Monday, June 26, 2017



Date started: 3/25/17          
                 
Date finished: 4/4/17

For #35 of POPSUGAR's Reading Challenge: a book set in a hotel.



Nora Roberts, I hear her name everywhere from glittering on the front page of her novels in big bold letters at Walmart to television adaptions on the TV screen. Even though, she's all over the place up until this year I've never read any of her work. This is surprising because romance novels are one of my few guilty pleasures along with the Minions.

When it came to deciding what book I would read for this challenge, I hit up my usual sources: the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge on GoodReads, Google, and GoodReads (minus the group). For this challenge, I had difficulty deciding what to read. Most of the suggestions involved horror or thriller genres, opposite of what I wanted which was light, cheerful and slightly more optimistic in nature kind of like a cheesecake but in book form. The only one suggested that fit my criteria was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and I had no desire to read it. Not that it's not a fine book, it just did not fit my criteria as perfectly.

After GoodReads failed to help me, I turned to the next best book finding source: the interwebs, more specifically Google. I searched the key words "romance set in a hotel," and magically The Next Always by Nora Roberts was one of the top of the search engine list. Low and behold, I read it, my dear readers.

The story begins with the Montgomery brothers each one hotter than the next (or at least Nora Roberts leads you to believe) restoring an old house into an romantic inn. Each room in the inn will be named after famous romantic couples such as Elizabeth and Darcy. The youngest brother, Beckett, is the hero of the story. Beckett follows male stereotypes such as coming home and drinking a beer, hardworking architect (third romance I've read where the guy was an architect, weird), obscenely tall with probably a rock hard chest to match, and etc.  One of the few romantic hero stereotypes he doesn't follow is that he harbors a crush for Clare for years (since they were teenagers). I found that aspect cute and changes the dynamic of their interactions for the better.

I had to mix the genres.
As the attractive Montgomery brothers restore the inn, Clare Brewster moves back into town after the death of her husband with her three young sons. Since moving back to town, she runs a bookstore (#femalebusinessowner). Between raising her sons as a single mother and running a viable business, Clare has no time for romance in her hectic life. Bonus points for bringing literacy to BoonsBoro, Maryland, Clare! Somewhere between her curiosity of the inn and his school boy crush, their romance blossoms.


The Good: There was a lot of sweet romantic moments. The build of the relationship between Beckett and Clare seemed plausible and genuine unlike a lot of modern romance novels where steamy hot attraction comes first. Of course, there is a lot of steamy hot attraction (it's a romance novel, duh), but it's in a more sweet and tender kind of way than normal.

The Bad: I cannot fully explain the exact moment there is a turn in the novel (not in a poem kind of volta either, more of a turn for the worse), but there is a definite change. Towards the end of the novel, Beckett tries and fails miserably a couple of times to integrate himself  in Clare's family. I'll give the guy an A for effort, however, even I know not to give a stressed out mother a dog to take care of. I am the type of person who would do something like that. So I'm an expert on those kind of socially inappropriate behaviors. My next issue with the novel was the villain's story line, it felt stretched out too far. It was flimsy at the outset and extending it as far as Roberts does reminds me of a Lifetime movie.

In Conclusion:
If you want to cuddle up with a good romance for the most part, then The Next Always is your book. So while you're friends are still dreaming of Mr. Grey,  you can move onto other gentleman starting with Mr. Beckett Montgomery. 

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