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Mailbox Monday #419

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Usborne Outdoor Book, which we purchased for my daughter’s birthday.

Inspiring ideas for discovering and exploring outdoors, whether that’s a city park, a beach, deep in the woods or even in a garden. Activities for all weathers include building a shelter, stargazing, marking a trail, catching crabs and listening for creatures at night. With tips for identifying wildlife and advice throughout on staying safe.

The Usborne Fairy Palaces Magic Painting Book, also purchased for my daughter’s birthday.

Explore the enchanting world of Fairy Palaces with this incredible magic painting book. Sweep carefully over the wonderful black and white patterns and drawings with the paintbrush provided, and watch the colours magically appear. With clear instruction on the front, this book couldn’t be easier for children and adults to use. Each delicate illustration is so intricate that every page conceals a palette of colours waiting to be discovered. A therapeutic and satisfying activity book children will enjoy painting and showing to their friends. Completed paintings can be kept as a keepsake.

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts, also purchased for our daughter but from her Scholastic February order form.

Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!

Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. Touching on themes of never giving up and problem solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions. She may never find the source of the stink, but with a supportive family and the space to figure it out, she’ll be able to feed her curiosity in the ways a young scientist should.

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, also purchased from the February Scholastic sheet for our daughter.

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as…a lantern.

You, an object. An object to sell.

In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you’ve seen.

Wildly into the Dark: Typewriter Poems and the Rattlings of a Curious Mind by Tyler Knott Gregson for review.

Tyler’s third collection includes more of his popular Typewriter Series poems (featured in his first book, Chasers of the Light) as well as never-before-published scenes that paint the world as only Tyler sees and experiences it. Filled with vivid photographs and even more vivid emotions, Wildly Into the Dark is a must-have for longtime fans as well as newcomers to Tyler’s unique brand of passionate, intimate, and playful words and images.


The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn for review.

London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem, but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters—a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team from the future to “go back,” their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen’s circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane’s fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady nineteenth-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it…however heartbreaking that may prove.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #418

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Fiona Hardingham, purchased from Audible.

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

Shopaholic to the Rescue by Sophie Kinsella, narrated by Clare Corbett, from Audible.

Becky is on a major rescue mission through the American West to Las Vegas! Her father has vanished from Los Angeles on a mysterious quest with the husband of Becky’s best friend, Suze. Becky’s mum is hysterical; Suze is flat-out desperate. Worse, Becky must tolerate an enemy along for the ride, who she’s convinced is up to no good.

Determined to get to the bottom of why her dad has disappeared, help Suze, contain the dreaded Alicia, and reunite her fractured family, Becky knows that she must marshal all her trademark ingenuity. The result: her most outrageous and daring plan yet!

But just when her family needs her more than ever, can Becky pull it off?

Wonder Woman Psychology: Lassoing the Truth by Trina Robbins, Travis Langley, and Mara Wood, an unexpected surprise.

For 75 years, Wonder Woman has served as an inspiration to people everywhere. Wonder Woman Psychology examines this powerful superhero—who was created by famous psychologist William Moulton Marston—through 20 essays. This collection will analyze:

Marston’s important role in the history of forensic psychology
How Diana’s relationship with her mother and Amazonian sisters shapes her to become a leader and the heroine called Wonder Woman
The ways differences in culture and gender can contribute to alienation but also to personal empowerment. What roles emotion, strengths, virtues, and culture shock play in heroic behavior

Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures photographs by Joel Sartore, poems by Kwame Alexander for review.

A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird – pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.

Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature’s markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore’s lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #417

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Benjamin Franklin You’ve Got Mail by Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel, an unexpected surprise and I’m passing it on to someone’s son who will enjoy it.

If the Future has any remedy for this situation, do not hesitate to provide it. That is to say, Ike and Claire Wanzandae, HELP! HELP HELP HELP.

I am (perhaps not for long),
Benjamin Franklin

Ike Saturday has seen better days. For one thing, his pen pal, Benjamin Franklin (yes, that Benjamin Franklin), is the target of an angry mob after Ike’s plan to help the Founding Fathers with some intel from the future seriously backfired. For another, he’s decided to mail himself back in time with the help of his girlfriend, Claire Wanzandae, and it’s not a particularly comfortable way to travel.

