Book reviews

Posts tagged ‘Nora Roberts’

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is my go-to author for romance and Happy Ever After, the fourth book in the Bride Quarter, left me feeling satisfied and happy with the successful matching of each of the main characters.

The previous books in this series introduced the four women who run a wedding business together and gave photographer Mackensie, florist Emma and patissier Lauren the opportunity to find the man of their dreams. In this last book it is the turn of Parker Brown, who runs the whole business, a crack at finding her own special someone.

Parker wasn’t the easiest person to find a bloke for. She was beautiful, came from the most socially impressive family in town and ran an enormously successful business, so I would never have expected her to fall in love with a bad boy mechanic who had been hanging around in the background of the previous three books playing poker with the guys.

Parker and Malcolm had a lot of chemistry from the start and I enjoyed watching their friendship and romance develop. I like practical men who like cars too, so he was probably my type of hero even though in my experience men who tinker with cars always have scratchy hands and grease under their nails, no matter how much they wash them. Every time Malcolm ran his hands over Parker I kept thinking about how scratchy must have been. Parker never once mentioned them though, so they clearly didn’t bother her. Or ladder her stockings.

Anyway, regardless of the state of Malcolm’s hands, I truly enjoyed this romance, even if Parker is the most irritatingly perfect woman who has ever starred in a romance novel. The four heroines of the Bride Quarter have unfailingly been wonderful friends and business partners for each other, and I’ve loved reading about the many, many weddings they’ve put on for their clients, which have included every lovely detail about the bride’s dresses, handsome grooms. bridesmaid’s dresses, extremely attractive best men, the wedding cakes, flowers, the bride and room’s first dances, the drunken ex-wives who crashed the party… no, not really, there haven’t been any drunken ex-wives, I was just checking to see if anyone was still reading.

Anyway, since Happy Ever After was the last book in this series, I’ll return to Nora Roberts’ Boonsboro Inn set for romance, unless the author cares to introduce some new characters into the Bride Quartet and extends the series. Surely the business needs a glamorous but sweet accountant to run their books who could be paired with a cute artist who moonlights as a bartender, or a pretty young waitress working her way through college who might fall in love with the gardener who works on the estate, or a single mother who plays the harp during the wedding ceremonies who unexpectedly bumps into the emergency plumber who is there to repair the leaking hot water service (if you are wondering how the last pair could possibly have met during a wedding it is because the trolley for her harp is stored in the plant room when not in use).

Over to you, Nora Roberts, and don’t hesitate to ask for my assistance if you need any more ideas because I’ve got loads and will happily share.

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is one of my favourite go-to authors when I want a hit of romance and The Perfect Hope delivered. It is the third book in the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy and while I haven’t read the second book in this series, that didn’t matter. The first book, The Next Always, set me up beautifully.

The Perfect Hope tells the story of Hope Beaumont, the inn-keeper of the Boonsboro Inn, who gets together with surly but good-looking Ryder Montgomery. These two have nothing in common but lust for each other, but in a romance novel, that’s enough to tell a story. I even enjoyed the story of a ghost who haunts the Inn.

Characters from The Next Always wandered in and out of the story and I loved reading about the Boonsboro Inn itself, which I was thrilled to learn some time ago is a real place in Maryland, USA. I decided then that if I’m ever in Boonsboro I’m going to book in to either the Elizabeth and Darcy Room or the Buttercup and Westley Room, I can’t decide which. In The Next Always the building was being renovated after having become derelict, but by the time The Perfect Hope got going, the Inn was a thriving business.

I wasn’t as crazy about Ryder as I have been about other of Nora Roberts’ romantic heroes, as he was too rude, grumpy and uncommunicative for my taste, but apparently some people like that in a man… I was also slightly thrown by Ryder’s mother’s extraordinarily open attitude to sex and her discussions about the same with Hope, her son’s girlfriend, but again, each to their own. I usually skim the sex scenes anyway.

While The Perfect Hope probably isn’t the best romance novel I’ve ever read, I loved the familiarity of the characters and the setting, and Nora Roberts’ inclusive style, which makes me feel as if I could wander into one of her books, perhaps as a paying guest at the Boonsboro Inn which she owns in real life. Now to convince He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers…

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

Savor the Moment is the third book in Nora Robert’s Bride Quartet and follows the story of wedding baker Laurel’s romance with handsome lawyer Delaney, who she has loved since she was a little girl.

