Friday, May 29, 2020

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #314

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
I'm jumping up and down here! A new book is coming from Ruth Ware. One By One releases in the late Fall 2020. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. "A company retreat gone wrong... "  Both covers employ the same mountainous setting. The US has a much stronger avalanche image. The chalet is obliterated on the US cover (if there was an image), while the UK gives us a clear look at it. And one lone figure walking towards it. I like that somewhat ominous figure. As always, the UK cover employs a tagline that lets the potential reader have an idea of what they'll find inside. So, that's my deciding element for this week - UK for me. What about you? 
Which cover do you prefer? 
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.
Any plans to read One By One.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

My Kind of People - Lisa Duffy

Yes, Lisa Duffy's new novel, My Kind of People, is the latest of my summer listens. I'd love to live in that house with a view of the ocean!

Everyone on Ichabod Island knows the story of ten year old Sky. She was found as an newborn abandoned at the local fire station. She was adopted by the couple that found her. But, she's lost those parents as well - to a car accident. In their will, they've asked their friend Leo to raise Sky.

Leo loves Sky, but this is a huge transition for all of them. Leo's husband Xavier doesn't want to leave their home in the city and can't get used to this new situation.

That sets the stage for My Kind of People, but there's much more to this story. There are a number of other plot lines that intersect with Leo and Sky's story. Maggie often looks after Sky, but her own life is in turmoil. A relative of Sky's arrives on the island as well - what are their intentions? And every small town has a busy body doesn't it? Duffy has created a particular odious woman named Agnes. She's pretty easy to dislike. There are also chapters from a mystery woman scattered throughout the book. Who is she? Sky's friend Frankie and local handyman and neighbor Joe complete the cast.

I really liked Leo. He's kind, thoughtful and caring. Maggie is the female version of Leo, also very easy to warm up to. Sky is well depicted and I really enjoyed the conversations and interactions between Frankie and Sky. Xavier was hard to like, despite Leo's love for him.

Duffy has written a wonderful story of love, loss, friendship, family, hope, happiness and more. (And you might just need a tissue or two....)

I chose to listen to My Kind of People. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - listening to a book is immersive - I feel much closer and involved in the story. My Kind of People employed four narrators - Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Nancy Linari, Madeleine Maby and David Sadzin. They were all really good and matched the mental images I had created for the characters. I always enjoy having more than one reader - it's more 'real', if you will and feels like those conversations are really happening. Leo's voice was warm and caring, Sky's voice was childlike and Maggie was just comforting. The mysterious  woman sounded well, mysterious! They all had clear speaking voices and interpreted the author's work well. The emotion and timbre of the story was also well depicted. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of My Kind of People.

I thought about the title after I finished listening to My Kind of People. Each character in the book  would have a different take on who their 'kind of people' would be. Duffy has created some wonderful characters that I would be happy to have in my life. And it made me think about my circles of people. Those of you who love character driven novels or television shows like This is Us, are going to love My Kind of People.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Over the Counter 452

What book caught my eye this week? (Not over the counter and under the scanner though!) I've been playing a lot of my old vinyl lately......

The Decade That Rocked: The Photography Of Mark "Weissguy" Weiss.

From Insight Editions

"Mark “Weissguy” Weiss set an unmatched standard for rock photography. Starting out as a teenager by sneaking into concerts with a neighbor’s 35mm camera, he embarked on a legendary career that took him around the globe and onto some of the most memorable album and magazine covers in rock history– featuring the likes of Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, and Mötley Crüe to Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi, and KISS, and so many more. With 700+ photos, brand new interviews, and stories from Mark himself, The Decade That Rocked is a monument to the photography, friendships, and legacy of an artist that helped define ‘80s rock." "Mark Weiss is a rock star. If he didn't have a camera hanging around his neck, it would be a Les Paul guitar." - Gene Simmons, Kiss

(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 the 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!)

Monday, May 25, 2020

Big Summer - Jennifer Weiner

And continuing on with my summer listens list is the newly released Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner.

I read Weiner's debut novel, Good in Bed, back in 2001 and have been a fan of her stories ever since.

Big Summer's lead character is Daphne Berg. She's an influencer for plus size women. She's finally found success, self acceptance and happiness. But when her high school 'best friend' Drue contacts her after many years, Daphne's doubts about herself and their relationship back then resurface. But, she's going to be the bigger person and agrees to be Drue's maid of honor at her upcoming nuptials.

Daphne is an influencer. I learned a lot about those who have this as a career. Lots and lots of time spent posting - and posing to garner those followers and likes. "Even if things don’t get better, you can always make them look good on the Internet."

Big Summer starts off with a prologue that puzzled me as I began to read the following chapters. How was this going to tie into Daphne's story? I initially thought that Big Summer would only be a story of relationships, with others and one's self .Which I would have been very happy with! When I reached what could have been an ending, I was surprised to find there was more to hear - lots more. You see, Big Summer morphs into a mystery! And that's kind of the second half of the book. And that prologue finally ties in.

