Thursday, February 28, 2019

Watcher in the Woods - Kelley Armstrong

I have been addicted to Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series, aka City of the Lost, from the very first book. I've been eagerly awaiting this fourth entry - Watcher in the Woods. 

Rockton is a hidden town of two hundred in the Yukon where people go to disappear. They're either running from something or someone. It's not on a map and is 'hidden by both technological and structural camouflage.' Casey Duncan arrived in Rockton nine months ago. She was a cop 'down south' and is still a cop on a the Rockton staff of three.

Watcher in the Woods picks up two weeks after the end of the third book. Still picking up the pieces from a murder, Casey and company are caught unawares when they find a man who says he's a US Marshall, lurking in the woods surrounding the town. He says he's there to take one of the residents into custody and demands that he be turned over. But most of the residents go by an alias and the Marshall doesn't know that name. Within hours of being taken to Rockton, the Marshall is shot and killed. And Casey and Sheriff Dalton have another murder on their hands. Is the man really a Marshall? How did he find the town? Who killed him? And how did the killer have a gun - they're banned for residents. In a town full of fugitives how do you ferret out the truth? Rockton is 'governed' by a Council - and their latest edicts are raising questions about their motives and directives.

There is so much to love about this series! First off, I am fascinated by the idea of a hidden town up in the North. A town full of liars, thieves and criminals provides a wealth of opportunities for story telling. It's not just the town. There are those who have chosen to leave the town and make their home elsewhere in the wilderness. There is First Settlement who live a rough but recognizable life. But there are also Hostiles - people who have reverted to an almost animalistic state. And a few who live alone. Armstrong has eked out the details on these outsiders through each book - and it's done nothing but make me more curious.

The characters are just as engaging as the premise. Casey is a strong female lead - tough, intelligent and determined - but not perfect. She has also found love with Sheriff Eric Dalton. I like the relationship between the two. It adds another layer to the books and is well written, steering clear of cloying romanticism. With Casey and Dalton, what we know as readers is the truth about them both. Dalton is also the only resident born in the town. His experience and outlook is different having not lived down south. There is a large supporting cast that features in each book. They too are just as well written. Given the reason for the town, they are an eclectic bunch and we're never sure if they are what or who they say they are. A new character has moved to the town and I think she'll add an interesting sub plot to the next book.

And that brings me to the whodunnit. The reader is along for the ride as Casey and Dalton try to determine who the killer is. It's not a straight path to the guilty party as all, which I really appreciate. Casey's reasoning and deductions ask the reader to pay close attention. But, I was still happily kept guessing until the last pages.

And best of all? There's more stories to come from Rockton. And this reader can't wait! Watcher in the Woods is another five star read from Kelley Armstrong. Here's a excerpt of Watcher in the Woods.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Over the Counter #469

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

Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of '80s and '90s Teen Fiction by Gabrielle Moss.

From Quirk Books:

"A hilarious and nostalgic trip through the history of paperback pre-teen series of the 80s and 90s.

Every twenty- or thirty-something woman knows these books. The pink covers, the flimsy paper, the zillion volumes in the series that kept you reading for your entire adolescence. Spurred by the commercial success of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club, these were not the serious-issue YA novels of the 1970s, nor were they the blockbuster books of the Harry Potter and Twilight ilk. They were cheap, short, and utterly beloved.

PAPERBACK CRUSH dives in deep to this golden age with affection, history, and a little bit of snark. Readers will discover (and fondly remember) girl-centric series on everything from correspondence (Pen Pals and Dear Diary) to sports (The Pink Parrots, Cheerleaders, and The Gymnasts) to a newspaper at an all-girls Orthodox Jewish middle school (The B.Y. Times) to a literal teen angel (Teen Angels: Heaven Can Wait, where an enterprising guardian angel named Cisco has to earn her wings "by helping the world's sexist rock star.") Some were blatant ripoffs of the successful series (looking at you, Sleepover Friends and The Girls of Canby Hall), some were sick-lit tearjerkers à la Love Story (Abby, My Love) and some were just plain perplexing (Uncle Vampire??) But all of them represent that time gone by of girl-power and endless sessions of sustained silent reading.

In six hilarious chapters (Friendship, Love, School, Family, Jobs, Terror, and Tragedy), Bustle Features Editor Gabrielle Moss takes the reader on a nostalgic tour of teen book covers of yore, digging deep into the history of the genre as well as the stories behind the best-known series."

