Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: Cruising Attitude

Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole

Real-life flight attendant Heather Poole has written a charming and funny insider's account of life and work in the not-always-friendly skies. Cruising Attitude is a Coffee, Tea, or Me? for the 21st century, as the author parlays her fifteen years of flight experience into a delightful account of crazy airline passengers and crew drama, of overcrowded crashpads in "Crew Gardens" Queens and finding love at 35,000 feet.

My Thoughts:
While I'm not usually a fan of memoirs or non-fiction, this one sounded intriguing enough to give it a try. And it didn't hurt that I once considered becoming a flight attendant. Never got past picking up an application, but Heather walked me through the entire process and showed me what I missed!

Really enjoyed this book as reading it was like hanging out with a friend. A very funny friend. With a very interesting life. It was more a conversation than a dry recital of her experiences, which made this a fun read!

While I knew that flight attendants were more than the glorified waitresses that comedians make fun of, I had no idea just how intense their training was or how difficult their schedules actually were. I know that I'll never look at a flight attendant the same way ever again, and I have a new-found respect for them! 

But what's really cool about this book is that Heather makes her job sound fun! Despite the crazy passengers and exhausting schedule and the difficulty in maintaining relationships, it still sounds like an amazing adventure! So glad that she pulled back the galley curtain to give us a glimpse into her world, as it's a wild, wacky ride! 



Visit Heather’s website: http://hpoole.wordpress.com/
Follow her on Twitter: @Heather_Poole
Become Heather's fan on Facebook

Expected publication: March 6, 2012 
Review copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Shatter Me

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

This was my matchmaker's pick for My Fair Book Date, hosted by Amber at Down The Rabbit Hole and Jazmin at Books!!!!!!. According to my matchmaker, they chose this one for me because:
It's a cross between The Hunger Games and "X-Men."
It's got a rockin' cover.
It's got beautiful prose.
(Evidence: "Hope is hugging me, holding me in its arms, wiping away my tears and telling me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I'm so delirious I actually dare to believe it.")
Who WOULDN'T want to read this book?"

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. (Goodreads)


My Thoughts:
The book blurb mentions the X-Men, and Juliette did remind me a little of Rogue in that she couldn't touch anyone without consequences. What an idea! Can you imagine never being able to touch or be touched? What a horrifying thought! I was amazed that Juliette did not lose her mind, especially after being locked in solitary confinement for several years.

This was not a quick read for me, and I even put it down at one point. I'm not really sure what to make of the story, as it starts out one way, takes a strange turn, then ends up someplace completely different.

We start off with Juliette in prison. We slowly learn that the world is not in good shape and that an organization called The Reestablishment has taken over, promising to save society.

Adam, a boy she knew in grade school, is thrown into the cell with her within the first chapter. She remembers him, but doesn't think he remembers her. I didn't really "get" their relationship. Don't want to say more in case I accidentally spill the beans, but I didn't think it was believable.

The author's writing style took a little getting used to, as she utilizes a distracting annoying unique method of strike-thrus in order to help us try to understand Juliette's jumbled thoughts. As she's not used to talking to anyone after being alone for so long, her thoughts can be a bit chaotic.

I started out liking Juliette, but it did annoy me that she was described as beautiful. How can a person be beautiful after being locked in solitary confinement for who knows how many years, having limited access to basic hygiene? And why can't a main character ever be plain or just pretty? This is one of my pet peeves with YA....

Part one of the story, in the prison, was interesting. Part two wasn't bad, but I didn't really buy Warner's fascination with her. And part three became unbelievable and it was almost like it belonged to an entirely different story.

Despite the confusion, I did ultimately like the story. Gave it a 3/5 as the writing wasn't bad, and I admired what I think the author was trying to accomplish. I'm assuming there will be a sequel as the ending seemed like a set-up for book two. I know that this one has received mixed reviews, so please let me know what you thought if you've read it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In My Mailbox (105)

In My Mailbox (105)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. This week includes a few books I found through other bloggers, so enjoying the book karma! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
I saw this book mentioned over at Layers of Thought, and Shellie was nice enough to forward my name to the publisher when I gushed about it! I mean, who could resist a world where blue-eyed blonds are considered undesirable? Call me superficial, but this really caught my interest! Thanks for spreading the book love Shellie!

Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt
Revealing Eden by Victoria Foyt

Eden Newman must mate before her 18th birthday in six months or she'll be left outside to die in a burning world. But who will pick up her mate-option when she's cursed with white skin and a tragically low mate-rate of 15%? In a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, underground world where class and beauty are defined by resistance to an overheated environment, Eden's coloring brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. (Goodreads)


Free NOOK Books:
Saw this featured on My World....in words and pages as a free nook download. I've got The Demon Trapper's Daughter in my TBR pile, so wanted this companion short story to go with it. Thanks Melissa!

Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver
Retro Demonology by Jana Oliver

This is a short story based on the Demon Trappers' world featuring Riley Blackthorne and her very first solo demon trapping experience. (Goodreads)

***
This was another title featured by Melissa. Sounded a little different, so thought I'd give it a try.

Phantom Universe by Laura Kreitzer
Phantom Universe by Laura Kreitzer

Sold into slavery to pirates at the young age of four, Summer learns to survive the rough seas of subterfuge and thieves through silence. When the boat she's lived on most of her life is destroyed, Summer finds herself washed up on the shore of a new world, a phantom universe full of the bizarre and extraordinary. (Goodreads)

***

Found this novella by the author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer on BN.com.

Necromancer by Lish McBride
Necromancer by Lish McBride

Matt’s childhood friend, Ashley, has been stopping by a lot lately. That might seem pretty normal, but Ashley died years ago and now she’s Death. And tonight she wants waffles and fries.


What did you get in your mailbox this week?
Leave me a link and I'll stop by to check it out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway WINNER



Congratulations to the winner of my Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway!


Haley H!


I've sent Haley an email confirmation and am just waiting for her response.

Thanks to everyone who entered!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blog Tour: Witch Woman

by Jeanette Baker

The first time Maggie McBride set foot in contemporary Salem, Massachusetts she was two years old, completely alone and stark naked. Now, thirty years later, a clairvoyant with a gift for profiling kidnappers, she is back to fulfill a personal quest. 

Armed with an ancient spinning wheel inherited from Annie McBride, her adoptive mother, she intends to solve the mystery of her sudden, unexpected appearance in The Old Burying Point Cemetery. Her only clue is the recurring dream of a woman from another time, a woman with a spinning wheel, an unusual whistle, and the same genetic mutation Maggie has, one brown eye, the other blue. 

As Maggie’s spinning improves, her ability to visit the past strengthens and she finds herself being drawn into a world that existed four centuries before, a terrifying world she would have inhabited except for the courage and magick of one woman.

My Thoughts:
Really enjoyed this one, as it was a little different than my usual read! 

We first meet Annie, a recent widow struggling to get through each day without her husband. Drawn to the cemetery, she discovers a naked, abandoned child sitting on a bench near Annie's husband's grave. Taking her home, Annie determines that it's her mission to raise the girl as her own, and they leave town soon afterwards. Of course it's more complicated than that, but Baker sets up Maggie's background nicely!

Flash forward thirty years and Maggie is a profiler who helps the police recover kidnapped children. Uncomfortable with her physic gift, Annie and Maggie moved quite a bit during Maggie's childhood so she's not really comfortable staying in one place too long. Annie is in failing health, and Maggie is surprised to learn that she's adopted. 

After moving back to Salem, Maggie settles into Annie's old home and finally feels like she belongs. Determined to try to figure out her past, Maggie starts to explore her new home. With the help of a few local witches and Annie's old spinning wheel, Maggie starts experiencing visions of the past. These visions may or may not explain where Maggie came from, but it's hard for Maggie to understand what she's seeing.

