Thursday, January 31, 2013

Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace


Former teacher turned freelance journalist Jason Priestley has no idea that helping a girl with an armload of packages into a London taxi will begin an all consuming adventure to find her based on the photos in the disposable camera she left behind. The quest gives him a focus and a bit of hope while the rest of his life seems to fall apart before his eyes.

A quote on the cover of Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace promises it "will have you laughing out loud and melt your heart, all at once." (Cosmopolitan U.K.) Unfortunately, I think this is another book where I just don't get the humor. This may in part be due to the timing of my reading it. No where in the description was it mentioned that Jason Priestley left teaching after a school shooting incident. Now, it was nothing like the Newtown, CT tragedy and no one died or was even seriously injured. However reading about a similar event in the first two pages of the book nearly caused me to put it down all together. I am glad that I kept reading though. While I didn't find the story humorous, I did enjoy it.

Jason Priestley lives a sad life. His former girlfriend is now engaged and pregnant. He lives with his best friend Dev above a failing video game store. Even his freelance writing assignments are completed without real effort. Jason is one of those characters who drifts with no real direction. Life seems to happen to him and is always in reaction mode instead of trying to push forward and make things happen. Even the quest to find the girl who left the camera is Dev's idea and Jason just ends up along for the ride. I was happy to see Jason grow a bit throughout the book and at least by the end he seems to be pushing forward and making some decisions on his own.

There were two things that I didn't care for with this book though. The first was that Jason addressed the reader directly. I didn't like this because I wanted to simply observe his story not be a part of it. The second was the way that pieces of the girl's blog were inserted between chapters. While this turns out to be extremely relevant to the story by the end, the first time it happened I was extremely confused because I had no context for this sudden section in italics that didn't seem to fit the rest of the story. I had no idea who was talking or where any of that came from. While this may have been intentional, I found it distracting from the main story. The second blog insertion made much more sense and from that point I could at least follow the thin story thread.

Overall Charlotte Street was an enjoyable book although it was not exactly the lighthearted read I was looking for. I'm not sure what the male equivalent to "chick lit" is but I would place this book into that category.

I received a copy of Charlotte Street (October 2012, William Morrow) from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

Purchase Charlotte Street on Amazon: eBook or Paperback

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Excerpt: Jack Templar Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus

Today I want to introduce you to a great book. Jack Templar Monster Hunter by Jeff Gunhus is a fantasy adventure story for middle grade readers. For more monster hunting adventures, please check out the online tour that Jeff did with GWR Publicity at the beginning of December. The adventures continue with the tour currently happening via I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.


Intermission

OK, so we need to take a break in the story to take care of a little business.

Like I mentioned when we started, since you made the decision to read this book, you’ve opened yourself up to attack by any monsters who might be in your area. As you’ve seen so far, monsters can lurk in the unlikeliest of places. They can be teachers, gardeners, cashiers, or strangers walking down the street. (I have since discovered that most, but not all, school principals are monsters.)

Sometimes they are not disguised as humans at all. Sometimes they just stay in their monster form and slink in the shadows, coming out only at night to prey on their victims.

And by victim, I mean you.

Hey, I warned you not to read this book, but noooooo…you wouldn’t listen.

The good news is that by reading this book, you’ll be able to properly identify different types of monsters (even if they are in their human disguises.) I wish that I had time to train you on how to take them out like the butt-kicking monster hunter I know you are, but we’re not going to be able to do that until later.

So, until then, there are some things you need to know and some precautions you should take:

1. Reading this book attracts monsters. You emit an energy that monsters can sense and use to track you down. So, you’re most likely to have monsters find you while you are reading this book.

2. Read this book in a secure place. In your house when it’s all locked up is best. (If you’re in your house right now, put the book down and check to make sure all the doors and windows are locked. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

3. If you can’t find a secure place to read and you just can’t wait, at least read on the move. Change locations every ten minutes or so; that way, the monsters will have a harder time zeroing in on your location. The car is perfect for this, since you’re constantly on the move. (You might want to close the book in a traffic jam when the car stops.)

4. Don’t ever read out in the open for long periods of time. Sitting under a tree in an open field with no one else around? Not so good. You would be a prime target for harpies, giant earthworms, wood trolls, ogres, faeries (not the cute kind), leprechauns, werewolves, various undead entities…the list goes on.

5. Don’t tell your friends about this book unless you’re prepared to share it with them.

That last one is seriously important. If you tell them about this book and what’s in it, that might be enough to drag them into this world along with you. Without knowing why, your buddies will be chased by monsters without the benefit of being told how to protect themselves.

Trust me, you don’t want to wake up one day and find out your best friend got snatched up and eaten by a coven of vampire zombies, all because you were yapping to him at lunch about this super cool book you’re reading.

So, what if you’re the kind of person who just can’t keep your big mouth shut? (You know who you are.)

Here’s the rule:

You can tell your friends about the book, but only if you have them read through the warnings first and make their own decision, just like you did.

Then, after being properly warned, if they still want to make the same bone-headed decision you did and read the book, then you can go ahead and let them.

Just make sure they lock their doors too, because the monsters will find them. Just like they are on their way to find you, even as you read this page. I’m not kidding. Go lock those doors. Right now.

OK, back to the story. I hope this next part doesn’t freak you out!

About the Book:

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie about how they died. The day before Jack's fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first it's great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend "T-Rex" from the school bully, and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he's the descendent of a long line of monster hunters and he's destined to be in the family business. Second, that there's a truce between man and monster that children are offlimits... until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren't enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why do they whisper that he may be the "One?" Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.

Buy Jack Templar Monster Hunter on Amazon: eBook or Paperback

About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Middle Grade/YA series The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. Jeff is also the co- CEO of College Works Painting, a national company with over 4,000 employees that has been featured in national media for its unique opportunity for college students to learn entrepreneurial skills. He is the author of the motivational career guides No Parachute Required (Hyperion) and Wake Up Call (Seven Guns Press). After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland by trying to constantly keep up with his kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the CIty Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

Connect with Jeff on his website * Twitter * Facebook

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Kiwi in Cat City by Vickie Johnstone (Guest Post) #petsontour

Today I'm happy to welcome Vickie Johnstone as she interviews Kiwi, Inspector Furrball of Cat City’s Cat Squad, and the two children, James and Amy, from Kiwi in Cat City and the six-book Kiwi Series. This character interview is part of the Raining Cats & Dogs Tour that Vickie is on with David M. Brown, author of Man vs Cat. Keep reading to the end to find out more about the Kiwi books and to enter the giveaway for an Amazon gift card.


Wow, what a pleasure to have all of you here today. Inspector Furrball, thanks for taking the time away from your duties in Cat City to talk with us. Are you getting any more used to this world since your first visit (in the book Kiwi and the Living Nightmare)?

Furrball: Well, thank you for inviting me here. It’s a pleasure to speak to you, but before we begin do you think… well, do you have any nice biscuits?

Amy nudges James, who chuckles. Kiwi raises her eyebrows to the ceiling.

Furrball: Thank you kitty much, but I don’t suppose you have fish biscuits, do you? No? Oh, ok. Well, these will do!

Kiwi: They’re nice biscuits!

Amy and James: Mmmmmm!

Furrball: Yes, yes, splendid, I think. Mmm. Well, to return to your question. It’s nice to be back in the human world though I have to say that I prefer our own world, Cat City (munch munch).

Kiwi: Inspector!

Furrball: Well, Kiwi, I’m being honest. It’s not as warm here in the human world. In Cat City, it is always summer. The sun is orangey and just lights up the city – everything seems to glitter there (Furrball smiles fondly). I miss the streets – they have blue and white mosaics of cats, you know, and they’re very clean. Not like the streets in the human world where you have to dodge smelly things on the pavement!

Amy and James start giggling.

Kiwi: But you have to admit the people are nice and you met some really nice squirrels on your last visit (in Kiwi and the Living Nightmare)…

Furrball: True, true. Yes, I really liked that fellow, Red. Decent chap. But you know, the food in Cat City is much better and the milk. We have special milk. It’s good for cats, but the milk in the human world… well, let’s just say that my tummy didn’t like it much!

Amy: Euuuuuwwww!

Furrball: And buses… scary things… they go so fast! I never want to ride on one of those again…

James: Especially when old ladies are about!

Amy: But didn’t you enjoy the old ladies tickling your tummy?

