Mailbox Monday – 6/19

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Tell us about your new arrivals by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky at mailboxmonday.wordpress.com.

Paperback

I received When the Sky Falls for a Pump Up Your Book! tour.

Mailbox Monday – 6/19When the Sky Falls by Joseph Bendoski
Published by the author on March 24, 2017
Source: Pump Up Your Book!
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 408
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

An in-depth look at fake news, yellow journalism, fictional broadcasts and the psychology behind them, wrapped in a twisted thriller.

In 1938 the War of the Worlds hoax panicked millions of Americans, then in 1988 another fictional media broadcast convinced nearly half of Portugal that sea monsters had risen from the ocean to destroy their cities. A team of CIA agents was sent to study the aftermath of this 6th Skyfall Event in the hope that they could turn it into a weapon of war. When the team consultant turns up dead, everyone scrambles to be the last man standing: the one who will decide if or when the sky falls.

Serial Box sent me The Witch Who Came in from the Cold: Season 1. I really enjoyed it when I read it as an e-book and the print version is finally out.

Mailbox Monday – 6/19The Witch Who Came in from the Cold by Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis, Michael Swanwick
Published by Saga Press on June 13, 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Spy Thriller
Pages: 624
Format: Paperback
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Spies and sorcerers face off during the Cold War, with the fate of the world in balance in this print edition of a hugely popular serial novel from five award-winning and critically acclaimed authors.

The Cold War rages in back rooms and dark alleys of 1970s Prague as spies and sorcerers battle for home and country. The fate of the East and the West hangs in the balance right along the Iron Curtain—and crackling beneath the surface is a vein of magic that is waiting to be tapped.

eBook

I purchased The Witch Who Came in from the Cold: Season 2  as an ebook.

Mailbox Monday – 6/19The Witch Who Came In From The Cold: The Complete Season 2 by Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis, Fran Wilde
Published by Serial Box on May 31, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Spy Thriller
Pages: 685
Format: eBook
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Welcome to Prague, 1970: the epicenter in a struggle of spies and sorcerers. The Witch Who Came In From The Cold follows agents on opposing sides of two struggles: the Cold War, and an ancient conflict between two occult secret societies: the Consortium of Ice and the Acolytes of Flame. A CIA and KGB agent will find their loyalties to country tested when they realize they must work together to prevent the destruction of the world at the hands of the Flame.

Gabe Pritchard, grizzled CIA agent and proud American never believed in sorcery--until he walked into the wrong room in Cairo and ended up with a powerful magical Elemental living inside his head. Tanya Morozova, latest in a long line of Ice Witches, knew loyalty to the Consortium before she ever took up the KGB badge. Now they're both stationed to Prague, a city built on powerful ley lines and thrumming with both political and magical tension.

In Season One, a CIA extraction of a Soviet scientist ended in chaos when one of the American operatives betrayed the U.S. in order to deliver the magically-powerful scientist to the Flame. Tanya and Gabe worked together to foil the plot--but trust is hard to come by amongst spies and suspicion lingers throughout their agencies, both magical and national.

In Season Two, Tanya and Gabe must deal with the fallout of their actions from Season One as each plays their own dangerous game to try to learn the secrets of the Flame without getting burned. Meanwhile a powerful sorcerer arrives in Prague to lead a ritual that could turn the tides of war.

And I picked up one from NetGalley.

Mailbox Monday – 6/19Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Published by Atria Books on December 5, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
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An astonishingly incisive and suspenseful novel about a scandal amongst Britain’s privileged elite and the women caught up in its wake.

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

Thursday’s Tale: The Old Woman in the Woods

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Illustration by Arthur Rackham

It’s been a while since I featured a tale by the Grimms. “The Old Woman in the Woods” may be titled after an old woman, but the heroine is more of the standard Grimm type.

A poor servant girl, who I assume was lovely and humble and kind, was once traveling through a great forest with her master and mistress, when robbers came out of the trees and murdered everyone they found. Everyone died except the girl, who had jumped out of the carriage and hidden herself behind a tree. After the robbers had taken all the valuables and left, she came out of her hiding place and saw the horrible disaster. She began to weep, and said, “What can a poor girl like me do now? I don’t know the way out of the woods. No humans live here, so I’ll most certainly starve to death.”

