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4.6 out of 5 stars
Redwood Bend (Virgin River Book 18)
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Katie Malone has packed up her Vermont house and is headed West to Virgin River and her brother Conner. Now, with two hungry five-year-olds and a spate of rain coming down, her travel along the beautiful mountain road is stopped short by a flat tire. While Katie struggles to change the tire, she encounters four bikers on a road trip. Since she can't even loosen the tire's lug nuts and cell service is non-existent, she waves them down. The first biker, an enormous man, insists on changing the tire and enlists his buddies to help. While two of them place safety markers along the road, the fourth biker, Dylan helps with the tire. When Katie gets a look at Dylan, her senses go into overdrive. Dylan Childress is a hottie whose arresting face could grace any billboard. Katie thinks she recognizes him as a child film star.

Dylan loves biking and flying. With his partner Lang, and maintenance operator Stu, Dylan takes off from their charter air service in Montana to go on a bikers' holiday with Walt who insisted on accompanying the men on their annual road trip. They're headed to Virgin River and Riordan's cabins as their base of operations for this year's trip. It might well be their last, because with the downturn in the economy, the charter business is struggling.

Katie is ensconced in Mel's old cabin and son is introduced to the townspeople. She loves Virgin River but is concerned about what she'll do for work. She feels it's important to step out on her own.

Dylan finds Katie drop-dead perfect, but with a family history of failed relationships and selfishness, he knows he's not the man for her. Katie thinks otherwise, but she also needs to make decisions for herself, and caring for her twin boys is paramount on her list of priorities. Can these two people who feel so much for each other work out their differences?

Once again, the fabulous Robyn Carr has crafted a story to warm the hearts of her readers. Redwood Bend combines delightful characters with the fabulous Virgin River setting and old characters from previous stories to create a stunning romance. Is the road to happiness easy. Certainly not, but Dylan's and Katie's struggles are believable and poignant. I loved this story and was sad to see it end.

Ms Carr has a remarkable talent for letting the reader see into the workings of a small and delightful town. Virgin River has become very real to many of us who have read the entire series. While new characters develop, she reintroduces old one in supporting roles but still manages to keep the romance of the current couple front and center.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2012
I have read all of the Virgin River books. I adored this series early on but sadly believe that Robyn Carr is now writing on autopilot. At its best, this series offered wonderfully drawn characters, a great sense of place, and interesting plots. Now, Robyn Carr simply drops a new male and female love interest into each new book and then rapidly wraps up their story. It's become a boring and overly simplistic formula. There's no attempt to further develop old characters who we have come to know and love. Will Vanessa and Paul finally have a child of their own? What does Mike Valenzuela actually do all day long? How is Tom Booth coping in the Army? Will Ellie and Noah ever finish rennovating their house? Instead of endlessly parachutting in new characters, Robyn Carr might try the harder work of letting her established cast of characters grow over time.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
Redwood Bend is a solid entry in the Virgin River series. It is not the best in the series, but it has all the ingredients that make these books comforting, enjoyable and perfect to help you relax. When I started Redwood Bend I had gone through some hard days at work and this story was the perfect escape.

Redwood Bend revisits the story of Katie, Conner's sister. We first saw Conner and Kate in Hidden Summit. Katie makes the move to Virgin River with her young twin boys and stays at the magical A-Frame cabin in the clearing, the very same cabin that Mel stayed at back in book 1. We get some of Preacher's cooking, some of Jack's bartender jokes, lots of Conner and Leslie and a good amount of build-up and angst involving the focus couple - -Dylan and Katie.

Dylan is a former childhood and teenage TV and movie star. But former is they key, he lives a very different lifestyle but his past haunts him (after all he is a hero in a Virgin River book!). Katie is trying to move on in her life, get past losing her husband and raise her sons. Dylan and Katie's lives collide and the result is some great heat, a cute romance and some very touchy scenes.

So while this is not the best Virgin River book I have read, it is still entertaining, fun and moves the story arc along. Fans will enjoy definitely enjoy it. It can also be read as a standalone, Robyn Carr catches readers up with detailed recaps.

