Monday, March 6, 2017

Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Series: 16 Lighthouse Road, 204 Rosewood Lane, 311 Pelican Court, 44 Cranberry Point, 50 Harbor Street, 6 Ranier Drive

So I got sucked into reading Cedar Cove recently. This is not my normal genre. I typically don't go for chick lit or contemporary romance but I had watched the TV show a couple of years ago and I wanted to find out how the books were compared to it. I'm only halfway through the series and in all honesty I'm already starting to lose interest. I'm pretty sure it's because I took a break from reading the series instead of going directly into the next book. These are like a daytime soap only lighter and fluffier and they pull you in the same way. I also didn't like the last book as much as the others because I felt like one of the story lines was pointless. For the most part we only gloss the surface of the characters in these stories. If there had been more character development and fewer story lines crammed into each book I think the series would have been much better. Here are my impressions of the books I've read so far...

Content: Most of the books in this series include either implied sex or mild sex scenes, mostly between married couples.

16 Lighthouse Road (Cedar Cove, #1)16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Dear Reader,

You don't know me yet, but in a few hours that's going to change. I'm inviting you to my town of Cedar Cove because I want you to meet my family, friends and neighbors. Come hear their stories--maybe even their secrets!

My secrets are pretty open. My marriage failed years ago, and I have a rather...difficult relationship with my daughter. Then there's my mother, Charlotte, who has plenty of opinions and is always willing to share them.

I'm a family court judge and she likes to drop in on my courtroom. Recently I was hearing a divorce petition. In Charlotte's view, Cecilia and Ian Randall hadn't tried hard enough to make their marriage work--and I agreed. I rendered my judgment: Divorce Denied.

You wouldn't believe the reaction! Thanks to an article by Jack Griffin, the editor of our local paper (a man I wouldn't mind seeing more of!), everyone's talking.

Cedar Cove--people love it and sometimes they leave it, but they never forget it!

Olivia Lockhart

I enjoyed the TV series Cedar Cove on Hallmark Channel and was disappointed when Hallmark decided not to continue with the series, so I decided to try reading the books to revisit the characters and see how they differed from the TV series. I had heard there were quite a few differences and so far, after finishing the first book in the series, there are some minor ones compared to the TV pilot.

I will say that I liked the TV series better, but maybe that's because it's what I knew first. It was a nice fluffy escape for me on Saturdays and I'll miss it. The book lacks some of the charm that the TV series had. I think the author could do a better job of describing the surroundings, but I think the main problem with the book is that there is too much telling and not enough showing. There are things that are glossed over, events that are mentioned, but then skipped, and the book jumps forward in time a week and sometimes a month.

As far as the characters go:

-I liked Olivia as much as I did in the TV series and I had no problem picturing Andie McDowell as I read the book.

-I found Jack to be a bit wittier in the book and I liked him better than the Jack on the TV series.

-Justine was hard to like for a while and I didn't think her relationship with Warren really made any sense. She was very different from the Justine I knew from the TV series. I definitely liked the TV Justine better.

-Warren was pretty much the same Warren; he just seemed a little older in the book…and impotent? I never pictured the Warren on TV as impotent. But seriously has he never heard of Viagra? Are there some men that nothing will help? I have no idea. I liked the scheming Warren on TV better.

-I loved Seth. He was better in the book than on the TV series, but I thought his romance with Justine kind of came out of nowhere and progressed too quickly.

-Cecelia annoyed me with her immaturity and the way she blamed Ian for things he couldn't help, and I wasn't any more interested in their story than I was when I watched the series. I got tired of the back and forth in her relationship with Ian. They should have just talked to each other! I did find that their relationship played out much better in the book, especially the emotions, which seemed glossed over in the TV pilot.

-I liked Ian and I mostly felt sorry for him because of the way Cecelia treated him, except for the part in the hospital, that seemed to come out of left field and I didn't really understand why he acted the way he did. I liked him better in the book.

-I thought Grace was likable except for the fact that I wanted her to stop being a door mat. I think she was pretty well portrayed in the TV series, and I liked her the same here. I was glad that she moved on in the end.

-Charlotte was the real surprise here. She wasn't this well developed in the TV series and I liked her personality better in the book. I wish she had stayed on the TV series longer.

One thing I am wondering is if Moon exists in any of the books. He ended up being a favorite character on the show.

Overall this was an ok escape-type read. It was nothing spectacular, just light fluff, but sometimes that's what I need. I will most likely be reading more of the series.

204 Rosewood Lane (Cedar Cove, #2)204 Rosewood Lane by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

After finishing 16 Lighthouse Road I had put this series on hold for a while because I wasn't sure if I would ever want to revisit it. But a few days ago when I was between books I was feeling the need for something that was completely an escapist read, especially since I've got a Sanderson book going on audio right now. I saw these on my Kindle so I decided to give the series another try and I ended up completely engrossed this time.

Most of my same complaints about Macomber's writing are still there, like the amount of telling instead of showing, the way the books skip over weeks and months at a time, and the fact that too many of the characters are just too afraid to commit to the person they are interested in romantically. And also once again there is the couple who is having marital problems. They were not really that fun to read about. I just wanted to hit them both over the head! Also Maryellen, I can hardly stand her right now. But despite all of that I liked this book for what it is, an easy read about people in a small town. Some of them are endearing and others are annoying. I got my escapist read and I'm satisfied.

