Guess what? Today, my buddy reviewer is Ames!! Woohoo, it's been so long since we both read the same book! LOL. It all started when Ames read Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. She enjoyed it so much that she immediately picked up Rainshadow Road and you have to know, with Ames, that's pretty rare LOL. She's usually behind on series :P Seeing how much she enjoyed the two books, I decided to give them a try too... and voila, a buddy review! Hope you enjoy it!
published by St. Martin's Press in February 2012
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington, with a boyfriend, Kevin, who she believes is her soul mate. She has always had a magical side - a gift that finds its way into the breathtaking glasswork she creates - and she struggles to keep it contained. But when Lucy is blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal, she questions many of her choices. Her boyfriend leaves her and his new lover is none other than Lucy's own sister. Lucy's bitterness over this devastation is multiplied buy the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life.Genre: Contemporary romance
Meanwhile, facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's family, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on the San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy so that she can more easily move on. But when Sam and Lucy begin to feel real sparks between them, Lucy must ask herself if she can easily risk her heart again.
As Lucy questions her beliefs about love, loyalty, and old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings, she explores the possibility that some things in life - even after are being broken - can be re-made into something beautiful. And that is the only by discovering who you really are that you can find the one who truly deserves you.
Series: Friday Harbor series, Book #2
Nath: So Ames, what did you think of Rainshadow Road? I find I enjoyed it more than Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. One big reason was that Rainshadow Road was longer and therefore, was more developed and detailed. We finally got to a better picture of the Nolans family as well. In Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, the three Nolans men kept saying they didn't know how to be a family, how to take care of someone and they didn't believe in marriage because of their parents example, but we were never really given details and that bothered me!
I was also surprised at how Sam turned out to be. Quite frankly, my first impression of Sam in Rainshadow Road wasn't very favorable, because he seemed not to want to have anything to do with Holly. It got better, because obviously, there was a bond and he loved her... But I liked finding out that behind the womanizer, there was a geek :)
Ames: Ok, I was somewhat surprised by how much I enjoyed Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor and found it very light and fluffy. Because of that, I enjoyed it a bit more than Rainshadow Road. But just a smidge more. The lack of background didn’t bother me because I felt it was enough at the time. But I see your point with Rainshadow Road: it was good to get a more in-depth history of their childhood. But Sam’s childhood differed from Mark’s in that he had the neighbours who gave him an escape from his situation.
Your reaction to Sam is funny. I didn’t have an unfavourable opinion of his character. To me it was that the siblings weren’t very close and Sam felt like he didn’t know how to be a ‘normal’ family and especially how to raise a little girl. He supported Mark though so that showed his true character. And in Rainshadow Road, he’s a very yummy character.
Nath: Oh, Sam stepped up to the task in supporting Mark - no question about that! And it was really great to see! I loved Holly’s interactions with her two uncles! How she wrapped these two bachelors around her fingers :) Actually, I have to say, Holly is my favorite character so far in the series. She’s just adorable! I think it’s just fun to see how innocent and happy she is :)
But I digress. You’re right, Sam turned out to be a yummy hero :) I really liked him. I didn’t feel he was that “scarred” by his background story. I mean, he wasn’t looking for one-night stands relationship. All he wanted was keeping things casual. I guess he simply wasn’t what I expected LOL.
I did find it kind of funny how each Nolan man had a different childhood. For Mark, being the oldest, when growing up, the situation wasn’t as bad... and when it became really bad, he was at an age where he could move out. Sam had the neighboring couple and poor Alex, he had no one. It would have been interesting to know how it was for Victoria.
Ames: I can’t wait to read Alex’ book, to see how his childhood compares to his brothers. I’m thinking he got the worst from their parents because he’s such a troubled character now.
So what did you think of the whole Alice thing?
Nath: I’m looking forward to Alex’ book too. I think it’s going to be interesting :)
As for the whole Alice thing,I think it gave us a good perspective into Lucy’s life. How they grew up with different standards. I liked that Lucy was angry at Alice and seriously, I wanted to slap Alice for being so selfish and such a bitch!! It was all about “me-me-me” with Alice... And the worst is that the idea to introduce someone to Lucy came from Alice. I find that aside from showing how selfish Alice was, it also showed that Alice didn’t respect Lucy and I really find it hard to believe that she “loved” Lucy or considered her as a sister.
Although I have to say, I’m really not surprised at how the whole fiasco turned out. One good thing that came out of it was that for once, Lucy’s parents side with her and it really made them, or at least the mother, take a good look at how they had spoiled Alice and made her the person she is.
Ames: I loved how Rainshadow Road started with Lucy’s childhood and how Alice’s sickness changed everything. It was a great set up even though the outcome was predictable. I still like reading stories like that! I don’t know why. But yeah, Alice was a selfish bitch and her mom - I just wanted to strangle her mom and tell her to wake up! I’m glad that her parents stood up to Alice when the whole situation became known.
