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text 2017-08-31 07:30
August 2017 Wrap Up
Falling for the Enemy - Naomi Rawlings
Homicide in High Heels - Gemma Halliday
Her Holiday Family (Texas Grooms (Love Inspired Historical)) - Winnie Griggs
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

 I am burning out on COYER. I need something other than Harlequin romance. Bring on Halloween Bingo!

 

Challenges:

BL/GR: 128/150; 85% completed

Pop Sugar: 2; 42/52 prompts filled

Library Love Challenge: 2; 42/36 for the year

COYER: 12; 82% of list read from June-August

 

1. Falling for the Enemy by Naomi Rawlings (COYER) (Pop Sugar) - 5 stars

 

2. Homicide in High Heels (High Heels #8) by Gemma Halliday (COYER) (Library Love) - 4 stars

 

3. Chaucer's Major Tales by Michael Hoy and Michael Stevens (Pop Sugar) (COYER) (Library Love) - 2.5 stars

 

4. Her Holiday Family by Winnie Griggs (COYER) - 4 stars

 

5. Mission of Hope by Allie Pleiter (COYER) - 4.5 stars

 

6. The Baby Barter by Patty Smith Hall (COYER) - 3 stars

 

7. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller (COYER) - 1.5 stars

 

8. The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson (COYER) - 1 star

 

9. Love, Special Delivery by Melinda Curtis (COYER) - 2 stars

 

10. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - .5 star

 

11. The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin (COYER) - 4 stars

 

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text 2017-08-31 07:25
COYER Summer 2017 Wrap Up
A Lady for Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo) - Sarah Mallory
A Mistress for Major Bartlett - Annie Burrows
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
Homefront Hero - Allie Pleiter
The Doctor's Undoing (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi
Falling for the Enemy - Naomi Rawlings

 

I am cutting COYER short to make room for Halloween Bingo. Between IRL obligations and running this beehive, my reading time is shorter than it was in the beginning of summer. So here is my wrap up post.

 

I chose the reading list option for this challenge, which helped a lot because I didn't spend so much time choosing which book to read next - it was already done for me. I tried to pick books that were languishing on the TBR for a long time. I only read 2 books not on my list.

 

When it came to the quality of what I read, there are some highlights: book one and two of the Brides of Waterloo trilogy, all of Allie Pleiter's books, Falling for the Enemy, and The Complete Persepolis. Some lowlights include the Midnight Breed novella, Butterfly Swords, and a few books I received at RT that failed to impress.

 

I completed a trilogy in the first read-a-thon of the challenge (Brides of Waterloo). I got ahead of a few series as well. The first two read-a-thons went well, the last one I tanked hard. I also did BL-opoly for a little while and did two outside read-a-thons (#24in48 and BoB Cycle 20). I also got a few more prompts from the Pop Sugar challenge filled.

 

For the most part, I kept up on reviews and participated in the FB group most days. The Instagram challenge went well for the first 18 days, then I completely lost the will to keep going - this is still MUCH more than I usually do, so I am happy. I won during one of the Twitter chat parties, so I just have to pick out my prize.

 

Overall, I am happy with my work in this challenge and look forward to the winter edition. For the winter edition: sign ups start November 18th, challenge starts December 18th (not as long as the summer one). The title of the winter edition is Winter Switch, and there is hints at having another list option and new rules to play by. Stay tuned.

 

Stats:

45 books total on the list (30 original and 15 additions)

37 books read

     .5 star - 2 books

     1 star - 4 books

     1.5 stars - 2 books

     2 stars - 10 books

     2.5 stars - 1 books

     3 stars - 3 books

     3.5 stars - 3 books

     4 stars - 4 books

     4.5 stars - 3 books

     5 stars - 3 books

6 books sent back to the TBR pile

2 books DNF'd

6 books from the library, everything else was from my personal library

3 non-fiction books

 

 

 

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review 2017-08-30 21:42
Review: The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin
The Dragon and the Pearl - Jeannie Lin

Probably the best full length book in the series. Li Tao and Ling Suyin were a great couple and great individual characters (both got a raw deal character development wise in the first book). The plotline was filled with action and political intrigue. Best part, you don't have to read the first book to understand the characters or plot line in this book. One of the best examples of using flashbacks to tell the MCs back stories, like peeling back an onion. Such a great balance between the sexy times and the emotional intimacy times. Diplomacy and negotiations were dicey in Tang Dynasty China but the MCs didn't rise from poor kids in Luoyang to the Emperors' inner circles without gaining skills and reputation to use as capital during such dangerous times.

