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Stone Trilogy #1

The Distant Shore

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The Distant Shore is a contemporary romance with a light twist of suspense.

There's nothing like finding a letter on your breakfast table informing you have a teenage son you knew nothing about, but that's what happens to international rock star, Jonathon Stone. He drops everything to find the boy, and his mother the girl he loved so many years ago who left him when his rock n roll life became too much for her to bear.

Seeing her is like falling in love all over again, and everything seems perfect, until someone sets out to destroy their idyllic life.

366 pages, Paperback

First published January 17, 2012

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About the author

Mariam Kobras

7 books69 followers
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen. Today she lives and writes in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and two cats.

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5 stars
85 (28%)
4 stars
73 (24%)
3 stars
70 (23%)
2 stars
36 (12%)
1 star
36 (12%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48 reviews
Profile Image for Johanna Harness.
Author 3 books63 followers
July 26, 2016
I know Mariam Kobras from Twitter. She's a funny, smart, wise-cracking woman with an answer for everything. She lives in Germany and is already wide awake while I'm pouring my first cup of coffee and settling into 5AM writing.

When I opened her book, I was so surprised at her beautiful, flowing lines. It was like watching someone goof around on stage just before breaking into an intricate, gorgeous dance. This is a delicious book, one that demands tea or chocolate and hours to savor the words and thoughts of her characters.

The set-up is straight-forward. Jonathan Stone, an aging rock star, still longs for the woman who walked out of his life years ago. His fan mail is usually screened, but this time his manager gives him a letter. "My mother's name is Naomi Carlsson," it begins. "We live in a small town in Norway called Halmar where she manages a hotel, the Seaside. She said you are my father." From there, the story tumbles out beautifully, structured with a sense of inevitability---and yet I still found myself surprised.

Mariam hits familiar notes and yet the story feels altogether fresh. She is a lovely writer and one to watch. She just signed a two-book deal with Buddhapuss Inc. and I couldn't be happier for them. I can't wait to see all three books of this trilogy on my shelf.
Profile Image for Shalon.
36 reviews2 followers
June 20, 2012
This book was PAINFUL to read. The dialogue throughout the book was so elementary, it shocked me. The plot seemed to skip a good 100 pages, making the story so one dimensional. The same things were said 100 different ways with no depth of character given. My fifth grader would do a better job writing a conversation.

I have never SKIMMED a book like this before...had to read it for book club.
Profile Image for Junying.
Author 5 books88 followers
February 1, 2012
Jonathan Stone—a handsome, famous rock star—despite never being short of female fans who throw themselves at him at every opportunity, still pines for the woman who left him over a decade ago, sets off across the ocean to find her again. Sounds familiar, right? Many of us have read or heard something like this before.

However, Kobras’ novel is not your usual Mills and Boon romance, nor one of those average, happy ever-after Hollywood movies, either. The author weaves a fascinating story, with a range of believable characters, and enough twists and turns to keep the reader’s interest. It is truly contemporary literature at its best. The settings span from the beautiful shores of Northern Norway, to the heart of Europe, the British Isles, and the expanse of North America. As I leafed through these pages eagerly, one after another, I hopped onto my very own private jet, setting off to different, exotic locations on an adventure and felt like true Hollywood Royalty. It was almost like feasting on a stack of glossy magazines in one sitting, devouring the hot gossip of celebrity life. But this is so much better, because instead of looking at those glamorous stars in their fancy dresses, I was treated to the exquisite beauty of written words, deliciously and expertly penned by the author. They vividly painted pictures in my mind, far more enchanting, and satisfying to my hungry senses.

I very much enjoyed the insights into music, as well as the exploration into the lives of the rich and famous. At 366 pages, it isn’t a fast read, and it took me a few more late nights than I would have liked. Yet I felt more than compensated by the smooth story-telling and beautiful flow of words, sentences and paragraphs. When I eventually came to end of it, I was reluctant to let it go.

I MOST DEFINITELY want to read more of Mariam’s novels. The Distant Shore is just a introduction to this first-class story-teller, and what a fabulous introduction it has proven to be!

