Wish List

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post. If you want to know more click here.

Summary from GoodReads -
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract
with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journe
y neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

I walk by this book everyday at work, yet I have not picked it up. Then I read about The Chaos and in order to read #2, I have to start at the beginning.

Summary from GoodReads -

Whenever Jem meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die.

Burdened with such an awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. But while they’re waiting to ride the Eye Ferris
wheel, Jem notices that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today’s number. Today’s date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem’s world is about to explode!

Still Missing
Also found this book through it's second, Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens.

Summary from GoodReads -

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Still Missing is that rare debut find—a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

AND I am number 1 out of 2 on the wait list for Hex Hall on the digital library. YEAH, almost there. Though sadly I think I will have to break down and buy Allison Hewitt is Trapped. Not available in the digital library or in eReader form for my Nook. Life is so rough, right?

Review - Bull Canyon by Lin Pardey

Let me preface this by letting ya'll know that I won this book from GoodReads. Out of 814 people, little ol' me received one of 25 copies. And let me say, that feels pretty darn good.

Ahem, sorry just thought you should know. It T'IS truly the little things in life. Not to mention, also enclosed was a letter from the author which just made the winning that much sweeter. When I become an author, please remind me how much it means to the reader to receive those small touches. I am currently ridding myself of all my books that just sit and collect dust, but this one was not only stamped with my personal book stamp, but will remain in my stash as a keeper.

I pretty much fell in love with this book instantly. I like to be surprised when reading a book, so as I have mentioned before the only time I read the summary of a book is when I first discover it. I really liked that I could pick this book up and start from the beginning and just feel like I knew the book already. It felt like I already knew Lin Pardey.

Lin Pardey is an incredible writer who instantly pulls the reader in with all the little details, but is able to make it feel like I am not reading a bunch of little details that go on forever. She has this wonderful way of making me feel at home as if I were walking beside her and experiencing it all before me. She allows the reader into her life and holds nothing back. She does an incredible job of summing up her experience getting to Bull Canyon from the sailboat in a simply chapter. I loved the introductions and continued antics of her neighbors. I am continually enamored with the way we are so surprised when people are outright kind to us and yet, I am glad to still be amazed by this. As this was a first time read for me of Lin Pardey's books, I look forward to reading her other books now.

A few of my favorite moments were these -

The aroma of garlic and sage rubbed turkey slowly filled the pine-paneled room, and my thoughts were drawn back to the list of tasks I had to do before everyone arrived. As I basted the turkey, then formed loaves of bread and set them on the long, clean counter to rise, I surveyed my country cottage. Then wondered, just as every daughter must, "What will Mom think?" Would she see only the peeling paint in the side rooms, the rotting ceiling panels in the kitchen, the old stains on borrowed tablecloths that couldn't disguise the rough legs of the rental table, the cracks in the few serving dishes we owned, the tree stumps and old packing chests that had to serve as seats for half the guests? Or would she see the sweet-smelling boughs of pine, the cattails and brilliant autumn leaves I'd gathered to decorate the long table? Would she hear the crackle of the old wood stove as it warmed the kitchen and kept my fruit compote slowly simmering, and the sizzle of the turkey in the propane oven? Would she then envision, as I did, the romance of this hidden spot as it slowly yielded to my guiding efforts and became a real haven?
This quote made me yearn for my mother.
"Show her every ring you've got for under ten bucks," he announced to the bored looking salesman in the credit jewelry store. "I'm only joking," he added as the man pointed to the two bands that cost less than ten dollars. The joke was on Larry as I tried on fifty bands to find the only one small enough to be worn by me that day cost $9.99.
This one just made me laugh at the way life works out sometimes.
"Lin, it's only money," Larry insisted as he had often before during our lives together. "I can always go out to the beach, live on Seraffyn, and find some boatbuilding work if we run short."
Simply warms the heart.

One of my favorite stores was about them encountering and eventually adopting a cat named Dog and how that came about, but sadly I cannot possibly ruin it for anyone who will be reading this story. It is way too entertaining to divulge.

I couldn't stop laughing out loud during the entire chapter entitled "Children of All Ages" where they discuss having children before it is too late even though they decided ages ago not to. They even go so far as to look around for children to borrow. Hilariously funny!

I fell even more deeply in love with this book during Chapter "Interlude," during which Lin describes their lives off Bull Canyon where she takes care of their boat that they sailed around the world. She details another couple who have similar lives to their own gypsy-like living and how they grew into a wonderful life long friendship.

