Friday, March 29, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #256

- 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
Oh, it's not releasing until August '19, but Ruth Ware has a new book coming out called The Turn of the Key! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well, the first thing I really like is the title. It evokes danger, suspense and something or someone unknown behind a door....Two very dark looks this week. The US cover is more stark. I had a closer look at the lines around the lock and they are scratches. The UK cover seems like something I've seen before. Light on in a dark house, presumably in an isolated area with birds circling overhead. An easy choice for me this week - I really like the image of just the keyhole. So US for me this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Turn of the Key?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Wolf and the Watchman - Niklas Natt och Dag

The Wolf and the Watchman is Niklas Natt och Dags's debut novel. It was named the Best Debut of 2017 by the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers and is being published in thirty countries.

1793 Stockholm. Mikel Cardell is a watchman, though he rarely performs his duties. He's woken from a drunken stupor one night when two children find a body floating in a local lake. Cardell drags what is left of the body out. The corpse has been brutally and strangely mutilated. The 'incorruptible' lawyer Cecil Winge is tasked with identifying what's left of the body. His health is tenuous and time is of the essence, so he  asks Cardell to assist him.

I was hooked from the first pages. Cardell is perfectly drawn - a strong personality but flawed, tenacious, intelligent, quick with his fists but kind and more. Winge also sprang to life for me - his measured pace of thinking and acting is the opposite of Cardell. He's clever but lacks the brutality of Cardell. The two make the perfect team.

I went into the book expecting a mystery - but Niklas Natt och Dag takes his story places I hadn't expected. There are four parts to the story. The body is identified, but then the narrative switches to the person responsible and again to another person named Anna-Stina. I couldn't fathom how her narrative would figure into the murder. And finally the pieces are fit together in the end. Niklas Natt och Dag's plotting is brilliantly complex - and such a treat to listen to.

Human nature, relationships and what we'll do to survive is also explored alongside the mystery.

The backdrop of 1793 Stockholm is so richly described - I could picture the filthy streets, the workhouses, the wealthy clubs and mansions, the pubs and more as I listened.

I did choose to listen to The Wolf and the Watchman. There were multiple readers which I really enjoy. Matt Addis, Casper Rundegren and Clara Andersson. The voice for Cardell is wonderful - rich and full with a gravelly tone. It matched the mental image I had created. The voice for Winge matches the character as well, more thoughtful and measured. Both were clear and easy to understand. The voice for the perpetrator was younger sounding. I found the sibilant esses used for the Swedish accent to be a bit annoying after awhile. The voice for Anna-Stina was just right as well - a younger tone that captured her desperate plight, but also her strength. This reader spoke cleanly and was easily understood. I always feel more immersed in a book when I listen to it. And this was most definitely the case with The Wolf and the Watchman. Listen to an excerpt here.

Those who enjoy Swedish noir steeped in historical fiction will enjoy this book. A caveat for gentle readers - the crime is somewhat gruesome. But the writing is excellent.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Over the Counter #473

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

The Bucket List: Wild: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small: Animals, Birds, Fish, Nature Hardcover by Kath Stathers.

From Universe Books:

"The most complete life list yet to the world's best places to see wildlife-both on and off the beaten path-from bird watching in an Ecuadorian cloud forest and floating among the corals in the Maldives to volunteering at wild animal rescue groups or caring for injured endangered rhinos in Africa.

For anyone who is passionate about wildlife, this bucket list offers around-the-world listings of ways to experience animals and birds in their natural habitats. Fun, life-affirming activities are the focus from action-packed adventures (riding with wild horses in France, snorkeling with sharks in Belize) to more relaxing experiences (walking through a wildflower reserve in South Africa or floating among corals in the Maldives).

Each activity is location-specific and geographically unique - kayaking with whales in Canada, watching snow monkeys take a sauna in Japan, going on a desert safari in Dubai. The book also addresses the issues facing vulnerable and endangered species, and suggests ways that travelers can help. Conservation-themed adventures include working as a Giant Panda keeper in China, volunteering at an endangered orangutan rescue in Indonesia, and guarding baby turtles in Costa Rica as they make their way from beach to ocean.

