Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

I read the back cover of this book a while ago and I’ve been waiting and waiting for the soft cover for months. It just sounded sooo good.

This is the cover of the book:

“Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, she revealed her father’s horrible crimes and made him infamous. No matter what she does, Naomi can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

“Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kidney residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up–especially Xander Keaton.”

There’s more to the cover, but I didn’t need to read it, I was already caught. I loved the premise of a woman with a wound from her past that was trying to find herself, define her future in her own terms in a small town. I loved that she was trying to renovate a massive, old, rambling house and that she was a photographer with a flexible job. To boot, this book was written by Nora Roberts–if there’s one unfailingly reliable Queen of Romance out there, it’s got to be her. I could barely wait until it came out on paperback.

I got it this Friday and, by Saturday, I had read the entire thing. I gobbled it up. Still, I’ll add that it was sooo delicious that I forced myself to take breaks and savour the writing, the description and the story. It was really, truly superb.

There are many parts of this book that I adored.

I loved the back story. Usually, it’s a deterrent and something that I want to get through as quickly as possible in order to get to the main story but this time, I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved young Naomi, born in tragedy and battling to find her own way even as fear ate away at her. I loved her wise and strong brother, Mason. Realistic, cute and even funny, he became a hero after my own heart and I wished he would get his own book every time I met him in the book.

The abuse and patterns of behaviours in the story were solid. There were no sudden changes of behaviour, no unbelievable defeats of addiction or cures that could never take place in real life. I honestly and truly believed they would have happened just as described and that made the book all the more gripping for it’s realistic zeal.

The renovation of the old house, built slightly outside the small town was incredibly appealing. I’d love to have the chance to do just that, to sit by a beautiful view with a cup of coffee and stare at the rising sun. And the characters in the little town were cute, funny and so real I could see them.

One of the best parts was Tag, the dog Naomi rescues and falls in love with. A mutt with a gold heart, I loved him from the moment he came into existence and adored both the rescue and the funny bits he added to the story.

Of course, Naomi and Xander are the leads and are fantastic leads at that. Nora Roberts is known for her strong female leads and Naomi didn’t let me down. She was strong, confident, hard working and determined to stand up for herself. An amazing heroine worthy of hottie Xander.

Nora Roberts is an ace at contemporary romance and I, for one, believe this her at her best. I have read other books by her that weren’t as fascinating, fun and enjoyable and I was delighted to find her writing back to her amazing, winning style. It might be an old recipe for her, but it’s a winning one for me. This book is staying home with me, kept in its spot on the shelf for future reading. It’s just that good. Whether you’re a fan of her or a fan of romance, this one is one you don’t want to miss.

(credit: goodreads.com)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

 

Review: The Liar

I love Nora Roberts. She’s truly the master of romance. She’s on my automatic-buy list for good reason and she never disappoints. Case in point, The Liar.

It’s the story of Shelby who’s husband is just about the worst sort of person you could know. He lies to her (ahem, title!) and sucks her into a huge debt. Shelby stays oblivious to this because Richard (the slug of a man) belittles her into not asking financial questions by calling her names and basically emotionally abusing her.

Shelby finds out the truth when Richard dies in an accident and comes to face one surprise after another. He leaves her in crippling debt–and I mean millions of it–with a little girl to take care of and not a single support system in place. Turns out, he wasn’t rich, he wasn’t loyal to her and he wasn’t even called Richard. Shelby valiantly fights off the debt by selling most of their things, including engagement ring that wasn’t real, and the house they lived in. Then heads back to her home to continue dealing with the debt by getting a job but doing it while surrounded by family.

It’s when she returns home that the story really takes off. She’s in a deliciously tiny town full of great characters that are both wacky and hilarious. Her family is awesome, just the sort I’d like to have if I was in her shoes, and her daughter is cute as a button.

It’s also here that Nora shows her true brilliance. One of the most difficult parts of a book that includes a move is the saggy middle. Nora keeps the story rolling with Richard’s past resurfacing its ugly head and Shelby having to deal with one surprise after another.

Another truly difficult challenge was the hero. Griffin is a wonderful hero, patient, caring and funny. But a hero like that runs the risk of becoming too nice and entering the brother-affection area. Under any other author, I could see Griffin and Shelby quickly losing chemistry. He’s so nice, she’s so nice…it would be just plain boring. But here, they keep that spark and I credit Nora for that.

And finally, those cute village people and Shelby’s daughter are in the story but they don’t take over the story–something that is another dangerous pitfall for some books. They leave the centre stage clearly to Shelby by carefully constructed phrases that move the story along. Nora Roberts is a pro. She does it so well, it looks effortlessly. Just like it should.

The Liar is a contemporary romantic story that’s just simply delicious. Absolutely a great summer read, but also something to enjoy in the fall, or the winter months or reread for those blah February days. I know I’ll go back to it again to revisit those great powerful scenes and fabulous characters. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in romance and certainly to any Nora Roberts fan. What a great read.

