Book Review: Stars of Fortune (Nora Roberts)

stars of fortune

The Guardians Trilogy #1

Plot: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about three couples who join together to create their own family and solve an ancient mystery through the powers of timeless love…
 
Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the legendary fire star, part of an ancient prophecy. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

When a dark threat looms, the six must use their combined powers—including trust, unity, and love—to find the fire star and keep the world on course.

Rating: 7.5/10

For all my love of Nora Roberts her books generally follow the same route. She’s a good writer who thoroughly researches everything she writes about, but I’ve never really stumbled across a book of hers that felt like fresh air until Stars of Fortune. I avoided this series mainly because I so strongly disliked The Dark Witch series. I was sure that another venture into magic was a poor choice for Roberts. You know, because I speak with the authority of a gazillion New York Times bestselling author.

Hidden Treasures is the first of three books which covers the adventures of six people who are essentially strangers in the beginning. Each has a secret, and everyone is unwilling to share. Sasha is an artist who has flashes of the future. Her Seer qualities have led her to lead a reclusive life, and you can’t really blame all the boys for staying away from her as she can read emotions. She’s been having troubling dreams where she sees evil and alternatively a really hot man being her boooyffrrriieeend, and ends up deciding to go to Corfu because literary characters have a lot of money and also because of possibility of hot boyfriend (don’t blame her). She immediately meets Riley and Bran. Riley is a girl, as the name can be a bit confusing, and Bran is the loverboy she’s been dreaming about. They are both in the game of hiding shit from their new friend, and that promises later drama. The three decide to rent a place together to search for the three stars that was hidden centuries ago, because that is totally safe and believable. The three are soon joined by another three, which tidily brings it up to three boys and three girls each. Convenient AF, am I right?

So I’ll stop amusing myself and actually review now. I liked the book. It is original for Roberts although it still has some of her traditional plot devices in. She really spent some time developing each of the secret supernatural abilities each of the character possesses. The book is well structured and doesn’t lag. It was good enough that I’m now progressing to the second book, although I must admit of the three inevitable love stories that of Sawyer and Annika interests me in the least.

As for the two leading characters in Stars of Fortune, Sasha is continuously a wet blanket with a poor me attitude and a certainty that she’s beleaguered and weak and everyone hates her. Bran is a lot more fun and for reasons not clearly understood immediately attracted to Sasha. He’s pretty cool, he’s a sorcerer, and seems the most formidable of the team up to this point. Their fights with Nerezza is increasingly testing on the team, and their trust grows in each other as all secrets are revealed in due course. I’m rooting for all our characters, since Nora has never really killed anyone off, but still I will work through the series and sees what happen.

This series is a bit of a trick with recommendations – it certainly contains new mystique and an interesting supernatural element, but it is still Nora Roberts at the end of the day, so if you aren’t a fan of her usual work I’m not sure if you’d even enjoy this. But I sure did!

Watched, Read, Loved: November 2016 – Most dramatic month ever?

november

What a month! It’s been crazy. I wrote this long ass post about all my opinions and then I was like eh, don’t need it, not my country, not my cheescurl. So let’s just go on with the usual here and do the rundown of what I was up to this month as usual, shall we?

I finished exams – YAS. So far I’ve passed everything with one result still pending. I’m darn pleased with myself, to be honest. So close to being done I can smell it. I’ve been rather irritated with some things at work, but my eyes have been opened a bit – I am so fortunate to be employed by a stable company where there is a 30% unemployment rate in South-Africa right now, and I should really be more thankful about that. I also broke plates at a Greek restaurant, and I now fully understand why the Greek people are so joyous – it is therapeutic! I also managed to be caught in rain storms quite a few times, and as I’m writing this I have a disgusting head cold going on – sneezing, coughing, basically being the person I’d generally want to murder.

