Sunday, April 26, 2015

Deal Me In: Nightdrake by Lara Adrian

Deal Me In: Nightdrake by Lara Adrian

DNF.  Bummer, I generally enjoy Lara Adrian's writing but this one didn't work for me.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Truth About Riley by Henrietta Clark

The Truth About Riley by Henrietta Clark

Riley Aylworth's life has been completely devoid of intimate contact since a fire three years ago left him with horrific facial scarring, so when he finds an ad for a phone sex service, he decides to give it a call.  Except that the number is not a phone sex service--it's the revenge Cameron Kirkwood's ex-boyfriend took on the uptight advertising executive after Cam forgot their anniversary and accidentally put him in the hospital.  Needless to say, after thirty-nine disturbing calls seeking phone sex, Cameron is at the end of his tether and yells at his fortieth caller.  What he doesn't expect is for Riley to hit redial and yell right back.

The argument helps both Cameron and Riley vent about their issues and when they've calmed down, they decide to exchange numbers and talk again.  From this decision springs a friendship that, over time, grows into a gentle romance--all over the phone, because Riley is too scared to meet Cam in person.  Showing a potential boyfriend his disfigured face is the fastest way to get rejected, right?  Even a month of scorching hot phone sex can't change his mind, no matter how hard Cam tries to persuade him that with their phone chemistry, the sex would be so much better in person.

Meanwhile, Cam is haunted by the scarred blond he seems to be seeing everywhere, and Riley can't get the handsome brunet who always seems happy to see him out of his mind.  It's a shock to both men to realize that the guy they're falling for over the phone is also the man who brightens their day with just a smile; but it's one thing to let a stranger smile at you and quite another to let him close enough to see into your soul.  If Riley can't break down the walls in his mind and believe that Cameron loves him in spite of his scars, their relationship may be doomed before they've even had a chance to kiss.  

The book blurb above is really comprehensive as far as the plot for The Truth About Riley goes.  What it doesn't tell the reader is how smart this book is.  Henrietta Clark has an amazing way with words...she can tug at your heartstrings to the point that it is almost too much but just when it feels as if it might tip over into maudlin she pulls it back.  And her comedic timing?  Impeccable!! This book made me laugh out loud several times, snickers and snorts were constantly sneaking out, and while that makes me glad that I wasn't reading this book out in public, I still want to shout from the rooftops: GET THIS BOOK AND READ IT RIGHT NOW!!  

Cam is dealing with the revenge of a ticked-off ex who had legitimate complaints and Cam owns that.  But he also realizes that it was a two-way street and he is sad that four years with a man he truly loved hasn't left him with anything except thirty-nine calls wanting phone sex.  The fortieth tips him over the edge and he lets loose with harsh words.  

Riley has had a hard hand dealt to him and while he forces himself to live his life to the fullest, there are days he just wants to close the curtains, curl up and hide.  He misses basic human contact and so when circumstances bring a phone sex ad into his life, he decides to try it.  He doesn't expect a tongue lashing and immediately calls back and gives Cam as good as he just got.  

This leads into an amazing story that develops at a realistic pace, with both Cam and Riley giving and taking.  I was highly enjoying this story but then they began "dating" and I completely fell in love.  The monopoly scene?   Perfect.  This is the type of book that makes me want to gush about it and I will definitely be book-pushing this book on my friends.  I will be eagerly looking for more from Henrietta Clark!

 Reading Challenges
105 Challenge
Contemporary Romance
ebook Reading
Monthly Mix Up Mania
New to You
Bookish Bingo

I purchased this book with my own funds.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Wolf's Tiger by Lynn Tyler

The Wolf's Tiger by Lynn Tyler

He's a tough, strong wolf shifter--raising his three young nieces will be a snap.  Sure it will!  Enter a sexy tiger-shifter-turned-nanny and things really start to get interesting.  The Wolf's Tiger is the passionate new addition to Lynn Tyler's hot, paranormal romance series, Pack Mates.

All Grayson Mitchell, a wolf shifter, wants to do is raise his nieces in peace and maybe get a full night's sleep while he's at it.  But between his job as an emergency room nurse and the demands of the three little girls, sleep seems far off.  He needs someone who can help him out with the girls, and a nanny seems like the ideal solution.

