I never thought I’d love a Jill Shalvis series other than my First Jill Shalvis Series, Lucky Harbor. But I am falling in love all over again. Maybe it’s Cedar Ridge itself – sort of reminds me of Robyn Carr’s town of Virgin River, or maybe it’s the Kincaid brothers, but either way Shalvis has me hooked.
In Nobody But You, military guy Jacob Kincaid returns home to his estranged twin brother and several other siblings (who are happier to see him than his twin pretends to be). Jacob didn’t realize there was more waiting for him in Cedar Ridge: one spit-fire Sophie Marren, recently divorced from her cheating ex-husband and living in a boat illegally moored at, yup, Jacob’s dock.
Nobody But You reads total Shalvis: authentic and witty dialogue, lots of affection and competition among siblings, and great views. What sets this story apart from her others is the spice factor. Shalvis describes a lot more bedroom activity than usual, though not a gratuitous sentence in the bunch. Every kiss and caress reflects the passion Sophie and Jacob develop for each other, because of and despite misunderstandings and heartfelt fears of commitment.
The only question I had at the end was Who’s Next to fall in love in Cedar Ridge now that the Kincaid brothers are taken? 😉
Chalk it up to summertime, or the mellowness of school break… or let’s just give credit where credit is due and applaud Robyn Carr for establishing the perfect atmosphere in her latest Thunder Point installment.
Ginger moved to Thunder Point in the last book, and after friends help her settle in, she finds her place in A New Hope. Ginger grieves an old relationship, questions her judgement, and mourns a lost baby. And then she meets Matt, a guy so shattered by his own past that he numbs himself with women and parties. Totally not Ginger’s style.
Until they become friends. And confidantes. And rescuers of each other’s hearts. Carr did an amazing job of pacing the relationship, including family and friends, and making Matt’s regression realistic.
I love how A New Hope made me feel: relaxed and uplifted, truly full of new hope. And although Carr employed some telling-instead-of-showing, her description of the Basques was fun and endearing. Oh how I wished I was drinking wine and dancing in the fields at harvest time.
With books seven and eight, Carr has perfected the Thunder Point groove. If you liked the Virgin River series, now is the time to give Thunder Point a try.
You know the best thing about this book? It brought me back to 14 years of age, reading a teen novel about a figure skater… On Thin Ice, or Champion On Ice… I can’t remember the title, but I can remember the pink paperback cover, the worn spine, the old Volvo that almost didn’t get the skater to the rink one morning. I wish I still had that book. In the blink of an eye I would step into that teenage world for 150 pages and love every 1980s minute of it.
I can’t get a hold of that book, but I CAN get the same nostalgic feeling, vicariously through the main character of One Wish. Grace used to be a champion figure skater. She left the drama and the pressure to open up a flower shop in Thunder Point. Where she meets Troy. The teacher who likes to have fun during his time off. Outdoor fun. Athletic fun. Fun with women. Fun with Grace!
One Wish tells more than just the romance between Grace and Troy, though. We see Grace’s struggle with the past, her talent for the florist business, her ambivalence toward her mother, and her friendship with Iris.
I enjoyed the wedding planning, the return of old characters, the Ray-Anne subplot, and the sense of community coming together to support one of their own. Carr put heart into One Wish… And although Troy was occasionally a bit smarmy, most of the novel rang authentic. I shed some messy tears, both happy and sad.
Carr fans, you must read this book. I was SO EXCITED to read a Thunder Point novel that measured up to the Virgin River series – a high standard, indeed.
P.S. I just KNOW that Ray-Anne’s Gingersnap will be a central character in an upcoming Thunder Point novel. I CAN’T WAIT!!!
I’ve been a fan of Robyn Carr ever since Virgin River … And I’ll always be a fan. But Four Friends is nothing like the nature-filled, adventurous, romantic tales of Virgin River or Thunder Point.
Four friends is about four neighborhood women, each in a different phase in life, each with struggles, and each with strengths. They bring each other wine, pull each other out of bed to join the daily morning walks, and save each other’s lives. Literally.
The more I think about this book, the more ambivalent I am about it. I liked it, but there were some parts that just annoyed me!
I’m a sucker for a good tale about marriage, but I hated that there was cheating going on. I appreciate Carr being a champion for victims of domestic abuse, but some of that story seemed contrived. Crystal-toting Sonja lent a cool quirkiness that I loved… and then the rug was ripped out from under me when Sonja wasn’t really who she appeared to be. And Andy’s love life was great for her, but her new man was so timid and tepid that I couldn’t feel the attraction.
I think I felt like I was looking in on a pretend world when I read Four Friends. I was totally entertained, and the friendships were terrific. But I wasn’t drawn in to the story… I wasn’t in the pages with the characters… They just weren’t real to me.
All in all, from the outside looking in, Four Friends is a fresh take on women’s friendships with each other and the struggles they overcome in their relationships with men.