For my full review and a chance to win goodies, visit http://www.junyingkirk.com/?p=1492
Profile Image for Vicki.
2,205 reviews85 followers
February 19, 2013
Mariam Kobras has written a beautiful book about a famous rock star named Jonathan Stone. Just as most people imagine a rock star would have groupies, Jonathan has his fair share of women throwing themselves at him; however, for some reason he isn't really interested because his heart is elsewhere.

The skillfully written novel begins with "THERE IT WAS...Jon found the letter among the pile of mail he had carelessly tossed on the counter the night before." The letter has news for him that would shock anyone, and that begins a journey that takes Jonathan back to a time and a woman, Naomi, that he has loved for years. The journey is one of looking for Naomi and the son that she evidently bore for Jonathan, but about whom he didn't know.

The setting of the book takes the reader to exotic places in and around Europe mostly. This is the type of book that readers live for because it takes them to places that they, perhaps, have never been or never will be. The way Kobras describes the scenery is gives the reader such a good visual that you really feel like you are there and can see the landscape.

The Distant Shore is a book that when you are finished you'll find yourself begging for more. The ending is ambiguous, and I don't know that there is a book two, so the readers just might have to form their own conclusion based on conjecture.

Recommendation: Absolutely a must read in my opinion. The author has a way with wording that puts the reader in absolute awe of her command of the English language.
1 review
January 24, 2012
This is a gorgeous book; from the strangely tactile, softly coloured cover right through to the unresolved ending, Kobras plays on all the senses to weave a tale of love that is bigger than either of the main characters.

The book begins unconventionally with a lost love regained, leaving the reader wondering where the story can possibly go from there. However, though drawn helplessly together, the main characters have oceans between them, complex histories and enormous amounts of baggage to overcome. The language of the book explores the depths of their characters, leaving them raw and open for the reader, at times almost uncomfortably so.

Geography and landscape play a large role in the story, and are exquisitely drawn by Kobras to the extent that the reader feels the warmth of the sun, the salt spray of a frigid sea, or a cold stone held in a hand making the reader absolutely present within the story. It takes a great writing craftsperson to draw in the reader in such an irrevocable manner, and Kobras is such a writer. Her style is reminiscent of Anita Shreve, and if you liked Body Surfing then you will love this.
Profile Image for Heather.
675 reviews3 followers
July 7, 2014
I stopped at 24%. I just couldn't make myself keep reading. There was something just completely NOT believable about it. It was too easy for then to start up where they left off 17 years before. How is that possible? Naomi clearly had issues with being part of his life but she grabs hold immediately, agrees to marry him and then constantly cried when its hard, when they don't know how things will work with her Inn in Norway and his work in L.A. Duh!! Where are the conversations about their real life. We know he can't just stay at the Inn in Norway and never go back and she clearly isn't going with. Jon doesn't gather the info of REALLY why she left so long ago. Do the same issues still exist? How will they be over come this time. Naomi has been on her own raising a gifted son, running an Inn. She is not the same young girl from 17 years ago. Jon doesn't know her any more. How is it possible to fall completely in such a short time without talking more. She seems like a whimp and not the independent single mother and Inn Keeper. Yah, I couldn't keep going.
Profile Image for S.G..
Author 12 books310 followers
January 13, 2014
It's hard for me to explain exactly what I loved about this book. Sure it's a love story - and a good one. It's the start of a trilogy so you know you don't have to miss the characters long when it's over. But it was more than that. Mariam Kobras manages to engage all of your senses in this story, drawing you in and wrapping you up in light and shadow, in smells and temperatures and textures until you're not just reading this book, you're floating in it. This isn't a quick 'read in the doctor's office' book. This is a book to read while curled up under a comforter, the outside world far far away. This is a book to savor.
Profile Image for Mariam Kobras.
Author 7 books69 followers
August 3, 2012
Today, May 2nd, 2012, the IPPY Awards committee announced that "The Distant Shore" won Bronze in the "Romance" category for 2012! I'm beyond happy, and so grateful!
Profile Image for Talli Roland.
Author 19 books303 followers
February 7, 2012
A evocative, beautifully written story of finding love and hanging on to it, no matter what distance must be travelled.
Profile Image for *LeIgH*.
31 reviews7 followers
June 10, 2013
Had such a hard time getting thru this book. Literally just finally gave up, too many good ones to read on my list to drag thru it any longer. Wanted to love it, just could not get into it.
111 reviews1 follower
May 29, 2013
I am done. I just haven't been able to get into this book. I never like to leave one unfinished but I need to move on! The dialogue annoyed me to no end and the jumping around was too choppy to keep me interested. And I kept waiting for the fact that the main woman in this story never told the man that he had a son to become a heated issue. Hadn't yet happened. All he cares about is her. I guess I child you had never met could wait a few more weeks. And meeting said son was like having coffee with a coworker. Just not pulling me in. No time to spend on something I'm not interested in...and what American modern day rock star talks like that!?
Profile Image for Linda Sienkiewicz.
Author 6 books136 followers
June 1, 2015
This eloquent love story begins in Norway, so well described I could feel the cold wind blowing in from the rocky coast. International rock star, Jon Stone, sets off to find his first love after receiving a startling letter from a teenage boy. Is it possible that his first love, Naomi, left him only to give birth to his son and raise him in secret? Why? Jon never stops to think that his lifestyle could have been an issue.

