Monday, February 15, 2010

Mailbox Monday -- February 15th

Thanks to host Marcia at The Printed Page I'm participating in the Mailbox Monday round up. This week I received the following advance review copies:

1) Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman. Publisher's Summary. They were young, brilliant, and bold. They set out to conquer the world. But the world had other plans for them. Bestselling author Susan Jane Gilman's new memoir is a hilarious and harrowing journey, a modern heart of darkness filled with Communist operatives, backpackers, and pancakes. In 1986, fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. Inspired by a place mat at the International House of Pancakes, they decided to embark on an ambitious trip around the globe, starting in the People's Republic of China. At that point, China had been open to independent travelers for roughly ten minutes. Armed only with the collected works of Nietzsche, an astrological love guide, and an arsenal of bravado, the two friends plunged into the dusty streets of Shanghai. Unsurprisingly, they quickly found themselves in over their heads. As they ventured off the map deep into Chinese territory, they were stripped of everything familiar and forced to confront their limitations amid culture shock and government surveillance. What began as a journey full of humor, eroticism, and enlightenment grew increasingly sinister-becoming a real-life international thriller that transformed them forever. Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven is a flat-out page-turner, an astonishing true story of hubris and redemption told with Gilman's trademark compassion, lyricism, and wit.

2) On the Brink by Henry M. Paulson, Jr. Publisher's Summary. When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation's next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging.

But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world's most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depression. Major institutions including Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup, among others-all steeped in rich, longstanding tradition-literally teetered at the edge of collapse. Panic ensnared international markets. Worst of all, the credit crisis spread to all parts of the U.S. economy and grew more ominous with each passing day, destroying jobs across America and undermining the financial security millions of families had spent their lifetimes building.

This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime economic nightmare. Events no one had thought possible were happening in quick succession, and people all over the globe were terrified that the continuing downward spiral would bring unprecedented chaos. All eyes turned to the United States Treasury Secretary to avert the disaster.

This, then, is Hank Paulson's first-person account. From the man who was in the very middle of this perfect economic storm, ON THE BRINK is Paulson's fast-paced retelling of the key decisions that had to be made with lightning speed. Paulson puts the reader in the room for all the intense moments as he addressed urgent market conditions, weighed critical decisions, and debated policy and economic considerations with of all the notable players-including the CEOs of top Wall Street firms as well as Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Sheila Bair, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, and then-President George W. Bush.

More than an account about numbers and credit risks gone bad, ON THE BRINK is an extraordinary story about people and politics-all brought together during the world's impending financial Armageddon.

3) Corked by Kathryn Borel. Publisher's Summary. Meet Kathryn Borel, bon vivant and undutiful daughter. Now meet her father, Philippe, former chef, eccentric genius, and wine aficionado extraordinaire. Kathryn is like her father in every way but one: she's totally ignorant when it comes to wine. And although Philippe has devoted untold parenting hours to delivering impassioned oenological orations, she has managed to remain unenlightened. But after an accident and a death, Kathryn realizes that by shutting herself off to her father's greatest passion, she will never really know him. Accordingly, she proposes a drunken father-daughter road trip. Corked is the uncensored account of their tour through the great wine regions of France. Uproarious, poignant, painfully introspective, and filled with cunning little details about wine, this is a book for any reader who has sought a connection with a complex family member or wanted to overcome the paralyzing terror of being faced with a restaurant wine list.

Thanks to Hachette Book Group.

4) Keeping the Feast by Paula Butturini. Amazon Product Description. A story of food and love, injury and healing, Keeping the Feast is the triumphant memoir of one couple's nourishment and restoration in Italy after a period of tragedy, and the extraordinary sustaining powers of food, family, and friendship.

Paula and John met in Italy, fell in love, and four years later, married in Rome. But less than a month after the wedding, tragedy struck. They had transferred from their Italian paradise to Warsaw and while reporting on an uprising in Romania, John was shot and nearly killed by sniper fire. Although he recovered from his physical wounds in less than a year, the process of healing had just begun. Unable to regain his equilibrium, he sank into a deep sadness that reverberated throughout their relationship. It was the abrupt end of what they'd known together, and the beginning of a new phase of life neither had planned for. All of a sudden, Paula was forced to reexamine her marriage, her husband, and herself.

Paula began to reconsider all of her previous assumptions about healing. She discovered that sometimes patience can be a vice, anger a virtue. That sometimes it is vital to make demands of the sick, that they show signs of getting better. And she rediscovered the importance of the most fundamental of human rituals: the daily sharing of food around the family table.

