Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Call Me Princess- Sara Blaedel

The hot list of crime writers right now includes many from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Denmark. Here's another author from Denmark to add to your list.

Call Me Princess marks Sara Blaedel's North American debut.

Assistant Detective Louise Rick of the Copenhagen P.D. is called in on the case of Susanne Hansson - a woman who has been brutally sexually assaulted. As Rick delves into the case, she discovers that Susanne met her attacker through an online dating site. Susanne's not the only victim of this online Lothario. He know how to hide though - he's left virtually no clues.

I enjoyed the character of Detective Rick and her interactions with her fellow officers. Blaedel has filled the department with an overbearing superior, a quiet family man partner and a publicity seeking chief. They were all comfortable if not original characters. The foray into Louise's personal life was a solid secondary story line. I did not like the best friend, newspaper reporter Camilla at all. She came across as a user of people. The interactions between her and Louse just never rang true as a best friend situation.

Blaedel has peppered her story with lots of red herrings. Many of the male characters seemed they could be the perpetrator at one time or another - the ending provided a good twist.

All in all, a solid police procedural utilizing current events as a effective plot device. It was an easy read -  one that I was happy to pick up. For me, enjoyable but not outstanding.

Blaedel has an interesting background. She founded the first publishing house dedicated to crime fiction in Denmark. She was then inspired to write her own detective novels which have landed on the Danish bestseller lists. She has been voted the most popular novelist in Denmark in 2007, 2010 and 2011. You can find Blaedel on Facebook and on Twitter.

Read an excerpt of Call Me Princess.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Taker - Alma Katsu

The Taker by Alma Katsu opens in present day Maine at a small rural hospital Dr. Luke Findlay is called upon to examine a young woman named Lanny - a murder suspect - before she is taken to jail. When she slices herself open with a scalpel and the wound begins to heal instantaneously Luke is stunned. She begins to tell him her story - and he is mesmerized. Against all good judgement, he helps her escape and goes on the run with her. And as they drive she continues her story.

In 1817 Lanny was sent to Boston to give birth to her illegitimate child. But she never made it as far as the convent. Instead she fell in with Count Adair and his household. Adair is himself a centuries old alchemist with the ability to bind his minions to him for life - never aging and never dying. His lifestyle is depraved - an unrelenting search for the hedonistic.

Lanny's story is the tale of her years with Adair and the love she so desperately seeks with the father of her child. Can she reclaim that love? What is love? How far will she go? Will Adair let her have that love?

The modern day story of the doctor and Lanny takes a backseat to the pages from the past. I quickly became caught up in Lanny's recounting of her years with the Count. I very much enjoyed the historical detail of the times. Maybe it's my pragmatic nature, but Lanny's obsessiveness with Jonathan, the father of her child, became a bit tiresome after a while.

The Taker isn't my usual fare, but Alma Katsu has crafted an addicting tale that's hard to define. It's paranormal, but without the use of creatures - simply immortality. There's history, mystery and yes, romance. Think Twilight for adults. The Taker was a different read, going in directions I hadn't predicted. I was a bit frustrated by the ending, which I found unsatisfying, until I found out that The Taker is the first book in a planned trilogy. I'll definitely be picking up the second book - The Reckoning - to see where those loose ends go.

Read an excerpt of The Taker. You can find Katsu on Twitter and on Facebook. Watch the book trailer here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Girls in White Dresses - Jennifer Close

Well they say you shouldn't wear white after Labour Day. But reading Jennifer Close's debut novel Girls in White Dresses is right at anytime - either before or after Labour Day.

Girls in White Dresses follows Mary, Lauren and Isabella as they graduate from college, start their careers and follows their friendships, relationships, marriages etc. on into their early thirties.

I wasn't too sure about the format at first - it's told in a series of stories within the story - vignettes almost. But I quickly found this style addicting. It suited the snapshot moments of each life that are presented - fears, hopes, dreams, disappointments and more. But the thread linking them all is weddings.

Close has a fun, fresh, quirky voice that had me laughing out loud and nodding oh yeah many times. (Kristi the bridezilla was probably the funniest moment for me) Girls in White Dresses would appeal to many age groups - those of us who have lived through the ninety million bridal  and baby showers and emerged unscathed on the other side, those who like a good chick lit read, and those currently passing through this stage of life. Close has written a fun book that celebrates friendships - one you'll want to share with your BFF.

