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 Wednesday Friday 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.

SERENA:
The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian at An Interior Journey.

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road. As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in? Set amidst the adrenaline-fueled world of the emergency room, The Red Lotus is a global thriller about those who dedicate their lives to saving people, and those who peddle death to the highest bidder.

“I always like reading about Vietnam War because it is so multifaceted. This sounds like it would be mysterious and I really think it could be thrilling to read. I’ve read other books by this author, so I’m intrigued.”

——–


The German Heiress
by Anika Scott at Silver’s Reviews.

Clara Falkenberg, once Germany’s most eligible and lauded heiress, earned the nickname “the Iron Fräulein” during World War II for her role operating her family’s ironworks empire. It’s been nearly two years since the war ended and she’s left with nothing but a false identification card and a series of burning questions about her family’s past. With nowhere else to run to, she decides to return home and take refuge with her dear friend, Elisa.

Narrowly escaping a near-disastrous interrogation by a British officer who’s hell-bent on arresting her for war crimes, she arrives home to discover the city in ruins, and Elisa missing. As Clara begins tracking down Elisa, she encounters Jakob, a charismatic young man working on the black market, who, for his own reasons, is also searching for Elisa. Clara and Jakob soon discover how they might help each other—if only they can stay ahead of the officer determined to make Clara answer for her actions during the war.

Propulsive, meticulously researched, and action-fueled, The German Heiress is a mesmerizing page-turner that questions the meaning of justice and morality, deftly shining the spotlight on the often-overlooked perspective of Germans who were caught in the crossfire of the Nazi regime and had nowhere to turn.

“I like the perspective on this one.”

——–

MARTHA:

Britfield & the Lost Crown by C.R. Stewart found at An Imperfect Christian Mom.

Britfield & the Lost Crown is the first book in a thrilling seven-part series for middle school and young adult readers. It will inspire children to engage both their creativity and their critical thinking skills as they encounter actual places, authentic characters, and exciting but realistic events in seventeen action-packed chapters.
Based on family, friendship, loyalty, and courage, Britfield & the Lost Crown and its hero, Tom, take readers on an epic adventure across England – from the smoldering crags of Yorkshire to the heart of London and, finally, to the magnificent shores of Dover.
With help from his best friend, Sarah, and a hot air balloon, Tom flees Yorkshire, escaping from Weatherly Orphanage and the clutches of a relentless detective, in pursuit of the truth about himself and his heritage: Are his parents still alive? Is he the true heir to the British throne? As Tom and a memorable cast of both heroic and dastardly characters unravel a royal mystery that could change the course of history, readers are taken on a breathless journey to a surprise ending that will leave them clamoring for more .
Built on more than seven years of extensive research and development, Britfield & the Lost Crown creates a real world that readers can embrace as it weaves accurate geography, literature, architecture, and history into its fast-paced story. With stimulating language and active writing, Britfield engages the reader from the first pages and doesn’t let go until it reaches its exciting conclusion.

“I like middle-grade books that include leaning (geography, literature, history, etc.). ”

——–

The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner found at Book’d Out.

An enthralling story of one woman’s determined grab for freedom after WW2 from a talented new Australian voice. ‘PART CABARET, PART BURLESQUE, AND LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE! GENTLEMEN, AND LADIES IF YOU’VE DARED TO COME, WELCOME TO …’

There was a pause, and Evelyn sensed those around her leaning forward in anticipation.

‘THE VICTORY!’

1945: After the thrill and danger of volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment protecting Londoners from German bombers overhead, Evelyn Bell is secretly dismayed to be sent back her rigid domestic life when the war is over. But then she comes across a secret night-time show, hidden from the law on a boat in the middle of the Thames. Entranced by the risque and lively performance, she grabs the opportunity to join the misfit crew and escape her dreary future.

At first the Victory travels from port to port to raucous applause, but as the shows get bigger and bigger, so too does the risks the performers are driven to take, as well as the growing emotional complications among the crew. Until one desperate night …

1963: Lucy, an unloved and unwanted little girl, is rescued by a mysterious stranger who says he knows her mother. On the Isle of Wight, Lucy is welcomed into an eclectic family of ex-performers. She is showered with kindness and love, but gradually it becomes clear that there are secrets they refuse to share. Who is Evelyn Bell?

“The cover is lovely and the story sounds interesting.”

What books caught your eye?

Mailbox Monday

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Mailbox 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.

I hope it wasn’t a “blue” week for anyone but rather a happy week of book gathering!

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.

Books That Caught Our Eye

3 Comments

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

Every Wednesday Friday 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.

