As you can see from the title, this post is our Top 3 books by Nora Roberts :) This is actually the first post of our new feature at Breezing Through, Top 3. In the past, I've done a Top 3 of Jennifer Crusie and a Top 3 of Sharon Sala on my blog. It was meant to be a regular feature, but I let the ball drop and never picked it back up ^_^; However, I've been toying with the idea of resurrecting it because even after 4 years, the Top 3 of Jennifer Crusie post is still one of my most popular posts. I think this kind of posts is really interesting and helpful for readers who've just discovered an author with a huge backlist and don't know where to start :) This time around though, I thought I should do it here, at Breezing Through, because it'd be more fun to have more than one opinion :) And hey, we love discussing books and spreading the love!
So for our debut, we thought we'd start big and go with Nora Roberts :) It obviously was a tough choice, but we did it. Here is our Top 3!
Nota bena: We chose our Top 3 books before The Witness was released. Yes, it shows you how long I've been dragging my feet ^_^; So it wasn't included in any of our Top 3, although I do believe if Ames had to choose again, it'd definitively make it :)
Nath's Top 3:
published in by Jove in January 1998
A champion boat racer, Cameron Quinn traveled the world spending his winnings on champagne and women. But when his dying father called him home to care for Seth, a troubled young boy not unlike Cameron once was, his life changed overnight...Genre: Contemporary romance
After years of independence, Cameron had to learn to live with his brothers again, while he struggled with cooking, cleaning, and caring for a difficult boy. Old rivalries and new resentments flared between Cameron and his brothers, but they tried to put aside their differences for Seth's sake. In the end, a social worker would decide Seth's fate, and as tough as she was beautiful, she had the power to bring the Quinns together--or tear them apart...
Series: Chesapeake Bay Saga, Book #1
Nath: Sea Swept is the first book in the Chesapeake Bay Saga - this is not only my favorite book by Nora Roberts, but also my favorite series :) It's about three men - Cameron, Ethan and Phillip - who were troubled teens and were adopted by this loving couple, Ray and Stella Quinn, and it changed their lives. They might not be related by blood, but they are a family in the truest sense of the word. At Ray's deathbed, the three brothers promised their father that they would look after the newest stray, a ten years old boy named Seth. Because the adoption process was not done and the Quinn brothers are bachelors, whether Seth stays with them or not remains a question... which will be answered by social service, most specifically case worker Anna Spinelli. The three men intend to honor their promise and come together to ensure that Seth stay... even as there are whispers about Seth's identity and Ray's suspicious death.
Sea Swept will forever be a favorite because of the Quinn brothers... I often say that Ms Roberts has a knack at writing relationships and families and the Quinns are the perfect example. I love the interactions and chemistry between these three men and the boy. It really shows that you don't need to be blood-related to be family. Something I also love to read in my romance is adults, especially men, bonding with children and that's also something you find in Sea Swept. I also find Cameron to be a great hero - a bit rough at the edges, but really manly and a bit alpha-ish. I really enjoyed the romance with Anna who is a great heroine as well. However, for me, Sea Swept will always be about the connection between Seth and Cameron and the complicity between the brothers :) It's a great book on its own, but also sets up the quartet perfectly :)
published by Putnam in March 1998
Where passion lives...Genre: Contemporary romance
The Maine air was bitter cold and frigid as Dr. Miranda Jones returned to the family home after a busy lecture tour. But her blood turned to ice when, out of nowhere, she felt a knife held against her throat. The unseen assailant stole her bags, slashed her tires... and disappeared. Shaken and bruised, Miranda was nonetheless determined to put the assault quickly out of her mind. Then comes a distraction in the form of a summons to Italy to verify the authenticity of a valuable Renaissance bronze of a Medici courtesan known as "The Dark Lady." However, instead of cementing Miranda's position as the leading expert in her field, the job unexpectedly nearly destroys it when her professional judgment is called into question. Emotionally estranged from her mother, her brother immersed in his own troubles-and a bottle-Miranda, desperate to restore her reputation, has no one to turn to... except Ryan Boldari, a seductive art thief whose own agenda forces them into a reluctant and uneasy alliance. Now, it has become frighteningly clear that the incident that day in Maine was not a simple mugging, and that "The Dark Lady" may possess as many secrets as its beautiful namesake once did. For Miranda, forced to rely on herself-and an enigmatic partner who offers her suspicion and an intoxicating passion-the only way home is filled with treachery, deception, and a danger that threatens them all.
