Friday, July 29, 2011

Over the Counter # 68

still on vacation...but almost done.....sigh...

One more Over the Counter for you. World of Geekcraft by Susan Beal.

From the publisher Chronicle Books:

"Geek meets craft in this fun collection of 25 kooky projects for geeks of any affiliation, from D&D dice earrings, Star Trek pillows, and Super Mario cross-stitch to Star Wars terrariums, a Morse code quilt, and much more! Organized by difficulty from "Not a Jedi Yet" to "Warp Speed," World of Geekcraft covers a range of popular crafting techniques including beading, quilting, appliqué, embroidery, and needle felting. Best of all, it's easy to get started with step-by-step instructions and handy templates included in the back of the book. With lots of photos and plenty of geekery throughout, this one-of-a-kind book shows that geek and craft go together like...pixels and cross-stitch!

Susan Beal writes for CRAFT, Stitch, ReadyMade, CraftStylish,, and her own blog, She lives in Portland, Oregon."

(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!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Giveaway - Crunch Time - Diane Mott Davidson

still on vacation...

But, I've got a copy of Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson to give away, courtesy of Harper Collins.

From the publisher:

"Caterer and sleuth extraordinaire Goldy Schulz returns in another tasty and suspenseful adventure from New York Times bestselling author Diane Mott Davidson
Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz cooks up big trouble as she tries to help her longtime friend and fellow chef Yolanda Garcia. When the rental house shared by Yolanda and her irrepressible aunt Ferdinanda is destroyed by arson, the pair move in with cop-turned-PI Ernest McLeod. But then Ernest is shot dead and his house is set on fire, nearly killing Goldy, Yolanda, Ferdinanda, and nine beagle puppies that Ernest had recently rescued from a puppy mill.

Concerned for her friends, Goldy invites them to stay with her while the sheriff’s department investigates. Yet even Goldy’s house isn’t safe, and after a failed break-in by an unknown intruder a cop is sent to keep an eye on things. Then a second body is found.

Swapping her chef’s hat for a sleuthing cap, the intrepid Goldy steps up the investigation. But she’s got to move fast. It’s crunch time to close in on a killer, before he can close in on her.
Filled with danger as well as laughs, wonderful food, and scrumptious recipes, Crunch Time is a delicious indulgence sure to satisfy all of Goldy’s fans."

Open to US and Canada. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Closes Sat. Aug. 27 at 6 pm EST.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Over The Counter # 67

Still on vacation...
Well, it was recycling books that again caught my eye as they passed over my library counter and under my scanner this time. Textile recycling to be exact.

First up was Puppet Play by Diana Schoenbrun. From the publisher Andrews McMeel:

Have fun and go green with Diana Schoenbrun's Puppet Play: 20 Puppet Projects Made with Recycled Mittens, Towels, Socks, and More. A puppet builder, an illustrator, and an author, Schoenbrun presents 20 puppet projects made with recycled materials easily found around the house.
A lonely sock becomes a wizard puppet. A glove without a mate turns into five little pig puppets. And that tired dishtowel transforms into a lively banjo player puppet—all at very little cost. Diana Schoenbrun's easy-to-follow directions are accompanied by how-to illustrations. Also included are full-color photographs of puppets, as well as a chapter that guides children through creating and presenting their own puppet show. So, the next time the dryer eats a single sock, get crafty, go green, and go play with Puppet Play."

And next up was ReSew by Jenny Wilding Cardon. From the publisher Martingale and Company:

"Yearning for a unique look—yet shopping on a shoestring? Learn fashion designer Jenny Wilding Cardon’s secrets for finding the creative possibilities in cast-offs! With a snip here and a tuck there, you can turn common thrift-store items—such as sweaters, curtains, and jeans—into sassy, stylish originals.
  • Turn secondhand basics into first-rate fashions with over 20 beginner-friendly projects
  • Make chic tops, skirts, dresses, purses, scarves, bags, and hats—plus a rug, simple quilt, and more
  • View before and after pictures that illustrate the potential of your thrift-store finds"
(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, July 26, 2011

Giveaway - Dead by Midnight - Carolyn Hart

still on vacation...

But here's another giveaway for you. Carolyn Hart's latest Death on Demand mystery - Dead by Midnight.

From the publisher Harper Collins:

"Solving puzzles comes naturally to Annie Darling, cheerful owner of the Death on Demand mystery bookstore on the lovely sea island of Broward's Rock. Annie is aided and abetted by her admiring husband, Max, who runs an unusual business that offers help to people in trouble.

A recent death appears to be suicide, but Annie suspects murder. To solve the case, she unravels the mystery of a towel hidden at midnight in a gazebo, the lack of fingerprints on a crystal mug, blood on a teenager's blue shirt, and the secret of a lovers' tryst.

Annie believes she has set the perfect trap for a merciless killer until her cell phone rings and Death whispers in her ear."

