Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Over the Counter #330

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

Well, Clown Training: A Practical Guide by Jon Davison certainly did. I had to know if it was really about clowns or if the title was a metaphor for something else. I would expect a picture of a clown if it was truly about clown training, not bland, washed out squares that say corporate training plan to me. Well guess what - it really is about clown training.....

From the publisher, Palgrave Macmillan:

"This comprehensive handbook invites you into the clown workshop and guides you through the complete processes of clown training. Both practical and reflective, it draws on Davison's 20 years of experience and provides useful exercises, games and techniques to aid the first steps in playfulness through to devising and creating performable shows."

And another interesting cover in 100 Years of Tattoos by David McComb.

From Laurence King Publishing:

"Over the past century tattoo culture has emerged from the underground and hit the mainstream. From body art’s early association with sailors, convicts and side-show acts to the current adoption of tattoo culture among celebrities, via the tattoo renaissance of the 1970s, this book reveals the entire history.

Combining a wealth of visual material from across the many cultures and sub-cultures associated with tattoos, including fashion, music and art, with examples of some of the most exquisite tattoos ever inked, the book shows more than 400 photographs, many published for the first time.

This visual history forms a unique examination of the tattoo as a form of personal expression and will appeal to anyone with an interest in body art and social history, and to anyone planning a tattoo."

(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, August 30, 2016

The Couple Next Door - Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena has just released.  And for those of you who love psychological twisty tales like me, you're going to want to pick this one up.

Yes, you've seen those stories in the newspaper. A couple who slip out for just a bit, leaving their sleeping child in the house or room. Close by of course....

That's what Marco and Anne do. They go next door for dinner with their neighbours. They even take the baby monitor with them. And run back to their own home every 1/2 hour to check on little Cora. It will be fine......right? Yep, you've got it - Cora goes missing.

As the search for Cora mounts and the investigation progresses, so do the lies, omissions and secrets. Every character in the book has something to hide. Lapena carefully doles out those secrets, adding a change to the direction of the plot - and to the reader's suspicions with every new revelation.

I had my suspicions - and they did indeed change with every new exposed secret. As the book drew close to the final chapters, I was pretty sure I had it figured out - and I was right. But that in no way detracted from my frantic page turning. I really could not put the book down! And then Lapena hit me with one last gotcha on the final page. Well done Ms. Lapena!

Lapena's previous two books have been of the literary bent. This is a new direction for Lapena - and I really hope to see another in this genre from her. Read an excerpt of The Couple Next Door. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Giveaway - Disney's The Jungle Book on Blu-ray and DVD!

The Jungle Book was one of my favourite storybooks as a child. It's hard to believe it was published in 1893! Walt Disney produced an animated film of The Jungle Book in 1967.

And now, in 2016, Jon Favreau has reimagined that classic with stunning live-action in Disney's The Jungle Book!  The Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere releases on August 23, and the Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on August 30.

And, I have a Blu-ray Combo pack to giveaway to one lucky reader, courtesy of Disney Home Entertainment!!

For those who haven't read the stories  here's a quick synopsis of the movie: "In an epic adventure, Mowgli, a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves, is forced to abandon his home when fearsome tiger Shere Khan promises to eliminate him. Guided by stern Bagheera and free-spirited Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery."

The all-star cast includes Bill Murray (“Lost in Translation”) as the voice of Baloo, Sir Ben Kingsley (“Learning to Drive,” “The Walk”) as Bagheera and Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) as the voice of mother wolf Raksha. Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”) gives life to Kaa, Giancarlo Esposito (“Breaking Bad”) provides the voice of alpha-male wolf Akela, Idris Elba (“Beast of No Nation”) roars as the voice of Shere Khan, and Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter”) lends his iconic voice to King Louie.

Bonus features include ⦁ “The Jungle Book” Reimagined ⦁ I Am Mowgli ⦁ King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer ⦁ Audio Commentary. Feature Run Time: Approximately 106 minutes Rating: PG in U.S. and Canada.

Like The Jungle Book on Facebook, follow The Jungle Book on Twitter and connect with The Jungle Book on Instagram.

And if you'd like to own a copy of The Jungle Book, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only. Ends September 10/2016.

Back to School with DK Canada - My First Encyclopedia

Labour Day weekend is around the corner - and you know what that means - so is school! DK Canada has a great selection of children's reference books - perfect for homework help or just exploring!

