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 29, 2012

Mailbox Monday (April 30, 2012)

 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in April by Cindy at Cindy's Love of  Books.  I got some more nice wins this week and a couple of review books.  Come on in and take a look!

Review books first:

The First Warm Evening of the Year
by Jamie M. Saul

"The first time I saw Marian Ballantine she looked like a burst of bittersweet among the winter branches. . ."

And so begins a tale of love lost and found, the rekindling of a passion for life that two people discover with each other, and the complex dynamics of family and friendship.

Geoffrey Tremont is untroubled by his neat, contented bachelor life in bustling New York City, filled with sophisticated friends, an undemanding lover devoted to her own career, and his wise brother, a psychiatrist who is the only one who sees and understands him completely -- just the way Geoffrey wants it.  On an ordinary day, Geoffrey arrives home to find a letter awaiting him with a postmark from an unfamiliar town: Shady Grove, New York.  An old friend has named him the executor of her estate.  Twenty years ago, in college, Geoffrey and Laura Welles had been each other's confidant; as their lives diverged, they went their separate ways.  Now, she's reached out of the past to ask him a final favor.  Laura's death has also brought her brother, Simon, to Geoffrey's doorstep.  With his sister gone, Simon has no one but her old friend Geoffrey with whom to settle past grievances.

With Simon in tow, Geoffrey travels up to Laura's hometown -- the place she chose to live her final years -- where he meets Marian Ballantine.  A widow living in the shadow of an idyllic marriage, and now grieving the loss of her best friend, Marian knows a lot about Geoffrey, Laura often spoke of him, she tells him, and though he's flattered, he's also thrown off balance.  From the moment he first sees her, Geoffrey instinctively knows this attractive, plainspoken woman has the power to upend his cool, compartmentalized life.  What Marian knows is that life comes with no guarantees, no promises of lasting happiness, and although she finds herself unsettled by this persistent, compelling man, she's unwilling to trade her hard-won, quotidian existence for an indefinite future.  Faced with the decision to embrace the unknown or retreat to the safety of the familiar, they will both have to discover the courage it takes to tumble into the abyss of love.

The Big, Fun, Sexy, Sex Book
by Lisa Rinner and Ian Kerner, PH.D.

Just say O!

- Have flannel pj's replaced your silky negligees?
- Are you more likely to nod off cuddling the remote -- instead of your partner?
- Are you too tired for sex?
- Is foreplay becoming "boreplay"?

Sure, being comfortable in your relationship is great.  You can finish each other's sentences, love your partner's extra ten pounds, and know just the right buttons to push in bed (or at least think you do). But too much comfort can strip your sex life of the XXX rating and render your love life . . . lifeless.

New York Times bestselling author and nationally recognized sex counselor Ian Kerner and vivacious television personality Lisa Rinna, who spoke candidly about rediscovering her own lost libido in her New York Times bestseller Rinnavation, are on a mission to help you get from "no-go" to the Big O.

Mind-blowing sex is just pages away!  Turn down the lights and cozy up under the sheets with this intimate bedside guide to igniting your mojo.  Overflowing with candid advice, tips, techniques, personal revelations, sexercises, and even a ten-step plan guaranteed to rejuvenate your relationship and keep you and your partner coming back for more, The Big, Fun, Sexy Sex Book proves that knowledge isn't just power -- it's also pleasure!

Now, let's have some fun!

My Cross to Bear
by Gregg Allman

The definitive story of a man who has seen it all, and a band that lived to tell the tale.

As one of the greatest rock icons of all time, Gregg Allman has lived it all and then some.  For almost fifty years, he's been creating some of the most recognizable songs in American rock, but never before has he paused to reflect on the long road he's traveled.  Now, he tells the unflinching story of his life, laying bare the unvarnished truth about his wild ride that has spanned across the years.

The story begins simply: with Gregg and his older brother, Duane, growing up in the South, raising hell with their guitars, and drifting from one band to another.  But all that changed when Duane and Gregg came together with four other men to forge something new -- a unique sound shaped by soul, rock, and blues and brimming with experimentation; a sound not just of a band, but of a family.

Bringing to life the carefree early days of the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg holds nothing back -- from run-ins with the law to meeting girls on the road, from jamming at the Fillmore East to experimenting with drugs.  Along the way, he goes behind the scenes of some of the greatest rock music ever recorded, without shying away from the infamous and painful deaths of his brother, Duane, and Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley.  Speaking for the first time about the profound impact that his brother's death had on him, Gregg offers a tribute to Duane that only a younger brother could write, showing how, to this day, he still confronts the grief of losing his big brother, even as Duane continues to guide and inspire him.

Setting the record straight about the band's struggles in the face of death, Gregg shows how the decision to persevere came with a heavy price.  While the rock and roll excesses of drugs, alcohol, and personality clashes led to a series of breakups that culminated with the band's permanent reunion in 1989, Gregg fought his own battle with substance abuse, going to rehab no less than eleven times and floating through a string of failed marriages, including his tabloid-frenzied relationship with Cher, before finally cleaning up once and for all.

Capturing the Allman Brothers' ongoing, triumphant resurgence as well as his own recent fight against hepatitis C, Gregg presents a story as honest as it is fascinating, providing a glimpse inside one of the most beloved and notorious bands in the history of rock music and demonstrating how, through it all, the road goes on. . . forever. 

The Body in the Boudoir
by Katherine Hall Page

It's 1990, and Faith Sibley is a single young woman leading a glamorous life in New York City.  She has good friends, a cozy apartment, and her own flourishing catering business, Have Faith.  Then, at a catering event, she meets the handsome, charming Reverend Thomas Fairchild.  A daughter and granddaughter of clergymen, Faith has sworn to avoid a parish's fishbowl existence.  But it's love at first sight, and before she knows it her life is changing drastically.

To begin with, she's beckoned north to chilly New England to visit her future residence and prospective in-laws, not all of whom welcome her with open arms.  Thankfully, back home she has her adoring great-uncle Sky to rely on, even if his much younger wife has always struck Faith as slightly odd.  For the ceremony Uncle Sky has offered up the use of his mansion on Long Island, which would be the perfect location if only the brickwork wasn't suspiciously falling off the roof.

Her path to the altar is made even rockier when Faith faces two other baffling mysteries.  Her new assistant, Francesca, appears to be hiding a family secret with roots in Italy.  Then Faith's sister, Hope, becomes a target.  Who could be plotting to derail her high-stakes financial career?

In spite of being overwhelmed by her decision to leave her home in the Big Apple and the multitude of tasks involved in getting married, Faith has no doubts about being married to her beloved Tom.  But someone out there is dead set on making sure that she doesn't reach the altar.  Before it's too late, she needs to figure out who is trying to sabotage the wedding -- by eliminating the bride!

The Hunt
by Andrew Fukuda

Don't sweat. Don't laugh. Don't draw any extra attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different than the other kids at school.  He can't run as fast, he can go outside during the day and he doesn't have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is human and each day is a battle to keep his secret locked away or risk being devoured by everyone around him.

When he is chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the few remaining humans, he is thrust into the fight of his life and into the orbit of a girl who makes him feel things he'd never thought possible. 

The following two books I won from Cassandra's Reviews:

Blood Noir
by Laurell K. Hamilton

Werewolf Jason Schuyler needs Anita Blake -- not as a vampire hunter, federal marshal, or necromancer, but as a friend.  He wants to pretend, just for a few days, that he's an everyday guy in an everyday relationship with a pretty woman who loves him, so he can say good-bye to his dying father.  It shouldn't be hard to keep their real identities under wraps for a few days in Jason's small hometown.

Really, by now, Anita Blake should know better.

Marmee Noir, ancient mother of all vampires, pick this weekend to make a move.  Somehow she has cut the connection that binds Anita and Jean-Claude, leaving Jean-Claude unable to sense what is happening.  Dangerous even as she sleeps, buried in darkness for a thousand years somewhere beneath the old country of Europe, Marmee Noir reaches for power.  She has attacked Anita before, but never like this.  In Anita she senses what she needs to make her enemies tremble. . . 

The Harlequin
by Laurell K. Hamilton

The Harlequin's warning to Anita Blake is presented in a gift box, left where she'd be sure to find it.  Inside, carefully wrapped in folds of pristine tissue paper, is a white mask, utterly plain.  The fact that it's white, Jean-Claude tells her, is the good news.  White means they are only being observed.

The flow of power that connects Anita Blake with Jean-Claude, vampire Master of the City, and with Richard, Ulfric of the werewolves, has been growing and changing, increasing exponentially.  Their power seems to have attracted attention, and it's a kind of attention no one would desire.  Jean-Claude and Richard need to be strong allies now.  Nathaniel and Micah need to give all their love and aid.  And Anita will need to call on Edward, whose utterly human ruthlessness in her defense makes him the right man for the job.

Anita Blake has the authority to pass judgment on vampires.  The Harlequin have the authority to pass judgment on her.  It is forbidden to speak of The Harlequin unless you've been contacted.

And to contacted by The Harlequin is to be under sentence of death. 

What books came home to you this week?

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

You had a great week! I got My Cross to Bear too.


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