Friday, October 2, 2015

*Mail Call* September 28 - October 2

Another week has passed, which means it's time for another edition of Mail Call, my weekly blog post where I brag about all the awesome books I got in the mail in the previous five days. This week was looking bleak as I hadn't received a single book yet today (however, unlike most weeks, we only checked the mail twice this week, instead of every day. I would have had them on Wednesday if my husband would have checked the mail like he was supposed to, since I was busy baking cheesecakes on Wednesday and Thursday for a work function today. The cheesecakes were a hit in case you're wondering.)  When I went to check the mail today after my husband's work function, I had lots of packages to pick up, 7 of them books. It was a happy day for me. So without further ado, here are the books I got in the mail this week.

Erin's Ring by Laura H. Pearl

Photo Credit: Goodreads

What story might this ring tell, if only it could talk?

When thirteen-year-old Molly McCormick, who has recently moved from the Midwest to Dover, New Hampshire, finds an old Irish Claddagh ring poking up out of the dirt in a garden outside her local parish church, she is immediately intrigued. The ring's inscription, "To Erin--Love, Michael," fills her head with romantic possibilities. She teams up with her new friend, Theresa Grant, to uncover the story behind the lost ring. With the help of the head librarian at the public library, the two girls become immersed in the rich history of the Irish immigrants who came to Dover in droves during the 19th century, to escape famine and poverty in their homeland and make better lives for their children and grandchildren.

Molly and Theresa learn about the courage, tenacity and deep faith that were the hallmarks of the Irish immigrants--people with names like Ann and Seamus, Cara and Finn, and of course, Erin and Michael. The young girls eagerly delve into old records tucked away in the dark corners of the library and learn how instrumental Dover's Irish-Catholics were in getting the first Catholic church built in their New England town.

Molly and Theresa set out to discover the origins of the mysterious ring, but they unearth a story that is far stranger and infinitely more touching than anything they could have ever imagined.


Honey From the Lion by Matthew Neill Null

Photo Credit: Goodreads

In this lyrical and suspenseful debut novel, a turn-of-the-century logging company decimates ten thousand acres of virgin forest in the West Virginia Alleghenies—and transforms a brotherhood of timber wolves into revolutionaries.

After fleeing his childhood farm in the wake of scandal, Cur Greathouse arrives at the Cheat River Paper & Pulp Company’s Blackpine camp, where an unlikely family of sawyers offers him new hope. But the work there is exacting and dangerous—with men’s worth measured in ledger columns. Whispers of a union strike pass from bunk to bunk. Against the rasp of the misery whip and the crash of felled hemlock and red spruce, Cur encounters a cast of characters who will challenge his loyalties: a minister grasping after his dwindling congregation, a Syrian peddler who longs to put down his pack and open a store, a slighted Slovenian wife turned activist, and a trio of reckless land barons. Cur must accept or betray the call to lead a rebellion—and finally reconcile a forbidden love.

Manuel Muñoz says of reading Matthew Neill Null’s image-rich prose, “The real pleasure—and certainly not the only one—is in the sentences, as complex, deliberately assured, and lethal as Flannery O’Connor’s.” A startling elegy that establishes its author as a tremendous new literary voice, Honey from the Lion evokes the ecological devastation and human tragedy behind the Gilded Age, and sings both the land and ordinary lives in all their extraordinary resilience.

The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Reggie has been having a tougher time than usual. As if dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies isn't enough, this biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other. Then, in biology class, her finger brushes a dead frog set out for dissection and it leaps off the table, scaring everyone, including her. Reggie's life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe the man in her dreams, who claims she's in danger and that someone is coming to take her to a safer reality. But if there's one thing she's learned, nowhere is safe.

The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools? by Dale Russakoff

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Christie, and Cory Booker were ready to reform our failing schools. They got an education.
When Mark Zuckerberg announced to a cheering Oprah audience his $100 million pledge to transform the downtrodden schools of Newark, New Jersey, then mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie were beside him, vowing to help make Newark “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation.” But their plans soon ran into the city’s seasoned education players, fierce protectors of their billion-dollar-a-year system. It’s a prize that, for generations, has enriched seemingly everyone, except Newark’s children.

Dale Russakoff delivers a riveting drama of our times, encompassing the rise of celebrity politics, big philanthropy, extreme economic inequality, the charter school movement, and the struggles and triumphs of schools in one of the nation’s poorest cities. As Cory Booker navigates between his status as “rock star mayor” on Oprah’s stage and object of considerable distrust at home, the tumultuous changes planned by reformers and their highly paid consultants spark a fiery grass-roots opposition stoked by local politicians and union leaders.  The growth of charters forces the hand of Newark’s school superintendent Cami Anderson, who closes, consolidates, or redesigns more than a third of the city’s schools—a scenario on the horizon for many urban districts across America.
Russakoff provides a close-up view of twenty-six-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and his wife as they decide to give the immense sum of money to Newark and then experience an education of their own amid the fallout of the reforms. Most moving are Russakoff’s portraits from inside classrooms, as homegrown teachers and principals battle heroically to reach students damaged by extreme poverty and violence.

The Prize is an absorbing portrait of a titanic struggle, indispensable for anyone who cares about the future of public education and the nation’s children.

Our Brothers at the Bottom of the Bottom of the Sea by Jonathan David Kranz

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Don't fall, Ethan scrawls in red permanent marker across the rides and signs of Sea Town. Since his brother Jason's death, Ethan can't let go of his big brother.

Don't fall, Rachel reads as she prepares to dump back into the ocean the shells her brother Curtis collected. Curtis had Down syndrome, but that isn't why he plummeted to his death from the Rock-It Roll-It Coaster.Together, Ethan and Rachel are about to discover just how far a man will go to protect his kingdom.With lyrical storytelling, Jonathan Kranz spins an irresistible tale of mystery and grief, guilt and culpability.

The Watchers by Ashley Jensen

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Emergency Room doctor Brian James stared down at the lifeless body on the stretcher. It seemed to be just another unfortunate death in the hospital, but for Brian it was a corpse that was about to send him spiraling into a world of deadly assassins, cryptic cults, and otherworldly beings. In a desperate struggle to stay alive and uncover the secrets of a hidden civilization, Brian is thrust into an uneasy alliance with the beautiful and mysterious Aella. Together they must use science, determination, and clues buried within the Dead Sea Scrolls to uncover a centuries-old secret before they become the expert assassin’s next. 

Ardennes 1944: The Battle of the Bulge by Antony Beevor

Photo Credit: Goodreads

The prizewinning historian and bestselling author of D-Day and Stalingrad reconstructs the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, in this riveting new account
On December 16, 1944, Hitler launched his ‘last gamble’ in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes in Belgium, believing he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp and forcing the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back.

The allies, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians abandoned their homes, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While some American soldiers, overwhelmed by the German onslaught, fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance.
The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the Eastern Front. In fact the Ardennes became the Western Front’s counterpart to Stalingrad. There was terrible ferocity on both sides, driven by desperation and revenge, in which the normal rules of combat were breached. The Ardennes—involving more than a million men—would prove to be the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.
In this deeply researched work, with striking insights into the major players on both sides, Antony Beevor gives us the definitive account of the Ardennes offensive which was to become the greatest battle of World War II.

So there you have it. All seven books I got in the mail this past week. One for each day even though I'm generally incapable of finishing a whole book in a single day, and some weeks I seem to not be able to finish a single book at all. But my personal library is growing, and I love it. I think of these books, I'm most excited to read Our Brothers at the Bottom of the Bottom of the Sea. Which of these books are you most interested in reading my review on? - Katie 

No comments:

Post a Comment