Monday, September 28, 2009

Mailbox Monday -- September 28th

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) Across the Endless River by Thad Carhart. Publishers Weekly Summary:
Carhart follows The Piano Shop on the Left Bank with an uneven historical about the divide between the rugged frontiers of the New World and the court intrigues of Europe. Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, son of Sacagawea, acts as a guide for natural scientist Paul Wilhelm of W├╝rttemberg. Impressed by Baptiste's knowledge, Paul invites him to travel to Europe and assist him in cataloguing his North American treasures, beginning a five-year adventure that will see Baptiste change in ways he could not imagine. In Europe, Baptiste visits noble homes and palaces, attends lavish balls and beds charming women. He ambles through a Parisian market, taking in its pungent smells and the high, piercing cries from the sellers and later joins the French gentry on a civilized hunt. It's all marvelously captured, and though Carhart can be less than subtle with some of the race politics, the biggest problem with this finely crafted milieu is that Baptiste's survey of Europe feels more like a prelude than a plot. The imagery is stirring, but the story isn't. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thanks to FSB Associates.

2) A Walk for Sunshine by Jeff Alt. Review:
When Jeff Alt (trail name: "Wrongfoot") first decided to hike the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail, he intended to do it alone. As it turned out, several hundred others walked alongside him. Hiking the AT was a longtime personal goal of Alt's, but as he began to plan his trip he realized that he wanted his effort to somehow serve a greater purpose. So he decided to share the experience by turning his adventure into a fundraiser for the Sunshine Home, a facility in Maumee, Ohio that cares for 850 developmentally disabled residents, including his brother, Aaron, who has cerebral palsy. In the seven months leading up to his walk, Alt focused completely on fundraising and training, eventually raising $16,000 that allowed the home to buy much-needed communication devices, lifts, and walkers. He also inspired an annual fundraiser, "Walk with Sunshine," and is contributing part of the proceeds of his book to the cause.

In addition to finishing, Alt's goal once his feet hit the trail was "to share the spirit for which I was walking" with everyone he met, and this he certainly accomplished. In return, he learned a great deal about life from the colorful characters he encountered on the trail, while countless kind strangers offered "trail magic" in various forms, including food, lodging, and greatly appreciated laundry services. He also received overwhelming support from his family and the residents and staff of Sunshine Home, who helped him through quarter-sized blisters, fatigue, and even self-doubt during his 147-day trek. Charming, inspiring, and often funny, A Walk for Sunshine gives readers a good feel for both the logistics involved in undertaking such a journey and the culture of "thru-hiking" the AT. It's also a moving reminder that "living your dream is one thing, but sharing it lets everyone live it with you." --Shawn Carkonen

Thanks to KSB Promotions.

3) Sun Going Down by Jack Todd. Publishers Weekly Summary:
Three generations of the Paint family struggle through 70 years of hardship and heartache on the Western plains in Todd's ambitious fiction debut. En route from Mississippi to the Dakota Territory at the height of the Civil War, Ebenezar Paint meets and marries twice-widowed Cora, a union that produces two strapping twin boys, Eli and Ezra. Ebenezer vainly chases riches; by 15, the boys are orphans and cowboys—and involved in a risky but profitable bit of horse stealing. Ezra remains a wanderer, while Eli settles down to become a wealthy rancher. The narrative eventually follows Eli's favorite daughter of his six children: Velma, who is brutalized by two of her three husbands, but whose estrangement from Eli causes her the most pain, and takes the story into the Depression era. Vivid and colorful in its depiction of the West's transformation from the frontier to the modern age, this is a hardscrabble tale of proud folks who refuse to forgive mistakes or forget faults. Todd's previous book was Desertion, a memoir of his 1969 desertion from the U.S. Army and his resettlement in Canada. He gives this epic story, which an afterword notes is based on the lives of relatives, pulpy sweep and palpable anguish. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

4) The Water Giver by Joan Ryan. Publishers Weekly Summary:
How does one raise children to be the best they can be, instead of the best of who you want them to be? Former San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Ryan (Little Girls in Pretty Boxes) wrestled with this question for most of her adopted son Ryan's life, never quite feeling as if her mothering instincts fit the boy she loved. His early childhood diagnosis with sensory integration dysfunction gave her analytical side a roadmap of therapies and teaching tools, but the heartbreak of watching him struggle endlessly in school and at home left her emotionally exhausted and unsure of herself. Then their lives changed: after falling from his skateboard just blocks from their home at age TK, her son suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him unable to walk or talk, requiring multiple complex surgeries and months of rehabilitation. Her story of supporting him through this experience, with expert medical teams and tremendous aid from family and friends, is a testament both to her stamina and to his strength. Given the perspective that sometimes only a crisis can bring, Ryan learns to forgive herself for the smaller struggles of her son's earlier years, to take each day's challenges as they come and to trust herself to be the only mother that he needs. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

5) Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. From The New Yorker: The endurance of love animates this gothic story set in and around Highgate Cemetery, in London. When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her estate, including an apartment overlooking the graveyard, to the twin daughters of her twin sister, from whom she has been estranged for twenty years. When Valentina and Julia show up to claim their inheritance, they soon discover that Elspeth is still in residence, in ghostly form. Niffenegger’s writing can be wearyingly overblown, but she has a knack for taking the romantic into the realm of creepiness, and she constructs a taut mystery around the secrets to be found in Elspeth’s diaries and the lengths to which she will go to reunite with her younger lover. It’s no small achievement that the revelations are both organic and completely unexpected.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster.

6) How to Catch and Keep a Vampire Amazon Product Description: Who needs a book on dating a vampire? Well, Bella Swan and Sookie Stackhouse to name just two. They are fortunate to have vampire boyfriends. But what the heroines of Twilight and True Blood don't have and could use is some advice on getting along with them. Everything they and every other red-blooded American girl (and guy) wants to know about finding a dreamy blood-drinker and keeping him is within How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Loving The Bad and the Beautiful. And who better to introduce mortal readers to the world of dating a 21st century vampire than a few mouth-watering immortals? The cast includes: Ethan, with his aquamarine eyes and supernaturally seductive piano playing. Mordred, classically cruel, dark, and handsome, with a thing for black leather gloves. His entrancingly cute carrot-topped friend Adam, as sweet as Mordred is scary. Gunnar, with his rich, golden hair, and dastardly but delightful knack for getting his way. The experienced and fascinating Colin, with his exquisite latte-colored skin and exotic beauty. The eccentric but gorgeous Aidan, purveyor of ancient magic. And enigmatic Conner, with his deep, dark eyes and protective soul. These undead charmers will win the hearts and minds of readers everywhere, and author Diana Laurence will be their expert guide.

Thanks to Sellers Publishing.

7) Over the Gap by Dave Patterson. Product Description:
An advanced career change, planning, and outplacement handbook for transitioning executives and professionals. Includes assessments, interactive tools, special bonuses and more. Facing layoff or a career change? Over the Gap shares a wealth of timely, practical specifics for standing out from the crowd, assessing your market value, and tracking your progress. This step-by-step process also includes up to 90 minutes of free coaching and assessment with a certified career coach to help focus your efforts and launch your career change. Over the Gap offers: • A proven, systematic process to ensure your success • Career planning, target marketing, tracking, and soft skills enhancement • Interactive forms and networking strategies • Personalized programs, free resources and one-on-one coaching • Branding and personal value proposition development • A money-saving alternative to corporate severance packages "Beyond the search for a new job, Over the Gap introduces a career transition process, complete with powerful tools and concrete examples, which provides a roadmap and a bridge to new career opportunities." Helen Crompton, LPC, NCC Licensed Practicing Counselor, Nationally-Certified Career Counselor and Executive Coach.

Thanks to the author.


  1. Wow, what a week you had. Sounds like a lot of great reading. Her Fearful Symmetry looks good to me. Enjoy.

  2. Thank you for commenting on my Mailbox Monday. You got a lot of great books! Happy reading!

  3. Oh Niffenegger and that vamp book sounds too funny. have fun reading!

  4. Great list! I'll be interested in your thoughts on the new Niffenegger book as well as Sun Going Down.

  5. The first 4 books are all related to nature elements. Interesting!

    Mondays: Musings/Readings/Mailbox

  6. I hadn't thought of that, but it is interesting -- especially since I'm not a real outdoorsy person.

  7. You have some great books there, I hope you enjoy them all. Happy reading.

  8. Great mailbox week.

    Yes, I review for S&S, about 2 years now I think.
    I DID NOT receive Her Fearful Symmetry so I am so disapointed, that you did get that one ..LOL


  9. Lots of internet hype for The Fearful Symmetry, I hope it doesn't disappoint!
    I am also interested in the Across the Endless River.
    Great lot of books you've got. (mine here)

  10. Wow! What a great pile of books you got last week! :)

  11. They all sound really good! Enjoy your reading week! Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

  12. Busy week! I just finished Time traveler's Wife (I'm always several years behind on popular fiction) and can't say I'm ready to try any more Niffenegger for a long time.

    But that Appalachian trail books sounds great -- I love random memoirs about non-famous people doing interesting things.

  13. Enjoy your books. I can't wait to read Her Fearful Symmetry.

  14. What a great week. :) How to Catch And Keep A Vampire??? Sounds fun.

    Here's my Mailbox! ~ Wendi

  15. I have Across The Endless River and A Walk For Sunshine.

  16. Diane I received Symmetry on Saturday, so perhaps you will receive a copy in a day or too.

  17. Very interesting books! "How to Catch and Keep a Vampire" sounds mighty cool but I'm not sure I want to do so. LOL!

  18. aahhhhh you got Her Fearful Symmetry!!!! lucky lucky lucky you!!!! I hope you enjoy your goodies!

  19. There are lots of jobs in Chennai, so why can't you just apply for those jobs

  20. Sorry I'm so behind in blog reading! Sun Going Down caught my eye. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Diary of an Eccentric