Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr

Woohoo, I'm back!! Okay, so I actually was never away, LOL... but it feels like it, sigh. It's been a long week, but everything seems to be getting back in place. The presentation is over, yay!! And it went well, so that's a plus :) The faucet was replaced earlier this afternoon, double yay!! So everything seems to be on the right track. The only thing that's still bothering me is the dizziness/vertigo. I have a case of dizziness/vertigo last year when I came back from the RT convention and it went away on its own... At the time, I thought it was due to lack of sleep. This time though, the vertigo is more severe and I really feel nauseous at times :( While I haven't gone to the doctor yet, I've called the health hotline and they told me that vertigo usually goes away on its own. That if it persisted another week or got so bad that I couldn't go to work, then to consult a doctor... So I guess I'll wait and see... hopefully, now that everything is okay, it'll go away. Plan for this week-end is going to rest :)

For me, rest means reading and getting back on track with my blogging :) So here we go, a review! :)

Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr
published by Mira (Harlequin) in February 2011
Rising sous-chef Kelly Matlock's sudden collapse at work is a wake-up call. Disillusioned and burned out, she's retreated to her sister Jillian's house in Virgin River to rest and reevaluate.

Puttering in Jill's garden and cooking with her heirloom vegetables is wonderful, but Virgin River is a far cry from San Francisco. Kelly's starting to feel a little too unmotivated…until she meets Lief Holbrook. The handsome widower looks more like a lumberjack than a sophisticated screenwriter—a combination Kelly finds irresistible. But less appealing is Lief's rebellious stepdaughter, Courtney. She's the reason they moved from L.A., but Courtney's finding plenty of trouble even in Virgin River.

Kelly's never fallen for a guy with such serious baggage, but some things are worth fighting for. Besides, a bratty teenager can't be any worse than a histrionic chef…right?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Virgin River series, Book #13

The Story: Kelly Matlock is half in love with her boss/mentor, famous chef Luciano Brazzi. She is devastated when his wife shows up and tells her she's been sent by Luciano to break off things. Kelly is confused and feels betrayed because all this time, the relation was platonic. The collapse at the restaurant due to stress is the last straw for Kelly; she quits and goes to her sister's place to recuperate and think.

There, Kelly meets Virgin River's new resident, Lief Holbrook. Lief is an award-winner screenwriter. He's also a widower who is in charge of his deceased wife's daughter, Courtney. Since the death of her mother, Courtney has been going through a rough patch and getting involved with the wrong crowds. Lief hopes that the move will help and he'll get back the sweet Courtney.

Unexpected to Kelly and Lief, they both develop feelings for each other. However, things are complicated, especially when Courtney is far from accepting a new woman in Lief's life.

My Opinion: Hmmm, I had my doubts on Harvest Moon from the beginning. From reading Wild Man Creek, I was afraid I wouldn't like Kelly's character, because of her relationship with Luciano Brazzi. While I didn't dislike her character as I feared, I still had my fair of issues with Kelly and Harvest Moon.

Let's address the issue of Kelly's relationship and feeling for Luciano. So kudos for Kelly for not crossing the line and having sex with him, although she was very attracted. However, not having sex doesn't mean their relationship was not intimate. So I felt Kelly was quite hypocrite when Luciano's wife showed up and confronted her and the feelings of betrayals she felt towards Luciano. I mean, she talked and texted him several times a day, they had cook-offs, he turned her on... and she admits in Wild Man Creek that if he wasn't married yet, she'd have slept with him already. Really, sex was just a technicality in my opinion. And I know I'm being judgmental. I mean, if it was one-sided love and more innocent, I'd feel sympathy towards Kelly... but it isn't. In the end, it did affect her level of likability I think. I didn't dislike her - which is good, but at the same time,  I didn't love her :(

I think Lief was more likable. Poor man, not only has he lost his wife, but now, he's all confused by his daughter. I give him a lot of credit for being so patient and keep trying and reach out. At the same time though, I thought it was a bit unfortunate that the conflict between Lief and Courtney was based on miscommunication and misunderstanding. At the same time though, can't blame Lief. Hard to communicate with a teenager, especially if she doesn't want to. However, I thought that as a character, he wasn't very interesting. His situation was, but his personality. Like take away Courtney and hmmmm, he's a nice guy, but hmmmm.

The most interesting character and the one I enjoyed reading about the most in Harvest Moon was Courtney. Losing your mother is hard at any age, but during adolescence is worst. Especially when you find yourself with your father doesn't want you and you find yourself with your stepfather. Technically, it shouldn't be a problem because Courtney does love Lief and they used to get along well; however, she thought he didn't want her. Instead, it turns out that Lief was just angry at Courtney's father for rejecting her. Overall though, I think Ms Carr did a great job with Courtney's character and developing it. She really felt like a teenager, being sad about her mother, being rebellious to see if people around her care... but there was a sweet side to her, especially with her friends and dog.

