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Mailbox Monday – 3/27

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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

Death at Breakfast  came from William Morrow.

Mailbox Monday – 3/27Death at Breakfast by Beth Gutcheon
Series: Maggie Detweiler and Hope Babbin #1
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on February 21, 2017
Source: Publisher
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
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Indulging their pleasure in travel and new experiences, recently retired private school head Maggie Detweiler and her old friend, socialite Hope Babbin, are heading to Maine. The trip—to attend a weeklong master cooking class at the picturesque Victorian-era Oquossoc Mountain Inn—is an experiment to test their compatibility for future expeditions.

Hope and Maggie have barely finished their first aperitifs when the inn’s tranquility is shattered by the arrival of Alexander and Lisa Antippas and Lisa’s actress sister, Glory. Imperious and rude, these Hollywood one-percenters quickly turn the inn upside-down with their demanding behavior, igniting a flurry of speculation and gossip among staff and guests alike.

But the disruption soon turns deadly. After a suspicious late-night fire is brought under control, Alex’s charred body is found in the ashes. Enter the town’s deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, Hope’s long-estranged son and Maggie’s former student. A man who’s finally found his footing in life, Buster needs a win. But he’s quickly pushed aside by the “big boys,” senior law enforcement and high-powered state’s attorneys who swoop in to make a quick arrest.

Maggie knows that Buster has his deficits and his strengths. She also knows that justice does not always prevail—and that the difference between conviction and exoneration too often depends on lazy police work and the ambitions of prosecutors. She knows too, after a lifetime of observing human nature, that you have a great advantage in doing the right thing if you don’t care who gets the credit or whom you annoy.

Feeling that justice could use a helping hand--as could the deputy sheriff—Maggie and Hope decide that two women of experience equipped with healthy curiosity, plenty of common sense, and a cheerfully cynical sense of humor have a useful role to play in uncovering the truth.

Paperback

I picked up one on NetGalley.

Mailbox Monday – 3/27Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen
Series: Sakura Steam #1
Published by Palantir Press LLC on February 16, 2016
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 274
Format: eBook
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In Japan of 1852, the peace imposed by the Tokugawa Shoguns has lasted 250 years. Peace has turned to stagnation, however, as the commoners grow impoverished and their lords restless. Swords rust. Martial values decay. Foreign barbarians circle the island nation's closed borders like vultures, growing ever more demanding.

Toru, a shipwrecked young fisherman rescued by American traders and taken to America, defies the Shogun's ban on returning to Japan, determined to save his homeland from foreign invasion. Can he rouse his countrymen in time? Or will the cruel Shogun carry out his vow to execute all who set foot in Japan after traveling abroad? Armed only with his will, a few books, dirigible plans and dangerous ideas, Toru must transform the Emperor's realm before the Black Ships come.

Toru: Wayfarer Returns is the first book in the Sakura Steam Series, an alternate history of the tumultuous period from the opening of Japan in 1853 to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. This volume covers the year prior to the American Commodore Perry's arrival in Japan and follows the hero and his young allies as they lead Japan through a massively compressed industrial revolution, dramatically altering that pivotal moment in history.

While Toru and his dirigibles are fictional, the story unfolds against the backdrop of the 'real' Japan of that period, with historical figures and their political environment woven into the tale, staying true to their motivations and agendas even as the alternate history warps their actions, history and a few laws of physics. Underpinning the adventure plot is a young man's yearning for his father's approval and an honorable place in his world.

Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron

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Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron Night Night, Sleep Tight by Hallie Ephron
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on December 8, 2015
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
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From the award-winning author of There Was an Old Woman comes a riveting tale of domestic noir, infused with old Hollywood folklore and glamour, set in a town rife with egotism and backstabbing and where fame and infamy are often interchangeable.

Los Angeles 1986: When Deirdre Unger arrived in Beverly Hills to help her bitter, disappointed father sell his dilapidated house, she discovers his lifeless body floating face down in the swimming pool. At first, Deirdre assumes her father’s death was a tragic accident. But the longer she stays in town, the more she suspects that it is merely the third act in a story that has long been in the making.

The sudden re-surfacing of Deirdre’s childhood best friend Joelen Nichol—daughter of the legendary star Elenor “Bunny” Nichol—seems like more than a coincidence. Back in 1958, Joelen confessed to killing her movie star mother’s boyfriend. Deirdre happened to be at the Nichols house the night of the murder—which was also the night she suffered a personal tragedy of her own. Could all of these events be connected?

