Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey | Book Review

When such a fabulous series releases its final book, it’s a bittersweet time. What Dani Pettrey has done with the Alaskan Courage Series, is show us just how fabulous this genre can be! While I’m sad there’s no more McKeena stories coming, I also can’t wait to read what’s next! But first, let’s chat about the last in the series, Sabotaged.

Finally Returned Home, Reef McKeena
Finds His Beloved Alaska Facing Its Greatest Threat

Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska’s arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

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. 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.

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If there’s one way to describe this novel, I would say fast-paced. From the beginning, Reef and Kirra are thrown into a web of mystery, life threatening situations and are forced to dive in full force, whether or not they’re prepared to. It makes for some fast reading and interesting plots and of course, twists.

I have to say, I didn’t connect as much with the Reef and Kirra’s relationship as I did with the previous stories in this series. It was more rushed than the others, but I think that’s in part due to the nature of the story. The relationship aspect ended up not being my focus in the story. This does mean that the suspense and figuring out who was behind everything was rather exciting though. So while this doesn’t take the title for the favorite of the series, I still enjoyed seeing the siblings together one last time figuring all things out in their own McKenna way.

If you’ve read this series, what’s your favorite of the five?

(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christian Books

…deeper level than the first…

“A repentance and renewal of what the other side calls ‘grace’ on the scale which you describe is a defeat of the first order. It amounts to a second conversion – and probably in a deeper level than the first.”
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

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In case you aren’t familiar with The Screwtape Letters, it’s a genius book of letters from the senior Demon Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. Through the eyes of evil, it’s a powerful look at “temptation and the triumph over it.” It was also the first Inklings discussion and is one of my favorites of Lewis (you can find the post here). I love the look at grace from the “other side.”

Have you read The Screwtape Letters?

 

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline | Book Review

You know those books you’re completely enraptured by? Those stories that draw you in emotionally, you feel like the characters are real? Those that make your heart happy and even have you tearing up? This, my friends, is one such book.

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

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Orphan Train is simply one of those books I loved from the very beginning. From the references of Anne of Green Gables to a piece of history I didn’t know existed to the heartache and the healing, Orphan Train has it all. I was captivated by each of the stories (Vivian’s and Molly’s) and loved going back and forth between their stories.

The history of the 1920s and 1930s was vivid, interesting, sad and hopeful. The same can be said of Molly’s story too. I loved reading about Irish Immigrant history through Vivian’s eyes and pieces of Native American history through Molly’s. Plus any story that deals with adoption and foster care always gets me too.

Also the changes they brought out in one another was done so well. This story serves as a reminder how there’s so much to learn from generations before us and how beautiful healing can be. They gave each other the strength to believe in second chances.

And yes, I teared up all the tears.

Have you read this one? It’s been out a while and I hope they make it into a movie!

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Blog Planners – Do You Use Them?

Does anyone else out there have a strange obsession with lists like I do? I love, to a point of embarrassment, to-do lists. Mainly because I get to cross things off. When it comes to blogging, lists are my best friend. That brings me to today’s post – I wanted to hear from y’all as well!

First, let’s start with a picture of what I’m currently using:

Please don’t judge my font choice. I was rushed.

Please don’t judge my font choice. I was rushed.

I needed something to help remind me of things I always forget. Like did I post my review on Amazon? Did I update it on my archive page? Oh wait, did I already submit the link to the publisher?! Once upon a time I probably could have remembered to do these things on my own, but that day has long since sailed.

What’s a bit funny is I am digital in every other aspect of my life. Appointments, monthly calendars – including a month look at my blog schedule (I originally had a printed out a monthly calendar, but used it for about two weeks), writing out blog ideas, you name it – I have apps for all of those.

My weekly checklist though, not so much. I already have a list of things I want to add and switch up, once I run out of the stack I have, but it’s been really helpful in keeping me organized in blogging.

So what about y’all? Do you use any kind of planner? What do you use? What would be helpful in a blog planner?

Thanks for any feedback! I’m interested to hear what you guys use or don’t use!

RECAP: The Walking Dead Episode 512 or as I like to call it “Will You People Shower? Thanks”

Welcome to another Walking Dead recap! As always, this post has spoilers from the episode, so if you haven’t seen it yet, feel free to read previous recaps first!

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Alright. Alright. Let’s see what Alexandria has for us.

“We brought dinner.” – Only Daryl

See? Isn’t that nice for our crew to bring snacks?

