Friday, June 29, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #217

- 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 second book in Michael Connelly's new Renee Ballard
series releases in October 2018 on both sides of the pond. Dark Sacred Night will bring Renee and Harry Bosch together! Quite excited to read this one. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Similarities - white font for the author's name, both above the title. Both are night time images. The US is quite stark with just the moon, while the UK features a sprawling urban landscape. The US keeps Dark Sacred on the same line, while the UK cover gives each word a line of its own. I must admit, I'm not really enamoured of either cover, but if pressed to choose, will go with the US cover this week. I just feel like I've seen the 'sprawling, lit up city at night' shot on the UK cover before. What about you? Any plans to read Dark Sacred Night? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Choose Your Own Disaster - Dana Schwartz - Giveaway

Like memoirs? Quirky memoirs? Then I've got a great giveaway for you! Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz.

From Grand Central Publishing:

"A hilarious, quirky, and unflinchingly honest memoir about one young woman’s terrible and life-changing decisions while hoping (and sometimes failing) to find herself, in the style of Never Have I Ever and Adulting.

Join Dana Schwartz on a journey revisiting all of the terrible decisions she made in her early twenties through the internet’s favorite method of self-knowledge: the quiz. Part-memoir, part-VERY long personality test, Choose Your Own Disaster is a manifesto about the millennial experience and modern feminism and how the easy advice of “you can be anything you want!” is actually pretty fucking difficult when there are so many possible versions of yourself it seems like you could be. Dana has no idea who she is, but at least she knows she’s a Carrie, a Ravenclaw, a Raphael, a Belle, a former emo kid, a Twitter addict, and a millennial just trying her best." Read an excerpt of Choose Your Own Disaster.

"Dana Schwartz is an arts and culture writer based in Los Angeles with writing for The New Yorker, The Guardian, New York Observer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Mic, GQ, VICE, and more. She is currently a staff writer for Entertainment Weekly. She created a parody Twitter account called @GuyInYourMFA based on the people she’s encountered in fiction workshops, and another one called @DystopianYA about the tropes in all of the young adult fiction books she’s read. Her own (non-dystopian) YA book, And We’re Off, was published May 2017 by Penguin/Razorbill." You can connect with Dana on her website and follow her on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read Choose Your Own Disaster, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends July 7/18.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Over the Counter #424

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner?  While I'm in the midst of clearing out some stuff.....this is a level I don't think I'm quite ready for....

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders.

From Hay House Publishing:

"In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy—only keeping her from meeting her goals—she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.

The Year of Less documents Cait’s life for twelve months during which she bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, gas for her car. Along the way, she challenged herself to consume less of many other things besides shopping. She decluttered her apartment and got rid of 70 percent of her belongings; learned how to fix things rather than throw them away; researched the zero waste movement; and completed a television ban. At every stage, she learned that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.

The challenge became a lifeline when, in the course of the year, Cait found herself in situations that turned her life upside down. In the face of hardship, she realized why she had always turned to shopping, alcohol, and food—and what it had cost her. Unable to reach for any of her usual vices, she changed habits she’d spent years perfecting and discovered what truly mattered to her.

Blending Cait’s compelling story with inspiring insight and practical guidance, The Year of Less will leave you questioning what you’re holding on to in your own life—and, quite possibly, lead you to find your own path of less."

(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, June 26, 2018

The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder

The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder is Sarah J. Harris's  debut adult novel.

"Synesthesia: the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated. For example, a sound may evoke sensations of color."

Jasper Wishart hears colors. For everything - words, sounds, people's voices. He also cannot recognize faces and is on the autism spectrum.

"I'm glad I'm not like most other teenage boys because I get to see the world in its full multicolored glory."

The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder opens with Jasper being interviewed about a neighbour's disappearance - although Jasper is sure it is murder. He needs to "untangle the long, snaky ticker tape in my head." Because he thinks he's the one who killed Bee......

Harris has created a wonderful lead character in Jasper. My heart ached for him as he is bullied at school, subjected to angry neighbours and at times disparaged by his father. (Who, to be fair, is struggling himself) Jasper desperately misses his deceased mother, who could also see the colors. (she alone is cobalt blue) But Harris also transmits the joy Jasper feels when painting and when observing and journaling the lives of his beloved wild parakeets. His desire and determination to find the truth will have the reader firmly in his corner. I loved his voice and thoughts.

