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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 2017-05-18 04:58
A Change in Tide (Northern Lights #1) by Freya Barker
A Change In Tide (Northern Lights) (Volu... A Change In Tide (Northern Lights) (Volume 1) - Freya Barker

Freya Barker’s A CHANGE IN TIDE is a heartfelt and wonderful read. After a traumatic experience changes her life, Mia Thompson, moves to a secluded cottage on a lake, isolating herself off from society.  Her life takes a turn when former NHL defenseman, Jared Kesla, moves next door.  This contemporary sports romance takes place in Canada.  It is suitable for adult audiences.


I like Jared and Mia; their first impressions of one another was entertaining.  They end up having a lot in common.  For example, they both lost careers they loved.   Jared is forced into early retirement due to a career-ending injury.  Mia due to her panic attacks.  Prior to Jared moving next door, Mia was existing not living. 


Jared is a good guy.  I love that he looks out for his sister, Jordy, and her son, Ole.  I also appreciate how he is around Mai.  He is observant.  He is protective of those he cares about.  Mia grew throughout the story.  She is a likable individual.  I love when she takes charge helping Jordy. 


I like Mia’s therapist, Rueben Moulin. I love his explanation of “a change in tide."  It really is the perfect title for this story. 


I enjoyed the plot.  It felt like it was fate that Jared and Mia met.  They were meant to connect.  There were some compelling and believable things that happen in the novel that kept the story interesting.  This is the first book that I have read by Freya Barker.  I enjoyed her writing style and would read more books by her in the future.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-06-11 09:09
His Dark Materials trilogy - Philip Pullman
Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
The Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman

To be perfectly honest, these books have been sitting on the bookcase I use for most of my TBR books for quite a while and I've never got around to even starting them. I've always liked the idea of series (well, trilogies at least) where I can go from book 1 through to book 3 without the annoyance of waiting for stuff to be published, though now I understand a little more about the reasons why that might not be all that easy or work that well. 

Anyway, this series is pretty popular and there are probably folks out there who think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Sadly, however, I am not one of them, though I fully accept that if I'd read these books when I was a teenager myself, I might well have been smitten. Instead, by the time I was partway through The Amber Spyglass, I was just wanting everything to be over and wondering if it had been such a bright idea to read them at all; I'd invested so much time on the previous books I felt duty-bound to at least skim my way to the finale. 



There is, after all, a heck of a lot of plot in these books. I'm not completely certain that I got my head round what was going on with the concept of Dust, which crops up right at the beginning of Northern Lights - there's a lot going on about the difference between children and adults all the way through these books, from the mutability of people's accompanying daemons before they hit puberty, through to the attraction to adults of the Spectres we meet for the first time in The Subtle Knife


Northern Lights is all about Lyra, the abduction of her friends and the eventual role she plays in freeing them from becoming the victims of a scheme to do something or other about Dust. In The Subtle Knife, the character of Will is introduced - unlike Lyra, who comes from an alternate world where people have daemons (animal-shaped entities who seem to act partly as an external conscience and partly as a support mechanism), Will is from our world and stumbles into an alternate one by sheer accident. He then ends up as the bearer of the knife of the book's title, a tool that allows him to pass between those parallel worlds. Finally, in The Amber Spyglass, Lyra has initially been kidnapped by Mrs Coulter and Will stages a rescue, before they make a detour into the world of the dead in search of Lyra's friend and Will's father. 


In hindsight, I think I enjoyed the middle book best, though it does spend a lot of time setting things up for the events of The Amber Spyglass - new characters are introduced and a lot of not-very-much seems to happen in real terms. I can't say I particularly warmed to Lyra, she comes across as a bit of a special snowflake pretty much all the way through the books and, to be honest, Will isn't a great deal better. In some ways, I think the author does a better job with the supporting characters, which is not always a good thing if you're trying to make your reader give a crap about what happens to your protagonists! Anyway, that's 3 more books off the TBR pile and into the charity shop bag... 

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review 2016-06-09 09:10
Northern Lights (Asta Idonea)
Northern Lights - Asta Idonea,Nicki J. Markus

2.5 stars

Uhm ... I was ready to sympathize with James. I really, REALLY do. Until I found out that he didn't exactly have a steady job that gave him money, and so all this time he basically got paid for everything by his boyfriend, and then demanded that they should spent more time together on Christmas, on his partner's dime? What did he actually contribute to the relationship then. Just sex? I dunno. I am not feeling you, dude. Sorry.

I liked the setting though ... the thought of seeing Northern Lights myself was just dreamy *sigh*

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text 2016-05-31 20:12
Books read (or not!) in May
The Silver Tide - Jen Williams
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True - Marvel Comics
The Girl from Everywhere - Heidi Heilig
Occupy Me - Tricia Sullivan
Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
Way Down Dark (Australia) - J.P. Smythe

Books started: 12 (including the two I'm currently reading)

Books finished: 7

Books not finished: 3


Genre breakdown: All SFF, all the time. 


What progress on Mount TBR? I've ticked off a couple from the list, though sadly some of them didn't get finished for one reason or another - one I just wasn't in the right mood for, so I've stuck it back on the shelf and will try it again another time. 


Book of the month: It's a tie between The Silver Tide and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True.

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