Sunday, February 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature inspired by Alea and memefied by Kristi. Check out Kristi's blog to see what others got in terms of books this week!

Bought and traded way an embarrassingly large amount of books, so here are just the ones I received for review:

Benjamin Bratt and the Keepers of the School: We the Children by Andrew Clements
(Atheneum / April 6, 2010)

Benjamin Pratt's harbor-side school is going to be bulldozed to make room for an amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true ... or is it more like a nightmare? Something about the plan seems fishy, and Lyman, the new assistant janitor, seems even fishier. When Ben and his friend, Jill, start digging for answers, they find things that the people with money and power don't want them to see. Could the history hidden deep within an old school building actually overthrow a thirty-million-dollar real-estate deal? and how far will the developers go to keep that from happening? Ben and Jill are about to discover just how dangerous a little knowledge can be.

The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee
(Candlewick / Mar. 9, 2010)

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

Received for a blog tour, and it's one I've been eagerly waiting to read. Thanks, Ying and Candlewick!

Starting Over: Why the Last Decade Was So Damn Rotten and Why the Next Will Surely Be Better by Andy Serwer
(Time / Jan. 26, 2010)

Bookended by 9/11 at the beginning and an epic financial meltdown at the end, the first decade of this century will surely go down as one of the most difficult in American history. We were plagued by a series of catastrophes and major missteps, from the convoluted presidential election in 2000, to the invasion of Iraq, to the devastation of Katrina as well as all manner of financial shenanigans such as Enron, the tragedy of GM and Bernie Madoff.

It wasn't just coincidence that this carnage all occurred over the past ten years though. Rather, much of it was brought about by years of neglect and deferral of responsibility. In this book, FORTUNE Magazine Editor Andy Serwer explains how we fell into this national hole and more importantly, how we can and will pull ourselves out of it as we head into what could well be another most promising decade for America. Critical to this rebound is a learning of the lessons of the recent past such as accepting responsibility, punishing financial alchemy and excess, and refocusing on our core strengths like innovation and a political system which is a beacon to the rest of the world. Now is the time for Starting Over.

Randomly received for review. It's really not something I'm interested in, nor is it my type of book. Not sure if I'll end up reviewing this.

The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara M. Zeises
(Random House / July 2009)

When Stella Madison's food-loving parents help her land a summer job at the local newspaper, there’s only one catch: she’s expected to write about food. Luckily, Stella has Jeremy, the hot new intern at her mom’s restaurant, who’s more than happy to help. But where does that leave Stella’s boyfriend, Max, who recently dropped the L-word? And could her separated parents be cooking up romances of their own?

Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters
(Random House / July 2009)

A National Book Award Finalist offers an intense portrait of an abusive relationship.

Johanna is steadfast, patient, reliable; the go-to girl, the one everyone can count on. But always being there for others can’t give Johanna everything she needs—it can’t give her Reeve Hartt.

Reeve is fierce, beautiful, wounded, elusive; a flame that draws Johanna’s fluttering moth. Johanna is determined to get her, against all advice, and to help her, against all reason. But love isn’t always reasonable, right?

In the precarious place where attraction and need collide, a teenager experiences the dark side of a first love, and struggles to find her way into a new light.

After by Kristin Harmel
(Random House / Feb. 9, 2010)

Lacey's world shatters when her dad is killed in a car accident. And secretly? She feels like it’s her fault. If she hadn’t taken her own sweet time getting ready that morning . . . well, it never would have happened. Her mom wouldn’t be a basket case. Her brother Logan wouldn’t drink. And her little brother would still have two parents.

But life goes on even if you don’t want it to. And when Lacey gets the chance to make a difference in the lives of some people at school, she jumps at it. Making lemonade out of lemons is her specialty. Except she didn’t count on meeting a guy like Sam. Or that sometimes? Lemonade can be a pretty bitter drink to swallow.

I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
(Random House / Jan. 2010)

Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”

When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .

The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History by Adam Selzer
(Random House / Dec. 22, 2009)

Do you know America? No, I mean, do you REALLY know America? Would you recognize John Adams in a lineup? Can you identify any presidents between Lincoln and Roosevelt?

Hmmm. I thought so.

Well, you really need this book.

Not only will it improve your sorry historical knowledge, it will crack you up, and give you material to throw your teachers off-balance for entire class periods. Identify their lies! Point out their half-truths! And possibly, just possibly, gain some extra credit for yourself.

The above 5 books were all from Random House. Yay! I like them a lot. They send me lots of nice surprises. :)


I also want to mention two books I bought because of their specialness. Armed with a Borders coupon, I picked up Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen (Flux / Feb. 1, 2010) on a whim when I read and enjoyed the first chapter. The cover is really pretty and cool-feeling, and I look forward to having the time to finish the book. I also bought The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard (Penguin / Jan. 2010). Jenn had her book launch party at an indie bookstore near my place, but due to a swim meet I wasn't able to go. However, she was kind enough to sign a book for me, and I picked it up at the store earlier this week. Thanks for your kind message, Jenn! I'm also very excited to read it.


  1. After - OMG I had that one for Waiting On Wed. I cant wait to read it - and I kissed a Zombie and Liked it - I want to read that one too - I cant wait to read your reviews! ENJOY!

  2. =O You got The Agency!! =D Looking forward to your review on that.

    Have fun reading all your books~

  3. The Agency looks like such fun. Also, the random review book you received looks interesting but also like it'd be a hard book to just sit down and read for fun. Enjoy the rest of the books you received though!

    What Book is That?

  4. What a great book week! I can't wait to read your reviews of After & Light Beneath Ferns. I loved The Secret Year & hope you do too. Happy reading :)


  5. Huh.. havn't seen those books before.

  6. Great books you got this week. Some interesting titles you got there. Hope you enjoy reading all your books.

  7. Rage and After both look awesome!

  8. I'll be interested to know what you think of The Agency. I've just started hearing about it, but want to know more. Great books this week!

    ~Amanda Leigh
    Not-Really-Southern Vamp Chick

  9. Rage is great. I look forward to hearing what you think about The Agency it sounds good. After sounds great too. Enjoy!

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. I kissed a zombie and I liked it! LOL Love that title. Happy reading.


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


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