2009 TBR Challenge Completed

Posted by on Oct 20, 2009 in 2009, TBR | 10 comments

2009 TBR Challenge

This was my third year in a row of doing this challenge. This year I went into the 2009 TBR Challenge with some specific goals in mind.

These were the rules:

* the challenge is to read 12 TBR books in 12 months — you can read those all in one month if you want, or one a month, or however you wanna do it.
* you need to have a list posted somewhere for others to see
* you CANNOT change your list after January 1st, 2009!!!
* you can create an Alternates list of MAXIMUM 12 books, if you want, in order to have options to choose from (you can read these in place of books on your original list).
* audiobooks and e-books ARE allowed
* re-reads are NOT allowed, as they aren’t TRUE “TBRs”
* you CAN overlap with other challenges

I decided several months ahead of time that for the 2009 version of this challenge I was only going to list books that are ‘the next book’ in the many many series that I’m in the process of reading. So all 24 of the books that I listed were part of some series I’ve started but not completed or caught up to the current release.

I’m listed 12 primary and 12 alternates. My not so secret plan was to read all 24 and I’ve now officially completed that. The lists are here with links to my reviews.

Primary List

Love Lies Bleeding by Susan Wittig Albert
Aunt Dimity Digs In by Nancy Atherton
Coyote by Linda Barnes
Cross Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini
Chamomile Mourning by Laura Childs
Hammerhead Ranch Motel by Tim Dorsey
The Bookman’s Wake by John Dunning
Delusion by G.H. Ephron
4th of July by James Patterson
Buried Bones by Carolyn Haines
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Alternate List
Stalking the Angel by Robert Crais
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Lost City by Clive Cussler
Mary, Mary by James Patterson
Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs
Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb
Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson
Play Dead by David Rosenfelt
Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter
To Darkness and Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming
A Body to Die For by Kate White
Higher Authority by Stephen White

Thanks to Jenn for hosting this one again. I was very glad to have a reason to focus on some of my in-progress series.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Posted by on Oct 13, 2009 in 2009, 5 stars, Book Review, Clear Your Shelves, JK Rowling, TBR | 5 comments

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Series: #6 in the Harry Potter seriesGenre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 652
TBR 2009 Challenge #12, Clear Off Your Shelves

Yes, I’m probably the last person on the planet to still be reading the end of this series for the first time. My excuse is that I’ve been keeping pace with the movies and not reading ahead of the next movie. I did finally read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last year and watched that movie. I have been delaying this one until the release date for the movie on DVD is coming soon (December). So that’s why I haven’t read it until now. Since there’s only one more in the series after this I do plan to read it pretty soon after I watch this movie.

I’m not going to bother with a plot summary since you’ve all read it. If you are the rare person who hasn’t, you don’t want to see a plot summary anyway.

Suffice it to say I still just enjoy the heck out of this series and plan re-read the series as soon as I finish the last book. At this point the plan is to listen to them all on audio, but that’s subject to change after I listen to the first one.

Still one of my favorite series ever.

Rating 5/5
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Play Dead by David Rosenfelt

Posted by on Sep 17, 2009 in 2009, 4 stars, Book Review, David Rosenfelt, TBR | 5 comments

Series: #6 in the Andy Carpenter series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 358
Challenges: TBR 2009 Challenge Alternate #12

Once again David Rosenfelt kept me interested and guessing about the mystery while at the same time laughing. Andy Carpenter is a smart-mouthed wisecracking New Jersey lawyer who irritates both judges and prosecutors in the process of doing the right thing for his clients. This is true even when his client is a dog.

As this book opens Andy finds himself petitioning to save a golden retriever from certain death after it bites the person who claims to be it’s owner. Andy has a soft spot for goldens because his own dog, Tara (according to Andy) has had her official title updated to “Tara, the Greatest Creature on this or Any Other Planet and if You Can’t See That You’re an Idiot, Carpenter”. As Andy says “It’s a little long, but it’s apt.

What comes as a total surprise is that the dog Andy is trying to save may turn out to be the key to proving the innocence of a man found guilty of murder five years ago.

It’s not all fun and giggles in this series. It’s a good mix of interesting and twisting mystery with some fun humor and quirky returning characters thrown in.

This is a fun series. If you haven’t tried it yet, pick up a copy of the first book (Open and Shut) and give it a chance.

Rating 4/5

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To Darkness and to Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Posted by on Aug 14, 2009 in 2009, 4 stars, Book Review, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Support Your Library, TBR | 8 comments

Series: #4 in the Rev. Clare Fergusson series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 311
TBR 2009 Challenge Alternate #11, Support Your Local Library Challenge #37

I have enjoyed this series. The main characters are Rev. Clare Fergusson (a former military helicopter pilot, now an Episcopal priest) and Chief Russ VanAlstyne (chief of the small town upstate New York police department). That they keep finding themselves working together is complicated by their personal relationship. They are friends with a deepening attraction to each other and this is troubling to both of them because of VanAlstyne’s very married status. Their personal relationship is a reason I recommend that if you’re going to read this series, they should be read in order.

