Monday, April 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week.

Here's what I got ~

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel by Jamie Ford (For Review) ~ Ford's strained debut concerns Henry Lee, a Chinese-American in Seattle who, in 1986, has just lost his wife to cancer. After Henry hears that the belongings of Japanese immigrants interned during WWII have been found in the basement of the Panama Hotel, the narrative shuttles between 1986 and the 1940s in a predictable story that chronicles the losses of old age and the bewilderment of youth. Henry recalls the difficulties of life in America during WWII, when he and his Japanese-American school friend, Keiko, wandered through wartime Seattle. Keiko and her family are later interned in a camp, and Henry, horrified by America's anti-Japanese hysteria, is further conflicted because of his Chinese father's anti-Japanese sentiment. Henry's adult life in 1986 is rather mechanically rendered, and Ford clumsily contrasts Henry's difficulty in communicating with his college-age son, Marty, with Henry's own alienation from his father, who was determined to Americanize him. The wartime persecution of Japanese immigrants is presented well, but the flatness of the narrative and Ford's reliance on numerous cultural cliches make for a disappointing read.

Mother's Day Murder (Lucy Stone Mysteries) by Leslie Meier ~ In Meier's fizzy 15th holiday-themed cozy (after 2008's St. Patrick's Day Murder), reporter Lucy Stone, of Tinker's Cove, Maine, knows that the victim of a shooting murder, Tina Nowak, was feuding with Barbara "Bar" Hume over the popularity of their respective 16-year-old daughters, Heather and Ashley. Tinker's Cove is still reeling from the disappearance 10 months earlier of a teen youth counselor, and Bar's arrest is almost as shocking. In digging for answers regarding the alleged "killer mom," Lucy uncovers some icky revelations about Bart Hume, Bar's philandering cardiac surgeon husband. Meier's mix of family concerns and mystery turns darker than usual after Bart's mistress is killed in a suspicious car accident, and Lucy and Sara, Lucy's high school freshman daughter, are caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Along the way, Lucy must also deal with fears about Sara's first prom date and the sleepless nights all moms must face.

Just Take My Heart: A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark ~ Natalie Raines, one of Broadway's brightest stars, accidentally discovers who killed her former roommate and sets in motion a series of shocking events that puts more than one life in extreme peril. While Natalie and her roommate, Jamie Evans, were both struggling young actresses, Jamie had been involved with a mysterious married man to whom she referred only by nickname. Natalie comes face to face with him years later and inadvertently addresses him by the nickname Jamie had used. A few days later, Natalie is found in her home in Closter, New Jersey, dying from a gunshot wound. Immediately the police suspect Natalie's theatrical agent and soon-to-be-ex-husband, Gregg Aldrich. He had long been a "person of interest" and was known to have stalked Natalie to find out if she was seeing another man. But no charges are brought against him until two years later, when Jimmy Easton, a career criminal, suddenly comes forward to claim that Aldrich had tried to hire him to kill his wife. Easton knows details about the Aldrich home that only someone who had been there -- to plan a murder, for instance -- could possibly know. The case is a plum assignment for Emily Wallace, an attractive thirty-two-year-old assistant prosecutor. As she spends increasingly long hours preparing for the trial, a seemingly well-meaning neighbor offers to take care of her dog in her absence. Unaware of his violent past, she gives him a key to her home... As Aldrich's trial is making headlines, her boss warns Emily that this high-profile case will reveal personal matters about her, such as the fact that she had a heart transplant. And, during the trial, Emily experiences sentiments that defy all reason and continue after Gregg Aldrich's fate is decided by the jury. In the meantime, she does not realize that her own life is now at risk.

Nice to Come Home To by Rebecca Flowers ~ Though she's methodically navigated 36 years by making lists and plans, D.C. resident Prudence Whistler's carefully constructed life is about to get shaken up. She's let go from the nonprofit job that never did much to fulfill her in the first place. Then Rudy—who she's finally decided will suffice as The One—condescendingly dumps her. But before she has too much time to stew, her loved ones rally 'round: catty, coupled college friends; her younger sister, Patsy, the unmarried mother of a two-year-old; and John Owen, the in-divorce-proceedings diner owner Pru first encounters while schlepping Rudy's television out to the curb. This crew's the catalyst for a series of adventures and lifestyle shakeups that has retail-addict Pru wondering whether her love for fashion could deliver more than the latest Marc Jacobs dress. And then there's the ongoing coffee klatch at John's diner that inspires the big question: is Pru in the market for getting-each-other-through-a-bad-time-love with John, or is it time to stick her neck out for real-love love? Readers may find Pru's early bad luck streak contrived, but as her lovable friends and neighbors spring into action, the well-written story rounds out and rolls toward a satisfying finish.

Scoop! (A Vicki Hill Mystery) by Hannah Dennison ~ Obit writer Vicky Hill suspects foul play when she learns of a suspicious death: a champion hedge cutter, electrocuted after accidentally slicing through a power cable. Yeah, right. To get the real story Vicky’s willing to suffer through bad dates and mortal danger.

Murder of a Royal Pain: A Scumble River Mystery (Scumble River Mysteries) by Denise Swanson ~ When school psychologist Skye Denison stumbles over the body of pushy “Promfest” chairperson Annette Paine during a Halloween fundraiser, it looks like a clear-cut case of promicide. Annette was not the only prom mom desperate to see her daughter crowned queen. But she was also wearing the same witch costume as Skye, so which witch was the intended victim?

The Dead Man by Joel Goldman ~ Careful What You Dream. Milo Harper wants former FBI agent Jack Davis' help. People in Harper's study of the human brain are starting to die - and dying exactly in the very ways they have dreamed...Harper wants Jack to get to the truth and counter lawsuits aimed at the foundation. But when Jack investigates, the truth explodes: a serial killer is lurking inside one of the most advanced research facilities in the world. For Jack, the case will shatter illusions, raise ghosts, and take him onto both sides of the law - and into the path of a murderer's terrifying rage.

Notoriously Neat: A Grime Solvers Mystery (Grime Solvers Mysteries) by Suzanne Price ~ Professional cleaner Sky Taylor and her potential new beau— the town’s police chief—are on their first dinner date when they’re interrupted by a stampede of household pets running through the restaurant. Someone’s murdered Dr. Gail Pilsner, Pigeon Cove’s hugely popular veterinarian, releasing all the critters boarded at her clinic.Then when one of the singers in a vocal group, the La Dee Das, is murdered, Sky must uncover the link between the veterinarian and the songbirds—before a killer finishes cleaning house.

A Night at the Operation (A Double Feature Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen ~ It’s hard for Elliot Freed to focus on his Comedy Tonight theatre with his ex-wife missing and accused of murdering her patient. With plenty of wanted— and unwanted—help, he embarks on a frantic search. Because murder is no laughing matter.


Kristie said...

You got some great books. I have had my eye on the Mary Higgins Clark book, though I figured I will just wait for it through the library. The Joel Goodman book sounds great, and I believe I picked it up at the store before putting it down due to my book buying hiatus. I love the Denise Swanson series and wasn't aware that there was a new one. You have some great reading ahead of you!

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I loved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It is one of my favorite books so far this year!

Literary Feline said...

It's been ages since I last read a Mary Higgins Clark book. I used to read her books as if they were my favorite candy. :-)

I am really eager to read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. It sounds like it will be a wonderful book.

Your other books look great too, Lori. I hope you enjoy them!