Books That Caught Our Eye

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DragonLegends
At 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:

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins @ Under My Apple Tree and BermudaOnion’s Weblog

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train when I listened to it on audio, so I’d like to read/listen to another of her books.

——–

Penance by Kanae Minato @ Lori’s Reading Corner

When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.

Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emily’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.

Like Confessions, Kanae Minato’s award-winning, internationally bestselling debut, PENANCE is a dark and voice-driven tale of revenge and psychological trauma that will leave readers breathless.

I like books that are a bit dark, so this one could be a good one.

LESLIE:

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan at Read With Katie.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

——–

The Hour of Daydreams by Renee Macalino Rutledge at Rose City Reader.

At a river near his home in the Philippine countryside, respected doctor Manolo Lualhati encounters the unthinkable a young woman with wings. After several incredible visits, he coaxes her to stay behind to quit flying to the stars with her sisters each night so they can marry. Tala agrees, but soon finds herself grounded in a new life where she must negotiate Manolo’s parents well-intentioned scrutiny. As Tala tries to keep long-held family secrets from her new husband, Manolo begins questioning the gaps in her stories, and his suspicions push him even further from the truth. Weaving in the perspectives of Manolo’s parents, Tala’s siblings, and the all-seeing housekeeper, The Hour of Daydreams delves into contemporary issues of identity and trust in marriage, while exploring how myths can take root from the seeds of our most difficult truths.

MARTHA:

Hunted by Meagan Spooner found at The Book-Filled Day.

New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner spins a thoroughly thrilling Beauty and the Beast story for the modern age, expertly woven with spellbinding romance, intrigue, and suspense that readers won’t soon be able to forget.

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

I love Beauty and the Beast tales and I really like this cover!

——–

Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner found at Carol’s Notebook

Detective Manon Bradshaw is five months pregnant and has officially given up on finding romantic love. Instead, she is in hot-pursuit of work-life balance and parked in a cold case corridor—the price she’s had to pay for a transfer back to Cambridgeshire. This is fine, she tells herself. She can devote herself to bringing up her two children—the new baby, and her adopted 12-year-old son Fly Dent. He needed a fresh start—he was being forever stopped and searched in London by officers who couldn’t see past the color of his skin. Manon feared Fly, increasingly sullen and adolescent, was getting in with the wrong crowd at school, or possibly that he was the wrong crowd. Being there for the children, and home by five, is what Manon tells herself she needs.

Yet when a wealthy victim is found stabbed close to police HQ, she can’t help but sidle in on the briefing: he is a banker from London, worth millions. More dramatically, he was also Manon’s sister Ellie’s ex, and the father of her toddler son. The investigation swirls with greater and greater urgency, and as it begins to circle in on Manon’s home and her family, she finds herself pitted against the former colleagues she once held dear—Davy Walker and Harriet Harper.

Can Manon separate what she feels about the people she loves, from the suspicion hanging over them? Can she interrogate the evidence, just as she would with any other case? And when Manon instructs defence lawyer Mark Talbot to work alongside her, can she refrain from throwing herself at him in a manner unbecoming to a woman at an advanced stage of pregnancy? Manon must fight to find the truth with every fiber of her being.

I had to struggle with several for choice two. This one sounds like good suspense.

 

What books caught your eyes this week? Please share in the comments.

Books That Caught Our Eye

7 Comments

DragonLegends
At 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 Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble @ Rainy Days and Mondays

Francesca Stubbs has an extremely full life. A highly regarded expert on housing for the elderly who is herself getting on in age, she drives “restlessly round England,” which is “her last love . . . She wants to see it all before she dies.” Amid the professional conferences that dominate her schedule, she fits in visits to old friends, brings home cooked dinners to her ailing ex-husband, texts her son, who is grieving over the shocking death of his girlfriend, and drops in on her daughter, a quirky young woman who lives in a flood plain in the West Country. Fran cannot help but think of her mortality, but she is “not ready to settle yet, with a cat upon her knee.” She still prizes her “frisson of autonomy,” her belief in herself as a dynamic individual doing meaningful work in the world.

