Book Review – Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge

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“When life gives you lemons … be sure to spit the pits out of that lemonade you’re making. Otherwise you’ll choke.” – Curt Savage


The past year has not been a good one for Curt Savage. Depressed over the death of a loved one, he’s gone into hiding, becoming entirely too comfortable with saying that he’s in the Witness Protection Program. But the urge to find that elusive killer puts his MIA status on hold. With the help of his new buddy Mike, he delves into the murky world of tracking down a killer — and uncovering who poisoned a neighbor’s dog. 

SAVAGE SUMMER is the first in the Curt Savage mystery series. Going from former cop to private dick, he represents a new kind of detective—the reluctant kind. As his best bud Mike puts it, “Private investigation just got Savage.”

Buy at :  Amazon

Review : 

Savage Summer is a fast paced mystery/thriller, so interesting that I finished it in a single sitting.

The author has created great characters. I liked that there are only a few characters in this book and that each one has been developed really well. There isn’t a single character that I didn’t identify with at some point or other.

All good thrillers guarantee fast-paced, nerve-racking moments and this is no exception. Add to it Curt Savages satiric sense of humor and you have a perfect summer read.

The only disappointment (and it’s a huge one) I had from the book is the absence of a sense of closure. Now I understand that this is just the first novel in a series and the BIG reveal about who killed Savage’s girl would be solved only at the end. However, I’d have liked to see some resolution to the night-prowler case. Three mysteries have been touched upon in this novel and not a single one of them have been solved. If I’d known this previously, I’d have picked this up to read only after all books were released!

 

Excerpt :

The phone jarred me out of the fantasy. I awoke suddenly, shielding the light that assaulted my eyes. The odor of Ruthie’s perfume was everywhere.

“Ruth?” I called out. Disoriented, I reached out to her side of the bed, expecting her to be there. It took me several more seconds to realize that she was dead.

“Hello,” I started. The gravel in my throat demanded that I clear it once or twice.

“I’m responding to the ad about Ruth Warwick’s murder.”

Those words officially woke me up. More effective than any cup of coffee, the voice synthesizer disguised the caller’s identity, but the point was that someone had finally phoned. Ever since I’d been dispensed with as a suspect, I’d placed small pennysaver ads in papers published in both Pennsylvania and Ruthie’s home state of Connecticut. Somebody knew something, but I hoped this wasn’t some clown trying to get the reward money from punking my ass.

“Yes, go ahead. I’m listening,” I replied as I ran for a pen and paper. I wanted to be ready, but all I heard was static and heavy breathing. I guessed that it was “all about the money” time. In a second, they’d be asking for the details of how to collect. I figured I’d beat them to that particular punch. “Look, if you’re worried about the reward, the $10,000 will be released when it leads to the arrest of the person, or persons, responsible.”

“I don’t care about the money. There are bigger things going on.”

“What? What do you mean? What things?”

“In due time, Savage.”

“You know my name? How—“

“Inconsequential, don’t you think? Right now, all I can say is this—Ruth was having an affair.”

The click of the receiver on the other end told me the call was concluded. Shocked by the accusation, I stared at the phone, still in my hand. In a million years, I’d never expected a call like that. I collapsed in a chair, trying to think things through. I concluded it had to be a joke perpetrated by someone that thought I hadn’t suffered enough. I slammed the phone back into its stand and took my shower. My stomach was in knots. I was upset that someone was trying to put things in my head about the woman I still loved.

 

Author – Ruth Bainbridge

Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

SAVAGE SUMMER is Ms. Bainbridge’s debut novel. It introduces Curtis Owen Savage into the world of ink and fury. Savage is engaged and about to be married when the brutal murder of his fiancée sends the world crashing down around him. Depressed, he isolates himself to better deal with the pain, but his beloved Ruthie won’t leave him alone. Haunting him with her presence, he becomes obsessed with finding her killer, and making him pay for taking her away.

With the help of a quirky friend and an old colleague, he takes his first steps, but the poisoning of a next door neighbor’s dog lands him his first case—and into a new profession. Hired as a private detective, he navigates through a complex series of clues to discover why someone attempted to kill the black Pomeranian. In the midst of trying to track down the motive, he receives his first anonymous phone call from a phantom who insists he knows secrets about his fiancé’s death. Dubbing the caller Dr. Shadows, the tidbits scattered become the breadcrumbs that lead Savage down a dark rabbit hole that was never meant to be discovered.

Her next planned project is MURDER MOST FOWL. Alex “Trout” Matthews, is a former NYC detective. Now retired, he moves to the town of PortsmithIdaho so he can focus on his one passion—fishing. But as Ruth puts it, “Murder rarely leaves an inquisitive mind alone for long.” He soon finds himself pulled back in the stream of things and knee-deep in mystery.

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Book Review : Winter’s Embrace by Kathleen Ball

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WintersEmbrace
Blurb:

 

Ten years ago Winter’s heart was broken beyond repair by Stone McCoy. Now she is a travel agent ready to lead an Alaskan Cruise and to her surprise Stone McCoy is on her tour.  A long ago phone call shattered her trust and her self-confidence. She never planned to see Stone again.
While at college, Stone McCoy woke up, after a fraternity party, to find a girl in his bed. Weeks later she told him she’s pregnant. Calling Winter to break things off was the worst night of his life. Now he’s hoping for a second chance at happiness.
The chemistry is electrifying but old issues lead these two on a merry chase. Can they put old hurts aside and begin again? Join Rancher Stone McCoy and Winter Gavin as they try to find happiness from Alaska to Texas and finally on his Montana Ranch.
Ten years ago Rancher Stone McCoy broke Winter Gavin’s heart. Now he turns up hoping for another chance. Will one too many surprises shy Winter away?

 

 

Review:

 

Oh the excitement of a western romance! The sexy cowboys and the innocent, lovable yet fiery heroines? What’s not to love, right? Right! Kathleen Ball captures the very essence of a second-chance western romance with Winter’s embrace.
All the character’s are well-rounded and nicely developed not only the main leads. I was rooting for Winter and Stone all the way and hoped they would look past their stubbornness about having ‘ the talk ‘ and finally realize how much they loved each other. Rachel was like the BEST daughter anyone could ever get! She was so cute and lovable! I normally like a closure to the story and hate open-ended ones but I loved this one mainly because there is a sense of closure, of finality even though the story has been left open. I did notice few typos here and there and that may have dampened the otherwise 5 starts experience a little. Ball has a very distinct writing style and it comes across in this attempt. I would give this 4 stars and I’m sure to recommend this western romance to everybody.
Excerpt:  

Snow, glistening snow, blinding snow, blizzard, or flurries; Winter didn’t care. It was still cold and in abundance. It’d been a long week since Christmas and Stone hadn’t given her one kind word. He acted as though he was mad at the world and every time she tried to talk to him, he’d invent a reason why it wasn’t a good time to talk. Perhaps it was payback for her refusal to talk things out with him before Christmas. It hurt that he didn’t completely trust her with Rachael anymore, for whatever reason.

It was time to move into the foreman’s house, her house. It was for the best. All the tension between her and Stone wasn’t good for Rachael and maybe it would improve his disposition.

Reluctantly she turned away from the window when she heard Stone clear his throat. Why did he still have to be so damn sexy? “I was just about to pack.”

“Where is Rachael?” Stone stared at her intently, making her uncomfortable.

“Building a snowman with Crabby. You do know he’s anything but crabby don’t you?”

Stone gave her a boyish grin. “That’s the fun of it. Besides he likes his name.”

“I’ll go out and help them. I wasn’t sure if she was allowed to be alone with Crabby, but he insisted that it was fine. I should have asked you but—”

“It’s fine, Winter.” He walked toward her slowly, leaving her nowhere to run.

“All the same, I think—”

“That’s the problem. You think too much. I want you to smile, and I want to see your beautiful eyes light up when you see me. You don’t do that anymore.”

“What? You hardly have time to say hello to me. Why should I smile at you? I don’t understand why you would say it’s fine. Nothing is fine around here. You don’t trust me with Rachael—”

“I’m sorry about that whole conversation. I was in a mood and I didn’t mean it.”

“Well, thank you for that.”

He reached for her hand. “That’s it? The coldness in your voice surprises me. You know I love you.”

Pulling her hand away, she shook her head. “My coldness surprises you? You haven’t talked to me in a week and I don’t know what to think.”

“You’re just running away from me, from us. How can you not know that I love you?”

Her jaw dropped and she instantly closed it. “Love isn’t just words, it’s actions, too. If you’ll excuse me I want to make sure Rachael is warm enough.”

Stone frowned as she scooted around him.

She didn’t know what to say. Thinking too much? He wasn’t trying to understand her at all. She started to put on her boots when the door opened, letting in a blast of winter cold. There stood Rachael, her cheeks apple red and her clothes caked with snow.

“Oh my, did Crabby make you into a snowman?”

“The bad snow did this.” Rachael laughed.

“Here, let me help you.” Winter closed the door and started with Rachael’s snow stiffened hat. It took a while as she worked her way downward until finally Rachael’s frozen socks were off. She ushered her daughter toward the fireplace.

“Sit here and I’ll make you some hot chocolate.”

Rachael sat in the big chair by the fireplace and smiled when Winter put a quilt over her. “I like hot chocolate and pie.”

“Me too, with pie.” Stone grinned at the two of them.

“Well I guess I can make some for you too.” Winter walked toward the kitchen. Damn her traitorous heart. She longed for that man, but every time she saw him was one more lash against her heart. A reluctant apology and declaration of love didn’t erase his behavior

toward her all week. Trust wasn’t just telling the truth, it was being able to know that every argument wasn’t Armageddon.

She searched the cabinets and couldn’t find the hot chocolate. “I don’t see the mix for the hot cocoa.”

Rachael rolled her eyes and laughed. “You scratch it with milk.”

“Here, let me help you.” Stone stood at her side before she had a chance to respond. He reached around her, trapping her against the counter. He gave her a long look, swooped down, and kissed her.

Winter tried to jump back but there was no place for her to go. He smelled of leather and pine. He smelled of horses and pure, white snow. His full lips looked inviting and before she knew it, she had her tongue in his mouth, exploring it, and enjoying it too much. Pushing against his chest, she broke the kiss.

Her body trembled and when she looked up at him, he gave her a sexy, knowing smile. Her body betrayed her and she knew the sooner she got out of this house the better. Most of all she needed to get a hold of herself.

Stone stepped back a bit, though not far enough and she could feel his heat wash over her, but she tried to pretend he had no effect. “How…how do you make it? Milk of course but what else?”

Watching, she tried to concentrate on what Stone was teaching her, but she couldn’t focus. The tingling of her body put her on high alert.

“I’m going to move into the other house today.”

Stone stopped stirring the milk. He frowned and opened his mouth as if to say something. Instead, he closed it and shrugged. He poured the hot chocolate into mugs and left hers on the counter.

Meet The Author:
KathleenBall

Sexy Cowboys and the women that love them…Finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards. Top pick, 5 star series from the Romance Review. Kathleen Ball writes contemporary western romance with great emotion and memorable characters. Her books are award winners and have appeared on best sellers lists including Amazon’s Best Sellers List. There’s something about a cowboy.

Dawson Ranch Series— Alice’s Story, Texas Haven, Ryelee’s Cowboy
Lasso Springs Series- – Callie’s Heart, Lone Star Joy and Stetson’s Storm
Cowboy Season’s Series — Summer’s Desire, Autumn’s Hope, Winter’s Embrace

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Twitter: @kballauthor

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