Some good books found their way to my house this past week.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

(ARC from the publisher)

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

(ARC from the publisher)

Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.

Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day. When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thieving.

Which is just as well, because the leader of the Blessed Guardians has his own plans for the museum—plans that threaten the lives of everyone Goldie loves. And it will take a daring thief to stop him. . . .

Running the Books by Avi Steinberg

(ARC from the publisher)

In this captivating memoir, Steinberg, a Harvard grad and struggling obituary writer, spends two years as a librarian and writing instructor at a Boston prison that’s an irrepressibly literary place. True, his patrons turn books into weapons (and one robs him while out on parole), but he’s beguiled by the rough poetry of inmate essays and “kites”–contraband notes secreted in library books–and entranced by the “skywriting” with which they semaphore messages letter-by-letter across the courtyard. And there’s always an informal colloquium of prostitutes, thieves, and drug dealers convened at the checkout desk, discussing everything from Steinberg’s love life to the “gangsta” subculture of Hasidic Jews. Gradually, the prison pulls him in and undermines his bemused neutrality. He helps a forlorn female prisoner communicate with her inmate son, develops a dangerous beef with a guard, and finds himself collaborating on the memoir of a charismatic pimp whose seductive rap disguises a nasty rap sheet; he has to choose sides, make queasy compromises, and decide between rules and loyalty. Steinberg writes a stylish prose that blends deadpan wit with an acute moral seriousness. The result is a fine portrait of prison life and the thwarted humanity that courses through it.

Water Bound by Christine Feehan

(From paperbackswap.com)

The last thing Lev Prakenskii remembered was being lost in the swirling currents of a freezing black eddy off the coastal town of Sea Haven. Just as quickly, just as miraculously, he was saved—pulled ashore by a beautiful stranger. But Lev has no memory of who he is—or why he seems to possess the violent instincts of a trained killer. All he knows is that he fears for his life, and for the life of his unexpected savior.

Her name is Rikki, a sea-urchin diver in Sea Haven. She has always felt an affinity for the ocean, and for the seductive pull of the tides. And now she feels drawn in the same way to the enigmatic man she rescued. But soon they will be bound by something even stronger, and their tantalizing secrets will engulf them both in a whirlpool of dizzying passion and inescapable danger.

The Pirate Round by James L. Nelson

(Purchased used)

In 1706, war still rages in Europe, and the tobacco planters of the Virginia colony’s tidewater struggle against shrinking markets and pirates lurking off the coast. But American seafarers have found a new source of wealth: the Indian Ocean and ships carrying fabulous treasure to the great Mogul of India.

Faced with ruin, former pirate Thomas Marlowe is determined to find a way to the riches of the East. Carrying his crop of tobacco in his privateer, Elizabeth Galley, he secretly plans to continue on to the Indian Ocean to hunt the Mogul’s ships. But Marlowe does not know that he is sailing into a triangle of hatred and vengeance — a rendezvous with two bitter enemies from his past. Ultimately, none will emerge unscathed from the blood and thunder, the treachery and danger, of sailing the Pirate Round.

The Case of the Howling Dog by Erle Stanley Gardner

(Purchased used)

Arthur Cartwright consults attorney Perry Mason about bequeathing property to neighbor Clinton Foley’s wife, but also wants to file a complaint about Clinton’s noisy dog. Questioning the client’s sanity, Perry visits Clinton’s home. First he discovers Clinton’s wife is missing; then he finds Clinton’s corpse.

Mailbox Monday is taking a blog tour. This month’s host is Kathy at Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Head over there to see what goodies others got in their boxes and to share your own loot.

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