I've kind of noticed a pattern in my blogging lately - absent in the beginning of the week and trying to catch up the rest of the week ^_^; I've been dragging my feet the whole day writing this review and I don't really know why LOL. Work is better than a few weeks ago, but still busy. Especially when my boss asks me to unearth data from months ago. Seriously? Who remembers?!?
Anyway, I'm finally done and I'm happy at how the review turned out :) Actually, it makes me want to re-read some passages, so I think that's what I'm going to do before sleeping :) Enjoy!!
The Search by Nora Roberts
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 fianc 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, mystery
The Story: The back blurb does a very good job at describing the story and I really have nothing more to add LOL.
My Opinion: Quite frankly, I hesitated writing this review, because LOL, I don't have anything earth-shatteringly new to say about Nora Roberts or The Search. If you've read my reviews of Nora Roberts books or other bloggers' review of The Search, you know how great an author Ms Roberts is and how solidly good her books are... and The Search simply reinforces this opinion. Still, in the end, I'd like to share with everyone how much I enjoyed this book :)
I've said it many times, but it bears repeating, Ms Roberts is a great author and she consistently delivers good and solid reads. She has a very appealing writing style, simple and enjoyable, does a great job at developing characters and is an expert on relationships, dynamics and interactions. The Search is no exception and contains all the elements that have made Ms Roberts a success.
I really enjoyed The Search. I loved Fiona and Simon. She was a strong heroine that didn't let herself be pushed around, but at the same time, she wasn't so strong that she couldn't accept help when offered. She overcame the bad hand that was dealt to her and build a life filled with purpose and people. I mean, it's hard not to admire a woman like her. I especially liked the fact that if you didn't know what has happened to her, you wouldn't guess by how she lives her life. She's a survivor, not a victim and it's a really important distinction in her life. As for Simon, I loved him. Seriously, Ms Roberts definitively has a knack at writing grumpy heroes LOL. I like his grumpiness, I like the fact that he likes to be alone and doesn't like to be disturb. It doesn't make him a bad guy at all... Sure, socially, his manners could use some polish, but it usually means someone unpretentious and honest, someone solid. LOL, I like the fact that he found himself helping out and doing some nice things unwillingly and being surprised. In fact, Simon reminded me a lot of Brody in Angel Falls. Of course though, neither were perfect men... and the one thing that bothered me about Simon is his negative talking... In many instances, he talked about Jaws or had to praise him... and used some negative adjectives. It wasn't in a mean way and it wasn't enough to turn me off, just enough for me to notice ^_^; Still the man is sexy and handsome and brooding. Winning combo :P
The Search was quite a thick book and I'm happy to report that most of it was spent developing the relationship between Fiona and Simon :) The two of them are great with each other. They don't exactly complement each other, but there is chemistry. I liked how both pushed and gave in... the key to relationship is communication and compromise and they seem to know it. What makes this relationship work as well is the timing and pacing. They both took time to get to know each other, felt the attraction and gave in, let it transform into something more. It wasn't rushed or stretched out, each moved at their own rhythm. Readers who like the relationship to be the focus will be really happy and satisfied in my opinion :)
The overall story was also interesting and well developed. I felt the mystery was more connected to the characters this time and was less random than in Black Hills, as in the motive made more sense. I also feel like Ms Roberts have read our reviews and she scaled down on the villain POVs. Perhaps the suspense could have been ante up a bit, but I was happy with it.
Another thing that Ms Roberts excels at is choosing a subject, researching it and integrating it in her stories. This time, she chose dog trainings and canine search and rescue and seriously, I learned tons about it :) LOL, owning a dog - a disciplined dog, sure is a lot of work :) There was a lot of information and some will think too much; however, for me, it's always good, because it makes the book more realistic and because the research is always very complete.
Finally, I cannot write this review without mentioning Bogart, Newman, Peck and Jaws - the dogs :D They really made me want to get a dog, but I know better LOL. The way they were written, you can feel that Ms Roberts have been around dogs in her life, because they were so real :P In any case, they were great additions to the book acting as the comedic factor, the cuteness factor and the comforting factor. All four were cute, but Jaws being the baby just made me go awwww. And the scene when Fiona brings them to the vet for their shots - Newman. Oh god, so funny! LOL.
My Grade: B+. The Search was definitively a great read that I enjoyed a lot. It was more contemporary romance than romantic suspense, which is what I've now used with her stand-alone title. However, you won't hear any complaints from me on that front :P I definitively liked Fiona and Simon and them as a couple and enjoyed their journey. If I had to rank The Search, it'd fit nicely between Black Hills and Angel Falls - more than solid, but not exhilarating. I guess very enjoyable sums it up :P