Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.
If you enjoy flash fiction then this book by Sarah Brentyn is one to check out. On the Edge of a Raindrop.
About the collection
When You’re on the Edge, It’s Easy to Fall
These are stories of lives on the edge.
A girl tortured by the world within her. A boy powerless to escape his home. A mother doomed to live with her greatest mistake. A man lost in a maze of grief.
Each raindrop provides a microscopic mirror of ourselves and those around us. But we can’t always trust what we see. The distorted images disorient the mind, altering our view of reality.
This second collection of flash and micro fiction explores the depths of the human condition and the fragile surface of our perceptions.
Dive into these tales of darkness and discover what life is like On the Edge of a Raindrop
Each selection is approximately 100 words, with a bonus section of Microbursts in which each story is told in 50 words or less.
One of the reviews for the collection on Goodreads.
It’s fair to say that I like my fiction with a bit of depth. I don’t mean War and Peace kind of depth, but I like a good yarn with layers, ideally a few twists, and characters that feel real, even when they’re a little larger than life. And yet I like short stories, and I always admire a writer who can produce an effective one.
I’m even more impressed, then, when I read flash fiction. At least, I am when it’s well written. As I understand it – and I’m no expert in these matters – flash fiction can be anything from a few words to a few hundred, so it can be very difficult to convey much in the way of a story with so little to play with. Very often, flashes will be suggestive rather than explicit.
Sometimes, they get across a state of mind or being rather than a whole story. Whichever route is taken, for that writing to stir something in the reader – for example, senses of loss, fear or exhilaration – means the author has done their job.
Probably the most famous flash fiction reads: ‘For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.’ Attributed to Hemmingway, though there are some doubters, this conveys so much and is a masterpiece of the genre.
Frankly, Sarah Brentyn’s work easily stands alongside this. Her ability to capture the essence of an emotion or a moment in so few words is staggering. In a single line, she can encapsulate something that many authors would struggle to do in several pages.
Like her first book, Hinting at Shadows, this is a book to savour and not rush. When you’re confronted with stories or essays that cover only a page or even a few lines, the temptation is to read one then leap on to the next. Don’t. Read one and reflect on it. The whole book is only 48 pages long, but what it contains is volumes and it should be read as if that’s the case.
Take your time. Savour each morsel as it’s fed to you. It’ll be more satisfying than you can imagine.
Also by Sarah Brentyn
Something for the lovers of psychological thrillers.. A Year in the Life of Deidre Flynn – by Lucinda E. Clarke
About the book
Deidre is determined to protect her adopted niece Leah, but despite fleeing the country, the menacing threats continue.
They believe their enemies can’t reach them now, so who is behind the life-threatening attacks? The incidents escalate, each more horrifying than the last.
How can they fight back when they don’t know who the enemy is and they have no idea what they want.
A fast-moving, page-turning, psychological thriller that will leave you breathless, as once again, Leah is the victim of a cruel conspiracy that lurks in the shadows.
A gripping thriller for fans of Louise Jensen, Avery Bishop and Claire McGowan.
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
Another great read from Lucinda.
Leah and teenage Belinda have moved to the South of France taking with them some very inflammatory material belonging to Leah’s ex, Mason, who’s still in the UK languishing at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Soon after, they are joined by Leah’s elderly Aunt Deidre, and Belinda begins home tutoring with the very stern Madame du Pont and her child prodigy, Sophie from the nearby chateau.
After they are introduced to some dubious British neighbours, strange and frightening things start to happen. And when things begin careering out of control Leah and Deidre struggle to maintain a semblance of normality.
This is the third book in the series A Year in the Life of…and having read the previous two, I have to say I enjoyed this one the most. A gripping mystery/thriller with a great story line and a group of dodgy characters made it an absolute winner for me.
A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke
The next books with a recent review is Fiery End (A DI Fiona Williams Mystery) by Diana J. Febry was released in October 2020.
About the book
Driving home late at night, DI Fiona Williams comes across a vehicle engulfed in flames. The driver is at the wheel, oblivious to the inferno surrounding him.
