Quantcast

Mailbox Monday #489

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Our mailbox was empty this week!

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #487

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Death at the Netherfield Park Ball by Amelia Littlewood, a kindle freebie.

Elizabeth Bennet first encounters Sherlock Holmes at a public ball, where both are intrigued by the other. Although she finds him to be abrasive and uncouth, she cannot help but admire his ability to discover secrets and scandals with nothing more than a glance.
At a private ball, an officer is mysteriously murdered, his killer leaving little evidence behind. Holmes and Bennet join forces to solve the case, and as they dive deeper into the murder victim’s sordid past, they discover truths about those closest to them that they may have preferred to have kept hidden.

How the Elephant Got Its Trunk and Other Wild Animal Stories by Rudyard Kipling and Virginia McKenna, on audible.

“In the High and Far-Off Times…there was one Elephant – a new Elephant – an Elephant’s Child – who was full of ‘satiable curiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions….”

Rudyard Kipling’s famous Just So Stories provides imaginative answers to the many questions children ask about the world and the animals we share it with.

In this magical audio recording, iconic actress and wildlife conservationist Virginia McKenna OBE brings the best beloved of Kipling’s stories to a brand new audience. The reading is followed by a fascinating hour-long interview in which McKenna talks with Alison Larkin about her life, her work rescuing wild animals, the Born Free Foundation, and how children of all ages can help make a difference. She also reads a few poems of her own inspired by animals she has known!

Just So Stories included are “How the Elephant Got Its Trunk”, “The Cat That Walked by Himself”, “How the Whale Got His Throat”, “How the Camel Got His Hump”, “How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin”, “How the Leopard Got His Spots”, “The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo”, “The Beginning of Armadillos”, “The Crab That Played with the Sea”, and “The Butterfly That Stamped”, and from the Jungle Book, “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman for review.

Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yamulkes play side-by-side with friends in baseball caps. A school where students grow and learn from each other’s traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #486

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received:

Shelf Life of Happiness: Stories by Virginia Pye from Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity for review in October.

In these bittersweet, compelling stories, Virginia Pye’s characters in Shelf Life of Happiness long for that most-elusive of states: happiness. A young skateboarder reaches across an awesome gap to reconnect with his disapproving father; an elderly painter executes one final, violent gesture to memorialize his work; a newly married writer battles the urge to implode his happy marriage; and a confused young man falls for his best friend’s bride and finally learns to love. In each case, Pye’s characters aim to be better people as they strive for happiness–and some even reap the sweet reward of achieving it.

They Gathered at Rosings by Margaret Lynette Sharp, a free kindle book.

There’s excitement afoot when the Darcys gather with their peers for the grand ball organised by Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her husband Hubert. Will Her Ladyship’s grandson John meet the girl of his dreams, or has unrequited love stifled his ardour? Does Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jr win the hand of his true love, Emily? Has Lady Catherine had a change of heart about her feelings towards her grandchildren and their futures?

Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, the Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare by Daniel Charles

FRITZ HABER — a Nobel laureate in chemistry, a friend of Albert Einstein, a German Jew and World War I hero — may be the most important scientist you have never heard of. The Haber-Bosch process, which he invented at the turn of the twentieth century, revolutionized agriculture by converting nitrogen to fertilizer in quantities massive enough to feed the world. The invention has become an essential pillar for life on earth; some two billion people on our planet could not survive without it. Yet this same process supplied the German military with explosives during World War I, and Haber orchestrated Germany’s use of an entirely new weapon — poison gas. Eventually, Haber’s efforts led to Zyklon B, the gas later used to kill millions — including Haber’s own relatives — in Nazi concentration camps.

Haber is the patron saint of guns and butter, a scientist whose discoveries transformed the way we produce food and fight wars. His legacy is filled with contradictions, as was his personality. For some, he was a benefactor of humanity and devoted friend. For others, he was a war criminal, possessed by raw ambition. An intellectual gunslinger, enamored of technical progress and driven by patriotic devotion to Germany, he was instrumental in the scientific work that inadvertently supported the Nazi cause; a Jew and a German patriot, he was at once an enabler of the Nazi regime and its victim.

