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12-in-2012 AAR Reading Challenge
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1534

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Clock Challenge: 4 Futuristic/Time Travel books:
1) Celebrity in Death by JD Robb:
a fun-filled entry into this long-running series. There are some humorous scenes with Eve and Peabody meeting the cast and production team of a vid based on Nadine’s book. I was so happy that Nadine was back in full-force in this book. It’s been a while since she had more than a cameo appearance. The mystery is rather meandering for much of the book, but takes off in the last quarter or so. Some lovely Eve & Roarke moments.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 1.)
A book with the word “First”, “Partridge”, “Pear”, or “Tree” in the title or on the cover
First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Nealy Case is the widow of a US president, and at the beginning of the book she is asked to continue to perform the duties of the First Lady, because the new president is not married. One day she decides to take a break from her life and meets Mat Jorik, a tall strong guy who is traveling across country with two girls (a clever teenager and a cute baby).
Some of Phillips's books make me laugh and cry, and this was one of them. The interactions between Nealy, Mat and the girls are quite funny, and at the same time there are heartbreaking moments, given tough decisions they all have to make. I really liked it.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1842
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm attempting The Dime a Dozen Challenge this year, because there's so many genres and choices within those genres from which to choose, I'll never feel like I'm stuck reading a book that doesn't suit my mood of the moment!

Anyway, I began with Julia Quinn's Ten Things I Love About You. I was informed by a Quinn fan that it's not one of her best, and I almost decided to jump into another, but frankly -- having not read any of her other books -- I thought it was charming, breezy, and light. A cute romantic comedy about a young lady trying to come to terms with her family's need for her to marry an older, unattractive nobleman who basically wants to use her as a broodmare, while being charmed by his much younger, handsome nephew, who has secrets of his own.

For me, the story moved quickly and I liked both hero and heroine. I did feel that we only got a surface feel for them as characters, but perhaps any in depth exploration would've taken away from the spirit of the farce -- as it mostly was farcical - with touches of melodrama.

I could have done without the cutesy interjection of things being enumerated in 10's, but it didn't happen too much, so one could ignore it.

I think I would give it a "B."
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LouiseAAR



Joined: 14 Jan 2012
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:47 am    Post subject: Counterclockwise Challenge Reply with quote

I think that I got this one covered! At the end of January/beginning of February, I went through and read all twelve of Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. Does that count or am I one short because I jumped on the bandwagon and read it because Lothaire was getting all the hype? Smile
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1534

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Counterclockwise Challenge Reply with quote

LouiseAAR wrote:
I think that I got this one covered! At the end of January/beginning of February, I went through and read all twelve of Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series. Does that count or am I one short because I jumped on the bandwagon and read it because Lothaire was getting all the hype? Smile

12 books in the same series count for The Midnight Challenge. Did you read the novellas? Those count too I would think.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge:
Avon Velvet Glove – The Uneven Score by Carla Neggers:
This book was an odd mix of humor, light suspense, and the behind the scenes politics of a classical orchestra. As with many mid-80s romances, there are no scenes from the hero’s POV. There are plot holes galore, numerous over-the-top moments, and a general sense of wackiness, but I enjoyed it.

Harlequin Intrigue – Forbidden Captor by Julie Miller: This book is apparently part of a multi-author series called Big Sky Bounty Hunters. I imagine the plot details would have made more sense if I had read the previous books in the series. The romance works as a stand-alone, but the rest, not so much. The romance is a multi-layered, surprisingly sweet spin on Beauty and the Beast. The mystery plot is just a mess.

Harlequin Romantic Suspense – AWOL with the Operative by Jean Thomas: This book has not only a stranded-in-the-wilderness-on-the-run-from-bad-guys plot, but the hero also suffers from amnesnia. Thankfully he gets his memory back and they manage to make it out of the Canadian wilderness. The last quarter or so of the book is set in Chicago. Like many stranded in the wilderness stories, there’s convenient shelter whenever the h/h need to stop for the night. This book had a fairly well-developed hero and heroine and I enjoyed the romance between them, even as I was rolling my eyes at much of the plot.