Furrball: (coughs) Best forgotten, young Ames and Jimster. That’s best forgotten. An unusual experience…

Kiwi: And one I’ll never forget. The look on your face when they were saying you were so fluffy and cute will stay with me forever…

Furrball: Are you saying that I’m not cute?

Amy and James collapse in giggles.

Kiwi: I think it is best that only Madame Purrfect answers that question!

Inspector Furrball, now that you have been with Amy and James as both kittens in Cat City and as human kids here, which do you like better?

Furrball: Ah, there’s a question. Seeing them in human form was such a shock the first time. I’d never seen humans before. I was scared, I don’t mind admitting. For a start, they’re so big, and they have these long limbs. I think humans are a little odd looking! And they smell different…

James: I think cats are stranger. You’re all furry with long tails.

Amy: And you spit on yourselves to have a bath!

Kiwi (making giggly purrs): I think you might be outdone there, Furrball!

Furrball: But it was a shock - the biggest shock of my life! I was thinking who are these strange giants? I thought they’d eaten you, Ames and Jimster. Then I had to just forget what I’d heard when Moggie explained that you were one and the same, but now not in cat form. I couldn’t have got through that day unless I’d kind of hypnotised myself that it wasn’t really happening!

Kiwi: Really? You did that? I didn’t know! I thought you were kitty okay with it pretty fast!

Furrball: I was sort of pretending! The shock was too much. I just put it to the back of my mind. Otherwise, my right-paw tom, Siam, and I would have just been rolling around on the grass mewing all day like little kittens when we’re actually big, brave members of Cat City’s Cat Squad! We had a reputation to live up to!

James: I loved being a catizen!

Amy: Me too! It rocks!

Furrball: What rocks? Are we moving?

Amy: (laughing) No, No, Furrball, it means that something is great. It rocks!

Kiwi: It’s young human talk, Inspector! You know how our kittens have their own kit speak?

Furrball: Indeed. It rocks. Mmm. Maybe I could fit that into my language. Fish biscuits rock!

Amy and James giggle.

James: Being a kitten rocks! And the Catema rocks! And having a tail sometimes rocks! But not if I’m playing football!

Furrball: What’s football? Could I play? Is it dangerous?

Amy holds her head and shakes it.

How about you, Kiwi, which world do you prefer? Do you think you could live in just one place?

Kiwi: Now there’s a question.

James: No! Kiwi, you can never leave the human world!

Amy: Yeah, you have to stay with us. We won’t let you go!

Kiwi: Well, half of the time (smiles).

Furrball: Our Kiwi has always been a bit of a traveller… gets it from her father, Delphinius, I think…

Kiwi: That’s right, but then my mother was from the human world and my father was from Cat City, so I’ve always felt pulled between the two worlds, I think. I belong in both, but not entirely in either…

James: Like someone is pulling your tail to go back when you go somewhere else…

Kiwi: (giggly purrs) That’s a funny analogy, James, but there could be some truth in it. I love travelling.

Amy: And the falling in the purple smoke between the worlds is such fun…

Furrball: Fun?! Well, I think my ears and tail nearly blew off!

James: And the landing is a bit hard on your bottom!

Kiwi: You know, I think I could never stay in one place. I get itchy paws to explore.

Amy: Where was the first place that you visited? Do you remember?

James: Was it exciting?

Furrball: I remember (chuckles)…

Kiwi: (winking at Furrball) I remember it very clearly. I was a kitten. I think I was roughly your age, Amy, and my first adventure was with my father, Delphinius. He had the wander lust really bad. Moggie was often fed up because he’d be late home for dinner and it would go cold. He’d go on adventures with his friend, Mr Eastwood, the owner of the Catema and Cat City’s only film director.

Amy: Ooohhh, can we act in one of his films?

James: Can we? Can we?

Kiwi: Mmm, well, first things first – did you want to hear about my first adventure?

Amy and James: Yes! Yes!

Furrball just sits and grins.

Kiwi: Well, I was about your age, Amy, as I said, and I’d always ask my father where he was going. He’d tell me these amazing stories, but they sounded like the kitten tales that catizens tell their young ones, so I just guessed he made them up. Then one bright summer’s day, he asked Moggie if he could take me along with him. He said they’d be visiting a safe place – the human world. I remember Moggie didn’t like the idea, but Delphinius persuaded her – he was good at that – and off we went. What a trip! It was the most amazing day of my life so far…

James: Wow!