Jasper's color descriptions of people, things, sounds and words make perfect sense. An angry dog - 'red triangles stretch into pointed deep orange darts." "Estranged was a gray gravel-chip word and not pleasant to look at for long."

As the book is told through Jasper's narrative, the reader has only his memories and flawed observations to go on. We can slowly put together the pieces that are laid out, but there is no way to guess the final whodunit before the final pages.

A really good read - Here's an excerpt of The Color of Bee Larkham's Murder. If you enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you'll love the Color of Bee Larkham's Murder.

Monday, June 25, 2018

June is Audiobook Month (JIAM) - Giveaway!

I love audiobooks! If you love listening as well or have never tried listening, I have an amazing giveaway for you today - eight great audio downloads, courtesy of the Audio Publishers Association!

Why do I enjoy audiobooks so much? They make the long drive to and from work much more enjoyable. They allow me to multitask - many a quilt has been made while listening. When I can't sleep, I pop in the headphones, as the light bother my husband. And the biggest reason is that sometimes a book is just better for me in audio format - I find I become more immersed in the story by listening.

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

Lisa Genova's Every Note Played is one of those titles that I know I enjoyed more by listening. Every Note Played is a personal story that is very emotional. There were dual narrators - Dennis Boutsikaris and Dagmara Dominczyk - who made me feel like I was in the room with them. Listen to an excerpt of Every Note Played. (my review)

I enjoy memoirs and biographies. I really enjoyed North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Person. Even better as the author herself is the reader. Listen to an excerpt of North of Normal. (my review)

And right now, I'm listening to Stephen King's latest - The Outsider.  The reader is one of my favorite narrators - Will Patton. He has a myriad of voices for King's large cast of characters. And his interpretation is so good! Listen to an excerpt of The Outsider.

Who else loves audiobooks? All these great bloggers on the JIAM tour! Check out their thoughts and recommendations! And scroll down to the bottom of the post for a chance to win eight great audiobook downloads! #loveaudiobooks

Enter to win these great listens using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, ends July 1/18.

1. Seven by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith, and Susan Yankowitz
2. Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman, narrated by MacLeod Andrews
3. Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris, narrated by Kevin Hely and Cathleen McCarron
4. Wings of Fire Book One: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland, narrated by Shannon MacManus
5. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, narrated by Todd McLaren
6. Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan, narrated by David Shih
7. A Girl Stands at the Door by Rachel Devlin, narrated by Robin Miles
8. Torn from Troy, Book 1 in the Odyssey of a Slave Trilogy by Patrick Bowman, narrated by Gerard Doyle

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Drawn Together - Minh Lê and Dan Santat

Drawn Together is a new children's picture book from author Minh Lê and illustrator Dan Santat.

Before Little Guy and Gramma turned the first page we talked about the images on the cover - what would we find inside. As well as the dual meaning of 'drawn'.

Who do you think the two people on the cover could be?  What about the  'elf' with the wand be? And the 'scary' black and white character? The flyleaf has some crayon scribble illustrations that are so real, Little Guy thought someone had colored inside!

There is very little text in Drawn Together, asking the reader to tell much of the story through observing, imagining and wondering about the illustrations. What a great idea! The Grandpa and grandson have differences - food, language, interests etc. Little Guy is quite intuitive when it comes to facial expressions and really focused on these. We kept turning pages asking each other - what do you think?

They discover they can communicate through drawing. "All the things we could never say come pouring out....and we build a new world that words can't describe." Heroes and mythical creatures illustrate the connection and divide between the two. Little Guy is quite literal and was a bit frightened by the dragon. But subsequent pages have the dragon defeated and the distance between the two conquered.

Gramma thought the concept of Drawn Together was excellent - one that can be used in so many life situations. Caldecott Medalist Santat's illustrations are detailed and very beautiful - a perfect accompaniment.

