Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Giveaway - While the Gods Were Sleeping - Elizabeth Enslin

I've got a wonderful giveaway today - Elizabeth Enslin's memoir - WhileThe Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal.

From the publisher, Seal Press:

"Love and marriage brought American anthropologist Elizabeth Enslin to a world she never planned to make her own: a life among Brahman in-laws in a remote village in the plains of Nepal. As she faced the challenges of married life, birth, and childrearing in a foreign culture, she discovered as much about human resilience, and the capacity for courage, as she did about herself.

While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal tells a compelling story of a woman transformed in intimate and unexpected ways. Set against the backdrop of increasing political turmoil in Nepal, Enslin’s story takes us deep into the lives of local women as they claim their rightful place in society—and make their voices heard."

Elizabeth Enslin with son in Chitwan, Nepal, 1987
"Elizabeth Enslin grew up in Seattle and went on to earn her PhD in cultural anthropology from Stanford University in 1990. While a graduate student, she married into a Brahman family in the plains of Nepal. Inspired by local women, especially her mother-in-law, she researched women’s organizing, poetics, politics, and agroecology. Her academic essay, “Beyond Writing: Feminist Practice and the Limits of Ethnography,” still inspires conversations about feminism and the ethics of research and activism.

Enslin returned to the Pacific Northwest in 1995 and earned her living as a high school and college teacher, a grant writer, and an independent consultant. She has published creative nonfiction and poetry in The Gettysburg Review, Crab Orchard Review, The High Desert Journal, The Raven Chronicles, Opium Magazine, and In Posse Review and received an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Oregon Arts Commission and an honorable mention for the Pushcart Prize.

She currently lives in a strawbale house in the canyon country of northeastern Oregon, where she raises garlic, pigs, and yaks. While the Gods Were Sleeping is her first book. Learn more at elizabethenslin.com. You can find Elizabeth Enslin on Facebook and on Twitter.

While the Gods Were Sleeping is newly released - A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Rural Health Educations Service Trust (RHEST) for projects dedicated to improving women's reproductive health in Rural Nepal Read an excerpt of While the Gods Were Sleeping.

If you'd like to read this fascinating memoir, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered. US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Oct 12/14.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bones Never Lie - Kathy Reichs

Bones Never Lie is the latest release in Kathy Reichs's Temperance Brennan series. It's hard to believe that this is number 17!

Tempe is a forensic anthropologist and now she's also part of the Charlotte NC cold case squad. When two child murders reveal similarities that can't be ignored, the team searches to see if there are others that match their cold cases. There are - but they're in Canada and seem to be the work of serial killer Anique Pomerleau - a woman who almost killed Tempe as well. Could she have crossed the border to continue her spree? And when a child who matches Pomerleau's type is snatched in Charlotte, the question arises - could it be her?

There are other forensic series out there, but in my opinion, Reichs is absolutely the best. She herself is a forensic anthropologist in NC and Quebec - she knows what she's writing. And it shows. Her plots, the crimes and the road to answers are intriguing and believable. It's very easy to step into Reichs's books.

But what really grabs me is the character of Tempe. I like her - she's engaging, smart and comes across as a real person. I may not always agree with her decisions (she tends to go in guns blazing in some situations), but it makes for action filled reading. I also quite like her surly partner Skinny Slidell - his gruff, grumpy nature and sloppy exterior belies a dedicated, quick mind. I enjoy his one liners and haranguing of the brass and other agencies.

Reichs has created a personal storyline for Tempe that started with the first book and continues on. It's just as interesting - and sometimes just as frustrating. I was glad to see Andrew Ryan back and Pete not in the story at all this time. Tempe's mother plays a significant role in the solving of this crime. I'm not quite sure what I thought of her involvement - it was perhaps a wee bit far fetched and seemed like an awkward plot device to have some information discovered.

I laughed when I read the scene where Tempe is watching the television show Bones. For those of you unaware, Reichs's character is the basis for this program. (celebrating it's 200th episode!)

Over the course of seventeen books, there are bound to be some titles that are stronger than others. The last book, Bones of the Lost, was just an okay read for me. But Bones Never Lie is a return to Reichs's earlier strengths and had me engaged from first page to last. Happily finished in a day and a half. And the stage is set for further adventures. I'll be looking forward the eighteenth book! Read an excerpt of Bones Never Lie. You can keep up with Kathy Reichs on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sunday, September 28, 2014


And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harnish is:

Jean Lewis!

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Ark Storm by Linda Davies, courtesy of Forge Books is;


And last, but not least, the randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Fault in Our Stars on Blu-ray, courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is:


Congratulations! I've contacted everyone by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time a new winner will be chosen. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #23

- You can't judge a book by its cover - which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...
Canadian/US cover
UK cover
I was hunting down cover art for my forthcoming review of Kathy Reichs' latest book, Bones Never Lie, and came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the UK cover on the right. I'm not sure this week. The NA cover is subtler, yet it's still one that makes me want to look inside. The UK cover is more lurid, but has a nice little blurb on the front. Undecided for me this week. Either way, it's a really good read. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read, or do you plan to read Bones Never Lie?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Film on Friday #22 - The Auction

The Auction, from director Sebastien Pilote, has been a selection at numerous film festivals - including Cannes and the TIFF.

Gaby is an aging farmer. He has worked the family farm alone for over forty year as his brothers wanted no part of it. He and his wife had two daughters. But the girls have left, as has his wife. The constants in his life are his dog, his one friend, the hired boy, the sheep - and the land. He lives a solitary life, but seems content.

