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Mailbox Monday #562

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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?

My Charming Rival by Lauren Blakely, a freebie.

To do list: Graduate with honors, get into medical school, and snag the most-sought-after celebrity photo of all time to cover my tuition. One more thing — resist the hot British guy who’s my biggest rival.

But from the first day I run into William on his motorcycle, he makes that difficult, since he’s flirty, charming, clever and keeps trying to convince me to spend the night with him.

Trust me — stripping him down to nothing is on my wish list, but I can’t let him get under my skin as I chase cheating directors and stake out clandestine trysts. Yet everywhere I go, my most charming rival is there — is he following me, trying to woo me, or aiming to sabotage my plans?

When I’m offered a brand new ticket to my dreams, I have to decide if I want to team up with the sexiest enemy ever…
Except there’s a third option too–and that one’s looking mighty appealing–if I’m willing to take a crazy chance.

The Subsequent Proposal by Joana Starnes, a freebie.

A number of broken-hearted characters from Jane Austen’s best novels are thrown together by the vagaries of fate, and all manner of unwise decisions are taken at this vulnerable time. But then their past creeps up upon them – and what is there to do but face it, and hope that their convoluted paths will finally lead them to their proper place?

“Elizabeth… ” he murmured against her lips, her skin, her hair, and then her lips again. “I cannot forsake you. I cannot! I cannot bear to think of a life without you. ‘Tis not worth living, ‘tis but a slow death. I cannot lose you! I beg you, do not send me away again. I love you. Elizabeth, I love you!”

Friends, rivals, foes, wrong choices and a duel – Fitzwilliam Darcy’s life is never dull. ‘The Subsequent Proposal’ – a story that is primarily about him – follows Mr Darcy in his struggles to decipher the troubling enigma of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings – and to correct the worst misjudgement of his life…

Mr. Darcy’s Letter by Abigail Reynolds, a freebie.

A lady’s reputation is a fragile thing. If anyone ever discovered that Miss Elizabeth Bennet had received a letter from a single gentleman, she could be ruined… or forced to marry a man she detests. In this Pride & Prejudice variation, Elizabeth takes the safer course and refuses to read Mr. Darcy’s letter of explanation. Returning home unaware of Wickham’s true nature, Elizabeth confesses everything to him, putting both Mr. Darcy and herself in grave danger from Wickham’s schemes. Note: This book contains an intimate scene between an engaged couple.

Inspiration by Maria Grace, a freebie.

Gentleman artist Fitzwilliam Darcy had never been able to express himself in words, but with his brushes and paints, he expressed what few men ever could. When his flighty muse abandons him, though, he finds himself staring at blank canvases in a world that has turned bland and cold and grey.

Worried for his friend, Charles Bingley invites Darcy to join him in Hertfordshire, in hopes the picturesque countryside might tempt Darcy’s muse to return. The scheme works only too well. His muse returns, with a vengeance, fixated upon the one young woman in the county who utterly detests him.

Will his selfish disdain for the feelings of others drive her and his muse away or can he find a way to please this woman with the power to bring color and feeling back into his world?

Christmas at Pemberley by Ola Wegner, a freebie.

We have opportunity to observe Christmas at Pemberley over the course of twenty years. From the time Fitzwilliam Darcy was just a boy, enjoying the love and attention of both of his parents and the antics of his baby sister. Through the years of darkness and struggles when he dealt with the death of his mother and father, raising Georgiana and carrying the responsibility of Master of Pemberley. To the moment when he is a mature man with a family of his own, reveling in happy existence with the love of his life and the mother of his child by his side.

A Lively Companion by Corrie Garrett, a freebie.