Shannon Cho is a tiger shifter who has banished from his pride for being too powerful.  But he doesn't want to lead.  He wants to devote his life to children.  Answering an ad for a nanny is the opportunity he's been waiting for.

But what happens when the two men cross the line between employer and employee?  Will love flourish?  Or will the secret that's been kept from Smooth Rock Falls pack tear everything apart?

This may be my favorite entry of the entire series to date.  Grayson, who was wonderfully understanding in book 2, finally gets his own happy ending and what an HEA it is!  Shannon is an absolutely amazing character and he and Grayson are a perfect pairing.  

Gray is devastated when his sister and her husband die leaving behind three precious girls who are the apple of their uncle's eye.  All three, Hope, Honor and Faith were well written feeling like real children without being too precocious or too precious both of which are personal pet peeves.  Gray is trying to do his best to keep his family safe and happy, but raising three girls with his busy job as a nurse is not easy!  He decides to advertise for a nanny.

Who should see his ad but Shannon who is looking for a family that needs him and his talents for organization, cooking, and educational play.  Shannon is relieved to find a job that seems so tailor-made to his strengths and where he can make a true difference.  It doesn't hurt that he finds Gray to be an attractive man but even more, he finds himself loving everything he learns about Gray and Gray is equally smitten.  

Watching Shannon and Gray's relationship develop over the course of this book was a treat.  Sometimes this type of book (paranormal, shifter series) can be short and rushed but this one was just delicious in its timing.  Then a bit of mystery is introduced and that only heightens the tension.  Overall, this is a great addition to a series that I am enjoying more with each addition.  I strongly recommend you check it out (although this series is best read in order!).

Reading Challenges
Hard Core Reread
What an Animal
Around the World
Monthly Mix Up Mania

I purchased this book with my own funds.

Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 Audiobook Challenge: 1st Quarter Update

2105 Audiobook Challenge: 1st Quarter Update

So far this year, I have listened to two audiobooks.  Both were books that I had previously picked up in print but that for whatever reasons, didn't work for me the first time around.  The first book I listened to was The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp by Kathy Appelt, narrated by Lyle Lovett.  I enjoyed it.  The second book I listened to was High Noon by Nora Roberts, narrated by Susan Erickson.  I LOVED it!!  I hope to have listened to at least two more books during the 2nd quarter of the year.  Thanks again to The Book Nympho and Hot Listens for hosting!

High Noon by Nora Roberts (Audiobook Review)

High Noon by Nora Roberts

Police Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara found her calling at an early age when an unstable man broke into her family's home, trapping and terrorizing them for hours.  Now she's Savannah's top hostage negotiator, defusing powder keg situations with a talent for knowing when to give in-and when to jump in and take action.  It's satisfying work-and sometimes those skills come in handy at home dealing with her agoraphobic mother, still traumatized by the break-in after all these years, and her precocious seven-year-old daugher, Carly.

It's exactly that heady combination of steely courage and sensitivity that first attracts Duncan Swift to Phoebe.  After observing her coax one of his employees down from a roof ledge, he is committed to keeping this intriguing, take-charge woman in his life.  She's used to working solo, but Phoebe's discovering no amount of negotiation can keep Duncan at arm's length.

And when she's grabbed by a man who throws a hood over her head and brutally assaults her-in her own precinct house-Phoebe can't help but be deeply shaken.  Then threatening messages show up on her doorstep, and she's not just alarmed but frustrated.  How do you go face-to-face with an opponent who refuses to look you in the eye?

Now, with Duncan backing her up every step of the way, she must establish contact with the faceless tormentor who is determined to make her a hostage to fear...before she becomes the final showdown.  

I listened to this book in my car on the way to and from work and for the first time found myself wishing I had a longer commute so I could spend more time in this amazing story by Nora Roberts.  I even got some errands crossed off the to do list that had been there for a long while just so I could listen to more of Susan Erickson's very well done narration.  I have been a long time fan of Nora Roberts and have some strong favorites, but High Noon has joined my list of top Nora faves.  

Phoebe is an incredibly strong woman who is put through the gauntlet.  Duncan is an almost-too-good-to-be-true guy who decides that he wants to get to know Phoebe better and never looks back.  He is a FANTASTIC hero and I love the relationships he has with Ma Bea, Finn, and Lou and those he develops with Phoebe's mother and daughter.  Nora does character development like nobody else and her writing is second to none...she is truly a master at what she does and High Noon highlights her strengths to perfection.  I have a few more romantic suspense titles from Nora on my TBR and think I will be picking on of them for my next audio book selection, especially if Susan is narrating again!

