Sunday, February 5, 2017

*Mail Call* January 2017

It's a new year and I'm trying to do better at getting posts published "on time" this year. Sure, most of the things I post are elective and I could just not post anything, but that would get kind of boring (like December 2016, those were dark times indeed!) So, here is January's book mail (only 4-5 days late. It's progress.) 


Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my! 

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in na├»ve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. 

His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…

But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.

Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?


Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna. 

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the backroads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston. 

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often. 

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heart-throbs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?


The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis


Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, investigates a 25-year-old triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed one Halloween night. Aided by Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims who has returned to town, Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter in Salem’s past. Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and sometime-aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?




It's All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

When Allison's best friend, TJ, convinces her to come along for an epic game of LARP (live-action role-playing), she reluctantly agrees despite her reservations about the geeky pastime. TJ's weekends are filled with powerful wizardry, mystical creatures, and intense battles with his LARP group. Each adventure is full of surprises, but the goal is always the same: to defeat the monsters and find the treasure. 

Not long after their quest begins, the friends discover that something has gone wrong. The fantasy world they've built has transformed, and the battle they're in the midst of is no longer make-believe. 

Now they must fight for survival against brigands, kobolds, and other deadly mythical creatures that come to life. Fortunately, the group's once-fictional magical powers have also become real - including Allison's newly acquired gifts as a healer. They'll need everything in their arsenal if they hope to make it home alive.



Growing Bold by Melanie E. Harrington

Photo Credit: Goodreads





Synopsis

Growing Bold is about learning to value long life by rejecting ageism and creating new expectations. Lessons from the author's 20 years of elder advocacy are distilled in this philosophical guide to growing bolder and better with age. It is for those poised on the brink, the middle-aged "Baby Boomers," and others concerned with quality of life in later years. (With 23 illustrations)







The Last Savanna by Mike Bond

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

With Africa's last elephants dying under the poachers' guns, Kenya rancher and former SAS officer Ian MacAdam leads a commando squad against them. Pursuing the poachers through jungled mountains and searing deserts he battles thirst, solitude, terror and lethal animals, only to find that the poachers have kidnapped a young archaeologist, Rebecca Hecht, whom he once loved and bitterly lost. 

McAdam embarks upon a desperate trek to save not only Rebecca but his own soul in an Africa torn apart by wars, overpopulation, and the slaughter of its last wildlife. Based on the author's experiences pursuing elephant poachers in the wilds of East Africa.






Doom to the Damned by J. Clay Evans

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

When James Dennison took a job as an auditor for the world's largest accounting firm, the most excitement he expected was the occasional paper cut. It was the first day of what he thought would be an exciting new life in one of the world's most popular vacation destinations. What James doesn't know is that there is trouble brewing in paradise. He wakes up bound to a chair in a dark, unfamiliar room, his head pounding. Terrified and confused, he knows that his dream of skirting safely through life as just another normal human being has come to a screeching, painful, and frightening halt. Pressured into taking a bribe to ignore fraudulent accounting performed by his client, James has a crucial decision to make. When forced to choose between his firm, career, friends, and the only person who has offered him assistance-the most powerful drug dealer in the city-his troubles only intensify. James quickly finds himself embroiled in the heavily scrutinized and rarely understood world of external auditing. He's about to learn that greed and corruption can exist behind any palm tree and that there is no such thing as a victimless crime. Will he choose to do what is ethical-or what will keep him alive?



Rise of the Branded by Scott Keen

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Pursued into the wild by the soldiers of Ungstah, former slave Crik and the other freed Downers encounter the magical and terrifying nature of their world. They face spectral Shepherds, man-eating Rukmush, and the ancient giants of the earth. When two of their group are captured, Crik is distraught and powerless. 

Meanwhile back in the city, Durgan, former Captain of the King’s Guard who allowed Crik and his friends to escape from Ungstah, is now a Downer, one of the Branded. Amid the murmurings of an uprising among the Branded, Durgan just wants to be left alone to search for his missing son. But in the process, he discovers how dark the powers of Sulfus the king truly are. Durgan must take a stand in the coming war between the Branded and the powerful armies of Sulfus.

