Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Riversong & Riverbend (The River Valley Collection) by Tess Thompson (Book Review)

Book Review

Riversong by Tess Thompson
Book 1: The River Valley Collection
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: March 30, 2011 - 1st Publishing / January 15, 2013 - 2nd Publishing
Format: eBook - 278 pages / Kindle - 578 KB / Nook - 2 MB
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: Riversong

Book Description: 

Author Tess Thompson assembles a colorful cast of endearing small-town characters and takes you on a journey that will make you believe in the possibilities of life - even in the face of overwhelming adversity and unimaginable grief.

Lee Tucker is the kind of woman you find yourself rooting for long after the last page is read. When her husband commits suicide, he leaves her pregnant and one million dollars in debt to a loan shark. Out of options, she escapes to her deceased mother's dilapidated house located in a small Oregon town that, like her, is financially ruined, heartbroken and in desperate need of a fresh start. Lee's resilience leads to a plan for a destination restaurant named Riversong, to new chances for passion and love, and to danger from her dead husband's debt as her business blooms.

A surprising mix of romance, humor, friendship, intrigue and gourmet food, Riversong entertains while reminding you of life's greatest gifts.

My Book Review:

Lee Tucker is a woman who has had her share of hard times growing up with an alcoholic mother, and as soon as she was able, she left her past behind for a new life in Seattle. Years later, just as she thinks she has found happiness as an adult, tragedy strikes. Her husband Dan, overwhelmed by the one million dollar debt that he has kept hidden from her, runs from the loan sharks and commits suicide. Dealing with the loss and the debt that Dan has left in his wake, Lee also realizes that she is pregnant. With no option left, Lee has no choice but to return to her childhood home of River Valley, a small town in Oregon. Lee's negligent mother has succumbed to alcoholism and has passed away, leaving behind a legacy of sorrow and a house in ruins. All Lee has is that house, she decides to fix the house up and sell it in order to pay off the debt. Lee's return to the small town she never felt comfortable in, now offers her a new start. Hoping to turn her life around, Lee accepts a job as the manager of Riversong, a struggling restaurant, and is determined to make the restaurant a success.

Riversong is a heartwarming tale about one woman's journey of second chances at coming home, rebuilding her life, and finding love and happiness.

In her debut novel, Tess Thompson has written a very entertaining novel that is full of lovable small town folk, friendship and love, it is a wonderful story of renewal and hope, with a heroine you can believe in. The story has a little bit of everything: there is romance, crime, intrigue, drama and suspense that keeps the reader turning the pages. The characters are realistic, they are ordinary people facing the same sets of circumstances in life that you may come across. The author gives the reader a gentle reminder that sometimes love is right there in front of your face, that family and friends are found in the most unlikely places, and you can go home again!

Riversong is a poignant portrayal of loss, hope, second chances, redemption, renewal, strong bonds of friendship, and the power of love that makes everything in life possible.


Book Review

Riverbend by Tess Thompson
Book 2: The River Valley Collection
Publisher: Booktrope
Publication Date: May 19, 2013
Format: Paperback - 272 pages / Kindle - 496 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1620151421
Genre: Romantic Suspense

BUY THE BOOK: Riverbend

Book Description: 

“Tag. I found you.”

Just as Annie Bell’s reputation as one of the best chefs in the Pacific Northwest grows to new heights, she receives a threatening phone call from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Marco is out on parole and hungry for revenge, blaming her for his ten-year imprisonment. Fearing for her life and that of her young son, Annie reluctantly accepts help from Drake Webber, a cold and wealthy recluse hiding a dark history of his own. Supported by the gang of misfits from their restaurant Riversong, Annie forges ahead despite her growing terror that Marco will appear at any moment and make good on his threats.

Author Tess Thompson reunites the colorful cast of endearing small-town characters from her bestselling novel Riversong and takes you on a journey that will renew your faith in love, friendship and the power of community – even in the face of seemingly insurmountable grief and fear. You’ll find yourself once again cheering for the residents of River Valley, especially the big-hearted and compassionate Annie Bell.

Escape with a blend of love, laughter, friendship, suspense and gourmet food while remembering it’s never too late for second chances.

Book Excerpt:

Marco’s knife glimmered in the light as he brought it to her neck. Tag, I found you. Annie awakened right at that moment, screaming. The clock read 2:12 a.m. She lay there for a moment, staring into the darkness. Then, breaking through the silent night was the sound of the coyote’s howl. In the next moment, it was silent, not even a cricket chirping or a breeze rustling pine needles. She went to the window, pulling back the shade. In silhouette, near the rose garden, under a full moon, stood the coyote. The summer night was still, the stars close. As she had before, she put her hand upon the window. The coyote turned and looked at her for a moment. She met his gaze, her other hand over her heart, before he loped into the trees, disappearing into the purple forest.

