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11 in 2011: Two Ways to Play
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2471

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the Movies Challenge
Dinner and a Movie Category



Stars in the Night
Cara C. Putman

I had only one book dealing with movies stars in my TBR but I was certain I would love it. Set in 1942 it deals with a Hollywood Victory Caravan, a train which took stars cross country to sell war bonds. The hero is Robert Garfield, a Cary Grant type star. Be still my heart! The heroine is Audra Schaeffer. Audra's sister had come to Hollywood looking to star in pictures. When she winds up dead and the police have no leads, Audra determines to solve the crime herself. But is the handsome Robert - a man who appears prominently in her sisters date book - the killer? Or is he truly interested in a mousy lawyer from the midwest?

This should have been great but too much fell flat for me to love it. In the end, the best thing about this reading experience is getting the book off my TBR and into the hands of the people at the UBS.

maggie b.

At the Movies Challenge:

Three debut authors: 1 down, 2 to go
New to Me Time period: 3 to go
New to me Location: 3 to go
Wild Card: Dinner and a Movie: 2 down, 1 to go
Yet to be determined ultimate challenge: 2 to go

Total Read:3 Total Remaining:8
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1476

PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler
2 Books that are from an expired line:
Test of Time by Jayne Ann Krentz (Harlequin Temptation):
This book fits multiple categories in The Whittler challenge as well a few in the At the Movies challenge, so I did einey-meaney-miney-moe to decide where to list it. The beginning of the book is somewhat slow. It was hard for me to feel much sympathy for the plucky heroine who realizes on the day of her wedding that her groom isn’t in love with her since she never bothered to ask him before the wedding. The next morning they get into a fight about it. He tells her he doesn’t believe in love, that he married her for more practical reasons, and that words are just words, it’s actions that count. She demands a divorce, he decides to guilt her into staying for three months, figuring she’ll return to the “good-natured, rational, hard-working” woman he’s come to know eventually Laughing Throw in a who’s-trying-to-destroy-his-horse sub-plot, complete with a deranged baddie, a few misunderstandings, and you have a typical HT set up. But overall I enjoyed the story. The h/h were both likeable characters. And, despite his occasional high-handedness, I liked the fact he treated her as his partner—both personally and professionally. And that she acknowledged from the beginning, if only to herself, that she was staying because she wanted their marriage to work.

At the Movies Challenge: 0 down, 11 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 2 down, 9 to go…
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2471

PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the Movies Challenge

On Location with a Twist:

Ancestral Location:

The Sergeant's Lady Susanna Fraser

I keep outsmarting myself. Convinced I could read for a few minutes before bed, I picked this up -- and stayed up waaaayyyy too late. A near perfect historical, with interesting, full wrought h/h, an amazing story and fantastic writing.

My only complaint is -- why not wider distribution? This worked for me - I have a kindle and the inexpensive price appealed to me. But many will miss out on this brilliant work. When I think of the advertising/distribution a book like "How to Marry a Duke" is getting compared to this one, it makes me so sad.

And much thanks to PWNN for the recommend. What a terrific read! So glad I didn't miss it!

maggie b., who will be staying away from late night reads for awhile - yawn.

Three debut authors: 1 down, 2 to go
New to Me Time period: 3 to go
On location with a twist: 1 down, 2 to go
Wild Card: Dinner and a Movie: 2 down, 1 to go
Yet to be determined ultimate challenge: 2 to go

Total Read:4 Total Remaining: 7
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1365

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finally had time to work up a proposed list (all books already in my tbr shelves & ebook files). A number between author & title is a series placement. A number after the (e) for ebook is an approximate estimated reading time.
Category 1: New Releases (aka New-to-Me Authors)
Choose one book each from three authors whose work you have never read.
andrews, toni: 1: beg for mercy (e) 5.5
frost, jeanine: 1: halfway to the grave (e) 7.8
greenwood, leigh: sb1: rose (e) 7.2

Category 2: Now Showing
On Location with a twist :
1 book from your home state/province/city - can be anywhere you have lived.
alexander, carrie: a holiday romance (e) 4.4 (Arizona)
1 ancestral location book (if your family has always lived where you are, pick a historical set in that location, otherwise it would be from where one of your ancestors is from. IE, my dad is German, my mom Spanish/Italian. I could choose from Germany, Spain, or Italy.)
bangs, nina: master of ecstacy (Scotland)
The Vacay Book - one book from a location where you have been on vacation.
alexander, victoria: the perfect wife (England & Egypt)

Category 3: Wildcard!
Funny Face. Pick one book from each of these categories:
Historical Farce (not positive it's a farce, but from AAR Favorite Funny list):
morsi, pamela: heaven sent
Contemporary Comedy:
gilson, chris: crazy for cornelia (e) 8.4
Humorous Title:
love, kathy: 1: fangs for the memories (e) 5.2