The writing is lyrical, Jon and Naomi's lovemaking has just the right amount of intensity, and the drama is high. The story will carry you away.
Profile Image for Peach.
735 reviews2 followers
July 18, 2012
The story was long and dull. Naomi was totally unlikable and very rude.
Profile Image for Gill.
1 review
June 19, 2012
I love this book it is unputdownable, the story draws you in right from the start & keeps up the pace ..a real page turner
Profile Image for Jill Jacques.
33 reviews1 follower
June 6, 2022
I was enjoying this story until I was waiting for something to happen. I liked reading about the love between the characters and the story itself was quite different about the life of a "rock star" and his long lost love (his song writer), but kept waiting and waiting for the exciting part...until almost the end. The story could have used a bit more "substance", other than the love talk between two characters.
February 14, 2018
I kept reading and reading expecting the book to get better. Now that I finished it, I wish I would have quit earlier. What a redundant story.
Profile Image for Watermelon Daisy.
186 reviews100 followers
March 3, 2012
I liked the chemistry between Jon and Naiomi, and maybe it was the third-person-writing, but I never got close to them. They were always strangers through my eyes.

Jon was adorable in his "hopeless romantic" way, but at the same time, I found he was too outspoken for a male character. It's usually the female character who's all, "I love you!" and the male character would (stereotypically) grunt a reply. So I guess the whole story was a little hard to read, seeing as the two main characters couldn't and wouldn't hold my interest.

I think that, if I didn't promise to review this book, I'd put it down. And there were painfully slow moments in the book, where I would bookmark the page and do whatever else to avoid reading it. Which is definitely a bad sign for a book. But there's a special charm to this that, after the last page, I wished it would be longer.

Maybe I'll read the sequel. The reason this review was so late is mainly due to how I'm not sure what I feel about this book. And I still am not sure.

And though I liked the whole "rock star falls in love with normal, spunky girl" setting, there wasn't too much offered differently. It was the typical love story with its cheesy moments.

There's not much of a "suspense" added to this story. It was slow-moving for unnecessary reasons. Like stated above, I did everything possible to avoid some of the story. I think this is a story which adults would love but teenagers would put down as something.

I love the last line of the book.

Now, there are a lot of qualities attached to this book. But somehow, because it took me so long to get through the book, I can't remember them. It's like I read one chapter and a week later, I read another one. I hardly remember much of the story, and when this mysterious Sophie comes into the book, it takes me a while to remember who she is.

So yes. Dear Author: I don't mean to offend you in any kind of way. I'm just hoping my review might help you with your future writing. Please, for the love of humanity, make the story more to the point. It'll hold the reader's attention.

Like I said, this definitely wasn't a bad book. It was a good one.

