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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Adventure Audrey

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore author updates, with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is Mark Bierman has been receiving terrific reviews for his debut novel Vanished.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Non stop action Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2020

This story kicks off the action on page one and doesn’t let up. In fact, when I was about ¾ of the way through, I needed to sit back, take a deep breath, and work the tension out of my shoulders. Bierman’s ability to write non-stop, intense, dangerous action is noteworthy. And though in many ways, I’d characterize the story as plot-driven, there’s some deep emotion when it’s called for.

And the story isn’t a picnic. Though the author maintains that it’s fictional, he also states that it centers on a very real and tragic situation – child slavery. Tyler and John are two likable Americans who team up with an anti-hero in Haiti. The story follows their attempt to rescue a Haitian’s young child from a mine worked by kidnapped children. The difficulty of this plan is skillfully complicated by cultural barriers, corruption, poverty, and, of course, the ruthless adults who treat children like disposable tools – use them until they break and then throw them away.

Even though the book is plot-driven, I felt connected to Tyler and John. It was hard not to feel for them and root for them when things weren’t going well (which was the whole book). In a way, they are ordinary men who, as things got worse and worse, had to keep remaking decisions about what they’re willing to sacrifice, including their lives. They give it their all and it was very heroic. I’d read more about the characters and will read more of this author. Recommended for anyone who loves an intense action-packed adventure/thriller.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Mark: Goodreads

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

The next featured author is Audrey Driscoll for her action adventure, She Who Comes Forth

About the book

October 1962. The developing nuclear missile crisis in Cuba is of no concern to Francesca “France” Leighton. Recently turned 21, France travels from her home in Providence to a job at an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. She takes with her two legacies—an emerald ring from the grandfather she never knew, and an antique cello from his friend, a man she loved like a grandfather.

The dig disappoints. France is relegated to sorting chunks of stone, the dig’s director makes unwanted advances; rivalries and mistrust are everywhere. And it’s too darn hot. Tasked with playing her cello at a gathering of archaeologists, France meets the enigmatic and fascinating nuclear physicist Adam Dexter. She’s smitten, especially when he promises to show her the secrets of Egypt, including a hitherto undiscovered tomb.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Susan 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Setting Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2020

What an amazing journey from cover to cover. France Leighton takes advantage of a once in a lifetime job offer by accepting a position at an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. Her high expectations are quickly dashed when due to her lack of experience she is relegated to menial labor – sorting stones in the oppressive heat. With her beloved cello named Eudora, she searches for adventure and romance. She’s young and sometimes reckless but full of daring while attempting to solve various mysteries surrounding the myths and legends of the area.

Well-written with richly detailed descriptions, I enjoyed France’s story and felt her joys and sorrows as she tried to connect with those around her. It was difficult to figure out who she could trust. Set in the early 1960’s using the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War as a backdrop, the story flows well and is highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Audrey on: Goodreads

Connect to Audrey via her website: Audrey Driscoll​

And the final book today with a recent review is for the short story collection Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin.

About the book.

An administrator is forced into early retirement; a busy doctor needs a break. A girl discovers her sexuality; an older man explores a new direction for his. An estate agent seeks adventure beyond marriage; a photojournalist retreats from an overwhelming world. A woman reduces her carbon footprint; a woman embarks on a transatlantic affair. A widow refuses to let her past trauma become public property; another marks her husband’s passing in style.

Thought-provoking, playful and poignant, these 42 short stories address identity from different angles, examining the characters’ sense of self at various points in their lives. What does it mean to be a partner, parent, child, sibling, friend? How important is work, culture, race, religion, nationality, class? Does our body, sexuality, gender or age determine who we are?

Is identity a given or can we choose the someone we become?

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Judith 4.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening read. 25 January 2020

This book of a collection of over 40 short stories, which was unlike most books I am used to reading. I don’t know how the author did it, but the book drew my mind and attention to the character’s identity. Not in a ‘’like -or-don’t -like’’ manner but rather in an analytical sort of way. Each story is different and presents a diverse group of personalities. The stories are about real people with real problems who caught the attention of a writer, bringing their life and struggles into the forefront for the reader to ponder. I would gladly recommend this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

Connect to Anne via her blog: Annecdotal

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm.. thanks Sally.

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Author, Mark Bierman
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