Category 4: Ultimate challenge. To get the all important tenth and eleventh books
Read two books from any of the following categories:
Holiday Picture
Two books covering two different holidays
barbour, anne: lady hilary’s halloween
civil-brown, sue: tempting mr. wright (Thanksgiving)
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1365

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read my first challenge book today: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. I recorded 4 stars for humor and just added several sequels to my ebook store cart for the next time I buy anything else. The basic story of a vampire-killing dhampir heroine, a bounty-hunting vampire, and lots of evil vampires they fight is serious to grim, but the author manages to mix that with plenty of conversational and character humor.
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2471

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I read my first challenge book today: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost. I recorded 4 stars for humor and just added several sequels to my ebook store cart for the next time I buy anything else. The basic story of a vampire-killing dhampir heroine, a bounty-hunting vampire, and lots of evil vampires they fight is serious to grim, but the author manages to mix that with plenty of conversational and character humor.


Welcome, Mark! I keep meaning to read this -- maybe after this years challenge.

maggie b.
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 356

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Second book in the challenge:
At the Movies!
Category 2: Now Showing
On Location: New-to-Me or Least Favored Places -> Northwest U.S.


Annie's Song by Catherine Anderson

Quote:
From Amazon: Alex Montgomery is horrified to learn his wild younger brother forced himself on a helpless "idiot girl." Tormented by guilt, Alex agrees to marry her and raise the babe she carries as his own. But he never dreams he will grow to cherish his lovely, mute, misjudged Annie--her childlike innocence, her womanly charms and the wondrous way she views her world. And he becomes determined to break through the wall of silence surrounding her--to heal...and to healed by Annie's sweet song of love.


I was very curious to see how the author would work out the communication barriers between the h/h - I loved what Laura Kinsale did on Flowers from the Storm, for instance. However, I was somewhat dissapointed. Alex basically treats Annie like a child for most of the book, which made it difficult for me to buy into their relationship.
The good news was that I had this book on my TBR forever, and the challenge finally gave me a final push to read it...
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1365

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't have time enough for the new book I originally planned to read yesterday, so I read the shortest book in my challenge stack (picked for the holiday) instead:
Lady Hilary's Halloween by Anne Barbour (Signet Regency Romance Sept. 1998)
I was expecting a traditional Regency Romance, which it was, but with the addition of a time-travelling Roman visitor courtesy of supernatural intervention.
I recorded 3 stars for the humor level. The romance was mostly very low-key, with h/h (both amateur archaeologists) convinced they don't want marriage yet slowly being drawn together.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1476

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler
2 Books that are part of a beloved authors back list:
Second Wife by Stephanie James (aka Jayne Ann Krentz):
This was a reunion-themed romance. The hero was a very arrogant at times, wanting everything on his time table Rolling Eyes . Unlike some other books, I didn’t think the heroine was being at all unreasonable asking for more time, especially given the way he had treated her when they broke up. At least he comes to the conclusion he’s acting like a total jerk all on his own, which made me believe in their HEA. The suspense subplot seemed unnecessary to what was otherwise a straight relationship story.

At the Movies Challenge: 0 down, 11 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 3 down, 8 to go…
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Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1476

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the Movies Challenge:
Category 1: New Releases (aka New-to-Me Authors):
Venus in Blue Jeans by Meg Benjamin:


This was a humorous small-town romance. I enjoyed the set-up/first half more than the wanna-be-suspense-plot/second-half. But I will definitely read the sequels as I enjoyed the town full of quirky characters and want to meet the hero of this story’s three older brothers.

At the Movies Challenge: 1 down, 10 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 3 down, 8 to go…
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2471

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the Movies Challenge

On Location with a Twist:

Vacay Location:

Moriah's Mutiny
by Elizabeth Beverly

For our honeymoon, my husband and I went on a Caribbean cruise and when I found a book that had that as the "location" I couldn't resist. Wish I had. The h/h in this book were simply incomprehensible. After having just met her, the hero is convinced he knows the real Moriah better than anyone. Slowly, -with lots of lapses to insult him along the way - she agrees and becomes the Moriah he always saw in her. The Caribbean is reduced to white, sandy beaches and planters punch, though a couple of times I did get a vague echo of what I remembered about the Islands.

maggie b.




Three debut authors: 1 down, 2 to go
New to Me Time period: 3 to go
On location with a twist: 2 down, 1 to go
Wild Card: Dinner and a Movie: 2 down, 1 to go
Yet to be determined ultimate challenge: 2 to go

Total Read:5 Total Remaining: 6
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She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2471

PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the Movies Challenge

Time Period with a Twist


Year you turned 16

Magic Flutes by Eva Ibottson

In 1982 Times Man of the Year was The Computer Smile, Gandhi won best picture at the Oscars, Richard Gere and Debra Winger starred in An Officer and a Gentleman and Eva Ibottson was winning awards for her romantic tale of a princess and a pauper.

