Over the course of the next three months I will be sharing the authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf with the books that I have reviewed and can personally recommend.
In this first part of the summer fair, I am sharing books that are the first in a series in both adult and children’s books along with one of their five star reviews. I hope that this will encourage you to enjoy the series in full. I will feature every author on the shelves by the end of the summer. I hope you will enjoy.
The first book today is A Year in the Life of Leah Brand: A Psychological Thriller by Lucinda E. Clarke and can certainly recommend its gripping story line.
About the book
Leah’s nightmare began the day the dog died.
A few years earlier a fatal car crash took the lives of Leah’s beloved husband and their two babies, leaving her disabled. Life looked bleak. She was approaching forty, unemployed, broke and desperate.
Then she met Mason. He was charming, charismatic, persuasive, and a successful businessman, well respected in the community. His teenage daughter did nothing to welcome Leah into the family, but life is never perfect.
Then, two years into her second marriage, Leah Brand’s world is turned upside down; inanimate objects in the house move, her clothes are left out for the rubbish collection, pieces of furniture change places, there are unexplained noises and hauntings.
As the disturbances increase, everyone accuses Leah of losing her mind. Soon she begins to doubt herself and she starts to spiral down into a world of insanity. Is she going mad, or is someone out to destroy her? And if so, why?
A gripping, psychological thriller for fans of Mary Higgins Clarke and Louise Jensen.
One of the many excellent reviews for the book
This is an intriguing read that certainly lives up to its designation as a psychological thriller.
All characters are well developed enabling the reader to visualise and comprehend each. While detesting some they will take to others but will often find reason to question the accuracy of their sentiments. Most will be able to empathise with the protagonist who faces many bewildering ‘challenges’ and may often wonder how she manages to keep going.
The story is set within the usual day-to-day routines of most households however, what in many circumstances could come across as mundane and consequently boring for the reader, are anything but. This attests to the author’s unique ability to bring life to all her stories whether adventure, memoir, or thriller. Lucinda is indeed an excellent author.
The reader will find themselves constantly developing theories and then re-developing them as the tale progresses. This makes the book a lively read that retains interest and curiosity. In some ways the reader wishes to be proven right but would also find it disappointing to be so proven. The book does not disappoint in its ability to keep the guessing going up to, and past, the end.
Indeed, though there is some resolution it is not entirely complete and definitely leaves the reader with anticipation for a sequel. That is not to say there is no satisfaction in the ending although it would probably be more accurate to call it an intermission.
A selection of books by Lucinda E. Clarke
About Lucinda E. Clarke
Lucinda E Clarke was born in Dublin but has lived in 8 other countries to date. She wanted to write but was railroaded into teaching. She fell into other careers; radio announcer, riding school owner, sewing giant teddy bears. She began scriptwriting professionally in 1986 winning over 20 awards. She also wrote mayoral speeches, company reports, drama documentaries, educational programmes, adverts, news inserts, court presentations, videos for National Geographic, cookery programmes and street theatre to name but a few!
She lectured in scriptwriting, had her own column in various publications, and wrote articles for national magazines. She was commissioned for two educational books by Heinemann and Macmillan, and book reports for UNESCO and UNICEF.
She set up and ran her own video production company in South Africa.
The next author is Staci Troilo with the paranormal romance Bleeding Heart (The Medici Protectorate Book 1)
About the book
Passion is desirable. Until it turns deadly.
After her father’s brutal murder, Franki Notaro discovers she and her three sisters are the only surviving, secret legacy of the Medici. The same people who brutally murdered her father now target her and her family for assassination. Unprepared to battle an unknown enemy, she finds her safety depends on the Medici Protectorate, the warriors who guarded her bloodline for centuries but who failed to protect her father.
Gianni DeSanto, Franki’s protector, blows his first meeting with her then scrambles to garner the trust of all the Notaro women. Without that, he fails, too, and that is unacceptable—not only to him but also to the Protectorate. His troubles only grow larger, though, for as he assumes his new role, he also undergoes inexplicable, explosive physical changes… transformations he can’t control. One of which is his uncontainable desire for Franki.
Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and Franki struggles to trust Gianni. When her life is on the line, Gianni will have to conquer both her fears and his own personal demons to rescue her in time.
One of the reviews for the book
Bleeding Heart is an intricately plotted story that weaves together the lives of two groups. The Notaro sisters who run an architectural design firm have just lost their father, John. The patriarch of their family, he was brutally murdered by unknown factions.
The sisters come to learn they are descendants of the Medici, a bloodline that dates back to the time of Michelangelo. Another group, the Brotherhood of Medici Protectorate has safeguarded the Notaro line for centuries. When the sisters learn of their legacy and the Brotherhood, there are immediate clashes— especially between Franki (Francesca) Notaro and Gianni, of the Brotherhood.
The mythology in this book is extremely well-developed. The author really took her time in building a believable and fascinating history for each group. As an example, Gianni and his adopted brothers each carry a stone dagger which is a focal point and an extension of the powers they wield. Gianni’s talent is related to blood and passion. He is able to both heal and inflict wounds, his fiery temperament nowhere more evident than in his passionate relationship with Franki. Their romance is at times steamy and tender, even combustible, but always full of heart.
As someone who grew up in an Italian family, I loved the old-world essence of this book. There are references to the Catholic Mass, Italian cooking, and family traditions. Franki and her sisters fight and argue but are always there for one another. The same with Gianni and his brothers. The guys’ disagreements tend to be explosive, but their loyalty for one another is unquestionable. The mystery kept me flipping pages, but the characters stole my heart. If you love elements
About Staci Troilo
Staci Troilo grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor, and now she is a freelance writer and editor.
Staci is a multi-genre author. Her fiction is character-driven, and despite their protests, she loves to put them in all kinds of compromising or dangerous situations.
You can find out more about her on her website. Staci Troilo
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.