Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


Review: TROUBLE UP FINNEY’S NOSE by Dana Mentink

In my book, Dana Mentink is a bonafide master! She’s an award-winning suspense author, and has several highly successful romance novels, (love her “Love Unleashed” series starring various adorable dogs!) but started her career in cozy mysteries. Wow! Just Wow!

Trouble Up Finney's NoseMy daughter and I had the pleasure of listening to the first of her cozy series set in a quirky, small town on coast of northern California. Trouble Up Finny’s Nose had us in hysterics one moment and twisted in curiosity the next.

Here’s the Short Version:

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Christian Suspense Review: DECEPTION by Elizabeth Goddard

DeceptionThe Mountain Cove series continues with a story about the town’s much respected police chief, Colin Winters. I’m so glad the author decided to include this seasoned professional among her younger heroes. He’s been there for all of the other stories and deserved one of his own.

Here’s the short version (Amazon):

Jewel Caraway thought she’d left her mistakes in the past—but then her past arrives at her door. Though she’s thrilled to reunite with her estranged sister, something about her sister’s new husband makes Jewel uneasy. Does he know her secret? Is he the one behind the growing list of attacks against her? And if he is involved…does that mean her sister is, too? With nowhere else to turn, Jewel must rely on police chief Colin Winters—the first man to make the widow question her resolve to never love again. But will he stay by her side when her guarded secrets are revealed?

Mountain Cove: In the Alaskan wilderness, love and danger collide.

My take:

I find it hard to believe that Elizabeth Goddard didn’t grow up in Alaska. Her descriptions of the beauty, intricacies, and uniqueness of this land are so vivid. I felt I was in the ice cave (and feeling a little chlostorophic, by the way), and getting slapped by juniper trees as I fled through the forest.

And yes, I ran right alongside Jewel Caraway. (Though my running days are long over!) I lived her panic with her, though I don’t think I would have put myself in some of the questionable situations that she chose. Yikes!

I must say that Chief Winters was my favorite character in this story. His internal battle was so true to life, and he had just enough faults to make him an incredibly sympathetic character. And what a satisfying romance! The two mains were like chocolate chip cookies and milk. Every page made me anxious for their next encounter – and I was never disappointed.

Your Turn: Is there a setting that you’d like to see through the “eyes” of a novel?


Christian Fantasy and Allegory Review: IGNITED by Jackie Castle

IgnitedThough fantasy isn’t usually my genre of choice, Jackie Castle’s books have made me flexible! Her White Road Chronicles have been such a blessing to me, my daughters, and even their friends! Her latest, book 5, is titled Ignited. Don’t you LOVE the cover! (Well, in this case, it’s good to judge! The book’s even better!) Continue reading


Tension, Romance, and Twists

Rising DarknessLast weekend, I delighted in inhaling Rising Darkness by fellow Suspense Sister, Nancy Mehl.  This is the 3rd book in her Finding Sanctuary series, but I’ve found that the two I’ve enjoyed (this one along with the first) are carefully crafted, stand-alone books. The well-loved characters from past books revisited in the third enhancing the story for readers who have followed along, but Continue reading


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I’m Gonna Gush!

fire-hydrant-412211_1920I can’t help it. I just finished reading one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever had the pleasure of cracking open!

  • The writing – exquisite
  • The characters – deep, broken, and real
  • The plot – twisted, yet timeless.
  • And the message… ah. God’s grace is sufficient – AMEN!

This was no ordinary romance. And get this – it was neither Continue reading


Christian Suspense Review: LEGITIMATE LIES by Julie B. Cosgrove

Legitimate LiesLegitimate Lies by Julie Cosgrove proved to be an intense suspense filled with secrets and lies.

Sometimes those can be the best kind!

Here’s the Short Version: 

Though immersed in witness protection, Jen is discovered by an associate of her husband, the head of a human trafficking organization. Relocated again from the small Florida town, this time, she ends up in England. But even there, surrounded by federal agents, she’s pursued, separated from her safety net, and eventually held captive in a beautiful mansion. She’s not the type to accept defeat, however, and uncovers and twisted plot full of greed and betrayal.

My Take

I found this story intriguing from the beginning. It took a number of turns that I didn’t anticipate. Even the setting changed drastically, throwing me a bit, but then suspense stories often put me in uncomfortable positions.

I liked this story. The main characters were fully fleshed out, though I did get a bit frustrated with some of the ancillary characters. In particular, the change of location took out some characters that I’d gotten to know and like. But that issue didn’t change the well-written plot with a strong element of faith.

The betrayal and lies mounted throughout. I felt despondent and alone right along with the main character. Seriously, every time she felt she could trust someone her faith backfired. And indeed, who can be fully trusted except the Lord Himself? As misplaced faith seemed to be the theme of this book, it also displayed that even the most well-meaning can be persuaded to do the wrong thing. Even to the point of believing the actions are for the right purposes.

I would certainly recommend this book to readers who like edgy suspense laced with realistic situations. It isn’t the type of book that I’d share with my high school daughters due to some mature situations and a little foul language, but most suspense readers will LOVE it!

Your Turn: What book is on your bedside table right now? If you’ve started reading it, what are your thoughts so far?


Christian Romance Review: SAILING IN STYLE by Dana Mentink

Sailing in StyleI’ve relished Dana Mentink’s romantic suspense novels, but I’ve found that my love for them has as much to do with the author’s writing style as it has to do with their genre. Well, maybe not as much, but close!

I’ve just finished a pure romance of hers, her newest and recently released, Sailing In Style. Continue reading


What Works for this Book?

A Baby for SarahA Baby for Sarah by Carol Voss isn’t the type of book I would normally pick up, but the story intrigued me. Let me just warn you, now; Continue reading


Christian Romance Review: SUMMER’S LOVE

Summer's LoveWhat a delightful afternoon I’ve had relaxing with a winsome contemporary novel, Summer’s Love, put out by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. The author is listed as Stu Summers. I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve just read a Continue reading


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Review: Wishing Season

Do you read at night? I confess that I do. In fact, that’s usually about the only time that I read. Doing so any other time of day makes me feel lazy. And, in truth, I find it hard to settle my brain enough to concentrate on a book during working hours.

I had planned to read a few pages of this new story before I fell asleep one night last week. Instead, I Continue reading