She crossed the sitting area and opened the door to the hallway. Alder’s room was dark, as was the one with the music. But a light shone through the crack between the floor and the door of what she now thought of as the billiard room. She stood, listening, but heard nothing. After a moment, she crossed the hallway and let herself quietly inside Alder’s room. He was asleep, his face peaceful in the moonlight that filtered through the window.

In the hallway once again, she hesitated. Unable to explain why, she moved towards the strip of light. Once there, she put her palm on the door, just as she’d done on the window only moments before. She heard footsteps coming towards her but she remained, despite all the reasons to flee.

“Annie,” came Drake’s voice behind the door. “Are you all right?” She heard what sounded like him sitting down on the floor—a plopping sound and a sigh. The door shook slightly. Perhaps he was sitting against it? 

“Yes.” She hesitated, tugging at the collar of her damp pajamas. “No. Another nightmare.” She slid to the floor as well, leaning against the door with her back. Could she feel the warmth from his body through the wood? Pure imagination, of course, but still she could not shake the image of him on the floor with his legs spread out before him instead of cross-legged as she was. “Did you sleep at all?”

“Some, yes.” Silence, before the door moved slightly. Perhaps he was adjusting his position? “Then a nightmare. I hope I didn’t wake Alder.”

“I checked on him. Fast asleep. Always, like a rock.”

“Did you ever read him the story about the donkey that makes a wish that turns him into a rock?”

“Oh, yes. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. One of Alder’s favorites.”

There was silence from the other side of the door for a long moment. And then Drake’s voice, with the same lonesome quality of her friend the coyote, only soft instead of a howl. “Don’t you wish it were true?”

“What’s that? A magic stone to make wishes come true?”

“No. That people lost to you could come back.”

“Yes, that would be good,” she said, an ache at the back of her throat. Who would he bring back? His mother? “I once heard this famous actress interviewed on Oprah say the meaning of life was loss. That always stuck with me because it made me want to cry out, no, it can’t be loss. It’s love. Surely it’s love.”

“With love comes loss. Whether it’s today or years from now, eventually we all have to leave one another.”

“It’s true.”

The door shifted. “I’m so tired. But sleep doesn’t come.”

“Do you want me to make you something? Warm milk, maybe? I could put a shot of whiskey in it.”

“Nothing works. I’ve tried it all.” There was another long space of quiet. “Now, please, you must go back to sleep. I’ll see you in the morning. Okay?”

“All right. Good night then.”

She got up from the floor and went to her room. But she didn’t sleep for at least an hour, thinking of Drake and his wanderings. What did he do behind the closed doors of the secret rooms? How could she help him? Perhaps there was nothing to be done? But how she wished there were. Finally, she fell asleep.

My Book Review:

In Riverbend, the second book in The River Valley Collection, author Tess Thompson once again weaves an entertaining tale that transports the readers back to the small town of River Valley, Oregon, where they revisit with the unforgettable townsfolk and follow the story of Annie Bell.

The reader was introduced to Annie Bell in the first book of the collection, Riversong, where she is the gourmet chef at the restaurant. Now in this book, Annie's abusive past is catching up with her when the restaurant's success is in the media, drawing danger and drama her way.

With a continuity of characters (old and new) and subtle revisiting of the storyline from the first book, the author weaves an intriguing story filled with flashbacks to Annie's traumatic past with ex-boyfriend Marco, who resurfaces in an attempt to get revenge and destroy her new life. Annie sought to create a new life for herself and her ten year old son Alder in River Valley, now with their life in danger, she finds refuge and love with the mysterious wealthy recluse Drake Webber. Both Annie and Drake are hiding dark secrets from their pasts, and as their relationship develops, they slowly realize they are falling in love with one another. The story is filled with enough secrets, danger, suspense and romance that keeps the reader guessing and turning the pages.

Once again author Tess Thompson has written another heartwarming story filled with romance, secrets, drama and suspense that keeps the reader wanting more. Riverbend is a wonderful story of community, friendship, hope, love, and the ability to overcome even the most traumatic of life experiences.

Fans of The River Valley Collection will get another visit to this wonderful Oregon town with the story of Drake's sister Bella in the third book of the collection, Riverstar, that will be released on August 28, 2013!


BUY THE COLLECTION: The River Valley Collection
Book 1: Riversong
Book 2: Riverbend
Book 3: Riverstar - (publication date: August 28, 2013)

About The Author 

Tess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2011, she released her first novel, Riversong, which subsequently became a bestseller. Like the characters in Riverbend, Tess is from a small town in Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella. She is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.


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