Credit goes to The Story Siren for creating and hosting the In My Mailbox feature.
Here are the new books I got this week.
Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
Life has been nothing but unfair to Grace Parkes and her sister. Penniless, the two orphans manage to stay alive-but only barely, like so many on the streets of Victorian London. And Grace must bear a greater heartbreak, having become pregnant from terrible circumstances and then given birth to a stillborn baby. But the infant's death sets Grace on a new path, bringing her into contact with people who hold both riches and power. A great fraud has been perpetrated on young Grace and her sister, and they are the secret recipients of a most unusual legacy-if only they can find the means to claim it. Mary Hooper's latest offers Dickensian social commentary, as well as malicious fraud, mysterious secrets, and a riveting read.
Daughters of the Sea: May by Kathryn Lasky
Book 2 in Kathryn Lasky's shimmering quartet about mermaid sisters and supernatural love.
May feels her life drying up. The sea calls to her, but her parents forbid her from swimming. She longs for books, but her mother finds her passion for learning strange. She yearns for independence, but a persistent suitor, Rudd, wants to tame her spirited ways. Yet after her fifteenth birthday, the urge to break free becomes overpowering and May makes a life-changing discovery. She does not belong on land where girls are meant to be obedient. She is a mermaid-a creature of the sea.
For the first time, May learns what freedom feels like-the thrill of exploring both the vast ocean and the previously forbidden books. She even catches the eye of Hugh, an astronomy student who, unlike the townspeople, finds May anything but strange. But not everyone is pleased with May's transformation. Rudd decides that if can't have May, no one will. He knows how to destroy her happiness and goes to drastic measures to ensure that May loses everything: her freedom and the only boy she's ever loved. (From Star Book Tours)
Dear Canada: Hoping for Home
In these eleven original stories, characters bravely face the challenges of settling into a new life. In this wonderful new short story anthology, eleven of Canada's top children's authors contribute stories of immigration, displacement and change, exploring the frustration and uncertainty those changes can bring. Told in first-person narratives, this collection features a diverse cast of boys and girls, each one living at a different point in Canada's vast landscape and history. With unforgettable protagonists -- such as Miriam, a Warsaw-ghetto survivor, now reunited with her family in Montreal; Wong Joe-on, a young Chinese immigrant who faces racism in a small Saskatchewan town; and Insy, an Ojibwe girl who makes her first trip to a "white" town in Northern Ontario -- young readers will be moved by the opportunities and difficulties that these characters face, as each one ponders what it means to be Canadian, and struggles to fit in.
I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn by John Wilson
Sentenced to death for abandoning his unit, a soldier recounts the events leading up to his arrest. The reality of trench warfare is a shock to Allan McBride. Like many other young soldiers, he enthusiastically signed up for the chance to join the war effort and be a part of the fighting. But after months in the ravaged battlefields, watching men, including his friend Ken, get blown up by German shelling, something in Allan snaps and he leaves his unit, believing he is "walking home to Canada" to get help for his friend. After nearly a week of wandering aimlessly, Allan is taken in by a band of real deserters - men who have abandoned their units and live on the edge of survival in the woods of northern France. Once Allan realizes what he's done, he is paralyzed by the reality of his circumstance: if he stays with these men, it's possible they will be found and have to face the consequences; and if he returns to his unit, he will be charged with desertion - a charge punishable by death. In this outstanding new title in the I Am Canada series, acclaimed author John Wilson explores life in the horrific trenches of WWI and the effect of battle on a shell-shocked soldier.
Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang
Athletic and strong willed, Princess Emmajin's determined to do what no woman has done before: become a warrior in the army of her grandfather, the Great Khan Khubilai. In the Mongol world the only way to achieve respect is to show bravery and win glory on the battlefield. The last thing she wants is the distraction of the foreigner Marco Polo, who challenges her beliefs in the gardens of Xanadu. Marco has no skills in the "manly arts" of the Mongols: horse racing, archery, and wrestling. Still, he charms the Khan with his wit and story-telling. Emmajin sees a different Marco as they travel across 13th-century China, hunting 'dragons' and fighting elephant-back warriors. Now she faces a different battle as she struggles with her attraction towards Marco and her incredible goal of winning fame as a soldier. (reviewed ARC here)