Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Giveaway - The Bookseller - Cynthia Swanson

Yes, you read that right! I have a copy of Cynthia Swanson's debut novel The Bookseller to giveaway!

From the publisher, Harper Collins:

"A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams. Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped. Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

Glenda Cebrian Photography
As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?" Read an excerpt of The Bookseller.

"Cynthia Swanson is a writer and a designer of the midcentury modern style. She has published short fiction in 13th Moon, Kalliope, Sojourner, and other periodicals; her story in 13th Moon was a Pushcart Prize nominee. She lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and three children. The Bookseller is her first novel." You can find Cynthia Swanson on Facebook.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? I have one copy to giveaway to a lucky reader. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends March 21/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Giveaway - VeggieTales - Noah's Ark DVD

Today, I have a giveaway for the younger person in your life, courtesy of Dreamworks Animation.

Carrots meet cubits as VeggieTales builds an ark filled with fun, adventure and important lessons about trusting God in NOAH’S ARK, its first Bible-themed production in more than four years.

Starring Wayne Brady and Jaci Velasquez, along with Larry the Cucumber, Bob the Tomato and a whole crew of Veggies, NOAH’S ARK will be available March 3 on DVD and digital download.  Wayne Brady brings to life Noah’s son Shem, who first questions, then learns to embrace, his father’s direction from God. Christian singer, actress and radio host Jaci Velasquez co-stars as Shem’s wife, Sadie.

“Saying ‘yes’ to VeggieTales was a no-brainer – my daughter’s a fan and I love the music and messages,” says Brady, who performs seven original songs in NOAH’S ARK. “The best part is, Bob and Larry are down to earth and they never let the ‘I’m a global Veggie superstar’ thing go to their heads.”  Adds Velasquez: “Every parent searches for entertainment that’s both wholesome and imparts valuable life lessons, and with Noah’s Ark, VeggieTales serves up a delicious dish on both counts. The story, the music and the visuals are perfect for the entire family.”

 In NOAH’S ARK, Shem and Sadie return home from their honeymoon to find that Noah (played by Pa Grape) has begun, at God’s direction, to work on a massive ark, which his wife Naamah (played by Madame Blueberry) and sons Ham (played by Larry) and Japheth (played by Bob) are helping construct before the start of 40 days and 40 nights of rain.

But Shem doesn’t understand Noah’s unshakable faith in God, particularly when animals start arriving two-by-two – while the rain is nowhere to be seen. When the deluge does come, Shem begins to understand Noah’s determination to preserve humanity’s future … and the importance of trusting in God. NOAH’S ARK also features a brand-new “Silly Songs With Larry” segment, in which Larry dons a safari outfit as he goes on a quest for a gigantic, golden egg.

To learn more about NOAH’S ARK, and to pre-order the DVD, visit the official VeggieTales website at http://www.veggietales.com, or call the toll-free VeggieTales Hotline at (844) 2-VEGGIE (U.S. callers only).
Or....simply enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. 
Open to US and Canada. Ends March 14/15.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Winner - DKfindout Tote Bag

And the winner of a DKfindout tote bag is:

Jonnie JB Hartling!

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond withing 48 hours. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #45

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

US/Canadian cover
UK cover
I've been waiting for the release of The Bone Tree by Greg Iles since I turned the last pages of the first book, Natchez Burning, in this trilogy. (April 21 for NA) The US/Canadian cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right.  I'm torn this week. The UK cover is quite dramatic with the tagline, the chains and the font. The US cover evokes the southern setting - and the ominous tree. Hmm, US for me this week. Is The Bone Tree a book you plan to read? Which cover do you prefer?
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a
 regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Wild Truth - Carine McCandless

I read John Krakauer's book Into the Wild back in 1996. I remember being unable to put the book down and that my emotions were all over the place. And yes, I cried in the final pages. But throughout it all was the question - why? When Sean Penn made a movie of the same name, I decided not to see it. After all, I knew how it ended right?

But although the ending is known, perhaps not so much for the beginning. And the answer to that question - why?

Twenty two years after Chris McCandless starved to death alone in an old bus in Alaska, his sister Carine McCandless has decided to provide some answers to that question - why - in her new book The Wild Truth.

I chose to listen to this book as it was McCandless herself who read it. I find hearing the words spoken out loud from the person who lived it is powerful. Carine's story is by turns horrifying and heartbreaking. It is a story of secrets and domestic violence.

And here's my dilemma. Yes, the book reveals what life was like for children in this home. And, yes I can see why Chris left to find his own peace. I appreciate Carine's candor in finally exposing the secrets her family held. So, although the book's main premise is to shed light on Chris's past and  on his choices, the book is really about Carine.

