Wednesday, May 5, 2021

COLD READING MURDER by R.J. Lee

 

Publisher:      Kensington
Published:      February 23, 2021
ISBN:
     978-1496731470
Genre:     Cozy Mystery
Format:     Print from Publisher 

https://www.amazon.com/Reading-Murder-Bridge-Death-Mystery/dp/1496731476/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=R+J+Lee+Cold+Reading+Murder&link_code=qs&qid=1619383871&sr=8-2


Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina
 myreviewbooks@aol.com

FIVE HEARTS

 

 

Wendy Winchester has long had two goals in life—to be the best investigative journalist there is and become a super bridge player. Marrying her long time bow, Detective Ross Rierson has been a given and now that she’s on her way with both her journalism career and bridge playing the long awaited wedding has come to be. The wedding, planned by the in party planning company, Party Palooza, has made it the event of the season. Among the guests are fledging new bridge bunch players that Wendy is in the process of teaching bridge including Rosalie’s new psychic, Aurelia Spangler. When Aurelia offers not only her well known home but also cold readings for the group’s next lesson, they happily accept. The readings seem spot on, but when Party Palooza’s singing telegramist, Milton Bagdad, has his, all is not rosy. In fact, it’s outright scary. So scary Milton disappears without a word. Shortly after Aurelia is found dead in her home from an apparent cocaine overdose. When her death is deemed a suicide because of a note found by the body, Ross and Wendy’s dad, the chief of police, are ready to call it case closed.  But something doesn’t sit right about it with Wendy and when several other bridge club members also raise concerns on the cause of death, an investigation is opened. What Wendy and Ross stumble on is a lot more than a woman being unable to cope with life any more. Is it really a suicide or is a killer hiding in plain sight?

 

The cover of R.J. Lee’s latest Bridge to Death Mystery, COLD READING MURDER was actually the reason I took up this series. Sometimes a book cover just catches your eye and you have to read it. All the better when the story is even better than the cover led you to believe.  That is the case with COLD READING MURDER.  What a great read!

 

Before I read COLD READING MURDER I did go back and read the first two books in the series, Grand Slam Murder and Playing the Devil and I encourage readers to do so if they haven’t already mainly because Lee does a great job of having characters, grow, develop and change in the course of each book.  There is some romance, but not over the top distractive romance from the mystery at hand, between Ross and Wendy. It progresses and adds to each story.

 

Lee’s characters are full developed.  I admit I wasn’t impressed with how Merleece, Wendy’s friend and house keeper was introduced—Lee portrayed her as sounding ignorant and uneducated when in fact she has common sense and adds wisdom to Wendy’s investigations. Wendy is a terrific character. She’s smart, caring, determined and what I appreciate, doesn’t do the “dumb sleuth” move of thinking she shouldn’t do something and then do it anyway. She knows when she could be walking into trouble or just feels like things aren’t as they should be, and lets Ross or her dad know what is going on.

 

The mystery in this one was multi-layered giving the reader a couple of solutions to ponder. Lee ties them together at a satisfying solution. I notice that the book sale sites say COLD READING MURDER is book 3 of 3. I hope that’s just because three books have been written and not that it is the end of the series. I definitely want to see where Wendy’s cases take her, Ross and Merleece.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

RETURN TO VIRGIN RIVER by Robyn Carr

Virgin River Series Book 21

Mira

October 13th, 2020

978-0778388340

Contemporary Romance

E-Arc

Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)

Obtained by Publisher via Netgalley

3 Hearts

 

Welcome back to Virgin River. Kaylee Sloan is grieving over her mother’s death and struggling to finish her book after struggling with writer’s block. Thinking a change of scenery will help her healing and struggles, Kaylee settles in a cabin outside Virgin River where she hopes to find the spark of life again as she mends her heart. The residents of Virgin River help Kaylee find herself again and a new romance with artist Landry Moore helps heal the shattered heart since her mother’s death. Kaylee will find that sometimes healing can take place in many different forms and as she finds peace and looks to the future, she will find friendships and love will be the best medicine she will ever have.

 

Ms. Carr’s newest book in the acclaimed Virgin River series was anticipated by myself as I just loved the book series so much. A great cast of characters, events that played out through many residents of this quirky town and the people who live there but something was missing in this twenty-first book, maybe that magic that was in all of the other twenty books. It fell a little flat to me especially as even as Kaylee was the main character in the book, the other characters I grew to love and adore in past books just didn’t pop for me as well. Kaylee’s story overran everything and mind you, I am not tearing down her grief over her mother’s death, but it overwhelmed the book at times to the point I had to put it down and go read something else to freshen my palette.