The quartet consist of four best friends who together run Vows, a wedding business. Book one was the story of photographer Mac’s romance, and book two was florist Emma’s turn. I had been looking forward to book three because I love baking and eating and was very happy with all of the refences to wedding cakes, groom’s cakes (I didn’t even know there was such a thing!) pastries, cookies, baklava, cupcakes and other nice things.

As expected though, there are complications in Laurel’s romance. Delaney has to get past the idea that Laurel is his sister’s best friend and that he has known her since she wore pigtails, and Laurel had her own issues to deal with before she can open her heart to Delaney – two weeks after they start going out (!) but I was fairly certain that things would work out just fine and guess what? I was right! I love a happy ending.

While I don’t think this book was as good as the first two in the series, I loved reading this in large print, which was perfect for reading in bed while eating Malteaser rabbits since I didn’t have any cake.

The last book in the series features Parker, Delaney’s afore-mentioned sister and an irritating but attractive mechanic (aren’t they all?) and I’m already looking forward to it.

Year One (Chronicles of The One Book 1) by Nora Roberts



I usually read Nora Roberts when I’m after a romance fix, but spotted Year One (Chronicles of The One Book 1) and thought I’d give this fantasy story a whirl. Stories two and three in this set are as yet unpublished.

A nasty virus is activated when the a sequence of events take place at a mysterious circle of stones in Scotland. Most of the world’s population is quickly wiped out. People who are left after ‘the Doom,’ as the epidemic is called, include ordinary humans, some good and some bad, as well as others who are called the ‘Uncanny’, people with various magical powers which strengthen over time. Some of the magical people are elves, some are faeries, some can light fires and some can see into the future. Again, some of the Uncanny are good and some are bad.

The story starts with the release of the virus, then introduces the reader to a handful of characters. Lana is a chef in New York who is pregnant to Max, a famous writer and practitioner of witchcraft. Arlys is a journalist who tells the truth about how many people have died and just who is left in the White House before she is rounded up to be tested for her immunity to the Doom. Katie is pregnant with twins and Jonah is a paramedic. And so on…

As civilisation collapses, the bad people and bad Uncannys turn on the good people and good Uncannys, mostly for the fun of it. Lana, Max, Arlys, Katie and the other good characters work their way out of the city to find a safe haven with other people who are like them. Some of the characters whose side we are on die on the trip.

I was irritated by the witchcraft in this story being called ‘magick.’ That extra ‘k’ really got up my nose… If I had magical powers, I would have removed them all from this book.

I also struggled to connect with the characters. There were too many of them (even though some get killed) and the story hopped back and forward between the various plot lines too often for me to have gotten to know and care about any of the characters in particular.

My biggest irritation though, was the similarity of the plot to Stephen King’s The Stand. Year One (Chronicles of The One Book 1 isn’t as good as The Stand and I didn’t enjoy this story enough to go back for books two and three.



The Next Always by Nora Roberts


When I feel like a big hit of romance, I turn to Nora Roberts. I started on The Bride Quartet ages ago but couldn’t find the third book in the series when I went to the library last week, so I chose The Next Always, Book 1 of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy to provide me with a romantic setting, a hunky bloke, a gorgeous heroine and a friendly, welcoming community. I probably should also have checked that my library had books 2 and 3 of the series, but if they don’t, I can always start another set of books by Nora Roberts as she is extraordinarily prolific.

If you like romance, all you need to know is that The Next Always delivers.

Beckett Montgomery (tall, handsome, knows how to use a hammer) lives in Boonsboro in Maryland, a historic town with a generous, friendly community. Beckett, his two brothers and his mother have a building business and are in the middle of renovating an old hotel, the Boonsboro Inn. The Boonsboro Inn is exactly the kind of place where romantic couples will want to stay once it is complete, there is a ghost and the rooms are named for famous couples in literature, including ‘Jane and Rochester,’ ‘Elizabeth and Darcy’ and ‘Buttercup and Westley’.*

Beckett has had a crush on Clare Murphy since they were in High School, but it’s complicated… Clare married someone else, left town and had three kids before returning to Boonsboro a war widow, where she opened a book shop. Luckily, as well as being the most gorgeous man in town, Beckett is also great with kids. And dogs. And he loves to read. And he can cook. And he looks FANTASTIC when he takes off his shirt. And so on.

I don’t watch much television, but I do enjoy renovating shows, so The Next Always hit all of the right spots for me. I’m reasonably certain another book in this series will feature Beckett’s crabby brother Ryder, who has an irrational dislike for Hope, a lovely woman the family hired to run the Boonsboro Inn. I’m sure to enjoy it too.

