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

5 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.

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.

Books That Caught Our Eye

4 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

The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber @ Luxury Reading.

velveteendaughter

The Velveteen Daughter reveals for the first time the true story of two remarkable women: Margery Williams Bianco, the author of one of the most beloved children’s books of all time―The Velveteen Rabbit―and her da.truggles with severe depressions, an overbearing father, an obsessive love affair, and a spectacularly misguided marriage. Throughout, her life raft is her mother.

The glamorous art world of Europe and New York in the early 20th century and a supporting cast of luminaries―Eugene O’Neill and his wife Agnes (Margery’s niece), Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Richard Hughes, author of A High Wind in Jamaica―provide a vivid backdrop to the Biancos’ story. From the opening pages, the novel will captivate readers with its multifaceted and illuminating observations on art, family, and the consequences of genius touched by madness.

“The Velveteen Rabbit was one of my favorite books as a child, and I would love to read this!”

——–

Land of Hidden Fires by Kirk Kjeldsen @ Fiction Books

hiddenfires

Occupied Norway, 1943. After seeing an allied plane go down over the mountains, headstrong fifteen year-old Kari Dahlstrøm sets out to locate the wreck. She soon finds the cocky American pilot Lance Mahurin and offers to take him to Sweden, pretending she’s a member of the resistance. While her widower father Erling and the disillusioned Nazi Oberleutnant Conrad Moltke hunt them down, Kari begins to fall for Lance, dreaming of a life with him in America. Over the course of the harrowing journey, though, Kari learns hard truths about those around her as well as discovering unforeseen depths within herself.

“Reading about WWII is one of my passions, and you don’t often see much about the war from the perspective of those farther north than Poland and France, etc.”

Martha

The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and A Life-Changing Journey Around the World by Kim Dinan found at Reading in White Bear Lake.

yellowenvelope

What Would You Do with a Yellow Envelope?

After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they’re given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don’t overthink it; share your experiences; don’t feel pressured to give it all away.

Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving—of ourselves—is transformational.

“I believe in giving and this book sounds lovely.”

——–

The Unfortunate Victim (Otto Berliner investigates …) by Greg Pyers found at Booklover Book Reviews.

victim

At midnight on 28 December 1864, in the Australian gold-mining town of Daylesford, young newly-wed Maggie Stuart lies dead in her own blood. Rumour and xenophobia drive speculation over the identity of her killer, and when a suspect is apprehended, police incompetence and defence counsel negligence bring yet more distortion to the wheels of justice.

In this climate of prejudice and ineptitude, it seems only Detective Otto Berliner is able to keep an objective mind and recognise that something is terribly wrong. He intends to put matters right, though all the odds are against him.

“This author is new to me and this mystery looks quite engaging. ”

Leslie

Dead On Arrival by Matt Richtel at Beauty In Ruins.

deadonarrival

A mysterious disorder threatens to destroy the world in this high-concept thriller from Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Matt Richtel, which combines medical science, cutting-edge technology, and breathtaking suspense in the vein of Michael Crichton.

An airplane lands at a desolate airport in a remote Colorado ski town. On board, Dr. Lyle Martin, a world-class infectious disease specialist, is brusquely awakened to shocking news: everyone not on the plane appears to be dead. A lethal new kind of virus may have surfaced, threatening our survival, and now Martin–one of the most sought after virologists on the planet until his career took a precipitous slide–is at the center of the investigation. The symptoms are the most confounding the experienced doctor has ever seen. Is it the work of terrorists? A biological attack? A natural occurrence? As word of the deadly sickness spreads, panic leads to violence and chaos. Armed and terrified partisans and patriots, stoked by technology and social media, have dug in, unknowingly creating fertile ground for the deadly syndrome Dr. Martin has begun to identify. As the globe begins to unravel and paranoia and hatred take hold, Martin is forced to face a question as terrifying as this syndrome itself: is the world better left unsaved?

“The medical thriller combined with cutting-edge tech will grab my interest every time.”

——–

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti at Reading in White Bear Lake.

twelvelives

Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo’s a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife’s hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.

Growing more and more curious about the mother she never knew, Loo begins to investigate. Soon, everywhere she turns, she encounters the mysteries of her parents’ lives before she was born. This hidden past is made all the more real by the twelve scars her father carries on his body. Each scar is from a bullet Hawley took over the course of his criminal career. Each is a memory: of another place on the map, another thrilling close call, another moment of love lost and found. As Loo uncovers a history that’s darker than she could have known, the demons of her father’s past spill over into the present—and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.

