Friday, March 15, 2013

Mailbox Monday - March 11, 2013

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme started by Marcia at Mailbox Monday in which bloggers can ramble on about the books they received/bought/stole over a given week.  Each month a new blogger hosts the meme, and this month it’s Caitlin at Chaotic Compendiums.

What’s that you, say?  Today isn't Monday, it’s Friday?  We must not be able to read a calendar over here?  You wonder how a bunch of clowns who don’t even know the days of the week can read, let alone use a computer?  Well piss off.  Nobody likes you anyway.

All the rest of you are cool, though.  And we have some books to talk about, so let’s do that.

--- The Books ---

Island by J. Edward Chamberlin – For the life of me, I can’t remember who send me this book.  It was some publicity firm (there was a name on the shipping label, but I’ve since thrown away the packaging and can’t remember the name), and I got no freakin’ clue how they got my address or found my other info.  Though, they did address it to “The Literary Critic-in-Chief,” which was pretty damn cool.  At any rate, whoever they are, I’m happy they found me.  This little hardback volume is a collection of essays on islands and how they have intersected with—and indeed, shaped—many pivotal events in human history.  It sounds fascinating, and I can’t wait to read it.  Oh, and if the marketing rep who bequeathed this book to me happens to be reading this post, please drop me a line so I can thank you proper-like.

Coinage of Commitment by Rob Costelloe – Let it be known that I’m not against Romance novels.  Not at all.  Love and romantic attraction are common experiences that bind us together as human beings, and therefore it makes sense that it would be the subject of so many books and other art forms—for what is art but a thematic exploration of the human condition?  I’m just against the cheesy kind that feature “breathy sighs” and “sensuous touches” at every turn.  Hence, when Rob Costelloe asked us to take on Coinage of Commitment for review, I was willing to say yes.  He billed it as an atypical love story, a tale about two people who experience their love on an intellectual, not just emotional level.  So what then… it’s speculative romantic fiction?  Alright, I’m game.  Or at least, someone on the reviewing staff is.

O.P.E.N. Routine: For Components to Personal Branding Excellence by Christopher Craft – Chris Craft, CVO of Nao Media and Consulting, has penned a new business-themed non-fiction book focusing on the concept of “personal branding.”  It’s the idea that, especially in today’s digitized and media-heavy world, the key to success is marketing yourself as if you were a brand in your own right.  He breaks this process down into four components:  Opportunity, Passion, Education, and Networking (hence the acronym O.P.E.N.).  Normally these kinds of books would be out of my realm of interest, but for a blogger who is often obsessed concerned about increasing readership and traffic numbers, O.P.E.N. Routine provides a bevy of informative nuggets that I’m eager to put into practice.  Stay tuned for an interview with El Jefe Craft coming up soon.

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell – Confession time:  though I am a mystery/crime fiction buff, I’m not really a fan of Scandinavian crime novels.  You know what I mean—authors like Jo Nesbo, Stieg Larsson, and the aforementioned Henning Mankell.  It’s not that I don’t really like them, per se, it’s more that the writing style is so dry that I don’t really connect with them.  Does that make sense?  Of course, my review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo might belie that sentiment, but whatever.  I stand by my opinions.  I’ve read one Henning Mankell novel prior to this one, and that was White Lioness, the 3rd book of the Kurt Wallander series.  I wasn’t impressed.  Maybe that’s because my wife was in labor around the time I started reading it, and I had other things on my mind?  Could be.  Faceless Killers is the 1st installment.  I saw it on the audio book shelf at the library and though, what the hell?  Let’s give old Henning another shot.  Turns out it was… OK.  More on that later.

The Missing File by D. A. MishaniThe Missing File will be reviewed by Amanda Amaya as part of a March 20 blog tour stop, and I have it on good authority that D. A. Mishani’s book was made of pure, unadulterated awesome-sauce.  In Amanda’s words, “Wow.”  The Missing File is first in the Avraham Avraham series of mysteries.  Set in Tel Aviv, Israeli investigator Avraham Avraham is tasked with finding a missing teenage boy.  The Amazon book blurb says, “It’s a mystery that will leave readers questioning the notions of innocence and guilt, and the nebulous nature of truth.”  Book blurbs are known for overselling the content of their books, but maybe this one is an exception?  Amanda certainly thinks so.  Check out the tour page for more info about the book, the author, and other stops on the tour.

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer – Jessica Veter has taken on this bit of literary fiction as part of a blog tour being put on by TLC Book Tours.  The story is about Queenie Wake, who, after being fired from her restaurant job, returns to her hometown of North Star, Texas and takes a job cooking meals for death row inmates.  She hopes that the bad memories of her late mother and promiscuous sister have been forgotten by all the local yokels, but finds that some people can’t be forgotten—which includes an old high school sweetheart.  Amazon says that the book is a “funny and touching story of food, football, and fooling around.”  Sounds like a combination I could really get behind… but we’ll let Jessica be the judge of that.

Crimson & Cream by C. M. Skiera – Crimson & Cream is the first installment of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, author C. M. Skiera’s epic fantasy about a pair of orphaned twins nicknamed Flotsam and Jetsam with a sorcerous legacy.  Born to teachers at the revered School of Sorcery, their lives were turned upside down when the new king outlawed sorcery and executed all practitioners—including the twins’ parents.  Made homeless fugitives overnight, the pair are rescued by a gang of orphans and survive by scavenging and pilfering nightly.  Their last foray sends them fleeing into an unfamiliar cavern, one inhabited by a strange beast that will change their lives forever.  For more info on the book, visit C. M. Skiera’s website,

Time Killer by Todd M. Thiede – Perhaps some of you saw the guest post from Todd Thiede yesterday?  You know, the one where he was giving away free copies of his book?  There’s still time to hop on the giveaway bandwagon if you’re so inclined, so do that real quick and then pop on back and we’ll talk more about the book.  All set?  Good.  Now then, Time Killer is an original twist on the classic serial killer thriller.  In this case, the murderer kills people for wasting his time.  A novel concept, really (pun not intended), and one that would make for a killer book (pun so intended).  Hopefully we’ll be able to tell you more about it in a review in the near future.  For more info on Todd Thiede, visit his webpage or connect with him on Facebook.

Dreams in the Medina by Kati Woronka – Given the huge shitstorm that is Syria these days, I can’t think of a more topical book for times.  Kati Woronka’s Dreams in the Medina is a literary fiction coming-of-age tale about the aspirations, passions, and tragedies of a disparate group of young Syrian women.  The main character is Leila, a country girl from the South who is accepted to study English literature at the University of Damascus.  Whereas she once thought her life would be defined by the local boy her parents would select for her to marry, a whole new world is opened to her through literature.  And as her world expands with new friends and a love interest, she begins to believe she might be able to write her own destiny. If you’d like to connect with Kati, you can find her at or on Twitter.

And now that we’ve shown you ours, it’s time to show us yours.  What did you get in your mailbox this week?


  1. The island book looks pretty neat. I grew up on an island, so this would be very cool to read.

  2. lol Jonathan, you threw me for a minute there posting MM on a Friday. (it's been a long week)
    Nowhere But Home sounds really good as does Dreams in the Medina.
    Enjoy your weekend and happy reading Mr. Literary Critic-in-Chief. Why don't they address me with a cool name like that one? The books that arrive at my doorstep are addressed to 'The Bookworm', so that's pretty cute I think.

  3. Hello, I came by to visit and decide to follow. hope you will follow back!