Daily Archives: 22 April, 2012

In My Letterbox: Sunday 22 April 2012

I am aware that I have been rather lax in writing reviews and posting here on my blog in the last month or so. My excuse is that I have been reading compulsively and to the exclusion of most other non-essential things!

I decided that I need to do something about that and to get myself back on track. This first In My Letterbox post is the beginning of this process. First, let me explain the title…

I know most bloggers call such posts “In My Mailbox”, however, as I’m English, my physical post comes through my letterbox and my electronic mail arrives in my mailbox (or my inbox…). So I have decided that when I tell you all about my physical books, I shall entitle the post In My Letterbox (IML); when posting about NetGalley books, In My Mailbox (IMM); and when I list the free Kindle ebooks I compulsively download, I shall call it In My Inbox (IMI)!

Having got that off my chest:

Welcome to My First
In My Letterbox!!

These are the physical books I acquired on Thursday 12 April. There are a few other physical books in my house I have not yet read; I may list them in a future On My Bookshelf (OMB) post.

I thought I’d list the books and provide covers, blurb and links to the Goodreads entries. Let me know if you think the format works.

Books I have won on Goodreads First Reads:

1. The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks

The First Rule of Ten: Book One of the Dharma Detective SeriesThe First Rule of Ten: Book One of the Dharma Detective Series by Gay Hendricks

Tenzing Norbu (“Ten” for short)–ex-monk and soon-to-be ex-cop–is a protagonist unique to our times. In “The First Rule of Ten,” the first installment in a three-book detective series, readers meet this spiritual warrior who is singularly equipped, if not occasionally ill-equipped, as he takes on his first case as a private investigator in Los Angeles.

I am really pleased to have won this book – I was really hoping I would as I just loved the ideas sparked by the blurb. I had a long wait to get my paws on it, as the Post Office first returned it undelivered! Thankfully, the publisher resent it after double checking my address and it arrived safely on April 12 🙂

2. Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops

Salsa InvertebraxaSalsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops

Shortlisted for Best Graphic Novel 2012 by the Aurealis Awards, Salsa Invertebraxa is a storybook unlike any other, an Alice in Wonderland for insects, set in an imaginary world as two tiny companions set out on an odyssey of discovery. With one antenna listening out for vast armies competing for dominance on the forest floor, the two friends encounter strange new species of insect among surreal gardens of terrestrial delights. At nightfall, their mischief takes on a mysterious and foreboding turn as they attempt to steal eggs from monstrous super-predators, disturbing the fragile tranquillity of this bizarre Eden.

After an incubation of 15 years, Mozchops has exquisitely crafted over 200 paintings to tell this story of a beautiful and dangerous world.

Salsa Invertebraxa is currently only available from the publisher’s website. Go to http://www.pecksniffpress.com/orderin… for details.

I entered this draw because it looked interesting – and boy was I blown away when the book arrived! I read it that night (April 12 again) after eating my evening meal. The review will be posted shortly!

3. Little Girls: A Short Story Novella by Elton Loud

Little Girls: A Short Story NovellaLittle Girls: A Short Story Novella by Elton Loud

“It had been a little over two days since fifteen-year-old Shanice had seen real sunlight, or another person. Despondent, she sat silent on the basement floor, her jeans soiled with the red sediment from the brick walls that lined the damp basement.”

The place is Oakland. The year is 2004.

Little Girls: A Short Story Novella is a collection of linked short stories that focus on a group of characters whose connection to each other is the sex trade in the Oakland Bay Area. More than a collection about prostitutes or prostitution, Little Girls examines the complexities of the human condition, cutting across generations of family to reveal the people, places and history that have formed their identities, and motivations.

Mistakes will be made. Lessons will be ignored. Consequences will be deserved. Each story is unique, and will grab and hold the reader from the first line.

To read samples, please visit www.littlegirlsnovel.com

The blurb for this book indicated that it has a somewhat challenging subject matter; I thought this would be good after my recent diet of literary fluff (wait till I catch up with the outstanding reviews!), so I’m glad I’ve won this one. This also arrived on April 12.

Books  bought new on Thursday 12 April:

1. My Grammar and I by Caroline Taggart

My Grammar And I (Or Should That Be 'Me'?)

My Grammar And I by Caroline Taggart

Can you tell when a sentence contains more clichés than you’ve had hot dinners?  Is a preposition necessarily a bad thing to end a sentence with?  Are to able to immediately spot a split infinitive?

Whether your schooling in English grammar amounted to ‘a verb is a doing word and an noun is a naming word’, or whether you simply want to brush up your existing skills, this wittily observed book is guaranteed to enlighten and entertain.