Book 1 of An Austen Ensemble
When Lizzy Bennet reluctantly agrees to become Anne de Bourgh’s companion on a short trip to Tunbridge Wells, she stumbles feet first into a summer of misunderstandings, revelations, and unexpected proposals.
Mr. Darcy, feeling foolish that he came to the brink of a proposal due to an arbitrary deadline, decides to accept his aunt’s request to accompany them–hoping that his decision regarding Elizabeth will make itself plain.
While Anne spends her morning dutifully drinking the famed waters of Tunbridge Wells, Lizzy is pulled further into the Darcy and de Bourgh family circle. From Darcy’s cousin, Lady Honoria, to his sister, Georgiana, Lizzy can’t help feeling that this is a family she would like, except for Mr. Darcy!
Which only makes it all the more painful when she must resolutely reject the proud head of the family…

Drift by Alan King on Audible.

“Alan King reminds us of the beauty of efficiency. His poems do not waste moments or words. These are wonderful journeys into the lives of everyone (something of you is here, I guarantee it), effortless, peaceful but powerful walks that focus upon the compassionate things: Friendship, love, family, justice, tradition. Alan King has started his own tradition in Drift, one born of his own generation but timeless and strong; a voice we should all hope will be showcased for years.” (Brian Gilmore, poet, public interest lawyer, and columnist for The Progressive Media Project)

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #561

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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:

The Minuteman by Greg Donahue from Audible.

Greg Donahue’s The Minuteman tells the story of one of Newark’s native sons—ex-prizefighter and longtime Zwillman enforcer Sidney Abramowitz, a.k.a. Nat Arno—who took over leadership of the Minutemen in 1934 and made it his personal business to put an end to what he saw as the homegrown Nazi movement’s “anti-American” activities. For six years, Arno and his crew of vigilantes battled Newark’s Nazis at every turn. The Minuteman is a story of the ethics of violence in the face of fascism—a forgotten legacy that is as relevant now as it was nearly a hundred years ago.

The Power of Self-Compassion by Laurie J. Cameron from Audible.

Join expert Laurie Cameron to discover tools—including meditations, exercises, journaling, and in-the-moment practices—that will help you evoke mindfulness and empathy in your everyday life in a way that it becomes your natural response—your new set of habits. As you adopt these practices, you’ll start to see a shift in how you work with stressful life events, as well as how you connect with the shared human experience of loss, challenge, and disappointment.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #560

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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:

Diary of a Pug: Pug’s Snow Day by Kyla May for our daughter’s Christmas present.

This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

It’s a snow day, and Bella is thrilled. There’s no school, so she and Bub can play outside all day. Trouble is, Bub does not like the snow – it’s slippery, freezing cold, and wet! What’s even worse, there’s a new kid next door, and he has a scary, monster-sized pet. Can Bub get past his fear of the snow and make a new friend at the same time?

With full-color artwork throughout, this funny and charming diary-format early chapter book is perfect for anyone who believes a furry pal is the best kind of friend.

Owl Diaries: Eva’s Campfire Adventure by Rebecca Elliott for our daughter’s Christmas gift.

This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Eva can’t wait to go camping with her classmates! They pitch tents, eat yummy campfire treats, and build useful inventions. Best of all, they go on a treasure hunt through the forest. Join Eva and her friends as they work together to find the treasure!

Ali Cross by James Patterson, a gift for my mom.

Ali Cross has always looked up to his father, former detective and FBI agent Alex Cross. While solving some of the nation’s most challenging crimes, his father always kept his head and did the right thing. Can Ali have the same strength and resolve?

When Ali’s best friend Abraham is reported missing, Ali is desperate to find him. At the same time, a string of burglaries targets his neighborhood—and even his own house. With his father on trial for a crime he didn’t commit, it’s up to Ali to search for clues and find his friend. But being a kid sleuth isn’t easy—especially when your father warns you not to get involved!—and Ali soon learns that clues aren’t always what they seem. Will his detective work lead to a break in Abraham’s case or cause even more trouble for the Cross family?

Criss Cross by James Patterson, a gift for my mom.

In a Virginia penitentiary, Alex Cross and his partner, John Sampson, witness the execution of a killer they helped convict. Hours later, they are called to the scene of a copycat crime. A note signed “M” rests on the corpse. “You messed up big time, Dr. Cross.”

