Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates- #Reviews – #YAParanormal Karen Demers Dowdall, #Relationships Alex Craigie, #CrimeReference Sue Coletta

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the bookstore.

The first review is for Karen Demers Dowdall for Garrett’s Bones. A YA Paranormal Mystery

About the book

Anna and Garrett are ordinary teens growing up in a small farming community in Connecticut in 1960. They have been best friends since first grade and now their relationship is changing to something more. While walking through their beautiful forest preserve, Anna and Garrett happen upon the ravaged body of a young girl and find themselves as suspects in this horrific murder.

Garrett believes that the evil man that murdered the young girl, will kill again. When Garrett and Anna find ancient bones buried in the forest, Garrett knows it means something. It is their mission, they believe, to save their community and the Indian spirit who now roams the forest.

Things get complicated when Anna is visited by a ghost who believes that Anna’s younger siblings are in great mortal danger.

Together, Anna and Garrett search for clues to find the killer as the ghosts of the past begin to collide with the present evil. They both realize it will be up to them to fight the evil who is secretly threatening their loved ones, their community, and their beloved forest.

One of the recent reviews for the book

L. Carmichael 5.0 out of 5 stars Paranormal / Cousins / Murder / YA Suspense  Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2020

Garrett’s Bones is a young adult mystery with paranormal elements written by Karen DeMers Dowdall. I’ve followed the author’s blog and read another of her books in the past, so when this one became available, I added it to my reading list. As I came to love in her first book, the descriptions of the characters and the setting are wonderful, almost leaping off the page as you quickly turn each one to find out what’s going on.

In some ways, this felt a bit like a Nancy Drew book. The teens in this one are a little older than Nancy and her cohorts, and the time periods might be slightly different (this takes place in the 1960s), but there is a similar storytelling approach and mindset. Dowdall creates beauty in her scenes by helping readers visualize all of the components, across many of our senses. Adding suspense and thrills, the hint of romance, a strong sense of right and wrong… it’s woven well and tells a story about two very likable characters, Garrett and Anna.

The title caught me right away. Was Garrett alive or dead? As quickly as the plot develops, we find out what the title references. A fellow teen girl has disappeared, and no one seems to know how to find her. Garrett and Anna, step-cousins, set out to find her. You can tell there’s a love growing between them, but they won’t act on it… in fact, others enter the picture and complicate a relationship from brewing. When Garrett and Anna find a body, it is intense, and the cops believe Garrett might’ve killed the girl. What were they thinking? What a good way to set up the conflict in this story.

Over time, another death happens. A suspect emerges. Then a second. Anna wants to explore the potential clues, but Garrett holds her back. This is a young adult novel, so Dowdall is careful to follow appropriate themes and approaches… especially since it’s setting is from over fifty years ago. When the paranormal aspects (minor) are introduced, we feel an almost spiritual connection to the Native American tribe member who appears to help at various time. Something is amiss in this town, and we can’t help but wonder if it’s supernatural or real. Why don’t the cops see it?

Anna is restless. I love her character. Garrett is protective, perhaps moreso because they’ve grown up together as friends and step-cousins (second marriage for a parent). We want them to cling to one another, it’s so obvious — Dowdall presents a vibrancy between them, but we also know it must be difficult in their time period and location. Especially when a friend seems to be super connected to one possible suspect and a cop who we wonder if we should trust. So many angles, so many parts of this story to enjoy.

When it all comes together, I was a happy reader. Great writing. Strong themes. Clever mystery. I definitely look forward to another Dowdall book in the future. Great job!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by K.D Dowdall

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK:  Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Karen on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Karen Anna via her blog Karen Dowdall

The next author is Alex Craigie with a review for her first novel Someone Close to Home.

About the book

Talented pianist Megan Youngblood has it all – fame, fortune and Gideon.

But Gideon isn’t good enough for Megan’s ambitious, manipulative mother, whose meddling has devastating repercussions for Megan and for those close to her.

Now, trapped inside her own body, she is unable to communicate her needs or fears as she faces institutional neglect in an inadequate care home.

And she faces Annie. Sadistic Annie who has reason to hate her. Damaged Annie who shouldn’t work with vulnerable people.

Just how far will Annie go?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jan 06, 2020 Lel Budge rated it Four Stars

Megan, once a famous pianist, but after a stroke she is now bed ridden in a care home. Many of the carers are lovely, friendly and really look after Megan, but others just treat her as an inconvenience. Then there’s Annie, a sadistic and cruel woman who is taking revenge for an event many, many years ago.

As Megan lies in bed, she only has her memories and the story is told in flashbacks to her past. Her mother was manipulative and controlling, but also fragile and lonely and lives vicariously through Megan. Her lies end up hurting others and this has devastating consequences.

Over the years, Megan’s childhood friend, Gideon grows closer and they finally declare their love for each other…….but Megan’s mother has other plans.

Believing Gideon has someone else, Megan marries Jordan, but this marriage is violent and just plain nasty.

Megan really has been through a lot and now lying in her bed she is tortured by the evil Annie. Can she make herself understood before it’s too late?

This is a gripping read, full of emotion, love, spite, fear and hope. The descriptions of the care home routines is so accurate, from the lack of resources to the care they give their residents. (My mother is a resident herself due to dementia and I know first hand the pressures they are under, but the care shown to these frail people is never in doubt….luckily!)

I cannot imagine the fear of someone being unable to communicate while being mistreated in such a way as Megan. The wonderfully emotive writing by Alex Craigie really does bring this point alive, which makes this a tense, disturbing read at times and is so compelling I read it in one sitting.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Also by Alex Craigie

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Alex: Goodreads

Connect to Alex Craigie via: Facebook

The final author today is Sue Coletta with her very useful guide 60 Ways to Murder your Characters.

About the book

Looking for inspiration on how to murder your characters?

With this handy research guide, no longer will you need to search for ways to murder your characters, or stare at a blank screen while you mull over the character development of your antagonist. Many of the murder methods listed in 60 Ways to Murder Your Characters come with ways you can use them in your novel, short story, or flash fiction.

From the basics, like a shotgun blast to the head to the more creative ways to commit murder on the page, this research guide will help bring your crime scenes alive.

Let’s face it. Being an author isn’t an easy endeavor. Crime writing is even harder, because we need to ensure our stories ring true. That’s why I’ve given you the exact measurements for how to dissolve a body in lye or acid, for instance. If I can help your stories ring true, then I consider it a win. Don’t let the preview fool you. There’s all kinds of information in this guide.

If you check out my blog, you’ll find endless posts on research, forensics, and police procedures. Let my passion for crime help you. One element of my psychological thriller/mystery, Marred, that readers found the most chilling were the crime scene details and forensics.

Don’t take my word for it.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Abbigail Holmes 5.0 out of 5 stars First Aid For Every Mystery Writer  Reviewed in the United States on January 26, 2020

You don’t know how to kill your character? You are not sure how it should look like? What steps to take? Is it really possible to kill someone that way?

If you’ve ever written a mystery novel, you probably found yourself questioning one of those questions. The good news is, there are answers to your questions. In this very book. Along with plenty of examples and links which lead to other sources about pretty everything you need: police procedure, police jargon and so on.

If you need to kill someone (in your story, of course), this is something I should strongly recommend to read before killing.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Sue Coletta

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And:  Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Sue : Goodreads

Connect to Sue via her website/blog: Sue Coletta

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


20 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates- #Reviews – #YAParanormal Karen Demers Dowdall, #Relationships Alex Craigie, #CrimeReference Sue Coletta

  1. Reblogged this on Jane Risdon and commented:
    Such an amazing collection of books and authors featured on Sally Cronin’s Book Promotion today. So many fabulous covers too. Thanks so much and good luck to each and every one of these amazing writers.


  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 16th – 22nd February 2020 | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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