Watched in cinema:

drs1

Dr. Strange(2016)

I enjoyed this film quite a lot. It really IS Iron Man on drugs and has the exact same story, but I liked it nonetheless. Benedict Cumberbatch truly is the definition of the term strange, and works superbly in this Marvel film. (and he WERKS that cape)

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (2016)

I made no secret in my review that I had zero time for this film. What a precious waste of my time and abuse of the Potter world. Ugh.

 Watched at home:

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Aliens (1986)

So much epic. I am so glad I sat down and watched this, my 2016 blindspot series has been quite the disaster and I’m scrapping it off the menu for 2017 completely. However, I did enjoy a whole bunch of the watched films, and this was one of them. Ripley is so badass man, so badass.

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Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

As mentioned above, I’ve been kicking and screaming trying to finish my Blindspots while totally not in the mood, but this turned out to be so beautiful and heartbreaking. Totally worth the time and paying attention to the English subtitles.

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Series:

Vampire Diaries Season 5

It’s good, but definitely lacks a bit in terms of my favorite – season 3. However, Elena isn’t the world’s most annoying vampire ever, which can only be an improvement. Review will hopefully be up soon 😀

Books read:

the-dressmaker

The Dressmaker– Kate Alcott

Despite this being the title of THREE DIFFERENT NOVELS – which lead to a variety of confusion -I have all the love for this book. It is definitely not the same story as the movie that I want to watch with Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth, but I am so happy I took a chance. What a lovely, interesting and thought provoking read this was!

power-of-six

The Power of Six – Pittacus Lore

The second book in the Lorien Legacies is also turning out to be a fantastic read. It is well written and well thought out, something most of these dystopian/alien/teenage books lack completely.

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I am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

I reviewed this over HERE, and it was one of the better books I read this year. Very impressed!

Love by Design: Loving Jack and Best Laid Plans – Nora Roberts

I’ll never really review this – it has little to no story line and is essentially just some smooch smoochy stories. Even in my bedraggled study brain mode this was too dumb for me, and I probably skipped quite a few pages because there are only so many scorching kisses that can be read.

Reread:  Convincing Alex – Nora Roberts

A reread that won’t be seeing another review. I find these books fun and vacant, and having met real Ukranians I can assure you that they are not Mikhael and Alexi Stanislaski, ladies.

Reread:  Luring A Lady–Nora Roberts

Same as above. It was fun while it lasted!

Reread: The Obsession (Nora Roberts) – I have so much love for this book and author (as you all know), and I’m enjoying it the second time around – I borrowed it to a friend shortly after finishing it the first time, and I must say, it is as good as my first impression of it.

What have you been entertaining yourself with? Tell me in the comments 🙂

July 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

Gosh I’m glad it’s August! I am over the cold in Johannesburg. For reals man. July was a pretty decent month. I got to see my bestie, and even though the circumstances weren’t that great, I am grateful that I at least got to spend some quality time with her.

Personally I think my eyes finally cleared with a few people in my life – there is a certain level of selfishness I can’t tolerate, and this person finally reached it. I should have cut ties ages ago, but when I bond to someone, you really have to nuke me out of it. Well, I’ve been nuked.

Hmm, what else? I’ve had a couple of hectic weekends and it reflected on my scarcity on my blog, which always happens and always frustrates me. I’m going to do my very best to post more often, as it makes me super happy.

And here’s a rundown of what I’ve been watching and reading. Enjoy, and tell me below what you’ve been up to 🙂

Watched:

At home:

Proposa

The Proposal

I saw this film before I opened this blog, and I have always thought that it was an okay film. I actually really enjoyed this so much when I watched it again. Queen Sandra Bullock and a very young and adorable Ryan Reynolds certainly make an interesting couple onscreen, and I thought the dialogue and hysteria was spot on and funny in the film.

Wedding planner

The Wedding Planner

Oh, Maththew McConaughey has a few gems under his belt before he started being all badass in things like True Detective and that other horsey movie that everyone liked. This is a boogy, definitely, and it was silly enough that I got quite annoyed. There were a few pros, which I will mention when I review the film soon, but let it be noted that Jennifer Lopez is a fantastic singer (for her genre) but acting should never be part of her repertoire.

