[673]: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

chasing-fire Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
Brilliance Audio | April 12th, 2011
Source: Audible
Adult Fiction | Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.

But there’s also little else as thrilling – at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive fire-fighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend in the field. She’s been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home – even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering in the air.

Fortunately, this year’s rookie crop is among the strongest ever – and Gulliver Curry’s one of the best. He’s also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kid’s arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas “Iron Man” Tripp, yet he’s instantly more fascinated by his hero’s daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn’t hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn’t make a good case to be an exception to the rule.

Everything is thrown off balance, though, when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year’s tragedy. Rowan knows she can’t complicate things with Gull – any distractions in the air or on the ground could be lethal. But if she doesn’t find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.


Nora Roberts, much like Sandra Brown, has made quite a name for herself in the Romantic Suspense genre. And while I haven’t been able to make great strides with her books, I’m slowly picking them up as I go along. Chasing Fire has always been on my periphery ever since I picked up the hardback in 2011. I just haven’t had the chance to read it because, YA. Thanks to an Audible sale, Chasing Fire is finally off my TBR.

Slow Burn

Truth be told, I almost quit on this book. The plot wasn’t revealed until about a quarter of the way in. And in this genre, the apt pacing could be the difference between a DNF and a great read. But I persevered. Because even though the story’s development came to a slow fruition,  there was a lot of interesting things within its pages – para jumpers, for one. But these particular jumpers are trained to fight fire in the wilds. They are the ones that stood between a couple of acres of burnt forest and a wide-spread inferno that incinerates an entire town. Their job is exciting and dangerous which more than made up for the sluggish plot. Even though this is only my second Nora Roberts novel (not including JD Robb’s) I already have an idea as to her style of writing.  She’s a meticulous story teller so her books tend to be longer and slower than I prefer.

The Short of It All

Rowan Tripp is a senior fire fighter who has seen the best and worst of being a Zulie. This season, however, will prove to be  the most deadly. Aside from the fires bent on killing everything and everyone in its way, someone is on a killing tear. From sniper fire to equipment sabotage, Rowan refuse to acknowledge the inevitable reality that the person responsible could be one of the team members. With the help of a cocky, handsome rookie, Rowan, and her team is on the clock. Find the killer before they kill all of them.

Into the Fire

Nora Roberts knows how to give life to a genuinely strong female character. I can surmise that even if I’d only read three of her books so far.The job of a wildfire firefighter calls for agility, endurance, and intelligence. Depending on the magnitude of the fire, they could go days without any proper meal, sleep, or rest. And because she’s a senior firefighter, she leads the team every time they jump. She kept her head in the game without fail; she knows where to cut off the fire to give them a fighting chance.

Fire, Caught

Rowan, though, is emotionally stunted. She’s got trust and abandonment issues. Despite the close and ideal relationship she has with her father, she’s never really gotten over the fact that her mom abandoned them. Consequently, she kept everyone at a distance. But when Gulliver Curry arrived, he worked on breaking down her walls (as cliched as that may sound) so she can live for the moment. They have a realistic chemistry; not at all an exaggerated attraction, but they simply are.

Mystery/Suspense Fizzled

Because the novel had a languid pace, the mystery and suspense suffered a bit. She worked hard to conceal the identity of the suspect/killer to no avail. I suspected who it was as soon as they were introduced – and I’m not even a seasoned reader of the genre! Gull and Rowan never got close to naming a suspect which is a little out of the ordinary in romantic suspense. Usually, the main characters have some involvement in solving the crime, but here, they were merely participants. They speculated and did a half-ass job of investigating but they didn’t come to a conclusion. In the end, it came as a surprise to them as well.

I learned so much about para jumping and firefighting while reading this book. My admiration for firefighters doubled. To risk their lives every time they’re called on duty goes beyond a paycheque. It’s a dedication to the people and the land they’re trying to protect. Nora Roberts dove into this enterprise with gusto; she didn’t miss a thing. Regardless of how ineffectual the suspense was in this book, readers will still be able to appreciate the lessons it imparts, the characters worth knowing, and the romance that’s distinctively Nora Roberts.

