Thursday, June 29, 2023

Review: Pelican Point by Irene Hannon

Series: Hope Harbor #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell 
Released: April 3, 2018
345 pages

About the Book:

A crumbling lighthouse is not part of the inheritance Army doctor Ben Garrison expects to claim when he journeys to Hope Harbor. Fresh out of the service, he wants only to unload the tower of bricks, decompress from years of treating battlefield trauma, and prepare to launch his civilian career.

Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber has other ideas. She may not be a Hope Harbor native, but the small Oregon seaside town has become home--and she's determined to save the Pelican Point landmark.

Sparks fly as the two go head to head over the fate of the lighthouse. But when they start to cooperate, a different kind of fire ignites. And as they work together, might Hope Harbor heal the hearts of these two romance-wary souls?

My Rating & Thoughts:    

I enjoyed returning to Hope Harbour and spending more time in this picturesque community. There are 4 main characters to this story, Ben – who has just inherited a lighthouse, Marci – who runs the local paper, Rachel – who works with Marci, and Greg – husband of Rachel.
Ben has come to Hope Harbour from the Middle East to settle his grandfather’s estate before beginning his post army life at a practice in Ohio. He discovers this task may take longer than planned when he learns he has inherited a lighthouse with the estate. He is able to find a buyer but the buyer is planning to tear down this landmark, when Marci find this out she rallies the town to save the lighthouse. Ben & Marci have bad impressions of each other from their first meeting and her approach to Ben when she finds out about the lighthouse is less than cordial. But Ben feels stuck, he needs to sell the lighthouse so he can start his new job, but he understands why the town wants to save the lighthouse. Through a rational discussion with Greg he agrees to give the town time to find a solution before agreeing to sell to this buyer. In the meantime he wants to stay clear of Marci and her hot-headed emotions. However things don’t always go as we plan. Can the lighthouse be saved?
Personally, I enjoyed Greg and Rachel’s story the most. Shortly after they got married, Greg was injured and the emotional fallout of this injury has affected their relationship, it is not in a good place when we first meet them. The story takes us along with them while they work on reconciliation and journey back to a healthy and loving relationship. I liked Rachel at the beginning and felt for her, and loved her determination to show Greg that she loved him for him. The change in Greg over the course endured me to him. I loved how far they had come by the end.
Charley, the local taco maker, is a fixture in town and has had an impact on each and every character in the Hope Harbour stories and this one was no different. I appreciated his input and liked that he was didn’t tell people what to do but gave them something to think about instead. Each book in this series could be read as standalones but by reading in order you will get to know more of the recurring characters and find yourself falling in love with the town like I have.

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Review: The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: November 1, 2017
326 pages
About the Book:

In the Dark of the Mine, In the Face of Rising Water,
In the Shadows of the Hills, Faith Will See Them Through

Judd Markley knew he could never set foot underground again. The mine collapse that nearly killed him and claimed his brother's life meant leaving West Virginia forever. Although that hard Appalachian world was all he knew, he put it behind him and headed for the open sky of the thriving town of 1954 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Larkin Heyward's life in the beach town is uncomplicated, mostly volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more and being more--maybe moving to the hills and hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she's never even met someone who's lived there--until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father's timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a hurricane that changes Myrtle Beach forever, Judd's and Larkin's dreams pull them in divergent directions. It will take a significant sacrifice to keep them together--or maybe, it will take a miracle.

My Rating & Thoughts:    

While I like the main characters and was intrigued to find out what was going to happen, I struggled with some aspects of the story. It moved slowly at times, and towards the end some actions of particular characters felt uncharacteristic for them. Judd was an honest hardworking man, who has been through a tragedy at and is trying to build a new life for himself. Larkin is the privileged daughter or a timber company owner. Can these two overcome their very different pasts and find a future together where neither has to give up their dreams? Faith is mentioned and discussed throughout the book, but I still feel unsure of what the characters actually believed. The end scene ruined the book for me, I was left asking why this was included.

Favourite Quote: 
“I'm beginning to think you can do God's work anywhere. All you have to do is look for someone who's hurting and see if you can ease the pain.”

(I was gifted this book by my mom; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Review: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Genre: Classic
Publisher: Tundra Books 
Released: 1926
273 pages
About the Book:

At twenty-nine, Valancy has never been in love, and it seems romance has passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she finds her only consolations in the "forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrives from Dr. Trent--and Valancy decides to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy does and says exactly what she wants. Soon she discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.


