Book Talk Tuesday: STORM FRONT

I look for three things in a book:

  • Characters I love and relate to
  • A plot that moves without unnecessary internal navel gazing
  • Multiple story threads that intersect
  • A satisfying ending

Why I love Susan May Warren’s books:

  • Characters who emerge from the page as real and fully developed people
  • Engrossing and exciting action that moves the story forward
  • An overarching mystery or story that ties the others together
  • The main protagonists end with a deeper understanding of themselves, God, and they usually get the love of their life.

STORM FRONT has all that and more. Much more.

Storm-Front800-768x1187The story starts about nine months after TROUBLED WATERS (the most recent book in the series) and about eighteen months after A MATTER OF TRUST (when Ty and Brette met, in Gage and Ella’s story).

Ty Remington blames himself for the helicopter accident that nearly killed his friend and mentor, Chet King, and ruined Ty’s knee. He ignores the fact that he hiked out in a snowstorm with a broken knee and saved Chet’s life. He’s been unable to fly and feels like he’s just a hanger-on and pizza fetcher for the PEAK rescue team.

For the past eighteen months, he can’t get journalist Brette Arnold out of his mind. They only knew each other for two days, but they’d developed a bond. Or at least he thought they had. He can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong and that she needs him.

Brette ran from Ty when she got a devastating medical diagnosis. She convinced herself he was better off without her. And she didn’t need rescuing or anyone taking care of her. Except she did. She really did.

As STORM FRONT opens, Brette is on the mend and working with a crew of storm chasers. She and Ty both happen to be at the aftermath of a tornado in Minnesota. Brette’s co-worker’s younger brother is missing and so is Chet King, Ty’s mentor.

As soon as he sees Brette, Ty knows he was right. Something was wrong, terribly wrong.

Brette and Ty work together to find the missing people after the tornado. In the process, they find the spark they shared is still warm and it takes only a kiss to fan it into a flame.

But they both have some deep issues they have to deal with before they can become the people God has designed them to be.

The secondary couple in this couple is Ben King and Kacey Fairing, who we met in the first book in this series, WILD MONTANA SKIES.

The next and final book in this series will be Pete and Jess’s story.

Warning: STORM FRONT ends with a heckuva cliff hanger that leads into that final book.


I received a free copy of STORM FRONT from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Talk on a Thursday: Troubled Waters

Troubled Waters is the fourth in Susan May Warren’s Montana Rescue series. There’s also a prequel novella and a mid-series novella. Whew! She’s a busy writer. And an excellent one.

Troubled Waters is Ian and Sierra’s story. We’ve been following them and hoping for them to work out their issues in the previous books. Finally, this is their time.

Warren.TWIan Shaw is a billionaire. A driven and focused billionaire. Sierra Rose started as his assistant, became his friend, and then he fell in love with her. And she with him. But they couldn’t get past the secrets between them. She knew his niece ran away with her boyfriend and didn’t tell him. He spent millions of dollars searching for his niece, intent on finding her and bringing her home. In the previous books, Ian and Sierra’s relationship devolved and when Troubled Waters begins, they’re barely speaking, barely friends, and definitely not working together.

Now, Sierra has another secret: she found Ian’s niece. She agrees to keep the young woman’s location private for another month, to give her a chance to call her uncle.  In the meantime, Ian is facing huge governments fines for a drilling accident that decimated a town. He needs cash and decides to sell his properties and holdings, including his Montana ranch and his yacht.

Sierra’s working for the PEAK Rescue team at their base. A helicopter crashes and there’s no money for repairs or a new chopper. She appeals to Ian and some of his wealthy friends and they head to the Caribbean for a “three-day cruise,” so she can convince them to donate funds for a new helicopter. Just like Gilligan’s “three-day cruise,” Ian’s and Sierra’s trip ends badly, hence the troubled waters of the title. I won’t give away what happens, except to say it’s gripping and not-put-down-able.

Pete and Jess’s story has also been slowly evolving through the three prior books, and they continue in Troubled Waters. When we get to their story, it promises to be a doozy. I can’t wait!

I love Troubled Waters and I highly recommend it! Another winner from Ms. Warren’s smoking keyboard.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in return for an honest review. I honestly loved it!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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??