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Archived: 2013 Reading Goals > Teresa's Challenge Notebook (2013)

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message 1: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 101 comments December 2013 Monthly Challenge

English word: EAT
Spanish word: COMER

C: Cooke, Deborah Kiss of Fire Dragonfire Series (#1)
O: O'Keefe, Molly Can't Buy Me Love Crooked Creek Ranch Series (#1)
M: Man of Honour by Jane Ashford
E: Elizabeth, Anne A Seal at Heart
R: Robert Jordan, Lord of Chaos (Wheel of Time, #6)


message 2: by Teresa (last edited Dec 11, 2013 06:40AM) (new)

Teresa | 101 comments Lord of Chaos (Wheel of Time, #6) by Robert Jordan

December 8, 2013
I'm about 3/4 of the way through this book. I've read lots of discussions about how nothing much happens in these middle books of the Wheel of Time series. So far, it's been true in this series. Nyneave healed "stilling" and "gentling." Egwene is now the Amrylin Seat in the Little Tower. But otherwise, it seems a like a giant set up for what will be coming next.

Completed December 10th
This is a reread for me. I originally read this part of the series 10 years ago or so. I forgot just about everything, so it's like I'm reading it for the first time.

Several threads on Goodreads have talked about the pros and cons of attempting to read the epic series that is The Wheel of Time. I think something that people have to remember is that this series is ONE STORY, not a bunch of connected stories. There are bound to be parts of a single story that are slow, setting up for what is to come. This part of the series seems to be set-up novel. We see some important events happen, (view spoiler) It seems that an awful lot of nothing happened to make sure that those three important events did.

Overall, I am enjoying the series and look forward to continuing the read.


message 3: by Teresa (last edited Dec 12, 2013 09:02PM) (new)

Teresa | 101 comments Can't Buy Me Love (Crooked Creek Ranch, #1) by Molly O'Keefe

December 8, 2013
At first, I thought this was going to be a fun kind of romance, with the crotchety almost dead dad messing with his kids through his will. There is a crotchety old dad who does die with a will that the kids don't like. However, so far, fun is not really in this book. There is WAY TO MUCH emotional baggage for all parties involved. The hero REALLY hates his dad and everything connected to him. The heroine has an oft-mentioned but not explained shadowy past (with a changed name and everything). The hero's sister is an emotional wreck, primarily because she is unable to live her preferred lifestyle since her jerk-off husband offed himself after a failed ponsi scheme. Not sure if I'm going to end up liking this one.

December 11th
I'm having considerable trouble with this novel. I read romances because they are light and fluffy. This particular novel is not, at all. The heroine is one seriously mentally messed up chick. The hero has his own issues. Of course their issues are getting in the way, but I'm not convinced it will be a good thing if they do get together. And the "bad guy" part of the narrative is so transparent. I know exactly what is going to happen. No surprises at all. This book is not trending for more stars at this time.

December 13, Completed
Overall, this book was ok. The characters were real, with real problems and authentic reactions, most of the time. I believe that the characters were well written.

The problem comes in with how well the characters were written. I know, I know. How can good character development be a problem? Well, I'll tell you. Both the hero, Luc, and the heroine, Tara Jean (a name she chose herself) have tremendous amounts of emotional baggage. For Luc, his baggage is a result of (view spoiler) For Tara Jean, her baggage comes from (view spoiler) These people are wrecks, emotionally. The author does a very good job of developing these characters and their neuroses. But then, that's the problem. I have real trouble acknowledging that all this baggage can be cleared up in the span of the two months that the book is supposed to cover. People don't lose their baggage that quickly, no matter what the storybooks say. It was tough to swallow.

Another difficult part of the book was the character of Victoria, Luc's sister. She plays a bit role in the main plot of this novel, though I understand that Crooked Creek Ranch #2 is about her. But, the author spends an unusual amount of time developing this character, for no real reason in this book. While I understand the set-up for the next book in the series, all the "extra" time spent on Victoria takes away from the development of the love story between Luc and Tara Jean.

If you like your romances to be a little more realistic, then you might like this one. If you're like me, and prefer your romances light and fluffy, then you might want to skip this one.


message 4: by Teresa (last edited Dec 18, 2013 05:59PM) (new)

Teresa | 101 comments Man of Honour by Jane Ashford

December 15
I often wonder why some authors make their heroes such dunder-heads. Did all men really think that women could not think? And for that matter, did all women pretend that they couldn't?

