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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.




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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review 2017-07-20 02:38
Reunion in Death
Reunion in Death - 'J. D. Robb',Nora Roberts

Holy crap...this book has what has to be the best "Eve takes down the baddie" scene EVER. I literally had to put the book down to punch the air in glee. Then I reread it. It was that good.


There were also some extremely difficult moments as Eve travels back to Dallas and has to face her past. I cried as she relived the horrible abuse and trauma she suffered during her first 8 years of life. My heart broke for the child she was and the incredibly strong woman she is now, and also for Roarke as he watched the woman he loves more than anything go back to the night her--and I hate to call him her father, because he's so utterly vile--father died.


Eve admitting she'd never be able to face her past without Roarke and his steadfast love, and Roarke's helpless fury as he (and we) finally get the full scope of just what Eve suffered had me crying again.


Peabody got some great character development, as she was allowed to work a cold case on her own. We also met her parents.


Above all, my favorite parts of these books remains Eve and Roarke and their ever deepening and ever strengthening relationship. No matter what happens between them or how big their argument is you never once doubt that these two love each other beyond all reason, and they will work things out and be even more united because of it.


(Though, Roarke did irritate me in this one by going over Eve's head to her superior about something, and she ended up getting informed about it in front of her team. Fortunately after Eve--and Peabody in her way--called him out on it, he realized his massive misstep and apologized.)

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review 2017-07-19 02:19
Thoughts: River's End
River's End - Nora Roberts

River's End
by Nora Roberts



Olivia's parents were among Hollywood's golden couples…until the night a monster came and took her mother away forever.  A monster with the face of her father...

Sheltered from the truth, an older Olivia only dimly recalls her night of terror—but her recurring nightmares make her realize she must piece together the real story.  Assisted by Noah Brady, the son of the police detective who found her cowering in her closet so many years before, she may have her chance.  Noah wants to reconstruct the night that has become an infamous part of Hollywood history.  He also wants to help Olivia and heal the longing in her lonely heart.  But once the door to her past is opened, there's no telling what's waiting on the other side.  For somewhere, not too far away, the monster walks again...

First of all, I'm going to have to admit that the first chapter of the book bowled me over and I nearly cried with grief for Olivia as a child--finding her mother dead, seeing her father standing over the body with a bloody pair of scissors in his hands, running scared and hiding, and then being told that her mother was never coming home again...  I'm usually not one to make much of these scenes, having read a lot of crime thrillers with all of their bloody violence and tragic gore, but that was definitely an unforgettable moment, probably made all the more powerful because it came from the POV of a child.

Unfortunately, I feel like the rest of the whole ordeal (the next few chapters) got drawn out a bit much and I was ready to move onto Olivia as an adult.  I don't need the rest of the family, or even the detective's or his son's observations to know that this was a great tragedy, that poor Olivia will be living this nightmare for the rest of her life.  I pretty much deduced all of that with her terrible ordeal of stumbling upon the murder of her mother.

That little bit would have been just enough, but the notion was repetitively brought up within the first couple of chapters.

A second insight brings me to Nora Roberts and her books, in general.  I'm not an expert on Roberts.  In fact, before last year, I'd never read anything written by her.  I started with her Dark Witch trilogy, and to be totally honest, didn't really like it.  But then I read The Witness, and found that the entire tone and style of how that book was presented was just different than what I had gotten out of the Dark Witch trilogy.  And I was completely intrigued with Roberts.  So I continued picking up more of her books.

Nora Roberts, I feel, is a master at atmosphere and tone.  Each book I've read of hers, so far, has had a different kind of feel, evokes a whole different set of images and thoughts.  And ultimately makes it a little hard for me to figure out just how to review.

River's End is written well.  Very well.

So well, that I even almost forgot about a few little scenes, dialogue, and characters who frustrated me.  So well that I forgave some characters their few foibles because I ultimately enjoyed the whole book.

Roberts has a way with characters that manages to bring them to earth even after instilling some greater than perfect qualities into them.  Even while Olivia has a perfect memory, or a badass, independent personality with super survival skills in the mountains, she still managed to exhibit some wishy-washy behavior, as well as some unnecessary snap judgments that frustrated the heck out of me.

Meanwhile, Noah seems like the wonderful Mom and Pop's boy, who has a golden heart, an empathy for others, and a personality in a man worth chasing after.  But then he gets super pushy when it comes to Olivia, and to be honest, there was nothing I disliked about Noah except for his super pushiness in the romance department.  Truth be told, I winced a lot when it came to their more intimate, sexual relationship.  Because there are certain parts of their romance, specifically the first sex scene between them, that just doesn't sit well with me.  And made Noah lose a whole lot of his appeal, because I can't determine whether or not his actions were even morally kosher.

Story wise, I'd love to be upfront and talk about why I had a feeling there was a lot more to Olivia's mother's murder than the narrative gave away.  But I'm worried that I'll end up giving away the ultimate twist in the story, as a whole.  The twists and the turns about the underlying conflict pertaining to Olivia's father, however, was handled extremely well, so much so that I even started doubting my own thought process.  And then when the resolution rolled around, I was conflicted about how I felt about everything--because I'm not certain about whether I read too many crime thrillers and have picked up on predictability, in spite of the unpredictability, or if my mind is just twisted in certain ways.

Either way, I should probably stop here so I don't risk giving too much away.

On a side note, I loved Noah's interaction with just about every other character, but Olivia.  This book isn't exactly rife with romance, but what little there was didn't quite appeal to me.  And while Olivia is a very ideal heroine, I found I had a hard time really caring about her despite the book being mainly about her, from childhood onward.  She got really frustrating, at times; in fact, both of them did when it came to their romance.  But Olivia, more so, because her stubbornness was just way too extreme.

River's End, while not the best book in the world, continues to show me that Nora Roberts is definitely an author I will keep an eye on.




Roll #28:
Book title can spell 'River' = 'RIVER's End'.

Page Count:  447
Cash Award:  +$10.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $195.00













Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/thoughts-rivers-end.html
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text 2017-07-18 21:36
Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 384 pages.
Reunion in Death - 'J. D. Robb',Nora Roberts
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text 2017-07-18 00:41
Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 384 pages.
Reunion in Death - 'J. D. Robb',Nora Roberts
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