Friday, December 24, 2010

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas!!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Review & Giveaway: Dining With Joy by Rachel Hauck

Joy Ballard fell into television by accident. Well, sort of. Her dad had a local cooking show, Dining with Charles. But when he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 56, his last wish was that Joy take over. There was just one problem with that, Joy is a total klutz in the kitchen. She can't cook, if it was possible to burn water, she would find a way.

But, for her dad and the crew who made their living from the show, Joy stepped in. And she turned out to be great on television. Funny, smart, full of ideas that made the show a success, taking it out of the kitchen making it more about the viewers and their experiences. For three years, everything was fine.

Then, disaster. The owner of the show sells to a big reality show production company. They love Joy, love the show, and are going to take it national. She has hit the big time...but that secret of hers just keeps getting bigger.

Luke Redmond looks like he might be her way out of the lie that threatens to ruin everything. He recently moved to Joy's hometown of Beaufort, SC after his New York restaurant failed. He's a great chef but a bad businessman. They hit it off from the start and soon Luke is the new co-host of Dining With Joy.

Unfortunately life is never so simple and lies as big as Joy's have a way of blowing up spectacularly.

Dining with Joy is published by Thomas Nelson, ISBN 978-1-59554-339-4. I received this book as part of the TLC Book Tour, for a complete blog tour list, click here. For more information about Rachel Hauck and her books, visit her website.

Up for grabs is my gently read copy of Dining With Joy. To enter just leave a comment that includes your email address. Open to anyone with a US or Canada mailing address. You can enter until midnight eastern time on December 9. Thanks for visiting and entering!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone a lovely holiday!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick

In the year 1002 thirteen year old Emma of Normandy is taken to England and given in marriage to AEthelred the king, who is an old man of thirty four. Like women down the ages, she had no choice in the matter and she instantly dislikes her new husband, a weak man with violent tendencies. She herself is distrusted from the start for her blood ties to the Vikings that habitually raid the English coast.

But Emma surprises herself, the stress of her situation results is something she didn't expect...turns out she is strong, feisty, brave in the face of her husband and the yes-men he surrounds himself with. While she can't quite bring herself to care even for her children, she grows to love the English people and they love her in return.

A weak king can only hold out for so long, especially against a strong, determined enemy like the Scandinavian king, Swein Forkbeard. With the Viking victory comes another sweeping change for Emma, her life and her future. She is equal to the challenge.

Helen Hollick

Those of you who have long been readers of this blog will know that Helen is one of my very favorite authors (and it isn't because she sends me Christmas cards, though I will say that receiving hers is the highlight of my holiday cards!!!). I picked up The Kingmaking in London in the early 1990's and that trilogy is still right at the top of my favorite books list. (Click on the titles for my reviews: The Kingmaking, Pendragon's Banner, Shadow of the King.) The Forever Queen is another fantastic historical fiction novel. It is classic Helen: meticulously researched, beautifully written, and with the intricacies of ancient politics simply and fascinatingly related so the reader feels completely at home in that time period. If you love historical fiction and have never read a Helen Hollick book, pick up The Forever Queen! By the time you finish you will be putting all the rest of them on your wishlist!

The Forever Queen is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-4068-3

For more information about Helen and all of her wonderful books, please visit her website and blog. She was recently featured in an interesting BBC radio program about Harold, the last Saxon king, you can listen to that here (but the site says it will only be up for four more days, so hurry!)

Here's a list of blogs participating in the Sourcebooks Fall Reading Club event for The Forever Queen:

















Book Club Chat on

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!!

Vintage Halloween Greeting Pictures, Images and Photos

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review: Wicked Company by Ciji Ware

Sixteen year old Sophie McGann is the only child of a widowed Edinburgh printer and bookseller. Since Mr. McGann had no son he taught his daughter all that a printer's apprentice should know. She is bright, quick and eager to prove that she is a good assistant.

One day while out on a delivery Sophie happens to pass a small traveling minstrel family: a blind grandfather, worn mother and handsome son. Hunter Robertson instantly captures Sophie's interest. Her dainty stature make her seem younger that her years, so while Hunter is drawn to Sophie it is more as a brotherly protector. And she needs one, her tendency completely disregard diplomacy and speak her mind get her into one scrape after another.

When Sophie's sharp tongue brings her into serious peril, she is forced to escape to London in search of an elderly Aunt and Uncle, who also own a print and book shop. Unfortunately her relatives have had their share of hardship and Sophie must use all of her vivid imagination to earn her daily bread. Eventually her talent leads her to write plays for the lively London theater, making her one of a small circle of successful female playwrights. Hunter finds his way to London too, though it will take years for them to untangle their complex relationship.

Wicked Company is chock full of interesting characters like James Boswell and David Garrick and I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Drury Lane theater community with their squabbles and rivalries. It is very much Sophie's story, there were times when I wished for a little more from Hunter's story and a bit less from Sophie's. And it was just a tiny bit did seem that there was not one more thing that could possibly have happened to keep these two apart. But overall I really enjoyed this lively tale, I liked it just as much as the author's earlier book, Island of the Swans, which I reviewed in February (click the title for my review).

I will definitely be reading the rest of Ciji Ware's books, they are very detailed and well researched. I'm especially looking forward to A Race to Splendor, set in the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. It will be published by Sourcebooks in April 2011. For more information about Ciji Ware and all of her books, please visit her website. Many thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for sending me Wicked Company for review!

Wicked Company is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-2271-9

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Giveaway! A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness!

Halloween is the perfect time for a giveaway of one of 2011's most anticipated novels, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness! Here's a little about the book:

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

~Synopsis from

So, this is the scoop. The winner of this giveaway will receive a set of the very cool buttons you see below. Then, when the book is released in February they will receive a hot-off-the-press copy of the book! How cool is that? Winner will be drawn at random and must have a US mailing address. Enter thru midnight eastern on Nov. 5. To enter just leave me a comment here telling me what you are doing this year for Halloween or relating your favorite Halloween. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win. Many thanks to Langan at Viking for providing the buttons and book! Happy Halloween everyone! Thanks for visiting and entering!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review & Blog Tour: The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda

While sitting in the Old Stand Saloon in the tiny, lonely town of Tonopah, Nevada, Mel Snow meets a fascinating stranger. His name is Toby Warring and he is a magician. An enchanting, intriguing magician. Within two days they are married in a Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The thing is, Toby really IS a magician. His tricks are not illusions but actual magic that he has spent his life learning how to control. When he sleeps, objects appear that are conjured out of his dreams. But since he did one disastrous trick where he made his assistant disappear and couldn't bring her back, he has been afraid to perform anything but the most basic magic. Meeting Mel breathes new life into Toby's magic and his life.

Ivy Pochoda

Falling in love with Toby changes Mel, too. Her life has been largely a lonely, wandering one. Her job as a textile expert takes her from hotel to hotel, arranging carpets and fabrics that will endure harsh wear and tear. She has spent the most recent years in the desert, as far from the sea that claimed her brother's life as it is possible to be.

Things start to look up for both of them almost immediately. Toby's dream has always been to do a Vegas show and he is offered one the day after they are married. Mel is hired as a textile consultant at a huge new hotel. As Toby's success builds, the temptation to try another big trick becomes too much. Unfortunately, his worst fears are realized, challenging both Toby's confidence and their very new marriage.

This unique and absorbing novel reminded me strongly of The Time Traveler's Wife. I really enjoyed the complex and interesting characters and the inventive story that blurs the lines between reality and illusion.

I received this book as part of the TLC Book Tour. For a complete list of tour stops, click here. You can read more about the author at her website.

The Art of Disappearing is published by St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-312-65099-5.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker

Every single week I get a bunch of books in my mailbox or on my doorstep. Some of them I have agreed to review but most are just sent on the off chance that I might choose to review them. It is a little like Christmas every day, which is fantastic. Some of the books I receive are not books in genres that I like or about subjects that interest me, so they go into the "giveaway or read when I have nothing else left (HA HA!) pile. Many are historical fiction, which I love, or other types of fiction that I might muster up an interest for eventually...they go into the ever expanding to-be-read piles that clutter up my house.

Very, very rarely does a book come in that I did not ask for, have never heard of before, but that catches my attention immediately. For me to take it out of the package, sit down and start to read it? Seriously, it has happened maybe two or three times in the last two plus years. This one, happily, was one. By page seven I was laughing so hard that tears were running down my face. Here's the dedication:
Mom and Dad,

I could never have done this without your faith, support, and constant encouragement. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself, in God, and in my dreams.

This book....aside from the nine F-words, thirteen Sh-words, four A-holes, page 257, and the entire Warren Beatty dedicated to you.

You might want to avoid chapters twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, anything I quote Mom saying, and most of the end as well.

Sorry. Am I still cute as a button?



