Thursday, January 9, 2014

Year In Review: 2013 TBR Challenge Wrap-Up

One of the reasons I like to host to the TBR Challenge is that it keeps me on track to actually complete it.  I figure it wouldn't look too great for the host to skip months, plus I also try to adhere to my own "themes" every month (even though I don't require participants to).  Here are the twelve books I managed to unearth out of the TBR Mountain Range last year.

Title links will take you to full reviews

The Things That Make Me Give In by Charlotte Stein (2010) - Theme: Shorts! (B)
  • An anthology of very short fiction by Stein.  At turns funny, sad, and thought-provoking.  A great taste, highly recommended for fans and those curious to try her work.
Promote: To Wife And Mother by Jessica Hart (2008) - Theme: Recommended Read (A)
  • The best of the TBR reads this year.  Great romance featuring older characters with real life problems.
A Marriage-Minded Man by Karen Templeton (2009) - Theme: Series You're Behind On (B)
  • Templeton writes nice romances about "normal" people.  This one features a reunited couple.  I remember liking it while I was reading it, but it didn't have a ton of "staying power" for me.
Seducing the Duchess by Ashley March (2010) - Theme: New-To-You Author (B+)
  • A problematic read that found me at the right time.  Great dialogue and banter in this one.
The Drifter by Susan Wiggs (1998) - Theme: Author With More Than One Book In TBR (B)
  • Doctor heroine with baggage finds herself helping a drifter hero on the run.  Solid read, nice Americana feel, but felt the story could have been tighter in spots.
Patrick Gallagher's Widow by Cheryl Reavis (1990) Theme: RITA winner or nominee (B+)
  • A book that held up surprisingly well even though I read it 23 years after it's publication date.  Great hero and heroine, but felt that the majority of the secondary characters were stereotypes.
High Noon by Nora Roberts (2007) - Theme: Classic (author, book, trope etc.) (B-)
  • Loved the suspense thread in this one and after a string of disappointing reads I practically inhaled this in one sitting.  Did feel the characters were a little too "perfect" though.
Training the Receptionist by Juniper Bell (2010) - Theme: Steamy read (B+)
  • Completely devoid of reality, but I loved it anyway.  Directionless heroine takes a secretarial job at a mysterious firm that requires S&M play with the bosses.
Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O'Connell (2010) - Theme: Western (B-)
  • Great story buried in subpar writing.  Authors, find a good editor and hug them tight.
The Suicide Club by Gayle Wilson (2007) - Theme: Paranormal or Romantic suspense (C-)
  • Great story idea that fumbles on the execution.  Also found the lovey-dovey let's make babies crap at the end really, really jarring considering how the book ends.  But maybe that's just me.
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran (2008) - Theme: All About The Hype (B)
  • Loved the first half of this story when it's set in India, but the story lost steam for me when the couple moves to England and there's an introduction of a suspense subplot. 
A Christmas to Remember by Kay Stockham (2007) - Theme: Holiday (C)
  • What started out as a really intriguing angsty-read loses me when the author throws in a plot twist that essentially changes the entire complexion of the story.
Looking at all twelve reads laid out like this, I had a pretty solid year digging books out of the ol' TBR pile.  Remember, it's not too late to join in on the fun for 2014.  For more information about the 2014 TBR Challenge - please check out the information page.


willaful said...

I had such a good TBR challenge year! Made every month, usually on theme, and cleaned out a ton of extra books.

azteclady said...

Well, so I sucked at this in 2012 (five months, I think?) and completely skipped 2013, then I put conditions to myself for this year...

And finally decided (two days ago) that I'm doing it, period. So, if you feel like fixing my entry in the challenge page...

Amy said...

And I may try to give it one more shot this year. But since my dinosaur (atly named The Dinosaur) died back in late November/early December, I have yet to remember passwords or even try to delve into bringing my own blog back from the brink of death. I finally got wireless installed here in the house and am using my mom's laptop (wow, so much faster than The Dinosaur!), so there may still be hope. And I finally am able to buy for my Nook without buying on B&N's website, downloading them and then transferring my new book over to the Nook by using the charge cord. So. Much. Faster.!

Wendy said...

Willaful: I need to do the "clean out a ton of extra books" this year. I'm going to try to DNF more during the Challenge. No sense in slogging through books that are going to end up being a C grade....or lower.

AL: Yippeeee! I changed the information page!

Amy: I've got your blog in my reader - so I'll keep an eye out for you. Let's see if you can solve the password mystery before next week ;)

nath said...

Go Wendy! It's awesome that you made it :) I mean, being the host is extra motivation, but also extra pressure in my opinion. And wow, you seemed to enjoy a lot of those books! :P Almost all of them being Bs and Cs!

Wendy said...

Nath: Yeah, looking back I was surprised by the grades. I think because in 2012 my TBR reading was more.....uh, not as great ;) I think a little of that Negative Nelly attitude hung on and clouded my memory a bit....until I did this final wrap-up post.