Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share books that we found in our mailboxes last week.
I won this one at a breastfeeding information meeting:
For review from publisher:
Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook
From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.”
Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound. Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun. Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land. via Simon & Schuster
Freeman by Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Freeman, the new novel by Leonard Pitts, Jr., takes place in the first few months following the Confederate surrender and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Upon learning of Lee’s surrender, Sam–a runaway slave who once worked for the Union Army–decides to leave his safe haven in Philadelphia and set out on foot to return to the war-torn South. What compels him on this almost-suicidal course is the desire to find his wife, the mother of his only child, whom he and their son left behind 15 years earlier on the Mississippi farm to which they all “belonged.”
At the same time, Sam’s wife, Tilda, is being forced to walk at gunpoint with her owner and two of his other slaves from the charred remains of his Mississippi farm into Arkansas, in search of an undefined place that would still respect his entitlements as slaveowner and Confederate officer.
The book’s third main character, Prudence, is a fearless, headstrong white woman of means who leaves her Boston home for Buford, Mississippi, to start a school for the former bondsmen, and thus honor her father’s dying wish.
At bottom, Freeman is a love story–sweeping, generous, brutal, compassionate, patient–about the feelings people were determined to honor, despite the enormous constraints of the times. It is this aspect of the book that should ensure it a strong, vocal, core audience of African-American women, who will help propel its likely critical acclaim to a wider audience. At the same time, this book addresses several themes that are still hotly debated today, some 145 years after the official end of the Civil War. Like Cold Mountain, Freeman illuminates the times and places it describes from a fresh perspective, with stunning results. It has the potential to become a classic addition to the literature dealing with this period. Few other novels so powerfully capture the pathos and possibility of the era particularly as it reflects the ordeal of the black slaves grappling with the promise–and the terror–of their new status as free men and women.
Single Girl Summer by Deanna Kimberly Burrell
Relationships aren’t complicated… People are!
Button Jackson knows two things for sure: all men cheat and all women are rivals. So it’s no surprise that the impeccably dressed restaurateur hasn’t had a serious boyfriend, close girlfriend, or any connection of substance in years.
Meghan Cherry has the opposite problem. Reeling from a painful divorce, the techie with a desire to unleash her artistic side, can’t figure out why her relationships end with nothing when she gives so much.
Attorney, Dawn Martin, is stuck somewhere in the middle. Waiting in purgatory for a marriage proposal that just won’t come has molded her into a woman she swore she’d never be.
Against the backdrop of hot days and cool nights in Chicago and armed with red cups of Single Girl Sangria, Button, Meghan, and Dawn share stories, perspectives, and advice on everything from open relationships to open-toe shoes. They come together by chance, grow together as friends, and ultimately discover that for every girl, there’s a season.
Diamond Life by Aliya S. King
The follow-up to the critically acclaimed novel Platinum, Diamond Life returns to the smoke and mirrors world of fame with brand new characters and more true to life plotlines.
Alex Maxwell’s career as a journalist and celebrity ghostwriter is taking off, but it pales in comparison to her rapper husband Birdie’s multi-platinum debut and world tour. Slowly but surely, everything they swore would never happen begins to happen—leaving Brooklyn for a mansion in suburban New Jersey and letting a reality TV crew into their home. Birdie is confronted time and again by the sexy groupies who pursue famous rappers, and he’s forced to make some life-changing choices.
Meanwhile, the largely unknown performers Trip and Step release their new single, and it becomes the hottest song of the year. The duo’s popularity spreads like wildfire at the expense of entertainment’s leading icons—Jake and Z—who seem to be losing their edge, their market share, and perhaps their reputations, too.
Diamond Life doesn’t just pick up where Platinum left off—it reintroduces Platinum’s main characters from a different perspective and gives background characters center stage while presenting future stars. Whether readers have read the first book or not, they’ll be swept up by this intoxicating story of love, sex, ambition, money, betrayal, and the surprising realities of making it big.
Skinnydipping by Bethenny Frankel
“Who do I have to sleep with to get a drink on this plane?”
Beloved by countless fans for being devilishly dishy, outrageously funny, and always giving it to us straight, three-time New York Times bestselling author Bethenny Frankel now makes her fiction debut with the story of Faith Brightstone. Faith is an aspiring actress just out of college, who moves to LA determined to have it all—a job on the most popular TV show, a beach house in Malibu, and a gorgeous producer boyfriend. But when reality hits, she finds herself with a gig as a glorified servant, a role that has more to do with T&A than acting, and a dead-end relationship. Finally, Faith decides she’s had enough of La La Land and moves back to New York with just a suitcase and her dog Muffin.
Five years later, Faith has finally found her groove as an entrepreneur and manages to land a spot on a new reality TV show hosted by her idol—the legendary businesswoman and domestic goddess Sybil Hunter. Diving into the bizarre world of reality TV, Faith’s loud mouth and tell-it-like-it-is style immediately get her in trouble with her fellow contestants—the delusional socialite, the boozy lifestyle coach, the moody headband designer, and her closest friend, the ambitious housewife who eventually betrays her. Even Sybil is not what she appears.
As the show comes to a dramatic close, Faith discovers that the man of her dreams may have just walked in to her life. Will she choose fame or love? Or can she have it all?
We Heard the Heavens Then: A Memoir of Iran by Aria Minu-Sepehr
A story of an extraordinary father/son relationship imperiled by a nation’s ominous and drastically changing political climate, We Heard the Heavens Then is a piercing look at revolution through the wide-open eyes of a child.
Aria Minu-Sepehr was raised in a sheltered world of extraordinary privilege, the son of a high-ranking general in the Shah’s Imperial Iranian Air Force. But when King Reza Kahn was overthrown and the Ayatollah rose to power in 1979, Aria’s privileged boyhood skidded to a halt. His life became a terrifying waiting game—waiting to see if soldiers would invade his home, waiting to see if his family would have to flee, waiting to find out if his father would come home alive each night. Aria’s childhood worries about school exams and making mischief at home were quickly replaced by the terror that his father could be publicly assassinated, that he himself could be kidnapped, and the very real possibility that the family would not be allowed to leave the country alive.
We Heard the Heavens Then is an exceptional memoir about the clash of modernity and religion in Iran, as seen through the eyes of a boy with unusual access to both two sides. Exquisitely drawn from childhood and enhanced by his adult perspective, We Heard the Heavens Then is Aria Minu-Sepehr’s unforgettable account of coming of age in a nation as it slipped away.
What’s in your mailbox?