Friday, September 13, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #280

- 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
Paul Daly is a British writer - her latest book is Clear My Name. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well....two quite different presentations this week. The title font on the US cover does convey a bit of a darker tone. But, the image used? Boring and I've seen it too many times. Women on a cover. Now, the UK cover interest me more. I like the red font and how some of the letters are starting to blur. The choice of words at the top easily lets you know there's a mystery inside. And the subtle bars in the background adds to that feel. So, an easy choice for me this week - UK. What about you? 
Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Clear My Name?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Over the Counter #417

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I was completely unaware of the benefits of bean water......

Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free with the Magic of Bean Water Paperback by Zsu Dever.

From Vegan Heritage Press:

"This groundbreaking cookbook is the first to explore the many uses for aquafaba – a miraculous plant-based egg replacer made from simple bean liquid.

The bean liquid we used to throw away turns out to be one of the most astonishing culinary discoveries of the decade. With its amazing egg-replacement abilities, miraculous "aquafaba" can be used as an egg-replacer to make everything from French toast to lemon meringue pie. Aquafaba can be used as a binder in both sweet and savory recipes and is a boon to vegans, people with egg allergies, as well as anyone interested in innovative cooking with a magical new ingredient.

Aquafaba includes the story of how the bean liquid properties were discovered, how to use it, and how to make fabulous recipes, including: waffles, crepes, quiche, burgers, macarons, marshmallows,.
Aquafaba can even be used to make dairy-free cheese, ice cream, butter, and so much more. The book also includes a chapter filled with recipes that use the chickpeas and beans that remain after using their liquid to make aquafaba.

The latest title by San-Diego-based author Zsu Dever (author of Vegan Bowls and Everyday Vegan Eats), Aquafaba features Zsu's signature photography, her easy-to-follow instructions, and metric conversion charts."

(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, September 10, 2019

The Last Widow - Karin Slaughter

I am a big fan of Karin Slaughter's writing. I've enjoyed the last few stand alones, but have been waiting for a new Will Trent/Sara Linton book. It's here! The Last Widow. With every book, I say to myself oh, that's the best one yet, but I think Slaughter has outdone herself with The Last Widow - it's an amazing read. I literally couldn't put it down.

Slaughter starts off with a prologue guaranteed to hook the reader. A woman out shopping with her daughter is snatched from a parking lot. A month later she is still missing.

Will and Sara are at Sara's parents when a car collision sends them running to the street to help. But there's something off about it....And then the unthinkable happens - Sara is taken as well....but who? why? where?

And where Slaughter takes her plot from there is not so far removed from today's headlines. The current climate of hate, supremacists and domestic terrorism are the basis of Slaughter's intricate plot. The mind set, thought processes and violence of the characters of the alt-right group are frighteningly real.

I was so happy to reconnect with Will and Sara and see how their relationship was progressing. The romantic sub plot that has been building as the series progresses is done so well. Believable and not over the top into saccharin territory. But as the danger to both lead characters increased as the story progressed, I started to worry that Slaughter would do something. (Yes, she has surprised me (and not in a good way) in previous books). And I stayed up very, very late frantically turning pages to make sure that didn't happen. Action packed doesn't even begin to describe this book!

Recurring characters also return. Oddly, I am growing quite fond of Will's boss Amanda, despite her single mindedness. And I've always liked Will's partner Faith. Motherhood is examined through the eyes of many women in this novel.

Slaughter's writing is addictive and The Last Widow is no exception. If you've not read this series before, I encourage you to go back to the beginning and discover the players right from the start.

How many stars? An easy five. Sooooooo good. Read an excerpt of The Last Widow.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Possession - Michael Rutger

The Possession is the second book in Michael Rutger's The Anomaly Files series.

I quite enjoyed the first one - The Anomaly. (my review) This description had me pick up that first book...."If Indiana Jones lived in the X-Files era, he might bear at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore - a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the "real" experts, but beloved of conspiracy theorists."

And it was catching up with the characters and seeing what new 'unknowns' Nolan and company would discover that had me happily picking up this next book.

Sidekick Ken is back as well as other supporting players from the first book. Hunting for a story (okay, really Nolan knows his ex-wife is on a story there herself and wants to see her) the crew find themselves in Birchlake, California. The story? Walls - stone walls seemingly randomly built. They start and stop at odd spots, the height on most of them won't keep anything in or out and many of them are in the forest. Rutger references many sites that had me firing up a browser to check them out. And yes, this is a real thing - the Nazca Lines, the Sajama Lines and Gungywamp are just a few examples of this phenomenon. But there is much more going on in Birchlake - add in a missing girl and some unusual townsfolk - and you've got yourself a multilayered story.

