Skip to content

Summer Vacation Reading Challenge

April 10, 2009


What: Summer Vacation Reading Challenge
When: 22 May –  7 September 2009
Who: Molly (My Cozy Book Nook)
Rules: Quoted directly from her site:

Requirements: Summer vacations are meant to be relaxing and fun – not stressful. However, some people interpret “fun” by doing nothing but going to the beach and vegging out — while others like to maximize their sight-seeing adventures. To that end, I have developed two different levels of participation:

  • Beach Bum: you will read 3 books during this time frame (a leisurely book-a-month); cross-over book selections from other challenges may count; and you do not have to list books in advance — after all, summer vacation is a time for spontaneity.
  • Globe Trotter: you will commit to reading 6 pre-selected books during this time frame, but you may substitute up to 3 books due to changes in travel plans. Cross-overs for 5 out of the 6 books are allowed, but ideally one book will be read for this challenge alone.
  • See the sign-up post for more details.

    I know, I know. I said in the Anne Stuart Read-a-Fest post that I wasn’t going to join anymore challenges. But this one will compliment the read-a fest! If I can work in three of Anne’s books, that’s half the requirement for the Globe Trotter.

    I haven’t decided which six books (plus alternates).  Per my usual habit, I’ll list the books and track the progress on my 2009 Challenges page.


    Anne Stuart Read-a-Fest

    April 10, 2009

    What: Anne Stuart Read-a-Fest
    When: 15 April – 15 October 2009
    Who: Ana O. (Cosy Little World)
    Rules: To read as many novels written by Anne Stuart in six months.  No list required.  Ana will be awarding prizes.  To learn more and sign  up, read the sign-up post.

    Ever since I read Black Ice last year, I’ve been adding her books to my TBR.  So far, all I’ve manage to read since is a short story from a Christmas anthology.  I wasn’t going to join any more challenges, but I saw this “fest”, saw that there wasn’t a minium book requirement, and decided, “why not?”

    Ana has provided a list of books here.

    As usual, I will track my progress here.

    Contemporary, or Not? (Updated)

    April 6, 2009

    Updated 10 April 09: Thanks for all the input. I never thought I would read so many romances that I would actually have to split them up into more accurate sub-genres.


    Recently, I was perusing my category tags, both on-line and off.  Since I label even contemporary-set paranormals and urban fantasy as “contemporary”, it looks like I’ve read more contemporary books than historical.

    My original thought behind labeling them as such was to distinguish them from historical-set fantasy and paranormal, on the off chance I read one — Mary Jo Putney’s “The Marriage Spell” — and futuristics — most of  Colby Hodge’s “Twist” is set in the future.

    I’m beginning to think that this is misleading.   Readers looking for straight contemporaries might be unhappy to learn that the main female character in “Ace is Wild” is a psychic — though nowhere near the level of Feehan’s GhostWalkers or Singh’s Psy.  Fans of those series might take exception to “Ace is Wild” being labeled as paranormal.

    So my question is, is it misleading?

    On a slightly related note. . .

    In Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy set in an alternate-reality Atlanta), we learn one of the characters is a big fan of paranormal romances (not Kate — her favorite book is “The Princess Bride”).  Later, we learn that several books (or all of them) by the character’s favorite author features. . .pirates.

    This got me thinking.  In Kate’s world there are shape-shifters, vampires, magic.  What would these characters consider “paranormal”?  Your average Harlequin Superromance? Chick-lit? Ye Olde  Bodice-rippers of the 80’s?

    And would a comtemporary be a story about a hunk of a werehyhena romantically pursuing a heavily armed Knight of the Order?

    Anyone else pondered this?

    There’s a poll in my sidebar regarding the labeling .  Please take a moment to vote.  Thanks.

    REVIEW – Shadow Game

    April 5, 2009
    Shadow Game

    Shadow Game

    Author: Christine Feehan
    Copyright: 2003 (Jove); pgs. 323
    ISBN: 0-515-13596-8
    Series: 1st in the GhostWalkers series
    Sensuality: Hot

    Who: Dr. Lily Whitney and Captain Ryland Miller

    Dr. Lily Whitney’s father, Dr. Peter Whitney, has asked her to consult on one of his classified experiments. The project’s goal is to enhance psychic abilities in a select group of men, all volunteers, to be used as a military weapon. With their extraordinary metal powers, these men could infiltrate enemy territory undetected and carry a variety of covert activities. But something has gone wrong with the experiment. Men are dying in training accidents.

