TBR Challenge

TBR Challenge: Animals

September’s theme prompt for Super Wendy’s #TBRChallenge 2022 was “Animals.” Here are the books we chose to tackle our TBRs this month.

Erin Read: My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris (2018)

Why was this book on your TBR?

I was talking about monster romance with a friend, and she asked me if I’d read this book, so I decided I would. 

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

Her boyfriend is an actual bear.

What are your thoughts on the book?

This book somehow manages to be totally bonkers and totally normal. Nora’s life is such a normal millennial (or even Gen Z, now that they’re adulting) singleton life, but it’s juxtaposed with the complete absurdity of Nora being in a relationship with an actual bear. That doesn’t have a name. So they just call him “the Bear” or “Bear.” Absurd. 

Nora went camping with her last pretentious boyfriend, broke up with him, and also came face-to-face with a bear! Back home, she and her friends go out and think of all the things Nora wants and should expect of her next boyfriend so she doesn’t end up with another dud, as friends do. Meanwhile, fires are raging through the wilderness, displacing animals. Wandering home wasted, Nora finds a bear—THE bear, she knows because he’s holding a magazine she left behind—going through her trash and decides to invite him into her home and feed him, as one does with wild bears. Everything rolls from there. 

The charm of this book is in its many amusing observations of real life. Things like dealing with a job that pays the bills but otherwise sucks. The conversations people have at parties that end up being superficial and/or competitive. Friends projecting their relationship issues on you when things get tough. Parents not approving of your choices. And also Bear just being the best boyfriend (with some imperfections, like not cleaning up his cereal bowl promptly and an unfortunate propensity to break things). He hangs shelves for Nora’s cat to climb so it doesn’t get stepped on. He wears clothes and gets a job and lives among people all for her. And he spoons like a champ. So, at the end of the day, even though Nora and the Bear totally have a sexual relationship and he leaves her to hibernate for months and bears aren’t, like, simply members of society, this ends up being a really sweet love story. But it’s also weird.

Buy Now: Amazon

Holly Read: Angel in Marble by Elaine Coffman (1991)

Mackinnon series, Book #1

Why was this book on your TBR?

Whenever I see a bodice ripper in a Little Free Library, I have to grab it. It’s a compulsion. I can’t help myself!

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

Purely, 100%, based on the stepback. 

look at this pig

I needed to find out why that pig is there!

What are your thoughts on the book?

Going with the animal theme, I am pleased to report that the very first time we see our heroine, she is being chased down the street by an irate goose. So that’s solid.

In addition to the goose, in the early chapters, there’s a run-in with a very mean bull. There’s also a cow who gets her head stuck in a fence, which gives our hero the opportunity to manipulate our heroine into spending time with him. So many animal shenanigans!

Unfortunately, I didn’t finish this book, so I cannot tell you what the deal with the pig is. 

Why did I not finish this book? Well, this is one of those books where the hero is like “I see this boundary that this woman is drawing and I can tell she doesn’t like spending time with me and definitely doesn’t want me to touch her but she’s so extra hot that I am going to ignore all of this because having her is what I deserve.” It was exceedingly gross. (There’s also a whole weird backstory about his parents getting killed by Comanches and I don’t really want to know where *that* is going, nor do I have the mental energy to parse the language that Coffman uses to describe these events in a thoughtful way.)

I think I need to reorganize my pile o romance novels into books I actually want to read and books that I want to have on my shelves for aesthetic purposes. Because this one is, I think, the latter.

Buy Now: Amazon

Want to join us in tackling your TBR? Next month’s theme is Flirting with Danger.

15 thoughts on “TBR Challenge: Animals”

  1. It’s such a thorough review and yet..The Questions I still have! Lol. He works, so he can speak like a human?? I love that the cover Winnie the Pooh-d him with a flannel (of course flannel for a brown bear!!) and no pants. I mean ++++ for not copping out and making him a shifter, all BEAR. Amazing.

    Elaine Coffman! I feel like that is an author name I haven’t heard in forever, definite bodice ripper author. Rude of them to promise a pig and not get to it right away.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I went and looked up the bear book on Amazon and it’s a graphic novel and I read the first bit and…it seems like he cannot speak? He grunts in the first few panels.

      Re: the Coffman, other reviews mention that there’s a pet pig…he just doesn’t appear in the first 80 pages, which is as far as I got. I do wonder if this pig becomes relevant to the plot.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Yes, he can’t speak! But there’s a whole page devoted to how she understands what he’s communicating. I’m not sure how his colleagues understand him, but let’s not poke holes. lol. It’s…really something.


  2. Bear sounds delightful (even though I could use a warm body to warm the bed–including in a non-sexual way) over the winter, and more so with rising electric bills). That aside, this one sounds like a gem for all that it’s an oddball kind of gem.

    The stepback thing: there are some true gems out there, but indeed, all too often the book they’re attached to is the example for PROBLEMATIC in many a dictionary. My TBR read this month wasn’t as old but it has some of the same issues this one has.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I need to accept that I just love the art, because so many of my old school reads for the TBR challenge have been such duds this year. (If I’m reading them for pure enjoyment. If I were reading for, like, scholarship purposes, that would be a different story.)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m just taking it as a sign that my collection of paperbacks and the books I actually want to read are not the same thing right now, and that I need to rethink the parameters of how I choose books for the TBR challenge next year.

        Liked by 2 people

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