Category Archives: Non-Fiction

In My Mailbox (01)

My first In My Mailbox post! Hosted by The Story Siren, In My Mailbox is a chance to showcase new books, ones checked out from the library, bought, won or received for review. All summaries taken from either Goodreads or Amazon.

Touching Silver by Jamie Craig

The chase of the Silver Maiden continues in this second of the series . . . A young woman reappears five years after being kidnapped and cold-case detective Olivia Wright reopens the investigation. The dangerous Gabriel de los Rios appears to be involved so Olivia turns to Isaac McGuire, the LAPD detective who knows Gabriel all too well. Gabrial wants to gain the supernatural power of the Silver Maiden coin and kidnapping is not the only crime he is willing to commit in order to possess it. Olivia and Isaac hope to stop Gabriel before he can do more harm, but Olivia’s single-minded professionalism is derailed by the highly distracting Isaac . . .

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. Charming and debonair, the spitting image of Cary Grant, Martin sweeps Cornelia off her feet, but, as it turns out, Martin Grace is more the harbinger of change than the change itself.” Meanwhile, on the other side of town, eleven-year-old Clare Hobbes must learn to fend for herself after her increasingly unstable mother has a breakdown and disappears. Taking inspiration from famous orphans (Anne Shirley, Sara Crewe, Mary Lennox, and even Harry Potter) Clare musters the courage to seek out her estranged father. When the two of them show up at Cornelia’s cafe, Cornelia and Clare form a bond as unlikely as it is deep. Together, they face difficult choices and discover that knowing what you love and why is as real as life gets.

Somewhere Inside by Laura & Lisa Ling

In 2009, Laura Ling, a reporter with Current TV, traveled with a film crew to the region of China that bordered on North Korea to report on defections, particularly of women who were later forced into arranged marriages or sex slavery. The crew momentarily crossed into North Korea, and Ling and Euna Lee, her editor and translator, were captured. Given the hostilities between North Korea and China and a recent critical documentary on North Korea by Laura’s sister, journalist Lisa Ling, the women knew they were in for an ordeal. Laura was beaten during the capture, and the women were held in isolation and faced meager meals, cold, and little medical treatment. In the U.S., Lisa and her family prayed and called on powerful contacts, including Al Gore and Bill Richardson, to win the women’s release. During the time of their captivity, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and fired off missiles, increasing tensions with the U.S. and UN. The women were eventually tried for attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp, but through behind-the-scenes maneuvering and negotiations with prickly North Korea, they were finally released after five months in captivity. This memoir alternates between the sisters, with Laura recalling the escalating peril of her capture and imprisonment and Lisa recalling heightened worries as weeks dragged into months. A riveting story of captivity and the enduring faith, determination, and love of two sisters.

Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

In this coming-of-age story set in a medieval kingdom, Andrea is a headstrong princess longing to be a knight who finds her way to modern-day California. But her accidental return to her family’s kingdom and a disastrous romance brings war, along with her discovery of some dark family secrets. Readers will love this mix of traditional fantasy elements with unique twists and will identify with Andrea and her difficult choices between duty and desire.


Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, by Ethan Gilsdorf (Non fiction)

For anyone who is a Geek or Nerd at heart, this book will ring absolutely true. It’s a nonfiction epic of sorts, following the author-as-unlikely-hero through a personal quest to discover the true roots of his fantasy addiction.

It begins at the beginning, revealing a very sad portrait of the author’s family life when he was a child, and how a brain Aneurism transformed his once lively and vivacious mom into what he and his siblings called “The Momster,” a wholly different and scary entity. It then shows how the game Dungeons and Dragons helped an awkward and unsure adolescent Ethan cope with his “IRL” (in real life) problems and gain social prowess.

Cut to Ethan, middle aged, after supressing his love of D&D for years — trying to convince himself and others that he didn’t need it as a crutch anymore. He finds a blue cooler from his youth that contains a treasure trove of his D&D memories: maps, books, character sheets etc. After some internal hem-hawing, he embarks on a quest of heroic proportions. The book is part interviews, part anecdotes, part nerdgasm, part pilgramage. He explores fantasy realms into which even his D&D engrossed teen-self had not dared enter: Live Action Role Playing (LARP-ing), the addictive charms of World of Warcraft, Gaming conventions, and more.

The saga even includes various treks to Lord of  The Rings meccas, which are definitely my favorite parts. He visists the film sets in New Zealand, JRR Tolkein’s home and other haunts in Oxford, and makes one final journey that is too nerd-a-licious to be spoiled here.

The guy has chops. Any nerd who reads this book will not find him (or her!) self internally quibbling with the author about various facts and trivia  from different fantasy and sci fi books/movies/etc. As a milenium-era nerd, I have never played D&D but after reading this I want to haul out some graph paper and 20 sided die and go to town.

If you are a nerd, if you know a nerd, if you have loved a nerd, I highly recommend this book. It’s just the right amount of self-indulgent in that it waxes like a big in-joke to anyone who has ever uttered the phrase, “fool of a Took!” or, “My precioussss.” It’s funny, self-depricating, curious and a little sad. It also has a lot of pictures the author contributed, which–among many other things–show how important having the ability to laugh at yourself really is.