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11 in 2011: Two Ways to Play
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1559

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
2 Books that you got on sale
The Doctor’s Guardian by Marie Ferrarella:
Though she is an author I have to be in a certain type of mood to read, I’ve enjoyed many of Ferrearella’s Cavanaugh Justice and The Doctors Pulaski books, including this one. Her writing can be a bit sluggish, but I like the sense of family she infuses in her stories. The blurb makes it sound as if the hero doubts the heroine’s innocence, but that is misleading as she’s never a suspect. I wish the background of the hero had been explored more. I’ve read plenty of books where the hero is anti-attachment because his mother killed herself but [spoiler] I don’t recall any others where the mother shot the hero as a child before killing herself in a botched murder/suicide. The heroine is definitely a Pollyanna, but like the other Pulaski siblings/cousins, she’s knows it and owns up to the problems that it causes her. The killer is pretty obvious, but there’s very little violence and no gore, rare these days for a book about a serial killer.

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 2 down, 9 to go…
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1559

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
2 Books that you got on sale
Almost a Family by Donna Alward:
This book could also have been listed under the new-to-me author category. I wanted to like this story more than I did. I usually enjoy reunion romances. I just wish for once the message wasn’t big city/sleek decorating/designer wardrobe/highpower job for heroine = bad, smaller town/second-hand furniture/comfortable clothes/heroine gives up job she left everything behind for to work at non-profit organization = good Rolling Eyes I wanted to smack the hero upside the head too many times to count. He blames their break-up entirely on the heroine because she wanted to pursue her dreams. At the time she was ready to compromise and he wanted everything his way. It’s not always that black-and-white, and the author does a good job of showing that in this book [spoiler] Then turns around and has everything end up the way the hero wanted it anyway Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes . And though the hero does grovel a bit in the end, I wanted more.

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 3 down, 8 to go…
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1559

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
2 Books that are part of a beloved authors back list
Green Fire by Stephanie James (aka Jayne Ann Krentz):
A typical Krentz’ category with the hero this time often compared to a stray cat. The heroine overreacts in a few spots and we only get a few scenes from the hero’s POV. An enjoyable if not too memorable book. I did like the fact the hero’s goal was to be a gardener and that he was the one who insisted they wait to marry so she could be sure their “vacation” romance was real. Of course the heroine has some things to say about that Razz

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 4 down, 7 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 400

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler
1 Book by a new you to author

Seven Secrets of Seduction by Anne Mallory

I wished I could have liked this book better. It has the some of the elements of Gaffney's "To Have and to Hold": a hero (Maximilian, Viscount Downing), bent on seducing the heroine (Miranda Chase), not simply because he is attracted to her, but mostly because by doing it he will move further in a path of self-loathing and destruction he cannot scape from. However, the story of Seven Secrets of Seduction is nowhere near as compelling. First of all, we see very little of the hero's point of view, and therefore cannot really follow his inner struggles. And the heroine's point of view tends to get repetitive after some time.
And the actual "seven secrets of seduction"? Never really grasped my attention...
On the positive side, both the hero and the heroine were likable, and the conversations they had, particularly at the end of the book, were well written. Overall, it was a B book for me.

***********************************************************

And that was my last book on The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…

Favorite book in the Whittler challenge: Miss Chartley's Guided Tour by Carla Kelly
Favorite Contemporary: Charlie All Night by Jennifer Cruise
Favorite Historical (besides Miss Chartley's): Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas
Least favorite book in the challenge: Winter's Edge by Anne Stuart

I might give the challenge another go, since I still have plenty of TBRs. Very Happy
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1854
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Creeping along here.... Razz

I finished two more books in the challenge since last checking in.

The first helps to finish up the category, Dinner and a Movie. The book, Geralyn Dawson's "The Bad Luck Wedding Cake" fulfills the requirement that one book should have food or drink in the title. It also helps me to get a book off my pile that's been sitting there for quite a while.

As for how I'd rate it, I must say, there were times when I really struggled to get into this book. Set in the late 1800's in Texas, I would call this more of a comedy, rather than a drama -- although there was a heap of that too. There were a lot of wacky moments, involving three precocious children, pets, and matchmaking. That's the part I had a hard time with, even though I did laugh a time or two. But, what the comedy did, was to make some of the serious adult situations seem lighter and the adults seem less smart. Couldn't take those moments seriously when the adult was acting like an idiot in the previous chapter. Further, the male lead was so stubborn about his demons. All I kept thinking was, get over it already!!! The book could be 20 pages shorter!!! So, this book was pretty mixed and not really my cup of tea -- keeping to the food theme here. I think I would personally give it a "C." Others might like it, though, since it wasn't written badly at all. Warning here, for those who like to do things in order. It became pretty apparent that this story is the second in a series. There were constant references to previous developments in another book. Despite that, the story was easy to follow and the first book integrated fairly well into this one.