Once Ike tracks B-Freezy down in 1776, it becomes clear that his pal is less than impressed with the irritating, modern-day rescuer, partially because Ike has a habit of making things worse for Ben, and partially because Ben is incredibly cranky when not in the presence of numerous meat pies. Which speaks to another issue for the pair: they have no money, no food, and basically no plan for saving the country. But Claire won’t be able to cover for Ike back home in the future forever, and the British are looking pretty impatient, so Ike and B-Freezy will have to come up with something quickly if they want to avoid an epic, history-destroying disaster.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #416

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Dark Lady: A Novel of Emilia Bassano Lanyer by Charlene Ball for review from Caitlin Hamilton Marketing in June.

Emilia Bassano has four strikes against her: she is poor, beautiful, female, and intelligent in Elizabethan England. To make matters worse, she comes from a family of secret Jews. When she is raped as a teenager, she knows she probably will not be able to make a good marriage, so she becomes the mistress of a much older nobleman. During this time she falls in love with poet/player William Shakespeare, and they have a brief, passionate relationship―but when the plague comes to England, the nobleman abandons her, leaving her pregnant and without financial security.

In the years that follow, Emilia is forced to make a number of difficult decisions in her efforts to survive, and not all of them turn out well for her. But ultimately, despite the disadvantaged position she was born to, she succeeds in pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer―and even publishes a book of poetry in 1611 that makes a surprisingly modern argument for women’s equality.

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner for review in March.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Résistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides—and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #415

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

My Kindle Freebies and discounted finds:

A Perpetual Estrangement by Alice B. Ryder

Anne has two wonderful friends and her own London bookshop, but she isn’t happy. Ten years ago she was put in an impossible position and had to let go of the only man she ever loved, and she’s regretted it ever since. She had to fight her way out of heartbreak and despair just to get this far. Now Freddie is back, and the wound is ripped open.

Freddie once loved Anne deeply, and she had even agreed to join him in his travels abroad. But her family and self-doubt made her back out, and to this day he still feels betrayed. Anne believes he’s determined to remind her of that every day, and it’s all the harder seeing the man he has become since then, stronger in spirit and even more attractive than before.

Whenever Anne is around him now, she sees only his disdain and bitterness. The only way for both of them to find happiness is to finally get over each other. Freddie seems to be trying; but Anne has tried before, and failed. What she fears most is falling back into the agony she felt all those years ago – a dark place she can’t bear to think about.

Longbourn Library by Trudy Wallis

Liz always believed working as a librarian in Hertford, Idaho would give her opportunities to meet intelligent men. Lately, however, she is starting to think her theory was wrong. She finds herself hiding from Collin, that slimy blind date she wishes she could forget. Charlie is a nice fellow, but he is clearly taken with Jane. Then there is that Californian “aspiring writer” named Darcy. What a snob!

What are chances any man could answer the wishes of Liz’s heart? Is being fond of reading the first step toward falling in love?

GI Brides: Love Letters Unite Three Couples Divided by World War II by Grace Livingston Hill

World War II history shines through the pen of a beloved author who lived during it. Grace Livingston Hill introduces readers to three couples who are struggling to find hope in their circumstances. But letters from the home front to the war front and back inspire faith in soldiers under fire and the women who are praying they return. The collection includes All Through the Night, More Than Conqueror, and Through These Fires.

Hope for Mr. Darcy by Jeanna Ellsworth

Still shaken from his horrible proposal, Elizabeth Bennet falls ill at the Rosings Parsonage upon reading Fitzwilliam Darcy’s letter. In her increasingly delirious state, unfathomable influences inspire her to write an impulsive response. The letter gives Mr. Darcy hope in a way that nothing else could.

As her illness progresses, Darcy is there at her side, crossing boundaries he has never crossed, declaring things he has never declared. A unique experience bridges them over their earlier misunderstandings, and they start to work out their differences. That is, until Elizabeth begins to recover.

Suddenly, Elizabeth is left alone to wonder what exactly occurred between the two of them in her dreamlike state. And for the first time since meeting the man from Pemberley, she finds herself hoping for Mr. Darcy to return and rekindle what once was.

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

Deception by Ola Wegner

Pride and Prejudice variation. After the ball at Netherfield Fitzwilliam Darcy left Hertfordshire scared of his rapidly developing feelings for Elizabeth Bennet. What if another man had appeared in her life, both wealthy and attractive, certain of his affection for her and wishing to marry her? What if in Kent Darcy had met Elizabeth who was practically engaged to another man? How would he have dealt with an unexpected rival and would he face the challenge?

