Tuesday, October 25, 2016

*Mail Call* August 2016

So as I'm sure you can tell by the title of this post, I'm still behind with my mail call posts, but I have some time now to get caught up, or at least try to get caught up on some of my blog things. Hopefully I'll not get behind again (not likely). Without further ado, here is August's book mail.

That Woman by Michael Morisaki


Ashley Fisher was born with extraordinary physical and mental powers. She can move with lightning speed and she can think as fast. She uses her speed combined with martial arts skill to rescue victims of mugging, robbery and kidnapping in Los Angeles and in New York City. She becomes, in turn, a police offi cer, an assistant DA and a criminal defense attorney.Unlike the vigilante in Death Wish, she acts to assert her prowess, not out of revenge. She disables criminals, not kill them. Ashley is not another Wonder Woman though as beautiful. She, at times, portrays herself as a man and she has faults: extreme naivete, narcissism and obsession with the genetic basis of her prowess.Those she rescues refer to her as "that woman.

Watchdog by Darrell Issa

Photo Credit: Goodreads

You might think you had a front-row seat to the shocking scandals of Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservatives, Fast & Furious, illegal email servers, mishandling America's secrets and cover-ups at the EPA. The rest of the story, told here for the first time, is even more troubling. In WATCHDOG, Congressman Darrell Issa reveals some of the worst of Washington, pulls back the curtain on business as usual in the Capitol, and lets in the sunshine of accountability.

As Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Issa led a years-long fight to uncover what was really happening in the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton's State Department, while taking on a mainstream media and establishment Beltway culture he quickly found out weren't always interested in the truth.

But what the public doesn't know about Big Government and what the people may not realize is happening to their country requires someone in Washington willing to tell the truth no matter who gets the blame. 

Carrying out aggressive oversight brought Issa into conflict with not only political foes, but friends and allies as well. Through it all, he has sought to remind everyone in government they are still subject to the rule of law and accountable to the American people. WATCHDOG is the inside account of what it took to get the truth and what it will take for our democracy to endure.

The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson

Photo Credit: Goodreads

First in a new cozy mystery series featuring Southern cooking that is to die for.

Aspiring chef and small-town Virginia native Amy Flowers is ready to open her own café offering old-fashioned Southern food. But her dream may go up in smoke when someone kills the competition...

Tired of waiting tables at Lou’s Joint, Amy Flowers doesn’t just quit—she offers to buy the place from her bully of a boss, so she can finally open the café of her dreams. Amy can't wait to serve the kind of Southern, down-home treats and dishes that her grandmother always loved to the kooky cast of regulars at the restaurant. She knows her comfort food will be the talk of the sweet, small town of Winter Garden, Virginia.

At first Lou Lou refuses to sell, but when she seems ready to make a deal, she tells Amy to come see her.  Showing up at the eatery ready to negotiate, Amy is shocked to find her former employer murdered. As the prime suspect, Amy will have to clear her name by serving up the real killer—and with Lou Lou’s stack of enemies, that’s a tall order.

Includes delicious Southern recipes!

Dolce Vita Confidential by Shawn Levy

Photo Credit: Goodreads

From the ashes of World War II, Rome was reborn as the epicenter of film, fashion, creative energy, tabloid media, and bold-faced libertinism that made “Italian” a global synonym for taste, style, and flair. A confluence of cultural contributions created a bright, burning moment in history: it was the heyday of fashion icons such as Pucci, whose use of color, line, and superb craftsmanship set the standard for women’s clothing for decades, and Brioni, whose confident and classy creations for men inspired the contemporary American suit. Rome’s huge movie studio, Cinecitta, also known as “Hollywood-on-the Tiber,” attracted a dizzying array of stars from Charleton Heston, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Frank Sinatra to that stunning and combustible couple, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who began their extramarital affair during the making of Cleopatra. And behind these stars trailed street photographers—Tazio Secchiarioli, Pierluigi Praturlon, and Marcello Gepetti—who searched, waited, and pounced on their subjects in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame.

Fashionistas, exiles, moguls, and martyrs flocked to Rome hoping for a chance to experience and indulge in the glow of old money, new stars, fast cars, wanton libidos, and brazen news photographers. The scene was captured nowhere better than in Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, starring Marcello Mastroianni and the Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg. It was condemned for its licentiousness, when in fact Fellini was condemning the very excess, narcissism, and debauchery of Rome’s bohemian scene.

Gossipy, colorful, and richly informed, Dolce Vita Confidential re-creates Rome’s stunning ascent with vivid and compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city’s magnificent transformation.

The Ninjja Sutra by Neelam Phadke

Photo Credit: Goodreads

No matter how healthy you are, at some point you will encounter the confusion that is the health care system. While there are plenty of books tackling the health care system from an academic or political perspective, few consider it from a personal-but-objective viewpoint, and none illustrate its ins and outs with the clever clarity and imaginative humor that The Ninjja Sutra does. 

Reading like a narrative, the story follows Ninjja, a woman who believes she benefits from the “always stay fit” genes of her mother, as she begins to experience unexpected health issues. Not wanting to bother with doctors, she tries to find solutions on her own. Meanwhile, her father, who has a weak physical disposition, blindly trusts anyone wearing a white coat and embraces the system with open arms. As destiny forces Ninjja to face the health care system, she begins to see it as a drama played by comical characters, but is surprised to learn how the behind-the-scenes crew plays an even bigger role than the more familiar cast. 

Blending comedy with pathos, The Ninjja Sutra exposes the health care ecosystem while offering practical, bite-sized advice on how to use it to your advantage and how make it better, one thing at a time.

Population by Elizabeth Stephens

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Lawlessness, violence and desperation are all that is left of the world following the coming of the Others. Abel exists only within the boundaries that her rules allow - rules that she created to keep her alive. But when her best friend's daughter is taken by the Others, she can't keep playing by the rule book. Instead, she must begin a life defining journey that will test her survival techniques and bring all of her instincts into question. When she finds herself allied with one of the Others, Abel must confront foreign concepts like allegiance and desire and trust as he challenges her ability to find what she has always feared: hope.

*This series is a science fiction romance and some violent and graphic content may not be suitable for young readers*

The Knot by J.A. Alldredge

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Kaitlin is discovered frantically digging up her grandmother's grave in the cemetery of a lunatic asylum. Catherine was buried there decades ago. But for some reason, Kaitlin has stubbornly refused to believe that her grandmother is actually dead.

Twenty years earlier, Kaitlin's father, sister-in-law, and nephew, all perished under bizarre circumstances. At the time, there was no rational explanation. Kaitlin and her brother Charlie are the only two people who may know how they were all killed together on the same night. Unfortunately, no one has been willing to believe their incredible story. And now it appears that Kaitlin will be locked away inside that very asylum where her grandmother supposedly died.  There is one last chance to solve the mystery of those unnatural deaths. And one last chance to save Kaitlin from becoming a permanent resident of the insane asylum. If only someone could find a way to believe what she has been saying over all those years.

