Two #BookReviews: TELL ME by @Anne_Frasier #TellMe #NetGalley and VOODOO OR DESTINY by @JanSikes3 #mystery #thriller

book reviews

Ciao, amici! Welcome to July. I hope those of you who celebrated America’s Independence Day had a wonderful holiday. I attended a couple of family picnics and watched some fireworks. I missed my kids and my dogs (and my pool), but I’m choosing to count my blessings rather than dwell on the things I missed.

I’ve got two reviews for you today. Without further ado…

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Socially Relevant Without Preaching

Maybe it’s the mom in me, but I cheered to see the book begin with teens who were sent to a camp with no technology, forced to unplug from the world because their dependence on the Internet had gotten out of hand. Granted, it was a very posh camp, but the girls didn’t have it easy.

Then it all went downhill from there. Their guide was murdered, and there was no sign of the girls. Were they abducted? Did they flee? Was this an elaborate Internet prank to increase their viewers that somehow went horribly wrong? 

Enter the cop (Daniel) and the profiler (Reni), both with more emotional baggage than they can fit in their knapsacks as they hike the mountain. There’s a lot of history there. (I didn’t realize this is the second book in the series, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this story, though I’d like to go back and read the first to fill in some blanks.) The way their pasts and presents collide makes for some heart-wrenching moments.

The plot unravels at a brisk, steady pace and has as many twists and turns as the trail the girls disappeared on. The ending was telegraphed throughout, but I think some readers might miss the hints and find it to be a surprise. All in all, it was a solid mystery that kept me engaged, and I’m interested in more from this series. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this work in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Talk about a Pin to the Heart!

This quick read by Jan Sikes is worth every second you’ll spend with it. Anyone who’s ever known the sting of betrayal knows the catharsis felt by any harmless purging act.

But what if it wasn’t harmless?

Claire Winters tried to ease her suffering with what she thought was a joke—a voodoo doll of her cheating husband who asked for a divorce. Now she’s living with the ramifications of that decision. There’s no way to prove whether the magic was real, but she has to come to terms with her intentions and the results, regardless. And the ending is enough to steal your breath.

This story is short, but there’s a lot to unpack. If you want to. On the surface, it’s almost a horror story. But in the complex layers underneath, if you sit with it and mull things over, there’s a complex construct of emotional family dynamics and painful interpersonal traumas worth a second and even a third look. As a short story, this is good. Had this been a novel that explored all these concepts in depth, it would have been outstanding.

That’s it from me today. I hope you found something that sparked your interest. If you did, or if you read one of these, or if you’d just like to talk about these stories or others like them, sound off in the comments below. Grazie!

Published by Staci Troilo

A writer fascinated with interpersonal relationships, the importance of family, and the relevance of heritage. Learn more at

42 thoughts on “Two #BookReviews: TELL ME by @Anne_Frasier #TellMe #NetGalley and VOODOO OR DESTINY by @JanSikes3 #mystery #thriller

  1. Thanks for the excellent reviews, Staci, and congrats to Anne and Jan. Anne is new to me, but I may consider her book. Jan, I’ve known for a long time and she’s an excellent writer. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the reviews, Staci. I enjoyed Jan’s Voodoo or Destiny story as well, and Tell Me sounds like a good read though starting with book one is probably a good idea. The premise intrigued me. 🙂 Happy Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan’s story was enjoyable. Especially the ending.

      Tell Me really doesn’t require reading the first book to know what’s going on. I just liked it so much, I’d like to go back and see what I missed so I can spend more time with the characters. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? Other than my Kindle, I think I’d be okay with that. Well, I’d miss talking to my kids. And air conditioning. And indoor plumbing. And a modern kitchen. Okay, I guess I use technology more than I’d like to admit. But I’m still happy to be offline on the weekends. 🙂

      Thanks, Teri.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I go offline every weekend. I need the break. Neither of my kids is into social media. My son doesn’t have any accounts. My daughter has a few but seldom goes on. Both of them do watch some streaming services, but that’s about the extent of it. But they’re the exception to kids today, not the rule.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Tell Me sounds interesting. I especially like the idea of the emotional baggage with the two leads. And the cover is striking!

    I’m also a fan of Voodoo or Destiny. I’ve read that one and really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tell Me was from the section of NetGalley that doesn’t require you to request a copy, so you can grab it if it’s still there. I think you’d like it; it wasn’t gory. (The cover is gorgeous.)

      Jan’s story was also engaging.

      Thanks, Mae.

      Liked by 1 person

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