At Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received. Each week will share a few Books That Caught Our Eye from that weeks’ Mailbox Monday.
We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.
Everyone in Orange County’s Little Saigon knew that the Duong sisters were cursed.
It started with their ancestor Oanh who dared to leave her marriage for true love—so a fearsome Vietnamese witch cursed Oanh and her descendants so that they would never find love or happiness, and the Duong women would give birth to daughters, never sons.
Oanh’s current descendant Mai Nguyen knows this curse well. She’s divorced, and after an explosive disagreement a decade ago, she’s estranged from her younger sisters, Minh Pham (the middle and the mediator) and Khuyen Lam (the youngest who swears she just runs humble coffee shops and nail salons, not Little Saigon’s underground). Though Mai’s three adult daughters, Priscilla, Thuy, and Thao, are successful in their careers (one of them is John Cho’s dermatologist!), the same can’t be said for their love life. Mai is convinced they might drive her to an early grave.
Desperate for guidance, she consults Auntie Hua, her trusted psychic in Hawaii, who delivers an unexpected prediction: this year, her family will witness a marriage, a funeral, and the birth of a son. This prophecy will reunite estranged mothers, daughters, aunts, and cousins—for better or for worse.
“Curious to see how this plays out.”
Hide by Kiersten White at infinite curio
The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.
The prize: enough money to change everything.
Even though everyone is desperate to win–to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts–Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that.
It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t.
But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.
Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run.
Come out, come out, wherever you are.
“Looks like a good summer thriller.”
Abbey Chandler needs a new start and a place to escape, so Hideaway Grove, where she spent her childhood summers, seems like a perfect choice. Once there, she takes up a rewarding new hobby—but also gets tangled up in a hit-and-run homicide . . .
Abbey has barely arrived in the quaint, quiet town of Hideaway Grove before things turn from blissful to bloody—as the new librarian is mowed down by a car. The only witness on the scene isn’t much help, aside from handing Abbey the bag of books dropped by the victim. Even worse, the sheriff’s office seizes Abbey’s car because of a suspicious dent in the right front fender.
While she waits for the problem to be sorted out, Abbey is drawn into a charity sewing project—even though she can’t tell a bobbin from a seam ripper. Before she knows it, she’s graduating from pillowcase dresses to aprons, setting up a studio in a back room of her aunt’s bakery, and making plans to participate in the upcoming craft fair.
But through it all, she keeps looking for patterns and possible conflicts in the late librarian’s personal, professional, and romantic life. Then a shocking discovery sends her in a new direction, and as the truth begins to unspool, she’s got a notion about who’s guilty . . .
“This title caught my eye even though I am not a big seamstress. It sounds like a good cozy.”
Jo Ainsley has been running for a long time. From her childhood in small town England to art school in London to the messy end of a relationship in Sydney, Jo has chosen to run again and again, each time moving further from where her troubles began.
This time, her escape will bring her to the remote northwest region of Western Australia, where she must work for 88 days on a farm in order to extend her visa. There she meets an American, Gabe, with whom she has an immediate connection. He tells her of an idyllic off-grid community which seems like a refuge to her. Miserable, desperate and traumatised by a brutal event at the farm, Jo decides to run.
But the paradisal free-diving haven that embraces her without judgement is not all it seems. It harbours some sinister secrets – and so does Gabe. Jo searches for answers, but is she prepared for what she uncovers? She must decide where her loyalties lie and if she is really ready to confront the darkness of her past…
“This blurb sounds like a good suspense read.”
Germany, 1939 As the war begins, Hanna Rombauer, a young German woman, is sent to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother’s death. Thrown into a life of luxury she never expected, Hanna soon finds herself unwillingly matched with an SS officer. The independence that her mother lovingly fostered in her is considered highly inappropriate as the future wife of an up-and-coming officer and she is sent to a “bride school.” There, in a posh villa on the outskirts of town, Hanna is taught how to be a “proper” German wife. The lessons of hatred, prejudice, and misogyny disturb her and she finds herself desperate to escape. For Mathilde Altman, a German Jewish woman, the war has brought more devastation than she ever thought possible. Torn from her work, her family, and her new husband, she fights to keep her unborn baby safe. But when the unthinkable happens, Tilde realizes she must hide. The risk of discovery grows greater with each passing day, but she has no other options. When Hanna discovers that Tilde is hiding near the school, she knows she must help her however she can. For Tilde, fear wars with desperation. The women must take extraordinary risks to save the lives of mother and baby. Will they both be able to escape with their lives and if they do, what kind of future can they possibly hope for?
“I am eager to read this after Silver’s Reviews gave it 5 stars, plus you know I love WWII books.”
What makes “cults” so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we’re looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join—and more importantly, stay in—extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell’s argument is that, on some level, it already has . . .
Our culture tends to provide pretty flimsy answers to questions of cult influence, mostly having to do with vague talk of “brainwashing.” But the true answer has nothing to do with freaky mind-control wizardry or Kool-Aid. In Cultish, Montell argues that the key to manufacturing intense ideology, community, and us/them attitudes all comes down to language. In both positive ways and shadowy ones, cultish language is something we hear—and are influenced by—every single day.
Through juicy storytelling and cutting original research, Montell exposes the verbal elements that make a wide spectrum of communities “cultish,” revealing how they affect followers of groups as notorious as Heaven’s Gate, but also how they pervade our modern start-ups, Peloton leaderboards, and Instagram feeds. Incisive and darkly funny, this enrapturing take on the curious social science of power and belief will make you hear the fanatical language of “cultish” everywhere.
“Language fascinates me, and I do think this would be a very interesting look at how language is used by cults.”
What books caught your eyes this week?