Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fierce Kingdom - Gin Phillips

So, you've heard readers say, "I couldn't put the book down"....but honestly, I truly couldn't put down Gin Phillips' new thriller Fierce Kingdom!

Her premise is terrifying......Joan and her four year old son Lincoln are amongst the stragglers leaving the zoo late one day. They're on their way to the exit when Joan hears 'popping' sounds. It's only when she sees the first dead body that she realizes that there is a killer on the prowl within the confines of the zoo. And he's walking on two legs carrying a gun.....

Okay, the idea alone is scary enough, but the fact that I have visited the zoo with my young grandson made it even more real. Recent newspaper headlines make it a plausible and appalling scenario.

Phillips' descriptions of Joan's love for Lincoln has been described by the publisher as primal - an apt and realistic picture of fierce mother love. Their interactions and Lincoln's imagination and questions all ring so true. Joan's ferocious desire to ensure her son survives this horrific situation had me on the edge of my seat for all 288 pages and the three hours that the novel takes place in.

Joan and Lincoln often visit the zoo - she knows the layout and will use that knowledge to try and evade the killer. But how do you keep a four year old quiet? Transmit the danger without terrifying him? What decisions does she have to make to ensure his survival? The killer is also given a voice with some chapters dedicated to his thinking and reasoning. His actions are frightening enough, but the impetus for his actions is downright terrifying - again taken from real life events. There are others hiding as well and we also hear a bit from them.

Fast paced, breakneck action will keep you turning pages 'til the wee hours. The tension and the fierce love between Joan and Lincoln will leave you breathless (and hugging the little ones in your life a little bit tighter). An excellent read for those who love thrillers and suspense. I dare you to try and put it down....I can see this novel as a movie as well.

Read an excerpt of Fierce Kingdom. You can connect with Gin Phillips on her website.

You Can'd Judge A Book By Its Cover #165

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

UK cover
US cover
I am one or two books behind on Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone series, but I plan to finish it - just one more letter to go after this newest - Y is for Yesterday. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. The US cover continues the look that the previous books have had - very plain with the letter taking center focus. The UK cover is a little more interesting with the car and the (surprise!) running girl. Yellow is used for both 'Y's. Hmm, I appreciated the continuity of the US cover, but I think I actually prefer the UK cover this week. Which cover do you prefer? Have you been following this series?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Over the Counter #372

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? One for the crafty cat lover in the crowd......

Crafting for Cat Ladies by Kat Roberts.

From the publisher, Lark Crafts:

"For cat-crazy crafters, these 35 unique projects are absolutely purr-fect. Sweet and trendy, creative and fun to make, the crafts are divided into four sections—accessories, apparel, home, and party. Projects range from a kitty clutch wallet and cat embroidered jeans to kitty-shaped coasters and cat-themed plates. Each project includes easy-to-follow step-by-step photography as well as an overview of the tools and materials used in the book and all necessary templates."

(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, June 27, 2017

Giveaway - June is Audiobook Month! (JIAM)

June is Audiobook Month! I'm today's stop on the month long APA tour celebrating listening to books!

I listen to at least two books at a time - while still reading print copies. Why, you ask? Audiobooks are an experience for me - I feel more drawn into the story by listening to it. Listening to the story come alive with interpretation, inflection and more makes it an intimate experience.

Two at a time? Yes, my commute to work is about 75 minutes each day, back and forth - that enough time for one disc and bit of the next one. I've been asked if I can concentrate on the story while still paying attention to my drive. The answer is yes, it's no different than having a conversation with a passenger. And for those time, I do need to concentrate, it's easy to hit the off button.  The other time I listen is before falling asleep. I usually listen on my MP3 player or my iPhone. Both have a timer, so it's easy to set it to 30 or 60 minutes for auto shut-off. And if I'm quilting or sewing, I like to listen as well.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Bird Box, written by Josh Malerman and read by Cassandra Campbell. Just try listening to this one in the dark. Scary! (my review)
Any of Louse Penny's Inspector Gamache series! How the Light Gets In is read by Ralph Cosham. (my review)


These are two of my favourite trilogies - I've actually read the books and then listened to them as well! Justin Cronin's The Passage read by Scott Brick. (one of my fave readers!)
The Bone Tree by Greg Iles and read by Robert Petkoff.

See what others have to say about audiobooks (and more giveaways) on the JIAM tour. Full schedule can be found here. 30 days, 30 bloggers! #loveaudiobooks

To help celebrate JIAM, I have a wonderful giveaway today for those of you who already love love audiobooks and for those of you who'd like to give them a try! I've got a set of earbuds and a voucher for three audiobook downloads on Audiobooks.com. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. This one's short and sweet - Ends July 1, open to US only.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Cafe by the Sea - Jenny Colgan

I love Jenny Colgan's books - they're the perfect 'feel-good' read. Her latest North American release is The Cafe by the Sea.

What makes Colgan's books such a delight to read? Her characters first and foremost. There's always a fun female lead facing decisions, both professionally and personally. This time 'round it's Flora, born on the remote Scottish island of Mure. When her mother died, Flora fled to London to pursue her career. Three years on she hasn't returned, even for a visit. But when her boss (yes she does have a crush on him - this is another integral part of Colgan's books - the romantic will they, won't they component) sends her there for work, she is forced to confront her past - and look to her future. (Another few pieces of the feel-good read - conflict and heart-string tugging.)

Flora is a perfect lead - fun, quirky and very likable. The supporting cast also endears themselves to the reader - Flora's loud and noisy family, the townsfolk - and two other possible romantic entanglements......

The grief and loss Flora is experiencing over her mother's death is very well written. Anyone who has suffered such a loss will find themselves shedding a tear or two. But there's lots of joy as well - rediscovering that place we call 'home' and finding your own passion - the thing you were meant to do. The title gives you a pretty broad hint of what Flora's passion might be. Colgan's description of the joy of food and baking was, well, mouthwatering! The descriptions of Mure are vivid, bring the imaginary isle to life - and had me wanting to visit. And who doesn't love a good romantic tale - the meandering path to true love - all the while knowing that yes, there's a happy ending. But sad for the reader when the end is reached. More please!

The Cafe by the Sea is the perfect summer (okay, really anytime) read - engaging, touching, joyful, romantic, humourous and more. Loved it! Read an excerpt of The Cafe by the Sea.

You can connect with Jenny Colgan on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. (And I have to say that I look forward to reading the note from the author at the beginning of Colgan's books - her warmth and wit shine through and add a personal note to the novels.)

(Note that this is the same novel as the British titled The Summer Seaside Kitchen.)

Friday, June 23, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #164

- 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
Shari Lapena's first book, The Couple Next Door, was a
bestseller. Her second book, A Stranger in the House is due out in August of this year. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Blue background, white font and a window is used in both covers. But very different pictures. I'm not a fan of the US shot at all. Women on covers is getting very tired for me. And it's just kind of static. The blowing curtain and looking out from inside on the UK cover appeals to me more. And the tagline gives us a bit more. Any plans to read A Stranger in the House? Which cover do you prefer? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Child - Fiona Barton

Fiona Barton's second novel, The Child, releases on Tuesday, June 27/17. I figure if I give you a heads up today, you too can spend a day on the beach next weekend devouring it - I did!

Barton is a former journalist. Her first book, The Widow, (my 5 star review) took inspiration from real life, trials and newspaper stories, as does the lead character in The Child.

Kate, a reporter, sees this story " 'Baby's Body Found.' Two small sentences told how an infant's skeleton had been unearthed on a building site..." And she wonders "Who is the baby? How did it die? Who would bury a baby?"

What a great premise - I too want to know the answers. Kate is not the only person to see the news story. The Child is told from four alternating points of view - that of Kate and three other women. Each of those three has a reason to hope - or fear - their own ties to the little skeleton. I love multiple point of view books - the reader is privy to the information that each character is holding - or hiding. And we can only hold our breath as (in this case) Kate gets closer and closer to the truth. Now, that being said, I thought I had fit the pieces together about halfway through the book. But, as one character also says..."I don't know what to think anymore. Everything is wrong. I've got everything wrong." I was quite happy to not have guessed!

The Child is a character driven novel of suspense. Kate is a wonderful lead. I wonder if there are bits of Barton's own journalistic days woven into her character? The details of the investigation and newsroom ring very true. The other three women are just as well drawn - their connections to the child are quite poignant, shocking and in one case absolutely infuriating. I'm deliberately being obtuse - The Child is a story you need unfold and discover as the pieces are slowly put together. Although I will say this - motherhood is a prominent theme and thread that ties the four stories together. "Disturbing the surface had triggered an eruption of unexpected secrets."

The Child was an absolutely addicting pager turner for this reader! Definitely recommended. Read an excerpt of The Child.

"Fiona Barton trains and works with journalists all over the world. Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards. Born in Cambridge, England, she currently lives in southwest France." You can connect with Fiona Barton on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Over the Counter #371

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

For the Love of Old: Living with Chipped, Frayed, Tarnished, Faded, Tattered, Worn and Weathered Things That Bring Comfort, Character and Joy to the Places We Call Home by Mary Randolph Carter.

From the publisher, Rizzoli:

"This stunning volume focuses on the qualities of the old things in our homes (the patina of an old table, pewter dulled by age, old floorboards that creak) and how to live with and incorporate them into our personal aesthetic. Divided into chapters by the qualities of old—peeling, dried, tarnished, faded, chipped, frayed, rusty, and mossy—this unique book not only pays tribute to furniture, textiles, china, silver and other accessories with these qualities but also shows us how best to preserve, adapt, and arrange them. Lavishly illustrated with beautiful photographs that highlight the warm colors and rich textures of wood and paint, cloth and leather, For the Love of Old also includes ideas and recipes for saving old items from the junk pile, preserving and caring for the old things you have, giving newer things a lived-in feel, and bringing an enduring personality to every home."

(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!)