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

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai found at The Infinite Curio.

allourwrongtodays

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

“This one has a blend of genres I like: Sci Fi, time travel, action and adventure”

——–

The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day found at BermudaOnion’s Weblog

dayidied

From the award-winning author of Little Pretty Things comes this gripping, unforgettable tale of a mother’s desperate search for a lost boy.

Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance–at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm’s length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna’s skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son–and herself–once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she’d rewritten.

“This is a psychological thriller that sounds intriguing”

Serena

The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable @ A Nurse and a Book.

bookofsummer

Physician Bess Codman has returned to her family’s Nantucket compound, Cliff House, for the first time in four years. Her great-grandparents built Cliff House almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Though she s purposefully avoided the island, Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave.

The Book of Summer unravels the power and secrets of Cliff House as told through the voices of Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed and idealistic newlywed on the eve of WWII, the home’s definitive guestbook, and Bess herself. Bess’s grandmother always said it was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother s words in ways she never contemplated.

“I love WWII books and houses with secrets!”

Leslie

Piece of Mind by Michelle Adelmanat Luxury Reading

pieceofmind

Told with warmth and intelligence, Piece of Mind introduces one of the most endearing and heroic characters in contemporary fiction.

At twenty-seven, Lucy knows everything about coffee, comic books, and Gus (the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo), and she possesses a rare gift for drawing. But since she suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of three, she has had trouble relating to most people. She’s also uncommonly messy, woefully disorganized, and incapable of holding down a regular job.

When unexpected circumstances force her out of the comfortable and protective Jewish home where she was raised and into a cramped studio apartment in New York City with her college-age younger brother, she must adapt to an entirely different life―one with no safety net. Over the course of a challenging summer, Lucy is forced to discover that she has more strengths than she herself knew.

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

Gone with the Twins (League of Literary Ladies #5) by Kylie Logan found at Book Dilettante.

gonewiththetwins

The national bestselling author of And Then There Were Nuns takes readers back to South Bass Island on Lake Erie, where a pair of ambitious twins are causing double trouble for the League of Literary Ladies.

The League of Literary Ladies is currently enjoying Margaret Mitchell’s saga of the South, Gone with the Wind. But there’s one situation on South Bass Island that they wish would simply blow over.

Kidnapped as teenagers, the children of a famous movie star are now media darlings after a miraculous escape. What’s next for the celebrity twins? They’re opening an over-the-top B and B called Tara on South Bass Island, and frankly, they don’t give a damn about the competition–including Bea Cartwright’s own beloved inn.

The other members of the League–Chandra, Kate, and Luella–are turning scarlet. But when local realtor Vivian Frisk is found murdered, and the suspects include Chandra, who lost her beau to the frisky Vivian, the Ladies rally to her defense. They may have to skim a few chapters of the Civil War soap opera and focus on bringing justice to the island they call home…

“A cozy with cats and book enthusiasts – sounds good to me”

——–

The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman found at Luxury Reading and Silver’s Reviews.

hopechest

“Saugatuck, MI, springs to life in this nostalgic, gentle story of lifelong love along with the emotional support and care that families and friends can provide. ” ―Library Journal

The discovery of one woman’s heirloom hope chest unveils precious memories and helps three people who have each lost a part of themselves find joy once again.

Ever since she was diagnosed with ALS, fiercely independent Mattie doesn’t feel like herself. She can’t navigate her beloved home, she can’t go for a boat ride, and she can barely even feed herself. Her devoted husband, Don, doesn’t want to imagine life without his wife of nearly fifty years, but Mattie isn’t likely to make it past their anniversary.

But when Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and her young daughter, Jeri, enter the couple’s life, happiness and the possibility for new memories return. Together they form a family, and Mattie is finally able to pass on her memories from the hope chest she received from her mother.

With each item―including a favorite doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament―the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges.

A beautiful story about the unconditional love and support of family, The Hope Chest by Viola Shipman will remind you that hope can be found where and when you least expect it.

“This looks like a wonderful story”

Leslie

Miss You by Kate Eberlen at Lori’s Reading Corner.

missyou

A wryly romantic debut novel with echoes of One Day that asks, what if you just walked by the love of your life, but didn’t even know it?

