Willing Sacrifice, Joey W. Hill

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on August 5, 2013

This was an interesting book. When I first heard Ms. Hill wrote another Knights of the Boardroom book, I was confused. Who was left? She had already written about all five Knights of the Boardroom, and I was unsure where she was going. I found out this book featured Janet, the Admin for Matt Kensington, and Max, driver for Matt’s company and Dana Winston’s regular driver. Now I was REALLY confused. I had always had the impression that Janet was much older than Matt and the Knights. I always thought she was in her sixties at least. Obviously I was wrong. This isn’t the first time, either. Some day ask me how long it was before I realized Draco Malfoy was a blonde. (Spoiler: The first movie. I was pretty stunned.)

Once I readjusted my image of Janet, I got sucked into the book, just as I have all the Knights books. In this one, Janet is the Domme and Max is the sub…kind of. LOL He’s a little too alpha to truly sub for Janet, but she pretty much tops him all the time. Even when she lets him be in charge, it is clear that it is at HER discretion and HER wish. It’s nice to see that role reversal once in a while, and it was a bonus that it was done well. Max was allowed to be the strong and tough former Navy SEAL and Janet could be the damaged Domme and neither of them really played head games. They allowed the other the time and space and support needed for each to work through their individual issues.

I’ve been reading this series since the first book came out, and I’ve enjoyed every book. Because these stories are often so intense, they tend to focus mostly on the couple, and the other Knights and their women show up only sporadically. This book had all the couples from the previous books throughout the entire book. It was great to see how the couples have evolved and what emotional strides they’ve made since each of their stories. It was especially great to see Ben and what he’s putting himself through to be the best man he can be for Marcie.

All in all, I enjoyed it. It was a sexy read, but it has an emotional depth which can be missing in books of this genre. While the sex scenes were plentiful, you never felt like the scenes in between were stuck there simply as filler until the characters could get back into bed (or a tent, a truck, a hot tub…). I was very pleased with this book and feel its a wonderful addition to the Knights of the Boardroom series.

Although I wouldn’t complain if Ms. Hill took us back to the infamous boardroom for some fun. *eyebrow waggle*

Lynda the Guppy
aka Fish with Sticks

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Touch And Geaux, Abigail Roux

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on April 8, 2013

I’m a HUGE fan of this series. I devoured the previous 6 books and Warrior’s Cross in less than a week and have been waiting for the latest installment, Touch & Geaux. I stayed up all night reading it, SHRIEKED at the ending, and I have no idea when book 8 is releasing. *sob*

Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are two FBI agents who are partners both professionally and romantically. While they’re “out” to their families, and to Ty’s former Force Recon team, they haven’t outed themselves professionally yet. This book starts with a typical day at the office for Ty and Zane. They’re getting called into the boss’s office. This time they’ve being “selected” to be part of a calendar put together by a first responder organization for charity. And like any good FBI agents who have often been deep undercover, they are thrilled! Seriously, there’s some serious pouting going on.

McCoy smiled, though he looked as if he was trying not to. “Am I to assume the two of you will agree to representing the Bureau in this?”
“I think ‘agree’ is too strong a term,” Zane said. “This is a bad idea. Remember when we were on TV?”
“Yes, Grady got fan mail for a month.”
“I did?”
“We burned it, as you should all evil things,” McCoy answered.

And off they go to the calendar shoot. From there things start moving at a breakneck pace. A party, a panicked phone call from a friend, a worried flight to New Orleans, a kidnapping, a murder, and that’s just the first three chapters!

Of all the books in this series, this one was the most heartbreaking. Ty and Zane have some issues that come up which causes MAJOR problems, both between the two of them, AND within the trouble in the book. However, if I try to review any of it, it’ll give too much away. I, personally, LOATHE spoilers, so I hate spoiling anything for anyone else. Just know that I spent a lot of this book sobbing. And the very end? The last two lines? Shrieked AND sobbed. I think I broke something. I KNOW I scared the cat.

All that said, the issue that comes up between the two seemed a little…forced. While my heart totally broke for these guys, in the back of my head I was thinking it was a little TOO left field. I don’t know that we’ve really seen the seeds of this sown throughout the rest of the books. I think if Ms. Roux had written one more book where she dropped a few more hints, it wouldn’t have seemed so sudden. Of course, the shock and suddenness are what makes this whole argument so heartbreaking, so you decide.