Amy: Were you scared?

Kiwi: Sort of and sort of not. I was more excited, but I was with Delphinius, so I felt safe. He knew the most powerful magic. Moggie is good with magic, but my father… my father was something else.

James: Like a wizard? A wizard cat?

Amy: A mage? A genie?

Kiwi: Maybe something in between. So we went on this magical trip. I remember him saying some magical words and then the purple mist was everywhere. I didn’t know then that I was magical… remember I told you what happened when I was a kitten that made me magical… (in Kiwi and the Missing Magic) Yes, well, it was partly genetic too. I got a lot of my talent from my father. He taught Moggie, too. Anyway, I’m wandering off the subject. So then this purple mist was all around me, I remember. It was so bright and colourful. It became my favourite colour because I felt connected to it. My fur would sometimes shine this same purple, but back then I was a little kitten and I didn’t know it was magic. So, off I went, floating and falling in this magical mist, whisked away from my daily life to … well… I didn’t know where… and then I landed… but I wasn’t scared. Delphinius was sitting there, waiting for me with the biggest grin on his furry face… and I knew I was safe. And then he showed me around the human world.

Amy: Did you like it?

James: How did you find us?

Kiwi: Ah, well that’s a story for another time. But I loved the human world and I still do! Maybe because I was a kitten, but I just took it in. I wasn’t scared. I was just amazed by everything. And I felt at home; strangely at home. It was like part of me had gone back to my roots… Moggie was from the human world, after all.

Furrball: That’s a nice story.

Kiwi: Thanks. It’s a nice memory! Furrball: If only someone had brought me here when I was a kitten – it wouldn’t have been quite so shocking!

Amy and James giggle.

Amy and James, do you ever think you’ll tell your parents about the adventures you’ve had with Kiwi? Will you still visit Cat City when you are older?

Amy: Oooh yes! I hope so. I hope I never get too old to come to Cat City.

James: I never want to grow up really. I want to stay a kid-kitten and nothing change.

Kiwi: Things always change, James. That’s the only sure thing in life, but that’s a good thing. It’s how you approach change that really matters – you should treat it as an exciting adventure and nothing scary!

Furrball: Well, there are other sure things, too. Like you can be sure that Kiwi, Madame Purrfect and I will always make you feel welcome in Cat City! You’re invited to all of our parties!

Kiwi: But it’s very important that we don’t let your parents find out…

James: That’s true. Adults don’t believe in such things anyway.

Amy: They don’t believe in talking cats or talking hamsters… (the Hamster March in Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle) I don’t think they’d believe us anyway. Does everyone stop believing when they grow up, Kiwi?

Kiwi: I hope not, but I think many people do. Maybe their lives get harder… with grown-up things. They may miss the little details in things as they have responsibilities.

Amy: And work!

Furrball: Work can be very rewarding, Amy. You just need to choose carefully. I am proud to be the head of the Cat Squad, keeping Cat City safe. Think about what career you would like to do and aim for it. I think anyone can achieve anything.

Amy: But I don’t want to grow up if I can no longer hear animals talk.

Kiwi: You just have to remember how to listen, Amy. I don’t think you’ll stop hearing us.

James: Phew! Life would be a bit boring otherwise!

You have all been together in some very sticky situations, what were your scariest moments?

Kiwi: The ghost of the old man in the old house in the Living Nightmare adventure! I never thought I’d be able to escape. I couldn’t move!

James: Eeek, definitely him! But then Loki in Ancient Egypt in the Realm of Ra was scary!

Amy: And don’t forget the spooky witch with the big wart on her nose in Kiwi’s Christmas Tail.

Furrball: I have to say the Serpent of the Isle. I thought I’d never see my dear Madame Purrfect ever again. He was our strongest enemy ever. But then those old ladies on the bus were pretty scary too…

James (in old lady voice): Ooooohhh, Mavis, what a cute kitty!

Amy: Wasn’t her name Mable?

Furrball: Stop it! I’m getting shivers along my whiskers just thinking about them! Also, plunging out of the sky in a purple mist and landing on the ground in front of two giants – you two, Ames and Jimster – was pretty scary! And then my brain turning to jelly!

Amy and James: Sorry Inspector Furrball.

Furrball: Not your fault. Now if only Moggie had warned me beforehand…

Kiwi: Our first adventure together where we tried to solve the Case of the Missing Catizens was pretty tough, if I remember. Don’t you think?

