Saturday, September 20, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #22

- You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover - Which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...
 
UK cover
US/Canadian cover
I was hunting down cover art for my review of Lars Kepler's latest book, The Sandman, and came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the
 UK cover on the right. Both are definitely creepy, but I'm going with the N.A. cover this week - it just scared me little more. Either way, it's a great read and a fantastic series. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read, or do you plan to read The Sandman?
  You Can't Judge A Book By Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Film on Friday #20 - The Fault in Our Stars

When a well-loved book is adapted as a movie I always wonder if the film can live up to my expectations.  In this case, it's John Green's fabulous book, The Fault in Our Stars. I didn't get to the theatres to see it, so I happily sat down with the newly released The Fault in Our Stars Little Infinites Blu-ray.

Director Josh Boone's vision of the book was excellent! For those of you unaware of either book or movie (and how can that be!) The Fault in Our stars is the love story of Hazel and Augustus - who meet at a teen cancer group. Actors Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort both did an amazing job bringing these characters to the screen. Supporting actors Laura Dern and Sam Trammel also embodied the mental images I had created for Hazel's parents. Woodley and Elgort nail the sarcastic dialogue, the poignant scenes and the 'get the tissue box moments' (seriously you're going to want to have that handy) and made me fall in love all over again with this story.

There are so many great scenes and lines from the book that stuck in my head as I was reading and I wondered if they would appear in the movie. They did - including my personal favourite - "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities." This Blu-ray edition is actually called the Little Infinities Extended Edition (and comes with a limited edition little infinities bracelet) The Fault in Our Stars tackles a serious topic with humour, grace, wit and so much emotion. It's impossible not to love the story.

Although I loved getting lost in watching the movie, I was also eager to see the additional features included - an extended version, deleted scenes (including a cameo cut from John Green), features on the cast, the process of taking a book to a movie and many more.

Is it a movie I would watch again? Absolutely. Definitely recommended to movie and book lovers - one of the best book to film adaptions I've seen.

 And if it's a movie you'd like to own, I have a copy of the The Fault in Our Stars Little Infinities version to giveaway! Open to US and Canada - you can enter here - share your favourite Fault in Our Stars moment. Ends Sept. 28/14.
 
Already own the movie? You might want to watch it again - with John Green. #TFIOSPARTY
 
 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Over the Counter #230

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Wildlife this week - past and present....dead and alive......

First up is Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris with Joanna Ebenstein.

From the publisher, Blue Rider Press:

"Welcome to Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter’s fantasy world of rabbit schoolchildren, cigar-smoking squirrels and exemplary feline etiquette in Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy… 

Walter Potter (1835–1918), a British country taxidermist of no great expertise, built anthropomorphic taxidermy tableaux that became famous icons of Victorian whimsy, including his masterpiece The Death & Burial of Cock Robin. His tiny museum in Bramber, Sussex, was crammed full of multi-legged kittens, two-headed lambs, and a bewildering assortment of curios. Potter’s inspired and beguiling tableaux found many fans in the contemporary art world: it was reported that a £1M bid by Damien Hirst to keep the collection intact was refused when the museum finally closed.
 
Here, perhaps for the last time, many important pieces from the collection are showcased and celebrated with new photographs of Potter’s best-loved works. Darkly witty and affecting, Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy makes a charming, whimsical (and yes, slightly morbid) gift."
 
Next is Extreme Birds: The World's Most Extraordinary and Bizarre Birds by Dominic Couzens.

From the publisher, Firefly Books:

"Extreme Birds is a photographic showcase of 150 birds at the extremes of nature. It reveals nature's ingenuity and sometimes its sense of humor. The species in this book were chosen for their extraordinary characteristics and for behaviors far beyond the typical. They are the biggest, the fastest, the meanest, the smartest. They build the most intricate nests, they have the most peculiar mating rituals, they dive the deepest and they fly the highest. These are the overachievers of the avian world.

Some examples:
  • Most skilled nest builder: The tiny southern masked weaver reveals a surprising grasp of the principles of architecture. In just five days it weaves and knots thousands of fine grass strands to build a complex sphere-like nest that hangs from the tip of an overhead branch.
  • Deadliest enemy: The southern cassowary is big (140 pounds), tall (6 feet) and fast (30 mph). This flightless bird can also leap 5 feet into the air and has 5-inch long claws that are capable of stabbing and disemboweling a human being.
  • Most creative decorator: The blue bower bird creates an elaborate "bachelor pad" bower and decorates it with colorful baubles. Blue is preferred, and the shinier the better. Enlivened with entertaining facts and anecdotes, Extreme Birds is an engaging celebration of nature's tremendous imagination. It will appeal to all readers, especially birders and naturalists."
(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!)

What's Your Favourite The Fault in Our Stars Moment?


 
"The Fault in Our Stars is newly released on DVD and Blu-ray!(Sept 16) Are you ready to bring on the feels? As a member of The Fault In Our Stars Ambassador Program, I helped in creating a list of the top moments from the film that I would love to relive! Featuring brilliant performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort that made the film a favorite of fans and critics alike, this inspirational modern day tale of star-crossed lovers will have you going from laughter to tears and back again."

Have you read the book or seen the movie?! What are your favorite moments that you would like to relive? Comment with your favorite book or movie moment and you will be entered to win a Little Infinities Extended Edition Blu-ray copy of TFIOS!! Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Sept 28/14.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Distance - Helen Giltrow

The Distance is Helen Giltrow's debut novel.

