Mailbox Monday is hosted by Abi at 4 the LOVE of BOOKS. I've received a few new books recently:
Won from No More Grumpy Bookseller
Queenie Wake, a country girl from North Star, Texas, has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup. Again. Now the only place she has to go is home to North Star. She can hope, maybe things will be different. Maybe her family's reputation as those Wake women will have been forgotten. It's been years since her mother-notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money-was killed. And her sister, who as a teenager was branded as a gold-digging harlot after having a baby with local golden boy Wes McKay, is now the mother of the captain of the high school football team. It can't be that bad…
Who knew that people in small town Texas had such long memories? And of course Queenie wishes that her memory were a little spottier when feelings for her high school love, Everett Coburn, resurface. He broke her heart and made her leave town-can she risk her heart again?
At least she has a new job-sure it's cooking last meals for death row inmates but at least they don't complain!
But when secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A fun-filled, touching story of food, football, and fooling around.
A Far Piece to Canaan by Sam Halpern
Received through TLC Book Tours
A warm and nostalgic debut novel from an unexpected source: Sam Halpern, whose salty paternal wisdom made Justin Halpern's Sh*t My Dad Says a phenomenal bestseller.
Inspired by Sam Halpern's childhood in rural Kentucky, A Far Piece to Canaan tells the story of Samuel Zelinsky, a celebrated but troubled retired professor who reluctantly returns after his wife's death to visit a farm in the Kentucky hills where he lived as a child. The son of sharecroppers, Samuel has long since left that life behind-yet now must reconnect with long-buried memories in order to achieve peace.
Delving into the events of 1945, Sam recalls Fred Mulligan, the hired hand's bright and spirited ten-year-old son. Together with two neighbor boys, Samuel and Fred visit the Blue Hole, a legendary pool on the Kentucky River where the hill people believe an evil force lurks. The boys find the body of a dog, surrounded by twisted human footprints, and later discover a cave that offers other evidence that something terrible has transpired. Fearing that they'll be punished for their trespasses, the boys initiate a series of cover-ups and lies that eventually lead to a community disaster.
When the Zelinskys move from the farm, the two boys promise each other that if either of them ever needs help, the other will come to his aid, but after he moves to Indiana and is ridiculed because of his "hillbilly" background, Sam rejects his past.
Now, decades later, Sam is devastated to learn from a fellow classmate about Fred's tragic life story in the years that followed-and manages to make contact with his troubled granddaughter, Lisa June. Though at first she rejects his attempts to reach out to her, through persistence and patience Samuel finally manages to establish a connection, becoming a kind of surrogate grandfather to Lisa June-and finally achieving peace through his late return to Canaan land.
A tale of superstition, secrets, and heroism in the postwar South, A Far Piece to Canaan is the surprising and moving debut of a gifted storyteller.
Elders by Ryan McIlvain
Received through Read It Forward
Elder McLeod—outspoken, surly, a brash American—is nearing the end of his mission in Brazil. For nearly two years he has spent his days studying the Bible and the Book of Mormon, knocking on doors, teaching missionary lessons—“experimenting on the word.” His new partner is Elder Passos, a devout, ambitious Brazilian who found salvation and solace in the church after his mother’s early death. The two men are at first suspicious of each other, and their work together is frustrating, fruitless. That changes when a beautiful woman and her husband offer the missionaries a chance to be heard, to put all of their practice to good use, to test the mettle of their faith. But before they can bring the couple to baptism, they must confront their own long-held beliefs and doubts, and the simmering tensions at the heart of their friendship.
A novel of unsparing honesty and beauty, Elders announces Ryan McIlvain as a writer of enormous talent.
Books purchased from Barnes and Noble:
The Return Man by V.M. Zito
The outbreak tore the USA in two. The east remains a safe haven. The west has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.
Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other. He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden. And where his own tragic past waits to punish him again.
But in the wastelands of America, you never know who - or what - is watching you.
The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison
The Worm Ouroboros weaves strands from Norse saga, Greek myth, and Elizabethan drama together with magical adventure to produce one of the most eccentric masterpieces of English literature. Anticipating J. R. R. Tolkien by a few decades, E. R. Eddison imagined an Other World full of wonders and a huge cast of warriors, witches, and monsters. He also invented one of the truly distinctive styles in English prose. Its language is densely ornamented and deliberately archaic, but also precise, vigorous, and flexible enough to convey wistful tenderness one minute and violent action the next. In the decades since its first publication in 1922, The Worm Ouroboros has become a touchstone for lovers of fantasy literature, influencing several generations of writers and treasured by readers who fall under its spell.
(This book caught my eye, because I have a tattoo of an ouroboros, although mine is in a figure 8 rather than a circle.)