Monday, August 21, 2017

Giveaway - Seeing Red - Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown's latest novel, Seeing Red, has just released - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Seeing Red is a stand-alone thriller. Here's more from Grand Central Publishing:

"#1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown delivers nonstop suspense and supercharged sexual tension in a thriller about tainted heroism and vengeance without mercy.

Kerra Bailey is a TV journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to new heights. Twenty-five years ago, Major Franklin Trapper became a national icon when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors to safety after the bombing of a Dallas hotel. For years, he gave frequent speeches and interviews but then suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all media. Now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get an exclusive with the Major--even if she has to secure an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.

Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, Trapper wants no association with the bombing or the Major. Yet Kerra's hints that there's more to the story rouse Trapper's interest despite himself. And when the interview goes catastrophically awry--with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra--Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he's going to track down the gunmen . . . and finally discover who was responsible for the Dallas bombing.

Kerra is wary of a man so charming one moment and dangerous the next, and she knows Trapper is withholding evidence from his ATF investigation into the bombing. But having no one else to trust and enemies lurking closer than they know, Kerra and Trapper join forces to expose a sinuous network of lies and conspiracy--and uncover who would want a national hero dead." Read an excerpt of Seeing Red.


"Sandra Brown is the author of sixty-eight New York Times bestsellers. There are over eighty million copies of her books in print worldwide, and her work has been translated into thirty-four languages. She lives in Texas." For more information you can visit Sandra Brown on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read Seeing Read, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Sept. 3/17,

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Black Mad Wheel - Josh Malerman

Josh Malerman's first book, Bird Box, was one of the best audio books I've ever listened to. I was eager to see what his newest book, Black Mad Wheel, would bring.

In Bird Box, it was sight, seeing and not seeing, that was at the heart of the terror. This time around, Malerman brings hearing and sound as the focal point of the plot.

1957. A group of musicians, all part of the band The Danes, as well as being former soldiers, are drafted by the US government to hunt down the source of a sound. A sound that by all descriptions will drive a person mad. They agree (the money they're offered seals the deal) and head to Africa. Former expeditions have defined an area that is believed to be at the heart of the sound. Those expedition members are dead.....

The narrative goes from past to present so there is another point of view - that of a nurse called Ellen. She is responsible for only one patient in the government facility she works in - that of a sound survivor - Phillip Tonka of The Danes. While most of the book surrounds Phillip, I found the character I liked the most was Ellen.

I liked the idea of a sound as a weapon or evil. And Malerman's enigmatic depiction of the sound is definitely scary. But for this listener Black Mad Wheel just never met my expectations. Which admittedly were very high as I adored Bird Box. I thought the enlisting of musicians, albeit ex soldiers, a bit of a stretch.  For me,  the 'horror' elements of this latest were just too... hmm...too something that I just can't define. Maybe amorphous is the word I'm looking for - the evil was just too vague for me. Malerman's latest work has been referred to as metaphysical by other reviewers.

Black Mad Wheel's scenes and characters do benefit from Malerman's musical and band life. He is the lead singer of the band The High Strung.

I chose to listen to Black Mad Wheel. The narrator was Robertson Dean. He has a rich, full voice with a nice low, mellow undertone. It's pleasant to listen to and the low tone and measured delivery fits the story well. He uses different tones and tenors to represent different characters. Listen to an excerpt. Or if you prefer, read an excerpt.

I'll still pick up Malerman's next book and I wonder if speaking will be at the crux of the book. We've had see no.....hear no.....

Friday, August 18, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #172

- 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
It was the subtitle on Elisabeth Carpenter's forthcoming book that caught my eye. 99 Red Balloons: A chillingly clever psychological thriller with a stomach-flipping twist. It is on my TBR stack, so we'll see if it lives up to that  description. So, the US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very similar looks this week. The title fonts are the same, but with a slight change in the tone of the red. Same tag line - switching candy for sweets. A different playground apparatus in each. Of course a red balloon in each. Scraggly (I love that descriptor) tree branches. Big difference - an actual girl in the US shot and a child's shoe only in the UK shot. But despite all those similarities, I think I prefer the UK cover this week. It seems more ominous - I think it's the background shading. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read 99 Red Balloons? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sleeping in the Ground - Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series is one of my hands down favourites. Sleeping in the Ground is the 24th entry.

I have such a delicious sense of anticipation when I open the cover of the latest Banks. I had no idea what the plot was about, but knew I would be in for another great read. I wanted to catch up with characters I've come to know and appreciate. What has gone on in their lives? Robinson keeps them moving forward in real time with each new entry.

Sleeping in the Ground opens with a wedding - and a funeral. A unknown gunman opens fire on a countryside wedding, killing and wounding many. Banks is away attending the memorial service of his first love from forty years ago, when he is called to the scene. He's become quite introspective with her passing, looking at his own life and decisions. But, it seems to be manifesting itself in anger and short tempered outbursts - quite unlike the usually composed Banks.

The killer is identified early on in the book and I wondered where the book could go from there, as there were still many pages remaining. Banks has some niggling doubts though and continues to investigate even as the case is declared solved. Robinson's plot was inventive and completely unpredictable. I truly enjoy being surprised by a mystery as I read so many.

Robinson excels at both plotting and characterizations. As I mentioned earlier, I read this series as much for the mystery as for those who populate the pages. Familiar supporting players are back, including one from Banks' past. The settings and descriptions have me yearning to sit in a pub with a packet of crisps, catching up on the latest.

