Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Poetry Frank Prem, #Thriller Toni Pike, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie

In this first feature for the Smorgasbord Bookshelf I am sharing authors whose books I have read and can personally recommend along with one of my reviews for their books.

The first recommended author today is Fran Prem whose poetry reveals the hidden, the beautiful and the tragedy behind locked doors, loving relationships, childhood, wildfires and the First World War.

Meet Frank Prem

Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet since his teenage years. He has been a psychiatric nurse through all of his professional career, which now exceeds forty years.

He has been published in magazines, online zines and anthologies in Australia, and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as spoken word.

He lives with his wife in the beautiful township of Beechworth in North East Victoria, Australia.

A selection of books by Frank Prem

My review for Sheep On The Somme – Behind the Images July  2021

Those of us who are in our 60s and 70s are likely to have had grandparents who were affected one way or another by the First World War, on all sides of the conflict. Most we may never have met and we can only rely on second hand accounts of their lives.

This makes Frank Prem’s selected images, and his poetry, even more profound and compelling, as they give a voice to the silent men in the trenches and on the battlefield, the living and the dead. The civilians whose homes, places of worship and villages were pounded to rubble, and the animals, horses and mules who stood in tethered lines far from peaceful grassy meadows. And to the families who waited at home desperate for news and grateful for every short note on a postcard passed by the censors. To the non-combatants, medics who risked their lives to retrieve the wounded, the doctors, nurses and those who attempted to feed and provide water for man and beast.

This is not a celebration of war, it is tribute to the strength of the human spirit and a pictorial reminder of the devastation of conflict on human beings, the land, wildlife and the future of millions. Perhaps if this collection had been published and distributed after World War I… there might not have been a second conflict twenty years later.

There are certain images that will remain with me. A solitary cross amidst the bomb craters and mud, men in the trenches crowded in a bunker drinking tea and playing cards, the blitzed remains of a village, and the endless march of refugees with scant belongings and little hope, trying to escape the bombardment and savagery.

So why would I recommend a book that highlights the darkness of one of the most tragic events in recent history? Although this collection features Australian forces, they are representative of all the other nationalities who participated in the conflict on both sides. It is our history, and for millions around the world, somewhere in a grave in one of the many cemeteries across Europe, a long lost relative may be buried.

And as always, Frank Prem’s poetry is superb, breathing life, emotion and touches of humour into this collection of unforgettable images from the past. A book that should be on library bookshelves and in our homes and shared with the next generation.

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US –And:Amazon UK – Website:Frank Prem – Goodreads:Goodreads – Twitter:@frank_prem – YouTube:Frank Prem’s Channel

The next author, Toni Pike writes for both children and adults and I can recommend both genres

Meet Toni Pike

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing exciting thrillers for adults, non-fiction, and hilarious books for children. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS.


She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

A selection of books by Toni Pike for children and adults

My review for Desolation Bluff

Desolation Bluff is packed with suspense and action.

Life is challenging enough for those with a sight impairment, when trust of those around you is essential. Oliver Cameron feels blessed to have a highly successful writing career, loyal housekeeper, a wonderfully supportive wife and best friend and back from honeymoon, he couldn’t be happier.

As we become involved in the story, and are party to events that Oliver is not aware of, it is easy to become angry on his behalf as the depths of betrayal are exposed. How will he deal with the revelations that unfold? Seeking revenge requires careful planning but people will go to great lengths to protect their secrets. For some of those who are looking out for Oliver’s best interests, this can be dangerous. Especially when an unexpected ally turns up on the scene who might be less likely to be intimidated.

The characters are well drawn and the plot moves along at a good pace. It is easy to take sides as the story develops and the climax leaves you on the edge of your seat…. and Desolation Bluff.

Connect to Toni: Buy the books:Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter:@piketoni1

The next author is Jessica Norrie who contributed the literary column for two years on the blog, sharing a wonderful cross genre selection of outstanding novels from the last few decades. I can highly recommend her novel The Magic Carpet.

Meet Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs. A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching creatively in multicultural schools, was published in July 2019, and she is working on a third. She divides her time between London and Malvern, blogging, singing soprano, and walking in the forest and hills.

Books by Jessica Norrie

My review for The Magic Carpet September 2019

The Magic Carpet is set in outer London in early September 2016, and its cast is a group of young schoolchildren aged seven and eight, tasked with developing the classic fairy tales into performances on Friday October 14th.

The children head home with their assigned stories with the wide remit of telling the fairy tale in any way they wish, involving whoever they wish, including family members.

The author invites us into the children’s homes to meet parents, brothers and sisters and grandparents, and for them to have the chance to share their stories of how they arrived in this part of London.

Beautifully written from both the children’s and adult’s perspective, we get to understand the complexities of integration within a multi-cultural society. It is not just about religion, colour or traditions, as within a single family there can be three generations struggling to understand the new culture, language and accepted practices of a society they were not born into.

Such as the loving grandmother struggling to communicate with her English speaking grandson as he shares the wonders of the story he has been given. A single father who is concerned about the proprieties of bringing his son’s friends into the home, and a young girl who sees a side to her parent’s marriage that will challenge her perspective on the happy ever after of fairy stories.

We also come to appreciate the role of teachers at primary schools, who patiently prepare the children from these diverse backgrounds, and with varying language skills, for their future as part of society.

The story culminates with the performances and the interpretations the children have brought to the classic fairy tales. We also discover the impact of this simple exercise has had on the dynamics of the families involved and the changes in perception it has achieved. Demonstrating it is the children, who have the power to bring the generations and different cultures together.

Highly recommended.

Jessica Norrie, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPress Goodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie


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

93 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Poetry Frank Prem, #Thriller Toni Pike, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie

  1. I loved the extracts of Sheep on the Somme and I’m going to ask for it as a birthday present. I have The Magic Carpet on my Kindle now and I must look into Toni’s books now. Many thanks, Sally. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Having read Desolation Bluff and The Magic Carpet, I will throw in my endorsement of each. I could see many of my struggling families as an educator through the lens of Jessica’s characters.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on Frank Prem Poetry and commented:
    Thank you so much to Sally Cronin for including SHeep On The Somme among her personal favorites, along with the wonderful Toni Pike and Jessica Norrie.

    Pop across to the Smorgasbord and read up on Sally’s wonderful reviews of these books. It’s always a treat to visit there.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Toni Pike and commented:
    I’m so thrilled to be included today in Smorgasbord Bookshelf’s Meet the Authors, alongside amazing authors Frank Prem and Jessica Norrie. Thank you so much to Sally Cronin for sharing her review of Desolation Bluff.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 31st Jan – Feb 6th 2022 – Hits 1987, Travel Column, Nutrition, Short stories, book reviews, blogging and funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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