01 April 2009

Column: How did I get myself challenged?

How a phone conversation with Dream-Mistress turned in to a reading challenge:

Leontine: I think it was mid-day on a Monday when the phone rang and it turned out to be Dream-Mistress (henceforth known as DM). Now, I am a true phone person and can chat for hours at a time so I grabbed a glass of juice to keep the throat smooth and settled on the couch to catch up on the latest with DM. We talked about all the challenges out there in Blogging land and if we were going to join any because there was also a personal TRP to consider. So out of the blue DM said: “I would like to challenge you to read the Bar Cynster series from Stephanie Laurens.” Well I can tell ya my jaw dropped to the floor because this was a dragon of a series, I’m talking 16 books and ongoing!! I moved to my bookshelves and looked, I had a portion in Dutch translation and a portion in English paperback version and probably a third which I still needed to buy. Anyone who knows me a bit is aware of the fact I loved the Historical genre as a teenager and in my twenties, but when I started to read in English it became a snowed under genre which didn't hold that enormous appeal to me anymore. So I thought: “Oh my gawd!!”

16 books, all in what I call “Regency England” with balls, soirees, Dukes and damsels in distress. Would I, Could I, Should I??? Then I looked at all the books I wanted to read and knowing I have some ARC reviewing coming up as well, I didn’t think I was going to make it, 16 books in the remaining of the year. That would mean 1.7 book per month!! So as I was stuttering my protest to DM I also felt challenged, mainly because it isn’t my favorite genre anymore, but there was no way in the heavens above that I was going to make 1.7 book per month. So she said – she-devil that she is – “Ok, one book a month, one Laurens, one Cynster novel, one review.” She didn’t back down now, knowing it would be quite a feat to get me to read Historicals on such a frequent basis. Then she said: “Because you have much of the series on the shelves but part Dutch, part English, you can also compare the impact of the original and translated written word and that’s when she got me – I tell you she secretively has horns growing from her skull and glowing eyes – and I caved.

This would mean I’m committing myself to a challenge of about one and a half years *heart skips a bit*

Dream-Mistress: OK. I still regret phoning Leontine on that now memorable Monday, I just wanted to chat and Leontine and I can chat for hours discussing literally everything that crosses our minds. It is just girl talk. So reader challenges seem to be quite popular in Blog land and before I knew it I was looking at my bookcase and right at eye level I saw all my Cynster books from Stephanie Laurens, 16 in total. And I hear myself say to Leontine, well you are not really into the Regency genre these days so go read all Cynster books, now that is a challenge for you! I personally love the Regency genre, but I know that Leontine cannot stomach too many classic Regency novels in a year.What was I thinking??? I should have kept my mouth shut, I really should have. There I hear her say with a sugar sweet voice: “Well, if I have to read Laurens then you are going to read Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series. One book, one review every three months.” Now when this witch uses that sugar sweet voice you know nothing good is coming for you, just trouble! If there is one thing that my friends know about me is that I am basically a sort of a Cookie Monster when it comes to books, I like most genres except for… Fantasy. So, OMG!! Six parts in a Fantasy series… and of course six reviews. The wicked witch actually challenged me with the one genre that I absolutely do not find tempting…. Fantasy! Six books with roughly 350 pages each, I already dread the extensive world-building and lengthy descriptions of things and of course the lack of intense passion and romance. My worst nightmare is coming true, but I will survive!! I will conquer this genre and show that wicked witch I can do this, of course she already knew that I would take the bait, she goaded me into this challenge. And then before I knew it I hear myself say to her: “We have a deal! Grrrr…”Now you might think that it is not fair that I only have to read six books and Leontine has to read 16, but my free time is much more limited than hers. I basically read one book a week while she can read three stories, and then we also have to write reviews. She just knocks them off while I have to wreck my brains to put something decent on paper, it just does not come natural to me. Not much later I hung up the phone and then it hit me: “What the hell was I thinking, how did I let this happen? Leontine wanted a reader challenge for herself, I did not!” So now I am stuck for 18 months with a Fantasy challenge but giving up is no option! And hey, who knows maybe I surprise myself and actually like this series… *sigh*At least I can comfort myself with the fact that I goaded her into reading 16 classic Regency stories! *Big grin!*

Leontine: So we hung up after some more chitchat and with this conversation I was saddled with a challenge I wasn’t aiming for but am very interested in doing nonetheless.

My goals to reach with the Bar Cynster Challenge:
* To reacquaint myself with one of my late teenage loves for a Regency family.

* To hopefully give an in-depth view in comparing the Dutch translations versus the original language editions of the Cynster novels.

* To finish an extensive, double figured series.

Each month a book must be read and on or before the 30/31st of every month a blogpost must be written about it, whether this is a review or column. As long as it relays the reading experience of the particular book read that month.

Anyone is of course welcome to participate in this endeavor, is free to use the Bar Cynster Reading Challenge images to display participation on their own blog, myspace, livejournal and so on. You can link back to this post to let me and others know but this is all up to you! I hope you will come back from time to time and see the progress in my attempt to tame the Cynster men *wink*

Read Dream-Mistress' blogpost at her Lair: ~Click Here~

THE PROMISE IN A KISS Sebastian & Helena's Story ISBN 0-06-018888-X

DEVIL'S BRIDE Devil's Story ISBN 0-380-79456-X March, 1998

A RAKE'S VOW Vane's Story ISBN 0-380-79457-8 October, 1998

SCANDAL'S BRIDE Richard's Story ISBN 0-380-80568-5 March, 1999

A ROGUE'S PROPOSAL Demon Harry's Story ISBN 0-380-80569-3 October, 1999

A SECRET LOVE Gabriel's Story ISBN 0-380-80570-7 July, 2000

ALL ABOUT LOVE Lucifer's Story ISBN 0-380-81201-0 February, 2001

ALL ABOUT PASSION Chillingworth's Story ISBN 0-380-81202-9 September, 2001

ON A WILD NIGHT Amanda's Story ISBN 0-380-81203-7 April, 2002

ON A WICKED DAWN Amelia's Story ISBN 0-06-000205-0 May, 2002

THE PERFECT LOVER Simon's Story ISBN 0-06-050571-0

THE IDEAL BRIDE Michael's Story ISBN 0-06-050574-5 March, 2005

THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE Gerrard's Story ISBN 0-06-050575-3

WHAT PRICE LOVE? Dillon's Story ISBN 0-06-084084-6

THE TASTE OF INNOCENCE Charlie Morwellan's Story ISBN 0-06-084086-2

TEMPTATION AND SURRENDER Jonas Tallent's Story ISBN 978-0-06-124340-0


  1. Hi Leontine,

    I am not hearing any Eye of the Tiger, for me it is I will survive by Gloria Gayner or something LOL... I don't have any strategy regarding my challenge, except to read fast and bite the bullet while reading Fantasy!! Keep you posted on how it is going! Hugs, DM

  2. Well ladies, all I can say is: GOOD LUCK on your challenges and I for one am glad I have my own challenge where I decided all by my lonesome what to read and when *evil grin*



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