Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Old Bones - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Old Bones is the latest collaboration of authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It's also the first book in the Nora Kelly series.

Fans of Preston and Child will recognize Nora Kelly from Cemetery Dance - the ninth Pendergast novel. I was happy to see her again - and that she will be getting her own series. Joining her is rookie FBI Agent Corrie Swanson -  who also appeared in two Pendergast novels.

Preston and Child often draw on history and actual events in their books. In Old Bones, it is the ill fated 1847 Donner Party. Nora is approached by a historian who has found proof that there is a 'lost camp' in addition to the camps already documented. Further more, there may be a fortune waiting to be found at that lost camp. I am fascinated by archaeology and the idea that the past is just waiting to be uncovered. I wondered what Preston and Child had imagined for this latest.

The dig begins.....but so does trouble. Within a few days, one of the team is murdered. And Swanson joins the dig.

Settling in with Old Bones felt like rejoining old friends for their latest adventure. Preston and Child never disappoint. The plotting captured my interest, the action kept me turning pages and I liked the lead characters. And best of all, Pendergast made an appearance! But that's not to say that I didn't enjoy Kelly and Swanson. They play well off each other and make a good team - although they don't see themselves as such.

Another great easy read from Preston and Child - I always look forward to their books and will be eagerly awaiting the next in the Nora Kelly series. Read an excerpt of Old Bones.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Giveaway - Once Removed - Colette Sartor

Colette Sartor's debut book, Once Removed, was the winner of the 2018 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and has just been published by the University of Georgia Press on Sept.15 of this year. And I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

What's it about?

"The women in the linked short story collection Once Removed carry the burdens imposed in the name of intimacy-the secrets kept, the lies told, the disputes initiated-as well as the joy that can still manage to triumph. A singer with a damaged voice and an assumed identity befriends a silent, troubled child; an infertile law professor covets a tenant's daughterly affection; a new mother tries to shield her infant from her estranged mother's surprise Easter visit; an aging shopkeeper hides her husband's decline and a decades-old lie to keep her best friends from moving away.

With depth and an acute sense of the fragility of intimate connection, Colette Sartor creates stories of women that resonate with emotional complexity. Some of these women possess the fierce natures and long, vengeful memories of expert grudge holders. Others avoid conflict at every turn, or so they tell themselves. For all of them, grief lies at the core of love." Read an excerpt of Once Removed.

"Colette Sartor teaches at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program as well as privately and is an executive director of the CineStory Foundation, a mentoring organization for emerging TV writers and screenwriters. Her writing has appeared in Carve magazine, Slice magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Kenyon Review Online, Colorado Review, and other publications. Among other awards, she has been granted a Glenna Luschei Award, a Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, and a Truman Capote fellowship from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she completed her MFA." You can connect with Colette on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and on Instagram.

And if you'd like to read Once Removed, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter from below. Open to US only, ends October 26/19.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation - Stuart Gibbs

I find myself listening to more and more audio books. And I also find that I'm (happily) listening outside of my normal choices.

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation is new from Stuart Gibbs and was my latest listen.

Charlie Thorne is actually a twelve year old girl. A brilliant (and wealthy) twelve year old who is already in college. But her studies are cut short (well honestly she hardly ever went anyway) when the CIA comes calling. They need her help to find a 'last equation' from Albert Einstein - one that some 'baddies' also want. If it falls into the wrong hands, the fate of the world is at stake.

Gibbs has penned a fun read that anyone around that twelve year old mark is going to love. (and especially girls) Charlie has an incredible quick mind. Listeners will enjoy her leaps - both physically and mentally. She thwarts the adults in her path time and time again. I must admit, I was impressed with Gibbs' clues - they're well thought out, believable and fairly intricate. I quite enjoyed following along to the final reveal. The action is constant, keeping the book moving forward at a fast pace.

The two adult agents paired with Charlie are (thankfully) not buffoons. They're very capable as well. Gibbs does some relationship exploration between both agents and Charlie. This is done thoughtfully - after all, she may be brilliant, but she's still a twelve year old.

Emily Woo Zeller was the reader and she did a great job. She provided a perfectly suited voice for Charlie, youngish sounding but full of sass. She lowers and slows down the tone and pace for the adult characters. The male voices were believable. And all the characters were easily differentiated. Zeller's voice is clear and easy to understand and she enunciates well. She captured the action and tension of the plotting easily with her inflection and speed.

This would be a great listen for a family road trip. And I could see a sequel in the making. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation.

Friday, October 11, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #284

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

US/Canadian cover
UK cover
You might be saying to yourself - Luanne, those are two different books! Well, they are indeed the same story from the same author (Sophie Hannah), albeit with a title change between North America and Britain. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Having read the synopsis, I can say that both titles capture the plot. And both let us know that twelve years have passed - and the children haven't grown. Okay - both cover have a dark colour scheme. I'm growing weary of 'silhouettes in a window denoting danger and mystery' covers, so the UK cover is not my choice this week. Although I thought dog tag when I first looked at the cover, I like the rust and ribbon that are part of the image. So, US for me this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Which title do you prefer? Any plans to read this one?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Chestnut Man - Soren Sveistrup

I love the cover of  Soren Sveistrup's new novel The Chestnut Man. Those few black strokes conjure up something ominous... And then I discovered that Sveistrup was the creator and screenwriter of The Killing - a show I really enjoyed. And I knew I was a for a really great read!

