Good morning, and welcome to another Monday, in which we celebrate our reading, blogging, and life. Mailbox Monday is hosted in November by Bermudaonion; and Book Journey brings us another edition of What Are You Reading?
This week, my mailbox brought two review books from Amazon Vine; and I downloaded two free e-books.
1. The Accursed, by Joyce Carol Oates (Amazon Vine)
This eerie tale of psychological horror sees the real inhabitants of turn-of-the-century Princeton fall under the influence of a supernatural power. New Jersey, 1905: soon-to-be commander-in-chief Woodrow Wilson is president of Princeton University. On a nearby farm, Socialist author Upton Sinclair, enjoying the success of his novel ‘The Jungle’, has taken up residence with his family. This is a quiet, bookish community – elite, intellectual and indisputably privileged. But when a savage lynching in a nearby town is hushed up, a horrifying chain of events is initiated – until it becomes apparent that the families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse. The Devil has come to this little town and not a soul will be spared. ‘The Accursed’ marks new territory for the masterful Joyce Carol Oates – narrated with her unmistakable psychological insight, it combines beautifully transporting historical detail with chilling fantastical elements to stunning effect.
2. Sugar Springs, by Kim Law (Amazon Vine)
Lee Ann London once had big plans…scholarship, college, love. Then she found herself raising her deceased sister’s twin girls when their father disappeared. Now, with her beautiful girls, a community that depends on her, and her photography studio finally taking off, Lee Ann may not have the life she’d imagined, but it’s definitely where she wants it. Until Cody, her bad-boy ex, returns to Sugar Springs…
Cody’s childhood put a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas. Bouncing around the foster care system, he was always the one to leave before anyone left him first. Then he found a place he wanted to stick. Lee Ann was the best thing that ever happened to him. Only, he hurt her. Bad. He’s back now, and determined to earn her forgiveness…and maybe win back her love while he’s at it.
3. The Boots My Mother Gave Me (e-book), by Brooklyn James
AMAZON BREAKTHROUGH NOVEL AWARD QUARTER-FINALIST
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk through life in someone else’s shoes?
Strong-willed tomboy Harley LeBeau puts you in the boots her mother gave her, as she takes you along her journey of escape from an abusive childhood and the desire to find herself as she comes of age. Made to feel a burden to her father simply by her gender, Harley is determined to prove her worth and independence, leaving the small town she grew up in and the one boy who gave her a soft place to fall, Jeremiah Johnson. Torn between saving herself and abandoning her mother and younger sister, Harley chooses her own life in hopes they will choose theirs, too.
A mature, candid read for everyone. A must for women. The Boots My Mother Gave Me explores the dynamics of abuse and dysfunction, the courage to overcome, the strength in sisterhood, and the ongoing conflict and unconditional love between mothers and daughters.
Climb into Charlene the Chevelle for a fast-paced story about a girl who is tough enough to survive and tender enough to learn to trust in love.
4. The Angry Woman Suite (e-book), by Lee Fullbright
2012 DISCOVERY AWARD WINNER, FIRST PLACE, LITERARY FICTIONMore from Kirkus Reviews:
“Raised in a crumbling New England mansion by four women with personalities as split as a cracked mirror, young Francis Grayson has an obsessive need to fix them all. There’s his mother, distant and beautiful Magdalene; his disfigured, suffocating Aunt Stella; his odious grandmother; and the bane of his existence, his abusive and delusional Aunt Lothian. For years, Francis plays a tricky game of duck and cover with the women, turning to music to stay sane. He finds a friend and mentor in Aidan Madsen, schoolmaster, local Revolutionary War historian, musician and keeper of the Grayson women’s darkest secrets. In a skillful move by Fullbright, those secrets are revealed through the viewpoints of three different people–Aidan, Francis and Francis’stepdaughter, Elyse–adding layers of eloquent complexity to a story as powerful as it is troubling. While Francis realizes his dream of forming his own big band in the 1940s, his success is tempered by the inner monster of his childhood, one that roars to life when he marries Elyse’s mother. Elyse becomes her stepfather’s favorite target, and her bitterness becomes entwined with a desire to know the real Francis Grayson. For Aidan’s part, his involvement with the Grayson family only deepens, and secrets carried for a lifetime begin to coalesce as he seeks to enlighten Francis–and subsequently Elyse–of why the events of so many years ago matter now. The ugliness of deceit, betrayal and resentment permeates the narrative, yet there are shining moments of hope, especially in the relationship between Elyse and her grandfather. Ultimately, as more of the past filters into the present, the question becomes: What is the truth, and whose version of the truth is correct? Fullbright never untangles this conundrum, and it only adds to the richness of this exemplary novel.” Kirkus Reviews
I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a great one. As we start our count-down to Christmas, we are very much aware of the end of the year. For bookish types, that means a number of things: final books read count; challenges completed; thinking ahead to new challenges and new goals.
What are some of your Year End Activities and thoughts?
I’ve been noticing some bloggers who are hosting challenges for 2013, and while every year I promise not to sign up for too many, I couldn’t seem to curb the impulse to sign up for a couple already that sound good to me.
I have read a couple of those books already, but I’d like to read more.
On the Blogs:
Reading: (Click Titles for Reviews)
1. Firefly Summer, by Maeve Binchy (A 645 pager from my TBR Mountain)
2. Amazing Grace, by Danielle Steel (Also from Mt. TBR)
3. Slightly Cracked (e-book), by Susan Whitfield
4, For Keeps (e-book), by Aaron Paul Lazar
What’s Up Next? Click Titles/Covers for More Info
1. Forgotten, by Catherine McKenzie
2. The Turnaround, by George Pelecanos
3. Kiss River, by Diane Chamberlain (library book)
I have more books I could add to the list, but I want to relax; if I find myself with time on my hands, I have plenty I could pick. What are the rest of you reading? What does your week look like?