Book #58: Nora Roberts Land by Ava Miles

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Journalist Meredith Hale’s ex-husband claimed her Nora Roberts addiction gave her unrealistic expectations about marriage, and she believed him. All dreams of happily ever after—or Nora Roberts Land as her mother calls it—went up in smoke. But when her family asks her to temporarily help their Dare Valley, Colorado newspaper, she decides it’s time to change her life and prove her ex wrong. She’s determined to find her own small-town Nora Roberts hero, prove that true love exists, and publish a story about her quest.

War correspondent Tanner McBride has just returned stateside to work for a major newspaper, and the last thing he expects is blackmail. Yet, before he can even unpack, he’s headed to Colorado. His assignment? Make his boss’s ex-wife fall for him and then break her heart. Her article about discovering love à la Nora might air dirty laundry about her marriage to the media mogul, threatening his senate run. The mogul wants Meredith stopped, and he makes sure Tanner has no choice in the matter.

When the two meet, the sparks between them are undeniable. Meredith, who vowed never to date another journalist, begins to succumb. Could Tanner be her Nora Roberts hero? As they work together to uncover the truth behind a suspicious death, the depth of their feelings unfolds and both realize they’ve kept their secrets for far too long. But before the truth can be revealed, their investigation takes a deadly turn, one that might make Meredith’s personal Nora Roberts Land go up in flames.

 I am a Nora Roberts reader. Have been for a while now and I blame my mom for it. Whereas I prefer Roberts’ more fantasy driven romances, I do like a thriller/contemporary romance every now and then. So, naturally, I was intrigued by Ava Miles and her own romantic homage to Nora Roberts.

I honestly bought this book because of the title. I didn’t really know what it was about until I started listening to my audiobook version of it. The blurb and main story plot does make the book sound like a Lifetime movie, but even the characters make similar comments.

I fell in love with Ava Miles’ writing when I was listening. The characters are lifelike with their humor and personal issues. But, the one thing I seriously applaud Miles for is her way of writing flirting scenes. They are steamy without any physical action and the most normal thing can become the subject for verbal foreplay. It is wonderfully crafted and I couldn’t believe my reaction to the text.

A great choice in narrator too. I have been loving audiobooks for a while now and I believe that it takes a great voice to make the text alive. The writing can be amazing, but the narrator can make or break the audiobook. The narrator, Em Eldridge, gives every character their own voice and strengthens Miles’ already great text.

The story may at times be silly or reminiscient of a Lifetime movie, but I was still pulled in. I wanted to know what happened to Meredith. I wanted to know when Tanner was going to tell her the truth. And, yes, I did find myself yelling at the characters at times. That kind of reaction is a great one to have when reading. It means I was invested.

As you can tell, I truly liked this book. I don’t know if I would say that I am a big Dare Valley fan, but I do know that I’m continuing the Dare Valley series.

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