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on November 13, 2012
Nora Roberts books just keep getting more and more formulaic. I have already given up on her "In Death" series because the last few have bored me to tears. There is no spark in them anymore.

Despite that, I've generally enjoyed her trilogies. Chesapeake Bay and the Key trilogies are some of my favorites. The Bride quartet was also really good, and I had high hopes for the Inn Boonsboro series, but it just fell flat.

The Perfect Hope suffered from some of the same nonsense as The Last Boyfriend. The characters spend a lot of time talking and very little time doing anything. Hope and Ryder (the couple of this book) have a small kiss. We then have to slog through pages upon pages of Hope talking to Clare and Avery about it. Then Avery and Clare talking about it without Hope. Then Hope talking about it with Ryder's mother. Then Ryder talking about it with his brothers. Then the brothers talking about it without Ryder. None of these conversations was THAT important. Did we really every single character's opinion on a kiss between two unattached adults?

In The Perfect Hope, Roberts also continues her new trend of having her characters schedule sex. I'm sorry, but this is NOT sexy or romantic at all. Hope and Ryder admit to each other that they want to have sex, so they decide to schedule it for the following Tuesday. Avery and Owen did this in The Last Boyfriend as well. It's not funny, or sexy, or interesting at all.

Considering Roberts' publisher also charges $10 an ebook (sometimes closer to $15), I think I will be stopping here with her novels. There are so many other books out there that I can't continue wasting my time and money on stuff that just isn't magical anymore
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on November 8, 2012
I enjoyed this trilogy and The Perfect Hope was no exception...However...I can understand the frustration voiced by other reviewers and the book was not quite as good as I had hoped it would be.

This final offering in the Boonsboro Trilogy wraps things up with the blossoming relationship between the oldest Montgomery brother, Ryder and the sophisticated and beautiful innkeeper, Hope. We have gotten to know these two already from the previous two books and know that Ryder can be rude, abrupt and a very "Me Tarzan - You Jane" type of guy. Nora is great with her brother relationships and it's usually pretty easy to break it down, one is sweet (Beckett), one is smart and the calming influence (Owen) and one is the classic type A male, ready to hit first and ask questions later. This combination helps define the relationships but in Ryder's case, you hope there's more than meets the eye under that rough exterior. Hope is Ryder's complete opposite in most every way except they are both loyal to friends and family and both easy on the eyes. Since Hope is best friends with the women who are married and engaged to Ryder's brothers (Clare and Avery), it was a foregone conclusion that they would end up together and they do, but it just wasn't as exciting a ride as I hoped it would be.

Nora inserts all our favorite characters from books one and two, like the Montgomery boys' mother and her boyfriend, Clare's cute and rascally sons, Harry, Liam and Murphy (who in my opinion add so much to the story) and the still mysterious ghost Lizzy that occupies the inn. This time around, Lizzy has some fun encounters with the guests at the inn and does her best to nudge Ryder and Hope in the right direction, all the while still waiting for her long lost love Billy to appear. Happily for all concerned, that mystery is finally solved by the end of the book.

I was hoping for a little more action in this book since Ryder is the hot tempered brother, but when trouble shows up for Hope in the form of an arrogant and insulting old boyfriend and his wife, he handles it a lot better than I thought he would, which kind of left me wishing he had kicked that guy's behind for what he did to Hope!

If you like the way Nora Roberts writes and the way she handles relationships between brothers, friends and family, then The Perfect Hope won't disappoint. Just know that what you are getting is a slow easy ride and classic Nora as Hope and Ryder try to decide if they were meant to be more than friends, plus the inevitable wrapping up some loose ends that have been dangling throughout the trilogy. If that doesn't sound appealing, I can always recommend Nora's Chesapeake Bay series and the Quinn brothers!
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on November 7, 2012
This was not an action book. This was not a real romantic romance. This was not paranormal. This was not suspense. This was not a thriller. I'm a little stumped as to what this book was.

