Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe another year has flown by! I now believe what my grandmother used to say -  time does go by faster the older we get.

Thanks to all of my readers - I appreciate you stopping by and all of  your comments. I wish you health and happiness for 2019! And I'm sure books will be part of that happiness - they always are for me.

I exceeded the 2018 goal I set for my Goodreads Challenge. I find I'm listening to more books than reading lately. I quilt as I listen. We shall see what 2019 brings. Happy New Year - and happy reading!

Friday, December 28, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #243

- 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
It was A.J. Finn's blurb about The Woman Inside by E.G. Scott that caught my attention - "From its seize-you-by-throat opening to that jack-in-the-box finale, this slick, sleek thriller held me breathless. Psychological suspense at its brightest and boldest.' - A. J. Finn, author of The Woman in the Window." The US Cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. At first glance, two very similar cover. The font color is transposed from one to another. I find the pink as the title font color on the UK cover more effective than the white of the US. The keyhole appears to be slightly larger on the US cover. The eye color changes from cover to cover. And there's cheek and eyebrow on the US cover, not so much. And it appears there is lighting inside the UK cover. Hmm, a bit torn this week - the pink draws my eye to it, but it seems a bit more lurid, if you will. The US is a bit more sedate with the white title. It's a draw for me this week. What about you? Any plans to read The Woman Inside? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Limetown - Cote Smith, Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie

I listen to a great number of books - but I also enjoy podcasts. One of the podcasts I have lined up to listen to is Limetown. But - there's a newly released audio book prequel called Limetown, written by the original creators - Cote SmithZack Akers and Skip Bronkie. So, I decided to listen to this audiobook first before delving into the podcasts.

From Simon and Schuster:

"From the creators of the #1 podcast Limetown, an explosive prequel about a teenager who learns of a mysterious research facility where over three hundred people have disappeared - including her uncle - with clues that become the key to discovering the secrets of this strange town."

I love stories like this - the unexplained, investigative journalism, conspiracies and more. Teenager Lia Haddock is the lead character. Candice Thaxton reads this characters. She's a favorite narrator of mine. She has such an expressive voice and interprets the books she reads very, very well. Her intonation rises and falls in a unique way.She emphasizes and depicts much with her voice. Her voice is also clear and easy to understand. And her voice matched the mental image I had created. Jacques Roy(another favorite) read the male roles - the missing Emile, Jack and more. He has a lovely measured pace of speaking that draws the listener in. He captures scenes of emotion and action with that same lower tone, but with urgency. Again, he's easy to understand and pleasant to listen to.

Listen carefully - the plot is fairly intricate and moves from present to past until the two catch up with each other. I was immediately drawn into the story. With this background, I'm looking forward to starting the podcast. Listen to an excerpt of Limetown.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Over the Counter #460

Today's Over the Counter feature is perfect for explaining the Canadian holiday of Boxing Day.....with a lot of tongue in cheek....

The Ladybird Book of Boxing Day by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris.

"The perfect stocking filler for anyone who spends Christmas Day counting the minutes until the Boxing Day sales start.

'There are two important days at Christmas.

There is Christmas Day, when everyone is jolly and hungry and very pleased to see each other.

And there is Boxing Day'

'Jonathan and Oriane have gone for a Boxing Day walk with Transformers the dog.

Walking is healthy. It will help them digest their dinner.

And by the time they get home, Jonathan's father might have finished being racist and fallen asleep in his liquorice allsorts.

This delightful book is the latest in the series of Ladybird books which have been specially planned to help grown-ups with the world about them.

The large clear script, the careful choice of words, the frequent repetition and the thoughtful matching of text with pictures all enable grown-ups to think they have taught themselves to cope. Featuring original Ladybird artwork alongside brilliantly funny, brand new text."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I wish all of you the happiest of holidays with family and friends!

Merry Christmas from A Bookworm's World!


Friday, December 21, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #242

- 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 enjoyed Fiona Barton's last novel, The Widow. Her newest book, The Suspect, releases in January 2019. The US cover is on the left and the Australian cover is on the right. Hmm, well we have the usual image of a woman on the front - no way to know if she's the one in danger or the suspect.  Rain or maybe snow in the picture. Not sure I like the 'upside down'. Now, the Australian cover I find intriguing. It's different and invites a closer look. The cryptic note also invites the reader inside. What significance does the water have? So, an easy choice for me this week - Australian cover. What about you - any plans to read The Suspect? 
Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Christmas on the Island - Jenny Colgan

Oh, can I tell you how much I adore Jenny Colgan's books! (A whole bunch!) Her latest NA release is Christmas on the Island - perfect seasonal reading. It's the third book in the Seaside Kitchen series.

Flora is the owner of the Seaside Kitchen on the remote, beautiful Scottish island of Mure. Flora is a perfect lead - fun, quirky and very likable. The supporting cast also endear themselves to the reader - Flora's loud and noisy family and the wonderfully diverse and sometimes eccentric villagers. Each and every one has a part to play in the tapestry that is the life of Mure.

Everyday life, love lost, love found, friendship, family rifts, family uniting and community are the driving forces behind Colgan's works.

This is the time of the year when I enjoy seasonal reading, cosying up with a feel-good read, a cup of tea and a warm blanket. Delightful, inviting and heartwarming, Christmas on the Island was the perfect read for me. (And I would be quite happy living on Mure!) Here's an excerpt of Christmas on the Island. I hope there's another Mure book in the works - there are a few storylines that haven't been resolved....

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Over the Counter #459

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

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year With the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island by Earl Swift.

From Dey Street Books:

"Tangier Island, Virginia, is a community unique on the American landscape. Mapped by John Smith in 1608, settled during the American Revolution, the tiny sliver of mud is home to 470 hardy people who live an isolated and challenging existence, with one foot in the 21st century and another in times long passed. They are separated from their countrymen by the nation’s largest estuary, and a twelve-mile boat trip across often tempestuous water—the same water that for generations has made Tangier’s fleet of small fishing boats a chief source for the rightly prized Chesapeake Bay blue crab, and has lent the island its claim to fame as the softshell crab capital of the world.

Yet for all of its long history, and despite its tenacity, Tangier is disappearing. The very water that has long sustained it is erasing the island day by day, wave by wave. It has lost two-thirds of its land since 1850, and still its shoreline retreats by fifteen feet a year—meaning this storied place will likely succumb first among U.S. towns to the effects of climate change. Experts reckon that, barring heroic intervention by the federal government, islanders could be forced to abandon their home within twenty-five years. Meanwhile, the graves of their forebears are being sprung open by encroaching tides, and the conservative and deeply religious Tangiermen ponder the end times. 

Chesapeake Requiem is an intimate look at the island’s past, present and tenuous future, by an acclaimed journalist who spent much of the past two years living among Tangier’s people, crabbing and oystering with its watermen, and observing its long traditions and odd ways. What emerges is the poignant tale of a world that has, quite nearly, gone by—and a leading-edge report on the coming fate of countless coastal communities."

(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, December 18, 2018

Five Feet Apart - Rachael Lippincott

Okay, so lets start off with the cover of Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott  with Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis. It's beautiful and really captures the premise of the book.

The star-crossed background. Uh huh, love is in the air. The vines or roots - think of them as lungs. And the title as the distance that has to be kept between the two main characters - Will and Stella.

Will and Stella both have cystic fibrosis. They're in hospital for treatment - Stella is on the transplant list and Will is on a trial drug battling a severe infection. They meet and it's most definitely not love at first sight, not even like really. Which is okay, as they need to maintain a six foot distance from each other, so as not to further compromise their health. But, this is a love story......and five feet is closer than six...

I adored Stella! She's smart, funny, kind, determined and more. Will is a bit of a 'bad boy'. He's angry at his disease and regularly refuses to do the treatments that will help him. He would much rather visit the places he's read about while he still can. Stella's best friend Poe will break your heart. Nurse Barb is the strict one that enforces that six foot barrier.

I thought the cystic fibrosis premise was done well and I'm sure readers and listeners will learn more about this disease through this novel.

The attraction between the two is inevitable. And the path is rocky of course. Exactly what I had expected going in - a love story. Do things happen quickly? Yes. Are there plot points that are a bit of stretch? Yes. Did I enjoy the story? Absolutely yes! (And if you're a John Green fan, you're going to love Five Feet Apart.)

I chose to listen to Five Feet Apart. The readers were Joy Osmanski (a perennial favorite of mine) and Corey Brill. Osmanski's voice matches the mental image I had created of Stella. Her voice sounds like a teenager. The tone and diction is crisp and clean. She captures the story well and matches the emotion and tenor of the story. Brill's voice has a nice, gravelly undertone to it. The pace of his reading is measured. He too enunciates well and his voice is pleasant to listen to. His voice also matched the character.

I really enjoy audiobooks - the stories seem to come to life for me when I listen. And Five Feet Apart was no exception. Excellent! Listen to an excerpt of Five Feet Apart.

Five Feet Apart releases as a film in March 2019, starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Shadows We Hide - Allen Eskens

I was so excited when I heard that Allen Eskens had a new book coming out. Even more so when I discovered that Joe Talbert would be returning in The Shadows We Hide.

Joe was the protagonist in Eskens' first book, The Life We Bury. I thought there was more to Joe's story. Joe has never known his father. When he comes across a news story about the death of a man named Joe Talbert, he wonders - could it possibly be the father he was named for? He heads to the small town  as the reporter he is  - and is stunned by the town's animosity towards the dead man.