I really liked Daphne as a lead character. She's funny, kind and her voice, experiences, thoughts and thoughts all ring true. Weiner has written many of her characters from her own experiences and her books benefit greatly from that personal injection. I was reminded of earlier books' characters, all as well liked. Mean girl Drue is the one you'll love to hate.....or will you? My feelings on her changed more than once, as secrets and truths are revealed.

The mystery is intriguing, with more than one culprit offered up for the crime. Things got busy in this latter half and I'm not sure all the plot devices worked for me. But, I did enjoy both parts of this novel. The social aspects, the relationships, resolutions and a nice whodunit kept me eagerly listening. Hear for yourself - listen to an audio excerpt of Big Summer.

I choose to listen to Big Summer. The narrator was Danielle Macdonald. She was perfect! Her voice has a younger tone to it and is very expressive, matching the image I had mentally created for the character. Her voice is pleasant and easy to listen to. She speaks clearly and enunciates well. Macdonald interpreted and presented the author's work 'just right'. Bottom line - I believed in the performance. I started thinking I had listened to a previous book by this narrator. It was only on looking up Danielle Macdonald that I discovered she was the actress who starred in Dumplin'.

Another good addition to your summer reads/listens list.

Friday, May 22, 2020

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #314

- 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
Rachel Joyce is one of my favourite authors. I've read and loved each and every one of her books. She makes you feel and think long after the last page has turned. Her latest book, Miss Benson's Beetle comes out in July across the pond and not until November in North America. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, let's start...Gold is featured on both covers, but I find it more effective against the green of the UK cover - it 'pops' a bit more. Beetles are on both covers - a single large one on the US cover, but lots of winged beasties on the UK cover. I do like the stylized US one. The UK beetles seem to flying in a vortex that almost seems sci-fi. The book is set in the fifties and the US seems to speak more to that time frame. The US cover has a magnifying glass, net, two women with suitcases and a boat. All of that gives the potential reader what they find inside - and is true to the plot. The UK cover really only says bugs in a forest. 
So, for me this week - the US cover. What about you? 
Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Miss Benson's Beetle?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Over the Counter #451

What book caught my eye this week? (Not over the counter and under the scanner though!) There's a cookbook for everything and everybody...superheroes included...

Marvel Eat the Universe: The Official Cookbook by Justin Warner.

From Insight Editions:

"Prepare to eat like a Marvel Super Hero as chef Justin Warner invites you to pull up a chair and explore the Marvel Universe through these creative dishes inspired by Marvel’s heroes. Based on Marvel’s digital series hosted by Warner, this ultimate compendium of recipes will feature dishes that span a variety of skill levels, including Storm’s Tournedos, Dazzler’s Glittering Pizza Bagels, Green Goblin Pumpkin Bombs, and more. With sixty recipes inspired by Marvel Comics’ rich history, Marvel Eat the Universe: The Official Cookbook offers something delicious for fans from every corner of the multiverse."

(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 the 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!)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Hello Summer - Mary Kay Andrews

A new book from Mary Kay Andrews heralds the arrival of summer reading for me. Fittingly, her newest is titled Hello Summer. And it's one you're going to want to add to your summer reading list!

Why do enjoy I Andrews' books so much? First off, I love her characters. This time, the lead is newspaper reporter Conley Hawkins. She's on her way to a new prestigious newspaper job when she finds out the deal has fallen through. She's got nowhere to go - but home to Silver Bay, Florida. And her family's struggling newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon. I liked Conley right away - she's smart, quick and curious. That curiosity will serve her well - she and and an old friend are walking home late one night when they come across a car wreck - and the victim is the local Congressman. But, the cause isn't cut and dried in Conely's opinion. She starts to investigate and not everyone is happy with this. Andrews herself worked as a reporter for many years. That insider knowledge and experience add much to this book. And Rowena's society columns for the paper are priceless.

The supporting cast of an Andrews' book always included a somewhat crotchety but lovable character. In this case its Conley's G'mama - family matriarch Lillian. I loved her feistiness and her sometimes not so subtle meddling. She has a sidekick in her companion Lillian. The friction between Conley and her sister Grayson is something that's been building over the years. They're both stubborn and carrying baggage. Can they see a way to mend fences? Again, another thing I love about Andrews' books - relationships and how they're depicted and handled. Believable. The supporting cast is just as well drawn.

And yes, romance is another facet that makes Andrews books such great summer reading. It's not overt, sappy or in your face. The attraction and slow build is well done and fits seamlessly into the plot.

That plot also includes a great mystery. Was the Congressman murdered? An accident? Who, what, where, when and why. The answers to those question kept me guessing until the last bit of the book.

The writing is engaging and the reader is easily drawn into the story. The setting has me wishing (and not for the first time!) again for a seaside cottage. Andrews descriptions of time and place had me inagining.

Sun, fun, family, romance, mystery and more populates the pages of Hello Summer. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of Hello Summer.  Great escapist reading for me - taking a break from reading about what's going on in the world and heading to the beach through the pages of Hello Summer. Five stars.

Credit: Bill Miles
"Mary Kay Andrews is The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House Cookbook and more than twenty novels, including The Weekenders, Ladies' Night, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia." You can connect with Mary Kay on her website, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.