Sunday, January 10, 2021

Signs in the Dark by Susan Miura

Signs in the Dark is a YA mystery thriller novel that was sent to me by the publisher. 17-year-old Haylie Summers is kidnapped one night after getting a text that (supposedly) came from a classmate she liked, Nathan. Now she is tied up, gagged, and blindfolded for ransom. While Haylie tries to stay alive and piece together why she ended up there, Nathan tries to clear his name and fight to get Haylie back by any means necessary. Oh, by the way: Haylie is deaf.

Nathan is selfless and caring. He risked his life to find Haylie. Some might call him rebellious; I call him heroic. I have no doubt that he would make a great firefighter. Haylie is bright and a wonderful girl despite her being deaf. She leads mostly a normal life, and Signs in the Dark does tackle some audism and other stereotypes. I liked the diversity of characters' personalities. Mr. Kingsman, the hilarious and nutty neighbor, is my favorite supporting character. Particularly with Mr. Kingsman, I enjoyed the emphasis on how people are not always how they seem- or speak, for that matter. Haylie's involvement in the local Wildlife Rescue Center was a nice touch, especially with the signing gorillas.

The plot made sense, which is sometimes a concern with mystery novels. I enjoy watching crime shows like Chicago PD and NCIS, and as far as kidnappings go Signs in the Dark portrayed the crime and the kidnappers well. However, I will say that at times it felt like information-overload, and the reader can easily interpret and come to many of the drawn-out conclusions and explanations. Never underestimate the intelligence of the reader!

Title: Signs in the Dark
Author: Susan Miura
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing
Pages: 203
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

High Spirits (Spirits Book 4) By Rob Keeley

High Spirits is the fourth book in the middle grade fantasy series Spirits. This book was sent to me by the author. Evil spirits have impersonated King Edward VIII and his girlfriend, and are bent on preventing World War II and helping Hitler. Due to Ellie's involvement in the new connection between the spirit world and mortal world, she is sent back in time again- this time, to 1936, to keep history in order. 

The educational value is strong, and I personally did not understand the significance of who Edward VIII was until now. While I did have some knowledge of the relationship between England and Germany prior to the war, it is surprising to me that the action of getting married became the pivoting factor between WWII and a Nazi-controlled Europe. For all the times Keeley could have chosen to write the book on, 1936 was a great pick to drive home how unstable history is. 

My critique is how short all the books are, especially this one in particular. The ending fight felt rushed, and I wish there was more suspense. 

I do recommend this book and look forward to reading the next, The Coming of the Spirits.

Title: High Spirits
Author: Rob Keeley
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd
Pages: 129
Series: Yes, Book 4 of 5
Rating: 4 Stars
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