Read an excerpt of Girls in White Dresses.  You can find Jennifer Close on Twitter

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Winner - Crunch Time

And the lucky winner of copy of Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson, courtesy of Harper Collins is:

Shirley @ My Bookshelf

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Over the Counter #72

The latest book to catch my eye as it passed over my library counter and under my scanner was Fat Witch Brownies by Patricia Helding. First of all they look yummy, but Fat Witch? I've since discovered that they're an Oprah favourite thing.

From the publisher Rodale Books:

"Patricia Helding’s rich, intensely chocolatey Fat Witch brownie is a New York obsession, an internet sensation, and arguably the very best brownie to be found on the planet. Unlike other bakeries that feature a range of desserts, Fat Witch, launched by Helding in 1998, specializes only in brownies—baking and selling over 2,000 each day. In Fat Witch Brownies, Helding showcases for the first time her favorite spins on the classic chocolate brownie with creations like the Banana Bread Brownie and the Breakfast Brownie, and she expands her repertoire even further with recipes for other scrumptious bar-shaped confections.

With over 50 recipes that can be baked in the same 9 x 9-inch pan and require fewer than 10 ingredients, Helding shows that baking from scratch is neither expensive nor time-consuming. All of her recipes include ingredients from local grocery stores, and are ready to serve in one hour or less. Beginning with tips on the proper tools, timing, and techniques, continuing with five chapters of recipes, and finishing with fabulous frostings, Fat Witch Brownies allows you to explore the versatility and richness of brownies and bars and create the incredible desserts in your very own kitchen that have made Helding’s bakery famous."

(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, August 24, 2011

Tout Sweet- Karen Wheeler

I recently went on vacation out to the East Coast of Canada. I fell in love with the relaxed pace, the people and the scenery. I found myself looking around and thinking..." Hmm I could buy a little house and retire out here." Well Karen Wheeler took it a step farther. She bought a run down house in France on a whim and said good bye to England. 

Tout Sweet is the story of her journey to change and simplify her life.

"To be honest, my life in London had started to seem very empty. I had wardrobes crammed with " It" bags and "must-have" shoes, most of them gifts from designers to thank me for articles I'd written, and I had cupboards full of free beauty products. I had spent most of my life so far focused on work and chasing material possessions. Now I had them in abundance and yet, at thirty-five, I was unhappy. There had to be more to life, I'd decided, than a stockpile of sought-after accessories."

Tout Sweet follows the progress of the house renovation, life in a small village and details the people she meets. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the house renovations and the village itself.

Unfortunately a lot of the book reads more like a social diary and the prose themselves are somewhat stilted. Some of the 'natives' are wonderful, some are a bit odd, but I think I found the ex-pats the most worrisome. Karen's friend Dave and his son sounded downright dangerous to me. Dave's son leaves an ax on Karen's pillow - something she finds odd but fluffs off. They later have a falling out but she regrets not having Dave's friendship later on. Count yourself lucky I say.

Karen's flight to France was also prompted by a broken heart. Of course I understand the desire to find a partner, but at times Wheeler's search smacks of desperation. She seems to have a knack for picking the wrong bloke.

"He has a girlfriend but he wants to be friends with me. And I can't help thinking that my life is going to be so much better with him in it."

Although at the end of the year, Karen is happy with herself and her choices.

"And as I have rebuilt the house, I have also rebuilt my life. I have learned that I can move to a place where I know no one and create a new life for myself. It is very empowering to know that."

I applaud Karen for chasing her dream. It does take a lot of gumption to pick up stakes and start over. You can find Karen on her blog and on Twitter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Giveaway - Following Atticus - Tom Ryan

It's not releasing until mid September, but here's your chance to enter to win a copy of Tom Ryan's new book Following Atticus, courtesy of William Morrow Books an imprint of Harper Collins.

From the publisher:

"Following Atticus is the remarkable true story of a man and a dog embarking on the challenge of a lifetime. This is author Tom Ryan’s inspiring tale of how he and his miniature schnauzer companion, the “Little Buddha” Atticus M. Finch, attempted to scale all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four thousand foot White Mountains twice in the dead of winter. It is a story of love, loss, and the resilience of the human and animal spirit that’s as thrilling as Into Thin Air and featuring the most endearing and unforgettable canine protagonist since Marley and Me.

