Monday, April 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday-- Thank You, Bookcloseouts!

It was a slow week for sending books to new homes (only four), but I expected that. I haven't gone out of my way to post new books at Paperback Swap, and Denis, our four house guests and I all headed up to the Grand Canyon for an overnight trip. Rain, sleet, hail, snow, howling winds...and eventually sunshine and views that took our breath away. The eleven books that I received last week all appeared on Saturday. One from Paperback Swap, one from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program, and the rest from (9 books--mostly hardcovers-- for $25). Here's what the mail carrier brought me Saturday:

--Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe by James M. Ward (BC). "
The fantastical adventures begun in Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe (2005) continue. Now a seasoned wizard-warrior, Blithe becomes second-in-command of the prize crew when his frigate captures an enemy vessel--and promptly faces a full-fledged enemy dragonship. Escaping by the skin of his teeth, Blithe is sent to another dragonship crewed by dwarves, whose politics and seamanship are enough to turn a seasoned mariner's hair gray. He acquits himself with honor, and the series seems to promise at least one more book.

--The Sisters Mortland by Sally Beauman (PBS). "
Wyken Abby, an old convent, is the home to the sisters Mortland--Julia, the fierce eldest sister; Finn, the sweet and stubborn middle sister; and Maisie, the youngest, at 13, and the opening narrator. It is the summer of 1967, and the Mortland family is enjoying the company of Dan, Finn's boyfriend, and Lucas, a visiting artist who comes to paint the sisters. Maisie weaves her strange tale of her family and their secrets until a tragic accident occurs. Jump ahead a little more than 20 years, and Dan takes up the narrative, filling in most of the blanks left by Maisie, including the repercussions the accident had on the family.

--City of Shadows by Ariana Franklin (BC). "
The German government is in crisis, inflation is staggering, anti-Semitism is rife, citizens are starving and Hitler has begun his rise to power. Horribly scarred Esther Solonomova works as a secretary for fake Russian nobleman Prince Nick, the owner of several Berlin nightclubs (think Cabaret) catering to the rich, the foreign and the deviant. Nick finds an inmate in a local asylum who claims to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, sole survivor of the slaughter of Russia's royal family. Prince Nick renames the inmate Anna Anderson, installs her in an apartment with Esther and sets in motion plans to get his hands on the money and jewels that Anna will claim as the heir to the Russian throne. But a mysterious Nazi is trying to murder Anna, and those near her begin to die.

--The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson (BC). "
Former small-time crook Little John Jonsson is found brutally murdered, with clear evidence of torture. The Uppsala police force investigates and eventually identifies the killer. The author skillfully constructs the personality of each character, revealing, for example, the weaknesses inherent in policeman Ola Haver and Ann Liddell versus the hidden strengths of the victim's brother, Lennart Jonsson, and son, Justus. Haver leads the investigation while managing a strained relationship with his wife and an attraction to his former boss, Liddell. Lennart Jonsson's guilt and grief over his brother's death eventually destroys him, but not before he exacts his revenge (albeit unrecognized) and becomes a hero. Justus had a secret pact with his father that may have saved Little John's life had he shared it with his mother or the police. The likely suspect is a demented, pathetic person who knew his victim as one of his tormentors in school a period that haunts him in his adult life. The entangled relationships among the police, the victim, and the victim's family are compelling.

--Frozen in Time: The Enduring Legacy of the 1961 U.S. Figure Skating Team by Nikki Nichols (LT-ER). "
On February 15, 1961, all 18 members of the U.S. World Figure Skating Team were killed in a plane crash, along with 16 coaches, officials, and family members. Frozen in Time takes readers inside the lives of the young skaters who died in the crash, revealing their friendships, romances, rivalries, sacrifices, and triumphs.

--Gods and Pawns by Kage Baker (BC). "
These eight stories, reprinted for the first time in this collection, delve further into the history and exploits of the Company. The book opens with the novella, "To the Land Beyond the Sunset," starring Lewis and Mendoza, and involving a strange tribe in Bolivia whose members claim to be gods. "Standing in His Light" features Van Drouten's role in the career of the artist Jan Vermeer. Other stories include "Welcome to Olympus, Mr. Hearst," which opens up intriguing questions about The Company, and the original novelette, "Hellfire at Twilight," which concludes the volume and tells of Lewis infiltrating the famous Hellfire Club in eighteenth century England. Gods and Pawns is a compelling read for every Baker fan, and essential for Company addicts

--The Star Garden by Nancy E. Turner (BC). "
Turner follows up the best-selling These Is My Words (1999) and Sarah's Quilt (2005) with another novel-written-as-a-diary chronicling the turn-of-the-century exploits of Arizona pioneer Sarah Agnes Prine. Basing Sarah on her own great-grandmother, the author's personal connection to the main character authenticates this tale of courage, determination, and audacious will on the frontier. As Sarah struggles to keep both her ranch and her extended family afloat amid hard times, she is pressed by one neighbor to marry him while another neighbor plots to gain control of her land. When she is offered the chance to realize a long-held dream, she must reevaluate what is truly important in her life.

--Cross by Ken Bruen (BC). "
In Cross, the sixth book in Ken Bruen's brutal and brilliant Jack Taylor series, the Galway private investigator (think a more tortured and tragic--and Irish--Jack Reacher) is on the hunt for a psychopath, while his surrogate son/mentee, victim of a shooting meant to kill Jack, lies near death in a hospital.

