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The Cocktail Challenge
Vesper Martini – This drink was invented and named by Ian Fleming in the 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale. Read a book about spies, FBI agents, CIA agents or alphabet letter/secret agencies of any kind.
Thief’s Mark by Carla Neggers – h/h are both FBI agents:
The subplot about an art thief-turned-MI5 informant has spanned multiple books in this series. I know we’ve been meant to find his character clever, cheeky, and charming, but much of the time I just thought he was annoying. However, this book managed to make me like him. I enjoyed his secondary romance with a new character and am looking forward to seeing more of her in future books. The mystery revolved around his kidnapping thirty years ago. As usual there was a large cast of characters with multiple POV scenes, but this time around all of the subplots were obviously part of the main mystery from the start. I don’t think this book would work as a stand-alone since so much of the background was given in earlier books. The heroine’s grandfather and their priest friend were up to their usual meddling ways. I love the main h/h and it was nice to catch up with them in their first book as a married couple. I enjoyed the book for the character moments, but found most of the mystery lackluster (can’t really say more without major spoilers).

Simply Seventeen Challenge (The Whittler) – Replay
Mess with Me by Nicole Helm:
The hero had developed hermit-like tendencies since the death of his sister which he blamed himself for. The heroine was the half-sister of his business partners. They hadn’t known she existed and since she refused to talk to either of them, they’d pressed the hero into acting as an intermediary. This included offering her a job at their adventure tours company. The heroine was trying to find herself and work through some issues. I understood why she wanted to take things slow with her newly discovered brothers, but her thoughts and actions very often made her come across as flighty. The hero had been content to wallow in his martyrdom for years, but had started to reassess his life before meeting the heroine. They both would have benefited from professional counseling. I also wished the trainer dynamic had been dealt with on page more as the hero was her boss. The hero wanted to take things slowly for both their sakes. The overprotective brother act from one of the twins as well as her step-brother was a bit OTT. Despite these issues I enjoyed the book. There was a lot of humor. Looking forward to more in this series.

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