Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Every Step She Takes - K.L. Armstrong

I really enjoyed K.L Armstrong's summer novel last year and was excited to see she was releasing a new book - today in fact is the day for Every Step She Takes.

Genevieve has a life she likes living in Italy - a home, a job and a boyfriend. Until the day she comes home and finds her door unlocked. And inside is a parcel from the US addressed to Lucy Callahan - a name Genevieve hasn't used in ten years.

"Too much time has passed, and I'm the only person who still cares what happened to me. Yet it takes only this unlocked door to slam me back to that life."

Okay, that's in the first five pages.....and I needed to know...who is Lucy, why is she hiding and what happened to her?

Every Step She Takes is told in first person, so the reader is along for the ride as Genevieve returns to the US to confront both the past and the present. The story unfolds in alternating chapters from ten years ago to present day. I always enjoy this story telling method, finding how the pieces fit together.

Although she thought she was putting the past to rest by going back to the US, someone else has other plans and Gen is in trouble - again. Determined to prove her innocence, she runs. Armstrong gives many us suspects to choose from as Gen tries to find the real culprit.

Armstrong adds some twists and turns along the way to the final whodunit. I appreciated not having a final answer until almost to the end. A few of the plot developments will require a grain of salt, but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.

I started Every Step She Takes with my morning tea on the back porch and finished up just before dinner. Armstrong writes many series (can't get enough Rockton), but I enjoyed having a stand alone to spend the day with. Armstrong's writing is very 'readable', moves along at a good clip and is entertaining. See for yourself  - read an excerpt of Every Step She Takes.

(K.L. Armstrong is a nom de plume of Kelley Armstrong.)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Seven Lies - Elizabeth Kay

Seven Lies is Elizabeth Kay's newly released debut novel. And what a debut it is!

Jane and Marnie have been the best of friends since childhood. They have forged what seems to be an unbreakable bond despite being polar opposites. Jane is the first to change their dynamic by marrying. But when her husband dies, she wants to retreat back to the ways things were. But Marnie's life is moving on as well - she too has found a man. But....Jane doesn't like him very much. When Marnie asks her if she does in fact like him... well, that's the first lie she tells Marnie.

Kay does a fantastic job drawing these two characters. Jane is flat out scary. And obsessive. And she wants Marnie all to herself, to have Marnie need her. Marnie is eminently likeable. It's hard to see what she sees in Jane. But that just tells the reader how good Jane is at, well, at lying. Kay does a fantastic job at drawing the dialogue and interactions between the two. Jane's mother and sister are just as wounded and add to the dysfunctional feeling of Jane's life.

The reader sees everything through Jane's eyes. The book is told almost as a confession, with Jane detailing how things got to where they are. The next six lies are revealed as we come closer and closer the final pages. I didn't see what was coming with the end of her confession. Brilliant! And then to discover an epilogue that was just as unexpected. But perfect!

Disturbing, unsettling and an excellent original debut. No lie. If you like domestic noir and suspense, you need to pick up Seven Lies. See for yourself - read an excerpt of Seven Lies.

Friday, June 26, 2020

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #318

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
Karen Dionne's debut novel, The Marsh King's Daughter was a runaway best seller. She has a new book, The Wicked Sister, coming out in August on both sides of the pond. Yup, added to my TBR list! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. So we have a child's face on both covers. Hidden in the greenery on the US cover, with not much eye to judge. But that half a face shot on the UK cover is unsettling. Not sure if its the stare or the unsmiling mouth. White font for both covers, but I like the US font a bit more. It's not perfect or fully filled and the worn look works well. The orange sepia of the UK cover is quite effective. Both books have cover blurbs from authors I like. But I have to say - if you're getting a cover blurb from Karin Slaughter that says "massively thrilling and altogether unputdownable" - I definitely want to read your book. So I am going with the UK cover this week. What about you? 
Which cover do you prefer? And plans to read The Wicked Sister?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The Dilemma - B.A. Paris

Bestselling author B.A. Paris is back with a new book - The Dilemma.

