Publisher: Mira Books

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

Posted August 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Midnight Rainbow by Linda HowardReviewer: Rowena
Midnight Rainbow (Rescues #1) by Linda Howard
Series: Rescues #1
Also in this series: Heartbreaker
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: February 1, 1986
Point-of-View: Third

Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 256
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Series Rating: four-stars

Grant Sullivan had been one of the government's most effective agents, and he's agreed to rescue Jane Hamilton Greer, a wealthy socialite possibly engaged in espionage. In the time they spent together, questions of guilt and innocence began to fade against the undeniable reality that two people from such different worlds should never have met.

This is the second book that I read for our Summer Reading Challenge and while there were things that I didn’t like in the book, overall I really enjoyed the story.

So retired government agent Grant Sullivan is approached by a really rich guy with a job offer that he can’t exactly refuse. Grant just wants to be left alone so that he can work on his farm and live out the rest of his life in peace but when Jane Hamilton Greer needs to be rescued in Costa Rica, Grant knows that he’s the best person for the job because nobody can move in the jungle the same way that he can. The money from this job will pay off his mortgage and he’ll be set for life so why not?

Jane doesn’t make rescuing her easy. When Grant gets to her, she messes up his plans by attacking him and then trying to run away from him. When their escape plans go wrong, they are in each other’s company for longer than they anticipated and their relationship changes fast. They’re running from the man who kidnapped Jane in the first, the man with all kinds of bad guy connections and their ride off the island doesn’t work out so they’re on their own. Grant is grumpy, Jane feels guilty and emotions run high.

As far as characters go, I really liked Jane. She was smart, she was strong and she wasn’t one of those annoying heroines that spend most of the time in the jungle complaining about how much walking they did. She tried to help Grant with whatever she could help him with and she didn’t try to make things more difficult for the two of them. I really liked the person that she was and at times, I didn’t think Grant deserved her.

There were times when I wanted to kick Grant in his junk because he was so mean but boy did I end up loving the heck out of him in the end. I loved when he went to his Mom in the end and told her that he was getting married. I thought that was adorable.

I will say that a couple of things kept throwing me out of the story. The lack of protection, the lack of communication about protection (they just kept having unprotected sex after unprotected sex without any kind of discussion on anything) and how dated the story was. Also, Jane fell in love way too fast with Grant but despite those minor issues, I still really enjoyed this one. Haha, go figure. I read this one pretty fast and was invested in what was happening so I know that I’ll probably read this one again.

Overall, the story itself was pretty basic. Hero rescues heroine because heroine was taken by the bad guys, the bad guys chase hero and heroine all over Costa Rica, they make it out alive and fall in love but I really did come to love both Grant and Jane. Jane was my kind of heroine and Grant was gruff and tough but he didn’t have any afro puffs. Still, he rocked on with his bad self. This is classic Linda Howard and if you’re a fan of her older romantic suspenses then you’ll enjoy this one. Thanks for the recommendation, Holly & Casee.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Rescues


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Guest Review: Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Posted February 21, 2012 by Judith in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Redwood Bend by Robyn CarrReviewer: Judith
Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #16
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Point-of-View: Third Person

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 377
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Series Rating: four-stars

In Virgin River, you never know what you might find around the bend in the road...

Former actor Dylan Childress left the L.A. scene behind years ago for a quiet life running an aviation company in Montana. But with business slowing down, Dylan is starting to wonder whether he should take one of the offers Hollywood keeps sending his way. He figures a motorcycle trip to Virgin River with his buddies might help him decide what path to take. But his own troubles are left at the side of the road when he spots a woman stranded on the way into town.

Katie Malone and her twin boys' trip to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, it's raining, the boys are hungry and Katie is having trouble putting on the spare. So when some bikers pull up beside them, offering to help, all Katie feels is relief. Then she sees sexy, leather-clad Dylan Childress, and in one brief moment the world turns on its axis.

Katie's a sensible single mother and Dylan's a die-hard commitment-phobe. Neither one is looking for long-term romance. But sometimes it takes only a moment to know you've found something that could change your life forever.

There are those who really and truly believe that there are no coincidences, no acts of fate, no accidental meetings that prove to be fortuitous in a scary sort of way. And there are others who just can’t seem to get away from the fact that some encounters really do seem to be the result of some sort of cosmic planning. Whatever one’s belief or mindset, the meeting of Katie and Dylan in this story does seem fortuitous if only because this widowed mother and her 5-year-old twins are stranded on a narrow mountain road in Northern California with no cell phone connection and a really destroyed tire. The appearance of Dylan Childress and his biker friends certainly got Katie and her kids back on the road, but when the meetings between these two keep on happening, there does enter a sense that perhaps this odd kind of connection between these two was meant to be.

