Monday, November 29, 2010

RYOB Challenge 2010--update

Well, it is almost December and I am trying to get all my ducks in a row and figure out how many challenges I have met and completed this last year. I joined many many many of them and probably forgot about some. This is an update on my RYOB Challenge for 2010. I read 3 novellas and am not sure if those are allowed or not. I own them so I think they count, if not I will try to read above my goal, which was to read 60 of my own books this year. As of the end of November I have read 53 of my own books. I was thinking that I read more but I guess not. I have read 126 books so far and it's hard to believe that 72 of them were library books but I guess they were. One book was a re-read by the way and it is not allowed so it is not listed. To reach my goal I need to read another 7 books of my own (or 10 depending on if the novellas are not allowed.)

**Updated--goal reached for 2010**

1-Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (4 Stars)
2-Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann (5 Stars)
3-Secrets by Jude Deveraux (1 Stars)
4-Forever Blue by Suzanne Brockmann (4 Stars)
5-Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep (4.5 Stars)
6-Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich (2 Stars)
7-Out of the Dark by Sharon Sala (3.5 Stars)
8-When Darkness Comes by Alexandra Ivy (3.5 Stars)
9-The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts (3 Stars)
10-Marked by Elisabeth Naughton (2 Stars)
11-Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan (4.5 Stars)
12-Smitten by Janet Evanovich (3 Stars)
13-Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn (4 Stars)
14-McKettrick's Heart by Linda Lael Miller (4.5 Stars)
15-Lover Enshrined by JR Ward (4.5 Stars)
16-Remember When by Nora Roberts (3.5 Stars)
17-One Night of Scandal by Teresa Medeiros (5 Stars)
18-Deadly Deceptions by Linda Lael Miller (4 Stars)
19-Master of the Night by Angela Knight (2 Stars)
20-Public Affair, Secretly Expecting by Heidi Rice (4 Stars)
21-The Hollow by Nora Roberts (4 Stars)
22-Bit the Jackpot by Erin McCarthy (4.5 Stars)
23-Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux (2.5 Stars)
24-At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost (5 Stars)
25-Fling or Wedding Ring by Mira Lyn Kelly (2.5 Stars)
26-Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris (4 Stars)
27-The Bride and The Beast by Teresa Medeiros (4.5 Stars)
28-A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (5 Stars)
29-Destined For An Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost (5 Stars)
30-Dead Sexy by Kimberly Raye (3 Stars)
31-Aphrodite's Secret by Julie Kenner (4 Stars)
32-If you Deceive by Kresley Cole (5 Stars)
33-Dark Celebration by Christine Feehan (2 Stars)
34-Irresistible by Susan Mallery (4.5 Stars)
35-Second Sight by Amanda Quick (4 Stars)
36-Crossroads by Keta Diablo--novella (2 Stars)
37-Crossroads Revisited by Keta Diablo--novella (3 Stars)
38-Seeing You by Dakota Flint--novella (4 Stars)
39-McKettrick's Luck by Linda Lael Miller (3 Stars)
40-The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine(4 Stars)
41-Mackenzies Mountain by Linda Howard (4.5 Stars)
42-The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands (4 Stars)
43-Imitation in Death by JD Robb (4 Stars)
44-Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (5 Stars)
45-White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (4 stars)
46-Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich (4 stars)
47-Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (3 Stars)
48-Once and Always by Judith McNaught (4 Stars)
49-Street Game by Christine Feehan (3 Stars)
50-The Bewitched Viking by Sandra Hill (2 Stars)
51-Causing Havoc by Lori Foster (4.5 Stars)
52-Deadly Gamble by Linda Lael Miller (4 Stars)
53-The Warrior by Kinley Macgregor (2.5 Stars)
54-Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (4.5 Stars)
55-Born to Bite by Lynsay Sands (4 Stars)

56-Sizzling by Julie Garwood (3.5 Stars)
57-Forbidden by Suzanne Brockmann (5 Stars)
58-Visions of White by Nora Roberts (3.5 Stars)
59-Prince Charming, M.D. by Susan Mallery (3.5 Stars)
60-Sleepless in Scotland by Karen Hawkins (4 Stars)
61-Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (5 Stars)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Out of the Dark by Sharon Sala

Synopsis courtesy of Shelfari....