Master Mind is a thought-provoking biography of this controversial scientist, a modern Faust who personifies the paradox of science, its ability to create and to destroy. It offers a complete chronicle of his tumultuous and ultimately tragic life, from his childhood and rise to prominence in the heady days of the German Empire to his disgrace and exile at the hands of the Nazis; from early decades as the hero who eliminated the threat of starvation to his lingering legacy as a villain whose work led to the demise of millions.

Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor, a free kindle download.

After World War II, orphaned Kettle faces prejudice as a Japanese American but manages to scrape by and care for his makeshift family of homeless children. When he crosses paths with the privileged but traumatized Nora, both of their lives are forever changed…

Lauren Nicolle Taylor’s Nora & Kettle is a heart-wrenching historical fiction novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini, novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Beginning of Everything, Eleanor & Park, The Book Thief, and classics like The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye.

Remember When by T. Torrest, a free kindle download.

** Author’s Note: Remember When is the first book in a trilogy series but most people believe it can be read as a standalone. This romantic comedy novel is intended for mature teen readers and immature adult readers due to some high school sex scenes, underage drinking, questionable language and 1980s flashbacks. **

Head back to the 80s with this coming-of-age romantic comedy about a pre-fame Hollywood movie star and his high school sweetheart!

Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from Northern New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone, himself included, could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who Trip Wiley is. But on the off chance you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

Rise of the Fallen by Donya Lynne, a free kindle download.

After an immortal life that’s been more agony than joy, Micah wants his endless suffering to be over. So he seeks out a ruthless enemy who’s more than happy to end his life, only for his death wish to be thwarted by a beautiful, gun-toting female who looks more angel than human.

Samantha is hiding from her abusive ex-husband, dancing for men’s favor–and their money–in a swanky gentleman’s club in order to pay the bills. While leaving her nightly shift, she stumbles upon a group of thugs beating a helpless man to death. She charges into the fray, guns blazing, determined to save the handsome stranger, only to discover he’s no man, and she’s thrust herself into a dangerous, paranormal world she never knew existed.

In Sam, Micah finds a reason to live, but now that she’s put a target on her back, he’ll have to go to extreme measures to protect her. But with her obsessive ex-husband closing in and an enemy who will stop at nothing to exact revenge, are the odds stacked too heavily against Micah? Or will finding something worth fighting for be enough to give him the advantage?

Chocolate and Conversation by Jennifer Griffith, a free Kindle download.

Mormon girl Susannah is ready to take a big risk. Suddenly unemployed and unmarried, Susannah puts everything on the line to open up downtown Salt Lake City’s first all-chocolate café, The Chocolate Bar. It all starts out sweetly. Susannah even catches the interest of the city’s most eligible bachelor, a charismatic attorney.

But when Susannah’s first love, John Wentworth, returns to town, her heart goes sideways. He’s rich. He’s handsome. And he’s got intentions of marrying anyone but Susannah.

Chocolate and Conversation is a light and frothy, chocolate-filled romp. An adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, it’s filled with to-die-for recipes, hilarious situations, and swoony kisses. This delicious romance throws a wholesome girl into an impossible love triangle between her longing for her former Mr. Right and her Mr. Maybe-Right-for-Now.

The Secrets of Pemberley by Rose Fairbanks, a free Kindle download.

To the world, Fitzwilliam Darcy has it all. He’s the young master to one of the kingdom’s oldest and wealthiest Norman families. Through his mother, he is related to a powerful line of earls. Beneath the perfect façade lies the truth: he’s the product of his mother’s affair and the heir George Darcy never wanted.

At twenty-eight, Darcy has fought hard to put to rest the pains of the past and earn his place in Society. But can he resist the allure of ending his loneliness with the unsuitable woman who has tugged at his heartstrings? Will he tell her his secret and if he does, will she keep it? Or will someone else from the past destroy everything Darcy has worked for?

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War by Don Jacobson, a free kindle download.

Time is once again bent in 1883 as Viscount Henry Fitzwilliam, Viscount of Matlock, uses the remarkable Bennet Wardrobe to seek his manhood through combat as suggested by his great friend, Theodore Roosevelt. But, as Henry’s Great Grandmother, Lydia Bennet Wickham Fitzwilliam, noted, “The Wardrobe has a strange sense of humor.” The lessons the young aristocrat learns are not the ones he expected.

Henry travels over 30 years into the future to land in the middle of the most awful conflict in human history—World War I. His brief time at the Front teaches him that there is no longer any room on the battlefield for heroic combat. Rather he discovers the horrors of “modern” warfare—the machine gun, high explosive artillery and poison gas—and the incredible waste of young men’s lives.

But, it is his two weeks spent recuperating at the Beach House in Deauville, after being temporarily blinded by chlorine gas, that irrevocably changes his life forever. There he encounters an incredible woman, one who will define his near 10-year search for the love of his life after he returns to his own time–and how his personality was shaped by their emerging relationship…one that was impossible on a number of levels.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #485

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Hotel on Shadow Lake by Daniela Tully for review from TLC Book Tours.

When Maya was a girl in Germany, her grandmother was everything to her: teller of magical fairy tales, surrogate mother, best friend. Then, shortly after Maya’s sixteenth birthday, her grandmother disappeared without a trace, leaving Maya with only questions to fill the void.

Twenty-seven years later, her grandmother’s body is found in a place she had no connection to: the Montgomery Resort in upstate New York. How did she get there? Why had she come? Desperate for answers, Maya leaves her life in Germany behind and travels to America, where she is drawn to the powerful family that owns the hotel and seemingly the rest of the town.

Soon Maya is unraveling secrets that go back decades, from 1910s New York to 1930s Germany and beyond. But when she begins to find herself spinning her own lies in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding her grandmother’s death, she must decide whether her life and a chance at true love are worth risking for the truth.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #484

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Austensistan edited by Laaleen Sukhera

Heiress Kamila Mughal is humiliated when her brother’s best friend snubs her to marry a social climbing nobody from Islamabad. Roya discovers her fiance has been cheating on her and ends up on a blind date on her wedding day. Beautiful young widow Begum Saira Qadir has mourned her husband, but is she finally ready to start following her own desires? Inspired by Jane Austen and set in contemporary Pakistan, Austenistan is a collection of seven stories; romantic, uplifting, witty, and heartbreaking by turn, which pay homage to the world’s favourite author in their own uniquely local way.

Mr. Darcy to the Rescue by Victoria Kincaid, an audible freebie.

When the irritating Mr. Collins proposes marriage, Elizabeth Bennet is prepared to refuse him, but then she learns that her father is ill. If Mr. Bennet dies, Collins will inherit Longbourn and her family will have nowhere to go. Elizabeth accepts the proposal, telling herself she can be content as long as her family is secure. If only she weren’t dreading the approaching wedding day…

Ever since leaving Hertfordshire, Mr. Darcy has been trying to forget his inconvenient attraction to Elizabeth. News of her betrothal forces him to realize how devastating it would be to lose her. He arrives at Longbourn intending to prevent the marriage, but discovers Elizabeth’s real opinion about his character. Then Darcy recognizes his true dilemma…

How can he rescue her when she doesn’t want him to?

The Outsider by Stephen King, an audible purchase.

An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #483

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Wild Blues by Beth Kephart and illustrated by William Sulit, which I purchased.

The threat of two escaped convicts and a missing friend lead Lizzie on a harrowing journey through the wilds of the Adirondacks in this stunning novel from National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart.

Thirteen-year-old Lizzie’s favorite place in the world is her uncle’s cabin. Uncle Davy’s renovated schoolhouse cabin, filled with antiques and on the edge of the Adirondacks, disconnected from the rest of the world, is like something out of a fairy tale. And an escape from reality is exactly what Lizzie needs. Life hasn’t been easy for Lizzie lately. Her father abandoned their family, leaving Lizzie with her oftentimes irresponsible mother. Now, her mom has cancer and being unable to care for Lizzie during her chemotherapy, Mom asks her where she’d like to spend the summer. The answer is simple: Uncle Davy’s cabin.

Lizzie loves her uncle’s home for many reasons, but the main one is Matias, Uncle Davy’s neighbor and Lizzie’s best friend. Matias has proportionate dwarfism, but that doesn’t stop him and Lizzie from wandering in the woods. Every day they go to their favorite nook where Matias paints with watercolors and Lizzie writes. Until one day when Matias never arrives.

When news breaks about two escaped convicts from the nearby prison, Lizzie fears the worst. And when Uncle Davy goes missing, too, Lizzie knows she’s the only one who knows this area of woods well enough to save them. Armed with her trusted Keppy survival book, Lizzie sets out into the wilds of the Adirondacks, proving just how far she’ll go to save the people she loves.

