Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Thrillers – Carol Balawyder, Sue Coletta, Terry Tyler, Mark Bierman, Jaye Marie


Welcome to another Christmas Book Fair and today some thrillers that would make perfect gifts.

The first author is Carol Balawyder – a coming of age crime thriller...Just Before Sunrise

About the book

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.

But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…

Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.

She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.

As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.

Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.

A recent review for the book

Jill Weatherholt 5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of love story. Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2021

Having read and enjoyed several of author Carol Balawyder’s previous books, I was excited when she announced the release of Just Before Sunrise on her blog. The author’s background in criminal psychology as well as working in drug rehab centers is evident. From the start, the story pulled me in with the well-developed characters and the beautiful setting of Quebec. Having a background in psychology myself, I highly recommend this not so ordinary love story.

Also by Carol Balawyder

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews : Goodreads – WebsiteCarol BalawyderLinkedIn: Carol Balawyder – Facebook: Carol Balawyder

The first author is Sue Coletta with a review for I Am Mayhem: The Mayhem Series: # 4

About the book

As bloody, severed body parts show up on her doorstep, Shawnee Daniels must stop the serial killer who wants her dead before she becomes the next victim.

But can she solve his cryptic clues before it’s too late? Or will she be the next to die a slow, agonizing death?

With crows stalking her every move, Shawnee can barely function. Things worsen when body parts show up on her doorstep. An unstoppable serial killer wants her dead. Mr. Mayhem threatens to murder everyone she loves, sending Shawnee a piece at a time.

As Mr. Mayhem sits in judgement, his cryptic clues must be solved before the final gavel drops. The game rules are simple—win the unwinnable or submit to a slow, agonizing death.

When Shawnee tries to fight back, she discovers her very existence is based on lies. But the full impact of the truth might become the headstone on Shawnee’s grave.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Carol Smith – Kindle Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars Sue Coletta’s I Am Mayhem Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2021

Take a deep, deep breath now. Fill your lungs because once you start to read the story it will leave you breathless👹👹👹

Body parts are left for Shawnee Daniels first in a ring box then on her back deck. Shawnee is computer specialist/hacker for the police department. She was a cat burglar at night that is how she became aware of Mr Mayhem and his personal troop of crows,
led by Poe. Mayhem sends her cryptic clues by the crows. Will she ever be able to reason with her nemesis?

This is a gripping, riveting and emotional read! You will feel the intenseness surrounding Shawnee as Mr Mayhem sets her up to fight a challenge bigger than him. Will she be able
to conquer and live unscathed??

I felt that the characters are creatively and artfully drawn each with a distinctive personality. Even the crows have their own persona that make them seem real. The interaction of the cast of characters influences whether the consequences in connection with each other will result in evil or good.

Surprises for Shawnee at every turn!! I was amazed at how Shawnee had the strength
to face all that she faced. I felt the tension, suspense, intrigue and was stunned at the
twist and turns throughout this bone chilling, dynamic read.

This is a compulsive page turner and a highly recommended read. You will definitely want to delve into the midst of Mayhem. This is book # 4 in the Mayhem Series. Looking
forward to the next book already.

A selection of other books by Sue Coletta

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – follow Sue : Goodreads website/blog: Sue ColettaTwitter: @SueColetta1

The first author today is Terry Tyler with a review for her most recent release Megacity (Operation Galton Book 3) Another book I can highly recommend.

About the book

The UK’s new megacities: contented citizens relieved of the burden of home ownership, living in eco-friendly communities. Total surveillance has all but wiped out criminal activity, and biometric sensor implants detect illness even before symptoms are apparent.

That’s the hype. Scratch the surface, and darker stories emerge.

Tara is offered the chance to become a princess amongst media influencers—as long as she keeps quiet and does as she’s told.

Aileen uproots to the megacity with some reluctance, but none of her misgivings prepare her for the situation she will face: a mother’s worst nightmare.