To kill any hope of escape for the city’s Branded, the army comes after Crik and his friends to make an example of them. The answers for Durgan, Crik and freedom for all Downers lie hidden in the dark recesses of the Northern Reaches, in the treacherous places Crik and his companions are about to enter.


The Every Breath You Take Collection by Bianca Sloane

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

From Bianca Sloane, author of Suspense Novels about the Dark Side of Love, comes The Every Breath You Take Collection, featuring one novel of psychological suspense and its companion novella, in a single volume.

The Every Breath You Take Collection includes:

EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Natalie Scott goes jogging along Chicago’s lakefront. She likes foreign films, cinnamon gum and strawberry yogurt. She smells like sunflowers in the summer and roses in the winter. These are just a few of the things Natalie’s stalker knows about her. In fact, he knows everything about her. In one brutal act of violence, Natalie’s stalker will reveal himself to her, imprisoning her in the process, determined to own her body and soul. Now trapped in a madman’s web, Natalie will find herself in a terrifying battle of wills where the only way to survive is to beat the monster at his own game…

MISSING YOU: A COMPANION NOVELLA TO EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE
A brutal home invasion. 
A missing woman. 
A frantic race against time. 

In this companion novella to Every Breath You Take, Natalie Scott’s loved ones struggle to cope with her mysterious disappearance and Detective Bill Hanson must untangle the complicated threads of her past for clues to her whereabouts—even as it becomes increasingly clear she’s vanished into thin air. As days turn into months and hope grows dim, a frustrated and desperate Hanson discovers it’s hard to outrun a madman who’s always one step ahead of you…


Gemini Rising by Erin Williams

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

The Bullfrog Bar in the sleepy town of Willow seemed like the ideal place for 21 year old Kit to start a life free from the abuse she’d known until now. After befriending the locals and catching the attention of the handsome twin men who own the bar, she dares to hope that a new beginning is really possible. 

But when past bad decisions continue to haunt her, and her violent ex-boyfriend returns, the thin strands of happiness in her new life threaten to unravel. Physical trauma, murder, and a sordid past seem to keep drawing Kit back to her old life. While her new friends insist she can move beyond her painful experiences, she fears the obstacles are too difficult to overcome. Kit must decide between succumbing to a life she despises but feels she deserves, or one of newfound love and hope. 

Gemini Rising is the story of love, in all its forms, and of those who embrace it and share it. 




Birdbrain by Virginia Arthur

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Go Ahead. Love Your Planet. Just Not Too Much.

In Part I, Pretty Ellowyn Kelsey is a redneck girl living the pretty redneck life in rural Michigan. This includes waiting for her roofer husband to come around, maybe notice the new curtains she put up, or even the flowers in her hair. Her self-imposed lobotomy ends simply enough--she shows up at the wrong time for a church picnic and ends up with a bunch of birders. Peering through a pair of borrowed binoculars, she realizes the love between a mating pair of bluebirds is more profound than what she shares with the bonehead she's married to. Something in her breaks. 

She's young, naive, and despite that everyone else around her recognizes what she is going through, she doesn't--until the depth of her pain and emotion holds her captive. She doesn't understand it, the end of her empty marriage and she really did try to cuss less though hanging around with her best friend Patty didn't help. What did he want from her exactly? Did he even love her? Everyone knew her marriage to Eddie was doomed before she did. How can she be the last to know? She is indignant, hurt. She has no idea how to process the emotional sideswipe. Her loss and pain is expressed through the crazy narcissistic melodrama of youth, justified or not. Her reluctant yet unabashed accomplice is Patty.

Part II finds her experiencing yet another major loss. This time, it forces her to grow up, evaluate. She finds refuge in nature, in her birds, in science, making true her mother's prediction--a chasm may form someday between her new and old life, between she and Patty. Her new life is about ecology, birding, nature, science--getting out of her rural town, maybe even going to college. As the narcissism of her youth, her "prior" life wears off, so grows the divide between the people in her town. She starts to care about something bigger than herself (God forbid!)--her ailing planet. This only serves to amuse the "rednecks and assorted white trash" of her rural town who waste no time labeling her as their own "token environmental wacko". 

