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


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mailbox Monday (March 19, 2012)

 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in March by Anna at Diary of an Eccentric.  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 had a fantastic week this week (as well as last) and am looking forward to doing some Spring Break reading soon!

The Land of Decoration
by Grace McCleen

A mesmerizing debut about a young girl whose steadfast belief and imagination bring everything she once held dear into treacherous balance. 

In Grace McCleen's harrowing, powerful debut, she introduces an unforgettable heroine in ten-year-old Judith McPherson, a young believer who sees the world with the clear Eyes of Faith. Persecuted at school for her beliefs and struggling with her distant, devout father at home, young Judith finds solace and connection in a model in miniature of the Promised Land that she has constructed in her room from collected discarded scraps—the Land of Decoration. Where others might see rubbish, Judith sees possibility and divinity in even the strangest traces left behind.

As ominous forces disrupt the peace in her and Father's modest lives—a strike threatens her father's factory job, and the taunting at school slips into dangerous territory—Judith makes a miracle in the Land of Decoration that solidifies her blossoming convictions. She is God's chosen instrument. But the heady consequences of her newfound power are difficult to control and may threaten the very foundations of her world. 

With its intensely taut storytelling and crystalline prose, The Land of Decoration is a gripping, psychologically complex story of good and evil, belonging and isolation, which casts new and startling light on how far we'll go to protect the things we love most. 

The Inquisitor
by Mark Allen Smith

A spectacularly original thriller about a professional torturer who has a strict code, a mysterious past, and a dangerous conviction that he can save the life of an innocent child.

Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it.  And in his business -- called "information retrieval" by its practitioners -- that gift is invaluable, because truth is the hottest thing on the market.

One of Geiger's rules is that he never works with children.  So when his partner, former journalist Harry Boddicker, unwittingly brings in a client who demands that he interrogate a twelve-year-old boy, Geiger responds instinctively.  He rescues the boy from his captor, removes him to the safety of his New York City loft, and promises to protect him from further harm.  But if Geiger and Harry cannot quickly discover why the client is so desperate to learn the boy's secret, they themselves will become the victims of an utterly ruthless adversary.

Mesmerizing and heart-in-your-throat compelling, The Inquisitor is a completely unique thriller that introduces both an unforgettable protagonist and a major new talent. 

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms
By Lissa Evans

The telephone cord was hanging from the receiver,
wires sticking out of the broken, dangling end.

Time to go, Stuart thought.
And then the phone rang.

When ten-year-old Stuart stumbles upon a note daring him to find his great-uncle's hidden workshop full of wonderful mechanisms, trickery, and magic, he sets out on a Willy Wonka-like adventure of a lifetime.  In order to find the place, Stuart must believe the unbelievable -- while dodging the annoyingly prying eyes of his triplet neighbors, April, May and June.  With clues to follow, puzzles to solve, and the quirkiest of characters, this uniquely charming fiction debut by comedienne Lissa Evans is sure to enchant middle-grade readers -- and believers -- everywhere. 

Calico Joe
by John Grisham

A surprising and moving novel of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, set in the world of Major League Baseball…
Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
     It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen.  The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…
In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes CALICO JOE a classic. 

Dancing on Broken Glass
by Ka Hancock

Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn't have fallen in love, let alone gotten married.  They're both plagued with faulty genes -- he has bipolar disorder; she, a ravaging family history of breast cancer.  But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy's twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there's no denying their chemistry.

Cautious every step of the way, they are determined to make their relationship work -- and they put their commitment in writing.  Mickey will take his medication.  Lucy won't blame him for what is beyond his control.  He promises honesty.  She promises patience.  Like any marriage, there are good days and bad days -- and some very bad days.  In dealing with their unique challenges, they make the heartbreaking decision not to have children.  But when Lucy shows up for a routine physical just shy of their eleventh anniversary she gets an impossible surprise that changes everything.  Everything.  Suddenly, all their rules are thrown out the window and two of them  must redefine what love really is. 

by Thelma Adams

A smart and witty debut, Playdate is a family drama set against looming Santa Ana winds, which threaten a utopian Southern California community.  Inside a well-manicured home, Belle is a sharp-tongued tween, who is mortified by her dad, Lance, a former weatherman turned stay-at-home dad who practices yoga.  Darlene is a classic workaholic, but with her hours neatly penciled in, she has little patience for the needs of her husband and daughter.

