The Inheritance


The death of clan patriarch Macgregor Tulloch has thrown the tiny Shetland Islands community of Whales Reef into turmoil. Everyone assumed Tulloch’s heir to be his much-loved grandnephew David. But when no will is discovered, David’s calculating cousin Hardy submits his own claim to the inheritance, an estate that controls most of the island’s land. And Hardy knows a North Sea oil investor who will pay dearly for that control.

While the competing claims are investigated, the courts have frozen the estate’s assets, leaving many of the locals in dire financial straits. The future of the island–and its traditional way of life–hangs in the balance.

Meanwhile, Loni Ford enjoys a rising career in a large investment firm in Washington, D.C. Yet, in spite of outward success, she is privately plagued by questions of identity. Orphaned as a young child, she was raised by her grandparents, and while she loves them dearly, she feels completely detached from her roots. That is, until a mysterious letter arrives from a Scottish solicitor. . . .

Past and present collide in master storyteller Michael Phillips’ dramatic new saga of loss and discovery, of grasping and grace.

It’s been a long time since I haven’t liked a book I’ve reviewed.  In fact, I can’t remember the last one I didn’t enjoy.  But I just couldn’t get into this one.

It’s got some great points, so I’ll start with those, and I’ll explain where I’m coming from — because I’ve read others’ reviews for this book and it seems like I may be the anomaly here!

First — Michael Phillips has unbelievable skills at descriptive writing.  If you are someone who can take a very well-detailed written description and turn it into vivid scenery in your mind, diving head first right into the book, and almost feeling like you’re there…. well, then you’ll likely love this book.

But if you’re like me, and your brain just doesn’t do that, you may find this book to be a bit of a struggle.  I have always had a hard time turning written or verbal description into pictures in my brain.  When someone tries to explain to me how they’re redecorating their house, it means nothing to me unless they’re accompanying the description with actual pictures.  Something I can physically see with my eyeballs.  So when a book gets very descriptive, I get lost in the details.  I do better with more dialogue and fewer details.  So this book, I’ll admit, had me lost for good chunks of it.  I had to reread parts to make sure I was still tracking with the plot.

Second — the characters are endearing.  I did enjoy following along with the characters as they developed, and as Phillips gave you bit by bit, another glimpse into who they are.  There are stark contrasts in the two settings in this book, flipping (expertly, might I add) between Loni Ford’s life in the financial district of Washington, DC and David Tulloch’s life in a clan-type way of life in the Shetland Islands in the Atlantic north of Scotland.  The pieces all weave themselves together in a way I have to give the author credit for, because I know I’d NEVER be able to pull all those pieces together like that.  And it wasn’t confusing, which books that flip between plot lines can end up being.

Third — I loved the way the jargon and the way of life of the Shetland Islands came to life.  This is me over here, not being able to process the detail, but soaking in every ounce of the dialogue.  Helpful hint, though:  I found the Scottish accent dialogue easier to read out loud (and it gave me a semblance of a fun accent!), so you may want to read alone😉.

When it really came down to it, I think I’d recommend the book.  But if I knew the person was like me and was not focused on details, I likely wouldn’t.  So, like I said, please take my review with a grain of salt.  It’s important to me that readers know what I thought of a book, so I’m being honest, but I also would never want to ward you off of an otherwise good book, as long as you love the details.  I shared this revelation with my Mom, that I thought the book just had TOO MUCH detail, and she really wants to read it now because she loves that sort of thing.

Have you read it?  What did you think?  Am I the only one to have gotten buried in the details?

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Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 

Like Never Before


I’m a sucker for a good love story.  And that’s exactly what this was.  Right from the beginning, I knew what was going to happen — I had a feeling that I knew who was going to finish the book in love with whom.  But the joy that came from reading through this book as characters fall in love with each other just never gets old.

I loved the way Melissa Tagg was able to weave in the need for the characters to go back to trusting in God and letting Him heal their hearts so that they could love again after they’d both suffered more heartache than any of us ever wants to in life.

I bonded so deeply with these characters — it was like I knew them personally by the end of the book!

Melissa Tagg’s writing style is light and airy, and this was a refreshingly, delightfully easy read.  Sometimes we see something referred to as an easy read, and we assume it’s simple or doesn’t pack a lot of literary punch, but as far as romance novels can go, this one did a very good job of holding my attention all the way through.  I had no trouble preferring to read over watching Netflix with this book!

I highly recommend you check this book out, but if my high praise of Tagg’s character development and beautiful love story with a thread of redemption and healing throughout don’t sell you, I’ll leave you with the description from the back of the book and a picture.

Maple Valley became Amelia Bentley’s haven after her heart and her dreams of a family were shattered. But her new life as a newspaper editor is shaken when the small-town paper is in danger of closing. Her one hope: A lead on an intriguing story that just might impress the new publisher…if only she new who he was.

After his biggest campaign success yet, widowed speechwriter Logan Walker now has the chance of a lifetime–a spot on a presidential campaign. But his plans are interrupted when he finds out he’s inherited his hometown newspaper. He travels home intent on selling the paper and spending some much-needed time with his young daughter before making the leap into national politics.

But instead of a quick sale and peaceful break from his hectic career, Logan finds himself helping Amelia chase her story. She’s scrappy, but wounded. He’s dependable, but lost. They may butt heads more than expected, but a series of leads on Maple Valley’s quirky unsolved mystery is just the start of the sparks that fly in the office and in their hearts.

I just can’t say enough.  Just…. be ready to get hit in the feels.  This book… let me tell you.  It’ll be well worth the hours it takes to get through it — because you won’t want to do anything else until it’s done.

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Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

What I Learned in the Quiet Zone — The Power of Speaking Without Words


Thursday and Friday of this past week, my colleagues and I headed to the big city for a conference on Celebrating Linguistic and Cultural Diversity.

Can I tell you how much my mind was blown during the two days of learning?  Unreal.

Ok, so not all of us are big city fans.  I do not enjoy trying to navigate Toronto in a car, and from where I live West of Toronto, the amount of traffic that would have been endured in order to arrive at OISE at 8 am, and then to leave Toronto at 3:45 pm the next day to return home… well… I’d likely have cried.

Naturally, then, we took the train.  We ventured from our homes, left our cars in Burlington, and took advantage of the wonderful transit system that we all wish would come farther West.  But that’s another topic entirely.

Throughout the two-day conference, I learned about things like respecting the voice of English Language Learners in our schools — letting them speak their own first languages, letting them show what they know in their language, and encouraging them not to lose that incredibly valuable and special piece of who they are.  I learned about social justice for refugees, and I got to listen to the fascinating linguistic research behind the developmental stages of our English Language Learners, and the linguistic research and data that drives the way we aim to help them best.

But to the point of this post, I was struck on the way home from the conference yesterday by the power of nonverbal communication — which is essential when a student enters my caseload, and therefore my care, and doesn’t speak any language at all.  When I don’t speak their language, and they don’t speak mine, how do we communicate?

It’s challenging.  It’s difficult, and I’m not here to minimize that.  On the train on the way home from Toronto yesterday, we entered a train car that was packed right full — we shouldn’t have been shocked, we boarded a 4:10 train at Union Station.  The lower level had no available seating, so those leading the way ahead of me continued on up to the upper level.  During rush hour, the upper levels of the GO trains are reserved as “The Quiet Zone.”  We knew this, and we were being quiet.  We were either whispering or talking very quietly, as some others on the train were.  Shortly after the train started moving, however, the passenger beside one of my coworkers removed her earbuds to say, rather snarkily, “hey guys?  This here is the quiet zone, so if you’re gonna talk, you need to go downstairs.”  She put her headphones back in and continued staring out the window.  Everyone around her looked at her like she had taken it a bit far (which I believe she had), but being the respectful individuals we are, we entered quiet mode.

If you know me, you know how much I hate having to be quiet.  I don’t mind quiet time, but I don’t like being told “you can’t talk.”  It stifles my process.  I tried to do yoga once — never again.  But I digress.

