Review: The Hero (Thunder Point, Book 3) by Robyn Carr

The HeroReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Devon McAllister is carrying her three-year-old daughter and then is lucky enough to catch a ride to Thunder Point. I hope if you’re reading this book that you’ve also read the other two in the series. You will continue getting to know about the town and some of its inhabitants. It will also leave you wanting to pack your bags and moving there.

In this story, we finally get to know the character named Rawley Goode. Rawley is a very caring soul and I wish there were more people like him in this world. Robyn makes me wonder if she has fashioned him after someone she knows.

Spencer Lawson is the new Athletic Director at the high school. He and his ten-year-old son, Austin, are staying at Cooper’s old place for now. He also has something in common with Devon.

While reading this book, in the beginning I kept thinking of Devon as a man – I have a nephew of the same name. The difference is that he spells his name with an “I” and she spells her name with an “O”. So now that I have that figured out, I don’t have that problem any more.

Robyn has put an interesting twist in this book – Devon has two men to choose from and both men have children. Scott is a doctor and Spencer is a coach – what an interesting dilemma. What a great reason to keep reading in order to find out who wins her heart.

This isn’t just Devon’s story. We get to see what’s happening with the other characters that we’ve come to love in the first two books. This book will have you smiling – our author knows exactly how to please her readers. She also creates a town where everyone cares about everyone else.

In my opinion this is a series that would be a good fit for the Hallmark Channel. Yes, there’s some violence but that is part of where Devon came from so it needs to be there. It also makes me wonder as to the type of research Robyn needed to do in order for the storyline to at least appear accurate. She also knows when to add something that will have the reader on the edge of their seats and holding our breaths until we know that everything is all right.

A great author knows how to create believable characters. It makes me wonder if she questioned any males to find out how they would behave during certain situations – this would include both civilians and men in the military. Or does she just instinctively know how to get these characters right? You will be happy to know that the next book in the series, titled The Chance, is due out in March 2014.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Hero (Thunder Point)

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Review: The Newcomer (Thunder Point, Book 2) by Robyn Carr

newcomerReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story picks up right where The Wanderer left off. We see that Hank Cooper is watching his girlfriend, Sarah Dupre, paddleboard. What a perfect read to take to the beach. It has you wishing that you could sit on that beach, have Robyn handy, and watch the boats or even someone on a board as you read about some of the inhabitants of Thunder Point.

Another couple that we met in book one is Mac McCain and Gina James. They’ve both been friends for years, have been married before, and both have children. Robyn reminds her readers how tough first and second love can be. When the kids are that young, boys and girls think differently – girls think of forever after and we all know what boys think about. Then we sometimes have parents that are totally clueless when it comes to their children. And then when the parents find love the second time around, job and family can get in the way.

One thing that I love about Robyn’s books is that she writes about characters that a reader can connect with. In this book it was Gina’s daughter, Ashley. I live in the state where a young woman killed herself because of bullying. But what Robyn doesn’t do is let this subject overtake the whole story. It is a very important subject but it sits in the background because otherwise the love story would get lost. But it also leaves me hoping that at some point we’ll see Ashley’s story so that I know that everything turned out all right for her.

Family is at the center of this story too. Robyn shows how strong a family can be in the face of adversity. As a member of a family, we need to make sure we pay attention to the people around us – recognize the signs of people needing help. You are also reminded that when you’re feeling down, or can’t stand yourself, remember your friends (your true friends) are there no matter what – and if you’re down, they will lift you up. A good song to think of is Wind Beneath My Wings. I always thought of this as a great “friend” song.

The Newcomer is a great follow up to book one. It also builds the anticipation as to what Robyn will have in store for her readers in book three. And the great thing is that The Hero will be coming out in September – I can’t wait.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: The Newcomer (Thunder Point)

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Review: Changing Lanes by Kathleen Long

changing lanesReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Abigail “Abby” Halladay and her fiancé purchased a condo in Paris, New Jersey. She’s at her parent’s house when she meets an old friend, Mick. Kathleen writes a great scene where Abby’s back in her bedroom for the first time in a long while – reminds me of some of my days that I’d like to forget. There will be several times during this book when Kathleen will have you in stitches. – just make sure you don’t have food in your mouth at the time.

