Mailbox Monday

I find people who have overcome adversity more interesting than people who have not and this true story about overcoming unexpected adversity sounds like a doozy. Here is the description from Amazon:

“Catherine Chagra and her two sisters, Cindy and Christa, were the darling daughters of Jimmy Chagra, the biggest pot dealer in the history of the U.S.A., and one of the kingpins of Las Vegas casinos in the 1970′s. But after their father was arrested and his hundred-million dollars had disappeared, they were left penniless, at the mercy of a Texas society that vilified them. With the help of their principled mother before her tragic death, and haunted by the shadow of their father, Dirty Darlings is a portrait of courage as three women attempt to re-assemble the shattered pieces of their lives.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of Dirty Darlings from Net Galley. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in American History, Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Mailbox Monday

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy 2016 filled with wonderful books. Two intriguing non-fiction books landed in my mailbox this week.

Here is the description from Amazon:
“Ranging from the playful, to the fact-filled, and to the thoughtful, this collection tracks the fortunes of Walt Disney’s flagship character. From the first full-fledged review of his screen debut in November 1928 to the present day, Mickey Mouse has won millions of fans and charmed even the harshest of critics. Almost half of the eighty-one texts in A Mickey Mouse Reader document the Mouse’s rise to glory from that first cartoon, Steamboat Willie, through his seventh year when his first color animation, The Band Concert, was released. They include two important early critiques, one by the American culture critic Gilbert Seldes and one by the famed English novelist E. M. Forster.”

Here is the description from Amazon:

“War, the most profitable economic activity in the ancient world, transferred wealth from the vanquished to the victor. Invasions, sieges, massacres, annexations, and mass deportations all redistributed property with dramatic consequences for kings and commoners alike. No conqueror ever captured more people or property in so short a lifetime than Alexander the Great in the late fourth century BC.

For all its savagery, the creation of Alexander’s empire has generally been hailed as a positive economic event for all concerned. Even those harshly critical of Alexander today tend to praise his plundering of Persia as a means of liberating the moribund resources of the East. To test this popular interpretation, The Treasures of Alexander the Great investigates the kinds and quantities of treasure seized by the Macedonian king, from gold and silver to land and slaves. It reveals what became of the king’s wealth and what Alexander’s redistribution of these vast resources can tell us about his much-disputed policies and personality.

Though Alexander owed his vast fortune to war, battle also distracted him from competently managing his spoils and much was wasted, embezzled, deliberately destroyed, or idled unprofitably. The Treasures of Alexander the Great provides a long-overdue and accessible account of Alexander’s wealth and its enormous impact on the ancient world.”

Disclosure: I received copies of A Mickey Mouse Reader and Treasures of Alexander the Great from Net Galley. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

FREE Ebook Meow Now Brown Cow (A Magical Cool Cats Mysteries Short Story) January 6 through January 10

Enjoy a free download of Meow Now Brown Cow (A Magical Cool Cats Mysteries Short Story) from January 6 through January 10. Here is the description from Amazon:

“With her delicate feline nostrils flaring, Tatania catches the scent of fire first. Flames threaten a dairy farm where Tatania spent one of her nine lives. In a storage shed, a charred body remains unidentified.
Jack, Grace and Tatania fly to the scene in Jack’s biplane. With the help of her friend Carrie the cow, Tatania solves another mystery without missing a nap.”

You can download your free copy by clicking on the image above or the link below:

Meow Now Brown Cow: Magical Cool Cats Mysteries Short Story

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in 1920s, Animals, Cat, Free Ebooks, Mystery, Reading, Romance | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Mailbox Monday

Well, I know Vagrant Nation doesn’t sound like the cheeriest holiday time choice but I’ve always been interested in American History. According to the synopsis, there was once a time when someone could be arrested for “working too little”. Here is the description from Amazon:

“In 1950s America, it was remarkably easy for police to arrest almost anyone for almost any reason. The criminal justice system-and especially the age-old law of vagrancy-served not only to maintain safety and order but also to enforce conventional standards of morality and propriety. A person could be arrested for sporting a beard, making a speech, or working too little. Yet by the end of the 1960s, vagrancy laws were discredited and American society was fundamentally transformed. What happened?

