Tag: Robyn Carr

When It’s Time to Let Go: 5 Series I’m Breaking Up With

Posted October 22, 2015 by Rowena in Discussions | 17 Comments

break up
There comes a time in every book nerds life when they have to make difficult decisions. Decisions like what to read next or who our book boyfriend of the week is and when it’s time to let go of a book or series. It’s never an easy decision to give up on characters before the series is done. I mean, you still have stories to read and characters to get to know but sometimes, it just has to be done.

For me, what it all boils down to are two things. My enjoyment and time.

There’s too many books on my TBR list. Hundreds and hundreds of them and I know that I’m not going to read them all. There’s just no way. So that’s all the more reason to start calling it quits with the series that I’ve fallen out of love with.

Here are the series that I’m breaking up with this…for good.

1) The Dark Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. This was the first paranormal series that I ever read and that was way back in the day. So long ago that I can’t even remember what year it was. It was back in our years on the JGBB, that’s for sure. I remember when Holly and I used to be obsessed with all things Dark Hunter. We would spend hours upon hours talking about books, characters, share our theories with what was coming up and we loved everything about the world that Sherrilyn Kenyon created for these supernatural characters. Over time though, she started moving away from the rules she created for her own world and our enjoyment of the books started dimming, not to mention she kept writing book after book after book. There’s like 100 books in the series now (not really but you get the idea) and I just don’t see myself ever picking up another book to read. I still have quite a few DH books in my possession but those will sadly go unread. shrugs Oh, well.


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2) The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I know that this series was turned into the hit TV Show that everyone and their Mom loves. I know that Jamie is all kinds of wonderful and is one hot ginger. I had every intention of reading this series because one of my old book friends absolutely adored it and would not stop pimping it to me so I bought the first three books in the series and almost had a heart attack when I saw how big those suckers were. Have you seen how big those suckers are? Their sheer size has intimidated the hell out of me and when I read the first book, I really enjoyed it but thought that it could have been chopped in half and still been a really good read. I even wanted to read the next book in the series but every time I passed it while browsing my books, I always skipped it. That was years ago and so much time has passed that meh, I’m over it. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to finish this series…but I might rent the series and watch that.

3) The Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins. The first two books in this series rocked my socks. The third book? Not so much. The fourth book? Couldn’t even finish it. So yeah, I’m calling it quits on this one.

4) The Virgin River series by Robyn Carr. I absolutely, positively loved the first book in this series. I loved Jack. I loved Mel. I loved the small town of Virgin River and had such high hopes for the rest of the books. I loved the second book and enjoyed the third but I can’t remember anything about the fourth book but the fifth book? I remember that book. I remember it well. I remember that I spent most of the first read frustrated with both the hero and the heroine but the second time I tried reading it? I didn’t like it at all. Everything got on my nerves so much more than the first time I read it. The heroine? Ugh. The hero? Meh. I didn’t even finish my re-read of the book. I just gave up, on that book and since it’s been years since my re-read, I guess I gave up on the series too because I never read another book. I don’t plan to either. So it’s official, I’m dumping you Virgin Rivers.

5) The Vicious Cycle series by Katie Ashley. As much as I love those sexy ass covers, I don’t think I’d survive another book in this series. The hero and heroine in the first book drove me absolutely bonkers in both their book and the second book. The hero and heroine in the second book had such potential but the entire story just fell flat for me so I think I’m officially out of this one.

What about you? Are there any series that you’re thinking about breaking up with for good?

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Guest Review: The Hero by Robyn Carr

Posted September 4, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

theheroAmes’ review of The Hero by Robyn Carr.

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can’t be worse than what they’ve left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he’s not looking for anything else. Instead, he’s thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point’s high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he’s gentle and kind…just the kind of man who could heal Devon’s wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it…and sometimes, you find a hero.

With The Hero, Robyn Carr introduces two new characters to Thunder Point, Devon McAllister and her three year old daughter, Mercy. She’s picked up by Rawley Goode on the highway after escaping the Fellowship, a quasi-religious cult. Rawley works for Cooper and he’s a quiet, but good man. Devon, after he’s shown her kindness, decides to trust him and stays with him a while to get on her feet. It’s not long before the people of Thunder Point make her feel welcome and she starts a new life there. But her past with the Fellowship haunts her and she doesn’t feel 100% safe.

I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy the Hero as much as the previous two Thunder Point books. Part of it was these characters that I have come to know so well and really enjoy, I thought their problems and stories were put on the backburner. Example: Sarah and her position in the Coast Guard. She really struggled in book 2 over staying in the Coast Guard and getting posted to Florida or remaining in Thunder Point for Landon. She hadn’t reached a decision in book 2 and then really fast in The Hero she’s made her decision and I’m sorry but it doesn’t ring true to her character. And yes it’s a decision I like the end result of, but I wanted her to have her cake and eat it too. However, I did enjoy her and Cooper’s scenes together and I’m glad they’re still part of the story.

The other one I was sad to see only a small mention of was Ashley. She’s Gina’s daughter and there was an interesting development developing in the second book for her. Well again, it’s spoken of like a done deal and I really would have liked to have seen the progression of her relationship with the boy she’s now dating. Over all, I hope we see more of Ashley if there’s more books in this series.

But back to Devon. I liked her story and development as a character. She’s come from a cult where individuality is done away with and the men make all the decisions. She has to learn to stand on her own two feet again and support herself. That was well done. Her romance happened a bit quickly for my taste, considering the man she meets is a recent widower. But I did feel that they fit together. Theirs is an understated story, but it made for a quick enjoyable read.

I have to give The Hero a 3.5 out of 5. I really wanted more of the other characters I have come to enjoy.

This book is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Thunder Point series order:
The Wanderer
The Newcomer
The Hero

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Guest Review: The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Posted June 28, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

Manually ReleasedAmes’ review of The Newcomer by Robyn Carr.

Single dad and Thunder Point’s deputy sheriff “Mac” McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he’s found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they’re feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can’t get enough of one another.

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac’s long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They’re wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure…but they are not going down without a fight.

Step into the world of Thunder Point, a little town on the Oregon coast where newcomers are welcomed, hearts are broken and mended, and the dramas of everyday life keep the locals laughing, crying and falling in love.

The Newcomer (Thunder Point #2) picks up right where The Wanderer leaves off so there are going to be spoilers for The Wanderer.

The blurb lead me to believe that this book would focus on Mac and Gina but I’m pleased that that wasn’t the case. The Newcomer focuses equally on all the wonderful characters we were introduced to in The Wanderer.

First, Mac and Gina. They are both single parents, Gina has Ashley and Mac has Eve and two younger children. His wife ran out on him 10 years ago and he’s very concerned about why she’s showing up now, wanting to reconnect. Gina’s reeling over Ashley’s reaction to a breakup with her boyfriend, who has gone off to college. At first I was worried that Ashley’s drama was going to overshadow the plot, but have no fear, it doesn’t. For myself, I’m over teen girl drama. That being said, I like the way Ashley’s story is progressing and I can’t wait for more from her. But for Gina and Mac, who have been friends forever, I like how their relationship is developing.

Cooper and Sarah are in love, but Sarah is still a bit doubtful of Cooper. First, she’s got some distressing news about her Coast Guard posting. She may be forced to leave Thunder Point and head across the country. This affects her teenage brother Landon, who she has been raising since he was five. Landon is going into his senior year and he’s going to be the star quarterback. If she has to leave, she’ll be uprooting him at a very important point in his life and she doesn’t want to do that. She also doesn’t want to leave Cooper, but she doesn’t open up to him about the possible move. And Cooper isn’t free from the vagaries of fate. An old relationship rears its head and has quite the surprise in store for him. As that develops, Sarah also has to deal with a possible situation there where Cooper may not be willing to leave Thunder Point either.

That’s the nitty gritty with the main characters. But branching out from them, there’s a very rich cast of characters to Thunder Point that I hated to leave when that book finished. Aside from my concern with Ashley’s story taking over the book, I really enjoyed revisiting these characters. I would recommend reading The Wanderer just to get the whole background on each character. Like Cooper’s settling down wouldn’t seem like a big deal if you didn’t get exactly how nomadic he was previously. And why Sarah still has a wee bit of doubt over him (because of her past relationships).

Overall, I highly recommend The Newcomer. Thunder Point is definitely a setting I can’t wait to revisit.

4.25 out of 5.

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Harlequin MIRA.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr

Posted April 24, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Judith’s review of Sunrise Point  (Virgin River series #16) by Robyn Carr

Tom Cavanaugh may think he wants a traditional woman, but in Virgin River, the greatest tradition is falling in love unexpectedly….

Former Marine Tom Cavanaugh’s come home to Virgin River, ready to take over his family’s apple orchard and settle down. He knows just what the perfect woman will be like: sweet, decent, maybe a little naive. The marrying kind.  Nothing like Nora Crane. So why can’t he keep his eyes off the striking single mother?

