Posts Tagged ‘mailbox monday’

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

I’m slowly returning to reading and blogging while I’m in between book editing projects, so these are books that were added to my shelves over the past month:

For review:

aerendgastAerendgast: The Lost History of Jane Austen by Rachel Berman — from Meryton Press

**Check out my review**

Violet Desmond has just learned from her dying grandmother that the life she’s been living is a lie.

Left with only a locket, a newspaper clipping, and a name–Atherton–Violet sets off to discover her hidden personal history. Simultaneously, the London academic begins to have vivid dreams in which a woman from the past narrates her life story involving the same locket, a secret marriage, and a child. A story intimately connected to Jane Austen.

Violet reluctantly agrees to receive help from cavalier treasure hunter, Peter Knighton. Blacklisted from his profession, Knighton can almost taste the money and accolades he’d receive for digging up something good on Austen; the locket alone is unique enough to be worth plenty to the right collector. It would be enough to get his foot back in the door.

The unlikely pair begin a quest for answers that leads them to Aerendgast Hallows. Knee-deep in hidden crypts, perilous pursuits, and centuries-old riddles, Violet must put her literary expertise to the test as she battles to uncover the secret that her loved ones died trying to reveal, before an unknown enemy silences her as well. (publisher’s summary)

a peculiar connectionA Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn — from Meryton Press

A Peculiar Connection begins near the close of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Bent on preventing the engagement of her nephew to Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh declares that any union between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth would be “a sin against Heaven itself!” Her shocking revelation, along with a cryptic message written over twenty years earlier, thrusts the couple into a whirlwind of heartbreak and disbelief.

Could a deserted mansion in Derbyshire or a small church hidden in the wood hold the key to solving the puzzle? And why is Elizabeth inexplicably drawn to the portrait of three young boys in Pemberley’s gallery?

Determined to confirm or refute Lady Catherine’s accusation, Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to embark upon a twisted trail into bygone days and family secrets. All the while, they must endure the exquisite torture of denying the indisputable desire that still hovers between them. (publisher’s summary)

rebel queenRebel Queen by Michelle Moran — from the author and Touchstone

When Britain sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest.  After all, India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of the rest, seemingly no match for the might of the Empire.  But when English soldiers arrive in the kingdom of Jhansi, they’re met with a surprising challenge.

Instead of quietly surrendering, Jhansi’s ruler, Queen Lakshmi, raises two armies — one male and one female — and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people.  Although at first her soldiers may not appear formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from an empire that is trying to take away the land she loves.

Told from the unique perspective of Sita — Queen Lakshmi’s closest confidante and most-trusted soldier in her all-female army — Rebel Queen shines a light on a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction.  In the tradition of her bestselling novel, Nefertiti, Michelle Moran brings to rich, vibrant life the true story of a queen determined to live and die for her country.  (publisher’s summary)

veil of secretsSophia’s War: Veil of Secrets by Stephanie Baumgartner — from the author

“…You’re not the only one with secrets — with people you care about who need to be protected.”

Sophia made a choice to put the needs and safety of others before her own.  With more than just her own interests at stake, survival in Nazi Germany has become even more perilous.  Though she finds companionship with a handsome war photographer, her secrets threaten to destroy everything and everyone she holds dear.

But Sophia soon learns that she is not the only one carrying a dangerous secret.  No one in Germany is who they say they are, and those who have nothing to hide are quick to betray those that do.  When the motivations of others collide with her own, Sophia must adapt to survive, learning she can trust no one but herself in Hitler’s Germany.  (publisher’s summary)

the empire of the sensesThe Empire of the Senses by Alexis Landau — from Pantheon Books

Lev Pearlmutter, an assimilated, cultured German Jew, enlists to fight in World War I, leaving behind his gentile wife Josephine and their children, Franz and Vicki.  Moving between Lev’s and Vicki’s veiwpoints, Part I of the novel focuses on Lev’s experiences on the Eastern Front — both in war and in love — which render his life at home a pale aftermath by comparison.  Part II picks up in Berlin in 1927-1928: the Pearlmutter children, now young adults, grapple with their own questions: Franz, drawn into the Brown Shirt movement, struggling with his unexpressed homosexuality; and Vicki, seduced by jazz, bobbed hair, and falling in love with a young man who wants to take her to Palestine.  Unlike most historical novels of this kind, The Empire of the Senses is not about the Holocaust but rather about the brew that led to it, and about why it was unimaginable to ordinary people like Lev and his wife.  Plotted with meticulous precision and populated by characters who feel and dream to the fullest, it holds us rapt as cultural loss and ethnic hatred come to coexist with love, passion, and the power of the human spirit.  (publisher’s summary)

the cherry harvestThe Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna — from William Morrow

The war has taken a toll on the Christiansen family.  With food rationed and money scarce, Charlotte Christiansen struggles to keep her family well fed.  Her teenage daughter, Kate, raises rabbits to earn money for college and dreams of becoming a writer.  Charlotte’s husband, Thomas, struggles to keep the farm going while their son, along with most of the other young men from the area, is fighting in Europe.

When their upcoming cherry harvest is threatened by the shortage of workers, strong-willed Charlotte helps persuade local authorities to allow German war prisoners from a nearby POW camp to pick the fruit.

But when Thomas befriends one of the prisoners, a teacher named Karl, and invites him to tutor Kate, the implications of Charlotte’s actions become apparent — especially when she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Karl.  So busy are Charlotte and Thomas with the prisoners that they fail to see Kate is growing into a young woman, with longings and temptations of her own — including a secret romance with the son of a wealthy, war-profiteering senator.  And when their beloved Ben returns home from the war, bitter and injured, bearing an intense hatred of Germans, Charlotte’s secrets threaten to explode their world.  (publisher’s summary)

the travels of daniel ascherThe Travels of Daniel Ascher by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat, translated from the French by Adriana Hunter — from Other Press

Who is the real author of The Black Insignia?  Is it H.R. Sanders, whose name is printed on the cover of every installment of the wildly successful young adult adventure series?  Or is it Daniel Roche, the enigmatic world traveler who disappears for months at a time?  When Daniel’s great-niece, Hélène, moves to Paris to study archeology, she and her friend Guillaume, a devoted fan of her great-uncle’s books, set out to discover more about the man whose life eludes her.  In so doing, she uncovers an explosive secret dating back to the darkest days of the Occupation.

In recounting the moment when one history began and another ended, The Travels of Daniel Ascher explores the true nature of fiction: is it a refuge, a lie, or a stand-in for mourning?  (publisher’s summary)

even in darknessEven in Darkness by Barbara Stark-Nemon — from PR by the Book

Based on a true story spanning a century and three continents, Even in Darkness traces the life of Klare Kohler, who meets the Nazis’ destruction of her comfortable world with passionate resilience, enlisting good-hearted, everyday Germans to help her survive.  This saga of family, a lover, two world wars, and a concentration camp leads to the unconventional life Klare builds in post-war Germany — one that ultimately allows her to find wisdom, meaning, and, most unexpectedly, love.  (publisher’s summary)

dear carolinaDear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey — from the author

Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan — everything except the second child she has always wanted.  Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone.  Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby.  But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki for the ultimate favor…

Written to baby Carolina, both by her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us — and that families aren’t born, they’re made.  (publisher’s summary)


lizzy & janeLizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay — from Austenesque Reviews

Lizzy and Jane couldn’t be further from Jane Austen’s favorite sisters for whom they are named.

Elizabeth left her family’s home in Seattle fifteen years ago to pursue her lifelong dream — chefing her own restaurant in New York City.  Jane stayed behind to raise a family.  Estranged since their mother’s death many years ago, the circumstances of their lives are about to bring them together once again.

Known for her absolute command of her culinary domain, Elizabeth’s gifts in the kitchen have begun to elude her.  And patrons and reviewers are noticing.  In need of some rest and an opportunity to recover her passion for cooking, Elizabeth jumps at the excuse to rush to her sister’s bedside when Jane is diagnosed with cancer.  After all, Elizabeth did the same for their mother.  Perhaps this time, it will make a difference.

As Elizabeth pours her renewed energy into her sister’s care and into her burgeoning interest in Nick, Jane’s handsome coworker, her life begins to evolve from the singular pursuit of her own dream into the beautiful world of family, food, literature, and love that was shattered when she and Jane lost their mother.  Will she stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane — and Elizabeth to Nick’s Mr. Darcy — or will she return to the life she has worked so hard to create?  (publisher’s summary)

Unexpected arrival:

the walls around usThe Walls Around Us by Nova Run Suma — from Algonquin Young Readers

*I’ve passed this one onto my daughter.**

On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors?  What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills?  Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve — in this life or in another one?

