Random quick note: The whole thing with Cheyenne in this book (and I won't say what so I don't give it away) - but it really ruined this book. And it...moreRandom quick note: The whole thing with Cheyenne in this book (and I won't say what so I don't give it away) - but it really ruined this book. And it rather disgusted me. I have to admit it's soured me a bit from wanting to read future books in this series.(less)
I do so enjoy this series. It's almost as good as Robyn Carr's "Virgin River" series, which is the all-time best contemporary romance series I've read...moreI do so enjoy this series. It's almost as good as Robyn Carr's "Virgin River" series, which is the all-time best contemporary romance series I've read.
Series Note: 8th full length book in Mallery's "Fool's Gold" series which is set in the fiction town of Fool's Gold, California, where women outnumber men and then to rule the roost.
Summary: Shane Stryker is ready to settle down in his hometown of Fool's Gold, California. He's bought land for a ranch and is having a house built. And just maybe, he'll be able to find the right woman for him...something who is calmer and won't cheat like his ex-wife. So when he first sees local librarian Annabelle Weiss dancing on a bar, he knows she's a woman to stay away from.
But Annabelle isn't at all like what he thought. As he spends time with her, teaching to ride a horse, he can't help but want her. For Annabelle, Shane's desire for her is a revelation. But she's bothered by how often he compares her to his ex-wife. She knows they have a chance for a future if only Shane could learn to let go of old hurts.
Review: I've really enjoyed reading this series by Susan Mallery. It's chock full of great characters, sweet, sexy romances, and amusing, well-written situations that have you coming back for more whenever you put the book down.
Annabelle and Shane are both interesting characters. Annabelle's a library with sexy, fun side and Shane is yummy cowboy with some battle scars from a bad relationship...he acts like a jerk a few times but you can't help but forgive him. I enjoyed reading about them both. And they had some great chemistry together with some sexy scenes between them.
The storyline revolves around Annabelle learning to ride a horse for a town festival and Shane adjusting to life in Fool's Gold with his mother's odd menagerie of animals. I really loved the whole thing involving Khatar (a horse) and Annabelle. That was a really great addition to the story. And we can't forget the lonely elephant. Plus I enjoyed Shane getting suckered into giving riding lessons and being schmoozed by a dangerous deadly pony ;) All around it was just a great story set up that had me smiling, laughing and sighing. It was just the kind of storyline that I enjoy from a contemporary romance.
And of course there were parts involving the other characters from the series, which are great to read since you get to see what everyone is up to. I enjoyed the interactions with Annabelle and her friends. It was also interesting to learn more about Charlie, the tough-girl firefighter. I'm really looking forward to the next book that will feature her and the third Stryker brother, Clay (a movie butt-double and male model). Should be a really interesting story!
Just another winner from Mallery in this series, though. A fun, sexy, easy read that I highly enjoyed.(less)
Susan Mallery's “Fool's Gold” series may not be quite as book as Robyn Carr's “Virgin River” series but it's definitely close. I've enjoyed almost all...moreSusan Mallery's “Fool's Gold” series may not be quite as book as Robyn Carr's “Virgin River” series but it's definitely close. I've enjoyed almost all the books of the series, this one included.
Series Note: Seventh book in Mallery's “Fool's Gold” series which is about a small California town that tends to be very woman-centric. This book starts the third trilogy in the series and I think it stands on it's own enough that you wouldn't have to read the other books first.
Summary: Heidi Simpson has finally found a home at Castle Ranch in Fool's Gold, CA. She loves raising her goats and has high hopes for her goat's milk products. Then her beloved grandfather tries to “sell” her ranch, leaving her locked in a legal battle with the new “owners.” Heidi will do anything to keep her home, even if she has to lock horns with hard-hearted Rafe Stryker.
Because Rafe isn't going to give up the ranch. His mother wants it, so she'll get it. He never expected to enjoy returning to Fool's Gold, and he certainly never expected to fall for a simple country girl who enjoys raising goats. But Rafe's controlling, power-hungry nature and his heart are at odds over how to handle the situation. And the one he follows will almost cost him everything.
Review: I really enjoy the tone of this series, bucolic meets progressive urban society. It's small town but not small minded. Great characters, great place, and an author who knows how to tell a story. It all adds up to good.
