Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Death of Mrs. Westaway - Ruth Ware

Oh, Ruth Ware, you've done it again - kept me up very late, frantically turning page after page.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway has just released - and it's one you're going to want to add to your summer reading list.

Harriet (who goes by the nickname Hal) makes her living as a tarot card reader on the pier in Brighton. When her mother passed away, Hal stepped into the job. But, she's in financial straits and owes the local loan shark. When a letter arrives from a lawyer telling her that her grandmother has died and asking her to attend the funeral and reading of the will, Hal is sure it is a mistake. Right name, wrong person. But......maybe also a chance to clear those debts?

"And she felt a shiver of something run through her - the same shiver she felt she switched on the light outside her booth, and stepped into her role."

Great set up! And it just gets better from there. The Death of Mrs. Westaway has all the elements of a great Gothic tale - a death, crumbling old mansion, dour housekeeper, bickering relatives, odd behavior and of course - secrets. A past and present narrative keeps the reader guessing as to what those secrets might be. The past is presented in journal entries from an unknown writer. Clues to the final answers can be found in the entries, but Ware's narrative is clever, keeping the reader guessing to the last pages. In the present, it's hard to be sure who is telling the truth. Each family member seems to have secrets they'd like to keep buried. A pervasive sense of danger haunts the halls of Trepassen House......

The Death of Mrs. Westaway was a deliciously creepy, addictive, page turning, wonderful read for me. (But I finished it too quickly!) See for yourself - here's an excerpt. (And I learned quite a bit about tarot cards along the way as well.) Definitely recommended!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Over the Counter #420

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Getting healthy this week......or not.....

Wellmania: Extreme Misadventures in the Search for Wellness by Brigid Delaney

From Greystone Books:

"Bridget Jones meets AJ Jacobs in Wellmania, an in-depth, laugh-out-loud exploration of the best and worst of the wellness industry.

Cold-pressed juices, “clean” eating, colonic vacations, mindfulness apps, and Paleo: health-care trends and miracle diets seem to be more plentiful each year. But do any of these tactics actually work? What does “wellness” even mean?

In Wellmania, longtime journalist Brigid Delaney tackles the good, the bad, and the just-a-little-ridiculous of the wellness industry, using herself as the guinea pig. Starting with a brutal 101-day fast, she leaves behind her thirty-something-year-old lifestyle of late-night parties and all-day hangovers to test the things that are supposed to make us healthy and whole: yoga classes, meditation, CBT, Balinese healing, silent retreats, group psychotherapy, and more. Writing with self-deprecating wit and refreshing honesty, she sorts through the fads and expensive hype to find out what actually works, while asking, What does all this say about us? Is total wellness even possible? And why do you start to smell so bad when you haven’t eaten in seven days? According to comedian Judith Lucy, the result is “a bloody entertaining read that leaves you wondering whether you want to do yoga or get mindlessly drunk and despair at the state of the world.”

(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, May 29, 2018

Whistle in the Dark - Emma Healey

Emma Healey's debut novel, Elizabeth is Missing was a fantastic read for me.  I was eager to see what her newest book, Whistle in the Dark, held in store.

Jen and her teenaged daughter Lana go on an artist's retreat as a mother/daughter getaway. Lana goes missing but is thankfully found four days later. Grateful to have her back, Jen does not press her as to what happened, who took her or where she was. As Lana slowly heals from her injuries, her answer is always 'I can't remember.'

The police have no answers either. Jen cannot let it be - she needs to know what happened to her daughter, so she begins her own investigation.

While the question of what happened to Lana is the driving force behind Whistle in the Dark, it is about much more that that. The mother/daughter relationship is foremost. Healey's depiction is unsettling and somewhat dark. While I felt uncomfortable with some of Jen's parenting, there is no one template for the 'right' way to raise a child. Especially a child suffering from depression. Jen's husband and older daughter are also part of the story, but with a lesser impact. We do get to know Jen more through her own introspection. But again, I worried about some of her actions and decisions. I had a hard time connecting with her and found myself not sympathizing with her as much as I felt I should. She too has her own issues.

As the book neared the final pages, it confirmed what I thought might have happened to Lana. Spoiler avoidance - Healey's ending is a good metaphor for both Jen and Lana's struggles.

Whistle in the Dark was quite different from Elizabeth is Missing for this reader. Both explore relationships, memories, actions and reactions. This one was a bit of a slower read for me, more literary. But, Healey has a way with words. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Whistle in the Dark.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Giveaway - You Lucky Dog - Debra Finerman

Looking for fun read for your beach bag? Enter to win a copy of Debra Finerman's newest book - You Lucky Dog!

What's it about? From Stewart's Grove Press:

"You Lucky Dog is the unlikely love story of Jake and Emma, a young couple thrown into a very unusual situation.

Jake and Emma appear to have everything going for them. A young married couple, they live with their dog in the leafy suburbs of Los Angeles. But after a horrible accident changes the course of their lives forever, Jake finds himself alive but living outside his body, and in the body of his dog.

What follows is a hilarious and heartwarming tale of misplaced identity. You Lucky Dog explores the mysteries of life and death, and the enduring power of love, in a heartwarming story for animal lovers and all lovers."

"Debra Finerman is an American writer who lives part-time in Paris. She is the author of three novels. You Lucky Dog,  her latest book, is a humorous novel for dog lovers and human lovers.

Shadow War, her second book, is a WWII novel inspired by plaques seen on walls throughout Paris dedicated to the brave Resistance Fighters who died on the spot, shot by Nazi patrols.  Her first novel Mademoiselle Victorine, has been translated into six languages worldwide. Debra is a former journalist for Capital Style, The Hollywood Reporter monthly magazine, Beverly Hills Today and Beverly Hills Magazine. Her articles about France are published in the online magazine, myfrenchlife.orgTM. A graduate of UCLA, she earned her academic degree in Art History and Connoisseurship at Christie's, New York." You can connect with Debra Finerman on her website.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends June 9/18.

Friday, May 25, 2018

You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover #212

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
Elin Hilderbrand is always a good choice for beach bag reading. Her forthcoming book, The Perfect Couple, releases June 19 on both sides of the pond. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Both covers have 'beachy' pictures - one on the sand and one on a dock or promenade.The word 'perfect' is italicized on both covers. The UK gives us a bit more with a cover tagline. But here's what always makes or breaks a cover for me. I want to form my own mental images of the characters based on the author's words. So and easy choice for me this week - US. I like the subtlety of the feet sticking out from under the umbrella rather that the definite images of two people. What about you? Any plans to read The Perfect Couple? Which cover do you prefer this week?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Over the Counter # 419

What book caught my eyes this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Trees this week.... specifically.....

Wise Trees by Diane Cook, and Len Jenshel.

From the publisher, Harry Abrams:

"Leading landscape photographers Diane Cook and Len Jenshel present Wise Trees—a stunning photography book containing more than 50 historical trees with remarkable stories from around the world.

Supported by grants from the Expedition Council of the National Geographic Society, Cook and Jenshel spent two years traveling to fifty-nine sites across five continents to photograph some of the world’s most historic and inspirational trees. Trees, they tell us, can live without us, but we cannot live without them. Not only do trees provide us with the oxygen we breathe, food gathered from their branches, and wood for both fuel and shelter, but they have been essential to the spiritual and cultural life of civilizations around the world.

From Luna, the Coastal Redwood in California that became an international symbol when activist Julia Butterfly Hill sat for 738 days on a platform nestled in its branches to save it from logging, to the Bodhi Tree, the sacred fig in India that is a direct descendent of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, Cook and Jenshel reveal trees that have impacted and shaped our lives, our traditions, and our feelings about nature. There are also survivor trees, including a camphor tree in Nagasaki that endured the atomic bomb, an American elm in Oklahoma City, and the 9/11 Survivor Tree, a Callery pear at the 9/11 Memorial. All of the trees were carefully selected for their role in human dramas.

This project both reflects and inspires awareness of the enduring role of trees in nurturing and sheltering humanity. Photographers, environmentalists, history buffs, and nature-lovers alike will appreciate the extraordinary stories found within the pages of Wise Trees!"

(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, May 22, 2018

Mr. Flood's Last Resort - Jess Kidd

Every so often I stumble across a jewel of a book, a wonderfully unexpected, serendipitous read. Such is the case with Jess Kidd's novel, Mr. Flood's Last Resort.

Mr. Flood is a cantankerous old man, living in his crumbling mansion Bridlemere, surrounded by his 'collections.' His son wants to put him in a home and Mr. Flood has one last chance to stay put - let a carer into the house to clean up the house - and him. That last resort is Maud Drennan.

That's just the starting point. There is so much happening in this novel - and it makes for an absolutely addicting read.

Maud has a tragedy in her past - one that only slowly comes to light as the book progresses. "You'll only cause bloody trouble. Like you did before." There's mystery in Cathal Flood's life as well. A mystery that the house itself seems to be revealing to Maud as she cleans. Maud also receives assistance from the various Saints that trail after her. Ones of course that only she can see and hear.

Kidd's characters are quirky and quickly endeared themselves to me. I adored Maud, but her agoraphobic neighbour Renata is a close second. Cathal Flood will have your emotions running the gamut.

Mr. Flood's Last Resort is infused with magical realism. I enjoy this story telling element and Kidd does it extremely well, with the Saints and the collapsing house that seems determined to put the past right. Irish fables and proverbs  add to that atmosphere. Kidd's prose are wonderful.

There's a mystery to be solved in Mr. Flood's last resort, but there's so much more to the tale. Forgiveness speaks loudly. Heartbreaking, heartwarming and so very, very good. (And that ending? Perfect - although I wished I knew more....) Absolutely recommended. Read an excerpt of Mr. Flood's Last Resort.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Giveaway - The Dante Chamber - Matthew Pearl

Matthew Pearl's newest book, The Dante Chamber, releases on May 29/18 - and I have a copy to giveaway!

From the publisher, Penguin Press:

"From Matthew Pearl, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club, a masterful tale of literature, obsession, and murder.

The year is 1870. Five years after a series of Dante-inspired killings disrupted Boston, a man is found murdered in the public gardens of London with an enormous stone around his neck etched with a verse from the Divine Comedy. When more mysterious murders erupt across the city, all in the style of the punishments Dante memorialized in Purgatory, poet Christina Rossetti fears her brother, the Dante-obsessed artist and writer Gabriel Rossetti, will be the next victim.

Christina enlists poets Robert Browning and Alfred Tennyson, and famous scholar Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, to assist in deciphering the literary clues. Together these unlikely investigators rush to unravel the secrets of Dante’s verses in order to find Gabriel and stop the killings. Racing between the shimmering mansions of the elite and the dark corners of London’s underworld, they descend further and further into the mystery. But when the true inspiration behind the gruesome murders is finally revealed, Christina realizes that the perpetrator has even bigger and more horrific plans than she had initially thought.

A dazzling tale of intrigue from the writer Library Journal calls “the reigning king of popular literary historical thrillers,” The Dante Chamber is a riveting adventure across London and through Dante. Expertly blending fact and fiction, Pearl gives us a historical mystery like no other, captivating and enthralling until the last page." Read an excerpt of The Dante Chamber.

Photo: © Mark Ostow
"Matthew Pearl is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, The Last Dickens, The Technologists, The Last Bookaneer, and The Dante Chamber, and the editor of the Modern Library editions of Dante’s Inferno (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages, and his nonfiction writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and Slate." You can connect with Matthew Pearl on his website, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

If you'd like to read The Dante Chamber, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends June 2/18.

Friday, May 18, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover # 211

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
House swapping. It's done all the time, But what if...."It seems the person they have swapped with is someone she used to know; someone she’s desperate to leave in her past. I like the premise. Now, about the covers... The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Both are somewhat muted in tone. A window in one, two doors on the other. Fairly similar font look for the title. Same tagline on both. So, it's hard to escape these days - there is indeed a woman peeking through the curtains on the US cover. I'm going with the UK cover this week. I like the white vs. black doors and the opposite font colour on each door. I like the mystery of what's behind each door, instead of the woman's face. Overall I think it has a more ominous feel and I would be likely to pick it up to have a look inside. What about you? And plans to read The House Swap? Which cover do you prefer this week?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Giveaway - The Girl in the Ice - Robert Bryndza

Do you like thrillers? Yes? Well then, you're going to want to enter today's giveaway!

The Girl in the Ice is the first book in Robert Bryndza's Detective Ericka Foster series.

From Grand Central Publishing:

"Compelling at every turn! The Girl in the Ice grabs us from the first page and simply won’t let go.” —Jeffery Deaver, #1 internationally bestselling author

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?" Read an excerpt of The Girl in the Ice.

"Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster series. Robert’s books have sold over 2 million copies and have been translated into 27 languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia." You can connect with Robert on his website and follow him on Twitter

If you'd like to read The Girl in the Ice, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends June 2/18.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Over the Counter #418

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Well, wrong season as summer is on the way, but this is still fascinating......

Lace Up: A History of Skates in Canada by Jean-Marie Leduc with Sean Graham and Julie L├ęger.

From Heritage House Publishing:

"A charmingly illustrated history of the humble skate and its place in Canadian cultural identity.

Throughout our 150-year history, and even longer, people have braved the treacherous Canadian winters and taken to the ice for the purposes of transportation, competition, exercise, and just plain fun. Canadian culture has developed around ice and the recreational opportunities it provides, and much has been written about our love affair with hockey, figure skating, and speed skating. However, one crucial element has always been left out of the discussion.

The skate—that piece of metal underneath your foot that allows you to move on ice—is much more than the sum of its few simple parts. Indeed, the people, the rules, and the games all have stories, but they have also been shaped by the equipment. In ancient times, skates with blades made from animal bones were used to facilitate travel during the winter. Today, the newest models of skates are constantly being tweaked and improved to allow athletes to push themselves in the face of international competition.

Drawing from his own collection of over 350 pairs of historical skates, as well as archival photos and illustrations, world-renowned skate expert Jean-Marie Leduc takes the reader on a journey through the history and development of this humble device and traces its role in our national imagination."

(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, May 14, 2018

What Would Dolly Do? - Lauren Marino - Review And Giveaway

What Would Dolly Do? How to Be a Diamond in a Rhinestone World is Lauren Marino's homage to Dolly Parton.

Super fan Marino draws upon Parton's stories, interviews, articles, songs, Parton's autobiographies, appearances and more to "curating and culling what I can only call the Dolly Parton philosophy as I see it."

Marino ponders 'What Would Dolly Do?" in chapters exploring happiness, style, love and marriage, money and business, home, creativity, philanthropy and many more.

I have always enjoyed Dolly's career, but had fun finding out more about this iconic star. There are lots of life lessons and snippets that anyone can take inspiration from. Text boxes throughout the book summarize ideas, philosophies etc. It's a fun little read, easy to pick up and put down, reading a chapter and coming back later. (Photos of Dolly would have been a nice addition.) Read an excerpt of What Would Dolly Do?

"Lauren Marino is the former founding editor and editorial director of Gotham Books, where she published multiple bestsellers and award-winning books. She is the author of Jackie and Cassini and has collaborated with celebrities, doctors, and psychologists on their books. She lives in New York City."

And if you'd like to know what Dolly would do, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends May 26/18.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Duel to the Death - J.A. Jance

J.A. Jance is an author I've read for years. She writes many series and I'm hard pressed to pick a favourite. Duel to the Death is the latest in the Ali Reynolds series.

From the publisher:

"After taking down the man responsible for his best friend’s death, Stuart Ramey thinks the case is finally closed. That is, until Stu finds himself left with a multimillion dollar fortune in Bitcoin in a desperate bid by Frigg, a rogue A.I. program created by the killer, to keep itself from being fully deactivated.

To sort out his situation and take Frigg down for good, Stu enlists the help of Ali Reynolds and the rest of his cyber security colleagues at High Noon Enterprises. But they are not the only ones who know about Frigg’s existence.

Graciella Miramar, an unassuming accountant to all appearances, is actually the right-hand woman to El Pescado, the leader of a dangerous drug cartel. She’ll do anything to get her hands on that program. With Frigg’s help, Graciella hopes to take over her father’s criminal underworld and become wealthy beyond her wildest dreams. But Stu—and El Pescado and his henchmen—may not be so easily defeated."

Now, I hadn't read the plot summary before I started listening. I did find it a bit odd - an AI and a cartel connection in the first two chapters. I kept listening, waiting for Ali and her team to make an appearance. It's these recurring characters that keep me revisiting Jance's works. And I was happy to reconnect....but...

Listening provides a different experience and outlook on a novel than reading does. And here's where Duel to the Death fell down for me. The amount of detail and minutiae become overwhelming. Now, this is also what makes Jance's novels feel like visiting old friends. But in this case it became distracting, boring and wandered away too often from the main plot. And I lost interest. I tried a second time but just couldn't get past the rambling or interested again in the book.  Sadly, Duel to the Death is a DNF for me.

The reader was Karen Ziemba. She's a narrator I've listen to before. She's got a nice, crisp voice that is pleasant to listen to. She enunciates well and each word is clear and clean. Her voice has movement and gives animation to the words. Listen to an excerpt of Duel to the Death

Here's some reviews from Goodreads from others who did enjoy this latest.

Friday, May 11, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #210

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 read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger - The Stand is still one of my favourite books. The newest Stephen King book - The Outsider - releases May 22/18. The  US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Both the red and the black colour schemes used denote danger, but it is the ominous hooded person on the front that really sends shivers down my spine. The font used for the title on the US cover is unsettling as well.  The US figure seems to be carrying a bag and the UK figure has a knife. I almost feel like the UK character is stepping out of his own shadow. But maybe he is the shadow.  But its that upside down figure on the US cover seals the deal for greatest creepy factor for me this week. What about you - any plans to read The Outsider? Which cover creeps you out the most this week?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lean on Pete - Willy Vlautin

I'm always a sucker for books and movies that champion the underdog, the overlooked, the hard luckers and the downtrodden. Willy Vlautin'snovel, Lean on Pete, is all that. It's recently been made into a movie.

Charley is fifteen years old and lives with his single father, often fending for himself. But tragedy strikes after they move to Portland, leaving Charley on his own. Determined not to be put into 'the system', Charley sets out to find a job and earn enough money to travel, looking for the only relative he has left in the world. He finds a job at the local racetrack, ending up in the employ of a crusty, somewhat shifty, old man named Del. Del is the owner of a number of failing racehorses, including one named Lean on Pete.

Charley bonds with Pete, pouring out his hopes, dreams, desires and fears to the horse. The horse becomes the boy's family. Loneliness populates Vlautin's book. The main characters are all wounded and isolated, as are many of the others we meet. Marginalized in so many ways. And yet, Charley's life and circumstances are not that far from the truth for many teens. I became quite worried as the book progressed and Charley is faced with many unsavory people and situations. I did feel that there were a few too many of these scenes (especially as Charley hit the road) and some seemed simply gratuitous and didn't add much to the overall narrative. Charley's voice is spare, matching his daily life - simply trying to survive. The reader can't help

Knowing nothing of the racing world, I found some of the racetrack practices and treatment of the horses quite disturbing.

I chose to listen to Lean on Pete and was excited to find that the author himself was the narrator. There's nothing better than listening to an author read his own work. Vlautin is also the lead singer of a band. He has a wonderfully resonant voice, with a slight gravelly undertone. His voice never raises, but keeps the listener closely drawn in to this haunting, harrowing tale. Listen to an excerpt of Lean on Pete.

Did I like it? Yeah, I really did. Vlautin's work has a touch of Steinbeck and Twain to it. Now, we'll have to see if the movie does it justice.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Over the Counter #417

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Well, two words I've not seen used together before.....

Crochet Taxidermy: 30 Quirky Animal Projects, from Mouse to Moose Paperback by Taylor Hart.

From Storey Publishing:

"Crochet Taxidermy puts a new twist on amigurumi, the popular Japanese method of creating considerably cute stuffed animals with oversized heads. In this delightful collection, heads of animals from farm and forest, sea and safari come to life with irresistible details like the drowsy eye (for the shy deer and sleepy octopus) and fuzzy yarn (for the skittery skunk’s stripe and lazy lion’s mane). Step-by-step instructions and adorable photos guide you through these 30 easy crochet patterns. Most require just one skein of yarn, so they’re affordable and quick to crochet!"

(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, May 8, 2018

The High Tide Club - Mary Kay Andrews - Review AND Giveaway

Oh, it's not summer without a new book from Mary Kay Andrews. The High Tide Club releases today - and it's so very, very good!  You're going to want to add The High Tide Club to your summer beach reads list. And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Andrews hooks the reader from the first pages with a prologue from 1941. Four young women have just buried a body. I know - not what I expected either! I wanted to know more - who and why? The narrative then flips to present day. Lawyer Brooke Tappenall is called to the island of Talisa. Ninety nine year old Josephine is the last of her family. She owns the majority of the island and has been fighting both developers and the state for years to keep her land. She also wants Brooke to find the heirs of her three childhood friends - all members of the self named High Tide Club. She needs to make amends.

There's the starting point and I'm not going to reveal any more. There are so many wonderful pieces to this story - friendship, loss, love, secrets and more. And of course the mystery of who was buried back in 1941. A back and forth narrative slowly reveals the past. And over the course of 480 delicious pages the past and present meet. Andrews provides some unexpected turns along the way. Some were a surprise. And some were darker than I could have predicted. But my hopes for a happy ending were met by the final pages.

The High Tide Club is told with both humour, warmth and pathos. Andrew's prose are easy and engaging. Mary Kay does 'southern' fiction so well. I loved her descriptions of the island, the ocean and the people. Her characters are always clearly drawn and the reader has no problem knowing who they're cheering on.

I really enjoyed this latest from Mary Kay Andrews. Now to begin the long wait for next year's book!Read an excerpt of The High Tide Club.

"Mary Kay Andrews is The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House Cookbook, The Weekenders, Beach Town, Save the Date, Ladies’ Night, Christmas Bliss, Spring Fever, Summer Rental, The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia." You can connect with Mary Kay Andrews on her website || subscribe to her newsletter || like her on Facebook || follow her on Instagram || follow her on Twitter || follow her on Pinterest and find her on Goodreads.

And if you'd like to read The High Tide Club, I have a copy to giveaway courtesy of St. Martin's Press. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends May 19/18.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Every Note Played - Lisa Genova

Lisa Genova writes the most brilliant stories. Her latest book, Every Note Played, is one of her best.

Richard is a world class pianist - he lives to play. He's also a father and an an ex-husband - both roles he is/was not so successful at. But then Richard starts having problems with his hand - and his arm. And then the diagnosis - ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) - a disease that  paralyzes the diagnosed - and there is no cure. With no one else to turn to and limited finances, Richard asks his ex-wife Karina to tend to him. She reluctantly agrees.

Genova's exploration of love, loss, grief and ultimately forgiveness and redemption is so gut wrenchingly good. We are privy to both Richard and Karine's thoughts as they navigate this new uncomfortable reality while trying to make peace with what has come before - before it's too late.

Genova is a neuroscientist. Her descriptions of the progression of Richard's ALS are graphic, real and hard to read. Hard to read as I had tears in my eyes multiple times. I was aware of this devastating disease, but learned much through this book.

I chose to listen to Every Note Played. Some books are even better as an audiobook. This was the case with Every Note Played. The narrators were absolutely perfect. Dennis Boutsikaris 's voice is expressive, capturing the range of emotions that Richard is experiencing. His enunciation is clear and his voice is pleasant to listen to. He changes his delivery as Richard's disease progresses. Dagmara Dominczyk's voice is quietly measured, not rushed and very much suits the character of Karina. Listen to an excerpt of Every Note Played.

Genova's words are powerful, her characters authentic, and her premise relevant to everyone's life in so many ways. Absolutely recommended.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Birds - with DK Canada

Little Guy likes to take walks and find 'interesting things'. That curiosity for the natural world has focused on birds lately as he has just helped put up a bird feeder in his backyard.

Birds: Explore Nature with Fun Facts and Activities from DK Canada seemed like a good fit!

He's started noticing more about birds with the birdfeeder able to be easily seen from the backdoor. Different songs, colours and behaviour. Birds provides detailed drawings, actual photos and clear text boxes exploring and explaining feet, beaks, wings, flying - physical things that can be viewed. Using some binoculars brought things even closer or clearer. Bird talks about making a bird journal - drawing birds, noting when and where you've sighted, collecting feathers and other notations.

Nests, eggs, cleaning, hatchlings and different types of birds (city, tropical,shore, freshwater, sea, woodland, night etc are each covered on a two page spread.

The facts provided are interesting and many caught Little Guy's interest. The pictures are detailed and in colour, a must for younger ones. The activities mentioned are fairly basic and there are only five or six, with some of them only being suggestions with no directions. We do plan on making the feeding bell on a rope that was detailed.

Birds did feed Little Guy's thirst for 'interesting facts'. At 60 pages, it's a nice little introductory bird book. Check out the images below.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Bee Book with DK Canada

Earth Day is "the world's largest environmental movement" and is celebrated on April 22. But, really every day should be Earth Day. And one of the most important  players in our ecosystem. "At least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of all plants require cross-pollination to spread and thrive, and here in Canada, bees are our most important pollinators."

I recently received a hive kit as a gift. I'm pretty excited to get started, but the instructions included were quite minimal. I just knew that DK Canada would have a book that would give me all the information I need. And they did - The Bee Book!

But before even getting to setting up a hive, you need to know more about the bees themselves. The first few chapters of The Bee Book give you just that - history, evolution, decline, species and an in depth look at honey bees that was absolutely fascinating."1 LB of honey takes up to 40,000 miles of flying to produce." " A worker can visit up to 2000 flowers a day." And did you know about the honey bee waggle dance?

How to attract bees is the next entry. Flowers (there are colour photos and descriptions of many varieties), vegetable garden plans,  houses (separate from hives),  the how and the whys.

Next was caring for bees. I had absolutely zero knowledge before reading The Bee Book. I was happy to find a box similar to mine explained. Where to set up and why. And dealing with the thing that does frighten me a bit - getting stung. Tools, equipment and care are covered. And let's not forge - you need to actually have bees to start - where to get them? There is much more to caring for bees than providing a hive. This seems somewhat daunting, but there are detailed, very clear instructions included.

And after all that hard work (more on the part of the bees I think!) - the harvest! Jarred honey, beeswax candles, beeswax polish, soaps and even some health remedies.

Am I ready to start my own hive? Well, I feel much more prepared now thanks to The Bee Book. But I'll be referring to it often! The Bee Book has detailed entries, colour photos and is well laid out with easy to read text boxes. (exactly what I've come to know and appreciate from all DK books) Check out the sample pages below.

Friday, May 4, 2018

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #209

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
Mark Billingham writes one of my favourite series - the DI Tom Thorne books. His forthcoming entry (#15) releases in June on both sides of the pond. "How do you catch a killer who is yet to kill?" The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Similarities? The back of a figure walking down a path/sidewalk. The UK figure is unmistakably male, but the US figure could be either. The author's name in a white font. The differences? Warm tones vs. cool tones. And yes, that is a cat on the US cover. (I've read the plot summary - it is part of the book.) The UK has a tagline that gives us a bit more, if the title didn't give you an idea of what might be waiting inside. Overall, I prefer the colours of the UK cover. And the fact that the lettering is straight. I'm not sure why but the angled lettering on the US cover bothers me! So UK for me this week. What about you? Any plans to read The Killing Habit? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Perfect Mother - Aimee Molloy

Aimee Molloy's new book, The Perfect Mother, has just released - and it's one you're going to want to pick up if you love suspense.

I think the publisher's description is quite apt...."With the masterful pacing of Before the Fall, the charged domestic drama of Big Little Lies, and the audacious structure of The Girl on the Train comes a thrilling novel centered around a group of women whose lives become indelibly connected when one of their newborns goes missing." Uh huh, one of the worst things you can imagine happening....

Molloy hooks the reader from the first chapter with some absolutely delicious foreshadowing that had me eager to keep turning pages. "I've been blamed for what happened that Fourth of July night. But not a day goes by that I don't remind myself of the truth. It's not my fault, It's theirs." And turn pages I did - every spare minute I could find. The Perfect Mother is just, so readable!

The group of mothers is made of a wide variety of personalities - each with their own secrets. The Perfect Mother is told from many points of view, giving us a behind the scenes look at what is going on in each woman's world behind closed doors, while they try to present the perfect mother personal in public. Molloy's  portrayal of new mothers is so very well done - the fears, the angst, the exhaustion, mommy groups and more.

Molloy's depiction of the media coverage is also spot on and underscores how trial by social media seems to be the new norm these days. The talk show host is particularly despicable.

But the standout is the way Molloy manipulates the reader. I truly did not see the twist at the end coming at all. I really appreciate not being able to guess the final outcome of a book. Well done!

Here's an excerpt of The Perfect Mother. Absolutely recommended - add this one to your beach bag! Film rights are already sold with Kerry Washington to star.

You can connect with Aimee Molloy on her website and follow her on Twitter. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Over the Counter #416

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

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen.

From Workman Publishing:

"What won’t we try in our quest for perfect health, beauty, and the fountain of youth?

Well, just imagine a time when doctors prescribed morphine for crying infants. When liquefied gold was touted as immortality in a glass. And when strychnine—yes, that strychnine, the one used in rat poison—was dosed like Viagra.

Looking back with fascination, horror, and not a little dash of dark, knowing humor, Quackery recounts the lively, at times unbelievable, history of medical misfires and malpractices. Ranging from the merely weird to the outright dangerous, here are dozens of outlandish, morbidly hilarious “treatments”—conceived by doctors and scientists, by spiritualists and snake oil salesmen (yes, they literally tried to sell snake oil)—that were predicated on a range of cluelessness, trial and error, and straight-up scams. With vintage illustrations, photographs, and advertisements throughout, Quackery seamlessly combines macabre humor with science and storytelling to reveal an important and disturbing side of the ever-evolving field of medicine."

(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, May 1, 2018

Nothing Happens in This Book - Judy Ann Sadler

Today, Gramma and Little Guy are reviewing Judy Ann Sadler's newest picture book - Nothing Happens in This Book.

We always start with 'What's the name of the book Gramma?' (And although we've talked about the word 'title', I much prefer the book having a 'name' as well.) We look at the cover and I ask him what he thinks might happen in the book. Well, when I say "Nothing Happens in This Book", he of course thinks I've made a mistake with the name and what might occur. After some back and forth, he 'gets' it and thinks this is an absolutely wonderful joke.

The front cover is eye catching with bold colours and a large font that has movement, for the title. The turned back page at the bottom corner invites the reader inside. And who could that little character be? (The title page inside is quite clever as well)

The initial pages are black with a hint of colour peeking through. A dialogue bubble engages the reader right away, asking a question. Subsequent pages introduce the little character who assures us that nothing is going to happen, but he also hints at what be on the next page. Well, of course Little Guy could not wait to see what was on the next page! Was it nothing? As items begin to appear on the pages, we began guessing as to what they might mean and who they could belong to. And wondered what might be at the end of the book?

There's a lovely large fold out page at the end that was unexpected and gives the reader the final answer about what is happening in this book.

Subsequent readings had us matching up the objects with who was going to need them and examining that last fold out page in greater detail. (We also found a little surprise on the back cover.) Spoiler - the end of the book brings us to a circus. The circus was not something Little Guy had been to or had knowledge of, so some discussion was needed to provide context. Some of the matches are not obvious - such as a dinosaur and the teddy bear.

Vigg's illustrations have a retro, fanciful feel to them, with a muted colour scheme that is easy on the eyes. Facial expressions can make or break a book for Little Guy. Vigg's illustrations are quirky, but Little Guy decided that the mouse (our narrator) was nice. Indeed, each character is smiling. (They are all very polite as well!)

The publisher has recommended this book for ages 4-7. Some words may need explanation such as contraption, marshal, unicycle and baton.

Nothing Happens in This Book brings the reader into the story, asking them to participate by 'talking' to them directly. This style of story telling really engages Little Guy. He was able to 'read' me the story after a few tellings by using the pictures. Here's an excerpt of Nothing Happens in This Book.