Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Family Lisette Brodey, #UrbanFantasy Mae Clair

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 author today is Mark Bierman whose thriller set in Haiti was a chilling reminder that there is always someone with the power to take advantage of the vulnerable. Looking forward to his second novel and 50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

Meet Mark Bierman

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman’s childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non.

Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this “country boy” to life in the big cities.

After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

My review for the book November 2020

This book is a challenging read, not because of how it is written, but the subject matter. We tend to picture islands in the Caribbean as having sun swept sandy beaches, luxury accommodation and smiling faces of the inhabitants, happy to see tourists pouring into their paradise. However Haiti has had centuries of political, economic and social unrest and suffered devastating natural disasters. Following one such event, the earthquake in 2010, thousands of men, women and children were killed and many more thousands were left homeless. The population is left reliant on assistance from the outside world, including volunteers to help them rebuild. However, as well as the suffering caused by this natural disaster, there is an underlying evil that thrives on misery, and manipulates parents in dire straits, to offer up their children under the pretense of a better life.

Two Americans Tyler and his father-in-law John Webster arrive on the island following a tragedy of their own, with the loss of Joy, Tyler’s wife and John’s daughter from cancer. Hopeful that the physical labour of helping to construct an orphanage, will bring them both a measure of peace, they find themselves caught up in the violent world of the human traffickers preying on children in particular. From mines to plantations the trade in cheap slave labour is thriving, and it is manned by thugs with money the motivator.

In a desperate search across the mountainous interior of the country, and forced to form alliances with those they cannot trust, and in some cases with those wishing them violence, the two men seek one child among thousands. Their story runs in parallel with heartrending accounts of others who have been caught up in the trafficking, who seek to escape, often at the expense of their lives.

The author has created strong characters across the spectrum of good vs. evil, and the story maintains its pace throughout the book. The mission Tyler and John have undertaken hurtles towards a violent climax, and consequences that will need to be faced. A thought provoking thriller that serves as a reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a kinder world.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UKFollow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

The next author is Lisette Brodey and although I have only read one of her impressive range of books, I do intend to read more in the future.

Meet Lisette Brodey

Lisette was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She spent ten years in New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles.

She’s a multi-genre author of nine novels and one short story collection: Crooked Moon (General/Literary Fiction); Squalor, New Mexico (Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction); Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), The Desert Series: Mystical High; Desert Star; and Drawn Apart (YA paranormal/magical realism), Barrie Hill Reunion (Literary Fiction); Hotel Obscure: A Collection of Short Stories (Literary Fiction), Love, Look Away (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), and The Sum of our Sorrows (Contemporary Fiction.)

In addition to her nine novels and one short story collection, two more of Lisette’s short stories are published in an anthology: Triptychs (Book 3, The Mind’s Eye Series.)

A selection of books by Lisette Brodey

My Review for The Sum of our Sorrows January 2021

This is a well written family saga, packed with complex but relatable relationships that we may well recognise from our own experiences. Father and daughters, sisters and between lovers. Friendships that fizzle out as circumstances change, or grow through surprising connections.

The author sets the scene early in the story as we learn of a family tragedy that changes the dynamic of the relationship between father and daughter and the three sisters. The spread of ages of the girls, places them all in a different stage in their lives and each is vulnerable in their own way.

As the novel progresses we are introduced to other characters who impose their own agendas on the sisters and their father, sometimes with traumatic effect. Others bring clarity and hope to the family as a whole and individually There are moments of drama and also evil, as the family try to come to terms with a mother’s death and three young women face uncertain futures.

The author does an excellent job of getting to the heart of her characters and portrays them well. The reader is left feeling that they are part of the family and involved in a very personal way as they face demons, secrets that are revealed and the future. I can recommend the book to lovers of family drama with elements of thriller, mystery and romance.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Lisette: Goodreads – Website/blog: Lisette Brodey – Twitter: @LisetteBrodey – Facebook: Lisette.Brodey

The next recommended author is Mae Clair and I have read two of her books so far, one a humourous take on love and the other her recent short story collection, both terrific reads.

Meet Mae Clair

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections.

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

A selection of books by Mae Clair

My review for Things Old and Forgotten December 2021

Wow this is a story collection across the genres that will amaze and delight the reader.

We travel roads from the past and into the future meeting interesting characters along the way, some drawn from the worlds of fantasy and others from the edge of darkness. There are also light-hearted moments with encounters with intoxicating small yellow birds and escapees from the confines of ancient bottles.

Mae Clair writes with clarity and with a focus on the reader’s engagement, creating memorable characters and bringing favourite legendary elements into a new environment.

The stories are all excellent and tough to highlight any for special merit but my heart was warmed by Father’s Day, I was totally drawn in by Robin of Sherwood and Miss Lily Makes a Wish had me laughing.

I can highly recommend this well written and entertaining collection of stories that crosses the genres with ease and expertise.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on: Goodreads Website: Mae Clair – Twitter: @MaeClair1


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

84 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Thriller Mark Bierman, #Family Lisette Brodey, #UrbanFantasy Mae Clair

  1. I love all your reviews here Sal. And I’m thrilled to already have all these books in possession. I know I’m a year behind in reading, but I look forward to reading all of these. Congrats to Mark, Mae and Lisette. ❤

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Thanks so much, Sally, for sharing your reviews of these great books. I’ve read two of them (Mark’s and Mae’s) and loved them both. I’ve yet to read Lisette’s books, but I’ll be checking them out soon.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Great reviews. I love Lisette’s writing. And have popped into Mae’s Story Empire, now and then. Must check out all their books again – now I’m back to reading. Congratulations to Mark, Mae and Lisette

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Thanks for your always great review(s), Sally! I really have to hurry up for at least reading one book of every authors you have featured. “Vanished” was a great challenge, but a great entertainment, and every for me unknown word ;-), worth to look up. Fast pacing, but not Fast Food. xx Michael

    Liked by 5 people

  5. It’s so great to see Mark and Mae here! I’ve read works from both of them and can attest to their great storytelling skills! Lisette is new to me, so I’m off to explore her stories. Thanks for sharing them with us, Sally! 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Huge congrats to Mark, Lisette, and Mae on these wonderful reviews. I loved Things Old and Forgotten and will have to check out Vanished and The Sum of our Sorrows too. Thanks for sharing, Sally. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Wow, Sally, I couldn’t be happier with your review for Things Old and Forgotten. Thank you so much for including it. I’m honored to be featured along with Mark and Lisette, and so delighted you enjoyed my collection. {{hugs!}}

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Excellent reviews. Of the three, I’ve only read Mae’s (and loved it). Miss Lily was a hoot! But you’re right; it’s impossible to pick a favorite in her collection.

    All the best to the authors. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sally.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Three great reviews, Sally. I really enjoyed Things Old and Forgotten and was amazed at the variety of different genres that Mae nailed perfectly. I must look into the other two now. xx

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Thank you so much for this Sally! A nice surprise on a cold Thursday morning. I’m happy to meet Lisette, a very accomplished author of 9 books! I’ll have to do some shopping. Mae, well, I’ve known and loved her books for some time now. I feel privileged to be included with these two.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Excellent reviews, Sally. I enjoyed both Marks and Mae’s books too. They’re wonderful writers. Thanks for sharing your recommendation of Lisette’s family saga. I enjoy books that draw me in. Congrats to all three authors. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Late to the party, but I just had to thank you for these super reviews. And it was extra special to see my good friend (and Penderpal), Mae Clair, included in the group. I’ve loved everything of Mae’s I’ve read, including Things Old and Forgotten, a super collection of diverse and entertaining stories. Thanks, Sally, and best of luck to each of these writers! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

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