Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: Blue Smoke

Blue Smoke
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: Standalone
Released: July 7th 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Length: 464 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

Reena Hale’s destiny was shaped in the destructive—yet fascinatingly beautiful—fire that leveled her family’s pizzeria when she was young. Now an arson investigator, she finds her strength and wits constantly tested, although sometimes the job seems like a snap compared to her love life. But she can’t always blame the men. After all, a soot-caked woman barking orders and smelling of smoke isn’t the biggest turn-on in the world. Then she meets Bo Goodnight, who seems different. He’s been trying to find Reena for years, and now that she’s close enough to touch, he has no intention of letting go.
Nor does the man who has begun to haunt Reena’s life—with taunting phone calls and a string of horrifying crimes. And as Reena tries desperately to trace the origins—of the calls, the fires, the hatred aimed in her direction—she will step into the worst inferno she has ever faced… 

Nora’s books are one of my most reliable cures at times when my brain begs for a much needed rest. All of us readers have this amazing capacity to shut down and unplug, and for me, the best way to achieve this state of complete detachment from my everyday troubles is through one of Nora’s books. While I don’t much care for her paranormal work (PNR is just not my genre), no one writes romantic suspense better than she.
Blue Smoke is an old one, first released more than ten years ago, but aside from the years on each chapter, nothing about it seems outdated. It begins as Nora’s story so often do, with our heroine’s childhood and the traumatic event that will determine the course of her life. From the very beginning, Catarina Hale stands out among her brothers and sisters. She is intelligent, inquisitive and systematic, a child that is never really a child. When a fire takes away her family’s livelihood, Reena knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up. Everything from that point on is just another step toward her desired career as a fire investigator.

We follow Reena through various stages of her life, from one traumatic event to the next. While her career is on an accelerated path, her love life is miserable from the start. Somehow Reena’s love interests, no matter how superficial, always end up dead, and their death always involves fire. It takes a while for Reena to connect the dots, but not so long to make us doubt her intelligence.

As usual, Nora gives us a strong, independent heroine. She doesn’t need a man to save her, and even when the right one comes along, she doesn’t just hand over the reins. If anything, Reena is reluctant to share her life, but Bo Goodnight is just a bit too hard to resist. As we follow Reena through her education and the beginnings of her career, Bo is always in the background, dreaming about the mysterious girl he’s never had a chance to meet. Even though he’s just a touch too perfect, as Nora’s heroes tend to be, he is precisely what our Reena needs. I adored these two together and I appreciated how much time Nora took to develop a true relationship between them.

Even when her books are not perfect, I never hesitate to recommend Nora – not that she needs my recommendation. The woman is simply magical. Sinking into her story is one of my favorite feelings in the world.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.


  1. I feel the same way about Sandra Brown's books. She pulls me out of a funk even though her books require a bit more thinking than normal. I'm really surprised I haven't really read too many Nora Roberts books. I mean, they seem to be somewhat similar.

  2. It's good when an older title doesn't seem dated, or not TOO dated. I've never read anything by Roberts but I probably should at some point! :)

  3. I love go to authors. Can you believe I've never read a Nora Roberts book? I feel like I can't truly call myself a book lover until I do.

  4. OH, this is one of my mom's favorite Nora Roberts books! I've seen her watching the film whenever it's on television and I feel like I know the story just from seeing snippets of it. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Maja, even though it wasn't perfect. I'll have to get my hands on this one--probably my own mom will join me on a read-along if I do! ;)

  5. I know you lover her books and it's been a while since I haven't read one but I really should go back to them

  6. I really need to start reading more Nora Roberts books for sure! I love me independent heroines!

  7. I read The Witness by Nora Roberts and really enjoyed it. I have few go-to authors when I want a read that will suck me in and I know I'll enjoy it. Robyn Carr is one of them. I need to check this story out. I wish she had more available in audio book from my library. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

  8. I do enjoy PNR but for some reason I keep hesitating with Nora's works in that genre. I may have to first go to her romantic suspense with your recommendation. Not all in that genre have a strong woman and since she does (I love the sound of Reena) I do think this is the book for me. Totally wishlisting this one now.

  9. I have tried like...1 Roberts book ;)

  10. У них тут очень классно!


Thank you for stopping by and commenting. If you're a fellow blogger, I'll visit and return the favor as soon as possible. If your're using Google+ to comment, please make sure that your blog link is clearly visible on your profile.

Unfortunately, this is now an award and tag free blog, but I do thank you for your consideration.