In Vagrant Nation, Risa Goluboff answers that question by showing how constitutional challenges to vagrancy laws shaped the multiple movements that made “the 1960s.” Vagrancy laws were so broad and flexible that they made it possible for the police to arrest anyone out of place: Beats and hippies; Communists and Vietnam War protestors; racial minorities and civil rights activists; gays, single women, and prostitutes. As hundreds of these “vagrants” and their lawyers challenged vagrancy laws in court, the laws became a flashpoint for debates about radically different visions of order and freedom.

Goluboff’s compelling account of those challenges rewrites the history of the civil rights, peace, gay rights, welfare rights, sexual, and cultural revolutions. As Goluboff links the human stories of those arrested to the great controversies of the time, she makes coherent an era that often seems chaotic. She also powerfully demonstrates how ordinary people, with the help of lawyers and judges, can change the meaning of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court’s 1972 decision declaring vagrancy laws unconstitutional continues to shape conflicts between police power and constitutional rights, including clashes over stop-and-frisk, homelessness, sexual freedom, and public protests. Since the downfall of vagrancy law, battles over what, if anything, should replace it, like battles over the legacy of the sixties transformations themselves, are far from over.”

You can see Vagrant Nation at Amazon by clicking on the image above.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Vagrant Nation from Net Galley. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in American History, Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Mulligan’s Christmas Stew – Audiobook Review

Here is the description of Mulligan’s Christmas Stew from Audible:

“For more than 30 years as a roving reporter, AP pecial correspondent (and legendary storyteller) Hugh Mulligan wrote witty, quirky, and sometimes poignant Christmas columns from many distant datelines. Whether he was writing from London or Austria, Israel or Vietnam, or the snows of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, Mulligan managed to capture the essence of the holiday spirit for all to enjoy.

Now The Associated Press has assembled these delightful stories in a new collection, Mulligan’s Christmas Stew. This serving of tasty tales is sprinkled with humorous and touching observations as well as enchanting reminders about the joy and reflection the time of the year brings to all, both young and old. The volume features an introduction by Malachy McCourt as well as Christmas quizzes and artifacts from the AP corporate archives.

Mulligan’s Christmas Stew is a journey through the world of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”, the birth of Christmas carols, the real cost of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, Christmas at the White House, and so much more! Have yourself a Merry Mulligan Christmas!”

I thought the title, Mulligan’s Christmas Stew, came from the author’s name, Hugh Mulligan, but it sounded very familiar and I looked up the definition:

Mulligan Stew: a stew made of available ingredients; a stew made of odds and ends

In this instance, the ingredients are the Christmas columns of a journalist who relished Christmas stories. Hugh Mulligan’s love for history shines through when he writes of December 1776. George Washington embodied the resilience that would define America when he crossed the Delaware River and surprised the Hessian troops hired by the British at Trenton who were imbibing liquor and undoubtedly already celebrating what they believed would be America’s defeat.

He shares the origins of Christmas Carols. Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer’s writer knew it would be a hit. For a long time, no one else agreed. He took it to a singing cowboy named Gene Autry. Although Gene Autry originally turned down the opportunity to sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, his wife changed his mind. In its first year of release, Gene Autry’s rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sold 1,700,000 copies and never stopped selling.

One year he watches workers decorate Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree and learns they begin decorating from neither top nor bottom but from the middle. Another year, he calculates the costs of giving your true love gifts immortalized in The 12 Days of Christmas. He watches a drunk Santa Claus get transported away while still singing Jingle Bells.

