Friday, March 16, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #202

 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
Squeee! Linwood Barclay has a new book coming out in July called A Noise Downstairs! Perfectly creepy without even knowing what the plot is@The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, lets get to it. Black on both covers, white title and a difference with the author's name in size and colour. Now when I first looked at the US cover, I thought the image was of blinds with a bit of light seeping through. But on looking at the UK cover, I can see typewriter keys - with a wee bit of blood on one of them. Both covers feature tag lines that entice the reader, but I think the US line appeals to me more. Another hard call this week. I like the colours of the US cover better, as well as the tagline. But I like the image of the UK cover better. A tough choice, but I'm going to go with US this week. No matter the cover, it's going to be a great read!
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Zero Day - Ezekiel Boone

Zero Day is the last entry in Ezekiel Boone's Hatching trilogy.

It's the final showdown. Man against the carnivorous spiders that are threatening the extinction of the human race. The first book was the outbreak, the second the continuing fight and in this last book it's do or die.

"The world is on the brink of apocalypse. Zero Day has come."

Yes, the premise reads like a B-movie plot, but it's great fun to read. And cringe -worthy, creepy, crawly spiders skittering all around.....

 Boone has created an ensemble cast that I've come to know and enjoy over the course of the first two books and this is what kept me coming back. They are an eclectic group with many different outlooks and personalities and I'm hard pressed to pick a favourite. No surprise that there is an ending to this ongoing battle. And I have to say, I quite enjoyed the 'wrap-up' of where the lives of the large cast went. (And in that wrap-up I wonder if I'm the only one that thinks one or two of them might make appearances in the future?)

This trilogy could probably have been told in fewer pages, as the fight against the spiders seems a bit repetitive over the course of three books. That being said, Boone does have a way with words and does spin a good tale. I enjoyed his a wonderfully dark sense of humour. Boone fleshes out his narrative with lots of descriptions and side stories that I enjoyed.

I chose to listen to Zero Day, as I did with the previous books. The narrator was George Newbern, one of my favourites. He has a unique voice - clear, pleasant to listen to and easy to understand. He has a wry tone that matches the book and captures Boone's dark humour. His inflections rise and fall, giving the tale movement. Listen to an excerpt of Zero Day. 

You can connect with Ezekiel Boone on his website or follow him on Twitter. He has a new book coming out later in 2018 called The Mansion - it looks like another fun read.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

If I Die Tonight - Alison Gaylin

If I Die Tonight is Alison Gaylin's newest release. This was a first read of this author for me, but it won't be the last.

Small town USA. An aging pop star who goes by the name Amie Em stumbles in the local police station, saying she was carjacked by a teenaged boy. Another boy named Liam tried to stop the theft and was critically injured. But her story keeps changing and there are gaping holes in her recounting of the crime. The finger is inevitably pointed at Wade - a high school outcast.

Gaylin mirrors today's society - much of the case is debated online in various social forums. The presumption of innocent until proven guilty doesn't figure into the diatribe.. A young man's life is irrevocably changed and the injured teen becomes a downed hero to the town.

But is Wade guilty? He refuses to speak about that night. His mother Jackie knows he is not capable of such an act. Or is he? Gaylin tells this story through many points of view, giving the reader options as to what the outcome might be. I felt for Jackie as she struggled to clear her son's name. Gaylin's depictions of her emotions and relationships with her sons was well done. But my favourite supporting character was Officer Pearl Maze. She has her own issues, but was the clearest thinking character for me. (And I'd really like to see her in another book.)

Gaylin provides red herrings and alternative outcomes along the way to the final whodunit. I admit to having my suspicions about one character, who was just a little too calm and helpful for me. And yes, they did figure into the final reveal. But, that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of If I Die Tonight.  An entertaining read and I will be picking up Gaylin's next book. Read an excerpt of If I Die Tonight.

"Alison Gaylin is the award-winning author of Hide Your Eyes and its sequel, You Kill Me; the standalones Trashed and Heartless; and the Brenna Spector series: And She Was, Into the Dark, and Stay with Me. A graduate of Northwestern University and of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she lives with her husband and daughter in Woodstock, New York." Find out more about Alison at her website, friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.  See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

I received this book for review from HarperCollins and TLC book tours.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Over the Counter #409

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? As someone who enjoys sewing the pun in the title caught my eye....

Pattern Behavior: The Seamy Side of Fashion Hardcover by Natalie Kossar.

From Running Press:

"For those who like their humor droll, deadpan, and hysterically funny, Pattern Behavior features more than 100 vintage McCall's patterns--with captions that will leave you in stitches.

