Home Forums Let’s Talk Romance Forum The AAR 18 in 2018 Reading Challenge

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 107 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas
    The Valentine Challenge by Marisa Cleveland:
    The heroine overheard the hero acting as a jerk discussing how he did not want to hire her as his assistant since she was pretty which obviously meant she dated a lot and would undoubtedly fall in love with him. Believing the hero planned to vote to close her bff’s flower shop days before Valentine’s Day she pointed out that was a very lucrative day for flower shops. Rather than explain there was no plan to close the shop, he decided he liked it when she was angry so told her that he accepted her challenge to prove love existed before Valentine’s Day. His condescending attitude lasted for much too long. The heroine had a crush on him despite his treatment. In less than a day they went on date that turned into a one-night stand. He conveniently forgot to tell the heroine he’d had her transferred to a different department. He didn’t grovel nearly enough and only apologized about his lies when confronted. While the romance ultimately didn’t work for me I would try this new-to-me author again.

    Her Royal Rendezvous by Natasha Moore: The heroine was related to the royal family, but considered a commoner and served as the palace doctor. The hero was the head of security. They’d been engaged, but broke up when he continually put his job first so she’d quit to work at a hospital. Two years later they met again at her cousin’s wedding. They agreed to spend one last night together. The ending would have been more believable if they’d actually discussed their problems instead of simply deciding to get engaged again. Overall a disappointing read.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 14 down, 4 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation : 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 14 down, 4 to go…
    • The Shoe Challenge: 16 down, 2 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 3 down, 15 to go…
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler)
    Rescued by the Marine by Julie Miller:
    The hero was a former Marine who now worked search and rescue. His reporter girlfriend had been killed after being abducted. He suffered from PTSD and had become a recluse. The heroine had multiple college degrees and was content to remain out of the limelight much to the disappointment of the rest of her family. The heroine’s mother had been killed during a kidnapping when she was seven. So when the heroine was kidnapped, her father refused to pay the ransom. Instead he hired the hero to find her. The h/h each had reasons to not want to become involved and acknowledged that the circumstances of their meeting meant their attraction to one another was problematic. The main villain was obvious despite a number of viable suspects. There was more emphasis on the action plot than the romance, but I liked the fact the h/h took turns saving each other. I liked the hero, but it was the heroine who made the book work. Despite the rushed ending, overall an engaging read.

    The Billionaire’s Legacy by Reese Ryan: The hero had always had a crush on his older sister’s bff. He’d recently sold his Seattle-based tech company for a few billion and was off to Japan for six months. The heroine now lived in Nashville. They hadn’t seen one another for ten years when both returned to their Tennessee hometown for his cousin’s wedding. They agreed to a one-night and to go their separate ways. Flash-forward six months. Despite the hero’s attitude, I had a major issue with the fact the heroine had kept her pregnancy a secret. Thankfully this issue was addressed early on. The hero had grown up rich so he could be flippant about money. He could also be overbearing. The h/h often didn’t listen and each jumped to conclusions about the other’s motivations based on their own insecurities. Neither wanted to be the first to admit they’d fallen in love. I liked the subplot with the heroine’s mother and grandfather. I wish we’d seen more of the heroine and hero’s sister’s relationship on page rather than being told about it. Most of the conflict between the h/h at the end seemed forced. Overall an uneven but likeable read.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 14 down, 4 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation : 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 14 down, 4 to go…
    • The Shoe Challenge: 16 down, 2 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 5 down, 13 to go…
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge
    N for name — Read a romance where the heroine and/or hero’s name begins with the letter R (the 18th letter of the alphabet).
    Leverage in Death by JD Robb – hero is named Roarke:
    This book fell near the midway point on the scale between character driven vs procedural plot. It was a whodunit with the villains not appearing until late in the story. We didn’t get to know the main victims as well as we have in past books, so the impact of their deaths didn’t resonate as strongly as it could have. As usual there were some wonderful personal interactions between Eve and Roarke as well as Eve and many of the secondary characters. No spoilers, but while I loved one of the developments in the epilogue, others felt over the top. Overall another solid, but middle-of-the-road entry in this long-running series.

    Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler)
    Exile of the Seas by Jeffe Kennedy:
    The book picked up where the previous left off with the heroine having escaped her homeland. I loved the first part of the book set on the ship. The heroine understood just how much she didn’t know and set about learning as much as she could. We met the hero of the trilogy. There was a glimmer of the possibility of a future romance, but the story remained centered around the heroine’s journey and efforts to heal from her recent trauma. We met a character who had only been mentioned in the earlier books (which are set much later time-wise) so that was a pleasant surprise. The heroine needed time to come to terms with everything and to learn to rely on herself, so I was glad the romance was not a focus. I loved the way in which her childhood dream came true. Some parts of the overarching story were fittingly wrapped up. I am now anxiously awaiting the final book in this trilogy.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 15 down, 3 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation : 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 14 down, 4 to go…
    • The Shoe Challenge: 16 down, 2 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 6 down, 12 to go…
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    Sandlynn
    Participant
    Post count: 85

    Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:

    18) Adopt a child.

    Read a young adult romance. Or read a romance in which one or both of the protagonists find themselves responsible for a child or children. If you’re into secret babies, here’s your chance to read that book! If you’re into pregnant heroines, feel free to take that book off your TBR pile!


    For this part of the challenge, I was scrambling to read Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi, published in 2017, before the author’s appearance at the National Book Festival which I was also attending. Fortunately, I completed enough of it at that point, enjoyed it generally, but I did have some issues with it.

    First off, this is a young adult romance featuring an American hero and heroine, of Indian descent, who have both just graduated from high school. They are each going to be incoming college students on opposite sides of the country. However, for the summer, they are attending an exclusive tech camp, that focuses on producing an app which will be in contention for possible further development by a well-known tech superstar, who also happens to be a graduate of this camp.

    What Dimple Shah, the heroine of our pair, doesn’t know is that Rishi Patel, our hero, is not terribly interested in developing an app, but is more interested in meeting her. Apparently, despite moving in different economic circles, their parents are friends and would like Rishi and Dimple to meet in the hope that they might one day marry. Rishi is all on board with this, since he remembers meeting Dimple in the past and finds her attractive. Plus, despite being raised as a modern American youth, he has deep respect for this parents, celebrates his culture, and looks on their traditions in a positive way, unlike his younger brother who is a complete rebel. Dimple, on the other hand, lives for coding, wants to be a career woman, and is not interested in meeting up with a good Indian boy anytime soon. So what exactly happens when Dimple meets Rishi?

    As Ms. Menon confirmed, the title of her book is a homage to the romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally, and that other books in her series will also be titled similarly. She also mentioned that this particular book will have a sequel. As such, I’ll be interested in seeing what she does with these characters. In terms of this first book, I was surprised by its emphasis more on Rishi’s journey than Dimple’s. Dimple has no doubt who she wants to be and is pushing back forcibly. It’s Rishi who has made all the compromises and buried his dreams for his parents. It takes Dimple’s help to make Rishi face this. Granted, in terms of their romance, Rishi is all in immediately and must convince Dimple to give him a chance. But, to my mind, it didn’t take much convincing. So, the struggle for them seemed more about their professional dreams than their romance. We also get a subplot involving Dimple’s roommate — which was all over the place and not too deep — and later developed into a secret relationship with Rishi’s brother, that came out of left field. Not sure I bought all of that. So, for me, I can’t say that this story was totally successful. I would give it a B-/B.

    ******


    The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)

    Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 7 down, 11 to go

    Sandlynn
    Participant
    Post count: 85

    Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:

    14) Work more hours.
Read a romance set at the work place, whether in an office or other place of business. The protagonists can be co-workers or have a less equal relationship.


    For this part of the challenge, I picked up Julie James’ The Thing About Love, published in 2017.

    Anyone familiar with James’ work knows that many of her characters usually work in law enforcement, either lawyers, detectives, FBI agents, etc. However she also interjects a lot of fun and romance as well.

    Chicagoans John Shepherd and Jessica Harlow were both in the same class at Quantico training to be FBI agents. Jessica came to the FBI via the practice of law and John came via the military as a former Army Ranger. As such their strengths and approaches couldn’t be more different and they clashed repeatedly, masking an underlying attraction. Fortunately, they went in different directions upon graduation — John to an organized crime squad in the East and Jessica to white collar crime in the West.

