Summertime Madness Book Tag

Quite unexpectedly, I got tagged for this challenge by Amanda N. Butler.

Anyone who knows me will know I am not actually a Summer type of person. Give me rain, Autumn leaves, snow and Winter’s cool embrace! That’s when I am at my happiest! But for now, let’s see how I get on with this challenge:

Show a book with a summery cover.

Have to go with Bloodlust by Alex Duval, the first book in the Vampire Beach series. When Jason Freeman’s family moves to the exclusive DeVere Heights area of Malibu, he finds himself surrounded by the most beautiful people he has ever seen but is there more them than meets the eye? I think this might have been the first teen book I read in high school, during the Twilight/vampire craze and made for a nice change.

Pick a fictional place that would be the perfect destination for a summer holiday.

This has taken some thinking about but I think the place I would go bizarrely is Lockwood & Co.’s haunted Britain. I know it’s not a destination but I would love to explore it and discover what is happening outside of London. We get some idea what is going outside of London during the first book when Lucy talks about her road to joining Lockwood and George.

 

You’re about to go on a flight for your summer holidays but you want to read a book that lasts the whole flight. What novella do you choose?

Probably Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones. This is not exactly a story as such as every story told and all the information, compressed into one person’s 24 hour shift, are all true we are told and only the names of the guilty have been changed. It shines a light on the human condition when we step into a hotel of any sort and any star rating.

You have a case of summertime sadness – what book do you pick to shine a smile on your face?

Had a hard time deciding this one as I have a few books that make me laugh but the one that is always at hand it seems is Texts From Dog by October Jones. Inspired by the Tumblr blog, this book compiles the best-loved “texts” from dog, contemplating everything from bath time to the relationship man and man’s best friend.

You’re sitting at the beach all alone…which fictional character would be your beach babe?

This was a tough one but I think I would go with Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of King Henry VII, from Tanya Huff’s Vicki Nelson series. Blood Price details one of Vicki’s PI cases where she is investigating a series of murders and comes across Henry, who is investigating to try to protect his vampire secret. Of course that would mean the beach at night but if he appears in the form Kyle Schmid, who played him in the Blood Ties TV adaptation, that’s fine by me!

To match your ice cream, you want an icy cool sidekick! Which fictional sidekick do you pick?

Out of two demon possibilities, I think I would go with Sebastian, Lord Phantomhive’s one Hell of a Butler from the Black Butler series. Tied by contract to little Earl Ciel Phantomhive, the Queen’s Guard Dog, Sebastian is out to help Ciel find the people who killed his parents, burnt down his home and hurt him. Once Ciel has his revenge, Sebastian will devour his soul.

The other demon I considered was Eclipse from Demon Diary.

And I am tagging Legends of Windemere’s Charles YallowitzTales From Baggins Bottom’s Diane Wordsworth and MyLittleBookBlog’s Lizzy Baldwin. Hope you guys don’t mind.

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Hot Patootie! Bless My NaNo!

Happy Halloween folks! To celebrate, have Meat Loaf singing Hot Patootie! Bless My Soul! from the classic musical, The Rocky Horror Picture Show:

As well as being Halloween, we are just hours away from the start of National Novel Writing Month. You might have guessed from the amount of NaNoWriMo Prep posts I have rebloggd and you might have also guessed that I am planning to enter this year.

I have a story surrounding two characters who work in a hotel. In basic, one character is a witch, a trainee concierge at the hotel, who ends up having to go to Berkshire, South of London, for a family reunion which ends up turning into a big family argument (what do you mean that always happens anyway?!) and ends up revealing a very nasty side of the witch. My other character is a werewolf, a receptionist at the hotel, who ends up going undercover to investigate a crime, under the direction of his pack alpha. I have probably not sold the story too well but I am looking forward to writing it. As you can probably tell, one story is more thought out than the other but the witch has talked to me more than the werewolf. Once the month gets under way, that might change.

Whether I get to the magical 50k or not, I don’t know; it will just be nice to be able to write something that is purely for fun! Being in competition with other WriMo’s could help push my word count up since I can be very competitive. I know I can and I do try to harness all that energy and use it all up during NaNo. I will end up revealing more about my story no doubt as I attempt to actually keep up with NaNo updates on here this time instead of having to bundle a bunch of days together like I have done in the past in one update. Who knows? I might even pluck up the courage to get to a write in or two in my local area! (What are you laughing at? It could happen!)

