Sunday, February 24, 2013

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Alaskan Courage Series, Book 1
ISBN-13: 9780764209826
Baker Publishing Group, 5/2012

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers.

Yancey, Alaska was a quiet town...until the truth of what was hidden in the depths off the coast began to appear.

Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.

Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

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My Review: I am so excited to be reviewing this book, because I know in a few days I'll have book #2 in the series! This was an excellent book, and I read it in 2 days! Submerged by Dani Pettrey is the first book in the Alaskan Courage series.  It takes us to a small town Yancey Alaska (I know, who would have thought!) :p and introduces us to a range of characters, but focuses on 2 main characters: Bailey Craig and Cole McKenna.

Cole McKenna is a search and rescue diver. He also owns an adventure tourist post in Yancey. So, when the plane carrying his friend Henry and the town's most beloved "Lady Agnes" he was immediately ready to help in the search and rescue mission.  As events unfold and it becomes clear that Agnes is not going to make it, his thoughts turn to Bailey. Bailey and Cole have a past. He hasn't seen  her in almost 12 years, not since she broke his heart and went on a downward spiral that absolutely killed him to watch.  However, 12 years have past and he's a different man. He's determined to befriend her again.

Bailey Craig is the niece and only family of Agnes. She is devastated at the news of her aunt's passing. She doesn't, however, want to go back to Yancey. She'd spent years after all, trying to forget her life there. She returns, with the intention of only staying a week, TOPS. She doesn't want to deal with her past, and she definitely doesn't want to see Cole, the one man she ever truly loved.

This book is filled with suspense, mystery, and a sweet love story.  As both characters struggle to come to terms with the past and all that happened between them, we see the underlying message of the book come to life. God loves us, and when we accept Him into our lives, we become NEW CREATURES! (Let me take a minute to shout right there, HALLELUJAH!) Old things are passed away, and we become like new. It also reminds us that when we hurt, we need to run TO God, not away from Him. He's the only one who can heal the hurt.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next one!!

About the Author: Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, and her latest release, Silenced. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson. Find Dani on Facebook or Twitter.

Scattered Petals

The first few pages of Scattered Petals, installment #2 in Texas Dreams by Amanda Cabot, was the hardest pages to get through of any book I've ever read.  I will not give away any spoilers, but suffice it to say it was a very traumatic event(s) for the main character, Priscilla Morton. I though Mrs. Cabot was being a little pretentious by writing the book from 4 different points of view at first, but it didn't take away from the story at all. All the characters thoughts, feelings, and dealings were relevant to the story, so that gives her a plus for me!

We meet Priscilla Morton on her way to Lardeville, TX with her parents.  Priscilla and her parents are the family of Clays' deceased wife, Patience. We learn very quickly that Priscilla loves adventure, which is why she begged her parents to make the trip.  However, this was certainly not the adventure she was looking for.

Lawrence Wood is a Texas Ranger.  He meets rescues Priscilla and takes her the rest of the way to Ladreville.  We don't learn much about his character in this book except that he's honorable and he doesn't give up when he gives  his word. Amanda Cabot has promised we will know more about this man in the next book.

Zachary Webster, known as Zach, is the foreman on Clay Canfield's ranch.  He is also the best friend of Clay and Clay's father.  He's made his home in Ladreville because he felt a strong pull from God to go there.  Now, however, he feels like his time at Clay's ranch has come to an end. That is, until Priscilla shows up.  Zach can't imagine the horrors this poor woman has gone through, and through circumstances outside of his control, he is taken back to his teenage years and the guilt and shame he's carried with him.  This, and a nudging from God, causes him to marry Priscilla for her protection.

Then, we are brought to the villain of the story. In the first book, Paper Roses, we meet Jean-Michel Ladre.  He is accused of stealing the townspeople's things and exiled by his father.  He has sworn revenge on Zach for being the one to put him in this position. 

The theme throughout this book is simple.  God is showing us how he can turn our heartache and suffering to good. He never leaves us or ignores us, even when we feel God isn't listening. We feel like we're alone when we don't let God be our guide. Let Him guide you, and He'll gladly show you the way. Nothing beautiful is gone for good, as long as we have memories. We can't change the past, even though there are things we regret doing. We need to learn to live with our mistakes, accept them, learn from them, and move on. And finally, on the path of our lives, the turns in the road are easy, because they keep us on the same path, just in a new direction. It's the forks that are difficult because there are choices to be made at each one. If we let God lead our lives, the choices won't be so difficult either.