Book Challenges
105 Challenge
I Love Library Books
Romantic Suspense
Monthly Mix Up Mania
Bookish Bingo

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Called To Mate and Micah's Refuge by Lynn Tyler (re-reads #35-36)

Called To Mate by Lynn Tyler

Declan's chance to be the alpha of his pack has finally come, but in order to take over he needs to find a mate.  Find the gorgeous and fragile Quinn living in his parents' home, his body heats for no other.

Quinn is a submissive male wolf who has spent most of his life abused by his former alpha.  But being mated to his new pack's alpha provides him with a level of safety he's never known before, and a whole new world of passion and lust.

Just as their love begins to blossom, a wolf from Quinn's past threatens the happiness he's found in Declan's arms.  

I love this first book to the Called to Mate series.  From the very beginning when we find that Declan has lived away from home rather than fight his father for leadership of his pack, I knew this book was different from so many of the shifter series that I have read before.  Now that Declan's father is joining the Council of Elders, he is free to come home to become his pack's Alpha.  Declan has a clear vision for his pack, he wants them to be more like a family than anything else; he knows that the more supportive and close each wolf is with each other the stronger and more responsive the pack can become.  One fly in the ointment--before he can become alpha, Declan must find a mate.  

On his first night back, Declan spies a beautiful, too-thin man sleeping on the living room floor, who wakes up in fear pulling at Declan's heartstrings and protective instincts.  This young man is Quinn who has been rescued from his extremely abusive pack.  Quinn struggles with his new freedom after living in fear for so long but there is something about Declan that makes him feel a level of safety he hasn't before.  Declan makes Quinn want to get better; he begins to eat more, make more eye contact, and is learning to take people at face value without always searching for ulterior motives. 

Declan and Quinn are an amazing couple who have to deal with a lot but the book is well paced with well written secondary characters, including Declan's betas who are in a committed relationship already which alleviates the "sequel-bait" feeling that so often inhabits this type of story.  While the book does not encompass a lot of pages, it never feels rushed and the relationship, while quick to develop has a natural feeling progression that I enjoyed reading the second time as much as I did the first.  I did find the suspenseful aspect of this story to be not as strong as it could be but overall I really recommend this first book in the Called to Mate series.

Micah's Refuge by Lynn Tyler

One man in need of sanctuary, another in need of emotional security...together they will find the refuge they have both been seeking.  Lynn Tyler steams up the pages with passion and desire in the newest addition to her Pack Mates series, Micah's Refuge.

Faced with the choice of hunting down and killing his human lover or being banished from his pack, werewolf Micah is forced to leave everything and everyone he loves.  He finds a new pack in Northern Ontario that is willing to give him refuge.  Determined to start over, Micah hopes to find a mate he can settle down with in Smooth Rock Falls.

Forensic chemist, Shea, rarely gets any down time, and that's fine with him.  As much as he loves his pack, he's a bit of a loner with no wish for a mate.  After all, his slight obsessive compulsive tendencies and a fear of having anyone count on him do not make him mate material.  But when a new wolf joins the pack, Shea experiences emotions he's never dealt with before, turning his whole tidy world upside down.

Micah is well aware Shea isn't looking for a mate and doesn't know if he should pursue the genius or if he should look for a mate elsewhere.  But when tragedy strikes and passion ignites, can Shea just let Micah walk away?

This book is the reason that I reread.  The first time I read this book I was not the biggest fan of it.  It came too close to one to triggering one of my book no-no's: cheating by one of the main protagonists.  I am not a fan of love triangles and anything that smacks of cheating turns me off of a book really fast.  But this time when I read the story, I realized that I had misjudged this title the first time I read it.  

Shea is an overworked, busy wolf who has to be reminded to shift so that his wolf doesn't get too close to coming out in public.  Micah is a man who wants more than anything to find his mate and begin his life with the one man made just for him.  When these two meet, fireworks go off; how each man interprets them is where the conflict comes in.  Shea is happy to have a friends with benefits affair while Micah wants more.  Micah is a patient man and is willing to give Shea time to become comfortable with a relationship but when Shea makes it clear time after time that he wants a physical relationship only, Micah decides to cut his losses before his heart gets broken.

