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.

Friday, March 15, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #254

- 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 a big fan of Jeffery Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series when it first came out. But I've missed the last few as they began to seem repetitive. Deaver is coming out with the first book in a new series featuring investigator Colter Shaw in May. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. So, bright grab you attention colours on the US cover. More subdued on the UK cover. Both feature a lonely stretch of road. I can't say I'm a fan of the chopped look of the US cover. I like the tag line on the UK cover - it lets me know that it's the kind of book I would read. I'm going to go with the UK cover this week. That chopped image makes my eyes hurt. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Never Game?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Who Killed the Fonz? - James Boice

Okay, do any of these ring a bell with you? The Fonz, Fonzie or Arthur Fonzarelli? Yes? Then you might want to pick up James Boice's new novel Who Killed the Fonz? I was very curious about this book.

Boice has reprised the beloved cast of the sit-com Happy Days, that was set in the 1950's. Boice has taken the cast forward to 1984. (I quite enjoyed the pop culture references.)  Richie has moved away, but Ralph Malph, Potsy, Al and others still make their home in Milwaukee. Richie makes his way back home on hearing the news that Fonzie is dead. It can't be - can it? Richie can't believe it and starts his own investigation.

What a fun concept this was! I had no problem at all imagining the characters in this book. (Yes, I watched the show!) Boice has kept their traits and mannerisms intact and it was like visiting with old friends as I listened.

Michael Crouch was the reader.  His voice has a nice little gravelly undertone and his measured way of speaking suited Richie's dialogue. His voices for the supporting cast also suited the characters. Crouch's diction is clear and easy to understand. Listen to an excerpt of Who Killed the Fonz? Running time - 5 hours, 11 minutes.

So, yes there's the mystery - who killed The Fonz? The answer was just as I expected. But underneath that whodunit are the relationships - friendship and family. Boice weaves those bonds into his story, reprising the feel of the original. Those who are familiar with the show would enjoy this book the most - cozy, fun and nostalgic.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Over the Counter #471

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

Genealogy is so popular now - many of us are looking for our roots....

The Cowkeeper's Wish: A Genealogical Journey Hardcover  by Tracy Kasaboski and Kristen den Hartog.

From Douglas & McIntyre:

"Part intimate family memoir, part robust social history, The Cowkeeper’s Wish is a genealogical excursion through an era of astonishing change.

In the 1840s, a young cowkeeper and his wife arrive in London, England, having walked from coastal Wales with their cattle. They hope to escape poverty, but instead they plunge deeper into it, and the family, ensconced in one of London’s “black holes,” remains mired there for generations. The Cowkeeper’s Wish follows the couple’s descendants in and out of slum housing, bleak workhouses and insane asylums, through tragic deaths, marital strife and war. Nearly a hundred years later, their great-granddaughter finds herself in an altogether different London, in southern Ontario.

In The Cowkeeper’s Wish, Kristen den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski trace their ancestors’ path to Canada, using a single family’s saga to give meaningful context to a fascinating period in history—Victorian and then Edwardian England, the First World War and the Depression. Beginning with little more than enthusiasm, a collection of yellowed photographs and a family tree, the sisters scoured archives and old newspapers, tracked down streets, pubs and factories that no longer exist, and searched out secrets buried in crumbling ledgers, building on the fragments that remained of family tales.

While this family story is distinct, it is also typical, and so all the more worth telling. As a working-class chronicle stitched into history, The Cowkeeper’s Wish offers a vibrant, absorbing look at the past that will captivate genealogy enthusiasts and readers of history alike."

(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 12, 2019

The Night Olivia Fell - Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell is the latest book from author Christine McDonald.

Abi Knight receives the call that no parent ever wants to receive - her daughter has been hurt. But it's even worse than she could have imagined - Olivia is brain dead. She's also pregnant. And the police have ruled it an accident. Abi is shocked, stunned and doesn't understand. An accident? Pregnant? Abi thought she knew her daughter...And so she begins her own investigation.

The Night Olivia Fell is told from alternating voices - that of Abi and Olivia. What Abi believes she knows about her daughter is not reality - as she begins to find out. The listener is privy to Abi's thoughts and actions. We know what has gone on, even as Abi struggles to find answers.

I love back and forth narratives and having the knowledge of what is going on with both characters. It does ramp up the tension. And makes it hard to not want to listen to just one more chapter!

The clues as what may have really happened that night are laid out as the book progresses. I enjoyed following the clues, changing my and in the end my answer to whodunit was correct. McDonald does provide many options for that final answer. But the real strength of the novel are the relationships - specifically that of mother and daughter. McDonald's characterizations are believable, emotional and relatable.

I chose to listen to The Night Olivia Fell. There were two narrators - Kelly Burke and Laurel Lefkow. I always appreciate multiple readers - it just seems more realistic - as if you really are listening to two people's thoughts. Now, I'm not sure who read what character, but both readers were excellent.  Abi's voice is 'older' and seems just right for a parent. The emotion of this character was easily communicated by this reader. Her voice has a rich tone and is clear and easy to understand. Olivia's voice is definitely 'younger' and was believable as a teenager talking. She enunciates well and her voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. Different and distinct voices were provided for supporting characters. Listen to an excerpt of The Night Olivia Fell.

Those looking for a lighter mystery with a focus on relationships will want to pick up The Night Olivia Fell.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Giveaway - The Woman in the Dark - Vanessa Savage

The Woman in the Dark - Vanessa Savage's debut novel - releases March 12/19. And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! Vanessa - you had me at Gothic house and murder......

From Grand Central Publishing:

"In the vein of The Couple Next Door, a debut psychological thriller about a woman who moves with her family to the gothic seaside house where her husband grew up — and where 15 years ago another family was brutally slaughtered.

Sarah and Patrick are happy. But after her mother’s death, Sarah spirals into depression and overdoses on sleeping pills. While Sarah claims it was an accident, her teenage children aren’t so sure. Patrick decides they all need a fresh start and he knows just the place, since the idyllic family home where he was raised has recently come up for sale. There’s only one catch: for the past fifteen years, it has become infamous as the “Murder House”, standing empty after a family was stabbed to death within its walls.

Patrick believes they can bring the house back to its former glory, so Sarah, uprooted from everything she knows, pours her energy into painting, gardening, and giving the rotting old structure the warmth of home. But with locals hinting that the house is haunted, the news that the murderer has been paroled, strange writing on the walls, and creepy “gifts” arriving on the doorstep at odd hours, Sarah can’t shake the feeling that something just isn’t right. Not with the house, not with the town, or even with her own, loving husband — whose stories about his perfect childhood suddenly aren’t adding up. Can Sarah uncover the secrets of the Murder House before another family is destroyed?"

"Vanessa Savage is a graphic designer and illustrator. She has twice been awarded a Writers’ Bursary by Literature Wales, most recently for A Woman in the Dark. She won the Myriad Editions First Crimes competition in 2016 and her work has been highly commended in the Yeovil International Fiction Prize, short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize, and the Caledonia Fiction Prize. She is on the current longlist for the Bath Novel Award." You can connect with Vanessa Savage on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read The Woman in the Dark, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada. Ends Mar. 23/19.

Friday, March 8, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #253

- 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
The 29th (!) book, Neon Prey, in John Sandford's long running Lucas Davenport series releases in April on both sides of the pond. I've read the 28 that have come before and am looking forward to this newest. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very brightly coloured covers this week. The UK cover is very busy to me - too any images. But the neon part is well telegraphed. The US cover has a much cleaner look. It almost looks like a marquee. So easy choice for me this week - US. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Neon Prey?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.