Also, Ty and Zane have dealt with Nick O’Flaherty before. He was Ty’s best friend and his “second” in Ty’s Force Recon team. Nick, we’ve learned from past books, was in love with Ty. In fact, last time we saw him was when Ty told his team about Ty and Zane. Nick took it so well he kissed Ty and begged Ty to leave Zane. Yet, in this book, there’s none of that tension between the three of them. Sure, we assume they’ve dealt with it, and there have been calls between Nick and Ty, and even Nick and Zane, but Zane is way too possessive of Ty to have let that go so soon, especially with all the tension in this book. And with the problems between Ty and Zane, even though Nick doesn’t do anything to drive a wedge between them, there should have been more insecurity on Zane’s part.

All in all, I loved this book. I think it’s one of the best of the series. Ms. Roux began these books co-writing with Madeleine Urban, and I think there was a period of adjustment where Ms. Roux needed to learn who Ms. Urban’s characters really were before Ms. Roux hit her stride. I think she’s found it. Ty and Zane are far less interchangeable for me than they were in previous books. Well done.

Rating: 4 Stars

Lynda the Guppy
aka Team Meow Mix
aka The Fish With Sticks

Wolf Nip, Vivian Arend

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on February 12, 2013

Here I go again, trying something new. Vivian Arend is an evil, evil woman. She kept posting quotes from Wolf Nip on Twitter until I finally caved and read it. It’s possible she was just trying to entice ALL readers, but as the world revolves around me, I choose to believe it was a plot against me personally.

I’ve never been a fan of Shifter stories. As the daughter of a Special Effects guy for the movies, I always knew how the tricks worked, so I was never able to suspend my disbelief enough to buy into the premise. Plus in one of the series’ I read AGES ago had guys with penises with weird barbed things or extra protrusions. It was creepy and SOOO not my cuppa. I gave up and never tried them again.

I finally picked up the first Granite Lake Wolves book, Wolf Signs, on Sunday and finished the 6th book, Wolf Nip, on Monday. Yup. Read all 6 in 2 days. To be honest, they’re novella length, so it’s not like I read 6 full-length novels in 2 days. I think you can safely assume I loved the series.

Wolf Nip is the story of Tessa Williams and Mark Weaver. We met Tessa who is Keri’s best friend in Wolf Line. In that book we saw how antsy and energetic she is, constantly on the move. Oh, yeah. And she’s a cat. That’s right. A cat. She meets Mark, a wolf, and he declares she’s his mate. The problem is wolves know their mates instantly. Cats don’t. So while she believes HE believes he’s her mate, she wants to take some time and actually get to know him. Maybe fall in love the traditional way.

Throughout this book the main conflict is how a wolf and a cat–and a man and a woman–learn how to connect and fall in love and accept their differences. It was a fun story, as there were lots of cats vs. dogs jokes, and the final scene cracked me right up. It was sweet watching Mark do everything he could to provide for Tessa and her slowly realize how incredible he is and how much he loves her. I also liked how her best friend Keri sat Tessa down and gave her a good dose of reality, as a good BFF should.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout all the Granite Lake Wolves books is how the Pack is always supportive. Sure, there are a few petty differences, but the leaders are fair, and the pack is for the most part accepting of all. A true family. And if anyone gets out of hand, well, there’s always a good Sharpie to the rescue.

Finally, one of my favorite scenes references Romeo & Juliet and it was nice seeing someone, fictional or not, agree with my sentiments about those twits. Don’t get me started there. That’s a whole other review.

My suggestion: Go forth and read this book! It’s out today! And if you haven’t read a shifter book, take a chance, be fearless, and try something new. Maybe you’ll fall in love with these wolves just like I did.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Lynda the Guppy
aka Howler Guppy
aka Fish With Sticks

Already a Year

This post is cross-posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on July 31, 2013

Mom at Six Flags

This past Saturday was the 1-year anniversary of my mom’s death. In some ways it feels like it has been 5 minutes, and in others it seems like it has been forever. The year since she died has been interesting. I’ve done new things, such as attended my first ever conference. I’ve started my own business. I’ve taken chances and opportunities I’m not sure I would have before she died.