Everyone has lifelong dreams of experiences they yearn to have, and this bucket list provides all the inspiration and practical advice necessary for the seasoned globetrotter or armchair traveller alike."

(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, March 26, 2019

The Woman in the Dark - Vanessa Savage

The Woman in the Dark is Vanessa Savvage's debut novel. Now, I'm not too sure about that cover, but what's inside was a really good read!

When Sarah's mother dies, she falls into a bit of a tailspin. Hoping to have a fresh start and a new outlook, her husband Patrick convinces her to take her inheritance and buy his childhood home. He has such fond memories of this house and his time in it - it was 'perfect' in his words. And he wants that for Sarah and his two children Joe and Mia. But the house isn't quite perfect - it's actually known as The Murder House. Yes, a mother, father and child were murdered in the home after Patrick's family moved out.

Ahh, a nice set-up with lots of possibilities......I love a good spooky house story. But is it the house? Or the people living in it? Savage does an excellent job at keeping both options on the table.

The relationship with Sarah and Patrick begins to deteriorate, as does their own mental states. As readers, we want to shout at Sarah to just get out now. Take her kids and run. The teens are not exempted from the what's happening either. And yet, they all stay..... (and as a perquisite of spooky house stories - yes, there's a scary cellar - and you shouldn't go down there either.)

The Woman in the Dark is told from Sarah's point of view. But there's also someone else - is it the person that Sarah sees watching the house? Italicized chapters darkly hint at the past. Savage keeps the reader guessing with many supporting characters that are all just a little off. The suspense builds with many red herrings, possibilities, what-ifs and more as the book progresses. Shades of Jack Nicholson and redrum.

I found Savage's writing to be really addictive - I was always trying to squeeze in just one more chapter before putting the book down. I'm quite looking forward to what she writes next. Here's an excerpt of The Woman in the Dark.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Giveaway - A Dog's Way Home - Blu-ray™ and Book!

Based on the bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog's Way Home releases on Digital March 26 and on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD on April 9 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. And I have a combo pack of both the Blu-ray™ and the novel to giveaway to one lucky reader!

What's it about? "The film chronicles the heartwarming adventure of Bella, the brave and adventurous dog that embarks on an epic 400-mile journey home after she is separated from her beloved human, Lucas. A Dog's Way Home highlights the power of unconditional love between man’s best friend and its human companion. The film stars Ashley Judd.

A Dog's Way Home arrives with adorable extras including a DIY guide to creating your own tasty dog treats at home and several deleted scenes. Also included are interviews with novelist W. Bruce Cameron, director Charles Martin Smith and cast and crew as well as a heartwarming look at the film’s canine star Bella’s rags to riches journey from the shelter to the big screen.

A Dog's Way Home has a run time of approximately 96 minutes and is rated PG for thematic elements, some peril and language." Check out the official trailer here.

Read the book and want to see the movie? Haven't read the book yet? Enter to win a copy of each using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only. Ends April 6/19.

Friday, March 22, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #255

- 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 was so excited to hear that Kate Atkinson was releasing a new Jackson Brodie novel! Big Sky releases in June on both sides of the pond! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Both covers use the gull image. I wonder which came first? The bird only or the the seascape scene? The gull alone is quite striking and  and seems to suit and reflect the title. And yet it seems quite stark. The sky is still the focal point in the US cover, with the wharf and waves underneath. The tagline on the UK cover is simple and to the point. The US cover gives us more - but I was unable to read what the top blurb read. I did find a third cover this week that is quite different from these two. The Canadian cover is below.

