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5 Books I Received by Surprise

5 Books I Received by Surprise

5 Books I Received by Surprise

One of the most surprising things about being a book blogger is the number of books I receive in the mail by surprise. Three of these books were sent by publishers and two were given to me by The Novel Neighbor while attending an event at their bookstore. I'm sharing these books with you below and my initial thoughts on them - I'll also let you know which ones I plan on keeping in hopes I'll have time to read them. Don't skip that last book in this list, the book cover is the most surprising thing about this list!

1. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

HBL Note: This one was sent to me by the publisher. A few days after I received it, I got an email from the publicist giving me a bit more information about the book. The thing that struck me the most was the author's background, "Georgetown University student R.F. Kuang, who will be releasing her first book, THE POPPY WAR, just weeks before she graduates.  Kuang, a student of Chinese History, is one of only 42 American students to receive a prestigious Marshall scholarship this year, and before she heads to Cambridge (UK, not MA!) to undertake her graduate studies, she expects to complete and submit books two and three in this epic military/history fantasy trilogy." She sounds like a fascinating person, I kinda want to get a cup of coffee with her and pick her brain.

 5 Books I Received by Surprise

5 Books I Received by Surprise

From the publisher: 

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

2. The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman

HBL Note: I am obsessed with the cover of this book - it is absolutely gorgeous. I received this book from The Novel Neighbor as part of an event I attended (I bought the tickets myself, this wasn't sponsored!) When I received this book I almost gave it away immediately thinking I'd never have time to read it, but I've seen a few book bloggers talking about this one and they liked it. So I'm holding on to it for awhile, if only to admire the book cover.

 5 Books I Received by Surprise

5 Books I Received by Surprise

From the publisher: 

Following her wonderfully received first novel, Another Place You’ve Never Been, called “mesmerizing,” “powerful,” and “gorgeous,” by critics all over the country, Rebecca Kauffman returns with Mikey Callahan, a thirty-year-old who is suffering from the clouded vision of macular degeneration. He struggles to establish human connections―even his emotional life is a blur.

As the novel begins, he is reconnecting with “The Gunners,” his group of childhood friends, after one of their members has committed suicide. Sally had distanced herself from all of them before ending her life, and she died harboring secrets about the group and its individuals. Mikey especially needs to confront dark secrets about his own past and his father. How much of this darkness accounts for the emotional stupor Mikey is suffering from as he reaches his maturity? And can The Gunners, prompted by Sally’s death, find their way to a new day? The core of this adventure, made by Mikey, Alice, Lynn, Jimmy, and Sam, becomes a search for the core of truth, friendship, and forgiveness.

3. A French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe

HBL Note: This is another one that came as a total surprise. I never heard from the publisher or publicist that sent this one, but c'mon...this publicist obviously knows me well. I'm a bit of a francophile so I'm holding onto this one for a rainy day (we've been having a lot of those lately!) when I just want to get lost in the beauty of a French wedding. 

 5 Books I Received by Surprise

5 Books I Received by Surprise

From the publisher: 

Max is a washed-up rock star who's about to turn forty and feeling nostalgic for his university days. All he says he wants for his birthday is to host his old friends at his house in the French countryside for a weekend of good food and reminiscing. But he has an ulterior motive: Finally ready to settle down, this is his chance to declare his undying love to his best friend, Helen.

Max's private chef, Juliette, has just returned to her hometown after a nasty breakup and her parents' failing health move her to sell her dream restaurant in Paris. Still reeling, Juliette throws herself into her job, hoping that the peace and quiet it offers will be the perfect cure for her broken heart.

But when Max's friends arrive, the introverted, dreamy Juliette finds herself drawn out of her orderly kitchen and into their tumultuous relationships. A weekend thinking about the past spurs more than one emotional crisis, as the friends take stock of whether they've lived up to their ideals. Together for the first time in years, it's not long before love triangles, abandoned dreams, and long-held resentments bubble over, culminating in a wedding none of them ever expected.

4.  Panorama by Steve Kistulentz

HBL Note: This is another book I received from The Novel Neighbor after attending an event at their bookstore. As soon as I got home I threw this book on the bookshelf and didn't think about it again until I started writing this post. But as I read the description, I'm a little intrigued. It sounds like it might be a good read. Most likely I'll give this one away to a friend who is looking for a recommendation, but I might ask for it back if he/she likes it!

 5 Books I Received by Surprise

5 Books I Received by Surprise

Panorama
By Steve Kistulentz

From the publisher: 

Richard MacMurray, a cable news talking head, is paid handsomely to pontificate on the issues of the moment. On New Year's Day he is scheduled to be a guest on a prominent morning talk show. As he awaits the broadcast, the network interrupts with news that a jet airliner has crashed in Dallas and that everyone aboard has perished. 

Within an hour, amateur videotape surfaces of the plane's last moments, transforming the crash into a living image: familiar, constant, and horrifying. Richard learns that his sister, Mary Beth, was aboard the doomed flight, leaving behind her six-year-old son, Gabriel. Richard is the boy's only living relative. When he is given an opportunity to bring Gabriel home, it may be that the loss of his sister will provide him with the second chapter he never knew he wanted.

In this powerful debut, Steve Kistulentz captures the sprawl of contemporary America--its culture, its values, the workaday existence of its people--with kaleidoscopic sweep and controlled intensity. Yet within the expansive scope of Panorama lies an intimate portrait of human loss rendered with precision, humanity, and humor.

5. How to Forget a Duke by Vivienne Lorret

HBL Note: That's totally Margot Robbie, right? What in the world is she doing posing for the cover of romance novels? I'm including this book for all my readers who want me to review romance novels and to share this totally confusing book cover with the rest of you. The romance novel has a huge audience, I'm just not one of them. So you probably won't see me review one any time soon. But when I received this book in the mail I knew I had to share it with you so that you could appreciate the surprise of seeing Margot Robbie (or her long lost twin?!) on the cover. You're welcome.

From the publisher:

The Duke of Rydstrom requires a wife. Preferably one with a large fortune and a complete lack of curiosity. The last thing he needs is a meddling matchmaker determined to dig up his dark family secrets.

All Jacinda wants is to find a bride for a duke. How hard could that be? He’s handsome, enigmatic . . . and hiding something. She’s sure of it. Determined to discover what it is, she travels to his crumbling cliffside estate. Yet, by the time she washes up on his beach, she can no longer remember who she is or why the duke is so familiar to her. All she knows is that his kisses are unforgettable—and she intends to use every skill she can to discover what’s in his heart . . .

When Miss Bourne can’t remember what brought her to his ancestral home, Rydstrom intends to keep it that way. Yet as the days pass, his true challenge will be safeguarding his secret while resisting this woman who—confound it all—may well be his perfect match.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link. Thank you for supporting this blog and the books I recommend! I may have received a book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Not That I Could Tell

Not That I Could Tell

Arthur D Hittner

Arthur D Hittner