Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up – April 2022 – #Psychological #Thriller Terry Tyler, #Biography S. Bavey, #1920s #Jazz Beem Weeks, #Shortstories Simon Van Der Velde, #Crime Sue Coletta

Delighted to share my review for the latest release by Terry Tyler a psychological thriller… Where There’s Doubt.

My review for Where There’s Doubt on April 9th 2022

This is a psychological thriller which delves into the minefield that is modern day online dating and keeps you on the edge of your seat from page one.

Dating has become big business. Certainly for those who host the sites where millions hopefully upload their photographs, likes and dislikes and reach out into the void for a connection that will fulfil their dreams of everlasting love. It is also a feeding ground for sharks, seeking out the vulnerable, the desperate, the broken-hearted and those who are easily manipulated. Their intent is to bequile and deprive their victims of their money, self-esteem, dreams and hope.

Kate is just out of a long term relationship which has left her wondering about the myth surrounding true love. Then along comes a man who ticks all the boxes… seems to know her so well from the outset, anticipating all her needs and hopes within a relationship. Wary but falling in love, Kate begins to ignore her inner voice and friends well-meaning cautions and the game is on.

Over the course of the first part of the book the other players in this game each side of the con are introduced, including the masterminds behind the scam. The author is very good at creating characters who the reader can easily identify, including the poster boy for every woman’s romantic dream, handsome, attentive, successful and sexy. However we hear first hand from this adonis about what he thinks of his victims and his accomplice as well as his endgame. We are spectators to the events but can only watch from the sidelines, helpless to intervene to prevent the inevitable tragedies and loss.

In the second part of the book we discover which of the victims are going to rise above this dispicable piece of trickery and deal with the aftermath. The best and worst of human traits is explored and for some there will be surprising revelations that threaten to devastate them even further. Does crime pay, will there be retribution, who will survive the con?

Highly recommended as a thriller you will find hard to put down.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

This is my review for the recently published biography by S. Bavey about her grandfather who led a very full and colourful life by the sound of it. Lucky Jack (1894-2000)

My review for Lucky Jack 16th April 2022

An inspiring story of 106 years of living life to its full by a compelling storyteller.

I felt I was sitting drinking a cup of tea and listening to Henry Jack Rogers (Jack) recounting his adventures. It is wonderful that at over 100 years old he was able to tell his story in newspaper columns and on radio as it is certainly a life worth sharing, as his granddaughter has done in this biography.

Jack was born in 1894 and shares stand out moments in his long and hard working life from being held aloft on his father’s shoulders and getting a special wave from Queen Victoria, to receiving the telegram for his 106th birthday from Queen Elizabeth II.

What came across from the first page to the last is that Jack was not just lucky, but also courageous, hard working, kind hearted and entertaining, especially when things were tough.

There were so many ‘firsts’ during Jack’s lifetime including cinemas, cars, radios, televisions, which he embraced as soon as he could with some hair raising escapades driving on excursions with family. What I found particularly entertaining was his recollections of travelling on the first tube trains in early 1900s, visiting travelling fairs including seeing Buffalo Bill Cody, and his life long love of entertaining others.

From 1914 to 1918 Jack was in the Sherwood Foresters and saw action in the major battles as a sniper and observer before being captured. As a prisoner of war Jack and his comrades faced untold hardships and this is when his spirit really shone through keeping him alive to enjoy the rest of his long life.

The book is easy to read, well written, and entertaining and I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US and Amazon UK

Next my review for Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks... a story set in a time when the music was an escape from life for many.

My review for the book April 20th 2022

Some people are born holding a bad hand of cards. Emily Ann is one of those. At age 13 she has seen and experienced far too much for her years, and despite this, still holds on to a burning ambition to sing. Her voice moves people to tears in church and devilry in the seedy night clubs in New Orleans.

Those who she should be able to trust see the magic in this young girl and most have a twisted vision for her future.

As with any historical novel you have to keep an open mind and base a review on the era in which it is set. In this case is a time of racial inequality, sexual exploitation of the very young and a seedy underworld thriving on the vulnerability and addictions of those desperate to escape their upbringings.

As a woman who has enjoyed the privilege of being raised in a very different world, protected and allowed to make my own choices, it makes for sobering reading. Especially as I was born only 28 years after this story is set.

However raw the circumstances surrounding the story of Emily Ann and her commitment to sing for the world might be, this book is beautifully written. The characters, language, descriptions of the surroundings and the dens and dives of New Orleans are vividly portrayed and you are engaged from the first page to the last.

Emily Ann navigates herself through the minefield that is her life and you leave her story wishing her all the success in the world, on her own terms and beholden to nobody.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Next my review for a short story collection by Simon Van Der Velde – Backstories published by Smoke & Mirrors Press.

My review for the collection April 23rd 2022

What a fascinating concept. We are bombarded by the details of those in the media who are the focus of the headlines. Most of the time we see what is in front of us, be it a glamorous celebrity, superstar athlete, award winning musician or even an infamous serial killer. Sometimes if a tell all biography is available we might be party to their past lives and motivations, but most of the time we never see passed the hype.

In this collection of short stories we are invited to speculate on the past lives of many of those known for their fame or infamy. There are subtle clues inserted, with perhaps a reference to a song lyric, or a mention of a name associated with the subject of the story.

All the stories have an edge to them as they explore the reasons for a fall from grace or a rise to fame, most rooted in childhood or teenage experiences at the hands of others.They are in some cases disturbing and it is easy to accept that these could indeed be a catalyst for what comes later.

This is a brilliantly written and compelling short story collection that I can highly recommend.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

And my last review in April the Crime Thriller –  Wings of Mayhem: The Mayhem Series: #1 by Sue Coletta.

My review for the book 27th April 2022

This first book in the Mayhem collection certainly gets the series off to a fast paced and thrilling start.

Shawnee Daniels is a complex character with a difficult past and an interesting present with a foot in both camps each side of the crimimal world. Trust does not come easily apart from her best friend, but slowly her heart opens to love and a relationship that complicates her life even further.

She is definitely independent and stubborn even in the face of a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a serial killer. As she becomes more entangled with his killing spree and protecting her own secret life, she not only endangers herself but those around her. The violence escalates and it is a race against time to catch the killer before Shawnee loses more of those she loves, her career, her freedom and very likely her life.

The main characters are excellently portrayed and the plot moves at a rapid pace towards a showdown that has you on the edge of your seat. Clearly well researched both in police procedures and the mindset of a serial killer, it will be enjoyed by readers of crime thrillers and action packed novels.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK


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


53 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up – April 2022 – #Psychological #Thriller Terry Tyler, #Biography S. Bavey, #1920s #Jazz Beem Weeks, #Shortstories Simon Van Der Velde, #Crime Sue Coletta

  1. Great round up of reviews, Sally. You’ve introduced me to so many writers, and I’ven read something from almost everyone on this list. Congrats to these talented authors. Thanks for your recommendations. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What a great selection across various genres. Sue’s Mayhem series is one of my all-time favorites, and Beem is such a gifted writer. I’m unfamiliar with the rest but am now interested in learning more about them. Congratulations to all the authors. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sally.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Wonderful reviews and great introductions to each of the writers, Sally. Thank you. My heartfelt congratulations to Terry, Sue, Beem, Simon, and Sue. 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Holy smokes Sal, you’re a reading machine! I think you and I both gravitate to same range of genres and your spectrum is a tad beyond mine.“ I know you’ve read quite a few of Terry’s books. I need to catch up there. I had two coming up the pipe and just grabbed myself a copy of this new one. Your reviews are always compelling. Congrats to all and of course, all of the above on my TBR ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – April 25th – May 1st 2022 – Ella Fitzgerald, Chart hits 1993, St. Kitts, Calcium, Poetry, Book Reviews, Guest Posts, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  6. I’m so honored to be listed among these talented authors. Thank you, Sally. xoxo

    All the books sound superb. Adding to my TBR. I’ve heard wonderful things about Backstories, so I was especially interested in what you thought of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wonderful reviews, Sally! Congrats to these authors. I loved this from your review of Jazz Baby: “Her voice moves people to tears in church and devilry in the seedy nightclubs in New Orleans.” And I also agree with Beem’s talent for writing in such descriptive language. Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A fabulous collection of reviews, Sally. I’ll second your review of Jazz Baby. That story held me thoroughly engrossed. And Sue Coletta’s Wings of Mayhem was thoroughly mesmerizing. I loved that whole series. She really created some memorable characters. Congratulations to all of the authors featured here!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.