Canadian cover
The Canadian cover is above. Well, a completely different look here! Gone is the blue sky and bird. The sky is somewhat ominous at the top, but fades out. The pier is there, but more like an arcade that the windswept version on the US cover. This cover doesn't appeal to me at all. I prefer the blue. And out of the two blues, I'm going to go with the US cover this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Big Sky?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

All the Wrong Places - Joy Fielding

Joy Fielding's latest book All the Wrong Places is newly released.

The title immediately brought to mind the phrase 'looking for love in all the wrong places'.

Paige's breakup with her boyfriend was not friendly and she's hestitant to get back into the dating scene. But, convinced by her mother and best friend, she joins a number of online dating sites. Social media has made these sites even quicker - swipe left or right for immediate results. Results is what Mr. Right Now is looking for - he's a serial killer using the sites and apps to troll for victims.

Relationships, companionship, love and the search for those are the driving forces behind Fielding's latest tale. Paige's mother Joan, her cousin Heather and her best friend Chloe are also looking.

The killer is given his own chapters and voice. He's most definitely not someone you want to meet. As readers, we know what he's up to and what he's planning. He has his eye on Paige. And every
time Paige goes online I get that 'don't go in the basement' feeling.

All the Wrong Places ended up being a bit different than I had expected going in, as it was billed as a thriller. Much of the book is focused on the relationships of the four women. Drama. Lots of detail on clothes, hair etc that seemed extraneous after a certain point. Joan's many trips to the hospital. And the reason for her last trip just seemed awkward. Not sure if it was a PSA for those over sixty five? Heather was over the top - you can easily slot her into the mean girls with narcissism role. Philandering husband? Check. Spousal abuse. Check. Starting over. Check. And etcetera.

I like my suspense and thrillers to be a little grittier. Fielding does end the book on a nice twist that I appreciated. And just like dating, this was maybe just the wrong book for me. I think All the Wrong Places would appeal to fans of Iris Johansen and Tami Hoag. Read an excerpt of All the Wrong Places. Check out the five star reviews on Goodreads.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Over the Counter #472

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

Help Me: My Perfectly Disastrous Journey through the World of Self-Help by Marianne Power.

From Harper Avenue Books:

"A hilarious and heartwarming rampage through the world of self-care.

Marianne Power was a self-help junkie. For years she lined her bookshelves with dog-eared copies of definitive guide after definitive guide on how to live your best life. Yet one day she woke up to find that the life she dreamed of and the life she was living were not miles but continents apart. So she set out to make a change. Or, actually, to make every change.

Marianne decided to finally find out if her elusive perfect life—the one without debt, anxiety, hangovers or Netflix marathons, the one where she healthily bounced around town with perfect teeth to meet the cashmere-sweater-wearing man of her dreams—lay in the pages of those books. So for a year she vowed to test a book a month, following its advice to the letter, taking the surest road she knew to a perfect Marianne.

As her year-long plan turned into a demented roller coaster where everything she knew was turned upside down, she found herself confronted with a different question: Self-help can change your life, but is it for the better?"

(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, March 19, 2019

Harlan Coben - Run Away - Review AND Giveaway

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Harlan Coben's latest thriller, Run AwayIt releases today - and it is sooooooo good! Honestly, every time I finish one of Coben's books, I think 'oh, that's the best one yet.' This latest? Settle in for the day when you start to read - it's impossible to put down!

Oh, and did I mention that I have a copy to giveaway, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing?!!

Nobody writes 'everyday guy in a bad situation' books better than Coben. In this latest, Simon's drug addicted daughter Paige has run away with her abusive boyfriend. Simon has been looking for her for months. Then one day, sitting on a bench in Central Park, he spies her playing the guitar for spare change. He approaches her, but she runs again. And Simon follows.....

Cut to a new set of characters - Ash and DeeDee - a pair of stone cold killers. ("Murder was simple if you kept it simple.") And one more player, Elena, a private investigator looking for a missing man. How are these stories all going to tie together? And that dear reader, is the beauty of Harlan Coben's books. There's no predicting where the story is going to go. The plot of Run Away is an intricate jigsaw of a plot - until that last piece is slotted in, you can't be sure there's not another turn in the story. (And there are many - that last one is a doozy.)