A Vintage Valentine by Cat Gardiner, which I read online. It is still 99 cents at Amazon.

A visit to Memories of Old antique shop turns into so much more than discovering trinkets from the past. Travel back in time with Lizzy Bennet to 1943 where she meets one dashing G.I., following that well-known insult at a U.S.O dance.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #414

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

As many of you may know, I attended AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) conference here in D.C. I attended a great many panels and readings and got a few books and journals free, as well as purchased some and met some authors I’ve read in the past and some literary friends I haven’t seen in a while.

Here’s what I received:

The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

The Bees is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection of new poems as British poet laureate, and the much anticipated successor to the T. S. Eliot Prize–winning Rapture. After the intimate focus of the earlier book, The Bees finds Duffy using her full poetic range: there are drinking songs, love poems, poems to the weather, and poems of political anger. There are elegies, too, for beloved friends and—most movingly—for the poet’s mother. As Duffy’s voice rises in this collection, her music intensifies, and every poem patterns itself into song.
Woven into and weaving through the book is its presiding spirit: the bee. Sometimes the bee is Duffy’s subject, sometimes it strays into the poem or hovers at its edge—and the reader soon begins to anticipate its appearance. In the end, Duffy’s point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect. The Bees is Duffy’s clearest affirmation yet of her belief in the poem as “secular prayer,” as the means by which we remind ourselves of what is most worthy of our attention and concern, our passion and our praise.

The Far Mosque by Kazim Ali

These gently fragmented narrative lyrics pursue enlightenment in long, elegant yet plain-spoken, dark yet ecstatic lines. Ali travels by water and by night, seeking the Far Mosque and its overarching paradox: that when God and Self are one, an ascent into Heaven is a voyage within.

Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors by Leslie Heywood

Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors explores how we respond to violence, grief, and loss, and the ways animals are emotionally akin to us in those responses.  Driven by the ways those primary emotions get tangled with memory, the ways the body informs the mind, we end up feeling and repeating behaviors linked to original struggles long after they have passed. Fighting against what threatened to cageus, the fight itself becomes the cage, affecting our lives and relationships in the most visceral ways.  Yet it is the simplest things that promote recovery and survival:  a calming animal touch.  Simple presence.

Cattle of the Lord by Rosa Alice Branco, translated by Alexis Levitin

Love. Sex. Death. Meat. Traffic. Pets. In Cattle of the Lord, Rosa Alice Branco offers a stunning poetic vision at once sacred and profane, a rich evocation of daily life troubled by uneasy sacramentality.

In a collection translated by Alexis Levitin and presented in both Portuguese and English, readers find themselves in a world turned upside down: darkly comic, sensual, and rife with contradiction. Here, liturgical words become lovers’ invitations. Cows moo at the heavens. And chickens are lessons on the resurrection.

Over the course of the collection, Branco’s unorthodox — even blasphemous — religious sensibility yields something ultimately hopeful: a belief that the physical, the quotidian, and the animalistic are holy, too. Writing at the boundaries of sense and mystification, combining sensuous lyrics and wit with theological interrogation, Branco breaks down what we think we know about religion, faith, and what it means to be human.

Dear Almost by Matthew Thorburn, who toured with Poetic Book Tours and signed my book for me!

Dear Almost is a book-length poem addressed to an unborn child lost in miscarriage. Beginning with the hope and promise of springtime, poet Matthew Thorburn traces the course of a year with sections set in each of the four seasons. Part book of days, part meditative prayer, part travelogue, the poem details a would-be father’s wanderings through the figurative landscapes of memory and imagination as well as the literal landscapes of the Bronx, Shanghai, suburban New Jersey, and the Japanese island of Miyajima. As the speaker navigates his days, he attempts to show his unborn daughter “what life is like / here where you ought to be / with us, but aren’t.” His experiences recall other deaths and uncover the different ways we remember and forget. Grief forces him to consider a question he never imagined asking: how do you mourn for someone you loved but never truly knew, never met or saw? In candid, meditative verse Dear Almost seeks to resolve this painful question, honoring the memory of a child who both was and wasn’t there.

Interrobang by Jessica Piazza, which I purchased from Red Hen directly and got a signature from my Poetry Has Value hero!

