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


Sunday, April 4, 2010

In My Mailbox/Mailbox Monday (April 4 and 5)

Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page . Please visit Kristi and Marcia  and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!

by Rachel Ward

Since the day her mother died, Jem has known about the numbers.

Numbers that pop into her head when she looks into someone's eyes. They're dates, the numbers. Dates predicting with brute accuracy each person's death.

Burdened by such grim knowledge, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. Maybe they can find happiness together, if only in the brief time that remains before his expiration date.

But on a trip to London, Jem foresees a chilling chain of events:
The city's a target.
The clock's running out.
The countdown is on to a blowup!

Maid of Murder
(An India Hayes Mystery)
by Amanda Flower
(review request from the author)

India Hayes is a lot of things. . .starving artist who pays the rent as a college librarian, daughter of liberal activists, sister of an emotional mathematician, tenant of a landlady who has kissed the Blarney Stone one too many times, and a bridesmaid six times over. But she's about to step into the most challenging role of her life: amateur sleuth.

Childhood friend and now knockout beauty, Olivia Blocken is back in town to wed her bodybuilder fiance with India a reluctant attendant. . . not just because the bridesmaid's dress is a hideous mess, but because she's betraying her brother. Mark still carries a torch for the bride who once broke his heart and sent his life into a tailspin.

When Olivia turns up dead in the Martin College fountain and the evidence points to Mark, India must unmask the real culprit while juggling a furious and grieving Mother of the Bride, an annoyingly beautiful Maid of Honor, a set of hippie-generation parents, the police detective who once dated her sister and is showing a marked liking for her, and a provost itching to fire someone, anyone -- maybe even a smart-mouthed librarian.

India's investigation leads her on a journey through childhood memories that she'd much rather have left in the schoolyard, but to avoid becoming the next victim, it is a path she must follow.

Maid of Murder is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud mystery set in an amusing world of academia. Readers will fall in love with India Hayes' fierce loyalty and wit.

by Kathi Appelt
(reviewing for Simon & Schuster Kid's Division)

Blue moon, magic moon. . . good for wishing.

To ten-year-old Keeper, this moon is her chance to fix all that has gone wrong. . . and so much has gone wrong.

But she knows who can make things right again: Meggie Marie, her mermaid mother who swam away when Keeper was just three. A blue moon calls the mermaids to gather at the sandbar, and that's exactly where Keeper is headed -- in a small boat, in the middle of the night, with ony her dog, BD (Best Dog), and a seagull named Captain. When the riptide pulls at the boat, tugging her away from the shore and deep into the rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico, panic sets in and the fairy tales that lured her out there go tumbling into the waves. Maybe the blue moon isn't magic and maybe the sandbar won't sparkle with mermaids, and maybe -- oh, no. . ."Maybe" is just too difficult to bear.

The Marrowbone Marble Company
by M. Glenn  Taylor
(received for review from ECCO via Shelf Awareness)

Moving from the hills of West Virginia to the islands of the Pacific and back, a sweeping novel of love and war, power and oppression, faith and deception, from the author of The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, a finalist for the 2009 National Book Critic's Circle Award.

1941. Orphan Loyal Ledford works the swing shift tending the furnace at the Mann Glass factory in Huntington, West Virginia. He courts Rachel, the boss's daughter, a company nurse with spike straight posture and coal black hair. But when Pearl Harbor is attacked, Ledford, like so many young men of his time, sets his life on a new course. . .

Upon his return from service in the war, Ledford starts a family with Rachel, but he chafes under the authority at Mann Glass. he is a lost man, disconnected from the present and haunted by his violent past, until he meets his cousins, the Bonecutter brothers. Their land, the mysterious, elemental Marrowbone Cut, calls to Ledford, and it is there, with help from an unlikely bunch, that the Marrowbone Marble Company is slowly forged. Over the next two decades, the factory town becomes a vanguard of the civil rights movement and the war on poverty, a home for those intent on change. Such a home inevitably invites trouble, and Ledford must fight for his family.

Returning to the West Virginia territory of his critically acclaimed Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, M. Glenn Taylor recounts the transformative journey of a man and his community. Told in clean and powerful prose in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and John Irving, The Marrowbone Marble Company takes a harrowing look at the issues of race and class throughout the tumultuous 1950s and '60s. It is a story of struggle and loss, righteousness and redemption, and it can only be found in the hills of Marrowbone, in the deft storytelling of M. Glenn Taylor.

Alexandra, Gone
by Anna McPartlin
(reviewing for Simon & Schuster Gallery Books)

Letting go for good. . .

Once, Jane Moore and Alexandra Walsh were inseparable, sharing secrets and stolen candy, plotting their futures together. But when Jane became pregnant at seventeen, they drifted slowly apart. Jane has spent the years since raising her son, now seventeen himself, on her own, running a gallery, managing her sister's art career, and looking after their volatile mother -- all the while trying not to resent the limited choices life has give her.

Then a quirk of fate and a faulty elevator bring Jane into contact with Tom, Alexandra's husband, who has some shocking news. Alexandra disappeared from a south Dublin suburb months ago, and Tom has been searching fruitlessly for her. Jane offers to help, as do the elevator's other passengers -- Jane's brilliant but self-absorbed sister, Elle, and Leslie Sheehan, a reclusive web designer who's ready to step back into the world again. And as Jane quickly realizes, Tom isn't the only one among them who's looking for something. . .or traveling toward unexpected revelations about love, life, and what it means to let go, in every sense.

In this insightful and irresistible novel, by turns profound, poignant and laugh-out-loud funny, acclaimed Irish writer Anna McPartlin tells a story of friendship and love, of the families we are born into and the ones we create for ourselves, and of the hope and strength that remain when we find the courage to leave the past behind at last.

Necessary Heartbreak
by Michael J. Sullivan
(reviewing for Simon & Schuster Gallery Books)

An extraordinary journey back in time shows a struggling single dad that the faith he's lost is still alive -- and stronger than ever. . .

Michael Stewart has weathered his share of hardships: a troubled childhood, the loss of his mother, even the degradation of living on the city streets. Now he's raising his teenaged daughter, Elizabeth, on his own and doing the best he can at work and at home. But he's turned his back on his faith -- that is, until the morning Michael and Elizabeth volunteer for a food pantry at their local church.  While storing boxes in the basement, they step through a mysterious door. . . and find themselves in first-century Jerusalem during the tumultuous last week of Jesus Christ's life. It is a dangerous and violent place, where doing what your heart tells you is right can get you imprisoned -- or worse -- and they are thankful to take refuge with a kind widow. But when they come face-to-face with Judas Iscariot and the condemned Christ himself, Michael realizes that before they can escape Jerusalem, he must experience history's most necessary and shattering heartbreak -- and that pain and loss must happen if Michael is to be set free: to live, love, and reclaim the blessings he has in the present day.

Three Wishes
by Carey Goldberg, Beth Jones, and Pamela Ferdinand
(reviewing for Hachette Books)

The true story of best friends who find that the moment they stop waiting for fairy-tale endings, their "happily ever afters" begin.

Carey, Beth, and Pam, all successful journalists, have good luck in friends, but terrible luck in relationships. Which makes it more difficult to get what they truly desire: children. And time is running out.

After years of chasing headlines from Manhattan to Moscow, Carey returns home and is the first to abandon the traditional path to motherhood. She decides to go it alone, finds the perfect anonymous donor, and buys eight vials of his sperm. Maybe it's newfound confidence from taking control of her destiny. Maybe it's sheer coincidence. But on the day the vials arrive, she meets a man online. They fall in love. And she gets pregnant the old-fashioned way.

Carey passes the vials, like a talisman to Beth, who has recovered from a wrenching divorce, a predatory lawyer, and poor choices made by unscrupulous financiers. But before she can use the vials, Beth meets a man on an ice-climbing trip. She too falls in love.  And gets pregnant. So she gives the vials to Pam, an eternal romantic. Pam will never stop searching for the love of her life, but she's ready to be a single mother. Then the magic strikes again. Her wish is fulfilled at an observatory under the stars.

Is it lucky sperm? Kismet? Or shared hope, determination, and resilience that pave the way to these happy endings?  Despite soured relationships and crushing losses, three women become three families, reveling in the shared joys of love, friendship, and never giving up.


Code Blue
(Prescription for Trouble Series)
by Richard L. Mabry, MD
(For a First Wild Card Tour)

Who wants Dr. Cathy Sewell dead?

For Dr. Cathy Sewell, Code Blue means more than just the cardiac emergencies she faces -- it's the state of her life when the return to her hometown doesn't bring the peace she so desperately needs.

The town doctors resent the fact that she's not only a newcomer but also a woman, and the devastating results from one of her prescriptions may mean the end of her practice.

As two men compete for affection, an enemy wants her out of town -- or possibly even dead.

What great books did you get this week?


Ashley said...

LOVE Anna McPartlin, and I can't wait to read this one. Three Wishes looks awesome too. Happy reading!

Kathrin said...

Oh, great books :-) Enjoy them!

Kathrin @ Secret Dreamworld of a Bookaholic

bermudaonion said...

Nice mailbox! I got Keeper too. The Marrowbone Marble Company really looks good to me.

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I got Keeper a couple of weeks ago. Numbers looks really good.

Here is mine

Kaye said...

Ooh, you got such good ones. Necessary Heartbreak looks good to me. Have a great week and happy reading.

Alayne said...

So many good books! What will you start first?! My mailbox is at The Crowded Leaf.

Mary said...

I think Numbers sounds good. They all look good and I hope you enjoy them :)

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

All of your books sound good. I hope you enjoy them all.

Lori said...

I hope that you will enjoy your books. Here's mine.


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