Tag Archives: travel

Review: Love Me Anyway by Tiffany Hawk

11th July 2013

pg1*This book was sent to me by the publisher Thomas Dunne Books, in exchange for an honest review.

Since my first flight at age 23, I’ve fantasized about careers that would give me the means to travel for a living. Samantha Brown? I may have said a few bad things about her because I’m green with envy. Yet I never once considered being a flight attendant. Tiffany Hawk’s debut novel Love Me Anyway is a great example of why.

Emily Cavenaugh and KC Valentine meet when they begin training as flight attendants. Both seeking a different life – Emily as an escape from an abusive husband, KC looking for the father who abandoned her – they become friends, or as friendly as they can be when their schedules involve flying to different sides of the world and running into one another infrequently in the apartment they share with four other girls.

KC encourages Emily to loosen up, to really cash in on the experience of literally becoming a world traveler. But Emily falls for the wrong guy, a married flight attendant working a stringent schedule so he can spend more time with his two young daughters.

Problems don’t disappear at 35,000 feet; in fact, the hectic schedules, exhaustion, and loneliness only intensify the challenges as KC and Emily fly from San Francisco to London, London to Chicago, and everywhere else in between.

When the unimaginable occurs, and the September 11 attacks involve their sister planes, the women are grounded and forced to face the reality of who they are and where they’re from. Hawk does such a fantastic job of showing what the men and women working for airlines must have felt in the days and weeks after the attacks. The shock and grief of those moments is distilled in these characters and sharpened as many face layoffs, unable to acclimate to life on the ground.

As Emily says to her father when he picks her up, “I want to go home.” “You are home,” he says. Love Me Anyway is a surprisingly deep look at what that word entails and how finding home may not happen while surrounded by four walls and a roof overhead.

Add this to your Goodreads shelf.

Fridays at Home: Packing

1st June 2012

Well by this time, I’m in New York. My brother took today off, so we’re taking full advantage of our time. BUT I promised you a packing post last week, and I wanted to make good. I’ll be up front: I love packing. For someone who didn’t really take real vacations as a child (teacher conventions were high fun growing up), travel is still something that makes me so excited. I love being in airports. I love planning my outfits. I also really take pride in packing light. A. It’s fun to shock people. B. It helps me relax. C. It isn’t so painful to lug my stuff around. The only time I’ve packed in a regular sized suitcase was when I took a three-week business trip to L.A. And, of course, my luggage was lost and returned to me damaged. Therefore, I try to always pack so that I don’t have to check a bag. Here’s how I do it:

First: Plan. Know what you want to bring and take items that pack well. Here I have three dresses, one pair of jeans, four pairs of slacks, and five tops. All are easy to roll, and rolling also helps prevent wrinkles (especially if you’re packing linen, which is one of my favorites for summer travel).

I swear by space bags – NOT the kind you have to vacuum. I spent 2.5 weeks in Italy with just a rolling duffel thanks to these babies. You seal the zipper after putting your clothes in.

Then you begin rolling the bag up. The bottom of the bag has a special chamber where air is released as you roll. Sometimes it helps to kneel on the bag to get extra air out. I know it sounds odd, but it works really well for me.

So this is what you’re left with. 10 days of clothes and half the size of what it originally was.

It fits perfectly in the bottom of my bag!

Next up, my cosmetic bag. Three compartments with room to spare. One small compartment has all my liquids in it, one has makeup, the other has random cosmetic items.

Since I want to put this in my duffel, I take out the liquid compartment and exchange it for my jewelry bag and sleep mask. You’ll see where the liquids get stashed in a minute.

Then it gets zipped and placed on top of the space bag with clothing.

My bag has this great bottom compartment. It stays separate from the top part, and it’s perfect for shoes. Here I have three pairs of shoes (usually I never bring this many), a curling iron, brush, and a cosmetic bag with all my chargers.

I always bring an extra bag. This one is specifically for the Javitz floor. They hand out totes, but I prefer to carry my own. Plus, it’s nice enough that I can stash a pair of heels and a sweater if I need it during the day.

There’s the liquid pouch again! I am really specific about my shoulder bag when I fly. I want those liquids easy to reach, so there’s less hassle. This stash includes my liquids, my Nook Color (under the notebooks), notebooks, business cards (in the white box), pen, camera, umbrella in a zippered pouch. The purple pouch has meds in it, including bandaids. The colorful pouch has hair ties, bobby pins, Colgate disposable toothbrushes, mints, and clips. The pink Coach purse is what I use for my money (and lip gloss). 🙂 All of this goes into the gold handbag.

And there you have it. These are the only two bags that will accompany me! I have to say, packing like this makes my life much easier.

So those are my packing tips! Though I’m pretty proud of them, I’m always open to suggestions. What are your packing rules? Do you have any in your box of magic tricks? Feel free to share with the class. 😉

Calling Mr. King by Ronald De Feo

29th August 2011

*I received this book at BEA from the great folks at Other Press. Buy it now from Indiebound.

What happens when a hit man is tired of being a hit man? He turns to architecture, of course. At least that’s what Mr. King does after he becomes increasingly distracted on the job. Mr. King is the go-to guy if you need someone hunted down and pegged, quickly and in a professional manner, but his latest target bothers him. The target seems cheerful, almost toying with his executioner, and when he buys a white carnation and places it in his lapel, taunting King, it’s game over. But King is thrown.

For a man who, for obvious reasons, has such difficulty in building a stable life, Mr. King suddenly wants one desperately, buying book after heavy book full of Georgian homes and their histories, seeking not just an abode but an area of interest. He knows how to hunt. He knows how to kill. He realizes, almost too late, he wants something more than either of those things.

The book isn’t action packed, which is not at all what you expect when the premise includes a hit man. Instead, King’s obsession takes control of everything, and there were several moments when I wanted to snap him out of it, but De Feo doesn’t let King – or the reader – off that easily, and King travels deeper into himself, unwilling to answer the phone call with his order to kill.

In the end, the symmetry of this novel was perfect. And it’s something I JUST CAN’T GIVE AWAY. And that drives me crazy. Because I totally want to sit and tell you how cool the ending is, but I can’t. And won’t.

This won’t be a book for everyone. In fact, if you are looking for a James Bond-style narrative, please do not pick this up. This novel’s intricacies lie in its exploration of obsession but also in structure and writing, and though not everyone will like that, I really did.

P.S. Read the first chapter here.