Wednesday, November 11

Review: Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

When Monroe first joined us back in August (already!!), we said we'd do a four-way review. We discussed books we wanted to read and kind of left it at that. Then, around mid-October, during one of our email exchange, Chantal reminded us that we still haven't decided what book to read for the ultimate buddy review LOL :) Discussion started again, with updated titles... and then, there it was... the perfect book to be reviewed: Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts. All of us had read Vision in White and liked it more or less. (Chantal insert: Not me, it was DNF for me, lol. But I'm a sport and took one for the team with BOR.) Bed of Roses seemed to be the perfect book, as it was coming out soon and therefore ensured that we'd read it more or less at the same time.

So here it is, our first 4-way review! Hopefully, not our last either :P

***Warning: review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk!***

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
published by Berkley in October 2009

As little girls MacKensie, Emma, Laurel, and Parker spent hours acting out their perfect make believe "I do" moments. Years later their fantasies become reality when they start their own wedding planning company to make every woman's dream day come true. With perfect flowers, delicious desserts, and joyful moments captured on film, Nora Roberts's Bride Quartet shares each woman's emotionally magical journey to romance.

In Bed of Roses, florist Emma Grant is finding career success with her friends at Vows wedding planning company, and her love life appears to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn't found Mr. Right. And the last place she's looking is right under her nose.

But that's just where Jack Cooke is. He's so close to the women of Vows that he's practically family, but the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. When Emma returns his passion-kiss for blistering kiss-they must trust in their history...and in their hearts.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: Bride Quartet, Book #2

Ames: Oh, I'm really enjoying it so far! The whole friends to lovers things really revs my motor. Rowr!

Monroe: LOL I can't wait to read it... I hope someone gets preggers! LOL

Ames: NO. No preggers in this book. LOL

Monroe: LMAO, I just said that because I know how you hate that! LOL

Nath: LOL, girls, do you think we sound like the ladies at Vows in the Quartet series? :)

Monroe: Of course...we after all are all great friends! :o)

So what did you think of Bed of Roses?

Ames: I enjoyed it! I don't know how many times I can say I like the friends to lovers theme.

Monroe: Oh I loved it too!!!! Jack was a hottie!

Ames: I liked that this was a straight up contemporary romance. No crazy paranormal stuff going on, no nasty villains. This is how I imagine people could fall in love realistically.

Chantal: I started to skim about half way through. I really liked Jack and Em, but their scenes together were rather bland to me. The stuff happening around the love story--the friendship with the girls, the wedding business--that was all interesting, but the relationship between the H/H wasn't up to par. Disappointing because I liked them as characters on their own but when they were together I was just skimming on through.

Nath: I'm in between Ames/Monroe and Chantal. On one hand, I really enjoyed the book - the friendship, the business, Jack and Emma's relationship. I thought that Jack and Emma's relationship had a lot of sweet and cute moments, but I understand why Chantal thought it was bland. The scenes were more day-to-day and like Ames said, more realistic. It's two people knowing each other for years and finally acting on their attraction. There was no real trigger as to why they got together and no real suspense/mystery/villains, etc. to make the relationship more exciting. However, I didn't mind that. Instead, my issue with this book was the conflict.

Ames: With Jack, you kind of new what his issue was going to be. I saw their "fight" coming a mile away.

Monroe: Ya true...I was waiting for it! OMG when he put those keys in his pocket I flipped! LOL He WAS kinda a jerk BUT she did let herself into his house. BUT then again they've known each other for years. I was on the fence about that! LOL

Ames: Well she went into the situation KNOWING that she was crossing a line. But how else do you move forward? She was going to tell him how she felt anyway.

Chantal: For what it's worth, I didn't have an issue with her going in to his place.

Ames: I didn't have an issue either, like I said, they needed to move forward.

Nath: I don't have an issue with Emma going to Jack's place. I do agree that Jack was a bit of a jerk, but I do think that Emma really over-reacted in that scene. They've been going out for a few months only, she let herself in his house without his permission and he had a shitty day. I mean, seriously, put yourself in Jack's place. You got a shitty day, a headache. You come home and find someone has invaded your place - whether it's your parents, siblings or lover, it doesn't matter. I'd be pissed like Jack too. I don't think his reaction was at all about their relationship moving forward.

Also, Emma is the one who always felt conscious about being over at his place - the toothbrush and so on... but then, again, I blame Parker for all that! LOL.

Chantal: I agree. As much as I thought his reaction was a bit hurtful, I would have taken it for what it was--him just having a bad day.

