Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Overview
Redwood Bend

Title: Redwood Bend
Author: Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #16
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 17th – 19th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: How can I help you?

Synopsis

Return to Virgin River with the books that started it all…

Former actor Dylan Childress left the LA scene for a quiet life running an aviation company in Montana. But with business slowing, Dylan wonders if he should take one of the offers Hollywood keeps sending his way. He figures a motorcycle trip to Virgin River with his buddies might help him decide what path to take. But his own troubles are left at the side of the road when he spots a woman stranded on the way into town.

Katie Malone and her twin boys’ trip to Virgin River is stopped short by a tire as flat as her failed romance. To make matters worse, it’s raining, the boys are hungry and Katie is having trouble putting on the spare. So when some bikers pull up, offering to help, all Katie feels is relief. Then she sees sexy, leather-clad Dylan, and in one brief moment the world turns on its axis.

Katie’s a sensible single mother and Dylan’s a die-hard commitment-phobe. Neither one is looking for long-term romance. But sometimes it takes only a moment to know you’ve found something that could change your life forever.

Thoughts

Katie’s appearance in Hidden Summit made me fall immediately in love with her. She is sweet and kind, with the rambunctious boys running free and wild. I hadn’t quite realised that this was her story until I opened the first page. And I love that she didn’t stay with the dentist, but found a much more suitable happily ever after.

Katie and Dylan were adorable and wonderful. But, honestly, the boys are the ones who tend to stand out in the spotlight. They are so much fun and full of this wonderful energy that I seriously envy. The fact that one of the biggest dramas comes from them being, well, five year old boys… it just made everything better.

I’m always frustrated by people (both real and fictional) who have decided that they have an issue, or a type, or a path laid out for them. We can’t determine how our lives will turn out and quite frankly I find it frustrating as hell when people think otherwise. Dylan was the key person to do this in this story. And it made me want to smack him one. Yet, he was so much less frustrating about it than many characters I fall in love with in my many, many books.

Redwood Bend was beautiful and fun. I love that it created a blended family and had a few surprises along the way. But, at the end of it all, there weren’t any crazy exes or serious issues to get over. Rather, it was just a light, fun and engaging read. One I look forward to picking up again in the future.

<- Hidden SummitSunrise Point ->

Image source: Romance.com.au

Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

Overview
Hidden Summit (A Virgin River Novel Book 15) eBook : Carr, Robyn:  Amazon.com.au: Kindle Store

Title: Hidden Summit
Author: Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #15
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 14th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mira
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Brie wanted him to come to brunch.

Synopsis

Return to VIRGIN RIVER with the books that started it all…

When Connor Danson becomes an unwitting witness to a violent crime, he is forced to leave Sacramento and keep a low profile until the trial is over. He arrives in the tiny mountain town of Virgin River with a chip on his shoulder and an ache in his heart.

Leslie Petruso didn’t want to leave her hometown, either. But she can’t stand another minute of listening to her ex-husband tell everyone that his new wife and impending fatherhood are the best things that ever happened to him. Virgin River may not be home, but it’s a place where she can be anonymous.

Neither Connor nor Leslie is remotely interested in starting a new relationship.. until they meet one another. Even they can’t deny they have a lot in common – broken hearts notwithstanding. And in Virgin River, no one can stay hidden away from life and love for very long…

Thoughts

I was kind of expecting to not really like Connor at the beginning of this. After all, he is kind of rude and dismissive towards Bree from that very first moment. But within paragraphs he was hard to dislike. Or forget. I really enjoyed his characterisation and growth throughout.

It was fun to read a romance that featured two people who have been divorced and burnt by love. They’ve both got baggage, and, honestly, I seriously enjoy reading a book that features people who are just a little bit scarred. The way that Connor and Les are able to connect and understand each other through their past… kind of beautiful.

Connor’s arrival in Virgin River brings Paul and Brady back into the story a little more strongly. I particularly like the background romance and highlighting of Cherry and Dan. They may not have had their own book and story, but their romance still gave me the warm, happy feelings. It was fun to have some different characters reappear I this book. Plus there’s the introduction of Katie and her boys… I can’t wait to read their romance!!!

Hidden Summit was another fun, cute and easy story from Virgin River. There’s just the right amount of drama to keep you engaged, but not overly stressed about the happily ever after. And the whole crime angle just makes it much more difficult to put down and walk away from.

<- Bring Me Home for ChristmasRedwood Bend ->

Image source: Amazon

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Overview
Dark Lover, The First Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward |  9780451468109 | Booktopia

Title: Dark Lover
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
Rating Out of 5: 2.5 (Readable, but not worth reading again)
My Bookshelves: EroticaParanormal romance, Vampires
Dates read: 29th August – 5th September 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: Getting him out of a facility against medical advice was always a struggle.

Synopsis

The only purebred vampire left on the planet and the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who killed his parents centuries ago. But when his most trusted fighter is killed – orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate – Wrath must put down his dagger and usher the beautiful female into another world.

Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there before, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes to her at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of the Brotherhood and blood frighten her. Yet his touch ignites a dawning new hunger – one that threatens to consume them both…

Thoughts

I really, really wanted to like this novel. It’s got such a good rep and I’ve heard it spoken of multiple times… but I just couldn’t quite get into it. I gave it my nor.al 150 pages before realising that I had absolutely no inclination to read anymore. Which rarely happens, normally I’ll at least skim to see how the story turns out.

For me, a big part of not getting super involved in this story was the fact that I just couldn’t feel attached to the characters. Beth and Wrath did not having anything about them that drew me in. I didnt dislike them, I didn’t like them, I just nothinged them.

In the future I’ll probably give this book another try. But for now… no strong feelings either way.

<- More J.R. WardLover Eternal ->

Image source: Booktopia

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Overview
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Title: Heart Berries
Author: Terese Marie Mailhot
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Memoirs, Mental health, Race
Dates read: 29th August – 4th September 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Counterpoint
Year: 2018
5th sentence, 74th page: You were still fucking me, though.

Synopsis

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Band in the Pacific Northwest. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder, Terse Marie Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father – an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist – who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Thoughts

For such a short book, this is incredibly difficult to read through. It took me quite a while. Mostly because the emotions and power of Mailhot’s words were unforgettable. Powerful and filled with such rawness that I frequently had to pause and look at another story.

Mailhot is able to address issues of mental health, abuse and transgenerational trauma in a completely unforgettable way. It is, in places, physically difficult to read about this. But it is also filled with a cautious feeling of optimistic hope.

Under all of the writing and experiences, Mailhot has this overwhelming love for her children. Love for her family. And love, ultimately for herself. There is that cautious optimism throughout, but there is also a great sense of overwhelming love and attachment to those in her life.

This is one of those books that MUST be read. I will probably read this half a dozen times and find something new in it that I just wasn’t expecting. The complexity and power of this writing will most definitely give you new insight with each and every new read.

<- The Answer to the Riddle is MeTwelve Patients ->

Image source: Goodreads

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone: Siege and Storm : Leigh Bardugo : 9781510105263

Title: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2, Grishaverse #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th September 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: The wound in my shoulder felt like it was on fire, but I was unhurt and my whole body was thrumming from using my power again.

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Alina Starkov’s power has grown, but not without a price. She is the Sun Summoner – hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Shadow Fold. But she and Mal can’t outrun their enemies for long.

The Darkling is more determined than ever to claim Alina’s magic and use it to take the Ravkan throne. With nowhere else to turn, Alina enlists the help of an infamous privateer and sets out to lead the Grisha army.

But as the truth of Alina’s destiny unfolds, she slips deeper into the Darkling’s deadly game of forbidden magic, and further away from her humanity. To save her country, Alina will have to choose between her power and the love she thought would always be her shelter. No victory can come without sacrifice – and only she can face the oncoming storm.

Thoughts

Ever since reading Shadow and Bone, I’ve been seriously wondering what was going to be thrown in Mal and Alina’s way this time. And, you know, when the Darkling was going to reappear. He’s a great villain – I don’t really get the sexy vibes off him that others have claimed, but he is dark, mysterious and undoubtedly evil. A wonderful combination for a villain in my opinion.

Even though I think Mal is a wonderful lead love interest, he’s also kind of a knob. I mean, he’s got a woman who is obviously being thrown into a situation she’s not comfortable with. But instead of trying to communicate and support her? He runs. And just acts… well, knob-like. By the end of the book I was finding him to be a bit much and a bit frustrating in this area… im hoping Ruin and Rising will redeem him a bit more…

The build up that Bardugo creates in this story is wonderfully and seriously intense. Not only is there the clash between Alina and the Darkling, but there’s now royalty and a cult… I mean, if that set of trials and tribulations isn’t gearing up for a massive one, then what is?

I honestly couldn’t put this book down. Even in the moments that I wanted to cringe and look away, I just… couldn’t. The majority of this was read in one sitting. Late at night. When I should have been sleeping. Always a good recommendation for a book in my eyes…

<- Shadow and BoneRuin and Rising ->

Image source: Bookdepository

4th Quarter Challenge

Duration: 1st October – 31st December 2021
Number of books: 8
Hosted by: Bookworm Bitches

4th Quarter 2021
Duration: October 1, 2021 – December 31, 2021
Rules:
~Books must be read during the selected time period.
~Post a link to the book, date you finished and rating
~All books read for challenges can be used for more than one challenge.
~Books can be either Fiction or Non Fiction. Your choice.
~If you don’t have a book that matches the option on the list, pick any book on your TBR.
~Copy the blank template below and paste into a new comment to start your challenge. Update as necessary.

