Pretty much the only author I buy hardcover books for is Nora Roberts and this book gave me no reason to change that (and at $19.56 the book better bePretty much the only author I buy hardcover books for is Nora Roberts and this book gave me no reason to change that (and at $19.56 the book better be good ;)
Series Note: No series connections.
Summary: Raised by a cold, calculating, unloving mother, 16 year old Elizabeth Fitch gives in to an urge for rebellion one evening and forever lives to regret the choices she made. When the "smoke" clears, her life will never be the same.
Twelve years pass, and Elizabeth, now Abigail Lowery, has been on the run ever since. But now she's settled into a small town in Arkansas where she hopes to remain invisible and be left alone. Then the local sheriff, Brooks Gleason, takes an interest in mysterious loner Abigail. She tries to put him off, but he's determined.
Brooks can't help but want to know more about Abigail. Who is she? What is she hiding? Why does she always carry a gun? He wants answers but as he gets to know Abigail, he wants to get to know HER better. But he'll have to get through her barriers and help her resolve her past before either of them can move on.
Review: I've read a lot of Nora Roberts books. I've probably been reading her for about 10 years now. She's the author that got me into reading romance books. Off the top of my head, I think there's only one book that I didn't really care for of hers. Many of her books are all-time favs of mine that I've reread many, many times. And even though I've liked her last 5 or so hardcover releases, they've all come up a bit short when compared to her past single title releases. Don't get me wrong, they were still good books, but they didn't really hold a candle to books like Honest Illusions, Montana Sky, Carnal Innocence, True Betrayals and the like.
I can't quite say this book reaches the level of those books, but I do think it's much closer in tone and story than a lot of the more recent ones. For one thing, the detail immersion is absent. Those of you who've read NR's recent hardcovers know that those books took a subject matter and dove into it full-boar. You knew a lot more about a subject once you finished the book. Me, I didn't mind it at all because the subjects were all ones I enjoyed but I know a lot of readers were a bit turned off by that aspect. If you were one of those, you'll be happy to know that doesn't happen in this book at all. And while I liked the attention to detail in the past books, I can't say I missed it's presence in this one.
Another issue I came across in reader reviews from time to time was a questioning of originality. This character made me think of that character, this story seemed like a combination of this book and that book or was a divergent story of another book. I've noticed it when reading some of her recent books but mostly just shrugged it off. I didn't notice it at all in this book. Not once while reading the story did I think a character reminded me of another of her characters or that a story had similarities to another. Everything seemed rather original to me.
And both these issues, or lack thereof, definitely give the book a different vibe than the other recent ones. It's something I think those critical of those recent books will appreciate.
Now, on to the review of the book itself.
Great initial set up. NR starts off by going back to the beginning to where things all went wrong for Elizabeth. She spends about 100 pages setting up the story and I was thoroughly hooked. Poor Elizabeth. What that girl went through. NR did a great job getting readers into Elizabeth's head and setting up her situation. It really had me wanting to keep reading to see what happened to her.
After that the story jumps ahead 12 years to the current time with Elizabeth, now Abigail, living in a small Arkansas town, trying not to draw any attention to herself. I think the biggest thing to say about Elizabeth is her similarity to the character of Temperance Brennan from the TV Show Bones...though that character originates from Kathy Reichs's books. If you watch the show and read this book, the similarity is very very obvious. There's actually a line a little ways into the book that's very close to something Temperance Brennan said in an episode of Bones. So I kinda have to assume the similarity was intentional.
Did it bother me? Not in the least. Temperance Brennan is a fascinating character personality wise. Very clinical, logical, a bit emotionally stunted, not up on modern cultural references and all that. I've just always liked the character. So to see that translated into a pure romance heroine was great. It's definitely not a personality type you comes across often...or ever...in romance books. It definitely gave a uniqueness to the character that I appreciated.
And like on the show, you get to see the character grow and change when that special man comes into her life. I really enjoyed the romance that grows between Abigail and Brooks. Brooks may not be a fav hero of the ones NR has written (he just lacked that little extra special something). But he was very likable. Not quite Alpha, not quite Beta, but an all around nice guy who knew how to push Abigail to open herself up. The romance that grows between these two is a bit on the low-key side but very sweet and enjoyable.
The plot focuses in two areas: one being Abigail finally facing up to the past and trying to put it behind her, and the second being troubles around the town they live that Brooks, as sheriff, has to deal with. Both aspects give the story life and keep things from being too one-track. It also makes you wonder a bit about which issue will be the dominant conflict point as you near the end.
