Thursday, October 31, 2019

Many Rivers to Cross - Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson has just released the 26th (!) entry - Many Rivers to Cross -  in the Inspector Banks series. I've read them all and am always eager to pick up the latest.

The body of a young boy is found stuffed into a refuse bin on the Eastvale Estate. No one steps forth to identify him but there may be drugs involved.  And on another estate, the body of a life long drug user is also found - a seeming overdose. Banks and his team ,Gerry (I'm growing to quite like her) and Annie (I always appreciate her acerbic tongue), pick up both cases.

Running parallel to this investigation is Zelda's narrative. We met Zelda in the last book Careless in Love. She's a super recognizer and is working with law enforcement to identify those in the sex trafficking trade. She herself is a survivor of that world. But when she sees pictures of men who were involved in her past, she hesitates to share that knowledge. What path will she take? Robinson does an admirable job of writing Zelda's story.

Organized crime from Europe has spilled into England and on to Banks' patch. Politics, political viewpoints and machinations are also a large part of Many Rivers to Cross.

Inspector Banks books are meant to be savored. The story moves along well, but at a thoughtful pace that allows the reader to ruminate along with Alan. I enjoy his honest self contemplation....

"The 'black dog' of depression had been visiting more frequently and biting more viciously of late....At work he often felt like Sisyphus pushing that bloody rock up the hill only to have it roll back down again....He was also alone."

And I've always enjoyed checking out the music he plays. I wonder if the title from this book was inspired by the song Many Rivers to Cross, written and recorded by Jimmy Cliff in 1969. Lyrics are here and they seem to speak to both Banks' state of mind and the direction the plot takes.

That plot is believable, relevant and intricately woven. There's a satisfying ending to Many Rivers to Cross as Banks and team solve their case. Zelda however is another story - one I'm sure we'll see in the next book.

Another excellent read for me from Robinson. See for yourself - here's an excerpt.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Over the Counter #424

What books caught my eye this week? Well, my library doesn't own this book, but I came across it while browsing online. Pretty amazing creations!

Realistic Pumpkin Carving: 24 Spooky, Scary, and Spine-Chilling Designs by Lundy Cupp.

From Fox Chapel Publishing:

"Make Halloween magic this year by carving realistic pumpkins!

This book will show you how to use easy-to-learn techniques to create awesome "3D" pumpkin personalities that will astonish your neighbors, family, and friends. Learn the secrets of bringing expressive pumpkin characters to life by adding realistic details like teeth and eyes—instead of just cutting out solid shapes—so you can create your own one-of-a-kind Halloween pumpkins.

Award-winning pumpkin carver Lundy Cupp teaches you how to use simple household knives and inexpensive tools to carve memorable pumpkin faces, from frightful and spooky to fanciful and goofy. He takes you step-by-step through detailed projects for both beginning and advanced carvers.

Twenty-four ready-to-use patterns are included for carving imaginative faces in pumpkins, gourds, squashes, and sweet potatoes, plus two complete step-by-step projects, and a stunning photo gallery for inspiration."

(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 29, 2019

Elevator Pitch - Linwood Barclay

I don't even bother to read the descriptions of Linwood Barclay's new releases - I just know it's going to be a great read. Elevator Pitch is the latest release from Barclay.

I'm not a fan of elevators at all, so the premise already had me already squirming. A tragic accident - an elevator with four people in it - but the elevator isn't responding - it rises up to the top without stopping - and then plummets to the bottom of the shaft. And then it happens again....and its clear that these are not accidents.

Think about how many elevators are in Manhattan - and the fact that now no one wants to use them. The city is in turmoil. The frightening thing is that this premise isn't all that far-fetched. A great idea for a story!

Barclay introduces us to a wealth of characters from the opening chapters. Even seemingly supporting characters get lots of description and page time. The protagonists are two detectives (Bourque and Delgado) and Barbara, a journalist. Barbara was my favourite character. I liked her drive, her spunk and her attitude. The detectives were a close second - they played off each other really well. (And flawed leads are my fave.) I do love large ensemble novels and this one will have you keeping a mental scorecard of who's who in the beginning. I wondered how all these players would come together by the end.

Barclay takes the plot in a direction that was impossible to guess as he wove all those characters together. However, there was one subplot that I thought was a bit much,'over- busied' things and by the end didn't add much to the main whodunit IMO.

