Friday, November 28, 2014

Film on Friday #26 - If I Stay


I always have some doubts when a wonderful book is made into a movie. Will it stay true to the book? Will the actors embody the characters? Will I still love the book after watching the movie? 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has just released the Blu-ray/DVD of If I Stay. And let me put your mind to rest right away - it was very well done.

If I Stay is based on the best selling YA novel by Gayle Forman. After a horrific accident Mia is stuck between here and there, life and death, staying or going.....and has to make a choice.....

We get to remember and re-live Mia's life up to this point. She's a gifted cello player with a promising future, a boyfriend she loves dearly and a wonderful family.

Chloe Grace Moretz plays Mia, and she was a great choice. She absolutely personified the mental image I had created for this character. She's engaging and believable. Keep your eye on Moretz - we're going to be seeing much more of this talented young actor.

Jamie Blackley plays boyfriend Adam. I did think some of his scenes were overplayed.  The supporting cast is stellar, especially Mia's family. (Stacy Keach as Gramps was great)

Music plays such a huge part in the book and with the movie it comes to life.  The soundtrack is really good and the playing is believable, both for Moretz, Blackley et al. (Adam is a rock musician who plays the guitar). Moretz's cello playing and love of music was really, really well done. As was Blackley's, but Adam's head banging with every last chord was also a bit overdone.

If you love YA, teen romances or hey, just a good movie, you'll enjoy If I Stay. (Especially if you loved The Fault in Our Stars.)

And if you want to own and watch If I Stay, make sure you enter my giveaway for a Blu-ray copy!  Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered! One randomly chosen reader will win a copy of If I Stay on Blu-ray and a paperback copy of the book. Open to US and Canada, one entry per person, ends December 6/14.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Over the Counter #240

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner. This week it's two new books  - but the covers and the colours seemed so similar even though the subjects are very different.

First up is Sticky Fingers - DIY Duct Tape Projects by Sophie Maletsky.

From the publisher, Zest Books:

"Sticky Fingers is a vibrant, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to creating amazing projects with the hottest crafting material on the market today—duct tape! The book includes tons of photographs alongside directions designed to make creating a wallet and making a bag even easier, while also providing a steady stream of ideas for personalizing and embellishing your duct tape creations. Each project includes icons showing difficulty level and project time, as well as helpful hints, such as how to keep your scissors clean and what to do with end pieces. So grab a roll of duct tape, pick a project, and get started!"

Next up us Caps/One Size Fits All by Steven Bryden.

From the publisher, Prestel:

" The first book of its kind, this in-depth look at the cult of caps explores one of fashion’s most enduring international trends.

The 21st century has witnessed a cap craze. Nearly every facet of society has embraced its own version—from rappers to punk rockers, cyclists to baseball stars, hipsters to high fashionistas. In Caps: One Size Fits All, Steven Bryden explores the evolution of the cap, tracing its roots from functional item to fashion must-have. Filled with expertly shot color images, the book features interviews with cap connoisseurs and icons of cap fashion, including Supreme’s Aaron Bondaroff and Craig Ford, owner of the London BAPE store. It explores the design and construction of caps as well as the incredible array of brands and types: from baseball to five-panel, painter's cap to the Pittsburgh pillbox, Ralph Lauren to Stussy. The book also peers into the closets of avid collectors, tracks the cap’s journey through pop culture history, and includes street style photos showcasing how people are wearing caps around the world today."

(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, November 24, 2014

My Sister's Grave - Robert Dugoni - Review AND Giveaway

I picked up Robert Dugoni's first novel way back in 2006 and have enjoyed every one since. His latest release is My Sister's Grave.

The last time Tracy Crosswhite saw her sister Sarah was twenty years ago. And although a man was convicted for her murder without a body, Tracy has never believed he was guilty. In fact, it's the reason she became a cop. When Sarah's remains are found, Tracy sees this as an opportunity to reopen the case and find the real killer. Old secrets don't like to be uncovered though......