A couple of us pulled out books to read, one played on her phone for a bit, and the other sat quietly and looked out the window.  About ten minutes into the trip, the guy beside me answered a phone call.  I’m surprised the passenger who’d made her position on quiet VERY clear didn’t lose her mind.  I looked at one of my coworkers, who did nothing but wink at me, and I started to giggle… silently, of course, so I just looked like a smiling goof whose shoulders wouldn’t stop shaking.  Another coworker looked at me, raised her eyebrows, motioned at the guy on the phone, then motioned over her shoulder to the lady with the headphones sitting beside her.  I silently giggled again.  We all exchanged varying degrees of knowing glances, pointed nods, and hand gestures (all of them appropriate), before we got tired of not completely understanding each other and started to send text messages despite being seated right beside each other.

What struck me though was that before we gave up and moved to our phones, we were all able to communicate quite a bit with no words.  We just had to be observant enough.

 

The Red Door Inn


If you want to fall deeply in love with characters, and become wholly invested in the outcome of their lives, I highly recommend this book — The Red Door Inn, by Liz Johnson.

I’ve never been to Prince Edward Island — it’s on my ‘someday’ list.  Maybe next summer.  But the way Johnson paints a picture of the red sand beaches and the idyllic surf crashing against them, it has certainly moved up a few notches.

Marie Carrington, Seth Sloane, and Jack Sloane are all people with broken pasts and uncertain futures.  Marie and Seth especially need to figure out how to trust each other and let each other in enough to work together.  Jack needs their help to bring The Red Door Inn — a dream of his late wife — to life, and it will take all the cooperation they can muster.

Marie Carrington is broke, desperate, and hoping to find sanctuary on Prince Edward Island while decorating a renovated bed-and-breakfast. Seth Sloane moved three thousand miles to help restore his uncle’s Victorian B and B–and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart. He wasn’t expecting to have to babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just two months will take everything they’ve got–and they have to find a way to work together. In the process, they may find something infinitely sweeter than they ever imagined on this island of dreams.

With characters bringing in heart wrenching back stories, brilliantly descriptive writing, and a powerful message of trusting God to heal brokenness, this book will reel you in.  I stayed up way later than any human being should last night to finish it.

I wish The Red Door Inn was a real place — with all of the beautiful descriptions of what the place looks like, I’d happily stay there whenever I do finally make my way to PEI.

I will be watching for more by Liz Johnson — especially in the fall when the Prince Edward Island Dreams book 2 is released.  The excerpt at the back of The Red Door Inn has me sure I need to read it, so I’ll have my eyes peeled for sure.

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Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

A Fool and His Monet


Sketchy politics and a palette of lies can’t stop Serena Jones from exposing the mastermind behind the daring theft of a priceless work of art

Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art–one that’s surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer–like get married–Serena’s determined to catch thieves and black market traders.

When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Serena leaps into action–and a whole heap of trouble.

I just loved Sandra Orchard’s light, airy writing style in this book.  I loved the characters, especially Aunt Martha.  Get ready for Aunt Martha… she’ll take you for a wild ride.  I loved the narration… and I don’t normally like it when a book is narrated by one of the characters.  I prefer 3rd person narration where the narrator is a bit more disconnected from the story, but ‘hearing’ Serena’s inner dialogue, especially when it came to Tanner and Nate, just took the story from good to great.

A Fool and His Monet will have you guessing right until the very end.  Trust me, I had no idea who the thief was.  It was a great read, with laugh out loud moments as well as sitting on the edge of your seat and not being able to put the book down moments.

If you ever watched the show “White Collar,” I think you’ll love this book.  It reminded me a bit of that — between the FBI and the art crimes, and all that.  That show was epic… if you haven’t checked it out, I know for sure it’s on Canadian Netflix but can’t speak for the rest of the Netflixes.

I’m really excited for Orchard’s next book in the Serena Jones in the series, which comes out in October.

I was also really thrilled with Sandra Orchard’s website — where you can vote on details for upcoming books, engage in discussions with Orchard herself, and peruse past and upcoming titles.  Check it out at www.sandraorchard.com/

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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Annabel Lee


Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden.
The secret’s name is Annabel Lee.

She doesn’t know why her enigmatic uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Miles away in Atlanta, private investigator Trudi Coffey is visited by a mysterious older man calling himself Dr. Smith. He’s been trailing a man for a decade–a man she met through her ex-partner Samuel Hill–and the trail has led him to her office. The last thing Trudi wants to do is to contact Samuel. But it will take both of them to unravel this mystery–before it’s too late.

