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


Monday, December 12, 2011

Mailbox Monday (Dec 12, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in December by Lady Q at Let Them Read 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! 

I took a break from posting for a few weeks, so these are the books that I received during the last three weeks.

The Lost Book of Mala R.
by Rose MacDowell

Three very different women, each trying to reconcile her dreams with reality, are drawn together by a hypnotic voice from the past.

In a once-grand Southern California neighborhood, Linda, a New York City transplant, is panicking over the disappearance of her precocious ten-year-old stepdaughter.  Christine, who has struggled to get pregnant for years, finds herself expecting a baby -- just as her husband is accused of murder.  And Audrey, who's always played it safe because of her family's history of bad luck, takes a romantic risk and suddenly finds herself facing a disaster of her own.

When an old journal surfaces at a neighbor's tag sale, the women are inexorably drawn into the life of Mala Rinehart, an itinerant Romany woman who wrote down spells and predictions in a cryptic, slanting hand.  As the three women feel the pull from across sixty intervening years, they vow to discover what became of Mala.  For through the worn pages, their happiness has intertwined with hers, their futures spelled out in her chants and recipes.  And as they unravel the mystery of Mala's origins, their lives transform in ways they never could have expected.


The Legacy of Eden
by Nelle Davy

"To understand what it meant to be a Hathaway you'd first have to see Aurelia."

For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields.  The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name -- no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process.  It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways -- and the once-prosperous farm.

Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died -- alone.  None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land or the memories.

Especially Meredith Pincetti.  Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past.  But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name.

Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family. . . and her own part in their mottled history.

The Replacement
by Brenna Yovanoff

Mackie Doyle is the replacement.

Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess.  He is a Replacement -- left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago.  Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with an oddly intriguing girl called Tate.  But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem.  He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.


by Robison Wells

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence.  A school where video cameras monitor his every move.  Where there are no adults.  Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school's real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape -- his only real hope for survival -- may be impossible.



The Eighty-Dollar Champion
by Elizabeth Letts

November 1958: the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, one of the most prestigious sporting events in the country.  In the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition, hotheaded thoroughbreds piloted by seasoned professionals awaited their turn to take on the course of towering hurdles.  Into the ring trotted the most unlikely of horses -- a drab white former plow horse named Snowman -- and his rider, Harry de Leyer.  They were the longest of all longshots -- and their win was the stuff of legend.

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse.  He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars.  On Harry's modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived.  The even-tempered nag was wonderful with Harry's children and made a quiet lesson mount.  But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit -- so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.

But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed.  When he turned up back at Harry's barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse.  And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly.  One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of "the Flying Dutchman" himself -- from the de Leyer family's farm in Harry's native Holland, through the horrors of the Nazi occupation, to Harry's hope for a new life in America, where his spirit and drive were matched by those of the plow horse he saved from the killer van.  Their story captured the heart of Cold War-era America -- a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all.  Elizabeth Letts's message is simple:  Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high.  There is something extraordinary in all of us.



Dead Head
by Rosemary Harris

"Fugitive Mom."  That's the tabloid headline that rocks a small New England town and has Paula Holliday searching for the truth when someone she knows is revealed to be an escaped convict.

Who hasn't fantasized about walking away from the house, the car, the family, and starting over, with a different name, a new driver's license, a new haircut, and a new past?

What if someone you knew actually did it because they'd been convicted of a crime, been imprisoned, and then escaped, only to reemerge as the person you thought you knew?  A still-wanted fugitive disguised as a friend or neighbor.

To Paula Holliday, the wise-cracking amateur sleuth in Rosemary Harris's latest Dirty Business Mystery, fugitives and secret identities seem like the stuff of novels or television dramas.  After digging up a mummified body and solving a murder in casino country, Paula has developed a reputation as a part-time detective, but all she wants is to get back to her real life -- keeping her small business afloat and enjoying coffee and donuts at the Paradise Diner, a local greasy spoon owned by friend and former rock and roller babe Chinnery.

When the well-heeled Caroline Sturgis approaches Paula with a business proposition, Paula has to think about it.  And she's still thinking about it when one of her friends is arrested.  Before she knows it, Paula is wrapped up in the case, and as she unravels the past, she finds that no one is exactly who she says she is -- including herself.

A quick-witted and even quicker-paced mystery featuring the smart and independent heroine readers across the country have come to love and identify with, Dead Head delivers Rosemary Harris's best suburban noir yet.



by Lauren Groff

In the fields and forests of western New York State in the late 1960s, several dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what becomes a famous commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House.  Arcadia follows this lyrical, rollicking, tragic, and exquisite utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after.  The novel particularly centers on a young boy -- Ridley Sorrel Stone, known as "Little Bit," and later, "Bit, " who is born soon after the commune is established.

While Arcadia and the Arcadians rise and fall and evolve across three generations, Bit, of course, ages too.  Played out against the backdrop of Arcadia is Bit's lifelong love affair with a young woman on the commune -- the lithe and deeply troubled Helle.  How does he, an extremely sensitive man, make his way through life and through the world outside Arcadia where he must eventually live?

What unfolds is an astonishingly beautiful and gripping novel.  With Arcadia, Lauren Groff establishes herself as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today.



(A House of Night novel)
by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet -- which would be a whole lot easier if the High Council saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is.  Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together -- if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow.

But there are new forces at work at the House of Night.  An influx of humans, including Lenobia's handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability.  And then there's the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more -- or possibly less -- than human.  Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon.  But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling.  And there's something strangely familiar about him. . .

Will Neferet's true nature be revealed before she succeeds at extinguishing Light?  And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox's humanity in time to protect them all?  Find out what's destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.



No One is Here Except All of Us
by Ramona Ausubel

An isolated village tries to save itself from war through sheer force of imagination -- all at the suggestion of a young girl.

In 1939, the residents of a remote Jewish village in Romania feels the war close in on them.  Their tribe has moved and escaped for thousands of years -- across oceans, deserts, and mountains -- but now, it seems, there is nowhere else to go.  Danger is imminent in every direction, yet the territory of imagination and belief is limitless.  At the suggestion of an eleven-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger washed up on the riverbank, the villagers decide to reinvent the world:  deny any relationship with the known, and start over from scratch.  Destiny is unwritten.  Time and history are forgotten.  Jobs, husbands, a child are reassigned.  And for years, there is boundless hope.  But the real world continues to unfold alongside the imagined one, eventually overtaking it, and soon our narrator -- the girl, grown into a young mother -- must flee her villlage, move from one world to the next, to find her husband and save her children, and propel them toward a real and hopeful future.

A beguiling, imaginative, inspiring story about the bigness of being alive as an individual, as a member of a tribe, and as a participant in history, No One Is Here Except All of Us explores how we use storytelling to survive and to shape our own truths.  It marks the arrival of a major new literary talent.


The Goddess Test
by Aimee Carter

Every girl who has taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom -- and her mother is dying.  Her last wish?  To move back to her childhood home.  So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry.  Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing.  He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld -- and if she accepts his bargain he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy -- until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead.  Now saving her mother seems crazily possible.  If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails. . .

What books came home to you this week?


Majanka said...

You sure have a lot of books in your mailbox these past few weeks! I've read and enjoyed The Goddess Test, and the House of Night series is amazing. Variant looks intriguing as well. Enjoy reading!

Take a look at what's in my Mailbox!

Mystica said...

What a nice, heavy mailbox. Enjoy them all.

Tribute Books Mama said...

What a great mix of reads, enjoy them all.


Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

Great mailbox Kristi! The Lost Book of Mala R. sounds like a book I would enjoy. I hope you enjoy all these reads.

Holly said...

I really want to read No One is Here Except All of Us. Awesome mailbox!

Giselle said...

Wow great haul !I've had Variant for a while but haven't heard it yet I heard it was amazing!

Xpresso Reads

Giselle said...

Oops I mean *read :)

Xpresso Reads

RAnn said...

I have the Lost Book of Mala R. Now for time to read it.

Peggy said...

quite a cover on 'The Replacement'

Merry Christmas


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