It will require calling in Dr. Alexander Edge--since he is the only person who possess the supernatural abilities to discover the real truth. And he is most definitely the only person who would be willing to believe her incredible story. Dr. Edge must use his mystical amulet to peer inside of her mind--to finally reveal the unbelievable truth kept hidden deep within the mind's eye.

Introducing Dr. Edge
In order to create a superhero there must always be some great disaster or personal tragedy that brings about their incredible transformation. But what makes a person superhuman is not necessarily the incredible new power that they miraculously acquire. They already possessed some superhuman quality. And that tragic trans-formative event is only the catalyst needed to reveal their real hidden inner power--a genuine unconquerable desire to achieve something greater than human.
While seeking enlightenment in India, Dr. Edge is miraculously rescued from the icy grasp of death just at the last moment. He is saved by a beautiful female deity, known by the Guru to be an Apsara (a Hindu Goddess). She chooses to share with him a supernatural gift. Something reserved for only the most pure of heart. It is a mystical amulet--an emerald third eye--bestowing upon him incredible powers of inner sight. Allowing Dr. Edge to not only see, but to actually experience what his patients believe to have happened to them--everything that they are most afraid to share--ideas and memories they desperately try to keep hidden deep within their subconscious minds.
Now, when Dr. Edge uses the amulet to delve into the depths of the human psyche he discovers a reality that is far stranger than anything he could ever have imaged possible.
In this Dr. Edge series, follow along as he uses his supernatural power to try and solve bizarre paranormal mysteries--as revealed within the mind's eye.

Ali vs. Inoki by Josh Gross

Photo Credit: Goodreads

“Inoki can use his bare fists. He can use karate. This is serious. There’s $10 million involved. I wouldn’t pull a fraud on the public. This is real. There’s no plan. The blood. The holds. The pain. Everything is going to be real. I’m not here in this time of my life to come out with some phony action. I want you to know this is real."
—Muhammad Ali, June 14, 1976, The Tonight Show

On June 26, 1976, Muhammad Ali fought in a mixed-rules contest against iconic pro wrestling champion Antonio Inoki for the so-called “martial arts championship of the world.” Broadcast from Tokyo to a potential audience of 1.4 billion in 34 countries, the spectacle foreshadowed and, in many ways, led to the rise of mixed martial arts as a major sport.

The unique contest was controversial and panned by wrestling and boxing supporters alike, but the real action was behind the scenes. Egos, competing interests, and a general sense of apprehension over what would happen in the ring led to hodgepodge rules thrown together at the last minute. Bizarre plans to “save” Ali if the fight got out of hand were even concocted.

In Ali vs. Inoki, author Josh Gross gets inside Ali’s head leading up to the match by resurrecting pre-fight interviews. Gross also introduces us to Inoki, the most famous face in Japan who was instrumental in shaping modern mixed martial arts.

The King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton

Photo Credit: Goodreads


The seventh novel in the Ava Lee series finds Ava getting caught up in the election for the chairmanship of the Triad Societies.

Ava steps into her new business with May Ling Wong and her sister-in-law, Amanda. On a trip to Shanghai, Ava meets with Xu, a young man Uncle had been mentoring and who is also the head of the Triad in Shanghai. Xu makes an audacious business proposal that she and May are compelled to consider. Meanwhile, separately and privately, he confides to Ava that he intends to run for the chairmanship of the Triad Societies and attempts to recruit her as his adviser and confidante.

Against her will, Ava becomes enmeshed in Triad warfare and her future is threatened . . .

Girl in the Afternoon by Serena Burdock

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Born into a wealthy Parisian family at the center of Belle Epoque society, 18-year-old Aimée Savaray dreams of becoming a respected painter in the male-dominated art world; and secretly, she also dreams of being loved by Henri, the boy her parents took in as a child and raised alongside her.

But when Henri inexplicably disappears, in the midst of the Franco-Prussian war, the Savarays’ privileged lives begin to unravel. Heartbroken, Aimée tries to find him, but Henri doesn’t want to be found—and only one member of the family knows why.

As Aimée seeks refuge in the art world, mentored by the Impressionist Édouard Manet, she unwittingly finds her way back to Henri. With so many years gone by and secrets buried, their eventual reunion unmasks the lies that once held the family together, but now threaten to tear them apart.

A rich and opulent saga, Girl in the Afternoon brings the Impressionists to life in this portrait of scandal, fortune, and unrequited love.

Second Grade Spelling Challenge by Lynn Marie Lusch

Photo Credit: Goodreads


Seven year old Lindsey loves learning new things! When her second grade teacher decides to challenge her class, and has them learn five "big" words for a special spelling test, the whole class is in a panic! This is taking them out of their comfort zone, but the rewards are huge and each one is determined to succeed. 

Lindsey and Melissa are also having a "hand-made" jewelry sale this weekend. They both want to earn enough money for special reasons. Will they have enough time to accomplish both? 
A very busy and challenging week for Lindsey.

Clipped Wings by Corinna Montgomery

Photo Credit: Goodreads


This book is the biography of my family. I was born in East Germany in 1962, my entire family was imprisoned in 1979 for attempting to flee the socialist state. It described live in the socialism and the fall of the wall. We have to learn from history, because if we don't , history will repeat it's self!

Her One and Only by Becky Wade

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Romance Fans Eagerly Anticipate Every New Release from Becky Wade 

Gray Fowler, star NFL tight end, is being pursued by a stalker, so his team hires a protection agency to keep Gray under the watch of a bodyguard at all times. When Gray meets Dru Porter, an agent assigned to him, he's indignant. How can an attractive young female half his size possibly protect him? 

But Dru's a former Marine, an expert markswoman, and a black belt. She's also ferociously determined to uncover the identity of Gray's stalker. And she's just as determined to avoid any kind of romantic attachment between herself and the rugged football player with the mysterious past. But the closer they get to finding the stalker, the closer they grow to each other. As the danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their hearts--and their lives--to one another?

The Revenge of the Goddess by Revati Kapur

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Nineteen-year-old Devi lives in a sleepy town in India, in a house where her uncle is in charge and her parents struggle due to their lack of sons. Devi has been groomed all her life to become a good and obedient wife. In spite of her discomfort with the tradition, she agrees to an arranged marriage.

Devi soon finds that her relationship with her in-laws is difficult, and Hari, her new husband, is cold and distant. Eventually she joins him in the United States, hoping that things will improve once they are together in their own home. Although at first Devi is eager to please him and be a happy and dutiful wife, she is quickly disillusioned. In the years that follow, she struggles against all odds to free herself and find happiness in her new home despite her husband. When Devi finally gives birth to a daughter, her resolve is strengthened: she will protect both of them and build a new and independent life. But when her goal is in sight, circumstances change, and her life is forever altered in a way she could not have imagined.

Set in India and the United States during the 1970s, this novel tells the story of one young woman's struggle to empower herself within the confines of an unhappy arranged marriage.

Good People by Nir Baram

Photo Credit: Goodreads

It's late 1938. Thomas Heiselberg has built a career in Berlin as a market researcher for an American advertising company.

In Leningrad, twenty-two-year-old Sasha Weissberg has grown up eavesdropping on the intellectual conversations in her parents' literary salon.