    Captain Ryland Miller, the senior ranking “GhostWalker”, falls for Lily the moment he sees her. Her presences is soothing, her own psychic gifts toning down the sensory onslaught. Ryland feels he and his men have been betrayed by Dr. Peter Whitney and Colonel Higgens, the military liaison to the project. He and his men are kept separated from each other and caged like lab rats. The team’s mental abilities have been enhanced to such a point that they can’t turn them off and, without sufficient mental barriers, they can barely function outside a controlled environment. The doctor has tried to reverse the process, but has yet to find a way. Colonel Higgens has made no secret that he wants the enhancement process perfected, not reversed, and views the deaths as acceptable losses.

    Lily, too, also feels the instant attraction though she’s at a loss on how to deal with it, having never formed any type of meaningful attachment to a man before. She wants to help him and his men. However, her father did not give her much information about the project prior to asking her to stop by. Shortly after Lily agrees to join the project, her father is murdered, leaving Lily with a lot of unanswered questions and the fate of the project — and the GhostWalkers themselves — in her hands. Since her father didn’t trust Higgens any more than Ryland did, he kept his notes in code and hid them for her to find. Searching for the answers to helping Ryland, Lily uncovers things about her own past.

    This is the first book I’ve read by Christine Feehan. One of my favorite aspects of the book is the character relationships. Not just the romantic relationship, but also the friendships and the sense of family between Lily and her household staff, the relationships between the GhostWalkers, etc. I really liked Ryland right from the start. All the normal traits you’d expect to find in the hero — leader, protector — but he isn’t closed off. He readily voices his fears and insecurities to Lily. It took me longer to warm up to Lily — a super-smart heroine who comes across a little too naive gets on nerves.

    Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I have books from the author’s other series (Drake sisters and the Leopards), plus I plan to continue with this series.

    Started: 28 February 2009
    Finished: 10 March 2009


    Challenge Update – March 2009

    April 4, 2009


    I’m behind — waaay behind — on writing reviews. None of the books I’ve read in March have a review, as of today. One of the side effect of this is that  my count for two challenges — Year of the Category and Contemporary Romance — will be a month behind, since I don’t know which book will count for which month.

    2008-2009 Challenges
    Countdown: 21/45
    Naming Conventions: 8/9
    Series Challenge Season 3: 0/??

    2009 Challenges
    1st in Series: 3/12
    2nds Challenge: 4/12
    A-Z Challenge (Authors): 11/26
    A Year of Readers: $32.00 (16 books)
    Contemporary Romance: 1/12
    Chunkster: 2/??
    Harlequin/Silhouette Romance: 3/5
    New Author Challenge: 5/12
    Pub 2009: 5/9
    Reading My Name: 2/2 — Completed!
    Romance Reading: 4/5
    Themed Reading: 1/4
    Third Times A Charm: 0/3
    Victorian: 1/4
    What’s in a Name 2: 3/6
    Year of the Category: 3/12

    Perpetual Challenges
    Georgette Heyer: 1

    Total (Month): 6
    Grand Total (Year): 16

    The Breakdown:

    • Shadow Game – 1st, A-Z, Countdown, New Author, Reading My Name
    • Dark Crusade – A-Z, Countdown, Pub 2009 , Year of the Category**
    • Silent on the Moor – A-Z, Chunkster, Countdown, Victorian, Pub 2009
    • The Man Behind the Cop – A-Z,  Contemporary**, Year of the Category**
    • Wanted:  White Wedding – A-Z, H/S, Contemporary**, Year of the Category**
    • Magic Strikes – Pub 2009, Countdown

    All books count toward the Year of the Reader Challenge

    ** == Not counted in this month’s total for this challenge

    REVIEW – Ace is Wild

    March 31, 2009
    Ace is Wild

    Ace is Wild

    Author: Penny McCall
    Copyright: 2008 (Berkley); pgs. 308
    ISBN: 978-0-425-22298-0
    Series: N/A
    Sensuality: Warm

    Who: Vivienne Foster and Daniel “Ace” Pierce
    Where: Boston

    This is the second book I’ve read by this author. Though some of the characters and plot elements from her previous books make an appearance, it’s not necessary to read either All Jacked Up or Tag, You’re it! first.