Radar has survived gang rule in group homes for the homeless, prison and bereavement, and jumps at the chance to live a ‘normal’ life. But at what cost?

For all three, the price of living in a megacity may prove too high.

Megacity is the third and final book in the dystopian Operation Galton trilogy, and is Terry Tyler’s twenty-third publication.

‘As long as some of us are still living free, they have not yet won. Anyone who refuses to live as they want us to has beaten them. That’s how we do it. That’s how we win.’

One of the recent reviews for the book

Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits) 5.0 out of 5 stars Grim dystopia  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2021

It’s a bittersweet experience finishing a beloved book series and that’s exactly how I felt on reaching Megacity’s final page. The third of Terry Tyler’s Operation Galton trilogy, following on from Hope and Wasteland, Megacity illustrates the realities of living within one of Britain’s new ‘perfect’ cities exploring the divide between people who will happily trade freedom for comfort and those for whom the price is far too high. I’ve given each of the three books a 5/5 star rating because of their gripping authenticity which draws me into the narrative. I know Tyler’s imagined world is a grim dystopia, but I would love to live in these books!

Megacity is told from several perspectives so, as a reader, I gained a wide view of how each character’s actions affected their lives and the lives of those around them. I appreciate that no one in the Operation Galton world comes across as supernaturally gifted or wise. They all feel genuine in their beliefs and motivations especially when the results turn out to be seriously unpleasant. There were a few scenes I wish I could unsee!

A small selection of books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Terry Tyler: GoodreadsBlog: Terry Tyler Blogspot – Twitter:@TerryTyler4

The next author today is Mark Bierman with a review for his novel a thriller set in Haiti, Vanished which I can highly recommend.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

One of the recent reviews for the book

John W. Howell VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A well-written and fast paced story Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2021

The first thing that impressed me about this book was that the author took on the heinous subject of human trafficking but managed to create a compelling story without resorting to gratuitous graphic violence and sex. Instead, he kept the story within the bounds of true-to-life human emotions.

The second thing that impressed me was the author’s ability to set scenes and describe the action using colorful and descriptive metaphors that frequently occurred throughout the story. Such descriptions brought the book alive.

The third thing that impressed me was the story itself. The author spent a great deal of time on research, and it showed in the details in the story. For example, Haiti’s setting is not on the usual tourist destination list, so common knowledge of customs and other nuances was not because of kicking back on vacation but took work to ferret out.

This book has plenty of action for those who like action. Although, it does require buying into the premise that a couple of Americans want to help find a kidnapped child just to do it. But, once you get there, the story is page-turning entertainment. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a well-written fast-paced story.

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

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

The next author is Jaye Marie for her crime thriller Cross fire

About the book

DI David Snow has a serial killer to catch, a killer as mysterious as the crimes he commits.

Snow is due to retire, but not before he discovers why someone killed his sergeant and is now coming after him.

The killer seems to have a personal vendetta against Snow, but he is determined that no one else should die because of him. His efforts are hampered by the arrival of a new sergeant, ‘ruthless’ Ruth Winton, for she is not what she seems.

Alarm bells start to ring when Snow realises she is after more than just his job

One of the recent reviews for the book

Aug 11, 2021 Colleen Chesebro rated it five stars it was amazing

DI Snow is ready for retirement until his partner Detective Jim Harris is murdered. This single event sets into motion the department’s hunt for Jim’s killer. When Jim’s replacement, Ruth Winton, shows up, Snow takes an instant dislike to the woman. She seems competent, but there is something about her that rubs Snow the wrong way.

When more bodies start piling up with the same wounds that Jim received, Snow considers the murders are all connected. He knows time is running out to catch the killers, but he has a problem. His health has taken a turn for the worse. If he’s too ill to find the killer, who will?

Leave it to me to start a series with the third book! However, I found “CrossFire” to be a standalone book. There are references to DI David Snow’s other cases, but nothing I couldn’t follow.