Furrball: Yes it was – a lot of dead ends in that mystery. And when Cat City was going to be invaded in our second adventure together (Kiwi and the Missing Magic) – now that was scary…

James: Especially when we all went into the Cat Crime building and… (BEEP – so as not to give the plot away!)

Amy: And the battle in the Land of Giant Mice… and the maze… that was a bit scary.

Furrball: Yes that was close. If it hadn’t been for the brave actions of… (BEEEEEEP).

Kiwi: I agree, Inspector. That was a close one. I think we’ve had a few close shaves.

Inspector: But, still, I think the Serpent of the Isle was our biggest challenge. If it wasn’t for…

Kiwi: Shush! Don’t give it away…

Furrball clamps his mouth closed and peeks around.

James: I miss the crabs and the fish…

Amy: Shush James…

James: Ooops sorry… (goes red), but what about the excellent bit with the hamsters…?

Do you have any dreams of what you would like to do in the future?

James: I want to be a detective when I grow up!

Amy: I want to work for Greenpeace and save whales!

Furrball: These are both very good choices, kittens. Erm, I mean child..ren. Mmm, such a strange word.

Kiwi: I want to keep on going on adventures and learning new things. I never want to become bored. I always want to carry on exploring.

Furrball: I always want to get the bad catizens and save the good ones!

James: That’s why I want to be a detective, so that I can come and work for you in Cat Crime…

Amy: But you’re human…

James: So? I can do both, can’t I? I want to be a two-world detective – in the human world and in Cat City! I can solve two crimes at the same time!

Kiwi: Ah, this could be an interesting future.

Furrball: Indeed (scratching behind his ear).

Amy: I really wanna see that!

Furrball: Oooh is that the time? (glancing at his gold watch, hanging off his red waistcoat). I’m sorry, but I think I need to be getting back to Cat City. It’s past my teatime you know, and Madame Purrfect will start to worry. And she makes the most kitty good cakes… I wouldn’t want to miss out on those.

James sighs.

Amy sighs and pokes James.

Kiwi: Thank you for inviting us today. It’s been purrfectly good fun! Have a kitty day!

About the Book:

One dark night, Amy cannot sleep and she looks out of the window into the garden to see her cat, Kiwi, transfixed by the moon, which is glowing brightly like a cat's claw. Waking her brother, James, Amy suggests they follow Kiwi to see where she goes... whether it involves a hunt for mice or something else. Little do they know that, with a flick of her tail, Kiwi is going to magically change them into kittens and lead them on the adventure of their lives to a land they never knew existed in their wildest dreams. In the blue-lit world of Cat City, the budding detectives help Inspector Furrball to solve the mystery of the missing catizens and find out what happened to Madame Purrfect.

For children aged 9+, teens and adults. This book is the first in the Kiwi Series.

So far, there are six books in the series.

Buy Kiwi in Cat City on Amazon (US): eBook or Paperback (affiliate links)
Buy Kiwi in Cat City on Amazon (UK): eBook or Paperback
Buy Kiwi in Cat City on Smashwords
Buy Kiwi in Cat City on Barnes & Noble
Buy Kiwi in Cat City on Diesel

About the Author:

Vickie Johnstone lives in London, UK, where she works as a freelance sub-editor on magazines and an editor on indie books. She has a thing about fluffy cats and also loves reading, writing, films, the sea, rock music, art, nature, Milky Bar, Baileys and traveling.

Vickie has self-published the following books:

Kaleidoscope (poetry); Travelling Light (poetry); Life’s Rhythms (haiku); 3 Heads and a Tail (comedy romance); Kiwi in Cat City (magical cat series for middle grade readers); Kiwi and the Missing Magic; Kiwi and the Living Nightmare; Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle; Kiwi in the Realm of Ra; Kiwi’s Christmas Tail; Day of the Living Pizza (comedy detective series for middle grade readers), and Day of the Pesky Shadow.

The Kiwi Series has illustrations by Nikki McBroom.


