MelissaB's Reviews > One Summer

One Summer by Karen Robards
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Rachel Grant is a thirty-four year old teacher in a small town in Kentucky who causes a big stir when she allows Johnny Harris, a man who was convicted of murdering his girlfriend during their senior year of high school, to work in her hardware store on parole from prison. Rachel was Johnny’s English teacher in high school, where Johnny was the typical bad boy from the poor part of town but she was able to bond with him over a shared love of reading. Rachel does not believe Johnny killed the girl but he was convicted despite a lack of evidence partly because he had a bad reputation as a hell raiser.

Rachel is pretty much Johnny’s only advocate in a small town that hates him. Johnny has a huge chip on his shoulder after spending 10 years in jail and doesn’t exactly try to warm himself to the town or to Rachel. She sees a softer side of Johnny and tries to appeal to that but Johnny tries to push her buttons a lot, mostly by coming on to her. He lets her know he always had a crush on her, even in high school, and he wouldn’t mind living out some of his fantasies about her.

Rachel is not exactly happy with her life as it is. She wants to get married and have babies but is running out of time and feels she might have to settle for the staid businessman she has been dating. When she was a young woman straight out of college, she wanted to go see the world but got stuck at home helping her mother after her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She has a secret side of her life that no one really sees, a part of her that loves to dream and longs for a man who loves reading as much as she does and will understand that part of her. As unlikely as it sounds, Johnny does understand that part of her which is what draws them together.

Johnny is a leather-wearing bad boy on a motorcycle who tempts Rachel into starting a hot affair. He does have a lot of hidden depths, despite his attempts at hiding them. He had a very bad childhood with an abusive father then spent 10 horrible years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Rachel is very attracted to him but doesn’t see how she can have a future with him and she is running out of time to have the children she dreams of.

Rachel and Johnny start to work out a relationship, where Rachel realizes that if she stays with him she will probably have to leave her hometown because Johnny is so hated there, while Johnny knows he needs to clean up his act and start living more like an adult than a rebellious teenager. They feel deeply for each other and have a very passionate relationship. But as they start their relationship, the original murderer is still on the loose in the small town and starts to stalk and hurt those who get close to Johnny.

This book was a great read that pulled me in from the first page and kept me enthralled until the end. Johnny was really rebellious but I felt so bad for him because so many horrible things happened to him. He was treated like trash all his life, abused by his father, then sent to prison for 10 years for something he didn’t do. He has a nasty attitude when he gets out of prison which is understandable, especially because everyone continues to treat him like dirt. Rachel is one of the only people who continually stands up for Johnny, she tries to make people treat him better which seems to be a losing battle but I like the way she was always willing to go to bat for him. The chemistry between Rachel and Johnny was explosive, there was a lot of sexual tension that eventually led to some hot love scenes. I like the idea of the quiet small town good girl falling for the motorcycle-riding, leather-wearing bad boy who is willing to try to reform a little for her sake – hey he is still keeping the motorcycle. The suspense in the story was interesting but the romance is what kept me reading. I was very impressed with the story, my emotions were really drawn in and I was rooting for Rachel to break through to Johnny (Wayne) Harris and tame his wild side.
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Reading Progress

08/31/2009 page 20
5.78% "Ohh a bad boy named Johnny who wears a leather coat...reminds me of Dirty Dancing" 1 comment
08/31/2009 page 25
7.23% "Oh Rachel, I know a lot about being a dreamer with her head always in a book and feeling slightly out of step with the people around you"
09/01/2009 page 120
34.68% "Wow this book is very, very good so far. I am completely drawn in emotionally to the characters and story."

Comments (showing 1-50 of 60) (60 new)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I haven't read this one yet. Heard good things about it, though.


MelissaB I think it's going to be good, I like the theme of the unjustly accused man with a chip on his shoulder and the nice heroine who tries to help him. Two other books I enjoyed with a similar theme are Jackson Rule by Sharon Sala (aka Dinah McCall) and Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare (which was a very haunting story that got to me, there is a scene where the hero breaks down because of all he suffered in prison that brings tears to my eyes)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I like that theme too. Good thing I do have these books in my tbr pile. I'll grab Unlawful Contact when I go home.


MelissaB D,

I would recommend reading Hard Evidence before Unlawful Contact so you know who Julian is (plus it's a great book)


message 6: by K. (new) - added it

K. I may have to get this one Melissa! Are you going to do a review on this book?
K.



 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Fantastic review, Melissa. I definitely need to read this one.


message 8: by Corrine (new) - added it

Corrine Ooh, sounds good. Great review, Melissa.


