My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When her brother is placed on trial for murder, Piper McKenna won't stop until she's proved his innocence. Deputy Landon Grainger would do anything for the family that took him in as one of their own, but how can he prove the innocence of a man who appears to be guilty? When the woman he's come to love begins interfering in his investigation, he may have to go to extraordinary lengths to keep her safe, and hopefully help save her brother too.
Landon shows great character growth, his development creating a really great arch to the story and making him that much more loveable. Piper remains pretty static as a character besides her change of heart in regard to Landon, but she has a certain depth that excuses that to some degree. Slidell is so stinking irritating as a character, but perfectly fulfills his purpose for existing to begin with. Super cute intro for Darcy. I love her outlook and that she's not afraid to stand up to Gage. Gage... Not sure what to say about him except that my heart deeply aches for that fictional man.
My Character Inspirations
|Armie Hammer as Landon Grainger|
|Vanessa Hudgens as Piper McKenna|
The story jumps in to the middle of things with Landon and Piper, but it still works really well. To get a more rounded view of their history you'd have to read the first book in the series, Submerged, but the plot develops well without the backstory. She does occasionally refer to scenes from Submerged without much explanation, which might leave a reader confused if unfamiliar with the first book in the series.
December, Tariuk Island, Alaska. Town called Yancey. With travel to British Columbia, Canada, California, and Oregon. I love the scene descriptions, how they go way beyond what you'd see to the smells and feel in the spaces. I always have a wonderfully vivid picture if exactly where things take place. Even with all the travel in this book, the characters still feel rooted. There is one instance when Kayden shows up somewhat out of the blue, but it makes sense that she would somehow make it to the location for a SAR escapade.
Great romantic build up to that first kiss. The flow of writing and overall storytelling works perfectly for the genre and keeps you locked in to the story at all times. The tension and stain between characters has a perfect emotional payoff - extremely romantic with sizzling scenes - while keeping it all above board and retaining appropriate modesty.
Landon's journey throughout is a great balance of struggle based on a history of being deceived and the need to place trust and give authority to a higher power. It seems like many of us have to experience feelings of complete helplessness to give control over to God, and this is wonderfully executed in his story. His redemption process is very well done and I love the support and encouragement Cole gives to his friend.
"She looked to Landon, finally catching his gaze. Their eyes held, and she couldn't help but wonder if they were on the precipice of something great or about to take a terrible fall."
"She smiled at the tender, protective touch if his hand resting against the small of her back as they disembarked and proceeded down the gangplank - the way a smile cracked on his lips when he caught her smiling. It was hard to believe it was Landon, and yet somehow it'd always been him."
There's not a lot better than great friends that build us up and offer encouragement. Although a lot of this book focuses on the relationship between Landon and Piper (which I loved), something that really stood out to me was how Cole's relationship with Landon contributes to him giving his life to Christ.
I think it's harder for women to find true friends (probably because men don't require nearly as much in their relationships), but it's definitely just as important to have them. While my husband is my best friend and my "person", I've found it so fulfilling to have a girlfriend who I can turn to for some of my problems, especially when I need advice or encouragement for my marriage. It's always nice to have a neutral party that can help you find ways to approach your spouse about something, and more importantly be praying for you in the midst of whatever it is.
It's really important that the people you allow to speak into your life share your beliefs. If you take a marital problem to a friend who believes that divorce is a viable option, how likely are they to encourage you to rely on God and remain dedicated to your marriage when things really get tough? Don't get me wrong, we are definitely called to reach out to unbelievers, to build good relationships there and allow our love and (hopefully) our lives to be a ministry, but the friendships from which we seek advice should be those who challenge us to fight the good fight, to finish the race, and to keep the faith.
Friends can have such a profound impact on our lives. I am so thankful for my best friends and other women who speak truth into my life, even when it may be hard for me to hear. A lot of the time, nowadays especially, we think that if someone says we're doing something wrong, challenges us, or even disagrees with us, we are quick to let go of that relationship because it hurt our pride. If we don't allow people to confront us when problems arrive, we can be trapped in a cycle of actions that bring worse consequences. Hold on to friends that challenge you. They are the ones who really care.
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."