Book Review: Nora Roberts (Carolina Moon)

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Book: 24/100

Carolina Moon takes place in Progress, South Caroline. Tory Bodeen returns to open a shop, haunted with memories of the past. Tory moved away from Progress when her best friend, Hope Lavelle, was found raped and murdered as a child. The Bodeen’s, ruled by the iron fist of her abusive father, and moved away from Progress then, and Tory spent her horrific childhood in numerous temporary homes as her father could never completely take care of his wife and child.

Tory’s father’s hatred of her stemmed from the cause of age old hatred: the inability to understand the paranormal. Tory, with psychic abilities, terrified her father, and he reacted in the only way he knew, with violence. Despite everything, Tory managed to escape her parents, and built up a life in New York. Eventually, she had a tragic experience that had her fleeing from there as well, finally landing up in Progress again.

Seeing Cade Lavelle again stirs up old feelings forgotten. Seeing Hope’s older brother, now all grown up, she misses her friend even more, and is unexpectedly attracted to Cade. Cade is the epitome of Southern charm – kind, courteous, and sneakily bull-headed. Cade falls in love with Tory, but she initially steers clear from her feelings from him.

When the new teacher in town is found raped and murdered, everyone remembers the last time it happened – to Hope. Tory is once again under the eyes of the village, and she starts remembering her past. She has the uncanny sense to sense victims, which really doesn’t make her popular with the townsfolk. First to express her displeasure with Tory’s return is Cade’s mother, a cold, unfeeling woman incapable of loving her children after the death of her daughter. She makes her opinion quite known, but Cade ignores it, choosing to love Tory instead.

Hope’s twin sister Faith has suffered her sister’s death every single day of her life. She has spent her time running between husbands and lovers, ignoring the affection of the one man who has always loved her: Wade, Tory’s cousin. Wade finally manages to get her to see him as a good thing, and the change in Faith is astonishing.

When it is found that Tory’s father has disappeared and is on the run from the police for sexual assault, Tory starts suspecting him not only of the school teacher’s murder, but Hope’s as well. He attacks Tory in her store, swearing vengeance on her.

In the end, Tory’s parents both die, and the killer reveals himself at the last minute. I won’t be sharing who the killer is – that would take away so much of the surprise.

Rating: 7.5/10

It is widely known that Nora Robert’s has a penchant for serial killers. She is a romantic suspense writer of staggering talent, and Carolina Moon is an excellent example. Somehow, this book is more than the other books. I found something else here, and the book mesmerized me. I lived in full fear that Wade would turn out to be the killer – destroying Faith’s change of heart. I was surprised how I started rooting for her – initially she seemed so spoiled and indifferent. But at the end of the book, I nearly cared more about what happened to her than I cared what happened to Tory.

The male characters all had such charm. Cade with his patience and confidence and charming attitude, Wade and his adoring love for animals, her uncle for his joy of life.

All in all, it was such an enjoyment to pick up this book and explore the magic that Nora Roberts is capable of.

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It is so difficult being a girl

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Here is an ode to the girls:

Who stand up each morning and:

Do their nails

Do their hair

Do their makeup

Gets outfit ready

Makes food for herself/her family

Works her ass off

Excersises

Diets

Studies

Live

No man can really ever get it.

Last night I realized how much work we put into our appearances.

So girls, lets support each other instead of bringing each other down.

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Blair Waldorf is my favorite kind of biatch 🙂

Have a good day!

Natasha

PS: I know men works their butts off too.

