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May Book Reviews

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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Adhaata Asao’s Liege

By: Afroz Alam

Lord Vishnu, protector of the world, is gathering Avatars to help humanity.

This is my first work by this author and I really enjoyed it. The language is wonderfully descriptive. I really liked the very vivid imagery. In a world with dragons, dwarfs, and avatars, I found parallels to Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. This fantasy was a wonderful escape!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

#ShidduchCrisis

By: Penina Shtauber

Shidduch dating is an Orthodox Jewish form of dating where singles are matched for the purpose of finding a spouse. It is an intense form of dating that occurs over a short period of time.

#ShidduchCrisis is a collection of short stories told from the perspective of young Jewish singles in the shidduch process. While fictional depictions of this process, each story is distinctive and has a unique voice. Every character is relatable and brings a different perspective to the experience.

I enjoyed this book as a lighthearted collection of stories talking about a major milestone in life. The choice of a life partner is such an incredibly important one. Certainly, in this particular process, there is so much pressure to make the right choice. Some of the stories in this collection were humorous. Others had an ironic twist and still others really make you think about what really matters. I found this very relatable. If you’re a fan of the Israeli series, Srugim, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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It All Started Down at the Stewarts

By: Joe Medler

Frank is a retiree who regularly meets a group of friends for coffee. A chance to get out of the house and keep up with friends. Frank becomes suspicious when his friend Dale announces one day that his wife Doris has passed away. Frank decides his friend’s behavior doesn’t see quite right for a man who has lost his wife after likely five decades of marriage. He begins trying to piece the whole thing together with his wife, Molly. But the truth is not what he expected.

This is a work of short fiction that will leave you wanting more, in the best possible way. Medler crafts his mystery skillfully, building to a well-timed plot twist. The relationship between Dale and Frank is well developed. And you can feel the long history in the love between Frank and his wife, Molly. The ending is written in a beautifully, heartwarming way. This is my first book by Medler and I look forward to reading more by him.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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The Meyersons of Meryton

By: Mirta Ines Trupp

This variation on Pride and Prejudice revisits the Bennet family as they welcome new neighbors to Meryton. Rabbi Meyerson and his family are received at Longbourn on their arrival from London as Rabbi Meyerson is to serve the Hebrew congregation of Meryton. But other business calls the Rabbi away to Brighton, causing Mr. Bennet to follow, causing a possible delay in the much anticipated nuptials of the two eldest Bennet daughters.

The author does a remarkable job of bringing Jane Austen’s well-loved characters back to life in this continuation of the original story. Rabbi Meyerson and his family are an interesting addition to the society of Meryton, who are unfamiliar with their culture and traditions. The Meyersons are often in situations where they are called upon to explain themselves to their new neighbors, making this addition to the story line approachable to the reader who is also unfamiliar.

I was surprised by Elizabeth Bennet in this variation. The usually sharp-witted, confident, headstrong young woman is cast in a more vulnerable light in this story. On the eve of her marriage, she is shown as being overwhelmed at the prospect of taking her place in society as the lady of Pemberley and of being a wife, in general. This felt a little out of character for her and something that would more easily be expected from Jane, the more shy and modest of the two.

As a fan of Jane Austen’s work, as well as the Bronte sisters, I enjoyed this re-imagining and recommend it for fellow Austen fans.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Destiny by Design – Leah’s Journey

By: Mirta Ines Trupp

Destiny by Design: Leah’s Journey is set in Imperial Russia, in the late 19th Century. Leah Abramovitz is the youngest of twelve children, coming of age in Odessa. Her upper class merchant family is suddenly faced with a challenging political climate which threatens their livelihood. Despite her opposition to the decision, Leah’s family makes the difficult decision to emigrate from her beloved Russia to Buenos Aires.

This is the second work by Mirta Ines Trupp I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed. I was immediately captured by the charming and headstrong heroine, Leah Abramovitz. I found her to share many qualities and characteristics of Josephine March, of Little Women, in that she is determined, resilient, and wonderfully independent.

The story line in this book is captivating from beginning to end with vivid, descriptive language. Ms. Trupp does a wonderful job of drawing a stark contrast between the comfort and social position of the Abramovitz family, in Russia, and the wild frontier of colonial Argentina. The family’s ability to pull together under difficult circumstances is very moving.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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