In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.  (publisher’s summary)

Next week I’ll feature the free ebooks I downloaded over the last month.

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to the shelves over the past week:

Free ebooks:

with every letterWith Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Lt. Mellie Blake is looking forward to beginning her training as a flight nurse.  She is not looking forward to writing a letter to a man she’s never met — even if it is anonymous and part of a morale-building program.  Lt. Tom MacGilliver, an officer stationed in North Africa, welcomes the idea of an anonymous correspondence — he’s been trying to escape his infamous name for years.

As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, Tom and Mellie develop a unique friendship despite not knowing the other’s true identity.  When both are transferred to Algeria, the two are poised to meet face-to-face for the first time.  Will they overcome their fears and reveal who they are, or will their future be held hostage by their pasts?

Combining a flair for romance with excellent research and attention to detail, Sarah Sundin vividly brings to life the perilous challenges of WWII aviation, nursing — and true love. (publisher’s summary)

the daughters of delafordThe Daughters of Delaford by Lucia Edgerton

It’s 1820, and the daughters of Elinor and Marianne, now 20 years old, are excited to begin their lives. Little did Allegra Brandon and Grace Ferrars know that they would become embroiled in the most important and scandalous event of their time, that being the return of Caroline of Brunswick, otherwise known as the Princess of Wales, to England after years of exile. As they witness Lady Caroline’s fight for her crown, they also chase their own dreams, sometimes finding things are not as they seem; Grace finds out the wealthy lord and landowner she married is not the man she thought he was; as Allegra’s very modern dream of a writing career meets with resistance as she becomes entwined with a mysterious stranger who not only steals her heart, but her reputation. Both women are forced to make choices that will not only affect themselves, but those they love as well. (publisher’s summary)

the jane austen codeThe Jane Austen Code by J.D. Gregory

When a murder is committed in the city of Southampton, graduate student Anna Lewis finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy, and it involves Jane Austen.  At a young age, the beloved novelist stumbled upon secrets meant to be hidden and left clues within the pages of her works.  It is now up to Anna to follow the trail and unravel a mystery centuries in the making. (publisher’s summary)

only with youOnly With You by Cecilia Gray

Emma has it all — looks, money, and luck. It’s not like she keeps it all to herself — she’s totally committed to helping those less fortunate. AKA, everyone. She invites her heartbroken friend to help with a weekend charity event with an eye to match make, but when that friend turns her eye toward the guy Emma wants for herself, how will she choose between friendship and her own feelings? (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to the shelves:

From Serena:

the turning of anne merrickThe Turning of Anne Merrick by Christine Blevins

It’s 1777, and a fledgling country wages an almost hopeless struggle against the might of the British Empire.  Brought together by a fateful kiss, Anne Merrick and Jack Hampton are devoted to each other and to their Patriot cause.  As part of Washington’s daring network of spies, they are ready and willing to pay even the ultimate price for freedom.

From battlefields raging along the Hudson, to the desperate winter encampment at Valley Forge, and through the dangerous intrigue of British-occupied Philadelphia, Anne and Jack brave the trials of separation, the ravages of war, and an unyielding enemy growing ever more ruthless.

For love and for country, all is put at risk — and together the pair must call upon their every ounce of courage and cunning in order to survive.  (publisher’s summary)

Free ebooks:

suddenly youSuddenly You by Cecilia Gray

Fanny doesn’t want to be at The Jane Austen Academy. She intends to lay low until graduation when she can try out for the Olympic track team. She doesn’t need friends or love. She only needs her running.