Harlequin Superromance – Meet Me in Texas by Sandy Steen: Sandy Steen was an autobuy author for me before she stopped publishing, but somehow I missed this book when it was first released. The h/h both appeared in this author’s earlier Crystal Creek book, Somewhere Other Than the Night which I read back in 1994. There are a lot of repetitive thoughts and stilted dialogue from the various characters. There are also some time consistency issues (it’s stated at the beginning of one scene it’s 3 days later, yet the characters keep talking about events from “last night”). Also characters seem to do/say things just to move the plot along and a major subplot is left unresolved. Despite the flaws, I liked the romance between the h/h.

Harlequin Temptation – Her Perfect Stranger by Jill Shalvis: This story could have worked if it had been set almost anywhere other than NASA. But since it was, I kept being thrown out of the book by the complete lack of realism. The hero is very unprofessional and clueless. The heroine is bit more sympathetic except when she’s being a jerk, too. The secondary characters are all shallow and chauvinistic.

Loveswept – Too Clove for Comfort by Eve Gaddy: The hero and heroine are both arrogant and unlikable. There was no chemistry between them. I wasn’t convinced in the end that they even liked each other, much less were in love. The supporting characters are all one-dimensional and the h/h were not much better developed. The plot has everything but the kitchen sink, yet still came off as paint-by-numbers dull. Blah.

Silhouette Bombshell – Flashback by Justine Davis: I read the original 12 Athena Force books back when they were first released. This first book of the second series of AF books has been in my TBR pile since it was first published in 2006. The Silhouette Bombshell line was more like chick-lit than romance in that the stories revolve around the heroine’s internal journey and rarely feature the hero’s (if there even is one) POV. This particular book is rather plodding, but at least the main mystery was solved by the end. I just really with there had been more focus on the romance between the hero and heroine as they made a nice couple and I wanted to know more about them. Despite this being the second book featuring them as the main characters, I don’t feel as if I do.

Silhouette Desire – The Librarian’s Passionate Knight by Cindy Gerard: This book is also part of a multi-author series and I have not read the previous books. It functions well as a stand-alone though. The book is filled with clichéd situations, but it mostly overcomes them. In the beginning the heroine acts like the mouse her stalker ex-boyfriend calls her, but she knows she needs to change. I had more trouble with the adventure junkie hero’s no commitment attitude, but he spends much of the book beating himself up over it. And despite the rushed romance, I bought the h/h’s HEA.

Silhouette Intimate Moments – When You Call My Name by Sharon Sala: An interesting plot that’s overshadowed by the treacly characterizations and descriptions. Entirely too much time is spent in the killer’s POV and lots of info dumping from what was obviously a previous, related book. I wanted to like this story, but in the end was disappointed.

Silhouette Special Edition – Private Partners by Gina Wilkins: This is the second book in her Doctors in Training series and the blurb for this book is the reason I bought them. The story revolves around the second-year med student heroine and her secret, globe-trotting adventure reporter husband. There’s a lot of research dumping in the scenes with the heroine and her study group, who form the other characters in the series. I’m sure the scenes are there to illustrate the amount of pressure they are under, but I found the medical information in them superfluous. The reasons for the h/h keeping their marriage a secret seemed realistic to me in that in starts out simply withholding the truth from her family and snowballs out of control. While I liked both characters a lot, I felt their extreme lack of communication and flip-flopping motivations were artificial conflicts. Still I was rooting for their HEA and look forward to glimpses of them in the final two books.

Silhouette Yours Truly – Mommy and the Policeman Next Door by Marie Ferrarella: The heroine’s twins play matchmaker for their mother and the hero. It’s a silly set-up, but the author makes it work. The heroine is reluctant to get involved again after her husband was killed in the line of duty, much less with another cop. The story is predictable, but sweet.