The Dark Flood Rises moves between Fran’s interconnected group of family and friends in England and a seemingly idyllic expat community in the Canary Islands. In both places, disaster looms. In Britain, the flood tides are rising, and in the Canaries, there is always the potential for a seismic event. As well, migrants are fleeing an increasingly war-torn Middle East.
Though The Dark Flood Rises delivers the pleasures of a traditional novel, it is clearly situated in the precarious present. Margaret Drabble’s latest enthralls, entertains, and asks existential questions in equal measure. Alas, there is undeniable truth in Fran’s insight: “Old age, it’s a fucking disaster!”

This sounds very dramatic; I couldn’t resist.

LESLIE:

The Unexpected Gift of Joseph Bridgeman by Nick Jones at Library of Clean Reads.

Meet Joseph Bridgeman, a reclusive insomniac with a weakness for ‘The Beatles’ on vinyl and a constant headache. When his annoying accountant suggests hypnotherapy might help him sleep, Joseph accidentally discovers he can time-travel and things get a little complicated.

With the help of Vinny, a local record shop owner, Mark, his old school friend, and Alexia Finch, his hypno-time-travel guru, Joe sets out to change the course of his life. He needs to get back to 1992, the year his world fell apart, the year that Amy, his sister, went missing. The only problem (apart from his clothes disappearing) is that the further back he goes the less time he gets to stay there.

Can Joe master his new-found gift before time catches up with him?

——–

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman at BermudaOnion.

In the spirit of A Man Called Ove and Good Grief–a poignant, funny, and utterly believable novel about life and loss.
Give grief a chance . . .
Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years–ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.
At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks–like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently, being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.
After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles botanical garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover–with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners–is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…
READERS GUIDE INCLUDED.

MARTHA:

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett found at Luxury Reading and Under My Apple Tree.

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…

It’s sci fi, post apocalyptic – right up my alley… or bookshelf!

——–

Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies by Jackie French found at Sam Still Reading

A tale of espionage, love and passionate heroism.

Inspired by true events, this is the story of how society’s ‘lovely ladies’ won a war.

Each year at secluded Shillings Hall, in the snow-crisped English countryside, the mysterious Miss Lily draws around her young women selected from Europe’s royal and most influential families. Her girls are taught how to captivate a man – and find a potential husband – at a dinner, in a salon, or at a grouse shoot, and in ways that would surprise outsiders. For in 1914, persuading and charming men is the only true power a woman has.

Sophie Higgs is the daughter of Australia’s king of corned beef and the only ‘colonial’ brought to Shillings Hall. Of all Miss Lily’s lovely ladies, however, she is also the only one who suspects Miss Lily’s true purpose.

As the chaos of war spreads, women across Europe shrug off etiquette. The lovely ladies and their less privileged sisters become the unacknowledged backbone of the war, creating hospitals, canteens and transport systems where bungling officials fail to cope. And when tens of thousands can die in a single day’s battle, Sophie must use the skills Miss Lily taught her to prevent war’s most devastating weapon yet.

But is Miss Lily heroine or traitor? And who, exactly, is she?

The cover is fetching and I am curious about the mystery.

What books caught your eyes this week? Please share in the comments.

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.

SERENA

Whiskey Words & a ShovelL III by r.h. Sin @ReadwithKatie.

r.h. Sin’s final volume in the Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel series expands on the passion and vigor of his first two installments. His stanzas inspire strength through the raw, emotional energy and the vulnerability of his poems. Relationships, love, pain, and fortitude are powerfully rendered in his poetry, and his message of perseverance in the face of emotional turmoil cuts to the heart of modern-day life. At roughly 300 pages, this culminating volume will be his lengthiest yet.

