March Quarterly Book Reviews, 2023

Free image courtesy OlgaVolkovitskaia on Pixabay.

This time last year, I began writing quarterly book reviews, and although I am not a book blogger per se, I’m happy to share with you what I’m reading and perhaps discover new authors together. This is especially true when it comes to the works of indie authors, like myself. Every little bit helps when it comes to spreading the word!

I’m slowly, but surely working my way through my book list, and I’m surprised to see some going back a number of years. I guess that’s always going to be the struggle of your average bookworm. 😉

Lying Beside You (Cyrus Haven #3) by Michael Robotham

I’ve read the first two books in this series, and once again, Michael Robotham has written another page-turner.

A man has been bludgeoned to death, and his daughter is missing. Cyrus is called on the case to help determine if she has been kidnapped or murdered. Meanwhile, his brother, Elias, is about to be released from psychiatric hospital after twenty years. Evie Cormac, a troubled young woman Cyrus has taken under his wing, gains employment in a pub, and becomes witness to an abduction.

I enjoyed the struggles both Cyrus and Evie faced, which at times were told with humour, while others were heart-warming. New characters have been introduced, which brings complexity and opportunities. As with the first two books, I listened to the audio version, where the narrator does a terrific job of bringing these characters to life.

Fast paced, great twists, and engaging characters, this is a worthy addition to the series.

The Haunting of Chatham Hollow by Mae Clair and Staci Troilo

In 1793, Ward Chatham lies on his deathbed, a rich, but bitter recluse. Delirious, he mutters broken phrases, which some believe is a curse brought towards the town. So begins The Haunting of Chatham Hollow, a dual timeline novel set between 1888, and 2022.

Of the two timelines, personally I enjoyed the 1888 setting. I liked these characters, both good and bad, and was fully invested in the séance scenes, and the incidents happening within the town, believed to be part of Chatham’s curse.

I don’t usually read books that have been co-authored, and I am unfamiliar with Mae Clair’s work, but this novel is not only well written, it flows easily, so that the reader cannot distinguish the different writing voices.

Well researched with engaging plot lines, if you enjoy mysteries with paranormal elements, I highly recommend The Haunting of Chatham Hollow.

Vampire of the Midnight Sun by Priscilla Bettis

Vampire of the Midnight Sun is a collection of two short stories, full of vivid descriptions and suspense.

The first story, Vampire of the Midnight Sun, sees two friends, Billy, and Frasier, stranded after a rafting accident in Alaska. They struggle for survival with no food or equipment. To add to their woes, Billy is convinced he is a vampire. Told from Frasier’s point of view, these characters are likeable, and at times, scary. Both the dialogue and the plot flows seamlessly, and I enjoyed the fresh take on the vampire myth. From the icy waters to the putrid smells, I felt I was walking alongside these characters. The author describes a beautiful, but harsh environment, while at the same time building the suspense so that I could feel the terror of their predicament.

The Fire Witch and the Cowboy is a story of the Old West, where a fire threatens a small town. Local man, Henderson, pleads for help from wealthy Widow Vandermeer, but her assistance may come at a price. I was engrossed with the description of the fire in this one, which is terrifying, and coupled with Henderson’s past, it is also quite sad.  I sympathised with him and found Widow Vandermeer a creepy old woman. Although I did enjoy this story, of the two, I would have to say Vampire of the Midnight Sun was my favourite.

I have read this author’s work before, and everything she writes goes to the top of my reading list. This book did not disappoint.

What books have you been reading so far this year? Have you discovered an author that is new to you? Do you have any recommendations to share?

2 thoughts on “March Quarterly Book Reviews, 2023

  1. Thank you, Debbie, for reading and reviewing Vampire of the Midnight Sun. I’m so happy you liked it!

    I’ve read The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I was amazed that two authors wrote it. Like you, I couldn’t tell where one author left off and the other started. And I am familiar with both writers’ work, so I thought I’d be able to tell. It’s a good story.

    I’m not familiar with Robotham’s Lying Beside You or the series, but I love a twisty plot!

    1. Debbie Johansson 29/03/2023 — 4:26 am

      My pleasure, Priscilla! I really enjoyed The Haunting of Chatham Hollow, and will be looking for more books by Mae Clair. Michael Robotham is one of my favourite authors, and this is a great series (Evie is such a wonderful character). I love twisty plots too, they’ve always been a favourite! 🙂

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