book reviews

4 Great Books from Indie Authors

My writing PLN (professional Learning Network) pretty much revolves around blogs and the authors who share their insights and advice through the online blogs. When I have a question, I often go there first, before digging through my shelves of self-help writing books. Along the way, I’ve read many of their books. Here, I want to share those that I’ve particularly enjoy and think you might too.

  • Moonless — a 1700’s girl becomes beautiful overnight, falls in love, and finds nothing she thought she knew was true
  • Mornings in Two Pan — the humorous, sometimes droll story of life lived in the slow lane
  • Serenity Stalked — Shelby Alexander returns, this time to stop a serial killer who’s stalking Serenity, MI
  • Social Engineera black hat social engineering how-to shared in an interesting geeky plot



by Crystal Collier

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though set in the 1700s, lots of women will relate to the heroine of Moonless (Raybourne Publishing 2014), Alexa. Considered unattractive by her parents, she is worried about being snubbed by her peers when she finally is presented as an adult to the elite, privileged, pampered, noble society in which she was raised. What ugly duckling girl with legs too skinny and chest too flat can’t relate to Alexa’s worries. But overnight, something happens and Alexia becomes the image of beauty, envied by women and sought by men. As she comes to terms with her new appearance, she meets a blue-eyed stranger who seems to understand her better than most of the boys in her peer group. She falls hard for him, but he disappears. When she tries to find him, she ends up in a world she doesn’t understand with beings that don’t make sense. It becomes evident that what she has become is both frightening and exciting–and the only world where she can be with this man she can’t forget.

Collier creates an intricate and fascinating supernatural world, one with plenty of surprises that kept me turning the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed joining Alexia as she struggled to understand her new world.

By the way: The tagline reads, “Jane Eyre meets supernatural”. Most of the time, I’m underwhelmed when books compare themselves to classics. This time, it was spot on.

Mornings in Two Pan (Two Pan Series Book 1)

Mornings in Two Pan

by Barbara K. Froman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the folksy, down-home, sometimes humorous story of a farming family that finds a skull while fixing their fence. The question becomes, what to do about it in this small town that is chock full of family secrets that many think should never be told.

This is the first of three in the Two Pan series. It includes lots of down-home how-tos that will warm your heart and make you wish for the good old days.

Serenity Stalked (The Shelby Alexander Thriller Series Book 2)Serenity Stalked

by Craig A. Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Serenity Stalked (Sweatshoppe Publications 2017) is the second in Craig Hart’s Shelby Alexander series (here’s my review of Book One). Shelby is a retired former boxer who now earns his money ‘fixing’ problems for people in the small rural town of Serenity Michigan. As he creates a new life for himself after a divorce and tries to develop a relationship with his adult daughter, he also finds he is pretty good at solving crimes. In this story, a serial killer has settled in Serenity and chooses as an early victim the married ex-boyfriend of Shelby’s girlfriend. The town sheriff — no friend of Shelby’s — is happy to pin the murder on Shelby, considering him the jealous new boyfriend. Shelby scoffs at that until the murder weapon shows up hidden on his property. Things go from bad to worse when the murderer picks his new victim, this one closer to Shelby’s heart.

What makes this more than a traditional murder mystery is the main character, Shelby Alexander. He’s older, calmly confident that he knows who he is, and doesn’t rattle easily (or at all). This is a man I could enjoy being around.

Overall, a wonderful read, cleverly plotted, with just enough tension that I couldn’t stop reading. Keep it up, Craig Hart!

Social Engineer (Brody Taylor Thrillers, #1)Social Engineer

by Ian Sutherland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story is right up my interest alley. It takes readers well beyond black hat hacking to how these criminals use what is called ‘social engineering’–digging into people’s lives to uncover detail to enable them to break into even the most secure computer systems. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of pentests–using ethical hackers to show corporations where the vulnerabilities in their networks are.

For those who aren’t geeky nerds (like me), the author walks that line well. You will be wrapped up by the plot and the surprise ending.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy and To Hunt a Sub, her debut fiction. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her nonfiction books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


35 thoughts on “4 Great Books from Indie Authors

  1. Another interesting mix of excellent book reviews, Jacqui! The tag line in ‘Moonless’ would definitely made me wary so good to know it lived up to its promise – like you say being compared to the classic rarely stand up in reality!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice mix of books here, Jacqui. Mornings in Two Pan sounds like a lot of fun. I can see enjoying that book. And Social Engineer is interesting. I like the whole cyber-world science since it seems to be more and more part of our daily lives. My TBR pile just got bigger. Again! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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