 

Book Review: Black Hills (Nora Roberts)

Black-Hills

Book: 23/100

*Contains spoilers*

Cooper Sullivan met Lillian Chance as an eleven year old. Sent to his grandparents for the summer, Cooper is angered by his parents’ insensitive attitude, and initially ignores any attempts from his grandparents to connect. He meets Lil, and even though she is a girl, he is fascinated by her way of life on a farm, her relationship with her parents, and her ability to do things as well as boys does. They become firm friends, and Cooper connects with his grandparents like he never could with his own. For the rest of his teens, Cooper returns each summer, and he and Lil stays best friends for years. As it sometimes is with best friends of different genders, they fall in love when Cooper returns as a young man. Even though Cooper has dropped out at college and plans to become a police officer, and Lil is on her way to college, they stumble through their feelings, and at the end of the summer promise correspondence and meeting up at times. Their last few days together are marred when they discover a woman’s body on a trail. Mauled by a cougar, it is later established that the cougar didn’t kill her, and the killer is never caught.

Their promises to continue their relationship ends abruptly when Cooper tells Lillian a few months later that they have both grown apart, and they are going into separate directions, that it is the best decision for them. Angered, hurt and humiliated, Lil walks away, never questioning why Cooper had deliberately broken her heart.

Years later, Lil, now a doctorate, returns to Black Hills to continue working in her Wildlife refuge. Her mother tells her that Coop has returned. Claiming that she doesn’t care, she knows she cares. When she sees him face to face at the refuge for the first time in years, she attributes her heartache just as a reaction to seeing him again.

Lillian is very much annoyed with Cooper when he announces to go camping with her when he finds out that she is tracking a cougar. She agrees to have him come along, reluctantly, and together they travel to their old spot where they had once found the victim. Lil sets a cage to keep the cougar until she can tag him, and they go lower down to make their camping spot for the night. The cougar is captured, but before Lillian can get to it, someone else does, and she arrives to find the magnificent animal dead. She blames herself for this death, refusing to believe that she wasn’t responsible. With Lil safely with the police, Cooper returns to their campsite to pack up their things, finding their campsite shattered. Lillian’s father arrives, and after their discussion Coop promises to take care of Lillian.

Cooper starts staying over at Lil’s cabin at the refuge – on her couch, annoying her endlessly. Their attraction remains, creating some awkward moments for both of them, as they still refuse to acknowledge their true feelings. A dead wolf is found thrown over the gate of the refuge one morning, showing that the killer is still on the loose and effectively spooking the interns at the refuge.

Cooper does some independent investigation, and finds that a previous intern, Caroline, went missing after she finished her stint at the refuge. He finds out about her relationship with Ethan Howe, and links him to her disappearance, and manages to link him with the murder of Melissa Barrette, the girl they found nearly ten years ago.

Another hiker is found murdered, and the police and FBI start searching for Ethan in earnest. It seems he is always one step ahead, laying false trails, and hiding effectively in the many caves of the Black Hills. He threatens Lil via email once, but the lead is a dead end as it was sent from a house where Ethan had broken in to.

Cooper and Lil finally start dating again, but she is reluctant to fully allow herself to love him. He knows this, and they finally start to see each other’s viewpoints from the time their relationship ended. As they move towards ultimate reconciliation, Ethan kidnaps Lil’s mother, and drags her into the Hills. After a taunting phone call, Lil starts tracking him, calling Cooper to follow.

With the entire refuge in uproar, the remaining workers set the cougar free that imprinted on Lil as a cub. Babies, as well as some humans start to search for Lil. Cooper steers from the human group to follow the cat, and together they start looking for Lil.

Meanwhile, after Lil lets Ethan set her mother free, she runs away from him. He follows, thinking it a great sport. He eventually catches up to her, with Cooper on their trail. Just as Ethan wants to kill Cooper, Baby attacks, killing Ethan. The cat defies science by not attacking either Lillian or Cooper so close to a kill, and neither eating Ethan – meaning he killed him only to save Lil.

Rating: 7/10

I really enjoyed this book. I found out so many things I did not know before about cougars, tigers and panthers. As always, Nora Roberts does thorough research for her books, and I truly appreciate that. The female lead character, Lil, was so well developed. She is strong and able, and didn’t allow heartache to get in the way of success. Her passion for nature conservation endeared her to me, as well as the doctorate she worked so hard for (doing a BSc is difficult enough)

Initially Cooper had a lot of potential. He ended up a bit lamely (to me), for breaking off his relationship with the love of his life without sharing the true reasons to her – how selfish. He manages to redeem himself by loving his grandparents so completely, but I felt some derision towards him for seeming very chauvinistic at times.