Narrator Malachy McCourt has the confidence of a natural storyteller. I enjoyed listening to this collection of Christmas stories. It includes a fun quiz about Christmas. You can download the quiz from Audible if you buy the audiobook edition.

You can see Mulligan’s Christmas Stew by clicking on the image above or the link below:

Mulligan’s Christmas Stew: A Tasty Serving of Holiday Stories

Disclosure: I received a copy of Mulligan’s Christmas Stew from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Audiobooks, Reading, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Mailbox Monday

I have a pre-order for the audiobook edition of Mulligan’s Christmas Stew. I want to listen to this author’s stories about celebrating Christmas all over the world through the years.
Here is the description from Amazon:

“For more than 30 years as a roving reporter, AP pecial correspondent (and legendary storyteller) Hugh Mulligan wrote witty, quirky, and sometimes poignant Christmas columns from many distant datelines. Whether he was writing from London or Austria, Israel or Vietnam, or the snows of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, Mulligan managed to capture the essence of the holiday spirit for all to enjoy.

Now The Associated Press has assembled these delightful stories in a new collection, Mulligan’s Christmas Stew. This serving of tasty tales is sprinkled with humorous and touching observations as well as enchanting reminders about the joy and reflection the time of the year brings to all, both young and old. The volume features an introduction by Malachy McCourt as well as Christmas quizzes and artifacts from the AP corporate archives.

Mulligan’s Christmas Stew is a journey through the world of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”, the birth of Christmas carols, the real cost of “The 12 Days of Christmas”, Christmas at the White House, and so much more! Have yourself a Merry Mulligan Christmas!”

I love the 1920s and this true story of a fatal mistress intrigued me. Here is the description from Amazon:

“JAKE & CLARA is based on a true story from the dawn of the Jazz Age about scandal, politics, Hollywood—and murder. When Warren Harding won the White House in 1920, his campaign received millions from Jake Hamon—“The Oil King of Oklahoma.” Harding planned to make Jake the most powerful businessman in America. But Mrs. Harding (some called her “The Duchess”) had one condition—the married man had to end his affair with his long-time mistress, a girl named Clara.

Jake and Clara had been together for ten years, since she was seventeen and he was thirty-seven. But Jake coveted the powerful Washington job, and he dumped Clara a couple of weeks after Harding was elected.

A few days later, Clara shot Jake.

By the time Jake died, Clara was in the wind. A headline-grabbing national search was conducted for the beautiful fugitive. Clara “sightings” were reported far and wide. A pair of colorful lawmen found Clara in an unlikely hiding place and brought her back to Ardmore, Oklahoma to face the charge of first-degree murder.

What followed was one of the most sensational murder trials of the era. A “dream team” of powerful lawyers surrounded Clara in the courtroom. Soon Hollywood came calling, wanting to put Clara’s story on the big screen…

…starring Clara as herself”

Disclosure: I received a pre-order of Mulligan’s Christmas Stew from Audible and a copy of Jake and Clara from Net Galley. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in 1920s, American History, Audiobooks, History, Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Out of the Fog – Audiobook Review

There are no stereotypes in this story. What makes someone risk her own life to save a stranger from a hate crime perpetrated by violent bullies? The best explanation I’ve ever heard is that you feel such a strong affinity with the stranger at that moment, you unconsciously believe you are saving your own life when you save him.

Molly Deacon appears to be an ordinary mom out picking up supplies for a girl scout camping trip until the moment she does an extraordinary thing: she rescues a man from bullies violently pummeling him in a convenience store’s parking lot. Worried about GPS tracking, and knowing that the cell phone she relies on to reach help could also lead predators to her, Molly bravely drives Alan Cartwright to what she hopes will be safety.

When the question of whether Alan is whom he seems to be arises, you may feel panic for Molly. But Molly’s instincts never fail her, and the strength of her character propels the story. The great narration by IIyana Kadushin gives Out of the Fog a scary immediacy. Of course I unwittingly added to that atmosphere by listening to it on a night of strong wind gusts and pelting rain.

