Saturday, May 30, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #55

- 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
Linwood Barclay's new thriller, Broken Promise releases in North America in July and September in the UK. It's definitely on my TBR list! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. I like the colours of the US cover better and that broken glass is atmospheric. But, so is the cover shot on the UK version - which also features a tag line. Still, I:m going with the US cover this week. A second look shows a street scape. Are you planning on reading Broken Promise? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature at A Bookworm's World.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Dead Lands - Benjamin Percy

I missed reading Benjamin Percy's last novel, Red Novel. The positive reviews I read had me eager to read his latest release, The Dead Lands.

Percy had me at 'post-apocalyptic'. I love books that explore what the world might be like when what we know ends.

Between a super flu and nuclear fallout, most of mankind and society has been wiped out. But there are pockets of humanity left. One such group has barricaded themselves in what is left of St. Louis and dubbed it The Sanctuary. It's a militant society, but at least the inhabitants are alive behind its walls. (It somewhat reminded me of Woodbury from The Walking Dead) And until the day a young woman on a horse rides through the gates they are satisfied with being alive. But not everyone is. A young pair -Lewis Meriwether and Mina Clark decide to go outside the walls. The young woman says there is much more out there - water, crops and a better society.

Lewis and Clark (Aha - just like the explorers!) strike out. But the journey there is arduous, filled with danger from within the group, from The Sanctuary and the land they are traversing. And the girl may have lied....

I loved the idea, I liked the characters - actually my favourite character was Ella - a supporting player from The Sanctuary. I did find the mayor of The Sanctuary and his henchman Sheriff a bit cliched. Percy has done a good job with world building. The journey to the unknown will have you rooting for our explorers. But. Yes, there's a but. No doubt, Percy is a talented wordsmith. But sometimes too many words is just, well too much. I wanted more action, not more descriptions. I started getting bogged down in the details - and I found myself skimming.

Creatures such as albino giant bats seemed more fantastical than apocalyptic. Maybe that's just me - and what I was hoping to find. A good read, but not great for this reader. Here's an excerpt of The Dead Lands.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Over the Counter #265

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Rock stars this week.......

First up is The Big Book of Hair Metal by Martin Popoff.

From the publisher, Voyageur Press:

"In the 1980s, heavy metal went mainstream. The dark themes and brain-busting riffage of bands like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple suddenly fell out of favor--replaced by a new legion of metalheads whose themes of girls, partying, girls, drugs, and girls were presented amid shredding solos and power ballads and who were, for some reason, more acceptable to the masses. In this ultimate guide to the subgenre, acclaimed heavy-metal journalist Martin Popoff examines hair metal in an all-encompassing oral history jacked up by a kaleidoscope of outrageous and previously unpublished quotes, anecdotes, photos, and memorabilia. T Here it is in all of its primped-up glory."

And next we have The Rockstar Remedy: A Rock and Roll Doctor's Prescription for Living a Long, Healthy Life by Dr. Gabrielle Francis.

From the publisher, Harper Wave:

"hen we think of rock stars, we tend to think of extreme living: the infamous trinity of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. But the truth is, those myths are sexier than the facts. The best-kept secret of the music industry is that the majority of our rock & roll idols are committed to health—even when they party like, well, rock stars.

As a holistic physician and massage therapist to many of the music world's elite, Dr. Gabrielle Francis knows this truth firsthand. Over the course of her career, she has helped some of the biggest names in the music industry look and feel great, despite an exhausting lifestyle that both demands discipline and welcomes overindulgence. In The Rockstar Remedy, she shares the program that has helped these stars repair, recover, and refuel so that they can perform at their best.

In many ways, the health obstacles facing Dr. Francis's most famous clients are the same as those facing her everyday patients. Being overscheduled, sleep deprived, on the road, or occasionally eating or drinking to excess aren't lifestyle habits unique to the music industry—they are the same challenges we encounter all the time.

With exclusive interviews from artists such as Steven Tyler, Dave Navarro, Tommy Lee, Eve, and members of Megadeth, Def Leppard, Anthrax, and many more, The Rockstar Remedy offers an accessible, fun, and effective plan for staying healthy and happy in the chaos of our daily lives.

(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!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Ice Twins - S. K. Tremayne

Do you ever get that feeling - when you know you're in for a great read and you won't be going to bed anytime soon? I knew from the opening pages of S.K. Tremayne's book The Ice Twins, that I was in for a great twisty psychological thriller of a read.

How's this for a premise?Angus and Sarah have lost a lot in the last year - their home, Angus's job - and young Lydia, one of their identical twin seven year old daughters. In an attempt to put their lives back together they decide to move to a small cottage on a tiny Scottish island that Angus inherited from his gran. Hopefully this move will be good for their marriage - and for their surviving daughter Kirstie.

But then Kirstie says she is not Kirstie - she is Lydia. Could this be possible? Have they had a funeral for the wrong child? How could they make such a mistake?