    However, coincidences have brought them together again in their hometown of Chicago — Jessica’s L.A. marriage ends in divorce and John’s latest undercover case ends, allowing him to return to his “long suffering” family and girlfriend — except John’s return comes a little too late. He finds his girlfriend and one of his best friends in bed together. Both suffering from recent heartache but glad for the distraction, John and Jessica are teamed up for an undercover assignment, involving travel to Florida to catch a corrupt, popular mayor. Working together for the first time since FBI training at Quantico, will their clash of personalities rear its head again? Or, will their attraction take the forefront? And, if the latter, how will John’s longtime goal of entering the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team program, taking him around the world, affect a budding romance when his job already ruined one relationship.

    This story is a fun, enjoyable enemies to lovers romance. Initially, you get a good he-said, she-said type backstory covering the characters’ conflict as young FBI recruits, as well as their later, separate relationship problems — both related to their jobs. This sets up their ongoing tension but also allows for some sympathetic bonding. The undercover assignment brings our couple together, not only working toward the same goal but allowing for flirtation and romance. Of course, the big elephant in the room is John’s prestige assignment to a high-powered FBI job that would take him away again and make even a relationship with another FBI agent hard to maintain. Although I could’ve predicted what ultimately happened with that, it wasn’t entirely clear. More than that, I thought the resolution of the undercover work they did together was a bigger twist and kept me guessing. Furthermore, I thought all the supporting characters were used well. This was a satisfying read. I’d give it an A.

    ******


    The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)

    Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 8 down, 10 to go

    Sandlynn
    Participant
    Post count: 85

    Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:

    23) Buy porn.
 Read an erotic romance.


    For this part of the challenge, I decided to read Audrey Carlan’s Calendar Girl: Volume One, which is the first book in a four volume series. Published in 2015, this first book covers the months of January, February, and March.

    Mia Saunders is a mid twenties, aspiring actress, who puts her own ambitions aside in order to, once again, save her family from themselves. Mia’s mother left home when Mia was only 10 and her sister 5. At that young age, Mia becomes a surrogate parent to her sister, since their father is a compulsive gambler and alcoholic. Granted, he didn’t abandon his children, but he’s basically of little use to them since Mia has to take care of the family. This time, he ends up owing a loan shark who has him beaten to within an inch of his life, putting him in a coma. The responsibility for the loan then falls on Mia’s shoulders. Not only that, but Mia has been contributing money to her sister’s education, wanting to ensure that at least one of them will escape the hopelessness of their upbringing. In order to earn the money owed to the shark, Mia turns to her aunt who runs a high class escort service. Aunt Millie suggests that her niece become an escort for the next year, which should get her the money she needs. Each month, she will spend time with a wealthy client. Sex is not required, but if she does sleep with the client, she will earn $20,000 more than the fee she collects each month.

    This story is the start of an erotic series, but there’s more here than just titillation. Each month is written like a novella, where Mia becomes involved in the ups and downs of her clients’ lives. Each one also teaches Mia something about herself or about life in general. In addition, her friends, family members, and even past clients pop back in and out of her life as the year progresses.

    Although I was certainly drawn into each story, there were parts of it that really bothered, if not puzzled me. For instance, Mia’s aunt owns Exquisite Escorts, so why can’t she help Mia out financially, instead of putting Mia to work? That just seemed rather cold and callous. Also, although Mia certainly goes into this with her eyes open, she didn’t plan on or want to do it initially. It bugged me that she had to put her body on the line to pay for a man’s bad decisions, even though I recognize that her family was under threat. In fact, it’s admirable that Mia shoulders this responsibility, but it’s clearly a cross she insists upon bearing, martyr-like, as some of her clients offer their financial help to get her out of it and she refuses to take it. At times, I didn’t quite get Mia. She seems to look on her year as an escort as an unwanted burden but then talks about how she looks forward to the next month so she can continue to learn about herself and meet new people. So, is she just making lemonade out of lemons or is she into this, despite herself? I don’t know. In any event, I’m curious enough to continue reading, but the story still gets mixed reviews from me. I’d give it a B-.

    ******


    The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)

    Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 9 down, 9 to go

    Sandlynn
    Participant
    Post count: 85

    Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:

    23) Buy spray paint.
 Read a romance involving a hero and/or heroine who works in the creative arts in some capacity – whether on the stage, the screen, the studio, the printed page, or the canvas..


    For this part of the challenge, I chose to read an author who is new to me, and boy am I ever glad I did. Sarina Bowen’s The Accidentals, published in 2018, is a young adult novel which older teenagers and any adult would enjoy.