My Rating & Thoughts:    

It is a slow start, but once I got into it I was hooked. We are following Valancy, she is a young woman of marrying age but had not received a suitor yet and her family (her mom and aunt) are kind of controlling of her. She receives some news and because of that news she deicdes she isn’t living like this anymore and is going to do what she wants and nobody is going stop her. There are some really funny scenes that had me laughing out loud and made me want to share it with those around me. As I got further and further into the book and really got to know the characters, especially Valancy, my enjoyment of the story grew. I enjoyed this read and was pleasantly surprised with the direction it went. I loved the ending!

Favourite Quote: 
“If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying.”
(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Friday, June 23, 2023

Review: The Rescuer by Dee Henderson

Series: O'Malley #6
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Tyndale House 
Released: January 1, 2003
215 pages
About the Book:

Stephen O'Malley is a paramedic who has been rescuing people all his life. But he's running now -- from the burden of his profession, from the grief of losing his sister, and from a God he doesn't want to trust.

He's run into a mystery. Stolen jewels are turning up in unexpected places, and his friend Meghan is caught in the middle of the trouble. Stephen's about to run into a night he will never forget: a kidnapping, a tornado, and a race to rescue the woman he loves ...

My Rating & Thoughts:    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Stephen is the only O’Malley who doesn’t believe. After a family tragedy he is feeling unsettled and takes a leave of absence from work to travel. Story begins in present day and then jumps back to 5 years ago and learn about his friend Megan’s accident and how she became blind. It then reverts to present day. Stephen visits Megan’s town and begins to feel at peace in this community, he ends up buying a farm and starts establishing roots. He is close enough to family without feeling the overwhelming stress of the big city. Even after her blindness Megan has established independence and kept her faith in God. She helps Stephen understand that God is a friend with no strings attached. I liked that she was direct with Stephen and told him that no relationship could happen with him if he didn’t believe in God. And Stephen accepts that and doesn’t try to fake it for Megan, but rather search for answers and make a decision for himself even if that means he has to walk away. The case of the missing jewels was interesting and I was impressed with the way Megan was able to tackle the job she needed to do. There was a bit of time where I was really concerned about Megan, I couldn’t imagine going through that trauma, never mind enduring it blind.  I loved how involved Kate and Dave were in the story, it felt like the series had come full circle with characters from book one having such prominent roles in the last book of the series. The end wrapped up the stories of each sibling nicely. 

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Review: The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Cox

Genre: Dual-Timeline 
Publisher: Revell
Released: September 7, 2021
324 pages
About the Book:

Present Day. After tragedy plunges her into grief and unresolved anger, Sarah Ashby returns to her childhood home determined to finally follow her long-denied dream of running Old Depot Grocery alongside her mother and grandmother. But when she arrives, her mother, Rosemary, announces to her that the store is closing. Sarah and her grandmother, Glory Ann, make a pact to save the store, but Rosemary has worked her entire life to make sure her daughter never follows in her footsteps. She has her reasons--but she'll certainly never reveal the real one.

1965. Glory Ann confesses to her family that she's pregnant with her deceased fiancé's baby. Pressured into a marriage of convenience with a shopkeeper to preserve the family reputation, Glory Ann vows never to love again. But some promises are not as easily kept as she imagined.


My Rating & Thoughts:    

This story touched me so much. As it began, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it as the beginning felt slow, but then I realized a marriage of convenience was going to happen and I was hooked. It is told in a dual-time perspective, following three generations of women. These women are trying to get along, work together and deal with hurts from the past, but along the way they discover secrets have been kept and learn how these secrets have impact their lives. There was a scene in the middle of the book that had me sobbing and I rarely cry in books. While I liked each of the women characters it was the male characters that I absolutely loved, my favourite being Clarence. Each of the men supported, cared for and showed love to the women. There is so much included in this story – family relationships, dealing with regrets, times of loss and grief, second chances, sacrifice, romance and finding true love. During the last chapter I thought I knew what the scene was leading up to then the last scene happens and I was shocked. A good shock as I was happy that’s the way it ended, but it wasn’t what I had been expecting, I loved it. This story took me on a ride and will stick with me for a while. This is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Cox and I have already added her others to my wish list. 

Favourite Quotes: 
“Living is seeing past the challenges and not letting fear or false guilt be the decider for your life."

“Secrets cause damage. And sometimes that damage can't be undone."

(I purchased my copy of this book; opinions expressed 
in this review are my honest opinion and completely my own.)