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Mailbox Monday – 10/30

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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.

Two from NetGalley this week.

Mailbox Monday – 10/30Fish-Boy by Vanita Oelschlager
Illustrator: Mike Blanc
Published by Vanita Books on May 1, 2018
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Childrens, Picture Book
Pages: 48
Format: eARC
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The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures. The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world.

In Fish-Boy, An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. It's an origin story involving a little magic and a very odd boy with a large heart for friendship. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers. But he has a way.. and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.

Mailbox Monday – 10/30No Recipe: Cooking as Spiritual Practice Published by Sounds True Publishing on May 1, 2018
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Food, Religion & Spirituality
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
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“Instilling the food you prepare with your spirit and good heart is a great undertaking—one that will nourish you in the doing, in the offering, and in the eating.” With No Recipe, renowned author of The Tassajara Bread Book (Shambhala, 1970) Edward Espe Brown invites us into his home and kitchen to explore how cooking and eating can be paths to awakening and realization.

Reading Brown’s witty and engaging collection of essays is like learning to cook—and meditate—with your own personal Zen chef and teacher. Brown shares that the way to cook is not only about following a recipe, but about letting the ingredients come forward to awaken and nourish our bodies and minds. Baking, cutting, chopping, and tasting are not seen as rigid techniques, but as opportunities to find joy and satisfaction in the present moment. From soil to seed and preparation to plate, No Recipe brings us a collection of timeless teachings on cooking as spiritual practice.

Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome by An Swerts

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Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome by An Swerts Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome by An Swerts
Illustrator: Eline Lindenhuizen
Published by Clavis on September 15, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Childrens, Christmas, Picture Book
Pages: 32
Format: eARC
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Dear Santa... That's how Tess starts her letter. You don't have to bring me any toys this year. The only thing I want is a real gnome. Full of anticipation, Tess looks forward to the day her new friend arrives: a friend she can take everywhere, and with whom she can share everything. With Grandpa and Grandma's help, she gets everything ready. Grandpa builds little pieces of furniture, Grandma sews a little blanket, and Tess prepares a welcome meal. And then it's finally Christmas Eve ... Will Santa bring a real gnome?

A heartwarming picture book with wonderfully funny illustrations.

Santa, Please Bring Me a Gnome is a sweet little Christmas story. I love how Tess’ grandparents play along, building furniture and making a blanket for the gnome that Santa will surely bring. Of course, Santa doesn’t bring a gnome, but he does bring a darling little hamster who needs a home. And the becomes her best friend of course.

The illustrations are sweet and gentle, like the cover. It would be a nice read to book to share with kids. But I’m not a big fan of animals as Christmas presents. It made for a heart-warming ending here, but animals, even hamsters, are a big commitment not something to buy on impulse because your daughter is expecting a gnome on Christmas. But kids won’t look at it that way, they’ll just enjoy the story and maybe ask for a gnome or hamster of their own.

About An Swerts

An Swerts (1973) grew up in Geel, Belgium. After studying pharmacy she taught at the college for lab assistants and dieticians. Then she could no longer deny she was drawn to journalism. In 2007 she graduated from the Advanced Academic Education of Journalism (Lessius College). Her final paper was turned into a book. An worked for Clavis Publishing for a while. Today she spends most of her time on journalism and writing. Picture books, though, are her biggest passion: “I don’t know where my passion for picture books came from; I’ve loved them ever since I was a little girl and that feeling stayed with me when I became an adult.”

Scared to Death by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

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Scared to Death by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards Scared to Death by Matthew Costello, Neil Richards
Series: Cherringham #27
Published by Bastei Entertainment on October 1, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 158
Format: eBook
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When classic horror movie star Basil Coates becomes the victim of a series of scary pranks, the local police put it down to a crazed fan. Just pranks, after all ...

But with Halloween only days away, the spectre of murder suddenly visits the ghostly Coates mansion on the hill outside Cherringham - and Jack and Sarah find themselves caught in a mystery worthy of Basil’s spookiest roles ...

Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly - but with a spot of tea - it's like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick read for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.

Scared to Death was my first visit to Cherringham, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. It’s a novella, as are most of this series and I really enjoyed it.

Sarah and Jack are well-known for solving local mysteries, so when someone is “playing pranks” on Basil Coates, an elderly man who was once the horror film star, his still enchanting wife, a former star herself, calls on the duo to find out what’s going on.

It’s a quick story, but self-contained. We get a good feel for who Sarah and Jack are, although I’m not sure if they’re just friends or if there’s a potential for more there. I’m hoping the former. The authors also do a good job at fully developing the secondary characters, the Coates househould. There are a couple plausible suspects and Sarah and Jack do a good job at following upon the clues. There was one choice Sarah made that I wish she hadn’t, but women amateur detectives seldom seem to have the best sense of self-preservation.

It’s a perfect Halloween read, spooky and fun.

About Matthew Costello

Matthew Costello was born in 1948 and writes novels and nonfictional works as author and coauthor. Some of his books have been adapted into film versions and he wrote for some TV channels like the BBC. He also scripts and designs videogames.

About Neil Richards

Neil Richards has worked as a producer and writer in TV and film, creating scripts for BBC, Disney, and Channel 4, and earning numerous Bafta nominations along the way. He’s also written script and story for over 20 video games including The Da Vinci Code and Starship Titanic, co-written with Douglas Adams, and consults around the world on digital storytelling. His writing partnership with NYC-based Matt Costello goes back to the late 90’s and the two have written many hours of TV together. Cherringham, the crime fiction series set in the Cotswolds, is their first crime fiction as co-writers.

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