Existing at the intersection of darkness and play, the noisy, irreverent, and self-conscious poems in Interrobang take clinical “phobias” and clinical “philias” as their conceit. Each poem makes its own music, the crescendos and decrescendos born of obsessions over anxiety and lust. Encompassing a range of forms (but mostly sonnets), each piece toes the line between traditional meter and contemporary sonic play, while a tell-tale heart beats beneath the floor of the collection, constantly reminding us of our shames, fears, and the clock’s unrelenting ticking. Through individual stories about love, degradation of the self, the redemptive power of genuine humility, and the refuge offered by art and language, Interrobang, winner of the 2012 A Room of Her Own Foundation To the Lighthouse Poetry Publication Prize, illustrates how even the worst-case scenario of these pathologies are, fundamentally, just extensions of the dark truths to which every one of us can relate.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #413

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, which I purchased for Book Club reading.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White, which is my first GoodReads giveaway win! This one comes out in April 2017.

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather’s world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women….”

The Poetry of Weldon Kees: Vanishing as Presence by John T. Irwin for review in May.

Weldon Kees is one of those fascinating people you’ve likely never heard of. What is most captivating about Kees is that he disappeared without a trace on July 18, 1955. Police found his 1954 Plymouth Savoy abandoned on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge one day later. The keys were still in the ignition. Though Kees had alluded days prior to picking up and moving to Mexico, none of his poetry, art, or criticism has since surfaced either north or south of the Rio Grande.

Kees’s apparent suicide has led critics to compare him to another American modernist poet who committed suicide two decades earlier–Hart Crane. In comparison to Crane, Kees is certainly now a more obscure figure. John T. Irwin, however, is not content to allow Kees to fall out of the twentieth-century literary canon. In The Poetry of Weldon Kees, Irwin ties together elements of biography and literary criticism, spurring renewed interest in Kees as both an individual and as a poet.

Irwin acts the part of literary detective, following clues left behind by the poet to make sense of Kees’s fascination with death, disappearance, and the interpretation of an artist’s work. Arguing that Kees’s apparent suicide was a carefully-plotted final aesthetic act, Irwin uses the poet’s death as a lens through which to detect and interpret the structures, motifs, and images throughout his poems–as the author intended. The first rigorous literary engagement with Weldon Kees’s poetry, this book is an astonishing reassessment of one of the twentieth century’s most gifted writers.

The Carbon Code: How You Can Become a Climate Change Hero by Brett Favaro for review in April.

Favaro’s Carbon Code of Conduct is based on the four R’s: Reduce, Replace, Refine, and Rehabilitate. After outlining the scientific basics of climate change and explaining the logic of the code he prescribes, the author describes carbon-friendly technologies and behaviors we can adopt in our daily lives. However, he acknowledges that individual action, while vital, is insufficient. To achieve global sustainability, he insists that we must make the fight against climate change “go viral” through conspicuous conservation.

The Carbon Code is a tool of empowerment. People don’t need to be climate change experts to be part of the solution! In this book, Brett Favaro shows you how to take ownership of your carbon footprint and adopt a lifestyle of conspicuous conservation that will spur governments and corporations to do the same. Climate-friendly action is the best decision on every dimension–economics, health and well-being, and social justice. Saving the planet is, after all, about saving ourselves. The Carbon Code provides a framework to do this, and helps you to become a hero in the fight against climate change.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #412

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do from National Geographic by Joe Yogerst for a TLC Book Tour.

This richly illustrated book from the travel experts at National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Sites include national parks, beaches, hotels, Civil War battlefields, dude ranches, out-of-the-way museums, and more. You’ll discover the world’s longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America’s oldest street in NYC, and the best spot to watch for sea otters on the central California coast. Each entry provides detailed travel information as well as fascinating facts about each state that will help fuel your wanderlust and ensure the best vacation possible. In addition to 50 states in the U.S., the book includes a section on the Canadian provinces and territories.

An Unwavering Trust by L.L. Diamond, which I purchased.

Two strangers with no one to turn to but each other…

Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a difficult situation. His father is pressing him to propose marriage to the last woman in the world he would wish to take as his wife. With a fortnight to announce his betrothal, he makes the acquaintance of Elizabeth Bennet, who is in a predicament of her own.

Could Darcy be willing to consider Elizabeth as a solution to his problem and to hers? And can Elizabeth ascertain enough of Darcy’s character to trust him upon nothing but a first impression?

