Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first review is for the recent release by Patricia Furstenberg – Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories
About the book
In Transylvania’s History A to Z, a collection of 100-word stories sprinkled with breathtaking photographs, Patricia Furstenberg uses the confining rules of the 100-word story form to stirringly capture Transylvania, Romania’s historical and geographical region.
Transylvania’s unspoiled natural beauty, its tumultuous history, and the people who touched it are depicted in this book.
Written as snapshots, tall tales, and descriptive narratives, these 100-word stories are the espresso of creative writing.
A – Z, 100-Wors Stories are inspired by Transylvania’s history, from the Paleolithic Period to WW1
Each 100 Words Story is followed by a brief historical reference
The unique beauty of a 100-word story is in the way the words are strung together, each one a gem, and in the spaces left between the words, and between the sentences. So much can be told, with little words. It is a challenge for the writer, and a thrill for the reader, as each time the tale is read, a new detail springs to mind.
“As an armchair historian, I love researching lost tales, traveling, exploring hidden corners, and unearthing new facts, forgotten characters, or hidden clues. I love to give them a voice and to bring them into the light in my tales. Be it people, animals, or the land and its architecture, no detail is too small, no voice is too soft. What was once overlooked now brings history alive in my historical or contemporary fiction books and short stories, such as the 100-Word Stories based on the history of Transylvania.” (Patricia Furstenberg)
An recent review for the book
Ms Furstenberg has written something of a teaser book, an entertaining mix of short sections of lyrical prose and equally brief fact sections that cast glimmers of light on the complicated history of Transylvania, a region that has had more than its fair share of invaders and settlers.
I suspect it is Ms Furstenberg’s intention to tickle the reader’s curiosity–if so, she more than suceeds, as I find myself overcome with an urge to read up about Dacia, about Saxon emigrants to the region, about Vlad himself, about the complex history of modern Romania.
I particularly enjoyed the sections about language: sometimes, we forget that even today we use words our very, very ancient ancestors also used. Ms Furstenberg’s little book helps remind us all that we are all part of a long, long sequence of people, with (hopefully) as many to come after us as have gone before.
A small selection of other books by Patricia Furstenberg (some in Afrikaans)
The next 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
The first thing that impressed me about this book was that the author took on the heinous subject of human trafficking but managed to create a compelling story without resorting to gratuitous graphic violence and sex. Instead, he kept the story within the bounds of true-to-life human emotions.
The second thing that impressed me was the author’s ability to set scenes and describe the action using colorful and descriptive metaphors that frequently occurred throughout the story. Such descriptions brought the book alive.
The third thing that impressed me was the story itself. The author spent a great deal of time on research, and it showed in the details in the story. For example, Haiti’s setting is not on the usual tourist destination list, so common knowledge of customs and other nuances was not because of kicking back on vacation but took work to ferret out.
This book has plenty of action for those who like action. Although, it does require buying into the premise that a couple of Americans want to help find a kidnapped child just to do it. But, once you get there, the story is page-turning entertainment. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a well-written fast-paced story.
50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.
Finally today I would like to share my own news about reviews in the last few weeks. I am so grateful to those who have read the most recent book and also older collections and here are just two.
Patricia Furstenberg Bookbub October 15th
Having thoroughly enjoyed three of Sally Cronin’s previous books, the humorous fiction-memoir ‘ Just an Odd Job Girl’, the flash-fiction ‘Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words’, and the short-stories and poems from ‘Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries’, I knew that ‘Life is a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony’ will be also a treat.
Sally Cronin’s gentle spirit and big heart glow in this charming poetry collection all the way from the acknowledgements’ page where Sally includes two word clouds as a special ‘thank you’ to her writing community 🙂
In ‘Life is a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony’ the reader will discover poems that are pensive, witty, or jocular, sentimental or contemplative (of life, love and nature). The poet ponders on a wide range of themes, from the joys of being alive to the everyday confinement that Covid19 has brought to all humankind, and from nature’s everlasting timeline of to the ticking of inner human clock.
Beautiful pictures point out the essence of the poems.
My absolute favorite poems were the charmingly whimsy ‘The Wise Woman’s Apprentice’ (and I am not even a cat person!) and cool and intellectual ‘The Night Sky.’
‘Life is a Mosaic: Random fragments in harmony’ is a contemplative collection that I highly recommend to poetry lovers.
I’ve read several books by Sally Cronin and she never disappoints.
This collection of short stories takes a name from the second half of the alphabet from K for Kenneth to Z for Zoe for its main characters. The progression through the alphabet is one that clearly has to follow set rules but the stories that accompany them are hugely varied and contain twists that I really enjoyed.
There’s love, grief, joy, hate, revenge and self-sacrifice – a wide range of emotions stirred by an expert wordsmith. The settings are very different from each other, too. There’s everything from a fictitious royal kingdom to a block of flats terrorised by bored teenagers; from WWII pilots to a self-service checkout with a mind of its own; from a fortune teller’s room to a Greek Island. Every one of them has that ability to make you feel deeply for the characters, and the endings are neatly done.
There’s much poignancy is stories such as Lily and Xenia, feel-good factors in Norman and Walter and plenty of humour and surprises in Queenie, Rosemary, Theresa and Yves. Some of these tales are touching accounts of love and loss but others have a delicious edge to them where payback comes into play!
This is a selection box of treats and you never know what flavour you’re getting until the end. I recommend you sample the delights for yourself!
My other books and recent reviews: Sally’s Books and Reviews 2021
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.