Tuesday, March 31, 2015

THE BISHOP’S WIFE by Mette Ivie Harrison



Publisher:    Soho Crime
Published:   December 30, 2014
ISBN:   978-1616954765
Genre:   Mystery, Suspense
Format:  Hardback
Obtained via:  Library
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com

FIVE HEARTS

Mormon bishop’s wife, Linda Wallheim, is in a way mother of not only her five sons, but all of her husband’s flock.  She is there for births, deaths, marriages and for any that seek her out.  She has one great sorrow in her life, a sorrow that often has her questioning what is to come not in this life, but in the afterlife.  The death of she and husband Kurt’s little girl, a baby who never saw life, weighs heavy on Linda.  For the most part she has been able to contain her own feelings, giving her all to her sons and her husband’s congregation.  And then one day a member of the ward, Jared Helm, comes with his little daughter, Kelly with troubling news—his wife, Carrie, has left them. From the outset Linda feels a connection to little Kelly, more so than any other child.  It is perhaps this connection that sends Linda down a path she never thought she would follow.  It seems Carrie may not have left on her own. 

Is she dead or in hiding? If she is dead, where is her body?  If she is in hiding, where?  And as a mother, most painfully for Linda, how could she leave her little girl?

When another member is nearing death Kurt and Linda are called to the family’s home.  There another story of loss and death is unveiled.  Linda finds herself questioning what happened in these seemingly loving and caring families.  More than that, she begins to question and weigh her own life and feelings. 

Are the deaths interwoven in some way?  Or are they placed at Linda’s door for a different reason? 

I was drawn to read Mette Ivie Harrison’s THE BISHOP’S WIFE because several members of an online book club I’m in read it.  They had differing views on the Mormon church—particularly a member of the church, but the general consensus was that it was a good book.  I agree and found it to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  The mysteries in the book are good.  If you are looking for a good mystery, THE BISHOP’S WIFE is a good choice.  How Harrison interweaves the two murders and with Linda’s own perceptions and internal struggles is well done.  There were a few “oh no, don’t go there!” moments in the book – when Linda ventures into what could be the killer’s shed and basement.  It is a book you can leave at the mystery—see it solved and move on to your next read.

Or, you can dig deeper into the story, to the deeper concepts, which is what kept me up one night reading, turning the pages, telling myself one more chapter, one more chapter, until it was done.  Many of the questions confronting Linda are some I’ve questioned myself the past several years.  With the death of one of my best friends, an avid reader who shared my love of mystery and romance, a gaping hole emerged in my life.  While I have other good friends, it takes several to complete the many aspects that my friend Susan brought to our friendship.  At the same time I have a good friend (who happens to be Mormon) who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor a little over a year ago.  In January 2014 she was given about a week to live.  A few weeks ago, 13 months after her diagnosis was had a retirement party for her.  At that party she took a few minutes to speak and I saw just how courageous she is when she calmly told us “I am not going to get better.”  Harrison delves into similar issues through Linda’s character and more than once I felt her words were ones of comfort to me. 

Reviews are supposed to be objective.  We aren’t supposed to bring our personal lives into the equation.  THE BISHOP’S WIFE, however, was not, for me, simply a good story.  I felt like Linda was a friend, a good friend. Or perhaps, Linda is a part of Harrison that found her voice in the pages of a very well done book.

As I read the last paragraph I was sad the story ended.  Glad the murderer had been caught and dealt with – but still, there are some characters that are hard to say goodbye to.  I was pleased to see that this is actually the first book of the Linda Wallheim series.

THE BISHOP’S WIFE is book you do not want to miss.



This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.


 

Monday, March 30, 2015

WOMAN WITH A MYSTERY by B.J. Daniels



Publisher:    Harlequin
Published:   December 1, 2001 (November 25, 2014 with DELIVERANCE AT CARDWELL RANCH)
ISBN:     978-0373226436 / 978-0373838028
Genre:   Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Format:  Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina Gina@loveromancesandmorereviews.com

FIVE HEARTS


At long last private eye Slade Rawlins might have a tip on who really murdered his mother years before.  He never believed the neighbour boy who ultimately hung himself really killed her and now he might have a viable link.  Before he can pursue that tip, however, a woman from his past shows up on his doorstep.

A year ago Holly Barrows stumbled, literally, into Slade’s life.  In the all too short two months they had together he fell totally and completely in love with her.  And then one day she disappeared along with some of his money and a number of his investigation files.  Now Holly is back – but with no recollection of Slade and what they shared.  All Holly knows is that while the hospital has told her she gave birth to a stillborn baby, she heard and saw that same baby crying and moving not far from her birthing bed. As Holly tells her story is dawns on Slade that the missing child could well be his.  Together they start digging into just what happened to what could be their child.  From a mysterious “hospital” to her deceased husband’s family home to a secret room in the local hospital they get closer and closer to the mystery of just what happened to Holly’s child—but they also come closer and closer to a killer who will stop at nothing to keep a very deep, dark secret from emerging.  A secret experiment that harkens back to some of the most terrible times.  Can they stay ahead of the conspirators and certain death or will a killer find them first?

