Thursday, April 24, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge 2014

Summer Reading Challenge 2014
sponsored by BookSparksPR
details here


I am excited to try my hand at a second year of this challenge as I like the line up...

****** MAY ******

The One and Only
by Emily Giffin
my review
In her eagerly awaited new novel, beloved New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with an extraordinary story of love and loyalty—and an unconventional heroine struggling to reconcile both. Thoughtful, funny, and brilliantly observed, The One and Only is a luminous novel about finding your passion, following your heart, and, most of all, believing in something bigger than yourself . . . the one and only thing that truly makes life worth living.

****** JUNE ******

Love and Other Foreign Words
by Erin McCahan
my review
Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue—the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Funny, smart, and big-hearted, Love and Other Foreign Words is equal parts comedy and coming of age. But more than that, it’s a love story about sisters, about friends, and about what it means to love at all.

Cure for the Common Breakup
by Beth Kendrick
my review
Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant. After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything….

The Witch of Belladonna Bay
by Suzanne Palmieri
my review
Are love and magic enough to bring a broken family back together? Bronwyn is forced to return home to Magnolia Creek, Alabama—a place she hasn’t been since her mother, Naomi, died fourteen years earlier—and the troubled family she left behind. As Bronwyn unravels the secrets behind the murder, long forgotten memories surface, and the magic living quietly inside of her grows stronger, creating an unbreakable bond between her and Byrd—a bond that will define both of their fates forever.

The Revealed
by Jessica Hickam
my review
Fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series will be engrossed in Jessica Hickam’s debut novel, The Revealed. With its mix of mystery, supernatural elements and romantic drama, The Revealed weaves an addictive tale about a teenage girl targeted by a mysterious force who finds out nothing is as it seems. Lily Atwood is the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the world and lives in what used to be Washington D.C. When a war kills over five billion people, Lily’s father plays an important role in rebuilding and reconstructing what’s left of humanity. When The Revealed–the underground organization that is responsible for all the kidnappings–choose Lily as their next target, she fights to evade their grasp, only to find out that everything she thought she knew was a lie.

The Walk-in Closet
by Abdi Nazemian
my review
Abdi Nazemian exposes the secret life of a gay Iranian man in Los Angeles and the best friend pretending to be his girlfriend in his debut novel, The Walk-In Closet. As his wealthy parents pressure her to marry their son, Kara must decide if she’s ready to give up the life she dreams of for the money and comfort of “Tehrangeles.”

My Last Kiss
by Bethany Neal
my review
My Last Kiss is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart. Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes.

****** JULY ******

After I Do
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
my review
A compelling story about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both. When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage finally reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes. This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a young couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

by Emily Kiebel
my review
Eighteen-year-old Lorelei Clark was a gifted singer at a music conservatory until the day her father was struck by an oncoming car. His death leaves her emotionally shattered, so when she receives an invitation from her great-aunt Helen to visit her home in Cape Cod, Lorelei accepts. She quickly discovers that Helen and her two nieces are harboring a frightening secret – they are sirens, terrifying mythical creatures responsible for singing doomed sailors to their deaths. When she rescues a handsome sailor who was supposed to die at sea, the sirens vow that she must finish the job or face grave consequences.

Gravel On The Side Of The Road
by Kris Radish
my review
Novelist Kris Radish returns with a collection of autobiographical essays. As a woman who carries a gun in her purse, nearly drowned, dances with the FBI, spends time with murders, and more, Kris has a lot of intriguing stories to share. These stories give readers a witty, inside, and realistic look into worlds that most people would never dream to enter.

****** AUGUST ******

The Curse of Van Gogh
by Paul Hoppe
my review
Tyler slides into a simple life of bartending in New York City, living his life day to day. And then at the hottest art opening of the season he meets Kommate Imasu, a Japanese billionaire and famed art collector, who seems to know more about Tyler than his own mother does. With serious threats against his family and friends, Tyler has to decide how much risk he’ll take to protect them. He quickly learns that gambling against a billionaire is never a good idea. Tyler plunges headÔ¨Ārst into a world of art forgers, hit-men, Yakuza, a femme fatal named Chanel No. 5, and the legendary curse of Van Gogh, in order to pull off the greatest art heist in history.

Elly in Love
by Colleen Oakes
my review
Elly Jordan, the pretty, plus-size owner of Posies florist, has had quite the year. Helped by her loyal and hilarious group of friends, Elly’s on the verge of opening a chic flower boutique uptown when BlissBride, a mega-successful wedding reality show, asks her to design the wedding of a famous—make that infamous–celebrity. Elly is about to get everything she’s ever wanted, when a stranger shows up at her store with a request that will change every aspect of her life–including her relationship with Keith. As she struggles to maintain her focus in the midst of growing chaos, Elly will learn the true meaning of love and sacrifice.

In Bloom
by Katie Delahanty
my review
Olivia Bloom has always wanted to become a Hollywood costume designer, so she drives from Pittsburgh to LA in the hopes of achieving her dream. It is there that she is taken under the wing of Hollywood-insiders Blair and Parker—and finds out that the uber-hot lead singer of her favorite band may have just fallen in love with her. The pair helps her achieve star-studded status in the midst of the paparazzi, tabloids and rumors, but how long can a small town girl stay on top, especially in The City of Angels?

Wild Within
by Melissa Hart
my review
A romance, an adoption, and a baby Barred Owl is author Melissa Hart’s story of how she learned to rehabilitate and train birds of prey at a local nature center while waiting to adopt a child from Oregon’s foster care system. Through immersion in the natural world, Hart found herself transformed from newly-divorced Los Angeles urbanite to Pacific Northwest environmental educator enamored of a handsome photographer with a passion for owls, eagles, hawks, and falcons. Together, they worked to care for injured and orphaned birds of prey, eventually embarking on a two-and-a-half year adventure to adopt their daughter.

****** ADD-ONs ******

The Fever
by Megan Abbott
my review
The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community. As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

by Rainbow Rowell
my review -DNF
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now.
Maybe that was always beside the point.

The Vacationers: A Novel
by Emma Straub
my review
An irresistible, deftly observed novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca.

For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.


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BONUS: The next 50 bloggers to sign up will receive a free book to supplement your summer reading (while supplies last).

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