I recommend it to adults, though. Romance-loving adults, specifically, as there is little of anything else.
Profile Image for Tonileg.
2,243 reviews23 followers
January 25, 2015
Contemporary second chances romance about a rock star that fell in love with a young song writer until she suddenly left his life seventeen years ago with a secret child plot and a stalker mystery.
Big deal rock star, Jonathon Stone is just trying to survive without his heart since she left to places unknown many years ago, but on a random day he receives a letter from a 16 year old boy who claims to be his son, but that first love, so Jon takes the next jet to Norway to finally find his love and try to get her to stay this time in his life.
Naomi Carlsson is a complex woman who made some hard decisions when she was younger to run away from the druggy unhealthy rock star life style to raise her son in a quiet and strong way. Joshua wrote to her father as soon as he finds out from his mother who the man is, he only kind of believes that the super rock star could be his father, although he is a musical genius so it could be genetic.
Well written story about two people find love again after a long break and mixed two very different lives into one life together which is never easy but they love so hard that there never seems to be any other choice. Lots of secrets that slowly seep out.
I'd call this a clean romance because the sexy scenes are skipped and we jump to the after glow. There is more then enough angst which became boring to me sometimes, but it was fun getting the POV of the hero and heroine. The true HEA is missing, but that must be expected because they are two complex characters with changing thoughts and insecurities, not to mention the crazy family that Naomi has in the (no longer secret) closet. I'd like to know more about Sal's love and if Sean is going to stay single, but otherwise it was a complete story with an ambiguous ending.
366 pages (felt like 500 pages because of the dense small print) and kindle freebie
3 stars
Profile Image for Kay.
148 reviews1 follower
October 17, 2013
I've never read a novel where the two romantic leads spent 90% of the story analyzing their relationship ~ why they met, why they broke up, why they got back together, why they will or won't stay together and so on and so on. I liked Jon, the leading man, very much, although I found it hard to believe that a man who grew up in Brooklyn would speak like a character in a Victorian romance novel. For most of the story I actually thought he was European, maybe from London and was surprised to find out his background began in Brooklyn, NY. The language in the novel is quite romantic and fantastical, almost to the point of eye rolling annoyance. I did not like Naomi, the leading lady, who caused Jon so much needless pain and suffering. She is a drama queen to say the least and almost seemed to relish Jon's anguish and guilt. Having said that, I did like the story - I have a soft spot in my heart for rock star stories - and I love an author who knows how to be a storyteller and has a wonderful command of the English language (and yes how to use punctuation and grammar correctly - it is a big deal). The story takes the reader all over the world, from California to Norway, and is filled with angst and heartbreak and humor and happiness, and at least one shocking moment when I was sure their relationship could never be salvaged. I recommend it as a good read, especially if you love love stories and rock stars and reading about songwriters and musicians and creative characters and don't mind the fact that this is the first story in a trilogy. I plan to read the next installment which has already been published.
Profile Image for Tina.
281 reviews4 followers
January 1, 2014
This book was the first time I'd come across Mariam Kobras' writing but I can promise you it won't be the last. She pulled me from the very first page until the end, leaving me wanting so much more (I will be investing books 2 & 3 when I finish this review!).

So how and why did it end up on my Kindle? Simple really, it was a limited offer free download on Amazon and because money is extremely tight right now I am taking the opportunity to get as many freebies as possible. Having said that, it sat in my "Waiting to be Read" folder for 3 months before I got around to reading it but once I started I just couldn't put it down until the end.

I had been expecting the usual love 'em and leave 'em type of Rock Star story, the kind of light, wild sex filled, candy floss for the brain, book. Instead what the author has produced is a deep love story filled with so many emotions that I times I had to reach for the box of tissues. But not once did I find myself getting cross with the characters for being stupid or superficial because they aren't.

I don't intend to actually go into the story as I feel that I couldn't possibly do it justice and I also have no desire to spoil it in any way for any future readers. All I would say is that it is one of those books that I know I will be re-reading in the very near future.

Oh and the only reason I didn't give it 5*s is that the book could have done with more editorial work to correct the typographical and grammatical errors, which is a bit of a bugbear for me.
Profile Image for Lyndsey.
257 reviews41 followers
February 11, 2016
Spoilers & mini-rant

Jon Stone is a singer songwriter. Naomi is his love interest and has been forever. She's 'the one who got away'. She left him. In doing so, she lost a part of herself. She ends up spending her days hiding out owning a hotel. She spends most of her time listening to his music. Music they wrote together and writing lyrics hoping one day he'd sing those too.