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tess can’t get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.

Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.

A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment—the first of many times their paths will crisscross as time passes and their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.

But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again. . . .

“I don’t read a lot of romances, but this sounds like a fun novel.”

——–

Cutting Back by Leslie Buck at BermucaOnion.

cuttingback

At thirty-five, Leslie Buck made an impulsive decision to put her personal life on hold to pursue her passion. Leaving behind a full life of friends, love, and professional security, she became the first American woman to learn pruning from one of the most storied landscaping companies in Kyoto.

Cutting Back recounts Buck’s bold journey and the revelations she has along the way. During her apprenticeship in Japan, she learns that the best Kyoto gardens look so natural they appear untouched by human hands, even though her crew spends hours meticulously cleaning every pebble in the streams. She is taught how to bring nature’s essence into a garden scene, how to design with native plants, and how to subtly direct a visitor through a landscape. But she learns the most important lessons from her fellow gardeners: how to balance strength with grace, seriousness with humor, and technique with heart.

Cutting Back is an insightful debut memoir and story of personal growth that will appeal to gardeners and non-gardeners alike.

“Gardening is my therapy. I’m sure I would enjoy this.”

Serena

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella @ The Infinite Curio.

myperfectlife

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

“I’ve loved Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, but I’ve loved her non-series books as well.”

Books That Caught Our Eye

7 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

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough at The Infinite Curio, Lori’s Reading Corner, Bookfan, and Rainy Days and Mondays.

behindhereyes

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

“This just sounds like one of those edge of your seat kind of books.”

——–

Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami @ Carol’s Notebook.

onmusic

A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Haruki Murakami’s passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and from The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood to Franz Liszt’s Years of Pilgrimage, the aesthetic and emotional power of music permeates every one of his much-loved books. Now, in Absolutely on Music, Murakami fulfills a personal dream, sitting down with his friend, acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa, to talk, over a period of two years, about their shared interest. Transcribed from lengthy conversations about the nature of music and writing, here they discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more. Ultimately this book gives readers an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of the two maestros. It is essential reading for book and music lovers everywhere.

“I love classical music and I have a few favorite conductors and Ozawa is just one of them.”

Martha

When the English Fall by David Williams found at Carol’s Notebook.

whenenglishfall

A riveting and unexpected novel that questions whether a peaceful and nonviolent community can survive when civilization falls apart.

When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community in Pennsylvania is caught up in the devastating aftermath. Once-bright skies are now dark. Planes have plummeted to the ground. The systems of modern life have crumbled. With their stocked larders and stores of supplies, the Amish are unaffected at first. But as the English (the Amish name for all non-Amish people) become more and more desperate, they begin to invade Amish farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the peaceable community.

Seen through the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob as he tries to protect his family and his way of life, When the English Fall examines the idea of peace in the face of deadly chaos: Should members of a nonviolent society defy their beliefs and take up arms to defend themselves? And if they don’t, can they survive?

David Williams’s debut novel is a thoroughly engrossing look into the closed world of the Amish, as well as a thought-provoking examination of “civilization” and what remains if the center cannot hold.

“I think the Amish perspective on a collapse of the technological world that we know would be fascinating…and scary.”

——–

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty also found at Carol’s Notebook.

sixwakes

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.

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.

“Still on my sci fi trend.”

Leslie

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster at BermudaOnion and Sam Still Reading.

4321

Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on.

As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.

“The plot sounds quite intriguing and different from what I’ve been reading lately.”

——–

Windy City Blues by Renee Rosen at Silver’s Reviews and Book Dilettante.

windycityblues

In the middle of the twentieth century, the music of the Mississippi Delta arrived in Chicago, drawing the attention of entrepreneurs like the Chess brothers. Their label, Chess Records, helped shape that music into the Chicago Blues, the soundtrack for a transformative era in American History.

But, for Leeba Groski, Chess Records was just where she worked…

Leeba doesn’t exactly fit in, but her passion for music and her talented piano playing captures the attention of her neighbor, Leonard Chess, who offers her a job at his new record company. What begins as answering phones and filing becomes much more as Leeba comes into her own as a songwriter and befriends performers like Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. But she also finds love with a black blues guitarist named Red Dupree.

With their relationship unwelcome in segregated Chicago and shunned by Leeba’s Orthodox Jewish family, she and Red soon find themselves in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement and they discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.