This new trilogy in the Fool's Gold series brings us a new set of characters to enjoy, the Stryker family. They grew up in Fool's Gold but were extremely poor and mostly depending on charity. As the oldest son, Rafe had to shoulder a lot of the burden and once they left he'd sworn never to return and to become successful and filthy rich.
For the most part, I like Rafe. He's a guy with some emotional scars over his childhood and you could understand why he acted the way he did sometimes – which was to be a total asshole. But even though you could understand, I didn't always like him in this book. He's definitely not one of my favorite heroes in this series. I didn't dislike him, but I just didn't always find him likable.
Heidi, on the other hand, I really enjoyed. She's a bit different than your traditional heroine. She grew up with her grandfather in a traveling circus but has now settled down on a ranch to raise goats. She wears country girl clothes and wears her hair in braided pig-tails. It made her more interesting because she's not quite so typical. And she just had a fun, loyal personality. I enjoyed read about her.
On the storyline front, the plot mostly focuses on the ranch and who gets it: Heidi and her grandfather, Glen, or Rafe and his mother, May. A bit of a simple storyline but it really worked. I enjoyed reading about it, how May and Rafe move in and how May just sort of takes over and all kinds of interesting things happen. There was just something about the storyline that worked. And there were some scenes that just cracked me up.
I also liked how Mallery gave a good set up for the characters in the upcoming books, which will feature Heidi's two best friends and Rafe's two brothers. Mallery definitely whets your appetite by giving just enough details to make them intriguing and to make you want to read their books when they come out. I am definitely looking forward to them.
And of course, you get some guest appearances by characters from the past books, which is always a fun thing. It's one of my favorite parts of these continuing series.
A great addition to this series, though. If you've been reading the Fool's Gold books then I think you'll definitely enjoy this one. And if you haven't and enjoy contemporary romance, especially small-town-centered series, then I'd definitely recommend giving this series a try.(less)
It's a Virgin River novel, so you know going in it's going to be fantastic in some way. And it was.
Series Note: 19th book in Robyn Carr's "Virgin River...moreIt's a Virgin River novel, so you know going in it's going to be fantastic in some way. And it was.
Series Note: 19th book in Robyn Carr's "Virgin River" series about a small town set in the mountains of California and the struggles they deal with. I don't think you have to read the other first for this book, but really, this is an awesome series and you really should start at the beginning.
Summary: Nora Crane has had a tough life, especially the last few years after her lose addict boyfriend dumped her in the small town of Virgin River with two small children. She struggled to just survive, but with the help of the townspeople, she managed. She's just starting to get her life turned in the right direction and when she hears about a possible job picking apples at the local apple farm, she is determined to get it.
When Nora walks in, looking for a job, Tom Cavanaugh isn't inclined to hire someone so small...and beautiful, but his grandmother convinces him to give Nora a chance. And it works out better than he could have expected. The two soon develop a friendship. Tom fights his attraction to Nora...she's not at all the type of woman he is looking for. And for Nora, though she is attracted to Tom, she has more on her plate to worry about. Like getting her life back together, which is complicated by the sudden reappearance of her father in her life. But will their attraction to each other prove to be more than they can resist?
Review: I've read every Virgin River book and I think reviewed most or all of them. So it's a bit hard to find a new way to come at a review for one of the VR books.
I think one of the greatest things about this series is that even when one of the books is lacking in some way, the book is still fantastic. Most romance books that have some aspect that comes up short end up being average or just above average reads. Not books in this series. Whenever one has been a little off in one area, the book has still been awesome.
And I found that to be the case with this book. There was one aspect as I was reading and as I finished that I wished had been done better, but I still absolutely loved the book. It still made me smile, I still couldn't put it down, and when I got to the end, I wished there was still more to read.
So what did I wish had been a little better? The romance. It's very very slow in developing. It really isn't until you get near the end of the book that the two actually connect in a romantic way. Until that point, they have a friendship with Tom considering a relationship with someone else. I understand the buildup, but I think the romance could have developed sooner. Most of the book just focuses on the friendship but then you get to a point near the end and the romance just kinda explodes. It was just a little off for me.