(credit:amazon.com)

(credit:amazon.com)

Note: to go to site, click on cover.

Review: The Perfect Hope

I was actually really looking forward to this one, mostly, because of the two main characters. Ryder and Hope have a ton of chemistry. He’s grumpy and won’t even call her by name and she’s feisty and gives him back as good as she gets. I couldn’t wait to see the sparks fly.

Ryder is the last of the Montgomery men, the guy who works things out and doesn’t say much. He’s quick to temper and faster to find a way to do something with his hands rather than talk it out. Hope, on the other hand, is elegant and polished and the innkeeper at the Boonsboro Inn. She doesn’t like his attitude and from using words to hosing him down with a hose, she lets him know it. Reading about these two exchanging grumblings had me laughing and eagerly turning the pages.

There’s something to be said for chemistry but eventually, it has to change to care and love or there isn’t any hope for the couple. The transition for Ryder and Hope went smoothly as only someone like Nora Roberts can write it. Along the way, we get to hear how the other characters from the other two books are doing and I, for one, was delighted to see old faces reappear.

The three women are fast friends, supporting each other and helping out when needed just like the three brothers are fast friends and joke and tease each other in a very realistic way. There’s also construction that was also deftly and realistically portrayed and work that ruled the lives of these characters like it does mine. It didn’t disappear, like it does in some of the sadder books of romance I’ve read. Here, lives are realistic with flaws and triumphs just like in reality. It creates a world that is believable yet appealing.

The Perfect Hope is a really good ending to a great trilogy. I’ll be honest and fess up that I read it in one sitting. It took me only three hours to gobble it up and I ended with a soft sigh of disappointment that it was done. I highly recommend it to any fan of romance and certainly those of contemporary. Nora Roberts is a phenomenon.

(credit:goodreads.com)

(credit:goodreads.com)

Note: click on link to go to site.

Up next in books…

My hubby was going to go to the hardware store…so I asked to be dropped off at the local bookstore and…

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Happiness followed.

So these are the books I’ll be rambling about in the next few weeks. I’ve already started Troublemaker by Linda Howard, so that one will come first.

Are you reading anything exciting? Share with me!

Review: The Last Boyfriend

Though this book is the second in the series, it can certainly be read as a stand alone. I had to read it in order, though to give the books the full effect and read them as they were intended but don’t let that stop you if you have this one in hand. It’s excellent.

The Last Boyfriend is the story of Owen and Avery, two of my favourites. Owen is the meticulously organized man who runs the business side of the construction build with his brothers. Avery is inspirational, spur of the moment and, like all of Nora’s heroines, hard working and determined. She runs her own restaurant at the same town.

Owen is realistic and respectful. He’s known and been friends with Avery for a long time. He’s the guy she can lean on when the restaurant is swamped to put on an apron and lend a helping hand.

The move from friend to boyfriend is always tricky. There has to be chemistry along with care and dependability and sometimes, with old friends, things become just boring. Not so with Owen and Avery. They are wonderfully written, realistic and still create a beautiful love story that kept me glued to the book.

I love that the book lingered and showed all the parts of their lives, from friends to the relationships with their mom to get togethers with brothers. It made me feel as though I was enjoying a slice of their lives, not just getting a short, abbreviated route to a romantic end. Nora Roberts knows when to linger and when to move on. Her timing is exquisite.

There’s always a dangerous part in a book and that’s the saggy middle. The same can be said of middle books but this one shines brightly among the three. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, don’t miss this one. It’s a gem.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Review: The Next Always

I always love reading a book by Nora Roberts and certainly this one wasn’t an exception. She’s got a gift with the written word, for certain but it’s the timing in her writing that impresses me the most. Her stories always feel slow and lazy and not rushed. It’s a beautiful, slow, elegant introduction into the characters and scene. Yet, she can do it somehow with a few words. And this one was particularly beautiful.

The Next Always is the first in a trilogy that I somehow missed reading when they came out. It tells the story of Beckett and Clare. Beckett is the eldest of the three Montgomery men and the architect. He’s helping his family of brothers and mother, restore an old inn and transform it into a beautiful Bed and Breakfast.

Beckett is easy going on the eyes, gentle yet determined in the best of ways. He had already fallen for Clare back when they were teens so it doesn’t take much for him to rekindle the romance. Clare is a widow now, with three delightful little boys and runs a bookstore. She’s kind, motherly and just sweet.

Clare and Beckett are both busy, one with the inn and the other with work and her little boys and, unlike other romances, these two don’t magically lose their business to give way to romance. The romance happens around their busy lives. Clare continues to kiss scraped knees, stop wars and tend to sick boys and Beckett has to answer his phone, curse at delays and run to fix issues on the build. They do find each other, but it’s a realistic, organic build that creates the same realistic, organic feelings of wonder–at least it did in this reader.