Shea honestly cares for Micah but is less emotionally literate.  He doesn't even realize how important Micah has become to him until it is almost too late.  Just as he is ready to try to take the steps to make it clear to Micah that he wants to move to the next level, he finds Micah out on a date with another man.  Shea is confused and hurt and isn't really sure how to get what he wants without hurting either himself or Micah further.  Micah is hopeful that maybe Shea is ready for more, but he also feels terrible because the wolf he is dating, Gray, is a genuinely nice man.  Micah's head says Gray is the right choice, but his heart and gut won't let him give up on Shea.  These two have a tough time getting to their HEA but get there they do.  I also appreciate how honest and upfront Micah is with Gray: he makes it clear that he knows Gray is an amazing guy but he can't just give up on Shea.  He doesn't lead Gray on in case things don't work out with Shea.  This time around, this story really worked for me.  

Reading Challenge
Hard Core Reread

 I purchased both books with my own funds.

Deal Me In: Marked by Warfare by S. J. Day

Deal Me In: Marked by Warfare by S. J. Day

This story was billed as A Marked Story and it read like there was an entire back story (or four) that I didn't know.  I gave up the ghost about 25% in...DNF.  This one should have been read and reviewed back on March 22.  I am doing a pretty good job of getting caught up on my late Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 short stories but still have all of the January, February, and March stories in Don't Read in the Closet to go.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What I Read, April 1-7

What I Read, April 1-7

  1. Baggage Claim by Amanda Tru
  2. To Hell With Love by Jackie Kessler
  3. Princes of Dominion by Ava Gray
  4. Demon's Secret by Nathalie Gray
  5. Marine Biology by Gail Carriger
  6. Mr. Sandman by Sherri Browning Erwin
  7. Fragile Magic by Sharon Ashwood
  8. Answer the Wicked by Kim Lenox
  9. Beautiful Bela by Stormy Glenn and Lynn Hagen
  10. Dominated and Claimed by Bellann Summer
  11. Controlling His Men by Bellann Summer
  12. Purrfect Protection by S A Welsh
  13. Alpha's Captive by A J Jarrett
  14. Wolf's Runaway Tiger by A J Jarrett
  15. Called to Mate by Lynn Tyler
  16. Micah's Refuge by Lynn Tyler
  17. Wolf's Tiger by Lynn Tyler
  18. Michael's Heart by Lynn Tyler
  19. Pierce's Choice by Lynn Tyler
  20. Daniel's Mate by Lynn Tyler
  21. Cat's Pride by Stormy Glenn
  22. A Little Bit of Heaven by Stormy Glenn
  23. Heavenly Scent by Stormy Glenn
  24. Heart of a Mate by Stormy Glenn
  25. Taming a Beta's Heart by Stormy Glenn
  26. Omega Born by Stormy Glenn
  27. Dragon Mine by Joyee Flynn
  28. Dragon Ours by Joyee Flynn
  29. Their Dragon by Joyee Flynn

Deal Me In: Fragile Magic by Sharon Ashwood

Deal Me In: Fragile Magic by Sharon Ashwood

Selina is in the grocery store when a young gargoyle who has escaped the pet store next door crashes into a cereal display.  When a clerk tries to jab at it with a broom, Selina takes matters into her own hands and buys the gargoyle for herself with the plan to find a new owner later.  Gary, the gargoyle, has a hurt wing so Selina is off to find the vet.  Dr. Jake is a cute, intelligent werewolf who fixes Gary's wing and flirts like crazy with Selina.  Selina is half-fey but does not trust her magic as it has been known to go sideways.  I loved this story--I want a gargoyle!! Gary stole every scene he was in.  Selena and Jake were a great couple and I would enjoy reading a full-length novel about them (and Gary!) but was pleased with this short story.  I should have read and reviewed this for January 25, but better late than never.  It would have been a true shame to put off reading this entry any longer.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Deal Me In: The Getaway by Sonya Bateman

Deal Me In: The Getaway by Sonya Bateman

Another DNF...The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 has not been kind to me.  Maybe it's my punishment for leaving all of my January, February and March short stories undone until now.  This should have been read and reviewed for March 8.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Deal Me In: In Dreams

Deal Me In: In Dreams by Elissa Wilds

This was a DNF for me.  Also, this review should have been posted on Feb. 1 but I didn't get around to trying to read it until April 2.  Oops! 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Baggage Claim by Amanda Tru

Baggage Claim by Amanda Tru

Montana native, Rachel Saunders, is looking forward to her all-expense paid weekend trip to New York.  But, when her luggage is lost and she is accosted by an infuriating Homeland Security agent named Dawson Tate, events take a dangerous turn.  Now, can she and Dawson elude their enemies and prevent a terrorist attack before the bomb in their possession is detonated in the center of Manhattan--all while keeping their obvious attraction to one another in check? 