Like I said, though, it doesn't take away much from how great the book is. Everything else about the story is fantastic. I enjoyed both characters. Nora is an awesome heroine and so fitting for a heroine in this series. She's got grit to have gone through what she has. I don't think I'd have managed to be as strong and determined as she was. Tom was pretty cool, but he's not one of the best heroes from this series. The friendship that develops between the two is great (even if the romance takes a bit too long to develop)
I also really enjoyed the storyline aspect where Nora reconnects with her estranged father. It was a heartwarming part of the story to read about and I think it was a great addition to the story.
And like always, there's a great supporting cast. You don't get quite as much of the series regulars like Jack, Mel, Preacher, etc, as you do in past books, but you still get you fix of the crew. And it's always a joy to get to catch up with those guys. They are some of the most memorable characters I've ever read about.
There's also a little bit about a new character, Coop, who is a friend of Luke's and who has a surprising connection to Jack. It was intriguing and I found Coop to be a very interesting character. Initially, I thought Coop would end up being a hero in a future Virgin River book, but after reading some comments from Carr in a website interview, I'm not so sure. It appears he me be a character used to spin-off the VR series into a new series. Which would make me sad. I don't want the VR series to end. I'm tempted to make a comment about something from this book relating to the series possibly being at an end, but I know there is at least one more book, a Christmas story coming out in Nov 2012 so I'm going to withhold that comment until I read that book.
Vrigin River fans will most likely love this book, though. It's exactly what you've come to expect from Carr for a book in this series. It's heartwarming, chock full of fantastic characters, has a great storyline, and it's a story that you wish didn't have to end. All things that make up a wonderful book. Sure, I wish the romance had developed quicker, but it hardly made a dent in how much I enjoyed the book. It would take a lot for a VR book to be only average. This one? Definitely well above average.(less)
Yet another wonderful addition to a series that is one of my favorite romance series ever.
Series Note: This is the 18th book in the Virg...moreRating: 4.5 / 5
Yet another wonderful addition to a series that is one of my favorite romance series ever.
Series Note: This is the 18th book in the Virgin River series. I won't say you have to read the series in order to read this book, but it is a wonderful series and I think there are definite benefits of reading it in order. However, this book can stand on it's own pretty well, probably.
Summary: Katie Malone is traveling across country to stay in Virgin River, where her brother has settled, after a romance didn't work out and realizing her twin 5 year olds need some stability. She's hoping for some down time in Virgin River before deciding what the next step in her life should be. A flat tire just outside down leads to some unexpected consequences in her life when a mysterious biker happens by and helps her out.
A former child-star, Dylan Childress is on a motorcycle tour of the Virgin River area with some friends before he gets back down to work trying to figure out how to save his aviation business. When he meets intriguing Katie Malone on the road, he's mystified by her. She's everything he's ever wanted but told himself he couldn't have. Neither are looking for a relationship, but one finds them. Working it out isn't easy, though, as both are at a crossroads in their lives and trying to find a way to be together won't be easy.
Review: What is it about this series that is so enchanting and engaging? From the first book I've been hooked and I keep coming back for more. I haven't loved every book in the series, but even the ones that aren't my favorites are a pleasure to read. Maybe it's the continuity of the books...it's the best series I've ever read when it comes to keeping characters, setting, and romances going from book to book. Maybe it's the wonderful setting, or the fantastic characters, or the simplicity and realism of true romance and life issues. Or I guess it's a combination of all that. Whatever it is, Robyn Carr has created such a wonderful set of books with this series.
I really enjoyed this book. I can't say it's one of my top favorites, but it's definitely one of the more enjoyable ones. I loved both the main characters. Katie Malone is a spunky, widowed mother of twin 5 year-olds and Dylan Childress is a former bad boy child star who turned his life around and is now a quite reclusive owner of an aviation business. Both were a pleasure to read about.
The romance is sweetly done. I read a review that felt the romance wasn't developed enough, that the two fell in love too quickly and too simply. I couldn't disagree more. I thought the development of the romance was wonderfully done. Maybe it didn't take very long (a month of so) but I had no issues with the development. I could feel the chemistry between the two. And RC did a great job of portraying their inner conflict over getting involved. Especially with Dylan and his struggle to put his inner demons to rest and to allow himself to fall in love and hope for a future with Katie. I found Dylan to be a rather intriguing guy and I loved his storyline. Would he go back to movies? Would he save his business? Would he move to VR to be with Katie? Would he get eaten by a bear ;) It was great stuff. And I was really rooting for these two and just want to keep reading about them and how it would all work out.
