My Mailbox

Here are a few of the great books I received in the mail recently.

The 13th Day of Christmas by Jason Wright

Marva Ferguson has a very personal Christmas tradition that happens every December 26. As an aging widow, the tradition means more to her now than it ever has. Her newest neighbor, nine-year-old Charlee, loves Christmas too. But her family has fallen on hard times and things get worse when Charlee becomes critically ill. Then, on December 12, Charlee makes a wonderful discovery. A mysterious note is delivered that promises twelve days of gifts and stories that will reveal the truth behind the beloved Christmas carol The Twelve Days of Christmas. As the days go by, the gifts hint at a possible lost lyric. Was there once a 13th day of Christmas? And if so, could its magic change or save a life? If Marva knows something about the letters from the Elves, she s not telling. However, you don t live as long as Marva Ferguson and not have a secret or two including a whole lot of faith in your apron pocket. Filled with laughter, tenderness, and hope, The 13th Day of Christmas invites us to see how an old Christmas favorite can turn into a true Christmas miracle.

Running Into the Wild: Bronco Mendenhall by Paul Gustavson & Alyson Von Feldt

There is no other collegiate football program in the world like the one found at Brigham Young University. None. Certainly that has much to do with the fact that the school is the largest religious university in the United States, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But perhaps there is an even more unique differentiator – a head football coach who is unwavering in his unorthodox style of mentoring, strengthening, teaching, and even recuiting his players. Bronco Mendenhall’s coaching style is considered jaw-dropping by many and ludicrous to some. However, no one can overlook the success the Cougars have had. How does his team consistently win ten or more games year after year? What philosophy and practices did Bronco implement to create this sustained success? One thing we know is that Bronco’s system goes against the grain. He believes that running into the wind is an opportunity and is key to ultimately creating a sustained competitive advantage. The first section, On the Field, discusses the challenges Bronco has faced as the head coach, the principles and practices he learned to face those challenges, and the on-field applications and results. The second section, In the Football Offices, looks deeper into Broncos system and the business principles and tools of the five smooth stones that Bronco was taught by Paul Gustavson. Whether you are a coach or a leader, the organization strategies and models that Paul taught Bronco can be applied to any business or team. Simple, this section is where the coach of the coach will coach you, too.

Starters by Lissa Price

“Readers who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games will find it here. Dystopian sci-fi at its best, Starters is a terrific series kickoff with a didn’t-see-that-coming conclusion that will leave readers on the edges of their seats . . .” raves the Los Angeles Times. In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party–her body will commit murder, if her mind can’t stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first–the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It’s a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank’s horrible plan. . . .

Epic Tales of a Misfit Hero by Matt Peterson

From passing the sacrament with his fly down to failing miserably at capture the flag, Andrew knows he’ll never be able to fulfill his duties as a deacon. But when tragedy strikes on his Boy Scout backpacking trip, Andrew’s whole troop must become stronger than they ever imagined. This hilarious coming-of-age story is bound to have you rooting for a misfit hero!

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

We’re All Different But We’re All Kitty Cats by Peter J. Goodman
 

”My name is Carlos and I have no fur,” the kitty cat says to his classmates on the first day of school.

A kitty cat with no fur? How strange thought the other cats, laughing and giggling at Carlos. Hurt and embarrassed in front of the class, he sits down at this desk and begins to cry.

On his way home from school, Carlos runs into Vinny, a mean kitty cat twice his size. From a distance, Flo and Marla witness what’s about to happen. Do they come to his rescue or does Carlos find his own escape?

This rollercoaster of a story introduces the cool cast of kitty cats Carlos, Dylan, Flo, Marla, Allie, Vinny and Sammy. It reveals how each kitty has a gift something that makes them special. And sometimes it takes a difficult experience to discover this. All children have unique talents, and in this story…Carlos finds his.