Mysterious: This Magic Moment / Search for Love / The Right Path - Nora Roberts
God, it felt like I was reading that forever. I should have flounced the last two books but I wanted to see how the mystery elements would be resolved. (Lamely, if you're asking.) It's a good thing Nora Roberts's stories have improved immensely in the last 20-30 years.This Magic Moment: I generally liked the characters in this book. Pierce did a couple of things that had me side-eyeing him but he wasn't bad. Ryan's name continually confused me. I just couldn't get used to it being a female name. I liked that there were points where they could have had typical misunderstandings that would cause their separation but instead they talked about it (though Ryan was being somewhat unreasonable). The issue that did drive them apart in the end was ridiculous. Again, I think Ryan wasn't using her head and Pierce wasn't being clear. But the story did have some seriously romantic scenes that I really liked. 3 starsSearch for Love: This story was pretty much nonsensical. The entire premise was strange. But I could have been okay with that if it weren't for the "Hero" Christophe. I guess he wanted to deny his feelings for the Heroine, Serenity, so he basically treated her with nothing but anger and violence. She wasn't passive and would yell right back at him and everytime she did he would grab her and kiss her violently. The word "bruising" was used everytime. It was obvious he was using violent kissing as a substitute for actually hitting her into submission, but then he'd go so far as to confirm that in words after he was done. Of course, his "bruising" kisses zap Serenity of all sense and she doesn't consider them what they actually are nor does she focus on his words afterward. It seriously goes in this vein throughout the entire book until suddenly out of nowhere she's in love with him. What in the bloody hell? At one point they're about to have sex, and he is being kind of violent with it and she tells him she's scared because she's a virgin. He, of course, gets pissed at her. Then at the end he tells her he's "taking what no man's ever had before" throws her on the ground kissing her and groping her and continues even though she's struggling against him but then when she decides that she actually likes it and is ready and capitulates he stops and rolls off and says he realizes he's 'hurt her again and he just can't control his baser instincts with her.' And she's like, 'that's cool.' I almost threw the fucking book against the wall. At that point after he finally admits he loves her he's all sweet and tender and loving. So, basically he was violent toward this girl falling just short of actually hitting her and raping her, because he loved her from the moment he set eyes on her but didn't want to admit it? Yeah, okay. Oh, and he really needed to stop reminding everyone that they're cousins. It's through marriage, they're not close to being blood relations so it wasn't squicky but the calling her cousin wasn't helpful. Sticking around for the resolution of the promised but often-ignored mystery wasn't worth it. It was incredibly contrived. 1 starThe Right Path: This story was much more compelling, so was the setting. I didn't regret sticking around to find out the end of the mystery as much. Same problems with the characters though. Nicolas didn't want to fall for Morgan so he was a jerk to her. It could have come back from their first meeting due to the extenuating circumstances, but he just continued with the behavior even though he'd then lament how much of a dick he is to her and not wanting to hurt her. Then, after she's gotten shit-faced drunk and his cousin (who she was out with at the time) made a point of taking her home as to not take advantage of her, Nick, of course sleeps with her. And is violent about it since he's pissed he's losing control. Morgan, of course, calls it all her fault and is upset when he seems to regret it. He spends an entire long paragraph going on about how he took advantage of her. OH, SO YOU KNEW IT WAS WRONG. Jesus. They have a back and forth I want to like but she acts like a ditz and he's too demanding. She falls in love in like three days and her other suitor who is super sweet and attractive is just not enough. Then suddenly near the end she decides she wants to stand up for herself at all the wrong times about the the wrong things. When she does the first time he says, 'if I had the time I would beat you, but since I don't...' and he kisses her. You have got to be kidding me. But he gives into her. She then swan dives into Too Stupid To Live. I was hoping she'd die due to her stupidity in the end. Ugh. 1.5 stars*****I just want to add that I know I sure want a man who threatens to beat me anytime I don't do as he wants me to do. I'd chalk it up to the fact that all of these were published originally in the early 80s but since it's 2012 and the most passed on, talked about "book" out there right now heavily features a man threatening to beat his girlfriend anytime she disobeys him it is unfortunately not an 80s thing. It's a frighteningly idiotic notion of romance thing. And it is disgusting.