Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Freebie: Big Box of Fall Reading!

Diamond Head by Cecily Wong, The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis, Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta by Michael Copperman, Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian, The Last September by Nina DeGramont, America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, Votes of Confidence by Jeff Fleischer, That Other Me by Maha Gargash, Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad, Where Are They Buried? by Tod Benoit, and Atlas of Lost Cities by Aude de Tocqueville


Congratulations to Tisa Houck, winner of last week’s Friday Freebie giveaway: Brightwood by Tania Unsworth and The Unbelieveable FIB: The Trickster’s Tale and The Unbelieveable FIB: Over the Underworld by Adam Shaughnessy.

This week’s contest is for another big ol’ stand-back-I’m-clearing-the-shelves box o’ books. ONE lucky reader will win ALL of the following books: Diamond Head by Cecily Wong, The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, The Spice Box Letters by Eve Makis, Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta by Michael Copperman, Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, Orhan’s Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian, The Last September by Nina DeGramont, America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, Votes of Confidence by Jeff Fleischer, That Other Me by Maha Gargash, Lie in Wait by Eric Rickstad, Where Are They Buried? by Tod Benoit, and Atlas of Lost Cities by Aude de Tocqueville. Some are hardcover, some are softcover, but all are in brand-new, unread condition. One special note: because I’m about to head out on vacation (Maine, here I come!), the contest deadline will be three weeks from now. Read on for more information about the books...

Diamond Head is a sweeping debut spanning from China to Hawaii that follows four generations of a wealthy shipping family whose rise and decline is riddled with secrets and tragic love—from a young, powerful new voice in fiction. At the turn of the nineteenth century, Frank Leong, a fabulously wealthy shipping industrialist, moves his family from China to the island of Oahu. But something ancient follows the Leongs to Hawaii, haunting them. The parable of the red string of fate, the cord that binds one intended beloved to her perfect match, also punishes for mistakes in love, passing a destructive knot down the family line. When Frank Leong is murdered, his family is thrown into a perilous downward spiral. Left to rebuild in their patriarch’s shadow, the surviving members of the Leong family try their hand at a new, ordinary life, vowing to bury their gilded past. Still, the island continues to whisper—fragmented pieces of truth and chatter, until a letter arrives two decades later, carrying a confession that shatters the family even further. Now the Leongs’ survival rests with young Theresa, Frank Leong’s only grandchild, eighteen and pregnant, the heir apparent to her ancestors’ punishing knots. Told through the eyes of the Leong’s secret-keeping daughters and wives and spanning The Boxer Rebellion to Pearl Harbor to 1960s Hawaii, Diamond Head is a breathtakingly powerful tale of tragic love, shocking lies, poignant compromise, aching loss, heroic acts of sacrifice and, miraculous hope.

A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams. Nothing is as permanent as it appears...Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped. Then the dreams begin. Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps. Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn? As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

In The Spice Box Letters, 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.

Teacher describes how, when Michael Copperman left Stanford University for the Mississippi Delta in 2002, he imagined he would lift underprivileged children from the narrow horizons of rural poverty. Well-meaning but naïve, the Asian-American from the West Coast soon lost his bearings in a world divided between black and white. He had no idea how to manage a classroom or help children navigate the considerable challenges they faced. In trying to help students, he often found he couldn’t afford to give what they required―sometimes with heartbreaking consequences. His desperate efforts to save child after child were misguided but sincere. He offered children the best invitations to success he could manage. But he still felt like an outsider who was failing the children and himself. Teach For America has for a decade been the nation’s largest employer of recent college graduates but has come under increasing criticism in recent years even as it has grown exponentially. This memoir considers the distance between the idealism of the organization’s creed that “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education and reach their full potential” and what it actually means to teach in America’s poorest and most troubled public schools. Copperman’s memoir vividly captures his disorientation in the divided world of the Delta, even as the author marvels at the wit and resilience of the children in his classroom. To them, he is at once an authority figure and a stranger minority than even they are―a lone Asian, an outsider among outsiders. His journey is of great relevance to teachers, administrators, and parents longing for quality education in America. His frank story shows that the solutions for impoverished schools are far from simple. Be sure to check out Michael’s earlier “My First Time” essay here at The Quivering Pen.

