Thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page I'm participating in the Mailbox Monday round up. This week I received the following review copies:
1) Friends Like These by Danny Wallace:
Danny Wallace has friends. He has a wife and goes to brunch, and his new house has a couch with throw pillows. But as he nears 30, he can't help wondering about his best childhood friends, whose names he finds in a long-forgotten address book. Where are they now-and where, really, is he?
Acting on an impulse we've all had at least once, he travels from London to Berlin, Tokyo, Australia, and California, risking rejection and ridicule to show up on his old pals' doorsteps. Memories of his 1980s childhood-from Michael Jackson to Ghostbusters-overwhelm him as he meets former buddies who have blossomed into rappers and ninjas, time-traveling pioneers, mediocre restaurant managers, and even Fijian royalty.
Danny's attempt to re-befriend them all gives remarkable new resonance to the age-old mantra, "friends forever!"
2) The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire La Zebnik
From Publishers Weekly
In the winning latest from Knitting Under the Influence author LaZebnik, sisters Ava and Lauren Nickerson look a lot alike, but hyperpractical attorney Ava, 29, wears dowdy clothes and holds men at arm's length, while flashy, debt-ridden boutique owner Lauren, a few years younger, goes for the quick romantic fix. Drawn together in L.A. by their mother's illness, they determine to straighten each other out. Soon Ava ropes Lauren onto a budget, while Lauren, having uncovered a playful contract in which their parents jokingly betrothed Ava at age eight to a neighbor's young son, decides to find out if the grown-up two—who are strangers—might indeed make a match. The fact that fiancé-designate Russell Markowitz proves to be twice-divorced presents no obstacle to Lauren, especially after she learns that he works in the clothing industry and might be of assistance in making over Ava. Despite the lightweight premise, moments of real depth combine with witty dialogue as LaZebnik deftly spins each turn convincingly to avoid easy answers. (Sept.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."
3) Bo's Cafe by John Lynch et. al.
High-powered executive Steven Kerner is living the dream in southern California. But when his bottled pain ignites in anger one night, his wife kicks him out. Then an eccentric mystery man named Andy Monroe befriends Steven and begins unravelling his tightly wound world. Andy leads Steven through a series of frustrating and revealing encounters to repair his life through genuine friendship and the grace and love of a God who has been waiting for him to accept it. A story to challenge and encourage, BO'S CAFE is a model for all who struggle with unresolved problems and a performance-based life. Those who desire a fuller, more authentic way of living will find this journey of healing a restorative exploration of God's unbridled grace.
Thanks to Hachette Book Group.
4) Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.
But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?
Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.
That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.
For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.
A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.
Thanks to Shelf Awareness.
5) Dead Weight by Batt Humphreys
In one of America's most beautiful cities, an ugly crime has been committed. Based on events that took place in Charleston, South Carolina a hundred years ago; Dead Weight tells the story of the murder of a Jewish merchant, the black man accused of the murder and the white populace primed for a hanging. Into these real events, steps a fictional character. A reporter from New York is assigned to cover a story with would seem to be a fait accompli. The outsider's view of Charleston just after the turn of the century, still clinging to a cultural past and caught in the racial realities of the time, brings a Menckenesque perspective to a plot that is anything but a simple tale of racial wrongdoing.
Through the narration of Hal Hinson, we see the beauty of Charleston, the ugliness of the racial divide and a struggle, through the transcripts of actual court testimony, between two lawyers for the life of a man accused of murder. The reader also comes to know the real character of the accused - Daniel Cornelius "Nealy" Duncan who was the last man hanged by the state of South Carolina.
Thanks to Joggling Board Press.