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Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker

of mess and moxie

Whether it's the time she drove to the wrong city for a fourth-grade field trip or the way she learned to forgive, Hatmaker offers a reminder to those of us who sometimes hide in the car eating crackers that we do have the moxie to get back up and get back out. She uses her own triumphs and tragedies to show that we can choose to live undaunted in the moment, and lead vibrant, courageous, grace-filled lives.

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Ghost of the Innocent Man by Benjamin Rachlin

ghost of the innocent man

When the final gavel clapped in a rural southern courtroom in the summer of 1988, Willie J. Grimes, a gentle spirit with no record of violence, was shocked and devastated to be convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. Here is the story of this everyman and his extraordinary quarter-century-long journey to freedom, told in breathtaking and sympathetic detail, from the botched evidence and suspect testimony that led to his incarceration to the tireless efforts to prove his innocence and the identity of the true perpetrator. These were spearheaded by his relentless champion, Christine Mumma, a cofounder of North Carolina's Innocence Inquiry Commission. That commission-unprecedented at its inception in 2006-remains a model organization unlike any other in the country, and one now responsible for a growing number of exonerations.

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Wild Things by Bruce Handy

wild things

In Wild Things, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bruce Handy revisits the classics of every American childhood, from fairy tales to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and explores the back stories of their creators, using context and biography to understand how some of the most insightful, creative, and witty authors and illustrators of their times created their often deeply personal masterpieces. Along the way, Handy learns what The Cat in the Hat says about anarchy and absentee parenting, which themes are shared by The Runaway Bunny and Portnoy's Complaint, and why Ramona Quimby is as true an American icon as Tom Sawyer or Jay Gatsby.

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The World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein

world broke in two

A revelatory narrative of the intersecting lives and works of revered authors Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster and D.H. Lawrence during 1922, the birth year of modernism. The World Broke in Two tells the fascinating story of the intellectual and personal journeys four legendary writers, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, and D.H. Lawrence, make over the course of one pivotal year. As 1922 begins, all four are literally at a loss for words, confronting an uncertain creative future despite success in the past. The literary ground is shifting, as Ulysses is published in February and Proust's In Search of Lost Time begins to be published in England in the autumn. Yet, dismal as their prospects seemed in January, by the end of the year Woolf has started Mrs. Dalloway, Forster has, for the first time in nearly a decade, returned to work on the novel that will become A Passage to India, Lawrence has written Kangaroo, his unjustly neglected and most autobiographical novel, and Eliot has finished--and published to acclaim--"The Waste Land." As Willa Cather put it, "The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts," and what these writers were struggling with that year was in fact the invention of modernism. Based on original research, The World Broke in Two captures both the literary breakthroughs and the intense personal dramas of these beloved writers as they strive for greatness.

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Voyager by Russell Banks

voyager

The award-winning novelist takes us on some of his most memorable journeys in this revelatory collection of travel essays. Now in his mid-seventies, Russell Banks has indulged his wanderlust for more than half a century. In this compelling anthology, he writes that since childhood he has "longed for escape, for rejuvenation, for wealth untold, for erotic and narcotic and sybaritic fresh starts, for high romance, mystery and intrigue." The longing for escape has taken him from the "bright green islands and turquoise seas" of the Caribbean to peaks in the Himalayas, the Andes, and beyond. Banks shares highlights from his travels: interviewing Fidel Castro in Cuba; motoring to a hippie reunion with college friends in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; eloping to Edinburgh to marry his fourth wife, Chase; driving a sunset-orange metallic Hummer down Alaska's Seward Highway. In each of these remarkable essays, Banks considers his life and the world. In Everglades National Park, he traces his own timeline: "I keep going back, and with increasing clarity I see more of the place and more of my past selves. And more of the past of the planet as well." Recalling his trips to the Caribbean in the title essay, Banks dissects his relationships with the four women who would become his wives. In the Himalayas, he embarks on a different quest: "One climbs a mountain, not to conquer it, but to be lifted like this away from the earth up into the sky," he explains. Pensive, frank, beautiful, and engaging, this book brings together the social, the personal, and the historical, opening a path into the heart and soul of this revered writer.

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Rituals by Kelley Armstrong

rituals

When Olivia Taylor-Jones found out she was not actually the adopted child of a privileged Chicago family but of a notorious pair of convicted serial killers, her life exploded. Running from the fall-out, she found a refuge in the secluded but oddly welcoming town of Cainsville, Illinois, but she couldn't resist trying to dig out the truth about her birth parents' crimes. She began working with Gabriel Walsh, a fiendishly successful criminal lawyer who also had links to the town; their investigation soon revealed Celtic mysteries at work in Cainsville, and also entangled Olivia in a tense love triangle with the calculating Gabriel and her charming biker boyfriend, Ricky. Worse, troubling visions revealed to Olivia that the three of them were reenacting an ancient drama pitting the elders of Cainsville against the mysterious Huntsmen with Olivia as the prize. In the series' fifth and final novel, not only does Gabriel's drug addict mother, who he thought was dead, make a surprise reappearance, but Kelley Armstrong delivers a final scary and surprising knock-out twist. It turns out a third supernatural force has been at work all along, a dark and malevolent entity that has had its eye on Olivia since she was a baby and wants to win at any cost.

