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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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 will grab you from the first and leave you unable to put it down. Ms Lauer’s story is incredibly detailed, which makes this book such a compelling read. She’s faced with seemingly impossible circumstances, living in constant fear of discovery. Ms Lauer’s story is one of resilience and hope.


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 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.


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.


When I Was Alive: A Novella Collection

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.


Southern Song: Book 3 of the Davaar Island Series

By: TJ Johnson

Southern Song is book three in the Davaar Island series. The story opens with Abby Buchanan back home in Australia, coping with a broken heart after leaving Scotland and Murdo. This story picks up about four months after her return to Australia. She’s returned to her job in civil service and is working to put her life back together after her abrupt departure from Davaar Island.

The emotions in this book a more raw than the first two stories. Abby is really going through an intense transition in her life and, as a reader, you can really feel it. You can feel her sadness, her disappointment, her pain. The story builds to a love triangle near the middle of the story. Without giving too much away, the outcome is what I was hoping for. I did find some of the editing errors in this story a little distracting. Otherwise, it is everything readers love about the Davaar Island story.


More Book Reviews:

The Red Thread of Secrets

Book Review: Katie Watson and the Painter’s Plot

January Book Reviews

December Book Reviews

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