 

 

 

 

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[590]: The Liar by Nora Roberts

23281906-1 The Liar by Nora Roberts
Penguin Publishing Group | Hardcover, 501 pp.
April 14th, 2015
Adult Fiction | Romantic Suspense
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars


Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …

The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning …


Whenever I feel the onset of boredom from whatever book I’m reading, I tend to turn to Romantic Suspense to jump start my waning interest. Now, my conventional drug is Sandra Brown, but I’ve always been interested in other authors who are a household name in this genre. Like, Nora Roberts, for example. I haven’t had much experience with her books. Aside from a couple of her In Death books (which I loved), I’ve not had the chance to read anything from her extensive library. This week, I finally decided to check her out for myself.

TILL DEBT DO US PART

Shelby Foxworth has a lot to learn about the man with whom she married. It’s a shame that she had to learn all about him posthumously. Recently widowed, the once prosperous life that she’d grown accustomed to was apparently nothing but a sham. As it didn’t take long for all the debtors to come knocking on her door a few days after her husband “drowned” in a boating accident. In debt to the tune of a couple of million dollars, Shelby meticulously planned out how she would be able to pay all the debts her husband incurred. Little by little, she’d find out that the man she married lived a duplicitous life.

THE ROAD TO TENNESEE IS LONG

Shelby was one of those women who has the admirable trait of being able to pick herself up no matter how far she’d fallen. The two-million dollar debt should’ve been debilitating to some, but that didn’t deter her from wanting to move on and build a life for her and her daughter. After finding out that Richard was a con-man who victimized the wealthy, she high-tailed it back to her hometown and into the welcoming arms of her family. Here, she tried to bridge the rift between her and her loved ones when she decided to marry Richard. Because Richard was a controlling husband; one who preferred their wives to be docile and alone.

For the first time in her life, she was able to see that there could be a future for her and Callie, her daughter. Surrounded by family, old friends, and new acquaintances. She also meets Griffin; a man determined to help her see that she could trust a man to take care of her and Callie without having to incapacitate her independence.

The novel is long and arduous, unfortunately. I am not that familiar with her method of storytelling, but I felt like it could’ve used a chunk of trimming. Since this book was supposed to be Romantic Suspense, it was neither romantic nor suspenseful. In fact, the mystery was so transparent that a reader could see the twist from the get-go.

IN RETROSPECT

This book is not in the speed of her In Death series. It was slow – as slow as molasses in the winter. In my opinion, the story could’ve been told in 300 pages or less. But I suppose Roberts wanted to show Shelby go through a reborn of sorts.

 

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Friday Finds [7]: More In Death

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This past Wednesday, the servers were down at work. I spent most of the morning not really doing much of anything. I couldn’t even go on-line because, well, everything was down. I basically fiddled with my thumbs. Thankfully, I have my trusty iPhone.

There I was obsessively checking all my social media accounts when I got this email from Dog-Eared Books. If you must know, Dog-Eared Books is another used book store here in my city. It’s a quaint little place about 15 minutes from where I live. I’ve never been, but an officemate told me that I might be able to find these books there. They don’t have a website, but I did send them an email. A day later, they got back to me with a list of the books in the series. So of course, I didn’t waste time. I had to get them!

You guys. You have no idea how ecstatic I was when I got there. Thankfully, the lady was very understanding of my plight. She didn’t judge me for my quirk and obsession. I told her I’ve been on the hunt for these books, and that they’ve been hard to find. The best thing about this find, is that I’m finally able to start it because I now have the first book! Bonus: IT’S SIGNED.

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Yes, yes. I know what you’re thinking. “What if you read the first book and you end up not liking it?” Truth is, I don’t know. I’ll cross the bridge when I get there. In the meantime, I have full confidence that I will enjoy this series. Though it might take me a while to get through them. Either way, collecting these books is becoming a hobby of sorts. And finding them is just as satisfying as hunting for vinyl records.

