This was a nice, relaxing read, but I never really fell in love with Laine or Eric. There was a distinct lack of conflict in the first half of the boo...moreThis was a nice, relaxing read, but I never really fell in love with Laine or Eric. There was a distinct lack of conflict in the first half of the book, and the conflict that did occur towards the end of the novel was almost imaginary, or in the characters' heads, as it never made me worry that they wouldn't get together. I don't need the hero and heroine to hate each other at first sight, but their relationship was practically perfect from the beginning, and it didn't make for the most riveting read.
I enjoyed the side story about Al, an employee at Eric's garage, mentoring a teenage boy and getting involved in his family. Al's story linked into Ray Anne's, and this reminded me of what I love about Robyn Carr's stories--she gives people second chances to find love and families, even if they've made huge mistakes in their pasts or are beyond the typical romance novel age for finding love.
We only saw a few glimpses of other characters in the town in this book, and I would have actually liked a few more updates on how the other characters' lives were going. I guess I've got used to Robyn Carr's style of keeping us in check with previous heroes and heroines!
As always, Robyn's portrayal of teenagers is encouraging and not at all patronising. This is something other authors fail to master, and I'm always impressed with Robyn's realism.
I'm about halfway through Robyn Carr's Virgin River series, and while I don't adore every volume, there have been several couples that I've fallen in love with in that series. I've really connected with their stories and cared about whether they solved their problems and managed to get together. Laine and Eric just didn't make it onto that list. I was glad that they found each other and were happy, but they didn't seem to have a whole lot to overcome in order to get there. Definitely not my favourite Thunder Point or Robyn Carr novel, but Robyn is always good for an easy, relaxing read, especially give my love of small-town stories and the fact that I do miss living by the sea. I'm definitely excited to read the next volume in the series, since it looks like Scott will finally be getting his own happily ever after, after him appearing for several books!
I'll format this into a tighter review later, but overall: a sweet story with some intriguing sub-plots, but not enough conflict to make me fall in love with the main characters. Hovering between a 3.5 and a 4.(less)
I think this may be one of my favourite books in the series. Rick and Liz's story was so touching. I know some people have said that they aren't a big...moreI think this may be one of my favourite books in the series. Rick and Liz's story was so touching. I know some people have said that they aren't a big fan of their storyline, but I have a soft spot for people who fall in love young, mainly because I met my husband when I was 18 and married him when I was 20. Rick and Liz have been through a lot in this series, and it gives them a maturity that might seem unrealistic in other circumstances, but I've loved watching them grow.
It was really tough to read about Rick's recovery from his injuries (physically, mentally and psychologically) in Iraq, but I was glad that Robyn Carr didn't sugar-coat. I will admit, I do roll my eyes when yet another military man shows up in this small town, but Carr doesn't glamourise these men's military experiences. Rick's experience doesn't result in hero-worshipping, but a realistic portrayal of just how tough it is to be a marine. The letter that Rick writes Jack about the horrible experience of seeing the face of the man he shot really sums up how much this book humanises the horrors or war, for both sides.
I was glad to see Abby and Cam finally work things out, and I actually wasn't quite as annoyed by Abby as other readers seem to have been. It did seem like their storyline was cut short, and another review reminded me that we don't even get to learn the names of their twins! I hope we get more about them in the next book. Muriel and Walt's story was continued, although not terribly eventful. I'm not sure if there's much more to develop there, unless they decide to get married.
I appreciated finally getting some more insight into Dan's story, since he's been popping up all over the place in this series. I wasn't sure what to make of him and Cheryl to begin with, but in the end I was happy with how that worked out. Even people who have screwed up parts of their lives have the chance to work towards a happy ending.
I don't think I have any major complaints about this book. There must be something in the water in this town because everybody keeps having mind-blowing, awesome sex, even if they're old or pregnant or whatever. This book felt like it had more sex scenes than usual, but maybe it's just been a while since I read the last one. I did feel a little self-conscious listening to my audiobook at the bus stop when one of Muriel and Walt's scenes started though! Otherwise, I really did love this book. 4.5*
And as always, Therese Plummer is an amazing narrator. Highly recommended! I was so pleased when I moved to Edinburgh and discovered that the library system had nearly the entire series as audiobooks.(less)
Kristan Higgins has been on my radar for ages, and every time I read a good review of one of her books I find myself sucked in by the intriguing synop...moreKristan Higgins has been on my radar for ages, and every time I read a good review of one of her books I find myself sucked in by the intriguing synopsis--and then stop and remind myself that I already have way too many books waiting to be read! But this book was £0.59 on Kindle and that seemed far too good to pass up, right? I read the sample chapter and immediately had to purchase this book. And I'm so glad that I did.
It's been a really long time since a book has made me sway from being in fits of giggles to crying at several points throughout the story. Some of the humour may be a little over-the-top and verging on slapstick at times, but I loved reading about Faith's ridiculous escapades and her crazy family. Not only that, but this book was so touching. I know I'm a little bit emotional in general right now, but I really felt for Faith and all the tough things she'd been through--from being broken up with on her wedding day to witnessing her mother's death and believing it was her fault. She was a flawed character in the best sense, whether she was trying to climb out of the bathroom of a bar to avoid seeing her ex, or trying to fix her father up with a date because she was worried he was lonely without her mom. I can see from other reviews that some people struggled to relate to Faith, but I loved her.
