Monday, January 16, 2017

*Review* Lift and Separate by Marilyn Simon Rothstein


Genre: Chick-Lit
Published: December 1, 2016
Pages: 296

Synopsis

Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.

Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.

Review

I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program in the hopes that I would leave an honest review. 

This book was a fairly quick read for me, and I pretty much couldn't put it down because it was like watching a train wreck. Basically it appealed to my baser, reality tv loving instincts. I really related to Marcy as a stay at home mom whose life has been determined by my husband's career, very much like hers. I'm honestly okay with that, for the most part, and so is she, but that made it really easy for me to slide into her size 8 Jimmy Choo's. This also meant that I spent the entirety of the story rooting for her and preparing to egg her husband's car if needed, because it became personal to me. 

There were several times where I didn't agree with the choices that Marcy was making, but I also can't honestly say that I would have actually made different choices myself. It has to be hard to decide to just throw away three decades of wedded bliss because of one affair, especially when your whole existence has pretty much revolved around your husband and his career. The unknown can be scary and I would probably want to cling to what I knew too. So ultimately I can understand why Marcy made the choices that she did, even though I think they were stupid (and I wanted her to be a strong, independent woman immediately.)

I was also really bothered by Harvey's obsession with women's bra sizes. It was a detail that absolutely makes sense in terms of the story and his profession, but it seems a bit creepy to me. Although that did make it easier for me to tell Marcy she should dump him like yesterday's garbage. 

4 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Buy the Book


About the Author

For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn Simon Rothstein owned an advertising agency in Connecticut. She grew up in New York City, earned a degree in journalism from New York University, began her writing career at Seventeen magazine, and married a man she met in an elevator. 

Marilyn received a master of arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University and a master of arts in Judaic studies from the University of Connecticut.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

*Review* #BeatTheBacklist - The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George


Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: June 23, 2015
Pages: 392

Synopsis

“There are books that are suitable for a million people, others for only a hundred. There are even remedies—I mean books—that were written for one person only…A book is both medic and medicine at once. It makes a diagnosis as well as offering therapy. Putting the right novels to the appropriate ailments: that’s how I sell books.”

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can't seem to heal through literature is himself; he's still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.

After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he hauls anchor and departs on a mission to the south of France, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story. Joined by a bestselling but blocked author and a lovelorn Italian chef, Perdu travels along the country’s rivers, dispensing his wisdom and his books, showing that the literary world can take the human soul on a journey to heal itself.

Internationally bestselling and filled with warmth and adventure, The Little Paris Bookshop is a love letter to books, meant for anyone who believes in the power of stories to shape people's lives.

Review

This book should have been a slam dunk for me, but sadly it wasn't. It started off completely intriguing me, I wanted to know more about the book barge and the woman who broke Perdu's heart. But I was not really treated to that information, so I started to lose interest. I just never really felt the impetus to find Manon that Perdu felt, so the trip to get there bored me, in spite of the antics that Perdu and the gang got up to on the way. Also, I really started to feel like Perdu was just pathetic, and that's who I was supposed to be sympathizing with. I mean, sure, I'm sorry he lost her the way he did, I guess, but dude brought it on himself with his dramatic reaction.

There were a couple of mini mysteries in this story, both of which I figured out before the characters did, granted that was largely because this was a story and that's just how things are supposed to happen in stories (so it was incredibly predictable.) 

There was one aspect of the story that just really made no sense to me at all though. When Perdu and Max haul up the anchor and leave on their journey through the waterways of France, they have basically no money with them, which is a bit of a problem. What makes no sense though is that at no point do they ever stop at a bank to pull some money out. I could understand Perdu not having any money, he may be a businessman but he lives like a pauper, but Max is a rather famous author, so money shouldn't be a problem. It just seemed ridiculous to me. 

The beginning of the story really was intriguing and the story flowed well, but it just didn't hold my interest like I had hoped it would. 3 out of 5 stars.

Copy received through Blogging for Books for review. - Katie 

Buy the Book


About the Author

NINA GEORGE works as a journalist, writer, and storytelling teacher. She is the award winning author of 26 books, and also writes feature articles, short stories, and columns. The Little Paris Bookshop spent over a year on bestseller lists in Germany, and was a bestseller in Italy, Poland, and the Netherlands. George is married to the writer Jens J. Kramer and lives in Berlin and in Brittany, France.

www.nina-george.com

Friday, January 6, 2017

*Mail Call* December 2016

I'm only a few days late for this post, which is absolutely normal for me, and not entirely unreasonable. Especially since December is jam packed with holiday stuff at the end. There's just too much going on to even worry about blogging right. So without further ado, here are the books I got in the mail in December. Spoiler alert, it was a much better month than November.


He Gave Me His Heart so I Gave Him Mine by Dr. Showkat Alborzi

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Born into Islam, author Showkat Alborzi was an inquisitive young girl who longed to know her creator, her purpose in this world, and the meaning of life. One evening, she looked up to the depth of the sky and called God to reveal the truth of life to her. In her amazement, God showed up! He revealed His love for her in the evening sky by showing her His heart, carved out of clouds. It was the first time Showkat felt God's presence. God was love. This was beyond Islam.