Out of the Fog is a story that will stay with you. I’m not surprised it was chosen as one of the Best Kindle Singles of 2014. I think classic film director Alfred Hitchcock would be impressed. And right now, you can pick up the audiobook edition or the Kindle edition for less than $3.00.

You can see Out of the Fog at Amazon by clicking on the image above or the link below.

Out of the Fog

Disclosure: I received a copy of Out of the Fog from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Audiobooks | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Mailbox Monday

The audiobook edition of Out of the Fog by Carolyn Nash landed in my mailbox this week. I love to be transported by a good audiobook. Here is the description from Amazon:

What if you’re a suburban mom with a snarky sense of humor and a wild imagination prone to dreaming up disasters? What if you and your friends take your daughters for a camping trip, and while on a quick trip to the nearest country market you see a man being bullied and then beaten? What do you do? Back away quietly? Not if you’re Molly Deacon, who, along with her Mittyesque imagination, has a temper not to be trifled with.

Stepping in to rescue Alan Cartwright has consequences far beyond what Molly could ever imagine, and she must find hidden reserves of strength to survive a terrifying chase through a foggy night.

Carolyn Nash’s first book, Raising Abel, is a memoir of raising her horrifically abused adopted older son. The pen name “Carolyn Nash” was taken to protect her son’s privacy. Carolyn and her family live in Northern California.

You can see Out of the Fog by clicking on the image above or the link below:

Out of the Fog

Disclosure: I received a copy of Out of the Fog from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Audiobooks, Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Mailbox Monday

Forked by Saru Jayaraman landed in my mailbox. This non fiction books is about food workers and asks diners to consider how much or (how little) they know about the people preparing their food when they dine out. Here is the description from Amazon:

“A restaurant critic can tell you about the chef. A menu can tell you about the farm-sourced ingredients. Now who’s going to tell you about the people preparing your meal?

From James Beard Leadership Award winner Saru Jayaraman, Forked is an enlightening examination of what we don’t talk about when we talk about restaurants: Is the line cook working through a case of stomach flu because he doesn’t get paid sick days? Is the busser not being promoted because he speaks with an accent? Is the server tolerating sexual harassment because tips are her only income?

As most corporate restaurants continue to set low standards for worker wages and benefits, a new class of chefs and restaurateurs is working to foster sustainability in their food and their employees. Forked offers an insider’s view of the highest–and lowest–scoring restaurants for worker pay and benefits in each sector of the restaurant industry, and with it, a new way of thinking about how and where we eat.”

Disclosure: I received a copy of Forked from Net Galley. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Mailbox Monday

Frederick’s Queen by Suzan Tisdale landed in my mailbox. I’m looking forward to being transported by listening to this historical romance audiobook. Here is the description from Amazon:

“There can be no light without darkness, no hope without despair, no love without heartache

Some scars can’t be seen

When the handsome Frederick Mackintosh offers to marry Aggie McLaren, she is certain ’tis greed or insanity that motivates him. Besides land and a chance at a chiefdom, she believes she has nothing to offer. She soon learns nothing could be further from the truth. Hope she thought long lost blooms with her husband’s kindness, his honor, and his fierce determination to make their marriage and their clan a success.

Sometimes perfection is imperfect

Aggie McLaren is not Frederick Mackintosh’s image of the perfect wife. She isn’t well read, vivacious, or voluptuous. Wee, timid, and unable to speak, it is a glimpse of her smile and the chance to be chief of his own clan that propels him to offer for her hand. Frederick will do whatever he must in order to see her smile again and to help her find her voice.”

You can see Frederick’s Queen by Suzan Tisdale at Amazon by clicking on the image above or the link below:

Frederick’s Queen: The Clan Graham Series

Disclosure: I received a copy of Frederick’s Queen by Suzan Tisdale from Audible in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in Audiobooks, Mailbox Monday | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments