Book Talk Tuesday: A MATTER OF TRUST

I do love me some Susan May Warren. And while it seemed a little odd to be reading about snow boarding and high mountain snow rescues in the middle of August, it actually helped me ignore the 100+* days outside.

A-Matter-of-Trust-CoverA MATTER OF TRUST is the third entry in Warren’s Montana Rescue series and is as good and compelling as I’ve come to expect from her.

Gage Watson was a extreme sports snowboarding champion. Until someone died. Gage lost his sponsors, his career, his faith, and his essence. He’s working in Montana now, on the PEAK Rescue team.

Ella Blair, state senator, big sister, and one-time love of Gage’s, has traveled to Montana to stop her brother from doing something foolhardy, even stupid: follow Gage’s renowned descent of one of Montana’s most challenging mountains. But to stop her brother, she has to see Gage again and keep a terrible secret.

Gage and Ella end up making the descent together, following her brother’s trail, hoping to find him before a storm hits the mountain.

Warren is a gifted writer and her descriptions of the snow, the snow boarding, the treachery of the mountain, and its hidden dangers took me right to the mountain with the characters. I tried learning to snow ski in my thirties and Stud Muffin and I decided it was a sport that you had to learn when you were young and fearless. So even though I’m not a skier, I felt the rush of the icy air, the crunch of the snow layer, the huff of frozen breath in the morning.

The other PEAK Rescue characters appear and I’m eager to get to Pete and Jess’s story. Oh, and Ian and Sierra’s, of course.

I loved this gripping and enthralling installment and I’m looking forward to the next.

 

 

Book Talk Tuesday: RESCUE ME

RESCUE ME is Susan May Warren’s second book in her Montana Rescue Series.

The PEAK team in Montana is back and RESCUE ME picks up where WILD MONTANA SKIES left off. I’m loving this series.

rescue-me-book-cover-final-sml

RESCUE ME is Sam Brooks’s story. At the end of WILD MONTANA SKIES, he’d asked Sierra Rose out and made his interest in her plain. Sierra and Ian had stopped working together their incipient romance crashed and burned. Sierra’s heart was broken, but she was determined to move on and she accepted Sam’s invitation.

Fast forward a few weeks and Sam and Sierra are still dating. The PEAK team is still searching and rescuing both locals and tourists in the area and in Glacier National Park.

Sam is busy with his job, caring for his mom recovering from cancer treatments, dealing with an increase in bear attacks in the park, and his flaky younger brother Pete, a fellow PEAK team member. Sam still blames Pete for their father’s death when the boys were teenagers.

Willow, Sierra’s sister, has been trying to get over her crush on her sister’s new boyfriend by concentrating on her job and volunteering as a youth leader at her church. Then she is passed over for the youth director job at the church and her father marries and is so busy with his new family that he doesn’t have time or space for Willow anymore.

Sam keeps denying how drawn he feels to Sierra’s sister. Sierra is perfect for him. They’re both organized, steady, focused. Willow is … well, she never finished high school. She’s a free spirit who loves Jesus and her sister.

For Willow, getting over Sam is even harder when she and Sam end up leading several youth group members on a day hike. They have an accident on the way back and are stranded in the park with injured kids.

The PEAK team swings into action, searching for their missing friends. Especially Pete who is determined not to let his brother down again.

Like all of Warren’s best books, RESCUE ME has several plot threads that are woven tightly to make an incredible read. The characters’s faith is real and not heavy-handed.

Willow struggles with feeling worthy and like she belongs. Sam finally sees just what his anger and unforgiveness has cost him.

Pete has a sub-plot with Jess, one of the other PEAK Team members. I’m guessing their story will be in a future book. And, I hope, we’ll finally get back to Ian and Sierra in an upcoming book.

I was so sad when Warren’s Christiansen Family series ended, but Montana Rescue is a worthy successor. I’m looking forward to A MATTER OF TRUST, due in early July.


I received a free copy of RESCUE ME from Revell via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Not a problem for me. I loved this one!

 

Book Talk Tuesday: The Best of 2016

In 2016 I read 70 books. Most people I know think that’s a lot. But I have friends who Education concept. Bookshelf with books as like symbol.routinely read over a hundred, even up to two hundred. That’s four books a week. Every week. All year long.

