Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mailbox Monday and In My Mailbox 2-1-10

Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page or In Your Mailbox at The Story Siren on Sunday. Please stop by those posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!

The Crazy School
by Cornelia Read

Recently settled in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, Madeline Dare now teaches at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. But behind its ornate gates, she discovers a disorienting world where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen. A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions, leading her to an even darker secret that lies at the academy's very heart. Now cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students -- kids who, despite their troubled grip on reality, may well prove to be her only chance of survival. (back cover)

The Confident Woman
by Joyce Meyer

Our society has an epidemic of insecure people in it. This problem causes great difficulty in relationships and is one of the reasons divorce is so prevalent today.

I have learned a lot on my journey about what true confidence is, and it will be my great delight to share with you anything I know that can help you be the woman God intends you to be. His desire is that you be bold, courageous, confident, respected, admired, promoted, sought after, and most of all, loved.

God has a wonderful plan for your life and I pray that reading this book will help you enter it more fully than ever before. You can hold your head up high and be filled with confidence about yourself and your future. You can be bold and step out to do new things, even things no man or woman has ever done before. You have what it takes. -- Joyce Meyer (back cover)

Marriage and Other Acts of Charity (audio)
by Kate Braestrup
Read by Kate Braestrup

In her award-winning memoir Here If You Need Me, Kate Braestrup won the hearts of listeners across the country with her deeply moving and deftly humorous stories of faith, hope, and family. Now, with her inimitable voice and generous spirit, she turns her attention to the subjects of love and commitment in Marriage and Other Acts of Charity.

As a minister, Kate Braestrup regularly performs weddings. She has also, at forty-four, been married twice and widowed once and accordingly has much to say about life after the ceremony. From helping a newlywed couple make amends after their first fight to preparing herself for her second marriage, Braestrup offers her insights on what it truly means to share your life with someone, from the first kiss to the last straw, for better or for worse.

Part memoir, part observation of modern marriage, and part meditation on the roles of God and love in our everyday lives, Marriage and Other Acts of Charity is a unique and unforgettable look into why, and how, we love each other and proves yet again why Kate Braestrup's writing is "inspirational in the best sense" (New York Daily News). (back cover)

I am Ozzy (audio)
By Ozzy Osbourne
Read by Fred Skinner

"They've said some crazy things about me over the years, I mean, okay: 'He bit the head off a bat.' Yes. 'He bit the head off a dove.' Yes. But then you hear things like, 'Ozzy went to the show last night, but he wouldn't perform until he'd killed fifteen puppies. . .' Now me, kill fifteen puppies? I love puppies. I've got eighteen of the f* things at home. I've killed a few cows in my time, mind you. And the chickens. I shot the chickens in my house that night.

"It haunts me, all this crazy stuff. Everyday of my life has been an event. I took lethal combinations of booze and drugs for thirty f* years. I survived a direct hit by a plane, suicidal overdoses, STDs. I've been accused of attempted murder. Then I almost died while riding over a bump on a quad bike at f* two miles per hour.

"People ask me how come I'm still alive, and I don't know what to say. When I was growing up, if you'd have put me up against a wall with the other kids from my street and asked me which one of us was gonna make it to the age of sixty, which one of us would end up with five kids and four grandkids and houses in Buckinghamshire and Beverly Hills, I wouldn't have put money on me, no f* way. But here I am: ready to tell my story, in my own words, for the first time.

"A lot of it ain't gonna be pretty. I've done some bad things in my time. I've always been drawn to the dark side, me. But I ain't the devil. I'm just John Osbourne: a working-class kid from Ashton, who quit his job in the factory and went looking for a good time." (back cover)

The Unnamed (audio)
by Joshua Ferris
Read by Joshua Ferris

Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol.

His wife, Jane, still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And even as his daughter, Becka, retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks, and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father's honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.

He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home.

And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

The Unnamed is a dazzling novel about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. It is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocable take away. (back cover)

by Deborah Noyes

What is the difference, after all, between real and unreal when people react precisely the same way to either?