I do have a few complaints. I know the set up for these stories is simple and maybe that is the point for these comfort reads. But sometimes, it does get old: two individuals with difficult pasts, the road into Virgin River is fraught with danger so accidents and flat tires happen, Preacher cooks up good food for strangers, Jack is wise and knows a couple will hook up before they do, there more than likely is an unplanned pregnancy, groups of men enjoy fishing and hunting bonding trips, the wise family friend counsels the heroine on her choices and missteps, and no matter what curve balls are thrown the heroine she always always smiles.

Another complaint, at the beginning of the story I was not sure which male character was going to be the hero of the story and who was doing the talking - -Walt or Dylan. Maybe it was because I had a review copy and this was later fixed.

But the predictability of these books plays into the comfort. We may know the set-up, we may know the resolution, but there is something so realistic about the struggles the couples in this series go through. The setting is perfect, the characters are often close to perfect, but the road to the relationship is not perfect. Of course we know the couple will get there and that is what makes reading these books as comforting as hot chocolate on a cold and stormy night.

I do recommend this book for fans of the series, fans of lite make-over stories, fans of small town romance and fans of contemporary romance. And I look forward to the next Virgin River story which will be out in just a few months!
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2012
I have read every one of the Virgin River Books....and I had my date circled on the calender when this book came out. Maybe my expectations were too high, because I LOVE the Virgin River Series. I might be in the minority here....but I really loved the books in which there were multiple stories going on and we got to catch a glimpse of all of our favorites. This book focused on two characters and I must say....I did not really like either character. Sure we got a glimpse of Murial and Walt....and Jack is always around, but that was it. My biggest gripe is that we have had several books in which Robyn Carr focuses on Woman's issues and the character Mel giving good solid advise. WHY THEN did we have to watch our "Heroine" find herself pregnant??? Even worse...another woman hiding the pregnancy because she needed to "figure things out." PLEASE I beg of Robyn Carr....go back to the early books and let us fall back in love with the TOWN and the great people that make up the town. This book was a lot of dribble, boring dialogue, and characters that we really do not care about.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
I was so excited about this book! I was hoping that after how boring I found "Hidden Summit" to be, this book would be better. Sadly, it wasn't. There's so much that I didn't like, I'm not really sure where to start. First off, it was just...boring, like the last book. I found myself skimming pages just to get through the endless dialogue. Second, I didn't like either of the characters. Normally, the pasts of the VR characters is what makes them so awesome. Not this time. Neither was that interesting and although Katie's story is very sad, I didn't feel connected to her like I have to the characters in earlier VR books. Third, the characters are so inconsistent. One minute Katie is an independent, strong woman and the next, she's needy and a wimp and is basically the female stereotype of every male chauvinist in the world. She says she's down for a fling and then she cries pathetically and loses weight when her man leaves (just like they agreed he would). Dylan is also inconsistent, one minute he's set on leaving and keeping it simple, then the next he's thinking that he can't live without Katie. Fourth, where are all of the other characters we've come to love? Like some other reviewers, I miss Brie and Mike, Ellie and Noah, Paul and Vanni. What I loved when I read the first VR books was how Ms. Carr could weave together several stories at once and I loved every one...I hope she brings that type of writing back soon! My final gripe (to keep this review at a readable length) is the fact that our female lead gets pregnant even though they were using protection. If She and especially Dylan were so concerned about not getting pregnant, did it never occur to them to make sure their protection worked every time? IMO, a " protection malfunction" is something I would notice right away (and have lol, which is why I have a 2 year old now)....So all in all, I say skip this book unless you have a couple hours to burn. BUT if you haven't read all of the earlier VR books, read them! They're amazing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I'll preface my thoughts by saying that this is the first in the series that I have read...I am not sure if jumping in at book 18 was a detriment...but I honestly didn't feel like I missed out on anything or was lost by not knowing the back stories of the other characters.

In this novel we meet the widowed Katie and her two twin boys as they move to the small town where her brother Conner lives. She then not only has to worry about settling in and making a new life for herself and her boys but also deal with the attentions of "bad Boy" Dylan.