Livia has been planning her fortieth birthday party for twenty years. She never had the wedding she wanted, so this party will be all she dreamed of - and it has to be perfect. But as the day of the party draws near, Livia has decisions to make. She has a secret, one she knows she needs to share with her husband Adam....but when?  Before or after the party? Adam has a secret as well. One he too is in a dilemma about - when to tell Livvy? And each of their children have secrets as well.

The narrative changes from Livvy to Adam in alternating chapters. We come to know each of them and their extended circle of friends as well. The driving question of course is what those secrets are. Paris does a great job of stretching out the reveal, with foreshadowing, hints and partial truths giving the reader another reason for just 'one more chapter.'

Neither Adam or Livia want to hurt their spouse by revealing their secrets. But as they each hold theirs closer to their chest, the complications and implications from those decisions start to compound. Therein lies the dilemma.

Paris's previous books have been suspense tales and that's what I went in expecting. The Dilemma is a page turner, but not a thriller. Instead it is an exploration of family relationships, dynamics, decisions,friendship, love and loss. The reader can't help but ask themselves what decision(s) they would make. Read an excerpt of The Dilemma.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Over the Counter #456

What book caught my eye this week?  Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World Hardcover by Scott Harrison.

From Currency Books:

"New York Times Bestseller • An inspiring personal story of redemption, second chances, and the transformative power within us all, from the founder and CEO of the nonprofit charity: water.

At 28 years old, Scott Harrison had it all. A top nightclub promoter in New York City, his life was an endless cycle of drugs, booze, models—repeat. But 10 years in, desperately unhappy and morally bankrupt, he asked himself, "What would the exact opposite of my life look like?" Walking away from everything, Harrison spent the next 16 months on a hospital ship in West Africa and discovered his true calling. In 2006, with no money and less than no experience, Harrison founded charity: water. Today, his organization has raised over $400 million to bring clean drinking water to more than 10 million people around the globe.

In Thirst, Harrison recounts the twists and turns that built charity: water into one of the most trusted and admired nonprofits in the world. Renowned for its 100% donation model, bold storytelling, imaginative branding, and radical commitment to transparency, charity: water has disrupted how social entrepreneurs work while inspiring millions of people to join its mission of bringing clean water to everyone on the planet within our lifetime.

In the tradition of such bestselling books as Shoe Dog and Mountains Beyond Mountains, Thirst is a riveting account of how to build a better charity, a better business, a better life—and a gritty tale that proves it’s never too late to make a change.

100% of the author’s net proceeds from Thirst will go to fund charity: water projects around the world."

(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 the 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, June 23, 2020

Credible Threat - J.A. Jance

J.A. Jance is a prolific writer, penning numerous books in a number of series - all of which I've enjoyed. Credible Threat is the latest (15th) entry in the Ali Reynolds mysteries.

This time out, we know who the antagonist is right from the beginning. A series of threats have Archbishop Francis Gillespie asking Ali to look into things for him as the police have dismissed his concerns.

The listener comes to know the antagonist, her thoughts and actions even as Ali and her team work to put the pieces together. It is always a question - which is preferable - to know the guilty party ahead of time? Or to be along for the ride as the protagonist seeks answers? I don't really have a preference. It depends on how its presented. And I liked the way Jance unfolded things.

Listening to a J.A. Jance book is like settling in with an old friend. I've come to like and enjoy all of her characters. Jance fills out the personal side of them as well, moving along their lives with every new book. There's lots of detail as well of actions, settings and dialogue. This may have some listeners finding the pace a bit slow. I often listen while I'm doing other things such as cleaning or going for a walk. The leisurely, comfortable pace suited me perfectly with this novel. And the level of detail made the story and interactions more realistic. Character development is just as important as plotting with Jance.

There's been one new 'character' introduced in the last couple of books that I wasn't too sure of. Frigg is an AI. (Artificial Intelligence) Ali's husband B. runs a cyber security firm, so Frigg fits into things via this connection. Her use has been toned down a bit and I find it is more realistic in this book. She's also a credible and easy way to introduce new clues and evidence into the plot.

The scenario at the heart of Credible Threat isn't new, but Jance puts a nice spin on her version.

I chose to listen to Credible Threat. The reader was Karen Ziemba. Ziemba has narrated previous Ali Reynolds books, so the continuity is nice. She has a very pleasant voice, is easy to listen to and understand. She's got a calm, measured way of speaking that suits the character. She provides credible voices for supporting characters as well. She captures the emotions, action and tenor of the plot with her voice. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Credible Threat.

Another great listen from Jance. I'll be watching for her next book.

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Persuasion - Iris Johansen

Let's start off this week with a great giveaway! Iris Johansen has just released The Persuasion - the 27th book in her popular Eve Duncan series.

What's it about? From Grand Central Publishing:

"When she becomes a madman's target, Eve Duncan's daughter Jane must team up with longtime love interest Seth Caleb in this suspense novel from the #1 bestselling author of Smokescreen.

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan and ex-Navy Seal Joe Quinn are about to give Seth Caleb their trust for the most important duty of his life: keeping their daughter, Jane, safe at any cost. Her talent as an artist has caught the attention of a brilliant psychopath with a violent past.

Seth, Jane's strongest ally and fiercest protector, is determined to keep her out of danger, but that becomes nearly impossible when Jane is forced to take matters into her own hands and confronts the madman who wants her for himself . . . and wants Seth Caleb dead.
As Jane and Seth chase down their bloodthirsty adversary, they finally commit to a life together -- in the culmination of the epic love story that fans have been eagerly anticipating. As the two come face to face with danger, one thing is made clear: it will take both of them working together to confront and defeat this evil." Read an excerpt of The Persuasion.

"Iris Johansen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 consecutive bestsellers. Her series featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan has sold over 20 million copies and counting and was the subject of the acclaimed Lifetime movie, The Killing Game. Along with her son Roy, Iris has also co-authored the New York Times bestselling series featuring investigator Kendra Michaels. Johansen lives near Atlanta, Georgia." You can connect with Iris Johansen on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

If you'd like to read The Persuasion, enter for a chance to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, noPO boxes please. Ends July 4th. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 19, 2020

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #317

- 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 25th entry - The Sentinel - in Lee Child's Jack Reacher series releases in late fall of this year. And there will be another author listed as well. Child is  passing the character and future books off to his younger author brother Andrew. The Sentinel will be a joint effort. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Roads, bridges, travel - all of these are part of Jack's world. I really like the overpasses on the US cover. They form an X which seems fitting. After all, an X represents the unknown. But the bridge is good as well - unknown destinations, burning bridges, bridge over troubled waters? The greens used in the UK cover do draw my eye a bit more. Previous UK cover in this series have also used a solitary figure on the cover. But, the absence of anything but the road on the US cover does appeal to me. What's at the end of the road? On the road? A tough call this week, but I'm going to go with the US cover.
What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Sentinel?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Perfectly Famous - Emily Liebert

I've been listening more and more to audiobooks. The other thing I've noticed is that I'm trying out a lot of new to me authors and many books that I might not have picked up in print form.

My latest listen is Perfectly Famous by Emily Liebert.

Ward DeFleur (a nom de plume) is a successful author who seems to have it all.....until her teenage daughter is murdered. The killer was never found. With her life in shambles, Ward goes into hiding of her own volition.

Bree Bennett is newly divorced and is a also mom to a teen daughter. Bree is bored with her life and decides to try and rekindle her career as a journalist by writing for the local newspaper. What she focuses on is telling DeFleur's story. And that focus becomes an obsession with finding the author.

I liked the premise. Where is DeFleur? Why is she hiding? It is grief or something else? How is the investigation into her daughter's murder progressing? Will Bree find her?

What I had a hard time with? The main character. I found Bree to be so...well to be a lead I just couldn't get behind. She needs to have a new man in her life and Liebert's storyline gives her two to choose from. Cameos from former hubby. Her daughter is angry and is acting out. And this is when Bree decides she has to travel and leave her child with a friend for a few days. Honestly she just seemed full of herself and I never really understood why she was so driven to find Ward. Bree's investigative skills need some work as well. She takes information from someone she's just met as the gospel truth without even following up on her own to confirm. The whodunit is telegraphed long before the reveal. And really, Bree? You should have seen that coming. Now, with that reveal, I thought the book was done. But things keep going with a few more threads that just felt like weird add-ons. The whole book seemed very "Days of Our Lives" soapy. With a side of  'it was only a dream". I do have to say, I really liked Bree's Mom - she had some great lines.