“The Chicago setting caught my eye.”

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.

Serena

Serena’s whole family is down with the flu so she wasn’t able to visit this week to make a BTCOE choice.
We hope the whole family gets better quickly.

Martha

I was tempted to pick extra titles but that wouldn’t be fair since Serena and I have different tastes. 🙂
Leslie’s second pick was one of mine so I did get to pick another from my list.
My first pick is a serial killer mystery with a paranormal twist that sounds good:

Nightfall Bay by Carolyn J. Rose, found at Fiction Booksnightfallbay

When her grandmother dies, Rain Paxton inherits an extraordinary gift—the ability to follow a phantom dog into the afterlife, to a place called Nightfall Bay. There, at the edge of a dark sea, the souls of the missing and murdered must wait for earthly mysteries to be solved.

Pierce Jennings is a wealthy man, rich enough to fund a crime task force. But money can’t buy what he wants most—to know whether his wife is dead or alive. Missing more than two years, Ariel is one of a dozen women taken by a serial killer known as the Peddler.

Drawn to Pierce, and longing to learn Ariel’s fate and free the souls of the Peddler’s victims, Rain prepares to journey to Nightfall Bay. But the Peddler will kill to keep her from speaking with the dead and revealing his identity.

——–

I really like reading stories about the Civil War, and based on true is even better, so Pick 2 for me this week is:
Touched with Fire: Based on the True Story of Ellen Craft by Christopher Datta, found at Library of Clean Readstouchedwithfire

Touched with Fire, a novel of the Civil War inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft. Awarded top Historical Fiction Gold Medal Award for 2016 by eLitAwards.

Ellen Craft is property; in this case, of her half-sister Debra, to whom she was given as a wedding gift. The illegitimate daughter of a Georgia plantation owner and a house slave, she learned to hate her own image, which so closely resembled that of her “father”: the same wiry build, the same blue eyes, and the same pale – indeed, lily-white – skin. Ellen lives a solitary life until she falls, unexpectedly, in love with a dark-skinned slave named William Craft, and together they devise a plan to run north. Ellie will pose as a gentleman planter bound for Philadelphia accompanied by his “boy” Will. They make it as far as Baltimore when Will is turned back, and Ellie has no choice but continue. With no way of knowing if he is dead or alive, she resolves to make a second journey – south again. And so Elijah Craft enlists with the 125th Ohio Volunteers of the Union Army: she will literally fight her way back to her husband.

Eli/Ellie’s journey is the story of an extraordinary individual and an abiding love, but also of the corrosive effects of slavery, and of a nation at a watershed moment.

Leslie

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon at Bookfanwife22

Maybe it was those extra five pounds I’d gained. Maybe it was because I was about to turn the same age my mother was when I lost her. Maybe it was because after almost twenty years of marriage my husband and I seemed to be running out of things to say to each other.

But when the anonymous online study called “Marriage in the 21st Century” showed up in my inbox, I had no idea how profoundly it would change my life. It wasn’t long before I was assigned both a pseudonym (Wife 22) and a caseworker (Researcher 101). And, just like that, I found myself answering questions.

Before the study, my life was an endless blur of school lunches and doctor’s appointments, family dinners, budgets, and trying to discern the fastest-moving line at the grocery store. I was Alice Buckle: spouse of William and mother to Zoe and Peter, drama teacher and Facebook chatter, downloader of memories and Googler of solutions.

But these days, I’m also Wife 22. And somehow, my anonymous correspondence with Researcher 101 has taken an unexpectedly personal turn. Soon, I’ll have to make a decision—one that will affect my family, my marriage, my whole life. But at the moment, I’m too busy answering questions.

As it turns out, confession can be a very powerful aphrodisiac.

This book has been on my TBR shelf for a few years. I had almost forgotten about it!

——–

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking at Carol’s Notebookbookofhygge

Embrace Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) and become happier with this definitive guide to the Danish philosophy of comfort, togetherness, and well-being.

Why are Danes the happiest people in the world? The answer, says Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, is Hygge. Loosely translated, Hygge—pronounced Hoo-ga—is a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. “Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience,” Wiking explains. “It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.”

Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day.

The Little Book of Hygge introduces you to this cornerstone of Danish life, and offers advice and ideas on incorporating it into your own life

We can all use a little more happy!