Excited about Reading: Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon

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The Cover Story~ 
Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans. When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.

Sharing my take~
Meet the major players. Tracy Campbell, part time accountant and full time cranberry farmer. Michael Hunter, guilt-ridden, grieving businessman from Chicago who came to Hope Harbor to honor a wish of his late wife. Anna Williams, recluse, taking in wounded animals to make up for the two-decades-long rift with her estranged son. Charley, artist and taco maker (and angel?). And Floyd, a lonely seagull.

“In the beginning he brought his wife, but he’s been coming by himself for the past four months. I guess something happened to her.”
A husband and wife seagull pair.
Tickled by that fanciful notion, Michael dug out a few stray pieces of taco filling and tossed them to Floyd, who scarfed down the treat. “Maybe he’ll get married again.”
“He might, down the road…but gulls mate for life, and this one’s still in mourning.” 

Lonely and wounded by love…kind of sums up all of the characters in Hope Harbor except Charley, who seemed to be the orchestrater of healing. I enjoyed the story and how the characters grew during the course of the book, and I appreciated the parallel of their relationship with that of the seagulls. That said, the romantic chemistry was stiff and a bit lacking for me.

Ever read a book where you almost felt as if you were there? This is one of those books. The “charming Oregon seaside village” came to life. At times I felt like I was walking along the dikes of the cranberry farm flicking away bees or sitting on the picnic table outside Charley’s food trailer, the sea breeze kissing my cheeks.

But what really ramped this book up for me was its theme of forgiveness and restoration.

“Are you condoning her behavior?”
“No. But I guess I’ve gotten more tolerant of mistakes as I’ve grown older and made plenty of my own. It seems to me it’s better to treat people in the midst of a crisis with compassion than censure or criticism.”

Hope Harbor isn’t a fluffy book to wile away a lazy afternoon. It’s deep and packs a powerful message. Don’t pick up this book for the romance. Pick it up because of the story.

Disclaimer: Sending my thanks to NetGalley and Revell for the privilege of reading and reviewing Hope Harbor. I was provided a free copy of the book in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. I was in no way compensated for my review.

Have your read TRAPPED by Irene Hannon?

Purchase Link –
DeeperShopping.com

About the book~
When librarian Laura Griffith’s sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned PI James “Dev” Devlin to help. But the deeper he digs, the more he begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl’s disappearance. And the closer he gets to uncovering the truth, the clearer it becomes that the situation isn’t just dangerous-it’s deadly. 

Sharing my thoughts~Besides strong main characters, this book also has multidimensional secondary characters, and I especially enjoyed the camaraderie between the three PI’s and Nikki, the office manager. I also feel like I got to know Darcy as well as Dev and Laura. After Darcy’s free-spirited mother died, and then her elderly father, Darcy moved in with Laura, who didn’t know anything about raising a teen. Stifled by Laura’s old-fashioned rules and feeling responsible for her father’s death, Darcy runs away, headed towards Chicago, but a storm grounds her in St. Louis. Little clips showing Darcy’s transformation from obnoxious to grateful as the story unfolded helped me better understood her motivation. 

“Even if Laura’s intentions were good, rules were for kids. If she had stayed, they’d keep clashing, just as she and her dad had. And look how that had ended.”


At one point in the book (not giving away any spoilers here!), I felt Laura acted irrationally for the danger she was in, but since she was worried about her sister, I decided to cut her some slack. If I’d been faced with a similar predicament, I probably would have rushed into the same situation. How many times have I made spur-of-the-moment decisions and then regretted them later? 

What a fast-paced, chilling thriller made even more frightening because it’s something that happens in real life! We inherently trust people because they look “safe” or because of their occupation. Scary! I picked up Trapped one evening while my husband was gone, and at times, my palms were sweating and my heart pounded with fear, but did that stop me from reading? Noooo. I just had to keep reading because with every page I flipped, the situation was too intense to put the book down. While the plot moved along at extreme speed, I felt the romance was a bit on the lean side, only really heating up at the end of the book, but I guess that’s to be expected with the amount of action in this one. The faith thread was a gentle strand, weaved subtly through the book. 

Trapped is the second book in the Private Justice series, but can be read as a stand alone. I just don’t recommend reading it alone. I’m still turning on lights and checking doors. 🙂

Disclosure: Sending a big thanks to NetGalley and Revell for providing me with an advance review copy. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.

Against All Odds by Irene Hannon ~ Sharing My Review

Against All Odds, Book 1, Heroes of Quantico

About the book ~
For FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Evan Cooper and his partner, dignitary protection duty should have been a piece of cake. Unfortunately, Monica Callahan isn’t making it easy. Estranged from her diplomat father, who is involved in a sensitive hostage situation in the Middle East, she refuses to be intimidated by a related terrorist threat back in the States…until a chilling warning convinces her that the danger is very real—and escalating. As Coop and his partner do their best to keep her safe, David Callahan continues his work—triggering an abduction that puts his daughter’s life at risk. And with every second that ticks by, Coop knows that the odds of saving the only woman who has ever managed to breach the walls around his heart are dropping. Because terrorists aren’t known for their patience—or their mercy.

Sharing my humble opinion~
FBI Hostage Rescue Team Member Evan Cooper is content to work hard and party even harder, and with plenty of available, attractive women, he avoids commitments and emotional entanglements…until he’s assigned to protect Monica Callahan. Monica’s gentle prodding breaks down the barriers he’s erected since his mother’s death and father’s subsequent emotional withdrawal.

Estranged from her father after his abandonment to pursue his diplomatic ambitions, Monica overcame hurt and betrayal, earning a PhD in communications and forging a successful career. If she ever commits to a relationship, she intends it to be with a man who communicates well, someone who doesn’t put his career first. Not Coop. But, she finds herself drawn to the quiet, determined-to-protect-her man.

I like how Monica, a believer, struggles with the issue of forgiveness towards her absentee father. Considering forgiveness a tenet for Christianity, Coop doesn’t understand, and calls her on it. She admits that’s her biggest failing, and in doing so, opens the door for several conversations. I found her honesty refreshing and their discussions on faith realistic.

Monica’s father attempts to reconcile his moral principle of not negotiating with terrorists with his desire to save his daughter. He’s never told his daughter he loves her, yet now she hears his unspoken message. I love how this unfolds during the story.

Wow! With a fast paced, action-packed, nail-biting plot, you might be tempted to sail through this book in a few hours. But I’d recommend against that. This book is flavored with spiritual and moral issues, juicy nuggets I preferred to chew on for a few days. Although it lacks the physical intensity (um, more displays of affection) I generally prefer, Against All Odds more than compensates in emotional and spiritual depth as love and forgiveness transform Monica and Coop. Action, suspense, a tender romance~this book has it all! Definitely a keeper!
 

Do you believe it’s possible for a person to communicate love 
without saying the actual words?

Has a family member hurt you with their choice?
Do you wrestle with forgiveness?

Disclaimer: I purchased this book. No monies were received in exchange for my fair and unbiased review, and all opinions expressed are my own.