"In the mountains Atticus became more of what he’d always been, and I became less—less frantic, less stressed, less worried, and less harried. I felt comfortable letting him lead, and he seemed to know what I needed. He always chose the best route, if ever there was a question, and my only job was to follow.”

Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. . . .

At the heart of this remarkable journey is an extraordinary relationship that blurs the line between man and dog, an indelible bond that began when Tom, the advice of Atticus’s breeder, carried the pup wherever he went for the first month of their life together.Following Atticus is ultimately a story of transformation: how a five-pound puppy pierced the heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman, opening his eyes to the world’s beauty and its possibilities. It was a change that led to a new life among the mountains; an unforgettable saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family; and an inspiring tale of finding love and discovering your true self. "

You can find Tom at his blog and on Facebook. Open to US only, simply comment to be entered. Ends Sunday Sept 18th.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Hypnotist - Lars Kepler

Creepy cover + creepy tale = good read. The Hypnotist is a debut novel for Lars Kepler (a husband and wife team from Sweden)

Three members of the Ek family have been brutally murdered. Their son Josef was miraculously found alive amongst the carnage. Inspector Joona Linna is brought in on the case. Dr. Erik Bark is one of the physicians at the hospital Josef brought to. Bark was a renowned hypnotist, using his skill to help patients uncover and heal from trauma. However he has sworn off hypnotism - a past event is alluded to but not fully explained in the beginning. Urged on by Linna, but against his better judgment, Bark hypnotizes Josef. However, what Josef reveals is unexpected to say the least.

I enjoyed the engimatic character of Joona Linna very much. His confidence in his abilities is not bravado, but he does make a point of asking "What did I tell you?" when he is proven correct. His calm demeanor hides a character not fully explored in this first book of a planned series.

The book takes a different direction with Dr. Bark's involvement. Slowly we are led down a different path as the events that ended his use of hypnotism are revealed. His past comes to haunt him in the present, as does Josef's case.

I found myself continually off kilter as I read The Hypnotist - no one behaved as I expected them to at all. The cadence of the prose added to this off balance feeling at times, but was in keeping with the story. I found the interaction between Bark and his wife quite puzzling at times. Not that it was a bad thing - I really had no idea where the plot line was going next - there was layer upon layer of plotting. I like not being able to predict an outcome and Kepler kept me on my toes.

I look forward to the next book by this duo. The Hypnotist is an international bestseller with rights sold in over 30 countries. It's been on the Globe and Mail bestseller list since it's release. Warning for readers - there are definitely some graphic scenes.

Read an excerpt of The Hypnotist.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Winner - Dead by Midnight

And the lucky winner of a copy of Dead by Midnight by Carolyn Hart, courtesy of Harper Collins is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Winner - Promises to Keep

And the lucky winner of a copy of Promises to Keep by Jane Green is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bloodline - Mark Billingham

For the longest time Mark Billingham was my little secret. I had discovered a fantastic author from across the pond and delighted in letting my crime/thriller aficionados at the library know about this fantastic author. Billingham is definitely not a secret any longer.

Bloodline is the eighth book to feature Murder Squad Detective Tom Thorne. Thorne is a wonderfully conflicted, stubborn, clever man who sometimes makes the wrong choices...

Thorne is called out on what seems to be a domestic murder. It looks like the husband is the culprit and Thorne is happy to have a quick open and shut case. But when a piece of x-ray is found in the victim's fist, the case isn't  as straight forward as he thought. Another crime victim is also found with a piece of x-ray that jigsaws the first piece. With those two clues, Thorne pieces together what the two victims have in common - and it isn't pretty. I don't want to spoil the plot -  so I'm not going to let you know what it is!

Thorne has his hands full this time, facing a killer who is incredibly clever...and has his eye on Thorne.

I love this character. Billingham has slowly revealed more and more of him every book. His personal life seems to be coming together at last, but with Thorne you never know. I enjoy his taste in music as well!

The plot is very, very clever. As is the killer. Billingham had me guessing until the very end.

Read an excerpt of Bloodline. You can find Mark Billingham on Facebook and on Twitter.

