Mailbox Monday: a plethora of delectable temptations

If it looks like there are a lot books which have come my way, it is largely because I have not put up a Mailbox Monday post for far too long. But, as these books are so exciting to me I thought a few might interest you as well.

First, there is a Valentine present from my parents. The book inside the beautifully wrapped red paper, underneath a golden heart, is Perfume by Lizzie Ostrum.

The incredible stories of 100 perfumes from a whole century of scents.

Signature scents and now lost masterpieces; the visionaries who conceived them; the wild and wonderful campaigns that launched them; the women and men who wore them – every perfume has a tale to tell.

Join Lizzie Ostrom, dubbed ‘the Heston Blumenthal of perfume’ (Daily Mail), on an olfactory adventure as she explores the trends and crazes that have shaped the way we’ve spritzed.

Next, we have from SoHo Press:

Cruel is The Night by Karo Hämäläinen (Finnish):

Prizewinning Finnish author Karo Hämäläinen’s English-language debut is a literary homage to Agatha Christie and a black comedy locked-room mystery about murder, mayhem, and morality in our cynical modern world.


The Boy in The Earth by Fuminori Nakamura (Japanese):

As an unnamed Tokyo taxi driver works a night shift, picking up fares that offer him glimpses into the lives of ordinary people, he can’t escape his own nihilistic thoughts. Almost without meaning to, he puts himself in harm’s way; he can’t stop daydreaming of suicide, envisioning himself returning to the earth in obsessive fantasie…

Trysting by Emanuelle Pagano, comes from Two Lines Press (French):

A seductive blend of Maggie Nelson and Marguerite Duras, Trysting seizes romance’s slippery truths by letting us glimpse nearly 300 beguiling relationships: scenes between all genders and sexualities. Proving that the erotic knows no bounds, almost anything can be a means of attraction: from amnesia and throat-clearing to sign language, earplugs, back hair, arthritis, PVC, and showers. Combining aphorisms, anecdotes, and adventures, Trysting is a tour de force that gives a new perspective on a question as old as humanity.

Milena, or The Most Beautiful Femur in The World  by Jorge Zepeda Patterson came from Restless Books (Spanish):

Winner of the prestigious Premio Planeta, Milena, or The Most Beautiful Femur in the World is an enthralling international political thriller about sex, power, and information—and the extreme lengths people will go to attain them.

Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac (Spanish):

Savage Theories wryly explores fear and violence, war and sex, eroticism and philosophy. Its complex and flawed characters grapple with a mess of impossible, visionary theories, searching for their place in our fragmented digital world.

My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry has been hailed as this Winter’s “must-read thriller”.

My Last Lament by James William Brown is, “A poignant and evocative novel of one Greek woman’s story of her own—and her nation’s—epic struggle in the aftermath of World War II.”

The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George is historical fiction based on the life of “Emporer Nero, one of the most notorious and misunderstood figures in history.”

and finally,

Lenin’s Last Roller Coaster by David Downing is a British spy novel set in 1917 which commemorates the Bolshevik Revolution.

I hardly know where to begin, but I hope I have given you some interesting titles to put on your radar.


28 thoughts on “Mailbox Monday: a plethora of delectable temptations”

    1. I’ve been enjoying reading about ancient times in Italy, especially as they give me more historical context for the Bible reading I do. I plan to have Confessions of Young Nero reviewed in March; perhaps you will like it, too.


  1. What a wide range of options you have – no wonder you dont know where to begin. I smiled when I thought of your parents sending you a valentine gift – never heard of that before


    1. Isn’t it a variety of genres? From potential thrillers to those titles which seem obscure, there’s a little of everything here.

      Those parents of mine, still delivering valentines after all these years! I am blessed, in so many ways which I never take for granted.


    1. I have never read Margaret George before. In fact, I almost confused her with Elizabeth George at first! Glad to know you enjoyed both Helen of Troy and Cleopatra; certainly they are fascinating characters to me, too.


  2. I like David Downing a lot. The new one is the third in a new series, which I’ve been enjoying, though not as much as his previous WWII era series. Those are really terrific.


    1. The only one of his I’ve read was Jack of Spies, and I must confess to not enjoying it very much. However, I love espionage novels, and everyone raves about David Downing, so I will give him another try.

      I enjoyed A Quiet Place very much, especially the perspective it gave in Japanese culture. I wrote a thrilling review, and then the draft was lost between WordPress and my computer, and I could not reproduce it effectively. So, Matsumoto remains unreviewed as yet, but I so appreciate you sending me the novel. I won’t soon forget the image of him trying to escape the town after the murder and foolishly accepting the ride to the train station…


      1. He is a bit info-dump-y but I like the info so I don’t mind too much. And I think the John Russell series is really terrific. The new one is still finding its stride IMO.

        Pity you lost that review–I totally know what you mean though–impossible to recreate what’s lost, and hard to work up the energy, too. Glad you liked the book. It’s actually stayed with me quite strongly in the weeks since I read it. I hope Bitter Lemon brings some more into print.


        1. Yes, it has stayed with me, too. Am I terribly far off to say that I’m even reminded of Poe’s Telltale Heart? I guess he has that same guilt which practically gives him away, yet it is so deserved. I felt that panic near the last parts of the book within my own self!

          Bitter Lemon is a new press to me, but wouldn’t it be wonderful for them to come out with more such as this?


          1. You know, I’ve never read Telltale Heart. But I take your word for it. Patricia Highsmith is who I kept thinking of.

            Bitter Lemon does crime from around the world. I’ve not read that many but they did bring out the *wonderful* crime novels of the Swiss writer Friedrich Glauser. Those are worth checking out for sure.


  3. I love that your parents still give you a Valentine’s Day gift! I love the wrap & ribbon, too.

    I’m not familiar with any of your books, with the exception of My Husband’s Wife (and only because I’ve seen it on the shelf at work). I’ll wait to see if you like it before I give it a try. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so entranced with the way my mother wraps presents that it remained unopened until long after Valentine’s Day ended. But, you can imagine my joy with the topic of perfume and books! Two treats in one! 😉

      I wonder if My Husband’s Wife will live up to the attention it’s receiving in its launch. Sometimes, I can’t help but be disappointed in thrillers which seem to resemble one another too frequently. The Girl on The…fill-in-the-blank.


    1. Naomi, I am so enraptured by books on fragrance! I have loved the biographies of Coco and Chanel No. 5, as well as Luca Tyron’s exceptional book on perfume. His writing alone is enough to fascinate the reader, even if the reader holds little fascination with fragrance. This one looks good, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of the most appealing lists of books I’ve come across in a long time. They all sound so fascinating or beautiful or interesting.
    If you read Perfume you’ll have to tell us which ones you love (I still remember some of your lipstick posts, which I liked so much). I love scents and perfumes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Caroline, I can’t tell you how much your comment thrills me, not only that you are intrigued by this list of books as I am, but that you enjoyed my (silly) posts in lipstick and perfume. Sometimes I think those things are particular to me, and I am so glad to know that you appreciate them as well. xo


  5. Bellezza,
    This post is a feast for the eyes. I expect these books will provide much “food for thought”. Enjoy your new goodies! I have not read any of these. However, in case I have not mentioned this to you before, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your father’s wonderful memoir. I read it several months ago. Thank you for kindly sharing his work, which is his story, and yours in part, too.


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