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Search tags: suspense-mystery-adventure-thriller
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review 2018-11-23 12:07
The Villa by Nora Roberts
The Villa - Nora Roberts

The Giambelli family is all about tradition, passing the business of winemaking down through generations. Now, it's time for a little change. A merger long in the making, a final business merger augmenting a long personal one.

But someone has a grudge against the Giambellis, especially, or so it seems, Sophia, the PR whiz of the family. But she's not alone, fighting against an enemy, she cannot see yet. There's her grandmother, the matriarch, her soft, yet steady mother finding a new chance at happiness in her own life, and there's Tyler McMillan, someone she grew up with, but has no blood ties...And feels no sisterly feelings for.

Sophia and Tyler must work together, despite their possible misgivings, despite the explosive attraction, to bring about the merger of their two wineries, to bring about the start of a new century for the label and brand, and to discover who is the enemy in the shadows...



This was a usual Nora Roberts book. A well-researched topic with wonderfully evocative descriptions and narrative, a prickly (and a bit too bitchy in this case) heroine who, despite not wanting to be like her father, keeps making (almost) the same mistakes, a deceptively laid-back hero who has enough self-confidence and self-worth to be able to stand back and play Beta (because being Alpha all the time is exhausting), a wonderful secondary romance between two people who more than deserve a happy ending, a great supporting cast of family and friends, and a gripping suspense sub-plot.

I must confess to preferring the secondary romance between Sophia's mother, Pilar, and the new COO, David to the main one between Sophia and Tyler. There was something incredibly sweet and cute between these two people seemingly past their prime rediscovering romance, and I loved seeing how David slowly coaxed Pilar out of her protective, quiet shell.
The primary romance, in comparison, was rather harsh and jarring, mostly due to the heroine's dislikable character...In the end, I didn't really feel the love between the two.

The suspense was great with its many twists, turns and a red herring thrown into the mix for good measure, although the unraveling at the end left me a little perplexed, since it didn't really fit with everything that happened before. The methodical revenge plot simply disintegrated into the ravings of an offended lunatic. Maybe the unraveling of the calculating personality happened because of the financial and business loss, but I'm still quite perplexed.

And then there was the supporting cast. Each individual, from family to friends and enemies, each with their own character, personality and goals, and each bringing something special to the table, from comic relief to the key of the mystery.

An intriguing story of legacy and revenge in the winemaking industry.

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review 2018-11-13 12:53
Crave the Heat by Marnee Blake
Crave the Heat - Marnee Blake

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Dak Parrish has family issues. That's what he'd jumped at the opportunity to come back to Oregon to fight fires—his father, mother and little brother live on the reservation nearby. While his mother appears not to want to have anything to do with him, his father makes an impromptu visit, blackmailing Dak into helping an arsonist investigator look into suspicious fires...A prickly female investigator that quickly gets under Dak's skin...


Like its predecessor this story also didn't bring much to the table. The characters were bland (although the heroine was slightly too bitchy for my taste), the suspense had its moments, but the final reveal (without much motive behind it, or a worthy resolution) left everything to be desired, the pacing was plodding...

Another puffed-rice-cake equivalent.

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text 2018-11-12 06:28
Tempt the Flames by Marnee Blake
Tempt the Flames - Marnee Blake

Ten years ago, the lives of two families imploded. Two men died in a fire, one was blamed for both deaths and friendships crumbled.

Lance Roberts is back in Redmond, Oregon. First, to get his father's old job and second, to uncover the truth about the death of his and his best friend's father, his father was also blamed for. He doesn't really expect a warm welcome, but he also doesn't expect threats and sabotage...Or falling (again) for his ex-best friend's sister who also happens to be his trainer.


I liked the blurb of this book...But that's pretty much all I liked. Let me put it this way. This book was the reading equivalent of puffed rice cakes. Bland, tasteless and odorless.

The characters were bland, the story was bland, the pacing was poor, the suspense lacked any oomph, the villains were one too many, the romance was lackluster at best (I preferred the angst before they got together)...

It failed to capture my attention and I was bored by the time I got to chapter 4. I admit to only skimming the rest of it, because I kept hoping something would click.

It didn't.

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review 2018-10-15 15:24
The Killings At Badger's Drift by Caroline Graham
The Killings At Badger's Drift - Caroline Graham

An old lady witnesses something in the woods as she's searching for an orchid. Something so terrible, someone is willing to kill her to keep it hidden. But as soon as the police is involved, thanks to the lady's nosy neighbor, more and more secrets are coming out...


An interesting murder mystery with multiple possible suspects, loads of red herrings and a surprising final reveal.

Unfortunately, it was also very slow with a quite a plodding pace and some of the filler scenes were rather boring and dull.

I much prefer the series, actually, including the characterization of Barnaby and Troy.

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review 2018-10-14 16:20
Tribute by Nora Roberts
Tribute - Nora Roberts

Cilla McGowan, washed-up star, comes to Virginia to restore her famous grandmother's house. But someone doesn't want Cilla around, determined to do anything to drive her out of town. But she's not alone; her hot and quirky neighbor, Ford Sawyer, a comic book author, is close at hand to help...And to keep her in Virginia.


What makes this book (if you saw the TV movie, the book is way better, even though you know who did it) memorable is Ford Sawyer. He deserves five stars all on his own. I love the guy. What's not to love after all. He was nerdy, quirky, hot, protective, loyal, deceptively laid back and relaxed and so damned in love it made me want to go out and find me a Ford of my own.
Compared to him, Cilla, the heroine, paled and I must say I didn't really know her, not even in the end. It's not every day the heroine plays such a second fiddle to the hero. She was rather formulaic, a pretty standard NR heroine with a chip on her shoulder and an independent streak. But she was rather bland and generic.
Heck, Spock the dog had more personality than she did. The supporting cast was more interesting than she was. I don't know how to explain it, she left me quite cold and disinterested.

The suspense was good, even though I knew who the villain was. If I didn't, the identity would've been a huge surprise, something I wouldn't have seen coming, which is always a plus. The big bad was pleasantly twisted, wearing a perfectly innocuous mask, which made the big reveal that more coldly shocking.

The book started off rather slow and I didn't much care for the flashback/dream scenes, but it picked up the pace toward the end, creating a nice feeling of anticipation. The hero was adorable, the supporting cast provided a nice backdrop to the story and the shop talk, though rather abundant, didn't deter from the overall enjoyment.

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