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Mailbox Monday #413

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, which I purchased for Book Club reading.

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today.

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White, which is my first GoodReads giveaway win! This one comes out in April 2017.

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather’s world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women….”

The Poetry of Weldon Kees: Vanishing as Presence by John T. Irwin for review in May.

Weldon Kees is one of those fascinating people you’ve likely never heard of. What is most captivating about Kees is that he disappeared without a trace on July 18, 1955. Police found his 1954 Plymouth Savoy abandoned on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge one day later. The keys were still in the ignition. Though Kees had alluded days prior to picking up and moving to Mexico, none of his poetry, art, or criticism has since surfaced either north or south of the Rio Grande.

Kees’s apparent suicide has led critics to compare him to another American modernist poet who committed suicide two decades earlier–Hart Crane. In comparison to Crane, Kees is certainly now a more obscure figure. John T. Irwin, however, is not content to allow Kees to fall out of the twentieth-century literary canon. In The Poetry of Weldon Kees, Irwin ties together elements of biography and literary criticism, spurring renewed interest in Kees as both an individual and as a poet.

Irwin acts the part of literary detective, following clues left behind by the poet to make sense of Kees’s fascination with death, disappearance, and the interpretation of an artist’s work. Arguing that Kees’s apparent suicide was a carefully-plotted final aesthetic act, Irwin uses the poet’s death as a lens through which to detect and interpret the structures, motifs, and images throughout his poems–as the author intended. The first rigorous literary engagement with Weldon Kees’s poetry, this book is an astonishing reassessment of one of the twentieth century’s most gifted writers.

The Carbon Code: How You Can Become a Climate Change Hero by Brett Favaro for review in April.

Favaro’s Carbon Code of Conduct is based on the four R’s: Reduce, Replace, Refine, and Rehabilitate. After outlining the scientific basics of climate change and explaining the logic of the code he prescribes, the author describes carbon-friendly technologies and behaviors we can adopt in our daily lives. However, he acknowledges that individual action, while vital, is insufficient. To achieve global sustainability, he insists that we must make the fight against climate change “go viral” through conspicuous conservation.

The Carbon Code is a tool of empowerment. People don’t need to be climate change experts to be part of the solution! In this book, Brett Favaro shows you how to take ownership of your carbon footprint and adopt a lifestyle of conspicuous conservation that will spur governments and corporations to do the same. Climate-friendly action is the best decision on every dimension–economics, health and well-being, and social justice. Saving the planet is, after all, about saving ourselves. The Carbon Code provides a framework to do this, and helps you to become a hero in the fight against climate change.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #412

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do from National Geographic by Joe Yogerst for a TLC Book Tour.

This richly illustrated book from the travel experts at National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Sites include national parks, beaches, hotels, Civil War battlefields, dude ranches, out-of-the-way museums, and more. You’ll discover the world’s longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America’s oldest street in NYC, and the best spot to watch for sea otters on the central California coast. Each entry provides detailed travel information as well as fascinating facts about each state that will help fuel your wanderlust and ensure the best vacation possible. In addition to 50 states in the U.S., the book includes a section on the Canadian provinces and territories.

An Unwavering Trust by L.L. Diamond, which I purchased.

Two strangers with no one to turn to but each other…

Fitzwilliam Darcy is in a difficult situation. His father is pressing him to propose marriage to the last woman in the world he would wish to take as his wife. With a fortnight to announce his betrothal, he makes the acquaintance of Elizabeth Bennet, who is in a predicament of her own.

Could Darcy be willing to consider Elizabeth as a solution to his problem and to hers? And can Elizabeth ascertain enough of Darcy’s character to trust him upon nothing but a first impression?

Contains scenes with adult content.

The Abominable Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by J Dawn King, which was a Kindle freebie.

Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s eyes are instantly drawn towards a handsome, mysterious guest who arrives at the Meryton Assembly with the Bingley party. The gentleman destroys her illusions by delivering an insult that turns him from Mr. Divinely Attractive to the Abominable Mr. Darcy.

While Elizabeth sets in motion her strategy for retaliation, Darcy plans to win the campaign being waged in the genteel drawing rooms of Hertfordshire. As more players from Jane Austen’s beloved cast of characters enter the fray, complications arise–some with irreversible consequences. Can a truce be called before their hearts become casualties as well? How many times can two people go from enemies to friends and back again before it’s too late?

The Last Casualty by Andrew Leatham, which was a Kindle freebie.

Belgium, 1917.

Wilf joined up at seventeen, wanting to do his bit.