The reader is privy to all three narratives and is aware of what each set of characters are up to. Which only serves to ratchet up the tension even more. The cliffhangers at the end of each chapter are dangerous - I couldn't stop reading 'just one more chapter'. I had to know what would happen next.

Each character has their own story and they are really well drawn and fleshed out. Simon's anguish over his daughter is palpable. Elena's own personal story will resonate with you. And oddly enough, Ash has real feelings, despite his choice of profession.

Whew! What a ride! Absolutely recommended! Read an excerpt of Run Away. And if you'd like to read Run Away, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends March 30/19.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Maker March with DK Canada!

It's Maker March time at DK Canada! They've got some great suggestions in their Maker March Boutique..."whether you've got a budding chef on your hands or a budding scientist who wants to build something awesome, we've got the perfect books to keep kids busy and creating during Maker March!"

And not just kids - they're some great ideas for adults as well! The new edition of The Sewing Book by Alison Smith caught my eye......

I'm a self taught sewist, always looking to improve on my skills and discover new ideas and techniques. I was quite excited to explore the 400 pages of The Sewing Book - "more than 300 step by step techniques. Tools. Fabric. How to Use Patterns. Projects for the Home and to Wear." I happily turned the first page....
DK books excel at presenting information and ideas. The Sewing Bible was no exception. The images presented  are full colour photographs. They are crisp, clean images that let you see easily see the details, such as the thickness of different threads and the different types of fabrics. The accompanying information is clear and concise. The layout makes it easy to read.

I sewed a lot of my children's clothes when they were young using commercial patterns. I've never attempted to create or alter patterns for myself, which is something I'd like to try. The section covering this was excellent.

The actual sewing process is detailed as well - stitches. There was a great little pattern for a simple tote bag at the end of this chapter to practice (I have lots of scraps I could use up here!) Subsequent chapters deal with the different techniques of sewing clothes. Again, excellent directions and accompanying photographs. (I preferred these over drawn illustrations.) There are more small projects to practice more skills such as zippers, linings, buttons and more. A small unit on mending was also included. Patterns and an index complete the book.

The Sewing Book is an excellent resource for both novice and experienced sewists. And it's the quality of information and product that I've come to expect and appreciate from DK. Here's an excerpt of The Sewing Bible. See the sample page below.

Friday, March 15, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #254

- 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 was a big fan of Jeffery Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series when it first came out. But I've missed the last few as they began to seem repetitive. Deaver is coming out with the first book in a new series featuring investigator Colter Shaw in May. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. So, bright grab you attention colours on the US cover. More subdued on the UK cover. Both feature a lonely stretch of road. I can't say I'm a fan of the chopped look of the US cover. I like the tag line on the UK cover - it lets me know that it's the kind of book I would read. I'm going to go with the UK cover this week. That chopped image makes my eyes hurt. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Never Game?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Who Killed the Fonz? - James Boice

Okay, do any of these ring a bell with you? The Fonz, Fonzie or Arthur Fonzarelli? Yes? Then you might want to pick up James Boice's new novel Who Killed the Fonz? I was very curious about this book.

Boice has reprised the beloved cast of the sit-com Happy Days, that was set in the 1950's. Boice has taken the cast forward to 1984. (I quite enjoyed the pop culture references.)  Richie has moved away, but Ralph Malph, Potsy, Al and others still make their home in Milwaukee. Richie makes his way back home on hearing the news that Fonzie is dead. It can't be - can it? Richie can't believe it and starts his own investigation.

What a fun concept this was! I had no problem at all imagining the characters in this book. (Yes, I watched the show!) Boice has kept their traits and mannerisms intact and it was like visiting with old friends as I listened.