Little guy isn't quite ready for school, but he loves to look and learn. My First Encyclopedia is perfect for him. It's targeted for the pre-school crowd and those just starting school.

Little guy loves to look at pictures and DK books always have great colour visuals. My First Encyclopedia contains both actual photos and detailed drawings.

So first reading, we looked at pictures he recognized and pointed to and repeated the words for them. Gramma would read some of the facts associated with the entry aloud. We skipped through many pages and sections as he got a feel for the book.

Second and subsequent readings were not as frantic - he knew what the book was like. Basic life info about food, clothing, jobs, going to the dentist/doctor, pets, gardening and more are all part of this first encyclopedia. When reading the section on houses and homes, we had to travel to the different rooms in his house as we looked at them in the book. The book then travels farther afield, exploring science, the living planet , transportation and more. Little guy regularly visits the zoo in his home town and loved seeing pictures of animals that he recognized - camels, lions and zebras.

There's lots of room to grow with My First Encyclopedia - from looking at pictures, taking in the information read to him, pointing out what grabs his attention, to looking at the book alone - and eventually reading by himself. The language used is clear and tailored to young ones.

The layout is clean - with lots of space around each entry, ensuring it isn't overwhelming. Reading a reference book is a different experience than story books.

My First Encyclopedia gets a thumbs up from Gramma and little guy.

Friday, August 26, 2016

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #120

- 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
Canadian cover
Peter Robinson writes one of my favourite series - Inspector Banks. His newest novel, When The Music's Over is the 23rd in the series. The US cover is on the right and the Canadian cover is on the right. Same type of images - ferris wheel, boardwalk and water used on both covers. The nighttime image on the US cover is quite striking and definitely captures my attention. The Canadian cover almost looks like a photo that has gotten wet. Different fonts. I'm not a fan of splitting up the title and changing it's font size on the Canadian cover. So, US cover for me this week. Any plans to read When the Music's Over? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Giveaway - A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles

Amor Towles' debut novel, Rules of Civility. was one of 2011’s 'biggest breakout literary bestsellers.'

His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, releases September 6/16 and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From the publisher:

"A big novel that embodies the grandiloquent style and spirit of Russia’s Golden Age of literature, A Gentleman in Moscow is a captivating story of personal and emotional discovery that spans more than three decades and takes place almost entirely within the walls of a single building. In 1922, having been deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, Count Alexander Rostov is ordered to spend the rest of his life under house arrest inside the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. An indomitable man of elegance, erudition, and wit, the Count has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in a cramped attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Though stripped of most of his personal possessions and his social standing, the Count remains determined to preserve his dignity and passion for life. As his days are propelled in profound and unanticipated directions, his relationships with the Metropole staff and its guests unlock the doors to larger worlds within the hotel and ultimately himself.

Brimming with humor and wit, an unforgettable cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this remarkable novel casts a spell as it relates the Count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose." Read an excerpt of A Gentleman in Moscow.

Cr: David Jacobs
"Amor Towles was born and raised just outside Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Yale University and received an MA in English from Stanford University. For many years a principal at an investment firm in Manhattan, he now devotes himself full time to writing. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. Towles lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children." You can connect with Amor Towles on his website, follow him on Twitter and find him on Facebook.

And thanks to Viking Books, I have a copy to giveaway. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Open to US only. Ends Sept 10/16.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Over the Counter #329

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Going to the dogs this week.......

First up is Tails From the Booth by Lynn Terry.

From the publisher, Gallery Books:

"Furry friends meet photo booths in this quirky photography book that captures all the cute canine action when the leashes come off and the dogs are the star of the show.

If dogs could take selfies, it might look something like Tails from the Booth. For this adorable collection of photographs, Lynn Terry draws on more than twenty years of professional photography experience to capture the most endearing moments between canine companions: A couple of pitbulls grinning widely at the camera. Two saggy-faced bulldogs bumping jowls. A Pomeranian, an English bulldog, and a Boston terrier dog-piling (of course) on top of each other. These pictures show the countless ways dogs will ham it up in front of a camera, and that more dogs in a photo booth = even more fun!

With all the charm of Underwater Dogs and Shake, Tails from the Booth will make you laugh out loud at all the awkward and endearing ways dogs make friends with each other."

Next up is The Underdogs by Melissa Fay Greene.

From the publisher, Ecco Books:

"From two-time National Book Award nominee Melissa Fay Greene comes a profound and surprising account of dogs on the front lines of rescuing both children and adults from the trenches of grief, emotional, physical, and cognitive disability, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Underdogs tells the story of Karen Shirk, felled at age twenty-four by a neuromuscular disease and facing life as a ventilator-dependent, immobile patient, who was turned down by every service dog agency in the country because she was “too disabled.” Her nurse encouraged her to tone down the suicidal thoughts, find a puppy, and raise her own service dog. Karen did this, and Ben, a German shepherd, dragged her back into life. “How many people are stranded like I was,” she wondered, “who would lead productive lives if only they had a dog?”

A thousand state-of-the-art dogs later, Karen Shirk’s service dog academy, 4 Paws for Ability, is restoring broken children and their families to life. Long shunned by scientists as a man made, synthetic species, and oft- referred to as “Man’s Best Friend” almost patronizingly, dogs are finally paid respectful attention by a new generation of neuroscientists and animal behaviorists. Melissa Fay Greene weaves the latest scientific discoveries about our co-evolution with dogs with Karen’s story and a few exquisitely rendered stories of suffering children and their heartbroken families.

Written with characteristic insight, humanity, humor, and irrepressible joy, what could have been merely touching is a penetrating, compassionate exploration of larger questions: about our attachment to dogs, what constitutes a productive life, and what can be accomplished with unconditional love."

(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, August 23, 2016

The Hating Game - Sally Thorne

The Hating Game is Sally Thorne's debut novel.

Two very different publishing house merge, creating a new company with two CEO's - and two very different assistants to the CEOs, who now must share a workspace. They dislike (or should I say hate) each other intensely. But is that antagonism covering up Lucy and Josh's.......attraction?

Lucy was a great lead character - quirky, cute and determined. Josh, of course, is the strong, handsome, unreadable antithesis of her.

I thought the premise of The Hating Game was good - perfect fodder for a chick lit novel. And Thorne hits all the notes needed for this genre: the yes/no/maybe so, push and pull, crossed signals, missed signals, a quirky 'heroine', romantic basis, workplace foibles, all told in a humourous, lighthearted manner with the final resolution never being in doubt.

Summer is the perfect time for fun, frivolous, fluffy reads such as The Hating Game. I enjoyed the book 'til about 2/3 of the way through. Much has gone on before when Lucy has an epiphany. And then I started skimming to what I knew would be resolution in the last few chapters. The push and pull had become repetitive and a bit unbelievable for me.

"A miracle has occurred, and I don't know when, but I know it know. Joshua Templeman does not hate me. Not a bit. There's no way he could when he kisses me like this."

Well, given what has gone on for the first 205 pages, I'm not sure why this comes as a surprise. (Yes, sometimes it's hard to put my pragmatic nature on hold.)

Thorne states that she 'believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book." This belief is probably why I thought that Thorne used more sexual references and scenes in The Hating Game than other light hearted chick lit books. And again, I enjoyed it in the beginning, but found them getting repetitive. And truth be told, I found Lucy's romantic sexual neediness somewhat, well, off-putting.

The Hating Game filled a day's reading on the beach, but wasn't a stand out for me. Read an excerpt of The Hating Game.

Cr: Katie Saarikko
"Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia and spends her days writing funding submissions and drafting contracts (yawn!) so it’s not surprising that after hours she climbs into colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book—and it isn’t always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel." You can connect with Sally Thorne on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

I may be in the minority on this one. See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #119

- 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
Thriller alert! I've got Helen Callaghan's novel Dear Amy on my TBR list. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. As much as I dislike real faces on covers, the photo on the US cover is quite arresting. You might be more likely to pick it up instead of the UK version. But the UK cover better illustrates the premise behind the book. We've got Please help me vs. Please find me for taglines. I'm torn this week (somewhat like the US cover) but in the end, I think I prefer the UK cover. Any plans to read Dear Amy? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Over the Counter #328

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner. Outdoor homes and spaces this week....

First up is Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Zach Klein, Steven Leckart, photography by Noah Kalina.

From the publisher, Little, Brown and Company:

"Rural escapes for those yearning for a simpler existence, by the creators of the wildly popular tumblr Cabin Porn.

