Good morning!  Happy holiday to all, and I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

In our Monday memes, we celebrate our reading successes and plans for the week ahead.

To help us do that, we have two hosts:

Bermudaonion is hosting Mailbox Monday this month;

Book Journey is hosting It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?

For Mailbox Monday, we celebrate books we received in the mail, and/or purchased.

I couldn’t believe my mailbox this week!  Yes, some of them were books I’d ordered, but others were review books.

Here’s What I Received:

1)  With Friends Like These, by Sally Koslow (From Amazon Vine)

Here’s just a tidbit:

Koslow (The Late, Lamented Molly Marx) lifts a potentially trite story of friendship to a knowing, sharp-edged chronicle of ambition and acceptance that’s smart, raw, and achingly real.

2)  The Opposite of Me, by Sarah Pekkanen (Contest Win – Book Journey)

Here’s a brief blurb:

“With her smart, soulful novel, author Pekkanen explores the place where self and sisterhood intersect.” – Redbook

“It’s warm, it’s whimsical, and it’s a winner.” —The Courier Mail (Australia)

“Fresh, appealing…the story is at turns funny and poignant.” — Booklist

3)  Back to the Homeplace, by William Leverne Smith (Review copy from author)

Here’s a tidbit from Amazon:

The novel is set on a farm and in a nearby fictional community located in the southern Missouri Ozark hills and near a fictional western branch of the Current River. The story revolves around a family dilemma following the death of their matriarch and the unusual will she left to insure the continuity of the farm intact which has been in her family for over 150 years.

The year is 1987. The varied background and viewpoints of the adult children coming Back to the Homeplace ignite controversy and expose long kept secrets as each family member searches for his or her share of the family legacy. While the older family members stake their claims on land and fortunes, the younger ones search for love and acceptance. Subplots involve AIDS Awareness in 1987 issues and a support group for domestic violence incidents….

4)  Chosen, by Chandra Hoffman (Gift Certificate from Book Journey)

A snippet from Amazon:

“Gritty and suspenseful, Chosen draws us into the obstacle-strewn path of domestic adoption. Hoffman’s characters are complex and sympathetic in strikingly different ways, even those who appear at first glance to be irredeemable.” (Juliette Fay, author of Shelter Me

“Chandra Hoffman’s Chosen is a finely tuned page-turner. . . . There is no perfect happiness here; instead, there is the unexpected grace of discovering that getting what we want is so often less ideal than wanting what we get. This is an outstanding debut.” (Therese Fowler, author of Reunion and Souvenir ) )

5)  Someone Will Be With You Shortly, by Lisa Kogan (Purchased)

This delightful blurb tells just enough…

If Lisa Kogan didn’t exist, Nora Ephron would have to invent her. Like the tart-tongued yet lovable heroine portrayed in screwball romantic comedies, Kogan wears her heart on a sleeve that, like as not, was pulled from the bottom of her closet and could use a good dry cleaning. With a fractured life as a career woman/working mother/long-distance girlfriend providing the fodder, Kogan’s observations focus on the commonalities that connect women from ages 20 to 80….

6.  Body Work, by Sara Paretsky (Purchased)

Here’s a teaser:

The enigmatic performer known as the Body Artist takes the stage at Chicago’s Club Gouge and allows her audience to use her naked body as a canvas for their impromptu illustrations. V. I. Warshawski watches as people step forward, some meek, some bold, to make their mark.

The evening takes a strange turn when one woman’s sketch triggers a violent outburst from a man at a nearby table. Quickly subdued, the man-an Iraqi war vet-leaves the club. Days later, the woman is shot outside the club. She dies in V.I.’s arms, and the police move quickly to arrest the angry vet….

7.  Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen (Purchased)

Here’s a blurb:

“The awful thing about life is this:” says Octave to the Marquis in Renoir’s Rules of the Game. “Everyone has his reasons.” That could be a motto for novelists as well, few more so than Jonathan Franzen, who seems less concerned with creating merely likeable characters than ones who are fully alive, in all their self-justifying complexity. Freedom is his fourth novel, and, yes, his first in nine years since The Corrections. Happy to say, it’s very much a match for that great book, a wrenching, funny, and forgiving portrait of a Midwestern family (from St. Paul this time, rather than the fictional St. Jude). Patty and Walter Berglund find each other early: a pretty jock, focused on the court and a little lost off it, and a stolid budding lawyer, besotted with her and almost burdened by his integrity. They make a family and a life together, and, over time, slowly lose track of each other. Their stories align at times with Big Issues–among them mountaintop removal, war profiteering, and rock’n’roll–and in some ways can’t be separated from them, but what you remember most are the characters, whom you grow to love the way families often love each other: not for their charm or goodness, but because they have their reasons, and you know them. –Tom Nissley


It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?

This past week has been pretty productive.  Visit my Sunday Salon for the links to my reviews of these books:

1)  My Story, by Marilyn Monroe (with Ben Hecht)

2)  Comfort Food, by Kate Jacobs

3)  To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

What’s Up Next?

1)  Keeper of the Keys, by Perri O’Shaughnessy

This stand-alone novel is a suspenseful tale spotlighting LA’s Topanga Canyon residents, as well as zeroing in on secrets from the past….

2)  The Good Daughters, by Joyce Maynard

“[Maynard] weav(es) a knotty tale of family secrets, told in the alternating voices of her likable main characters.” (Entertainment Weekly )

“The novel is an extended meditation on the nature of love, grief and loneliness…. Maynard has created an ensemble of characters that will sneak into your heart, and warm it while it breaks. ” (St. Petersburg Times )

3)  Fragile, by Lisa Unger

“Folks in a small town descend into darkness and revisit long forgotten memories when a young girl disappears….[A] simmering, tragic tale. Fans of authors like Jodi Picoult will want to read this one in a nice comfortable chair….Unger’s fans won’t be disappointed.”
—Associated Press

“This one is a stunner…Unger’s genius is in plotting the story so that the reader never knows what’s coming next…This is a read that will stay with you.”
—New York Journal of Books Review


That’s it for this week!  I’m really excited about my mailbox and my reading week.

Hope you’ll stop by and share your own links.


    • Yes, I couldn’t believe it, either, Nise…It’s been on my stacks for awhile, and it’s a stand-alone. At first, I thought: what, no Nina Reilly? But this one is grabbing my attention anyway.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Read some really great reviews on The Good Daughters so it’ll be nice to hear your thoughts on it too. Nice stash and your mailman has been kind to you I see. Mine’s missing so putting an APB alert for him now 😉

    Enjoy the reads 🙂


  2. Chosen looks incredibly interesting to me. Hubby’s a social worker, I’m a counselor, we see a lot of adoption issues – mostly years later when the kids hit teenage angst. I also find certain ethnic groups have very different attitudes toward adoption.


  3. A few of these tempt me but are rather waiting until my library gets them prior to me reading. Freedom particularly. So much hype about a book makes me incredibly leery of spending money on it or, for that matter, reading it. Enjoy!


    • Ah, yes, the dilemma…I totally understand that one, Kimberly, and I was doing pretty well at adding only “free” books and working my way through my TBR stacks. But then along comes a book—or two, or three—from an author I love, and I’m a goner.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  4. I like the sound of The Opposite of Me and Chosen, looking forward to your thoughts on those 2. I’ve only read the one Lisa Unger book but have two more on the bookshelf gathering dust LOL. Have a wonderful week and happy reading 🙂


  5. I really liked The Opposite of Me and I hope you will as well. Fragile and The Good Daughters also look like great stories. You have a nice mix of books to choose from. I hope you have a great week and enjoy your reading.


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