The next book I took on is the first in the category, On Location with a Twist. Since my father's family came to The States in the mid 1800's from the area of the world that became Germany, I took on Barbara Samuel's "A Bed of Spices," set in medieval Germany. This was definitely the better book of the two I just read. It had unusual elements -- a hero of the Jewish faith who was studying "medicine" -- and it was set during the black plague. Just the latter element promised a "fun read." Wink But, to be honest, I was surprised how much the plague was background rather than an important development impacting the hero & heroine. (I guess that would've been a downer.) In fact, I think sexism and bigotry were bigger issues dividing our couple, than a major pestilence. Heh. Based on this odd disconnect, I think I would give this book a B+ or A-. I'd recommend the book, but it's more medieval/black plague light.

Okay, off to take on another book from this latter category -- either one set at a previous vacation spot of mine or one set where I've lived.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1559

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
3 Books that have been in your TBR more than six months
Destined to Last by Alissa Johnson:
This is the last book in her Providence series. I read the first three in fairly quick succession, but not wanting to get author burnout this one has been in my TBR pile since its release early last year. I enjoy this author’s style and ability to blend a touch of mystery and humor. I liked all four couples in this series. And though Alex and Sophie from As Luck Would Have It are still my favorite couple, this is now my favorite book from it.

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 5 down, 6 to go…
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1559

PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
1 Book that was a gift or 1 Impulse Buy
Smart and Sexy by Jill Shalvis:
Sadly, despite the title, the heroine begins the book as a poster child for TSTL and never changes. She hijacks the hero’s plane using a Bic pen, then despite his willingness to not report it Rolling Eyes and helping her get away from the bad guys chasing her she persistently refuses to tell him what’s going on. Bad enough, but she also continues to believe if she can just find the money her deceased husband hid and hand it over then the bad guys will simply allow her to go on about her life despite threatening her brother and her class of second graders Rolling Eyes I never did warm up to her and felt the hero was a fool for helping her, but at least he acknowledged to himself he was being one. I used a giftcard to get all of the books in this trilogy. Even with the numerous problems I had with this one, I am looking forward to reading the other two.

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 6 down, 5 to go…
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2500

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Whittler, Third times the charm
One Book that was an impulse
Iron Daughter by
Julie Kagawa

I didn't love the first book in this series - liked it OK but love - No. Anyhoo, this middle book about halfling Meaghan Chase once more battling the courts of Fey while yearning for young Prince Ash did nothing for me.

But hey, it is off my TBR.

Maggie

At the Movies, 11 down O to go
The Whittler, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler Revisited, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler, third times the charm, 4 down, 7 to go

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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



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2500

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two Books from a Beloved Autors Backlist
Fragile Eternity Melissa Marr
Radidant Shadows Melissa Marr

One Book from an expired line
Darkest Mercy Melissa Marr


When Marr's first book Wicked Lovely came out I found myself utterly entranced by it. The story of the Summer King, his search for a bride and the life of faerie totally fascinated me. Book two, Ink Exchange, bored me so badly I struggled to finish it. Book three four and five would probably have languished forever on my TBR if not for the challenge.

I really enjoyed the last book Darkest Mercy. It tied all the loose threads up. It was hard to see some favorites die, especially since I blamed it all on Ash, the so called heroine of the summer court. If she could have been as self-sacrificing as Keenan, fewer would have died.

As to recommendations, I can recommend one, four and five. The rest, which set up the story, didn't work as well for me.

I just have to add that in Twilight and Hunger Games, which also involved love triangeles, my couple always got together. This is the first triangle where I was rooting for the other guy.

Fortunately the books weren't straight romance or it would have stunk to lose Wink

maggie b.

At the Movies, 11 down O to go
The Whittler, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler Revisited, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler, third times the charm, 7 down, 4 to go

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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: 1559

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
1 Book by a new you to author
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell:
This is not a traditional romance. The hero is an IT security tech who has the unfortunate job to monitor the company’s employee emails. He gets to know the heroine via her emails with her bff and co-worker. The heroine is involved with another guy throughout most of the story and the hero is a total geek who lives with mother. If not handled so well the story could have come off as stalkery. And yet it’s totally not. It’s sweet and funny and charming. I stayed up way too late reading it smiling almost the entire time. I had two quibbles. One is that movie reviewers for newspapers (at least the one I personally knew) view movies at special screenings before they open to the general public, so the heroine’s going to see them the day of release seemed out of place to me. And I don’t think anyone really writes such detailed emails to their bff, especially when they work in the same place and can see each other in person. But that seems nitpicky since I did enjoy the book so much.