This book suffered from being too short--the suspense was great.  From the time that the bomb was discovered in the suitcase to the time it exploded events occurred at a fast and furious rate without seeming rushed.  The romance, however, was not so lucky.  From a fake kiss or two to determined declarations on Dawson's part that he doesn't get involved with co-workers or women involved in his cases to the final HEA, the romance felt tacked on and unbelievable.  I just don't see anyone falling in love over the course of one evening especially when they are panicked they might be blown up and/or shot be terrorists at any time.  The first three fourths of the book are very enjoyable with the last quarter being less successful.  If you are on the fence, I would say to give it a try.  

Reading Challenges
105 Challenge
Monthly Mix Up Mania
New to You
Read Your Freebies
Romantic Suspense

Deal Me In: Princes of Dominion by Ava Gray

Deal Me In: Princes of Dominion by Ava Gray

He is an angel who marvels at her beauty.  She is a mortal who senses him watching her.  He makes himself look human, she seduces him.  Later, she is threatened by a meanie who is determined to make her his wife.  Angel man is chastened by his angelic brethren to learn to shield his thoughts so as not to be cast out of Heaven.  He can't resist seeing her one more time.  She seduces him again and informs him she is to be married.  He asks her if she would give up everything for him.  She says yes.  He is cast from Heaven, she runs from her groom.  He kills the groom, she threatens to leave him but just can't.  Blech.  I didn't like this one.  

This should have been read and reviewed for Sunday, February 8.  I am sorry that I read it at all.  Yuck.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Deal Me In: To Hell With Love by Jackie Kessler

Deal Me In: To Hell With Love by Jackie Kessler

Caitlin Harris gets a frantic call from Paul, her twin Jesse's boyfriend.  Jesse, who is a witch like her sister, is unconscious and glowing.  Turns out she opened a box containing a memory spell meant for Caitlin.  Normally, a memory spell can only be opened by the intended recipient, but because of Jesse's unusual background (she is a succubus who was made mortal and who may have part of Caitlin's soul) she was susceptible.  Caitlin calls her ex-husband who is a master of memory magic as well as the sender of the memory currently trapping Jesse.  They both have to enter the memory to pull Jesse out and if they make a mistake they could be trapped forever...or at least until their bodies starve and the die in the real world.  This book must be part of a series because a lot of info was given as if it should already be known by the reader although in my case it wasn't.  Due to that, I can't say I particularly enjoyed this entry in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2.  

This story should have been read and reviewed for Sunday, March 15. 

Series-ously Reading Challenges: First Quarterly Update of 2015

Series-ously Reading Challenges: First Quarterly Update of 2015

So far in 2015 I have signed up for 44 reading challenges (one was a challenge about reading challenges!); three are shorter, 40 are year long (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31) and one is a two year challenge.  Here's where I currently stand in each of them: 

Short Challenges: 

Sci Fi Experience: While not technically a challenge, I consider it one as sci fi is not in my normal wheelhouse.  I read one book for this: The Martian by Andy Weir.  This challenge ran through the month of January.

Bookish Bingo New Year's Edition: I hoped to read one bingo and complete three.  I read 17/25 categories!

Bookish Bingo Spring Edition: This just started on April 1, and as of the writing of this post, I had 0 books read towards it.

Year Long Challenges:

105 Challenge: I forgot to officially sign up for this one but figured I would go ahead and participate for fun anyway.  Here is how many books I have read in my chosen categories:

9/14 New (to me) Sean Michael titles
0/13 Laugh Out Loud 
9/12 New to Me Authors
2/11 Books with Buzz
1/10 Books Written by Relatives 
9/9 Monochromatic Covers
1/8 YA
2/7 New Adult
6/6 Next in a Series
2/5 Angst-y
0/4 Sad
0/3 Rec'd by Mom
1/2 Books I Didn't Like the First Time
0/1 Non Fiction

42/105 Total

Alphabet Soup: I have read 25/26 titles and have only the letter Z remaining.  

