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.
Death at Breakfast came from William Morrow.
Death at Breakfast by Beth Gutcheon
Series: Maggie Detweiler and Hope Babbin #1
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on February 21, 2017
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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.
I picked up one on NetGalley.
Toru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen
Series: Sakura Steam #1
Published by Palantir Press LLC on February 16, 2016
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Baseball Faith: 52 MLB Stars Reflect on Their Faith by Rob Maaddi
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.
Published by Shiloh Run Press on March 1, 2017
Genres: Devotional, Christian Life
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Winning the World Series may be the ultimate prize for most MLB players, but a relationship with Jesus Christ is No. 1 for many diamond stars, including:
Hall of Famer John Smoltz
Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw
MVP Albert Pujols
All-Star Mariano Rivera
And dozens more.
Baseball Faith will inspire you in your faith journey as 52 MLB players--past and present--share their stories and how they are chasing the success that only comes from being God's man and following His plan. These men are committed to living their lives with eternity in mind. Empowered by God, they are looking beyond the competition to a larger goal: following God's game plan for their lives as team players, as husbands, fathers, sons, and then using their influence to point others toward Him.
Baseball season is just around the bend, and I’m a baseball fan, as is my husband, so Baseball Faith grabbed my attention. It’s a good book, a nice devotional for baseball fans, especially maybe teenage boys who are into the sport.
The setup is well done. Each player’s piece starts with a scripture quote and is followed by the player’s thoughts on why that scripture is important to him or about how faith and the Bible are important in his life. Each devotion can be read in less than 2 minutes. The following two pages contain some of the player’s stats and an interesting fact, like “McCutchen cut his dreadlocks before the 2015 season, and proceeds from the sale of his hair benefited Pirates Charities.” Yeah, we’re Pirates fans around here. And have been for ages, even when we were absolutely terrible. I was glad to see our McCutchen in the book.
The devotions are short and simple. I like that many of the players mention the importance of Bible study groups, attending church, and reading the Bible. Some talk about God always being with them, even when the game is tough, and of being Him being more important than baseball. Some talk about how being a baseball player makes being a good role model even more important. Wilson Ramos (Tampa Bay Rays) talks about the verse that gave him strength when he was kidnapped in Venezuela. Each has his own story, his own background, and each is inspiring.
Definitely a good read for the baseball fan in your life. The devotions are topics that are easy to relate to and written so that everyone can understand. They don’t use obscure terms or phrases that only church-goers would understand. It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s nice to see these people who we usually only see on tv sharing their faith.
All In by Joel Goldman, Lisa Klink
Published by Thomas Mercer on September 8, 2015
Genres: Crime Fiction
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Cassie Ireland works as a modern-day Robin Hood for people who have nowhere else to turn, not even to the police. Jake Carter is a roguish high roller traveling the world to play—and win—big-money poker. As Lady Luck would have it, the two unexpectedly find themselves targeting the same mark: Alan Kendrick, a ruthless, megarich hedge fund manager who doesn’t mind padding his bank account with a few shady deals. He’s swindled the wrong people this time—and now Ireland and Carter will join forces to take him down.
From New York to Buenos Aires to the Mediterranean, Cassie and Jake go all in, risking everything, including their lives, in a game with the highest of stakes and no rules. Who is the hunter, and who is the prey?
All In is a fun, breezy thriller – danger, bad guys, gambling, and a touch of romance. From a New York penthouse to a luxury yacht on the Mediterranean, it’s just a fun ride. There’s plenty of action and not a slow spot in the book. Both Cassie and Jake are fabulous and will take your money. Cassie because it’s her job – and she’s very good at her job. Jake because he’s a good poker player- not lucky, he just knows the odds and can read people very well. Together, they are quite a team, even if they’d rather not be and are not sure how much to trust each other. And of course there are sparks between them, even though Cassie at first and then Jake want to resist the attraction for their own reasons. Okay, so it’s a fairly typical book, one that I could totally see as date movie, but the authors do it really well. The story zips along; you like the good guys; the baddies are clearly thugs or too rich for their own good or both. The women are strong, each in her own way – it’s nice to see an action story where the guy doesn’t get to save the day.
It’s not great literature – it’s not pretending to be. It’s a truly enjoyable read, though, perfect for the beach or a rainy afternoon.