In 1979, the Islamic revolution shook Iran and the country plunged into 7th century darkness. She fled to the United States. Years later, God revealed Himself again to her, this time through a poem about the abortion she had years ago. God brought to light her hidden secret and guilt. Although, Jesus was never more than a prophet for her, now she knew He was the true God and that He was ready to forgive her if only she was ready to be forgiven. That was the moment she believed.

This is the story of Showkat's journey from the bondage of religion to the freedom of knowing God, from deception of Islam to the truth of Jesus. It is also an examination of crucial differences between Allah and YHWH, challenging Muslims to examine their beliefs, and offering a glimpse into a religion most Americans know little about, and its profound effect on our world.

Paperback: $13.95 / Ebook: $3.99

Suppose by D.J. Adamson

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

In this second novel of the Lillian Dove Mystery series, just when Lillian thinks she may have her life back on track, mayhem hits. This time, she is accused of murder. Her only choice—to prove her innocence. Only, she is dragged further into criminal dysfunction as the FBI requests her help, and a CEO with political ambitions believes he needs to get rid of her before she pulls apart his legacy ruse for greater power.

Suppose, offering comedic dysfunction, is not only a suspenseful mystery but an important second step for Lillian’s self-identity--and possibly for the reader’s. She needs to believe she will be abetted in her investigation to prove her innocence and that she can oppose those things or people which seem to overpower her. 

Suppose: I came to believe…

Paperback: $13.99 / Ebook: $3.99



The Resistible Rise of Benjamin Netanyahu by Neill Lochery

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the longest-serving Prime Ministers of Israel. For much of the world, Netanyahu is a right-wing nationalist zealot; for many Israelis he is a centrist who is too soft on Arabs and backs down too easily in a fight. Love him or loathe him, Netanyahu has been at the very centre of Arab-Israeli politics since 1990, when he became the telegenic Israeli spokesman for CNN's coverage of the Persian Gulf War, arguably ushering in the Americanization of the Israeli media. Netanyahu is famous for his TV skills, but there is so much more to reveal--good and bad--about the man and his place in Israeli, Middle Eastern and world political history.

At present there is no major profile of Netanyahu in the English language, so the publication of this book is a landmark of considerable importance, especially as in March 2015 he was re-elected for a further term in office. Using the juncture of the Oslo Accords to take the reader back to Netanyahu's formative years, Neill Lochery, a renowned scholar of Middle Eastern politics and history, chronicles not only the Prime Minister's life but also the issues his career has encompassed, from the rise of militant Islam to the politics of oil; from the transformation of Israeli politics by the 24/7 cable news cycle to the US's changing role in the Middle East.

Hardback: $21.75 / Ebook: $9.99

Gunslinger by Jeff Pearlman

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

From a New York Times best-selling author, the full, definitive biography of Brett Favre

A towering figure on the field for two decades who breezed into the Hall of Fame, Brett Favre was one of the game’s last cowboys, a fastball-throwing, tobacco-chewing gunslinger who refused to give up without a fight. This peerless quarterback guided the Green Bay Packers to two Super Bowls and one championship win, shattering countless NFL records along the way.

Gunslinger tells Brett Favre’s story for the first time, drawing on more than five hundred interviews, including many from the people closest to Favre. Jeff Pearlman charts an unparalleled journey from his rough rural childhood and lackluster high school football career to landing the last scholarship at Southern Mississippi to a car accident that nearly took his life. Favre clawed back, getting drafted into the NFL by the Atlanta Falcons, then finding his way to Green Bay, where he restored the Packers to greatness and inspired a fan base as passionate as any in the game. Yet he struggled with demons: addiction, infidelity, the loss of his father, and a fraught, painfully prolonged exit from the game he loved, a game he couldn’t bear to leave.

Grand, gritty, and revelatory, Gunslinger is a big sports biography of the highest order, a fascinating portrait of the man with the rocket arm whose life has been one of triumph, of fame, of tragedy, of embarrassment, and—ultimately—of redemption.

Paperback: $15.99 / Ebook: $15.99

The Corridor of Uncertainty by Nihar Suthar

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

In 1979, Afghanistan erupted into one of the most brutal civil wars ever. The fighting lasted almost a decade, throwing the country into a period of political instability, harsh leadership, and extreme danger. Hundreds of thousands of civilians died, and millions relocated to refugee camps. The rest of the world began to believe that violence would always define Afghans. 

However, deep in the refugee camps of Pakistan, displaced native Afghan children had a dream to unite their country once again with peace. The solution was disguised in the game of cricket. These children began to learn cricket, and persevered against the danger, criticism, and unrest to create the first-ever Afghan national cricket team. 

With unrivaled access to the team and players during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Nihar Suthar tells the story of their inspiring journey to change Afghanistan in one of the most under-told, heart-warming sports stories of all time.