Created by a group of friends who preserve 55 acres of hidden forest in Upstate New York-Cabin Porn began as a scrapbook to collect inspiration for their building projects. As the collection grew, the site attracted a following, which is now a huge and obsessive audience.

The site features photos of the most remarkable handmade homes in the backcountry of America and all over the world. It has had over 10 million unique visitors, with 350,000 followers on Tumblr. Now Zach Klein, the creator of the site (and a co-founder of Vimeo) goes further into the most alluring images from the site and new getaways, including more interior photography and how-to advice for setting up a quiet place somewhere.

With their idyllic settings, unique architecture and cozy interiors, the Cabin Porn photographs, are an invitation to slow down, take a deep breath, and feel the beauty and serenity that nature and simple construction can create."

Next up is Happy Home Outside: Everyday Magic for Outdoor Life Hardcover by Charlotte Hedeman Gueniau.

From Quarto Books:

"Colour and a sense of fun are central to the RICE ethos. Fresh from the success of her first interiors book, Happy Home, Charlotte has taken the RICE style outside.

This is a fun-loving collection of outdoor decorating and styling solutions, from seating and other furniture to lighting ideas, creating banners and buntings, table settings and picnic areas, spaces for parties and gatherings.

Taking in garden rooms, outdoor spaces such as cabins, canopies and dining areas as well as moveable spaces such as vintage vans and tents, Charlotte brings her everyday magic and glorious sense of relaxed living with bright colour to every corner of the garden. Whether you own a city verandah, country field or a small courtyard there are outdoor decorating ideas here for everyone."

(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, August 16, 2016

Giveaway - The Orphan Mother - Robert Hicks

If you enjoy historical fiction, I've got a giveaway you're going to want to enter!

The Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks releases Sept. 13/16 - and I have two copies to giveaway!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"An epic account of one remarkable woman's quest for justice from the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country.

In the years following the Civil War, Mariah Reddick, former slave to Carrie McGavock--the "Widow of the South"--has quietly built a new life for herself as a midwife to the women of Franklin, Tennessee. But when her ambitious, politically-minded grown son, Theopolis, is murdered, Mariah--no stranger to loss--finds her world once more breaking apart. How could this happen? Who wanted him dead?

Mariah's journey to uncover the truth leads her to unexpected people--including George Tole, a recent arrival to town, fleeing a difficult past of his own--and forces her to confront the truths of her own past. Brimming with the vivid prose and historical research that has won Robert Hicks recognition as a "master storyteller" (San Francisco Chronicle)."

Early Praise:  “Engaging… and certainly important examination of US history… When it comes to freedom, one size does not fit all.” —Booklist 
“Engaging… Satisfying historical fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews 
“Hicks is a talented storyteller, and this story moves at a clip.” —Publisher’s Weekly

Robert Hicks is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Widow of the South and A Separate Country. He lives in Tennessee. You can connect with Robert Hicks on his website, follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook.

Enter to win one of two copies of The Orphan Mother using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada. Ends Sept 3/16.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Rise the Dark - Michael Koryta

Michael Koryta is a new to me author, but he's not new to the game of writing - he's a New York Times bestselling writer. His latest book is Rise the Dark.

Garland Webb has just been released from prison. He's beat a murder charge, thanks to a zealous young lawyer. The murder victim? Investigator Markus Novak's wife. And with his release, Novak is hot on his trail. That trail leads him to a decidedly odd, yet sinister Florida town called Cassadaga.

Miles away in Montana, Sabrina Baldwin is abducted - by Garland Webb. But what Webb and his cohorts want is to control Sabrina's husband Jay, a high voltage lineman.

Are the two cases related? Why does Webb need a linesman? Will Novak catch up with them? And much, much more....

Rise the Dark was a completely different read than I expected. I went in expecting a serial killer thriller. But Koryta has woven much more into his story. I didn't realize that this was the second Mark Novak book. But, there are enough back story references that I understood what had come before. So, yes there is a killer, but also mixed in is fanaticism, homegrown terrorism and a cult. His plotting is large and far reaching. And really, not so far fetched. Simmering underneath it all is - gosh, I'm not sure how to describe it. Mysticism? Paranormal? Supernatural? But it's not overdone or overblown. It was woven seamlessly into the story. And it wouldn't be the story it is without it.

