Sunday Book Review – Garden Black by Frank Prem #Poetry

My Sunday Book Review is for the latest collection of speculative poetry by Frank Prem. I have enjoyed reading many of Frank’s books because his poetry interpretations take us along with him on his observations whether real or fiction, his truth shines through.

Blurb:

The Garden Black poetry collection is a venture into fantasy and speculative fiction based on the dual themes of rain forest and fantasy.

. The rainforest becomes a desert, and then the sea.

. A man in a satellite orbits the earth while playing his violin and pondering. A girl gazes up at the passing light and dances.

. Od Ovo – a youth who is from here, raises the dust of frustrated boredom on a mining asteroid, and cannot believe traveller tales of places where water falls from the sky.

. What colour are the flowers in the Reaper’s garden? They are all colours . . . They are black.

Welcome to the speculative fantasies that are The Garden Black.

My 5 Star Review:

From fantasy to the deep is what you will find in this new interesting collection of speculative poetry by Frank Prem. Prem’s poetry reminds that life is fragile and fleeting. Life is brief and can be both harsh and beautiful at times. The author shares conversations evoked in his mind through his observations and imagination, life’s incidences and moments.

A few poems in particular, caught my attention and touched deep. I’ll share them here through partial excerpt:

Not sorry only grief (waiting)

"I have no wish
to go back
home

home
never
quite
had room
for what I was

but
I do wish
that home
could spare a
thought - 
just ocassionally -
for me ..."

Unbound (goodbye)

"gravity
would hold me down
but
I was not made
to be
earthly tied

I set my sights
somewhere
over the tree tops

the strength
my strength
lives
in the will I hold ..."


Jet on night

"he
is a silhouette

she
a shadow leaning
up against
the wall

he reaches
to touch her
with the sun
shining behind him

she holds up
a phantom hand
to better feel
their connection

darkness on
darkness

he isn't there

jet on jet

she isn't there ..."



©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Just Before Sunrise by Carol Balawyder

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m delighted to share my review for Carol Balawyder’s page turning story about love, lust, crime and the innocent people who get caught in between in her noir thriller – Just Before Sunrise.

Blurb:

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.
But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…
Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.
She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.
As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.
Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.

My 5 Star Review:

This book begins with different people telling the story that seamlessly converges into a page-turning dark tale.

It begins with the relationship between Joni, a women’s homeless and abuse counselor, and her younger boyfriend Adam. Their relationship is like good friends with benefits with question marks about developing into more. The two love each other, but with Joni in her mid fifties, she isn’t keen on having kids, and Adam still in his thirties, struggles with not having any. He even contemplates marrying someone just so he can have children.

At this same time, we meet Nadine, an ex call girl who uses her beauty and wiley ways to meet men with money. She craftly meets wealthy Logan, at his wife’s funeral. Nadine pretends she was friends with his wife and wiggles into Logan’s life – with an end goal of marrying him.

Nadine moves in with Logan and his step son Charlie and soon hatches a plot of pretending to fall in love with the young Charlie so she can win his attention to help her set up her end goal plan of getting rid of Logan – a man they both despise.

The convergence of this story occurs when Joni meets Maya, a sixteen year old homeless girl. Joni has a cottage next door to Charlie’s parents’ summerhouse and decides to use her cottage as a safe house for homeless young women. When Joni takes Maya up to her cottage to help prepare the place, Maya befriends Charlie. Maya begins feeling a connection with Charlie as he shares stories with her about him being abused when he was younger, to win her sympathy so he can use her for a decoy later on with evil Nadine’s dirty plans.

After Nadine and Charlie’s plan to get rid of Logan take place, they find they are left with a money hungry brother of Logan’s that they need to get out of the way of their plans to have everything. As the plot thickens, poor Maya unknowingly becomes part of a sinister plan. The two evil doers snag in this innocent girl into their dark scheme in hopes to use her as a scapegoat for their insidious crimes.

In this story we’ll witness relationship awakenings, self-discoveries, and finally, regained self-worth by Maya, while Adam and Joni grow through searching for missing Maya and both finally realize what it is they really want out of life. No surprise the author, with her criminal psychology background, does a wonderful job of writing noir and getting us invested in her richly drawn characters and her lovely setting of Quebec, Ontario in this book that will keep you turning the pages.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Satin and Cinders by Jan Sikes #Shortstory, #Romance

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m reviewing a #shortstory by Jan Sikes – Satin and Cinders. This is a sweet love story between a privileged horse and a wild stallion.

I’m currently halfway through another of Jan’s books, as well as an historical fiction memoir and a book about NLP therapy, but I wanted to put up a last review before I take a blogging break later this week, and pulled up this sweet short story on my BFK. I’m looking forward to a timeout and a readathon on the beach – in between having actual conversations with human beings.

Blurb:

A wild black stallion has cautiously watched a beautiful white mare, from the safety of the forest for many years. He longs to be with her, and ventures close to the barn nightly to communicate with her. They share their deepest desires and secrets. Now it is winter, and the rest of the wild herd has moved on, but the stallion stays. He cannot stand the thought of being so far away from her. The scent of sweet alfalfa hay and the enticing lure of the white mare is too much for him. He must find a way to be with her. But will it be worth the risk? Satin and Cinders is a story of courage and determination.