This one's international! Simply leave a comment to be entered. Closes Sunday August 21 at 6 pm EST.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Over the Counter # 66

still on vacation.... But more Over the Counter for you!

Two based on televison shows for you this time. First up was Undercover Boss by Stephen Lambert and Eli Holzman.

From the publisher Jossey- Bass Books:

"On February 7, 2010 the CBS television series Undercover Boss USA premiered to a staggering 38.6 million viewers, the largest post-Super Bowl audience for a new series and the most-watched premiere episode of any reality series in the history of television.

Now, for the first time, the bosses and employees featured on Undercover Boss share the lessons they learned as well as the formative experiences that resulted from being on the show. Show creators and executive producers Stephen Lambert and Eli Holzman reveal how they came up with the idea for the show, how they got a major network on board, and of course, how they found a dynamic, charismatic group of bosses willing to go undercover—on camera—in this thoroughly new experiment.

Featuring all-new interviews and insights with the bosses and employees of the nine businesses featured on Season 1 of the show, as well producers' notes on what you didn't see behind the scenes, this book is a must-have for fans of the show everywhere."

Next up is The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton.

From the publisher Penguin Books:

"On the front lines with extreme hoarder. The Secret Lives of Hoarders is much more than harrowing tales of attacking the ugliest, dirtiest, and most shocking hoarding cases in the country. It is a behind-the-scenes look at this hidden epidemic--what it means, how to recognize it before it gets out of hand, and how to deal with it.

Through his work with hundreds of clients in the worst circumstances- from the giant "rat's nest" that hid more than $13,000 in cash to a vast cache of cartoon pornography to twenty-five years' worth of unopened mail-Matt Paxton has learned to understand this disorder and his clients' impulses to collect, to speak the hoarders' language, and to reach out to them with compassion and concern while avoiding criticism and judgment. Most important, he guides compulsive hoarders successfully through every step of the clean-up and healing process.

The Secret Lives of Hoarders is an engrossing and sometimes unsettling look at extreme clutter but one that helps hoarders, their families, and their friends to find meaning in the chaos."

(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!)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Over the Counter # 65

Still on vacation - so more Over the Counter goodies! These two memoirs dealing with children both caught my eye within a few days of each other.

First up was Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and The Doctor Who Heals Them by Randy Christensen with Rene Denfeld.

From the publisher Broadway Books:

"The unforgettable inspiring memoir of one extraordinary doctor who is saving lives in a most unconventional way Ask Me Why I Hurt is the touching and revealing first-person account of the remarkable work of Dr. Randy Christensen. Trained as a pediatrician, he works not in a typical hospital setting but, rather, in a 38-foot Winnebago that has been refitted as a doctor’s office on wheels. His patients are the city’s homeless adolescents and children.

In the shadow of one affluent American city, Dr. Christensen has dedicated his life to caring for society's throwaway kids—the often-abused, unloved children who live on the streets without access to proper health care, all the while fending off constant threats from thugs, gangs, pimps, and other predators. With the Winnebago as his movable medical center, Christensen and his team travel around the outskirts of Phoenix, attending to the children and teens who need him most.

With tenderness and humor, Dr. Christensen chronicles everything from the struggles of the van’s early beginnings, to the support system it became for the kids, and the ultimate recognition it has achieved over the years. Along with his immense professional challenges, he also describes the trials and joys he faces while raising a growing family with his wife Amy. By turns poignant, heartbreaking, and charming, Dr. Christensen's story is a gripping and rich memoir of his work and family, one of those rare books that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page."

 Next up was No Biking in the House - Without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene.

From the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux :

"When the two-time National Book Award finalist Melissa Fay Greene confided to friends that she and her husband planned to adopt a four-year-old boy from Bulgaria to add to their four children at home, the news threatened to place her, she writes, “among the greats: the Kennedys, the McCaughey septuplets, the von Trapp family singers, and perhaps even Mrs. Feodor Vassilyev, who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, gave birth to sixty-nine children in eighteenth-century Russia.”
Greene is best known for her books on the civil rights movement and the African HIV/AIDS pandemic. She’s been praised for her “historian’s urge for accuracy,” her “sociologist’s sense of social nuance,” and her “writerly passion for the beauty of language.”

But Melissa and her husband have also pursued a more private vocation: parenthood. “We so loved raising our four children by birth, we didn’t want to stop. When the clock started to run down on the home team, we brought in ringers.”