Pilote's cinematography is absolutely beautiful. Rural Quebec was used for the setting. The farm is authentic, the house comfortable and lived in. Pastoral.  Pilote's camera often pauses that extra moment and the viewer can't help but see what Gaby sees.

Gabriel Arcand plays Gaby and I thought he was superb. If I didn't know he was an actor, I would absolutely believe he was a farmer. This character is a man of few words. Arcand's facial expressions, body language and simple actions convey much with few words. His eyes are particularly expressive.

His oldest daughter Marie arrives for a visit - the joy Gaby experiences at seeing his child and grandchildren is extremely touching. However, Marie has her own reason for visiting - she needs money - $200,000 to be exact. She and her husband are divorcing and she wants to stay in the house. Here, I got angry. Gaby's offer to come and live with him are rebuffed, his inquires into her savings, her husband helping her out are all met with no. I really didn't like Marie - I thought her extremely selfish. Gaby however wants to help her - he loves his children dearly. So....he decides to sell his farm.

Heartbreaking. In reading the director's notes, Pilote has described his film as a tribute to fatherhood. In that respect he has succeeded. The sacrifices Gaby is willing to make, the losses he is willing to suffer for his children speaks volumes. (But I still couldn't get past not liking Marie)

The soundtrack is particularly effective, complementing the setting. The ending left me wanting more. And that's a good thing. I would have like to know what happened to Gaby 'after'. The last screen shot of him left me feeling quite sad...while the last shots of his daughters show them enjoying their own pursuits.

All in all, this is one of the best films I've watched from Film Movement. Absolutely recommended.

As always, there is a short film included. The Giant - a non verbal animated - was the addition to this feature film. Although I could see the tie in - nature and land - it didn't do much for me.

Canada / 2013 / French with English subtitles / 111 min

Thursday, September 25, 2014

GI Brides - Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi

The subtitle of GI Brides by Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi is: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love.

Over one million American GI's 'invaded' England during the Second World War . And by the end of the war, over 70,000 women had married American servicemen and headed to the United States to start a new chapter in their lives.

Barrett and Calvi's book documents the lives of four of these women - Sylvia, Gwendolyn, Rae and Margaret, from the early days of the war, to meeting their husbands and finally their experiences over the pond. The narrative rotates through each woman's story in alternating chapters. It's absolutely fascinating reading and I was hard pressed to put it down.

The time period is explored and relived through each woman's memories. Historical references are made to actual events and attitudes of the time, but the focus of  GI Brides is personal and intimate. Although falling in love with a dashing young military man and crossing the ocean to a new country had the feeling of a romantic fairy tale, what these women actually experienced was not. Now, this was not necessarily the case for all GI Brides. The authors do mention that they "needed stories that really stood out - where the women had faced adversity and grown as a result."

There are over forty pictures included in the book, that I found myself looking at almost every time I finished a chapter - gazing at a black and white photo of years gone by and contemplating the direction their lives took.

I am captured by memoirs - even more so in this case. These women persevered and soldiered on - "We're British, we can stand anything. Those simple words brought great solace and support to a group of women building lives far from family and home."

It was only while reading the authors' notes at the end of the book that I discovered that Nuala Calvi is the granddaughter of Margaret, lending a very personal note to the book.

GI Brides reads almost like fiction - anyone enjoying this time period and a look at real lives lived would absolutely enjoy this book. Read an excerpt of GI Brides.

"Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi are the bestselling authors of The Sugar Girls, which chronicled the stories of young women working in Tate and Lyle’s factories in the East End of London. Duncan studied English at Cambridge and now works as writer and editor, specializing in biography and memoir. Nuala is a writer and journalist. She trained at London College of Printing and has written for The Times, The Independent, the BBC, CNN and numerous Time Out books." You can find the authors on Facebook , on Twitter and on their blog.

See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Over the Counter #231

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Finding joy.....and hearts.....

First up was The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life and Regained My Soul by Dave Bruno.

From the publisher, Harper Collins:

In The 100 Thing Challenge, Dave Bruno relates how he remade his life and regained his soul by getting rid of almost everything. But The 100 Thing Challenge is more than just the story of how one man started a movement to unhook himself from consumerism by winnowing his life’s possessions down to 100 things in one year. It’s also an inspiring, invigorating guide to how we all can begin to live simpler, more meaningful lives."

Next up was Find It in Everything: Photographs by Drew Barrymore.

From the publisher, Little, Brown and Company:

"Photographs by Drew Barrymore reveal hearts found in everyday situations.

I have always loved hearts," writes acclaimed actress Drew Barrymore in the foreword to this heartwarming gift book. "The way that continuous line accomplishes the most extraordinary thing--it conveys love." In FIND IT IN EVERYTHING, Barrymore shares the photographs she has taken of heart-shaped objects and patterns she has come across over the past ten years. Some are obvious and others barely discernible. A discarded straw wrapper, a hole in a T-shirt, a scallion in a bowl of miso soup -- seemingly everywhere she turns her lens a heart reveals itself. A very personal collection of images, many of them accompanied by brief captions that reflect on beauty in the everyday, FIND IT IN EVERYTHING is a delightful book from the beloved actress and director, who now adds photographer to her list of credentials."

(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, September 23, 2014

Giveaway - Murder on the Île Sordou - M.L. Longworth

Here's one for the mystery fans today! I have a copy of M.L. Longworth's latest book, Murder on the Île Sordou: A Verlaque and Bonnet Provençal Mystery, to giveaway!