Contains scenes with adult content.

The Abominable Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by J Dawn King, which was a Kindle freebie.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s eyes are instantly drawn towards a handsome, mysterious guest who arrives at the Meryton Assembly with the Bingley party. The gentleman destroys her illusions by delivering an insult that turns him from Mr. Divinely Attractive to the Abominable Mr. Darcy.

While Elizabeth sets in motion her strategy for retaliation, Darcy plans to win the campaign being waged in the genteel drawing rooms of Hertfordshire. As more players from Jane Austen’s beloved cast of characters enter the fray, complications arise–some with irreversible consequences. Can a truce be called before their hearts become casualties as well? How many times can two people go from enemies to friends and back again before it’s too late?

The Last Casualty by Andrew Leatham, which was a Kindle freebie.

Belgium, 1917.

Wilf joined up at seventeen, wanting to do his bit.

But now he is broken by the death and human agony surrounding him. The smell of the rotting corpses, the vermin gnawing on the corpses in No Mans Land, has all been too much.

After a brief period of R and R, he knows he cannot return to the line, but off he is sent. When his courage falters, he’s charged with cowardice, court martialled, and shot at dawn.

Lancashire England, 1995.

Joanne Neally’s grandmother has died. While cleaning out her house, she finds the telegram that informed her family of the death of her great grandfather, simple and unpunctuated.

Regret to inform you Private 792163 Isherwood Wilfred 3rd Batt Pennine Fusiliers died of gunshot wounds Ypres August 22 1917

Joanne is moved to tears by the telegram, but it is the diary she finds next that will change her life forever, for Wilf Isherwood detailed his experiences at Passchendaele, one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles of the Great War. A battle that cost the lives of half a million men, and changed the landscape of Belgium forever.

Rich with detail of the life of a soldier during the Great War, the Last Casualty is an ode to a time that forever changed the world.

A Perpetual Estrangement: Jane Austen’s Persuasion Reimagined by Alice B. Ryder, Hilary Johnson, another Kindle freebie.

Anne has two wonderful friends and her own London bookshop, but she isn’t happy. Ten years ago she was put in an impossible position and had to let go of the only man she ever loved, and she’s regretted it ever since. She had to fight her way out of heartbreak and despair just to get this far. Now Freddie is back, and the wound is ripped open.

Freddie once loved Anne deeply, and she had even agreed to join him in his travels abroad. But her family and self-doubt made her back out, and to this day he still feels betrayed. Anne believes he’s determined to remind her of that every day, and it’s all the harder seeing the man he has become since then, stronger in spirit and even more attractive than before.

Whenever Anne is around him now, she sees only his disdain and bitterness. The only way for both of them to find happiness is to finally get over each other. Freddie seems to be trying; but Anne has tried before, and failed. What she fears most is falling back into the agony she felt all those years ago – a dark place she can’t bear to think about.

Longbourn Library: A Novel of Pride, Prejudice, and Books by Trudy Wallis, a Kindle freebie.

Liz always believed working as a librarian in Hertford, Idaho would give her opportunities to meet intelligent men. Lately, however, she is starting to think her theory was wrong. She finds herself hiding from Collin, that slimy blind date she wishes she could forget. Charlie is a nice fellow, but he is clearly taken with Jane. Then there is that Californian “aspiring writer” named Darcy. What a snob!

What are chances any man could answer the wishes of Liz’s heart? Is being fond of reading the first step toward falling in love?

GI Brides by Grace Livingston Hill, Amazon Kindle freebie.

Classic Grace Livingston Hill storytelling shines in three romances she wrote during the Second World War. In All Through the Night, Dale is grieving her grandmother and overrun by greedy relatives, but the love of a soldier gives her hope. In More than Conqueror, Charlie finally confesses his love for Bonnie just as he is leaving on a deadly mission and is surprised by her acceptance. In Through These Fires, Lexie is consumed by loneliness when an unexpected admirer sends her a letter from the warfront. Will letters across the sea give these men and women something to live for?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #411

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Breaking and Holding by Judy Fogarty for TLC Book Tour.

For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.

Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.

An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.

Impertinent Strangers by P.O. Dixon, an Audible gift from the author.

An impertinent stranger is thrown into Fitzwilliam Darcy’s path and, even though he declares her tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt him, it is all he can do not to think of her.