 Valentines day

Valentine’s Day

VD worked well, and it is surprising because the film is packed with actors and actresses, and that rarely works. Mostly it is just a situational feel good film, but there is nothing wrong with that!

 Runaway_Bride

Runaway Bride

I’m on such a Gary Marshall/Julia Roberts run, it is not even funny. They do seem to be a dream team, because when they get together there always seems to be some romantic comedy as a result that is actually enjoyable to watch. Between this and Pretty Woman I enjoyed Pretty Woman much more, but I definitely liked this.

Skyfall

I already reviewed here, and if you haven’t read it yet, rest assured that I really liked this Bond film. It’s my second favorite after Casino Royale, and I must say, I am really surprised how much I’ve enjoyed all these films.

 Ugly truth

The Ugly Truth

It’s really ugly, and it’s really bad. The awful dialogue results in awful acting, I’m not really blaming our leads here at all, it’s just a shit film with crap writing and is as believable as anything Donald Trump says.

 27dresses

27 Dresses

JAMES MARSDEN. You have no idea the amount of hilarity this man causes in my family. I really like him, but his dress sense in this film was absolutely awful. Like, AWFUL. It is also a depressing movie – I will shoot myself before I’m a bridesmaid 27 times, it’s just not right or fair. I love our girl Katherine Heigl in here, and thought there were pretty good moments between the rapid romances and problems being solved easily.

In Cinema:

The Legend of Tarzan:

Tarzanposter

I reviewed this one here. It’s man candy season in this film. I’m not gonna lie. However, it isn’t nearly as bad as the trolls want you to believe, and I am still calling it the most pleasant surprise of 2016.

Series:

VDS4

Vampire Diaries Season 4

I finally switched it back on! It was a time issue, not because I’m struggling to watch it. It is still quite a solid show, but there are a few dips, something that probably can’t be helped when you travel this far into a show. I’ll post all the reviews once I’m done watching, then I can do them consecutively across a couple of weeks : )

Books read:

The Obsession – LOVED this!

Honest Illusions – It was okay – review here

Currently reading:

I’m actually in the middle of way too many books! I am reading Twilight again (the shame, I know) and I am definitely enjoying it more than Blood Bound (Rachel Vincent). I can promise you, when I get through this book, the review will be up here in no time and it will be a bad one – this book is so stupid. It is taking me ages to get through it, a damn shame because it is supposed to be a quick read.

So there it is – I am way behind on everything in life at the moment, but at least I got to do see and read some great material! What have you been up to?

Book Review: Skin Deep (Nora Roberts)

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O’Hurleys #3

Plot:

Regrets. Even movie stars have them. Chantel O’Hurley’s family was far away, her mansion was empty, and when she was threatened, there was no one to turn to. There was certainly no comfort in Quinn Doran. He looked like he’d been carved out of stone and he was just as intractable. But in that hardness was a promise: “I will keep you safe. I will bring you home.” But could she get him to stay?

Rating: 6/10

Usually the book with the extremely beautiful woman in irritates me the most in the Nora quartet/trilogies, but I enjoyed this one. I think Chantel O’Hurley was decently written and NR took such lengths to make her more than a pretty face. I thoroughly enjoyed Quinn’s extremely abrasive attitude and thought it well suited to his role in the book. The stalker Chantel had was creepy but I thought that didn’t end too well – I hate the whole he’s-ill-lets-forgive-him routine. Such silliness. If someone stalked me, I would NOT be that nice. The book was enjoyable and a lot more probable than its predecessor. Good times!

