Welcome to the Monday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first review today is for Carol Balawyder for her thriller Warning Signs
About the book
Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?
Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.
Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Horror and gruesome killing upset me and I don’t like to read about these details. But author, Carol Balawyder handles the murder scenes in her novel about a serial killer so deftly that I just wanted to keep turning pages – never having the urge to hide my eyes – only wanting to know more.
Once I was hooked (on the first page), she introduced the characters gradually, allowing me to get to know them while keeping me on my toes with dilemmas they each struggled with. Ms. Balawyder expertly slipped in details that would be needed later to make the culmination of the plot flow easily. Nothing happens that seems contrived because the groundwork was laid earlier in the book.
Each of the characters had major flaws but they also had redeeming traits. Even Eugene, the serial killer, was not all bad. Imagine empathizing with a serial killer!
The tension regarding the murderer escalates, and we expect this, but when he befriends Angie, their internal conflicts come into play as well. We already understand why Angie would fall for someone like Eugene, because, by now, we know her personality. But will Eugene hurt Angie? What will Angie do once she starts to suspect that Eugene may be the killer?
What about Darren, the policeman who finds Angie attractive? Will his feelings toward her interfere with his murder investigation?
I was impressed by the way this novel’s plot flowed so smoothly, pulling me in as the characters I came to know so well became entangled in it.
After being drawn into the story on page one, I didn’t want to put the book down until I read, “THE END,” and even then I was thinking about it after I closed the book.
A selection of books by Carol Balawyder
The next author today is Mark Bierman with a review for his novel Vanished.
About the book
Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.
Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Remember when Haiti suffered from a devastating earthquake in 2010? The country still hasn’t recovered from that tragedy. This novel begins by setting the scene for just how horrific the earthquake was, by describing the abject poverty of this country, in the form of the terrible conditions within a Haitian prison. The earthquake happens and some of the prisoners escape–into a country of chaos and deprivation, potentially worse than the prison they had lived in.
Enter two Americans, who decide to go on a missionary trip to Haiti with the aim of helping to build an orphanage. Tyler is John’s son-in-law, and they’re both recovering from the untimely death of Tyler’s wife (John’s daughter) from pancreatic cancer at a very young age. Upon arriving in Port-au-Prince, they meet Steve, the head of the mission, but they don’t spend much time there. Instead, they discover that the young daughter of one of the mission’s employees has been kidnapped and sold into child slavery by a trafficking ring. Then Tyler and John decide it should be their job to find the girl, no matter what it takes.
Although John studied Creole prior to their trip, he soon discovers that he only knows how to order a meal or ask for simple directions. The language barrier proves difficult in many ways; they must get help from the locals in order to get any clues where the traffickers have taken the girl.
John and Tyler embark on an ever-changing, ever-dangerous, emotionally and physically challenging adventure that takes them through Haiti to the Dominican Republic. They’re shaken at every turn by the differences in culture and the language barriers, as well as the pure evil they encounter throughout the novel.
This novel is eye-opening about the cruel world of human trafficking, whether in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world. The intense, sadistic power over the children is unimaginable; these children are slaves and considered disposable. They’re beaten, sexually abused, tortured and minimally fed. The author provides heartbreaking descriptions of inhumane treatment, and, although he assures readers in his afterword that the book is “purely a work of fiction,” what he includes in this novel is certainly true to what happens to children who have become slaves. Some are sold by their parents because they can’t afford to keep them, while some are snatched off the streets. This author’s characters capture the essence of this worldwide tragedy.
I recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read an exciting, unpredictable book. However, be prepared to encounter situations involving children that may be uncomfortable and eye-opening. It’s not for the faint-of-heart.
50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.
I thought that I would catch up with a free offer that Linda Bradley ran in early September for – Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series book 1). Judging by the number of new reviews and ratings on Goodreads it did very well.
About the book
Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.
A recent review for the book on Goodreads
A sweet novel of a home spun teacher, faced with the lost of a much loved husband, a 7 year old bright child who could make you laugh and also cry, and a very scary illiness that we all could be struck with and a strong will of being capable to cope with getting on with life of a new neighbor and a sneaky Mom, a Purple cat and a motorcycle that just gets started up but not taken out of the garage, this is a good story of strong wills and trust of many, makes for good clean reading and from a teachers side of reading problems. I recommend this book to all ages.
Also by Linda Bradley
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books… thanks Sally.