Sunday Book Review – Just Before Sunrise by Carol Balawyder

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m delighted to share my review for Carol Balawyder’s page turning story about love, lust, crime and the innocent people who get caught in between in her noir thriller – Just Before Sunrise.

Blurb:

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.

My 5 Star Review:

This book begins with different people telling the story that seamlessly converges into a page-turning dark tale.

It begins with the relationship between Joni, a women’s homeless and abuse counselor, and her younger boyfriend Adam. Their relationship is like good friends with benefits with question marks about developing into more. The two love each other, but with Joni in her mid fifties, she isn’t keen on having kids, and Adam still in his thirties, struggles with not having any. He even contemplates marrying someone just so he can have children.

At this same time, we meet Nadine, an ex call girl who uses her beauty and wiley ways to meet men with money. She craftly meets wealthy Logan, at his wife’s funeral. Nadine pretends she was friends with his wife and wiggles into Logan’s life – with an end goal of marrying him.

Nadine moves in with Logan and his step son Charlie and soon hatches a plot of pretending to fall in love with the young Charlie so she can win his attention to help her set up her end goal plan of getting rid of Logan – a man they both despise.

The convergence of this story occurs when Joni meets Maya, a sixteen year old homeless girl. Joni has a cottage next door to Charlie’s parents’ summerhouse and decides to use her cottage as a safe house for homeless young women. When Joni takes Maya up to her cottage to help prepare the place, Maya befriends Charlie. Maya begins feeling a connection with Charlie as he shares stories with her about him being abused when he was younger, to win her sympathy so he can use her for a decoy later on with evil Nadine’s dirty plans.

After Nadine and Charlie’s plan to get rid of Logan take place, they find they are left with a money hungry brother of Logan’s that they need to get out of the way of their plans to have everything. As the plot thickens, poor Maya unknowingly becomes part of a sinister plan. The two evil doers snag in this innocent girl into their dark scheme in hopes to use her as a scapegoat for their insidious crimes.

In this story we’ll witness relationship awakenings, self-discoveries, and finally, regained self-worth by Maya, while Adam and Joni grow through searching for missing Maya and both finally realize what it is they really want out of life. No surprise the author, with her criminal psychology background, does a wonderful job of writing noir and getting us invested in her richly drawn characters and her lovely setting of Quebec, Ontario in this book that will keep you turning the pages.

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Warning Signs – #Thriller – Carol Balawyder

The Sunday Book Review today is for Carol Balawyder’s new release – Warning Signs. A psychological thriller that kept me gripped all the way with intrigue, and happy to add – without gore. I recently had Carol over for interview HERE at my blog where she shared her expertise in a criminology background which spurred her to write this book.

 

 

 

Blurb:

Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?
Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.
Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.

 

My 5 Star Review

I’m a fan of this author’s women’s fiction and because of her expertise in a background of criminology, I was eager to read her first psychological thriller, and it did not disappoint.

Detective Darren Van Ray is upset that’s he’s been taken off the big necktie serial killer’s case for arresting the wrong man and allowing the killer to continue his spree. But thanks to his good friendship with lead detective, Alice Virioli, he keeps abreast of the case that he’s put so much time into and finds he can’t distance himself from the case.

Angie suffers a low self-esteem and lives with her drug-addicted mother. Eugene is the serial killer who is murdering young girls newly released from a Youth Center Group, using the logic that those girl’s lives are pretty much ended for disaster with a life of debauchery, so he thinks he is sparing them a miserable life. At the same time, he is doing research about the psychology of killers to try and learn why he has these urges to kill. He gets closer to Detective Van Ray by offering him his take from research on serial killers, thinking if he befriends him he’ll take the scent of himself. But the detective smells a rat. And once again the detective finds he can’t steer away from this case.

Insecure Angie meets Eugene (a.k.a. Niko – his real name) and they fall in love. Angie finally feeling worthy of herself and Niko wanting someone all for himself – until later in the book when Angie discovers who Eugene really is! As the case continues, we learn more about Eugene and where his killing instinct comes from. Things heat up when Detective Van Ray becomes curiously interested in Angie and her connection to Eugene after Eugene is mysteriously killed but a photo of Angie is found in his apartment.

This book gives us an interesting look into a serial killer’s mind, expertly written through this author’s background studies in police and criminology studies. It was an interesting read, and happy to say that as one who doesn’t appreciate reading blood and gore, the book is focused on the psychological aspect of the hunt and the kill more than focusing on the gory remains. An excellent thriller!

