Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Noel Diary - Richard Paul Evans

It's the time of the year when I start watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas novels. First up this year in books is The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans.

Jacob Churcher is a successful author. His childhood, however was not as successful. His mother suffered from mental illness and her care of Jacob wasn't great. Now that she's passed away, Jacob heads back home to clean out her house. Being back in his childhood home evokes many memories. When a young woman named Rachel knocks on the door looking for answers from Jacob's mother, it brings back even more memories. Memories of a young pregnant woman who loved him like a mother. And this is who Rachel is looking for. Together, they embark on a search .......

Evans is a a master at heart-string tugging stories. Feel-good tales that encounter some bumps along the way to a happy ending. And The Noel Diary fills the bill on those counts. Not so much on the holiday front though. I was hoping for more seasonal reading. (Noel in this case, is a person.)

Is there anyone more suited to interpret their work than the author themselves? Absolutely not. They imagined it and wrote it. Evans has been the narrator for the majority of his books on audio. This was the first time I had listened instead of reading. Unfortunately for this listener, Evans' voice just didn't work for me. Although he does provide some inflection, I found his reading to be just that. Reading, not performing. The male and female characters had the same monotone voice. And as I tend to listen with earbuds in, I hear in greater detail. Some of the words sounded garbled at the end of sentences and I found his drawn out A's and O's to be, well, just annoying. The reader makes or breaks a book for me. I finished The Noel Diary, but didn't love it as much as I had hoped to. I'll be returning to the written page for next year's seasonal offering. Listen to an excerpt of The Noel Diary. Or if you prefer, read an excerpt of The Noel Diary.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Over the Counter #394

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Candy is ...... addicting?

Nope, Candy is Magic by Jami Curl.

From the publisher, Ten Speed Press:

"This game-changing candy cookbook from the owner of Quin, a popular Portland-based candy company, offers more than 200 achievable recipes using real, natural ingredients for everything from flavor-packed fruit lollipops to light-as-air marshmallows.

Chai Tea Lollipops, Honey and Sea Salt Marshmallows, Chocolate Pretzel Caramels, Cherry Cola Gumdrops—this is not your average candy, or your average candy book. Candy-maker extraordinaire Jami Curl breaks down candy making into its most precise and foolproof steps. No guess work, no expensive equipment, just the best possible ingredients and stop-you-in-your-tracks-brilliant flavor combinations. She begins with the foundations of candy; how to create delicious syrups, purees, and “magic dusts” that are the building blocks for making lollipops, caramels, marshmallows, and gummy candy. But even more ingeniously, these syrups, purees, and magic dusts can be used to make a myriad of other sweet confections such as Strawberry Cream Soda, Peanut Butter Hot Fudge, Marshmallow Brownies, and Popcorn Ice Cream. And what to do with all your homemade candy? Jami has your covered, with instructions for making candy garlands, tiny candy-filled pinatas, candy ornaments, and more—you are officially party ready.

But this is just the tip of the deliciously sweet iceberg--packed with nearly 200 recipes, careful step-by-step instruction, tips for guaranteed success, and flavor guides to help you come up with own unique creations—Candy is Magic is a candy call to action!"

(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, November 28, 2017

Sleeping Beauties - Stephen King and Owen King

I'm a long time Stephen King fan, having read everything he's ever written. His sons, Owen King and Joe Hill are also talented writers. Sleeping Beauties is a joint effort between father and son Owen.

Sleeping Beauties is set in a small Appalachian town where the biggest employer is the women's prison. I love the weirdness that creeps into King's small towns. This one is no exception. As the women of the town start falling asleep, they become covered by white, gauzy tendrils. And once they're asleep and covered, well, they don't wake up. If the covering is torn away - let's just say it's not good for the men. There's one woman who has no trouble waking and sleeping with no ill effects. Who is the mysterious Evie? As more and more women fall asleep, the men begin to panic....are they ready for a world with no women?

On the one hand, Sleeping Beauties is a classic King horror tale. Taking something as innocuous as falling asleep and running with it. I love King's sideways view of the world and the pockets of unreality he imagines. But you could also look at the book with a different eye as well - in a social commentary sense if you will. Women's rights, the abuse of those rights, sexism, violence and more. There's also a snake in a tree and a woman called Evie.......'nuff said. There's a choice to be made by the women in the book. (Yep, including the sleepers)

I chose to listen to Sleeping Beauties. I've often said that listening to a book immerses me more fully in the story than reading. This was definitely the case for Sleeping Beauties. The performer (because she did more than narrate!) was Marin Ireland - and she was fantastic! She has a bold voice, easy to listen to and so very, very expressive. There are many characters in this novel and she created numerous voices, accents, tones and cadences to illustrate them. Her interpretation of the book was spot on.

How much of the book is Steven and how much is Owen? You know, it's not something I ever tried to discern. Instead, I happily popped in my earbuds for twenty five hours of what if...... and enjoyed every moment of it. Listen to an excerpt of Sleeping Beauties.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Run Hide Repeat - Pauline Dakin

Run Hide Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Pauline Dakin marked for absolutely fascinating reading.

Pauline Dakin is a Canadian, award winning journalist (radio, television and print), producer, and is currently a journalism professor. Run Hide Repeat is her first book. It's a memoir - and it's one you won't be able to put down. Truth is truly stranger than fiction.

"When all had been revealed, I wished it to be unsaid. As unsatisfying as my previous ignorance had been, it was better than this story, and easier to live with than my struggle to weigh the truth against the possibility that...that what?"

The book's opening chapters introduce us to twenty three year old Dakin. Her mother Ruth and Stan, a family friend have decided that Pauline can finally be told the truth. Why they moved from one side of the country to the other, not once but twice, following Stan and his wife. Why they often left at the drop of a hat, leaving without saying goodbye to neighbours and friends. Why they often missed school. Why they were cautioned to never tell anyone the details of their lives. 

The answer? The Mafia was after Ruth and her children. The running, the precautions, the moves and the secrets were to keep them safe.

Dakin moves the telling of her story from past to present. The reader has the knowledge of the adult Dakin, but it only makes the childhood memories all the more perplexing. And somewhat ridiculous. There's no way this could be true - could it?

Pictures of Ruth, Stan, Dakin and her brother and father enhance the memoir and give a human face to this unbelievably true story. Halfway through the book (and this was in one sitting), there was still no answer to the 'why?' Curiosity had me picking the book up every spare moment until I finally reached the final pages.

The telling of Run Hide Repeat is a complex and deeply personal personal story. Telling your own story to the world is brave. "An unforgettable family tale of deception and betrayal, love and forgiveness" is an apt description from the publisher. Read an excerpt of Run Hide Repeat.

Friday, November 24, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #186

- 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
Australian cover
I'm looking forward to Alafair Burke's forthcoming book, TheWife. (January 2018) It's a "A Novel of Psychological Suspense", so it's on my TBR list. The US cover is on the left and the Australian cover is on the right. The first thing I notice is the different 'tones' between the covers. The beach says light, sunny and airy to me. But, small things like wedding rings do get lost in the sand. I like the imagery - looking through that perfect circle. The Aussie cover is dark and foreboding. A dark, closed door with a heavy knocker. This cover also has a tag line that lets you know a bit more about what you might find inside. I'm torn this week, but in the end will go with the Aussie cover - simply because I would be more likely to pick it up, given my love of suspense novels. What about you? Any plans to read The Wife?Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Braving It - James Campbell

This is the kind of thing I wish I could have done when I was younger. Seeing more of the world, being a little more adventures and taking chances. But, at this stage, I am just as happy to read about others' adventures.

That's the story in Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and An Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild by James Campbell.

James Campbell and his fifteen year old daughter Aidan headed to the Alaskan wilds not once, but three times. Winter and Summer. They visited Heimo Korth and his wife Edna twice, helping to build their new cabin, hunting and trapping. The third visit was braving and paddling the HulaHula river.

Campbell's descriptions of the land, people and lifestyle of Alaska are vivid and powerful, attesting to his love of the outdoors, notably Alaska. Campbell is an established writer and he knows how to tell a story. I was captivated by the details - what it takes to stay alive in this wild country, the dangers and the simple pleasures.

And while Braving It is on the face of it a travel adventure and memoir, its also the story of Campbell and his daughter Aidan's relationship. Campbell's decision to take his daughter to Alaska was not made lightly. We are witness to Aidan's burgeoning love of Alaska, her growing confidence and her continued love of the outdoors. These trips ignite a sense of wanderlust in Aidan - I would be curious to see where life takes her. Campbell is torn between protecting his daughter and allowing her to grow. These trips are almost a coming of age - for both of them.

I chose to listen to Braving It. The narrator was Roger Wayne. I thought he interpreted the novel really well. His voice is pleasant to listen to and easily understood. His reading depicted Campbell's thoughts and emotions well. His inflection and thoughtful pauses allowed the reader to feel as thought we were having a conversation with Campbell. He provided distinct voices for each person. Wonderfully written and a treat to listen to. Listen to an excerpt of Braving It.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Over the Counter #394

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I scream, you scream, we all scream for.......

Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America by Amy Ettinger.

From Dutton Books:

"A journalist channels her ice-cream obsession, scouring the United States for the best artisanal brands and delving into the surprising history of ice cream and frozen treats in America.

For Amy Ettinger, ice cream is not just a delicious snack but a circumstance and a time of year—frozen forever in memory. As the youngest child and only girl, ice cream embodied unstructured summers, freedom from the tyranny of her classmates, and a comforting escape from her chaotic, demanding family.

Now as an adult and journalist, her love of ice cream has led to a fascinating journey to understand ice cream’s evolution and enduring power, complete with insight into the surprising history behind America’s early obsession with ice cream and her experience in an immersive ice-cream boot camp to learn from the masters. From a visit to the one place in the United States that makes real frozen custard in a mammoth machine known as the Iron Lung, to the vicious competition among small ice-cream makers and the turf wars among ice-cream trucks, to extreme flavors like foie gras and oyster, Ettinger encounters larger-than-life characters and uncovers what’s really behind America’s favorite frozen treats.

Sweet Spot is a fun and spirited exploration of a treat Americans can’t get enough of—one that transports us back to our childhoods and will have you walking to the nearest shop for a cone."

(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, November 21, 2017

The Museum of Broken Relationships - Review AND Giveaway

If you're a fan of books like PostSecret and Humans of New York, The Museum of Broken Relationships" Modern Love in 203 Everyday Objects is a book you're going to want to pick up. And I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing!

Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic were a couple for four years. When their relationship ended, they came up with a novel idea - a place to store all the painful triggers of past loves, creating a vault for both their tangible and intangible heritage. We named this repository The Museum of Broken Relationships.

The collection tours, but there are two permanent museums - on in Zagreb, Croatia and one in Los Angeles, California. And now there's a book!

I found the concept fascinating. We all have mementos - things we keep that remind us of a love or a loss. Things that may bring comfort - or sadness. There is a time to let those heartbreaking items go - both physically and emotionally.

Those are the items housed in the museums - ranging from small toys, stuffed animals, wedding dresses, shoes, rings, letters and more. I think the belly button lint was the most unusual, but there were more unexpected items. Each item appears in a full colour photograph. Accompanying each item is the story behind it - and why it has finally been let go. The dates of the beginning and the end are also noted. A relationship gone sour is the most prevalent, but death is also behind some of the stories.

What is the appeal of this you ask? We all have a little streak of voyeur in us - glimpsing a peek into some else's heartache or heartbreak. And it's impossible not to keep turning pages. And at the end, I thought about one or two things I could send in.......

If you'd like to read The Museum of Broken Relationships, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends December 2/17.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Voices on the Road Blog Tour AND Giveaway!

I had someone ask me the other day how I found time to read so many books.Well, the truth is that I listen to a great number of books as well. I've always got one in the car for my commute back and forth to work. (And for those nights I can't sleep - one on the MP3 player as well) I find listening brings a book to life for me - I become immersed in the tale.

Lots of you will be travelling this weekend - car, bus, plane - or maybe you're the one doing all the cooking! Either way, an audio book makes a great companion. I've listed five that I've enjoyed below. AND make sure you enter the amazing giveaway I have for a fantastic selection of 10 audiobooks that have been generously donated by Galaxy Press, Hachette Audio, Harper Audio, High Bridge Audio, Macmillan, Penguin Random House Audio, and Post Hypnotic Press, Scholastic, Simon and Schuster Audio, and Tantor Audio. Enter at the end of the post.

And in no particular order, here are five of my favorite listens:

The Passage by Justin Cronin is the first book is this apocalyptic trilogy. The reader for all three entries is Scott Brick. Brick is a fantastic narrator. Or perhaps I should say performer. His voice is amazingly expressive. He narrates all three books.  Listen to an excerpt of The Passage. (My review)

Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series is a series I enjoy. I read the first book, but have since listened to subsequent entries. The Secret Place features readers Stephen Hogan and Lara Hutchinson. Their Irish accent creates vivid mental images of time and place. I enjoy the two readers - it makes it feel like you are listening in..... Listen to an excerpt of The Secret Place. (My review)

Matchup is edited by Lee Child. But here's the great thing - this is a short story collection featuring iconic characters from many authors. And it's narrated by many readers. The stories are great and it's a wonderful way to discover new readers. Listen to an excerpt of Matchup. (My review)

Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series is another perennial favorite of mine. Again, I started reading the series, but have transitioned to listening to them - in great part because of the reader. The Wrong Side of Goodbye was a fantastic listen. Narrator Titus Welliver has become the voice of Bosch for me - gruff, growly, tough. His interpretation of the character absolutely matches my mental image. Listen to an excerpt of The Wrong Side of Goodbye. (My review)

She Rides Shotgun is Jordan Harper's debut novel. It reads like a movie and narrator David Marantz's interpretation captured the feeling of danger and action that drives the book. Listen to an excerpt of She Rides Shotgun. (My review)

Check out other blogger's favorites on this Audio Publishers Association tour - full schedule can be found here. Want more? Keep up on social media -  Audiobook_Comm on Facebook and @Audiobook_Comm on Twitter with the hashtag #loveaudiobooks.

Enter to win a selection of ten audiobooks using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends December 2/17.

Friday, November 17, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #185

- 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
Now, I must say that although mysteries and thrillers are my favourite genres to read, I also love a good post apocalyptic read. I'm looking forward to The Feed by Nick Clark Windo. "Set in a post-apocalyptic world as unique and vividly imagined as those of Station Eleven and The Girl with All the Gifts, a startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age."The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two different looks this week. The US cover illustrates an urban area, densely populated. And to me red always signifies danger or stop. The UK cover is the opposite - a decimated or rural area with nothing but the two figures. The colours are not what you would expect - no green on the ground or blue in the sky. Instead these colours seems to say something unnatural has happened. Both covers feature The Feed with twisting, almost insidious tendrils throughout. Different taglines, but both are ominous. I like the starkness of the UK cover and the two people, so it's UK for me this week. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Feed?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lola - Melissa Scrivner Love

I've not really tried reading urban fiction before, but I liked the description of Melissa Scrivner Love's debut novel, Lola.

Lola is the girlfriend of Garcia - one of the members of the Crenshaw Six - a small gang in South Central LA. The gang works in 'distribution' - of drugs. But, what no one outside the gang realizes is that Lola is the leader. She's hidden behind people's assumptions and misconceptions. When she sees the opportunity for growth for her group, she decides to take it. But things don't go as planned. Can Lola save her people - and herself? And at what cost? Love's plot unfolds swiftly, with action and suspense carrying it forward quickly.

Lola is a great female protagonist. She's kick butt tough, not afraid of violence (and is in fact quite violent herself) and very, very smart. Love introduces a secondary plot line that threatens to be her Achilles heel - as sentimentality can get you killed in her world. This development also reveals that although she is street smart, she realizes that outside of her own world, she is out of step.

Love has worked as a writer on shows such as Miami CSI and Person of Interest. That background has translated well to the written page. Her lead character is easily imagined from her description, thoughts and actions. I did find some of the supporting cast to be somewhat cliched. But they serve their purpose well. The plotting is also detailed. I have no idea how close to the truth it might be - it does read a bit like a television or movie plot. Gang warfare, drugs, violence, sex and more populate the pages of Lola. Probably not recommended for gentle readers.

I liked the lead character and can see another book featuring her. Lola was a decidedly different read for me and it was good to step outside of my usual tastes. But, I'm heading back to known territory now.  Read an excerpt of Lola.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Over the Counter # 392

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Well, it seems there's a knitting book for just about anything.....

I give you the Field Guide to Knitted Birds: Over 40 Handmade Projects to Liven Up Your Roost by Carlos Zachrison and Arne Nerjordet, photographs by Ragnar Hartvig.

From the publisher, Search Press:

"Over 40 knitted birds to liven-up your roost, from typical garden birds to birds-of-paradise.