From the publisher, Penguin Books:

"The fourth book in the series finds Verlaque and Bonnet on vacation on a remote island in the glittering Mediterranean.

Like Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri, M. L. Longworth’s books enchant mystery lovers with a taste for good food and gorgeous landscapes. In Murder on the Île Sordou, Judge Antoine Verlaque and his girlfriend, law professor Marine Bonnet, are hoping to enjoy a relaxing holiday at the Locanda Sordou, an opulent hotel that is reopening after decades, but someone has other plans.

Maxime and Catherine Le Bon have spent their life savings restoring the Locanda, which lies on an archipelago just off the coast of Marseille. The murder of one of the guests casts a shadow over everyone’s vacation, and Verlaque and Bonnet are once again called to investigate. But things go from bad to worse when a violent storm cuts off all communication with the mainland. Will the killer strike again?"

Photo Credit: Marcus Lyon & The Glassworks

"M.L. Longworth has lived in Aix-en-Provence since 1997. She has written about the region for The Washington Post, The Times (U.K.), The Independent (U.K.), and Bon Appétit Magazine. She is the author the Verlaque and Bonnet series, as well as of a bilingual collection of essays, Une Américaine en Provence. She divides her time between Aix and Paris, where she teaches writing at NYU’s Paris campus." You can find M.L. Longworth on Twitter.

M.L. Longworth was recently profiled on NPR’s Crime in the City series (“Mystery Writer Weaves Intricate Puzzles in Sleepy French Town”), in a wonderful introduction to the author, the Verlaque & Bonnet series, and Aix-en-Provence.

Murder on the Île Sordou releases on Sept. 30/14. If you'd like to read this mystery, simply leave a comment to be entered into a random giveaway. One copy, open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Oct. 4/14.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Idiot's Guides in Full Colour - and 30% off!

I've always been a fan of the Idiot's Guides series - the information is always clear, concise and well laid out. There's such wide number of books (literally hundreds) covering almost every topic you can imagine. But....Idiot's Guides just got even better.....they're in full colour now! Yep, glossy full colour photos to go along with all that great information! And to celebrate, Idiot's Guides are 30% off for a limited time.

With the summer gone (insert sad face...) and the temperatures dropping, it's time to pull out the slow cooker again. It's so nice to come home to a meal already cooked. I've really only used it in the fall and winter and then only for soups and stews. I knew there was more I could do with it, but never got around to finding new recipes. But when I picked up the new Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking by Rachel Farnsworth, I got excited. Why?

Well, I definitely found some new recipes for main dishes, from chilies, soups and meat dishes from lamb, beef, chicken and pork. And I want to try the mac and cheese recipe. But what really caught my eye were the recipes for things I never thought of cooking in the slow cooker. Breakfast! If I like coming home to supper already cooked, what about waking up to breakfast hot and waiting? (The timer on the slow cooker is a very useful feature!) Oatmeal in the slow cooker! Pumpkin Pie oatmeal is on the must try list. As is French Toast Casserole for a Sunday morning.

Homemade yogurt?! Jam? Breads! From loaves to dinner rolls to desert loaves. I love fresh bread. And desserts! Rice pudding for the DH and lemon pound cake for me. There's a neat recipe for individual cheesecakes. You simply make them in small wide mouth jars, then place the jars in the slow cooker to bake. Who knew?

There's a glossary of cooking terms included as well as an introductory chapter detailing the basics of slow cookers. The ingredients list for each recipe is bolded, the instructions are clear and easy to follow. But what really makes me want to try the recipes are the colour pictures - everything just looks so good! Slow Cooker Cooking is full of great recipes and new ways to use this kitchen appliance.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #22

- 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/Canadian cover
I was hunting down cover art for my review of Lars Kepler's latest book, The Sandman, and came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the
 UK cover on the right. Both are definitely creepy, but I'm going with the N.A. cover this week - it just scared me little more. Either way, it's a great read and a fantastic series. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read, or do you plan to read The Sandman?
  You Can't Judge A Book By ItsCover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Film on Friday #21 - The Fault in Our Stars

When a well-loved book is adapted as a movie I always wonder if the film can live up to my expectations.  In this case, it's John Green's fabulous book, The Fault in Our Stars. I didn't get to the theatres to see it, so I happily sat down with the newly released The Fault in Our Stars Little Infinites Blu-ray.

Director Josh Boone's vision of the book was excellent! For those of you unaware of either book or movie (and how can that be!) The Fault in Our stars is the love story of Hazel and Augustus - who meet at a teen cancer group. Actors Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort both did an amazing job bringing these characters to the screen. Supporting actors Laura Dern and Sam Trammel also embodied the mental images I had created for Hazel's parents. Woodley and Elgort nail the sarcastic dialogue, the poignant scenes and the 'get the tissue box moments' (seriously you're going to want to have that handy) and made me fall in love all over again with this story.

There are so many great scenes and lines from the book that stuck in my head as I was reading and I wondered if they would appear in the movie. They did - including my personal favourite - "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities." This Blu-ray edition is actually called the Little Infinities Extended Edition (and comes with a limited edition little infinities bracelet) The Fault in Our Stars tackles a serious topic with humour, grace, wit and so much emotion. It's impossible not to love the story.

Although I loved getting lost in watching the movie, I was also eager to see the additional features included - an extended version, deleted scenes (including a cameo cut from John Green), features on the cast, the process of taking a book to a movie and many more.

Is it a movie I would watch again? Absolutely. Definitely recommended to movie and book lovers - one of the best book to film adaptions I've seen.

 And if it's a movie you'd like to own, I have a copy of the The Fault in Our Stars Little Infinities version to giveaway! Open to US and Canada - you can enter here - share your favourite Fault in Our Stars moment. Ends Sept. 28/14.
Already own the movie? You might want to watch it again - with John Green. #TFIOSPARTY

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Over the Counter #230

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Wildlife this week - past and present....dead and alive......

First up is Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris with Joanna Ebenstein.

From the publisher, Blue Rider Press:

"Welcome to Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter’s fantasy world of rabbit schoolchildren, cigar-smoking squirrels and exemplary feline etiquette in Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy… 

Walter Potter (1835–1918), a British country taxidermist of no great expertise, built anthropomorphic taxidermy tableaux that became famous icons of Victorian whimsy, including his masterpiece The Death & Burial of Cock Robin. His tiny museum in Bramber, Sussex, was crammed full of multi-legged kittens, two-headed lambs, and a bewildering assortment of curios. Potter’s inspired and beguiling tableaux found many fans in the contemporary art world: it was reported that a £1M bid by Damien Hirst to keep the collection intact was refused when the museum finally closed.
Here, perhaps for the last time, many important pieces from the collection are showcased and celebrated with new photographs of Potter’s best-loved works. Darkly witty and affecting, Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy makes a charming, whimsical (and yes, slightly morbid) gift."
Next is Extreme Birds: The World's Most Extraordinary and Bizarre Birds by Dominic Couzens.

From the publisher, Firefly Books:

"Extreme Birds is a photographic showcase of 150 birds at the extremes of nature. It reveals nature's ingenuity and sometimes its sense of humor. The species in this book were chosen for their extraordinary characteristics and for behaviors far beyond the typical. They are the biggest, the fastest, the meanest, the smartest. They build the most intricate nests, they have the most peculiar mating rituals, they dive the deepest and they fly the highest. These are the overachievers of the avian world.

Some examples:
  • Most skilled nest builder: The tiny southern masked weaver reveals a surprising grasp of the principles of architecture. In just five days it weaves and knots thousands of fine grass strands to build a complex sphere-like nest that hangs from the tip of an overhead branch.
  • Deadliest enemy: The southern cassowary is big (140 pounds), tall (6 feet) and fast (30 mph). This flightless bird can also leap 5 feet into the air and has 5-inch long claws that are capable of stabbing and disemboweling a human being.
  • Most creative decorator: The blue bower bird creates an elaborate "bachelor pad" bower and decorates it with colorful baubles. Blue is preferred, and the shinier the better. Enlivened with entertaining facts and anecdotes, Extreme Birds is an engaging celebration of nature's tremendous imagination. It will appeal to all readers, especially birders and naturalists."
(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!)

What's Your Favourite The Fault in Our Stars Moment?

"The Fault in Our Stars is newly released on DVD and Blu-ray!(Sept 16) Are you ready to bring on the feels? As a member of The Fault In Our Stars Ambassador Program, I helped in creating a list of the top moments from the film that I would love to relive! Featuring brilliant performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort that made the film a favorite of fans and critics alike, this inspirational modern day tale of star-crossed lovers will have you going from laughter to tears and back again."

Have you read the book or seen the movie?! What are your favorite moments that you would like to relive? Comment with your favorite book or movie moment and you will be entered to win a Little Infinities Extended Edition Blu-ray copy of TFIOS!! Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Sept 28/14.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Distance - Helen Giltrow

The Distance is Helen Giltrow's debut novel.

Giltrow's premise intrigued me - Charlotte Alton, a London, England society woman has a secret life - she deals in information and in those circles is known as Karla. Karla makes things - and people disappear. Simon, a former client, a hired killer, reappears after Karla helped him disappear a few years ago. He's back in the game and needs her firm's help with smuggling him into a prison to carry out a hit. But it's not just any prison....it's a self governing prison colony set up in an abandoned village. The inmates are running things. To go in would be crazy.....

Wow! The Distance delivered one heck of a breakneck read. Both Karla and Simon are large than life characters. Karla is able to access, interfere with and manipulate data, people and situations. Simon, well, Simon takes a beating and keeps on ticking. (way beyond what I think any body could handle, but hey it makes for a wild story) The driven nature of both of these characters accelerates the plot into overdrive. And had me yelling "No.....why would you...." more than once.

The protagonists are intriguing, but The Distance is a plot driven book. The narrative switches between Karla and Simon, offering the reader a chance to see what's happening from all sides. But, no one is telling the truth, and everyone has their own agenda. What we think we know is turned upside down a few pages later. The last few chapters are excellent, throwing in a turn I suspected might be coming, but with even more twists included. The ending is excellent, leaving the door open to a second book with these characters perhaps? (Kinda hoping that's true)

I was fascinated with the idea of a self governing prison colony in current times. Giltrow's prison is stark, bleak and brutal. Her descriptions paint very vivid and visceral images. The ease with which Karla manipuates information is frightening.  I can see this book as a movie - maybe with Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg.

Gentle readers be warned, there is graphic violence in The Distance. Fans of powerhouse non-stop thrillers that will keep you up - this one's for you. Read an excerpt of The Distance.

What a great debut this was. I'll be watching for Giltrow's next book. You can keep with Helen Giltrow on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway - Ark Storm - Linda Davies

Today I've got a copy of Linda Davies' newly released book Ark Storm for giveaway!

From the publisher, Forge Books:

"The Ark Storm is coming—a catastrophic weather event that will unleash massive floods and wreak more damage on California than the feared “Big One.” One man wants to profit from it. Another wants to harness it to wage jihad on American soil. One woman stands in their way: Dr. Gwen Boudain, a brave and brilliant meteorologist. 

When Boudain notices that her climate readings are off the charts, she turns to Gabriel Messenger for research funding. Messenger’s company is working on a program that ionizes water molecules to bring rain on command. Meanwhile, Wall Street suits notice that someone is placing six-month bets on the prospect of an utter apocalypse and begin to investigate. Standing in the shadows is journalist Dan Jacobsen, a former Navy SEAL. War hardened, cynical, and handsome, Jacobsen is a man with his own hidden agenda.

Linda Davies's Ark Storm brings together the worlds of finance, scientific innovation, and terrorism in a fast-paced thrill ride that will leave readers gasping." Read an excerpt of Ark Storm.

Linda Davies is a graduate in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University, and worked for seven years an as investment banker before escaping to write novels. Davies's first novel, Nest of Vipers, has been published in more than thirty countries, selling over two million copies. She is also a winner of the Philip Geddes Prize for journalism. Davies is married with three children. She lives by the sea in Suffolk." You can find Linda Davies on her website, her blog, and on Twitter.

If this sounds like a book you'd like to read, simply leave a comment (and a way to contact you) to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no PO Boxes please. Ends Sept 27/14.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Sandman - Lars Kepler

I love a good thriller, one that captures you from the opening lines....The Sandman, the newest North American release from Lars Kepler, had me hooked....

"His bloody hand has started to freeze as he carries on walking. His name is Mikael Kohler-Frost. He has been missing for thirteen years, and was declared dead seven years ago."

And only a few pages later..."Even though Jurek Walter is Sweden's worst-ever serial killer, he is completely unknown to the public."

But he is known to Detective Inspector Joona Linna.

Linna is an enigmatic character, but an intuitive and tenacious investigator. He sees the clues and likes to 'get into the killer's head' as well. There are secrets in his own life that have only slowly been revealed over the course of the last three books. That plot line is expanded on and woven into the main storyline in The Sandman with great effect. I was glad to see Saga Bauer, a cop with a damaged psyche, return as well. She and Linna are both unpredictable characters that intrigue me.

I've used the word creepy before to describe Kepler's books and I would use it to again to describe The Sandman. The settings, the plot, the characters and their actions are all unsettling, keeping readers on their toes - and looking under the bed. There is violence in the book, but it is the prelude, the knowing that something is going to happen and the not knowing when, that ramps up the tension and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Kepler captures the fears of nightmares and insidiously weaves then into his books.

There is no predicting where Kepler's plots will go. I am surprised every time, which I appreciate. I read a lot of mysteries and thriller, so being kept off kilter is refreshing. Read an excerpt of The Sandman.

Whoever is designing the covers for Kepler's book is doing a great job - they're disquieting and chilling before you even turn a page. Neil Smith was the translator for the this book and he did a great job - no wooden phrases or awkward language.

The Sandman is the fourth book in the  series and I think it's my favourite so far, although they're all fantastic reads. And I loved the ending. Now more than ever, I'll be waiting and watching for the fifth in this series - The Stalker, due out in N.A. in 2015. You can keep up with this husband and wife writing team on Facebook - Lars Kepler.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


And the winner of two tickets to see Philippa Gregory and a copy of her new book The King's Curse, courtesy of Simon and Schuster Canada is:


And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Echopraxia by Peter Watts, courtesy of Tor Books is: Carl S

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson, courtesy of Tor Books is: Anita Y!

Congratulations! I've contacted everyone for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time, new winners will be chosen. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #21

- You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover - Which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...
US/Canadian cover
UK cover
I was hunting down cover art for my review of Gregg Hurwitz's latest book, Don't Look Back, and came across the  US/Canadian cover on the left and the UK cover on the right. Both are good, but I'm going with the UK cover this week. I found it interesting that the US cover features the male antagonist and the UK cover has the female protagonist. I'm rooting for Eve. And I just like the colours of the UK cover better. Either way, I thought it was a good escapist thriller read. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read, or do you plan to read Don't Look Back?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Vintner's Daughter - Kristen Harnisch - Review AND Giveaway

The Vintner's Daughter is Kristen Harnisch's debut novel. The beautiful cover and a blurb by one of my favourite historical authors, Roberta Rich, convinced me to pick up the book. 

Seventeen year old Sara Thibault's father is a vintner in the Loire Valley, France in 1895. With no sons, he has passed on his knowledge to Sara, who hopes to continue the family legacy. But when her father dies, and her sister marries badly, Sara's vision of the future quickly changes. The sisters run to America where Sara eventually wends her way to the Napa Valley wineries.

Historical fiction fans are going to enjoy this one. Harnish has chosen a different and quite interesting platform for her novel. The descriptions of wine making techniques were all new to me. The vineyard settings and methods were richly drawn and well researched. Part of the novel takes place in New York City and this setting is also well portrayed. This is a time period and place I enjoy, so the US setting was my favourite. Harnisch touches on social issues of the time as well - the Suffragette movement and Prohibition.

But at it's heart, The Vintner's Daughter is a character driven novel. Sara is a protagonist that the reader can't help but root for. She's facing insurmountable odds, but her loyalty, drive and feisty spirit carry her forward. Oh, and did I mention the romantic elements? Uh huh. In addition to the dastardly brother in law, there's another brother who is the opposite side of the coin. And he just happens to be a vintner....

Harnisch has taken a familiar story of family loyalty, loss, love and redemption and given it her own stamp with the wine element. Fans of historical romantic fiction will enjoy The Vintner's Daughter - best enjoyed with a glass of wine. Read an excerpt of The Vintner's Daughter.

"Kristen Harnisch's ancestors emigrated from Normandy, France, to Canada in the 1600s. She is a descendant of Louis Hebert, who came to New France from Paris with Samuel de Champlain and is considered the first Canadian apothecary. She has a degree in economics from Villanova University and now lives in Connecticut. The Vintner's Daughter, her debut novel, is the first in a series about the changing world of vineyard life at the turn of the century." You can find Kristen on Facebook

If this sounds like a book you'd like to read, I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no PO Boxes please. Ends September 27/14.

Film on Friday - Can't Wait for - The Fault in Our Stars!

I loved the book, but didn't get a chance to see the movie at the theatres. But, The Fault In Our Stars will be released on Blu-ray on September 16th!

The Fault in Our Stars: The Infinities Edition includes two versions of the film – the theatrical cut and an extended edition, with commentary tracks for both.

The Blu-Ray also includes six deleted scenes (with optional commentary); The Stars Align (Book to Screen); Promotional Featurettes: The Cast, The Making of The Fault in Our Stars, The Transformation, Literature to Life, Our Little Infinity, The Music Behind Our Stars, and a Photo Gallery.

....And an introduction from author John Green and director Josh Boone....


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Over the Counter #229

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter an under my scanner? It's all about style this week - personal and parties...

First up is Cycle Style by Horst A. Friedrichs.

From the publisher, Prestel:

"An acclaimed photographer introduces the incredible variety of stylish cyclists pedaling through city streets in this stunningly illustrated book.

No city boasts of a more fashion-forward population of bicyclists than London. Photographer Horst Friedrichs meets his subjects in their own milieu: zooming around the city’s streets on two wheels. There he encounters a dazzling array of style and a surprising amount of substance. In tweeds (both Harris and hipster) and Saville Row suits, in hightops and stilettos, in flowing skirts and the skinniest jeans, wildly tattooed and impeccably manicured, sporting bowler hats and racing caps, London’s cyclists are jubilantly exercising their fashion freedom. Whether they’re leisurely filling their baskets from market to home or pedaling purposefully to an important meeting, experiencing the city as cycling tourists, or getting from place to place in the most economical way possible, Friedrichs’ subjects share a love of the bicycle culture that is sweeping the streets of London and the rest of the world."

Next up was Vintage Parties: A Guide to Throwing Themed Events - From Gatsby Galas to Mad Men Martinis - and Much More - by Emma Sundh, Linda Hansson and Louise Lemming.

From the publisher, Skyhorse:

"Invite your nearest and dearest for a celebration¬—vintage style! Vintage bloggers Linda Hansson, Louise Lemming, and Emma Sundh reveal their secrets for throwing the best parties, festivities, and fetes with a nostalgic twist. With this beautiful reference for hosting themed get-togethers, you’ll create the right old-time atmosphere, play classic games, serve treats and cuisine with yesterday’s pomp and flair, and best of all—you’ll look the part!

Get creative with: pom-poms and balloons for a spring fling,“airmail” place settings for a ’40s theme, nautical cushions, placemats, and décor,’50s photobooth props and parlor games, typewriter guestbooks for a Gatsby effect,and so much more to create your perfect retro look!

Add to that make-up and hairstyles from yesteryear, tips on how to care for a vintage dress, and instructions on how to sew the perfect skirt or a festive bow tie. Plus, discover great recipes for modern updates on such time-honored offerings as homemade donuts, apple pie moonshine, cake pops, picnic sandwiches, and, of course, champagne.

Packed to the brim with clever do-it-yourself creations from vintage and thrift store finds, Vintage Parties is the retro-crafter’s dream guide for throwing parties everyone will RSVP yes to. So toast with pastel lemonade—welcome to your vintage party.,"

(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, September 10, 2014

Cop Town - Karin Slaughter

I'm a huge Karin Slaughter fan and have devoured every book she's written from the Grant County series to the Will Trent books. I knew there was a new book coming, but hadn't realized it was a stand alone until I started reading. 

Cop Town takes us back to 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kate Murphy has joined the police department. But her first day on the job may be her last. She comes from a privileged background that's hard to hide. Women are not accepted by the old blue line, and the racial lines in the department are just as bad. There's a simmering undercurrent of tension in the city just read to boil over. Someone is killing cops. Kate's new partner is Maggie Lawson. Her brother and uncle are forces to be reckoned within the Atlanta PD. But that respect doesn't filter down to Maggie.  Maggie decides to investigate the cop killings with or without her uncle's blessing - and Kate is along for the ride....

Oh wow, Slaughter grabs the reader by the throat from the first pages and just never lets go. The portrayal of time and place is gritty, grim and disturbing. Racism, homophobia and sexism permeate the halls of the Atlanta  PD and the pages of Cop Town. Slaughter provides a disturbing look at a time not that far in the past.

The plot is well developed. I enjoyed riding along with Kate and Maggie while they run their own investigation. The perpetrator is only exposed in the last few chapters and isn't someone I had suspected at all. There is no rest for the reader or listener - the action and the tension is turned 'on' throughout the entire book.

