Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CBR III Review #26 - Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

She’d known him all her life—that was fate, she supposed. But it was her own fault, and her own problem, that she’d been in love with him nearly as long.

This is the third in the Bride Quartet, focusing on Laurel McBane, baker extraordinaire and Delaney Brown, Parker's brother.  Laurel has had feelings for Del most of her life, and has never acted on them since he is the brother of her best friend.  Stubborn and willful, Laurel is more used to fighting with Del than falling into bed with him, but that's what happens just the same.  

While I enjoy this book, it feels a lot like the Emma/Jack story, with the long term feelings and the big conflict being "you don't love me like I love you so we're going to fail" and ending in a proposal as a show of "sike, I really do love you" from the guy.  While the characters themselves are very different, and reasons for the hesitations in both are different (with Jack/Emma it was about his parents' divorce, with Del/Laurel it's about class differences) but it felt more like putting new paint over the old instead of creating something new.  Laurel is a fun character, and I'd love to have a beer with Delaney, but their romance didn't throw me the same way as many of the others.

This book is GREAT however if you love cakes, which I do.  So I enjoyed reading about Laurel's creations and how she went about designing and building them.  This is probably my least favorite of the Quartet overall, but still a necessary piece of the puzzle - a lot of what happens in Parker's story in the last book has roots in this one.

Friday, November 18, 2011

CBR III Review #24 & 25 - Vision in White & Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

“Love can really screw you up before you learn to live with it.” 

I thought it appropriate that my last two books should be from the same series as the first one I reviewed on here.  As I only committed to 26, the next book (number three in the Bride Quartet, titled Savor the Moment) will be my last.  Also?  With all my wedding planning, I was just in the mood for them!

Vision in White and Bed of Roses are the first and second books in the Bride Quartet, a series about four women who run their own wedding business.  Book 1, Vision in White, focuses on Mackensie "Mac" Elliott, the photographer of the group.  Mac comes from a broken home and a terror of a mother, Linda.  As such, she is very hesitant about love and romance, even working in the industry she does.  Cue Carter Maguire, a professor of English at the Academy Mac once attended, and a former friend and classmate of the crew.  Carter had a crush on Mac all those years ago that she never knew about, and the flames are rekindled when he stumbles upon her in her bra when he is on premise for his sister's wedding consult.  Mac finds Carter amusing and charming and decides to give him a shot.  The two pick up a romance that is both interesting and incredibly real.  Interfering in their happily ever after are Mac's paranoid concerns about love really lasting, Linda's interference in everything ever, and for a brief moment, an ex of Carter's trying to break things up.

This book is easily my favorite of the four.  Mac and Carter remind me a lot of myself and my fiance, although he is no where near as clumsy (that's me) and both of us come from stable, two parent, nuclear families that are very close.  But my man was in love with me from the first, and I was terrified of it - I get how Mac's brain works in that way.  Of course, this being Nora Roberts, they get together in the end with a proposal that really fits their relationship.

Book two, Bed of Roses, is about Emmaline "Emma" Grant, the florist of the group, who has pined for friend of the group Jack Cooke for years and never acted on it.  Jack has felt the same, but felt Emma was out of bounds, as Parker's brother, Del, sees all the girls as his sisters.  This is sort of a mirror relationship to Mac and Carter; Jack is the commitment-phobe and Emma the hopeless romantic.  As such, as she falls deeper and wants more from him, Jack starts to screw things up by pulling away.  There's a really lovely climax to this one, one that involves all the girls standing up and protecting their friend.  And as the heart of all of these books isn't the romance, but the relationship between these four powerful, smart, fabulous women, that scene struck me the most.  Again, in Roberts' fashion, they end up with a beautiful proposal straight out of Emma's dreams that should melt even the hardest heart.

In case you hadn't gathered, this is my second read through of these books, which should be an indication of just how much I enjoy them.  Usually Roberts' books are great fun for one go through, but don't really bear re-visiting.  This is a series I will probably come back to often.