December 16
I'm having a little bit of trouble with this book. Firstly, I know that Laura is an innocent in the way of the ton and doesn't really understand what should and should not be done, but come on... I feel like she needs a knock over the side of her head half the time. She's all like (view spoiler) And then she wonders why Eliot is treating her like a child. She's acting like one!! And another thing... Ashford is writing almost exclusively from Laura's viewpoint. There have been like three paragraphs where the reader gets information about Eliot's feelings/thoughts and actions without Laura. I'm slogging through, but it's tough.

Completed December 18
First of all, despite its fancy cover, this book has been around for quite awhile. It was originally published in 1981. I'm wondering if the character development that Ashford used was indicative of the decade in which she wrote, or of her personal style.

The novel is written in the third person limited viewpoint. It's as if we sit on the shoulder of the heroine. We know only what she knows and only what she feels. Throughout the course of the novel, there are may three complete pages of material from the hero's point of view. I'm wondering if Ashford meant for the reader to more fully identify with Laura by giving us only her point of view. I must say, it did not work for me. Laura ends up falling in love with her husband, but there isn't really any reason for her to do so. Ashford doesn't even spend much time extolling the physical aspects of Eliot that appeal to Laura. We see him repeatedly treat Laura as a child and call caring for her a "duty." While he does occasionally have dinner with Laura and attend a few social events, there seems very little reason for her to fall in love with him.

Just as Laura eventually falls in love with Eliot, Eliot eventually falls in love with Laura. But again, we have very little reason for that to happen. Laura seems to act like the child that Eliot seems to see. Laura's physical charms are not enumerated either. Laura gets into all sorts of trouble when she acts out. She behaves in the way she does just because Eliot or the gossips tell her she shouldn't. And, Eliot doesn't even save Laura from her biggest problem. A very minor secondary character does.

Overall, the idea behind the story is good. I would have liked to have some additional characterization in order to believe that love does happen for these two people.


message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 101 comments Kiss of Fire (Dragonfire, #1) by Deborah Cooke

Now here is a book that I liked. The world within the world that Ms. Cooke developed with the Pyr seems to be well developed in the first volume of this series. I liked the "good guys" vs. the "bad guys." I'm hoping that future volumes expand on this world more. For example, is there a purpose to the title Smith and Seer? If so, what about the ones who "sing to the Earth" or "whisper to the wind"? Do those have titles? Is the Smith more than just one who works well with fire and earth? And the big question, if human women are needed to procreate, how will more pyr be born if the Slayers kill all the humans?

For the characters, the hero is sufficiently hunky and has a good back story of distrust. His distrust is allayed a bit too easily, I thought. But I was able to suspend my disbelief for that. I would have liked a little more on how Quinn learned his skills after only such a sort time with Ambrose. The heroine is good. I like her. Not to over-the-top, and a little bit geeky. I would have liked more about how her "psychic" skills were latent, but could be assumed by weird things that had happened in her past. I would also have liked to know more about how she could overcome her accountant-straightforward-not-believing-in-weird-stuff-ness so easily. I would like to think it was more than just knowing Magda.

I liked how the Happily-Ever-After was revealed. That was pretty cool. If you're looking for a light read, with a little bit of a fantasy/paranormal twist, then this book is for you.


message 6: by Teresa (last edited Dec 26, 2013 01:34PM) (new)

Teresa | 101 comments A SEAL at Heart (West Coast Navy SEALs) by Anne Elizabeth


December 24
I like the wounded soldier. He seems more real than many of the heroes that I have read recently. I also like the heroine's job: holistic healing, using massage, acupressure, acupuncture and other non-traditional methods in conjunction with more standard medical/therapy methods. Hot, hot, hot scene already, though is does seem a little out of character for both him and her.

December 25
I'm liking this one. The hero has a real problem, apparently having to do with the "hinky OP" that is at the root of his memory problems. I'm almost finished with the book and the romance part of it is over. Now I just have to figure out who set Jack up and why. I hope it's a good reason.

December 26th
I thought this was a good book. I liked the depth of the characters and their ability to change throughout the course of the story. The hero begins the story just after a failed mission as a member of a SEAL team. His career as a SEAL is in jeopardy if he can't remember what happened. He is able to change from (view spoiler). The heroine is able to change her thinking about men in general, military men in particular.

I liked the idea that helping some military men (with mental health issues) isn't going to work the same way that helping other men/women does. Different mind sets and different outlooks require different methods of therapy. I wish more of the conflict had to do with this topic. The major conflict didn't turn out to be an overt as I wanted it to be. The "bad guys" weren't really there and were hard to pin point.

Overall, I recommend this book to those who enjoy romances that have a military hero/heroine.


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