This masterful historical novel by Deborah Noyes, the lauded author of Angel & Apostle, The Ghosts of Kerfol, and Encyclopedia of the End (starred PW) is two stories:

The first centers upon the strange, true tale of The Fox Sisters, the enigmatic family of young women who, in upstate New York in 1848 proclaimed that they could converse with the dead. Doing so, they unwittingly (but artfully) gave birth to a religious movement that touched two continents: The American Spiritualists. Their followers included the famous and the rich, and their effect on American spirituality lasted a full generation. Still, there are echoes. The Fox Sisters' is a story of ambition and playfulness, of illusion and fear, of indulgence, guilt and finally self-destruction.

The second story in Captivity is about loss and grief. It is the evocative tale of the bright promise that the Fox Sisters offer up to the skeptical Clara Gill, a reclusive woman of a certain age who long ago isolated herself with her paintings, following the scandalous loss of her beautiful young lover in London.

Lyrical and authentic -- and more than a bit shadowy -- Captivity is, finally, a tale about physical desire and the hope that even the thinnest faith can offer up to a darkening heart. (back cover)

Eggs Benedict Arnold
by Laura Childs

Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lost their husbands but found independence -- and, in each other, a life raft of support, inspiration, fresh baked goods, and their own business. But when the Cackleberry Club cafe opened its doors in the town of Kindred, who'd have guessed that the three women would be working a double shift as amateur sleuths?

When Suzanne stops by the local funeral home to deliver a pie to funeral director Ozzie Driesden, she discovers him not working at the embalming table but lying on the embalming table. She barely has time to recognize his corpse before she's drugged with chloroform. With more suspects than breakfast specials, the Cackleberry Club scrambles to crack the case before one of their own ends up six feet under. (back cover)

Before I Fall
by Lauren Oliver

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all -- looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it's her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she relives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

This incandescent page-turner from twenty-six-year-old debut author Lauren Oliver will leave readers breathless. (back cover)

Making Toast
by Roger Rosenblatt

"How long are you staying, Boppo?"


When his daughter, Amy -- a gifted doctor, mother, and wife -- collapsed and died from an asymptomatic heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, left their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren: six-year-old Jessica, four-year-old Sammy, and one-year-old James, known as Bubbies.

Long past the years of diapers, homework, and recitals, Roger and Ginny -- Boppo and Mimi to the kids -- quickly reaccustomed themselves to the world of small children: bedtime stories, talking toys, playdates, nonstop questions, and nonsequential thought. Though still reeling from Amy's death, they carried on, reconstructing a family, sustaining one another, and guiding three lively, alert, and tenderhearted children through the pains and confusions of grief. As he marveled at the strength of his son-in-law, a surgeon, and the tenacity and skill of his wife, a former kindergarten teacher, Roger attended each day to "the one household duty I have mastered" -- preparing the morning toast perfectly to each child's liking.

With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterized his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on his most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love. The day Amy died, Harris told Ginny and Roger, "It's impossible." Roger's story tells how a family makes the possible of the impossible. (inside cover)

Forest Gate
by Peter Akinti

In a community where poverty is kept close and passeed from one generation to the next, two teenage boys, best friends, stand on top of twin tower blocks. Facing each other across the abyss of London's urban sprawl, they say their good-byes and jump. One dies. The other, alternating with the sister of the deceased, narrates this novel.

James gives us a window into the inner city -- his mom is a crack addict, his gang "brothers" force him to kill another black boy. Meina describes with feeling her family history in Somalia: after her parents are killed before her eyes, her village aunt sells her to six husbands -- before she is even a teenager. Desperate to rebuild their lives, James and Meina set out to find the place for which every child longs -- home.

Brutal and shockingly violent in places, rambunctious and lively in others and slyly, dryly witty in yet others, Meina and James' journey toward life through their past is ultimatlely a powerful story of redemptive love and the debut of an extraordinary literary talent. (back cover)

Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy
by Paula Butturini

Paula Butturini and John Tagliabue met as foreign correspondents in Italy, fell in love, and four years later, married in Rome. But not even a month after the wedding, tragedy struck. They had transferred away from their Italian paradise when John was shot and nearly killed on the job. The period of physical and mental suffering that followed marked the abrupt end of what they'd known together and the beginning of a phase of life neither had planned for.

They followed their instincts and returned to the place they loved, Italy, and there they found a lifeline of sorts. As John struggled to regain his health and Paula reexamined her assumptions about illness and recovery, it was food and its rituals -- the daily shopping, preparing, sharing, and memory of food -- that kept them moving forward. Food became a symbol of the family's innate desire to survive, to accept, and to celebrate what fell its way.

