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12-in-2012 AAR Reading Challenge
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2507

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 9:47 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 The Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December

Book Blurb from Amazon:

Quote:
Twelve-year-old Stroma and her brother love summering in 1936 on the diamond-shaped island of Islay in the Hebrides with their grandparents, living in Craigmore, a large estate with one spigot and no electricity. One day a two-masted yacht arrives, piloted by a WWI U-boat commander revisiting the cove that had sheltered his sub for repairs, and with him are his two teen boys. Seventeen-year-old Reinhard is charmed by Stroma, first encountered as a dirty girl in ragged boy's clothes but who cleans up well enough to inspire their ensuing Hamburg-London correspondence. Authentic details permeate this well-paced wartime romance and tale of suspense, attracting WWII buffs as well as Mayhew's fans in this engrossing narrative journey of a young couple forced into opposing camps. She joins the British WRNS, or Wrens, the Women's Royal Navy Service, helping destroy the German "wolf pack" subs, one of which he commands, and an unlikely reunion results


I struggle with books that start with the heroine as a young girl and the hero as an adult. Somehow to me a 17 yr. old's interest in a 12 yr. old has a whiff of pedophilia to it. Other than that, the book was a quick, easy read by a talented author.

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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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1572

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Clock Challenge:
4 Contemporary books:
1) Red Heat by Nina Bruhns:
I really wanted to love this first book in the author’s Men in Uniform series. Sadly, it took me weeks to get through the first third of it, mostly because the hero starts off as a jerk and the heroine is extremely inept and whiney at the beginning. So, I found the book easy to set aside. I did not DNF it though since I loved the setting, on board an old Russian submarine in the Bering Sea. Thankfully the book picks up in the second half and I warmed up to both the hero and heroine. I never totally bought into the love-at-first-sight premise though. And the plot is somewhat disjointed. Still I enjoyed enough that I will read the sequel.

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: 3 down 9 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 2 down 10 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 414

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 8.) A book with the word “Eighth”, “Eight”, “Maid”, “Maids” or “Milking” in the title. Or a book where the heroine works as a maid
Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

OK, so this was not the book I initially had in mind for this category in the challenge. However, after I finished it I realize that the book's heroine, No'One, spends most of her time working as a maid, and I thought: why not use it as my "Day 8" book? So here it is.
Lover Reborn is the 10th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. As most of the series readers, I really liked the first books, and had a couple of issues with the latest books. I liked Lover Reborn much better than the previous book, Lover Unleashed, but it was not a DIK for me. Ward can write some very good scenes, and I particularly liked the interactions the hero, Tohr, had with Lassiter, a fallen angel. However, I tend to dislike romances with love triangles that stay unsolved for too long, and I am coming to realize that this is also valid for cases where the elements of the triangle are the hero, the heroine, and a beloved deceased wife (husband) of one of them. I had a problem with that on another book I read for the challenge (Virgin River) and now again with Lover Reborn. I understand how difficult it was for Tohr to move on, and that was basically the main plot line of the book, but I ended up felling that No'One deserved better.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1572

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge: NEW AUTHORS!
Code Triage by Candace Calvert:
I bought and read this book knowing it was a marriage-in-trouble story (which I like), but not knowing it involved adultery (which I really don’t like). This book is apparently the third in a trilogy and I did not read the other two. The name dropping and plot summaries from the previous books were quite heavy-handed, especially given that the other characters/plots had only a superficial connection to this story. I did feel as if I was missing background information about the h/h’s marriage though, which may very well have been provided in the previous books. There’s an abundance of medical explanations that really doesn’t further the story other than to show the heroine being a doctor. The “other woman” is a POV character with lots of page time. Though I felt sympathy for her at the start, she ended up being very annoying. The author managed to make me root for the h/h to reconcile, despite the fact both of them come off as unlikable at various points in the book. I just wish we’d gotten to see more of them being happy together since almost the entire book is very grim. I also wish the religious aspects had been toned down a bit. There’s also a big subplot involving another character which goes unresolved. But while I mostly enjoyed this story, I’m not inclined to read the next book which has the character as the heroine.

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: 3 down 9 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 3 down 9 to go…
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1864
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wrapped up my latest book in the A Dime a Dozen Challenge. This time I decided to read an historical: Adele Ashworth's My Darling Caroline. As I understand it, this was Ms. Ashworth's first published romance novel and as a debut it was pretty good. I love historicals which feature characters with unique talents or qualities because I'm interested in how that type of thing might have been handled or perceived in that time period -- not that all historicals handle that in a believable way. But, in any event, the heroine in this book is a brilliant amateur scientist, who obviously cannot be a professional, because ... well, she's a woman and no one would accept her as a student or a colleague! There are also other less typical aspects to the book. For instance there is a young deaf child who is totally "misdiagnosed" until the heroine comes along. The hero is a bit more typical but the other elements of the story make up for that.