On a side note, I really liked the added touch of the hard cover. When I read a hard cover, I take the outside wrap off the book. I don't want to ruin it and I tend to be very hard on my books, as they are like another part of my body, coming along wherever I go and with everything I eat/drink. As I have read many hard cover books without the cover, they are usually nondescript and just a plain, solid color hard cover book, but this book not only had the title embossed in the front, but the authors name and beautifully done.

A big thanks to GoodReads and Lin Pardey for allowing me to receive this book and be a First Reads winner to review it!

Summary from Good Reads -

Lin Pardey and her husband Larry are internationally famous for their sailing adventures. But in 1980 -- fresh from an eleven years-long sailing journey, where they forged the early years of their marriage on high seas and in exotic locales -- they came to California looking for a good spot to build a boat, test Lin’s skills as a writer and taste the apparent security life ashore could offer.

Nestled in a rocky outcropping of winding, sparsely populated dirt roads, 60 miles from the sea and 50 miles from Los Angeles, Bull Canyon would seem an unlikely place for boat-building. But when Lin and Larry set eyes on the abandoned stone cottage at the top of a rutted, dusty lane, it was love at first sight. The house was certainly a fixer-upper, but there was plenty of room to build a boat, not to mention peace, quiet, and an abundance of natural beauty. They knew they'd come home.

Bull Canyon would bring them joy, victories and failures – but also packrats in the pantries, flooding rains that would make Noah himself cower, the occasional cougar, and an oddball collection of neighbors as ready to assist these hapless appearing newcomers as they were to gossip or occasionally cause trouble. It would be a life lived close to the land, coaxing vegetables out of acrid soil, living side-by-side with wildlife of all types, navigating dangerous roads to simply get to the nearest grocery store, no piped in water, no electricity, no phones – not even a proper address to receive mail. Their marriage would be tested, too, working side-by-side, 24/7. Life in the canyon would prove daunting, gritty, and dangerous, and a tougher bargain in the end than what they'd signed up for.

But as tough as life could be there, Bull Canyon was, indeed, the place where dreams could come true. It was here that Lin and Larry tapped into the affirming core of their marriage, accomplished back-breaking physical feats (moving enormous boulders and pouring tons of hot lead, among others), and grew to love the magical yet difficult environment.
In the tradition of Under the Tuscan Sun and A Year in Provence, Pardey takes readers on a voyage – landlocked, but a voyage nonetheless – of the heart, sharing candidly and with great humor the four years she and her determined husband spent in Bull Canyon. From the Thanksgiving when they had to hang the turkey from a ceiling hook to keep it safe from invading animals, to their constant companion, Dog (who is actually a cat), to Lin's run-in with a couple of drunk hunters, to Larry's careful coaxing of rough-sawn timber into the beautiful boat, Taleisin, their story, related in the warm, personal voice of the fireside storyteller, is a funny, tender, and engrossing tale. Bull Canyon is the story of two "dreamers and schemers" who have taken life by the horns – and bring the reader along for the wild and joyous ride.

Wordless Wednesday - no ordinary cat

It is hard to tell because the pictures are so dark, but Tuesday is actually laying in bed and trying to drink out of the glass beside her. Forget getting up, she can drink and lay at the same time.

The Fortune cookie that says it all.

Wordless Wednesday

Nook - digital library

I just love the digital library that I have been working with the past couple of weeks. With a library card, I can download library books and read them on my nook FOR FREE. It's so easy and so wonderful.

I downloaded Adobe Digital Editions to my computer. I pick the books I want and it downloads them to the adobe editions. I then plug the usb cord for my nook into the computer. Up pops the nook within the adobe editions application. I then drag the books from the adobe editions library tab to the nook tab in the same application. Voila it is done! I can read for 14 days.

I just figured out that I can return the books as soon as I am done with them. I just go into the adobe digital editions library, select the tab button that says borrowed and then click on the arrow for each book and click return. This way I can hopefully get the book into the next person waiting to read the book.

I can have up to six books on hold. I have filled that up very fast. It tells where I am in line which is good because I know how long I have to wait and bad because I know how long I will have to wait. (lol) They simply email me when my book is ready for checkout. I can check out up to 10 books at once, though I keep it closer to 8 since I want the books I have on hold to be available when ready, just in case.

I have been filling up my wish list too. This helps me for when I want to check out a book, I can go directly there and see all the wonderful books I am interested in.

I love that using a PDF book I can still use the dictionary, notes and tab functions (this deletes once the book is sent back) while the EPub books I cannot, but they are still readable.

