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Book Reviews

The Obsession – Nora Roberts Book Review

But where had her father gone?

He had secrets—she figured all adults did. Secrets they kept from everybody, secrets that made their eyes go hard if you asked the wrong question. Maybe he was an explorer, one who went through a magic door to another world.

9780349407784.jpgPublisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9780349407784
Number of pages: 544
Weight: 362 g
Dimensions: 197 x 128 x 34 mm

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.


He looked around, and for one terrible moment she feared he looked right at her. This man, she knew into her bones, would hurt her, would use hands and fists on her like the father who worked to provide security for his family never had. With a helpless whimper in her throat, she thought: Please, Daddy. Please.

As I was reading this book I could not shake off the feeling of dread creeping into me. Storms, odd sightings, skull-like figures, cold, cold bones and rusty hinges. This book was designed to creep people out while reading it.

I Loved That!

But where she imagined a puppy whimpering in his crate was a woman.

Her eyes were wide and shined like glass as tears streamed from them. She made terrible noises against the tape over her mouth. Scrapes and bruises left raw marks on her face and her throat. She wasn’t wearing any clothes, nothing at all, but didn’t try to cover herself.

Couldn’t, couldn’t cover herself. Her hands were tied with rope—bloodied from the raw wounds on her wrists—and the rope was tied to a metal post behind the old mattress she lay on. Her legs were tied, too, at the ankles and spread wide.

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I’ve read some crappy books last year from Nora Roberts and I have no idea what I was hoping for with this one but let me just say that it was awesome. Truly terrifying and absolutely shocking, I read the whole lot over a weekend and when I was done, I could not help but think that maybe, just maybe, Nora Roberts can still write.

“Ashley said she thought she’d been down there for a day or two. There was more rope down there, and pictures. There were pictures on the wall of other women, tied up like she was. Worse than she was. I think some of them were dead. I think they were dead. I’m going to be sick.”

The Story

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defences failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.


The Good Parts:

  • First half of the book (when Naomi was 12) was really well written (5/5 stars)

The Bad Parts:

  • Naomi’s adult career seems to take a lot of space in the second half of the book, really going into detail about interior design and shopping. Not a fan of that section (that’s more than half)
  • Rooms, plans and furniture descriptions. Renovations ideas. Construction work. Furniture descriptions of the friend’s house. New ideas. Colors. Patterns. More furniture ideas.
  • The love interest is a bit of an A-hole and verbally abusive. Not sure if she picked him due to her past trauma and her needing someone to tell her what to do in the same way her mother needed her dad to tell her what to do.
  • The most anticlimactic kiss ever. He just puts his lips on the heroine out of the blue. No chemistry. No anticipation. No passion. The dialogue continues as if the kiss didn’t happen.
  • The mother is a bit of a depressive mess who keeps going back to the killer husband in jail until he serves her the divorce papers. I mean what woman does that? Presented with irrefutable evidence that your hubby is a serial killer – wilfully keeping your eyes closed and listening to abuse.
  • The killer in the second half of the book was – SPOILER – a friend from highschool that felt slighted she didn’t tell him that she was the daughter of a serial killer and then would not share her side of the story with him to be published in the school newspaper. He did pick a bad time to ask too – at her mother’s funeral. Ummm… ok?

“He was in the house. He was going to shoot the dog. I couldn’t let him shoot the dog. He . . . the gun. He has a gun.”

“Not anymore. Don’t worry about him. Broke his nose for you,” Xander murmured, laying his brow to hers.

“High school nerd.” “What?” “Chaffins. Anson Chaffins. Tell Mason,” she said, and slid away.

That was really, really, really bad villaining here. I mean weak as hell.

Just a smart, nerdy kid who’d gone to a school dance with her, who’d put a couple clumsy moves on her, easily brushed off. And a monster, all along.

I would say read the first 30 pages and the last 10 pages and you’ll have a lovely night in. I would also thank Mrs. Roberts for another book that will burn so brightly in my bonfire night due to the 370 pages of interior design crap that pad this mess (my copy had 418 pages).

Categories
Book Reviews Romance Books

Forever a Hero – Linda Lael Miller

Mace Carson is no hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened—but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace is shocked to be reunited with the woman he saved. But it turns out she’s in Wyoming on business…a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he’s not selling. 

Kelly Wright has never forgotten that horrible night ten years ago when Mace came to her rescue, has never forgotten him. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she’s secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance…against both of them.

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Book Reviews

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

“I know, ain’t evils in no life nor cruelties in no red hell can change the vally heart of Ice Cream Star.”

Sandra Newman’s novel The Country Of Ice Cream Star is going to cause some fights, cause some clamour among the finger-wagging ranks of the sensitive literati. People who care about books (and who care about seeming to care about books) are going to go nine kinds of bonkers over this thing because it presses just about every single big red button there is.