Unfortunately, this all means there was three parties to the romance, not two. Courtney feels threatened by Kelly's presence and because of that, Lief and Kelly have to be careful at what pace their relationship develops. And it's totally understandable and once again, it shows how Lief is considerate... However, add in all the parts with Courtney and I felt the romance was very subdued and was more in the background. I guess though it's better than having too many storylines from previous characters.

Although one of the storyline was interesting - Jack and Denny. I was wondering how Ms Carr would wrap up this one, because from the beginning, it seemed a little bit too obvious. I'm happy with how Ms Carr resolved the storyline, although the twist wasn't that surprising. I do hope that Denny will get his own book in the future.

My Grade: C-. I think the problem with Harvest Moon is that nothing really grabbed my attention like in Wild Man Creek. The characters were all quite nice, but a bit bland and so was the romance. I found myself more interested in Courtney's parts than Lief and Kelly's ^_^; which saved this book from being an okay book. I admit I'm a bit disappointed by Harvest Moon, especially after a winner like Wild Man Creek, but I'm still going to continue with this series. I just hope the next characters are more appealing :)


  1. I feel like this series is a bit up and down. Sometimes the books are great and others just so so.

    I've been thinking of picking it up already but I dunno, I stopped following closely in the one about Rick? the one that got his teenage girlfriend pregnant in one of the first books?


    Anyway, get review. I love that you always address the good and the bad.

  2. I was literally just thinking that I should try and see if I can download this one because it should be the perfect pick me up for a Friday night.

    Maybe not.

    I am a bit scared that I overdosed on this series at the end of last year.

  3. I agree with you, she was emotionally involved with him and that’s also a form of cheating, she was waiting for him to get a divorce in order to have sex with him, but that doesn’t make it any better, actually getting emotionally involved with someone is as bad -if not worse- as getting physical. I didn’t like her that much, although I did appreciate that her relationship with Courtney was rocky at best, there are so many books where the heroine falls in love with the guy’s kids, and the kids are happy, and want to call her mommy, and everything is perfect, that it’s refreshing to get a more realistic view on that situation.

    This was my least favorite of the three, but I do like the direction the series is taking, and to be honest not having Mel around is a big plus for the book.

  4. Alex - Well I think it's hard to write winners one after the others, especially given the way she publishes, three books at a time. I think if she was coming out with one or two books/year, readers would be a bit more forgiving. However, because it's so fresh in our mind and also, so much... we are less forgiving.

    But overall, yes, the series goes up and down, which is only natural.

    I think if you want to pick up this series again, just pick the books that got good reviews and you think you would enjoy the storylines. Wild Man Creek! Wild Man creek! LOL.

    And seriously, no point in reviewing if I'm not address the good and the bad :P

    Marg - Did you read Wild Man Creek, Marg? I can't remember.

    I don't think it's a question of overdosing, more the storylines and situations she chooses for her books. Then again, you might enjoy this one much more than I did :P

    Brie - You're back!!! Woohoo!!

    Totally agree with you about the cheating part, which is why I had such a problem with her "feeling betrayed" and all. Ah well.

    And I agree with you, like the direction the series was going and I like the fact that Ms Carr is not involving all the characters as much :)

  5. Nath what a bummer after that last great book! It's too bad the romance is on the back burner on this one. But, it does sound like this part of the series is good... I might just pick it again with the new trilogy instead of going back. Wild Man Creek. :D

  6. I'm so far behind on this series it isn't even funny anymore. The good news is that I will skip this book. The bad news - it's at the end. So skipping doesn't really help me catch up! LOL

    Thanks for reviewing it though. Sorry it wasn't a better read for you. :(

  7. I felt the same as you about Kelly being a hypocrite when faced with Luciano's wife. To me, cheating doesn't have to be physical. What she did knowing that he was married and thinking that she didn't do anything wrong puts her worse in my eyes.

    I thought Courtney had an easy change of heart there at the end when Kelly was leaving. I don't think I like books involving children too much. Ah well, I'm glad I didn't read this book before WMC or I would not have picked up WMC. lol.

  8. Hilcia - I think you can read only the books that would interest you without being lost. That's what I think :)

    Leslie - I'm okay. I think if there can be one book out of 3 that I'm going to enjoy a lot, then I'm all good :)

    Tabitha - When will women stop falling for the divorce line? I mean, seriously, sigh :(

    True, at the end she was easy. Still, she didn't give in as fast.

    LOL, I'm glad too :)

  9. After reading your review, I'm glad I don't read this series anymore. Sometimes I think I should pick it back up, but then I read reviews like this and decide against it.

    I hope your vertigo gets better soon!

    Maybe you're anemic? That happens to me when my levels drop really low.

  10. Holly - LOL, you know. I have a feeling that you'd be throwing so many books at the wall LOL.

    Actually, the only book worth picking up would be Wild Man Creek :P I think you should read that one :)

    Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to this series if Virgin River (the first book) hasn't been so good :P

    Went to the doctor and in the end, it's BPPV - Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo :( Not life threatening, but very annoying, sigh.