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review 2017-06-29 18:32
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Montana Sky - Nora Roberts

Jack Mercy had been a bastard in life. Three wives, two divorces (the third wife died before he could divorce her), and three daughters (each with a different wife), two of whom he’d discarded (along with their mothers) because they weren’t boys, while he couldn’t really get rid of the third because of her dead mother. Yet he never treated Willa Mercy like a daughter, but more of a nuisance, never showing her the ropes, slapping her both figuratively and literally.

And now, after his death, he’s delivered the ultimate slap. The ranch that is her home, where she grew up, that she considers her own, could easily be taken from her. Because Jack Mercy’s will dictates she and her two sisters (whom she’s never met) live on the ranch together for a year. Failure to do that results in the land being forfeited.
While she could manage that, it’s a large house and even larger land, to not have the two women underfoot, her dead father has named two overseers for the one-year period. Two neighboring ranchers, his lawyer and the owner of the second largest ranch in the county, Ben McKinnon, the bane of Willa existence.

But as soon as the three women start living under the same roof and Willa just might tolerate Ben McKinnon enough not to punch him, something dark and twisted is stirring on the land, bringing with it heartbreak and death.


Wow. That’s the first thing I thought after reading this book. Just wow.

I loved the characters. The three sisters, so different, yet somehow so similar. I loved how their relationship progressed and grew throughout the year they spent together on the ranch, how they got to know each other, admire each other, respect and love each other. And I loved how each of them changed during that year, throughout the seasons. Some mellowed, some grew a backbone, but inexorably each of them ended up where she was supposed to end up.

I’d like to say no, that they had no correlation with the change in the three sisters, but yes, the boys helped as well. Adam, Nate, and Ben were also instrumental in the changes in their women, and in Ben’s case, Willa helped in changing him (for the better as well).
I loved these three guys. Steady, resilient, protective, they were the metaphorical rocks sheltering the girls from the storm, offering support, offering friendship, and offering their love. Adam helped Lily in overcoming her insecurities and her fears, Nate helped Tess smooth out some of the rough edges, and Ben and Willa, well, everything.

I know this was supposed to be the story of three sisters finding their way together, finding love in the heart of Montana, but for me, this was the story of Willa. She was Mercy ranch, she was the one who brought it all together, she was the one who held it all together, and she was the one who ended the nightmare. But she wasn’t alone, there was Ben, right beside her through it all.
They circled each other, wary of traps, determined to keep it light, keep it friendly, but you know what they say about the best-laid plans. ;) These two had no hope whatsoever in keeping it light, and as similar in disposition as they were, it was a pleasure reading about the growth and change of their characters romance-wise.
And what a wonderful romance this was. Fun and light in the beginning, slowly morphing into a hot affair, and finally into a (reluctant) acceptance of their deeper feelings. Ms Roberts doesn’t do explicit scenes, but that’s what makes them more potent in my eyes. The words are there, the descriptions are there, painting the picture, but she doesn’t tell it all, she shows the basics and leaves it up to the reader (at least this particular reader and her imagination) to do the rest. I find her sex scenes very sensual and hot in their “simplicity”, and it doesn’t get more sensual or hotter than the scenes between Willa and Ben. To me, theirs were the sexiest, hottest love scenes so far. Slow and sexy, or fast, hard and sweaty, there was just the right vibe, just the right feel...They were just right, and they never put either of them out of character. It was always Willa and Ben. Either dressed or burning up the sheets, they threw off the same amount of spark.
And I loved how they stayed “in character” throughout the end as well. No mushiness, no sappiness, even in that last scene, their characters, their nature shone through.
I liked all three romances, but these two were my favorite couple (since also receiving most of “screen time”).

The suspense provided a nice balance to the romance. They weren’t sidelined, but “walked hand in hand” throughout the story, complimenting each other, perfectly balanced. Dark and light, good and evil, love and hate. Yin and yang.
The suspense aspect was incredibly well-written, twist-y and turn-y, offering scarcely and clues as to the identity of the knife-happy villain. The intensity was slowly rising from the first incidents, climbing to a fever pitch in the last confrontation, the feel of lurking danger was ever-present with the added benefit of a possible second villain, the motive was as elusive as the identity...And although it all happened rather quickly in the end, I never got the feeling it was rushed or easy, since the pacing of it all was rather frenzied at that point.
Suspense of the highest order indeed.

What I also loved about this story, what Ms Roberts is master of, were the vivid descriptions of the ranch, life on it, and its surroundings. I could see the Montana as it was described, the fields, the pastures, the forests, and high country. I could see men running wire, herding cattle, training horses...It was like I was there. Picturesque, vivid, and peaceful.
And then evil trickled in, and that peace was shattered, and the storm brew anew.

Wonderful writing and characters, spot-on pacing, intense suspense...Loved it.

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review 2017-06-26 15:26
Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
Angels Fall - Nora Roberts

The only survivor of a brutal crime, Reece Gilmore has been on the road for a long time now. Plagued by phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, and her many mental issues, she hasn’t stopped anywhere for long. But her car has decided to break down in the little Wyoming town, Angel Fist, and almost broke, Reece has no other option than to stop, and seek employment.
Soon, the little town starts feeling like home, she likes her job as cook in the local diner, and although she’s the stranger in town, hence object of curiosity, the jitters about hitting the road again haven’t hit.

