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.

With Autumn’s Return by Amanda Cabot~ My Review

With Autumn’s Return
Buy Link~DeeperShopping.com

About the book~

When Elizabeth Harding arrives in Cheyenne to open her medical practice, she is confident that the future is as bright as the warm Wyoming sun. Certain she’ll have a line of patients eager for her services, she soon discovers the town may not welcome a new physicianespecially a lady doctor. Even Jason Nordling, the handsome young attorney next door, seems to disapprove of her chosen profession.

When a web of deceit among Cheyenne’s wealthiest residents threatens to catch Elizabeth and Jason in its snare, they must risk working together to save one of Elizabeth’s patientseven if it means falling in love.

Sharing my review~
After her experience in medical school, Dr. Elizabeth Harding chose progressive Cheyenne to set up practice. Assured by her sister that the town would embrace a female doctor, Elizabeth is disappointed when nobody’s waiting outside her office door, even more disappointed when handsome attorney Jason Nordling expresses his scathing opinion of working women. Jason and Elizabeth suffer career setbacks, and when both defend the other, you know the romance is about to begin! 

“She might not have gained any patients, might instead have alienated several, but she had accomplished at least one thing. Not only had she and Jason forged a truce, but she was beginning to believe she’d been mistaken about him. In the time they’d been together, she had seen his arrogance disappear, falling away like a butterfly’s chrysalis, revealing a man with surprising vulnerabilities as well as fundamental strengths.” ~Elizabeth

Working together to solve a crime reshaped Jason’s opinion of marriage and the partnership role each would assume, and left Elizabeth wondering if it was possible to combine a career with a family. This conflict between Jason and Elizabeth unfolded, an organic and essential component of the plot.

With Autumn’s Return captured my attention from the first page, and the engaging plot kept me turning pages quickly, anxious to see how everything would turn out. Each character brimmed with depth, and (bonus!) I got TWO romances in one book! With Autumn’s Return is a “must read” and left this romance lover with a huge sigh of satisfaction and a smile on her face! I’ll definitely be looking for Cabot’s next book.

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Amanda Cabot and Revell for providing me with a copy of With Autumn’s Return in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. This review features only my opinion, and I received no compensation.

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.