Monday, June 18, 2018

Giveaway - What My Sister Knew- Nina Laurin

Nina Laurin's second novel, What My Sister Knew, releases tomorrow - and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader.

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"A psychological suspense novel that is “a mind-bending ride. Just when you think you’ve discovered the truth, a new secret is revealed.” (Wendy Walker, author of All Is Not Forgotten).
“…currently wanted by the police. If you know anything about the suspect’s whereabouts, please call…”

I look up at the TV screen, and my twin brother’s face is splashed across it, life-size.

It’s a shock that makes my breath catch. This is my brother as an adult, my brother who I last saw fifteen years ago after the fire that killed our parents, covered in soot, clutching a lighter in his hand, his knuckles stark white against the dirt and ash.

Everyone always said he’d grow up to be a heartbreaker. But his face has gone gaunt instead. The stubble on his cheeks and chin is patchy, and his eyes look dull and dark.

My first thought is that it’s not him. Not my beautiful brother, the golden boy who everyone loved. Yet, deep down, I’ve always known this would eventually happen.

What did you do this time, Eli? What the hell did you do?" Read an excerpt of What My Sister Knew.

"Nina Laurin, author of Girl Last Seen, studied Creative Writing at Concordia University, in Montreal where she currently lives. She has published speculative short stories in various e-zines and anthologies over the years and her narrative nonfiction piece, “On Happiness” is soon to be published in the local literary journal Cosmonauts Avenue. She blogs about books and writing on her website." Follow Nina on Twitter.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Jun 30/18.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Emergency Contact - Mary H. K. Choi

Summer seems to be the time that I enjoy YA fiction the most. I'm not sure why - lighter reading or maybe I'm just trying to relive those younger years!

Whatever the reason, Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi was great summer listening.

Penny has finished high school (a relief) and is headed to university (lots of worry, but also a relief to escape her mother and start the next chapter) Sam works at a local cafe, sleeps upstairs on the floor and is stuck in his own pit of angst and despair. He wants more, but is having trouble climbing out and getting started again.

Now, you can see it coming, can't you? Yes, the two meet and.....well it's inevitable right? But of course there's a rocky road to the final pages. Lots of yes, no, maybe so. Along the way, Choi's story explores race, relationships (friends and parental), love and self awareness and exploration. Stepping outside your comfort zone and taking a chance.

Choi does 'amplify' her situations and her characters. They're a bit over the top, but I just went with it as I was looking for entertainment, not necessarily to the letter reality.

Emergency Contact was read by two narrators -  Joy Osmanski and Jacques Roy - both favourites of mine. Osmanski's voice fit the mental image I had created for Penny. It's smart and sassy, but still conveys her worry. Roy's voice for Sam is low, quiet and dare I say it - sexy. Both are easy to listen to, clear and well enunciated. Listen to an excerpt of Emergency Contact.

Emergency Contact was fun, fresh and yes, entertaining for this listener. Listen to an excerpt of Emergency Contact.

Friday, June 15, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover # 215

- 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 love Val McDermid's crime writing. The fifth book in her
Karen Pirie series releases in August in the UK and in December in NA. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. And it's on my TBR list. So, we have landscapes on both covers, each with a single tree and water flowing by. The sky is mottled in both, but the time frame is slightly different. The moon has risen in the US cover, but the sun seems to have just set in the UK cover. The colour scheme is very dark in the US cover, while the UK dies have some greens and rusts. I'm a bit torn this week, but am going to go with the US cover. It says crime novel to me more than the UK cover. What about you? Any plans to read Broken Ground? Which cover do you prefer this week?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Dark Angel - Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffith's Dr. Ruth Galloway series is hands down one of my favourites. The Dark Angel is the 10th book in the series.

Ruth is a forensic archaeologist who often works with the police, in addition to her teaching at a local university. This time round, Ruth is invite to Italy by a former colleague who needs her expertise. Ruth decides to make a holiday of it, taking her daughter Kate as well as her friend Shona and her son. The town is small and is seeped in history, much of it involving the war resistance years. This is where the mystery comes in. I always enjoy learning from Ruth (much of the cases are fact based) and appreciate Griffith's plotting.

But I have to admit, it's the characters and the personal storylines that keeps me eagerly awaiting each new entry.

Griffiths has created a wonderful protagonist in Ruth. She comes across as an actual person, not a super sleuth. She's a single parent at 40 plus, messy, introverted but highly intelligent and curious, shunning the spotlight. She's not beautiful in a conventional sense, but has that 'something' that draws people to her. Kate's father is the married Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson. The evolution of his and Ruth's relationship has kept me quite enthralled from the beginning. With Harry's acknowledgment of Kate as his daughter, things have become even more entangled. Griffiths has added some twists to this storyline that I could not have predicted. And while things are always tied up in the end in regards to the mystery, the personal lives of everyone always gets a little more complicated. This is true for not just the lead character, but for the supporting players as well. (Cathbad, the enigmatic self proclaimed Druid, is my favourite.)