Not that being said, I did listen to it in its entirety. There were two readers for this novel - Tavia Gilbert and Natalie Naudus. Both are award winning narrators and both turned in excellent performances in Perfectly Famous. Their voices are pleasant to listen to, easy to understand and clearly enunciated. They both captured the emotion of the characters and the action of the plot very well. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of Perfectly Famous. 

This may be a case of me not being the right listener for this book. I'm a bit of a pragmatist. And I do love a good mystery. Perfectly Famous started off strong, but ended up being just an okay listen for me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Over the Counter #455

What book caught my eye this week? This one isn't released yet, but seems very apropos.....

Bunker: Building for the End Times Hardcover by Bradley Garrett.

From Scribner Books:

"A thought-provoking, chilling, and eerily prescient look at “prepper” communities around the world that are building bunkers against a possible apocalypse.

Currently, 3.7 million Americans call themselves preppers. Millions more prep without knowing it. Bradley Garrett, who began writing this book years before the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, argues that prepping is a rational response to global, social, and political systems that are failing to produce credible narratives of continued stability. Left with a sense of foreboding fueled by disease outbreaks, increasing government dysfunctionality, eroding critical infrastructure, nuclear brinksmanship, and an accelerating climate crisis, people all over the world are responding predictably—by hunkering down.

For this book, Garrett traveled across four continents to meet those who are constructing panic rooms, building underground backyard survival chambers, stockpiling supplies, preparing go bags, hiding inflatable rafts, rigging mobile “bugout” vehicles, and burrowing deep into the earth. He has returned with a brilliant, original and never less than deeply disturbing story from the frontlines of the way we live now: an illuminating reflection on our age of disquiet and dread that brings our times into new and sharper focus.

The “bunker,” Garrett shows, is all around us: in malls, airports, gated communities, the vehicles we drive. Most of all, he reveals, it’s in our minds."

(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 the 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, June 16, 2020

Don't Turn Around - Jessica Barry

I read Jessica Barry's debut novel Freefall last year - and really liked it! (my review) I was excited to pick up her just released second book - Don't Turn Around. And I'll tell you up front - I think the thrill factor was even higher in this book!

Cait works as a bartender, really wants to be a writer and volunteers with the Sisters of Service. The Sisters will get a woman what she needs or where she needs to be. Rebecca needs help and Cait is her driver on an overnight run, taking her from Lubbock, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Okay, I was hooked from the prologue. "And then she hears it: a long, shivering scrape of metal against metal. She sees a face at the window. It's him. He's outside and he's trying to get in."

And from there, the timeline moves back and forth from past to present, and told from each woman's perspective. They both have secrets - but which woman is he after? It doesn't much matter - they're alone in the dark on a deserted stretch of road. They'll have to trust each other to make it through the night. We also have chapters from a number of men - any one of which could be the unknown truck driver following them. The vitriol in their chapters is palpable.

Barry employed the same back and forth technique in her first book. It's absolutely one of my favorite methods of storytelling. It's so hard to not read just one more chapter.

I was surprised to find out the reason Rebecca needed a ride - and then I wasn't. It's a story you'll find in some newspaper every day. Cait's reasons tie in as well. I'm going to be obtuse here as I don't want to provide spoilers. But the reasons are real and serious themes.

But what had me almost breaking my rule of not flipping ahead in a book is the tension, suspense and danger of the pursuit of Cait and Rebecca. So well written! And well played. The chapters count down the mileage to their destination which was another great way to ramp up the suspense. There was no way to predict where the plot was going to go and I was kept on my toes. One big twist near the end had me shouting out loud - no way!

An excellent suspense novel - one I definitely recommend. Read an excerpt of Don't Turn Around. I'll be watching for book number 3!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Troop 6000 - Nikita Stewart

I am drawn to non fiction that informs me, teaches me and opens my eyes. Troop 6000 by Nikita Stewart is one of those books.