Michael Crouch was the reader.  His voice has a nice little gravelly undertone and his measured way of speaking suited Richie's dialogue. His voices for the supporting cast also suited the characters. Crouch's diction is clear and easy to understand. Listen to an excerpt of Who Killed the Fonz? Running time - 5 hours, 11 minutes.

So, yes there's the mystery - who killed The Fonz? The answer was just as I expected. But underneath that whodunit are the relationships - friendship and family. Boice weaves those bonds into his story, reprising the feel of the original. Those who are familiar with the show would enjoy this book the most - cozy, fun and nostalgic.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Over the Counter #471

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

Genealogy is so popular now - many of us are looking for our roots....

The Cowkeeper's Wish: A Genealogical Journey Hardcover  by Tracy Kasaboski and Kristen den Hartog.

From Douglas & McIntyre:

"Part intimate family memoir, part robust social history, The Cowkeeper’s Wish is a genealogical excursion through an era of astonishing change.

In the 1840s, a young cowkeeper and his wife arrive in London, England, having walked from coastal Wales with their cattle. They hope to escape poverty, but instead they plunge deeper into it, and the family, ensconced in one of London’s “black holes,” remains mired there for generations. The Cowkeeper’s Wish follows the couple’s descendants in and out of slum housing, bleak workhouses and insane asylums, through tragic deaths, marital strife and war. Nearly a hundred years later, their great-granddaughter finds herself in an altogether different London, in southern Ontario.

In The Cowkeeper’s Wish, Kristen den Hartog and Tracy Kasaboski trace their ancestors’ path to Canada, using a single family’s saga to give meaningful context to a fascinating period in history—Victorian and then Edwardian England, the First World War and the Depression. Beginning with little more than enthusiasm, a collection of yellowed photographs and a family tree, the sisters scoured archives and old newspapers, tracked down streets, pubs and factories that no longer exist, and searched out secrets buried in crumbling ledgers, building on the fragments that remained of family tales.

While this family story is distinct, it is also typical, and so all the more worth telling. As a working-class chronicle stitched into history, The Cowkeeper’s Wish offers a vibrant, absorbing look at the past that will captivate genealogy enthusiasts and readers of history alike."

(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, March 12, 2019

The Night Olivia Fell - Christina McDonald

The Night Olivia Fell is the latest book from author Christine McDonald.

Abi Knight receives the call that no parent ever wants to receive - her daughter has been hurt. But it's even worse than she could have imagined - Olivia is brain dead. She's also pregnant. And the police have ruled it an accident. Abi is shocked, stunned and doesn't understand. An accident? Pregnant? Abi thought she knew her daughter...And so she begins her own investigation.

The Night Olivia Fell is told from alternating voices - that of Abi and Olivia. What Abi believes she knows about her daughter is not reality - as she begins to find out. The listener is privy to Abi's thoughts and actions. We know what has gone on, even as Abi struggles to find answers.

I love back and forth narratives and having the knowledge of what is going on with both characters. It does ramp up the tension. And makes it hard to not want to listen to just one more chapter!

The clues as what may have really happened that night are laid out as the book progresses. I enjoyed following the clues, changing my and in the end my answer to whodunit was correct. McDonald does provide many options for that final answer. But the real strength of the novel are the relationships - specifically that of mother and daughter. McDonald's characterizations are believable, emotional and relatable.

I chose to listen to The Night Olivia Fell. There were two narrators - Kelly Burke and Laurel Lefkow. I always appreciate multiple readers - it just seems more realistic - as if you really are listening to two people's thoughts. Now, I'm not sure who read what character, but both readers were excellent.  Abi's voice is 'older' and seems just right for a parent. The emotion of this character was easily communicated by this reader. Her voice has a rich tone and is clear and easy to understand. Olivia's voice is definitely 'younger' and was believable as a teenager talking. She enunciates well and her voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. Different and distinct voices were provided for supporting characters. Listen to an excerpt of The Night Olivia Fell.