When the number of children hit nine, Greene took a break from reporting. She trained her journalist’s eye upon events at home. Fisseha was riding a bike down the basement stairs; out on the porch, a squirrel was sitting on Jesse’s head; vulgar posters had erupted on bedroom walls; the insult niftam (the Amharic word for “snot”) had led to fistfights; and four non-native-English-speaking teenage boys were researching, on Mom’s computer, the subject of “saxing.”
“At first I thought one of our trombone players was considering a change of instrument,” writes Greene. “Then I remembered: they can’t spell.”
Using the tools of her trade, she uncovered the true subject of the “saxing” investigation, inspiring the chapter “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, but Couldn’t Spell.”
A celebration of parenthood; an ingathering of children, through birth and out of loss and bereavement; a relishing of moments hilarious and enlightening—No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is a loving portrait of a unique twenty first-century family as it wobbles between disaster and joy."
 (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!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Giveaway - Promises to Keep - Jane Green

Still on vacation....

I reviewed Promises to Keep by Jane Green in hardcover last year. (Click here for review) It was a really good read, much deeper than I had expected for a 'chick lit' author.

I have a copy of the newly released paperback to giveaway, courtesy of Penguin Books.

From the publisher:

"Over the course of twelve novels, Jane Green has established herself as one of the preeminent names in women's fiction. In Promises to Keep she weaves a profoundly moving tale that will enthrall both new and old fans.

Callie Perry lights up every room she enters, and adores her settled family life in tony Bedford, New York. Steffi is Callie's younger sister. At thirty, she's still a free spirit bouncing between jobs and boyfriends in Manhattan. Their long-divorced parents, Walter and Honor, share little besides their grown daughters. But when Callie receives a difficult diagnosis, the family will come together for one unforgettable and ultimately life-changing year."

Sound good? Simply leave a comment to be entered. This one is open internationally. Closes Sat Aug 20th at 6 pm EST.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Over the Counter # 64

It was a hot day and these just looked so yummy the day that Paletas by Fany Gerson passed over my library counter and under the scanner.

From the publisher Ten Speed Press:

From the pure, radiant flavors of classic Blackberry and Spicy Pineapple to unexpectedly enchanting combinations such as Sour Cream, Cherry and Tequila, or Strawberry-Horchata, Paletas is an engaging and delicious guide to Mexico’s traditional—and some not-so-traditional—frozen treats.

Collected and developed by celebrated pastry chef Fany Gerson, this sweet little cookbook showcases her favorite recipes for paletas, those flavor-packed ice pops made from an enormous variety of fruits, nuts, flowers, and even spices; plus shaved ice (raspados) and aguas frescas—the delightful Mexican drinks featuring whole fruit and exotic ingredients like tamarind and hibiscus flowers.

Whether you’re drawn to a simple burst of fresh fruit—as in the Coconut, Watermelon, or Cantaloupe pops—or prefer adventurous flavors like Mezcal-Orange, Mexican Chocolate, Hibiscus-Raspberry, or Lime Pie, Paletas is an inviting, refreshing guide guaranteed to help you beat the heat."

(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, July 19, 2011

Giveaway - Before I Go to Sleep

Well, as you are reading this dear followers, I am happily off on two and a half week's vacation!! Yay!

And I'll be taking a blogging break as well. So for the next two weeks, there will be extra Over the Counter features and lots more giveaways!

Let's start off with a giveaway for one of my favourite books this year. ( If you missed my review click here)

I have three copies of Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson up for grabs, thanks to Harper Collins.

From the publisher:

"As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning.

Thinking I’m still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me. . . ." Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love—all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life"

To be entered, simply leave a comment. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Sun Aug. 14th at 6 pm. EST.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Close Your Eyes - Amanda Eyre Ward - Review AND Giveaway

Amanda Eyre Ward is a new to me author, but Close Your Eyes is her fifth novel. The book opens in 1986. A brother and sister have their idyllic childhood shattered when their mother is murdered....and their father is accused and subsequently convicted of the crime.

It is twenty four years later. The siblings have 'coped' with their loss in different ways. Alex is on his way to Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. Lauren sells real estate and refuses to marry her live in boyfriend - she can't commit to marriage. She is distraught when Alex announces his trip. He is her lifeline and has  always looked after her - she can't lose the only family she has left. But leave he does.

The second part of the book introduces us to Sylvia whose life has been unalterably changed by the events in her life. A life seemingly quite different from Lauren's, but both women have carried the burden of loss the entire lives. Loss on many different levels.

And this is where Ward shines. Her exploration of the themes of love, loss, family, self and redemption are examined through the eyes of the two main protagonists. While both have closed their eyes to what has happened in their lives, their interaction allows each other to slowly reclaim their own lives, open their eyes and go forward.

Murder is the minor player but the major catalyst in this novel. the characters and their lives are the driving force behind this story. Although I had an inkling where things might go, Ward surprised me many times. Lauren and Sylvia are well drawn characters, but so is the secondary cast. Gerry, Lauren's boyfriend stood out for me.
This was a different read for me, but one I quite enjoyed. It was a thought provoking exploration of how a random, unplanned act can affect so much and so many.

Read an excerpt of Close Your Eyes.

You can find Amanda Eyre Ward on Facebook  and on Twitter.

Thanks to the generous folks at Random House, I have a copy of Close Your Eyes to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Open to US and Canada. Ends Sat. Aug 13/11.

Check out what other bloggers on the TLC tour thought of Close Your Eyes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Welcome to Ella!

I'm very happy to announce that A Bookworm's World has a new resident guest blogger - this time with a focus on YA titles. Welcome to Ella, who just happens to work at the library as well.  She's one of our teen pages who gets to shelve all those books that cross over my counter. And she's a voracious reader as well.  Now that school is out, she's got a bit more free time on her hands and has come up with a few quick reviews for us.

 Abandon by Meg Cabot: Not actually a suggestion, more of a warning. I never thought I'd see the day when I wouldn't love a Meg Cabot book, but it has come. It was a cool idea (modern-day Persephone and Hades, a little rearranged), but the book itself was kind of blah. She didn't bridge the gap from memory-story to happening-right-now-story very well, and it fell kinda flat.

Soulless by Gail Carriger: Amazing! Really, really funny. Romance/non-obnoxious Victorian quasi-mystery on a backdrop of unimposing steampunk with characters that happened to be vampires, werewolves and 'soulless' beings. It's the first in a series, but I have yet to try the rest.
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore: Humanity evolved into humans, werewolves and vampires, and now that vampires invented fake blood, they're the elite of society, and the wulfen (werewolves) are second-class citizens. Parts of it rang a little too close to Nazi concentration camps for comfort, actually. Second half wasn't as cool as the first, but still pretty good. The hero is half-vamp, half-wulfen and is turning at the next full moon for the first time-drama, drama, drama.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty: what every dystopian, adults-get-a-funky-virus-so-teens/early-twenties-people-have-to-have-the-kids, 'the man'-is-too-powerful-man,the-media-is-controlling-us book tries to be, only it works. It was the funniest end-of-the-world I've read in a while, but not a "ha-ha!" funny, more of a comedy of errors. Twin sisters were separated at birth and raised in wildly differing environments- one religious extremist, one being groomed to "bump" and carry a baby for big bucks (but that actually means she has to be the best at everything).

Those That Wake by Jesse Carp: freaky. Dystopian, despair, the-end-is-upon-us-only-we-don't-care-'cause-we-have-cell-phones (which were actually totally cool, really advanced) crossed with zombies that weren't dead (but may as well have been) and epic journey style fantasy. Also Jungian theory. The opening: Laura, a suburbanite, is suddenly erased from the memories of everyone she knows, as well as computers, pictures (sorta), the works, and Mal's brother has dropped off the face of the Earth. Why has this happened? What's with the building with the endless doors? Are those men really Homeland Security agents? When it was done, I felt kind of stunned, like at the end of a roller coaster, minus the nausea. Still thinking about it, a while after I'm done.

Born at Midnight by CC Hunter; I might have already told you about this, but I was pleasantly surprised enough to repeat myself: I thought the genre was dead, that no more good would come of the unknowing-teenage-magic-girl-goes-to-boarding-school/her-relative's-house-for-the-summer/summer-camp-for-troubled-teens-and-finds-out-she's-a-*insert flavour of the week*, but I was wrong. Quite good.

Red Glove by Holly Black: Holly Black. Need I say more?

Thanks Ella! So glad to have you on board and I know we'll all be looking forward to more of your reviews!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Over the Counter # 63

The latest books to catch my eye this week as they passed over my library counter and under my scanner were all about Home Ec. Ahh, I remember the sack dress I made in grade seven....

First up was Home-Ec 101 by Heather Solos. It ws the retro look of the cover that made me take a second look.

From BetterWay Books:

"From quick cleaning solutions, instructions for removing stubborn stains, simple fixes to wardrobe malfunctions, troubleshooting advice for home appliances, a guide to basic home maintenance, or ideas for how to fix quick, healthy meals, Home-Ec 101 will teach you real skills for real life. It’s everything you wish your mom had taught you, written in a funny, easy-to-understand tone. Cut the apron strings and equip yourself with the skills you need for everyday life."

Or how about Making It by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen from Rodale Books?

"Spending money is the last thing anyone wants to do right now. We are in the midst of a massive cultural shift away from consumerism and toward a vibrant and very active countermovement that has been thriving on the outskirts for quite some time—do-it-yourselfers who make frugal, homemade living hip are challenging the notion that true wealth has anything to do with money. In Making It, Coyne and Knutzen, who are at the forefront of this movement, provide readers with all the tools they need for this radical shift in home economics.

The projects range from simple to ambitious and include activities done in the home, in the garden,
and out in the streets. With step-by-step instructions for a wide range of projects—from growing food in an apartment and building a ninety-nine-cent solar oven to creating safe, effective laundry soap for pennies a gallon and fishing in urban waterways—Making It will be the go-to source for post-consumer living activities that are fun, inexpensive, and eminently doable. Within hours of buying this book, readers will be able to start transitioning into a creative, sustainable mode of living that is not just a temporary fad but a cultural revolution.

Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen grow food, keep chickens, brew, bike, bake, and plot revolution from their 1/12-acre farm in the heart of Los Angeles. They are the keepers of the popular DIY blog, Root Simple, and the authors of The Urban Homestead, which the New York Times describes as "home economics as our greatgrandparents knew it...the contemporary bible on the subject."

(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!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shut Your Eyes Tight - John Verdon - Review AND Giveaway

I read John Verdon's debut thriller Think of a Number last year and really enjoyed it. (my review)

Verdon is back with his second book, Shut Your Eyes Tight, featuring retired NYPD detective Dave Gurney.  But retired may be a misnomer for Dave. He and wife Madeleine moved to the country, settling in on an idyllic piece of property. Madeleine is happy, but Dave is restless.  In the first year, Dave was asked to 'consult' on a case. He agreed, but working again took it's toll on both Dave and the marriage.

When old friend Detective Jack Hartwick stops by to 'visit' and just happens to mention a tantalizing case that could use Dave's insight, he finds himself inextricably drawn in....yet again...

A young woman has been murdered at her wedding reception in a truly horrific manner. Held on the grounds of her own home, she went into the gardener's cottage to ask him to attend. Jillian never came out and the gardener can't be found. Gurney takes on the case, drawn deeper into an ugly world that goes much further than 'just' the one murder. And he does so, knowing that his wife will not be happy.
"His acceptance of the case would prove that his obsession with solving murders, even in retirement, was intractable and that their future together would be clouded. His rejection of the case, on the other hand, would signal a changed, the first step in his transformation from a workaholic detective into a bird-watching, kayak-paddling nature enthusiast. But, he argued in his imagination, as though she were present, black-and-white options are unrealistic and lead to lousy decisions, because by definition they exclude so many solutions. In this instance the most tenable course would surely lie in a middle ground between black and white. He would accept the case, but with a strict time limitation - say one week. Two weeks maximum."
I loved the enigmatic character of Madeleine in the first book and have come to appreciate her even more in this second novel. She says volumes without uttering a word. Verdon has done a fantastic job with this character. I find this secondary storyline and exploration of their marriage and relationship just as engrossing as the mystery.

And the mystery is good. What sets Dave Gurney apart is his careful, analytical mind. It is intriguing to follow along with his thought processes as he links together seemingly disparate incidents and clues.
"The thing of it is, the whole damn case is like that. Everyone connected with it is either a genius or a lunatic or...a pathological liar or...I don't know what."
As I said when I reviewed Think of a Number, I wasn't sold on Dave Gurney. I still haven't embraced him as a character I can say I really like, although we are shown a little more of what makes the man tick this time. But this isn't a bad thing at all. Verdon has created an interesting, flawed protagonist that doesn't fit a mold.  Just as Gurney is unable to resist the pull of an unsolved case, I am hooked by Verdon's characters and writing. I am very much looking forward to the next chapter in Dave Gurney's life.

Read an excerpt of Shut Your Eyes Tight.

And if you'd like to get a taste as well, I have a copy of Shut Your Eyes Tight to giveaway, courtesy of Crown Publishing. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes. Simply comment to be entered. Ends Sat. Aug 6 at 6 pm EST.

Check out what other bloggers on the TLC tour think of Shut Your Eyes Tight.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Giveaway - Killed at the Whim of a Hat - Colin Cotterill

To celebrate the release of the first book in a new series by  author Colin Cotterill, I have a copy of Killed at the Whim of a Hat to giveaway courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

From the publisher:

" With worldwide critical acclaim, Colin Cotterill is one of the most highly regarded “cult favorite” crime writers today. Now, with this new series, Cotterill is poised to break into the mainstream.

Set in present day rural Thailand, Cotterill is as sharp and witty, yet more engaging and charming, than ever before. Jimm Juree was a crime reporter for the Chiang Mai Daily Mail with a somewhat eccentric family—a mother who might be drifting mentally; a grandfather—a retired cop—who rarely talks; a younger brother obsessed with body-building, and a transgendered, former beauty pageant queen, former older brother. When Jimm is forced to follow her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she’s convinced her career—maybe her life—is over. So when a van containing the skeletal remains of two hippies, one of them wearing a hat, is inexplicably unearthed in a local farmer’s field, Jimm is thrilled. Shortly thereafter an abbot at a local Buddhist temple is viciously murdered, with the temple’s monk and nun the only suspects. Suddenly Jimm’s new life becomes somewhat more promising—and a lot more deadly. And if Jimm is to make the most of this opportunity, and unravel the mysteries that underlie these inexplicable events, it will take luck, perseverance, and the help of her entire family."
"Born in London, COLIN COTTERILL has worked as teacher in Israel, Australia, the U.S. and Japan before he started training teachers in Thailand. Cotterill and his wife live in a small fishing village on the Gulf of Siam in Southern Thailand. He’s won the Dilys and a CWA Dagger, and has been a finalist for several other awards."

Sound good? Simply leave a comment to be entered. US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Sunday Aug 7th at 6 pm EST.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Trader of Secrets - Steve Martini

I enjoy a good legal thriller and Steve Martini has always been on my list of legal authors. I really enjoy his recurring character Paul Madriani. The last book I had read by Martini was 2008's Shadow of Power.

So, I was looking forward to Martini's latest, Trader of Secrets. But.....I felt lost from the get go. This book is essentially the third book to focus on the hunt for Liquida Meuerte - also know as the Mexicutioner. Unfortunately I had not read the previous two and flounder for the first part of the book.
I'm not sure what it is lately. Really good legal/courtroom authors are taking their characters off on tangents that are, quite frankly, somewhat unbelievable.

Liquida is after Paul's daughter Sarah. She is in hiding with Paul's partner and investigator. She stupidly ( and I say stupid, because this is an educated woman who is an attorney's daughter and duh - she's under armed guard) slips out to go for a morning run, bypassing the security. Liquida makes contact but escapes without Sarah. Paul, his companion and also lawyer Joselyn and Harry head out on a world wide (Bangkok and Paris) search to track Liquida down. Hmm, with the FBI's knowledge - they'll keep an eye and see what plays out. ??? Liquida is also the enforcer for a covert group holding two NASA scientists hostage for a foreign government who wants their knowledge for their own country. So - the FBI is letting a defense attorney track down one of their most wanted assassins and muddle in an international terrorist investigation?

Hello... this is a defense attorney. I really couldn't buy into this improbable scenario. Sarah - well, she was just downright annoying. Her dumb bunny antics continue throughout the story, with her letting pertinent details out to a man who shows interest in her. And she's bored being in protective custody. Joselyn - I'm not sure if Martini is trying too hard to make her dialogue somewhat comedic, but it fell flat. The only characters I like are the ever reliable Harry Hinds and investigator Herman Diggs.

I chose to listen to this book in audio format. Dan Woren was the narrator and did  a good job. He conveyed the action with his voice and did a passing job of the accents. Try as he might, there's no way to make Joselyn sound anything but insipid. (The name Liquida sounded quite ominous when listening to the book. Upon looking at the hardcover to confirm spelling all I could think of was dish soap....)

Read an excerpt of Trader of Secrets. Or listen to an excerpt.

Please Mr. Martini, put Paul back in the courtroom. So I can put you back on my list.....

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking - Kate Payne

What goes around comes around. We've come back to our mother's and grandmother's ways of thinking. Did you ever hear the phrase "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." Well, it's cool to re use, re purpose and utilize skills we may have forgotten or never knew.

Kate Payne has had a successful blog for many year in which she showcases her talents. She's gathered together many of her best ideas in The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking.

"It's cool to have a cool house. It's damn gratifying to throw down a loaf of homemade bread with our homemade preserved blueberry jam. Because feeling control in your own house does wonders for every instance when you're not under that sweet roof." "Here's your guidebook, you the reluctant homemaker, charming individual, to extend the personality I know you have into the home."

Payne has divided her book into three sections - 1) Room by Room Guide to a Homey House, Homie.
Lots of great ideas here with re purposing everyday items to fit your needs. Or finding items at the local goodwill or roadside clean up day.
2)Impressive Acts of Domesticity: Do Try This at Home. More ways to avoid toxic cleaning products, stains, laundry, gardening tips and more.
3)Life After Restaurants. Back to the basics with canning, preserving, homemade bread (yum!)

The layout is easy to read, with lots of cute Hip Tricks and Words to the Wise inserts. This would make a fun shower or housewarming gift for someone starting out. Or for someone already settled who enjoys the self satisfaction of 'doing it yourself'. (myself included!) The focus is on low-cost, low-stress ways to create a warm, satisfying environment for yourself.

Browse inside The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking. Check out Kate's blog as well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Over the Counter # 62

The latest book to catch my eye as it passed over my library counter and under my scanner this week was The Happy Baker by Erin Bolger. And why wouldn't it - cupcakes on the cover. So, I must admit -  I did more than glance through this one (and may end up buying it!) There's some seriously yummy recipes and a lot of fun inside this book. (Canadian readers, you may recognize this title - Bolger made a successful deal on Dragon's Den!)