I’ve also been standing still. Nothing of hers is gone yet. I’ve packed up exactly 2 dressers of her clothes. Everything else is as she left it, except maybe a little messier. LOL. The only thing of hers I’ve actually given away was her fabric. She was a quilter, so she had The Fabric Stash Closet. LOL It was a towering beast of fabric crammed into every single bit of space, and it was impressive.

StashClosetBefore

I’ve turned it into my Yarn Stash Closet.

Stash Closet After

Other than emptying those two dressers and cleaning out the fabric, I haven’t done a darn thing to change the house from Chez Bear to Chez Guppy. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why every time I went to clean out her clothes I just couldn’t make myself do it. Honestly, she TOLD me to get rid of her clothes. She said to do it first thing. There is no sentimentality attached to the clothes, so just give them to charity ASAP. It’ll open up so much more storage space for me. (Seriously. The woman was a clothes horse. 2 closets (1 a walk-in), 1 large armoire and 4 dressers!) Every time I went to do it, though, I’d find something a lot more interesting to do. Like clean the kitty litter or organize the spice cabinet. I couldn’t understand why I was so against cleaning out her clothes.

And then it hit me.

Mom used to buy furniture–antiques–and then give them away later. She used to do it all the time. Her house was small, so she’d buy a piece and live with it for a while, and if she found a piece she liked better, she’d get rid of the old one. She gave stuff to friends, family, co-workers, etc. She did it all the time. So if I get rid of furniture, or even knick-knacks, it wouldn’t be strange. Things were in flux at Chez Bear all the time. But her clothes. Ah, her clothes.

If I get rid of her clothes, she’s not coming back.

And that’s why I’ve been so hung up on cleaning out her clothes. Obviously, I’m well aware of the fact that she’s not coming back, but emotionally I just haven’t been ready to face that fact.

As for the rest of her things, well, I’ll get there eventually. The biggest problem is all my stuff is in storage, so until I start unpacking some of it, I don’t know what I’ll keep and what I’ll get rid of. Now that it has been a year, I think things will start moving forward again. I’m already looking at couches. LOL.

I’ve battled with some depression this year. I’ve more or less worked my way out of it, but it has been difficult. Especially as I didn’t recognize it for what it was for a long time. Longer than it should have taken me, but I think it was such a gradual slide, it never really occurred to me. Her birthday in November was the worst for me. Some days I couldn’t even breathe without crying. I’ve still got some family issues going on, and an unhealthy amount of anger over it, too. I know if I set up an appointment to talk to somebody chances are good I’d feel better, but I just don’t know if I’m ready for that. I do know I’m tired of being the evil villain in the family.

Saturday was obviously difficult, too. My friends have been amazing. I know. Like that’s news, right? I went to an event with a bunch of my good friends and they all started out asking how I was and if I wanted to talk about mom or pretend Saturday wasn’t the anniversary. They did everything they could to make sure I was okay and had whatever I needed emotionally. These friends are some of the best women I know, and they always amaze me with their willingness to reach out and help however and wherever they can.

So all in all, it’s been a rough year. I’m getting through it. I have some exciting plans for this year and next, and am moving forward. Slowly, but surely.

I still miss her every day. I still talk to her every day. I still cry when the grief overwhelms, as it does at the oddest times, but it is getting better.

And I want to say a giant THANK YOU to everyone who has offered condolences or support this past year, to everyone who has made me laugh, given me ideas, and helped me plan adventures. Whether you knew about mom or not, you all have helped me get through the rough days this past year, and I couldn’t have–WOULDN’T have made it without you.

Love,
Lynda the Guppy
aka A Better Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

Warrior’s Cross, Roux and Urban

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on February 5, 2013

If you’ve read my recent review of the Cut & Run series, you’ll know that I recently have ventured into M/M books. Thanks to our very own Magnolia, Pam, I read Warrior’s Cross between books 4 & 5 of the Cut & Run series, and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I enjoy book 5 a lot more, I am so grateful I didn’t miss this wonderful story.

The book starts out with the mysterious Tuesday Night gentleman at the restaurant where Cameron is head waiter. This mystery man is obviously friends with the owner, however he always sits in Cam’s section and he never speaks. Until tonight. Thus begins the story of Cam and Julian.