Around the World: I have read 12 books but need to update my Google map.  

Audiobook: I have listened to one audiobook in its entirety (The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathy Appelt read by Lyle Lovett) and am about 75% of the way through High Noon by Nora Roberts read by Susan Ericksen.  I am still at level 1: Newbie.

Authors A to Z: I have read 18/26 with E, F, N, O, U, V, X, and Z remaining.  

Birthday Month: I have kept up with the reading for this challenge but my February review went up in March and my March review has yet to be completed.  I hope belated birthdays count!  

Book Blogger Recommendations: I have read bupkis for this one but still hope to read at least three.  There are some great titles on the list but I have not been in a YA mood and the vast majority of titles fall into that category.   

Cloak and Dagger: Ummm...I figured when I signed up that this would be the most challenging challenge for me as I don't really read mysteries.  But I want to.  I want to love mysteries so much!  I want to love cozies, and police procedurals, and thrillers that require a nightlight.  But so far I haven't had much luck.  However, I will not give up!  Although I haven't read any this year yet.

Color Coded: I have read 0 books with color words in the title.  Now that I have finished my monochromatic covers section of the 105 I am also challenging myself to read books with colored covers as well (mostly green, mostly blue, etc.) for more fun.  

Contemporary Romance: I have read 23 contemporaries so far and have achieved the highest level of Grand Slam.

Deal Me In Short Stories: I have utterly failed at this challenge but refuse to give it up.  I have read 0 of my scheduled short stories but am convinced that some weekend I am going to go on a binge and read all of my languishing cards' stories to get caught up.  

ebook: I have read 60 ebooks achieving Gigabyte level.

Fairytale Retellings: 0 books read.

Foodie: I have read 6 and am at Pastry Chef level.

Full House: 23/25 books read; two remain until I achieve the Full House!! I hope to finish this one in April.

Genre Decades: 1/10 Romance of the 80's; 0/10 Contemporary Romance of the 90's; 4/10 Paranormal Romances of the 00's

Hard Core Reread: 142 rereads so far this year.  I love rereading!  

Historical Romance: I have read 4 books.

I Love Library Books: 28 library books and counting...I am currently at YA level.

Key Word: I have read all three months worth of books but February's didn't get read and reviewed until the next to last day of March.  Hmm.

 Literary Pickers: I have found 105 of 112 items.  I would love to finish in April but don't know if it will actually happen.

Men in Uniform: I have read 16 books and achieved the highest level of Chief.

Monthly Motif: I have read January and March and reviewed them in their respective months but still have to read February's book.  

New Release: I have read 7 books published in 2015.

New to You: I have read 31 books that are somehow "new" to me (new author, new series, etc.)  I have completed level 3.

Official TBR Pile Extreme: I have read two of my preselected 12 books (plus 2 alternatives).

Pages Read: I have read over 35,000 words this year.  Pretty awesome!

Prequels and Sequels: I have to go back through my reading list and figure out how many prequels and sequels I have read.  I am also behind on reviews of books that could count towards this challenge.  I need to set aside an evening (or a week) to figure this out.  My goal is to have this figured out by the end of the month.  There's a 30/70 chance it will actually happen.  

Read Your Freebies: I have read 31 freebies on my Kindle and am at Penny Pincher status.  

Reading Assignment Challenge: I made a slight mistake at the end of February and then completely snowballed out of control with this challenge in March.  Here is what happened.  On Feb. 28, I realized I hadn't read my last reading challenge book so I quickly picked up Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz so I could stay on track.  Read it, reviewed it, realized on March 1 that it was a 2015 release and I was supposed to read Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick (same author, different pen name).  No worry, I figured I could use my pass and catch up on Mystery Woman in march with an extra credit.  Then, I realized that I had Cream and Underground: Special Teams on my reading assignment list (for Sept. and Oct.) which would be fine but I read them in February.  Okay, that is what extra credit is for.  So, I had used my one pass and my three extra credits.  Except, I wasn't in the mood to read the Bridal quartet by Nora Roberts. After reading Catching Fire (for a different challenge) I went on a Nora suspense kick by listening to High Noon on the way to/from work and checking out Whiskey Beach and The Collector.  So short story long, I only read two of my three March books and have no passes/credits left.  So, I have officially failed this challenge.  However, I couldn't just leave it at that and have decided that I will still try to finish all of my books (and have since read another book from Sept. and one from August) even if the timing aspect is down the tubes.  