If you've caught up on all of the Michael Connelly or John Sandford series, get started on Mark Billingham - highly recommended.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Over the Counter #71

Well the latest book to catch my eye as it passed under my scanner and over my library counter was Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto. This is the kind of book I can get lost in, jut looking up another word and another....

From Arcade Publishing:

"What is the link between map and apron, acrobat and oxygen, zeal and jealousy, flour and pollen, secret and crime? Did you know that crimson originally comes from the name of tiny scale insects, the kermes, from whose dried bodies a red dyestuff is made? That Yankee began as a nickname for Dutchmen? That omelette evolved from amulette, “a thin sheet of metal,” and is a not-too- distant cousin of the word laminate? That jeans find their antecedent in jean fustian, meaning “a cotton fabric from Genoa”?

The Dictionary of Word Origins uncovers the hidden and often surprising connection between words. Written in a clear and informative style, the more than 8,000 articles reveal the origins of and links between some of the most common English-language words. They also contain an extensive selection of words whose life histories are intrinsically fascinating or instructive. This dictionary shows how modern English has developed from its Indo-European roots and how the various influences on the language—from migration and invasion to exploration, trade, technology, and scholarship—have intermingled. It is an invaluable addition to any English or linguistics library. "

(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, August 17, 2011

Long Gone - Alafair Burke

I recently read and reviewed my first Alafair Burke book - 212 - part of a series and really enjoyed it.  Long Gone is Burke's latest book and it's a stand alone.

Alice Humphrey is determined not to rely on her father's money to support her any longer. After months of job searching, she jumps at the chance when Drew Campbell offers her a job managing a small art gallery. The owner is a bit eccentric, so she'll have to go with his decisions to show some controversial works. Her friends express doubts, but Alice is determined to make it work.

And it does - until the morning she comes to work and finds the place stripped down. And Drew Campbell dead in the middle of the gallery. Only his name's not Drew...and Alice is fast becoming the prime suspect.

Determined to prove her innocence, Alice sets out to find the real murderer and clear her name. But everywhere she turns, someone else has been there first...

This is the plot line that sucked me in from the beginning. The terror in finding out that someone has set you up. This is the strong suit of Long Gone. Lots of red herrings and questions are raised with Alice's family's past, the assigned FBI agent's dedication (or lack of) to the case and whose interests does the family lawyer really have at heart?  However there are two additional stories being told as well - that of a missing teenager and and an FBI agent's quest to find the killer of his sister.  I wondered how they would all tie together. The teenager does, but I found the agent's tale a bit of a square peg in a round hole.

Long Gone is a fast paced pager turner with lots of twists and a great ending. Burke has succeeded in stepping out of the series mode to try something different. She's definitely on my must read list.

Read an excerpt of Long Gone. You can find Burke on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Thirteen - Susie Moloney- Review AND Giveaway

I first discovered Canadian author Susie Moloney when I read her novel A Dry Spell way back in 1997. She followed that up with The Dwelling in 2003. Both seemed to fall under the horror genre - a la Stephen King - with everyday occurrences and things becoming sinister, such as a lack of rain and a house that just won't sell. But Moloney also does a fine job of exploring reactions and behaviour as a result of those occurrences.

Moloney's latest novel - The Thirteen - centres on the perfect little town of Haven Woods. Things are, well, just as they should be, according to the thirteen women who seem to have a grip on the town. Until one of their own breaks rank and upsets everything. What to do? The leader Izzy calls Paula -daughter of one of their group (coven) and convinces her to come home - with her daughter Rowan. After all thirteen is the magic number and a sacrifice is needed...

Moloney has crafted another entertaining tale, drawing upon today's fascination with all things paranormal. But it just didn't grab me as much as her past books. Paula is unable to contact the doctor tending to her mother in the Haven Woods Hospital. Or even a nurse (other than one of the thirteen posing as one). No cleaners, no other patients, nothing. Really, after the fourth or fifth visit and she is still acquiescing, it stretched credibility. It reminded me of a slasher film where you want to yell at the lead character to "open your eyes and look around!"

Desperate Housewives sprang to mind and indeed this is one comparison that the publisher uses as well - "The Witches of Eastwick meets Desperate Housewives in Susie Moloney's The Thirteen, her new and long-awaited novel."