Was an innocent man just put to death? Alex soon realizes he may have much to answer for, as “M” lures the detective out of the capital to the sites of multiple homicides, all marked with distressingly familiar details — details that conjure up decades-old cases. Details that conjure up Cross family secrets. Details that make clear that M is after a prize so dear that — were the killer to attain it — Alex’s heart would no longer have reason to beat.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #559

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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:

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades by S.M. Stevens for review.

Fragile but practical Shelby Stewart and ambitious, confident Astrid Ericcson just want to start their PR careers in 1980s Boston and maybe find a nice guy to hang out with. But long-buried memories of incest at the hands of her local hero stepfather keep interrupting Shelby’s plans, affecting her health one way after another. And when will she actually date someone her friends think is good enough for her?

Astrid thinks she wrote the book on How to Get Ahead by Flirting but is forced to re-visit her career advancement strategy when her boss Brad takes the innuendos to a whole new, scary level, threatening her job and her safety.

Suddenly, instead of taking charge of their lives, both women find themselves spinning out of control.

In this fast-paced story for the #metoo generation, the women reach new highs and lows in life, work and romance, while struggling to make sense of the abusive relationships that haunt them.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #558

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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:

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, narrated by Andi Arndt and Sebastian York from audible.

Eggnog. Check. Roaring fire. Check. Hot romance audiobook. Check!

Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her male colleague, Kennedy Riley. The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person, since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party.

As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be outrageously handsome…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor—and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: he’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend, if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding. It sounds easy enough. Little by little, however, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact—and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.

Romance audiobook dream team Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward join forces again to deliver an engaging, funny, and sexy story that will make listeners laugh while it sets their hearts racing. Narrated by the double audio act of Andi Arndt (inducted into The Audible Narrator Hall of Fame in 2017) and Sebastian York, this sizzling novella will heat up the holidays…all year long.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #557

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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:

There’s Something About Darcy by Gabrielle Malcolm, a giveaway win from Diary of an Eccentric.

For some, Colin Firth emerging from a lake in that clinging wet shirt is one of the most iconic moments in television. What is it about the two-hundred-year-old hero that we so ardently admire and love?

Dr Malcolm examines Jane Austen’s influences in creating Darcy’s potent mix of brooding Gothic hero, aristocratic elitist and romantic Regency man of action. She investigates how he paved the way for later characters like Heathcliff, Rochester and even Dracula, and what his impact has been on popular culture over the past two centuries. For twenty-first century readers the world over have their idea of the ‘perfect’ Darcy in mind when they read the novel and will defend their choice passionately.

In this insightful and entertaining study, every variety of Darcy jostles for attention: vampire Darcy, digital Darcy, Mormon Darcy and gay Darcy. Who does it best and how did a clergyman’s daughter from Hampshire create such an enduring character?

Christmas Poetry to Inspire by Jean Kay from my Bookish Secret Santa.

Christmas Poetry to Inspire is a collection of poems written by Jean Kay who writes a poem every morning to start her day. Her poems are thought-provoking, easy to read, understandable and usually rhyme.Reading inspirational poems relating to Christmas can create the peace of mind we all long for at this busy time of year. Give yourself a gift and take some time from the hustle bustle of the Christmas Season to relax, enjoy and soothe your soul with inspiration from Christmas Poetry to Inspire.There are many reasons to celebrate Christmas—sharing good food with family and friends, carol singing, attending concerts, lunches, and church services of all denominations. All these ways to celebrate are mentioned in poems throughout the book.

Yule Tide: A Jane Austen-Inspired Collection of Stories edited by Christina Boyd from my Bookish Secret Santa.

“I went up to the Great House between three and four, and dawdled away an hour very comfortably…” –Jane Austen

A holiday short story anthology with some favorite Austenesque authors, YULETIDE is inspired by Jane Austen, PRIDE & PREJUDICE, and the spirit of the season. Regency and contemporary alike, each romance was dreamt to spark love, humor, and wonder while you dawdle over a hot cup of tea this Christmas.

Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Lona Manning * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams

All proceeds from the KINDLE E-BOOK and PAPERBACK ONLY to benefit Chawton Great House in Hampshire, former manor of Jane Austen’s brother Edward Austen Knight and now the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing, 1600-1830.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #556

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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:

The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas for review from TLC Book Tours.

In the nineteenth century, inexpensive editions of Jane Austen’s novels targeted to Britain’s working classes were sold at railway stations, traded for soap wrappers, and awarded as school prizes. At just pennies a copy, these reprints were some of the earliest mass-market paperbacks, with Austen’s beloved stories squeezed into tight columns on thin, cheap paper. Few of these hard-lived bargain books survive, yet they made a substantial difference to Austen’s early readership. These were the books bought and read by ordinary people.

Packed with nearly 100 full-color photographs of dazzling, sometimes gaudy, sometimes tasteless covers, The Lost Books of Jane Austen is a unique history of these rare and forgotten Austen volumes. Such shoddy editions, Janine Barchas argues, were instrumental in bringing Austen’s work and reputation before the general public. Only by examining them can we grasp the chaotic range of Austen’s popular reach among working-class readers.

Informed by the author’s years of unconventional book hunting, The Lost Books of Jane Austen will surprise even the most ardent Janeite with glimpses of scruffy survivors that challenge the prevailing story of the author’s steady and genteel rise. Thoroughly innovative and occasionally irreverent, this book will appeal in equal measure to book historians, Austen fans, and scholars of literary celebrity.

What did you receive?

 

Mailbox Monday #555

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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:

National Geographic Kids: Dream Journal by Dr. Allan Peterkin from Media Masters Publicity.

Decode your dreams and discover the fascinating science, history, and culture behind dreaming in this awesome write-in journal.

Have you ever wondered where your dreams come from? Or why they’re so hard to remember? Or how to make that monster in your nightmares a little bit more … friendly? We’ve got answers to these musings and more!

In this journal, you’ll explore the mysteries of the unconscious mind. You’ll learn how dreams inspired some of the most popular art in recent history, how the ancient Greeks used dreams to answer their questions, and how your brain works as it conjures up these amazing, imaginative, and often weird reveries. Plus, you’ll find tips on how to get a good night’s sleep, remember more about what you dream, and conjure lucid dreams. It’s the perfect tool to help kids remember, record, and reflect on their nighttime adventures. Catching Z’s has never been so much fun.

With lively text, and vibrant imagery, and plenty of space for writing, this journal is your go-to place to document, learn, and celebrate the powers of your fantastic, creative brain.

Pride, Prejudice & Secrets by C.P. Odom from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

One of the turning points in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s passionate refusal and denunciation of the equally passionate but infinitely more repressed Fitzwilliam Darcy. However, unforeseen events can lead to the most unexpected consequences.

During a visit with her friend Charlotte Collins at Hunsford, Elizabeth falls prey to illness for almost the first time in her life just as Mr. Darcy comes to call. Befuddled by her illness, she misinterprets his proposal of marriage, and a simple nod of acknowledgment is mistaken for acceptance of his suit by a joyous Darcy.

By the time Elizabeth regains her health, it seems every one of her acquaintance — and many outside of it — accept she is engaged to the last man in the world she would ever consider. Elizabeth knows that her life will be forever changed, and the consequences will spread further than she imagines.

Ditching Mr. Darcy by Samantha Whitman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What would you do if you crashed your car into a ditch and woke up as the main character of your favorite book? What if nothing happened the way it was supposed to? What if you met the dreamiest romantic hero in literary history and yet you fell in love with someone else instead? What would happen if you never woke up again? What would happen if you did? Elizabeth Baker is about to find out.

 

Courting Elizabeth by Renata McMann and Summer Hanford from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

In the wake of his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth, Darcy is compelled to write her, unable to permit her misconceptions to stand. Unfortunately, he leaves his letter unattended. What happens when Darcy’s words make their way into Lady Catherine’s hands? With his aunt determined to force him to marry Anne de Bourgh, will Darcy still manage to pursue Elizabeth? Find out what twists, turns and danger await in Courting Elizabeth.

Courting Elizabeth is a Pride and Prejudice variation novel of approximately 83,000 words.

Renata McMann and Summer Hanford began writing Pride and Prejudice Variations together in 2014 and have since become immersed in the amazing world Jane Austen created. Whether you’re a fan of Darcy and Elizabeth specifically or of clean Regency Romance in general, you will enjoy both McMann’s ability to imagine variations of this classic love story and Hanford’s skill in turning these variations of Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet and their enduring love into entertaining stories.

Second Son by Cherith Boardman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What if, instead of being born the heir to Pemberley, Fitzwilliam Darcy had been a second son?

In a time when birth order determines who inherits everything or nothing, Fitzwilliam Darcy must find his own path – excelling in the profession he chuses. When tragedy strikes, he is called to fulfil his role as the “spare,” struggling to meet the demands placed upon him, overcoming the distrust of those who wish him to fail, and devoting himself to the good of Pemberley’s dependents.

Disgusted with Society, and scorned by the sister he loves, Darcy visits his friend in Hertfordshire, where he meets the Bennets of Longbourn. He discovers in their second daughter, Elizabeth, a new source of hope and purpose for his life. When his family questions the lady’s fitness to be Mistress of Pemberley and demands he fulfil his responsibilities to his family and the legacy of the Darcy name, Fitzwilliam is left torn between duty and his heart…

Duty has taken his dreams once, is Pemberley to take Elizabeth from him as well?

Aerendgast: The Lost History of Jane Austen by R. Berman from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

What if Jane Austen was secretly married? What if she had a baby whose descendants are still alive today? Violet Desmond has just learned that her life is a lie. With sparse clues, she sets off to discover her hidden history and, simultaneously, an explanation for her vivid dreams-dreams in which a woman from the past narrates an impossible story involving a secret marriage and a child-a story intimately connected to Jane Austen. Violet reluctantly agrees to receive help from cavalier Peter Knighton. Blacklisted from his profession, Knighton can almost taste the money and accolades he’ll receive for digging up something good on Austen. The unlikely pair begins a quest for answers that leads them to Aerendgast Hallows. Knee-deep in hidden crypts, perilous pursuits, and centuries-old riddles, Violet must put her literary expertise to the test as she battles to uncover the secret that her loved ones died trying to reveal-before an unknown enemy silences her as well.

Suddenly Mrs. Darcy by Jenetta James from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

Elizabeth Bennet never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger.

But when Mrs. Bennet accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?

 

Lover’s Knot by Jenetta James from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019.

A great love. A perplexing murder. Netherfield Park — a house of secrets.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a tangle. Captivated by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, a girl of no fortune and few connections. Embroiled in an infamous murder in the home of his friend, Charles Bingley. He is being tested in every way. Fearing for Elizabeth’s safety, Darcy moves to protect her in the only way he knows but is thwarted. Thus, he is forced to turn detective. Can he overcome his pride for the sake of Elizabeth? Can he, with a broken heart, fathom the villainy that has invaded their lives? Is there even a chance for love born of such strife?

Impulse & Initiative by Abigail Reynolds from the JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019 — signed by the author!

In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy gives up on winning the woman he loves after she refuses his proposal of marriage. What if, instead of disappearing from her life, he took the initiative and tried to change her mind? In Impulse & Initiative, Mr. Darcy follows Elizabeth Bennet to her home in Hertfordshire, planning to prove to her he is a changed man and worthy of her love. THE PEMBERLEY VARIATIONS by Abigail Reynolds is a series of novels exploring the roads not taken in Pride & Prejudice.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #554

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins for review.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia―trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

Were We Awake by L.M. Brown for review.

In each story, events make the characters understand that their world is not as it seemed.

In Hidden, the discovery of an affair between her father and aunt is only the start of finding hidden secrets for Hazel.

What It Means to Be Empty-Handed is narrated by a fourteen–year-old daughter of an alcoholic. Her denial and elaborate imagination starts to disintegrate when she lies to the wrong person.

In Communion, a seven year old boy believes the mourners arriving at his best friend’s house next door are attending a party and he wants to go.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #553

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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.

I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart from Audible.

Superstar comedian and Hollywood box-office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: the, a, for, above, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.

It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.

The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way).

But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, J.K. Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the listener on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.

And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.

He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself.

“Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter,” he says. “So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?”

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #552

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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.

Code This!: Puzzles, Games, Challenges, and Computer Coding Concepts for the Problem Solver in You for review.

Welcome to the Coder Crew, where you’re on a mission. You’ll write algorithms to find hidden treasures, decode ciphers to read secret messages, create loops to program an expedition, and more. Along the way, you’ll learn the art of figuring out how to do things in general. That’s called computer science. You’ll also learn the art of explaining something in particular. That’s called programming, or coding.

Then you can put your skills to the test to help Cody the Robot. Whenever the Code This! Explorers need a hand, Cody is there to help. Unfortunately, this robot is very particular about the details. It can’t simply collect a rare type of bacteria from a volcano. It needs step-by-step instructions on where to go, how to collect the bacteria, what bacteria to collect, and how to get back to the Explorers. Even more unfortunately, the Explorers are superbusy folks with a lot of cool stuff on their minds. That means they rarely give Cody the instructions it needs, which makes it want to totally short-circuit. That’s where YOU come in to help Cody succeed at some of the trickiest, most awesome missions on Earth.

The Book of Queens: Legendary Leaders, Fierce Females, and Wonder Women Who Ruled the World for review.

Empire builders, legendary leaders, revolutionary rebels, powerful pioneers, and more … discover more than 100 wonder women who prove that girls totally rule.

They’re queens wielding scepters and sitting on thrones, they’re revolutionaries on the front lines of change, they’re presidents and prime ministers leading their nation, or they’re CEOs, scientists, sports legends, and artists who are have risen to the top of their fields. Welcome to The Book of Queens, where being a mighty monarch doesn’t just mean wearing a crown. Leaders like these come from all over the globe and have different talents. But most of all? They rule!

Are you ready to be inspired by the most powerful women in history? Some wielded their might for good while others let their power go to their heads. Yet all were powerful people who changed the course of history. From Elizabeth I to Cleopatra to Beyonce, every regal ruler in this book showcases the kind of guts, smarts, and strength it takes to lead. And while there are some wonder women you might recognize, others may leave you wondering why so many brave, smart, and hardworking ladies have gone unnoticed … until now. Whether real-life royals or average Janes who rose to rule, get ready to be inspired by their stories.

Don’t Read This Book Before Dinner: Revoltingly true tales of foul food, icky animals, horrible history, and more for review.

If you love to be grossed out, grab a seat at the table to revel in some of the most repulsive and downright disgusting true stories from around the globe.

From wretched rodents and beastly bugs to putrid plants and muck-filled moats, step right in to find out more about the icky, sticky world around you. Gloriously gross stories of decaying delicacies, foul fashion, horrible history, awful animals, and more are paired with eye-popping pictures, fun facts, and hilarious quizzes in this fun book. Topics go way beyond food to include art, plants, animals, fashion, pop culture, medicine, the human body, and beyond. It’s a hot mess to digest, but it’s sure to leave kids disgusted and delighted. Read if you dare, but don’t say we didn’t warn you! Sometimes you CAN judge a book by its cover!

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #551

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia 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.

Camp Red Moon by R.L. Stine from Audible.

Camp nights or camp frights?!

Every sleepaway camp promises memories that last a lifetime. But the memories from Camp Red Moon might give you nightmares!

• The campfire appears to dim when the moon turns blood red and strange creatures prowl the forest.

• Do you find a total lookalike at camp? Is it coincidence or is he a shapeshifter trying to take over your life?

• Why don’t your competitors at the robotics competition seem exactly…human?

• And why do campers do anything to avoid Cabin 6?

What did you receive?