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Mailbox Monday #677

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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 Switch by Beth O’Leary from Audible.

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some long-overdue rest.

Eileen is newly single and about to turn 80. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile, Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O’Leary’s The Switch, it’s never too late to change everything…or to find yourself.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary from Audible.

What if your roommate is your soul mate?

A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good audiobook about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #676

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what my daughter got from her Scholastic book fair:

 

No books for me this week!

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #675

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire from NetGalley.

Mama, I made it / out of your home / alive, raised by / the voices / in my head.

With her first full-length poetry collection, Warsan Shire introduces us to a young girl, who, in the absence of a nurturing guide, makes her own way toward womanhood. Drawing from her own life, as well as pop culture and news headlines, Shire finds vivid, unique details in the experiences of refugees and immigrants, mothers and daughters, Black women and teenage girls. In Shire’s hands, lives spring into fullness. This is noisy life, full of music and weeping and surahs and sirens and birds. This is fragrant life, full of blood and perfume and shisha smoke and jasmine and incense. This is polychrome life, full of henna and moonlight and lipstick and turmeric and kohl. The long-awaited collection from one of our most exciting contemporary poets, this book is a blessing, an incantatory celebration of resilience and survival. Each reader will come away changed.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #674

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Love Your Life by Sophie Kinsella, which I purchased.

Call Ava romantic, but she thinks love should be found in the real world, not on apps that filter men by height, job, or astrological sign. She believes in feelings, not algorithms. So after a recent breakup and dating app debacle, she decides to put love on hold and escapes to a remote writers’ retreat in coastal Italy. She’s determined to finish writing the novel she’s been fantasizing about, even though it means leaving her close-knit group of friends and her precious dog, Harold, behind.

At the retreat, she’s not allowed to use her real name or reveal any personal information. When the neighboring martial arts retreat is canceled and a few of its attendees join their small writing community, Ava, now going by “Aria,” meets “Dutch,” a man who seems too good to be true. The two embark on a baggage-free, whirlwind love affair, cliff-jumping into gem-colored Mediterranean waters and exploring the splendor of the Italian coast. Things seem to be perfect for Aria and Dutch.

But then their real identities—Ava and Matt—must return to London. As their fantasy starts to fade, they discover just how different their personal worlds are. From food choices to annoying habits to sauna etiquette . . . are they compatible in anything? And then there’s the prickly situation with Matt’s ex-girlfriend, who isn’t too eager to let him go. As one mishap follows another, it seems while they love each other, they just can’t love each other’s lives. Can they reconcile their differences to find one life together?

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane from a 2-for-1 Audible sale.

You always remember your first love…don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way – bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: It’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And – make that two problems – he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat…what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief – and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened 12 years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth…or a second chance with the one that got away?

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary from a 2-for-1 Audible sale.

What if the end of the road is just the beginning?

Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry’s enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven’t spoken since.

Today, Dylan’s and Addie’s lives collide again. It’s the day before Cherry’s wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland – he’ll never get there on time by public transport.

So, along with Dylan’s best friend, Addie’s sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart – and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #673

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Floating On Air (Struck By Love Book 1) by Syrie James, which I purchased.

On a hot summer’s day in 1986, Southern California radio deejay Desiree Germain is hosting a contest on the air when she’s entranced by the deeply masculine voice of caller number twelve.

Voices never matched faces. Desiree knows that better than anyone. As KICK’s hottest radio host, she has a sultry voice that leads people to expect a tall, voluptuous bombshell. Petite in every sense of the word, she hardly lives up to that image.

To Desiree’s surprise, caller number twelve turns out to be Kyle Harrison, a handsome, wealthy businessman from Seattle. Kyle has come to claim his prize—and her heart.

They are soon involved in a whirlwind love affair that makes Desiree’s heart sing. Is it worth the risk? All the rules say that long-distance romance and radio don’t mix.

But a man who is answering a siren’s call doesn’t care about rules.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #672

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney, I purchased on a recommendation from LittleMissStar.

In 1982, two teenagers – serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell – are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case – a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers – things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson.

Despite Travis’ objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s an expert manipulator playing a very long game…and he has his sights set on Emma.

Captivating, harrowing, and chilling, None Shall Sleep is an all-too-timely exploration of not only the monsters that live among us, but also the monsters that live inside us.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #671

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Where We Stand: Poems of Black Resilience edited by Melanie Henderson, Enzo Silon Surin, and Truth Thomas

“This anthology is the official answer for how we/us survived the apex of multiple pandemics. With recipes for survival like Tara Betts’ “Stay Lit” and ol’ school incantations illuminating truths like Kenneth Carroll’s “This Muvfucka,” we marry ourselves to the future, without ever once forgetting what Lisa Pegram says, “Even a sponge has a saturation point.” Part declaration of not dependent, part sacred text, this collection is both who we are and how we shall continue to be—all in the same breath.”