As always, I enjoy Bank's music selections. I've often put the book down to look up and listen to a song that is playing in the book, curious as to how and why it fits that particular scene or moment. Banks is also into poetry now and those references are also well suited.

Robinson's prose are effortless and so very engaging. Sleeping in the Ground is a stellar entry in this series - and I will be eagerly awaiting number twenty five. Read an excerpt of Sleeping in the Ground.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Over the Counter #379

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Showing my age here.....excuse me while I flip over my record.....

The Rolling Stones All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon.

From the publisher, Black Dog and Leventhal:

"A comprehensive visual history of the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" as told through the recording of their monumental catalog, including 29 studio and 24 compilation albums, and more than a hundred singles.

Since 1963, The Rolling Stones have been recording and touring, selling more than 200 million records worldwide. While much is known about this iconic group, few books provide a comprehensive history of their time in the studio. In The Rolling Stones All the Songs, authors Margotin and Guesdon describe the origin of their 340 released songs, details from the recording studio, what instruments were used, and behind-the-scenes stories of the great artists who contributed to their tracks.

Organized chronologically by album, this massive, 704-page hardcover begins with their 1963 eponymous debut album recorded over five days at the Regent Studio in London; through their collaboration with legendary producer Jimmy Miller in the ground-breaking albums from 1968 to 1973; to their later work with Don Was, who has produced every album since Voodoo Lounge. Packed with more than 500 photos, All the Songs is also filled with stories fans treasure, such as how the mobile studio they pioneered was featured in Deep Purple's classic song "Smoke on the Water" or how Keith Richards used a cassette recording of an acoustic guitar to get the unique riff on "Street Fighting Man."

(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, August 15, 2017

A Stranger in the House - Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena's suspense novel, The Couple Next Door, was a multi list bestseller. I loved it and couldn't wait to see what her next book would bring. Well, that book, A Stranger in the House, releases tomorrow and it was another late night page turner for me.

Karen and Tom, husband and wife. "But she's gone out with her car, and forgotten to lock the door. That's very odd for his wife, who's a stickler about locking the doors." "Something is wrong. He should call the police. He hesitates. Perhaps the police will thing they've had an argument....theirs is an almost perfect marriage."

The neighbour, Brigid. "Just as she does every morning. Brigid sits in her favorite chair by the large picture window in her living room." "She thinks a lot about Tom and Karen, about where they are and what they're doing, about their life together. It's like she's caught up in a particularly good television show and can't wait to see what happens next."

What a great premise eh? I was immediately hooked! So, something does happen (nope, not gonna spoil it for you!) But Lapena keeps the reader on their toes. We're given information about a crime, but not the full picture. Those three main characters are most definitely not likeable, instead they are self serving, secretive, shallow and manipulative. We have a fairly good idea of what has happened as each of the three is given a voice and point of view. With each new entry a little more of the big picture is revealed. The title is quite appropriate as no one is quite who they say they are.

Detective Rasbach, the detective from The Couple Next Door is also the investigator in this case. The emphasis is more on him as a character, than police procedural details.

The style of writing in A Stranger in the House is pared down to essentials and has a staccato feel to it. I thought it suited this plot, as well as the characters, echoing their thoughts, actions and lies. I did find some of the plot points to be a bit of a stretch, but still quite enjoyed the book. I liked the last twisty paragraph - a great ending.

If you enjoy psychological suspense, this one's for you.  Read an excerpt of A Stranger in the House.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End - Patti Callahan Henry - Review AND Giveaway

Books and the beach. Two of my favourite things! And you'll find them both in Patti Callahan Henry's new novel, The Bookshop at Water's End. An absolutely perfect summer read! And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Bonny and Lainey were known as the Summer Sisters when they were younger and spent summers in Watersend, SC. But those idyllic days ended when Lainey's mother disappeared one night. Now in their fifties, they are still friends, but have never gone back to Watersend. Bonny is a doctor, but a tragic mistake may cost her her career. Her marriage is also on the rocks and suddenly Watersend is the place she wants to be. She packs up her daughter Piper and Lainey decides to join her with her children as well. Being back revives old memories, hurts, first loves and lots of questions..... The one constant from now and then? Mimi and her bookshop.

Henry's description of time and place had me wishing to be in Watersend, sitting on a porch or browsing the bookstore shelves for a new read.

The Bookshop at Water's End is a character driven novel. The lives, hopes, wishes, dreams and mistakes of the women are very real and believable. The interactions and dialogue between the two friends, their spouses and children rings true. Each of the main characters (including nineteen year old Piper) is searching - for their purpose, for the place they belong, for forgiveness and for answers. Such a summer read would not be complete without some romance. Bonny's past with Owen - and possible future?- will have readers wondering about their own first love. And the mystery from all those years ago - whatever happened to Lainey's mother?

Henry's writing is languid and detailed, suiting the Lowcountry setting. And perfect for summer reading. Read an excerpt of The Bookshop at Water's End.

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of Losing the Moon; Where the River Runs; When Light Breaks; Between the Tides; The Art of Keeping Secrets; Driftwood Summer; The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story; Coming up for Air; And Then I Found You; The Stories We Tell; The Idea of Love. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. You can connect with Patti on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

I have a copy of The Bookshop at Water's End to giveaway - enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends August 26/17.