Friday, June 22, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #216

- 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 followed Faye Kellerman's Decker and Lazurus series for
many years, but haven't kept up. (Too many books, too little time!) The latest (#25) is Walking Shadows. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very, very similar covers this week. White for the author's name, red for the book title. Somewhat similar fonts. The main differences are the window shape/style. They both have broken glass, both are worn wood, with a bit of paint still left on the UK window. Four panes vs. six panes plus. The US cover gives us a bit of the building the window is in - the UK does not. Now, what about the addition of that green weed in the UK cover? What does it signify? Life? Tenacity? And of course the UK cover has a tag line, giving you a hint about the story within. So, this is a hard one to pick this week. I think I am going to go with the UK cover. The US window/building says 'Deliverance' to me. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Walking Shadows?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.  

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sweetshop of Dreams - Jenny Colgan

My go to author for a feel-good, heartwarming read is Jenny Colgan.

Sweetshop of Dreams is the first book featuring Rosie Hopkins. (Note that this was released in the UK as Welcome To Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop Of Dreams.)

"Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian's sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong."

Rosie arrives in Lipton and makes her presence immediately known, through a series of mishaps. And we begin to meet the residents of the village of Lipton - in all their quirky glory.

The descriptions of the village, homes and shops made me want to move to Lipton.

Rosie is a wonderful lead character - warm, kind, funny and more - just the kind of person you'd love to have in your circle of friends. The supporting cast is just as well drawn and the listener can't help but be drawn to them. (Most of them - the dentist opposed to the sweetshop is especially unpleasant.)

Colgan's books have love at the heart of them. Love lost, love found, love for friends, family and partners. The yes, no, maybe so of the Rosie's search for happiness will have you wishing and hoping for a fairy tale outcome. I found Lillian's memories of the past (1940's) to be especially poignant, well written and yes, heartbreaking.

Each chapter opens with an excerpt from Lillian's book on candy. Various types are lauded and dissected in detail with a droll, dry wit. Recipes for some confections are included.

Beverley A. Crick was the narrator. I really enjoyed her interpretation. Her voice for Rosie captured the mental image I had in my head. She provided easily identifiable voices for the other characters. Lillian's had just the right quaver, young Edison the right innocence and male voices that felt right as well. She has an expressive voice and it reflected the emotion, humour, sadness etc. in Colgan's tale. Her voice is clear, easy to understand and pleasant to listen to. Listen to an excerpt of Sweetshop of Dreams.

Sweetshop of Dreams has everything you want in a great listen - love, loss, drama, humour and yes - a just right ending.

You can connect with Jenny Colgan on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Over the Counter #423

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Well, this one hasn't crossed the counter yet - I spied the title in a newsletter - but it does release mid September. The title was quirky enough to catch my eye......

No Place to Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs by Lezlie Lowe.

From the publisher, Coach House Books:

"This book is Number One in addressing the politics of where we're allowed to 'go' in public.

Adults don't talk about the business of doing our business. We work on one assumption: the world of public bathrooms is problem- and politics-free. No Place to Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs reveals the opposite is true. No Place To Go is a toilet tour from London to San Francisco to Toronto and beyond. From pay potties to deserted alleyways, No Place to Go is a marriage of urbanism, social narrative, and pop culture that shows the ways -- momentous and mockable -- public bathrooms just don't work. Like, for the homeless, who, faced with no place to go sometimes literally take to the streets. (Ever heard of a municipal poop map?) For people with invisible disabilities, such as Crohn's disease, who stay home rather than risk soiling themselves on public transit routes. For girls who quit sports teams because they don't want to run to the edge of the pitch to pee. Celebrities like Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen have protested bathroom bills that will stomp on the rights of transpeople. And where was Hillary Clinton before she arrived back to the stage late after the first commercial break of the live-televised Democratic leadership debate in December 2015? Stuck in a queue for the women's bathroom. Peel back the layers on public bathrooms and it's clear many more people want for good access than have it. Public bathroom access is about cities, society, design, movement, and equity. The real question is: Why are public toilets so crappy?"

(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, June 19, 2018

The House Swap - Rebecca Fleet

I've stayed in numerous B and B's while travelling, but have never actually swapped houses with someone. And honestly, I don't think I would want to. My penchant for suspense and thriller reads provides too much fuel for an abundance of imagined scenarios.....

The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet gives rise to those imaginings.

Francis and Caroline's marriage has been rocky for the last few years. They are trying to pick up the pieces and get past what has happened. A week away will give them some together time, away from their day to day life. And they could save money by house swapping with someone. Uh huh.