Really enjoyed the glimpses into the past, as it was almost like reading parallel stories. Was never confusing, as the author helpfully labeled the chapters as past or present. I found the past just as compelling as Maggie's story, as Salem did not sound like a fun place to live during the 1600's!

Don't want to give too much away, as there were a few unexpected twists that I wasn't expecting. Really liked both Maggie from the present and Abigail from the past! In fact, I liked most of the characters! The ending wasn't what I expected, and I admit that I was a little disappointed. The story went where it was supposed to go, but I still wished it had followed the path in my head....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Help me choose my next read?

Between my teetering pile of TBR books and the fact that I'm running out of room on my bookcases, it's time for some drastic measures! So have decided to ask for your help in choosing which book to read next, then I'll give the book away. 

Which title should I read in March?
(the links go to Goodreads if you want a synopsis)

Apothecary by Maile Meloy
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Orchard by Theresa Weir
Trial By Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Whichever title gets the most votes will be my next book. Once finished, I'll let the randomizer choose a winner and I'll send you my gently read copy. If you've already read that title, you can choose another book off the list and I'll mail it to you as soon as I've finished reading it. Sound good?

US shipping addresses only please as if this works out, I'll make it a regular feature.




Thanks for helping me out!


Survey will close February 29, 2012 at 11:59PM EST

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox (104)

In My Mailbox (104)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. This is a great way to discover new titles and see what new books are coming out! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Jennifer Estep is one of those authors who can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned. I will read anything and everything with her name on it, because she's just that good. When she offered me a chance to review her latest book, I couldn't say yes fast enough! (well, first I squealed like a little girl, then I said yes please!)

Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me - again.

***  
Was offered a chance to review this one by Zeitghost Media. I've heard mixed reviews about it but the premise is interesting enough that I thought I'd read it & decide for myself.

Tempest by Julie Cross
Tempest by Julie Cross

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies - nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors - it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

***
Received an ARC of this one from the publisher. Don't remember requesting it, but it sounds intriguing.

The Good Father

An intense, psychological novel about one doctor's suspense-filled quest to unlock the mind of a suspected political assassin: his twenty-year old son.


What did you get in your mailbox this week?
Leave me a link, and I'll stop by to check it out!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

BBRAW Winner! - Claimed



Congratulations to the winner of my BBRAW Giveaway!


Gina!


I've sent Gina an email confirmation and am just waiting for her response.

Thanks to everyone who entered!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop - CLOSED

Friday, February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day. What better way to celebrate than by having a giveaway hop? Want to thank Read for Your Future and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. who have teamed up to host the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop.

For this hop, I'm giving away a hardcover copy of Pale Demon by Kim Harrison



Want to enter? It's easy! Just fill out your name and email address on the below form! 
I'll email the winner for their shipping address.
US addresses only please.


Be sure to check out the rest of the participants in the blog hop!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

BBRAW - Survey says....


Today's BBRAW prompt:
Take this opportunity to survey your readers; maybe you haven't done this in years or perhaps ever. Find out what it is about your blog that your faithful readers love, what they wish you wouldn't do (constructive criticism is never a bad thing), what keeps readers coming back for more, what posts they'd love for you to do more of (vlogs etc). The possibilities are endless! 

*gulp*

Surveys are slightly terrifying for me. What if everyone says they hate my reviews and that I have horrible taste in books? Green makes them nauseous and my blog design made their eyeballs bleed? I love taking surveys, but actually coming up with one? *shudder*

So.....um....wassup?

Any suggestions on what I could do to improve my blog? I have noticed that my reviews are getting longer and longer, so maybe I need to trim them down?

How about my blog design? Love it? Hate it? Don't care? It's a semi-custom design that I've tweaked over the years (thank you Google search!). Maybe it's time to use one of the new blogger templates, as I can't get it to do certain things anymore and I'm not sure how to fix it. And change is always good, right?

