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review 2017-01-31 13:54
Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts
Midnight Bayou - Nora Roberts

On a whim, Declan Fitzgerald had bought a rundown plantation house on the outskirts of New Orleans. Something drew him to it, and now that he has it, he's determined to restore it to its former glory.

But soon the house and the possibility of it being haunted, isn't the only thing occupying Dec's mind. A woman has taken root in there, a woman as indelibly connected to the old house as Declan himself.

A nice, entertaining, gripping, bitter-sweet read of lost love, hatred, murder, betrayal, reincarnation, and forgiveness.

I loved Declan, I love all Nora Roberts's heroes, really, there's just something about them, but I didn't really connect to Lena; she remained a mystery to me until the very end, I simply didn't get her and her motivations. There was humor, there was drama, there was fear and the slight after taste of danger, there were friends and family, a couple of ghosts, and a love in need of forgiveness spanning a century.
Yes, the added paranormal element was an added bonus that kept things lively and interesting as the romance fizzled out on me.

Also, I saw the TV-movie version of this book and kept waiting for the big final showdown between good and evil in that nighmarish attic...And when it didn't come, and I got the mellow, meh-ish ending instead, I was rather disappointed.

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text 2014-07-08 01:45
Reading progress update: I've read 126 out of 424 pages.
Midnight in Ruby Bayou - Elizabeth Lowell

From the length of this post, it felt like I was reviewing the entire book.  I'm not, this is just a progress update.  But... well, things happen.


I've really been enjoying this series with the witty banter between characters and the interesting fact sheets about precious gems and their histories.  The suspense might be a bit lacking at times, but the romances have been fun.  So despite the fact that this series isn't the best in romantic suspense novels, I still really like them.


I've yet to write my thoughts on Pearl Cove yet, but I'll get around to it at some time.  But I've got a lot to nitpick about it just as I've now got quite a bit to quibble over Midnight in Ruby Bayou--and I'm not even near the 50% mark yet.


Sure, it's running along smoothly with great writing and again with the fun banter (although I'm not really understanding much of Faith Donovan's humor as I had been her twin sister, Honor).  Owen Walker is a hoot and kind of interesting to be around.


But there are two frustrating factors right now that are getting me to the point of being kind of disappointed in this book.  Or maybe three.



1.  This reads too much like an unbalanced romance novel.  The romance, the romantic/sexual tension, the monologues in our protagonists' minds... all too much so far.  I know some people prefer more romance over the other sub-genres sprinkled into a romantic suspense novel, but I like more of a balance of murder mystery, crime thriller, and romance.  


In this case, I don't need to know twenty times within a chapter that Faith smells like "gardenias and woman" and that it's driving poor Owen crazy.  I got it the first time he monologued it.  The two are ready to pull each other's clothes off and go at it like bunnies--I'm not surprised, but really, do it already!  Otherwise, go put your minds to something a little more useful... like finding out who's trying to kill Faith, 'cause that is kind of important.



2.  The secretive nature of people in authority on the "good guys" side has always irked me.  Especially if their caveat is that, "It's for your own good.  We don't want you worrying about little things that don't concern you."  I've read one too many YAs where keeping information a secret from the youngsters who are itching for an adventure usually ends up getting someone killed, because they don't have all the information they need to make a wise decision on how they will act.  So they either go digging for information and get themselves killed; or they act on lack of information and then get themselves killed.  Or get someone else killed.  Either way, someone dies and there's tragedy all around that could have been avoided had our characters just communicated with each other.


The deal here is:  I understand that the Donovan men feel they need to keep their baby sisters safe and sound.  It's obviously a natural male trait or something with their male dominance egos or the like.  I don't know.  But I thought that they would have learned better from the incident in Amber Beach with Honor.  Withholding information and telling the girls to get out of Dodge doesn't go over well.  So I get it--keep the girls in the dark so they don't have to deal with atrocities in life.


Except that, we all know that "not talking" about or ignoring, doesn't make the atrocities go away.  You can pretend that the girls won't ever be affected by the problem if you just don't talk to them about it.  But that is probably the biggest lie the Donovan men will ever tell each other... over and over again.  And it only makes the sisters on the receiving end less prepared to accept the problems when and if they inevitably occurs.


