Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first review is for the poetry collection by Bette A. Stevens that celebrates the beauty the state of Maine.
About My Maine
Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.
The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.
One of the recent reviews for the collection
Bette brought this glorious place to life for me.I enjoyed the poetic verses accompanying each season. knowing parts of the United States of America, Maine is one not as yet visited. It now sits on my bucket list. Thank you Bette for a most enjoyable literacy journey through your words.
Other books by Bette A. Stevens
The next author with a recent review is Jaye Marie for her crime thriller Cross fire
About the book
DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.
Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.
The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems.
Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job
One of the recent reviews for the book
DI Snow is ready for retirement until his partner Detective Jim Harris is murdered. This single event sets into motion the department’s hunt for Jim’s killer. When Jim’s replacement, Ruth Winton, shows up, Snow takes an instant dislike to the woman. She seems competent, but there is something about her that rubs Snow the wrong way.
When more bodies start piling up with the same wounds that Jim received, Snow considers the murders are all connected. He knows time is running out to catch the killers, but he has a problem. His health has taken a turn for the worse. If he’s too ill to find the killer, who will?
Leave it to me to start a series with the third book! However, I found “CrossFire” to be a standalone book. There are references to DI David Snow’s other cases, but nothing I couldn’t follow.
The book reminds me of some of the British mysteries I watch on Amazon Prime. As the suspense built, I kept turning pages, eager to find out what happened next. The characters are interesting, with Snow taking on the characteristics of the troubled detective. I found him to be a likable guy. There is great detail paid to the backstory of the murderer, which helped to propel the story forward.
If you like psychological mysteries, this was a good read. I’m excited to read some of this author’s other mysteries. Perhaps I should start with the first book in the series!
Books by Jaye Marie
The final author today is Mark Bierman with a review for his novel a thriller set in Haiti, Vanished which I can highly recommend.
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
Mark Bierman‘s novel Vanished opens in a Haitian prison with a game of cards turned violent, followed by an earthquake. The chapter ends with the escape of a prisoner who will play a pivotal role in the novel.
Enter young widower Tyler and his father-in-law John, two Americans newly arrived to help build an orphanage for the beleaguered island. No sooner do they get settled at the American-sponsored Rescue Mission than the young daughter of one of the Haitian staff is kidnapped.
When Chantale goes missing, the Rescue Mission organizes a search of the surrounding neighborhood. The search comes up dry, and the leaders of the Mission take it no further, resigning themselves to Chantale’s all-too-common fate. Attempts to enlist the aid of social work agencies are also unsuccessful. Tyler and John decide to find Chantale themselves.
At the same time, they are well aware of the enormity of what they’re facing. If the problem of child slavery is so great that you can’t save all the children, should you even try to save just one? What about all the other children? John in particular struggles with this question as the violence escalates later in the book.
The narration employs alternating points of view, including the kidnappers’, to advance the plot and build tension. ( The third person narrator’s use of passive voice–when a sentence begins with the object of the verb, and the subject is not stated–made the action a little hard to follow in places.)
I was struck by the lengths to which Tyler and John would go to save Chantale, a little girl they didn’t even know. Equally striking were the lengths to which the kidnappers would go to prevent them from doing so. As a skinny, terrified little seven-year-old, she has negligible value as a manual laborer–yet the fight to save her is violent, bloody, and protracted.
In the Afterward, Bierman explains that he wrote the book to raise awareness of human trafficking. He chose Haiti as a representative location because his family had been on missions there. Even as I was reading it, the book raised the question in my mind of what form of writing is most effective to call attention to a serious social problem: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, investigative journalism?
The intent with choosing fiction is to give a particular social problem a human face in the form of living, breathing people the reader can care about. On the other hand, particularly when a writer is very passionate about his cause, there is a risk of authorial intrusion into the story. I am gratified to report that Bierman does not sacrifice the characters or the plot to serve his cause, as worthy as it is. Vanished is a compelling read from beginning to end; at no time did I leave the story.
50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally