Friday, October 31, 2014

Winner - First Impressions - Charlie Lovett

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of First Impressions by Charlie Lovett AND a copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, courtesy of Viking Books is:

Vesper Meikle!

Congratulations! I've contacted you 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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

This Dark Road to Mercy - Wiley Cash

Wiley Cash's first novel A Land More Kind Than Home was a New York Times bestseller. It garnered rave reviews, and I remember putting it on my never ending must read list. Well, I never did get to it, but his second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, has just released in trade format - and I jumped at the chance to review it.

Twelve year old Easter and her six year old sister Ruby are now living in a foster home. Their mother has died and their father Wade signed away his parental rights years ago. But it is something in the way the man watching the ballgame Easter is playing that rings a is Wade and he wants his girls to come with him. There's another man watching too - Wade has something that belongs to someone else. Pruitt will do whatever it takes to get that something back - and extract vengeance on Wade for an event from both their pasts. Easter, older and wiser beyond her years, makes a decision -and the three are on the run. There's a third man as well - Brady is the girls' court appointed guardian - and he too is on the trail of Wade and the girls.

I loved Easter's voice from the first line...."Wade disappeared on us when I was nine years old and then he showed up out of nowhere the year I turned twelve." She presents a hard exterior to the world, shielding herself and her sister from further hurt. Small vulnerabilities - wondering if a boy likes her for example, were all the more poignant as she is feeling her way through life without a parent.

Each of the characters in the book has a past - a past that influences the direction their present is taking. Wrongs that need righting, hopes, dreams, what could have been and what could be are entwined in the narratives of the three main characters. And somehow, to all three, this moment in represents redemption.

From the author's notes "....As a six-year-old, you're called a liar when you tell a story that you know isn't true. But if you can keep telling stories and wait just a few more years, people will eventually call you a writer. Even when they know your stories aren't true."

I think Cash is a great storyteller. This Dark Road to Mercy had mystery and suspense elements, but it was the characters themselves that captured me - especially Easter, with Wade a close second. The ending was absolutely perfect. (And I quiet enjoyed the baseball references.) Read an excerpt of This Dark Road to Mystery.

"Wiley Cash is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. A native of North Carolina, he has held residency positions at Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University. He and his wife live in Wilmington, North Carolina. Find out more about Wiley on his website, connect with him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter."

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Over the Counter #236

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Well with Hallowe'en in a few days, these seemed appropriate.....

Extreme Pumpkins: Diabolical Do-It-Yourself Designs to Amuse Your Friends and Scare Your Neighbors by Tom Nardone.

From the publisher, Penguin Books:

"Pumpkins are supposed to be scary!

Based on his popular and addictive website, Tom Nardone has created a full-color guide to pumpkin carving that's truly frightening. Featuring the website's signature Puking Pumpkin, and spanning everything from Drowning Pumpkin, Crime Scene Pumpkin, and Cannibal Pumpkin to Electrocuted Pumpkin and other never-before-seen designs, this gleefully gory guide is nothing short of a manifesto to take back Halloween from the cheerful, the cutesy, and the parent-sanctioned. For the egg-throwing, toilet tissue- streaming, window-soaping teenager in all of us, finally- a whole new way to celebrate October 31."

But wait - there's more. Also from Tom Nardone is Extreme Pumpkins II: Take Back Halloween and Freak Out a Few More Neighbors.

From the publisher, Penguin Books:

"From the power-tool wielding author of the national bestselling Extreme Pumpkins and the popular website comes a new collection of even darker, creepier, and more outrageous do-it-yourself designs to impress friends and horrify neighbors. The demented designs include Projectile Sneeze Pumpkin, Baseball-in-the-Eye Pumpkin, Doll-Eating Pumpkin, and Full-Diaper Baby Pumpkin, along with cool gourd designs, practical jokes, and more. This gleefully gory guide reclaims Halloween from the cheerful, the cutesy, and the parent-sanctioned."

(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, October 28, 2014

Giveaway - Watched - C.J. Lyons

I've got a chilling giveaway today.....Watched, the latest from C. J. Lyons.

What's so chilling? From the publisher, Sourcebooks:

"Based on actual crimes, WATCHED is a chilling thriller/mystery that is ripped from the headlines. Any teen’s cellphone or computer can provide access to hackers who remotely control webcams. These web cappers thrive on grabbing incriminating screen capture photos and videos and using them to blackmail unsuspecting victims. In WATCHED Jesse is leading the life of a normal sixteen-year-old until he finds himself the victim of a capper known as King. So far, he’s given in to King’s demands in order to protect his family. But now King wants something from Jesse that’s too horrible to contemplate—and if he doesn’t get it, he’ll kill Jesse’s little sister. Terrified and helpless, the answers to Jesse's prayers arrives in the form of a plain manila envelope. Inside there's a phone number and a note: I can help." Read an excerpt of Watched.

