The Return

Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Centeral Publishing
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  In the romantic tradition of Dear John and The Lucky One, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the story of an injured Navy doctor — and two women whose secrets will change the course of his life.

Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, NC. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.
Tending to his grandfather’s beloved bee hives while gearing up for a second stint in medical school, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . and yet, from their very first encounter, his connection with Natalie Masterson can’t be ignored. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road from his grandfather’s cabin. Claiming to be 19, she works at the local sundries store and keeps to herself. When he discovers she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues — until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could ever have anticipated.

In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

Ope’s Opinion: If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you may want to read this one.  It is his traditional book.  The instant love is not something I enjoy.  The story being told solely from Trevors point of view fell flat for me at times.  

The ending was a Nicholas Sparks ending… exactly what you would expect.

 

Keeper by Surprise

Author: Laurie Larsen
Publisher: Random Moon Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Purchased

 

Goodreads:  College life provides the reprieve Keith Hanson dreamed of while growing up in his father’s strict household. Now, he concentrates on keeping his grades up (just enough to get Dad off his back), and loving his girlfriend Carly. He never knew life could be this good. Until a terrible accident leaves his parents killed, and Keith named as guardian over his three siblings. Although only 20, he’s the one now who has to earn money to support the family and take care of the kids. Including the discipline, something his teenage sister Dana is totally lacking.

Brand new social worker Lisa Carle has a lot to prove to her boss about her ability to do a good job. But it’s hard to focus on professionalism when she’s falling in love with the client. Can the two of them help each other? And will their budding relationship survive screaming twins, a teenage runaway and an unethical boss?

Ope’s Opinion:  I enjoyed this book.  It showed the struggle that Keith had stepping up to be a parent before he was prepared to be.  The reason and the way the social services were called into this family situation did not seem very realistic to me.  

Just a bit too descriptive of sexual thoughts and activity.  I didn’t enjoy reading that part – some was at the beginning of the book – which made me almost stop reading it all together.  It also ended up not being all the important in the story.

It was a predictable romance with the ending you would expect. 

Return to Virgin River

Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: MIRA
Genre: Romance
Source: Katie at Little Bird Publicity

Goodreads:  #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand-new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.

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. 

Ope’s Opinion: What an awesome story.  It is the beginning of my Christmas reading and this is the perfect one to start off the season.  The mother / daughter relationship feels close to mine.  Although it had sad parts, it was a positive uplifting story.

This is part of a long series I have been reading since it started, it was great to see where all the characters are now.  You certainly could read this one alone.   This book is more romance than some of her books.  I enjoyed that the romance was slow and sweet.  The ending was what you wanted and expected.

Out Now

Out today!!  Robyn Carr’s
Return to Virgin River!!

Goodreads:  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.

If you are a Virgin River reader you need to put this on your TBR list now!

The Next Always

Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts introduces you to the Montgomery brothers – Beckett, Ryder, and Owen – as they bring an intimate bed-and-breakfast to life in their hometown.

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, the changing of hands, and even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major face-lift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect in the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Though busy and with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look…at both the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett is happy to give Clare a private tour – one room at a time, in between blueprint meetings and kindergarten pickups. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something that could arouse the secret yearning that resides in Clare’s independent heart – and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next…

Ope’s Opinion:  Nora Roberts usually catches me on the first page and keeps my attention – not this time.  For the reader that is strictly a romance readers, you might enjoy this – it has some steamy parts ( too much for me ) and the romance moves quickly – I am more of a slow moving relationship reader.  

There was too much foul language ( seemed to just be stuck in there ).  I hope not to spoil too much, but there is a ghost – really not my cup of tea.  So I won’t be continuing with this series.

If you enjoy all of the above – give it a read and hopefully you will enjoy it.

Dune Drive

Author: Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  Always believing she was an ugly duckling, Chrissy Jenkins thought she had finally turned into a swan when her real-life Prince Charming swept her off her feet. But as his true character began to crack his perfect facade, Chrissy realized that not only was she better off without him, but that she was the only one who had the power to transform her life.

Returning to her ancestral home on Cannonball Island for a family wedding, Chrissy is reintroduced to a legacy she’d all but forgotten. In choosing to stay on the island, she reboots her life, successfully reinventing herself as a sous chef at the Inn at Sinclair’s Point just over the bridge in St. Dennis. But despite her newfound self-confidence, she still doesn’t trust her taste in men. So when she meets Jared Chandler, a handsome ship salvager staying at the inn while he conducts a nearby recovery operation, Chrissy’s certain she can keep him as a friend—even though he’s everything any woman would want in a man. As fellow newcomers, together they discover the charm of the historic bayside town and explore the idyllic island.

But when Chrissy agrees to be Jared’s date for his father’s wedding, they embark on a weekend that will find them each seeing the other in a completely different light, one that will change their lives forever.

Ope’s Opinion: Mariah Stewart writes my kind of romance.  It is a slow moving relationship, the steamy part is small and not until they really know each other and it feels real.  This is the 12th book in the series, the only one I have read – I could tell I missed some details or back ground that happened in a previous book, but it did not effect my reading of Chrissy’s story.  It can be read alone.

