Every Wednesday 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.
An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel by New York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.
As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.
“It takes place in Paris and it’s got a bike on it. Two of my favorites!”
“Heart Land” is a sweet and deft look back at life in a small Ohio farming community during 1939. Friends, family and community are linked by geographic semi -isolation. Communication is slower, but people seemed to pay more attention. In Ockley Green, every one knows and (mostly) cares about everybody else. Adults try to understand and children struggle to live up to adult values.
In this safe world, a bright and reckless boy with an active imagination conjures all the mischief he can cram into a year. It all begins when Bodacious Scurvy, the town’s notorious alley cat, crosses Oliver’s path and gives him an idea.
This well-written novel is very much like a Norman Rockwell painting – hopeful, generous, lonely, occasionally bitter and always innocent – it’s a love story for an idyllic past that draws the main character out of his childish disregard for other people’s points of view and allows him to transcend his own limitations. The man he grows into, however, will always echo a childhood he can never leave behind.
Caroline Miller’s debut novel, “Heart Land”, is a fictional memoir of a boy growing up in rural Ohio between the Depression and WWII – a time of social and historic importance that still resonates with Americans. Miller’s tone is often humorous and sometimes poignant. She creates a story that is easy to sink into and difficult to say good-by to.
“I grew up in the Ohio so this book had to be one of my picks this week.”
The sensory details that infuse our everyday experience—the smell of a favorite dish cooking, the texture of a well-worn coat, hearing a song that reminds you of a person or a time in your life—can be used to add richness and spark to what we write. Whether you are a professional writer (or want to be one) or someone who enjoys just writing for your own personal fulfillment, Writing from the Senses will show you how to tap into an endless source of engaging material, using your senses as prompts. The exercises will stimulate you to develop stories, imagery, and details that will allow readers to see, taste, hear, smell, and feel that they’re in the scene.
“These kinds of books always are helpful for honing skills and breaking through writer’s block, which I have given the amount of activities I have to keep track of. I hope that adding to my writing tip books, I can get back into a routine.”
Colorful, flavorful home-baked treats just say “happy,” and Bake Happy is all about adding a bit of joy back into your kitchen. A sweet baking book that will bring a smile to the dessert table, Bake Happy includes 100 recipes for cheerful cupcakes and cookies, bars and brownies, tarts and turnovers, and delicious cakes that are speckled, marbled, and striped.
This cookbook can be used year-round and will satisfy your sweet tooth and your soul. Whether you’re in the mood for creamy chocolate, colorful cake layers, tasty cake batter, or special occasion desserts, you’ll find recipes for Citrus Glazed Sunset Cake, Rustic Cherry Pudding, Secret Filling Devil’s Food Cupcakes, and more. There are also various options for color and flavor combinations, and 30+ full-color photos throughout.
“I have a mean sweet tooth and this sounds like it has some great photos and recipes that I can use for creative birthday cakes!”
There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s. Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends. Or the end of everything….
“Since I finished Armada last week, I’ve been in the mood for more sci-fi.”
In the century since the Curies began their work, we’ve struggled with nuclear weapons proliferation, debated the role of radiation in medical treatment, and pondered nuclear energy as a solution to climate change. InRadioactive, Lauren Redniss links these contentious questions to a love story in 19th Century Paris.
Radioactivedraws on Redniss’s original reporting in Asia, Europe and the United States, her interviews with scientists, engineers, weapons specialists, atomic bomb survivors, and Marie and Pierre Curie’s own granddaughter.
Whether young or old, scientific novice or expert, no one will fail to be moved by Lauren Redniss’s eerie and wondrous evocation of one of history’s most intriguing figures.