In My Mailbox

I missed out on last weeks mailbox as I was out of town.  So now I am catching up on two weeks worth of books.  Thanks Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting this fun meme.  Here is where I list anything bookish that came in my home… be it by mail, or Library, or purchase….

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression.

One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.

But Kristen’s story doesn’t end there.

In Life, In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival, the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living.

Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured.

Rebecca’s life just keeps getting better. With Jack away on business, she’s looking forward to four days alone to work on her new client’s PR campaign to help women take back their lives. But her past intrudes. Roy, the man who stalked and assaulted her years before, has been released from prison. Home alone in her big, beautiful house out in the country, Rebecca has to learn to take back her own life while facing her fears and regaining her strength. But will she be strong enough when she faces the ultimate test?

Set in 1956, bestseller Smith’s edgy second thriller to feature Leo Demidov (after Child 44) depicts the paranoia and instability of the Soviet Union after the newly installed Khrushchev regime leaks a secret speech laying out Stalin’s brutal abuses. Now working as a homicide detective, Leo has long since repudiated his days as an MGB officer, but his former colleagues, fearful of reprisals from their victims, have begun taking their own lives. Leo himself becomes the target of Fraera, the wife of a priest he imprisoned. Now the leader of a violent criminal gang, Fraera kidnaps Leo’s daughter, Zoya, and threatens to kill Zoya if Leo doesn’t liberate her husband from his gulag prison.

Kathy Spence awakens in the middle of the night and finds herself in a living nightmare. Her husband has been run down and she is the primary suspect. With an eyewitness to the crime and proof that her car was the murder weapon, it appears to be an open and shut case. Terrified for her future, Kathy turns to amateur sleuth Anne Marshall for help. Believing in Kathy s innocence, Anne launches her own investigation, uncovering proof of a conspiracy that reaches from Kathy s past and threatens her own life. In a race against time, Anne must count on her close friends and even the ghost of her father to help her bring a killer to justice before it s too late.

It’s almost the end of Miranda’s sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver’s license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda’s voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the small east Texas town of Howbutker is run by two families. The Tolivers preside over the massive cotton plantation of Somerset, while the Warwicks possess acres upon acres of timber. The children of the families, pretty and stubborn Mary Toliver and suave, strong Percy Warwick, are like water and oil. Percy insists that Mary will eventually marry him, and Mary is adamant that she will never have room in her heart for anything but Somerset, yet their undeniable attraction pulls them together. Through a trick of fate, Percy and Mary are forced apart. The consequences of their separation vibrate throughout the years, giving rise to lies, deceit, secrets, and tragedies that their families must suffer through, until, ultimately, they just have to leave it to Percy, Mary, and plain fate to see if they can make things right in the end.

BOOTLEGGING, BARNSTORMING and a Hard-Rock BOONDOOGLE. Los Angeles, 1934: Based on a true chapter of California history, Houdini Pie explores the depths to which a family, and a city, will sink when hard luck comes knocking and there’s nothing left to lose. Young Hal Gates is a celebrated pitcher for an upstart rural ball club, and the son of a notorious booze smuggler who vanished at the end of Prohibition. At his lonely mother’s urging, and with the desperate backing of the municipal powers-that-be, he teams up with a crackpot geologist to mine for a mythical Hopi treasure trove buried miles beneath the downtown streets. The deeper they tunnel the more Hal learns about loyalty, treachery, hunger and hope, and mostly–in ways he never would have imagined–about love.

When an avalanche thundered down the mountain housing the Fourth of July Mine in Swandyke, Colorado, that bright April afternoon in 1920, it carried death and destruction but also provided the seeds for forgiveness and redemption. Grace Foote, the mine manager’s wife, sees the children on their way home from school. Joe Cobb, the only black man in town, is one of the first to dig for them. Sisters Lucy and Dolly, estranged for years, unite now in the face of shared tragedy. Essie Schnabel, from New York City and Jewish and working in a brothel, stands vigil, as does Minder Evans, a crusty Civil War veteran raising his grandson. Dallas presents another historical novel about the hardscrabble mining communities of Colorado, set just down the road from her best-selling Prayers for Sale (2009), creating a patchwork of individuals whose lives had not intersected until this singular, transformative event. Readers may find the abrupt transitions and preponderance of flashbacks confusing and distancing.

In life, children and adults both face obstacles that can cause fear and anxiety. Bug Goes through the Maze reminds us that we can all learn important lessons to help us become stronger by meeting new people and trying new things. It also reminds us how to make every experience an adventure, while overcoming obstacles along the way.

Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall knows the dark side of life and has committed himself to eradicating it. When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated in Redford, Colorado, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, knowing the strange event could escalate and destroy the tranquility of his small mountain town. With a rising drug threat and never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history, Jonah fights for answers—and his fragile sobriety.

But he can’t penetrate every wound or secret—especially one fueled by a love and guilt teetering on madness.

In the year 2088, Christian missionary Abigail Caldwell leaves her New Guinea village to seek help for fellow villagers, who have all been stricken by a mysterious disease. A message from her grandfather, an American neuroscientist who is the co-inventor of a silicon brain replacement, draws her to America, where religion has died out. Abby joins forces with a historian who has a connection to Abby’s family as they investigate the death of her grandfather and face the spiritual implications of transhumanity—humans with replacement silicon brains that promise eternal life but make impossible personal connection with God.

The hilarious, implausible, and touching story of twin brothers accomplishing the impossible—making a feature film (with a cast and crew with 11 Academy Awards and 26 nominations) with no experience, no money and no contacts.

When identical twin brothers Logan and Noah Miller’s homeless father died alone in a jail cell, they vowed, come hell or high water, that their film, Touching Home, would be made as a dedication to their love for him. Either You’re in or You’re in the Way is the amazing story of how—without a dime to their names nor a single meaningful contact in Hollywood—they managed to write, produce, direct, and act in a feature film alongside four-time Academy Award-nominated actor Ed Harris and fellow nominees Brad Dourif and Robert Forster.

An elusive heirloom cradle symbolizes childhood’s pains and possibilities in Somerville’s spare, elegant first novel (after a story collection, Trouble). Marissa, pregnant with her first child, becomes obsessed with tracking down the antique cradle her mother took when she abandoned the family a decade earlier. Marissa’s husband, Matt, is sure he’s been dispatched on a fool’s errand, but his journey soon connects him to Marissa’s family and his own history of abandonment, neglect and abuse amid a string of foster homes and orphanages. Matt’s quest through four states is interwoven with another drama that takes place 11 years later, in 2008, in which poet and children’s author Renee Owen is haunted by memories of war and a lost love as she prepares to send her son off to fight in Iraq. Again, long-buried secrets come to the surface, one of which poignantly links the two story lines.

Imagine God recycling bottles and planting trees. In this book by faith and culture writer Merritt, God is honored as the ultimate environmentalist who restores and loves His own creation. Evangelical Christians are less supportive of environmental causes than other groups, a statistic that Merritt attributes to misinformation and politics that hamper understanding. Through a compilation of scripture, statistics, and his own anecdotes, Merritt explains that creation care is a shared moral obligation—not a political viewpoint or a film by Al Gore. The world is God’s apologetic about Himself; it is the Christian’s job to maintain its beauty and complexity. Merritt arms the reader with Bible verses commanding care for creation; resources and suggestions for green living are given in the appendixes.


Columbine I have seen around on other blogs and is a book that I know will be a hard read – but one I want to know about.  I have read a few other books surrounding Columbine.

The Arrival will be my first dabbling in a graphic novel.  This was reviewed at my friend Anigie’s blog By Book Or By Crook and I thought it sounded interesting.

I have had this book on my shelf for sadly – years.  I just never get to it.  Today I picked it up in audio form the Library and I will start listening to it tomorrow!

*Whew!*  There’s my mailbox of 2+ weeks.  How about you?  What has arrived in your mailbox this week?

58 thoughts on “In My Mailbox

  1. What a huge amount of books! And such good ones! Life In Spite of Me sounds like a pretty amazing story. I’d like to read The Secret Speech. I knew it was by the same author as Child 44 but I guess I didn’t realize it was something of a sequel. (love sequels!)

    1. Rhapsodyinbooks, I think Life In Spite Of Me will be something! I haven’t read Child 44 yet but it was recommended to me forever ago (ok… maybe not forever – but last fall) by our friend Robb who said it was amazing!

