Tag Archive | romance novel

Black Hills by Nora Roberts #review #romance

Black Hills

2heart

Synopsis

Cooper (Coop) and Lillian (Lil) meet as children when Coop goes to visit his grandparents for the summer in South Dakota. They keep in touch over the years and eventually fall in love with one another. They are both in their early 20’s at this point.

Coop is nowhere near having his life together. On the other hand, Lil has her career path laid out. Feeling as if he does not deserve her, he breaks up with her.

Years later, he is back in South Dakota to help out his grandparents and decides that now he is worthy of being with Lil. Meanwhile, there is a psychopath serial killer that is obsessed with Lil.

Opinion

Since this is a Nora Roberts romance, I really wanted to like this book. I do not think you can fully understand my desire to want to like this book. I was so excited to find it in a used book store and was looking forward to curling up and reading this, having warm fuzzy feelings, and re-reading again and again. Since most of my books these days are on my kindle, I was going to treasure holding a book in my hand and adding this one to my bookshelf collection.

The good

(1) I like the demonstrations of love between Lil’s parents and Coop’s grandparents. It is evident that these two couples have been in love for decades.

(2) Lil’s mother pragmatic approach to Lil’s hang ups is probably what helped her to get over herself and give Coop a second chance.

The bad

(1) The story seemed to drag on and on. I do not mind 400 pages if the book is interesting enough to keep my interest

There was so much detail about wildlife preserve and the big cats (cougars, jaguars, etc) held there that I began to feel overwhelmed with the details. Maybe that would have been more interesting to me if I already knew more about it. If it was not for the fact that I wanted to find out how the showdown between Lil and psychopath went, I probably would have stopped reading.

(2) Coop’s attitude of “I’m going to stay here until you want to make love to me” would have grated my nerves more if I was not already perturbed with Lil. He was clueless when he thought that they amicably broke up. But for him to think years later that they would pick up where they left off was laughable.

(3) Despite the fact that there was a psychopath on the loose, it seems that the authorities did little to notify the public of the danger he posed. Why were there not posters of his face everywhere? The news outlets should have been warning people. Why did people not lock their doors? He should not have been able walk in public or talk to anyone without an alarm being sounded.

The ugly

(1) Lil’s you-broke-my-heart attitude was exasperating. OKAY! We get it. He broke you heart 10 years ago.

Stop sleeping with him. It sends mixed messages. Did you forgive him or not? It seemed irrational that she would “trust him with her life” but at the same time be worried that he would leave her.

(2) Both are so wrapped up in their own feelings that they do not recognize how their actions affected the other. Granted, I think that Coop eventually understood how his misguided attempt to ensure Lil’s happiness backfired. But I do not think that Lil really fully appreciated the intent of Coop’s actions. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, he was partially right. He would have been an anchor on her boat to success, weighing her down and probably preventing her from achieving much of what she accomplished. The fact that she could not admit even a little that his thought process had some merit is what disappointed me most about Lil’s character. It is as if she discounted all that he was dealing with at the time because it caused her discomfort.

In the end, I was confused. I never experienced these types of negative emotions with a Nora Roberts’ book.

Should you buy? I cannot really recommend Black Hills, but if you are a die hard Nora Roberts fan, you might want to read just to say you have read all her books. Then again, if you like whiny heroines, you will like this book.

Book Details from Goodreads
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Putnam (first published 2009)
Setting Black Hills, South Dakota, 2009 (United States)
Available on Amazon

buy_this_book

Another fine Westmoreland romance!


Canyon (The Westmorelands) – another Westmoreland romance!!! ♥♥♥♥

Canyon is an attorney that is determined to plead his case with his ex-girlfriend Keisha. She caught him in a compromising (very damning) situation with her best friend and was convinced that he was cheating on her. Canyon knows he was not cheating and he wants her to see reason.

Keisha knows what she saw and accepted her friend’s tearful apology. However, she will not tolerate being in love with a man who has been unfaithful. Her distrustful attitude towards men has a lot to do with the grudge she hold against her father for not acknowledging her when her mother told him about the pregnancy with Keisha. To her, it seems that men in her life continue to disappoint her.

Although Canyon would like to try to hate Keisha for not believing him, he cannot. He loved her then and still loves her. If only he could convince her to take him at his word. At some point in the story, I got the impression that he would probably still accept her even if she had those doubts about him. That is not the optimum way he wants the relationship to go, but he was borderline desperate to have her in his life. The attorney in him could not give up on the relationship without a giving closing arguments to wrap up his case.

All the while, Keisha is struggling with her own questions “What is truth?” “Could he be telling the truth?” “If he is, did she overreact?” “Could they have a future together anyway?”

I loved Canyon and tolerated Keisha. Canyon was an overall good guy. Keisha had so many trust issues that she was a little bitter. She is holding so many grudges that it colors her judgment. She made some bad decisions because of that but I am glad that she acknowledged her faults in the end.

Seriousness aside, there is also a lot of funny moments and conversation that add depth to the characters’ personality. The funniest part of this book to me was part where Canyon was trying to explain why following Keisha was not stalking. I was laughing out loud because he was bordering on creeper and trying to justify why it was a good idea. His brothers/cousins/friends were sure he was going to end up in jail. The only reason why I did not get annoyed (because I do not think any guy should force himself on a woman for the sake of a relationship) was that he prevented a crime from being committed and probably saved her life. But he was walking a fine line for a minute there.

