The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

The Best of Us by Robyn Carr

January 2019 – Mira

Review copy courtesy of Mira and LIttle Bird Publicity

Description:  In Sullivan’s Crossing, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr has created a place where good people, powerful emotions, great humor and a healthy dose of common sense are the key ingredients to a happy life. Sullivan’s Crossing brings out the best in people. It’s a place you’ll want to visit again and again.

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. (publisher)

My take:The Best of Us is book 4 in the Sullivan’s Crossing series but can stand alone. There are brief appearances of former primary characters that give continuity to the series and made me smile remembering their particular books.

In The Best of Us we meet the new town doctor and she meets the town’s favorite pub owner. They hit it off from the start and enjoy their relationship until an unexpected surprise is found out. No spoiler here. If you’re a fan of Robyn Carr’s series you’ll want to read this latest book ASAP. I enjoyed it all, especially the supporting plot line involving the doctor’s aunt, a noted mystery author, and Sully. Lots of fun reading about their friendship!

If you like a novel about people learning to take their second chance when life offers, this should fit the bill.


Robyn Carr is the bestselling author of over 40 novels, which have sold over 27 million copies, been translated into 19 languages, and distributed in 30 countries. The 20-volume Virgin River series alone has netted more than 13 million copies. Eleven of her books have reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, collectively spending 231 weeks on the list since A Virgin River made its debut there in 2008. In 2016, the Romance Writers of America recognized Robyn with the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award for her achievements in the genre. Robyn and her now-retired husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada, although they enjoy traveling and take frequent research trips together.

MORE PRAISE FOR ROBYN CARR

“Carr’s gift for writing lovably flawed heroes and heroines is evident on every page.”

–Publishers Weekly

“Robyn Carr is a master of the small-town romance.” –New York Journal of Books

“Understanding what women do and say and want is something Carr has considered hard over her long career…. [She] taps into female emotions over and over in her books.” -The Miami Herald


 

Welcome To Moonlight Harbor by Sheila Roberts

Description:  Once happily married, Jenna Jones is about to turn forty, and this year for her birthday—lucky her—she’s getting a divorce. She’s barely able to support herself and her teenage daughter, but now her deadbeat artist ex is hitting her up for spousal support…and then spending it on his “other” woman.

Still, as her mother always says, every storm brings a rainbow. And when she gets a very unexpected gift from her great-aunt Edie, things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Aging Aunt Edie is finding it difficult to keep up her business running The Driftwood Inn, so she invites Jenna to come live with her and run the place. It looks like Jenna’s financial problems are solved!

Or not. The town is a little more run-down than Jenna remembers, but that’s nothing compared to the ramshackle state of The Driftwood Inn. Aunt Edie is confident they can return it to its former glory, though Jenna feels like she’s jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the beach fire.

But who knows? With the help of her new friends and a couple of handsome citizens, perhaps that rainbow is on the horizon after all. Because, no matter what, life is always good at the beach. (publisher)

My take:  Newly divorced Jenna and her very unhappy fourteen year old daughter move to the shore to live with Jenna’s elderly aunt. Rent is free and they can help get Aunt Edie’s inn back in shape – all while hoping to find the rainbow at the end of the storm aka Jenn’s life.

In her typical style Sheila Roberts brings her characters through easily relatable situations – if not for the reader, surely the reader knows someone who has been through similar life events. It’s a story of new beginnings and being open to possibilities.

I enjoyed Welcome to Moonlight Harbor. It’s a great start to a new series. Recommended to fans of the author, contemporary romance and beach town settings.


 

The Neighbors by Hannah Mary McKinnon

  • Title:  The Neighbors
  • Author:  Hannah Mary McKinnon
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  384
  • Publish Date:  March 13, 2018 – MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Abby looks forward to meeting the family who just moved in across the street—until she realizes they’re the one couple who could expose her deepest secrets.

After a night of fun back in 1992, Abby is responsible for a car crash that kills her beloved brother. It’s a mistake she can never forgive, so she pushes away Liam, the man she loves most, knowing that he would eventually hate her for what she’s done, the same way she hates herself.

