REVIEW: SHELTER MOUNTAIN, BY ROBYN CARR

For the second time in a year, a woman arrives in the small town of Virgin River trying to escape her past.

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 to punish whoever did this, but he knows immediately that this is more than just instinct. Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man—emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.

Then Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River. And if there’s one thing the marines’ motto of Semper Fi—always faithful—has taught Preacher, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.

Eagerly I began devouring the story in Shelter Mountain, as I had met some of the characters in the first book of the series and already developed a soft spot for the inhabitants of the little mountain community. Some of the original characters had returned for this outing, and I had an additional connection to them from watching the first season of the Netflix adaptation of Virgin River.

When you hear the expression “it takes a village,” you might think of a community like Virgin River, where the residents are protective and nurturing. You might also decide that some of them are nosy and too much “up in my business,” but at the end of the day, you would probably overlook that quality.

My favorite characters are Jack, Mel, and Preacher…and after reading this book, I know I will want to spend more time with them all.

I liked how Paige, a new character, came into the story and brought the issue of domestic violence into the mix. An especially relevant theme for characters who are protective and nurturing.

Now I can’t wait to continue all the stories with characters I love. 5 stars.

***

Earlier this morning, I changed my blog header here and included a photo (on the right) that showcases my book creations, center, and some red and beige beads that have their own story.

It all began on a hot night in June 1970.  A friend and I decided to go to a party hosted by some graduates of California State University at Sacramento.  Our alma mater.  I had just finished a year of graduate studies and my friend knew some of the attendees.  We plotted out our “look” for the event, and part of mine featured those beads.

Like many of us back then, we were trying on new ideas…and those included a new way to dress.  I didn’t get the beads in one of those little shops that I would later discover and explore, but because of the events of that night in June, these would become part of a sentimental journey.

That night I met the guy who would become my second husband and the father of my two youngest children.

Yes, sentimental journeys often begin unexpectedly and feature mementos, like the beads…or other accouterments.  Those beads have followed me ever since, and I have moved a lot!  As you see in the photo above, they are draped over the cupboard door…and now (below) they have moved slightly to another door of the same cupboard.

In that first summer, I wore them a lot.  And then I decided that they would be better off displayed on a favorite piece of quirky furniture…after all, some of my necklaces have had unfortunate accidents. 

I am actually surprised that they have lasted this long, given the number of times I have moved (fourteen times in the 1970s!), followed by several moves in each subsequent decade.

I didn’t acquire the Jelly Cupboard until the 1990s, when I was decorating my A-frame house in the foothills.  Note the sign over the front door:  CHEZ RAINE.  Another sentimental object that followed me.

After I left the foothills, I brought the sign to my condo,, where it showed off in my dining room.

Now it “decorates” my bathroom in my studio apartment.

Books, dolls, photos and other treasures have joined me on my sentimental journey.  These collections have dwindled to a few select things…smaller spaces do dictate that choice.  But whatever comes along for the ride has some unique story.

***

What treasures, if any, follow you on your journey?

***

COFFEE CHAT: SIDETRACKED & JUMBLED UP…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

I am not sure what happened this week, and while I am loving Book Two of the Virgin River Series, Shelter Mountain, I have not yet finished it.  I did read and review The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood, but then I have been fussing about rearranging things…so that’s it…so far.

  • Note some changes in the photos on my chest of drawers.  An old photo of my maternal grandparents on the right; my own little family in 1979, left; and a photo of me in the early 1980s, center.  Oh, and front and center is my personalized license plate that my daughter grabbed just before I turned over the car.

  • Today I am off to my daughter’s salon to finally have my hair trimmed.  It is too long and getting in my way!
  • This morning, I am writing this at 4:48 a..m.  I got up shortly after 4:00, and I’ve been reading e-mails, visiting Facebook, and trying to figure out how to watch my favorite soaps…in light of how the daytime shows have been preempted for the Impeachment hearings, most of which we don’t even see since they continue late into the night!  Don’t even get me started on the hint of a “cover-up” that lurks in the background.
  • My computer issues continue…leaping cursor, mouse that doesn’t follow my lead…so frustrating!  And I know that I need to have a session with the Geek Squad.  Sigh. 

  • Now you can see why I have not yet finished my second book of the week!  I get sidetracked and jumbled up with issues!

***

That’s a signal for me to fix things or accept that they won’t change.  LOL.  How is your week so far?

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: READING, BLOGGING, & VIEWING…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

Another great week!  I’ve been reading from my print volumes, in addition to one e-book, just so I can add physical books to my shelves.  Yes, my library is growing. I have a few more books on three of the shelves, mixed in with photos.  Some of the books I ordered and received this week were ones I had previously owned…and lost in the move.  Sigh.

I read and reviewed three books this week and wrote five blog posts…yes, fewer posts than in previous weeks.  I’m trying to balance things out. 

I’m viewing Season 6 of Grace & Frankie and have seen nine of the thirteen episodes.  Savoring them, since I don’t want the season to be over too soon.