Just in time for National Poetry Month, this sounds like it could be a good read.

——–

LESLIE

The Dog Who Dared to Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang at Lukten av trykksverte.

This is the story of a dog named Scraggly. Born an outsider because of her distinctive appearance, she spends most of her days in the sun-filled yard of her owner’s house. Scraggly has dreams and aspirations just like the rest of us. But each winter, dark clouds descend and Scraggly is faced with challenges that she must overcome. Through the clouds and even beyond the gates of her owner’s yard lies the possibility of friendship, motherhood and happiness – they are for the taking if Scraggly can just hold on to them, bring them home and build the life she so desperately desires. The Dog Who Dared to Dream is a wise tale of the relationship between dog and man, as well as a celebration of a life lived with courage. Translated into English for the first time, it is a classic from Sun-mi Hwang, an international bestselling author.

I enjoyed another book by this author (The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly) so this one caught my eye.

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton at Beauty In Ruins.

Michael Crichton, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Jurassic Park, returns to the world of paleontology in this recently discovered novel—a thrilling adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting.

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition. But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions. With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.

I’ve always been a big Michael Crichton fan, but I was a little surprised to find yet another book from beyond the … ummm … great beyond. If this gets good reviews, I’ll be sure to read it.

MARTHA

Will’s Red Coat by Tom Ryan found at Tribute Books Mama.

A true story of acceptance, perseverance, and the possibility of love and redemption as evocative, charming, and powerful as the New York Times bestseller Following Atticus.

Drawn by an online post, Tom Ryan adopted Will, a frightened, deaf, and mostly blind elderly dog, and brought him home to live with him and Atticus. The only owners Will ever knew had grown too fragile to take care of themselves, or of him. Ultimately, Will was left at a kill shelter in New Jersey.

Tom hoped to give Will a place to die with dignity, amid the rustic beauty of the White Mountains of his New Hampshire home. But when Will bites him numerous times and acts out in violent displays, Tom realizes he is in for a challenge.

With endless patience and the kind of continued empathy Tom has nurtured in his relationship with Atticus, Will eventually begins to thrive. Soon, the angry, hurt, depressed, and near-death oldster has transformed into a happy, gamboling companion with a puppy-like zest for discovery. Will perseveres for two and a half years, inspiring hundreds of thousands of Tom and Atticus’s fans with his courage, resilience, and unforgettable heart.

A story of a dog, a family, and an indelible bond that is beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, and unforgettable, Will’s Red Coat honors the promise held in every living creature, at any stage of life.

Will’s Red Coat includes eight pages of color photographs.

This looks/sounds lovely (and Leslie picked the other dog story) 🙂.

——–

The Freedom Broker by K.J. Howe found at Carol’s Notebook.

Kidnap negotiator Thea Paris has spent her entire life with survivor’s guilt, following an unspeakable childhood tragedy. At eight years old, she watched, frozen in fear, as her twelve-year-old brother, Nikos, was abducted from their home in Kanzi, Africa. Although he was recovered nine months later, he was never the same after that; worse, Thea discovers that she was supposed to have been the target.

This defining experience drives Thea to become one of the top operatives in the field of kidnap-and-ransom consultancy. Nicknamed “Liberata” because she once secured the release of a captive from the Sicilian mob without her client paying a cent, she travels the globe trying to bring hostages home–mostly through negotiation, but occasionally through more forceful means. She is very good at her job.

Twenty years after her brother’s abduction, Thea’s worst nightmare is revisited when her father, oil magnate Christos Paris, is taken on his sixtieth birthday. He disappears from his yacht while it is moored at Santorini, the ship’s whole crew slaughtered mercilessly.

Thea immediately calls in her team at Quantum Security International, premier K&R specialists. Following protocol, they break down Christos’ life, looking for leads, but the list of enemies and business competitors is endless. Not surprisingly, Christos Paris has imprinted his designer shoe on innumerable backs during his journey to the top of the oil business. And he was abducted only a few days before the biggest deal of his career.

