Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Denali Dreams

By Ronie Kendig and Kimberly Woodhouse

Denali Dreams, part of Barbour Publishing's Romancing America series, contains four novellas by suspense authors Kimberly Woodhouse and Ronie Kendig.  This collection combines several elements:  the beauty and risk of attempting to climb the Denali, people in the village of Talkeetna at the base of the mountain, park rangers, search and rescue operations.


"Mountain Dreams" by Kimberly Woodhouse - With her cancer in remission, Karon wants to live her life to the fullest and climb Denali, the highest mountain in North America.  Karon meets Zach, a ranger who was driven to experience extreme mountaineering, living for the next adrenalin rush.

"Daring Heights" by Ronie Kendig - The Denali took the life of Jolie's brother and his girlfriend, Mariah.  Ranger David Whiteeagle, Mariah's brother, blames Jolie's family for his sister's death. David is determined to avoid Jolie, but when she gets sick and disappears on Denali, David immediately searches for her.

"Taking Flight" by Ronie Kendig - Deline, who grew up in Talkeetna, helps out in her father's restaurant when she's not flying tourists around the Denali in her Otter.  When Deline's life is in danger, rangers Logan and David try to help her and a special friendship grows between Deline and Logan.

"Denali Guardians" by Kimberley Woodhouse - Deanna, who has lived in Talkeetna for some years, has a secret she can't share with her fellow rangers.  When an assassin threatens her life, Josh and the other rangers work with the FBI to protect her.


My thoughts:

Authors Kimberley Woodhouse and Ronie Kendig are popular writers of suspense fiction who know how to tell a good story, and I enjoyed this collection.   Stories set in Alaska always appeal to me, and they did a good job at creating a vivid sense of place.

Denali Dreams features characters who work at the Talkeetna ranger station at the base of the Denali, the "High One."  Characters overlap in each story, a feature which I liked.  The authors also provide interesting information about Denali, the rangers, safety measures, and base camps on the climb - which gives this collection added depth.

Each story builds on the previous one - and while I enjoyed all four, the first one was my favorite.  Rather than being suspenseful like the others, it was more about choosing how to live after successfully fighting cancer.  Good story, Kimberly!

Novella collections are entertaining reads when you just want to relax with a sweet story that has that "happily-ever-after" ending.  A bonus was the Alaskan setting that provided insight into the world of mountain climbing.  I recommend this book to those who enjoy light inspirational romances.

This book was provided by Barbour Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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