Being a big fan of Beautiful Disaster and Thoughtless/Effortless, I'm always looking for a book that will give me the same adrenaline rush I felt when...moreBeing a big fan of Beautiful Disaster and Thoughtless/Effortless, I'm always looking for a book that will give me the same adrenaline rush I felt when I read those. Taking Chances was that book for me. It has the incredibly sexy, tatted, buzzed-head hero who makes a living as an underground fighter like BD and the heart-wrenching love triangle between a sweet girl and two equally awesome frat brothers who are both in love with her like T/E. Can Romancelandia get any better for me? Not likely.
Harper Jackson has just started her freshman year at San Diego State University. Being raised by a strict, emotionless father on a military base in North Carolina, she is completely overwhelmed by her over-zealous roommate Bree and the craziness of living in the dorms on campus. Bree's brother, Chase, is the first guy she meets; and, although they fall into a routine of trading snarky remarks with each other, Chase's chiseled, tatted body and surfer good looks have Harper secretly swooning despite her vow to steer clear of the obvious "man-ho". But then she meets Brandon, the sexy "Travis Maddox look-alike" and it is love at first sight for both of them. Unfortunately, Brandon lives in Chase's frat house and it becomes a messy love triangle that escalates to disastrous proportions.
I can't say anything more in detail without giving away the story, but it is an amazing, heart-wrenching, soul-searching journey that Harper embarks upon in her first year of college. It is a long book - just short of 500 pages - but I was so caught up in Harper's dilemma with her two awesome men that I read the book in one sitting. Yes, it is that good!
This is Molly McAdams debut "new adult" novel and I'm excited for her to write more because she has that special "gift" of bringing her characters alive and making her readers feel as though we know these people personally. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all lovers of a good romance but especially to those who are still in a state of limbo after experiencing Travis Maddox and Kellan Kyle. But heed this warning: Have a box of tissue handy...there are a few situations that will have you tearing up and one incident that will tear your heart to pieces! *sniff*
Short but sweet story about a guy who is guilt-ridden over the fact that he is in love with his dead best friend's wife. The narrator for this audiobo...moreShort but sweet story about a guy who is guilt-ridden over the fact that he is in love with his dead best friend's wife. The narrator for this audiobook, MacLeod Andrews, should be credited for giving this tired plot the oomph it needed to make this a worthwhile listen.(less)
Thoughtless is a compassionate but heartbreaking story of three people caught in a contemporary love triangle. I read this book last Sunday, and I don...moreThoughtless is a compassionate but heartbreaking story of three people caught in a contemporary love triangle. I read this book last Sunday, and I don't know if it was because Andy Whitfield passed away, or because it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11...maybe a bad case of the "Sunday blues" or simply because the angst was ratcheted up so high in the story. Whatever the reason, when all hell broke loose in Chapter 23, the damn burst. Reading with blurred vision is such a bloody nuisance but I had to finish the last three chapters to see if somehow, despite the cheating, deceit and lies, all 3 protagonists were able to find a measure of peace & happiness in the end.
Kiera and Denny, both in their early 20's, have been an exclusive couple for 2 years. When Denny is offered an intern position with a prestigious ad firm in Seattle, Kiera applies for and receives a scholarship to the University of Washington. Leaving small-town life behind they travel across the country...moving in with a close friend of Denny's from when he served as an exchange student in high school. Enter Kellan Kyle...an extremely good-looking, sexier-than-hell lead singer in a local band...and new roommate to the transplanted Ohioans.
What follows is an extremely intense story of a young woman who is torn between her love for two equally-deserving men and their unwavering love for her. There is no menage here, where in a fantasy world Kiera would keep both Denny and Kellan. This isn't erotica, yet the sexual tension is so prevalent and so fine-tuned you'll be buzzing with expectation. Told through Kiera's POV, it is a simple day-to-day story made complex by the unexpected attraction between Kiera and Kellan and the powerful, emotionally high-charged atmosphere that settles among these two as well as the unsuspecting Denny. Fortunately, even with the limited POV,the author won't ever leave you scratching your head and wondering 'what just happened here?' She leaves nothing to speculation and plays the entire drama out in explicit (although somewhat lengthy) detail.
As you can probably guess, there is cheating in this story. And while the idea of cheating in a romance novel might totally turn you off, at least the circumstances that prompt the cheating are not due to the overplayed drunkenness or selfishness or the big misunderstanding...they are simply due to inexperience, vulnerability and the inevitable loss in the struggle to follow one's head and not one's heart. As such, there are no bad guys in the story. Unfortunately, this greatly restricts the reader's ability to justify the cheating; and because of the devastating outcome, it was hard for me to forgive Kiera and be truly happy for her.
This book is angst at its best. I was riding the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime and had to physically unwind & stretch cramped muscles whenever I took a break. But I loved the fact that a story could totally consume me like Thoughtless did...blubbering tears and all. The author, S.C. Stephens really has the ability to express feelings and emotions and internal struggle. She gets to the heart & core of the characters and thoroughly fleshes them out...so much so you will feel like a personal friend to Kiera, Kellan & Denny. Their story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and you will live every moment with them.
I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!
This is the first time I've found a hero most unappealing and still felt the book deserved 5 stars. The hero in a story is usually the draw for me, bu...moreThis is the first time I've found a hero most unappealing and still felt the book deserved 5 stars. The hero in a story is usually the draw for me, but being so invested in the Virgin River series, I knew I was getting a rangy, unkempt mountain man and wanted to read the book anyway. Wise decision, KarenH!
Ian Buchanan has been living a hermit's life on an isolated mountain since he turned his back on civilization 5 years ago. Discharged from the Marines, Ian was unable to deal with real-life situations that he perceived to be gross injustices...particularly the fact that while serving in Iraq, although he had saved his best friend's life, the friend, Bobby, was severely injured and lived the last three years of his young life totally paralyzed and in a catatonic state. And Ian received a medal of honor for that??? His fiancee couldn't comprehend anything beyond the wedding she was planning and his father was an old, pessimistic bastard that found fault with everything his son did. So Ian had walked away from it all and was living in a rural cabin on a desolate mountain far off the beaten path...when Marcie Sullivan, Bobby's widow, tracked him down.
Ian growled and roared and made a lot of noise trying to scare Marcie away but the feisty, five-foot-nothing redhead wasn't buying it. She had been searching for Ian for what felt like an eternity and all the scare tactics he could muster up were not enough to sway her from her mission...she wanted to tell Ian that Bobby had passed away, she wanted to give him Bobby's cherished baseball card collection, she wanted to make sure he was alright, but most of all she wanted to get to know the man that Bobby had loved and respected..the man who had risked his own life to save Bobby's.
Ian finally gave in and told Marcie she could stay overnight but he wanted her off the mountain in the morning. No such luck, however, because Marcie woke up with the flu. Ian nursed her back to health over the next few days, and his urgency for her to leave - his need to be alone - was all but forgotten. Ian & Marcie eased into an amiable relationship and got to know each other well as the story progressed. Although I was having trouble picturing Ian as someone other than ZZ Top, Marcie didn't seem to mind. And by the time they have sex, there is no doubt they are very much in love. But now what? Marcie has a life in the city and Ian still wants no part of all that. Will they be able to accept their relationship is nothing more than a fling and go their separate ways?
This book is, by far, the most emotional read of the series. When Marcie is describing her life with Bobby as an invalid - only not in depression but with the joy she felt for having him 3 more years - I was a goner.
I doubt anyone could read that part and not be moved by it, as it brings to mind this senseless fucking war...how many wonderful young lives have been cut short and families left to bear the overwhelming sorrow. Robyn Carr does an excellent job of looking at it through Marcie's bittersweet perspective - sadness for losing her beloved husband, Bobby...her big, strong man so full of life; yet happiness for the extension of his life that had been granted...time that she, as well as Bobby's parents and siblings, needed to say goodbye.
The one problem I continue to have with this series is the deluge of bitchy women. Mel Sheridan, queen of the Virgin River bitches, would have had "bitch as the secondary character" role all to herself in AVRC but (and this is hard to believe but true) her bitchiness is eclipsed by that of Marcie's sister, Erin. O.M.G. what a shrew! It's a good thing I read Erin's story, Angel's Peak, before I read AVRC because with this lead-in alone, I would've hated Erin and been forced to bypass an installment of my favorite series. Fortunately, Erin leaves her "bitchy, overbearing shrew is why you can't find a husband" demeanor behind when she returns to Virgin River on vacation.
It is no wonder that the Virgin River series is as successful and much-read at book 14 as it was at book 1 because Ms. Carr continues to keep the story lines fresh. The characters may be repetitive but each story is unique..even if the premise isn't. Book 5 of the series, Second Chance Pass, utilizes the same "heroine falls in love with best friend of husband who was killed in Iraq" theme but that is the only similarity between the two stories. IMO that really says something about RC's amazing talent because I can't think of one other multi-published author that has written 2 completely different stories with the same theme...much less 2 completely different stories with different themes!
In fewer words, Robyn Carr, you rock!
May the love continue to flow down that ol' Virgin River!(less)