  2. Really can’t wait to see what you think of Columbine. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

    Great bunch of books these past two weeks!

  3. You will love The Kite Runner-I so want to read Roses and The Secret Speech looks great-it is going on my wish list.

  4. I got Life As We Knew It this week too! Looks great. If you want you can see what else I got here. Haha I have The Kite Runner waiting on my shelf too. Don’t know when it’s gonna get read but so many good things have been said about it.

  5. wow, great stuff! i need to pick up Life as We Knew It. i have the third book in the series, but would like to read the first two… and i hope you enjoy The Kite Runner. it is a wonderful book! if you haven’t read A Thousand Splendid Suns, i would definitely recommend that one, too.

    i can’t wait to see what you think of Columbine. i have it on my shelf to be read (hopefully soon!).

    my IMM is HERE. i got lots of goodies, too!

  6. I also received Life in Spite of Me and Indivisable (which I’m reading now), Green Like God was a win I got a couple of weeks ago, Kite Runner is awesome, Roses scares me because of the length, I loved the last Sandra Dallas book I read, and Life as We Know It caught my eye too.

  7. Wow, so many delightful looking books! Roses is one that looks so intriguing, and The Cradle is on my list. The Kite Runner and Columbine…definitely To Be Read.

    What fabulous treats!

  8. after the first ten pages of the kite runner my boyfriend went out and got a thousand splendid suns so he could not miss a beat between them. it is a marvelous book!

  9. Great selection of books. There were some really interesting ones in the mail. THE CRADLE, LIFE AS WE KNEW IT , and ROSES I am familiar with. I can see a couple of others I’ll be looking for.
    How do you ever find time to post as much as you do and still have time to read – not to mention still have a life, which you do?

    My mailbox this past week:
    TRIUMPH IN ARMS by Jennifer Blake (Unusual Historicals)
    THE CRAZY SCHOOL by Cornelia Read (Sea of Books)
    THE MOON LOOKED DOWN by Dorothy Garlock (Sea of Books)
    BETWEEN FRIENDS by Kristy Kierman (crazy-for-books)

    1. Pat, I usually prep my posts late at night after Al has gone to bed. I also read late at night (Al is usually in bed by 8:30 – he is an early riser). I get up at about 6 am and over coffee I browse blogs and listen to audio books. I also have a cd book going on in my vehicle so usually have three books going at once, as well as a light read I keep in my car for waiting at appointments. When I work out I listen to audio books as well so I guess I am just a multi tasker 😀

      You have some greta reads that came in your mailbox!

  10. Life As We Knew It looks really interesting, I’ll have to check back to see what you think of it. Enjoy your books!

  11. I am awaiting my copy of Revenge Served Cold. It seems like such a great book and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. I received Citizen Dick this week. So far it has been a bore to read but I am trying to get through it because I have to review it.

  12. Haha! Your mailbox is overflowing! The first book, Life in spite of me, sounds really inspirational. She’s a really brave girl.

    I have Life as We Knew it on my wishlist. Houdini Pie has a very interesting yet simple cover. Minimal but meaningful.

    As for the Kite Runner, I’ve watched the movie and was moved to tears. Haven’t read the book yet though. Hope to read it this year! 🙂

    Enjoy your books!!! 😀

    1. Josette – I know I have a huge mailbox this week. Time management I guess…LOL

      I will watch the Kite Runner movie after I read the book…. looking forward to it!

  13. Great selection of books Sheila! I really want to read Life as we knew it – looks like a great series 🙂 I hope you enjoy them all

  14. Some great books here. I’ve read the first 2 books in Pfeffer’s series and ready to start “This World we Live In”. I think you’ll enjoy “Life as we Know It”.

  15. Great selection. Whiter than snow sounds like an excellent book, I may have to check it out. I haven’t even seen the book before today, and I’ve now seen it in a few IMM’s. Thanks again.

    1. Jules I enjoyed Sandra Dallas many years ago with her Persian Pickle Club and Buster’s Midnight Cafe. When I seen she had a new one out I jumped at the chance to read it. She writes good homey characters like Debbie MacComber.

  16. Either you’re in or you’re in the way: I heard about these guys ages ago when I saw them and Ed Harris interviews. Amazing story! I have worked in the film business for over 14 years and know from personal experience the miracle these guys have pulled off.

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