August 6, 2018

Review: Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

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It has been much too long since I've read a Dani Pettry story! I'd forgotten just how amazingly good she is at keeping me on the edge of my seat. From each nail-biting moment to the next, I was anxious for the good guys to win. Which I was in no doubt of! But still. With my heart in my throat, I'd push on to the next chapter full of anxiety and hope. Because that's what so much of this story is full of! No matter what terror may be happening on the page, hope permeates every paragraph.

Even having not read every book in the series prior to reading this final one, I found myself fascinated with the frienships that make up the story. This is undoubtedly Luke and Kate's journey, yes, but all the characters get to have their moment. Character relationships is where Ms. Pettrey's writing truly shines, in my opinion. I love the way they all take care of each other and the love that flows through every interaction (both frustrating or not, because goodness knows they can frustrate each other! ;). More than friends, they've become a family of sorts. Whip-smart, always-willing-to-go-into-danger-for-each-other-no-matter-what type of family!

The intriguing push and pull of the romance in this one is, naturally, a favorite of mine. Luke and Kate's fractured history makes for disappointment, irritation, and constant chemistry-laden interaction! Forced to deal with all the secrets and the unsaid things hovering under the surface of their conversations, they both struggle to work through their emotions. At times I wanted to shake them, at others I wanted to hug them! The way they clearly love each other, but deny it for all their worth, just made me all the more anxious for their eventual reconciliation. Yet I could understand all the hurt that they had to let go of, which wasn't easy. I loved watching them slowly open up to one another again! So that by the time the real sweetness between them arrived...ah my heart!

With just enough tension to keep her readers on their toes, yet enough hope for the future, Ms. Pettrey pens a story like no other! I was completely invested from the first pages until the last and quite happy to get my just reward (especially the chance to finally relax! ;). I'm now planning to go back and read the rest of the series. And soon, I hope! Because after seeing where so many of the characters end up, I quite want to find out how they got there. It's a keeper, friends! As any Dani Pettrey book always is.

**I received a complimentary copy via Bethany House. All opinions expressed are my own.

Katie was a starlit night filled with the bursts of fireflies. She was the pummel and front of a waterfall booming in his ears, the surge of a plane netting into the bright blue sky, pressing him back against the seat, his chest tightening with excitement.

To Luke, home had become far more than a physical dwelling. To him a home was where his heart resided, and she was sitting three inches to his right. 

"I didn't know.... You've been gone so long, I didn't know-"
"If I still had a relationship with Christ?"
"I knew you did. To what extent is what I wondered."
He raked a hand through his hair on an exhale. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it. It's not where it should be on my end, but God has held on tight and never let go."



August 4, 2018

Review: Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan

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I confess to it! I will give up and admit that I was not expecting to fall so very much in love with Mr. Hamish Deluca. But oh my stars!! He is a delight from the first pages to the last and by the time I closed the book, I was thoroughly convinced that I wished he were real. He and Reggie both, of course! And the atmosphere that surrounds them, the city of Boston itself, is very like a secondary character in the book. I was so utterly swept up into the glittering magic of Ms. McMillan's clear love of this city which permeates every aspect of the story. Decadent, delightful, and so wonderfully filled with quirky, extraordinary, likable (and unlikable!) characters, this is a feast for the reader who dares! :D

Firstly, can I just repeat? HAMISH IS AWESOME.

Okay. Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let me just give you a few short reasons why I think so. (At least, I promise I will try to keep my gushing short! ;) It's his properness, mixed with a bit of an adventurous side that struck me at first. And watching him struggle through dealing with his anxiety and panic just further endeared him to me. He is like a shy little puppy, who has all this amazingness inside of him just waiting for someone to notice and encourage it. He's unlike any other character I've ever met, but I mean that in all the BEST ways! I think what it really boils down to is that he's attempting to find himself. He has all this awesome inside, yes, but he's very unaware of it, especially in the beginning. This beautifully written story is his journey to discovering all the amazing parts of himself and realizing that the flaws he'd imagined he has were just that, his imagination. He simply has to learn that for himself though, no amount of telling him so will suffice. It must be experienced! And watching his gradual awareness and growth, as he finally begins to trust himself, brings such glorious moments! I am unashamed to tell you that he's my favorite. (As you, no doubt, have already figured out, right? ;)

Oh, but then there's Reggie! She has quite the journey herself and it's not any easier for her either. Watching the two of them work through their struggles (while dipping and dodging the crackling chemistry between them! *swoon*) and come through to the other side so much stronger...ah, it does my heart good. But it's not just their individual journeys that take center stage, Ms. McMillan has quite the murder mystery for them to solve! This is where the city truly comes alive. As the two circle around everywhere, searching out their answers, the mix of unconventional secondary characters who cross their path makes for so much fun. (Especially Luca and Nate, both of whom are quite unforgettable themselves!) Life in 1930s Boston is full of excitement and secrets, some of which are easily found out and others not so much. This setting is so lovingly described that I could easily picture every building and back alley, kudos to Ms. McMillan for that! One gets so swept up inside the time period that, when real life intruded while I was reading, I was much frowny-faced!

