Nora Roberts

Faithless in Death

Faithless in Death (In Death #52)

By:

J.D. Robb

Blurb:

The scene in the West Village studio appears to be classic crime-of-passion: two wine glasses by the bed, music playing, and a young sculptor named Ariel Byrd with the back of her head bashed in. But when Dallas tracks down the wealthy Upper East Side woman who called 911, the details don’t add up. Gwen Huffman is wealthy, elegant, comforted by her handsome fiancé as she sheds tears over the trauma of finding the body–but why did it take an hour to report it? And why is she lying about little things?

As Eve and her team look into Gwen, her past, and the people around her, they find that the lies are about more than murder. As with sculpture, they need to chip away at the layers of deception to find the shape within–and soon they’re getting the FBI involved in a case that involves a sinister, fanatical group and a stunning criminal conspiracy.

Review:

Alright, book number fifty-two in the In Death series, Faithless in Death. Once again, Roberts delivers a great futuristic mystery with just the right amount of personal life progression. Eve and Roarke’s relationship is going great. Peabody and Mavis are brought up. Mira is there. Everyone gets their moment, and that always makes me happy.

A little while back, some people had issues with Roberts because of the casting of Alyssa Milano in an upcoming movie adaption of her book Brazen Virtue. Milano has been pretty vocal about her politics, and people were not happy with her. Roberts made a statement confirming, for anyone who’s never actually paid attention in her books, that she’s a liberal democrat. Now here’s the thing, I know that Faithless in Death was written long before this whole thing happened, but it honestly felt like a huge sign to those people that they were not represented in Roberts’s work. Well, not portrayed in a positive light. It was awesome.

The villain in Faithless in Death was a cult that I read as a mixture of Scientology and hardcore fundamentalist Christians and Trump supporters. There were digs throughout the book, and one of my absolute favorites is at the end, where Eve off-hand mentions that the Kentucky senator O’Donnell has been arrested and will be going to jail for a long time. Talk about a book boner that put a smile on my face for hours.

I wasn’t a fan of the previous book. I felt that it went too far into the police brutality zone. I was supposed to give it a pass because the bad guy had attacked Roarke and Eve, but I couldn’t do it. However, after fifty great books, I continued with the series. Oh, man, am I glad I did. I truly loved Faithless in Death, and I’m excited for the series to continue.

5/5

The Awakening

The Awakening (The Dragon Heart Legacy #1)

By: Nora Roberts

Blurb:

In the realm of Talamh, a teenage warrior named Keegan emerges from a lake holding a sword—representing both power and the terrifying responsibility to protect the Fey. In another realm known as Philadelphia, a young woman has just discovered she possesses a treasure of her own…

When Breen Kelly was a girl, her father would tell her stories of magical places. Now she’s an anxious twentysomething mired in student debt and working a job she hates. But one day she stumbles upon a shocking discovery: her mother has been hiding an investment account in her name. It has been funded by her long-lost father—and it’s worth nearly four million dollars.

This newfound fortune would be life-changing for anyone. But little does Breen know that when she uses some of the money to journey to Ireland, it will unlock mysteries she couldn’t have imagined. Here, she will begin to understand why she kept seeing that silver-haired, elusive man, why she imagined his voice in her head saying Come home, Breen Siobhan. It’s time you came home. Why she dreamed of dragons. And where her true destiny lies—through a portal in Galway that takes her to a land of faeries and mermaids, to a man named Keegan, and to the courage in her own heart that will guide her through a powerful, dangerous destiny…

Review:

As soon as I started reading The Awakening, I struggled to put it down. I wasn’t able to focus on anything once I started. I was surprised by that because I expected this story to be like Robert’s The One Chronicles. It was very light on romance, like that series, but The Awakening was nowhere near as dark. It was almost like reading a wish-fulfillment book. The main character was miserable in her life, though she had a found family that she loved completely. She finds out that her mother has been hiding a fortune from her and can then live the life she’s always wanted. She goes to Ireland, something I’ve always wanted to do. She starts writing a book and ends up being very good at it, something I’ve tried to do with varying levels of success. She then finds out that there’s a multiverse, and she’s got powers, something I think everyone has wanted at some point in their lives.

Even with how much I loved The Awakening, I did have a couple of complaints. Well, not complaints exactly, but things I wasn’t all on board with. The biggest one being the relationship between the main character and what will inevitably be her love interest. He was a bully while training her and gruff and rude while not, but I was supposed to believe that she was attracted to him. Their “relationship” would have seemed to come out of nowhere if I wasn’t used to these types of books. It was seriously lacking in any kind of attraction or build up.