 

Copyright
© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye

 

Q and A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Carol Balawyder – Warning Signs #Thriller

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome back to my first Q and A of the year with today’s feature, French- Canadian author, Carol Balawyder and her new #Thriller release – Warnings Signs. I’m a big fan of Carol’s writing and have read all her books from her heartfelt memoir – Mourning Has Broken to her Mr. Right series, and now her newest release – a psychological thriller, which I’ve recently finished reading and will be thrilled to share my review soon. Carol is one of my oldest blogging friends I connected with soon after I first began blogging. So with no further ado, I’m delighted to introduce you to Carol.

 

 

Author Carol Balawyder

 

About Carol:

I was born and brought up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada but have lived most of my life in Montreal. As a child, learning to speak, I had the good fortune of acquiring English and French simultaneously.  My early outside world was a French neighborhood while my inside world (home) was the language and culture of my Slavic roots – a mixture of Russian and Polish though because of the wars it is hard to tell
exactly.

I taught English for years at different colleges and universities, including Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology in Vietnam. Because I was unable to find suitable material for the Business English course I was teaching, using my then married name Carol Ann Fournier, I created Open for Business a student workbook, along with a teacher’s guide and tape.

After completing a Master’s Degree in Criminology from The University of Montreal, I taught criminology in the Police Technology and Corrections Programs at Ahuntsic College in Montreal. In the midst of my divorce and my sister and mother’s
deaths, I wrote my comedy-romantic Getting to Mr. Right series and Mourning has Broken, a collection of vignettes on grief and loss.

My short stories have appeared in Room Magazine, Mindful.org, The Anthology of Canadian Writers.

I manage a blog www.carolbalawyder.com where I post on various categories: Famous Writers’ Desks, Female Nobel  Prize Laureates in Literature, Review of books written by fellow bloggers, Femme Fatales, and my dog, Bau. Check it out!

Warning Signs is my debut novel in the crime genre.

 

 

Blurb:

Eugene’s research into his criminal mind is not about the why, but how to prevent his horrific crimes. Angie, a young woman starving for passion sees Eugene as her saviour from a lonely life of caring for her heroin addicted mother. How far is she willing to go in order to save her relationship with Eugene and his promise for a future together?

Detective Van Ray is out on a vindictive mission as he attempts to solve the murders of young girls in Youth Protection.

Their lives collide in a mixture of mistrust, obsession and ignoring the warning signs. A psychological thriller about human frailty and loneliness.

 

Time to get to know more about Carol:

 

Do some of your own character traits or personal experiences spill into your book’s characters?

 

Carol Balawyder young years

 

There I am, age twenty-seven, writing on a Smith Corona typewriter. I was working on a novel which I never finished but I still have it somewhere along with a stack of other
first drafts. At times, when I come across them, I tell myself that I’ll get back to them when I’m old and don’t know what to do with my time. Well, I’m old now and have plenty to do with my time. Writing has come in waves with me. There were times that I thought of giving it up completely and did so for a few months, even years, but it crept back up on me. The photo was taken in a cabin up in the Quebec Laurentians along Riviere Rouge. Both the cabin and Riviere Rouge are part of the setting for my latest novel Warning Signs.

D.G. – Fantastic backstory Carol. And you are from from old!

 

Who is your favorite author and why?

Julian Barnes. Hands down. He not only is a terrific writer but I love what he writes about, especially his latest novel The Only Story. Having said this, there are so many other authors that I love. Some of them write about romance, some memoirs or biographies and of course crime novels, in particular domestic crime novels such as Leila Slimani (The Perfect Nanny), Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train) and
Shari Lapena (The Couple Next Door).

With my dog, Bau, we volunteer at a school in Point St. Charles (one of Canada’s poorest neighborhoods) for children with special needs. Wanting to do a bit of research on The Point in order to use as setting for a future novel, I googled and came
across the writer Kathy Dobson’s memoir of growing up there. I was expecting a serious book – after all nothing funny about poverty, right? But Kathy Dobson is hilarious as she questions the differences between social classes and presents a candid and provoking voice as first hand witness to being brought up in poverty all in a style reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye.

Having a favorite author is like having a favorite song. The song is number one for a few weeks or even months on the charts and then there’s another number one to replace it. These days Kathy Dobson is one of my favorite authors. It was a great
discovery for me, especially her being practically from my doorsteps.

 

Do your books have messages in them?

In writing a post on Olga Tokarczuk – the latest Nobel Prize Laureate for literature – I came across this quote of hers: “… just writing a book to know who is the killer is wasting paper and time, so I decided to put into it animal rights and a story of dissenting citizens who realize that the law is immoral and see how far can they can go with saying no to it.”

This made me think about the messages I am interested in exploring through my writing. Messages about loneliness, poverty, homelessness and social injustice. In my Getting to Mr. Right series I touch upon such subjects as Multiple Sclerosis, Down Syndrome and the Prince Charming Myth. I love the research part of writing and therefore try to tackle a subject which I have little knowledge about. I know…write what you know but sometimes I find that boring.