This was a book where a lot of people did stuff- constantly. They talked. They drove to a construction site. They looked around a construction site. They had meetings. A lot of meetings. They went to the bakery for donuts or sticky buns. They demolished walls and roofs. They texted. They telephoned. They talked to several people on the telephone. They made cool beverages several times. They complained about tile work. They made notes on their cell phone to transfer to their email. They talked about a slate-y blue color. They marinated flank steaks or chicken. They whisked salad dressing. They ran up the stairs and down the stairs changing light bulbs. They fetched cocktail olives. They talked to people about pizza. They went to get a fresh bottle of wine. They were receiving, ordering, carrying, weeding, or checking on flower deliveries. They constantly gave their dogs treats. A lot of dogs ran around. Breakfast was made at least three times. Someone made potato salad twice. They talked and talked and talked (oh, except for the Hero- a most taciturn fellow). They had internal monologues. I could keep going.... and going and going and going. This may have been the most minutely detailed book where people just ran around doing things that were not remotely connected to the actual story. It was sooooo boring. All that stuff. At first, I thought okay- it is an easy read and it paints a nice picture. Then, when I realized at least a full quarter of the book is people doing stuff that is completely unconnected to the actual plot, I felt pretty cheated. What a bunch of fluffy filler. Well written but fluffy, excruciatingly detailed, boring filler, nonetheless.

Spoilers- but not terribly specific or important ones.

The romance? I was so hoping this book would save this trilogy- it didn't. I thought Becket and Claire were okay. I thought Avery and Owen were just boring. I had hoped Ryder and Hope would have some of that Nora Roberts magic. Nope. I think the trilogy was part of the problem. They had their first meeting in book one and their first kiss in book two. So, two of the most magical things about a romance weren't even here. Okay. We got their "first time". Which was strange and pragmatic and seemed like it wasn't all that important to either character. I'll totally take the blame- I didn't think they had much chemistry. And, their hook-up wasn't exactly the stuff of magic. (Part of my problem with that comes from the detachment of Ryder's character). And- this is the worst part- after their "first time", Nora Roberts took a narrative vacation and we TIME JUMP at least several weeks to where they have been routinely sleeping together. What? I need a little intimacy between my characters to feel a connection to them- to care about them. Just time jumping weeks into their relationship? That just irritates me. There is room for all that trivial, mundane, excessively detailed fluff everyone did but they edited out weeks of the ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP? Argh.

Yes, you read that right. This was a Nora Roberts' romance where weeks of the romance occurred OUTSIDE the narrative. Could someone explain to me the point of reading a Nora Roberts' romance if not for the suspense, romance, paranormal, thriller,or mystery?

Ryder. I had a hard time with this character. He came off about as expressive as a block of concrete and about as intelligent. One, he had this total male caricature characterization. He didn't like tears. He buys flowers rather than deal with anything emotional. He is a little bumbling with emotion. He "just doesn't get women". And, his way of initializing all sexual encounters seems to be grabbing his significant other. What, precisely, was all that unique about Ryder? What was the magic connection between him and Hope? His point of view was primarily thinking about construction or scratching his head over the "womenfolk". Next, his characterization absolutely and totally depended upon the reader's trust and the empty assertions of other characters. Could anyone have told Hope one more time what a good and sweet guy Ryder was? Why couldn't the author have put examples- rather than multiple testimonials- in the narrative? We just had to go with the sweet guy stuff because- what else were we to do? It is a Nora Roberts book and her Hero is not going to be an evil, smarmy jerk. All in all- I had zero connection with Ryder.

Hope? She was okay. I still didn't really get why she was with Ryder or why she was pursuing him. He was so not up to her level of communication. Also- I didn't feel much of a connection with Hope.

The ghost story. I have one giant complaint there- a continuity error? I could be wrong. But, did we know that Lizzy's dad was strict? Did we know this before all the characters started talking about how the guy had her legally excised from all papers, everywhere? Was it just me or was that bomb just dropped out of continuity? Because, Hope still hadn't gotten her letters from her cousin or the school. According to her, her family didn't know. And... where in the world did they get that her dad was strict and legally excised her? It just seemed like the resolution of the ghost story was ridiculously pat- like dropping the continuity. Just shove a piece of info out there and pretend it came about in the narrative. Again, they had all this page space to do all this non-essential stuff- I would have actually enjoyed the ghost mystery that happened OUTSIDE the narrative.

