There's nothing like trying to find a minute here and a minute there to write and schedule blog posts ahead of time, but so far everything seems to be working smoothly for me. By the time you see this post, it will be a week old. I do love scheduling posts for future dates, and if you haven't tried it yet, I'd suggest that you give it a try. It's an easy way to free up time when you know you're going to be busy doing something else.
I got two weeks' worth of bookfinds' posts from one Paperback Swap Daily Wish List email, so you can see how dangerous reading those things can be for me!
This week's discovered books seem to be fairly balanced between fiction and non-fiction... a little something for everyone... so I hope at least one of these titles tickles your fancy as much as it did mine!
Click on the book cover if you'd like to see more detailed information.
The Curse of the Romanovs by Staton Rabin. (Young Adult)
"Alexei Romanov, heir to the Russian throne, is in deadly danger. It's 1916, the struggling Russian people are tired of war and are blaming their Romanov rulers for it, and some are secretly plotting to murder the young heir and his family. But nobody outside the palace knows that Alexei suffers from a terrible bleeding disease, hemophilia, which threatens to finish him off even before the family's enemies can. The only person able to help Alexei is the evil and powerful religious mystic Rasputin -- and now Rasputin is trying to kill him too! Desperate, Alexei flees through time to New York City in 2010, using a method taught to him by the mad monk himself. In New York, Alexei meets smart and sassy Varda Rosenberg, and discovers she is a distant cousin. Varda is working on a gene therapy cure for hemophilia, as the disease still runs in the family. When Alexei learns that history shows that his entire family will be assassinated in 1918, he and Varda travel back in time to the Russian Revolution, with Rasputin hot on their heels. Will they be able to rescue Alexei's family before it's too late?"
"Thirty years ago, Magnolia Shelby wrote out her will and bequeathed her beautiful Civil War-era estate, Bell Run, to a complete stranger related to the family that owned the land before the Shelbys. Now 91, Maggie feels it is time to meet her beneficiary and to introduce her to her heritage. Pat Montella, a quiet, unassuming office worker from Pennsylvania, is unaware of her distant connection to the Bell family. She travels to Virginia to meet Maggie and as the two of them explore the grounds and neighborhood, Pat becomes aware of voices and out-of-date details. She experiences blackouts and 'sees' back to early May 1864 when the Confederate army was preparing for a battle on the property. The Bell family is buried there but no one knows the circumstances of their deaths. Interspersed throughout the story are diary entries from that time in which a family member describes the tragedies befalling them. While puzzling over these events and their meaning, Pat becomes the victim of attacks against her and Bell Run. She is afraid to trust the local people she meets and doesn't know who is trying to scare her away from her inheritance."
The House in Good Taste by Elsie De Wolfe
"After ninety years, The House in Good Taste by America's 'first lady of interior decoration,' Elsie De Wolfe, still offers timeless design advice. Compiled from her articles in newspapers and magazines and first published in 1914, The House in Good Taste is a seminal book on interior design with ideas that have lasted a century because they influenced not only the wealthy clients of Park Avenue and Palm Beach, but popular taste as well. De Wolfe advised Americans to shun ostentation and clutter in favor of simplicity, to dismantle the draperies in order to let in the light, and to replace garish colors with beige and ivory. 'I believe in plenty of optimism and white paint,' she declared, 'comfortable chairs with lights beside them, open fires on the hearth and flowers wherever they belong, mirrors and sunshine in all rooms.' The rooms that Americans inhabited in the middle of the twentieth century still today owe much to De Wolfe's tastes"
The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives by Otto Penzler
"A great recurring character in a series you love becomes an old friend. You learn about their strange quirks and their haunted pasts and root for them every time they face danger. But where do some of the most fascinating sleuths in the mystery and thriller world really come from? What was the real-life location that inspired Michael Connelly to make Harry Bosch a Vietnam vet tunnel rat? Why is Jack Reacher a drifter? How did a brief encounter in Botswana inspire Alexander McCall Smith to create Precious Ramotswe? In THE LINEUP, some of the top mystery writers in the world tell about the genesis of their most beloved characters-- or, in some cases, let their creations do the talking."
Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein
"Everyone knows the fifty winners but what about the hundreds of other statehood proposals that never worked out? Lost States is a tribute to such great unrealized states as West Florida, South California, Half-Breed Tracts, Rough and Ready, and others. History buffs will be entertained and enlightened by these bizarre-but-true stories: Frontier legend Daniel Boone once proposed a state of Transylvania on the borders of Indiana and Illinois. (His plan was resurrected a few years later with the new name of Kentucky.) Residents of bucolic South Jersey wanted to secede from their 'filthy' north Jersey neighbors and form their own union. The Gold Rush territory of Nataqua could have made a fine state but since no women were willing to live there, they had to settle for being part of California. Accompanying the stories are beautiful full-color original maps detailing how these states' boundaries might have looked, along with images of real-life artifacts and ephemera. Lost States is a quirky reference book for history buffs, geography geeks, and anyone who enjoys lush, fascinating cartography."
The Prairie Traveler: The 1859 Handbook for Westbound Pioneers by Randolph B. Marcy
"Along with a good rifle and a sturdy horse, this guidebook was essential for westward-bound pioneers. Originally published by the War Department, Capt. Marcy's manual offers life-or-death advice on choosing the best routes to California, food supplies, treating snakebites, fording rivers, and encountering Native Americans. 21 original illustrations."
There you have my discoveries of the week. Have you read any of them? Would you recommend them? Did any of these titles tickle your fancy enough to add them to your own wish list? Which ones? Do tell!