There is no explanation for why the vehicle was on the road or why the quiet tradesman was murdered in such a macabre way. The only witness to the fire, claims she saw nothing.
Whatever she did see goes to the grave with her when she is brutally strangled. Frustration grows when the driver’s daughter disappears.
With time running out to find the daughter alive, Fiona is drawn into a web of powerful men determined to keep their deadly games secret. Juggling a family crisis and a growing suspicion her boss is corrupt, her judgement is hampered by her attraction to the man central to everything.
One of the recent reviews for the book
I’m a big fan of the Peter Hatherall and Fiona Williams books, so I was very pleased to see this new addition to the series. Even though the story focuses more on Fiona, it was great to be reacquainted with all the characters in this roller-coaster ride of a mystery. The storyline begins with the two DIs coming across a burning camper van on a dark road and from there on, both the mystery and the suspects escalate. The plot involves deliberate and not so deliberate red herrings. It also involves vice rings, computer puzzles and apps. There are too many victims and loads of culprits but the puzzle is such that Fiona and her partner cannot fathom who is behind the sinister crimes until close to the explosive end of the book. What a page turner this turned out to be. I could barely put it down. This is also the closest Fiona has come to real romance, which in itself made it special. Well done, Diana Febry. A Fiery End was a terrific read and I hope Fiona and Peter will be back before too long.
A selection of other books by Diana Febry
And the next author today with a recent review is Cynthia Reyes, for her gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.
About Twigs in my Hair
Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.
One of the recent reviews for the book
This is the third in a series, beginning with A Good Home and An Honest House. In this small volume, she wades into the thicket of memory to expose the hardy growth hidden in a fast-paced life. A life halted by a serious car accident, bringing years of debilitating pain and the psychological effects of trauma. Besides the loss of her career, she found she could not do many ordinary things. Gardening and entertaining her family and friends were no longer possible. Home and garden, important threads in her life, were gone. And she was used to being active.
“By my early thirties, I was that rare thing in network television: a young, Black, immigrant woman who was also an executive producer and rising star.”
Years of success led to starting a consultant company with her husband. They bought a new home, an old farmhouse with garden areas, which she looked forward to rejuvenating. Then, the accident, and everything changed.
“If gardening helped keep me sane, it stands to reason that not being able to garden helped drive me crazy.”
As she struggles with her disabilities, her kindness of spirit comes through. Empathetic and perceptive, she finds other ways to make connections and be useful. One of them is writing. She tells stories of people who shared her love of gardens and from whom she learned life lessons.
Years before she had volunteered to care for an older couple’s “secret garden” behind their home. She learned of the couple’s history but refrained from building a friendship so they would not feel obliged to invite her into their house. In time, they did, asking her and her husband for supper. Their backgrounds were quite different, but what they had in common was gardening. “Our conversation started there, thick with talk of moles and cutworms, roses and delphiniums.” But that evening they also shared their life stories and became friends.
She weaves the story of another black immigrant into the narrative. Donald Moore had a lead role in changing Canada’s immigration laws in 1954. He was also a gardener with a greenhouse attached to his home in Toronto. His perennial garden won horticultural awards. He shared his knowledge with Cynthia. One day, she saw a group of small pots and asked what he was growing. Maples, he said. And acknowledged he would not live to see them mature, but someone else would. He gave her a tiny boxwood plant and when she wondered how many years it would take to become a real shrub, he said, “All you need is patience.” She planted it in her garden, and when they moved, she dug it up and took it with her. Every time she saw it, she thought of Mr. Moore and his lesson about patience.
From these lessons, she learned “a slow wisdom.” I recommend reading the first two books before this one. However, it stands on its own as well.
Also by Cynthia Reyes
The final author today with a recent review is 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.
One of the early reviews for the collection
I really liked the book. Short stories and poems, what better combo than that. The stories had a little bit of fun in them. Some were funny, some were really weird. Poems in the book were great. Poems were my favorite part of the book even though there were only a few. If you are into short stories then this book is for you. I had a lot of fun reading it and making me think.
Also by Leon Stevens
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some gifts to share.. thanks Sally.