    This story centers on Rachel Kress, a 17 year old, who has just lost her mother to cancer. Since her mother was a single parent and there are no other relatives who will take her in, Rachel is sent to a group home, which she will be discharged from in a few months, when she comes of age. Unbeknownst to Rachel, her caseworker reaches out to Rachel’s absent father, a famous singer-songwriter who Rachel has known about, but who has never been a part of her life, other than sending checks for her upkeep. Rachel has always wanted to meet Frederick Richards, or Freddy Ricks as he is known to the world, but her mother’s bitterness towards the man had kept Rachel from asking questions. Secretly, she has stored away any info she could find on him. Outwardly, she shares his passion for music, singing in choral groups at her school. In fact, she had hoped to continue to pursue her music at a prestigious, New England prep school during her senior year, where her mother attended and met Rachel’s father, a student at a local college.

    Rachel is shocked when Freddy Ricks shows up at the group home and proceeds to try and gain custody. The development both delights her and yet leaves her with countless questions and a lot of anger. She is further dismayed when her new-found father decides to remain a bigger part of her life by moving from L.A. to New England in order to spend more time with the child he didn’t raise. Will this be Rachel’s opportunity to find out what really happened between her parents? Can she leave behind her old friend, who has feelings for her, or will the young man she’s been texting with at the prep school help her to finally trust in the opposite sex?

    Since Bowen is new to me, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very pleasantly surprised by this warm and touching novel. The story is grounded in Rachel’s point of view. You feel her sorrow, her pain, and her loneliness. But, you also share her excitement and curiosity at learning about a parent she only knew through the press and celebrity blogs. However, rather than placing this young woman in an over-the-top, fantasy world of glitz and glamour, Bowen creates a believable environment of real, flawed, but well-meaning people who are trying to make the best of it. No one’s a saint in this book but no one’s a villain either. Furthermore, the supporting characters – Rachel’s two beaux and her new friends and family – are not props, but fully realized characters who don’t necessarily mean harm but have their own needs as well. All the while reading this book, I kept saying to myself how much I was loving it. I’d give it an A and will definitely look for more by this author.

    ******


    The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)

    Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 10 down, 8 to go

    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    [Thought I had originally posted this Sunday, but it seems to be lost in cyberspace]

    The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge
    E for education — Read a romance where the heroine and/or hero is involved with education, e.g. teacher, principal, school counselor, etc.
    One Perfect Kiss by Jaci Burton – h/h are both teachers:
    The h/h were high school teachers: she taught English, he taught history and coached the football team. They were friends for a while before getting involved romantically. The descriptions of food and clothes were excessive at times. I wished the heroine had at least considered the idea of professional counseling. I didn’t care for the double-standard regarding their relationships with their parents (can’t say more without spoilers). While I understood the heroine’s reluctance to become involved, her internal monologues could be repetitive. I liked the h/h individually and as a couple. I also liked the secondary romance and wished they’d had more actual page time. There were parts I enjoyed, but parts felt paint-by-numbers. Overall an uneven read.

    The Shoe Challenge
    Snow shoes – Winter wear. Read a romance that takes place primarily in the winter or that has a winter scene on the cover.
    Cowboy SEAL Christmas by Nicole Helm – cover has winter scene:
    The heroine’s USAF husband had been killed in a helicopter accident when their son was an infant. She’d relocated to Montana with her now ten-year-old son in the first book of this trilogy. She was a therapist who specialized in treating PTSD. It took time for me to warm up to the hero as he could be a jerk, but I did grow to like him. I also liked the relationship he developed with the heroine’s son. But it was the heroine who made the book work. The hero had a lot of baggage, but even though she helped him it was clear she was never operating as his therapist. I appreciated that she had multiple conversations with him and others about the ethical obligations of therapists. Overall a nice blend of angst and humor and found family dynamics.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 16 down, 2 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation : 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 14 down, 4 to go…
    • The Shoe Challenge: 17 down, 1 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 6 down, 12 to go…
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler)
    Secrets of the Dead by Kylie Brant:
    The author originally planned to end this series after six books, so when I read that “last” book earlier this year I was glad to know the loose plot thread left dangling would be addressed (and that I didn’t have to wait four years to read it). The h/h were tasked with tracking down who was behind the attempted kidnapping of their boss’ son which involved them going undercover as a married couple. The heroine was a hyperpolyglot with plenty of secrets. The hero was a former detective and computer expert. One of the main villains was an intriguing albeit totally malicious character who was too easily caught. The main villain and his sidekicks were cartoonishly evil. The convoluted suspense plot took some interesting twists and turns, but the conclusion was very clichéd. The romance took a backseat to the mystery for most of the story. I wish there would have been a bit more focus on their relationship or an epilogue. But overall I really liked the h/h and they made the book work.