The Ice Twins gives us a glimpse into both Sarah's and Angus's minds with alternating narratives. Throughout both there are little hints and glimpses into past events that may have precipitated the twin's death. As the uncertainty grows as to which twin is alive so does the tension and anger between Sarah and Angus. Tremayne keeps the reader guessing as things change with almost every chapter. Kirstie/Lydia's dialogue is quite chilling. Is it grief or something more malevolent?

The descriptions of the harsh weather and rundown cottage only serve to underscore the unsettled, disturbing and yes, sinister feeling of the book. (The Ice Twins would make a great scary movie!)

I loved it! Snuggle into your favourite reading chair, pull the curtains and ignore that squeak on the stairs - you're in for a great read. Absolutely recommended! Here's an excerpt of The Ice Twins.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Mountain Story - Lori Lansens

Lori Lansens is one of my favourite authors. Each of her previous three books has been a very different story, but each of them celebrates the fortitude of the human spirit.

Her newest novel, The Mountain Story, continues that concept.

Four people - three of them know each other, the fourth was alone - are stranded on a mountain with no food, no water and no shelter for five days. Three make it down the mountain. And one of the survivors tells the tale....

"A person has to have lived a little to appreciate a survival story. That's what I've always said and I promised that when you were old enough, I'd tell you mine .... What happened up there changed my life, Danny. Hearing the story is going to change yours."

Wolf Truly is our narrator. He brings to life his fractured upbringing..."In those dangerous narrows grew children who knew too much too young, but sadly, always seemed to learn too little too late."

And the story of the mountain. I felt like I was sitting with Danny, reading the letter Wolf has written. Lansens has a way of drawing the reader in, making them feel like they are part of the story as well.

Lansens captures the physicality of Wolf's life and his time on the mountain in both good  and bad times. Her descriptions painted vivid pictures in my mind as I read. But, The Mountain Story is more than a story of survival. (Even though we know there are survivors, the question of who dies and the fight to make it through another day does not lessen the tension)

Where Lansens excels for me is in her characters -  their lives, their thoughts and their interactions. The Mountain Story is a coming of age story, an exploration of parent and child relationships, friendships, a questioning of a higher power, loss, love and redemption. And always - the strength of the human spirit. Life is a bumpy road. As Wolf says "There will be sway."

Absolutely, positively recommended. Read an excerpt of The Mountain. You can connect with Lori Lansens on Twitter and on Facebook.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Giveaway - The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi

Night Shade Books have just released a new expanded edition The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi - and I have a copy to giveaway!

From the publisher:

"Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, a new edition of the breakout science fiction debut featuring additional stories and an exclusive Q and A with the author.

Anderson Lake is AgriGen’s Calorie Man, sent to work undercover as a factory manager in Thailand while combing Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories.

Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature. Emiko is not human; she is an engineered being, grown and programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok. Regarded as soulless beings by some, devils by others, New People are slaves, soldiers, and toys of the rich in this chilling near future in which calorie companies rule the world, the oil age has passed, and the side effects of bioengineered plagues run rampant across the globe.

What happens when calories become currency? What happens when bioterrorism becomes a tool for corporate profits and forces mankind to the cusp of post-human evolution? Bacigalupi delivers one of the most highly acclaimed science fiction novels of the twenty-first century.

In this brand-new edition celebrating the book’s reception into the canon of modern science fiction, accompanying the text are two novelettes exploring the dystopian world of The Windup Girl, the Theodore Sturgeon Award–winning “The Calorie Man” and “Yellow Card Man,” and an exclusive Q&A with the author describing his writing process, the political climate into which his debut novel was published, and the future of science fiction." Read an excerpt of The Windup Girl.

Bacigalupi's new book The Water Knife releases May 26/15. Paolo's book tour starts Tuesday as well - full schedule below. You can also keep up with Paolo on Facebook and on Twitter.

5/26/15: Denver, CO Tattered Cover, reading, Q and A, and signing
5/27/15: Boulder, CO Boulder Bookstore, reading, Q and A, and signing
5/28-29/15: New York, NY, BEA and NYC media
5/30/15: Boston, MA Brookline Booksmith, reading, Q and A, and signing 6/2/15: Chicago, IL Anderson’s Bookshop, reading, Q and A, and signing 6/3/15: Salt Lake City, UT The King’s English, reading, Q and A, and signing 6/4/15: Phoenix, AR Changing Hands Bookstore, reading, Q and A, and signing
6/6-6/7/15: San Francisco, CA, Bay Area Literary Festival
6/6-6/7/15: San Francisco, CA, Borderlands, signing
6/8/15: San Diego, CA Mysterious Galaxy, reading, Q and A, and signing 6/9/15: Los Angeles, Vroman’s, reading, Q and A, and signing
6/10/15: Portland, OR Powell’s Bookstore, reading, Q and A, and signing
6/11/15: Seattle, WA University Book Store, reading, Q and A, and signing
6/18/15: Crested Butte, CO Rumors Coffee and Tea House, reading, Q and A, and signing


If you'd like to read The Windup Girl, enter using the Rafflecopter form below.
 US only, ends June 6/15.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #55

- 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
Linda Fairstein's new book, Devil's Bridge, releases in August. And it's on my TBR list - I quite like the New York history she weaves into her crime novels. (This is the 17th in the Alex Cooper series) The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. I'm torn this week, but I'm going with the UK cover. The US is a realistic shot, bright and catches your eye. But I like the ominous look of the UK cover. Have you read this series before? Which cover do you prefer?
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature 
at A Bookworm's World

Friday, May 22, 2015

Disclaimer - Renée Knight

As a book blogger, I receive a lot of books in the mail. Some I've requested and some are unsolicited.  An unsolicited book is the jump off point for Renée Knight's debut novel, Disclaimer.

Catherine is the main character in Disclaimer. During a chaotic move, she sits down to relax and read a book she's come across, although she's not sure from where. She's a few chapters in when she realizes the the book is about her.....

"There was no going back. Catherine had unwittingly stumbled across herself tucked into the pages of the book."

And the standard disclaimer you find at the beginning of book...."Any resemblance to persons living or dead..." has a 'a neat red line through it.'

What a great premise! I was hooked in the first few pages. But if that wasn't enough, Knight tells her story from two different narratives - that of Catherine - and the person who sent the book - Stephen.

I couldn't stop reading - I wanted to know what is in the book, why he has sent it to Catherine, why this format, what has gone on before and so much more. What is the secret!

"...The act of keeping the secret a secret has almost become bigger than the secret itself."

Knight is a master of doling out clues and snippets that let the reader slowly build an idea or a picture of what might have happened. Her foreshadowing had me staying up just to read another chapter before turning off the light for the night.

Then I reached the point of the book within the book where the secret is revealed. But - I was only about half way through the novel. What I thought I knew wasn't the end at all - there are more questions - and I desperately wanted the answers. Answers are provided by the end - but they aren't quite what I had imagined. I loved that I couldn't predict where the book was going to go.

Stephen is a particularly despicable (and creepy) character. His thoughts and justifications are quite frightening. My feelings about Catherine changed with every new 'reveal' in Disclaimer. But by the end (and the ending was just right) I was firmly in her camp.

Those who enjoy psychological twisty thrillers will enjoy Knight's debut. I did! (Nice little cover blurb from Lee Child as well)

Read an excerpt of Disclaimer. Harper Collins has also crafted a reading guide.

"Renée Knight worked for the BBC directing arts documentaries and has had TV and film scripts commissioned by the BBC, Channel Four, and Capital Films. In April 2013, she graduated from the Faber Academy "Writing a Novel" course, whose alumni include S. J. Watson. She lives in London with her husband and two children." See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Over the Counter #264

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Well, this week it's things - or stuff - or objects...

First up is Never Stop to Think...Do I Have A Place For This by Mary Randolph Carter. Photographed by Carter Berg.  (Okay, this one came home with me....I'm a collector and junker at heart.)

From the publisher, Rizzoli:

"In an age of picture-perfect interior design, best-selling author Mary Randolph Carter celebrates her highly personal and creative approach to decor, illustrating how to live stylishly with the many items you want to treasure forever. Mary Randolph Carter's newest book indulges our desire to surround ourselves with belongings that impart beauty and meaning to our lives. Whether you are passionate about flea market thrifting, have a collection of pedigreed antiques, or simply find inspiration among the castoffs in your attic, this book is a tribute to making artful interiors with your acquisitions.

With her trademark style and love of heirlooms and beautiful old objects, Carter delves into the interiors of real-life tastemakers (antique dealers, fashion designers, artists, and boutique owners) to explore how our homes are the perfect canvas for our self-expression. In these pages, Carter curates a variety of unique interiors, from a couple who restores and displays antique textiles and china to an anglophile with an incredible library of vintage books to an artist who lives with the old photos and maps he uses in his work to an antique dealer known for having multiples of everything. Carter muses delightfully on the universal desire to acquire while imparting her philosophy and tips for living creatively and integrating our passions stylishly into our decor. Chock-full of ideas and inspiration, this book exalts in the beauty of bounty and is sure to delight Carter's legions of fans."

Next up is A History of New York in 101 Objects by Sam Roberts.

From the publisher, Simon and Schuster:

"The vibrant story of America’s great metropolis, told through 101 distinctive objects that span the history of New York, all reproduced in luscious, full color.

A wooden water barrel and an elevator brake. A Checker taxicab and a conductor’s baton. An oyster and a mastodon tusk. Inspired by A History of the World in 100 Objects, The New York Times’ Sam Roberts chose fifty objects that embody the narrative of New York for a feature article in the paper. Many more suggestions came from readers, and so Roberts has expanded the list to 101.