Maybe the storyline isn't wildly original and maybe the tone is similar to a lot of the other VR books, but again, I didn't mind. Robyn Carr is such a wonderful storyteller that every book, no matter how different or similar to other books in the series, is a joy to read. You just get sucked into the story she is telling about Katie and Dylan, the town of Virgin River, and all the other people involved.
Plus, you can't get through a VR book without getting to read about a lot of the past characters. This book didn't involve them quite as much as some past books - the focus in this one was pretty centered around Dylan and Katie - but you get a nice dose of Jack, Connor, Leslie, Luke...some cameos from Preacher, Paige, Paul, Nora, some others, and an introduction the hero of the next book, Tom.
And like I've said in other reviews, every time I read a new Virgin River book it's like coming home because Robyn Carr has created such a heart-warming, vivid, wonderful place in Virgin River, California. I look forward to the next installment.(less)
Not my favorite of the Fool's Gold books. I liked it and some parts were great, but on the whole it was not at good as other books in the series.
Serie...moreNot my favorite of the Fool's Gold books. I liked it and some parts were great, but on the whole it was not at good as other books in the series.
Series Note: Sixth book in the Fool's Gold series about a small, quaint California town and the people who live there. I think you could probably read this one on its own, but there is a definite benefit to reading the books in order.
Summary: Nevada Hendrix is the last of her triplet sisters not attached to a man and preparing to marry. She is, however, looking forward to a new job that will challenge and engage her. Until she finds out her boss will be Tucker Janack, the man she was hopelessly in love and who broke her heart years ago. Nevada takes the job anyway, determined to forget about the past.
This time around, though, Tucker is finally seeing her as the woman she as and neither are able to forget what happened all those years ago. They manage to hold the passion at bay for a short while but eventually give in. Nevada begins to wonder if they could have a future, but Tucker is still lost in his belief that love is evil. Then a woman from Tucker's past shows up to make things even more complicated. Tucker will have to reevaluate his stance on love or risk losing Nevada forever.
Review: Parts of this book I really enjoyed and other parts came off a bit flat. I wanted to love it, but there was just something holding me back from thoroughly digging into the story.
Oddly enough, it was the romance that didn't entirely hit the right note. I want to say the chemistry between Nevada and Tucker wasn't entirely there, but I'm not sure that's exactly it. Or maybe it's that their romance seemed somewhat undeveloped...but I don't think that's quite it either. So maybe it's that their romance came off a bit unoriginal and trite...guy gets drunk, sleeps with girl then goes back to his girlfriend, they don't see each other for years then as soon as they do they can't stay away from each other but the guy still has love/commitment issues and breaks the girl's heart all over again. It's a very basic storyline that's been done more than a few times. I wanted something a little different, more special.
There were other parts of the book that I enjoyed, though. The whole thing with Cat...especially Cat trying to win Nevada over, and the thing about the giant vagina...was hilarious. I was literally laughing out loud at various points of the book because of Cat's antics. It was freakin' hilarious
And I liked that the triple's mom got her happily ever after. That was sweet. The scene where Nevada walks in on her mom and Max was another one that had me cracking up. And of course, you get some scenes with Nevada's sisters to keep you up to date on past characters. Plus, author Susan Mallery brings 3 other female characters into focus, I assume, for her next Fool's Gold trilogy. I think Charlie's story should be interesting. She's definitely not your typical female character.
There were a couple other things that disappointed me, though. One was that Jo (the female owner of the local female-centered pub) had a side romance in this book. I was really intrigued by her character and had been looking forward to reading her book. So to read this book, where she gets a handful of scenes, falls in love, gets her heart broke, then gets her HEA, was disappointing. I wanted more for her character. She also had a past that would have been a really good building point for her book. So yeah, I wish Mallery would have given her her own book.
I was also disappointed that Mallery neglected to give updates on some things from the other two books in this Fool's Gold trilogy. Was Finn's (hero book 1) brother still involved with Amelia? What about the little girl from from book 2 who was being treated by Simon (hero book 2) for her serious burns? I wanted to know how she was doing! A short paragraph could have been fit in so easily but wasn't. That disappointed me.
