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12-in-2012 AAR Reading Challenge
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1366

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read 2 Historical Romances to cover that subset:
The Other Guy's Bride by Connie Brockway **.9
A Lady's Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran **.5
Neither has enough humor to recommend on that basis, though the Brockway came close.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1484

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Dime a Dozen:
2 Contemporary Books:
1) Ice Lake by BJ Daniels/Delores Fossen/Julie Miller:
I started the first story in this anthology, Gone Cold, and was surprised when a character I thought was a very secondary one had a POV scene. Then I realized the story revolves around a love triangle. I really dislike love triangles. At first I wasn’t sure which guy was supposed to be the hero and by the end was so fed up with all three characters I was hoping they’d all be killed. Blah. The second story, Cold Heat, featured a likeable h/h, but was bogged down by the who-is-the-big-bad-villain plot. The heroine flip-flops between being very inept at her job to being almost super human which was distracting. The final story, Stone Cold, was better. The hero has a major case of overprotective-itis which could have been annoying. But since the heroine calls him on his behavior it wasn’t. The killer was obvious and too much time was spent in his POV. As with the other two stories, the heroine does something foolish and puts herself in unnecessary jeopardy. But the reunion romance between the h/h was enjoyable.

2) Gambler’s Woman by Stephanie James: This book was originally an old category release. It has glimpses of JAK’s humor, but not as much as some of the others I have read. I liked the parts set in California more than the beginning set in Vegas. The heroine feels the need to keep her friends and employer in the dark about the fact the hero is a professional gambler. He’s a bit too heavy-handed at times, but the heroine refuses to put up with his behavior when he acts like a jerk, so that’s a plus. Also whenever the plot seems likely to veer off into big misunderstanding territory, the particular problem is quickly resolved. Not JAK at her best, but a quick, likeable read.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 12.) A book with the word “Twelfth”, “Twelve”, “Drum” or “Drums” in the title. Or a book where one of the characters is in a band or works in the advertising industry
One True Love by Barbara Freethy

Lisa and Nick divorced 8 years ago, after the tragic death of their baby girl. She is now a executive in an advertising agency, and he is a successful business owner, but not everything is great in their lives. Forced to spend some time together, they cannot help but realize that their love / hate feelings for each other still exist.
I really wanted to like this book (I love "reunited" romances), but overall it did not work for me. The positives: I liked the secondary characters very much, particularly Maggie (Nick's sister and Lisa's friend). The negatives: the book actually deals with the love stories of 3 couples, and by the end of it I was more interested in a secondary story than on reading Lisa and Nick's HEA. Also, the book started mostly as a regular contemporary romance, but then the author introduced some "magical" elements in the story, up to a point where it got a little bit too much - I could not really suspend disbelief as I would in a paranormal book, for instance. Additionally, I could never connect to Lisa's character. I empathized with her for what she suffered in the past, but could not really like her.
This was my first book by Barbara Freethy. Not sure if I want to try another one by her any time soon, now...
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1484

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Dime a Dozen:
2 Romantic Suspense Books:
1) Operation Midnight by Justine Davis:
This is the kind of book where you just have to set logical thinking aside and go with the story. Never thought I would say this, but the book could have benefited from having the dog’s POV Laughing The heroine’s thoughts were very repetitive in the beginning. The introductions of the hero’s men were obvious sequel bait. Also, I really wish there had been more of an actual romance in this book and we’d gotten to know the hero better. But despite those issues and the plot implausibilities, I liked the book. Not exactly a cliffhanger ending, but there was a huge subplot left open. Hopefully [spoiler]the mole will be addressed in the next book of the series.

2) Saint’s Gate by Carla Neggers: I read this book straight through. There was something quite refreshing and appealing about the combination of characters and plot. There are a lot of POV characters and subplots that weave together in this meandering tale. I liked that both the hero and heroine were shown to be FBI agents who are normal people, not experts at everything. Though I guessed at the identity of the killer before the end, the clues and red-herrings were well dispersed throughout the book. I liked that the various law-enforcement characters all speculated on the other characters’ possible involvement, including the h/h, as that seemed true to their various characters. Looking forward to the sequel when it’s released.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 6 down 6 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

library addict wrote:
Never thought I would say this, but the book could have benefited from having the dog’s POV Laughing