Nora may not have a formal education, but she graduated with honors from the school of hard knocks. She’s been through tough times and she’ll do whatever it takes to support her family, including helping with harvest time at the Cavanaugh’s orchard. She’s always kept a single-minded focus on staying afloat…but suddenly her thoughts keep drifting back to rugged, opinionated Tom Cavanaugh.  Both Nora and Tom have their own ideas of what family means. But they’re about to prove each other completely wrong.


Those Virgin River characters just keep coming!!  And for readers like me who look forward to every single book in this series, this latest novel is another romp through a community that has enthralled me from Book 1.  Here our heroine, Nora Crane, continues to seek some way of putting herself and her two children in a better circumstance, and she is willing to do whatever it takes.  We first encounter her in the Christmas story when members of the community, namely Pastor Noah, discover her living in an abandoned cabin, nearly freezing to death, ill and with two small kids who are nearly starving to death.  Through the generosity of the community, Nora has done better than she ever expected after being abandoned by her kids’ father.  Yet she is fiercely independent and any future for her must be forged through her own efforts.  She is willing to work hard and she proves it as the newest employee of Cavanaugh family as a fruit picker during their apple harvest.
Unlike some reviewers, I have come to view the residents of Virgin River as good friends and as their number grows I am once again delighted to visit this unique community filled with people who come from lots of backgrounds, whose varied circumstances include some real struggles to not only survive but to thrive.  Somehow they have found their way to Virgin River and there they have found people who are accepting and generous to a fault, who will share very limited resources in order to live out a code of caring and friendship that is becoming increasingly rare in today’s world.  One of the most generous is Tom’s grandmother, a woman who was struggling with a less-than-stellar background and who was facing starvation and homelessness when Tom’s great-grandmother hired her, much the same was as Nora was hired over Tom’s objections.  This a woman who stands out as a person of wit and wisdom, seeing the value in people that may be missed by those looking only on externals, and not afraid to speak up when she encounters a person whose values are rooted in materialism instead of people.  Her encounters with the widow of one of Tom’s fellow soldiers are really funny, and the fun just grows when she brings in her best friends and cronies to assist her in slowly stripping away the facade of this woman who really only wanted Tom for any wealth he might realize if she could convince him to marry her and then sell the orchard.  I guess she found out!!
This is another wonderful story about authentic people and their ways of inter-relating to one another, of dealing with struggles and issues from the past, and never missing an opportunity to “be there” for one another.  There is authenticity in the way the care about each other, gentle loving and fierce loyalty, and the kind of friendship that won’t allow anything to come between people about whom they care deeply.  Even Tom’s prejudice against Nora as a single, unwed mother and his rejection of her because of her children had to be re-examined as he was caught between two very different women and how each affected his plans for the future.  
Perhaps the most heart-tugging part of Nora’s story was her reconnecting with her father, a man who had been a tenured professor at Stanford University and whose presence in her life had been snuffed out by a mother whose insecurities and emotional illness insured that Nora never knew her dad.  Her mom even tried to convince her that her memories were false.  I found myself tearing up as I read of their tentative efforts to once again come to know one another and perhaps the biggest of Nora’s struggles to finally be able to call him “Dad.”  And those of us who have really had to deal with some fairly hefty financial challenges in the past can understand Nora’s joy at having her own car after almost dying a year earlier because she didn’t even have clothes and food for herself and her kids.
Lots to like in this story and getting to know Nora better and being a part of a cast of characters who cheer her on is delightful.  An entertaining and enjoyable novel, beautifully written with characters who are able to hold their own in this ensemble of friends and relatives.  I have gone back and re-read a number of the Virgin River stories and enjoyed them as much or more the second time around.  I think this is going to be one that will be a joy during future “visits” and will be one of the favorites in this series.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.
This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Posted February 21, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Judith’s review of Redwood Bend (Virgin River #18) by Robyn Carr.

 

Katie Malone and her twin boys’ trip along the beautiful mountain roads to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, the rain has set in, the boys are hungry and Katie doesn’t have the first clue about putting on a spare. As she stands at the side of the road pondering her next move, she hears a distinct rumble. The sight of the sexy, leather-clad bikers who pull up beside her puts her imagination into overdrive.

Dylan Childress and his buddies are on the motorcycle trip of a lifetime. But the site of a woman in distress stops them in their tracks. And while the guys are checking out her car, she and Dylan are checking out one another. In one brief moment, the world tilts on its axis and any previous plans Katie and Dylan might have had for their futures are left at the side of the road.

WELCOME BACK TO THE RIVER.

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.

I give it a rating of 4.5 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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