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.

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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 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.

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 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?

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 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.

Martha

America for Beginners found at Book Dilettante

Pival Sengupta has done something she never expected: she has booked a trip with the First Class India USA Destination Vacation Tour Company. But unlike other upper-class Indians on a foreign holiday, the recently widowed Pival is not interested in sightseeing. She is traveling thousands of miles from Kolkota to New York on a cross-country journey to California, where she hopes to uncover the truth about her beloved son, Rahi. A year ago Rahi devastated his very traditional parents when he told them he was gay. Then, Pival’s husband, Ram, told her that their son had died suddenly—heartbreaking news she still refuses to accept. Now, with Ram gone, she is going to America to find Rahi, alive and whole or dead and gone, and come to terms with her own life.

“This sounds like an eye opener that would be good for expanding perspectives.”

——–

Lincoln’sLast Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency by Dan Abrams and David Fisher found at Nerdy Reader Girl.

The true story of Abraham Lincoln’s last murder trial, a case in which he had a deep personal involvement—and which played out in the nation’s newspapers as he began his presidential campaign

At the end of the summer of 1859, twenty-two-year-old Peachy Quinn Harrison went on trial for murder in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, who had been involved in more than three thousand cases—including more than twenty-five murder trials—during his two-decades-long career, was hired to defend him. This was to be his last great case as a lawyer.

“I am drawn to books about Lincoln… and law too.”

Leslie

Freefall by Jessica Barry at Silver’s Reviews.

When her fiancé’s private plane crashes in the Colorado Rockies, Allison Carpenter miraculously survives. But the fight for her life is just beginning. Allison has been living with a terrible secret, a shocking truth that powerful men will kill to keep buried. If they know she’s alive, they will come for her. She must make it home.

In the small community of Owl Creek, Maine, Maggie Carpenter learns that her only child is presumed dead. But authorities have not recovered her body—giving Maggie a shred of hope. She, too, harbors a shameful secret: she hasn’t communicated with her daughter in two years, since a family tragedy drove Allison away. Maggie doesn’t know anything about her daughter’s life now—not even that she was engaged to wealthy pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, or why she was on a private plane.

As Allison struggles across the treacherous mountain wilderness, Maggie embarks on a desperate search for answers. Immersing herself in Allison’s life, she discovers a sleek socialite hiding dark secrets. What was Allison running from—and can Maggie uncover the truth in time to save her?

Told from the perspectives of a mother and daughter separated by distance but united by an unbreakable bond, Freefall is a riveting debut novel about two tenacious women overcoming unimaginable obstacles to protect themselves and those they love.

“The cover caught my eye!”

——–

Contagion by Erin Bowman at Adventures in Writing.

It got in us

After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

Most are dead.

But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.

Don’t set foot here again.

As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken.

“I’m always looking for new scifi authors.”

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 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 Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray @ Lori’s Reading Corner

“The Mothers meets An American Marriage in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.”

“Love a good family mystery.”

Martha

Time and Time Again: Sixteen Stories of Time Travel by Robert Silverberg found at Under My Apple Tree.

Sixteen Trips in Time by beloved science fiction Grand Master ROBERT SILVERBERG presents of all his best time travel fiction in one stunning collection.

Silverberg introduces this new collection with a new essay praising early sci-fi icons that left a lasting impression on him as a young boy and launched his sixty-year voyage in time travel fiction. Over the course of his career, Silverberg expanded time travel’s incredible world of freedom and mystery and delivered imaginative and intriguing stories that are hailed globally. T

ales in TIME AND TIME AGAIN include: a marriage destroyed by a time travelling rival, a human waking up in the mind of a lobster after being sent to the future, and a Silverbergian touch to the age-old story of getting an advance peek at the next day’s newspaper. Each story additionally features new introductions and anecdotes by Silverberg that recount his experiences writing for the greatest science fiction magazines of the past and present. TIME AND TIME AGAIN reaffirms Silverberg’s mastery of not only the science fiction genre, but its most ubiquitous theme.

“This is sci fi so naturally it caught my eye. A collection with back story introductions sounds very interesting.”

——–

Sanctuary (Sanctuary #1) by Caryn Lix found at The Infinite Curio

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

“This is a sci fi week for me. The premise of this sounds like good entertainment.”

