Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore author updates, with a recent review and two new releases for authors on the shelves.
Celebrating early reviews is Fiona Tarr for Shiloh Rising – The Priestess Chronicles – Volume 3 – On offer for 99c/77p during November
About the book
An ancient relic, an evil power, a magical priestess. As they collide, the fearless, no-holds-barred battle erupts.
Ariela is surprised when she arrives in Carthage in yet another unknown time reality. Her mission is guided by ancient divinity and no-one is expecting her—or so she thinks. Those who await her are members of her Mother’s ancient Priestess Order. But she quickly realises, all is not as innocent and welcoming as it seems.
Carthage is warring over religion and politics. The conflict reveals truths Ariela isn’t expecting. But when the Priestess discovers she is to assassinate the King and that her Mother’s ancient order has been dabbling in politics, she is enraged. Order must be restored.
When the Priestess’s friend Ophelia senses an evil relic of power, Ariela realises politics are the least of her worries. She must stop the evil spirit that inhabits the relic before she is forced to kill the man who wears it, whether she wants to or not.
An early review for the book
Once again, I am amazed at the way Fiona Tarr weaves together elements of the Scriptures with magic, history and fantasy to craft a breathtaking story. This time, Priestess Ariela is transported forward in time to the New Testament era, to Carthage, where the Catholics are pitted against the Arians, and evil-spirit-possessed kings and a cast of merchants and Senators whose motivations are both unknown and questionable. A familiar entourage of characters paired with a set of new faces and issues round out the story – from the tormented king, his soft-hearted son, Priestesses uncertain of their powers, and a cruel guard. Complex plots and political manipulations are relevant to today’s world although the story is set eons ago. Another good read, highly recommended, as are all of Tarr’s books..
Also by Fiona Tarr
Two new books to add to the shelves today and the first author celebrating a new release is Italian designer Valentina Cirasola – Design Nature For A Colorful Home
About the book
If you pick up a camera and take a picture of anything that strikes your eyes, it doesn’t have to be a real object, or something with a meaning, just study that picture you took and you will see the reason why you immortalized that “something”. One day, I took a photo of a succulent plant in my garden, not because it was particularly beautiful, but because I was attracted by the yellow decorative butterfly light inside the pot and by the yellow ceramic piece outside the pot. This told me I was craving “Yellow Vibrations”. Going to the grocery shop, taking pictures of the flower bouquets in the store, and forgetting to buy food is not a common thing people do, but I did. Later, all those pictures of flowers gave me the idea for this book. My goal was to entice the readers to look at flower bouquets, or any flower composition in nature with new eyes and lead them to create their own alluring color scheme for any room in the house or office that carries a new excitement.The book is full of beautiful photographs taken by me in various places in nature and in the stores. Nature is our best friend and companion, she always gives us the pleasure of beauty, harmony, and peace. This book focuses on how to take advantage of nature’s colors and turn them into doable solutions. The home has a spirit that will love you if you create an inspiring, healthy, vibrant home for the body, mind, and spirit. Everyone will feel comfortable in a home conceived with harmony and love will grow.Shall we start with the colors of flowers?
Also by Valentina Cirasola
One of the recent reviews for The Road to the Top Of The World
The Road to the Top of the World is a travelogue written by Valentina Cirasola, a wonderful author, designer, and artist who hails from Italy. I’ve read a few of the writer’s books in the past, but this one is special because I received a signed copy from her in the mail. Of course, it was already on my reading list… and as Tropic Storm Fay descends upon NYC today, I decided to embrace the culture of Puglia, the heart of this book. Though I’m typically a fiction reader, this one appeals to me for many reasons. Not only is Valentina a brilliant creative mind, but she brings an inspirational outlook on life through her words and pictures. It’s unusual to have a witty and knowledgeable expert who’s lived in the area and visited it as a guest once moving to the USA. Through this perfect combination, we’re lucky to experience something few others get to in their lifetime.
Imagine a few weeks spent in Puglia, traveling through shops, gardens, homes, restaurants, museums, and so much more. Valentina takes us on a whirlwind tour of making our own foods, exploring the history of civilization in the area, and viewing art we might not see unless we went in person. I learned some wonderful tips or making my own pasta sauce differently than I already do! By incorporating her personal opinions, and those of her traveling group, we receive a well-rounded viewpoint of the trip. Sometimes I felt like I was there… others, I was marking down things I must see in a future trip. The best part of the book is the way in transports you into a new world… and while reading it, I remembered what it was like to be in Italy a few years ago.
Europeans, perhaps more specifically Italians, have grasped La Dolce Vita, and this author can bring you much closer to it. Valentina’s words and natural love for the area shines in her messages here. Life can be short. Experience it as best you can. Make your own foods. See how others live. Understand the limitations of the past and how it created the amazing gifts we have today. Someone had to discover all these things… pasta, sauce, pizza, limoncello… and here, you can come pretty close to it by sampling a few pages of her book. You’ll enjoy the author’s personality, an Americanized version of an Italian soul, one who knows exactly how to convey all that we are missing here! Part personal itinerary, part memorable journal, it will make you smile and grow hungry. Is it too early to visit Italy again?
And to finish today… a new release of a short story collection by Leon Stevens. The Knot At The End Of The Rope.
About the collection
A journey to the center of the universe …
Humanity’s final days …
A strange midnight visitor …
A faster than light test with unforeseen results …
Writings found in a desolate world …
These are some of the short stories in this collection, written in the style of the early science fiction writers when imagination trumped scientific knowledge. In addition, some short post-apocalyptic tales and poems are included in this new book by Leon Stevens.
Also by Leon Stevens
One of the recent reviews for Lines by Leon
This anthology is fantastically emotionally aware. Stevens provides a personal perception on various key aspects of living, especially the human condition and environment, both natural and urban, in a casual yet deep manner. There is a great variety in tone throughout and each poem’s rhythm is appropriate to the section it features in.
I find As I See It especially relatable and love the honesty of Stevens’ interpretations of sociability. How I See also prompts the reader to acknowledge individual’s differences because the alternative, us being all the same, would be tremendously dull. How Many’s A Crowd also expresses the importance of quality not quantity in social groups, implying that having few close friends is of more value to them and yourself than having a million acquaintances. I came away from this particular poem reminiscent of an analogy that it is better to have five-pound coins than five-hundred pennies.
People and Places is rich in urban imagery, appealing to the reader’s senses with its casually cosmopolitan descriptions. There is a certain charm to how the narrator explores the world around them, regardless of whether or not their surroundings are minimal or flashy.
I love how each individual poem throws (sometimes subtly, other times in full force) at the reader a question for them to answer about life and their own way of living. How the narrator approaches social conventions in Just Say Yes is particularly self-aware and its honesty is what pulls me in, essentially stating that in some cases it is far easier to say ‘Yes’ to people than ‘No’ to avoid any form of argument, conflict, or even just to politely hasten the conversation so that it is over soon.
In short, this anthology is an emotionally and spiritually refreshing read. It affords the reader a moment to pause, step back from the fast-paced modern world around us and appreciate the beauty in simplicity. To appreciate nature, loved ones and oneself is of utmost importance. The brevity of certain passages also leaves room for reflection, whilst appreciating the background’s minimalist aesthetic with simple stick-figure illustrations and shady charcoal doodles.
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books … thanks Sally.