Unique, sometimes whimsical, always important, A History of New York in 101 Objects is a beautiful chronicle of the remarkable history of the Big Apple that will enrich your mind and rekindle memories."

(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!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Giveaway - Head Case - Cole Cohen

I'm always intrigue by memoirs - that personal glimpse into someone else's life. I've got an absolutely fascinating one to giveaway today - Head Case by Cole Cohen has just released.

From the publisher, Henry Holt:

"A spirited, wry, and utterly original memoir about one woman's struggle to make her way and set up a life after doctors discover a hole the size of a lemon in her brain. 

The summer before she was set to head out-of-state to pursue her MFA, twenty-six-year-old Cole Cohen submitted herself to a battery of tests. For as long as she could remember, she'd struggled with a series of learning disabilities that made it nearly impossible to judge time and space--standing at a cross walk, she couldn't tell you if an oncoming car would arrive in ten seconds or thirty; if you asked her to let you know when ten minutes had passed, she might notify you in a minute or an hour. These symptoms had always kept her from getting a driver's license, which she wanted to have for grad school. Instead of leaving the doctor's office with permission to drive, she left with a shocking diagnosis--doctors had found a large hole in her brain responsible for her life-long struggles. Because there aren't established tools to rely on in the wake of this unprecedented and mysterious diagnosis, Cole and her doctors and family create them, and discover firsthand how best to navigate the unique world that Cole lives in. Told without an ounce of self-pity and plenty of charm and wit, Head Case is ultimately a story of triumph, as we watch this passionate, loveable, and unsinkable young woman chart a path for herself." Read an excerpt of Head Case.
Photo credit:
Lesley Abugov Cohen

"Cole Cohen graduated from the California Institute of the Arts MFA program in Writing and Critical Studies in 2009. She was a finalist for the Bakeless Prize and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs prize in Nonfiction and she has been a Yaddo Fellow. She currently lives in Santa Barbara, California where she works as the Events and Program Coordinator for UC Santa Barbara's Interdisciplinary Humanities Center." You can connect with Cole Cohen on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

Sounds fascinating doesn't it? If you'd like to own a copy of Head Case, enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes. Ends June 6/15.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Inside the O'Briens - Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova simply can't write a bad book. Her latest, Inside the O'Briens is another absolutely fantastic read.

Genova is a neuroscientist. Each of her novels has brain function or brain injury as a starting point. (Still Alice has just been made into a movie)

Forty-four year old Joe O'Brien has been a cop in Charleston, Massachusetts for twenty four years. He, his wife Rosie and his four adult children all live in the brownstone that Joe grew up in. When he starts having temper outbursts, a few muscle spasms and momentary mental lapses, he writes if off to age and fatigue. But....they get worse. Rosie and the kids are noticing more and it's happening at work - a dangerous situation. When Rosie finally gets Joe to a doctor, they are stunned to hear Joe's diagnosis - Huntington's Disease - a neurological condition that is fatal. And it's genetic - his children have a 50/50 chance of also having the disease.

Wow. Genova takes us inside this tight knit family through Joe and his daughter Katie's eyes. The uncertainty, the anger, the denial, the aftermath, the hope, the dreams and above all the love of this family for each other. I know these are characters in a book, but I honesty felt like Genova was actually writing about a real family. The interactions, the dialogue and the situations had me feeling like I was sitting at the table with them, having Sunday dinner.

I had previously heard of Huntington's Disease, but learned so very much about it from Inside the O'Briens, from both a medical, societal and personal perspective. Yes, the book has the disease as a basis, but it is the family of O'Briens that stayed with me after I turned the last page. Poignant, heartwarming, heartbreaking and oh so very, very good. Read an excerpt of Inside the O'Briens.

You can connect with Lisa Genova on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Abduction of Smith and Smith - Rashad Harrison

The Abduction of Smith and Smith is Rashad Harrison's second novel.

1868. The Civil War has ended. Jupiter Smith a former slave, is a free man. But he's now making his living by selling others into servitude - he shanghais unsuspecting men from the brothels, bars and opium dens of San Francisco and sells them to ship captains in need of a crew. Jupiter is also looking for his wife - it's been seven long years since he has seen her. But , someone else is looking for Jupiter as well - Archer, the son of his former master, the Colonel, - and his half brother. For you see, Jupiter killed the Colonel. The tables are turned when both Jupiter and Archer are 'crimped'onto a ship with a captain of questionable standards.

That's the backbone of the story, but there is so much more. Rollicking is word that comes to mind. Pirates, magicians, convicts, gun runners and more - everyone has their own agenda and their own pockets to fill.  But amongst all that, it is the relationship between Jupiter and Archer that is the constant. Can they keep each other alive? Come to terms with their relationship? Harrison explores slavery, love, hate, loyalty, family and more with his characters. The time frame and multiple settings also allows Harrison to also explore the changing and growing nation in many facets, as well as farther afield.