I am not usually one to read so many books from the same series. Nevertheless, I have read many of the Westmoreland, Madaris, and Steele series books (15 so far) because Brenda Jackson rarely disappoints with the storyline. My favorite series is Westmoreland. The plots are variations on the same type of scenario but each has its own special twists that keep me entertained. I enjoy all of the books in this series, but I especially like it when the couple has history. The love-at-first-sight scenario can get played out. As in the case with Canyon (The Westmorelands), when the couple has history, one or both of the main characters have trust issues. Good thing there are enough Westmoreland family members around to talk logic and reason into them.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Books that make me say “Meh”

There have been several books that I gave 2 hearts because of a variety of reasons. I did not want to spend a whole blog post on each review because I did not want to seem as if no book could satisfy my standards.
In this post, I will start with an extremely short synopsis of each book and then give the reasons why I did not give it a higher rating.

MINE FOR TONIGHT: Book One – The Billionaire’s Obsession)

Synopsis: Hero has been following heroine because he is obsessed with her. When she is without a place to stay, he convinces her to stay at his lavish apartment. Granted without his offer, she would have been on the suffering, on the street, with no place to go. But I still think that it is sad that she has absolutely no friends that she has to accept an offer from a veritable stranger. In any case, she accept and soon they give in to attraction. Cue the love scene.

My issues with this story: (1) The Hero seems to be a little creepy to me and his following his love interest is perilously similar to stalking (2) I did not like the way the book ended. If you write a novella, I do not like for the story to end abruptly as if the book is missing another chapter. The author should have made it clear in the synopsis that this is nothing more than just a prologue to the main story. I hope that the whole series is not like this book. It peeves me to no end when an author takes what could be a full length novel and divides the chapters into 3 or 4 novellas and calls it a series. It appears to me as a way to get more money and I do not like those type of marketing tactics. Plus, they did not have such a great attraction that I feel motivated to buy the second book.

Date with Destiny (A Billionaire Romance)

Synopsis: Heroine works for an escort service, but she is not any good at it so she is about to be fired. The Hero needs a date fast and she is the only escort available. During said date, it becomes apparent that she will be sleeping with him despite her protestations that she is not like that.**eyes rolling **

My issues with this story: (1) It was cheesy. It was a quick “Pretty Woman” if the man decided to date escort/prostitute after one date (2) What idiot man would introduce his daughter to his night escort? Really? I was really annoyed by that. Given that their relationship was supposed to be devoid of emotion, he should not have involved his child in the mix. (3) This girl worked for an escort service that was obviously providing more than just a female companion for events on date night. Where is the romance in Hero’s offer for her to be his girlfriend? Seems to me that he was trying to get his milk for free, as it were. With an ending like that, considering the fact that they really do not know each other besides the physical compatibility, she better save her money since it is highly likely that he will dump her in the future.

Granted I might be judging these stories too harshly in your opinion. I challenge you to read any of them and let me know what you think.
Agree or Disagree?

Maid in the USA


MAID in the USA (The BAD BOY BILLIONAIRES Series) by Judy Angelo ♥♥♥

As the story begins, Celine is a maid who is content to clean a room of a luxury hotel. Her first view of Pierce was when he got out of the shower. If this were real life, she run screaming calling him a freak and probably mace him. But this is a romance novel so she was slightly shook up. Once she was over the shock of seeing all of his glory and he was dressed, he made her an interesting proposition: become a nanny for his cousin’s four-year-old daughter.

That seems really random.

He claims it has something to do with her eyes. Once again, if this were real life, she would turn down his offer assuming that he was some  kinky freak. But in Romance Land, Celine has an open mind and goes to his house to meet his niece. When Celine meets Kylie she agrees to be the child’s nanny. From there it is the usual romance along with her helping Kylie deal with the grief of losing her mother.

There was not anything about this story that caused me to be annoyed (like some other books by Judy Angelo). Celine was a tenderhearted leading lady for this story. Pierce was conflicted as most men usually are when they are trying to come to terms with the fact that they are in love.

I do wonder what is it about romance novel plots where the uber-rich man falls for the maid/nanny and we assume they will live happily ever after. I guess that is what we wish would happen. In real life, we have Arnold Schwarzenegger who fell for his maid, had a “love child” with her, broke up his marriage, and I do not think he is still with the homewrecker. So maybe that was not true love. But then again, the demise of that relationship might have had something to do with the fact that he was still married at the time of the affair. But I have digressed way off topic.

Overall this was a good story. MAID in the USA (The BAD BOY BILLIONAIRES Series) was worth the money for relaxing feel-good romance.

The lure of love


The Lure of Love by Mona Ingram ♥♥♥

This story is about three friends and their individual love stories. I am not usually a fan of multiple love stories in one book but since these all happened concurrently it was okay with me. The setting for this story takes place at a fishing lodge in British Columbia.

Couple number one Craig and Jamie
Craig is a widower and documentary film director. Jamie is the owner of the lodge where Craig has come to visit to possibly film a documentary.

Couple number two Billy and Brooke
Billy is a baseball player with a reputation for being a ladies man. Brooke works at the lodge as sort of a office manager.

Couple number three Matt and Leeza
Matt is married and a real estate agent who won a trip to the fishing lodge. Lisa is the chef for the lodge.

The author did a good job of keeping their stories individualized, but intertwining them enough to create a cohesive story. As a novella, the book moves fast. That being said, each of the three couples have connections which is the reason for sharing very intimate personal baggage (and there was a lot of emotional baggage with these three couples) very quickly. The more that they share about each other provides the rationale for why they fall in love with each other so quickly. In some of Mona Ingram’s other books, I have found the stories to be lacking some feeling. However in this book, I think the characters’ story really comes out in a way that conveys the emotional situation of each person.

As a side note: I feel that I have to say something about the fact that Matt is married in the beginning of the story. His marriage is only a technicality and as you read the story you understand.

Overall, The Lure of Love was a sweet book and an enjoyable read. I finished it in a couple hours and was satisfied with the outcomes of each couple.