Review: The Killing Tide (Coastal Guardians #1) by Dani Pettrey

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer’s boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

When investigative reporter–and Finn’s boss’s sister–Gabby Rowley arrives, her unrelenting questions complicate an already volatile situation. Now that she’s back, the tug on Finn’s heart is strong, but with the risks she’s taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can’t ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark

I received a copy of this title via the publisher. It does not impact my review. 

The Killing Tide will be available August 6, 2019. 

It’s always a disappointing thing when a book by one of your favorite authors doesn’t end up working for you. This was the case for me and The Killing Tide.

What I Liked

-I thought the actual mystery aspect of the story was well done. It was pretty well-paced and Pettrey did a good job of weaving together multiple cases.

-I liked the setting and that many of the main characters are in the Coast Guard. That’s something new I haven’t read a lot of before and I found it pretty interesting.

-I thought Pettrey did a good job with incorporating the characters’ faith in into the story. There wasn’t really any big lesson, it was just daily life and I liked that.

What Didn’t Work for Me

-Gabby drove me crazy for pretty much this whole book. The first time we meet her she narrowly escapes an attempt on her life and she ends up going to her brother so he and his Coast Guard friends can help protect her. But then she fights against the notion of needing to be  protected the whole time and continually runs away from the people who are supposed to be watching her, which I just found really annoying and selfish. And her whole defense is that she needs to chase the story because God made her passionate about it and to ask her not to do it is wrong. Um, pretty sure that’s not  how God works. She just really, really rubbed me the wrong way and pretty much ruined the book for me.

-The romance didn’t really work for me. We find out that prior to the events of this book, Gabby and Finn had started a relationship, which was cut short when Gabby moved away. They both already had strong feelings for each other when the story starts and so we miss all of the build up. I never really felt their chemistry when they’re reunited and so I never got invested in them as a couple.

-There are a lot of characters that are thrown out in the beginning. I had a really hard time keeping them straight. It took about half the book before I could start to tell them all apart. While I don’t have a problem with any of them, none of them really stood out to me as someone I would be excited to read about next.

-I think my biggest problem with the book, though, is the way that Gabby was involved in the official investigation. Let me preface this by saying Gabby is not in law enforcement, she is a reporter. Throughout the story Finn has her help him process a crime scene where there were multiple murders, she uses Coast Guard computers to do her own research on the case, she accompanies Finn while he is investigating leads and persons of interest, and she is part of debriefing sessions of multiple cases. And the reason for all this? She’s incorrigible and would just go out and investigate on her own if they didn’t include her, so might as well keep an eye on her. THIS IS NOT HOW LAW ENFORCEMENT WORKS. My brother is a police officer and I talked to him about some of these things and asked what would happen if he involved a civilian like this while working. He would be fired. I understand for the sake of fiction there are certain allowances made, but I feel this is just way too unbelievable. And this is a complaint I have about several books by this author.

Overall

Overall, The Killing Tide was just not for me. Even though the pace seemed steady and there was a lot of action, I found myself bored for most of the book. I found Gabby so unlikable that it made it hard to get through the story at times. However, everyone I know that has read this have all really loved it, so it might just be me and my mood. I do plan on reading more from Pettrey in the future and am hoping my experience with this book is just an anomaly.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Review: Remember Me by Lara Van Hulzen

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Detective Ben Russo is in trouble.

He just can’t remember why.

When a car accident lands Ben in the hospital, he can’t recall anything about his life. What he does know is he’s enchanted by a tiny nurse named Tess, but can’t shake the feeling they’re both in danger.

After being left at the altar, Tess Jansenn moves to a new town and starts over. When her ex-fiancé, Ben, shows up in the ER where she works with no memory of her, she must decide – tell Ben who he is or let him remember on his own.

Can Tess forgive and forget what drove them apart, and when Ben remembers, will the consequences of his choices make it too late for love?

I received a copy of this title from the author. It does not impact my review.

Fun fact before I get started. I went to a Nazarene college and Van Hulzen attended Point Loma Nazarene University in California. Every year when it snowed there were always people who vowed to transfer to Point Loma. So while I never met the author, or visited Point Loma, it’s kind of a cool connection.

Tess is a nurse who has a John Doe patient, someone who’s lost his memory. She’s surprised to find it’s her ex-fiancé. She’s torn about whether or not she should tell him the truth, but ultimately decides against it. Her friend and neighbor , Mike, who is a doctor, gives her the (somewhat flimsy) excuse that it would probably be better if he remembers things on his own. He offers his home to the recovering Ben, thus keeping him close to Tess.

I have to say that this really bothered me. I thought for sure there would be some type of legal ramifications because Tess speaks with a  police officer and doesn’t tell him that she knows who Ben is. However, I asked my brother, a cop, and he said it could technically be “obstruction of official business”, but probably wouldn’t be more than a misdemeanor, if that. And since it doesn’t take long for the police find his ID (kind of), it’s not really an ongoing case or anything.

So Ben goes home with Mike and Tess and begins to develop a relationship with Tess all over again. While she struggles with wanting to know why he left her before their wedding, she’s enjoying the second chance. She knows she eventually needs to tell him the truth if they are to try having a future together, but things fall apart when he recovers his memory on his own and doesn’t let on that he remembers. There are things he can’t tell Tess, yet, not without putting her in danger.

The characters in Remember Me are likable. While Tess did annoy me at some times, she was overall a good character. She made some poor decisions, but she realized they were poor and did try to do better. I liked Ben and found him the most complex character of the bunch. I would’ve liked to have seen a little more background information given on their relationship, though. I also really liked Tess’s friends, Mike and Emma.

Remember Me is a faith based novel, but I think people who don’t generally like “religion” in books would still enjoy it. There are mentions of church and relationships with God, but it’s never “preachy” and isn’t even a huge theme in the book, however I think it will still satisfy fans of faith based romantic suspense.

Overall, I enjoyed Remember Me. While a few parts were kind of predictable, the focus was really on the relationship between Ben and Tess and it was well done. I think fans of romantic suspense will enjoy it. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

3 stars