There were tell tale signs that this was Ms. Ashworth's first book. At the very end, for instance, she goes into a great deal of exposition on the backstories of both the hero and heroine, basically one character talking to another. And, although much of it was interesting, the book would've been better served if she had incorporated these developments into the earlier part of the book, giving it more depth. As we all know, it's better to show rather than tell. Also, the epilogue, which went on for pages, included a revelation about the heroine's family and their plots and plans in relation to the heroine's future that made me roll my eyes. Furthermore, there was an unnecessary "suspenseful" addition to the plot that could have easily been eliminated in favor of the other elements I've mentioned or even more about the evolution of the deaf child.

In any event, I still felt the book was very good. So much was thrown into it as if Ms. Ashworth thought she'd never publish another. As such, most readers are bound to find something they like about it. I give it an "A-."

Now, off to read another contemporary.
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library addict



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 1572

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge:
March – Deadly Reckoning by Elle James:
This book has enough subplots to fuel multiple books. The heroine is pregnant by her bff via artificial insemination, though he is sadly killed two days after the procedure. She survives an attempted murder and moves to a secluded seaside town to a cottage with no cell phone reception Rolling Eyes The hero has recently discovered he’s the father of a teenaged son and just moved back to the seaside town. The night the heroine arrives there’s a murder. Despite being stalked the heroine continually sends people away to leave opportunities for the killer to taunt her. Fog and heavy rain come and go whenever it’s convenient for the plot. I appreciated that the sheriff deputy hero was gung ho to turn the case over to the FBI since he became instantly involved with the heroine and knew it was a conflict of duty. [spoiler]Unfortunately the agent never arrives in town to take over the case. The heroine and hero both suffer head wounds and there are multiple attempts on the heroine’s life, though nothing so bad it interferes with her desire to paint. The killer is painfully obvious from his first appearance. And the whole thing takes place in only three days! But despite the books numerous flaws and TSTL moments, I liked the h/h and read the book straight through.

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: 3 down 9 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 3 down 9 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 3 down 9 to go…
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 414

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandlynn wrote:
This time I decided to read an historical: Adele Ashworth's My Darling Caroline. ... In any event, I still felt the book was very good. ... I give it an "A-."


That's good to know, Sandlynn. I had originally selected My Darling Caroline to be my "Day 1" book in the 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. Or a book where the hero/heroine is a gardener or landscape designer.). However, after the first chapters the book became too slow for me, so I sent it back to my TBR and selected First Lady to be my "Day 1" book. After reading your comments, I believe I might give My Darling Caroline another chance!
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 414

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge (new-to-you authors)
Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery

Claire Keyes had been estranged from her family for many years, so when her sister Jess called asking for her help, she quickly jumped into the opportunity to reunite with her sisters. Little did she know that going back to Seattle would mean not only a chance to have her family back, but also to meet Wyatt Knight. Could he finally be the one?
This book was a light read, but at the same time it had very touching themes, such as resentment between siblings, losing one's parents, feelings of abandonment and betrayal in a family, and even children having to deal with special circumstances (from unusual talents to physical impairments). It made me smile and have tears in my eyes from time to time. I really enjoyed reading it, and I will probably read other of Susan Mallery's books soon.
Here is AAR's review:
http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=6847
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2507

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Dime a Dozen Challenge:
Lots of things are sold by the dozen: eggs, donuts, cans of soda, roses, etc. For this challenge read 2 books each from any 6 of the following categories:
Contemporary Always the Designer, Never the Bride Sandra D. Bricker,
Fantasy
Futuristic Under the Never Sky Veronica Rossi
Gothic
Historical Promise Me This Cathy Gohlke, I'll Be Seeing You Margaret Mayhew
Inspirational
Paranormal
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Suspense
Time Travel
Urban Fantasy
Young Adult Switched Amand Hocking, Abandon Meg Cabot

maggie b.
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http://maggiebbooksandteas.blogspot.com
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: 1572

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The New Release Calendar Challenge:
April – The Witness by Nora Roberts:
I really enjoyed this book. The über-smart heroine is saved from being a too-perfect know-it-all by her social insecurities. I loved the fact she believes she’s been easily blending in over the years when she really isn’t. The hero has a great mix of patience, charm, and stubbornness. Overall the book is well-placed, but I do feel the ending was rushed.