Oh! And I shouldn't forget the awesome little callbacks to Ms. McMillan's first series, Herringford & Watts. So many mentions that made me grin, yet so many questions I'm still anxious to figure out!

From beginning to end, this story was a delight to my senses. So full of charm and fun, I could not read fast enough. And I closed the last chapter with a heart full of Hamish and Reggie! Excited for book two, yet quite satisfied to go back and be enchanted all over again. And it's a good thing too, since I have such a long wait for the next one! Humph. :D  Read it, friends! I promise you won't regret meeting Hamish. (But just remember, I totally saw him first! Well, after Ms. McMillan and Reggie, of course. ;)

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Thomas Nelson & Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"Sometimes stories are in the people whose life's pages no one thinks of turning," his father once told him.

Women were a crossword puzzle: the seemingly perfect word was met with too many letters.

There was a dead girl at the bottom of the stairwell and Hamish had mystery in his blood.



July 24, 2018

3 Reasons British Accents Make the BEST Audiobook Narrators


Recently I was on a roadtrip and listened to all of Jane Austen's books as radio dramas. (If you're an Austen fan like me, I highly recommend listening to them! They're all excellently done. :) So you can imagine that I had British accents in my head for several days! And it got me thinking. Surely I'm not the only one who loves a good British accent, right? (I know some of you agree with me!) Thus the idea for this list was born. I'm sure y'all can appreciate these with me! :D

So without further ado, I give you...

3 Reasons British Accents Make the BEST Audiobook Narrators

1. You can learn how to pronounce "viscount" and "viscountess". (At least when listening to Richard Armitage !!!! read bits of The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer. He has quite a nice voice to listen to. Just sayin' ;)

2. Your inner voice will suddenly have a British accent, which is just lovely! (Unfortunately, this does not always mean you can suddenly speak with the accent no matter how much you wish you could! *sadface*)

3. Um, because British accents are the best. Duh. What else do you need? ;)


And there you have it! So have I convinced you?





Photo by Rocio Ramirez on Unsplash

July 23, 2018

Review: The Truth Between Us by Tammy L. Gray

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I don't know how Ms. Gray does it, but somehow she always manages to make me fall in love with her characters! Even as I wonder if I'll get as drawn into their lives this time around, I get sucked in anyway, so, of course, this story is no exception to that. I was so sure I would struggle to like April. Meeting her in book one she was extremely hard to relate to and I wondered if I'd be able to warm up to her or not. I shouldn't have doubted! And I should've been more patient. Because that's exactly what April needs, people who won't give up on her. :)

Characters who are tough on the outside, but gooey on the inside have a way of finding the path to my heart. That ultra thick shell that April has going on needed cracking and what better guy to do it than Sean. And goodness what a swoony hero he is! The two of them simply "click". But it's a wild ride to get to their happily ever after. Both of them have a journey that cannot be avoided, yet, for all the gritty and raw emotions they have to deal with, the beauty they're reaching for is so completely worth it!

I think one of my favorite things about Ms. Gray's stories is her ability to write realistic characters. The conflicts and confusions feel genuine and natural. Whether it's the romantic partners or friendships, real, true relationships require a lot of effort. They have ups and downs and the people involved always make good and bad choices both. It's not easy, these connections we form with our fellow humans, and these characters reflects all the work that must go into the maintaining and growing. I loved the slow build of tension as hope gradually worked its way into their lives!

Another of my favorite bits are the friendships between the "Bentwood Brats". I liked them in book one, but I appreciated them even more this time around. Mainly because they've already been through so much together and now continue to grow closer. I love how much they refuse to give up on each other! And how they all come through for one another, no matter how much they may be hurting inside themselves.

The hope and redemption that weaves through every chapter is a beautiful part of this series. It started in book one, but this one only builds and builds on it. It's quiet and gentle, but oh so fiercely there. I cannot wait for book three because I am utterly confident it will only escalate in gloriousness! :) Plus I'm just excited to see where Caroline's journey takes her. This series is completely worth giving a try, my friends! I don't think you'll be disappointed.

**I received a complimentary copy via the author. All opinions expressed are my own.

Love and grace didn't make you weak. It made you strong.



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