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


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mailbox Monday (Aug 20, 2012)

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia from A girl and her books.  This is where I share the titles I have received for review or purchased during the past week.  Mailbox Monday will be hosted in August  byJennifer D at 5 Minutes for Books.

I go back to work tomorrow morning!  (Posting this on Sunday night)  I am looking forward to it, but all the sudden it feels like I am really behind on my reading!  I did have a good week in books though - and also was able to hit some garage sales and picked up a few more.

The Roots of the Olive Tree
by Courtney Miller Santo

Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women -- an unbroken line of daughters -- living together in the same house in a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California.

Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world.  An indomitable force, strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin.  Though they lead ordinary lives, there is an element of the extraordinary to these women:  the eldest two are defying longevity norms.  Their unusual lifespans have caught the attention of a geneticist who believes they hold the key to breakthroughs that will revolutionize the aging process for everyone.

But Anna is not interested in unlocking secrets the Keller blood holds.  She believes there are some truths that must stay hidden, including certain knowledge about her origins that she has carried for more than a century.  Like Anna, each of the Keller women conceals her true self from the others.  While they are bound by blood and the house they share, living together has not always been easy.  And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back, alone and pregnant, after two years abroad with an opera company.  Her return and the arrival of the geneticist who has come to study the Keller family ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them all to their roots.

Told from varying viewpoints, Courtney Miller Santo's compelling and evocative debut novel captures the joys and sorrows of family -- the love, secrets, disappointments, jealousies, and forgiveness that tie generations to one another.  

by Karen Hesse

Radley's parents had warned her that all hell would break loose if the APP took power.  And now, with the president assassinated and the government cracking down on citizens, the news is filled with images of vigilante groups,  frenzied looting, and police raids.  It seems as if all hell has broken loose.

Coming back from volunteering abroad, Radley just wants to get home to Vermont, and the comfort and safety of her parents.  Travel restrictions and delays are worse than ever, and by the time Radley's plane lands in New Hampshire, she's been traveling for over twenty-four hours.  Exhausted, she heads outside to find her parents -- who always come, day or night, no matter when or where she lands -- aren't there.

Her cell phone is dead, her credit cards are worthless, and she doesn't have the proper travel papers to cross state lines.  Out of money and options, Radley starts walking. . .

Illustrated with 50 of her own haunting and beautiful photographs, this is a vision of a future America that only Karen Hesse could write:  real, gripping, and deeply personal.

The Reunion
by Dan Walsh

Everything lost can be found.

Aaron Miller knows a thing or two about loss.  He's lost love.  Dignity.  Second, and even third, chances.  Once honored for his heroism, he now lives in near obscurity, working as a handyman in a humble trailer park.

But God is a master at finding and redeeming the lost things of life.  Unbeknownst to Aaron, someone is searching for him.

With deep insight into the human heart, consummate storyteller Dan Walsh gently weaves a tale of a life spent in the shadows but meant for the light.  Through tense scenes of war and tender moments of romance, The Reunion will make you believe that everyone can get a second chance at life and love. 

Fire in the Ashes
by Jonathan Kozol

In this powerful and culminating work about a group of inner-city children he has known for many years, Jonathan Kozol returns to the scene of his prizewinning books Rachel and Her Children and Amazing Grace, and to the children he has vividly portrayed, to share with us their fascinating journeys and unexpected victories as they grow into adulthood.

For nearly fifty years, Jonathan has pricked the conscience of his readers by laying bare the savage inequalities inflicted upon children for no reason but the accident of being born to poverty within a wealthy nation.  A winner of the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and countless other honors, he has persistently crossed the lines of class and race, first as a teacher, then as the author of tender and heartbreaking books about the children he has called "the outcasts of our nation's ingenuity."  But Jonathan is not a distant and detached reporter.  His own life has been radically transformed by the children who have trusted and befriended him.

Never has this intimate acquaintance with his subjects been more apparent, or more stirring, than in Fire in the Ashes, as Jonathan tells the stories of young men and women who have come of age in one of the most destitute communities of the United States.  Some of them never do recover from the battering they undergo in their early years, but many more battle back with fierce and, often, jubilant determination to overcome the formidable obstacles they face.  As we watch these glorious children grow into the fullness of a healthy and contributive maturity, they ignite a flame of hope, not only for themselves, but for our society.

Jonathan Kozol, the author of Death at an Early Age, Savage Inequalities, and other books on children and their education, has been called "today's most eloquent spokesman for America's disenfranchised." But he believes young people speak most eloquently for themselves; and in this book, so full of the vitality and spontaneity of youth, we hear their testimony.