I’ve done some blog changes…headers and some little images to showcase “my thoughts” in my reviews.  Like these:  On the left, for this blog’s reviews; for Serendipity, check out the one on the right; then take a peek at the ones left and right at the bottom…for Curl up and Read and Rainy Days and Mondays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So…now I’m ready to grab more coffee…and then we’ll take a closer look at my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Shelter Mountain”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Bookish Love…

Serendipitous Hump Day…

Coffee Chat:  Adventures in the Interior, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “The Country Guesthouse”

Review:  Regretting You, by Colleen HooverReview:  The Daughter, by Jane ShemiltReview:  No Place Like Home, by Rebecca Muddiman

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Two books arrived in my physical mailbox…and two came via email from NetGalley.

NetGalley:

The Night Swim, by Megan Goldin – NG – 8/4/20

The Red Lotus, by Chris Bohjalian – NG-3/17/20

***

In My Physical Mailbox: Books I once owned…and bought again

The Good Mother, by Sue Miller

For Love, by Sue Miller

***

CURRENTLY READING:

Shelter Mountain, by Robyn Carr

Plus…I will continue reading hardcover/paperback books, including America’s Reluctant Prince, by Steven M. Gillon

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like? This week, we had strawberry/rhubarb pie again.  Yum!

***

COFFEE CHAT: ADVENTURES IN THE INTERIOR, ETC.

Here we are again, rambling on about our thoughts, our feelings, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous,  to see what others are chatting about.  Let’s grab some coffee and share.

As usual, I am reading, blogging, and ordering packages from Amazon.  I am determined to fill out more of my shelves with both hardcovers and paperbacks, just so I will feel as though I have a library again.  I’ve even ordered some I once owned and loved.  Below, note how I’ve rearranged the shelves to allow for more books to join my photos.

  • My blogs are also undergoing my rearranging obsession, with some new headers…and a cute little image to capture my thoughts on my reviews.  Below:  an image for this blog’s reviews.

  • I finished reading and reviewing Regretting You, by Colleen Hoover; (click for review).  I am almost finished with The Daughter, by Jane Shemilt (a paperback that will go on my shelf).
  • On Netflix, I started watching Season 6 of Grace and Frankie, and I am beyond excited!  I’ve only watched three of the thirteen episodes, but I have decided to savor them a bit.  It doesn’t take long to binge-watch a whole season.  Sigh.
  • As I read my fiction books, I am also making a little progress on The Reluctant Prince, about John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Here is a glimpse of Aubrey in New Zealand…you can see Hobbit Village in the background.
  • Meanwhile, in my apartment, I used my little step stool and rescued my Chez Raine sign from the top shelf in the closet.  Now it lives on the bathroom wall. It was once above the front door of my foothill house, and then spent time in my condo dining room.

 

***

How are you spending your Thursday?  Reading, blogging, or adventures?  Come on by and let’s chat.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: A BLISSFUL WEEK…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

This morning I woke up early to have breakfast with my granddaughter Fiona.  We had been missing our bonding time lately due to work, etc.  So off we went to Mimi’s for food and beverage, which included a lovely mimosa.  I thought afterwards about how the morning nicely topped off a good week.  While I only read and reviewed two books, I am 2/3 of the way through my third one and will probably finish it before the night is over.  (In fact, I did finish it!  See the review below). Eight blog posts seemed to fly out of my laptop.  So I’m feeling quite upbeat about my week and my books.

I also took a Lyft to my old nail salon and enjoyed a mani…

To finalize the good things in the week, I binge-watched Season I of Virgin River on Netflix.  Loved it!  I realized as I was watching that I have Book Two of the series, Shelter Mountain, so I need to read it soon.

Meanwhile, let’s grab some coffee or tea and check out the details of the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Playground”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Book Buying and Book Reading…

Hump Day & Rainy Day Reading…

Obsessing About My Interiors…

Coffee Chat:  Settling Into the New Year…

Bookish Friday:  “The Vanishing”

Friday Potpourri:  Wrapping Up a Special Week…

Revisiting My One Word…

Review:  Normal People, by Sally RooneyReview:  The Playground, by Jane ShemiltReview:  Such a Perfect Wife, by Kate White

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Two books arrived in my mailbox, I downloaded two books, and received one Prime freebie:

The Daughter, by Jane Shemilt

What Falls Away, A Memoir, by Mia Farrow (Purchased to replace my previously owned book, lost in the move).

***

Downloads:

The Country Guesthouse, by Robyn Carr

The Vanishing (Fogg Lake #1), by Jayne Ann Krentz

***

Amazon Prime Freebie:

Last Day, by Luanne Rice

***

CURRENTLY READING:

I’m reading from America’s Reluctant Prince:  The Life of John F. Kennedy, Jr., by Steven M. Gillon

Regretting You, by Colleen Hoover

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  On Thursday night, I had soup and a margarita at an old favorite hang-out:  California Pizza Kitchen.

***

REVISITING MY ONE WORD…

Almost two years ago, I wrote my last One Word post about my selection:  CONNECT. 