So...this book runs the gamut...it had parts I loved, parts that were average, and parts I was disappointed in. I kinda expected more from Mallery for this book. The others I've read just seemed more engaging on the whole. But I didn't dislike this book, just wanted more from it. I'll still be looking forward to reading the next Fool's Gold trilogy.(less)
I've enjoyed this series up to this point, but I think this book is probably my favorite of the series so far. I loved just about everything about thi...moreI've enjoyed this series up to this point, but I think this book is probably my favorite of the series so far. I loved just about everything about this installment of the “Fool's Gold” series. It had me hooked in right from the start and I read it in less than a day. Didn't want to put it down.
Series Note: Fifth full length book in the “Fool's Gold” series about a small California town where women outnumber men. I wouldn't say it's necessary to read the previous books before this one, but I think you'd benefit more if you did.
Summary: Montana Hendrix has always considered herself to be the screw up among her triplet sisters. She's failed in her relationships, had a hard time finding a career, and doesn't think she's anywhere near as pretty or fun as her sisters. But she's comfortable in her life now that she's been working helping to train service dogs. Then the mayor of Fool's Gold comes to her and asks for Montana's help in getting a world renowned plastic surgeon and burn specialist, Simon Bradley, who is on temporary assignment at the local hospital to stay permanently.
The two get off to a terrible start after an unfortunate incident involving a dog, but when one of Simon's young burn patients wants a dog to visit her, Simon goes to see Montana. This time, he's intrigued by the woman. He's helpless to stop the affair that begins. But Simon has deep scars, physical and emotional, that keep him from letting things grow between him and Montana. He may want her, and relish the love she gives him, but he can't stay. Until push comes to shove and he's forced to reevaluate his life.
Review: There was so much about this book that I liked. It taped into so man things that I enjoy reading about in books. And it also tugged at the heartstrings and brought tears to my eyes more than once.
First you've got a brooding, scared, emotionally broken hero. Poor Simon has been through hell in his life. He's a burn survivor and child abuse victim who turns to healing others as a way to do good in the world because he feels he's inferior. It just breaks your heart what the guy has been through. It would be easy at times to get annoyed with him during the story because he is so cut off emotionally and so up and down about his relationship with Montana, but because of his past you can also thoroughly understand it and sympathize with the position he finds himself in. He was one of those characters that makes you want to give him a hug and help make it all better.
Montana was a pretty cool character as well. She feels like she's the underachiever among her triplet sisters. Plus she's had some relationships that really battered her emotionally. Yet she's still bright and fun. I can't say she was a fantastic character. But I liked her.
And these two together just worked. They each give something to the other that they need. Simon helps Montana feel beautiful and successful, and Montana helps Simon see that he doesn't need to isolate his life as being only a brilliant doctor. There's also some great chemistry between them. I enjoyed reading about them and thought they were perfect together.
Then there's the animal part of the book. As an animal lover, I love reading books that have animals playing a role in them. In this case, Montana helps train service dogs...ones that visit hospitals, nursing homes, and she's even helped develop a program where children having difficulty reading read to dogs because it is less intimidating. I loved reading all the scenes involving the dogs. They were fantastic. Some of them heartbreaking, some of the heartwarming.
And of course, you get to revisit the town of Fool's Gold, which I love (though not as much as Robyn Carr's Virgin River...best fictional town ever). I love small town stories where people still care and have values. You also get to catch up with past characters and see how they are doing. That's always a favorite of mine among series books.
Oh, and there's also a sub-story about Montana's mom, and her mysterious past with Montana's boss. You learn a little bit but still more to come on that story, I'm guessing. We'll probably get more on that in future books. I can't say I love stories involving romance between older folks, but it's a kinda interesting one.
I'm really looking forward to reading the final book in this 2nd “Fool's Gold” trilogy. I've enjoyed the first two, and the original trilogy, quite a bit and can't wait to see how Nevada's storyline goes.(less)
After reading the summary on the back of the book, I wasn't sure that I would like this newest installment to the "Fool's Gold" series, but I actually...moreAfter reading the summary on the back of the book, I wasn't sure that I would like this newest installment to the "Fool's Gold" series, but I actually ended up really liking it and reading it in only a few sittings.
Series Note: 4th full length book in the "Fool's Gold" series, and 1st book in the 2nd trilogy. I wouldn't say you have to read the first trilogy beforehand, but I think it gives you more background if you do.
Summary: A TV producer has decided to set a TV reality dating show in Fool's Gold, California and the town is not quite happy about it. Dakota Hendrix has been tapped to be a consultant to the show to make sure her town isn't exploited to badly. Things aren't going to bad when Finn Andersson shows up in town, intent on getting his younger twin brothers off the show. He wants them back in college, ASAP.
After a rough start, Dakota and Finn hit it off. Dakota tries to help Finn let go of his brothers all the while unable to stay away from the man. Both know there is no future for them - Finn has a life back in Alaska to get back to and Dakota wants a home and family, which Finn does not. It doesn't stop them from falling in love. But when Finn must confront his fear of responsibility, these two might not be able to work it out.
Review: I was a bit wary of a storyline revolving around a reality dating show. I'm not much of a fan of that kind of show so I wasn't sure I'd like a book surrounding that issue. But it actually wasn't that bad and it worked for the story.
I just thought there was something very endearing and readable about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed Dakota. She's a strong character, easily likable, and she's persevered some rough stuff going on in her life. She goes through a lot of changes in the book and you just wanted to be happy for her. She was a great character to read about.
Finn was a bit less so. There are definitely times he comes across as a clueless jerk in this book, but it's also understandable how he acts. He's got a lot to work through.
The two together, though, are a fun couple. I liked them. There's sweetness, some sexiness, and two people who just really click. I really was engaged by them and wanted to keep reading to see what would happen between them next.
There were some romances and non-romances revolving around secondary characters. Finn's twin brothers are part of the story. I can't say I liked Sasha. The kid came off as a selfish, phony jerk and I could have done with less scenes of him. As for Stephen...hmm, well...through the reality TV show, Stephen gets hooked up with professional doormat Aurelia, who is 9 years older than him and they end up falling in love and Aurelia grows a spine. I couldn't quite get past the 30 yr-old dating a 21 yr-old. It was kinda yucky...even if somewhat sweet.
Then there's also the community of Fool's Gold that's a significant aspect of the book. I love reading about town's like this, where there's a closeness and a sense of community and support. It's the way town's should be. And you get updates on past characters of the series, which is always a great thing.
Most of the book centers on the characters and there relationship and personal issues. There's not much going on elsewise when it comes to plot. But that's okay. The characters, relationships and drama were definitely strong enough to carry the story. I pretty much enjoyed everything about the book. Very readable with great characters, a nice romance, great drama. Just a very readable story.(less)
Robyn Carr really can't do wrong with this series. Even when a book doesn't entirely work for me, like this one didn't, it's still a good book. I may...moreRobyn Carr really can't do wrong with this series. Even when a book doesn't entirely work for me, like this one didn't, it's still a good book. I may not have thoroughly enjoyed this book, but it was still very readable and not one I minded reading.
Series Note: Part of Carr's "Virgin River" series (13 full books, plus several novellas). I would say you may be able to get by just reading this one, but there's a lot of history worth knowing. So if you have the time and the desire, I'd suggest starting at the beginning. It's well worth it!
Summary: Kelly Matlock (sister of last book's heroine, Jillian), is a sous chef at a 5-star San Francisco restaurant, hoping to one day be a head chef somewhere, when her life suddenly falls apart. In order to escape the stress, Kelly packs up and travels to Virgin River, the town her sister has recently made home. Kelly plans to take some time to relax and kick back before deciding what she wants to do next in her life.
It isn't long before she meets script writer Leif Holbrook. Leif moved to Virgin River a few months earlier in order to give his troubled stepdaughter a better life. Young Courtney has had a lot of emotional upheaval in her life and she's responded by acting out in any way she can. Dealing with her is Leif's only goal. He has no intention of getting involved with a woman, but once he meets Kelly he has to rethink that. He's thoroughly intrigued by her.
Whatever they start is only temporary...at least that's what they tell themselves. Kelly has a life to restart and Leif has a teenage girl to be a father too. Even when things start to get serious, Kelly wonders if there could ever be a place in Leif's life because of Courtney. The two have a lot blocking their way if they want to consider a permanent relationship.
Review: I love this series and I always look forward to a new book from it. But I have to admit I put off reading this one for a while. I knew that Leif's daughter Courtney was going to play a large role in the story and that made me wary. I'm not big on stories where kids play a large role and I had a feeling Courtney would be a big part of this story. And she was.
