Review: The Witness – Nora Roberts

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nora roberts the witness cover

SYNOPSIS: Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems — and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed. – via Goodreads

 

GRADE 5Who the hell knew there would ever be a day where I was reading Nora Roberts novels? I mean I know Natasha is a big fan and has been haranguing me for years to read her work, but I have always written her off as a cheesy and stupid romance writer (and we all know how much I love a romance novel at the best of times). However, I have come to find that she actually does write rather well. For instance, for a romance, The Villa was a particularly enjoyable read – one I am sure I will go back to again.

Then this is one Natasha told me to put above all others to find out. Alright already, I’ll do it. I really, really liked how this started – Russian mobsters and silly teenagers and all that. Again, I love books featuring the mob. Then we got to a new town after all the severe drama went down and it felt like the book just lost steam. Before you have even processed you have moved into bland territory, a relationship springs up after meeting each other once. For me, that is too rapid, especially considering all the things Elizabeth/Abigail has gone though in life. I got severely irritated with the amount of sex talk going on – I distinctly got to the stage where I wondered if Brooks and Abigail could do anything more than think of and talk about sex constantly. It got really annoying, and contributed nothing to the book. Surely there are far more fascinating things to fill the pages with?!

I was also not a fan of their relationship, it jumped up out of nowhere and was too rapid and defied my willingness to suspend reality even. Brooks is an exceptionally boring love interest. Anyway, aside from those complaints, it was not the worst book ever. Actually, it had some things that I really liked, and others not so much. I liked that it was a quick and easy read, and Roberts can write, though she isn’t the world’s greatest writer, she can entertain you. I didn’t like Abigail’s character much, because I didn’t find her very endearing or quirky or sweet – just annoying. I liked the relationships Brooks had with the community around him. I also liked the little dramas that popped up throughout the book, though some of it does feel contrived, it was fun for me.

I know that this is a romance novel and it is what Roberts does best, I just really wanted this to be a crime novel (where was the scary-as-sin mob discovery and showdown?!), I think she was really onto something in the beginning, or she really needed to work the romance differently later. There wasn’t any real passion between them.

Completed Book Challenge 2014

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completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon

 


 

That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Review: The Villa – Nora Roberts

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the villa cover

SYNOPSIS: Sophia Giambelli has never worried about competition. For three generations, the Giambelli wines have been renowned for their quality– from Napa Valley to Italy, and throughout the world. The pride of the Giambelli family and a top PR executive, Sophia loves her job– and excels at it. But things are about to change at Villa Giambelli. Tereza, the matriarch, has announced a merger with the MacMillan family’s winery– and Sophia will be assuming a new role. As a savvy businesswoman, she knows she must be prepared for anything . . . but she isn’t prepared for Tyler MacMillan. They’ve been ordered to work together very closely, to facilitate the merger. Sophia must teach Ty the finer points of marketing– and Ty, in turn, shows her how to get down and dirty, to use the sun, rain, and earth to coax the sweetest grapes from the vineyard.

As they toil together, both in and out of the fields, Sophia is torn between a powerful attraction and a professional rivalry. At the end of the season, the course of the company’s future– and the legacy of the villa– may take an entirely new direction. And when acts of sabotage threaten both the family business and the family itself, Sophia’s quest will be not only for dominance, but also for survival. – via Goodreads

Well, I know that this isn’t the way I usually write a book review, but there was an awful lot going on in here and an abundance of characters, so I figured I would just take the synopsis of it and then add my opinion. The Villa is just one of those things I got roped into. Once I was told to read some ludicrous vampire trilogy by Nora Roberts as it was her “best work”. Seeing as Natasha is such a huge fan of the woman, I figured why not? Then it was all about the milky mounds of some woman’s breasts and all sorts of paperback porn and I immediately abandoned that outing. I was not impressed.

Recently Natasha and I traded some book suggestions, and she gave me grief for allowing what she perceives to be some of Roberts’ worst work define the writer for me. I started The Villa very warily (Natasha’s review for more details), sure that I was going to get a whole lot of other crap. Then there were so many characters, and Italians galore, I was wondering if there was any way I was going to be able to remember everything. The characters were initially introduced, shallow and hurriedly, but as the book progresses, the characters grow immensely, and it is a lovely journey to undertake.

I was rather irritated reading about the business and marketing side of things that she brought in from time to time (it annoys the hell out of me), but I cannot fault Roberts for the sheer amount of research that went into the novel. I learned quite a bit about vineyards and wine-making and all, but I am never going to be a vintner. The book has a strange feel to it, but it was a good one.

I was engrossed and I enjoyed the read, though I must say some of those bedroom scenes leaned a little towards milky mounds and all sorts. It was certainly a well laid out book, though the villain was easy to spot, and something else niggles at you and makes perfect sense at the end exactly how that slotted in. The emphasis on family and business was great. Pilar’s growth was lovely, and the Cutter family opening up and taking her in was also quite charming. I liked reading about Sophia and Tyler, though it was evident from the off how that would come together, it was still rather fun to go with.

While this is a romance novel, it is not necessarily dominated by that factor, which is probably why I appreciated this more than most. At least The Villa has shown me that Roberts isn’t as dreadful a writer as I initially suspected.