And in this case, the information that big brother Archer and Sir Bodyguard Owen Walker are keeping secretive may mean the difference between life and death for Faith.  Maybe if Faith knew about the burglarizing and subsequent torture/murder of a woman who ended up staying in Faith's cancelled B and B room the very night that she should have been sleeping there, she'd think about being more careful for herself rather than giving everyone a hard time about having a bodyguard.  Maybe if Faith were informed about how big this entire deal with her rubies is getting, she'll actually agree to take precautions about her safety and go stay in a modern hotel with proper security measures.  Maybe you guys should also tell her about the homeless guy who was killed in a professional manner a block away from her shop just moments before someone broke into her "well-secured" building and trashed the place, too.


But the men are keeping her in the dark about everything like she's some child who can't handle the truth of life; and then they expect her to just go along with everything they've planned without a fight.  As if they had no idea what kind of a stubborn and irrational Donovan she really is.


Earth to Archer:  Please flashback to the first book when Honor was involved and tell me if that was a good idea to keep her in the dark?  She listened to you damn well when you told her to return home and disregard the initial mission... didn't she?  /sarcasm



3.  The third point in this book is kind of counter active of the second point, mainly because I've come this far to give Faith the benefit of the doubt that she would be more sensible about her safety if she had more knowledge of what's really going on around her.


Except if I'm going by her questionable judgments about security measures and the like, I'm inclined to think that she'd still turn out to be a TSTL girl who's too stubborn for her own good.  There's a fine line between being able to take care of yourself just fine, thank you very much; and becoming too ignorant to realize when your life is in danger and you need professional help.  Like a trained guard.


Faith works with extraordinary and priceless precious stones and gems.  She designs and sets jewelry for high-end customers, and I'm willing to bet that one piece of jewelry she works on could potentially be worth the value of a couple trinket stores in the mall, maybe more.  So what bugs me about her is that, if she works with items that expensive, why does she shirk security measures like a dog hides from thunder booms?  This isn't a matter of pride or being able to take care of yourself; this is a matter of being sensible to the fact that, even if you think you can take care of yourself, without the proper combat training you couldn't possibly defend against an armed robbery.


Archer is right on one respect.  If someone had even the teensiest knowledge of what was in Faith's inventory and had enough motive to pull it off, it would only take a few moments of shoving a gun at her back while she's walking carelessly to her car, and then forcing her back into the shop to steal all her wares.  Whether or not she'll be left alive to tell the tale is another story altogether.


So... I just don't understand why she's so stubborn about having a security guard hanging around.  Or having a bodyguard help her in the transport of a priceless ruby across the country.  Honey, it's not like you're working with paper origami and postcards.


I don't begrudge the Donovan men for wanting to keep their baby sister safe by forcing a security guard on her who will watch her door and her back.  Obviously, Faith is too flippant or too naive to realize the true dangers of our modern society.  I only begrudge them from keeping her in the dark when the information really DOES matter.



Anyway, I've probably already written enough to cover a full blown review here.  But I got rolling and couldn't stop.


Mainly, I have hopes that the men will stop hiding things from Faith and keep her in the loop.  And I really have hopes that Faith will wise up and start taking the security of her own life as well as the precious gems she works with into account.  While she might be able to take care of herself on a domestic level, a business level, and on every other level in existence, and she might have ideas about proper security for expensive jewelry, she seems too nonchalant about it, like a naive girl who thinks that there couldn't possibly be anything going wrong for her to worry about.


I can just see her looking all innocent and asking, "Why would anyone try to steal my work?" and not realizing the most glaringly obvious response.


The book reads pretty quickly, so I've no doubt I'll have it done soon.  But this was an update on my thoughts so far.

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text 2014-05-14 14:30
Parish: Best Romantic Suspense Novels Set in New Orleans
No Safe Place - JoAnn Ross
Be My Baby - Susan Andersen
Midnight Bayou - Nora Roberts
Kill and Tell - Linda Howard
Off Limits - Michele Albert
Fat Tuesday - Sandra Brown
Thigh High - Christina Dodd
A Whisper in the Dark - Linda Castillo
Mercy - Julie Garwood
Cold Blooded - Lisa Jackson

 With the Romantic Times Confernece going on in NOLA this week, I thought it was the perfect time to pay a tribute that that great city. Long may she sweat and sing. 


Romance writers love the atmosphere to create great love stories with suspense. Here are some good ones! 


1. Be My Baby by Susan Andersen 

2. Mercy by Julie Garwood

3. A Whisper in the Dark  by Linda Castillo 

4. Thigh High by Christina Dodd 

5.Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson 

6. Off Limits by Michele Albert

7.Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown

8. Kill and Tell  by Linda Howard

9. Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts 

10. No Safe Place by JoAnn Ross 


To vote for the best of the best go to the Goodreads Board: Parish: Best Romantic Suspense Novels Set in New Orleans.


