#BookReview- Entertaining #Reads from Mysteries to #WritingTips @authorkkhavari @SarahMallery1 @shirleyjump

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My reading list is like climbing Mt. Everest, but I’m making some progress- IF I quit buying books, that is! lol

This week I have a murder mystery involving poisonous plants, a western filled with outlaws and Annie Oakley, and a wonderful book on writing.

Let’s get started:

Click on the covers to learn more about each title.

Saffron Everleigh is in a race against time to free her wrongly accused professor before he goes behind bars forever. Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Anna Lee Huber, Kate Khavari’s debut historical mystery is a fast paced, fearless adventure.

My Review

Saffron Everleigh has dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps as a professor, but in the 1920’s it’s a battle as a woman to be taken seriously. Even her mentor, a man she great admired and trusted, treated her more as a research assistant than peer.

Knowing she must socialize with the university’s alumni if she wants to get anywhere, Saffron agrees to accompany Botany Professor Maxwell to a soiree and looks forward to conversing about the upcoming expedition to the Amazon jungle.

Soon after she meets Alexander Ashton, part of the big voyage, in an embarrassing encounter involving a dark corner, one of the wives attending the reception falls prey to a near-fatal poisoning from an unknown toxin.

As the evidence grows against Dr. Maxwell, Saffron takes matters into her own hands to clear her dear friend with Alex’s help.

This is a slow burn mystery with interesting botany factoids and enough red herrings to keep a reader guessing not only who did it, but why.

A Heartwarming, Rip Roaring Western Romance

>>>It’s 1800 Old Nebraska, where whorehouse madams, ladies of the night, a schoolmarm, a Pinkerton detective, a Shakespeare-quoting old coot, brutal outlaws, and a horse-wrangler come to life. Added to the mix are adult themes and a colorful land rush, Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley, bank/train robberies, small town local politics, and of course––ROMANCE.

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My Review

The Dolan family leave Ireland in the 1880’s for America and a better life, but the gold rush is on and a desperate race for land ends in death leaving the girls to be raised by a spirited madam.

Brothel life is at once eye-opening and reclusive. Madam Ana makes sure Cora and Minnie are sheltered from the men who frequent the business but can’t stop the townspeople from looking down their noses at the soiled doves (and by association, the Dolan girls).

Introverted Cora buries herself in dime novels while Minnie laughs away the hurtful comments. The girls inherit the business upon Ana’s death and must learn to compromise their standards if they wish to succeed.

Cora falls for a handsome young man, Thomas Garrett, and dreams of starting a family until she is savagely raped by his brother. With the town on the warpath, the Garrett brothers must go into hiding, though Thomas has done nothing wrong.

When Cora learns she’s pregnant, it takes Minnie to convince her to keep the child. But the sweet, caring woman Cora was is gone, leaving a cold shell in her place. When her daughter, Ellie, is old enough, she sends her back east to a finishing school, determined she will be a prim and proper lady- unlike the Dolan sisters.

Years later, Ellie returns to teach the local children and falls in love with a horse trainer from Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. A series of events brings the past roaring back and danger returns to the Dolan women.

This is a suspenseful journey through a tumultuous time in American history. Though I sympathized with Cora and the traumatic injuries she sustained, I couldn’t connect with her. She’s damaged and it carries through to the reader (which is a sign of great writing). I wish she hadn’t wasted all those years with her daughter because Ellie is smart, brave, willful- she has the best of her mother and aunt’s traits.

Thoroughly enjoyed this read!

Do you want to write a book?

Or…Do you want to write an un-freaking-believably amazing book that keeps readers up at night? An unforgettable book? A book they recommend to their friends and anyone else who will listen?

Writing Compelling Fiction will teach you how to do just that.

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My Review

Shirley Jump is an award-winning, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author who has published more than 70 books in 24 countries.

She knows how to write compelling fiction. Stories that will make super fans out of readers, and now she’s written a manual so you can be successful, too.

She states:

In a book, the Plot is the foundation and framing.

Writing Compelling Fiction- Shirley Jump

She compares the plot to building a house. You need the foundation to be strong if you don’t want the walls to collapse.

What is your Character’s Worst Nightmare?

Writing Compelling Fiction- Shirley Jump

Dig deep. Look further than the surface. Often this will become the catalyst for the story.

There are many important nuggets of information in this manual. I made notes on nearly every page, lol.

This should be part of your go-to resources- invaluable. A must-buy!

Have you read anything by these authors? What did you think?

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40 Replies to “#BookReview- Entertaining #Reads from Mysteries to #WritingTips @authorkkhavari @SarahMallery1 @shirleyjump”

  1. My reading list is the same. I swear I won’t add to it but…I found just one more here to add to it 🙂 Great reviews, Jacquie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons—a title that gets one’s attention. I see you suffer from the same affliction, Jacquie. Sometimes it seems like it’s two steps forward and then three steps backward. Oh well, there are worse problems in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Much thanks for your lovely review, Jacquie! Very appreciated. And yes, Cora is damaged goods. Having volunteered at a battered women’s shelter years before, I saw just how devastating sexual assaults can be…and how hard it is to shake off. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure. That’s why it made it hard to connect with her, she’s closed herself off from hurt. As I said, a sign of great writing that her personality came through like that. Realistic ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I realized your posts don’t show up in my reader anymore, so I dropped by to check it out. And it shows I’m no longer following your blog – a pox upon WP! Earlier this year I read a book where the MC used poisonous plants and it was fascinating – it was evident the author did her research. Something like that can sure can make for an interesting plot. Awesome reviews, Jacquie!

    Liked by 1 person

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