Review: The Promise (Thunder Point, Book 5) by Robyn Carr

the promiseReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Peyton Lacoumette stops in town not realizing that she’s looking for a job.  Dr. Scott Grant is looking for some help with his practice.  Ms. Carr has a way with words – you can feel the connection as it develops between Scott and Peyton.  She also catches the readers up on some of the characters that we met in previous books.  One thing that is constant in this series is how quaint the town is and how friendly everyone appears to be.

There’s one scene that ends with Peyton making me very jealous – she has a gallon of my favorite ice cream.  That makes it definite – I’m moving to Thunder Point.  Robyn has a way of creating a sense of community in this series it’s not all about a couple falling in love.  You come to care about the people she writes about.

Women aren’t the only ones that can find love the second time around.   This author makes Scott out to be a very romantic man who thinks about the woman he’s with.  He’s also a man who’s very understanding.  He also doesn’t try to stand in the way of Peyton doing what she wants.

This author takes great care in creating her scenes, which makes it very easy to picture what’s going on.  You can count on her to help you forget the stress that for some can almost be constant.  I’m able to just sit back, relax, and get lost in a town that you want to find and get to know the people there.

If you’re looking for a story that will make you smile – you’ve found a great choice.  There are a lot of pages, not as many as some, but you will get so lost in the story that you don’t realize how quickly they go by.  The disappointment comes when you realize that you’ve come to the end.  But then you realize that there’s another book just around the corner.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review: The Chance (Thunder Point, Book 4) by Robyn Carr

chanceReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Laine Carrington has arrived in Thunder Point and she’s there to recuperate. Eric Gentry happened to be in the diner when she walked in. They seem to be two people who just might have something in common and they have an interesting first date.

With Eric’s job, cars become the star. Makes me wonder if this author is a car enthusiast or if she did a lot of research. Robyn always seems to take great care in making sure things sound accurate. This just enhances the readers experience and enjoyment – she just seems to have a way with her stories. She helps you forget your troubles, outside stresses, and allows you to sit back, relax, and dream.

The title is perfect because this seems to be a town that gives everyone a second chance – and sometimes that includes love. Laine is a woman who knows who she is and where she wants to go. She’s not afraid of getting involved with someone whose background is less than stellar.

If you’re a fan of the Animal Planet network, you may have watched their series “Pit Bulls and Parolees”. The woman in charge is named Tia Maria Torres and Laine reminds me of her. Eric has a friend, Al Michel, who comes to town. I’ll be interested to see if he appears somewhere else along the way.

This story shows the bond between parent and child but as we progress into adulthood sometimes those lines blur. And speaking from experience, roles sometimes end up being reversed. It may have you looking at your parents a little differently as they age. It’s a story that will tug at your heart and if you’ve lost a parent, or grandparent, you may find a few tears forming – keep some Kleenex handy.

This author has packed a lot between two covers. None of it will seem confusing but you will realize that not everything is going to end happily – but then nothing in real life ever does. This has been an enjoyable series so far and this is another book that just makes it that much more. You don’t have to read the other three books to enjoy this one but if you want to know more about the residents of Thunder Point, I would make sure to go back and read the ones you’ve missed. The next book in the series is titled The Promise, which came out this past June.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Chance: Book 4 of Thunder Point series

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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: 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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Get into Bed with Robyn Carr (Author Interview)

the wandererLynn Reynolds: Millions of readers visit Virgin River, the setting of your last series, every year. What made you decide to venture away from Virgin River in your new Thunder Point series?

Robyn Carr: It was time for something fresh and new for a lot of reasons—to keep me fresh and new, for one thing. But also, twenty books in a series is a lot for new readers to even comprehend, and no matter how many times they’re told they can jump in any time, many will be intimidated by the sheer number. I call this the Grey’s Anatomy Syndrome—I’ve never seen an episode because when it started, I chose another show to commit to. I know, I know—I could rent or download the early episodes and watch 147 straight hours of TV to catch up (ugh!), and I’m not likely to do that. So, we’ll at least take a break, move to a new location with a new cast and new theme. That doesn’t mean I’ll never go back to Virgin River.

Also—the town is getting large; the population is growing. My readers love it when I bring characters back together; they want to check on their people and make sure they’re doing all right. And as the list of characters grows, it becomes more of a challenge to bring them all together. And if I bring only a few back, my readers want to know where the others are!

There are certain things my readers love that will always be present, whether I’m writing about a small town, a long-running series or even a standalone women’s fiction—there is always a strong sense of community and commitment; there is always intense friendship. You can count on me for strong women and heroes dedicated to loving them loyally and keeping them safe—and safe is a relative term. It can be safe from danger or safe from loneliness or betrayal or fear. There will always be women’s issues, large or not so large. There will always be solutions to difficult situations that I hope are entertaining, intelligent and completely feasible, something that I intend to give my readers hope as they face their own problems.

Lynn: What was it like to start writing about an entirely new place after being in Virgin River for 20 books? Did it take you longer to write The Wanderer than it usually does to write a new novel since you were creating a whole new setting?

Robyn: I will admit—it was terrifying! I was so comfortable in Virgin River; I knew the town and the people so well after 20 books. The very thought of creating an entirely new community from scratch was very intimidating. I thought about this place and the original cast for a year before writing the first book. I was afraid it wouldn’t measure up. But then I began, and I fell in love all over again and found the process so exciting, so invigorating. The men stole my heart over and over, the women became dear to me, and the teenagers—I’ve always had a teen or two or three in almost every book—really spoke to me. I think this town will easily be as beloved as Virgin River and Grace Valley have been.

Lynn: What made you choose the Oregon Coast as the setting for your new trilogy? Did you travel to the area to do research before you starting writing The Wanderer? What about the landscape really stood out for you?

