Posts Tagged ‘TBR Challenge’

TBR Challenge 2013: The Wild West

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

daughteroftx For this month’s TBR Challenge, we’re reading Westerns – contemporary or historical. Most of the Westerns in my TBR are historical, but I was in the mood for a little mystery, so I decided the Texas Ranger tie-in of Terri Reed’s 2011 Daughter of Texas would work. This novel is 1st in the multi-author Texas Ranger Justice series from Love Inspired Suspense. LIS seems to do one of these series each year, and I’ll admit that they often suck me in. Each book has its own self-contained romance and mystery, but there is also an overarching suspense plot that winds through all 6 books of the series and doesn’t get solved until the end. When it’s done well, it can be addictive. In this case, I’d say Daughter of Texas starts things off fairly well. I have a few quibbles with the romance and the heroine sometimes drove me a little nuts, but this was still a pleasant enough read, and I’d give it a C+. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2013: Into the RITA Wayback Machine

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

rendezvousatgramercy This month’s theme for the multi-site TBR Challenge had me scratching my head a little. We’re supposed to read a RITA winner or runner-up. Now I have to admit that, at least in recent years, my reading tastes and the RITAs have diverged somewhat. I also noticed as I scrolled down the list of RITA winners that the books I did have from that list were almost all books I’d already read.

Then I got to the real oldies – books I would have been too young to read the first time around. My mother and grandmother both enjoyed Candlelight romances and I’ve ended up with a big box of their former keepers (some people get silver and china, some get antiques, I get old category romances and gothics – no wonder I write on a romance site). Sure enough, I managed to dig out a 1981 novel, winner of the 1982 Golden Medallion for Best Category Historical Romance, entitled Rendezvous at Gramercy by Constance Ravenlock. That’s right. This book goes back so far that they hadn’t even started calling the award the RITA yet. I wasn’t sure what I’d encounter when I read this one but it turned out to be a bit of a gem. I’d probably give it a B. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2013: New-to-Me Author

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

sleepwalker There are so many authors out there that one simply cannot keep up with them all, so finding a book in my TBR pile from an author I’d never read before seemed like an easy way to start this month’s TBR CHallenge.

And it was. Karen Robards has been writing romance for almost as long as I’ve been alive, but somehow I’ve never actually read one of her books. I must have gotten curious at some point because I had her 2012 thriller, Sleepwalker sitting in my stacks of TBR books. Robards’ chase across wintry Michigan has its moments, but it also frustrated me more than a little bit at times. Taken as a whole, I’d call it a pretty uneven and ultimately frustrating read, and I’d give it a C- if it were a review book.

The sleepwalker of the title is the heroine, Micayla Lange, and in the prologue, it’s pretty easy to see why she might have issues. At the age of 11, she sees her mother murdered in the streets of Detroit. Now grown, Micayla(“Mick”) is a police officer and over the holidays she is housesitting at the mansion of a family friend. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2013: Catching Up

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

onceuponascandal So my assignment for TBR challenge is to catch up on a series I’ve been neglecting. Since I read tons of books and have a tendency to fall off the series wagon midstream, I had so many possible books to read, it was downright mind-boggling! I’ve been craving a historical lately and I generally like Delilah Marvelle, so I decided to dive back into the neglected Scandal series with her 2011 release, Once Upon a Scandal. The promise of lovers reunited (love that plotline!) and a tale set at least partially in Venice appealed to me.

And then I started reading it. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2013: Categorically Speaking

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Ah, new year…new resolve to dive deep into the TBR for the multi-blog TBR Challenge. This month we’re easing in with short reads (novellas, category books, etc..) and so I went pulled out 2004 release In Like Flynn from Harlequin’s now-defunct Flipside line. I didn’t remember having this book, but as soon as I saw the author’s name I knew immediately why I would have picked it up. Dorien Kelly is the author of Do-Over, which is to this day one of my very favorite lawyer romances. Most romances involving the law center on criminal practice, but I’ve always worked in the civil realm and Do-Over a pitch perfect portrayal of what life in a sizable corporate firm is like. Short on glamor, long on drudgery and intense politics.

With this book, Kelly turns her focus to life in a family-run restaurant chain. Annie Rutherford comes from an overachieving family and while she has an MBA, she’s still the black sheep as she works for a pizza chain in Ann Arbor rather than a silk-stocking investment firm or something of that nature. Annie dreams of showing the owner of the chain how to make it into a franchise, but Mr. Donovan has other ideas – he wants to create an Irish pub like one he enjoyed on vacation. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2012 – Where the Wild Things Are

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

This month’s TBR Challenge read gave me a choice between romantic suspense and paranormal romance. I read a fair amount of suspense (romantic and otherwise) anyway, so I decided to dig into my little stack of romances with random creatures. I came up with Edge of Hunger by Rhyannon Byrd, a 2009 HQN release. This book is first in the ongoing Primal Instinct series. I found it an engaging but rather strange read. I enjoyed the steamy romance and the paranormal worldbuilding is a bit of a twist on the shapeshifter idea. I could spot elements that reminded me of other paranormal series I’ve read, but the author definitely puts an original spin on her world. However, there’s more than a little bit of the crazy and cliched worked in there, too. While I did enjoy parts of this book, I also spent way too much time rolling my eyes and/or cracking up over some of the overwrought wackiness, so in the end I think I’d give this a C+.
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TBR Challenge 2012 – And Now for Something Completely Different…

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

indian_bride I read across a wide variety of genres, so choosing a non-romance book for this month’s TBR Challenge proved rather tricky. In the end, I went with a mystery, because I really wanted to get back into Karin Fossum’s Inspector Sejer series. Set in rural Norway, this series follows Inspector Sejer on his investigations and stands apart from many other mystery series in that it focuses much more on the psychology and the human side of the various crimes presented. The Indian Bride comes 4th in the portion of the series that is available in English, but it works well as a standalone. Though it starts off slowly, this book still holds the attention and as it progresses, it becomes almost compulsively readable. It’s not the most exquisitely perfect mystery I’ve ever read, but I’d give it a very solid B+.

The book centers around Gunder Jomann, a shy, simple salesman from a small Norwegian village. The middle-aged bachelor Gunder is spellbound by the beauty of the Indian women he sees in books and finally one day he decides to travel to India and hopefully meet a woman to marry. He lives simply, so he has enough money saved up for the trip and he even purchases a beautiful silver filigree brooch to give his future bride. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2012 – Steaming Up the Place

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

dirty The TBR Challenge theme for August is hot, steamy reads. In a sense, the book I chose, Megan Hart’s Dirty, published by Harlequin Spice in 2007, fits the bill. The story contains plentiful sex scenes, and they certainly are steamy. However, that’s not what stands out most about this book. This story contains some of the most intense plotting and interesting characters I’ve read in ages, and it tackles issues not often encountered in romance of any subgenre. I don’t know why I let this book sit in my TBR so long, but it was an amazing find, and I’d give it an A-, Desert Island Keeper status.

Part of the story’s intensity comes from its narration. The heroine, Elle Kavanaugh, tells her story, and the twists and turns of her complex mind by turns draw sympathy, interest, and sometimes frustration from the reader. (more…)

TBR Challenge 2012 – How Did This Get Here?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

jadepagoda When I saw this month’s TBR Challenge theme, I started digging in my TBR stacks and was surprised at all the random stuff I found that I could not remember getting. It took me a while to decide on a book to read for the challenge, so in the end, I decided to choose the oldest one I could find in the pile. It’s a gothic from 1992 called The Jade Pagoda and it’s by Marion Clarke, an author I can honestly say I’ve never heard of. It had a UBS receipt from 2006 tucked into it, so obviously it caught my interest somewhere along the way. Looking at it, I couldn’t imagine why.

The cover blurb sounds awful – overwrought mysticism and deep dark secrets meet the Home and Garden channel – and the picture on the cover is not all that enticing either. I can’t help snickering every time I look at the hero, who looks more vampiric than gothic. So what’s it all about? (more…)

TBR Challenge 2012 – Westerns!

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

stjohn Sadly, I missed a month on the TBR Challenge. Covering for a co-worker out on maternity leave left me in survival mode, with not much time for extra reading outside of review books. However, life is settling back to normal and I’m back on the wagon again – and just in time to read a western! I’ve enjoyed several of Cheryl St. John’s books from the Harlequin Historicals line and I knew that she also wrote for the Love Inspired Historicals line. When I saw that this month’s theme, I decided to dig her 2011 inspirational Western, Marrying the Preacher’s Daughter out of the TBR pile and give it a whirl. As with all of her books, it was sweet and cozy, though this one was marred by some editing issues and strange pacing that would make it a B- read for me.

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