In a suspenseful novel with an interesting plot, you’ll want to find out what happens to the characters as you read.  This will keep you reading.  It’s a quick read, but you’ll need to pay attention.  The narration flips back and forth between Annabel, Trudy, and The Mute… so make sure you’re clear on who’s narrating which chapter — it’ll be really helpful when you’re going through the book.

It wouldn’t be an honest review if I didn’t say that sometimes the swap in narrators, combined with the slip in and out of poor grammar hadn’t caused some confusion while reading this book.  There were times when it was necessary to flip back and double check to make sure everything was clear and making sense.

All in all though, even through the spots of rough grammar (which I do understand because it made sense with the plot), and the flipping of narrators, the book was well worth the follow-through to the end because the end was interesting.  I obviously won’t reveal any more than that, but make sure you follow through.  It’ll wrap up.  It’ll all make sense, and all the details will tie together — like they should in any good mystery😉

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Interesting fun fact:  I don’t do poetry, so the name of this book didn’t stand out to me until I had to Google it at some point.  So the Edgar Allan Poe reference was lost on me initially.  But for those of you who are fans of Poe’s work, there are references throughout this book to look out for.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

My Thoughts on Batman VS Superman


My promise:  No spoilers.  And I will not approve any comments with spoilers.

My thoughts:

I’ve been a superhero fan for a long time, but I need to put a disclaimer on that and admit that I have never read the comic books.  I guess I’ve been a superhero MOVIE fan for a long time.

They fascinate me — this disconnect between regular human beings and those people, whether aliens, meta humans, mutants, or just really strong dudes (Batman) who feel a burden to protect the rest of us is intriguing and it draws me in.

Plus, visual effects galore, stuff blows up, and they tend to pick really good looking actors to play all the superheroes (I’m sure the women are good looking, too…. but I am so easily distracted by Chris Evans that… well…. I got distracted again).

I mean….

I digress.  I was here to talk about Batman vs. Superman.

This movie has taken a bit of a hit in the media in the weeks coming up to its release.  Rotten Tomatoes is not nice to this interpretation of the classic DC Characters at all.  Mind you… is Rotten Tomatoes ever nice?  I don’t even know.  I typically avoid reading reviews for anything until after I’ve formed my own opinion.  (That is, for watching or reading anything — if it’s something I can use that might be a crappy product, I certainly read reviews a-plenty before I buy.)  I’ve been reviewing books for a little over a year now, and I won’t read a review of a book before I’ve both read it and written my own review.  I like to form my own thoughts and not be influenced by what might be cool or uncool.  I feel the same way about movies.

My first thought is:  There was a lot of concern, outrage, whatever you want to call it… over the decision to cast Ben Affleck as Batman.  Too many chick flicks under his belt some said.  Well, perhaps it was all that experience (though he’s completely experienced in other genres as well — I have always been an Affleck fan) that let him bring a level of emotion to Batman that I haven’t seen in a while.  Christian Bale was great and all, I mean… “I’m Batman” will always sound like Christian Bale to me.

Fun fact:  Did you know Christian Bale is British?  I heard an interview with him once and it blew my mind.

Anyway….

As much as I loved The Dark Knight trilogy, and I liked Bale’s Batman, Ben Affleck brought this element of emotion and tortured anguish to the role that we have all always known should be there, but as long as I’ve been watching Batman movies (full disclosure:  haven’t seen all of them) I haven’t seen one where the tortured anguish was played out as well as in the eyes and on the face of Ben Affleck.  I can’t say too much without spoiling it, but I hope it’s not just my love for Affleck getting in the way here — I thought he was a fantastic choice… but then, I did from the beginning.  I thought Henry Cavill also did well with his portrayal of emotion, but I haven’t seen him in anything else, so I didn’t have a barometer to compare him to.

Watching the two heroes internally battle their compasses and where their needles sat on the right vs wrong, good vs evil spectrum was fascinating.  Both had equal disdain for each other, and had to navigate what that looked like, while also fighting their own personal emotional demons.  Both thought the other was going too far in their quest for justice, but of course it’s much deeper than that… and I’ll leave it at that.

Also… can we talk about Lex Luthor for a second?  What a psychopath… and I mean, good villains usually are… but I’m on Jesse Eisenberg’s side here, too… since watching the film last night I’ve read a few reviews not pleased with his performance either, but I thought he nailed it.

This is not a happy-go-lucky film, but then, I’m always surprised when someone says they went to see a Batman movie and they leave going “it was so serious!” ….. Do you know who Batman is?  If your measuring stick for what a superhero movie should look like is a Marvel/Disney collaboration, I encourage you to check that at the door of the theatre.  Don’t get me wrong — I am a Marvel movie fan!  For sure!  But they’re not the same.

I thought it was refreshing though, unlike Christian Bale’s Batman, to not see a philandering, money-dropping, party-going Bruce Wayne in this movie, but instead a driven, passionate, focused, tortured Wayne… where we got a glimpse into what life in the head of Bruce Wayne must be like.

At the same time, it was nice to see a Clark Kent that could do wrong.  Perry White was on his case at many times throughout the movie, and that’s not usually a side of the Superman narrative I’ve seen.  It was also nice to see a Superman who wasn’t always making the right choice, and always doing everything perfectly — it humanized Superman… which, I understand, is ironic… because he’s not even human.  But I liked it.

My final three thoughts are this:

  1. Don’t go to the drive-in to see this movie.  That was my plan yesterday — my best friend and I were going to go to the drive-in and celebrate its having re-opened after the winter last weekend.  But I think, being such a literally dark movie (it was also figuratively dark, but I’m talking dark scenes, not a ton of light, no splashy colours… dreary…) it would be a challenge to see really well at the drive-in.  Maybe I’m wrong… but I really enjoyed it in 3D anyway.
  2. Don’t read reviews before you go.  Or at least, if you have/are (you’re reading this after all…), take them with a grain of salt and don’t let them sink in and formulate an opinion for you.
  3. Don’t stay to the end of the credits.  There’s nothing there.  I know we’re all used to Marvel/Disney giving us teasers for the sequel, or a bit of a teaser trailer for whatever their next installment is…. but the only teasers you’ll get here are embedded within the movie itself — so pay attention, and save yourself the 3.76 hours of credits that follow the film😉

I leave you on a much funnier note….  Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Affleck.  Did you see this video?

This is as funny as it will get.  By far.

One Dress. One Year. For Freedom.


When I was in high school, and most specifically, when I was 16 years old… not only was I completely unaware that human trafficking and slavery were still an issue, but I doubt I could say that I’d have gone to the lengths that Bethany Winz did on her journey to raise awareness and money toward justice for human trafficking victims.  Even as much as I now abhor the idea that slavery still exists, and that humans can take such an evil stance against other humans, I don’t know that I’d do something as bold as to wear the same dress for an entire year.

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This book was beautiful — it’s fresh, as it’s written by a teenager (a talented one at that) as she walks through what this passion for fighting injustice looks like for her.  She shares her experiences, her emotions (some of them heartbreaking), statistics, shocking facts, and updates on her funding as she goes through her year-long journey wearing one black dress.  She hopes to get people to ask her questions about what she’s doing.  She explains that victims of trafficking don’t get many choices, so she has done what she can to limit some of hers so she can experience even a fraction of what they go through.  Ultimately, she’d like to live in a world where humans are not sold for any reason.

You’ll smile.  You’ll chuckle.  You’ll want to cry (and if you’re not as averse to crying as I am, you just might).  You’ll get angry.  I find I can’t be faced with the reality of human trafficking and slavery and not be furious.  I’ve written about it in this blog in the past, partnered with an organization called Exodus Road.  Check out my categories and look under “Human Trafficking” to find anything I’ve done there.

“When I’m exposed to evil, I want to …. pretend I never saw it in the first place.  The problem is that I did see it.  I know it’s there.  That makes me responsible.  If I don’t face it, then who will?”

It’s easy to assume that someone else will take up the call to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves — but what if no one else does?  Then what?

I loved following along with Bethany on her journey, and I’m glad to read that she had such a supportive network behind her as she embarked on what was likely a difficult year.  It doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but especially for a teenager battling peer pressure, hormones, social pressure, and the like — I’m sure it was very challenging.  High school was hard enough without intentionally trying to make myself stand out.  I can’t imagine.