Towards the end of the book, it gave you some hints of who the next story might be about.  It reminds me of Robyn Carr’s series, which I really do enjoy reading.  The ending was what you would expect and want from  a romance book.

Musical Chairs

Author:  Amy Poeppel
Publisher: Atria / Emily Bestler Books
Genre: Romance
Source : Megan at Atria Books

 

Goodreads:  Bridget and Will have the kind of relationship that people envy: they’re loving, compatible, and completely devoted to each other. The fact that they’re strictly friends seems to get lost on nearly everyone; after all, they’re as good as married in (almost) every way. For three decades, they’ve nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio—a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success.

Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry, and respective crises.

Bridget has problems of her own: her elderly father announces he’s getting married, and the Forsyth Trio is once again missing its violinist. She concocts a plan to host her dad’s wedding on her ramshackle property, while putting the Forsyth Trio back into the spotlight. But to catch the attention of the music world, she and Will place their bets on luring back Gavin, whom they’ve both avoided ever since their stormy parting.

With her trademark humor, pitch-perfect voice, and sly perspective on the human heart, Amy Poeppel crafts a love letter to modern family life with all of its discord and harmony. In the tradition of novels by Maria Semple and Stephen McCauley, Musical Chairs is an irresistibly romantic story of role reversals, reinvention, and sweet synchronicity. 

Ope’s Opinion: The title of this book fits it perfectly on many levels.  Beside the musical chairs of the trio, there are many partners for many characters.  This is very much a character driven story.  The pace was a little bit slow at times for me.  

This would have grabbed my attention a bit more if I had more musical knowledge.  Some of the references got lost on me.  Overall, an average read.

What You Wish For

Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Ope’s Opinion: This is in the romance genre, but it is so much more then that. It is about a whole community and their relationships.  It is about letting your guard down and letting other people into your life.  

I am a huge fan of Katherine Center and her writing.  I think my expectations were too high for this book.  This story was good, but not my favorite of hers.  It took a large part of the book for the story to really get going for me.  Once I was into it, I really did enjoy it.  Having said that, I will still look for her next book to read.   The ending is what you expect.

 

Daughters of the Bride

Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Romance
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  With Joy, Love and a Little Trepidation, Courtney, Sienna and Rachel Invite You to the Most Emotional Wedding of the Year… Their Mother’s

Courtney

~ The Misfit ~

As the awkward one, Courtney Watson may not be as together as her sisters, but she excels at one thing—keeping secrets, including her white-hot affair with a sexy music producer. Planning Mom’s wedding exposes her startling hidden life, changing her family’s view of her—and how she views herself—forever.

Sienna

~ The Free Spirit ~

When Sienna’s boyfriend proposes—in front of her mom and sisters, for crying out loud—he takes her by surprise. She already has two broken engagements under her belt. Should she say “I do” even if she’s not sure she does?

Rachel

~ The Cynic ~

Rachel thought love would last forever…right up until her divorce. As Mom’s wedding day draws near and her ex begs for a second chance, she’s forced to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about why her marriage failed, and decide if she’ll let pride stand in the way of her own happily-ever-after.

Ope’s Opinion: This is definitely a romance book – so if you like the steamy part of a story, you will love this one.  For me, I could have used a lot less details about the steamy part of the relationships ( it’s just me ).

The rest of the story was wonderful!  Lots of family relationships, each with a little drama – an appropriate amount! I love a good sister story and this was one.  All the relationships have their bumps along the way, that are worked out.

This is a light, enjoyable read that will leave you smiling with a happily ever after ending.  I will read another Susan Mallery any time.

Head Over Heels

Author: Hannah Orenstein
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Romance 
Source: Megan at Simon and Schuster

Goodreads:  The past seven years have been hard on Avery Abrams: After training her entire life to make the Olympic gymnastics team, a disastrous performance ended her athletic career for good. Her best friend and teammate, Jasmine, went on to become an Olympic champion, then committed the ultimate betrayal by marrying their emotionally abusive coach, Dimitri.

Now, reeling from a breakup with her football star boyfriend, Avery returns to her Massachusetts hometown, where new coach Ryan asks her to help him train a promising young gymnast with Olympic aspirations. Despite her misgivings and worries about the memories it will evoke, Avery agrees. Back in the gym, she’s surprised to find sparks flying with Ryan. But when a shocking scandal in the gymnastics world breaks, it has shattering effects not only for the sport but also for Avery and her old friend Jasmine.

Ope’s Opinion:  If you are interested in gymnastics, you will love this book.  It goes deep into the sport with it’s own language.  There is also a romance going on and it touches on abuse in the sport.

The friendships in this book were well developed and realistic.  All three women were strong and independent – my kind of women!  I liked how honest Avery was with herself and her friends.  It all worked for me.

I don’t want to spoil anything – so let me say it this way – Ryan made a decision, then quickly changed his mind having very little information.  It didn’t seem realistic and made the ending feel a little rushed.