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Mailbox Monday #491

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

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

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

Here’s what I received:

Sold on Monday by Kristina McMorris from the publisher for review.

2 CHILDREN FOR SALE

The scrawled sign, peddling young siblings on a farmhouse porch, captures the desperation sweeping the country in 1931. It’s an era of breadlines, bank runs, and impossible choices.

For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when the image leads to his big break, the consequences are devastating in ways he never imagined.

Haunted by secrets of her own, secretary Lillian Palmer sees more in the picture than a good story and is soon drawn into the fray. Together, the two set out to right a wrongdoing and mend a fractured family, at the risk of everything they value.

Inspired by an actual newspaper photo that stunned readers across the nation, this touching novel explores the tale within the frame and behind the lens — a journey of ambition, love and the far-reaching effects of our actions.

Beautiful Exiles by Meg Waite Clayton, a freebie from Amazon.

Key West, 1936. Headstrong, accomplished journalist Martha Gellhorn is confident with words but less so with men when she meets disheveled literary titan Ernest Hemingway in a dive bar. Their friendship—forged over writing, talk, and family dinners—flourishes into something undeniable in Madrid while they’re covering the Spanish Civil War.

Martha reveres him. The very married Hemingway is taken with Martha—her beauty, her ambition, and her fearless spirit. And as Hemingway tells her, the most powerful love stories are always set against the fury of war. The risks are so much greater. They’re made for each other.

With their romance unfolding as they travel the globe, Martha establishes herself as one of the world’s foremost war correspondents, and Hemingway begins the novel that will win him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Beautiful Exiles is a stirring story of lovers and rivals, of the breathless attraction to power and fame, and of one woman—ahead of her time—claiming her own identity from the wreckage of love.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #378

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 we received:

Two Cool Coyotes by Jillian Lund from the Gaithersburg Book Festival second-hand book sale.

Frank the coyote is sad when his friend Angelina moves away, but then he finds a new friend when Larry moves into the den next door.

Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey by Martin Handford from the Gaithersburg Book Festival Politics & Prose tent.

Now in paperback for the first time!

The elusive little guy you loved as a kid has ventured into an affordable new format, ready to boggle a new generationl. Now he’s easier to carry around — but just as hard as ever to find!

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton, which I purchased in the Politics & Prose tent at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.  I gave my mom the ARC to enjoy but wanted this one for my personal library and the autograph makes this 5-star read even more of a treasure.

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have already had to endure enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can do. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

Ah-Choo! by Lana Wayne Koehler and Gloria G. Adams, illustrated by Ken Min for review from Sterling Children’s Books.

When hunting for his new best friend, a boy goes through an alphabetical menagerie of animals. From an antelope, to bobolink birds, to wolves and zebras—and of course, a cat and dog, too—he brings them all home. But each creature just makes his sister go AH-CHOO! Will he ever be able to have the perfect pet?

Watch the Birdie! by Nancy Cote from Sky Pony Press for review.

Mousey was watching a baby bird when it fell from its nest. The baby bird is okay, but she can’t fly yet! So how will she get back up the tree to safety? Mousey may be too small to get the baby bird back up by himself, but maybe he can find somebody else who can! Maybe a frog can jump high enough. Or maybe a bunny can hop far enough. Maybe a snail will be able to crawl his way up the tree . . .

Will Mousey be able to save the baby bird? Or will the hungry cat get in the way of Mousey’s valiant attempts? Sometimes it’s just the size of your heart that really counts.

How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney, illustrated by Feronia Parker Thomas for review from Sky Pony Press.

The Sun and the Clouds are best friends. Together they keep the world warm, the gardens growing, and the sky full of beautiful rainbows. But one day they get into a fight and refuse to be in the sky together. And that means there are no longer any rainbows. Without rainbows, the colors start disappearing until Earth was left with no color … except for one little forgotten box of crayons in one little school desk.

Determined to save the rainbows and fix the Sun and Clouds’ friendship, the crayons draw rainbows all over town. Their attempts go unnoticed. Soon they realize that they’re going to have to do something big to get the attention of the former friends. So, the crayons create the biggest rainbow they can and hope it’s enough to bring color back to the world.

My Amazing Dad by Ezekiel Kwaymullina, illustrated by Tom Jellett for review from Sky Pony Press.