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: 4 down 8 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 3 down 9 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 3 down 9 to go…
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2507

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Calendar Challenge

January Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
February Rainshadow Road Lisa Kleypas
March
April
May
June The Lady of Bolton Hill Elizabeth Camden
July the Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December

Rainshadow Road

Lucy Marinn is just contemplating how happy she is with her boyfriend when he drops by to tell her to move out. His new love will be taking her place in his bed, his heart, his house. That love is her spoiled, gets whatever she wants sister Alice. Taking a walk to clear her head, Lucy trips and San Nolan comes to her rescue. He spends the rest of the book in knight in shining armor mode, catching her every time she falls.
How can she help but fall in love with him?

Cute, sweet, short and quick are the words that described this read for me. I enjoyed Sam and Lucy's love story. The one thing I wished for was more from her parents tale. i found that one far more interesting but alas, we only got glimpses of it.

maggie b.
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http://maggiebbooksandteas.blogspot.com
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: 1572

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Clock Challenge:
4 Historical Books:
1) Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick:
I read this early as my library put my reserve copy out already. This is the first book in her Ladies of Lantern Street series (aka Flint & Marsh), The hero and heroine have multiple paranormal abilities. Their love story is charming. We are introduced to two of the future heroines, but in a way that doesn’t detract from this story. The plot is very familiar. But JAK remains a comfort read for me because although nothing is really new in this book, I enjoyed it. It’s not one of her strongest works though.

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: 4 down 8 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 3 down 9 to go…
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2507

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dime A Dozen Challenge
Inspirational

Something Beyond the Sk by Siri L. Mitchell

I can't really say what I though about this novel. It is about a year in the life of four Airforce wives. 'Anne is fresh out of college, and married to her college sweetheart. But the realities of military life and the strange reaction Southerners have to her Seattle self disturbs her on many levels.

Rachel is a sheltered, wealthy princess trying to make marriage work to an airforce pilot with looks, charm and little cash. Can the two adjust to each other?

Karen has been married seven years but she is questioning her LDS faith and her own lot in life.

Beth resigned her commission to be a stay at home mom but hates it. She wants her life back - is that even possible?

This was a thought provoking Inspirational. It didn't accept traditional values at all but made you really question things. A word of warning - it is very harsh on the mormon faith. But very accepting of women wanting to be themselves, independent of who their husbands would want them to be. In the end I liked it but honestly, I can't imagine who I would recommend it to.

maggie b
Contemporary Always the Designer, Never the Bride Sandra D. Bricker,
Fantasy
Futuristic Under the Never Sky Veronica Rossi
Gothic
Historical Promise Me This Cathy Gohlke, I'll Be Seeing You Margaret Mayhew
Inspirational Something Beyond the Sky Siri Mitchell
Paranormal
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Suspense
Time Travel
Urban Fantasy
Young Adult Switched Amand Hocking, Abandon Meg Cabot
_________________
http://maggiebbooksandteas.blogspot.com
She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain. - Louisa May Alcott


Last edited by Maggie AAR on Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:15 am; edited 2 times in total
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karat



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 414

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 11.) A book with the word “Eleventh”, “Eleven”, “Pipers” or “Piping” in the title. Or a book where a character works in a bakery
Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery

I finished Sweet Talk, my first book by Susan Mallery, and immediately started Sweet Spot, the second book in this "Bakery Sisters" trilogy. Nicole Keyes was the twin sister of the 1st book's heroine, and I was curious to read her story. Unfortunately, it was a major disappointment. Nicole showed a much stronger backbone as a secondary character than she did as a heroine. But the worst part of this book was the hero, Hawk. He behaved at times as a total womanizer, and at times as a complete idiot. Even what could be considered his "redeeming qualities" - being a great father and caring for the teenagers he coached at the school football team - turned out to not being true strengths by the end of the book.
At the beginning of the book, Hawks thoughts about Nicole were:
"He couldn’t seem to stop thinking about her. Okay—thinking was a stretch. Fantasizing would be better. He kept picturing her naked and  begging. In his fantasy he was always happy to oblige. It was just the kind of man he was."
Unfortunately, "the kind of man he was" did not change much during the rest of the book, so I could never believe when he eventually decides that he loves Nicole. Towards the end of the story, Claire (Nicole's sister) says: "He sounds like a real jerk". My thoughts exactly, Claire!
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Maggie AAR



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2507

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Calendar Challenge

January Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
February Rainshadow Road Lisa Kleypas
March By the Light of the Silvery Moon Tricia Goyer
April
May
June The Lady of Bolton Hill Elizabeth Camden
July the Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December

I talked about this one a bit in my blog about Titanic. This retelling of the prodigal son has Amelia Gladston giving her spare ticket for Titanic to Quentin Walpol. Quentin had lived large and used up his inheritance, now he is broke and unsure how to get back on his feet. I just couldn't love this story. Ameila was too do goody, Quentin not really a strong personality.

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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