Those looking for a lighter mystery with a focus on relationships will want to pick up The Night Olivia Fell.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Giveaway - The Woman in the Dark - Vanessa Savage

The Woman in the Dark - Vanessa Savage's debut novel - releases March 12/19. And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! Vanessa - you had me at Gothic house and murder......

From Grand Central Publishing:

"In the vein of The Couple Next Door, a debut psychological thriller about a woman who moves with her family to the gothic seaside house where her husband grew up — and where 15 years ago another family was brutally slaughtered.

Sarah and Patrick are happy. But after her mother’s death, Sarah spirals into depression and overdoses on sleeping pills. While Sarah claims it was an accident, her teenage children aren’t so sure. Patrick decides they all need a fresh start and he knows just the place, since the idyllic family home where he was raised has recently come up for sale. There’s only one catch: for the past fifteen years, it has become infamous as the “Murder House”, standing empty after a family was stabbed to death within its walls.

Patrick believes they can bring the house back to its former glory, so Sarah, uprooted from everything she knows, pours her energy into painting, gardening, and giving the rotting old structure the warmth of home. But with locals hinting that the house is haunted, the news that the murderer has been paroled, strange writing on the walls, and creepy “gifts” arriving on the doorstep at odd hours, Sarah can’t shake the feeling that something just isn’t right. Not with the house, not with the town, or even with her own, loving husband — whose stories about his perfect childhood suddenly aren’t adding up. Can Sarah uncover the secrets of the Murder House before another family is destroyed?"

"Vanessa Savage is a graphic designer and illustrator. She has twice been awarded a Writers’ Bursary by Literature Wales, most recently for A Woman in the Dark. She won the Myriad Editions First Crimes competition in 2016 and her work has been highly commended in the Yeovil International Fiction Prize, short listed for the Harry Bowling Prize, and the Caledonia Fiction Prize. She is on the current longlist for the Bath Novel Award." You can connect with Vanessa Savage on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

And if you'd like to read The Woman in the Dark, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada. Ends Mar. 23/19.

Friday, March 8, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #253

- 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 29th (!) book, Neon Prey, in John Sandford's long running Lucas Davenport series releases in April on both sides of the pond. I've read the 28 that have come before and am looking forward to this newest. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very brightly coloured covers this week. The UK cover is very busy to me - too any images. But the neon part is well telegraphed. The US cover has a much cleaner look. It almost looks like a marquee. So easy choice for me this week - US. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Neon Prey?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

How To Measure Everything - DK Canada

Little Guy is at the age where he questions everything - why and how and more. He loves to 'find out things.'

How to Measure Everything from DK Canada is a great learning tool for measurement. Height, length, weight, volume, time, temperature and the calendar.

How to Measure Everything has been published as a board book. The pages are sturdy and able to stand up to repeated (and not always gentle) use. That format also allows for some great surprises on many of the pages! There are lift the flap windows on most pages (questions/answers), a movable clock and a wonderful pop-up at the end.

As with every new book, Little Guy likes to start with the cover and talk about what we might find inside. The cover is bright and colourful with pictures that illustrate what measuring is. The rulers on the cover are a clever border. Explanations of what each measurement is are part of each category's page. Once the concept has been explained, there's the fun of answering the questions on the top of the lift up flap. And the answers are underneath the flap. And the last page covers all the principles using a pop up bedroom scene. Clever!

We decided to read one category - starting with weight - and then go around the house guessing what things might weigh, what might be heavier etc using everyday objects (and a lot of toys.) The kitchen and bathroom scales got a lot of use. But I loved that his curiosity was piqued. This is how we learn.

As always with DK publications, the book is bright, colourful, well laid out and appealing. The information within is perfect for a 4-7 year old.How to Measure Everything fits perfectly within the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focus of learning in school systems today. Have a peek at what's inside below. Check out other titles in DK's Hands-on Learning with STEM boutique.

This was a five star, thumbs up read for Gramma and Little Guy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Over the Counter #470

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner?  You should always say thank you....

Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey by A.J. Jacobs.

From Simon and Schuster:

"The idea was deceptively simple: New York Times bestselling author A.J. Jacobs decided to thank every single person involved in producing his morning cup of coffee. The resulting journey takes him across the globe, transforms his life, and reveals secrets about how gratitude can make us all happier, more generous, and more connected.

Author A.J. Jacobs discovers that his coffee—and every other item in our lives—would not be possible without hundreds of people we usually take for granted: farmers, chemists, artists, presidents, truckers, mechanics, biologists, miners, smugglers, and goatherds.

By thanking these people face to face, Jacobs finds some much-needed brightness in his life. Gratitude does not come naturally to Jacobs—his disposition is more Larry David than Tom Hanks—but he sets off on the journey on a dare from his son. And by the end, it’s clear to him that scientific research on gratitude is true. Gratitude’s benefits are legion: It improves compassion, heals your body, and helps battle depression.

Jacobs gleans wisdom from vivid characters all over the globe, including the Minnesota miners who extract the iron that makes the steel used in coffee roasters, to the Madison Avenue marketers who captured his wandering attention for a moment, to the farmers in Colombia.

Along the way, Jacobs provides wonderful insights and useful tips, from how to focus on the hundreds of things that go right every day instead of the few that go wrong. And how our culture overemphasizes the individual over the team. And how to practice the art of “savoring meditation” and fall asleep at night. Thanks a Thousand is a reminder of the amazing interconnectedness of our world. It shows us how much we take for granted. It teaches us how gratitude can make our lives happier, kinder, and more impactful. And it will inspire us to follow our own “Gratitude Trails.”"

(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, March 5, 2019

Blood Orange - Harriet Tyce

Blood Orange is Harriet Tyce's debut novel.

Alison has the life she wanted - successful barrister, loving husband, a beautiful little daughter. But what her friends and colleagues can't see is what goes on behind closed doors. There are cracks in her marriage - and Alison has had a hand in that. She's drinks too much. She works too much. And she's having an affair with her superior. A superior who has specific tastes. When she secures her first murder case, she see parallels to her own life and realizes she needs to turn things around. But, someone knows Alison's secrets and wants to make her pay....

Alison is most definitely an unlikable protagonist. I had a hard time buying her as a lawyer. She's a train wreck on so many fronts - but like an accident, it was hard not to look and wonder what was going to happen next.

What happens next is a lot of degrading sex (all willingly accepted and often initiated by Alison). She continually makes bad decision after bad decision. I had a really hard time with her choices. Her husband is no better - his sniping and superior attitude makes him just as unlikable. And don't even get me started on the boss - absolutely despicable. The fact that I did have such visceral reactions to the main players does speak to Tyce's writing.

So, while I found the characters unsettling, I kept reading as I wanted to see what the promised twists might be. And I must admit, I was surprised. I had been so focused on Alison that I missed a few clues along the way. (And had to go back to read the prologue again after turning the last page.) Kudos to Tyce for that last twist.

Blood Orange was a very different read than what I had expected going in. It's well written, but I found Alison's debasing behavior so hard to read. So, gentle readers, this may not be one for you. Read an excerpt of Blood Orange.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Giveaway - Her Father's Secret - Sara Blaedel

Sara Blaedel is back with a new book! Her Father’s Secret is a suspenseful follow-up to The Daughter and releases March 5/19. I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader!

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"A woman’s murder is only the beginning as a daughter races to unravel the maze of secrets her father left behind–before she becomes the next victim–in the latest emotionally gripping novel from Sara Blaedel, #1 internationally bestselling author with over 3 million copies sold worldwide.

After suddenly inheriting a funeral home from her father–who she hadn’t heard from in decades–Ilka Jensen has impulsively abandoned her quiet life in Denmark to visit the small town in rural Wisconsin where her father lived. There, she’s devastated to discover her father’s second family: a stepmother and two half sisters she never knew existed. And who aren’t the least bit welcoming, despite Ilka’s efforts to reach out.