Are there certain types of posts you prefer? I don't do too many personal posts, as I never know what to write. I've never done an author interview, and rarely do guest posts. Seems like an imposition, and what if they say no? Or they write a guest post about something horrible, like their undying love for telepathic crime-fighting poodles? Yikes!

So....* awkward silence* .......wassup?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

BBRAW - Blogger Love

Welcome back to Book Blogger Reader Appreciation Week!

I'm going to highlight a few of my favorite bloggers today, as I can't pick just one! In fact, it was hard deciding who to highlight for this post, as I follow so many amazing bloggers with awesome blogs! (And I will probably use way too many exclamation points and overuse the words awesome and amazing. You have been warned...)

Tracy (aka Petty Witter) at Pen and Paper is one of those bloggers that I would love to meet in person, as she seems like such a nice, friendly person! Until I can afford a ticket to Great Britain, I'm afraid I'll have to be satisfied reading her great posts. I especially love it when she shares quirky, funny stories from various sources! Wait until you read about the police officer who was chasing....himself! *L*

GMR at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers has an eclectic taste in books (just like me!) and I've found several new authors through her awesome reviews! I love her sense of humor, and her reviews read like you're chatting with a good friend over a cup of coffee. 

Ryan at Wordsmithonia started blogging around the same time that I did. I wish I could remember where we "met" but can't recall. I'm just glad we did, as you couldn't find a nicer guy! While he's more into mysteries and I like urban fantasy, he has expanded my reading boundaries by writing such enthusiastic reviews that I just have to give the book a shot! And I love his Favorite Fictional Characters meme!

Sheila at Book Journey is another blogger who started around the same time as me and Ryan. She's one of those bloggers who seems to have endless energy and inspires me to be a better blogger! I love her Morning Meandering posts, as it's like sharing a cup of coffee with a friend while we talk about our day.

I could list so many more awesome bloggers! There's Lan at The Write Obsession, Steph at Steph the Bookworm, Melissa at My World in words and pages, and oh so many more! These are all awesome bloggers and I'm very thankful that we can hang out together on each other's blogs. Hope you stop by and discover their awesomeness for yourself, as I know that you won't be disappointed!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Welcome to BBRAW!

Welcome to Book Blogger Reader Appreciation Week!

Inspired by Book Blogger Appreciation Week (hosted by My Friend Amy), Reagan over at Miss Remmers' Reviews came up with BBRAW in order to acknowledge how awesome our readers are! 

Used to watching people's eyes glaze over when I started rhapsodizing about my latest read, I was thrilled when I discovered that there were others who loved books as much as I did! I'm eternally grateful to have a place where I can share my love of books with others, discover new authors, and act all fan-girly over my favorite authors without anyone rolling their eyes!

So this week is all about celebrating you, the blog reader! And to let you all know how much you're loved and appreciated! I'm still thrilled beyond measure when someone leaves me a comment to let me know what they thought about my latest post, so wanted to spread the love with a giveaway!

Going to make this as easy as possible:  just leave your name and email address. That's it!

Thank you for reading! If you're new to my blog, hope you like what you see and will come back in the future!

US Only:

Mystery box of books, including ARCs, bookmarks, and various swag.
If you look at my past reviews, that's some of what will be in the box!
I love surprises, so hope you do too!


International:
Reader's choice:

$10 Barnes & Noble online gift certificate or

$10 Amazon online gift card or

Book of your choice from The Book Depository (up to $10 US) 




Must be at least 13 years old to enter.
Giveaway will end on 2/17/12 at 11:59PM EST
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email notification or a new winner will be chosen.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: By a Thread

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep
Expected publication: February 28th 2012

When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation.


Poor Gin. Ever since her battle with Mab, people have been coming into the Pork Pit staring at her and/or trying to kill her. After all, what better way to make a name for yourself than by taking out the infamous Spider? So when Finn suggests a vacation, she reluctantly agrees. Looking at it as an opportunity to spend time with her sister, Gin shouldn't be surprised when trouble finds her.

