on May 7, 2012
Over the years, you have certainly been one of my goto writers for witty dialogue and character development. I've loved the family meals; the restorations of various shops and hotels; the glasses of wine with girlfriends, the bromances - but...
The Last Boyfriend is - boring. The dialogue feels stale because I've read about these characters before. Oh, they had different names and circumstances but the sparks that fly are no longer fresh or interesting as they were ten -twenty years ago. I also couldn't quite see how these two people who have been like brother and sister suddenly decide they are in lust/love with each other. You did that same scenerio over in your wedding trilogy so perhaps it was just a little too overused of late to bring it into better focus in your Boonsboro series. Then again, maybe you are currently fascinated with old friends becoming lovers. I don't know. All I know is it didn't work for me here.
It is very possible that I have simply out grown your tried and true method bestseller. I'm sure that you are well aware that the formula you use works for a certain audience and that may be fine for you. You have a stable of interesting characters and pull them out, dust them off, update them - give them some drama and off you go. The characters are practially caricatures of your own...characters.
Ghosts? been there, done that. Renovating a hotel? How many is that now? Owning a restaurant? Uptight guy falls for spitfire? Uptight girl falls for wild and free man? oops - that the next book, isn't it?
I guess I would love to see what would happen if you stopped being so prolific and focused all of the amazing talent into something new. Something that challenged you to build a novel unlike anything else you had ever written.
I'll keep an eye out.
on May 7, 2012
I'm a huge fan of Country Living Magazine and reading this book felt a bit like reading that magazine - except there were no pretty pictures and no information about where I could buy all the beautiful pictures, knick knacks and all the other stuff and it takes a LOT longer to slug through this book than a magazine. I think at one point the book actually uses the phrase "bits and bobs" to talk about the knick knacky crap they were carrying around... I suspect she literally ran out of ways to describe her decorating obsession. At one point Justine (who really seems to be a Nora Roberts stand-in) is congratulated for inventing putting brown and a shade of blue together in one room. It was then that my eyes rolled back so far they almost stuck there. Is poor Hope going to be responsible for dusting all that stuff as well as getting up every morning to cook breakfast for an Inn full of people? If so, that woman needs a raise!!! I'm guessing all this Inn stuff was a good 30% of the book.
Another 15 to 20% of the book is the ghost. People run up to her area to talk to her. She pouts and slams doors. She seems to carry a Honeysuckle air diffuser and can blast people with it at will. She gives clues to her identity and sends people off to try and solve her puzzles. Now, I realize I'm sounding like a grumpy old ninny here but if the ghost can communicate her name and draw hearts on a mirror and even attend Bridal Showers then why can't she just write "Find me Billy (whatever his name is). He used to live (wherever) and I need to talk with him before I move out of your Inn."
So after all that there is a bit of a story here about a guy and a girl who have always liked each other, they take it to a deeper level, and they need to communicate better. Not too much meat to the romance angle here.
There is a TON of recycled feeling to this one right down to the worthless unloving Mother who is so much like the worthless unloving Mother from the Bride's series that it is kind of irritating. Nora Roberts has now published over 200 novels and she certainly doesn't need input from me on how to get it done. But this one, where nearly every business owned is a stand-in for a business owned by Nora Roberts or her family (And now we've brought in the Fitness Center too!), just feels extremely self-serving and off to me - way too little book and just too much travel brochure and self-congratulation here for me to say "Go Read This!"
I wavered between 2 and 3 stars but I just can't bring myself to put 2 stars on a Nora Roberts book. I was > < that close though so be warned.
on May 1, 2012
Avery and Owen have known each other their whole lives and Owen was Avery's first boyfriend at the age of five. Fast forward years later and Owen's working with his brothers, buying, renovating and running multiple businesses and buildings. Their latest project, the Inn BoonsBoro, is close to opening and everyone's pitching in to put the final touches on the Inn. Hope, the innkeeper has moved in, the ghost is still floating around and appearing to various people and Avery is keeping busy running Vesta across the street, her pizzeria that has her working a lot but she still has dreams of opening another restaurant and lounge and she hopes the Montgomery's will get on board with her.
The angst level in this book is very low. There is no suspense plot, there's a little bit of relationship angst between Owen and Avery, all due to zero communication that's quickly worked out, which I liked. Avery also deals with some family drama that's really just a bump in the road to her life moving forward with Owen. This story revolves around Owen and Avery's relationship, the opening of the Inn and a storyline for the ghost that will move into book 3.
I thought the relationship between Owen and Avery was sweet, well-paced and it felt natural. These two people have loved each other for so long, been close friends and seeing them fall in love was a nice progression. Owen is such a great guy, he already had me in his corner with his organized, planning self. He likes order and he likes to be prepared and along comes Avery, tossing some spontaneity into his life. But she wasn't so much of an opposite that it made no sense - she's just as driven as Owen is, even if she doesn't schedule her life down to the minute. They're a great match, and I enjoyed seeing their story unfold.
