Friday Reads: The One That Started it All

I have been gobbling up books this month at a crazy rate. I’ve been doing so much writing this year that it was nice to take a little break. I still wrote or edited something every day, but I definitely spent as much time reading as writing this month, and I think I needed that.

I didn’t set out to make this a month of books, but I did know that I would read Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts.

I was probably around twenty when I read my first romance novel. It was a bit of a late start, but my friend and roommate told me about an author she loved and had a huge collection of this author’s books. On a visit to her house one weekend, she handed me a book by this author… and the minute I read one I was hooked and knew that this was the type of story I’d been trying to write for years.

That book was River’s End by Nora Roberts. And because it was my first as much as because Nora Roberts is just so awesome, I have devoured a huge portion of Ms. Roberts’ impressive book list. She is an auto-buy for me, and even when I’m a little disappointed in the book, I never regret spending the money (or asking for them as a gift).

So, since Chasing Fire came out a week or two before my birthday, I asked for it. And since my Mom got me a Kindle for my birthday (which is so awesome), my sister got me a little giftcard and my first purchase was Nora Roberts’ newest book.

I was a little worried about this book because I thought it was going to end up a lot like The Search and the recent Wedding Quartet books… where I liked the characters, the romance, but I was a little bored by all the details and other stuff. After all Chasing Fire has the main characters in a very unique career… one that most people don’t know about. This is a familiar trait of a lot of Nora’s recent books, and while it makes for an interesting piece, I don’t want a lot of extra details about the job. I’m not reading for research, I’m reading for the romance, and that’s where I thought her previous couple books kind of didn’t totally do it for me.

So, I was concerned when I started Chasing Fire, but my concern was unfounded. Though there are obviously a lot of details, they didn’t overtake the story. I was sucked in from the beginning. I loved the two main characters, though I did feel like the hero was a little underdeveloped. But, in a way, that didn’t bother me because the heroine is so rarely the true star of the story.

And that’s what I love so much about Nora’s writing. The women are strong, and the men are not afraid to let them take the lead. These guys aren’t weak, just smart and realistic. It’s what keeps me rereading novels like Birthright  and Tribute. Strong heroes and heroines. Smart people who react as realistically as you can in a romance novel that involves murder and mayhem. The way the characters deal with their situations, both romantic and otherwise are realistic and sensible. I never sit there wondering why on earth someone would do what they are doing.

If you’re a Nora fan, Chasing Fire doesn’t disappoint and I’d definitely recommend it.

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