Book Review: Enchanted (Nora Roberts)

enchanted poster

Plot: Lovely, guileless Rowan Murray felt drawn to brooding Liam Donovan with a power she’d never imagined possible. And his breathtaking kisses convinced her he felt the same. But she soon realized her darkly enigmatic neighbor was as elusive as the mysterious wolf she’d seen lurking about her cabin. Liam was tormented by indecision. He understood he had no right to love Rowan, knowing what lay ahead. But the allure of her beguiling innocence overpowered his will until he could resist no longer. And he knew, if he was ever to make Rowan his, he had no chance but to reveal his incredible secret.

Rating: 6.5/10

The books in the Donovan series ran at the same pace basically. One had a villain, one had a child, this one contained animals and the first one I have yet to read so I will get back to you on it. They have pros and cons but at the end of the day they are all marginally good reads and neither better nor worse than the others.

Truthfully, this book gave me a few ERMMM moments. Rowan unwillingly meets Liam all the time when he is in wolf form, but she doesn’t know it, and he gets to comfort her and see her naked when she takes a bath. So ONE: Who lets wild wolves into their homes? Is this habitual? Am I missing something? Why not invite a Cheetah next time? TWO: It is stalkery. Did Stephanie Meyer read this book? I think so, because Liam sits and watches Rowan sleep at night – SOUND FAMILIAR? THREE: The book comes uncomfortably close to bestiality. It is extreme to say this because what Roberts attempts is NOT the nookie with animals (both illegal and disgusting), but Rowan has all these fantasies of the wolf turning into Liam before she knows what he is. It’s freakish.

Okay, I’m done with random uppercase letters for now. The book had its very weird moments, but it also manages the best buildup between the characters of all the books. Entranced is pure romance – no villains, no other important love interests, no particular other passions. Liam Donovan is the typecast for brooding hero – arrogant, short tempered, darkly beautiful, a dime a dozen in books but not as much in real life. Rowan had her spine removed before the book started, because that girl had zero courage or attitude. It grows in time but she is still pretty wimpy at the end of it.

I’m not gonna lie – the convenient nature of Rowan’s lineage was so lame. Like, really? You know what is romantic? Edward, Prince of Wales, abdicating to marry Wallis Simpson. THAT’s romantic – not finding out the girl you like is part fae and now you can stay heir supreme to the fairy world. But anyhow, let’s believe he would have chosen her without the fairy blood and all that.

Okay, now that I’m done listing my irritations, the book worked, just ignore the wolf loving and the blood-supremacy. It’s an easy and quick read and ends the series off well.

Book Review: Charmed (Nora Roberts)

Charmed

Plot: (via Nora Roberts)

Boone Sawyer never expected to move next door to a woman who looked like one of the fairy princesses he often wrote about. Anastasia Donovan had a serene kind of femininity that would baffle and allure any man who was still breathing – and Boone was definitely breathing!

Ana’s gift was for healing. Though her intriguing new neighbor made his living writing fairy tales, she didn’t think he’d easily accept her legacy. But when an accident put a life at stake, she could not deny her powers – though it could cost her Boone’s love, and risked her very life….

Rating: 6.5/10

So if you read that Plot synopsis you definitely know by now what we are dealing with. It is the schmaltziest romance you can wish to stumble upon. So let’s review it as such and not as a comparison to any great pieces of literature, because only then it can be fairly addressed.

I actually enjoyed this. I am not in a place in life where I want these gruesome murdery books or dystopian fiction or anything that doesn’t have some happy. Charmed has some happy – it’s unbelievable and totally cheesy but it is still some happy.

I had my misgivings – I mean her name is Ana and I am still traumatized by Fifty Shades of Grey and that stupid name. Also, who names their child Boone? Really? The book is also really not complex and there is no villain worth mentioning. Everyone is perfect and Boone is the big strong man and Ana is the beautiful lady with a big secret and vulnerable nature. There is a kid that is cute and never annoying and just so perfect and everyone is wonderful because that is how life is – beautiful and wonderful.

Totally legit!

Consensus: Fun, silly, cheesy, romancey. Don’t read it if you hate any of those things because this book ODs on it all.