All in all, this is a fantastic read – and I would recommend it to most people.

Book challenge: Progress part 4

Morning 🙂

I am finally done with 20 books in my challenge. I really can’t believe it! I really love tracking how many books I read in a year. I have always wondered, knowing it is a huge amount, but now I can finally know. I cannot wait until I am done with exams. It feels like all the studying is severely affecting my reading.

Here is my completed reading list so far:

     Chasing Fire  – Nora Roberts
The Search– Nora Roberts
Hidden Star– Nora Roberts
Fallen Star– Nora Roberts
Captive star- Nora Roberts
Richelle Mead – Bloodlines
Richelle Mead – The Golden Lily
Richelle Mead – The Fiery Heart
Nicholas Sparks – The Guardian
Stephen King – Carrie
Lewis Carrol – Alice in Wonderland
Nora Roberts – Montana Sky
JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Nora Roberts – High Noon
Nora Roberts – Carolina Moon
Nora Roberts – Tribute
Nora Roberts – Black Hills
Nora Roberts – Angel’s Fall
Katie Fford – Love Letters

Currently reading:

Kathy Reichs – Death duJoir

Planning to read:

Susan Collins: Hunger Games

Susan Collins: Catching Fire

Susan Collins: Mockingjay

Stephen King: The Green Mile

Lewis Carrol – Through the Looking Glass

JK Rowling: The Casual Vacancy

Marian Keyes: The Mystery of Mercy Close

KhaledHosseini: A thousand splendid suns

Richelle Mead: Vampire Academy (Books 1-7)

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Have a splendid Monday!

Annoying Friday

Well, not all Fridays are annoying. Just today. Very.

I have gained weight. How is this possible?! I ate nicely, I exercised, I drank water. I am ridiculously tired of this process. I feel that I cannot win. Really, it is getting to me. I have tried everything, and nothing works.

Why is it so hard to get out of debt? I thought this month would be the last I paid on a specific thing, and apparently, it isn’t. I am going to war with the company, since they told me that this would be my last month. Majorly. Annoyed.

Okay, that is all. Except some new employees that aren’t endearing themselves to me right now.

The appropriate expression would be Meh. Today is just Meh.

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At least it is weekend

Thursday Quotes

Good morning 🙂

I am so happy it is nearly Friday. Returning from study leave, or any leave, is always quite challenging. It always amazes me how tiring work is! This week has actually been good to me. I have studied, read, exercised, and worked normal hours. For today, please see some quotes I find inspiring, and some pictures I just find funny. Have a good day!

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This could be my blog manifesto. I love it!

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My face in winter when I wake up.

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🙂

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Book: 21/100

Cilla McGowan, granddaughter to Hollywood legend Janet Hardy, returns to her deceased grandmother’s dilapidated summer house in Virginia to start reparing it. Cilla, also a previous Hollywood star, uses her skills she learnt working with her ex-husband on a construction crew to repair the mansion to its former glory.

She meets next door neighbor Ford Sawyer, a comic book writer, when he appears at the farm. Ford asks her to stop breaking up the house, under the impression that she is a vigalant who wants to cash in on Janet’s name by selling pieces online. He charms her, but Cilla is desperately afraid to start a relationship because of her own crap track record, and her family’s as well. Ford’s optimistic and balanced personality brings to Cilla the stability she so desperately needs.

Cilla is welcomed by nearly everyone in town. However, not everyone in Virginia is happy to see Cilla back. A boy who was paralyzed in the car accident that killed Cilla’s uncle, Jimmy Hennessy’s father appears frequently at Cilla’s house and neighborhood to abuse her for returning.

