Monday, May 12, 2014

Digital Review: Island Peril

I know just as many readers who dislike novellas as who claim to like them.  I'm in the "like them" camp, but even I have a certain set of mile markers I like to see an author hit.  Just because the author is writing short, I still want a fully realized, fully contained story.  In other words, don't try to sell me a prologue.  However I also don't want the author to bite off more than a novella can chew on.  Don't take a 300-page idea and try to cram it into 100 pages or less.

What little commentary I've read about Island Peril by Jill Sorenson seems to fall into two camps: 1) it's "too short" and/or 2) it short-changes what Sorenson does best - which is oodles of interesting character back story and baggage.  These are valid concerns, but I think it dismisses what Sorenson has done "right" with this novella.  Honestly? Just about everything.

Ella Hammond is on a kayaking holiday with her sister, Abby and niece, Brooke.  They're having a great time so far, and it doesn't hurt that their guide, Paul, is a major hottie.  Abby notices he's making eyes at Ella, but she immediately dismisses it.  She's just gotten out of a relationship, and honestly why would Paul be looking at her when, in her opinion, the better looking Abby is around?  Anyway, they set off in their kayaks when Abby has a panic attack.  She and Brooke turn back to camp, with Paul and Ella carrying on.  They get to their island destination only to find themselves stumbling across drug smugglers and running for their lives (gah, don't you hate it when that happens?).

This is a quick read with just the right amount of believable action and enough steamy sexy times to feed into the chemistry between Paul and Ella.  What I loved here is that Sorenson doesn't try to do too much.  She keeps the suspense very action-oriented and straight-forward.  In other words, she doesn't try to cram in an island serial killer into the mix.  She also keeps the romance extremely believable.  The attraction between Paul and Ella burns hot and fast, but they're not declaring their undying love in the final chapter or planning a wedding.  Ella muses she's happy, she likes Paul, and maybe they are moving fast but what the heck?  Why not go for it?  It's happy-for-now all the way, but Ella and Paul fit together so nicely that it's easy to imagine a full-blown happily-ever-after in the future.

Island Peril also serves to give readers a brief introduction to Abby and Brooke, who are main players in the full-length novel, Backwoods.  If you've never read Sorenson before, this novella serves as a nice taste in regards to her writing style as well as her brand of suspense.  It's not a bad way to test the waters if you've been curious but unwilling to invest yourself in a full-length read.

Final Grade = B

Note: At the time of this review posting, this novella is free through most, if not all, digital retailers.

1 comment:

Nikki said...

Thanks for the interesting review. I have several of her books on my TBR, and I think this one will provide a nice little taste.