A universal story of hope and healing, Keeping the Feast is an account of one couple's triumph over tragedy and illness, and a celebration of the simple rituals of life, even during the worst life crises. Beautifully written and tremendously moving, Paula's story is a testament to the extraordinary sustaining powers of food and love, and to the stubborn belief that there is always an afterward, there is always hope.

5) Keepers of the School by Andrew Clements. Amazon Product Description. We the Children asks: Can a kid change the course of history?

6) The Eastern Stars by Mark Kurlansky. Amazon Product Description. The intriguing, inspiring history of one small, impoverished area in the Dominican Republic that has produced a staggering number of Major League Baseball talent, from an award-winning, bestselling author.

In the town of San Pedro in the Dominican Republic, baseball is not just a way of life. It's the way of life. By the year 2008, seventy-nine boys and men from San Pedro have gone on to play in the Major Leagues-that means one in six Dominican Republicans who have played in the Majors have come from one tiny, impoverished region. Manny Alexander, Sammy Sosa, Tony Fernandez, and legions of other San Pedro players who came up in the sugar mill teams flocked to the United States, looking for opportunity, wealth, and a better life.

Because of the sugar industry, and the influxes of migrant workers from across the Caribbean to work in the cane fields and factories, San Pedro is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the Dominican Republic. A multitude of languages are spoken there, and a variety of skin colors populate the community; but the one constant is sugar and baseball. The history of players from San Pedro is also a chronicle of racism in baseball, changing social mores in sports and in the Dominican Republic, and the personal stories of the many men who sought freedom from poverty through playing ball. The story of baseball in San Pedro is also that of the Caribbean in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and on a broader level opens a window into our country's history.

As with Kurlansky's Cod and Salt, this small story, rich with anecdote and detail, becomes much larger than ever imagined. Kurlansky reveals two countries' love affair with a sport and the remarkable journey of San Pedro and its baseball players. In his distinctive style, he follows common threads and discovers wider meanings about place, identity, and, above all, baseball.

Thanks to the publicists via Shelf Awareness.

7) Veracity by Laura Bynum. Publisher's Weekly Summary. n this emotionally gripping first novel, Harper Adams, a Monitor capable of reading people's emotions, identifies enemies of the Confederation of the Willing, a nasty dystopian state reminiscent of 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale. Like everyone else, she has a slate implanted in her neck, primed to execute her if she utters one of the many words that have been outlawed or Red-Listed by the government. Pushed to revolt when her daughter's name, Veracity, is Red-Listed, Harper is recruited by the resistance and becomes their secret weapon. Bynum makes her protagonist's emotional turmoil painfully believable and creates a number of other interesting and thorny characters, but her plot is occasionally incoherent. Though the cartoonishly powerful Confederacy is never entirely convincing as a workable totalitarian state, its opponents also seem too quixotic and undermanned to fight it as successfully as they do. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

8) Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger. Amazon Product Description. From the day Cobb and Mary meet kayaking on Maine's Allagash River and fall deeply in love, the two approach life with the same sense of adventure they use to conquer the river's treacherous rapids. But rivers do not let go so easily...and neither does their love. So when Mary's life takes the cruelest turn, she vows to face those rough waters on her own terms and asks Cobb to promise, when the time comes, to help her return to their beloved river for one final journey.

Set against the rugged wilderness of Maine, the exotic islands of Indonesia, the sweeping panoramas of Yellowstone National Park, and the tranquil villages of rural New England, Eternal on the Water is at once heartbreaking and uplifting -- a timeless, beautifully rendered story of true love's power. .

Thanks to Simon & Schuster.

9) The Leap by Rick Smith. Publisher's Weekly Summary. From Publishers Weekly
Smith (The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers) examines the commonalities among individuals who transcended their dull day jobs to launch truly extraordinary careers. He is most taken with identifying what precipitated their leap into authentic and meaningful work, interviewing hundreds of people to craft replicable steps that everyone can use to initiate a personal and professional evolution and achieve remarkable success without taking reckless and unnecessary risks. His examples of highly profitable leaps include Sara Blakely, who went from a fax machine sales person to the owner of SPANX, a highly successful women's clothing line; Frances Hesselbein, who went from a stay-at-home mom to the executive director of Girl Scouts of America; and Brad Margus, who channeled his feelings of futility over the rare and terminal disease his two sons inherited to become a genetics expert on the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke Council. Smith's book—a lively readable romp—motivates without preaching and gently coaxes readers to overcome innate fears and to use their greatest passions to bring about fulfillment. (Sept.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thanks to the author.

10) Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. Amazon Product Description. Book Description
For readers of the phenomenal bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love--a stunning new novel from Lisa See about two sisters who leave Shanghai to find new lives in 1930s Los Angeles.