Zebra Precious Gems – Keeping Kennedy by Debra Webb: There was a huge discrepancy in the book between what we’re told about the various characters and how we’re shown they act. Much is made of the fact the heroine is THE top spin doctor in DC, yet she’s going home to NC for her 10th high school reunion. Plus, she seems to be completely clueless about reading people. So how she’s SO good at her job is beyond me. She also starts off as very harsh and unsympathetic. Much of the book revolves around her old high school relationships, so the romance feels really rushed. I normally enjoy fake engagement stories, but this one was very poorly executed.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1534

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge: NEW AUTHORS!
Second-Guessing Fate by Claire Robyns:
The heroine is dragged by her bff to a psychic who predicts a bunch of stuff and concludes she’ll be dumped by the next guy she loves before finding her true soul mate. She doesn’t really believe any of it until the psychic’s predictions start coming true. Realizing the hero she’s just started seeing is not “the one,” she does everything she can to get him to dump her. Unfortunately, some of the things she does—which I’m assuming the reader is supposed to see as amusing—come off as downright mean. The hero had been through a bad breakup and is determined to do better this time, so he sticks around even when the heroine is trying so hard to get him to dump her. I really felt the heroine should be the one groveling at the end, but she never did. I’d be willing to try this author again, but this story just didn’t work for me.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1386

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finished the "A Dime a Dozen Challenge" yesterday.
I had previously posted about these 5:
Historical
The Other Guy's Bride by Connie Brockway **.9
A Lady's Lesson in Scandal by Meredith Duran **.5
Paranormal
Viper Moon by Lee Roland ***
Steam & Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape **.5
Urban Fantasy
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones ***.5

I read this yesterday, which finished the Urban Fantasy pair:
Timeless by Gail Carriger ***
I also read these between my previous post and now:
Contemporary
Cheri On Top by Susan Donovan **.5
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins **.5
Fantasy
Guardian of Honor by Robin D. Owens
The Charmed Sphere by Catherine Asaro
Romantic Comedy
Gift-Wrapped Baby by Renee Roszel **.5
Unlucky by Jana DeLeon ****
In terms of series, I am now reading 4 more series (or 5 if Pape writes more in her universe).
Most of these authors are now on my list to check new releases (and mostly autobuy).
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1842
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just finished another book in The Dime A Dozen challenge.

The book I chose was Tara Taylor Quinn's "Sophie's Secret." It's a contemporary category romance. The only other Quinn book I've read was "Becca's Baby," which is another category, and a book I really enjoyed. (When readers ask for recs in the category area, I always mention that one.) Anyway, with that in mind, I was looking forward to this second book. Only when I began reading it, did I also discover that it's part of the so-called "Shelter Valley" series and that some of the characters from "Becca's Baby" were in it. Unfortunately -- for me -- that was the extent of the similarity. While both books dealt with serious personal issues, hang-ups, and emotional scars, this latter book took it to the extreme, to the point that I found both the hero and heroine to be really WHINY. Almost every page was about what they couldn't do or how they couldn't make their relationship work because of their troubled pasts or personal hang-ups. Seriously, it became quite a drag and nothing ever seemed to actually happen. You don't hear me say this often, but this book really needed to be less focused on the main couple and include something beyond page after page of their whiny, internal dialogue. Except for a few pages here and there, we never really got a sense of their work, their friends, their lives. I guess that emphasis was supposed to reflect how isolated they were in their secret relationship, but boy I was getting both claustrophobic and somewhat sick of them! Normally, a reader should feel sympathetic, because the characters' issues were legitimate, but I honestly felt like the author would have made them more relatable if they had been less like two weak, sad sacks.

Heh. I'm probably overstating it, but not by much. I'll give the book a gentlelady's "C" and move on to my next challenge book.