The Good Woman
by Jane Porter

Is it possible to leave it all behind?

The firstborn of a large Irish-American family, Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions.  But years of being "the good woman" have taken a toll, and though her winery career thrives, Meg feels burned-out and empty, and more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband.  Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner Chad Hallahan.  It's here, alone together in an exotic city, far from "real" life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg.

Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she's ever made, especially that of her marriage.  For Meg, something's got to give, and for once in her life she flees her responsibilities -- but with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating.  Now she must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be.  

by Lauraine Snelling

The Sorenson family has always been a tight-knit clan, gathering every year at Dagmar Sorenson's home in Munsford, where her children Keira and Marcus also live.  This year, the first since Dagmar's passing, will be bittersweet.  Keira dutifully sorts through Dagmar's belongings, desperately searching for her birth certificate so she can apply for a passport for a much-dreamed-for trip to Norway.  Why did her mother hide the document?  The fifty-year-old secret shakes her whole world.  Who is she?  Who is her father?  And who was the woman she called Mother?  How can she tell her family the truth?

Her brother, Marcus, and his wife, Leah, have a devastating secret of their own.  Their college-bound daughter, Kirsten, is pregnant.  Has she destroyed the bright future she's earned?  Her father's trust?  And what about his ministry?  

As the reunion draws closer, the secret each family member keeps erodes the solid bonds between them.  Will the truth break them entirely?

Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire
An absent-minded tale of life with Giftedness & Attention Deficit--Oh look! A chicken!
by Stacey Turis

A belly-laugh inducing romp through a life so convoluted and chaotic you know it has to be true.  Stacey Turis's debut gives a voice to the genius yet tormented souls suffering from giftedness,  ADHD, or a combination of both (known as twice exceptional) who are too afraid to speak.  Chronicling her life journey from a state of self-loathing to one of self-acceptance, the stories flow timelessly, always incorporating the resulting lessons and reflections gleaned from each adventure.  Including both the tragic, stomach churning details of a horrifically abusive time in her childhood to comic adventures such as deciding to dye her hair plum the day before an important presentation to a bank only to have it turn purple, her life has never suffered from a dull moment.  Though she often thought Karma was the reason she found herself in so many "pickles," a friend explained to her that when you put yourself out in the world more than anyone else, it's really just a matter of statistics.  Lucky for Turis and the rest of us, putting herself out there all these years allows us to look at life through her pair of less-struggle-more-sass glasses. 

The Sanctuary
by Ted Dekker

The Sanctuary is the gripping story of a vigilante priest, Danny Hansen, who is serving a 50-year prison term in California for the murder of two abusive men.  Filled with remorse, Danny is determined to live out his days by a code of non-violence and maneuvers deftly within a ruthless prison system.

But when Renee Gilmore, the woman he loves, receives a box containing a bloody finger and draconian demands from a mysterious enemy on the outside, Danny must find a way to save her.  They are both drawn into a terrifying game of life and death.  If Renee fails, the priest will die; if Danny fails, Renee will die.

The Sanctuary relentlessly plumbs the depths of punishment and rehabilitation, both in flawed corrections system and in the human heart.  It is Ted Dekker at his best -- a powerful morality tale fueled by consuming writing.

The following four books I purchased at garage sales this weekend:


CMash said...

Nice mailbox!! A lot of them look quite interesting and something I would enjoy. Have a great week!

Kaye said...

Reunion sounds great. Have fun reading all your new books.

bermudaonion said...

Wow, so many good books! I'm reading The Roots of the Olive Tree now and it's great so far.

Irene said...

What a fabulous selection, I'm requesting at least one as soon as I click out. Happy Reading.

Irene said...

Ooops I missed your garage sale finds, Snow falling on Cedars is one I picked up used this week also. I'm curious as to what you think of the priest and the peaches.

Elizabeth said...


I also received THE SANCTUARY.


Silver’s Reviews

Elizabeth said...



Silver’s Reviews

Nancy said...

Great haul this week, you're in for some amazing reading!


gautami tripathy said...

Drool worthy titles!! Have a great reading week...!!!

Here is my post.

Ashley Montgomery said...

Great haul! I really like the cover for Reunion.

Happy reading!

Ashley @ Dr. Pepper Diva

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I'll am curious to see what you think of The Roots of the Olive Tree. I hope your first day at work was a good one! Have a good week!


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