Esken's characters have depth and significant back stories. Joe's mother is a drug addict, his brother is mentally challenged and Joe himself battles personal demons. I'm really fond of Lila, Joe's girlfriend. She's whip smart, kind, thoughtful and no pushover. She is true to her own beliefs and lives accordingly. All of these relationships resonate with reality.

Now in addition to absolutely fantastic characters is the mystery behind the dead Joe Talbert. And again, Eskens excels. His plotting is intricate and detailed and drew me into the underbelly of the small town. I wasn't able to predict the outcome of the book, which I really appreciate. And the ending was just right. Read an excerpt of The Shadows We Hide.

Eskens is easily one of my favorite authors. I'll be eagerly awaiting the fifth book from this talented writer. Absolutely recommended. But do yourself a favor and start with the first book.

(The cover of The Shadows We Hide features the same barn that was on the cover in The Life We Bury, but in a growing season, instead of the winter.)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

100 Christmas Wishes - NYPL

I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my copy of 100 Christmas Wishes: Vintage Holiday Cards from The New York Public Library.

The book starts off with a foreword from singer Rosanne Cash.

"These Christmas greetings from the vast collection of holiday cards in the New York Public Library postcard collection capture the abiding, universal impulse to connect with friends and loved ones at Christmas....In some ways they were the social media and email of the early twentieth century: brief messages dashed off quickly, to acknowledge and maintain connection and affection".

The cards are from 1887-1944 and are from 12 different countries. What they have in common are the beautiful, detailed images - and the truly lovely sentiments. They're all a tribute to a kinder, simpler time. Nature scenes, children, adults and of course, Santa, are found within. I was hard pressed to pick a favorite. It was only on flipping to the last image, that I found the 'notes on origins'. This appendix details (if available) the date and destination the card was mailed to. I would have liked to have found this information on the same page as the image, rather that finding it at the end and flipping back and forth.

And there was a bonus surprise at the end of the book - removable vintage postcards that I will be framing and making part of my Christmas decorations - or maybe I will surprise a friend and mail them one.

100 Christmas Wishes will make a wonderful keepsake gift for anyone on your Christmas list - or maybe for yourself!  Here's an excerpt of 100 Christmas Wishes.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Becoming Mrs. Lewis - Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan's new novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis  is newly released and would make a great gift for the reader on your list.

From Thomas Nelson Books:

"In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all." Read an excerpt of Becoming Mrs. Lewis.

Patti was a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, has been an Indie Next Pick, twice an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year.The mother of three children, she lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina, with her husband. Visit her online at; Instagram: pattichenry; Facebook: AuthorPattiCallahanHenry; Twitter: @pcalhenry."

Friday, December 14, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #241

- 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
Lucy Foley's forthcoming thriller, The Hunting Party is
generating lots of buzz. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. The first that strikes me is the muted look of the US cover vs. the bright yellow of the UK cover. Both employ the same tag line. The image on the US cover brings to mind English hunts, foxes, hounds and horses. The UK image does convey a hunt, but seems much more ominous. Both are intriguing covers and the book is definitley on my TBR list. But, I'm going to go with the US cover this week - I'm a sucker for the isolated manor, trapped by bad weather and a group that includes a murderer premise. What about you? Any plans to read The Hunting Party? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Dirty John and Other True Stories of Outlaws and Outsiders - Christopher Goffard

Christopher Goffard is an award-winning Los Angeles Times reporter. Dirty John and Other True Stories of Outlaws and Outsiders is a collection of his best work.

Wow! I was hooked from the first story until the last - and quite sad when I did reach the end. I could happily listen to everything Goffard has written.

Most of the appeal for me is the fact that the stories are true. Goffard takes an event, a happening, a crime, a piece of life, a person and wholeheartedly immerses the reader/listener in the tale.  Detail, depth and a unique take on reporting make each piece fascinating.

It's hard to say I liked one more that another. The cover title Dirty John, is the longest and the most frightening. John is a conman, but his new wife can't see it. Its a close second Framed. A school volunteer makes an innocent mistake, but the parents involved take retaliation to a whole new level. The $40 Lawyer follows a brand new lawyer as he wades into the court system. There are fifteen stories in this collection and every last one is a winner.

I chose to listen to this book. The reader was George Newbern - a favorite of mine. He has such a unique voice - very, very expressive, capturing the nuances, emotions, drama, absurdities and more of Goffard's work. There's a sardonic tone to his voice that completely suits this audiobook. His diction is clear and easy to understand. See for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Dirty John and Other True Stories of Outlaws and Outsiders. Highly recommended! I'll be following Goffard's work from here forward.