From there, the case only gets stranger. Unlike most abductions, there are no ransom demands, no political appeals, no prisoner release requests. Instead, the kidnapper sends foreboding quotes in Latin by text from burner phones. What does the kidnapper want?

And most importantly for Thea, will she be able to prevent a second kidnapping from destroying her family for good?

This sounds like great action suspense.

Books That Caught Our Eye

3 Comments

At 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.

LESLIE:

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer at Luxury Reading.

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: to preserve this crucial part of the world’s patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door.

“Part history, part scholarly adventure story, and part journalist survey….Joshua Hammer writes with verve and expertise” (The New York Times Book Review) about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world’s greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist “has all the elements of a classic adventure novel” (The Seattle Times), and is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His the story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid at BermudaOnion.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds–revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love–Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating ‘complex, likable characters’ (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means–and what it takes–to face the truth.

MARTHA:

Wintersong by S. Jae Jones found at Read With Katie

Dark, romantic and unforgettable, this riveting debut for fans of Labyrinth and Naomi Novik tells the fantastical story of a young woman’s journey towards love and acceptance

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother had always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister safe from harm, but she wishes only to indulge in her wild, captivating music, composed and played in secret in the Goblin King’s honor.

When her beautiful sister Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.

This is available at Audible and I am very tempted to pick it up with one of my credits.

Good Karma by Christina Kelly found at Book Fan

A charming, heartfelt tale of love lost and regained in a gated community in Savannah, Georgia.

After almost forty years in New Jersey, Catherine, Ralph, and their beloved Boston Terrier Karma are hitting the road, relocating to a gorgeous, serene island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, where Catherine can work on her backhand and Ralph can hit the links. But upon their arrival in the Seven Oaks gated community, it becomes apparent that Catherine and Ralph’s visions of retirement couldn’t be more different. While Catherine is intrigued by their quirky neighbors, Ralph’s golf-and-poker routine seems to be interrupted only by his flirtations with their zealous real estate agent.

As the pair drift further apart, Catherine cannot help but sense her marriage is at risk. Then, she meets recent widower Fred at the dog park. United by their dogs, they embark upon a friendship that could be something more—until she discovers that he’s not quite what he seems. As she sorts out fact from fiction and discovers what sorts of secrets might be hiding behind Seven Oaks’ pristine picket fences, she’ll have to make a decision affecting her future happiness and her chance at newfound love.

This cover brought a smile to my face – even though I know a little about life in a gated community!

SERENA:

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker @BookFan

Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine—until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. Astounded by their fervor and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, she set out to uncover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.”

With boundless curiousity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: What’s the big deal about wine? What she learns will change the way you drink wine–and, perhaps, the way you live–forever.

I love wine, and this sounds like a fun book. I want to read it.

Project You: More Than 50 Ways to Calm Down, de-Stress, and Feel Great by Aubre Andrus and Karen Bluth @Read with Katie

Find your balance. Make a protein-packed smoothie to energize for a busy day. Center yourself after a stressful week by taking five minutes to write in your journal. Strengthen your body and calm your mind with simple yoga poses and breathing techniques. Craft a vision board to help you achieve your goals. Create a time budget to organize your schedule. Develop an evening routine that will help you wind down before sleep. Award-winning author Aubre Andrus shares more than 50 do-right-now projects that will help you beat stress, smile big, and discover a calmer, more blissful you.

Despite my one word choice of deliberate, I still find myself stressed and overtaxed this year. I already need a vacation and it’s only March. This sounds like it could be helpful.

What books caught your eyes this week? Please share in the comments.

Books That Caught Our Eye

4 Comments

dragonlegends1At 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.

