Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts

Sometimes, there is nowhere safe to hide.
It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tended to customers. Then the shooters arrived.
The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.
But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

shelter in place
I’m going to start this review off by mentioning that I did not actually read this book. I’ve joined the world of audio books and this was the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to. So I listened to this book rather than reading the physical copy. I wasn’t sure how that was going to go since I’d never listened to one before. But I recently have been watching a few booktubers and one suggested that even if you don’t think you like it listen anyway; listen all the way through one audiobook and then decide. So that’s what I did with Nora Robert’s newest standalone novel, Shelter in Place. I also want to mention that I didn’t even bother to read the book’s synopsis before I chose this one. I love everything Nora writes and knew this would be no different.
I was balling my little eyes out within the first ten minutes of listening to this. This story is about a hot topic with today’s current events and it was so hard to listen to. I’m also eight months pregnant and everything makes me cry these days and I think listening to it rather than reading it had an effect for sure. I would like to mention that listening to a book is such a different experience for me than reading a book is. I think (with the right narrator) the book can really come alive. Not that the stories don’t come alive when I read them, it’s just different.
Anywho, this story was incredible. I knew it would be because Nora is an incredible author and one of my auto-buy authors. I don’t even need to know what the book is about before getting it (which is what I did with this.) This was a story about a really sensitive topic that will stick with me for a long time. I think Nora did a wonderful job talking about such a hard serious topic in such an interesting way.
The characters in this story were like no others. We got to read a few different perspectives to follow in this book. It was a little bit confusing with the audiobook because there would be a slight pause and then the story would take a completely different direction. I got used to that after a little bit and anticipated it more, definitely something that will probably keep happening with multi-perspective stories that I listen to instead of reading, but only for the first little bit of the story. I really enjoyed the way the book was written. I loved that we got to follow the characters through their lives and see how this monumental and traumatizing even affected each character in different ways.
I thought the characters were so well developed in this story. Part of that was that we followed them for so many years of their lives and we got to follow them as they dealt with their feelings (or avoided said feelings in some cases). We got to follow the development step by step and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed that we followed the villain of the story alongside the victims. I think it was a fascinating aspect of the story. Seeing into the mind of the person that planned the mall shooting and never got caught, it was such a provocative aspect to the book and the other characters.
This was all around an incredibly powerful story. I think everyone should read this story. It’s one that will certainly stick with me for a long time. It was so unlike some of her fun and crazy love stories and I could not stop listening. I literally listened to this book in like three days (the audiobook was like fourteen or fifteen hours long). As for the audiobook aspect of it, I thought the narrator did a fabulous job reading the story. She did different voices for all the different characters and I just loved it. I was really skeptical going into the audiobook but January (the narrator) really made the characters distinct and come alive. I completely surprised myself by really liking the audiobook experience and I’m actually already in the middle of another one.
So yeah, read this book. Listen to this book. Whatever. Just love these words as much as I do and let them make you feel all the feels.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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