Goffard's writing will be in even more formats soon - Dirty John (also a podcast) is an upcoming Bravo series. Framed is being developed by Netflix as a film starring Julia Roberts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Over the Counter #458

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Riding the rails this week...

Amazing Train Journeys from Lonely Planet.

Here's more about what you'll find inside:

"Experience 60 of the world’s greatest and most unforgettable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips like Western Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Darwin to Adelaide’s The Ghan, to little-known gems on regular commuting lines.

We’ve always had a soft spot for trains. We know the moment a train pulls out of a station bound for somewhere fantastic is when the adventure truly starts. Amazing Train Journeys is the culmination of asking more than 200 travel writers for their absolute favourites.

Some are epic international adventures, others short suburban routes along stunning coastline. There are incredible feats of engineering, trains that snake their way through mountain peaks, and even those which have achieved Unesco World Heritage status.

Each profile contains practical information including ticket options, timetables and stops, plus inspiring photos and illustrated maps."

(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, December 11, 2018

No Good Asking - Fran Kimmel

Fran Kimmel's latest novel, No Good Asking, is set during the week leading up to Christmas Day. The time frame - and the message - were perfect for December reading.

Retired RCMP Sergeant Eric Nyland and his family have moved back to his childhood home at his wife Ellie's instigation. This way, they can look after Walter - Eric's father who has dementia. And she feels it's a better place for their autistic son Sammy. Teenaged Daniel is not so sure about the move. But things have not gone as Ellie had envisioned - the marriage is limping along and the relocation hasn't accomplished what she envisioned. In her mind, having a perfect family Christmas is another chance to bring change.

But a 'perfect' Christmas is not in the cards. Eric rescues an eleven year old girl named Hannah from the drunken neighbour across the road. She's lived there a year and Eric had no idea there was a child in the house. With his background, Social Services asks the Nylands to keep her until a suitable foster family is found.

Kimmel's characterizations had my emotions running the gamut. I liked Eric - his sense of right and wrong and appreciated his attempts to 'fix' his marriage. Daniel's portrayal of a impulsive teen finding his own way in a new setting is well done. Sammy and his autistic behavior is spot on. As is Walter, with his mind everywhere but the present, unable to keep a firm grasp on the here and now. His dead wife Myrtle stills wield an influence over Ellie as there are traces and memories of her throughout the home. Ellie. Ellie was the most complicated and difficult character for me. I felt sympathy for her in the beginning as we learn a bit more about her marriage and history with Eric. But her present day behaviour - sharp, biting, dismissive and downright cruel had me turning against her. The cruelty is directed towards Hannah and that only exacerbated my feelings about Ellie. Hannah is a wounded child, desperately trying to blend into the woodwork and stay out of the way, avoiding angering anyone. But, she is the character who ends up making the most difference in this fractured family. How? You'll have to read the book to find out.

 Kimmel's writing felt so very real in both characters and situations. And I did break my own rule at one point - I just couldn't wait and flipped forward to see if a situation turned out the way I needed it to. (It did, thank goodness) Kimmel deftly explores family, love, loss, hope, redemption and more in No Good Asking. This was an unexpected gem of read for me. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of No Good Asking.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Giveaway - Into the Night - Sarah Bailey

Into the Night is the follow up to Sarah Bailey's award winning debut novel and again features Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock. And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

 From Grand Central Publishing:

"After the shocking murder of a high-profile celebrity, Gemma Woodstock must pull back the layers of a gilded cage to discover who among the victim's friends and family can be trusted--and who may be the killer.

Troubled and brilliant, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock finds herself lost and alone after a recent move to Melbourne, brokenhearted by the decisions she's had to make. Her new workplace is a minefield and Detective Sergeant Nick Fleet, the partner she has been assigned, is uncommunicative and often hostile. When a homeless man is murdered and Gemma is put on the case, she can't help feeling a connection with the victim and his lonely, isolated existence.

Then Sterling Wade, an up-and-coming actor filming his breakout performance in a closed-off city street, is murdered in the middle of an action-packed shot, and Gemma and Nick have to put aside their differences to unravel the mysteries surrounding the actor's life and death. Who could commit such a brazen crime? Who stands to profit from it? Far too many people, and none of them can be trusted. Gemma can't imagine a pair of victims with less in common--and yet as Gemma and Fleet soon learn, both men were keeping secrets that may have led to their deaths.

With riveting suspense, razor-sharp writing, and a fascinating cast of characters, Into the Night proves Sarah Bailey is a major new talent to watch in the world of literary crime fiction." Read an excerpt of Into the Night.

"Sarah Bailey was born in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived all her life and currently resides with her two young sons. She has a degree in journalism and has a career in advertising. She is currently a partner at the creative agency Mr Smith." You can connect with Sarah Bailey on her website, like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and on Instagram.

