#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 Comments

  1. Yep, that’s the crux of the problem … not buying more books! I’m not sure that’s physically possible 😂
    Great reviews, Jacquie. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My greatest pleasure is a bookstore, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great reviews, Jacquie! Oh no…I have a weakness for craft books! I wasn’t familiar with this one. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a new release, Jill. Excellent resource

      Like

  3. Joan Hall says:

    I had to laugh at your statement about Mt. Everest. My reading list is like that too. 🙂

    Great reviews, Jacquie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s a plot against us. They keep coming out with great books!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mae Clair says:

    That’s an eclectic mix of books, Jacquie. All good reviews.
    And I can so related to the TBR problem. For every book I finish reading it seems I buy three more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just finished my first Pendergast last night ( thanks for putting me onto another great series! Lol) and bought two more 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mae Clair says:

        Ooooh, I’m so excited. Another convert, LOL. Which book did you finish?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Crooked River. Have you read it? I did NOT see that ending coming!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Mae Clair says:

            A good one! Yes, I’m read it. Loved it, but then I’ve read them all, LOL. I’m so glad you’ve discovered Pendergast!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Staci Troilo says:

    Wow. You’re a reading machine. I should pay you to go through my Kindle. I think it’s about to burst, and I just keep adding to it. Fabulous reviews, Jacquie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read two and add three more, lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Staci Troilo says:

        That’s my problem, too. I’ll never catch up.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Kymber says:

    I have yet to climb Mt. Everest, too. lol I really enjoyed your reviews and can see my mountain getting ever higher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We can climb together 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kymber says:

        Sounds like a plan! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What a list! I have to say–and it won’t surprise you–I was pulled in to the Dolan girls’ story. 1880 is one of my favorite time periods in the old west.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nope, I’m not surprised 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    2. srmallery says:

      Thanks, Jacquie Murray. I had SUCH a good time researching this two book series!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great reviews, Jacquie.I agree completely, my Kindle is chalk full of waiting to be read books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so hard to resist them! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. Now to create more time in the day. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m carving out chunks here and there. A little less social media, a little less writing. I’m happier for it.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    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

    1. Lol, it’s a never ending battle 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Gwen M. Plano says:

    Wonderful reviews, Jacquie. Thank you for sharing. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gwen ((hugs))

      Like

  11. petespringerauthor says:

    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

    1. Lol, that’s true 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. srmallery says:

    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

  13. Teri Polen says:

    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

    1. That was the case here, too, Teri. It’s kind of scary how many plants can kill, lol.
      I have the same problem on WordPress. I’m always refollowing blogs I already stalked!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. These books all sound very good, Jacquie. The Dolan Girls attracts me the most, but it does sound rather sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life wasn’t easy for single women in those days. Sarah did a wonderful job creating these characters.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It still isn’t easy for single women or men. A lot of socialising in life is done in pairs and single people seem to be on the fringes. That is how it is in my world anyway. It may be different in other countries.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. No, it’s the same here. If you don’t meet someone early on, it’s hard unless you’re into the bar scene or dating apps- and can you really trust either of those?

          Like

    2. srmallery says:

      Thanks for your interest. The beginning is sad, but I PROMISE you, there’s a very happy ending!! With TWO romances…lol

      Liked by 1 person

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