It's hard to see the subtitle on the cover but it reads 'The Girl Scout Troop That Began in a Shelter and Inspired the World'.

Giselle Burgess worked a full time job to provide for her five children. Rising rent, spiralling bills and health issues had her falling behind and finally.....homeless. She became one of the 60,000 people that are housed in one of New York City's homeless. shelters daily.

She and her five children lived for a year in a room at a Sleep Inn in Queens. Two beds, six people, one bathroom, no kitchen. Curfews, sign in and out procedures, rude 'resident care' staff and more. Giselle had worked for the Girl Scouts of America in the past and came up with an amazing idea - a Girl Scout Troop in the shelter. The ideas, ideals and community would help out not just the children living in the shelter but their parents as well.

Giselle is a force of nature. She made connections, weathered uncertainty, overcame adversity and kept on trying. And Troop 6000 was born. Investigative report Nikita Stewart wrote a story for The New York Times and that led to support, networking - and other troops. She followed the members of the original troop and the leaders for a year.

I became so immersed in the story of this group of women - their strength and determination. And that of the girls as well.

I chose to listen to Troop 6000. The reader was Robin Miles. She did a fantastic job of bringing this story to life. I find that listening to a book immerses me in a story more. This time for sure - I felt like I was part of the conversation. Miles has a pleasant voice, easy to listen to, well enunciated. She captured the tenor of the book well.  Listen to an excerpt of Troop 6000.

"Troop 6000 is both the intimate story of one group of girls who find pride and community with one another, and the larger story of how, when we come together, we can find support and commonality and experience joy and success, no matter how challenging life may be."

Read an excerpt of Troop 6000.                 

Friday, June 12, 2020

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #316

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 enjoyed Kevin Kwan's runaway bestseller Crazy Rich Asians. And the movie was lots of fun as well. He's got a new book coming out the end of this month - Sex and Vanity. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. At first glance they could be the same cover. The author's name is in white on both covers with 
two fonts that are very similar. The title font on the US cover is a bit flashier and seems to match the title (and premise) better than the stark UK title font. The pool is pretty close on both covers, although the UK provides umbrellas. Day vs night? The cityscape is again close, but not an exact match. I do like it split on the US cover - it seems to frame the building and pool.  And well, I really like the color of those pink lit trees. Fushia? That and the night scene seal the deal for me this week - US cover. What about you?
Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Sex and Vanity?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Over the Counter #454

What book caught my eye this week? (Not over the counter and under the scanner though!) This one releases in September of this year. It was actually the title that had me taking a second look...

Hot Cheese: Over 50 Gooey, Oozy, Melty Recipes by Polina Chesnakova and photographed by Paul Sirisalee.

From Chronicle Books:

"Turn up the heat, it's time to get cheesy!

The cookbook Hot Cheese celebrates the magical combination of heat and cheese in over 50 recipes. Whether melted between crusty bread, baked until browned and bubbly, or fried for the perfect crunch-to-ooze factor, there are limitless ways to enjoy the thrill of hot cheese.

• Includes no-fuss snacks, hearty and healthy-ish meals, and party favorites
• Features twists on beloved classics and inventive, cheesy combinations
• Filled with bright and stylish photography to satisfy any cheese lover

Melt over delectable recipes like Easy Poutine, Smoked Gouda Chicken Cordon Bleu, and The Best Nachos in the World.

This cheesy cookbook also features handy guides to throwing your own fondue or raclette party. Filled with plenty of guilty pleasures, kid-friendly recipes, and crowd-pleasers, this is the perfect gift for anyone who loves cheese and comfort food."

(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 the 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, June 9, 2020

500 Miles From You - Jenny Colgan

I get so excited when I hear that Jenny Colgan has a new book coming out! 500 Miles from You is newly released - and it was everything I knew it would be. Colgan's works are perfect feel-good, rom-com escapist reads that will put a smile on your face.

Lissa is a public health nurse in London. After witnessing a horrible accident, she is diagnosed with PTSD. Her supervisor suggests a three month job swap to a quieter location and she reluctantly agrees. The exchange will take her to the Scottish village of Kirrinfeif in the Highlands. And Cormac, the local village health nurse will take her place in London.