The book reminds me of some of the British mysteries I watch on Amazon Prime. As the suspense built, I kept turning pages, eager to find out what happened next. The characters are interesting, with Snow taking on the characteristics of the troubled detective. I found him to be a likable guy. There is great detail paid to the backstory of the murderer, which helped to propel the story forward.

If you like psychological mysteries, this was a good read. I’m excited to read some of this author’s other mysteries. Perhaps I should start with the first book in the series!

Books by Jaye Marie

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Jaye Marie : Goodreads – Jaye Marie: WordPress Blog – Twitter: @jaydawes2

 

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

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #FlashFiction – Sarah Brentyn, #psychologicalthriller Jaye Marie, #Supernaturalthriller Mae Clair and #Children’s Eloise de Sousa


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

The first author with a welcome gift for flash and short fiction lovers is Sarah Brentyn with a recent review for her collection of short fiction Hinting at Shadows

About Hinting at Shadows

No One Escapes Life Unscathed

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Sep 13, 2019 Colleen M. Chesebro rated it Five Stars

I love flash fiction—and not because it is quick or easy to read. Much like syllabic poetry, I’ve found this abbreviated fiction form is rich in meaning. In fact, the brevity of words deepens the message.

Between the pages of this book, you will find a collection of flash fiction that delves deep into the human condition exploring perceptions, reactions, thoughts, and emotions.

The author split the book into four parts: Mindscapes, Connections, Lifelines, and Microbursts, which are stories under fifty words, including a few modified Haiku.

I found there was a certain edge or shadow that meandered through the pages conveying a wide range of emotions in my soul. We all have a place of darkness inside us, and Brentyn excels at finding and revealing even the darkest of human truths in her writing. She bares it all!

I’ve read this book many times, especially when I need to reconnect to some of my own dark truths. It was no surprise that one of my favorite sections were the Microbursts. In only six words, a story is born.

“Her voice was music and madness.”

Brentyn, Sarah. Hinting at Shadows (p. 92). Kindle Edition.

Brentyn is a master storyteller of the macabre and the mundane as she weaves her stories into feelings that will make you embrace your own darkness… if you dare!

Also by Sarah Brentyn

Read the reviews and buy the Collections: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Sarah: Goodreads

Connect to Sarah via her: Blog

The next author celebrating recent rave reviews is Jaye Marie for her recently released psychological thriller – Silent Payback.

About the book

A serial killer roams the streets of Brighton, hunting for his next victim.
When the case lands on detective David Mallory’s desk, will his personal demon prevent him from bringing this vicious monster to justice?

As the body count rises, Mallory finds himself sinking under the weight of his heavy secret – one that could jeopardise his job and his reputation.

With the pressure building, can the troubled detective reconcile his issues and solve the case before more women die?

One of the recent reviews for Silent Payback

I read this book in two sittings when I should have been doing other things. Another chapter…. okay another chapter. Eh, just one more. That’s how my day went, and suddenly I was at the end of the story. In reflecting on the read, one thing I noticed is that the pace is flawless, unrelenting in the way it pulled me through the pages. Not every chapter ends with a cliffhanger, but there is barely a wasted word, so I was never bored. I was intrigued.

The main character David, a police investigator, is the focus of the story, but multiple POVs (first and third person) gave me glimpses into other characters. That included the people surrounding him in his personal life… and the soon-to-be victims of a serial killer. And both (all) perspectives were valid since there are two – almost equally important – storylines running through the novel.

For one, there’s a killer on the loose. He has an interesting twist to his personality, which occasionally had me second-guessing his identity. The peeks into the lives of the ordinary people who ended up being victims intensifies the wrongness of the murders.

The second plot-line follows David’s struggle with a secret, and he has a significant choice facing him in the near future (no spoilers here). The author handles this topic with grace, and the human story is a nice counterpoint to the descriptions of senseless murder. I enjoyed both as well as the way they were woven together. In general, characterizations are well-done. These are believable people, and the ones we get to know are flawed with imperfect lives, trying to make them work with what they have. Sounds familiar.

