Saturday, April 18, 2015

You Can't

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true. 
But you can like one cover version better than another..

UK cover
US cover
Here's another book I'm really looking forward to - A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. This is a companion novel to the brilliant Life After Life (my review) The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. I'm going with UK this week - it definitely grabs your attention. I find the US cover too plain. Are you planning on A God in Ruins? Which cover do you prefer? 
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover 
is a regular Saturday feature at A Bookworm's World.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Over the Counter #260

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? English and Science this week....

First up is 101 Two-Letter Words by Stephin Merritt.

From the publisher, W.W. Norton:

" A one-of-a-kind celebration of the 101 two-letter words allowed in Scrabble.

Rolling Stone has called singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields “the Cole Porter of his generation”; O, The Oprah Magazine has hailed cartoonist Roz Chast as “the wryest pen since Dorothy Parker’s.” Together they have crafted a wonderfully witty book that is sure to prove useful to Scrabble players and Words With Friends addicts—and to delight anyone in thrall to the weirder corners of the English language.

With the mordant wit and clever wordplay of Edward Gorey or Shel Silverstein, Stephin Merritt has written an original four-line rhyming poem for each of the 101 two-letter words included in The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary. Here are poems about familiar words (such as at, go, hi, no, and up) as well as obscure ones (such as aa, ka, oe, qi, xu). And every one of the 101 poems is accompanied by a full-color illustration by the incomparable cartoonist Roz Chast.

101 Two-Letter Words is perfect for any language lover or Scrabble player (it may even improve your score!)."

Next up is AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the World’s Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors, and Unexplained Phenomena by Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown.

From the publisher, Scribner:

"From the creators of the wildly popular and seriously scientific YouTube channel, AsapSCIENCE, comes entertaining, irreverent, and totally accessible answers to the questions you never got to ask in science class.

Why do we get hung over? What would happen if you stopped sleeping? Is binge-watching TV actually bad for you? Why should I take a power nap? In their first-ever book, Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown, the geniuses behind YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE, explain the true science of how things work in their trademark hilarious and fascinating fashion.

Applying the fun, illustrated format of their addictive videos to topics ranging from brain freeze to hiccups to the science of the snooze button, AsapSCIENCE takes the underpinnings of biology, chemistry, physics, and other hard sciences and applies them to everyday life through quirky and relatable examples that will appeal to both science nerds and those who didn’t ace chemistry. This is the science that people actually want to learn, shared in a friendly, engaging style. And in the spirit of science, no subject is taboo. Amid the humor is great information and cocktail conversation fodder, all thoughtfully presented. Whether you’re a total newbie or the next Albert Einstein, this guide is sure to educate and entertain...ASAP."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Dead Key - D.M. Pulley - Review AND Giveaway

I collect old keys and I often wonder about what they unlocked and who used them.

D.M. Pulley's debut novel The Dead Key starts with keys and goes from there....

The Dead Key is told in two narratives - the past is 1978 and the present is 1998. And everything revolves around The First Bank of Cleveland. Twenty years ago there were allegations of fraud, staff had disappeared at the bank and more. One night, with no warning to the remaining staff or customers, the bank is shuttered. It has remained locked up and seemingly forgotten for the last twenty years. Except for the security guard who has been on site for all of that time.

1998 - Engineer Iris Latch goes in to map out the building for a possible buyer - and comes across the lost keys to the still locked safety deposit boxes. 1978 - young Beatrice Davies is a new employee of First Bank who stumbles upon some goings on that aren't quite right.  The two women are investigating the same mystery, but I found it was Beatrice I was drawn to. I found myself quite annoyed with Iris's actions, choices and attitude.

But it is the forgotten building untouched for twenty years that had me intrigued. Vending machines still plugged in and working? Family photos on desks? I would love to be an urban explorer in this building. I really enjoyed Pulley's slow revealing of the physical bank and its secrets.

What has lead to the closing of the bank is revealed through the two women's investigations. Corruption,greed and larceny figure heavily into the story line. I did find that some of the plot points in the story needed to be taken with a grain of salt, but overall I thought the The Dead Key was a good debut novel. Recommended for the beach bag or plane ride.

It was only after finishing the book, that I discovered The Dead Key was based on fact - D.M. Pulley did indeed come across a basement full of unclaimed safety deposit boxes!

Read an excerpt of The Dead Key.

"D. M. Pulley’s first novel, The Dead Key, was inspired by her work as a structural engineer in Cleveland, Ohio. During a survey of an abandoned building, she discovered a basement vault full of unclaimed safe deposit boxes. The mystery behind the vault haunted her for years, until she put down her calculator and started writing. The Dead Key was the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award grand prize winner. Pulley continues to work as a private consultant and forensic engineer, investigating building failures and designing renovations. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband and two children, and she is currently at work on her second novel." You can connect with D.M. Pulley on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

See what other readers on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

And if this sounds like a book you'd like to read, I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Thomas and Mercer. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends May 2/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Orient - Christopher Bollen

I love book covers - imagining what the story might be from the image(s) chosen before I even turn a page. The cover of Christopher Bollen's new book, Orient, grabbed me from the first glance - the colors, that stormy sky, the ominous looking lighthouse - and a great opening prologue....

"When people try to picture me, they undoubtedly recall only the last time they saw me, just before I went missing. There's been a lot of speculation about the night I left the Far North Fork of Long Island - how a nineteen-year old wanted for questioning in a string of murders managed to elude police and vigilant local drivers..."