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review 2017-08-24 22:55
Too Much Stuff, Yard Sales and Crazy Relatives
Owls Well That Ends Well - Donna Andrews

Meg and Michael have purchased their home together and it is from the cantankerous Sprocket family. They won't clean it up, fix the major issues and want money from the sale of all the stuff in the house, without doing any work. 

 

So for months, Meg has been organizing, selling and preparing for a huge yard sale, to get rid of the items found in the house and getting her family to come in and help at the sale, allowing her large extended family to also set up tables to sell off things as well. True to form, people who want to go to a yard sale, want to start earlier than anyone else and have started ringing the door bell on her house at very early hours, while she and all the house guests are sleeping in sleeping bags on the hard floor because she and Michael cannot have any of their own items in the house, because the Sprockets will accuse them of stealing from the estate. 

 

One of the Sprockets (Barrymore) has shown up and said he is there at the wishes of the family to get their fair share of the sale. 

 

While all this is going on, Gordon (you-thief) has also shown up early and been doused with water for trying to gain an early entry. Gordon has many enemies due to poor business practices, a poor marriage, and just generally being a poor person. When he is found murdered in a trunk, found in the barn, locked, the first person suspected is a friend of Michael's is suspected. Meg feels that she needs to prove that he didn't do the deed. 

 

She finds that many of the people that were interviewed by the Police Chief, lied and she finds the truth and keeps going further along to find the truth. 

 

Another fun story, showing that having a yard sale can be very difficult and frustrating. People showing up before people are ready and people asking for lower prices on items because they are out to get a good deal. People parking wherever to get to the sale. 

 

 

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review 2017-08-22 08:44
Review: Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin

This is Lin's first book. If I had read this before reading the other books or novellas in the series, I would have never read another book from her. This was a rough slog reading. At the 85% mark, I basically skimmed multiple paragraphs at a time just to get to the end.

 

This is the story of An Li, only daughter to Emperor Shen. She ran from her arranged marriage prior to the wedding because she had reason to believe her husband to be killed her brother. An Li thinks she is a badass, but she comes across as a complete dumbass. She is also an impulsive, immature spoiled brat known to throw down some temper tantrums and had the worst mood swings. She is supposedly skilled with swords, but there were more times she was a loser in a fight and needing rescuing. She escaped a lot of dicey situations in the first half of the book by throwing money around; when she lost her money she was basically useless. She was also very vaguely drawn; it wasn't until the second half of the book we get a detail about her eye color.

 

The hero of this mess is Ryam (no last name, which speaks volumes about the attention to detail the book gives the character development). Ryam is a "barbarian" wandering around the wrong side of the empire and is starting to make his way back home on the western frontier just beyond the empire when he encounters An Li, dressed as a boy traveling with a group of men. Of course, Ryam senses that An Li is really a female due to her curves...sure. An Li requests Ryam's help in getting her back to Changan, capital of the empire, and to her family so she can reveal her groom's nasty dealings to the court. For no reason whatsoever, Ryam agrees to help.

 

There is a lot of walking in the woods and talk about the empire in the first half of the book. I guess this is to established the bond between An Li and Ryam, but it was so boring and repetitive. Once in Changan, a mere 3 days is used to isolate An Li from her family (that she talked about So Much during the walking in the woods) and raise some political intrigue. Ryam did his duty and he left the city after collecting his pay. This lasts for approximately 10% of the book, then An Li runs away again, this time for her family's home in Longyou. Along the way she meets Ryam again and he agrees to accompany her on her trip home. At least this time they took horses.

 

At home in Longyou, An Li and Ryam act on their pants feelings for each other and the reader gets treated to long repetitive "is this love what I am feeling" monologues. An Li's groom is not happy with her dismissal and he tracks the couple throughout the book without being actually anywhere near them. He is mentioned about 25000 times and how he is a "bad man." An Li does not get the warm welcome home she expected by her brother (who remained in the mountain home to take on a job), so she and Ryam run away, AGAIN, to Ryam's home on the frontier. It is here in Yumen Guan (Jade Gate) that groom finds bride and lots of fighting begins, along with a kidnapping. Ryam goes after An Li and her kidnappers and we get a long, boring bloody showdown between groom and hero. In the end, the groom decides to let An Li go because she is not worth all this damn trouble. Emperor Shen, who witnessed the showdown and experienced An Li's constant running away, decides she is not worth the trouble either and gives Ryam the job being occupied by the brother and the couple gets the mountain home. Ryam also gets to use Shen for a last name. Emperor Shen doesn't care, he just wants An Li out of his hair.

 

So the "bad man" groom is the hero in the next book which tells you everything. Paper tiger fed by An Li's hysterics.

 

 

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