Monday, June 8, 2015

I think about all sorts of things and imagine blogging about them and have to chuckle.  People may want to be privy to others' private lives, foibles, and sufferings, but they don't necessarily want to know what other people are thinking.  (They're more interested in what they themselves think!)
UNLESS what someone else is thinking can enhance their lives.
That thought brought me to this: I love a good book and can share my impression about which ones I believe are "the good ones."
So, I'm going to blog a bit about some of my favorite romance authors, why I love 'em, and which of their books I love.
I'm starting with Nora Roberts. Well, not really Nora, but her alter ego, J.D. Robb.  The way I imagine it, Nora's popularity gave her power, as in "Hey, my publisher, I want to write a romance/crime/futuristic series about a tough lady cop who was severely traumatized as a kid."  And though this sub-genre of romance is hardly booming, I'm guessing her publisher said, "ok."
Besides, everything Nora Jones touches turns gold. Except...

When I tell people I love the J. D. Robb "In Death" series (the only series of Robb's there is) I USUALLY get a response of a scrunched up brow and something to the effect of, "I tried one of those.  I didn't really get into it."

I shake my head and remember I felt the same way about the first one I read...or...listened to (more on this in a moment).  Then I found myself stuck, wanting to find a new book by one of my favorite writers, but nothing really struck me, so I grabbed another in the "In Death" series.  After that, I was hooked.  Since then, I've "read" as in "listened" to, all of them, up to DALLAS TO NEW YORK. (I haven't gotten the rest yet because of compatibility issues with my iPod, but that's another story.)

I'm amazed and enthralled by this series.  If you like romance, and if you like series, and if you like audible books, and if you like mystery, and if you like fantasy, and if you are not squeamish about some heavy duty childhood trauma, this series is for you!!  If you are just plain adventurous, this series is for you. If you love great characters...well, you get the picture.

First, I HIGHLY recommend listening.  This series is read by Susan Erickson.  She does an amazing job of bringing all the characters to life.  I love her narration so much, that even though I have access to all of Robb's ebooks, I have been reticent to read them myself.  I want to hear Erickson do the Hero' Roarke's brogue.  I want to hear her snarky heroine, Eve Dallas, and especially I love Dallas's side kick, detective Peabody (who reminds me so so much of one of my dearest friends that I love her!).

Every J. D. Robb novel has a murder which must be solved by the end of the book, hence the death theme, as Detective Eve Dallas, the main protagonist of the series, is a homicide detective.  Nothing new or amazing there, although the plots are usually interesting and discovering who the villain is is not so easy that the reader knows who the bad guy is from the middle of the book.

Every book in the series has a romance, and maybe a side romance as well.  This is where Robb's skill as a writer shines through.  The romance is always between the same two characters, Dallas and Roarke, her uber wealthy husband.  And does Robb pull it off?  Does she make their relationship exciting and satisfying book after book after book? YES.  When you're looking at over 40 books, that is no small thing.  Robb manages to do this by building the relationship between Roarke and Dallas, slowly, over time, so that they fall deeper in love as the series progresses.  This gives the reader that emotional punch every good romance needs.

World Building:
Did I mention these are futuristic books, set in the 2100's?  There are flying, personal vehicles, funky clothes, hi tech communication devices, space stations, other planets besides earth where people live.  It's very well done, very believable.

At first I did not like Eve Dallas.  She is not a particularly warm or lovable character.  I thought, oh, here we go.  Another pithy, hard-assed female lead.  And to a certain extent, this is true.  I would say, and I'm sorry if this offends anyone, neither Nora nor J.D.'s forte is creating relatable likable female characters.
Having said that, Dallas does grow on you.  She may not inspire warm gushy hugs, but she has integrity and grit.  Her character is admirable, and you will find yourself rooting for her.
Conversely, Dallas's side kick, Detective Peabody is totally lovable, as is Peabody's boyfriend, Mcknab.  (Not sure if I spelled his name correctly.)
Then there's Roarke.  A self-made, gorgeous, Irish billionaire who came up from the wrong side of the tracks, who happens to adore his lady.  What's not to love about him?

I highly recommend reading this series, in order, starting with one.  The first three may not knock your socks off, but if you keep with the series, J.D. Robb's characters will come alive for you and you will be hooked, awed, and amazed, just like me.

Happy reading!