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May 25, 2016 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Mrs. Red-winged Blackbird

Red-wingedBlackbirdFemale_IMG_5364

Almost wordless: The females are less noticeable than their showy, glossy-black mates who are always seeking attention by flashing their red wings and their loud calls.

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May 24, 2016 / Leslie

How May We Hate You: Notes from the Concierge Desk

A Rapid Review

How May We Hate You by Anna Drezen and Todd Dakotah Briscoe

WeHateYouPublisher: Random House Audio | May 2016
Format: Audio Download | 3 hours | Rating: 4 stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy | Humor

Find out what really goes on in the world of hospitality with this hilarious book full of funny and absurd stories, anecdotes told in dialogue, factoids, and hoax pop quizzes by two veteran concierges who paid their way while working at a combined 50 hotels in and around Times Square.

How May We Hate You grew out of a very successful Tumbler (with the same name) written by two young comedians that took jobs in the hospitality business to support themselves. If you like your humor served with some snark and a little nastiness on the side, then you’ll find this quite entertaining and at times laugh-out-loud funny.

The book is filled with stories and commentary on the crazy things that people do and say. At only three hours long, it’s short enough to not wear out its welcome with repetition or excessive snark, and was long enough to give me a humorous reading break.

Audio production
The authors performed the narration themselves often using a conversational dialog or questions and answers. They did a great job that only added to the entertainment value of the book. It was an easy listen and one I would recommend to new audio listeners or those wanting to try the format. It is also a good choice for the car, especially if you make a lot of short trips as there is no plot to forget and the stories are all short.

Audio Sample

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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May 23, 2016 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ May 23rd

SpringBirdsFenceMailbox-smlWelcome 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.


 

More Books from BEA

Last week I featured the books that I was actively looking for. Today I’m featuring some of the books that I newly discovered while visiting the booths at BEA.

BooksMay23_20160522_192354

The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World by Laurence Scott
A highly original and pioneering portrait of life in a digital landscape.

Warp by Lev Grossman
This re-publication of Lev Grossman’s debut novel, Warp, shows the roots of his Magicians hero Quentin Coldwater in a book that is for anyone (and everyone) who has ever felt adrift in their own life.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint
Inspired by a true story, Little Deaths, like celebrated novels by Sarah Waters and Megan Abbott, is compelling literary crime fiction that explores the capacity for good and evil in us all.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives by Gary Younge
This powerful and moving work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the “collateral damage” of gun violence at a time when the gun issue in America is being hotly debated.

The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner
A laugh-out-loud funny and painstakingly real tale of friendship, furry creatures, and finding the place where you belong.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
In this deeply suspenseful and irresistibly unnerving debut novel, a man and his girlfriend are on their way to a secluded farm. When the two take an unexpected detour, she is left stranded in a deserted high school, wondering if there is any escape at all. What follows is a twisted unraveling that will haunt you long after the last page is turned.

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
A heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

Faithful by Alice Hoffman
A soul-searching story about a young woman struggling to redefine herself and the power of love, family, and fate.

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman
The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”

Mischling by Affinity Konar
One of the most harrowing, powerful, and imaginative books of the year” (Anthony Doerr) about twin sisters fighting to survive the evils of World War II.

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May 22, 2016 / Leslie

Giveaway Winner: Beach Town Goody Bag

Thank you to everyone that stopped by to enter the giveaway. The winner was selected using random.org and has been notified by email.

Mary Kay Andrews

Beach Town Goody Bag

MKAGoodyBag

 

Winner: Karen

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© 2016 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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May 18, 2016 / Leslie

Wordless Wednesday: Allium

Allium_20160517_173003

Almost wordless: With our crazy cool weather this spring, the wildflower garden has had a slow start. The Allium finally bloomed this week.

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More Wordless Wednesday. © 2016 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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May 16, 2016 / Leslie

Mailbox Monday ~ May 16th

SpringBirdsFenceMailbox-smlWelcome 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.


 
Last week I attended BEA and that means lots of new books. Over the three days I picked up a total of 40 books — not a lot by BEA standards but only as many as I could carry. I was going to bring my rolling bag on days two and three, but when I hauled it out of my closet, a wheel broke off! I think the book gods were trying to tell me something.

Today I’m featuring 10 books that were already on my want-to-read list. I ended up picking up another 30 books that were too tempting to pass up. I will write about those in the coming weeks.

