May 13, 2015

Books That Caught My Eye - May 13, 2015

This is a meme by Mailbox Monday that talks about books that caught their eye on the Mailbox Monday threads. I am going to do a little twist on mine and tell you about books that I have found I would like to read. 

I'll See You in Paris by Michelle Gable
This book is not due out until February of 2016

The discovery of a tattered book connects the lives of three women from three generations: a recent college graduate living in Virginia in 2001, the bereaved fiancée of a soldier that died in Vietnam, and the legendary Duchess of Marlborough who brightened the salons of Paris during the Belle Époque.

Secrets of a Small Hotel by Elizabeth Cooke
Hotel Marcel Series #1

Secrets of a Small Hotel is the on-going story of adventures taking place in the Hotel Marcel in Paris near the Eiffel Tower, a sequel to the original There's a Small Hotel, published in 2014. The narrator, an attractive American widow in her 60s, returns to find much has changed, not only in the lives of apartment residents across the street, but within the Hotel Marcel itself. She encounters a deceptive English woman involved in art fraud; a young African-American in search of his father; even a violent murder, partially seen by the narrator from her balcony. She also finds an unexpected and exciting romantic liaison, and witnesses the opening of a grand, new hotel next door, named The Majestic. Secrets of a Small Hotel takes place in the month of May in Paris. The narrator determines to come back again to the Hotel Marcel at Christmas, her adventures to be continued in a new book titled, The Hotel Next Door.

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson
Medieval Forest Fairy Tale Romance #1

A beautiful maiden who poaches to feed the poor.
A handsome forester on a mission to catch her.
Danger and love are about to unite in Thornbeck Forest.
The margrave owns the finest hunting grounds for miles around—and who teaches children to read, but by night this young beauty has become the secret lifeline to the poorest of the poor.
For Jorgen Hartman, the margrave’s forester, tracking down a poacher is a duty he is all too willing to perform. Jorgen inherited his post from the man who raised him . . . a man who was murdered at the hands of a poacher.
When Jorgen and Odette meet at the Midsummer festival and share a connection during a dance, neither has any idea that they are already adversaries.
The one man she wants is bound by duty to capture her; the one woman he loves is his cunning target . . . What becomes of a forester who protects a notorious poacher? What becomes of a poacher when she is finally discovered?

Five Brides by Eva Marie Everson

One dress, five women, a lifetime of memories.
Five single, fiercely independent women live together in a Chicago apartment in the early 1950s but rarely see one another. One Saturday afternoon, as they are serendipitously together downtown, they spy a wedding dress in a storefront window at the famous Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co. After trying it on—much to the dismay of the salesclerk and without a single boyfriend or date between the five of them—they decide to pool their money to purchase it. Can one dress forever connect five women who live together only a short time before taking their own journeys to love and whatever comes happily ever after?

This book is due out July 21, 2015

YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis

Katerina inherits a scented, wooden spice box after her grandmother Mariam dies. It contains letters and a diary, written in Armenian. As she pieces together her family story, Katerina learns that Mariam's childhood was shattered by the Armenian tragedy of 1915.

Mariam was exiled from her home in Turkey and separated from her beloved brother, Gabriel, her life marred by grief and the loss of her first love. Dissatisfied and restless, Katerina tries to find resolution in her own life as she completes Mariam's story – on a journey that takes her across Cyprus and then half a world away to New York.

Miracles, it seems, can happen – for those trapped by the past, and for Katerina herself.

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell

An American in Paris navigates her family’s secret past and unlocks her own future, in this emotionally evocative novel byNew York Times bestselling author Juliet Blackwell.

As a girl, Genevieve Martin spent the happiest summer of her life in Paris, learning the delicate art of locksmithing at her uncle’s side. But since then, living back in the States, she has become more private, more subdued. She has been an observer of life rather than an active participant, holding herself back from those around her, including her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Paris never really left Genevieve, and, as her marriage crumbles, she finds herself faced with an incredible opportunity: return to the magical city of her youth to take over her late uncle’s shop. But as she absorbs all that Parisian culture has to offer, she realizes the city also holds secrets about her family that could change her forever, and that locked doors can protect you or imprison you, depending on which side of them you stand.

The Final Reveille by Amanda Flower
A Living History Mystery #1

As the director of Barton Farm, a living history museum in Ohio, Kelsey Cambridge is underpaid and underappreciated, but she loves every minute of it. Determined to keep the struggling farm open, she plans to impress the museum's wealthy benefactress, Cynthia Cherry, with a Civil War reenactment on the farm's grounds.

Unfortunately, the first shot in the battle isn't from a period soldier. It's from Cynthia's greedy nephew, Maxwell, who fires a threat at Kelsey to cut the museum's funding. The next morning, things go from bad to worse when Kelsey discovers Maxwell dead. Now Kelsey is the police's number one suspect, and she must start her own investigation to save Barton Farm . . . and herself.

Bruno: Chief of Police by Martin Walker
Bruno: Chief of Police Mystery Series #1

Meet Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, a policeman in a small village in the South of France.  He’s a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it.  But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes all that.  Now Bruno must balance his beloved routines—living in his restored shepherd’s cottage, shopping at the local market, drinking wine, strolling the countryside—with a politically delicate investigation.  He’s paired with a young policewoman from Paris and the two suspect anti-immigrant militants.  As they learn more about the dead man’s past, Bruno’s suspicions turn toward a more complex motive.

Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

The Civil War has ended, and Madge, Sadie, and Hemp have each come to Chicago in search of a new life. 

