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Book Review: Wild Revelations (Cold Springs Mystery Book 1) by Sara Caudell

Wild Revelations Cover

About the book:

After ten years of being away from her hometown, Cary returns to find a paralyzed father, dead cattle, legal problems, mustangs and guns.

My review:

Wild Revelations is the story of Cary, a young urban professional, who returns to her roots on a Colorado ranch to check on her father who has suffered a paralyzing stroke under somewhat mysterious circumstances. The author weaves an entertaining web of stolen breeding records, property disputes, unexplained cattle deaths, unbroken horses, and one too many suitors.

The book is well written for the most part, although the editing is a little careless toward the end. The characters are fully drawn so that the reader roots for the good guys and boos the bad ones. The romance is a small but enjoyable part of the story, but the few intimate scenes are a little awkward. Regardless of a few shortcomings, I would recommend Wild Revelations, and I look forward to reading more of Sara Caudell’s work.

About the author:

Sara Caudell Head ShotI grew up in a small ranching community in Colorado where I learned to judge beef on the hoof and under wrap. After moving around the country for my husband’s career and catching college courses as I could, I finally found myself in one place long enough to finish my degree. I was an artist (acrylic), raised three children, managed offices, and started my own genealogy resource business before weaving my stories and experiences into novels. I now live in central Texas with my patient husband and four cats. In my spare time I do genealogy and historical research and nurse orphan kittens back to health for the local animal shelter.

Find Sara on her website and on Twitter 

Buy the book on Amazon 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: A Slim Chance by Elizabeth Harrison

Cover

About the book:

 Four women meet at a Manchester university party in 1975 and become close friends. Over the following thirty years, their lives are shaped by their childhoods, their relationships with men, and the backdrop of rapid changes in society for women.

When one of the four, Linda Hammond, is found dead, suspicion falls on her use of Svelta, a widely prescribed slimming drug linked to numerous deaths. Also in the frame of suspicion is an eminent cardiologist who arranged an illegal abortion for Linda when he was a medical student, the knowledge of which could finish his career.

Concerns about the high number of deaths amongst Svelta users are picked up by two investigative journalists. They uncover the manipulation of the clinical trial data on which the drug was licensed and the readiness of Sipher Pharmaceutical to rebut any concern over the drug’s safety.

Linda’s death dramatically changes all the women’s lives, laying bare deceit, a lack of personal integrity and corporate greed.

My review – 3.5 of 5 stars:

 A Slim Chance by Elizabeth Harrison was an enjoyable story, but it was too much – too many main characters, too many story lines, too many social issues. After the opening scene in which one of the main characters dies, the story flashes back thirty years to when four young women meet. For the next several chapters, the women get to know each other and form lifelong friendships. This part of the story was well done. I had difficulty finding a place to stop and looked forward to returning to my Kindle. As the women left college and entered the real world, however, their lives diverged and so did their stories.

The author dealt with many important women’s issues like abortion, abuse of several kinds, self esteem and body image, and drug addiction to name a few. They also dealt with corporate misconduct, especially in the drug industry. While all of these issues need to be exposed, I felt that since so many were covered in one story, none of them was handled as effectively as they might have been if only one or two had been the focus. There were also several passages, especially those related to the corporate misconduct, where the author’s voice switched from story-telling to lecturing.

I would recommend this book to readers who can focus on the story rather than the short-comings in the telling of it. A strong developmental editor could do a lot to pull A Slim Chance up to a four-star or even a five-star rating.

 About the author:

 HeadShotLiz Buxton and Dee Harrison (Elizabeth Harrison) have been friends since the age of five. From a shared background of school, marriage, children, and then divorce, they have gone on to pursue quite different careers and lifestyles, but have always kept in touch.
Dee has worked in IT and built two successful software companies. Liz has had a freelance career as a Furniture Designer to the manufacturing industry as well as training as a Yachtmaster and living on a sailing boat for five years.

This is their first novel together.

