Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first author with a recent review for her latest release is Carol Balawyder – a coming of age crime thriller...Just Before Sunrise
About the book
A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.
Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.
But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…
Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.
She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.
As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.
Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.
A recent review for the book
Carol Balawyder’s Just Before Sunrise (2021) is the story of a wealthy older man who marries a former owner of a high priced call girl business (which is how the two met). Nadine accepts this proposal as her chance to escape her past life but soon realizes (shock!) that he is not the knight in shining armor she had hoped for. It isn’t long before she dislikes him as much as he disrespects her. She is a master of manipulating men–
“Nadine had the kind of body you read about in pulp fiction novels”
so she persuades the older man’s thirty-something son–Charlie–to help her kill him so the two can be together. To cover their tracks, they involve a recently homeless and orphaned teen–Maya–who has been entrusted with the job of preparing a lakefront home to be used as a halfway house which happens to be next door to Carlie’s home. Maya falls for Charlies and not-so-reluctantly agrees to help him cover up the murder. If you read “cover up” as “take the blame for the homicide”, you have the gist of what will happen.
Tangentially, thirty-something Adam falls in love with an older woman (the same one who hires Maya to fix up the home) but leaves her because he wants children and she doesn’t. That sounds simple but it sure isn’t. You’ll see when you read it. The overlap between these two plots is clever and intriguing.
At its core, this is a love story but filled with hate and lies and hurt feelings and unusual events and so much more. Love in this book isn’t a synonym for blissfully happy or the answer to dreams. In this case, it’s more fake than real but young Maya doesn’t realize that.
A clever, enticing read that you won’t want to stop once you start. Recommended for those who like unusual love stories that are darker than cozy but still fulfilling.
Also by Carol Balawyder
The next review is for poet and children’s author Victoria Zigler for her latest poetry collection Born from Stardust and Other Poems.
About the collection
A selection of poems of various lengths and styles, exploring a variety of themes and subjects.
Topics explored in the poems that make up this collection include – but are not limited to – animals and nature, writing and creativity, death and grief, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.
A recent review for the collection on the blog of Kevin Morris 24th July 2021
The title poem in this collection begins as follows:
“We’re born from stardust, you and I,
And that alone’s the reason why
I’m pretty sure that when I die
I’ll join the stars up in the sky.”
Born From Stardust is a beautiful poem, and the book of the same name is a highly enjoyable and thought provoking read.
Amongst my favourite poems is “When Mummy Missed Story Time”, in which the poet poignantly describes the emotional reactions of a young child when it’s mother won’t read a bedtime story due to her fear that she has the Corona Virus, and her very natural desire not to pass on the infection to her son/daughter.
There are several other poems which touch on the pandemic, including one dealing with the impacts of social distancing on the individual and on society as a whole. I can relate to this series of poems, and it is a topic which I have, myself tackled in my own poetry.
Other poems deal with the threat posed by climate change. Again, this is a fine series of poems.
The serious poems are interspersed with lighter pieces such as “When Even the Beach is to Hot”:
“You know the temperatures are too high,
When even the beach is too hot!”
The above poem is especially apt at the moment given the very high temperatures we have been experiencing here in the UK and elsewhere.
I have read a number of Victoria Zigler’s poetry collections, and in my view this is her best thus far.
A small selection of other books by Victoria Zigler
The final author today with a review is LIsette Brodey for The Sum of our Sorrows.
About the book
In an idyllic suburb in Northern California, tragedy strikes the Sheppard family when Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is killed in a car accident. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car with her mother and survives without physical injury but remains deeply scarred on the inside.
Dalton tells Lily, his eldest daughter, that she must sacrifice long-awaited college plans and put her life on hold to take care of her sisters. Lily is torn between her devotion to family and an increasing need to find her place in the world — but how can she leave, knowing her family may crumble? Will her presence eventually cause more problems than it resolves?
The Sum of our Sorrows reveals how the aftermath of a family tragedy can precipitate sorrows never imagined. It is a tale of grief, hope, healing, coming-of-age, friendship, and survival. It is also a love story of two broken souls living through pain in search of better days and the renewal of one’s spirit.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write characters as I hear them speak to me. Some of these stories contain non-gratuitous expletives and sexual references. This book also contains some situations that may be triggering to some readers. If this is not to your liking, please don’t read this book. Thank you.
A recent review for the book
This book is amazing! I laughed, I cried, I was angry at a couple of the characters….what a ride.
Lisette Brodey is an incredible writer who has the ability to draw the reader into the story so deeply that all you (the reader) care about is to keep reading. I read this book in two days, I hated to put it down.
Ms. Brodey is a writer who belongs at the top of the Best Seller lists as she proves time and time again her skill and acumen in creating and allowing the characters in her stories to take us on incredible journeys.
‘The Sum of Our Sorrows’ is a MUST read 🙂
A selection of books by Lisette Brodey
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.