But The Academy is in danger. In an effort to save it, Fanny joins forces with the friends she never knew she wanted. Suddenly, Fanny finds herself center stage in the middle of the Academy’s biggest love triangle as the lead in the school play…only this track star can’t afford to break a leg. (publisher’s summary)

And these freebies from the Austen Variations site:

kitty bennet in love

elinor and edward's plans for lucy steele

a tale of two matchmakers

mr. darcy's p&p

second impressions

fifteen thousand nights



What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to the shelves:

For review:

the darcy brothersThe Darcy Brothers by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks, and Abigail Reynolds — from the authors

Theo Darcy is everything his disapproving elder brother, Fitzwilliam, is not — easy-going, charming, and full of fun. A tragic event as children severed their bond of friendship, but now they are together again. They are still at odds, though, this time over the love of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and the truth about George Wickham. Will Wickham manage to divide the brothers again? And more importantly, which Mr. Darcy will Elizabeth choose? (publisher’s summary)

the secret of pembrooke parkThe Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen — from Bethany House

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter.  She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer:  the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years.  The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left:  tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning:  Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail’s attention.  Hoping restore her family’s finances — and her dowry — Abigail looks for this supposed treasure.  But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light.  Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?  (publisher’s summary)

doll godDoll God by Luanne Castle — from the author for Poetic Book Tours (Serena‘s new business venture!)

Luanne Castle’s debut poetry collection, Doll God, studies traces of the spirit world in human-made and natural objects — a Japanese doll, a Palo Verde tree, a hummingbird.  Her exploration leads the reader between the twin poles of nature and creations of the imagination in dolls, myth, and art.

From the first poem, which reveals the child’s wish to be godlike, to the final poem, an elegy for female childhood, this collection echoes with the voices of the many in the one:  a walking doll, a murderer, Snow White.  Marriage, divorce, motherhood, and family losses set many of the poems in motion.  The reader is transported from the lakes of Michigan to the Pacific Ocean to the Sonoran Desert.

These gripping poems take the reader on a journey through what is found, lost, or destroyed.  The speaker in one poem insists, “I am still looking for angels.”  She has failed to find them yet keeps searching on.  She knows that what is lost can be found.  (publisher’s summary)

Free ebook:

bon appetitBon Appétit by Sandra Byrd

Lexi Stuart is risking it all.  Saying au revoir to the security of home, her job, and could be boyfriend Dan, Lexi embarks on a culinary adventure in France to fulfill her life dream of becoming a pastry chef.

As she settles into her new home in the village of Presque le Chateau to study and work in a local bakery, her twenty-something optimism meets resistance in the seemingly crusty nature of the people and culture around her.  Determined to gain her footing, she finds a church, meets a new friend, and makes the acquaintance of a child named Celine — as well as Celine’s attractive, widowed father, Philippe.  Even Patricia, the gruff pastry cook, shows a softer side as she mentors Lexi in the art of baking.

As Lexi lives her dream, the only thing she has to do is choose from the array in life’s patisserie display window:  her familiar home, friends, and family in Seattle or her new life in France.  Lexi discovers that as she trusts herself and leans more on God the choices become a little clearer — and making them, well, c’est la vie! (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to the shelves:

For review:

the nightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah — from St. Martin’s Press

In love we find out who we want to be.

In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France — a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime. (publisher’s summary)

Unexpected arrival:

catch you later traitorCatch You Later, Traitor by Avi — from Algonquin Young Readers

*This isn’t my cup of tea, but I passed it on to my daughter.

Brooklyn, New York, 1951.  Twelve-year-old Pete Collison is a regular kid who loves Sam Spade detective books and radio crime dramas, but when an FBI agent shows up at Pete’s doorstep accusing his father of being a Communist, Pete finds himself caught in a real-life mystery.  Could there really be Commies in Pete’s family?  At the same time, Pete’s class turns against him, thanks to similar rumors spread by his own teacher; even Kat, Pete’s best friend, feels the pressure to ditch him.  As Pete follows the quickly accumulating clues, he begins to wonder if the truth could put his family’s livelihood — and even their freedom — at risk.

In the tradition of his Newbery Honor book Nothing But the Truth, Avi’s newest novel tells a funny, insightful story packed with realistic period detail of a boy in mid-twentieth-century America.  Its unique look at what it felt like to be an average family caught in the wide net of the Red Scare has powerful relevance to contemporary questions of democracy and individual freedoms.  (publisher’s summary)

Free ebooks:

mrs. tuesday's departureMrs. Tuesday’s Departure by Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

A heart-wrenching historical novel spanning seventy years, two continents, and a an imagined story that holds the power to create a safe future for a young girl. This page-turning family saga soars to a breathtaking ending that redefines the meaning of love.

