Wednesday, December 30, 2020

TBR Challenge summary

The year is (finally) ending and I actually like this moment of the year when it comes to check out blogs and sites where the subject is books. It's the time for "best of" lists and statistics and funny or special posts about books and I'm always curious to see that kind of content/information.

I'm planning some posts like that as well, just like I posted in previous years. I'll leave some of them to the early January but today I'm posting a brief summary on how was the TBR Challenge for 2020. What a miserable year altogether for everyone but I must confess I didn't "lose" my reading mojo and saw in it a continuity of my escapism M.O.

To me, reading is necessary and it helped me to carry on.

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So, here is my list of books for the challenge and a few words about them. For me, the fun is in picking books I feel might be suited for each theme even if they don't end up being as wonderful as I might have expected.

 

January: Unchained by Elisabeth Naughton (short story)
This is a short story which makes more sense having read the previous in the series. It's a paranormal world with characters from the Greek mythology and in the main couple here is a pair of secondary characters who finally reach an HEA. It was under developed for me. 5/10

February: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (friends)
This is a sort of classic story about a group of friends who are part of a community and when they have a face off with guys from a different class, they clash but that allows the man character to think of life. It was good to read but didn't impress me much. 6/10

March: Fourteen Summers by Quinn Anderson (seasons)
I picked this for the word "summers", but the story of twin brothers reuniting with a childhood friend who becomes the boyfriend of one of them while the other felt jealous and envious felt very immature and boring to me. 3/10

April: Don't Speak by Katy Regnery (freebie)
This was a book I got for free and it tries to present a contemporary adaptation of The Little Mermaid. I thought the story to lack some planning as if some situations were a bit forced. I wasn't too fond of the main couple. 5/10

May: Foxfire Bride by Maggie Osborne (old school)
This is a book published in 2004 which might not be too old but the style definitely has that old school feel. The protagonist is an adventurous and fierce woman who wants revenge but on he way she meets someone who proves to her she can get past her past. 6/10

June: Starless by Jacqueline Carey (getaway)
I picked this one only because the action would take place in a fantasy world, a getaway from our reality. A wonderful first part about a boy learning to become someone special turns into a annoying, wasted second part to me. Still, it was engaging. 7/10

July: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (family ties)
This fiction tale spawns decades and generations of a Korean family. I was looking for to see how all the characters dealt with life and I had a great time reading, and even the saddest parts were poignant and meant something. 8/10

August: Ghost Hunter by Jayne Castle (backlist)
I still have several books by this author to read and this is #3 in a futuristic/PNR series. There's a light mystery ongoing and the main couple will solve it while reuniting again and deciding to give it a go now they are more invested in each other. 7/10

September: The Dress by Jane L. Rosen (dress for success)
I loved this cute contemporary story about a group of characters who had in common a dress which is recognized as the dress of the season. We glimpse moments in the life of the characters and applaud them as they grab happiness. 9/10
 
October: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen (danger)
 I thought a heroine and a hero in danger after their small plane crashed would be the perfect read for this theme but it turned out that the development wasn't well executed by the author. I felt there were too many missed opportunities to make this a stronger story. 6/10

November: Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish (series)
This is the 2nd installment in a trilogy and I actually liked it better than the first, I think the angst and the self recrimination the hero felt were very well done and I was completely invested in seeing the plot develop and how his HEA would happen. 8/10
 
December: Regency Royal Navy Christmas by Carla Kelly (festive)
This anthology has four short stories about characters who are connected to the royal navy in the 19th century. All stories happen during Christmas' time and although some details are a little uninteresting, for the most part they are sweet and encouraging. 6/10 

It was interesting to note that this challenge, even with slightly different (broader) themes comparing to the previous years, was still as diverse as it could. It's true I might not have as much luck as I wanted in how well I liked some of the choices but they all offered something to think about.
I see I only disliked one ( March) although two were close to be negative for me ( January and April). To make me feel better, two were very good (July and November) and one (September) was a very good surprise!
The ones I liked less were, mostly, due to how weak the writing as a whole felt like to me. I kept thinking something more could have been done to make those stories feel stronger/better.
 
It's fun to do this challenge, to let myself be immersed in the bookish stuff I surround myself with, to feel I'm doing something to occupy my time, to focus on things I like, to have something extra to do when it comes to my reading world.
Here's to more good reads next year!!

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