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Will Lauren risk losing her heart...to a man she's never met?
Lauren Phillips tries to keep busy while recovering from a broken engagement. Then one day, through her home computer, Lauren accidentally connects on the Internet with a mysterious man she knows only as K.C.
Lauren's e-mail relationship with K.C. quickly becomes the thing she loves most in life..and the source of dreams she cannot bear to relinquish.
After a year of corresponding, the opportunity appears for them to meet. Lauren faces a tough choice: Is she willing to risk everything...including another broken heart?
Lauren Phillips flipped the magazine page and stopped. There it was: The garden gazebo she had been trying to describe to Jeff.
“Would it be okay if I tore this page out?” she asked the hairdresser who stood over her, busily unrolling the perm rods from Lauren’s long hair.
“Sure. That’s an old copy. Did you find a good recipe?”
“No, I found a gazebo.” She held up the picture. “This is where I want to get married.”
“Romantic,” the stylist commented, tugging out another rod. “Looks like the one at Belmont.”
Lauren had heard about Belmont University and the 150-year-old mansion on the campus that was available for wedding rentals. She would have to look into that.
The stylist continued working on Lauren’s blond hair. “Gazebos aren’t especially practical for weddings, you know. Where do all the guests sit?”
Jeff asked the same question last week when she tried to describe the gazebo setting to him. “I haven’t figured that out yet,” she glanced at her watch. “Do you think this will take much longer?” For nearly four hours she had endured the torture of getting a perm. Her tender head was protesting the treatment, and Jeff would be waiting at the restaurant. He didn’t like to be kept waiting.
Lauren nervously twisted the large diamond ring on her finger and wondered why she ever thought getting a spiral perm was a good idea. It was her first perm since she was fourteen. Since that experience ten years ago, she had worn her silky blond hair the same way—straight down her back, hanging almost to her waist. Then, a few weeks ago, Lauren’s supervisor at the bank had come to this salon during her lunch hour. She was transformed from drab to dynamite and that had convinced Lauren to live a little and surprise Jeff with a new look.
With a yank, the stylist pulled out the final rod and maneuvered a wide pick through Lauren’s long locks. Suddenly the comb-out stopped, and in a thin voice the stylist called for her supervisor. He joined her, and the two seemed to talk in code, both touching the ends of Lauren’s hair and pulling their fingers through the underside. She wished they would spin her chair around so she could have a look in the mirror.
“Have you been in the pool a lot this summer?” the supervisor asked.
“No.” It was only the end of June. Why would he ask such a question?
“We’ll include a bottle of our 911 conditioner for you to use at home,” he said. “Wait two days before you wash your hair.”
Lauren noticed as he walked away that strands of her blond hair were between his fingers.
“What’s wrong with my hair?” Lauren turned herself around to face the mirror before the stylist could stop her. The sight of her reflection was shocking. Instead of soft waves of caramel cascading down, as shown on the model in the Hairstyles for Today book, Lauren’s hair had turned into wild, crumpled straw, zigzagging from the crown of her head.
“What happened?” she cried.
“Sometimes it takes a day or two for the perm to calm down,” the woman said brightly. “You need to give it a little time to relax. Be sure to use the conditioner.”
“This is not what I wanted,” Lauren said. She fingered the dry ends of her hair and ran her hand over the back. “It’s… it’s not what I wanted. I want my old hair back.”
The stylist unclasped the drape from around Lauren’s neck and said, “It should relax in a few days.”
Lauren reached for her backpack and walked the ten feet to the register, certain the customers waiting in the front of the shop would all look up at her and burst into laughter.
“Here you go,” the manager said, handing her the conditioner. “And I gave you a 20 percent discount.”
“A 20 percent discount? Why?”
“As a courtesy, that’s all.”
Lauren was too numb to ask any more questions. She signed the Visa voucher and filled in the tip portion of the form with a hastily figured 15 percent. “Thank you,” she mumbled, bolting for the parking lot.
Why did I leave her a tip? She probably ruined my hair! That’s why they gave me the discount. I can’t believe this happened!
Lauren quickly unlocked her door, slid into the driver’s seat, and jerked the rearview mirror in her direction.
“Oh, no. No, no, no!” she moaned. “My poor hair! What am I going to do?” She ran her fingers through the clump of hair hanging over her shoulder, and a dozen strands came out. A repeat finger-combing brought out more hair.
Fighting back the tears, Lauren jammed the keys into the ignition and popped her Taurus into reverse. She backed out of the tight parking space. The sound of tires screeching caused her to automatically slam on her brakes. With the rearview mirror still askew, Lauren turned to look over her shoulder and discovered she had missed hitting another car by mere inches.
