Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Giveaway - DIY Rules for a WTF World - Krista Suh

DIY Rules for a WTF World: How to Speak Up, Get Creative, and Change the World by Krista Suh has just released and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From Grand Central Publishing:

"From the creator of the Pussyhat Project comes a manifesto for every woman to create her own distinct and original path to joy, success, and impact.

On January 21, 2017, millions of protestors took part in the Women's March, and many of them created a "sea of pink" when they wore knitted pink "pussyhats" in record numbers. The pussyhat swiftly found its place on the cover of TIME and the New Yorker, and it ultimately came to symbolize resistance culture. Creator of the Pussyhat Project, Krista Suh, took an idea and built a worldwide movement and symbol in just two months. But like so many women, Krista spent years letting her fears stop her from learning to live by her own rules.

Now in DIY Rules for a WTF World, Krista Suh shares the tools, tips, experiences, "rules," and knitting patterns she uses to get creative, get bold, and change the world. From learning how to use your own intuition to decide which rules are right for you to finding your inner-courage to speak up fearlessly; from finding what your passions are (this might surprise you!) to dealing with the squelchers out there, DIY Rules for a WTF World not only inspires you to demolish the patriarchy, but also enables you to create your own rules for living, and even a movement of your own, all with gusto, purpose, and joy." Read an excerpt of DIY Rules for a WTF World.

"Krista Suh is a feminist, artist, Hollywood screenwriter, and creator of The Pussyhat Project. She's based in Los Angeles. She wants to make the world a safer place for women and to help everyone validate their own creativity, femininity, and intuition." You can connect with Krista Suh on her website, like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and on Instagram as well.

If you'd like to read DIY Rules for a WTF World, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends January 27/18.

Over the Counter #401

What books caught my eye this week it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Good vibrations......

The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes by Justina Blakeney.

From Harry N. Abrams:

"The New Bohemian Handbook guides readers in beautifully simple techniques for adding good vibes and style to living spaces. Packed with hundreds of ideas for bringing positive energy to your home, the book features exercises and activities for thinking about rooms in new ways.

With Justina’s expert guidance, learn how to rearrange, paint, prop, and plant your way to a home that’s fresh and inspiring. Uncover your “spirit environment” and learn how to use color and scent to enhance mood, productivity, and relaxation. Revel in Justina’s encouraging advice (“you got this!”), and easily and affordably turn any dwelling into a personal sanctuary."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come to 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 catchy your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Nomadland - Jessica Bruder

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder was a five star read for me.

Bruder spent three years following, interviewing and documenting a group of nomads. But the nomads aren't probably what you would initially think. This group of low-cost labourers is primarily made of an older population. They live and travel from job to job in their RV's, campers, vans or cars. The nomads are those who have lost their bricks and mortar homes, those who can't live on their social security checks, those who have no choice but to keep on working past any retirement date, and yes, those that choose this lifestyle. Working at physical, seasonal jobs at fulfillment warehouses, harvesting crops and staffing campgrounds. They're often referred to as 'workampers'.

Bruder introduces us to many of the people that make up this community. And I do mean community. There are regular meet-ups, connections and on-line communications. We are privy to the details, struggles, concerns, joys, friendships, resilience and day to day lives of a few workampers over the course of three years. A woman named Linda May is the 'lead' if you will - the book follows her closely.  Bruder herself goes on the road and manages to get hired on at many of the same jobs. The difference being that Bruder still has a bricks and mortar home to go to.

For some of the nomads, it's a lifestyle choice, but for most, its necessity. There are workers in their eighties. The workampers are made up of those from wide and varying backgrounds. Don't make assumptions until you read this book.

Nomadland is an absolutely eye-opening, fascinating read. But at the same time, its difficult and unsettling. I was quite stunned by how large this workforce is, the demand for these older workers, how they are used and the subculture. This is a group living unseen, right underneath society's nose if you will.

 Nomadland is well written and well researched. Five stars. Read an excerpt of Nomadland.