They do swap, but the house they land in is oddly sterile, with not many personal touches. But there are a few and they seem to be oddly familiar to Caroline. The neighbour a few houses down also seems strangely interested in Caroline as well. Caroline is indeed keeping secrets - and it seems like someone else wants them revealed.

What happened in the past is only slowly revealed in entries from 'then'. As details are added, what's going on in the present becomes clearer. That slow reveal makes for addictive reading. The 'who' and 'why' ended up not being what I had imagined. Fleet adroitly manipulates the reader's expectations and assumptions along the way. The unknown other person is given italicized entries - and they will keep you guessing.

Fleet's depiction of a marriage in trouble is believable, harsh and sharp in its presentation. Francis is also given a voice, providing an alternate look at Caroline's depiction of their marriage. I must admit, I didn't like either Caroline or Francis at all. I felt sorry for their young son as he doesn't seem to be the priority in either parent's life.

The House Swap is a combination of domestic drama and suspense. It's a bit of a slow burn, but does pick up speed midway. I didn't love the ending, but enjoyed the journey there. A good debut and I would pick up Fleet's next book. I do have to say that The House Swap has cemented my decision to not house swap! Read an excerpt of The House Swap.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Giveaway - What My Sister Knew- Nina Laurin

Nina Laurin's second novel, What My Sister Knew, releases tomorrow - and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader.

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"A psychological suspense novel that is “a mind-bending ride. Just when you think you’ve discovered the truth, a new secret is revealed.” (Wendy Walker, author of All Is Not Forgotten).
“…currently wanted by the police. If you know anything about the suspect’s whereabouts, please call…”

I look up at the TV screen, and my twin brother’s face is splashed across it, life-size.

It’s a shock that makes my breath catch. This is my brother as an adult, my brother who I last saw fifteen years ago after the fire that killed our parents, covered in soot, clutching a lighter in his hand, his knuckles stark white against the dirt and ash.

Everyone always said he’d grow up to be a heartbreaker. But his face has gone gaunt instead. The stubble on his cheeks and chin is patchy, and his eyes look dull and dark.

My first thought is that it’s not him. Not my beautiful brother, the golden boy who everyone loved. Yet, deep down, I’ve always known this would eventually happen.

What did you do this time, Eli? What the hell did you do?" Read an excerpt of What My Sister Knew.

"Nina Laurin, author of Girl Last Seen, studied Creative Writing at Concordia University, in Montreal where she currently lives. She has published speculative short stories in various e-zines and anthologies over the years and her narrative nonfiction piece, “On Happiness” is soon to be published in the local literary journal Cosmonauts Avenue. She blogs about books and writing on her website." Follow Nina on Twitter.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Jun 30/18.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Emergency Contact - Mary H. K. Choi

Summer seems to be the time that I enjoy YA fiction the most. I'm not sure why - lighter reading or maybe I'm just trying to relive those younger years!

Whatever the reason, Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi was great summer listening.

Penny has finished high school (a relief) and is headed to university (lots of worry, but also a relief to escape her mother and start the next chapter) Sam works at a local cafe, sleeps upstairs on the floor and is stuck in his own pit of angst and despair. He wants more, but is having trouble climbing out and getting started again.

Now, you can see it coming, can't you? Yes, the two meet and.....well it's inevitable right? But of course there's a rocky road to the final pages. Lots of yes, no, maybe so. Along the way, Choi's story explores race, relationships (friends and parental), love and self awareness and exploration. Stepping outside your comfort zone and taking a chance.

Choi does 'amplify' her situations and her characters. They're a bit over the top, but I just went with it as I was looking for entertainment, not necessarily to the letter reality.

Emergency Contact was read by two narrators -  Joy Osmanski and Jacques Roy - both favourites of mine. Osmanski's voice fit the mental image I had created for Penny. It's smart and sassy, but still conveys her worry. Roy's voice for Sam is low, quiet and dare I say it - sexy. Both are easy to listen to, clear and well enunciated. Listen to an excerpt of Emergency Contact.

Emergency Contact was fun, fresh and yes, entertaining for this listener. Listen to an excerpt of Emergency Contact.

Friday, June 15, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover # 215

- 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 love Val McDermid's crime writing. The fifth book in her
Karen Pirie series releases in August in the UK and in December in NA. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. And it's on my TBR list. So, we have landscapes on both covers, each with a single tree and water flowing by. The sky is mottled in both, but the time frame is slightly different. The moon has risen in the US cover, but the sun seems to have just set in the UK cover. The colour scheme is very dark in the US cover, while the UK dies have some greens and rusts. I'm a bit torn this week, but am going to go with the US cover. It says crime novel to me more than the UK cover. What about you? Any plans to read Broken Ground? 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, June 14, 2018

The Dark Angel - Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffith's Dr. Ruth Galloway series is hands down one of my favourites. The Dark Angel is the 10th book in the series.

Ruth is a forensic archaeologist who often works with the police, in addition to her teaching at a local university. This time round, Ruth is invite to Italy by a former colleague who needs her expertise. Ruth decides to make a holiday of it, taking her daughter Kate as well as her friend Shona and her son. The town is small and is seeped in history, much of it involving the war resistance years. This is where the mystery comes in. I always enjoy learning from Ruth (much of the cases are fact based) and appreciate Griffith's plotting.

But I have to admit, it's the characters and the personal storylines that keeps me eagerly awaiting each new entry.

Griffiths has created a wonderful protagonist in Ruth. She comes across as an actual person, not a super sleuth. She's a single parent at 40 plus, messy, introverted but highly intelligent and curious, shunning the spotlight. She's not beautiful in a conventional sense, but has that 'something' that draws people to her. Kate's father is the married Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson. The evolution of his and Ruth's relationship has kept me quite enthralled from the beginning. With Harry's acknowledgment of Kate as his daughter, things have become even more entangled. Griffiths has added some twists to this storyline that I could not have predicted. And while things are always tied up in the end in regards to the mystery, the personal lives of everyone always gets a little more complicated. This is true for not just the lead character, but for the supporting players as well. (Cathbad, the enigmatic self proclaimed Druid, is my favourite.)

The Dark Angel was another excellent entry in this series. Read an excerpt of The Dark Angel. If you've not read this series before, I recommend starting with the first book, The Crossing Places.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Over the Counter #422

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? This one came home with me.....

Nowhere to Call Home by Lena Denbok.

From Friesen Press:

"I invite you to look into the eyes of the homeless... they tell a story."

Homelessness is a serious problem throughout North America-even in Canada and the United States, two of the richest countries in the world. "We must stop this madness," says Leah Denbok, the teenage Canadian photographer who travelled with her dad for over two years to cities throughout North America, photographing and interviewing the homeless. Leah was inspired by the story of her mother, who at three years old was rescued from the streets of Calcutta by Saint Teresa (formerly Mother Teresa). Nowhere to Call Home is a collection of gritty, black-and-white photographs and the personal stories of individuals who live on the streets. The haunting beauty of the images will stay with you, long after you turn the last page."

(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, June 12, 2018

Tin Man - Sarah Winman

I read Sarah Winman's debut novel, When God Was a Rabbit, back in 2011. It was a unique first novel that I really enjoyed. Winman's latest is Tin Man - and it is a simply beautiful read - one that I absolutely recommend.

The cover is the perfect accompaniment to the story within. The sunflowers are overlaid by a subtle metallic gold leaf that is only visible when the cover catches the light.

Tin Man opens with a prologue that ties that cover to the story within. And I was hooked immediately. In 1952 Dora wins the painting in a raffle.

"The painting was as conspicuous as a newly installed window, but one that looked out onto a life of color and imagination, far away from the grey factory dawn and in stark contrast to the brown curtains and brown carpet, both chosen by a man to hide the dirt."

We jump forward to 1996 and meet Ellis - Dora's son. Ellis has suffered much loss in his life - his mother, his wife, his best friend Michael and the direction he hoped his life would have taken. My heart ached for Ellis - his sadness and loss is raw and palpable. Winman's prose are so powerful and compelling. The reader is drawn into Ellis's life as he remembers, revisits and relives his life as he slowly allows himself to grieve.

And through those remembrances, we learn more about Michael. From the flyleaf...."This is almost a love story. But it's not as simple as that." Michael is also given a voice with part two. What Ellis has recounted is told from Michael's view, as he too chronicles his life. And it is just as poignant, if not more.

Absolutely recommended. Winman's words will move you to tears.... Read an excerpt of Tin Man.

While I'm not sure of the origins of the title, my thinking is it is from L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others” - The Tin Woodman.

Recommended for fans of Rachel Joyce who says..."A beautiful book - pared back and unsentimental, assured, full of warmth, and told with a kind of tenderness that makes you ache."

Monday, June 11, 2018

Giveaway - Switch and Bait - Ricki Schultz

Looking for a rom com novel to tuck into your beach bag this summer? Look no further than Ricki Schultz's new book - Switch and Bait. But look a little farther down in this post - I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"A charming, hilarious romantic comedy told with sharp insight and sarcastic wit, for readers of Helen Fielding, Maria Semple, Emily Giffin, or Jennifer Weiner.

We switch. I bait. Let me help you snag a date.

All through college, Blanche Carter was known as the love doctor in her sorority. Now she’s parlayed her talent into a unique consulting business: she runs the online dating profiles of Washington D.C.’s most eligible women.

Armed with a battalion of rules, Blanche expertly helps her clients optimize their profiles and ace that first date. But although she’ll happily message handsome strangers (and fend off dick pics) for other ladies, Blanche’s most important rule is the one she has for herself: no relationships. She’s seen too much heartbreak to believe in real love anymore.

When a former fling pops up among the matches for one of her favorite clients, Blanche gamely messages him on her behalf. Blanche is definitely over him, and this is how she’ll prove it. But if she doesn’t watch out, Blanche might end up not only screwing over a client-and possibly tanking her entire business-but breaking her rule about love as well." Read an excerpt of Switch and Bait.

"Although she is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and has spent the most time there, Ricki has also lived in Georgia and Virginia. (She promises she’s not a drifter, though.) In addition to writing, she has molded the minds of tweens and  teens as a middle school and high school teacher in both the CLE and the ATL-and she also spent a year teaching writing and communications at the college level. She’s back in Atlanta now, and she owns the cutest beagle ever (Molly)." You can connect with Ricki on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter as well as on Instagram.

And if you'd like to read Switch and Bait, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends June 23/18.

Friday, June 8, 2018

How Far She's Come - Holly Brown

Holly Brown's latest novel, How Far She's Come, is quite timely. Brown herself says she took inspiration from news headlines. As she was writing, further allegations and social media actions were snowballing such as #MeToo.

Brown sets her story in an independent cable news network. Twenty four year old Cheyenne Florian believes passionately in the American people's need to know and right to question. She vlogged her stories.....until things went bad - cyber bullying, stalking, threats and more. But, when her dream job as a news correspondent is offered to her by the wealthy man who runs INN, she leaps at the chance.

And she leaped without really looking in my opinion. Suffice it to say, things do not go well here either. The newsroom is a hotbed of sexism, sexual abuse, rivalry, hate, fear, hostility, manipulation, abuse of power and more. Someone leaves Cheyenne the diary of another newsreader from twenty five years ago. Her experience mirrors what is happening to Cheyenne. But the final pages are missing. What happened to her?

I absolutely appreciate the sentiment, the story and the truth of Brown's novel. Her premise is fact based. And we're all aware of what has been happening in the real world. And yes, it's wrong - very, very wrong.

But fictionally, I had a problem with Cheyenne. I was puzzled with her taking the job, based on what had happened to her in the past - which seems to be the reason she is hired.  She didn't question anything and went along with some very iffy directions and situations. "It's insulting, this reminder that I'm here for my body and not my mind, like I'm their little Broadcast Barbie." She's uncomfortable, but keeps playing. And I ask why? Why not question? Why not speak up? Given that her vlog was based on transparency and speaking her mind, I expected a different approach.

To be honest, as I turned pages, I felt like this was a story I had already read. And in part I had,  through actual news footage etc. Brown does put her own spin on things with the mystery of the newsreader from the past and her journal. But I found parts of her tale a bit far fetched.  But, have a look for yourself - here's an excerpt of How Far She's Come.

Holly Brown lives with her husband and toddler daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s a practicing marriage and family therapist. She is the author of the novel Don’t Try to Find Me, and her blog, “Bonding Time,” is featured on the mental health website Find out more aboutHolly on her website, andconnect with her on Facebook. See what other on the TLC book tour thought - here's the full schedule.

I received this book for review from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.

