Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

May 25

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Mailbox Monday: The Big Haul

by Ann-Katrina

It’s time again for , courteously hosted by the wonderful Marcia from the Printed Page.

It’s been a little while since I last participated in MM (and truth be told, I’ve had a couple good hauls over the past few weeks), but I’m getting back on track now. :)

Maybe I’ll update over the course of this week on the other titles I’ve missed out on sharing, but for now, let’s stick with the current big haul.

Dear Success Seeker Dear Success Seeker: Wisdom From Outstanding Women by Michele R. Wright, Ph.D.

When facing obstacles to her own success, Michele R. Wright quickly discovered how valuable it is to have success warriors in your life who can inspire and guide you. With this in mind, Wright assembled luminaries from the entertainment, arts, business, and sports worlds to offer words of inspiration and invaluable advice to those seeking victory in their personal and professional journeys.

In these original pieces, the eighty-three contributors — representing a diverse range of age, background, and experience — share intimate stories of the challenges and triumphs, adventures and mishaps they faced that marked the road to their achievements. Mae Jemison, MD, the first female African-American astronaut, cautions that “‘You can’t’ and ‘You have to’ are two deadly phrases that are stumbling blocks for many success seekers,” and encourages those seeking success to “remain curious and inquisitive.” Tennis great Billie Jean King suggests, “Use your talents to win, not only for yourself, but for generations to come.” These women and award-winning actresses Shirley Jones, Ruby Dee, Mo’Nique, and Phylicia Rashad, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Nobel Prize winner Rosalyn S. Yalow, New York Times bestselling author Joyce Meyer, and entertainer Patti LaBelle are just a few of the many women offering such pearls of wisdom.

dark-places Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (review)

I’ve read the first few pages of this book and something tells me I’m going to be hooked. I already love the narrative voice; it’s raunchy and real.

I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—famously testifying that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details, she hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings…and maybe admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her across the Midwest, the narrative flashes back to the events of that day, replayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members—including Ben, a loner who’d recently begun a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

The Great Perhaps The Great Perhaps by Joe Meno

The sky is falling for the Caspers, a family of cowards: for Jonathan, a paleontologist, search in vain for a prehistoric giant squid; for his wife, Madeline, an animal behaviorist with a failing experiment; for their daughter, Amelia, a disappointed teenage revolutionary; for her younger sister, Thisbe, on a frustrated search for God; and for grandfather, Henry, who wants to disappear, limiting himself to thirteen words a day, then twelve, then eleven, until he will speak no more. Each fears uncertainty and the possibilities that accompany it. When Jonathan and Madeline suddenly decide to separate, this nuclear family is split, each member forced to confront his or her own cowardice, finally coming to appreciate the cloudiness of the modern age.

Bad Things Bad Things by Michael Marshall

If the first few pages are any true indication, I’m going to have a difficult time getting into this book. The narrative seems too dry for my tastes, but the story sounds like a good one and it might pick up.

Three years ago, lawyer John Henderson watched his four-year-old son tumble from a jetty into the lake outside their Washington home. In a terrible instant, a life all too brief and innocent ended. But it wasn’t drowning, the fall, or even some previously undetected internal defect that killed the little boy. Scott Henderson had simply, inexplicably…died.

Today, John is a different man—divorced, living a solitary existence in a beach house in Oregon, working as a waiter in a restaurant that caters to the summer crowd. Withdrawn from a life and past too painful to revisit, he touches no one and no one touches him. Then one night he receives a short and profoundly disturbing e-mail message from a stranger. It reads: I know what happened.

It’s enough to pull John back to Black Ridge—the one place on earth he’d hoped never to return to—in search of answers to the mystery that shattered his world. In this small, isolated Pacific Northwest community, populated in large part by descendants of the original settlers, the shadows now seem even darker and more sinister than when tragedy first drove him away—and the wind whipping down out of the primal forest can chill a man to his soul. It seems that bad things have always happened in this town of generations-old secrets—and are happening still.

The deeper John digs into his own past, and into local history, the more danger he draws toward himself…and toward his estranged and helpless family. And though he doesn’t know it, he’s not the only one who’s been called back to Black Ridge.

And that’s a very bad thing….

Comments on Mailbox Monday: The Big Haul

  1. # avisannschild wrote on May 25, 2009 at 3:25 pm:

    I love the look of your blog! I love the cover to Dark Places, but it sounds too creepy for my tastes! Enjoy your books!

  2. # Belle wrote on May 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm:

    Definitely a nice haul! Dark Places sounds like it will be an interesting read – looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

  3. # Mary wrote on May 25, 2009 at 4:26 pm:

    Enjoy the books!

  4. # Wendi B ~ Wendi's Book Corner wrote on May 26, 2009 at 11:10 am:

    Wow – Dear Success Seeker sounds like an amazing book! I love the concept and the cover (I sometimes pick up a book just for the cover).

    Here’s my Mailbox! ~ Wendi

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