Mailbox Monday

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sunflowermailbox-sml_img_2937_edited-2Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

As you can see, I’m still trying to hold onto summer just a little bit longer. I love summer and hot weather, but this year, we had tons of rain and that dampened a lot of outdoor plans for us. I hope the fall is less wet. As for reading, it’s been slow going and I’ve fallen behind on that GoodReads reading challenge goal. It’s not a big deal but when you have a big reading year the year before, you kind of hope you keep that mojo going. I’ve been writing more poems, which is always a good thing, but now I have to figure out where to send them. I hope everyone else is having a great weekend.

Please share your Mailbox below:

Check back for the Books that Caught Our Eye this week.

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Books That Caught Our Eye

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dragonlegendsAt Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every week we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

Here are our picks this week:

MARTHA:

Absolute Proof by Peter James found at Sam Still Reading.

What would it take to prove the existence of God? This question and the consequences of its answer lies at the heart of Absolute Proof, the new international thriller from bestselling author Peter James. To provide absolute proof of a divine existence would trigger worldwide instability, with every one of the major faiths laying claim to such evidence by whatever means necessary. Promising intrigue, action and conspiracy on a global scale this electrifying novel will have you hooked from the first page to last.

The description of this thriller is intriguing to me.

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves found at Under My Apple Tree.

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

This sounds like an unusual and interesting storyline.

SERENA:

Solve This!: Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You (National Geographic Kids) by Joan Marie Galat from BermudaOnion.

From the first wheel to the International Space Station, the miracles of engineering are all around us. Think cars, bridges, skyscrapers, and yes – even bubble wrap! Engineers dream up new ideas and bring them to life while figuring out creative solutions to problems they encounter along the way. But how do they do it? Find out in Solve This!

In this fun book, kids are confronted with wacky scenarios like this one: You’re playing with your little sister when a vulture swoops down and grabs her favorite teddy bear. Mid-flight, the vulture realizes it doesn’t care for the taste of fake fur and drops it to the ground. But now the plushie is on the other side of a raging river. How do you stop your sister from crying, stay safe, and save the day? Each challenge invites kids to think creatively to problem solve. Then they can see how different National Geographic explorers tackled the challenge. One of the big lessons? There’s often more than one solution!

I think these brain teasers would help my daughter think creatively and have fun.

The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason from Sam Still Reading.

Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.

But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon’s scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever.

From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.

Our expectations are often different from reality, and I can’t imagine being in Lucius’ shoes here, but I do like a good WWI story.

What books caught your eyes this week? Share them in the comments.

Mailbox Monday

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sunflowermailbox-sml_img_2937_edited-2Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This week has been a week of homework and rain. Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas, and that rain will be in the Mid-Atlantic soon enough. I’m glad I won’t see the winds, but I feel for those directly affected by this monster. The allergies have come to roost too, which means I spend my days in a deep fog and trying hard to concentrate. Good luck! I hope everyone had a great week of reading and fun.

Please share your Mailbox below:

Check back for the Books that Caught Our Eye this week.

Books That Caught Our Eye

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dragonlegendsAt Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every week we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

Here are our picks this week:

MARTHA:

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White from BermudaOnion.

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne from Adventures in Writing.

Monica Byrne bursts on to the literary scene with an extraordinary vision of the future. In a world where global power has shifted east and revolution is brewing, two women embark on vastly different journeys—each harrowing and urgent and wholly unexpected.

When Meena finds snakebites on her chest, her worst fears are realized: someone is after her and she must flee India. As she plots her exit, she learns of the Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning the Arabian Sea that has become a refuge for itinerant vagabonds and loners on the run. This is her salvation. Slipping out in the cover of night, with a knapsack full of supplies including a pozit GPS, a scroll reader, and a sealable waterproof pod, she sets off for Ethiopia, the place of her birth.

Meanwhile, Mariama, a young girl in Africa, is forced to flee her home. She joins up with a caravan of misfits heading across the Sahara. She is taken in by Yemaya, a beautiful and enigmatic woman who becomes her protector and confidante. They are trying to reach Addis Abba, Ethiopia, a metropolis swirling with radical politics and rich culture. But Mariama will find a city far different than she ever expected—romantic, turbulent, and dangerous.

As one heads east and the other west, Meena and Mariama’s fates are linked in ways that are mysterious and shocking to the core.

LESLIE:

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas at Carol’s Notebook.

1967: Four young female scientists invent a time travel machine in their remote lab in Cumbria. They become known as the pioneers: the women who led the world to a future where no knowledge is unattainable.

2016: Ruby Rebello knows that her beloved grandmother was one of the pioneers, but she refuses to talk about her past. Ruby’s curiosity soon turns to fear however, when a newspaper clipping from four months in the future arrives in the post. The clipping reports the brutal murder of an unnamed elderly lady.

Could the woman be her Granny Bee?

SERENA:

Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo from BermudaOnion.

Rosie is a good dog and a faithful companion to her owner, George. She likes taking walks with George and looking at the clouds together, but the closest she comes to another dog is when she encounters her reflection in her empty dog bowl, and sometimes that makes Rosie feel lonely. One day George takes Rosie to the dog park, but the park is full of dogs that Rosie doesn’t know, which makes her feel lonelier than ever. When big, loud Maurice and small, yippy Fifi bound over and want to play, Rosie’s not sure how to respond. Is there a trick to making friends? And if so, can they all figure it out together?

