Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stranded - a review

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Another belated review. This time because I was in the middle of packing, trying to find somewhere to live and then moving. Blech. But in contrast to my previous book review, I quite enjoyed this one!

This third in the series follows a few  of the McKennas - a ridiculously talented and wonderful family from Alaska that I would dearly love to hang out with. The people are flawed but loving and I feel the realism in that at the same time it helps me see the flaws in some of my own behaviors towards people. Helpful.

 I actually read the first in the series and reviewed it some time ago and when I saw this was available for review, I bought the second book so I wouldn't miss out and then read this one in proper order. There is character set up for the next pair (as in 'oh yeah they are so getting together') in each previous book so I suggest to start at the beginning and work your way through.

In this story we follow Darcy St. James (a side character from previous stories) investigating the mysterious disappearance of a friend who had taken a job on a cruise line. Darcy then uses her skills from her old position of undercover investigative journalism to get a job on the cruise line and see what happened as not only does no one seem to care, but they seem to be covering up the disappearance.

She runs into Gage McKenna at some point and there's a series of mistrust, semi-trust, life-saving, man anger, etc. I did not enjoy his constant well you're "undercover" so no matter your reasons for doing so you're just a lying liar pants from Liarstown. But they work out their issues in a realistic way, as opposed to I-hate-you-for-most-of-the-book-just-kidding-I-love-you-the-end. Which I have complained about MANY times regarding Christian fic.

There is a lot of outdoorsy adventure and suspense (near-death kayaking! corpse discoveries! Sketchy "romantic" walks with possible murderers!) as in the previous two which I love and seriously I just love all these people can we be friends already?

There's a 4th book on the way. I am going to be all over that.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House for the purposes of review.

Sidenote: I got my review copy as an ebook and I can't remember which specific thing it was, double f's maybe? Some letter combination was left out of the entire story. Is that a normal thing so you don't feel all fancy that you got a free book? I found it super distracting and am impressed I was able to read the story without it. Anyone else experienced anything like that?

Rules of Murder - a review

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This is extremely belated but...I find this type of review difficult to write. I'm an encourager and I like to find the merit in everyone's writing but I just did not like this book. And if I don't like a book, I have extreme difficulty saying so in a review, I just prefer to put it away and never speak of it again. And if I saw someone reading a book I really hated, maybe slap it out of their hands as I walked by. I was super excited to see it on the list of books I could choose to review as I had heard about it previously and really wanted to read it which just made my dislike all the more sad.

I do really like the cover artwork and I do applaud the author for writing something other than an old west mail order bride or Amish something which seems to be the bulk of Christian fiction last time I checked, so yay?

Drew Farthering, the hero, ends up with multiple murders on his country estate in 1930s England. He loves mystery stories and uses his "knowledge" of them to aid he and his friend Nick (who I kinda liked best of the pair) along with Madeline Parker (love interest/a guest from America and niece to his step-father) as they try to solve the case before the actual detectives do because everyone knows that detectives don't know what they are doing.

 There are some nice twists but I found it difficult to keep track of some of  the who was who and I felt the love portion of the story was a bit silly. As in, I just met you and this is crazy, but here's my number so please never leave I'm in love with you and we should be together forever. There were some odd character encounters that totally threw me like a breakfast scene where they were talking about eating some wonderful food and "Oh you'd eat this forever if you were stranded on a desert island? You must be reading ---" at which point the other character replies the equivalent of , "Nope." and just moves on. I felt like 'what just happened? Is that coming into play later?' It never did. So odd.

I see there are a couple more books in the series, or at least in the works and premises of those are totally drawing me in and making me want to read them so maybe there is hope yet that I will like this series.

This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers for the purposes of review. Obviously they did not dictate what my review would be like or it would not have been this.