Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Woman in the Dark - Vanessa Savage

The Woman in the Dark is Vanessa Savvage's debut novel. Now, I'm not too sure about that cover, but what's inside was a really good read!

When Sarah's mother dies, she falls into a bit of a tailspin. Hoping to have a fresh start and a new outlook, her husband Patrick convinces her to take her inheritance and buy his childhood home. He has such fond memories of this house and his time in it - it was 'perfect' in his words. And he wants that for Sarah and his two children Joe and Mia. But the house isn't quite perfect - it's actually known as The Murder House. Yes, a mother, father and child were murdered in the home after Patrick's family moved out.

Ahh, a nice set-up with lots of possibilities......I love a good spooky house story. But is it the house? Or the people living in it? Savage does an excellent job at keeping both options on the table.

The relationship with Sarah and Patrick begins to deteriorate, as does their own mental states. As readers, we want to shout at Sarah to just get out now. Take her kids and run. The teens are not exempted from the what's happening either. And yet, they all stay..... (and as a perquisite of spooky house stories - yes, there's a scary cellar - and you shouldn't go down there either.)

The Woman in the Dark is told from Sarah's point of view. But there's also someone else - is it the person that Sarah sees watching the house? Italicized chapters darkly hint at the past. Savage keeps the reader guessing with many supporting characters that are all just a little off. The suspense builds with many red herrings, possibilities, what-ifs and more as the book progresses. Shades of Jack Nicholson and redrum.

I found Savage's writing to be really addictive - I was always trying to squeeze in just one more chapter before putting the book down. I'm quite looking forward to what she writes next. Here's an excerpt of The Woman in the Dark.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Giveaway - A Dog's Way Home - Blu-ray™ and Book!

Based on the bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog's Way Home releases on Digital March 26 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on April 9 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. And I have a combo pack of both the Blu-ray™ and the novel to giveaway to one lucky reader!

What's it about? "The film chronicles the heartwarming adventure of Bella, the brave and adventurous dog that embarks on an epic 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her beloved human, Lucas. A Dog's Way Home highlights the power of unconditional love between man’s best friend and its human companion. The film stars Ashley Judd.

A Dog's Way Home arrives with adorable extras including a DIY guide to creating your own tasty dog treats at home and several deleted scenes. Also included are interviews with novelist W. Bruce Cameron, director Charles Martin Smith and cast and crew as well as a heartwarming look at the film’s canine star Bella’s rags to riches journey from the shelter to the big screen.

A Dog's Way Home has a run time of approximately 96 minutes and is rated PG for thematic elements, some peril and language." Check out the official trailer here.

Read the book and want to see the movie? Haven't read the book yet? Enter to win a copy of each using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only. Ends April 6/19.

Friday, March 22, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #255

- 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
I was so excited to hear that Kate Atkinson was releasing a new Jackson Brodie novel! Big Sky releases in June on both sides of the pond! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Both covers use the gull image. I wonder which came first? The bird only or the the seascape scene? The gull alone is quite striking and  and seems to suit and reflect the title. And yet it seems quite stark. The sky is still the focal point in the US cover, with the wharf and waves underneath. The tagline on the UK cover is simple and to the point. The US cover gives us more - but I was unable to read what the top blurb read. I did find a third cover this week that is quite different from these two. The Canadian cover is below.

Canadian cover
The Canadian cover is above. Well, a completely different look here! Gone is the blue sky and bird. The sky is somewhat ominous at the top, but fades out. The pier is there, but more like an arcade that the windswept version on the US cover. This cover doesn't appeal to me at all. I prefer the blue. And out of the two blues, I'm going to go with the US cover this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Big Sky?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

All the Wrong Places - Joy Fielding

Joy Fielding's latest book All the Wrong Places is newly released.

The title immediately brought to mind the phrase 'looking for love in all the wrong places'.

Paige's breakup with her boyfriend was not friendly and she's hestitant to get back into the dating scene. But, convinced by her mother and best friend, she joins a number of online dating sites. Social media has made these sites even quicker - swipe left or right for immediate results. Results is what Mr. Right Now is looking for - he's a serial killer using the sites and apps to troll for victims.

Relationships, companionship, love and the search for those are the driving forces behind Fielding's latest tale. Paige's mother Joan, her cousin Heather and her best friend Chloe are also looking.

The killer is given his own chapters and voice. He's most definitely not someone you want to meet. As readers, we know what he's up to and what he's planning. He has his eye on Paige. And every
time Paige goes online I get that 'don't go in the basement' feeling.

All the Wrong Places ended up being a bit different than I had expected going in, as it was billed as a thriller. Much of the book is focused on the relationships of the four women. Drama. Lots of detail on clothes, hair etc that seemed extraneous after a certain point. Joan's many trips to the hospital. And the reason for her last trip just seemed awkward. Not sure if it was a PSA for those over sixty five? Heather was over the top - you can easily slot her into the mean girls with narcissism role. Philandering husband? Check. Spousal abuse. Check. Starting over. Check. And etcetera.

