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Books and Films

Valerie Gardner reviews...

Last month we featured author Melissa Roen who spoke to us about her journey as an Independent Publisher. Melissa Roen has successfully published 2 books and in 2 languages, first in English and then in French.

We decided to give Melissa's books, 'Last Call For Caviar' and the sequel 'Maya Rising' to one of The Riviera Woman's faithful readers to read and review.

Valerie Gardner moved to Pigna in 2008 to start a new adventure with her Italian partner Vilmo. Together they opened a Bed and Breakfast 'Casa Valeria' whch has become a very popular and friendly holiday destination, and with a passion for reading, Valerie did not hesitate to take on the challenge. Valerie commences by saying:

"These books really impressed me and I still think about them a couple of weeks after I had finished them. Two of the best books I have read for a very long time. There are books you want to keep and these are two I will have on my bookshelf. The covers are very appropriate. Melissa Roen - What wonderful writing - you are very talented.  Do hope you will write more books. THANK YOU."

Last Call For Caviar

When I read the first line under "The Custodians" in the Prologue - "Next year 2125" I thought that perhaps this book was not for me. However, by the next page, I was intrigued, and from then on, I engaged with the book, and I am so very glad I did.

The book is set in Monte Carlo, mainly, but anarchy is spreading in the USA. Italy is also mentioned because it is so near to the Cote d'Azur. The key characters were Maya Jade, Julian, Abdul, and Buddy, the Golden Retriever.

The story line flowed very well. The theme was about the destruction of our planet/with anarchy, insurgents/terrible storms/very dangerous people in gangs and the total breakdown of morals, family life and spirituality.

The book was incredibly visual - the descriptions of the countryside, the coming violent storms and the sea, and at times the descriptions of the nightsky and the peace when Maya is at The Astrarama - these were simply wonderful. When Maya was planning to leave and she could not take Buddy with her, the way in which she looked after him and checked his health and the last kiss she gave on the top of his head, as she whispered, "I love you my Little Buddy - you saved my life" - this made me cry!! Also the following few paragraphs - what love she showed and when they were re-united - soo lovely and beautifully written.

The title of the book could not be more descriptive. I think the book would appeal to people, maybe, of a more serious nature, who would enjoy a book to make one think about the possible future, and what could indeed happen one of these days. Very thought provoking and most certainly, the book welcomed a follow up.

Maya Rising

The book would be extremely difficult to follow if you had not read the first one. Maya is the key character, although a few others are very close. The story is about Maya and her thoughts and feelings, but it is also very much about the destruction of the world.

As with the first book, Maya Rising is a page turner, very difficult to put down but as soon as I did, I found myself immersed in thought about what the author had written and how credible the storyline is and even though the book is set in the future, Melissa is giving the reader something to really think about. Most thought provoking!

The book was more than realistic and the sex scenes were relevant and tastefully done - also with love.

There were so many things I liked - the descriptions of the world and people Maya cared about. The great adventure in trying to find Julian, the friendship Maya formed with Stephan, Lolo & Antony and her fierce independence and bravery.

As in the first book, it is VERY visual which makes me believe that the books would and should make a wonderful film.

Without wanting to give anything away, I can conclude honestly by saying: "What a superb ending, and very surprising."

What others have said... Last Call For Caviar

5 STARS I loved this book

By galea on October 24, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

A captivating read! I loved this book, its wonderfully written and the characters really come alive. Reading this book was like watching a movie! I couldn't put it down! Each and every detail is so descriptive that I could picture the scenery and the characters perfectly. It’s very well written, with well-developed characters, and a great storyline. I loved how the action, suspense and romance are blended so effortlessly into such a great read! I look forward to the sequel!


5 STARS Page-turner -- suspenseful -- highly recommended!

By Seth Brighton August 4

Format: Paperback

Imaginatively constructed book -- intriguing characters. Plot twists keep you wanting to read more and more. Looking forward to the next installment.


4 STARS A ride of a lifetime, with hairpin turns . . .

By Bob on July 31

Format: Paperback

Last Call for Caviar is a must read. Being a world traveler and having visited many of the locations in the book brought the story to life for me. You'll fall in love with Maya Jade's dog Buddy the golden retriever. all in all a great read. Looking forward to the sequel.