If you enjoyed Nickeled and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich or Evicted by Matthew Desmond, you'll want to pick up Nomadland. (Workampers are not just found in the US. I found sites in Canada advertising for Workampers as well.)

Monday, January 15, 2018

I Know My Name- C.J. Cooke - Review AND Giveaway!

I Know My Name is the debut novel of C.J. Cooke. And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

The book opens in 2015. A woman is washed up on an isolated Greek island. She has no idea who she is or what she was doing when her boat wrecked on the island's rocky shore. And in England a man is frantic - his wife has gone missing, leaving her two small children behind.

The reader is privy to more than either lead character. We know what is happening in the England investigation. And what is happening on Kommeno Island. The island is not completely deserted, as we discover that there are four other people on the island. Their behavior is odd and they seem determined to keep our unnamed woman with them. "The only way to get off this island is to remember."

I always enjoy a back and forth narrative - it's guaranteed to keep me reading later than I had planned. Cooke inserts a third narrative about a quarter of the way into the book. It is set in 1983 - and explains much. With that information, I had a strong inkling as to how the two 2015 narratives would connect. I was partially right, but Cooke throws in a twist at the end.

I found myself drawn more to the London search than the time on the island. Perhaps because there were numerous characters and more happening. I found the island scenes and dialogue very off kilter with it's decidedly strange inhabitants. Things did make more sense in the run up to the final answer. That ending goes on a bit longer than I would have preferred. Now, being deliberately oblique - Cooke uses those last chapters to 'educate' the reader. While I appreciate this, it was more than I wanted as the pieces had already been put together. Warning to gentle readers - there are some disturbing elements to this tale.

I Know My Name is a good debut - here's an excerpt. If you too would like to read I Know My Name, enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends January 27/17.

Friday, January 12, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #193

- 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 always enjoy Laura Lippman's books, especially the Tess Monoghan series. Her latest book, a stand-alone titled Sunburn, releases in February on both sides of the pond. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. And the words 'psychological suspense' have landed it on my TBR pile. So, 'hot' seems to be a focus on both covers - sunglasses on the US cover and a beach setting on the UK cover. But the blue on the US cover seems oddly barren. Is it just supposed to be the sky? I tried to make out what was reflected in the sunglasses but couldn't make it out. I am not a fan of a face provided for a character. I much prefer to draw my own mental images. The UK cover features a tag line that gives you an idea of the story within. And Lee Child has left a nice blurb. I just like the overall look of the UK cover this week. What about you? Any plans to read Sunburn? Which cover do you prefer?
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Just Sit - Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz

I've had it in my mind for a while that meditation is something I need to add to my bag of coping skills. I downloaded a great app and have been trying out some guided meditations over the last few months. But, I wanted to know more. Just Sit by Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz is hands down a fantastic guide for beginners (and honestly I think anyone) looking to expand and explore their knowledge of meditation and mindfulness.

Just Sit starts with the basics and expands and builds on that starting point. You're going to want to read from front to back instead of flipping around. (which is my usual tendency with non fiction books)

What is meditation? There's a brief chapter on the history. Why would you want to meditate? The health benefits are simply put - astounding. And it's backed up by medical studies. Seriously, I could not believe what just sitting and breathing would affect. And that's the thing - it's simply sitting still and breathing. How to meditate? There are chapters on what might or might not work for you. Remember there is no set 'must do' agenda. Equipment (a cushion!) or not, time, place, postures, mantras, focus, chakras, breathing, exercises, mindfulness and so much more.

I bookmarked so many pages as I read - there is a wealth of information here that needs to read more than once.  Now, having done that first read through, I am going to start with the basics (There's an eight week plan for beginners) and only progress when I feel ready to move on. As you do progress, there's some great strategies and ideas for dealing with your crap. You know what I mean - we all have unresolved issues that needs to be dealt with - both past and present.

All of this is presented in a really great format. Lots of illustrations, text boxes and white space make the information appealing and easy to read. And its written with candor and humour.

