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) Fools Rush In by Bill Carter. Amazon Product Description. When tragedy strikes Bill Carter's life he finds himself drawn to an unlikely place -- Bosnia, in the midst of its civil war. Searching for meaning in the heart of darkness, he manages to find lodging in an abandoned tower block and sets out getting supplies to the starved, besieged citizens of Sarajevo. It is there that Carter emerges from his stupor. Inspired by a community of people working to bring relief to the city, he daringly enlists the help of music group U2 and its lead singer, Bono, who set up satellite links on the band's Zooropa tour that allowed ordinary citizens of Sarajevo to speak unedited and live on 90-foot television screens to thousands of concertgoers worldwide.
Just as Michael Herr's Vietnam memoir Dispatches captured the horror of war for the '60s generation, Bill Carter's Fools Rush In will be the seminal book for this generation on the visceral and transformative impact of war in our time.
Thanks to the Publicist!
2) Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. Amazon Product Description. Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world.
In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.
While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected. Very Valentine is a sumptuous treat, a journey of dreams fulfilled, a celebration of love and loss filled with Trigiani's trademark heart and humor.
3) Brava Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. Publishers Weekly Summary. Trigiani's sequel to Very Valentine is a sweet second act for shoemaker and designer Valentine Roncalli. Val takes over the New York family-run shoe business with feet-of-clay older brother, Alfred; falls for the dashing, older Gianluca in Italy; and takes a business risk in South America, where she unearths a dusty chapter of family history. There are plenty of picturesque globe-trotting adventures in Tuscany, Manhattan, and Buenos Aires, and, for artistic and independent Val, a grown-up commitment evolves. There is no art without love. Only love can open someone up to the possibilities of living and creating art, Val writes to the wary Gianluca. And the startling twist of family history finally challenges an old-fashioned, insular clan to join the modern world. But it's always the endearing, unnerving and rowdy Roncallis who steal the show. Look for a heartbreaking exit of one beloved character, and a cliffhanger breakup in this charming valentine to love, forgiveness, and family. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Thanks to the Publicist!
4) Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell. Publishers' Summary. Sometimes he dreamt he held her; that he would turn in bed and she would be there. But she was gone and he was old. Nearly seventy. Only cool paint met his fingers. “Ma très chère . . .” Darkness started to fall, dimming the paintings. He felt the crumpled letter in his pocket. “I loved you so,” he said. “I never would have had it turn out as it did. You were with all of us when we began, you gave us courage. These gardens at Giverny are for you but I’m old and you’re forever young and will never see them. . . .”
In the mid-nineteenth century, a young man named Claude Monet decided that he would rather endure a difficult life painting landscapes than take over his father’s nautical supplies business in a French seaside town. Against his father’s will, and with nothing but a dream and an insatiable urge to create a new style of art that repudiated the Classical Realism of the time, he set off for Paris.
But once there he is confronted with obstacles: an art world that refused to validate his style, extreme poverty, and a war that led him away from his home and friends. But there were bright spots as well: his deep, enduring friendships with men named Renoir, Cézanne, Pissarro, Manet – a group that together would come to be known as the Impressionists, and that supported each other through the difficult years. But even more illuminating was his lifelong love, Camille Doncieux, a beautiful, upper-class Parisian girl who threw away her privileged life to be by the side of the defiant painter and embrace the lively Bohemian life of their time.
His muse, his best friend, his passionate lover, and the mother to his two children, Camille stayed with Monet—and believed in his work—even as they lived in wretched rooms, were sometimes kicked out of those, and often suffered the indignities of destitution. She comforted him during his frequent emotional torments, even when he would leave her for long periods to go off on his own to paint in the countryside.
But Camille had her own demons – secrets that Monet could never penetrate, including one that when eventually revealed would pain him so deeply that he would never fully recover from its impact. For though Camille never once stopped loving the painter with her entire being, she was not immune to the loneliness that often came with being his partner.
A vividly-rendered portrait of both the rise of Impressionism and of the artist at the center of the movement, Claude and Camille is above all a love story of the highest romantic order.
Thanks to Random House!
5) The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry. Amazon Product Description. Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boats—a talent that earned her the nickname Trouble. She's now a respected psychotherapist working with the world-famous Dr. Liz Mattei. She's also about to marry one of Boston's most eligible bachelors. But the suicide of Zee's patient Lilly Braedon throws Zee into emotional chaos and takes her back to places she though she'd left behind.
What starts as a brief visit home to Salem after Lilly's funeral becomes the beginning of a larger journey for Zee. Her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has been hiding how sick he really is. His longtime companion, Melville, has moved out, and it now falls to Zee to help her father through this difficult time. Their relationship, marked by half-truths and the untimely death of her mother, is strained and awkward.
Overwhelmed by her new role, and uncertain about her future, Zee destroys the existing map of her life and begins a new journey, one that will take her not only into her future but into her past as well. Like the sailors of old Salem who navigated by looking at the stars, Zee has to learn to find her way through uncharted waters to the place she will ultimately call home.
Thanks to the Publisher!
6) She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott. Publisher's Summary. When having money is all that matters, what happens when you lose it all?
Perfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.
Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.
But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.
Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?
Thanks to Simon & Schuster!