Feeling nostalgic for your grandmother's old sewing patterns? Stitch some humor into your distant childhood with Pattern Behavior, featuring vintage covers from the McCall Pattern Company's archives. Based on the popular Tumblr blog, this droll comic collection brings the McCall's models back to life--in a way you haven't seen before! Combining retro fashion and modern wit, Pattern Behavior shines a light on the outdated social ideals of yesteryear--all with a big dose of humor."

(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!)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Closer Than You Know - Brad Parks

Closer Than You Know is the latest stand-alone from author Brad Parks. Last year's Say Nothing was the first time I'd read Parks and it was a book I couldn't put down. (my review) I was eager to read this latest - and I couldn't put it down either!

As he did in Say Nothing, Parks' premise preys upon a parent's worst fear - their child disappearing.

Melanie Barrick goes to pick up her infant son Alex from the childminder, only to be told that Social Services has taken the child. A large amount of cocaine has been found in Melanie's house. Police are on their way to find her - and Alex is gone. Melanie protests her innocence, but at every step of the way, the evidence against her grows - and her chances of ever seeing her son again lessen.

Great premise and Parks only builds the tension with every new plot development, ensuring that I stayed up much too late, reading 'just one more chapter.' Parks manipulates the reader with some red herrings, alternate paths and more than one 'whodunit' to choose from along the way to the final pages. There were a few plot points that I thought were perhaps a bit far-fetched, but I didn't think too hard about them - instead I just kept turning pages. And although my suspicions were proven out in the end, I really enjoyed the journey to the final reveal.

Closer Than You Know is told from more than one viewpoint. I was drawn to Melanie and her inner thoughts. I did find her a bit calm in situations that I would have been losing it. The background Parks has drawn for her addresses this. The next door neighbor Bobby Ray was also a character I quite liked. Amy, the Assistant DA was a character I initially had high hopes for, but as the story progressed, her tunnel vision frustrated me. But my hands down fave was Melanie's rumpled, unprepossessing lawyer Mr. Honeywell.

All in all, Closer Than You Know was a fast paced, entertaining read. Fans of Linwood Barclay and Harlan Coben will enjoy this one. (And this reader will be eagerly awaiting Parks' next book.) Read an excerpt of Closer Than You Know.

You can connect with Brad Parks on his website, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Cooking Step by Step with DK

Little Guy has recently expressed interest in the kitchen - helping to make supper and bake desserts.

Cooking Step by Step from DK Canada seemed like the perfect starting place for Gramma and Little Guy to cook together. (Check out the other great book suggestions in the 'Maker March' boutique.) #DKMakerMarch

There are fifty recipes included under the headings Light Bites, Main Dishes, Sweet Treats and Baked Goods.

Musts for a children's cookbook - colour photographs and lots of easy to understand instructions. Check. Cooking Step by Step has a simplified ingredients list that employs pictures of the ingredient and a plus symbol. Perfect for little ones. Basics such as hygiene and safety etc are covered and are good beginner foundations. Measurements are given in both imperial and metric.

Little Guy is at the younger end of the recommended age range (6-8), so we stuck to some simpler recipes. Ones he was interested in eating! Pancakes, Spaghetti and Meatballs. And then the baking section - his favourite. The Lemon Muffins were really good. (Little Guy decided to leave out the poppy seeds though) The favourite of all though, was the Clever Cookies recipe. The dough is a good basic recipe - and the fun comes in adding different bits. We divided the dough into four portions, then added chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins and blueberries. Tada! Four different cookies.

There are more recipe choices that would appeal to a more experienced palate and an older child such as Gazpacho, Falafels, Salmon Parcels and a few others. I actually liked some of them for myself - there's a quick and easy Fried Rice, a Quiche recipe and super simple flatbread I'll most likely make for myself.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is a focus in learning in school systems today. Cooking is a great way to explore many STEM principles. So much can be learned and experienced in the kitchen. Measuring, techniques, tasting, new foods and the satisfaction that comes with creativity and sharing. And spending time together! Cooking Step by Step is a book that will grow with Little Guy. Thumbs up.

Friday, March 9, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #201

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
"A gripping thriller about a man who may or may not have dementia—and who may or may not be a serial killer—from a master of twists and turns, in the tradition of Laura Lippman and Gillian Flynn." Sigh, another one for the teetering TBR pile. Paper Ghosts is Julia Heaberlin's forthcoming novel. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, so both covers employ the colour red - which connotes danger and death. The UK cover illustrates a woman who may or may not be dead with fallen leaves covering her. I'm kind of meh on this pic. But I quite like the image that the US cover has. The black and white definitely evokes a ghostly feel, fitting with the title. Twins make it even more eerie. Hands down the US cover for me this week. What about you -which cover do you prefer? And plans to read Paper Ghosts?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.