Paperback: $10.59 / Ebook: $9.99

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

Hardback: $25.99 / Ebook: $12.99

Pilgrimage by Mark K. Shriver

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

A down-to-earth and deeply intimate portrait of Pope Francis and his faith, based on interviews with the men and women who knew him simply as Jorge Mario Bergoglio 

Early on the evening of March 13, 2013, the newly elected Pope Francis stepped out onto the balcony of St. Peter s Basilica and did something remarkable: Before he imparted his blessing to the crowd, he asked the crowd to bless him, then bowed low to receive this grace. In the days that followed, Mark K. Shriver along with the rest of the world was astonished to see a pope who paid his own hotel bill, eschewed limousines, and made his home in a suite of austere rooms in a Vatican guesthouse rather than the grand papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace. By setting an example of humility and accessibility, Francis breathed new life into the Catholic Church, attracting the admiration of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. 

In Pilgrimage, Shriver retraces Francis s personal journey, revealing the origins of his open, unpretentious style and explaining how it revitalized Shriver s own faith and renewed his commitment to the Church. To help us understand how Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis, Shriver travels to Bergoglio s native Argentina to meet with the people who knew him as a child, as a young Jesuit priest, and as a reformist bishop. Shriver visits the confessional where Bergoglio first felt called to a faith-based life and takes us to the humble parish where the future pontiff s pastoral career began: in a church created from a converted vegetable shed in an area just outside the city of Buenos Aires.In these impoverished surroundings, Bergoglio answered Christ s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless, following the example set by his papal namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. 

In this deeply reported yet highly personal book, Mark K. Shriver explores how Francis's commitment has struck a chord in the hearts of millions who long to make faith, love, humility, and mercy part of their lives as they go out into the world to serve and learn from the most marginalized. 

Hardback: $18.30 / Ebook: $12.99

Modify Destiny by Bill Higgins

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Entry-level employee Dave Reed is working the Saturday midnight shift in the CIA's Message Watch Office when a misdirected top-secret message arrives from NORAD, a fortified US Air Force command that conducts its operations inside a mountain. The enigmatic message renews Dave's interest in UFOs. On a lark, he and a coworker set out to a small town where a hillbilly playboy and several other residents have seen mysterious lights in the sky, and people have disappeared under unusual circumstances.

Garrett thinks he knows all there is to know about UFOs. After all, he's a senior operations officer for an ultra-secret government project that investigates UFOs and alien abductions. What else could there be? He discovers there's more to the UFO phenomenon than he has been lead to believe when he crosses paths with Dave Reed.

Falsely accused of espionage following a bizarre string of events, Dave is subjected to a high-tech interrogation technique involving hypnotic regression. While in an altered state of consciousness, he tells a terrifying story that's practically impossible for his interrogators to believe, even though the infallible machines connected to Dave's head and torso indicate that he has to be telling the truth.

No Paperback / Ebook: $1.99

Peace After Divorce by Renee Smith Ettline, M.Ed.

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Uplifting, practical and inspiring this award-winning Christian divorce recovery book has brightened the lives of countless readers who've experienced the life-altering pain of separation and divorce. Selected as an Exemplary Christian Self-Help/Recovery Book by the Illumination Book Awards, Peace After Divorce helps you understand how the devastation of divorce can be transformed into a positive new life. In addition to sharing practical strategies for healing from divorce and coping with divorce on a day-to-day basis, counselor and Christian Renee Smith Ettline motivates and inspires with reassuring Scriptures. Your divorce may change who you are but this book will help you make sure it doesn't define who you are. More than just providing information, the content helps you to: Work through emotions and thoughts; Deal with loneliness and divorce grief; Choose healing actions; Cope more effectively with your former spouse; Re-enter single life; Help children cope with separation and divorce; And much more. You CAN find hope, peace, and joy after divorce. For personal use, Christian divorce support groups, Bible studies, or pastoral care. Christian divorce recovery curriculum and leader materials are available through After Divorce Ministries. Meta Key Words Revised: Christian divorce, Christian divorce recovery, divorce, healing from divorce, children and divorce, Christian divorce books, Christian divorce recovery curriculum, Christian divorce group, Christian divorce recovery for men, Christian divorce recovery for women, surviving divorce, divorce recovery, after divorce, divorce and grief, emotional healing, marriage and divorce, If you can add these as well that would be good: separation and divorce, how to heal from divorce, divorce care, single parent, divorce support, divorce recovery workbook, divorce hurt, church divorce, Peace After Divorce"

Paperback: $14.99 / Ebook: $7.99

Rebirth by Kamal Ravikant

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Inspired by the author's own pilgrimage of walking the legendary Camino de Santiago across Spain comes Rebirth, a novel of reconciliation and forgiveness. 

After losing his estranged father, Amit wanders across Europe and embarks on the five-hundred and fifty mile Camino de Santiago to reconcile his inner conflict. It is on this path that he begins reflecting on relationships and forgiveness, to find answers we all seek. As Amit runs from his life, it soon becomes clear that it's impossible to run from himself. It is a universal pilgrimage, and a teaching-tale about love, forgiveness, and facing our fears. 