Series in Chronological Order 

Naked in Death
Glory in Death
Immortal in Death
Rapture in Death
Ceremony in Death
Vengeance in Death
Holiday in Death
Conspiracy in Death
Loyalty in Death
Witness in Death
Judgement in Death
Betrayal in Death
Seduction in Death
Reunion in Death
Purity in Death
Portrait in Death
Purity in Death
Divided in Death
Vision in Death
Survivor in Death
Origin in Death
Memory in Death
Born in Death
Innocent in Death
Creation in Death
Strangers in Death
Salvation in Death
Promises in Death
Kindred in Death
Fantasy in Death
Indulgence in Death
Treachery in Death
New York to Dallas
Celebrity in Death
Delusion in Death
Calculated in Death
Thankless in Death
Concealed in Death
Festive in Death
Obsession in Death
Devoted in Death

(I own stricken titles)

 

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[518]: The Collector by Nora Roberts

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GOODREADS SUMMARY | Berkeley | Paperback, 507 pp. | April 15,  2014 | Adult Fiction | Romantic Suspense | Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


This is my first ever Nora Roberts book. I wanted to read it because for an author of her popularity, I haven’t been inclined to check out her work.  I’ve had this intolerable stigma that her books are purely romance, and in so, something to be read in the privacy of my bedroom. But I was wrong. I think I’ve always known I was wrong. I was just too stubborn to see reason. It just so happens that it was one of those weekends where I was between books. So when I saw this on my pile, I said, why not? A couple of chapters in, and I was hooked!

The Story.

Professional house-sitter, Lila Emerson was used to watching people live their lives. Through a pair of binoculars she sees them  and invents stories behind their glass windows. One night, she didn’t expect to witness the murder of a supermodel who fell to her death fourteen stories high. She’d always known that she was in one of those tumultuous, tempestuous relationships. So she knew it was only a matter of time before she befalls victim to her live-in lover. But the story is not as cut and dry. If at first, the suspects wanted the police to assume it was a murder/suicide, mounting evidence, however,  points to double murder.

Ashton Archer knew her brother wasn’t capable of hurting a fly. So when the police notified him that Oliver killed his lover, he was the first to defend him. He’s not going to rest until he finds out what happens to him. So he recruits the help of the only witness in the crime. Who would’ve known that gypsy writer, Lila Emerson could be as beautiful as she was insightful? Soon, their attraction starts to develop into something more. People also started dying; murdered by the same people who killed his brother.

Together, Lila and Ashton embarks to solve the mystery of what kind of trouble Oliver got himself into that led to his murder. Provided they don’t get killed first.

My Thoughts. 

That was really unexpected. Though I don’t know why I would think that. Nora Roberts hasn’t written 200 books because she was a mediocre writer. She has legions of fans who can attest to her story-telling prowess. I really am glad I finally broke through her world. I’ve become an instant fan!

Her characterizations are superb. Lila is one of those people who has this knack for getting you to talk. Soon, she’ll have your deepest secrets without you knowing how she did it. She’s also like a MacGyver of sorts. She fixes things – big and small with her handy-dandy switchblade of doom. She has the best job ever. She travels and for periods of time she lives in luxury as a professional house sitter for the rich. On her spare time, she’s a successful Young Adult novelist. She is funny, candid and she’s not scared of anything – not even the ruthless assassin who was hunting them. She’s spunky and delightful; truly a well-rounded character.

On the other hand, you’ve got Ashton, who was a study in control. Sometimes, you can feel his anger brimming to the surface, but he’s able to coral it in. I did wonder what it would be like for him to unleash all his temper, though. I imagine it would be spectacularly hot.

Over all, this book was a delightful mix of suspense and romance. It was a languid tale interspersed with burst of thrills that will get readers engrossed from start to finish. I can’t wait to read more from Ms. Roberts!

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Friday Finds [#6]: On a Mission

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I have an obsessive personality. As in, I tend to give tenacious focus on things that I love. Kings of Leon. Shoes. Purses. Oh and books. This obsession with J.D. Robb is mind-boggling, however. I haven’t read anything written by Nora Roberts (JD Robb and Nora Roberts are one and the same). So I have no idea why I’ve been scouring the second-hand bookshops for these books. Never mind that there’s 41 books in this series so far.

The first book in this series was published back in 1995. Back then, I was obsessed with Harlequin Romance, and the concept of buying new books was a fantasy I didn’t indulge in often. What are the odds that I can find the earlier books to this series? Especially if I want to collect them in hardbacks? As it stands, I own 9. But these were more recently published, mostly bought at Goodwill, Vallue Village, and a couple that were picked up at a clearance.

The funny thing is, I have no intention of starting this series until I find the first book. And for some reason, I’m stubbornly set on not buying them new. I’m quirky like that. At this rate, when do you think I’ll be able to start them?

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