Managing their own suburban paradise is Alec, a womanizing businessman and financial backer -- and sometimes more -- behind Darlene's burgeoning empire.  His wife, Wren, is an eager yogi ready to lay down the mat for a quick session with Lance.  When the fires reach the confines of this seemingly blissful neighborhood, passions and true desires are brought to the surface.  What happens next door, beyond the hedges, in the romper room and executive office -- it's all as combustible as a quick brush fire on a windy day.

The Goodbye Man
by Chad Barton

"As more people filled the packed church, Jack was forced to move down the wall toward the front, until he was very near the altar.  From that vantage point, he could see the young mother's face.

He found himself staring at her, unable to look away.  He didn't know why.  Perhaps it was the terrible sadness in her face.  He watched her intently as she clutched a little brown teddy bear and a picture of her daughter, who now lay only feet away in a small casket.  The size of it made him wince.  Jack felt the anger rise within him."

At sixty years old, Jack Steele has long since retired from putting criminals -- especially those that hurt children -- in prison.  Following his retirement from law enforcement, he built a successful multimillion-dollar company, allowing him financial freedom in his golden years.  Following the unexpected loss of his wife, Sarah, however, he withdraws into himself.  He becomes a loner whose only companion is his German shepherd dog.

Sick of a court system that lets monsters out of prison to torture and kill again and again, he decides there is only one way to stop them.  Using his own resources, his credentials as a retired police officer, and his .380 Walther, he and his dog begin to hunt -- bringing justice to those whom the system cannot control.

The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa

In a future world, vampires reign.

Humans are blood cattle.

And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

An unforgettable new series from the bestselling author of the Iron Fey.

My vampire creator told me this: "Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being.  The question is not if it will happen, but when.  Do you understand?"

I didn't then, not really.


The Orchid House
by Lucinda Riley

Spanning from the 1930s to the present day, from the Wharton Park estate in England to Thailand, this sweeping novel tells the tale of a concert pianist and the aristocratic Crawford family, whose shocking secrets are revealed, leading to devastating consequences.

As a child, concert pianist Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the grand estate where her grandfather tended exotic orchids.  Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to this tranquil place.  There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation.

When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed the estate.  Their search takes them back to the 1940s when Harry, a former heir to Wharton Park, married his young society bride, Olivia, on the eve of World War II.  When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt for generations to come.

This atmospheric story alternates between the magical world of Wharton Park and Thailand during World War II.  Filled with twists and turns, passions and lies, and ultimately redemption, The Orchid House is a beautiful, romantic, and poignant novel.

Norah: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York
by Cynthia G. Neale

This is the story of Norah McCabe, who along with thousands of Irish immigrants, comes to New York with her family in the mid-1800s having escaped the potato famine that killed over a million people in their native land.  Defenseless and poor, they arrived in New York City to try and create a better life.  The McCabe's determined, imaginative and hopeful daughter Norah begins to rebuild her life in America.  Her story is one of desperation, cruelty, and ultimately hope and survival.  The novel chronicles her struggles with the issues of abolitionism and feminism.  Determined that her appearance be equal to the women around her, Norah worked hard and feverishly to become their equal.  The author's research found that Irish women far exceeded other female ethnic groups in education and economics.  "They climbed up in the world come hell or high water!  They paraded down Fifth Avenue dressed in Paris fineries bought from the money they saved (still sending money back to Ireland), and aristocratic Protestant ladies were incensed that the Irish maids looked just like them," says Neale.

As the Crow Flies
by Craig Johnson

Embarking on his eighth adventure, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire has a more important matter on his mind than cowboys and criminals.  His daughter, Cady, is getting married to the brother of his undersheriff, Victoria Moretti.  Walt and old friend Henry Standing Bear are the de facto wedding planners and fear Cady's wrath when the wedding locale arrangements go up in smoke two weeks before the big event.

The pair set out to find a new site for the nuptials on the Cheyenne Reservation, but their scouting expedition ends in horror as they witness a young Crow woman plummet from Painted Warrior's majestic cliffs.  It's not Walt's turf, but the newly appointed tribal police chief and Iraqi war veteran, the beautiful Lolo Long, shanghais him into helping with the investigation.  Walt is stretched thin as he mentors Lolo, attempts to catch the bad guys, and performs the role of father of the bride.

The Paris Directive
by Gerald Jay

Two former French intelligence officials hire a ruthlessly effective hit man to kill an American industrialist vacationing in the Dordogne.  Things do not go as planned. . .