Leslie

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

The bestselling author of the “remarkable…masterfully constructed, pitch-perfect” (Booklist, starred review) debut The Trouble with Goats and Sheep delivers a suspenseful and emotionally satisfying novel about a lifelong friendship, a devastating secret, and the small acts of kindness that bring people together.

There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing…might take a bit more explaining.

Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she thinks about her friend Elsie and wonders if a terrible secret from their past is about to come to light. If the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, Three Things About Elsie is a story about forever friends on the twisting path of life. As we uncover their buried secrets, we learn how the fine threads of humanity connect us all.

“My aunt’s name was Elsie. So that caught my eye because it’s such an uncommon name. And as I read the synopsis, the book sounded interesting.”

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 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.

Martha

A Simple Christmas (Simple Gifts #3) by Charlotte Hubbard found at An ImperfectChristian Mom.

The rustic beauty of a country Christmas fills the Simple Gifts crafts shop, while the Amish residents of Willow Ridge pull together in uncertain times–and in the face of an unexpected homecoming.

Nora Hooley’s shop is abuzz with preparations for the holiday open house, and Rosalyn Riehl is handcrafting wreaths from evergreen boughs, pinecones, and other natural materials. The work is a welcome diversion for the only unmarried daughter of Cornelius Riehl: her gruff dat has been receiving envelopes marked Past Due, leaving dutiful Rosalyn to manage the household’s inexplicably shrinking budget. Then another distraction swaggers into Simple Gifts–blue-jeaned and leather-jacketed, with a reputation that precedes him.

Marcus Hooley hightailed it to Willow Ridge on a wing and a prayer–not that he’s the praying type. He rejected his Amish roots long ago. But behind the bad-boy attitude is a gifted horse trainer who’s counting on some
bent-but-not-broken family ties to throw him a lifeline. He can’t erase his past, but a sparking attraction with strong, spirited Rosalyn holds the promise of a second chance . . . and of shedding light on shadowy secrets to build a bright tomorrow.

“My eye was caught by this simple cover. I’m starting to be ready for Christmas reading (maybe cooling things off). ”

——–

Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero by Christian Di Spigna found at Under My Apple Tree.

A rich and illuminating biography of America’s forgotten Founding Father, the man who fomented rebellion and died heroically at Bunker Hill on the brink of revolution

Little has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, one of the architects of the colonial rebellion, and a man who might one day have led the country like Washington or Jefferson had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775. After his death, his life and legend faded, leaving his contemporaries to rise to fame in his place and obscuring his essential role in bringing America to independence. Christian Di Spigna’s definitive new biography of Warren is a loving work of historical excavation, the product of over a decade of research and scores of newly unearthed primary source documents that have given us this forgotten Founding Father anew. Following Warren from his farming childhood and years at Harvard through his professional success and political radicalization, to his role in sparking the rebellion, Di Spigna’s thoughtful, judicious retelling not only restores Warren to his rightful place in the pantheon of Revolutionary greats, it gloriously complicates our understanding of the nation’s dramatic beginnings.

“I like American history and audiobooks make it easier to listen!”

Serena

From the Corner of the Oval Office by Beck Dorey-Stein at Sam Still Reading.

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.

As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.

Against the backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice.

“I’ve read Stacy Parker Aab’s Government Girl, which is another behind-the-scenes book about the White House, but under the Clinton administration. I think Beck’s story would be equally fascinating.”

——–

The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman @ Lori’s Reading Corner, BermudaOnion, and Silver’s Reviews.

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.

“I love books set before and after WWII, and this one sounds like it will be dramatic.”

Leslie

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler at An Interior Journey.

Clock Dance

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance.

In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places.

A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

“I didn’t know Anne Tyler had a new novel out. I always enjoy her books.”

——–

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell at Scaredy Engines End of Line Library.

The Sparrow

In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet that will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question what it means to be “human”.

“I have had this on my shelf for a while. And yes, I still want to read it!”

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 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 Girl on the Page by John Purcell @ Sam Still Reading.

Two women, two great betrayals, one path to redemption. A punchy, powerful and page-turning novel about the redemptive power of great literature, from industry insider, John Purcell.