(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, February 26, 2019

The Hiding Place - C.J. Tudor

I added C.J. Tudor to my 'must read' list of authors after devouring her debut novel The Chalk Man. (my review) I couldn't wait to read her newly released second book, The Hiding Place.

Joe became a teacher after leaving his hometown of Arnhill. He left behind heartache, loss and more. It was this descriptor that had me hooked....

"Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn't the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back."

And so Joe goes back to Arnhill to work as a teacher. But he has his own reasons for returning. He's in a bit of trouble himself...

Arnill is a place full of secrets where the past seems to be repeating itself. Tudor paints a darkly vivid setting. Joe's cottage, the school, the abandoned mines and the rest of the town are places you wouldn't choose to be. And the inhabitants? Just as dark and duplicitous.

But through it all is the question - what happened to Joe's sister?

"And that's when I feel it. A sudden wave of dread like vertigo, that hollows out my stomach from within and saps the strength from my bones. I will not let that happen. It's happening again."

And Joe. He's a deeply flawed character, but I was drawn to him and happily alongside as he plumbed both the past and present for answers. I absolutely loved his voice - his acerbic wit and sarcasm are perfect, but don't always serve him well.

Tudor drops hints about what happened to Annie as the book progresses through flashback to the past chapters. About two thirds of the way through, I had a good idea of what transpired. And I was right (a nod to Stephen King), but it didn't detract at all from my enjoyment of this book.

Tudor's writing makes for addictive reading and I can't wait for book number three. Read an excerpt of The Hiding Place.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Giveaway - This Much Country - Kristin Knight Pace

I'm looking forward to reading Kristin Knight Pace's memoir This Much Country. It releases March 5/19 - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From Grand Central Publishing:

"A memoir of heartbreak, thousand-mile races, the endless Alaskan wilderness and many, many dogs from one of only a handful of women to have completed both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

In 2009, after a crippling divorce that left her heartbroken and directionless, Kristin decided to accept an offer to live at a friend’s cabin outside of Denali National Park in Alaska for a few months. In exchange for housing, she would take care of her friend’s eight sled dogs.

That winter, she learned that she was tougher than she ever knew. She learned how to survive in one of the most remote places on earth and she learned she was strong enough to be alone. She fell in love twice: first with running sled dogs, and then with Andy, a gentle man who had himself moved to Alaska to heal a broken heart.

Kristin and Andy married and started a sled dog kennel. While this work was enormously satisfying, Kristin became determined to complete the Iditarod — the 1,000-mile dogsled race from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast.

This Much Country is the story of renewal and transformation. It’s about journeying across a wild and unpredictable landscape and finding inner peace, courage and a true home. It’s about pushing boundaries and overcoming paralyzing fears."

"Kristin Knight Pace was born in Fort Worth, TX and graduated with honors from The University of Montana with a degree in photojournalism. After writing for several newspapers and magazines, she left the publishing world to lead a life worth writing about — one of adventure.  What was supposed to be a five-month stay turned into years on end, and now she has found and married the love of her life, become the Lead Backcountry Ranger for Denali National Park, and realized her dream of running dogs through the wilderness of Alaska. Kristin finished the 2015 Yukon Quest and the 2016 Iditarod."

If This Much Country sounds like a book you'd like to read, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends March 9/19.

Friday, February 22, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #251

- 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 sister writing duo of Liv Constantine returns with a new book entitled The Last Time I Saw You. It releases in May on both sides of the pond. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, so - two very different looks for this title. I have to admit, right off the start, I'm not a fan of the woman in the window image on the UK cover. The all blue background with yellow font for the title is effective - it stands out. I do like the simpler look of the US cover this week. The serpentine strand of jewels seem somewhat ominous and dangerous. The red color used also denotes danger. An easy choice for me this week - US. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Last Time I Saw You?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Woman Inside - E.G. Scott

The Woman Inside is a debut collaboration from E.G. Scott - a pseudonym for two NYC-based writers, one a publishing professional and one a screenwriter.

The Woman Inside is told from two viewpoints - Rebecca the wife and Paul the husband. They've been married for twenty years and each of them came to the marriage with secrets. And after twenty years, there are new secrets. Paul is having an affair and it looks like he's planning a new future for himself. Rebecca has a serious drug problem, but is not going to let Paul throw away their marriage. They're each capable of so much....

"I didn't realize what I'd done until many minutes later. Sometimes my anger is like that. The rage has been within me for so long....I've worked hard to keep it under wraps, especially from my husband."

