Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Making Math Fun With DK Canada!

I can't believe that summer is almost over. When I was young, summer seemed to last a long time. The older I get though, the faster time flies. But the timing of back to school doesn't change - Labour Day heralds the end of summer for kids in Canada.
DK Canada has some great book ideas for your back to school youngster in their
Making Math Fun Boutique! (There's some great titles for the older crowd as well)

I have a very special guest blogger today - Six year old Max, who is headed to Grade One, is the reviewer today! (With a little help from his Mom!) Max is reviewing Math Made Easy Expanded Edition Grade One today. 

"I like math so I wanted this book. When I opened it there was a whole page of real gold stars. Mom would give them to me when I finished a page. There were lots of easy things like connect the dots, or looking at pictures and counting. It got harder as I did more of them. I tried to get three stars everyday."

"(Note from Mom- I thought it was funny when Max picked out this book but it is a great book. Since Max is going into Grade 1 it's helpful for me to know what he'll be working on and the star stickers were a great incentive. The pages/activities were all different but close together. Activities were repeated later in the book at a more challenging level showing progress. I found he often jumped all over the book to things he liked. We limited it to 3 pages a day so he didn't get bored of it - after all it is still summer!)"

From the publisher:

"Refreshed with a new look, this bestselling workbook series is tailored specifically to the needs of Canadian children from ages 5-11. Each workbook forms part of a complete home-study program designed to make math fun and exciting as well as to help children practice essential math skills so that they can reach their full potential in school. Each book includes detailed parents notes and helpful hints to assist parents with the learning process. Each title now includes an extra 44-page practice section! Features gold reward stars."

Thank you so much Max (and Mom) for your review! Have a great time in Grade One - and I have a feeling math isn't going to be too hard for you at all!

And check out Max's review of a leveled reader from the DK Reader's Boutique.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Giveaway - The Ultra Thin Man - Patrick Swenson

I've got a copy of the newly released book The UltraThin Man by Patrick Swenson to giveaway today, thanks to the generosity of Tor Books.

From the publisher:

"In the twenty-second century, a future in which mortaline wire controls the weather on the settled planets and entire refugee camps drowse in drug-induced slumber, no one—alive or dead, human or alien—is quite what they seem. When terrorists manage to crash Coral, the moon, into its home planet of Ribon, forcing evacuation, it’s up to Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos, contract detectives for the Network Intelligence Organization, to solve a case of interplanetary consequences. Crowell’ and Brindos’s investigation plunges them neck-deep into a conspiracy much more dangerous than anything they could have imagined.

The two detectives soon find themselves separated, chasing opposite leads: Brindos has to hunt down the massive Helkunn alien Terl Plenko, shadow leader of the terrorist Movement of Worlds. Crowell, meanwhile, runs into something far more sinister—an elaborate frame job that puts our heroes on the hook for treason.

In this novel from Patrick Swenson, Crowell and Brindos are forced to fight through the intrigue to discover the depths of an interstellar conspiracy. And to answer the all-important question: Who, and what, is the Ultra Thin Man?"

"Patrick is a writer, publisher, editor, and teacher. His first novel is entitled The Ultra Thin Man, forthcoming from Tor in 2014. He has sold stories to the anthology Like Water for Quarks, and magazines such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Figment, and others."

If you'd like to win a copy of this debut novel, simply leave a comment to be entered into a random draw. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Sept. 13/14

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Farm - Tom Rob Smith

Tom Rob Smith is the award winning author of the Child 44 trilogy, but an author I hadn't read until now. His newest release is The Farm.

Daniel's parents,Tilde and Chris, for personal and financial reasons, have decided to move from England to Sweden - Tilde's birth country. They buy a small farm in an isolated community and look forward to a bucolic retirement.Daniel keeps meaning to visit, but for his own reasons, keeps putting it off, believing his parents are happily pursuing their dream.

