Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Real Book Challenge: January

It's Monday and I could and usually would be doing a weekend recap, but since my weekend really consisted of the Super Bowl party preparations and reading, I thought I'd just focus on reading. PLUS, I need to share the REAL Books I read during January!

Contessa by Lori L. Otto (5 Stars)
The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury (Christian Romance)
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young (5 Stars)
Jenna's Cowboy by Sharon Gillenwater (5 Stars, Christian Romance)
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Thriller)
Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins (5 Stars)

January Total: 7

Contessa by Lori L. Otto was by far my favorite book from the month of January. I'm highly anticipating the second book in this spin off later this year. Five Stars!

Synopses: Book one of the YA/New Adult Choisie series by the author of Emi Lost & Found!

When she was four, a generous couple welcomed orphan Olivia Sophia into their lives. As she grew up, her parents made good decisions for her, raising “Livvy” to be an intelligent and creative young girl. Now sixteen, three people influence many of her choices: her first love, her second father, and a third man who speaks to her through his artwork.

Livvy’s father is practical and steadfast; even-tempered and quietly observant. She’s an artist who acts on her emotions and thrives on attention. Unhappy with their differences– and misunderstanding her father’s methods– Livvy chooses to focus on the similarities she shares with an enigmatic painter from her mother’s past. Her overactive imagination leads her down an obsessive path– one that only stands to hurt everyone around her.

The distraction of a new boyfriend has the potential to end her search and reunite her family, but his involvement in her life could be just as devastating, taking Livvy away from her father for good.

Mature YA for limited sensual content.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was the first book that doesn't fall under my romance genre in a long time that I actually finished. It's one of the 16 books to read before they hit theaters this year and even though I wasn't a fan of the ending, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book. Four stars!

Synopses: Marriage can be a real killer.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner was recommended to me by a friend that enjoys reading a broad spectrum of books, unlike me who is VERY picky! It really turned out to be a cute book. Four Stars!

Synopses: For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She's even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body.

But the day she opens up a national women's magazine and sees the words "Loving a Larger Woman" above her ex-boyfriend's byline, Cannie is plunged into misery...and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.
Jenna's Cowboy by Sharon Gillenwater is a Christian Romance and OMG does it live up to it's title about this swoonworthy cowboy! There are two other books in this series and they should be arriving tomorrow!

Synopses: Jenna Callahan has a young son and rewarding work on her father's ranch. She's content. But she never expected to see Nate Langley back in town the first guy she noticed, the one her father sent away all those years ago. And she never thought the attraction they felt would be as strong as ever. Jenna's cowboy has some healing of his own to do, though, after two tours of duty in the armed forces. With the help of good friends, strong faith, and a loving family, he hopes to put the horrors of the past behind him and become the man Jenna deserves. With an emphasis on simple acts of love, Jenna's Cowboy gives romance readers what they want most: a love story with a Texas touch.
On Dublin Street by Samantha Young was rec'd to me by one of my Cara Box girls, Jackie. There are two other books in this series and I'm hoping I can find them at the library or for a nice bargain since the first one was so good! Five Stars!

Synopses: Four years ago, Jocelyn Butler left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Edinburgh. Burying the grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without any real attachments has worked well for her so far but when Joss moves into a fantastic apartment on Dublin Street, her carefully guarded world is shaken to its core by her new roommate’s sexy older brother.

Braden Carmichael is a man who always gets what he wants. And what he wants is Jocelyn in his bed. Knowing how skittish Joss is concerning any kind of relationship, Braden proposes a sexual arrangement that should satisfy the intense attraction between them without it developing into anything ‘more’. An intrigued Jocelyn agrees, completely unprepared for the Scotsman and his single-minded determination to strip the stubborn young woman bare…to the very soul.
The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury is another Christan Romance book I read after my mother. It was a cute little story. Not as long as I was expecting and that was a little disappointing. This book will definitely make you fall in love with local book stores, or at least that's what it did for me! Four Stars!

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.

Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there.

For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store.

Now the bank is pulling the lease on The Bridge. Despondent and without answers, Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold?

The Bridge is a love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore, a love story you will never forget.
Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins was a library find. A lot of the books I want to read aren't found in a typical library, so that last time I went without a plan *face palm* and once I figured NONE of the books on my TBR list were available, I started looking by author and I had marked Kristan's Just One of the Guys and even though I still haven't read that book, I definitely found another author I enjoy! Five Stars!

Synopses: How far would you go to get over a guy?

When Grace Emerson's ex-fiancĂ© starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she's seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone…exactly unlike her renegade neighbor Callahan O'Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.

Whoa. No. Callahan O'Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so…right?
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  1. Good in Bed is one of my favorites. And love Gone Girl- her other books are even more disturbing! Will need to check out Contessa.

  2. I loved Gone Girl and will be interested to see how the movie plays out. Good in Bed was really funny. Going to check out on Dublin Street.

  3. I am so glad you liked On Dublin Street. I think you will like the other books. There are also 2 novellas as part of the series. I kind of want to check out Jenna' Cowboy. I may or may not have a slight obsession with cowboy romance novels haha


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