Film on Friday #57 - A Wrinkle in Time

©2018 Disney
A Wrinkle in Time is the award winning first book in Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet series. Walt Disney Studios has just released A Wrinkle in Time on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital format for home viewing. (This viewer received a copy free of charge from Walt Disney Studios in return for an honest review.)

As an avid reader, I had of course read the book many times - by myself and later on with my children. The adventure and the unknown was what I remembered the most.

The cast is star studded. Reese Witherspoon was perhaps my favourite of the 'Mrs.'s. She was warm and funny. Mindy Kaling has incredibly expressive eyes and facial expressions. Oprah Winfrey rounded out the three. I found it hard to separate Oprah's 'real life' persona from this role. I just kept seeing and hearing Oprah, despite the elaborate costumes and make up.Which were excellent by the way, and conveyed the magic of the beings. Storm Reid turned in a great job as Meg. Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace gave us a precocious performance. He is a talented young actor. I did find it hard to hear what he was saying sometimes as he talked quickly and his voice is young and high pitched. Levi Miller as Calvin ended up being my favourite player though. His understated performance was believable, touching and memorable.

The movie has a PG rating. Guidance is needed for some parts - notably when they are battling the evil IT. It may be too frightening for younger children, both visually, audibly and the event itself. Some of the bullying that happens to Meg at school is truly awful and should hopefully trigger some discussion if watching with children.

The special effects were  spectacular. I have to say the the living flowers were my favourite bit.

Did I find that sense of adventure in this movie version? Yes, I did. There were some additions and subtractions from the original book. Most were minor, some are larger. Mrs. Which is only a voice in the books. It is Meg who trusts the Mrs.'s, instead of Calvin and The Happy Medium is a bit different. The biggest bit not included in the movie was the section after they find Dad and before they return home.

This latest Disney screen version of A Wrinkle in Time, was good but not great for this viewer. I think every age bracket will take away something different. One with the universe as a concept will also need to be discussed with younger viewers. Check out the official Walt Disney Studio trailer below. See what others thought on Twitter using the hash tag #WrinkleInTime.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #214

- 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 adore Kate Morton's writing. I was so excited to find out that she has a new book coming out in the fall of 2018. "Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss." The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Let's see...The US cover is very true to the title with a clock front and center. One that has an 'old timey' feel as does the title font. There are snippets of flowers on the outer edge. The UK cover does the opposite. The flowers take center stage and if you look closely there are two brass gears and a key on the outer edge of the circle.  The UK cover also has a tag line - "My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows." I like both covers, but find myself more drawn to the UK cover. I like the flowers and the colours used. What about you? Any plans to read The Clockmaker's Daughter? 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, June 6, 2018

Over the Counter #421

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Who doesn't love puppies?

The Dogist Puppies by Elias Weiss Friedman.

From Artisan Books:

"The Dogist Puppies, the follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Dogist, is a beautiful, funny, and endearing look at puppies.

He fires up the Nikon. Fills his pockets with treats. Dresses in special gear—pants with built-in kneepads and shoes that are not only made for walking but also have a thick rubber toe for squatting. And last but not least, he packs a squeaky tennis ball. And then The Dogist is off, combing the streets in his quest to find dogs to photograph. Or, as has been the case for the past four years, puppies. Bringing his singular eye and sensibility to photographing puppies from birth to age one, Elias Weiss Friedman, aka The Dogist, captures hundreds of fuzzy faces to love and little furry bodies to covet. The Dogist Puppies is a celebration of oversize puppy paws and floppy puppy ears, puppies getting belly rubs and puppies unsure, exactly, of what that tail thing is for. Puppies at play, and puppies worn out from playing. Litters of puppies with their mom, and puppies with their human equivalents—children. Puppies in fancy outfits, and those poignant puppies having to wear the “cone of shame.” Friedman has also taken a deep dive into breeds: Border Collies and Westies, Frenchies and Huskies, Boxers and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, whose tender gaze looks just a little worried—perhaps concerned about living up to that name. The Dogist’s new focus is on puppies. What more do you need to know?"

(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, June 5, 2018

Giveaway - Ike and Kay - James MacManus

Calling all historical fictions fans - I've got a fantastic giveaway for you! James MacManus's new book, Ike and Kay, releases today and I have three copies to giveaway!

From Overlook Press:

"The sweeping love story at the heart of the Second World War, vividly reimagining General Eisenhower and Kate Summersby’s infamous, star-crossed affair.

In his latest historical novel Ike and Kay, acclaimed author James MacManus brings to life an unbelievably true and controversial romance and the poignant characters and personalities that shaped the course of world history.

In 1942, Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is conscripted to drive General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair takes an immediate liking to each other and he buys Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates.

So begins a tumultuous relationship that, against all military regulation, sees Kay traveling with Eisenhower on missions to far-flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany. The general does dangerously little to conceal his affair with the woman widely known as “Ike’s shadow,” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with “Ireland.” That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer still when he returns to America. When officials discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce from his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair, and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves . . .

Based on the scandalous true story of General Eisenhower’s secret World War II love affair, Ike and Kay is a compelling story of love, duty, sacrifice, and heartbreak, set against the backdrop of the most tumultuous period of the twentieth century." Read an excerpt of Ike and Kay.

"James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of six novels, including the historical novels Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight, and Midnight in Berlin." You can connect with James MacManus on his website, like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

If Ike and Kay sounds like a book you'd like to read, enter to win one of three advance review copies I have to giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada only, no PO boxes please. Ends June 11/18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 4, 2018

Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe - Preston Norton

Preston Norton's newest book, Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe, releases Tuesday June 5/18.

Now, you might be saying to yourself - with a title like that, what could this book possibly be about? No, it's not a time travelling cave man. Instead, we meet high school student Cliff Hubbard, AKA Neanderthal, based on his 6'6", 250 lb. frame. Neanderthal is not one of the popular kids at Happy Valley High School. And he's not happy - his brother committed suicide, his father is an alcoholic and his mother seems to be simply existing and turning a blind eye. And school is no better. Aaron is the cool kid at school. But, when he suffers a head injury at football, he wakes up saying he saw God and God gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High School a better place. God also said that Neanderthal is the one to help him with the list. This unlikely pair do team up to tackle the list - and much more.

I have to say up front that I really enjoyed Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe. I liked the premise and I was really drawn to the characters, especially Cliff. Norton gives us a large and varying cast of supporting players that pretty much illustrate a high school and the social strata. You'll have no problem deciding who you're behind - and who you can't stand. (Esther is especially despicable)

Norton captures the thoughts, angst, hopes, dreams and disappointments of teens through all of his characters, but Cliff's are especially poignant. I loved the voice Norton has given him. Those currently in school will identify and those of us long past school will remember those days through Cliff's trials and triumphs.

"Some of us are barely swimming, some of us are drowning, and there are some of us still who are being tossed in waves and dashed upon the rocks. And often we feel that we won’t survive. Maybe that ocean is school, and we’re struggling to get descent grades, or to fit in, or maybe we’re just trying to survive the hurtful words and actions of people who don’t understand their own cruelty."

The journey to fulfill the list takes Cliff and company on a journey that touches on and explores friendship, families, relationships, love, hate, grief, drugs, drinking, sex, mental health, bullying, homophobia and more. Some of it may not be for the younger end of the teen set.

Norton tells his story with lots of humour - some of it is a bit over the top, as are some situations, but it suits Norton's writing style. Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe moves along very quickly and is an infectious read. (It will also break your heart in places.) Cliff's revelations and resolutions are relatable for anyone, regardless of age.

An excellent read - one that found me - and I'm glad it did. See for yourself - here's an excerpt.

"Preston Norton is: bisexual, slightly genderqueer, married. His partner, Erin, is trying to put him on a diet, and he's revolting (both contexts apply). He has taught seventh grade and ninth grade English, mentored drug addicts, and mowed lawns (in no particular order). He is obsessed with 2001: A Space Odyssey and Quentin Tarantino." You can connect with Preston on his website and follow him on Twitter.

Friday, June 1, 2018

You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover #213

- 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
Praise from Val McDermid and Clare Macintosh for Belinda Bauer's forthcoming book Snap caught my eye. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very different pictures this week. The divided title appears on both. Different tag lines. I prefer the US teaser. I do find the UK cover image a bit over the top. But on the other hand it does scream danger. But, I am very curious about the US cover. What is that? A seam on a piece of clothing? I would be more likely to pick up the US cover - so that's my choice this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer this week? Any plans to read Snap?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.