During her search of the attic, Cilla finds letters written to Janet by a mystery man shortly before her death. Obviously love letters, they end nastily that leads Cilla to believe that Janet was most likely pregnant with his child, even though the autopsy never reported a pregnancy.  She confides in Ford, and hides the letters at his house. Steve, Cilla’s ex-husband, appears, and she, Ford and he get on wonderfully. Steve is seriously injured one night in her barn when someone attacks him.  While Steve recovers at the hospital, Ford and Hennessy are suspects for his attacks. Both are initially cleared of charges, leaving no clue to who the attacker might be.

Vandalism on the Little Farm increases, and the police still have no idea who is responsible. Hennessy is sent to a mental hospital after he attacks Cilla, clearing him of the attacks that follow. Cathy Morrow, mother to one of Ford’s school friends, reveals that her father in law was at one of the parties Janet hosted, making him in Cilla’s mind a possible candidate to be Janet’s lover, even though that still doesn’t explain the vandalism, as he is also long dead.

Cilla decides to hold a party at her almost completed house, which coincides with her engagement to Ford, after he manages to get her to accept. After the party, Cathy returns, apparently to search for her missing wedding ring. She spikes Cilla’s wine with pills, exactly the way she did to kill Janet, and reveals everything – that her own husband had an affair with Janet, and even after breaking it off, Cathy couldn’t forgive Janet, killing her in the end. Ford arrives in time to rip Cathy off Cilla, and Cilla saves herself by bringing up the poisonous mixture now in her system.

Rating: 6.5/10

I enjoyed the book thoroughly. I sometimes feel that all Nora Roberts’ books follow exactly the same storyline, but there is always a new spin, and well developed characters. I am sure no other romantic suspense writer is so adapt at creating people with such depth.  Ford may just be one of my favorite male characters of all time. He is so sweet, nerdy and funny. He is amazingly well grounded even with his success, and the sweet relationship with his parents is another amazing addition to the storyline. He is the perfect match for Cilla, helping her to see the positive in every situation, and bringing the balance to her life she has lacked through her crazy childhood. I had so much fun reading about Spock – I wish I could make him real and introduce him to my puppy, because they share so many characteristics. If you like romantic suspense, give this book a try!

Book Review: High Noon (Nora Roberts)

Book: 20/100

Phoebe McNamara is a hostage negotiator for the Savanna Chatham Police Department. In addition to her highly volatile job, she has a challenging personal life as well. Her mother Essie has agoraphobia, and Phoebe is also a single mom to seven year old Carly. Phoebe is forced to live in a mansion by the will her aunt made, or else risk the danger of moving her mother from the house. She is also basically a single parent, with her ex-husband Roy not paying any attention to their daughter.

Duncan Swift initially meets Phoebe in a dangerous situation. As part of the police, she rushes to an apartment building which he owns to negotiate a suicide jumper of the roof. Phoebe uses her negotiating skills to save Joe’s life, and Duncan is fascinated with her strength and purpose. The next day he visits her at the police station, finally convincing her to have a drink with him.

During one of the training session Phoebe leads in the police department, she bumps heads with Officer Arnold Meeks, an arrogant, chauvinistic male who can’t handle it when being trained and reprimanded by a female. Things worsen between them when Arnie completely ignores procedure on a hostage negotiation, causing the hostage taker to commit suicide. His actions get him suspended from the department, and blaming that on Phoebe, he decides it is time for payback. Arnie attacks Phoebe in the stairwell at work, seriously injuring her. At the hospital, Phoebe calls Duncan, and he comes to her aid when she can’t and won’t involve her family. He tells her that she has a week to sort out Arnold Meeks, before he gets to him. Phoebe is irritated by this attitude, even as she appreciates the fact that she has someone to lean on now. She and Detective Liz Alberta set out to question the woman who helped Arnie stage his attack, and this leads to his ultimate suspension in the police department.

Meanwhile, a series of attacks leads Phoebe to realize that she has another, dangerous enemy. First, a hostage taker is assassinated after he surrenders peacefully, causing widespread criticism of the police, even though they have evidence no police officer took the shot. Phoebe continually finds dead pests on her porch, initially thinking Arnie is behind it, but he is later cleared of suspicion.