How, I ask you, could you resist reading on after an opening like that? In her first book, Elna Baker takes you along with her on her life since she moved to New York at age eighteen. She grapples with big questions: religion, faith, sex, love and life in an endearingly honest and frequently hilarious way. I think she's cute as a button, too. And I loved this book!

But don't take my word for are some clips of the author herself, telling some of the stories that are included in the book. Bet you'll be hooked, too.

You can visit Elna's webpage and blog for more information about her! The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance is published by Plume/Penguin, ISBN 978-0-452-29649-7. Many thanks to Penguin for randomly sending me a wonderful book!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart

A job that includes living at the Tower of London would seem like a dream to most people. Or maybe just to most history buffs. For Beefeater Balthazar Jones and his wife Hebe life is not quite dreamlike. Their home is damp, the walls are round, the fellow employees are a mixed bag of quirky and irritating characters. But their problems go far beyond where they live. The deep sadness and grief of the loss of their only son have permeated their existence, the gloom of the Tower fits perfectly with their emotional pain.

The Tower

Soon Balthazar is tapped to be in charge of the creation of a Zoo at the Tower to house animals that the Queen has been gifted by other countries. He is reluctant to share this great news with his wife or anyone else that resides in the Tower. Change is never a welcome thing in their small society.

But the arrival of the animals creates a few unexpected results. Who would have guessed that Balthazar would find, in his wounded heart, great affection for a bearded pig? And the residents may be annoying but who knew they would band together for the sake of one of their own?

This is Julia Stuart's second novel. I reviewed her first, The Matchmaker of Perigord, about two years ago. I was won over by her gentle and charming style, the warmth that comes through in her writing, and her wonderfully quirky characters. So I was thrilled to receive The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise, an equally lovely book. I was not disappointed!

Julia Stuart

The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise is published by Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-385-53328-7

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 3, 2010

Review & Giveaway: The Red Queen: The Cousins' War, Book Two by Philippa Gregory

A question for all of you: can you really enjoy a book if you don't like the protagonist?

The Red Queen is Philippa Gregory's second book in The Cousins' War series. The first was The White Queen , which was told from Elizabeth Woodville's point of view (see my review from about a year ago). Elizabeth is one of the most hated English queens, but in The White Queen she gained my sympathy and some of my understanding.

In this one, we get the story of Margaret Beaufort Stanley, mother of Henry Tudor and creator of the Tudor line, told from her point of view. Born into the powerful Lancaster family, Margaret is used as a pawn to further her family's political and dynastic endeavors. She is a pious girl who wants nothing more than to serve God, or so she claims. Her most proud achievement is her "saint's knees," red and calloused from kneeling for hours in prayer where she has visions and imagines herself to be Joan of Arc.

Once married and mother of the first Tudor, Henry, Margaret becomes singularly obsessed with his becoming king of England. Her schemes and plotting know no bounds, she doesn't care who she tramples on the way. Worst of all, she does it all in the name of God:

"You want power, Margaret, power and wealth; and so do I. Nothing matters as much as this to either of us, and we will sacrifice anything for it."

"I am guided by God!" I protest.

"Yes, because you think God wants your son to be King of England. I don't think your God has ever advised you otherwise. You hear only what you want. He only ever commands your preferences."

I sway as if he has hit me. "How dare you! I have lived my life in His service!"

"He always tells you to strive for power and wealth. Are you quite sure it is not your own voice that you hear, speaking through the earthquake, wind, and fire?"

Margaret Beaufort

She was so insufferable that I was wishing that the entire history of England could be changed just to thwart her. But the thing is, the author could not really have written this book any other way. Margaret was the way she was (doesn't it look like she is sucking on a lemon?), she was not likable. So it is no surprise when we don't. It does say something about Philippa Gregory that she would set out to write a novel based on a character who has so few redeeming qualities.

This is not my favorite Philippa Gregory book. (Come to think of it, none of her more recent books are among my favorites, though I always enjoy them.) But I understand why she wrote it and appreciate where it fits into the network of her other novels. For die hard Philippa Gregory fans and historical fiction readers in general, The Red Queen is a must read. As to whether or not a book can be enjoyed if you don't like the protagonist, I think the answer must be yes. Where would we be without characters we love to hate?

The Red Queen is published by Touchstone. ISBN 978-1-4165-6372-3.
For more information about the author and all of her books, please visit her website.

Check out some other reviews!

Thanks to the generous publishers, I have one brand-spanking-new hardback copy (it's a first edition, too!) to give away. For one entry just leave me your email address in the comments with your favorite Philippa Gregory title. If you have never read a PG book then tell me why you would like to start with this one. If you would like extra entries there are instructions below. Giveaway open through midnight eastern time on September 17.. The winners will be drawn at random and must have a US mailing address.