But now he is broken by the death and human agony surrounding him. The smell of the rotting corpses, the vermin gnawing on the corpses in No Mans Land, has all been too much.

After a brief period of R and R, he knows he cannot return to the line, but off he is sent. When his courage falters, he’s charged with cowardice, court martialled, and shot at dawn.

Lancashire England, 1995.

Joanne Neally’s grandmother has died. While cleaning out her house, she finds the telegram that informed her family of the death of her great grandfather, simple and unpunctuated.

Regret to inform you Private 792163 Isherwood Wilfred 3rd Batt Pennine Fusiliers died of gunshot wounds Ypres August 22 1917

Joanne is moved to tears by the telegram, but it is the diary she finds next that will change her life forever, for Wilf Isherwood detailed his experiences at Passchendaele, one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles of the Great War. A battle that cost the lives of half a million men, and changed the landscape of Belgium forever.

Rich with detail of the life of a soldier during the Great War, the Last Casualty is an ode to a time that forever changed the world.

A Perpetual Estrangement: Jane Austen’s Persuasion Reimagined by Alice B. Ryder, Hilary Johnson, another Kindle freebie.

Anne has two wonderful friends and her own London bookshop, but she isn’t happy. Ten years ago she was put in an impossible position and had to let go of the only man she ever loved, and she’s regretted it ever since. She had to fight her way out of heartbreak and despair just to get this far. Now Freddie is back, and the wound is ripped open.

Freddie once loved Anne deeply, and she had even agreed to join him in his travels abroad. But her family and self-doubt made her back out, and to this day he still feels betrayed. Anne believes he’s determined to remind her of that every day, and it’s all the harder seeing the man he has become since then, stronger in spirit and even more attractive than before.

Whenever Anne is around him now, she sees only his disdain and bitterness. The only way for both of them to find happiness is to finally get over each other. Freddie seems to be trying; but Anne has tried before, and failed. What she fears most is falling back into the agony she felt all those years ago – a dark place she can’t bear to think about.

Longbourn Library: A Novel of Pride, Prejudice, and Books by Trudy Wallis, a Kindle freebie.

Liz always believed working as a librarian in Hertford, Idaho would give her opportunities to meet intelligent men. Lately, however, she is starting to think her theory was wrong. She finds herself hiding from Collin, that slimy blind date she wishes she could forget. Charlie is a nice fellow, but he is clearly taken with Jane. Then there is that Californian “aspiring writer” named Darcy. What a snob!

What are chances any man could answer the wishes of Liz’s heart? Is being fond of reading the first step toward falling in love?

GI Brides by Grace Livingston Hill, Amazon Kindle freebie.

Classic Grace Livingston Hill storytelling shines in three romances she wrote during the Second World War. In All Through the Night, Dale is grieving her grandmother and overrun by greedy relatives, but the love of a soldier gives her hope. In More than Conqueror, Charlie finally confesses his love for Bonnie just as he is leaving on a deadly mission and is surprised by her acceptance. In Through These Fires, Lexie is consumed by loneliness when an unexpected admirer sends her a letter from the warfront. Will letters across the sea give these men and women something to live for?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #411

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Breaking and Holding by Judy Fogarty for TLC Book Tour.

For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.

Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.

An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.

Impertinent Strangers by P.O. Dixon, an Audible gift from the author.

An impertinent stranger is thrown into Fitzwilliam Darcy’s path and, even though he declares her tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt him, it is all he can do not to think of her.

Upon first making Mr. Darcy’s acquaintance, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is quite fascinated with him. Then she discovers that the gentleman is haughty and above his company, and she wants nothing to do with him.

Still, the prospect of spending time in each other’s company is beyond their power to resist. Will Darcy and Elizabeth stop denying the truth to themselves and find in the other what’s been missing in their lives?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #410

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I purchased:

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher on Audible.

In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher on Audible.

Infused with Carrie Fisher’s trademark incisive wit and on the heels of Wishful Drinking’s instant New York Times bestselling success, Shockaholic takes readers on another rollicking ride into her crazy life.

There is no shortage of people flocking to hear what Princess Leia has to say. Her previous hardcover, Wishful Drinking, was an instant New York Times bestseller and Carrie was featured everywhere on broadcast media and received rave reviews from coast to coast, including People (4 stars; one of their top 10 books of the year), Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, and scores of others.

Told with the same intimate style, brutal honesty, and uproarious wisdom that placed Wishful Drinking on the New York Times bestseller list for months, Shockaholic is the juicy account of Carrie Fisher’s life, focusing more on the Star Wars years and dishing about the various Hollywood relationships she’s formed since she was chosen to play Princess Leia at only nineteen years old. Fisher delves into the gritty details that made the movie—and herself—such a phenomenal success, admitting, “It isn’t all sweetness and light sabers.”

