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review 2017-07-21 00:55
Thoughts: Northern Lights
Northern Lights - Nora Roberts

Northern Lights
by Nora Roberts

 

 

Lunacy, Alaska--population 506--a colorful, compelling novel about two lonely souls who find love--and redemption.

Lunacy is Nate Burke's last chance.  As a Baltimore cop, he watched his partner die--and the guilt still haunts him.  Maybe serving as chief of police in this tiny, remote town, where darkness falls by midafternoon and temperatures plunge to zero and below, will bring some kind of solace.  It isn't as if he had anywhere else to go.

Aside from sorting out a run-in between a couple of motor vehicles and a moose--and pulling apart two brothers who are beating each other silly over a disagreement about John Wayne--Nate's first weeks on the job are relatively quiet.  But as he wonders whether this was all a big mistake, an unexpected kiss on New Year's Eve under the brilliant northern lights of the Alaska sky lifts his spirit--and convinces him to stay just a little longer.

Meg Galloway, born and raised here, is used to being alone.  She was still a young girl when her father disappeared, and she's learned to be independent, flying her small plane, living on the outskirts with just her huskies for company.  But after her New Year's kiss with the chief of police, she allows herself to give in to passion.  She doesn't want commitment--yet there's something about Nate's sad eyes that gets under her skin, and warms her frozen heart.

And now, things in Lunacy are heating up.  Because years ago, on one of the majestic mountains that shadow the town, a crime occurred that is unsolved to this day--and Nate suspects that a killer still walks the snowy streets.  His investigation will bring out the secrets and suspicions that lurk beneath the placid suface--as well as the big-city survival instincts that made him a cop in the first place.  And it will threaten the new life, and the new love, that he has finally found for himself.



Even though it took about 30% for the main conflict and excitement to begin, this book was actually a lot of fun.  On a side note, I have a thing for wintry settings, especially those with a possible crime thriller plot.  And admittedly, despite the rather banal, everyday happenings of our newest Lunacy Chief of Police, I really, really enjoyed Northern Lights.

True to form, there were still a lot of things about this book that didn't work for me, but oddly enough, the little snippets of journal, the two or three "Police Log" entries in the town's only newpaper, and even some of the really subtle, but much appreciated humor made this book shine amidst all the crazy.  Lunacy, Alaska is very aptly named, and all the strange hijinks of the small town people made this extremely long book very worthwhile.

I also found the spin on the name 'Lunacy' for different aspects of the town kind of endearing.  The residents refer to themselves as 'Lunatics,' the newspaper is named 'The Lunatic,' and so on.

I would have liked for the crime thriller portion of the book to be a bit more exciting, if I were to be totally honest.  And I would have liked for Meg to be a bit less bitchy, and for Nate to be a bit less neanderthal.  But all-in-all, between the atmosphere and all the unique, colorful characters, I found myself quite immersed in the day-to-day goings on of the Lunatics, especially as seen from a fresh set of eyes, a man from the Lower 48, who finds everything amusing, strange, and kind of 'Twilight Zone' to boot.

The murder mystery that finally got presented at the 30% mark was quite twisty-turny, and I found myself analyzing each and every possible suspect alongside Nate.  It was actually quite unpredictable, but at the same time, not so surprising when the main culprit was finally revealed.  The ending, on the other hand, was a little too daintily packaged, but there's a Happily Ever After, and the rest of the book was entertaining enough, so I'm not really complaining too much.

On a side note, I've yet to encounter a Nora Roberts romance that I've actually liked.  I have a bone to pick with almost every one of them--with most of the Nora Roberts heroes being incredibly pushy and acting like cavemen; or the heroines being more bitchy and stupidly stubborn than I would like.

However, in truth, if I were to choose one Roberts hero who comes close to being a favorite, though, I might choose Nate Burke.  He's got a tragic history, a broody persona, but all-in-all he's quite down-to-earth, and takes steps to help himself climb back out of his own black hole.  I love his spunk and how well he handles the irrational actions and behavior of the people of Lunacy, especially when they look for reasons to hate him for being an Outsider appointed as their Chief of Police.

The one thing I DON'T like his is penchant for shoving Meg behind him when everyone and their mothers know that she can take care of herself just fine.  Granted, she's got a reckless streak about her, and she might be bitchy and stubborn as heck, but I found it a little insulting that, when faced with a wilderness of danger, his first instinct was to tell Meg to hide.  Yes, maybe in a less politically correct world, this might seem heroic and swoon-worthy.  But being that Meg has had much more experience living in the outskirts of Lunacy, Alaska, facing down tough flights, harsh winters, and wandering wildlife, you'd think he'd trust her instincts more than his own need to protect.

