Friday, July 20, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #220

- 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
Shari Lapena's third suspense novel, An Unwanted Guest will release the end of July in the UK and the beginning of August in NA. I've enjoyed her first two novels, so this one has been added to my TBR list. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right.  Blue is used on both covers. But we've got completely different season. Winter in the US and either spring or summer in the UK, with those leaves still on the trees. A single lit window in both, similar font in a muted tone with the author's name at the top in colour. An easy choice for me this week. The US cover appeals to me more. Who is that mysterious person? What's in the briefcase? The snow, that single light and the stormy weather all promise a good read. Having read the plot summary, the Agatha Christie feel is spot on. The UK cover is 'been there, done that' for me. I feel like I've seen it before. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read An Unwanted Guest?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Anomaly - Michael Rutger - Review AND Giveaway

The publisher's description of Michael Rutger's new novel, The Anomaly, instantly caught my eye.

"If Indiana Jones lived in the X-Files era, he might bear at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore - a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the "real" experts, but beloved of conspiracy theorists."

Nolan and his crew find a lost cave deep in the Grand Canyon. But the cave holds more surprises than they could have imagined.

What's not to love about this book? Great lead character - likeable, intelligent, curious, funny, loyal and more. His theories about many past events had me running to the computer to see if there was any truth to events referenced. And yes, there was. Rutger's plot is wildly imaginative, but that bit of reality gives the scenario that Rutger depicts deep down in that mysterious cave some credence. The supporting cast was just as well drawn. Sidekick Ken was my fave. The snappy dialogue between the two injects a note of humour along the way. Action? Oh yeah, lots of it. The book moves along very quickly and the tension never lets up 'til the final pages.

Five stars for such a fun, entertaining read. This one was mostly finished in the hammock one summer's day. I can absolutely see The Anomaly as a movie. And those references to Indiana Jones and the X-Files? Spot on! Read an excerpt of The Anomaly.

If you'd like to read The Anomaly, I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing. Open to the US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Ends July 31/18.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Over the Counter #427

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood....."

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Times of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King.

From Abrams Books:

"Fred Rogers (1928–2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality, and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns, and questions about the world seriously.

The Good Neighbor, the first full-length biography of Fred Rogers, tells the story of this utterly unique and enduring American icon. Drawing on original interviews, oral histories, and archival documents, Maxwell King traces Rogers’s personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work, including a surprising decision to walk away from the show to make television for adults, only to return to the neighborhood with increasingly sophisticated episodes, written in collaboration with experts on childhood development. An engaging story, rich in detail, The Good Neighbor is the definitive portrait of a beloved figure, cherished by multiple generations."

(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, July 17, 2018

Halcyon - Rio Youers

The cover of Rio Youer's new book Halcyon appealed to me. And every so often I try to read outside of my usual genres. The premise of Halcyon? An island that's the answer for those who want to escape. "...but paradise isn't what it seems."

The opening prologue introduces us to Edith - a young girl who suffers from nightmares. But those nightmares seen to be more than bad dreams - could they be premonitions? After an unexpected tragedy, father Martin decides to move Edith and her sister Shirley to Halcyon - a seemingly idyllic island - where they can heal as a family.

But. Yes, there's always a but isn't there? The island is run by Mother Moon. She has for years been searching for what she calls Glam Moon - a utopia on a higher plane, a place of eternal beauty and peace. She sees Edith's affliction as a gift.......

I found Martin and his wife Laura's actions a bit off in the beginning chapters. They entrust their daughters' mental health to some somewhat sketchy 'therapists'. As a parent, I questioned these actions. But, I put those doubts aside and continued on. I found I really started to getting into the story once they arrived on Halcyon. (Who doesn't want to find an idyllic island?) But the pragmatic me still wondered at Martin's acceptance of this leader, her ideas and interactions - especially with his oldest daughter. I was seeing neon signs flashing, Don't Drink the Kool-aid! But of course, that just adds to the growing tension, doesn't it?

Good vs. Evil is the prevailing premise here. Billed as a thriller by the publisher, the island is where I found the thrills. And the kernels of good. The backstory of Mother Moon delves in the horror genre. And I found the evil here to be somewhat cliched. Two words. Animal masks.

And without revealing the details, Halcyon mirrors some recent, disturbing newspaper headlines.

Halcyon was a distinctly different read for me. It raised enough what ifs and what's next to keep me turning pages. And a little bit of me wonders if there's more in store for Edith. I think Halcyon will appeal to horror fans. Read an excerpt of Halcyon.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Giveaway - Happily Ever Esther - Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter with Caprice Crane

The heartwarming story of Esther the Wonder Pig and her family continues with Happily Ever Esther, written by her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, with some help from Caprice Crane. And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, had their lives turned upside down when they adopted their pig-daughter Esther–the so-called micro pig who turned out to be a full-sized commercial pig growing to a whopping 600 pounds–as they describe in their bestselling memoir Esther the Wonder Pig. The book ends with them moving to a new farm, and starting a new wonderful life where they will live on the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary to care for other animals and just live happily ever after…

Or so they thought. People often think about giving it all up and just moving to a farm. In theory it sure does sound great. But as Derek and Steve quickly realized, the realities of being a farmer–especially when you have never lived on a farm let alone outside of the city–can be frantic, crazy, and even insane. Not only are they adjusting to farm life and dutifully taking care of their pig-daughter Esther (who by the way lives in the master bedroom of their house), but before they knew it their sanctuary grew to as many as 42 animals, including: pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, cows, roosters, a peacock, a duck, a horse, a donkey, and a barn cat named Willma Ferrell.

Written with joy and humor, and filled with delicious Esther-approved recipes dispersed throughout the book, this charming memoir captures an emotional journey of one little family advocating for animals everywhere." Read an excerpt of Happily Ever Esther.

"In just two short years, Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter have cemented a place for themselves among the worlds most well-known and successful animal activists, accumulating hundreds of thousands of followers from all over the world. In 2014, Steve and Derek founded the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary in Campbellville, Ontario, where they continue to rescue and rehabilitate abandoned and abused farmed animals."

And if you'd like to read Happily Ever Esther, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends July 28/18

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Nowhere to Call Home - Leah Denbok

Leah Denbok's book, Nowhere to Call Home: Photographs and Stories of the Homeless, came to my attention when my library ordered a number of copies. Libraries are a warm or cool place where anyone can take a seat, read a book, use a computer and most importantly, find a friendly face. Such is the case at the branch I work in.

Leah Denbok was fourteen when she first began photographing the homeless. She had personal inspiration for her book, as her own mother was found wandering the streets of Calcutta as a three year old. Leah's father accompanied Leah as she met and spoke to the homeless they encountered on the streets of Toronto, Barrie, New York City and other North American cities.

Her goal? "I hope, through my photographs and stories, to humanize the homeless. I want to capture their dignity as human beings. So often, the homeless are viewed as sub-human creatures one dare not approach, let alone talk to them. I want to change this perception of them."

Denbok's photography is striking. High contrast black and white images highlight the lines in every face, the sorrow and the strength. The words accompanying each photo achieve Denbok's goal. It's impossible not to look at the photo, read the story and then stop and examine the photo again. Does your perception change? I find myself wondering where these people are today? Have their circumstances changed?

Denbok's other goal is to '...shine a spotlight on the plight of homelessness. Contrary to what many think, few homeless people are on the street by choice." An appendix is included listing organizations who are tackling homelessness.

And the profits made from the sale of this book? "All the profits from the sale of this book will go the the Salvation Army Barrie Bayside  Mission Centre."

This is what a sixteen year old is doing. What can you do?

Friday, July 13, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #219

- 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
Kate Atksinson's new book, Transcription, releases in September on both sides of the pond. "A dramatic story of WWII espionage, betrayal, and loyalty, by the #1 bestselling author of Life After Life." Definitely on my TBR list! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Both covers have almost the same blue background, the author's name up top in red and a tagline as well. But we have two very different images this week. It's hard to see, but there are words overlaying the image on the US cover - they appear to be part of a transcript. Dating the image is hard, but it seems to be in the past and the suggests London. But what in the world could a flamingo have to do with this story?! The UK cover is quite stark and definitely catches your eye. And I'm very curious as to how a flamingo would tie in, given the premise of the book. I'm going to go with the UK cover this week. Although the US cover is lovely, I feel like I've seen similar covers before. What bout you? Any plans to read Transcription? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.