Tailored for Trouble is a sassy, sexy, laugh-out-loud rom-com between the hottest man never to be tamed and the woman crazy enough to try. Taylor Reed is no stranger to selfish, uncaring CEOs. She was fired by one, which is why she has created her own executive training program—helping heartless bosses become more human. So Taylor shocks even herself when she agrees to coach Bennett Wade, the cutthroat exec who got her unceremoniously canned. She’d love to slam the door in his annoying but very handsome face, but the customers aren’t exactly lining up at her door. Plus, this extreme makeover will give Taylor the golden opportunity to prove that her program works like a charm. Bennett Wade is many things—arrogant, smug, brusque—but trusting isn’t one of them. Women just seem to be after his billions. So when he hires Taylor Reed, he has no desire to change. Bennett is trying to win over the feminist owner of a company he desperately wants to buy, but something about the fiery Taylor thaws the ice around his heart, making Bennett feel things he never quite planned on. And if there’s one thing Bennett can’t stand, it’s when things don’t go according to plan. They are a match tailor-made for trouble.

Orhan’s Inheritance is “Breathtaking and expansive...Proof that the past can sometimes rewrite the future” (Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train). When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, Kemal Türkoglu, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead, submerged in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But Kemal has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Intent on righting this injustice, Orhan unearths a story that, if told, has the power to undo the legacy upon which Orhan’s family is built, a story that could unravel his own future.

Set against the desolate autumn beauty of Cape Cod, The Last September is a riveting emotional puzzle that takes readers inside the psyche of a woman facing the meaning of love and loyalty. Brett has been in love with Charlie ever since he took her skiing on a lovely Colorado night fourteen years ago. And now, living in a seaside cottage on Cape Cod with their young daughter, it looks as if they have settled into the life they desired. However, Brett and Charlie’s marriage has been tenuous for quite some time. When Charlie’s unstable younger brother plans to move in with them, the tension simmering under the surface of their marriage boils over. But what happened to Charlie next was unfathomable. Charlie was the golden boy so charismatic that he charmed everyone who crossed his path; who never shied away from a challenge; who saw life as one big adventure; who could always rescue his troubled brother, no matter how unpredictable the situation. So who is to blame for the tragic turn of events? And why does Brett feel responsible?

In America’s First Daughter, a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy. From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother's death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father's troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father's protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William's wife and still be a devoted daughter. Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

With 2016 promising to be an interesting and hotly contested election year, Votes of Confidence offers young readers an essential guide to the past, present, and future of American elections. Here's what Kirkus Reviews had to say about the book: Neither the American electoral nor political process is simple. And if you think so, you’ve likely got it wrong. Fortunately, self-described political nerd Fleischer is here to clarify things. In a particularly winning voice, abetted by numerous intriguing anecdotes and trivia, Fleischer commences at the beginning, with an origin story (Revolution, Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Bill of Rights), before moving on to mechanics. He issues an implicit challenge with his introduction—“If there’s one thing we know for sure about American government, it’s that a lot of Americans don’t know much about it”—and then goes on to make sure readers buck that trend. His discussion of the electoral college is a fine example of his compressive clarity: the college is a compromise measure to rein in populous states while avoiding the pitfalls of giving too much power to Congress and state legislatures. It has its drawbacks, but it is not as egregious as push polling (“one of the sleaziest of political dirty tricks”) or hindering voter registration. Fleischer works plenty of civics and history into this study of the revelatory power of politics—“Strom Thurmond and George Wallace demonstrated that racists were a large voting bloc”—so his closing suggestions on how readers can get involved and be heard are perfectly placed. Fleischer’s primer tenders a wealth of insight in a generous and welcoming manner.

From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Sand Fish, Maha Gargash’s second novel is set in mid-1990s Dubai and Cairo and tells the story of how secrets and betrayals consume three members—an authoritarian father, a rebellious abandoned daughter, and a vulnerable niece—of a prominent Emirati family. Majed, the head of the eminent Naseemy family, is proud to have risen into the upper echelons of Emirati society. As one of the richest businessmen in Dubai, he’s used to being catered to and respected—never mind that he acquired his wealth by cheating his brother out of his own company and depriving his niece, Mariam, of her rights. Not one to dwell on the past—he sent Mariam to school in Egypt, what more could she want from him?—Majed spends his days berating his wife and staff and cavorting with friends at a private apartment. But he’s suddenly plagued by nightmares that continue to haunt him during the day, and he feels his control further slipping away with the discovery that his niece and his daughter are defying his orders. Mariam despises Majed, and although she blames him for her father’s death, hers is a strictly-organized, dutiful existence. But when she falls for a brash, mischievous fellow student named Adel, he might just prove to be her downfall. Largely abandoned by Majed as the daughter of a second, secret marriage, the vivacious Dalal has a lot to prove. The runner-up on “Nights of Dubai,” an American Idol-type reality show for Arab talent, Dalal is committed to being a singer despite the fact that it’s a disreputable career. When her efforts to become a celebrity finally begin to pay off, she attracts the attention of her father, who is determined to subdue Dalal to protect the family name. As Majed increasingly exerts his control over both Dalal and Mariam, both girls resist, with explosive consequences. An exhilarating look at the little-known Khaleeji (Gulf-Arab) culture, That Other Me explores the ways social mores contribute to the collapse of one family.

From Eric Rickstad, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Silent Girls, comes Lie in Wait, another unforgettable thriller set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, featuring Detective Sonja Test. Even in a quiet Vermont town, unspeakable acts of the past can destroy the peace of the present. In the remote pastoral hamlet of Canaan, Vermont, a high-profile legal case shatters the town’s sense of peace and community. Anger simmers. Fear and prejudice awaken. Old friends turn on each other. Violence threatens. So when a young teenage girl is savagely murdered while babysitting at the house of the lead attorney in the case, Detective Sonja Test believes the girl’s murder and the divisive case must be linked. However, as the young detective digs deeper into her first murder case, she discovers sordid acts hidden for decades, and learns that behind the town’s idyllic façade of pristine snow lurks a capacity in some for great darkness and the betrayal of innocents. And Sonja Test, a mother of two, will do anything to protect the innocent.

For years, Where Are They Buried? has directed legions of fervent fans and multitudes of the morbidly curious to the graves, monuments, memorials, and tombstones of the nearly 500 celebrities and antiheroes included in the book. Now the bestselling guide to the lives, deaths, and final resting places of our most enduring cultural icons, is revised and completely updated for 2015 to include some of our most recent Dearly Departed (like Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, and Maya Angelou). By far the most complete and well-organized guide on the subject, every entry features an entertaining capsule biography full of little-known facts, a detailed description of the death, and step-by-step directions to the grave, including not only the name of the cemetery but the exact location of the gravesite and how to reach it. The book also provides a handy index of grave locations organized by state, province, and country to make planning a grave-hopping road trip easy and efficient.

Like humans, cities are mortal. They are born, they thrive, and they eventually die. In Atlas of Lost Cities, Aude de Tocqueville tells the compelling narrative of the rise and fall of such notable places as Pompeii, Teotihuacán, and Angkor. She also details the less well known places, including Centralia, an abandoned Pennsylvania town consumed by unquenchable underground fire; Nova Citas de Kilamba in Angola, where housing, schools, and stores were built for 500,000 people who never came; and Epecuen, a tourist town in Argentina that was swallowed up by water. Beautiful, original artwork shows the location of the lost cities and depicts how they looked when they thrived.

If you’d like a chance at winning ALL THE BOOKS, simply email your name and mailing address to


Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. Please include your mailing address in the body of the e-mail. One entry per person, please. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie remains open to entries until midnight on Oct. 6, at which time I’ll draw the winning name. I’ll announce the lucky reader on Oct. 7. If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.


3 comments:

  1. Oooo, what a great fall book package. Crossing my fingers for myself. A couple of the titles are already on my to read list. I'm adding Chris B's The Sleepwalker to the list, too, after reading about it in the latest email received from The Quivering Pen.

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  2. This would really help build my collection!

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  3. What a great giveaway!
    If I were to win, I would give all these books to a 85-year old lady who lives across the street from me. She told me last week, "I just finished reading The Orphan Train for the third time. I have no new books and cannot afford to buy any."
    I can't think of anything more wonderful than to make her wish come true.

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