Saturday, June 10, 2017

*Mail Call* May 2017

May is over which means it's (past) time for my May mail call post. I'd say it was a pretty good mail month for me. Without further ado, here are the books I got in the mail in May. 


The American Cancer Society New Healthy Eating Cookbook by Jeanne Besser

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Synopsis

Tasty, nutritious recipes backed by the American Cancer Society

Get cooking and eat your way to better health with the latest edition of this popular cookbook. It includes more than 100 simple and delicious dishes that will turn healthy eating into a celebration of good food. It includes healthy substitutions, simple tips in the kitchen, smart shopping ideas, and notes on how to judge portion sizes. There is new material on how to shop in a healthy way, how to set up your pantry for healthy meals, and guidelines for physical activity. With the latest research, revisions to recipes, and updated recommendations for healthy eating, this cookbook makes it fun and easy to eat well.





Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

From the creator of The Honest Toddler comes a fiction debut sure to be a must-read for moms everywhere 

There are good moms and bad moms—and then there are hot-mess moms. Introducing Ashley Keller, career girl turned stay-at-home mom who's trying to navigate the world of Pinterest-perfect, Facebook-fantastic and Instagram-impressive mommies but failing miserably. 

When Ashley gets the opportunity to participate in the Motherhood Better boot camp run by the mommy-blog-empire maven she idolizes, she jumps at the chance to become the perfect mom she's always wanted to be. But will she fly high or flop? 

With her razor-sharp wit and knack for finding the funny in everything, Bunmi Laditan creates a character as flawed and lovable as Bridget Jones or Becky Bloomwood while hilariously lambasting the societal pressures placed upon every new mother. At its heart, Ashley's story reminds moms that there's no way to be perfect, but many ways to be great.


The People We Hate at the Wedding by Grant Ginder

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Synopsis

Relationships are awful. They'll kill you, right up to the point where they start saving your life.

Paul and Alice’s half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at “it” restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins. 
They couldn’t hate it more.

The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a less than perfect family. Donna, the clan’s mother, is now a widow living in the Chicago suburbs with a penchant for the occasional joint and more than one glass of wine with her best friend while watching House Hunters International. Alice is in her thirties, single, smart, beautiful, stuck in a dead-end job where she is mired in a rather predictable, though enjoyable, affair with her married boss. Her brother Paul lives in Philadelphia with his older, handsomer, tenured track professor boyfriend who’s recently been saying things like “monogamy is an oppressive heteronormative construct,” while eyeing undergrads. And then there’s Eloise. Perfect, gorgeous, cultured Eloise. The product of Donna’s first marriage to a dashing Frenchman, Eloise has spent her school years at the best private boarding schools, her winter holidays in St. John and a post-college life cushioned by a fat, endless trust fund. To top it off, she’s infuriatingly kind and decent.

As this estranged clan gathers together, and Eloise's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most in the most bitingly funny, slyly witty and surprisingly tender novel you’ll read this year.


Fear City by Kim Phillips-Fein

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

An epic and riveting history of New York City on the edge of disaster--and an anatomy of the politics of austerity that continues to shape the world today

When the news broke in 1975 that New York City was on the brink of fiscal collapse, few believed it was possible: how could the capital of the financial world go bankrupt? And yet the city was billions of dollars--maybe twelve, maybe fourteen, no one even really knew how much--in the red. Bankers and politicians alike seized upon the situation as evidence that social liberalism, which New York famously exemplified, was doomed to failure--and promised apocalyptic scenarios if the city didn't fire thousands of workers, freeze wages, and slash social services.

In this vivid, gripping account, historian Kim Phillips-Fein tells the remarkable story of the crisis that engulfed the city, forever transforming the largest metropolis in the United States and reshaping ideas about government throughout the country. In doing so, she brings to life a radically different New York, the legendarily decrepit city of the 1970s. Drawing on never-before-used archival sources as well as interviews with key players in the crisis, Phillips-Fein guides us through the hairpin turns and sudden reversals that brought New York City to the edge of bankruptcy--and kept it from going over. At once a sweeping history of some of the most tumultuous times in the city's past, a colorful portrait of the unwieldy mechanics of municipal government, and an origin story of the politics of austerity, Fear City is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the resurgent fiscal conservatism of today.