The two of them are fish out of water as each environs is foreign to them. One quiet and one busy. I enjoyed seeing each place through their eyes. The two haven't met, but start to communicate by email. Slowly at first....

Colgan's characters are always so well drawn - people you'd like to meet and perhaps be friends with. They're engaging and the reader just can't help but like them. And in this case, hope that there might be more in store for these two...

Characters from previous (and just as wonderful) books are brought back in Kirrinfeif. Their lives have moved along and we get to catch up with them. The supporting characters are just as well drawn. The setting is so cosy as well - I'd love to have a wee cottage on the Loch. Cormac's sounds perfect!

The back and forth, missteps and miscommunications on the way to happily ever after are such fun to read. Colgan is quite funny. But, she also weaves a few serious topics into her books as wll. I'll leave it for you to find them. Well done.

Colgan is my go-to author when I need a warm, witty feel-good comfort read. And this latest did not disappoint.  Read an excerpt of 500 Miles From You. Can't wait for the next Jenny Colgan book!

Monday, June 8, 2020

On Ocean Boulevard - Mary Alice Monroe

The newly released On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe is the latest (6th) entry in her Beach House series. But - you can read it (and the others) as stand alones.

On Ocean Boulevard is set on the beautiful shores of South Carolina.

Through good fortune and bad, three generations of the Rutledge family end up back on Sullivan’s Island at the same time. Cara has weathered much in her life, but she's at a joyful point - remarriage to a man she dearly loves and the joy of being a parent to young Hope. Linnea returns home when both her relationship and job end. But fate steps in for Linnea and both love and life are looking up. And Linnea's parents are hoping to turn their fortunes around by building and selling a one of a kind oceanfront home.

But....and you know there's a but. More than one really. Not one of the women's plans goes smoothly. Friendships, relationships, family, hopes and dreams are all put to test this summer.

I liked the main characters very much. I think readers of all ages will find a character they relate to. Out of the main threads, I enjoyed Cara's story the most. I had a harder time with Linnea's plot line. I found her to be a bit wishy washy. And I wasn't as enamoured of the two visitors from England who are part of her story. Without revealing too much, I'll say that I thought Gordon is a bit of a pompous donkey and I never really found him appealing. Pandora is trouble. (Really the name was overkill) I didn't buy her as someone I would want to befriend. And her 'mates before dates' rule was so high schoolish.

Munroe starts every chapter off with facts about loggerhead turtles. I learned quite a bit. Eco politics plays a large part in this book as well.

On Ocean Boulevard is a slower paced novel, with detailed description of settings, dress, food, etc. While it painted clear images, I sometimes wanted things to move faster.

Cassandra Campbell was the reader for this book. She is one of my favorite presenters. She has such a versatile voice and always gives an excellent performance. She slowed her reading speed to match the slower pace of life, speech and settings of the book. Her South Carolinian accent was honey smooth. She did provide an English accent that was believable for the two visitors. She captured the emotion and feelings of the players very well. Her voice is pleasant, easy to listen too and clear to understand. Hear for yourself - listen to an excerpt of On Ocean Boulevard.

I liked On Ocean Boulevard, but enjoyed last year's The Summer Guests a bit more.

Friday, June 5, 2020

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #315

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

US cover
UK cover
Sophie Hannah has been writing the 'new' Hercule Poirot mysteries with the blessing of Agatha Christie's estate. The fourth by her, The Killings at Kingfisher Hill, releases later this summer/early fall. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right.
I've quite enjoyed the previous three and think she's done a good job. Each cover follows the style and look of the previous books in their particular series. I do like the 'real' images that the US covers have been employing. The blood on the ring lets the potential reader know there's murder afoot. The shadows add to the dangerous feel. The red font really pops against the grey background. The UK cover employs black and red as well, but the white font used for the title and author doesn't have the same impact. The drawing used for the image is okay, but doesn't really grab me. So, an easy choice for me this week - US cover. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Killings at Kingfisher Hill?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Over the Counter #453

What book caught my eye this week? (Not over the counter and under the scanner though!) This one isn't released yet, but I'd be very curious to read it.....

