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12-in-2012 AAR Reading Challenge
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2473

PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jury Challenge

Cover Contest Winners


Bring Me Home for Christmas Robyn Carr

Becca Timms hadn't given Denny a chance to explain why he had broken up with her, then left with to join the army and go to Afghanistan. When he came home, she was completely focused on what he had done to her. So why is she still thinking of him a year down the road?

To deal with it, Becky joins her brother, one of Denny's friends on a hunting/fishing trip in Virgin River. She figures that spending some time with Denny will get him out of her system. Or will it?

Easily one of the most selfish, bitchy heroines I have ever encountered. Not only could she care less about possibly ruining her brother's trip, she is on the verge of being engaged to someone else and breaks up with him over the phone.

Couldn't stand her and I feel sorry for all those in her path, including poor deluded Denny.

New Release Calendar Challenge 8 down, 4 to go
The Jury Challenge, 9 down, 3 to go

The Dime A Dozen Round 2, 12 down, 0 to go
The Hign Noon Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
Dime a Dozen Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
The Calendar Challenge 12 down, 0 to go
The Clock Challenge: 12 down, 0 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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Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1481

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge:
August – Kansas City Cowboy by Julie Miller:
Even though hero is a sheriff he disrupts a press conference about his sister's murder. Plus he interferes with the investigation at multiple times even while acknowledging to himself he is not in his jurisdiction. It seemed odd the heroine, coroner, and task force agent in charge would share so much info with him even though he's in law enforcement. But the investigation has some interesting twists. And I liked the fact both the h/h were older than usual. Their instant attraction made for a few awkward scenes as it didn’t mesh well with either characters backstory. Thankfully the romance has a HFN ending given that the book takes place over barely a week. But it's easy to believe it will eventually turn into a HEA.

September – The Cop’s Missing Child by Karen Whiddon: Five years after his wife was killed in a car accident, a former cop tracks down the widow of the man who kidnapped his baby. The heroine has always suspected that her drug-dealing deceased husband was actually their adopted son’s biological father with one of his mistresses. So while she didn’t know he was a criminal until after he was killed, and merely suspected he bribed or black-mailed the mistress to obtain the baby, it’s difficult to feel much sympathy for her seeing that she knew the adoption papers were forged and the baby obtained illegally. The hero, of course, doesn’t tell her who he is at first. This basic set-up could have been intriguing, but lacked credibility in the way it was executed and the sheer number of coincidences the reader is asked to believe. The attraction between the h/h seemed forced. And the heroine’s holier than thou attitude really got on my nerves. Even though the hero wasn’t honest with her, I felt he deserved someone better for his HEA.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary: Category Romance Challenge 12 down 0 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 9 down 3 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 7 down 5 to go…
The Counterclockwise Challenge (Marie Ferrarella): 8 down 4 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jury Challenge
4 books which have won/received honorable mention at Cover Cafe

Historical Category - Honorable Mention 2009

Marrying the Captain by Carla Kelly

Quote:
From Shelfari: Ever since her father tried to sell her as a mistress to the highest bidder, Eleanor Massie has chosen to live in poverty. Her world changes overnight when Captain Oliver Worthy shows up at her struggling inn. Despite herself, Nana is drawn to her handsome guest.... Oliver planned to stay in Plymouth only long enough to report back to Lord Ratliffe--about Nana. But he soon senses that Lord Ratliffe is up to something, and Oliver will do anything to keep this courageous, beautiful woman safe--even marry her!


The reviewer of this book here at AAR (http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=7120) mentions that "Carla Kelly can do no wrong!". I wholeheartedly agree with her - I am yet to read a Carla Kelly's book which I do not like. Marrying the Captain has, as most of Kelly's books, a wonderful hero, a heroine that proves to be very brave and enchanting, and a compelling story. Very good book!

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge: Done!
The High Noon Challenge: 7 to go
The Jury Challenge: 1 to go
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge (new-to-you authors)
Overseas by Beatriz Williams


I had tried audio books once or twice in the past, but could not finish any of the books I selected. However, after reading the 2012 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll Results ( http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8556 ), and the enthusiastic commentaries about so many audio books, I decided to give it another try.
While searching, I saw that Overseas - a book I wanted to read after I saw Maggie's comments here in the Challenge - was available in Audio. That closed the deal!
So this entry actually represents not only a new-to-me author (Beatriz Williams), but also a new-to-me format (audio) and a rare-to-me theme (time travel, a plot I usually dislike).
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. I really liked the main characters. Julian, the hero, reminded me of Roarke (from the In Death series), since he was "almost too perfect". I do like Roarke, so this was actually a plus. And could relate well to Kate, the heroine. The plot is quite intriguing, and there is good resolution to all the mysteries presented throughout the book. The explanation of the time traveling effect left a little to be desired (which reminded me of why I usually have problems with this theme), but it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book.
As for the audio format: the book is written in first-person narrative, which was very well suited for the audio format, in my opinion. The narrator, January LaVoy, does a very good job creating the many different voices . On the downside: it was, of course, more cumbersome and time-consuming downloading and replicating the audio book to my devices than it usually is with ebooks, and I felt it harder to concentrate when listening to it in pubic places (vs. reading a book). But overall it was a positive experience, and I will probably try other audio books in the future.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge: Done!
The High Noon Challenge: 6 to go
The Jury Challenge: 1 to go
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Clock Challenge:
4 Contemporary books:
3) Just a Little White Lie by Lynnette Halberg:
This book starts off with a meet cute and some funny scenes. But then the author doesn't spend enough time developing the h/h and their romance. Instead we're introduced to a whole bunch of secondary characters and half a dozen subplots, many of which seem to be only space filler. In the end everything is tied in a neat bow, but in a lackluster fashion. This had the potential to be a really good read but turned into just an okay one.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary: Category Romance Challenge 12 down 0 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 9 down 3 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 8 down 4 to go…
The Counterclockwise Challenge (Marie Ferrarella): 8 down 4 to go…
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2473

