Book Review – Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

ShelterinPlace.jpgI kind-of went off Nora books for a while. I found them all too similar, then she delved off into the arcane and frankly creepy.  But the synopsis of this one grabbed me and I am really, really enjoying it. So much so, that I had to tell you even before I finish it!

SYNOPSIS: It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

MY THOUGHTS: While the topic of teens and shootings is being used as a political points scorer,  Roberts is fairly careful not to let you know which side of the fence she sits on (altho, IMO, you’re an idiot if you are voting in lines with the NRA).

There is romance in this book but it’s well worked in with the suspense. You know who the bad guy is almost right from the start, but that allows Roberts to explore the influences fully and actually ramped up the suspense. The writing clearly shows that for the people involved in a shooting, no matter if they survived or were family members or bystanders or first responders – there is a burden and it’s not a light one.

I purchased this title through www.amazon.com.au for my personal library. It’s now available widely and if you can, I recommend at least borrowing thru your local library. Easy four stars for me.

AUTHOR SITE: http://www.noraroberts.com/

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Book Review: Mischief Bay & a bit of waffle

Sorry for not keeping up – life is kind-of hectic, altho I look back and think that really, I’m just dog-paddling like a mad thing, trying to stay in the one spot. I feel sorry for Mase, as he is not playing a team sport this winter, solely so that I can support Bran & his refereeing. Si is running around with Zac in tow – who STARTED in the run-on 15 this weekend. Woot! Mase is lovely and while a little upset, is just getting on with everything else. I brought him a Lovett’s kids puzzle book as it was persisting down on Saturday (no park playground time) & he ripped thru it. His spelling list is year 5/6 – he’s technically a year 2. Words like acclimate, estimate, zootopia – and he’s expected to know the meanings too. Have you ever tried to explain Zootopia to a 6 year old? I think it could have been easier to explain the U2 album of the same name…

Anyway, I have made time for reading. Right now, I’m in Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah, but I’m kind-of hungover from back-to-back Susan Mallery. I came across her Mischief Bay series and wow.

The Girls of Mischief Bay.jpgBook ONE: The Girls of Mischief Bay:

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there’s a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she’s never seen. He won’t even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time at her Mischief Bay Pilates studio. Can she say enough is enough without losing the man she loves?

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg rose to become vice president in her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she can have it all. And if she can, does she want it?

Although Pam Eiland has a beautiful house and a husband she adores, she feels… restless. She wonders who a stay-at-home mom becomes after the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise her husband brings the heat and the humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she’ll have to redefine herself. Again.

The Friends We Keep.jpgBook TWO: The Friends We Keep

After five years as a stay-at-home mom, Gabby Schaefer can’t wait to return to work. Oh, to use the bathroom in peace! No twins clamoring at the door, no husband barging in, no stepdaughter throwing a tantrum. But when her plans are derailed by some shocking news and her husband’s crushing expectations, Gabby must fight for the right to have a life of her own.

Getting pregnant is easy for Hayley Batchelor. Staying pregnant is the hard part. Her husband is worried about the expensive fertility treatments and frantic about the threat to her health. But to Hayley, a woman who was born to be a mom should risk everything to fulfill her destiny—no matter how high the cost.

Nicole Lord is still shell-shocked by a divorce that wasn’t as painful as it should’ve been. Other than the son they share, her ex-husband left barely a ripple in her life. A great new guy tempts her to believe maybe the second time’s the charm…but how can she trust herself to recognize true love?

At times these characters are someone you’d like to know IRL, then at other times I wanted to smack them. I guess that’s the sign of a good book – you get engrossed and you have real feelings. The growth and changes are realistic, the sub-characters are well crafted, the location (the other side of the earth from me) sounds real; I’ve already added book 3 to my diary so that I definitely don’t miss it next February.

Sadly, not the same with the latest Nora Roberts trilogy. Blah blah boring.

And lastly – go ICELAND! Love a good under-dog story.

Book Review: The Obsession

Nora Roberts, 2016, Penguin Random House.

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I haven’t read a Nora for a while. TBH, they were feeling all same-same and I couldn’t be bothered. But I downloaded this one on Thursday and finished Saturday night and could go back and happily read it all over again right now.

The basic plot is that Naomi discovered  something awful in her father, revealed it, and was strong enough to start creating her new life. As an adult she moves to a remote-ish house on the Washington coast, starts reno and starts living properly. In comes Xander, the hero, and the sub-hero, Tag.

Some things hit close to the bones for me (the mother’s way of checking out was the main) but on the whole I enjoyed this one. The book is divided up into sections (exposure, depth of field, panorama, light and shadow, focus, & balance) and I like the way the writing is subtly changing in each section to highlight the heading. The character development is vintage Nora and the second quotes are perfect.
4 1/2 ⭐

MISSING: One eReader. Reward.

It’s not really missing. It’s just that my morning routine went to custard, as it was rubbish & recycling day. I got home later than usual last night (league season training has started) & the Screaming Teen hadn’t done his chores. I didn’t notice until nearly six this morning but punishment will be cleaning their bathroom – and he hates that. Consequences!

So I got to work, settled in then realised at breakfast time that I’d left it behind on my bedside table. I have read nearly every word in the printed Herald today and am jonsing to pick up where I left off – re-reading a Nora Roberts standalone, Black Hills. There’s a good review here:  As the reviewer says One thing that you never fail to do is make the setting come alive. The South Dakota Black Hills have never sounded so welcoming, so engaging…

I do wonder tho at the thought process (or lack of) that goes into covers. This is the original (I edited my file to show this cover):

black hills proper

And then there’s this one (I think this is local to Australia & NZ) – Hills? What hills?

black hills no hills

And this one – hills but a distinct lack of clothing budget…

black hills skank

Maybe I’ll get some more planning time in while I wait between appointments. Here’s hoping!