Told in the traditions of Paulo Coelho and Mitch Albom, the story gets to the heart of some of life's most enlightening lessons about family, devotion, and ambition.

Hardback: $26.00 / Ebook: $13.99



The Pursuit of Power by Richard J. Evans

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

From the bestselling author of The Third Reich at War, a masterly account of Europe in the age of its global hegemony; the latest volume in the Penguin History of Europe series

Richard J. Evans, bestselling historian of Nazi Germany, returns with a monumental new addition to the acclaimed Penguin History of Europe series, covering the period from the fall of Napoleon to the outbreak of World War I. Evans’s gripping narrative ranges across a century of social and national conflicts, from the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 to the unification of both Germany and Italy, from the Russo-Turkish wars to the Balkan upheavals that brought this era of relative peace and growing prosperity to an end. Among the great themes it discusses are the decline of religious belief and the rise of secular science and medicine, the journey of art, music, and literature from Romanticism to Modernism, the replacement of old-regime punishments by the modern prison, the end of aristocratic domination and the emergence of industrial society, and the dramatic struggle of feminists for women’s equality and emancipation. Uniting the era’s broad-ranging transformations was the pursuit of power in all segments of life, from the banker striving for economic power to the serf seeking to escape the power of his landlord, from the engineer asserting society’s power over the environment to the psychiatrist attempting to exert science’s power over human nature itself.

      The first single-volume history of the century, this comprehensive and sweeping account gives the reader a magnificently human picture of Europe in the age when it dominated the rest of the globe.

Hardback: $23.25 / Ebook: $17.99

Service Tails by Ace Collins

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Not all heroic dogs wildly toss themselves into lifesaving situations. Some save lives simply by their incredible commitment to duty and service. Some lead the way to independence for people whose disabilities were supposed to limit their lives. 

In Service Tails: More Stories of Man's Best Hero, prolific author Ace Collins introduces us to leaders whose entire lives are wrapped in the banner of service. Their stories are remarkable snapshots of the value of vision and teamwork, as well as devotion to duty and unconditional love and acceptance-stretching the way we see both canine and human potential. Their training was intense, their loyalty unquestioned and each step of the way they constantly adapt to better serve those they lead. These unforgettable dogs are more than heroes; they are models from which we can learn how to love and serve unconditionally.

Paperback: $16.90 / Ebook: $9.99



Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

A missing woman leads her twin sister on a twisted scavenger hunt in this clever debut novel of suspense for readers of Luckiest Girl Alive and Reconstructing Amelia.

Ahoy, Ava! Welcome home, my sweet jet-setting twin! So glad you were able to wrest yourself away from your dazzling life in the City of Light; I hope my death hasn't interrupted anything too crucial.

Ava Antipova has her reasons for running away: a failing family vineyard, a romantic betrayal, a mercurial sister, an absent father, a mother slipping into dementia. In Paris, Ava renounces her terribly practical undergraduate degree, acquires a French boyfriend and a taste for much better wine, and erases her past. Two years later, she must return to upstate New York. Her twin sister, Zelda, is dead.

Even in a family of alcoholics, Zelda Antipova was the wild one, notorious for her mind games and destructive behavior. Stuck tending the vineyard and the girls increasingly unstable mother, Zelda was allegedly burned alive when she passed out in the barn with a lit cigarette. But Ava finds the official explanation a little too neat. A little too Zelda. Then she receives a cryptic message from her sister.

Just as Ava suspected, Zelda's playing one of her games. In fact, she's outdone herself, leaving a series of clues about her disappearance. With the police stuck on a red herring, Ava follows the trail laid just for her, thinking like her sister, keeping her secrets, immersing herself in Zelda's drama and her outlandish circle of friends and lovers. Along the way, Zelda forces her twin to confront their twisted history and the boy who broke Ava's heart. But why? Is Zelda trying to punish Ava for leaving, or to teach her a lesson? Or is she simply trying to write her own ending?

Featuring a colorful, raucous cast of characters, Caite Dolan-Leach's debut thriller takes readers on a literary scavenger hunt for clues concealed throughout the seemingly idyllic wine country, hidden in plain sight on social media, and buried at the heart of one tremendously dysfunctional, utterly unforgettable family.

Hardback: $22.95 / Ebook: $13.99

The Awakened Psychic by Kala Ambrose

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

The Awakened Psychic is a guide to developing your inner psychic and tuning in to your intuitive wisdom. With hands-on exercises and stories from the author’s practice, this book is all about lifting the veil between the worlds, seeing into the future, and connecting with spirits and loved ones on the other side. Join Kala Ambrose as she explores ideas and techniques for enhancing your psychic abilities and making the most of your intuitive talents, including:

How to build a powerful energy field for psychic self-defense The difference between being psychic and being a medium Techniques to heighten your psychic abilities How ghosts and spirits are different How to awaken your powerful inner intuitive oracle The difference between an intuitive hunch and being psychic Techniques to connect with spirit guides and your higher self Everyone has intuitive ability at some level, and those abilities can be helpful tools in making decisions, following your dreams, enhancing your relationships, and building a business or career that you enjoy. In this book, you’ll discover the different kinds of psychic abilities and how they work together so that you can manifest your destiny and live a spiritually fulfilled life.

