Monday, March 7, 2011

Mailbox Monday ~ March 7th

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

Here, Home, HopeHere, Home, Hope by Kaira Rouda (ARC, review, Tour) ~ Kelly Mills Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her middling middle-American existence and her neighbors' seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding. But Kelly's own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan.From page one, Kelly's witty reflections, self-deprecating humor, and clever tactics in executing that plan--she places Post-it notes all over her house and car--will have readers laughing out loud. The next instant, however, they might rant right along with Kelly as her commitment to a sullen, anorexic teenager left on her doorstep tries her patience or as she deflects the boozy advances of a divorced neighbor. Readers will need to keep the tissue box handy, too, as Kelly repairs the damage she inflicted on a high school friend; realizes how deeply her husband, Patrick, understands and loves her; and ultimately grows into a woman empowered by her own blend of home and career. Here, Home, Hope will surely appeal to readers of chick lit and other women's fiction titles who are ready to transition into something new in their own life. Release date ~ May 1st

Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray  by Ruta Sepetys (ARC, review) ~ Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. Release date ~ March 22nd.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous BreakthroughWomen on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker (Review, Guest Post, Giveaway) ~ But she still has her teenaged daughter Caroline to care for. And thanks to the recession, her elderly mother Ivy as well. Her daughter can't seem to exist without texting, and her mother brags about "goggling,"-while Joanie, back in the workforce, is still trying to figure out her office computer. And how to fend off the advances of her coworker Bruce.  Joanie, Caroline, and Ivy are stuck under the same roof, and it isn't easy. But sometimes they surprise each other-and themselves. And through their differences they learn that it is possible to undo the mistakes of the past.Joanie's ex-husband is having a baby with his new girlfriend. Joanie won't be having more babies, since she's decided never to have sex again. 

Bent Road Bent Road by Lori Roy (ARC, review) ~ For twenty years, Celia Scott has watched her husband, Arthur, hide from the secrets surrounding his sister Eve's death. As a young man, Arthur fled his small Kansas hometown, moved to Detroit, married Celia, and never looked back. But when the 1967 riots frighten him even more than his past, he convinces Celia to pack up their family and return to the road he grew up on, Bent Road, and that same small town where Eve mysteriously died. While Arthur and their oldest daughter slip easily into rural life, Celia and the two younger children struggle to fit in. Daniel, the only son, is counting on Kansas to make a man of him since Detroit damn sure didn't. Eve-ee, the youngest and small for her age, hopes that in Kansas she will finally grow. Celia grapples with loneliness and the brutality of life and death on a farm. And then a local girl disappears, catapulting the family headlong into a dead man's curve... On Bent Road, a battered red truck cruises ominously along the prairie; a lonely little girl dresses in her dead aunt's clothes; a boy hefts his father's rifle in search of a target; a mother realizes she no longer knows how to protect her children. It is a place where people learn: Sometimes killing is the kindest way. Release date ~ March 31st.

Playing With Matches (A Riley Drake Mystery)Playing With Matches (A Riley Drake Mystery)  by N.C. Hyzy (Nook) ~ As a female PI in Chicago, Riley Drake doesn't get the respect she deserves. Why should she? Right now her only client is PS Consultants, a high-class matchmaking enterprise, for whom she runs discreet background checks. But then Riley is hired by billionaire John Stratton who is desperate to resume dating and make his own love connection. The handsome widower would be quite the catch—if it weren't for the fact that he probably murdered his wife. Stratton’s woes are only part of Riley’s problems. Other clients—a TV celebrity with sexual-perception issues, a Trump-like entrepreneur with an embarrassing secret, and a worshipful drug-addict trying to go straight—keep her running through the streets of Chicago, ready to take down anyone who gets in her way.  Riley is determined to discover all their hidden truths, even though she knows playing with matches means you sometimes get burnt.

Long Gone: A Novel by Alafair Burke (ARC, NetGalley) How well do you know your boss? After a layoff and months of struggling, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. According to Drew Campbell, the well-suited corporate representative who hires her, the gallery is a passion project for its anonymous, wealthy, and eccentric owner. Drew assures Alice that the owner will be hands off, allowing her to run the gallery on her own. Her friends think it sounds too good to be true, but Alice sees a perfect opportunity to make a name for herself beyond the shadow of her famous father, an award-winning and controversial film maker. Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the gallery gone—the space stripped bare as if it had never existed—and Drew Campbell’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of police attention with nothing to prove her innocence. The phone number Drew gave her links back to a disposable phone. The artist whose work she displayed doesn’t seem to exist. And the dead man she claims is Drew has been identified as someone else. When police discover ties between the gallery and a missing girl, Alice knows she’s been set up. Now she has to prove it—a dangerous search for answers that will entangle her in a dark, high-tech criminal conspiracy and force her to unearth long-hidden secrets involving her own family . . . secrets that could cost Alice her life.  Release date ~ July 1st.

Dance Lessons: A NovelDance Lessons: A Novel  by Aine Greaney (ARC, NetGalley) ~ A year after her husband's death in a sailing accident off Martha's Vineyard, Ellen Boisvert bumps into an old friend. In this chance encounter, she discovers that her immigrant husband of almost fifteen years was not an orphan after all. Instead, his aged mother Jo is alive and residing on the family's isolated farm in the west of Ireland.  Faced with news of her mother-in-law incarnate, the thirty-nine-year-old American prep school teacher decides to travel to Ireland to investigate the truth about her husband Fintan and why he kept his family's existence a secret for so many years. Between Jo's hilltop farm and the lakeside village of Gowna, Ellen begins to uncover the mysteries of her Irish husband's past and the cruelties and isolation of his rural childhood. Ellen also stumbles upon Fintan's long-ago romance with a local village woman, with whom he had a daughter, Cat. Cat is now fourteen and living with her mother in London. As Ellen reconciles her troubled relationship with Fintan, she discovers a way to heal the wounds of the past.  Deeply rooted in the Irish landscape and sensibility, Dance Lessons is a powerful story of loss, regret, and transformation. Release date ~ March 30th.

The Love Goddess' Cooking School The Love Goddess' Cooking School by Melissa Senate (Kindle) ~ Camilla's Cucinotta: Italian Cooking Classes. Fresh take-home pastas & sauces daily.  Benvenuti! (Welcome!) Holly Maguire's grandmother Camilla was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine--a Milanese fortune-teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can't make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that's why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla's Cucinotta, she's determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother's legacy. But Holly's four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla's chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter's heart. Juliet, Holly's childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can't find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad, Liam, from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend. As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla's essential ingredients of wishes and memories in every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed--and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.

Playing for Keeps: A Cricket Creek Novel Playing for Keeps: A Cricket Creek Novel by LuAnn McLane (Kindle) ~ Olivia Lawson is peeved when ex-ace pitcher turned soap opera star Noah Falcon roars back into Cricket Creek, Kentucky, after all these years, to take the lead opposite her in the community theater's summer play. Noah's beloved hometown is having major financial woes and needs his status to turn this small-town play into a big-time hit. But Noah has bigger plans for this small town. And this time he's determined to show Olivia he's not just playing around-he's playing for keeps.

Mystery Short Stories, Volume 1Mystery Short Stories, Volume 1  by N.C. Hyzy (Kindle) ~ Two mystery short stories from Julie Hyzy writing as N.C. Hyzy. These include her Derringer Award winning story, "Strictly Business," which originally appeared in THESE GUNS FOR HIRE and
"Panic," a brand new, never before published thriller set in Sarasota, Florida, pitting a mom and daughter against a sly serial killer during college move-in weekend. Bonus - a sample chapter from N.C. Hyzy's new novel, PLAYING WITH MATCHES

Don't Breathe a Word: A Novel Don't Breathe a Word: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon (NetGalley) ~ They say if you pass by on the right night of the year, you'll hear the devil whisper your name . . . Once upon a soft, summer night in a small New England town, a 12-year-old girl named Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother Sam about a door—hidden among the ruins of an old town long forgotten—that led to a magical place. A place where she would meet Teilo, the King of the Fairies, and become his queen. Sam didn't believe in fairies, ghosts, or anything supernatural back then, and now, 15 years later, he still doesn't. It's one of the many things that his girlfriend, Phoebe, loves about  this practical, sensible man. Sam doesn't have bad dreams, doesn't avoid the shadows, and does not fear the dark. Instead, he helps her ignore her own dark nightmares. But a series of eerie occurrences—beginning with a mysterious phone call—begins to challenge Sam's hard-headed realism. Could there be a world beyond their own and is Lisa somehow a part of it? As events spin out of control, the couple finds themselves falling deeper into a vortex of evil and  terror. And suddenly Sam is reminded of a terrible promise he made years ago . . . a promise that could destroy them all. Jennifer McMahon brilliantly interweaves family secrets, dark loves, and the allure and fear of the supernatural in an addictively powerful tale that will leave readers racing to the final page.