March Book Review Wrap Up

So many books, so little time! I am an avid reader and love to share recommendations with fellow readers. My choice in books tend to vary by my mood but some of my favorites are mystery, suspense, thriller, and humor. Get my reviews direct to your inbox every Wednesday and check back here for monthly features.


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When I Was Alive

By: Habiba El Sadany

When I Was Alive is a collection of four novellas: Rivers, When I Was Alive, Piece of Me, and Don’t Go Into the Woods. Each story centers around characters suffering tragic losses and the impact of them.

Rivers centers around a family losing their teenage son in an auto accident, that right from the start does not appear to have been an accident. But rather a possible suicide. The story’s main focus is the young man’s mother and her struggle to make sense of her loss.

When I Was Alive is the story of a couple who have made a pact after receiving an ominous prediction by a fortuneteller. Breaking their agreement has the potential to have dire consequences, if the fortuneteller’s predictions are to be believed.

Piece of Me is the story of a woman who wakes up, believing she has recently given birth. Except, according to her husband, she was never pregnant. She’s then force to deal with the loss of a child that never really existed.

Don’t Go Into the Woods is the story of a woman whose son was brutally murdered. She finds herself haunted by her son, in her dreams. She struggles with the decision to uncover who is responsible for her son’s death.

The common thread of loss and grief tie brings them together in a nicely cohesive collection. While they share a theme, each is sufficiently unique so as to sand alone. One doesn’t feel that they’re reading a retelling of the previous story. While the subject matter of each story centers around grief, loss, and tragedy, I found, at times, the characters’ reactions lacked the emotional depth one would expect from someone who is suffering. If you’re looking for a collection of dark tales, this collection is for you.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Strange Things Await

By: Jamila A. Stone

The story takes place at Virtus Academy, a boarding school for supernatural students. The school houses and educates vampires, witches, werewolves, and werecats. The story centers around two witches, Natalie King and Alexandra Aurelius, both in their sophomore year. The two are former friends who have had a falling out. The school year is also plagued by mysterious murders of several students.

Supernatural and young adult fiction are both outside my usual reading material but this held my attention well. The character development is complex and the issues these students face, despite their supernatural abilities, are very relatable. The language in the dialogue was a little on the formal side at times but overall this was an interesting read. If enjoy fantasy and supernatural fiction, give this a read.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Hiding in Plain Sight

By Betty Lauer

Hiding in Plain Sight is the true story of one young woman’s survival in Nazi-occupied Poland. While waiting for their visas to America, in order to rejoin her father, Betty, along with her mother and sister, were rounded up and expelled from Germany, to Poland. This began a six-year ordeal of living in constant fear of discovery. But time and again, fate stepped in to provide a way forward.

This book is the true story of one young woman’s survival in Nazi-occupied Poland. While waiting for their visas to America, in order to rejoin her father, Betty, along with her mother and sister, were rounded up and expelled from Germany, to Poland. This began a six-year ordeal of living in constant fear of discovery. But time and again, fate stepped in to provide a way forward.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Hunt

By Jacqueline Terrill

Rachel Blackstone finds her world suddenly rocked when her husband of 30 years suddenly changes. Their once happy and financial stable life suddenly comes crumbling down around her and all she wants is to get out. A trip to a friend’s cabin offers a chance to recharge but Rachel’s in-laws aren’t willing to exit Rachel’s life quietly.

This story has has some good twists and turns toward the middle, after a slow build. I found the editing distracting, which is unfortunate because this story has great potential. The dialogue is forced with an unnatural formality. With a good professional polish, this could be a really good book.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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