Giltrow's premise intrigued me - Charlotte Alton, a London, England society woman has a secret life - she deals in information and in those circles is known as Karla. Karla makes things - and people disappear. Simon, a former client, a hired killer, reappears after Karla helped him disappear a few years ago. He's back in the game and needs her firm's help with smuggling him into a prison to carry out a hit. But it's not just any prison....it's a self governing prison colony set up in an abandoned village. The inmates are running things. To go in would be crazy.....

Wow! The Distance delivered one heck of a breakneck read. Both Karla and Simon are large than life characters. Karla is able to access, interfere with and manipulate data, people and situations. Simon, well, Simon takes a beating and keeps on ticking. (way beyond what I think any body could handle, but hey it makes for a wild story) The driven nature of both of these characters accelerates the plot into overdrive. And had me yelling "No.....why would you...." more than once.

The protagonists are intriguing, but The Distance is a plot driven book. The narrative switches between Karla and Simon, offering the reader a chance to see what's happening from all sides. But, no one is telling the truth, and everyone has their own agenda. What we think we know is turned upside down a few pages later. The last few chapters are excellent, throwing in a turn I suspected might be coming, but with even more twists included. The ending is excellent, leaving the door open to a second book with these characters perhaps? (Kinda hoping that's true)

I was fascinated with the idea of a self governing prison colony in current times. Giltrow's prison is stark, bleak and brutal. Her descriptions paint very vivid and visceral images. The ease with which Karla manipuates information is frightening.  I can see this book as a movie - maybe with Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg.

Gentle readers be warned, there is graphic violence in The Distance. Fans of powerhouse non-stop thrillers that will keep you up - this one's for you. Read an excerpt of The Distance.

What a great debut this was. I'll be watching for Giltrow's next book. You can keep with Helen Giltrow on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway - Ark Storm - Linda Davies

Today I've got a copy of Linda Davies' newly released book Ark Storm for giveaway!

From the publisher, Forge Books:

"The Ark Storm is coming—a catastrophic weather event that will unleash massive floods and wreak more damage on California than the feared “Big One.” One man wants to profit from it. Another wants to harness it to wage jihad on American soil. One woman stands in their way: Dr. Gwen Boudain, a brave and brilliant meteorologist. 

When Boudain notices that her climate readings are off the charts, she turns to Gabriel Messenger for research funding. Messenger’s company is working on a program that ionizes water molecules to bring rain on command. Meanwhile, Wall Street suits notice that someone is placing six-month bets on the prospect of an utter apocalypse and begin to investigate. Standing in the shadows is journalist Dan Jacobsen, a former Navy SEAL. War hardened, cynical, and handsome, Jacobsen is a man with his own hidden agenda.

Linda Davies's Ark Storm brings together the worlds of finance, scientific innovation, and terrorism in a fast-paced thrill ride that will leave readers gasping." Read an excerpt of Ark Storm.

Linda Davies is a graduate in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University, and worked for seven years an as investment banker before escaping to write novels. Davies's first novel, Nest of Vipers, has been published in more than thirty countries, selling over two million copies. She is also a winner of the Philip Geddes Prize for journalism. Davies is married with three children. She lives by the sea in Suffolk." You can find Linda Davies on her website, her blog, and on Twitter.

If this sounds like a book you'd like to read, simply leave a comment (and a way to contact you) to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no PO Boxes please. Ends Sept 27/14.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Sandman - Lars Kepler

I love a good thriller, one that captures you from the opening lines....The Sandman, the newest North American release from Lars Kepler, had me hooked....

"His bloody hand has started to freeze as he carries on walking. His name is Mikael Kohler-Frost. He has been missing for thirteen years, and was declared dead seven years ago."

And only a few pages later..."Even though Jurek Walter is Sweden's worst-ever serial killer, he is completely unknown to the public."

But he is known to Detective Inspector Joona Linna.

Linna is an enigmatic character, but an intuitive and tenacious investigator. He sees the clues and likes to 'get into the killer's head' as well. There are secrets in his own life that have only slowly been revealed over the course of the last three books. That plot line is expanded on and woven into the main storyline in The Sandman with great effect. I was glad to see Saga Bauer, a cop with a damaged psyche, return as well. She and Linna are both unpredictable characters that intrigue me.

I've used the word creepy before to describe Kepler's books and I would use it to again to describe The Sandman. The settings, the plot, the characters and their actions are all unsettling, keeping readers on their toes - and looking under the bed. There is violence in the book, but it is the prelude, the knowing that something is going to happen and the not knowing when, that ramps up the tension and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Kepler captures the fears of nightmares and insidiously weaves then into his books.

There is no predicting where Kepler's plots will go. I am surprised every time, which I appreciate. I read a lot of mysteries and thriller, so being kept off kilter is refreshing. Read an excerpt of The Sandman.

Whoever is designing the covers for Kepler's book is doing a great job - they're disquieting and chilling before you even turn a page. Neil Smith was the translator for the this book and he did a great job - no wooden phrases or awkward language.

The Sandman is the fourth book in the  series and I think it's my favourite so far, although they're all fantastic reads. And I loved the ending. Now more than ever, I'll be waiting and watching for the fifth in this series - The Stalker, due out in N.A. in 2015. You can keep up with this husband and wife writing team on Facebook - Lars Kepler.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Winners!

And the winner of two tickets to see Philippa Gregory and a copy of her new book The King's Curse, courtesy of Simon and Schuster Canada is:

Icewineanne!


And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Echopraxia by Peter Watts, courtesy of Tor Books is: Carl S

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson, courtesy of Tor Books is: Anita Y!

Congratulations! I've contacted everyone for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time, new winners will be chosen. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!