They each have grand plans for their lives. Neither of them thinks about politics too much, but after catastrophe strikes they will have no choice.

Thomas puts his research skills to work elaborating Nazi propaganda. Sasha persuades herself that working as a literary editor of confessions for Stalin's secret police is the only way to save her family.
When destiny brings them together, they will have to face the consequences of the decisions they have made.

Nir Baram was born into a political family in Jerusalem in 1976. He has worked as a journalist and an editor, and as an advocate for equal rights for Palestinians. He began publishing fiction when he was twenty-two, and is the author of five novels in Hebrew. Several have been translated into more than ten languages and received critical acclaim around the world. In 2010 he received the Prime Minister's Award for Hebrew Literature.

Guy Novel by Michael Ryan

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Guy Novel marries a thriller to a shameless love story and fun ride, what Graham Greene might have called "an entertainment."

It takes place over one month in 1996, from early August to early September, as the Taliban were about to take over Afghanistan, Bill Clinton was running for re-election, most people still used answering machines, and HotMail became the latest new thing.

The story is told retrospectively but vividly by Robert Wilder, a less-than-successful LA comic who creates big problems for himself by picking up a gorgeous bank clerk on the afternoon of his wedding. These problems have the happy resolution of the conventional plot of comedy: boy meets girl, boy loses girl (twice), boy gets girl (and vice-versa), but there are lots of turns along the way and lots of jokes and lots of play with the gendered conventions of Romance.

The political and historical moment enters with a vengeance halfway through the story, and spirits our he-roes to places as different as a five-star Paris hotel, Clinton's White House, and a yurt in Turkmenistan, while Robert learns something about loving another person for exactly who she is.

Not an easy lesson to learn--for him or for any of us--but the medicine goes down effortlessly with the clarity and grace and laugh-out-loud humor of Michael Ryan's widely-circulated, wildly-celebrated writing.

The Golden-Syph: Life with a Price by I.G. Orozco

Photo Credit: Goodreads

"Three immortals created two kids: one from mud and the other from water. Everything was great until the kids went to the forbidden place and got kidnapped by their greatest enemy, Ethipius, king of Darkness. Ethipius used the kids’ powers to conquer many galaxies and made all worlds have darkness and no sign of life, but only man and very few animals survived. Now it’s up to one immortal to save all of mankind, by doing the impossible, to bring back nature once again. He will face weird, metal giants, demons who are servants of Ethipius and even face the Prince of Assassins. At the end, the immortal survived and brought nature once more, but Ethipius will come back for revenge."

The author is a fifteen year old girl who is completing her dreams of becoming an author. Even with many troubles with family's debts, her disabilities in language and so on did not stop her from writing her first novel and getting help from a publishing company.She hopes to actually captivate the audience and see them enjoying her work.

And that is all the books that I got in the mail in the month of August. It was a very slow month for book mail for me, probably the slowest I've ever seen. But I think September made up for it. Stay tuned for that post in the next couple days. - Katie 

*Review* The Satyr's Curse III: Redemption by Alexandrea Weis

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: October 24, 2016
Pages: 232


Since returning from Fairview Plantation, Jazzmyn Livaudais has noticed strange occurrences in her Garden District home. She attributes the ghostly happenings to Julian Devereau. 

Trapped in a world between death and life, Julian waits. Jazzmyn is torn between her feelings for him, and her impending nuptials to her temperamental chef, Kyle Baker. 

But before she can consider Julian’s fate, she must deal with a detective eager to solve the horrific murders of women that have plagued New Orleans for decades. The detective suspects Julian is the killer, and his frequent visits to The Sweet Note are putting everyone on edge.

With Julian’s time running out, Jazzmyn discovers there may be another spirit hanging around her home. One who is out to settle an old score. 

Will Jazzmyn rescue Julian from his self-imposed limbo? And what will happen if he returns? 
When one curse ends, another can begin. Beware The Satyr’s Curse.


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection with the story makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

When I sent this MS back to Ms. Weis, I basically cussed her out for the level of suspense she left me in, and she laughed at me because she is an evil woman who feeds off the frustration and tears of her readers (and I'm pretty sure she's going to take that as a compliment. It kind of is one, I suppose.) I have so many unanswered questions, although most of the questions that were raised toward the beginning of the book were answered. These are new questions.

It has been almost exactly a year since I read The Satyr's Curse II (thank you Facebook memories!) so it took me a minute to get back into the world of The Satyr's Curse, mostly trying to remember how all the characters fit in the story. So I would recommend refreshing your own memory first. I also recommend starting the series with book 1 (although this book does an okay job of bringing you up to speed if you don't, I think.) 

There was one thing that kind of annoyed me. There were a couple characters that kept being super cryptic when Jazzmyn would ask them about things, and that's just a recipe for disaster. Like if I asked how to bake a cake and you said "Mix some stuff together and put it in the oven, but don't burn it," and then you didn't tell me anything else. With no more direction than that, I'm probably going to screw something up (and possibly burn my house down). I liked the story, but those characters annoyed me.

Overall I give The Satyr's Curse III: Redemption 4.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans. 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alexandrea-Weis/289566081083949
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alexandreaweis
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1211671.Alexandrea_Weis
Website: http://www.alexandreaweis.com/

Monday, October 24, 2016

*Review* Breaking Lucas by Amanda Kaitlyn

Genre: Romance



He was my everything. 
My every day and my every night. 
My every dream and my every hope. 
And then he was gone. 
Someone once told me that love knows no bounds. It went beyond time, distance or hatred. 
Could that possibly be true?

It wasn’t until five years after the day Lucas walked away from our life that I realized how true that was. He came barreling back into my reality and I was powerless to stop the love that still festered inside of my soul for him. 

Now that he’s back, I don’t know how I can protect my heart from the wrath he’ll bring. 

Even after all we’ve lost can we find the love we once shared, once more?

"I was a fooling fool, Kaelyn. There isn't a day that's gone by I haven't wished I'd stayed with you."

Breaking Lucas is the second book in Amanda Kaitlyn’s Trinity series and is meant to be read in order for the best reading experience.


I was hired to proofread this book. While my focus was on spelling and grammar, I made some comments on other aspects of the story. I do not know if my comments were used to make changes to those parts of the story. If you feel that my connection to the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

This book starts with a warning that this series should be read in order (it's book 2), and that's probably a good idea. I had some issues with the timeline in the story (it switches between past and present for two different characters) and those issues may not have cropped up if I had read the first book in the series first (I don't know for sure either way.)

Another issue I had with the story is that Kaelyn, in six years, never finds out why Lucas left in the first place, and Lucas never finds out the secret Kaelyn kept from him after he walked out. Elsa, Lucas's step-mother, sees Kaelyn occasionally and never once lets Lucas's secret slip...and she never once in all the time she spends with Lucas mentions what Kaelyn kept from him (and these are HUGE secrets y'all.) I mean, I suppose it could happen, but it just seems really unlikely to me, and I have more trouble suspending reality with contemporary novels than other genres.

