Once again, it’s my goal to read fifty books this year. But this year, I’m working hard to read more of the paperbacks on my actual bookshelf. I’ll still read electronic books when I read ARCs, but I’m going to try to limit myself to one or two ebooks a month. This way, I can clear some of the books off my overcrowded bookshelves and donate them to the library, and I can sleep better at night by getting off my computer earlier.
Four Friends by Robyn Carr
As in all Robyn Carr novels, Four Friends includes a variety of interesting and totally believable characters. This book began almost as a prime-time soap opera when within just a few days, four women in the same neighborhood suddenly experience extreme trauma in their marriages. They each deal with their crises in different ways and come out stronger at the end. A fifth woman, new to the neighborhood provides the voice of reason, and when she needs help the others are there for her. This is a real page-turner, with lots of action and drama as well as the romance Robyn Carr is known for. I love the strong characters she creates, each unique and with their own set of troubles, but all people we can relate to and cheer on.
For the Love of Bigfoots and Butterflies by Joselyn Vaughn
Joselyn was my guest a few weeks ago, sharing the story behind this book. She gave me the opportunity to read an ARC, but I wasn’t able to finish reading it until last week. Jane Meeth is an environmentalist in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan whose biggest adversary is the Tall Oaks Development company. She does everything in her power to stop or at least hinder any plan they come up with. She’s also an avid runner, and during one of her runs she finds a kindred spirit in Marshall Linden. What she doesn’t find out until after she’s fallen in love is that Marshall owns Tall Oaks. I learned a lot about butterflies and sasquatches, and it was fun reading about an area of my home state that I haven’t spent much time exploring. I loved Marshall, but had a hard time liking Jane, who stubbornly refused to learn about Marshall’s eco-friendly building projects, automatically painting him as “the bad guy” once she discovered who he was. I also wondered why someone her age wasn’t able to connect Marshall to the Tall Oaks company, with all the internet resources available nowadays. I can understand her anger once she found out, but was surprised she never asked or investigated what he did for a living, especially knowing he had the resources to have a housekeeper. Still, this is a well-written book, and a great representation of the natural resources in Michigan.
The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
As in all Debbie Macomber’s books, we are introduced to a cast of characters who remind us of people we’ve known all our lives. They have their share of troubles, and it’s the unique yet totally believable way they deal with their issues that make Macomber’s books so special. I’ve had this on my bookshelf for a long time, and I’m glad I finally took the time to read it. Jo Marie Rose is a young widow who deals with her grief by giving up her busy career as a banker and moving to Cedar Cove as proprietor of a quaint bed and breakfast. She meets several of the characters from the Cedar Cove series, but it’s her two guests, Abby and Josh, who make up most of this book. I’m eager to read more of this series.
Can’t Fight This Feeling by Christie Ridgeway
I got a signed copy of this book when Christie was a guest speaker at a writer’s retreat I attended. The book resided on my bookshelf until I made the conscious effort to read the paperbacks on my shelf so that I can clear them out for new ones. This book is the third in a series about a family living in the mountains of California. Blue Arrow Lake is a resort town, so it depends on business from the “flatlanders” while maintaining a distrust of them. Brett Walker is a landscaper who bears scars not only from his time in Afghanistan, but from the viciousness of a former love interest. Angelica is a former rich girl whose world turns upside down when her father steals not only from his investors, but from her own savings. She cheerfully accepts her fate, finding work in the local hardware store as well as working as a maid for Brett’s sister MacKenzie. This book is full of spicy scenes, but the overall story is wonderful and had me breathing a sigh at the end.
A Nettle by Any Other Name by Ruth J. Hartman
This book follows my novella Lost in Lavender in the Christmas Bouquet series produced by Dingbat Publishing. Helen, Lady Stormont, is known as an eccentric, and when she comes up with the outlandish idea of providing a home for intellectual single women, known as Bluestockings, she’s met with opposition. She has only one supporter in this mission – Talbert Yelverton, Earl of Godolphin. He’s fifteen years younger than her, but he’s adored her since he was young. This is a light romance with a minimum of conflict, so it reads quickly. Two other books had been planned for this series, so I’m eager to see what else happens with these characters.
What have you read lately?