Ahh, what follows is a lovely game of cat and mouse between the two. The reader is aware of what each player is thinking and scheming. There's also a back and forth narrative - giving us insight into the early days of the marriage.

But things takes a turn with an unexpected twist and the two are now forced to work together against a common threat. But the reader is still privy to that insider knowledge - and I could see what was coming. But I wasn't completely right - there was still another few surprises. You'll have to suspend belief on a few plot devices, but go with it.

Neither character is likeable and both are distinctly unreliable. The characters I did like were the police detectives - I found their back and forth banter quite entertaining. (Perhaps we'll see them in another book from this duo?)

If you're looking for domestic noir with some really nice twists, this is a really good bet. (But I'm not sure about that cover....) Read an excerpt of The Woman Inside.

The Woman Inside reads like a film - and TV rights to The Woman Inside have already been bought!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Over the Counter # 468

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Trying to make ends meet....

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive Hardcover by Stephanie Land.

From Hachette Books:

"Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land’s memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.

She wrote the true stories that weren’t being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn’t feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.

Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients’ lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the “servant” worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie’s story, but it’s not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit."

(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, February 19, 2019

I Owe You One - Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella's books are the perfect antidote for dreary days. Light, fun and fluffy. I Owe You One is newly released and it happily kept me company over the course of a very cold, gray winter's Sunday afternoon.

Fixie Farr, her mom and her two siblings run the family business, a housewares store. Well, it's pretty much Fixie - the relationships between her and her brother and sister are fractious to say the least. But, as her father always said - family first. And Fixie has lived by that tenet.

Where did she get that name? She wasn't born a Fixie, but she can't help fixing things for almost everyone. Except herself.....

Fixie is a wonderfully engaging lead character. You can't help but like her and root for her. But the more she tries to fix things, the worse things get. Handsome strangers, old flames, misunderstandings, missteps, family quarrels - and of course the will they/won't they romance plot.

The supporting cast is lots of fun as well. The 'negative' characters are easy to spot. (and very easy to dislike) I laughed out loud many times at the antics and dialogue of the shop assistants.

And yes, the outcome is pretty much a given, but it's the journey there that is so much fun to read. Kinsella's books are engaging, entertaining, humourous and a perfect pick me up. Read an excerpt of I Owe You One.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Giveaway - Winter Sisters - Robin Oliveira

The paperback edition of Robin Oliveira's novel Winter Sisters has just released - and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader. Historical fiction fans, this one's for you!

What's it about? From Penguin Books:

New York, 1879: An epic blizzard descends on Albany, devastating the city. When the snow finally settles, two newly orphaned girls are missing. Determined not to give up hope, Dr. Mary Sutter, a former Civil War surgeon, searches for the two sisters. When what happened to them is finally revealed, Dr. Sutter must fight the most powerful of Albany’s citizens, risking personal and public danger as she seeks to protect the fragile, putting at risk loves and lives in her quest to right unimaginable wrongs.

As contemporary as it is historic, Winter Sisters is part gripping thriller, part family saga, and ultimately a story of trauma and resilience that explores the tremendous good and unspeakable evil of which humans are capable." Read an excerpt of Winter Sisters. A reading group guide is also available.

“Stunning. . . Oliveira writes with feeling.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[An] engrossing story. . . that feels utterly timely.”—People, “The Best New Books”

Photo: © Shellie Gansz
"Robin Oliveira is the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter and I Always Loved You. She holds a BA in Russian and studied at the Pushkin Language Institute in Moscow. She received an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is also a registered nurse, specializing in critical care. She lives in Seattle, Washington." You can connect with Robin on her website, and like her on Facebook.

And if you'd like to read Winter Sisters, enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, ends March 2/19.

Friday, February 15, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #250

- 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
US cover
I was intrigued by this description of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher...."When a beloved family dog
is stolen, her owner sets out on a life-changing journey through the ruins of our world to bring her back in this fiercely compelling tale of survival, courage, and hope. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and The Girl With All the Gifts." Yup, added to the ever teetering TBR list. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. On first glance, we have two very similar covers. Differences? First off I noticed that the dog is alone on the US cover and the UK cover has both boy and dog. The gold tones while slightly darker at the top on the UK cover, are very similar. Two different fonts used. The UK font seems more suitable to an apocalyptic world.  The US font has that dangerous red around the edges. The interior of the cave (?) is black on the US cover and bit lighter on the UK cover. Hmm, I think I prefer the UK cover this week. Which cover do you prefer? 
Any plans to read A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Once Upon a River - Diane Setterfield

I've read Diane Setterfield's previous two historical fiction novels and really enjoyed them. But her latest, Once Upon a River? Absolutely fantastic!