I realize it may seem like I didn't enjoy the book at this point, but I was being paid to be critical, so those things are standing out to me more now that I'm trying to write this review. I did enjoy the story overall, even though I scoffed at the believability of some details. I thought the characters had decent depth, even if I couldn't fully accept their actions.

Overall I give Breaking Lucas 3.5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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About the Author

Amanda Kaitlyn is an author of seductive, edgy romance. Finding Beautiful is her debut novel. She is a hopeless romantic at heart. Books by Kristen Proby, Kelly Elliott and Stephanie Meyer have influenced her writing. One thing that inspires her is music. Country, pop, rock, Amanda enjoys it all. As a young girl, she loved fairy tales. As she grew up she realized that these stories change. Love isn’t always perfect and the fight of that love is what urges her to write the stories she does. Between the pages of her books you will find real, heartfelt romance, rugged emotion and lots of steam. Do you want to know more about Amanda Kaitlyn and her books? You can find her on social media and her website <3

Thursday, October 20, 2016

*Joood's Reviews* Justin Bieber: 201 Facts for True Fans! by Stoya Grey

Genre: Trivia/Biography
Published: August 11, 2013
Pages: 76


Are you a True Justin Bieber Fan? 

Do you know 

-what color he wishes his eyes were?

-what kind of girls he likes?

-who signed him (and who wanted to but couldn't)?

-what secret skills does he have?

There's something even the most die-hard Belieber won't know about him, just read and see for yourself!


I tried to go into this book with an open mind, but I was very quickly disappointed by it. I mean, everyone who is even half a fan knows that he wishes his eyes were blue, his type is the girl next door, and that he was signed by Island Def Jam Records by Usher even though Justin Timberlake wanted to sign him. This is really amateur stuff. 

I was really hoping to learn things like what is the best way to lure Justin back to your hotel room after a concert? Or what innocent body part turns him on every time it's touched. You know, the important things. But the information like that was sorely missing from this book. 

If you want to read about silly Justin Bieber trivia, go ahead and buy this book, but it really doesn't contain any information that a true Belieber doesn't already know. - Joood - Hooligan

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*Joood's Reviews* Just Getting Started by Justin Bieber

Genre: Memoir
Published: September 13, 2012
Pages: 240


"My story is something I like to share with others, to show people that with enough belief in yourself and what you can accomplish, anything is possible."—Justin Bieber

From Tel Aviv to Tokyo, over the past few years I've traveled around the world and back again. It's been amazing, but it's also hard to believe that not so long ago I was singing on the streets of Stratford, Ontario. I can honestly say that anything is possible, anyone can live the dream, and every day is a blessing.

Now everywhere I go, I'm met with so much love. It's all about you, my fans, and that's why I'm dedicating my book to everyone who's come to sing along. I want to share the stories of my life on the road with you. From the crazy highs of performing on stage to spending those precious quiet moments with my friends and family, I want to give you a personal backstage pass to my world. It's been exhausting but always eye-opening and amazing.

It's astonishing to think that so much has happened, and yet this is just the beginning. I'm just getting started.

I have been in love with Justin Bieber since his days on YouTube. The first time he sang "Baby" to me, my heart absolutely melted and I knew we were meant to be together, I just needed to wait for him to turn 18. (I made the silly mistake of getting married before that happened, but the second Justin realizes that we're meant to be together, I'm getting a divorce. Got a lawyer on speed dial and everything.)  I was so excited when I found out he'd written another memoir, and it only took me four years to get around to writing my review about it. 

I have read this book at least 54,783,872 times and analyzed every single word. I am banking on the fact that gaining such intimate knowledge into his personal life will help me to win him over when we finally meet, and our shared destiny begins. Now I know exactly what to expect from his little teeny-bopper groupies and the best way to earn myself an exclusive backstage pass and afterparty invite, and that's obviously where I'm really going to shine. Let's just say, I can hold my liquor and I hear guys find that very appealing in a woman. 

Long story short, I cannot recommend this book enough. Go buy it now and shame on your for not having already read it. - Joood - Hooligan

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About the Author

Born in Stratford, Ontario, Justin first broke into the music industry when music manager Scooter Braun spotted his performances on YouTube and then joined forces with superstar Usher to sign thirteen-year-old Justin to a record deal with Island Def Jam Music Group.

Justin's latest number 1 album, Believe, came out in June 2012. It follows his number 1 Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe, which was Justin's third number 1 debut in just 18 months. This incredible achievement makes Justin the youngest artist in Billboard history to have a holiday album enter at number 1 and then first solo artist in Billboard history to chart three number 1 albums before his 18th birthday. Prior to Under the Mistletoe, Justin's first album My World 2.0 debuted at number 1 in the charts and featured the single 'Baby', which remains the number 1 most-viewed YouTube video, with currently over 700 million views. Never Say Never: The Remixes, the soundtrack to the highest domestic-grossing concert film in US history, also entered at number 1 in 2011.

Just Getting Started is Justin's second book, following on from the international bestseller First Step 2 Forever: My Story.

*This review is satire. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

*Mail Call* July 2016

You might be thinking to yourself, "But Katie, it's already October, why are you just now posting your mail call for July?" And the answer to your question is because apparently I'm a lazy ass during the summer and don't do shit. That is just who I am as a person. You may have noticed a review dump posted recently too (that was all the books I read over the summer and just didn't bother getting reviewed FOREVER). But it's time to get my act together and get caught up on everything I'm behind on, and that starts with mail call. Without further ado, here are the books that I got in the mail in July (and I was very OCD in my stacking when books arrived, so I know when I got what.) 

Waging Inner Peace by Eric Walrabenstein

Photo Credit: Goodreads

WAGING INNER PEACE chronicles how 5,000 hard-charging U.S. military veterans came to use yoga's ancient science of mind to heal from the stresses induced by the horrors of war. It then takes the reader through the very same one-of-a-kind process of mind-body mastery.

>>> INCLUDES FREE BONUS MATERIAL: two free downloadable audio recordings: yoga posture healing session and guided relaxation session. 

Written by former U.S. Army infantry officer turned yoga master, Eric Walrabenstein, Waging Inner Peace chronicles the creation of the BOOTSTRAP yoga system, one of the world's most comprehensive mind-body solutions for calming and rebalancing the nervous system for happy and relaxed living.

From exploring the often unexamined internal sources of stress and emotional disturbance to introducing ancient mind-body wellness techniques, Waging Inner Peace walks the reader step-by-step through a proven methodology to apply mind-body wisdom to solve one of today's most pressing wellness issues--stress.

Including the complete seven-week BOOTSTRAP system together with downloadable yoga classes, guided meditations, and other resources, Waging Inner Peace is a must read for anyone wanting to understand how yoga's mind-body wisdom can be used to help us, as the author puts it, "master our humanness" and live happier, healthier lives.

Rescued Poems by Saket Suryesh

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Poems written on spur of moment and left to live in social media posts, loose pages, and book covers, collected and published here.

Live the Best Story of Your Life by Bob Litwin

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Do you want a new story? Most of us do. We are all looking to shift the stories in our lives. But the question remains: How?