    The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge
    A for Australasia — Read a romance set in Australia, New Zealand, or the neighboring islands.
    Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh – set in New Zealand:
    We originally met this h/h in the first book of this spin-off series. The series was supposed to be about T-Rex’s brothers, but I am so glad the author decided to give this couple their own book. Their first introduction at a party ended abruptly. They met again through their parents though each had independently decided to withdraw from considering an arranged marriage. Much of the story ran concurrently with Cherish Hard so there were some “repeated” scenes from the POV of this heroine or hero, plus plenty of surprises. They had a few misunderstandings and each made mistakes, but once they met again the h/h both made an effort to discuss their issues. They each had a complicated relationship with their families who featured prominently. I enjoyed the exploration of their various relationships and friendships in addition to the romance. I also enjoyed the nods to Pride and Prejudice. Overall a delightful read filled with humor, affection, angst, and joy

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation : 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 14 down, 4 to go…
    • The Shoe Challenge: 17 down, 1 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 7 down, 11 to go…
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    The Catchphrase Challenge
    “The thrill of victory and the agony of ­defeat.” Jim McKay, (Wide World of Sports) – Read a sports romance.
    Defending Hearts by Rebecca Crowley – hero is a professional soccer player:
    It took me a while to get into this book. The heroine was dismissive of soccer in general and the hero in particular in the opening scene with no reason given. I didn’t like the way she sniped and got in petty digs regarding his devotion to his religion and/or his lack of it in the first part of the story even if she didn’t mean them that way. The hero had been born in Sweden and lived in America for over a decade. He was forced by the team manager to have security installed in his home after his address was published on an anti-Muslim website. The heroine was tired of always being treated as one of the guys but didn’t want to date as she felt she needed to figure out who she was now that she was no longer in the Army. The hero didn’t want to date as he had a life plan-with-a-capital-P he was determined to follow and wanted to settle down. Their romance took time to develop and there was a lot of back and forth before it did, but I ended up really liking them as a couple. I also liked the hero’s relationship with his bff. I wish we had seen more of his brother and sister-in-law on page and less of the heroine’s sister. The h/h each had their own issues to work through, but did so as grown-ups. They made an effort to communicate so there were no big misunderstandings. Add a touch of suspense plus plenty of humor—particularly about the hero’s house and his admiration of minimalist design—and overall a very enjoyable read.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation : 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 15 down, 3 to go…
    • The Shoe Challenge: 17 down, 1 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 7 down, 11 to go…
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    Sandlynn
    Participant
    Post count: 85

    Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:

    3) Donate blood.
 Read a romance involving characters in the medical field in which one protagonist or both are doctors, nurses, EMTs, physical therapists, or work in some capacity for a hospital, clinic, or veterinary practice. Or read a romance in which one or both of our protagonists is suffering from an illness or is living with a disability.


    For this part of the challenge, I turned to Jana Aston’s Wrong, published in 2015.

    At 268 pages long, Wrong is a pretty quick read. The action is set in Philadelphia. Our heroine, Sophie, is a 21 year old University of Pennsylvania senior, studying business accounting, who also works part-time, off campus, as a barista. For the past few weeks, a new customer has been picking up his coffee every Tuesday morning and Sophie makes a point of waiting on him. Luke has to be 10 to 15 years older and he appears to be a professional man, but Sophie enjoys fantasizing about this drop dead handsome man. Her friend and co-worker, however, thinks Sophie should take the plunge and have sex with the college guy she’s been dating, especially since Sophie is still a virgin. Sophie agrees — sort of — and makes an appointment at the campus clinic to get a prescription for the pill. Still, she’s nervous about this move since she’s the daughter of a young college girl who got pregnant at 18 and she doesn’t want history to repeat itself.