I quite enjoyed Jupiter as a character, with Captain Barrett a close second. (He's got more lives than a cat, a finger in every pie and a deal in every port) The Abduction of Smith and Smith is a busy book. The plot is wide and far reaching, sometimes stretching credibility, but always entertaining. Things slow down a bit in the last few chapters with a more serious tone as memories and resolution come together for Jupiter. I did find the timeline of some of these final chapters a bit confusing.

The Abduction of Smith and Smith fell outside of my regular reading tastes, but I really enjoyed it. It's refreshing to not be able to predict what is going to happen in a book. Read an excerpt of The Abduction of Smith and Smith.

Rashad Harrison was the Jacob K. Javits Fellow in fiction at New York University. He is the author of the acclaimed novel Our Man in the Dark (2011) and The Abduction of Smith and Smith (2015). He and his family currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can connect with Rashad Harrison on his website, oron Twitter ,as well as on Facebook.  See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #54

- 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 cover
Matthew Quick's new book, Love May Fail, releases in June. And it's on my TBR list. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. This week I'm going with the US cover. I love those falling paper airplanes. The UK cover is just too disjointed and way too quirky for me. Are you planning on reading Love May Fail? Which cover do you prefer?
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature at 
 A Bookworm's World


Friday, May 15, 2015

Film on Friday #36 - American Sniper - Review AND Giveaway!

Chris Kyle. I can't imagine there are many who haven't heard his name or know his story.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing American Sniper, the movie based on the life of Chris Kyle, on Blu-ray/Dvd on May 19/15. Clint Eastwood is the director.

Kyle is the most lethal sniper in US military history - and he was the most wanted man in Iraq. But there's so more to this story - it's also the story of a father, a husband and a veteran.

Eastwood grabs the viewer right from the start with a tension filled opening scene in Iraq on Kyle's first mission. From that we are taken back to Kyle's childhood and move forward through his four tours in Iraq,

Gentle viewers be warned - there are graphic scenes and violence. But, what Eastwood has shown us is not movie make believe - it's reality, difficult as it might be to watch. (The special effects, setting and sound effects were incredible) But also explored is the effect of war on those waiting at home - and the difficulty re-integrating into 'everyday' life - PTSD. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Bradley Cooper plays Kyle - and quite honestly I thought he was amazing. Having watched clips of the real Chris Kyle, I was so impressed with his portrayal - physicality, accent and more. This role takes Cooper leaps and bounds beyond roles such as Hangover.

I encourage you to watch this as the story of Chris Kyle and his family and not as a commentary on politics and war. I felt so many emotions as the movie played out and was absolutely drained by the closing credits. I cannot even begin to imagine the reality. Highly,highly recommended. Watch the exclusive clip below for more from the cast and crew of American Sniper.

And if you'd like to own a copy of American Sniper, I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to continental US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends June 6/15


"Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will donate a portion of the proceeds across physical and digital sales to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). One dollar of each purchase will be donated up to $1,000,000 from April 21, 2015 through December 31, 2015. To get involved and learn more, visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.com. The mission of Wounded Warrior Project is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. To learn more about WWP’s life-saving programs and services, please visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/programs."


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Threshold - G. M. Ford

G.M. Ford writes tough guys - he has two other series featuring a journalist and a P.I. that I've enjoyed in the past. Ford's latest book, Threshold, introduces us to Detective Mickey Dolan. I was eager to meet this new character.

Dolan's marriage has ended and he's been on limited duties due to excessive force complaints. But, when a  powerful city councilor repeatedly demands that the department assign a detective to look into the 'disappearance' of his wife and daughters (there's a custody dispute), Mickey is put on the case. It may have been a local women's shelter group who helped the trio disappear. That group is run by a mother/daughter team who have seen their own share of violence. Ending there would have provided the basis for a good tale I think. But, Ford adds another somewhat paranormal element - Grace, the daughter, can revive people from comas.

I think the coma plot device would have been better left out. It just seemed cheesy to me and detracted from what could have been a really good detective novel.

There's also lot of Mickey's personal life in this book. I always enjoy secondary story lines, but Ford's exploration of gay relationships just seemed clumsy. Many turns of phrase were also dated...

"The place is wired for sound and pictures. Other than that, it's cleaner that Nancy Reagan's ass."

I'm not sure if this is the first book in a new series from Ford. It does take time to build a new character, but I'm not overly enamored with Mickey. Yes, his perspective changes and his actions 'redeem' him, but I never fully engaged with his struggle or his redemption. I've read the Leo Waterman series and really enjoyed them, but sadly Mickey fell flat for me.

