Friday, May 2, 2014

Books That Came My Way in April 2014

I've had another busy mailbox this month with a bunch more great books coming my way.  I have become very picky with the books I agree to review become my time is limited.  So, you can be assured that if a book has arrived in my mailbox, I felt it was going to be worth my time and yours. 

If you would like to purchase any of these books, clicking on the photo of the book will take you directly to Amazon.  If you choose to purchase, I will receive a small commission without you having to pay any more for your purchase.  I appreciate your support of reviews.

Book Club Read

By Shilpi Somaya Gowda

I purchased this last month in a Kindle deal and then one of our book club members chose it for our book this month.  Stay tuned to read my thoughts on it this month!

On the eve of the monsoons, in a remote Indian village, Kavita gives birth to a baby girl. But in a culture that favors sons, the only way for Kavita to save her newborn daughter's life is to give her away. It is a decision that will haunt her and her husband for the rest of their lives, even after the arrival of their cherished son.

Halfway around the globe, Somer, an American doctor, decides to adopt a child after making the wrenching discovery that she will never have one of her own. When she and her husband, Krishnan, see a photo of the baby with the gold-flecked eyes from a Mumbai orphanage, they are overwhelmed with emotion. Somer knows life will change with the adoption but is convinced that the love they already feel will overcome all obstacles.

Interweaving the stories of Kavita, Somer, and the child that binds both of their destinies, Secret Daughter poignantly explores the emotional terrain of motherhood, loss, identity, and love, as witnessed through the lives of two families—one Indian, one American—and the child that indelibly connects them.

Book I Won

I participated in a Twitter chat with Penguin Books and author Erika Robuck.  She was chatting about her newest book, FALLEN BEAUTY which I reviewed, HERE. She was also giving away a copy of FALLEN BEAUTY.  I was the lucky winner, but since I had already read FALLEN BEAUTY, she was gracious enough to send me CALL ME ZELDA.  If you want to read parts of the Twitter chat with Erika, go to Twitter and search the hashtag, #ReadPenguin.


By Erika Robuck

From the author of Hemingway’s Girl comes a richly imagined tale of Zelda Fitzgerald’s love, longing, and struggle against ever-threatening insanity.

From New York to Paris, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald reigned as king and queen of the Jazz Age, but those who really knew them saw their inner turmoil.

Committed to a Baltimore psychiatric hospital in 1932, Zelda vacillates between lucidity and madness as she fights to forge an identity independent of her famous husband. She discovers a sympathetic ear in her nurse Anna Howard, who finds herself drawn into the Fitzgerald’s tumultuous lives and wonders which of them is the true genius. But in taking greater emotional risks to save Zelda, Anna may end up paying a far higher price than she ever intended.

In this thoroughly researched, deeply moving novel, Erika Robuck explores the boundaries of female friendship, the complexity of marital devotion, and the sources of both art and madness.

Review Books

By Talia Haven

Count the Brownies from one to ten as they go about their night time chores.

I've already read and posted my review. I thought it was a great way to teach counting and the importance of working together to get the job done.  See my review, HERE.

By Carole P Roman

I've reviewed several book in this series already and have loved them all.  See my reviews, HERE and HERE.

Former social studies teacher Carole P. Roman has penned a new addition in her exiting explorations of foreign cultures and customs with "If You Were Me and Lived in ... Australia." In her years as a teacher, parent and grandparent, Roman noticed that there were few, if any, books about other cultures for young children. Roman has remedied the deficit and now introduces the new Australia installment in a series that educates kids, parents and teachers, alike. Roman recognizes that children love to discover the differences and similarities of other people and places in far-off lands. In this series, she describes details that kids can relate to. Tailored to children from 3-to-8-years old, her writing is simple but does not talk down to youngsters. Among the topics that are introduced in this journey to Australia are the unusual indigenous animals, the extraordinary Great Barrier Reef, the currency, the beloved game of cricket and the national holiday, Australia Day, as well as the special nicknames people have for one another and the curious taste sensation, Vegemite.

Noah Tours an Aircraft Carrier 
By Wigu Publishing

I absolutely love these children's books. See my reviews for others books in this series, HERE and HERE.

Noah is excited for the chance to tour a real aircraft carrier with his Grandpa Ed, a proud Navy veteran. He is not excited that his little sister, Marina, is tagging along. Still, Noah tries to be patient. Readers chuckle and follow along as the siblings learn that each deck, each crewmember, and each piece of equipment adds another chapter to the history of the U.S. Navy and its mission to protect our country. Noah and Marina’s curiosity helps introduce readers to the complex and exciting work of an aircraft carrier and how each crewmember plays a vital role in its functioning.

By Lynne Branard

I'm reading this one right now and you can look for the review soon. I'm loving it. It reminds me a bit of THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS in the sense that it gives the meaning behind flowers and why she puts particular flowers in bouquets for certain people and occasions.  I can't wait to finish it. It isn't published until June 2, 2014, but you can pre-order by clicking the photo above.

Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.
Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need.
Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit. Any life can be derailed, but the healing power of community can put it right again.

By Pooja Mottl

This one just arrived and I will be trying out the 3-Day Reset myself and giving you my opinion in June.  I think it sounds like a realistic plan and I'm anxious to give it a try.  You can do anything for 3 days, right?

Eating healthy can be a struggle. It’s hard to pick broccoli and brown rice over hot, cheesy pizza, and 21- or 28-day diets often ask you to cut out different foods all at once, leaving you feeling deprived.

In 3-Day Resets, Pooja Mottl outlines 10 different ways to change your cravings and start eating whole, healthy foods—foods that are also delicious—three days at a time. Each reset takes 72 hours to complete and consists of three simple steps, which means you’ll be able to stay focused on healthy eating.

“Awareness” resets target your consumption of certain ingredients like sugar, wheat, and salt.

“Discovery” resets teach you new ways to drink beverages (including tea) and eat chocolate, yogurt, and chicken.

“Change” resets shift how you view eating breakfast, salads, and take-out.

Packed with delicious recipes and nutritional information to support why you should eat whole foods like quinoa instead of processed, frozen, or packaged foods, 3-Day Resets will set you on the path to healthy eating… and help you stay there for good.

By Mary Vensel White

I love finding new authors and especially those with a debut novel.  I'm excited to see what the mystery is all about.  This book will be published on June 17, 2014.  You can click the photo above and pre-order it. Look for my review in June. 

A haunting and beautifully written debut novel by an exciting new talent. When Betty Gardiner dies, leaving behind an unkempt country home, her grandson and his young wife take a break from city life to prepare the house for sale. Nowell Gardiner leaves first to begin work on his second mystery novel. By the time his wife Vivian joins him, a real mystery has begun: a local girl has been found dead in the woods behind the house. Even after the death is ruled an accident, Vivian can't forget the girl, can't ignore the strange behavior of her neighbors, or her husband. As Vivian attempts to put the house in order, all around her things begin to fall apart. 'The Qualities of Wood' is a stunning novel from an exciting new writer.

How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare, and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist  
By Rosemary Tran Lauer

This book came to me through the author.  I love true stories when people overcome huge obstacles.  This one definitely sounds like it will be a courageous story.

Imagine waking up tomorrow in a foreign land with no home, no money, no grasp of the language, no formal education, no friends or family for support, and with two kids under age three depending on you. What would you do? Beggars or Angels: How a Single Mother Triumphed Over War, Welfare and Cancer to Become a Successful Philanthropist tells the inspirational story of Rosemary Tran Lauer, a mother who found the will and a way to survive when faced with this overwhelming scenario. Drawing on her strength, bold resourcefulness, and sense of humor, Rosemary was eventually able to give her family a wealth of opportunities they wouldn't have dared dream about in the war-torn homeland they left behind. A courageous welfare-mother-turned-philanthropist, she was willing to sacrifice everything but her self-respect for the sake of her children's futures . . . and for the futures of thousands of families around the world. Beggars or Angels is about one woman's dare to care and her persistent search for a reason "why." Once she discovered it, Rosemary transformed her years of struggle into an altruistic ambition and purpose-the child care advocacy nonprofit Devotion to Children.

A Novel of the Titanic
By Hazel Gaynor

I've always been interested in the story of the Titanic and this book instantly intrigued me.  It also follows that theme of bridging the past and present, which has been popular with novels this year.

As of today this is just $1.99 on Kindle.  Clicking the photo above will take you right to it on Amazon.  Keep in mind, prices are subject to change.

A voyage across the ocean becomes the odyssey of a lifetime for a young Irish woman. . . .

Ireland, 1912 . . .

Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the few passengers in steerage to survive. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that fateful night again.

Chicago, 1982 . . .

Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her great-grandmother Maggie shares the painful secret about Titanic that she's harbored for almost a lifetime, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads both her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

By Beth Kendrick

This book comes out May 6, 2014, but you can pre-order it by clicking the photo above.  I think this has just the right about of fun, mystery, and romance to make it a perfect beach/laying by the pool all day/summer read.

Welcome to Black Dog Bay, a tiny seaside town in Delaware known as "the best place in America to bounce back from your breakup." Home to Better Off Bed-and-Breakfast, the Eat Your Heart Out bakery, and the Whinery bar, Black Dog Bay offers a haven for the suddenly single.

Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant.

Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn't be kissing him. She definitely shouldn't be falling in love.

After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything.

Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion
By White, Blum, Jio, Benjamin, McCoy, Richman, McMorris, Jenoff, Robuck, Hodgkinson, and Hannah 

I am busting with excitement and anticipation over reading this book.  This collection of short stories is set during one of my favorite time periods to read about.  Plus the stories are written by several of my favorite authors.  It won't be published until July 1, 2014, but you can pre-order it by clicking the photo above.  Watch for my review this summer.  I know I'm going to love it!

