Tag: Bring the contemps Back

Review: Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr

Posted April 3, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Temptation Ridge by Robyn CarrReviewer: Holly
Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #6
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, 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, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road, Moonlight Road
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: March 1st 2009
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

At twenty-five, after five years as her mother's caregiver, it's time for Shelby to experience freedom and adventure. Time for travel, college and romance.

But when she visits Virgin River, she runs into Luke Riordan, decidedly "not" whom she has in mind. A handsome Blackhawk pilot, Luke exited the army after twenty years, four wars and having been shot out of the sky three times. At thirty-eight he's tough and jaded. His major was in one-night stands, with a minor in commitment avoidance.

Technically, these two are all wrong for one another. But sometimes what you want and what you need are two different things...two very "good" things.

Temptation Ridge is technically the 6th book in Robyn Carr‘s Virgin River series, but the series is broken up into two trilogies (so far, I believe there will be more books to come in the future) so if you don’t want to read all 5 previous books, you can start with Second Chance Pass.

Although each book in this series features (for the most part) one main romance, they’re also about the town of Virgin River and it’s inhabitants. So don’t be disappointed when the focus shifts from the main couple to what’s going on with previous couples and/or other townsfolk.

The Main Romance: I really enjoyed Shelby. I think she saved this book with her practicality and straightforward look on life. Although she put her life on hold for years to care for her mother she isn’t a pushover or wishy-washy. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. I love that she continued to put herself out there and didn’t shy away from her feelings or Luke’s.

Luke was harder to pin down. At first I really enjoyed him and understood his reasons for keeping Shelby at arms length, but as the novel progressed I found myself more irritated with him than anything. I know what he experienced as a young man in the army was tough to deal with, but I had a hard time believing a man of almost 40 would still be so immature about his feelings. I realize men mature at a much slower pace than women, but he seemed far too stuck in the past.

Other than his hangups from the past I thought he was a wonderfully drawn character. It was good to see him interact with the other inhabitants of Virgin River and settle in despite himself.

The Other Storylines: Parts of this were very heart wrenching. Carr really excels are writing emotionally engaging stories and this was no exception. I full on cried several times while reading this. While all the usual players were present there were also several new additions – all of which added flavor to the story. Carr tackled some deeper issues here and I appreciate how they were handled. The emergency the town has to deal with was wonderfully written and definitely emotionally compelling. I was on the edge of my seat, unable to turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen.

Dr. Cameron Michaels – who was introduced in Second Chance Pass – is back and I have to say, I was very annoyed with the direction Carr took his storyline. I may reserve this topic for another post (Read: rant), but the way Abby – his heroine (and I use the term very lightly) – acted was completely out of line. For as much as I loved Shelby I hated Abby just that much. I don’t know what’s up with Carr writing heroines that do such lousy things.

Walt and Muriel’s (who were also introduced in SCP) romance continues here and I have to say while I enjoyed them, I don’t think they added much to the overall story arc. A mention of them would have worked better for me than chapters dedicated to their POVs.

Although elements of the novel didn’t work for me, overall I found it to be just as emotionally compelling as the other entries in the series. Carr has proven herself to be adept at drawing readers in to her small California town.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Virgin River


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Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James

Posted February 27, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 9 Comments


Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her–not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.


Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize that she may just be his perfect match. . .

Just the Sexiest Man Alive is Julie James‘ debut novel. Rowena read it months ago, and then Casee read it, and then they ganged up on me and told me I had to read it. But I hesitated. Mostly because the main characters were in professions I generally don’t care to read about. An attorney and a movie star. First, the pairing seems unlikely. Second, I’ve found in the past that attorneys don’t work for me as main characters. Mostly I find them to be intolerable and overly arrogant. Or TSTL. I’m wondering now if that’s because none of the authors who wrote attorney characters in the past WERE attorneys.

Or, more simply put, I shouldn’t have doubted the girls and waited so long to read this. It was outstanding.