LOL... Your post reminded me of two books: have you ever read Take a Chance on Me by Susan Donovan? It actually has scenes with the dog's POV. It was cute, specially in the Epilogue. And in Patricia Gaffney’s The Dog Days of Laurie Summer (on the anthology The Lost), there is a dog's POV, although in different context: the heroine sees the world through the eyes of a dog, and it is quite a transforming experience.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1366

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want a dog's POV, parts of A Loyal Companion by Barbara Metzger are narrated by a dog. There is also the whole Miss Piggy series by Emily Carmichael with a woman who transmigrated to a dog:
carmichael, emily
series
finding mr. right***
diamond in the ruff***
gone to the dogs***
the cat’s meow**.5
a new leash on life***
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1484

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The dog in this particular story is Superdog (cue superhero music). He basically is the smartest dog that ever lived and can do just about anything all with no real explanation. I wanted to know why he took such a liking to the hero he had never seen and somehow knew was flying overhead in a helicopter Rolling Eyes so he takes off making sure the heroine follows and gets them both kidnapped by said hero.

I have read The Dog Days of Laurie Summer. I will check out the other recomendations.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1484

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Dime a Dozen:
2 Romantic Comedy Books:
1) Hocus Pocus by Teresa Roblin:
While not as laugh out loud funny as I had expected, the book still had many humorous moments. The heroine is put under a spell by her aunt which goes wrong and she is forced to answer all questions asked her honestly. Despite the premise, the book is a pretty standard boss/assistant romance with many of the usual clichés. We’re supposed to believe the heroine is in love with her boss, but it’s obvious she doesn’t really know him in the beginning. Overall I liked the h/h, though each is contradictory in their thought processes at times. I will eventually read the sequel because it is already in my tbr pile, but I don’t feel compelled to rush to do so.

2) A Nice Girl Like You by Alexandra Sellers: I knew this would be comical from the blurb and the fact it’s from the old Silhouette Your Truly Line. The book starts off very funny in a type of French farce fashion. The hero’s mother meets the heroine and wants her to serve as a decoy date for her eldest son whom she is really trying to fix up with another woman. Used to his mother’s matchmaking schemes the hero then asks the heroine to pretend they are dating to keep his mother from trying to constantly fix him up. I maybe could have liked the book if the heroine hadn’t spent 95% of the story engaged to another man.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 8 down 4 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1484

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Dime a Dozen:
2 Time Travel Books:
1) A Train Through Time by Bess McBride:
There’s no explanation for how the heroine goes back in time. She simply goes to sleep on a train and wakes up in 1901. The heroine believes she’s dreaming so doesn’t make much of an effort to fit the social norms of the era. The story often got bogged down in examining the clothes and décor. The heroine is also a vegetarian, so there is more than one lengthy discussion about that. Did dresses in 1901 have zippers? Zippers are mentioned a lot in this book when it comes to the clothing the heroine borrows from the hero’s sister and I didn’t think zippers were that popular in 1901, but maybe I am wrong. But right or wrong, the constant mentioning of them did throw me out of the story. Despite the numerous issues I had with this book, I did feel compelled to finish it. However, once done I was left wishing there had been that elusive “more” to the story.

2) Wherever You Are by Sharon Cullen: The heroine in this book wakes up on a burning ship among a bunch of animal carcasses, is mistaken for a stowaway, blamed for the fire, and flogged. This is all described in vivid detail. I’m not usually a queasy reader, but I’m not sure I would have kept reading if I’d had another time travel romance in my tbr pile to use for this part of the challenge. In an interesting twist, [that’s strongly hinted at in the blurb, but just in case] the hero is the heroine’s childhood boyfriend who had disappeared 15 years earlier when he was 17. Though it takes the heroine entirely too long to figure out who he is. The hero spends too much time feeling sorry for himself. And there were many times I wanted to smack both the hero and heroine upside the head for their attitudes. Despite that there were some scenes in the middle of the book I enjoyed. But then there’s the über-villain. His reappearance and more torture scenes towards the end left me feeling that I wanted the time I spent reading this book back.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 10 down 2 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge (new-to-you authors)
Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh

Loved it! I was eager to read something with a lot of action, and this book did not disappoint. And even better: the hero (the archangel Raphael) was one of those great dark, powerful heros - we are never quite sure of what to expect from him. And the heroine, Elena, was outstanding: I like how she fought really hard for what she believed. Their scenes together were excellent. I thought this book would remind me of the J.R. Ward BDB books, but it actually made me think of Eve and Roarke from the In Death series.
And that is also a plus for this book: I will get to see what's next for Elena and Raphael in the next book in the series. I have not read many series that have the same h/h in multiple books, but I very much liked the ones I read (J. D. Robb's In Death series and Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey series), so I am now glad to have another couple to follow over time.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1484

