“When I Fall in Love” by Susan May Warren

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled-or maybe yanked-away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.
Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.
Each book in the Christiansen Family series gets better than the one before it.  I fell in love with the family and the town of Deep Creek with the very first book, but When I Fall in Love is strikingly different from the rest, and it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what makes it so.
Of course, the main character is Grace Christiansen, who like her brothers is amazingly talented in a unique and special way.  She is bonded tightly with her family and is both kind and generous, all of which make her extremely likeable.
Unlike the previous books, much of this one is set in Hawaii, and what place could be more colorful or romantic?  Warren maximizes this setting to play up the adventure.  It provides the perfect outlet for Max and Grace’s interaction – a cooking school centered around the local dishes for which Hawaii is famous.
The cooking school was a fun angle, but I enjoyed even more the way that Grace had previously not made it into cooking school on her own.  For someone so talented, this must have been a huge disappointment, but it also made Grace approachable to readers.
Max was a bit tougher to reach as a rich and famous celebrity, but the thorn in his side made the book.  Easy love stories abound, but his is much more rare and calls upon a real and deep love.  I enjoyed the suspense that it created within the story, the real emotional drama that both Max and Grace had to endure, and the lessons that each one learned.
While the plot was heartbreaking and realistic, Warren kept the mood under control with her own brand of fun humor.  While I felt sad with each character in turn, I also laughed throughout the story.  Warren’s quirks and trademark twists kept the pages turning and the mood from becoming too dark.  I loved this story – and I hope that you will, too.
Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors. 

Find Susan online: website, My Book TherapyTwitter, Facebook

I received a free copy of When I Fall in Love from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

“Silenced” by Dani Pettrey

Get your copy of SILENCED by Author Dani Pettrey!

A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna’s route leads her to a face-to-face encounter with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something sinister? When the case is handed to the overburdened sheriff, he turns to Jake Westin. With Jake’s past now revealed, he’s ready to use his talent for investigation again-–but he could never prepare for where the case will take him.

Kayden and Jake soon realize that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is on to them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger.

But the truth is far worse than either of them imagine.

I have loved Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series since the very beginning, and Silenced makes a venerable fourth offering.  Silenced advances the timeline for the earlier characters as they move ahead with relationships and marriages, but it’s mainly the story of Kayden McKenna.  Kayden is fearful of disease, worried about love, and protective of her family – and that winning combination makes her an amazing lead.

Jake matches Kayden stride for stride.  He’s smart, kind, and in love with Kayden – which makes him super protective of her – except that somebody’s coming for her, and neither of them can figure out whom or why.  

It’s this type of tough-but-vulnerable characters that make the Alaskan Courage series for me.  The people are heroic but each one has an Achilles heel which makes them feel human.  Pettrey breathes life into her characters through the details, the love, and the adventure with which she builds each one, and it’s this infusion of heroism that makes them fascinating.

I must admit that turning the last page of this story made me a bit sad – because I know that there is only one more in the series.  I’m enjoying the McKennas as much as ever and am not ready to leave behind my journey with them.  It is with mixed feelings that I anxiously await the final book in the series.  I can’t wait to find out what happens with Reef, but I might have to read it slowly to draw out the suspense and enjoyment.


Then again … read a Pettrey book slowly?  


Nah.  It’ll never happen. I’ll be flying through it as quickly as possible.


Just like always.


That’s the sign of a good book.

Want to read an excerpt?  Check one out here! 

About the Author

Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the acclaimed author of the romantic suspense series Alaskan Courage, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, and her latest release, Silenced. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their daughters, son-in-law, and super adorable grandson.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.