Author Robyn Carr returns readers to the coastal community of Thunder Point, Oregon with Book Three, "The Hero". Rawley Goode is a sixty-something VieAuthor Robyn Carr returns readers to the coastal community of Thunder Point, Oregon with Book Three, "The Hero". Rawley Goode is a sixty-something Vietnam Vet, usually short on words and spare with communication. However, when he sees a young woman and her small child walking the road alone in the early morning darkness, he offers them a ride. From the young woman's clothing and hairstyle, he surmises that she has just left "The Fellowship", a religious compound located in the area nearby. Since he was on his way to Hank Cooper's little deli & bar, he offers to provide breakfast for mother and child, and then give them a lift to wherever they want to go. Devon McAllister and her daughter are indeed fleeing the compound and the control of the manipulative ruler, Brother Jacob. Devon had been vulnerable to Jacob's persuasion to join his commune, and later he fathered her daughter, Mercy. Devon knew firsthand that Jacob was evil--sometimes physically violent. He grew pot as a cash crop, saying that it was medicinal herbs. He was on the radar of the authorities, suspected of kidnapping and human trafficking. Rawley extends his kindness even further, giving Devon and Mercy a place to stay, and advising Devon to change her looks. She cuts her long hair very short, and Rawley helps her to get new clothes. Another friend of Cooper's also takes an interest in Devon. Spencer Lawson had been married to a former girlfriend of Cooper's, and when she is dying from cancer, Cooper is called to see her one last time. She reveals that he is the biological father of her son, Austin, who has been raised by Spencer. After her death, Spencer and Austin show up in Thunder Point, and Cooper is delighted to be able to spend time with his son. Spencer accepts the job of head coach at the local high schooland he throws himself into the role. Devon finds work in the new doctor's office in town, and she moves into a small apartment which needs a lot of work. Spencer, Rawley, Cooper and his lady, Sarah, step in and fix up Devon's apartment while she is at work one day, and she and Mercy finally have a real home of their own. The friendship between Spencer and Devon blooms into romance. Cooper and Sarah are making plans for the future, and their friends, Mac McCain and Gina James are now happily married and co-parenting their merged families. Devon enjoys her work, her new friends, and the romantic attentions of Spencer, but she is always aware of the danger she left behind. When that danger comes looking for her, and Mercy is kidnapped, Devon is devastated. However, there's more than one "hero" in Thunder Point, and Devon's friends won't let her down. When the past is put behind at last, what will the future hold for Devon and Spencer? Each of them is healing from painful memories, but hearts can always hope for healing and happiness to lead them to brighter and better days ahead. Thunder Point is just the place for them to be--a place where wanderers come to settle, newcomers are welcomed as friends, and friends become family.
Hank Cooper was "The Wanderer" in the first book in author Robyn Carr's "Thunder Point" series. Now that Cooper seems to be settling in for the long hHank Cooper was "The Wanderer" in the first book in author Robyn Carr's "Thunder Point" series. Now that Cooper seems to be settling in for the long haul, he's "The Newcomer" in the Thunder Point, Oregon community. After an unexpected inheritance from his good friend, Ben Bailey, Cooper eventually grew to love the area where the property Ben had left to him was located. He also came to love Sarah Dupre, and her younger brother, Landon. Cooper became good friends with the deputy sheriff in the little community, Mac McCain. Mac was a single dad, raising three kids after their mother had left them a decade ago. With the help of his Aunt Lou, Mac managed to keep his family together and on the right track. The mother of his oldest daughter's best friend was Mac's best friend and parenting buddy. Gina James was a single mother, never married, living with her own mother and her teenaged daughter. Deep down, there was more than just friendship between Mac and Gina. Romantic attraction had made itself known on a couple of occasions, only to be shut down by an overly-cautious Mac, leaving Gina hurting and frustrated. Everyone knew that Mac and Gina belonged together, but it took another man's interest in Gina to make Mac stake his claim. Now that they're together, he can't believe it took him so long to claim the happiness that was there all along. However, when Mac's ex-wife makes an unwelcome return, she threatens the newfound joy for Mac and his family. Gina has serious issues of her own to deal with her daughter Ashley becomes distraught and self-destructive after she is heartlessly dumped by her boyfriend. Mac's buddy Cooper is trying his best for a happy future with Sarah, but a promotion for her in the Coast Guard could mean that she would have to leave Thunder Point. If her brother Landon went with her, he would be uprooted for his senior year of high school. If Cooper went with them, he would be leaving behind his newly found homeplace. Landon could stay behind and live with Cooper to finish out his school year, but then Sarah would be without the two most important people in her life. Meanwhile, Cooper receives another unexpected gift--one that will change the course of his life forever. Someone will have to compromise, but will it be a compromise of the heart? "Thunder Point" is like a patchwork quilt top--a work in progress where unexpected pairings and additions somehow come together to form a thing of beauty. Something unique and ever-evolving--just like the residents of Thunder Point.