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, purchased from Audible.

The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

Ulysses by James Joyce, purchased for the informal February read-a-long with Ti from Book Chatter.

The revised edition follows the complete and unabridged text of ULYSSES as corrected and reset in 1961. Like the first American edition of 1934, it also contains the original foreword by the author and the historic court ruling by Judge John M. Woolsey to remove the federal ban on ULYSSES. It also contains page references to the 1934 edition, which are indicated in the margins.

For Review:

Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey by Ginger Monette for review in February.

1917. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.

Then she disappears.

When tragedy strikes on the battlefield, Darcy is sent to Donwell Abbey to recover. There he is coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse determined to teach him how to live and love again. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth breach his walls and invite his admiration.

His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.

But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #409

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

What I purchased:

Breakup/Breakdown by Charles Jensen

With wry humor and poignant contemplation, Breakup/Breakdown provides readers with excellent company, whether recalling breakups of their own or simply witnessing the narrative of the book’s hero. In the poem “Disruption,” our speaker advises that, “Love, my friends, should never / be entrusted to the heart, whose job // is to push away the only thing / the world will ever offer it.” In the midst of loss that is both personal and universal, Jensen conjures familiar figures, from literature to film, to offer another dimension of insight on the path from sorrow to empowerment. This chapbook has all the emotional heft of a full-length collection, and every line glistens with truth. — Mary Biddinger, author of Small Enterprise

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, which I purchased from Audible.

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.
Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.
He describes growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, amid the poetry, danger, and darkness that fueled his imagination, leading up to the moment he refers to as “The Big Bang”: seeing Elvis Presley’s debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. He vividly recounts his relentless drive to become a musician, his early days as a bar band king in Asbury Park, and the rise of the E Street Band. With disarming candor, he also tells for the first time the story of the personal struggles that inspired his best work, and shows us why the song “Born to Run” reveals more than we previously realized.
Born to Run will be revelatory for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, but this book is much more than a legendary rock star’s memoir. This is a book for workers and dreamers, parents and children, lovers and loners, artists, freaks, or anyone who has ever wanted to be baptized in the holy river of rock and roll.
Rarely has a performer told his own story with such force and sweep. Like many of his songs (“Thunder Road,” “Badlands,” “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” “The River,” “Born in the U.S.A,” “The Rising,” and “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” to name just a few), Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography is written with the lyricism of a singular songwriter and the wisdom of a man who has thought deeply about his experiences.

What did you receive?

Save

Mailbox Monday #408

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

What I purchased:


Darcy’s Christmas Wish by Penelope Swan

Fitzwilliam Darcy never forgot the little girl, with the beautiful dark eyes, who saved his life fifteen years ago… though he never expected to meet her again. But when he comes to Rosings Park to spend the Advent season with his aunt and encounters the enchanting, spirited Miss Elizabeth Bennet again, he discovers that at Christmastime, wishes can come true…

Mr. Darcy Loves Elizabeth Bennet: 4 Variations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice by Elizabeth Ann West, Barbara Silkstone, Kristi Rose, and April Floyd

Join authors Elizabeth Ann West, Barbara Silkstone, Kristi Rose, and April Floyd as they each share an exclusive short novella reimagining our dear couple falling in love! We all know Mr. Darcy loves Elizabeth Bennet, but the question universally wondered is how many ways can they show that love? Two Regencies, Two Contemporaries, there is a perfect story for every Jane Austen Fan Fiction lover!

Here’s what my daughter received for Christmas:

Pete the Cat: Sir Pete the Brave by James Dean from her friend

When Lady Callie, the most awesome harpist in all the land, goes missing, it’s up to Sir Pete to save her. But when he ends up trapped in a dragon’s lair, Lady Callie might have to do the saving.

It’s Raining Bats & Frogs by Rebecca Colby, illustrated by Steven Henry, from her friend

Delia has been looking forward all year to flying in the annual Halloween Parade. But parade day brings heavy rain. So, Delia takes action. Using her best magic, Delia changes the rain to cats and dogs. But that doesn’t work too well! Then hats and clogs. That doesn’t work, either! Each new type of rain brings a new set of problems. How can Delia save the day?

What did you receive?

Save

Mailbox Monday #407

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Family Portraits: A Dearest Friends Continuation by Pamela Lynne, a gift from the author.