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge:
February – Last Man Standing by Cindy Gerard:
The h/h of this book began their romance as the secondary couple in Feel the Heat. Since the author had originally planned to end the Black Ops Inc. series with the previous full-length book, With No Remorse, I kind of view this book as one big “extra.” And what a nice wrap-up to the series it is. This book concentrates on Joe & Stephanie, with the other team members only putting an appearance at the very end. Evidence on the villain is obtained seemingly too easily, but I really liked the balance of suspense and romance. My only disappointment was that we didn’t get to see more of Gabe & Jenna. They are still my favorite couple from this series. This book is easily one of the top 2 of the series.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 10 down 2 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1484

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Dime a Dozen:
2 Historical Books:
1) Nearly a Lady by Alissa Johnson:
What a fun and charming book. The hero and heroine have a lot of chemistry and their romance is full of humor and just a touch of angst. The drama toward the end did seem a bit forced, but overall just a lovely, enjoyable read. I wish I had read it earlier as would definitely have voted for it as best UK historical of 2011.

2) Crusader Captive by Merline Lovelace: A very likeable hero and heroine. Set during 1152 near Jerusalem it was nice to read an historical which was not a Regency. Given the politics of the time, the h/h know there isn’t much hope they will be together as they are treated as pawns, both by royalty (in her case) and by the Church (in his case). The interesting period and location details are well-interwoven into the story. Not my favorite Lovelace historical, but a solid read nonetheless.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1808
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel bad, having fallen down on the job during the 2011 challenge. I only just finished the last two books. (When the holidays arrived, I had to push aside my reading, having so much on my plate.)

In any event, I'm going to give the 2012 challenge a try. I'm torn between the Clock Challenge, which should be relatively easy ... except for the Futuristic/Time Travel part. (Don't think I have many books in those subgenres.) And, the Duodenary challenge as I have lots of books in various romance lines and categories -- even those not listed, like the NASCAR line.

I guess the Dime a Dozen challenge could work too.

I'm just bound and determined not to buy any books to complete the challenge. Must do it with what I have!

I'll look and see what appeals to me and report back.
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 3.) A book with the word
“Third”, “Three”, “French” or “Hens” in the title.
Lessons in French by by Laura Kinsale

Flowers from the Storm is one of my favorite books, so I have always admired Laura Kinsale's writing skill. Lessons in French has some elements of Kinsale at her best, particularly her ability to write heroines we really care for, but the plot was not so interesting. Overall, I agree with the B- grade from the AAR's review. The book started well, and made me curious to know more about what happened to the h/h in the past. However, the story became less and less interesting as the book progressed. The author mentioned that she wanted to write a "light" story, but I think I prefer the "darker" Kinsale books.


Last edited by karat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 4.)
A book with the word “Fourth”, “Four”, “Colly” or “Birds” in the title or a blackbird on the cover. Or... a book where the hero/heroine has a job considered a calling (military, medical field, social work, etc.)
Virgin River by Robyn Carr

A fun part of this challenge has been to find matches for the different categories, sometimes in books I had not thought about in a while. For this "Day 4", I wanted to avoid the military/ law enforcement characters (who are frequent characters on the romantic suspenses I read), and use the challenge to look further on my TBR to see if I could find something with characters in the medical field or other calling, which are more rare for me to read about. And there was Virgin River, whose heroine is a nurse. Great opportunity to finally get started on this famous series!
Mel is a nurse that decides to change her life, and moves from L.A. to a small town in the small northern California called Virgin River. The author describes Mel's passion for her profession very well, and it is nice to see how it is a true calling. At Virgin River, Mel meets Jack, a former marine that now owns the town's bar (and so, I ended up with a sort-of military hero anyway) Smile
I liked the book very much, until the final part. It was great to see Mel's relationships with the town, with the town people, and of course with Jack, evolve gradually, but surely. The only thing that I wish was different was that it took Mel too long to acknowledge her real feelings for Jack (to herself, and specially to Jack). He was wonderful, and deserved better. If not for that, it could have been an A book for me.
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