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 is Carol Balawyder whose psychological thriller kept me turning the pages and I can recommend.
Meet Carol Balawyder
I hold an undergraduate degree with a major on English Literature and a graduate degree in Criminology. I taught Criminology in Police Technology and Corrections programs in Montreal. My area of expertise was in drug addiction and I worked in a methadone clinic with heroin addicts. I helped set up a writing workshop for women in prison and worked in halfway homes and drug rehab centers.
My short stories have appeared in Room Magazine, The Canadian Anthology of Fiction, Mindful.or, Between the Lines and Carte Blanche. I was awarded an honorary mention for a play submitted to The Canadian Playwright Competition.
I manage a blog where I write about: Women Nobel Prize Winners for Literature, Famous Writers’ Desks, Femmes Fatales, India, Book Reviews and my dog, Bau.
Books by Carol Balawyder
My review for Warning Signs February 2020.
This is definitely a novel about obsession. The serial killer with finding the source of his need to murder, the detective who has his own demons and is determined to track down the killer, and the vulnerable Angie who lost her childhood to the need to care for her addicted mother.
Clearly Carol Balawyder had researched the background for her characters in depth, and instead of presenting us with gory details, she slowly peels back the layers that both killer and victims have built up around childhood trauma and surviving in the ‘system’. We are all flawed but when does that become a full-blown obession with murder? Why these particular victims that are already vulnerable?
Eugene is aware of what he is, but researches other killers to find out why he has this need and how he might be stopped. Angie might just offer a way back from this madness, but is he expecting too much from her by putting the responsibility for his redemption on her fragile shoulders?
Detective Darren Van Ray has a gut feeling about Eugene but he has been wrong before and he now must get up close and personal to prove his case.
Carol Balawyder does an excellent job of keeping the pace and tension tight throughout the story, and there are some surprises along the way as the three individuals test their own strength against each other and what life throws at them.
If you would like to get into the mind of a serial killer and enjoy a subtle and carefully crafted thriller you will enjoy Warning Signs.
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews : Goodreads – Website – Carol Balawyder – LinkedIn: Carol Balawyder – Facebook: Carol Balawyder
The next author is Stevie Turner whose books I have read from her eclectic range of releases I can highly recommend.
Meet Stevie Turner
Stevie Turner is a British author of romantic suspense, humour, paranormal stories, and women’s fiction family dramas. She is a cancer survivor, and still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and husband Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. Those two boys have now grown, and she and Sam have 5 lovely grandchildren.
One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). Her screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and her novel ‘A House Without Windows’ gained interest in 2017 from De Coder Media, an independent film production company based in New York. ‘Finding David’ reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition. Stevie’s latest book, ‘His Ladyship,’ reached the finals and Longlist of the 2021 Page Turner Writing Award.
To quote reader Roberta Baden-Powell, ‘I’m looking forward to reading your new book, and find your books the best so far. The style you write in has given me a new perspective and a renewed inspiration in reading once again.’
Books by Stevie Turner
My review for Examining Kitchen Cupboards March 2020
A mystery that is thought provoking and a good read..
There is a huge amount of pressure on both schools and teachers to maintain very high standards with regard to their pupils performances in examinations. There are meant to be layers of oversight to ensure that students are taught the curriculum effectively, that examinations are fair and evaluate the student’s knowledge based on their detailed responses to the questions, and that inspections are carried out to ensure that at all stages this is carried out to the highest standard.
But what if there is collusion at every level to ensure that schools and colleges come out at the top of the leagues by dumbing down the questions to achieve high pass marks?
This is the question that temporary administrator Jill Hayes asks herself when she reads an examination paper that asks the simple question about the contents of a kitchen cupboard. A question more suitable for a six year old than a sixteen year old.
Unfortunately, delving into this worrying discovery has dire consequences, and eventually leads to a police detective on sick leave going undercover in an organisation that will stop at nothing to maintain their hold on the education system they have infiltrated and manipulated at every stage of a child’s education.
The characters are believable and the investigation gathers pace and draws you in to the search for answers. At times it becomes dangerous, as those with everything to lose become ruthless in their efforts to remove the threat to their million pound enterprise
For those reading the book, especially if you are a parent with teenagers just about to sit their final exams, it might prompt a close look at the examination process at their school and perhaps a look at last year’s papers!
Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Stevie : Goodreads blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress – Twitter: @StevieTurner6
The final author today writes for a YA fantasy audience and also for poetry lovers. M.J. Mallon has also compiled a wonderful anthology bringing together other storytellers and bloggers together to share their experiences of lockdown which I was delighted to participate in.
Meet M.J. Mallon
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.
Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.
Favourite genres to write: Fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!
Books by M. J. Mallon
My review for Mr. Sagittarious March 2020.
Set against the beautiful back drop of the botanical gardens in Cambridge, prose and verse tell the story of people who find solace and joy in the weeping willow tree and dragonflies and in the wonders of the orchids in the hot house. Twin brothers have a favourite bench where they watch the world go by, and their sister Annette reflects on her life after their loss… Other characters make their appearances sharing the magic of the natural world, including young Aurora who collects rainbows and semi-precious stones.
The author takes us through the seasons with poems reflecting the festivals such as Halloween and Christmas, with ghosts and snowmen and a Christmas Bubble Monster. Finally we meet Mr. Sagittarius who shares the loves of his long life….
This is a delightful read with wonderful photographs to enhance the words, and you will find yourself returning to certain passages to read again and enjoy. I am sure you will find your own favourites and I was hard pushed to select just one, but the Etheree: A Face on Bark struck a chord with me.
Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website:M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books… thanks Sally.