I couldn't write a lot about this book without giving too much away, and this is definitely one book I don't want to spoil for you. Read it. I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Paper Roses

Paper Roses by Amanda Cabot is the first book in the Texas Dreams series. The book introduces us to Sarah Dobbs and Clay Canfield.  The book is primarily written from their points of view.  It is an excellent book which I have read twice now!

Sarah Dobbs has a secret, one she is not willing to share with Austin, her intended groom-to-be.  She is ashamed of it. She also has a limp, one that affected her life in Boston.  With her parents dead, she is now also the caretaker of her little sister, Thea. Austin said he didn't mind her limp, "You speak of your imperfections as though the rest of us bore no blemishes," and he also said he didn't mind that she was taking care of Thea, so where was he? In the beginning of the book, we meet Sarah at San Antonio Texas, waiting for Austin to come pick her up.  He's almost an hour late, at this point.  We learn a lot about Sarah and her character in the first few pages of the book because even though she doesn't know what she will do if Austin doesn't show up, she is determined and proud.

Clay Canfield is late. He also does not want to perform the task he knows he must, picking up Austin's bride. As it happens, Austin was murdered. In the beginning few pages of the book we learn that Clay is an angry man, and I don't blame him.  In the last year, his father became crippled, he lost his wife and unborn child, and now he's lost his brother. But he's not angry at a person, he's angry at God, just as Sarah is.

Through the circumstances in this book, the friendships that are made, the budding romance between Sarah and Clay, and the learning to love and care again that each character goes through, we see the message of God's continued love, His patience in us, and His remaining true to his promise to never leave us. There are so many quotes I highlighted and noted in this book that affected me and my perception of each character, it would take me days to list them all! The main message both Sarah and Clay are left to face is that healing comes with time, and sorrow fades with time. 

I do want to share one quote with you though, I won't give any spoilers away!! This is the most important sentence in the book. It's about discovering God's love and accepting it. "It's the easiest, the most difficult, and the most important thing you'll ever do. Open your heart to God. Let him fill it." I say it's the most important because that's what each and every one of us needs to do. Open our hearts to God, let Him take away the guilt, shame, anger, or whatever you're carrying. It truly is the most difficult, yet the easiest choice you'll ever have to make.

I really hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Look for book two, Scattered Petals review soon!
Get it while it's FREE on Barnes and Noble!

A Texan's Choice

Boy, oh boy am I behind on my book reviews! School, unfortunately, is taking up my book review time and I am none too happy about it! BUT, that's life right!!

Anyways, A Texan's Choice by Shelley Gray is the third installment in the Heart of a Hero Series and it is just as fantastic as the first two. This book is mainly about Scout Proffitt (whom we met in the previous book) and Rosemarie Cousins.  There is also a side story with Scout's old gang member, but the main focus is on Rosemarie and Scout.

In the second book, A Texan's Honor, we remember that towards the end of the book, Scout met a young girl named Kitty who changed his life.  His whole life he'd been trying to be like his older brother Clayton.  He wanted to be worthy of his family and anyone in general.  Somehow, Kitty broke through is tough and lonely existence and set him on a path of irrevocable healing.  The beginning of this book marks Scout winning a ranch in a poker game and going to retrieve it.  Without giving away any more of the plot, he meets Rosemarie Cousins and has no choice but to marry her. Scout never dreamed he have a wife, especially not one like Rosemarie. 

Rosemarie is tired. She is tired of waiting and tired of being ignored.  She, like Scout, faces a difficult time accepting that she is worthy of any one's love and affection since her family has treated her so horribly.  She is, however, facing what life throws at her straight on.  She is tough and determined to make her life better. She, like Scout, never thought she would find herself married, yet alone to a notorious gunslinger who acts nothing like the novels depicted him to. 

I like the part near the beginning of the book that, after Scout asked Rosemarie to marry him, that says "For the first time, she took [his hand] easily. Like they were becoming a pair instead of merely two lost souls stuck on some of the worst land in the great state of Texas" because I believe this is where the true healing for each of them begins.  They have to learn to rely on each other and think about each other's thoughts and feelings, when they are both so used to being alone.

The main theme, running rampart through the book, is about choices.  Each person faces life with choices.  That's part of God's will for our lives, the freedom to choose whether we believe or not.  This book metes out past and present choices for each of the characters, ultimately ending in a happy, sweet way. "Faith and believing in a higher power? It's a personal thing. Something that can't be forced or taught."

I hope you enjoy this series as much as I did!