A killer is on the loose in Copenhagen. His signature? A small little man made of chestnuts and matchsticks left at every murder. Forensics makes a startling discovery - the  fingerprint of the daughter of a high ranking politician is on each one. Trouble is - she's been missing for a year.

Great premise and I was hooked. But what makes or breaks a great premise are the protagonists. I'm happy to say that Sveistrup has created a great pair in Detectives Thulin and Hess. Thulin is a single mother balancing parenting and detecting. She's tough, intelligent, happy to work on her own and doesn't suffer fools. But that's what she fears she's been paired with when she inherits Hess from Europol. He has messed up there and until things are cleared, he's assigned to partner with Thulin in the Major Crimes Division in Copenhagen. But, really Hess just wants to coast until he can get back to Europol - where he also coasts along. This pair reminded me a bit of the two detectives in The Killing. Seemingly polar opposites. But as things progress, they grudgingly start to work together. I really enjoyed this pairing - and hopefully they cross paths again in another novel.

Their work is cut out for them. The case is hindered by politicos and complicated by multiple suspects. Just when I thought I had sussed out the killer was, another possibility popped up. I quite enjoyed being led down the garden path. And I have to say, I was surprised by the final answers. Well done. (Which I really appreciate as I read a lot of mysteries).

The ending has a nice little gotcha that opens things up for a possible follow-up. A wonderfully dark and gritty read for those who love Scandi noir (puts hand up). See for yourself -read an excerpt of The Chestnut Man.  (And on a side note, Netflix is making a series based on this book).

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Over the Counter #421

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Armchair travel with a twist.....

Around the World in 60 Seconds: 1,000 Days. 64 Countries. 1 Beautiful Planet by Nuseir Yassin.

From the publisher, HarperOne:

"From the founder and creator of Nas Daily, a community of over 13 million that celebrates diversity, acceptance, and humanity, comes this surprising, moving 1,000-day journey of a lifetime in book form

60 seconds. That’s how long it takes to dispel stereotypes in Mexico. Throw a house party for strangers in Israel. Change perspectives in Nebraska. Make friends in Japan. And connect millions of people all over the world.

In 2016, Nuseir Yassin quit his job to travel for 1,000 consecutive days. But instead of the usual tourist traps, Nas set out to meet real people, see the places they call home, and discover what unites all of us living on this beautiful planet—from villages in Africa and slums in India, to the high-rises of Singapore and the deserts of Australia. While he journeyed from country to country, Nas uploaded a single 60-second video per day for his Nas Daily Facebook following to highlight the amazing, terrifying, inspiring and downright surprising sh*t happening all over the world. Thirteen million followers later, Nas Daily has become the most immersive travel experience ever captured, and finally shows us what we’ve all been looking for: each other.

Around the World in 60 Days is Nas’s surprising, moving, and totally unpredictable 1,000-day world tour in book form. At times a striking portrait of the most uncharted places in the world, at others a touching exploration of the human heart, this collection of life-affirming stories and breathtaking photographs changes how we think about humanity and invites us all on a journey to see the world, and each other, anew."

(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, October 8, 2019

The Butterfly Girl - Rene Denfeld

Rene Denfeld follows up her last novel, The Child Finder (devoured it in a day) with The Butterfly Girl.

This latest continues the story of Naomi and the search for her missing sister. Naomi is a private investigator with a specialty - she finds children - lost, stolen, missing and kidnapped. She seems to have an uncanny ability to ferret out clues and traces of a child's passing or presence. That ability is honed from experience - she too was a lost child. She escaped, but has no memory of what came before that time.

A year has passed, a year of following hunches - and Naomi senses she is close when she arrives in Portland, Oregon.....

The reader knows more than Naomi - we're privy to the what is happening with the children on the streets of Portland through one girl's voice. The danger is palpable and we can only urge Naomi forward. But is she any closer to finding her sister? Tension populates the pages of The Butterfly Girl. And turned this into a one sitting read for me.

Naomi is such a great lead character - driven, determined, intelligent, but wounded. The supporting cast of Jerome and Diane are just as complex and have their own stories to tell. And the young players at the heart of the book will break your heart.

Denfeld's measured prose conjure up detailed images and ideas. The novel is never rushed, despite the urgency of the search. Ties between the characters are explored, as is the relationship with one's self - all with a keen eye for the human condition. As with The Child Finder, love, loss, redemption and the power of the human spirit are woven throughout The Butterfly Girl.

Gentle readers, note that there are abuse triggers in this novel. How is Denfeld able to capture and portray such difficult situations and events with such a keen eye and thoughtful voice? This quote from the author's notes speaks volumes....

"This book was raised by libraries and love. I wouldn't be a writer today if not for the public libraries of my difficult childhood, and the books that saved me with story. I will never forget the librarians of the downtown Portland, Oregon, library who expressed care for me when I, too, was a homeless kid. Thank you for showing me a path through the pain, and the beauty in the darkness." "Thank you to my clients in my day job as a public defense investigator, including the trafficking victims, homeless, refugees, immigrants, veterans and others who have filled my life."

