Friday, November 30, 2018

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

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

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

An Anthology of Intriguing Animals from DK Canada

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Over the Counter #456

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

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

From Ecco Books:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Every Breath - Nicholas Sparks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Good Audiobook Speaks Volumes Holiday Blog Tour and Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Flight or Fright - Edited by Stephen King

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2018

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

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Eat Drink Read with DK Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Over the Counter #455

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? This..."- Build a child’s dream treehouse with nothing more than everyday cling film."

Ordinary Made Extra-Ordinary by Pascal Anson.

From Square Peg Books:

"Inspiring and achievable craft and home design projects – with easy to follow step-by-step instructions – to transform the dull, the discarded and the down-at-heel into something really out of the ordinary.

International designer, artist and blogger Pascal Anson shows us how everyday items, junk and interiors can be reinvented:
- Create a splendid chandelier with just a few rolls of Sellotape.
- Cast a stunning plant pot worthy of any designer homeware store using a cheap bag of concrete mix and a recycled plastic food tub.
- Build a child’s dream treehouse with nothing more than everyday cling film.

There are ideas for projects for everyone – from the four-minute makeover skinny jeans, to repairing and reinventing worn out trainers, to bigger projects such as the wood-clad car and the stylish hairy chair.

‘A resourceful attitude and way of working is key to me but so is fun, playfulness and sometimes magic’ Pascal Anson"

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating - Christina Lauren

Every so often, I need to step away from the murder and mayhem that populates most of my reading. I found my latest light, fun escapist listen in Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren.

Hazel. Well, Hazel could be easily (and accurately) described as 'over the top'. She says what she thinks, does what she wants - most often without a filter. Josh. Calm, thoughtful and the complete opposite of Hazel. The two meet at college and surprisingly become friends. And life moves on. Could their relationship move to a different level as well?

The yes, no, maybe so of this possible relationship is filled with quirky situations, humorous moments, fun dialogue - and yes, romance. Do opposites really attract?

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating is told through both Josh and Hazel's viewpoint. It was fun to be a fly on the wall, privy to what both were thinking, often about the same situation. Now, here's the thing - as much fun as Hazel is, I did find her a bit overwhelming as the book progressed. I was more enamoured (okay reader crush) of Josh. Yup, he's everything you would want in a boyfriend. We also get to know the families of Josh and Hazel. I found these relationships and characters charming and heartwarming.

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating is narrated by two readers -  Todd Haberkorn and Jayme Mattler. Both readers were excellent. Mattler's voice has a young, fresh tone with a nice little gravelly undertone. She's very expressive, interpreting the character perfectly and creating a vivid mental image of Hazel for me. Haberkorn's voice also has a tone that suits the character. It's easy to listen to and again painted a vivid mental picture of Josh. His voice has a lot of movement and brings the story to life. It has a soft, mellow tone that suits Josh's pace. Listen to an excerpt of Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating.

I can absolutely see this one as a rom com movie. This was a first read/listen of Christina Lauren for me, but it certainly won't be the last.

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Three Beths - Jeff Abbott

The Three Beths is Jeff Abbott's newest book.

Mariah Dunning's mother disappeared a year ago. Law enforcement is sure that her father has killed her, but has yet to prove it. One day while at the mall, Mariah is sure she sees her mother at the food court - and she redoubles her efforts to find her. And her search turns up another woman named Beth who has also disappeared. And going by the title, you know there's another.

The Three Beths is a busy book with many twists and turns throughout. Now, I appreciate a complicated plot, but I have to say that I found this busyness somewhat off putting as the book progressed. It was too much - too many coincidences, easily explained (but not always believable) turns and somewhat repetitive scenes and dialogue. (I started keeping track of how many times someone said they were going to 'call the police'. Many times) But, I kept reading 'til the end as I wanted to know if the Beths were alive and if there was a connection between them. The (implausible) ending twist? Had that pegged long before the reveal. I found I couldn't get on board with Mariah. I found her annoying, rather than engaging. The other characters were overdrawn caricatures - especially the police chief. 

I had higher hopes for The Three Beths, but it was a bit of a miss for me. Read an excerpt of The Three Beths. Others really enjoyed this book - check out these reviews from Goodreads.

Friday, November 16, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #237

- 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
We'll have to wait until March 2019, but Harlan Coben has a new suspense novel coming out titled Run Away. The US  cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. At first glance the 'tiger stripe' US cover bothered my eyes. Then I read the synopsis of the book and realized the labyrinth image suits the premise. Along with the woman being pursued by a man. That woman chased by a man is front and center on the UK cover. Unfortunately, it's nothing new - a been there, seen that look. So an easy choice for me this week - US. What cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Run Away?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Elevation - Stephen King

I've read everything Stephen King has written and was excited to hear he had a new book coming out. Elevation is newly released.

Fans will recognize the setting immediately. Castle Rock, Maine. Scott Carey has been losing weight. He can see it on the scale. Oddly enough, the number stays the same even if he's wearing clothes. And his body doesn't look any different. But he's definitely lighter....

Even as Scott's weight decreases, a small fracas with his neighbours increases. But it's not just Scott, it's most of the town against this couple. Scott decides to try and turn things around.

Elevation is the perfect listen for this time of the year. It's timely in so many ways. Uplifting I would say. ;0) Elevation tackles intolerance, doing the right thing and simple kindness and decency with a classic King supernatural twist.

I was thrilled to see that King himself was the narrator. There's nothing like having an author read his own work. The emphasis, the interpretation, the emotion, the quirks and so much more are presented exactly as he intended them to be. Listen to an audio excerpt of Elevation.

A bonus short story, Laurie, is included. And will give regular readers a nice little jolt of King out for the 'gators.

This listener really enjoyed Elevation. The ending was difficult - sad, but absolutely fitting. A great addition to my library.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Over the Counter #454

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? "...a modern 'Gatsby' swindle..."

Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood and the World by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope.

From Hachette Books:

"In 2009, with the dust yet to settle on the financial crisis, a mild-mannered Wharton grad set in motion a fraud of unprecedented gall and magnitude–one that would come to symbolize the next great threat to the global financial system. The scandal is known as 1MDB, and the man behind it, Jho Low, is a figure so preposterous he might seem made up.

“An epic tale of white-collar crime on a global scale” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), Billion Dollar Whale reveals how this young social climber pulled off one of the biggest heists in history. Over a half decade, Low siphoned billions from an investment fund–right under the nose of the global financial industry. Low used the money to finance elections, purchase luxury real estate, throw champagne-drenched parties, and even to finance Hollywood films like The Wolf of Wall Street.

Federal agents who helped unravel Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme say the 1MDB affair will become the textbook case of financial fraud in the modern age–and its fallout is already being credited for taking down the prime minister of Malaysia. With his yacht and private jet reportedly seized by authorities and facing money-laundering charges in Malaysia, an Interpol red notice, and an ongoing U.S. Department of Justice Investigation, Low has become an international fugitive.

Billion Dollar Whale will join the ranks of Liar’s Poker, Den of Thieves, and Bad Blood as a classic harrowing parable of the financial world, hubris, and greed."

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Killing Habit - Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham pens one of my favourite crime series - the Tom Thorne books. The fifteenth book in this series, The Killing Habit, has just released.

Tom is handed a case that he doesn't take too seriously in the beginning - someone has been killing cats. But as he does delve further into the case, he relalizes there's more to these killings. Is it a serial killer ramping up? Or could it be an established killer winding down?

DI Nicola Tanner is back as well. She's chasing down a murderer with ties to a killer new designer drug called Spice.

These two characters are complete opposites and as such, play incredibly well off each other. Different strengths, styles and outlooks. As their investigations proceed, they join forces again.

Billingham consistently comes up with dark, devious plots that hold the reader captive until the last page has been turned. On reading the author's notes, I discovered that the inspiration for the cat killing plotline is based in reality. A UK cat killer has dispatched over 400 pets and as of the release of the book, the killer remains at large.

But what keeps me coming back book after book, are the characters. There are other 'regulars' that appear as well - coroner Phil Hendricks is another character I quite enjoy. Billingham keeps the lives of the cast moving forward through life complete with loves, losses, triumphs and struggles. Thorne is battling his own self doubt in this entry. Doubt about his skills and even his desire to catch criminals. His love life - or lack of - is also troubling to him. The ending surprised me - one character makes a choice that I didn't see coming. I wonder how this will affect this player's (and other's) behaviour and dynamics going forward?

The title is clever - 'killing habit' applies to both murder and drugs. Another great read from Billingham and I look forward to the sixteenth entry in this series. Read an excerpt of The Killing Habit.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Giveaway - Long Road to Mercy - David Baldacci

I've got a fantastic giveaway for David Baldacci fans today! (me included!)  Long Road to Mercy releases tomorrow and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Long Road to Mercy is the first entry in a new series....

From Grand Central Publishing:

"Introducing a remarkable new character from #1 New York Times bestselling writer David Baldacci: Atlee Pine, an FBI agent with special skills assigned to the remote wilds of the southwestern United States who must confront a new threat.....and an old nightmare.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by its toe.

It's seared into Atlee Pine's memory: the kidnapper's chilling rhyme as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy. Mercy was taken. Atlee was spared.

She never saw Mercy again.

Three decades after that terrifying night, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She's the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona resident agency, which is responsible for protecting the Grand Canyon.

So when one of the Grand Canyon's mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon-and its rider missing-Pine is called in to investigate. It soon seems clear the lost tourist had something more clandestine than sightseeing in mind. But just as Pine begins to put together clues pointing to a terrifying plot, she's abruptly called off the case.

If she disobeys direct orders by continuing to search for the missing man, it will mean the end of her career. But unless Pine keeps working the case and discovers the truth, it could spell the very end of democracy in America as we know it..." Read an excerpt of Long Road to Mercy.

"David Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author, and one of the world’s favorite storytellers. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 130 million worldwide sales. His works have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America." You can connect with David Baldacci at his website, on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

If you'd like to read Long Road to Mercy, enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends November 24/18. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 9, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #236

- 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 think Greg Iles is a brilliant writer. The Natchez Burning
trilogy was amazing. I'm so excited to hear that he has a new novel called Cemetery Road coming out in Spring 2019. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Oh, it's going to be hard to choose this week. On the US cover, I really like the large sky pic and the darker clouds rolling. The long, straight road that ends in who knows what. A cemetery? For me this cover brings to mind Iles' Mississippi. The UK cover takes us into the swamps or bayous it seems. A very different colour scheme. Wet vs. dry it seems. The reflection in the water is effective. What lies beneath? I'm going to go with the US cover this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer?
 Any plans to read Cemetery Road?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Celebrate Nature with DK Canada

I'm one of those people - I try to get my Christmas shopping done long before December. I love giving books as they give back.

Do you have a nature lover on your list? DK Canada has a great selection of books for both adults and children in their 'Celebrate Nature' boutique.

Peek and Seek, illustrated by Charlotte Milner caught my eye - and Little Guy's.

The cover is bright, colourful and has animal faces peeking through the cut outs on the cover. The title page lets you see who those face belong to. There are six 'find it' double page entries - birds,  monkeys, wolves, ants, fish and rabbits. Each entry asks the read to lift the flap or the fold 'to see'. On our first read through, Little Guy and Gramma guessed what we might find under the flap before opening it. What we found were intricately detailed drawings of each of the five animals presented. He had to look at the entire picture first And then we read the facts about each animal category that accompanies the images. Little Guy learned quite a bit from these snippets.

But that's not all you'll find under the flaps. Each panorama also has a 'seek and find' list that asks the reader to find other creatures hidden in the drawing. There are 28 to find on each double faced page. Depending on the attention span that day, we would find a few and come back the next day to finish the list. Little Guy really likes 'finding' books as he calls them. The last pages house an additional 'fact file' about the six animals.

