In My Mailbox: Gift Certificates Edition

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. This meme is about books that you received or bought during the week.

I still had a couple of gift certificates left over from the holidays and I decided to use them to buy books (no surprise there):

Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart
The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I used the Sodexo gift certificates that were given by the office to buy The Fault in Our Stars by John Green from National Bookstore. I was so excited to find out that this much-anticipated novel has made it to Philippine shores! I didn’t hesitate in grabbing a copy. The signature in mine is blue, what color is in yours? Were you lucky enough to get a yeti or a hanklerfish as well?

I got several Mary Stewart recommendations in my review of Nine Coaches Waiting so I bought three of her books using the Fully Booked gift certificate that I got through the office gift exchange. Thank you, gift exchange Santa! 😀 Sigh, bookstore GCs never last long in my hands. But it makes me happy to have copies of these pretty Mary Stewart editions! I really want to collect all of the books in the entire set.

I sent off postcards today and grabbed some philatelic stamps while I was at the post office. Will be using these in the next batch of postcards that I send:

What about the rest of you, what books did you get this week?

Retro Friday: Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart is one of the titles that Angie suggested when I asked her for recommendations similar to Eva Ibbotson’s novels. I’ve never read a Mary Stewart novel before so I decided I should give her books a try, they seem intriguing. I called the local bookstore and was thrilled to discover that the branch near my house had a copy. This book probably spent the shortest time on my wishlist – bought a copy on the same day I found out about it. Holly mentioned that she’s also interested in reading Nine Coaches Waiting so we decided to do a read-along. As always, it was a lot of fun reading a good book with a friend, even if we can only discuss our thoughts through online means. I think one of the perks of having read-alongs is you get to talk about spoilery details and things that you can’t mention in a review.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

When lovely Linda Martin first arrives at Château Valmy as an English governess to the nine-year-old Count Philippe de Valmy, the opulence and history surrounding her seems like a wondrous, ecstatic dream. But a palpable terror is crouching in the shadows. Philippe’s uncle, Leon de Valmy, is the epitome of charm, yet dynamic and arrogant — his paralysis little hindrance as he moves noiselessly in his wheelchair from room to room. Only his son Raoul, a handsome, sardonic man who drives himself and his car with equally reckless abandon, seems able to stand up to him. To Linda, Raoul is an enigma — though irresistibly attracted to him, she senses some dark twist in his nature. When an accident deep in the woods nearly kills Linda’s innocent charge, she begins to wonder if someone has deadly plans for the young count.

Linda is a very lonely young woman. Brought up as an orphan in England, she dreams of going back to her beloved France and jumps at the chance to work as a governess in a chateau located in the French alps. I thought the writing in Nine Coaches Waiting was beautiful and I was charmed by the atmospheric setting. Here’s a passage that I really liked:

“I’d live with loneliness a long time. That was something which was always there… one learns to keep it at bay, there are times when one even enjoys it – but there are also times when a desperate self-sufficiency doesn’t quite suffice, and then the search for the anodyne begins… the radio, the dog, the shampoo, the stockings-to-wash, the tin soldier…”

Linda forgot to include books, which are the best anodyne (had to look up the meaning of that word) for loneliness. It’s not surprising that she bonds with her charge, Philippe, who is also an orphan. Young Philippe may be a count but it sure doesn’t make his life easier. His Uncle Leon and Aunt Heloise may be interesting individuals but they aren’t exactly warm people – I was glad that he slowly became friends with Linda so that there was at least one adult who cared about him. When Raoul de Valmy enters the picture, the novel takes on a Jane Eyre and Cinderella feel. What’s even more delightful is that Linda was aware of it and kept making references to both stories. There’s a slow build-up at the start of the novel, plenty of time to enjoy the writing and get to know the characters. While the mystery wasn’t that surprising, the last few chapters had my heart pounding. I was scared for both Linda and Philippe and I wasn’t sure about a certain character’s innocence. There are enough twists and turns in novel to keep readers guessing. I breezed through the latter section of the book and was more than satisfied with how things ended although I wanted more of the romance. Don’t get me wrong, I think the romance was developed well but I just wanted more scenes between the heroine and her hero.

Nine Coaches Waiting is the first book that I finished this year and if all of the books that I read in 2012 are just as good, I would be one happy reader. Recommended for fans of Gothic mysteries and romantic suspense. I enjoyed reading Nine Coaches Waiting so much that I knew it wouldn’t be the last Mary Stewart book that I’ll read. I’m looking at My Brother Michael or The Moon-Spinners for my next Mary Stewart read because both books are set in Greece and I’ve always wanted to go there. Feel free to recommend your favorite Mary Stewart, would love to check them out!

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Angieville
She Reads Novels
At Home With A Good Book and the Cat
Everyday Reading

Shoot That Book: Nine Coaches Waiting

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

I read Nine Coaches Waiting along with Holly and we both really enjoyed it – watch out for our Retro Friday reviews tomorrow. It’s the first Mary Stewart novel that I read but most definitely won’t be the last. Since I think the edition that I got has a pretty cover, I thought I’d take some pictures of the details and feature it today.

Hello, girl in a retro dress! I think her dress is cute, plus it has pockets. I love dresses with pockets. Although it looks like she’s missing her right hand in the picture (hmm reminds me of a certain favorite character). I like the Eiffel Tower detail as well even though the novel is only partially set in Paris. I think the purple background is also cute. Here’s a shot of the cover as a whole:

Don’t you think it’s lovely? The rest of Mary Stewart’s novels are just as pretty as this one, can’t wait to get copies of some of them. What about the rest of you, any pretty book purchases lately?