But when his father calls saying his Mum isn't well and has in fact has been hospitalized, he is shaken. Then his Mum calls, saying she has fled Sweden - and Chris - and is on her way to see him in England. She is cryptic, saying she will only reveal what has been going on in when she gets there. But, he must believe her.....his father is dangerous and her life is in danger....If he doesn't believe her, he is no longer her son.

What a great premise! Smith slowly lets Tilde tell her carefully documented story, complete with her proof. The reader is inexorably caught up in Tilde's slowly built case. But Daniel is torn - this is not the father he knows. Could his mother be mistaken? The reader is never sure of what is the truth - Tilde's 'evidence' seems quite plausible, but her manic paranoia makes her an unreliable narrator.

I really enjoy this style of book - not knowing who is telling the truth, trying to find the thread of what has truly happened in the narrative. I thought Smith did a fabulous job with this.

It was only after I finished the book and was reading more about Tom Rob Smith, that I discovered that the inspiration for The Farm was his from his own life. (Spoiler if you click through). In fact, this book is a mirror of that situation - underlining why I thought the writing was so compelling. While Smith's personal situation was resolved much quicker, the fictional tale had me wondering until the final pages what was real and what would happen.

I really enjoyed The Farm - read an excerpt. I thought the book trailer was excellent as well.... You can keep up with Tom Rob Smith on Facebook and on Twitter.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

And the randomly chosen lucky winner of a copy of Someone Else's Skin by Sarah Hilary, courtesy of Penguin Books is: Sue F.

And the winner of a copy of... The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi, courtesy of Harper Collins is: KAS

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 48 hours. . Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #18

- You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover - Which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...

Canadian/US cover
UK cover
I was hunting down cover art for my review of Linwood Barclay's latest book, No Safe House and came across the Canadian/US cover on the left and the UK cover on the right. Both are good, but I'm going with the North American cover this week - The colour just grabbed me a little more and I think the red is quite effective at saying 'danger'! Either way it's a really good read! Which cover do you prefer? Have you read or do you plan to read No Safe House?

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tea Beyond

Now, it's very rare that I post anything but book related posts. But honestly, I don't think I ever sit down to read without a cup of tea! So when Tea Beyond offered me the opportunity to try a couple of their products, in exchange for an honest review, I agreed.

The package arrived safely, well packed (with recyclable materials) I was excited to see what the Clear Glass Butterfly Teapot with Tea Cosy  would look like! It's a delicate glass teapot, with a beautiful pink glass butterfly on the lid, said to represent 'change to a better life.' The handle has a non slip grip with raised glass knobbies. There's a design around the bottom that designer Jane London has added to represent tea drops. The spout is non drip and the entire thing is top rack dishwasher safe. Myself, I would prefer to hand wash it. Glass just seems that much more delicate than clay or porcelain.

Now, what you see on the inside is really clever glass infuser - no mesh at all, just barely there slits in the glass. It's a really pretty teapot, nice to look and it would feel 'special' to make yourself a 'cuppa' in this pot. It holds about 24oz. For this tea granny, just enough for me alone!

It wasn't until I went to fold up the box to recycle it, that I noticed the sticker on the bottom with some information and pictures. I think it would have been much wiser to include this information on a paper insert inside the teapot itself or at least in the box.  The bottom of the box isn't where I would look for info.

So you've made your tea - how to keep it warm? This particular unit comes with a glass bottomed warmer with a metal plate on top to set the pot on. There are holes to allow ventilation. The candle was included. This is a very pretty way to keep the tea warm and adds to the overall 'ceremonial' feel. However the instructions for this were also slapped on a sticker on the bottom.