1887. A pub in a small village on the River Thames. And what is a pub if not a gathering place, a place to catch up with neighbours and friends and a place to tell stories. Many stories are told of the dark and stormy night that Henry Daunt stumbled into The Swan, half dead and carrying a small girl. The girl appears to be dead....but miraculously isn't. But who is she? Many claim to know her, but is she Ann? Amelia? Alice?

"In this room, in this inn, they had seen her dead and seen her alive. Unknowable, ungraspable, inexplicable, still one thing was plain: she was their story."

I was drawn into Setterfield's tale from the opening pages. I could picture myself sitting in a cozy corner of the pub, listening to the stories being told. Once Upon a River has a delicious fairy tale feel to it.

We are introduced into a wealth of characters as the search for  who the child is begins. Each and every one is wonderfully drawn. And as with a fairy tale, you'll find the 'good' and the 'bad' very easy to determine. I was drawn to so many of the 'good' ones. But my favourite has to be Robert Armstrong, a farmer who plays a pivotal role in this tale. His goodness shines through, his determination to do the right thing. And...he talks to his pigs. And the pigs seem to understand and answer with their eyes. A close second was Rita Sunday - a no nonsense nurse whose crisp exterior covers up her heart's desire - and fears. But the entire book revolves around this character - the water, the River Thames. The water gives and takes, holds memories of what has gone and knows what should be.

Who the girl might be (and was she really dead?) is at the center of the book. And the answer to that drives the book forward in a measured, meandering, magical journey.

Setterfield's prose are wonderful and the story captivated me. I was sad to turn the last page. But so very glad I read this one. Once Upon a River has found a forever home on my bookshelf. Read an excerpt of Once Upon a River.

"And now, dear reader, the story is over. It is time for you to cross the bridge once more and return to the world you came from. This river, which is and is not the Thames, must continue flowing without you. You have haunted here long enough, and besides, surely you have rivers of your own to attend to?"

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Over the Counter #467

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

Snacks: a Canadian food history by Janis Thiessen.

From University of Manitoba Press:

"Snacks is a history of Canadian snack foods, the independent producers and workers who make them, and the consumers who can’t put them down.

Janis Thiessen profiles several iconic Canadian snack food companies, including Old Dutch Potato Chips, Hawkins Cheezies, and chocolatier Ganong. These companies have developed in distinctive ways, reflecting the unique stories of their founders and their intense connection to specific places.

These stories of salty or sweet confections also reveal a history that is at odds with popular notions of ‘junk food.’ Through extensive oral history and archival research, Thiessen uncovers the roots of our deep loyalties to different snack foods, what it means to be an independent snack food producer, and the often-quirky ways snacks have been created and marketed.

Clearly written, extensively illustrated, and lavish with detail about some of Canadians’ favorite snacks, this is a lively and entertaining look at food and labour history."

(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, February 12, 2019

The Golden Tresses of the Dead - Alan Bradley

Oh, I fell in love with the intrepid Flavia DeLuce ten years ago. The tenth book to feature Alan Bradley's spunky young sleuth is the newly released The Golden Tresses of the Dead.

If you've not read this series (you must!), it takes place in 1950's England in a rambling old mansion near a small village called Bishop's Lacey. Bodies and murder seem to find twelve year old Flavia. And she invariably finds the murderer, using her deductive skills and her encyclopedic knowledge of poisons and chemistry. She and the family retainer Dogger have founded a new detective agency -  Arthur Dogger & Associates. They don't have to wait long for their first case - a severed human finger is found in her sister's wedding cake - and that finger points to more.....

I always enjoy Bradley's mysteries - and this one is no exception. It was definitely a unique and  unpredictable crime. I love the time period, the crumbling mansion, the poky village and all of it's quirky inhabitants.

But the real draw for me is Flavia. I love her way of thinking, her view of the world, her view of herself and her place in it. I've said it before and I'll say it again...."Flavia is one of the most endearing, captivating, curious, beguiling, precocious characters I've ever discovered in the pages of a book."

I've always enjoyed the enigmatic Dogger. His role in this latest is larger than any previous book. We get to know more about this private man, who encourages and watches over Flavia. Their interactions are a joy to read. A newer addition to the household is Undine, Flavia's younger cousin. She's grown on me over the last few books and has now proven herself to most certainly be a DeLuce.