"Last Call for Caviar is a guilty pleasure for any reader. It introduces readers to an epic fight for love and humanity. How many of us if we knew there was no tomorrow wouldn't also yearn to find love ones and tell them our true feelings for them? The imagery and decadence used to describe the setting made me feel as though I was there. You can almost smell the money towards the beginning of the book and the despair at the end as their world begins to crumble further. The author could have gone just with the end of days story and written a fine book. However, the sensuality and adventure of the book is what sets it apart from other novels. If you want to be exposed to a world of wealth, tragedy and love, Last Call for Caviar is a great read."--Pacific Book Review

What others have said... Maya Rising


"The sequel to Last Call for Caviar is equally as delicious as the first installment. Maya Rising jumps right into the action and doesn't let up. The plot winds through the French countryside and back down to the French Riviera, coming full circle. Maya is forced to face the demons that have hounded her steps throughout book volumes. The earth trembles with a mystical power that haunts Maya. The mysteries of this force seems to hold her destiny in its grip and the blazing red eye of the Purifier scorches. Always one step away from the end, Maya Jade is on an unrelenting journey toward her truth and the fate of the world.

A fast paced whirl of adventure, hurdling towards a conclusion that will keep you guessing to the end. I implore Roen to reconsider, and serve us at least one more serving of Caviar." --Manhattan Book Review


Maya Rising delivers!

By FionaMC on February 11, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition

Last Call for Caviar caught my attention, and Maya Rising delivered.

The American gun-toting, whisky-swilling heroine with a sharp tongue and soft heart comes back with greater determination and balls to survive the Apocalypse and save everyone she cares about on the way.

As a heroine I feel like she really grows into her role. It's as if the starting gun for the survival race has gone off, and everyone is thrown in action. Do or die. You wouldn't guess what's about to happen.


Maya Rising was a brilliant read. I love the writing style of the ...

By Galea Lorraine on September 4, 2016

Format: Paperback

I couldn’t put this book down!
Having read Last Call for Caviar, I couldn’t wait to read the sequel, and Maya Rising was a brilliant read .
I love the writing style of the author ,and the clever way the story unfolds and flows so effortlessly.
I honestly can’t wait to see it on the big screen ! What a fabulous movie this would make!


By Suzanne Gattis on March 11, 2016

Format: Paperback

In a world divided by the atrocities and tolls of war, it is matters of the heart that almost bring down our heroine, Maya, in this fast-moving and suspenseful sequel to Last Call for Caviar. Separated from her one true love Julian, Maya sets out on a dangerous mission to reunite with her soul mate. Accompanied by two badass French military paratroopers and armed and ready to shot, Maya marches into danger with the fierce determination to not stop until she is once again with Julian. Uniting with some old friends along the way also leads to some surprising twists and turns in this action packed romance.


Anna Smith for Readers’ favorites ( 5 Stars)

"Maya Rising is a sizzling steamy story with action, adventure and intrigue. Maya is a strong heroine. She is well-written and easy to root for.  Roen wrote characters into this world with the toughness and fortitude to survive. Maya Rising is a survival tale, but hope is also encountered in the story's pages. I love the way this story was told. It is dark and scary at times, funny and witty when comic relief is needed, and sweet and sappy just when I've had too much darkness. Roen did a really good job of balancing the elements of her story."--Anna Smith for Readers' Favorites (5 Stars)


Last Call for Caviar was recently entered into the 2016 International Book Awards and was awarded Bronze medal winner for Dystopian Fiction Contestants range from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers and celebrities.

Readers Favorites International Book Awards receive thousands of entries from all over the world, from as far away as Australia, Brazil, Pakistan, Switzerland, Singapore, India, Peru, the UK and more. The contest submissions are from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants like Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).

The 2016 Internal Book Awards ceremony to be held November 18, 2016 during the Miami Book Fair.

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See also on The Riviera Woman: Melissa Roen - The Indie Publisher Experience

Saturday, 1 October 2016    Section: Books and Films
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