 

RETURN TO VIRGIN RIVER gives long term readers a visit back to the beloved little town nestled in the redwoods and mountains of California. The scenery is exquisite, and you felt like you were there. What I didn’t get into was the characters. As much as I was anticipating the return to one of my favorite series by this author, the characters I came to love felt a little flat for me. It was like the author only gave us glimpses of them then tore them away to the point where Kaylee, even as a main character, just annoyed me to no end. I tried to be sympathetic to her grief and the character herself, but she overwhelmingly came across as dour, miserable, and plain unhappy and it was not a happy a story no matter what. I did have hope when the story lightened up a little in spots but overwhelmingly, the story with Kaylee as center just didn’t do it for me. Unfortunately, even as I finished the book, I felt this was just not as on par as the rest of the Virgin River books in the series. The story fell flat and constrained, characters were at times restrained and a little one-note and the only thing I really enjoyed the most was how scenic book was. If you are looking to read the series, I say stick to the first twenty books and maybe enjoy those over this one. RETURN TO VIRGIN RIVER just didn’t capture the magic of those books this time around and I wished for more of the beloved characters personalities to shine on like before.

 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement.

 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

SAVED BY THE COWBOY by A.J. Pine

Publisher:      Forever

Published:      2018

ISBN:      B07868VNZDGenre:     

Contemporary Romance

Format:     Print from Publisher

Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina  myreviewbooks@aol.com

 

THREE HEARTS

 

                                                                    

Olivia Belle is a runner.  No, not a race runner or a delivery runner.  She runs from commitment, specifically romantic commitment.  It’s not that she doesn’t believe in romance and true love—she’s seen it up close and personal with her grandmother and grandfather. But she’s also seen what happens when romance and love fade with her forever bickering parents.  So when her current squeeze gets down on one knee in the middle of his sister’s wedding, Olivia runs. Not just anywhere, but to the place where her grandparents met because that’s where she thinks she’ll find the answer of how to fall in love.

 

Sheriff Cash Hawkins is more than fond of his town. He grew up here and aside from going to school in New York, he’s stayed in Oak Bluff and that’s been just fine.  Just as fine is that the only two women in his life are his mother and his German Shepard Dixie. He sees his fair share of women, but burned once, he’s not open to it twice.  Not much happens in Oak Bluff and he’s not exactly pleased with his otherwise quiet Saturday night on patrol is disrupted by a speeder. In short order Olivia is in cuffs, arrested by Cash. But seriously, who captured who?

 

I normally don’t read novellas.  I always feel like something is missing, that characters turn out two dimensional and there isn’t time to get drawn into the story.  A.J. Pine’s SAVED BY THE COWBOY was a bonus read in one of R.C. Ryan’s books (The Cowboy Next Door) and since it was there I figured I’d give it a try. I’m also a fan of westerns and since the story takes place not far from my home, what’s not to like? Pine is a new to me author but I really liked her voice and am looking forward to her reading her again. 

 

The runaway bride theme has been done a few times, but Pine gives it a different twist since Olivia isn’t a bride and certainly doesn’t want to be one.  She’s a terrific character – spunky and witty and reads like someone you’d like to have as a friend. local police officer who seems to be falling for her.  And Cash….if you’re in need of a sigh and toe curling experience, he’s your guy.  

 

Pine tells a fun story in a short time. It was a perfect read to start…and finish…just before falling asleep.

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

 

 

*

Sunday, April 25, 2021

THE FOREVER GIRL BY Jill Shalvis

A Wildstone Novel Book 6

January 12th, 2021

978-0-06-289785-5

Women’s Fiction, Contemporary

Paperback ARC

Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)

Obtained by Publisher

3.5 Hearts

 

 

Maze is returning to Wildstone for the wedding of her BFF, estranged sister of her heart and it will be the reunion of the group of friends she had there until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them into the wind. Now, back together as adults, there are secrets and resentments struggling to come out into the open and everyone instantly reverts to their roles in the group: Maze was the leader, Cat was the den mother, Heather was the baby sister and Walker was their man of mystery. But life has given each of them hard knocks and as changed them all in some way as Maze and Cat must figure out if they can salvage their friendship or end it permanently and can Maze act on her attraction to Walker that never really went away? When can the past that needs healing tear them all apart or will it heal and become stronger? Family isn’t just blood but what you make of it.

 

THE FOREVER GIRL introduces the readers to four friends who scattered after a fall out that broke their once strong group into he winds. Maze is back in Wildstone for Catherine’s wedding and Cat is determined to heal her family from childhood. What IO love about Jill Shalvis’s books is how family and friendships play an important part within the story and the characters that revolve around that theme are so diverse and unique. I loved all the Wildstone books and I got to say this one just melted my heart more than once. The storyline flowed smoothly, and the characters just are spot on, beautifully written and leap off the pages. There is a bit of romance, yes but for the most part, the author centers on the family these four made with one another and how to heal those rifts that continue to cause them pain.

 

THE FOREVER GIRL is delightful, the characters really melted my heart and captured it and I got to say, the author does an amazing job capturing all these unique personalities within the book. They are all so different yet work so well together. They gave some depth to the story and kept it flowing smoothly. If you never read a Wildstone book, don’t worry as each book stands alone within the series and you won’t need to read the past books, but I do recommend you do as they all are delightful. If you love family, friendship and more then I highly recommend this series to you and in particular, THE FOREVER GIRL. I cannot wait to see where she goes next in the Wildstone series and look forward to more by this author.

 

This is an objective review and not an endorsement.