Too Much Space! (Beep and Bob) by Jonathan Roth from an author visit to my daughter’s school.

Meet space-school attendee Bob and his alien bestie Beep in this start to an outrageously funny and action-packed chapter book series that’s great for “kids who love funny stories but may be too young for books like ­Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (School Library Journal) from debut author Jonathan Roth!

Astro Elementary is a school near Saturn attended by the bravest, brightest, most elite kids in the galaxy…and Bob. Bob never wanted to go to fourth grade in dark, dangerous space. He even tried to fail the admissions test by bubbling in “C” for every answer—and turned out to be the only kid on Earth to get a perfect score!

Party Crashes (Beep and Bob) by Jonathan Roth from a school event.

Beep and his best friend Bob get blamed for a robbery on a fancy spaceship in this second book in the hilarious, action-packed Beep and Bob series!

It’s Bob’s friend Lani’s birthday, and she’s having her party on a super luxury space cruiser called the Starship Titanic, whose motto is “The 100% safest ship in the galaxy.” The Titanic boasts three water parks, sixteen amusement parks, and twelve-million hyper-show channels on TV! Beep and Bob pack their favorite swimsuits and their favorite TV watching gear.

When Beep and Bob arrive on the ship, however, they realize they forgot the most important item: a birthday gift for Lani. Not only that, but Lani’s parents are super rich and expect everyone to wear a suit to dinner (not the bathing suit that Bob wore by mistake). But that’s not their biggest problem. No, that happens when the lights dim and guests’ jewelry is stolen from right under their noses—and Beep and Bob get blamed for the crime!

Things go from bad to worse when Beep and Bob discover that their “indestuctable” ship is headed right for the ice rings of Neptune—and then starts plummeting toward the planet below! Can Beep and his squishy alien buddy save the Starship Titanic? Or will this be their last party ever?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #482

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Elizabeth by Christie Capps, which I won from Diary of an Eccentric.

He could have anything he wanted…except her.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy finds himself in the unusual position of chasing a woman rather than being chased.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet is exasperated as Mr. Darcy, the rudest man of her acquaintance, is being nice—to her! How can she continue to despise a man who apologizes so well?

Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy’s arrogance and pride are equally matched by Miss Elizabeth’s prejudice. In this fast-paced novella set in Regency England, can they both overcome strongly entrenched personalities to discover peace and happiness? Of course, they can. This is Mr. Darcy and his Elizabeth, he hopes.

Lost & Found by Christie Capps, which was a bonus win from Diary of an Eccentric.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet is missing—vanishing without a trace from the library at Rosings Park.

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy feels duty-bound to find the most frustrating young lady of his acquaintance. He is Elizabeth’s sworn enemy. Yet, when he comes to her rescue, she is forced to rethink her opinion.

Trapped together for hours, each layer of their character is revealed until their masks are gone, and their worst fears are shared. Will Mr. Darcy’s arrogant pride keep him from finding tender affection and happiness? Will her prejudice withstand trials so a man worthy of her affection will not be lost?

In this sweet, angst-filled Regency variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, our dear couple overcome all odds to find a love for the ages…or do they?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #481

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine, who I heard speak about the book at Gaithersburg Book Festival.

Cursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hind, who was at the same book festival.

It is true that I am nervous. But why will you say that I am mad?

In “The Cask of Amontillado,” a man exacts revenge on a disloyal friend at carnival, luring him into catacombs below the city. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” a prince shielding himself from plague hosts a doomed party inside his abbey stronghold. A prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, faced with a swinging blade and swarming rats, can’t see his tormentors in “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a milky eye and a deafening heartbeat reveal the effects of conscience and creeping madness. Alongside these tales are visual interpretations of three poems — “The Raven,” “The Bells,” and Poe’s poignant elegy to lost love, “Annabel Lee.” The seven concise graphic narratives, keyed to thematic icons, amplify and honor the timeless legacy of a master of gothic horror.

Punishment by Nancy Miller Gomez, which I received from Rattle magazine.

Nancy Miller Gomez entered Salinas Valley State Prison with a backpack of poems and a fear of being caught in a lockdown. What she discovered was compassion and human connection. The poems and essays in this collection, Gomez’s first, were inspired by her experience teaching writing workshops in jails and prisons. Punishment explores the stories of people serving time in the criminal justice system. It demonstrates the ways creative expression can mend emotional wounds, bridge differences, and reconnect us to our humanity. Punishment is a moving tribute to the redemptive power of poetry.

Freedom City by Philip Becnel, which my dad who never reads bought at the book festival.

After President Trump unceremoniously dies from natural causes, four misfits from Washington, D.C. who call themselves the Fearless Vampire Killers sever the heads of Confederate statues and wage a comedic guerrilla war on post-Trump America. When President Pence enlists droves of fascist volunteers to crush the “alt-left” uprising, the rebels must risk their lives to run the fascists out of D.C.

What follows is not only a battle for survival—but a desperate search for remnants of what once made America great.

Chrysalis: Collected Poems of Joe LoBell by Joe Lobell, which was free on lulu.com.

A collection of thirty-nine poems spanning 1986 through 2016. PRAISE FOR THE POETRY AND PERFORMANCE OF JOE LOBELL: “Lobell is a true original and turns a mean phrase…. His work casts a spell like Lou Reed’s early work or the early readings of Jim Carroll or Patti Smith.” — THE HERALD “With a hipster’s cool detachment Joe Lobell prowls through the mean streets underbelly of New York City speaking words as vivid as a flashing neon light.” —DOWNTOWN EXPRESS “This stuff is excellent.” —ERIC BOGOSIAN “Lobell’s readings contain some of the elements present in the celebrated Beat Generation jazz renderings…. His recitations lock into the rhythms of free-flow rock music and fasten on gritty situations from storytellers loom.” —DAILY FREEMAN

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #480

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Martha of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what I received this week:

Pemberley: Fitzwilliam Stays at Rosings by Margaret Lynette Sharp, Kindle freebie.

His stay at Rosings has brought Fitzwilliam Darcy, Jr, a measure of both delight and anguish as he realises that not only has he become even more attached to the charming daughter of Mr Collins – Miss Emily – but also that his rival, John King, is planning a serious step in order to secure his own future with the beautiful maiden. Where do Emily’s affections really lie?

This is yet another absorbing tale in the ‘Longbourn’ series of Jane Austen fan fiction pieces by prolific Australian author Margaret Lynette Sharp

Lies That Bind Us by Andrew Hart, Kindle freebie.

Jan needs this. She’s flying to Crete to reunite with friends she met there five years ago and relive an idyllic vacation. Basking in the warmth of the sun, the azure sea, and the aura of antiquity, she can once again pretend—for a little while—that she belongs. Her ex-boyfriend Marcus will be among them, but even he doesn’t know the secrets she keeps hidden behind a veil of lies. None of them really know her, and that’s only part of the problem.

Then again, how well does she know them?

When Jan awakens in utter darkness, chained to a wall, a manacle around her wrist, her echoing screams only give her a sense of how small her cell is. As she desperately tries to reconstruct what happened and determine who is holding her prisoner, dread covers despair like a hand clamped over her mouth. Because, like the Minotaur in the labyrinth in Greek myth, her captor will be coming back for her, and all the lies will catch up to her…

Incandescent by Georgina Young-Ellis, 99 cent deal.

The Elliots are Hollywood Royalty – a family of actors going back three generations. Annie Elliot has been cast to play Elizabeth Bennet in a new movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that takes place during the Belle Epoque, circa 1910, with a multi-racial cast. But who will her Mr. Darcy be?

Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard, a library sale find.

To impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips, conks her head, and wakes up in the year 1815!

There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily’s family, Callie warms to them, particularly to Emily’s cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant.

But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex’s heart, before her time in the past is up?

More Cabot than Ibbotson, Prada and Prejudice is a high-concept romantic comedy about finding friendship and love in the past in order to have happiness in the present.

What did you receive?

*** The Gaithersburg Book Festival was over the weekend, so you’ll have to wait until next week to see what goodies I picked up. ***

Mailbox Monday #479

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 we received:

The Minor Territories by Danielle Sellers, which I purchased.

In Danielle Sellers’ The Minor Territories, a past has never really passed, it follows you from state to state and across continents; its memories are as fresh as the revelations of old love letters, those missives so full of missing. Every poem feels so rich with intimate potential, from the unspoken truths between two people to the most fragile details of a shared life—a spider’s silky filaments, peach tree saplings, butter coppering in a pan. This book manages to hold with an open hand all the loves I want and fear to lose—the ones who knew me, the one who knows me, the one who grew from the past into the brightest now.
—Traci Brimhal, author of Saudade

The Minor Territories, the second collection from Danielle Sellers, powerfully affirms the practice of keen and patient seeing. Time and again in these poems, life deals pain, but the poet pays attention until pain gives way to curiosity and curiosity to gratitude. Winter strips the willows, yes, but “through their bare branches / a church spire. Were it spring, I would have not seen it.” A little girl waits all day on a porch for her long-lost father. “He never returns,” but she does glimpse “three monarchs / and a praying mantis.” In one poem, the speaker says of her lover, “I wanted him / to see me. Really see me.” While the pain of going unseen racks the world of this book, Sellers takes care to see whatever has been missed, to really see it. To borrow a phrase from Yeats, everything here has been steeped in the heart.
—Greg Brownderville, author of A Horse with Holes in It

Danielle Sellers’ The Minor Territories is intellectually lush and emotionally resonant. Sellers is a born storyteller, and this book, in the end, is a succession of love stories that reveal, over its course, a deep, surprising, and complicated love between the speaker and the world she makes and remakes for herself. These poems are necessary, dynamic, heartbreaking, redemptive, and smart. They bring you in, hold you close, and tell the truth.
—Carrie Fountain, author of Burn Lake

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #478

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 we received:

Silver Girl by Leslie Pietrzyk, which I won in an Instagram contest from Curtis Brown Ltd.

A nameless young woman starts her freshman year of college with one goal in mind: survival.

Newly transplanted to the big city of Chicago, she is one of the rare few to leave her small working-class town in Iowa, let alone for a prestigious university. She is not driven by academic ambition, nor is she a social butterfly. Her true gift is an ability to understand the needs of others and to reflect back the version of themselves they wish to see, rendering herself invisible.

Deftly, she conceals her deeply troubled past – especially from her charismatic yuppie-in-the-making best friend and roommate. For a while she assimilates, living a new life not in any way her own. But the mask she wears cannot hide her secrets forever, and at some point she will be truly seen, possibly for the first time in her life.

Set in the early ’80s, against the backdrop of a city terrorized by the Tylenol Killer, a local psychopath rumored to be stuffing cyanide into drugstore meds, Silver Girl is a deftly psychological account of the nuances of sisterhood. Contrasting obsession and longing, need versus desire, Leslie Pietrzyk delves into the ways class and trauma are often enmeshed to dictate one’s sense of self and how a single relationship can sometimes lead to redemption.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #477

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 we received:

Ten Women by Marcela Serrano, a free Kindle.

For nine Chilean women, life couldn’t be more different. There is the teenage computer whiz confronting her sexual identity. A middle-aged recluse who prefers the company of her dog over that of most humans. A housekeeper. A celebrity television personality. A woman confronting the loneliness of old age.

Of disparate ages and races, these women represent the variety of cultural and social groups that Chile comprises. On the surface, they seem to have nothing in common…except for their beloved therapist, who brings them together. Yet as different as they all are, each woman has a story to share.

As the women tell their stories, unlikely common threads are discovered, bonds are formed, and lives are transformed. Their stories form an intricate tale of triumph, heartache, and healing that will resonate with women from all walks of life.

The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen, a Kindle freebie.

For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.

He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone’s been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they’re shut away.

A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light. That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. Problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn’t know how to get out…

The Question of Red by Laksmi Pamuntjak, Kindle freebie.

In this sweeping saga of love, loss, revolution, and the resilience of the human spirit, Amba must find the courage to forge her own path.

Amba was named after a tragic figure in Indonesian mythology, and she spends her lifetime trying to invent a story she can call her own. When she meets two suitors who fit perfectly into her namesake’s myth, Amba cannot help but feel that fate is teasing her. Salwa, respectful to a fault, pledges to honor and protect Amba, no matter what. Bhisma, a sophisticated, European-trained doctor, offers her sensual pleasures and a world of ideas. But military coups and religious disputes make 1960s Indonesia a place of uncertainty, and the chaos strengthens Amba’s pursuit of freedom. The more Amba does to claim her own story, the better she understands her inextricable bonds to history, myth, and love.

The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan, Kindle freebie.

The Gray House is an astounding tale of how what others understand as liabilities can be leveraged into strengths.

Bound to wheelchairs and dependent on prosthetic limbs, the physically disabled students living in the House are overlooked by the Outsides. Not that it matters to anyone living in the House, a hulking old structure that its residents know is alive. From the corridors and crawl spaces to the classrooms and dorms, the House is full of tribes, tinctures, scared teachers, and laws—all seen and understood through a prismatic array of teenagers’ eyes.

But student deaths and mounting pressure from the Outsides put the time-defying order of the House in danger. As the tribe leaders struggle to maintain power, they defer to the awesome power of the House, attempting to make it through days and nights that pass in ways that clocks and watches cannot record.

Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin, a Kindle freebie.

As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.

But when the Nazis invade France and begin rounding up Jews, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom.

The Great Passage by Shion Miura, a Kindle freebie.

Kohei Araki believes that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years of creating dictionaries, it’s time for him to retire and find his replacement.

He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime—a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics—whom he swipes from his company’s sales department.

Along with an energetic, if reluctant, new recruit and an elder linguistics scholar, Majime is tasked with a career-defining accomplishment: completing The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. On his journey, Majime discovers friendship, romance, and an incredible dedication to his work, inspired by the words that connect us all.

Still Waters by Viveca Sten, a Kindle freebie.

On a hot July morning on Sweden’s idyllic vacation island of Sandhamn, a man takes his dog for a walk and makes a gruesome discovery: a body, tangled in fishing net, has washed ashore.

Police detective Thomas Andreasson is the first to arrive on the scene. Before long, he has identified the deceased as Krister Berggren, a bachelor from the mainland who has been missing for months. All signs point to an accident—until another brutalized corpse is found at the local bed-and-breakfast. But this time it is Berggren’s cousin, whom Thomas interviewed in Stockholm just days before.

As the island’s residents reel from the news, Thomas turns to his childhood friend, local lawyer Nora Linde. Together, they attempt to unravel the riddles left behind by these two mysterious outsiders—while trying to make sense of the difficult twists their own lives have taken since the shared summer days of their youth.

The House by the River by Lena Manta, a Kindle freebie.

Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever—they’re too curious, too free spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return.

Having survived World War II, the Nazi occupation of Greece, and her husband’s death, Theodora now endures the twenty-year-long silence of her daughters’ absence. Her children have their own lives—they’ve married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her—and each other—more than ever. Have they grown so far apart that they’ve forgotten their childhood home, or will their broken hearts finally lead them back again?

A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa, a Kindle freebie.

Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.

In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. A River in Darkness is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity—and indomitable nature—of the human spirit.

The Phantom’s Apprentice by Heather Webb, which I purchased.

Christine Daaé sings with her violinist father in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favorite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honor her father’s memory.

Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Opéra de Paris—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumors of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.

But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?

As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.

To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

Almost Invisible by Kateema Lee, which I purchased.

When I say that Kateema Lee’s work is illuminating, I mean that it is conveyed with an impeccable ear for sound and sense. I mean that her poems foreground what are often the least looked-upon flowers: veterans and addiction and working hands and women. I mean that they bear witness in the tradition of women who used their voices to establish that what seems almost invisible to much of the world merits recognition as a world itself.

—Keith S. Wilson

Kateema Lee’s poems hit hard where poetry matters most, in the gut. The music of her poems is personal as speech, the toughness of her outlook made keener by her tenderness. Unpretentious, genuine, full of life and its sorrows, her vision has breadth and breath, a measure which tracks the distance between the street and the sky. What do we ask of poetry, of art, if not to put us in actual touch with the difficulty of human existence? Kateema Lee’s poems answer that need with craft & cunning; how I admire what they offer us.

—Joshua Weiner

The irony of the title of Kateema Lee’s remarkable chapbook, Almost Invisible, is immediately apparent as a reader finds herself in a world, made visible, of blue eye shadow, Jehovah’s Witnesses, a grandmother’s garden, a kitchen beauty shop, and a father’s war stories, all of which Lee renders with a compassionate but unforgiving eye in a taut and supple free verse.

—Michael Collier

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White, a blog win from Diary of an Eccentric.

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….

What did you receive?