A war bride awaits the arrival of her GI husband at the platform…
A Holocaust survivor works at the Oyster Bar, where a customer reminds him of his late mother…
A Hollywood hopeful anticipates her first screen test and a chance at stardom in the Kissing Room…
On any particular day, thousands upon thousands of people pass through New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, through the whispering gallery, beneath the ceiling of stars, and past the information booth and its beckoning four-faced clock, to whatever destination is calling them. It is a place where people come to say hello and good-bye. And each person has a story to tell.
Now, ten bestselling authors inspired by this iconic landmark have created their own stories, set just after the end of World War II, in a time of hope, uncertainty, change, and renewal. 

Books I Purchased 

If you want to be in the loop on great Kindle deals, be sure to follow me on Twitter, HERE or like my Facebook page, HERE.  I frequently post great book deals when I see them.  You can also access the Kindle Daily Deal link at the top right side of my blog. All these books were purchased for $1.99 or less.  The deals are usually short-lived so be sure to snag them when you see them.

By Priscille Sibley

Several of my friends and fellow bloggers have read this book and highly recommended it.  When it was a Kindle deal, I knew I couldn't pass it up.

Matt Beaulieu was two years old the first time he held Elle McClure in his arms, seventeen when he first kissed her under a sky filled with shooting stars, and thirty-three when he convinced her to marry him. Now in their late 30s, the deeply devoted couple has everything-except the baby they've always wanted.

When an accident leaves Elle brain dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear the thought of life without her, he knows Elle was afraid of only one thing-a slow death. And so, Matt resolves to take her off life support.

But Matt changes his mind when they discover Elle's pregnant. While there are no certainties, the baby might survive if Elle remains on life support. Matt's mother, Linney, disagrees with his decision. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive on machines. Linney is prepared to fight her son in court-armed with Elle's living will.

Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney will be pitted against each other, fighting for what they believe is right, and what they think Elle would have wanted resulting in a controversial legal battle that will ultimately go beyond one family . . . and one single life.

By Mary Hogan

I love novels that tell sister stories since I am one of three sisters.  This one sounds like it is full of drama and secrets which usually makes for a good page-turner.

Mary Hogan’s powerful and poignant debut novel about two sisters—opposites in every way—plus their mother and the secrets and lies that define them all.

One family, two sisters, a lifetime of secrets . . .

The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been an outsider. Short, dark-haired and round, she worships her beautiful blonde sister, Pia, and envies the close bond she shares with their mother, Lidia. Growing up in their shadow, Muriel believes that if she keeps all their secrets—and she knows plenty, outsiders always do—they will love her, too.

But that was a long time ago. Now an adult, Muriel has accepted the disappointments in her life. With her fourth-floor walk-up apartment and entry-level New York City job, she never will measure up to Pia and her wealthy husband, their daughter, and their suburban Connecticut dream home. Muriel would like nothing better than to avoid her judgmental family altogether. One thing she does quite well.

Until the day Pia shows up to visit and share devastating news that Muriel knows she cannot tell—a secret that will force her to come to terms with the past and help her see her life and her family in unexpected new ways.

By Mitch Albom

I've loved all of Mitch Albom's stories.  Even though this one has gotten some mixed reviews, I still want to read it.  His stories are always so full of inspiration and hope. Sometimes, I need a story like that to get me out of a slump.

The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief--and a page-turner that will touch your soul--Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

By Kimberly McCreight

Again, people I respect have raved about this book, so when it was a Kindle Daily Deal, I knew I had to snag it.  It reminds me of Heather Gudenkauf, Kristin Hannah, and Jodi Picoult type of books.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is shocked when her daughter's exclusive Brooklyn private school calls to tell her that Amelia—her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old—has been caught cheating. But when Kate arrives at Grace Hall, she's blindsided by far more devastating news: Amelia is dead. Despondent, she's jumped from the school's roof. At least that's what Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. It's what she believes, too, until she gets the anonymous text: Amelia didn't jump. Now, Kate is going to find the truth—no matter where it leads. Sifting through Amelia's e-mails, text messages, and Facebook posts, Kate reconstructs the pieces of her daughter's life and the people in it, uncovering why she was on Grace Hall's roof that day—and how she died.

By Jo-Ann Mapson

This is the follow-up book to Mapson's SOLOMON'S OAK, which I loved. See my review, HERE.  Even though this certainly is a stand-alone book, I highly recommend reading SOLOMON'S OAK first to get the full story!

Glory Vigil, newly married, unexpectedly pregnant at forty-one, is nesting in the home she and her husband, Joseph, have just moved to in Santa Fe, a house that unbeknownst to them is rumored to have a resident ghost. Their adopted daughter, Juniper, is home from college for Thanksgiving and in love for the very first time, quickly learning how a relationship changes everything. But Juniper has a tiny arrow lodged in her heart, a leftover shard from the day eight years earlier when her sister, Casey, disappeared—in a time before she’d ever met Glory and Joseph. When a fieldwork course takes Juniper to a pueblo only a few hours away, she finds herself right back in the past she thought she’d finally buried.

By Wiley Cash

Another novel full of heart with lots of wonderful reviews.  I knew I couldn't pass it up when it was a Kindle Daily Deal.

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to — an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil — but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well.

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