Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox – Weekend Edition #3 – March Madness

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It originated in November 2008 as a way to share with other readers and bloggers what books were received, bought, won, etc each week and has evolved ever since. It still informs readers each Sunday of the books Kristi obtained over the course of the week only now the books are creatively shared via her web vlog.
To learn more details about IMM, its history and how to participate, please visit Kristi at The Story Siren:

For my weekly version of In My Mailbox, I’ve decided to do a recap of all the books that have come into my home and my hands – some via snail Mail, the Internet, Book Store, Library, Raffles, Giveaways, Authors and Publishing Houses. I read paperback books; borrow hardcover novels; scroll through e-books with my ereader, The Novel, and I listen to audio books. As you can imagine, I might not get to all the books that come into my possession each week, so be on the lookout for their reviews on my blog and if there is one (or two) in particular that you want to learn more about, read a review or find where you can obtain your own copy, please contact me at cgraceh at gmail dot com and I will do my best to respond to your request in a timely fashion.

I missed the last few week’s of recap of books brought, bought and borrowed but boy do I have some good books for you this week to make up for it. The sales went up again at Borders as they are about to close their doors but I stood strong and stayed home; but that didn’t stop me from checking out one of my favorite discount stores in Boston, Building 19 (b); I “rented” a few books from the library (L) to assist me in my writing endeavors and I finally got off the waitlist for a few good audio books on my local library’s Overdrive Media Web site (A).

So here we go…Lip Gloss and Literature Presents….the books that made it into my mailbox this week:

My first venture into the dystopian world….

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (A)

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Great title and a cover too hard to resist….

Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie (A)

Lucy Savage is not having a good week. Her cheating husband, Bradley, lobbed the final insult when he stood her up in divorce court. A dye job gone wrong has left her hair green. And someone is trying to kill her. To top it off, sexy cop Zack Warren is certain the very same man Lucy is trying to wash right out of her hair is the same Bradley he wants to arrest for embezzlement. When someone shoots at her and then her car blows up, Zack decides she needs twenty-four-hour police protection. Next thing Lucy knows, Zack has moved in to her big Victorian house, making them both sleepless . . . and not just from things that go bump in the night!

Dreaming of summer and reminding me of Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters…hoping it’s just as good!...
Beachcombers by Nancy Thayer (A)
Beautifully written, powerfully felt, full of both abundant joy and heart-wrenching sorrow, Beachcombers is an extraordinary novel that centers on the bittersweet reunion of three captivating, very different sisters on Nantucket over one gorgeous, exhilarating summer. Abbie Fox hasn’t seen her father or two younger sisters in almost two years, during which she’s jetted around the world and experienced life, if not love. But now Lily, the baby of the family, is sending Abbie urgent emails begging her to return home to Nantucket. Their middle sister, Emma, has taken to her bed, emotionally devastated after the loss of her high-powered stockbroker’s job and a shockingly unexpected break-up with her fiancé. Also, Lily is deeply worried that Marina, the beautiful, enigmatic woman renting their guesthouse, has set her sights on the sisters’ widowed father, Jim. The Fox girls closed ranks years ago after the haunting, untimely death of their mother, but seeing their dad move on with his life forces each of them to take stock. Over the course of the summer, the sisters’ lives grow as turbulent as the unpredictable currents encircling Nantucket. When Abbie encounters an incredibly appealing married man, she breaks her own rules in the name of love, fearing all the while that she’ll regret it. Meanwhile, type-A Emma learns a new definition of success, and strong-minded Lily must reconcile her dreams with reality. Even Marina, who has come to Nantucket to forget heartbreak and betrayal, faces an astonishing turn of events that will find her torn between fate and freedom. At summer’s end, these unforgettable women will face profound choices—and undergo personal transformations that will surprise even themselves.

An eagerly anticipated 2011 release…in stereo…

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson (A)
From the author of the best seller I Don’t Know How She Does It, a follow-up that promises to be one of the most widely read and talked-about novels of the season. 1974, Wales. Thirteen-year-old Petra and her best friend, Sharon, are in love with David Cassidy and obsessed with The Ultimate David Cassidy Quiz, a contest whose winners will be flown to America to meet their teen idol. 1998, London. Petra is pushing forty and on the brink of divorce. While cleaning out her mother’s closet, she finds a dusty letter—a letter her mother had intercepted—declaring her the winner of the contest she and Sharon had labored over with such agony and bliss. Twenty-four years later, twenty pounds heavier, the girls reunite for an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas to meet their teen idol at last, middle age—theirs and his—be damned. Poignant, hilarious, joyful, profoundly moving and uplifting, I Think I Love You captures what girls learn about love through the universal experience of worshipping a teen dream. It will resonate with readers everywhere.

After making her mark in chick lit, this author turned to YA/Teen fiction....