Born with magical hands, Madge has the power to discern others’ suffering, but she cannot heal her own damaged heart. To mend herself and help those in need, she must return to Tennessee to face the women healers who rejected her as a child. 

Sadie can commune with the dead, but until she makes peace with her father, she, too, cannot fully engage her gift.

Searching for his missing family, Hemp arrives in this northern city that shimmers with possibility. But redemption cannot be possible until he is reunited with those taken from him. 

In the bitter aftermath of a terrible, bloody war, as a divided nation tries to come together once again, Madge, Sadie, and Hemp will be caught up in a desperate, unexpected battle for survival in a community desperate to lay the pain of the past to rest. 

Beautiful in its historical atmosphere and emotional depth, Balm is a stirring novel of love, loss, hope, and reconciliation set during one of the most critical periods in American history.

Farm City by Novella Carpenter

When Novella Carpenter--captivated by the idea of backyard self-sufficiency as the daughter of two back-to-the-earth hippies--moves to a ramshackle house in inner-city Oakland and discovers a weed-choked, garbage-strewn abandoned lot next door, she closes her eyes and pictures heirloom tomatoes, a beehive, and a chicken coop.

What starts out as a few egg-laying chickens leads to turkeys, geese, and ducks. And not long after, along came two 300-pound pigs. And no, these charming and eccentric animals aren’t pets. Novella is raising these animals for dinner.

An unforgettably charming memoir, full of hilarious moments, fascinating farmer’s tips, and a great deal of heart, Farm City offers a beautiful mediation on what we give up to live the way we do today.

Plenty by Alisa Smith

Like many great adventures, the 100-mile diet began with a memorable feast. Stranded in their off-the-grid summer cottage in the Canadian wilderness with unexpected guests, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon turned to the land around them. They caught a trout, picked mushrooms, and mulled apples from an abandoned orchard with rose hips in wine. The meal was truly satisfying; every ingredient had a story, a direct line they could trace from the soil to their forks. The experience raised a question: Was it possible to eat this way in their everyday lives?

Back in the city, they began to research the origins of the items that stocked the shelves of their local supermarket. They were shocked to discover that a typical ingredient in a North American meal travels roughly the distance between Boulder, Colorado, and New York City before it reaches the plate. Like so many people, Smith and MacKinnon were trying to live more lightly on the planet; meanwhile, their “SUV diet” was producing greenhouse gases and smog at an unparalleled rate. So they decided on an experiment: For one year they would eat only food produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver home.

It wouldn’t be easy. Stepping outside the industrial food system, Smith and MacKinnon found themselves relying on World War II–era cookbooks and maverick farmers who refused to play by the rules of a global economy. What began as a struggle slowly transformed into one of the deepest pleasures of their lives. For the first time they felt connected to the people and the places that sustain them.

For Smith and MacKinnon, the 100-mile diet became a journey whose destination was, simply, home. From the satisfaction of pulling their own crop of garlic out of the earth to pitched battles over canning tomatoes,Plenty is about eating locally and thinking globally. 

The authors’ food-focused experiment questions globalization, monoculture, the oil economy, environmental collapse, and the tattering threads of community. Thought-provoking and inspiring, Plenty offers more than a way of eating. In the end, it’s a new way of looking at the world

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

With the countless distractions that come from every corner of a modern life, it's amazing that were ever able to accomplish anything. The Power of Less demonstrates how to streamline your life by identifying the essential and eliminating the unnecessary freeing you from everyday clutter and allowing you to focus on accomplishing the goals that can change your life for the better.

The Power of Less will show you how to: 

Break any goal down into manageable tasks
Focus on only a few tasks at a time
Create new and productive habits
Hone your focus
Increase your efficiency
By setting limits for yourself and making the most of the resources you already have, youll finally be able work less, work smarter, and focus on living the life that you deserve.

The $64 Tomato by William Alexander

Bill Alexander had no idea that his simple dream of having a vegetable garden and small orchard in his backyard would lead him into life-and-death battles with groundhogs, webworms, weeds, and weather; midnight expeditions in the dead of winter to dig up fresh thyme; and skirmishes with neighbors who feed the vermin (i.e., deer). Not to mention the vacations that had to be planned around the harvest, the near electrocution of the tree man, the limitations of his own middle-aged body, and the pity of his wife and kids. When Alexander runs (just for fun!) a costbenefit analysis, adding up everything from the live animal trap to the Velcro tomato wraps and then amortizing it over the life of his garden, it comes as quite a shock to learn that it cost him a staggering $64 to grow each one of his beloved Brandywine tomatoes. But as any gardener will tell you, you can't put a price on the unparalleled pleasures of providing fresh food for your family.

Coming Home by Hari Kaur Berzins

In this collection of letters, you are the privileged guest, not only in Hari Berzins' tiny house, but in her innermost thoughts as she examines the lessons provided by family life in 168 square feet.

Guided by her desire to live life on purpose and magnified by an unexpected thrust into the media spotlight, Berzins sets out on a journey to wholehearted self acceptance—coming home to what really matters.

This is a story of hope and resiliency. Each letter ends with a question, encouraging you to apply the lessons from Berzins life to your own. Through her honesty and ability to see below the surface, Berzins uncovers truths of the human experience. It is at once deeply personal and universal.

Explore themes of loss, fear, vulnerability, money, time, darkness, belonging, change, want vs. need, place, possibility, and joy.

The Berzins lost everything when their restaurant, New Day Cafe, was sucked into the black hole of the 2008 economic reality. The family's journey led them to rethink their choices, get rid of most of their belongings, go on a strict financial spending freeze, and design a debt-free life going forward.

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