Monday, December 28, 2015

Quick Pick: Love at First Flight, by Tess Woods

  • Opening lines: Mel: Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. No question about it. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. I had no idea at the time of course. I was simply relieved to be on the plane and sitting down. But it was definitely instant. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don't regret it. Because by losing everything I was introduced to myself for the first time. Would I wish away what happened, given hindsight? No way. Would I go down the same road again, given the opportunity? Not a chance.
  • Reason I picked up the book: A fellow blogger reviewed it, and it sounded interesting. I love books about people meeting significant others on planes, too. It was also on sale for 99c at Amazon that week, which was nice. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • Looking back on it now, I can see it was instant. The second we locked eyes. Boom. Just like that. The me I had spent a lifetime perfecting began its disintegration from that moment. And despite the carnage it brought to all our lives, I still don't regret it.

    What would you risk to be with the love of your life? And what if your soul mate is the one who will destroy you?

    Mel is living the dream. She's a successful GP, married to a charming anaesthetist and raising a beautiful family in their plush home in Perth. But when she boards a flight to Melbourne, she meets Matt and her picture perfect Stepford life unravels as she falls in love for the first time ever.

    What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel's dream life turns into her worst nightmare.

    Love at First Flight will take everything you believe about what true love is and spin it on its head.
  • Favorite Paragraph: I studied Lydia as she babbled happily now. She was energetic and engaging and she looked gorgeous. I definitely still fancied her, but something had shifted during the course of the flight. I knew with a cold certainty I wasn't in love with her and that I'd fooled myself into thinking I had ever been. The wedding was four months away.

  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes a good romance that is a little different from most - the main characters meet on a plane, and the man is engaged and the woman has been married for 14+ years and has two kids.
  • Something to know: The writing in this book wasn't really very good at first. It might have been because the characters live in Australia, so there was some slang that I didn't understand. However, about 1/3 or 1/4-way into the book, it gets better. 
  • What I would have changed: The ending really surprised me - no spoilers, but it didn't turn out how I thought it would. 
  • Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to purchase - it's only available in e-book format currently.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Killing Lessons, by Saul Black {ends 12/18}

Her mother's eyes opened. "Run to Sadie's. I'm going to be all right, but you have to run."

There was the sound of furniture moving upstairs. 

"Now!" her mother gasped. She sounded furious. "Go now! Quick!"

Something moved much closer. In the living room.

Her mother gripped her by the wrist and spat: "You run right now, Nell. I'm not kidding. Do it or I'm going to be angry. Go. Now!"

To Nell, backing away from her mother, it was as if a skin that joined the two of them was tearing. She kept stopping. There was a fierce emptiness in her ankles and knees and wrists. She couldn't swallow. But the farther away she got, the more vigorously her mother nodded, Yes, yes, keep going, baby, keep going.

She made it all the way to the open back door before the man stepped out of the living room.

I haven't read a mystery novel in a long time, and I certainly haven't read a GOOD one in a long time. Sometimes I get so used to "chick lit" and non-mysteries that I tend to forget other genres exist. The Killing Lessons was a welcome re-introduction to the genre, and it's a fantastic novel.

Official synopsis:
When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper's isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it's the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it's just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done.

For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of victims--women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them--has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she's losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens.

But the murders at the Cooper farmhouse didn't quite go according to plan. There was a survivor, Rowena's ten-year-old daughter Nell, who now holds the key to the killings. Injured, half-frozen, terrified, Nell has only one place to go. And that place could be even more dangerous than what she's running from.

In this extraordinary, pulse-pounding debut, Saul Black takes us deep into the mind of a psychopath, and into the troubled heart of the woman determined to stop him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Palest Ink, by Kay Bratt {ends 12/14}

Review by: Rachel Gonzales

“What if all your life you lived with the belief that you were special, then suddenly someone or something came and took it from you?”

Kay Bratt is a child advocate and the author of both fiction and nonfiction, including the acclaimed memoir of her own childhood and the years she spent working in Chinese orphanages, Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage. She has actively volunteered for nonprofit organizations who work to assist and protect orphaned, abused, and neglected children. She lived in China for several years and now lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family.

Official synopsis:
A sheltered son from an intellectual family in Shanghai, Benfu spends 1966 anticipating a promising violinist career and an arranged marriage. On the other side of town, lives Pony Boy, a member of a lower-class family - Benfu’s best friend all the same. The futures look different but guaranteed … until they’re faced with a perilous opportunity to leave a mark on history.

At the announcement of China’s Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao’s Red Guard members begin their assault, leaving innocent victims in their wake as they surge across the country. With political turmoil at their door, both Benfu and Pony Boy must face heart-wrenching decisions regarding family, friendship, courage, and loyalty to their country during one of the most chaotic periods in history.

The prequel to the beloved Tales of the Scavenger’s Daughters series, The Palest Ink depicts Benfu’s coming-of-age during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit, by Jessica Tom {ends 12/15}

And I looked up those acronyms I'd seen on Jake's reservation sheet, to see what lay on the other side:

LOL: Lots of Love
SFN: Something for Nothing. Typically an appetizer or dessert.
Bubbles: Champagne upon Arrival.
WFM: Welcome from Manager.
And then, the term that encompassed them all: PX. From the French. 

Personne Extraordinaire.

Even as I grew tired, that knowledge strengthened me. By the time I heard the birds singing and the sun had crept up in the sky, I had something to hold on to. Knowledge, authority, direction. And a goal: to become an extraordinary person.

Tia Monroe is a Yale graduate who decides to go to NYU for her Master's degree. She doesn't get in to her top internship choice, with Helen Lansky, a renowned cook and cookbook writer; instead, she gets to work at coat check at a restaurant that she doesn't even remember applying to. So when an interesting offer comes her way, from the New York Times restaurant critic, at that, she decides to accept it.

Official synopsis:
Food whore (n.) A person who will do anything for food.

Fresh out of college, Tia Monroe has every intention of taking the New York City restaurant scene by storm. But after a coveted internship goes up in smoke, Tia’s suddenly just another food lover in the big city.

Yet everything changes when Michael Saltz, a legendary New York Times restaurant critic, lets Tia in on a career-ending secret: he’s lost his sense of taste. Now he wants Tia to serve as his palate, ghostwriting his reviews. In return he promises her lavish meals, a boundless cache of designer clothing, and the opportunity of a lifetime. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Tia agrees.

Within weeks, Tia’s world transforms into one of glamour and luxury: four-star dinners, sexy celebrity chefs, and an unlimited expense account at Bergdorf Goodman. Tia loves every minute of it…until she sees her words in print and Michael Saltz taking all the credit. As the veneer of extravagance wears thin and her secret identity begins to crumble, Tia is faced with what it means to truly succeed. In a city where “making it” is the ultimate goal, Tia will have to decide: how far is she willing to go for the life she craves?

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