Friday, November 17, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #185

- 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
Now, I must say that although mysteries and thrillers are my favourite genres to read, I also love a good post apocalyptic read. I'm looking forward to The Feed by Nick Clark Windo. "Set in a post-apocalyptic world as unique and vividly imagined as those of Station Eleven and The Girl with All the Gifts, a startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age."The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two different looks this week. The US cover illustrates an urban area, densely populated. And to me red always signifies danger or stop. The UK cover is the opposite - a decimated or rural area with nothing but the two figures. The colours are not what you would expect - no green on the ground or blue in the sky. Instead these colours seems to say something unnatural has happened. Both covers feature The Feed with twisting, almost insidious tendrils throughout. Different taglines, but both are ominous. I like the starkness of the UK cover and the two people, so it's UK for me this week. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read The Feed?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lola - Melissa Scrivner Love

I've not really tried reading urban fiction before, but I liked the description of Melissa Scrivner Love's debut novel, Lola.

Lola is the girlfriend of Garcia - one of the members of the Crenshaw Six - a small gang in South Central LA. The gang works in 'distribution' - of drugs. But, what no one outside the gang realizes is that Lola is the leader. She's hidden behind people's assumptions and misconceptions. When she sees the opportunity for growth for her group, she decides to take it. But things don't go as planned. Can Lola save her people - and herself? And at what cost? Love's plot unfolds swiftly, with action and suspense carrying it forward quickly.

Lola is a great female protagonist. She's kick butt tough, not afraid of violence (and is in fact quite violent herself) and very, very smart. Love introduces a secondary plot line that threatens to be her Achilles heel - as sentimentality can get you killed in her world. This development also reveals that although she is street smart, she realizes that outside of her own world, she is out of step.

Love has worked as a writer on shows such as Miami CSI and Person of Interest. That background has translated well to the written page. Her lead character is easily imagined from her description, thoughts and actions. I did find some of the supporting cast to be somewhat cliched. But they serve their purpose well. The plotting is also detailed. I have no idea how close to the truth it might be - it does read a bit like a television or movie plot. Gang warfare, drugs, violence, sex and more populate the pages of Lola. Probably not recommended for gentle readers.

I liked the lead character and can see another book featuring her. Lola was a decidedly different read for me and it was good to step outside of my usual tastes. But, I'm heading back to known territory now.  Read an excerpt of Lola.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Over the Counter # 392

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Well, it seems there's a knitting book for just about anything.....

I give you the Field Guide to Knitted Birds: Over 40 Handmade Projects to Liven Up Your Roost by Carlos Zachrison and Arne Nerjordet, photographs by Ragnar Hartvig.

From the publisher, Search Press:

"Over 40 knitted birds to liven-up your roost, from typical garden birds to birds-of-paradise.

Let Arne & Carlos guide you on a journey into the colourful and imaginative bird kingdom! Inspired by nature both at home and abroad, from their garden in Tonsåsen comes the characteristic bullfinch, chickadee and wagtail, to name a few but the fun doesn't stop there. Knit cold weather birds with Norwegian traditional patterns, and keep them warm with bird-sized wool caps and scarves make brilliant birds-of-paradise decorated with embroidery, sequins, and feathers or spread your wings a little further with birds featuring vintage Mexican embroidery motifs. These delightful birds can be used as decorations year-round, but they may tend to migrate towards the Christmas tree when the time approaches. With clear instructions, helpful diagrams and full-colour photographs, its time for every knitters imagination to take flight."

(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, November 14, 2017

Two Kinds of Truth - Michael Connelly

Two Kinds of Truth is the 22nd book in Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series. And although I have enjoyed each and every one of those previous books, I have to say that this latest is a stand out for me.

Harry is still working as a volunteer cold case detective for the San Fernando Police Department. But when two pharmacists are murdered, Harry is called upon to help out the small three person detective unit. Connelly takes inspiration for this case from current headlines - pill mills, organized crime and addiction. His plotting for this case is absolutely addicting.

Now I say 'this case' as there is another. Exiled from the LAPD, Harry has moved on. Bu,t he's pulled back into the past when a convict on death row accuses Harry of framing him - and new evidence seems to prove that. Can Harry prove his innocence? "In his career, he had chased down hundreds of killers and put them in prison. If he was wrong about one, then it would put the lie to everything else." Another fantastic - and clever - plot line. There are some harrowing twists in the solving of this case and I worried about Harry's making it out alive.

Harry is run ragged trying to work both the double murder and trying to clear his name. Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer and Harry's half brother) makes an appearance. I love the crossover appearances.