*Squeal of excitement! I googled Nora Roberts and found that Boonsboro is a real place and that the Boonsboro Inn is real too, and what’s more, she and her husband renovated the building and own the business! You really can stay in the ‘Buttercup and Westley’ Room! (Not with Westley, unfortunately, but you can’t have everything).

Check it out for yourself!






Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts


Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts is the second book in The Bride Quartet novels, a series which are perfect for those times when you need a big hit of romance, in particular weddings, gorgeous flowers, indulgent food. Not to mention a group of supportive, funny and like-minded friends, a satisfying and lucrative career where you get to work with said friends, and oh, I nearly forgot to mention the most important component; the perfect man!

I started reading this series on the  recommendation of Sarah from The Aroma of Books, as per the following link.

The Bride Quartet follow the lives and loves of four best friends since childhood, Mac, Parker, Emma and Laurel, who run an enormously successful wedding business together from Parker’s family estate. Parker provides the brains and management, Laurel is the chef, Mac the photographer and Emma, a florist. Each of these women are doing what they love and are happy, satisfied and stimulated in their work. Pure fantasy, but I love it.

Vision in White was first book in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Mac, the group’s photographer, finding love with her high school crush.

The second book is Bed of Roses, which tells the story of Emma, the florist. Emma is the man-magnet of the group, but she has a soft spot for Jack, who used to share a room at college with Parker’s brother. Unfortunately this makes him off-limits, because Emma believes that dating him would ruin the dynamics of their group’s friendship, along with the fact that Emma believes that her friend Mac once dated Jack, as the women have a rule of never dating each other’s exes.

Emma is gorgeous (of course) and not surprisingly, it turns out that Jack also has a thing for her. When he confessed to having loved her from afar for years, I melted. Nora Roberts has a knack of making her heroes say exactly what a female romance reader wants to hear.

The big problem is that Jack was a player before he and Emma started seeing each other, and he still doesn’t want to settle down, but in order for Emma to get her happy ending and become a bride herself, Jack needs to realise that he loves her so much that he will push past this terrible obstacle. I won’t tell you if they manage to get past this difficulty or not, but you probably don’t need to skip to the end to guess.

I smiled the whole time I was reading Bed of Roses, enjoying the romance without having to make any effort myself (do hair and make-up, iron a dress, find where I left my other high-heeled shoe, buy candles, change the sheets etc), although I admit that when things got too steamy between the heroine and her lover, I skipped ahead. (I’m a prude, remember?)

Since I’ve had all the romance I can take for a while, it may be some time before I get to the third book in the series, although I think Laurel secretly likes Parker’s brother, while a new bloke in town seems as if he might annoy Parker a bit before they realise they were made for each other. When I do read this I’ll let you know if my hunch is correct!



Vision in White by Nora Roberts


Vision in White by Nora Roberts is the first book in The Bride Quartet, each of which, I believe, is a romance starring one of the four main characters in the series.

I read Vision in White on the recommendation of Sarah from The Aroma of Books and am glad I did. Sarah reviewed all four books in the quartet as per the following link.

Mac is the main character in Vision in White. She is a wedding photographer who works for Vows, a wedding business she and her three best friends own and run. Mac hides behind her camera most of the time, after having been brought up by selfish and immature parents who continue to take advantage of her as an adult. When Mac meets Carter, he immediately confesses he had a crush on her in high school, and you just know how this story is going to end. (This plot is genius. Everyone secretly wishes that their high school crush thinks fondly of them instead, don’t they? Sure they do. Everybody who read that just thought of someone).

Weddings, romance, wedding cakes, cute guys, flowers, more cute guys, beautiful brides, gorgeous, feisty heroines, shoe shopping, large print… Vision in White is comfort reading at its best.

There is slightly too much information in some areas of the story for my prudish tastes, (ahem), but Vision in White is fun and light-hearted. Vision in White would be perfect with lots of chocolate* when you’re feeling jaded with everyday life. Just go with the flow and enjoy all of the wedding fuss and preparations, dramas and averted disasters without having to wear uncomfortable shoes and an itchy dress to someone’s wedding to a highly unsuitable partner in real life. There are no boring speeches, guests wearing the same dress as you or ex-husbands to avoid in fictitious weddings either. Perfect.

*Not sure what happened, but I finished a block of chocolate writing this review… Cadbury Salted Caramel, in case anyone is interested. Sigh. If I ever get another invite to a real wedding I’ll never fit into my ‘good’ dress.




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