This dad is not like other dads. He is not good at:

Mowing the lawn,
Getting his children to school on time,
Baking cakes,
Fixing a leaky faucet, or
Remembering bed time

But….

My Grandpa Is a Dinosaur by Richard Fairgray, illustrated by Terry Jones for review from Sky Pony Press.

This little girl has been watching her grandpa for a very long time, and she is almost absolutely certain that he is a dinosaur. So why is it that nobody believes her? Why can’t anyone else see what she sees? He roars! (And no, it’s not just a snore.) He has green skin! (And no, he’s not from outer space.) He even has a tail! (And no, he’s not a horse!) Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, the little girl goes straight to the source. It’s time to ask Grandpa once and for all: is he a dinosaur?

Darcy By Any Other Name by Laura Hile, which I won from Just Jane 1813.

At Netherfield, a glorious evening of music and dancing…

But out in the garden two men are arguing, while a ferocious rainstorm swirls round. And then the unthinkable happens: a lightning bolt from heaven strikes. In that instant everything changes.

Jane Austen’s heartthrob hero becomes the bumbling Reverend Collins.

Shorn of his fortune, his social standing, and his good looks, Mr. Darcy is trapped in Mr. Collins’ body. And Mr. Collins wakes up to discover that he is master of Pemberley. Could there be anything worse?

But the inner man is still Darcy. He is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. And now he is living in her house.

The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak, which came unexpectedly from Tandem Literary.

The rich and powerful Josephine Lazarow, matriarch of Fairham Island, is dead. The police say it’s suicide, but Keith, her estranged son, doesn’t believe it.

Keith bears scars—both physical and emotional—from his childhood, but he’s worked hard to overcome the past. After walking away from his mother and her controlling ways five years ago, he’s built a new life in LA. He’s also accumulated a fortune of his own. But as soon as he learns of his mother’s death, he returns to Fairham. He feels he owes it to his grandfather to put the family empire together again—and he’s determined to find his mother’s killer.

Problem is…coming home to Fairham puts him back in contact with Nancy Dellinger, the woman he hurt so badly when he left before. And digging that deep into his mother’s final days and hours entails a very real risk. 

What did you receive?

The Best Books of 2015

Bestof2015

I hope everyone’s 2015 ended with some great reading, family, friends, and fantastic food.

Of those I read in the year 2015 — those published in 2015 and before — these are the best in these categories:

Best Series:

Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle (The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue)

Best Children’s Book: (TIE)

Best Memoir:

Displacement by Lucy Knisley

Best Nonfiction:

LOVE: A Philadelphia Affair by Beth Kephart

Best Short Story Collection:

The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items from the First World War 

Best Young Adult Fiction:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Best Reference:

How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids by Matthew Jervis

Best Women’s Fiction:

French Coast by Anita Hughes

Best Historical Fiction: (TIE)

Best Fiction:

Best Poetry: (TIE)

Here is the list of BEST BOOKS PUBLISHED in 2015:


  1. Wet Silence by Sweta Vikram
  2. The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton
  3. Vessel by Parneshia Jones
  4. LOVE: A Philadelphia Affair by Beth Kephart
  5. The House of Hawthorne by Erika Robuck
  6. The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy
  7. Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor
  8. One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart
  9. The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
  10. The Sound of Glass by Karen White
  11. Mistaking Her Character by Maria Grace
  12. Earth Joy Writing by Cassie Premo Steele, PhD


What were your favorites in 2015?

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

tlc tour host

Source: TLC Book Tours
Hardcover, 336 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton is riveting from the start and a careful blend of fact and fiction about WWII and the female reporters and photographers who were often relegated to the field hospitals and sidelines while their male counterparts were allowed closer to the front and on reconnaissance missions.  Clayton’s characters tough cookies, and they have to be as they face the possibility of death once they’ve ignored their orders to remain at the field hospital.  Liv Harper, an Associated Press photographer know for her blurred faces, and Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, find themselves accompanied by Fletcher, Liv’s husband’s friend.  Fletcher is a British military photographer who often goes it alone in the field to gather intelligence with his photos for the Allied forces, but he’s had a flame burning for Liv ever since he met her.  This unlikely trio is determine to make it to Paris before the other reporters to photograph and tell the tale of its liberation.