Mick O’Malley has come back to Paris to take care of his mom. Kathleen has written a story that I think some people will be able to relate to. She also has Abby’s mother keeping a special type of journal that she writes in – I think this is a great idea for a parent to do (you may want to steal the idea if Kathleen doesn’t mind).

A reoccurring theme is the fact that a lot of the characters like to reminisce. This is a great way to connect with your past and to remember the people we love and those no longer with us. Spend as much time as you can with the people you love because you don’t know how much time you’ll have with them – look at what happened in Sandy Hook and Boston.

I found this a hard book to put down – you come to care for the characters and want to know that everything works out for Abby. Frankie is the teenager that you may have been when you were that age. Nan is the grandmother I miss and long to see again. One character that I can really relate to is Detta.

Detta is a woman with the beginning signs of dementia. My mother had a disease that is similar but different. She had what’s called Lewy Body’s disease. Think Alzheimer’s but with hallucinations. My mother had a problem when we watched the cooking shows – she thought they were cooking for her. She had a stroke which just complicated things. Kathleen’s story brought tears to my eyes as I remembered what we saw my mother go through the last three years of her life. But I also appreciate that this character was there.

I think that we need to stop getting angry at people and telling them that they don’t understand. Instead, we need to educate people and hope they make a donation that will help to find a cure – or at the very least to slow the progression of this terrible disease. Statistics show that only five percent of people ages 71- 79 have dementia and it then jumps to twenty four percent for ages 80 – 89. What’s more surprising is that there are five million people, in the United States alone, that have Alzheimer’s.

This is a very inspirational story. There’s love involved but romance is not the main theme. This is Abby’s life and how she had the chutzpah to make a change. The book has no sex in it and it doesn’t need it. Kathleen was smart to leave it out because it would have changed the path of the book if she had included it. If you have any imagination, you can always add your own scenes in. I hope you will give this book a try – you just might start reminiscing about your own family.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Changing Lanes

Review: The Wanderer (Thunder Point, Book 1) by Robyn Carr

the wandererReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Hank Cooper is driving along the coast from California into Oregon. There’s just something so peaceful when you’re driving along a coastal road. Cooper has just moved to Thunder Point, Oregon – the name is perfect for a coastal town. It reminds me of a place that I used to go for summer vacations – Brant Rock Massachusetts. It was a great place to enjoy the beach, visit the local candy shop where they made their own taffy, and the little store had penny candy (sorry I’m dating myself).

If you liked the people of Virgin River, I think you’ll find the people of Thunder Point almost the same – it’s a place you would love to move to. It’s a place where everyone cares about each other. And a place that brings back childhood memories. I’m looking forward to falling in love with the characters in this newest series.

Sarah Dupre has lived in Thunder Point for only a short while. She’s trying to make a life for herself and her brother, Landon. He appears to be the typical high school newbie. She has a job that not too long ago a woman would not have been able to have.

What I love about this new book of Robyn’s is that Cooper and Sarah don’t meet right away. She builds Cooper’s story first, then he meets Landon, and then he connects with Sarah. And it was a very interesting first meeting.

Make sure that you pay attention to the second time that Cooper and Sarah have a “date”. It was very interesting, had me chuckling (which wasn’t good since I was at a bus stop), and it made me hungry. That wasn’t a good thing either because I hadn’t had my breakfast yet.

Robyn has also included a secondary “couple” that I found to be very interesting. Gina is a woman who knows what she wants and Mac hasn’t a clue. They are just one more reason to keep reading and see if it goes anywhere.

The reader will get the perfect ending. There is an HEA – kinda sorta – with just enough to use your imagination as to what you want the ending to be. And then again, maybe they will make an appearance in another book so that we know if we gave them the correct ending.

