Review: Any Day Now by Robyn Carr + Giveaway

Review: Any Day Now by Robyn Carr + GiveawayAny Day Now (Sullivan's Crossing, #2) by Robyn Carr
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance
Series: Sullivan's Crossing #2
Pages: 384
Published by Mira Books on April 18th 2017
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

The highly anticipated sequel to #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr's What We Find transports readers back to Sullivan's Crossing. The rustic campground at the crossroads of the Colorado and Continental Divide trails welcomes everyone—whether you're looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or a whole new lease on life. It's a wonderful place where good people face their challenges with humor, strength and love.
For Sierra Jones, Sullivan's Crossing is meant to be a brief stopover. She's put her troubled past behind her but the path forward isn't yet clear. A visit with her big brother Cal and his new bride, Maggie, seems to be the best option to help her get back on her feet.
Not wanting to burden or depend on anyone, Sierra is surprised to find the Crossing offers so much more than a place to rest her head. Cal and Maggie welcome her into their busy lives and she quickly finds herself bonding with Sully, the quirky campground owner who is the father figure she's always wanted. But when her past catches up with her, it's a special man and an adorable puppy who give her the strength to face the truth and fight for a brighter future. In Sullivan's Crossing Sierra learns to cherish the family you are given and the family you choose.

My Review:

First of all, I love the places that Robyn Carr creates. Thunder Point was a terrific little town, and now Timberlake Colorado, the town near Sullivan’s Crossing, also seems like a fine place to get a fresh start.

And that’s just what Sierra Jones is looking for when she arrives in Timberlake in her beat-up orange VW Beetle, fondly known as “The Pumpkin” for obvious reasons. Nearly 30 and just 9 months sober, Sierra has come to Timberlake planning to spend some quality time with her brother Cal (hero of What We Find) and getting to know her new sister-in-law and the ‘bump’ that will become her niece in a few short months time.

Cal found a new life and fresh start in Timberlake, and healing in the beauties of nature that surround Sullivan’s Crossing at the conjunction of the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails. Sierra hopes for the same.

She ran away to rehab to escape something horrible, only to discover that the events that led up to her break happened, at least partially, because she really was an alcoholic, just like so many people, including Cal, told her. Running away from her messes into rehab was the first smart decision she had made in quite a while.

Sierra got scared straight. And she’s putting in the work to stay straight, one day at a time. But what scared her is big and bad and very, very real, and until she deals with it, she’s always going to feel just one day away from making more bad choices, or having her choices taken away from her, once and for all.

So Sierra comes to Timberlake for a fresh start where she can stand on her own two feet but still have support when she needs it. And so that she can be there for Cal when he needs her. It’s about time.

But just like her brother, Sierra comes to Timberlake looking to heal herself, and certainly not looking for a relationship. And that’s always just when you find one – when you are definitely not looking.

Conrad Boyle, (everyone calls him Connie whether he likes it or not), is a member of the Timberlake Fire Department. He’s also a paramedic who does search and rescue in his “off” hours. He doesn’t think he’s any better at picking the right partner than Sierra is. His last relationship ended in disaster, and he’s sure he’s better off not looking for love, because what finds him turns out to be anything but.

So of course Sierra and Connie fall for each other. Both unwilling at first to admit that what they have found is more than a fling. And Sierra more than a little bit afraid that when Connie learns the whole truth about her, he’ll run away as far and as fast as he can, leaving her devastated and alone. Again.

Instead, her past comes looking for her. But when it finally catches up to her, this time she doesn’t cave in. She nails it to the wall and beats it with a baseball bat.

Escape Rating B: I do love visiting Sullivan’s Crossing. It’s a great place, populated with a terrific bunch of people. Even the local bad apples are reasonably sympathetic and understandably human, if still a bit sour to the local taste.

I also like that the protagonists of the series are all adults with real adult problems. There’s plenty of angst at the right spots, but it’s real-life angst. Everyone has been banged around a bit in the school of hard knocks, and whatever they are agonizing over is stuff that’s really there, not made up drama. The series so far is also blissfully free of ridiculous misunderstandammits.

