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Simply Seventeen Challenge (The Whittler)
So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm:
The hero partially resented always having to be the responsible sibling in his family while his older brother was the “free spirit.” He found it nearly impossible to say no to his parents or brother. The hero knew his family dynamics were dysfunctional, but felt stuck. The heroine had resigned and cut ties with her (mostly) toxic family six months earlier, but still hadn’t truly dealt with things. I was happy to see her learn to value her self-worth and stand up for herself. The heroine had had a crush on the older brother when they’d been teenagers. Now he’d finally asked her out, but sent the hero to apologize when he couldn’t make their date. But all of that was just set up and the focus was very much on the actual romance between the h/h. Of course their family dynamics also had an impact, but they each had the freedom to be themselves in their relationship which was a first for both. The hero’s mother was ridiculously oblivious to how unfairly she treated him and the brother was selfish and a complete jerk, but the author did a good of explaining the hero’s motivations for being the family peacemaker and why he continued to do so. Given that the h/h had each made the effort to talk through their problems all along, parts of their argument toward the end felt forced, but other parts felt like necessary resolutions. Despite those quibbles and the slow start, overall a very enjoyable book.

Seventeen Magazine(s)! Challenge
TV Guide – Read a romance in which the hero and/or heroine are actors, producers, screenwriters, or personalities (like celebrity chefs or reality “stars”) in any form of entertainment, including television.
Running on Empty by Meg Benjamin – heroine is a reality TV star:
The heroine had stayed behind in the small Colorado town after the disaster of her second stint on reality TV during the first book in this trilogy. She was happily working as a waitress and taking classes online when she was lured back to another reality show. She agreed as the prize was a half-million dollars for charity and she wanted to prove she wasn’t the blonde bimbo she’s been portrayed as. The hero was her boss at the bar who agreed to help train her for the triathlon inspired show. He was a nice guy and had his own character arc, but this was very much the heroine’s story. Their romance was slow to develop and often took a backseat to the over the top reality show shenanigans, but I liked them both individually and as a couple. It was also nice to catch up with the various supporting characters again. All-in-all an enjoyable read.

  • The Breakfast Cereal Challenge: 16 down, 1 to go…
  • Seventeen Magazine(s)! Challenge: 15 down, 2 to go …
  • The Alphabet Challenge Variation: 16 down, 1 to go…
  • The Cocktail Challenge: 16 down, 1 to go…
  • Simply Seventeen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 14 down, 3 to go…
  • The 20th Century Challenge: completed!
  • Simply Seventeen Challenge (The Whittler): completed!