In the darkness of her memory terror lurks Street artist Jade remembers little of her childhood except for the time she spent under the ruthless control of a cult leader, a time marked by terrible abuse and suffering. For fifteen years since she escaped his grasp, she has survived by living on the streets and never putting down roots. Ex-cop Luke Kelly knows his friend Sam Cochrane wants nothing more to find his daughter, Jade, who was taken from him as a child. So Luke uses all his connections to make that happen, not knowing that by reuniting Jade with her father he is exposing her to a deadly peril. In the healing embrace of her father's home, Jade -- with Luke's loving help -- begins to put fear behind her. But somewhere in the darkness, a man is prepared to kill rather than let Jade reveal the secrets of her childhood. And when her story makes the national news, that someone finally knows where to find her.

My thoughts....

This was my first book read by this author and it was good for the most part. Quite a bit of faith in God thrown in....not completely preachy but more than I care for. After awhile it kind of felt like product placement....think I'm going to H.E double hockey sticks for comparing God to Chex Mix? Anyway, the last 100 pages seemed to drag and I thought as traumatized as Jade was, I felt that her couple months of therapy that turned her into a woman emotionally available for a full on relationship with a man seemed abrupt and not real. The suspense was drug out even though technically Jade was safe for the last hundred pages or so making the story feel longer than it really was. I felt, however, that the situations within the book (the childhood physical and sexual abuse and the emotions that came with it....up until the last part of the book) were spot on and Sala did a great job of convincing me of Jade's plight. I was as emotional as Jade was through much of the book. Overall, as I said, a good book. 3.5 Stars. I will read more of Sharon Sala in the least to get a better feel of her writing.

The Sherbrooke Bride by Catherine Coulter

Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, decides that he needs an heir, so quite nonchalantly he thinks about his choices and then chooses the beautiful Melissande Chambers to bestow this privilege on. Unfortunately as he is planning his trip to do the deed he gets called off on a secret mission for the government and sends his cousin Tony to marry Melissande by proxy for him. When he arrives back to his home expecting the diamond, Melissande, he finds her younger sister instead. Tony, married Melissande for himself and to "fix" it he married Alexandra by proxy to Douglas.

My thoughts.....

Honestly I have heard for years that Coulter was an exceptional writer and The Sherbrooke Bride is a great read. I feel lied to. I hated it. After reading the other reviews on this book (most are right around 4 stars) I am wondering if maybe it is just me.

Douglas is pretty ticked off that instead of finding the beautiful woman he expects to come home to he is married to her younger sister that although handsome (Alex said she was quite handsome when listing her attributes to Douglas) she appears dowdy when standing next to Melissande...of course...according to the author....everyone does. So, what does Douglas do? Just figure that he didn't really know any of the girls that well and only wanted a brood mare anyway to give him an heir and anyone would do? Get mad and simply annul the marriage? Nope he treats Alex horrid. Seriously, horrid.

He ridicules her clothes. Saying things like, "That is such an unfashionable dress I doubt it was ever in fashion. I suppose you intend to wheedle me out of a new wardrobe?"

He ridicules her hair. "You will not pleat your hair like that. I don't like it. You look like a little girl."

He ridicules her feelings for him.....I still don't understand how she could have any tender feelings for the man who treats her so awful.

He often tells her that she will NOT ask questions. She will DO as he says and OBEY him. Often telling her that she will respond that yes "She understands" even if she doesn't.

He often referenced to his wife while thinking of her as "the little twit".