May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl’s parents arrange for their daughters to marry “Gold Mountain men” who have come from Los Angeles to find brides.

But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel’s Island (the Ellis Island of the West)--where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months--they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she’s pregnant the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.

A novel about two sisters, two cultures, and the struggle to find a new life in America while bound to the old, Shanghai Girls is a fresh, fascinating adventure from beloved and bestselling author Lisa See.

Thanks to Random House.

11) Live a Life You Love by Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. Amazon Product Description. Product Description

The promise of Live A Life You Love is simple: being true to your most authentic self and following essential principles of wellness will make you happy, healthy, and passionately in love with life.

With insights drawn from her own personal transformation from a depressed medical doctor to a joyful and fulfilled flamenco dancer, writer, speaker, and life coach, Dr. Susan Biali’s seven-step plan will help you discover (or re-discover) the hopes, passions, and talents that make up the real you.

Even if your dreams have faded, or you worry they are unrealistic, Dr. Biali will teach you how to reach that creative, hopeful place and work towards making those dreams a reality. Along the way, you’ll also learn how to maximize your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

You will learn how to:

•Begin making YOU a priority

•Understand your body’s language

•Choose foods that slow aging, boost health, and improve energy

•Improve your most important relationships

•Balance your life and find time for what counts

•Turn this knowledge into action today.

Thanks to the Publicist.

12) Start Over Finish Rich by David Bach. Amazon Product Description. Product Description
Let 2010 Set You on the Path to Wealth.

Believe it or not, recessions make millionaires! Will you be one? In Start Over, Finish Rich, America's best-loved financial expert, David Bach, explains that 2010 will be the best opportunity for building wealth we have seen in decades. And, as the economy recovers, you must be set up to recover with it. Bach's easy, take-action plan will show you how.

Start Over, Finish Rich supplies the ten crucial moves you must make in 2010 to get back on track and recapture your dreams of a richer future. Learn how to:

* Get out of debt
* Fix your credit
* Rebuild your 401k plan
* Improve your 529 Plan
* Take smart risks
* Reorganize your financial life for the high tech age
* Update your real estate plan
* Change your thinking about money
* Recommit to wealth

As Bach says, "A recession is a terrible thing to waste—so don't waste this one! Use it instead to get rich." Read Start Over, Finish Rich and let David Bach put you and your family back on the path to financial freedom.

Thanks to


  1. Wow, what a fabulous mailbox! Shanghai Girls is a great story and Keeping the Feast sounds wonderful. Have a great week and happy reading! My MM is here

  2. What a week you had :D
    I have heard good things about See, I hope you'll enjoy it

  3. I have not heard of a lot of these, except the ones from Simon and Schuster. I hope you enjoy all of your new books!

  4. Wow! What a list! Keeping the Feast interests me. I read the See book a few months ago (arc) - glad to see there'll be a sequel. Loved Snow Flower.
    I read a while back that one of Susan Jane Gilman's high school teachers was Frank McCourt - pretty cool, huh?

  5. You had a fantastic week! I'm almost through with Keeping the Feast and it's so good, even though the part I'm in now is really sad.

  6. You had a great week. I am getting set to read undress me in the temple.

    Keepers of the school sound good.

    Can't wait to hear what you think of them.

  7. That's quite a list! Keeping The Feast is on my wishlist. I'm keeping an eye out for its reviews and I'm looking forward to reading yours.

  8. Lucky, sooo many good ones. I really have my eye on Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven! I just read Shanghai Girls and loved it - read the review here!

  9. Great mailbox! Keeping The Feast sounds good. I enjoyed Eternal on the Water. Enjoy all your new books!

  10. Wow, this is quite a diverse mailbox! The only one that I heard of was Shanghai Girls and I absolutely loved that one!

  11. Looks like you got some good books. I really want to read Shanghai Girls!

  12. Congrats on the great books. Keeping the Feast is good. Happy reading. My mailbox is at The Crowded Leaf.

  13. I really enjoyed one of Lisa See's book, "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan." I would love to read the and "The Shanghai Girls.

  14. Wow, great mailbox. Shanghai Girls is a favourite read. I also reviewed Keeping The Feast this week, I really enjoyed it. Happy reading!

    Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict

  15. You have a lot of great sounding books here!

    I hope you will find Shanghai Girls as engaging and moving as I did. Keeping the Feast is also wonderful.

  16. what an awesome week!! all sorts of things to read. :)

    Want to enter my Book Lover's Basket Giveaway?? It would help my family a ton in the long run too!!


  17. Start Over Finish Rich...looks like a great plan.
    Happy Reading.