Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"The Liar" by Nora Roberts

Oh Miz Roberts.  You do it again.

Summary:  The first time Shelby fell in love, she was young.  Her whirlwind marriage to the rich and handsome stranger swept her off her feet and into a world of glitter, glamour and privilege.  Until he died in a freak boating accident that left her and their small daughter alone and unsure of how to move ahead with their lives.  But her husband's death wasn't the worst thing that happened.  As Shelby begins to recover from her husband's loss and begins looking into managing her own future (or "adulting" as I like to call it) she learns that her husband wasn't who he appeared to be, that her very marriage was a sham, and that cleaning up someone else's lies is more expensive than she could have ever dreamed.

My Thoughts:  I imagine writing Contemporary Romance is incredibly hard.  Or maybe it's just hard to write a good Contemporary Romance.  And near impossible to write a Contemporary Romance that is good and that I also like.  Unless, of course, you're Nora Roberts.  Nora (as I call her in my head.  Lord knows if I bumped into her in the street I'd call her Goddess of All Things Romance.  Or just stand there mouth agape and beet red.  But I digress.) knows how to write a strong heroine that can still fall head over heels in love---without losing an inch of herself.  In fact, that's why I enjoyed "The Liar" so much more than I expected.

I can appreciate Nora's set up for the romance between Shelby and Griff.  The first time Shelby fell in love, she was consumed by her husband's overpowering personality.  She wore her hair how he preferred, she lost touch with her friends and family, and she let him run her (and her life) until she was little more than a trophy.  And she was horribly burned because of it. Shelby lost herself and paid the price for trading herself for a man.

Shelby has to build her life, and her self, back up from scratch on her own merits.  She's smart enough to swallow her pride (and this I can admire, as I'm not sure I could do it) and move home to her family, who she knows still love her even after she cut them from her life.  What I like best about Shelby's phoenix moment is that while Shelby is brought low, she relies on her family - and herself- to rebuild her life into something of which she can be proud.

If I had to pick out one flaw in the book (and its not so much a flaw for me, but may be for others) is that I found Shelby's fall and rebirth far more compelling than the love story.  Don't get me wrong, the love story was sweet, romantic and honest....but also very familiar to the avid romance reader.

There were also some resemblances to the In the Garden trilogy that might turn some readers off.  (Not me...I hadn't yet read the trilogy so the similarities weren't apparent until after I'd read the earlier trilogy.)  The biggest similarity was between Shelby and Roz Ashby's scoundrel ex-husbands.  They were both liars, cheats, and out to get their ex-wives.  I actually had a moment where I wondered if they were the same guy.

Rating:  I'd read it again.  (And probably will.)

Also Read By This Author:  I've read almost all of Roberts' catalog, which you can find at her website.  You can check my other reviews on Robert's books by searching for Nora Roberts in the quick search on the right hand side of the page, or by clicking individual links here:  Shadow Spell   |   Dark Witch   |   Thankless in Death   |   Concealed in Death  |  The Collector  |  Blood Magick  |  Blue Dahilia

Reviewed By:  Tami 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Death or Glory" by Sandy Mitchell

As I have started reading the Ciaphas Cain series, here is the forth installment. 

Summary: This adventure follows our anti-hero Commissar Cain as he is lost and confused behind enemy lines. His unit is sent to a planet infested by an ork invasion. As the transport ships enter the star system, they are attacked by ork vessels. Cain's ship is damaged and in a desperate attempt to avoid death, Cain dives into a lifepod. He and Jurgen spend weeks alone in the tiny craft as the fly toward the battle.

They crash in the middle of a desert with little idea where they are, much less where their unit landed. The first inhabitants they meet are orks on patrol and they work to get their bearings. Cain, eager to regain the protection afforded by his unit, is determined to get out of ork territory. He and Jurgen slowly but surely collect supplies and rally together human survivors in the wasteland so that they can punch through the enemy lines.

We see in this book Cain's skill with civilians more than with soldiers as is typical in the previous books. We also see humans using a lot of ork technology in order to get through it all. 

What I Liked: This is classic Cain, with lots of decisions between Bad and Worse. There is just the right amount of suspense and hope mixed to make it satisfying read.

What I Didn't Like: Of the four Cain books I have read, this was the least exciting. It's a lot of battles and not a lot of investigation. I recall the earlier books having a lot more analysis of the situation, trying to find the traitor and such. In this book the lines are clear, and all that remains is fighting, which I don't find so interesting.

Rating: This is my least favorite book so far in a great series. Hopefully the next books will be better.

Also Read by this Author: Scourge The Heritic, Innocence Proves Nothing, The Traitor's Hand, Caves of Ice, For the Emperor.
A side note, Sandy Mitchell is a pseudonym for Alex Stewart.

Reviewed by: Nick