This book is the how. A result of thousands of hours of research from the best minds in the field of human potential, Live the Best Story of Your Life harnesses the power of your personal story and provides a guide to creating positive shifts in any area of your life.

Bob Litwin, a leading performance coach on Wall Street and a World Champion tennis player, brings you 33 personalized coaching sessions that will help you reach new levels of success on every level of your life. Where therapy fails, his brand of storytelling is a faster, more effective way to lasting change.

Live the Best Story of Your Life does not shift what we do, it shifts who we are. It will also show you how to:
• Get clear on your old stories and learn to leave them in the past.
• Discover the excitement and energy of your new story.
• Access the 33 strategies followed by people who always seem to win at life.

Are you on the cusp of a brand new story? If you can feel change brewing, if you want that change to be painless and almost instantaneous, Live the Best Story of Your Life is your hand to hold, your private coach, the map you’ve been waiting for to live the best story of your life.

The Blood of Titans by C. Michael Forsyth

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The Blood of Titans is unique love story set in the Golden Age of Africa. It is the tale of Halima, a teenage princess who falls in love with a warrior king. Enormous obstacles lie in the way of their happiness. In the course of their adventures, Princess Halima learns about loss, duty, and the high price of romantic love -- and must make a choice that determines the future of kingdoms.

Early responses are glowing:

"The Blood of Titans is an epic romantic adventure that hearkens back to the origin of African civilization, told with detailed eloquence… an engrossing and well-crafted tale. Forsyth does an excellent job creating Halima’s world with details so sharp the reader is easily transported into it.” -- Milton J. Davis, Editor of Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology

“The lyrical language of The Blood of Titans quickly drew me into this richly textured novel. I could smell the air, hear the music, and see the towns and sea and grasslands and mountains. Every scene comes to life.” — Shauna Roberts, Ph.D, author of Like Mayflies in a Stream

“C. Michael Forsyth has charted new territory in the land of Sword and Soul. The Blood of Titans will carry you along on an amazing journey. I give it five spears out of five." -- Charles R. Saunders, Aurora Award-winning author of Imaro

Many love stories targeted at African-American women are “urban romances,” featuring dubious protagonists such as strippers and thugs. In contrast, the characters of this book have a Shakespearean dignity. With rousing depictions of sword battles, fights to the death with ferocious animals and other derring-do, the novel has plenty to offer both male and female fans of fantasy and the sword and sorcery genre.

Anyone who enjoys a good story should read this exciting and moving tale.

Fruit of Misfortune by Nely Cab

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Isis' goals for the future included things like attending and graduating college. However, becoming a monster wasn't part of the plan. Isis and her boyfriend, David, are on the brink of a horrible transformation and they are eager to stop it. Together, they set out on a quest to Greece to find Isis' biological father—the only person that may be able to help them. Their journey comes to an abrupt stop before it even begins when Isis falls ill, and Eros, David's best friend, arrives in Athens, unannounced and curious…with a plan of his own. 

The hunt for her father leads Isis on the turbulent path of deceit, death, and demons as she anticipates the dawning of the beast that stirs inside her.

Once a Soldier by Mary Jo Putney

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Rogues Redeemed

As heir to a title and great wealth, Will Masterson should have stayed home and tended his responsibilities. Instead he went to war. Now, after perilous years fighting the French, he intends his current mission to be his last. But all his plans are forgotten when he arrives in the small mountain stronghold of San Gabriel and meets her. 

Knowing herself to be too tall, strong, and unconventional to appeal to a man, Athena Markham has always gloried in her independence. But for the first time in her life, she finds a man who might be her match. 

Two of a kind, too brave for their own good, Athena and Will vow to do whatever it takes to vanquish San Gabriel's enemies. For neither will back down from death, and only together can they find happiness and a love deeper than any they'd dared imagine...

Joelito's Big Decision by Ann Berlak

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Every Friday evening 9 year old Joelito goes with his family to MacMann’s for a juicy burger. But this Friday is different. This time, Joelito’s best friend Brandon is standing in a crowd protesting the low pay his parents earn at the fast food restaurant. Will Joelito cross the picket line for a tasty burger? Find out in Joelito’s Big Decision. In English & Spanish.
Ages 6 - 12 +

La vida se trata de decisiones... Cada viernes por la tarde, Joelito va con su familia a MacMann por unas sabrosas hamburguesas. Pero este viernes pasa algo. Afuera del restaurante de comida rápida hay mucha gente protestando. Al acercarse, Joelito reconoce a su mejor amigo, que protesta contra los bajos salarios que sus padres ganan allí. ¿Ignorará la protesta Joelito y entrará a MacMann a comer hamburguesas? Averígualo en La gran decisión de Joelito. En inglés y español.
Edades 6 - 12 +

What Women Really Want From Men by Melanie Rubin

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This book offers a road map for smart, straight men who’d like to find and establish ongoing, satisfying relationships with attractive women they enjoy and respect. Based on interviews with women, the author shares exactly what women want from men at each step in the dating process. Although written for men, women are finding the book helpful too. 

• Key points are presented in “Dos” and “Don’ts” boxes with bulleted lists. 
• The range of what women want is illustrated in boxes of “Quotes” from interviewees. 
• The “Mastery Topics” help readers fine-tune their dating skills and troubleshoot to reach their goals. 
• A detailed Table of Contents makes it simple to jump directly to any subject of interest. 
• The book is color-coded and formatted graphically to make it easy to find just what you need. 

Although the first audience for the book is men, the author believes many women will find it helpful – to give to male friends or family members, boyfriends or partners – or to read themselves. She says: 

“Women sometimes don’t know what to expect or do when they re-join the dating world after a break. I know I didn’t. What Women Really Want from Men helps women learn from other women what they might anticipate at different stages in the dating process. Lots of women also have a hard time understanding where men are coming from – and how guys experience dating and relationships differently – just like men have a hard time understanding how women think and feel about dating and relationships. 

Much of this information can help people who are already in relationships, since the things that make men and women feel good during dating need to keep happening during a relationship in order for it to be successful. I hope this book will serve as a bridge between men and women, helping with the process of ‘cross-cultural communication,’ so that everyone wins.” 

Rubin began work on this book after several years of dating following the end of a long-term relationship. Her intention and hope was to cultivate a better understanding of dating for herself – and, in the process, to help others with dating success – both men and women. 

The idea for the book came out of a conversation with a guy friend when they were discussing the trials and tribulations of dating. He said: “I don’t want to read another book written by a man about dating. Why don’t you write one?” Rubin decided to do just that. 

Undeniably Indiana edited by Indiana University Press

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In this first crowdsourced book about Indiana, ordinary Hoosiers from all corners of the state share the eclectic, wonderful, and sometimes wacky stories that are undeniably Indiana. These true tales highlight the variety of Hoosier life fond recollections of hometowns, legendary anecdotes of the past, Indiana s unpredictable weather, favorite foods (there s more than corn!), and chance encounters with unforgettable and infamous people. And, of course, there s always basketball. Written for anyone who has ever called this great state home, Undeniably Indiana provides the answer to the widespread question, "What is a Hoosier?""