Once I got past being annoyed at the hospital situation, I did enjoy the book. Moloney has a wry sense of humour that is fun to catch. She again explores the human dynamic with lots of back stories of many of the characters and emotion drives some of the plot line.  I was never really 'horrified', but did appreciate Moloney's take on urban witches and the desire of many to 'have it all.' The action in the last few chapters had me quickly turning pages and the ending employed a great hook.

Read an excerpt of The Thirteen.

And thanks to the lovely folks at Random House Canada, I have a copy of The Thirteen to giveaway. Open to Canada only, one win per household. Simply comment to be entered. Ends Sun. Sept. 11 at 6 pm EST.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Rules of the Tunnel - Ned Zeman- Review AND Giveaway

Ned Zeman had it all -  a career that was going well - he'd just landed a job as an editor at Vanity Fair magazine, a wonderful family, a fantastic group of friends and no lack of female company.

Was it the move? The pressure to succeed in his new position? His somewhat conflicted relationship with his latest girlfriend? Zeman found himself floundering - he was in the grip of a severe depression, soon unable to function.  He sought help from therapists, medication and hospitalization. As the depression refused to be shifted and his life was spiralling out of control, Zeman decided to use what many think is a treatment of last resort - electroconvulsive therapy. You and I would probably refer to it as shock therapy with images of Nurse Ratched and Jack Nicholson springing to mind.

He is warned that the one serious side effect is memory loss. It is usually short term, with no lasting problems.

Not so in Ned Zeman's case. His amnesia is pretty much all encompassing. Not such a great thing for a man who makes his living as a writer and reporter. Rules of the Tunnel is Zeman's memoir of his "brief period of madness", reconstructed with help from friends, family, emails, notes and his own brief glimpses into his memory banks.

"You are an amnesiac. A person with impaired memory. In a major way. As in "Where are my pants?" and "What the hell am I doing in Yorba Linda?" As in today is June 15, 2008 and yesterday was January 15, 2007. As in "Where'd my f***ing life go?" and " I did what? When?"

At first the second person narrative annoyed me, until I thought it and realized that this made perfect sense. Without memories, it is if he is writing about someone else's life. This style adds to the sense of detachment.

I found Zeman's recounting of his compulsion to write about those who pushed the boundaries, living on the edge such as Timothy Treadwell, who thought he was 'one with the bears' - until they ate him, fascinating. He seemed to be searching for answers for himself through the exploration of other's lives.

Zeman's recovery is due in a large part to his 'support team'. His circle of friends are unbelievably supportive in helping Ned find his way back. I think their reactions and actions affected me more than Ned's situation. Again, the writing style seemed to put him at a distance from this reader. But, really, can one critique a memoir? This is someone's life that we are privy to. I applaud Zeman for opening up about his struggle and recovery. And encourage everyone to recognize those that could use someone to really ask "How are you?"

"Rules of the Tunnel:

Get up. Get the blood flowing. go somewhere. anywhere. Except to the shooting range or Ohio. Call someone, anyone. Some fifty-five million Americans have a mood disorder and every one of them feels a little less alone when the meet a fellow traveler.

Resistance is futile.
Adapt or die.
The future is yours.
These are the rules of the tunnel."

Check out what others on the TLC tour thought. And thanks to Gotham Books a division of Penguin Books USA, I have a copy of Rules of the Tunnel to giveaway. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Ends Sat. Sept 10th at 6 pm EST.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Winners - Before I Go to Sleep

And the three very lucky winners of a copy of Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson, courtesy of Harper Collins are:

1. Bonnie
2. Amy
3. Tawndam

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours.

Winner - Close Your Eyes

And the lucky winner of a copy of Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward, courtesy of  Random House  is:

Amanda Sue!

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please contact me within 72 hours.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wanda Brunstetter - Guest Post AND Giveaway

I am thrilled to welcome Wanda Brunstetter to A Bookworm's World today. For those of you unfamiliar with this award winning author, she writes of the world of the Amish. (Over 50 books to date!) This genre of books is becoming more and more popular at the library and Wanda is an author I regularly recommend. I asked Wanda to tell us more about her experiences with the Amish....

     "One of the things I most admire about our Amish friends is their dedication to keeping true to their faith. The Amish way of life offers us many ideas on how to live a slower-paced, satisfying life, with less dependence on modern things and more emphasis on God, family, and friends.

