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, JP Mclean released a heart stopping thriller in 2021 that I thoroughly enjoyed and can recommend.
Meet JP Mclean
JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers which have received honourable mentions from the Whistler Independent Book Awards and the Victoria Writers Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart, and fun. Her work includes endorsements from award-winning and best-selling authors, E.E. Holmes, Jennifer Manuel, Elinor Florence, Jennifer Anne Gordon, and Eileen Cook.
JP is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP lived in various parts of North America before settling on Denman Island on Canada’s west coast, where she now lives with her husband. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden
Books by JP McLean
My review for Blood Mark October 2021
This is an excellent psychological, paranormal thriller that will keep you turning the pages to discover more of the story as it unravels.
The present day and the past are entwined in the intricate pattern that has wound itself around the body of a girl who believes that she was abandoned and been cursed all her life.
Her interactions with even her closest friend is impacted by her reticence to allow anyone to see her markings as she tries to make sense of dreams that vividly involve her night after night. The reader becomes totally engaged with the daily struggle to maintain some form of normality within a world that is judgemental of those who are different.
It is fast paced wth little padding to distract from the story which maintains the tension right to the last page.
The characters are very well portrayed and easy to take an instant dislike or liking too. As the mystery of the markings is unravelled, the pace of the story heats up bringing all the strands of the past and present together in a final heartstopping finale.
The author has done a great job in creating both the concept for this thriller and its execution and I can highly recommend.
The next author, Marina Osipova, writes novels that capture the stark reality of WWII and its aftermath in Russia but also the relationships that offer some light in the darkness.
Meet Marina Osipova
Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.
Books by Marina Osipova
My review for The Cruel Romance
A well written novel with central characters and events that will stay with you long after the book is finished.
The story is told with stark realism of life in a small village near Moscow and of the conflict on the Eastern Front, at a time when Russia and Germany were back and forth across each other’s border with devastating consequences. For all the horror, suffering and death of the men fighting on the front line, it was the women and children who ended up being brutalised, starved and reviled by their own.
There is already poverty in the village where Serafima lives with her single mother in a small house that catches the eye of the commander of the invading German forces as his billet.
Despite the forced labour and the harsh Russian winter, Serafima keeps her dreams alive by thinking of Vitya who she loves and is now on the front. Then one day there is a devastating event that would not only change her life for ever, but that of a young German soldier whose gentleness has been twisted by the military code of domination.
Threaded through the inhumanity of war, is the beauty of music, kindness from unexpected sources, compassion, rekindling of maternal love and forgiveness.
All the characters are strongly drawn and evolve through the story as events bring about fundamental changes to their personalities and behaviour. Some become dehumanised whilst others seek redemption. We follow their lives during the conflict and in the uneasy peace that follows, discovering their inner thoughts in letters written to family and loved ones.
With the war ended, the race to grab power in the resulting vacuum is lethal in its unbending drive to annihilate any resistance. Even from those who have fought for their country or worked as slaves in the factories to support the war effort. For a population already starved of food, freedom and rights during war, there is little difference in peace time.
This book is not a Mills and Boon romance, it is stark, realistic and emotive with a surprising ending that does at least bring all the threads together with a feeling of closure. Whilst a little more justice was deserved by one or two, in the real world that does not always happen, especially when the people concerned are shielded by the uniform that they wear.
It is a reminder that whilst there is bravery on an individual basis in war, there is also inhumanity, cruelty and dishonour, tragically aimed at those least able to defend themselves. Recommended.
The final author today, Jane Risdon, enjoyed great success with her co-written novel ‘Only One Women’ and has also published a crime themed short story collection which I enjoyed.
Meet Jane Risdon
Jane Risdon began writing following her successful career in the International Music Industry which has taken her all over the world working, including North America, Europe, Singapore, and Taiwan. She and her musician husband have worked with everything from Rock, Thrash Metal, and R&B/Pop to Chinese Opera.
She’s been involved in Artiste Management, Music Production, Music Publishing, and the facilitation of music for TV and Movie Soundtracks.
In December 2020 Jane signed with Linda Langton of Langtons International Literary Agency, based in New York, NY.
In 2014 Jane signed a publishing contract with Headline Accent part of the Hachette group.
Her co-written novel with best-selling, award-winning author Christina Jones is entitled ‘Only One Woman,’ and is published by Headline Accent. Christina and Jane enjoy a life-long friendship, and their shared experiences and love of the 1960s and the music scene, are the inspiration for their fictional novel about two girls and a lead guitarist whose band is touring and recording in England and Europe when they all meet. It is garnering rave 5* reviews from men and women. It is more than a love story, it is a social comment about the lives of those living through an era of social upheaval and huge world events.
Books by Jane Risdon
My review for Undercover Crime Shorts March 2021
This is an interesting mix of short stories all with a criminal theme…We open with a story of intrique and double dealing that follows a charasmatic redhead with her sights on the big prize and willing to use anyone she can to achieve it. The other stories reveal the darker side of people’s nature, including a writer caught up in her neighbour’s terrifying drama, a woman who leaves a will to heirs who have to complete certain tasks to inherit her money, a stalker who gets more than he bargained for and a woman with justice on her mind.
The author has created some complex characters and a number of inventive schemes and deadly plots to keep you entertained and wondering just who will get away with murder. A short read packed with intrigue and surprises.
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.