Her casual investigation leads to a full blown search when the still unknown suspect blows up a man at a cemetery, chained to a grave. The man blown up is Roy Squire, Phoebe’s ex-husband. The hostage taker gets Phoebe to the scene by demanding only negotiations done by her, and killing Roy within seconds of her arrival.

The investigation finally leads somewhere when Phoebe reviews all her old case files. They find the death of Angela Brentine, one of the hostages that died before Phoebe could start negotiating, had a secret police boyfriend. When the Captain of their unit, Dave, nearly dies in a bomb blast, he identifies Jerald Walken, an old police officer.

After Phoebe proposes marriage to Duncan, and he accepts, he calls his “mom” to help him pick a ring for her. She takes his friend’s wife with her to the jewelry shop, where Arnie now incidentally works, and Walken takes the shop hostage. It is a final showdown between Phoebe and Walken. Fortunately, he doesn’t realize the link between phoebe and Duncan’s friends, though it raises the stakes. She realizes that Walken has no intention to let the people out, and convinces him to leave his safe spot in the shop, and the police snipers take them out.

Rating: 6/10

It is one of the best books in the Nora Roberts range. One of her romantic suspense books, she manages to intertwine suspense and romance very well. I really enjoyed all the characters, and the storyline. It came as a surprise to me that I enjoyed it as much – I don’t really enjoy books with children in often. If you are usually a reader of more crime orientated novels, you may want to give this a try. It is really good.

This Past week

My life

Dieting and Exercising

Currently in a crisis phase. I guess I will have to restart everything. I haven’t been focused on either, with the exams going on. However, most of my papers have been written, so I cannot make excuses any more.

Unisa

I wrote three exams. Three. It was the most challenging week of the year this far, and I really studied very hard. No matter the results, I really know I did my best.

Three papers of Unisa got leaked and postponed. None of which were my subjects. Go figure.

PS: t was financial accounting subjects – a vocation where you seriously need to be honest, always. LOL.

Weather

Weather: It is finally winter. Whoop.

Reading

I got a book at a second hand book shop for R20 instead of R50. BARGAIN.

I will be posting a lot of reviews this week! Finally managed to review most of the books I read this last month.

I decided my two favorite magazines are Marie-Claire and Grazia (both South-African editions).  I want to try sticking to buying only them from now on, as it will save me money, and both are great reads.

Electronics

Laptop crisis has escalated. I need proper internet and computing facilities right now. Dream list of electronics now include: Laptop, tablet, camera and new phone. Sigh.

Celebrities

I have finally accepted I am obsessed with celebrity news. I cannot stop reading it, and really, why should I? It makes me laugh, and it is interesting (At least to me) and is great conversation topics.

Justin Bieber left South-Africa. Halle-fricken-luja. This country had been going insane over him (I have never gotten the point of him, but anyhow). Because letting your daughter queue outside a stadium in Soweto is a fantastic example of good parenting. Legit.

Angelina Jolie revealed she had a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer. Amazing. Really. I just think that every single woman on the planet who either went through a mastectomy, or such preventative measures, should be as celebrated as she is.

In real life, out there

Prof. Cyril Karabus finally landed in South-Africa. He was sentenced in abstentia last August in the United Arab Emirates for the death of a Yemeni girl he had treated for cancer. 1) How do you lock up a doctor for the death of a cancer patient 2) a “Yemeni” girl should have a name, 3) the UAE should be ashamed of themselves, and realize what message they sent out to the world in regards to how they treat the doctors who come to help in their country. Sies man.

Rest in peace Vuyo

The wonderful Vuyo Mbuli, presenter of Morning Live has passed away. I am still in shock. He was a great journalist, and a kind man. It touched me to read all the wonderful news, tweets and posts posted in your honor. It is refreshing to see a man so well loved by the entire nation.

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Have a good day!