Megan's summer book challenge started last month...and I'm really enjoying the challenge so far! I read a total of 8 books during the month of May - which were all used for the Semi-Charmed Summer Book Challenge. If you haven't heard of Megan's challenge, you can read more about it here. Here's a recap on what I read, what I rated each book, and a brief synopsis from Goodreads on each book. I haven't kept true to my preliminary list I made, and that's okay. Originally, I searched out some newer books that I wanted to read that would fit these categories. But, what I ended up doing was finding books that I already had at home to fit the categories!
5 points - Freebie - Sarah's Choice by Rebecca St. James - 4 stars
Only one thing stands in the way of Sarah's success...her unborn baby. Sarah Collins is about to receive a promotion that will give her everything she's ever wanted: a huge pay increase, a new car, a fabulous apartment, and first-class travel. But then she discovers she's pregnant. And while she "thinks" she loves her boyfriend, Matt, she isn't sure he's mature enough to be a responsible father. And the job she's pursuing is open only because the previous employee is out on maternity leave. She'd never be able to handle the travel as a single mom. Torn between advice from her coworkers, the adamant insistence of her mother and sister that she keep the baby, her insecurity about her relationship with Matt, and the void where her father should be, Sarah has no idea how to make this decision. A Christmas card from a mysterious old woman is the catalyst for three visions of her future -- and may just be the miracle she needs. But can she trust the visions? Are they the yearnings of a conflicted heart? Or are they true visions from the God she thought had turned his back on her?
10 points - Written before you were born - From This Day by Nora Roberts - 3 stars
LIke the lovely Vermont inn she managed, B.J. Clark was charming and old-fashioned. And she had no intention of allowing the new owner, hotel tycoon Taylor Reynolds, to modernize her beloved inn and destroy its uniqueness. Taylor lived a fast-paced, high-tech sophisticated life. But his fascination with this innocent enchantress made him long to live in B.J.'s arms from this day until forever.
10 points - Finish book from before - Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver - 4 stars
One woman undertakes a worldwide search to learn the secrets of a great marriage - and finds one foundational truth that could change everything. Fawn Weaver was a happily married woman running a successful business - and then something happened. Maybe it was the divorce rate reports on the evening news, "The Real Housewives of Orange County," or any daytime talk show where husbands and wives dramatically reveal their betrayals. Everywhere she looked, Fawn saw negative portrayals of marriage dominating the airwaves and dooming everyone to failure. Looking at Keith, the love of her life, she knew that wasn't true. She was determined to find and connect with women just like her -- happy and optimistic about marriage, deeply in love with her spouse, and committed to building a strong marriage that stands the test of time.
15 points - Historical fiction - The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber - 4 stars
When Rachel, hired help in a Chicago boardinghouse, falls in love with Isaac, the boardinghouse owner's son, he makes her a bargain: he'll marry her, but only if she gives up her 160 acres from the Homestead Act so he can double his share. She agrees, and together they stake their claim in the forebodingly beautiful South Dakota Badlands. Fourteen years later, in the summer of 1917, the cattle are bellowing with thirst. It hasn't rained in months, and supplies have dwindled. Pregnant, and struggling to feed her family, Rachel is isolated by more than just geography. She is determined to give her surviving children the life they deserve, but she knows that her husband, a fiercely proud formed Buffalo Soldier, will never leave his ranch: black families are rare in the West, and land means a measure of equality with the white man. Somehow Rachel must find the strength to do what is right for herself, and for her children.
20 points - "Son(s)," "daughter(s)," or "child(ren)" in title - The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - 4 stars
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century - in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night. Norah Henry, who knows only that her daughter died at birth, remains inconsolable; her grief weighs heavily on their marriage. And Paul, their son, raises himself as best he can, in a house grown cold with mourning. Meanwhile, Phoebe, the lost daughter, grows from a sunny child to a vibrant young woman whose mother loves her as fiercely as if she were her own.
25 points - Biography, autobiography, or memoir: Choosing to SEE by Mary Beth Chapman - 5 stars
Mary Beth Chapman is the wife of Grammy and Dove Award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman. Together they began Show Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for the world's most vulnerable children by providing financial assistance to families wishing to adopt, as well as increasing awareness of the orphan crisis and funneling resources to orphans domestically and internationally. Mary Beth serves as president of Show Hope and is a speaker for Women of Faith 2010 with her husband.
30 points - Pair of books with antonyms in the titles - Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger - 4 stars
Brooke and Julian live a happy life in New York - she's the breadwinner working two jobs and he's the struggling musician husband. Then Julian is discovered by a Sony exec and becomes an overnight success - and their life changes for ever. Soon they are moving in exclusive circles, dining at the glitziest restaurants, attending the most outrageous parties in town and jetting off to the trendies hotspots in LA. But Julian's new-found fame means that Brooke must face the savage attentions of the ruthless paparazzi. And when a scandalous picture hits the front pages, Brooke's world is turned upside down. Can her marriage survive the events of that fateful night at Chateau Marmont? It's time for Brooke to decide if she's going to sink or swim...
30 points (continued) - First, Best and Only by Barbara Delinsky - 3 stars
When she was just seventeen, Marni Lange loved Brian Webster with a consuming passion. Then a tragic accident tore them apart. Brian's broken body mended, but he never forgave himself for the accident that killed Marni's brother. Marni, her world equally shattered, was forced to choose between honoring her powerful, wealthy family...and the man she loved. Now, fourteen years later, Marni is a successful businesswoman about to be profiled by a world-famous photographer...Brian Webster. Suddenly they find themselves face-to-face with the past that has haunted them. As a teenager, Marni couldn't defy her family. But now she's a formidable woman in her own right, willing to fight to hold on to what matters most: her family, her legacy and a second chance at love.
Previous Points: 0
Total Points: 115