This sounds like a fantastic book for my daughter.

The Alliance by Jolina Petersheim at Ubiquitous Grace.

When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it’s a foreshadowing of things to come. Soon after the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won’t start.

Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.

In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they’re willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life.

This sounds like a unique post-apocalyptic book.

What books caught your eyes this week? Share them in the comments.

Mailbox Monday

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sunflowermailbox-sml_img_2937_edited-2Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

It’s a crazy Monday when you realize there is no school and you had no idea. I guess I have to start checking the online calendar.

Please share your links below:

Check back for the Books that Caught Our Eye this week.

Books That Caught Our Eye

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dragonlegendsAt Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received.

Every week we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.

We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.

Here are our picks this week:

MARTHA:

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young at Infinite Curio.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

This is a fantasy I have eyed before as the cover caught my eye.

Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear by Kim Brooks at vvb32reads.

One morning, Kim Brooks made a split-second decision to leave her four-year old son in the car while she ran into a store. What happened would consume the next several years of her life and spur her to investigate the broader role America’s culture of fear plays in parenthood. In Small Animals, Brooks asks, Of all the emotions inherent in parenting, is there any more universal or profound than fear? Why have our notions of what it means to be a good parent changed so radically? In what ways do these changes impact the lives of parents, children, and the structure of society at large? And what, in the end, does the rise of fearful parenting tell us about ourselves?

Fueled by urgency and the emotional intensity of Brooks’s own story, Small Animals is a riveting examination of the ways our culture of competitive, anxious, and judgmental parenting has profoundly altered the experiences of parents and children. In her signature style―by turns funny, penetrating, and always illuminating―which has dazzled millions of fans and been called “striking” by New York Times Book Review and “beautiful” by the National Book Critics Circle, Brooks offers a provocative, compelling portrait of parenthood in America and calls us to examine what we most value in our relationships with our children and one another.

Parenting isn’t for cowards and who makes the rules or gives the instruction manual? This sounds thought provoking.

LESLIE:

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff at The Infinite Curio.

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

The Plant Messiah by Carlos Magdalena at Book Dilettante.

Carlos Magdalena of Kew Gardens is not your average botanical horticulturist. He’s a man on a mission to save the world’s most endangered plants from destruction and thieves hunting for wealthy collectors. He is a plant messiah.

From the planet’s tiniest waterlily – the Nymphaea thermarum – to Huarango trees with roots over 50 metres long, Carlos has a miraculous ability to bring breathtakingly beautiful plants back from the brink of extinction. He has travelled to the most remote and dangerous parts of the world – from the mountains of Peru to isolated Indian Ocean islands to the deepest Australian outback – in search of the rarest exotic species. Then, back in the Tropical Nursery at Kew, he uses pioneering, left-field techniques to help them grow.

Now he’s here to spread the gospel. The Plant Messiah is the inspirational story of a man who has devoted – and risked – his life to save incredible species, all in the name of making this Earth a greener and happier place. Amen to that.

SERENA:

Small Animals was my other pick this week.

In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond by Robert D. Kaplan at Nerdy Reader Girl.

Robert Kaplan first visited Romania in the 1970s, when he was a young journalist and the country was a bleak Communist backwater. It was one of the darkest corners of Europe, but few Westerners were paying attention. What ensued was a lifelong obsession with a critical, often overlooked country—a country that, today, is key to understanding the current threat that Russia poses to Europe. In Europe’s Shadow is a vivid blend of memoir, travelogue, journalism, and history, a masterly work thirty years in the making—the story of a journalist coming of age, and a country struggling to do the same. Through the lens of one country, Kaplan examines larger questions of geography, imperialism, the role of fate in international relations, the Cold War, the Holocaust, and more.

Here Kaplan illuminates the fusion of the Latin West and the Greek East that created Romania, the country that gave rise to Ion Antonescu, Hitler’s chief foreign accomplice during World War II, and the country that was home to the most brutal strain of Communism under Nicolae Ceaușescu. Romania past and present are rendered in cinematic prose: the ashen faces of citizens waiting in bread lines in Cold War–era Bucharest; the Bărăgan Steppe, laid bare by centuries of foreign invasion; the grim labor camps of the Black Sea Canal; the majestic Gothic church spires of Transylvania and Maramureş. Kaplan finds himself in dialogue with the great thinkers of the past, and with the Romanians of today, the philosophers, priests, and politicians—those who struggle to keep the flame of humanism alive in the era of a resurgent Russia.

Upon his return to Romania in 2013 and 2014, Kaplan found the country transformed yet again—now a traveler’s destination shaped by Western tastes, yet still emerging from the long shadows of Hitler and Stalin. In Europe’s Shadow is the story of an ideological and geographic frontier—and the book you must read in order to truly understand the crisis with Russia, and within Europe itself.

I find the WWII time period fascinating and I’ve studied the Cold War in the past in terms of U.S. policy. So this would be interesting to round out what I’ve read.

What books caught your eyes this week?

Mailbox Monday

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sunflowermailbox-sml_img_2937_edited-2Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

It’s hard to believe that it is September. But we had a few visitors and milestone birthdays here with my mom turning 75 and my husband’s mom turning 60. We had a good celebration with cake made by my daughter, who also made some fantastic cupcakes. I hope you all have a lovely Labor Day before you have to be back at work here in the United States.

Hope everyone had a good week. Tell us about your new books by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky below:

Be sure to stop back later this week for Books That Caught Our Eye.