Welcome to the Friday Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves and a new release.
The first author today is Terry Tyler with a recent review for Patient Zero a collection of stand alone short stories.
About the book
The year is 2024.
A mysterious virus rages around the UK.
Within days, ‘bat fever’ is out of control.
Patient Zero is a collection of nine short stories featuring characters from the post apocalyptic Project Renova series. All stories are completely ‘stand alone’.
1. Jared: The Spare Vial
Jared has two vaccinations against the deadly virus: one for him, one for a friend…
2. Flora: Princess Snowflake
The girl with the perfect life, who believes in her father, the government, Christian charity and happy endings.
3. Jeff: The Prepper
What does a doomsday ‘prepper’ do when there is nothing left to prepare for?
4. Karen: Atonement
She ruined her sister’s last day on earth, and for this she must do penance.
5. Aaron: #NewWorldProblems
Aaron can’t believe his luck; he appears to be immune. But his problems are far from over.
6. Ruby: Money To Burn
Eager to escape from her drug dealer boyfriend’s lifestyle, Ruby sets off with a bag filled with cash.
7. Meg: The Prison Guard’s Wife
Meg waits for her husband to arrive home from work. And waits…
8. Evie: Patient Zero
Boyfriend Nick neglects her. This Sunday will be the last time she puts up with it. The very last time.
9. Martin: This Life
Life after life has taught the sixty year old journalist to see the bigger picture.
One of the recent reviews for the book
I’ve been avoiding pandemic books (since there’s enough of that going around in real life these days), but decided to give this collection of nine short stories a try. Great decision (pats self on back). All of the stories take place in the same world, a place being ravaged by a “bat virus.” They read like vignettes, and I was completely drawn in by the characters and their situations. It was fascinating and chilling at the same time.
Each story focuses on a different character, often living through a different stage of the pandemic. Some of them are alone, others with family or friends. Some are highly prepared, others not so much. What I really enjoyed about the collection was how unique each story was and how believable! Yikes. I could absolutely see these tales happening in my neighborhood.
The deadly pandemic is the driving force behind the stories, but the characters bring their own situations, logic, and emotions into their choices. Not all of them survive, despite the best of plans, and for those who do, the world will never be the same. This isn’t a long read, and I recommend it to sci fi fans who enjoy a fictional pandemic and great writing.
Now for a recent review for The Ballad of Mrs. Molony (The Hat Book 3) by C.S. Boyack
About the book
Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.
The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exists? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up blood sucking?
Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.
One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads
I’m a huge fan of C.S. Boyack. From the moment I read “The Hat”, I was hooked, and after “Viral Blues” I concurred that these stories about a snarky talking hat and his symbiotic friendship with ‘gal-with-a-heart-of-gold’ Lizzie St Laurent, were my favourite stories in Boyack’s impressive repertoire. So, when I learned about a new ‘hat’ installment, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney”, I was jazzed to say the least.
“Mrs Moloney” picks up where “Viral Blues” left off, with Lizzie and the Hat just doing their thing, working gigs, getting by, and obsessively shopping the internet for stuff a five-hundred-odd year old hat finds cool (forgive me if I’m off on the Hat’s age – his history is so damn rich it’s hard to keep track of his age, and you know, he hardly shows any wrinkles).
Lizzie and the Hat soon come across a sorry excuse for a vampire – Kevin – and after a few jests about the lad’s teeth (which makes me think he must have British ancestry), they decide to help the poor sod to find his sister who’s been kidnapped as take-out by a bunch of cowboy vampires. Sound weird? Yeah, well, it’s Boyack!
The story unfolds in an unhurried way, with Lizzie and her band taking on country music festivals and gigs to try and track down the vamps. This provides plenty of comedic fodder with lines like:
“Then we have their anthem, ‘Friends in Low Places.’ Believe me, play this one and they’ll all pay attention. They’ll all sing and give up on any riots they have on their minds. In fact, if you blow the lyrics, they won’t even notice because they’ll be singing them.”
Boyack does his usual excellent job of dropping music into the story (loving that ‘Bad Things’ got a mention), and again floors me with his acute understanding of the female brain (like Lizzie lamenting her ‘long face’ and how certain styles of hat don’t work for her). There’s humour aplenty, and though the Hat was a bit more grumpy (or morose) this go around, his and Lizzie’s relationship has really blossomed into a buddy cop relationship… or a long-suffering marriage. I can’t decide which.
Summing up, “The Ballad of Mrs Moloney” is a great read, especially if you’re a fan of Lizzie and the Hat, and cements why these characters are my favourites in the Boyack universe
A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack
The final author today is D.G. Kaye with a recent review for her memoir Words We Carry
About the book
“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”
What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?
D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.
Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.
A recent review for the book
What starts with the author’s explanation of why she wrote the book: namely to share negative experiences and obstacles in which self-esteem issues and insecurities when faced and dealt with blossom to learning self-love; this is a remarkable revolutionary read. One I wish I would have read in my earlier teen years when I struggled with my own self-esteem issues. Self-perception baggage from wounded egos, what weighs us down, fester and damage the soul the author writes. So true. This is so well written that it’s not just an enlightening educational tool but a wonderful read from a woman not afraid to show her underbelly, huge heart, and she does it with much authenticity and talent. I resonated with so much of what she wrote in these enlightening pages, but what stands out the most is how I slid down the rabbit’s hole due to my desire to want to belong, to socially fit.
I suppose all of us who relate to this unfolding have a personal story of our own. Mine was rooted in a family dynamic that made it difficult for me to have friends to my home and consequently I missed out on social bonding that helps develop a strong sense of self. It wasn’t until later in life, in high school and university, that I encountered warm satisfying friendships. By then the damage was done. I just wish I had this book in my earlier years to have helped my younger, more formative self. Thankfully, it’s never too late to unwind wounds and deepen self-love, which is another thing I found from this beautifully powerful read. In summation, let me say I am grateful I had this recommended to me by a friend, someone whose words I respect. This gem of a book did not disappoint. Highly recommend.
Other books by D.G. Kaye
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.