At one point, Harry's age is mentioned - he's over sixty five. (which surprised me as I see him as timeless) Connelly has kept this series moving along in real time both professionally and personally for Harry. Daughter Maddie is also heard from.

Harry is an eminently likeable lead character. His tenacity, his doggedness and just who he is have made him one of my favourite detectives. Connelly's supporting cast is always well drawn as well. I have a fondness for Lourdes, the lone female detective in the squad.

The origins for a book's title always intrigue me. In this case it's from Harry..."He knew there were two kinds of truth in this world. The truth that was the unalterable bedrock of one's life and mission. And the other, malleable truth of politicians, charlatans, corrupt lawyer, and their clients, bent and molded to serve whatever purpose was at hand."

There's no doubt as to Harry's truth. I binge read Two Kinds of Truth and finished it far too quickly - but it was so very, very good! Absolutely recommended! Read an excerpt of Two Kinds of Truth.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie

I read Agatha Christie's iconic 1934 mystery, Murder on the Orient Express, many, many years ago. (And to be honest - I had forgotten the 'whodunit'.) Well, Twentieth Century Fox has just released a new (star studded) version of Murder on the Orient Express. It's one I would like to see at the theatre, but I wanted to read the book again beforehand.

My favourite genre is mysteries and this one is a classic 'locked room' mystery. Twelve people are traveling on the Orient Express train. Our protagonist, the great Detective Hercule Poirot is one of them. When the train is stopped dead on the tracks in the middle of nowhere by a snowstorm and a murdered traveler is found in one of the cabins, Poirot's deductive skills are called upon. "The murderer is with us - on the train now..."

And it is those deductive skills that make Christie's works such a joy to read. While current day crime novels can draw upon technology and forensic tools, Poirot relies upon his 'little gray cells'. He solves crimes through interviews, questions, deductions and his own innate cleverness. It's great fun to see if you can remember what each of the twelve has claimed - and to try and find the cracks in each one's proclamations along with Hercule. But they are subtle and so cleverly inserted. The joy in reading Murder on the Orient express is in the journey to the final answer. Read an excerpt of Murder on the Orient Express.

On reaching the final whodunit, I am now very curious as to how the movie will play out. Christie's ending leaves some wiggle room.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Shatter Your Senses

The Ripley's books have been a staple in our house for many, many years. My son discovered them as a youngster and he always received the newest book for Christmas. Twenty plus years later, he still enjoys them. And I have to admit, so does everyone else who visits. The latest is Ripley's Believe It or Not! Shatter Your Senses. Its out on the coffee table in the t.v. room and almost everyone picks it up to leaf through.

This 2017 edition brings 1,500 new - and yes, they're all true - stories to readers. You can browse by section -  Believe It, World, Beyond Belief, Animals, Pop Culture and People or you can browse like me. I just start flipping pages, stopping when something catches my eye. The five senses are targeted in this new entry. Short snippets give you a quick glance into something 'unbelievable', but the pictures will have you pausing to look and wonder at the 'unbelievable." The photos are in full color.

What caught my eye? You've heard of yarn bombing - what about an entire house covered? Air pollution in China is horrific. But citizens can buy a bag of fresh mountain air for a nominal fee. Heading to the beach in China? Make sure to wear your face-kini to protect your skin. I'll pass on visiting Sweetwater, Texas and their rattlesnake festival. *shivers* Or the Poison Garden in England. The most expensive cheese in the world? Made from donkeys in the Balkans. I got lost in popular culture - there are many, many unusual oddities. Dual sided cowboy boots. Celebrity portraits made from shredded currency. Could you fit 138 pencils in your mouth? And that's just a few entries! The cover is eye- catching (and 3D), as are the stories between the covers. Fair warning - some of the stories are definitely not meant for younger children. See below for some page excerpts.

Friday, November 10, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #184

- 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
Clare Mackintosh has a new book coming - Let Me Lie releases in March 2018 on both sides of the pond. And yes, it's on my ever growing TBR list! The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, so we have blue tones in both covers. At first glance of the US cover, I thought the woman was on a snow covered glacier until I realized the water below wasn't frozen and it looks a little tropical with the green? Ominous clouds though and the large red font suggest danger. But, the UK cover leaves no doubt the the read inside will be a thriller. The tagline is mysterious - not suicide, not murder, well what could it be? The broken glass and window suggest danger. I'm going with the UK cover this week. I can't get past the tiny person on top of the maybe glacier. What about you? Any plans to read Let Me Lie? Which cover do you prefer?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.