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karat wrote:
The High Noon Challenge (new-to-you authors)
Overseas by Beatriz Williams


I had tried audio books once or twice in the past, but could not finish any of the books I selected. However, after reading the 2012 Favorite Romance Audiobooks Poll Results ( http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8556 ), and the enthusiastic commentaries about so many audio books, I decided to give it another try.
While searching, I saw that Overseas - a book I wanted to read after I saw Maggie's comments here in the Challenge - was available in Audio. That closed the deal!
So this entry actually represents not only a new-to-me author (Beatriz Williams), but also a new-to-me format (audio) and a rare-to-me theme (time travel, a plot I usually dislike).
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. I really liked the main characters. Julian, the hero, reminded me of Roarke (from the In Death series), since he was "almost too perfect". I do like Roarke, so this was actually a plus. And could relate well to Kate, the heroine. The plot is quite intriguing, and there is good resolution to all the mysteries presented throughout the book. The explanation of the time traveling effect left a little to be desired (which reminded me of why I usually have problems with this theme), but it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book.
As for the audio format: the book is written in first-person narrative, which was very well suited for the audio format, in my opinion. The narrator, January LaVoy, does a very good job creating the many different voices . On the downside: it was, of course, more cumbersome and time-consuming downloading and replicating the audio book to my devices than it usually is with ebooks, and I felt it harder to concentrate when listening to it in pubic places (vs. reading a book). But overall it was a positive experience, and I will probably try other audio books in the future.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge: Done!
The High Noon Challenge: 6 to go
The Jury Challenge: 1 to go


I am very impressed., This is a long book so you had to devote some time to listening. I would agree with your assessment. It's a good book, I liked it, very readable. Just not quite a DIK.

maggie b.
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maggie b. wrote:

I am very impressed., This is a long book so you had to devote some time to listening. I would agree with your assessment. It's a good book, I liked it, very readable. Just not quite a DIK.

maggie b.


It was indeed quite a long book, and I have just realized how much: since I liked my experience with Overseas, I decided to try another audio book, and I am now listening to Catch of the Day, by Kristan Higgins. After your comment, I decided to compare them: Catch of the Day is just about 10 hours long, while Overseas is about 16 hours long. But it was certainly worth it listening to it - it did not feel like 16 hours Smile ...
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karat



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jury Challenge
4 books which have won/received honorable mention at Cover Cafe

Historical Category - Honorable Mention 2011

Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase

I simply LOVED the cover of this book the first time I saw it at the Cover Cafe website:

After doing some little research, I realized it was the cover to the French edition of Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase, a book I had on my TBR. So, although my book did not have the cover I loved at the website, I was intrigued enough by this beautiful dress to finally get the book out of the TBR pile and understand what the story was about.
Captives of the Night is the 4th book in this series. I had read books #2 (Lord of Scoundrels) and #3 (The Last Hellion), but the story in this 4th book works well even if I had not read the previous books. The heroine, Lelia Beaumont, is an artist, and is married to the horrid Francis Beaumont (a villain is previous books). The hero, Comte d'Esmond, is an agent working for the government against Francis Beaumont, and gets involved with Leila along the way. After the initial chapters, the book really got my attention, and I actually liked it better than I expected. The balance of heat and tenderness in the interactions between the h/H was very well written, and I was intrigued by the suspense parts of the book.
One thing I might have missed: it seems that Esmond was actually some sort of villain in the 1st book in the series (The Lion's Daughter). If so, I would love to have seen him converted from redeemed villain to hero. I might try and check the 1st book one day.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge: Done!
The High Noon Challenge: 6 to go
The Jury Challenge: Done!
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 359

PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jury Challenge - Done!

