Book Review – 133 Hours by Zach Abrams

133 Hours by Zach Abrams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Dazed and Confused, Briony makes her way through Glasgow Central Station and heads to work. Nothing makes sense. She soon learns she’s been missing for the last five and a half days, and worse she has no recollections of where she’s been or what’s happened.

Author Zach Abrams weaves quite a tale in this psychological thriller, and I enjoyed every minute of it. And while I had my suspicions as to whom the culprit might be, the reasons behind it all was a mystery. There are a few twists, and this page turner quite literally had me stunned with a jaw dropping revelation in the last chapters of the book.

This novel has all the mystery, gaslighting, and jealousy that great psychological thrillers should have. Don’t miss out on 133 Hours.




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Book Review – The Secret of Berry Brae Circle by E. M. McIntyre

The Secret of Berry Brae Circle by E.M. McIntyre

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The adventure continues when Abby, Rory, and Finlay return to her time after finding her mother and escaping the caves. When they go home, they find that Abby’s father is now missing and they are the only ones that can save him.

I enjoyed reading this second book of the trilogy. The characters are endearing and it’s fun to see Rory, a medieval teenager, learn about Abby’s present-day world. This is a great read for a YA audience (or anyone who likes to read YA). The story is well written and full of adventure with some interesting characters and twists. The world building is also well done, and I can easily picture the scenes in the book.

I look forward to reading the final book in the trilogy and to discovering the rest of the mystery surrounding Abby.




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A Second Chance to Get it Right by Ronald Bagliere

A Second Chance To Get It Right by Ronald Bagliere

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Alan wakes up in bed beside a woman–his wife. Funny thing is, he remembers dating her in college many years ago and that’s it. Now they’re married and have a six-year-old son, another mystery. To top it all off, he no longer looks like the 60-year-old man he remembers being. In fact, he’s a much younger version of himself. Can he learn from the mistakes of his past in this strange and altered reality?

A Second Chance to Get it Right is the fifth novel I’ve read by Author Ronald Bagliere. I truly enjoyed this story of Alan who is somehow getting a second chance at making the people he loves a priority. This tale runs the gamut of emotions. It’s funny, clever, tender and an overall joy to read. Bagliere knows how to take his readers on an intriguing journey and immerse them into his novels. A Second Chance to Get it Right is a satisfying read from beginning to end.



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Pheobe: The Flagstaff Reunion by Susan Wuthrich

PHOEBE The Flagstaff Reunion by Susan Wüthrich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Bullied most of her life, no one seemed to even notice, or care, when 16-year-old Pheobe disappeared after a party in 1966. But almost 20 years later, she has caught everyone’s attention when she shows up at their high school reunion. And while it seems Pheobe is out for revenge, the truth will soon be revealed.

This is the first book I’ve read from Author Susan Wüthrich, and it did not disappoint. The story caught my attention in the first chapter. While it takes place within two different time periods, it was easy to follow. Well-crafted, Wüthrich brings her characters to life in this intriguing mystery.




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Daeios: 140 Feet Down by Colleen Eccles Penor

Daeios: 140 Feet Down by Colleen Eccles Penor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It’s 2035 and deadly storms are ravaging Arizona and quite likely the rest of Earth. But the Donovan’s have an escape. Their church group has built an underground bunker and that is where they plan to go for as long as possible. 22-year-old Shea has no plans on living underground with her parents, even though she’ll miss her little sister. On the day they are to leave, Shea’s father asks her to help find her older brother, Jace. Jace is an addict who can’t take care of himself and must go to Daeios. But time is ticking and another storm is on its way. In the eleventh hour, Shea finds her brother, unconscious and strung out. She gets him home in time for the family to leave and ends up going with them to their new underground home. Once at Daeios, it doesn’t take long for Shea to realize things aren’t as they seem. Will she survive living underground with her family? Will she survive living in Daeios: 140 Feet Down?

Daeios is author Colleen Eccles Penor’s debut novel and it’s a good one. The book hooked me right away with its interesting story line and fast pace. The main characters are likeable and the villains absolutely despicable. There’s even an unexpected twist or two.

I did find near the middle of the book that the story lagged. It was at a point where the main character is alone for a few days. For about three or four chapters, I think the author missed the opportunity to get the readers into the character’s head with showing rather than telling. However, after those few chapters, the story and pace pick up again with lots of action that will keep a reader turning the page.

I recommend this action packed post-apocalyptic sci-fi. However, there is some disturbing content so best for readers over 18 years.




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Book Review – The Keepers by Joy Lynn Goddard

The Keepers by Joy Lynn Goddard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Beth has a lot on her hands, running a vineyard and winery with her grandfather. Not only is she trying to keep the family business afloat, but her teenage son seems to find himself in trouble more often than not. And when a nearby business owner suddenly offers to buy her farm, Beth is more determined to make the business work. She’s not going anywhere. Besides, she’s rented out the guest house to a famous author for six months, and they could use the extra income. What Beth didn’t expect was to fall in love. But will a murder on the property ruin her chance for happiness?

This is the second book by Joy Lynn Goddard that I have read and it did not disappoint. The story has a nice flow and it is well written. There are a number of characters in this novel, each with a distinct personality and the author does a great job describing each one. There are also a few surprising twists which make the story even more interesting.

I am quickly becoming a Joy Lynn Goddard fan and recommend this novel.




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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thriller Carol Balawyder, #Scifi Sandra J. Jackson,#Fantasy Deborah Jay.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

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…

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Book Review – Miracles Not Included by C.A. King

Miracles Not Included by C.A. King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


4.5 stars

Miracles are everywhere; we just need to look around to find them. A chance encounter brings the main characters Chris and Jason together. Their love for each other is strong, but when tragedy strikes, will Chris be able to make it on her own?

Miracles Not Included is a sweet story about love, loss, and finding the strength to go on. This love story is a fast-paced, page turner with wonderful characters. I do wish this book was a bit longer as I found it a difficult to get emotionally invested in the characters despite the touching nature of the story.

This is the first book I’ve read by C.A. King, and I look forward to reading more of her works.




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Book Review – Death on Tyneside by Eileen Thornton

Death on Tyneside by Eileen Thornton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Agnes Lockwood returns to the Millenium Hotel in Tyneside, her childhood home, after visiting her sons in Australia. While she was supposed to stay in Australia a few weeks longer she cuts her trip short. Tyneside has a hold on her and besides, she misses Alan. It was only a few short months ago, that she helped Alan, the detective chief inspector, solve a murder, a string of robberies, and was almost killed in the process. But on her first day back in town, Agnes makes a gruesome discovery while visiting the city park. She’s stumbled across a body, and it looks like Agnes once again finds herself in the middle of a crime scene.

I quite enjoyed this 2nd book of the Agnes Lockwood Mysteries by Eileen Thornton. The mystery was interesting and the twist near the end definitely caught me by surprise. I found both Agnes and Alan endearing. The author did a great job showing the chemistry between them as well as the duplicitous nature of the villains.

If you like straightforward mysteries with unsuspecting twists, you’ll enjoy Death on Tyneside




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Book Review – When the Rain Stops by John Callas

When The Rain Stops by John Callas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Growing up in the ghetto is tough. And when John’s mother sends him off to military school, he is left feeling like he isn’t wanted anymore and so begins his journey into depression.

When the Rain Stops by John Callas is thought provoking, emotional, compelling and despite its serious nature, has a smattering of humour. The author interjects some insight as he tells his real-life story about his early years, the bullying he suffered, the injustices he witnessed, and his attempted suicide.

I noticed while reading this story that there were people who reached out to John, and showed him they cared in every step of his journey. I felt like they were true guardian angels for him, and while John couldn’t see it at first, there was always someone on his side, wanting to help. Thankfully, he came to this realization. He met people who showed him a different way of thinking, and he took that positive energy and turned his life around for the better.

This truly is an uplifting story and I believe this perspective may help someone who is struggling.




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