MelissaB K. wrote: "I may have to get this one Melissa! Are you going to do a review on this book?
K.
"


Okay, since you asked I wrote one! Haha actually I was already thinking about writing one.


MelissaB Thanks Corrine and Danielle! I really enjoyed this one, I finshed it last night when I should have been studying.

This was a huge improvement over the other one I read by this author (To Love a Man).


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) What are you studying, if you don't mind my nosiness?


MelissaB Danielle wrote: "What are you studying, if you don't mind my nosiness?"

I am studying for my PE (Professional Engineering) Exam at the end of October. I have been out of school for almost 5 years so it's hard to try to relearn all of the complicated math and physics that I don't use on my job. I try to study every night but I have trouble putting down my books :)



 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Good luck on the exam. You'll do great. I know what you mean. I've had to take board exams after being out of school for a while. It's hard to get back into school mode. Last year I had six weeks of classes with a test to pass. This year, I had to take another course for work in March and it was hard having so much homework and to have a big exam to take. I admire you. Engineering is a very tough field. I just don't have that kind of brain. I'm better off with a living creature than anything mechanical.


Miss Kim How much of an age difference between the couple?


MelissaB Danielle wrote: "Good luck on the exam. You'll do great. I know what you mean. I've had to take board exams after being out of school for a while. It's hard to get back into school mode. Last year I had six weeks ..."

Thanks Danielle! I am not sure I am in the right field but the pay is good so I stay. I am hate blood so I couldn't do your job!

The hardest thing for me is giving up my reading time which is my favorite part of the day. To keep myself on track, I have stopped getting out library books so I don't feel I need to read at a certain pace. Plus I am actually decreasing my TBR for once.


message 16: by Auntee (new) - added it

Auntee Wow, awesome review Melissa! This sounds really good, and I've never read anything by Robards before. I'll have to check it out.:)


MelissaB Kim wrote: "How much of an age difference between the couple?"

6 years I think. He is 28, she is 34


message 18: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) (last edited Sep 02, 2009 07:00AM) (new) - added it

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I know what you mean. I resented having my free time taken up with homework and studies.

Good pay is an issue, as well as job security. I can't say I am doing what I dreamed of doing my whole life. It's not glamorous or beautiful, but I have a good job, so I won't complain.


MelissaB Auntee wrote: "Wow, awesome review Melissa! This sounds really good, and I've never read anything by Robards before. I'll have to check it out.:)"

Thanks Auntee! I think you would like this one. Just stay away from To Love a Man by this author, that was my first one by this author and it was not good because the hero was a huge jerk. This one is competely different and so much better, I am very glad I gave her a second chance.


MelissaB Danielle wrote: "I know what you mean. I resented having my free time taken up with homework and studies.

Good pay is an issue, as well as job security. I can say I am doing what I dreamed of doing my whole lif..."


That's great Danielle! I am glad you found something you love doing. I went with a job I knew would pay well and give job security but I certainly can't say I love my job but I am staying at my current job for the time being at least until I have kids. I have considered changing to a teaching career but was so burnt out on school by the end of grad school that I just couldn't stand the thought of more classes.


message 21: by Auntee (new) - added it

Auntee Will do, thanks!
I'll see if I can find this one at the big Labor Day Half Price Books sale!:)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Melissab wrote: "Danielle wrote: "I know what you mean. I resented having my free time taken up with homework and studies.

Good pay is an issue, as well as job security. I can say I am doing what I dreamed of doi..."


Actually that was a typo. I can't say I love it. I like it. It's a good job and will get my foot in the door where I want to end up. Sorry about that.


MelissaB Auntee wrote: "Will do, thanks!
I'll see if I can find this one at the big Labor Day Half Price Books sale!:)"


Oh yeah, I got an email about that. I haven't been to that store in awhile, I have trouble keeping myself in check. I need to get out to the Robinson Town Centre store since it's so big plus they always have a big clearance rack. I am going out of town so you can grab up all the bargains! I borrowed this one from the library in hardback, which I really don't like so I will have to order myself a paperback.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Auntee wrote: "Will do, thanks!
I'll see if I can find this one at the big Labor Day Half Price Books sale!:)"


I'm so there, too. Auntee. Are you are in Texas? I love Half Price Books!!!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Melissa I understand being burnt out with school. I was in college 8 yrs (and summers) and lots of time working towards getting into vet school. I feel like the years have zipped past. Always working and being focused. Some life stuff fell to the wayside. But I am grateful for what I have accomplished. Getting that grad degree is a huge accomplishment, so we should pat ourselves on the back.

