Estrangement Series

We all end up having people who were once in our lives with whom we are not currently in contact, through their choice, our own choice, life happening, or friendships simply fading away into memories. This series will come in letters to individuals, friends who once sat comfortably in the best friend category, family from whom I have chosen at last to protect myself, and perhaps an acquaintance or two I believed was a friend until proven otherwise. These emotions dwell within me, unexpressed, so maybe they will make their cautious way out into the world, entertain someone or another, perhaps enlighten someone else, or make someone’s load a tad lighter. Read on for the introspection of the only Lael Braday in the universe. Blessed Be, my Lovelies!

Inquire of the Dead by KE Sanderson

Archeology student Greer Dixon is about to find her life’s purpose on a dig that becomes personal. Her professor is much more than he seems, leading her into a world unseen by most for a royal battle for good. This debut novel blends elements of the occult with romance and family relationships, as it draws the murder of Greer’s mother into her heroic role against ancient evil.

Where I Left Her by Amber Garza

When Whitney comes to pick up her daughter from her friend’s house after a sleepover, strangers answer the door. To find her daughter, Whitney must confront her own sins as she uncovers secrets and lies of the girl she thought she knew. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this well-written story from the publisher Mira Books through NetGalley.

All the Tommys in the World by Javier Gombinsky

Lilith and Nate find themselves in a real-life horror movie of a zombie apocalypse, with secrets leading back to their hometown built around a cemetery, where Nate lived with his graveyard keeper father. After they get separated, they must figure out the secret and find their way back to each other. I was fortunate to receive this fascinating story from the publisher Pigfarm Press through NetGalley.

Danielle’s Inferno by Olivia Rivard

Danielle wakes up dead to find a Siamese cat named Pudding to guide her in the underworld for the purpose of making a vital decision. She witnesses limbo, where mediocre people wander aimlessly, and then the snarky cat opens the portal to Hell by pooping. Pudding takes Danielle through the nine circles of Hell, complete with Cerberus and Lucifer. Further portals are opened by various bodily functions. In the end, she must face herself. This is an enchanting and hilarious story.

Cousins’ Club by Warren Alexander

This story begins at the funeral of Rose Hips, the narrator’s great-aunt, and it remains at that level of surrealism throughout the book, like listening to a comedian with a dry sense of humor that you either get or don’t. There’s a bit of political incorrectness, perhaps due to the author’s age or cantankerous nature. The narrator is chosen before birth by his grandmother, the family matriarch, to become the family genius by living with different family members in order to become a genius. He starts his life with his grandparents, and dear reader learns about everyone’s unusual traits as he moves through the families. It’s really a wild ride and I recommend it. I was gifted this tale for an honest review.

Edge Case by YZ Chin

This is an intense story about an immigrant who feels stuck in her situation, uncomfortable as the only female in her tech company, and alone after her husband leaves her, when she is already struggling as an immigrant. Chen delves deep into Edwina’s psyche, sometimes seemingly beyond Edwina’s understanding. The book blurb says it’s darkly funny, but I was not laughing. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Ecco through NetGalley.

Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen

Detective Annalise Vega mixes personal with business when she is put on the case of a murderer who must be a copycat of the serial killer who murdered her mother. The victim is a member of a sleuthing group investigating the serial killer. The series following Detective Vega is off to a good start. If you like murder mystery series with a tough, emotional detective, I think this will suit you. I recommend the series based on the first story. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Minotaur Books through NetGalley.