“Sorry!” Lauren called, rolling down her window and signaling her apology to the woman in the other car. The motorist shook her head at Lauren and sped off. “I said I was sorry,” Lauren muttered, pausing to adjust her rearview mirror. Then, with extra caution, she exited the Hickory Hollow Mall parking lot.
Nearly fifteen minutes later she arrived across town at Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant. She had to circle the block twice to find a parking place. Before jumping out of the car, Lauren scrounged around in her backpack for a barrette, a scrunchie, a rubber band, anything to pull back her hair. She found a long wooden clip and tried to clasp her hair into a ponytail. It was too thick now for the clip. Quickly dividing her hair into three sections, she loosely twisted it into a braid down her back, securing the clip on the end. Another wad of hair came out in her hand.
My hair is ruined! This was supposed to be my big surprise for Jeff, and here I am, almost an hour late, and with my hair falling out!
Lauren entered the Italian restaurant and inhaled the familiar garlic fragrance. She and Jeff met here often. There was something slightly soothing about the surroundings. Lauren spotted Jeff in “their” corner booth and wove her way through the maze of tables.
“Jeff, I am so sorry,” she began.
He looked up and said nothing. His deep brown eyes greeted her flatly, and his straight lips gave no hint of what he was thinking. She hated it when Jeff was like this. As long as she had known him he had only turned stoic a couple of times, but when he did, trying to get him to open up was like digging a ditch with a teaspoon.
Lauren slipped into the seat across from Jeff and cautiously asked, “Have you ordered already?”
“No. I was waiting.”
“I’m sorry I’m so late. You won’t believe what happened.”
The waiter stepped up to the table with his pencil poised on his order pad. “Have you had time to decide?”
“I’ll have the special, whatever it is tonight,” Lauren said.
“Lasagna,” Jeff ordered without taking his eyes off of Lauren. He always ordered lasagna at Giovanni’s. That was one of the things Lauren loved about him. Jeff was steady. Predictable. Dependable. Qualities she wanted and needed in a man.
Lauren used to order the same thing every time, too. Then about two weeks ago, she suddenly grew sick of lasagna. She decided to order things on the menu that she couldn’t even pronounce. It was that “live dangerously” attitude that had prompted her to make the appointment at the hair salon.
“Jeff,” she tried again, “you won’t believe what happened.” Lauren flipped her braid over her shoulder and tried to appear lighthearted about the perm disaster. Several stray hairs floated onto her arm. “I wanted to surprise you. Marie at work—did you ever meet her? She’s my supervisor. Well, anyway, she went to this salon a few weeks ago, and her hair turned out gorgeous. So I decided to do something different with my hair. I went in at two-thirty today. Can you believe it? It took more than four hours for them to give me this perm. You should’ve seen me with all those rods in my hair. It stuck out to here.” She used her hands to demonstrate. Jeff gave her a polite smile.
“And now I have to wait before I can wash it. I have some good conditioner to use that should help the dryness. It got pretty dried out.” She smiled, trying to convince herself and Jeff that everything would turn out okay once she got home and washed her hair.
“Things always seem to happen to you, Lauren,” Jeff said.
Posted January 31, 2013
**Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn is a great quick read. Once you begin it is hard to put it down. Lauren Phillips begins a journey of self discovery when her fiance chooses a new job in New York over her. Once the break up begins she realizes that she had become everything that he has expected of her instead of who she really is. Her brother 'Rad' introduces her to the internet and online chat rooms. She begins to correspond with a pen pal named 'KC'. After a year of self discovery and heartfelt correspondence with KC she believes that she is in love with him. Against the advice of her friend she decides to finally meet KC in real life. After realizing that she had still had some unresolved hurt, she flees from the meeting and turns to God. She spends the next week struggling to have complete faith in what God had in store for her. Little did she or KC know, but God had them exactly where they belonged.
This is a great book for someone who is also feeling a little lost in their life. Lauren begins a life journey that many people are afraid to confront. Lauren is a character that, whether your just starting adult life or enjoying retirement you can relate to her. This book is all about transformation, faith, and love. **
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Posted July 19, 2013
Robin Jones Gunn
Book Summary: In this dramatic contemporary romance by bestselling author Robin Jones Gunn, Lauren Phillips enters the wild, uncharted territory of the Internet on her home computer and "connects" with a man known only as "K.C." As she struggles to recover from a broken engagement, Lauren keeps busy by working full time and striving to finish her college degree. But her correspondence with K.C. quickly becomes the thing she loves most...and the source of dreams she cannot bear to relinquish. When the opportunity comes for them to meet after a year of corresponding, Lauren faces a tough choice: Is she willing to risk everything...including a broken heart? Readers will stay "on-line" to find out in this bestselling former Palisades release, now the third book in the new Glenbrooke series.