The chapters are short and the book moves along at a good clip. This was another entertaining, enjoyable read from Barclay. Here's an excerpt of Elevator Pitch. And I will continue to take the stairs when possible!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Giveaway - Floating in the Neversink - Andrea Simon

I love the cover of Andrea Simon's new novel Floating in the Neversink: A Novel in Stories. And what's inside sounds pretty great too! I'm today's stop on Andrea's blog tour and I have a copy of Floating in the Neversink to giveaway to one lucky reader. AND a copy of Andrea's other award-winning historical fiction novel, Esfir is Alive.

What's it about? From Black Rose Writing:

"In the summer of 1955, nine-year-old Amanda Gerber tearfully leaves her best friend, Francine, and their adventurous life on her block in Brooklyn’s Flatbush. She joins her cantankerous family on the long, hot drive to her grandmother’s home in the Catskill Mountains among the city’s Jews who flock to countless hotels and bungalow colonies in the heyday of the Borscht Belt. In the idyllic mountains, Amanda  becomes ensconced in the tumult of her extended family and their friends, often seeking solace in the woods with her beloved cousin Laura.

Through the following summers, interspersed with the heightened drama of her emotionally charged city life, Amanda faces severe tests to her survival mechanisms, including the pain of loss, abuse, and betrayal, while family secrets threaten to disrupt her life even further. A novel-in-stories, Floating in the Neversink is a testament to the power of survival, friendship, and love." Read an excerpt of Floating in the Neversink.

Andrea Simon is the author of the award-winning historical novel "Esfir Is Alive," the memoir "Bashert: A Granddaughter's Holocaust Quest," now in a new paperback edition, the novel-in-stories, "Floating in the Neversink," as well as several published stories and essays. She is the recipient of numerous literary awards, including the winner of the Ernest Hemingway First Novel Contest, two Dortort Creative Writing Awards, the Stark Short Fiction Prize, the Short Story Society Award, and the Authors in the Park Short Story Writing Contest. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York where she has taught writing. Andrea is also an accomplished photographer, and her work has been featured in international publications and galleries. Andrea lives in New York City. @simonandrea19 (Twitter), @andreasimon (Facebook)

And if you'd like to read Floating in the Neversink and Esfir is Alive, enter for a chance to win using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only. Ends November 4/19.

#FloatingintheNeversink #indielit #indiepublishing #indielove , @blackrosewriting (Facebook and Instagram), and @brwpublisher (Twitter)

Friday, October 25, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #286

- 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
You might be saying to yourself (again) - Luanne, those are two  different books! Well, they're another case of same story, same author but with a different title and cover. Phaedra Patrick's new book releases in April 2020 on both side of the pond. It sounds like another heartwarming story and I will most likely pick it up. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Now, having read the synopsis, the US cover absolutely catches the plot. Those padlocks are important. And I love yellow. I really love yellow (and sunshine), so I have to admit that the UK cover is truly calling to me. There's are a couple of padlocks there as well - and a letter. An easy choice for me this week - the UK cover. What about you? Any plans to read this book - under either title?
Which cover do you prefer? Or which title for that matter?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Lying Room - Nicci French

With the finale of Nicci French's Frieda Klein series, I was curious as what this husband and wife writing team would pen next.

What's next is the newly released The Lying Room, a wonderful stand-alone mystery.

Neve's marriage has reached that twenty year marker. She's tired of it all - husband, kids, job and more. She wants a little excitement - and finds it in the arms of her boss, Saul. Uh huh, familiar story right? Well, yes, right up to the point where she calls on him early one morning after being with him the night before.....and finds that her lover has been murdered. But instead of calling the police, she then makes a crazy decision and cleans the apartment, erasing all traces of herself and her time there.

A setup I've read before, but one that offers up so many possibilities as to how things can play out. As a matter of course the police interview all the employees at the firm, including Neve. And she of course lies. The lead detective, Hitching, makes a great foil for Neve - one hunting for answers and one determined to keep her secrets. They dance around each other, with the suspicions there, but left unvoiced.

Muddying the waters is a large cast of supporting players. Much of the book takes place in Neve's home, where her family, friends and acquaintances tend to congregate. Each of them is just a little bit 'off' - too flamboyant, too quiet etc. Relationships are tried and tested throughout the book. The dwelling is a bit of a madhouse. As is Neve's mind as she tries to keep her lies straight.