Anyway, before I jump on top of another soapbox, I should probably just bring this piece to a close.

Northern Lights was pretty entertaining, and no one is more surprised than I am to find how much I enjoyed reading a Romantic Suspense that felt more like a banal Contemporary Romance.  It wouldn't be the first time, and probably won't be the last.  But this time, I'm pleasantly surprised to admit that I hadn't even worried that the 'suspense' part of this Romantic Suspense felt a little unbalanced.

Nora Roberts, you've done it again.  Another conflicting feel to another well written novel.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly

Roll #29:
Author was born pre-1955.

Page Count:  562
Cash Award:  +$15.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $210.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/thoughts-northern-lights.html
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text 2017-07-20 21:29
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan

Finished and just need to write a review. I ended up just raiding my shelves at home and found this older Amy Tan book. 


We follow two women in this book. Ruth Young is married and trying to deal with some of the scars she had from being raised by her mother LuLing. Ruth at times I found a bit much to take. I get where she is coming from, but it's obvious she has no idea what her mother had to deal with and her experiences. When an incident occurs that causes Ruth to realize that something dark has happened to LuLing I felt so sorry for her.


The book goes back and forth between these two women and i found myself more engaged with LuLing's story. 


This book touches among so many things. What to do when you are the only child and having to care for an ailing parent. How do you forgive your mother for doing the best she can under difficult circumstances. 


The book skips back and forth from China to California and though the ending was not as I would have wished it to be (a happily ever after) I did like where Tan went with it. 

 

Paperback: 368 pages

$6.00

Total: $ Balance: $179

 

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text 2017-07-20 14:24
Booklikes-opoly | Roll #30! and Free Friday #6!
Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

 


Seems like I was still in a Nora Roberts mood.  For Roll #29, I managed to roll one set of doubles and ended up with two books.

 


The first square I landed on was Main Street 11, where I chose to read a book written by an author born prior to 1955, Northern Lights by Nora Roberts.  The book was a whopping 562 pages, hard cover, so felt like a monster of a tome to finish--took me a few days, even.  Because I'd landed on this square once already since the Big Game Shake Up, I earned $15.00 for completing this book and task.

 


The next square I landed on was New Orleans Square 21.  I had decided to read Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick, a book that takes place in England, which counts as an island.  Once again, this is a square I've landed on before after the Big Game Shake Up came into effect.  Being 328 pages, I earned $9.00 for completing this book.

Reviews for both books will be coming soon.

 


Meanwhile, I'm still reading my Free Friday #5, The Law of Attraction by N.M. Silber, a short contemporary romance... that just seems to be taking some time because I'm not really that interested in this book.  In fact, the beginning felt so annoyingly tacky and juvenile that I had to remind myself that this book is in the New Adult target.  And to be honest, I've read few New Adult books and have enjoyed even fewer.

It's cute, but I can't help myself comparing it to Julie James, which is probably not a good idea.

I'm hoping to at least finish this book before Friday rolls around so I can pick up my next Free Friday read.  If not by Thursday, hopefully I'll finish it early enough on Friday that I can start in on my next Free Friday book (more on that later)


Roll #30:

 


I rolled a 7 and landed on Free Parking, which states:  "Roll the dice.  Odd number sends you to the waterworks, even number sends you to the electric company, doubles sends you to the luxury tax."

 


... Monkey?

Well, anyway...

 


... so I rolled once more, getting a 6, which takes me to Electric Company:  "Read a book where a main character is in STEM, or where the author's first and last name contain all of the letters in 'Tesla'."

 


Oh.  There you are, Monkey?  Dramatic much?  And Penni, you're kind of blocking my Teddy Bear game piece... but, "Hi!"

I think this is the first time ever that I've landed on this game space since the BLopoly started.  It's the first time I've landed on Free Parking as well--each time I've come across either Water Works or Luxury tax was because an actual counted roll move landed me there.

But anyway, since I've never landed on Electric Company before, pre-Big Game Shake Up or otherwise, no location multiplier will be applied.


Anyway...

I had wanted to read a book from my COYER list, but none of them fit, so I decided that I just needed to find something else altogether.  In truth, the only book on my entire COYER list that did fit was The Manhattan Encounter, but I already read it--had a character who was a scientist.