But while Flavia has a brilliant mind and can converse with any adult, she is still a lonely little girl. Her best friend seems to be her bicycle Gladys, who once belonged to her deceased mother. She gives Gladys a voice and emotions that mirror her own feelings.

"Gladys was quite fond of Cynthia, and gave off little squeaks of metallic anticipation as we sped along between the hedgerows." "Gladys loved lounging in the churchyard grace, and I left her lying there to graze or ruminate as she saw fit."

What is the appeal of an twelve year old protagonist for adult readers? Well, for this reader, it's the chance to vicariously relive my missed opportunities to become Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy. And honestly, you can't read any of the books, without smiling and chuckling.

Absolutely, positively recommended! If you haven't read any of this series yet, I encourage you to start at the beginning. For established Flavia fans - I was saddened to read that The Golden Tresses of the Dead is the final book in this series. I'm so sad to hear this, but so thankful to have had ten absolutely wonderful reads. Read an excerpt of The Golden Tresses of the Dead.

(The titles for Bradley's novels are always interesting. This latest is from Shakespeare's Sonnet 68..."Before the golden tresses of the dead, The right of sepulchres, were shorn away, To live a second life on second head...)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Giveaway - Blood Orange - Harriet Tyce

Domestic noir fans - I've got a great title for you! Harriet Tyce's debut novel Blood Orange releases Feb. 9/19 - and I have a copy to give away!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"A young lawyer's outwardly perfect life spirals out of control as she takes on her first murder case in this dark and twisty debut thriller for readers of Paula Hawkins, A.J. Finn, or Shari Lapena.

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise--she's just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems...

Just one more night. Then I'll end it. 
Alison drinks too much. She's neglecting her family. And she's having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. 
Alison's client doesn't deny that she stabbed her husband - she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I'm watching you. I know what you're doing.
But someone knows Alison's secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she's done, and who won't stop until she's lost everything...." Read an excerpt of Blood Orange.

"Harriet Tyce grew up in Edinburgh. She studied English at Oxford University and Law at City University before working as a criminal barrister for nearly a decade. She lives in London. Blood Orange is her debut novel." You can connect with Harriet on her website and follow her on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read Blood Orange, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends Feb 23/19.

Friday, February 8, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #249

- 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 quite enjoyed Phaedra Patrick's last book, The Curious CharmsUS cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well, what's not to love - the lead character is a librarian!  I actually like both covers this week.
of Arthur Pepper. I'm looking forward to her forthcoming novel,  The Library of Lost and Found. The
A cup of tea goes well with a good book. ;0)   
I like the stack of books image on the US cover. The UK cover seems to feature mail more than a library feel. I do like the blurb on the envelope. A hard choice for me this week, but I'm going to go withe the US cover - I like the image and the color more than the UK cover. What about you?
Any plans to read The Library of Lost and Found?
Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Her One Mistake - Heidi Perks

I never tire of suspense novels! My latest listen is Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks. And it was really, really good!

Harriet is a very protective mother. She has never left her four year old daughter Alice with anyone. She's taking a course (that she doesn't want her husband to know about) so she agrees to let her best friend Charlotte take Alice to the school fair with her own children. But, the unthinkable happens - Alice goes missing....and Charlotte is to blame. Is there a more frightening premise!?

Her One Mistake is told in alternating chapters from Harriet and Charlotte's viewpoints. As listeners we are privy to both women's thoughts, emotions and angst. But we also get a glimpse into their private lives. Despite being best friends, Harriet never really talks about herself, her past or her marriage. And there's a lot going on in Harriet's marriage. Her husband Brian is so well written. The public see one face, but Harriet lives with another. I love the back and forth method of storytelling. Although, it does ensure I stay up far too late, listening to just one more chapter.

But where is Alice? Is she dead or alive? Perks throws in a plot twist that I didn't see coming at all. And the title? Her One Mistake - whose mistake? And what mistake? You'll have to listen to find out!

There were three readers for Her One Mistake - Kirsty Dillon, Julie Maisey and Sally Scott. Now, I'm not sure who played what part, but they were all excellent. Charlotte's voice was more confident and Harriet's tone portrayed her hesitancy. All the emotions - anger, fear and grief that would come with a lost child are believable from both readers, But the narrator for Brian was really, really good. The quiet reasonable tone used belies something darker. And when that happens, the inflection is perfect. An all round excellent performance. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love listening to books. You become immediately immersed in the tale by listening. Listen to an audio excerpt of Her One Mistake.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Over the Counter #466

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I'm too much of a chicken to get one, but I appreciate the artistry....