Paperback: $15.98 / Ebook: $9.99

When Smiles Fade by Paige Dearth

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Emma's father's coldblooded beatings and the ultimate abuse to which he subjects her, lays the foundation of the person she becomes. As she matures into a resourceful teenager, she is unwilling and unable to stifle her desire for revenge. Reaching her breaking point she can no longer control the impulse to fight back and finally takes matters into her own hands.

Having learned the art of hatred from her father and the mastery of manipulation from her mother, young Emma now sets out to make a better life for herself, leaving the memory of the abused child she had once been behind her. Hardened by the heartless brutality she encounters and the dangerous situations she must overcome in the course of her journey, she faces every challenge that comes her way in her quest for a normal life for herself and for those she loves.

Finally a person emerges from within that guides her toward a better life until she learns of a secret that sets her on the path of ultimate redemption.

Paperback: $19.25 / Ebook: $4.99

PWR VOL by Nick Scandy

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Autonomous facial hair. The grating contradictions of existence. Unwanted brunch invitations. The struggles are plentiful in this philosophical netherworld imagined by Nick Scandy, illustrated by Aaron Zonka, and set to music via mini and the Bear's accompanying score. In PWR VOL, the frenetic rhythms, absurdist delusions, and cacophonous irrealities of modern life all find themselves pumped through full stacks of amplifiers, powerfully blasted at the maximum volume they deserve. 

Praise: 

"Say what you will about genre fiction, but the sassy-post-modern-tour-through-a-fantasy-land-populated-by-history's-greatest-nihilist-and-existentialist-philosophers-and-set-to-an-experimental-punk-rock-musical-score thing hasn't been done quite like this before." - Aaron Eash 

mini and the Bear's accompanying musical score is available at miniandthebear.bandcamp.com, as well as all major streaming services and digital music platforms.

Paperback: $10.00 / No Ebook

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Bangers and mash with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Hogwarts dining hall.
A proper cuppa tea and rock cakes in Hagrid's hut.
Cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice on the Hogwarts Express.
With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie! With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:
  • Treacle Tart--Harry's favorite dessert
  • Molly's Meat Pies--Mrs. Weasley's classic dish
  • Kreacher's French Onion Soup
  • Pumpkin Pasties--a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart
With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you'll conjure up the entrees, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magical culinary masterpieces, sure make even Mrs. Weasley proud!

Hardback: $12.20 / Ebook: $9.99

Hey Harry, Hey Matilda by Rachel Hulin

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Hey Harry, Hey Matilda is the story told entirely in hilarious emails of fraternal twins Harry and Matilda Goodman as they fumble into adulthood, telling lies and keeping secrets, and finally confronting their complicated twinship. 

Matilda Goodman is an underemployed wedding photographer grappling with her failure to live as an artist and the very bad lie she has told her boyfriend (that she has a dead twin). Harry, her (totally alive) brother, is an untenured professor of literature, anxiously contemplating his publishing status (unpublished) and sleeping with a student. When Matilda invites her boyfriend home for Thanksgiving to meet the family, and when Harry makes a desperate and unethical move to save his career, they set off an avalanche of shame, scandal, and drunken hot tub revelations that force them to examine the truth about who they really are. A wonderfully subversive, sensitive novel of romantic entanglement and misguided ambition, Hey Harry, Hey Matilda is a joyful look at love and family in all its forms."

Hardback: $19.83 / $12.99


Japanese Patterns to Color by Laura Cowan

Photo Credit: Goodreads




Synopsis

A sophisticated coloring book suitable for older children and adults, featuring historically accurate designs from the fascinating and exotic history of Japan. Snippets of information throughout allow the reader to find out more about these decorative art movements and the styles and artists who made them famous. Very intricate and very relaxing!

Paperback: $5.98 / No Ebook





Fluffy Strikes Back by Ashley Spires

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Fluffy Vandermere, the cat sergeant in charge of P.U.R.S.T. (Pets of the Universe Ready for Space Travel), works tirelessly to protect the world from alien (aka bug) domination. It's a big job. ?The whole planet is Fluffy's space station. All the people in the world are his humans. And every space pet out there is his responsibility.? Now, suddenly and without warning, Fluffy discovers P.U.R.S.T. headquarters, the most secure building in the world, is under attack by an angry swarm of insects, and they're armed with every cat's worst nightmare --- spray bottles! Warding off this level of terrifying invasion will require cunning, skill, ingenuity and the ability to move quickly. Fluffy's been out of the field and at his desk job for quite some time now --- is he up to this massive challenge? You bet he is! 

