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 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday (April 18, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday's host for April is Amy at Passages to the Past. In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 

I'd Know You Anywhere
by Laura Lippman

In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza Benedict was kidnapped by Walter Bowman and held hostage for almost six weeks.  He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well.  In the intervening years Eliza compartmentalized that part of her past and now leads a quiet, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and two children.

But Eliza's tranquility is shattered when she receives a letter from Walter:  There was your photo, in a magazine.  Of course, you are older now.  Still, I'd know you anywhere.

On death row in Virginia, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears.  Yet as he presses her from more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something more.  He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer.  He wants her to save his life.

An edgy, utterly gripping tale of psychological manipulation that explores the lasting effects of crime on a victim's life, I'd Know You Anywhere is a virtuoso performance from the acclaimed, award-winning author.

The Kitchen Daughter
by Jael McHenry

A mouth-watering debut novel about self-discovery and shortbread. . . and a magical talent, both bitter and sweet.

After the unexpected death of her parents, shy and sheltered Ginny Selvaggio, a young woman with Asperger's syndrome, seeks comfort in the kitchen, away from her well-meaning but interfering relatives and her domineering sister, Amanda.  The methodical chopping, slicing, and stirring soothe her anxiety, and the rich aroma of ribollita, painstakingly recreated from her Italian grandmother's handwritten recipe, calms her senses.  But it also draws an unexpected visitor:  the ghost of Nonna herself, bearing a cryptic warning in rough English, "Do no let her," before vanishing like steam from a cooling dish.

Faced with grief and uncertainty, Ginny turns to her recipe collection, and in doing so, discovers that she has the power to call forth the ghost of any dead person whose dish she prepares.  It's a gift she is certain she cannot share with her pragmatic sister but that ultimately leads her to an unexpected friendship and the possibility of a new life.

The mystery deepens when Ginny finds a letter hidden behind a loose fireplace brick and a series of strange black and white photographs -- evidence of a family secret she can't untangle alone.  As Amanda pushes her to sell the only home she's ever known, Ginny decides that the key to her future lies within this provocative riddle from her parents' past.  But can she cook up a dish that will bring them back long enough to help her solve it?

For readers of Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells and Jodi Picoult's House Rules, Jael McHenry's thoughtful debut is a delicious, insightful story that considers the question:  What does it really mean to be normal?

Come and Find Me
by Hallie Ephron

Computer security expert and reformed hacker Diana Highsmith has not ventured beyond her home for more than a year -- not since that fateful climbing vacation in Switzerland took Daniel's life.  Haunted by the sound of Daniel's cries echoing across the gorge as he fell, Diana cannot stop thinking about the life they'll never have -- grief that has transformed her into a recluse.

Diana doesn't have to shut herself off completely from the world, though; she and Daniel's best friend run a thriving Internet security company.  From her home, in her pajamas, Diana assesses security breaches, both potential and real, and offers clients a way to protect themselves from hackers -- the kind of disruptions Diana herself used to create.  Once Diana has a game plan she is able to meet with clients in OtherWorld, an Internet-based platform, using Nadia, an avatar she created for herself.  Diana knows she'll have to rejoin the "real world" eventually, but right now a few steps from her door each morning is all she can handle.

When Diana's sister goes missing, however, she is forced to do the impossible:  brave both the outside world and her own personal demons to find her sister.  As one step outside leads to another, Diana soon discovers that she is following a trail fraught with danger -- and uncovering a web of deceit and betrayal, both online and real-life, that threatens not only her sister's life, but her own.

Dead by Midnight
by Carolyn Hart

Solving puzzles comes naturally to Annie Darling, cheerful owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the lovely sea island of Broward's Rock.  Annie is aided and abetted by her admiring husband, Max, who runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.

A recent death appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder.  To solve the case, she unravels the mystery of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo, the lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a teenager's blue shirt, and the secret of a lovers' tryst.

Annie believes she has set the perfect trap for a merciless killer until her cell phone rings and Death whispers in her ear.

In Zanesville
by Jo Ann Beard

The beguiling fourteen-year-old narrator of In Zanesville is a late bloomer.  Even in her small midwestern city, where modesty is prized and self-assertion is a faux pas, she flies under the radar -- a sidekick, a third wheel, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent.

Luckily, she has a best friend, a similarly undiscovered girl with whom she shares the everyday adventures -- sometimes harrowing, sometimes embarrassing -- of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed and character is forged.

In time, their friendship is tested -- by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them as if they were found objects, and by the first startling, subversive intimations of womanhood.

With dry, irrepressible wit and piercing observations, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant.

The Unbelievable Adventures of a WWII German War Bride
by Ingeborg M. Johnston

Unbelievable Adventures of a WWII German War Bride by Ingeborg M. Johnston is a gripping, heroic, and at times humorous memoir of one girl's survival in war-torn Berlin and the extraordinary life she created for herself and her family in post-war America.  From nursing wounded German officers to making fools of Russian soldiers, to talking her way through situations that would have resulted in prison for many, Johnston's courage and chutzpah will leave you wide-eyed with amazement.  How could one young woman break all the rules, take on Germany's top industrial leaders. . . and win?  How does one young woman marry an American and make a life in a country that was recently the enemy. . . and immediately become an important part of her new community?  This is the story of hope and dreams, of courage and risk-taking, of falling in love and following her heart, a bigger-than-life story that cannot be missed.

What books came home to you last week?


Mystica said...

I am still trying to get to a Lippman! and Kitchen Daughter is all over the blogs. The others are new to me. Looking good for reading and enjoy the week.

bermudaonion said...

The Kitchen Daughter is fantastic! You're in for a treat!

LibrarySnake said...

I just added all of those to my list :)

Here's mine:

Eden said...

Whoa, The Kitchen Daughter has a great cover -- at first, I thought the net w/ apples was a dress! Very artistic. Enjoy!

Here's my IMM :)

Anonymous said...

These look so good! I hope you enjoy them. I read the Laura Lippman book last fall and liked it a lot.

Mari said...

I'd know you anywhere was one of the my favorite books read last year... and completely different than what I normally read. I hope you enjoy it.

I also enjoyed The Kitchen Daughter, a few unexpected subtle twists in this one.

Have a wonderful week!

gautami tripathy said...

Wonderful mailbox. Hope you like those. I received a few in my mailbox! but I downloaded a LOT of free e-books!

Here is my Monday: Mailbox/What Are You Reading?/Musings post!

Tribute Books Mama said...

Must add some of these to my tbr list.

Come by and see mine and my giveaways.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

The German War Bride book looks very interesting. I have not read any Lippman yet but that description sounds like the one I may have to start with. It sounds extremely good!

DCMetroreader said...

You had a fantastic week! Enjoy all your new books!

Kaye said...

Wow, you got some great books this week. The Laura Lippman was an excellent read. Have a great week, enjoy your new books and happy reading! My MM is here should you like to visit.

Holly said...

The Laura Lippman book sounds great. Don't know why I haven't tried her books yet but I think I'll have to snag one from the library soon :)


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