Monday, October 12, 2015

series review || HOMETOWN HARBOR by Tammy L. Grace

Lone Mountain Press | January 21, 2014 | Romance
Hometown Harbor, book 1


A coming of age journey, but for a middle-aged woman, who flees to a small island expecting a change of scenery and discovers much more.

Shattered by her husband's infidelities after twenty-five years of marriage, Sam Collins is plagued by constant fear and loneliness, reliving the tragic death of her parents and the betrayal by the man she loved. She leaves Seattle seeking relief from the relentless darkness that has swallowed her. With only her dog for companionship, she sets out to live in her vacation home on San Juan Island.

In her search for a carpenter, she meets the handsome and very available, Jeff Cooper. Sam's not looking for romance, but can't deny the attraction to the retired firefighter, turned handyman. While working together and eating her pies, Jeff finds himself falling for her.

The past she wrestles to let go of comes hurtling back when she least expects it. In an effort to help a struggling young man, she is forced to confront the anguish she is desperate to escape. While torn between love and friendship, she must face her fears and choose between the life she's known and a chance for a family and home she's been longing for all her life.

Lone Mountain Press | April 29, 2014 | Romance
Hometown Harbor, book 2


Return to the picturesque island community where you’ll check in with your old friends and meet a few new ones along the way.

Linda is knee deep in bouquets and boutonnieres, designing a beautiful ceremony for her friends. The bride’s matchmaking plot takes shape as she volunteers her best friend, Max, to help Linda create the perfect wedding.

Linda and Max are thrown together when a tragedy threatens to destroy the honeymooners’ newfound happiness before they have the possibility of a life together. Compelled to make some changes in life, Linda uncovers a family secret that causes her to question her existence and leads her on a search for the truth.

As Max begins to penetrate the protective walls around Linda’s heart, a visit from her youth causes her to risk it all. While struggling between the past and the future, Linda has a chance to let more than her flowers bloom.

A Promise of Home (Hometown Harbor Series, #3)
Lone Mountain Press | November 5, 2014 | Romance
Hometown Harbor, book 3


Spend Christmas in Friday Harbor this year surrounded by the friends you know and a couple of special deliveries from the Hometown Harbor Series.

In between holiday activities, friends of Linda and Max are helping plan their Valentine’s Day wedding. Regi is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her fortieth birthday and the fulfillment of the promise she and Cam made over twenty years ago.

As she anticipates the reunion with Cam, she’s oblivious to the signals the local delivery man, Nate, is giving her. She and Nate work together helping a newcomer open an art and antiques shop. While spending time together, she discovers she has feelings for Nate and bonds with the new shopkeeper over their past losses.

As Regi’s contemplating her choices, she’s dealt a blow that brings her to her knees and reconnects her with the past. In the pursuit of her youthful fairytale promise, she’ll risk the only chance she’s encountered for true happiness and a home.

Self-Published | October 14, 2015 | Romance
Hometown Harbor, book 4


A story of long ago secrets revealed and the strength of one woman’s journey to overcome the pain of her past.

Ellie hasn’t seen or spoken to her parents in twenty years—since she came to live on the island with her aunt and uncle. Ellie’s all grown up now and runs the popular family bakery, Sweet Treats.

An unforeseen plea for help forces Ellie to reveal a secret she’s kept hidden from even her closest friends. Her innate kindness and desire to help propel her on a turbulent journey. The pieces of her past she’s worked so hard to escape resurface and bring her face to face with heartache. In the midst of unearthing her long buried pain, she faces challenges that threaten her livelihood and those she holds most dear.

When newcomer Blake Griffin arrives, he frequents the bakery in the early morning hours and over fresh cinnamon rolls they develop a friendship. He renews a sense of hope and joy in Ellie, but she’s hesitant to trust him with her heart. Instead of letting her past define her future, Ellie must summon the courage to recognize an unexpected path may be a welcome gift.

{ about tammy l. grace } .

Tammy L. GraceBorn and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing.

When Tammy isn't working on ideas for a novel, she's spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

She enjoys a variety of fiction, but is always drawn to characters she loves and wants to be transported to another place when reading. She hopes you'll feel at home as you meet the small town characters in the picturesque setting of Friday Harbor in her Hometown Harbor Series.

Here new release (April 2015), Killer Music: A Cooper Harrington Detective Novel, is also filled with memorable characters.