The only concern I have is that the selection isn't what I wish it was, but between the digital library, borrowing hard bound books from work and then buying what's left, I am in good shape for reading.

Where's the accountability?

I had this customer today who encountered me at customer service and asked if she could use our phones.

Me: Sadly, no. Our entire team was very sick for months back and our GM has now issued a policy of employees only, but there are public telephones at both the stores next to us for you to use.

The woman gets upset and starts telling me how rude we have been toward her while she has been here. How one person was hostile. One person took her books from her table when she only left them for a few minutes. How so many people have told her not to shop here and now she understands why. Because of how she has been treated, she feels I should make an exception for her and let her use the phone.

Me: While I completely understand your frustration with your experience and I appreciate you telling me, I still cannot allow you use our phones. I am so sorry.

She asks if I have a personal cell phone she can use.

Me: (a small shocked laugh escapes my lips) No, ma'am I have to pay for that myself. I repeat my earlier comment about the public phones next door.

She continues to get upset and tells me about her head injury she sustained recently and . . . . more of her story.

Ten minutes go by, I listen and make comforting sounds and responses. Then repeat, "Sadly our phones are strictly for employees only, but right next store they have public phones for your use."

She finally leaves and I go to the registers to pull numbers, log them in our binder and then go to our different departments to drop off their numbers. As I round the corner to one of our departments, guess who I see?? IN FRONT OF A PHONE!! The same woman I told no to not five minutes earlier.

My blood pressure shoots through the roof.

Me: Ma'am, can I help you with something?

She looks at me and says, "this nice girl said I could use the phone."

Me: After you asked me and I told you that every one of our phones are for employees only?!

My employee: Oh my. I am so sorry. (she immediately looks sick)

Me: It's okay you didn't know. It's not your fault. (I look point blank at the woman) As I said before ma'am, our phones are strictly enforced as employee use only, but you may go outside (and I point this time) and use the public phones next door.

She says, "I thought this was separate from your store."

Me: No ma'am we are still in the same building. Obviously there has been a misunderstanding.

She says, "I asked if she had a cell phone and she directed me to this phone."

Me: As I said before, we have to pay for our personal cell phones, but there are public phones for your use right next door. I am going to have to ask you to step away from the phones and out from behind my registers, now. Thank you. (I can feel my face dying from trying to remain calm and collected)

I pull our employee aside and explain that our GM was very specific about not letting customers use the phone because of us being so sick over the holidays. She apologizes again. I tell her not to worry and I will let our GM know he has missed labeling the phone as "employee use only."

I then go in back and find out this woman has complained to our other assistant manager and our merchandise manager too!! Ironically, our other assistant manager has been texting our GM about this woman and watching her on camera to see what she is doing.

Are you kidding me??? I ask what our policy is on asking people to leave because had I known this in advance I would have not hesitated to ask her to leave. As I ask this, our GM says we have full right to ask her to leave and to keep an eye on her. Since I am still seething I ask our other assistant, if she doesn't mind if I stay in back for a few moments and pull tape, then go out front. She says she will walk the floor and keep an eye on her.

I know I have to reapproach my employee who I am sure thinks she is in huge trouble, which she should be, but I am not concerned with her because she always does an incredible job and I know without a doubt she will never forget this incident. But on a side note, this woman who asked to use the phone could very well have gotten that employee FIRED on the spot for her disrespect and disregard after asking me and me telling her no. HOW RUDE?!?!? It just astounds me time and time again, when people do not think by them getting an employee to do something a manager has already said NO to, they could be fired. Or maybe they just don't care. I don't know, but after all my years in retail I shouldn't be surprised anymore.

Hours go by and I get a call asking specifically for me. This same woman calls and wants to speak with me. Directly with me, which is so wrong because anyone who knows they have been wronged will call the manager and complain. Instead she asks to speak to only me. I greet her and ask her name -- which she won't give. Surprise, surprise. She then goes into a long conversation asking my why things escalated so quickly (bc she did something stupid and got caught). She felt harassed and unwelcome (probably bc she complained to everyone, not to mention she got someone in trouble). She doesn't understand why we watched her after she didn't use the phone (bc she was in direct violation of security policy for being behind a register). By then I am so over the situation, I basically talk her down without admitting to being at fault for anything (bc I/we did nothing wrong). At this point, I know it is easier to just console her rather than argue with her, especially knowing my GM will back me up with any complaint she may have. I reassure her she will be welcome in our store and if she has any problems in the future she can ask for me.

Blah blah blah