Books Read and Reviewed in January 2023!

Here it is already the end of another month. Where does the time go? I have been busy as usual reading some wonderful books for the month of January of 2023. Here are the 6 books I read and reviewed for January. I might have read even more if I didn’t have a few WIP. But I always seemed to have a WIP! That fact never stops me! I hope you enjoy reading these reviews.

I love sharing my eclectic reads in this Jemsbooks Segment, Books Read in the Month. I hope you will get a chance to look these books over soon. Thank you for your kind support of my work and that of my fellow authors.

If you are an avid reader, as I am, please review the books you love on Amazon or wherever you purchased them in order for others to enjoy your reviews. Reviews are one way for readers to know about an exceptional book. We indie authors love to receive reviews and appreciate the efforts of readers to do them. Once again, I thank you for your kind support of me and my books and for supporting my fellow authors too.

When I wrote these reviews I rated them on Amazon, Goodreads and sometimes Barnes & Noble. I did not include the ratings here though. It is best to share my thoughts with you about how I felt about the book without the rating. Ratings can be deceiving at times.

We all feel differently about books. Sometimes we love them, sometimes we like them and still other times we may dislike a book. Some others are so memorable they take our breaths away! While others are sweet, sensitive and enjoyable reads that we soon will forget. But all of these books I have reviewed were lovely reads as you can see from my reviews. I hope you enjoy my reviews and that they help you decide if you would like to read these books.

An epic story before WWII depicting the lives of inhabitants of a German town specifically centering on two particular children – a talented blind girl hiding away and a boy who is an electrical engineer genius working for Hitler’s network.

The author uses these two characters to build his story and fills it in with what is happening around them. The story can be confusing at times with the timeline jumping around between the two but is eloquently told through what the blind girl, Marie-Laure, and the boy genius, Werner Pfennig, are feeling and how they are dealing with their particular circumstances. They eventually cross paths creating a cataclysmic connection.

There is much detail with mollusks and other shells as Marie-Laure becomes entranced with them after being introduced by her great uncle, Etienne, when she goes to live with him after her father disappears one night while on a mission against Hitler. Marie-Laure demonstrates her courage in unthinkable times and her resilience to persevere.

It is a mesmerizing and unforgettable tale that will capture one’s imagination and heart. There is also a short story afterward that was quite intriguing.

I highly recommend this story to all who love historical novels. It is no wonder that this book won the Pulitzer Prize.

This Place of Wonder is exasperating but I still gave it five stars. I enjoyed the story but wanted the women in this tale to be stronger and band against this philandering father/husband/lover.

No matter what Augustus did they all idolized him. What? He cheated on three wives and abandoned his one child to marry another woman, Meadow, leaving his daughter, Maya, with her alcoholic mother. I kept waiting for all the women in this story to come to their senses and realize what a cad Augustus really was and get on with their lives without him. I guess the author was trying to give us a view of how a dysfunctional man lived and loved.

It was entertaining just the same even with what was lacking in the characters.

The Memory Box is a beautiful story of love, heartache, and loss. Jenny Tanner is a centenarian, having lived 100 years even though she was afflicted with polio when she was a child. She has lived a life of strife and suffered such heartbreaking loss that she is compelled to return to Italy where she wants to put this loss to rest before she dies.

Jenny lives at an upscale senior care facility where she has a caregiver, Candace Barnes, to whom she becomes attached. She sees herself in Candace and strives to help this young woman get her life together. She invites Candace to travel with her to Italy where they can both find peace and resolution.

The story travels between Jenny’s life being told to Candace in spurts between what Candace is going through with a dysfunctional and abusive boyfriend. This reader became frustrated with Candace and how thick-headed she was toward her boyfriend, Beau, forever forgiving his deceits and controlling nature.

The tale comes together at the end in Italy, Candace blossoming away from Beau and Jenny finding peace at last with a couple of surprises.

A lovely and memorable story that I highly recommend!

A deep and touching drama of a family in chaos, uncommunicative and at a loss to what went wrong. Secrets are prevalent causing trouble as they are uncovered, threatening to tear a family apart even more than they already are.

The characters are drawn with flaws that are believable and heart-wrenching. The main characters, Dr. Royce Keller and his wife, Vanessa, are torn apart after a horrendous accident that puts their daughter in the ER where Royce works. Unbelievable heartache occurs when Royce realizes it is his daughter and tries to save her life. The troubles begin here and threaten to destroy the whole family.

The story deals with feelings and interactions of the family to what has transpired. They must work together to understand what has happened and how to go on as a family.

This was an enjoyable but heartbreaking story of loss, love and conflict resolutions.

