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September 2, 2015 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird_IMG_9729

Almost wordless: I’ve seen an increase in Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in my yard the past week, but none were interested in stopping for a photo. I captured this image a few years ago when I came across a flock of hummingbirds migrating south for the winter. It’s one of my favorites and was originally posted in a Weekend Birding feature.

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September 1, 2015 / Leslie

First Chapter First Paragraph ~ Tuesday Intros

Hostile Takeover by Shane Kuhn

Simon & Schuster | July 2015 | Hardcover • eBook • audio 246 pages

Hostile Takeover by Shane Kuhn

1st Paragraph:

Everyone knows that the best part of any great love story is the beginning. The middle is like driving across the United States—flat, predictable, and offering little more than fast-food culture and rest stop romance. In what other context do men and women live under the same roof and go weeks without sex? The end of a love story is either a catastrophic tragedy or an anticlimactic whimper. And it’s the end, so unless it’s Jerry Springer-worthy, who even cares? But the bliss of ignorance that comes in the beginning is a drug we all wish we could cook, shoot, and ride till the wheels come off.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

I read The Intern’s Handbook, the previous book in the series, and it was a surprise hit for me. It was clever, quirky, and entertaining. I’m looking forward to more of the fun in Hostile Takeover.

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More Information

Book Description:

Professional assassin John Lago faces off against his deadliest adversary yet—his wife—in Hostile Takeover, the exciting sequel to Shane Kuhn’s bestselling debut The Intern’s Handbook, which the New York Post called “a sexy, darkly comic thriller.”

At the end of The Intern’s Handbook, John tracks down his nemesis Alice but instead of putting a bullet in her head, he puts a ring on her finger and marries her. Together, they execute a hostile takeover of Human Resources, Inc., the “placement agency” that trains young assassins to infiltrate corporations disguised as interns and knock off high profile targets. As HR’s former top operatives, they are successful until conflicting management styles cause an ugly breakup that locks John out of the bedroom and the boardroom.

But when Alice takes on a new HR target, John is forced to return to the office battlefield in a role he swore he would never play again: the intern. What starts out as a deadly showdown turns into the two of them fighting side by side to save HR, Inc.—and their marriage.

“Those who like Dexter will love John Lago” (Booklist), and in Shane Kuhn’s sequel to The Intern’s Handbook, readers will be rooting for this smart, witty antihero to come out on top.

Goodreads | Twitter | Author’s Webpage

 


First Chapter Tuesday is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea. Join us by visiting Diane and linking your own First Chapter post or to find out what others plan to read this week.

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Source: Review copy provided by Wunderkind PR.
© 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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August 31, 2015 / Leslie

Giveaway Winner: The Slush Pile Brigade and Blind Thrust

Thank you to everyone that stopped by to enter the Friday Feature Two Book Giveaway last week. The winner was selected using random.org and has been notified by email.

The Slush Pile Brigade and Blind Thrust

by Samuel Marquis

SlushPileBlindTrust

Winner: Suko @ Suko’s Notebook

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August 31, 2015 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ August 31st

Butterfly-PinkFlower_Mailbox56392Welcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
I finally got my new laptop working, so no more computer wars and freeze-ups. I ended up deleting the entire partition and installing a fresh copy of Windows – the restore partition was also corrupted – and then installing all the drivers for my system. Never did figure out what was causing the conflict. And although they were very nice, tech support was little to no help.

Anyway, a pretty unexciting week for me. No strange bug attacks in the garden and I’m enjoying the last of the long days and eating dinner outdoors on the deck.

One new book and a few audio downloads arrived . . .

New Arrivals

BooksAug31_172042

Hostile Takeover by Shane Kuhn from Wunderkind PR.
Professional assassin John Lago faces off against his deadliest adversary yet—his wife—in Hostile Takeover, the exciting sequel to Shane Kuhn’s bestselling debut The Intern’s Handbook, which the New York Post called “a sexy, darkly comic thriller.”

Audio Downloads

From Penguin Random House Audio

100DaysMakeMe

One Hundred Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi.
What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have – by making every moment count.