I also wish it hadn’t ended on a cliffhanger. That’s only a complaint because it was so good I want to read the next book NOW. The next book doesn’t come out till November, so I’ve got a wait ahead. Considering how long I had to wait for this book from the library, I might pre-order the sequel.

Besides all the wish-fulfillment going on with The Awakening, I loved the world that was created. It’s not one I necessarily think I could live in, I love technology too much for that, but it sounded beautiful. More than a few times, I set aside the book and searched for cottages in Ireland. The descriptions were gorgeous. I also loved that all these fairy tale creatures were able to live together in harmony. The world sounded like a utopia, except for the whole fact that a demon god was trying to destroy it and everything else.

The Awakening was an excellent read, and even though it wasn’t like Nora Robert’s books of old, it was one I’m incredibly excited to keep reading. It’s the middle of January, and I’ve already read one of my favorite books of the year. It’s crazy.

5/5

Currently Reading 01-16-21

I had to bail on my last book. It was YA and not doing it for me. I didn’t like the main character. Life is too short to force myself to read a book I’m not enjoying even a little.

So now I’m reading The Awakening by Nora Roberts. Based on the blurb I’m not expecting a romance. I kind of miss her romance trilogies, but I can understand as a writer wanting to try something new. I ended up mostly liking her The Chronicles of the One series, so I’m hoping to like this one too.

As you can maybe see in the background I’m also playing Splatoon. There’s a Splatfest going on right now and I try to play those. I don’t have strong feelings on the teams this time around, but the Star shirt is cooler. So *shrug*

Of Blood and Bone

Of Blood and Bone

Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of the One #2) By: Nora Roberts

Plot:

They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.

Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.

In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.

Review:

So, I wasn’t a fan of the last book, but it properly set my expectations so I knew what I was getting into with the second. Of Blood and Bone is still much darker than I’m used to with Nora Roberts, but there is a lot more light too.

Fallon is young, just 12 when it starts out, but her true training begins shortly after her 13th birthday. For two years she is taught and excels, and passes test after test, until she’s done. The entire book is getting to know her, her strengths and weaknesses. The world has already been created, and the setting feels mostly built, this book was about introducing us to The One.

She loves her family, she’s smart and analytical, but she doesn’t ignore her emotions. I liked that, I liked that going cold and logical wasn’t her goal, and while she could be passionate she wasn’t always hot-headed.

The side characters from the previous book weren’t ignored, we got glimpses into their lives. A lot has happened for them since we left, and thankfully, most of it was good. People are thriving. The world is different, but there is still a lot of darkness and unrest and basically anarchy in most places. It’s not a pretty place, but there are bubbles where it isn’t bad, yet.

If this was any other Nora Roberts book I would assume that Deacon is Fallon’s fated love, and it really does look like that will happen, but I can’t say I’m much of a fan of his. He’s fine, but their relationship is imbalanced. They’re both powerful, magically, though Fallen is definitely stronger. My problem is that he is a year older than Fallon and already has quite a bit of experience with sex. She doesn’t, which is fine, but I don’t want her to be this virginal prize for him. I’m not a fan of that trope.

We’ll see what happens. The book ends with a minor battle. Some people die, but no one you’re really attached too, but it means something to the characters. Deacon says some thoughtless things, but they seem to make up, and he goes off because he can’t be near her. Fallon is left with her family and to raise an army.

I am more excited for the next book than I am for this, but I’m also cautious because I’m afraid of what Roberts will do. We’ll see.

3.5/5

 

Dynamite Review Best of 2017

Movies

1.      Thor: Ragnarok – I don’t get to watch new movies much as they come out, but I was so lucky to get to see this in theaters. It was AWESOME! I’ve already pre-ordered the steelbook from Best Buy, I got the theatrical poster off of Disney Movie Rewards and it’s framed and in my kids bathroom, and I can’t wait to watch it again and again.

2.     John Wick 2 – Great action movie and addition to the series. Awesome world, I’m interested in the Stars series that’s potentially coming out.

3.     Kingsman: The Golden Circle – In your face, over the top action.

4.     Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – While not as good as the previous one I loved so many things about this movie. The colors, the characters, the relationships. I’m so glad that this is part of the Marvel Universe.

5.     Spider-Man: Homecoming – I really enjoyed this movie but what’s potentially more important, my daughter loves this movie.

6.     Moana – This is more an honorable mention since it came out in 2016 not 2017. Love the music and the story, reminds me of the Disney I grew up with.