Robyn: At first the location was purely logical. This is my third series. The first —Grace Valley, was a valley town in the mountains. The second was a mountain town—Virgin River. It only made sense to head for the ocean. Also, Thunder Point isn’t terribly far from Northern California, with many of the same issues but plenty of new ones. I understand that part of the world. And yes, I went there. I spent a good deal of time with the local Coast Guard, conducted interviews, took pictures. Mainly, I stood on the high, rocky coast and let it soak into my skin, my head, my heart. I pictured people there, conducting their day-to-day lives, falling in love, rubbing up against crisis, relying on each other.

Lynn: What would you tell someone who is coming to Thunder Point for the first time? What do you want them to know about the town as they jump into The Wanderer?

Robyn: My husband and I have moved around a lot, thanks to his years in the Air Force and commercial aviation. Have you ever had the experience of living somewhere that just didn’t feel like your town? Or, conversely, landing somewhere that made you think you were meant to be there? When we drove from Texas to Sacramento and crossed over the Sierras into the Sacramento Valley, I remember thinking, Ahhhh, I’m a Californian! I never realized! I was instantly comfortable with the landscape, the people, the climate.

Hank Cooper has always been a wanderer. He’d lived and worked in a lot of beautiful and interesting places, but there’s something about this small coastal town and the people there that just hook him and make him think for the first time in his adult life, Maybe I’m home.

Lynn: You’ve always been known for your strong female characters. The women in Thunder Point are no strangers to struggle, and we can already tell there are going to be some great stories coming from them! Why do you feel strong women are so important in your books?

Robyn: Well, they’re role models. They’re admirable, which doesn’t mean perfect, it only means they’re indomitable and courageous and hopeful. They’re basically good, intelligent, optimistic people. They’re the kind of people I personally want to read about—I’m not real big on weak, weary, insipid characters who are older than five. None of us can escape struggle—it’s part of life. But whether we face it with determination and optimism or cringing weakness and fear makes all the difference in the outcome.

Lynn: Readers fall in love with your male characters. Hank Cooper, aka Cooper, (from Robyn’s bestselling Virgin River series) is especially dreamy… Is there an actor who you would like to see play his role if the series was ever turned into a movie?

Robyn: I don’t know the names of the younger actors very well, but James Denton seems to fit the profile.

Lynn: The Wanderer has an element of mystery with the death of Cooper’s friend. (Don’t worry—we won’t give any spoilers!) Do you like writing suspense? Do you think we’ll see more suspense with the other books in the series?

Robyn: I don’t actually think of that as suspense. Suspense is when you imagine you’re being chased by a guy with a bloody knife. Nor do I think of it as mystery even though there is a mysterious element. I think of it more as unanswered questions and a very obvious element of surprise coming. It’s also suspenseful, in a way, waiting for the results of a biopsy or worrying about how the new kid at school will be received—with rejection or welcome? But I think of those issues, the dramatic problems of daily life, and they’re quite mainstream, which means the average person will relate on some level—it either happened in their family, their neighborhood or their town. That’s the grist of a small-town drama. Whether the problems are large or small, there are conflicts to resolve and in doing so, the characters become more defined. I hope this mirrors life —as we live and learn, come to terms with our personal issues and life in general, we are a compilation of stories to be told.

Buy: The Wanderer

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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Review: Sunrise Point (Virgin River, Book 19) by Robyn Carr

sunrisepointReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is book 19 of the “Virgin River” series.

Single mother, Nora Crane, is a newcomer to Virgin River. She has two small daughters and she’s looking for work. Robyn first introduced us to Nora in Book 16, Bring Me Home for Christmas. Tom Cavanaugh is looking for help at his apple orchard. Nora’s a woman that landed in Virgin River with hardly anything. Having read a couple of the other of “Virgin River” books, I think she’ll fit right in.

As Robyn continues this series, we get to know more about its inhabitants. She makes the town come so alive you just want to move there. The town is small that enough that everyone cares about everyone else. They are willing to give anyone a helping hand.

As Reverend Noah Kincaid, Forbidden Falls (Book 9), drives Nora out to the orchard you can almost picture the scene as part of the series The Waltons. I could picture Richard Thomas behind the wheel. Who do you think would be the perfect Ellie?

Maxie Cavanaugh is Tom’s grandmother and one hot pistol. I could picture Ellen Corby playing Maxie. Nora gets a hint of how Maxie ended up at the orchard and it sounds familiar. We see Nora grow as a person as the story progresses. Her upbringing affects her behavior but being around the good people of Virgin River has helped her come out of her shell.

Robyn is always very good about how she describes her scenes. You can picture everything as if you are a part of what’s going on. The reader is a participant instead of an onlooker. That’s one reason for being a fan of the series.

Tom has an old friend, Darla, who has come to visit for the weekend. At the time, she looks like she would be perfect for Tom but will she? Even though Tom and Nora are only at the friend stage, I feel like he’s cheating on her. We will have to finish the story to find out how everything works out. It shows how Robyn is so good at creating her characters.

We also get reacquainted with a few of Robyn’s couples that have appeared in previous books. There is Jack and Mel who started it all in Deep in the Valley (Book 1), then Luke and Shelby whose story was in Temptation Ridge (Book 6), and then Colin and Jillian that we met in Wild Man Creek (Book 14). The military also has a part in Robyn’s story line.

Verdict: This is a book that you’ll not want to put down until you finish reading it. Robyn once again does not disappoint her fans. Book 20, “My Kind of Christmas”, will not be out until November so it will give you plenty of time to catch up or at least read the books that go with the other couples we see in this book.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Sunrise Point (Virgin River)

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