In my latest novel, I took a risk in writing about a serial killer whereby I wanted to give the message that although his actions were monstrous, there was also a lot of hurt and rage inside of him because of childhood abuses. As a criminologist, my goal was to try to understand his abhorrent behavior in the hopes that a “cure” may be possible for these lost and evil inhabited souls and to put forth the hypothesis that one is not
necessarily born evil but a product of many other factors, such as upbringing, social inequalities and environmental dynamics and personality disorders. I was also interested in the betrayal theme and obsession.

D.G. – Fascinating insights Carol. And I think ‘write what you know’ is a good starting point layered with always learning.

 

How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing and social media overwhelming?

Forget about how I promote my work. I’m really weak at that and am grateful for my blogging community to invite me for reviews. Thank you, Debby, for your generosity and interest in my writing. What I really want to talk about is blogging. Do I find social media overwhelming? Yes. Double yes. Triple yes. Now, understand that I manage only a blog. I am on no other social media and wonder how those who are on Facebook,
Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Pinterest and so forth do it. It’s not that I don’t find these platforms interesting. On the contrary, but I can hardly keep up to blogging even once a week, let alone updating my website and keeping up with my fellow bloggers.

D.G. – I feel your pain Carol. I am one of those ‘all over the map’ when it comes to trying to be everywhere and still churn out some writing. It’s overwhelming to say the least!

 

Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit that helps you with your writing?

It’s not so much a quirk or habit but rather a belief and has to do with co-creating with the Universe. I am a firm believer in being guided and connected to spirit energy to assist me in my writing and to open my mind to write with clarity, sensitivity and joy. Hopefully.

Before I begin to write, I usually start off by listening to an inspirational message. For example, before writing my answers to these questions I listened to Pura Rasa (Receiving Messages & Blessings from Spirit Guides). While writing I mostly always listen to background music which inspires creativity, concentration and focus. Two channels I like are Brainwave Power Music and The Brainwave Hub but there are
many more such as Denzel Washington’s video on the importance of gratitude.

 

Drop expectations and try to keep positive.

D.G. – I love your ritual Carol; I can definitely see how becoming one with yourself and thoughts can help quiet the mind and help with creativity. Thank you for sharing this video and for being with us here today. I enjoyed learning more about you.

 

Visit Carol on Social Links:

WEB SITE: www.carolbalawyder.com

BLOG: www.carolbalawyder.com/blog

Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/carolbalawyder

Smashwords –  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/cbala

 

Copyright
© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye

 

#BookReview #Memoir – Mourning Has Broken – Carol Balawyder

book reviews

Today I’d like to share my book review of author Carol Balawyder’s book, Mourning has Broken.

You may have noticed the date of this review was from two years ago, after I first read it. But as I have always enjoyed and reviewed Carol’s books, it only recently came to my attention that I’d forgot to post the review here.

Carol is a versatile writer. Besides her writing this poignant memoir on love, loss and grief, Carol also has a fiction book series about a group of girlfriends and how each of them deal with relationship issues, love gone wrong, and self esteem as they approach their middle years.  She is also working on a new crime series, as her background will tell you she was once a criminologist and taught Police Technology and Corrections in a college.

You can have a look at Carol’s books Here on Her Amazon Page.

Carol's book

5 Star – A Heartwarming Accounting on Grief

By D.G. Kaye on February 24, 2014

Format: Kindle Edition

The author conveys her emotions she battled during the mourning process on the loss of her parents and more deeply on the loss of her sister. I felt as though her beautiful literary prose was her aid in announcing her healing.
Balawyder invites us in to share in her well-travelled life and shares her deep insights into her grieving process. She raises some of the valid questions we ask ourselves when we have lost a loved one or going through the transition of losing a loved one. Questions encompass things such as, could I have done more, did I say all that I had to say and there is much discussion about the sometimes difficult discomfort of saying “I love you.”
Her inner turmoil is expressed deeply and I would recommend this book to anyone who has loved and lost or perhaps may be going through the process of losing someone dear.

HAVE BAGS WILL TRAVEL | Carol Balawyder

Reviews

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited author Carol Balawyder’s blog to get my weekly dose of reading, when I found that she had read, reviewed and featured my latest book, Have Bags, Will Travel, on her blog. Needless to say, I was elated that she not only posted about my book, but that she enjoyed it and took the time to share it on her page.

Thank you Carol!

Have Bags amazon image

 

“D.G. Kaye’s recent memoir Have Bags, Will Travel reminded me how much I’d neglected the travel section of my blog.