Upon first making Mr. Darcy’s acquaintance, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is quite fascinated with him. Then she discovers that the gentleman is haughty and above his company, and she wants nothing to do with him.

Still, the prospect of spending time in each other’s company is beyond their power to resist. Will Darcy and Elizabeth stop denying the truth to themselves and find in the other what’s been missing in their lives?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #410

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I purchased:

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher on Audible.

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher on Audible.

Infused with Carrie Fisher’s trademark incisive wit and on the heels of Wishful Drinking’s instant New York Times bestselling success, Shockaholic takes readers on another rollicking ride into her crazy life.

There is no shortage of people flocking to hear what Princess Leia has to say. Her previous hardcover, Wishful Drinking, was an instant New York Times bestseller and Carrie was featured everywhere on broadcast media and received rave reviews from coast to coast, including People (4 stars; one of their top 10 books of the year), Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, and scores of others.

Told with the same intimate style, brutal honesty, and uproarious wisdom that placed Wishful Drinking on the New York Times bestseller list for months, Shockaholic is the juicy account of Carrie Fisher’s life, focusing more on the Star Wars years and dishing about the various Hollywood relationships she’s formed since she was chosen to play Princess Leia at only nineteen years old. Fisher delves into the gritty details that made the movie—and herself—such a phenomenal success, admitting, “It isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, purchased from Audible.

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

Ulysses by James Joyce, purchased for the informal February read-a-long with Ti from Book Chatter.

The revised edition follows the complete and unabridged text of ULYSSES as corrected and reset in 1961. Like the first American edition of 1934, it also contains the original foreword by the author and the historic court ruling by Judge John M. Woolsey to remove the federal ban on ULYSSES. It also contains page references to the 1934 edition, which are indicated in the margins.

For Review:

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette for review in February.

1917. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she disappears.

When tragedy strikes on the battlefield, Darcy is sent to Donwell Abbey to recover. There he is coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse determined to teach him how to live and love again. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth breach his walls and invite his admiration.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #409

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

What I purchased:

Breakup/Breakdown by Charles Jensen

With wry humor and poignant contemplation, Breakup/Breakdown provides readers with excellent company, whether recalling breakups of their own or simply witnessing the narrative of the book’s hero. In the poem “Disruption,” our speaker advises that, “Love, my friends, should never / be entrusted to the heart, whose job // is to push away the only thing / the world will ever offer it.” In the midst of loss that is both personal and universal, Jensen conjures familiar figures, from literature to film, to offer another dimension of insight on the path from sorrow to empowerment. This chapbook has all the emotional heft of a full-length collection, and every line glistens with truth. — Mary Biddinger, author of Small Enterprise

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, which I purchased from Audible.

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.
Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.
He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.
Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.
Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (“Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “The River,” “Born in the U.S.A,” “The Rising,” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.

What did you receive?

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Mailbox Monday #408

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

What I purchased:


Darcy’s Christmas Wish by Penelope Swan

Fitzwilliam Darcy never forgot the little girl, with the beautiful dark eyes, who saved his life fifteen years ago… though he never expected to meet her again. But when he comes to Rosings Park to spend the Advent season with his aunt and encounters the enchanting, spirited Miss Elizabeth Bennet again, he discovers that at Christmastime, wishes can come true…

Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet: 4 Variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice by Elizabeth Ann West, Barbara Silkstone, Kristi Rose, and April Floyd

Join authors Elizabeth Ann West, Barbara Silkstone, Kristi Rose, and April Floyd as they each share an exclusive short novella reimagining our dear couple falling in love! We all know Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet, but the question universally wondered is how many ways can they show that love? Two Regencies, Two Contemporaries, there is a perfect story for every Jane Austen Fan Fiction lover!

Here’s what my daughter received for Christmas:

Pete the Cat: Sir Pete the Brave by James Dean from her friend

When Lady Callie, the most awesome harpist in all the land, goes missing, it’s up to Sir Pete to save her. But when he ends up trapped in a dragon’s lair, Lady Callie might have to do the saving.

It’s Raining Bats & Frogs by Rebecca Colby, illustrated by Steven Henry, from her friend

Delia has been looking forward all year to flying in the annual Halloween Parade. But parade day brings heavy rain. So, Delia takes action. Using her best magic, Delia changes the rain to cats and dogs. But that doesn’t work too well! Then hats and clogs. That doesn’t work, either! Each new type of rain brings a new set of problems. How can Delia save the day?

What did you receive?

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