Author Robyn Carr begins her "Thunder Point" series with "The Wanderer". Set in the ruggedly beautiful coastal area of northern Oregon, the book has sAuthor Robyn Carr begins her "Thunder Point" series with "The Wanderer". Set in the ruggedly beautiful coastal area of northern Oregon, the book has some ties to her popular "Virgin River" series. "The Wanderer" is Hank Cooper, known as just "Cooper", who has recieved word of the death of his longtime friend, Ben Bailey. A loner, like Cooper, Ben left his beachfront property and business to Cooper, who is stunned to learn the extent and value of the land holdings. Ben lead a modest lifestyle, but his property is worth a fortune. Cooper only plans to stay long enough to handle Ben's estate, but the longer he stays, the more involved he becomes in the community, which starts to feel like home. He makes friends with the local deputy sheriff, Mac McCain, and he decides to renovate the bait shop/deli/bar that Ben had run on the property. As Cooper begins to restore Ben's place, he learns just what pivotal piece of property it is--if he sells it to developers, the whole community will be affected. Cooper befriends a teenager, Landon Dupre, who is being bullied by some of his classmates. When Cooper meets Landon's older sister, Sarah, he is instantly smitten, and he has one more reason to stay in Thunder Point. Like Cooper, Sarah is a helicopter pilot, serving with the Coast Guard. Cooper had served as a military pilot--Ben had been his mechanic--and now he goes where the work takes him. Having been badly burned by her cheating spouse, Sarah is not looking for an involvement. However, the chemistry with Cooper is impossible to resist, and they soon begin a passionate affair. To his surprise, Cooper finds himself wanting a deeper relationship, while Sarah tries to keep an emotional distance. Cooper has lived a nomadic existence by choice, but will his unexpected inheritance and surprising emotional longings finally give his life well-planted roots? Will Sarah give him her heart and her trust? "The Wanderer" is leisurely, but enjoyably, paced, allowing the reader to get a real sense of the setting and the characters. The secondary romance between Mac McCain and Gina James added much to the story line, and it is the basis for the second book in the series, "The Newcomer". If you love romances set in small communities where everyone and everything is somehow connected, then you will enjoy the "Thunder Point" series.