Completed 1/8

1. Read the oldest book on your TBR
2. Read a new to you author – When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
3. Read a book a spooky or winter themed book
4. Read a book with sky on the cover
5. Find a random number generator and read that book.
6. Read an author whose name starts with O, N, or D
7. Read your newest acquired book (bought or borrowed).
8. Catch up on a Bookworm Bitches selection or read a book you have been meaning to read for a long time

Individualism

Duration: 1st October – 31st October 2021
Number of books: 3
Hosted by: Bookworm Bitches

October 2021 – Individualism
Duration: 10/1/2021-10/31/2021

There are 3 tasks, you only need to read three books to finish this challenge. Or pick one task and read 3 books for that one task.

1. Read a book with only one POV – The Summer Garden by Sherryl Woods
2. Read a book with a strong character
3. Read a book with the word ‘I’ in the title

Rules
~Books must be read during the selected time period.
~Post the date you finished the book.
~All books read for challenges can be used for more than one challenge.
~Books can be either Fiction or Non Fiction. Your choice.
~At the end of the challenge, it will be closed for commenting and moved to the archives folder
~Use the add book/author tool to tag your book within your challenge.

Night Spawn Bingo – October 2021

Duration: 1st October – 31st October 2021
Number of books: 9
Hosted by: My Vampire Book Obsession

description
October-Bingo

description

Welcome to Night Spawn BINGO. Each month a new BINGO game will be posted with new tasks to complete. Get three in a row (Horizontal, Vertical, or Diagonal) to receive your Vampire Heart.

Rules:
Complete three tasks to get the vampire heart
All genres welcome
Rereads welcome
No minimum page count
One book per task

Read 3 books that have one of the following (Must be in a Horizontal, Vertical, or Diagonal pattern).

Top Row:

Read a book with an Orange cover~
Read a book with a Pumpkin/Jack-O-Lantern on the cover~
Read a book that has a title beginning with a letter in ORANGE~

Middle Row:

Read a book that takes place during Halloween~
Read a book whose author’s first or last initials can be found in HALLOWEEN~
Read a book in which a character decorates for Halloween~

Bottom Row:

Read a book with a sweet treat on the cover~ 
Read a book with a title beginning with a letter found in CANDY~
Read a book in which someone goes trick or treating~

description

Monthly Challenge – October 2021

Duration: 1st October – 31st October 2021
Number of books: 11
Hosted by: My Vampire Book Obsession

retro-fonts
Vector-Colorful-Hard-Halloween-Candy-Seamless-Border-Perfect-for-scrapbooking-kids-stationery-Hallow

⁍ Duration
Starts: October 1st
Ends: October 31st

⁍ How It Works
Ten books each month is a lot, so there will be 5 different levels. So pick which level you want to do and that’s how many items you will need to check off.

⁍ Levels :
Transitional – 2 books
Fledgling – 4 books
Vampire – 6 books
Master – 8 books
Vampire King or Queen – 10 books

Vector-Colorful-Hard-Halloween-Candy-Seamless-Border-Perfect-for-scrapbooking-kids-stationery-Hallow

1. Nerds: Read a book with a colorful cover or has multiple perspectives – The Summer Garden by Sherryl Woods
2. Candy Corn: Read a book that is part of a trilogy or has characters with opposite believes
3. Twizzlers: Read a book that has a rope or braid on the cover or read a book that has a dark version, example: a dark witch.
4. Gummy Bears come in many different varieties like snakes and sharks: read a book with shifters or a character who can be described as a teddy bear.
5. Sour Patch Kid: read a book that has a situation you don’t like, or a character turns to the dark or bad side. – When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
6. Dum Dums: read a book where a character does a stupid thing, or read a book tagged mystery.
7. Cookies & Cream: read a book where characters who are opposites attract, or read a book where the light fights the dark.
8. Laffy Taffy: read a book with a character who is funny, or read a book tagged humor.
9. Skittles: read a book set in a tropical location, or rainbow in the text.
10. Payday: read a book with a wealthy character or read a book where a character has money problems.
Bonus: King Size Candy Bar: Read a book over 500 pages or a book with a king.

Vector-Colorful-Hard-Halloween-Candy-Seamless-Border-Perfect-for-scrapbooking-kids-stationery-Hallow

Funko Vamps – October 2021

Duration: 1st October – 31st October 2021
Number of books: 6
Hosted by: My Vampire Book Obsession

description
Funko Vamps
Collect a Funko Vamp each month by completing at least 2 tasks from a set of 6.
A new set of tasks with a new Funko Vamp will be posted each month.

The dolls you collect will be in your Vampire Heart thread. Don’t have a thread? You can still do the challenge if you want 🙂

Rules
Complete at least two tasks to get the vampire heart
All genres welcome
Rereads welcome
No minimum page count
One book per task

description

October
Read a book with a red, orange, or yellow on the cover.
Read a book with a title starting with any letter in CLOWN. – When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Read a book set at Halloween.
Read a book with a haunted house in it.
Read a book with a character that can see or talk to ghosts.
Read a book with tagged horror, suspense, or mystery.