Klaus Reiner easily locates his target in the small village of Taziac, but the hit is marred by complications and collateral damage.  Enter Inspector Paul Mazarelle, formerly of Paris but now living in Taziac, charged with bringing his experience and record of success in the capital to bear on the gruesome quadruple homicide at the height of tourist season.

Both Mazarelle's investigation and Reiner's job are complicated when Molly, a New York City district attorney and daughter of two of the victims, arrives to identify the bodies and begins asking questions.  All evidence points to Ali Sedak, a local Algerian handyman, but Mazarelle and Molly have doubts, and Reiner must return to Taziac to ensure they see things as he arranged them, or keep quiet.  Little does anyone in the picturesque French countryside know just how politically charged this crime is; its global ramifications, stemming from the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, could overshadow everything.

Tailored in crisp prose and possessing all the luxury refinements of the best international intrigue, Jay's novel chills, excites, and engrosses, pitting a smooth, calculating villain against an earthy, sympathetic Frenchman whose twilight career is suddenly heating up.

Woodrose Mountain
by RaeAnne Thayne

Evie Blanchard was at the top of her field in the city of angels.  But when an emotional year forces her to walk away from her job as an occupational therapist, she moves from Los Angeles to Hope's Crossing seeking a quieter life.  So the last thing she needs is to get involved with the handsome, arrogant Brodie Thorne and his injured daughter, Taryn.

A self-made man and single dad, Brodie will do anything to get Taryn the rehabilitation she needs. . . even if it means convincing Evie to move in with them.  And despite her vow to keep an emotional distance, Evie can't help but be moved by Taryn's spirit, or Brodie's determination to win her help -- and her heart.  With laughter, courage and more than a little help from the kindhearted people of Hope's Crossing, Taryn may get the healing she deserves -- and Evie and Brodie might just find a love they never knew could exist. 

Just Down the Road
by Jodi Thomas

Harmony, Texas, is a place where dreams are born.  As the townspeople face unexpected endings and new beginnings, they also come face-to-face with themselves -- and with what's most important in life. . .

When Tinch Turner lost his wife, he gave up on living.  Now he spends his nights brooding, boozing, and brawling.  When one of his escapades lands him in the ER, he finds himself staring up at the beautiful new doctor in town. For the first time in years, he feels a spark, but Addison Spencer wants nothing to do with the unruly rancher -- or any man for that matter.  She's only going to be Harmony for four months, long enough for the trouble she left behind to settle down.  But then a vulnerable little boy barrels into both their lives, forcing them out of the past -- and into a future where love is just down the road. . .

In the meantime, as Reagan Truman grieves for her beloved uncle, she finds comfort in the makeshift family she's made in Harmony -- and a new baby, the first in the Wright Funeral Home in forty-five years, proving that life does go on. . .

Waterproof: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood
by JR Coopey

Fifty years after an earthen dam broke and sent a thirty foot wall of raging destruction down on the city of Johnstown, PA, Pamela McRae looks back on the tragedy with new perspective.

This fast-moving retrospective propels the reader along, much as did the flood itself.

When the Johnstown flood hit, it wiped out Pam's fondest hopes, taking her fiancé and her brother's lives and her mother's sanity, and within a year her father walked away leaving his daughter -- now the sole support of her mother -- to cope with poverty and loneliness.

The arrival of Katya, a poor Hungarian girl, running away from an arranged marriage, finally gives Pam the chance she needs to get back into the world.  Katya can care for her mother, and Pam can go to work for the Johnstown Clarion as a society reporter.

Then Davy Hughes, Pam's fiancĂ© before the flood, reappears, but instead of being the answer to her prayers, he further complicates her life.  Someone is seeking revenge on the owners of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, the millionaires who owned the failed dam.  And Pam is afraid Davy has something to do with it.

What books came home to you this week?


Mystica said...

What a fabulous mixed selection of reading. You are sure to have a good week with this lot.

bermudaonion said...

Holy cow! What a week! The cover of Playdate made me laugh out loud.

Alison Can Read said...

Great set! Land of Decoration sounds especially interesting. I'm excited for Immortal Rules.

Harvee said...

I have only 2 of your books. Have fun reading all those other good looking books!

Lisa said...

I really want to read all of Julie Kagawa's books! I've haven't heard one bad thing about any of them!(:


Dani said...

Ooooh! Looks like you got some yummy books this week!

Thanks for sharing!


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