She stays focused. She loves ecology, birds, but wait a minute, what's that strip mall doing there? She meets Kate, one of the first female biologists to be hired by the state Fish and Game Department. In addition to enduring her role as a trailblazer in a male-dominated profession (i.e. the spontaneous massages, etc.), Kate has spent her life fighting to "protect the environment". It hasn't really worked out. Kate's really angry and nobody likes Kate. Who wants to end up like Kate? Is this the price you pay for caring about something bigger than yourself? Ellie wonders if she shouldn't head back to the fart jokes, Foosball,and Budweiser; but the barbecues just aren't as much fun anymore. She meets someone at one of those infamous barbecues. He likes her. She runs like hell, and she keeps running, to the other side of country. 

Her journey includes leaving her boring rural life in Michigan to travel "out west" where she has some very unexpected experiences that includes roaming spirits in the desert, accidental crusades against development at her sister's place in San Diego, geographically diverse sexual encounters that includes a cowboy and a "real Indian", courtesy of a Miwok/Paiute BLM park ranger out of Mono Lake. Then there are those amazing sandhill cranes--and who is this guy in my tent?

She can't dodge it try as she may--the inevitable grief life thrusts upon all of us, including the grief of watching nature get destroyed by her own species. And then there's the dog. Her wonderful wonderful dog. 

She passes through all the stages every aware person passes through, some staying in one stage, comfortably or not, while others stay stuck in despair, hopelessness...alcohol and drugs always optional.


You Don't Have to Move the Washer to Make Toast by Susan A. Rader

Photo Credit: Goodreads




Synopsis

Two WAC Jobs, Questions about God, Hurricane Winds, Man in the Brown Suit—all titles mixed in with others you will have to read. Over my years I have written many tales, but what has God got to do with it? I came to the crossroads, faced death, and found God. Then I chose a life that gave me a husband, a daughter, and one child who died. You Don’t Have to Move the Washer to Make Toast will make you laugh and cry over and over again.








Out Front by Deborah Shames

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Now, more than ever, the business, social and political landscape is ripe for women to accomplish their goals. Women are entering law, medical, and graduate school in equal numbers to men. Two women are running for the highest office in the United States.

Women are steadily showing up in powerful positions, and better communication and public speaking give women the ability to develop their full potential, seize every opportunity, and realize their aspirations. Whether pitching for new business, delivering a talk at a conference, raising money for a non-profit, or communicating one-on-one with coworkers, women can become effective, powerful communicators when they learn to speak with authenticity and confidence.

Deborah Shames, a veteran speaker and master trainer, invites women to step up and be heard. Out Front is an operating manual with compelling anecdotes and applied performance techniques. Noting the perfection syndrome and negative self-talk that plagues many women, Deborah delivers a how-to for battling these demons and identifies women’s special talents—from high emotional intelligence and leadership skills to storytelling. She guides readers in the mechanics of constructing talks efficiently, even with pressing deadlines.

A former film and television director, Deborah coauthored Own the Room: Business Presentations that Persuade, Engage and Get Results. For 15 years, she has trained and coached thousands of top-level executives, celebrities, and professionals at major U.S. corporations and non-profits. After only a few sessions, her clients generate more revenue, advance in their careers, and often receive the highest evaluations when they speak.

Out Front is the definitive book for every woman who wants to realize their potential, engage an audience and expand their influence, whatever the venue or challenge.


The Health of Nations by Karen Bartlett

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

What would a world without disease look like? With the victory against smallpox behind us, polio, malaria, and measles each provide their own set of roadblocks as we fight for a world free of epidemic diseases. This might seem a utopian pipe-dream, but that brand new world is a lot closer than we might think.

Writing with the pace of a thriller, Karen Bartlett gives us a rare inside look at how both global organizations and local campaigns operate on the front lines in the war against contagious disease. She reveals why politics will prove to be the final enemy in the fight for global health and how victory in this battle will have profound consequences for the balance of world power and will embolden scientists to make other, even more momentous breakthroughs. Thought-provoking and full of reasons to be hopeful for the future, The Health of Nations is essential reading on one of the greatest challenges we face in the 21st century.




Texas Patriarch: A Legacy Lost by Douglas D Box

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Cloyce Box was larger than life. He left his career as a Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Detroit Lions to rise to corporate fame and extravagant wealth in construction and the oil and gas industries. His sprawling estate in Frisco, Texas, was used as the original Southfork Ranch in the television soap opera Dallas. Cloyce ran both his companies and his family with a firm hand and inextricably linked the two by raising his sons in the business. When he finally passed, he left a wake of collapsing relationships at home and in the boardroom. 

Texas Patriarch is the taut family saga of four brothers’ struggle to determine the fate of the empire built by their father. In his long shadow, they fought over money and power, nearly destroying both the business and the family. After quarrels and litigation, they finally managed to rediscover each other and the importance of family.

Author Doug Box, son of the Texas Patriarch, has made a career from this experience, guiding families through turmoil to retain both their wealth and their connections with each other. Now, you can witness his journey to avoid similar turmoil.


A Moving Screen by Kris Allis

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

On June 16, 2005 the body of a female is discovered in the smoking shell of a house fire in Atlanta, Georgia. Without clues to identify the victim or the person responsible for what is ruled arson and murder, Dennis Cane, lead detective, decides to take one last look at the crime scene. He finds a single black thread. On June 24 another female victim is found in a neighboring county. Through his resourcefulness, Dennis learns that a black thread was found at the site of this crime, but the cases go cold due to lack of evidence and bodies that cannot be identified. Two jurisdictions. Two separate cases. Two brutal and horrifying murders.

Over the next three years, literally clinging to threads, he begins to see a pattern: women are dying twice a year on June 16 and 24 at the hands of a serial killer. A murderer with knowledge of forensics and the foresight to choose a different police jurisdiction for each of his crimes, who is escaping punishment. Only Dennis is paying attention. Waiting for the killer to make a mistake. On June 16, 2008 a woman is discovered in the city limits of Peach Grove, Georgia, where Dennis now works. The woman survives, but is unable to identify her assailant because of heavy sedation as she fights for her life. But Dennis knows that this is the break he’s been waiting for. Racing against time, Dennis joins forces with Merlot Candy, a private investigator and the two set out on a quest that will bring them in contact with more evil than they could have ever imagined.


The Fountain by Suzy Vadori

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Synopsis

Careful what you wish for. It just might come true. 

In the forbidden West Woods, Ava stumbles on the secret fountain that has granted wishes to St. Augustus students for generations. Unknowingly, she watches the coin she tosses disappear and with it the world around her as she knows it.

In a quest to undo the damage she’s done, she and alumni kid Ethan break every campus rule unravelling a tangled web of history. Ava discovers that what’s right isn’t always clear and finds herself torn between a love she’s always known and one she has yet to explore.

The Fountain is a Prix Aurora Award 2016 Finalist For Best Young Adult Novel.





Fertile Soil by Mary Smathers

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Synopsis

In Fertile Soil: Stories of the California Dream, Mary Smathers presents the light and dark sides of contemporary California, the perseverance of its residents and the richness of its culture across a grand sweep of history. Smathers focuses on those who demonstrate tenacious resilience as they tackle adversity, accepting challenges they could more easily shirk. The characters you’ll meet in these pages include: 
• an elementary school principal who provides leadership for his impoverished Central Valley neighborhood 
• a teenager whose father locks her out of her own apartment 
• a minimum wage earner with three jobs who battles the shrinking value of her dollar in the Bay Area 
• a suburban working mom forced to add cancer treatments into her busy schedule 
• a homeless man and a finance whiz whose lives intersect on the streets of downtown LA 
• two little boys who confront wildlife danger on the way home from school 
Smathers concludes with five intertwined stories, drawing a loosely connected line from Mexican era and Gold Rush pioneers to their descendants at the development of Silicon Valley and on to today. The collection portrays the state’s innovative, hard-working residents and quintessential landscape, a never ending target for dreamers. 


Audacity by Jonathan Chait

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

An unassailable case that, in the eyes of history, Barack Obama will be viewed as one of America’s best and most accomplished presidents.

Over the course of eight years, Barack Obama amassed an array of historic achievements. His administration saved the American economy from collapse, expanded health insurance to tens of millions who previously could not afford it, negotiated an unprecedented nuclear deal with Iran, helped craft a groundbreaking international climate accord, reined in Wall Street, launched a fundamental overhaul of our education system, and formulated a new vision of racial progress. He has done all of this despite a left that frequently disdained him as a sellout, and a hysterical right that did everything possible to destroy his agenda, even in instances when they actually agreed with what he was doing before Obama was the one doing it.

Now, as the page turns to possibly the most dangerous Commander in Chief in our history, Jonathan Chait, one of America’s most incisive and meticulous political commentators, digs deep into Obama’s record on major policy fronts—the economy, the environment, domestic reform, health care, race, and foreign policy—to demonstrate why history will judge our forty-fourth president as among our greatest. Chait explains why so many observers, from cynical journalists to disheartened Democrats, missed the enormous evidence of progress amidst the smoke screen of extremist propaganda and the confinement of short-term perspective. He also reveals why Obama’s accomplishments will last despite the reactionary effort by Donald Trump and the Republicans to extinguish them. And in its resounding defense of Obama’s tenure, Audacity both makes clear his victories, and what we need to fight for next.


Bicycle Thieves by Mary di Michele

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Synopsis

A masterwork from one of Canada’s most important poets 

Referencing the post-war neorealist film by Vittorio De Sica, Mary di Michele’s Bicycle Thieves commemorates her Italian past and her life in Canada through elegy and acts of translation of text and of self.

The collection opens with a kind of hymn to life on the planet, sung from the peak of that urban island, Montreal — an attempt to see beyond death. The book moves into a sequence of poems described by Sharon Thesen as the poet “envisioning the passage of time under the ‘full and waning’ moon of Mount Royal’s beacon cross, recalling her Italian immigrant parents in Toronto and her current life in Montreal [. . .] a sort of Decameron.”

Thesen’s description is apt for the collection as a whole, which moves into the poet’s autobiography — in search of catharsis through literature — and pays tributes to poets who have been part of the literary landscape di Michele now inhabits. Bicycle Thieves is poetry as time machine, transcending the borders between life and death, language and culture.


The Maverick Cowboy by Kate Pearce

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

The heartbreak of their childhood drove the Morgan brothers far from their family’s California ranch—and one another. But as they face the wounds of the past, each feels the land calling him home . . .

Blue Morgan never thought he’d crave long days on horseback, working the cattle ranch where he grew up. But after a decade of getting shouted and shot at in the Marines, fresh air and hard work are just what he needs to settle his restless energy. Except no matter how hard he tries to focus, his mind wanders to the pretty, prickly new veterinarian instead.

There’s no denying the spark between Jenna McDonald and Blue. But with her job at risk and her own family’s expectations to wrangle, Jenna isn’t looking for another sparring partner. Blue needs her expertise on horses. And if she can help solve his mother’s disappearance, she’s willing to pitch in. But she’ll leave his ideas about how love should be scheduled to him. Jenna is tired of being told what she can’t have—and ready to reach for what she wants . . .



Life Word by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page

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Synopsis

Discover your Life Word!

In One Word that will Change your Life authors Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page helped readers discover their yearly word to live with more intention, focus and purpose. Now with Life Word they help readers discover a word that will significantly impact their life and legacy.

Life Word reveals a simple, powerful tool to help you identify the word that will inspire you to live your best life while leaving your greatest legacy. In the process you’ll discover your why which will help show you the way to live with a renewed sense of power, purpose, and passion. 

The authors walk you step-by-step through the process of discovering your Life Word and share an action plan with the most successful ways to live and share it. If you’re ready to live with more clarity, confidence and courage and leave a lasting legacy, let’s get started!


The One-Cent Magenta by James Barron

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Synopsis

An inside look at the obsessive, secretive, and often bizarre world of high-profile stamp collecting, told through the journey of the world’s most sought-after stamp.

When it was issued in 1856, it cost a penny. In 2014, this tiny square of faded red paper sold at Sotheby’s for nearly $9.5 million, the largest amount ever paid for a postage stamp at auction. Through the stories of the eccentric characters who have bought, owned, and sold the one-cent magenta in the years in between, James Barron delivers a fascinating tale of global history and immense wealth, and of the human desire to collect.

One-cent magentas were provisional stamps, printed quickly in what was then British Guiana when a shipment of official stamps from London did not arrive. They were intended for periodicals, and most were thrown out with the newspapers. But one stamp survived. The singular one-cent magenta has had only nine owners since a twelve-year-old boy discovered it in 1873 as he sorted through papers in his uncle’s house. He soon sold it for what would be $17 today. (That’s been called the worst stamp deal in history.) Among later owners was a fabulously wealthy Frenchman who hid the stamp from almost everyone (even King George V of England couldn’t get a peek); a businessman who traveled with the stamp in a briefcase he handcuffed to his wrist; and John E. du Pont, an heir to the chemical fortune, who died while serving a thirty-year sentence for the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz.

Recommended for fans of Nicholas A. Basbanes, Susan Orlean, and Simon Winchester, The One-Cent Magenta explores the intersection of obsessive pursuits and great affluence and asks why we want most what is most rare.


Marked for Life by Emelie Schepp

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Synopsis

When a high-ranking head of the migration board is found shot to death in his living room, there is no shortage of suspects, including his wife. But no one expects to find the mysterious child-sized handprint in the childless home.

Public prosecutor Jana Berzelius steps in to lead the investigation. Young and brilliant but emotionally cold, Berzelius, like her famous prosecutor father, won't be swayed by the hysterical widow or intimidated by the threatening letters the victim had tried to hide. Jana is steely, aloof, impenetrable. That is, until the boy…

A few days later on a nearby deserted shoreline, the body of a preteen boy is discovered, and with him, the murder weapon that killed him and the original victim. Berzelius is drawn more deeply into the case for as she attends his autopsy, she recognizes something strangely familiar in his small, scarred, heroin-riddled body. Cut deep into his flesh are initials that scream child trafficking and trigger in her a flash of memory of her own dark, fear-ridden past. Her connection to this boy has been carved with deliberation and malice that penetrate to her very core.

Now, to protect her own hidden past, she must find the suspect behind these murders, before the police do.

International bestselling author Emelie Schepp introduces us to the enigmatic, unforgettable Jana Berzelius in this first novel of a chilling trilogy.
 


The Ornament Box by Phillip Done

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

On Christmas Eve, Michael reluctantly returns to his childhood home to help his mother set up the tree. Normally, this is something Michael's father would do -- but not this Christmas; he's upstairs recovering from surgery. Though Michael longs for a relationship with his father, he and his dad are not close. So much of his father's life is a mystery. As Michael and his mom unwrap the ornaments, author Phillip Done, through his signature warmth and charm, unwraps the family's relationships and struggles, and Michael discovers the deep, secret sorrow of the man upstairs. A testament to home and hope, this treasure of a story, with its timeless message, will touch readers' hearts and endure as a reminder of the preciousness of family and the redemptive power of love.






Twilight the Unicorn's Sleeptime Quest by Jaime Amor

Photo Credit: Goodreads




Synopsis

The hugely successful Cosmic Kids YouTube channel helps children discover yoga by joining presenter Jaime on monthly yoga adventures, each one a story featuring a loveable animal character that achieves something amazing. Aimed at 4 to 8-year-olds, the Cosmic Kids yoga books offer children a chance to take the yoga more slowly than is possible in a fast-moving video, to spend more time in their favourite poses, and also to enjoy reading or listening to the story.







The First Mess Cookbook by Laura Wright

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Synopsis

The blogger behind the Saveur award-winning blog The First Mess shares her eagerly anticipated debut cookbook, featuring more than 125 beautifully prepared seasonal whole-food recipes. 

Home cooks head to The First Mess for Laura Wright's simple-to-prepare seasonal vegan recipes but stay for her beautiful photographs and enchanting storytelling. In her debut cookbook, Wright presents a visually stunning collection of heirloom-quality recipes highlighting the beauty of the seasons. Her 125 produce-forward recipes showcase the best each season has to offer and, as a whole, demonstrate that plant-based wellness is both accessible and delicious. 

Wright grew up working at her family's local food market and vegetable patch in southern Ontario, where fully stocked root cellars in the winter and armfuls of fresh produce in the spring and summer were the norm. After attending culinary school and working for one of Canada's original local food chefs, she launched The First Mess at the urging of her friends in order to share the delicious, no-fuss, healthy, seasonal meals she grew up eating, and she quickly attracted a large, international following.

The First Mess Cookbook 
is filled with more of the exquisitely prepared whole-food recipes and Wright's signature transporting, magical photography. With recipes for every meal of the day, such as Fluffy Whole Grain Pancakes, Romanesco Confetti Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing, Roasted Eggplant and Olive Bolognese, and desserts such as Earl Grey and Vanilla Bean Tiramisu, The First Mess Cookbook is a must-have for any home cook looking to prepare nourishing plant-based meals with the best the seasons have to offer.


City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Appointed to conquer the “crime capital of the world,” the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light.

The fearless La Reynie pursues criminals through the labyrinthine neighborhoods of the city. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests. As he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic—not even the Sun King. In a world where a royal glance can turn success into disgrace, the distance between the quietly back-stabbing world of the king’s court and the criminal underground proves disturbingly short. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris’s most illustrious churches and cathedrals.

As La Reynie continues his investigations, he is haunted by a single question: Could Louis’s mistresses could be involved in such nefarious plots? The pragmatic and principled La Reynie must decide just how far he will go to protect his king.

From secret courtrooms to torture chambers, City of Light, City of Poison is a gripping true-crime tale of deception and murder. Based on thousands of pages of court transcripts and La Reynie’s compulsive note-taking, as well as on letters and diaries, Tucker’s riveting narrative makes the fascinating, real-life characters breathe on the page.


Fen by Daisy Johnson

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

A singular debut that “marks the emergence of a great, stomping, wall-knocking talent” (Kevin Barry)

Daisy Johnson’s Fen, set in the fenlands of England, transmutes the flat, uncanny landscape into a rich, brooding atmosphere. From that territory grow stories that blend folklore and restless invention to turn out something entirely new. Amid the marshy paths of the fens, a teenager might starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl and grow jealous of her friend. A boy might return from the dead in the guise of a fox. Out beyond the confines of realism, the familiar instincts of sex and hunger blend with the shifting, unpredictable wild as the line between human and animal is effaced by myth and metamorphosis. With a fresh and utterly contemporary voice, Johnson lays bare these stories of women testing the limits of their power to create a startling work of fiction.





The Coming by David Osborne

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

A sweeping historical novel of the American West that follows the dramatic life of Daytime Smoke, Nez Perce son of explorer William Clark.

The Coming is an epic novel of native-white relations in North America, intimately told through the life of Daytime Smoke—the real-life red-haired son of William Clark and a Nez Perce woman. In 1805, Lewis and Clark stumble out of the Rockies on the edge of starvation. The Nez Perce help the explorers build canoes and navigate the rapids of the Columbia, then spend two months hosting them the following spring before leading them back across the snowbound mountains. Daytime Smoke is born not long after, and the tribe of his youth continues a deep friendship with white Americans, from fur trappers to missionaries, even aiding the United States government in wars with neighboring tribes. But when gold is discovered on Nez Perce land in 1860, it sets an inevitable tragedy in motion.

Daytime Smoke’s life spanned the seven decades between first contact and the last great Indian war. Capturing the trajectory experienced by so many native peoples—from friendship and cooperation to betrayal, war, and genocide—this sweeping novel, with its large cast of characters and a vast geography, braids historical events with the drama of one man’s remarkable life. Rigorously researched and cinematically rendered, The Coming is a page-turning, heart-stopping American novel in a classic mode.


Powerful Beyond Measure by Cynthia E. Mazzaferro

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

Powerful Beyond Measure is a complete transformational guide to living a life of authenticity and abundance that s deeply rooted in love, acceptance, compassion, and kindness. Readers learn how to discover and embrace their inner power, release and heal the emotional residue from the past, and envision a future of unbounded possibilities that allows their passions and purpose to be fulfilled. Through insight, self-exploration, and step- by-step, practical exercises, Powerful Beyond Measure guides readers along the journey of lifelong spiritual growth-- empowering them to take control of their destinies and create lives filled with joy, health, happiness, and success. Look in the Introduction for LINK to access FORMS which includes 6 BONUS GIFTS for your further enjoyment. (workbook, self-assessemtn, personalized inspirational autographed message, 2 Guided meditations MP3 and more)





So that's all the books I got in the mail in January. It was a pretty good mail month even if the mail room was messing with me all month long, holding onto my packages until Thursday or Friday then sending them all home at once. I'm rather excited about The Fifth Petal and The Coming (and to try some of the recipes from The First Mess Cookbook, I've never won a cookbook before.) Which of these books are you most interested in reading my review on? It just might move that book up my list faster. - Katie 
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