Book Review: Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr

From the Publisher:

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

My thoughts:

I had never read a Virgin River book before this one, but I am familiar with the setting and characters thanks to the Netflix tv series, which I binged earlier this year. So picking this up and reading felt like visiting old friends, although I should read the books too.

This book centers on Kaylee, who is grieving terribly for her mother. She and her mom were very close, best friends, and Kaylee is struggling with her grief and sadness. She has a book deadline due, and finds herself too distracted by her memories of her mother in her home to be able to work, so she takes the advice of friends and heads off to find some space to write, away from the barrage of memories. And the mountains and the town of Virgin River are the perfect spot to find this space. Until she arrives and finds the house she was planning on finding that peace and quiet, destroyed by fire. Luckily the people of Virgin River are helpful and kind, and Jack and Mel, who feature prominently in the tv series, give her a bed for the night.

Unfortunately, Jack has family coming to town and Kaylee can’t stay there for long – after looking at a few places, she learns of a guest house owned by an artist and dog trainer, Landry. She is a bit nervous at first, due to a paralyzing fear of dogs, but between the house being perfect and Landry (also being perfect) assuring her that she will be safe, she moves in.

And from here, the real healing and story begins. Kaylee finds so much more than she was bargaining for when the story began, and the reader just finds so much happy. There are the usual small hurdles that the characters need to conquer, and also the large one of Kaylee’s grief, but this book really is the happiest of happy books.

I picked this up after a particularly stressful month in a particularly stressful year, and it was a wonderful distraction that took my mind off of things. If you are looking for something easy with a HEA, full of warm characters and kindness, this book is for you!

Thank you to Little Bird Publicity for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

Book Review: The View from Alameda Island by Robyn Carr

Goodreads Summary:

From the outside looking in, Lauren Delaney has a life to envy—a successful career, a solid marriage to a prominent surgeon and two beautiful daughters who are off to good colleges. But on her twenty-fourth wedding anniversary Lauren makes a decision that will change everything.

Lauren won’t pretend things are perfect anymore. She defies the controlling husband who has privately mistreated her throughout their marriage and files for divorce. And as she starts her new life, she meets a kindred spirit—a man who is also struggling with the decision to end his unhappy marriage.

But Lauren’s husband wants his “perfect” life back and his actions are shocking. Facing an uncertain future, Lauren discovers an inner strength she didn’t know she had as she fights for the love and happiness she deserves.

My Thoughts:

When I picked up this book, I was in the mood for a book that I could really lose myself in – and this book delivered. I really enjoyed this book!

Lauren endures a marriage for twenty-four years that was controlling and loveless, and the reader knows right away that she will not be growing old with her husband, Brad, and that this year together is their last. She knows what will happen, and what she needs to do in order to leave the marriage and plans well and plans thoroughly. However, of course, there are still major issues and problems, despite all of her careful and meticulous planning. With Brad, with her daughters, with trusting her own judgement and decisions to some extent. The title of this book is perfect – Lauren’s new viewpoint is physical, and emotional, as she reflects back on her life and the choices she has made. As she looks out and forward, she is also taking a look in, and back. She undergoes some real self-reflection and finds not just her independence but also that she is tough and smart and and strong.

I found her relationship with her two daughters to be completely realistic, especially in this situation. One aspect I enjoyed in this book was Lauren exploring her new relationships with her daughters out from under the umbrella her ex, and meeting them on new terms. Her whole life was changed, and it was like a rebirth in a way.

I am a relatively new Robyn Carr fan, and every book I read by her, I like her books more and more! I loved this one, and I am looking forward to reading her again in the future!

Thank you to Little Bird Publicity for the review copy in exchange for an honest review~

Book Review and Giveaway: The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

Goodreads Summary:

Dr. Leigh Culver loves practicing medicine in Timberlake, Colorado. It is a much-needed change of pace from her stressful life in Chicago. The only drawback is she misses her aunt Helen, the woman who raised her. But it’s time that Leigh has her independence, and she hopes the beauty of the Colorado wilderness will entice her aunt to visit often.

Helen Culver is an independent woman who lovingly raised her sister’s orphaned child. Now, with Leigh grown, it’s time for her to live life for herself. The retired teacher has become a successful mystery writer who loves to travel and intends to never experience winter again.

When Helen visits Leigh, she is surprised to find her niece still needs her, especially when it comes to sorting out her love life. But the biggest surprise comes when Leigh takes Helen out to Sullivan’s Crossing and Helen finds herself falling for the place and one special person. Helen and Leigh will each have to decide if they can open themselves up to love neither expected to find and seize the opportunity to live their best lives.

My Thoughts:

I always love when my reading takes me to the world of Sullivan’s Crossing, in Timberlake, Colorado. There is just something so real about these characters, and I have enjoyed reading about their challenges and triumphs in the previous novels. This installment was no different, I finished it in one day, a record for me these days!

Leigh Culver has settled into the community of Timberlake comfortably, healing their hurts in her clinic, sharing stories and hellos in the pubs and restaurants, slowly making friends and inroads into this friendly community. Her life seems to be just how she wants it, with the exception of missing her beloved aunt, who raised her. When a white-faced Rob Shandon, owner of the town pub, comes in one evening with his injured son, little does she know that her world is about to change in a big way. After stitching up Rob’s son’s hand, she finds she has a new patient, Rob himself, who almost faints at the sight of the blood. Leigh capably calms him down by massaging his head, something she does for patients who need some help slowing down, and boom – fireworks for Rob, immediately. Their quick friendship turns into a relationship even quicker. Spring has definitely sprung in Colorado, and love is in the air for everyone.

With spring in full bloom, Leigh’s aunt Helen comes for a visit. Helen is a popular mystery writer, and spends her time visiting different friends spread out through the U.S., avoiding midwestern winters like the plague. Helen is planning on spending much of her time with Leigh, but finds herself drawn to the front porch and kitchen table and eventually bedroom, of someone special herself.

But like Shakespeare said, the course of true love never did run smooth, as many of the couples in this book go through their share of hurdles. From Finn’s story with his girlfriend Maia, to Leigh and Rob, to Helen and her new love, all must find their way and their path to that true happiness.

I loved Leigh’s story with Rob, although, I do have to say I have to give it to Rob in this book. Leigh was a little difficult at times, and a little selfish, and I felt Rob’s character remained strong and steadfast and loyal, qualities that are also reflected in his son Finn. I loved the Shandon family, I have to say, in this book.

All in all, this was a great read from start to finish, and one to shake off those winter blues!

Giveaway! For a chance to win a brand new hardcover The Best of Us, just leave a comment below! I’ll do a drawing next Wednesday, Jan. 16th. Open to U.S. residents only, sorry!

Thank you to Little Bird Publicity for the chance to read and review this book! I was given a review copy in exchange for an honest review.