But at the heart of it is who killed Saul? Any one of those at the house is a possibility. French provides many choices for whodunit as the book progresses. And who I thought it was? Wasn't. Nicely done Nicci French - I enjoy not being able to solve things early on!

Another great read from French - see for yourself - here's an excerpt of the Lying Room.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Over the Counter #423

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

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina.

From Knopf Books:

"A riveting, adrenaline-fueled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas.

There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world’s oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to rampant criminality and exploitation.

Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion providers, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways — drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world’s economies rely.

Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching."

(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 22, 2019

Cold Storage - David Koepp

Okay, so the cover of David Koepp's new novel Cold Storage pretty much telegraphs a sci-fi read. And yes, there is a terrifying fungus that has lain dormant for twenty five years that has managed to escape the containment facility it was stored in and is threatening human kind.....whew.

Now, sci-fi is not my usual genre. But - Cold Storage is so much more than it's premise! It's non stop action - and its funny. I know - didn't expect that, did you? Either did I. But, what this book such a great read for me was the characters and the dialogue.

The beginning of the book introduces us to the both the fungus and two 'bioterror' agents charged with containing and destroying the threat. Koepp's characters are richly fleshed out with lots and lots of detail. And as we fast forward twenty five years, we meet the two young security guards who will cross paths with the deadly fungus. Oh my gosh, I loved Teacake, the male security guard. His inner thoughts and out loud dialogues were so much fun to read. His partner Naomi is the calmer of the two and they played well off each other.

Every player in the book, no matter how fleeting their time, gets that same detail. So yes, I was caught up in the page turning, non stop action for sure. But it was those characters and that detail that had me staying up late to finish this one.

Koepp's debut novel makes for entertaining, addictive reading. And here's the reason why - Koepp is a noted screenwriter, having penned some films you might have seen.....Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man and Panic Room to name just a few. Yep, Cold Storage reads like a movie. And I can absolutely see this one making it to the screen.

Completely far fetched, but so much fun to read. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of Cold Storage.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Giveaway - The Program - Toni Natalie with Chet Hardin

You've seen it in the newspaper headlines - The NXIVM cult. Toni Natalie, with Chet Hardin, has penned an insider's take on Raniere and NXIVM called The Program. And I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader.

From Grand Central Publishing:

"A jaw-dropping insider look into the world of the so-called "Hollywood Sex Cult" NXIVM chronicling the rise of enigmatic cult leader, Keith Raniere, from its "Patient Zero," his former girlfriend and test subject for his coercive control techniques.

Many have heard of NXIVM and its creator, Keith Raniere, the unassuming Albany man now prosecuted for ensnaring tens of thousands of people in the US, Mexico, Canada and elsewhere, to do his bidding and pay millions of dollars to participate in his self-improvement methodology. But where did Keith Raniere begin?

Enter Toni Natalie, Keith's Patient Zero, the first one indoctrinated into Raniere's methodology and the first one to escape. The Program begins with the origin story of NXIVM, follows its rise to international prominence, and takes the reader into the downfall of Raniere through Toni's eyes. During this time she bore witness to the evolution of his methodology, including his use of sex, blackmail, and employment of psychological tools such as neuro-linguistic programming to control and punish those who would not heed his wishes. She uniquely details the fortunes lost and the lives left in disarray that she witnessed contemporaneously, including members of DOS, a group of women coerced into sexual acts under the guise of a "women's empowerment" inner circle, whom Raniere exercised extreme control over directly and through his lieutenants.

But far from being a victim's story, in the spirit of Erin Brockovich, Toni's is a nuanced narrative of a multi-dimensional woman saving herself, and then working tirelessly to help other women do the same for themselves. Today, Toni is happy, reunited with her son, and surrounded by friends and family--it is this perspective that makes her such a unique storyteller. "Read an excerpt of The Program.

"Toni Natalie spent eight years with Keith Raniere, as his girlfriend and business partner. She watched as Raniere transformed himself from a multi-level marketing guru into a vicious cult leader. When she finally did muster the strength to leave, Raniere doggedly pursued Toni with multiple litigations. Toni was the cautionary tale whispered into the ears of any member who sought to leave Raniere's side. This is Toni's tribute to the women and men who lost years, loved ones, and for some, their lives."

"Award-winning investigative journalist Chet Hardin has been reporting on NXIVM and Keith Raniere from the start. He is the only journalist to play a midnight game of volleyball with actress Allison Mack, Seagram heiress Clare Bronfman, and the now-notorious Keith Raniere."

