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


Monday, July 4, 2011

Mailbox Monday (July 4, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday's host for July is Gwendolyn B. at A Sea of Books. 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!  This mailbox covers the last three weeks.

The Year We Left Home
by Jean Thompson

Over the course of a thirty-year career, Jean Thompson has been celebrated by critics as "a writer of extraordinary intelligence and sensitivity" (O, The Oprah Magazine), "an American Alice Munro" (The Wall Street Journal), and "one of our most lucid and insightful writers" (San Francisco Chronicle).  Her peers have been no less vocal, from Jennifer Egan ("bracing. . . boldly unconventional") to David Sedaris ("if there are 'Jean Thomson characters,' they're us, and never have we been as articulate and worthy of compassion").

Now, in The Year We Left Home, Thompson brings together all of her talents to deliver the career-defining novel her admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century.  It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita.  Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge.  The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape.  He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom.  Torrie, the Ericksons' youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.

Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy -- and moving through the Vietnam War's aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic booms and busts -- The Year We Left home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change.  Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.

by Meg Cabot

Meena Harper has a special gift, but it's only now that anyone's ever appreciated it.  The Palatine Guard -- a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican -- has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan.  With Meena's ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.

Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness.  But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames.  Now Meena's sworn off vampires for good. . . at least until she can prove her theory that just because they've lost their souls doesn't mean demons have lost the ability to love.

Meena knows convincing her co-workers -- including her partner, Uber-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf -- that vampires can be redeemed won't be easy. . . especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just the lives of the Palatine, but Meena's friends and family as well.

But Meena isn't the Palatine's only hope.  Father Henrique -- aka Padre Caliente -- New York City's youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case.

So why doesn't Meena -- or Alaric -- trust him?

As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare . . . and temptations she never even imagined existed impossible to resist.

This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew.

Betrayal of Trust
by J.A. Jance

At first glance, the video appears to be showing a childish game: a teenage girl with dark wavy hair smiles for the camera, a blue scarf tied around her neck.  All of a sudden things turn murderous, and the girl ends up dead.

It's as bad as a snuff film can get, and what's worse, the clip has been discovered on a phone that belongs to the grandson of Washington State's governor.  However, the boy, who has a troubled background, swears that he's never seen the victim before.

Fortunately, the governor is able to turn to an old friend, J.P. Beaumont, for help.  The Seattle private investigator has witnessed many horrific acts over the years, but this one ranks near the top.  Even more shocking is that the crime's multiple perpetrators could be minors.  Along with Mel Soames, his partner in life as well as on the job, Beaumont soon determines that what initially appears to be a childish prank gone wrong has much deeper implications.  But Mel and Beau must follow this path of corruption to its very end, before more innocent young lives are lost. 

Killer Move
by Michael Marshall

Bill Moore already has a lot, but he wants more. . .much more.

He's got a lucrative job selling condos in the Florida Keys, a successful wife, a good marriage, a beautiful house.  He also has a five-year plan for supersuccess, but that plan has begun to drag into its sixth year without reaping its intended rewards.  So now Bill's starting to mix it up -- juist a little -- to accelerate his way into the future that he knows he deserves.

Then one morning Bill arrives at work to find a card waiting for him, with no indication who it's from or why it was sent.  Its message is just one word: MODIFIED.

From that moment on, Bill's life begins to change.

At first, nothing seems very different.  But when things begin to unwind rapidly, and one after another, people around Bill start to die, it becomes increasingly clear that someone somewhere has a very different plan for Bill's future.  Confused and angry, Bill begins to fight against this unseen force until he comes to a terrifying, inescapable realization:  Once modified, there's no going back.

Following Polly
by Karen Bergreen

Would you call Alice Teakle a stalker? Or just someone with an, um, unhealthy obsession with golden girl Polly Linley Dawson?  No one much notices Alice: not her boss, not the neighbors, not even her mother.

Besides, everyone follows Polly and everything about her: her business selling high-end lingerie you can imagine only her elegant self wearing, her all-over-the-social-pages marriage to movie director Humphrey Dawson, her chic looks, her wardrobe.  Alice just follows her a little more. . . closely.

Yet one Manhattan autumn afternoon when Alice loses her job and starts to follow Polly, she stumbles on the object of her attention sprawled dead on the floor of a boutique and is forced to become truly beneath anyone's notice.  Invisible in fact.  Because she's accused of murder.