That being said, Threshold was a quick read and an easy way to kill a few hours on a plane. Read an excerpt of Threshold. Now, that's just my opinion. See what other on the TLC tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

G.M. Ford broke onto the mystery scene with Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca?, a gin-soaked tome featuring Seattle private investigator Leo Waterman. The six-book Leo Waterman series was nominated for several awards, including the Shamus, the Anthony, and the Lefty. In 2001, Ford launched a new series featuring disgraced reporter Frank Corso and his goth assistant, Meg Dougherty. In 2011, after a twelve-year hiatus, he decided to write a new Leo Waterman novel, Thicker Than Water, which Thomas and Mercer promptly bought. His eighth Leo Waterman book, Chump Change, followed in 2014. Ford lives and works in Seattle, and is married to the beautiful and talented mystery author Skye Kathleen Moody.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Over the Counter #264

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner. This week it's travelling....with a story....

First up is Journeys Home: Inspiring Stories, Plus Tips and Strategies to Find Your Family History featuring Andrew McCarthy.

From the publisher, National Geographic Books:

"Addressing the explosive growth in ancestral travel, actor and travel writer Andrew McCarthy recounts his own quest to uncover his family's history along with 25 other individuals' stories from Sicily to Argentina to Taiwan to Russia and beyond. Each story offers a personal take on journeying home, including actively searching for previously unknown roots, meeting up with old family, and perhaps just visiting the old country to get a feel for one's origin. Sidebars and a hefty resource section provide tips and recommendations on how to go about your own research, and a foreword by the Genographic Project's Spencer Wells sets the scene. Stunning photographs along with family recipes round out this compelling narrative about embarking on your own exploration to discover your homeland."

Next up is An Innocent Abroad from Lonely Planet Publications:

"Paperback edition. Stories of life-changing trips from 35 great writers including Dave Eggers, Cheryl Strayed, Tim Cahill, Mary Karr, Richard Ford, Fiona Kidman, Simon Winchester Sloane Crosley, Kerre McIvor, David Baldacci, Pico Iyer, John Berendt, Ann Patchett, Jane Smiley, Alexander McCall Smith and Stanley Stewart. A misunderstanding in Morocco. A Cuban con. A family reunion in Italy. An epiphany in the Czech Republic. Some of the world’s best-loved writers share the travel experiences that made them the people they are today. Join them in their bittersweet tales of innocence lost."

(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, May 12, 2015

What She Left - T. R. Richmond

I was intrigued by the premise of T.R. Richmond's new book, What She Left.

Alice Salmon's sudden death shocks those who knew and loved her. She couldn't possibly have jumped from that bridge, could she? She must have been pushed, right? Or maybe it was just an absolutely horrific accident?
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One of Alice's former professors, Jeremy Cooke, decides to piece together Alice's life, using her diaries, social media posts, texts, playlists and anecdotes from those closest to her. But really - why would he want to do this? Well, old Cookie has his own set of secrets. And those who profess to have known and loved Alice also have secrets that they prefer stay hidden.

T.R. Richmond has us suspecting each and every player as their connections and interactions with Alice are revealed through Prof. Cooke's research. We come to know Alice through other's eyes - and my perception of who she was changed with every character. Alice's own diaries reveal a confused young woman whom I didn't like very much. Old Cookie has the most to say - and he is by far the most disturbing character. His letters to a dead friend are quite disturbing as he details his past - and present - thinking and actions. Quite honestly, I didn't find any of the characters sympathetic or likeable; and therefore hard to engage with.

But with each additional piece of information revealed, my opinion changed on what really happened - and who Alice really was.  Richmond employs a non linear timeline to unfold What She Left - readers will have to note the date at the top of each entry to keep things straight.

What She Left was told in a clever fashion, with a twist or two tucked in at the end. What She Left was a good debut novel, but comparisons to Gone Girl may be a tad ambitious.  Read an excerpt of What She Left.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mary Kay Andrews Prize Pack Giveaway!

Summer is just around the corner....and that means it's time to stock the beach bag with some fantabulous summer reading.

And for me - that means Mary Kay Andrews!! I can't wait to read her newest book, Beach Town,  - it releases May 19th.

But, while we're waiting, I have an amazing Mary Kay Andrews giveaway for one lucky reader to win that includes:

A copy of SAVE THE DATE in trade paperback
A copy of SUMMER RENTAL in mass market paperback 
Two different Mary Kay Andrews bookmarks
Set of 3 SAVE THE DATE recipe cards
SAVE THE DATE magnet MKA
Summer Rental sticker
BEACH TOWN lip balm with SPF 15

So, if you're looking to stock your beach bag with some great summer reading, enter to win this great prize pack using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to Continental US only, no PO boxes please. Ends May 30/15

And here's a quick peek at Beach Town...

"Greer Hennessy is a struggling movie location scout. Her last location shoot ended in disaster when a film crew destroyed property on an avocado grove. And Greer ended up with the blame.

Now Greer has been given one more chance-a shot at finding the perfect undiscovered beach town for a big budget movie. She zeroes in on a sleepy Florida panhandle town. There’s one motel, a marina, a long stretch of pristine beach and an old fishing pier with a community casino—which will be perfect for the film’s climax—when the bad guys blow it up in an all-out assault on the townspeople.