I really liked the character of Kate. She's quite multi layered - seemingly soft but with a harder core that's needed and heeded as she rides along with Maggie. Maggie frustrated me a bit. She is as tough as nails, but lets the closest people in her life treat her (really) badly. We're not treated to as much of an in depth look at her mindset. Supporting player Gail was excellent - her attitude and lines were pitch perfect. I'm hoping that some of these characters make cameos in the next Will Trent book.

I chose to listen to Cop Town. Kathleen Early was the reader and she's a narrator whose voice I enjoy. Early has read other Slaughter titles I've listened to so it was somehow familiar to hear her read this book. She provides a nice Southern genteel accent for Kate that was just right. Maggie's tough, brusque tones were captured well. Early captures the vitriolic attitudes and dialogue of the male characters. You don't hear that it's a female reader, rather it's the words that make a statement.

Cop Town is not for the faint at heart. There's violence - lots of violence and disturbing language that may offend some. But there's also some quite funny moments and a bit of steamy romance as well.

Listen to an excerpt of Cop Town. Or read an excerpt of Cop Town.

I quite liked Cop Town, but I enjoy a good, gritty read.  I must admit to cringing at some parts, but Slaughter simply can't write a bad book in my eyes. You can find Karin Slaughter on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Meet Philippa Gregory in Toronto Giveaway!!

Yes, Canadian peeps - Philippa Gregory is coming to Toronto on Sept. 22/14!

And...I have two tickets to giveaway to this event.....And that same lucky person will receive a copy of her latest book The King's Curse!

From the publisher, (and host of this event) Simon and Schuster:

"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series The White Queen comes the story of lady-in-waiting Margaret Pole and her unique view of King Henry VIII’s stratospheric rise to power in Tudor England.

Regarded as yet another threat to the volatile King Henry VII’s claim to the throne, Margaret Pole, cousin to Elizabeth of York (known as the White Princess) and daughter of George, Duke of Clarence, is married off to a steady and kind Lancaster supporter—Sir Richard Pole. For his loyalty, Sir Richard is entrusted with the governorship of Wales, but Margaret’s contented daily life is changed forever with the arrival of Arthur, the young Prince of Wales, and his beautiful bride, Katherine of Aragon. Margaret soon becomes a trusted advisor and friend to the honeymooning couple, hiding her own royal connections in service to the Tudors.

After the sudden death of Prince Arthur, Katherine leaves for London a widow, and fulfills her deathbed promise to her husband by marrying his brother, Henry VIII. Margaret’s world is turned upside down by the surprising summons to court, where she becomes the chief lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine. But this charmed life of the wealthiest and “holiest” woman in England lasts only until the rise of Anne Boleyn, and the dramatic deterioration of the Tudor court. Margaret has to choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, or to her beloved queen; to the religion she loves or the theology which serves the new masters. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret Pole has to find her own way as she carries the knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors." Read an excerpt of The King's Curse.

You can buy tickets to the event here and keep up with the event on the Meet Philippa Gregory in Toronto Facebook page.

One lucky reader (and a friend) will be added to the guest list for September 22. And that reader will also be mailed a copy of The King's Curse. Simply leave a comment (and a way for me to contact you) to be entered. But be quick - ends Sept. 14/14! Canada only.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Don't Look Back - Gregg Hurwitz

It's no secret that I love to read thrillers. When asked for recommendations at the library, I offer up Linwood Barclay, Harlan Coben and Gregg Hurwitz as really good authors in this genre.

Hurwitz's latest book, Don't Look Back, uses a premise that I never tire of - an everyday person put into an untenable situation with everything on the line. Fun escapist reading, akin to watching action movies.

After a divorce, Eve decides to follow through with a planned trip to a wilderness escape in Mexico, despite the fact that she'll now be travelling alone. When she wanders off the path on one of the first outings, she comes across a frightening looking man practicing throwing machetes at a human target. She quickly ducks down and finds a broken camera on the ground. She grabs it and quickly runs away. But when she looks at the photos, she sees disturbing images of this same man. She also discovers that the owner of the camera is a former guest of the resort - now gone missing.

All the right ingredients are here for a thrilling read - a very scary guy with his own agenda who you won't see coming,  a tropical storm that knocks the power out and along with it any outside communications. Throw in that everyday woman with a young son back in the States and you've got a great David and Goliath match. Welcome to the jungle....

Eve is a well drawn protagonist, not overly capable in the beginning, but growing into her untapped strengths as the danger grows. There's a mixed cast of supporting characters, but much like those scary suspense films, not all of them make it 'til the end.

Hurwitz's choice of setting was well described and offered up lots of additional danger via the jungle and the wildlife. The swarm ants make my skin crawl.....

As for the antagonist, his agenda is an oft used one lately, but it's still very effective at engaging and enraging the reader. And will have readers frantically urging Eve on. Although I did find myself skimming over some of his diatribes.

Hurwitz has crafted a page turning thriller that you'll end up devouring in no time flat. Don't Look Back went to the beach with me one day and was almost done by the time I headed home. The action is non-stop and the tension ratchets up and up with every page turned. Over the top? Yes, in parts it is, but go with it, it's a heck of a good escapist piece of fiction. Think scary movie at the drive in.

Read an excerpt of Don't Look Back. You can find Gregg Hurwitz on Facebook and on Twitter.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Winner - The Mathematician's Shiva

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer, courtesy of Penguin Books is:

Michelle B!

