Book Review: ‘TIS THE SEASON by Robyn Carr

Series: Virgin River, #8 & #12
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Released: October 28, 2014
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

Together for the first time in one volume, two classic holiday stories — plus a bonus novella! — from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr.

‘Tis the season for family, friendship and the thrill of a holiday romance…


With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is shared—and a surprise left under the Christmas tree is about to bring two special people together!


Holiday kisses don’t end with Christmas—there’s still the New Year’s Eve party at Jack’s Bar to attend. Locals and newcomers alike find themselves eager for that special countdown…and that midnight kiss.

So join us in Virgin River this year, where Robyn Carr’s trademark humor, warmth and sincerity will have you celebrating the festive season in your favorite mountain town.the festive season in your favorite mountain town.

I always enjoy visiting the cozy mountain town of Virgin River, my favorite fictional place. ‘TIS THE SEASON is a compilation of two holiday stories from the series. If you’re new to the Virgin River series, I might not recommend jumping in with this book. But if you’re a regular, you’ll enjoy catching up with favorite characters and meeting some new ones.

Under the Christmas Tree: An abandoned box of newborn puppies brings Nate, the hot, young town veterinarian, together with a softhearted salon owner named Annie. Annie was recently burned by a real loser, and she doesn’t think guys like Nate, who used to date young Southern Cal beauties, would be interested in her. Luckily, they had the squirmy little puppies to keep bringing them together. I think Annie’s obsession with the puppies was a bit excessive, but overall this was a sweet, cozy Christmas romance. 3 Stars.

Midnight Confessions: Of the two Virgin River stories, this was my favorite. Nate’s niece, Sunny, is visiting for the holidays, and he takes her to the annual New Year’s Eve party at Jack’s bar. Yikes, Sunny has some major emotional baggage and wants to stay far away from men. Drew, a med student, is smitten with Sunny, even though she’s cold, cold, cold. He’s determined to use his charm to chip away Sunny’s icy exterior. I enjoyed this couple’s romance, and wondered if they ever got their own full-length book! 4 Stars.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS by Robyn Carr

Series: Virgin River, #4
Publisher: Mira
Released: November 1, 2008
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him. Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby’s shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago, then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.


In honor of my birthday today, I’m posting the review for my FAVORITE romance read in 2013. A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS was ahh-mazing. This is the fourth book in the Virgin River series, and timeline-wise, it takes place at the same time as the third book, WHISPERING ROCK. Sure, you can read this one as stand-alone, but why would you want to miss out on the first three books filled with Virgin River goodness?

A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS begins with recently widowed Marcie Sullivan trying to find the man who saved her husband’s life in Iraq four years earlier. Ian Buchanan pulled severely wounded Bobby Sullivan to safety, but once stateside, Ian disappeared. The two Marines were close friends, and even Marcie developed a friendship with Ian through letters after Bobby’s injury, but then his letters stopped. But hers didn’t. She continued to write him at a general delivery address in the mountains of Northern California, so that’s where she begins her search.

Ian has become a reclusive, mountain man-type, with a bushy red beard on his face and an outhouse in his yard. He’s just fine being shut off from the rest of the world, even if it means living in a one-room cabin with no plumbing or electricity. On top of a mountain just outside of Virgin River is as good a place as any to hide from his demons, until stubborn and determined Marcie Sullivan shows up and forces him to face his past.

A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS is a tender and moving love story that had me tearing up a few times. The characterizations of Ian and Marcie were perfect – Ian as the emotionally scarred ex-Marine and Marcie as the young widow trying to find the strength to move on. I know it sounds like a sad tale, but it was also heartwarming and uplifting and even funny at times. I’m very curious to see what becomes of Ian and Marcie, and I’m hoping they make an appearance in future books.

Loved it! I highly recommend this book and this series!

Rating: 5 Stars

Book Review: WHISPERING ROCK by Robyn Carr



Series: Virgin River, #3
Publisher: Mira Books
Released: June 1, 2007
Source: Borrowed the eBook from the Library

Virgin River has sheltered more than a few lost souls over the years—and there’s always room for more….

Virgin River became a safe haven for Sacramento prosecutor Brie Sheridan after she nearly lost her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though she still has fears she can’t escape, she also has someone who wants to show her just what it means to trust again.

A decorated marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty. Twice divorced, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found—a woman who can tie up his heart forever.

Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him—her heart, and with it, a new beginning.


It was good to be back in Virgin River! WHISPERING ROCK is the third installment of the series, and it continues the stories of Jack & Mel, Preacher & Paige, and other residents of the tiny California mountain town readers have met in the previous books, plus some new faces arrive in town.

The featured romance this time was between Mike Valenzuela (Jack’s friend) and Brie Sheridan (Jack’s little sister). Virgin River is known as a place that troubled souls come for shelter and healing. This is true for Mike and Brie, both victims of violent crimes. I loved watching their causal, flirty friendship from the last book developed into a serious relationship based on patience, understanding, and trust. Even though Mike was his Marine brother and very good friend, Jack wasn’t too happy about him hooking up with his baby sister! Ah, well. Poor Jack.

I was also intrigued by a side story involving Mel, the town’s nurse practitioner and midwife, finding out there’s a predator putting area teenage girls in danger. She teams up with Mike to figure out what’s going on.

I enjoyed WHISPERING ROCK as much as the first two books – 5 stars all around! Emotional stories, complex characters, romance, and a touch of suspense. Highly recommended! Next up: A VIRGIN RIVER CHRISTMAS.

Rating: 5 Stars

Book Review: SHELTER MOUNTAIN by Robyn Carr

Series: Virgin River, #2
Publisher: Mira
Released: May 1, 2007
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★★

John “Preacher” Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one—the woman is covered in bruises. He wants to protect them, and he wants to punish whoever did this to her, but he knows immediately that this inclination to protect is something much more. Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man—emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.

But when Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. And if there’s one thing the marines’ motto of Semper Fidelis—always faithful—has taught him, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.

SHELTER MOUNTAIN is the second book in the Virgin River series, and it is just as wonderful as the first. I loved getting to know the real Preacher as he helps a young mother on the run from her abusive husband. Paige and Preacher’s relationship develops slowly and realistically given their delicate situation. My heart went out to Paige as she fought to save herself and her son from a monster. Luckily she had Preacher and the rest of Virgin River to offer support and protection.

At first glance, Preacher may not seem like your typical romance hero, but it doesn’t take long to fall in love with him. He’s a huge ex-marine, bald, with dark bushy eyebrows. Along with his intimidating appearance, he’s also very quiet, so getting close to him isn’t easy. But when he does let someone in, he’s the most loyal, protective and kind man on the planet. *swoon*

SHELTER MOUNTAIN also continues the Mel/Jack and Liz/Rick story lines from the first book. I enjoyed revisiting those characters and sharing their joys and heartbreaks – very emotional stuff.

Audiobook Review: VIRGIN RIVER by Robyn Carr

Format: Audio; 11 CDs (12 hr, 30 min)
Narrator: Therese Plummer
Series: Virgin River, #1
Publisher: Mira Books
Released: April 1, 2007
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★★

Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against the backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.

When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans…and a former marine cements them into place. Melinda Monroe may have come to Virgin River looking for escape, but instead she finds her home.

I finally took the plunge into the world of audiobooks! This was my first, and it was very enjoyable – both the story and narration. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the Virgin River series. Aren’t there 20 books now? I decided to start from the beginning.

VIRGIN RIVER is a bittersweet story about dealing with the pain of loss and learning to love again. The whole cast of characters was well-drawn and easy to get to know, and their home was amazing! Virgin River is a remote town of a few small buildings surrounded by giant redwoods, winding mountain roads, and the pristine river filled with fish.

It was all those wonderful things that drew grieving widow Melinda (Mel) Monroe to Virgin River. It seemed like the perfect escape, but once she got there, Mel realized that small town life wasn’t as simple and trouble-free as she thought. Mel was a likable character, hurting but strong, and devoted to her career as a nurse practitioner and midwife.

For me the highlight of VIRGIN RIVER was Jack Sheridan. (He wins best book boyfriend of the year hands down!) He’s an ex-marine with alpha-male tendencies, very protective of the people he loves. He’s also about the kindest, most generous man you could meet. He was so patient and understanding with Melinda as she came to terms with her husband’s death.

I really enjoyed Therese Plummer’s narration of this book. Because this was my first audiobook, it took me a while to get used to the different character voices, especially the male characters. Once I got into the grove of things, I appreciated the emotions Ms. Plummer added to the characters’ voices.

I would highly recommend VIRGIN RIVER to lovers of contemporary romance! I’m starting the second book, SHELTER MOUNTAIN, today.