If you'd like to read Into the Night, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends December 22/18.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Happy National Christmas Card Day!

Yes, December 9th is National Christmas Card Day! Do you still send out Christmas cards? How about an entire book of vintage Christmas wishes!?

I've got the perfect holiday gift idea for someone - or yourself!

100 CHRISTMAS WISHES: Vintage Holiday Cards from The New York Public Library.

Here's more about what you'll find inside from St. Martin's Press:

"A treasure trove of vintage Christmas cards, 100 Christmas Wishes is the perfect holiday treat from the New York Public Library.

Every year as the days grow shorter, amidst the holly, cookies, and carols there is another timeless holiday tradition—sending and receiving Christmas cards to and from those you love. 100 Christmas Wishes is a collection of vintage holiday cards, all from the archives of the New York Public Library. The Library houses one of the greatest collections of early Christmas postcards from around the world with thousands of cards depicting every imaginable holiday scene. Archivists selected one hundred of the best cards from the extensive collection to share in 100 Christmas Wishes. From the elegant, gilded Santa Clauses and statuesque angels, to yuletide still lifes, tumbling tots and puppies with bows round their necks, each card is a beautiful celebration of the holiday season. The book also includes six perforated postcards with reproductions of the designs so you too can share a vintage Christmas wish with friends and family on your list.

As Rosanne Cash, a patron and friend of the Library as well as a devoted fan of Christmas cards, says in her introduction “This collection of early Christmas postcards, housed for a century in the New York Public Library archives, distills those abiding wishes for the holidays from revelers from long ago and faraway, in a wish for peace, joy, magic, bounty, family, and for light to be shone ‘round the world at Christmas, past and future." Here's a sneek peek inside 100 Christmas Wishes. I'm waiting at the mailbox for my copy to arrive!

Friday, December 7, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #240

- 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 can't wait to read Tana French's latest novel, The Witch Elm. Or The Wych Elm, depending on what country you're in. The US cover is on the left and the UK is on the right. So, a tree is an integral part of the book. We get two different parts of the tree - the roots and the trunk on the US cover - and the trunk and branches on the UK cover. The colours used on each cover are very stark - blue on white and black and white. I find the UK cover's look to be quite dark, ominous and threatening. I do find I am drawn the image used on the US cover as well as the colours used. So, US for me this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Witch Elm or The Wych Elm?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Long Road to Mercy - David Baldacci

David Baldacci's newest book, Long Road to Mercy, introduces us to a new protagonist - Atlee Pine. (love the name!)

Pine is a kick butt female FBI agent - the sole operative in the remote Shattered Rock office near the Grand Canyon. The past is what has driven Atlee to the career she has today. Pine had a twin sister. When they were six years old, Mercy was kidnapped from their bedroom. She's never been found and no one has been arrested. Atlee is determined to find answers. But, right now she has a crime at the Canyon to attend to. A slaughtered mule and a missing rider. But what seems to be one thing is quite different from what Atlee finds as she investigates.

I like this new character a lot! Baldacci has crafted strong female characters in other series, but I like that this time she's the lead. The sidekick in this series is also female, but older. She too is appealing.

Baldacci is an inventive plotter. I did find some of the developments to be a bit over the top. But, hey, whose to say this isn't or couldn't happen. I'm being a bit obtuse so as not to provide spoilers, but national security often figures into the series that he writes. The other thing that you can count on is that justice will prevail. Good and evil are clearly defined and you'll find yourself rooting for Atlee Pine. This and more are wrapped up in a healthy dose of action making for an entertaining read. The search for Mercy is going to be an ongoing thread in this series, woven through the main plot. I am quite intrigued by this plot line.

Baldacci has found a formula that works for him and he's good at it. Read an excerpt of Long Road to Mercy.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Over the Counter #457

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the counter and under my scanner?....A beautiful book about beauty around the world....

The Atlas of Beauty: Women of the World in 500 Portraits by
Mihaela Noroc.

From Ten Speed Press:

"Based on the author's online photography project, this stunning collection features portraits of 500 women from more than 50 countries, accompanied by revelatory captions that capture their personal stories.

Since 2013 photographer Mihaela Noroc has traveled the world with her backpack and camera taking photos of everyday women to showcase the diversity of beauty all around us. The Atlas of Beauty is a collection of her photographs celebrating women from all corners of the world, revealing that beauty is everywhere, and that it comes in many different sizes and colors. Noroc's colorful and moving portraits feature women in their local communities, ranging from the Amazon rainforest to London city streets, and from markets in India to parks in Harlem, visually juxtaposing the varied physical and social worlds these women inhabit. Packaged as a gift-worthy, hardcover book, The Atlas of Beauty presents a fresh perspective on the global lives of women today."

(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, December 4, 2018

The Noel Stranger - Richard Paul Evans

Ahh, it wouldn't be Christmas without a new book from Richard Paul Evans! This latest is entitled The Noel Stranger.

Maggie Walther is stunned when her husband is arrested - for bigamy. She retreats from the world, hurt and embarrassed. With Christmas around the corner, her friend encourages her to embrace the season and start to live again. A chance encounter at a Christmas tree farm with a man named Andrew gives her hope that maybe, just maybe, she can find happiness again.

But the road to happiness is often bumpy....

Evans sets his novels around the Christmas season - a time of reflection, connection, forgiveness, joy - and yes, love.

The Noel Stranger is told as excerpts from Maggie's diary. I liked Maggie and wanted her to find happiness again. Her initial hesitation was understandable, given what has happened to her. But, I was somewhat surprised at the speed at which things progressed - a trip to Cabo seemed a wee bit rash on Maggie's part. I thought she would be a bit more cautious, given some of the enigmatic answers he provides. But of course, that's part of the plot! Without providing a spoiler, I did find the reason for Andrew's enigmatic answers needs to be taken with a few grains of salt.

I chose to listen to The Noel Stranger. The reader was a favorite of mine - Erin Mallon. She provides the perfect voice for Maggie - warm, appealing, engaging and easy to listen to. Her interpretation is expressive - rising and falling, accentuating the emotion etc. And....she also does the male voice. And it's totally believable. Mallon uses a deeper voice, one with a rich gravelly tone. There was never any question as to who was speaking or whose narrative we were listening to. I often think about the logistics of narrating a book. The reader is often flipping back and forth between characters. Quite the job - and Mallon does it very well. Listen to an excerpt of The Noel Stranger.

The Noel Stranger was an entertaining, easy listen, perfect for the back and forth drive to work at this time of the year.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Giveaway - The Surrogate - Louise Jensen

If you're a fan of psychological suspense, I've got a great giveaway for you today, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing!

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen releases December 4th and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From the publisher:

"You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?  Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.  And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realizes that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Sister and The Gift, this is an unputdownable psychological thriller which asks how far we will go to create our perfect family." Read an excerpt of The Surrogate.

"Louise Jensen is a USA Today bestselling author of psychological thrillers. Her first two novels, The Sister and The Gift, were both international #1 bestsellers, and have been sold for translation to sixteen countries. Her debut novel, The Sister, was nominated for The Goodreads Awards Debut of 2016. Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat. She loves to hear from readers and writers and can be found at her website, where she regularly blogs flash fiction." You can also follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

And if you'd like to read The Surrogate, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends December 16/18.

Friday, November 30, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #239

- 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
The Swedish writing duo that are Lars Kepler write the Joona Linna series. I've enjoyed the first four and the fifth (already released in Europe) arrives in NA at the top of next year. The US cover is on the left an the UK cover is on the right. Both convey a sense of danger. The person in a raincoat image is surprisingly frightening. Someone staring in at a woman - but it's hard to tell if she's looking out or its her back we're seeing. The UK's image of the deserted cellar room and the cross is creepy. I like the slash across the title on the UK cover. And as always, the tag line on the UK cover gives us a bit more about what we'll find inside. Hmm, both good covers this week, but I'm going to go with the US cove this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Stalker?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

An Anthology of Intriguing Animals from DK Canada

I usually stop and appreciate a cover before opening a book. The cover of An Anthology of Intriguing Animals from DK Canada is so beautiful. A rich dark turquoise with gold title and images. Take the time to look at the pictures on both front and back - they're quite detailed. Little Guy and I had fun picking out the different animals pictured. The edges of the pages are also gold. We couldn't wait to see what was inside!

And what we found was absolutely wonderful! One hundred and four creatures from the animal kingdom - sky, land and water - are profiled. Each animal is showcased on a double page layout. A full colour, detailed photo accompanies the text. (The photo of the mandrill is stunning.)There are two paragraphs of what Little Guy likes to call 'interesting facts' for each animal. Those 'interesting facts' also include stories and myths. The amount of information provided is just right for small ones. And I was thrilled when I heard him sharing some of what he learned with Mom.

We decided to start at the beginning and use the built in satin bookmark to mark our progress. Little Guy was able to identify many of the creatures, but there were a few new to even Gramma - the viscacha, pangolin and the loris. The facts were fascinating - and yes, Gramma learned as well! Did you know that elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror? And also remember the faces of elephants they have not seen for years. Hence the phrase 'elephants never forget.'

There's a Tree of Life layout at the end of the book that explains mammals, invertebrates etc. A glossary covers key words such as herbivore, blowhole etc. and there's on last visual guide on each animal.