Congratulations! I've contacted you for your mailing address. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time a new winner will be chosen. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #20

- You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover - Which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...
Canadian cover
US (Jan15/15) UK (Feb20/15)
I was hunting down cover art for my review of
Michael Crummey's latest book, Sweetland, and came across the Canadian cover on the left and the UK and US cover on the right. Both are good, but I'm going with the Canadian cover this week. I like the more realistic look and that sky! Either way it's a fantastic read. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read or do you plan to read Sweetland?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Film on Friday#20 - The Identical

When I saw that Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd were in City of Peace's  new movie,  The Identical,I knew I wanted to see it - they're both favourite actors of mine.

IMBD's blurb: "Twin brothers are unknowingly separated at birth; one of them becomes an iconic rock 'n' roll star, while the other struggles to balance his love for music and pleasing his father."

The movie opens in hard times Tennessee in the 1930's. A poor young couple relinquish one of their twin sons (Drexel and Dexter) to a preacher and his wife, hoping for a better life for him. It is Dexter's (renamed Ryan) life that we follow, as he tries to ignore what feeds his soul and instead become a man of the cloth as his father wants. Drexel has the same love of music and pursues it, becoming a huge star.

As I watched, I started noting the similarities between this narrative and Elvis Presley's life. The timeframe, the twin brother, the religious influences, the army, the love of music, the hip shaking dancing, the smoldering good looks and more. Elvis was indeed a twin and his twin died at birth. Although the word Elvis is not mentioned officially anywhere, it is impossible not to note the parallels. Writer Howard Klausner has come up with an interesting premise....

It isn't long into the film when the music starts - and it's impossible not to tap your toes or feel like dancing. Lead actor Blake Rayne (AKA Ryan Pelton) has a really good voice and seems to have been the perfect choice for this role - he won an Elvis competition in 1998 and has worked as an Elvis impersonator up 'til now. (And I have to say, he really does look like Elvis) So, this character wasn't too much of a stretch. Rayne is a bit wooden in places, but shines when singing.

Ray Liotta - he plays such a great bad guy, it was an interesting idea to have him play a preacher. And he nails it, filling the role incredibly well. Ashley Judd is a supporting player here, with not a lot of screen time - but she too plays the role believably. Other cast members include his wife Jenny (Erin Cottrell) - I really liked her performance. Joe Pantoliano plays Ryan's boss and Seth Green his friend. Although both are veteran actors, I thought their performances were just a tad over the top.

While the men in the film are age progressed believably, the women fare far better. Ashley Judd doesn't seem to look a day older by the film's end. As does the twins' mother - white make up seems to have been the sole attempt to age her. The other thing I thought was needed was better wigs for Rayne - his just wasn't real looking - and the full facial hair was particularly bad (and uneven). Petty I know, but once I noticed, I couldn't stop looking.

The Identical has been marketed as a Christian film. "We want to bring films with a redeeming value to the world. One of the ways you do that is live where people are living, " says executive producer Yochanan Marcellino." The Identical explores family, values, choices, love, duty and more. It is indeed a film the whole family could watch, rated PG.

One excellent line from the movie resonated with me - "Don't run from who you are."
An entertaining film - and a really good soundtrack!
107 minutes releasing today - Sept.5/14

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Over the Counter #228

What books caught my eye this week as they crossed over the library counter and under my scanner? Travel this week, both near and far....

First up is The Fishing Fleet: Husband Hunting in the Raj by Anne De Courcy.

From the publisher, Weidenfeld and Nicholson :

"The untold stories of the young women who went out to India during the Raj in search of husbands.
From the late 19th century, when the Raj was at its height, many of Britain's best and brightest young men went out to India to work as administrators, soldiers and businessmen. With the advent of steam travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, countless young women, suffering at the lack of eligible men in Britain, followed in their wake. This amorphous band was composed of daughters returning after their English education, girls invited to stay with married sisters or friends, and yet others whose declared or undeclared goal was simply to find a husband. They were known as the Fishing Fleet, and this book is their story, hitherto untold.

For these young women, often away from home for the first time, one thing they could be sure of was a rollicking good time. By the early twentieth century, a hectic social scene was in place, with dances, parties, amateur theatricals, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas, gymkhanas with perhaps a tiger shoot and a glittering dinner at a raja's palace thrown in. And, with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one, romances were conducted at alarming speed and marriages were frequent. But after the honeymoon life often changed dramatically: whisked off to a remote outpost with few other Europeans for company and where constant vigilance was required to guard against disease, they found it a far cry from the social whirlwind of their first arrival.

Anne de Courcy's sparkling narrative is enriched by a wealth of first-hand sources - unpublished memoirs, letters, diaries and photographs - which bring this forgotten era vividly to life."

Next up was Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets by Lars Eighner.

From the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin:

"When Travels with Lizbeth was first published in 1993, it was proclaimed an instant classic. Lars Eighner’s account of his descent into homelessness and his adventures on the streets has moved, charmed, and amused generations of readers. As Lars wrote, “When I began writing this account I was living under a shower curtain in a stand of bamboo in a public park. I did not undertake to write about homelessness, but wrote what I knew, as an artist paints a still life, not because he is especially fond of fruit, but because the subject is readily at hand.” 

Containing the widely anthologized essay “On Dumpster Diving,” Travels with Lizbeth is a beautifully written account of one man's experience of homelessness, a story of physical survival, and the triumph of the artistic spirit in the face of enormous adversity. In his unique voice—dry, disciplined, poignant, comic—Eighner celebrates the companionship of his dog, Lizbeth, and recounts their ongoing struggle to survive on the streets of Austin, Texas, and hitchhiking along the highways to Southern California and back."

(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!)