“That was the way it was, covering war.  The little bits of detail you could get on paper or on film were just that, little bits that didn’t tell the whole story.  And you couldn’t possibly capture the whole of it no matter how far back you stepped.” (pg. 217 ARC)

Liv has secrets too, and only Jane is aware of some of them.  While Fletcher and Liv are striving toward the front as if chased by ghosts, Jane is tagging along, not so much for the good of her career as someone who cushions the blows that they receive along the way.  She becomes the sounding board for each of them, while she keeps her own council.  Jane is a strong woman, though timid, while Liv is a wild wire set to explode.  Fletcher has taken it upon himself to protect them both, though his desire for Liv often steers him into danger.  While Clayton’s triangle here could be construed merely as a romantic tug-of-war, it is isn’t.  There are more nuanced dynamics at play here, as WWII has touched Fletcher and Liv in very different ways and Jane is observing it as it plays out.

The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton looks through the lens of journalists during one of the most sweeping, horrifying, and tense wars in our world history to provide an encapsulated view of the fighting, the discrimination against female journalists, and the battles dedicated people had to endure to achieve their goals.

About the Author:

Meg Waite Clayton is the New York Times bestselling author of four previous novels: The Four Ms. Bradwells; The Wednesday Sisters; The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize; and The Wednesday Daughters. She’s written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the San Jose Mercury News, Forbes, Writer’s Digest, Runner’s World, and public radio. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, she lives in Palo Alto, California.

Find out more about Meg at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

Mailbox Monday #334

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:

1.  The Race for Paris by Meg Waite Clayton for review in September with TLC Book Tours.

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have already had to endure enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can do. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over.

NotBlackWhite2.  Not Black and White by G.A. Beller, which arrived unexpectedly from Tandem Literary and one that will be passed onto someone who would enjoy this.

First time author G. A. Beller creates a fictionalized accounting of the characters and events surrounding this time in Chicago politics. His storytelling will place the reader inside the smoke-filled back rooms where political deals are made. Inspired by true events, Beller’s speculation of how these events played out leaves the reader to interpret fact from fiction.

 

3. Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons by Margaret Wise Brown for review from Sterling Children’s Books.

Fluffy clouds, butterflies, furry bunnies, and life from a bug’s-eye view: This stunning sequel to the New York Times bestseller Goodnight Songs celebrates the beauty and wonder of nature all year long. Once again, a treasure trove of Margaret Wise Brown’s newly uncovered verses receives loving treatment from 12 award-winning artists, including Floyd Cooper, Peter Brown, David Small, Molly Idle, and Bob Staake. From a little bear singing one morning in May to a soft snowfall, mysterious, deep, and glowing, each song is magical.

An accompanying CD, with lilting songs beautifully composed and sung by Emily Gary and Tom Proutt, makes this the perfect gift for children.

4.  How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids by Matthew Jervis for review from Skyhorse Publishing.

Face it. Your kids don’t want you around ALL the time! As much as you’d like to build that go-cart or that amazing tree house for them, you also need a little time for yourself!

Sure, we’d all like to hand our kids the phone when things get tough, but down deep we know that screen time will not build world leaders. So how does a parent like you keep those little rug rats entertained and engaged in a meaningful way while you get your own stuff done?

Well, this book is a good start! With these simple tricks, you will turn their boredom into fun, teachable, and productive (sometimes) moments in this irreverent yet practical guide.

From photo bombing magazines in the dentist’s office to sock matching speed trials to making bread, this book provides spontaneous activities that kids can do with or without you, leaving time for you to do parent stuff like making dinner, reading the paper, or enjoying a glass of wine.

5.  Piglet Bo Can Do Anything! by Geert De Kockere, illustrated by Tineke Van Hemeldonck for review from Sky Pony Press.

Piglet Bo finds friends on his journey—a whale, a pigeon, a bull—and they inspire and help him when they can, but ultimately it takes courage and daring for Piglet Bo to attempt the impossible. Piglet Bo is the bravest and most determined little piglet, with a heart set on adventure. There are no limits to what he can do, and young readers will fall in love with his sweet and endearing resolve. Geert De Kockere writes Piglet Bo’s adventures in simple, playful language, filled with light humor. Tineke Van Hemeldonck’s brilliant mixed-media illustrations bring the story to life, and even the littlest readers will have fun spotting the elusive, lucky four-leaf clover hidden on each page.

What did you receive?