I think you'll figure out what you really want to do and combine that with your family. I believe women can do both very well, but if you want to just be with your future kids and that makes you happy, that's great too.


message 26: by Auntee (new) - added it

Auntee Danielle wrote: "Auntee wrote: "Will do, thanks!
I'll see if I can find this one at the big Labor Day Half Price Books sale!:)"

I'm so there, too. Auntee. Are you are in Texas? I love Half Price Books!!!"


No Danielle, I'm in PA (as is Melissa)! Half Price Books is my downfall, and the major reason why my TBR pile is so high!
Gotta hit that sale on the first day--tomorrow!:)


message 27: by Auntee (new) - added it

Auntee Melissab wrote: "Auntee wrote: "Will do, thanks!
I'll see if I can find this one at the big Labor Day Half Price Books sale!:)"

Oh yeah, I got an email about that. I haven't been to that store in awhile, I have tr..."


Do you think the Robinson store is big? Just how small are the other ones?
Okay Melissa, I'll think of you as I'm scooping up the bargains...:)




MelissaB Danielle wrote: "Melissa I understand being burnt out with school. I was in college 8 yrs (and summers) and lots of time working towards getting into vet school. I feel like the years have zipped past. Always work..."

Danielle,

That is quite an accomplishment, good for you! Good luck getting where you want to be.

As for myself, I don't think I would stay home but I may change careers. I am kind of up in the air, who knows maybe I will stay where I am at. I just can't imagine working my hours then going home and being a mom, I think I would have to cut back on work hours. I have about 2 years to figure it out (baring any "accidents") so I am not stressing over it


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Auntee wrote: "Danielle wrote: "Auntee wrote: "Will do, thanks!
I'll see if I can find this one at the big Labor Day Half Price Books sale!:)"

I'm so there, too. Auntee. Are you are in Texas? I love Half Pri..."


OMG, HPB really, really gets me in trouble! That's why I have so many books in my tbr pile. I find some great deals and they have to come home with me. They refuse to stay on the shelves at the store.




MelissaB Auntee wrote: "Melissab wrote: "Auntee wrote: "Will do, thanks!
I'll see if I can find this one at the big Labor Day Half Price Books sale!:)"

Oh yeah, I got an email about that. I haven't been to that store ..."


Well I only go to that one and the one on McKnight which I think is smaller. Where are the big ones? (not that I need more books)

Danielle - I wish I lived in Texas and got to see cowboys! I only get to see cows here. And lots of corn - well at least in my little hometown in central PA.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Melissab wrote: "Danielle wrote: "Melissa I understand being burnt out with school. I was in college 8 yrs (and summers) and lots of time working towards getting into vet school. I feel like the years have zipped ..."

Thanks, Melissa. It was hard work, but I was blessed that I got the opportunity to get an education although it required some sacrifices.
I don't think I'd be a good stay at home mom. I feel a need to be out there doing something. Not sure what. I'd like to have kids though, very much. A lot changes in two years, so you'll work it out with your career and kids.



 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I'm so sad. I try to hit more than one HPB as often as I can. I have the whole city that I'm in canvassed out. LOL.


Shawna Oooh...sounds really good! I'll definitely look for this one at the HPB Labor Day sale! Great review, Melissa! :)


MelissaB Shawna wrote: "Oooh...sounds really good! I'll definitely look for this one at the HPB Labor Day sale! Great review, Melissa! :) "

Thanks Shawna! Good luck at the sale!


message 35: by Dina (new)

Dina Melissab wrote: "Kim wrote: "How much of an age difference between the couple?"

6 years I think. He is 28, she is 34"


Phew, thank you for this, Melissa! When you mentioned that the hero was in highschool when he met (and was attracted to) the heroine, I got really scared.

BTW, great review!



MelissaB Dina wrote: "Melissab wrote: "Kim wrote: "How much of an age difference between the couple?"

6 years I think. He is 28, she is 34"

Phew, thank you for this, Melissa! When you mentioned that the hero was in hi..."


