Book challenges are often the bane of my existence, but then I read a post by Wendy the Super Librarian about the TBR challenge. TBR, or To-Be-Read pile is often a monolithic-sized obstacle that we as readers swear we’ll stop adding to while we continue to buy or add titles, swearing we’ll get to it someday. Between the books that I have in Voice Dream Reader and the Kindle app, I think I have plenty from which to choose.
Wendy’s challenge gets us to read those books that have been languishing on the TBr pile for months, perhaps even years!
This month’s prompt is entitled ‘Short Shorts’, and I knew that this would be the perfect way to start the year off right. I love novellas! A novella is a perfect introduction to a book series. With a smaller word count to work with, the action and romance need to happen quickly *and* be believable. This takes a very skilled hand to bring all of the elements of a story together quickly.
I chose this month’s TBR challenge book using mathematical deduction and a healthy dose of rocket science, by which I mean that I opened up Voice Dream Reader and chose the option to sort my books by play time. Since I use text-to-speech at a fairly rapid pace, I guessed that I am probably reading roughly 100 pages per hour. So, when I found a book that was only one hour and twenty-eight minutes, I figured that was probably about one hundred pages and some change. I don’t actually know if this calculation is correct, so I will need to do a more comparative analysis, with actual notes and stuff. This is not my ministry!
The book that I chose for this month is The SEAL’s Second Chance by Anne Calhoun. I didn’t read the blurb beforehand or my non-sports loving self may not have given the book a fair shake because it centered around basketball.
Jamie and Charlotte were friends during high school and had amazing chemistry. Charlotte played basketball and wanted to get a scholarship and be on a professional team. She was considered a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Jamie, on the other hand, grew up in a loving home with a father who was the sheriff. They never went past third base because Charlotte never wanted to be saddled down with a baby as a teenager because she felt that her chances of playing professionally would go up in smoke.
Jamie is home for a 26-day leave and wants to show Charlie how he feels and proclaim to her that he loves her. Charlie, on the other hand, doesn’t really feel worthy of love. She’s just returned from being a part of a European basketball team and coaches high school girls.
I loved Jamie and Charlie’s competitive spirit. They put everything out there on the court and much of their banter involves basketball terminology. The terminology was crucial in driving the plot forward. I enjoyed their conversations and the chemistry.
Jamie was all in for Charlie. She was it for him. I appreciated that he was so kind and really understood Charlie’s feelings on a deeper level.
Charlie was prickly and a bit grouchy and I absolutely adored her. Watching her come to terms with Jamie’s feelings and her own unresolved emotions for him was a real treat. Getting to see her coach both high school girls and elementary children gave her character even more depth.
Honestly, I am horrible with labels. I don’t know if I would describe this book as erotic romance or just steamy, but the sexual chemistry was fantastic. I appreciated that consent was asked and given, and the power dynamic wasn’t off kilter.
My only complaint about this book is that we got to learn how nice and caring Jamie’s father was, but the only thing we know about Charlie’s mom is that she went through some very difficult times and had a revolving door of men. Charlie’s childhood was unstable, so I understood the choice but wish that her mother wouldn’t have been characterized in that manner. We do learn that her mom is living her best life later on in the book, but this stood out to me.
I’m very glad that I picked up this book. Anne Calhoun writes with such heart and tells a complete love story with very little time. I smiled when I reached the end, knowing that Jamie and Charlie both had to earn their happily-ever-after. I can’t believe how long this book has been languishing on my TBR pile! This has inspired me to read a few other novellas that have long sat on my virtual bookshelves to see what other treasures I can find.
What books have been on your TBR pile that you’re looking forward to reading? If you’d like to read other posts about this month’s theme, take a look at these participating blogs.