Twenty years later, Abby’s husband, Nate, is also living with a deep sense of guilt. He was the driver who first came upon the scene of Abby’s accident, the man who pulled her to safety before the car erupted in flames—the man who could not save her brother in time. It’s this guilt, this regret, that binds them together. They understand each other. Or so Nate believes.

In a strange twist of fate, Liam moves into the neighborhood with his own family, releasing a flood of memories that Abby has been trying to keep buried all these years. Abby and Liam, in a complicit agreement, pretend never to have met, yet cannot resist the pull of the past—nor the repercussions of the terrible secrets they’ve both been carrying… (publisher)

My take:  The Neighbors is the story of Abby and Nate and Nancy and Liam who are new neighbors. The remarkable thing about that is Abby and Liam share a past. They knew each other many years ago but don’t let on to their spouses. Both are equally shocked to find themselves living near each other. You can imagine the various directions the plot could go. And it does. So much so that near the end my neck felt sore from all the twists and turns! I kid about my neck but not about the twists and turns. This book has all the makings of a night-time tv drama. As it played out I just shook my head and thought “really?!” That said, if you’re looking for an entertaining read you might want to pick up a copy of The Neighbors. Even though I found it more than a bit far-fetched I looked forward to picking it up each time to see what would happen next.


 

Christmas In Icicle Falls by Sheila Roberts

  • Title:  Christmas In Icicle Falls
  • Series:  Life in Icicle Falls # 11
  • Author:  Sheila Roberts
  • Narrator:  Amy McFadden
  • Length:  9hrs. 35min.
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  October 2017 – Mira Books
  • Source:  Library Audiobook (HooplaDigital)

Description:  When Muriel Sterling released her new book, A Guide to Happy Holidays, she felt like the queen of Christmas. She’s thrilled when the new tree she ordered online arrives and is eager to show it off—until she gets it out of the box and realizes it’s a mangy dud. But rather than give up on the ugly tree, Muriel decides to make a project out of it. As she pretties up her tree, she realizes there’s a lesson to be learned: everything and everyone has potential. Maybe even her old friend Arnie, who’s loved her for years. Except, she’s not the only one seeing Arnie’s potential…

Meanwhile, Muriel’s ugly-tree project has also inspired her friends. Sienna Moreno is trying to bring out the best in the grouchy man next door, who hates noise, hates kids and hates his new neighbors. And while Olivia Claussen would love to send her obnoxious new daughter-in-law packing, she’s adjusting her attitude and trying to discover what her son sees in the girl. If these women can learn to see the beauty in the “ugly trees” in their lives, perhaps this might turn out to be the happiest holiday yet. (publisher)

My take:  I’ve read all but one of the books (and I have it on my bookshelf) in the Life in Icicle Falls series. That said, this book can stand on its own. With a wink and a nod to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Sheila Roberts’ final novel in the series is a delight. I especially loved that Muriel Sterling, the sage of Icicle Falls, might not have it all together as her self-help books imply. I enjoyed seeing how things worked out for her! I also liked the storyline of local inn-owner Olivia and her relationship with her new daughter-in-law. They learned a lot about each other – and themselves in the process. There’s also single mother Sienna and her new friend Tim (nephew of Robert Cratchet). Sienna learns how to trust her decisions and her ability to have faith in possibilities where Tim is concerned. It all made for a heart-warming conclusion to a really enjoyable series. Narrator Amy McFadden did a fine job voicing the characters. Her performance added to the warmth of the novel.


 

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

  • Title:  The Summer That Made Us
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  336
  • Published:  September 2017 – MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher; Little Bird Publicity; NetGalley

Description:  Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins, they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again. 

That was then… 

For the Hempsteads, summers were idyllic. Two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, the women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything. 

This is now… 

After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best, hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth. (publisher)

My take:  I love the way Robyn Carr tells a story. In this stand-alone novel we learn about the women of the Hempstead family:  mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins all spent their summers at their Minnesota lake house until a tragedy ended the tradition. That tragedy was the tipping point in most of their lives. Now one of the cousins is in the end stage of cancer and her one wish is for everyone to come back to the lake house. What will happen when everyone says yes to her invitation? The Summer That Made Us is a page-turner of a novel. I love stories about second chances. Each person who returned to the lake seemed to have earned that second chance but will the secrets and misunderstandings from decades earlier be explained and resolved? I enjoyed it all and recommend it to fans of Robyn Carr and stories about families.