Jon is a mess. He never found out why Naomi left him. He has no idea where she went. It's been ten years. One day he gets a letter. Jon learns in that letter that Naomi left him - pregnant. He also learns he has a son, the one who wrote the letter.

Jon abandons his everyday life and flies to where the letter was from.

Lots of things happen. For a while, i hated this book. The author kept repeating things. Most of them weren't even needed repeating. I feel bad for Jon because Naomi keeps being a little b!tch and wants to end everything before it can even begin again. She's scared. Doesn't know what to do, what to expect. She lied to her family. Whenever things take a turn for the worst she wants out. But then there's other times when you love her and hate Jon. He's always going on about how he doesn't want Naomi to leave him. I wonder how many times the words, 'Don't leave me' come up. Like grow some balls. Both of them had heartache but to ALWAYS linger on about it is just sickening. Have some trust and faith in your partner.

In total, this is a good book. Bit boring at parts, other times glued to it.
Profile Image for Stacie.
Author 6 books100 followers
April 8, 2015
The Distant Shores takes readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions as they explore the timeless love story of a famous musician and the girl who captured his heart nearly two decades ago.

When Jon Stone receives a letter from the son he never knew existed his life is turned upside down. He drops everything and heads to Norway to reconnect with the love that escaped him so many years before. Although love always seems to be the motive, Jon and Naomi forge a tumultuous and strained relationship each feeling guilty over past mistakes. Love, as always, triumphs over all and Jon and Naomi find themselves in each others arms again, picking up right where they left off. But, not everyone is happy about this union and others will stop at nothing to end it. Can Jon and Naomi survive their second chance at love?

The Distant Shores is a well written romantic story that easily captivates readers with its thick plot and abundance of intriguing characters. I fell in love with this story, but tired quickly of Naomi's negativity and whining. I felt like she had such a beautiful opportunity for happiness and spent much of her time trying to make Jon pay for the poor choices she made many years before. Jon seems so patient with her and repents for his past transgressions, but it never appears to be enough for Naomi. Her personality, although frustrating, makes The Distant Shores into a heartfelt painful romance that played on my emotions and held my attention until the end. I am eager to read Book 2.

I highly recommend picking up a copy.
Author 10 books212 followers
August 10, 2016

Author Mariam Kobras expertly weaves a story about love, loss, and redemption, and the price that each can cost us.

The book opens as Jon and Naomi "discover" one another again (after years apart) because of their teenage son. The twist? Jon doesn't know the boy exists.

In the opening pages, Jon receives a letter from a Scandinavian teenager who claims to be his son ... by Jon's long-lost love, Naomi, who disappeared many years before without an explanation. Jon, a rock star, hops on a plane to investigate the letter, and soon finds himself face to face with his long-lost love ... and his son.

Mariam Kobras has written an unusual and interesting love story. The primary tension here doesn't come from love triangles or lovers who constantly split apart and get back together. The reader isn't whipsawed back and forth across the teeth of a jagged, painful story. Instead, Kobras offers a rich, layered, romantic story with realistic tension, thoughtful characters, and real depth of narrative and plot.

Speaking as someone who normally reads in the "blow things up, find the killer, and save the world" genres, I found this a refreshing and unexpected story, and would recommend it both to fans of romance and relationship-centric novels as well as anyone looking for an interesting change of pace.

Disclosure: I know Mariam Kobras (the author) through Twitter and Facebook, and consider her a lovely person. That fact did not influence this review.

Profile Image for Alison.
878 reviews65 followers
March 16, 2016
This is the first time I have come across this author. The premise of a rock-star recapturing lost love after so many years piqued my interest.

Jon receives a letter out of the blue from a young 16 year old lad who mentions that his mother is called Naomi. Joshua explains he and his mother live in Norway and he has reason to think Jon is his Dad.

Naomi runs a hotel and is a successful business woman .. but it’s enough for Jon who has been pining the loss of this woman to up and leave California and go searching.

While it all seems rather romantic, in reality would a hardened, partying, womanising rock star just jump like that!? The mother has been bringing Joshua up single-handedly so she isn’t weak yet there has apparently been a lapse in her memory if she readily excepts him back into her life.

It’s charmingly written, unravelling their hopes and dreams while they attempt to recapture what they had in their youth but it just didn’t sit quite right with me. Maybe I’m too cynical. The story certainly evolved as it progressed and kept the reader engaged to the end although it did seem overly long. There is no doubt this is a great author and perhaps it would benefit from a seconf read.

Thanks not only to the author but also Enchanted Book Promotions for the opportunity to read this in exchange for my honest opinion.
1 review1 follower
August 20, 2014
If you're looking for the standard fast-read romance, this isn't it.
Kobras manages to have a rock star hero who is a die-hard romantic, yet possessive and arrogant with feet of clay. Her heroine Naomi is an accomplished businesswoman who is less than brimming with self-confidence in the romance arena, and it's clear that she doubts any man, let alone Jon Stone, would actually want to be with her long-term. Sounds like real people, dealing with real problems. Self assured one minute, a pile of trembling jelly the next. When they finally get back together, it's a testament to the power of love. That tragedy nearly separates them again, possibly forever, is yet another twist of fate.
You find yourself rooting for them to hang in there, grab the time they have and live it, and to ignore all others including Naomi's bombastic father, Olaf.
Reminiscent of Anita Shreve or Jodi Picoult, Kobras weaves scenes with her words. This is one of those books that you either love or hate. Aren't those the best kind?
Put me in the "love it" column. I can't wait to read the other books in the series.
Profile Image for Majanka.
Author 83 books409 followers
March 14, 2016
Book Review originally published here: http://www.iheartreading.net/book-tou...

In A Distant Shore, Jonathan Stone, an aging rockstar, still longs for Naomi, a girl he fell in love with years ago, who left him because his rock n’ roll life was too much for her to bear. When he gets a letter from his teenage song, who claims his mother is Naomi, and that Jonathan is his father, he sets out to find and reconnect to Naomi and to his son.

This isn’t your usual rockstar story: in fact, it holds many different layers. I enjoyed most of the characters, in partiuclar Naomi. They all came across as believable, three-dimensional, and as real, genuine people. The settings were well-crafted too, and the author did a great job making the various locations come to life. Reading this book was almost like going on a journey and discovering new places and countries.

The writing was excellent, and it helped me to engage the reader into the story. The story flowed well and often threw in a couple of twists and surprises, keeping the reader on their towns.

Certainly differnet from what I expected, but an entertaining book all the same.
Profile Image for Adele.
3 reviews2 followers
July 21, 2012
I can't believe that this is the first book by Mariam Kobras. I was drawn in from the first few lines and finished the book in one day.

Jon and Naomi's love story had me captivated and I was carried along on the roller coaster of their relationship. Her ability to set a scene had me transported to Norway, New York and beyond. I got a sense of the bleakness and remoteness of Naomi's hideaway in Norway, yet she still conveyed the beauty of the place and the warmth of the people.

She shows an insight into personal relationships and reveals a vulnerability in her characters which makes them endearing and leaves you rooting for good things to happen to them. The journey she takes us on is not an easy one for her characters as they struggle to overcome years of separation and the differences in their lifestyles, hopes and dreams.

I look forward to book 2 coming out in October and have no hesitation in recommending Distant Shores as perfect escapism.
967 reviews3 followers
September 5, 2016
What I read was okay, but it went on and on and on yet never seemed to get anywhere. It seems that the protagonists got together too young, and Naomi had secrets upon secrets, first the son, then something to do with family property. I didn't get far enough to find out what that was.

Following is a personal quibble. I get tired of people who have pots of money and many houses and seemingly endless hours to romance each other. Naomi had a job as hotel manager, but only needed to check in once a day for a half-hour or so. As a rock musician, Jon never has to practice, learn new material, write material, or exercise to stay in shape. From what I know of classical musicians, there is a lot of practicing and learning new pieces or re-learning old ones. I am not familiar with the business of rock music, maybe it is different in that genre.
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