Same Family Different Colors by Lori L. Tharps

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Weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis, Same Family, Different Colors explores the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States.

Colorism and color bias—the preference for or presumed superiority of people based on the color of their skin—is a pervasive and damaging but rarely openly discussed phenomenon. In this unprecedented book, Lori L. Tharps explores the issue in African American, Latino, Asian American, and mixed-race families and communities by weaving together personal stories, history, and analysis. The result is a compelling portrait of the myriad ways skin-color politics affect family dynamics in the United States.

Tharps, the mother of three mixed-race children with three distinct skin colors, uses her own family as a starting point to investigate how skin-color difference is dealt with. Her journey takes her across the country and into the lives of dozens of diverse individuals, all of whom have grappled with skin-color politics and speak candidly about experiences that sometimes scarred them. From a Latina woman who was told she couldn’t be in her best friend’s wedding photos because her dark skin would “spoil” the pictures, to a light-skinned African American man who spent his entire childhood “trying to be Black,” Tharps illuminates the complex and multifaceted ways that colorism affects our self-esteem and shapes our lives and relationships. Along with intimate and revealing stories, Tharps adds a historical overview and a contemporary cultural critique to contextualize how various communities and individuals navigate skin-color politics.

Groundbreaking and urgent, Same Family, Different Colors is a solution-seeking journey to the heart of identity politics, so that this more subtle “cousin to racism,” in the author’s words, will be exposed and confronted.

Berdy Eating Right by Sylvie H.B.Y.

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Berdy watches what he eats and drinks and tells his friends to do the same. As a big trip to an Outward Bound school comes up, having a healthy Body Mass Index is important. Berdy’s friend is excluded from the trip due to his poor eating habits. Berdy and his friends learn that eating and drinking healthily really does matter.

Chinese Everyday by Shaolan

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A unique and highly entertaining introduction to the richness of Chinese language, culture, and civilization, built on the groundbreaking and hugely popular Chineasy visual learning method.

To educate the world about the richness and character of China’s people, customs, and heritage, entrepreneur ShaoLan Hsueh created Chineasy, a special building-block learning method that uses highly recognizable and appealing illustrations. She introduced her revolutionary teaching methodology and graphic language in her bestseller, Chineasy.

In this standalone guide, she expands her scope to include all facets of Chinese life and culture, including Numbers, Time & Dates, The Solar System & the Five Elements, People, Nature, Animals, How to Describe Things, Health & Well-being, Travel, City & Country, Shopping, Food & Drink, and Internet & Technology. She begins all twelve sections with an overview of key Chineasy characters, then presents the specific symbols relevant to each—providing insight into how Chinese thinking has shaped its language and civilization in a way that anyone can understand and appreciate.

Whether you are a student learning Mandarin, an executive pursuing business ties to Chinese companies, or a curious tourist traveling to China, this single-volume encyclopedia will stimulate the mind, enchant the culturally minded and inspire everyone who seeks new experiences and a wider understanding of our world.

Still Here by Lara Vapnyar

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A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls "Jane Austen with a Russian soul"
In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age. 
Vica, Vadik, Sergey and Regina met in Russia in their school days, but remained in touch and now have very different American lives. Sergey cycles through jobs as an analyst, hoping his idea for an app will finally bring him success. His wife Vica, a medical technician struggling to keep her family afloat, hungers for a better life. Sergey’s former girlfriend Regina, once a famous translator is married to a wealthy startup owner, spends her days at home grieving over a recent loss. Sergey’s best friend Vadik, a programmer ever in search of perfection, keeps trying on different women and different neighborhoods, all while pining for the one who got away.
As Sergey develops his app—calling it "Virtual Grave," a program to preserve a person's online presence after death—a formidable debate begins in the group, spurring questions about the changing perception of death in the modern world and the future of our virtual selves. How do our online personas define us in our daily lives, and what will they say about us when we're gone?

27 Views of Asheville 

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Building on its successful 27 Views series, Eno Publishers showcases the literary community of Asheville, North Carolina, in 27 Views of Asheville: A Southern Mountain Town in Prose & Poetry. Twenty-seven writers contribute poetry, essays, short stories, and book excerpts that focus on the fabled mountain town, offering readers a broad and varied picture of life in Asheville, past and present, as well as a sense of the town's literary breadth. Contributing authors include Sharyn McCrumb, Gail Godwin, Ron Rash, Pamela Duncan, Nan Chase, Allan Wolf, Dale Neal, Charles Frazier, and Robert Morgan. A fictionalized account of a battle between citizens and developers in the 1980s; reflections on the legacy of Thomas Wolfe; a look at Asheville's literary renaissance; and a poem by Robert Morgan recalling milkshakes at the Asheville Dairy Bar are just a few of the topics covered in this literary montage. The cover illustration is by Daniel Wallace, author of the novel Big Fish.

Reputations by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

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From the brilliant mind of the author of The Sound of Things Falling, a powerful novel about a legendary political cartoonist.

Javier Mallarino is a living legend. He is his country's most influential political cartoonist, the consciousness of a nation. A man capable of repealing laws, overturning judges' decisions, destroying politicians' careers with his art. His weapons are pen and ink. Those in power fear him and pay him homage.

At sixty-five, after four decades of a brilliant career, he's at the height of his powers. But this all changes when he's paid an unexpected visit from a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to re-evaluate his life and work, questioning his position in the world.

In Reputations, Juan Gabriel Vásquez examines the weight of the past, how a public persona intersects with private histories, and the burdens and surprises of memory. In this intimate novel, Vásquez plumbs universal experiences to create a masterful story, one that reverberates long after you turn the final page.

December Boys by Joe Clifford

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Jay Porter, the newest employee at NorthEastern Insurance in New Hampshire, is investigating an accident claim when he learns the teenager behind the wheel was arrested for minor drug possession and sentenced to a hardcore behavioral modification center.

At the county courthouse, Jay meets Nicki, a young college intern, who tips him off to a possible scandal - first-time juvenile offenders being shipped to private institutions for political kickbacks. He also learns that long-time family nemeses, Adam and Michael Lombardi, may have a stake in the scheme. 

Is Jay's mission to help these kids a legitimate crusade? Or is his thirst for revenge driven by the guilt he feels over his own junkie brother's death? These questions conspire to tear apart tranquility and drive a wedge between Jay and his wife Jenny. 

With help from new friend Nicki, and a couple of old friends, Jay finds himself thrust back into a past he had hoped to leave behind, putting everything and everyone he loves at risk in pursuit of the truth."

Biters by Harry Shannon

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The Double Down series continues with two novellas that explore very different post-apocalyptic worlds. 

Harry Shannon's Biters is classic noir set at the end of the world. Buck Ryan can't get enough of Sarah, but she's had more than enough of her husband. To win the girl for good, all Ryan has to do is kill the man, steal his money and survive the zombie apocalypse on the way back. Piece of cake. 

