I just finished this book and found it wonderful. Vanessa James is the pseudonym of Sally Beauman, who wrote my favorite-ever book, Destiny. I'm gobbl...moreI just finished this book and found it wonderful. Vanessa James is the pseudonym of Sally Beauman, who wrote my favorite-ever book, Destiny. I'm gobbling up her backlist right now, and began with this ancient Harlequin Presents. Lovely. (less)
What cracktastic WTFery! Absolutely batshit insane plot with a TSTL heroine who literally does nothing in the entire book but be admired by the hero....moreWhat cracktastic WTFery! Absolutely batshit insane plot with a TSTL heroine who literally does nothing in the entire book but be admired by the hero. I'm still wondering WTF!? (less)
Twenty-five year old Shelby McIntyre is visiting Virgin River, a charmed and charming (fictional) Northern California town. Her mother has passed away...moreTwenty-five year old Shelby McIntyre is visiting Virgin River, a charmed and charming (fictional) Northern California town. Her mother has passed away and she’s somewhat sheltered so the small town seems like a good place to rest for the summer before she finishes her college degree and travels the world. Her future includes a debonaire, handsome Mr. Right.
Blackhawk pilot Luke Riordan is also visiting. He’s inherited some cabins by the river, and he’s fixing them up. He is looking for a good time. When he sees Shelby, he instinctively knows that’s not her. She’s too innocent, too sweet, and too young to become involved. But she likes him.
As he is fixing up the cabins, he finds a mentally challenged young man sleeping in one of them. And thus began one of the sweetest, most truly touching relationships I’ve ever read in any kind of book. It turns out that Art has run away from a group home after being abused by the owners who are basically running a Social Security/disability scam on the state. What I liked so much about this relationship was that Luke didn’t patronize Art. He gave him responsibilities and Art fulfilled them. When Luke begins investigating Art’s departure from the group home, one of the bullies says, “These kids are great.”
Luke thinks, correctly, they’re not kids. I loved Luke for that. If I didn’t see Luke’s relationship with Art, I wouldn’t have thought his relationship with Shelby was nearly so evolved – seeing this side of him made me see what a truly good guy he was, how respectful he is of people. Mega points for adding that.
Luke likes Shelby but he knows he’s not settling down. Not now, not ever. And he recognizes that Shelby deserves someone who is passionately committed to her. But Shelby’s not one to demure from what she wants. They strike a deal. They’ll just go day by day with the understanding that Shelby will one day be leaving Virgin River and it will end.
The romance scenes were sweet, which suited the book very well. The first one, the reader knows Shelby’s a virgin but Luke doesn’t know that. It’s very sweet, watching him struggling with that.
Finally the end of summer is coming and true to his word, Luke doesn’t ask for more. Shelby decides to heck with it and leaves. She goes to Hawaii for a while, and Luke’s brother finds her on the beach and explains a little of Luke’s past. She then returns to Virgin River and basically says this is nonsense and he agrees and they have their happily ever after.
I really liked the give and take between the two characters, and I love the setting. Robyn Carr has developed Virgin River very well – the details are so clear – and it is obvious she loves it as if it were her hometown. There are many of these books in the series, all set in Virgin River. I’ve got three or four in my To Be Read pile, which I guess is the highest possible compliment one can pay to a writer’s characters and setting. I have a feeling you can start with any one of them and fall right into it, but Temptation Ridge was a terrific introduction.(less)
Emiline du Ronde is mistress of a great Caribbean plantation, a successful businesswoman and a very lonely wife. It seems Reinier Barhydt, her husband...moreEmiline du Ronde is mistress of a great Caribbean plantation, a successful businesswoman and a very lonely wife. It seems Reinier Barhydt, her husband, departed four years ago on a ship and has not returned. Instead, he and his best friend, Connor have a reputation for wild menage a trois and they are happily circling the globe doing everyone from the noblewomen of Europe to a virgin whore in some undisclosed location — yes, a virgin in a whorehouse. And they were lucky enough to have her (though I wonder if a virgin in a whorehouse would feel the same). I fully expected the two men to actually do each other – since they almost kiss in the first chapter – but no, apparently their enjoyment of sex with other men is limited to watching the other with a woman.
Meanwhile, on her little island, Emiline du Ronde has had quite enough, and she has her attorney draw up divorce papers. Connor overhears this, and for reasons I’m not quite clear on, he tells Reinier that she has taken a lover. Reinier returns to the island and makes a bargain with her. If she succumbs to his every wish for three days, he will grant her divorce.
I’ll stop here to just say the motivations of this book are preposterous. Reinier actually yells to a maid that, “I’m the one that was a prize she could brag to her friends about, something to laud over them and check off her list of ingredients for the perfect marriage…. She never loved me. It was all about bragging rights to her.”
Bragging rights. Okay. Whatever. Like some guy who cats around with whores is some huge catch. Way to go Emiline. But of course, none of the motives are actually the point.
Gettin-it-on is the point.
And that they do quite well. In the three days that Emiline is to submit to him, he takes a liking to spanking her, whipping her, caning her, and plain old doing her like a math problem. It was absolutely thrilling.
The writing itself, with its sweet descriptions of Caribbean life, were lustrous and beautiful. The attraction between the two main characters was very well defined, and the sex was extremely good. The fact that it was all hinged on a ridiculous structure did not matter in the least. These books are escapist, and they’re allowed to veer from reality.
I do have a question about the two men, however. To my eye, it appeared that the two men were lovers, but that the editing process deleted it. I could be entirely wrong about that, but there is a gap in the plot where that fact would have fit quite well indeed. As it is, their close friendship full of hugs and, of course, sharing sex with a woman, just seems undone and a little odd. It’s an intriguing line of inquiry: if they were lovers and that was cut out, why was it cut? Did the editors not believe that women would enjoy man-sex?
In any case, the existing book is lovely. A very enjoyable, fast read that ends with a happily ever after. (less)
I picked up this book from my to-be read pile thinking it would be a quick read -- and it was, but not quick enough. I've never read any Lisa Lkeypas,...moreI picked up this book from my to-be read pile thinking it would be a quick read -- and it was, but not quick enough. I've never read any Lisa Lkeypas, though I have a few more of her books in the to-be read pile, and I am hoping against hope that this was just a weak showing and not indicative of her usual skill.
It is hard to say what it was that didn't work for me. I think the writing was okay, if nothing special. There were two long paragraphs that I thought should have been removed in the editing process; it was just backstory that really didn't serve any purpose. The story sounds good on paper. But ultimately I didn't think the story was deep enough. Every interaction was superficial. The writing reminded me of Nicholas Sparks in this respect.
I am happy to try Lkeypas' other books, but for me Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor was just blah.(less)
A very good introduction to Deirdre Martin. I especially thought the dialogue between the guys was spot-on. I almost lost my patience toward the end b...moreA very good introduction to Deirdre Martin. I especially thought the dialogue between the guys was spot-on. I almost lost my patience toward the end because (SPOILER ALERT) the couple - Adam and Sinead - keep breaking up. But I stuck with it and it turned out to be an enjoyable read.(less)
I usually enjoy Robyn Carr's books; I love her Virgin River series. But this - maybe because it was so short - just felt like an advertisement for the...moreI usually enjoy Robyn Carr's books; I love her Virgin River series. But this - maybe because it was so short - just felt like an advertisement for the Zoe Institute to me. It was still sweet and full of heart, but I didn't really like the heroine, Dory. Despite saying, "I don't hate men," at one point, she actually kind of does. Or did at that point anyway.
I just prefer her longer form books. This was a free download on Amazon though so I don't feel too bad about not being gaga for it.(less)