Nath: Aside the fact that I thought Emma over-reacted, I didn't like the conflict at all. I think that fear of commitment has been over-used as a conflict. In Vision in White, it passed because it was the woman with fear of commitment... but seriously, it's time authors come up with something more original... or actually, could a book still be interesting without a conflict between the H/H at the end?

My other issue, which is kind of related to the conflict, is that the ending was really rushed. I think that if Ms Roberts had an extra 50 pages, it'd be better.

Any of you had any other issue?

Monroe: Oh one hang up for me though was after the fight when Del and Jack were talking and Del asked Jack if he loved Emma and it was just kinda like "hmmm...well ya I guess I do" LOL like it wasn't a bigger deal. I don't know I felt that part needed to be stronger.

Nath: You think so? I don't think so. They're just starting a relationship. Yes, they care for each other and they are attracted to each other. Isn't that enough to start? This was not a "I've been in love with him/her for 10 years" friends to lovers plot... so I don't see why Jack would need to say right away that he loved her. It was the same for Parker, when she told Emma: "You do realize you're in love with Jack, right?" I really wanted to smack her! I thought it was pretty insensitive on Parker's part, because I don't think Emma was ready to acknowledge that she was in love with Jack. I think Emma needed more time and it would have been better if she processed her feelings on her own, than having Parker tell her. I know Parker meant well, but sometimes, you need to back off.

Ames: But he's not saying he loves her right away. They've been dating for a few months now and they have known each other for a really long time. So I have to agree with Monroe, I wish there would have been more to Jack realizing how he felt about Emma.

Nath: However, isn't Monroe referring to the fight between Jack and Del, which is at the start of their relationship? But I completely agree with you, Ames. I wish Jack would have realized his feelings for Emma on his own, but then Emma broke up and you had all the noisy friends intruding.

Ames: No, I think Monroe is referring to the fight Jack and Emma have. Remember Jack goes to see Del because he's all alone and feeling mopey? That's when Del asks Jack if he loves Emma.

Chantal: I have one more issue. I didn't like seeing Carter in this book. He is the main reason I stopped reading VIW, so it was annoying to come across him so much in BOR.

Ames: Are you crazy? LOL Well you know I love nerdy heroes. But I enjoyed seeing him in this book. I thought his scenes were funny.

Monroe: Oh I love Carter... no complaints from me! LOL

Nath: Come on Chantal! LOL, he wasn't so bad! He's actually super cute! And he didn't appear that much :(

Now, what worked for you in Bed of Roses?

Monroe: I loved the friendship in this book! That's one thing I really enjoy about these books... It always warms your heart and makes you wanna go hang with your girls! :o)

Ames: I know! I agree about the friendship. That scene when Emma cries? Towards the end? Perfect example of good girlfriends. :P

Nath: True! :) Ms Roberts definitively excels at writing interactions and dynamics. I love the friendship between the girls, but also between the guys LOL :) It's fun to see Del and Jack welcoming Carter in their group and hanging out together.

Monroe: I also loved how Emma loved though. She had such a romantic heart! *sigh* I just loved how sweet Emma's ideal love story was in her head.

Nath: Emma and Jack were great characters :) I really liked them. They were different enough from Mac and Carter not to confuse them with each other... and I agree with you, Monroe. Emma was so romantic and giving, she was very lovable.

Chantal: What were your favourite parts in the book? Mine wasn't with the H/H. It was at the beginning with the Monster Bitch Bride. I LOL'ed when they talked about her and read the email she sent.

Ames: I love that first scene from Jack's POV when he sees Emma at the party. He's still trying to deny his feelings for her.

What I would have liked was a scene on the beach - remember what Jack told Emma? So I'm thinking that since that trip for them to the beach is in August, we'll get that scene!

Monroe: Oh maybe!!! I loved the soccer part! lol It was so cute afterwords how Jack was so turned on by her "sporty" side! lol

Nath: Hmm, I really liked all the scenes that involve more than 2 persons LOL A good scene was the first meeting between Parker and Mal - you can already see he's a man who can handle a woman like Parker :) Oh, and that scene at the end when Carter meets Jack and says he feels like a double agent and he kinds of like it? Too cute!!!

So what grade are you giving Bed of Roses?

Monroe: I have to admit I teared up a few times in this book! lol I have to give it a B+. I love these types of reads... ones that you don't stress out on or get overly pissed about! LOL Relaxing and lovable!

Ames: I wasn't as emotionally involved as that - Nora writes a good story but I just felt like this book was a pleasant way to pass the time. A purely fluffy read. Which is fine, everyone needs that. I'm giving BoR a B+. The perfect way to pass a pleasant Sunday.

Nath: I agree with you ladies. A fluffly read, very pleasant and enjoyable. Still, I had issues with it, so a strong B for me.