Until she witnesses a murder during a hike one day, but no one believes her since there’s no proof, no other witnesses, and absolutely no sign of struggle. And it seems the violence of what she’s witnessed has put her recovery into regression, and she starts experiencing lost time again, moving things, doing things she cannot remember doing. She would probably skip town again if it wasn’t for another outsider, the man who held her together the day she witnessed the murder, the only man who believes her she did see what she claims she saw, Brody. And it’s also Brody the one who suspects there might be another explanation to her supposed lost-time episodes to the one of her going slowly crazy.

Someone is obviously trying to discredit her testimony, and drive her out of town...But what measures might they take if she doesn’t run?



Nice. Very nice. Intense, gripping, suspenseful, and skirting the edges of thriller with all the psychological warfare deployed by the villain toward the heroine. Very nice, indeed.

I loved Reece, not just liked, loved her. She was a mess with all her issues, her insecurities, her obsessive compulsive disorder, her phobias, but I didn’t find her annoying. I sympathized and empathized, but I didn’t pity her. As Brody said, she might’ve been a victim once, but she was a survivor all the way. She’d self-admitted herself into a mental institution, for crying out loud. She’d known she needed help, and she sought it. If that isn’t admirable, I don’t know what is. She also knew she had many screws loose, yet she coped, she tried to move on, she tried to live. And thanks to Brody (yes, unfortunately, the guy had to help somewhat) when push came to shove, she didn’t go down without a fight.

Now, as for Brody, I somehow didn’t get a really clear picture about him. The image, even the character of him still eludes me. He was there, I guess, a supportive entity, one of the few in town who truly believed Reese, a guardian angel of some sort, a brusque jackass which was just what she needed to get out of her funk, yet he remains obscure. A tall, dark, and handsome generic hero, who happened to get involved with Reece.

It’s weird, because it’s usually the other way around. It’s NR heroes I can clearly picture, while the heroines remain rather generic (and somewhat annoying).
I guess this is a “special” book, since the abovementioned fact isn’t the only thing that’s inverted. In this book it’s the heroine who embraces her feelings more easily, it’s Reece who expresses them first, and it’s the hero who’s scared, annoyed, and reluctant to move forward, to change the way things are, while it’s usually the other way around, with the heroines playing the “male part”.

The jewel of this story is the suspense, which is also a slight deviation from norm. Usually I enjoy the perfect combination of both, the romance and the suspense, but in this case, the romance (or whatever that was) took the backseat to the suspense. And yes, it was suspense. Not much action, not much danger, gripping nevertheless.
It was suspenseful, lurking, creeping slowly forward, keeping the reader at the edge of the seat, wondering whether it was truly all in Reece’s head or if there was something more sinister afoot. Very, very well done.
In the end, when Reece and Brody went out on their own, and the knots started unraveling, and the plot started thickening, I had two possible suspects—I had no idea about the villain’s identity until the end, so the big reveal came off as a surprise and not so much a surprise in the end.
I also felt the ending a tad too easy for the town-folk, with no vindication for Reece. I wouldn’t have minded a little groveling, but then, those that counted, believed her no matter what.

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review 2017-06-24 16:44
Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts
Carolina Moon - Nora Roberts

On that fateful night so long ago, when eight-year-old Hope Lavelle died, Victoria "Tory" Bodeen should've been with her. But her father had beaten her because of her particular gift, Tory stayed at home, and someone raped and killed her best friend.
No one knew who did it, the town suspected a drifter, and the killer remained unpunished, as life went on...

Yet Tory hasn't been able to forget her friend or what's been done to her. They were blood sisters, connected by an unbreakable bond, and she feels it's time to finally put the past, and Hope to rest, by finding her killer. And the best place to start is back in her home town...


I watched the movie based on this book, and I must say it didn't to it justice. At all. Not in story, not in characterization, not in suspense.

This book is proof of what Nora Roberts does best. Expertly crafted story with wonderful characters. You have your prickly heroine, a deceptively laid-back hero, and a great supporting cast with the, as far as NR stories set in the South, requisite bitchy matriarch, and the "crazy" relative, usually and aunt.
But the cast itself isn't enough, one has to connect them all together, some in friendship, some in blood, some in reluctant alliances, passing acquaintances, and of course, romance.

This book has two of those, the main one between the prickly heroine and the deceptively laid-back hero, and the second between the hero's seemingly flighty sister, determined to defy mama at all cost, and the hero's best friend and the heroine's cousin, the town veterinarian who's been pining after his love-interest for years before she finally saw reason.
Strangely, I must confess I was more invested in the secondary romance than the main one, mostly because of the heroine's issues and prickliness (justified, I might add) not really doing the main romance any favors. I liked the hero well enough, and the heroine as well, I just didn't like them that much together. It felt a little forced, fatalistic, even.

There was one relationship Tory was in that I liked. And that was the slow-building friendship between her and her childhood best friend's twin sister, Faith. It was lovely seeing these two independent, closed-off women, both with their own inner scars and issues, circling each other, slowly forming the strong bonds of friendship, until becoming a unit toward the end.
The story came full circle in that particular moment.

Speaking of full-circle, I'm glad the villain got what they deserved in the one spot where it all became, but the finale felt a bit rushed. It felt rather anticlimactic compared to the buildup with its suspense and lurking danger.

Still, a very solid story, with a nice plot, good characters, a smidgen of "paranormal", and some wonderfully suspenseful moments.

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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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