So bonus points if you got the joke I tried making with my title without looking at the video. I hope you are having fun and staying safe this Halloween, getting ready for NaNoWriMo in your own way if you are doing this session (don’t forget! Discounted Halloween sweets tomorrow!) and, because I am such a geek, have a levitating pumpkin from the Royal Institution!:

Book Review: Air Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones & Anonymous

Yes, another Babylon book by Imogen. I don’t know why, but I have really got into these at the moment. Maybe it’s because of my own fruitless job search and these books are about books.

Set in an airport and following employees of a fictional airline, Air Babylon follows the high, lows, the weird and the wonderful events that can take place in an airport as the staff help the young and the elderly, the mad and sometimes the downright ridiculous. All the stories are true, as told to Imogen by Anonymous, a group of industry insiders and take place in one 24 hour period. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Starting on the ground, Anonymous goes through his shift dealing with various problems and letting the reader follow and explore what happens when someone dies on a flight, how they deal with illegal immigrants, animals being transported in weird and wonderful ways (leading to a chapter in the animal welfare centre), what the chaplaincy service does in the airport and the tricks that passengers try to get free upgrades. There’s also what happens when the rich and famous checks in and flies.

The action then moves into the air, exploring what the captain and first officer does in the cockpit, the tricks that are played on new colleagues, the secrets behind the food on the plane, the entertainment, the different types of passengers and includes, yes, those that want to join the Mile High Club.

There is also a small section that takes place on the ground at the planes destination and what the plane’s crew gets up to during their stopovers. It is very eye-opening.

Just like Hotel Babylon, this book is great fun and is told from the first person perspective. It gives a real insight to the world of air travel post-9/11 and shows just how highly unionised certain jobs and groups within the airport have become. It has the same share of shocks and surprises, amusement and sadness, the funny and the truly crazy that Hotel had. Again, this is the sort of book that would be very appropriate to read in an airport and on a plane…or maybe not!

This is also very interesting and provides a great look at an industry that is often seen as glamorous and very appealing to people to work in and gives the real story of how things work. For anyone wanting to work in the industry or is just interested, this would be a great read for all.

Unlike Hotel, I had a few issues with this book. First off, the swearing again. Far too much in my opinion. Secondly, this has a lot of exposition and a lot of facts and figures are given in large chunks which slows and distracts from the great story being told. Thirdly, and this might be just me, but it took me until very nearly the end of the book before I realised the protagonist, Anonymous, was male! I actually thought the main character was gay for the best part of it. Whoops!

Over all, Air Babylon is a great read and provides a great insight into the excesses, the tricks and the truly shocking things that happen in airports and on board the plane and on the other end. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely re-read and dip back into it when needed during my writing. An excellent read for all (adults)!

Book Review: Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones & Annonymous

Okay, sorry for the lack of reviews and new content this week. I’ve had a few issues to deal with in real life.

Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to spend a night in a high-class hotel so what does happen in such establishments? What do the staff get up to behind the scenes when they are not dealing with guests? What debauchery, scams and drugs happens behind the scenes? Hotel Babylon answers those questions and more. Fictionalised to a certain extent to protect the guilty, Imogen and Anonymous (an insider in the hospitality sector) explore the workings of a hotel, cramming years of stories and anecdotes into one 24 hour period.

This book is great fun. Written from the first person, the reader watches everything from Anonymous’ point of view as he moves through his day and night working in a hotel. The stories are shocking, entertaining, funny and sometimes saddening. It also provides an insight to the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Some of the excesses are surprising and what the doorman does to keep the guests happy, from arranging tables at the most exclusive restaurants to hiring prostitutes for guests to, uh, get their rocks off, is shocking. However, it all amounts to a very entertaining read.

I believe it also gives a better insight into the world than most career information leaflets and books could ever give anyone who wants to work in hotels (especially high-end hotels) and for anyone who is just interested.

The only problem I have with this (and other books in the series) is that there seems to be an excess of swearing when some of it could be done without. Yes, adults swear but I feel there is just too much of it for there to be any real need for it. Maybe it’s because I am not used to the level of swearing used and maybe it’s because I am still learning about the world but I do know that there is an excess of it when it could really be avoided.

Despite the issue with swearing, this book is fascinating and interesting and gives a unique view on the world of hotels and hospitality and is great fun. Probably ironic but perfect material to read on holiday or in a hotel, this book provides the highs and lows of the industry, as well as the shocking and downright outrageous.