Her search to find answers forces Deirdre to confront a truth she has long refused to believe: beneath the slick veneer of Beverly Hills lie secrets that someone will kill to keep buried.

The blurb gives the set-up –  and of course all the events are connected. I think Hollywood in the ’80s with secrets going back to the late ’50s was a great setting. Stars and writers with their careers and public image to think of give an interesting outlook on the mystery.

My main problem with Night Night, Sleep Tight was that I just didn’t care about Deidre. I didn’t like her, didn’t hate her, didn’t feel sorry for her, or any of the main characters really. I didn’t get to know her mother and brother enough to fully understand their motives and the family friends were all pretty self-absorbed. The mystery itself was fine but not compelling enough to carry the book.Deidre happens to find her father’s memoir quickly after his death, which was more than a bit convenient. It gave her a direction to take her questions and other people a motive for murder.

I was surprised, and a bit disappointed, by who the killer was. It made sense though, given the aspirations of all the characters involved. I did like the ending – instead of taking what would be the expected route, Ephron let the characters do what was in their nature.

This was not one that kept me involved. I finished it because it wasn’t bad enough to put down, but it also didn’t call my name at every free moment.

About Hallie Ephron

Hallie Ephron is the New York Times best selling author of suspense novels that she hopes keep readers up nights. She is a four-time finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and her books have also been nominated for Edgar and Anthony awards. She is a much sought-after speaker and writing teacher.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Mailbox Monday – 2/15

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Mailbox Monday
Today is President’s Day, so David and Amber both have the day off. I, unfortunately, am at work. And we’re supposed to get some nasty weather this afternoon, freezing rain or something.  Might be a good evening to cuddle up on the couch and read.

I picked up a few new books this week. To check out everyone’s additions and add you own link, head to the Mailbox Monday Blog.

EBooks

Cupid’s Curse was a Kindle Freebie.

Mailbox Monday – 2/15Cupid's Curse by Kathi Daley
Series: Zoe Donovan Mysteries #4
Published by Createspace on January 1, 2014
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 161
Format: eBook
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When Cupid comes to town it seems everyone’s relationship is in for a challenge. Not only does Zoe suspect that her dad’s new girlfriend is really a killer, but Zoe is the only one who believes that her soon-to- be evil stepmom is guilty of such a dastardly deed. Add that to the fact that Zak clearly has a secret, Jeremy’s baby mama is making his life as miserable as her pregnancy is making hers, Levi’s girlfriend Barbie is on a rampage, and Ellie is caught in a brotherly love triangle, and you have a Valentine’s Day disaster in the making. When Zoe finds not one but two dead bodies all bets are off as she works with her friends to uncover the truth before someone she loves falls victim to Cupid's Curse.

Magic Words came from Vanita Books via NetGalley.

Mailbox Monday – 2/15Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit by Edward Field
Illustrator: [translator]
Published by Vanita Books on September 1, 2013
Genres: Picture Book, Folktale
Pages: 24
Format: eBook
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Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit is a modern translation (1965) of a very old Inuit creation story by nationally known poet Edward Field. As a poem it captures beautifully the intimate relationship this Arctic people have with their natural world.
Magic Words describes a world where humans and animals share bodies and languages, where the world of the imagination mixes easily with the physical. It began as a story that told how the Inuit people came to be and became a legend passed from generation to generation. In translation it grew from myth to poem. The text comes from expedition notes recorded by Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen in 1921. Edward Field got a copy from the Harvard Library and translated it into English.

Print

Buried Threads came thanks to Word Slinger Publicity.

Mailbox Monday – 2/15Buried Threads by Kaylin McFarren
Series: Threads #2
Published by Creative Edge Publishing on October 1, 2013
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
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Rachel Lyons and her partner Chase Cohen accept a contract to recover a lost priceless treasure in the Sea of Japan. However, upon arriving in Tokyo, they soon discover their mission is more complicated and dangerous than they originally believed. In order to prevent a natural disaster from striking Japan and killing millions, they must form an alliance with yakuza members, dive into shark-infested waters and recover three ancient cursed swords...before time runs out.

The Pocket Wife also showed up in my mail.

Mailbox Monday – 2/15The Pocket Wife by Susan H. Crawford
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on December 22, 2015
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
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Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia's death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.
Is murder on her mind - or is it all in her head?
The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her . . . or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again? A story of marriage, murder and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.

Did any good books find their way to your house this week?

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