Recently, the local Half Price Books had a MASSIVE sale. Set to last 3 days, they held it in a nearby University’s sports arena. Everything was $2 or less! Books, movies, CDs and records, even some random gift type items… It was a huge mishmash of stuff they were clearing out of their warehouse. Apparently they do this every year. The expression, “kid in a candy store”, was exceptionally apt. I thought bringing my husband would curtail my binge but he walked out spending more than me!!! It was in DVDs mostly but still… He was no help. Haha!

For my shelves, I’m a bit odd. I love hardbacks (I blame my mom) and will search high and low and just plain wait until I can get my favorite books in it. However, I only keep a book if I love it and know that I’ll re-read it over and over and over again. So what ends up happening is this:

1) I will pick up whatever version I can find to test out the story.

2) If I love it, I’ll hunt down the hardback version and add it to my shelves. This is especially true for book series. My OCD won’t abide by mismatched books.

3) If it’s a “one and done”, I’ll donate it to the local library, hospital, or charity. Occasionally, I’ll save them for a yard sale (but I hate those so that rarely happens).

For example, these are bound for the ‘donate’ category…

Again, I admit, I’m weird! Anyway, this sale I discovered was exceptionally fortuitous because I found 3 hardbacks I’d been looking for to replace to the cheap paperbacks. I also picked up these guys! (Descriptions are Top (L > R), Bottom (L > R))

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

For most of her life, sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks has been shuttled from one distant relative to another. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she summons the courage to leave Iowa and move all by herself to Vida, Montana, to prove up on her late uncle’s homestead claim.

Under the big sky, Hattie braves hard weather, hard times, a cantankerous cow, and her own hopeless hand at the cookstove. Her quest to make a home is championed by new neighbors Perilee Mueller, her German husband, and their children. For the first time in her life, Hattie feels part of a family, finding the strength to stand up against Traft Martin’s schemes to buy her out and against increasing pressure to be a “loyal” American at a time when anything—or anyone—German is suspect. Despite daily trials, Hattie continues to work her uncle’s claim until an unforeseen tragedy causes her to search her soul for the real meaning of home. 
 
This young pioneer’s story is lovingly stitched together from Kirby Larson’s own family history and the sights, sounds, and scents of homesteading life.

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Wake by Anna Hope

London, 1920. The city prepares to observe the two-year anniversary of Armistice Day with the burial of the unknown soldier. Many are still haunted by the war: Hettie, a dance instructress, lives at home with her mother and her brother, who is mute after his return from combat.

One night Hettie meets a wealth, educated man and finds herself smitten with him. But there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach.

Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange, through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, she looks for solace in her adored brother, who has not been the same since he returned from the front.

Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at the door, seemingly with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out-of-work veterans. But when he utters the name of her son, Ada is jolted to the core.

The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place.

***I just finished this one. I’ll be posting a review for it soon***

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Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

This sophisticated and entertaining first novel presents the story of a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society—where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve. With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.

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Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel

One sunny morning in 1969, near the end of her first trip to Miami, twenty-six-year-old Frances Ellerby finds herself in a place called Stiltsville, a community of houses built on pilings in the middle of Biscayne Bay.

It’s the first time the Atlanta native has been out on the open water, and she’s captivated. On the dock of a stilt house, with the dazzling skyline in the distance and the unknowable ocean beneath her, she meets the house’s owner, Dennis DuVal—and a new future reveals itself.

Turning away from her quiet, predictable life back home, Frances moves to Miami to be with Dennis. Over time, she earns the confidence of his wild-at-heart sister and wins the approval of his oldest friend. Frances and Dennis marry and have a child—but rather than growing complacent about their good fortune, they continue to face the challenges of intimacy and the complicated city they call home.

Stiltsville is the family’s island oasis—until suddenly it’s gone, and Frances is forced to figure out how to make her family work on dry land. Against a backdrop of lush tropical beauty, Frances and Dennis struggle with the mutability of love and Florida’s weather, as well as temptation, chaos, and disappointment. But just when Frances thinks she’s reached some semblance of higher ground, she must confront an obstacle so great that even the lessons she’s learned about navigating the uncharted waters of family life can’t keep them afloat.

With Stiltsville, Susanna Daniel weaves the beauty, violence, and humanity of Miami’s coming-of-age with an enduring story of a marriage’s beginning, maturity, and heartbreaking demise.

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Whiskey Rebels by David Liss

America, 1787. Ethan Saunders, once among General Washington’s most valued spies, is living in disgrace after an accusation of treason cost him his reputation. But an opportunity for redemption comes calling when Saunders’s old enemy, Alexander Hamilton, draws him into a struggle with bitter rival Thomas Jefferson over the creation of the Bank of the United States.

Meanwhile, on the western Pennsylvania frontier, Joan Maycott and her husband, a Revolutionary War veteran, hope for a better life and a chance for prosperity. But the Maycotts’ success on an isolated frontier attracts the brutal attention of men who threaten to destroy them.

As their causes intertwine, Joan and Saunders–both patriots in their own way–find themselves on opposing sides of a plot that could tear apart a fragile new nation.

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Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

She suspects that she has changed too much to ever fit easily into English society again. The wilderness has now become her home. She can interpret the cries of birds. She has seen vistas that have stolen away her breath. She has learned to live in a new, free way….

Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1676. Even before Mary Rowlandson was captured by Indians on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. All her life, Mary has been taught to fear God, submit to her husband, and abhor Indians. Now, having lived on the other side of the forest, she begins to question the edicts that have guided her, torn between the life she knew and the wisdom the natives have shown her.

Based on the compelling true narrative of Mary Rowlandson, Flight of the Sparrow is an evocative tale that transports the reader to a little-known time in early America and explores the real meanings of freedom, faith, and acceptance.

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Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes

An incredible publishing story—written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, a New York Times best seller for sixteen weeks, a National Indie Next and a USA Today best seller— Matterhorn has been hailed as a “brilliant account of war” (New York Times Book Review). Now out in paperback,Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead and James Jones’s The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.

Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war. It is an unforgettable novel that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice: a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.

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The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Macy’s got her whole summer carefully planned. But her plans didn’t include a job at Wish Catering. And they certainly didn’t include Wes. But Macy soon discovers that the things you expect least are sometimes the things you need most.

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So there you have it, Folks! I’ll leave it to you… Which one do you think I should delve into first? 🙂 (Minus ‘Wake’)

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