Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first book today with a recent review, is a murder mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello
About the book
Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.
At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.
While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.
When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.
Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.
A recent review for the book
Then travel along with Sharon Marchisello on an action-packed, justice-seeking mission of a young woman determined to catch up with the con artist who took advantage of her good intentions of helping to save animals. And saving from extinction is a major theme of this well-researched book in which the setting proves as engaging as the fictional story. I’ll probably never make it to the Galapagos, so I especially appreciate an author who can engage me with the sights, sounds, and scents of this sacrosanct place that’s as threatened as the animals that live there. The story has a bit of everything—romance, suspense, revenge, intrigue, and even a bit of humor. The ending is tight and satisfying. I’m glad to have read this book.
Also by Sharon Marchisello
The next author with a review is Lizzie Chantree for..Shh… It’s Our Secret
About the book
Violet has a secret that could change the lives of everyone she knows and loves, especially the regulars at the run-down café bar where she works. After losing her parents at a young age, they are the closest thing she has to a family and she feels responsible for them.
Kai is a jaded music producer who has just moved outside of town. Seeking solitude from the stress of his job, he’s looking for seclusion. The only problem is he can’t seem to escape the band members and songwriters who keep showing up at his house.
When Kai wanders into the bar and Violet’s life, he accidently discovers her closely guarded secret. Can Kai help her rediscover her self-confidence or should some secrets remain undiscovered?
One of the recent reviews for the book
From deep within a heart warming story. I have read all of Chantree’s books; I love them so much. It is strange, especially as a cosy romance genre would not ordinarily appeal to me. However, Chantree’s writing has so much more depth than a contrived frothy fable.
In this latest book, Violet is a downtrodden young woman, managing a bar / café for her misogynist and lazy boyfriend; used and abused would be a fair description. Why does she do it? Well, she never really got over the loss of her parents so suddenly. She stays near to help her struggling sister and her two children after her husband left her for ‘horse face’ a younger woman. She stays and works so hard in the café, because the regulars had become her surrogate family and they care about her and she loves them for it.
Violet used to sing with her parents. She has an angelic voice and composes her own songs; elegiac and moving, often sorrowful lyrics and tunes. So many urged Violet to sing on the stage in the café, but she not only had rock bottom self-esteem, she suffered horrendous stage fright. However, she has a burning desire to help other talented songsters, especially those with the lack of confidence she has; never a thought for herself.
A mysterious man appears and buys the café and Liam, Violet’s shite of a boyfriend, scarpers with another woman; it comes as a relief to Violet, but what will she do? The new owner likes her concept of a specialist music venue and offers Violet the job as manager and even takes on board her ideas of how to refashion the venue.
No more spoilers, but this novel examines closely the emotions and struggle of feelings, not just with Violet, but with her sister and the family of regulars who viewed the café as their own refuge; great characters and so well drawn you cannot fail to be engaged. I especially like that there is no hero or heroine, just a telling tale of self-discovery and, love.
Chantree writes so well that you often do not realise that you are on a roller-coaster and sometimes mysteriously I found myself shedding a tear, or laughing out loud. Chantree writes of ordinary people in an extraordinary way and I love it and wholeheartedly recommend Ssh and her other books. 5 stars.
Also by Lizzie Chantree
The final book today with a recent review is A Ghost and His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle .. Now in Kindle on Lulu
After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904. Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?
After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.
A recent review for the book
A Ghost and His Gold is loaded with historical details of the second Boer War in South Africa and I must confess I had no knowledge about this war. This book lays bare the atrocities and the brutalities that are considered to be a part of such conflicts; it also chronicles the long-term effects that they cause on human psyche. It is the powerful presence of the supernatural that keeps you captivated despite the heavy details of the war.
Cheadle has meticulously put together the poignant plight of the families of the soldiers who dared to defy the British and fight for their rights. It is interesting to note that both perspectives of the war are represented through Pieter and Robert. The story jumps from one time-line to another various times and is told through several POVs; also switches tenses whenever convenient – it hampers the spontaneous flow of the book. I like the footnotes that clarify local words and expressions.
What impressed me most is how well the emotions have been handled and how adroitly the characters have been developed that they sound realistic, trapped in the circumstances beyond their control. I hate Marta and my heart goes out to Estelle, I didn’t like Tom right from the beginning and developed a soft corner for Pieter – such connections can only be felt with powerful characters.
There are certain absurd expectations: like Michelle asking Estelle “you need to promise me that you’ll not harm him regardless of whether you can forgive him or not.” Who could trust a ghost? However, this is not just a simple ghost story, it highlights serious themes connected with antagonism, avarice, insensitivity and humanity. Well-done!
A small selection of other books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle and as Roberta Eaton Cheadle.
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books… thanks Sally.