This book stayed 'fresh' for a long time as there's much to see and do in Peek and Seek. This is a book that will be read many times.

As always with DK books, the colours are bright, appealing, there's much to learn and things to do. The book is in board book format only - it's quite sturdy. Which was good, as Wee Sis decided she needed to read it too. She's quite young, but she too was quite happy that she could find things too. (The larger images)

Peek and Seek gets a big thumbs up from Gramma and Little Guy. This would be an excellent addition to a 3-6 year old's library. Have a peek at the pages below.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Over the Counter #453

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? The story of Doug.....

Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada's Last Great Trees by Harley Rustad.

From Anansi Press:

"On a cool morning in the winter of 2011, a logger named Dennis Cronin was walking through a stand of old-growth forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. His job was to survey the land and flag the boundaries for clear-cutting. As he made his way through the forest, Cronin came across a massive Douglas fir the height of a twenty-storey building. It was one of the largest trees in Canada that if felled and milled could easily fetch more than fifty thousand dollars. Instead of moving on, he reached into his vest pocket for a flagging he rarely used, tore off a strip, and wrapped it around the base of the trunk. Along the length of the ribbon were the words “Leave Tree.”

When the fallers arrived, every wiry cedar, every droopy-topped hemlock, every great fir was cut down and hauled away — all except one. The solitary tree stood quietly in the clear cut until activist and photographer T. J. Watt stumbled upon the Douglas fir while searching for big trees for the Ancient Forest Alliance, an environmental organization fighting to protect British Columbia's dwindling old-growth forests. The single Douglas fir exemplified their cause: the grandeur of these trees juxtaposed with their plight. They gave it a name: Big Lonely Doug. The tree would also eventually, and controversially, be turned into the poster child of the Tall Tree Capital of Canada, attracting thousands of tourists every year and garnering the attention of artists, businesses, and organizations who saw new values encased within its bark.

Originally featured as a long-form article in The Walrus that garnered a National Magazine Award (Silver), Big Lonely Doug weaves the ecology of old-growth forests, the legend of the West Coast’s big trees, the turbulence of the logging industry, the fight for preservation, the contention surrounding ecotourism, First Nations land and resource rights, and the fraught future of these ancient forests around the story of a logger who saved one of Canada's last great 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, November 6, 2018

The Lost Queen - Signe Pike

Okay, I'm going to lead off with this blurb from Simon and Schuster about Signe Pike's new novel, The Lost Queen.....

"Compared to Outlander and The Mists of Avalon, this thrilling first novel of a debut trilogy reveals the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin." Hmm, okay - definitely caught my interest. After listening to the first few chapters? Hooked!

Signe has taken a few obscure historical references to an actual sixth century Celtic queen and created an addicting, unputdownable tale of love, honour, duty, fealty, war, intrigue, religion and yes - magic.

Pike's research is so rich with detail. The settings sprang to life - the castles, the forest, the details of everyday life, clothing, food, family and more. The time period encompasses the clash between the Old Ways and burgeoning Christianity and the wars between kingdoms. Again, well detailed and presented.

The characters will draw you in and transport you back to the sixth century. Languoreth is so well drawn - strong and fierce. Her family and friends are just as well drawn. The 'bad guys'? You'll have no trouble identifying them. The romance angle offers up two very different men in Languoreth's life. This part of the plot is not overwhelming to the main story or overdone, instead it's just right.

I love Arthurian legends and it was this part of the book that captured me - the legends, the portents, the signs and the magic.

I chose to listen to The Lost Queen - the reader was Toni Frutin - and she was amazing. She has a wonderful Scottish accent that is so easy to understand and pleasant to listen to. It immediately embodied the mental image I had created for Languoreth. It's rich and full and her narration is so very, very expressive, capturing all the nuances of Signe's book. Listen to an except of The Lost Queen.

Pike's writing is so very good. This first volume of a planned trilogy is satisfying on it's own. But the last few chapters gives us a hint of what will come next for Languorethe's next challenge. I can't wait for the second book and more of The Lost Queen.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Stray - Tanya Marquardt

Stray: Memoir of a Runaway from Canadian Tanya Marquardt is "the true story of a girl who runs away and finds herself."  I am invariably drawn to memoirs and the cover of Stray immediately caught my eye - there's so much in that photo.

Stray opens in 1995. Tanya is sixteen and has just run away from her mother and stepfather's home. We learn some of the details of her past and what has led to this exodus -an alcoholic father, a violent home, a mother who lived with her two children in this dysfunctional relationship longer than she should have. By the time her mother makes a move to get out, fourteen year old Tanya has already forged an intimate relationship with alcohol.

"Drinking booze became a marathon, and each vodka poured down my gullet felt like a lifesaving elixir, making me feel intensely, tricking me into thinking I was getting in touch with who I really was. "

Stray details the time from walking out that door to Marquardt's acceptance at college - and the turbulent years in between. Tanya finds a sense of family and security with others living on the fringes of society, from the 'wrong' side of Port Alberni to the underground Goth scene in Vancouver's early nineties.

Stray reads like a journal or diary. Putting your life to paper is so intimate, revealing details, baring your life for others to see. Loss, regrets, hopes, dreams - and reality. I am always so appreciative of an author sharing something so personal with strangers.

I thought about the title. As a verb, stray is defined as "to move away aimlessly from a group or from the right course or place" and as an adjective, 'to wander off, go astray, get separated, get lost." Both descriptions seem to capture Marquardt's memoir of those years.

Stray does only cover only a short period of time. I had become caught up in Marquardt's story and would have loved to see how she ended up where she is today. That being said, I really enjoyed Stray. Marquardt's writing is raw and engaging. Read an excerpt of Stray.

"Tanya Marquardt is an award-winning performer and the author of ten plays, which have been produced across Canada and the United States. Transmission was published in the Canadian Theatre Review, and Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep was the subject of an episode of NPR's Invisibilia. A Hertog Fellow and graduate of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Hunter College, Tanya splits her time between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Brooklyn, New York. Stray is her first book."

Friday, November 2, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #235

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

The Boy US
UK cover
Too many books and too little time.... I've read many of Tami Hoag's books, but haven't kept up with the last few. The Boy is her latest - releasing this December in NA and in February in the UK. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well, the US cover is rather start. Author name, book title and a few strands of grass/weeds. Going for the stark look. Personally, I find it bland and yes, boring. So, the UK cover - I like the punch of yellow. And that wee bit of red that makes you look closer. Yes, it's a person - a boy I would say. I really like the tree images they've used as well. And as always, the tagline gives you an idea of what's inside. I'd be much more likely to pick this up. What about you? Which cover do you prefer?
 Any plans to read The Boy?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Half Spent Was the Night - Ami McKay

I adore Ami McKay's writing.  I settled myself into my favourite reading chair with a cup of tea on a windblown night to read her latest - a novella entitled Half-Spent Was the Night: A Witches' Yuletide.

1881. This historical (and yes, magical) tale is wrapped around the three New York witches from the book of the same name. As the women are sat around the fire, divining what the New Year might hold, three invitations arrive for a New Year's Eve Masquerade Ball from a woman known to none of them. Should they attend?

"Christmas Day has come and gone, the New Year lies ahead. Strange things happen Between the Years, in the days outside of time."

I enjoyed revisiting Adelaide, Eleanor and Beatrice. I've grown quite fond of them. Half Spent Was the Night picks up not long after the ending of the last book. Answers and revelations to previous questions and happenings are found in this little volume. But not all - there is still much to tell.

A sense of enchantment and wonderment wraps the descriptions, the dialogue, the settings and the characters. McKay's writing is so easy and such a pleasure to read. There are some recipes included - the German sweet bread sounds delicious. And I liked the hidden little detail I found underneath the book jacket - a stamping of a mask within holly. And the title? You'll find it's origin in the last few pages.

Half Spent Was the Night is another spellbinding read from Ami McKay. My only complaint - I wanted more - I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. Read an excerpt of Half Spent Was the Night.