Books

1.      White Hot by Ilona Andrews – The long awaited sequel to Burn for Me, so good.

2.     Wildfire by Ilona Andrews – Love this series so much, want more. Wasn’t too happy with the ending, but still love.

3.     Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan – Beautiful art, interesting story, need some answers though. The only comic I pre-order.

4.     The Rosetta Man by Claire McCague – Picked this up randomly and I ended up loving it. So happy when that happens.

5.     Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs – Not my favorite Patricia Briggs book, too many Doctor Who references, lots of other little things, but still a Patricia Briggs book so it’s going on the list!

6.     Heartstrikers Series by Rachel Aaron – This series didn’t come out last year, though they did have a book release that I haven’t read yet, but I had to put it on the list because I enjoyed it so much.

7.     The Guardians Trilogy by Nora Roberts – This is the kind of Nora Roberts series that I love. It didn’t come out in 2017, but after being wary of starting it because of her more recent books I got to it late.

TV Shows

1.      The Crown – I resisted watching this because I heard so much praise, but I’m glad I finally did. I destroyed the second season that recently aired and I honestly think it might be better than the first. Amazing show.

2.     Sense 8 – I love this idea so much and the second season wasn’t as slow as the first. The ending killed me and then when they canceled it, ugh, I never do TV show petitions but I signed them all. I canceled Netflix for the first time in years. I was furious. I’m hoping that the movie will be able to wrap things up but I seriously don’t see how that’s possible. I’ll probably never keep Netflix running continuously because of how they did this show.

3.     The Good Place – I had no desire to watch this last year, it just didn’t seem that funny to me. I ended up having the end of season one spoiled for me and that changed everything. I was able to binge the first season on Netflix and I’ve watched every episode of the second as it’s aired. So freaking funny.

4.     The Orville – Wow, I had no expectations for this show. I had hopes, but because of Seth MacFarlane I didn’t have many. I was certainly surprised and this has ended up being one of my favorite shows of the year. It’s like getting new episodes of Star Trek, only instead of the Enterprise team we’ve got the D tier crew. The jokes don’t always land and they’re reusing a lot of Star Trek plots, but I don’t care. I’m so glad that this has been picked up for a second season and I’m hoping that they continue to find their footing.

5.     Future Man – Loved this, it was so crude and hilarious and just came out of nowhere. Time travel, video games, the 80s, James Cameron’s AI, a terrible future, so many things that add up to funny. So glad we’re getting a second season.

6.     Legion – This is not my usual type of show. It’s wild and out there and very trippy. The only reason I watched it was because I needed something to keep me up during late night feedings and I ended up staying up just to finish episodes. Half the time I’m not sure what’s going on, but I honestly didn’t care. They gave just enough answers not to drive me crazy, but still left me needing to know more.

7.     Black-ish – I just discovered Black-ish this year and thank goodness Hulu has all of the episodes. Most episodes are nice, funny episodes, but the episodes that aren’t, the episodes where they “teach” you something are so good. This year there was one about postpartum depression that really resonated with me.

8.     Life in Pieces – I laugh in every single episode of this show. Love it.

9.     The Librarians – The third season was probably the weakest so far and I’m not overly thrilled with all that’s going on in the fourth season but I seriously can’t think of anything that would have me stop watching this.

 

Games

1.      Splatoon 2 (Switch) This was hands down my favorite game of the year. In an alternate universe I went pro, built a brand, and lived the life of the rich and famous.

2.     Stardew Valley (Switch) After putting in 160 hours on the PC version you’d think I’d be done with this game, but nope. As soon as it came out on the Switch I bought it and started all over again. Aided by the amazing guide my husband bought me for Christmas 2016 I’ve been chipping away at all the in game achievements.

3.     Lego City Undercover (Switch) I beat this once, then got halfway through beating it again before Splatoon 2 came out. I still plan on going back and working on unlocking everything, though, it’s not a priority because I certainly got my money out of this.

4.     Delicious Emily Home Sweet Home (PC) Really liked the story in this one, young married couple with a little kid get their dream house and fix it up. If I was crazy and didn’t mind construction around toddlers I could totally do this too.

5.     Horizon Zero Dawn (PS4) I’m stretching things a bit including this to my list. I got it for Christmas after trying it out at Red Box and finding it interesting enough to try more. I didn’t start playing it until December 31st and at this point I’m only a couple hours in, however, I love the idea a lot. I love that she’s a real looking woman and she’s kicking ass. So far they haven’t put her in super revealing clothes which is nice too. The world is interesting, however, I wish I didn’t have to use a bow and arrow. If I ever beat it, or put a significant amount of time in I’ll write a review.