Cam is a quiet, slightly introverted waiter. He feels he’s nothing special, and has a bit of a crush on his mysterious diner. Julian is dark and, well, mysterious, and has a crush on his waiter. As we watch them fall for each other and develop a relationship, you begin to realize how much Julian NEEDS Cam. Without him, it seems Julian will descend into this dark pit and will never have happiness. While Cam always worries about his own heart, as he should, you always get the sense that even if Cam and Julian broke up, Cam would eventually be okay. Maybe not happy, but at least living a normal life. You never get that sense with Julian. If Cam leaves, Julian will never recover.

While it’s easy to love Cam, I fell HARD for Julian. He just absolutely breaks your heart. There’s a scene which takes place towards the end of the book right outside the restaurant. It’s beautifully written and practically cinematic. I could see it as if it was a movie playing in my head. While I have no problems visualizing when reading, this scene was so well done I could see and hear every moment of it. After you’ve read the book I suggest going to Ms. Roux’s website. She has a section there for playlists, and the song she chose for that climactic scene in front of the restaurant really was the perfect choice. I often disagree with an author’s choice of a particular song, but in this case it was dead on. I went back and had to re-read the scene and it just enriched the emotional impact of that moment that much more.

I have to say, this book is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Maybe it was the combination of Cam and Julian and how well they fit. Maybe it was how I fell for Cam and fell harder for Julian. Maybe it was the fantastic and seamless writing of the team of Ms. Roux and Ms. Urban, but whatever it is, this book stuck with me long after I turned the last page. This morning, a few weeks after finishing the book and after having written the bulk of this review, I picked it up again to reread parts of it just because. This book gets a full 5 stars from me and has immediately been marked as an all-time favorite.

Rating: 5 Stars

Time Out, Jill Shalvis

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on November 4, 2012

I want to apologize to all those “paper only” readers out there. I’m sorry! I’m woefully behind in my reviews, so this book is out of mass paperback distribution. I’m sure you can still get it from places like Harlequin.com or Amazon, and of course it’s readily available in digital format.

I LOVED this book. Actually, let me be clear. I LOVED this hero. You all know I’m a sucker for a good alpha hero, and I love the professional sports heroes, and boy does Mark deliver on all counts! We first “meet” Mark while Rainey watches a video of a bar fight. Mark is the coach for the fictional Mammoths hockey team, and they had just lost the Stanley Cup to the Anaheim Ducks in a controversial call. Both sets of players decide to take out their issues in a nice bar fight that the Mammoths players start.

On the tape, Mark’s eyes narrowed in on the fight as he walked fearlessly into the fray, pulling his players out of the pile as though they weighed nothing. A fist flew near his face and he deflected it, leveling the sender of said fist a long, hard look.

The guy fell backwards trying to get away.

“That’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen,” Lena murmered, watching the clip over Rainey’s shoulder.

Yes. Yes, it was. I’m hooked. How about you?

I liked that Ms. Shalvis didn’t do the usual, in that Mark was a coach, and not a player. She also managed to separate Mark (and 3 of his players) from the rest of the team and their usual lifestyle in a way that was believable. It didn’t feel contrived in any way.

There was outside conflict, of course, but Ms. Shalvis tends to keep that to a minimum and really focus on the relationship between the two leads. Ms. Shalvis managed to include subplots that included physical abuse as well as the damage and destruction caused by the recent forest fires in California. While the abuse subplot felt more like a plotting device, the forest fires are obviously something near and dear to Ms. Shalvis, as I believe she lives not too far from the areas most affected. Even though I’m a California girl (SoCal, not NorCal), I learned quite a bit about the regions hit hardest and what kind of reconstruction and hardships they were facing.

As for the main story, Mark and Rainey are two very headstrong, alpha types who don’t deal well with other people taking charge, so this book became a real battle of wills between the two. Although I knew there was going to be a happy ending, I was actually concerned for these two and worried they wouldn’t be able to learn to compromise in time.

One of the things that made this particular sports story stand out is Mark isn’t a misunderstood guy, nor is he a party boy who won’t settle, and he’s not a bad boy trying to rehabilitate. He’s a nice guy who does the right thing. He’s fair and tough, but willing to work just as hard, if not harder, than his players. He’s focused and a planner and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. He’s a serious guy who doesn’t need to be fixed, because he’s just fine with who he is.

Rainey’s the same way. She’s a bit of a workaholic and needs to slow down a little, but she’s also focused and determined and willing to do whatever it takes to help her kids, even if it means putting herself in the line of fire. She’s happy in her life, but soon she learns she’s happier with Mark IN her life.

