The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard
Published by William Morrow on March 6th 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
FINAL DECISION: A great personal story about Jina that is miscast as both a romance and a type of action/suspense/thriller. There seems to be an excellent book about Jina’s journey that is joined awkwardly with a villain story.
THE STORY: Jina Modell works for a secret paramilitary organization working with computers. When it is determined that the ops teams need communications and drone operators with each team, Jina is reassigned against her preferences to be an active part of a team. That means that Jina has to undergo intense physical training. But Jina finds hidden strength in herself that changes everything she knew about herself and also her life.
OPINION: This could have been a great book, but it really wasn’t the book I expected. The book ended up reading more like a women’s fiction story. Now the story of Jina was really, really good. I loved watching her struggle with her inclusion in the active team. She is a woman who finds out what she is made of and that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. What I really liked about this book is that Jina’s journey is neither easy nor perfect. She doesn’t become a super-soldier but rather a strong and capable woman. Even better, she becomes so strong that she makes a decision towards the end of the book that feels incredibly right and mature.
Jina is really the focus of the book. Her nominal romance partner feels less developed and their romance is really secondary to Jina’s story. This book is likely to disappoint many who are looking for a romance, but I still enjoyed the romance as a part of Jina’s journey.
The negative portion of this book is the whole villain story which flows from TROUBLEMAKER. The storyline is somewhat confusing and is really unnecessary to the story. I feel the book would have been much better without bringing the villain into the story at all. The entirety of the plot device that the villain serves could have accomplished in a way that kept the emphasis on Jina.
Ultimately, I found this to be a good story contained in a flawed book. I probably would not think to return to this book again even though I really loved Jina who I found to be a compelling character.
WORTH MENTIONING: The blurb and title for this book are pretty misleading. The incident referred to in the blurb happens at almost the end of the book.
CONNECTED BOOKS: This book is connected to TROUBLEMAKER but can be read as a standalone except that the motivations for some of the characters come from the events in TROUBLEMAKER.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
Troublemaker by Linda Howard
Published by William Morrow on May 10th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
FINAL DECISION: Different than I expected from the description, this book is about two guarded people who are forced together and unexpectedly find peace and love. Less suspense and more traditional romance, this is a solid book that lacks the power of Howard’s best but is a good read.
THE STORY: Morgan Yancy, a team leader for a paramilitary group, is ambushed and almost killed. To protect him, Morgan is sent to a small West Virginian town and told to lay low. Morgan ends up the housemate of Isabeau “Bo” Maran, the part time administrative police chief. Bo isn’t happy to house Morgan, but she can’t turn the recovering man away. Bo knows that Morgan is trouble just when her life seems to be going right.
OPINION: This was an enjoyable, although not outstanding, read. I expected the book to be more suspense than it was. It ended up being bookended by the suspense story but the middle is really a standard romance. I really liked the quiet between these characters. Morgan and Bo are both loners and not used to opening up to others. The quiet time they spend together, the peaceful, alone time they spend was what made their relationship work.
The gentle way in which the two open up and end up finding understanding and companionship withe one another was the best part of the book. The romance takes a slow journey which was good and worth reading.
I thought the suspense part of the story was fairly predictable with no real surprises as to the villain of the tale.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book is primarily romance with a smattering of suspense thrown in.
CONNECTED BOOKS: TROUBLEMAKER is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard
on May 2, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
“It was as if he had been stalking her in her dreams, inexorably moving closer and closer to a conclusion that she already knew. Because, in her dreams, only sometimes did he make love to her. Sometimes he killed her.”
FINAL DECISION: I love gothic romances where there is a question of whether the love interest is the hero or the villain. This story is so good that I was sad that it was resolved so quickly.
THE STORY: Thea Marlow has been having unsettling dreams which haunt her. She keeps dreaming of a man who loves her passionately or kills her. When she goes to her family home by the lake, a knock on the door reveals the man of her dreams or her nightmares, Richard Chance.
OPINION: This novella has all the makings of a great gothic. It is spooky and creepy and it is not clear until the resolution what is happening or what the outcome will be. I don’t want to give away too much of the story because this novella is all about the mystery of what is happening. Apart from the story, the characters don’t have much substance so this is not a novella in which to fall in love with characters. This story has a secret of what is happening and the question of whether or not Thea will live until the end. I loved the story but was disappointed that the ending came too quickly, too directly and too simply. It is an enjoyable read, but it really depends upon the mystery so I don’t think it is a story for repeated readings.
WORTH MENTIONING: LAKE OF DREAMS has already been published in STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT and EVERLASTING LOVE so check to make sure you don’t have it already.
CONNECTED BOOKS: LAKE OF DREAMS is a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this novella 3.5 stars.
Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
Published by Pocket Books on July 1st 2003
Genres: Romantic Suspense
More Suspense Than Romance
MR. PERFECT is the story of Jaine Bright who with the friends create an amusing list of the qualities that make up Mr. Perfect. The list becomes a sensation. Someone them begins threatening the women over the list. At the same time, Jaine meets her new neighbor, Sam Donovan. She and Sam strike sparks of of one another.
I liked this book. It is more suspense than romance. The mystery takes precedence. I enjoyed that story even though I figured or the villain before it was disclosed. Sam and Jaine are sweet together. I liked that Jaine is fierce and strong and that while Sam is an alpha hero he still respects Jaine’s courage and strength.