Be prepared to have your heart chuckling and your lips smiling as you read through D.G. Kaye’s amusing travel adventures. Although the main theme of the book is on her affection for shopping it’s also a memoir like no other as she holds your hand and guides you  through her unforgettable trips to Paris, London, Greece, Venezuela and Vegas.  You meet her friends who are almost as zany as she is and she ponders on the good old days of travelling and her sadness to see the old charm of her beloved Vegas fade away.” . . . Read more on Carol’s blog

Source: HAVE BAGS WILL TRAVEL | Carol Balawyder

Book Review #Self-esteem – Missi’s Dating Adventures – by Carol Balawyder

book review by DG

If any of you have read my book, Words We Carry, you will know that the book is geared toward finding my own self-esteem, and how I got through an awkward childhood and teenage years by learning how to conquer my own insecurities. I share my lessons in hopes that I can encourage others to find that if we discipline ourselves to discover ways to overcome our shortcomings, we can truly help ourselves. I am all about overcoming adversity and encouraging others.

~AUTHOR REVIEW~

Carol Balawyder is a wonderful author and blogger and has written a series about women in midlife who find themselves single and in search of the perfect relationships. Missi’s Dating Adventures is about a midlife woman searching for a fulfilling relationship in the online world.

About Carol:

“Welcome to my website and blog.

I write about justice, mid-life dating, grief, blogs that inspire me both as a writer and a person, awesome writing workshops.

I have series on: How I Got Published, Femme Fatale, Nobel Prize Laureates, Writers’ Desks, Ten Great First Dates.

Portrait

One of my goals is to make online friends with bloggers around the world of different religions, race and culture and talents….”  Read more about Carol here

 

Here is my review:    Reviews (2)                                                                              5 Stars

LESSONS LEARNED THE HARD WAY

Poor Missi, in search of the perfect companion in the vast world of online dating. Missi invites us into her world as an intelligent, perhaps, overly compassionate woman who has taken to writing an online dating column with a culmination of stories from her own experiences. Missi doesn’t have much luck with the men she chooses to date, and although her dating stories are told with wit and humor, one can’t help but feel a sadness for her. I want to give her a big hug, as well as a good shake throughout the book. How many chances is one supposed to give to a guy who doesn’t appreciate the goodness of a good woman? You have to give her kudos for having the courage to continue to go on dates after reading about some of the losers she went out with and chose to stay too long at the dance with when her kindness was taken for granted. This book is a good lesson for those who don’t value their own self-worth enough, to learn not to sell yourself short for anyone.

Missi's dating

Have a look and Get this book on Amazon

 

D.G. Kaye © October 2015

 

Book Review — Getting To Mr. Right

book reviews

Carol Balawyder is a versatile genre writer. She writes in memoir, women’s fiction, and crime mysteries. Carol likes to blog about life: justice, mid-life dating, grief, as well, she shares some great introductions to other writers and workshops.

Today I am sharing my review of Carol’s latest book, Getting To Mr. Right. I love reading Carol’s books because of the messages she leaves in her writing of strength and empowerment. Her flair for detail in her writing, and for developing her characters and storylines, invites the readers in to indulge in her captivating stories.

REVIEW:

 

gettingtomrright_kindle_small15

Five Stars

Does Prince Charming really exist?

A great women’s fiction read but really not far from the reality of many women entering mid-life. Do the relationships daughters have with their fathers lead to their choices in, or their beliefs about the men they later form relationships with? It would seem that this group of women all carry some sort of baggage from their past relationships as so many of us do in real life.

Campbell’s questioning of the existence of Prince Charming being a myth is the topic for the little women’s group formed by the four women in the book. Missi has been duped by a philandering husband, Suzy exhausted with unsuccessful online dating, and Felicity is ruled by her father’s dominance and the initial abandoning of her real dreams for the sake of keeping her father happy. Campbell herself, feels as though there is no such thing as Prince Charming until she is faced with the potential of one which makes her question her initial belief, why she formed the group in the first place, and if her belief could be altered. As the women forge friendships amongst themselves, we learn about some of the damage in their pasts, which has hindered their happiness in seeking relationships from having trust issues and low expectations. Throughout this well told story, these women begin to learn from one another and help restore one another’s esteem and beliefs that there really can be happy endings.

 

D.G. Kaye ©2015

The Versatile #Blogger Award – Thanks and nominees – | Carol Balawyder

The Versatile #Blogger Award

versatile blogger new

 

Thank you for carrying this award forward Carol.

Please read Carol Balawyder’s blog and find out seven interesting facts about her and who her nominees are:

reblogging

 

The Versatile #Blogger Award – Thanks and nominees – | Carol Balawyder.