Friday, June 15

Top 3 of Nora Roberts

All right, the break is over and it's time to get the ball rolling again at Breezing Through :) I'm really happy this post is finally done and ready to go up! Yay! I take on full responsibility for its lateness and I want to thank Ames for her patience! She should have cracked the whip a long time ago to get my butt into gear, but didn't and I really appreciate it LOL.

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:

Sea Swept
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...

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...
Genre: Contemporary romance
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...

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.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

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 :)

The Search
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...

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...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

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:

Public Secrets
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
Series: None

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.

Montana Sky
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.

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.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None

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.

Tears of the Moon
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.

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.
Genre: Contemporary romance
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!


Rowena said...

Oh man, I read Public Secrets so long ago but I remember it being too gritty for my tastes but back then, I was only into the kind of romances that had rainbows and sunshine in them. LOL.

Seaswept would definitely be my #1 pick. I love that book to pieces and then some.

Great lists you guys, I'm going to have to try the others that I haven't tried yet. If both of you guys like them, I'm sure I'll love them too.

TFOB said...

I think my favorite Nora Roberts is always going to be Sweet Revenge. It was one of my first by her, and I still reread it every few years. How can you not love a Princess and a thief story;)

Hilcia said...

Ladies! This is so tough for me! I don't know if I can choose only 3 top favorite books by NR! I usually choose my 3 favorite trilogies, and then my 3 favorite stand alone books... lol!

Okay... I will try:

1) Hmm... I'm thinking! Born in Shame. Although to be truthful the whole trilogy is my favorite since I usually don't read one book without reading the other two. *g(* (I'm cheating) I love all three romances and IRELAND in this series. It's a comfort trilogy for me.

2) Tears of the Moon from the Irish Trilogy! Now, this is really my favorite book of this series, although again I don't usually read the book on its own when I re-read the whole trilogy. But I love both the hero and heroine, and their friends to lovers romance, plus the Irish background is gorgeous.

3) Rising Tides from the Chesapeake Bay trilogy about the Quinn brothers! I love all three books and love, love all books, but this book just does it for me. It's silent Ethan with his painful past, the way that he really bonds with young Seth and his relentless yearning for Grace that I love in this story.

Okay... I chose the three that I re-read the most often. BUT, I also love, love Montana Sky, Ames! And, Carolina Moon, and... and... so... it's tough to choose. *g*

~ames~ said...

Wena-Looks like I'm going to have to check out Seaswept! And I wonder what you'd think of Public Secrets now? LOL

TFOB-That would be another one of the early ones I did enjoy. I liked the whole Princess aspect.

Hilcia-I read that trilogy. Born in Ice was my favorite of all 3 books. I've never read the Chesapeake Bay trilogy. I may have to now.

nath said...

Rowena - I felt the same as you about Public Secrets. Another thing about this book was that the H/H's lives intersected and it took a while for the H/H to get together. And that was actually the old-school way :)

Yay for Sea Swept!! :) It's just a great book and it's one that I re-read so many times :)

Let us know which ones you're going to read and how much you enjoy it! :)

TFOB - Interesting choice TFOB :) I did enjoy the thief aspect of the book, but I always struggles with princesses and princes - in any books.

This is one that I've read years ago and have not re-read... Think I'll put it on my list of to-dos :P

Hilcia - LOL, that's too easy Hils :) Although I guess eventually, we can do that :) Favorite series and favorite stand-alones. NR has written so many of each, we can sure do it LOL.

Born in Shame is the last one in the trilogy right? I actually like Born in Fire better :) Loves Maggie's temperament and Rogan is a businessman!

Tears of Moon was a great book, a great friends-to-lovers book and I can totally see why it's a favorite of yours and Ames :)

I thought Ethan was a great hero and I still love the chemistry between the guys... and Aubrey was just soooo cute! What I had difficulty with was Grace as an heroine. She's a good woman and a good character, but I don't know. She didn't appeal that much to me in that story.

And choosing the ones you re-read the most is usually a good idea :)

Ames - OMG, I did not realize you have not read the Chesapeake Bay series yet!! How did I miss that?!? You gotta Ames!! ASAP! LOL.

elena said...

Three Fates , Montana Sky ,Carolina Moon , but I read only 18 book by Nora Roberts :)

Marg said...

Sea Swept was my first ever Nora Roberts and so it will always have a special place in my heart! I might need to reread it one day!

I just went to have a look at the list of books I have read by her and there is quite a lot. Some of the books that I rated highly included Born in Fire, Blue Dahlia and Red Lily, Jewles of the Sun, Bed of Roses and Happy Ever After

Li said...

SEA SWEPT would probably be in my top three. Then I love the O'Hurley family books - maybe WITHOUT A TRACE. And then one of the Stanislaski family books - WAITING FOR NICK?

Yes, they're all her older ones - and I cheated and had a look at her backlist at Fantastic Fiction...

I guess the common theme is that I love the way she writes family relationships!

Leslie said...

After realizing I've only read one of the six listed, I'm not sure I'm qualified to give a top 3 Nora reads. LOL

I did enjoy The Witness a lot and her bride quartet. I guess I need to explore her back list. At least now I know where to start. :)

S. said...

Well, my top three....

1)Three Fates. It was the first one I've read with 3 roamnces in one and I loved it. Tia's caharcters was both funny and strong and I loved Gideon and Cleo's romance.

2)Born in Shame. I love, love, love how Shannon took a chance on love and how positive it was to see her find a family.

3)Holding the Dream. My very first book by Nora. I loved the writing, the atmosphere, the romance, the family ties, the way Kate was more shy and suspicious at times but then comes an almost perfect man just for her..what a great romance to start with this author. At the time I didn't know it was part of a trilogy but after reading the others, this is still a best favorite.

I prefer the romances than her suspenses:)
About the Public Secrets talk..I didn't like it. Not the story, not the characters, not the time jumping. I don't hate it, but I have a severe dislike for it. The same with Blue Smoke for the exact same reasons. These are the only two so far I felt like throwing away lol
Kiss :)

nath said...

Elena - It's okay if you've only read 18 books :) Even among those 18 books, you have favorites :P

Those are great choices :P I need to re-read Carolina Moon. I did like like Three Fates, but again, it's not a book I usually pick up to re-read.

Marg - Yay for Sea Swept! I think it was just an awesome book :)

I don't think I've read the Garden trilogy in its entirety. By that point, I was a bit burn-out on all her trilogies/quartets. Because while they are good, they are also very similar ^_^; There is a pattern among them.

Li - Yay for another vote for Sea Swept :P

Oh, the O'Hurley series. I like Piper's book... can't remember the title, but she's the dancer. Love the romance in that one :P One of my favorite theme, carefree heroine with stuffy hero :P

Waiting for Nick is good :) that is probably my favorite in that series as well, but I have not read them all.

And yeah, that's really her strength. Family and interactions :)

Leslie - LOL, it's the top 3 among the ones you've read :) As I said, no matter how many books by an author you've read, there must be ones you like better :)

LOL, I hope you enjoy our favorites!

S. - Nod nod. I love Gideon and Chloe in Three Fates. That was my favorite storyline too :P However, I feel we get a bit short cut when she does three storylines in one book. I mean, yes, the book is long... but I want more! LOL

I know right, first book often holds a special place :P I enjoyed that series, but have never re-read it.

Only two that you didn't care for, that's exceptional considering her backlist :P And I hear you on liking the romance better than the suspense :P

Christine said...

First of all.. you gals sure know your Nora Roberts romances! I love reading your chit chat about your favorite books even though I'm unfamiliar with it all.. which brings me to ..

Second of all.. I haven't read and or heard of 95% of the NR books you're all talking about! Holy smokes!

I have only read that paranormal trilogy and her Bridal Quartet. I have some serious catching up to do. Might have to start with SEA SWEPT since so many of you hold that one near and dear to your hearts.

GREAT FEATURE. Can't wait to see what other authors you come up with.

nath said...

Christine - Thanks! We have decided on the next author :P HOpefully, we'll get the post done soon :P

LOL that means you have a lot of recs for NR :P NOt a bad thing at all! I just love her.

You definitively have to read Sea Swept. Seriously, I can't believe how many of you have not read that one.

My only advice when reading NR, don't read all her trilogy one after the others. You'll grow tired. But one from time to time, it's good :P

Shahbaz said...

I read mostly books of nora and i think public secrets was awsome one in all....

Anonymous said...

While I haven't read all of her books, I've read enough to make it hard to narrow down. There are a few I keep coming back to though so I would rank:

1. Honest Illusions-I just adored the long look at Luke and Roxanne from childhood to adulthood. I thought she handled the changes in their relationship and the struggles they went through perfectly. I was completely swept up in their story and I could've kept reading about them for many more books!

2. Tears of the Moon- I really just enjoyed the series (I prefer the purely romantic storylines) but this one in particular. It was very charming to see how Shawn and Brenna went from friends to confused lovers. I enjoyed both of the characters immensely and loved how the story unfolded.

3. Montana Sky/The Reef-This one was just too tough. Montana Sky was the first NR book I read so it will always make the cut but I remember reading The Reef many years ago and being completely addicted. I think something about overcoming separation is enjoyable to me. I think she handled the action and suspense in this book better than many of them and I loved the treasure hunting element. It was all great! And Montana Sky has always stood out for me because of how much she emphasizes the sisterhood aspect and strangers getting thrown together. I enjoyed the sisterhood aspect as much as the romance. At the same time, I really liked Ben and Willa and kind of wished we could have seen more focus on them but overall, a definite favorite!

There are so many more I love but at the moment, I'll keep it to that. Other special mentions would be: Daring to Dream (and the whole Dream trilogy), Carnal Innocence, and the Chesapeake Bay series.

And of course, a few that I just think kind of missed the mark were: Genuine Lies (I remember more about the Hollywood drama than the couple's story), Sanctuary (just a little too dark for me), Hot Ice (I honestly couldn't like either of the main characters so I never really got into it).

I've hardly read all of her books though so who knows what may change!

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