Another excellent read from Denfeld. Here's an excerpt of The Butterfly Girl. I'm hoping there's going to be another Naomi book.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Giveaway - Beautiful on the Outside - Adam Rippon

Oh, I have a great giveaway for you today! Adam Rippon's memoir Beautiful on the Outside releases October 15/19 - and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader.

What's inside? From Grand Central Publishing:

"Former Olympic figure skater and self-professed America's Sweetheart Adam Rippon showcases his funny and inspiring personality in this entertaining memoir in the vein of Andy Cohen.

Your mom probably told you it's what on the inside that counts. Well, then she was never a competitive figure skater. Olympic medalist Adam Rippon has been making it pretty for the judges even when, just below the surface, everything was an absolute mess. From traveling to practices on the Greyhound bus next to ex convicts to being so poor he could only afford to eat the free apples at his gym, Rippon got through the toughest times with a smile on his face, a glint in his eye, and quip ready for anyone listening. Beautiful on the Outside looks at his journey from a homeschooled kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to a self-professed American sweetheart on the world stage and all the disasters and self-delusions it took to get him there. Yeah, it may be what's on the inside that counts, but life is so much better when it's beautiful on the outside." Read an excerpt of Beautiful on the Outside.

"Adam Rippon is an Olympic athlete and medal-winning figure skater. He won the 2010 Four Continents Championships and the 2016 U.S. National Championships and was selected to represent the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He came out as gay in October 2015 and, at the 2018 Winter Olympics, won a bronze medal as part of the figure skating team event, thus becoming the first openly gay U.S. male athlete to win a medal in a Winter Olympics. Later that year, he was named to the TIME 100 List of Most Influential People, Forbes 30 Under 30; AdWeek’s 100 Most Creative and OUT Magazine’s Power 50: The Most Influential Voices in LGBTQ America. He won season 26 of Dancing with the Stars: Athletes before going on to be a judge on the premiere season of Dancing with the Stars Juniors."

And if you'd like to read Beautiful on the Outside, enter for a chance to win using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends October 19/19.

Friday, October 4, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #283

- 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
Harlan Coben has a new book - The Boy From the Woods -  
coming out on both sides of the pond in March 2020 on both sides of the pond. I've added it to my ever growing TBR list. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. The US cover has quite a striking color scheme. I like those bright, bold greens and blues. The white typeface stands out really well. The trees themselves are not real, but are instead origami replicas. On the other hand the UK does give us real trees. Pretty ominous ones - they look dead and really dark. The path leading in is quite ominous. White typeface is used for the title, but isn't as 'stand-out' against this background. The author's name is a stronger look. An easy chose for me this week - the US cover. It caught my attention right away. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? 
Any plans to read The Boy From the Woods?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Over the Counter #420

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I saw this one in a newsletter. Who knows when it would come in handy?

How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith.

What's it about? From Quirk Books:

"Written by best-selling author, screenwriter, and producer Seth Grahame-Smith (Stephen King’s It), with an introduction by horror icon Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street), this is a hilarious must-read for any horror movie fan...and it just might save your life.

Are you reading this in a cornfield, at a summer camp, or in an abandoned mental institution? Have you noticed that everything is poorly lit, or that music surges every time you open a door? If the answer is yes, you’re probably trapped in a horror movie. But don’t freak out—just read this book! With it you will learn how to overcome every obstacle found in scary films, including:

• How to determine what type of horror film you’re trapped in
• The five types of slashers and how to defeat them
• How to handle killer dolls, murderous automobiles, and other haunted objects
• How to deal with alien invasions, zombie apocalypses, and other global threats
• What to do if you did something last summer, if your corn has children in it, or if you suspect you’re already dead " Read a excerpt of How to Survive a Horror Movie.

(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, October 1, 2019

A Better Man - Louise Penny

A Better Man is the newly released fifteenth entry in Louise Penny's absolutely wonderful Chief Inspector Gamache series.

A Better Man picks up where the last book left us - Gamache has been removed as Head of the Sûreté du Quebec. The higher ups offered him the position of head of the homicide department, working under his former second in command. They hoped he would not take the position, but he won't give them that satisfaction and takes the job.

The case of a missing woman is the first case that Gamache takes on - as a favour to another agent......and it seems there is indeed more to the case. At the same time, devastating floods are threatening the province. And Gamache is facing harsh criticism online and in house from both the public and co-workers.

Oh, what's not to love about Louise Penny's books. Gamache is one of the most well drawn characters I've ever read. His quiet intelligence, calm manner, strength of character and unerring moral compass have endeared him to me. The challenges he faces in The Better Man had me wondering what the outcome would be.

The supporting (and recurring) cast feel like old friends. Well, mostly. There are those in the Sûreté that have their own agendas. But, I am always happy to reconnect with the residents of the village of Three Pines. The villagers are people you would like to know in real life - even Ruth the poet and her duck. And who wouldn't want to live in this picturesque, off the map village? ( I do!)

Penny's plotting is just as well done. The cases are believable and engaging and take inspiration from current headlines. Judging and sentencing through social media, the reality of flooding in Quebec and the nature of the crime against the missing woman. Nuanced and a joy to read alongside Gamache as he endeavors to solve the whodunit. The question 'how would you feel…' is used more than once as the search for answers continues.

I love the continuity and am very much looking forward to the next entry in this series. There are imminent changes hinted at. I hope they don't transpire, but we shall see. Read an excerpt of A Better Man.

And if you've not read Penny before, do yourself a favour and start with the first book (Still Life).

Monday, September 30, 2019

Giveaway - Dark Water - Robert Bryndza

Thriller fiction fans, I've got a great giveaway for you - the latest in Robert Bryndza's Detective Erica Foster series - Dark Water.

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Robert Bryndza is back again with the third book in the thrilling, crime series, starring Erika Foster, which has sold over 2 millions copies worldwide.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news when she vanished twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she discovers a family harbouring secrets, a detective plagued by her failure to find Jessica, and the mysterious death of a man living by the quarry.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth." Read an excerpt of Dark Water.

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 andfollow him on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read Dark Water, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Oct 12/19.


Friday, September 27, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #282

- 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
Nicci French's Freida Klein series ended last year. I wondered what she would write next. Well, its The Lying Room, a stand alone novel. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. And I've added it to my TBR pile! Two 'dark' looks this week. The US cover has us looking out of a window in a house towards a window in another house. The obligatory dark and foreboding tree is present. And the sense of spying on someone is transmitted. The UK cover also has someone spying - this time looking through a keyhole into what seems to be a bedroom. Maybe it's the room in the US cover? In terms of grabbing my attention, the UK cover does that with the stark black and placement of  the title around the keyhole. I find the purple and grey to be a it meh. A bit too busy. So an easy UK for me this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Lying Room?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

Well, has there ever been a more anticipated sequel? Thirty five years on, Margaret Atwood has penned The Testaments - the follow up to The Handmaid's Tale.

Made into a Hulu series, The Handmaid's Tale has reached new generations, both on the screen and on the written page. That first book took us to Gilead, a regime where men ruled, women were chattel and handmaids were there to breed. All under the umbrella of religion.

Fifteen years have passed when The Testaments opens. There are three narratives. I as quite surprised to see that Aunt Lydia (if you've read The Handmaid's Tale, you'll know who this is) is the primary voice. "But among these bloody fingerprints are those made by ourselves, and these can't be wiped away so easily. Over the years I've buried a lot of bones; now I"m inclined to dig them up again - if only for your edification, my unknown reader." And turned what I had thought about this character upside down.

There are two other testaments - that of Witness 369A and Witness 369B - both young women from different sides of the 'border' - one living in Gilead, one safe in Canada. "We were the beneficiaries of the sacrifices made by our forebears. We were constantly reminded of this, and ordered to be grateful. Bbut it's difficult to be grateful for the absence of of an unknown quantity."

How those narratives weave together and what will happen will keep readers up late at night. And as more and more is revealed and the underlying plan becomes visible, I couldn't put the book down. And, as I don't want to provide any spoilers, I'll leave it at that. But suffice to say, I loved it.

Atwood's imagining of such a world is not so far fetched. I leave you with this....:Atwood reiterated that "each detail is plucked from reality" so nothing she wrote has not occurred already, whether it be in this climate or previously before." Scary huh? Read an excerpt of The Testaments.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Over the Counter #419

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

American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts by Chris McGreal.

From Public Affairs Books:

"A comprehensive portrait of a uniquely American epidemic–devastating in its findings and damning in its conclusions.

The opioid epidemic has been described as “one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.” But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world’s opioid painkillers.

Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it.

The starting point for McGreal’s deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of “drug dealers in white coats.”

A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry’s coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers–resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future."

(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, September 24, 2019

The Institute - Stephen King

Yes, I'm a Stephen King fan.....and I've liked some of his books better than others...but....I really liked this latest - The Institute.

I always like opening that first page, listening to that first chapter, wondering what King has in store for me. The first chapter of The Institute introduces us to Tim, a man not sure where he's headed next. This is what I love about King's storytelling. Rich, full descriptions, well developed characters and that wonderful frisson of what is going to happen next, how all the pieces will come together.

Well, next we leave Tim and meet Luke - as he is being kidnapped.  Luke wakes up in a room that looks similar to his bedroom, but isn't. When he ventures from the room, he meets a bunch of other kids. From them, he begins to piece together what has happened to him - and those who have come before. "They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

What do they all have in common? Abilities - telekinesis or telepathy. And the adults at The Institute? Oh, you're going to love to hate them.

Ahh, you can see it now can't you? Nobody does good vs. evil like King. And kids battling that evil? Even better. (Shades of Firestarter!) King has created a fantastic core of main players. They too, are so well developed. The listener will feel like they're part of the group. (although you definitely wouldn't want to be - the adults are truly despicable.)

And as the book progressed, I wondered how was Tim going to figure into this tale? All tales of good vs. evil need the heroes to make a stand.....

I chose to listen to The Institute. The reader was Santino Fontana and his performance was excellent! His voice is clear and so easy to listen to. He enunciates well and modulates his speed. The voices he's chosen for the characters are just right. The voices of the children are individual and believable and matched the mental images I had for them. Those nasty adults? Excellent interpretation as well, with the inflection and tone emphasizing, as my gran used to say, what 'pieces of work they are'. There's lots of action and tension in this book and Fontana captures that as well. See for yourself - listen to an excerpt of The Institute.

Did you watch Stranger Things? Yes? Well, you'll want to listen to The Institute. I loved it and binge listened (yes it's a thing) any chance I got. But even at 19 delicious hours of listening it was done way too quickly. Sigh...I'll be eagerly awaiting the next marvelous tale from Stephen King!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Giveaway - Imaginary Friend - Stephen Chbosky

Stephen Chbosky is the author of the bestselling coming of age story -  The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Twenty years later he's written something very, very different -- Imaginary Friend releases on October 1/19 and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader. (The title and cover look so creepy!)

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on." Read an excerpt of Imaginary Friend.

"Stephen Chbosky is the author of the multi-million-copy bestselling debut novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. In 2012, Chbosky wrote and directed an acclaimed film adaptation of his novel, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. He also directed the acclaimed 2017 film Wonder starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. Imaginary Friend is Chbosky’s long-awaited second novel." You can connect with Stephen Chbosky on Twitter.

And if you'd like a chance to win a copy of Imaginary Friend, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends October 5/19.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Over the Counter #281

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

Add caption
UK cover
Oh, I am looking forward to C.J. Tudor's forthcoming book - The Other People. It's going to be a bit of a wait - Jan '20 is release date. It's been added to my TBR list. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. So, the car headlights on the US cover suit the premise of the book. Searching....I also like the fractured font used on the title. The UK cover continues the 'look' of Tudor's previous two books with the stick figures. The faded out figure speaks to something gone of missing. And the title set on pieces of paper reminds me of ransom notes. Hmm, I'm torn this week, but if pressed to choose, I think I will go with the US cover this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Other People?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Short and Sweet - #6 - The Hunting Party - Lucey Foley

What? Well, time flies and sometimes I just seem to run out of it! So, Short and Sweet will be just that - some brief thoughts on books I've read or listened to. And when you see S and S, chances are I'm either busy, tired or on vacation!

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.

From the publisher, William Morrow:

"All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

“A ripping, riveting murder mystery — wily as Agatha Christie, charged with real menace, real depth. Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware.” – A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirty something friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Don't be left out. Join the party now." Read an excerpt of The Hunting Party.

My thoughts:

I was hooked  immediately. What's not to like? Isolated lodge, snow storm. old friends - and a 'locked room' murder. Foley does a fantastic job drawing her characters - particularly Miranda - the "queen bee." Her sense of entitlement, manipulation and downright nastiness is exceptionally done. And she's not the only one - each of the old friends has their own memories, resentments and secrets. And let's not forget the small staff at the lodge......

Delicious! I love a good whodunit - and there are many choices in The Hunting Party. Foley keeps the reader guessing with each new revelation. I was kept guessing right to the end. Excellent!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Over the Counter #418

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? There have been many, many books from other countries on how to be happy. How about one book covering many philosophies?

The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to be Happy by Helen Russell.

From Running Press:

"A fun, illustrated guide that takes us around the world, discovering the secrets to happiness. Author Helen Russell (The Year of Living Danishly) uncovers the fascinating ways that different nations search for happiness in their lives, and what they can teach us about our own quest for meaning.

This charming and diverse assortment of advice, history, and philosophies includes:

Sobremesa from Spain, Turangawaewae from New Zealand, Azart from Russia, Tarab from Syria,
joie de vivre from Canada and many more."

(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, September 17, 2019

The Rabbit Hunter - Lars Kepler

The Rabbit Hunter is the latest (6th) book in the Joona Linna series from husband and wife writing duo Lars Kepler.

Followers of the series will know that things went sideways for now ex-Detective Joona and two of his coworkers in the last book. Joona shouldered the blame and has now been in prison for two years.

But when a high ranking Swedish official is brutally murdered, Joona is offered a deal. Help find the killer and be pardoned. Joona takes the deal - yes, he wants out of prison, but solving crimes is what drives him.

The opening prologue sets the tone of the book. A particularly brutal murder of a particularly loathsome man. (Gentle readers - there are graphic scenes and plot devices in this book.) The killer is given a voice and his chapters are quite chilling.

Saga Bauer is back and she is one of my favourite characters, on par with Joona. She's tough, driven and highly intelligent - just like Joona. The time in prison has given Joona time to think about his personal life. This release will give him time to pursue it. Many of the relationships in the book are fractured - and this ties in with the main plotline.

The pace is quick, the action is constant and the tension rises. Although I expected a dark read, this one was really dark - some of the story seems like oddly gratuitous sex (Jeanette in the bathroom?!) and violence that has no bearing on the case. The last page had me wondering if I had a page missing in my copy. It ends a bit abruptly, but sets the stage (and crime) for the next Joona Linna book. If you like dark Scandi noir, this is a series for you. Read an excerpt of The Rabbit Hunter.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Their Little Secret - Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham has just released the sixteenth book in his DI Tom Thorne series - Their Little Secret. DI Nicola Tanner has been added to the series title in the last few entries.

Thorne is currently assigned to the Homicide Assessment Team - a mobile unit that attends sudden death cases to see if they are suspicious and need investigation. A seeming suicide by train looks to be an open and shut suicide case, but Thorne thinks may be more to it. And indeed there is. Billingham's plot for this latest mystery is dark and twisted. (most of them are!) Or to quote Thorne: "The truth was, there was very little about this case that wasn't weird. Off-kilter, unnatural. It felt as though something misshapen had woken and begun crawling towards him into the light...."

The reader has a window into both Thorne's investigation and the killer's thoughts, actions and moves. In this case, knowing who the killer is doesn't detract from enjoying the book at all. It only ramped up the tension and had me hooked. Thorne's dogged pursuit of answers and results isn't always by the book. Sometimes that works for him, other times not so much. But, I do love a driven, rebellious lead - and that is most definitely Thorne. Tanner and Thorne are complete opposites and as such, play incredibly well off each other. Different strengths, styles and outlooks.

Now, Billinham's plotting is always great and his prose are a treat to read. But, what I really enjoy are the recurring characters. Their Little Secret picks up just after the last book. Now, not to spoil anything but there were some lines crossed by Thorne, Tanner and coroner Phil Hendricks in the last book. The undercurrent of those actions runs just under the surface and the effects are telling nine months later. Thorne's personal life has fallen apart - again. And Tanner's as well. Funnily enough, the 'wild card' of the bunch (Hendricks) has found solid ground.

Billingham throws a curve into the last few chapters that I didn't see coming at all. And there's one unanswered question that will be perhaps answered in the next book?

This is one of my favourite series and Their Little Secret is yet another excellent read from Mark Billingham. See for yourself - here's an excerpt.

Friday, September 13, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #280

- 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
Paul Daly is a British writer - her latest book is Clear My Name. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well....two quite different presentations this week. The title font on the US cover does convey a bit of a darker tone. But, the image used? Boring and I've seen it too many times. Women on a cover. Now, the UK cover interest me more. I like the red font and how some of the letters are starting to blur. The choice of words at the top easily lets you know there's a mystery inside. And the subtle bars in the background adds to that feel. So, an easy choice for me this week - UK. What about you? 
Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Clear My Name?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Over the Counter #417

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I was completely unaware of the benefits of bean water......

Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free with the Magic of Bean Water Paperback by Zsu Dever.

From Vegan Heritage Press:

"This groundbreaking cookbook is the first to explore the many uses for aquafaba – a miraculous plant-based egg replacer made from simple bean liquid.

The bean liquid we used to throw away turns out to be one of the most astonishing culinary discoveries of the decade. With its amazing egg-replacement abilities, miraculous "aquafaba" can be used as an egg-replacer to make everything from French toast to lemon meringue pie. Aquafaba can be used as a binder in both sweet and savory recipes and is a boon to vegans, people with egg allergies, as well as anyone interested in innovative cooking with a magical new ingredient.

Aquafaba includes the story of how the bean liquid properties were discovered, how to use it, and how to make fabulous recipes, including: waffles, crepes, quiche, burgers, macarons, marshmallows,.
Aquafaba can even be used to make dairy-free cheese, ice cream, butter, and so much more. The book also includes a chapter filled with recipes that use the chickpeas and beans that remain after using their liquid to make aquafaba.

The latest title by San-Diego-based author Zsu Dever (author of Vegan Bowls and Everyday Vegan Eats), Aquafaba features Zsu's signature photography, her easy-to-follow instructions, and metric conversion charts."

(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, September 10, 2019

The Last Widow - Karin Slaughter

I am a big fan of Karin Slaughter's writing. I've enjoyed the last few stand alones, but have been waiting for a new Will Trent/Sara Linton book. It's here! The Last Widow. With every book, I say to myself oh, that's the best one yet, but I think Slaughter has outdone herself with The Last Widow - it's an amazing read. I literally couldn't put it down.

Slaughter starts off with a prologue guaranteed to hook the reader. A woman out shopping with her daughter is snatched from a parking lot. A month later she is still missing.

Will and Sara are at Sara's parents when a car collision sends them running to the street to help. But there's something off about it....And then the unthinkable happens - Sara is taken as well....but who? why? where?

And where Slaughter takes her plot from there is not so far removed from today's headlines. The current climate of hate, supremacists and domestic terrorism are the basis of Slaughter's intricate plot. The mind set, thought processes and violence of the characters of the alt-right group are frighteningly real.

I was so happy to reconnect with Will and Sara and see how their relationship was progressing. The romantic sub plot that has been building as the series progresses is done so well. Believable and not over the top into saccharin territory. But as the danger to both lead characters increased as the story progressed, I started to worry that Slaughter would do something. (Yes, she has surprised me (and not in a good way) in previous books). And I stayed up very, very late frantically turning pages to make sure that didn't happen. Action packed doesn't even begin to describe this book!

Recurring characters also return. Oddly, I am growing quite fond of Will's boss Amanda, despite her single mindedness. And I've always liked Will's partner Faith. Motherhood is examined through the eyes of many women in this novel.

Slaughter's writing is addictive and The Last Widow is no exception. If you've not read this series before, I encourage you to go back to the beginning and discover the players right from the start.

How many stars? An easy five. Sooooooo good. Read an excerpt of The Last Widow.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Possession - Michael Rutger

The Possession is the second book in Michael Rutger's The Anomaly Files series.

I quite enjoyed the first one - The Anomaly. (my review) This description had me pick up that first book...."If Indiana Jones lived in the X-Files era, he might bear at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore - a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the "real" experts, but beloved of conspiracy theorists."

And it was catching up with the characters and seeing what new 'unknowns' Nolan and company would discover that had me happily picking up this next book.