This book was well written and flowed very nicely. I also loved the rural setting and could easily imagine myself living there. All of the characters and supporting characters were lovely although not very strong presences.

The romance and subsequent "obstacles" to be overcome were a bit annoying...but I find this typical with a lot of romance books where the only real obstacle is thick-headedness. I tend to prefer books where there is more of a pressing or dangerous obstacle rather than one that could be solved by a simple conversation or self examination.

All in all this was a very pleasant and enjoyable read. I can see why this series is so popular...this book was an easy comfortable read...perfect for summer.

NOTE: I recieved a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
We've come back to Virgin River - this is my second foray there, the first being Hidden Summit. Katie Malone is Conner Danson's sister who has come out to Virgin River to make a new start and so her twin sons can be closer to their uncle. Katie and Dylan Childress, who is a child TV star, meet unexpectedly when her van gets a flat tire on her way into town. He and his biker buddies help out and from the first moment he looked in her eyes, he couldn't stop thinking of her. And she of him. How could this work - a child actor who fears commitment like the plague and a young widowed mother who is trying to succeed on her own?

Redwood Bend is a sweet romance in which you will be captivated by the new main characters and happy to see some returning faces. I loved Katie's strength - she's an army widow who raised twin boys on her own - and her ability to put her children above all else...even her happiness. Unfortunately, not all mothers can do so, but Katie's an excellent mother and a loving friend and sister. I loved the twins, Dylan's grandmother, and her driver! I thought they brought real humor and liveliness to the story. Just when you've stopped looking, something wonderful can fall into your lap. Dylan and Katie's story is a prime example. A well-done and relaxing read, I was happy to visit Virgin River again in Redwood Bend.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2012
I was really liking this book. Characters, particularly the male lead, was not the typical VR alpha male former military (not that I have anything against military) of the other books. The female lead was more or less a meld of Vanni and I forget her name--the stripper who married the preacher. Typical strong single mother, doesn't need a man, but meets one whom she can't resist. Man, however, wasn't paying attention in high school biology, because he is convinced that he is missing the commitment gene. All this considered, however, I'm good with the story at this point. And so far, no Mel to give internal exams or complain to anyone who will listen about Jack (who, in my mind, is up for sainthood for putting up with her). However, the good old standby--unintended pregnancy--rears it's familiar and ugly head. Guy is, naturally, long gone, assumed to never return. This is where the hackles on my neck really start to go wild--female goes to Mel, decides she can do the parent thing on her own, and doesn't need the guy. She just can't tell him *sniff, sniff* because he doesn't want kids and he never called or anything. Naturally the guy realizes the error of his ways, comes back begging her forgiveness, gets beaten up by the brother, saves kid from getting eaten by a bear, and all live happily ever after.

I will give Katie (female lead) credit for telling the guy before she is great with child or the kid is born and develops a severe speech impediment (see previous VR book). And he has a reasonably normal reaction, which she seems to be slightly understanding about.

The thing that most disappoints me with this book, and the series in general is--WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH THIS TOWN?? My question is--what is it with unplanned pregnancy in this place?? IS there something about California pollution that destroys latex? I haven't stopped to count but, out of approximately 17 books, at least half have unplanned pregnancies in them, both from the main characters and side characters. And the ones who DO want to get pregnant can't! How perverse is Mother Nature that she tortures these unfortunate people thus?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2012
I thought this book was boring and emotionless. I did not read the other books since I did not know Redwood Bend was a part of a series. There were many characters thrown in with lots of dialogue, which was distracting. Did not like all the contradictions with Dylan and Katie. One minute she wanted a fling, the next she was heartbroken when Dylan left. Dylan did not want a woman with kids, but her still pursued her. I guess this book just was not for me.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I will never get tired of going back to Virgin River. I just love this series. I love going back and revisiting all the characters from previous books. Nobody does that as well as Robyn Carr. This story had all the elements of a good romance and the heroine (Katie) is so loveable. Just loved her sassy mouth. There were a couple of scenes that had me laughing out loud with tears -- especially when Dylan took the twins to a public restroom for the first time.
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