1000 Tattoos: The Most Creative New Designs from the World's Leading and Up-And-Coming Tattoo Artists by Chris Coppola.

From Universe Publishing:

"The world's best, most innovative, creative tattoo art.

New works from over forty of the most ground breaking and up-and-coming tattoo designers are featured in this highly curated collection. Aimed at profiling the next generation of skin art, the selected artists are at the forefront of where tattoo art is going and display a wide degree of diversity in terms of geographic origin, culture, race, and gender.

Among the artists and designers included are are Scott Campbell, Sasha Unisex, Tea Leigh, Johnny Gloom, Tati Compton (a.k.a. Tati Fox), Georgia Grey, Lauren Winzer, Peter Aurisch, Jon Boy, Susanne König, Dr. Woo, Super Timor, and many others. Most of the tattoo artists included count of tens of millions of followers on social media straddling the spectrum of tattoo fans.

Tattoos are a mark of personal creativity and individuality, and Claquin strikes a careful balance between artistic vision, creative process, and the practical demands of needle and ink. Given the wide range and sheer number of illustrations, this is a must have for anyone wanting to stay on top of the latest trends in tattoo design."

(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, February 5, 2019

Giveaway - The Glovemaker - Ann Weisgarber

Ann Weisgarber's new novel, The Glovemaker, releases today and I have a copy to giveaway! If you appreciate historical fiction, this is one you'd enjoy.

From Skyhorse Publishing:

" In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.

Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.

When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn’t subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.

But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures." Read an excerpt of The Glovemaker.

"Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa. She is the author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers. She lives in Texas." You can connect with Ann on her website and follow her on Twitter.

If you'd like to read The Glovemaker, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends Feb 16/19.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Matchmaker's List - Sonya Lalli

Sonya Lalli's debut novel, The Matchmaker's List, releases on February 5th. I'm today's stop on the Canadian blog tour.

Two years ago, Raina Anand made her Nani (grandmother) a promise - "...if I wasn't married at thirty, I'd let her make the arrangements for me." Well, that 30th birthday is creeping up....

Nani makes a list of possibilities - 'nice Indian boys for my Raina'. And so Raina begins a series of (quite funny) first dates. Most of them end up being first and last dates. You see, Raina is still in love with Dev, despite it being two years since they broke up.

Nani was my favourite character - her love for the granddaughter she has raised is all encompassing and absolute, no matter what. Some 'what' does happen in Lalli's plotting. I must admit to feeling more than a bit uncomfortable with one significant plot device. (I'm being deliberately obtuse as I don't want to give anything away.) I found it insensitive and not what I would have expected in this day and age. While Raina is almost thirty, she has a lot of growing up to do.

Shay is the best friend and she was wonderfully drawn - exactly the kind of person you would want as a best friend. I enjoyed the other supporting players as well. Now, this is billed as a rom-com, so you know there's going to be that yes/no/maybe so love interest - from both past and present. The reader will have no problem picking the right one for Raina, but will she be able to see for herself?

I enjoyed the exploration of Indian culture and the study of traditional expectations vs. younger generations. Lalli also explores familial relationships within the Anand family - there's some heavier stuff there. The Matchmaker's List is set in Toronto. Many of the neighbourhoods and settings were places I've visited and was able to easily envision.

Read an excerpt of The Matchmaker's List. Here are some other reviews and opinions from Goodreads.

Cr: Ming Joanis
"Sonya Lalli is a Canadian writer of Indian heritage. She studied law in her hometown of Saskatoon and at Columbia University in New York, and later completed an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing at City, University of London. Sonya has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves travel, yoga and cocktail bartending. She lives in Toronto with her husband." You can connect with Sonya on her website and follow her on Twitter.

Friday, February 1, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #248

- 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'm looking forward to Alafair Burke's new novel - The Better Sister. It releases on both sides of the pond in April. "From Alafair Burke--New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife--comes another twisty tale of domestic noir." The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Both are darker in tone. White font for the author on the US and the title on the UK. The UK just has that one female image that pretty much says someone dies. The UK image features two women. (very glad there's no facial shot). Easy choice for me this week - the US cover is more eye catching for me. 
What about you? Any plans to read The Better Sister? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.