+2 Follow this blog any way you choose (Google, Feedburner, etc) and leave a comment...if you already do, include that in your comment
+2 Tweet or blog this giveaway and leave me a comment to let me know that you did

Good luck everyone, thank you for visiting and entering!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Giveaway: I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman

The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author returns with a new stand-alone novel—a powerful and utterly riveting tale that skillfully moves between past and present to explore the lasting effects of crime on a victim's life....I'd Know You Anywhere

Eliza Benedict cherishes her peaceful, ordinary suburban life with her successful husband and children, thirteen-year-old Iso and eight-year-old Albie. But her tranquillity is shattered when she receives a letter from the last person she ever expects—or wants—to hear from: Walter Bowman. There was your photo, in a magazine. Of course, you are older now. Still, I'd know you anywhere.

In the summer of 1985, when she was fifteen, Eliza was kidnapped by Walter and held hostage for almost six weeks. He had killed at least one girl and Eliza always suspected he had other victims as well. Now on death row in Virginia for the rape and murder of his final victim, Walter seems to be making a heartfelt act of contrition as his execution nears. Though Eliza wants nothing to do with him, she's never forgotten that Walter was most unpredictable when ignored. Desperate to shelter her children from this undisclosed trauma in her past, she cautiously makes contact with Walter. She's always wondered why Walter let her live, and perhaps now he'll tell her—and share the truth about his other victims.

Yet as Walter presses her for more and deeper contact, it becomes clear that he is after something greater than forgiveness. He wants Eliza to remember what really happened that long-ago summer. He wants her to save his life. And Eliza, who has worked hard for her comfortable, cocooned life, will do anything to protect it—even if it means finally facing the events of that horrifying summer and the terrible truth she's kept buried inside.

An edgy, utterly gripping tale of psychological manipulation that will leave readers racing to the final page, I'd Know You Anywhere is a virtuoso performance from acclaimed, award-winning author Laura Lippman that is sure to be her biggest hit yet.

~Book description courtesy of the publisher

Once again I am wayyyy behind in my reading. Too many books, too little time is certainly true in my case! So my review will be upcoming but I'm going to go ahead and post the giveaway!

I have two copies of I'd Know You Anywhere to give away. For one entry, just leave me a comment here. If you would like extra entries there are instructions below. Giveaway open through midnight eastern time on September 6.. The winners will be drawn at random and must have a US mailing address. Many thanks to Megan at Harper Collins for sponsoring this giveaway!

+2 Follow this blog any way you choose (Google, Feedburner, etc) and leave a comment...if you already do, include that in your comment
+2 Tweet or blog this giveaway and leave me a comment to let me know that you did

Good luck everyone, thank you for visiting and entering!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review & Giveaway: Holly's Inbox, Scandal in the City by Holly Denham

Summer is almost over (maybe for some it is already over) but I always think of the end of summer as Labor Day weekend...and we have a couple of weeks to go before then. So, if you need a last summer reading book, or even two, consider Holly's Inbox and its sequel, Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City. Both are very fast, light reads thanks to their inventive email format.

Scandal in the City picks up a few months after the events of the first book. Holly is doing well at work, despite the presence of a co-worker or two out to sabotage any success she might have. She has finally found a great guy in Toby, someone who loves her despite her flaws. And she does have some flaws. On the plus side she is sharp and funny but she tends to drink a bit too much when out with her friends and then does stupid things which she usually can't remember but regrets when she learns about them. A little bit self destructive, but she is incredibly loyal to her friends, a quality that goes a long way to making up for her shortcomings.

Many of you will be surprised to learn that this series is written by a man, Bill Surie, who owns a placement service in London for receptionists and secretaries. He had real life inspiration for this book, which started out as a website. There is a great interview with him, originally published in the New York Post, on the Sourcebooks website, click here to read about how it all started!

I loved both of these books, they are so entertaining and fun! And you could easily read them in a quiet weekend. I do recommend that you read them in order. If you haven't read the first book, head on over to Holly's Inbox and read the first half of the book online. I bet you'll be completely hooked!

Up for grabs is my gently read Advanced Reading Copy of Scandal in the City! If you would like to enter just leave me your email address in the comments. Winner will be picked at random, you must have a US or Canada mailing address (sorry, can't afford to ship internationally). Enter until midnight eastern time on September 5. Good luck everyone and thanks so much for visiting and entering!

Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City is published by Sourcebooks, ISBN 978-1-4022-4114-7

Want a few more opinions? Check out some other blog reviews!!

A Bookworm's World
Booking Mama
Cafe of Dreams
Peeking Between the Pages
Pudgy Penguin Perusals
S. Krishna's Books

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review & Blog Tour: The Hypnotist by M.J. Rose

FBI agent Lucian Glass has been investigating the co-director of the Phoenix Foundation, Malachi Samuels, for well over a year. The man is suspected in the death of at least one person in his quest to obtain the ancient memory tools that he thinks will allow him to remember his previous lives. Nothing is more important to him, he is single minded but very, very careful. Thus far, Lucian has been unable to find anything more than circumstantial evidence of Malachi's guilt.

Meanwhile, Lucian is battling his own demons. Twenty years ago, when he was an art student in college, his girlfriend Solange was brutally murdered in her father's art framing shop. Lucian arrived in time to find her body and become the second victim. He actually died for a minute and a half in the back of the ambulance. He physically recovered but put all his artistic abilities behind him and devoted himself solely to his job in the Art Crime Team unit of the FBI, tracking down the theft and fraud of priceless antiquities.

He had been able to perform his job very well, until a recent event in Vienna (covered in the author's previous book, The Memorist). Lucian heard a ancient melody played on a specific instrument, as many others did. Since then he has been plagued by nightmares and visions of the faces of people he's never met. He is compelled to draw the people that he sees nightly in his dreams.

When the Metropolitan Museum of Art receives a destroyed Matisse painting that had been stolen years before, Lucian is called in. The painting was delivered with a note, the sender wants a recently rediscovered ancient statue of the Greek god Hypnos that the Met owns. And he's not the only one that wants it. Iran and Greece want it too, both claiming that it originated in their countries and should be returned.

At first the case against Malachi Samuels and the one involving the Matisse and Hypnos don't seem to be related, though gut instinct tells Lucian that they must be. And then he realizes that the Matisse was one of the paintings stolen the day he was attacked, that long ago day when Solange died. As the pieces of his life circle in upon themselves, Lucian struggles to solve both cases as well as his own history, both in this life and beyond.

I really enjoyed this entire trilogy: The Reincarnationist, The Memorist and The Hypnotist. It is a bit hard to summarize this one, there are many interwoven characters who are all integral to the outcome. Each book is an intriguing thriller with satisfying ancient mysteries and intricately woven plots...they do keep you guessing and are a fast paced, wild ride! I think each one could be easily understood on their own but there are overlapping characters, so my recommendation is to read them in order if you can.

This book was sent to me as part of the TLC Book Tour. For a complete list of participating blogs, click here. For more information about M.J. Rose and her books, please visit her website.

The Hypnotist is published by Mira, ISBN 978-0-7783-2675-5.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Sorry, I just couldn't let the big news about the Jetblue flight attendant who quit his job the other day after cussing everyone out, blowing the emergency slide and jumping out (beer in hand) go by without a comment. Did you hear about it? He did this after a female passenger stood up, got into the overhead bin while the plane was still taxiing, told him to *f* off when he asked her to sit down and then hit him in the head. Most of you know this already, but for those who don't: I'm a flight attendant myself, for a major airline, and have been for over twenty years. There is not one of us, NOT ONE, who hasn't dreamed of what outrageous thing they would love to do or say on their very last day. Any flight attendant who says they haven't is telling you a big, fat lie.

You see, like many professions where you deal with the public, we spend the majority of our time smiling and nodding. You really don't want to know what we are thinking. Luckily, most passengers are perfectly nice, reasonable people. And I enjoy them, I really do. You're probably one of them and I'm always glad to see you on one of my flights. For you, my smile will be totally sincere. But unfortunately there is at least one bad apple in every single bunch. These are the folks that think the rules, for some reason, DO NOT APPLY TO THEM! They are SPECIAL, of course they are. Why should they have to remain seated while taxiing?? So what if the plane comes to a sudden stop and they are thrown to the floor or onto some other poor, rule abiding, seated passenger? So what if the ridiculously heavy stuff in the overhead bin then falls out and hits someone on the head? What do they care?

I'm afraid that is just the problem, they don't care. Not about me, you or anyone else that is not THEMSELVES. A lack of manners and thought for others is widespread and one of the things I like least about dealing with the public. Is asking someone to use basic manners, be polite and follow the rules just too much to ask? The rules are there for the safety and protection of everyone, crew included. That is why we follow them and ask you all to follow them too. Yes, you paid for that seat, but when you did so you agreed to the Federal Aviation Administration rules set for airline travel and you are required to abide by them.