The whodunit in My Sister's Grave is well plotted, with a nice little twist. (Although I must admit I did have this sussed out before the final reveal.) Setting the book in a small town really worked, making the storyline believable. Because in every small town, there's a sheriff who has his own ideas of how things should be run, right?

Tracy was a great lead character - tough and determined, but with a vulnerable side. Her loyalty and love for her sister Sarah are palpable. Although we never meet Sarah in present day, the flashbacks and reminiscences of other characters really brought her to life. Pairing Tracy up with old childhood friend (and lawyer) Dan was perfect and lent a personal secondary plotline to the story.

Dugoni's writing is easy and engaging. I was immediately caught up in the story from the first pages. There are twists and red herrings to keep you guessing until the final pages. And that final reveal is action packed, guaranteeing a 'stay up until I'm done' read.

Dugoni was first a writer, then a lawyer and finally settled on novelist. His background is apparent in all of his novels, successfully combining the legal and crime genres (with a touch of romance thrown in.) All in all, a good entertaining read. This is the first of a new series - and I would definitely pick up the next. Read an excerpt of My Sister's Grave.

Robert Dugoni is the New York Times and #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of My Sister's Grave and The David Sloane Series. He has published 8 novels, an expose, The Cyanide Canary, and the short prequel The Academy. Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed and New York Times-bestselling author of the David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One, and The Conviction. Murder One was a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for literary excellence. He is also the author of the bestselling standalone novel Damage Control, and the nonfiction work The Cyanide Canary." You can keep up with Robert Dugoni on Facebook and connect with him on Twitter.

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

I have a copy of My Sister's Grave to giveaway. So, if this sounds like a book you'd like to read(and own!) simply leave a comment (an a contact method). A randomly chosen winner will be announce on December 6/14. Open to US and Canada.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

And the three randomly chosen winners of a copy of Sabotage by Matt Cook, courtesy of Forge Books are:

1.Erinn
2.Toystory
3.Margie





The randomly chosen winner of a copy of Genesis Code by Jamie Metzl, courtesy of Arcade Publishing is:

wwkammy

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #31

- 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
Canadian/UK cover
 I was hunting down cover art for my review of  Peter James's new book - Want You Dead. I came across the US cover on the left and the Canadian/UK cover on the right.  The US cover lets you know that fire is definitely a part of the plot. The Canadian/UK cover gives you the plot in a nutshell in the cover.  Tough call this week, but I'm going with the Canadian cover. The yellow type is eye catching and the background is ominous. Which cover do you prefer?
Do you plan to or have you read Want You Dead?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Want You Dead - Peter James

Peter James's latest book, Want You Dead, has just released. This is the tenth entry in James's Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series.

The opening pages set the stage for the whodunit in Want You Dead. In this case, we know who - and it's up to Grace to catch him.

Red Cameron left an abusive relationship and hopes she's found a fresh start in the widowed doctor she's just begun dating. She has.....but her old flame Bryce has other ideas. Red is his and will always be his. And he's more than a little upset by the breakup.

James writes from the point of view of Bryce, Red and Grace, The reader is privy to the entire picture and can only hope that Grace and his team make the connections in time.

I've always enjoyed Grace - he's a great lead character - strong minded, strong willed, intelligent and caring. The supporting cast of detectives returns, but one won't be returning for the next book. I was a little upset with that - I'm not really sure what this development added to the overall plot at all. I was really hoping that Grace's ex wife Sandy was finally out of the picture, but she makes another appearance in this book. And for as much as I am tired of her, James has piqued my curiosity - without giving anything away, the ending and Sandy's involvement will have me happily snapping up the next in this series.

James does add a good personal storyline to this series, rounding Grace out as a person. He's still coming to terms with his new role as a father. As is his wife Chloe.

I did feel that this plot wasn't one of James's strongest - the premise has been done before, but stalkers do seem to be hot this year. James puts his own spin on it, with a good, sinister antagonist.