I’ve read a few of Lee Child’s books and enjoyed some more than others. The more I read them the more they seem too much alike in that Jack Reacher is always pulled in to work on a case for the army but never treated well or thanked for his work in solving the cases. Why does he keep accepting more cases?

This was the least enjoyable of all the ones I have read thus far. I couldn’t wait for it to end. Sorry Mr. Child. It was well written and therefore deserved four stars. I only read these books because my husband requested that I purchase them for him. They are on my TBR list so I read them hoping that I will see something that others see in his work.

I am sure that others will enjoy these books. Don’t let this discourage you. I prefer other genres and mixing up my choices. These books are too much of the same thing each time. However, I do like the Jack Reacher Series on TV.

The Hallows was an intriguing mystery filled with angst and troubled characters who would go to any lengths to keep their secrets.

The main character,Tatum Graham, who lived in Miami as a big city lawyer who never lost a case. His latest case turns sour when he discovers that his client is really guilty after he wins the case for him. He returns home to his small town life to find himself.

What he finds there is not what he expected. He gets a job from the girl he left behind who is the district attorney in this small town. She entrusts him with a rape and murder case that she believes only he can solve.

There’s much back and forth between the many suspects who all have a reason or appear to have committed the heinous crime. During all this Tatum discovers that his father has cancer and is at death’s door. Feelings of neglect smother him and he tries to make amends with his dad.

There’s a little love interest that is bubbling but not too prominent between Tatum and his former girlfriend, interesting courtroom scenes and dialogue, and an ending that satisfied this reader.

This is the first book I’ve read by Victor Methos but it won’t be the last. Well written and enjoyable mystery!

Thank you so much for stopping by to read this post. Feel free to come back any time. Thank you for all the reviews you post wherever you purchase my books. I am grateful!

Blessings & Hugs! Stay Safe, Stay Well and God Bless!


Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina

Award-Winning Author

Jemsbooks for All Ages!







About jjspina

Janice is an multi-award-winning author with 41 books: 20 children's books for PS-Gr 4, 12 middle-grade/preteen, two young adult books, written under Janice Spina, and 6 novels, and a short story collection written under J.E. Spina. She is also a writer of poetry, blogger, avid reader, reviewer and a copy editor. Janice has always loved writing and started very young writing poetry, then stories. Her books have received 33 Book Awards and a few finalists awards. All Janice's books are available on, Kindle, B&N and other online book sites. One of her sports' poems was published in The Lawrence Eagle Tribune in October of 2008. She is currently working on book 3 of a YA fantasy series an and book 2 in an angel series. There will be six books in all in this series. She hopes to work on a series of four books in a crime/mystery genre that will be offsprings of her thriller, Hunting Mariah. There are books in the works about a dog for ages YA. Her hobbies are crocheting, sewing, walking to keep fit, hula hooping, tap dancing, going to the movies with her husband, and spending time with her five grandchildren. Janice loves to hear from readers and appreciates reviews. Sign up on her blog for a copy of her newsletters under Contact Me. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband who is her illustrator and cover creator.
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25 Responses to Books Read and Reviewed in January 2023!

  1. Jan Sikes says:

    A fantastic selection of books, Janice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on them. Several intrigues me. I’ve read and loved Staci Troilo’s ‘Type and Cross.’ I can easily add my recommendation for that one. Congratulations to the authors!

  2. Wonderful reviews. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  3. noelleg44 says:

    These all sound wonderful, Janice. I do like the Jack Reacher books, but I need a long break between them. Time for another one. I am currently reading an anthology by Anthony Doerr called, not surprisingly, Sea Shells. I’ve read Cloud Cokoo Land as well, a challenging book but very interesting. His mind goes from one interest to another but there is always a link.

  4. Mae Clair says:

    These all sound interesting, Janice. I have read Type and Cross by Staci Troilo, and that one really lingered with me long after I had closed the book. Such a strong character-driven story!

  5. Great reviews, Janice. I loved Type and Cross by Staci Troilo. I find Victor Methos’s books a mixed bag. Some blew me away while others need serious editing and proofreading. I’ll check out the other reads you’ve mentioned. Thanks for sharing 💕🙂

  6. Staci Troilo says:

    I was tickled to come across this review, Janice, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here and including me along with these talented authors.

  7. Beem Weeks says:

    A fine collection of reviews, Janice. I’m a fan of Staci’s work. It’s wonderful to find her book here.

  8. A nice selection, Janice. You’ve been reading up a storm. My husband would go for Lee Child since he’s a Reacher fan, but I was particularly interested in Staci’s book – one I haven’t read yet! Thanks for the reviews.

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