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Search tags: Nora-Roberts-JD-Robb
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review 2017-06-20 16:01
River's End by Nora Roberts
River's End - Nora Roberts

When she was four, Olivia McBride found her father leaning over her mother’s mutilated body, covered in her blood, and ran in fear. She’s been running ever since, burying the memories, locking them away as she was taught by her overprotective grandmother.
Now, twenty years later, it seems running, hiding and burying of memories will come to an end. Her father has reached out of prison, contacting the only man Olivia has ever loved, the second man, after the one who sired her, to break her heart.

Noah Brady is a true-crime author, but writing the book about this particular murder isn’t just a job. It’s a calling. As son of the lead detective on the case, the murder, and the image of a distraught four-year-old girl, have stayed with him, and he knows he not only has to tell the story from all points of view, he needs to.

But neither Noah nor Olivia are prepared for the can of worms digging into the past might open.

“When you run away it comes after you, Liv. And it always catches up.”


If this book teaches any kind of lesson, it’s this. That there’s no point in running or hiding, the past (or anything for that matter) will eventually catch up to you. And the more you bottle it all up, the worse it will be. In this case, the combination of buried memories due to trauma, and the bubble she lived in afterward thanks to her grandmother, the bottling up turned the heroine into a bitch.
There’s no beating around the bush, here, she was a bitch. She got better, eventually, but the scenes I most remember her in are those in which she lashed out at Noah about and for everything. And he, the hero that he was, took it, took everything, and then came back for seconds.

It was this dynamic that ruined the “romantic” aspect of the book, because I didn’t feel the romance. Attraction, yes, passion, maybe, but it was all rather cold, without much emotion (except anger), dispassionate, and detached.

What I loved about the story were the descriptions of nature, the forest, meadows, flowers, fauna, bringing with them a strange feeling of peace and contentment, a welcome respite from the aforementioned tumultuous “relationship”.

I also loved the suspense, with the scenes delving into the past, flashbacks, and, most of all, the ominous feel as the climax approached. I knew almost immediately things were not as they seemed with the murder (a gut feeling, like with Frank), and soon after suspected how things truly were. And I wasn’t wrong. Although the truth was revealed almost at the end, and I knew what was what by then, I wasn’t disappointed with the finale.
Yes, it was predictable, but still written well enough to keep the suspense going, and yes, tug at a heartstring or two, when the bitter-sweetness of it all hit.

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review 2017-06-19 12:33
True Betrayals by Nora Roberts
True Betrayals - Nora Roberts

Kelsey Byden has spent 23 years of her 26-year-long life thinking her mother was dead. Imagine her surprise when she receives a letter from one Naomi Chadwick, her mother, back from the dead.
Despite the objections of her grandmother and stepmother, Kelsey decides to contact the woman who gave birth to her, and soon moves to the woman’s horse ranch.

As she slowly gets to know her mother, Kelsey finally realizes the life before moving to the Virginia countryside was no life at all, and her moving from hobby to hobby, and job to job, was merely searching for her true goal in life. A goal she’s finally found.

But as Kelsey gets accustomed to her new life, her true purpose, and the possibility of a long-term relationship with her mother’s charming neighbor, Gabriel Slater, a ghost from the past is slowly rising, determined to ruin all Naomi, Kelsey, and Gabe have accomplished.


My “experience” with Nora Roberts’s early books is hit-and-miss, unfortunately. And as I started this one, I honestly feared this would fall under the “miss” category, mostly because I didn’t particularly like the heroine or her actions and behavior. She sounded selfish, shallow, and, yes, spoiled.

I could not have been more wrong, though, and after a few chapters, and once Kelsey was out of the grasp of her blue-blooded family for whom appearances were everything, no matter who suffered for them, and moved to the country, I realized the spoiled brat was just the veneer, a mask she used to keep up those appearances, and to keep doubts about what her true place in life was, at bay.
Everything, not just the heroine, was different in the country, actually. The narration was different, the descriptions more vivid, the pacing steadier, the characters well-developed and realistic, the emotions stronger, the intensity higher.

I loved the relationship between long-lost mother and daughter. It built up slowly, steadily, its progress organic. The romance between Kelsey and Gabe, on the other hand, was much quicker to develop and progress, yet didn’t feel rushed, but just perfect, the tempo of it very much suited for both their characters. Despite their different upbringing these two were quite similar in lots of ways, leaning new things and how to adapt in the way they were complete opposites.
If Kelsey were truly that woman we got to know at the beginning, the polished, flighty socialite, their romance would not have worked, but since deep down she was just as passionate, just as emotion-driven, and just as stubborn as Gabe, they worked together more than nicely.