Nath: I believe Homeport is the first Nora Roberts book I've ever read. As a result, yes, it's one that I'll never forget... but that's not why it's in my top 3. The reason is because I keep going back to it again and again. It's just a favorite, one of my comfort read because I love everything about it LOL. Especially the characters and the story :) I love the chemistry between Ryan and Miranda, but also the contrast in their personalities: how he draws her out and she starts living and believing in herself. I also enjoyed the contrast in their families and the relationship between Miranda and her brother, Andrew. There's something about siblings living together, especially a brother and a sister... It talks of a closeness, but also need and support. Also, I'm a huge fan of cat burglar plot and Homeport has one of the best I've read. The story is good and definitively have some nice twists, the suspense is there and you really wonder who's done it. Plus, Ryan is really a good thief LOL. All in all, I do think it's an exciting book and so well balanced with the romance :)
published by Putnam in July 2010
To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life-a quaint house on an island off Seattle's coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescues. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare...Genre: Contemporary romance
Several years ago, Fiona was the only survivor of the Red Scarf serial killer, who shot and killed Fiona's cop fiancé and his K-9 partner.
On Orcas Island, Fiona found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. But all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He's the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon's house, and he's at his wit's end.
To Fiona, Jaws is nothing she can't handle. Simon, however, is another matter. A newcomer to Orcas, he's a rugged and in-tensely private artist, known for the exquisite furniture he creates from wood. Simon never wanted a puppy-and he most definitely doesn't want a woman. Besides, the lanky redhead is not his type. But tell that to his hormones.
As Fiona embarks on training Jaws, and Simon begins to appreciate both dog and trainer, the past tears back into Fiona's life. A copycat killer has emerged out of the shadows, a man whose bloodlust has been channeled by a master with one motive: to reclaim the woman who slipped out of his hands...
Nath: The Search has been my favorite stand-alone book by Ms Roberts in recent years, although I have to admit it was a hard choice between The Search and Angels Fall :P In the end, it came down to a more interesting suspense :P
In The Search, our heroine is Fiona Bristow who the only victim from the Red Scarf serial killer who escaped and as such, her testimony was key. After losing her fiancé and father, she moved to Orcas Island where she owns a dog-training school and does search and rescue. One of her clients is Simon Doyle who builds furniture and is considered an artist and who owns a very energetic and unruly puppy, Jaws. Fiona and Simon are definitively attracted to each other, but their relationship evolved at a starter speed when Fiona becomes the target of the Red Scarf serial killer's copy-cat.
I really love this book because of Simon. He's such a gruffy hero and I love his bluntness. With this kind of men, you know when they do something, they really mean it :) Simon and Fiona have great chemistry and I enjoyed reading their romance. It was just pure fun and I couldn't help but smile :) I also really enjoyed Fiona as an heroine. You can't talk about The Search without mentioning the dogs which are an integral part of the book. I might not be a pet lover in real life, but I love them in my books and in here, they were brilliant. And everything is tied up with a nice suspense. I have to admit that there was a bit too much information about search and rescue and how to train dogs in The Search, which is a syndrome most of Ms Roberts' recent books have suffered, but it's something that I could totally look over. For now, The Search is the book I reach out whenever I'm in a bit of a slump and feel like re-reading something which is why I put it in my Top 3. It's just a comforting read that I enjoy immensely every time :) Will it stay in my Top 3? Well only time will tell :)
Honorable mentions: Angels Fall, The Witness, Savor the Moment and True Betrayals.
Ames' Top 3:
published by Bantam Books (Random House Publishing) in 1990
Emma. Beautiful, intelligent, and radiantly talented, she lives in a star-studded world of wealth and privilege. But she is about to discover that fame is no protection at all when someone wants you dead.