Dated February 14, 2018, I talked about ways I once connected (in college), or at work, and how much harder it is now.

The word CONNECT always reminds me of how different my life is nowadays…and how, back in college, connecting was not something you really had to think about.  There were so many new people to meet, and classes to attend with potential new connections.

In my career as a social worker, connecting with people was a daily routine, although my role in these interactions was quite different than it was in college.  I was a listener, a guide, an advocate…and I came to relish the role.  Not something that works for me now, though.

 

Of course, in today’s world, we have online opportunities, and I’m not negating the value of social media.  Without it, I would  be truly isolated.  But I have to go outside my comfort zone to find real-life connections. 

 

 

Well, imagine how something totally unexpected and life-changing has made connecting in a whole new way both possible and life-affirming. My life took a nose dive earlier this year due to an unexpected illness. hospitalization, and surgery.  I was uprooted from my apartment and I am now in a residential senior citizens facility.  Fortunately, I am in the independent section, but a community dining room and several activity centers are a kind of “enforced connecting” that took that particular decision out of my hands.

I have my own apartment, of course, and can choose not to go to the dining room or any of the activities.  But, in light of my desire to connect more, I am suddenly facing lots of opportunities.

In the dining room, some of us have chosen a big table with six residents, and we are discovering lots of ways to interact with one another.

***

So that is where I am on this journey…still trying to connect, and discovering new ways of doing so.

How are you managing with your One Word?

***

COFFEE CHAT: SETTLING INTO THE NEW YEAR…

Here we are again, rambling on about our thoughts, our feelings, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous,  to see what others are chatting about.  Let’s grab some coffee and share.

Throughout my week, I have been relaxing with reading, movies, and binge-watching Virgin River on Netflix.  I’ve signed up for the Goodreads Challenge, and I’ve read three books so far since January 1.  I wish I had not spent so much time on a book I would rather not have read.  Normal People had some interesting aspects, but I didn’t like the writing style.

  • Right now, I’m enjoying The Playground, by Jane Shemilt.  I’m also doing something unusual for me:  reading another book at the same time, but since it’s nonfiction, it works.  America’s Reluctant Prince, by Steven M. Gillon, is the life of John F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • My second son and his wife are in New Zealand, and also will be visiting Australia this week.  His daughter Aubrey will be living in New Zealand for a year.  Here are a couple of photos of their Hobbit Village adventure.

  • I’m envious of their time together, and also, it’s summer there, which I have a hard time wrapping my mind around. 
  • In my Weekly Updates this week, I wrote about how I added another little chest of drawers to my apartment, and I am loving how much easier it is to deal with my clothes!

  • Who knew that my tiny little “distressed” chest of drawers could make my life easier.  Below, left, see the white dresser.  Between the two pieces, I can store everything I own here. With the help of my little cubby (on the right) that mimics a closet, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

This is how my New Year is shaping up; what does yours look like?

***

OBSESSING ABOUT MY INTERIORS…

Now that I have moved to a much smaller space, I am searching my photo files to resurrect some old favorites…things left behind.  Like Disney characters; old books (behind the doll are the first three Nancy Drew books); and the little doll center stage that suits my quirky needs.

Then I love spotlighting some Disney characters with my Kindle.

Like my love of my favorite objects, I enjoy changing up the blogs.  Like this one, for starters.

So…I have a new look on this blog…again.  Some familiar images, and then the one in the middle makes me smile.  A reading woman surrounded by books!

My restless spirit thrives on seeking out these images, and changing things up in my surroundings.  A little obsessive?  Probably, but who cares?  LOL

I am also buying up hardcover and paperback books to grow my bookshelf.  It will never have as many books as I once had, but if I fill it up, I can call it a library…sort of.

Here is today’s progress, with recent additions.  I also have two stacks of unread books that will show up here soon. I am prepared to cut down on the photos shown to allow room for more books.

 

Now…I am off to read more books for my Nonfiction Challenge…and an e-book thriller.

***

What obsessive (or simply routine) tasks are keeping you busy today?

***

REVIEW: NORMAL PEOPLE, BY SALLY ROONEY

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

There was something very painful about watching the way Connell and Marianne came together and pulled apart over time. The push and pull of their connection to one another was like a dance, but one that was awkward and hurtful. Normal People felt so ironic, in that the two of them seemed to go out of their way to avoid connecting with each other.

Their inability to communicate their true feelings felt like a phase in the beginning since the young often cannot say what they truly mean to one another. Their near misses could “normally” be this off in the adolescent stages, but these two kept up their blundering and stumbling shuffle for many years, well into college and beyond.

Their disparate backgrounds and dysfunctional families did not help them learn better ways to be together, but in the end, I gave a painful sigh when they stumbled upon ways to talk to one another in a halting fashion. Finally.

This book was difficult to read, not only because of the constantly shifting emotions, but the writing style was off-putting, with its absence of quotation marks that made the communication seem even more challenging to follow. A worthwhile read, once the reader gets through the “stumbling” parts. 4 stars.

***