Four Friends by Robyn Carr

four friends

  • Title:  Four Friends
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Published:  March 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  From time to time Robyn Carr writes straight Women’s Fiction. She’s one of my favorite Romance authors but I’ve enjoyed her other novels as well.

In Four Friends we meet, well, four friends whose lives are about to change. The novel opens with Andy tossing her husband’s things on the front yard while her friends wait for her to join them on their regular early morning walk. She’s had it with his refusal to keep their marriage vows – so marks the end of her second marriage.

Sonja, the meditation and yoga loving friend, soon hears her husband say he can’t take her controlling ways anymore and he’s leaving.

Gerri, the friend who seems to have it all – great husband, kids, job – is shocked by information unwittingly revealed to her that will change life as she knows it.

And then there’s BJ, the new neighbor on the block who ignores the other three – until she doesn’t. She’ll become important to them all in ways they never expected. And they’ll do the same for her.

I really enjoyed Four Friends and I think women of a certain age will as well. I liked how Carr addressed, in a relatable way,  the issues being experienced by the women. They all find themselves reassessing and redefining what’s important. I think many readers will be able to see a bit of themselves in one or maybe more of the friends.

I think Four Friends would provide good discussion for a book group. There’s a readers’ guide included at the end.

Spotlight and Giveaway (US): The In-Between Hour by Barbara Claypole White

the in-between hourWHAT COULD BE WORSE THAN LOSING YOUR CHILD? HAVING TO PRETEND HE’S STILL ALIVE…

Bestselling author Will Shepard is caught in the twilight of grief, after his young son dies in a car accident. But when his father’s aging mind erases the memory, Will rewrites the truth. The story he spins brings unexpected relief…until he’s forced to return to rural North Carolina, trapping himself in a lie.

Holistic veterinarian Hannah Linden is a healer who opens her heart to strays but can only watch, powerless, as her grown son struggles with inner demons. When she rents her guest cottage to Will and his dad, she finds solace in trying to mend their broken world, even while her own shatters.

As their lives connect and collide, Will and Hannah become each other’s only hope—if they can find their way into a new story, one that begins with love.

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ORDER THE BOOK FROM
Amazon • Amazon (UK) • Barnes & Noble • Books-a-Million (paperback) • Books-a-Million (e-book) • Harlequin • Indiebound

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I received an extra copy from the publisher so I decided to Spotlight it and share it via a giveaway. Since I’m paying the postage I have to limit the giveaway to readers in the US.

Please click here for details and then fill out the form.

The Chance by Robyn Carr

the chance

  • Title:  The Chance
  • Series:  Thunder Point, #4
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Published:  February 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she’ll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge. 
Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he’s a man with a dark past, he’s determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep…unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.  (publisher)

My take:  I think fans of the Thunder Point series are going to love this book. I did! We met Laine and Eric in previous books (as secondary characters) and I’m so glad Robyn Carr gave them their own book. Laine is taking stock of her life after a life-changing event and Eric is seeking redemption from his earlier life. In fact, he’s probably already found redemption and is on the path of making people wonder if he was ever that person. What they need to find out is if they can continue to live a new life with each other. What they don’t expect is the knock at the door that will change their life. No spoiler but I have to say Carr really nailed the heartbreaking issues involved with this storyline.

Then we have secondary characters, most of whom we’ve met in earlier books: Al who has worked for Eric several times but never stays very long. He’s a good person so Eric is always glad to have him back. Ray Anne, who becomes Al’s love interest, has been around the block a few times. These two were fun to watch as they fell in love. They’re older (50-60ish) than the usual romance couple. I love that and wish Robyn Carr would write more for that demographic. She’d find lots of fans, I’m certain. This couple’s storyline will arc into the next book. At least it better! My one issue with the book was the abrupt ending. I’m ok that strings weren’t tied in bows as long as those strings find their way into book 5 🙂 There’s also the three brothers who’ve been split up due to their mother’s terminal illness. They are part of Al’s story that will hopefully be broadened in the next book.

Like I mentioned, I loved this installment of the Thunder Point series. I’m really looking forward to the next book.