This fourth book in the series is fairly fast paced with a lot going on. It takes place in a single but very eventful day. Rev. Fergusson is awakened at 5:15 am to help a search and rescue team hunt for Millie Van Der Hoeven. She had planned to spend the day getting herself and the church ready for the Bishop’s visit the next day and to attend gala dinner dance commemorating the sale of the Van Der Hoeven estate and its future as a protected natural area. Not everyone in town is pleased with the plans for the land, including the local paper mill owner, the townspeople who have made their living off of logging the land, and perhaps some of the 3 living Van Der Hoeven heirs. By the end of the day murder, assault, kidnapping, and a increasingly complex build up of people trying to cover up their foolish and dangerous acts becomes a potential nightmare for the local police and many of the towns residents.

Although I enjoyed the book a lot, I was bothered a wee bit by the multiple nearly too stupid and delusional to be believable characters who managed to make everything worse not only for themselves, but everyone else. There’s really not just one horrible bad guy, but several sort of bad folks with extremely poor judgment who combine to make a real mess.

I thoroughly enjoy Clare and Russ and many of the recurring characters. Their friendship that may or may not develop into something more is troubling to them both. I think the author does a good job of building the suspense in both the mystery and the ongoing story of her main characters. All in all it was a very good book and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series soon.


Rating: 4/5

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Lost City by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos

Posted by on Aug 5, 2009 in 2009, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Clive Cussler, TBR | 5 comments

Genre: Adventure
Series: #5 in the Kurt Austin series
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 515
TBR 2009 Challenge Alternate #10

This was a perfect vacation book. This series is just fun escapist adventure. Lots of action, improbable plots, heroic good guys, malevolent bad guys all wrapped up in a story that reads like a Saturday afternoon adventure movie.

In 1914 a one man plane crashes after a dogfight with unnamed foes. Jules Fauchard was apparently on some sort of personal mission that could have potentially saved millions of people.

In present day Scotland, a TV crew is brutally attacked by strange creatures. In Greece, a scientist is on the run from his former employers, who may be trying to kill him. Another group of scientists studying a glacier in the French Alps discovers a man frozen in the ice of the glacier. Kurt Austin and his National Underwater Marine Agency team are exploring a nearby lake. Another NUMA team is trying to find a way to prevent a noxious fast reproducing weed from choking the world’s oceans.

Oh yeah, it’s all connected and since it’s Clive Cussler you know that there’s some crazed megalomaniac behind it all with plans to rule the world. You also know that there will be chases in and out of the water, narrow escapes, sarcastic comments from our heroes and don’t forget the beautiful girl.

I’m beginning to enjoy this series even more than Cussler’s Dirk Pitt series.

Rating 3.5

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Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs

Posted by on Jul 31, 2009 in 2009, 4 stars, Book Review, Kathy Reichs, Support Your Library, TBR | 5 comments

Genre: Mystery
Series: #3 in the Temperance Brennan series
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 368
Support Your Local Library Challenge #36, TBR 2009 Challenge Alternate #9

This is the third book in Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series. It’s a combination of medical and police procedural mystery. The TV show Bones is based on this series, but I have never watched the show although I do hear it’s a bit different than the books.

Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist who splits her time between Montreal, Quebec where she works with the police and Charlotte North Carolina where she is a university professor. Yes, it seems strange, but it’s also similar to the author’s own background.

In this book Temperance gets involved in investigating a series of deaths connected to an ongoing war between rival outlaw motorcycle gangs. Both gang members and innocent bystanders are among the victims. Tempe finds herself looking into both current and past murders and also keeping an eye on her visiting nephew while at the same time learning much more than she wanted to know about the outlaw motorcycle gang culture.

I enjoyed this book. I liked how Tempe seemed a bit smarter about her own personal safety than in the first two books where she fell victim to the ‘smart heroine does stupid things’ syndrome. I enjoyed the investigation into the various cases, but frankly skimmed a bit when the detail (for example the blood spatter explanation) became a wee tad overdone. Tempe deals with remains that are typically more decomposed or damaged so there is a gruesome factor at times. Nevertheless, the story keeps moving at a good pace and I’m willing to overlook some minor quibbles for a story that holds my attention and keeps me entertained.

One thing I do wish Reichs would include in her books is an acronym glossary. She tends to explain the various government and police agency names once and then refer to them by acronym afterwards. I found myself paging back often to figure out an acronym.

Good medical and police story with a protagonist I’m liking more as the series progresses.

Rating: 4 stars

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