– Frank X. Walker, author of Masked Man, Black: Pandemic & Protest Poems and Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers.

Make Me Rain by Nikki Giovanni, which I purchased.

For more than fifty years, Nikki Giovanni’s poetry has dazzled and inspired readers. As sharp and outspoken as ever, she returns with this profound book of poetry in which she continues to call attention to injustice and racism, celebrate Black culture and Black lives, and give readers an unfiltered look into her own experiences.

In Make Me Rain, she celebrates her loved ones and unapologetically declares her pride in her Black heritage, while exploring the enduring impact of the twin sins of racism and white nationalism. Giovanni reaffirms her place as a uniquely vibrant and relevant American voice with poems such as “I Come from Athletes” and “Rainy Days”—calling out segregation and Donald Trump; as well as “Unloved (for Aunt Cleota)” and “When I Could No Longer”—her personal elegy for the relatives who saved her from an abusive home life.

Stirring, provocative, and resonant, the poems in Make Me Rain pierce the heart and nourish the soul.

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo, which I purchased.

In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, Crazy Brave is a haunting, visionary memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice.

With Love From London by Sarah Jio, which I purchased.

When Valentina Baker was only eleven years old, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, fresh out of a failed marriage and still at odds with her mother’s abandonment, Val feels disenchanted with her life.

In a bittersweet twist of fate, she receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the Book Garden, the storied bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. Though the news is devastating, Val jumps at the chance for a new beginning and jets across the Atlantic, hoping to learn who her mother truly was while mourning the relationship they never had.

As Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the U.K., she finds herself falling in love with the pastel-colored third-floor flat and the cozy, treasure-filled bookshop, soon realizing that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined. When Val stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, she sets out to locate the book’s mysterious former owner, though her efforts are challenged from the start, as is the Book Garden’s future. In order to save the store from financial ruin and preserve her mother’s legacy, she must rally its eccentric staff and journey deep into her mother’s secrets. With Love from London is a story about healing and loss, revealing the emotional, relatable truths about love, family, and forgiveness.

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, which I purchased after I saw it on Book Chatter.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Falling Leaves: An Interfaith Anthology on the Topic of Consolation and Loss edited by Susan Meehan and Robert Bettmann, which I purchased.

Arising from a time of unprecedented trauma and loss, this collection of poems sets its readers on a healing journey… An encouraging read for those in despair, and for those just needing to know that they are not alone.

— The Rev. Dr. David B. Lindsey, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington (DC)

The book gathers more than 40 poems by DC area poets on the topic, organized into sections on New Prayer, Acceptance, Loss, and Healing. Contributors include: Jeffrey Banks, Katya Buresh, Regie Cabico. Chris Farago, Stephanie Gemmell, Kira Hall, Laura Hart, W. Luther Jett, Jacqueline Jules, Michele Kay, Brian Leibold, Laura Martin, Susan Meehan, Kim B. Miller, Anna Postelnyak, Bernard Riefner, Dominique Rispoli, Jane Schapiro, Ori Z Soltes, Lori Tsang, Phibby Venable, Walter Weinschenk, and Jon Wood.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #670

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Forces by Lisa Stice from the publisher.

Inspired by great works of visual art, writing, and sculpture—as well as small moments observed alongside her home-schooled daughter and beloved dog Seamus—poet and U.S. Marine Corps spouse Lisa Stice explores the invisible forces and frictions at work in our lives.

“Stice is a master of quiet revelation and connection,” says the publisher. “Her words illuminate how to find beauty, wonder, calm, and strength in a world that too often feels filled with ugliness and chaos.”

For example, in “Woman Holding a Balance,” Stice considers the image of Johannes Vermeer’s 1664 painting of the same name, revealing the grounded strength within:

behind her:
a healing grace
the salvation of forgiveness
promise and sacrifice

before her:
value weighed
an equal measure
dignity and decorum

within her:
blood of generations
nurturing warmth
a round-cheeked future

And, in “While Daddy’s at Training, Our Daughter Asks Questions”:

I don’t know how to explain 35,000 feet—
all I can say is it’s very high—yes, far above
our house and those trees, but no, not beyond
the moon or the stars—and how far are those?
but I don’t know how to explain that either.

When will he be back?—so I count the days,
point to them on the calendar—what is it like
in the sky?—I say I know it’s cold and difficult
to breathe, but I don’t know how to explain
50 below or the partial pressure of oxygen.

She pretends to be an airplane—can I skydive?
and I say when you are much older, but I don’t
know if I’d want her to—she counts backwards
then jumps her couple inches—and my heart
rises before it falls back into place again.

What did books did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #669

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Push by Ashley Audrain, which I purchased.

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born—and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about what we owe our children, and what it feels like when women are not believed.

Eternal by Lisa Scottoline, which I purchased.

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear–their families, their homes, and their connection to one another–is tested in ways they never could have imagined.

As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city’s Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.

Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war–all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.

What Flies Want by Emily Perez from the publisher.

In What Flies Want, disaster looms in domesticity: a family grapples with its members’ mental health, a marriage falters, and a child experiments with self-harm. With its backdrop of school lockdown drills, #MeToo, and increasing political polarization, the collection asks how these private and public tensions are interconnected.

The speaker, who grew up in a bicultural family on the U.S./Mexico border, learns she must play a role in a culture that prizes whiteness, patriarchy, and chauvinism. As an adult she oscillates between performed confidence and obedience. As a wife, she bristles against the expectations of emotional labor. As a mother, she attempts to direct her white male children away from the toxic power they are positioned to inherit, only to find how deeply she is also implicated in these systems. Tangled in a family history of depression, a society fixated on guns, a rocky relationship, and her own desire to ignore and deny the problems she must face, this is a speaker who is by turns defiant, defeated, self-implicating, and hopeful.

The Damage Done by Susana H. Case from the publisher.

The “damage done” in Susana H. Case’s remarkable poetry thriller set in late 1960s New York City is of two orders. On the surface, this is the story of Janey, a fashion model whose death under mysterious circumstances serves as an opportunity for a corrupt FBI agent in the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to frame Janey’s Black Panther lover for her death, making them both collateral damage in J. Edgar Hoover’s clandestine war on anyone he deemed un-American. But on another level, as Case instructs us, the greater damage done is to democracy itself, to trust and faith in government, an enduring legacy of suspicion and division that serves as a cautionary tale at a moment when those divisions and distrust are more enflamed than ever. That’s a tall order for a volume of poetry, but Case more than succeeds in this audacious, breathtaking collection.

Ashes to Justice by R.E.I.L. from the publisher.

Ashes to Justice is a poetic lightning bolt tracing the path of love, abuse, betrayal, and recovery toward self-love. In this debut collection DC-area spoken word performer and poet educator R.E.I.L. releases the demons of this world while holding onto love for her family of birth, and the family she’s found.

Written with a whisper and a hammer” – Kim B Miller, Poet Laureate Prince William County, Virginia

“The sorrow of abuse pulses under these poems. But so does the joy of double-dutch, a grandmother’s love, and the truth of rebirth” – Joseph Ross, author of Raising King, and Ache

R.E.I.L. started her poetry career at open mics in the D.C. area and at 16 competed in the Brave New Voices slam in New York City. A poetic performer, visual artist, and arts educator teaching in D.C. schools, R.E.I.L. seeks inspiration from past and present life experiences to help the lives of other unsung souls.

Ashes to Justice is published by Day Eight with support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Cover art for the book is (c) Luis Del Valle, used by permission of the artist.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #668

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

National Geographic Readers: Stacey Abrams (Level 2) by Melissa H. Mwai from Media Masters Publicity for review.

Learn about the voting rights advocate and politician Stacey Abrams and her groundbreaking achievements in this appealing Level 2 reader. Young readers will find out about Abram’s childhood and her early career as a city attorney and as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives. The reader also explores her run in Georgia as the first Black woman to be nominated by a major party for governor, and how losing that race inspired her to devote her life to making elections and the voting process more equitable for everyone.

The level 2 text provides accessible, yet wide-ranging information for independent readers. Explore Abrams’s life, achievements, and the challenges she faced along the way to leading the fight against voter suppression and becoming a champion for change.

National Geographic Readers: Kamala Harris (Level 2) by Tonya Grant from Media Masters Publicity for review.

Explore one of the most powerful and highest-ranking female figures in American history with this biography of Vice President Kamala Harris in this Level 2 reader.

On January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris made history. That day, she became the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected as Vice President of the United States. Young readers will learn about Harris’s childhood, her early career, and her journey that led to winning the vice presidency. This early reader also explores how Harris devoted her life to helping others, from serving as the Attorney General of California, to being elected as a U.S. Senator, to working alongside President Joe Biden on the campaign trail and in the White House.

Speak Up, Speak Out!: The Extraordinary Life of Fighting Shirley Chisholm by Tonya Bolden from Media Masters Publicity for review.

Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.

Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.

Flowers Grow on Broken Walls by Farena Bajwa for review from Author Marketing Experts.

Flowers Grow on Broken Walls is a unique collection of poems and prose that talks about healing and finding yourself in a world that constantly tells you that’s who you shouldn’t be.

The poems/story goes over our everyday human emotions; from being heart broken and questioning our self-worth in a world of judgment and scrutinizing social media, to finding ourselves and appreciating those really important in our lives – especially our inner, true selves. It is story that is everyone’s story at one point or the other.

The collection displays a raw and honest portrayal of an artist who cannot help but create something beautiful in the midst of the ugliness she has been put through, and who continues to hope against all odds, as she lets go of what she has been told is important and finds herself in one truly is.

The story that starts with heart ache ends with healing, it starts with rejection from someone but ends with self-acceptance, which is the only way for true healing.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #667

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Scale Model of a Country at Dawn by John Sibley Williams for review.

With an impressive mastery of sound matched only by his alchemical imagery, Williams guides readers along mythic highways, above oceans, and towards the reimagining of a bridge no one remembers. To conjure is a recurring theme in this impressive collection—as if language holds the power to reconfigure a past, a mother, a child. And perhaps it can. Williams’ words are that convincing. Recasting home as conch shell, as ghost house, and as fire, we learn that we are held together by the tensile strength of our own narrative. I’ve circled and underlined lines on nearly every poem in Scale Model of a Country at Dawn. This is a book you’ll want to read, and then turn to the first poem to enter again. Even if no one is safe from the wolves in our hearts, John Sibley Williams helps us live within these contradictions. – Susan Rich

In Scale Model of a Country at Dawn, John Sibley Williams illuminates a world that while filled with tragedy and ruin is likewise blooming with life and celebration. Here, we navigate the “new constellations” and “vanquished sky” after a friend’s suicide; we contemplate the absence of earth and wonder if it can be “filled with prayers” again; and in between the oncology ward and the wildfires raging in Northern California, we see the quiet moments worth spending time with: a father witnessing his children coming into their own, a house in need of repair but still providing shelter, and the plethora of American landscapes where Williams’ speakers have a chance to reflect and be themselves. Although in the course of this collection we may come to realize that there are “far fewer gods” than we thought before, Williams’ poems are a gift that offer us something to believe in again and again. – Esteban Rodriguez

Black Under by Ashanti Anderson for review.

The poem from which BLACK UNDER derives its title opens with a resounding declaration: “I am black and black underneath.” These words are an anthem that reverberates throughout Ashanti Anderson’s debut short collection. We feel them as we navigate her poems’ linguistic risks and shifts and trumpets, as we straddle scales that tip us toward trauma’s still-bloody knife in one turn then into cutting wit and shrewd humor in the next. We hear them amplified through Anderson’s dynamic voice, which sings of anguish and atrocities and also of discovery and beauty.

BLACK UNDER layers outward perception with internal truth to offer an almost-telescopic examination of the redundancies–and incongruences–of marginalization and hypervisibility. Anderson torques the contradictions of oppression, giving her speakers the breathing room to discover their own agency. In these pages, declarations are reclamations, and joy is not an aspiration but a birthright.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #666

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 its 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.

Velvet, 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.

This is what we received:

Surviving Home by Katerina Canyon from Book Publicity Services.

Katerina Canyon’s poems offer intimate accounts of home as the locus of danger — and homeland as a state of oppression. They are at once urgent and mysterious, full of ocean depths and surging currents. Far from nostalgia, home inspires in this poet a vigilance, keeping watch on herself and others. Her very language is charged with the alert intelligence that offers a means of survival, and metaphors that transform pain into poetry. —Devin Johnston, author of Mosses and Lichens

Katerina Canyon’s poems dive into history unafraid to explore the complexity of home and family and acknowledge: the sea is filled with bones. This powerful, engaging collection where we see the billowing skirt of sunset asks again and again: How do get past our pasts? Smart, poignant, compassionate, Canyon’s poems remind us that strength happens despite one’s childhood and one’s country; they exclaim, We can choose whether we are stuck / In darkness or in light. Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides

In lush language and startling images, Katerina Canyon unveils a story in blood and bone of a speaker who survives domestic cycles of addiction and abuse, terrors handed down from the plantation through generations of her kin . . . Like the Phoenix, the speaker dares to draw near destruction to name our violent histories in order to claim a survivor’s eternal understanding of how to love, how to mother, and how to teach the world that We cannot be bound. We are free. We are infinite.  —Katy Didden, author of The Glacier’s Wake

What did you receive?