She walked about looking for a path, but couldn’t find one. When evening fell she sat down beneath a tree. After she had sat there for a while, a white dove flew up to her with a little golden key in its beak. It put the little key in her hand, saying, “Do you see that large tree over there? A little lock is on it. Open it with this little key, and you will find food enough to still your hunger.” We all know by now to trust animal helpers, don’t we?

Then she went to the tree and unlocked it, and found milk in a little bowl and white bread. When she had eaten all she wanted, she said, “It is now the time when the hens at home go to roost, I am so tired that I would like to lie down in my bed as well.”

Then the little dove flew to her again, bringing another little golden key in its bill. It said, “Open that tree over there, and you will find a bed.”

She opened it, and found a beautiful white bed. She lay down, and fell asleep.

In the morning the little dove came for the third time, again bringing a little key. It said, “Open that tree over there, and you will find clothes.”

Upon opening it she found garments trimmed with gold and with jewels, more lovely than those of any princess. She lived there for some time, and the dove came every day, providing her with everything that she needed. It was a peaceful, good life.

Then one day the little dove came and said, “Will you do me a favor?”

“Gladly, with all my heart,” said the girl.

Then the little dove said, “I will lead you to a little house. Go inside, where an old woman will be sitting by the fireplace. She will say, ‘Good day.’ But on your life do not answer her, in spite of whatever she might do. Pass by her on her right-hand side where there is a door. Open it and you will enter into a room where there are all kinds of rings lying on a table. Some of these are some splendid ones with glistening stones. Leave them where they are and seek out a simple one which must be among them, then bring it here to me as quickly as you can.”

The girl went to the little house, and entered in at the door. An old woman was sitting there. When she saw the girl she glared at her and said, “Good day, my child.”

The girl did not answer, but approached the door.

“Where are you going?” cried the old woman, and grabbed her skirt, trying to hold her fast. She said, “This is my house, and no one can go in there if I do not want them to.”

But the girl said nothing, pulled away from her, and went directly into the room. On the table there was an enormous quantity of rings, which glistened and glittered before her eyes. She stirred through them looking for the simple one, but she could not find it. While she was thus seeking, she saw the old woman sneak by, trying to make off with a bird cage which she had in her hand. The girl went up to her and took the cage out of her hand. Lifting it up and looking inside it, she saw a bird with the simple ring in its beak.

She took the ring, and happily ran out of the house with it. She thought that the little white dove would come and get the ring, but it did not. Then she leaned against a tree, determined to wait for the dove. As she stood there, it seemed that the tree was becoming soft and flexible, and was letting its branches down.

Suddenly the branches wrapped themselves around her, and had become two arms. Looking around, she saw that the tree had turned into a handsome man, who embraced her and kissed her tenderly.

He said, “You have delivered me from the power of the old woman, who is a wicked witch. She had turned me into a tree, and for a few hours every day I was a white dove. As long as she possessed the ring I could not regain my human form.”

Then his servants and his horses, who had likewise been changed into trees, were freed from the magic spell as well, and were standing there beside him. Then they traveled to his kingdom, for he was a prince, of course, and they married, of course, and lived happily ever after.

The tree part was a bit surprising the first time I read it through. You gotta love a man who sends you into a witch’s house, I guess. I do wonder who all the other rings belonged to. Other princes still waiting to be rescued? She wasn’t really a very impressive witch. All she did was grab the girl’s skirt and then try to sneak out. Where was her magic? Where was her scariness?

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.

My Favorite . . . Thriller

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My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive. For more info: My Favorite Meme.

I don’t know if I don’t read many thrillers or just don’t classify many things I do read as thrillers. My Goodreads list only shows that I’ve read 26 since I joined in 2007, but considering how many mysteries and spy novels I read, I find that unlikely. I found this definition on-line: “Thrillers are intended to arouse feelings of excitement or suspense, and sometimes fear. The stories generally contain dark or serious themes. Thrillers are sensational, focused on illegal activities, and involve sex and violence.”

I’m going to have to go with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn as my favorite, at least that I’ve read in recent years. I listened to it on audio at the beginning of 2016 and found it engrossing. I never did get around to watching the movie though.

What’s your favorite thriller? Join in at Maureen’s Books.

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