All Emma has to do is close her eyes and she remembers the day Brian McAvoy swept into her life. A frightened toddler, she didn’t know then that she was his illegitimate daughter or that he was pop music’s rising new star. All she knew was that with Brian, his band mates, and his new wife, she felt safe. And when her baby brother arrived, Emma thought she was the luckiest girl in the world—until the night a botched kidnapping attempt shattered all their lives . . . and destroyed Emma’s happiness.
Yet now, even though Emma is still haunted by flashes of memory from that fateful night, she has survived. She’s carved out a thrilling career and even dared to fall rapturously in love. But the man who will become her husband isn’t all that he seems. And Emma is about to awaken to the chilling knowledge that the darkest secret of all is the one buried in her mind—a secret that someone may kill to keep.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Ames: Nora Roberts was among one of the first romance authors I've ever read (Julie Garwood being the first). I know I read this book in the late '90s. I was still living overseas and I loved going to the library on the base. I guess my fond memories of this book are tied up to that experience. :)
Anyway, out of all those first NRs I've read, this is one that's always stuck out. This book has it all. It starts out from when Emma is a little girl, rescued by her rockstar father from a lowlife, groupie mother. From there she grows up under a cloud of sadness at her baby brother's death and ends up marrying an up-and-coming rockstar who is abusive. She escapes that marriage but it changes her. Plus the murder of her brother has affected everyone in her life - even the son of the detective who was trying to solve the murder. I loved this book. I haven't re-read it in forever but I loved Emma, her rockstar family, the hero of this book and the mystery. It all came together really well.
published by Putnam in March 1996
In life, Jack Mercy hadn't been a kind man. In death, he was no different. His daughter Willa expected to inherit his ranch, the place she'd put her heart and soul into. But at the reading of the will, she learns that her home has been given not just to her, but to two sisters she barely knows as well. And in order to inherit, they must all live on the ranch for a period of one year.Genre: Contemporary romance
None of the three sisters are happy with the arrangement. And apparently, neither is someone else as deadly incidents begin occurring around them. Willa, Tess and Lila find themselves fighting for their lives alongside the men who have become part of the lives and their hearts.
Ames: *sigh* This book makes me so happy. Three very different sisters coming to live under 1 roof to inherit their father's ranch. There is sexy cowboys, a mystery, and a strong bond between three women. Jack Mercy is this rich-ass rancher who went through women like underwear. And for this macho man, it must have irked him that he only had daughters. The one this affected the most was Willa, the only one to actually live with him. She tried her hardest to make him proud, but she wasn't a son so she could never live up to his expectations. She is the ultimate tomboy in my book. And she grew up next door to Ben, the son of the rancher next door. Knowing him her whole life, things take a turn that year after her father's death. I loved her story the most, but Tess and Lily's stories are equally good. This one I highly recommend.
published by Jove in June 2000
A talented songwriter, Shawn Gallagher spends his days lost in reverie and wonder, oblivious to the wiles of women and the ways of the world. He claims that he's content with his life, but his music tells a different story—one of loneliness and desperate longing.Genre: Contemporary romance
No one understands why Shawn doesn't put his musical gift to profitable use—least of all Brenna O'Toole, a fiercely independent tomboy who has been secretly in love with him for years. But it is only when Shawn gives in to the mysteries of magic that he gets the chance to fulfill his destiny as a man and a musician—as the song in his head keeps time with the beating of a woman's heart.
Series: Gallaghers of Ardmore/Irish trilogy, Book #2
Ames: This is a book I just discovered in the last 5 years and it has become a favorite. It's got a hint of magic and friends to lovers. What could be better? I've actually reviewed this book twice! (Here and here) Again with a tomboy heroine and the man she grew up with. :) This one takes place in a small Irish town and I love it. There's a bit of jealousy, which I love, and a strong family bond. This is definitely a comfort read and it's got a humour that I truly enjoy. Read my second review for a good passage that I could re-read over and over.
What about you? What is your Top 3 of Nora Roberts? :)
We'd also love feedback on this new feature :) Like or dislike? What should we change or add? Any authors you'd like us to do a Top 3 of? Feel free to let us know!