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Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

seeing red

Kerra Bailey is a TV journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to new heights. Twenty-five years ago, Major Franklin Trapper became a national icon when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors to safety after the bombing of a Dallas hotel. For years, he gave frequent speeches and interviews but then suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all media. Now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get an exclusive with the Major--even if she has to secure an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper. Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, Trapper wants no association with the bombing or the Major. Yet Kerra's hints that there's more to the story rouse Trapper's interest despite himself. And when the interview goes catastrophically awry--with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra--Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he's going to track down the gunmen . . . and finally discover who was responsible for the Dallas bombing.Kerra is wary of a man so charming one moment and dangerous the next, and she knows Trapper is withholding evidence from his ATF investigation into the bombing. But having no one else to trust and enemies lurking closer than they know, Kerra and Trapper join forces to expose a sinuous network of lies and conspiracy--and uncover who would want a national hero dead.

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The Rat Catchers' Olympics by Colin Cotterill

rat catchers olympics

1980: The Democratic People's Republic of Laos is proud to be competing in its first-ever Olympics. Of course, half the world is boycotting the Moscow Summer Olympic Games to protest Russia's recent invasion of Afghanistan, but that has made room for athletes from countries that are usually too small or underfunded to be competitive--countries like Laos. Ex- national coroner of Laos Dr. Siri Paiboun may be retired, but he and his wife, Madame Daeng, would do just about anything to have a chance to visit Moscow, so Siri finagles them the job of medical oversight for the Olympians. Most of the athletes are young and innocent village people who have never worn shoes, never mind imagined anything as marvelous as the Moscow Olympic Village. As the competition heats up, however, Siri begins to suspect that one of the athletes is not who he says he is. Fearing a conspiracy, Siri and his friends investigate, liaising in secret with Inspector Phosy back home in Laos to see if the man might be an assassin. But Siri's progress is derailed when another Lao Olympian is accused of murder. Now in the midst of a murky international incident, Dr. Siri must navigate not one but two paranoid and secretive government machines to make sure justice is done.

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The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer

doll funeral

On Ruby's thirteenth birthday, a wish she didn't even know she had suddenly comes true: the couple who raised her aren't her parents at all. Her real mother and father are out there somewhere, and Ruby becomes determined to find them. Venturing into the forest with nothing but a suitcase and the company of her only true friend-- the imaginary Shadow Boy-- Ruby discovers a group of siblings who live alone in the woods. The children take her in, and while they offer the closest Ruby's ever had to a family, Ruby begins to suspect that they might need her even more than she needs them. And it's not always clear what's real and what's not-- or who's trying to help her and who might be a threat. Told from shifting timelines, and the alternating perspectives of teenage Ruby; her mother, Anna; and even the Shadow Boy.

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A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

stranger in the house

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Couple Next Door, a new thriller featuring a suspicious accident, a wife who can't account for herself, and unsettling questions that threaten to tear the couple apart You're home making dinner for your husband. You expect him any second. The phone rings--it's the call you hoped you'd never get. You jump in your car and race to a neighborhood you thought you'd never visit. You peer into the dark, deserted building. You brace yourself for the worst. And then, you remember nothing else. They tell your husband you've been in an accident. You lost control of your car as you sped through the worst side of town. The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend is not so sure. And even you don't know what to believe.

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The Store by James Patterson

the store

Jacob and Megan Brandeis have gotten jobs with the mega-successful, ultra-secretive Store. Seems perfect. Seems safe. But their lives are about to become anything but perfect, anything but safe. ALWAYS WATCHING. Especially since Jacob and Megan have a dark secret of their own. They're writing a book that will expose the Store--a forbidden book, a dangerous book. ALWAYS. And if the Store finds out, there's only one thing Jacob, Megan and their kids can do--run for their bloody lives.

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Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

exposed

Plot twists aplenty raise the stakes." --People Magazine A BATTLE FOR JUSTICE PITS PARTNER AGAINST PARTNER ... Mary DiNunzio wants to represent her old friend Simon Pensiera, a sales rep who was wrongly fired by his company, but her partner Bennie Rosato represents the parent company. When she confronts Mary, explaining this is a conflict of interest, an epic battle of wills and legal strategy between the two ensues--ripping the law firm apart, forcing everyone to take sides and turning friend against friend. SOMETIMES LOYALTY CAN BE LETHAL.

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