Marcus Ryder ended the Great War with one shot in Brett J. Talley's The Reborn. He comes home to a brave new world where reincarnation is scientific fact and a simple blood test can reveal exactly who a person will be even before they are born. But when he is chosen for an elite unit that punishes people for their crimes in a past life and stops crime before it starts, Ryder begins to question what he knows about morality and justice. And all the while, the mysterious figure that plunged the world into war may be on the rise again.

Is You Okay? by Glozell Green

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A fun, inspiring memoir from “the Queen of YouTube” about her journey from anonymity in Florida to massive popularity on the Internet, filled with the unlikeliest of stories that are as poignant as they are hilarious

“Is you okay? Is you good? Cuz I want to know!”

Eager to entertain, dedicated to making people laugh, comedian and video superstar GloZell Green is game for any challenge, no matter how silly, gross, or absurd. Her crazy video stunts have propelled her into the ranks of legendary funny ladies such as Ellen DeGeneres, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, and Phyllis Diller—and made her an inspiring icon for a new generation. With this funny and liberating book, GloZell uses the stories from her winding journey to unbelievable success to help her fans and young women everywhere navigate the obstacles we all face in life, while helping them find the greatness unique to each of them, inside and out.

Is You Okay? speaks truth about the elements of life we wrestle with every day—empowerment, love, body image, school, work, family, relationships, failure, success. GloZell introduces some of her most outlandish, funny, and unforgettable video challenges and uses each to explore a serious yet common hurdle. Sharing formative stories and insights from her own life, she encourages young women to learn to love their body, break free of their shell, and carve out their own identity.

Making the connection between hilarious physical challenges and meaningful personal challenges, GloZell shows that we’re all in this together. “Everything isn’t just gonna be okay. It doesn’t just have to be good,” she reminds us. “It can be great (even with a spoonful of pepper in your mouth).”

Rebel Warrior by Regan Walker

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When your destiny lies far from where you began …

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

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For Tara Krishnan, navigating Brierly, the academically rigorous prep school she attends on scholarship, feels overwhelming and impossible. Her junior year begins in the wake of a startling discovery: A message from an alternate Earth, light years away, is intercepted by NASA. This means that on another planet, there is another version of Tara, a Tara who could be living better, burning brighter, because of tiny differences in her choices. 

As the world lights up with the knowledge of Terra Nova, the mirror planet, Tara’s life on Earth begins to change. At first, small shifts happen, like attention from Nick Osterman, the most popular guy at Brierly, and her mother playing hooky from work to watch the news all day. But eventually those small shifts swell, the discovery of Terra Nova like a black hole, bending all the light around it. 

As a new era of scientific history dawns and Tara's life at Brierly continues its orbit, only one thing is clear: Nothing on Earth--and for Tara--will ever be the same again.

Tainted by Ginna Moran

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Seventeen-year-old Cami Anders uses one word to describe her life: Purgatory. What she doesn’t know is she’s closer to Hell than she thinks.

On the run from the demon that killed her parents, Cami struggles to find her place on the fringes of the Veiled Realm, the part of the world where demons and other creatures lurk in the shadows. Striving to find a normal life in the care of a former demon hunter, who would punch even an angel to protect her, is harder than Cami ever imagined. There’s nothing ordinary about sipping holy water like it’s her beverage of choice, having stare-downs with animalistic demons, and relying on a hunter with enough secrets to fill an ocean to keep her soul safe. 

When the demon from Cami’s past arrives to collect her soul, which he believes is rightfully his, she must unravel the secrets her protector has spent the last three years keeping from her. She finds herself questioning her existence and learns that running isn’t the answer. The only way to find normalcy is if she fights for it. But is it worth the risk of losing everything, including her soul, in the end?

Still a Work in Progress by Jo Knowles

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In a return to middle-grade fiction, master of perspectives Jo Knowles depicts a younger sibling struggling to maintain his everyday life while coping with his sister’s secret struggle.

Noah is just trying to make it through seventh grade. The girls are confusing, the homework is boring, and even his friends are starting to bug him. Not to mention that his older sister, Emma, has been acting pretty strange, even though Noah thought she’d been doing better ever since the Thing They Don’t Talk About. The only place he really feels at peace is in art class, with a block of clay in his hands. As it becomes clear through Emma’s ever-stricter food rules and regulations that she’s not really doing better at all, the normal seventh-grade year Noah was hoping for begins to seem pretty unattainable. In an affecting and realistic novel with bright spots of humor, Jo Knowles captures the complexities of navigating middle school while feeling helpless in the face of a family crisis.

Inside the Bubble by Noga Niv

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In Inside the Bubble, a captivating tale of high-tech and female friendship, Noga Niv takes us to Silicon Valley at the turn of the millennium, when the collapse of the dot-com bubble had produced thousands of new millionaires and left behind many frustrated contenders who’d hoped the gold rush would never end. Against the backdrop of California Internet culture unfold lives and stories from Silicon Valley’s émigré Israeli community.

Daniela, a clinical psychologist and mother of three, has followed her husband from Tel Aviv to the center of technological innovation, where she and her four closest female friends live in material comfort but grapple with homesickness. The women contend with the changing dynamics of their marriages, and their individual transitions into middle age. They talk openly about men and women, about Americans and Israelis, and about life far from the home country. Secrets are half-spoken and plans are formed that will determine the course of their future.

The Boy in Formaldehyde by Michael Antony

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A controversial, avant-garde artist creates a macabre installation by putting what looks like a dead boy in a glass tank of formaldehyde. The art world dismisses the absurd suggestion that this might be a real body. Camilla, a blogger with a website for victims of child abuse, takes a different view. She launches her own investigation, which leads her to a ruthless child prostitution ring, involving prominent figures in politics, the social services, and the world of art. Enlisting the help of a friend (a failed writer but a talented con artist and martial arts instructor), she sets out to gather evidence to expose the network of paedophiles and bring them to justice. As they plunge into a sinister underground universe of sexual predators, each one with his own twisted rationalization for his acts, Camilla has to confront the ghosts of her own troubled past and the tragic adolescent love affair that marked her for life. With some of its characters inspired by real-life paedophiles who died recently, this dark psychological thriller journeys to the heart of perversion, and explores how insidiously it can take possession of even the most brilliant and successful people.

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

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A hilarious debut novel about a wealthy but fractured Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent—and about the road trip they take across America that binds them back together

One of Entertainment Weekly's Most Anticipated Titles of 2016
A Fall 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
A Publishers Lunch Fall 16 Buzz Book
A The Millions Most Anticipated Book
One of Library Journal’s “Five Big Debuts” for Fall 16

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America—and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could.

Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray

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The French Riviera, spring 1936: It’s off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned Café Paradis. A mysterious new patron who’s slipped out of Paris and is traveling under a different name has made an unusual request—to have his lunch served to him at the nearby villa he’s secretly rented, where he wishes to remain incognito.

Pablo Picasso is at a momentous crossroads in his personal and professional life—and for him, art and women are always entwined. The spirited Ondine, chafing under her family’s authority and nursing a broken heart, is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites. Her encounter with Picasso will continue to affect her life for many decades onward, as the great artist and the talented young chef each pursue their own passions and destiny.