I received my copy of B.J. Daniels’s WOMAN WITH A MYSTERY as part of a two book collection which also included DELIVERANCE AT CARDWELL RANCH.  Not one to miss out on what could be a good read by one of my favourite authors, at the end of DELIVERANCE AT CARDWELL RANCH I kept on reading.  In a word – wow.  WOMAN WITH A MYSTERY is a white knuckle, heart stopping thriller.  I picked it up on a Friday night and sat up reading through the night – reciting that familiar mantra many avid readers share, “One more chapter, one more chapter.”  I couldn’t put it down until I knew what happened with Slade and Holly’s baby. But the story is much more than two parents looking for a kidnapped baby.  When the secrets of what was going on at the hospital were revealed my jaw dropped and I clenched the pages a little more tightly because from there on the action was non-stop.

If you are looking for an action packed thrill ride with a great mystery, WOMAN WITH A MYSTERY is definitely one to put on the top of your TBR.


This is an objective review and an endorsement of this book.

Friday, March 27, 2015

THE SALVATION OF VENGEANCE by Nancy Haviland



A Wanted Men Novel #2
Montlake Romance, March 2015
Digital
Obtained via:  publisher
ISBN-13:  978-1477827833
ISBN 10:  1477827838
Romance
*** 1/2


 

The second book in Nancy Haviland’s Wanted Men series, THE SALVATION OF VENGEANCE is a good combination of Russian mobsters, motorcycle gangs and an abusive husband that undeniably deserves what he got.

Nika Paynne has been in an abusive marriage since the day she was blackmailed into it in order to keep her brother out of prison.  She has told no one why she married; not her motorcycle club-member brother, and not even her best friend who she shares everything with.  Now she is in town for the wedding of her best friend to mob boss Gabriel Moretti and Nika is determined to find the evidence against her brother and finally leave her husband once and for all.  And if she happens to get a chance to see the sexy mob enforcer Vincente Romani again; all the better.

Nancy Haviland does a wonderful job of bringing to life Nika’s dark and abusive life with her husband and the endless emotional hole she finds herself in.  Although this reader has a difficult time understanding why anyone would suffer that kind of constant abuse when simply telling either her brother, the motorcycle gang member fully capable of taking care of the problem, or her closest, best friend in the world, who just happens to be both related to the Russian mob and is marrying a Russian mobster who is also quite capable of taking care of the problem, is beyond me.  However, once you get past that obviously missed opportunity, the story is really quite good.

Nike is actually a very strong and determined woman whose only concern seems to be protecting her brother.  Vincente, the hero of this story, believes he is unworthy of Nika but has spent the past year thinking of her.  Two tortured souls coming together always make for good romance.  And what is it about Russian mobsters that draw this reader in again and again.  Simply love them.

Nancy Haviland’s second Wanted Men novel, THE SALVATION OF VENGEANCE is action packed, with equal parts depravity and sexy Russians.  This series is definitely worth the read.

Reviewed by T. Barringer
tammyLRM@gmail.com

"This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book."



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE by Alexandra Benedict



Too Series
Avon
October 6th, 2009
978-0-06-117047-8
Historical Romance
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher
3 Hearts


Adam Westmore is a broken man and lives away from society as he walks along the ocean’s edge, enjoying the solitude around him. Until that solitude is broken by Evelyn Waye who is determined to not marry a depraved prince. She is desperate to escape the marriage and sees no choice except death. When Adam sees Evelyn, he offers his protection, hiding his real identity. But Evelyn knows the prince will find her and cause her more harm than she ever knows. She wants to trust Adam but as secrets swirl around them, can these two find a way to bridge their wariness as danger streaks towards them?

This was an okay book after I read The Infamous Rogue. The author keeps the pace up and quickly captures my attention with complex characters, intriguing storyline and a setting that gives the story lushness about it. There were two things I had an issue with in TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE. One was the main characters. The author does a great job in capturing James’ anguish, his determination and more amid the pages that Evelyn is basically lost besides him. She felt colorless to me to the point where she fades from view as Adam comes on the page. Adam has depth and more while it felt like the author forgot about Evelyn who needed that depth and maturity as the story moved along. The best part in my opinion was the scenes between Adam and his brother. Their history plays within the story as anger, guilt, love and more wind their way through them, leaving me on the edge of my seat. I wanted more with these two characters over the scenes with Adam and Evelyn.

The other thing I had an issue was the ending was both rushed as well as entertaining. I felt it could have been drawn out more rather than the whole, ‘this happened to cause this and boom! Voila, the end’. The author doesn’t let the characters see where their hearts lead them and it felt like she was pushing it onto the readers to the point that we never appreciated their self-discovery of their feelings for one another. That dropped the rating a bit in my opinion as I felt we needed those scenes to appreciate Adam and Evelyn’s happy ever after.

TOO DANGEROUS TO DESIRE is an okay read that will fill a lazy afternoon with though I am hoping the author goes back to her swashbuckling heroes who spar with strong willed women before admitting they fell in love with said woman. That said, this is one series I think I might not go back to read though I am eager to see what else this author has in store for the readers in the future.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement