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Mailbox Monday #573

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 Haunted Library: The Ghost in the Attic by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Aurore Damant, which I purchased.

After successfully solving the mystery of the ghost in the library, Kaz and Claire land the first case for their detective agency—a haunted attic in a neighbor’s home! With a little help from Grannie, Kaz and Claire discover that what appeared to be something spooky has a much simpler explanation.

 

The Deep by Alma Katsu, which I purchased.

Someone, or something, is haunting the ship. Between mysterious disappearances and sudden deaths, the guests of the Titanic have found themselves suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone from the moment they set sail. Several of them, including maid Annie Hebley, guest Mark Fletcher, and millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, are convinced there’s something sinister–almost otherwordly–afoot. But before they can locate the source of the danger, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later, Annie, having survived that fateful night, has attempted to put her life back together. Working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic‘s sister ship, the Britannic, newly refitted as a hospital ship, she happens across an unconscious Mark, now a soldier fighting in World War I. At first, Annie is thrilled and relieved to learn that he too survived the sinking, but soon, Mark’s presence awakens deep-buried feelings and secrets, forcing her to reckon with the demons of her past–as they both discover that the terror may not yet be over.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #572

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:

Girls Like Us by Elizabeth Hazen, which I purchased and will be on blog tour with Poetic Book Tours in May.

Girls Like Us is packed with fierce, eloquent, and deeply intelligent poetry focused on female identity and the contradictory personas women are expected to embody. The women in these poems sometimes fear and sometimes knowingly provoke the male gaze. At times, they try to reconcile themselves to the violence that such attentions may bring; at others, they actively defy it. Hazen’s insights into the conflict between desire and wholeness, between self and self-destruction, are harrowing and wise. The predicaments confronted in Girls Like Us are age-old and universal—but in our current era, Hazen’s work has a particular weight, power, and value.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #571

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:

Pride & Prejudice & Airships by Caylen McQueen, a Kindle freebie.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of good fortune, must be in want of a husband. Similarly, young men of meager means, such as the Bennet brothers, must be desperate to find a wife.

In an alternate universe where airships rule the sky, women govern the world. Men aren’t allowed to join the military, carry firearms, or pilot airships. In fact, a young man’s only goal is to attract a wealthy wife. For centuries, unmarried men have been labeled as “spinsirs” and treated like social pariahs. In a world where gentlemen are little more than property, Elisander Bennet longs for something more.

Elisander meets Darcy Fitzwilliam, a military captain who turns up her nose at the Bennets’ low birth. She antagonizes Elisander and his family, while secretly resisting a growing attraction to him. Meanwhile, Elisander is robbed and romanced by Georgette Wickham, a flirtatious pirate with a dark reputation.

Smitten with Sense by Keena Richins, a kindle freebie — her recent book Sense Without Sensibility was on blog tour with Poetic Book Tours to rave reviews.

Edward knew he was a lost cause. While on the outside, he had the wealth, the connections, and the prestige everyone dreamed about, but he knew he was trapped in a gilded cage. He stayed under his ruthless mother’s thumb out of desperation since her formidable reputation preserved the little freedom he had left thanks to a mistake in his past that waited to destroy him if he made any wrong moves.

Then he meets Elinor—who couldn’t be more perfect for him. He finally has a taste of what happiness could be like and despite the danger, wants to keep it. Teaming up with Frank Churchill and Miss Morton might do the trick, but breaking free will be dangerous. To keep Elinor safe, he has to be distant, but will she forgive his coldness or will he lose her no matter what he does?

While interconnected with the other books, “Smitten With Sense” can be read on its own and is a clean/sweet romance with a guaranteed happily ever after.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #570

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 as Kindle freebies:

 

 

 

 

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #569

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:

Said Through Glass by Jona Colson, which I purchased as he’ll be at the upcoming Gaithersburg Book Festival in May.

Jona Colson’s debut poetry collection asks the reader to reconsider ordinary life as something curious, even fantastic. A poet of astonishing and apparently limitless range, he is sometimes whimsical, sometimes terrifying, but always contemplative, tender and wise.

 

 

The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande, which I purchased for the first Gaithersburg Reads event in March.

Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years in this “compelling . . . unvarnished, resonant” (BookPage) story of a childhood spent torn between two parents and two countries. As her parents make the dangerous trek across the Mexican border to “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side) in pursuit of the American dream, Reyna and her siblings are forced into the already overburdened household of their stern grandmother. When their mother at last returns, Reyna prepares for her own journey to “El Otro Lado” to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father.

Funny, heartbreaking, and lyrical, The Distance Between Us poignantly captures the confusion and contradictions of childhood, reminding us that the joys and sorrows we experience are imprinted on the heart forever, calling out to us of those places we first called home.

A Dream Called Home by Reyna Grande, which I purchased for the first Gaithersburg Reads event in March.

As an immigrant in an unfamiliar country, with an indifferent mother and abusive father, Reyna had few resources at her disposal. Taking refuge in words, Reyna’s love of reading and writing propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Although her acceptance is a triumph, the actual experience of American college life is intimidating and unfamiliar for someone like Reyna, who is now estranged from her family and support system. Again, she finds solace in words, holding fast to her vision of becoming a writer, only to discover she knows nothing about what it takes to make a career out of a dream.

Through it all, Reyna is determined to make the impossible possible, going from undocumented immigrant of little means to “a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer” (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild); a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist whose “power is growing with every book” (Luis Alberto Urrea, Pultizer Prize finalist); and a proud mother of two beautiful children who will never have to know the pain of poverty and neglect.

Told in Reyna’s exquisite, heartfelt prose, A Dream Called Home demonstrates how, by daring to pursue her dreams, Reyna was able to build the one thing she had always longed for: a home that would endure.

i shimmer sometimes, too by Porsha Olayiwola, which I purchased after listening to this interview.

Porsha Olayiwola’s debut poetry collection soars with the power and presence of live performance.

These poems dip their hands into the fabric of black womanhood and revel in it. Shimmer establishes Olayiwola firmly in the lineage of black queer poetics, celebrating the work done by generations of poets from Audre Lorde to Danez Smith.

Each poem is a gentle breaking and an inventive reconstruction. This is a book of self and community-care―in pursuit of building a world that will not only keep you alive but will keep you joyful.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #568

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:

This Is Not a Sky by Jessica Piazza, which I purchased.

Jessica Piazza’s THIS IS NOT A SKY begins with the seed of ekphrastic literature, then yawns, then stretches, then bursts beyond those bounds. Each of these 18 poems borrows a title from the greats—from Raphael and Turner to Warhol and Twombly—and through imagined narratives, takes the reader both inside and outside the paintings. In Piazza’s capable hands, the original art works serve as launch pads, and the poems are glorious departures. Through the guided commentary of an italicized speaker (sometimes commentator, sometimes companion, sometimes voyeur), we are taken to a long hallway wherein the reader wanders from room to room, peeking inside. Behind one door, “The ladies wore boas and nothing else; the beautiful men repeated themselves,” and behind another, “You float, no floors, no doors in the office walls, hidden heavy hook of neck, crook of knee.” THIS IS NOT A SKY is a multi-faceted sensory experience; Piazza employs QR codes in tandem with each poem to allow the reader access to the original work of art alongside its poetic departure. Through her finely tuned ear for carefully considered formal metrical structures and rhyme, Piazza merges music, painting, and poetry to breathe new, strange, and modern life into the grand themes that have long given art its universality: death, love, religion, and truth.

Partial Genius by Mary Biddinger, which I purchased.

What happens when you finally realize that you are really good, but only at unremarkable things? What value does memory hold when weighed against heavier commodities such as money and time and conventional beauty? The prose poems of Partial Genius build upon the form in a collective narrative, working in unison to craft a larger story. Post-youth and mid-epiphany, Partial Genius ponders the years spent waiting for reconciliation of past wrongs, the acknowledgment of former selves, and the desire to truly fit into one landscape or another.

“I love this book so much. A work of meticulous craft and profound originality, Mary Biddinger’s newest collection of prose poems is one of the best books I’ve read on our historical moment and the decades that led to it. PARTIAL GENIUS reads like a dossier of the psychological landscape of late capitalist America and the end of empire. In the tradition of John Ashbery, but wholly original in her own vision and voice, Biddinger draws from a deep well of poetic intellect and wit to illuminate the existential threats and imaginative possibilities of our collective self-destruction. In ‘The Subject Pool’ the speaker watches a man tattoo AU COURANT around her thigh. The tattoo artist has no idea. Every poem is chock-full of revelations in every detail. Reading this book felt like sitting by the fire in some secret location with a double agent, smoking her pipe telling tales of all that went down right in front of our faces, while we were all driven to distraction by outrage. To paraphrase Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, She’s got it all in this book.”–Heather Derr-Smith

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #567

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 Engagement Gift by Lauren Blakely from Audible.

Some things are better left unsaid.

Besides, I don’t need to act on every wild thought that flits through my imagination, not when my fiancé and I have the kind of life I’ve always longed for – passionate, intimate, and, oh, so real.

I can’t risk losing him, so I focus on building our life together as a couple, expanding my career as a sports reporter, and prepping for our wedding. But the more insistent my thoughts become, the closer I get to telling him what I want most…

The question though is: What will happen to our unbreakable bond when I do?

Mr. Darcy’s Fault: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary Novella by Regina Jeffers, a freebie.

What if an accident prevents Elizabeth Bennet from reading Mr. Darcy’s letter of apology? What if said letter goes missing and ends up in the hands of George Wickham? What if Mr. Wickham plans to use the evidence of both Georgiana Darcy’s ruination and Darcy’s disdain for the Bennets to his benefit? How will Darcy counter Wickham’s plans and claim happiness with Elizabeth Bennet?

When he notices his long-time enemy in the vicinity of Hunsford Cottage, FITZWILLIAM DARCY means to put an end to an assignation between ELIZABETH BENNET and Mr. Wickham, but Darcy is not prepared for the scene which greets him in Rosings Woods. Elizabeth lies injured and crumpled beneath one of trees, and in order to save her, by Society’s standards, Darcy must compromise Elizabeth. Needless to say, Darcy does not mind claiming Elizabeth to wife, but what of the lady’s affections? Can Darcy tolerate Elizabeth’s emotions being engaged elsewhere?

Compelled into an engagement she least desires, Elizabeth Bennet thinks it impossible she could ever care for the arrogant Mr. Darcy, but the man proves more irresistible than Elizabeth first assumes. Yet, just when Elizabeth begins to believe happiness is within their grasps, Mr. Wickham reappears in her life with a “proposal” Elizabeth cannot refuse, and it is all Mr. Darcy’s fault.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #566

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:

Seeking Mr. Dependable: The Jane Austen Pact by Cami Checketts, a freebie.

A broken-hearted Romeo. A wrongly-accused woman. Can he keep her safe if she puts her life in his hands?

Brooke Isaacson’s ex-fiancé pulls a gun on her and she has no choice but to run. When she runs straight to Wyoming and into the arms of Ryker Redland, she’s not sure if she’s found her Mr. Dependable or found the biggest heartbreak of her life.

A deserted cabin and a territorial grizzly tracking them will either bring them together or be their death sentence.

Love Like This by Sophie Love, a freebie.

Keira Swanson, 28, lands her dream job at Viatorum, a slick magazine in New York City, as an aspiring travel writer. But their culture is brutal, her boss is a monster, and she doesn’t know if she can last for long.

That changes when Keira, by a fluke, is handed a coveted assignment and given her big chance: to travel to Ireland for 30 days, witness the legendary Lisdoonvarna festival of love, and to debunk the myth that true love exists. Keira, cynical herself and in a rocky place with her long-term boyfriend, is all too happy to oblige.

But when Keira falls in love with Ireland and meets her Irish tour guide, who just may be the man of her dreams, she is no longer sure of anything.

A whirlwind romantic comedy that is as profound as it is funny, LOVE LIKE THIS is book #1 in the debut of a dazzling new romance series that will make you laugh, cry, and will keep you turning pages late into the night—and will make you fall in love with romance all over again.

Malcolm and Me by Ishmael Reed from Audible.

In 1960, Ishmael Reed, then an aspiring young writer, interviewed Malcolm X for a local radio station in Buffalo, New York. The encounter cost Reed his job and changed his life. In Malcolm and Me, Reed, acclaimed author of such classic novels as Mumbo Jumbo and winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, reveals a side of Malcolm X the public has never seen before, while exploring how the civil rights firebrand influenced his own views on working, living, speaking out, and left a mark on generations of artists and activists.

Malcolm X was one of the most influential human rights activists in history and his views on race, religion, and fighting back changed America and the world. Reed gives us a clear-eyed view of what the man was really like—beyond the headlines and the myth-making. Malcolm and Me is a personal look at the development of an artist and a testament to how chance encounters we have in our youth can transform who we are and the world we live in.

Alone with the Stars by David R. Gillham, Hillary Huber, and Emily Bauer from Audible.

In the summer of 1937, Amelia Earhart is the most famous woman in the world—a record-breaking pilot, a best-selling author, and a modern woman shattering the glass ceiling in the early days of aviation. And then she vanished.

But a series of intercepted radio signals just might save her in this historical fiction audiobook from the acclaimed, New York Times best-selling author of City of Women, David R. Gillham. Award-winning narrators Emily Bauer and Hillary Huber create an account that brings light to that specific time and place.

In Tampa, Florida, 15-year-old Lizzie Friedlander spends her afternoons glued to her father’s radio, tapping into the enormity of a world she longs to travel. Lizzie can hardly believe her ears when she picks up a radio signal from a faraway source that sets her heart racing: “Amelia Earhart calling SOS!”

As Lizzie copies down the transmissions, it’s clear that the famed Amelia Earhart is not lost at sea, as the newspapers are dreading, but alive and calling for help. In a race against time, Lizzie must convince the local Coast Guard that the radio transmissions were real and that Earhart’s life hangs in the balance. But will anyone believe her?

Written for audio by David R. Gillham, Alone with the Stars is a breathtaking and illuminating fictional tribute to a woman who risked her life in pursuit of new heights and the young girl who tried desperately to save her. Inspired by actual events, Alone with the Stars reveals, in riveting detail, the final moments in the life of a great heroine, whose courage changed the world forever.

Break Shot: My First 21 Years: An Audio Memoir by James Taylor from Audible.

“I’m James Taylor, and I’m a professional autobiographer.” So begins the tender audio memoir Break Shot: My First 21 Years. Through decades of songs by the celebrated folk legend who brought us “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina in My Mind”, James Taylor has doled out details of his life in the poetry of his work. Taylor says his early life is “the source of many of my songs”, and Break Shot is a tour of his first 21 years in rich, new detail. Combining storytelling, music and performance, this one-of-a-kind listening experience also features a crop of musical gems, including an unreleased recording of the beloved hymn “Jerusalem” and selections from his newest release, American Standard, as well as new original scoring by Taylor specially recorded for Break Shot and more.

Recorded in his home studio, TheBarn in western Massachusetts, Break Shot tells the deeply personal story of Taylor’s youth, which is entwined with the story of his family. What started as an idyllic tight unit soon became a family sent to different emotional corners – like a break shot in the game of pool, he says, “when you slam the cue ball into the 15 other balls and they all go flying off”.

Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist from Audible.

In this book, New York Times best-selling author Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.

As she puts it: “A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it’s changing everything. Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth.”

In Shauna’s warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours, too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.

Shauna offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #565

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:

Persuasion: Behind the Scenes by Maria Grace and Susan Mason-Millk, a freebie.

You pierce my soul.

Before Jane Austen wrote that romantic letter from Captain Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot, she crafted a masterful story of heartbreak and longing that still resonates with readers today.

But what of those scenes that Jane Austen never wrote? What Persuasion fan doesn’t want to listen in on Anne and Wentworth’s first courtship, laugh at the follies and foibles of the Elliot family, sail along on Captain Wentworth’s harrowing adventures at sea or attend Wentworth and Anne’s wedding.

Twelve authors of Austen-inspired fiction: Diana Birchall, Marilyn Brant, Jack Caldwell, L.L. Diamond, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Kara Louise, Susan Mason-Milks, Jane Odiwe, C. Allyn Pierson, Mary Lydon Simonsen, and Shannon Winslow collaborated to put this unique collection that fills in “missing” scenes from Austen’s classic work, sure to delight any true Persuasion fan.

Jane and the Visitors from Pemberley by Margaret Lynette Sharp, a freebie.

A Short story — Fifteen-year-old Isobel, the youngest daughter of Jane and Charles Bingley, is overjoyed when, despite her mama’s misgivings, she is allowed to go on holiday with her friends at Brighton. Will this high-spirited young woman somehow manage to behave with uncharacteristic decorum? Or will history repeat itself?

Liz and Darcy, Part 1 Boardroom Battle by Kelsie Fann, a freebie.

Will Darcy’s pride bankrupt Liz?

When Liz Bailey discovers she only has 24 hours to save her southern media company, she leaps to the quickest solution: find a buyer, fast.

Chicago based investor Darcy Williams isn’t interested in the poorly run business. . . until his nemesis shows up.

The new buyer instantly attracts Liz. He’s beautiful, charming, and he has deep enough pockets to save the company.

Except he’s broke, and Darcy knows it. Now Darcy has to chose. Does he care enough to save Liz’s company? Or should he leave and let her deal with the fallout?

Will Darcy let himself fall into the land of sweet tea and seersucker before it’s too late? Or will the clock run out on Liz’s southern charm?

Love and Other Machines by Alix James, a freebie.

Her life was going smoothly until love threw a wrench into it.

Her uncle’s pet and her mother’s trial, Elizabeth Bennet has always been… different. Blessed with a quick mind and a knack for all things mechanical, sometimes the simplest things—like love—are harder for her to fix.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is anything but simple. A gentleman by birth but an engineer at heart, he wastes no time in dismantling Elizabeth’s secret. The gentleman, however, has secrets of his own that cause him to linger, to falter, and then to risk everything.

A chance journey with Elizabeth’s uncle to Mr Bingley’s factory in Birmingham had seemed the ideal opportunity to indulge her fascination without risk to her reputation. But a lady of gentle birth and modest means must never tinker with machinery, and most certainly should not have grease on her cheek.

What began as a mechanical challenge becomes a personal test when rioters and old enemies turn the tables. Can Elizabeth and Darcy work together, or will the gears spin out of control?

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Nicole Lewis, purchased from Audible.

Alix Chamberlain is a woman who gets what she wants and has made a living, with her confidence-driven brand, showing other women how to do the same. So she is shocked when her babysitter, Emira Tucker, is confronted while watching the Chamberlains’ toddler one night, walking the aisles of their local high-end supermarket. The store’s security guard, seeing a young black woman out late with a white child, accuses Emira of kidnapping two-year-old Briar. A small crowd gathers, a bystander films everything, and Emira is furious and humiliated. Alix resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke, and wary of Alix’s desire to help. At 25, she is about to lose her health insurance and has no idea what to do with her life. When the video of Emira unearths someone from Alix’s past, both women find themselves on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, and each other.

Seed by Ania Ahlborn, Eric G. Dove, purchased from Audible.

With nothing but the clothes on his back – and something horrific snapping at his heels – Jack Winter fled his rural Georgia home when he was just a boy. Watching the world he knew vanish in a trucker’s rearview mirror, he thought he was leaving an unspeakable nightmare behind forever.

Now, years later, the bright new future he’s built suddenly turns pitch black, as something fiendishly familiar looms dead ahead.

Surviving a violent car crash seems like a miracle for Jack’s family, but Jack knows there’s nothing divine about it. The profound evil he uncovered as a boy has finally found him again. The thing that crouched at his bedside with soulless eyes and grinning, razor-sharp teeth is back with plans for Jack and his angelic youngest daughter, and a chilling promise: I’ve always been here, and I’ll never leave.

Wasted Words by Staci Hart, a freebie.

Some universal truths refuse to be ignored.

Peanut butter and jelly are a match made in heaven. Spaghetti and meatballs are best friends forever. And guys like Tyler Knight don’t go for girls like Cam Emerson.

She knew from the second she met him that he didn’t belong on her bookshelf, the six-foot-six ex-tight end with a face so all-American, it could have sold apple pie. So she shelved him next to the supermodels and rock stars and took her place on her own shelf — the one with the flannel-clad, pasty-faced comic book nerds. Most of her boyfriends have existed between the pages of books, but rather than worrying over her own lacking love life, she puts all her energy into playing Cupid, using her job at the book bar, Wasted Words, as her stomping ground.

Tyler Knight always looks on the bright side. His career-ending injury turned into a job as a sports agent. A horrible breakup led him to Cam, his quirky, smart roommate who is far more beautiful than she realizes. She’s made it perfectly clear she’s not interested in him — not like that at least — but if she ever changes her mind, he won’t hesitate. Because he doesn’t see the lines she’s drawn between them, as much as she insists that they’re there. Deep down he knows that despite their differences, they’re a match well made.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #564

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:

Scattered Clouds by Reuben Jackson, which I purchased.

Scattered Clouds: New & Selected Poems is a volume of lyrical, emotionally forthright meditations on love, loss, and longing. The poems are often sobering, but they are not, to quote Langston Hughes, “without laughter.” Scattered Clouds contains the complete text of the author’s award-winning first collection, fingering the keys; his nationally lauded poem, “For Trayvon Martin”; and his wry, unabashedly romantic suite of ruminations on a long-time and deeply missed friend, the late barbershop owner Amir Yasin, and his widow Khadijah Rollins. These poems, exploring Amir’s late-life romance with Kadijah, became a national internet sensation. An introduction by poet Abdul Ali (Cave Canem alumni and author of Trouble Sleeping) places Jackson in his rightful context as a Black American poetry elder, who has influenced generations of younger poets with his musical wisdom as well as his poetry.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #563

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:

Turn It Up!: A Pitch Perfect History of Music that Rocked the World for review from Media Masters Publicity and National Geographic Kids.

The high notes and biggest moments in music history are covered in this fun compendium. You’ll learn about the world’s most famous musicians through the eras, from Bach to the Beatles to Beyonce — and beyond. Many major music genres are playfully explained, from tribal, classical, jazz, folk, rock … all the way to today’s modern forms, such as k-pop, hip-hop, and rap. Instruments and sounds are explored, along with places and events in history that inspired the evolution of music. Kids will also get a sense of music theory, instrumentation, and the artistry of distinctive musical styles. Song recommendations help readers open their ears to what they’ve learned. Add to that amazing images, a rockin’ glossary of musical terms, and a timeline that plots each genre on its path from ancient history to today, and this book is bound to top the charts!

We Love Babies by Jill Esbaum for review from Media Masters Publicity and National Geographic Kids.

This hilarious picture book with rollicking, rhyming text reads like a crowd-pleasing call, pumping up readers’ excitement for the cutest baby animals ever. Illustrated with lively National Geographic photography, We Love Babies! presents furred, feathered, and finned baby animals of all shapes and sizes. Whimsical cartoon cheerleaders add to the fun, popping up throughout the book to lead fans in the irresistible refrain: “We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how about you?”

Wickham’s Folly by Philippa J. Rosen, a Kindle freebie.

George Wickham had no intention of joining the army. However, after a night drinking gin with his friend Tom, he awakes the next morning an enlisted soldier.

He is posted to a small town in Hertfordshire and meets a variety of people. He makes friends with a couple who have five daughters and plans to marry one of the older daughters in order to inherit her father’s wealth. At the same time, he intends to become better acquainted with the youngest daughter, Lydia. For good measure he tries to a young clergyman of his money by fraudulent means.

His plans are thwarted however, and he flees to London. Thanks to the intervention of a gentleman from Derbyshire he is forced to marry Lydia and takes a commission in the north of England.

He is content to be a soldier as long as Napoleon is still exiled in Elba. When Napoleon escapes though his regiment sail for Europe at once.

At the Battle of Waterloo, Wickham somehow becomes a hero. But is there more to his heroic actions than meets the eye? The young clergyman travels to give spiritual assistance to the English soldiers, and it is there that he discovers Wickham’s secret…

Georgiana Darcy’s Secret Letters by Francine Howarth and Pat Jackson, a Kindle freebie.

The shy reclusive sister of Fitzwilliam Darcy loves the wide open spaces of the Derbyshire Dales, where her favoured pastime steals her away from her dour existence at Pemberley. Whilst the memory of George Wickham lingers as a reminder of a past mistake, Georgiana rebels and embraces the writing of clandestine letters. But can she really trust a battle hardened officer to rein back when burgeoned desire wells in the heat of the moment, and dare she risk her reputation for the love of Lt James Dolby, Viscount Welton?

Jeopardy in January by Camilla Chafer, a Kindle freebie.

Sara Cutler loves her job as head librarian of the public library, an integral part of the historic heart of the picturesque mountain town, Calendar. The combination of old books, quirky clientele, and endless reading is nothing less than perfection for Sara. So when she discovers a body in the rare books section that threatens to destroy her quiet existence, along with the imminent demise of the library, Sara vows to find the killer.

She never expects to receive any help from Jason Rees, the handsome, big city developer whose only objective is to get rid of the library. Sara assumes he is counting on the murder to serve as the final death knell his firm needs to demolish the library. However, that doesn’t prevent him from falling head over heels for the very woman with whom he’s clashing.

When news arrives that the dead woman was nothing that she appeared to be, the whole town is instantly enthralled by the concept of having an actual jewel thief in their midst. Even more puzzling is: where did she hide her stolen treasure?

All Sara must do to save the library is simply solve the murder, find the hidden jewels, and convince herself not to succumb to the one man she would rather see run out town. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that amateur sleuthing isn’t as easy in real life as it is in the stories she loves to read.

What did you receive?

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?