Reading Challenge Addict: I haven't completed any of my year long challenges yet but am really close on about three of them.

Reading Road Trip: I have read books set in 16/50 states.  I am also going to try to read a book set in D.C. as well.

Romantic Suspense: I have read 11 romantic suspense books and am at Marksman level.  

Series That Never Ends: I have only signed up to read 5 books from the Psy/Changling series.  I have read 2/5.  I need to go back and sign up for more series.  

TBR: I have read and reviewed January's book and read March's.  I need to write its review and read/review something for February.  I find the challenges with due dates are the hardest for me.  Who knew I was so resistant to "rules"?

TBR Pile: I am only counting my physical books for this as my ebooks have their own challenge.  I have read 12 books from my paperback stash and am at the Friendly Hug level.

TBR Reduction Extreme: Now that I am only keeping track of my physical books I am both more successful and less likely to rip my hair out trying to figure out the state of my Kindle.

What An Animal: I have read 18 books featuring animals in a starring/important role and am at level 3.

What's In a Name?: 2/6 categories completed

Witches and Witchcraft: I have read 3 books and am an initiate. 

Two Year Challenges

Monthly Mix Up Mania: This challenge just started this month and will end March 31, 2017.  I am challenging myself to finish it by March 31, 2016 if possible.  

Overall, it is about what I would expect.  I am doing really well on some, haven't started others, with most being somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.  By my second quarterly update (sometime in June/early July) I hope to have at least one book in each challenge, get caught up on Deal Me In, and stay on top of the monthly read/review challenges.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

TBR Reduction Extreme: March

TBR Reduction Extreme: March

Phew!  Keeping track of my physical books only is the way to go, so much easier.  However, I was on a major Kindle kick last month (I went through and streamlined by collections, deleted a bunch of stuff I no longer wanted and got quite a few shorter books read as well as some older favorites reread.)  

In March I read two books from my paperback stash, Crazy Wild by Tara Janzen and Catching Fire by Nora Roberts.  Both came from the first few days of the month...both reviews still need to be written.  Oops.

Began: 379
Ended: 377
Met my goal!!

Literary Pickers March Challenge Status Update

Literary Pickers March Challenge Status Update

The Literary Pickers Challenge hosted by Delighted Reader is a scavenger hunt in which you look for items from a pre-selected list in the books and novellas you are reading.  Only one item per book!  In January I found 72 items; in February 19.  While I whittled away a few more items in March, I still have a few more to go...I would love to wrap this challenge up soon but don't know if April will be the month to see this happen or not.  Here is what I found in March: 

March Finds:

  1. Guitar: Beginning to Believe by Sean Michael
  2. Bear Skinned Rug: A Marrying Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
  3. Alarm: Stroke Rate by L M Somerton
  4. Drums: Murphy's Law by Lisa Marie Rice
  5. Clouds: Catching Fire by Nora Roberts
  6. Prince: Royal Line by Sean Michael
  7. Geek: Absent Minded Astrophysicist by T N Tarrent
  8. Superhero: Crazy Wild by Tara Janzen
  9. Corset: Dancing on the Edge by L M Somerton
  10. Lady's Hat: Undercurrent by Sara K. Parker
  11. Fan: Otherwise Engage by Amanda Quick
  12. Cane: Brad's Rock by Bellann Summer
  13. Kilt: Living on the Edge by L M Somerton
  14. Hot Dog: A Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion
In January and February I found 91 items, adding in this month's 14, I have found a total of 105. That leaves me with 7 more items to find.   

Thursday, April 2, 2015

2015 Bookish Bingo Spring Edition

2015 Bookish Bingo Spring Edition

I had such a fun time reading for the New Year's edition of Bookish Bingo (hosted by Great Imaginations) that it was a no brainer for me to jump right into the Spring edition.  I am sticking with a goal of one bingo (in case life gets crazy or I get sidetracked by rereads or some series or something.)  Looking at the categories, my very best performance would probably have me at topping out at four bingos but I'll start at one and see what happens from there...The one thing I can almost guarantee will happen is me being shocked at how quickly June 30 rolls around!

