small town, where everyone knows their neighbours, and everyone else!
One of the recent reviews for the book:
I think I did a disservice to the author by devouring the book . All that effort and skill was consumed very quickly.Each story drew me in so I had to finish it . The insight into the characters was amazing . The language used between the characters was very Northern Irish, which is very rare, but made the conversations very real and also humorous. A great read! Now I look forward to re-reading it ….slower.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm…thanks Sally.