This hysterical graphic novel by talented artist Ashley Spires is a spin-off from her successful Binky Adventure series (Binky is a member of P.U.R.S.T.). Just as in the Binky books, dry wit and slapstick humor abound here as the animals oh-so-seriously go about their jobs --- with the occasional bathroom break, of course. The artwork, presented in many images per page, deftly conveys loads of action, emotional drama and physical comedy. This is a perfect book for emerging readers who are looking for something more challenging than a picture book that doesn't have too much text. The irresistible Fluffy also does a terrific job of showcasing lessons on the character attributes of individual responsibility, determination and courage.

Paperback: $5.30 / Ebook: $4.99

Heartbreak Hotel by Jonathan Kellerman

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis investigate the death of Alex’s most mysterious patient to date in the sensational new thriller from the master of suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman.

At nearly one hundred years old, Thalia Mars is a far cry from the patients that child psychologist Alex Delaware normally treats. But the charming, witty woman convinces Alex to meet with her in a suite at the Aventura, a luxury hotel with a checkered history.

What Thalia wants from Alex are answers to unsettling questions—about guilt, patterns of criminal behavior, victim selection. When Alex asks the reason for her morbid fascination, Thalia promises to tell all during their next session. But when he shows up the following morning, he is met with silence: Thalia is dead in her room.

When questions arise about how Thalia perished, Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis must peel back the layers of a fascinating but elusive woman’s life and embark on one of the most baffling investigations either of them has ever experienced. For Thalia Mars is a victim like no other, an enigma who harbored nearly a century of secrets and whose life and death draw those around her into a vortex of violence.

Hardback: $21.25 / Ebook: $14.99

Some Glow Brightly by John Palmer Gregg

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Imperceptible to most, a supernatural dimension--one filled with evil spirits, and worse--operates alongside our own. A barrier protects us from them, but deep in a forest cave the ancient Hermit labors to destroy that barrier. Then there will be nothing to stop the tide of evil from overtaking our world.

After a terrible accident, fourteen year old Red Snyder discovers he has the ability to cross into the spiritual world and finds himself face to face with the evil menace. With his father in danger and the enemy closing in, Red resolves to fight, but he can't do it alone. An unlikely coalition forms around Red--Tom, an old man who knows about the spirit world; Michael, Red s loyal lifelong best friend; Wendy, the child genius; Chase, a martial arts master turned vigilante; and Esmé, an escaped circus performer--and together they stand as the last best hope of all mankind.

Paperback: $14.99 / Ebook: $4.99


Petty by Isaac Jourden

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Welcome to Wonderments Family Fun Park! 

The ultimate summer home to roller coasters, water slides, and spend-happy tourists from all over the world. Oh, and one small-time thief with a mission. 

Sell a few pieces of fake merchandise. Skim a coin at a time from every distracted shopper. Repeat until there's enough money to disappear. 

If only new coworkers weren't so distracting.... 

* * * 

Petty is the result of long hours of daydreaming while working retail - an incredibly un-exciting job - in one of the most exciting amusement parks in the world. 

The characters and setting are fictional, but if you've ever spent the summer working at an amusement park, you've met these people before, and Wonderments Family Fun Park will feel like a second home.

Paperback: $11.99 / Ebook: $2.99

Judah's Scepter and the Sacred Stone by D.A. Brittain

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Princess Teia, daughter of Judah's last king, begins a harrowing journey after she’s rescued by the prophet Jeremiah from the burning city of Jerusalem. They flee to Egypt, where amid Teia’s efforts to cope with devastating loss comes an unexpected awakening of her heart when she meets Eochaid, a foreign prince. The two young nobles fall in love, but are soon forced to part and follow their preordained destinies of ruling separate nations.

Against the backdrop of daring escapes on land and sea, raging sword battles, and deadly sorcerers, an emotional journey ensues across multiple continents for both Teia and Eochaid as they contend with lost love, personal tragedy, and stirring spiritual transformation. All the while they’re unaware that God’s steady hand guides their paths as part of his plan to restore Judah’s everlasting throne—as symbolized by the sacred stone that Israel’s patriarch Jacob once used as a pillow in the wilderness.

Paperback: $16.95 / $4.99


Hosanna by Katelyne Parker

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree for Literary Fiction 

The last thing Hosanna wants is a bucket, a dishrag, and a brush. After all, it’s been fifteen years. 

Her heart and knees have grown callous from years of scrubbing floors for her racist grandmother who's disgusted over the unlawful deeds of Hosanna's white mother and black father. 

But Hosanna is now tired. Tired of her grandmother who has cloaked the family’s shame for far too long. So tired, she has waxed in wrath, counted every injustice, and rebelled against all who obstruct her quest for truth. 

So will she ever find peace? 

This uniquely-crafted story transcends time and takes us from the racial animus of 1945 to the abiding power of grace that heals and binds divisive wounds.