Yeah, that part was a little funny but the story makes it come off just fine

He was a senior in high school (or just out of school I can't quite remember) when he went to jail so I actually think he was either 28 or 29. He mentions being 19 when he actually went to jail.



message 37: by Angelc (new)

Angelc Great review, Melissab!! I don't think this one is really my style, not enough escape lol, but it sounds like a great book!!


message 38: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Awesome review Melissa! I've heard so many wonderful things about this book. Even a close friend of mine (who will not read romance) highly recommended this one to me. Said someone loaned her the book and she couldn't put it down. That's saying something! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy ...


MelissaB Tammy wrote: "Awesome review Melissa! I've heard so many wonderful things about this book. Even a close friend of mine (who will not read romance) highly recommended this one to me. Said someone loaned her the b..."

Thanks Tammy! I enjoyed it!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Call me judgemental, but I can't help feel bad for people who don't read romances. They are missing out on so much in life. :)


MelissaB Danielle wrote: "Call me judgemental, but I can't help feel bad for people who don't read romances. They are missing out on so much in life. :)"

I feel the same way! I think most women who don't read romance just haven't tried a good one yet. There really isn't a big jump from watching soap operas and romantic movies which are totally accepted, to reading romance which is the red headed step child of books. I know a lot of women who LOVE Twilight that would be pretty shocked if I told them it's a romance book and there are even better out there.

So yes, at this point in my life I feel bad for the women who have not discovered how wonderful romance is. I am trying to get my one friend to read some based on her liking Twilight but she hasn't read the books I gave her yet so I don't know if i can bring her over to the dark side of romance yet.


message 42: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy In my experience, most women who claim they only read chick lit or women's fiction are closet romance readers. =) We all look forward to the HEA endings!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Melissab wrote: "Danielle wrote: "Call me judgemental, but I can't help feel bad for people who don't read romances. They are missing out on so much in life. :)"

I feel the same way! I think most women who don't ..."


And some of them are so snobby about it. My friend totally looks down on my romance reading. How can you look down on it if you never read it? She could use some romance novels in her life. You are right, if you like movies w/ romance, the books are so much better.




 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Tammy wrote: "In my experience, most women who claim they only read chick lit or women's fiction are closet romance readers. =) We all look forward to the HEA endings!"

I agree, Tammy. Chick Lit and Women's fiction are offshoots of romance and usually involve romance elements.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) ..But the HEA is the kicker! I need HEA in my life.


message 46: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Ditto!


MelissaB Danielle wrote: "Melissab wrote: "Danielle wrote: "Call me judgemental, but I can't help feel bad for people who don't read romances. They are missing out on so much in life. :)"

I feel the same way! I think mo..."


I also think some of those women could use some romance in their lives. Maybe they would realize they don't have to put up with men who treat them badly if they read about men who didn't act that way (well we would still have to keep them from old Harlequins!)

I actually had a conversation with a couple of girls who were saying that Twilight was the best thing they had ever read. They put me on the spotlight asking me if I felt the same. I said that yes I did really like Twilight but there are a lot of other great romance and paranormal books out there that are much closer to being my favorites, which is what lead me to let my friend borrow a couple of favorites for her to try out. She has had the books for a month and still hasn't read them yet, which flips me out because I would never leave books sit that long if I wasn't reading other stuff.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) I agree. I love Twilight, but it's not the only good book out there, and yes there are many better books. Sadly, they might not be big readers and don't really realize how big the fiction world is. It's great of you to let them read your books, Melissa.
That is frustrating when someone has your books for so long. That's why I am hesitant to loan out my favorite books to people. If I do, I have a backup plan to replace it.


message 49: by K. (new) - added it

K. Melissa: Thanks for the review! (So kind of you to honor my request (nagging!) LOL! ;) This looks like a good one and I'm adding it to my heavily burdened wish list (I actually have like three of them now - one at Ami, one here and one at audible! I think I'm avoiding "blending" them together just so I'm not crushed under the reality of how many books I really want to read! HAHA!)

I totally agree with all three of you about women who "THINK" they don't want to read a romance! In fact, like Tammy observed, many of them probably are in actuality reading romance books that they don't even realize are in fact just that! Fortunately, many of my friends have no problem reading romance and my MIL and SILs (who actually read) also read it. I'm such an addict, that I'm both their "good books" guru, and lender of books - LOL!

When I explain the difference to men I'm debating the issues with (I have no qualms about doing so at this point in my life), I explain it's only a story of action, adventure, mysticism, sci-fi, vampires or ghosts, same thing they are reading . . . with the main characters involved in a romance as well. ;)
K.



 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) Very true, K. We get the best of both worlds, all the stuff the men like, plus a great romance. :)


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