Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Couple of Book Reviews

Have just finished Vision in White by Nora Roberts. Started it last night and couldn't put it down.

Mackensie Elliot is a professional photographer who is in business with her three best friends and with whom she played the "Wedding Day" game multiple times while they were all growing up. He parents essentially abandoned her emotionally when they abandoned each other when Mackensie was four years old, and she bears the emotional scars of that neglect. The only people she has ever let into her life are her three partners. Now she encounters an old school acquaintance -- can't really say they were friends -- who begins to turn her life upside down and who is now a teacher at their old school.

Nora Roberts has done it again. Once more she demonstrates that she is a story teller par excellence and she engages each reader in this wonderful, delightful, funny, breathtaking romance between two very intelligent people, one of whom knows what he wants and whom he loves, and the other trying her best to avoid repeating the pain and disasters of her parents' relationship. The women who own and operate "Vows" are strong individuals who know their own skills and are proud of them; they are able to tolerate and even encourage the open exchange that can become frayed with the stress of owning and running a business such as a wedding planning service, but who have decided that nothing on the planet can destroy their friendships. The romance is warm, engaging, sensual, respectful, and it sizzles as it embraces the the reader in this journey of emotional discovery, a journey that encounters the potholes and pitfalls of old hurts, past relationships, and the self-centered demands of Mackensie's mother. The dialogue is poignant at times and genuinely funny at others. The book is filled with interesting people, all of whom I would love to know for real.

This is a great book!! I give it a wholehearted rating of 5. Thanks, Tracy, for sharing it with me! Love, Mom+

And now, Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh. Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux know she is the best--but she does not know if even she is good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, Elena knows failure is not an option--even if the task is impossible. Because this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track, it's an archangel gone bad. The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other--and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt does not destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just might. For when archangels play, mortals break . . .

Nalini Singh knows how to write novels and she tells a mean story! But the characters one encounters in this novel are a surprise. Even in the world of the paranormal there are differing views of vampires and angels, and this book is no different. Singh writes of a world where archangels are the governing forces of the earth--the Cadre of Ten have divided the continents among themselves and they rule with undiluted power and, often, cruelty. They hold the lives of humans as well as vampires--humans Made into vampires in order to serve the archangels--completely in their control. And as a vampire hunter--one who is born a hunter and not just a human who decides to hunt vampires--Elena Deveraux is one of a rare breed, considered the best of her kind. She is a warrior and as such she attracts the attention of the archangel Raphael, not only to facilitate the tracking of the archangel Uram who has gone bad, but as a woman who interests him because she breaks into his centuries-long boredom from being "on top" of the power grid.

This is a fascinating read, not only because Singh knows how to develop a story with skill, but because the characters are gritty and uncomfortable at times, challenging the reader to see beyond the surface "push/pull" of Elena & Raphael. Elena is a character of great depth and is a complicated and often uncomfortable person. But she feels deeply while guarding carefully her personal space and her emotional independence. She does not enter into emotional relationships easily, having been spurned by her father as a "monster," thus leaving her without family support. Her close friendship with other hunters have effectively replaced her family. She also is reluctant to enter into any sexual relationship because her physical abilities, considerably greater than most humans, have been cause for injury to sexual partners in the past. She is drawn to Raphael sexually but she is not going into any relationship with one of the most powerful beings on the planet without boundaries, without defining the lines which must not be crossed in order to preserve her sense of herself.

As in all the Singh novels I have read (the Psy-Changeling series), she brings alive characters that move across the pages with strength and fortitude, owning up to their weaknesses but fully aware of their strengths, not afraid to admit that they are needing the touch of another both physically and emotionally. Gentleness and genuine regard and respect are not easily discerned in this book; but beneath the raw clashes and encounters between Elena and Raphael, there are fascinating glimpses of neediness which it seems they slowly begin to recognize can only be met by giving in to the attraction which seems to hold them both in thrall.

I wasn't sure I liked this book at first. But it grew on me and I kept on reading. I'm very glad I did! I would give this book a rating of 5.

Until Next time . . .


Tracy said...

I hadn't read a Roberts novel is forever when I picked this one up. I think I burned out on her years ago when she was the only one I was reading. This was a great book. I just loved Carter to death - he made me laugh all through the book.

I love Singh's book so much. She has an amazing talent and her world building blows my mind. Glad you loved this one too.

Mariana said...

Great reviews! I loved both those books. And it's so true, there is only one Nora Roberts. She's fantastic.

Nalini is also so great in her own right. Her books are always hard for me to put down. If you like Nalini Singh, and haven't already read, you should try Marjorie M. Liu. She also takes her characters and stories to unexpected and weirdly intriguing places.

Dr J said...

A further word on Roberts: She has written a cazillion books! And we were reading her books years ago. But like all good, make that fantastic writers, she has "grown" as she should. The world has changed and the permission to write more openly about the sexual has been granted to the society at large as well as talented writers. She has done so without it being gratuitous--just for the sake of selling books--and in a way that is compelling and winsome.

Svea Love said...

I was wondering how that Nora Roberts book would be...Thanks for letting me know! :)