I can't say that Robyn Carr was wrong for doing the story that way. It was a very appropriate and fitting storyline, something a bit different than the other VR books. At the same time, it's just not a storyline that appeals to me all that much. While having kids in a story may be more realistic, I prefer the focus to be on the H/H and the romance. That's just the way I am.
So that part of the story was a bit of a turn-off for me. Though not as much as I thought it would be. Courtney wasn't as obnoxious as expected coming into the story, and what she's been through is heartbreaking. It was a very workable and very well-done aspect of the story, even if it didn't thoroughly engage me.
It did, however, take away from the romance of the story. I wanted so much more out of the relationship between Kelly in Leif. There was a definite connection between these two, but development of the romance was lacking. Things progress very quickly between the two. It's like the meet, hang out a bit, and suddenly they are inseparable and having feelings of love. It was rather sudden and didn't quite work. The worst part, though, was that there was a lot of "telling" instead of "showing"...it felt like instead of getting to experience the growing relationship between these two first hand, you got a lot of recapping events that happen off the page, a lot of references instead of getting to actually read them. I didn't care for that and it takes away something from the romance, you don't really get to connect with it. Add to that an ending (the romantic resolution) that seemed somewhat abrupt and on the whole the romance could have been better.
Another thing that bugged me a little was that the romance type was too similar to the one in the last book (Kelly's sister's book). A temporary fling turns to more but both still plan to move on and get back to their real lives. They really mirror each other. And maybe that was intentional because the two characters are sisters, but I would have liked something a bit different.
The story was still pretty sweet, though. There may have been things I didn't like about the book, things I wished were done better, but it was still a very readable story. Robyn Carr would have to write a real stinker for me to hate one of her books. I didn't really mind this one...it's still a very classic VR story...I just wanted something different. But for getting your VR fix, it works. You get the town, the people, the characters we love, and a sweet story that gives you warm fuzzy feelings. I think VR fans will appreciate the story.(less)
I always enjoy Virgin River books on one level or another, but I really LOVED this book. It hit on all cylinders for me.
Series Note: 12th+ book in the...moreI always enjoy Virgin River books on one level or another, but I really LOVED this book. It hit on all cylinders for me.
Series Note: 12th+ book in the Virgin River series. You probably don't need to read the whole series to read this one, but I would at least suggest reading the previous book, Promise Canyon, first.
Summary: Jillian Matlock has everything going for her in her life. Then an ill-advised affair with a weasel coworker leaves her without a job and totally disillusioned. She decides to travel and ends up in Virgin River, a place she recently visited on a girls vacation. She's drawn back to a big old Victorian house she seen there and ends up convincing the town (Jack) to rent it to her where she dives headfirst into speciality/organic gardening, something she learned from her grandmother.
Colin Riordan finds himself in Virgin River for reasons not so different from Jillian's. A tragic accident during his military career left him seriously injured and his career as a helicopter pilot all but over. So he retreats to Virgin River to continue his recovery and to do some painting.
From the moment the two meet, they're drawn to each other. Both know their time in Virgin River is temporary. They have lives to get back to, after all. But for the time they are there, they see no reason why they can't spend it together. Neither expected things to get as serious as they did, or for the new lives they were carving out in Virgin River to stick. In Virgin River, anything is possible, though.
Review: I just want to gush about this book. I wish I'd written my review sooner so I could remember all that I wanted to say about it. But I've been a slow-poke in getting reviews written and now all my thoughts on the book are a little muddled. But I'll try to get the basics.
I haven't read a Virgin River book yet that I've disliked. Some are more engaging than others, but this one was just fabulous. Maybe that's because the romance is more forefront in the story than in some other books. This story is really all about Jillian and Colin, their developing relationship, and the new lives the are building.
And I absolutely LOVED Colin and Jillian, as singular characters and as a couple. I've read some lackluster heroines lately, but Jillian was a wonderful romance heroine. She's totally at loose ends in her life, having lost her job because of a creep guy. She arrives in Virgin River and manages to re-acquaint herself with her love of gardening. She dives right into it full force. I really enjoyed reading about her passion for gardening, her love of everything involved - and I'm not much for gardening myself. There was just something about the way Carr wrote Jillian and her new hobby/career that was so vibrant and engaging. I was totally hooked into it.