There are few things in this world as beautiful and profound as the soul of a devoted companion animal. Author Susan Wilson writes with great sensitivThere are few things in this world as beautiful and profound as the soul of a devoted companion animal. Author Susan Wilson writes with great sensitivity and thoughtfulness about one special dog who goes from an orphaned stray, to a beloved pet, to a brave, battle-tested K-9 Corps service dog. Set in the poignant and patriotic WWII Era, "A Man of his Own" is the story of Pax, a German Shepherd mix, who is rescued as a young pup from starvation in an alley. The man who saves Pax, Rick Stanton, has had a lifelong dream of playing professional baseball. One day at the ballpark, Rick meets a beautiful young woman, Francesca Bell. After a short courtship, the two are married, and Pax must learn to share his master's attentions. When Rick is drafted, he and Francesca later decide to lend Pax to the Dogs for Defense program, and all of their lives will be forever changed. Keller Nicholson has known little real affection during his life. Orphaned during the Great Depression and shifted from one unwelcoming relative to another, he was pulled from his life in a boys home by his great-uncle, who saw Keller as free labor for his lobster fishing. The day after his eighteenth birthday, Keller enlists in the army, eventually being accepted into the K-9 Corps unit. Pax becomes his dog, and the two of them are deeply bonded by their combat experiences. They survive, and the day comes when Pax must be returned to Rick and Francesca. Rick was gravely wounded in combat and is now a paraplegic, wheelchair-bound and never again to be the athlete who lived to play baseball. Keller can't bear to let Pax go, and Rick can't be without his beloved pet, so Rick asks Keller to work as his home healthcare aide. An unusual alliance is formed--a family of sorts--and Pax is one happy dog being with all three of his people. However, as Rick's depression and drug-dependency escalates, so does the tension in the household. Is there more between Keller and Francesca than friendship? This story is told in turns by each of the people, and also by Pax himself. It's a touching tale of how three people and one very special dog survived a time of war and found a measure of healing when and where it was least expected.
"A Bride for Keeps" is a compelling, character-driven historical western romance from author Melissa Jagears. Characters are the elements which captur"A Bride for Keeps" is a compelling, character-driven historical western romance from author Melissa Jagears. Characters are the elements which capture and hold my interest in whatever I am reading. For me, storytelling is all about how the characters are portrayed. I must care about the people and want to follow their story and find out what happens to them. In "A Bride for Keeps", the hero and heroine are both attractive, yet their looks have worked as much against them as they have for them. Some things come easily to them, yet what they really want most in life seems always beyond their grasp. After returning from the war, Everett Cline has worked hard to hold on to his homestead, depending on his close friends, Dex and Rachel Stanton, and helping them in return. When Everett was jilted by his first love, who was Rachel's sister, Rachel eventually convinced him to seek a mail-order-bride. After three disastrous "matches", Everett believes he will never find a wife and life-mate. Rachel won't give up, though, and she secretly corresponds with a woman whom she thinks will just perfect for Everett. It's quite a surprise for Everett when Julia Lockwood arrives as his latest "bride". She's a petite society beauty from Boston, appearing too delicate and refined for life on a Kansas homestead. However, Julia has left the life she knew far behind, on the run from an uncaring father and an unscrupulous suitor. Determined to be taken seriously, and not just regarded for her stunning looks, Julia resolves to show Everett that she will make him a suitable wife. Everett is quite taken with Julia's beauty, but he is unsure of himself after so much rejection. Can a Boston belle and a Midwestern man of the land truly make a match? Both Everett and Julia struggle with being the person they think each other will want. Each of them has self-doubts, and each of them has secrets. Everett is still a man of religious conviction, while Julia's faith has suffered from the tragedies in her past. Will these two worthy hearts overcome their inner turmoil and trust each other enough to believe in love? A recommended read for lovers of heartfelt historical romance.
"An Everlasting Meal", by Tamar Adler, is an impressive, informed, invaluable inside look at the pleasure and practicality of food usage and cooking i"An Everlasting Meal", by Tamar Adler, is an impressive, informed, invaluable inside look at the pleasure and practicality of food usage and cooking in a sustainable manner. Making the most of the flavors found in almost every part and particle of foods both common and exotic is not a new theory, nor is it one lacking in culinary satisfaction. On the contrary, learning to incorporate natural flavors and cooking essences into savory seasonings and sauces is a true treat for the taste buds. This is a carry-it-forward food plan that takes some skill in the kitchen, an organized mind, and a commitment to not letting valuable resources go to waste. Why throw it out and then have to go buy it again? Why not accept it, embrace it, and enjoy it? My favorite chapter in the book is "How to Live Well", and it glorifies one of the most humble, and most essential of all foods: the dried bean. Being from the South, I have an innate love for a bowl of brown beans with some boiled potatoes and a hunk of cornbread on the side. Add some sliced onions and slices of juicy home-grown tomatoes, and you have a peasant's meal fit for royalty! There are wonderful recipes and cooking tips throughout "An Everlasting Meal", but there is also a gentle reminder of how simple and soothing it can be to just cook and enjoy food with your family and friends.
