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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Review: Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Redwood Bend is book 18 of the “Virgin River” series.

Katie Malone is seen leaving her Vermont home with a set of 5-year-old twins, Andy and Mitch. She’s packing them up and moving to California. She’ll be moving closer to her brother Conner. You will find Conner’s story in Book 17 of the “Virgin River” series (Hidden Summit). Her husband passed away fighting in Afghanistan.

Katie has decided to take the boys on a little vacation down to Florida before traveling to Virgin River. When she’s just outside the town, her car ends up with a flat. She then hears a rumble and what comes up behind her but four guys on motorcycles. One of the guys, Dylan, really revs her engines. I think if it weren’t raining at the time, Dylan would know that she was drooling. This is one time when you wish you had a picture.

Dylan Childress has come to Virgin River, with his four friends, to enjoy some time together. They certainly don’t expect to see a damsel in distress as they’re on the road to Virgin River. Dylan needs some down time. He, and his partner, own and operate a charter air service.

Katie, and the boys, are starting to settle in. She gets to meet Conner’s financee, Leslie. They seem to hit it off right away. Also, Katie has her own place to stay – a nice little cottage that is surrounded by nature. She’s seen sitting out on her porch, enjoying the scenery, when Dylan pulls up on his motorcycle – don’t you just love a man on a motorcycle! It was a very interesting visit.

Fate seems to be pushing the two of them together because they seem to keep meeting. At one point Dylan ask Katie and her boys out – does he realize what he’s getting himself into? And once you read the scene, you will have it admit it was pretty funny.

Dylan has been trying to go a little further in the relationship but Katie’s not ready. Of course he acts just like a little kid who doesn’t get his own way. We all have to make decisions but Katie is questioning hers. The jury’s still out for Conner but of course he’s playing big brother.

Dylan’s business is feeling the pressure of the current economy. While he’s trying to find ways to bolster his business, his family members start coming out of the woodwork. They’re hoping to ride on his coattails.

Because of Dylan’s business problems, he’s had to leave. While Dylan is gone, Katie’s in Jack’s bar and meets Tom Cavanaugh. You’ll definitely want to see who shows up. And Dylan doesn’t seem to be happy about Katie knowing Tom – can we say territorial?

While Dylan was gone, Katie gets a surprise and when he returns she finally shares that surprise with him. It’s left him with some serious thinking to do. Conner goes from being big brother to father and they both act like they’re back in high school. Over time, they finally put their differences aside and try to get along.

One thing I love so far about Robyn’s “Virgin River” series is that the characters from the book before don’t overtake the current book – they just blend right in. You don’t have to read each book in order to understand the series. It’s like reading about family.
You get to love the characters and the town and you just can’t wait until the next book comes out. But if you’re a fan, like I am, at some point you’ll go back and catch up on the books you missed. Robyn’s next book “Sunrise Point” (Tom’s story) will be out in April.

Verdict: This is a book that you’ll not want to put down until you finish it. You are going to want to go out and get this book or at least put it at the top of your TBR list. Robyn does not disappoint her fans. And since the next book comes out in a couple of months you have some time to read so that you’ll be ready to read about Tom.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Redwood Bend (Virgin River)

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Get into Bed with Robyn Carr (Author Interview)

Keira: As a writer, what kinds of books inspire you? Do you ever find time to read when you aren’t writing your own novels?

Robyn Carr: I read every day. I work long hours, but in the evening after dinner I read—and I am inspired by everything I read, whether it’s mainstream or non-fiction or some other genre. I have a particular taste for contemporary romance and women’s fiction. My favorite authors are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Susan Andersen to name a few. For my reading pleasure I enjoy intelligent, romantic, humorous, sexy novels with strong heroines.

Keira: What would you tell someone who is coming to Virgin River for the first time? What do you want them to know about the town as they jump into HIDDEN SUMMIT?

