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.