Letting Bria choose, they decide to vacation in Bria's old hometown. A little jealous of the easy friendship between Bria and her BFF Callie, Gin is even more shocked when she sees her old flame Donovan! Turns out that Bria and Donovan had switched jobs, but nobody had mentioned that little detail to Gin.

Despite her best intentions, it isn't long before Gin finds herself smack dab in the middle of trouble. Turns out Callie is being strong-armed into selling her restaurant to some bad guys. Well, no one threatens Bria's best friend, much less a fellow cook, so Gin comes up with a plan. Only it seems that she bit off a little more than she could chew this time around....

Really, really loved this one, as Gin just keeps getting better and better! One of the things I really love about her is that she's human. She can get hurt. She feels jealous of the sisterly relationship Bria has with Callie. She isn't sure of her feelings for an old lover. Her plans aren't infallible. Love that while she's good, she's not Superassassin!

Another thing I love about this series is Gin's family and friends. While I'm not totally sure about Bria yet, I love Gin's foster brother Finn, lover Owen, and the Deveraux sisters! They all love Gin and will always be there for her. You couldn't ask for better friends!

And the descriptions of the food! I must have been hungry while reading this one, but the food that Callie served at her restaurant had me drooling! I really want to try the pineapple pudding that Gin had for dessert! Wonder if Jennifer has the recipe?

Sorry...where was I? Oh yeah....this is an awesome read and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves a strong heroine, a great plot, excellent writing, and outstanding characters! And food.... :)

Previous reviews:

Spider's Revenge (#5)
Spider's Bite (#1)



eARC received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (103)

In My Mailbox (103)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Every now and again, I'll see a title on Amazon Vine that grabs my attention and, despite my teetering mountain of TBR titles, I just have to have it! This is one of those titles:

and she was by Alison Gaylin
and she was by Alison Gaylin

On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town . . . and vanished.

***
The blurb on this claims that this book is the Coffee, Tea, or Me? for the 21st century. I borrowed that book ages ago from the library and loved it, so how am I supposed to resist? Thanks William Morrow!

Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole
by Heather Poole

Real-life flight attendant Heather Poole has written a charming and funny insider's account of life and work in the not-always-friendly skies. Cruising Attitude is a Coffee, Tea, or Me? for the 21st century, as the author parlays her fifteen years of flight experience into a delightful account of crazy airline passengers and crew drama, of overcrowded crashpads in "Crew Gardens" Queens and finding love at 35,000 feet.

***

Received an email request from the author to review her new book. I read the excerpt and was hooked!

Fire Baptized by Kenya Wright
by Kenya Wright

Since the 1970s humans have forced supernaturals to live in caged cities. Silver brands embedded in their foreheads identify them by species: a full moon for Vampires, a crescent moon for Shifters, a pair of wings for Fairies, and the list goes on, for each supernatural species has been tagged and categorized by humans.


What did you get in your mailbox this week?
Leave me a link and I'll stop by to check it out!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Challenge - A Month of Letters

Like receiving mail?
Want some?


I love mail! Letters, cards, books...just about anything non-junk or bill-related makes me happy! When I was in grade school, I had pen pals and loved corresponding with them. Then we all grew up, lost touch, and then it became easier just to send someone an email.

So I was very happy when I discovered that Mary Robinette Kowal decided to host a letter writing challenge! She even made a website for it!

The details:
  1. In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.
I'm committing to mailing 24 items, one per day. Why 24? Because there are four Sundays and one US holiday this month. If I have enough addresses and am having fun, I'll keep going.

Here's where you come in. Do you love receiving mail as much as I do? If so, I'd love to send you some! I need more people to write, so who better than my blogging buddies?

I promise not to send any fabric swatches, but do reserve the right to include possible goodies in the envelope. So....you game? I promise not to use your address for evil, but only for the goodness of receiving mail.

If interested, just leave your name and mailing address on the form below:



I've already sent a card and written a few fan letters. Haven't written a fan letter in ages. Forgot how much fun it is to gush and be all fan-girly!

This is fun!