My goal is 100 books each year. I usually make it to 90. but in 2016 I fell short. I barely managed one a week. And that’s including my daily Bible and devotional book reading.

So even though I fell short in my goal, I still want to talk a bit about some of the best books I read in 2016.

I’m currently writing at Starbucks and I left the list of what I read at home, so if I can remember it without the list, that’s the sign it wasn’t just good, it was great! And has lingered with my long after I closed the last page.

So, in no particular order, my top ten books I read in 2016.

First up, I think it’s a coincidence that two of the best were audio books, but these two were truly memorable. And couldn’t be more different.

tg

TIFFANY GIRL by Deanne Gist won the RITA in July in the Long Historical category and it is well deserved. I loved this book for how Gist could get a hero and heroine who who so different at the beginning of the story (different lives, different values, different families, different beliefs) and bring them together in a way that seemed completely natural and unforced.

5-stagesTHE FIVE STAGES OF FALLING IN LOVE by Rachel Higginson turned out to be a delightful and moving surprise. I had never heard of Higginson, but a trusted friend highly recommended this book and she was right. It’s about a young widow, raising her four kids alone. It begins about six months after her husband’s death. Since we lost a family member recently, I so related to the stages of grief the protagonist Liz traveled, as she fell  in (and fought) new love. I laughed out loud and sobbed, sometimes at the same time, as I listened to this.

Two of my very favorite writers both deserve their mentions on this list.

wmskies-coverWILD MONTANA SKIES is the kickoff book for Susan May Warren’s new Montana Rescue series, about a Search & Rescue group in … Montana, duh. This first book was gripping, tense, and full of surprises. It ended with a hint of mystery that will be resolved in upcoming books, but it didn’t feel like a deliberate you-have-to-buy-the-next-book-to-get-the-rest-of-the-story move. The story ended organically. Just not quite everything was resolved. As it is frequently not resolved in real life.

kh-afy

It’s been almost a year since I read Kristan Higgins’s ANYTHING FOR YOU, but I still remember the angst of both the hero and heroine as their relationship seemed determined to head in a direction neither wanted. She wanted to keep things light, but he kept pressing for more. He wanted a real relationship and a real life with her, but she kept refusing his proposals. Higgins is the best at humor, at tenderness, and at closing the bedroom door at the right moment.

That’s my first four, in no particular order. Come back tomorrow for more!

Book Talk Tuesday: WILD MONTANA SKIES

I snagged an advance copy of Susan May Warren’s newest. I loved her Deep Haven books and her Christiansen Family series. I was very disappointed when the series ended and I had no more to look forward to. And I was a little trepidatious to sample her new series.

What if I didn’t like it? What if it wasn’t the same? Silly, I know. Of course it’s going to be different. But come on, not like a Susan May Warren book?? Get real, Carrie.

WMSkies-CoverThe new series is called Montana Rescue. It’s about  Search and Rescue group in Montana, near Glacier National Park. And once I started WILD MONTANA SKIES I couldn’t put it down.

Kacey Fairing is on leave from her army job as a helicopter pilot. She’s come back to her Montana hometown to reconnect with her teenage daughter. She never expected to see Benjamin King there. He’s been off in Nashville, building a big music career.

The story is about Ben and Kacey finding their way back to each other after thirteen years apart. Both have misconceptions and mistakes to sort out.

The book opens with the local town being threatened by flash floods. Kacey and Ben have to work together immediately. The secondary stories are compelling as well.

At times, it felt like the book started in the middle of the story, but the backstory was layered in nicely. There are a lot of characters and I did sometimes get them confused, but I was able to sort out who was important to the story. And who will likely be getting their own book soon.

There’s lots of action (Search and Rescue! in Montana!) and plenty of emotion (star-crossed lovers!).

I loved it and now I can barely the Christiansens. Ingrid who? Deep Haven where?

I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.


I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in return for a honest review. Done and done.

Book Talk Tuesday: YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT

I am desolate.

After six books and two novellas, Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family Series is done. Over. No more.

Sigh.

But, on the up side, what a way to go out.

People swept overboard in the Bering Sea. Another accused of murder. Proposals. Chocolate chip cookies.

This book has it all.

YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT is Owen’s story. He’s the prodigal of the family and hasn’t been seen or heard from in the last two books. He comes back and makes a statement in this one. The other story threads are nicely dealt with too. Casper and Raina. Amelia and Roark.

If you haven’t read the other Christiansen family books, they can each be read as stand alones, but you’re missing a richer and deeper story if you don’t go back and read the ones you’ve missed. Including EVERGREEN and I REALLY DO MISS YOUR SMILE, which are focused more on the parents, while the other books in the series deal with their children.

The only question I still have is, Susie! What’s next??

Book Talk Tuesday: The Wonder of You

Finally! I’ve been waiting for Amelia’s story from Susan May Warren’s Christiansen Family series. Now that I’ve finished it, I’m happy and sad.

Happy because it’s a great book. Sad because there’s only one Christiansen sibling’s story left. Although it promises to be a whopper.

THE WONDER OF YOU by Susan May Warren
THE WONDER OF YOU by Susan May Warren

Amelia Christiansen left in a previous book to go to Europe for a year-long photography course. Her parents visited her a few months later and she returned home with them. With a broken heart. At the end of the last book, ALWAYS ON MY MIND, the heart-breaker arrived in Deep Haven with flowers and an apology.

THE WONDER OF YOU opens a few weeks later. Roark was chased off by Amelia’s protective family and she has slipped back into her role at home as the youngest Christiansen and also slipped back into her role as half of Amelia-and-Seth, her high school relationship. She’s determined to forget about Europe and her dreams and ambitions and to settle in Deep Haven.

Except then Roark St. John returns, this time vowing to stay until he convinces her that what they shared in Prague and Paris wasn’t a fling, but the real thing.

THE WONDER OF YOU is a love triangle. I’ve been skeptical of love triangles ever since an agent told me they are hard to sell because some publishers are afraid readers will feel slighted if the heroine doesn’t choose who they think she should. So ever since then, I examine love triangle stories very closely to see what works and what doesn’t. How does the author influence the reader to root for the “winner.”

Warren did a great job. The premise is “will Amelia stay with the man she’s loved since high school or will she leave the safety of home for the man who broke her heart?” I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I’ll say that at first both men seemed evenly matched and I was afraid I wouldn’t know who to root for. But Warren skillfully wove in some details and circumstances that showed who was the right man for Amelia’s heart.

I loved this one! And now I’m stuck, once again waiting for the next book in this series.

—–I received a free copy of THE WONDER OF YOU in exchange for an honest review. ——-

Book Talk Tuesday: Always on My Mind

I’m already dreading when this series ends. I love the Christiansen family, Deep Haven, and Susan May Warren’s writing.

Always on My Mind
Always on My Mind

ALWAYS ON MY MIND is Casper and Raina’s story. We met them in WHEN I FALL IN LOVE. At the end of that book, when Casper discovered Raina had a one-night stand with his brother, Owen, Casper fled for Roatan in Honduras and a job on an archaeological dig.

He’s come back with a clearer head, ready to forgive Raina and move on. He’s hoping she can forgive him for his reaction and perhaps they can begin again. That would be great except he doesn’t know one thing: Raina’s pregnant.

Raina has decided to give the baby up for adoption. She’s in no condition to care for a child and Owen has made it clear he’s not interested in being anything except a flake, a jerk, and maybe a fire-fighter.

In spite of the shock of finding Raina’s secret, Casper is still drawn to her. He moves back to Deep Haven to help at the family resort. Raina also moves back to town to house sit for her aunt and to make a new start on her life. But her heart won’t let her forget the baby she gave up.

Raina gets a job and begins dating a man Casper dislikes. But a local mystery keeps drawing Raina and Casper together, making Raina’s new boyfriend surly.

ALWAYS ON MY MIND is a story of forgiveness and grace. It’s also about how our pasts have shaped us into the people we are now. It’s about rejecting what we think we deserve and embracing all we’ve been given by God: salvation, redemption, joy.

I loved this one and highly recommend it.