Take a gander at the Pinterest Board: Easy: Best Romance Novels Set in New Orleans.


I hope every one is treating the city right at the conference. 




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review 2013-10-11 11:05
Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts
Midnight Bayou - Nora Roberts

Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts
Publisher: Piatkus Books
Publication Date: 2001
Genre: Romance, Mystery/Suspense

A little bit about Author
First published book: Irish Thoroughbred (1981)
Nora has had over 200 books published
One of America's top Romance Writers
Website: www.nora-roberts.co.uk

Why did I choose this Book/Source:
This book was recommended and loaned to me by a friend. I am always prepared to try a new author and stuck to my word. I had always heard about Nora Roberts but hadn't considered reading her books until now. 

What is the book about:
The book features 2 love stories - one set in 1899 & one in 2002, both in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

The first love story is between Lucian Manet (A rich heir) and Abigail Rouse (A cajun servant of the house). Lucian marries Abigail and in doing so, disgraces the family. When the tragedy occurs, time stands still for both Lucian and Abigail. 

The second love story is between Declan (a lawyer from Boston) and Lena (a local from the bayou). Their story unfolds as the story progresses. 

After Declan calls off his previous engagement, he hears that Manet Hall is for sale. He leaves his life in Boston and moves to New Orleans. Local legend has it that the house is haunted, and Declan starts seeing terrible visions from long ago. Since he first saw the dilapidated Manet hall, he knew he wanted it and would restore it to the beautiful place it used to be. He is completely enchanted and has a draw to Manet Hall he is yet to understand. 

When he meets Lena, he is glad of the distraction, as he has been working night and day to bring the Hall back to life, and is infatuated with her from the moment he lays eyes on her. As the story unfolds you realize that Lena has her own surprising connection to the Hall. Together they uncover a secret that's been buried for hundreds of years. 

My Review:
I truly did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It was refreshing to read about an adult romance for a change. The story starts off with a sad tone, with strong emotions that capture your interest and attention. It has you constantly wishing for a happy ending and a need to keep on reading.

I enjoyed the role reversal of Lena playing hard to get in their courtship. That she was testing him and seeing how far he would go for her, and how long he would stick around. The other characters also had me giggling from time to time. 

The Main Characters
 Declan - A man's man - strong, handsome and charming with a good sense of humor and a good heart.
Lena - A strong woman who stands her ground. 
Remy - The typical best friend - I think Nora really captured the essence of a true and long friendship.
Effie (Remy's Fiancé) - I loved Declan's teasing and interaction with her. 
Grandma Odette - Lena's sweet old Grandmama, a typical grandma that bakes bread, and loves with a full heart. 

Nora's writing takes you to a whole different world. Her style of writing makes you feel apart of the story
Source: meanwhoyouare.blogspot.com/2013/08/book-review-midnight-bayou-by-nora.html
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review 2013-09-20 00:00
Midnight Bayou - Nora Roberts I tend to be a Nora Roberts fan to begin with. No, she's not deep and mysterious and full of symbolism. But if you want a good love story and a quick read with some substance, she's a go-to. And with Midnight Bayou, girl did not disappoint!

I listened to this book on CD which is rare for me but I'm so happy I did. The narrators had great accents and it really made this book come alive for me. There is no chance I would have been able to imagine a good Cajun accent in my head and actually hearing the voices (not Declan style ;)) speak like the characters transported me to the Bayou as well as the early 1900's.

Rather than a specific character, this story focuses on Manet Hall. I love old plantation houses and love hearing the stories behind them so this book was right up my alley. I really enjoyed the flashbacks to the beginning of the century and the seamless way two love stories were told. At times, it got a little out there with ghosts and re-incarnation stuff but I really enjoyed the overall story line.

You know I'm going to assess the characters and I obviously have to begin with Dec. Nora is known for her leading men and she completely understands what makes women tick when it comes to a main character in novels. Declan was right on par! He was strong, stubborn, rich, and in love. Haha, it sounds ridiculous but he is a guy who any girl could easily fall for. Angelina did not see him coming but even her strong-willed, no nonsense self couldn't deny him. The love story is sweet and believable. The characters are well developed and charming; who wouldn't fall instantly in love with Miss Odette? And the slight ghost story to the plot just adds to it. I would definitely recommend this for a fun read! (and listen to it on "tape" if possible. Did I just age myself or what?!?)
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