LESLIE:

The Lake and the Lost Girl by Jacquelyn Vincenta at Lori’s Reading Corner

When her husband’s scholarly interest turns to obsession, Lydia Carroll will do whatever it takes to save her family

On a stormy night in 1939, Mary Stone Walker disappears from her home in White Hill, Michigan. Everyone knew the talented poet was desperate to escape her demons, but when Mary goes missing without a trace, one question lingers in the small town: Did Mary successfully break free of her troubled past and flee, or did her life end that night?

Sixty years later, Lydia Carroll’s husband is still fixated on the local mystery. English Professor Frank Carroll has invested years in the search for the local poet and her lost works, sacrificing his family, his reputation, and even Lydia for the ever-more-unlikely discovery. As Frank’s behavior grows more erratic, Lydia sees that his interest in Mary has evolved into an obsession―one that threatens to destroy the family they have built together, and which can only be undone by solving the mystery of what happened to Mary on that rainy night in 1939.

The Lake and the Lost Girl tells the riveting story of secrets from the past unraveling one family from the inside out, and two women, separated by sixty years of history, determined to pursue their dreams.

Chemistry by Weike Wang at Book Dilettante and BermudaOnion

Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She’s tormented by her failed research–and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there’s another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can’t make a life before finding success on her own.

Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she’s confronted with a question she won’t find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want? Over the next two years, this winningly flawed, disarmingly insightful heroine learns the formulas and equations for a different kind of chemistry–one in which the reactions can’t be quantified, measured, and analyzed; one that can be studied only in the mysterious language of the heart. Taking us deep inside her scattered, searching mind, here is a brilliant new literary voice that astutely juxtaposes the elegance of science, the anxieties of finding a place in the world, and the sacrifices made for love and family.

MARTHA:

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse found at Rainy Days and Mondays

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…

This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?

I was caught by the cover and the description.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan found at Bookfan

“Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!”

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead ‘carry on singing’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit — a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past — we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life.

In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.

I have sung in choir and I liked the sound of this.

SERENA:

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris at Luxury Reading

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

This sounds like another thrilling novel from Paris. I read Behind Closed Doors and was sucked in, so this is sure to be gripping.

What books caught your eyes this week?  Please share in the comments.

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 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.

LESLIE:


The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla at BermudaOnion and Luxury Reading.

The Someday Birds is a debut middle grade novel perfect for fans of Counting by 7s and Fish in a Tree, filled with humor, heart, and chicken nuggets.
 
Charlie’s perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan.
 
When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.
 
Debut author Sally J. Pla has written a tale that is equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an autistic boy who feels he doesn’t understand the world, and an uplifting portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.
What can I say, it has birds in it!

MARTHA:


Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray found at Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf.

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything–including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

This is a sci fi that fits right in with my current reading trend!


32800988A Reference to Murder by Kym Roberts found at Lori’s Reading Corner.

Charli Rae Warren is back home in Hazel Rock, Texas, spending her time reading, collecting, and selling books—at least, the ones that don’t get eaten first by her father’s pet armadillo. Running the family bookstore is a demanding job, but solving murders on the side can be flat out dangerous . . .

The Book Barn is more than just a shop, it’s a part of the community—and Charli is keeping busy with a fundraising auction and the big rodeo event that’s come to town. That includes dealing with the Texas-sized egos of some celebrity cowboys, including Dalton Hibbs, a blond, blue-eyed bull rider who gets overly rowdy one night with the local hairdresser . . . and soon afterward, disappears into thin air.

Dalton’s brother also vanished seven years ago—and Charli is thrown about whether Dalton is a villain or a victim. After a close call with an assailant wielding a branding iron (that plays havoc with her hair), and some strange vandalism on her property, she’s going to have to team up with the sheriff to untangle this mystery, before she gets gored . . .

I have to admit I am a sucker for books about bookshops. I nearly picked this up at NetGalley over the weekend.

