Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

book cover
by Dani Pettrey

ISBN-13: 9780764211966
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: February 3, 2015

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through Netgalley.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now paired together on Yancey’s search-and-rescue canine unit, they begin to put aside old arguments as they come to see each other in a different light.

Then a call comes in from the Iditarod that will push them to their limits. Kirra’s uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing. Frank’s daughter has been kidnapped. In order to save her, Frank must use his knowledge as a mechanical engineer to do the kidnapper’s bidding or she will die.

Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl’s life, but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

My Review:
Sabotaged is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It's the fifth book in a series. It can be read as a stand alone, and it didn't spoil the suspense storylines of the previous novels. The attraction that blooms into romance actually started in the previous book, so the starting intensity of their attraction might seem surprising if you haven't read the previous book. Also, the past main characters were highly involved in this story, so it might be more meaningful if you start earlier in the series.

The dog racing and SARs was a backdrop to the story; most of the story involved flying or driving around Alaska to track down Franks past and Meg's present. The mystery had clues about who was involved and why, so some of it was guessable, but the full story didn't come out until the end. The suspense was created by the physical danger to a number of characters and from the emotional healing that Kirra journeyed through before embracing the romantic relationship.

The Christian element was deeply entwined with the storyline as Reef was trying to depend more deeply on God and Kirra was wrestling with why God let something really bad happen to her in her past. I didn't find it preachy or abrupt. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this suspenseful novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt on author's website

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Crimson Cord by Jill Eileen Smith

book cover
The Crimson Cord
by Jill Eileen Smith

ISBN-13: 9780800720346
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: February 17, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Wife to a gambler, Rahab is sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Rahab is forced into prostitution by Dabir, counselor to the king. When Israelite spies finally enter Jericho, they come to ask her about the mood of the city. In one risky moment, she vows to protect the spies from the authorities in return for her and her family's lives. She hopes they will not only keep their promise but allow her to become one of them.

My Review:
The Crimson Cord is a Biblical fiction novel. I found the first 142 pages very depressing because Rahab's suffering wasn't even the refining kind. She's a kind, caring woman who is repeatedly abused by her husband, then by her master and the men of her city. Though Rahab loses everyone and everything she cares about, she doesn't become bitter. Even though many men betray and abuse her, she's still very trusting. She reassures her sister that Joshua is a good man before she has even met him. I would have expected her abuse to have impacted her more deeply and in many more ways than it did.

The spies finally appear on page 143. Salmon briefly meets Rahab and falls instantly in lust with her though he despises her for being a prostitute. Rahab is instantly attracted to this handsome stranger whom she knows lusts after and despises her. Not a healthy start, and this is the basis of their few, brief interactions for most the book. Salmon isn't drawn to Rahab's ongoing faith until the last fifteen pages. Rahab rejects Salmon because she doesn't feel worthy. Somehow, she knew what sin was even without the Hebrew Law and believed what she was doing was wrong. She wants to feel clean before she can marry Salmon.

It bothered me that Joshua (without consulting God) kept pushing Salmon and Rahab to marry when she might still be married, was barren, and hadn't had time to show that she was serious about following God. And they acted like Rahab couldn't simply convert (with related teaching and rituals) but needed to become a "captive bride."

There were numerous cultural/historical errors. A few examples: Rahab's husband is left alive, but when Rahab is sold as a slave, she's taken as a "mistress" and "consort" by a powerful man. Culturally speaking, she's a concubine--a slave "second rank" wife. Her new husband then sells time in her bed to all of his political pals...and to rich, foreign men off the street. This would be like the Vice President pimping his wife to his political friends and strangers alike. He should have lost respect, but it's treated like he's a modern street pimp with Rahab as his modern high-class call girl. She calls him her "employer" rather than her master or husband.

Birth control and abortion drugs are treated like they were reliable and safe. Rahab's master stated that prostitutes never keep the children of their prostitution. Yet some do even in modern times, and more would have when birth control was ineffective and abortion dangerous and generally ineffective.

Salmon goes to battle, then buries dead--so he's ceremonially unclean--and yet he's allowed to go into the direct presence of God...and God, amazingly, doesn't even notice. Rahab prayed to her moon god like a Christian prays to God--like she assumes the god is always listening and willing to help. Pagan religions usually assume the petitioner has to do something (like a sacrifice) to get the god's attention and good will, and even then the god's reaction could be negative. Rahab just changes one god (who doesn't answer but at least doesn't appear to ask for much) for another god (a very exacting one who tends to punish with death) because at least He's more powerful. She hopes to find unconditional love and forgiveness in Salmon, not God, though she does finally accept that God forgives her.

There were no graphic descriptions of sex. There was no bad language. I suppose the writing itself must be fairly good to have provoked such a strong emotional response in me, but unfortunately, it was a largely negative response. I guess I was expecting a story as good as Tessa Afshar's "Pearl in the Sand," but I should have just re-read that story.

P.S. This author also overlooks Deut. 24:5 "If a man has recently married his wife, he is not to be subject to military service; he is to be free of external obligations and left at home for one year to make his new wife happy." Joshua makes this big deal about how they can't go to war without Salmon leading the army, yet he pushes for an immediate marriage that should have taken Salmon out of action for a year. That law is hard luck for romance writers, I guess, but great for new brides. Yes, God cares that much about the happiness of a new bride.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Drowning Spool by Monica Ferris

book cover
The Drowning Spool
by Monica Ferris

ISBN-13: 9780425270097
Mass Market Paperback:
320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: February 3, 2015

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Running her needlework shop keeps Betsy plenty busy, but she agrees to teach a class on the punch needle technique at the local senior complex, Watered Silk. A young woman is found floating in Watered Silk’s therapy pool, and the list of suspects is more twisted than any Betsy has encountered before. The young woman had three lovers—each with a motive for the murder.

It’s up to Betsy to sort out the snarl of romantic entanglements and find a killer, or the wrong man is bound to get pinned for a crime he didn’t commit…

My Review:
The Drowning Spool is a cozy mystery. It's the seventeenth novel in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil previous mysteries.

This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Whodunit didn't surprise me, but parts of howdunit seemed improbable. But I enjoyed the mystery and the story enough that I'm interested in reading more of this author's books. I liked that the heroine reasoned things through logically and followed good leads. She acted professionally (not superior or self-entitled) when investigating and accepted basic safety measures when friends suggested them. The characters were engaging and generally behaved realistically.

There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Enter the HEART OF ADVENTURE Sweepstakes from Author Dani Pettrey!

In SABOTAGED, Kirra Jacobs and Reef McKenna experience the high stakes of Iditarod search-and-rescue when Kirra’s uncle, a musher in the race, goes missing. Frank’s daughter Meg has been kidnapped, and Frank must do the kidnapper’s bidding or Meg will die. It's a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl’s life, but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

To celebrate their epic race, Dani and Bethany House Publishers are pleased to present the HEART OF ADVENTURE SWEEPSTAKES, and your chance to win one of three marvelous prizes.


This giveaway starts February 2, 2015 and ends February 22, 2015 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over. Winners will be selected Monday, February 23, 2015, and announced at

How to Enter: Go to and complete the entry box, anytime between February 2 – 22, 2015.