Category Archives: Book Reviews

Amy Caudill’s Reviews > Real Murders

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden #1) 
by Charlaine Harris (Goodreads Author)


Amy Caudill‘s review

Aurora “Roe” Teagarden lives a seemingly ordinary small-town life. Beneath her pleasant appearance and demeanor, though, she harbors Nancy Drew-like instincts and a nose for trouble.
Roe possesses a passion for real-crime stories, which she shares with a small local club called Real Murders. The group meets regularly to discuss historical murders- the weapons, the suspects, the victims, the motives- and dissect every detail, sometimes sharing an original theory or two. So naturally, when one of their own is found dead at the meeting hall, it doesn’t take long to recognize the act as an imitation of another crime, or wonder which of them could have something to hide.
This was the first of Charlaine Harris’ books that I’ve read, and I enjoyed it very much. The plot proceeded in a organic fashion, and seemed to grow so that the smallest seemingly insignificant detail was shown to hold meaning by the end of the book.
I decided to also watch the Hallmark movie channel movie based on this book, and thought the contrast between book and cable-ready movie was fascinating. Naturally there were changes, most of which seemed to be “taming down” the book’s action to a more family friendly episode, as the villains in the novel were far more insidious than those presented on the small screen.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, or simply anyone enamored by a strong, independent heroine.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews > Bones of the Lost Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs

Bones of  the Lost by Kathy Reichs

Bones of the Lost (Temperance Brennan #16) 
by Kathy Reichs (Goodreads Author)


Amy Caudill‘s review
Jul 25, 2017  
Kathy Reichs is not a paranormal writer, but the dead speak to her anyway. Both Reichs, and her main character, Dr. Temperance Brennan, are forensic anthropologists who examine the remains of unexplained deaths and allow the bones of these bodies to tell their story.
In the 16th installment of Reichs’ series, Bones of the Lost, Brennan is assigned to examine the remnants of a set of mummified dogs that have been smuggled from Peru, and sent to the Charlotte-Mecklenberg coroner’s office in North Carolina for examination and confirmation. At the same time, the remains of a young, unidentified hit-and-run victim are brought in. Little does Brennan expect at the time, but these two cases will prove to be linked in a story that takes her from North Carolina to Afghanistan and back.
Brennan becomes the victim of a vicious, mysterious attacker as she uncovers evidence of murder, prostitution, and human trafficking. She faces danger head on, with the support of Detective Slidell, and her ex-husband Pete, who may or may not be interested in competing for her affections against off-again ex-lover Ryan.
Brennan is deeply passionate about both the victims she examines and those she may be able to help prevent landing on her morgue table. Reichs’ story touches a number of current social issues, from the war and gender discrimination in Afghanistan, to the rise in human trafficking, complete with relevant data and figures. Reichs’ true-life experiences with the subject matter show vividly in this compelling story that was difficult to put down until I’d reached the end.

Bonus Post: Apprentice in Death

Amy Caudill’s Reviews >

Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb
Apprentice in Death (In Death, #43)
by J.D. Robb (Goodreads Author)


May 08, 2017  · 
Amy Caudill‘s review

Apprentice in Death shows J.D Robb’s heroine Eve Dallas at her very best-completely focused on taking down a pair of killers, and doing so before they kill again. This latest installment of the “in Death” series features the NYPSD lieutenant from the 23rd century tracking a vengeance-minded duo of father and daughter on a murder spree, equipped with sniper rifles and deadly skill. The father is a former police officer, and his accomplice, a fifteen-year-old shooting champion, becomes “his hands and his eyes” to take out any who have offended the pair, and anyone else who gets in the way. The drama escalates as the pair attack very public venues such as Times Square and a sold-out concert, forcing Dallas to feed information to the media as a distraction while she once again puts herself into the mind of the killers. Dallas combines intuition and hard work with high-tech gadgetry, in defense of her beloved city, and to see justice for the victims. I think this book would appeal to anyone who likes science fiction, police dramas, or who is a fan of strong, independent, female characters.

Book Review: Housekeeping

Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson,
a GoodReads review by Amy Caudill
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
This beautiful story contains something for most any reader-from angst and tragedy, to sweeping descriptions of nature, to encounters with the spiritual world, to triumph over adversity. Ruth Stone, the main character in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, has hardly had an easy childhood. Ruth and her sister have been raised by a single mother who abandoned them to a previously unknown grandmother before committing suicide. They are then witnesses to the grandmother’s death, and forced to struggle with incompetent guardians. Bereft of parents and companionship save for her sister and her absent-minded aunt, Ruth looks to nature for solace as she mourns, especially the lake surrounding her small community. Ruth’s childhood is torn apart by death, and with this loss of innocence Ruth becomes a new person; one who is very aware of death. Robinson uses the change of the seasons and the states of the lake as a metaphor for Ruth’s personal, and for more universal, visions of death and rebirth.
This often heart-breaking story is told from Ruth’s point of view as she attempts to make sense of the world around her, and find her place in it. How she eventually comes to terms with her unhappy childhood and finds a new destiny away from everything she has previously known is a story of triumph, and sorrow, hope and inevitability. Ruth comes to acknowledge the cycle of life and death, as illustrated by the ever-present lake surrounding her home, and emerges from the tragedy as a new person, replete in knowledge, and ready to begin a new life.

Book Review: Lust, Money &Murder

Amy Caudill’s Reviews > Lust

Lust by Mike Wells
Lust (Lust, Money & Murder, #1)
by Mike Wells (Goodreads Author)


Amy Caudill‘s review

Oct 25, 2016  ·  edit
really liked it
Read from August 12 to October 25, 2016

This book takes the reader on a world tour of adventure, angst, and betrayal. Elaine is a brilliant, talented young woman who devotes her life to extracting revenge for her father, who sacrificed his life to give her a better one. Her plans lead her through the Secret Service training ground, where she makes a valuable contact in the Treasury Department. This contact may be her salvation when her new posting in Bulgaria brings her into contact with a treasonous agent who toys with her affections and draws her into his schemes. The story, part of a series, ends on a big cliffhanger.
I found myself drawn into the story quickly as this young woman, overcomes one obstacle after another in her quest for revenge, success, and love. I would recommend this book, and this series, to anyone who enjoys reading of strong heroines and intrigue.

Book Review for Warlock Holmes-A Study in Brimstone

Warlock Holmes - A Study in Brimstone by G.S. Denning

Warlock Holmes – A Study in Brimstone
by G.S. Denning

Amy Caudill‘s review

Aug 07, 2016  ·  edit

Old fans and new of the famous detective can enjoy this surprisingly refreshing spoof of classic Sherlock Holmes stories. Denning takes the iconic characters and places them in an entirely new context-what if Watson was the deductive genius? What if Sherlock was actually a possessed by not one, but multiple demons? What if, instead of murderers, the duo actually hunted supernatural villains? With every new story in this page-turner, more surprising secrets are revealed, right up until the dramatic climax. Denning’s characterizations of Watson, Holmes, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and the rest are as brilliant as they are hilarious. I can’t wait for the sequel!

Book Review-From New York to Dallas

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is on the trail of an escaped serial killer with whom she has a history. She follows him from New York city to Dallas, Texas, her husband Roarke at her side. Not only does she confront the murderer, but also his mentor, her own long-lost mother. In my opinion this is one of the best books of the “In Death” series by Nora Roberts under the pen name J.D. Robb. Roberts fills in the blanks about Eve’s angst-filled backstory, while at the same time delivering a wonderful tale of triumph over adversity with plenty of action and a juicy mystery. What could be better!