     My husband and I have had many experiences while visiting our Amish friends in several communities around the country. We have learned a lot of things we’ve been able to incorporate into our own lives as well. One of the things we try to do as often as we can is to spend more time with our children and grandchildren, who are so special to us.

     Another thing we do is spend time outdoors, where we can enjoy the sounds and sights of nature. It gives me a sense of joy and peace when I hear birds chirping in our backyard, or listen to the sound of the fountains bubbling in the small ponds in our garden oasis. Visiting with friends and helping out when needed is another thing we’ve been doing more of since we became acquainted with so many Amish people.

     By their example, our Amish friends have also taught us about humility, acceptance, commitment, forgiveness, contentment, trust, responsibility, patience, and so much more. Learning about the Amish way of life by spending time among the Amish is what helps me to be able to portray their lifestyle as accurately as possible in my novels.

     A sense of peace and joy comes over me whenever we are in the company of our Amish friends. Whether it’s attending church with them, taking a ride with their horse and buggy, sharing a meal together, or just sitting on the porch, visiting and listening to the sounds of nature, I always feel that deep-in-the-heart sense of peace. And every time we must leave our Amish friends and head for home, I come away with a heart full of joy and a renewed understanding of what the Amish way of life is all about.

     During one of our visits with Amish friends in Pennsylvania, I observed their children playing happily together. They weren’t bored and didn’t complain because there was nothing to do. They found enjoyment in simple things like reading, playing a game of ball, petting their dog, riding their scooters, swinging, and swimming in the pond. The children didn’t need computers or electronic games to keep them occupied. They laughed and talked together and didn’t send text messages or e-mails in order to communicate.

     In our fast-paced electronic age, many of us “Englishers” don’t take the time to enjoy the simple things life has to offer. We rush from place to place, hurry to complete our tasks, and find that our busy lives are full of stress and worry. We’ve become exhausted and discontented because we don’t rest enough or spend quality time with our family and friends.

     When I look around at the beauty of nature, and find joy in being with those I love, I experience the same sense of peace that so many of my dear Amish friends have found. I find there is a celebration in the simple life!"

I have to say I agree Wanda! Thanks so much for stopping by. And to celebrate the launch of Wanda's new series "Kentucky Brothers" I have three of the first book "Journey" to giveaway. Open to US and Canada. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Ends Sat. Sept 3rd at 6 pm EST.

From the author's website:

"Discover along with Titus Fisher how life can begin anew in Christian County, Kentucky. Moving from Pennsylvania, finding rewarding work, and leaving a broken romance behind is the best decision Titus ever made. But is he ready to consider love again when he meets two women: one who seems perfectly suited for any Amish man and one who challenges long held ideas of the woman’s role. Who will Titus choose, and will it be the right choice?" Get a head start - read chapter one of the Journey.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Over the Counter #70

Well, I was gathering books for my back to school book display this week, so  F in Exams by Richard Benson definietly caught my eye as it passed over my library counter and under my scanner.

From the publisher Chronicle Books:

""F" stands for "funny" in this perfect gift for students or anyone who has ever had to struggle through a test and needs a good laugh. Celebrating the creative side of failure in a way we can all relate to, F in Exams gathers the most hilarious and inventive test answers provided by students who, faced with a question they have no hope of getting right, decide to have a little fun instead. Whether in science (Q: What is the highest frequency noise that a human can register? A: Mariah Carey), the humanities (Q: What did Mahatma Gandhi and Genghis Khan have in common? A: Unusual names), math, or other subjects, these 250 entries prove that while everyone enjoys the spectacle of failure, it's even sweeter to see a FAIL turn into a WIN. "

(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, August 10, 2011

In Search of the Rose Notes - Emily Arsenault

A man is about to get on a routine flight.
Suddenly, he pauses. He doesn't know why - but he's got to walk away.
An hour later the plane goes down in flames.
It's dismissed as chance...
----Time-Life books commercial, circa 1967"

Readers of a certain age are going to remember these books - I did.

Nora and Charlotte are eleven year old best friends in 1990. One summer they come across a 15 volume set of the Time Life books in Charlotte's house. They spend the summer with their 16 year old babysitter Rose reading the books.