Books from BEA

BooksMay16

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger from Quirk Books.
A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

Constellation by Adrien Bosc from Other Press.
This best-selling debut novel from one of France’s most exciting young writers is based on the true story of the 1949 disappearance of Air France’s Lockheed Constellation and its famous passengers.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict from Sourcebooks.
A vivid and mesmerizing novel about the extraordinary woman who married and worked with one of the greatest scientists in history.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch from Crown Books.
From the author of the bestselling WAYWARD PINES trilogy, a brilliantly mind-bending science-fiction thriller in which an ordinary man is kidnapped, knocked unconscious—and awakens in a world inexplicably different from the reality he thought he knew.

Darktown by Thomas Mullen from Atria.
The award-winning author of The Last Town on Earth delivers a riveting and elegant police procedural set in 1948 Atlanta, exploring a murder, corrupt police, and strained race relations that feels ripped from today’s headlines.

Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta from Little, Brown.
Rise the dark. These were the last words written in Lauren Novak’s notebook before she was murdered in a strange Florida village.

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley from Grand Central Publishing.
On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean.

The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North from Redhook.
The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of the girl no one remembers. But this gripping story – of love and loss, of hope and despair, of living in the moment and dying to leave a mark – is novel that will stay with you for ever.

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore from Random House.
From Graham Moore, the Academy Award–winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian comes a riveting historical thriller about the “War of the Currents,” the famous race for glory and riches between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse.

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman from Atria.
A heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

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MKAGoodyBagMary Kay Andrews Giveaway

Just in time for summer, I have a giveaway of two MKA paperbacks and swag.

Click HERE to learn more.

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© 2016 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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May 15, 2016 / Leslie

BEA 2016 Survivor!

BEAWelcome_20160511_074132Exciting, Exhausting, Overwhelming!

I had all good intentions of blogging about BEA at the end of each day, but that didn’t happen. As a first-time attendee, I didn’t realize how exhausting it would be. By evening I just wanted to put my feet up — and those were very tired feet — and relax in preparation for another eventful day.

I have wanted to go to BEA for several years, but the timing was never right. This year with BEA right in my home city, I made it happen. We have decent transportation in Chicago, and I was able to take the Metra train into the city, walk a few blocks, and catch one of the BEA Shuttles to the convention center.

Bloggers Conference — Day One

The convention floor didn’t open until the afternoon of the first day. However, I attended the Bloggers Conference which began at 8am. This year was different from previous conferences (or so I am told). After the keynote address there were several panel discussions we could choose from, either a Marketing & Engagement Track or a Community Building Track. After the lunch break, we rotated between several roundtable discussions with a choice of 16 different topics. This was followed by an end-of-day party with drinks, popcorn, raffles, and (of course) books.

The Keynote Address was ready to begin.

Waiting for the Keynote Address to begin.

From reading about previous years’ blogger conferences, this was not at all what I was expecting. The focus and the topics have shifted from blogging to social media. Twitter, Booktubing and Instagram are the home base for many reviewers. The one thing I took away from all the discussions — learn to use twitter effectively to promote yourself. While I do use twitter, I am not using it to its full extent.

At the end-of-day blogger party.

At the end-of-day blogger party.

In all it was an interesting, fun, and informative day, and I’m glad I attended. I got to meet a few people I knew from their blogs but had never met in person, plus a lot of new people. I rode the train home from the city with Emma of Words and Peace. She lives a few suburbs away from me and this was the first time we met. At the end of day party I met Deb from Readerbuzz. That’s us in the photo above. I’m the one on the right.

40 Books

I did slip out of the Bloggers Conference for an hour to check out the convention floor. It was not overly crowded (that wouldn’t happen until the next day), and I was able to get a signed copy of Brit Marie Was Here and a few other galleys. Over the three days I picked up a total of 40 books — only as many as I could carry. I was going to bring my rolling bag on days two and three, but when I hauled it out of my closet, a wheel broke off! I think the book gods were trying to tell me something.

On the floor of my office waiting to be organized.

BEA books on the floor of my office waiting to be organized.

In the next few days I’ll write about days two and three of BEA and highlight some of the books I’m very excited about, plus a few new discoveries I made, and the awesome Book Group Speed Dating session I attended on Friday.

Were you at BEA? Or Armchair BEA?

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© 2016 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.
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