Keeping the Feast is an inspiring story of what happens when tragedy strikes a previously happy marriage and a couple must fight to find its bearings. It is a testament to the extraordinary sustaining powers of food and love, to the healing that can come from the simple rituals of life, even during life's biggest challenges, and to the stubborn belief that there is always an afterward, always hope. (back cover)

The Gin Closet
by Leslie Jamison

In the beginning, there was Tilly: fabulous and free, outrageous and untamable, vulnerable and terrified. Was it the Sixties that did her wrong, or the drugs, or the men, or was it the middle-class upbringing she couldn't abide? As a young woman, she flees home for the hollow neon underworld of Nevada, looking for pure souls and finding nothing but bad habits. She stays away for decades, working the streets and worse, eventually drinking herself to the brink of death in the middle of the desert. One day, after Tilly has spent nearly thirty years without a family, her niece shows up on the doorstep of her dusty trailer.

Stella has been leading her own life of empty promise in New York City. She makes her living booking Botox appointments and national-media appearances for a famous (and famously neurotic) "inspirational" writer by day; she complains about her job at warehouse parties in remote boroughs by night; she waits for her married lover to make time in his schedule to screw her over, softly; and she takes care of her ailing grandmother in Connecticut. Before Stella's grandmother dies, she tells Stella the truth about Tilly, her runaway daughter, and Stella decides to give up the vast and penetrating loneliness of the city to find this lost woman the family had never mentioned.

The Gin Closet unravels the strange and powerful intimacy that forms between Tilly and Stella s they move to San Francisco to make a home with Abe, Tilly's overworked and elusive son. Shifting between the perspectives of both women, the narrative documents the construction of a fragile triangle that eventually breaks under its own weight.

With an uncanny ear for dialogue and a witty, unflinching candor about sex, love, and power, Leslie Jamison reminds us that no matter how unexpected its turns are, this life we're given is all we have: the cruelties that unhinge us, the beauties that clarify us, the addictions that deform us, those fleeting possibilities of grace that fade as quickly as they come. In the words of writer Charles D'Ambrosio, this extraordinary novel teaches us that "history has its way, the body has its way, and the rebellions we believe in leave behind a bleak wisdom, if we're lucky -- and defeat, if we're not." The Gin Closet marks the debut of a stunning new talent in fiction. (inside book jacket)

Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children
by Andrew Clements

One secret mission.
One secret society.
One chance to save their school from total destruction.

Benjamin Pratt's harbor-side school is going to be bulldozed to make room for an amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true. . . or is it more like a nightmare? Something about the plan seems fishy, and Lyman, the new assistant janitor, seems even fishier. When Ben and his friend, Jill, start digging for answers, they find things that the people with money and power don't want them to see. Could the history hidden deep within an old school building actually overthrow a thirty-million-dollar real-estate deal? And how far will the developers go to keep that from happening? Ben and Jill are about to discover just how dangerous a little knowledge can be. (back cover)

The Totaled Woman: True Slices of Life from a Mother of Five
by Marcia Veldhuis

Everyone knows that life happens -- the secret is finding God at work through it all!

Comprising individual true stories, The Totaled Woman shares the challenges and joys from a mother's perspective in a home with five precocious children and a brilliant (if impractical) scientist husband. Marcia Veldhuis looks beyond the crisis of the moment and finds the lessons that God would have. Enter into the joy, sorrow, hilarity and difficulty of each unbelievable situation.

Day to day living has always been stranger than fiction! (back cover)

Disrupting Grace: A Story of Relinquishment and Healing
by Kristen Richburg

Often we hear stories of adoption and happy endings, but what about the adoptions that don't work out? What are families to do when despite all efforts, their child isn't thriving, and the rest of the family is coming apart at the seams? Isolated families are running out of hope, battling pain, experiencing grief and the loss of a dream. Kristen Richburg sadly admits the inability to meet the needs of her adopted daughter and how five years later she relinquished her parental rights of a child she had so hoped to love, nurture and cherish for life. What now?

Aren't adoption stories supposed to have happy endings? How did we get here?