Is it a book about black people and their experiences written by a white lady? Yep. Is there rape and murder? There sure is. Slavery? White colonialism? Religious fundamentalism? Check, check and double-check. Is it an apocalypse story with a plague that has conveniently wiped out 80% of the population of the American Northeast (at least), leaving none behind but several generations of black children who all die before their 20th birthdays like some kind of freaked-up mashup of Logan’s Run and that old Star Trek episode, “Miri?” Hell yes, it is.

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Book Reviews

The Devil’s Triangle – Catherine Coulter

This book made little to no sense. Jumpig from one country to another, scrambled timelines and with a cast ranging from DaVinci and his lover to about 15 interchangeable personalities with generic names like Mick and Ajax, the book left little enthusiasm and kept me hoping for an early finish.

And when the dialogue was along these lines, I was mostly praying in vain:

“Yes, here it is. The Kohaths have a house in a town called Castel Rigone, near a big lake called Lake Trasimeno. It’s only thirty minutes from the airport in Perugia. Huge place, too. Practically a castle.” Kitsune was already heading toward the door. “That’s where they are. Mike’s right—since Grant is there, the Kohaths must be, too. We have to go now.”

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Book Reviews

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami Book Review

Somerset Maugham once wrote that in each shave lies a philosophy. I couldn’t agree more. No matter how mundane some action might appear, keep at it long enough and it becomes a contemplative, even meditative act.

In this pretty short (126 pages) memoir, Haruki Murakami explores the relation between running and writing and how much alike they are. He compares the pacing and the determination that it takes to run a marathon to the similar process required to write a novel.

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Book Reviews

Heaven, Texas – Susan Elizabeth Phillips Book Review – Worst book of the year award

I love the books of Susan Elizabeth Phillips. There was the one with the circus, the one with the southern belle trying to keep her house, the one with the unlikely on-set romance between a teen and an ageing co-star and then there were the Chicago Bulls all stars books which I wasn’t so thrilled about but read anyway.

Nobody’s baby but mine * Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Susan Elizabeth Phillips * Natural Born Charmer

It had to be you * Susan Elizabeth Philips

This latest Romance book I had to put down several times during reading as it bored the hell out of me with cliches but then I stuck to it last night and I finally managed to finish it. And yes, it did make me laugh a couple of times but mostly it brought up two ideas in my head.

Idea number 1: Some girls might use this as a guide to get a guy out of their league and it won’t go well for them

Idea number 2: While this might seem like a love story to some, I saw some really dark and disturbing things in it which (if tackled) would have made this a great thriller book.

Categories
Book Reviews

Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R. R. Martin

I absolutely loved the Songs of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin. So when my local WH Smith started stocking Fire & Blood, I quickly dished out £20 (unheard of!) for a copy of the book.

The seeds of war are oft planted during times of peace.

My disappointment settled in immediately after purchase as this proved to be a very DULL book written from the point of view of several historians, maesters and even a court jester named “Mushroom” (after his member).

The stories do flow in chronological order but pretty soon you tire of hearing who got married to whom, how many children they had and what they looked like.
My eyes started wandering off the book and up to my bookcase which promises more entertaining reads.
But still, I continued. Two and a half weeks later, you kinda get an inkling of how dynasties were created, what it takes to hold the Iron Throne and how the Dance of the Dragons came to be.
It’s 300 years of history from the Landing of the Conqueror till “modern” days.

Categories
Book Reviews

Shades of Treason – Sandy Williams * Book Review

I got duped by the cover and the promise of a sci-fi with a strong female heroin. I was missing a Katniss. A dangerous Divergent. Something to take my mind of the insanely boring V.C. Andrews novels I keep sifting through like a kid in the discount bin.

Instead I got saddled with a mediocre sci-fi, mediocre plot with a mediocre heroin. The writing is plain as well. Here’s a snippet:

Categories
Book Reviews

The Ask – Sam Lipsyte

America, said Horace, the office temp, was a run-down and demented pimp. Our republic’s whoremaster days were through. Whither that frost-nerved, diamond-fanged hustler who’d stormed Normandy, dick-smacked the Soviets, turned out such firm emerging market flesh? Now our nation slumped in the corner of the pool hall, some gummy coot with a pint of Mad Dog and soggy yellow eyes, just another mark for the juvenile wolves.

So starts another book from the soon to be huge burn pile.

How did I know it was going to be bad? One of the characters is called Vargina…. And we get a backstory too!

She’d been a crack baby, apparently due to her mother being a crackhead, one of the early ones, the baking soda vanguard. Vargina was a miracle, and that’s maybe the only time I have used the word sincerely. Her mother had named her the word her name resembled. A sympathetic nurse added the “r.”

Categories
Book Reviews

Iron Gold * Pierce Brown – Book Review (Red Rising Novella)

“Change isn’t made by mobs that envy, but by men who dare.”

Well, at least the author loved it!

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I didn’t.