When Natalie and Anna, sisters and life-long rivals, hide an abandoned child from the Nazis, their struggle re-opens a star-crossed love triangle, threatening their safety and testing the bonds of their loyalty.

Hungary’s fragile alliance with Germany insured that Natalie, a best selling children’s book author, and her family would be safe as World War Two raged through Europe. The Holocaust that has only been whispered about until now becomes a terrible reality for every Jewish family or those who hide Jews.

Beautiful but troubled Anna, a poet and university professor is losing her tenuous hold on reality, re-igniting a dangerous sibling rivalry that began in childhood.

The streets of Budapest echo with the pounding boots of Nazi soldiers. Danger creeps to the doorstep where the sisters’ disintegrating relationship threatens to expose the child they are trying to protect. In one night, Anna’s rash behavior destroys their carefully made plans of escape, and Natalie is presented with a desperate choice.

Interwoven with Natalie and Anna’s story, is Mila’s. The abandoned child whose future Natalie lovingly imagines in a story about an old woman named Mrs. Tuesday.

Mrs. Tuesday’s Departure is an inspirational historical novel spanning two generations and exploring the unbreakable bonds of sisters. (publisher’s summary)

jane austen and the archangelJane Austen and the Archangel by Pamela Aares

What’s to be done with an angel who breaks the rules? Introduce him to a woman known for her propriety, of course.

Until then, passion had lived only on the page…

Jane Austen hasn’t written a creative word in months. She secretly fears she may not have it in her to write a single word more about love. Yet when the mysterious Michael Grace appears on her doorstep, she’s cast into a world of emotion beyond even her wildest imaginings. Though she fears he might be a spy, she enlists his help to find her friend’s fiancé, missing in the Peninsular War. But Michael isn’t what he seems, and the passion and doubts he ignites turn everything Jane trusts upside down. What Jane doesn’t know is that her mystery man is an angel. One who’s never failed to get what he goes after.

Some rules just beg to be broken…

It’s not easy being a bad-boy angel and Michael is paying the penalty. Demoted to working undercover in a sleepy English village, he’s chafing to launch the dangerous mission he’s been sent to command. But when he meets Jane, he’s irresistibly drawn to her, even though involvement with her could jeopardize her life and his status as an angel.

When Lucifer tries to use Jane as a pawn in his vile schemes, Michael discovers that fighting the forces of darkness is nothing compared to the challenge of telling Jane the truth. Can the angel who’s never lost a battle win the heart of a woman who’s afraid of love? (publisher’s summary)

mansfield ranchMansfield Ranch by Jenni James

Does true love really prevail?

All Lilly Price has ever known is living in the shadow of her widely successful foster family. But when a twist of fate deals Lilly the hand of Harrison Crawford, the most popular guy in Bloomfield, NM, everything flips upside down.

Sean Benally is a hard worker, he’s funny, he’s generous, and he’s kind. He’s also the most amazing guy Lilly has ever known. And she’s totally fallen in love with him. But he’s her foster brother…

Now she must choose between the unavailable love of her life — or the guy who promises to be available forever. (publisher’s summary)

long christmasA Long Christmas by Michelle Read

Can true love be found at Christmas?

What if Emily never went to the nineteenth century?

What if William went to the twenty-first century instead?

A twist on the original Centuries of Love Trilogy sees William waking up at Christmas in 2012.

Confused by this new modern era and why he has been brought here, he is soon relieved to find his wife, Emily, but is shocked when she doesn’t know who he is.

On discovering the nineteenth century tradition of kissing your true love by midnight on Twelfth Night or lose them forever, he realises it’s a race against time to make Emily fall in love with him all over again.