Will Lauren risk losing her heart...to a man she's never met? Lauren Phillips tries to keep busy while recovering from a broken engagement. Then one day, through her home computer, Lauren accidentally connects on the Internet with a mysterious man she knows only as K.C. Lauren's e-mail relationship with K.C. quickly becomes the thing she loves most in life..and the source of dreams she cannot bear to relinquish. After a year of corresponding, the opportunity appears for them to meet. Lauren faces a tough choice: Is she willing to risk everything...including another broken heart?
Review: I really enjoyed this book and series. I was not sure about this particular title when I first picked it up. I hemmed and hawed about reading it. Once I started it I was sorry that I waited so long. Since I read the books out of order I was already familiar with the main characters. They were a great mix and contrast in story line from the other books in the series which made it a good ongoing series and single. There is no need to read them in sequence or you can just read one of them. Although once you read one you are going to want to know how the other stories come about. Lauren and KC are more common today than when this story was written, I think and that is what makes this more timeless.
Posted July 9, 2013
Posted March 25, 2013
Echos, the third book in the Glenbrook series was a fun sexual to the plot that started in book one, Secrets. The majority of the story did not involve any of the characters from book one until closer to the end, which allowed for a really nice twist and really brought the Story based in Glenbrook together.
Lauren, at the start of the book is engaged and will soon be married to Jeff. However, he turns about to be a very different man than she became engaged to and broke off the engagement when an offer to move and work in New York presented itself. Lauren, heartbroken, did not know what to do or what to think.
Her brother came, bearing gifts, most useful to her was the computer he installed, and she began a correspondence with K.C.. Over the course of a year they shared many things, including poetry by their favorite authors and a shared book on scripture. Lauren had fallen in love and eventually, K.C. Asked if they could meet. Lauren, unsure of the relationship for the first time was hesitant.
As mentioned, this book series has a really fun plot, and in order to find out what happens to Lauren, this book is a must read, especially if you have read book one, Secrets. I have not had the chance to read book two, but it was not necessary as each book has their own plots and stories, the characters are simply woven throughout which I think is very fun! Enjoy!
Posted March 21, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Lauren in Echoes, the third book in the Glenbrooke series by Robin Jones Gunn! I think a lot of women will relate to Lauren—wanting to get married and changing who she is to be what she thinks a man wants her to be. She's so sweet and fun and I liked her even more as the book progressed. I love how faith is central to this story (and all of Robin's stories, really). Conversations about God flow naturally between the characters and it's easy to see how you could have similar conversations in your own life.
I read most of the book with a silly grin on my face because it was such a sweet romance, and I had to smile! But, it's one of the few romances where I've been this anxious to get to the end and see how the conclusion was going to come about. If I had been reading a hard copy, I'm pretty sure I would've skipped ahead to read the last page ... just to make sure!
I did chuckle a little throughout the book since it's a smidge dated (originally published in 1996) with the newness of "the Net," explanations of how to communicate via email, and talk of "chat rooms." It was easy to get past that, though, and dive into this lovely romance!
I love how Robin has connected this series with characters from the other books. You certainly don't have to read them in order, but I think it's more fun that way. :) Fans of contemporary romance will enjoy Lauren and K.C.'s story! I highly recommend! [4.5 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Posted March 12, 2013
booksbysteph says "quick, easy and whimsy read"
After her fiance took a job in New York without telling her, Lauren Phillips did not have time to grieve her loss. Instead, she took back control of her life, including going back to school. Lauren's brother brought her an old computer to help her get back into the dating world and entered a chat room, typed a message about how his sister, Wren, just got dumped and was there anyone who wanted to talk to her. Someone named KC answered and they eventually became pen pals.
Wren and KC had so much in common and eventually Wren fell in love over a year of correspondence through email. KC suggested they should meet. This made both of them nervous. What if the other did not the way one looked or does not love them like they do? "Did [Wren] truly want to meet [KC] and end the masquerade?"
I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 out of 5 stars
Another fun, quick and easy read from this author!
I have to echo what the author states in the book, do not go online to find your true love. It is a bad world and there are many dangerous people. Please have a conversation with your mother about this issue.
Being the second book I have read by this author (yes, I know I am reading them out of order) and in the same collection, like the first, this book stands on its own. You do not have to read book 1, then 2, etc.
This book dealt with a lot of issues beginning with everyday mishaps. You also get picking yourself up and becoming stronger after a heartbreaking break-up. I feel that that is the main point you should take away from the book, not whether or not she ends up the guy. Sometimes it is so hard for me to believe that a character can make a life altering decision seconds after being asked the question. And in these books (all 2 that I've read), everything tidy's up with a big read bow. I feel that these books written for women are more for young adults because you just read surface issues. You don't get raw, deep emotions.
Until next time, live life one page at a time!
Posted March 9, 2013
Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn
Will Lauren learn to trust her heart before she loses her chance at love?