And I enjoyed listening to it. I appreciate the candor and honesty of exposing one's self and life to the world. But a wee part of me wonders why Carine continued to have contact with her parents over the next twenty years - asking for financial assistance, trying to mediate their fights and hoping for a breakthrough. Some pretty horrific stuff is described as happening with her parents and Chris's leaving makes sense. And I know  - 'walk a mile....' but I am a loss as to why Carine continued to interact with what are described as thoroughly toxic and dysfunctional parents. Still, I found The Wild Truth a compelling listen, no matter the focus.

From an interview with Outside magazine: Carine - "The book is about Chris, but it’s more of a survival story. The best way I can help people learn from Chris and our experiences and our childhood is to show them directly how I learned from Chris and how I learned from our family’s dysfunction, how I survived. So I utilize myself in both positive and self-deprecating ways. I can’t criticize other people for not learning from mistakes if I don’t acknowledge my own mistakes and what I learned. This book very much goes into all of that." Read an excerpt of The Wild Truth.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Over the Counter #253

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner. This seems to happen to me fairly often....lunch was on my mind.....

First up is You Gotta Eat Here Too! by James Catucci and Michael Vlessides.

From the publisher, Harper Collins Canada:

"More great joints and recipes from the hit Food Network series!

You Gotta Eat Here Too! showcases the great joints and legendary local restaurants that many of us have never heard of. You’ll discover the most delicious, mouth-watering food in Canada and meet the colourful characters that have turned these places into neighbourhood institutions. And you’ll visit some of the country’s best eateries—so get ready for a coast-to-coast road trip with outrageously good food, from the best Caribbean food in the Yukon to pulled-moose sandwiches in Labrador and much, much more." (And there's some fairly close to me!)

And if you don't want to eat out, how about brown bagging it? Find some new ideas in Love Your Lunchbox: 101 recipes to liven up lunchtime by James Ramsden.

From the publisher:

"Save money and eat more healthily with 101 recipes to replace the daily purchased sandwich, drink, and snack.There is a new trend toward lunch boxes as people are cutting back on daily spending, trying to eat more healthily, and aspiring to use things up, creating less waste. Fitting perfectly into this trend, this cookbook is a creative, inspiring source of lunch box recipes and ideas for urbanites, with quirky, original yet practical ideas. Each of the 101 recipes are healthier and cost less than the average café-bought sandwich and drink. As well as recipes for eating straight out of the box, there are ideas for utilizing the office kettle, toaster, or microwave to finish off. From super noodles with tofu and lemongrass, to smoked mackerel salad, there are ideas for winter warmers, light summer lunches, and delicious snacks as well as recipes for the budget conscious. Includes dual measurements."

(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!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Devil You Know - Elisabeth de Mariaffi

The Devil You Know is Elisabeth de Mariaffi's first novel. Her previous short story collection was longlisted for the Giller Prize.

de Mariaffi sets her book in 1993 Toronto. Paul Bernardo has just been arrested and young reporter Evie Jones has been assigned to the story. It's suspected that Bernardo is also the Scarborough rapist that terrorized Toronto women in the late eighties before moving on to murder.

Evie's childhood friend Lianne was also abducted when the girls were young, with her body found eleven days later. This past event is never far from Evie's mind and colours much of her present. When she looks out her apartment window one night and sees a hooded man standing on the fire escape staring back, her anxiety levels ratchet even higher. As she continues to investigate Lianne's death, she finds disturbing connections to her own life. But is she really seeing someone or imagining it?  Are those footsteps someone behind her? Did she leave her door unlocked? Is there someone else in the room with her? de Mariaffi does a great job ratcheting up the tension with seemingly innocent sounds and innocuous actions taking on sinister tones and meaning.

Evie was a difficult character for me. Although I knew I should feel some greater sense of sympathy or empathy for her, she made me angry with her careless actions. Some of her decisions seem at great odds with her mental state and fears - especially in the last few chapters. I did enjoy the voice of reason from David, Evie's friend. David's father was especially creepy.

de Mariaffi does capture time and place extremely well. She herself grew up in Toronto during this time period. And de Mariaffi's best childhood friend Sharin' Morningstar Keenan was indeed murdered. And this is where I start having a problem with the book.  I'm old enough to remember these crimes, the warnings and the increased dangers associated with being a woman in Toronto at that time. But I also remember the victims of Bernardo's crimes. de Mariaffi uses those facts and names in her book. The murder and possible suspect of Lianne's killing is also drawn from Keenan's case. I can't imagine the families of Leslie Mahaffy, Kristen French or Allison Parrot need reminders of their daughters deaths used in a fictional work.

de Marriaffi's blending of fact and fiction just didn't work for me. Inserting her own character and her experience into borrowed real life situations seems a bit too easy. Can I also mention that Charles Manson also figures in a plot that stretched incredulity to the breaking point by the end. I found de Mariaffi's exclusion of quotation marks and one person point of view narrative annoying. Overall, this was a miss for me and just didn't live up to the publisher's blurbs "In the vein of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects". If you're so inclined - here's a link to an excerpt of The Devil You Know.