Monday, January 8, 2018

Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren

Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren

I love these characters! In this story, (Montana Rescue series, book four), we get to see the PEAK team travel, putting their resources to use away from the usual Montana setting. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Billionaire Ian Shaw can have everything he wants—except a happy ending. Or at least that's what it feels like with his fortune recently liquidated, his niece, Esme, still missing, and the woman he loves refusing to speak to him. In fact, he doubts she would date him even if they were stranded on a deserted island.

Despite her love for Ian, Sierra Rose knows he has no room in his life for her as long as the mystery of his missing niece goes unsolved. The only problem is, Sierra has solved it, but a promise to Esme to keep her whereabouts secret has made it impossible to be around Ian.

When the PEAK chopper is damaged, and Sierra lacks the funds to repair it, Ian offers a fundraising junket for large donors on his yacht in the Caribbean. But the three-day excursion turns into a nightmare when a rogue wave cripples the yacht and sends the passengers overboard. Shaken up and soaked to the bone, Ian finally has a chance to test his theory when he and Sierra do indeed find themselves washed up on a strange, empty shore.

It will take guts and gumption for the PEAK team to rescue the duo. But it will take a miracle to rescue Ian and Sierra's relationship.

And now, my review:

From this series's prequel (which is a Kindle FREEBIE), entitled If Ever I Would Leave You, I’ve been hoping we would get back to Ian and Sierra's story. This book takes us there. Please, if you haven't yet, read this free prequel. Then, you'll have the background for Troubled Waters, and really, for the rest of the series.

We also get to follow Jess and Pete’s story, which is another reason I love this series—the threads of secondary characters keep us hooked. It’s also a good reason to read these novels in order, which I highly recommend doing. Here’s the list:

Montana Rescue series, titles and release dates:

Prequel: If Ever I Would Leave You (9/15/16)
Book One: Wild Montana Skies (10/18/16)
Book Two: Rescue Me (1/31/17)
Book Three: A Matter of Trust (7/2017)
Book Four: Troubled Waters (1/2/18)

[Note: These links are for the Kindle versions. You’ll find my reviews of these books on this blog (Net’s Book Notes).]

Now, back to my thoughts. 
There are so many good things to like about this book! I loved the dynamic between brothers Pete and Sam. I loved the characterization, overall, but especially Susie’s male POVs. (points of view) At difficult points, we see their brokenness, in believable ways. So well done. Though the novel’s level of peril got to me a little bit (because there is a lot of it here), I enjoyed the ride. And oh, the romance! Every couple we focused on had their own romance going, which was so much fun.

Ian is a once-wealthy man who has trusted in his wealth and his own ability to control life, he thinks, to get him through. That’s why the loss of his niece eats him up, I think. (see the prequel) He tried his best to control her future, and his efforts didn’t work. Readers may relate with trying to control their lives out of a sense of fear. Ian has skid marks from past relationships, feeling abandoned, and he’s got a fatal flaw (this control issue) that needs to go. But his persistence and drive make him respectable, and I rooted for his success. He’s also broken, especially as his journey gets rough, and I felt for him.

Sierra sees herself as second rate. She’s interpreted her life’s events as evidence for that belief. She’s stronger than she thinks and her adventures in this story, including her romance with Ian, will unravel her lie. I loved rooting for her and watching her bravely take on the challenges in her path.

I loved that Susie included herself in this story, incognito! (Read the book to find her.) And I loved the escape of sailing and revisiting summer weather this January while I read. Jesus is present in this story in a way I don’t recall in Susie’s earlier books, and I loved that!

One of the novel’s themes was how life is not easy. Trusting God is hard and even when you do, bad things happen. But how we respond to those times is what counts. That’s a relatable theme. Susie encourages readers to choose faith, another theme.

Troubles hit these characters over and over on their way to the book’s conclusion. I held my breath and cheered and cried. Every emotion. I laughed aloud a few times and delighted in this journey.