Author Elizabeth Lane is one of my favorite storytellers, not just because of the heart she puts into her love stories, but also because her adventureAuthor Elizabeth Lane is one of my favorite storytellers, not just because of the heart she puts into her love stories, but also because her adventurer's spirit adds such excitement and flavor to her work. This time, with "The Ballad of Emma O'Toole", there is an added personal touch to the story line. Set in Ms. Lane's home state of Utah, during the great silver mine boom of the late 1800's, the area in which story takes place was actually settled by Ms. Lane's own great-great grandfather. Emma O'Toole is a young woman who has lost her family and has only her sweetheart, Billy John Carter, and a small silver claim to help her dream of a future. When she tells Billy John she is pregnant, he promises to marry her, but a desperate move on his part costs him his life and shatters Emma's hopes for happiness. Billy John works his way into a high-stakes poker game, and when he is caught cheating he pulls a gun and tries to take the money from the table, holding an older man hostage. Gambler Logan Devereaux only means to wound the young fool, but his shot proves fatal. Emma is called to the scene and a dying Billy John makes her promise to get her revenge on the man who killed him. The local newspaper sensationalizes the tragedy, and "The Ballad of Emma O'Toole" becomes the tune heard around the country. Logan is put on trial and convicted of manslaughter, but the judge offers him an unusual sentence: five years in prison, or if Emma agrees, marry her and take care of her and her child. Emma accepts the offer as a means to make good her promise of revenge. However, Logan turns out to be a kind and generous husband, even if he keeps most of his past tightly guarded. Recovering his winnings from the poker game, he uses the cash and mining stock to venture into the silver mining business. Close circumstances and a mutual attraction lead to passion between Emma and Logan, but each of them has their secrets. Can Logan settle down in one place, with one woman, and lead the life of a family man? Can Emma really trust her heart and her future to the man who killed her baby's father? When all the cards are laid on the table, will the hearts be the winning hand? This story is very well-paced, and its elements of suspense make for an exciting and enjoyable historical romance. Recommended for lovers of wonderfully-written western love stories.
An author who truly has the gift to place the reader right in the time and setting in which her stories take place, Jessica James offers a beautifullyAn author who truly has the gift to place the reader right in the time and setting in which her stories take place, Jessica James offers a beautifully poignant love story in "Above and Beyond: A Novel of the Civil War". Young widow Sarah Duvall is reviled in her Virginia homeland for having married a Union officer. Her own brother considers her to be a traitor. She is known to support the Union cause, but what is known to only a few is that she secretly spies for the Confederacy. Stalwart Colonel of the Confederate Army Douglas Benton is a peerless commander of men who is equally adept at commanding the attention of the females he encounters. Only the beautiful widow Duvall is resistant to his charm. When Colonel Benton discovers that Sarah is actually the valuable informant, "Sid", he balks at working with a woman. Orders are orders, however, and Benton is resigned to his duty. As his admiration for Sarah grows, so does his desire to gain her favor. Sarah is aware of his reputation, and his overbearing, yet gentlemanly manner, and she finds him to be a puzzle. A deepening mutual regard between Douglas and Sarah must be kept at bay due to the intensity of the complex and dangerous situations caused by the War Between the States. Sarah's abiding faith, boundless courage, and great sacrifices have a life-changing effect on Douglas. When all that he holds so dear appears to be lost, will a new-found faith and an awaiting love guide him through his darkest days? Jessica James is a gifted storyteller whose extensive research and love of subject infuse her writing with a vivid authenticity. A highly-recommended author whose work resides on my keeper shelf.