Sunday, 16 October 2011

In my Mailbox #6

I've had a fairly impressive haul this week with both books and review copy eBooks! So there is a good amount to share with you this week.

I'll post about the 'tree-books' first:

Top two - Uni books
A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration
by Jenny Uglow
The Classic Fairy Tales by Maria Tatar

Middle two
Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

Bottom two
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe
by Jenny Colgan
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

A Gambling Man Waterstone's synopsis:
Charles II was thirty when he crossed the Channel in fine May weather in 1660. His Restoration was greeted with maypoles and bonfires, like spring after long years of Cromwell's rule. But there was no going back, no way he could 'restore' the old. Certainty had vanished. The divinity of kingship fled with his father's beheading. 'Honour' was now a word tossed around in duels. 'Providence' could no longer be trusted. As the country was rocked by plague, fire and war, people searched for new ideas by which to live. Exactly ten years later Charles would stand again on the shore at Dover, laying the greatest bet of his life in a secret deal with his cousin, Louis XIV. The Restoration decade was one of experiment: from the science of the Royal Society to the startling role of credit and risk, from the shocking licence of the court to the failed attempts at toleration of different beliefs. Negotiating all these, Charles, the 'slippery sovereign', played odds and took chances, dissembling and manipulating his followers. The theatres were restored, but the king was the supreme actor. Yet while his grandeur, his court and his colourful sex life were on display, his true intentions lay hidden. "A Gambling Man" is a portrait of Charles II, exploring his elusive nature through the lens of these ten vital years - and a portrait of a vibrant, violent, pulsing world, in which the risks the king took forged the fate of the nation, on the brink of the modern world.

This one I got as extra reading for my Literature 1660-1830 module at university. I have chosen a question for my first assignment that involves writing about both Milton and Rochester, and as I'm not particularly good with history, I thought it might be a good idea to read up on it a little.

The Classic Fairy Tales Waterstone's synopsis:
This Norton Critical Edition collects forty-four fairy tales, from the fifth century to the present. The Classic Fairy Tales focuses on six tale types: "Little Red Riding Hood," "Beauty and the Beast," "Snow White," "Cinderella," "Bluebeard," and "Hansel and Gretel," and presents multicultural variants and sophisticated literary re-scriptings. Also reprinted are tales by Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde."Criticism" gathers twelve essays that interpret aspects of fairy tales, including their social origins, historical evolution, psychological drama, gender issues, and national identities. A Selected Bibliography is included.

I got this one for my other module this semester, Children's fiction. I think one of the things I want to be able to write about in depth in my essay at the end of the semester, is Fairy Tales and what image of the child they project (if the second part is something I am able to write about). I'm also particularly interested in critical analysis of fairy tales, and their origins (Fairy Tales definitely weren't suitable for children to begin with).

Once a Witch Amazon UK synopsis:
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

I read a fellow blogger's review of this not too long ago and decided to treat myself to it earlier this week. I was very surprised when it arrived on Thursday - the delivery estimate wasn't until Tuesday next week. I'm not going to complain though. I decided to go for this one because I don't read too many books about witches and I thought it would make a refreshing change - plus I'd read a couple of shining reviews of it from people who have very similar reading tastes to me. Fingers crossed it's a good one!

The Invisible Ones Waterstone's synopsis:
Small-time private investigator Ray Lovell veers between paralysis and delirium in a hospital bed. But before the accident that landed him there, he had promised to find Rose Janko. Rose was married to the charismatic son of a travelling gypsy family, Ivo Janko. When Ray starts to investigate her disappearance he's surprised that her family are so hostile towards him. The Jankos have not had an easy past. They are a clan touched by tragedy - either they are cursed, or they are hiding a terrible secret. Could it be that Rose's discovery of that secret led to her disappearance all those years ago? Soon Ray wishes that he'd never asked the question. In a novel that is totally different from Stef's extraordinary debut The Tenderness of Wolves, she shows herself once more to be a matchless storyteller.

I read Stef Penney's debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, a couple of years ago for my book club and absolutely loved it, so of course I jumped at the chance to get this one straight away - it's been a long wait for her next novel! I managed to get this one for just £5.99 from The Book People, which is extremely good for a hardback! Definitely a Christmas read this year!

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe Waterstone's synopsis:
Ever dreamed of starting over? Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that - Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe's bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she's made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafe. It should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?

