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THE OTHER SIDE BY J.D ROBB, MARY BLAYNEY, PATRICIA GAFFNEY, RUTH RYAN LANGAN, AND MARY KAY MCCOMAS: BOOK REVIEW

by hmhibbit, October 17, 2014

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3 Star rating
 
The Other Side
By Multiple Authors (see below breakdowns for author’s and websites)
ISBN# 9780515148671

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

The Other Side is an anthology of five different stories by five different New York Times bestselling authors.  The stories all centering around the paranormal and strange.

 

3 Star rating

 
Possession in Death
In Death, Book #31.5
By J.D. Robb
Author’s Website:  http://www.jdrobb.com/

the-other-sideAfter finishing up the Dudley/Moriarity case, Eve makes good on her promise to have a barbecue and gathering of friends.  She opts to give Father Lopez a ride so he can perform mass, only to see a woman die in front of them.  She made a blood pact with Eve in her dying breaths for Eve to find her missing granddaughter.

Eve starts experiencing strange things, seeing ghosts, understanding Russian, and realizes the only way for her life to go back to normal is to make good on her promise.

This was an interesting concept for a novella.  Especially considering having the stoic unbelieving lieutenant be forced to believe in the unthinkable.  And, having her to turn Roarke into a believer as well, not that it took much convincing on her part!

It’s always good to see Eve and Roarke working together and this story was no exception.  The tale was an abbreviated one, but their commitment to the case and the job were as spot on as always.

I suspected who was responsible for Beata’s disappearance about halfway through the story, but I did think he had an accomplice!  My suspicions weren’t 100% so I didn’t get bored with the tale and enjoyed the journey to finding out if I was right or not!

 

2 star rating

 
The Other Side of the Coin
By Mary Blayney
Author’s Website:  http://www.maryblayney.com/

Bettina and her husband, Harry, are arguing once again.  If only they could understand what it was like being in the other’s shoes!  Well with a careless wish while holding a strange coin that appeared in the room that is exactly what happened!  Harry and Bettina have switched bodies and now have to live as their spouse until they can figure out how to reverse the curse!

This was a cute idea for a story, but is a severely overdone plot; another rendition of Freaky Friday.  One that got old after the original movie to say nothing of all the similar stories that have cropped up since.

I wanted to like this tale, but I felt it really dragged and I found parts to be quite strange like when they had sex in their spouse’s body … nothing like having sex with yourself!

But it’s definitely not the worst story I’ve read, but I’d have preferred something a bit more original.

 

3 Star rating

 
The Dancing Ghost
By Patricia Gaffney
Author’s Website:  http://www.patriciagaffney.com/

Angie Darlington hires a paranormal investigator to come prove her deceased grandparents’ home is haunted.  But who is trying to pull one over on whom?

This is an interesting little story on the things people will do to save what’s important to them.  In this case, Angie will do anything to save her grandparent’s home.  Even hire a conman!  But she gives as good as she takes and the duo soon realize that their partnership can be mutually beneficial.

My main complaint about this story is the pacing.  Even though it’s a short story, it really seems to drag for me, especially in the beginning before Angie’s plan becomes clear!

It was a cute story, but I found the ending to be a little too perfect.  All of Henry’s problems instantly solved and the couple getting everything they want.  It’s just a little too sugary sweet and unrealistic.

 

4 star rating

 
 
Almost Heaven
By Ruth Ryan Langan
Author’s Website:  http://www.ryanlangan.com/

Vanessa and Ted Crenshaw couldn’t be happier as they celebrate their daughter’s engagement to whom they believe is the perfect match for her, Mark Deering.  But when Ted’s brakes malfunction on the way home and send the couple to their deaths.  Everything changes.  And, the couple learns that Mark isn’t as perfect as they always thought him to be.  Now the couple will do anything to save their daughter from a similar fate before they can pass on to the next world.

Actually of all the stories in this anthology, this one sounded the most interesting to me.  And, it didn’t disappoint.

The story did suffer from timing issues that I can only assume is due to this being a short story.  I thought Ted and Vanessa’s change of heart about Mark was a bit sudden and complete.  And, also how quickly Christina and Jake’s relationship changed from barely talking to becoming an intimately involved couple.  I also found it a bit obnoxious how Ted, a grown adult, always referred to his wife as ‘babe’.  It made him come off a little young and immature.  But, despite all that the story was a fun and entertaining read.  And by the end of it, I couldn’t put it down!  It definitely leaves you with warm and fuzzies!  Bravo Langan, Bravo!

 

3 Star rating

 
Never Too Late to Love
By Mary Kay McComas
Author’s Website:  http://www.marykaymccomas.com/

M.J. Biderman is a successful businesswoman who doesn’t have the time or care to build a loving family, as her work is her life.  With her mother’s recent death, she has made a deal with Smoothie Hut to sell the land their family home currently sits on.  She just has to level the house first.  But when the contractor isn’t able to get in the house to remove the few precious items M.J. wants salvaged, she has to take matters into her own hands.

When M.J. arrives at the house, she discovers that the ghosts of her mom and two aunts are there.  They have lost something and aren’t able to cross over to the other side until they find it.  Meaning M.J. can’t destroy the house until they do!  She is determined to help them so she can stick to the timetable set and finish the deal with Smoothie Hut!  But she never expected the sexy neighbor, Ryan, to affect her so!

This is your typical story proving that our lead works too hard and is missing out on the finer things in life, like a loving family.  Now she must take the time to evaluate her life and realize what she’s been missing out on while trying to help her relatives to find out what they have lost as well.

This was a nice story, but I found it to be incredibly slow!  I had a hard time staying interested in the tale, until things started heating up with Ryan of course!

I really enjoyed Ryan and Jimmy though!  Ryan was sweet, charming, and caring.  And Jimmy was adorable!  It’s easy to see how this duo could melt hearts, even one encased in thick layers of ice, like M.J.’s was!

I found the ending of this story to be pretty cute and it did help make up some for the slow pacing issues.  It’s one you just have to stick to!!!

Overall Thoughts:

I’m not a huge fan of anthologies as a whole.  This one definitely had its struggles.  Mainly the pacing.  Several of these stories really seemed to drag for me, and made me consider not finishing the book at all.  But I persevered and it ended up being a decent collection of stories.  But not ones I would ever need to read again.

Ruth Ryan Langan’s story, Almost Heaven, was by far my favorite!

The stories all seemed to have a thread of love and appreciating life and what you have woven into them.  And, with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays right around the corner, it’s perfect timing for this type of book!

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