The small town of Orient is separated from the mainland by geography, but also by the desire of the inhabitants to just 'leave things be'. Change is not necessary. But it's a beautiful place to live - and a number of 'outsiders' have discovered Orient. One of those native sons brings home Mills, a 'stray' to help him with some home cleanup. And the first body turns up not long after that. That idyllic veneer is paper thin - the town is seething with secrets, recriminations and personal agendas. And then there's that secret government facility on a neighboring island.

As I read, I was continually kept off balance - I had no idea what to expect and could not predict where Bollen's tale was going to go. The characters, their actions and their thoughts had me feeling distinctly unsettled - quite frankly I found most of the players to be unlikable, including Mills, who seems to be at the center of things, even though he is a newcomer.

But, I couldn't put the book down - I wanted to know who the killer was and what the motive was. I really appreciate an author that can keep me engaged and off kilter. The final whodunit was not what (or who) I expected at all. Bollen's mystery is well plotted, but it is the smoldering tensions and the duplicitous and self-oriented characters that were the stand out for me.

"Fear was viral, airborne, contagious. It opened doors for him. It allowed him to touch things that weren't his." Delicious. Orient is a chunkster, coming in at over 600 pages - and this reader enjoyed every one.

"Christopher Bollen is an editor at large for Interview magazine. He is the author of the novel Lightning People, and his work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, the Believer, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York."
You can connect with Christopher Bollen on his website as well as on Twitter.

See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Giveaway - Night Life - David C. Taylor

Looking for a new crime series? Here's your chance to win Night Life -  the first book of a new historical crime fiction series from from David C. Taylor.

"New York City in 1954. The Cold War is heating up. Senator Joe McCarthy is running a witch hunt for Communists in America. The newly formed CIA is fighting a turf battle with the FBI to see who will be the primary US intelligence agency. And the bodies of murdered young men are turning up in the city. Michael Cassidy has an unusual background for a New York cop. His father, a refugee from Eastern Europe, is a successful Broadway producer. His godfather is Frank Costello, a Mafia boss. Cassidy also has an unusual way of going about the business of being a cop--maybe that's why he threw a fellow officer out a third story window of the Cortland Hotel.

Cassidy is assigned to the case of Alexander Ingram, a Broadway chorus dancer found tortured and dead in his apartment in Hell's Kitchen. Complications grow as other young men are murdered one after the other. And why are the FBI, the CIA, and the Mafia interested in the death of a Broadway gypsy? Meanwhile, a mysterious, beautiful woman moves into Cassidy's building in Greenwich Village. Is Dylan McCue a lover or an enemy? Cassidy is plagued by nightmares--dreams that sometimes become reality. And he has been dreaming that someone is coming to kill him. ?"

Read an excerpt of Night Life.

"David C. Taylor was born and raised in New York City. He spent twenty years in Los Angeles writing for television and the movies. He has published short stories and magazine articles, and has had an Off-Broadway musical produced in New York. He now divides his time between Boston and the coast of Maine."

I have THREE! copies to giveaway, courtesy of Forge Books. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends May 2/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Giveaway - Losing Faith - Adam Mitzner

Who writes great legal thrillers? Lawyers do! Adam Mitzner's third book, Losing Faith, releases tomorrow - and I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Gallery Books.

From the publisher:

"Aaron Littman is the premier lawyer of his generation and the chairman of Cromwell Altman, the most powerful law firm in New York City, when a high-profile new client threatens all that he’s achieved—and more. Nicolai Garkov is currently the most reviled figure in America, accused of laundering funds for the Russian Mafia and financing a terrorist bombing in Red Square that killed twenty-six people, including three American students.

Garkov is completely unrepentant, admitting his guilt to Aaron, but with a plan for exoneration that includes blackmailing the presiding judge, the Honorable Faith Nichols. If the judge won’t do his bidding, Garkov promises to go public with irrefutable evidence of an affair between Aaron and Faith—the consequences of which would not only destroy their reputations but quite possibly end their careers.

Garkov has made his move. Now it’s Aaron and Faith’s turn. And in an ever-shocking psychological game of power, ethics, lies, and justice, they could never have predicted where those moves will take them—or what they are prepared to do to protect the truth." Read an excerpt of Losing Faith.

Adam Mitzner, a lawyer by day, is also the author of A Case of Redemption and A Conflict of Interest. He lives in New York City, with his wife and children." "Adam Mitzner’s critically acclaimed legal thrillers have “more loops and flips than Coney Island’s Cyclone” (Kirkus Reviews) and “more twists than a California cloverleaf interchange” (Bookreporter). His latest, a captivating examination of justice and ethics, will leave you guessing until the last page."

Sound like a book you'd like to read? I have one copy to giveaway away. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Ends May 2/15.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Giveaway winners!

And the lucky winner of  copy of A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison courtesy of Random House is:


And the winner of a copy of One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, courtesy of Penguin Books is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you both by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time, a new winner will be chosen. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #51

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...

US cover
UK cover
Here's another entry from my ever teetering TBR pile! I'm looking forward to The Orient by Christopher Bollen. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. I'm going with US this week -  it's less busy than the UK cover and just seems mysterious. I want to know about that house and light. Although, the UK tagline does give you a better idea of the story inside. Have you or are you planning on reading Orient? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature at
 A Bookworm's World.