"20+ 30+ years of dating fiascos
60+ down-home, comforting recipes
1 pink baking hammer, with apron and lip gloss to match
Many (many) bottles of wine
Too many tears
A whole lotta laughter
Yields: 1 very happy baker

We've all been there.
The blind date from hell. The Big Hurt.
The guy who details his various surgeries over Caesar salad on the first date.
Who needs a pint of rocky road when you can head to the kitchen and work out your heartache with a whisk and a bottle of wine? Erin Bolger has been there, dated that and baked through it all. Turns out the more bitter the heartbreak, the sweeter the batter. So don't cry over bad dates, bad boyfriends or bad breakups—whip up a batch of My-Mom-Didn't-Like-You-Anyway Cupcakes and bake yourself happy."

(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!)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wish You Were Here - Phillipa Ashley

Phillipa Ashley is one of the few British chick lit authors I haven't read yet. When I recently found myself in need of a light, fluffy read, I picked up Wish You Were Here, newly released in North America by Sourcebooks. 

Beth and Jack met on an outdoor tour adventure and had what Beth believed was a serious romance. But, Jack left, breaking Beth's heart. Eight years on, she hasn't heard from him. Until now. Beth goes to interview for a position at at a London adventure company. Unbeknownst to her, Jack is the one interviewing and hiring for the position. Jack knew who he was interviewing though...

Can sparks be rekindled after eight years? Does Beth want them to be? After all, she dating Marcus - everyone says he's quite the catch. And sophisticated magazine reviewer Camilla seems quite determined to keep Jack to herself.

Ashley combines all the right ingredients - love lost and found, will s(he)/won't s(he) moments, missed cues, some steamy scenes, the fun sidekick girlfriend and a quirky, loving and family - to produce a wonderfully enjoyable read.

The travel packages and adventures described gave me lots of pause for thought - especially the descriptions of Corsica.

A lovely little read, perfect for an afternoon in the hammock. Read an excerpt of Wish You Were Here. You can find Phillipa Ashley on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Never Knowing - Chevy Stevens - Review AND Giveaway

Chevy Stevens hit the ground running with her debut novel - Still Missing. It was a break out thriller that ended up on the New York Times bestseller list. (my review.) Her second suspense book, Never Knowing, releases today.

Sara Gallagher was adopted when she was very young. Now as a young mother herself and about to be married, she decides to seek out her biological mother. She finds her alright....but she also finds out much more than she bargained for. Her mother is the only surviving victim of The Campsite Killer - a serial murderer who was never caught. Sara - she's the result of a rape by said killer.

When word of Sara's existence and circumstances go viral, the Campsite Killer reappears. He'd like to get to know his daughter and grand daughter. The RCMP would like to catch him and ask Sara to communicate with him.

Never Knowing is told in an interesting format. Each chapter is a session with Sara's psychiatrist, told from Sara's point of  view. (side note: This same format featuring Nadine the psychiatrist was employed in Still Missing.Chevy indicates that her third book, Always Watching, will be from the perspective of Nadine)

Stevens has again come up with a terrifying concept for a book. Sara is torn between wanting to know her biological father and wanting to put him away. Sara is an interesting character - she is high strung, prone to anger, self centered and very high maintenance. Maybe she is more like her real father than she realized? I must admit that I found Sara annoying, despite her situation. Many times I just wanted to shout at her. The supporting characters, cops and dysfunctional birth family, are all very defined, perhaps a bit too much in some cases -I found many of the characters to be  somewhat cliched - especially the adoptive father.

I enjoyed the Canadian setting and references. Never Knowing is an addictive read with some good twists and turns along the way. For me it didn't quite live up to Still Missing, but was a great page turner, perfect summer escapist reading.

Get a head start - read an excerpt of Never Knowing. And if you missed it, here's the link to my Q& A with Chevy last month.

You can find Chevy on Facebook and on Twitter.

And thanks to St. Martin's Press, I have three copies to giveaway! Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. Simply comment to be entered. Ends Sunday July 31 at 6 pm EST.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Robopocalypse - Daniel. H. Wilson- Review AND Giveaway

I'm wondering if my computer's camera is watching me as I type this review.....No I haven't lost my marbles. That's the premise of Daniel H. Wilson's debut novel Robopocalypse.

The computers, machines and robotics that humans have built, developed and embraced as part of our everyday lives have turned the tables....Slowly but surely, they've evolved...and learned to think for themselves. And us? Well, we're now expendable. Zero Hour is scheduled.

I freakin' loved this book! It totally fed my passion for dystopian, apocalyptic fiction. There are no deep themes to discuss at book club (but you will be talking about it) and it won't be immortalized as great literature. But, boy oh boy was it was an action packed thrill ride of a read.

Wilson utilizes a very unique and creative format to tell the story of the War between humankind and machines. We meet Cormac "Bright Boy" Wallace in the opening chapter. He has survived the war so far and makes a startling discovery. "This is the goddamn black box on the whole war." Utilizing the data found on the cube with back up from other electronic and human sources, we start at the beginning of the end and works backwards. At first I thought, no, I know the outcome already, but it works. Every chapter introduces us to more players in this planet encompassing apocalypse. Each is completely different and their actions and lives intersect in ways they couldn't have imagined. Cormac's commentary opens and closes each chapter tying it to the next. The foreshadowing at the end of many chapters kept me up turning pages far into the night. 