I think one of the best parts about this book is how arrogant and real both main characters were. Jason full expected his “little smile” to get him whatever he wanted, and Taylor had every confidence in herself as an attorney. Neither character apologized for how they were. I loved that. James didn’t take the easy way out with either character. It was very refreshing.

Despite their arrogance both characters were very likable. Jason’s absolute shock at Taylor’s disinterest in his career and what it could do for her was hilarious, as was Taylor’s constant surprise at how sexy Jason was, even though she hated him. There were times I literally laughed out loud at some of their inner thoughts.

Another great thing about this book is the dialogue. It’s very strong and witty, without trying too hard. Some of Taylor’s snappy comebacks had me cracking up. I love that she had a sarcastic sense of humor. There aren’t many authors who can do sarcasm and make it work.

The chemistry between them was fantastic and really leapt off the pages. There was humor, sexual attraction and a surprising amount of tenderness.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, too. Taylor’s girlfriends were a hoot, especially when they realize she’s “seeing” THE Jason Andrews. Jason’s best friend Jeremy was also a strong supporting character and I like that they had a good relationship. We don’t see enough male friendship in romance novels, IMO.

Some things I didn’t like: Jason seemed rather immature in the beginning. He acted more like a man in his younger-to-mid-20’s than someone who was “in his 30’s”. As the novel progressed he seemed to mature some, but I was honestly surprised to learn his actual age.

The lack of backstory for both characters. Although their backgrounds are given a cursory mention I was disappointed in the lack of full backstory for both of them. I suppose I understand why we didn’t hear more about each of their pasts, but I wanted more from them.

And lastly, something personal. This is just a personal pet peeve and actually has nothing to do with the story at all. Just so you know…

Jason winked. A lot. So much so that I was starting to wonder if he had a permanent eye twitch, Tourettes, or a secret desire to become a pirate. He must have winked at least once a page. At first it didn’t bother me, but after awhile it started taking me out of the story.

The issues were minor, however, and didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. Actually, since I first read this book on February 3rd I’ve re-read it at least 4 times. I highly recommend this light, contemporary read.

4.25 out of 5

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

Be sure to come back later this morning, because Julie James will be here talking about her writing and celebrating her upcoming release!

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Wanted: A Contemporary Romance.

Posted September 15, 2008 by Rowena in Discussions | 27 Comments

Rowena: Over the past couple of days, I’ve been reading a lot of posts from other bloggers who are just as worried about the lack of contemporary romance novels around these days as I’ve been. I’ve been itching to read a good, solid romance novel about two people falling in love. Not a human and a vampire, not a human and a werewolf, were-parrot, were-ninja, just two humans falling in love. No paranormal effects, nobody trying to kill them, no mystery to solve, just straight up romance novel stuff between two people that are alive and kicking, falling in love with each other and making me laugh my pants off.

Jane, over at Dear Author poses the question, where have all the good contemporary authors gone? I would like to know the answer to that question as well. She mentions in her post that Publishers say that contemporary novels don’t sell so they’re not buying any contemporary romances. Why the eff not? I buy contemporary novels all the time, I love them. I love authors like Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips because they write romance novels for our time. They make me laugh and their heroes are always Alpha and macho and smexy. They write about issues we face today and can relate to, so I guess I want to know, am I the only person out there buying contemporary novels?

Holly: No, Ween, you aren’t the only person buying them – I am too. I love contemps. Absolutely adore them. There’s nothing more appealing to me than a straight up romance – no suspense plot, no paranormal element. Just two people living their lives and falling in love.

Recently I’ve come across some fabulous contemporary romances. Sourcebooks is largely responsible for this. Their fall lineup is chock full of great contemps and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’ve also seen some that look interesting from Forever and Harlequin, but the sad fact is, they’re few and far between right now. The majority of contemporary novels being released right now are either PNR or RS, excluding category romances (and thank goodness for those!).

Our question to you guys is this:

Do you guys read contemporary novels? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite contemporary authors? What are some of your favorite contemporary novels? Do you want to see more contemporary novels published, or are you ok with PNR and RS being the main attraction?

We also have a poll up on the sidebar. Feel free to vote there as well as leaving us comment.

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