Then there's Colin. Poor guy. A mishap while flying a helicopter leaves him gravely injured and then he develops a pain killer addiction that gets him arrested. After a stint in rehab, he's, like Jillian, at loose ends. The military won't have him back and neither will any reputable employer in need of a helicopter pilot. So he ends up in Virgin River, indulging his love of painting while he heals and tries to decide what to do next. It's so easy to empathize with Colin and all he's been through. On top of that, he comes across as such a nice guy.
When these two get together, it's so sweet and heart-warming. They fit perfectly together right from the start. As a romance reader, you just revel in the relationship that builds between them. There's such a passion and vibrancy to everything about them. You just want to keep reading more and more about them. And when Colin decides to move on to the next part of his life, it just breaks you heart (even though you know it'll all work out in the end - which just shows how well Carr wrote these two). It was just a fabulous romance all around and I loved each and every aspect of it.
As usual, you also get doses of other Virgin River residents and past couples. And that's never a bad thing since they are all such wonderful characters. There are bits and pieces of things going on with other characters, but the biggest by far revolves around the new character of Denny (introduced in the last book) and his search for his biological father. He takes a job as Jillian's helper on her garden/farm while he tries to decide what to do about his search.
This part of the story ended up somewhat like I thought. I guessed how it went initially, though Carr through a curveball partway through. It was a fairly engaging part of the story and it involved a fan-favorite character. So getting to read more about that character was enjoyable and I liked how it was handled...can't say too much so I don't spoil it ;)
I was sad to see this book end, though. It was that good for me. I didn't want the story of these two characters to end. But this is Virgin River. Characters never disappear. We always get more of them. And there's one more book in this VR sub-trilogy, and I believe Carr has one more trilogy under contract for the series. So I'm sure we'll get to see Jillian and Colin again soon.(less)
Ah, Virgin River. The best fictional town in the romance book world. I just love reading this series.
Series Note: Book 11 in the "Virgin River" series....moreAh, Virgin River. The best fictional town in the romance book world. I just love reading this series.
Series Note: Book 11 in the "Virgin River" series.
Summary: After a fairly amicable divorce with a woman he's having trouble separating himself from completely, horse expert/vet tech Clay Tahoma decides to make a clean break and move to Virgin River. He plans to work for his old friend Nate Jensen (from a previous story) and hopefully once he gets settled in, he'll be able to send for his teenage son and maybe finally have the relationship with him that he's always wanted.
Shortly after arriving, Clay meets fellow Native American, Lilly Yazhi, though Lilly is about as distanced from her heritage as can be. She's got a lot of scars on her heart and finds it very difficult to trust anyone. And though she finds Clay to be incredibly sexy and likable, she refuses to get involved. Or at least that's what she wants, but the chemistry is irresistible. But in order for the two to have a future, Lilly will have to learn to leave the past behind and get over the scars on her heart.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Virgin River, a longtime resident passes away, leaving quite a mess behind. One of the Riordan brothers is gravely injured, sending his family reeling. Some visitors come to town that we'll be seeing more of. And a young man appears, hiding a big secret.
Review: I think I say this every time I read a new Virgin River book, but it always holds true. It's like coming home. Virgin River is such a wonderful place (too bad its fictional...), and you've got all the familiar faces surrounding you. It's so comforting.
I liked that this story brought some variation by introducing to Native American characters who are completely new to the series. It mixes things up a bit so that you're not completely stuck on what's already in existence for the series. I really liked the character of Clay, and I mostly liked Lilly. And I loved all the horse stuff. It was another way you get some variation from the typical VR storyline. Plus, the way everything ties in to the past VR books is nicely done and very fitting.
And the other parts of the story work well, too. RC sets up a lot of future storylines that are interesting and having me waiting eagerly for more Virgin River. The whole thing with Colin Riordan is heartbreaking and I can't wait to read his story (which is the next book). My only complaint about these extraneous parts of the book is that they take over too much at times. They aren't quite mixed in in small enough chunks. I would have liked a little more blending of the various story aspects. But it wasn't a big deal.
Normally, I'd have more to say, but I'm way behind on my reviews and I read this like a month ago and can't quite remember all I might have wanted to say about the book.
But for you Virgin River fans, I think you'll probably like this book. It's another great addition to an already wonderful series.(less)