The short Prologue is a bit clunky, and there are a few editing glitches, but I recommend getting past those for the well-crafted drama beneath. In Chapter One, the story settles in and is well worth it. An enjoyable read for those who like murder mysteries, thrillers, and a human story.

A small selection of other books by Jaye Marie

Read the reviews and and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Jaye Marie : Goodreads

Connect to Jaye Marie: WordPress Blog

Next on the gift list is a supernatural thriller by Mae Clair –  End of Day: (A Hode’s Hill Novel Book 2)

About the book

The past is never truly buried…

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Oct 15, 2019 Teri rated it it was amazing

I loved the first book in this series (and have the third one pre-ordered) and was so excited to read End of Day, I made it my choice for book club.

This is the perfect book to curl up with on a cold, dreary night. Some scenes will send chills up your spine and have you glancing over your shoulder to make sure no one’s there. With book club members, it spawned spirited conversations ranging from genetics (an odd choice, I know) to our beliefs in ghosts and mediums. For this horror fan, it was a highly enjoyable meeting.

As with the first book in the series, I especially enjoyed the alternating timelines and how Gabriel’s fate was gradually explained. I remembered Dante from the previous book, and looked forward to learning more about him. He’s now one of my favorite characters in the series, and his scenes with Elliott in the role of a substitute father figure warmed my heart. Jillian’s tragic circumstances immediately pulled me in, and I count her therapy dog, Blizzard, as one of the best bookish furry friends I’ve read.

End of Day is a compelling blend of paranormal, thriller, and mystery, and although part of a series, can easily be read as a standalone. I highly recommend this well-written, atmospheric read.

A small selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Mae: Goodreads

Connect to Mae via her: blog

I recently reviewed the latest children’s book by Eloise de Sousa.. Space Dust and recommendations have been rolling in for this lovely gift for any child.

About Space Dust

We’re going on a trip in Big Ox’s canoe. Watch the fire bears roar on Venus as pepper pot trees grow on the moon. As Big Ox steers us to the planets, Litte One wonders if Mum will come home soon.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Oh what a beautiful book for children from 3 to 11, and if you want to know my honest opinion, I loved it too and read it out loud to my husband who mmm mmm’d (that’s good!).

Eloise de Sousa has a way with words. When I started reading I had a little lump in my throat but soon I was excited on the adventure with Big Ox and Little One, whose Mummy had left without even a goodbye! The theme of space is so relevant as our youngsters learn more about the Universe. The story gathers pace with Little One looking for his Mummy on the adventure that Big Ox has taken him on in a canoe with his “absolute favourite spoon”. They travel passed planets and Eloise has incorporated some real life information about Venus and Saturn, and “Neptune’s glassy cloud” in a subtle way.

Beautiful flow, rhyme and rhythm, as mentioned by other reviewers. Repetition is just right. Imagination is second to none – “sea horses swimming in creamy mushroom soup, Or spring onion beams for them to perform their daring loop-dee-loops” … can you just see it?

I love how sensitive Little One is when he tells Big Ox he is “very sorry if I sound like I don’t care”; but then sees how down Big Ox is by his remark. Little One quickly wants to get Big Ox back to his happy self by suggesting they continue their travels where he may see his Mummy.

Very sensitively written. I love how the story calms down towards the end as sleep overtakes Little One but we know that there are more adventures with Big Ox and Little One to follow.

The illustrations are brave and bold and love that they are by the author herself.

I’m so pleased that I have bought a few of these books for the young people in my family as well as close friends. I’m sure they – and their parents – will enjoy.

Well done Eloise de Sousa!

A small selection of other books by Eloise de Sousa

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Read the reviews on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Eloise via her: Blog

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will have found some amazing gifts for your family and friends (and yourself).  Thanks Sally.