Monday, June 26, 2017

The Cafe by the Sea - Jenny Colgan

I love Jenny Colgan's books - they're the perfect 'feel-good' read. Her latest North American release is The Cafe by the Sea.

What makes Colgan's books such a delight to read? Her characters first and foremost. There's always a fun female lead facing decisions, both professionally and personally. This time 'round it's Flora, born on the remote Scottish island of Mure. When her mother died, Flora fled to London to pursue her career. Three years on she hasn't returned, even for a visit. But when her boss (yes she does have a crush on him - this is another integral part of Colgan's books - the romantic will they, won't they component) sends her there for work, she is forced to confront her past - and look to her future. (Another few pieces of the feel-good read - conflict and heart-string tugging.)

Flora is a perfect lead - fun, quirky and very likable. The supporting cast also endears themselves to the reader - Flora's loud and noisy family, the townsfolk - and two other possible romantic entanglements......

The grief and loss Flora is experiencing over her mother's death is very well written. Anyone who has suffered such a loss will find themselves shedding a tear or two. But there's lots of joy as well - rediscovering that place we call 'home' and finding your own passion - the thing you were meant to do. The title gives you a pretty broad hint of what Flora's passion might be. Colgan's description of the joy of food and baking was, well, mouthwatering! The descriptions of Mure are vivid, bring the imaginary isle to life - and had me wanting to visit. And who doesn't love a good romantic tale - the meandering path to true love - all the while knowing that yes, there's a happy ending. But sad for the reader when the end is reached. More please!

The Cafe by the Sea is the perfect summer (okay, really anytime) read - engaging, touching, joyful, romantic, humourous and more. Loved it! Read an excerpt of The Cafe by the Sea.

You can connect with Jenny Colgan on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. (And I have to say that I look forward to reading the note from the author at the beginning of Colgan's books - her warmth and wit shine through and add a personal note to the novels.)

(Note that this is the same novel as the British titled The Summer Seaside Kitchen.)

Friday, June 23, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #164

- 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
Shari Lapena's first book, The Couple Next Door, was a
bestseller. Her second book, A Stranger in the House is due out in August of this year. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Blue background, white font and a window is used in both covers. But very different pictures. I'm not a fan of the US shot at all. Women on covers is getting very tired for me. And it's just kind of static. The blowing curtain and looking out from inside on the UK cover appeals to me more. And the tagline gives us a bit more. Any plans to read A Stranger in the House? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Child - Fiona Barton

Fiona Barton's second novel, The Child, releases on Tuesday, June 27/17. I figure if I give you a heads up today, you too can spend a day on the beach next weekend devouring it - I did!

Barton is a former journalist. Her first book, The Widow, (my 5 star review) took inspiration from real life, trials and newspaper stories, as does the lead character in The Child.

Kate, a reporter, sees this story " 'Baby's Body Found.' Two small sentences told how an infant's skeleton had been unearthed on a building site..." And she wonders "Who is the baby? How did it die? Who would bury a baby?"

What a great premise - I too want to know the answers. Kate is not the only person to see the news story. The Child is told from four alternating points of view - that of Kate and three other women. Each of those three has a reason to hope - or fear - their own ties to the little skeleton. I love multiple point of view books - the reader is privy to the information that each character is holding - or hiding. And we can only hold our breath as (in this case) Kate gets closer and closer to the truth. Now, that being said, I thought I had fit the pieces together about halfway through the book. But, as one character also says..."I don't know what to think anymore. Everything is wrong. I've got everything wrong." I was quite happy to not have guessed!

The Child is a character driven novel of suspense. Kate is a wonderful lead. I wonder if there are bits of Barton's own journalistic days woven into her character? The details of the investigation and newsroom ring very true. The other three women are just as well drawn - their connections to the child are quite poignant, shocking and in one case absolutely infuriating. I'm deliberately being obtuse - The Child is a story you need unfold and discover as the pieces are slowly put together. Although I will say this - motherhood is a prominent theme and thread that ties the four stories together. "Disturbing the surface had triggered an eruption of unexpected secrets."

The Child was an absolutely addicting pager turner for this reader! Definitely recommended. Read an excerpt of The Child.