You will also be happy to know that book two titled The Newcomer will be out toward the end of June. It gives you time to enjoy this book and if you feel so inclined, you can go back and finish up the Virgin River Series. It’s a great way to get your list of summer reads ready. You will also be able to add book three to your list since The Hero will be out toward the end of August.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Wanderer (Thunder Point)

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Review: Vivian’s Return by Tracy Cooper-Posey

Vivian’s ReturnReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Vivien Galloway has returned to Geraldton. She’s a pilot and also a safety assessor. Paul Levissianos is also a pilot. However, he doesn’t appear happy to see her. He’s the owner of Batavia Coast Air Charter Company.

Paul has an incident when he is out with his helicopter. I thought this would have been the start of the suspense but nothing more came from this incident. I couldn’t tell that this thought was followed through. I think I may have missed something but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.

I would, however, consider this more of an adventure than suspense. Unless you consider this a “will they or won’t they” tale. I felt that they complimented each other because they both like to take chances. Also they have their love of flying. If I wasn’t afraid of heights, they would even convince me to try my hand at taking flying lessons – but somehow I don’t think planes come with training wheels or wrapped in foam.

This book held my attention from beginning to end. If you like Tracy’s work, you will probably like this one as well. If you haven’t read her work before, this may pique your interest in wanting to read more of her work. Plus, make sure that you read all the way to the end because you get a treat of some excerpts from not one but three other books by Tracy.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Vivian’s Return (Go Get ‘em Women)

Review: Fortune’s Hero (Soldiers of Fortune, Book 1) by Jenna Bennett

Fortune's HeroReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Quinn Conlan is attached to a very creepy machine. You can see right away that he is a soldier. Automatically, I thought of Han Solo of “Star Wars” fame. Elsa Brandeis works for the enemy but is she as bad-ass as Quinn thinks she is? Elsa does not remind me of any “Star Wars” character but she is an interesting choice for Quinn.

I grew up in the age of the original “Star Trek” series and the first “Star Wars” series. Just a few paragraphs in, and I was reliving the shows/movies that I loved growing up. Then I had to think that this would fit in perfectly and I could see this as a movie. I would pay to watch this or at the very least see it on the Sci Fi Channel.

This book was listed on Amazon as romantic suspense. I get the suspense part – especially at the end – but I don’t think romance was a major part of Jenna’s story. I found it more of a science fiction action adventure. The action, not the romance, is what held my attention throughout as each chapter went by – and that is not a bad thing.

Jenna shows her readers that sometimes we may not like one another but that if something needs to be accomplished it is going to take team work. When it comes to survival, egos and attitudes have no place in this type of situation – it’s a waste of energy.

For those of you looking for the romance, you will get your sex fix – just relax and enjoy the adventure. Jenna gives you the sex but at just the right time. A good author will not rush it but puts it in just the right spot. She also reminds you how people change when confined for any length of time.

I have two words for the ending – What? No!! I was not expecting it but what a great way to have the reader wanting to read book 2. The next title in this series is titled Fortune’s Honor. But if you go to Jenna’s web site, http://jennabennett.com/Home_Page.html, she doesn’t give you any hints as to what she has in store next for readers. I can’t even tell you when it will be coming out. In the meantime, you can’t go wrong in adding this book to your shelf.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Fortune’s Hero (Soldiers of Fortune)

Review: My Kind of Christmas (Virgin River, Book 20) by Robyn Carr

robyn carr my kind of christmasReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Angela LaCroix is celebrating Thanksgiving dinner with her family. And they’re arguing over what’s good for her. The following day finds her in Virgin River. She’s come to stay with family for a while. At the mini family reunion, she “meets” Patrick Riordan. Paddy is also visiting Virgin River. Just like Angie, he has issues he’s trying to deal with.

Angie gives us a look into her background. You almost have to feel sorry for her – reminds me of what gifted children, or childhood protégées, have to go through. Their aspirations are so much different from most people. Plus having to deal with the expectations of your parents – makes me glad I grew up “normal”.

I love how in every book of the Virgin River Series that I read, I feel as if I’m part of the town. It’s a place that makes everyone feel welcome. It also makes me remember my days growing up and visiting my Aunt and Uncle up in the town of Bethel Maine.

http://www.bethelmaine.com/index.php?page=country-christmas-in-bethel

I never got to enjoy the town around the holidays but I can just imagine that it would be similar to Virgin River. Another town that reminds me of Robyn’s town is a town not too far from where I live. It’s called Stockbridge. They had a famous resident and his name was Norman Rockwell. I’m sure that he would have loved to have visited Virgin River.

http://www.stockbridgechamber.org/christmas.html

These towns, like Virgin River, would not be commercialized – not like a big city like New York. They are quaint towns with an almost old fashioned feel to them. Those are the types of places that I would love to visit around the holidays.