Then a local woman is killed, seemingly the unfortunate victim of a home invasion turned violent. But when Ilka learns that the woman knew her father, it becomes increasingly clear that she may not have been a completely random victim after all.

The more Ilka digs into her father’s past, the more deeply entangled she becomes in a family drama that has spanned decades and claimed more than one life–and she may be the next victim…" Read an excerpt of Her Father's Secret.

“Sara Blaedel knows how to reel in her readers and keep them utterly transfixed.” –Tess Gerritsen
“One of the best I’ve come across.” –Michael Connelly

"Sara Blaedel is the author of the #1 international bestselling series featuring Detective Louise Rick, as well as a new Family Secrets series. Her books are published in thirty-eight countries. In 2014 Sara was voted Denmark’s most popular novelist for the fourth time. She is also a recipient of the Golden Laurel, Denmark’s most prestigious literary award. Originally from Denmark, Sara has lived in New York, but now spends most of her time in Copenhagen."  You can connect with Sara on her website, follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook.

And if you'd like to read Her Father's Secret, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada. Ends March 16/19.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Where Are the Children? - Mary Higgins Clark

Where Are The Children by Mary Higgins Clark was originally released in 1975. It is newly released as an audio book.

Clark has penned a new introduction to the book. She names Where Are the Children as the book that kick-started her incredible career.

Although I've read a number of Clark's books, I had never read Where Are the Children. More and more, I'm doing my 'reading' through audiobooks, so I was quite happy to listen to this title.

Nancy Harmon was a suspect in the deaths of her two young children. She was cleared in court, but not in the public eye. She changed her name, appearance and locale in an attempt to start over. She found love with Ray and they have two children together. And she is as happy as she can be. Until......yep, unbelievably these children go missing. How could this happen again to her? And as much as she knows knows she has nothing to do with their disappearance, the cops think she does......

Now, this book  was written 44 years - and at the time it created some controversy. In the intro, Clark mentions this book was turned down by some publishers because of some of the content. It would have been boundary pushing in 1975. I kept this in mind as I listened. Clark also says that the inspiration for the story was the real life case of Alice Crimmins.

What happens to Nancy is unthinkable and she collapses. A friend of the family who happens to be a therapist believes that the past holds the clues to what is happening now. As she answers his questions we learn that Nancy's first marriage was more than a little creepy. The childsnatcher also has a voice. Creepier. His motive for taking the children is, well, deviant. And this is probably what scared off publishers in 1975.

The reader knows what is happening with the children as well as how the search for them is progressing. A back and forth narrative ramps up the tension. (And ensures the reader listens to just one more chapter) And kudos to Clark. Twists and turns in a novel are all the rage now. Where Are the Children includes some nice unexpected twists.There's a reason Mary Higgins Clark is called the Queen of Suspense.

This early novel was a treat to listen to.  January LaVoy was the reader. She's a narrator I know and I quite enjoy her voice and readings. Her performance in Where Are the Children was excellent. She has a rich, smooth voice with a nice undertone. Her enunciation is crisp and clean. Her voice is clear and easy to understand. She has interpreted the book well and her voice telegraphs the tension and action well. She provided really believable and distinctive voices for the characters. Her children's voices were especially well done. Listen to an excerpt of Where Are the Children.

Friday, March 1, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #252

- 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 really looking forward to Hannah Jameson's debut novel
The Last. "One Hotel. Twenty Survivors. One of them is a murderer." Ticks all the boxes for me. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. The title font size and colour is almost the same on both. Two very different background colours. That red is eye catching for sure. But I like the blues and purples of the US sky image. But what wins it for me this week is the US picture. I love isolated crumbly mansions. Add murder. Even better. Add an apocalyptic event. Delicious. I had to look twice at the UK image. It's a hotel as well, but just doesn't draw me in as much. What about you? Any plans to read The Last? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.