Let Arne & Carlos guide you on a journey into the colourful and imaginative bird kingdom! Inspired by nature both at home and abroad, from their garden in Tonsåsen comes the characteristic bullfinch, chickadee and wagtail, to name a few but the fun doesn't stop there. Knit cold weather birds with Norwegian traditional patterns, and keep them warm with bird-sized wool caps and scarves make brilliant birds-of-paradise decorated with embroidery, sequins, and feathers or spread your wings a little further with birds featuring vintage Mexican embroidery motifs. These delightful birds can be used as decorations year-round, but they may tend to migrate towards the Christmas tree when the time approaches. With clear instructions, helpful diagrams and full-colour photographs, its time for every knitters imagination to take flight."

(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, November 14, 2017

Two Kinds of Truth - Michael Connelly

Two Kinds of Truth is the 22nd book in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series. And although I have enjoyed each and every one of those previous books, I have to say that this latest is a stand out for me.

Harry is still working as a volunteer cold case detective for the San Fernando Police Department. But when two pharmacists are murdered, Harry is called upon to help out the small three person detective unit. Connelly takes inspiration for this case from current headlines - pill mills, organized crime and addiction. His plotting for this case is absolutely addicting.

Now I say 'this case' as there is another. Exiled from the LAPD, Harry has moved on. Bu,t he's pulled back into the past when a convict on death row accuses Harry of framing him - and new evidence seems to prove that. Can Harry prove his innocence? "In his career, he had chased down hundreds of killers and put them in prison. If he was wrong about one, then it would put the lie to everything else." Another fantastic - and clever - plot line. There are some harrowing twists in the solving of this case and I worried about Harry's making it out alive.

Harry is run ragged trying to work both the double murder and trying to clear his name. Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer and Harry's half brother) makes an appearance. I love the crossover appearances.

At one point, Harry's age is mentioned - he's over sixty five. (which surprised me as I see him as timeless) Connelly has kept this series moving along in real time both professionally and personally for Harry. Daughter Maddie is also heard from.

Harry is an eminently likeable lead character. His tenacity, his doggedness and just who he is have made him one of my favourite detectives. Connelly's supporting cast is always well drawn as well. I have a fondness for Lourdes, the lone female detective in the squad.

The origins for a book's title always intrigue me. In this case it's from Harry..."He knew there were two kinds of truth in this world. The truth that was the unalterable bedrock of one's life and mission. And the other, malleable truth of politicians, charlatans, corrupt lawyer, and their clients, bent and molded to serve whatever purpose was at hand."

There's no doubt as to Harry's truth. I binge read Two Kinds of Truth and finished it far too quickly - but it was so very, very good! Absolutely recommended! Read an excerpt of Two Kinds of Truth.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie

I read Agatha Christie's iconic 1934 mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, many, many years ago. (And to be honest - I had forgotten the 'whodunit'.) Well, Twentieth Century Fox has just released a new (star studded) version of Murder on the Orient Express. It's one I would like to see at the theatre, but I wanted to read the book again beforehand.

My favourite genre is mysteries and this one is a classic 'locked room' mystery. Twelve people are traveling on the Orient Express train. Our protagonist, the great Detective Hercule Poirot is one of them. When the train is stopped dead on the tracks in the middle of nowhere by a snowstorm and a murdered traveler is found in one of the cabins, Poirot's deductive skills are called upon. "The murderer is with us - on the train now..."

And it is those deductive skills that make Christie's works such a joy to read. While current day crime novels can draw upon technology and forensic tools, Poirot relies upon his 'little gray cells'. He solves crimes through interviews, questions, deductions and his own innate cleverness. It's great fun to see if you can remember what each of the twelve has claimed - and to try and find the cracks in each one's proclamations along with Hercule. But they are subtle and so cleverly inserted. The joy in reading Murder on the Orient express is in the journey to the final answer. Read an excerpt of Murder on the Orient Express.

On reaching the final whodunit, I am now very curious as to how the movie will play out. Christie's ending leaves some wiggle room.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Shatter Your Senses

The Ripley's books have been a staple in our house for many, many years. My son discovered them as a youngster and he always received the newest book for Christmas. Twenty plus years later, he still enjoys them. And I have to admit, so does everyone else who visits. The latest is Ripley's Believe It or Not! Shatter Your Senses. Its out on the coffee table in the t.v. room and almost everyone picks it up to leaf through.

This 2017 edition brings 1,500 new - and yes, they're all true - stories to readers. You can browse by section -  Believe It, World, Beyond Belief, Animals, Pop Culture and People or you can browse like me. I just start flipping pages, stopping when something catches my eye. The five senses are targeted in this new entry. Short snippets give you a quick glance into something 'unbelievable', but the pictures will have you pausing to look and wonder at the 'unbelievable." The photos are in full color.

What caught my eye? You've heard of yarn bombing - what about an entire house covered? Air pollution in China is horrific. But citizens can buy a bag of fresh mountain air for a nominal fee. Heading to the beach in China? Make sure to wear your face-kini to protect your skin. I'll pass on visiting Sweetwater, Texas and their rattlesnake festival. *shivers* Or the Poison Garden in England. The most expensive cheese in the world? Made from donkeys in the Balkans. I got lost in popular culture - there are many, many unusual oddities. Dual sided cowboy boots. Celebrity portraits made from shredded currency. Could you fit 138 pencils in your mouth? And that's just a few entries! The cover is eye- catching (and 3D), as are the stories between the covers. Fair warning - some of the stories are definitely not meant for younger children. See below for some page excerpts.

Friday, November 10, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #184

- 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
Clare Mackintosh has a new book coming - Let Me Lie releases in March 2018 on both sides of the pond. And yes, it's on my ever growing TBR list! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, so we have blue tones in both covers. At first glance of the US cover, I thought the woman was on a snow covered glacier until I realized the water below wasn't frozen and it looks a little tropical with the green? Ominous clouds though and the large red font suggest danger. But, the UK cover leaves no doubt the the read inside will be a thriller. The tagline is mysterious - not suicide, not murder, well what could it be? The broken glass and window suggest danger. I'm going with the UK cover this week. I can't get past the tiny person on top of the maybe glacier. What about you? Any plans to read Let Me Lie? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Deep Freeze - John Sandford

I really enjoy John Sandford's Lucas Davenport series. Virgil Flowers was a supporting character in that series, but is now the lead in his own set of books. I really like Lucas, but have to say that 'that f****** Flowers' is my fave! The 10th (and latest) Flowers book is Deep Freeze.

Virgil is happily enjoying some time off when he's called back in and sent to Trippton, Minnesota - remember that murderous school board? Well, there's another dead body in town - this one's frozen. And the suspects are many - everything points to one of the Trippton graduating class of twenty years ago. Turns out they've got a reunion planned....Now, we the reader know who the culprit is. But the body isn't where he left it. So the killer is just as confused. Knowing what we believe to be the whodunit in no way detracts from being on the case with Virgil. My interest was held right through to the end. And there's one more thing his superiors want him to look into while he's in Trippton. Some locals are adding some, well, 'inappropriate' sound chips to Barbie dolls. Mattel would like them to 'cease and desist.'

Oh, Sandford's plotting is always great. In Virgil's cases, nothing is straight forward or 'normal'. And that's a huge part of the appeal of this series. But the real draw is of course Virgil. With his blond surfer boy looks, his laconic, down homey charm, his sense of humour and ability to fit right in with the locals, Virgil is not what you would expect of an Minnesota BCA Agent. The situations and dialogue assigns to Virgil are laugh out loud funny. One of the best supporting characters takes a larger role this time out. Johnson Johnson (nope, that's not a typo, that's his name) lives in the Trippton area, so he adds himself to the investigation. The banter between these two is great fun.

Virgil's personal life is also a step left of center. Sandford has moved things along in each new entry in the series. There's a fairly large development in Deep Freeze - I will be curious to see what the next book brings. Deep Freeze is another great entry in this entertaining series. Read an excerpt of Deep Freeze.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Over the Counter #391

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Who doesn't love a good crispy rice treat......

Treat Yourself: How to Make 93 Ridiculously Fun No-Bake Crispy Rice Treats by Jessica Siskin.

From Workman Publishing:

"It all began with a giant cheeseburger-shaped rice crispy treat, created on a whim and posted online. Since then, Misterkrisp, aka food artist Jessica Siskin, has become an Instagram sensation with her joy-inducing, pop-culture-inspired treats.

Treat Yourself! is the perfect answer for any cook, crafty food lover, or creative parent looking to make crowd-pleasing and personalized treats for birthdays, holidays, school events, and virtually every other occasion. With no baking required, these playful, visually dazzling sweets are simple enough for anyone to whip up.

Each of the 93 projects, arranged from Apple to Zebra, starts with a single base recipe. There are large, cake-sized treats to share and individual-sized treats perfect for bake sales and goody bags. Step-by-step instructions, vibrant illustrations, and downloadable templates ensure that anyone, with any level of skill, can turn out delicious, eye-catching creations: Lively designs for kids’ parties—Robot, Dinosaur, Crown, Balloons. A Cheeseburger. A Statue of Liberty. A Dancing Lady Emoji. And a sweet centerpiece for your next Super Bowl bash: a Football Stadium filled with sprinkle spectators. It’ll serve the neighborhood!

Treats have never been so much fun or so doable."

(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, November 7, 2017

Walking With Peety - Eric O'Grey - Review AND Giveaway

I am a dog person - and a reader who enjoys a good memoir. I found both in Eric O'Grey's book, Walking With Peety. The book was written with Mark Dagostino. And thanks to Grand Central Publishing, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

"In 2010 at age 51, I was 340 pounds at 5’10”, my waist was 52 inches, and I wore 4XL shirts. My doctor told me to purchase a cemetery plot, because I would likely need one within the next five years."

Instead, Eric visits a naturopathic doctor who advises him to eat a plant based diet - and get a dog. The dog will need walking, getting Eric started on some exercise. The results? Amazing. "Over the next year, my weight dropped to 180 pounds, my waist was reduced to 33 inches".

And yes, changing his eating habits was a major part of that transformation. But the real catalyst was Peety - an older, overweight dog, surrendered by his family to a shelter. He needed rescuing reducing, but in the end it was Peety who rescued Eric. (Peety also lost 25 pounds along the way a well!)

From having no friends, no partner, no joy in the everyday and failing health, Eric completely changed his life and mental and physical health with the help of Peety. Walking With Peety is an inspirational story - and a testament to the love of a dog.

O'Grey registers Peety as a service dog. He does have a valid medical reason for this designation, but I question not having the dog trained by a professional service dog trainer. Instead he trains both Peety and his next dog himself. There may be more to this aspect that was not included in the book.

Overall, Walking With Peety was a wonderfully uplifting read. And an inspiration for those looking to make some changes in their lives. Read an excerpt of Walking With Peety.

You can connect with Eric O'Grey on his website, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

And if you too would like to read Walking With Peety, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends November 18/17.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Don't Let Go - Harlan Coben

I get so excited when I see that a favourite author is releasing a new book. I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Harlan Coben's latest - Don't Let Go. And as always, I couldn't put it down - and finished it far too quickly.

Don't Let Go is a stand alone novel and introduces us to New Jersey Detective Nap Dumas. (I would love to see more of Nap in future books) Nap's twin brother Leo and his girlfriend were tragically killed when they all were in high school. It was deemed an accident, but Nap has always wondered. Leo and his friends were fascinated by the highly guarded government facility just outside of town. Could there be a connection? Just around the same time Nap's high school sweetheart Maura disappeared. For years Nap has been trying to come to terms with the deaths and the disappearance.

And then the past comes crashing into the present when Maura's fingerprints are found at a murder scene smack dab in Nap's jurisdiction. Where has she been? Where is she now?

I liked Nap as a character - he's sworn to uphold the law, but doesn't mind giving things a little nudge to get where they should be. He's got a dangerous edge that is hidden. In addition to a great lead character, the supporting players are just as well drawn and interesting. Even those that don't actually have a voice. Without giving anything away, I had formed an opinion of one character and found myself quite surprised when my assumptions were proven wrong.

Myron Bolitar's cameo was a treat to come across. Those who know and love Myron will mention the sense of humour of that series. Dark as it seems, Coben has infused humour into Don't Let Go as well. You'll also find a lot of well expressed and explored emotions - loss, love, grief, anger and more along the way.

The plot of Don't Let Go is quite inventive and takes inspiration from actual (and disturbing) events in Coben's own past. Don't Let Go was another satisfying read from Coben - read an excerpt. Can't wait for the next book!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Good Night, Baby Moon - DK Canada

DK Canada has some wonderful new books coming out this fall for both adults and children. Here's one that Little Guy and I enjoyed - Good Night, Baby Moon.

The cover is beautiful - gold lettering and stars on an indigo background. A  cutout silhouette of rabbits is framed by the title. But here's the fun part - simply press the button in the upper right hand corner to 'light up' the moon in the frame. (Yes, it is battery operated. The battery cover is securely attached with a screw).

The inside pages are 'board book' thickness are of a rich, glossy stock. They too have a lovely nighttime background with rabbit silhouettes. Little guy had to count how many rabbits were on each page. The moon is full on one page, then half, then crescent, gone and back again on subsequent pages. This book is a good introduction for toddlers as to how the moon changes shape.

The text is in a rhyming format which I always enjoy reading. It seems to flow very easily and the cadence for each page becomes almost sing song. This is a 'gentle' read. The tones suggest night and sleep. It is fairly short at four double pages. Little Guy was fascinated by the light up button. We had to flip to the front cover many, many times to press the button yet again. I do wish there was some way that the inner pictures of the changing moon could have been highlighted by the light as well.

There's a Good Night Baby Moon 'toddler time' activity kit here that you can download as well.

Good Night, Baby Moon is a beautifully illustrated book, with that little extra (the light) that had Little Guy asking to read it many, many nights in a row. And he learned something too! See below for a peek inside.

Friday, November 3, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover # 183

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another....

US cover
UK cover
I enjoyed Jane Corry's first book, My Husband's Wife. Her new novel, Blood Sisters releases in January 2018 in North America and is already on the shelves in the UK. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Now, looking at the covers, I would not think they would be the same story. The picture on the US cover is an adult woman. (I'm going by the shoes but could be wrong.) The children's coats on the UK cover promises a different read. As does the tagline. The US cover really doesn't give you any idea of what kind of story is between the covers. But I do like the leaves. I actually saw the cover before I read what the book is about. Having read the synopsis, both covers do depict the book. Perhaps the UK a bit more. And if I was looking for a suspense read, I would be more likely to pick up the UK book. So UK for me this week. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Blood Sisters?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Saving Sophie - Sam Carrington

Saving Sophie is from British author Sam Carrington.

Karen's seventeen year old daughter Sophie is brought home by the police after a drunken night out with friends. The next day she has no memory of what happened on the night out. Which isn't good - as her friend Amy still hasn't been home either. And then a body is found.

Karen is determined to protect her own daughter, but wonders if Sophie truly can't remember a do the police.

Carrington has given Karen an interesting affliction - she's agoraphobic. This severely limits what she can do from the confines of her house. It also allows the rest of her family to walk out the door on her. Her mental state plays a large part in her reactions to what is happening.

What I did find (okay more than) a bit hard to swallow was Karen and Sophie's relationship. While Karen seems prepared to absolve Sophie of any wrong doing, Sophie seems just as determined to annoy and distress her mother at every turn. And I really didn't like Karen herself any better. Just as awkward and disturbing was husband Mike's treatment of Karen. Truly awful.

* slight spoiler - stop now if you're going to read the book.*

Why, oh why does no one take what they know to the police?! Sophie and Karen. Because they're going to find out whdunit and why on their own? *snorts* I found the depiction of the police and their eventual investigation improbable. They walk away from solid leads and don't follow up with others.

I did finish the book as I wanted to see how Carrington would tie her ends together. Sadly I found that too unbelievable. Saving Sophie had a good premise as a base, but I found it lacking in execution. The actual title of the book appears as "Saving Sophie: A gripping psychological thriller with a brilliant twist." That long and detailed subtitle? Trying too hard. Read an excerpt of Saving Sophie.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Over the Counter #390

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? This one's an interesting take on activism....

Can Your Smartphone Change the World by Erinne Paisley.

From Orca Book Publishers:

"Can Your Smartphone Change the World? is a twenty-first-century guide for anyone who has access to a smartphone. This how-to manual looks at specific ways you can create social change through the tap of a screen. Filled with examples of successful hashtag campaigns, viral videos and new socially conscious apps, the book provides practical advice for using your smartphone as a tool for social justice.

This is the first book in the PopActivism series. Can Your Outfit Change the World? comes out in spring 2018 and Can Your Conversations Change the World? in fall 2018."

(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!)