All in all- not a very good book. As a romance, it was "meh". As a mystery, less than "meh". As a strangely detailed journal of non-important and ultimately boring things- Excellent!
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on November 11, 2012
I think I have read all of her books, she is one of my favorite let's do nothing today but settle down with a book and be entertained. It's like going to see a romantic comedy, you don't learn anything from it but you are usually entertained.

I have noticed that there has been a slip in her recent works, her novels have always been formulaic. There are always, three or four brothers/sisters/friends, they all usually own their businesses, lawyers/bookshop owners/flower shop owners/wedding planners they all pair off by the last book. Usually there is a good mystery, whether it is supernatural.. these last two series, the bride quartet and this Innsboro one has left me increasingly disappointed and frankly that is saying something because I don't hold Roberts works to high standards. I think of them like the they are cotton candy books, fun and entertaining every once in a while but if you eat too much you get a stomach ache and you aren't going to get anything nutritious out of them.

This, the last of the Innsboro Trilogy was terrible, the "mystery" was obvious, the characters underdeveloped and typical. The beefy construction worker, and the perky organized once beauty queen, really? Or the fiery redhead and the organized hot manager. They all spend an inordinate amount of time complimenting each other. It actually drives me crazy, they are constantly remarking on how strong and powerful they all are, how beautiful and funny.. I actually rolled my eyes reading it, and have been doing the last couple of her books. The last time I rolled my eyes while reading, was Twilight. It is almost as if, the more popular Nora Roberts has become as a pulp romance writer the less connected she is with how normal people interact. Is she complimented so often now that it is how she thinks normal people talk. I loved reading her older works, but she can only rework her old trilogies for so long. I mean the blond, the redhead and the brunette, is she afraid her readers won't be able to distinguish them? This was Irish Trilogy reworked with less engaging characters and a terrible mystery.

Paltry effort, not worth $10 on kindle, and most certainly not worth the paperback cost of $16. I highly recommend waiting until her next book maybe she will have gotten some of her mojo back.
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on November 17, 2012
It pains me to write this review. It truly does. Nora Roberts first introduced me to the world of romance novels, and she has been a true and constant companion since the beginning. But no author is perfect, and her most recent trilogy, Inn Boonsboro (The Next Always, The Last Boyfriend, The Perfect Hope), reads more like promotional material for the inn that she does in fact own than a romance novel. The romantic plotlines take a complete back seat to the true star of the books--the building.

Too bad that the building isn't a very compelling star. Roberts waxes eloquent in her descriptions of the various rooms, the architectural details, the decor, the personal touches; she even manages to work in the custom scents they had designed for each room (available in candles, diffusers, body products, etc). In fact, all of these things are available on the website if you just book a weekend stay! She makes a point of mentioning other stores that existent in real-world Boonsboro, generously extending her promotional materials to benefit some of her neighbors. It's pure marketing, almost entirely devoid of romance.

The first installment, The Next Always, shows some promise. The constant discussions of how they are renovating the inn slow things down to a crawl, but Beckett and Claire are a cute couple, and Claire's three sons are very well-written. Roberts, herself the mother of boys, has a gift for writing children, particularly brothers, in a way that is appealing rather than cloying. And this book also has a villain, a local man stalking Claire. So while I wouldn't say it was brilliant, it had the required elements of a romance punched up with Roberts own style and verve. I've read it more than once.

The Last Boyfriend is a harbinger of terrible things to come. Owen and Avery are appealing enough characters individually, but their romance basically pops into existence and then trots along without any major obstacle to the happy ending. Without a compelling story for the couple, the only plot remaining is the final refurbishment and opening of the inn. Unsurprisingly, this goes off without a hitch, because it's just that kind of book. Basically, nothing happens in this book whatsoever.