I love grammar, for me it’s the framework on which any language hangs. It makes sense of what could otherwise be ambiguous collections of words. I had a quick look at this book in the shop and decided that it is well laid out and with clear explanations. Perfect for the next time someone tells me I’m wrong!

2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual EnlightenmentThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Ekhart Tolle’s message is simple: living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment. And while this message may not seem stunningly original or fresh, Tolle’s clear writing, supportive voice and enthusiasm make this an excellent manual for anyone who’s ever wondered what exactly “living in the now” means. Foremost, Tolle is a world-class teacher, able to explain complicated concepts in concrete language. More importantly, within a chapter of reading this book, readers are already holding the world in a different container–more conscious of how thoughts and emotions get in the way of their ability to live in genuine peace and happiness.

Tolle packs a lot of information and inspirational ideas into The Power of Now. (Topics include the source of Chi, enlightened relationships, creative use of the mind, impermanence and the cycle of life.) Thankfully, he’s added markers that symbolise “break time”. This is when readers should close the book and mull over what they just read. As a result, The Power of Now reads like the highly acclaimed A Course in Miracles–a spiritual guidebook that has the potential to inspire just as many study groups and change just as many lives for the better. —Gail Hudson

I liked the title and I thought the back cover blurb sounded interesting – a summary of a number of other books on the subject. A quick flick inside showed very small print…

The Goodreads reviews were mixed; we’ll see with which ones I agree!

Books I bought at the hospital …

… while waiting to have my bloods checked (the money goes to the BBC Children in Need Charity)

1. Of Love and Life, a Readers’ Digest paperback

Of love & life: Constance / Starburst / Garden SpellsOf love & life: Constance / Starburst / Garden Spells by Rosie Thomas

This volume contains abridged versions of the following books:

Constance by Rosie Thomas

All her life Constance has had a rocky relationship with her deaf sister Jeanette – not helped when they both fall in love with the same man. But now, after years of silence, Jeanette is dying and it’s the last chance, for both of them, to shed the baggage of the past. A very thought-provoking read.

Starburst by Robin Pilcher

As the entertainers prepare for the Edinburgh Festival, all are hoping to find stardom. Among them are a first-time comedienne, a film maker and a concert violinist, each of whom will face the biggest challenge of their career. A wonderful story combining intrigue, passion and suspense with a truely dramatic finale.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Everyone in Bascom, North Carolina, knows that the Waverley women have unusual talents that make them special. Even their house, with it’s mysterious garden, is strange. But behind the local legends are two very real sisters trying to make a life for themselves even as they find love in the least likely places.

I’d not seen an RD paperback before. I picked this one up because I saw “Pilcher” as one of the authors…it was only when I got home I realised it wasn’t Rosamund! Never mind, it looks good!

2. Lost Souls by Dean Koontz

Lost Souls (Frankenstein, #4)Lost Souls by Dean Koontz

The master storyteller creates a bold new legend in a powerful reworking of one of the classic stories of all time.

Dr Frankenstein lives on, seemingly indestructible, more sinister than ever. Terrifyingly, with each new incarnation the technology he can use to build a new human race – which he will control – is vastly improved.

His first monster, Deucalion, has spent two hundred years trying to kill his evil creator. When the new Frankenstein clone, Victor Helios, starts work on some grotesque new creations, financed by an enigmatic billionaire, Deucalion is drawn to a small Montana town.

A spectacularly advanced race of monsters is about to be released on the world. Even if Deucalion can bring Helios down, it may be too late…

It’s by Dean Koontz. Need I say more??

3. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Fear the WorstFear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Suppose you come to pick up your daughter from her job – and find that no one has heard of her and she’s never worked there. If she hasn’t been working all day, what has she been doing?

Tim Blake’s teenage daughter Sydney is staying with him while she works a summer job at a hotel. But when one day she fails to arrive home from her shift and the staff at the hotel say they have no Sydney Blake working there, he beings to see his life going into freefall.

What could have made her step out of her life without leaving a trace? Only one thing convinces Tim that the worse hasn’t already happened – the fact that some very scary people seem just as eager as he is to find her.

The question is: who’s going to find her first?

I liked the cover first (it’s blue…what can I say? I like blue) and it reminded my of The Bridges of Madison County. The blurb told it me it’s a mystery/thriller, so I bought it.

So there we go, there are the physical books which came into my life just under a fortnight ago. Of these, the First Reads books are top of my list for reading and review. Now I need to get the NetGalley and ebooks listed!

(Did I mention that all of these books arrived in my mucky little paws on Thursday 12 April 2012?? 😉 )

If you liked this IML post, why not check out the IMM meme? It started with The Story Siren: click on the picture….