April 2021 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.

Authors, are you interested in having your book reviewed? Interested in an interview about your work? Visit the Contact Me page and complete the form. Requests receive a response within 48 hours.


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The Monarch by John Jennings

By: John Jennings

Set in the 1990s, in Northumberland and Northern Ireland, The Monarch, is a portrayal of life in a heavily industrial culture, forced to reinvent itself as its once beloved industries find themselves in decline. The story gives an intimate picture of the Compton family, who are at the heart of society in the region.

Jennings paints a vivid picture of the setting behind his novel, rich with detail. I enjoyed the stream of consciousness writing style. The story is interwoven with a number of very strong characters who each bring a piece of the unique culture of the North – East region. Jennings also does a remarkable job of incorporating the regional dialect and accent into the writing.

Jennings is a masterful storyteller and I look forward to reading more from him.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Willful Evolution: Because healing the heart takes strength by Janice Beetle

By Janice Beetle

A sequel to her first book, Divine Renovations, in which she tells the story of being laid off from her job while caring for her husband in his final days with two teenaged children to raise, Janice gives us the rest of the story. This is the story of rebuilding and coming back from devastating life events. In this follow-up book, she talks about travel, using yoga to build her mental and physical strength, and starting two businesses. She also includes some humorous tales of dating again.

This is a wonderful example of human resiliency in the face of incredible challenges. Beetle provides a very real, and at times raw, account of reinventing herself. I found the writing engaging, like sitting down with a good friend and hearing her tell her story. Beetle truly holds nothing back and shows remarkable strength in letting the reader into her emotions, even the dark ones.

In the end, this story is heart-warming and full of hope.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Rags of Time: A Thrilling Historical Murder Mystery set in London on the eve of the English Civil War by Michael Ward

By: Michael Ward

Thomas Tallant returns to England, from India, to find his country mired in turmoil. Conflict between King George I and Parlement is threating to boil over into civil war. But when a rival spice merchant is found brutally murdered, Thomas finds himself at the center of suspicion. While fighting to clear his name, he is captivated by Elizabeth Seymour, a brilliant scientist with a pencion for gambling. Her gift for logic proves valuable in uncovering the truth of what happened to Thomas’ competition. But only time will tell if they will succeed in saving Thomas’ reputation.

This is the first book in a series by indie author, Michael Ward, and I’m already intrigued. The story is well-paced and the characters are well-developed. Ward places the reader at the center of 1640s England with vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds, and smells of the time. I enjoyed the way Ward engaged all of his reader’s senses through his writing. The interwoven layers of fraternities of merchents keep the reader guessing as to the identity of the true killer (no spoilers).

Ward has created a well-crafted historical mystery. I look forward to reading more from him.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Anarchy and Other Lies by Jesse McKinnell

By: Jesse McKinnell

Jake Anderson is a silverware designer turned vigilante, albeit a reluctant one, living on the fringes of a dying society. Fresh food has become scarce and, what is available, is under ration by the government. Jake finds himself infatuated with Sam. But he soon finds himself becoming less and less committed to the cause.

McKinnell crafts a face-paced, timely and engaging story. The protagonist, Jake, comes across as bland and average. Enter Sam, a pink-haired eccentric with mile-wide, inch deep ideas and Jake gets swept away. The dark humor and sarcasm come across brilliantly. Enjoy the escape of this dystopian world.

I would like to thank the author for a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Among the Reeds: The true Story of how a Family survived the Holocaust by Tammy Bottner

By: Tammy Bottner

Tammy Bottner writes a biography from her grandmother, Melly Bottner’s point of view. As an eighteen-year-old newlywed and new mother, Melly finds the dangers she escaped from in Germany suddenly on her doorstep in Belgium. Bottner tells the story of the unimaginable choices her grandparents were forced to make in order to ensure their survival.

Bottner’s telling of her family’s deeply personal history makes for a compelling read. The book is meticulously researched as Bottner adds in historical context to the events of her family’s reality. She focuses not only on the atrocities faced by Jews in the Holocaust but the on-going impact for survivors and the next generation. The topic is presented in very accessible language making it approachable.

Bottner has created a well-crafted biography that is well worth the read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All The Horrors of War by Bernice Lerner

By Bernice Lerner

On April 15, 1945, British doctor, Brigadier H. L. Glyn Hughes arrived at Bergen-Belsen. While familiar with the horrors of war, nothing could prepare Brigadier Hughes for what he would see there. Among the sixty thousand living inmates, in the camp, was Rachel Genuth, a fifteen-year-old Jewess who arrived at the camp, with her family just a month prior, after already spending time at Auschwitz, the Christianstadt labor camp, and having marched through the Sudetenland. The story opens with Brigadier Hughes’ testimony at the trial of the camp’s commendant, Josef Kramer before following Brigadier Hughes and Rachel’s journeys to through Europe. ⁠

Lerner crafts an engrossing read through the interweaving of two very different perspectives on the atrocities of the Holocaust: one of a liberator and the other of her young mother whose childhood was stolen away. While the two never directly meet, as is mentioned, Rachel, her sister, and thousands more, were saved by the actions of Hughes and his medical team. The careful attention to factual detail is evident in the writing and lends context to the narratives of the two subjects within the book. Lerner paints a very clear picture of the gruesome crimes committed and the horrific conditions within the camp.⁠

Lerner’s work preserves two important individual histories. I would like to thank the author for a review copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. ⁠

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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More Titles for Your TBR Pile

January 2021 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 […]

February 2021 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 […]

March 2021 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 […]



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