My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Strong and independent, Kayden McKenna has everything under control. Dedicated to staying strong, healthy, and beholden only to herself, she's effectively created an indestructible shell of protection. That's exactly why she's so scared of Jake. He has a crazy way of sneaking past that barrier and seeing what's really going on with her. Things only get more complicated when she's forced to accompany him on an investigation into a murder she stumbled upon.
Jake Cavanagh never thought he'd recover from the loss of his wife and child, but somehow Kayden has brought him back to life. When the case they're working on leads to threats on her life, he will do anything to keep the woman he loves safe from harm.
CharactersKayden McKenna starts out as one of my favorite characters just because of her scepticism and history of being very outspoken with her distrust of Jake. She's a spitfire and I love it. Jake is such a great character with such a rich backstory. He has a wonderful air of mystery and humility that I can't seem to get enough of. Reef is a great addition to the story. It's rare to find a character that willingly goes to and enjoys church but doesn't really "get it". I like that Pettrey did that with Reef's character.
My Character Inspiration
|Jesse Lee Soffer as Jake Westin Cavanagh
|Sophia Bush as Kayden McKenna
Great build to climax and small plot twists throughout, but that antagonist... perfect villain plot twist! I knew it, but I totally missed the best part until it unraveled in the story. Oh my goodness, so so good. I think Kayden and Jake just might be my favorite characters in the series, or at least until I read the next book. The closing scene was absolute perfection.
*In chapter 27 when Kayden asks Jake if he's back in the saddle, there's never an answer, but it moves on like he did answer.
Various Island Towns in Alaska. Mostly a town called Yancey on Tariuk Island. Great descriptions really make you experience the surroundings if the book. If you've never had any inkling to go to Alaska before now, this book may leave you wanting to pack a bag and book a flight.
Overall, I can't get enough of the characters and story behind this book. Jake and Kayden's dynamic is interesting and flows so well. I'd love more character descriptions, but there are enough good tidbits that you can get a decent feel for their looks and temperament. There are some places in the book where it feels like phrasing is used with redundancy, silting the flow, or the sentences feel off or badly edited... a little clumsy perhaps? For the most part, however, wonderfully written.
The characters' problems are very complex, making it hard to put a finger on a specific theme until it really comes to a eureka moment, but Kayden's fight for control is the biggest struggle the characters face (outside of the little matter of a killer hunting them). Jake had some very wise words in the matter, and I love his thoughtful reasoning.
Healthy living has become an obsession nowadays. Some people have to work hard to avoid allergies in many different foods, but I think the majority of people that really focus on nutrition to the extreme do so because they have a need to live. I love the way that this plays out in this book, and I think there are some wonderful lessons that we can take away from it. Don't get me wrong, it's always a good idea to have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. We have to take care of the body that we are given, that's just a basic component of being a good steward. The problem arises when physical fitness becomes an idol in our lives. When we do that, we take our eyes off of the reason that we are on earth - to bear witness to the gospel - and begin to focus instead on ourselves. Not only does that prompt a self-centered mentality, it also roots us to a fixation on a very temporary existence.
I think that for most of America, all of the new diets and programs are both a reaction to our devolution into a sedentary and obese society and also a desperate need to prolong our life on earth because of a lack of belief in anything after. What saddens me is the latter. As our culture has moved from being influenced for the positive by Christianity (fewer divorces, promoting of abstinence outside of marriage, respect for human life, etc.) to one that scorns those beliefs, we see people struggling to overcome their mortality or succumbing to it at an alarming rate. As one of my favorite quotes goes, "10 out of 10 people who eat carrots die". There's nothing that can be done about that.
What's important is what we do with the time we are given. What is your purpose? To make a lot of money? Why? You can't take it with you. To be famous? At what cost? And how long will that really last? To leave a legacy? What does that look like?
I desperately hope to leave a legacy. My children are the chief component to that purpose. Like it or not, they're stuck with me for most of the day, and in that time I have the opportunity to speak life and hope and grace into their lives or leave that for someone else to do. The same is true for those I encounter throughout my day. I am so looking forward to what happens after this life, but while I'm here I'm determined to show other people the hope I have. I pray that you're reminded today about how much God loves you and the wonders and treasures that he has stored up for you in heaven.
"To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven"
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all you soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down , and when you rise up."