In Dearest Friends, Pamela Lynne drew complex and interesting characters who joined Darcy and Elizabeth on their road to happily ever after. But, what happened after ‘the end’? Did Lydia survive her time at Rosings? Did Jane find fulfillment as Mrs. Bingley? Did Mary and Sebastian adhere to duty or allow their hearts to lead them? Follow the Fitzwilliams, Bennets, Gardiners and Darcys through portraits of their lives at two, five and ten years after the Darcys’ marriage. Their canvas is studded with heartbreaking loss, new beginnings and, through it all, the indelible bond of family?

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams for review.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor.

A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions by Maria Grace, which I won from JustJane1813.

Many Christmas traditions and images of ‘old fashioned’ holidays are based on Victorian celebrations. Going back just a little further, to the beginning of the 19th century, the holiday Jane Austen knew would have looked distinctly odd to modern sensibilities.

How odd? Families rarely decorated Christmas trees. Festivities centered on socializing instead of gift-giving. Festivities focused on adults, with children largely consigned to the nursery. Holiday events, including balls, parties, dinners, and even weddings celebrations, started a week before Advent and extended all the way through to Twelfth Night in January.

Take a step into history with Maria Grace as she explores the traditions, celebrations, games and foods that made up Christmastide in Jane Austen’s era. Packed with information and rich with detail from period authors, Maria Grace transports the reader to a longed-for old fashioned Christmas.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan for review in 2017.

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead ‘carry on singing’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit — a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past — we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life.

In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff for review in 2017.

Seventeen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier during the occupation of her native Holland. Heartbroken over the loss of the baby she was forced to give up for adoption, she lives above a small German rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep.

When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants, unknown children ripped from their parents and headed for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the baby that was taken from her. In a moment that will change the course of her life, she steals one of the babies and flees into the snowy night, where she is rescued by a German circus.

The circus owner offers to teach Noa the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their unlikely friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

From my secret Santa:

Overheard in Hell

Take Out From the Writer’s Cafe

By Candlelight: Dark Imagination

Straying from the Path

Dancing on the Edge

If My Sandcastle Drowns… Can I Live With You?

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #406

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received?

A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery, a surprise from Tandem Literary.

Zoe Saldivar is more than just single-she’s ALONE. She recently broke up with her longtime boyfriend, she works from home and her best friend Jen is so obsessed with her baby that she has practically abandoned their friendship. The day Zoe accidentally traps herself in her attic with her hungry-looking cat, she realizes that it’s up to her to stop living in isolation.

Her seemingly empty life takes a sudden turn for the complicated-her first new friend is Jen’s widowed mom, Pam. The only guy to give her butterflies in a very long time is Jen’s brother. And meanwhile, Pam is being very deliberately seduced by Zoe’s own smooth-as-tequila father. Pam’s flustered, Jen’s annoyed and Zoe is beginning to think “alone” doesn’t sound so bad, after all.

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White for review.

With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried….

What did you get?

Mailbox Monday #405

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Secret Life of Lilykins by Max Goodman, illustrated by Erik Mace, for review.

On the surface, Lilykins lives the life of a typical house cat. But Lilykins has another life – a secret life – that transports her to a world of incredible adventures. “The Secret Life of Lilykins” is a story filled with animals, adventure and absurdity. But at its core, it’s a story about the power of imagination.

Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman with a Box by Travis Langley and Katy Manning, a surprise from Sterling Publishing.

If a person could travel eternally through space and time, how would this power affect him, psychologically and emotionally? In a fun and accessible way, Doctor Who Psychology explores this question through an analysis of the longest-running sci-fi TV series of all time. This fascinating in-depth academic study, edited by Travis Langley, contains 20 essays delving into the psychology behind the time-traveling Doctor in his many iterations, as well as his companions and his foes.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck from Diary of an Eccentric.

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #404

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

March, Vol. 1-3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell, which I purchased.

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.

The Performance of Becoming Human by Daniel Borzutzky, which I purchased.

Winner of the 2016 National Book Award in Poetry. Daniel Borzutzky’s new collection of poetry, The Performance of Becoming Human, draws hemispheric connections between the US and Latin America, specifically touching upon issues relating to border and immigration policies, economic disparity, political violence, and the disturbing rhetoric of capitalism and bureaucracies. To become human is to navigate these borders, including those of institutions, the realities of over- and under-development, and the economies of privatization, in which humans endure state-sanctioned and systemic abuses. Borzutzky, whose writing Eileen Myles has described as “violent, perverse, and tender” in its portrayal of “American and global horror,” adds another chapter to a growing and important compilation of work that asks what it means to a be both a unitedstatesian and a globalized subject whose body is “shared between the earth, the state, and the bank.”