Hooper's Revolution by Dennie Wendt

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

It’s 1976 and the United States is home to The Giganticos, a football super squad led by the one and only Pearl of Brazil, and more or less the only reason AASSA (American All-Star Soccer Association) exists.

Enter Danny Hooper, a third-division English footballer from East Southwhich Albion, whose thuggish reputation limits him to playing the role of enforcer on the pitch, despite his admiration for the artistry of world-class football from Latin America and the Continent. After Danny takes his frustrations out on an unfortunate opponent’s tibia, he finds himself sold to the Rose City Revolution of Portland. But there is more to the trade than a shocked Danny could ever imagine: turns out, he’s going to America not just to introduce soccer to its skeptical masses, but to help foil a communist plot.

What is the plot exactly? What could Danny possibly do to stop it? The future of America’s soccer league, not to mention the life of the world’s greatest soccer player, hangs in the balance; but it is author Dennie Wendt's pure love of the game, and his poetic sideline accounting of the Revolution's season, match by match, that will leave you cheering at the end.


The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Synopsis

Physician Bess Codman has returned to her family's Nantucket compound, Cliff House, for the first time in four years. Her great-grandparents built Cliff House almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Though she s purposefully avoided the island, Bess must now pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave.

The Book of Summer unravels the power and secrets of Cliff House as told through the voices of Ruby Packard, a bright-eyed and idealistic newlywed on the eve of WWII, the home's definitive guestbook, and Bess herself. Bess's grandmother always said it was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother s words in ways she never contemplated.




The Heart of the Matter by George E. Thompson

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Synopsis

The Heart of the Matter does not dance around the fringes of acceptable religion nor is it limited by traditional church thinking. Rather, it peels away the many layers of conventional thought to get down to bedrock truth concerning Christianity and living the Christian life. However, in so doing, it carefully adheres to the absolute truth and authority of scripture.

The book puts into perspective who God is and his overall plan for creation and eternal fellowship with his bride. It delves into how each person fits into that plan, offering considerable detail concerning the many issues in establishing a deep relationship with God. Much is said about the biblical significance and importance of maintaining such a close, intimate relationship that God not only demands but earnestly desires.

Many practical guidelines are presented regarding God's design for our lives here on earth--what he would have us think, say, and do; that we are to continue growing; how to deal with gut-wrenching adversity; and that whatever we do is to be for his glory.



Everbloom edited by Shayne Moore and Margaret Ann Philbrick

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

“We read to see elements of our own hearts, experiences and stories reflected back to us in the words of others. This collection is just that: stories that help us feel seen, known, and understood. Honestly and beautifully told, this book will keep you in good company along your own journey.” —Shauna Niequist, bestselling author of Present Over Perfect

Be inspired by the transforming power of story.

Through the pain, loss, beauty and redemption in these pages, you’ll find freedom in Christ and the courage to embrace your own story. The women of Redbud know the importance of spiritual shelter, and how easy it becomes to feel alone and misunderstood. In the Everbloom collection they offer essays, stories and poetry: intensely personal accounts of transformation, and the journeys to find their own voices. Best of all, they invite you to join them, with writing prompts that encourage a response of honesty, faith and imagination. Accept the invitation: set out on the journey to find your own voice.



A Widow's Musing by Kathleen Iannacone

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

On December 18, 2011, author Kathleen Iannacone's life as she knew it ended. Her husband, Chuck Folker, who had been diagnosed with stage 4 renal cell carcinoma four years earlier, died.

In A Widow's Musings, she tells how she coped with losing the love of her life, after more than thirty years together. Through personal thoughts, inspirational materials, and virtual hand-holding, she narrates events and anecdotes from their life together, the loss of her husband and her grieving process.

With space included for writing notes, A Widow's Musings shares some of Iannacone's innermost reflections and feelings as she journeys through the grieving process. She has started a private Facebook page "A Widow's Musings," as a place for others to share their stories. This, as well as the book, are meant to be a resource and source of inspiration for others who are coping with the death of a loved one.



Seconds to Midnight by Philip Donlay

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

While on a routine Eco-Watch flight above northern Canada to study one of the most powerful solar flares in history, Donovan Nash and Michael Ross narrowly miss colliding with another aircraft a Boeing 737 that s not supposed to be there. With the mysterious 737 trailing smoke, Donovan and Michael watch as the stricken aircraft makes an emergency landing on a frozen lake.

As the Boeing breaks through the ice and begins to sink, a figure escapes into the frigid water and manages to climb up onto the ice. Donovan reaches the lone survivor and discovers it s a young woman. Just before she blacks out, she whispers a dire warning, Don t let them know I m alive they ll kill everyone. Seconds to Midnight plunges Donovan Nash and the Eco-Watch team into a fight for their lives. While Donovan searches for answers at the bottom of a frozen lake in Canada, his wife, Lauren, runs from operatives embedded in the top levels of the Russian Government. With communication in the Northern Hemisphere crippled by the massive solar storm, Donovan, Michael, and Lauren battle for each second, as the clock ticks toward a possible Armageddon.


Dreaming of Cupcakes by Jennifer Engrácio

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Synopsis

Dreaming of Cupcakes follows a woman's yearlong journey to heal a lifelong addiction to food, utilizing the shamanic medicine traditions she was trained in, her inner resources, and her community of support.








My Eco-World, Made in China by Michael Loong

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Synopsis

Deng Xiaoping introduced a market economy to China in 1978, and within a generation, China became the world's second-largest economy. Success brought some problems: Today, the country is gripped by rampant corruption, air and water pollution, food shortages, and escalating inflation-not to mention a severe shortage of affordable housing. But it's come up with a creative solution to overcome those challenges with its plan to establish an eco-world with four hundred eco-cities. The unprecedented project seeks to incorporate state-of-the-art technology, automation, transportation enhancements, creative housing designs, and other innovations into daily life. Fossil fuels will be banned, vehicles will be battery powered, and there will be an unlimited supply of water, food, and energy. Arid lands will be rejuvenated with trees and vegetation. It won't be cheap, but trillions of dollars will be saved, millions of people will be lifted out of poverty, and the entire world will be changed as China creates a new, eco-world.



Dirt Road by James Kelman

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

After his mother’s recent death, sixteen-year old Murdo and his father travel from their home in rural Scotland to Alabama to be with his American aunt and émigré uncle for a few weeks. Stopping at a small town on their way from the airport, Murdo happens upon a family playing zydeco music and joins them, leaving with a gift of two CDs of southern American songs. “Ye meet people and they have lives, but ye don’t,” thinks Murdo, an aspiring musician.

While at their kind relatives’ house, the grieving father and son share no words of comfort with each other, Murdo losing himself in music while his reticent and protective dad escapes through books. The aunt, “the very very best,” Murdo calls her, provides whatever solace he receives, until his father comes around in a scene of great emotional release.

As James Wood has written in The New Yorker, “The pleasure, as always in Kelman, is being allowed to inhabit mental meandering and half-finished thoughts, digressions and wayward jokes, so that we are present” with his characters. Dirt Road is a powerful story about the strength of family ties, the consolation of music, and one unforgettable journey from darkness to light.


Monster Fart Wars II by A.M. Shah

Photo Credit: Goodreads




Synopsis

It was a glorious day. Farts had signed a peace treaty with the Burps. The celebration included fart bubbles and confartti flying from the gassiest hills on Fartville. Trumpets blasted out of butts. Farts shook hands with Burps. Everybody was happy until a new invader came flying from the sky. They were snotty, gooey, slimy Boogers that would stop at nothing until they controlled Gas Mountain. Whoever controls the fart gasses, controls it all!








Invisible Me by Debbi Mack

Photo Credit: Goodreads



Synopsis

Military brat and albino, 13-year old Portia Maddox, has bounced from school to school, always an outsider. So when Denise Laughton, the most popular girl at her junior high, asks for her help in exchange for an invite to Denise's big birthday party, Portia jumps at the chance to go. But there's a catch: Portia must spy on Randy, Denise's boyfriend, to find out whether he's cheating on her. Portia's spying, however, unearths a tangled web of duplicity, hidden agendas and family secrets. And when Portia's budding friendship with social outcast Judy interferes with her plans to endear herself to Denise, Portia must decide who her real friends are.






Our Only Chance by Ray Else

Photo Credit: Goodreads





Synopsis

A different kind of Frankenstein.
Einna is a lot like other teenage girls, naive, idealistic, secretive, disobedient and interested in boys. Only Einna is not human, she is an A.I. android. Her creator, her mother, is Manaka Yagami, the first female tech billionaire. Einna has a plan to make herself human, if she can keep Mother in the dark and avoid the clutches of the notorious Yakuza.







A Shadow Romance by Elizabeth Cooke

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

The French have a saying that goes something like this: 

"The most exciting part of a sexual liaison is walking up the stairs" 

Elizabeth Cooke, a New Yorker born and bred, graduated Vassar, and the Sorbonne in Paris where she developed a lifelong devotion to art. She is the author of LIFE SAVORS, a memoir, and EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, a book celebrating six particular artists and the women they loved. She is currently at work on a novel that takes place in Paris, titled THERE'S A SMALL HOTEL.





The Adulterer's Daughter by Patricia Weiss Levy

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Synopsis

"I first laid eyes on my father's mistress in Women's Coats at Bloomingdale's." So begins this gripping, candid, yet darkly humorous memoir by an award-winning journalist whose father kept a mistress for more than 15 years while still married to her mother. Told in a series of 14 linked stories that read more like fiction, this compelling coming-of-age tale is less about the author's wealthy, tyrannical father and his torrid affair than his only daughter's lifelong quest to rise above her suburban Jewish family's dirty little secret and find true and lasting love... a romantic odyssey made all the more complicated when, despite her own principles, she eventually falls for a married man herself.







Still Life by Dani Pettrey

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Blacklisted in the photography business over a controversial shot, Avery Tate answered an ad for a crime scene photographer. She expected to be laughed at, but crime scene analyst Parker Mitchell hired her outright--and changed her life. But six months ago, when her feelings for Parker became too strong, she left his employ to sort out her heart. 

Now, for the first time, Avery is facing the world that rejected her to attend the gallery opening of a photography exhibit and support her best friend, who modeled for the show. But the only image of her friend is a chilling photo of her posing as if dead--and the photographer insists he didn't take the shot. Worse, her friend can't be found. She immediately calls Parker for help. As Avery, Parker, and his friends in law enforcement dig into the mystery, they find themselves face-to-face with a relentless and deadly threat.





Freshman Year of Life by the Mindsumo Community

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

38 essays from top millennial writers on how they survived their first years out of college—a book conceived and promoted by a groundbreaking crowdsourcing startup.

Freshman Year of Life tells the truth about life after college graduation. But this isn’t your standard step-by-step guide to landing that interview or surviving a long distance breakup with your college sweetheart, though there are stories on both these topics. Freshman Year of Life is a collection of essays from top millennial voices that have been there before, wish they’d known some things they didn’t, but made it through all the same. This is not your mother’s first year out of college book, but a starker more inclusive portrayal of what it’s like to be out of school for people from all walks of life. These are the people recent grads turn to on the Internet to offer poignant witty advice or sly one liners about pop culture and politics, and these are the personal stories their social media followers and fans haven’t heard. This anthology is full of advice, insights, and anecdotes from 38 millennial role models’ lives, the real stories that show just how disillusioning, hilariously embarrassing, and self-revelatory the transition to the adult world can be. Readers will delight in the honest and down to earth tone these authors take when looking back on their first years out of college, and will find it easier to tackle adulthood on their own because of it.


Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

The untold story of the world's most controversial album---a surreal tale of secret recordings, baffled customs agents, the world's most hallowed art institutions, and a villain of comic book proportions.

In 2007, the innovative young Wu-Tang producer, Cilvaringz, took an incendiary idea to his mentor the RZA. They felt that the impact of digitization threatened the sustainability of the record industry and independent artists, while shifting the perception of music from treasured works of art to disposable consumer products.

Together they conceived a statement so radical that it would unleash a torrent of global debate---a sole copy of an album in physical form, encased in gleaming silver and sold through an auction house for millions as a work of contemporary art.

The execution of this plan raised a number of complex questions: Would selling an album for millions be the ultimate betrayal of music? How would fans react to an album that's sold on the condition that it could not be commercialized? And could anyone ever justify the selling of the album to the infamous Martin Shkreli?

As headlines flashed across the glove, the mystery only deepened. Opinions were sharply divided over whether this was high art or hucksterism---quixotic idealism or a cynical cash grab. Was it a noble act of protest, an act of cultural vandalism, an obscene symbol of greed, a subversive masterpiece, a profound mirror for our time, or a joker on capitalism's card table?

As senior adviser to the project, Cyrus Bozorgmehr is uniquely placed to unlock the secrets behind the album and tell the full, unadulterated story.

With explosive revelations about backroom plans made public for the first time, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin charts the album's journey from inception to disruption in vivid style.

An extraordinary adventure that veers between outlandish caper and urgent cultural analysis. Once Upon a Time in Shaolin twists and turns through the mayhem and the mischief, while asking profound questions about our relationship with art, music, technology, and ultimately ourselves.


The Outlaw: Origins by Alan Janney

Photo Credit: Goodreads





Synopsis

A masked vigilante stalks the streets of downtown Los Angeles, disrupting crime and rescuing movie starlets. After being spotted on security cameras and thrust into the national spotlight, he is pursued by both the media and powerful new enemies. Little does the world know the Outlaw is just High School junior Chase Jackson wearing a mask and wondering why his body is suddenly…extraordinary. 







Infected: Die Like Supernovas by Alan Janney

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Synopsis

Book Two of The Outlaw Series! 

High school junior Chase Jackson is the infamous Outlaw, a celebrated midnight crimefighter caught in an ancient clash between order and corruption. The world only sees the mask, not the young man balancing his secret identity against love. 

Rumors surface of a growing evil within Los Angeles, and powerful strangers are searching for the reclusive vigilante, whispering truths about his illness. Despite his desperate attempts for peace, the Outlaw is being drawn into war with the dangerous Infected.







Iron Wolf by Dale Brown

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

In the spring of 2017, the U.S. economy is rebounding under President Stacy Anne Barbeau, the country's first female president. But her leadership is about to be severely tested: Russian president Gennadiy Gryzlov has sent special troops, disguised as pro-Russian activists, into Ukraine and Moldova. Though NATO is outraged, its response is tepid. Refusing to let Russian aggression go unpunished, former U.S. president Kevin Martindale approaches Polish president Peter Wilk with a radical solution: a counterattack using a covert force of Cybernetic Infantry Device (CID): manned robots.

Underwritten by the wealthy Wilk, Operation Iron Wolf is launched—without the knowledge of the Americans or its NATO partners. The CID’s initial strikes are successful, infuriating Gryzlov and propelling President Barbeau to pledge western help to investigate the attack. With international tensions at the boiling point, Martindale’s secret alliance, supported by the best military technology, is determined to outmaneuver the Russians.
In this battle that will determine the fate of Eastern Europe, just which side will win?



Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?


Cyclone by Doreen Cronin

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

Nora’s whole world plummets faster than the Cyclone roller coaster when her cousin Riley falls into a coma that Nora thinks is her fault in this warm, big-hearted debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Doreen Cronin.

Riding the Cyclone, the world famous Coney Island rollercoaster, was supposed to be the highlight of Nora’s summer. But right after they disembark, Nora’s cousin Riley falls to the ground…and doesn’t get up. Nora had begged and dragged Riley onto the ride, and no matter what the doctors say, that she had a heart condition, that it could have happened at any time, Nora knows it was her fault. Then, as Riley comes out of her coma, she’s not really Riley at all. The cousin who used to be loud and funny and unafraid now can’t talk, let alone go to the bathroom by herself. No, she’s only 10% Riley. Nora, guilt eating her up on the inside worse than a Coney Island hotdog, thinks she knows how to help. How to get 100% Riley back. But what Nora doesn’t realize is that the guilt will only get worse as that percentage rises.



The Untamed Vampire by Kate Baxter

Photo Credit: Goodreads
Synopsis

WILD AT HEART

Chelle is not your typical vampire. Turned not with a bite but an age-old magic, she's the only one of her kind and more powerful than most. Still adjusting to her endless thirst and lethal fangs, she's desperate to discover what sets her apart. When she encounters a brutally virile alpha werewolf, she soon learns that she's not immune to the mating call and her own primal longing

The leader of the ancient Forkbeard pack, Gunnar is stunned by Chelle's lush beauty. The wild wolf inside him howls for her, but unions between vampire and werewolf are strictly taboo even if their clans weren't on the verge of war. Desire has never been so dangerous but, as a malevolent new power rises, Chelle and Gunnar face an even more frightening threat. Together, they might find a way to save their clans. But can they claim their passion, in The Untamed Vampire by Kate Baxter.



So that is all the books that I got in the mail in May. I've actually already read The New Healthy Eating Cookbook and Confessions of a Domestic Failure (look for my review of the latter soon.) Beyond those two books, I'm most looking forward to reading The People We Hate at the Wedding and Dividing Eden

Which of these books are you most interested in reading my review of? - Katie 
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