SERENA:

The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan @BermudaOnion, Silver’s Reviews, and Tribute Books Mama

On June 5, 1944, as dawn rises over a small town on the Normandy coast of France, Emmanuelle is making the bread that has sustained her fellow villagers in the dark days since the Germans invaded her country.

Only twenty-two, Emma learned to bake at the side of a master, Ezra Kuchen, the village baker since before she was born. Apprenticed to Ezra at thirteen, Emma watched with shame and anger as her kind mentor was forced to wear the six-pointed yellow star on his clothing. She was likewise powerless to help when they pulled Ezra from his shop at gunpoint, the first of many villagers stolen away and never seen again.

In the years that her sleepy coastal village has suffered under the enemy, Emma has silently, stealthily fought back. Each day, she receives an extra ration of flour to bake a dozen baguettes for the occupying troops. And each day, she mixes that precious flour with ground straw to create enough dough for two extra loaves—contraband bread she shares with the hungry villagers. Under the cold, watchful eyes of armed soldiers, she builds a clandestine network of barter and trade that she and the villagers use to thwart their occupiers.

But her gift to the village is more than these few crusty loaves. Emma gives the people a taste of hope—the faith that one day the Allies will arrive to save them.

I love reading about WWII.

27905436Before the War by Faye Weldon @Silver’s Reviews

Consider Vivien in November 1922. She is twenty four, and a spinster. She wears fashionably droopy clothes, but she is plain and – worse – intelligent. At nearly six foot tall, she is known unkindly by her family as ‘the giantess’.

Fortunately, Vivien is rich, so she can travel to London and bribe a charismatic London publisher to marry her. What he does not know is that Vivien is pregnant with another’s child, and will die in childbirth in just a few months.

Fay Weldon, with one eye on the present and one on the past, offers Vivien’s fate to the reader, along with that of London between the wars: a city soaked in drizzle, peopled with flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked servicemen and aristocrats desperately clinging onto the past.

Inventive, witty and empathetic, this is a spellbinding historical novel from one of the foremost novelists of our time.

Another WWI novel; yes, these are some of my favorite books to read.

What books caught your eyes this week?  Please share in the comments.

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 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.

LESLIE:

31348622Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner @Rainy Days and Mondays.

Detective Manon Bradshaw is five months pregnant and has officially given up on finding romantic love. Instead, she is in hot pursuit of work-life balance and parked in a cold case corridor—the price she’s had to pay for a transfer back to Cambridgeshire. This is fine, she tells herself. She can devote herself to bringing up her two children: her adopted twelve-year-old son, Fly Dent, and the new baby. Fly needed a fresh start—he was always being stopped and searched in London by officers who couldn’t see past the color of his skin. Manon feared that Fly, increasingly sullen and adolescent, was getting in with the wrong crowd at school, or that possibly he was the wrong crowd. Being home by five, for the sake of her children, is what Manon tells herself she needs.
 
Yet when a wealthy businessman is found stabbed close to police headquarters, Manon can’t help but sidle in on the briefing: The victim is a banker from London, worth millions. More dramatically, he was once in a relationship with Manon’s sister, Ellie, and is the father of Ellie’s toddler son.
 
The case begins to circle in on Manon’s home and her family. She finds herself pitted against the colleagues she once held dear: Davy Walker and Harriet Harper.
 
Can Manon separate what she knows about the people she loves from the suspicion hanging over them? Can she investigate the evidence, just as she would with any other case? With every fiber of her being, Manon must fight to find the truth.
 
From the acclaimed author of Missing, Presumed, Persons Unknown turns on the secrets between loved ones—how little we know them, and how much they can hurt us.
I enjoyed the first book in this series enough to want to read the next one.
28962996Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty @The Infinite Curio.
A space adventure set on a lone ship where the murdered crew are resurrected through cloning to discover who their killer was — and the secret to their mission. 
 
It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. 
 