I am constantly amazed by the total disregard for the seat belt sign. If it is turned on it is because it is not safe for passengers to be out of their seats. Often it is not even safe for crew to be out of their seats. I can't tell you how many times I am sitting in my jumpseat, strapped in, we are bouncing all over the place in the midst of turbulence and some idiot pops up and starts digging around in the overhead bin or heads for the bathroom. When I tell them they have to be seated there is almost always an argument. For some reason they think I am deliberately and arbitrarily infringing on their personal rights. Happens all the time.

I am honestly not complaining, I'm sure every profession has its issues, but the job I do is not easy. These days the hours are very long, rest very short, since 9-11 any glamour that ever existed has gone for good. We all have a breaking point and obviously that Jetblue flight attendant reached his. He could probably have handled the situation better. But I tell you what: he did something we all wish we could do and that is why he is receiving such widespread attention.

I know this problem is not confined to the airline industry, I see poor manners and people being selfish and unkind all over the place. If we could all just be polite to each other, the world would be a much nicer place!

The photo above is the latest from Donkey Tees , they have lots of silly, cute, funny shirts on their website. Even one for booklovers like us!

Thanks for listening to my rant! I could go on, but that is definitely enough for one day. It is not often that I let my real job seep into my blogging, but sometimes the temptation is just too great! If you missed my post about airplane bathrooms from a little over a year ago, you can find it here.

Review & Giveaway: The Miracles of Prato by Laurie Albanese & Laura Morowitz

Prato, Italy 1456. Twenty year old Lucrezia Buti arrives at the Convent Santa Margherita, along with her younger sister, Spinetta. The sisters lives have completely changed since the death of their father, a successful cloth merchant. They find themselves suddenly destitute, with no choice but to enter the convent. For Spinetta, who was always promised to the church, the transition is not difficult. But this is not the case for her beautiful sister. Lucrezia's future husband had been selected, she was planning to be married. With the sudden lack of a dowry all her plans are destroyed and she feels the loss keenly. She is not comfortable with the stark life of a nun, though she tries her best to adjust to the life fate has chosen for her.

Lucrezia Buti was the model for Lippi's Madonna

Fate is still at work, though. Renowned but dissolute painter Filippo Lippi has been given the job of chaplain at Santa Margherita by his patrons, the powerful Medicis. He is at a low point, lacking inspiration, when he suddenly meets Lucrezia and her beauty inspires both his painting and his heart. Lucrezia is drawn to him in return, though any relationship between a monk and a novice nun is of course completely forbidden.

The Cathedral of Santo Stefano, Prato Italy

Beauty can be a blessing and a curse, as Lucrezia discovers when the powerful Prior General begins to force himself upon her. In desperation, she uses the uproar on the day of The Feast of the Sacred Belt to escape the convent and hide in the house of a wealthy family. But she meets Lippi on the way and ends up taking refuge in his home, instead. When the worst happens anyway, Lippi is willing to give up everything to protect her and keep her from further harm.

Filippo Lippi

Human nature never changes, that is what makes stories like this one resonate down through the years. Don't we always want most what we can't have? Centuries have gone by and this still remains true. And there will always be those who can't resist greed, self importance, power...the villains then are not so very different from the villains now. This is the aspect of historical fiction that I most enjoy, that a dusty old story that has had the personality and emotion eroded from it by time can be renewed and made relevant by the imagination of an author (or authors, in this case). Now I wish I'd paid more attention in the single art history class I took in college...I remember it being boring, boring, boring. Too bad the professor didn't have a little of the talent of these authors, if he had added the stories behind the paintings...well, who knows where I'd be now! If you enjoy historical fiction you'll definitely want to read The Miracles of Prato !

The Miracles of Prato is published by Harper Collins, ISBN 978-0-06-155835-1

I received this book as part of the TLC Book Tour. For a complete list of blogs on the tour, click here.

Up for grabs is my gently read trade paperback copy! If you would like to enter just leave me a comment here that includes your email address. You can enter until midnight eastern on August 25th and the giveaway is open to anyone with a US or Canada mailing address. Thank you for visiting and entering!!

Thoughts from an Evil Overlord

Thank you!!

Thank you to Beth at Beth Fish Reads and to The Blogger Guide for helping me to customize my template and to Andrea at The Little Bookworm for improving my header!!

About Me

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.