Robyn:  Virgin River isn’t an easy place.  It calls on a person’s deepest sense of adventure to live there, which at least partially explains the strong sense of community one finds there.  Sometimes neighbors have to rely on each other to get through the day, sometimes for their very survival.  Not only does Mother Nature challenge this mountain town with snowstorms, floods, earthquakes and mud slides, the landscape is rugged, the wildlife plentiful and fearless, but there are more illegal (and sometimes dangerous) marijuana growers in that area than anywhere else in the US.

Keira: Which character from HIDDEN SUMMIT do you find yourself relating to the most and why? Is there one character, from any of the Virgin River books, that you are particularly drawn to?

Robyn: First, in HIDDEN SUMMIT, I relate to Leslie – when her husband divorced her, she suffered an enormous confidence problem.  I understand that too well – I can get 100 compliments but that single negative jab haunts me!

The single character from ALL the Virgin River novels I am most drawn to, feel I know the best and relate to most is Jack Sheridan – he’s a piece of work.  Sometimes he seems like a perfect man, sometimes he’s emotionally clumsy, sometimes wise, sometimes foolish; he’s sometimes so kind and supportive, other times he can be angered and has a bit of a short fuse.  Most of all – he’s terribly funny and his wry humor saves his ass more often than not.  Yes, even though I don’t know him in reality, I really get him.

Buy: Hidden Summit (Virgin River Novel)

Review: Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is book 17 of the “Virgin River” series.

Brie Valenzuela used to be an Assistant District Attorney. We find her in a coffee shop waiting to meet a witness. She is doing this as a favor for a good friend. Conner Danson is that witness. Brie starts off giving him a couple of warnings. One of which is about not “hooking up”. Now when have our heroes ever listened to that little bit of information?

Leslie Petruso steps into the bar where Conner is seen having a meal. She’s there to meet Paul Haggerty about a possible job. She’s been hurt and is looking to make a fresh start in a new town. What better place to start over than in Virgin River.

Robyn, good writer that she is, has both Leslie and Conner working for the same company. What better way to get to know each other and disregard Brie’s advice. There’s an instant connection but because of a little misunderstanding, on Conner’s part, he stays away from Leslie. Now how long do you think that will last?

Leslie’s ex, Greg, has a habit of showing up. He’s definitely a strange character. In my mind he’s a narcissist. I say she’s better off without him but you will have to read the story and see if you agree with me. Since starting over in Virgin River, Leslie has learned to hold her own. She deserves better.

Oh, Robyn is good about having Greg keep coming back into the picture. He reminds me of a “running gag” in a movie. He’s definitely the comic relief of the piece. You have to commiserate with Leslie at ever having been married to that guy. He’s so self- absorbed! You have to wonder if he walks around with a mirror in his pocket. I would definitely love to know how Robyn created this character. He’s most certainly one of a kind.

Conner has found a way to get on Leslie’s good side. As you read, he asks her out and you definitely will not want to miss it. I wouldn’t mind someone doing that for me. Robyn always has her characters do things that are totally plausible. I applaud her for her creativity.

Robyn doesn’t make this story just about Conner and Leslie. We get to see brother and sister, Brie and Jack, interact with each other. You can tell that they love each other. We also get to see the love Conner has for his sister, Katie. Leslie also has a great relationship with her parents.

I have to say that Leslie offended me a little. Her parents are in their sixties but Leslie gives me the impression that they are one step away from a nursing home. But once you meet them that is the furthest thing from the truth. Robyn shows us that you’re never too old to have a great time with your significant other.

What I love about Robyn’s Virgin River series is that she makes it a very comfortable community. It sounds like a place where I would love to live. It is a community where everyone takes care of each other. Even if it’s a place you wouldn’t want to live in, you would certainly want to at least visit.

When I got to the ¾ mark in the book, Robyn puts in a little surprise. She gives us some suspense that you don’t see coming. She has definitely piqued my interest at this point. I definitely have to continue reading so that I can see how everything plays out.

Robyn has a great addition to her “Virgin River” series. Her characters build over the time of the story. She shows us that community is important and they will be there to stand behind you when things get tough. It’s a good feeling book and one that you will want to read again and again. It also prepares you for her next book that is coming out in March of this year.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Hidden Summit (Virgin River)

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