SERENA:
The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles at Silver’s Reviews.

Paris, 1939. Odile Souchet is obsessed with books and the Dewey Decimal System, which makes order out of chaos. She soon has it all – a handsome police officer beau, an English best friend, a beloved twin, and a job at the American Library in Paris, a thriving community of students, writers, diplomats, and book lovers. Yet when war is declared, there’s also a war on words.

Montana, 1983. Widowed and alone, Odile suffers the solitary confinement of small-town life. Though most adults are cowed by her, the neighbor girl will not let her be. Lily, a lonely teenager yearning to break free of Froid is obsessed by the older French woman who lives next door and wants to know her secrets.

As the two become friends, Odile sees herself in Lily – the same love of language, the same longings, the same lethal jealousy. The Paris Library’s dual narratives explore the relationships that make us who we are – family and friends, first loves and favorite authors – in the fairy tale setting of the City of Light. It also explores the geography of resentment, the consequences of unspeakable betrayal, and what happens when the people we count on for understanding and protection fail us.

The wit, empathy, and deep research that brings The Paris Library to life also brings to light a cast of lively historical characters and a little-known chapter of World War II history: the story of the American librarian, Miss Reeder, who created the Soldiers’ Service to deliver books to servicemen, and who later faced the Nazi ‘Book Protector’ in order to keep her library open. She and her colleagues defied the Bibliotheksschutz by delivering books to Jewish readers after they were forbidden from entering the library.

“I was fascinated with the part about the “little-known chapter of WWII history. I’m eager to read that.”

——–

MARTHA:

The Yellow Bird Sings: A Novel by Jennifer Rosner found at Bookfan.

In Poland, as World War II rages, a mother hides with her young daughter, a musical prodigy whose slightest sound may cost them their lives.

As Nazi soldiers round up the Jews in their town, Róza and her 5-year-old daughter, Shira, flee, seeking shelter in a neighbor’s barn. Hidden in the hayloft day and night, Shira struggles to stay still and quiet, as music pulses through her and the farmyard outside beckons. To soothe her daughter and pass the time, Róza tells her a story about a girl in an enchanted garden:

The girl is forbidden from making a sound, so the yellow bird sings. He sings whatever the girl composes in her head: high-pitched trills of piccolo; low-throated growls of contrabassoon. Music helps the flowers bloom.

In this make-believe world, Róza can shield Shira from the horrors that surround them. But the day comes when their haven is no longer safe, and Róza must make an impossible choice: whether to keep Shira by her side or give her the chance to survive apart.

Inspired by the true stories of Jewish children hidden during World War II, Jennifer Rosner’s debut is a breathtaking novel about the unbreakable bond between a mother and a daughter. Beautiful and riveting, The Yellow Bird Sings is a testament to the triumph of hope—a whispered story, a bird’s song—in even the darkest of times.

“This got a second look from me as it sounds different. ”

——–

The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes: A Collection of Victorian-Era Detective Stories by G. K. Chesterton, Jacques Futrelle found at Carol’s Notebook.

Enthralled by the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Victorian readers around the world developed a fascination with eccentric detectives and bizarre crimes. Featuring an international array of authors and characters, this compilation of 16 short stories showcases the best of the mysteries inspired by the Baker Street sleuth. Their heroes range from famous figures like G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown and Maurice Leblanc’s Arsene Lupin to lesser-known but equally captivating characters.

“The Problem of the Stolen Rubens,” by Jacques Futrelle, centers on Professor Van Dusen, also known as The Thinking Machine, whose superior mental powers and dispassionate approach resemble Holmes’. Robert Barr’s “The Absent Minded Coterie” presents French detective Eugène Valmont, a cultured and elegant gentleman . . . but a rather poor investigator. “The Murder at Troyte’s Hill,” by Catherine L. Pirkis, “The Ninescore Mystery,” by The Scarlet Pimpernel author Baroness Orczy, and “Cinderella’s Slipper,” by Hugh C. Weir, feature a Victorian novelty—a detective heroine. Holmesians and other lovers of old-time mysteries will thrill to these tales of dark deeds and their discovery.

“As a fan of Holmes, this cover and title caught my eye.”

What books caught your eye?

Mailbox Monday

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Rural mailboxes each display the personality of the owners. With a frosting of pure white snow on top, these colorful boxes carry the personal messages of dear relatives, loved ones that are away at war, away on business, or in distant lands yearning for contact with home.

Mailbox 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.

I know some are struggling with fires this week and others with snow. I hope everyone remains safe and maybe enjoys receiving  (and/or reading) a new book or two.

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.

Books That Caught Our Eye

1 Comment

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

Every Wednesday Friday 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.