Librarian Tales: Funny, Strange, and Inspiring Dispatches from the Stacks Paperback by William Ottens.

From Skyhorse Publishing:

"Published in cooperation with the American Library Association, an insider’s look at one of the most prevalent, yet commonly misunderstood institutions!

Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly of librarian William Ottens’s experience working behind service desks and in the stacks of public libraries, most recently at the Lawrence Public Library in Kansas. In Librarian Tales, published in cooperation with the American Library Association, readers will learn about strange things librarians have found in book drops, weird and obscure reference questions, the stress of tax season, phrases your local librarians never want to hear, stories unique to children’s librarians, and more.

Ottens uncovers common pet peeves among his colleagues, addresses misguided assumptions and stereotypes, and shares several hilarious stories along the way. This book is must reading for any librarian, or anyone who loves books and libraries, though non-library folks will also laugh and cry (from laughing) while reading this lighthearted analysis of your local community pillar, the library."

(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 the 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, June 2, 2020

The Guest List - Lucy Foley

I loved Lucy Foley's last book - The Hunting Party. But her newest novel, The Guest List? Absolutely fantastic!

All the elements of a 'locked room' (one of my favourite techniques) mystery are in place. An isolated setting on an island, the island has a dark past and rumours abound, this is the first event to take place at the renovated 'Folly', a huge storm that cuts off communication and power. Now for the most important element - the players.

Jules is determined that she and Will will have a fairy tale wedding. Despite the short time they've known each other, she's never felt like this about anyone else. Uh huh. Except they each have secrets. And so does the 'plus-one', the best man, the bride's sister, the bride's best friend, the wedding planner and a few more that are on the guest list - including the body. But we don't even know who gets killed right away - that too is a mystery.

Foley chose a wonderful way for the story to unfold. Each of those characters get a chapter, a place to tell their story - and secrets. The reader is privy to all of them and can see how things might go, intersect or connect. Foley leaves each chapter with addictive cliff-hangers and some delicious foreshadowing. The timeline flips back and forth which only heightened the tension with each new revelation.

There's more than one suspect for the final whodunit. I had my theories and was happily proven wrong. There are one or two 'gotchas' that you won't see coming that had me shouting 'no way! out loud.

Foley has written an atmospheric, addictive, on the edge of your seat, one more chapter before bed read. I loved it - one of my top reads for 2020. See for yourself - read an excerpt of The Guest List.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Fair Warning - Michael Connelly

I've read every book Michael Connelly has written and loved them all. I was really happy to see that Connelly was bringing reporter Jack McEvoy back for a tale of his own in the newly released Fair Warning. If you haven't read Jack's first two cases, The Poet and The Scarecrow, you're missing two great reads.

Jack is now working for an online consumer protection news site. But murder has found Jack again. When a woman he had a one night stand with a year ago is found killed (in a most unusual way), Jack finds himself on the suspect list. And he can't help it - he begins to investigate the case on his own, against the advice of his editor and the police. For single-minded Jack, it's all about the story, the heck with the danger he brings to his doorstep - or that of others.

The who, what, where and whys behind the killer's methods and motives are current and so very disturbing. The dark web, genetics and extreme misogyny. All seen in current newspaper stories. I think this reality is what makes this plot so frightening.

Connelly's writing is just so good. Engaging and entertaining. His work just flows. I was drawn into the book from the first pages. Easy to do when there's such a great premise - and lead character. Jack is impulsive, driven and dedicated. He's not always right but you can't help but admire his tenacity. I appreciated that his personal storyline was continued, bringing back Rachael, the FBI agent (and love interest) who was in the last book.

The reader won't be able to predict the course of the book. I had predicted one twist that never came to fruition. And the ending wasn't what I had expected either. I really enjoy being kept on my toes.

A fantastic read and most definitely recommended. And one more cool fact - Fair Warning is real. You can check it out here. Myron Levin is in the book as the editor of Fair Warning - a job he holds in real life. And Connelly is on the board of directors.