"Fiona Barton trains and works with journalists all over the world. Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards. Born in Cambridge, England, she currently lives in southwest France." You can connect with Fiona Barton on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Over the Counter #371

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

For the Love of Old: Living with Chipped, Frayed, Tarnished, Faded, Tattered, Worn and Weathered Things That Bring Comfort, Character and Joy to the Places We Call Home by Mary Randolph Carter.

From the publisher, Rizzoli:

"This stunning volume focuses on the qualities of the old things in our homes (the patina of an old table, pewter dulled by age, old floorboards that creak) and how to live with and incorporate them into our personal aesthetic. Divided into chapters by the qualities of old—peeling, dried, tarnished, faded, chipped, frayed, rusty, and mossy—this unique book not only pays tribute to furniture, textiles, china, silver and other accessories with these qualities but also shows us how best to preserve, adapt, and arrange them. Lavishly illustrated with beautiful photographs that highlight the warm colors and rich textures of wood and paint, cloth and leather, For the Love of Old also includes ideas and recipes for saving old items from the junk pile, preserving and caring for the old things you have, giving newer things a lived-in feel, and bringing an enduring personality to every home."

(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 20, 2017

Giveaway - Beach House for Rent - Mary Alice Monroe

Today is release day for Mary Alice Monroe's newest book - Beach House for Rent.  And I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

What's it about? From the publisher, Gallery Books:

"New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house.

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Wyatt for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible." Read an excerpt of Beach House for Rent.

"While Beach House for Rent was written as a stand-alone novel, it is the final installment of Monroe’s successful Beach House series, which began with The Beach House (2002), and is now being adapted to a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie by the Hallmark Channel, starring three-time Golden Globe nominee Andie MacDowell, who is also an executive producer."

"Mary Alice Monroe is the award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels (A Lowcountry Wedding, A Lowcountry Christmas, The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End, The Beach House, Beach House Memories), and was recently named a 2018 inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Writers Literary Hall of Fame. She is an active conservationist and lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. "You can connect with Mary Alice Monroe on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read Beach House for Rent, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! Open to continental US only, no PO boxes please. Ends July 2/17. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Golden Prey - John Sandford

I've been a fan of John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series from the very first book. The latest is Golden Prey - the 27th entry!

Sandford has moved Davenport's professional (and personal) life along over the years. This latest entry has Davenport taking a deputy position with the US Marshals. This is a great development - Lucas can look at cases across the country. And even better - he can pick and choose the cases he wants to work - thanks to his political connections.

In Golden Prey, he decides to hunt down a felon named Garvin Poole. Poole has stolen from a drug cartel - and killed a child who just happened to be present. Davenport wants him for the murder and the cartel wants their money back. The cartel has sent an odd, but deadly, pair of killers after him. Who will find him first? The cops or the killers?

Ahh, there's nothing like settling in for the latest tale from a character you've come to love over the years. This locale and job change keeps the series fresh. The case is unusual and the 'bad guys' are very unique. The plotting is fast paced with lots of action. The dialogue is just as quick - and I love the acerbic, biting tone. And no 'Prey' book is complete without a reference to Virgil Flowers - it's always fun to come across it. Another excellent entry - I'll be watching for book twenty-eight.

I chose to listen to Golden Prey. The reader is Richard Ferrone, who has the most wonderful gravelly voice. It embodies the mental image I've created for Davenport. Ferrone has created voices for other characters that fit as well - the killers in this case are quite funny. Ferrone is an expressive reader and interprets Sandford's work well, capturing the sarcastic, biting humour of the dialogue. Listen to an excerpt of Golden Prey. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #163

- 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
Michael Connelly has a new book coming in July that's the first in a new series featuring Detective Renée Ballard. And yes, its on my TBR list. So, two very similar looks this week - a picture of a woman superimposed over a cityscape shot. The US shot puts her more in control, while the UK could be interpreted either way - running to or from danger. Blue and yellow on both covers. So.....I'm not really a fan of either cover this week. But, if forced to choose, I would go with the US cover. Any plans to read The Late Show? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.