Angie and Paddy remind the reader that our life is not set in stone. There are stops, curves, and things that come along and change our path. But do you follow that new path or do you ignore it and feel like that isn’t for you?

I love the way Robyn writes about the Riordan family – how much they all care about each other. Made me wish I had a family like that. You will also love the scene where the mothers came to town – one word, priceless! Robyn could have made it a time to be serious – parents ya know. But instead it’s more of a comic relief. But being mothers, they are also very wise.

This story may give you the idea of going back through the series and visit, or revisit, some of Robyn’s other characters. You can do that starting in January. Robyn is going to start doing reissues. She’s going to start with the first book titled most appropriately Virgin River. We all know how hectic the holiday season can be so if you’re looking for a read that will get you into the spirit but not take a lot out of your busy schedule this is a book that will fill the bill. I also can’t wait to start catching up on books from the series that I haven’t read yet. Happy Holidays everyone!

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: My Kind of Christmas (A Virgin River Novel)

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Audio Review: Animal Magnetism (Animal Magnetism Series, Book 1) by Jill Shalvis

animal magnetism jill shavisReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Read by Karen White

Brady Miller is at a 7-Eleven getting breakfast and a coffee. The clerk sounds like a typical young lady who has other things she wants to do than to work behind a counter. It’s a Saturday in June in Idaho. Brady is a pilot for hire and he’s on his way through Sunshine. He’s there to do a favor for Dell and Adam.

Lilah Young rear-ended Brady’s truck. She’s the owner of a Kennel. In the jeep with her are two puppies, one mallard, and a potbelly piglet. One funny thing about audiobooks is when the reader makes animal sounds. I haven’t heard an audiobook in a long time and would have thought that audiobooks would have evolved by now.

Brady’s concerned about Lilah after the accident and it was funny to hear Karen let us know that Abigail, the duck, is trying to escape. One good thing about the accident is that Lilah has found things that were previously lost. Since her jeep is incapacitated, Brady is giving them all a ride. She admits that her secret love of chocolate – a lady after my own heart.

I found as I listen to Karen read that it made me very relaxed. Which can be a good thing – you can sit back and just imagine everything that she’s reading. And a bad thing – I kept falling asleep. No offense to Karen but I just wasn’t impressed with her reading this book. As I stated before, after all this time I would think that audiobooks would have evolved. She didn’t do anything for me while reading the male parts.

Brady and Lilah’s connection happens quickly. He takes her home and the kissing has already started. This is nice for our couple but in listening to Karen read, I just didn’t really feel the connection. I would have loved to have this been a “duet” – Karen reads the female part and an actor reads the male part. A woman just doesn’t have the voice to read the deep parts that a male can. There is swearing that goes on in this story as well. When a woman reads it, it’s just not the same.

My favorite quote is when Lilah describes Brady, Dell, and Adam. She calls them “Three magnificent peas in a pod”. Jill also has me wanting to know more about the receptionist Jade. I was glad to find out that Jade’s story is book two in the “Animal Magnetism” series. Jade’s book is called “Animal Attraction” and it came out in October.

I could go on and on about this audiobook but I don’t want to spoil your listening experience. I personally, would prefer to read the book. It was just too hard for me to picture Brady, Dell, or Adam with Karen speaking the part. An upside to this experience was that I enjoyed it a lot more when I was at the beach. So, if you’re going to the beach this summer this may be an option for you.

This audiobook has nine disks and it is 10.5 hours long. Because of my problem of constantly falling asleep, I limited myself to listening to only two disks a day. I’m not giving up on audiobooks, I will give another one a try. As far as Jill’s series go, I want to finish reading this series. My rating was for the audiobook and not the book itself. At some point I will go back and read the book.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Animal Magnetism

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