This does make me curious about the rest of the "Shelter" series. Are they more like the first book, that I did enjoy, or more like this one, which I didn't?
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1534

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Clock Challenge: 4 Futuristic/Time Travel books:
2.) A Walk in the Garden by Karen Guffey:
This is an unusual time-travel in that the heroine comes forward in time rather than one of the characters going back in time as with most of the time-travel books I’ve read. The book gets a bogged down for a bit when the h/h research how time travel is possible. Some of his offhand dialogue makes the hero appear to be lecturing about the lack of morals in modern times, particularly in Hollywood, which I don’t think was the intent. But the romance is sweet. The hero is a hypocritical jerk for a while [spoiler] as he figures out how to send her home and doesn’t tell her, selfishly wanting her to accept her life in now in the future, but that thankfully doesn’t last very long. Too much time is spent on mundane details such as shopping, describing clothes, etc. and not enough time describing how the heroine adjusts so quickly to life in the future. This appears to be the author’s only published work, but I enjoyed this one enough I would try more books by her if she had them.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 1 down 11 to go…
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1534

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge: NEW AUTHORS!
Icebound by Julie Rowe:
This book is set at a research station in Antarctica. The book may have benefited from the hero’s POV, but I get that the author probably left it out to conceal his “big secret” for as long as possible (which doesn’t turn out to be so big). Although at times there are too many coincidences/conveniences to move the plot along and the heroine doctor has apparently never heard of HIPAA, I enjoyed the author’s voice. She has a second book coming out in April I have now added to my buy list.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 2.) A book with the word “Second”, “Two”, “Turtle” or “Dove” in the title
Pistols for Two by Georgette Heyer

This is an anthology with 11 regency short stories by Georgette Heyer.
Because the stories are way too short, there is not much opportunity for character development, and I would not recommended it for people who never read any of Heyer's books - they would be too disappointed. However, readers who have read several of her books will recognize many of her plots in these quick stories, and may have some fun - it is almost as if Heyer was drafting (or recapping) the plots of other books, such as Cotillion or The Corinthian.


Last edited by karat on Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge

January The Maid of Fairbourne Hall Julie Klassen
February Sixty Acres and a Bride Regina Jennings
March Lover Reborn JR Ward

The Calendar Challenge
January
February
March
April
May
June The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden
July
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December
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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: 2491

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge

January The Maid of Fairbourne Hall Julie Klassen
February Sixty Acres and a Bride Regina Jennings
March Lover Reborn JR Ward
April About that Night Julie James

B+

When Rylann met Smug Dimples aka Kyle Rhodes, she was in law school and he was working on a graduate degree in computer programming. Nine years later she is a prosecuter with the Chicago US Attorney's office and Kyle is the infamous Twitter Terrorist. As they are forced to work together, first on his release, then on another case where he serves as the prime witness, they realzie the sparks are still flying.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story of (mildly) star crossed love. Kyle and Rylann are terrific characters - both likable, understandable, mature and yet with enough whimsy to make them fun. I loved their snarky, sarcastic rapporte and also watching their warm, sentimental sides come out. It was refreshing to read a contemporary romance that for once didn't involve a crime or small town.

maggie b.

The Calendar Challenge
January
February
March
April
May
June The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden
July
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December
_________________
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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: 2491

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge

January The Maid of Fairbourne Hall Julie Klassen
February Sixty Acres and a Bride Regina Jennings
March Lover Reborn JR Ward
April About that Night Julie James

The Calendar Challenge
January Local Custom
February
March
April
May
June The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden
July
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December

Local Custom is the fifth book in the Liaden Universe. Goofy me thought it was the first! This is a romantic sci-fi about a girl from Earth who meets a powerful trader of the Korval family. There is romance, a secret baby and a reunion. I liked, but didn't love it. There is so little scifi out there right now though that I would recommend it to fans of scifi romances.

maggie b.
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She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott
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