But what drew the story forward, what fueled the intensity, what kept me turning the pages, was the suspense. The twists and turns of it all, the danger both to humans and animals, the horrible ends people were willing to go to accomplish a goal, be it keep someone in line, punish someone, get rich, or simply to get rid of an unwelcome individual, were chilling, and strangely fascinating.
Some of those got their comeuppance, but I was sorry the biggest sociopath (the behavior and utterly remorseless responses made me think of that word) came through it without a scratch. This main villain, the one who put things in motion all those years ago only to repeat the process twenty-three years later, was rather predictable, but I didn’t mind, I was looking forward to the discovery and the punishment, only to be disappointed the punishment was lacking.
Oh well, the other baddie got what was coming, so I’m happy.

This book had it all; great characters, explosive chemistry, wonderfully sexy romance, mystery and secrets, suspense, danger and drama. Loved it.

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review 2017-06-13 09:28
Local Hero by Nora Roberts
Local Hero (Silhouette Special Edition #427) - Nora Roberts

It started with a pizza delivered to the wrong door, but then he fell in love with her son...and her legs, and Mitch Dempsey knew life would never be the same.


What a lovely, heart-warming, a little sad at time, and slightly exasperating, thanks to the heroine, romantic little story this was.

I loved Mitch (the hero) for his steadfastness, comfort with himself and around other people, for his stubbornness when he knew he was doing (and demanding) the right thing, and his love and care for Radley. I loved Radley for his openness, his optimism, and his love for his mom and his new hero. He looked at life as full of possibilities, unlike his mother who looked at life as full of obstacles, especially when it came to her and men in her (and Radley's) life.

I understood her reservations given what she's been through with Radley's father, but as the story progressed and the reader (and her) got to know Mitch, I couldn't help but find her a tad annoying in the way she kept using Radley's no-good father and her poor experience (a long time ago, mind you) with him as a crutch to push the more-than-decent guy away.

Luckily, Mitch was just stubborn enough and he had help in the form of his little Corporal, and the conflict (that shouldn't have been there in the first place) was resolved rather quickly...

Loved it.

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review 2017-06-09 09:25
Gabriel's Angel & Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts
Gabriel's Angel - Nora Roberts
Unfinished Business (Silhouette Intimate Moments #433) - Nora Roberts

GABRIEL'S ANGEL

She almost crashes into him on a snowy road, he offers her temporary shelter in his cabin, discovers she’s pregnant, and on the run. To protect her, he decides to marry her, delivers the baby, and slays her dragons.


Sheesh. Far from Nora Roberts’s best work. Slow and as annoying as the heroine, with a bland hero, an unbelievable (in this day, but maybe it worked when it was written) premise and even more unbelievable romance and insta-love.

 

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

She left town when she was sixteen, traveled the world with her father, became a famous pianist...Now, a few months after her father's death, she's back in her hometown, living with the mother who supposedly hadn't wanted anything to do with her in the past years, and falling all over again for the man who abandoned her.


It was a nice story, with lovely secondary cast, lovely secondary romance, a lovely small-town setting, and a very lovely leading man.
Pity the heroine ruined everything. Rather self-centered, with a penchant of sticking her head in the sand, blaming pretty much everybody but the person who was responsible for her leaving, for her mother "abandonment", her crush supposedly dumping her.

I didn't understand her, I didn't get her reasoning, and I couldn't have cared less about what happened to her. Pity she was the heroine.

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review 2017-06-08 09:21
Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts
Honest Illusions - Nora Roberts

Roxy and Luke grew up together, ever since her father took the runaway boy under his wing, and through time, their relationship changed from initial animosity to friendship, and in the end, love. But Luke's past came back to haunt him, and he left his family, and his heart, behind to protect them.
But now, after five years, he's back, determined to get it all, especially Roxy, back no matter the cost.


I must confess these "time progression" stories by Ms Roberts are hit-and-miss for me. Unfortunately, this one falls into the "miss" category. I can't really put my finger on why that is, it simply didn't pull me in. It actually dragged too slow and too long in the beginning, establishing the characters, their history, and their relationships, and it definitely took too long to get back to the present...And then, finally in the present, everything was resolved rather quickly.
I guess the prologue, set in the present, ruined it for me, since the story immediately moved back into the past, and the whole reason for the anger in the prologue, took too long to be explained. Or maybe it's just me.

I also didn't really connect with any of the characters, and the main couple left me especially cold. Roxy was a brat and Luke was a jerk for the better part of the story, and once they finally started to get interesting, it all went down the drain thanks to an especially twisted villain, whose motive was a bit far-fetched, if you ask me, and his actions rather disproportionate compared to the "offense". I know crazy people think differently, but still. It was a bit too much.

Some reviewers complained Roxy was too quick to forgive Luke for abandoning her for five years, but I found the resolution to the conflict refreshingly quick. Which it had to be, since the book was running out of page space. ;)

It was better than some contemporaries out there, but still only average in Ms Roberts' opus.

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