Make Me: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child.
“Why is this town called Mother’s Rest?” That’s all Reacher wants to know. But no one will tell him. It’s a tiny place hidden in a thousand square miles of wheat fields, with a railroad stop, and sullen and watchful people, and a worried woman named Michelle Chang, who mistakes him for someone else: her missing partner in a private investigation she thinks must have started small and then turned lethal.

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August 28, 2015 / Leslie

Audiobook Review – The Fold by Peter Clines

A Rapid Review

The Fold

Publisher: Crown | June 2015
Format: Print and Audio | 384 pages/11 hours
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 4 stars

Far out in the California desert, a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device they affectionately call the Albuquerque Door. Using a cryptic computer equation and magnetic fields to “fold” dimensions, it shrinks distances so a traveler can travel hundreds of feet with a single step. The invention promises to make mankind’s dreams of teleportation a reality. And, the scientists insist, traveling through the door is completely safe. Yet evidence is mounting that this miraculous machine isn’t quite what it seems – and that its creators are harboring a dangerous secret.

From outward appearances, nothing about Mike Erikson stands out as unusual. He’s a regular guy teaching at a small town high school, so it seemed odd when he was recruited to investigate the mysterious happenings at a DARPA lab. But Mike has some special abilities; ones that make him uniquely suited to the task, as the scientists at the lab soon discover. His mission: find out what secrets the team is hiding and why the project is taking so long to complete.

The story started out strong. It had all the elements I love about a good science fiction novel. The characters were well-developed and geeky – ie the cranky genius, the trekkie; stereotypical but fun. The plot unfolded at a quick but even pace, the scientific device – a teleportation machine – was made easy to understand and, even though fiction, was one of those devices we would all like to have. That and a time machine!

About two-thirds of the way through the plot makes an abrupt switch to a horror story. Until that point, this was a resounding 5-star read. I have no objection to horror stories; Stephen King is one of my favorite authors. But this turn of events had a silly B-movie feel to it. I was disappointed, but the first half more than made up for it. Even those who don’t normally seek out science fiction would enjoy this book – it’s more action-packed thriller than scifi. And the ending left an opening for a sequel.

Audio production:
I read this in audio and print. The audio was performed by Ray Porter who did a fantastic job with the characters and the segues back and forth as the narrator. At first I thought this might be an ensemble production, it was that good. The pacing was quick and he kept the story moving. It was easy to follow and it’s not overly scientific. I recommend the audio to listeners of all levels for its engaging qualities. [Audio Sample on SoundCloud.]

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
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Source: Print review copy provided by LibraryThing.
© 2015 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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August 26, 2015 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Ring-necked Doves

Ring-neckedDoves_120324

Almost wordless: Two pet doves that now live at the shelter where I volunteer. They are both female and both want the food bowl as a nest – they are both laying eggs.

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August 24, 2015 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ August 24th

Sunflower-Butterfly-MailboxWelcome to Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia of To Be Continued, a place where readers share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.

After several years of being on tour with different blogs as the monthly host, the Mailbox Monday Blog is now the permanent home for the meme.


 
Another busy week, a few new books, and one gardening disaster. No, not the flowers or vegetables, they are all fine. But I managed to get bitten by a swarm of some nasty little insects while weeding (probably no see ums, since I never saw them) that have caused a week’s worth of bumps and itching. It’s extra annoying for me because I’m always so careful to use bug spray and treat my clothes with permethrin when I’m out monitoring birds in the woods, but I never thought they would get me in my own backyard!

Print Books

BooksAug24__173601

Mendocino Fire: Stories by Elizabeth Tallent fron Harper.
Tallent returns with a new collection of diverse, thematically linked, and deeply powerful stories that confirm her enduring gift for capturing relationships at their moment of transformation: marriages breaking apart, people haunted by memories of old love and reaching haltingly toward new futures.

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani from Harper.
In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town’s golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success.

The Courtesan by Alexandra Curry from Dutton.
The Courtesan is an astonishing tale inspired by the real life of a woman who lived and loved in the extraordinary twilight decades of the Qing dynasty. To this day, Sai Jinhua is a legend in her native land of China, and this is her story, told the way it might have been.

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young from Putnam.
When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

How was your week?

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