But anyway, I'd be lying if I said I had looked really hard to find a book.  Upon landing on this game space, the first book I thought of was The Pretender by Celeste Bradley--as we can see, this author's name fits the 'Tesla' criteria in that we can find all the letters of 'Tesla' in our author's first and last name.

And, honestly, I didn't really look that hard for another book to fit the other part of this game space, a character in STEM.  Because I think I already made my decision when I first put together a list of possible books to read for this game space.

So guess what I'll be reading?

 


The Pretender by Celeste Bradley is the first book in the Liar's Club series.  I'm loathe to begin another new series when I have so many others to finish... but whatever, I'm game; and super excited, because I've been so interested in this series since I first stumbled onto it that I'm actually kind of glad for an excuse to read it.

After a year of Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, and Amanda Quick, hopefully this is another great, but the critics seem kind of conflicted.

The Pretender is 455 pages (Scribd e-book version), and since I have never landed on this square before, there are no location multipliers in play.  This book will be worth $10.00 upon completion.

 

The Scribd version of The Pretender that I will be reading gives me a count of 455 pages, but no matter where I've been looking, either on BL or GR or Amazon, The Pretender gives a page count of either 384, 388, or 385.  Since some e-books may not be accurate, I decided to go with the page count number that comes up the most instead of the Scribd e-book version.  So I will counting this book as 384 pages, for a $6.00 cash award, just to be fair about it.


Meanwhile, for the Free Friday Read #6:

I know, I know.  It's not Friday yet, and I still haven't finished my current Free Friday Read.  But The Law of Attraction is pretty bite-sized, and I have no doubt that I'll have it done, if not tonight (Thursday), then at least early on Friday morning.  Being so, I decided to just go ahead and pick my next Free Friday Read, since I'm too lazy to create a second BLopoly update for Friday.

And also because I already know what I want to read.

 


Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle (a.k.a. Jayne Ann Krentz) is the last book in the Dreamlight sub-trilogy of the Arcane Society/Harmony series.  Since I just finished up Burning Lamp, I'm jittery to move onto the next book so I can finish reading this trilogy, and was going to read it one way or another, whether or not it would end up counting for BLopoly.

Meanwhile, I'd been staring at the name Jayne Castle, thinking that it would have also fit the 'Tesla' game space criteria... but I didn't want to push my luck since Jayne Castle is really one of JAK's pen names, and I wasn't sure if it would count.  Upon further investigation (because I do things like that), I found that Castle is actually JAK's maiden name.

Nonetheless, I've made my decisions and I'm sticking to them.

Midnight Crystal is 371 pages, paperback version, which will be worth $6.00 upon completion (no location multipliers for Free Friday books).  I promise I won't start reading this book until I have finished The Law of Attraction.  And if, due to some strange reason, I don't even finish The Law of Attraction by tomorrow, I'll just shelve Midnight Crystal for another time.


Current Bank:   $219

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/booklikes-opoly-roll-30-and-free-friday.html
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text 2017-07-20 12:52
Reading progress update: I've read 23%.
The Mermaids Singing - Val McDermid

He opened the boxes and took out the stacks of document wallets they contained. Carol had labelled them all neatly. Fluent capitals, Tony noted. A woman comfortable with the written word.

Wtf??

 

Also, what is a "fluent" capital? A neat capital letter? As opposed to indecipherable scrawl?? This is for case evidence documentation back in the 90s. Of course it would be legible.

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text 2017-07-20 02:12
What Angels Fear DNF @ 13%.
What Angel Fear (Book 1) - C.S. Harris

There isn't anything really wrong with this book; it's just failing to draw me in. I'm pretty sure the events of chapter seven aren't supposed elicit a sigh.

They go to to arrest our hero Sebastian for the actress's murder, one of the constables draws a knife and accidentally mortally wounds the other constable. Then the first constable blames it all on Sebastian and Sebastian flees in a stolen hansom.

(spoiler show)

Anyway, I'm just not feeling it and Sebastian feels a little too perfect and world-weary for me at the moment, so I figure I'll move on. I was trying to read this for booklikes-opoly square Mystery 25 "Read a book that's tagged historical mystery" since it takes place in 1811 (does it count as Regency era if they're just talking about the Regency and it hasn't happened yet?). I did read more than 10% of the book though, so I'm going to count the 44 pages that I read as $2 for my booklikes-opoly bank and move on.

 

New bank balance: $237

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