New York, present day: Céline, a Hollywood makeup artist who’s come home for the holidays, learns from her mother, Julie, that Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso. Prompted by her mother’s enigmatic stories and the hint of more family secrets yet to be uncovered, Céline carries out Julie’s wishes and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met. In the lush, heady atmosphere of the Côte d’Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, Céline discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future.

Featuring an array of both fictional characters and the French Riviera’s most famous historical residents, set against the breathtaking scenery of the South of France, Cooking for Picassois a touching, delectable, and wise story, illuminating the powers of trust, money, art, and creativity in the choices that men and women make, as they seek a path toward love, success, and joie de vivre.

An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

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In 1881 Chicago, the idea of a female detective is virtually unheard of. But when famed crime buster Allan Pinkerton opens his agency's doors to a handful of women, one intrepid actress with her own troubled past is driven to defy convention and take on a new and dangerous role. . .

Since the age of eleven, when her mother was murdered, the life of the theater is all Lilly Long has known. Now twenty-two, she has blossomed into an accomplished Shakespearean actress. But after her innocence--and her savings--are taken from her by a seductive scoundrel, Lilly vows to leave the stage, enter the real world, and save others from a similar fate. Following in the footsteps of the country's first female detective, Lilly persuades Allan Pinkerton to take her on. 

Lilly's acting skills are a perfect fit for her real-life role as a Pinkerton operative. But her first case is a baptism by fire as she is sent to the small town of Vandalia to solve the mystery of a pastor who disappeared with his family--and the church's funds. When Lilly arrives, she finds the mere mention of the reverend's name provokes enmity or suspicious silence. Shadowed by a second Pinkerton agent with an agenda of his own, Lilly begins to uncover Vandalia's sordid secrets. But she'll have to deliver the performance of a lifetime to survive the final act of this drama.

Shelby's Way...Maybe by Katherine M.K. Mitchell

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This story tells the coming-of-age of an overprotected young mother who becomes an adult. One beautiful woman without a plan; three men, each with a plan.

Shelby is a stunning beauty, a young mother whose husband, a Hollywood stuntman, runs off with a rich glamorous older woman. On her own, Shelby is raising 8-year old Pamela and goes to work to make ends meet. She is naive, unaware of her luminous beauty and easy-going charms neither of which goes unnoticed by men, even a world famous novelist who sets his eyes on her. She meets an irresistibly handsome and successful attorney who instantly takes up residence under her skin. Her topsy-turvy world is grounded by motherhood. Into this curious limbo where all that is required of Shelby is not to do anything she would regret, enters Marc, a successful screenwriter and former family friend who, with his final divorce decree in hand comes calling.

Because of Shelby, the lives of the three men intersect and interact in surprising ways as their just comeuppance is served.

Where is the love? Who is the future?

Katherine's novels have been compared to some of the timeless greats such as Jackie Collins, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts and more recently Robert Waller, Helen Fielding and others! The whirling romance, the surprising adventure, the colorful worlds in which the characters live, all add up to unique people getting caught up in unexpected situations and sometimes finding themselves, . . . or not.

She is not exactly a novice. Until moving from Los Angeles she was a member of the Writers Guild of America West because she was writing for television and developing film scripts. Three of her original screenplays were acquired under paid options by production companies bringing her close to critical recognition."

Heads I Win, Tails I Win by Spencer Jakab

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The Wall Street Journal's investing columnist explains why you're deluded about your personal investing returns.
Garrison Keillor described Lake Wobegon as the town where all the children are above average. Now Spencer Jakab introduces us to Lake Moneybegone, where all the women are wise, all the men are hard-working, and all the investors are below average. It's a big place--almost everyone from teachers to doctors to bankers and even most fund managers live here. 
Since leaving his job as a top-rated stock analyst to become an investing columnist, Jakab has watched his readers make the same bad decisions again and again. Jakab looks at all the typical advice, from the clearly risky to the seemingly safe, to show you how various strategies are undermining even the most savvy investor's returns. The paths that lead to a seven figure nest egg are surprisingly few, but he reveals reliable strategies that can multiply a typical retirement saver's nest egg fourfold or more.
Jakab combines wise storytelling with a knack for doing the math on complicated ideas to explain why you shouldn't buy Apple, or care about tomorrow's big IPO, or even try to act on the belief that a recession is  around the corner. He also explains why you should never trust a World Cup predicting octopus, and why you shouldn't invest in companies with an X or Z in their names--information more useful than it sounds, and every bit as fun. His core audience? Readers who fall somewhere in the gap between "401(k)s for Dummies" and "Advanced Microeconomics." Whatever your level of expertise, though, a tour of Jakab's Lake Moneybegone will be entertaining and almost certainly profitable too.

Plus One by Christopher Noxon

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Christopher Noxon's debut novel Plus One is a comedic take on bread-winning women and caretaking men in contemporary Los Angeles. Alex Sherman-Zicklin is a mid-level marketing executive whose wife's fourteenth attempt at a TV pilot is produced, ordered to series, and awarded an Emmy. Overnight, she's sucked into a mad show-business vortex and he's tasked with managing their new high-profile Hollywood lifestyle. He falls in with a posse of Plus Ones, men who are married to women whose success, income, and public recognition far surpasses their own. What will it take for him to regain the foreground in his own life?

Christopher Noxon is an accomplished journalist who has written for such publications as the New YorkerDetailsLos Angeles MagazineSalon, and the New York Times Magazine; his first book, Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-Up (Crown), earned him interviews on such shows as the Colbert Report and Good Morning America and generated features in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and Talk of the Nation; Ira Glass of This American Lifecalled the book "an eye-opener." Noxon happens to be married to a top TV writer/producer and does the school chauffeuring for their three children, so he knows whereof he speaks regarding Plus Ones. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

His Son, His Secret by Sarah M. Anderson

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Their families tore them apart. Can their baby bring them back together?

For more than a year, Byron Beaumont has tried to get over Leona Harper. Not even living overseas could erase the memory of their affair...or her betrayal. Her family has been out to destroy his for decades, and despite Byron trusting her, making love to her, Leona kept her identity hidden. Now that Byron is back--as her new employer--he wants answers.

But what he gets is another surprise. Leona has given birth to his son. He'll do what it takes to care for his family, even if it means spending days--and nights--wanting the one woman he can't have...

The Teristaque Chronicles Vol. 1 by Aaron Frale

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Kal has always been considered too “fragile” to participate in the village activities. Her lithe stature seems to link her to her father, and distance her from everyone else. He left the village to fight in the Teristaque Wars and never returned. She meets Sarge, a strange star species of the human race who seems to know the secret of the patch from her father’s uniform. Kal has always known she is different than her fellow villagers, and finally she may be closer to finding out why.

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

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When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice's disappearance?

In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll's enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice's mentioned briefly in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself. 

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

And that is all the books that I got in the mail in July. It was a really good month for me. I'm most excited about reading After Alice (I was seriously so pumped when I got the email letting me know I'd won it). Beyond that I'm also pretty excited to read The Wangs vs. The World and Cooking for Picasso and I've already read Tainted (highly recommend it). Which of these books looks most interesting to you? - Katie