My 5 Star Review:

This was a sweet love story about two horses in love. This story could have been about any two people, but it’s about a beautiful mare, Satin, and the wild black stallion, Cinders, who are in love and separated by living standards and a fence. Cinders narrates. The author does a wonderful job of bringing the emotions to life and writing about the horse’s thoughts, inviting us into their story. An equine love story with a human feel.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Scam! – Stevie Turner

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. This week’s featured book is for Stevie Turner’s novella – Scam! A story that will keep you engaged until the end. This story showcases just how easily people are sucked into scams.

Blurb:

Lauren West and Ben Hughes are saving frantically for their forthcoming marriage and mortgage deposit. When Lauren sees an advert online from a firm of brokers extolling the profits to be gained by buying and selling Bitcoins, she is interested enough to pursue it further.

Lauren clicks on the advert. She is soon contacted by Paul Cash, a knowledgeable stockbroker whom Lauren trusts straight away. He is affable, plausible, and seemingly genuinely interested in her welfare. Lauren looks forward to making enough money to be able to surprise Ben and bring the date of their wedding forward, and also to put a deposit down on their ideal house.

What could possibly go wrong?

My Five Star Review:

I enjoy Turner’s women’s fiction stories and Scam!, held me captive to the very end. This story demonstrates just how vulnerable people are to the savvy tech scammers.

Lauren and Ben, both teachers, are saving to buy their own home, in the meantime, they are living with Ben’s parents. Lauren is eager to get her own home as she feels stifled and judged all the time by Ben’s mother. Lauren thinks she’s struck gold when she finds an online opportunity to invest in Bitcoin. The problem is, her and Ben have worked hard to save the $20 K so far for a deposit on a new home, and this opportunity looked tempting to double her money quickly. Lauren is sure everything looks legit and decides to take the plunge without telling Ben because she wants to surprise him when she makes the money – a sure thing says Paul ‘Cash’, her online stockbroker.

What could go wrong is a loaded question. This may be a novella, but as usual, this author knows how to pack in a lot of suspense in her short stories. I do not want to give out spoilers here, so I will just say that a simple scam turns into way more than just the scam itself, escalating into burglary and even murder. That should be enough to tempt. At approximately 100 pages this story reads fast because there’s always something happening, making it hard to put down and not difficult to read in one sitting.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review Emotional #Poetry by John Roedel, Untied

Today’s Sunday Book Review is for John Roedel’s Untied – The Poetry of how Knots Become Strings. I was introduced to Roedel’s free verse poetry by my lovely friend Jane Sturgeon. She shared one of his poems with me that moved me immediately, so off I went to Amazon to order a paperback copy. I prefer poetry books in paperback so I can dog-ear poetry I wish to go back and read again. I quite honestly, got hooked on free verse poetry from reading quite a few books by Frank Prem.

Blurb:

The knots in our stomachs can still be untangled. The binds we tether our hands together with can still be undone. There is still time for us to untangle rope we tied around our necks. This is the poetry of for those trying to live that is not tethered to our past mistakes or future worries. This is the poetry for anybody who wants to become unbound from their regret. This is the poetry of breaking free of all that keeps us from rising. This is the poetry of letting all that binds us slip away so we can chase the horizon. This is the poetry of how knots can become strings.

My 5 Star Review:

I’m so glad a friend had shared one of these heartfelt poems with me, which had me ordering a paperback copy of this moving book of poetry, pronto. Roedel’s poetry is deep and raw with no holds back. It felt to me that this type of poetry couldn’t be fictional as the author expresses both, the beauty and pain of incidences in life as poetic short stories where he takes us right into his heart-grabbing passages. Many of these passages indicate to me, the author had to have lived much of what he wrote because of the deep emotion in his words that makes me feel as though he lived his stories, his tellings will seep deep within a reader’s soul.

In this book you’ll find poetry on love, childhood, fears, darkness, life, and death, parents, children, and more. Some will make you smile, some will bring a tear, but these poetic stories are guaranteed to leave an impact. A timeless book to pick up again and again.

There are so many passages that I found myself identifying with such as:

Excerpt from – What’s Left?

“I’m destroyed, ” I said while standing amid the

smoldering ruins of all that I once thought mattered.

“No, you aren’t,” God replied to me through the

sound of the freezing January wind passing

through pines.

“But everything is gone… ” I offered quietly.

“Not everything, my love.” God said through the

bits of sunlight peeking through the ashen post-

snowfall clouds.

“What’s left?” I asked.

God spoke through the plops of water coming from

the slowly melting icicles:

“Your recovery.”

Excerpt from What’s Left? By John Roedel

Excerpt from Pulling Strings

Love is a piece of endless

yarn that each of us agree to

hold on to an end of

gently between our fingers

so that when we get separated

from one another

by the illusion of death

we can tug it

ever so softly

to send each other messages

back and forth through the slack

as if to say:

“I’m still here.”

Excerpt from Pulling Strings by John Roedel

©DGKaye2021