Levi was a fabulously flawed hero as well. I loved the relationship between him and his teenage sister--plenty of romance novels feature single dads, but not so many have heroes who have to look after their younger siblings. It took me a while to warm up to Levi to begin with, until I understood the weird dynamic between Levi, Faith, and Faith's ex-fiancé. He really won me over towards the end of the story when he and Faith talked about her mother's death. Even if they did have some silly communication issues, they worked them out quickly, which I was pleased about as I am not a fan of Big Misunderstandings.
I loved the town that this book was set in, and will definitely be hunting down the later books in the series. There were plenty of fantastic characters--from the Bible study ladies who picked bizarre passages to analyse, to Levi's colleagues on the police force to Faith's amusing gaggle of siblings.
Honestly, I don't have any major complaints about this book. It really touched me and got me to care about these characters as if they were my own friends. If there was anything I didn't like, it was some of the terminology--if Levi used the word "rack" one more time to describe Faith's chest, I would have wanted to punch him! But really, that's the extent of my gripes with this book. I am definitely a fan of Kristan Higgins now. And this book was more than worth the £0.59 I spent on it!
A note on the cover: I love Kristan's US covers, and I don't understand why her UK publisher insists on these cheesy, cartoony ones? Ick. For years I've been bemoaning the sad state of romance/chick-lit covers over here, and it's yet to change. (less)
Silver Bells by Debbie Macomber I've only read a few of Macomber's books, and most of them have actually been Christmas stories. This one made me remem...moreSilver Bells by Debbie Macomber I've only read a few of Macomber's books, and most of them have actually been Christmas stories. This one made me remember how much I enjoy her writing. It was a really sweet romance, fuelled by a matchmaking daughter, and I thoroughly enjoyed it...up until the ending. The novella skipped forward to an epilogue at a really odd moment, and I felt like there should have been at least one more chapter in the novella, perhaps a situation where the hero and heroine had the chance to tell each other how they felt. It felt like their romance was only just starting, to be honest. I didn't need a "I love you" declaration, given how little time they'd known each other for, but even admitting that they'd come to care for each other would have been better than nothing. Given the abrupt ending, I'm giving this novella 3.5*. I really would have rated it higher if it weren't for the weird transition to the epilogue.
The Perfect Holiday by Sherryl Woods Woods is another author who has come highly recommended, although the only book of hers that I've previously read (Stealing Home) didn't exactly blow me away. I liked the premise behind the hero and heroine meeting, with their Christmas plans being organised by Savannah's aunt before she died. Matchmaking beyond the grave! There were a lot of cute interactions with Savannah's daughter, and Trace was a really endearing character (although I wasn't a massive fan of the way he threw his money around. Can't we have more heroes with realistic incomes?) The ending to this story was a little abrupt, too, but not as bad as the first story. My biggest gripe is just that the hero and heroine were incredibly flirty right from the start (which probably wouldn't be my first reaction when a strange man turned up in my aunt's house) and they got physically involved a lot earlier in the story than felt believable (especially given that Savannah was recovering from a bad divorce and her daughter was hanging around). But otherwise, this was an incredibly sweet story, and I found myself wondering if Woods had written any other stories in this setting, because I'd love to revisit the Holiday Inn. 3.5*
Under the Christmas Tree by Robyn Carr I'm not going to lie, Carr's story was the main reason why I wanted to read this book! I'm slowly working my way through the Virgin River series, and I actually read this story out of order as I've yet to request #7 from the library. Thankfully, this is a story you can read without any prior knowledge of the series, given that only two of the main character from the series actually appear in the book. Despite this, this novella was typical Carr, from the setting to the large, sprawling families to the sweet romance between two entirely unexpected people. It's been a couple of months since I last read a Virgin River book, and this made me want to jump back into the series. I'm struggling to think of anything I really disliked about this novella, because Carr seemed to get the pacing just right and include enough detail and secondary characters to add some realism without overwhelming the reader. I think my only issue with this story was that the hero and heroine were discussing marriage after only a few weeks of being together, and I'm not entirely sure how believable this was. Then again, they were both in their early thirties and had experience behind them, so maybe their circumstances made it more understandable? Either way, this is definitely my favourite from this collection. 4.5*(less)
As much as I enjoyed this instalment in the Virgin River series, the first four still remain my favourites. I just didn't care terribly much about She...moreAs much as I enjoyed this instalment in the Virgin River series, the first four still remain my favourites. I just didn't care terribly much about Shelby and Luke. Their relationship was mostly based on physical attraction and their conflict was pretty non-existent until near the end of the novel--and even then, it was based on a lack of communication, which is one of my least favourite relationship conflicts for a romance novel. And I'm sure this book had more than the usual three sex scenes that Carr usually churns out. I skipped forward so many times in this audiobook because I was getting bored of listening to sex scenes. I wanted more plot!
I enjoyed finding out about what the other members of the town were up to. The storyline about Vanni's dad and his movie star girlfriend is still one of my favourites, and the sub-plots about Doc and Art were also really interesting. The town is definitely starting to feel rather unrealistic--why do so many young, retired, single marines and army guys flock there, and why are all the women drop dead gorgeous?--but it is a fun location to read about.
The person I'm most looking forward to reading about is Cameron Michaels, the doctor who previously dated Vanni and has just moved to Virgin River. He wasn't in this book a lot, but I honestly found him more appealing than Luke. Finally, a hero who isn't an ex-serviceman! It's nice to see some variety. I hope he gets his own happy ending in a later book.
Although Shelby and Luke weren't the most compelling protagonists in this series, this was still a fun instalment, and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next in Virgin River. 3.5*(less)