 Buy the book at Amazon 

Book Review: Roachville by Marianne Germain

Roachville Cover

About the book:

Translator Annika Roy is bored with life and just going through the motions when a mysterious artefact comes crashing into her lonely existence, forcing her to interact with the outside world again.

But there’s danger there, and Annika must decide whether to follow the handsome but shady Kenneth Tann on his obsessive quest, or to trust an enigmatic mother-daughter duo and their two aborigine bodyguards.

It’s a journey from the mundane to the weird—on a road with twists, turns, and more than a few bumps.

My review:

Roachville by Marianne Germain grabbed my attention from the beginning and is largely responsible for my antisocial behavior during family gatherings the last few days. This mystery with a touch of the paranormal kept me looking for moments when I could open my Kindle and see what happened next. Annika Roy, the quirky, sarcastic main character and her group of equally fascinating friends added humor, romance, and suspense to this fun read. For my old-fashioned taste, the author could have included less pot and alcohol, but I appreciated her restraint in leaving most of the details of the few intimate moments to my imagination. I would not hesitate to recommend Roachville, and I look forward to more of Ms. Germain’s work.

Marianne Germain Head Shot

About the author:

95% translator, 5% writer, Marianne Germain lives with her partner, their 2 daughters, one dog and a cat, in a small village in the South of France. She likes music, tennis and her electric bike.

Find the author on Facebook and Twitter

Buy Roachville at Amazon 

Blessings,

Linda

Book Review: The Grievance Collectors: A Sip of Death by Karla Hull

Cover A Sip of Death

About the book:

When a lifetime of grievances becomes unbearable, deadly consequences will follow. Revenge, secrets, and meticulously kept journals hold the key to solving the mystery of three unexplained deaths at Harrison University. Were these tragic deaths from natural consequences or is something more sinister lurking in the halls of HU? Dr. Bridget O’Leary, the new Provost at HU, doesn’t believe in coincidences. Although Bridget is tormented by the recent murder of her husband, she will have to put her personal pain aside and grapple with solving this puzzle before she becomes one of the victims.

While the HU campus is still dealing with the mysterious deaths of a student and two professors, an active shooter drill becomes an opportunity for attempted murder. Bridget realizes she will need to add a gun to her administrative toolbox as she works with Hazel Mars, a university police officer, Sam Adams, a city police detective, and Nathan Radford, a troubled student to find the person responsible for terrorizing the campus.

The Grievance Collectors: A Sip of Death is the first book in the series and although it is fiction, it may remind you of events and characters from your own university experience. Every university has its secrets.

My Review:

A Sip of Death by Karla Hull was an entertaining read and a good start to Hull’s venture into publishing. The characters were fairly well developed, and the plot was full of twists and surprises that kept me turning pages. That said, there were several issues that kept this from being a four-star offering. Because the plot was so intricate, the transitions from one thread to the other were not always smooth and were hard to follow. In addition, some sub-plots were introduced and then just disappeared. There were time jumps and point-of-view shifts that were a bit disconcerting, and some of the references to southern culture seemed a bit contrived and didn’t always ring true. Still, the story and writing are strong, and the issues I mentioned could be ironed out with the help of a good developmental editor. I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to mystery fans who don’t demand perfection. I look forward to reading more of Hull’s work in the future.

Author Headshot

About the Author:

Karla Hull is a mystery writer, professor, mother, and avid consumer of mysteries in books and film. She has spent 30 years working with students and faculty in a variety of university settings and incorporates humorous, poignant, and terrifying experiences into her mysteries.

After being an administrator at a university that experienced the murder of a young student, Karla vowed to write a complex mystery series that revealed some of the shadier sides of university life. Her characters operate in a university setting but they have the universal characteristics of greed, anger, revenge, and love that will resonate with with all mystery readers.

Find the author:

Twitter: @karlamhull
Blog: http://www.karlamhull.com

Buy the book at Amazon

Blessings,

Linda

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