Mailbox Monday – Nov. 29


Mailbox Monday is the brainchild of Marcia at The Printed Page and is now on a blog tour.  Click here to see the tour schedule!

This month’s host is Knitting and Sundries.   Visit every week this month to see links to the latest and greatest books arriving in mailboxes!  Be aware, though, visiting can lead to book envy and toppling TBR piles!
December’s host will be Lady Q at Let Them Read Books!  So be certain to stop by her blog and show her some love!

I bought Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter: A Novel by Tom Franklin

I bought Once and Always by Judith McNaught

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

Giveaway win from Libby at Libby’s Library

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Genre: Fiction

My thoughts: I listened to this holiday romance. It’s a sweet and enjoyable novel about Mark Nolan who seems quite willing to settle for a relationship with the wrong woman and Maggie Conroy, a young widow, who thinks she’s had her one chance at love so she’s not interested in anything more than friendship.

Mark became his young niece Holly’s guardian after the tragic death of his sister. The woman he’s been dating seems to think Holly shouldn’t be considered Mark’s child because he’s not her father. Mark starts to feel not so willing to settle with that woman. He’s becoming more attracted to Maggie anyway but she isn’t interested in dating – ever.

Surprisingly this is the first Lisa Kleypas novel I’ve ever read. I like her easy style as she takes the reader through a not-so-unusual plot but makes it seem fresh, just the same. This is a light, feel-good read that is perfect for the season. It combines Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Why I chose: I read it for the Holiday Reading Challenge.

Recommend? Yes, to fans of holiday romance fiction and Lisa Kleypas.  I listened to the unabridged audiobook performed by Tanya Eby.  I enjoyed her presentation.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Source: Library

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Title: Russian Winter

Author: Daphne Kalotay

Genre: Fiction

About: The story of a Russian ballerina who becomes a star of the Bolshoi Ballet, falls in love with a poet and tries to live the best life possible under Stalin’s rule until that is no longer possible.

My thoughts: This is one of those novels that pulled me in immediately and kept me interested throughout. Daphne Kalotay’s descriptive writing immersed me in life in post WW II Russia – especially what it was like for people in the arts.  I felt like I was in the audience watching Nina Revskaya dance in Swan Lake.  I could imagine falling asleep at the dacha listening to the nightingale sing.  I could even visualize the working crews of women smoothing asphalt on the roads.

Once Nina defects from Russia she travels to London, Paris and finally Boston.  She smuggled her jewels with her when she left and now, decades later, crippled and in a wheelchair, she has decided to have her collection auctioned with the proceeds going to the local ballet.  The jewels have stories of their own that connect several characters in the novel.

One of the characters is Grigori, a professor of Romance languages in Boston.  He has a pendant that he believes is part of Nina’s collection and is trying to find out what the connection is.  He has his own assumptions and he would like Nina to confirm them.  He has contacted her a few times over the past few decades and each time she has refused to discuss her past or the jewels.

As the auction of the jewels draws near Nina finds herself remembering her past more and more.  There are a few twists and turns near the end and  Grigori and Drew, who works for the auction house, make their own discoveries which converge in a satisfying conclusion.

Source: Dawn from She Is Too Fond Of Books sent me her review copy.  Thank you, Dawn!

Recommend? Yes, especially to fans of historical fiction.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal by Julie Metz Review and Giveaway

Author: Julie Metz

Genre: Memoir

About: (book blurb) Julie Metz’s life changes forever on one ordinary January afternoon when her husband, Henry, collapses on the kitchen floor and dies in her arms. Suddenly, this mother of a six-year-old is the young widow in a bucolic small town. And this is only the beginning. Seven months after Henry’s death, just when Julie thinks she is emerging from the worst of it, comes the rest of it:  Henry had hidden another life from her.

Thoughts: Perfection is the story Julie Metz tells of finding out her recently deceased husband was a habitual cheater most of the time she knew him.  He was a master of manipulation. At one point Julie says she ignored red flags in his behavior that should have warned her.  He was often critical of her and at times downright mean.

The story of their marriage and his cheating unfolds through Julie’s memories as well as emails found on his computer after his death and subsequent phone conversations with some of the other women.  I was amazed that the women were willing to talk to Julie about their relationship with her husband.  What results is a story that I found disturbing and depressing.

I understand that Julie Metz needed to know what made her husband strive for his idea of perfection or whatever it was he was searching for.  I admire that she was able to survive such a nightmare of betrayal and move forward with her life.  I wish her all the best.

Source: Voice

Why I Chose: BookSparks PR invited me to participate in the blog tour.

Recommend? It was a tough read for me but ultimately Julie Metz proves that one can experience incredible betrayal and then move forward.  Her inner strength is inspirational.

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About Julie Metz
Julie Metz is a graphic designer, artist and freelance writer whose essays have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Hemispheres, Glamour, and more. Julie received a MacDowell Fellowship in 2008 where she completed work on Perfection and began work on a novel. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

 

You can read more about Perfection on the Website and the Facebook page.

 

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GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Voice is offering one copy of Perfection

to give away to a reader (US or Canada)

Click here to fill out the form.

 

 

Mailbox Monday – Nov. 22

 

 

“Mailbox Monday” is the brainchild of Marcia at The Printed Page

Mailbox Monday is now on a blog tour.  Click here to see the tour schedule!

This month’s host is Knitting and Sundries.   Visit every week this month to see links to the latest and greatest books arriving in mailboxes!  Be aware, though, visiting can lead to book envy and toppling TBR piles!
December’s host will be Lady Q at Let Them Read Books!  So be certain to stop by her blog and show her some love!

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These are the books that arrived in my mailbox last week:

The Life O’Reilly by Brian Cohen (won at Always With a Book – Thanks, Kristin!)

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus by Sonya Sones (for review from Harper)