--A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley (BC). "
Assistant Superintendent David Bengu earned his nickname, Kubu (hippopotamus), for his size, generally amiable nature, and occasional ferocity, all of which are evident in this lengthy but fast-moving story, the debut of writing team Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Kubu is called out to a remote tourist camp in Botswana when the manager finds a hyena chewing on human remains. What first seems to be a simple case of death by desert turns into something much more complex, as the Botswana Cattle and Mining Company turns up in every corner. Soon people start to go missing, beginning with a geologist whose specialty is diamonds. Rich with the atmosphere of modern Botswana, and peopled with interesting and well-drawn characters, this is an exciting debut, which will leave readers looking forward to reading the next investigation of Assistant Superintendent Kubu.

--The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama (BC). "
Tsukiyama is a mesmerizing storyteller who focuses on family, tradition, and the solace of nature and art. Of both Chinese and Japanese descent, she has explored the history and culture of both lands, here imagining life in Japan during its most catastrophic time as experienced by the orphaned brothers Hiroshi and Kenji. Raised by their loving grandparents in Yanaka, a residential area of Tokyo, they are opposites. Big, strong, and confident, Hiroshi believes he is destined to be a sumo wrestler. Slight, quiet, and artistic, Kenji discovers his love for mask making and Noh theater by accident. They each secure mentors, but just as the good brothers embark on their demanding apprenticeships, war breaks out. Tsukiyama's spare prose reflects the clean-lined, distilled-to-the-essence aesthetic of Japanese art as she writes appreciatively and informatively about the arts of sumo and Noh, and piercingly about the horrific deprivations and tyranny of war, the firebombing of Tokyo, the American occupation, and the rapid evolution of modern Japan.

--Blue Heaven by C.J. Box (BC). "
Siblings Annie and William Taylor, ages 12 and 10, witness a gruesome murder in the woods outside the small Idaho town of Kootenai Bay, nicknamed Blue Heaven for its abundance of retired LAPD officers. Annie and William make a run for it after they're spotted by the killers, a group of crooked LAPD cops who retired to Idaho eight years earlier after pulling a complicated heist in California that left a man dead. Rancher Jess Rawlins becomes the children's only hope of survival after they take refuge in his barn. Jess must stay one step ahead of the killers, who have volunteered to help the local authorities investigate the children's disappearance. Annie and William's mother is frantic, as the scheming officers try to persuade her the children are gone for good."

To see what other folks received in their mailboxes last week, just click on that hungry-looking gator 'box at the top of this post to be taken to Marcia's The Printed Page. Thanks for hosting this fun meme, Marcia!


  1. That is sure a lot of interesting books :D
    happy reading with all of those

  2. You have nice lot there. Forgive my silence -- I'm still catching up from the read-a-thon.

  3. Book Closeouts is dangerous - that's why I stay away from it. You had a great week!

  4. I am so curious to see what you think about The Princess of Burundi.
    I probably shouldn´t tell you, but I tried the first pages twice, and never got further.
    On the other hand I am sure you are just about old enough to form your own opinion ;)

  5. I don't know a single one of the books you got! Wow! Enjoy the books :-)

    My mailbox is here, btw :-)

  6. Darn, Now there is another site I'll have to check out to feed my addiction.. I hadn't heard of bookcloseouts!
    You got quite a mix of books there!

  7. I haven't heard of bookcloseouts - will have to go check it out - wow another place to add to the ever growing TBR pile!!!

  8. I have to read more slowly because I really was thrown by "God & Prawns" -- who would write a religious book abotu shrimp!

    Slow down, slow down, slow down.

    Now off to discover Bookcloseouts for myself!

  9. What a great pile! I'm especially curious about The Sisters Mortland. And I'm a Baker fan, so I'll have to get my hands on Gods and Pawns at some point! Enjoy your books!

  10. Awesome pile of books...I like them all. The Sisters Mortland, City of Shadows....but to tell you the truth the all look interesting. :)

    Here is my link....happy reading,

  11. Until today I had never heard of Book Closeouts -- now you are the 2nd blogger who has mentioned this amazing site. I simply MUST check it out!

  12. oh, just what i need--another place to get books! lol. i'm going to have to put an addition on my house to store all my books!!

  13. I'm a fan of Book Closeouts but haven't ordered since November. Hmm.

    Looks like you are a fan too!

  14. City of Shadows caught my eye. Happy reading!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  15. What a nice pile of books you have there. 14 in one week is pretty good. Now you need a speed reading book.

    I really like your Library Thing widget. I have been just staring at it and all the books you have. I noticed some similarities. I see you also like slow cooking. Fun to watch. I'm going to have to check it out.

  16. Thanks, Blodeuedd!

    Beth--I'd already seen where you'd been a very busy cheerleader. I always work on the weekends, so there's no way I can ever participate in a Readathon.

    Kathy--I try to stay away from Bookcloseouts, too, but once in a blue moon it catches me unaware! LOL

    Dorte--You're quite right about that. I'll try not to wait too long before I satisfy your curiosity!

    Kathrin--Hopefully one or two of them sounded interesting to you!

    Marie--If you can catch one of their sales, you can save a ton of money and get a lot of fab books!

    Kara--Bookcloseouts can be dangerous, so try to catch one of their wonderful periodic sales.

    Rose--Don't feel bad. When I was proofing the post, I read that title the same way! LOL Sounds like I'm introducing all sorts of folks to Bookcloseouts!

    Thanks, Avis. Glad to hear from another Kage Baker fan. The Sisters Mortland really intrigued me, too.

    Thanks, Wisteria!

    I know what you mean, Natalie!

    Mary--I'm definitely a Bookcloseouts fan. I think November was the last time I ordered from them, too. Must've been when they had their last big sale!

    Thanks, Anna!

    Margot--I love the changes LT made to their widget. To tell you the truth, I can sit and watch my own widget. How bad is that? LOL

  17. Great stack of books! I'm still waiting for my bookcloseouts order to arrive. I have a hard time not going crazy with the ordering whenever I see that they're running a special. :)

  18. Alyce--Those specials are almost impossible to resist, aren't they? LOL


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