The Dark Angel was another excellent entry in this series. Read an excerpt of The Dark Angel. If you've not read this series before, I recommend starting with the first book, The Crossing Places.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Over the Counter #422

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? This one came home with me.....

Nowhere to Call Home by Lena Denbok.

From Friesen Press:

"I invite you to look into the eyes of the homeless... they tell a story."

Homelessness is a serious problem throughout North America-even in Canada and the United States, two of the richest countries in the world. "We must stop this madness," says Leah Denbok, the teenage Canadian photographer who travelled with her dad for over two years to cities throughout North America, photographing and interviewing the homeless. Leah was inspired by the story of her mother, who at three years old was rescued from the streets of Calcutta by Saint Teresa (formerly Mother Teresa). Nowhere to Call Home is a collection of gritty, black-and-white photographs and the personal stories of individuals who live on the streets. The haunting beauty of the images will stay with you, long after you turn the last page."

(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, June 12, 2018

Tin Man - Sarah Winman

I read Sarah Winman's debut novel, When God Was a Rabbit, back in 2011. It was a unique first novel that I really enjoyed. Winman's latest is Tin Man - and it is a simply beautiful read - one that I absolutely recommend.

The cover is the perfect accompaniment to the story within. The sunflowers are overlaid by a subtle metallic gold leaf that is only visible when the cover catches the light.

Tin Man opens with a prologue that ties that cover to the story within. And I was hooked immediately. In 1952 Dora wins the painting in a raffle.

"The painting was as conspicuous as a newly installed window, but one that looked out onto a life of color and imagination, far away from the grey factory dawn and in stark contrast to the brown curtains and brown carpet, both chosen by a man to hide the dirt."

We jump forward to 1996 and meet Ellis - Dora's son. Ellis has suffered much loss in his life - his mother, his wife, his best friend Michael and the direction he hoped his life would have taken. My heart ached for Ellis - his sadness and loss is raw and palpable. Winman's prose are so powerful and compelling. The reader is drawn into Ellis's life as he remembers, revisits and relives his life as he slowly allows himself to grieve.

And through those remembrances, we learn more about Michael. From the flyleaf...."This is almost a love story. But it's not as simple as that." Michael is also given a voice with part two. What Ellis has recounted is told from Michael's view, as he too chronicles his life. And it is just as poignant, if not more.

Absolutely recommended. Winman's words will move you to tears.... Read an excerpt of Tin Man.

While I'm not sure of the origins of the title, my thinking is it is from L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others” - The Tin Woodman.

Recommended for fans of Rachel Joyce who says..."A beautiful book - pared back and unsentimental, assured, full of warmth, and told with a kind of tenderness that makes you ache."

Monday, June 11, 2018

Giveaway - Switch and Bait - Ricki Schultz

Looking for a rom com novel to tuck into your beach bag this summer? Look no further than Ricki Schultz's new book - Switch and Bait. But look a little farther down in this post - I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"A charming, hilarious romantic comedy told with sharp insight and sarcastic wit, for readers of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, Emily Giffin, or Jennifer Weiner.

We switch. I bait. Let me help you snag a date.

All through college, Blanche Carter was known as the love doctor in her sorority. Now she’s parlayed her talent into a unique consulting business: she runs the online dating profiles of Washington D.C.’s most eligible women.

Armed with a battalion of rules, Blanche expertly helps her clients optimize their profiles and ace that first date. But although she’ll happily message handsome strangers (and fend off dick pics) for other ladies, Blanche’s most important rule is the one she has for herself: no relationships. She’s seen too much heartbreak to believe in real love anymore.

When a former fling pops up among the matches for one of her favorite clients, Blanche gamely messages him on her behalf. Blanche is definitely over him, and this is how she’ll prove it. But if she doesn’t watch out, Blanche might end up not only screwing over a client-and possibly tanking her entire business-but breaking her rule about love as well." Read an excerpt of Switch and Bait.

"Although she is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and has spent the most time there, Ricki has also lived in Georgia and Virginia. (She promises she’s not a drifter, though.) In addition to writing, she has molded the minds of tweens and  teens as a middle school and high school teacher in both the CLE and the ATL-and she also spent a year teaching writing and communications at the college level. She’s back in Atlanta now, and she owns the cutest beagle ever (Molly)." You can connect with Ricki on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter as well as on Instagram.

And if you'd like to read Switch and Bait, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends June 23/18.