SERENA:
Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella at An Interior Journey.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella returns with a festive new Shopaholic adventure filled with holiday cheer and unexpected gifts.

“Funny, charming, and the perfect read to get into the holiday spirit.”—PopSugar

’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness—even if that only means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.

But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents hosting, carols playing on repeat, her mother pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors coming ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?

Becky’s sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave (again), and little Minnie needs a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend–turned–rock star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her bighearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky wonders if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.

“I love the Shopaholic series.”

——–

MARTHA:

The Minuteman by Greg Donahue found at Savvy Verse & Wit.

Declaring war on homegrown Nazis…in Newark, NJ.

Join writer and documentary producer Greg Donahue as he explores the history of domestic Nazis on the brink of World War II and the Jewish mobsters who stood up to them in this gripping, true-life audiobook.

In the early 1930’s, pro-Nazi groups popped up across America, attempting to drum up support among recent immigrants for the fascist movement back in Europe. By 1939, a massive rally of some 20,000 homegrown Nazi supporters was held in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. While across the Hudson River in Newark, New Jersey, the town’s large German population stepped up Nazi recruitment activity. Pro-fascist groups staged parades, screened anti-Semitic films, and organized boycotts of Jewish businesses and politicians throughout the city. Complicating matters, Newark was also the epicenter of the Jewish mob.

Abner ‘Longie’ Zwillman, known as the “Al Capone of New Jersey,” had made a fortune in gambling, bootlegging, racketeering, and controlled the city’s ports and police force. Not surprisingly, this powerful Jewish gangster took exception to the Nazi’s anti-Semitic platform. In response, Zwillman helped organize a group of ex-boxers, factory workers, and students to defend the city’s Jewish interests. The group dubbed themselves the Minutemen—ready at a moment’s notice—and took to breaking up Nazi gatherings using an intimidating combination of stink bombs, baseball bats, brass knuckles, and pure chutzpah.

Greg Donahue’s The Minuteman tells the story of one of Newark’s native sons—ex-prizefighter and longtime Zwillman enforcer Sidney Abramowitz, a.k.a. Nat Arno—who took over leadership of the Minutemen in 1934 and made it his personal business to put an end to what he saw as the homegrown Nazi movement’s “anti-American” activities. For six years, Arno and his crew of vigilantes battled Newark’s Nazis at every turn. The Minuteman is a story of the ethics of violence in the face of fascism—a forgotten legacy that is as relevant now as it was nearly a hundred years ago.

Photos Included in Cover Art Courtesy of the Jewish Historical Society of NJ—Warren Grover Collection

©2019 Greg Donahue (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC

“This looks/sounds fascinating.”

——–

The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman found at Infinite Curio.

The story of poison is the story of power. For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. To avoid poison, they depended on tasters, unicorn horns, and antidotes tested on condemned prisoners. Servants licked the royal family’s spoons, tried on their underpants and tested their chamber pots.

Ironically, royals terrified of poison were unknowingly poisoning themselves daily with their cosmetics, medications, and filthy living conditions. Women wore makeup made with mercury and lead. Men rubbed turds on their bald spots. Physicians prescribed mercury enemas, arsenic skin cream, drinks of lead filings, and potions of human fat and skull, fresh from the executioner. The most gorgeous palaces were little better than filthy latrines. Gazing at gorgeous portraits of centuries past, we don’t see what lies beneath the royal robes and the stench of unwashed bodies; the lice feasting on private parts; and worms nesting in the intestines.

In The Royal Art of Poison, Eleanor Herman combines her unique access to royal archives with cutting-edge forensic discoveries to tell the true story of Europe’s glittering palaces: one of medical bafflement, poisonous cosmetics, ever-present excrement, festering natural illness, and, sometimes, murder.

“How interesting to think the royals were poisoning themselves with make-up, medications and living conditions even while having taste testers to protect them from food poisons.”

What books caught your eye?

Mailbox Monday

2 Comments

Mailbox 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.

Welcome to the New Year: 2020.  Somehow it seems to me it will be a significant year. I pray it will be safe and blessed and I hope it starts as a great reading year for everyone!

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.

Books That Caught Our Eye

2 Comments

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

Every Wednesday Friday 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.

SERENA:
Midnight in Chernobyl (The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster) by Adam Higginbotham at Sam Still Reading.

The definitive, dramatic untold story of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, based on original reporting and new archival research.

The story of Chernobyl is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth. Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the 1986 disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, this book makes for a masterful non-fiction thriller.

Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers not only its own citizens, but all of humanity. It is a story that has long remained in dispute, clouded from the beginning in secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation.