And if you'd like to read The Program, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, ends Nov. 2/19

Friday, October 18, 2019

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #285

- 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
The second book in David Baldacci's Atlee Pine series releases in November on both sides of the pond. I did listen to the first book and will most likely listen to this one as well on the drive back and forth to work. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well, given that midnight is in the title, the dark tone of both covers makes sense. And two frequently used images are also used. Single lit window in isolated house with small silhouette running. And single person silhouette walking down dark road with ominous headlights headed their way. Having read the synopsis, both covers make sense. Neither really leap out at me, but I'll go with the UK cover this week. What about you? Which cover do you prefer?
 Any plans to read A Minute to Midnight?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Spooktober with DK Canada!

It's only two weeks 'til Hallowe'en! DK Canada has some great books picked out for you in their Spooktober Boutique to get in the spirit of things. (yes, pun intended!)

Little Guy and Wee Girl have been enjoying Hallowe'en stories for a few weeks now. And they loved these two great books.....

Creak! Squeak! Halloween was first up. This is a lift the flap book -with sound! That sound feature is activated by a switch on the back. (Batteries are secured by a screw and are replaceable)

We always enjoy first  looking at the cover of a booking and imagining what might be inside. No prompting needed - they guessed Hallowe'en right off the bat. (Yes, another intended pun!)

And the first page spread confirmed that guess with pumpkins everywhere. The left side of the page spread has a rhyming paragraph that reads really nicely. And on the right hand side is the question... "Who else is trying not to be seen?" Little Guy likes to guess, Wee Girl wants to lift the flap right away. They were both surprised by the sound as I hadn't mentioned that feature when we started reading. Well, they both had to do it numerous times before we could turn the page. There are five page spreads in total that continue this format. And most importantly, the images under the flaps are not 'scary' looking  at all - in fact they have very friendly faces. And on reaching the end? Back to the beginning to do it all again. Thumbs up from Gramma, Little Guy and Wee Girl!

I hadn't mentioned that I had a second book to read - Haunted House. This time they were looking for the sounds! We stopped and looked at the cover first. A friendly looking witch is in the window. And Little Guy discovered that the front door slides open - to reveal another occupant - with sounds!

Again, there is a four line rhyming verse that has the reader who and what might be under the flap. The words 'they're okay/fine and having fun' are repeated with every flap page. There are five double page spreads. The first two pics under the flaps are a little bit scary LIttle Guy thought. The first one is a monster under a trap door. The image has sharp teeth and the laughing is a bit maniacal. Little Guy found these to be a 'little bit scary Gramma.' The other images were okay and the friendly witch on the cover appears on the last page. Subsequent readings made the images and sounds more familiar. Just that first read through of the unknown and unexpected gave him some pause.

The colours used are bright and draw the reader to the book. The pages are made of sturdy card stock and will take some 'stronger' page turning. The page flaps make for interactive reading. And the sounds add another layer. They'll be fun to pull out every season.

Gramma thinks books like this are clever and just plain fun to read. And so did Grampa! (Remember to turn the battery off when not in use!)

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Over the Counter # 422

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the counter and under my scanner. Something I could never do.....

Into The Planet : My Life As a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth.

From the publisher, Ecco:

"From one of the world’s most renowned cave divers, a firsthand account of exploring the earth’s final frontier: the hidden depths of our oceans and the sunken caves inside our planet

More people have died exploring underwater caves than climbing Mount Everest, and we know more about deep space than we do about the depths of our oceans. From one of the top cave divers working today—and one of the very few women in her field—Into the Planet blends science, adventure, and memoir to bring readers face-to-face with the terror and beauty of earth’s remaining unknowns and the extremes of human capability.

Jill Heinerth—the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and leader of a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations—has descended farther into the inner depths of our planet than any other woman. She takes us into the harrowing split-second decisions that determine whether a diver makes it back to safety, the prejudices that prevent women from pursuing careers underwater, and her endeavor to recover a fallen friend’s body from the confines of a cave. But there’s beauty beyond the danger of diving, and while Heinerth swims beneath our feet in the lifeblood of our planet, she works with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change, and hydrogeologists examining our finite freshwater reserves.

Written with hair-raising intensity, Into the Planet is the first book to deliver an intimate account of cave diving, transporting readers deep into inner space, where fear must be reconciled and a mission’s success balances between knowing one’s limits and pushing the envelope of human endurance."

(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 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).