At least, Marie Shea iv had never experienced it. She had no memory of how she died. That was also new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died, from illness once and from injury once… 
 
Maria’s vat was in the front of six vats, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Pituitary, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it could awaken. Apparently Maria wasn’t the only one to die recently.
 
This sounds different!

MARTHA:

32498474Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin found @Lori’s Reading Corner.

Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.
Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can’t bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw’s whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact…

I’ve spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn’t been another girl.

And now there is.

This one sounds very suspenseful – the description pulled me in.

30201498Caged Eyes by Lynn K. Hall @BermudaOnion.

An insider’s account of misogyny and rape in the US military and her extraordinary path to recovery and activism
Desperate to realize her childhood dream of being an astronaut, Lynn K. Hall was an enthusiastic young cadet. For Hall, the military offered an escape from her chaotic home–her erratic mother, absent biological father, and a man she called “dad” who sexually abused her. Resolute and committed to the Air Force Academy, Hall survived the ordeals of a first-year cadet: intense hazing from upperclassmen, grueling physical training, and demanding coursework. But she’s dismissed from the Academy when, after being raped by an upperclassman and contracting herpes, she is diagnosed with meningitis and left with chronic and debilitating pain.
Betrayed by the Academy and overcome with shame, Hall candidly recounts her loss of self, the dissociation from her body and the forfeiture of her individuality as a result of the military’s demands and her perpetrator’s abuse. Forced to leave the military and return to the civilian world, Hall turns to extreme sports to cope with and overcome PTSD and chronic pain. She, in turn, reclaims herself on the mountain trails of the Colorado Rockies.
An intimate account of grappling with shame and a misogynistic culture that condones rape and blames victims, Caged Eyes is also a transformative story of how it’s possible to help yourself and others in the aftermath of a profound injustice.

The description on this makes my chest go tight with sorrow and anger at the injustice.

SERENA:

30841905The Ambulance Drivers by James McGrath Morris @Luxury Reading

After meeting for the first time on the front lines of World War I, two aspiring writers forge an intense twenty-year friendship and write some of America’s greatest novels, giving voice to a “lost generation” shaken by war.

Eager to find his way in life and words, John Dos Passos first witnessed the horror of trench warfare in France as a volunteer ambulance driver retrieving the dead and seriously wounded from the front line. Later in the war, he briefly met another young writer, Ernest Hemingway, who was just arriving for his service in the ambulance corps. When the war was over, both men knew they had to write about it; they had to give voice to what they felt about war and life.

Their friendship and collaboration developed through the peace of the 1920s and 1930s, as Hemingway’s novels soared to success while Dos Passos penned the greatest antiwar novel of his generation, Three Soldiers. In war, Hemingway found adventure, women, and a cause. Dos Passos saw only oppression and futility. Their different visions eventually turned their private friendship into a bitter public fight, fueled by money, jealousy, and lust.

Rich in evocative detail–from Paris cafes to the Austrian Alps, from the streets of Pamplona to the waters of Key West–The Ambulance Drivers is a biography of a turbulent friendship between two of the century’s greatest writers, and an illustration of how war both inspires and destroys, unites and divides.

Everyone whose been following had to know this would be on my list this week!

31328499New York City Haiku @Library of Clean Reads

One hundred fifty
haiku on New York City
in just three lines each.

New York City Haiku collects 150 of the best haiku inspired by the Big Apple. These succinct three-line poems express not only the personal experiences of every New Yorker (or New Yorker at heart), but also the universal truths about living and loving everything that New York has to offer as well.
Written by poets of all ages and from across the country, this affordable and giftable collection creates an honest and often hilarious volume chronicling what New York is all about. A must-have for anyone who aspires to “make it there,” New York City Haiku is a thoughtful and fun testament to the city and its people.

I love haiku and I remember when The New York Times was collecting haiku about the city.  I think I even submitted some.  I’m sure I’m not in this book, but I really want to know who is.

What books caught your eyes this week?  Please share in the comments.