Greer slips into town and is ecstatic to find the last unspoilt patch of the Florida gulf coast. She takes a room at the only motel in town, and starts working her charm. However, she finds a formidable obstacle in the town mayor, Eben Thinadeaux. Eben is a born-again environmentalist who’s seen huge damage done to the town by a huge paper company. The bay has only recently been re-born, a fishing industry has sprung up, and Eben has no intention of letting anybody screw with his town again. The only problem is that he finds Greer way too attractive for his own good, and knows that her motivation is in direct conflict with his.

Will true love find a foothold in this small beach town before it’s too late and disaster strikes? Told with Mary Kay Andrews inimitable wit and charm, Beach Town is this year’s summer beach read!" Read an excerpt of Beach Town.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #53

- 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
Well, we have covers galore to choose from this week! I enjoyed S.J. Watson's
Canadian cover
Australian cover
first book, Before I Go to Sleep, so I'm eager to read the newest - Second Life. I found four covers when I went looking, all with a different take on the book! The US cover is top left, the UK cover is top right, the Canadian cover is bottom left and last but not least, the Australian cover is bottom right. I'm torn between US and Canada, but think I'll go with the US this week. The other two are just two busy for me. Which one is your favourite this week? Do you plan on reading Second Life? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature at A Bookworm's World.



Friday, May 8, 2015

A Magnificent Mother's Day Giveaway!!

Okay, so Mother's Day is just around the corner.....(Sunday May 10th).....and you're still debating on what to get your mom, your daughter, your grandmother - or maybe even yourself! Well, you can't go wrong with a book!

Penguin Books has some great book recommendations ..... and I have a copy of each of these titles to giveaway to one lucky reader to share with the maternal figure in your life!

"Fans of historical fiction will love Sue Monk Kidd’s THE INVENTION OF WINGS, her bestselling novel, now in paperback, about two unforgettable American women: Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, and Sarah Grimke, a daughter in the wealthy Grimke household." Read an excerpt of The Invention of Wings." Read an excerpt of The Invention of Wings.

"For a fun, fast-paced read (but, as a Jojo book, still heavy on the feelings!) ONE PLUS ONE by Jojo Moyes is the rollicking road trip story of a single mom and her family whose road trip disaster is saved by a quirky but charming stranger." Read an excerpt of One Plus One.

"CUT ME LOOSE by Leah Vincent will be a great gift for memoir fans – it’s the electrifying story about a young woman’s self-destructive spiral after being cast out by her ultra-Orthodox Jewish family." Read an excerpt of Cut Me Loose.

Three great choices! If you'd like to enter to win a copy of all three titles, use the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends May 16/15.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Bone Tree - Greg Iles

I devoured Natchez Burning (my review), the first book in Greg Iles's planned trilogy and have been eagerly awaiting the second entry - The Bone Tree.

The Bone Tree picks up right where Natchez Burning left off. Iles does a great job of quickly recapping, so that new readers could jump into the book. (But seriously, you need to read the first book)

Lawyer Penn Cage is the mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. Between himself, his newspaper editor fiancee, his father Tom and others, they have uncovered and exposed the dirty underbelly of Natchez and surrounding Louisiana. Secrets, killings and corruption, racial hatred, greed, crime and political malfeasance of the worst kind imaginable. The perpetrators are so well placed and have been in power for so long that it seems nothing can take them down. And then comes the revelation that this shadowy group may have been responsible for the deaths of American leaders. (Gentle readers be warned - there are graphic scenes and descriptions)

Iles's plotting is simply spectacular - intricately imagined and complexly drawn with a hefty dose of (frightening) fact mixed in. I did check out many many references online to see if they were real - they were. In fact it's almost impossible to try and explain the book - there are so many threads and characters. Each and every character Iles brings to the page is fully developed and the reader can't help but become engaged (or disgusted) with every player. I've been a fan of Penn Cage from the first book, but Tom and his old ranger buddy Walt were the underdogs I was cheering for this time.  The 'bad guys' are well - just plain ugly.

I described Natchez Burning as powerful, gripping, thrilling, sweeping and simply spectacular - and I'll use those same words to describe The Bone Tree. 800+ plus pages of absolutely epic reading. Read an excerpt of The Bone Tree. A reading guide is also available.

This reader will be waiting and watching for the third and concluding book. There's no date or title as of yet, but Iles says "The release date of the final book in the trilogy is not set in stone at this time. I have a feeling that the TV series currently in the works might make me let go of that final book faster than I might otherwise have done, which I hope is good news for readers"

"Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi, and studied the American novel under acclaimed southern writer Willie Morris at the University of Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil's Punchbowl. Iles's novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He is a member of the lit-rock group "The Rock Bottom Remainders" and lives in Natchez with his two teenaged children."   Find out more about Greg at his website, follow him on Twitter, and connect with him on Facebook. See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Over the Counter #263

What books caught my eye this week as they pass over the library counter and under my scanner?
This week it's about running and walking....

First up is On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman.

From the publisher, University of Chicago Press:

"Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences.

Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her close observations and often harrowing stories reveal the pernicious effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance—some of them small-time drug dealers, others just ordinary guys dealing with limited choices. All find the web of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch—and can’t help but be shocked—as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police (and, crucially, to keep away from friends and family so they can stay hidden); and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures.

While not denying the problems of the drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America's cities, Goffman makes it impossible for us to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response—the blighting of entire neighborhoods, and the needless sacrifice of whole generations."

Next up is Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham.

From the publisher, Thomas Nelson:

"A story of unconditional love and acceptance where you least expect it

Imagine yourself a thirteen-year-old hundreds of miles away from home, in a strange city, and your mom leaves you at a bus station and drives off into the night with her lover.

That's the real life story of country music star Jimmy Wayne. It's a miracle that Jimmy survived being hungry, homeless, and bouncing in and out of the foster care system, and sleeping in the streets. But he didn't just overcome great adversity in his life; he now uses his country music platform to help children everywhere, especially teenagers in foster care who are about to age out of the system.

Walk to Beautiful is the powerfully emotive account of Jimmy's horrendous childhood and the love shown him by Russell and Bea Costner, the elderly couple who gave him a stable home and provided the chance to complete his education. Jimmy says of Bea, "She changed every cell in my body."

It also chronicles Jimmy's rise to fame in the music industry and his Meet Me Halfway campaign-his walk halfway across America to raise awareness for foster kids.


(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, May 5, 2015

Giveaway - The Shell Seekers - Rosamunde Pilcher

I read Rosamunde Pilcher's The Shell Seekers when it first released in 1987. Somewhere along the way, my copy disappeared. A new trade paperback edition releases May 12/15 from St. Martin's Press. For those who loved the book, or those who haven't yet discovered Pilcher's storytelling, here's your chance to own a copy of this new edition of The Shell Seekers.

From the publisher:

"For the first time ever in trade paperback, Rosamunde Pilcher's beloved, #1 New York Times bestselling novel--a captivating story of life and love.
An instant bestseller when it was first published, The Shell Seekers is an enduring classic which has touched the hearts of millions of readers worldwide.

A novel of connection, it is the story of one family--mothers and daughters, husbands and lovers--and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. This magical novel--the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while--is the perfect read, whether you are returning to it again, or opening the cover for the first time.At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer...and it lies in her heart." Read an excerpt of The Shell Seekers.

"Rosamunde Pilcher is the author of such worldwide bestselling novels as The Shell Seekers,
September, Coming Home, Winter Solstice, and Voices in Summer. The Shell Seekers was a Book Sense Book of the Year Honor Book. She is also the author of The World of Rosamunde Pilcher. Pilcher is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). She lives with her husband Graham and their dog in Perthshire, Scotland."

Sound like a book you'd like to read? One copy up for giveaway, open to US only, no PO Boxes please. Ends May 23/15. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Giveaway - Blood Ties - Nicholas Guild

Here's one for readers who love crime fiction. Blood Ties is Nicholas Guild's newest book - and thanks to Forge Books, I have a copy to giveaway.

From the publisher:

"Homicide detective Ellen Ridley of the SFPD is tracking a serial killer terrorizing young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ridley is sure she's cornered her most likely suspect: Stephen Tregear, a hacker and code breaker who works for U.S. Naval Intelligence. But Tregear is not the killer... he's the killer's son.

Ridley and Tregear team up to look for Tregear's father, Walter, in an elaborate game of murderous cat and mouse. As the body count rises, Ridley must race against the clock to stop Walter before he kills any more women--and Tregear must finally confront the father who has been trying to kill him for twenty years. Blood Ties is an elegant and frightening thriller from Nicholas Guild." Read an excerpt of Blood Ties.

Nicholas Guild was born in Belmont, California, and attended Occidental College and the University of California at Berkeley. He taught at Clemson and Ohio State before turning full time to writing fiction. He has published a dozen novels in both the thriller and historical genres, several of which were international bestsellers, including The Assyrian, Blood Star, and Angel. Guild now lives in Frederick, Maryland. You can connect with Nicholas Guild on Facebook.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? One copy up for giveaway, open to US and Canada. Ends May 16/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Winners

The lucky winner of a copy of  D.M. Pulley's debut novel The Dead Key, courtesy of  Thomas and Mercer is:

Glenda!



And the winner of a copy of Adam Mitzner's third book, Losing Faith, courtesy of Gallery Books is:

Meredith




And the three winner of copies of Night Life  by  David C. Taylor, courtesy of Forge Books are:

Anne
Sheila
Maureen

Congratulations! I've contacted you all by email 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!