Amy Winston is a hard-drinking, bed-hopping, hot-shot young book editor on a downward spiral. Having made her name and fortune by turning an average thriller writer into a Lee Child, Amy is given the unenviable task of steering literary great Helen Owen back to publication.

When Amy knocks on the door of their beautiful townhouse in north west London, Helen and her husband, the novelist Malcolm Taylor, are conducting a silent war of attrition. The townhouse was paid for with the enormous seven figure advance Helen was given for the novel she wrote to end fifty years of making ends meets on critical acclaim alone. The novel Malcolm thinks unworthy of her. The novel Helen has yet to deliver. The novel Amy has come to collect.

Amy has never faced a challenge like this one. Helen and Malcolm are brilliant, complicated writers who unsettle Amy into asking questions of herself – questions about what she values, her principles, whether she has integrity, whether she is authentic. Before she knows it, answering these questions becomes a matter of life or death.

From ultimate book industry insider, John Purcell, comes a literary page-turner, a ferocious and fast-paced novel that cuts to the core of what it means to balance ambition and integrity, and the redemptive power of great literature.

This sounds fascinating and interesting. I also like that it’s a literary page-turner.

Contagion by Erin Bowman @ The Infinite Curio.

It got in us

After receiving an urgent SOS from a work detail on a distant planet, a skeleton crew is dispatched to perform a standard search-and-rescue mission.

Most are dead.

But when the crew arrives, they find an abandoned site, littered with rotten food, discarded weapons…and dead bodies.

Don’t set foot here again.

As they try to piece together who—or what—could have decimated an entire operation, they discover that some things are best left buried—and some monsters are only too ready to awaken

This sounds like a fantastic audio book full of action.

Leslie

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay at An Interior Journey.

College professor Paul Davis is a normal guy with a normal life. Until, driving along a deserted road late one night, he surprises a murderer disposing of a couple of bodies. That’s when Paul’s “normal” existence is turned upside down. After nearly losing his own life in that encounter, he finds himself battling PTSD, depression, and severe problems at work. His wife, Charlotte, desperate to cheer him up, brings home a vintage typewriter—complete with ink ribbons and heavy round keys—to encourage him to get started on that novel he’s always intended to write.

However, the typewriter itself is a problem. Paul swears it’s possessed and types by itself at night. But only Paul can hear the noise coming from downstairs; Charlotte doesn’t hear a thing. And she worries he’s going off the rails.

Paul believes the typewriter is somehow connected to the murderer he discovered nearly a year ago. The killer had made his victims type apologies to him before ending their lives. Has another sick twist of fate entwined his life with the killer—could this be the same machine? Increasingly tormented but determined to discover the truth and confront his nightmare, Paul begins investigating the deaths himself.

But that may not be the best thing to do. Maybe Paul should just take the typewriter back to where his wife found it. Maybe he should stop asking questions and simply walk away while he can. . . ..

——–

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg at Bookfan.

Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off one big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community–just when they need it the most.

“Elizabeth Berg’s characters jump right off the page and into your heart” said Fannie Flagg about The Story of Arthur Truluv. The same could be said about Night of Miracles, a beautiful novel that reminds us that the people we come to love are often the ones we don’t expect.

 

Martha

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik found at The Infinite Curio.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

“I like fairy tale adaptations and this sounds good.”

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Before She Sleeps: A Novel by Bina Shah found at Girl Who Reads.
In modern, beautiful Green City, the capital of Southwest Asia, gender selection, war, and disease have brought the ratio of men to women to alarmingly low levels. The government uses terror and technology to control its people, and now females must take multiple husbands to have children as quickly as possible.

Yet there are some who resist, women who live in an underground collective and refuse to be part of the system. Secretly protected by the highest echelons of power, they emerge only at night to provide the rich and elite of Green City a type of commodity no one can buy: intimacy without sex. As it turns out, not even the most influential men can shield them from discovery and the dangers of ruthless punishment.

This dystopian novel from one of Pakistan’s most talented writers is a modern-day parable, The Handmaid’s Tale for repressed women in Muslim countries everywhere. Before She Sleeps takes the patriarchal practices of female seclusion and veiling, gender selection, and control over women’s bodies, amplifying and distorting them in a truly terrifying way to imagine a world of post-religious authoritarianism.

“This is another dystopian/post apocalyptic that catches my interest.”