Friday, February 27, 2015

Dauntless book review

Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)


Though once a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village. Dubbed "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest," her band of followers soon become enemies of the throne when they hijack ill-gotten gold meant for the king.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, will he choose fame or love?

My Review: 6/10

I really loved the historical aspects of this book. Medieval tales are not very common in historical romance, so even though there are nods to Robin Hood, it felt like a fresh tale.

Christian themes are more heavily woven in, which I enjoyed. I only wondered at Timothy's rapid change of heart. It was like a switch being flipped, and though we were often in his head, I didn't witness it. One minute he's telling Merry that King John is God's annointed and then just hours later, he's telling her that she was right. While I prefer slow, gradual changes, I'm not opposed to overnight shifts like this if it is done well, when the reader can see the catalyst.

The book was a little slow going for me, despite regular action scenes. There was a lot of build up about future plans and relocation, which real resolution happening all at once in about the last 15% of the book.

I really liked the character of Earl Wyndemere. I mean, he wasn't always likeable, but I liked how honestly he was portrayed. And I found his flaws interesting when compared with his virtues. No one is perfect. I mean, even David, who was known as a man after God's own heart, was a poor father.

If there is another book in this series, I will look forward to reading it and seeing what other Biblical questions are raised. Fingers crossed that we will get to see Allen reap his blessings!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage #5) book review

Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage #5)

Sabotaged (Alaskan Courage #5)

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now paired together on Yancey's search-and-rescue canine unit, they begin to put aside old arguments as they come to see each other in a different light. Then a call comes in from the Iditarod that will push them to their limits.

Kirra's uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing. Frank's daughter has been kidnapped. In order to save her, the man must use his knowledge as a mechanical engineer to do the kidnapper's bidding or she will die. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl's life, but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

My Review: 6/10.
This is the first contemporary Christian novel I've read in a long time. Unless you count Amish fiction, which I don't. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, much more than I thought I would. I tend to hang out in Historical fiction because I prefer to submerge myself in a time when honor was observed and relationships were more pure. However, Ms. Pettrey managed to bring those values into present day, something I really appreciated.

This is the first book I've read by this author, so I can tell you that it does work as a standalone novel. Obviously, you can tell that some of the relationships were previously the focal point, and with so many family members/significant others, it gets a little confusing at times (I thought Kayden was one of the brothers for a while, oops) but it doesn't detract from the main storyline. Also, I can't say for sure, but it seemed like Reef and Kirra's story may have started several books earlier and Sabotaged just picked up when it really officially was starting. I have mixed feelings on that. It was kind of refreshing, not to spend so much time on the beginning. And I really liked the concept that their relationship was given such a strong foundation, so much history. But I also felt like I missed out a little bit. I'd probably feel differently, though, if I'd read the previous novels in this series.

Ms. Pettrey does a great job with suspense and mystery. It starts on the first page and doesn't loosen its grip until the very last.

I really enjoyed the characters and the faith-building and the head-on approach to real struggles; the McKennas were a family I'd love to belong to. I realize that death and violence are a part of life and usually a part of a mystery/thriller as well. But casual killing is just not something I like to read about.

I had a few problems with the plot: I thought Brad Abbott and Belinda (still not even really clear on what happened with her) were unnecessary and possibly unlikely. Abbott did not work as a great distraction- he was found pretty soon. And though I know nothing about mushing or bear attacks, it seemed sketchy to me that his team returned without him, and that there was blood on the sled, if it was supposed to look like a bear attack. And Belinda... the damage had already been done. What was there to gain in "silencing" her? Turning Sam against them by threatening her seemed unnecessarily risky. Not to mention that her disappearance seems to point right at them, not keep things quiet.

My issues with the romance were minor: kissing in your sleep? Who does that? I didn't buy it. And this book falls victim to the all too common myth that men know flowers by scent and name. I've never met a man who could distinguish a scent as more than "fruity" or "flowery" and most just say, "you smell good." Catching an "intoxicating whiff of Jasmine" just ruins the moment for me, making me hyper aware that this hero was created by a woman.

The bottom line- fans of Christian fiction will love this book. It's a great standalone read and a nonstop, action-packed race against time from beginning to end. And I will be checking out other books by this author!