Paperback: $11.99 / Ebook: $2.99

Nine Days by Catherine A. Hamilton

Photo Credit: Goodreads




Synopsis

"I wander outside to watch the wisteria bloom nonchalantly along the arbor..." Here begins Catherine Hamilton's journey inspired by the poignant hours before and after the death of Karol Wojtyla. During the nine official days of mourning and the seventeen-day stay between the passing of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the world was on virtual pilgrimage to the Eternal City. It was during these days that Hamilton wrote this collection of fifty-one poems. Hamilton's poetic chronicle takes us to the streets of Rome, to St. Peter's Square, and to the ancient cities in Karol Wojtyla's homeland, Poland.

Paperback: $9.95 / Ebook: $2.99



The Adventures of Lilly, Poppy, and Daisy and their Friends by Marion Smith

Photo Credit: Goodreads



Synopsis

While working, I thought, “What a lovely idea to write a book for young children to enjoy!” So the idea came to me. 

This is inspired by my lovely cats and three kittens, whose antics have always amused me. So I wanted to share with you and the little ones these moments that could only be captured on camera as it happened.

Paperback: $21.62 / Ebook: $2.99




Searching for Normal by Karen Meadows

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Karen Meadows had a normal, happy family until depression consumed her daughter, Sadie a struggle that ended with Sadie s suicide at age eighteen. In Searching for Normal, Meadows shares her family s journey as she tries to help her daughter Sadie cope with her mental illness, expertly intertwining her own storyline with excerpts from her daughter s diaries. The years Meadows chronicles are characterized by Sadie s heartbreaking bouts of running away, cutting, and living with Portland street families while Karen and her husband desperately search for solutions trying medication, hospitals, therapy, wilderness and residential treatment programs, and more. Ultimately, however, they find themselves the victims of the devastating shortcomings of the US s mental health system. Including hindsight advice from Meadows, along with an extensive list of resources that she wishes someone had provided her when she was trying to help Sadie, this book will help parents of struggling teens feel less isolated and better equipped to navigate their teenager s mental illness.: Meadows also describes recent developments that are paving the way for better diagnoses and treatment options."

Paperback: $16.79 / Ebook: $8.69


Fill the Sky by Katherine A. Sherbrooke

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

Tess Whitford’s world is thrown into turmoil when Ellie, her dearest friend, runs out of medical options and grabs onto the hope that traditional healers in Ecuador might save her from a terminal diagnosis. Tess is skeptical, but cannot deny a request that might be Ellie’s last. Together with Joline, whose spiritual work inspired the trip, they travel to the mountain village of Otavalo, where they are immersed in nature and introduced to strange, ancient traditions. After an ayahuasca ceremony goes awry, and an unlikely betrayal threatens their friendship, each woman faces her own deep need for healing. FILL THE SKY is a story about the complexity of friendship, the power of the spirit, and the quest to not simply fight death, but to shape an authentic life.

Paperback: $15.00 / Ebook: $7.99




Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

A woman vanishes from a Texas town. Did she simply run off, or is something darker at play?

When Patrick Dielman shows up at Detective Jo Larsen’s desk insisting that his wife, Jenny, is missing, Jo wonders if it’s a case of a bored housewife running away.

But as she digs deeper into Jenny’s life, Jo learns that Dielman keeps a stranglehold on the family finances, down to the last nickel, and that Jenny’s first marriage dissolved following the death of her young son. By all accounts—including her doctor’s—she never recovered from the loss. Between a controlling husband, a tragic past, and a callous ex-husband, Jo can’t be sure if she should suspect foul play or accept that the woman may have wanted to disappear.

For Jo, whose own demons are shadowing her every step, finding Jenny becomes more than the typical protect-and-serve.

Paperback: $9.55 / Ebook: $3.03

The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Fifth-generation New Yorker, third-generation bartender, and first-time author Tara Clancy was raised in three wildly divergent homes: a converted boat shed in working class Queens, a geriatric commune of feisty, Brooklyn-born Italians, and a sprawling Hamptons estate she visited every other weekend. This childhood triptych comes to life in The Clancys of Queens, an electric, one-of-a-kind memoir.    
 
From scheming and gambling with her force-of-nature grandmother, to brawling with eleven-year-old girls on the concrete recess battle yard of MS 172, to hours lounging on Adirondack chairs beside an immaculate croquet lawn, to holding court beside Joey O’Dirt, Goiter Eddy, and Roger the Dodger at her Dad’s local bar, Tara leapfrogs across these varied spheres, delivering stories from each world with originality, grit, and outrageous humor.
 
But The Clancys of Queens is not merely an authentic coming-of-age tale or a rowdy barstool biography. Chock-full of characters who escape the popular imaginings of this city, it offers a bold portrait of real people, people whose stories are largely absent from our shelves. Most crucially, it captures—in inimitable prose—the rarely-heard voices of New York’s working-class women. 
 
With a light touch but a hard hit, The Clancys of Queens blends savvy and wit to take us on an unforgettable strata-hopping adventure.

Paperback: $16.00 / Ebook: $13.99

The Road to Ruin by James Rickards

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

The bestselling author of The Death of Money on how investors can prepare for the next financial panic—and why it's coming sooner than you think.
 
The global economy has made what seems like an incredible comeback after the financial crisis of 2008. Yet this comeback is artificial. Central banks have propped up markets by keeping interest rates low and the supply of money free-flowing. They won't bail us out again next time. And there will be a next time--soon.
 
In The Road to RuinNew York Times bestselling author James Rickards identifies how governments around the world are secretly preparing an alternative strategy for the next big crisis: a lockdown. Instead of printing money to reliquify markets and prop up assets, governments are preparing to close banks, shut down exchanges and order powerful asset managers not to sell. They're putting provisions in place that will allow them to do so legally. What's more, the global elite has already started making their own preparations, including hoarding cash and hard assets.
 
When the next one comes, it will be the average investor who suffers most--unless he or she heeds Rickards' warning and prepares accordingly.

Paperback: $10.11 / Ebook: $14.99

Tranny by Laura Jane Grace

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

ONE OF BILLBOARD'S "100 GREATEST MUSIC BOOKS OF ALL TIME"

The provocative transgender advocate and lead singer of the punk rock band Against Me! provides a searing account of her search for identity and her true self. It began in a bedroom in Naples, Florida, when a misbehaving punk teenager named Tom Gabel, armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a headful of anarchist politics, landed on a riff. Gabel formed Against Me! and rocketed the band from its scrappy beginnings-banging on a drum kit made of pickle buckets-to a major-label powerhouse that critics have called this generation's The Clash. Since its inception in 1997, Against Me! has been one of punk's most influential modern bands, but also one of its most divisive. With every notch the four-piece climbed in their career, they gained new fans while infuriating their old ones. They suffered legal woes, a revolving door of drummers, and a horde of angry, militant punks who called them "sellouts" and tried to sabotage their shows at every turn. But underneath the public turmoil, something much greater occupied Gabel-a secret kept for 30 years, only acknowledged in the scrawled-out pages of personal journals and hidden in lyrics. Through a troubled childhood, delinquency, and struggles with drugs, Gabel was on a punishing search for identity. Not until May of 2012 did a Rolling Stone profile finally reveal it: Gabel is a transsexual, and would from then on be living as a woman under the name Laura Jane Grace. Tranny is the intimate story of Against Me!'s enigmatic founder, weaving the narrative of the band's history, as well as Grace's, with dozens of never-before-seen entries from the piles of journals Grace kept. More than a typical music memoir about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll-although it certainly has plenty of that-Tranny is an inside look at one of the most remarkable stories in the history of rock.

Hardback: $19.19 / Ebook: $14.99

The Simulacrum by Brad D. Seggie and Linda W. Yezak

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

Less than a year after discovering a human fossil and a dinosaur fossil found together, paleontologist Wayne Oakford is murdered. His niece, Mary Dillard, believes the killer was another scientist who was trying to ruin his reputation. She hires a private detective, Gunnar Schofield, to investigate the murder. While traveling across the country, the pair learns that a secret society of scientists has been falsifying the fossil record to discredit creationism and support Darwin's theory of evolution. Will she succeed in clearing Wayne Oakford's name? Will the truth about evolution be exposed to the world? 

Paperback: $9.99 / Ebook: 3.99






Sunspots by Gary Martin

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

John Farrow is a bored shift manager on Sunspot 2, a battered old cargo spaceship that takes all of the Earth's rubbish and dumps it in the Sun's corona. 

On a routine voyage, he wakes up to find half the crew missing, and the ship at a standstill. A situation made worse by the fact that he's not supposed to be there. 

Now that everything has gone wrong, John realises how completely out of his depth he is. The remaining crew don't trust him as a leader, and he'll have to try and get them working together if they have any chance of survival...

Paperback: $6.99 / Ebook: $2.99




The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

A new gift edition of the classic guide to meditation and mindfulness, featuring archival photography and beautiful calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh

Since its publication in 1975, The Miracle of Mindfulness has been cherished by generations of readers for its eloquent and useful introduction to the practice of meditation. Readers interested in an introduction to Buddhist thought, as well as those seeking to learn about mindfulness and stress reduction, continue to look to Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic work for guidance and inspiration. This new hardcover gift edition features elegant calligraphic illustrations by Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as a dozen photographs spanning his early days as a peace activist to his life in Plum Village, a spiritual community that he founded in France. Also included in this edition is a historical chronology of Thich Nhat Hanh’s life and work, and a revised afterword by Jim Forest.

Hardback: $14.80 / $14.99


So that is all the books I got in the mail in December, and that wraps up all the books I got in the mail in 2016. I feel like this is the point where I should go back through my mail call posts and count exactly how many books I got in the mail in 2016, but that sounds like work, so it's not going to happen. #SorryNotSorry. Now a couple of these books were Christmas presents from my parents, but I feel like they absolutely should still count. I think I'm most excited to read Hosanna. Of these books, which one(s) are you most interested in reading my review over? - Katie