June 21, 2012

Book Review - Submerged

by Dani Pettrey

Book One - Alaskan Courage

When her Aunt Agnes was killed in a suspicious plane crash over Alaskan waters, Bailey felt obligated, as her heir, to return to her hometown of Yancey, Alaska to attend the funeral and to sell her aunt's tourist shop.  Bailey wasn't really eager to face a boyfriend she had jilted long ago, Cole McKenna, or the townspeople who remembered her "loose girl" reputation.  But the McKenna family enveloped her as family and soon Bailey was drawn into a mystery involving more than one murder, Russian royalty, and a submerged church.  Her skills as a diver and as a teacher of Russian history were necessary to secure the answers needed.

This book will intrigue you from the first page; it has mystery, suspense, romance, likeable characters and a plot that keeps one guessing.  The banter between the McKenna siblings was believeable and humorous, and their love of each other very genuine.  The reader definitely becomes invested in the well-being of all the characters, but especially Cole and Bailey, as they search out the truth.  Set in Alaska, the author enhanced the novel with descriptions of the terrain and the underwater worlds a diver would see there.  I especially liked the underlying story of the Romanov family and the early Russians in Alaska. 

Pettrey, as a debut novelist, has me as a fan, and I look forward to her second book in this series, Shattered. Check out her website at www.danipettrey.com

This book was provided to me from Bethany House Publishers for my review.  The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced by the publisher.

June 3, 2012

Book Review - The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

Amelia, an extremely talented concert violinist, was struggling to break free of the expectations of her father and manager.  She wanted to be a “fiddler” of country music, a teacher of music to young children, and most of all, she wanted to simplify her life and follow her own dreams.  On the way home from a secret trip where she had played fiddle at a country concert, she became lost and came upon the cabin retreat of Michael, a young Amish man, also struggling to break free of the expectations of his religious community. He wanted an education and the freedom of  the English world.  These two hit it off right away. 
For much of the story, guilt directed their life paths as they aimed to please their parents, rather than themselves.  Each believed  they had no choices.  They had bonded with each other, yet they felt any future together would be impossible and could not even be discussed.

Gradually…very gradually…each finds the courage to face the tough decisions which had to be made.

 Sorry, Ms. Lewis, but this is one of your books that was a struggle to finish.  I found the plot lackluster, the characters uninteresting, and the ending abrupt and unrealistic. I really lost interest in the long exposition on Amelia’s European concert tour, where we have to visit every city with her and the plot advances not one bit.  The first half of the book was more interesting than the second half, but it was hard to become emotionally involved with any of the characters.   This is the first book in the Home to Hickory Hollow series.

 This book was kindly provided to me by Bethany House for my review.   The opinions expressed here are my own.