Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.
The first author today with a recent review is Marjorie Mallon for the anthology This is Lockdown that shares her own diary of events over that period about the pandemic and life as a family in lock down.. and the thoughts and poetry of others within the blogging community including myself.
About the collection
An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.
The full list of authors can be found on Amazon.
A recent review for the collection
This is lockdown is an unusual collection of diary entries, discussions, poems, and a few short stories written by a variety of people from different countries and backgrounds and recording their experiences and emotions during the 2020 lockdown.
The book is divided into three sections: Family Diaries of the author MJ Mallon, No More which contains poems and pieces from a number of different contributors, and Part 2 which comprises of short stories by MJ Mallon.
The Family Diaries is just what is says, a collection of diary entries from 28 February 2020 to 1 June 2020, setting out the author’s emotions and experiences during the first three months of lockdown. The author was in lockdown with your two daughters and her husband and her entries extend to cover some of their feelings and reactions to being confined to home for an extended period. I enjoyed the family’s attempts to stay cheerful and to make the most of their time through exercising, walking, and reading. Simple joys like cooking and finding a new statuette on a walk are highlights of this period, as is the pervasive underlying anxiety about the illness and the future. The author has also recorded some of the politics of the time and how the actions of leadership impacted on the psychology of the nation.
The contributions from other authors were equally interesting as the contributors were from all over the world. Some of the contributors are known to me through my blog and I really sympathized with their circumstances and anxieties. Some were new to me, but their stories were no less interesting. I found the contribution by Beaton Mabaso from Zimbabwe of particular interest as I live in neighbouring South Africa. Beaton’s experiences and anxieties about food supply, medical treatment, the ability to social distance in crowded communities and a government with limited ability to financial aid its citizens are similar to the circumstances of the vast majority of people in my country. The different impact of the lockdown and pandemic on developed countries where people fight the psychological battle of loneliness and fear, and developing countries were people face poverty and physical deprivation were highlighted for me. There are also beautiful poetic contributions from Sally Cronin, Debby Gies, and Frank Prem. Willow Withers wrote a powerful and overarching poem about the impact of “the plague” on society and the economy of Britain.
Part 2 set out some excellent short stories by MJ Mallon, my favourite of which was The Poet’s Club Fictional Short Story. This story illustrated the diverse impact of coronavirus and lockdown on teenagers and how it impacts on their socializing, learning, and ability to cope. If found this story to be insightful and realistic.
This is Lockdown is and excellent and well-rounded depiction of lockdown and the pandemic of 2020.
Also by M.J. Mallon
The next author today is Balroop Singh with a recent review for her poetry collection – Magical Whispers
About the collection
I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.
‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.
In this book, my poems focus on the whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.
Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whispers life into us.
One of the recent reviews for the collection
This peaceful and meditative collection of poems is like a surrender to Mother Earth and her intrinsic magic. The poems are thoughtful, free-flowing, and loosely connected to weave the reader through natural, mythic and magical worlds. My favorite poems are Love is Love and a Moon Fairy, both very different. Love is Love is like a dance of nature to welcome and embrace the unconventional and Moon Fairy is simultaneously heavy and wistful and reminds me of an old woman recounting her days. Whatever your takeaway from Singh’s work, you will be moved. I recommend this especially when you want to just slow down and breath a little and see the wonder and magic around us.
Also by Balroop Singh
The final author today with a recent review is Marcia Meara for book four in the Wake – Robin Ridge series… The Light.
About the book
The Magic is Back!
For Robert MacKenzie Cole—or Rabbit, as he’s known to all—the chance to accompany his family to see North Carolina’s infamous Brown Mountain Lights has him nearly dizzy with excitement. And what better night to watch this unexplained phenomenon unfold than Halloween?
But when the entrancing, unpredictable lights show up, Rabbit gets far more than he bargained for. He’s gifted with what folks in the Appalachians call “the Sight,” and it’s this extrasensory perception that enables him to spot the one light different from all the rest.
In his biggest challenge to date, Rabbit—aided by his daddy and his newest friend, Austin Dupree— begins a quest to learn more about the mysterious light. Their investigation unveils a web of cons and corruption none of them expected and exposes a brutal murder along the way.
Throughout all, Rabbit is unfaltering in his commitment to do whatever it takes to understand the truth behind the glowing orb and to determine how he can help it. After all, it followed him home.
A recent review for the book
I could read a book about the 11-year-old Rabbit navel-gazing and be entertained. I’m in love with this character and as long as he’s in the story, I’m satisfied. Once again, Rabbit is using his gift of “sight” to solve murders and heal old wounds. In this book, one of the Brown Mountain lights is different from the rest. It’s full of sadness, and Rabbit wants to find out why.
This story has less violence and minimal danger compare to the previous books in the series, and though Rabbit solves the mystery, the more dire consequences unfold on their own. In this read, the focus has shifted somewhat to Rabbit’s expanding “family” as he spreads around his good will and makes connections with other good people. There’s a sweetness to this story and to these characters, and that’s not a bad thing.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Rabbit’s journey and happily recommend Meara’s Wake Robin Ridge series to fans of paranormal fiction, addictive characters, and expert writing. I will miss this little guy. A solid five-star read
A selection of books by Marcia Meara
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books..thanks Sally.