Alexandra's own thoughts were just as belittling. When thinking of her sister and herself she knows that Melissande is a diamond and she, Alex, certainly isn't a diamond but perhaps she could be a Topaz. A Topaz is, after all, a quite suitable and a nice gem.

I think that the love scenes (I use the phrase loosely) were the worse to listen to (yes I listened to it on audio without skimming most of it had I done if I had an actual paper version). The love scenes (cough cough) were all about him telling her, quite clinically what he would do to her and that she would enjoy it. The first one was the most painful...granted they all were bad but the first one is like that first plunge into the swimming pool you never know quite what to prepare for and let's just say that the very first love scene will stay with me for a long chicken pox scars.

Douglas did a lot of talking.....a LOT!!! I don't remember much of it thank goodness as I tried to block it but what I do remember is that Douglas doesn't find his wife remotely attractive and can't figure out why he loses control when he has sex with her as he is ALWAYS in control. So even though his wife is not stunning in beauty it must still be her fault he ruts her like a school boy's first outing.

Oh and at one point they were talking about if he found her lovely and irresistible (I am paraphrasing by the way) to which he replied...."Well, No. But you have nice breasts." What a pig!

And what does Alex do while her husband treats her like this???? Why...... she declares her love for him.

One reviewer said that they fell in love with Douglas and mentioned he was the first "Alpha" male that they read. To me there is a big difference between an Alpha male and a jerkwad. Douglas is a jerkwad....perhaps even more of an asshat. Jerkwad is too mild of a word.

I was going to give this book a flat out 1 star rating (I never give less than that because that is the lowest my rating scale goes...although a half star would make sense too if I really was going to think about it...but I'm not at this point) oh, anyway, it fully deserved 1 star up until the last 80 or so pages (I'm guessing by the way since I listened to it and honestly don't know). The last 1/5 of the book picked up and had some sort of a twist that was mildly interesting and made me see Alex and Douglas as actual characters and not horrible plotting mistakes. Unfortunately it only elevated the book half a star...too little too late.

Oh, and there was a ghost in the book called The Virgin Bride. Almost pointless to have had it in the storyline...I suppose it was to give the book an added depth and shake things up a bit but it was a big FAIL....really.

Now I'm kind of in a dilemma...I own 38 more of her books. I'm scared to even pick another up.

The Original TBR Challenge Update

So, it's almost the end of November of 2010 and I have just a few short weeks to try to finish up all my reading challenges. Over the last year I did really well meeting my goals. One of those goals was to do the TBR Challenge which had a list of 12 books preselected prior to January1, 2010. We could also chose books from an alternate list of 12 preselected books to add to the variety. I have read a total of 14 of those books. Not sure how many more I will get done by the end of the year.

Here is a look at my lists....

List 1

1-Imitation in Death by JD Robb (4 Stars)

2-The Hollow by Nora Roberts (4 Stars)

3-Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard (4.5 Stars)

4-Blood Bound by Patricia Biggs

5-Aphrodite's Secret by Julie Kenner (4 Stars)

6-The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine (4 Stars)

7-Unleash The Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon (4.5 stars)

8-Darkling by Yasmine Galenorn

9-A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (5 Stars)

10-She's No Faerie Princess by Christine Warren

11-Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux (2.5 Stars)

12-Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan (4.5 Stars)

Alternate List

1-The Nerd Who Loved Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson

2-Your Coffin Or Mine? by Kimber Raye

3-Causing Havoc by Lori Foster (4.5 stars)

4-Dark Celebration by Christine Feehan (2 Stars)

5-Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (5 Stars)

6-Master of the Night by Angela Knight (2 stars)

7-Tangled up In You by Rachel Gibson

8-Irresistable by Susan Mallery (4.5 Stars)

9-Evermore by Lynn Viehl

10-Twin of Ice by Jude Deveraux

11-Wild Jinx by Sandra Hill

12-With This Ring by Amanda Quick

I got pretty lazy with posting reviews so not all the books have reviews for them unfortunately.