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


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mailbox Monday! (Jan 16, 2012)

 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in January by Alyce at At Home With 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! 

The Face Thief
by Eli Gottlieb

Gottlieb introduces the mystery of the charismatic Margot, a promising journalist who morphs -- with stunning panache -- from a high-achieving affluent twentysomething in to a grifter making her living preying on the weaknesses of men.  Having studied the ancient Chinese art of face reading, she becomes an expert at reading people and is also able to rearrange her look and persona with uncanny skill to fit any social situation.  She is an avenging angel, shattering marriages and draining bank accounts.

What drives her quest to deceive and disarm?  Exploring this question, The Face Thief moves fluidly forward and back in time, drawing vivid portraits of Margot's rocky childhood and her adult victims: an amiable, newly married man enticed into a catastrophic fraud; an esteemed teacher outwitted by his most dangerous student; and a well-meaning New York City cop tripped up by his belief in redemption.

Ingeniously constructed and exquisitely written, The Face Thief swirls a hypnotic dance of predator and prey, creating a contemporary landscape where the educated are violent, the beautiful ugly, and the well-intentioned hapless.  And yet we never give way to despair, because the protagonists of the book push back against the maelstrom and attempt tirelessly to right their toppled lives.  Rich in suspense, psychological depth, and nuance, The Face Thief confirms Gottlieb's standing as "a master" (Denver Post) and, in the words of essayist Phillip Lopate, "an enthralling stylist who[se]. . . characters are shockingly, electrically alive."

by Elmore Leonard

With the closing of the Harlan County, Kentucky, coal mines, marijuana has become the biggest cash crop in the state.  A hundred pounds of it can gross $300,000, but that's chump change compared to the quarter million a human body can get you -- especially when it's sold off piece by piece.

So when Dickie and Coover Crowe, dope-dealing brothers known for sampling their own supply, decide to branch out into the body business, it's up to U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens to stop them.  But Raylan isn't your average marshal; he's the laconic, Stetson-wearing, fastdrawing lawman who juggles dozens of cases at a time and always shoots to kill.  But by the time Raylan finds out who's making the cuts, he's lying naked in a bathtub, with Layla, the cool transplant nurse, about to go for his kidneys.

The bad guys are mostly gals this time around: Layla, the nurse who collects kidneys and sells them for ten grand apiece; Carol Conlan, a hard-charging coal-mine executive not above ordering a cohort to shoot pointblank a man who's standing in her way; and Jackie Nevada, a beautiful sometime college student who can outplay anyone at the poker table and who suddenly finds herself being tracked by a handsome U.S. Marshal.

Dark and droll, Raylan is pure Elmore Leonard -- a page-turner filled with the sparkling dialogue and sly suspense that are the hallmarks of this modern master.

American Sniper:
 The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
by Navy Seal Chris Kyle
with Scott McEvew and Jim DeFelice
He is the deadliest american sniper ever, called "the devil" by the enemies he hunted and "the legend" by his Navy SEAL brothers. . .
From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history.  The Pentagon has officially confirmed more than 150 of Kyle's kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book.  Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head.  Kyle earned legendary status among his fellow SEALs, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, whom he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions.  Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.
A native Texan who learned to shoot on childhood hunting trips with his father, Kyle was a champion saddle-bronc rider prior to joing the Navy.  After 9/11, he was thrust onto the front lines of the War on Terror, and soon found his calling as a world-class sniper who performed best under fire.  He recorded a personal-record 2,100-yard kill shot outside Baghdad; in Fallujah, Kyle braved heavy fire to rescue a group of Marines trapped on a street; in Ramadi, he stared down insurgents with his pistol in close combat.  Kyle talks honestly about the pain of war -- of twice being shot and experiencing the tragic deaths of two close friends.
American Sniper also honors Kyle's fellow warriors, who raised hell on and off the battlefield.  And in moving first-person accounts throughout, Kyle's wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their marriage and children, as well as on Chris.
Adrenaline-charged and deeply personal, American Sniper is a thrilling eyewitness account of war that only one man could tell.

American Dervish
by Ayad Akhtar

Hayat Shah is a young American in love for the first time.  His normal Midwestern life -- school, baseball, and video games -- previously was distinguished only by his Pakistani heritage and the frequent chill between his parents, who fight over things he is too young to understand.  Then Mina arrives, and everything changes.

Mina is Hayat's mother's oldest friend from Pakistan.  Independent, beautiful, and intelligent, she arrives on the Shahs' doorstep when her disastrous marriage in Pakistan disintegrates.  Even Hayat's skeptical father can't deny the liveliness and happiness that accompany Mina into their home.  Her deep spirituality brings the family's Muslim Faith to life in a way that resonates with Hayat as nothing has before.  Studying the Quran at Mina's side and basking in the glow of her attention, he feels an entirely new purpose mingled with a growing infatuation for his teacher.

When Mina meets and begins dating a family friend, Hayat is confused by his feelings of betrayal.  His growing passions, both spiritual and romantic, force him to question all that he has come to believe.  Just as Mina finds happiness, Hayat is compelled to act -- with devastating consequences for all those he loves most.

American Dervish is a brilliantly written, nuanced, and emotionally forceful look at the interplay between religion and modern life.  Ayad Akhtar was raised in the Midwest himself, and through Hayat Shah he shows us the powerful forces at work on young men and women growing up Muslim in America.  This is an intimate, personal first novel that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page. 

Gods and Fathers
by James LePore

Matt DeMarco is an accomplished Manhattan attorney with more than his share of emotional baggage.  His marriage ended disastrously, his ex-wife has pulled their son away from him, and her remarriage to a hugely successful Arab businessman has created complications for Matt on multiple levels.  However, his life shifts from troubled to imperiled when two cops -- men he's known for a long time -- come into his home and arrest his son as the prime suspect in the murder of the boy's girlfriend.

Suddenly, the enmity between Matt and his only child is no longer relevant.  Matt must do everything he can to clear his son, who he fully believes is innocent.  Doing so will require him to quit his job and make enemies of former friends - and it will throw him up against forces he barely knew existed and can only begin to comprehend how to battle. 

Robbie Forester and the Outlaws of Sherwood St.
by Peter Abrahams

One Magic Charm,
Two Cases of Arson,
and Four Seventh Graders
Who Want Justice Served!

Robbie Forester always knew life wasn't fair, but she never thought she could do anything about it.  Until one day when a powerful charm comes into her possession, a charm that guides her, her three friends, and her dog Pendleton on the path to justice.  But the charm doesn't seem to understand that the path has gotten dangerous, and Robbie and her friends find themselves in a menacing world of thievery, arson, big yachts, and even bigger bank accounts.  Will Robyn and her band of thieves end up in more trouble than they ever could have imagined?

Master suspense novelist Peter Abrahams weaves a tale of action, adventure, danger, and magic that keeps readers on the edge of their seats, guessing at every turn. 

I received the following books through Paperback Swap.

by Lisa McMann

Some nightmares never end.  For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams.  They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking.  When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned.  Not even close.  Janie's in way over her head, and Cabel's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak.  Seriously, brutally bleak.  Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd even feared. . .

Southern Vampire Series (Books 2-7)
by Charlaine Harris

I had the first book in this series already and signed up for a Sookie Stackhouse challenge when I came across these on Paperback Swap.  I was so excited to get them all!

What books arrived on your doorstep this week?


Harvee said...

Lots of good books! I'm looking forward to reading the first three on your list!

bermudaonion said...

I'm really excited about American Dervish and hope you love it.

Books And Beyond said...

Hi. new follower. What an awesome haul this week! I m jealous of the Sookie stash you got.
I have them as e books but that is a series I'd love to have on my shelf.

Nicola (pocketfullofbooks) said...

I'm really excited to read Fade! Hope you enjoy all your new books. :)

In My Mailbox #5

Mystica said...

All your books are new to me so will await what you think of them.

Alison Can Read said...

Great set! I love the buffalo photo. American Dervish sounds very interesting.

Alyce said...

The Face Thief is one that normally wouldn't be my cup of tea, but I am fascinated by the description. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for that one.

DCMetroreader said...

American Dervish and Fade sound fascinating.

Enjoy all your new books!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

So many great looking books. Enjoy!

Teddy Rose said...

Looks like a nice variety of books to suit different moods. I hope you enjoy them all!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I've seen some great reviews for American Dervish! Great find on Paperback Swap! I have the first book in the Stackhouse series but haven't read it yet. I hear they are fun reads.


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