4 books which are AAR contest winners
Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh - Favorite book in this challenge
The Billionaire Next Door by Jessica Bird - Favorite Contemporary
The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath - Favorite Historical

4 books which have won/received honorable mention at Cover Café
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts - Least Favorite book in the challenge
Marrying The Captain by Carla Kelly
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase

4 books which have won or been nominated for a RITA Award
Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
True Confessions by Rachel Gibson
Body Guard by Suzanne Brockmann
Angel's Wolf (and Angel's Dance) by Nalini Singh - Favorite Paranormal (Angel's Dance)

So many great books, it was hard to select my favorites. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Clock Challenge: 4 Futuristic/Time Travel books:
3) The Lost Night by Jayne Castle:
I enjoyed this latest entry in JAK’s long running World of Harmony and Arcane series. This is her second book set on Rainshadow Island and the new setting expands the world building from previous books. I liked both the h/h and her dust bunny. While the book provides closure for their romance and ties up a few storylines, much of the mystery of the Preserve is left open-ended. Bummed I will have to wait another year to get the next pieces of the puzzle.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary: Category Romance Challenge 12 down 0 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 9 down 3 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 9 down 3 to go…
The Counterclockwise Challenge (Marie Ferrarella): 8 down 4 to go…
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2473

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jury Challenge

2010 Two Image Cover Winner
The Healer's Apprentice
Melanie Dickerson

Truly awful book. A medieval romance in which the author didn't even attempt to include history or any historical behaviors in her novel. Totally unworthy of the cover.

maggie b.


New Release Calendar Challenge 8 down, 4 to go
The Jury Challenge, 10 down, 2 to go

The Dime A Dozen Round 2, 12 down, 0 to go
The Hign Noon Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
Dime a Dozen Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
The Calendar Challenge 12 down, 0 to go
The Clock Challenge: 12 down, 0 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
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2473

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge

With Every Letter
Sarah Sundin

I am toying with the idea of doing a review for this for AAR.

Inpired by the film Shop Around the Corner an officer and his army nurse wife come up with the idea of having their two units exchange letters. Lt. Mellie Blake is reluctant to begin a correspondence with anyone. Friendless and socially handicapped, she just doesn't know how to relate to anyone who isn't a patient. Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer in the 908th Engineer Aviation Battalion in North Africa welcomes Mellie's anonymous correspondence. A horrific past has kept him from being himself around people. He is always the life of the party, a well liked guy, but there is more to him than that. But no one ever sees the serious side of him. Until now. Their letters span continents, creating a secure bridge of friendship. But can they merge these two hearts into one?

Sweet story with some minor flaws. Would recommend to anyone who is a fan of WWII Inspirational stories. (like there are tons of us around?? Smile

maggie b.

New Release Calendar Challenge 9 down, 3 to go
The Jury Challenge, 10 down, 2 to go

The Dime A Dozen Round 2, 12 down, 0 to go
The Hign Noon Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
Dime a Dozen Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
The Calendar Challenge 12 down, 0 to go
The Clock Challenge: 12 down, 0 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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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Clock Challenge:
4 Historical Books:
4) Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal:
I wanted to like this book as it has a great setting. The heroine is perfect and solves every problem. Sadly, to make that happen the hero is stuck looking like a buffoon on multiple occasions. None of the various characters’ dialogue sounded genuine. At times it was purely an info dump, at others too modern sounding. The characters routinely broke into preachy lectures about the war effort, Nazis, the IRA, etc. The research and location descriptions are not as well integrated into the story as they needed to be. I kept reading hoping it would get better, and I was curious as to what would happen, but the plot becomes so over the top ridiculous at the end part of me wants my time back.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary: Category Romance Challenge 12 down 0 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 9 down 3 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 10 down 2 to go…
The Counterclockwise Challenge (Marie Ferrarella): 8 down 4 to go…
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Maggie AAR
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Posts: 2473

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jury Challenge

Cover Cafe Third Place Winner Historical Covers 2010

The Lightkeeper's Daughter Colleen Cobble

Liked this tale of a young girl who discovers she is not who she thought she was.

maggie b.


New Release Calendar Challenge 9 down, 3 to go
The Jury Challenge, 11 down, 1 to go

The Dime A Dozen Round 2, 12 down, 0 to go
The Hign Noon Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
Dime a Dozen Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
The Calendar Challenge 12 down, 0 to go
The Clock Challenge: 12 down, 0 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
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2473

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jury Challenge


Cover Cafe Winner Historical Covers 2010


The Lightkeeper's Bride

Colleen Cobble

I liked book one enough to check out book two. Sadly, it was shockingly similar to book one. It was a good, quick read though so I guess I can't complain.

Katie Russell is an operator who who overhears a chilling exchange on the other end of the line. Checking on the patron whose phone it was she finds a house with no mother and a crying young baby. As Katie tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the missing mom she meets Will, the new light house keeper. Will helps Katie learn all about love. But is she really free to love as she wishes? Her family is more entangled in the business of the mysterious boat disappearances than she wishes. What should she do?

I thought the book was a bit of a tangled mess.

maggie b.


New Release Calendar Challenge 9 down, 3 to go
The Jury Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
The Dime A Dozen Round 2, 12 down, 0 to go
The Hign Noon Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
Dime a Dozen Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
The Calendar Challenge 12 down, 0 to go
The Clock Challenge: 12 down, 0 to go

_________________
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