I need to throw this out there: Why do these new people ask for their weapons? As if they’re just going to hand them on over. Why are they shocked? They’ve been watching them, so they should know better. These people don’t answer to strangers.

The house has books!! Let’s stop and talk about all the books!!!

Back to these new characters. We meet Deanna Monroe and she interviews Rick on camera and we get a bit of background story. She worked in Congress and was forced to this place when they were trying to get out of VA. She needs to stop smiling. She’s at a lost of what the world really is right now. She’s never even left the compound. I mean yikes. Although she exiled three men. I wonder if they ended up as Termites?

“I want you to help us survive.” Deanna to Rick

Deanna is such the politician, but I don’t think she’s Gov material.

They eventually give up their guns. I have a feeling this will come back to haunt them. Not so much because of the people inside, but when some new crazy comes to attack the place. You know that’s bound to happen.

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Photo by Gene Page/AMC

Aaron gives them two houses and says they can explore, check things out and they won’t have people bugging them. The house Carl and Rick explore is nice! I get why they were running for $800K.

And oh my word – SHOWERS people. SHOWERS.

Jessie shows up all neighborly, cuts Rick’s hair and says her sons can hang out with Carl. I don’t know if I can fully trust a group of people who have never been on the outside after everything hit the fan.

Can we all take a moment to appreciate that Season 1 Rick is back (and the hashtag #CleanCutRick)! But more importantly why haven’t the rest showered??

We don’t get too much more. Daryl is ansty in his video interview and refuses to sit down. Then he decided to cut open din din on the porch. Bruh. Gross. There’s some creepy noises and Carl comes across an abandoned attic (we never find out what caused the sounds).

Deanna fully approves of Rick’s new look. Let’s be honest, who didn’t?

In Michonne’s interview, she makes it clear this is what they want. Rick has a freak out moment when he can’t find Carl and Judith. They were hanging out with some g-rents, so all is well. Jessie is a bit pushy with the friendship, but Carl hangs out with her boys and a really angry teenage girl. Carl has a freak out moment, but gets no compassion from Edith.

Rude.

He also is real honest in his interview, the whole “I killed my mom” thing. I get not holding back though. They need to know exactly who they are, in case they try to do anything shady.

“They’re weak. I don’t want us to get weak too.” Interesting Carl, interesting…

But seriously, WHY HASN’T EVERYONE SHOWERED? I’m sorry I keep bringing this up, but I can’t be the only one who thinks this.

Rick decides to go for a night walk after a quick chat with Michonne. He stumbles upon Jessie’s husband. He’s just creepily sitting on the porch, smoking and provides the most non-genuine welcome I’ve ever witnessed. I bet he’s a bowl of cherries and will end up dead soon.

We cut to Rick laying down and then suddenly popping his eyes open like he’s just remembered something. Great. Just great. What did he remember?!

These interviews are interesting. It’s a good look at where people are at and what they think of this place. What’s Carol’s play? She still misses her husband?? Homegirl. You’re better than that. Although I’ve decided its an act. Daryl’s reaction to Carol’s new look and job? “You look ridiculous.” Only Daryl.

“We need to make this work because we were almost out there too long.” Glenn

Rick goes outside to explore the walls and Carl spies Edith (angry teen) climbing over the walls. So naturally he follows. He hasn’t learned since season two.

Glenn, Tara and Noah meet some of the guys and they go on a dry run. Rick goes back to retrieve his gun in the blender and it’s missing. Hmmm…..A bunch of walkers come, Carl shows up (Rick is no longer surprised) and they stab them all, even the one hiding underneath the blankie. It seems like they enjoyed killing them with the knife. Maybe so they don’t forget or get “weak?”

The two guys on the run turn out to be total jerks. Ew. They left one walker hanging (why would the other walker have eaten him though?? They don’t eat each other…), Aidan admits he’s a jerk and they’re ridiculous. They think this is all a game. They have no idea. Plus they almost got one of my people killed. Nope.

I knew there was something wrong. Our crew was quick to respond though. At least Deanna recognizes that’s what they needed – you know to be knocked out by Glenn (and Aidan is her son). Finally, Rick accepts her job offer and puts his badge back on. It’s fitting. Makes me a bit happy.

“If they can’t make it, we’ll just take this place.” Just in case people forget who Rick is.

Hmmm…a bit of a slower episode again, but I’m okay with this. I need time to scope this new place out. Alright, what do you think? Sound off below or on Facebook.