Judy Penz Sheluk and Kristina Stanley have both been featured in my series How I Got Published when they were both starting out – before they established themselves as the respectful mystery writers they have become.

Both are Canadian. Judy Penz Sheluk writing about a small town community outside of Toronto and Kristina Stanley writing about the mountain resorts of British Columbia.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers, Inc. and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She lives in a small town northwest of Toronto, Ontario. Read more here.

Skeletons in the Attic


Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house  she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.



Skeleton’s in the Attic is the first of Judy’s series but not her first mystery.

I found myself immediately drawn into Skeleton’s in the Attic not only because of the suspense but because of the wonderfully quirky characters inhabiting this novel. The author does a fantastic job managing her characters and making them all come alive with their own distinct personalities and secrets, adding layers to the novel’s core suspense.

As Callie moves into her father’s house and gets to know her eccentric neigbours, clues to her mother’s disappearance begin to emerge. The problem is that the more clues appear the more nothing is what it appears to be and Callie can’t quite trust those providing these clues.

Although warned that the truth can break your heart, Callie can’t stop her relentless quest to discover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. I particularly enjoyed the protagonist’s search for a mother who abandoned her when she was six and in trying to put together the pieces of her mother’s past she dips into memories of her own childhood.

Skeleton’s in the Attic is a cozy, enjoyable read.


Kristina is the author of the Stone Mountain Mystery Series.

Her books have garnered the attention of prestigious crime writing organizations in Canada and England. Crime Writers of Canada nominated her first novel for the Unhanged Arthur award. The Crime Writers’ Association nominated her second novel for the Debut Dagger. She is published in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. click here for more.



On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.




In her third installment of The Stone Mountain Mystery Series, Kristina Stanley begins the novel with her signature nail-biting tension. She immediately plunges the reader into the middle of an avalanche and we find out very quickly that “…Roy’s headlamp burst to life, eerily illuminating his surrounding snow coffin.”

Lovely sentence.

Kristina Stanley maintains tension and suspense throughout the novel, whether it has to do with the protagonist’s decision to take an appealing job offer that might tear apart her newly married relationship with Ben, or, this being a mystery, on solving a murder.

I’ve had Avalanche on my Kindle since last June. When the weather started to turn cold and snow covered the ground I pulled up the novel. Avalanche is perfect to take on a ski holiday or to sit by a fireplace, sipping hot cocoa or tea and getting lost in the tangles of relationships.

In the category of Women’s Sleuth Mysteries, Avalanche was an Amazon Hot New Release.

I’ve now read all three of the Stone Mountain Mysteries and this is my favourite.

41 thoughts on “TWO RISING STARS

  1. Pingback: TWO RISING STARS | Carol Balawyder | KRISTINA STANLEY

  2. Thank you Carol for sharing two must-reads. Murder mysteries are one of my favorite genres. I could–and have–binged read one after another on a cold, snowy, locked-in weekend. Thanks for adding more titles to my MM list of books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, Carol, two high calibre writers and rightly deserving their success. 😀😀 I’m immediately hooked by both premises of the books and then pulled in by your excellent reviews – these two are now on my list to read this year. Maybe I should start Avalanche now with the cold icy conditions we are experiencing being the perfect backdrop to the story. Just one question, you say it is the third in the series, is it a good stand alone read or would I feel a bit lost? Thank you for sharing these with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly how I felt about Avalanche. It started to get really cold and snowy.
      That’s a great question, Annika. Although this is the third in the series it was the first one that Kristina wrote and I don’t think you’ll have any trouble following it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for adding me to your TBR list Annika! As an FYI, you can read Kristina’s books out of order, but you would love her first released book, DESCENT, and I’d recommend starting there. It takes place on the same ski resort in winter so you’d still feeling “snowy.” I loved all three of Kristina’s books.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Bonjour ou bonsoir CAROLE
    Par des mots simples

    Je viens déposer sur ton blog

    Quelques mots de bonheur et te donner de le joie en cette fin de semaine
    Vois-tu je t’ emmène sur des chemins

    Je les ai tracé pour toi principalement

    Sur ces chemins j’ai découvert
    Une pétale de rose pour effacer ta peine
    Un sourire d’enfant contre une larme
    Des mots que je dis à ceux que j’apprécie
    Dont tu fais réellement

    je te souhaite un bonne journée ou soirée

    gros bisous


    Je tire ma révérence LOL tu me troubles que j’en perds mon équilibre

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like both of these books for two different reasons. Congratulations to both Judy and Kristina! 🙂 🙂
    The idea of a will stipulating solving the main character’s mother’s murder is one great angle in this story. The second one, required to live in a certain town and get to know the quirky hometown folks sounds fun. Both angles make me wonder if the person who died had any ideas about the solution?
    I enjoy mysteries and when natural forces play into the setting, “Avalanche” would be fascinating and intriguing. How will she find the robber? I hope it won’t be her brother?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol, I wanted to leave you a separate message: thanks for your lovely comment on my blog post about those old trees! It meant a lot to me, as well as your thought on old friends. ❤
    I liked this wonderful review post, sharing just enough to entice us to read these two books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Both of these books sound great and thanks for alerting us to them, Carol. I’m in the archives but couldn’t resist looking around 🙂 I’m loving that there’s so many great female authors

    Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s