Now the thing with Alice’s plan to find someone for Lucy to fall in love with. I thought it would happen a certain way that would lead to a big misunderstanding but Lisa did an awesome job with making Lucy and Sam discuss Alice’s scheme!! First of all, it’s not predictable. Second, it shows that these are two mature characters that are communicating with each other. I really appreciated that.
Nath: I totally agree with you, Ames! I was glad Ms Kleypas didn’t go the usual route and have the big misunderstanding. I think the key here was really the fact that Lucy and Sam had already met and were attracted to each other.
What did you think of the romance? I liked how slowly it progressed, that they got to spend time together and got know each other. And while I’m not crazy Lucy entered this romance knowing that Sam wasn’t looking for long-term commitment, it worked out well at the end. Oh and I really liked the ending, the fact that Lucy didn’t give up the scholarship. They worked through it, had a long-distance relationship before their HEA ending. I would have liked Lucy to discuss her plans with Sam a bit earlier though. The only other niggle for me in this romance was Sam’s reaction when he woke up with Lucy. I thought the way he freaked out was ridiculous ^_^;
Ames: I liked the romance. I liked the timing of it as well. Yeah Lucy meets Sam the day she finds out her boyfriend was cheating on her with her sister, but it was all good. They did get to know each other first. Now with the ending, I’m glad Lucy kept her scholarship too. And I like that she didn’t tell Sam about it earlier. He wanted the distance so when she gave it to him, he realized he didn’t like it. And I agree, that freakout was a bit overdone, but I liked Lucy’s reaction. I think he was more freaked out because it didn’t freak him out, waking up with her. Know what I mean?
Nath: Yeah, I know what you mean. Although I would like for a man who wasn’t into commitment to one day wake up, realize he is in a relationship and not freak out. Things change, people change and situations change.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room... The magic ^_^; I read reviews of Rainshadow Road, so I was aware of it. I think overall, Ms Kleypas did a good job with it. I mean, she kept it simple and in little quantities, so it didn’t overtake the book. However, I have to say, at the end of the day, I thought it was superfluous. The book would have read really well without it and I don’t think it added much to the storyline.
Ames: I didn’t mind the magic. I wasn’t surprised by it. I mean it’s right there in the beginning with Lucy. It’s not like it came out of nowhere. It didn’t hurt the story so although it was somewhat superfluous, it’s another aspect where Sam and Lucy had a connection. If it was anyone else, they wouldn’t get it. I mean, Lucy never told Kevin about it. I think that’s a sign that she didn’t really open up to him, so didn’t really love him. And with Sam she’s completely open. Also, I like that Holly didn’t question it. And the window! I liked that window, I thought that was really cool.
Nath: That’s one thing I found too convenient about the story though. That Sam “suddenly” has magic :( Like you say, it gives Sam and Lucy another connection... and it’s a bit too obvious a purpose. It also seems to me Alex will have his own gift. I hope Ms Kleypas will keep it at a minimum as well.
By the way, what was your favorite part of the book Ames? Surprisingly for me, it didn’t involve either H/H. Instead, it’s the scene where Holly asks Mark if she can call him ‘Dad.’ It was such a sweet, innocent, touching and honest scene! Really brightened the whole book for me :) Actually, I’d say I loved every scene with Holly! As I mentioned earlier, she is my favorite character of the series and I actually wished we’ve seen more of her in the second half of the book. I just loved her interactions with everyone :)
Ames: I know in the past I said I didn’t like children in my romances, but I’ve lightened up in my attitude the last couple of years and I have to admit, Holly is the best character out of this series. Which is a really good thing since she brings all the brothers together and is indeed the glue of the family. Wouldn’t you agree? And yes, that scene with Mark was touching. I also like that we still got to see Mark in this book. That his story wasn’t finished at the end of his book.
Nath: Yes, I agree! If it wasn’t for Holly, I think the relationships between the three men would really have fractured. And it was indeed nice to see Mark again... although I was a bit surprised at the turn of events. Things are really going quickly for him!
Ames: Ok, before we wrap things up, I wanted to include this blurb. It just made my geeky heart happy:
Lucy looked down at the periodic table that covered the front of her shirt. “Where is glass?” she asked, trying to read the chemical elements upside down.Nath: LOL, great passage Ames! Yup, Sam was just a great blend between geek and womanizer :P
“Not on the periodic table. Glass is a compound. It’s mostly silica, which is...crap, I can’t think straight. It’s SiO2. Here...” He touched the Si, which happened to be located high on the right side of her chest. “And here.” The pad of his thumb brushed the O on her left side, close to the tip of her breast.
“Glass also has sodium carbonate,” she said.
“I think that’s...” Sam paused, struggling to concentrate. “...Na2CO3.” He studied the front of the shirt and shook his head. “I can’t show you sodium carbonate. Dangerous territory.”
“What about calcium oxide?”
His gaze scanned the shirt until he found it. He shook his head. “I’d have you on your back in about five seconds.”
So what’s your grade for Rainshadow Road? I’m giving it a B. It was a nice and enjoyable read :)
Ames: I’m giving Rainshadow Road a B as well. It wasn’t as fluffy or sweet as CEaFH but still a good read.