Midnight In Chernobyl is an indelible portrait of history’s worst nuclear disaster, of human resilience and ingenuity and the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will – lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats – remain not just vital but necessary.

Now, Higginbotham brings us closer to the truth behind this colossal tragedy.

“I remember this disaster from my childhood and how scary it was, especially since we had visited places in our own state with nuclear power plants. I love reading about recent events — it’s good to know about recent history.”

——–

The Ultimate Guide to the 2020 Election: 101 Nonpartisan Solutions to All the Issues that Matter by Ryan Clancy, Margaret White at Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf.

From the NO LABELS political organization, this book presents an unbiased education for voters on all the key issues America faces and how we can overcome them.

With the 2020 US presidential election looming, the emerging contest doesn’t seem so much a battle of ideas as it does a war of two tribes bent on the other’s destruction. The Far Left and Far Right aren’t much interested in a conversation, and they’ve dropped any pretense of it. But in fact, according to a recent study, two-thirds of the country are part of an “exhausted majority,” who “share a sense of fatigue with our polarized national conversation, a willingness to be flexible in their political viewpoints, and a lack of voice in the national conversation.” The Ultimate Guide to the 2020 Election gives a voice to this exhausted majority and provides an unbiased education on the true nature of the challenges America faces on several key issues, including:

• Health Care
• Energy & Climate Change
• Infrastructure
• Big Tech & Privacy
• The American Dream
• Immigration
• The National Debt
• Gun Safety

In addition, No Labels senior advisors Ryan Clancy and Margaret White present sound, fact-based ideas for rescuing American democracy itself. Complete with sample questions for all 2020 presidential candidates and specific policy solutions that address concerns on both sides of the aisle, this bipartisan political handbook is an essential reference for all US voters.

“I think this would be a book to prepare many of us for the media blitz that will surely confuse many, especially since there are already reports of hacking of election machines.”

——–

MARTHA:
Prescient (Delphi Chronicles #1) by Derek Murphy found at My Lovely Secrets.

The first time I saw the future I lost hope.

It wasn’t just that the future sucked; that civilization had gone and ruined itself; that we’d altered our own DNA and devolved into predatory monsters that fed on the few remaining survivors. That was all awful enough, but it was more than that. I remember being young and thinking, when I grow up, I’ll have a nice big house. I’ll get an exciting, interesting job. I’ll meet the man of my dreams and we’ll fall in love and stay together forever.

But that all disappeared the first time I tripped 20 years into the future and found the houses burned, the handsome boys dead, and the only jobs were the ones young girls gave hairy old survivors in tents in exchange for a little food and water. Nobody asked little girls what they wanted to be when they grew up anymore. Nobody wanted to draw attention to the fact that most of them wouldn’t live that long.

There was no hope, no peace for anyone. At least I had it better than they did. When my trip was over, I would get to go back. Back to the normalcy of 2015. Back to iPhones and Twitter and buying so much food it went bad before you could eat it. Back to laughing over foamy cappuccinos and iced lattes at the mall, window shopping and flirting with hot guys (not that I ever did that, mind you – but I always wanted to). And I still could. That was the point. Unlike everybody else, for whom 2015 was 20 years ago – long before humanity was destroyed – it was my reality. At least, it was some of the time.

But after seeing the future; after struggling to make it to the end of the day; after my first kill – none of those other things were the least bit enjoyable. All I could think when I got back to the real world, is how can I stop what’s coming?

“Tania had several dystopian titles that drew my eye this week. .”

——–

The Girls with No Names: A Novel by Serena Burdick found at Silver’s Reviews.

A beautiful tale of hope, courage, and sisterhood—inspired by the real House of Mercy and the girls confined there for daring to break the rules.

Growing up in New York City in the 1910s, Luella and Effie Tildon realize that even as wealthy young women, their freedoms come with limits. But when the sisters discover a shocking secret about their father, Luella, the brazen elder sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases. Her rebellion comes with consequences, and one morning Luella is mysteriously gone.

Effie suspects her father has sent Luella to the House of Mercy and hatches a plan to get herself committed to save her sister. But she made a miscalculation, and with no one to believe her story, Effie’s own escape seems impossible—unless she can trust an enigmatic girl named Mable. As their fates entwine, Mable and Effie must rely on their tenuous friendship to survive.

Home for Unwanted Girls meets The Dollhouse in this atmospheric, heartwarming story that explores not only the historical House of Mercy, but the lives—and secrets—of the girls who stayed there.

“This interesting story caught my eye last week at Sam Still Reading too.”

What books caught your eye?