Koryta's style of writing is very easy to become immediately drawn into. I very much liked Novak as a lead character - there's enough uncertainty mixed with the toughness to make him seem much more 'real' than a character who doesn't fall down. I must say though, I had a real liking for his Uncle Larry - I hope he appears in the next entry in the Novak books. And there will be another I'm sure. There's one loose end that isn't resolved.....

So, yes a very different read for me. But one I quite enjoyed. I'll be watching for the third in the series. Read an excerpt of Rise the Dark.

You can connect with Michael Koryta on his website, follow him on Twitter and find him on Facebook.

Friday, August 12, 2016

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #118

- 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
More suspense! Gilly Macmillan's newest novel, The Perfect Girl, releases in September. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very different covers this week. Light and Dark. A house vs. a girl. The UK cover has its usual tagline and blurb. But - as mentioned before, I am very tired of backwards shots of girls/women, so I am going with the US cover this week. It just looks a little more ominous. The UK cover could be a story about anything really. Any plans to read The Perfect Girl? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Behind Closed Doors - B.A. Paris

My favourite genre right now is psychological, twisty thrillers. And lucky for me, there seem to be many to choose from lately!

Behind Closed Doors is B. A. Paris's debut novel. And it was a good one....

Following a whirlwind romance and wedding to Jack, Grace seems to have it all - a beautiful home and a successful, handsome, devoted husband who makes it possible for her not work.

'Seems to' being the key words. That's looking from the outside in. Because what's happening behind closed doors is a completely different story, Grace is actually a prisoner in her home. Locked in with Jack controlling everything - money, seeing friends, clothes and food. Grace's younger sister Millie is what Jack uses to control Grace. And Millie is what keeps her going......

What an addictive read! I couldn't put it down. Early on I was shouting at Grace to listen to her intuition and run.  And then I was behind those doors with Grace, hoping and planning her escape - and revenge. But as every attempt fails and the months go by, Grace's determination and strength starts to wane. " I hold my hands out in front of me and the shaking that I can't control tells me what I've only just begun to realise but what Jack has know all along - that fear is the best deterrent of all."

Paris has created a charming but deadly psychopath in Jack. His dialogue and manipulative actions are simply chilling. Grace is of course the polar opposite, a likable, caring, genuine person who was attracted to a man she thought also had those traits.

Paris unfolds this story in a now and then narrative - how things started and where they are now. There were a few plot details that ask the reader to suspend disbelief. I suggest you do - stopping to ponder them will only slow up your reading. And this is an action filled read, rather than a slow building suspense book.

Did I like? Absolutely! Great escapist reading on the porch swing on a summer's day. Read an excerpt of Behind Closed Doors. Behind Closed Doors would make a great movie.

You can follow B.A. Paris on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Over the Counter #327

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

First up is The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland by Dan Barry.

From the publisher, Harper Collins:

"With this Dickensian tale from America’s heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry tells the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability, and the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives.

In the tiny Iowa farm town of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse—until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.

Drawing on exhaustive interviews, Dan Barry dives deeply into the lives of the men, recording their memories of suffering, loneliness and fleeting joy, as well as the undying hope they maintained despite their traumatic circumstances. Barry explores how a small Iowa town remained oblivious to the plight of these men, analyzes the many causes for such profound and chronic negligence, and lays out the impact of the men’s dramatic court case, which has spurred advocates—including President Obama—to push for just pay and improved working conditions for people living with disabilities.

A luminous work of social justice, told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is more than just inspired storytelling. It is a clarion call for a vigilance that ensures inclusion and dignity for all."

Next up is A Killing in Amish Country: Sex, Betrayal, and a Cold-blooded Murder by Gregg Olsen and Rebecca Morris.

From St. Martin's Press"

"At just 30 years old, with dark-blonde hair and freckles, Barbara Weaver was as pretty as the women depicted on the covers of her favorite "bonnet" stories - romance novels set in Amish America. Barbara had everything she'd ever wanted: five beautiful children, a home, her faith, and a husband named Eli. But while Barbara was happy to live as the Amish have for centuries - without modern conveniences, Eli was tempted by technology: cell phones, the Internet, and sexting. Online he called himself "Amish Stud" and found no shortage of "English" women looking for love and sex. Twice he left Barbara and their children, was shunned, begged for forgiveness, and had been welcomed back to the church.

