Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Book Reviews--Cold River & Not What She Seems

My turkey is roasting in the oven as I write this and my children are all safe at home and waiting for me so we can start our board game marathon. I am grateful for so many things this year. I would list them for you, but you would probably be bored.

One of the things I am grateful for, though, is books. I am grateful for authors who have amazing stories to share and go through all the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to get those stories into my hands so I can enjoy and experience them.

Two books I’ve finished recently are Cold River by Liz Adair and Not What She Seems by Victorine Lieske. They are both romantic suspense and both edge of your seat books.

Cold River introduces us to Dr. Megan Steenburg who has taken a job in a small town with a few secrets. She tries to fit in and do her job, but harmless pranks against her soon turn deadly and Megan can’t figure out who is trying to kill her. I couldn’t either and was very surprised when the villain was revealed.

The thing I liked best about this story is that is was such a slow burn with the mystery and the romance. It all starts out so innocently, but the warmer we get to figuring things out, the hotter the plot seems to burn. It wraps you up like the water surrounding a frog in a pot, turning up the heat until you hadn’t even realized it’s all about to boil over. Very well done.

Probably the next best thing is that we are given an in-depth Northwestern setting with quirky characters in a charming town. I don’t know that I’ll ever hear someone say herbs again and not think of Mrs. Berman. The setting was just so well done and I could easily imagine the cabins, Qwik E Mart, and school district offices. It was obvious that the author loves this part of the world because it was so evident in the beautiful and lyrical descriptions.

I also liked how Megan was portrayed and we got to know her so well. She was so layered and easy to like. I really felt her emotions as she tried to sort out the events surrounding her. There was also such a good romantic triangle in the book, I was a teensy bit disappointed that it was all wrapped up so quickly because I felt rushed and I wanted to really see her choice reflected in her actions, but overall, this was a book that I would definitely read again on a rainy day. Another plus is the intensely creepy cover. I loved it!

Here’s the back copy for it:

Mandy Steenburg thinks her doctorate in education has prepared her to run any school district—until she tangles with the moonshine-making, coon-dog-owning denizens of a tiny district in Pacific Northwest timber country.

She's determined to make a difference, but the local populace still looks to the former superintendent for leadership. When Mandy lands in the middle of an old feud and someone keeps trying to kill her, instinct tells her to run. And though she has to literally swim through perilous waters, she finds a reason to stay and chance the odds.

Click here for the Amazon link for Cold River.

(For some reason I can't make the cover bigger. Sorry about that!)

Not What She Seems starts out with billionaire Steven Ashton trying to get away from the stresses of his life and business for a while, and finding some peace in a small town in Nebraska. He meets a young woman and her four year old son, and soon gets wrapped up in their life and trying to help them. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know that she is wanted for questioning in a murder and is thought to be a con woman. Events spiral out of control and Steven is torn between trying to help her and not knowing if he can really trust her.

Ms. Lieske writes a compelling mystery with a surprising twist at the end, and while the writing was choppy in a few places, I was on the edge of my seat and read this book in one sitting because I HAD to know who the villain was and it was driving me crazy that the one I thought was it really wasn’t. This is my first time reading this author and I will definitely pick up something from her again.

Here’s the Amazon description for it and it’s currently on Kindle for 0.99 cents:

Steven Ashton, a billionaire from New York, and Emily Grant, on the run from the law...and when they meet he can’t help falling for her. What he doesn’t know is that interfering in her life will put his own life in danger.

When billionaire Steven Ashton couldn’t stand his high society social life anymore, he left the stress of New York on a vacation for his soul. The need to meet real down to earth people led him to a small Nebraska town. He didn’t want to lie about who he was, but he couldn’t exactly tell them the truth.

Emily could have easily fallen in love with Steven, under different circumstances, but her past was catching up with her and she needed a new life. If the authorities found out about her, she could lose the one thing that meant everything, her four year old son.

Click here for the Amazon link.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I hope you get to relax with your family and loved ones and maybe squeeze in reading a good book sometime this holiday weekend!


Debra Erfert said...

I've read all of Liz's book so far, so I'll pick up this book too. It sounds intriguing. I love your analogy of the plot heating up like a frog in a pot of hot water. Great review, Julie.

I haven't heard of Ms. Lieske before, but then this is why we need good reviewer to give us the inside scoop so we can make wise decisions when we spend out money on books-- e or otherwise. Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Victorine said...

Hi! I just stopped by to say thank you for reading my book and giving it a review on your blog. You made my day!

Sarah Pearson said...

I like the sound of both of these. Thank you for the reviews you do, Julie. They are much appreciated.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Debra! I'm glad you liked it.

Victorine, thanks for stopping by my blog. I really enjoyed your book!

Sarah, you are welcome. It's funny, I always read your comments right before I go to sleep. It's becoming a nightly ritual for me. :)

Liz Adair said...

Thanks for the review, Julie. With all the Thanksgiving stuff going on, I missed it. I'm thankful for people who take the time to read and review books. I'll have to check out Not What She Seems. Great review there, too.