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 7 down, 4 to go…
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2500

PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Whittler Third Times the charm
Book that you got on sale
Vixen by Jillian Larkin
Grade: B


Clara is on her last chance. Gloria is facing a life of servitude with a huge sparkler on her finger. Lorraine is tired of coming in second place. And she sure won't take third after country cousin Clara. It's 1923 and a new and independent woman is on the rise - and everyone wants to be a flapper.

This YA novel is a historical serial novel about three girls in Chicago all coming of age and realizing the dangers of the adult world. Initially, all they are looking for is a little excitement when they enter the Green Mill - a speak easy owned by dangerous gangsters. But Gloria finds herself drawn to the music - and the man behind the piano. Loraine finds herself constantly on the outside and Clara finds herself facing her past - and looking towards a future she shouldn't wish for.

The characters are interesting and the story line kept me turning the pages. It is easy to see that the author was probably influenced by the film Titanic and also the Luxe series by Ana Godbersen. She didn't plagiarize in any way but the flavor is similar to both.

I enjoyed it and will probably continue with the series.

maggie b.

At the Movies, 11 down O to go
The Whittler, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler Revisited, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler, third times the charm, 8 down, 3 to go

_________________
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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: 1559

PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
2 Books that are part of a beloved authors back list
Saxon’s Lady by Stephanie James (aka Jayne Ann Krentz):
The story starts out a typical 80s category with the small town hero with a Neanderthal attitude showing up in the big city to claim his woman. But since the heroine admits by chapter three she really prefers the small town she grew up in to San Francisco, the story is really about her teaching him to loosen up. This is an early example of JAK’s taking clichéd scenarios and tweaking them slyly. So what could have been the big misunderstanding is actually resolved by the h/h having a conversation. Lots of conflicts are introduced then quickly resolved.

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 8 down, 3 to go…
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2500

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bright Young Things
Anna Godbersen
B

One book you got on sale

Three girls on the cusp of adulthood find their lives entertwining in 1929 New York City. Astrid loves Charlie but not the way he treats her. What will she decide as her life falls apart all around her and he is the only constant in it?

Cordelia wants only two things - to spend time with the fascinating young man she has just met and to get to know the birth father whom she was taken away from so many years ago. But what will happen when those two desires collide?

Letty is far from home and all alone. Her naive nature and soft heart are not going to get her far in the entertainment industry but being a star has always been her dream.

Letty is a nit wit, Cordelia a stupid, selfish twit and Astrid is destined to repeat the mistakes of her mother but I couldn't help being caught up in their story. If the author stays true to form it will be a four book cycle. Books 2-4 are coming from the library. No way am I paying forty bucks for one long historical romance.

maggie b.

At the Movies, 11 down O to go
The Whittler, 11 down to go
The Whittler Revisited, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler, third times the charm, 9 down, 2 to go

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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



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2500

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timeless
Alexandra Monir
C+


When Michele's mother dies she must leave her comfortable home in CA to live with grandparents she has never met in NY. Once there she discovers she can travel back in time to the roaring twenties. Now she must learn to balance life in the present with her travels to the past - all the while finding herself drawn more and more to a time that can never be hers and a love that is fated to fail. . .

Michele's story is meant to be an epic tale of love lost and found but the author misses the mark by not focusing her tale. I didn't get caught up in the love of the two parties because I couldn't figure out when they fell in love.

maggie b.

At the Movies, 11 down O to go
The Whittler, 11 down to go
The Whittler Revisited, 11 down 0 to go
The Whittler, third times the charm, 10 down, 1 to go

_________________
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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: 1559

PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TBR Pile Challenge: The Whittler (Take 3)
3 Books that have been in your TBR more than six months
Brand New Me by Meg Benjamin:
Another fun entry in the author’s Konigsburg series. The villain is over-the-top, but quite as OTT as with previous books. I find the romance and humor in her books work better for me than the suspense. At one point the hero and several other characters do something really stupid. But overall a likeable h/h, the town’s usual quirky residents, and revisiting the previous stories’ lead characters make for an entertaining read.

At the Movies Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge: 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Revisited): 11 down, 0 to go…
The Whittler Challenge (Take 3): 9 down, 2 to go…
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