Will there be a happy ever after this Christmas, or will William lose the love of his life and be trapped in the twenty-first century? (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to the shelves:

For review:

thoroughly modern charlotteThoroughly Modern Charlotte by Beth Massey — from the author

“I am not romantic, you know; I never was.” This statement made by Charlotte Lucas in ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ expressed her opinion in one of the great disagreements between female friends in literature. Fast forward two hundred years — what choices do third millennium women who are ‘not romantic’ make with regard to marriage? Meet Charlotte Jane Otis, a 21st century renaissance woman. This modern miss is a native New Yorker, aspiring author, writer of fanfiction, gem stone aficionado, novice rock climber, lover of dancing, Occupy Wall Street arrestee, mince pie baker and Jane Austen scholar. Her current lover accused her of betraying her best friend, giving nothing to their relationship, attempting to manipulate him into marriage and possibly trading sexual favors for contracts. She has been running her family’s business and acquiring advanced degrees since barely out of teens. Tired of obligation and duty, she wants a new life. Ms Otis regrets so very much, but not her tattoo and piercing. WARNING: This is a sexually explicit novel and is in favor of reproductive rights for women.  (publisher’s summary)

secrets of a charmed lifeSecrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner — from NAL

PRESENT DAY, OXFORD, ENGLAND.  Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel MacFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is.  What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden — one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, ENGLAND. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside.  But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister, Julia, find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence.  Acting at cross-purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated and their lives are transformed…  (publisher’s summary)

Unexpected arrivals:

unlovelyUnlovely by Celeste Conway — from F+W Media

**This YA novel isn’t my cup of tea, but I passed it on to my daughter.

Harley knows better than to fall for a girl from Ocean Watch, the summer ballet school up the hill. Bad things happen to boys who do. Everyone in town still remembers how Teddy Flynn “fell” to his death from the tower of the seaside house. And Harley’s own father still bears the scars of a long-ago love affair with one of those ballerinas. On top of that, there is bad blood between the town and the upscale school. Yet when the beautiful ballerina Cassandra is stranded in town during a storm, Harley shelters her on his boat. And so begins their summer romance. Harley, still reeling from the breakup with his childhood sweetheart, freefalls into his new relationship. A magical interlude begins, as bewitching as any ballet, with long nights by the sea and a familiar world seen through new eyes. All is not perfect, however. As the weeks go on, Cassandra becomes consumed with her upcoming role in the haunting ballet Giselle. Her relationship with the other girls at the ballet school seems strangely intense to Harley, and all of them are thrilled to be included in the inner circle lead by the darkly glamorous Madame Ravenska, who has come to Ocean Watch to stage the ballet. One day, Cassandra confides in Harley about what goes on at Madame’s candlelit soirées — a certain “game” they have started to play. What Harley hears is horrifying. Surely it’s just a fantasy from a drama-prone girl’s overheated imagination? Or…is it?  (publisher’s summary)

bullied kids speak outBullied Kids Speak Out by Jodee Blanco — from F+W Media

**This book isn’t my cup of tea, but it found a home with Serena

Have you ever felt alone, as if no one understands what you’re going through, and that no matter how hard you try, you’re scared things may never get better? Do you wish your classmates would give you a break? I felt that way often in school. I was bulled and excluded for the same reason maybe you or someone you know has been — simply for being different. There were days when all I wanted was to stay in my room. Back then, I would have given almost anything to meet the kids you’re going to meet here.

Autumn dreaded recess. Joshua was afraid to trust anyone at home or at school. Taylor had lots of friends until her BFF turned them all against her. Gabe’s online gaming world was turned upside down when other players started humiliating him. A teacher was bullying Brianna. Eric’s Asperger’s made him the butt of cruel jokes. The cool crowd beat up Tiffany and videotaped it for YouTube. Zach got punched and stomped on because of his weight. Trinity felt invisible. Aamina was harassed because of her family’s religious beliefs. Riley had to live with the soul-crushing weight of mental illness as well as the other students who jeered at her plight.

These are some of the brave teens who will be talking to you in this book. They — and others they inspired — found the courage to stand up to their bullies and reclaim their lives, and you’ll hear exactly how they did it.

You’re not alone anymore.  (publisher’s summary)

Free ebooks:

one word from youOne Word From You by Natalie C. Penna

Elisabeth ‘Beth’ Blake wasn’t born in the same circle as the other girls at Netherfield Academy, but her mother’s advantageous third marriage has allowed her to enjoy their world. Now she’s at the end of her education, and is looking forward to what lies beyond.

That is, if she can make it to the end of the term in one piece.

In a bid to bring in more students, the academy is going co-ed, and has brought in the boys early to test the waters. Among them are Charlie Brackenwood, a cheerful boy with a soft spot for Beth’s best friend, Jenny. His companion William Davies isn’t at all pleased with the situation, or with Beth for that matter.

While Beth tries to avoid interacting with the boys wherever possible, it seems fate is determined to throw them together.

Can time erase the tensions of their first impressions of one another?

Will Elisabeth’s heart be swayed by the arrival of a handsome student teacher?

The path to true love is never easy, particularly not for such stubborn hearts.

An adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, made accessible for lovers of modern young adult tales.  (publisher’s summary)

wings of a dreamWings of a Dream by Anne Mateer

Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family’s farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promises adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he’s the man she’s meant to marry.

While she waits for the end of the Great War and Arthur’s return, her mother’s sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, sure that her glamorous and exciting life is about to start.

But the Spanish flu epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt’s sickness, Arthur’s indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebekah discovers she must choose between her desire to escape the type of life she’s always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.  (publisher’s summary)

the luck of the weissensteinersThe Luck of the Weissensteiners by Christoph Fischer

The Luck of the Weissensteiners is an epic saga set in wartime Eastern Europe. It follows the lives of two families — one Jewish, one Catholic — and their entwined survival amidst the backdrop of the second world war; first the fascist then the communist invasion and occupation of Slovakia, and the horror of the consequences of war. The reader is transported to a world of deception, fear, distrust and betrayal, alongside enduring love and family drama. Weissensteiners is a magnificent tale of human survival.  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to the shelves:

For review: determined

Determined by Avraham Perlmutter — from the author

In 1938, the Nazis arrive in Avraham’s hometown of Vienna, Austria.  Desperate to help their son survive, his parents send him to the Netherlands.  But the invading German army soon follows.  During the ensuing war-torn years, young Avraham braves harrowing captures, daring escapes, torturous hiding, and heartbreaking losses.  Yet he also experiences the goodness of humanity through the strangers who help him. Surviving the Holocaust takes ingenuity, guts, and sheer determination — all of which he calls on again, when he fights to establish the State of Israel during its War of Independence. And when mere existence isn’t enough, Avraham moves to the United States to continue his education and pursue his dreams. Determined takes the reader on an unforgettable journey filled with suspense and danger.  But it is more than just a remarkable story of survival — it is a testament to human kindness, even in the darkest of hours, and to the achievements made possible through relentless perseverance. This unique autobiography will inspire readers of all ages — spanning fans of historical memoirs to readers seeking an uplifting perspective on a life fulfilled. (publisher’s summary)

Christmas gifts from Serena and family:

all the light we cannot seeAll the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks.  When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home.  When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea.  With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find.  Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance.  More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge. Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling.  Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.  Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times). (publisher’s summary)

messenger of truthMessenger of Truth by Jacqueline Winspear

London, 1931.  On the night before the opening of his new and much-anticipated exhibition at a famed Mayfair gallery, Nicholas Bassington-Hope falls to his death.  The police declare it an accident, but the dead man’s twin sister, Georgina, isn’t convinced.  When the authorities refuse to conduct further investigations and instead close the case, Georgina takes matters into her own hands, seeking out a fellow graduate from Girton College: Maisie Dobbs, psychologist and investigator. The case soon takes Maisie to the desolate beaches of Dungeness in Kent, and through the sinister underbelly of the city’s art world.  But to solve the mystery of the artist’s death, she will have to remain steady as the forces behind his fall come out of the shadows to silence here. Messenger of Truth is another vivid, thrilling, and utterly unique episode in the life of Maisie Dobbs. (publisher’s summary)

my warMy War: A Love Story in Letters and Drawings by Tracy Sugarman

On December 7, 1941, when the Japanese were bombing Pearl Harbor, Tracy Sugarman was a young man studying to be an illustrator — and falling in love with a tawny-haired girl named June.  But for Tracy, as for all Americans, everything changed that December dawn. Two years later, now married to June, Tracy was on a troopship bound for England, part of the massive Allied buildup for the liberation of Europe.  On D-Day he landed on Utah Beach, one young ensign in the greatest military invasion in history. But Tracy Sugarman was not only a sailor.  He was also an artist, who chronicled every aspect of his war in watercolors and sketches and in more than four hundred letters to his wife, who carefully saved everything her new husband sent her.  Fifty years later, June Sugarman astonished her husband by showing him his long-forgotten pictures and words: lush watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings set down with breathtaking immediacy in the midst of war, and letters in which the young man poured out his feelings — about the terror and tedium of battle, his own ideals and hopes…and always, his love for his wife. Here, selected from this treasure trove, are the drawings and watercolors that best portray the war Tracy Sugarman experienced.  Interspersed throughout are excerpts of his loving and poignant letters home and, as the capstone of this extraordinary book, the single surviving letter from June to her husband.  My War is a luminous, powerful account of a world at war — and a beautifully touching love story.  (publisher’s summary)