Crazy things always seem to happen to Lauren Phillips, but even she wasn't expecting her fiance to break their engegement. Hoping to lift her spirits, her brother Brad gives her a new computer---along with a few suggestions for how she can improve her social life online. Soon Lauren connects with a mysterious man who identifies himself as a fellow God-lover...someone she knows only as K.C.
As she takes tentative steps into a new life, Lauren increasingly enjoys her new online friendship with K.C. But she can't bring herself to hope for something more and risk relinquishing the safety that distance provides her bruised heart.
After a year of corresponding, Lauren finally has an opportunity to meet K.C. Is she willing to risk everything, including more heartache?
This was a lovely book! It was well written and easy to read. I breezed through it in less than a week. It was a very cute little story, a nice light read. I believe I liked it better than "Secrets", the first book in this series. This one was the third, and while there are some of the same characters in this book, it's not a series that has to be read in order. The end nearly brought a tear to my eye. This is a book I'd recommend to anyone who's in the mood for a light and fairly happy read!
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Posted February 1, 2013
Lauren has an unusual amount of bad luck, but just as things seem to be looking up her fiance leaves her for a better job in New York.
When her brother Brad hears about his sisters plight he shows up with a computer in hopes of cheering her up. While teaching her how to use a chat room he randomly introduces her to a complete stranger who goes by K.C.
Through their online correspondence she learns that, like herself K.C is a fellow "God lover" and a fan of her heroes Robert and Elizabeth Browning. After a year of corresponding via email, they both decide it's time they meet each other in person. But Lauren fears that she will be heartbroken and abandoned once again and cannot face "the other half of her heart".
If I had to describe this book with one word it would be.... LAME!
The story plot may have had potential but the book itself was seriously cheesy!
First of all, the romance was way too unbelievable, I mean who's first kiss really happens like this??
" 'How say you?' he whispered the familiar Browning line. 'Let us, O my dove, Let us be unashamed of soul, as earth lies bare to heaven above! How is it under our control, to love or not to love?' Before the last word was out of his mouth, his lips had met hers in a lingering kiss that was full of love."
Second of all, the story moved so fast it felt like she contacted him a few times and they instantly
knew they were soul mates! Also there was almost no side stories and Laurens everyday life became quite boring after awhile! "She went grocery shopping", "she needed to finish this paper for school", " she stopped at the garage sale and brought a new book".... and on.... and on...
Needles to say I personally was not impressed!
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Posted January 29, 2013
After receiving *Echoes* by Robin Jones Gunn, I realized for the first time that it was part of The Glenbrooke Series. I have not read the two books preceding *Echoes* in the series, and I have no indication that it is necessary to read the books in order.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely story of romance via the Internet. Not only is the book well written, it captures your attention and I could not put it down.
Lauren Phillips is looking toward marriage to her fiance, who suddenly makes an independent decision to accept a job in New York City. Lauren's expression of discomfort with living in New York leads her fiance to unexpectedly break their engagement.
In an effort to help his sister, Lauren's brother, Brad, arrives with a computer in hand and connects Lauren to the Internet and gives her a brief tutorial session in emailing and a tip or two on connecting socially online.,
Lauren is soon chatting online with a man who identifies himself as K.C. and a fellow Christian. The common points in their lives are intriguing to both, and Lauren soon finds herself enjoying her communications with K.C.
But then the time comes when the idea of meeting face-to-face becomes a reality. Suddenly, Lauren turns away and walks away from the possibilities. Leaving K.C. wondering why Lauren is a no-show, life begins to take them down a path that surprises both.
Gunn's use of the Internet in a social way, showing the safe way to interact with others, is a much-needed inclusion in romance novels, and she has used it effectively here.
The setting of part of the book is in my home region, the Pacific Northwest, and I enjoyed her descriptions of the area.
This is a series I may go back and check out the first two books and likely will read others following it. I highly recommend this book to both young adult women as well as anyone looking for a good Christian romance.
Posted January 12, 2013
A very quick enjoyable read, read in one afternoon. Reminded me of "You Got Mail". When the story begins Lauren is engaged to Jeff, and it appeared to me immediately that it was a one sided relationship. I was happy when it ended!
When Lauren's brother Brad brings her a computer, this book was originally published back in 1996. He sets her up with email, and a shows her a chat room. So begins a new internet relationship with KC.
When a year passes with this unseen friend they decide to meet. Her friends are aghast, he could be an axe murderer. She cancels!!
We travel with Lauren through this period of time in her life, she finishes her degree. She has reestablished her relationship with God, and keeps him close now.
Will these two unknown to one another, ever meet? Will they ever get beyond cyber tea, Irish Breakfast Tea?
This is a sweet, sometimes funny read, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
I received this book from Multnomah Blogging For Books Program, and was not required to give a positive review.
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