Mailbox Monday is hosted by a different blog each month. See the official list here. I've received a few new books recently:
Reviewing for TLC Book Tours
Dale M. Kushner's novel The Conditions of Love traces the journey of a girl from childhood to adulthood as she reckons with her parents' abandonment, her need to break from society's limitations, and her overwhelming desire for spiritual and erotic love. In 1953, ten-year-old Eunice lives in the backwaters of Wisconsin with her outrageously narcissistic mother, a manicureeste and movie star worshipper. Abandoned by her father as an infant, Eunice worries that she will become a misfit like her mother. When her mother's lover, the devoted Sam, moves in, Eunice imagines her life will finally become normal. But her hope dissolves when Sam gets kicked out, and she is again alone with her mother. A freak storm sends Eunice away from all things familiar. Rescued by the shaman-like Rose, Eunice's odyssey continues with a stay in a hermit's shack and ends with a passionate love affair with an older man. Through her capacity to redefine herself, reject bitterness and keep her heart open, she survives and flourishes. In this, she is both ordinary and heroic. At once fable and realistic story, The Conditions of Love is a book about emotional and physical survival. Through sheer force of will, Eunice saves herself from a doomed life.
This engaging examination of a mother and daughter's relationship will appeal to the same audience that embraced Mona Simpson's acclaimed classic Anywhere But Here and Elizabeth Strout's bestselling Amy and Isabelle.
Won from LibraryThing
In 1977, a shoeshine boy, Emanuel Jacques, was brutally raped and murdered in Toronto. In the aftermath of the crime, Antonio Rebelo, the twelve-year-old narrator of this story, explores his Portuguese neighborhood s dark garages and labyrinthine back alleys, along with his rapscallion friends. The boys develop a curious relationship with a charismatic, modern-day Fagin, a fledgling master over an amoral world of young hustlers, theft, and drugs.
As the media unravels the truth behind the shoeshine-boy murder, Antonio starts to see his family and his neighborhood as never before. He becomes aware of the dashed hopes of immigrants, of the influence of faith and the role of church, and of the frightening reality that no one is really taking care of him. So intent are his parents and his neighbors on keeping the old traditions alive that they act as if they still live in a small Portuguese village, not in a big city that puts their kids in the kind of danger they would not dare imagine.
Antonio learns about bravery and cowardice, life and death, and the heart s capacity for love and for unremitting hatred in this stunning coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of a true crime that shook an entire city.
From the publisher
An entertaining and profound look at the lives of birds, illuminating their surprising world—and deep connection with humanity.
Birds are highly intelligent animals, yet their intelligence is dramatically different from our own and has been little understood. As scientists come to understand more about the secrets of bird life, they are unlocking fascinating insights into memory, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself.
The Thing with Feathers explores the astonishing homing abilities of pigeons, the good deeds of fairy-wrens, the influential flocking abilities of starlings, the deft artistry of bowerbirds, the extraordinary memories of nutcrackers, the lifelong loves of albatross, and other mysteries—revealing why birds do what they do, and offering a glimpse into our own nature.
Noah Strycker is a birder and naturalist who has traveled the world in pursuit of his flighty subjects. Drawing deep from personal experience, cutting-edge science, and colorful history, he spins captivating stories about the birds in our midst and reveals the startlingly intimate coexistence of birds and humans. With humor, style, and grace, he shows how our view of the world is often, and remarkably, through the experience of birds.
Beautiful and wise, funny and insightful, The Thing with Feathers is a gripping and enlightening journey into the lives of birds.
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
Reviewing for TLC Book Tours
#1 New York Times bestselling novelist Greg Iles returns with his most eagerly anticipated book yet, and his first in five years – Natchez Burning, the first installment in an epic trilogy that weaves crimes, lies, and secret past and present into a mesmerizing thriller featuring Southern mayor and former prosecutor Penn Cage.
Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
From the publisher
On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.
The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.
But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.
Already remarkably acclaimed in the UK, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature; part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty--rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.
Originally titled The Burial when published in Australia in 2012.
With shades of Water for Elephants and True Grit, a stunning debut novel set in the Australian outback about a female horse thief, her bid for freedom, and the two men trying to capture her.
It is 1921. In a mountain-locked valley, Jessie is on the run.
Born wild and brave, by twenty-six she has already lived life as a circus rider, horse and cattle rustler, and convict. But on this fateful night she is just a woman wanting to survive though there is barely any life left in her.
Two men crash through the bushland, desperate to claim the reward on her head: one her lover, the other the law.
But as it has always been for Jessie, it is death, not a man, who is her closest pursuer and companion. And while all odds are stacked against her, there is one who will never give up on her—her own child, who awaits her.
In a riveting tale of suspense and terror on the high seas, Jonathan Moore pits human beings against nature—and something far deadlier: one another.
Kelly Pratihari-Reid and her husband sail their yacht into Antarctic waters, thinking their gravest concerns will be ice and storms—and their cracked marriage. A British girl shrieking across a short-range VHF frequency ends that illusion. It’s coming, she screams. It saw us and it’s coming back! Her voice is drowned by a tide of signal-jamming static, and Kelly sees a target on the radar screen: A ship is coming for them.
Thus begins an unforgettable cat-and-mouse game across stormy polar seas and dire landfalls. Kelly’s pursuers will test her to the limits of her endurance—and beyond. For the ship in her wake is crewed by pirates, with a young leader trained to use the most sadistic tortures in pursuit of his ultimate objective . . . a goal as shocking as it is horrific.
From the Scotiabank Giller Prize-Winning author of Through Black Spruce comes a literary masterpiece steeped in the natural beauty and blood-soaked brutality of our country’s formative years
A visceral portrait of life at a crossroads, The Orenda opens with a brutal massacre and the kidnapping of the young Iroquois Snow Falls, a spirited girl with a special gift. Her captor, Bird, is an elder and one of the Huron Nation’s great warriors and statesmen. It has been years since the murder of his family and yet they are never far from his mind. In Snow Falls, Bird recognizes the ghost of his lost daughter and sees the girl possesses powerful magic that will be useful to him on the troubled road ahead. Bird’s people have battled the Iroquois for as long as he can remember, but both tribes now face a new, more dangerous threat from afar.
Christophe, a charismatic Jesuit missionary, has found his calling amongst the Huron and devotes himself to learning and understanding their customs and language in order to lead them to Christ. An emissary from distant lands, he brings much more than his faith to the new world.
As these three souls dance each other through intricately woven acts of duplicity, small battles erupt into bigger wars and a nation emerges from worlds in flux.
What if overcoming the legacy of American slavery meant bringing back that very institution? A young black attorney is thrown headlong into controversial issues of race and power in this page-turning and provocative new novel.
Martin Grey, a smart, talented black lawyer working out of a storefront in Queens, becomes friendly with a group of some of the most powerful, wealthy, and esteemed black men in America. He’s dazzled by what they’ve accomplished, and they seem to think he has the potential to be as successful as they are. They invite him for a weekend away from it all—no wives, no cell phones, no talk of business. But far from home and cut off from everyone he loves, he discovers a disturbing secret that challenges some of his deepest convictions…
Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.
A novel of rage and compassion, good and evil, trust and betrayal, Forty Acres is the thought-provoking story of one man’s desperate attempt to escape the clutches of a terrifying new moral order.