Looking back at my highlighted in the Kindle ARC version, I think I’m going to want to read this one again. So much to enjoy!  

I loved this novel and highly recommend it.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren

Let’s begin with the summary:

Champion back-country snowboarder Gage Watson has left the limelight behind after the death of one of his fans. After being sued for negligence and stripped of his sponsorships, he's remade his life as a ski patrol in Montana's rugged mountains, as well as serving on the PEAK Rescue team. But he can't seem to find his footing—or forget the woman he loved, who betrayed him.

Senator and former attorney Ella Blair spends much of her time in the limelight as the second-youngest senator in the country. But she has a secret—one that cost Gage his career. More than anything, she wants to atone for her betrayal of him in the courtroom and find a way to help him put his career back on track.

When Ella's brother goes missing on one of Glacier National Park's most dangerous peaks, Gage and his team are called in for the rescue. But Gage isn't so sure he wants to help the woman who destroyed his life. More, when she insists on joining the search, he'll have to keep her safe while finding her reckless brother, a recipe for disaster when a snowstorm hits the mountain.

But old sparks relight as they search for the missing snowboarder—and suddenly, they are faced with emotions neither can deny. But when Ella's secret is revealed, can they learn to trust each other—even when disaster happens again?

And now, my review:

This book is about Gage, but I loved getting to learn more about Ty. He’s kind-hearted and compassionate.

Okay, back to Gage, the main hero of this Montana Rescue series novel. He’s likable and competent. You trust that if he’s sent out to rescue someone, he’ll bring them safely home. That’s reassurance you’ll need as the story gets more and more intense. Getting to ski with Gage was fascinating. He has something to prove, and Susie slowly reveals his secrets to the reader. Love how she did that. Gage’s heroism flows from a few things—past regrets and this need to prove himself to the world. He’s calm, though, and mature.

Senator and attorney Ella Blair is a likable character as well. She has some past regrets that she'll need to overcome. As I read her story, I felt she was more believable as an attorney than a senator, but that may be because we didn't spend much time on her senator role. I loved that she was a strong and competent snowboarder. The perfect match for Gage and someone we could respect.

Like when I read Susie’s smokejumper books, and I felt as if I was breathing in the smoke and coughing on the fumes, while I was reading this wintertime novel, I could almost smell the snow and feel the powder surround me as I swished down a slope. The descriptions take you right into the experience with the characters. Gage’s skiing expertise was so well written. He’s a champion freerider, and the first scenes in the book were extremely well penned. The wording was so technical, I wondered for a moment if someone else had written them. Some of the phrases were foreign to me from start to finish. Then, when I read Susan’s Author Note, she makes it clear she’s been a life-long skier. She knows this topic.

There were many profound statements, some relational, and some spiritual—about how God sees us versus how we see ourselves, especially when it comes to feeling worthy of being rescued. God doesn’t require us to be worthy, but we require it of ourselves.  This novel included themes of rescue, forgiveness, secrets, God’s love, mercy, and trust. Also, there’s a theme of believing in yourself and how when others do, their faith in us encourages us to see ourselves differently.

I had a tough time, now knowing this world, believing that a tent without a fire inside, could be warm enough in the temperatures she described for people to camp in. Or how a stove would work inside a tent, without a way to vent the fumes outside. Perhaps a little more explanation would be helpful.

Another concern was that Ty meets someone, and she and he both experience an immediate attraction. No surprises so far. But what didn’t quite click is why he was drawn to her after that initial attraction. Without giving away spoilers, she has a career that threatens the team’s members, so it wasn’t believable that he would continue to pursue her when that became apparent. We could use another strong element that draws him so we believe that he would let her into his life and therefore close to the team.

But overall, I relished this story. I have Susie’s next book in this same series (Troubled Waters) on my Kindle, ready for me to keep enjoying these characters. Can’t wait to get back to it!

Highly recommended! I love this series, which I recommend you read in order. Otherwise, you may be lost. There are a lot of great characters to track.