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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose

In Sad Desk Salad by Jessica Grose, Alex Lyons is a writer for the website Chick Habit. Sure writing gossipy blog posts wasn't exactly what Alex thought she would be doing with her college education but at least she is writing and getting her name out there. Scouring the web for the next big story means she rarely leaves the couch and she is never completely unplugged. The pressure to drive traffic to the blog is high and her job, and those of the other writers, depend on the number of hits each article receives. Competition for the byline is fierce so when Alex receives a video showing a squeaky clean college girl (whose mom just happens to have done the talk show circuit promoting her parenting book and is now running for political office) in a compromising situation, it seems like Alex's scoop of the year. Alex has doubts though about exposing such a private moment in a public forum. Alex doesn't even anticipate the impact that the story will have on her personal life.

Sad Desk Salad initially comes off as a breezy, chick lit, type of book and in some ways it is. The writing is simple, yet effective, and the characters seem to interact mainly on the surface of things. When I started Sad Desk Salad, I was afraid that it was going to be another book like The Nanny Diaries or The Devil Wears Prada. I've already admitted to not really getting the humor in those books. I was very happy to discover that Sad Desk Salad was nothing like that for me. It has funny moments and was light reading but it never felt like I was supposed to find amusement in the negative situations in which Alex finds herself.

Although it never travels too deep, Grose does offer the reader many topics for contemplation including the issue of privacy for individuals related to those in the spotlight. Online bullying is touched upon as well. The business climate for the women of Chick Habit is one of friendliness and camaraderie one day, after discovering the existence of a hate blog about them, to accusing each other of being behind the hate blog and trying to steal each others jobs the next day. Alex spends so much time "reporting" on the gossip of the world or writing stinging commentary on relevant news that she forgets how to actually live in the world. Her romantic relationship and her friendships suffer because she can no longer see past her computer screen. Sometimes I just had to shake my head and wonder if Alex would really be able to repair any of the damage she had caused to her own life.

Sad Desk Salad only took me two days to read and, after the heavy ending to my reading of last year, it was the perfect way to start this year's reading.

I received Sad Desk Salad (October 2012, William Morrow) from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

Buy Sad Desk Salad from Amazon: Paperback or eBook (affiliate links)

If you are looking for a site that supports women in business and blogging (essentially the opposite climate from the fictional Chick Habit) check out Project Purse Club

Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Man vs Cat by David M. Brown (Guest Post) #petsontour

I love it when I get to call authors friends. Although David M. Brown lives in England and we've only interacted online I'm so happy to call him and his wife, Donna, my friends. David has been on the blog before when I helped with the launch of one of his fantasy novels, A World Apart. Today we have something a little bit different for you though as it is one of David and Donna's cats who will be doing the talking. David has written Man vs Cat about his life with six cats and I'm not sure they are too happy about it. Make sure you read all the way to the end because there just might be a giveaway involved.

Have You Heard the One About the Two Norwegians?
 
Greetings, dear readers. My name is Frodo, not the Ring Bearer from The Lord of the Rings, but a Norwegian Forest cat. The lovely Angela has invited me here to share a few thoughts with you but her main motive is for me to sing her children to sleep so she can have a well-earned rest. I’ll get right on that, Angela. Just let me finish speaking to your readers. Why don’t you make us both a cup of tea? Lots of milk in mine, no sugar, and leave out the teabag and the hot water.

What can I tell you about me? Well, I come from a house, not in Norway, but in England where sunny days are passing into the days of myths and legends. It’s a bitterly cold and miserable place here to be honest but the company are nice. Well, not all of them. I have five brothers – one is my actual brother, Bilbo, and there are four adopted brothers too – Kain, Razz, Buggles and Charlie. I also live with two humans, one is lovely and we call her Frizzy Hair. The other is difficult to describe. Grab a Thesaurus and look at the synonyms under words such as “idiot,” “moron” and “jerk,” and that should give you an idea of what the infamous Beard Face is like.

I have heard through the catvines that Beard Face has written a book. This isn’t news as such. He’s written books before, really terrible fantasy books that are about as convincing as England’s chances at the next World Cup. Anyway, whisper this amongst yourselves but I have heard Beard Face’s latest book is about me and the other cats. Such news has divided the cats here. Buggles is excited, Charlie wants revenge, Kain and Razz are still rolling their eyes, and Bilbo is just perplexed by the whole thing. He’s a bit dippy is my brother, a bit like a car that’s had the engine taken out to be cleaned and it hasn’t been put back. You know the type I mean, right?