In spite of his spectacularly bad luck at relationships, Connie is a genuinely nice guy. He’s a good man who does some very hard things. Being a paramedic, even in a small town, means that he’s seen a lot of death and dismemberment, and had to rescue a lot of people from a lot of bad things. Sometimes he fails. So although his life looks mostly sunny, he understands in his bones that there are dark places and dark things in the world. He has the empathy to understand Sierra’s pain without either papering it over or rejecting it, and her.

Sierra, of course, is just certain that he can do better than her mixed-up self. But the heart wants what the heart wants.

The journey in this book is Sierra’s. She needs to decide she’s worthy, and she does it by facing the demons in her past. And that’s where things get both interesting and a bit murky.

I loved watching Sierra build a life for herself. Not just the romance, but everything that Sierra does to make herself part of Sullivan’s Crossing, and the way that it makes itself part of her. The mentor/father-figure relationship she builds with Sully is lovely. I’d say sweet but Sully probably wouldn’t approve.

But the more she reveals about herself, not just inside her own head but to Cal and eventually Connie, the more the reader is certain that her past is coming to get her. Literally. The story builds and builds the tension of Sierra waiting for that very dangerous other shoe to drop, to the point where I wanted to read ahead just to find out if they ever did get Chekhov’s gun down off the wall and just shoot it already.

When that climax finally comes, it gets wrapped up a bit too quickly. The way it gets wrapped up was wonderful, but that other shoe hung up there much longer than the actual drop got wrapped up.

But I loved my visit to Sullivan’s Crossing, and enjoyed it so much that I raced through the book just to see how everyone was doing and get to know the newbies. I can’t wait to go back!

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

I’m giving away a copy of Any Day Now to one lucky winner in the continental U.S.

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Review: What We Find by Robyn Carr + Giveaway

Review: What We Find by Robyn Carr + GiveawayWhat We Find (Sullivan's Crossing, #1) by Robyn Carr
Format: eARC
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: hardcover, ebook, audiobook
Genres: contemporary romance
Series: Sullivan's Crossing #1
Pages: 352
Published by Mira on April 5th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsitePublisher's WebsiteAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboBook Depository
Goodreads

Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman’s journey to finding the happiness she’s long been missing
Between the urban bustle of Denver and the high-stress environment of a career in neurosurgery, Maggie Sullivan has hit a wall. When an emergency, high-risk procedure results in the death of a teenager, Maggie finds herself in the middle of a malpractice lawsuit—and experiencing levels of anxiety she’s never faced before. It’s in this desperate moment that Maggie’s boyfriend decides he can’t handle her emotional baggage, and she’s left alone, exhausted and unsure of what her future holds. One thing is certain, though: she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can think to do that is Sullivan’s Crossing.
Named for Maggie’s great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide trails have been passed down through the generations and now belong to Maggie’s estranged father, Sully. Though raised by her mother and stepfather after her parents divorced, Maggie has always adored Sully—despite his hands-off approach to fatherhood. When she shows up unannounced in Sullivan’s Crossing, he welcomes her with opens arms, and she relishes the opportunity to rebuild their relationship.
But when Sully has a sudden heart attack, Maggie’s world is rocked once again. Consumed with his care, she’s relieved to find that Cal Jones, a quiet and serious-looking camper, has been taking over many of Sully’s responsibilities as he recuperates. Still, Maggie is suspicious of this mysterious man’s eagerness to help—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.
Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.

My Review:

This week has been a bit symmetrical. Tuesday and Wednesday’s books (The Murder of Mary Russell and Journey to Munich) were read-alikes for each other. Now yesterday’s book, Once a Rancher, and today’s book, What We Find, are also read-alikes for each other.

So if Once a Rancher looked good to you, you’ll probably like What We Find. And vice-versa. And if What We Find looks good to you, you’ll probably really love The Wanderer, also by Robyn Carr. There are a lot of things about the setup that echo from one book (and one series opener) to another. But the people involved feel different, particularly the heroine.

Although they say you can’t go home again, when too many serious crises fall on Maggie Sullivan’s head, that’s exactly what she does. Maggie goes home to Sullivan’s Crossing, where her dad owns, operates and lives next-door to the local general store. Only to present Maggie with yet another crisis, but this time one that she can help to fix.