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, which I purchased.

The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as five other awards, The Sympathizer is the breakthrough novel of the year. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Saul Bellow, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who arranges to come to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, which I purchased.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy by Beau North and Brooke West, a giveaway win.

After Elizabeth Bennet rejects his marriage proposal, Fitzwilliam Darcy finds himself in the most unusual of circumstances. At first believing the extraordinary turn of events has granted him an inexplicable boon, he is eager to put the humiliating proposal behind him.

He soon discovers that he is trapped in the same waking dream with no end in sight and no possible escape. All that he holds dear—his name, his home, his love—remains ever out of reach. How will he find his way back to his normal life? Will one mistake haunt the rest of his days? It will take all of his fortitude to weather the storms of his strange new fate, and all of his courage to grasp the promise of his future.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #403

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Frankenstein Darcy by Cass Grix, a giveaway win at JustJane1813.

Pride and Prejudice meets Frankenstein. When he first comes to Hertfordshire, Frankenstein Darcy is a man of secrets, wanting to find peace. Falling in love with a provincial nobody is not in his plans. Elizabeth Bennet is both intrigued by this tall, dark, handsome stranger and infuriated by his arrogance. Neither of them realize how dangerous falling in love can be.

Frankenstein Darcy is a fun, romantic literary mashup, following the basic plot of Pride and Prejudice, one of the world’s greatest romances, and combining it with the themes of Frankenstein, one of the world’s greatest Gothic stories.

In this full length novel, Darcy and Elizabeth deal with the conflict between science and religion, nature vs.nurture, love and friendship, and inner and outer beauty.

Darcy at Last by Jane Grix, a bonus from the giveaway win.

After an accident, Elizabeth Bennet has amnesia. She cannot remember the past few months – including Mr. Darcy’s disastrous proposal. Although concerned for Elizabeth’s health, Darcy realizes he now has a second chance to win her heart.

Mr. Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes, which I won from the blog tour.

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to accept an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Will she continue to feel trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

Given the ‘early marriage’ premise, the issue of growing affection and intimacy is central to the story. The scenes are not graphic, but the novel does address mature themes.

Make and Move: Shark by Jen Green for review.

Get an up-close look at a shark’s body systems in Make and Move: Shark. This illustrated learning guide presents basic facts about shark anatomy in an easily accessible format, with colorful illustrations, simple explanations, and a large 20-piece floor puzzle with hinged joints. As readers learn about various types of sharks and how their bodies enable them to survive in the depths of the ocean, the puzzle is assembled layer by layer, providing a complete overview of how sharks have come to rule the world beneath the waves.

Animal Adventures: Sharks by Cynthia Stierle for review.

Animal Adventures: Sharks will take you beneath the ocean’s surface to meet the many sharks that lurk in the depths. Have fun while learning, encounter sharks—large and small, gentle and fierce—with colorful illustrations and fascinating facts, and then build a diorama. Everything you need to explore the ocean is right here.
*This unique set includes a book full of colorful illustrations and intriguing facts about sharks, plus 3-D animal models and a diorama with reusable stickers.
*Journey to all the world’s oceans to learn everything you need to know about these mysterious creatures.
Animal Adventures: Sharks offers a unique learning experience as you meet wild and exotic animals face-to-face.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #402

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Womb: A Novel in Utero by Eric D. Goodman for review, which will be published in Spring 2017.

What makes Womb most unique is the unusual narrator. Set in the city and suburbs of Baltimore, Womb is narrated from the point of view of a child still in utero. He describes his own reality inside the womb, his connection to the collective consciousness, and also narrates (through his own perspective) the drama of his mother’s life as she deals with her pregnancy, friends, family and work. Womb has been compared to Room by Emma Donoghue in style, as well as The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Womb is due for delivery on Spring 2017.

Shine-a-Light: Secrets of the Rainforest by Carron Brown, Alyssa Nassner — a gift for my daughter from Usborne Books…shhhh

Discover the amazing animals that live in the lush rainforest, with this gorgeously illustrated book of natures hidden habitats. By simply holding the book up to the light, or shining a light behind each page, young children will be able to discover the animals and plants that live in and around a kapok tree, from the colourful parrots in the canopy, to the sleek jaguar on the forest floor. The innovative see-through feature fulfils a similar function to lift-the-flaps books, but has the added interactive dimension of the child being able to see both the surface and the hidden picture at the same time.

A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton, another gift for the little one.

A little girl rescues a strange beast in the woods and carries him safely home. But the beast is not happy and escapes! A funny and charming tale about seeing both sides of the story.

What did you receive in your mailbox?