"But then Rose disappeared in November of our sixth grade year, making the books even more vital to us - no longer a source of entertainment but an investigative guide. By then we knew better than the neighbors who whispered 'runaway' and the police who let her trail go cold. We knew better than to stop at what people aren't willing  to talk about. The commercials had explained that there is much that is unknown but promised that the books would tell us at least "what could be known" And Charlotte and I took them at their word."

The girls utilize various books - Vision and Prophecies, Transformations, Psychic Voyages, Mystic Places and more in their attempts to solve the mystery of Rose. But to no avail.

Until sixteen years later when Rose's body is found - in town. Nora has left town and moved on with her life, but Charlotte lives in her childhood home. When Charlotte calls Nora with the news, Nora decides to return for a visit.

The past and the present are explored in alternating chapters - until they collide....

In Search of the Rose Notes is a mystery - indeed it kept my attention the entire time until I turned the last. Arsenault sprinkles lot of red herrings along the way. I loved the use of the Time Life books to try and solve the disappearance.

But this book  was also a fascinating character study. The two girls are poles apart. Charlotte was the 'have' and Nora the 'have not'. Charlotte was the outgoing, outspoken of the two - for me she was annoying beyond belief. Nora was more reticent and shy, but it was her I was drawn to - she's thoughtful and introspective. Returning to Waverly, Nora is forced to confront her past and the demons she has lived with since 'escaping' the town. The past and present format was very effective in reconciling both relationships and the case of Rose.

Emily Arsenault has crafted an intriguing blend of mystery and personal redemption. Read an excerpt of In Search of the Rose Notes. You can find Emily on Facebook as well.

See what other on the TLC book tour thought - schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Accident - Linwood Barclay

Comfy chair? Drinks? Snacks? Good lighting? Excellent! 'Cause you're not going to be getting up or stopping once you dive into Linwood Barclay's latest release - The Accident.

The opening prologue - a violent crime with a distinctly different setting caught my interest. But the foreshadowing in the first paragraph in chapter one clinched it:
"If I'd known this was our last morning, I'd have rolled over in bed and held her. But of course, if it had been possible to know something like that - if I could have somehow seen into the future - I wouldn't have let go. And then things would have been different."
Glen Carver inherited his building business from his father. He's a straight shooter and does right by his customers, staff and his wife Sheila and eight year old daughter Kelly.

Times are tough all over - the economy still hasn't fully recovered - the Carvers have money troubles like everyone else. And then the unthinkable happens - Sheila is killed in an accident that also kills a father and son. The cops say Sheila was drunk and was at fault. But Glen knows that Sheila didn't drink to excess...or did she and he just never knew?

As Glen  struggles to deal with his wife's death and looking after Kelly, more seeming unrelated incidents transpire. A web is being woven around Glen, but he can't see it. We can though. I just wanted to shout at Glen - NO! Look out! Ask them why....! When he finally twigs that there is something really wrong going on with his friends and family, it's almost too late...

Barclay's characters are almost anti-heroes; everyday men thrust into situations completely outside the scope of their everyday lives with the need to protect their families. It makes them all the more believable and likable. Adding more reality to the story is the economic thread of the story - foreclosures, lay-offs, downsizing and desperately trying to make ends meet.

Barclay has the suspense/thriller genre in a choke hold with no signs of letting go (thank goodness!)
I've read and reviewed three of Barclay's previous thrillers - all five star reads, as is The Accident.

Like Harlan Coben? You're going to love Linwood Barclay!

You can find Barclay on Facebook and on Twitter. Get a head start - read the prologue now.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sister - Rosamund Lupton

I took one book on vacation with me and Sister by Rosamund Lupton was it. Thank goodness I waited until I was on the train home to start it  - I would not have been able to put it down. What an absolutely addicting read.

Sister is told as a past tense narrative in letter form by Bess to her younger sister Tess. We learn early on that Tess is dead. Was it suicide? Everyone but Bee believes so.  The account follows Bee's attempts to make sense of what had happened to Tess. She was so full of life - she couldn't have possibly chose to end it.

"You painted abstract canvases, expressing large truths in bold splashes of vivid color while I was perfectly suited to my job in corporate design, matching every color in the world to a Pantone number. Lacking your ability with broad brushstrokes I will tell you this story in accurate dots of detail. I'm hoping that as in a pointillistic painting, the dots will form a picture and when it is completed, we will understand what happened and why."

Lupton deliciously and slowly inserts details into every chapter, gradually filling us in on what has already happened. We learn that Bee is being interviewed by a lawyer and her statement recorded.  What did Bee discover? What happened to Tess? What is happening to Bee? As the interviews continue over the course of several days, her health seems to be failing.

Sister is a fantastic mystery, but also a beautiful retrospective of the love between the two sisters. Lupton's prose are thoughtful, evoking emotion easily.

There were numerous suspects possible, but I am thrilled to say that I never saw the ending coming. Planning to read this one? DO NOT read the end first. But you can get a head start and read the beginning of Sister.

 Best. Twist. Ending. Ever.

This was a debut for Lupton - I  will be hunting down her second book for sure. You can find Rosamund on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Winner - Killed at the Whim of a Hat

And the lucky winner of a copy of Killed at the Whim of a Hat by Colin Cotterill, courtesy of St. Martin's Press is:


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Winner - Shut Your Eyes Tight

And the lucky winner of a coy of Shut Your Eyes Tight, by John Verdon, courtesy of Crown Publishing is:

Sue Farrell!

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Well, you might be wondering... Luanne ever going to write a book review again? Well, yes... But, I went on the most amazing vacation - visiting parts of Canada I hadn't been to yet -  Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (but we weren't there when Will and Kate were!) I had packed books, but managed to only read one! These pictures don't  really do justice to the beautiful scenery and wonderful people we met, but here's just a small sampling. I hope to have the rest up on Facebook over the weekend.

This first picture is of Peggy's Cove, NS.

This is a shot of the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick. The highest tides in the world are here at the Bay of Fundy. We're walking on the ocean floor at low tide.
And what would be a visit to Prince Edward Island without a stop at Green Gables and Cavendish,  the setting for Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic stories of Anne Shirley.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Over the Counter #69

The latest book to catch my eye this week as it passed over my library counter and under my scanner was The Rice Krispie Treats™ Cookbook by Norman Kolpas.

Really, who doesn't love Rice Krispies Treats™? I was always guilty of adding more marshmallows than the recipe called for. And I still do!

From Weldon Owen Publishing:

"Memories are made when grownups and children prepare Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats together. They create not only delicious food but also delightful moments that will always be remembered and cherished. Why are Rice Krispies Treats so widely loved? There's the yummy taste, of course, combining toasted rice and sweet marshmallows. And who can forget that crunchy, gooey texture? Rice Krispies Treats are also so easy and fun to make that they invite grownups and kids alike to get imaginative with the recipe, adding other ingredients and shaping and decorating the mixture to make all sorts of original creations. Throughout the book, you'll also find great tips and how-to instructions for making Rice Krispies Treats easily and creatively. And the book is filled with beautiful, fun images from the Kellogg Archives that will bring grownups back to their own childhoods! This full-color book shares kitchen-tested recipes for 40 different, delicious versions of Rice Krispies Treats—plus dozens more ideas to inspire your own variations. Instructions and photos guide you in how to make, shape, and decorate your own versions, as well as wrap or pack them as gifts everyone will love. So open the pages and start making memories!

Just imagine the possibilities:

Original Rice Krispies Treats® - The recipe that started it all!
Favorite Flavors - Delectable recipes featuring popular mix-ins!
Fantastic Shapes - Recipes cut out and decorated to dazzle the eye!
Seasonal Specials - Fun recipes to make winter, spring, summer, and fall!
Spooky Favorites - A special chapter filled with Halloween recipes!
Happy Holidays - Recipes to make the season even more festive!
Snacktivate! - Special recipes to make and enjoy after school!
Yummy Desserts - Recipes created to provide the perfect end to a meal!
Let's Have a Party! - From birthday celebrations to an incredible Rice Krispies Treats Wedding Cake!"

(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!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Winners - Never Knowing

And the three lucky winners of a copy of Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens, courtesy of St. Martin's Press are:

1. Pat L.
2. Lag123
3. Margaret

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Winner - Robopocalypse

And the very lucky winner of a copy of Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson, courtesy of Doubleday Publishing Canada is:


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