This book is a category, so there’s limited space in which to develop a relationship, and Ms. Shalvis used the time honored trick of “they dated years ago.” LOL And I’m not against that. In fact, my favorite stories are those where they two characters have known each other for a long time. I feel you get a better connection with them, because they have a stronger history with each other. I certainly connected with Mark and Rainey (ESPECIALLY Mark LOL).

When I sat down to read this book, I finished it in a little under 2 hours. I had to put it down for a few minutes in the middle and I resented that! I wanted to know NOW how it ended! I wanted to get back to Mark PRONTO! And Rainey. Rainey, too. But mainly Mark.

Seriously? Can you tell I fell completely for Mark? Or am I too subtle?

Rating: 5 Stars

The Witness, Nora Roberts

This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie
on April 10, 2012

I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advanced copy of this book, and sped through it fairly quickly. The Witness is Nora Roberts’ 200th book. Can you believe that? This woman is a writing machine. While this not one of my top 10 Nora Roberts books, (I reserve those spots for books like Midnight Bayou and Carolina Moon and The Perfect Neighbor), this book was definitely on the better side. It was interesting to see Ms. Roberts once again use the technique of beginning a book when her main character is very young, and then advancing the book forward.

The Witness begins with Elizabeth at the age of 16 rebelling for the first time in her life, and it does not end well. I think Ms. Roberts has a real knack for portraying her characters in a realistic light. When we begin the book, we truly can imagine this poor little girl rebelling against her cold, controlling mother, and wanting to do anything to be able to live her own life. As it turns out, that’s not an option for many more years.

The beginning of the book is paced very quickly. There is a lot of information that Ms. Roberts is trying to portray to the reader, and she has a very deft touch. The reader never feels like Plot Anvils are raining down on their heads. Once the book moves forward to present day, the pace naturally slows a little. Slower town, slower life, slower plot. Again, it works. I liked Brooks a great deal, and I totally fell for his parents, but I never quite connected with Abigail the way I would have liked. It’s almost like Ms. Roberts couldn’t quite decide which way she wanted to go with Abigail: Super smart with a tender heart? Socially awkward and inept? Suspicious, capable and overly-protective of her privacy? While Abigail is all those things, I felt as if Abigail would don the traits of the particular part of her personality the situation called for. It never truly felt like they were all different sides to the same woman. That’s unfortunate, as Abigail had the potential to be a complicated and complex character.

There is a small subplot throughout the book dealing with Brooks’ best friend Russ and the hotel Russ runs. I could see Ms. Roberts using it to lay the foundation for Abigail’s growth and her realization she will never be able to live her own life her own way without facing her past. I would have liked to have seen this plot begin just a little bit earlier in the book. If we had seen this subplot advance a little faster, the resolution wouldn’t have seemed anticlimactic. As it was, against the backdrop of this larger crime and danger and resolution, it felt like it became nothing more than a nuisance to Brooks.

A trademark of a Nora Roberts book is an underlying thread of humor throughout. She does not disappoint here. In one of the darkest, most serious scenes, when Abigail has told Brooks all about what happened and what the risks are, there is a moment which could have gone horribly wrong and turned into a scene of obnoxious slapstick humor, and instead it does it’s job and lightens the mood of both the characters and the reader, and makes you laugh out loud through your tears.

Finally, one of my biggest “complaints” is a pet peeve of mine with various authors. Using similarly spelled/pronounced names in the same book. It’s one thing in real life when you go into a room and there’s a Kristin and a Kiersten, but this is fiction. The author has an entire world of names from which to choose. Why would you choose such similar names? It only confuses the reader. Okay me. It confuses me. In this book we have a Sybill and a Sylbie and an Agent Peski and Agent Pickto, and if you think I didn’t have to pause and do a little mental jig to figure out who was whom, think again. An entire WORLD of names out there, everyone. Choose wisely.

On the whole, an enjoyable book, and one I’ll reread in the future.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Redwood Bend, Robyn Carr

(This review was originally posted at Wicked Lil Pixie on March 8, 2012.)