What you see in the pot is one of  the 12-Pack Fab Flowering Blooms Tea that was also offered for review. Okay, these blew me away! Flowering tea was new to me. They are absolutely amazing. And it's so much fun to sit and watch them unfurl! More tea was consumed simply to watch them bloom! (Advertising says 10 brews can be made from one bulb - I think that would be a bit of stretch - the last pot would be very weak) 'Silver needle green tea' surrounds a flower (carnation, lily etc. - chosen for their Chinese medicinal properties), they're sewn together, dried and vacuum sealed. Now, I like tea a lot, but am by no means an aficionado, so I asked a friend what they thought. "It's a delicate flavour, light tasting and lightly flavoured." However, the labelling on some of the packets was so tiny, it was only possible to identify it by the picture. But this time, there is a lovely instruction book included IN the box - much better.  Now, being an inveterate reader, I read everything included in the shipment. These products are made in China and unfortunately the translation/syntax/spelling is very clumsy in spots.... "helps relief depression"..."helps eliminate bad odors in your month" (I have to believe they were going for mouth) This detracts from the professionalism of the product.

These products are stamped with AKA - Ashley Koff Approved. Having no idea who this was I searched and found she is a 'celebrity' registered dietitian who has appeared on Dr. Oz  amongst other things. "The Ashley Koff Approved (AKA) Personal Shopper is a tool you can easily create a shopping list of better quality products with because - as every qualitarian knows - better quality means better health."

For me, the teapot was lovely and will make having a cup of tea feel 'special' and is just nice to look at. The infuser is great - I will be using it for loose leaf tea. The blooming teas are amazing, but not something I would regularly consume. Thank you to Tea Beyond for the review products.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Over the Counter #226

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? It was the covers that caught my eye this week and had me taking a second look.

First up was I See You Made An Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 by Annabelle Gurwitch.

From the publisher, Blue Rider Press:

"Actress and humorist Annabelle Gurwitch returns with I See You Made an Effort, a book of essays so wickedly funny it may make you forget your last birthday. Not one to shy away from the grisly realities of middle age, the “slyly subversive” (O, The Oprah Magazine) Gurwitch confronts the various indignities faced by femmes d’un certain age with candor, wit, and a healthy dose of hilarious self-deprecation.

Whether falling in lust at the Genius bar, navigating the extensive—and treacherously expensive—anti aging offerings at a department-store beauty counter, coping with the assisted suicide of her best friend, negotiating the ins and outs of acceptable behavior with her teenage kid, or the thudding financial reality of the “never-tirement” generation that leads her to petty theft, Gurwitch’s essays prove her a remarkably astute writer in her prime (in so many ways). Is this the beginning of the Eileen Fisher years? Where does one conduct an affair with a younger man? Is 50 the new 40? Or is 50 still just…50?

Scorchingly honest, surreally and riotously funny, I See You Made an Effort is the ultimate coming-of-middle-age story and a must-read for women of all ages. Reading glasses not included."

Next up was Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It by David M. Ewalt.

From the publisher, Scribner:

"A fascinating and personal look at Dungeons & Dragons that “tracks D&D’s turbulent rice, fall, and survival, from its heyday in the 1980s…to the twenty-first century” (The Wall Street Journal).

Even if you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, you probably know someone who has: the game has had a profound influence on our culture, and 2014 marks the intriguing role-playing phenomenon’s 40th anniversary. Released decades before the Internet and social media, Dungeons & Dragons inspired one of the original nerd subcultures and is still revered by more than 30 million fans. Now, the authoritative history and magic of the game are revealed by an award-winning journalist and lifelong D&D player.

In Of Dice and Men, David Ewalt describes the development of Dungeons & Dragons from the game’s origins on the battlefields of ancient Europe through the hysteria that linked it to satanic rituals and teen suicides to its apotheosis as father of the modern video-game industry. As he chronicles the surprising history of the game’s origins (a history largely unknown even to hardcore players) and examines D&D’s lasting impact, Ewalt weaves laser-sharp subculture analysis with his own present-day gaming experiences, “writing about the world of fantasy role-playing junkies with intelligence, dexterity, and even wisdom” (Ken Jennings). An enticing blend of history, journalism, narrative, and memoir, Of Dice and Men sheds light on America’s most popular (and widely misunderstood) form of collaborative entertainment.

(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!)