Much of the content in this book began before Bilbo and I came to live with Beard Face and Frizzy Hair but I understand we have not come away completely unscathed from the narrative. There are ill rumours that Beard Face has photocopied notes from some of the private meetings I have with Bilbo. I call these Frodo’s Dialogues, after that Greek philosopher Socrates. You know him, a lovely man. I’m not embarrassed if Beard Face has these notes, not for myself anyway. I’m a philosopher and a gifted singer. I don’t do shameful things but I can’t say the same about Bilbo. If Beard Face has got those notes I just hope he hasn’t included that bit about the Carpet People. Goodness me, my heart could hardly take that so I hope you, the dear readers, don’t have to suffer it as I did.

Come closer. Closer still. Okay, back up a bit, we’re not friends just yet! I’m hoping Angela doesn’t check the bag I’ve brought. Bilbo is in there and I plan to leave him here. Don’t get me wrong, he’s my brother and I love him, but I cannot take anymore of those awful cat jokes or his theories about where all cats come from. Do you want to hear a joke or two from Bilbo? Okay, if I must.

What happens when Charlie and Kain stop fighting? They hiss and make up.

How do you sing scales, Frodo? Do-ri-me-ow.

Hilarious, eh? Yes, my brother is something of a joker. Not that I’m bereft of humour myself, you know. Amidst this great mind and gorgeous singing voice is the wit of Chandler Bing. Prior to visiting Angela here in the US of A, I told this one to Bilbo.

Have you heard the one about the two Norwegians? They took a trip to the States but only one came back! When Bilbo assured me he didn’t understand the joke, I simply told him that he would get the punch line once we had visited our good friend Angela.

On that note, I think it’s time for me to say farewell. Angela is calling and my lovely singing voice is needed to help these children to sleep. I’m thinking a medley of Van Halen’s Jump to expel the last of their energy, Unchained Melody to calm them and I’ll round off with The Beatles Goodnight to guide them gently into slumber.

A furry and fond farewell to you all.

About the Book:

History has known many famous cats - Garfield, Mr Bigglesworth, Simon's Cat, the Aristocats, the Cheshire cat and the Keyboard Cat on YouTube.

In recent years these feline things have replaced man's best friend as the most popular pet in the U.S. while the Ancient Egyptians once worshipped them as gods. This was a mistake and I'm here to tell you why.

Man vs Cat is the story of one man, one woman and the six cats that changed their lives forever. To the woman they brought love and affection, to the man they brought sleepless nights, fear, paranoia and even ruined his jigsaw. Need I say more?

Buy Man vs Cat on Amazon (US): ebook or paperback (affiliate links)
Buy Man vs Cat on Amazon (UK): ebook or paperback

Don't forget to add Man vs Cat on Goodreads

About the Author:

David Brown could be considered a fantasy fanatic, especially since he has spent the last 10 years developing a 47,000-year history for his fictional world of Elenchera. When converting his obsession into literary form, David commits himself to a rigorous writing and editing process before his work can meet his approval. Combined with the critical eye of his wife and a BA Hons in History and English, David's dedication leads him to his goal of inspiring readers through heartfelt stories and characters.

Connect with David on Twitter * Facebook * Website * Blog

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Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Closed: Beat the Winter Blues Giveaway

Beat the Winter Time Blues Giveaway

Are you fighting the winter time blues? Curling up with a new book (and a mug of tea) always seems to help me. What would you buy if you won a $50 Amazon gift card from Terri Morgan, author of Playing the Genetic Lottery? Enter to win below.

"Caitlin’s story touched me deep in my soul" ~ Marina, Chick Library Cat

"Terri Morgan's depictions of [schizophrenia] are realistic as well as haunting." ~ Allizabeth Collins, The Paperback Pursuer

Playing the Genetic Lottery


Will Caitlin succumb to the disease that has claimed her parents and brother? Will her daughters be the next victims of the family curse? Find out in Terri Morgan's fictional memoir Playing the Genetic Lottery.

Available at Amazon and in paperback directly from TerriMorgan.net *
*$1 of every paperback purchased from Terri's site goes to support mental health research.

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Beat the Winter Time Blues Giveaway is sponsored by Terri Morgan and organized by GWR Publicity. No monetary compensation was received nor should this post be considered an endorsement under FTC's advertising and endorsement policy.

 Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.
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