Guy was a foundling who spent all his years fighting injustice. Making his first millions easily, because he was exceptionally intelligent, he becomes a force to be reckoned with. In 1922 he is working with the Austrian government when he goes to a production at the Viennese opera and meets a young urchin who turns his world upside down.

Tessa is a princess who is a republican. Doesn't believe in titles but she does believe in art. To that end she is working for free as a virtual slave for the a small opera house when Guy comes backstage and the two begin a Viennese waltz that ends in the perfect Happily Ever After.

Ibottson does the ingenue character to perfection in Tessa. She is sweet, innocent, with an optimistic view of the world. Sometimes with these characters, matching them with a worldly, powerful man like Guy makes the whole book seem like a skanky replay of "Lolitta" but in this book Ibottson does a fabulous job of making Tess Guy's equal and convincing us their mutual love is perfect.

I was on an Ibottson kick several years ago and can't even remember the book that was the end of my glom. I am glad I picked her up again, even though I was surprised to find that I actually didn't need to do new time period and new location. Embarassed

maggie b.


Three debut authors: 1 down, 2 to go
New to Me Time period: 1 down, 2 to go
On location with a twist: 2 down, 1 to go
Wild Card: Dinner and a Movie: 2 down, 1 to go
Yet to be determined ultimate challenge: 2 to go

Total Read:5 Total Remaining: 6
_________________
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She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2471

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finished reading my unnecessary Period Piece with a Twist books.

The book from my year of birth was Menfreya in the Morning by Victoria Holt. It was 1966. A Man for All Seasons wins the Academy Award for best picture. Elizabeth Taylor stars in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" And Victoria Holt is the queen of the gothic romance.

I have been reading Holt on and off for many, many years. Some are hits, some not. This fell, unfortunately, in the not category. Here is the blurb from Amazon.:

Quote:
For Harriet Delvaney, the great house of Menfreya, standing like a fortress on the Cornish coast, had always been a citadel of happiness and high spirits. Not until she herself came to Menfreya as a bride did Harriet discover the secret family legend of infidelity, jealousy and murder. And not until the legend seemed to come dangerously to life did Harriet begin to believe the old story that when the tower clock of Menfreya stopped, someone was about to die .


Harriet was a doormat, emotionally abused by her father and willing to put up with far too much from the great family at Menfreya. When she finally marries the eldest son, she is delighted having loved him for years. I almost could take it all till a scene of marital rape. This wasn't a forced seduction but a good old blunt force, bruise leaving rape. Had I not been anxious to find out who the killer was and what was happening with a secondary character I wouldn't have finished the last 50 pages to get to the end. The book wound up an F read for me for that one scene.

In 1987 The Last Emperor won the Oscar for Best Picture. Michael Doughlas wins best actor for the first Wall Street. And Susan Carrolll writes The Sugar Rose and wins a RITA award. This is my 21st year read. Plump but pretty Aurelia has been in love with her neighbor Justin for forever. When he finally proposes she is almost ecstatic. Keeping her from total happiness is the fact that Justin then goes on to completely ignore her. Enter Everard Ramsey, "nevvY" to another neighbor. He teaches Aurelia selfcontrol around sweets, has her change her hair and clothes and voila - she is now a diamond of the first water. The only problem - Ev went from creating the woman of Justin's dreams to the woman of his. Will he now let her go?

This was a fun version of Pygmalion. Not brilliant but light and easily readable.


maggie b.
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2471

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the Movies Challenge

Category: Three Debut Authors

First Grave on the Right
by Darynda Jones

When I bought this a month ago (advance order from Amazon) I didn't plan to do an AAR review on it. Just one here. But there has been a request, so I'll be writing one up in the next few days. Don't know when it will be published but look for it soon. Smile


Three debut authors: 2 down, 1 to go
New to Me Time period: Done
On location with a twist: 2 Down, 1 to go
Wild Card: Dinner and a Movie: 2 down, 1 to go
Yet to be determined ultimate challenge: 2 to go

Total Read:6 Total Remaining: 5
_________________
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She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1476

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the Movies Challenge:
Category 2: Now Showing - Location with a Twist
Book from home state (California) - Tonight and Always by Nora Roberts:


This is one of Nora’s older category books which fits in multiple categories for the reading challenge, so I did einey-meaney-miney-moe again to decide where to list it. For the most part, I liked the hero. And I liked his niece. I think one of the things Nora excels at is making her children characters not only three-dimensional, but integral to the story. And they don’t often “disappear” when it’s convenient for the story. That said, I really did not like the heroine of this book. She’s presented as being über-intelligent, but I found her borderline TSTL at times. And the stunt she pulls at the end (spoiler) deciding to keep their baby twins a secret from the hero is something I admit is an issue for me. I vehemently disagreed with her reasons Rolling Eyes and behavior like hers is one of the reasons I generally dislike (spoiler) secret baby books. Though coming so close to the end of this book, I wouldn’t really classify this as a secret baby story.)


At the Movies Challenge: 2 down, 9 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 3 down, 8 to go…
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