    At the clinic, Sophie learns that a doctor who is the head of the Obstetrics Dept. at Baldwin Hospital will be seeing her since he volunteers his time once a week at the clinic. Lo and behold, when he steps in the examination room, Sophie discovers that the doctor is her fantasy man who buys coffee from her every Tuesday. Luke recognizes Sophie as well, which leads to an embarrassing but interesting examination. This turns out to be the first of a few accidental meetings, which finally leads to Sophie doing something she never dreamed — hooking up with her now *former* doctor, a suave, wealthy, sophisticated man who teaches her more than just how to use contraceptives.

    I had mixed feelings about this book. On the plus side, it definitely was a fast read and the heroine is very likable and her thoughts are often amusing. She was bound and determined to enjoy Luke and not expect anything, especially considering the disparity in their age and positions in life. I also enjoyed the book’s setting since I grew up around Philadelphia and was also a student at University of Pennsylvania. I could picture everything and although the author didn’t get into too much detail, she generally got the lay of the land right.

    On the downside, this story gave me a Fifty Shades of Grey vibe. The imbalance between Sophie and Luke is pretty clear — in age, income, background, etc. — and, because Sophie is a virgin, Luke is definitely more dominant, both in bed and out of it. There’s some light BDSM — no where near what was in the Fifty Shades book — but I’m not really into that so I found the light smacks and some of the so-called “sexy” talk, not to my liking. I just don’t get off on a man calling a woman a “filthy, little b*t*h,” or any type of a b*t*h. There are also a couple of subplots — one involving the usual, evil former girlfriend and another involving someone from Sophie’s past, that were introduced but not really explored to my satisfaction. Since the book was comparatively short, there certainly was room to expand on these characters and make the story richer. I think I’ll give this a B-.

    ******


    The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)

    Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 11 down, 7 to go

    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    The Shoe Challenge
    Shaft – The upper portion of a boot that covers the ankle and sometimes the leg. Read a book where the h/h have been “shafted” in some way (cheating former spouse, robbed of an inheritance etc.)
    Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis – heroine discovers her husband was a bigamist after he’s died:
    The widowed heroine was starting a new temporary job at a California winery. The hero was a deputy sheriff and happy to not be working at his family’s winery. He was divorced with twin daughters and determined not to fall in love again since his marriage had ended badly. She felt she couldn’t trust her own judgment after discovering her husband had been married to multiple other women when he died. I liked the secondary romance but their relationship had a more paint-by-numbers feel. The switching back and forth between the two romances often felt jarring as the separate story arcs didn’t always flow together. There was plenty of humor, but much of it missed the mark for me. The main hero’s family had no sense of personal boundaries which was addressed in the text somewhat. I liked his twins, but they were too often used to precociously move the plot forward. I wish we’d seen more of the dog. I liked the friendship that developed between the main and secondary heroines. Despite the numerous issues the main h/h and their romance made this an enjoyable read.

    Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler)
    Wyoming Cowboy Justice by Nicole Helm:
    The detective heroine viewed the on-going hundred-year-old feud between her family and the hero’s family as stuff and nonsense. She was a police detective with a murder to solve. The hero owned a saloon and was the de facto leader of his family. I quite liked the heroine, but the hero was too often an arrogant jerk. Though he admitted to himself he was being a jerk and eventually apologized to the heroine for one incident, his attitude and continued interference in her investigation was extremely irksome. The mystery was mostly an excuse to throw the h/h together which sadly had the heroine looking inept at her job solely for plot purposes so the hero could be the one to come to the rescue. Despite my issues with the hero I mostly liked their romance and the HEA worked. I also liked some of the secondary characters so I am looking forward to further books in this new series.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation : 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 15 down, 3 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 8 down, 10 to go…
    • The Shoe Challenge: completed!
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    The Alphabet Challenge Variation
    G = Temptation from the Past by Cindy Gerard:
    The reporter hero did not remember the heroine even though eighteen years earlier he’d written a series of exploitative articles about her and her mother. The heroine was a lawyer and children’s advocate. He wanted to interview her after seeing her deliver the keynote speech at a conference on child abuse. This book was first published in 1991, but the hero’s sense of entitlement at thinking he wouldn’t settle for her icy reception was off putting. He knew she was leery of him yet continued to not take no for an answer just because he was attracted to her. We knew from his POV scenes that he truly admired her and felt she had a sense of conviction and purpose. The fact her secretary knew about her past and kept hounding on her to go out with the hero was also irksome. Knowing he’d given up the idea for an article, but that he was still pursuing her for a date the heroine decided to go out with him figuring he’d soon lose interest. But of course things didn’t go according to either of their plans. The hero knew he’d led a life of privilege. Yet even when he was inspired to help a young boy who had vandalized the heroine’s office, it was his sister and brother-in-law who became foster parents since he wasn’t married so not considered a viable candidate by the court. Things improved somewhat in the middle when the hero finally stopped pushing to have everything his way. Sadly when he found out the truth he was angry with her rather than himself. Then she was the one who ended up apologizing which was ridiculous. Some good moments, but more disappointing than not.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: 17 down, 1 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 15 down, 3 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 8 down, 10 to go…
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation: completed!
    • The Shoe Challenge: completed!
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge
    N for neighbor — Read a romance where the heroine and hero are neighbors or a romance where they grew up together.
    Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti – hero moves in next door to heroine:
    The hero was a detective who’d quit after his last undercover assignment. He’d bought a small house unaware he’d been set up to purchase that particular house by a man starting a clandestine government agency. The heroine lived next door and was in hiding. The mystery surrounding her lured the hero into accepting the new job. Plots that require one character to lie to the other for an extended time can be difficult to implement. It helped that the h/h were each keeping secrets and both had reasonable justifications as to why. So the sense of betrayal was believable yet their reunion was also convincing. It also helped that they were a well-balanced couple and she refused to put up with his attempts to shelter her. I adored the quirky dog. The villain was run-of-the-mill, but overall a nice blend of suspense and humor. Plenty of sequel bait characters were introduced and I am looking forward to more of this series, particularly the unit’s leader and the psychiatrist’s story.

    Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler)
    Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis:
    The heroine worked as the office manager for a security company, but wanted to be an investigator. She’d broken her back as a teenager and had leftover nerve damage in her leg. The hero was an ex-DEA agent turned security specialist. Neither wanted to get involved to start. The hero quickly changed his mind once he started helping her with an “off the books” case investigating a man who was stealing all the profits from a local Christmas village and bingo hall and not paying the senior citizens who worked there. He was keeping secret the fact her brother as well as their boss knew about the case and had asked him to keep an eye on her. And keeping secret from her brother and boss that he was in love with her. He saw her as perfectly capable and disagreed with their decision to wait before promoting her. They each had emotional baggage which complicated their relationship, but there was plenty of humor as well. Overall a charming romance between two stubborn and well-matched characters.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 11 down, 7 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 15 down, 3 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 9 down, 9 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: completed!
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation: completed!
    • The Shoe Challenge: completed!
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
    library addict
    Participant
    Post count: 214

    Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas
    A Cowboy Wedding for Christmas by Nicole Helm:
    The h/h had been high school sweethearts but she’d felt the need to escape their small town so had left for college. She had issues with the fact her family had always treated her as the flighty baby of the family. The hero had abandonment issues from his mother’s leaving as well as the fact his father was a belligerent alcoholic. His father had recently emptied their savings account and raided his younger sister’s college fund to pay for a world cruise for his third wife. The h/h met again when she returned for her eldest brother’s wedding. I liked that they’d each tried to move on with their lives and neither had spent the previous six years pining away. He was the first person she told about her decision to move back. While he claimed to now hate her, he was never cruel, simply caught up in his own grief and anger. The heroine knew leaving had been the right thing to do so couldn’t regret it, but did regret the way she’d handled things. Her mother was too treacly and I wish there had been more time to explore a few of the plot threads. There was a lot of angst, but overall a wonderful reunion romance.

    The Mate by Abigail Owen: This introductory novella was set in an alternate reality with dragon shifters. The h/h had met before, but he’d believed she was human. When it’s discovered she had the dragon mark, she was asked to pick a mate from a select group. The fire inspector heroine was dealing with reality being turned upside down. She wondered why the hero had cut off contact if he was truly supposed to be her destiny. He knew he’d screwed up but took a while to get a clue and talk with her rather than making assumptions. I enjoyed the romance even though it felt pushed aside for the political intrigue in the second half. The world building was intriguing but not as well developed as it could have been.

    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas: 13 down, 5 to go…
    • The Catchphrase Challenge: 15 down, 3 to go…
    • Easy Eighteen Challenge (The Whittler): 9 down, 9 to go…
    • The 18 in 18 Phonics Challenge: completed!
    • The Alphabet Challenge Variation: completed!
    • The Shoe Challenge: completed!
    • The 21st Century Challenge: completed!
Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 107 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.