Barb Raber was raised Amish, but is now a Conservative Mennonite. She drove Eli to appointments in her car, and she gave him what he wanted when he wanted: a cell phone, a laptop, rides to his favorite fishing and hunting places, and, most importantly, sex. When Eli starts asking people to kill his wife for him, Barb offers to help. One night, just after Eli had hitched a ride with a group of men to go fishing in the hours before dawn, Barb Raber entered the Weaver house and shot Barbara Weaver in the chest at close range.

It was only the third murder in hundreds of years of Amish life in America, and it fell to Edna Boyle, a young assistant prosecutor to seek justice for Barbara Weaver."

(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, August 9, 2016

Giveaway - Sting - Sandra Brown

Yes, Sandra Brown has a new book coming out! Sting releases on August 16/16 - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader.

From Grand Central Publishing:

"#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sandra Brown jolts the reader from the first page of this heart-pounding story of corruption, treachery, and ceaseless deception . . . where nothing is what it seems and every truth brought to light exposes a darker lie.

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn't belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.

As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother's ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.

Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie's only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn't entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother's scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.

With nonstop plot twists and the tantalizing sexual tension that has made Sandra Brown one of the world's best-loved authors, STING will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the final pages."

"Sandra Brown is the author of over sixty-eight New York Times bestsellers. There are over eighty million copies of her books in print worldwide, and her work has been translated into thirty-four languages. She lives in Texas." You can connect with Sandra Brown on her website, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. 

And if you'd like to read Sting, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends August 20/16.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Giveaway - You Will Know Me - Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott's latest book, You Will Know Me, has just released - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From the publisher, Little, Brown and Company:

"How far will you go to achieve a dream? That's the question a celebrated coach poses to Katie and Eric Knox after he sees their daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful, compete. For the Knoxes there are no limits--until a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community and everything they have worked so hard for is suddenly at risk.

As rumors swirl among the other parents, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself irresistibly drawn to the crime itself. What she uncovers--about her daughter's fears, her own marriage, and herself--forces Katie to consider whether there's any price she isn't willing to pay to achieve Devon's dream.

From a writer with "exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl" (Janet Maslin), You Will Know Me is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of parental sacrifice, furtive desire, and the staggering force of ambition." Read an excerpt of You Will Know Me.

"Is there anything Megan Abbott can't do? We will have to wait for the answer to that question because You Will Know Me continues her formidable winning streak. This story of an ordinary family with an extraordinary child is gorgeously written, psychologically astute, a page-turner that forces you to slow down and savor every word... And, yes -- please forgive me -- she totally sticks the landing." –Laura Lippman, New York Times bestselling author of Hush Hush

"Megan Abbott is the award-winning author of eight novels, including The Fever and Dare Me. She received her PhD in English and American literature from New York University. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Guardian, and The Believer. Megan is currently a staff writer on HBO's forthcoming David Simon show, The Deuce. She lives in New York City." You can connect with Megan Abbott on her website, follow her on Twitter and find her on Facebook.

And if you'd like to read You Will Know Me, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Aug 21/16.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Check out DK Canada's updated website!

DK Canada has put the finishing touches on their website - it's now fully searchable and has the complete catalogue online! New ways to search include:

The one part of the website that hasn't changed is the Explore DK page. But what it does need is a new if you've got some ideas for a new look, enter for a chance to win $100 worth of DK books (and bragging rights) Here's how:

1. To enter, all you need to do is create an image (hand drawn, collaged, computer created, however you want) that has the words "EXPLORE" and "Go beyond the book" on it. The rest is up to you.

2. Image should be 1168 x 353 pixels (if digital) or 21 cm x 6.5 cm (if drawn).

3. To enter, send a file of your banner to with Explore DK Banner Contest in the subject field. Files should be no larger than 500k. Entries must be received by August 15, 2016.

"The winner will not only receive bragging rights, but also their Explore DK design will be featured on our Explore DK page for all to see for the month of September. The creator of the winning design will also receive $100 worth of DK books of their choice!"

Friday, August 5, 2016

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #117

- 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/Canadian cover
I'm looking forward to Steven Price's forthcoming historical detective novel -  By Gaslight. The US cover is on the left and the Canadian/UK cover is on the right. So very, very similar this week. Both fogged images call to mind the setting of London, England as does Big Ben in the background. The image is placed closer in the UK version. I much prefer the font in the UK version - the extra artwork around it just sets it off. But what made me choose the Canadian/UK cover this week was the gold sepia colour around the edges - it's perfect for a book with 'gaslight' in the title.
And it just looks old and mysterious.
So, any plans to read By Gaslight? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Over the Counter #326

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Sex and love this week.....and I really like pink and purple.....

First up is Sex in the Museum by Sarah Forbes.

From the publisher, St. Martin's Press:

Sarah Forbes was in graduate school when she stumbled upon a museum dedicated to . . . sex. The anthropology student hesitated when her boyfriend suggested she apply for a job, but apply she did, and it wasn’t long before a part-time position at New York’s Museum of Sex lead to a gig as the museum's curator. That was over twelve years ago. Now Sarah—a married mother of two—proudly sports her title as Curator of Sex.

In Sex in the Museum, Sarah invites readers to travel from suburban garages where men and women build sex machines, to factories that make sex toys, to labyrinthine archives of erotica collectors. Escorting us in to the hidden world of sex, illuminating the never-talked-about communities and eccentricities of our sexual subcultures, and telling her own personal story of a decade at The Museum of Sex, Sarah asks readers to grapple with the same questions she did: when it comes to sex, what is good, bad, deviant, normal? Do such terms even apply? If everyone has sexual secrets, is it possible to really know another person and be known by them? And importantly, in our hyper-sexualized world, is it still possible to fall in love?"

Next up is Double Cup Love: On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China by Eddie Huang.

From the publisher, Spiegel and Grau:

"From the author of Fresh Off the Boat, now a hit ABC sitcom, comes a hilarious and fiercely original story of culture, family, love, and red-cooked pork Eddie Huang was finally happy. Sort of. He’d written a bestselling book and was the star of a TV show that took him to far-flung places around the globe. His New York City restaurant was humming, his OKCupid hand was strong, and he’d even hung fresh Ralph Lauren curtains to create the illusion of a bedroom in the tiny apartment he shared with his younger brother Evan, who ran their restaurant business.

Then he fell in love—and everything fell apart.

The business was creating tension within the family; his life as a media star took him away from his first passion—food; and the woman he loved—an All-American white girl—made him wonder: How Chinese am I? The only way to find out, he decided, was to reverse his parents’ migration and head back to the motherland. On a quest to heal his family, reconnect with his culture, and figure out whether he should marry his American girl, Eddie flew to China with his two brothers and a mission: to set up shop to see if his food stood up to Chinese palates—and to immerse himself in the culture to see if his life made sense in China. Naturally, nothing went according to plan.

Double Cup Love takes readers from Williamsburg dive bars to the skies over Mongolia, from Michelin-starred restaurants in Shanghai to street-side soup peddlers in Chengdu. The book rockets off as a sharply observed, globe-trotting comic adventure that turns into an existential suspense story with high stakes. Eddie takes readers to the crossroads where he has to choose between his past and his future, between who he once was and who he might become. Double Cup Love is about how we search for love and meaning—in family and culture, in romance and marriage—but also how that search, with all its aching and overpowering complexity, can deliver us to our truest selves."

(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 3, 2016

The American Girl - Kate Horsley

The American Girl by Kate Horsley has just released.

Seventeen year old American Quinn Perkins has travelled to France to participate in an exchange program with the Blavettes, a French family. Seemingly normal - until Quinn stumbles out of the woods "barefoot, bloodied and unable to say what has happened to her." And the host family is missing...

So, what has gone on? What happened to Quinn? Where are the Blavettes? Journalist Molly Swift wants answers to those questions. With Quinn in a coma, Molly lies about who she is and inserts herself into both Quinn's life and the police investigation.

Horsley starts things off with a good premise, reminding me somewhat of the case of Amanda Knox. Horsley fills in the blanks in a back and forth, then and now narrative that jumps around, juxtaposing Quinn's arrival at the Blavettes with the current day investigation.

I don't see that this book is being marketed to the teen crowd. For me, it definitely had the feel of a young adult novel, rather than an adult "riveting psychological thriller". I grew weary of Quinn's obsessing about the oldest son, her bad choices and her acceptance of things. And Quinn's father? Completely unbelievable. The police investigation was quite flawed and highly unbelievable in my opinion.  The video diary of Quinn recovering her memories was a great plot device though.

Molly Swift I liked - a lot. She could carry a story on her own. Her deceptions didn't bother me in the least - most likely because I just didn't like or connect with the lead character Quinn. The romantic interest with the lead detective seemed extraneous and stilted though - it could have been left out. The Blavettes, especially Emelie, are overdrawn and their actions overtly obvious. Yes, we know there's something up with the family, but a subtler hand would have raised the tension just as well.

Horsley does inject a nice twist at the end - one that was fairly well telegraphed - but still, a good ending. I found the final reveal of the reasons behind the crimes, town, police and the family overwrought, overdone and overly lurid.

The American Girl was just an okay read for me - I followed through to the end to see if my suspicions were correct. Have a look for yourself - read an excerpt of The American Girl.

"Kate Horsley’s first novel, The Monster’s Wife, was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Her poems and short fiction have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Best British Crime Stories. She coedits Crimeculture, a site dedicated to crime fiction and film offering articles, reviews, and interviews with writers." Find out more about Kate at her website, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Google+.    See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Giveaway - Between Sisters - Cathy Kelly

Cathy Kelly writes wonderful heartwarming novels. Her latest, Between Sisters, releases August 9th - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From Grand Central Publishing:

"Meet the women of Delaney Gardens, a bustling suburban village in the outer reaches of Dublin. There's Cassie, who's spent her married life doing everything right for her children, husband, and mother-in-law, yet feels so exhausted that "wine o'clock" comes a little earlier each afternoon. There's her sister Coco, who runs a vintage dress shop, but has avoided the complications of romantic commitment. Watching over them is their grandmother Pearl, who, despite caring deeply for her family, is contending with a long-buried secret. And then there's Elsa, the polished face of daytime TV, who's triumphed over demons before, but is now facing her toughest battle yet. At every crossroad these women face, readers are taken deeper into the heart of what it means to be a family." Read an excerpt of Between Sisters.

"Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of copies of her books in print. A #1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland, and Australia, she is one of Ireland's best-loved storytellers. Kelly lives with her husband, their young twin sons, and three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland." You can connect with Cathy Kelly on her website and follow her on Twitter.

If you'd like to read Between Sisters, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecpter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends August 15/16.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Girl Before - Rena Olsen

The Girl Before is the debut novel of author Rena Olsen.

We've all seen them, heard of them or read them - stories of young girls kidnapped and never seen again. But....sometimes they are rescued or manage to escape. I can't bring myself to read the accounts or the books that are released afterwards.

But knowing Olsen's account was fictional I picked it up. The publisher's tagline was also intriguing. "In this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman’s life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true...wasn’t?"

Clara remembers nothing of her life 'before.' She only knows her husband Glen, his parents Papa G and Mama Mae - and their illegal family business. But Clara doesn't see it that way. Over the years she's been trained, conditioned and manipulated to believe something other than reality. "I only need to know what Glen tells me."

When an arrest occurs, Clara is forced to confront that reality. Olsen does this in a now and then narrative, allowing the reader to uncover and discover along with Clara. "What if how I lived my entire life was not how I was meant to live?"

And with each new revelation, it's hard to put it down. I wanted to know - who was Clara and would she remember the 'before'?  My opinion of Clara changed throughout the book - is she a victim or a criminal? Clara faces the same questions herself. Olsen does an admirable job in depicting Clara's confusion. I imagine that Olsen's daytime job as a school therapist adds to the authenticity of Clara's emotions, feelings and journey to self realization. The other main characters however, are very easy to categorize as perpetrators.

I did find it somewhat difficult to remember that yes, although this was fiction - it's still someone's reality somewhere. But, it was hard to put the book down - kind of that 'accident on the road don't look but cover your eyes and peek as you drive by' feeling. While this is a disturbing premise, Olsen manages to avoid graphic detail while still transmitting the reality of Clara's  - and other's - situations.

Some plot points were a bit of stretch for me - particularly the police procedural details. And the 'after' chapters got a bit repetitive in the final countdown. But all in all, an addictive read. Read an excerpt of The Girl Before.

You can connect with Rena Olsen on her website, find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.