Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update and the first author with an update is Jane Dougherty with her short story collection – The Spring Dance and other stories
About The Spring Dance
Magic, mystery, mirth and murder fill these tales that are fresh as daisies and old as the hills.
Foxes and firebirds, deer and dancers, trolls and travellers, and lots of princesses tell their stories to entertain you as the nights draw in, the fire crackles in the grate, and the wolves howl in the forest.
Buy the new collection: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0764BPF53
and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0764BPF53
A selection of books also by Jane Dougherty
The most recent review for the first book in the Pathfinder Series – Abomination.
‘Abomination’ is the first book in ‘The Pathfinders’ series by Jane Dougherty. I will start off by saying that I immensely enjoyed this apocalyptic novel. It was dark, gritty, and raw and had me completely pulled into the story. ‘Abomination’ is a fantastic read which is very well written and the story (even though apocalyptic /post-apocalyptic has been done before), is very original and engrossing.
One of the first things I noticed, was seeing parallel elements from ‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding, and I feel has elements in common with ‘The Walking Dead’ also. As I’ve mentioned above, it’s simply a very dark and brutal book. I would not hesitate to recommend it to young adults, as that is that is also the intended audience. There is strong language throughout the book, so those who are very sensitive, should be forewarned.
The story starts off quite harmlessly, but things go down the drain very quickly for Carla and Tully, as they are hurtled through a wormhole five years into the future just as the end of the world is beginning. Unfortunately, this just takes them out of the frying pan and into the fire. There they must battle against blood-thirsty youngsters, gangs, mutated animals and against other characters which I will only describe here as supernatural or demonic (i.e. the Burnt Man).
It is a story of adapting oneself to a new environment and dire situations while still trying to hold onto one’s values and to rise above the despondency and cut-throat ways of the gangs who have had to live through five years of hell and destruction. Just as in ‘Lord of the Flies’, any semblance of society has fallen apart and the youngsters are not concerned with growing food or following rules (except their own twisted law), but are only interested in fighting and with attaining/holding onto power.
‘Abomination’, isn’t just about the struggle of humans against nature and other humans, but is a struggle against mutated animals and supernatural forces which wish to destroy the world. These elements, due to spoilers, will not be talked about in this review, but needless to say, ‘Abomination’ is an action-packed supernatural thriller which borders on horror.
What makes this story believable, are the actions of the characters in the book. The characters act in a very believable and natural way, which pulls us in as the reader and makes us feel for these characters. Furthermore, the author’s writing style is easy to read and her descriptions pull the reader in and fully immerse them in this experience.
The book ends with a very good cliffhanger which just makes me want to pick up the second book, ‘Devastation’, in order to continue the journey with Carla and Tully.
‘Abomination’ is an action-packed apocalyptic novel which borders on horror. Due to its original take on the end of times, and for the superb writing style of Jane Dougherty, I highly recommend this book to others who enjoy supernatural thrillers. I would absolutely love to see this book get a movie deal or even better, a Netflix series, as I believe the story would find a huge fan-base across wide audiences. Happy reading!
Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U
and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jane-Dougherty/e/B00FMR7Y0U
Read more reviews and follow Jane on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6953978.Jane_Dougherty
Connect to Jane via her website: https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/
The next author with another review for her recent short story, Donkey Boy and other Stories is Mary Smith. This is my review for the book which I recommend.
About the collection
Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.
My review for the collection which I gave 5 stars on October 2nd.
This is not a long read, but you should never judge a book by the number of pages, but in the quality of the writing. Each story is beautifully crafted and leaves the reader with questions. Not about the outcome of the story, but about how we might have behaved under similar circumstances. In the title story we meet a small boy who has to work for his father rather than go to school. His resentment is natural in a child, as his reasoning over a moral dilemma that becomes even more complicated than he anticipated.
For me there was a theme running through all the stories, of a sense of being trapped in situations and circumstances. These included childhood memories laced with bitterness, secrets that if revealed could endanger life, and visions that show the darker side of human nature. I read and enjoyed the novel No More Mulberries by Mary Smith, and highly recommend that you read this short story collection too.
Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075VC1XNX
and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VC1XNX/
Also by Mary Smith
Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0
Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/
The last update today is for the second book by Lucy Brazier, A Portergirl Novel – The Vanishing Lord which was released in June.
There’s nothing quite so annoying as having the police arrive when you are trying to cover up a crime that may or may not have happened.
Lord Bernard has died unexpectedly. Is Deputy Head Porter being framed? Head Porter just wants to be kept out of the picture.
In this fast-paced whimsical British romp, a priceless work of art – the portrait of Old College founding father Lord Arthur Layton – has gone missing and with the death of Lord Bernard, the Master of arch rivals Hawkins College, there is nothing for it but for our heroine to don her trusty bowler hat and embark upon another eccentric investigation.
In this sequel to the debut PorterGirl novel, First Lady of The Keys, Old College’s first and only female Porter must find the portrait or it will be her that is flat on the canvas and framed like a kipper.
Tenacious detectives, ill-advised disguises, saucy medieval literature and Russian spies conspire to confuse matters further in this entertaining escapade.
The most recent review for the book
The second in Lucy Brazier’s Portergirl series is another hilarious, yet extremely witty and intelligent mystery story set in Cambridge College.
The female Deputy Head Porter springs into action when the portait of Lord Layton mysteryiously disappears. Asked for discretion in her investigation this is far from easy and straight forward.
Academic politics, personal conflicts and saving face come into play as well as the secret investigation takes place.
The book’s main strengths are the quirky and often excentric characters and of course, the formiddable and eloquent use of language. Yet, the story is just as entertaining, there’s plenty of well timed, well paced and well plotted situational comedy, somewhere between farcial and satirical with excellent observational skills.
The depiction of the college structure is very poignant- I assume it is probably largely based in truth but mixed for effect with warm humour and charm.
Brazier’s humour never bites, so you can find yourself caring for even the annoying characters.
Read all the reviews and buy the book Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/PorterGirl-Vanishing-Lord-Lucy-Brazier-ebook/dp/B07125GB2H
Read other reviews and find out more about Lucy Brazier by following her on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14129066.Lucy_Brazier
Connect to Lucy via her website: https://portergirl.com/
Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news about Jane, Mary and Lucy. Thanks Sally