Sunday, January 31, 2021

Book Review - RETURN TO VIRGIN RIVER by Robyn Carr


Title:  Return to Virgin River

Author:  Robyn Carr
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Publisher:  MIRA
Release Date:  October 13, 2020

About the Book:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand-new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

The Virgin River series is full of heartwarming stories and RETURN TO VIRGIN RIVER is no exception. Wonderful characters are revisited and the storyline is well thought out.

I did have a bit of difficulty connecting with the characters in this one, but that may not be the fault of the writer. It may just be a sign of the times with this reader having a difficult time escaping into my normal bliss of a book. I actually read this book a couple of months ago and am just now writing my review.

*Disclosure:  I received a complimentary advance copy from NetGalley and the author in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and opinions are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:
Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River series. The third novel (THE FAMILY GATHERING) in her fan-favorite new series, Sullivan's Crossing, will be released in April 2018. Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Robyn and her husband live in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr's website at

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Book Review - A FIGHTING CHANCE By Chrys Fey


A Fighting Chance
Chrys Fey
(Disaster Crimes, #6)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: January 11, 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

***A FIGHTING CHANCE is Book 6 in the Disaster Crimes series, but it's a spin-off featuring a new couple, so it can be read as a standalone.***
Thorn has loved Amanda from afar, giving her whatever she needs as a survivor of abuse--space, protection, and stability. He yearns to give her more, though, to share his feelings, kiss her, love her, but he's worried the truth will frighten her away.
And Amanda is afraid. She's scared of her attraction to Thorn. Most of all, she's terrified of her ex-boyfriend, who is lurking nearby where no one can find him. When she grows closer to Thorn, Damon retaliates, jeopardizing their happy ending.
Content Warning: 
f-bombs, stalker, abusive relationship (past), sexual assault, violence, PTSD/anxiety, blood (minor)
Heat Rating: Hot (Steamy scenes but NOT erotica)

Disaster Crimes Series:
Hurricane Crimes (#1)
Seismic Crimes (#2)
Lightning Crimes (#2.5 free story)
Tsunami Crimes (#3)
Flaming Crimes (#4)
Frozen Crimes (#5) A Fighting Chance (#6, spinoff) The Disaster Curse (#7, short)

My Review

A FIGHTING CHANCE is a quick read. Or it seemed so anyway. Once I started, I couldn't stop and read from start to finish in one sitting. It was THAT good!

If you have read the other books in this series you will have already grown to adore Thorn and Amanda. If you haven't read the other books in this series, I recommend that you do, even though this could be read as a stand-alone. The first five books in the series are more about Beth and Donovan, but Thorn is a major character in those books. Book #6 is a spin-off from the series and the focus is on Thorn and Amanda and the domestic violence Amanda had to endure prior to working for Beth... and the chemistry that has slowly developed between Amanda and Thorn. Oh my! I love Thorn! He is the perfect match for Amanda and a perfect example of how to treat a woman who is having a difficult time adjusting to day to day life after enduring such torment as what she went through with Damon. 

Highly recommended and well-deserving of my five wine glasses!

My Rating

 / Amazon / Barnes & Noble 

Author Bio:

Chrys Fey is author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept that blends disasters, crimes, and romance. She runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Book Club on Goodreads and edits for Dancing Lemur Press.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Newsletter

Friday, January 29, 2021

Audiobook Review - THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST by Chanel Cleeton


Title: The Last Train to Key West

Author: Chanel Cleeton
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: June 16, 2020

About the Book:

In 1935, three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.

For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in HavanaMirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

Buy Links: Amazon 

My Review:

THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST was this past month's pick from a book club I belong to here in the Florida Keys. I must say that this was the perfect book for us to read. Having lived through numerous hurricanes and being a longtime resident of the Keys, this story went straight to my soul. 

Three women with three entirely different backgrounds cross paths and are linked through circumstances during the time of the massively destructive hurricane of 1935. Helen, a Key West native, is a victim of domestic abuse and we watch her struggles to exist day by day as her pregnancy unfolds. Mirta, a woman newly in Florida from her home in Cuba, is the new bride of an American gangster through an arranged marriage in order to help her family. And then there is Elizabeth, a New York socialite now struggling to make ends meet after her family lost their wealth during the Great Depression, and feverishly trying to find the one person who may be able to help her get away from the man she is engaged to marry.

This book of historic fiction brings together not only these three women, but it brings to mind the struggles of the people in the Keys during this time period. Not only the anxiety and devastation from the hurricane, but the lives of the men who worked in the camps and the conditions they had to endure, as well as a fascinating description of what it was like to travel through the Keys.

Chanel Cleeton has created fully dimensional fictional characters that you love or love-to-hate, and has also brought together well-developed historical facts about life in the Florida Keys during that time period. Wonderful book and highly recommended to anyone who has ever visited the Florida Keys.

This review is based on the audiobook, which I also give a 5-star (5 wine glass) rating. The narration by Kyla Garcia, Rachel L. Jacobs and Karissa Vacker was outstanding and well-paced.  

My Rating:

About the Author:

Chanel Cleeton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana, When We Left Cuba, The Last Train to Key West, and The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family's exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.

Learn more about her on her website at

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

RAMBLINGS & RECIPES - Sometimes Life Just Gets in the Way

Hello Everyone!

Between the holidays and unexpected life-happenings, I have not been here posting my reviews lately. Sometimes that happens. If I have promised you a review of a book, please forgive me for taking so long. I am slowly getting my act together and the reviews will resume soon! Thank you for your patience!

So much has happened over the past couple of months! We are now the slightly insane owners of a new RV. This thing is HUGE! When our kids were young we had a 25' motorhome and traveled all across the country. Now it's just hubby and me and we have one that is almost twice that size! Be prepared for more of my Ramblings and Recipes as we start traveling again. Just waiting for our Covid vaccines before we hit the road. 

So far, we have only traveled to and from the LazyDays campground in Tampa and a fabulous 3-day stay at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney, which was totally peaceful and relaxing.

Best news of all... I am now a great-grandmother! My beautiful granddaughter Jennifer, and her husband Justin have an adorable baby boy named Jared. I can't wait to hold that sweet little bundle in my arms!

Hubby and I were lucky to get our first Covid vaccine shot. In 28 days we will get our second shot and then we will be good to go explore more campgrounds and make it up to North Carolina to see that sweet new baby and the rest of my family up there.

We are outfitting the RV with our laptop computers and internet. So, hopefully, I will eventually have time to get caught up on my reading and reviewing!

Stay tuned!

Pssst...  No recipes right now. I'm still on the Nutrisystem diet and not doing much cooking. On a positive note, I have lost over 30 pounds!


The Novel Lady Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon