“The Slaughterhouse Secrets would be an awesome film!”–Tyan Wyss


A Fast-Paced #YA Fantasy Book From A Very Interesting Minnesota Author –– By Rebecca Flansburg– FRANTIC MOMMY BLOG 

Growing up I loved James Herroit books. Tales of this country vet who roamed the Yorkshire Dales back in the 40’s and 50s, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye made ME want to be a veterinarian when I grew up. But I didn’t follow that passion and often wonder what it would be like if I did. To this day a love of nurturing animals is right up there with my love of books. Imagine how giddy I was when I discovered books from Melissa “M.G.” Nelson. Not only is she a veterinarian, she’s an author….AND a Minnesotan! That’s is the ultimate trifecta of AWESOME in my world.

Her book The Telling Mirror is completely amaze-balls too and super action-packed. A great YA book about a modern day trouble teen who is thrust into a world not unlike Lord of the Rings. Tons of complex characters (but they all made sense) and mind-blowing detail. I have little bookmarks everywhere in this book because the author shares (through her characters) some pretty profound thoughts about fear and even the greed of our modern times. I seriously want to read this book again.   Highly recommend!



Amazon Review for The Telling Mirror

*****5 out of 5 Stars*****

March 12, 2017

A Great Edge of Your Seat YA Book!

This book was simply wonderful! Big action right within the first chapter and it never stopped the rest of the way either. A great YA book about a modern day trouble teen who is thrust into a world not unlike Lord of the Rings. Tons of complex characters (but they all made sense) and mindblowing detail. I have little bookmarks everywhere in this book because the author shares (through her characters) some pretty profound thoughts about fear and even the greed of our modern times. I seriously want to read this book again. :) Highly recommend!

Amazon Review for The Telling Mirror

****4 out of 5 Stars****

by Hillary – February 14, 2017

I really liked this book, I would have given it 5 stars if it hadn't been for the ending... I felt like it left me wondering I hope that their is a second book because then I guess the ending would make more sense. But if there isn't a second book then I feel like the ending was rushed.

(Note from the Author: Yes, there is a second book, and there will also be a third book.)


Reviews for The Telling Mirror

"I was completely hooked. This is a story that has to be given a chance, as I truly enjoyed reading Ms. Nelson's artistic and thrilling work, given the opportunity to vicariously live vividly through the character's amazing adventures." Florentine.

Read the full text at Florentine's site Readiculously Peachy

Blogger Review

"From the first page of this novel, I was completely extracted from reality, plunged into the strange world that M.G. Nelson so tastefully created. Everything fell into place, meeting our protagonist Sig, getting to know her character as a self conscious, misunderstood and rebellious figure, to the bizarre and unknown world she literally falls into. They go through the most unexpected and nail-biting twists and turns, which kept me on the edge of my seat, longing to know what would happen next in the chapters to follow." Florentine Young Adult Lit reviewer at Readiculously Peachy


Goodreads Review 

*****5 out of 5 Stars*****

Spellbinding Coming of Age Fantasy

Review by Loren Lockner

Sig believes she is just the typical misunderstood teenager and one day, after a run-in with her uncle, Sig decides she can’t take it anymore and decides to run away and find her Dad. When the self-centered teen ends up crashing through a portal to another world, she ends up on a breakneck adventure with a cat who suddenly turns into a wily teenager with more than one secret up his paw. Sig discovers she is a Seer and can glimpse the future (and her dad) in the telling mirror. What ensues is a wild ride where she grows up whether she wants to or not. Will Sig find her dad? Will she be able to help defeat the evil Queen Nastella and her equally abhorrent son, Reficul? But most importantly, will the quiet dignity of the snow people of Scandia alter her from the self-absorbed, whiny teen she was before and make her someone worth fighting beside. This is a fine YA book that can be highly recommended. Enjoy!

Review of The Slaughterhouse Secrets by Patrick Clinton of The New Food Economy magazine:

Beach weather is upon us, and (unless you have the misfortune to live in New Jersey, where the governor is responding to a budgetary crisis by, among other things, closing the seashore to everyone but himself and his family) that means it’s time to choose your summer reading.

If you’re passionate about food, that creates some problems. There are cookbooks, of course, and memoirs of gallivanting through Provence fork and spoon in hand. There are dire treatises on the fate of the food system. But if you want something lighter—maybe a thriller set in the dark and mysterious world of USDA meat inspectors?

We’ve got you covered.

Allow me to introduce to you M. G. Nelson, longtime vet and beef cattle farmer in the Upper Midwest, who has branched out into writing and publishing and has just released (via her own fledgling publishing house) the first of a projected series of novels starring Jessica Bergstrom, a doughty, stiff-necked, put-upon veterinarian. Think of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta without the cool clothes, the gourmet Italian food, the helicopters, the high-tech science, and the cool FBI-agent husband. Jessica’s like that.
“You’re looking for anything lame, limping, obvious cancer, lesions on the eyes, different things like that.”
Her first adventure is titled The Slaughterhouse Secrets, and though it’s not going to bump John Grisham off the best-seller list, it’s a nice read, and a good way to get a sense of life in that least-known of American food facilities: the cull slaughterhouse.

“Cull” in the beef business generally refers to dairy cows that have outlived their usefulness and are sent to slaughter. They’re an important part of the beef supply—something like 8 percent of the beef produced in the United States, and a significantly higher percentage of what you find in ground beef of fast-food burgers. But it’s not always a pretty business. Cull cows are often old, often sick. Sometimes they get hauled from auction to auction until they’re bought. Many are malnourished and stressed, often to the point where they’re barely on their feet.

As Nelson explains it, from her own experience as a USDA inspector, the battle to keep sick cows out of the meat supply starts outside the plant, before the animals have been officially accepted.

“A veterinarian has to check every live animal that comes into the plant,” she tells me. “You’re looking for anything lame, limping, obvious cancer, lesions on the eyes and animals that hang back, kind of droopy, different things like that. There’s experience that comes into play if the veterinarian has worked in practice or has a farm background for that matter.”

Animals that can’t move under their own power have become less of a problem for inspectors over the years. “Today, most plants will not even accept downed animals,” Nelson says. “They won’t even bother to bring them into the plant. However, if they’re on the plant property and they’ve been accepted into the pens, the veterinarian has to watch them—if they have to be euthanized, he has to make sure that they don’t get hauled back into the plant later to be slipped in. The plant I worked at, as far as I know, was pretty good about not doing that. Some of the relief vets that would go around to different plants—they would talk about how other plants would fight for every scrap of meat.”

Just as important as saving every scrap is saving every minute. When a vet spots a problem—an animal with obvious tumors, a carcass contaminated with fecal matter—it slows down or sometimes even stops the line, and no owner likes that. Nelson tells stories of being screamed at by plant managers when she (appropriately) condemned a diseased animal. In the setting of the slaughterhouse, where death and knives are all about, confrontations seem to get particularly ugly.

Anyway, the book has that and more: Creepy sexual harassment, wicked bureaucrats, drugs, threats, overwhelming vet-school loans, and, overall, a knowing look at a system that’s stressed to the breaking point. Nelson herself has been out of the USDA system for a decade, but if you read the news, it’s pretty clear that much of what she describes is still going on.

“We like to say inspection is based on science,” says Nelson, “but as I say in the book, a lot of it is politics.”

Read the review at : The New Food Economy


Advanced Reader Review for The Slaughterhouse Secrets:

I am happy to say that this novel, though very realistic and graphic about a meat-packing plant and its Public Health Vet who does the inspections, is informative and thrilling. The highly intelligent main character, Jessica Bergstrom, faces almost insurmountable challenges.

From sexual harassment to undocumented nighttime slaughters of unregulated cattle, she rises to the occasion. Never weak or whiny, she is the epitome of today’s ‘real’ woman who works hard, has a huge college debt, and chooses to be a ‘whistle blower’ because it is the right thing to do.

I loved the character of Jessica who is independent and knowledgeable about her job and believes that the public’s safety is the most important aspect of her job. The novel takes on a ‘thriller’ quality about a third of the way through and I found it so gripping that I couldn’t stop reading.

I could see this making an awesome film with a strong female lead whose moral center makes her take on the ‘big boys’ who only want to turn a quick buck. I loved the twist at the ending which left me shaking my head at the irony of it all. Highly recommended!

Tyan Wyss (

© Melissa G. Nelson 2017  – - website by Joan Holman Productions: