Quantcast

Mailbox Monday #177

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is Martha’s Bookshelf.

Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received last week:

1.  The Subject Tonight Is Love by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky from last week’s library sale.

To Persians, the fourteenth-century poems of Hafiz are not classical literature from a remote past, but cherished love, wisdom, and humor from a dear and intimate friend. Perhaps, more than any other Persian poet, it is Hafiz who most fully accesses the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Daniel Ladinsky has made it his life’s work to create modern, inspired translations of the world’s most profound spiritual poetry. Through Ladinsky’s translations, Hafiz’s voice comes alive across the centuries singing his message of love.

2.  The Hot Flash Club by Nancy Thayer, which was also from the library sale for my mother.

From the bestselling author of Between Husbands and Friends and An Act of Love comes a wise, wonderful, and delightfully witty “coming of age” novel about four intrepid women who discover themselves as they were truly meant to be: passionate, alive, and ready to face the best years of their lives.

Meet Faye, Marilyn, Alice, and Shirley. Four women with skills, smarts, and secrets—all feeling over the hill and out of the race. But in a moment of delicious serendipity, they meet and realize they share more than raging hormones and lost dreams. Now as the Hot Flash Club, where the topics of motherhood, sex, and men are discussed with double servings of chocolate cake, they vow to help each other . . . and themselves.

3.  The Wonder of It All by Elizabeth P. Glixman from the poet for review.

4.  Sea Change by Karen White for review in June from the publisher.

For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-five, she still feels stymied by her family. Then she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier, and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they impulsively elope, and Ava moves to Matthew’s ancestral home on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia.

But after the initial excitement, Ava is surprised to discover that true happiness continues to elude her. There is much she doesn’t know about Matthew, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death. And her new home seems to hold as many mysteries and secrets as her new husband. Feeling adrift, Ava throws herself into uncovering Matthew’s family history and that of the island, not realizing that she has a connection of her own to this place—or that her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future.

5. The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian for review from Random House.

The Sandcastle Girls is a sweeping historical love story steeped in Chris Bohjalian’s Armenian heritage.

When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The year is 1915 and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo and travels south into Egypt to join the British army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost.

Fast forward to the present day, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents’ ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed “The Ottoman Annex,” Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura’s grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family’s history that reveals love, loss – and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.

6. Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen from the publisher/author for review.

High-school sweethearts Julia and Michael have left their humble West Virginia roots far behind for a glamorous life in Washington, D.C. As they achieve more in their careers—she as a high-end events planner, he as the CEO of his own sports-drink company—they lose themselves as a couple. After Michael has a near-death experience, he decides to give away all their wealth and focus on his relationship with Julia. But she’s not ready to forgive him for choosing his work over her when she needed him most. Pekkanen’s novel traces the couple’s attempts to make amends for allowing success to replace love.

7. These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen from the publisher/author for review.

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.

Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.

Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.

8. The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner from the publisher for review.

So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.

Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.

As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.

9. The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy, which I bought at the Gaithersburg Book Festival and had her sign!

It is 1961 and Puerto Rico is trapped in a tug-of-war between those who want to stay connected to the United States and those who are fighting for independence. For eleven-year-old Verdita Ortiz-Santiago, the struggle for independence is a battle fought much closer to home.

Verdita has always been safe and secure in her sleepy mountain town, far from the excitement of the capital city of San Juan or the glittering shores of the United States, where her older cousin lives. She will be a señorita soon, which, as her mother reminds her, means that she will be expected to cook and clean, go to Mass every day, choose arroz con pollo over hamburguesas, and give up her love for Elvis. And yet, as much as Verdita longs to escape this seemingly inevitable future and become a blond American bombshell, she is still a young girl who is scared by late-night stories of the chupacabra, who wishes her mother would still rub her back and sing her a lullaby, and who is both ashamed and exhilarated by her changing body.

Told in luminous prose spanning two years in Verdita’s life, The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico is much more than a story about getting older. In the tradition of The House on Mango Street and Annie John, it is about the struggle to break free from the people who have raised us, and about the difficulties of leaving behind one’s homeland for places unknown. At times joyous and at times heartbreaking, Verdita’s story is of a young girl discovering her power and finding the strength to decide what sort of woman she’ll become.

10. Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith from BookCrossing at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

In Morality for Beautiful Girls, Precious Ramotswe, founder and owner of the only detective agency for the concerns of both ladies and others, investigates the alleged poisoning of the brother of an important “Government Man,” and the moral character of the four finalists of the Miss Beauty and Integrity Contest, the winner of which will almost certainly be a contestant for the title of Miss Botswana. Yet her business is having money problems, and when other difficulties arise at her fianc?’s Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, she discovers the reliable Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is more complicated then he seems.

11. Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs from BookCrossing at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Among the ancient remains in a Native American burial ground, Tempe discovers a fresh skeleton — and what began as an ordinary teaching stint at an archeology field school in Charleston, South Carolina, fast becomes a heated investigation into an alarming pattern of homicides. The clues hidden in the bones lead to a street clinic where a monstrous discovery awaits, and Tempe — whose personal life is in upheaval, with two men competing for her — can’t afford any distractions as she pieces together a shattering and terrifying puzzle.

What did you receive?

  • Great stash of books. Personally, I’m jealous that you got the Gortner book!

  • Oh, nice week! I have The Sandcastle Girls too. Should be a good one.

  • Wow! You received a lot of great books. I also received The Queen’s Vow for review. Isn’t it divine? I love C.W. Gortner’s books anyway so I know I’m going to love this one too. Enjoy all your book goodies!

  • Stephanie

    Oh, I’m so jealous you got The Sandcastle Girls! I follow Chris Bohjalian on Twitter and FB and love seeing his updates. I’ve only read one of his books (The Night Strangers, which I very much enjoyed) and plan on reading more of his work in the near future.

  • I just got The Queen’s Vow today and can’t wait to dive in. Sandcastle Girls sounds really good too. Might have to add that one to the pile 🙂 Enjoy your books!

  • Lots of great looking books there! I haven’t read any of them, but I’ve heard great things about the Pekkanen books.

  • The Sandcastle Girls caught my eye, enjoy! all of your books.

    http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2012/05/mailbox-monday_21.html

  • Amy

    A very nice stack of books! Sea Change by Karen White and The Seacastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian really interest me. I’ve enjoyed all of the books I’ve read by both authors.
    I’m reading Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekannen now, it’s very good.

    The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico is a terrific purchase and it’s so cool you were able to get it signed!

    Enjoy your new books, Serena and I hope your mom enjoys Hot Flash Club.

  • Kaye

    I hope your Mom loves the Nancy Thayer. I just finished her latest and it was excellent. Have a great week and happy reading!

  • Mystica

    What a fabulous book list! The Sandcastle Girls is the one I would love to read first.

  • I can’t wait to get Sea Change….and I’ve been wanting to read those Pekkanen books, too.

    Nancy Thayer’s The Hot Flash Club was a riot…enjoy!

    Here’s MY MONDAY MEMES POST

  • They all look great. Second blog I’m seeing Sea Change on it sure has peaked my interest.

  • The Queen’s Vow sounds very good! I’ve loved his other books so I have high hopes for this one. Enjoy your books!

  • Awesome week for you. Looking forward to Sandcastle Girls—enjoy

  • The Sandcastle Girls looks great- hope you enjoy all your books!

    My MM: http://www.pocketfulofbooks.com/2012/05/mailbox-monday_21.html#more

  • The Queen’s Vow looks very intriguing and has a gorgeous cover. You got a lot of books this week! Hope you enjoy them!

    Take a look at what’s in my Mailbox.

  • As soon as I finished her latest book, I immediately bought the Snow in Puerto Rico one…can not wait to get to it! I am a bit jealous that you got to meet her!!

    Have a great week and enjoy your new books!

  • I can’t wait to hear what you think of The Sandcastle Girls. Enjoy your new books!

  • So many good books! You’re in for a treat with Skipping a Beat and These Girls! The Sandcastle Girls sounds excellent too!

    • Thanks for checking out the books. Sarah Pekkanen was so nice!