As with all DK books, they layout and information is just right and the photos are amazing. You could call it a coffee table book for kids!  An Anthology of Intriguing Animals would make a wonderful gift for any child - one that would be treasured for years to come. Adults will be leafing through it as well. An Anthology of Intriguing Animals is also a Chapters Indigo "Heather's Pick".

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Over the Counter #456

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Cooking for a crowd this week....

We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time by Jose Andres.

From Ecco Books:

"The true story of how a group of chefs fed hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans after Hurricane Maria and touched the hearts of many more

Chef José Andrés arrived in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria ripped through the island. The economy was destroyed and for most people there was no clean water, no food, no power, no gas, and no way to communicate with the outside world.

Andrés addressed the humanitarian crisis the only way he knew how: by feeding people, one hot meal at a time. From serving sancocho with his friend José Enrique at Enrique’s ravaged restaurant in San Juan to eventually cooking 100,000 meals a day at more than a dozen kitchens across the island, Andrés and his team fed hundreds of thousands of people, including with massive paellas made to serve thousands of people alone.. At the same time, they also confronted a crisis with deep roots, as well as the broken and wasteful system that helps keep some of the biggest charities and NGOs in business.

Based on Andrés’s insider’s take as well as on meetings, messages, and conversations he had while in Puerto Rico, We Fed an Island movingly describes how a network of community kitchens activated real change and tells an extraordinary story of hope in the face of disasters both natural and man-made, offering suggestions for how to address a crisis like this in the future.

Beyond that, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen for efforts in Puerto Rico and beyond."

(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 27, 2018

Every Breath - Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks has just released his latest novel, Every Breath. And true to form, it's a warm, wonderful, heart-string tugging, have a tissue ready, love story.

Sparks inserts himself as a character in the preface and epilogue, giving that 'maybe it's true' feeling into this work of fiction. And indeed a pivotal plot point of Every Breath is based in reality - the Kindred Spirit mailbox found on Sunset Beach, Bird Island, NC. People can leave a letter, anyone can read what's left.

Sunset Beach is where Hope and Tru meet. Hope is 36 and has come to the family cottage to make some decisions about her future. Tru is staying next door, having flown in from Africa to meet his biological father. And yes, sparks fly and a deep connection is made in a short time. "...there are times when destiny and love collide."

Sparks is a master of romantic fiction - the love at first sight, star-crossed, will they, won't they story. And while pragmatic me is skeptical if this could really happen, I absolutely love escaping into the stories in Sparks' books.

I like both characters, but found myself more drawn to Tru. I'm not sure I would have made the same decision that Hope makes. The road to true love is a bumpy one at times and Sparks throws some curves into his story - including one I didn't expect at the end.

I quite enjoyed Tru's descriptions of his home and life in Africa. In the author's notes Sparks says  that " ...the inspiration and setting of the novel are drawn directly from my own experiences. I first traveled to Africa in 2010, and on that trip fell head over heels in love with the countries I was lucky enough to visit...."

Every Breath was perfect escapist romantic reading. Read an excerpt of Every Breath.

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Good Audiobook Speaks Volumes Holiday Blog Tour and Giveaway

I'm today's stop on the APA's A Good Audiobook Speaks Volumes Holiday Blog Tour and Giveaway!

I absolutely adore audiobooks! I've always got one or two on the go. I listen to them in the car back and forth to work, family road trips, when I'm sewing or cleaning or when I can't sleep at night. And it's another way to find time to 'read'. I find listening immerses me in the story - often more that reading would have. Here's a few I've recently listened to....

The Lost Queen by Signe Pike. Narrated by Toni Frutin. (Such an amazing Scottish accent!) Historical fiction at it's best. "Philippa Gregory meets Game of Thrones in this sweeping historical fiction trilogy that breathes new life into the story of Camelot."Listen to an excerpt of The Lost Queen.My review.

Elevation by Stephen King. Narrated by the author himself. A novella that's a timely tale for anyone, especially at this time of the year. Not the horror story but you might have assumed, but some otherworldly, unexplainable elements. Uplifting, you might say! Listen to an excerpt of ElevationMy review.

And here's what I have cued up next.Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by&Beth Macy.Narrated by the author herself. I 'read' most of my non-fiction in audiobook format.Listen to an excerpt of Dopesick.

I loved the ensemble cast of Dry. And the premise? Closer to reality than you think...."When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival." So good! My review.

Check out what the other bloggers on the 'A Good Audiobook Speaks Volumes Holiday Blog Tour' are listening to....full schedule can be found here. #loveaudiobooks

And if you enjoy or want to try listening to audiobooks, I have an amazing giveaway for you today - 8 amazing titles to download courtesy of some great publishers. Enter to win using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, ends December 8th. The winner will be sent codes to download the books from

1. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak,courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
2. Spill by Leigh Fondakowski, courtesy of LA Theatre Works
3. How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal Fleming, courtesy of Beacon Press
4. An America Marriage by Tayari Jones, courtesy of HighBridge Audio
5. Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton, courtesy of Tantor Audio
6. The Hunger Games: Special Edition by Suzanne Collins, courtesy of Scholastic
7. The Library Book by Susan Orlean, courtesy of Simon Audio
8. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty, courtesy of Macmillan Audio

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Flight or Fright - Edited by Stephen King

I fully admit it - I hate flying - or rather flying scares me - a lot. So why in the world would I want to read '17 turbulent tales' about flying? Well, I do love a good, scary read!

Flight or Fright is edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent and features 17 tales (and one poem) from King himself, his son Joe Hill and fourteen other noted authors. There's a wide variety ranging from modern day horror writers such as Dan Simmons and Richard Matheson to historic writers such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a wealth in between. I loved the intro from King - his story of flying only cemented my unwavering fear. The stories range from horror to mystery to sci-fi, so there's a little bit of something for everyone.

I do love short story collections - you can read or listen to one when you have a limited amount of time and still have the satisfaction of  an ending. And the same applies to listening. I did listen to Flight or Flight. There are eleven different narrators, some of whom I was familiar with and some new to me. This was a great opportunity to sample new readers. King prefaces each story with an introduction to the author and a quick overview of the tale.

Favorite story? Hmm, hard to pick but I have to say I really liked Joe Hill's You Are Released. My next two faves were The Horror of the Heights by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A fascinating tale considering air travel was quite new at the time of writing. (1913) And of course King's The Turbulence Expert. Listen to an excerpt of Flight or Fright.

And by the end? Yup, still scared of flying....perhaps even more....

Friday, November 23, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #238

- 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
Sophie Kinsella has a new stand alone coming out in February. The last few books haven't been as good as I had hoped, but I will still pick up this latest. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. So, lots of similarities this week - a woman painting the title - note that the US cover is using her left arm and the UK uses the right arm. And it's different words being painted on each cover. I wonder how and why those decisions are made. US outfit all one colour that matches the author's name font. Two tone on the UK cover, with the shirt matching the font colour of the author's name. Larger ladder vs. step stool. Movement in all the type on the US cover, only on the 'one' in the UK presentation. The US cover has a background shot that lets the reader know the book takes place in London, England. Pretty much an even choice for me this week, but if pushed to choose, I'll go with the US cover as I like the background and movement of the title. 
What about you? Any plans to read I Owe You One? 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 22, 2018

Eat Drink Read with DK Canada

The holiday season is fast approaching. And if you're looking for some books to help plan or some great gift ideas, DK Canada has some great suggestions in their Eat Drink Read Boutique.

The one that caught Gramma and Little Guy's attention? Children's Cookbook: Delicious step- by-step recipes by Katharine Ibbs, edited by Catherine Saunders. The cover is colourful, appealing and the pictures caught his attention. Notably the muffin. Little Guy loves muffins.

Inside you'll find over 50 recipes covering Breakfast, Light Meals, Main Meals, Desserts and Baking. An introduction covers how to use the book and there's a nice illustrated 'tool' page as well as a glossary of cooking terms.

The recipe pages are well laid out, with lots of colour, actual pictures and white space. Each is coded 1, 2 or 3 for difficulty with pictures of the ingredients needed, length of prep and cooking time, a tool checklist, techniques used, ideas for variations and a caution when adult help is required. And yes, step by step photos of  the 'how to'.

We had a good look at every page, picture and recipe the first time through, making a list of what we thought we would like to make from this book. And no surprise, Little Guy is all about the desserts and baking. Although he thought he might like the breakfast smoothie and frozen yogurt as well.

Little Guy's mom had a look at the book as well and mentioned that she found a number of recipes she would absolutely make for family meals. (As did Gramma) Easy, quick and yes, nutritious.

What did Gramma and Little Guy tackle first? You got it - the muffins. Cooking or baking with a child is a fantastic learning opportunity. Even if they can't read, there are so many teachable moments. Looking at the pictures - what do we need? Ingredients and equipment. Measuring, mixing and more. The step by step instructions in Children's Cookbook really do illustrate the process to a finished product. As adults, we've most likely done these steps so many times, we don't really think about them. With a little one, it's all new again.

He had such a sense of accomplishment when they came out of the oven. And was so proud sharing them with others. (and accepting the compliments!) And for Gramma? The time spent with Little Guy is priceless.

Children's Cookbook would be an excellent addition to any family's cookbook collection or make a great gift for the small person in your life.