Sidekick Ken is back as well as other supporting players from the first book. Hunting for a story (okay, really Nolan knows his ex-wife is on a story there herself and wants to see her) the crew find themselves in Birchlake, California. The story? Walls - stone walls seemingly randomly built. They start and stop at odd spots, the height on most of them won't keep anything in or out and many of them are in the forest. Rutger references many sites that had me firing up a browser to check them out. And yes, this is a real thing - the Nazca Lines, the Sajama Lines and Gungywamp are just a few examples of this phenomenon. But there is much more going on in Birchlake - add in a missing girl and some unusual townsfolk - and you've got yourself a multilayered story.

What's not to like? A mystery, the unknown, snappy (and humorous) dialogue and lots of action. The setting is really well done - I could absolutely imagine being caught up in the fog, the odd buildings and the dark forest. There are some creepy moments when I wanted to shout - No, don't go there to our intrepid crew! I must admit, I had to do some mental gymnastics to keep up with the last few chapters. The story flips back and forth between two groups. And up and down as the 'anomaly' and the present collide.

Although this is part of a series, The Possession can absolutely be read as a stand alone. Here's an excerpt of The Possession. I did like the first book a bit better, but this reader is looking forward to the third entry in this series.

Friday, September 6, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #279

- 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
Lisa Jewell's newest book, The Family Upstairs, is already released in the UK, and comes out in November in North America. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. The UK cover takes the title quite literally in this cover shot. Dark rooms in a multi leveled building with one lit window. The dark tones say something's not quite right. And if you're not sure, there's a nice blurb from Ian Rankin.  Although I must say, I am a bit tire of 'scary house' pictures. Now - the US cover has no house in sight. It's dark, but that winding vine is quite ominous looking as it twists through the title. And the one bright spot is that magenta blossom. Maybe it's a poisonous plant? I find the US cover much more sinister and interesting - so that's my vote this week. What about you?
Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Family Upstairs?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Knife - Jo Nesbo

Knife is the twelfth book in Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series. I have to say, I think it's one of the best.

Harry is drinking again - it's a reaction to his wife Rakel kicking him out. But he's s been given another chance with the Oslo Police and is now assigned to cold cases. He finds a few that can possibly be tied to a heinous criminal he put behind bars ten years ago. The man has just been released. But before Harry can get into that investigation, his world is rocked by the murder of someone close to him. (Faithful readers - you will be very surprised, as was I) And though he shouldn't be anywhere near the case, there is no stopping Harry Hole.

I love square peg, round hole lead characters and Harry is most definitely that. He's a dark, dangerous, conflicted and complicated protagonist I can't get enough of.

Nesbo's descriptions of place conjure up vivid pictures of the settings. As with most of Nesbo's books, social commentary on the state of politics, corruptions, crime and the social welfare of Norway is woven into the plot. Harry's philosophizing will have you stopping to think.

Nesbo's plotting is intricate and multi-layered with many threads. How those threads are joined changes many times over the course of Harry's investigation. I absolutely bought in to the offered possibilities, only to be found wrong. Harry's memory is fallible due to the drinking. He often can't remember whole chunks of time. But his deductive reasoning is second to none. I was stunned as the book headed towards the final whodunit. Didn't see that coming! I love being unable to predict where a tale is going to go. Nesbo has surprised me with almost every book. And the ending? Oh, it leaves the door open for another Harry book!

The book is translated from Norwegian by Neil Smith. It's been done very well, reading smoothly with no choppiness or stilted feeling. Read an excerpt of Knife.

Those new to Harry Hole may want to start with an earlier book to truly get to know Harry and how life has led him to this time and place.

(And anyone with a hard copy of Knife - have a look at the author photo on the back - Nesbo is exactly how I picture Harry)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Over the Counter #416

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I saw this one on a coming soon list...

My Penguin Year: Living with the Emperors by Lindsay McCrae.

From William Morrow:

"An unprecedented portrait of an emperor penguin colony in Antarctica, generously illustrated with the author’s breathtaking photography.

For 337 days, award-winning wildlife cameraman Lindsay McCrae intimately followed 11,000 emperor penguins amid the singular beauty of Antarctica. This is his masterful chronicle of one penguin colony’s astonishing journey of life, death, and rebirth—and of the extraordinary human experience of living amongst them in the planet’s harshest environment.

A miracle occurs each winter in Antarctica. As temperatures plummet 60° below zero and the sea around the remote southern continent freezes, emperors—the largest of all penguins—begin marching up to 100 miles over solid ice to reach their breeding grounds. They are the only animals to breed in the depths of this, the worst winter on the planet; and in an unusual role reversal, the males incubate the eggs, fasting for over 100 days to ensure they introduce their chicks safely into their new frozen world.

My Penguin Year recounts McCrae's remarkable adventure to the end of the Earth. He observed every aspect of a breeding emperor's life, facing the inevitable sacrifices that came with living his childhood dream, and grappling with the personal obstacles that, being over 15,000km away from the comforts of home, almost proved too much. Out of that experience, he has written an unprecedented portrait of Antarctica’s most extraordinary residents."

(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, September 3, 2019

The Turn of the Key - Ruth Ware

I absolutely love Ruth Ware's writing! I have been eagerly waiting for her newest - The Turn of the Key.

The cover image makes me wonder what's on the other side of the door and the title itself hints at things hidden away. The premise builds on that initial impression.....

Childcare worker Rowan is looking for a job change. When she sees an ad for a live in nanny for the Elincourt family, she applies - and to her surprise gets the job. One catch - she must start asap. Did I mention that Heatherbrae House is quite isolated out in the countryside? And that it is a 'smart' house - controlled by an app? A Gothic feel with a side of modern.

We know that something has gone very, very wrong right from the beginning of the book. Rowan is writing a letter to a lawyer, explaining what happened and I was caught up in the tale immediately.

Rowan is left in charge of the four daughters right away as Mr and Mrs Elincourt must travel to a convention for work. This was unexpected for Rowan. And the children do not seem to want her there. But is it just the children? The house seems to have a mind of its own as well.....

Ruth Ware is a master at building the suspense. Everyday occurrences take on a malevolent air - items misplaced, unexplained drafts and noises and more. The tension grows and grows - and I found myself mentally shouting at Rowan to just leave the house. The movie equivalent of don't go in the basement applies to the attic in this case.

Ware's description of the house made it easy to imagine the setting. Making the house a 'smart' house adds a layer and more questions to the story. I appreciated the many what if's and possibilities afforded by the isolation and the electronics - and the history of the house and previous nannies. Let alone the family - there are secrets in this house, and Rowan hints at one in her own as well.

The ending provides a twist - one I hadn't thought of, but the finale wasn't the outcome I had imagined.

I chose to listen to The Turn of the Key. Imogen Church was the reader and she was brilliant! Her interpretation of Rowan's fear, frustration and anger are so well done. Listening drew me into Rowan's state of mind and amplified the tension. The description of events was so creepy - I will never hear the word 'creak' again without hearing her voice. I simply couldn't stop listening. I've said it before and I'll say it again - listening immerses me in a book. And The Turn of the Key was a standout! Well done! Listen to an excerpt of The Turn of the Key.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Giveaway - Old Bones - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I've got a great giveaway for you today! Old Bones is new from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - and it's the first book in their new Nora Kelly series!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"#1 bestselling authors Preston & Child bring the true story of the ill-fated Donner Party to new life in a thrilling blend of archaeology, history, murder, and suspense.

Nora Kelly, a young curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology, is approached by historian Clive Benton with a once-in-a-lifetime proposal: to lead a team in search of the so-called “Lost Camp” of the tragic Donner Party. This was a group of pioneers who earned a terrible place in American history when they became snow-bound in the California mountains in 1847, their fate unknown until the first skeletonized survivors stumbled out of the wilderness, raving about starvation, murder-and cannibalism.

Benton tells Kelly he has stumbled upon an amazing find: the long-sought diary of one of the victims, which has an enigmatic description of the Lost Camp. Nora agrees to lead an expedition to locate and excavate it-to reveal its long-buried secrets.

Once in the mountains, however, they learn that discovering the camp is only the first step in a mounting journey of fear. For as they uncover old bones, they expose the real truth of what happened, one that is far more shocking and bizarre than mere cannibalism. And when those ancient horrors lead to present-day violence on a grand scale, rookie FBI agent Corrie Swanson is assigned the case…only to find that her first investigation might very well be her last." Read an excerpt of Old Bones.

And if you'd like to read Old Bones, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends Sept 14/19.

Friday, August 30, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover # 278

- 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 heart-pounding debut from the creator of the hit
Scandinavian television show The Killing." I quite liked the show and am looking forward to reading this one. The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, we have two deliciously creepy covers this week. The red of the US cover just signals danger. And with a few black squiggles, we have the shape of a man. And those few lines are very, very effective in their simplicity. The UK cover background is a dirty white - who knows what the dirt is rom. And the figure is made from chestnuts - with a nail driven into the heat and splintered sticks for limbs. Also very creepy. But I think I am going to go with the US cover this week. I just find those understated lines so ominous. What about you? Which cover do you prefer?
 Any plans to read The Chestnut Man? 
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Lost You - Haylen Beck

I enjoyed Haylen Beck's previous book, Here and Gone. (my review) I happily added Lost You to my TBR list.

Lost You starts off with a great prologue to set the plot. Two women and one little boy - with both claiming they are his mother. From that start we head back to the beginning, meeting Lilly who desperately wants a child. She is unable to have children, so she and her husband seek out a surrogate agency. They are paired with a surrogate named Anna.

Yup, you can see the problems that might arise right? Beck does a great job of telling the story from both women's perspectives. Both were well drawn and easily provoke a reaction from the reader.  My heart was firmly with one of them. The other one? Oh, it's not hard to dislike her. At all. Mr. Kovac, the representative for the agency is frightening in his politeness.

The tension grows exponentially as the baby's birth draws nearer. And yes, some of the situations require the reader to suspend disbelief (which I happily did). I thought I had guessed what the ending might be, but was proven wrong. I can't say it's the ending I wanted, but it's the right one.

Beck's writing reads like a screenplay, fast-paced, quick and with the obligatory twists a suspense novel needs.  I was looking for an escapist summer read and found it in Lost You. Read an excerpt of Lost You. Film rights have been sold for Beck's first book and I can see the same happening for Lost You.

Haylen Beck is a pseudonym for a well known crime author, whose books I have enjoyed in the past.