One could say that these two were hurting individuals. In some ways that is true. But Dylan was deeply wounded by parents, step-parents, half siblings and step siblings, the affluence of Hollywood that had been heaped on him as a successful child TV and movie actor, and the sense that everyone and everything in his parents’ lives took precedence over him. He has grown out of the laziness and self-centered approach to living and is not a successful business owner of a charter air service in Montana, thanks to a grandmother who refused to see her grandson walk down the same path his dad did. But one serious residual effect remains: Dylan is convinced that there is something in his family’s DNA that prevents him from ever being a successful husband and father. He carried around those old memories, the realization that he really wasn’t important to his mother, and the fear that was at the core of it all that he would ultimately be the same kind of relational failure as everyone else in his family.

Katie certainly wasn’t doing emotional handstands as she journeyed toward Virgin River where her brother lived. She was lonely–the kind of loneliness that seeps into the heart and soul like a cold, wet wind. Her Medal of Honor winning husband had died in Afghanistan before her twin boys were born but she would be the first person to tell you that she wouldn’t give up one second of her short-lived marriage to a man who truly loved her with a passionate heart. She will freely admit that she doesn’t want to be alone the rest of her life, but her main concern is her sons. All else pales in importance.

This novel brings a heavy dose of family connections to the story through the relationship between Katie and her brother and her brother’s significant other. It is also a curious look at a grandmother/grandson relationship that is respectful and loving, but each is living according to their personal dictates. Yet throughout there is that sense that Dylan has encountered a woman unlike any he has ever met, one who is confident, sassy, independent, loving to a fault when it comes to her children, her brother, and her friends. She is a woman who has developed the skills to live her own particular way according to the demands made on her and readers of the female persuasion will greatly enjoy the parts of the story that describe her mothering behaviors and if they are like me, will absolutely delight in the actions and words of those 5 year old twin boys–full of life and, as my mother-in-law would say, were full of pee and vinegar. They could get into more trouble in five minutes than any adult on the planet.

I am a confirmed fan of the Virgin River series and have been going back and reading some of the first novels in order to get a fuller picture of the characters that keep showing up in so many of the subsequent stories. I know there are readers who have grown weary of the series but I am not one of them. I don’t think they are at all stylized or formula stories any more than any other romance novel. Yet I find that I still want some of these people as my friends and neighbors. They are just really good people. It is always a joy to read about a community that is filled with realistic, life-like, just-as-troubled-as-we-are kinds of characters. They make the stories come alive for me. I hope you will get this book and enjoy it as much as I did.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Virgin River


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Guest Review: Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr

Posted March 23, 2011 by Judith in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Harvest Moon by Robyn CarrReviewer: Judith
Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #13
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 361
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Rising sous-chef Kelly Matlock's sudden collapse at work is a wake-up call. Disillusioned and burned out, she's retreated to her sister Jillian's house in Virgin River to rest and reevaluate.

Puttering in Jill's garden and cooking with her heirloom vegetables is wonderful, but Virgin River is a far cry from San Francisco. Kelly's starting to feel a little too unmotivated…until she meets Lief Holbrook. The handsome widower looks more like a lumberjack than a sophisticated screenwriter—a combination Kelly finds irresistible. But less appealing is Lief's rebellious stepdaughter, Courtney. She's the reason they moved from L.A., but Courtney's finding plenty of trouble even in Virgin River.

Kelly's never fallen for a guy with such serious baggage, but some things are worth fighting for. Besides, a bratty teenager can't be any worse than a histrionic chef…right?

Readers encountered Kelly briefly in the previous novel, Wild Man Creek as Jilian’s award-winning San Francisco chef, a woman who really knows her way around a professional restaurant kitchen and who knows what she has to do to succeed. She has made some important friends, not the least of whom is her boss, a popular, suave, European restaurant owner who has convinced Kelly that she is on the fast track and in line to be head chef at one of his popular restaurants. Few non-restaurant people realize the intense pressure and jeolousy that permeates the professional cooking scene. And in Kelly’s case, there were people in her kitchen who had it in for her–all at the instigation of her boss’s wife.

Kelly knew he was married but he had been estranged from his spouse for years. That was the rumor, and that is what he told her. It would appear that wife-dear needed Kelly out of this kitchen and off her husband’s radar screen. The pressure gets to be too much, and boom . . . Kelly goes down for the count . . . literally. She leaves San Francisco for Virgin River. But her life is in shambles and while she is living in her sister’s house and getting lots of rest and down time, she knows that she cannot stay there forever. What about her future? Into her life comes Leif Holbrook, a man who is in Virgin River for the sake of his step-daughter, Courtney. Her mother is dead–Leif is still grieving over the death of his wife–but she resents him, resents the move to Virgin River, resents her father, resents her step-mother, resents Kelly . . . you mention it and Courtney is sure to resent it. So once again, Robyn Carr brings together people who need to find direction in their personal journey, who have been either overwhelmed or shot down by circumstances, who find themselves without significant support systems and who just plain don’t know what’s coming next.

That Kelly and Leif begin to act on their attraction is a given. After all, this is a romance. But there are some fairly large “flies in the ointment” and it is those complications that make this an interesting story. As always, it is the human component that makes the story. I think this is every bit as good as any of the Virgin River novels that preceeds it. In fact, I think it is truly a compelling story. The issues between Courtney and Leif, between Courtney and her dad, the genuine caring Courtney needs to acknowledge in both Kelly and Leif, and the healing power of love are all the spice that makes this novel intriguing. It isn’t that Kelly & Leif’s story isn’t primary; it is. But all the swirl of human drama that surrounds them and the push-pull that drama creates is what gives this novel its own signature place in the series. And in Kelly’s case, it is also an opportunity for her to back away from the self and power driven food service profession, to evaluate the people, her own dreams, her desires for the future, and whether the people who have always seemed important are truly genuine and necessary to her future happiness.

In this novel there are lots of things going on inside the people as well as in the external context. What I have continued to prize about this series and about this particular novel is that there are so many layers to the story. In addition, there are the continuing stories of the residents of Virgin River who have been introduced in previous novels. Their personal journeys continue on and some face old problems with new solutions while others encounter new problems which appear to have no solution. In other words, real and messy human living. Ms Carr has written what is, in my opinion, one of the best continuing sagas about a town and its people, and in so doing, has given her readers opportunities to face some of their own situations through the eyes of these fictional characters.

I have loved all the Virgin River novels I have read so far, but in honesty, this is one of my favorites. Together with the previous novel about Kelly’s sister, Jillian, they are two of the best.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Virgin River

five-stars


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Guest Review: Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr

Posted February 1, 2011 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Wild Man Creek by Robyn CarrReviewer: Judith
Wild Man Creek by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #12
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 361
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Colin Riordan came to Virgin River to recuperate from a horrific helicopter crash, the scars of which he bears inside and out. His family is wonderfully supportive, but it's his art that truly soothes his troubled soul.

Stung personally and professionally by an ill-advised affair, PR guru Jillian Matlock has rented an old Victorian with a promising garden in Virgin River. She's looking forward to cultivating something other than a corporate brand.

Both are looking to simplify, not complicate, their lives, but when Jillian finds Colin at his easel in her yard, there's an instant connection. And in Virgin River, sometimes love is the simplest choice of all….

It is a tribute to author Robyn Carr that her creativity seems endless as she continues to give us more stories in the Virgin River series.  As the 12th book in this series, one would understandably expect that there would be a sense of the “same old, same ole” and yet that doesn’t seem to be the case.  Nor does it seem that the saga of this community and its various individuals and families gets old.  They all continue to make appearances here and there, each new story’s characters adding to the rich context of the next novel.  For those of us who have lived in Northern California at some point in our lives adds even more richness to the background against which these novels is set.  Whether it be the colorful streets of San Francisco or the dark, brooding, mysterious redwood forests, Virgin River keeps on drawing readers into its borders and engaging us into the stories to be found there.

Jillian Matlock and Colin Riordan would appear to have backgrounds and life experience that are as different as night from day.  Yet both are sort of refugees from some serious emotional and professional upheavals, wondering at the directions in which their futures may lay, and simply seeking some sort of haven where they can find solace, healing, and peace. It would seem that the very remote location of this tiny town makes it possible for both of them to hide until they can find a new purpose and plan for the coming weeks and months.  Jillian’s involvement in a company she helped to found and build has come to an abrupt end through the manipulations of an unscrupulous person who sought to rob her of her position and livelihood.  To make matters worse, this individual preyed on her emotions, convincing her that he was deeply in love with her, only to accuse her of sexual harassment, using their email correspondence and text messages against her.  Colin has to find a way to deal with the demise of a future that he thought would enable him to be a pilot, whether it be in a military or civilian setting.  His injuries may have not prevented this, but regaining his license after his addiction and rehab from prescription pain killers was dicey.  A Spring and Summer in Virgin River, close to his brother Luke, amid the beauties of nature so that he could paint, would give him a chance to get his life and his plans back in order.

Jillian and Colin become acquainted and subsequently their overwhelming attraction to one another results in a torrid love affair.  No strings . . . that is the rule for them both.  Jillian may not stay in Virgin River, and Colin has already decided to go to Africa to photograph wildlife for his paintings and try to find opportunities to become a professional pilot once again.  Their romance was truly a beautiful thing, filled with their appreciation for one another’s achievements, their love for nature, their awareness of the other’s strengths and talents, and a recognition that their presence in one another’s life was like a drug addiction.  How were they ever going to go on without each other?  Yet they never tried to change the plans of the other.

This is no pie-in-the-sky-by-and by kind of story.  There is disappointment and deep hurting, disillusionment and emotional wounds, grieving at the loss of someone deeply loved, stillborn dreams and unrelenting insecurities to be overcome, maybe even a dread of entering once again into the fray of trying to survive in an unforgiving world.  Jillian and Colin do indeed find solace in each other’s arms.  But the old hurts, the inner wounds are still there, and each must face their own demons, make their own choices, chart their own course.  That does not always make for easy reading.  The various citizens of Virgin River that make frequent appearances in the previous novels are still here, and their stories also progress and develop as sub plots in this novel.  Ms Carr weaves their lives into the experiences of the main characters with the skill of  a Persian rug maker.  Their individual joys and woes become the warp and woof of a beautiful fabric.  This novel poses some intriguing questions and readers may be surprised at some of the answers.  Having read a number of the previous books in this series, I must be honest in responding that some of them are better than others.  Of this particular novel I can only say that I think it is one of the best.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Virgin River

five-stars


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Review: Angel’s Peak by Robyn Carr

Posted March 12, 2010 by Casee in Reviews | 14 Comments

Review: Angel’s Peak by Robyn CarrReviewer: Casee
Angel's Peak by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #9
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 373
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

FOUR YEARS AGO, AIR FORCE SWEETHEARTS FRANCI DUNCAN AND SEAN RIORDAN REACHED AN IMPASSE. SHE WANTED MARRIAGE AND A FAMILY. HE DIDN'T. BUT A CHANCE MEETING PROVES THAT THE BITTER BREAKUP HASN'T COOLED THEIR SIZZLING CHEMISTRY.

Sean has settled down in spite of himself --- he's not the cocky young fighter pilot he was when Franci left, and he wants them to try again. After all, they have a history ... but that's not all they share.

Franci's secret reason for walking away when Sean refused to commit is now three and a half: a redheaded cherub named Rosie who shares her daddy's emerald-green eyes. Sean is stunned --- and furious with Franci for the deception.

News travels fast in Virgin River, and soon the whole town is taking sides. Rebuilding their trust could take a small miracle --- and the kind of love that can move mountains.

Oh, why, Robyn Carr? Why?

This book was going along pretty well. I didn’t really like Sean b/c he’s a total douche, but other than that I was into the story. Then comes a scene where Franci and Sean’s moms are talking. About sex, baby. So I’m imagining these two 60 year old women sitting in a living room talking about Viagra and menopause and how it’s hell on the ‘ol body. That in itself wouldn’t have been too bad. It was when I read this that the ick factor came in.

For we ladies, the symptoms of menopause hound our sex lives–we get so dry.

You’re going to go there? Seriously? I know that Virgin River is supposed to be about real people with real problems, but the scene just reeked of medical text re: menopause. I want to know about characters going through menopause about as much as how Sean and Franci have sex during her time of the month. Never.

While reading the last few books in the series, it’s been in the back of my mind that every single character that comes through Virgin River has to have their HEA. Life just doesn’t work that way. I’m happy that Cheryl (the town drunk) got sober. I’m happy that Shelby got pregnant. Yay for meddling moms. But life isn’t a fairytale and it’s not realistic to think that everyone will be happy.

Sean and Franci were together for two years before Franci told Sean she wanted marriage and children. In return, Sean gave Franci an ultimatum, never thinking that she would actually leave. She took it to heart and took off. Now, four years later, Sean is shocked when he sees Franci in a restaurant he happens to be in. Sean now thinks of Franci as the one who got away. He thinks it must be a sign that they should get back together.

Franci isn’t as happy to see Sean as he is to see her. When she left him, Franci was pregnant. After hearing his view not only on marriage, but on children she knows that she can’t tell him. Franci always intended to tell Sean, but she kept putting it off. Now she is backed into a corner. She knows it’s time to tell him.

To say that Sean is shocked to learn of Rosie’s existence is an understatement. His reaction is what I imagine any man’s reaction would be. Denial followed by anger followed by acceptance. I didn’t like Sean up to this point. When he meets Rosie, I warmed up a little. Until this (and this was the FIRST day he met Rosie):

Just thinking about that other Franci got him a little riled, and he thought it was completely reasonable that since he’d played good daddy all day, he might score tonight.

Played good daddy? Might score tonight?

It was with some surprise that at the end of the book, I actually ended up liking Sean. Not only that, but he turned out to be a great hero. In the end, he put the needs of Rosie and Franci first. Not for anything in return, but b/c that’s what a parent/partner does.

I’ve accepted the fact that to me, the first three books in this series will always be my favorite.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Virgin River

three-half-stars


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