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Black Hills by Nora Roberts

First, hello blog world! Just downloaded the WordPress app for the iPad. Will I write more reviews this way? I am certainly reading more on my Kindle app, especially with library lending of Kindle books.

One Kindle book I got from the library is Nora Robert’s Black Hills. (Sorry – no links because I haven’t figured out an easy way to do it from the app.) The book’s premise was not my cup of tea at all. I am not at all about the wilderness or country life, and this book is set in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota. But I actually enjoyed the book a lot, certainly more than I expected.

Cooper, a child sadly neglected by his divorcing parents, was sent to live with his grandparents in South Dakota for a summer. There, he finds unconditional love from his grandparents, learns all about fishing, riding and not chewing tobacco. And he finds his best friend in a girl, Lillian. Coop returns to Black Hills time and again throughout the years. Eventually, he and Lil move from friends to lovers, until Coop breaks it off to make his own way. Years later, Coop moves back and settles in South Dakota, and goes about getting Lil back. In the meantime, Lil has made a name and life for herself. But the animal sanctuary that she has built has attracted a serial killer targeting her. Can Coop protect Lil and win her back? (That’s a rhetorical question. Duh!)

I liked Coop and Lil. Nora Roberts paints a vivid picture of their blossoming childhood friendship, which grows and changes with time. I was rooting for Coop, who is “mad and sad” from having selfish parents who could care less about their child as they go about their lives. I liked the supporting characters, the grandparents, Lil’s parents, the friends, interns and townspeople. The mystery/serial killer plot was just enough to move the story along without losing the romance aspect of the book. It was a nice balance.

A ll in all, an enjoyable read! B+!

Buy a Contemporary, Save the World!

Flat Out Sexy

I am spreading the word for the Save the Contemporary campaign going on on the DearAuthor and SmartBitches blogs.  

When I first saw the post, I thought, no way, I read plenty of contemporaries.  I love 'em.  But then I realized, I guess I don't read that many contemporaries that don't feature "vampires, campy vampires, werewolves, immortal peril, mortal peril, suspense out the wahoo, or extraordinary extraterrestrial extraneous circumstances."  Hmm.  Lately I've been on a mystery/romantic suspense kick.  I guess this would fall under the "mortal peril" and "suspense out the wahoo" categories.  I also of course, love vampire books (though not so much campy vampire, except for maybe Maryjanice Davidson's Undead books, but even those get tiring after a while).  And actually, lately I discovered Julia Quinn and rediscovered Lisa Kleypas, which sent me back on a historical kick. So, yeah, I guess I haven't been reading much straight up contemporary books.

But there are a few contemporary authors I like that came to mind:

  • Susan Elizabeth Phillips - I've posted about her before.  Love love love her books, mostly because of her awesome heroines.  I can't pick a favorite and her books are definitely must buys for me. 
  • Linda Howard - I used to auto-buy all of her books.  I guess some of her books do have a slight paranormal slant, but I wouldn't really classify them as paranormal romance books.  But regardless, some of her very best works are straight contemporaries.  For example, Open Season, about a small town librarian finding love with a tough small town police officer, is a book full of humor and fun that I've read multiple times.
  • Jennifer Crusie – Her books are always fun, full of quirky (slightly crazy) characters, and sometimes a loveable dog.  I have to say I haven't been much into her books of late, the corroborations with Bob Mayer.  But generally, a Crusie book is a great contemporary read.
  • Nora Roberts – Nora Roberts seems to have diversified from the straight contemporary.  I think she tried her hand at historicals when she first started out.  And then at some point, she got into the futuristic with the Eve Dallas books, which I love.  Now she seems to be starting into the paranormal world.  Frankly, I haven't been very interested in reading those.  But certainly, there are plenty (seriously, more than plenty – how does that woman manage to write so many books?!) of good straight contemporary books to choose from.
  • Lori Foster - I have posted about this before.  Although Lori Foster is not a must read or buy for me, I loved loved loved her book, Never Too Much.  I've read most of her books because I loved that book so much, but none of them really compared.  But her name did pop into my head when it came to contemporary authors and books.
  • Anyway, I will do my part for the Save the Contemporary campaign.  Next time I'm in the bookstore, I'm going to look for a good contemporary.   If it has good plot, loveable characters, and good writing, then I'm all for it. 

     

The 24th time is the charm?

Innocent in Death
J.D. Robb

I've been reading Nora Roberts since forever. But since she is such a prolific writer (seriously prolific), some of her books started to sound the same after a while. Then, I discovered her J.D. Robb books and discovered a new series to love.

The J.D. Robb books revolve around a NYC policewoman, Eve Dallas. In the 24 books of this particular series, J.D. Robb created a full and vivid world complete with memorable and well-sketched cast of supporting characters. Again, the problem with a prolific writer – the books started to sound the same. But, I think J.D. Robb did a great job in the particular installment.

The best thing about the Eve Dallas books is the development of relationships between Eve and the various support cast, including her relationship with her husband, Roarke. Throughout the books, you see Eve develop from someone who stood alone to someone who now stands surrounded by those who love her.

This installment is interesting because it involves conflict between Eve and Roarke. In this case, one of Roarke's old flames came into the picture. This one is different from his other old flames and she managed to create some friction. But of course, in the end, Eve and Roarke's relationship only manages to grow stronger.

The mystery in this case is also intruiging. There is some nice thematic interplay between guilt and innocence as the title suggests. The first victim is an "innocent" in that there seems to be absolutely no motive in his murder. He's a teacher, a newly wed, and an all-around nice guy. The book goes on from there. I have to pat myself on the back and say that I did figure out the murderer way before the big reveal, but it was still a good plotline.

The book felt fresh again. It may simply be because I haven't read J.D. Robb in a while. But I have to give J.D. Robb credit in that she did manage to turn out something not entirely in the same mold as before. I give this book a B+.

P.S. The preview for the next book sounds intriguing as well. I am looking forward to another Eve Dalla adventure.