I have to add some other things that I absolutely adored about this book. The three little boys weren’t just minor secondary characters, they were delightfully real and absolutely adorable. I loved each and all of them. The same can be said of the dogs in the story and the other secondary characters. Nora Roberts nails it with them.

The other thing I adored was the cheerful banter between the brothers. Nora Roberts does dialogue like a pro and she nailed it in this book. The three brothers are realistically male, joking around much like guys do without becoming bullies or ignorant, which takes a lot of finesse as a writer.

Add in a beautiful love story, and I was a goner. I had to get the second and third book to gobble them up. If you’re a fan of contemporary fiction, don’t do what I did and wait. Pick this one up. It’s fantastic.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

Upcoming books!

I love knowing the releases of upcoming books. I write them in my agenda and they help me get through dreary Mondays at work. I go through the author sites, check their upcoming releases, then write them into my agenda religiously every year. This time around, I thought I’d share some of the titles I’m particularly excited about with you guys. That way, if you’re a fan, you can also add them to your list.

Madeline Hunter has Tall, Dark and Wicked coming out October 6th.

Nora Roberts has Stars of Fortune coming out November 3rd.

Nalini Singh has Archangel’s Enigma coming out September 1st.

Elizabeth Hoyt has Sweetest Scoundrel coming out November 24th.

Mary Balogh has Only a Kiss coming out September 1st.

Kristen Ashley has Hold On also coming out September 1st.

Jill Shalvis has All I Want coming out October 6th and My Kind of Wonderful December 22nd.

Annabel Joseph has Torment Me coming out at the end of September.

These are just some of the amazing books coming out before the end of 2015. Do you have others you’re looking forward to? Share them with me! I’d love to add them to my list. 😀

Review: Finding the Dream

An absolutely delicious ending for a great trilogy, Finding the Dream was a book that read itself. It’s the classic story of the bad boy and the good girl and it was as beautiful as a dream.

By the third book, we’ve already met Laura and I had already fallen in love with her. She’s hardworking, selfless and determined to do the right thing no matter what it costs her. She’s also pretty and elegant but she doesn’t give those things much value.

Michael Fury is our hero. A man rough, tough, daredevil of a man who lives by his own rules. He’s been dealt some tough cards in life and is trying to do the best he can with what he’s got. He has come back to where he grew up and is trying to start a business but old prejudices die hard and he finds his history working against him.

Unlike the rest of the population, Laura does give him a chance and lets him stay in Templeton house to start his business raising and selling horses. It’s a decision that takes a risk with her heart because, though she’s determined to maintain a polite distance from Michael, life keeps throwing them together.

Laura likes her life predictable and organized. Michael is chaos, passion and action. It takes his fire and courage to show Laura what she’s missing and to help her realize there’s passion inside her waiting to be discovered. It also takes Laura’s open-minded, compassionate heart to help Michael see how his own prejudices are keeping him from realizing his potential.

Finding the Dream is a delightful love story, written with wonderful, realistic dialogue, a quick, lively humour and filled with likeable, easy-to-relate-to characters. It made a wonderful ending to a delightful trilogy and is definitely on my keeper shelf. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, don’t miss out on this series. They’re a fantastic trio of books.

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Review: Holding the Dream

I was a huge fan of this book. I know it’s only part two and some times those middle books tend to sag, but this one shone.

It’s by Nora Roberts, so it was incredibly well written. There was witty dialogue and the characters were awesome but, if I’m honest, the big hit with me was the heroine, Kate Powell.

Kate is a woman after my own heart mostly because she’s a lot like me. She’s determined to rescue herself (I might defer there. I love a well-timed rescue), she’s hard working, a bit bookish, nerdy, nervous and she loves math. To make her even more likeable, she adores the hero’s two puppies.

Byron is the hero and he rescues a very reluctant Kate from the mess she finds herself in. Nora being Nora, Byron only helps Kate get back on her feet before she finds her voice and fixes the issue herself. Still, there was enough of a rescue to satisfy the romantic in me and make me sigh with delight. And Byron was determined without being obnoxious which Nora does with tons of class. He was awesome, easy going, yet very determined to get his woman.

The trio of women who create this series are easy to like. They’re all hard working women (when has Nora Roberts ever written a woman who’s not?) and stand by each other through thick and thin. Add in a touch of humour and a beautiful love story and you’ve got a hit. If you haven’t tried this series, give them a go. They’re absolute keepers.

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Note: click on the cover to go to site.

Monday Morsel: Finding the Dream

Monday Morsel is a little twist I put on the bookish meme Teaser Tuesdays hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. It works just like Teaser Tuesdays…except it’s on Monday. 🙂

Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other Monday Morsel participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“”Well, that’s quite a sight.” Michael stepped into the narrow doorway and was treated to the appealing view of a pretty female butt straining against faded denim.” Pg. 45 from Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts.

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Note: click on the cover to go to site.