Chantal: Not counting the In Death series, I realized that I have only been able to enjoy one Nora Roberts book. I do believe I will give up on this author now. I just don't enjoy her books like most others do.

I'll give this was a C . I want to say C minus-ish, but I'm afraid of all the crazy Nora fans.

Monroe: I've ONLY read these two books by her! lol I'm so far behind... but I CAN NOT WAIT till Laurel and Dels book! :o) EEP! Oh and Parker and Mal... now THAT'S gonna be a funny story! I love these books!

Chantal: High Noon was awesome. It reminded me a lot of her In Death series, so that's probably why I liked it.

Ames: It sucks Chantal that you're giving up on NR. But glad you liked High Noon. I've got that one in my TBR Pile. LOL I like some earlier NR books myself - I cut my baby romance teeth on them. Public Secrets is one of my faves.

Nath: If you don't enjoy her fluffy reads Chantal, stay away from her trilogies :) Instead, read her stand-alones, they are more mystery and thus, closer to her In Death books.. If you've enjoyed High Noon, I'm sure you'd like Angel Falls as well :D

For now though, I'm also looking forward to Laurel and Del :) I'm curious about Laurel, I had an image of her from Vision in White, but she seems quite different :) And Del is so clueless, LOL :P

Chantal: Thanks, Nath. I'll keep that in mind. :-)


Leslie said...

I totally skipped the review and went straight for the grades - haven't read the first book yet. And thank you for posting the spoiler notice, you'd be surprised how many people don't.

Averaged out would be around a B so that's good. :) I do think the covers, so far, are beautiful. They definitely shout "Romance".

nath said...

Leslie - LOL, well in a discussion, it's hard to do it without spoilers... so really, all the reviews at BT contains them :) I'm just glad I remembered LOL :P

Nod nod about the covers. It's not just that they scream romance, but also wedding... so it fits the series very well :)

Monroe Dawson said...

I LOVE the covers!!! They are always so beautiful! :o)

Tabitha said...

I like BOR more so than VIW. I agree that Emma over-reacted, and so did her gfs. Yes, Jack was an a** when he pocketed the keys but you have to think they had only been dating for 2mos. Storybook time may be considered long but in RL, that's not long at all. I love the friendship between the girls but I think they were a bit rash in reacting against Jack. It's not a crime for a guy to have a bad day or to feel as if his space was invaded.

Btw, I'm not a fan of Carter much. He's too cheesy-dorky for me. lol.

I can't wait for Parker and Mal's story!

Hilcia said...

I finally finished the book, so here I am reading your great 4-way review. :)

You all make some excellent points about this book. It was a straight romance and it was Nora. Not my favorite, though. I also had some problems with this one, although I liked both Emma & Jack. :) I still like Carter, though -- I'm a sucker for a nerdy beta. ;P

Chantal said...

Carter sucked. Put him in a dress and he would have been the heroine.

Hilcia said...

ROFLMAO! Chantal... thanks for that laugh! Guess you feel strongly about Carter...

nath said...

Tabitha - I agree Tabz, I thought the girls were tough against Jack... and it sucks, because it proves that you cannot go friends to lovers to friends again. Things will definitively change. It's a good thing when your gfs support you, but I thought that the girls weren't fair. Ah well.

Hilcia - Go nerdy beta heroes!!

Anonymous said...

Great review and you guys certainly picked out a few things that had been bothering me about the books. What also bugged
1) yet again there was a psycho ex-girlfriend of the hero - I really hope one doesn't pop up in the future books
2) For someone who supposedly has the happiest most intact family of the group, Emma barely spoke to anyone but her mother. None of her sisters came over during the heartbreak period.
3) I didn't find the conversations between men as entertaining or "true to life" as I usually do. Except the "double agent" bit which was hilarious!
4) what is with all the barely there eating all the women do? All the diet Coke? Even the pastry chef is thin!

What I liked - I actually liked all the florist scenes because I found myself thinking how I could create that! The friendship between the women, and the emergence of the Mrs. Grady character was lovely.

Canada said...

I have read the first three of the four Brides Quartet books. As predictable as they may be I find the sassy attitudes and can do power of the four women in this series refreshing and fun. It brings the little girl dream of "being" somebody and bringing love along for the ride out in me. It made me think of "what-if"? Do I have what it takes to make my dreams come true?
I don't often reread books but know that if I need a day to get away from it all I'll just pick up one of these books and be carried away.

nath said...

Canada - Sorry for the late reply to your comment!!

I actually love the Brides Quartet and have re-read Savor the Moment so many times :) I love the friendship in these books and it's always great to read about people who had made their dreams come true :)