2015 New Year Bookish Bingo Wrap Up

2015 New Year Bookish Bingo Wrap Up

My goal was one bingo and I actually got three!  i am very happy with how I did.  Here is what I read...

Start a Series: Desperate Game by Jayne Castle
2015 Debut: Undercurrent by Sara K. Parker
Magical Realism: Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
Pretty Dress Cover: Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick
Middle Grade: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
White Cover: Earl Who Loved Me by Bethany Sefchick
LGBTQIA: All Kinds of Tied Down
Epistolary: Beneath by Roland Smith
Blue Cover: When Darkness Comes by Alexandra Ivy
Mystery or Thriller: The Martian by Andy Weir (may be a stretch although I did find it thrilling!)
Free: Last of the Summer Tomatoes by Sherrie Henry (maybe we don't have to read for this one, but I interpreted it as more of a free choice than a free space; I didn't mark it with a star in case I was wrong.)
Over 400 Pages: The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston
Graphic Novel: Boy Princess Vol. 1 by Seyoung Kim
Romance: Capturing Peace by Molly McAdams
2014 Release You Missed: Dominated and Claimed by Bellann Summers
Gold Lettering: Catching Fire by Nora Roberts
Male POV: Against the Wall by Alexa Land

Total: 17/25 books read 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Undercurrent by Sara K. Parker

Undercurrent by Sara K. Parker

Trapped at Sea.
In an instant Kathryn Brooks's idyllic transatlantic cruise turns to terror.  It's hard to believe someone has it out for her, yet chandeliers don't explode on their own--and her best friend has gone missing.  But Secret Service agent Sam West vows to protect her as every corridor poses a threat and any stranger may be an assailant.  With the ship's security providing little assistance, Kathryn puts her trust in Sam.  Yet losing her own life is no longer her only fear.  As she and Sam strive to stay a step ahead of the enemy, Kathryn worries that by caring for Sam...she's put a target on his back, as well. 

Sara is on a cruise as a contracted concert pianist.  She is also healing from a house fire that followed closely on the heels of her father's death so she is emotionally and physically not in the best shape.  During a performance, the chandelier over the piano falls and Secret Service agent Sam (on vacation to watch over his grandmother) barely gets Sara out of the way in time to avoid harm.  The security personnel on the ship seem both overwhelmed by the possibility of a terrorist and underwhelmed by the idea that Sara is being targeted specifically.  

Sam, his grandmother Alice, and Sara are all level headed characters who make realistic choices.  Sara is hungry but knows it would be stupid to leave the safety of Alice's room to get something to eat.  While this is not a big event in the book, it left an impression on me as it was refreshing to read a book with no TSTL behavior in sight.  There were several possibilities for the baddie as ex who doesn't want to stay an ex, a security officer who seems to be gruff and impatient with Sara, a captain who may or may not be making choices based on what is best for his passengers.  

Sam lost a wife and child and is haunted by wondering if he could have saved them...after all, that is his job, to keep others safe.  Alice is not subtle in her matchmaking attempts and Sara is worried about her best friend who is discovered to be missing partway through the cruise.  There really is a lot going on in this book but it is all handled deftly with great pacing and just the right amount of attention paid to each piece of the whole.  A great balance of suspense and romance made this book by debut author Sara K. Parker a very pleasant read.  I will definitely keep my eyes open for more by this author!  Please Sara, write faster--you have a new fan eagerly awaiting more.  

Reading Challenge
105 Challenge
Around the World
Authors A to Z
Bookish Bingo
Full House
I Love Library Books
Key Word (retro-read for Feb.)
Men in Uniform
Monthly Motif
New Release 
New to You
Romantic Suspense

I borrowed this book from my local public library.

Monthly Mix-up Mania Reading Challenge

The Monthly Mix-up Reading Challenge sounds like a lot of fun (and I am officially now addicted to reading challenges...I just cannot seem to say no...and I like it!).  The premise is to read a book for every letter in every month of the year.  For example, a book title with a word that starts with J for January, another with a word that starts with A, an N, etc.  The word does not have to the be the first in the title either.  So I could count Bear Meets Girl for the G in August if I wished. This challenge officially begins April 1 and ends on March 31, 2017.  Two years for this one...I wonder if I can get it done in one?  A reading challenge challenge if you will...Hmm.  This is gonna be a good one, I can tell!