But can another obsession help save Alice with the fallout?  Charlie is Alice's longtime unattainable crush.  He might be able to help her out of the mess she's in. . . in return for a favor or two, that is.  But how will Alice find out if Charlie is really the man she thinks he is?

Route 66: A Crash Course in Navigating Life with the Bible
by Krish Kandiah

For many of us, there is a disconnect between the Bible we treasure and the book we struggle to read. Route 66 is an eight week course to learn how to let the whole Bible guide your life.

The eight sections--living faithfully, distinctively, emotionally, imaginatively, discerningly, purposefully, infectiously and hopefully--also provide an introduction to the eight different kinds of literature within the Bible. Each section includes questions for discussion and five days of daily readings.

Route 66 is ideal for small groups, church leaders, and those engaging in serious study of the Bible. A leader's guide and PowerPoint presentation are available from Spring Harvest.

Dark Awakening
by Kendra Leigh Castle

For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan MacGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills.  When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer -- a human woman with a special gift -- who can secure victory for their clan.  Ty's search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he's never known. . .

Lily Quinn has always been different.  Since childhood, she's had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense.  When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality.  With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control.  Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer -- she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction.  But will a vampire's vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces. . . or unleash her dark destiny?

How to Seduce a Scoundrel
by Vicky Dreiling

 Lady Julianne Gatewick is in a pickle.  It started when her brother's best friend -- for whom she's long nursed a secret tendre -- agreed to act as her guardian for the Season, only to seduce her with a risque waltz.

But when the music stopped and the expectant ton waited for the Earl of Hawkfield to claim her as his own he made his disinterest clear.  Rather than succumb to humiliation, Julianne does what any recently discarded, wickedly witty young miss would do.  She secretly pens a lady's guide to enticing unrepentant rakes. . . and it becomes the hottest scandal in London.

Every honorable rake knows that friends' sisters are forbidden.  But suddenly Julianne has a spark of mischief in her eyes that Hawk can't resist.  Try as he might to push her away, he spends his days listening for her laughter and his nights dreaming of her kisses.  He's always avoided innocents and their marriage-minded mothers, but has the man least likely to wed finally met his match?

Tamed by a Highlander
by Paula Quinn

Connor Grant left his first love in the Highlands, vowing to return after serving in the king's army.  Seven years later, he is still fighting for the crown, and his victories are legendary -- both in the battlefield and in the bedroom.  Yet he's never forgotten his bonnie lass.  And he certainly never expected to see her amidst the splendor of the British royal court: beautiful, breathtaking, and tempting him past the point of no return.

The night he left, Mairi MacGregor banished Connor from her life forever.  Now her heart belongs only to Scotland.  As part of a secret alliance, she journeys to London in search of information. . . only to find herself face to face with the one man she swore she'd never trust again.  Though Mairi's body still craves Connor's touch, she can't forgive his betrayal.  But a traitor lurks in their midst and to protect her beloved Highlands, Mairi must make a leap of faith and join forces with Connor -- even if it means losing her heart to him again.

Book Smart: Your Essential Reading List for Becoming a Literary Genius in 365 Days
by Jane Mallison

Like taking a private class with an engaging literature professor, Book Smart is your ticket to literary enlightenment all year long and for the rest of your life.  Whether you're a passionate turner of pages or you aspire to be better-read, Book Smart expands your knowledge and enjoyment with a month-by-month plan that tackles 120 of the most compelling books of all time.

Throughout the year, each book comes alive with historical notes, highlights on key themes and characters, and advice on how to approach reading.  Here is a sampling of what you can expect:
  • January    Make a fresh start with classics like Beowulf and Dante's Inferno.
  • April        Welcome spring in the company of strong women like Jane Eyre, Anna  Karenina, and Vanity Fair's Becky Sharp.
  • August     Bring some cooling laughter to summer's heat with comedic works from Kingsley Amis and Oscar Wilde.
  • October     Revisit your youth reading about adolescents in classics like Little Women and recent bestsellers such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
  • December   Celebrate year's end with big prizewinners such as The Remains of the Day and Leaves of Grass.

What books came home to you last week?


bermudaonion said...

You always get a great variety of books! I've heard wonderful things about The Year We Left Home. Enjoy!

Tribute Books Mama said...

A good selection of reads ahead.


Kristin said...

You have a nice list of books that you got in your mailbox this week.
Happy reading,
Book Sniffers Anonymous


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