Tour’s Books Blog

April 23, 2012

Reading Challenge – Lessons Learned

Filed under: Editorial,Musing on life — toursbooks @ 3:00 pm
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On the long list of foolish things I’ve done so far this year, joining a reading challenge ranked fairly high.  Luckily, the risks were low as it was on PBS and all that was at stake was a few credits.  The 5 week long challenge allowed for print books only and rereads didn’t count.  Neither did books you started, didn’t like, and tossed to one side.  (Page counts were not included)  Naturally, I read several ebooks and did a few rereads.  No, I’m not being contrary, just business as usual.  What shocked me most was the fact that I read 6-7 print books a week fairly consistently.

I was NOT the most prolific reader.  Yes, there people who read more than I do.  I find that comforting.  I was feeling like the world’s biggest book addict for awhile now and I’m reassured that others are actually worse than I am.  It was also run during tax season, which cut reading time for a lot of folks.  What did I read?  Well, let’s take a look.

Week 1

A Perfect Match Shelly Bradley
If You See Her Shiloh Walker
Highway 61* David Housewright
Fire Engine Dead Shiela Connolly
If Looks Could Chill Nina Bhruns
Heat Rises Richard Castle
No such Thing As a Good Bind Date Shelly Fredman

Week 2

Protector Catherine Mann
Bear Meets Girl Shelly Laurenston
Wanted: Undead or Alive Kerrelyn Sparks
Taming an Impossible Rogue Susan Enoch
Afterglow Cherry Adair
Generation 18 Keri Arthur
Penumbra Keri Arthur

Week 3

Bad Boys Do Victoria Dahl
A Devil is Waiting Jack Higgins
The Art of Duke Hunting Sophia Nash
50% Off Murder* Josie Belle
Werewolf in Seattle Vicki Lewis Thompson
The Taking of Libbie, SD* David Housewright

Week 4

Blood on the Bayou Stacey Jay
About That Night Julie James
The Calling Kelley Armstrong
Something About Witches Joey W Hill
Let Them Eat Stake* Sarah Zettel
Betrayal Christina Dodd

Week 5

A Bite Before Christmas Sands and Frost
The Probability of Murder Ada Madison
Devil’s Punch Ann Aguirre
Kill Me if You Can* Patterson and Karp
If You Know Her Shiloh Walker
Taking a Shot Jaci Burton

Most of the books I bought myself, but a number were through PBS.  What did I learn from this exercise?  Well, first, my favorite author can write lemons (Shelly Laurenston), a not al all favorite author can write a good book (Kill Me If You Can) – though in fairness, Marshall Karp’s humor gave it positive edge and the plot was could have held more surprises, and the vast majority of the books I read are average to good.  David Housewright made it all the way up to very good, but not a single book in 5 weeks made it to my Keeper Shelf.  Not one made me sit up and go – WOW!  The best of the lot?  Those are marked with an asterisk.  There were a few that just missed, Stacey Jay’s Blood on the Bayou, Kelly Armstrong’s The Calling, and Richard Castle’s Heat Rises.  I found Heat Rises much better than expected and The Calling disappointingly unsatisfying.  Blood on the Bayou had many of the same problems as Dead on the Delta, namely a choppy writing style and ‘heroine’ that is difficult to like or care about on so many different levels.  So 32 books and not one of them blew me away.  David Housewright’s two MacKenzie books came closest.  His writing style in mature, with lean prose, wry wit, sardonic humor, and lots of twists and turns in his plots.  They are what really good mysteries should be.  James Patterson take note.   Not that he cares given he’s now James Patterson, Cottage Industry Bank and Trust.

A few of the books above were reviewed in previous entries here, the rest probably won’t get reviewed.  Mystery fans, buy David Housewright!!!!!!!  Sarah Zettle’s Vampire Chef mystery is worth watching and reading.  Jenn McKinlay – writing as Josie Belle – is getting formulaic in her mysteries.  Her Cupcakes mysteries are still the best.  Christmas stories that include killing a long lost relative just aren’t my idea of festive fun and make me wonder what the hell the editor and author were thinking.  And Vicki Lewis Thompson needs some new ideas.  By the way, the ebook, Beneath the Skin (de la Vega Cats 3) by Lauren Dane gets a big thumbs up from me as well.  One of my favorite series by her, this entry is new and available as ebook only at the moment (so not listed above).  Try the Samhain web site or Amazon.

So, that my report for the month.  READ ON!

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