The family dynamic is front and center in not only this book, but the whole series. The Montgomery's stay the centerpiece of the series, with the three brothers and their mom Justine playing large roles. Avery's mom walked out on her and her dad when she was a young girl, so they were brought into the Montgomery family and made to feel a part. Avery and her dad have such a tight bond, it just added to Avery's character seeing her with her dad and around Justine, who always thought of Avery as her own. Clare's little boys run through the story here and there, they were a bright spot in book 1 and I still enjoy hearing their take on whatever it is that's currently going on. The last Montgomery brother, Ryder, is up next and while he plays a supporting role in this book he seems like nice enough guy, but he has moments of being cranky, sometimes an ass, and is especially prickly towards Hope - and yes, I'm interested. I like a cranky hero that falls hard in love and Ryder's getting set up to do just that.
A couple things that didn't really work for me and the reason for my rating - there is a lot of page time devoted to the Inn. I understand what a central focus the Inn is to this series, and especially this book, but the amount of time given to describing each and every room, down to the type of mirrors being hung in the bathroom, it's just overdone. I wanted more time on page between Avery and Owen and less on the Inn and decorating. And the ghost; I'm not a fan of the ghost, but I found it easy enough to, for lack of a better word, ignore in book 1 (The Next Always). But, one can't really do that in this book as a lot of time and a specific storyline is devoted to the ghost and figuring out who she is and why she muttered the name "Billy." The storyline didn't wrap up and we find out that Hope has connections to the ghost so I expect there to be quite a bit of emphasis on that storyline as well in book 3 (The Perfect Hope, Nov 2012).
My overall rating is 3 stars. This was a nice read, but it didn't blow me away. I liked the characters (minus the Inn and ghost) and I thought the romance between Owen and Avery was incredibly sweet - watching these two go from friends to lovers. Unfortunately, I keep comparing it to Nora Robert's Bridal Quartet series, which I completely loved. This series has all the parts there, but it's just not pulling me in all the way. That said, even though my interest in anything related to the Inn is wearing very thin, Ryder makes me want to at least give the last book a chance, to see what's going to happen with him, and to find out why he's so on edge all the time around Hope.
on May 12, 2012
Although I have loved Nora Roberts in the past, I wasn't sure I could make it through this book. The plot was nonexistent, Avery's mother reappearance and the anger she reinited was very similar to the Bride series. The dialouge went on and on, detailing how to hang a shelf, or which items worked at the inn and why. These seemingly never ending descriptions took away from what could have been an interesting book.
on May 21, 2012
I am so disappointed int this book. It had so much drivel about the Inn, I was skimming page after page after page of boring hotel details, then all this ghost stuff, which was better than the hotel junk. Ugh, I finished this book in record time because I skimmed over so much of it. And when you finally get to pages where you thing you're going to get more on the characters, saying something like, 'he's done with work and going to go over to Avery's tonight,' it s the start of a new chapter and starts off the on next day with what type of lamps, mirrors, shelves, whatever boring crap they're going to be doing in the hotel the next day. If I even read the next book, it's coming from the library.
on May 7, 2012
I was really excited to read this book but a few pages in I realized I have read this story already. This was so close in story line for me to Roberts' MacKade brothers. For those of you that haven't read the MacKade brothers' story believe me this was as close to a retelling of it that I could think of. There's the renovations of a building, there's the ghosts, there's the girl from town that one of the brothers falls in love with. I didn't really feel like the relationship between the two main characters really developed either. They were friends then they were more than friends. I was just so disappointed in this story. I wanted something new and fresh and this just didn't do it for me. If you haven't read the MacKade brothers series, read this, but if you have don't expect something new. I am looking forward to the last book hoping that it will be better.
on May 3, 2012
Nora Roberts is my favorite author. I preorder and eagerly await all of her books. I expect to be engaged and entertained. However, I seriously considered abandoning this book half way through it. Everything in this book (characters, dialogue, descriptive words, and family relationships [close brothers and a worthless, uncaring mother], the ghost, and the plot) feels recycled. I have read it all before in her other books where it was better written. What is new in this series is the endless, mind-numbing descriptions of decorating details and self promotion. Even the romance between Owen and Avery is lackluster with little conflict or tension. If you are a long time reader of Nora Roberts, I would suggest saving your money and rereading any of her other books. This series has been a disappointment. I expect better from Nora Roberts.
on May 3, 2012
In a word- Boring. I really enjoyed the first in this series, and looked forward to reading this one. I was disappointed. The characters we grew to love were flat in this book. I had a hard time keeping track of who was who, especially the ladies. The romance was dull. They are old friends turned into a couple, but I just didn't feel the sparks or the relationship. And what was up with Ryder? He was rude, crude, and just mean. The whole book was a little crass, but I was ready to slap Ryder. If the next book is about him, I might not read it. I can't see a great person like Hope falling for him. At least, that's who I think she's going to put together. Very disappointed in Nora this time around.