Disrupting Grace describes Richburg's journey through mothering and relinquishing an adopted child, and how through that experience, her shallow and small understanding of grace was enlarged and forever changed. It is in heartbreak, that she learned about love, in loss, that she experienced spiritual gain, and in brokenness, that she was made whole. (back cover)

Out With the In Crowd
by Stephanie Morrill

She knew changing her life wouldn't be easy, but she never expected it to be this hard.

Skylar Hoyt may have vowed to change her partying ways, but it's not so easy to change her friends. Even though the old Skylar is gone, she's still not sure who this new Skylar really is. Add to that two parents battling for her loyalty, a younger sister struggling with a crisis pregnancy, and a new boyfriend wishing for more of her time, and Skylar feels like she can't win. After all, how do you choose favorites among the people you love most? (back cover)

The Teaberry Strangler
by Laura Childs

The New York Times bestselling author of Oolong Dead serves up an old-time treat, spiced with a Sherlock Holmes-style murder mystery. . .

It was the Dickensian evening Theodosia Browning had hoped for, flickering candles lined the narrow cobblestone alleys of Charleston as shop owners dressed in cloaks of yore threw open their back doors to shoppers. Visitors took advantage of bargains on antiques, heaping bowls of shrimp chowder -- and of course Theodosia's delicious teas.

But when the clock strikes ten, the alleys clear except for one body discovered by a horrified Theodosia. It's the strangled form of Daria, the mapstore's owner. Many locals have shown interest in buying her shop -- but enough to kill? Plus there's been a customer hell-bent on getting his hands on a certain not-for-sale map. In this case one can hardly throw a scone without hitting a suspect.

Most alarming of all the theories, however, is Detective Tidwell's: that the killer mistook Daria for Theodosia herself. And if that theory holds water, the killer's work isn't done. (back cover)

What books came home to you this week?


Passages to the Past said...

My goodness - that's a lot of books! Love the cover of the first book!

I hope you enjoy them!

My mailbox is HERE.

bermudaonion said...

Holy cow! What a mailbox! You should sign up for The Reagan Arthur Books Challenge since you got a couple of the books. It's a perpetual challenge so you can't fail!

Natalie W said...

Wow! Lucky you. I only got 1 last week :(

Susan O'Bryant said...

What a great load of books you got there! :)

Anonymous said...

You hit the jackpot with all those books!!

Unknown said...

WOW! That's a lot in 1 week! Making Toast sounds really interesting.

Esme said...

Wow-You have a lot of reading to do-Making Toast, Feasting in Italy, Disrupting Grace and the mysteries sound good to me.

Rebecca said...

Wow you got a lot of books this week. Hope you enjoy reading all your books.

Kaye said...

Wow, it will take all of Feb just to get through all those. They look wonderful!

My MM is here Have a good week and happy reading!

DCMetroreader said...

Wow I think you won the "most books received this week" award! Congrats you have a lot of terrific reading ahead!

Alayne said...

Wow, you had a really good week. The Crazy School cover is amazing. My mailbox is at The Crowded Leaf.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Oh, my! You have several on your stack that caught my eye!

I just read Making Toast...fabulous!

The Crazy School and Before I Fall caught my attention, too. The cover on Before I Fall...chilling!

My MM:


Kristen said...

I don't know how you get through all the books you get every week!!! The Gin Closet looks realy good.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

Great mailbox week for you! So many good looking books too! Enjoy them all!

Unknown said...

Awesome week - lots of great books. I read The Crazy School and loved it so I hope you enjoy it.

I really really want to read Before I Fall.

Enjoy your books.

Kathleen said...

Wow! I want to read Crazy School and Before I fall. They sound really good. I'll be watching for your reviews.

My list is at SMS Book Reviews

Mary (Bookfan) said...

What a great mix of books - enjoy : )

April said...

Wowzers! What a great haul of books!! There are several that I would LOVE to get my hands on! Enjoy!
Here are my lonely 3, lol:

Suko said...

Wow! You must have an extra large mailbox--enjoy!!

J.T. Oldfield said...

I saw Joshua Ferris read today, and was talking to him about the audiobook. He said that it took about 4 days to record. He also said that when you record a book, the microphone picks up everything, like your stomach rumbling, so you have to go back and reread things sometimes. :)


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