I liked how everything wrapped up, though. The finale could have been perhaps a bit stronger, a bit more tense, action-filled and dangerous, but at the same time I thought it was a fitting end. And NR did throw something in there at the end that surprised me a little. Plus, there's an epilogue. Just the fact that there was an epilogue made me happy. I don't think one of her single titles has had an epilogue or even just a good closing scene between the H/H in a while. But this one did and it gave you that nice happy sigh because you got a final scene between the H/H that was just about their relationship and the happiness they're hoping to build.
Did I have any complaints or criticisms about the book?....Honestly, no. None that leap out and come to mind. I was pretty damn satisfied from page one till the end. Each of the last few books of hers (single titles) has had one or two things that knocked down my rating a little, but I didn't have any issues with this book. I enjoyed each and every part of the book and when I finished I was perfectly content with the way everything played out.
So...final conclusions? A pretty great book from an awesome author. The die-hard Nora fans I think will love the book, new fans will probably enjoy it. And those of you who've been straddling the line of her last few hardcovers not quite coming up to par may find this one more to your liking. ...more
I really liked this book a lot. Which is not all that surprising since I've enjoyed this series overall.
Series Note: 4th book in Foster's "Men Who WalkI really liked this book a lot. Which is not all that surprising since I've enjoyed this series overall.
Series Note: 4th book in Foster's "Men Who Walk The Edge of Honor" series about a bunch of Alpha males who fight to stop crimes like human trafficking. I wouldn't say you had to read the other books first, but there would be a benefit to doing so.
Summary: Arizona Storm has been through hell in her life, growing up with an alcoholic mother and a cruel father who eventually sells her into forced prostitution. She managed to escape thanks to a good friend but the emotional scars of her ordeal still linger. She's never been able to let herself get close to a man and most people can't accept her need to go after human traffickers like the ones who held her captive.
Then came bounty hunter Spencer Lark. Since they first met she hasn't been able to stop thinking about him and she's experiencing feelings she's never had before. But first she needs his help shutting down a forced labor/human trafficking operation. Of course, during the course of the case, Spencer takes the opportunity to show Arizona that men and intimacy are not bad things. But both have tragedies of the past to get over, and a danger case, before they can move on to the future.
Review: I almost didn't read this series by Lori Foster. I've read a lot of her books and enjoyed almost all of them, but the last two books of her "Fighters" series totally turned me off. So much so that I had been close to passing on this series. But I'm really glad that I decided to give it a try because I rather enjoyed this series. And I really liked this book, probably equally as much as the first book in the series.
The best thing about this book, in my opinion, is by far the character of Arizona Storm. What a kick ass awesome heroine. You can't help but feel for her because of all she's been through, but personality wise she's such a fascinating character. She's spunky, a wiseass, she swears left and right, she kicks ass, loves knives...she's just so different from you're average heroine. And that's a great thing because sometimes in romance books heroines tend to follow a mold. They may be very different, but they have the same core characteristics. Arizona doesn't. And that along made this book worthwhile. She was just utterly fascinating. A mix of bad ass tough girl, and vulnerable innocent (though she'd kick anyone's butt who thought that ;)
And then there's Spencer; the hunky bounty hunter who's never quite gotten over the murder of his wife but who is hopelessly drawn to Arizona. I liked Spencer and how he was with Arizona. They worked really well together and had a great chemistry.
I also liked how the author played out the conflict between Arizona and her friends/family...how they come to realize what they need to do to make her feel truly accepted. I loved that they realized it was there mindset that needed to change and not Arizona.
Of course, there is a bit of a plot, too, though is does take a bit of a backseat to the characters and the budding relationship between Arizona and Spencer. This book falls into the category that I call romance-suspense (versus romantic suspense) because it's a romance with some suspense elements instead of a suspense with a romance. It's an interesting story and I thought very fitting to the characters and all that's gone on throughout the series. It definitely kept me reading, though it was the characters/romance that had me hooked.
The only minor thing I can quibble about is the borderline TSTL moment at the end when Arizona goes off on her own to do something. And it's questionable as to whether it was TSTL because she had a very specific reason for doing things the way she did. However, I still think it was dumb to put herself in the position she did.
Great book overall. Arizona is definitely a character that will stick with me and I'm a little bummed this was the last book in the series and we won't get to read any updates on her and Spencer in future books....more