I think Bob Goff — founder of Restore International, an organization that Bethany worked closely with — was absolutely right when he said:  “You are going to do magnificent things with your life!  It will be fun for all of us to watch!”  I remember thinking not even all through the first chapter that Bethany Winz was going to be a name to watch out for in the fight against human trafficking.  It’s great to know that I’m not the only one who thinks so, and I’ll definitely have my eye on her.

If you can’t stand the injustice in this world, and want to read a real, authentic, and uplifting account of a girl who can’t stand it either, I highly recommend this book.  It’s a quick, easy read, but it will impact your heart at the same time, just like it did Bethany’s.

“The dress is inviting me to change.  It’s inviting me to let Jesus transform me into the person he created me to be.”

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Always Watching


Do you ever feel like someone’s watching you?  Lurking, hiding, waiting just around the corner?  Wade Savage, a charming radio psychologist, knows what that feels like, and that’s precisely why his father hired Olivia Edwards, owner of The Elite Guardians bodyguard agency, to keep him safe…. without him knowing.

Drama, suspense, intrigue, and romance unfold quickly in this fast-paced romantic thriller.  You have to be patient to get to know the root of the emotions in the characters, but Lynette Eason has done a beautiful job of spreading tidbits of info to keep you craving more throughout the book.  You’ll just keep reading — well into the night, and at every available moment — to find out what happens next, and to learn more about the beloved characters.

Always watching will be released this coming May, with book # 2 in the series following in July.  I’ve added book 2 to my Amazon wish list already, as I can’t wait to follow along some more with the Elite Guardians agency.

One of the things I loved very much about this book is that it features, in a twist like I haven’t seen very often, a group of strong female leads who, instead of needing to be protected, are the ones taking care of others and doing the protecting.  Eason also showed us the vulnerable sides of their hearts, but they were no-nonsense, they knew what they were doing, and they did it well.  I love reading a book with a strong female lead.

Here’s the Press Material for the book:

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap.

Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him–including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.

Check it out once it’s released, and don’t forget to pop back over here and let me know what you think!

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Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

 

Cold Shot


I loved this book.  From page one to the very end, I was guessing and sharply taking in breath…. “who did it?  Will they be ok?”

If you like a book that will keep you up half the night, promising yourself “just one more chapter,” wondering if the beloved characters will make it out alive, then I promise you, you’ll like Cold Shot, the first of the Chesapeake Valor series by Dani Pettrey.

There was also just enough history in the book — uncovering what they thought would be Civil War remains, until it turned out they weren’t…. to keep this history nerd happy.  What was nice though, is that the historical details didn’t overwhelm the plot of the book, which wasn’t historical.  I’ve visited that area of the States, purely for its history, so it was fun to relive it through someone else’s eyes as I read this novel.

Here’s the synopsis:

Four Best Friends.
And Then One Went Missing . . .

In college, Griffin McCray and his three best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore Police Department, Declan Grey would head to the FBI, and Parker Mitchell would study to become a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now years later, Griffin has left the police and his friendships behind. Still trying to forget a case that went bad when he was a SWAT team sniper, he’s living a quiet life as a park ranger at Gettysburg. Quiet until skeletal remains are uncovered near Little Round Top–and they aren’t Civil War-era.

Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott discovers evidence pointing to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Grey steps in to take over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of crime, danger, and murder.

Side note:  Can I tell you how much I love the name Declan?  I always have…. and the fact that I now have a character as a namesake who’s a little tamer than an IRA sniper (The Jackal, 1997 — with Richard Gere and Bruce Willis) makes my heart happy.

I digress.  The only real fault I found with this book was that I found the female characters were constantly being protected.  To an extent, that’s nice.  It’s romantic and all, but nearing the end of the book I was feeling exasperated for them, and particularly for the main female character, Finley, because Griffin was very protective of her, as if there were no indication that a leading forensic anthropologist could take care of herself.  It reminded me a bit of the TV show Bones…. and perhaps that’s why I found the female lead a bit too helpless for my liking.  If you’ve seen the show, you’ll understand what I mean.

If you like TV shows like Bones, though, this book will be a great read for you.  And if you swoon when men are protective of the women they care about, then my mild fault finding mission won’t even matter!

Have you read it?  What did you think?

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Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.