Book Review: Waking Hearts

Anyone who regularly reads my blog knows I have mad love for Elizabeth Hunter. She is a gifted writer whose world-building skills are phenomenal. It’s entirely possible that I am deeply in love with one of her characters who likely isn’t real, but if it ever turns out that he’s returning my interest, I’d be out of here (here being Portland with the kidlet, etc) for life in Wales in a heartbeat.

AHEM! We are not here to talk about my crush on Carwyn.

We are here to talk about the newest book in Ms. Hunter’s Cambio Springs mystery series.

waking hearts cover

I’m not just saying this because I got an Advanced Copy of the book – this book was amazeballs.

First of all, a romance novel set between people who are a bit older and a bit softer and with four kids? That’s full of crazy. Everyone knows romance only happens between ridiculously hot people in their 20s with impossibly tight bodies.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Blurb

When everything you’ve longed for is standing right in front of you, would you find the courage to chase it when you’ve given up on dreams?

Fox shifter Alison Smith gave up on happy endings when her ex-husband walked out, but that didn’t mean she was allowed to give up on happiness. With four growing kids, Allie is determined to look on the bright side and carry on, even when life seems to keep kicking the girl who’s fallen down.

Four kids, two jobs, and a pile of debt left over from her ex seem overwhelming most days. Luckily, Allie has the best friends a girl could ask for. Especially a certain quiet bear who’s always been her rock.

Patient. Oliver Campbell knows what it means to be patient. But twenty years of wanting one unavailable woman may have pushed him to the edge. With Allie working every night at his bar, their friendship has begun to fracture.

Then old ghosts offer one more kick to the little family that’s already down, and patience is a virtue Ollie can no longer afford. Allie’s ex-husband may be gone, but his actions are haunting his family. With danger licking the borders of Cambio Springs, the bear and the fox will have to work together. And twenty years of unspoken truths may finally come to light.

waking hearts blur


My Thoughts

Usually when I’m reading a book I intend to review, I go fairly slowly, highlighting (love ereaders for this), and taking notes so that when I go to review, I have my thoughts and favorite quotes and everything all ready to go, making the review process fairly easy.

I did not do that this time. This book was so freaking good that I totally forgot to take any notes or do any highlighting.


I seriously highlighted one thing, and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it spoke to me on a visceral level.

“…the band’s good, right? I remember them from last time.”

I mean that’s not normally what I’d pull out of a book to convince other people of its sheer awesomeness, unless you like books that have mention of good bands.

I love the band

What I really liked was the realness of having four kids and trying to blend that into a house that previously had zero kids. The interruptions you face when you’re just trying to get some kissy face time in, the sibling fights (thanks be to Freya I only have the one kid, although sometimes I think if he had a sibling maybe he’d fight with her [her name is Eleanor Jane and she’s completely imaginary] instead of me).

ANYWAY, sidetracked again.

The kids were written so well, and the way both Ollie and Allie interacted with them was realistic and fantastic.

I’m not going to lie – I tend to distribute my lust towards different types of shifters, although recent conversations with Ms. Hunter (always so formal in the reviews) and my PSM have opened my eyes to the wonders of bear shifters (and opened my pocketbook to another damn series, damn you women).

Ollie is what you hope an Alpha male will be in the paranormal romance world but that you seldom get. Strong, protective, a little hot-headed, dead sexy, but also completely respectful to the woman he loves, great with kids, and not pushy when it comes to the more physical parts of their relationship.


So often you get the Alpha male pushing too hard, spouting “destined mate” crap, and more incidences of mate-rape than one should ever have. (The number you should have is exactly zero.)

Ollie is protective of Allie, especially as the danger and tension start to heat up, but he also recognizes that she is a strong, capable woman who can do for herself. He just wants to let her know that she doesn’t always have to anymore.


Notable Quotes

This book, in addition to being a serious romance and an exciting mystery definitely had some funny moments.

Ollie volunteered to help hang the laundry. It is lingerie…

“It’s just underwear, Ollie. Everybody wears it.”

“No.” He straightened, a pair of black lace panties dangling from one finger. She had to admit they were small. Even by her standards. His eyes were angry, and he sounded pissed off. “Not everyone wears these.”

A kidlet argument

In the end, the festering argument was ended by the figurative hand of God.

“Enough!” Allie finally yelled. “We are getting ready for church…[a]nd you’re both going to pray for each other during silent prayers.”

And the romance

Ollie thought he’d known what fear tasted like, but he hadn’t known. Not until a small blond woman and four precious kids invaded his house and his heart. He thought he’d loved her before.

He had no idea.


Final Thoughts

This was a wonderful book. If you haven’t already, read the first couple in the series:

Shifting Dreams (1)

Desert Bound (2)

Waking Hearts (3)

And then read everything else Elizabeth has ever published. You will not be sorry.

(Waking Hearts in on Kindle Unlimited! You have no excuses.)

*I got this book for free as an ARC in exchange for an honest review and possibly a martini – I’m a bit unclear on that part.

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