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Things We Didn't Say Cover and Book Review

Book Review
Things We Didn’t Say

by Amy Lynn Green

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Things We Didn’t Say is an impressive debut novel. (I was completely taken aback to discover that it was Green’s first book! It reads like a well-seasoned author.) Full of heart, passion and a little bit of humour, this book is a thoughtful exploration of patriotism, prejudice, and humanity.

About: It’s 1944. Linguistic student, Johanna Berglund, has reluctantly accepted a translator position at a camp for German POWs. As she interacts with the prisoners, translating conversations and censoring their letters home to Germany, she begins to see these men as more than just enemies. But advocating for the soldiers’ better treatment leaves townspeople wondering whose side she’s on. Most patriot citizens want nothing to do with the Germans labouring in the camp, or with those who work there. As the lines between compassion and treason become blurred, Johanna must decide where her heart truly lies.

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Book Review

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This dual-timeline mystery was my third read by Jaime Jo Wright and, can I say, my absolute favourite of hers so far.

The writing in this book is strong and follows two separate characters: Pippa, in the late 1920’s, and Chandler in the present day. Wright has crafted both characters in a way that makes them feel flawed and so very real — women that you can connect with and understand.

The first timeline is set in the late 1920s and follows the story of Pippa — the adopted daughter of the owner of Bonaventure Circus. While the circus is a refuge for many rejected by society, Pippa was cast from its inner circle as a baby. Guarded by a mysterious figure named The Watchman, Pippa can’t help but feel compelled to uncover her roots. Her connection to an injured baby elephant is a touching analogy for her own feelings of neglect and rejection, as she searches for the truth about her birth parents. Along the way, Pippa is thrown into the path of a man seeking justice for his murdered sister and uncovers evidence of a serial killer haunting the circus train. But how far will she have to go to find the truth?

The second timeline follows Chandler Faulk — a project manager for the crumbling, old circus train depot. Chandler dives into the depot’s history in hopes of revitalizing the area and proving to her uncle that she is capable of handling the job. As she balances being a single, working parent with a newly diagnosed autoimmune disease, Chandler is pulled deeper into the circus’ dark past — uncovering some very real, present-day implications.

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Reader’s Thoughts

Both timelines were beautifully written with intriguing plots and page-turner chapters. Unlike a lot of traditional Christian fiction, the author isn’t afraid to explore some darker and edgier emotions and elements. Wright was able to weave together conversations about ghosts and the spiritual side of faith in a way that didn’t pretend to have all the answers but simply felt honest and true to character.

I also love how the dialogue and character interactions in Wright’s books feel so believable. One of my critiques with the Christian suspense genre, in general, is that it’s often heavy on the romance elements and light on the suspense. But this book blended the two aspects so well! Both timelines had romantic secondary-plots but it didn’t distract from the mystery or the tension that was building — instead, it added to the character motivation and created a well-rounded story. The character development felt entirely realistic (not cheesy!) and the relationships were ones I wanted to root for.

The only downside to a dual-timeline mystery is that the motivation of the present-day antagonist can occasionally feel a little weak. While I felt that again with this novel, it’s more of a nitpicky reader thing and didn’t ultimately take away from the surprise ending. (And it was a surprise!) While I’m usually able to figure out at least part of how a novel is going to unwind, this deliciously creepy read kept me wondering until the very end. 

A solid four stars for this one!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Want to grab a copy for yourself? You can find The Haunting of Bonaventure Circus on Amazon, here!

I usually inhale books. The pages dance beneath my fingertips, blurring and whirling as I hungrily suck in words. But every once in a while, a gem is uncovered. A book so meticulously crafted, I can’t help but savor it, letting it steep and soak into the recesses of my imagination. It’s a pleasant surprise to unfurl the first chapter and immediately know, this one’s a keeper.

Set the Stars Alight was that book.

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Ever since I was young, I’ve loved a good mystery. I still remember the feel of a new Nancy Drew book in my hand: soft and smooth with unbound excitement lying in wait. There was nothing like the familiar creak of those yellow-spined stories as I’d bury my nose into their fresh pages.

Mystery. Suspense. Thrillers.

These are still the genres I gravitate towards the most; the books I pluck from library and bookstore shelves most often. That’s what drew me to this new book, Mind Games by Nancy Mehl — the allure of a rollercoaster ride of mystery and suspense.

And I have to say, I was not disappointed.

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I’m not going to lie. When I was offered the opportunity to review this book, I did so because of the cover. “A Light On The Hill” by Connilyn Cossette is exactly the type of fictional book that filled my early-teen summers and I couldn’t help but feel a bit nostalgic at the sight of it. (Yep, you caught me… I am hands down the type of person who picks books by their covers…) Warm and beautiful with a soft matte finish, this is my kind of book cover!

The novel is set in Israel in the time of Joshua, seven years after the fall of Jericho. After being branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods, one young woman has hidden herself away on her father’s vineyard. Carrying the shameful reminder of her captivity in Jericho, Moriyah struggles to be content with a life lived behind a veil. After her father finds a match for her, a widower with two teenage sons, she begins to hope again. But soon it all goes horribly wrong and Moriyah is forced to flee for her life. Seeking safety at one of the newly established Levitical cities of refuge, Moriyah’s travels bring her to the feet of danger, enemies, unexpected allies, and ultimately, God. 

The story is, in and of itself, well written. I don’t tend to read a lot of historical fiction nowadays but this book was a pleasant change from my usual fare. It’s a light and easy read with an interesting narrative. While the plot is fairly predictable, the characters are well rounded and likable and the scenes are well set.

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Book Review: Oath of Honor by Lynette Eason

Police officer, Izzy St. John, is determined to uncover the truths behind her partner’s murder, even if that means putting herself directly in the line of fire. Her search for answers leads her to a large criminal organization and a list of possible dirty-cops,  which potentially includes one of her own family members. Mystery, adventure, and a bit of heat between her and a handsome homicide detective launches Book 1 of the Blue Justice series, “Oath of Honor” by Lynette Eason.

For me, no trip to the library is complete without a stack of mystery / adventure novels in hand. This is my go-to genre for easy-reading and unwinding. Being an avid reader of this genre, I was especially looking forward to reading and reviewing this book, Oath of Honor

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