What I read: Lucy on the Wild Side by Kerry Rea
Why I picked it up: Either someone I follow on Goodreads recommended it or I found it on a list on Libby.
How I read it: On kindle in just a couple of days once I finally got started.
What it’s about: Lucy is a junior keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo for the gorillas. Zuri is her favorite and now her favorite Animal Planet star is coming to desire Zuri’s entire troop plus the rest of the zoo. Except meeting your hero isn’t always a delight and Kai turns out to be nothing like she thought.
What I liked: I really liked Kai. He was sweet and delightful.
What I disliked: Lucy’s grandmother misses a big point between Lucy and her mom that would have been much more healing to have noticed earlier.
Genre: Mothers and daughters, open door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it’s sweet!!
What I read: Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr
Why I picked it up: I’ve been slowly reserving the Virgin River books from the library and this one was next.
How I read it: On paper in two days after I finally started. I told myself I was going to start reading and then realized I had a bunch of ebooks with expiring loans, so I needed to read those first.
What it’s about: Shelby and Luke are the primary characters in this story. She’s moving to Virgin River for a few month’s break after her mother’s passing before med school, he’s there to finally fix up the property he bought with his brother seven years ago. They’re not what each other’s looking for, but it ends up it’s just what they need.
What I liked: I like visiting the town again. While each book has its own primary story, the real story is Virgin River. Everyone makes an appearance, and I like that kind of series!
What I disliked: Nothing.
Genre: Virgin River, small town, open door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, but I think only as part of the series. There’s so much backstory.
What I read: Bend Toward the Sun by Jen Devon
Why I picked it up: I think someone I follow on Goodreads read and loved it, and it was available soon on Libby, so I put it on hold.
How I read it: On Kindle over two days.
What it’s about: Rowan has just received her doctorate in botany and is now looking to publish and continue her post-doc work. Rather than a big academia job, she ends up at the new-to-the-Bradys vineyard in southern PA helping them get the vines back in order. This is not part of her plan, but neither is Harrison (aka Harry). Her history has been full of disappointments in love, including her mother – this has colored her view of love, and her story with Harry becomes a lesson in love.
What I liked: It’s a beautifully written book, very descriptive, and really vivid. I felt like I was there, and now I want to go see a vineyard in southern PA with some sheep, a donkey, a great bed and breakfast, an adorable carriage house, and an amazing greenhouse with a side house.
What I disliked: The conflict in this book is very deep into the interior life of both characters. Some of it was hard to read.
Genre: Emotional abuse, grief, open door, family saga.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and definitely. I hope it’s the beginning of a series about the Brady boys!
What I read: Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrew’s
Why I picked it up: I liked the cover so I downloaded the audio on hoopla.
How I read it: On audio at 1.75x between yesterday and today.
What it’s about: Kara owns her own flower shop with a heavy wedding business in downtown Savannah. She also has the cutest golden doodle, Poppy, who runs off right before a pretty tense bride needs her to drop flowers off for her wedding. These two events set off a series of events that challenge her business and her single relationship status.
What I liked: I really liked her and Jack, and I really want to go to her flower shop. I’d like to be her new assistant, if I’m being honest.
What I disliked: There was an incident with Kara and a new assistant where I thought Kara was really in the wrong. She treated the woman terribly – and the woman ended up treating her terribly too. Kara assumed that “everyone just loves dogs because I think my Poppy is a delight” – but not everyone does love dogs.
Genre: Southern romance, semi-open door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it was a fun read. There were some odd tech references since it was written in 2014, but otherwise I think it still works.
What I read: Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr
Why I picked it up: I’m working my way through the Virgin River series!
How I read it: On paper over a couple of days.
What it’s about: So many things happen in this book, babies born, couples getting together, tragedies occur! It’s an entire series of events.
What I liked: I appreciated how many stories were told, and how many of these characters we’ve been introduced to before came up here again.
What I disliked: The incident with Nicki was so odd and randomly tragic. It didn’t need to be and then everyone else jumped to the worst conclusions of Paul.
Genre: Small town, open door, grief, Virgin River.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and yes, but I think you might need the others in the series for this one to make sense.
What I read: Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr
Why I picked it up: I decided to start the Virgin River series and number 3 came in on my holds list.
How I read it: On paper.
What it’s about: The main characters here are Mike and Brie, but updates from the entire gang are included. The main theme of the book is sexual assault, prosecuting it, and healing.
What I liked: I like how the book recalls every character at once. Some stories continue, others begin, it’s like going to visit with old friends.
What I disliked: This physical book was not my favorite, not big enough margins, and the library copy is a hard cover of a mass market paperback, just not a well put together copy.
Genre: Sexual assault, small town, open door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and as part of the series.
What I read: Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr
Why I picked it up: I started this series and when I got to the place for a pedicure it was the best one of the bunch I’d picked up from the library that morning.
How I read it: On paper.
What it’s about: One rainy night when he’s locking up, a woman with a bruise and a toddler walk in to the bar looking for shelter. The simple act of putting her up changes Preacher’s life and introduces him to real love. There are also a series of other storylines, the Virgin River series seems to be an ensemble cast and I’m here for it.
What I liked: I liked catching up on many different storylines. I’ve got the actors cast in the Netflix series in my mind, but the storylines in the books are a lot better.
What I disliked: I wish I had book #3 on hand to start immediately, but alas I’ve got a bunch of other holes in line ahead of it.
Genre: Small town, sexual assault, birth, grief, open door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and this series just keeps getting better and better, but best to read number 1 before diving into number 2.
What I read: Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan
Why I picked it up: She’s a delightful audiobook narrator and was recently on What Should I Read Next talking about audiobooks, her new book, and general reading stuff.
How I read it: On Kindle in less than 24 hours after downloading it.
What it’s about: Sewanee started as an actress, lived through a tragedy, narrated romance under a pseudonym, and now narrates “serious literature” (I.e. not romance). One crazy night in Vegas, a need for money for her grandmother, and a mysterious male narrator later – and her whole life changes.
What I liked: I loved the texting back and forth. I wanted to listen since the author reads it, but I’m glad I read it.
What I disliked: Nothing, it was a delight.
Genre: Books about Books, slightly open door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and absolutely!!
What I read: Finding Perfect by Susan Mallery
Why I picked it up: working my way through the Fool’s Gold series.
How I read it: On Libby, I really prefer when ebook borrows work through Kindle.
What it’s about: Pia finds out she did not inherit Crystal’s cat, instead it was her three embryos, without any instructions, direction, or intention. She decides to say yes to being a mom, and Rauol decides he’ll be her buddy, but it develops into something more.
What I liked: I loved how the women of this town come together and support one another.
What I disliked: Who gives someone embryos without speaking to them first?!
Genre: Small town, adoption, open door.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and better as part of the series.
What I read: Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery
Why I picked it up: I decided to start the Fools’ Gold series and number two was available immediately on Libby.
How I read it: On Kindle today.
What it’s about: Liz receives an email from her nieces asking for help. Their daddy is in prison, the mamma is dead, and their step mother left them $100 and high tailed it out of town. They need someone so she drops everything and packs up the car. She and Tyler, her son, arrive before the girls get out of school. Only problem is Tyler’s dad lives there too and has no idea his son even exists.
What I liked: My favorite scene were the seniors at the book signing!! Liz finally found the place where she belongs.
What I disliked: Ethan, Tyler’s dad, is responsible but not at all emotionally intelligence. He’s too afraid of what other people think because his dad taught him reputation was everything.
Genre: Single parents, open door romance.
Rating & Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and I think these are going to be better as part of a series.