Review: Stolen Truth by Henya Drescher

Stolen Truth

Henya Drescher

260 Kindle edition pages

★★★★

Stolen Truth is a modern-day psychological thriller written by Henya Drescher and expected to be released in the spring of 2020. The main character in the story is Bree Michaelson, a new mother, who wakes up feeling groggy and disoriented to find her husband and brand-new baby boy missing from their home. Immediately distraught and concerned for her baby’s safety, Bree starts contacting family and the authorities to get a jump-start on finding her missing son.

Though Bree seems to jump into action as any other concerned mother would, she is viewed with a suspicious eye due to some psychological episodes from her past. Along with her missing infant son, Bree’s husband Todd is also missing, along with her live-in midwife, Connie, as well as any semblance that they had ever existed. Does Bree actually have a husband and a new baby? Are they indeed missing? Or is this all part of her calamitous past coming back to haunt her?

Stolen Truth is an action-packed novel fueled by the revelation that you really never know anyone, especially those who appear closest to you. There were times where I felt like society was truly failing Bree and other times when I became overwhelmingly frustrated with her character’s lack of communication skills needed to get her situation handled. I was also disappointed with the way her character was repeatedly taken advantage of or disregarded by her family, acquaintances, and male companions.

Though I did have some internal struggles with the main character, I was enthralled by this story and immediately informed my sister that I had the best recommendation for her. As a lover of psychological thrillers, Stolen Truth did not disappoint and I’m thrilled to give my rating of 4 out of 4 stars. Some of my favorite psychological thrillers have been Gone Girl, Sometimes I Lie, and Baby Teeth, and this one seriously gives off the same feeling that just sticks with you long after you’re done. You don’t want to miss out on reading Stolen Truth when it’s released!

I’ve certainly had the luck of the draw for 2021 so far and have immensely enjoyed almost every book I’ve picked up. No complaints here, I think that’s the best way to start a new year. 🙂

Review: Favorite Dead Girl by Jerry Kuznik

Favorite Dead Girl

Jerry Kuznik

216 Kindle edition pages

★★★★

Favorite Dead Girl is a biographical thriller written by Jerry Kuznik. Originally published in 2019 by Notebook Publishing, the novel is 216 Kindle edition pages. I was warned before beginning the story that there were some dark themes entwined in the pages, but I had no idea what to expect once the events starting taking place.

The main character in the story is Pamela, a fourteen-year-old girl who seems to have it all. She’s beautiful and sweet, has caring friends, and is admired and adored by all the boys at school. Though she seems to have everything she could want, life as she knows it is abruptly taken from her when she’s involved in a tragic accident that leaves her with significant brain damage. By what can only be called a miracle, Pamela survives the accident and has to re-learn the acts of walking, talking, quite simply, living, without mechanical support. As challenging as it sounds, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what Pamela endures during her years, and in Favorite Dead Girl, author Jerry Kuznik features the tragedies that follows Pamela through life.

As a reader, I despise spoilers, so I don’t want to disclose too much, but I cannot express enough how unprepared I was for the amount of tragedy that played out through the novel. Though I had a warning of what to expect, the shock factor did not dissipate as I started experiencing Pamela’s story.

There were some significantly dark themes in the story that may not be appropriate for some readers including child abuse, sexual assault, graphic portrayals and language, and mention of suicide and depression. It’s difficult to read through a dark novel and WANT to tell others to read it, but my dark and twisty mind is internally screaming at everyone to read this one. And while I’m going on and on about the dark themes, let me go ahead and express that not all of the story is dark. Pamela is truly an inspiring character and after reading about her life throughout the years in the book, I feel that I know her so well. The character descriptions and personalities portrayed were so on point with the author’s intentions and I’m still reeling. It was an absolute honor to read Favorite Dead Girl and I’m overjoyed to rate Jerry Kuznik’s novel 4 out of 4 stars. I’d raise the bar even higher on this one if I could..

At the time of my published review, Favorite Dead Girl is available on Kindle Unlimited.

Review: Homeless by E.M. Duesel

Homeless

E.M. Duesel

259 pages

★★★★

Homeless is a modern-day fictional novel written by E.M. Duesel and published independently in July 2018. The main character in the story is Jeff Townsend, a middle-aged man who has quite simply lost everything. He lost his wife to a battle with cancer, and after losing his job, he then lost his home, his pets, and seemingly all he had ever known. When he’s left with no other choice, Jeff makes the move to Michigan to live with his brother and begins the journey to rebuild his life.

Jeff knew the change would be difficult, but he never imagined what he would witness in the streets of the town where he felt so lonely. The homeless population, who were deemed as bums and junkies, had gained a reputation that followed them, all while they were just trying to stay alive. Not only where there adults trying to find shelter to shield off the harsh cold, teenagers were scrounging for food and being pimped out for prostitution on the streets. Jeff was determined to help, though he was financially strained already. It would take a village to make a change in their town, and that was only the start.

Jeff’s character in the story developed substantially from the beginning of the story to the end. While he always remained compassionate for others, he managed to set his despair and grief aside and cared for others around him with admirable strength. Though the characters and their specific situations are fictional, these types of situations are real, some even worse, than the conditions detailed in the novel.

Though I can say I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life, I’ve always been aware of the homeless population in our country, but despite my awareness, the emotions this story pulled from me were unlike any I’ve ever experienced while reading. At 259 pages, I would generally finish a novel of this length in one sitting, easily. Homeless was different though- I had to slowly digest one chapter at a time in order to mentally comprehend the situations that the characters were in.

It’s hard to say I enjoyed reading such a difficult story, but I did. I’m thoroughly impressed with the author’s ability to pull such a deep emotion from me in such a short time. Not only does Homeless serve as a heartwarming tale, but it also pulls compassionate feelings that provoke the desire to do something, anything, to help. I’ve juggled the words for this review longer than usual, and despite how much I ramble on, I still feel like I’m not giving enough justice to even scratch the surface of what’s contained within the pages. It’s an honor to have had the opportunity to review Homeless, and I’m pleased to rate the story 4 out of 4 stars.

** Due to the mature language and actions within the story, I feel it’s necessary to give a reader’s discretional warning. Some of the content is difficult to read and contains explicit descriptions of violence, rape, and abuse.

Review: LOVE.com by Susan Bacoyanis

LOVE.com

By: Susan Bacoyanis

384 pages

★★★★

LOVE.com is a fictional modern-day romance novel written by Susan Bacoyanis. Published in November 2020, the novel is roughly 380 pages Of self-discovery and empowerment. The main character in the story is Lucy Skylark. Lucy has reached middle-age and still believes in love, despite being divorced and currently having no one to share her life with.

With the approach of her fiftieth birthday, Lucy finds herself feeling alone and down with her employment at a prominent magazine in jeopardy with everyone thinking of her as bland and boring. Feeling especially determined to find love, Lucy joins a hit dating website, LOVE.com. Though her profile is not exactly gaining the attraction she would hope for, Lucy is determined that love is still viable at her age. During a heated exchange with her boss Camilla and her boyfriend, Adam, who is the founder of the LOVE.com website, Lucy makes a bet that she can find her soulmate in three months’ time and reinvents herself as MsCougar with an office makeover.

With the busy dating schedule that soon approaches, MsCougar finds herself pulled in too many directions and quickly loses sight of herself as the true Lucy. She quickly becomes an internet sensation as the game of dating becomes overwhelming and Lucy’s relationships with family and friends are put in jeopardy with her newfound attitude and determination to become a star. Will MsCougar replace the once soft and caring Lucy forever, or will Lucy concede the bet and agree that love at middle-age a hopeless cause?

When I started reading LOVE.com, I vowed to maintain an open mind on the world of online dating for the sake of Lucy’s bet. I haven’t yet reached the middle-age category and I already knew the online dating world was a hard one to battle for any age, so Lucy’s strength and determination in the eye of rejection and deceit was empowering. Lucy’s character development from the beginning of the story to the end was insightful and made her character easy to like almost immediately. Her journey to self-discovery was remarkably inspirational and something that I think all women can relate to in their own journey to find themselves in a world surrounded by stereotypes and challenges to seek youthfulness.

LOVE.com was my final read to end the year of 2020 and easily my favorite for the year. The author presents a story that engages readers with an exciting world of self-discovery and revelation, but with a sense of passion that can be felt by readers through Lucy’s emotional ride. Not only would LOVE.com be a great recommendation for those who enjoy romance and comedy, but it’s also perfect for women of any age who are searching for love in a world where the photo-perfect persona is seemingly always preferred. LOVE.com was the perfect read to end the year with and certainly something I will be recommending to all my friends. I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to read and review for Susan Bacoyanis and rate LOVE.com 4 out of 4 stars. This is a story that was so well portrayed by the scenes that I easily see the cinematic appeal, similar to the vibes I felt with The Devil Wears Prada.

Review: The Art of Listening by Paul A. Mendelson

The Art of Listening

By: Paul Mendelson

★★★★

The Art of Listening is a series of thought-provoking short stories written by Paul A. Mendelson and published in 2019. With a collection of seven short-story reads, Mendelson captures the audience with the “inspired” fiction tales that each left their mark on me as a reader. 

The first in the collection, Based On a True Story was easily one of the most comical reads and one that I found myself sharing several moments out loud with others around me. The second story, The Art of Listening, was easily the most suspenseful and captivating, and I found myself hoping for a continuation of the story of a couple who has found themselves in a bit of a marital rut, fueling their distance by lack of communication. My favorite of the seven stories was titled Better LateBetter Late features an auctioneer named David who has lived his life in a safe bubble. David had never met his father due to a deadly motorcycle accident that left him being raised by a single-mother who feared for David’s safety and kept him from adventuring out to any dangerous acts. When the ghost of David’s father pops up in his life with the goal of making David “live” a full life, his eyes are opened to a whole new world of love and adventure. 

I’ve now had the honor of reading two of Paul Mendelson’s novels and I can easily say that I have quickly become a fan. Paul’s dark humor and natural talent for storytelling is astounding and something I think all readers should experience and enjoy. It’s easy, as a reader, to enjoy books that you come across and want others to experience them fully as you have. It’s easy to sell the story to friends and family based on your enjoyment. However, finding a story such as The Art of Listening, one so captivating and thought-provoking is rare. Each of the short stories in this collection could be developed into something even more extravagant, and I would not be surprised at all to see these developed into movies. Mr. Mendelson has a way of writing that allows readers to see each scene playing out fully. 

I’m so honored to have had the experience to read the works of Paul Mendelson, and I’m pleased to rate The Art of Listening 4 out of 4 stars. You have no idea what you’re missing out on if you have not yet experienced these stories. 

Review: Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures by J.R. Jordan

Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures

By: J.R. Jordan

★★★★

Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures revolves around the motion picture productions of the remarkable Robert Wise. Written by J.R. Jordan, the story features touching recollections by Gavin McLeod and Wise’s nephew. Beginning with some background family information, the story of Wise’s experience is dictated professionally and expertly by Jordan.

The story of Wise’s production experience is elaborated by the author in a way that truly captures the dedication and hard work put in by Robert Wise to show how his enthusiasm paid off in a way to make some of the best feature films to ever be viewed on the big screen. 

Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures is dictated in a way that is not a biography of the director’s life, as it’s more of an examination of his productions. Though I had certainly heard of Robert Wise before reading J.R. Jordan’s book, I was fascinated to learn of all the production works which he had a hand in making into a feature.

J.R. Jordan’s novel is a perfectly fitting story for those who are truly interested in the works of production and the impacts that are made on the viewers of these collections. Though I would have liked to have more information about Mr. Wise, I was captivated by the in-depth approach to the works of such a devoted member of the production society. 

I’m honored to have had the experience to learn about the creations of the untouchable Robert Wise and the influence he has left on the production world. I’m pleased to rate Robert Wise: The Motion Pictures 4 out of 4 stars. I would gladly recommend this story to anyone who has an interest in the world of film production and believe that anyone who has an interest in joining the world of film would be honored to learn by the works of Mr. Wise.

Review: The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun by Azmi Abusam

The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun

By: Azmi Abusam

★★★

The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun is a modern-day fictional novel written by Azmi Abusam and published in March 2019. At right at 130 Kindle edition pages, this was a quick read that I easily finished in one sitting. The novel is a rather mature read, with language and content that would only be appropriate for mature readers.


The main character in the story is 17-year-old Elon, a boy who has a tendency to act older than his age, which leads him into a whole slew of trouble. Elon wants to attend an over-the-top party with his friends for a night of fun, but he has no idea that this night of fun could cause even more trouble than he imagined. Hearing the hype and knowing some of the characters who will be attending this party, Elon breaks into his father’s safe and takes his gun to the party with him, just thinking it’s best for protection. What Elon doesn’t expect is a terrible fight that turns into gunfire and a missing gun. Not only is his life on the line, but his father’s gun is now missing and has been used for murder, which puts his father in danger as well.


I liked how the author of this story carefully portrayed conversations between characters to be realistic by portraying accurate slang for the age of the characters. The portrayal of the party the characters attended was demonstrated in a way that the chaos was apparent and necessary for the storyline.


I love novels that end with a cliffhanger and The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun certainly did not disappoint. The build-up of anticipation I felt with the ending of the story was definitely well-done with the suspense portrayed.


My only complaint with the story was that it felt a bit rushed. I liked that it was a quick read, though I wish there had been a little more of a build-up or demonstration of the week or weeks leading up to the party. The entire story takes place within a 24 hour period and didn’t seem to allow for enough back-up information to build the story on. I would have liked to have had some information about other parties the teenagers attended to get more of an idea on why they were all so certain that this one would be a huge commotion.


Aside from my timing complaint, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Night I Lost My Father’s Gun and would definitely recommend it to mature readers who enjoy stories with drama and chaos and teenagers who seem to struggle with making the best choices for themselves. I’m rating the story 3 out of 4 stars and am looking forward to a second installment to see what kind of trouble comes with Elon’s decisions.

Review: The Funnies by Paul A. Mendelson

The Funnies

By: Paul A. Mendelson

★★★★

The Funnies is a modern-day novel told from the perspective of 12-year-old Marius K. Marius’ story is told in the format of his diary entries beginning with him “on the run” from the Funny Police. Hear me out, there’s a reason. In the country Marius resides, the government has made the decision to turn off the part of the brain that produces the sense of humor. Though difficult to imagine a world with no sense of humor, the government sees it fit to do so in order to increase productivity and reduce the amount of joking around and wasting time. Although most procedures are performed right after birth, Marius’ procedure did not go as planned and he was left with his sense of humor in tact. Determined to keep his sense of humor, Marius goes on the run to avoid the Funny Police. What follow Marius is an adventure of new friends and a journey to recover the lost sense of humor of his fellow citizens.

When I first began reading The Funnies, I was imagining a story filled with jokes and laughter. That certainly was the case, though, the story did dive much deeper than that. Inclusive with the humor aspect, there’s a sense of longing for Marius to be able to live in a world where joking is necessary to get some citizens through the long days and difficult encounters. There is also and entire cast of secondary characters that add more dimension to the story, my favorite in particular, being another Funny who the characters refer to as “Sick.” Not sick, as in his health, but sick as in his sense of humor. I loved that each character was named after their type humor and their actions were well depicted by those names.

The Funnies had a great premise and even greater punchlines throughout. I even read some of the jokes to those around me while reading, though I’m now concerned about their sense of humor, or lack thereof..? 🙂 Either way, I’m honored to have had the opportunity to read and share my review of 4 of 4 stars of The Funnies with other readers. I would recommend this story to any reader who enjoys some laugh-out-loud moments, while also having some suspense in their novels. It’s a story that is not only enjoyable, but also causes you to think about the struggles that would follow if we were to all live in a world with no sense of humor to deal with the difficulties of some of the challenging aspects in our own lives. I’m certainly glad to have my sense of humor in tact and there for me to fall back on when things get tough. (2020, amiright..?)

Thank you, Paul Mendelson, for allowing me the opportunity to review your novel. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Check it out on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0855VRK41?pf_rd_r=C8K77JTZ6AVSE1H602EV&pf_rd_p=a712d25e-094e-4a8b-b495-0be41c4dbcc9

Review: I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power by Emmanuel Kulu Jr.

I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power

By: Emmanuel Kulu, Jr.

194 Kindle edition pages

★★★★

I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power is a historical fiction novel written by Emmanuel Kulu, Jr. Published in February 2020 by Pen It! Publications, the story is a powerful read following the rule of the western world. The story follows the lead character, Thutmose the Third beginning before his birth and up to his point of rule. Beginning with the rule of his father, Thutmose the Second, and his betrayal of his wife by engaging in a romantic relationship with a maidservant, the life of Thutmose the Third is created, leaving a spew of deceit in his wake. The tale centralizes the themes of tragedy, deceit, death, and legacy as their prominence is signified by the destiny of the Black Pharaoh.

I’ve read my fair share of historical fiction and more often than not, I feel that the plot seems to drag out much more than necessary. This was not the case with I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power. The novel was captivating from beginning to end and I felt that no parts of the story lacked action. The characters were all well-developed and very fitting for their positions within the story. I was exceptionally impressed with the author’s ability to form communication between characters that both followed along with the current setting and time, while also making it engaging enough for readers to enjoy, while also shining a spotlight on the specific setting of the story.

Emmanuel Kulu Jr. has an exceptional gift for providing a superb storyline and engaging characters. Egyptian history has always been fascinating to me, and the story of the Black Pharaoh did not disappoint when it came to enhancing the story. I’m honored to have had the privilege to read I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power, and am so happy to share my rating of 4 out of 4 stars with other readers. I would highly recommend this story to anyone who has an interest in Egyptian history or enjoys a story with dynamic themes.

Check this one out: https://www.amazon.com/I-Black-Pharaoh-Rise-Power-ebook/dp/B085146S8Y/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Black+pharaoh+rise+to+power&qid=1606586493&sr=8-1

Review: Ordinarily Extraordinary: Love and Anger, Life and Death, Hope and Inspiration by Patrick Long

Ordinarily Extraordinary: Love and Anger, Life and Death, Hope and Inspiration by [Patrick P. Long]

Ordinarily Extraordinary: Love and Anger, Life and Death, Hope and Inspiration

By: Patrick Long

244 Kindle Edition Pages

★★★★

Ordinarily Extraordinary: Love and Anger, Life and Death, Hope and Inspiration is a beautifully written memoir with expressive authenticity. Author Patrick Long shares the story of his wife’s illnesses while also recounting some distinct and significant moments throughout their marriage that he will forever cherish. When Patrick’s wife, Melanie, suffers a stroke at barely middle-age, life slows down a bit with the realization of seriousness. Though she’s already been battling cancer before the stroke, this is different and Patrick is inconceivably aware.

In the many memories shared by Patrick, his love for Melanie is evident, as well as the way nearly everyone around her feels. Melanie has a way with people. That’s probably said often, but there is even mention of her befriending a bill collector who called their home weekly. Although Melanie’s radiant aura shines in Patrick’s words, he remains authentic with his story and dutifully shares the moments where it hasn’t been so pleasant. Marriage is hard and the author shares some of their toughest moments with his audience in a way that we can all relate to. Though I’m sure it would have been easy to rave on and on about how wonderful Melanie is to everyone around her, the author shares the moments where things weren’t all sunshine and their marital clashes seemed to take a toll on them both. The reality is, marriage is hard and no one is exempt from the difficulties that come along.

I felt so connected to Melanie by the end of the story that I found myself telling others about the book I was reading and referring to her in a way that someone might mention a friend. He’s right– she’s just such a likable person that it’s hard to imagine her personality as just words on a page.

While I kept hoping for some kind of “addition” to the story in Melanie’s own recount of the events, I was saddened to read that Melanie had lost her battle with breast cancer in 2019. Evident by the memories shared by Patrick, Melanie is painfully missed by her family, but those who knew her are lucky to have experienced the companionship of someone so genuine and thoughtful.

This one took me a bit longer to get through than most books. It’s easy as a reviewer to breeze through fiction and then analyze the writing and content and deliver a review with either high or low star ratings. It’s not easy to read about someone’s experiences and feel their pain in their writing and know that they likely struggled along the way to develop just the right wording to describe the most difficult occurrence of their life.

Ordinarily Extraordinary: Love and Anger, Life and Death, Hope and Inspiration is real and raw and overwhelming… but it’s a story that leaves you feeling thankful for what and who you have. Life is best when shared with others and it’s never a wrong time to appreciate those we have while we still have them.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn a bit about Melanie Long’s life. Her friends and family were so lucky to have had the chance to know her, though her time here was cut short. It’s with great pleasure that I rate Ordinarily Extraordinary: Love and Anger, Life and Death, Hope and Inspiration 4 out of 4 stars.

Check this one out:
https://www.amazon.com/Ordinarily-Extraordinary-Anger-Death-Inspiration-ebook/dp/B08BBN3LCY/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Ordinarily+Extraordinary%3A+Love+and+Anger%2C+Life+and+Death%2C+Hope+and+Inspiration&qid=1605128777&sr=8-1

Tissues might be needed, but I promise it’s worth it.