{ interview } .

What are 5 words to best describe you?  
Hard-working, reliable, efficient, sarcastic, calm

Who would play you in the movie of your life? 
Hmm, tough choice…Lauren Graham, the lead character in the Gilmore Girls.

What are 5 words to best describe your writing style? 
Relaxed, conversational, clean, friendly, cozy

Where’s your favorite place to write? 
My home office

If you couldn’t write, what would you be doing (or, what do you do aside from writing)? 
I’m retired from an upper management position in government, so now when I’m not writing I spend my time volunteering.

We all have our book boyfriends… Who is your current one? What about him draws you to him? 
I’d have to say Jamie Fraser from Outlander.   I admire his honesty and bravery and the fact that he appreciates Claire’s independence, but is always ready to protect her.

Of your characters (your ‘babies’), who are you ‘closest’ to? 
I’m closest to Sam, the main character in my first book, Finding Home.  Perhaps because I’ve known her the longest, but I also think she has several of my same character traits.

Was there anything in this book that caused you to pause, that was difficult to get past? Any annoying character flaws you had to push through? 
Ellie is my main character in this novel and she has to face some heartaches from her past.  Many of these involve her mother, who treats Ellie in a despicable manner.  The mother’s hateful and awful behavior gave me pause.  She’s a horrid excuse for a parent, but sadly I know there are mothers like her in the real world.  She stirs up a lot of emotion in me, so she was definitely the most difficult to push through in this novel.

Lastly… you get to take a breather from writing – what do you do?  
I enjoy reading and always treat myself to books as a reward when I’m done with a novel.  I also like to walk, especially with my dog, which is fortunate because I really love to bake (and eat my creations).

Last 5-star book you read?  
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

{ review } .

Coming Home
In Tammy's debut novel, and opening book to this HOMETOWN HARBOR series, we're introduced to newly divorced Sam Collins. After 25-years, Sam is dealing with the fall-out as any person would. She has trust issues and insecurities. Meeting Jeff when she did was excellent timing.

My biggest disconnect with this book is the age of our characters. I like my characters to be young enough to have babies and grand happily ever afters, but as a child of divorce, with both parents recently remarrying after 15 years divorced, I am well aware of the joy marriage at the 'later' stages of life brings... I just don't read it easily ;)

Tammy did well with the emotional tug-o-war in this story, and you couldn't help but want Sam to allow Jeff to break down her walls, to show her that there's life after divorce.

Home Blooms
Book two brings the reader to the wedding planning for Sam and Jeff, but also has some friendly matchmaking, when Sam tries putting Max and Linda together.

Like book one, I wasn't completely connected with the story. However, again the emotion helped drive the story. I typically have a hard time, too, with too many 'main characters', but felt that Tammy moved well from Sam and Jeff, to Max and Linda.

The more I read the series, the more Friday Harbor took place in my mind. The location continued to grow in my mind, and it's easy to feel apart of the core group of characters.

Promise of Home
By this book, I started to enjoy the way Tammy was writing the series. One book focused on a set of characters, and their story folded into the next, but also paved way for a new couple. That book then focused on the new couple, which folded into the next, paving way for yet another. This was an interesting way to write; one that I don't see done very often, allowing great character development.

Our picturesque Friday Harbor is now decked out for Christmas, and I have to say, this may be my favorite season in this town. Granted, I do love a decked out holiday.

Christmas time is always a magical time, but I truly enjoyed seeing what the season did for Regi and Nate's friendship. This was probably my favorite read in the series (up until this point).

Pieces of Home
Ellie was one of those characters that you just wanted to get to know more of -- and reading the 'end' of her journey was lovely. Blake was intrigued by Ellie, but I loved that he wasn't pushy with her. I loved watching their friendship bloom, and eventually grow to deeper, fuller feelings.

The one character I felt that wasn't accurately written would have been Dani. Initially, I found her to be rude and abrasive, stating her 'needs' when they should have come across in a gentler, 'want' manner, if not even simply in questions. But as her story progressed, and her last gift for Ellie, proved that perhaps her characterization wasn't done accurately -- or I simply didn't read her right.

When I agreed to read this series, and after reading the first two, I wasn't quite sure how I'd feel with continuing the series, but I have to say, PIECES OF HOME was definitely the gem of the series.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my series, Mignon. I'm glad you enjoyed them and am happy to connect with you and your readers!