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts

the cottage on juniper ridge

  • Title:  The Cottage on Juniper Ridge
  • Series:  Life in Icicle Falls, #4
  • Author:  Sheila Roberts
  • Published:  February 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  How to Change Your Life…   Can a book change your life? Yes, when it’s Simplicity, Muriel Sterling’s guide to plain living. In fact, it inspires Jen Heath to leave her stressful, over-committed life in Seattle and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. And where she can enjoy simple pleasures—like joining the local book club—and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong. 
Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She’s got a teenage daughter who’s constantly texting her friends, a husband who’s more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son who’s consumed by video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer—to return to a simpler way of life. 
Other women in town, like Stacy Thomas, are also inspired to unload their excess stuff and some of the extra responsibilities they’ve taken on. 
But as they all discover, sometimes life simply happens. It doesn’t always happen simply!

My take:  I think most readers will be able to relate to at least one, if not most, of the characters in Sheila Roberts’ latest novel. Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed, over-committed, or just plain frustrated by the frenetic pace of life at one time or another?

One of Icicle Falls’ own is an author whose recent book is a manual on how to get your life back by simplifying it. The Icicle Falls book club selects the book and the members start to use the advice. Jen, the newest member of the book club, received the book from her sister and moved to Icicle Falls after reading it so she’s already committed to change. Stacy has let her desire for things rule her life to the point that she starts to worry she may be a hoarder. Chita, a single mom of two, has scheduled herself with commitments and responsibilities to the point of near exhaustion. Will simplifying their lives be worth all the effort? You’ll have to read The Cottage on Juniper Ridge to find out.

I enjoyed this book. It is light in tone yet drives the point home that ultimately a simpler life can equal a better life. I would have to agree!

Kissing Under the Mistletoe by Bella Andre

kissing under the mistletoe

  • Title:  Kissing Under the Mistletoe
  • Author:  Bella Andre
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  September 2013 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  The Sullivan siblings have captivated the hearts of readers worldwide, and this Christmas, New York Times bestselling author Bella Andre shares the love story that started it all… 
For Mary Sullivan Christmas is, and always has been, about family. And this year is no different. As she awaits the arrival of her eight children and their partners at the cottage in Lake Tahoe, she hangs the ornaments that they made for her over the years. Each decoration brings with it a tide of memories, all of which she holds dear to her heart. 
But when she comes across the oldest ornament, the one her beloved husband, Jack, gave her on their very first Christmas together, Mary is immediately swept back to the first days of their whirlwind romance, to the love that would be the foundation on which they built the family she is so proud to call her own.  (publisher)

My take:  This Christmas addition to The Sullivans series is heartwarming and made me want to catch up in the series.  Reading about the love story of the Sullivan siblings’ parents gives readers an idea of the strong foundation of this family.  It’s a love at first sight story that seems too good to be true. But this is a Christmas Romance so anyone who reads it is probably expecting that and more. They won’t be disappointed. Recommended to fans of The Sullivans series and Christmas Romances.

Take Me Home For Christmas by Brenda Novak

take me home for christmas

  • Title:  Take Me Home For Christmas
  • Series:  Whiskey Creek #5
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  October 2013 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Christmas is a time for remembering…

Too bad not all memories are pleasant! Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town’s Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.

But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he’ll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he’s left her to face all the townspeople he cheated.…

Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can’t bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.

Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness? (publisher)

My take:  When Sophia and Ted were in high school they were madly in love and planned to spend the rest of their lives together. Things changed though and Sophia ended up married to a wealthy and emotionally and physically abusive man. Fourteen years later, Sophia finds herself a widowed mother, broke, and working for the last person she’d expect to be her employer. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Sophia has no choice if she wants to provide for her daughter. She needs to save money so she and Alexa can move away from Whiskey Creek and make a new life where no one knows them.

Ted tried to get over Sophia after she married another man but he never quite did. He became a successful author but hasn’t found the same success in a relationship. Recently he’s started dating a long-time friend, Eve. He attempts to distance himself emotionally from Sophia but that’s difficult now that she’s in close proximity. The attraction is as strong as ever.

Take Me Home For Christmas is a story of love and forgiveness and redemption. I wondered how Brenda Novak would bring Sophia and Ted together after finding out bits and pieces of their history in previous books. I enjoyed how she did it and hope we get to learn a little more of the rest of their story in the next book.

Recommended for fans of the Whiskey Creek series and small town Christmas romances.

Expected publication:  Oct. 29, 2013