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Monday, July 16, 2012

Herbal Lemonade inspired by Thank You for Flying Air Zoe by Erik Atwell {book tour}

title: Thank You for Flying Air Zoe

author: Erik Atwell
publisher:  Booktrope Editions
book source: TLC Book Tours
"foodie" elements:  Hmmmm...minor mentions of food, but not a foodie-novel, per se.
soft cover: 258 pages

random excerpt:  Dwyer smiles and says, "These are my dear friends and Project Earth colleagues.  The lovely songbird with the guitar is Wind."
"Enchanted," Wind whispers.  Not even kidding.
"And this fellow here," Dwyer continues, "is her man, Earth."
"Pleasure to meet you," Earth says.
And now here it comes.
"Seriously?" Lo says, laughing.
"Lo, no." I say.
"Earth, Wind, and Dwyer?" Lo says, unable to help herself.
"Did I mention that my life is a freak show?" Flora says to Lo.  

(p.100 - Now, you may not get it just from reading this excerpt all by itself, but I guffawed pretty loudly when I read this little section.  I suppose you need to read what's leading up to it and know a little background, but I couldn't stop laughing and re-reading it a few times over.)

summary/synopsis:  Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fasten Seat Belt sign has been turned on, but feel free to ignore it, because sometimes life is best lived on its dizzy edges. Your cruising altitude today will be sky high, and you will be flying at staggering speeds as you travel alongside Zoe Tisdale, former Valley Girl and rock star turned bored butter saleswoman.

On the heels of a brush with mortality, Zoe concludes that she’s been letting time pass her by. Realizing she needs to awaken her life’s tired refrains, Zoe vows to recapture the one chapter of her life that truly mattered to her – her days as drummer for The Flip-Flops, a spirited, sassy all-girl garage band that almost hit the big time back in 1987. But reuniting the band won’t be easy. The girls who were once the whiz kid guitarist, the prom queen bass player, and the hippie lead singer grew up and became women who are now a reclusive dog trainer, a wealthy socialite, and a sociopathic environmentalist. Will Zoe bring the band back together and give The Flip-Flops a second chance at stardom? Is it possible to fully reclaim the urgent energy of youth?

As you follow this wild flight path, please know that your destination could be anywhere at all, complimentary oxygen is provided upon request, and baggage flies free. We hope you enjoy the ride, and Thank You For Flying Air Zoe.

my thoughts/review:  I give this book a solid - good.  It wasn't the most exciting book I've read, but it wasn't the worst, either.  And it wasn't one of those reads that I couldn't put down and just breezed through; it actually seemed to take me a loooooong time to finish.  The characters were interesting enough, but I always seem to have an issue when there is a female main character written by a man.  And this book had four main female characters - and was written by a man.  At risk of sounding like a reverse chauvinist, I don't think dudes quite get how to be a woman.  Maybe how they think a woman is...or should be.  But let's face it, these women were a bit of a fantasy.

BUT, that said, I enjoyed the story of going back to live out a dream you've had since you were young.  Though mine would not involve high school in any way, shape, or form.  I enjoyed some of the smart humor laced throughout the book (but some got tiring, such as Ginger's constant use of "wrong" words).  I liked the crumbs of food scattered through the pages (food's always enough to string me along).  I definitely enjoyed the music/band aspect and all of the '80's references.  I'm younger than these ladies, but not so young that I don't remember my elementary and junior high years (all of which fell in the '80's) - and music was a huge part of those years and probably my best memories.

So, overall, it was good.  I don't know who to recommend it to...I'm not sure which genre it falls into - fans of general fiction, I suppose.  It'd be a good read if you have a few solid blocks of free-time for reading like a long commute or a day at the pool or beach.

about the author: Erik Atwell started his writing career in grammar school, where a one page history class assignment ballooned into a forty page fictional account of a politically controversial silversmith in Boston circa 1776. Daring to follow up such an auspicious debut, he later graduated to short stories while living in New Hampshire, screenplays upon moving to Los Angeles, then finally novels when he ultimately landed in Seattle. He is currently gearing up to escape city life and return home to New Hampshire with his rock-star wife and eight month-old son, whose only musical claim to fame thus far is sleeping through an entire Go-Go’s concert. But in his defense, he was three weeks old, and the stage was a quarter-mile away. Thank You For Flying Air Zoe is his first novel, and he hopes to write a second novel before the little guy is old enough to read it.

And yes, he was once in a band. For twelve minutes.

It wasn’t pretty.

further info:  blog | facebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book:  I went back and forth deciding what to make from this novel...where to draw my kitchen inspiration from.  There were a few mentions of food.  Enough to make me happy.  The most mentioned were blackberry crepes - which I was thisclose to making.  There was also reference to butter (Zoe was a butter saleswoman), breakfast in bed, granola and huckleberry pancakes, pastrami sandwiches, Kobe Tatataki w/ Garlic Ponzu, and Lobster Agnolotti w/ Mascarpone.  But this book was (or seemed) pretty centered around Summer.  And the band's name was The Flip-Flops.  Flip-Flops remind me of Summer.  Summer reminds me of lemonade.  There were also a couple of lemonade references in the book...from selling it as kids to surprising a guy with a thermos of it on a hot day as an adult.  It was lemonade all the way.  And in honor of peace-loving, hippie-chic Mel, I decided to make it Herbal Lemonade.  Something that may (should)  have been offered at a booth during Eco-Fest - the site of the first gig of the Flip-Flops reunion.

Herbal Lemonade

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 minutes + time to chill
Keywords: beverage vegetarian herbs lemons summer

Ingredients (1 quart)
  • few sprigs fresh thyme (or other fresh herbs)
  • water
  • ~⅓ c. honey (or you could use agave nectar or superfine sugar)
  • ½ c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring thyme (or your choice of herb*) and 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 6-8 minutes.

Strain water into a 1-quart jar. Stir in honey (or other sweetener) and lemon juice. Fill the jar up the remainder of the way with cold water. Chill.

Taste and adjust sweetness to taste.

Serve over ice, garnished with a thyme sprig (or herb you used) and lemon wedges or slices, if you wish.

Try this with other herbs such as rosemary, sage, basil, mint, or lavender.
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*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

I am sharing this post with:
Herbs on Saturday: hosted at Bangers & Mash
herbsonsaturday tlc-tour-host

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanks for the write-up...and more so, for that fantastic recipe!

  2. I agree with you on the male/woman thing. it's almost always weird. But the lemonade sounds so refreshing! I love lemon paired with herbs.

  3. Velva-Tomatoes on the VineJuly 16, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    I can dig the book and the herbal lemonade!

  4. I love the idea of adding herbs to lemonade!

  5. Herbal Lemonade is my very best favorite way to prepare lemonade but would you believe I've never added thyme! I have some lemon thyme out in the garden I think I may just need to give it a try! Thanks for sharing Heather...

  6. Linda-There and Back AgainJuly 16, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Looks like a lovely drink and a fun summer read to go with it!

  7. Yeah, I am not entirely big on men writing women characters either. There are some that do a good job, but then there are others that I don't really get at all where they are coming from... At least your excerpt was entertaining!

  8. A FABULOUS entry into Herbs on Saturday and a LOVELY post too Heather! I ADORE homemade lemonade.....and with herbs? C'est parfait!

  9. Hi Heather, sounds really refreshing and easy. Never tried lemonade with herbs and it sounds delish!

  10. Paired with that drink, this sounds like a wonderfully refreshing summer read!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.