The Perfect Hope is the nadir of an already low series. The inn has been finished and opened, so no plot remains from that source. Instead, we are left with Ryder and Hope, two people who have nothing in common except that they don't really like each other. While this is often a set-up to a great romance novel, in this case, it is torturous. Ryder is an epic jerk, and it is nearly impossible to understand why Hope is willing to be in a relationship with him. By the end of the book, neither of them has experienced any real emotional growth or development. Oh, except that the whole ghost plotline gets sort of resolved. Oh, did I not mention the ghost? That's probably because I wish Nora hadn't included that plot in the first place. This book has no build and certainly no climax.

Reading the Inn Boonsboro trilogy is an exercise in extreme disappointment. That being said, her inn does sound awfully beautiful and I'd love to see it! So I guess the books did what Nora wanted them to do. I just hope that she got this self-promotional urge out of her system so that she can go back to doing what we all want her to do. Reading these books is like being forced to look through all the pictures of a friend's recent vacation.
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on November 7, 2012
I did not have high hopes for this last entry in the triology as I was disappointed with the first two books, which is just as well as the third is the weakest story of the three. In the past, Roberts has seamlessly interwoven a main storyline with three or four different romances, some subplots among minor characters and an intriquing addition (such as a ghost or characters from the past). However, this time the components are not interwoven at all, but left in awkward, chunky threads that just get in the way. The featured character here is the inn, but instead of using it as a charming backdrop Roberts clutters the books with too many details about daily operation to the detriment of the story's flow and character development and interplay. If you have not read Roberts' earlier series, I recommend giving this one a miss and reading the MacKade Brothers series, which while similar is much better written. You will care about the characters, cheer for happy endings and be satisfied with the finish. If, like myself, you are compelled to read every book Roberts writes in the hope that you will see a return to her former brillance, be prepared for the disappointment...once again.
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on November 8, 2012
I am a huge NR fan and have read all of her books. That makes this trilogy even more disappointing. The same scenes are played over and over again. Only the name, room, or tool used is changed. This trilogy is one long marketing brochure for her real inn. Shame on you Nora! Your fans deserve better.
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on November 15, 2012
This latest and last book in the Inn Boonsboro trilogy is so slow and boring that, for probably the first time ever, I don't expect to finish a Nora Roberts book (under any nom de plume).

The story is slow, there is absolutely no tension between Hope and Ryder, the dialogue is terse, short and cartoon-y (are they all speaking in Tweets?), the trilogy setting of one building site after another has become stunningly repetitive and pedantic, Ryder is a throwback (in the guise of a 'regular guy'?) and Hope is just flat and uninteresting. Even the 'ghost story' of Lizzy / Eliza is dull.

I've really enjoyed NR's writing for a long time, but if this is the future, I'm opting out.

I can't even be bothered to write more of a review. Lola Jane has said most of what I would have said, but probably better, so I won't take time to repeat her views - I'll merely direct you to read her review.
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on November 9, 2012
I have to say, I'm fairly disappointed with the last book of the Boonsboro series. As someone else said, it was lackluster, at best - unfortunate, as I was most looking forward to this one. I always like the rough and gruff guys the best. But this one? Not enough depth, limited intimacy and some gaping plot holes. The whole ghost thing - in book 2 they found the guy's initials, yet no one seemed to remember. I don't typically mind Nora's fantasy elements - if not too cheesy - but the fact that this one was so poorly planted and unoriginal made it a distraction. The original concept could have resulted in a meaty, delicious series - but instead we got pithy drama and too much day-to-day. Like the last full novel (the one about the awkward witness to a murder - couldn't care about her at all) - I find myself regretting that I purchased this one.

Finally, did anyone else's copy come with grammatical and spelling errors? Use of "got" rather than "had," some sentences that seemed out of context and "him" instead of "his" and "agains" instead of "against." Nora and the copy editors clearly didn't take their time.

Nora, I typically love your work - your books often make for great escapes. Please get back to good!
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on November 6, 2012
I am a lifelong fan of NR and have enjoyed countless hours reading and rereading her books. With that said, I do not like this new series. The quality of writing and character development is not up to her usual level. Great plot idea but not her usual high level execution. The incorporation of the ghost is a bit on the cheesy side. I bought this book because who can resist a new book by Nora Roberts but this whole series has left me disappointed and because of it, I'll be looking at her future books more closely before purchasing.
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