    Vivienne Foster is a psychic. No, really, she is. And that’s the problem. Law enforcement types generally don’t believe in her abilities, so going to them with her knowledge pertaining to a hit on an Assistant DA is pointless. No one will believe her that Daniel Pierce is in mortal danger without solid proof — like the identity of the person ordering the hit or the name of the hired gun. Vivi’s visions don’t work that way, so she left with only one course of action — try to get his attention at a bachelor charity auction and hope he listens to her.

    Daniel is a former FBI field agent, benched after a near-fatal shooting damaged his leg. Unable to return to field work in any law enforcement agency, he became a lawyer. But even that isn’t enough for guy who’s goal in life was to make the world a safer place. His track record is hardly impressive, mainly because he doesn’t compromise when it comes to his ethics or his integrity. Even though he doesn’t want to believe in Vivi’s talent, he’s willing to accept the possibility there really is a hit out on him. He wants to be actively involved in the investigation, not sitting in some safe house or guarded by federal agents. Daniel is sure that Vivi knows more than she’s letting on — there is something important she’s not telling him. Daniel doesn’t have many “wins” — cases where he sent someone to prison for life or, at least, a very long time. Narrowing down the list of possibilities and investigating them — Vivi doing a reading on them — shouldn’t be so hard, but their progress is hindered by more attempts on Daniel’s life by slightly incompetent and elusive hit men.

    Both have trust issues. Vivi, obviously, has a hard time trusting cops and lawyers because they don’t believe her, and she knows that Daniel is only humoring her. Trusting the wrong person got Daniel shot, so it will take a lot of convincing before he’ll trust Vivi. They both also believe in speaking the truth. Vivi doesn’t lie to her customers. She won’t tell them only what they want to hear, unless it’s the truth. Some things — like death — she can’t bear predicting, so she tries to steer her clients away from those types of questions. Daniel is a “the world is black and white” type guy — no gray areas. He sees Vivi being sued by clients as proof she’s a con artist — and therefore a criminal. Of course, Vivi was sued by clients that didn’t like what she told them — the truth.

    From the beginning, Daniel and Vivi are physically attracted to each other. Both try to ignore it. At some point, during their running around Boston eluding hit men, — and the cops and Feds who don’t want them involved in the investigation — Vivi starts to fall in love with Daniel. This is bad news because those feelings prevent her from getting a read on Daniel. With his life in danger, this could prove fatal. Naturally, it takes Daniel a little longer to realize what he’s feeling is more than lust.

    I really enjoyed this book. There’s a lot of action, so the story moves pretty quickly. Vivi’s a fun character. She’s strong and she doesn’t back down, even when Daniel is biting her head off for one reason or other. She can give as good as she gets. I really liked Daniel. When you first meet him, he comes across as a slick, sophisticated lawyer, but really he’s a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of guy; happier out in the field than behind a desk.

    Favorite Quotes:
    “If I didn’t trust you and believe in your ability I wouldn’t be asking you to save the day, but you can’t even drum up a halfway credible premonition.”
    “Because I love you, you jackass.”
    “Uh. . .”
    “That’s right, you moron, I love you.”

    — Daniel and Vivi, in a tight spot, yelling at each other

    “The place was crawling with cops and feds.”
    “That’s what happens when you call and tell them you were almost murdered by a high-ranking mob figure.”

    — Daniel, Vivi

    Started: 19 February 2009
    Finished: 27 February 2009


    Liked A Lot

    Liked A Lot

    Tag, You’re It!

    Two Years!

    March 25, 2009


    Wow!  Two years already. Time flies, does it not? I have 220 posts, so that’s about 110 posts a year. Some other random facts:

    • My post about These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer is still the most view book review post.
    • “Mr & Mrs Darcy” is still the most common search phrase used to bring people here.
    • With the third Kate Daniels book due in stores, there has been an increase in the number of search terms relating to the series popping up in my stats.   There has also been an increase in the number of views for each Kate Daniels related post.

    I’ve been on such a reading roll lately that I’ve fallen way behind in writing/posting my thoughts.  I ought to be scribbling away, right now, before LOST comes on…