Okay, here goes. My first review. *gulp*

I’ve been a fan of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series since nearly the beginning, and one of the things I enjoy about her novels is the consistency. She introduces us to these characters, and makes us fall in love with them. Unlike a lot of other series books, she doesn’t “forget” the characters or only bring them back as convenient ways to further the plot. These characters come back again and again with actual storylines in future books. Just because a couple has a Happy Ever After in one book doesn’t mean they won’t hit a rough patch in another. Redwood Bend, which just came out, is book 18 in the Virgin River series, according to Ms. Carr’s website (www.RobynCarr.com). It was a nice addition to the series.

Katie, our heroine whom we met in her brother’s book Hidden Summit, is back for her own story. She has two young twin boys and is moving to Virgin River from Vermont when she and the boys get a flat just outside Virgin River. And of course it’s raining. And of course a nice group of motorcyclists stop to help. This is how our couple meet. A little outlandish of a meeting? Maybe. But for these two it works.

Dylan has flaws, but he believes his flaws are far more serious and damaging than they really are. He still sees himself as he was as a teenage TV heartthrob rebel with a family so dysfunctional it makes the Barrymores look like the Bradys, with his grandmother Adele being the exception. It was nice to watch him realize what we, the readers, have seen nearly since page one, and that’s what a nice, warm, caring guy he is. He’s not selfish, nor is he a curse for anyone he cares about.

Katie’s husband also has a presence in this book, even though he’s been dead for years. (Don’t worry. No ghostly appearances here.) He was a special forces soldier who was killed in Afghanistan when Katie was pregnant with the twins, and he received a Medal of Honor posthumously. In the beginning, Dylan is a little intimidated by Charlie. I mean, dead military hero who was the love of her life? And Dylan thinks he’s a major screw up?  OF COURSE he’s intimidated. Who wouldn’t be? but Katie talks openly with Dylan about her husband and his good and bad character traits, and it never really becomes a big issue between them. Katie says she loved Charlie, and would love him still if he had lived, but he didn’t, so she’s moving on. One of the nice things is that Charlie is neither lionized nor vilified. He was a real man who died too young, and without knowing his sons, but that’s the way life sometimes is. Sometimes it just sucks.

There were parts of this book that were a little too pat. For example, Dylan’s grandmother Adele is an aging, but still in demand, actress. When she comes to Virgin River to check up on Dylan, we learn that she’s good friends with Muriel, who is an actress on par with Adele. Really? This tiny little town with maybe 200 people and the one actress who comes to town just HAPPENS to be good friends with the only other actress in 100 miles? Granted, Hollywood can be a small town, and actresses of their stature are rare, so it makes sense, I guess, that these two would have become friends during their careers, but at no point at any other time did this come up. It was only brought to our attention because Adele needed a place to stay that wasn’t Katie’s. How conveeeeeeenient.

Also, at the very end of the book we learn something new about Dylan. It’s something that wasn’t really integral to the story, but he kind of blows it off as no big deal right at the end, and I think Ms. Carr missed an opportunity for her readers to learn something. In the past she has taken the time to teach us about midwifery and things like breast exams and other women’s issues, and by contrast it seemed what we learned about Dylan was added as an afterthought. Kind of a “gee, his childhood didn’t suck QUITE enough, so let’s dump a little more on him.”

All in all, I enjoyed this book a great deal. I liked that Katie didn’t rely on Dylan for every little thing. She could change the oil in her car and put up a swing set for her boys without having to ask her brother or some other guy in her life to do it for her, and the men in her life recognized that. They don’t treat her as some sort of delicate, fragile flower. She also doesn’t put up with any of Dylan’s crap. She calls him on stuff, and expects him to put just as much into their relationship as she does. She also doesn’t expect him to look out for her kids. She makes it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that her kids are first. Full stop. No exceptions. And if he doesn’t like it, there’s the door, and make it quick, because she doesn’t have time for games.

Ms. Carr has developed a knack for creating characters who feel very real. This series is made up of people with real lives and flaws, accomplishments and doubts. This town, even with its overabundance of military men, feels very real. There are people  who die, either expected or not. There are births and miscarriages, new homes being built, and forest fires threatening old ones. It’s a place where life isn’t always easy and everybody doesn’t live forever, but it’s full of hope and happiness anyway. They’re going to take care of their own, and they’ll do the best they can, and if they fall in love or rekindle the sparks, well, even better. And that’s the kind of story that keeps me coming back book after book.

Now, when does Sunrise Point come out?

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars