Friday, October 16, 2015

*Mail Call* October 13-16

It's Friday again which means I get to brag about all my awesome book mail again! Although this was a short mail week because of Indigenous Peoples Day (or Columbus Day) on Monday, it was still an awesome week for mail for me. So without further ado, here's this weeks book mail.

Cinderella Borscht Belt by Jeannette Ronson

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Eighteen-year-old Samantha dreams of more than waiting on tables, but with an alcoholic father and no money, her prospects are dim. Landing a clerical job at a Jewish resort in the Catskills in 1976 seems like a step in the right direction, but soon she bungles her way through the foreign world of kosher meals and no meat with dairy. In her free time, Samantha fends off amorous rabbis and lusty pool boys. Rising to protect her, Larry the maintenance man, a Vietnam War veteran with an affinity for whiskey, shows up when he’s needed most. Mrs. Rosenblatt, a vociferous and opinionated Manhattanite who dominates the resort pool, appoints herself as Samantha’s Jewish fairy godmother in charge of her future. Josh, a Jewish college student from the Bronx who works the summer as a pool boy, tries to befriend Samantha. 

Based on actual events at Grossinger’s Resort during the 1970s, Cinderella Borscht Belt is about a young woman determined to change her fate and her cultural and class struggles at this now non-existent orthodox Jewish mountain mecca. Opposed to the film Dirty Dancing, the heroine, Samantha, is a staff member of the resort who wants to break from her working-class confinement and dreams of attending college. Sprinkled throughout the story are historic details of the Borscht Belt, such as Jewish customs and entertainers, as well as a description of a magical place where millions of New Yorkers visited every summer.

The Bad Specimens by T.D. Clare

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Hundreds of years from now, a sample of humans will be extracted from Earth. The specimens will be held captive, some in isolation, and punished for communicating with each other. Some will be forced to breed. Others will be trained to perform meaningless (yet lethal) tasks… all under the guise of scientific research.

While attempting to cope with previously unimaginable pain and despair, these human specimens must each determine if and how they desire to continue. Which of their human traits will aid in their survival, and which must they relinquish?

"The Bad Specimens" is a gritty and bold work of fiction with a strong sci-fi and horror influences.

A Place in the Lodge by Nancy Sterns Theiss, PhD

Photo Credit: Goodreads

If you have an interest in Freemasonry, you may have heard of Rob Morris or have seen his name on various documents, books, poems, and songs from the mid- 1800s but don’t know much about him. A Place in the Lodge sets forth new facts about his early life and relationships and presents a slice of his life via previously unpublished family letters, sent while he was on the road. 

It was a time of yellow fever, Civil War, and manual farmwork, and the detail in the letters and the old photographs here make the era almost tangible. Visit this not-so-distant past and see how Morris helped Masonry evolve from its origins to take part in the United States’ women’s movement and become one of the world’s largest fraternal organizations. As he worked to standardize Freemasonry and establish the Order of the Eastern Star, his efforts were not without controversy.

Into the Myth by R.L. Weeks

Photo Credit: Goodreads

College can’t come soon enough for Lily. That is until Kyle, the new transfer, shows an interest in her. Except, since he’s been in town, strange accidents have been happening. Accidents that Kyle seems to be insinuating are Lily’s fault. 

When she learns the truth, she is thrown into a world she didn’t believe to be true, but she is in danger. There are many forces against her, ones she has to try and protect herself and her loved ones from. The problem is, the biggest threats could be concealed in the lies of the people she loves. She has to quickly decipher who she can trust and who’s against her, if not, she could lose a lot more than her life.

Managing Bubbie by Russel Lazega

Photo Credit: Goodreads

WINNER OF 7 BOOK AWARDS. Her devoted family only wants the best for their Bubbie. Mostly they want to ensure that their matriarch’s twilight years are spent in comfort, safety, and serenity. But how do you manage an aging, immutably stubborn Holocaust survivor who has risen above the squalor of Poland’s ghettos; fled across the war-torn German wilderness; and survived the winter-ravaged Pyrenees alone on foot with three children? You probably don't.

Managing Bubbie is the heartrending, hilarious family memoir by Russel Lazega that recounts the frequently hectic, ever-exhausting trials of one Jewish family in Miami Beach as they try to oversee the care of the elderly, unmanageable Lea Lazega. As they scramble for an acceptable assisted living facility and struggle to get her medication in line, they discover the difficulties of controlling a woman who time and again eluded catastrophe by refusing to be told what to do. 

A tapestry of an American family in the 1980s, Managing Bubbie also revisits the Holocaust period to mine the love, hope, and humor that emerged from the deepest despair. Anyone who savors a soft heart with a sharp funny bone will laugh, cry, and commiserate with the confounded family who must manage their beloved, impossible Bubbie.

Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith and Giles Kristian

Photo Credit: Goodreads

In this sweeping adventure full of danger, action, and intrigue, the master who has been the model for bestselling authors such as Clive Cussler and Bernard Cornwell returns to his longest-running series, taking fans back to the very beginnings of the Courtney family saga

The son pirate and merchant Sir Frances Courtney, Henry “Hal” Courtney was raised at sea. When war broke out between the English and the Dutch empires, his father, fighting for the English crown, attacked a fleet of Dutch East India Company ships off the coast of Africa. That bravery was met with betrayal, and Sir Francis was executed. His heartbroken son witnessed his death and dedicated his young adulthood to avenging his father’s name. 

Now, twenty years of war have passed. It is 1784, and a truce has been made between the English and the Dutch, ending the long years of battle on the seas. Hal, too has changed. He has become the captain of his own ship, and is soon to become a father himself. Navigating his crew across the waves of danger, Hal sails his ship, the Golden Bough, from the slave markets of Zanzibar to the pirate-riddled waters of the Indian Ocean in search of fortune and treasure.

But though the war is over, the final battle has not been won. Soon, Hal will learn that the more a man achieves, the more he has to lose. . . .

Bursting with swashbuckling action and thrilling adventure, this magnificent novel breathes new life into one of Wilbur Smith’s most beloved family sagas and confirms his status as our “best historical novelist” (Stephen King).

And that concludes this weeks mail call. I can't even choose a book that I'm most anxious to read from the books I received this week, because they all actually appeal to me almost equally for different reasons. Which of these books are you most interested in reading my review for? - Katie 

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