As I mentioned a time or three last week, I'm so excited to welcome one of my favorite authors to book club this week! I first discovered Robyn Carr's Virgin River series in the summer of 2009 and spent four memorable days devouring all seven of the available books. I've since read last year's trilogy and the start of this year's trilogy, "Promise Canyon," which Robyn sent to me as a special thank you for having her at book club. I should be thanking her because Jack, Mel, Preacher and their ever growing gang of friends and neighbors have brought me many hours of entertainment. So when Aly Hackett, today's co-hostess, suggested we do Virgin River for book club, I jumped up and down (cyber jumping that is) with excitement. Here are some of Aly's favorite moments in Virgin River:
Page 140 – The interaction between Jack and Rick is just fantastic. It speaks volumes of Jack as a man. This is where Jack gives Rick the condoms to use with Liz but is very torn about it. He wants them to have them just in case but doesn't want Rick to think he is endorsing the act. (From Marie: The Rick and Liz storyline was one of my favorites. Heartbreakingly real.)
Page 156 – Jack’s easiness and sense of humor just cracks me up. When Mel kisses him the first time after she declared that she was to make the next move. Jack doesn’t really respond to her kiss. “Did you not like that?” she asked. “Oh,” he said. “Am I allowed to respond?” (Marie says: I love Jack. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE him. I love his storyline in Promise Canyon and so will all you VR fans.)
Page 206 – This is when Preacher moves Jack to his apartment after The Boys leave, he gets drunk and Mel stays with him. She sniffed the pillow – Downy. Who was this guy? she found herself asking. Looks like Paul Bunyan, runs a bar, has all these guns, and clean and launders like Martha Stewart. I loved Mel’s description of him! (Awesome. Loved the Downey moment, too!)
Pages 221 – 223 – Mel’s breakdown in the rain just about killed me the first time I read it and still makes me ache when I reread it. I had read Robyn’s previous books—she was not a new author to me—but this is what made me fall in love with Robyn Carr as an author. It takes a lot to make me feel alongside the characters and Robyn got it. She made Mel’s pain—and Jack’s pain on her behalf—come off the page. (An amazing scene.)
The supporting cast of characters is great. Meeting The Boys—all the Marines—Rick, Preacher, Doc—they all make this book phenomenal and make you want to know more. Actually, it makes you want to move to Virgin River to find a “Jack” for yourself—even if you are happily married :)
Couldn't have said it better, Aly! It's the sense of community and neighbors becoming family to each other in their remote corner of the world that keeps me coming back for more whenever a new VR book is released. I'm looking forward to welcoming Robyn today and she is giving away a signed copy of Promise Canyon to one lucky commenter! Trust me when I say you'll want to comment to win this book!
Oh and hey Whip Cracking Book Club Wenches, if I am a dorky fan girl, have an intervention, will ya? Don't let me embarrass myself in front of Robyn. :-) She needs to leave here thinking I'm *ahem* a SERIOUS author. Got me?
Find out more about Robyn Carr on her website and on Facebook.
Here is what's in store when we head to Aly's house in Georgia for Book Club! (These recipes look like they could've come right from Preacher's kitchen!)
Grilled Pork with Glazed Apples and Yam Mash
3 ( 1 ¼ lb) yams, peeled and cut into cubes
¼ cup milk
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp unsalted butter
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
½ cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp grated onion
½ tsp each ground cumin and apple pie spice
3 large Golden Delicious apples cut into 4 thick slices
8 (2 oz) thing cut boneless loin pork chops
Combine yams and milk in a bowl; cover with vented plastic wrap. Microwave on high 10 minutes; let stand 5 minutes. Add sugar, butter and ¼ tsp each of the salt & pepper; mash until smooth. Keep warm.
Whisk juice concentrate, mustard, onion, cumin and spice; microwave on high 3 minutes or until glaze boils and begins to thicken. Arrange apple slices on a broiler pan (or a cookie sheet will work); brush apples with glaze. Broil 3 minutes, turn slices, then brush with more glaze. Broil second side for 3 minutes or until slightly brown and tender.
Season pork chops on both sides with salt & pepper. Grilled approximately 7 minutes on each side until just barely pink at the thickest part.
Serve with apple slices & mashed yams
Premade pie crust or your homemade one
3 large ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
½ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon zest
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp coarse sugar
Preheat oven to 425.
Mix pears, fresh & dried cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, ginger and salt; spoon into pie crust; cover with top pie crust. Fold top edge under bottom crust; crimp to seal. Brush with milk; sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut vents in top.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425. Then lower temperature to 350 and back until the crust is brown, about 55 minutes.