The Booster by Jennifer Solow (b)

Jillian Siegel is living the quintessential Manhattan life: great clothes, fabulous boyfriend, a job at the hottest ad agency in town. But what nobody knows is that this twenty-nine year-old hides a dark secret - one that involves stuffing her oversize Gucci handbag with high-priced designer clothes and leaving the store without paying. There was once a time when Jillian didn't need to shop (much less steal) to feel whole. But that was long ago - when she spent hours amusing herself in the enchanted world of her uncle's elegant Upper East Side department store, and her mother's prolonged absences were easily forgotten with a new camel-hair coat or a fresh pair of Mary Janes. But then one day it was all gone - pulled right out from under her. Now, years later, her "perfect" life is loosely held together with half milligrams of Ativan and stolen cashmere scarves - and it's only a matter of time until everything crumbles. Packed with vibrant characters, bristling dialogue, and rich detail, The Booster is a uniquely stylish, deftly woven story about discovering one's true self in the most unexpected places.

I just love when I can find an old Red Dress Ink novel…I still miss that imprint…

My Fake Wedding by Mina Ford (b)

Katie's given up on love . . .so she'll be the perfect bride. When Katie Simpson discovers her boyfriend boffing "Fishpants Fraser," she vows to eat toenail clippings before getting involved again. Life as "the ginger spinster of Pelham Parish" will be lonely, but bearable as long as she shags lots of strangers and hangs tight with her friends. Unfortunately, Katie has the unerring ability to hit on the only gay man at the party (not again!). And her pals are somewhat preoccupied. Mover-and-shaker Janice has started scoping funerals for doddering sugar daddies. George, Katie's gorgeous, flamingly gay best friend (yes, she's tried it), is madly in love with an Aussie heartbreaker (struck out there, too) who needs some speedy nuptials to stay in the country. What better opportunity to plan a fake wedding more elaborate than a ten-tier cake? However, love hasn't given up on Katie. Just when the girl who eats like a cow, wears clompy shoes and is unacquainted with her own hairbrush starts trying on white dresses, romance comes from the unlikeliest -- and straight and male -- source. Will Katie let the man she loves ruin her wedding day?

As an aspiring chick lit writer, I thought what better book to read (and own) than a collection of essays on the major influences in some of my favorite authors’ lives….

Everything I Learned About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume Edited by Jennifer O’Connell

For millions of American girls growing up, Judy Blume's awkward, self-conscious characters became surrogates, allies, and comforters in their silent struggles. The 24 essays of Everything I Needed to Know about Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume honor an unconventional mentor who has entertained readers even as she teaches them. The topics touched here are as wide and deep as Blume's fiction: divorce, bullying, peer pressure, menstruation, weight issues, sibling rivalry, and racism. The contributors include Meg Cabot, Beth Kendrick, Julie Kenner, and Cara Lockwood.

All week in my writing practices I’ve been curious, is it better to start a book with plot or character….What do you think?...

Creating Characters: How to Build Story People by Dwayne V. Swain (L)
Along with a clever plot, well-drawn characters make us want to continue reading a novel or finish watching a movie. In Creating Characters, Dwight V. Swain shows how writers can invent interesting characters and improve them so that they move a story along. "The core of character," he says in chapter 1, "lies in each individual story person's ability to care about something; to feel implicitly or explicitly, that something is important." Building on that foundation-the capacity to care-Swain takes the would-be writer step-by-step through the fundamentals of "finding characters who turn you on"; labeling them so readers will recognize them within the story; fleshing them out with realistic "tags, traits, and relationships"; giving them motivations and goals; and bringing them to life with emotions. Additional chapters on giving a character a background, developing offbeat characters and heroes, writing dialogue, and much else make this basic but thought-provoking how-to a valuable tool for both the novice and the seasoned writer.

Building Fiction: How to develop Plot and Structure by Jesse Lee Kercheval (L)

No one looks at structure like Jesse Lee Kercheval. She builds a work of fiction just as an architect would design a house—with an eye for details and how all parts of a story or novel interconnect. Even with the most dynamic language, images, and characters, no piece of fiction will work without a strong infrastructure. Kercheval shows how to build that structure using such tools as point of view, characterization, pacing, and flashbacks. Building Fiction will help you envision the landscape of your fiction and build great stories there.

And that wraps up my week of book shopping, borrowing, downloading and bargaining…what’s in your mailbox???


  1. I have the Crusie book on my TBR shelf. A lot of these look so good. Happy reading!

  2. Wow, you got great books.
    I need to read more Crusie, I've only read two or three or her books, but I've liked them a lot.

  3. Lots of Crusie fans!! Good to know - I've only read (well listened to) one of her books and it was enjoyable plus she obviously has so many books published so I'm really hoping to find one i just can't put down!! I'll review this one right after I listen to it and let you all know!

    Thanks for all the comments:)

  4. If you like funny, try Agnes and the Hitman by Crusie. I can’t remember any book making me LOL like that one did :)

  5. Wow that's a nice spread of books! Looking forward to your thoughts and reviews!