I like my suspense and thrillers to be a little grittier. Fielding does end the book on a nice twist that I appreciated. And just like dating, this was maybe just the wrong book for me. I think All the Wrong Places would appeal to fans of Iris Johansen and Tami Hoag. Read an excerpt of All the Wrong Places. Check out the five star reviews on Goodreads.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Over the Counter #472

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner?

Help Me: My Perfectly Disastrous Journey through the World of Self-Help by Marianne Power.

From Harper Avenue Books:

"A hilarious and heartwarming rampage through the world of self-care.

Marianne Power was a self-help junkie. For years she lined her bookshelves with dog-eared copies of definitive guide after definitive guide on how to live your best life. Yet one day she woke up to find that the life she dreamed of and the life she was living were not miles but continents apart. So she set out to make a change. Or, actually, to make every change.

Marianne decided to finally find out if her elusive perfect life—the one without debt, anxiety, hangovers or Netflix marathons, the one where she healthily bounced around town with perfect teeth to meet the cashmere-sweater-wearing man of her dreams—lay in the pages of those books. So for a year she vowed to test a book a month, following its advice to the letter, taking the surest road she knew to a perfect Marianne.

As her year-long plan turned into a demented roller coaster where everything she knew was turned upside down, she found herself confronted with a different question: Self-help can change your life, but is it for the better?"

(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!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Harlan Coben - Run Away - Review AND Giveaway

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Harlan Coben's latest thriller, Run AwayIt releases today - and it is sooooooo good! Honestly, every time I finish one of Coben's books, I think 'oh, that's the best one yet.' This latest? Settle in for the day when you start to read - it's impossible to put down!

Oh, and did I mention that I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing?!!

Nobody writes 'everyday guy in a bad situation' books better than Coben. In this latest, Simon's drug addicted daughter Paige has run away with her abusive boyfriend. Simon has been looking for her for months. Then one day, sitting on a bench in Central Park, he spies her playing the guitar for spare change. He approaches her, but she runs again. And Simon follows.....

Cut to a new set of characters - Ash and DeeDee - a pair of stone cold killers. ("Murder was simple if you kept it simple.") And one more player, Elena, a private investigator looking for a missing man. How are these stories all going to tie together? And that dear reader, is the beauty of Harlan Coben's books. There's no predicting where the story is going to go. The plot of Run Away is an intricate jigsaw of a plot - until that last piece is slotted in, you can't be sure there's not another turn in the story. (And there are many - that last one is a doozy.)

The reader is privy to all three narratives and is aware of what each set of characters are up to. Which only serves to ratchet up the tension even more. The cliffhangers at the end of each chapter are dangerous - I couldn't stop reading 'just one more chapter'. I had to know what would happen next.

Each character has their own story and they are really well drawn and fleshed out. Simon's anguish over his daughter is palpable. Elena's own personal story will resonate with you. And oddly enough, Ash has real feelings, despite his choice of profession.

Whew! What a ride! Absolutely recommended! Read an excerpt of Run Away. And if you'd like to read Run Away, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends March 30/19.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Maker March with DK Canada!

It's Maker March time at DK Canada! They've got some great suggestions in their Maker March Boutique..."whether you've got a budding chef on your hands or a budding scientist who wants to build something awesome, we've got the perfect books to keep kids busy and creating during Maker March!"

And not just kids - they're some great ideas for adults as well! The new edition of The Sewing Book by Alison Smith caught my eye......

I'm a self taught sewist, always looking to improve on my skills and discover new ideas and techniques. I was quite excited to explore the 400 pages of The Sewing Book - "more than 300 step by step techniques. Tools. Fabric. How to Use Patterns. Projects for the Home and to Wear." I happily turned the first page....
DK books excel at presenting information and ideas. The Sewing Bible was no exception. The images presented  are full colour photographs. They are crisp, clean images that let you see easily see the details, such as the thickness of different threads and the different types of fabrics. The accompanying information is clear and concise. The layout makes it easy to read.

I sewed a lot of my children's clothes when they were young using commercial patterns. I've never attempted to create or alter patterns for myself, which is something I'd like to try. The section covering this was excellent.

The actual sewing process is detailed as well - stitches. There was a great little pattern for a simple tote bag at the end of this chapter to practice (I have lots of scraps I could use up here!) Subsequent chapters deal with the different techniques of sewing clothes. Again, excellent directions and accompanying photographs. (I preferred these over drawn illustrations.) There are more small projects to practice more skills such as zippers, linings, buttons and more. A small unit on mending was also included. Patterns and an index complete the book.

The Sewing Book is an excellent resource for both novice and experienced sewists. And it's the quality of information and product that I've come to expect and appreciate from DK. Here's an excerpt of The Sewing Bible. See the sample page below.