About the author:  Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as well as highly praised women’s fiction titles such as Four Friends, What We Find, and The Life She Wants.

Robyn has won a RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America, and in 2016 she was awarded RWA’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the genre. Her novels have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries.

Originally from Minnesota, Robyn now resides in Henderson, Nevada, with her aviator husband; they have two grown children. When she isn’t writing, Robyn puts her energy into community service: she has mentored a seniors’ memoir-writing group, attends book club chats in and out-of-state whenever possible, and is working with her local library on the Carr Chat Series, a program centered on fundraising and visiting author events that bring writers, their books, and the community together.


THE SUMMER THAT MADE US

On Sale: September 5, 2017 Hardcover
$26.99 U.S. / $29.99 CAN. ISBN-13: 978-0778331049


 

Race Against Time by Sharon Sala

  • Title:  Race Against Time
  • Author:  Sharon Sala
  • Genre:  Romantic Suspense
  • Pages:  384
  • Published:  June 2017 – MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Sometimes fate brings you together…only to tear you apart 

Growing up in the foster system, Quinn O’Meara made a point of never getting involved. But when she discovers a crying baby amid a fiery crime scene, she knows she has no choice. Suddenly in way over her head, Quinn turns to the police, unintentionally positioning herself in the crosshairs of a deadly human-trafficking ring. 

The last time homicide detective Nick Saldano saw Quinn, she was still the young girl he’d shared a foster home with. The girl who’d loved and cared for him when no one else had. Now here she was, gorgeously all grown-up—and in terrible danger. 

Unwilling to lose her again, Nick insists on keeping Quinn close, especially when the bond they once shared heatedly slides into desire. Quinn finally has someone worth holding on to, but what kind of future can they have when she might not live to see tomorrow?  (publisher)

My take:  Race Against Time is a stand-alone romantic suspense novel that kept me on the edge of my seat as the story progressed. It started out very fast and kept that pace for most of the book.

The seedy underbelly of Las Vegas is explored in the world of Anton Baba, a casino kingpin with his hand in assorted related ventures (not the least being human trafficking). When Baba decides to make some changes his world begins to collapse in ways he’d never imagined. He won’t rest until he takes down the people responsible.

Race Against Time is a story of good vs. evil. It was easy to cheer on Nick and Quinn as they courageously stood up against Anton Baba. They knew it would be worth any chance to bring down that evil man instead of having to run and hide for the rest of their lives. They have a past and are brought back together in a wild coincidence – one that I decided just to go along with and enjoy wherever Sharon Sala’s story took me. It’s a very fast read and one I’d recommend to fans of romantic suspense and the author.


 

No One But You by Brenda Novak

  • Title:  No One But You
  • Series:  Silver Springs #2
  • Author:  Brenda Novak
  • Pages:  448
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Pub. Date:  May 30, 2017 – MIRA Books
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to Silver Springs, a picturesque small town in Southern California where even the hardest hearts can learn to love again… 

Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn’t enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options. 

Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he’s innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs. 

As Sadie and Dawson’s professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there’s more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for. (publisher)

My take:  Can two people, down on their luck, find acceptance and even love when most of the world seems to be against them?

Sadie Harris, estranged from her husband (soon-to-be ex) and mother to a five-year-old boy is struggling to make ends meet. She just can’t seem to get ahead and her son’s father is trying to delay divorce by any means possible. He’s a bad guy and also a police officer who has the loyalty of his coworkers. No one seems to have a good opinion of Sadie because of what he’s told them. So it doesn’t help matters for her when she accepts a job being a caregiver to the sister of the local pariah, Dawson Reed. He was recently found not guilty of murdering his adoptive parents. He’s still guilty in the eyes of most of the townspeople and the local authorities.

Sadie and Dawson will have to contend with Sadie’s ex and others as they try to live normal lives. Brenda Novak’s novel was a quick and compelling read. Filled with interesting, odd, and a couple of abhorrent characters, the novel’s pages flew by and came to a satisfying conclusion. No One But You is second in the Silver Springs series but it can definitely stand alone. Recommended to fans of Brenda Novak and contemporary romance.