Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Review: Stranded

Being sick has its advantages . . . like being able to finish a book in a few days, instead of several weeks or more!  I recently received Stranded, by Dani Pettrey, and finished it last night . . . here's my review:

Synopsis: Darcy St. James gave up her former job as an undercover investigative journalist several years ago, exchanging dangerous undercover work for a new role as an adventure journalist covering extreme sports, etc.  But then her former partner and good friend, Abby, calls to enlist Darcy's help in one more undercover assignment--she's onto something "big" on the Bering, an Alaskan cruise ship.  Darcy takes the job, but the same day she arrives on board the Bering, Abby disappears.  Darcy fears that something terrible has happened to her friend, and she's determined to find out just what is going on, and where Abby is.

The McKenna family (siblings whom Darcy had met and become friends with in the previous book) just "happens" to be running adventure excursions for the Bering, and Gage McKenna is heading them up.  Darcy and Gage had sparks flying between them the adventure before, and not just the romantic kind. :)  But neither has been able to get the other out of their mind since then.  When they meet again and end up working nearly side by side, will their attraction develop into something deeper?  And when  the danger that caused Abby's disappearance threatens Darcy as well, will Gage be able to keep her safe?

My thoughts: Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review Shattered, the previous book in this series. I really enjoyed it, and was excited to have the chance to review Stranded as well!  (I still haven't read Submerged, the first book in the series, but I'm sure that one is good, too.)  I love the suspense genre, and having some romance thrown in is always fun. :)  Furthermore, Dani Pettrey is an excellent writer and her books are filled with plenty of action, twists, and turns.  The chapters are fairly short and I kept reading "just one more chapter" until I was done. :)

I think I enjoyed Stranded even a bit more than Shattered, although I did find Darcy's tenacity as a reporter (ALWAYS asking questions) more annoying than Piper's sweet personality (the lead female character in Shattered).  I loved that almost the whole McKenna family was involved throughout the book, and getting to "know" them a little better.  I loved Darcy's tender, compassionate heart (under her tenacious nature ;)) and her drive to rescue Abby, and to see Gage and Abby both come to Christ.  The thing I loved most about this book was Pettrey's clear presentation of the grace and hope of the Gospel. I felt she did a fabulous job exploring the themes of grace and redemption, and weaving them throughout the story.  This is something that seems to be sadly lacking in the majority of Christian fiction I read, so I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with how the author skillfully presented the Gospel without being preachy.

There were only a few minor things I didn't like about this book.  I really did like the romantic tension between the main characters and felt it was well-done, overall . . . but there were a few things that bugged me.  First, referring to Gage's eyes as "soulful" (which happened at least a couple times) . . . Gage was a strong, masculine character, but "soulful" just sounds too gushy to me for how I pictured him.  I think the author was trying to convey his tender heart underneath the strong exterior, but it seemed like there could have been a better way to express that.  Also, I didn't really need to know that Gage had "washboard abs." :)  The other thing that seemed kind of funny was that Darcy was supposed to be reporting and blogging about the adventure excursions, but she didn't seem to do much actual journalism.  :)  (I understand that she was very busy solving mysteries and keeping the book's action moving . . . I just got thinking about it afterward and it occurred to me that she didn't seem to be doing much writing in the story!)

Anyway, overall I really enjoyed this book so much, and the good parts of it far outweighed the little things that bugged me. :)  I am so glad I discovered Dani Pettrey's books, and I can't wait for the next Alaskan Courage story!!

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from Bethany House.  I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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