What's not to like? A mystery, the unknown, snappy (and humorous) dialogue and lots of action. The setting is really well done - I could absolutely imagine being caught up in the fog, the odd buildings and the dark forest. There are some creepy moments when I wanted to shout - No, don't go there to our intrepid crew! I must admit, I had to do some mental gymnastics to keep up with the last few chapters. The story flips back and forth between two groups. And up and down as the 'anomaly' and the present collide.

Although this is part of a series, The Possession can absolutely be read as a stand alone. Here's an excerpt of The Possession. I did like the first book a bit better, but this reader is looking forward to the third entry in this series.

Friday, September 6, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #279

- 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
Lisa Jewell's newest book, The Family Upstairs, is already released in the UK, and comes out in November in North America. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. The UK cover takes the title quite literally in this cover shot. Dark rooms in a multi leveled building with one lit window. The dark tones say something's not quite right. And if you're not sure, there's a nice blurb from Ian Rankin.  Although I must say, I am a bit tire of 'scary house' pictures. Now - the US cover has no house in sight. It's dark, but that winding vine is quite ominous looking as it twists through the title. And the one bright spot is that magenta blossom. Maybe it's a poisonous plant? I find the US cover much more sinister and interesting - so that's my vote this week. What about you?
Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Family Upstairs?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Knife - Jo Nesbo

Knife is the twelfth book in Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series. I have to say, I think it's one of the best.

Harry is drinking again - it's a reaction to his wife Rakel kicking him out. But he's s been given another chance with the Oslo Police and is now assigned to cold cases. He finds a few that can possibly be tied to a heinous criminal he put behind bars ten years ago. The man has just been released. But before Harry can get into that investigation, his world is rocked by the murder of someone close to him. (Faithful readers - you will be very surprised, as was I) And though he shouldn't be anywhere near the case, there is no stopping Harry Hole.

I love square peg, round hole lead characters and Harry is most definitely that. He's a dark, dangerous, conflicted and complicated protagonist I can't get enough of.

Nesbo's descriptions of place conjure up vivid pictures of the settings. As with most of Nesbo's books, social commentary on the state of politics, corruptions, crime and the social welfare of Norway is woven into the plot. Harry's philosophizing will have you stopping to think.

Nesbo's plotting is intricate and multi-layered with many threads. How those threads are joined changes many times over the course of Harry's investigation. I absolutely bought in to the offered possibilities, only to be found wrong. Harry's memory is fallible due to the drinking. He often can't remember whole chunks of time. But his deductive reasoning is second to none. I was stunned as the book headed towards the final whodunit. Didn't see that coming! I love being unable to predict where a tale is going to go. Nesbo has surprised me with almost every book. And the ending? Oh, it leaves the door open for another Harry book!

The book is translated from Norwegian by Neil Smith. It's been done very well, reading smoothly with no choppiness or stilted feeling. Read an excerpt of Knife.

Those new to Harry Hole may want to start with an earlier book to truly get to know Harry and how life has led him to this time and place.

(And anyone with a hard copy of Knife - have a look at the author photo on the back - Nesbo is exactly how I picture Harry)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Over the Counter #416

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I saw this one on a coming soon list...

My Penguin Year: Living with the Emperors by Lindsay McCrae.

From William Morrow:

"An unprecedented portrait of an emperor penguin colony in Antarctica, generously illustrated with the author’s breathtaking photography.

For 337 days, award-winning wildlife cameraman Lindsay McCrae intimately followed 11,000 emperor penguins amid the singular beauty of Antarctica. This is his masterful chronicle of one penguin colony’s astonishing journey of life, death, and rebirth—and of the extraordinary human experience of living amongst them in the planet’s harshest environment.

A miracle occurs each winter in Antarctica. As temperatures plummet 60° below zero and the sea around the remote southern continent freezes, emperors—the largest of all penguins—begin marching up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds. They are the only animals to breed in the depths of this, the worst winter on the planet; and in an unusual role reversal, the males incubate the eggs, fasting for over 100 days to ensure they introduce their chicks safely into their new frozen world.

My Penguin Year recounts McCrae's remarkable adventure to the end of the Earth. He observed every aspect of a breeding emperor's life, facing the inevitable sacrifices that came with living his childhood dream, and grappling with the personal obstacles that, being over 15,000km away from the comforts of home, almost proved too much. Out of that experience, he has written an unprecedented portrait of Antarctica’s most extraordinary residents."

(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!)