This book ended kind of abruptly with more than one story line unfinished and that annoyed me a little, but it also drew me right into the next book, which I'm sure the author did by design.

311 Pelican Court311 Pelican Court by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

311 Pelican Court is the third installment of the Cedar Cove series. It starts out with the annoying divorced couple from the last book, but I will say that I ended up enjoying the way things turned out with that part of the story. The plot threads that were left hanging in book two were wrapped up here and I was glad of that. This series is light soap opera fare and surprisingly it's been the perfect counter to the heavy fantasy world of Brandon Sanderson that I've been listening to on audio. I can only handle one of those at a time.

While these are engrossing I can't bring myself to give them more than 3 stars because they are just complete fluff and I don't feel like the writing is on par with a 4 star book. Sometimes that doesn't bother me and I can enjoy a story enough to give high marks anyway, but with this series it does bother me. As I've said in my previous reviews, there is too much telling and not enough showing, and too much back and forth between characters who cannot make up their minds about how they feel, which is one of the things that makes this series resemble a soap. Despite all that I still do like this series and I've already started the fourth book in this series and am just as glued to it as I was to the previous ones.

44 Cranberry Point (Cedar Cove, #4)44 Cranberry Point by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Several story lines were wrapped up in 44 Cranberry Point leaving just two remaining unresolved for the next book in the series. The ones I'm the most happy about are...

Grace, mostly because that story line was way overdue for a resolution, even though Grace was a little like a stalker the way she kept sending the postcards and letters to Cliff after he broke things off with her. I broke up with someone once and they did that to me. It did not make me want to see them again, it had the opposite effect. Also wrapped up was the story of the man that died at the Thyme and Tide. We finally find out who killed him and it came as no surprise to me who did it.

The story I was least happy about was the one involving Cecelia and Ian. I was not crazy about revisiting them. Cecelia as a character really bothers me. The fact that she completely disregarded her husbands feelings on having another child bothered me greatly. This is not the way to a healthy marriage, even if this books wants to make it seem like it is.

The communication issues between all the couples featured in this book were annoying. Olivia treated Jack like a child instead of an intelligent man and it was disappointing that their relationship has become so unpleasant to read about so quickly.

That being said, I'll be starting the next book soon because I'm hooked.

50 Harbor Street (Cedar Cove, #5)50 Harbor Street by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

50 Harbor Street is the fifth book in the Cedar Cove series. There are a lot of different story lines covered in this edition. More I think than in past ones. We visit Roy and Corrie and the story line with the mysterious postcards they have been getting is wrapped up in this book. We also visit Olivia and Jack, who I feel have become somewhat annoying as a couple, but they deal with something serious happening in this book. We visit Grace and Cliff, who are still on again off again, and I wanted to pull my hair out when they broke up yet again in this book! Thank goodness that story line is gets completely resolved in this book. Also we visit Maryellen and Jon and their frequent love scenes that are all written pretty much the same; Charlotte and Ben and his good for nothing son; Cecelia and Ian and the upcoming birth of their baby; Allison Cox and her troubled boyfriend; Rachel and the weird Nate/Bruce situation; Justine and Seth who deal with a devastating loss; Linnette and Cal; Gloria and Dr. Timmons; and even Warren Saget is back in this one. Whew! Did I miss anyone?

This series is definitely set up just like a daytime soap, but without the salaciousness. Sure people have sex, get pregnant, can't make up their minds about who they love, etc. But there is no cheating on spouses or anything like that, and they always end up doing the right thing in the end.

On another note, After reading this book I think the TV show based their version of Warren Saget on a combination of Ben's son David who isn't in the TV show at all, and the Warren in these books. David reminded me so much of the TV version of Warren with his manipulative scheming.

I also need to mention that I completely agree with another reviewer who pointed out how awful the clothing choices are in these books. I cringe every time there is a description of what Grace is wearing. Thinking back on how put together the character was on the TV show, it's hard to imagine 50 something Grace wearing such out of style clothing like the denham jumper with daisies and the turtleneck, which were even out of style when these books were written. And also the 20 something character Linnette putting on the sequined Christmas vest for her hot and sexy date. Spare us the ugly details next time Ms. Macomber!

Like the clothing, I end up ignoring a lot of little annoying things in these books. All the books in the Cedar Cove series have the same formula and so do every one of the relationships, which drives me crazy sometimes, yet for some reason I keep on reading them. I just need to know what happens to these characters, so of course I will be continuing on.

6 Rainier Drive (Cedar Cove, #6)6 Rainier Drive by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

I liked 6 Ranier Drive about as much as the rest of the series so far. The negatives for me were that the book repeated itself unnecessarily...a lot. I got bored reading about Maryellen being on bed rest and Jon and his issues with his parents. This was the main part of the book that I found to be really repetitive and I'm glad those issues are resolved now. Also I was disappointed in the Cal/ Lynette story line and
thought it ended up being pretty pointless with Lynette acting pretty childish and Cal being a bit of a jerk. Also The Teri/Bobby whirlwind romance was a little weird. Bobby himself is just weird. And I thought Seth was really written out of character just to add drama to the story.

The positives were Olivia and Jack are finally pleasant to read about again, and some long running story lines were resolved. I'm halfway through the series now and still hanging in there...I think.

View all my reviews

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