Here are all the books I received from contest wins since the end of March. Several books I'm meant to have won simply never showed up, so I decided to strictly only post books on here after I've received them. I was really busy this last month, plus got sick with the flu, so I wasn't able to do individual posts as things showed up, so I'm doing one big one.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas DVD
Read my review for this here
From Miramax Films, the studio that brought you the Academy Award winning Life is Beautiful (Best Foreign Language Film, 1998) comes The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Based on the best selling novel by John Boyne, it's an unforgettable motion picture experience powerful and moving beyond words (Pete Hammond, Hollywood.com). Bored and restless in his new home, Bruno, an innocent and naive eight year old, ignores his mother and sets off on an adventure in the woods. Soon he meets a young boy, and a surprising friendship develops. Set during World War II, this remarkable and inspiring story about the power of the human spirit will capture your heart and engage your mind.
Bonus Features include Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary by Writer, Director Mark Herman and Author John Boyne, Friendship Beyond the Fence Featurette, Feature Commentary by Writer, Director Mark Herman and Author John Boyne
Max (Maximum Ride, Book 5) Audio CD Unabridged
by James Patterson
Maximum Ride and the other members of the Flock have barely recovered from their last arctic adventure, when they are confronted by the most frightening catastrophe yet. Millions of fish are dying off the coast of
While Max and her team are exploring the depths of the ocean, their every move is being carefully tracked by Mr. Chu-a criminal mastermind with his own plans for the Flock. Can they protect themselves from Mr. Chu's army of mercenaries and save the ocean from utter destruction?
by Laura Pederson
Won slightly used copy in giveaway
Growing up in the snowblower society of Buffalo, New York, Laura Pedersen s first words were most likely turn the wheel into a skid. Like many families subsisting in the frigid North during the energy crisis, the Pedersens feared rising prices at the gas pump, argued about the thermostat, fought over the dog to stay warm at night, and often slept in their clothes. While her parents were preoccupied with surviving separation and stagflation, daughter Laura became the neighborhood wild child, skipping school, playing poker, betting on the horses, and trading stocks. Learning how to beat the odds, by high school graduation Pedersen was well prepared to seek her fortune on Wall Street, becoming the youngest person to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange and a millionaire by age 21. Combining laugh-out-loud humor with a slice of social history her hometown was a flash point for race riots, antiwar protests, and abortion rallies, not to mention bingo, bowling, and Friday night fish fries Pedersen paints a vivid portrait of an era.
by Karen Harper
Among the many mysteries of Shakespeare’s life is a marriage license issued to him and one Anne Whateley shortly before he wed Anne Hathaway. Harper spins this mystery into a novel about Shakespeare’s true love, the Dark Lady of the Sonnets. In Harper’s telling, Anne Whateley and Shakespeare are childhood friends, but after the Hathaway marriage, Whateley goes to London and makes a life for herself as a businesswoman. When the playwright embarks on his London phase, she is there, engaged in Will’s world and helping to advance his career. Harper, who writes a mystery series featuring Elizabeth I as a sleuth, knows her period well, and it shows, sometimes in the form of awkward expository dialogue but more often in sure handling of the details of politics, theater, and daily life, including some harrowing passages featuring childbirth and the plague. Though Shakespeare himself remains a cipher, Anne is an appealing and spirited heroine, and her tale will be enjoyed by historical-fiction fans. --Mary Ellen Quinn
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti
by Giulia Melucci
From failure to fusilli, this deliciously hilarious read tells the story of Giulia Melucci's fizzled romances and the mouth-watering recipes she used to seduce her men, smooth over the lumps, and console herself when the relationships flamed out.
From an affectionate alcoholic, to the classic New York City commitment-phobe, to a hipster aged past his sell date, and not one, but two novelists with Peter Pan complexes, Giulia has cooked for them all. She suffers each disappointment with resolute cheer (after a few tears) and a bowl of pastina (recipe included) and has lived to tell the tale so that other women may go out, hopefully with greater success, and if that's not possible, at least have something good to eat.
Peppered throughout Giulia's delightful and often poignant remembrances are fond recollections of her mother's cooking, the recipes she learned from her, and many she invented on her own inspired by the men in her life. Readers will howl at Giulia's boyfriend-littered past and swoon over her irresistable culinary creations.
Girls in Trucks
by Katie Crouch
An unenthusiastic Southern debutante copes with the cruelties of postcollege New York life in Crouch's amusing debut. Sarah Walters is neither a misfit nor the queen of the Camellia Society cotillion scene growing up in Charleston, S.C. But when she and her fellow Camellias try to make a life in New York City, they find themselves coping in unexpectedly dangerous ways—from standard substance addictions to Sarah's fixation on preppy ex-boyfriend Max, a smooth and sadistic child of wealth. While the formula of young women in the big city seems destined for cliché, Crouch subverts most expectations; Sarah almost purposely misses an opportunity for happiness and stability with the gentle lover she met in Europe, and her ploy to ignite sparks with a college friend goes painfully awry. When Sarah goes back to Charleston and faces a perhaps too over-the-top family crisis (it involves suicide and lesbianism), the reader's left with the hope that the worst is over. Though this feels almost like a collection—each chapter its own story with its own narrative technique—Crouch's portrayal of a young woman's self-sabotage and the pitfalls facing young women in a cold world is wise, wry and heartbreaking.
by George Pelecanos
Starred Review. In yet another gem of urban noir, bestseller Pelecanos (The Night Gardener) explores the possibility of making the turnaround, of starting over and building a new life, regardless of the past. One summer day in 1972, three teenage white boys—Alex Pappas and his friends Billy Cachoris and Pete Whitten—drive into a poor Washington, D.C., neighborhood, high on booze and weed, looking for trouble. They confront three young black men, Billy winds up dead and Alex badly beaten. In 2007, Alex runs the family coffee shop, as did his father, and grieves for his son, recently killed in Iraq. Then, one of the black survivors of the incident contacts Alex, opening a door that may finally put the trauma of the past to rest. At the same time, another survivor, the man who beat Alex, has gotten out of prison and has extortion on his mind. The result is a beautifully written and thought-provoking novel of crime, friendship, aging and redemption.
by Mary Pat Kelly
Kelly uses a well-known chapter in Irish American history as a springboard for a vividly lavish historical novel. The mid-nineteenth-century potato famine in Ireland resulted in approximately one million deaths and one million emigrations. After leaving a desperate and depleted Ireland, Michael and Honora Kelly make their way to America. Eventually settling in Chicago, the Kellys and their children struggle to survive and thrive in the “Promised Land.” This multigenerational family saga mirrors the experiences of countless other immigrants who transformed both their own lives and the face of America. Kelly does an admirable job of conveying both the despair and the determination that gripped a generation of Irish immigrants. Through the eyes of the extended Kelly clan, the reader is treated to a panoramic overview of the Irish American experience. --Margaret Flanagan
This One Is Mine
by Maria Semple
Critics had mixed reactions to Semple's debut novel. While some appreciated the social commentary and satire, others were not impressed by far-fetched plot twists and cliched characters. Teddy, in particular, seemed to have few redeeming qualities, which made Violet's behavior incomprehensible. Though Semple, writing with wit and warmth, gives readers a fascinating insider's view of Hollywood, USA Today saw too much of a sitcom in the novel. Other critics pointed out that This One Is Mine, because of its unexpectedly poignant character development and themes of compassion, understanding, and redemption, is no made-for-TV movie. With its fast-paced plot, laugh-out-loud shenanigans, and touching conclusion, this novel will charm readers who can forgive a new novelist's few missteps.