But, there were a few things that annoyed me in this book. James seems to beleaguer some points - in the first few chapters, there are at least 4-5 mentions that burnt human flesh smells like pork. Once or twice maybe, more than that was just overkill. And I do wonder about an abused woman putting herself back into the dating scene within four months of leaving a bad relationship. It seems a bit soon to me. Some of her actions and decisions I saw as just plain foolhardy, rather than being her being 'strong'. I found myself feeling unsympathetic towards her.

This is still one of my favourite British detective series, but for this reader, it wasn't one of the strongest entries. Read an excerpt of Want You Dead.

You can keep up with Peter James on Facebook and on Twitter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Over the Counter #239

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

First up is The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest by Douglas Whynott.

From the publisher, Da Capo Press:
 
"A year in the life of one New England family as they work to preserve an ancient, lucrative, and threatened agricultural art--the sweetest harvest, maple syrup...

At a sugarhouse owned by maple syrup entrepreneur Bruce Bascom, 80,000 gallons of sap are processed daily during winter's end. In The Sugar Season, Douglas Whynott follows Bascom through one tumultuous season, taking us deep into the sugarbush, where sunlight and sap are intimately related and the sound of the taps gives the woods a rhythm and a ring. Along the way, he reveals the inner workings of the multimillion-dollar maple sugar industry. Make no mistake, it's big business--complete with a Maple Hall of Fame, a black market, a major syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security, a Canadian organization called The Federation, and a Global Strategic Reserve that's comparable to OPEC (fitting, since a barrel of maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil).

Whynott brings us to sugarhouses, were we learn the myriad subtle flavors of syrup and how it's assigned a grade. He examines the unusual biology of the maple tree that makes syrup possible and explores the maples'--and the industry's--chances for survival, highlighting a hot-button issue: how global warming is threatening our food supply. Experts predict that, by the end of this century, maple syrup production in the United States may suffer a drastic decline.

As buckets and wooden spouts give way to vacuum pumps and tubing, we see that even the best technology can't overcome warm nights in the middle of a season--and that only determined men like Bascom can continue to make a sweet like off of rugged land."
 
Next up is Harvest: Field Notes From a Far-Flung Pursuit of Real Food by Max Watman.
 
From the publisher, WW Norton and Co.:
 
"Max Watman’s compulsively readable memoir of his dogged quest to craft meals from scratch.After an epiphany caused by a harrowing bite into a pink-slime burger, Max Watman resolves to hunt, fish, bake, butcher, preserve, and pickle. He buys a thousand-pound-steer—whom he names Bubbles—raises chickens, gardens, and works to transform his small-town home into a gastronomic paradise. In this compulsively readable memoir, Watman records his experiments and adventures as he tries to live closer to the land and the source of his food.  A lively raconteur, Watman draws upon his youth in rural Virginia with foodie parents—locavores before that word existed—his time cooking in restaurants, and his love of the kitchen.

Amid trial and experiment, there is bound to be heartbreak. Despite a class in cheese making from a local expert, his carefully crafted Camembert resembles a chalky hockey puck. Much worse, his beloved hens—"the girls," as he calls them—are methodically attacked by a varmint, and he falls into desperate measures to defend them. Finally, he loses track of where exactly Bubbles the steer is.
Watman perseveres, and his story culminates in moments of redemption: a spectacular prairie sunset in North Dakota; watching 10,000 pheasants fly overhead; eating fritters of foraged periwinkles and seawater risotto; beachside with his son; a tub of homemade kimchi that snaps and crunches with fresh, lively flavor well after the last harvest.

With infectious enthusiasm, Watman brings the reader to the furthest corners of culinary exploration. He learns that the value of living from scratch is in the trying. With a blend of down-home spirit and writing panache, he serves up a delectable taste of farm life—minus the farm."

(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!)

If I Stay Twitter Party with Gayle Forman

 
Join @GayleForman as she live tweets If I Stay on @Cambio this Thurs.
Tweet your questions for her using #IfIStayIn!