I've been unable to make a decision about this one for a while, not sure whether or not to go for it. I've heard some quite good reviews of it from people I know, but I was unsure whether or not it would be my kind of read. I was in the supermarket today though, and saw it in a deal - 2 books for £7 - and decided to go for it. It's a book about a baking fanatic after-all, and those that already know me will know that I am also a keen baker - so maybe I will be able to relate to it more than I think!

The End of Everything Waterstone's synopsis:
A close-knit street, the clink of glass on glass, summer heat. Two girls on the brink of adolescence, throwing cartwheels on the grass. Two girls who tell each other everything. Until one shimmering afternoon, one of them disappears. Lizzie is left with her dread and her loss, and with a fear that won't let her be. Had Evie tried to give her a hint of what was coming, a clue that she failed to follow? Caught between her imaginary guilt, her sense of betrayal, her own powerful need, and the needs of the adults around her, Lizzie's voice is as unforgettable as her story is arresting. This is no ordinary tale of innocence lost ...'A gripping and disturbing novel, a fever dream of adolescent desire and adult complicity' Tom Perrotta 'Deft, enthralling and intelligent' Kate Atkinson

This was the book that I chose as my second in the 2 for £7 deal at the supermarket. The cover suggests that it's a book I wouldn't really be too interested in, but it sounds more like one of Kate Atkinson's novels, which is something I've enjoyed in the past, so I'm going to give it a shot!

As I said above, I also received some review copy eBooks this week from the wonderful Netgalley site:

A Clockwork Christmas by Various authors
Goodreads synopsis:
We Wish You a Steampunk Christmas

Changed forever after tragedy, a woman must draw strength from her husband's love. A man learns that love isn't always what you expect. A thief steals the heart of a vengeful professor. And an American inventor finds love Down Under. Enjoy Victorian Christmas with a clockwork twist in these four steampunk novellas.

Anthology includes:

Crime Wave in a Corset by Stacy Gail
This Winter Heart by PG Forte
Wanted: One Scoundrel by Jenny Schwartz
Far From Broken by JK Coi

Stories also available for purchase separately.

I'm quite excited about this one - it is definitely something a little different for me. Not only because I haven't read much steampunk, but also because I'm not a huge reader of Short Stories either, so it will be a nice experience, I think, to mix the two!

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
Goodreads synopsis:
Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

This is another one that sounds really interesting - set in the future, so already we have a difference to many other paranormal romance novels that are out there already. 'Romance meets walking-dead thriller' sounds like just what the doctor ordered to me!

The Lost Book of Mala R by Rose MacDowell
Goodreads synopsis:
Three very different women, each trying to reconcile her dreams with reality, are drawn together by a hypnotic voice from the past.

In a once-grand Southern California neighborhood, Linda, a New York City transplant, is panicking over the disappearance of her precocious ten-year-old stepdaughter. Christine, who has struggled to get pregnant for years, finds herself expecting twins—just as her husband is accused of murder. And Audrey, who’s always played it safe because of her family’s history of bad luck, takes a romantic risk and suddenly finds herself facing a disaster of her own.

When an old journal surfaces at a neighbor’s tag sale, the women are inexorably drawn into the life of Mala Rinehart, an itinerant Romany woman who wrote down spells and predictions in a cryptic, slanting hand. As the three women feel the pull from across sixty intervening years, they vow to discover what became of Mala. For through the worn pages, their happiness has intertwined with hers, their futures spelled out in her chants and recipes. And as they unravel the mystery of Mala’s origins, their lives transform in ways they never could have expected.

This is another of my requested galleys that I really hoped I would be accepted for. I love that the characters are drawn together by one single voice from the past - I've loved similar ideas in novels in the past - so I can see this one being particularly captivating and beautiful.

Look out for reviews for all three of these in the near future!


sam1978 said...

I have Once a Witch on my tbr, am patiently waiting for Always a Witch to come out in paperback too.
The Jenny Colgan was ok, a bit too flowery for my liking though! xx

Anonymous said...

Clockwork Christmas sounds great!

Chocolate Chunky Munkie said...

A nice haul there Dani! I've started Dearly, Departed this afternoon. Was hard to decide which book to choose, this one stood out :D Now we just have to find the time to read them all!!!

Love and hugs xx Jen & Hades xx

roro said...

A nice haul there Dani

Anonymous said...

Enjoy all of your books and come check out my IMM!!

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