the berlin storiesThe Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood

First published in 1935 and 1939, the two related novels, The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin, which make up The Berlin Stories are recognized today as classics of modern fiction. A charming city of avenues and cafés, a grotesque city of night-people and fantasts, a dangerous city of vice and intrigue, a powerful city of millionaires and mobs — all this was Berlin in 1931, the period when Hitler was beginning his move to power. Here Mr. Norris, the improbable old debauchee mysteriously caught in the struggle between Nazis and Communists; plump Fräulein Schroeder, who thinks an operation to reduce the scale of her Büste might relieve her heart palpitations; the Landauers, a distinguished and doomed Jewish family; Sally Bowles, whose misadventures in the demimonde were popularized on the American state and screen by Julie Harris in “I Am a Camera” and by Liza Minelli in “Cabaret.” (publisher’s summary)

Free ebooks:

darcy chooses prequelsPride and Prejudice: Darcy Chooses Prequels by Gianna Thomas

Pride and Prejudice: Darcy Chooses Prequels is a collection of two prequels to the novel Pride and Prejudice: Darcy Chooses in the Darcy and Elizabeth Series, plus two scenes from Darcy Chooses for a peek at the novel. Pride and Prejudice: Darcy and Bingley is a prequel that relates Darcy’s and Bingley’s first encounter, some of their history together and their current activities a few days before the start of the novel.  It also answers the question of how these two disparate personalities could form such a strong friendship.  The question that remains is: ‘will this friendship survive the events of the near future?’ Pride and Prejudice: Attending a Ball is a prequel that recounts the three days before the beginning of the novel from Elizabeth Bennet’s perspective and portrays the Bennets and Elizabeth’s friends: Charlotte Lucas and Melanie Farrington.  It also gives extra insight into the Bennet family members. (publisher’s summary)

pride and prejudice on marsPride & Prejudice on Mars by Jane Austen and Charles Perkins

From Longdome to Landingtown, in ballrooms and pressure rovers, via emails and long walks in access tunnels, follow the classic story on a new world. The characters and plot are the same, the dialogue is faithful; only the setting is far removed in time and space. (publisher’s summary)

when i'm with youWhen I’m With You (Jane Austen Academy, Book 3) by Cecilia Gray

Kat is destined to be a star and her big break has arrived at last! As the assistant to a celebrity classmate on the set of a feature film, she’s going to show everyone she has what it takes. That is, until she discovers pursuing her dreams may mean forfeiting her heart. Unless she can find a way to have both… (publisher’s summary)

p&p backstage passPride and Prejudice: Your Backstage Pass to Jane Austen’s Novel and the Making of the BBC TV Series, Starring Colin Firth by Jessica Long

Like Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife, the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice took the world by storm in 1995. Pride and Prejudice is one of the much-loved novels written by Jane Austen about an era where social standing was everything, and marrying well was something that young girls and women would dream of constantly.  The 1995 BBC TV adaption of Pride and Prejudice brought this story to life and into the hearts of a new legion of fans. Who will forget the infamous ‘wet shirt’ scene as Colin Firth’s character Darcy emerges from the lake and strides across the lawn dripping wet?  The series set Firth down as probably the best Darcy there has been and launched his career into the stratosphere.  But was Jane Austen’s depiction of women’s lives in the early 19th century accurate? Pride and Prejudice: Your Backstage Pass to Jane Austen’s Novel and Making of the BBC TV Series Starring Colin Firth shares with you the story of Pride and Prejudice, the background into its making as well as delving back in time to take a look at what life really was like. You will learn: The seven of levels of social class that dominated the lives of people during this era How men and women conducted their courtships at a time when intimacy prior to marriage wasn’t allowed What life was like for those at the other end of the class scale Background information to the making of the BC TV series including costume details A plot synopsis of Pride and Prejudice (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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