Maggie is a neurosurgeon in Denver, and generally a successful one. But in the last few months, her world has come crashing down around her. Her practice is closed, because her two partners were accused of fraud and malpractice. Maggie herself was hit with a separate malpractice suit over a heartbreaking trauma incident. Last but not least, 37-year-old Maggie found herself pregnant, and her long-term lover urged her to abort. He wasn’t ready or willing to be a father again, and when Maggie miscarried, he was more relieved than anything else. The jackass couldn’t deal with Maggie’s grief and stress – so he dumped her. In a phone call.

A friend told her to take a damn break already, and let herself heal. So Maggie went home to Sullivan’s Crossing. Less than two weeks later, her beloved but somewhat curmudgeonly dad had a heart attack, and Maggie was back in Denver at the hospital where she used to practice, enduring the complaints and teasing of a man who had never been sick a day in his life, and was a horrible patient to anyone who got near him. But he lived, and he healed, and Maggie took Sully back to Sullivan’s Crossing.

As Sully adjusts to being not quite as active as he used to be (he’s 70 and just survived a bypass) Maggie adjusts to being the one running the store and the Crossing, and finds herself becoming part of the little community where the Continental Divide Trail intersects several other trails just at that point where North America divides between east and west.

And Maggie finds herself falling for an enigmatic camper who pitches in everywhere around Sullivan’s Crossing while Sully recovers, but teases her unmercifully about who he really is and just why he’s hanging around a summer camping resort and obviously not working, from March until July.

As they explore each other, it turns out that Cal Jones is exactly what Maggie Sullivan needed to help her figure out where she wants to go (or stay) next in her life. And that Maggie Sullivan is the best thing that ever happened to Cal Jones.

But once they finally reveal all the truths to each other, can they find a way to move forward from a summer fling to something more?

Escape Rating B+: Anyone who enjoyed The Wanderer and Carr’s Thunder Point series will love What We Find. The stories are similar, but also very different. And while The Wanderer is Hank Cooper’s story, and we see things mostly from his perspective, What We Find is Maggie’s story, and hers is the point of view we see most and empathize with.

Also, Sully is a fantastic character in his own right. He reminds me a bit of Jackson Gibbs on NCIS. He’s the glue that holds the community together, and he loves his grown child without interfering in her life. But he provides interesting advice whenever anyone cares to listen, and creates a haven in his community. And of course there are unresolved issues in his relationship with his grown-up daughter that still fester between them, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the oh-so-obvious love.

Maggie and Cal’s romance is sweet and hot and surprises them both. Not that they are surprised when they finally fall into bed (or tent) together, but surprised that both of them discover more than just a fling. Maggie constantly expects Cal to leave, like her previous summer romances at the Crossing. Cal isn’t sure (with good reason) that once he tells Maggie the whole truth about his past, she’ll want to continue with him.

And they are both at personal crossroads, which may take them in opposite directions. Now that they are both nearing 40, neither of them is exactly sure what they want to be when they “grow up”. And there are certainly plenty of clouds hanging over both their heads, and lots of people pushing (at least pushing Maggie) to make one decision or another. As part of that pushing, it was very, very nice to see someone with an unconventional but loving and respectful relationship with a stepparent.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book is that Cal and Maggie are both firmly adults. They have lives and careers, and are at the point in their lives when they are searching for a next chapter. We don’t get enough of this kind of story.

I also loved that there was no “misunderstandammit” keeping them apart. Cal doesn’t talk about his past because he’s still dealing with the tragedy. He’s not ready to share. Maggie, likewise doesn’t bring up the miscarriage both because she’s still grieving and because her ex’s reaction made her a bit gunshy.

The way that they grow towards each other is lovely, and Cal’s continual teasing of the initially suspicious Maggie is adorable. I ended this book with a smile on my face, and can’t wait for my next visit to Sullivan’s Crossing.

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~~~~

Robyn and Harlequin MIRA are giving away a copy of What We Find to one lucky U.S. commenter:

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