Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Review and Cruise giveaway info: The Mountains Bow Down

Back in the end of December, I had the privilege of reviewing The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello and stated how much I was looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Mountains Bow Down.  I was given the opportunity from Litfuse to review this book, the fourth in the Raleigh Harmon series, and was very happy to do so.  At the end of the review, you will find information on how you could win a cruise of your own.

About The Mountains Bow Down: 

Everything's going to work out. Time away always makes things better . . ..

That's what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska . A land of mountains and gems and minerals, The Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who's hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh 's vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship's security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh 's forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis-perpetual ladies man Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack-who might not be such a jerk after all.

And that's only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a situation so steep and so complex that even the mountains might bow down.

My review: 

I completely enjoyed this book for much the same reason I enjoyed The Clouds Roll Away.  Raleigh Harmon is a Christian woman with a good heart.  She tries her hardest to always do what she believes is right and offers prayers often.  That, as well as her disbelief in the magic of crystals and aura readings, is the only mention of anything religious in the book.  There are a few scenes that take place in a chapel, but that is simply the setting, there is no "preaching"  tied in to those scenes.   I also appreciated the crime story aspect of it and the way it allows you to experience all the "guts and glory" of investigating a murder, without foul language, explicit sex, or gory details.  

Another aspect of Sibella Giorello's writing that I love, is her ability to transport the reader to the scene in the book.  I could clearly see myself on the cruise ship and walking along the city "sidewalks" in Ketchikan, and Skagway.  I have always wanted to go to Alaska to experience the wilderness, but after reading this book, I will plan to take a cruise as well so that I may experience firsthand the beautiful scenery described in the book, from the whales to the mountains, to the icebergs and glaciers.

As I said, this is the 4th installment in the Raleigh Harmon series, however, as the previous book, this can easily be read as a standalone.  All the necessary background information is presented through the story.  Having said that, you will greatly enjoy reading the previous books as well.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime novels, Christian or not.  The minimal amount of religious discussion, including her aversion to the crystals, are not offensive in any way and I was impressed with how the author allowed Raleigh to see and love the people who believed very differently from her, even if it took her some time to do so.  If you love Alaska, or have ever wanted to visit, you will likely enjoy this book as well.  Even though it has increased my desire to go to Alaska, a small part of me truly feels as though I was able to experience a part of Alaska as well.

Giveaway Information:
Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Mountains Bow Down with a blog tour, a Cruise prize pack worth over $500 and a Facebook Party! Don't miss a minute of the fun.

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • A $500 gift certificate toward the cruise of their choice from Vacations To Go.
  • The entire set of the Raleigh Harmon series.
To enter click one of the icons below. Then tell your friends. And enter soon - the giveaway ends on 4/1! The winner will be announced at Sibella’s Raleigh Harmon Book Club Party on FB April 5th, 2011! Don’t miss the fun – prizes, books and gab!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

About the Facebook Party: Join Sibella and fans of the Raleigh Harmon series on April 5th at 5:00 pm PST (6 MST, 7 CST & 8 EST) for a Facebook Book Club Party. Sibella will be giving away some fun prizes, testing your trivia skills and hosting a book chat about the Raleigh Harmon books. Have questions you'd like to chat about - leave them on the Event page.

I received a free copy of the book from LitFuse in exchange for my honest review.

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