For sheer entertainment this summer, Robopocalypse simply can't be beat. And in the near future, you'll be able to catch the movie version - Spielberg will be directing.

Who would like this book? Those who enjoyed the movies The Book of Eli, The Road, Terminator, the television show The Walking Dead and the books The Stand, The Road and I Am Legend. Vehicles that celebrate the triumph of human spirit.

Read an excerpt of Robopocalypse. You can find Daniel H. Wilson on Twitter and Robopocalypse on Face book.

AND thanks to Doubleday Publishing Canada, I have one copy of Robopocalypse to giveaway. Canada only, ends Sunday July 31 at 6 pm EST. Simply comment to be entered.

Daniel H. Wilson has a Ph.D in robotics. Maybe it's not so far fetched an idea. Do you know what destination your GPS has programmed for you?

Beach Reads Sweepstakes

Heads up Canadian readers! Simon and Schuster Canada is running a great giveaway starting today, July 4th and running until July 31.

"Enter to win 1 of 10 beach bags brimming with books and summertime goodies from Cake Beauty and Softlips."

 Read more about The Vault, Last Night at Chateau Marmont, Justice, Dominance, When Passion Rules and Then Came You.

Find out more about

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Father's Day Roundup Giveaway winners

This was a great giveaway! The two lucky winners of a set of five books, courtesy of Little, Brown and Company are:

1. flychild7
2. Cataroo

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


And the two lucky winners of a copy of Prophecy by S. J. Parris, courtesy of Doubleday Publishing are:

1. Meredith!
2. Melinda!

And the winner of a new ARC of Into the Heart of the Country by Pauline Holdstock in the Canada Day Blog Hop is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

The Canadian Book Challenge 5

That's right folks - another Canada Day has passed. And that brings another chapter in The Canadian Book Challenge - number 5! This will be my 3rd year participating. I managed 22 Canadian books last year.

What's involved? From John Mutford, the host at Book Mine Set:

"The Canadian Book Challenge is an online reading challenge in which participants from Canada and around the world aim to read and review 13 or more Canadian books in a one year span: Canada Day to Canada Day. Reviews must be posted online and participants are asked to share links to their reviews with other participants. More on reviews and other FAQ's here."

Interested? Join in the fun - here's the starting point. See you there!

1. Never Knowing - Chevy Stevens - July
2. The Accident - Linwood Barclay - August
3. The Thirteen - Susie Moloney - August
4. Before the Poison - Peter Robinson - October
5. The Virgin Cure - Ami McKay - October
6.Twelve Drummers Drumming - C.C. Benison - October
7. I Am Half-Sick of Shadows - Alan Bradley - November
8. Red Means Run - Brad Smith - January
9. Boston Cream - Howard Shrier - February
10. The Beggar's Opera - Peggy Blair - February
11. The Professionals - Owen Laukkanen - March
12. Forgotten - Catherine McKenzie - April
13. 419- Will Ferguson - April

Friday, July 1, 2011

Breaking Silence - Linda Castillo

Here's another great series that I'd heard good things about from my patrons but hadn't yet had a chance to read. I just finished Breaking Silence, the lastest release in Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder series. And yes, they were right! I'll be adding Castillo to my list of must read authors.

Castillo has created a unique character in Kate Burkholder. She is the chief of police in the town of Painters Mill - a town that also shares close proximity with a large Amish community. Kate herself was raised in the community but left 14 years ago. She has an understanding of both communities and it serves her invaluably in her work.

In Breaking Silence, the Amish seem to be the target of a number of hate crimes - sheep are being killed, buggies run off the road and more. But when an Amish couple, the parents of four children are found overcome by fumes in their barn, it looks like the crimes have escalated to a new level --murder.

I enjoyed Kate as a character - her personal conflicts between the community she was raised in and the world she now lives in provide a great secondary story line. As does the tension filled relationship she has with State Agent John Tomasetti. I found the descriptions of the Amish community informative and wondered about Castillo's research into this people and their society. The plot moves along quickly and the ending has a great twist.

Read an excerpt of Breaking Silence.  You can find Linda Castillo on Facebook. Breaking Silence is also available as an audio book. The reader is Kathleen McInerny - she's got a very expressive voice that really works for this book. Listen to an excerpt here.

Although this is the third book in the series, you don't need to have read the first two to enjoy this latest offering. A fourth book is in the works -I'll be picking it up for sure.

Fans of Tami Hoag and Iris Johansen would enjoy this author.

Breaking Silence - Book Trailer from Emily Greaser on Vimeo.