The most important piece I've taken away so far? Yep, it's that easy - just sit. Find the time - if it's only a minute to start, that's great. You started. Do it again tomorrow. And the next day. This is an awesome book for anyone looking to explore mediation - and themselves. Absolutely recommended.

Read an excerpt of Just Sit.See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can befound here. I received this book for review from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.

"Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz are two of the founders of the celebrated newsletter The Well Daily. Together they have traveled the world to study meditation and learn from its many renowned teachers. Elizabeth is the coauthor of Downtown Chic and Home by Novogratz, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Sukey is an executive producer of the acclaimed documentaries The Hunting Ground and I am Evidence. She sits on the board of the Joyful Heart Foundation and lives in New York City." (Photo: Adrien Broom)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Over the Counter #400

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? An interesting inspiration for the question of what to cook tonight for dinner....

Signs and Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook by Monte Farber and Amy Zerber.

From the publisher, HarperElixir:

"Discover how to eat for your sign and nourish your soul in Signs and Seasons, the one-of-a-kind cookbook that pairs chef-driven seasonal recipes with deep insight into how astrology shapes our appetites, from iconic astrologer Monte Farber and artist Amy Zerner.

Food connects us to our families, history, culture, and to the natural world itself—to the seasons and the cycle of life. Just as our path around the sun—and through the Zodiac—dictates the seasons, the seasons dictate what will flourish, from the tender greens of early spring to late summer’s lush and impossible perfect tomatoes.

In Signs and Seasons, Farber and Zerner—along with chef John Okas—take home cooks through the four seasons and each of their astrological signs in over 95 tantalizing seasonal recipes that include starters; meat, seafood, and vegetarian mains; sides; and desserts for each sign.

Inspired by the cuisine of the Mediterranean, home of the Greco-Roman cultures that named the planets after their gods, Signs and Seasons teaches you how to:

·         Feed friends and loved ones based on their signs and the season
·         Deepen your understanding of Nature and the Universe
·         Discover how astrology shapes our personalities, tastes, and appetites

Signs and Seasons is the perfect guide for eating in a way that emphasizes both sensual nourishment and psychic satisfaction. Beautifully photographed in full color by Monte Farber and illustrated by Amy Zerner, Signs and Seasons is a one-of-a-kind source of inspiration for astrology enthusiasts and home chefs alike."

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come to 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 catchy your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Map of the Dark - Karen Ellis

A Map of the Dark is the first novel in a new series (The Searchers) from Karen Ellis. (A nom de plume of Katia Lief)

FBI Agent Elsa Myers specializes in missing children. She's good at her job. But when she's asked to take on the case of a young woman most likely taken by a serial killer, she hesitates. Her father is dying and this is bringing the past she has tried to bury back to the surface. She does take the case, thinking she can handle both, but her carefully constructed defenses begin to crumble. Ellis's prologue opens the book with the crime.

Ellis has created a flawed lead character in Elsa. I liked her right away, but was caught off guard by her dark personal secrets. Ellis reveals Elsa's backstory through past and present chapters. (I did have some questions as to how such a wounded psych could end up in such a job). The victim of the crime is also given a voice - and the hope that she might still be found. Elsa is paired up with a new partner named Lex that only adds to her stress. Although he says and does all the right things, I just wasn't sold on him.

Ellis seems to be setting the stage for this new series in A Map of the Dark.  Establishing Elsa as a character and setting the background seemed to (for me) take more precedence than the crime. The crime itself is somewhat familiar in tone. There are some convenient plot devices that made if perhaps a little too easy for law enforcement. There is a twist at the end, but astute readers will most likely suss it out before the reveal.

A Map of the Dark is a solid read and will appeal to those who enjoy characterizations more than the mystery. Me? I like the mystery and the solving of the crimes.

Read an excerpt of A Map of The Dark. You can connect with Karen Ellis on her website and follow her on Twitter.