August 6, 2018

Review: Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

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

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.


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