"CJ Lyons has lived most of her life on the edge. New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-one novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

She has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, rape, homicide and Munchausen by Proxy. She has worked in numerous trauma centers, on the Navajo reservation, as a crisis counselor, victim advocate, as well as a flight physician for Life Flight and Stat Medevac.

Her novels have won the International Thriller Writers prestigious Thriller Award, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Golden Gateway, Readers’ Choice Award, the RT Seal of Excellence, and Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense." You can keep up with C.J. Lyons on Facebook.

If Watched sounds like a book you'd like to read, simply leave a comment to be entered into a random draw for one copy. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Nov. 8/14.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Loop - Karen Akins - Review AND Giveaway

Every so often, I just need to read something that's light, fun and fresh. Karen Akins' debut book Loop was the perfect fit.

Bree Brennis lives in the future. But she visits the past quite often. You see, she's a shifter - someone able to travel back in time. On a midterm assignment to the past she kinda blows it - she doesn't complete her assignment. - and somehow manages to, well not quite...take a boy named Finn hostage. And the little side deal she was supposed to deliver? Well, she messes that up too. So, she heads back to the past a second time to fix the mistakes - and misses the mark by three years. But she finds Finn again. And discovers that her future self has been back before. Finn is all grown up (!) and apparently has sworn to Future Bree to protect this Bree. So, he hangs on tight when Bree shifts back to the future...where things just aren't right....

Time travel books are fun because there are no rules - the author is free to make them up. Akins has a great imagination - her future gadgets are fun. (Flying pet cows anyone?!) Finn's happiness at finding out light sabres and the Jetson's flying people pods are real had me laughing. As did much of the book. Loop is written with humour, in both dialogue and situations.

And being a YA novel, of course there's a romantic storyline included. But I enjoyed the way Akins wrote it - it wasn't over the top with smoldering, longing gazes but was again written with humour.

The book is written from Bree's POV. I liked her a lot as a main character - she's feisty, funny and fallible. Finn was written just as well. They played off each other well.

The plotting had me circling back more than once, just to keep straight who knew what in the past - or was it the future? A little complicated, as were some of the 'science' explanations. I found myself glossing over some of these just to get back to the story. The push me, pull me between Bree and Finn was dragged out a tad too much. But overall this was a entertaining read and a good debut and the scene is set for the next adventure. Read the first chapter of Loop. This is the first of a planned series,with the second book, Twist, due out in March 2015.

"Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her." You can keep up with Karen Akins on Twitter.

Sound like a fun read to you? Well, thanks to St. Martin's Press, I have a copy to giveaway to a random reader. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends November 8/14.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #27

- 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 cover
I was hunting down cover art for this week's review of her Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. (Loved it! My review) and came across the Canadian cover on the left and the US cover on the right. I found it interesting
that it was only simple changes - font, font size and colour tone that changed between the two. But having read the book, I prefer the Canadian cover this week. I don't like the red curlicue font at all. And I thought the subtle colour tones captured Queenie's story better. Which cover do you prefer? Do you plan to read The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy? (Canadian peeps - it's out now. US peeps - it releases Feb.24/15)

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Film on Friday #25 - For a Woman

For a Woman is newly released from Film Movement. As with all of their films, it was a selection at numerous film festivals.

Many of (Academy Award nominee) director Diane Kurys's film are autobiographical in subject matter. She has used her parent's divorce and her relationship with her sister as inspiration for previous films.

For a Woman found its origins in a picture Kurys found in her mother's (Lena) things after her death. It showed her, her mother and her father's (Michel) brother - Uncle Jean - a name and a man not discussed in the family.

For a Woman is begins in the 1980's when one of two sisters, Anne, finds that same picture. Kurys imagines what is behind that photo, exploring her parent's lives from their escape from a Nazi concentration camp, to their life in Lyon, France, her father's political leanings, the aftermath of WWII - and the mysterious Jean.

This was a wonderful period piece, exploring a point in history from a very personal and intimate view. The setting, the clothes, the attitudes were all exceptionally well done, supporting the director's view and transporting the viewer to the past.

But, what shines in this film are the relationships between the three main characters. The actors were superb, each portraying their role believably. I was caught up in the story immediately and remained so until the credits rolled. This is one of my favourite releases this year.

As always there is a short film included. Le Ballon de Rouge was just as good as the main feature. A young man offers an unhappy young woman a look at the life she could have - if she walks away with him immediately,

2013 / French with English subtitles / 110 min

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Over The Counter #235

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Nostalgia and collecting this week.....(I remember saving up those Bazooka Joe comics to send away!)

First up was Bazooka Joe and His Gang by The Topps Company.

From the publisher, Abrams Books:

"Bazooka Joe and his Gang have been synonymous with bubble gum ever since their debut in 1953, providing an irresistible combination of cheap laughs wrapped around pink, sugary sweetness. This book celebrates the iconic mini-comics that are recognized the world over. The story of Bazooka Bubble Gum is also detailed with extensive essays, including a profile of Wesley Morse, the original illustrator of Bazooka Joe. Included are reproductions of more than 100 classic comics spanning six decades—including the complete first series, reprinted in its entirety for the first time—as well as jokes, fortunes, and tiny ads for mail-order merchandise. Like Bazooka Bubble Gum itself, the book is pure nostalgia and guaranteed to appeal to kids and adults alike.

 Includes 4 bonus trading cards and a genuine wax wrapper that evokes the original bubble gum packaging—like holding an actual piece of Bazooka in your hands!"

Next up was Hockey Card Stories by Ken Reid.

From the publisher, ECW Press:

"Hockey Card Stories reveals what was really going on in your favourite old hockey cards through the eyes of the players depicted on them. Some of the cards are definitely worth a few bucks, some a few cents — but every story told here is priceless. Sportsnet’s Ken Reid presents the cards you loved and the airbrushed monstrosities that made you howl, the cards that have been packed away in boxes forever, and others you can’t believe ever existed. Whether it’s a case of mistaken identity or simply a great old photo, a fantastic 1970s haircut and ’stache, a wicked awesome goalie mask or a future Hall of Famer’s off-season fashion sense, a wide variety of players — from superstars like Bobby Orr, Denis Potvin, and Phil Esposito to the likes of Bill Armstrong who played only one game in the NHL — chime in on one of their most famous cards."

(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, October 22, 2014

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy - Rachel Joyce

I am often asked - who is your favourite author? Well, it's hard to narrow it down to just one. But, the books that stay with me long after the last page are the ones that move me, that make me laugh, make me cry and make me think. Stories about people. Rachel Joyce writes extraordinary stories. And yes, she is one of my favourite authors.

You may recognize her name - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a best seller and is a book I absolutely loved. (my review) For those of you who haven't read it (and you need to) it is the story of an ordinary man who receives a postcard from Queenie Hennessy, someone he hasn't heard from in twenty years. She is dying, but wants to say thank you for his friendship all those years ago. Harold gets it into his head that if he walks to see her (from one end of England to the other) she won't die.

I remember thinking at the end of Harold's story, that I wanted to know more about Queenie's life. And I've got my wish. Rachel Joyce's new book is The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. We get to see the other side of the story as Queenie waits in the hospice for Harold to arrive. Unable to speak, and with the help of one of the nuns, she decides to write another letter to Harold - "....tell him the truth, the whole truth. Tell him how it really was."

Queenie's memories are full of joy and love, but also sadness and pain. I loved this ....."If only memory were a library with everything stored where it should be. If only you could walk to the desk and say to the assistant, I'd like to return the painful memories about David Fry or indeed his mother and take out some happier ones please."

The past and those memories are unfurled and revealed in Queenie's remembering. The pace of her telling varies and I found myself matching my reading to the story. Slowly, to stop and savour the joy and description of her beautiful sea garden and more quickly as the painful memories are unearthed.

The hospice is populated by a wonderfully eclectic group whose time is limited as well. Harold's journey and Queenie's waiting for Harold becomes part of their lives also. The nuns that work at the hospice are funny, kind and wise. Innocent Sister Lucy and Sister Mary Inconno were personal favourites. " You are here to live until you die. There is a significant difference."

Joyce says she ..."set out to write a book about dying that was full of life. It seems to me that you can't really write about one without the other - just as you can't really write about happiness if you don't confront sadness.

And she has. Rachel Joyce's writing make you feel - laugh, cry (oh yes have a tissue ready), empathize and sympathize, and might have you thinking about your own life, loves, hopes and dreams.

There are so many memorable passages in this book - Joyce is such a gifted writer. "Sometimes, Harold, the way forward takes you by surprise. You try to force something in the familiar direction and discover that what it needs is to move in a different dimension. The way forward is not forward, but off to one side, in a place you have not noticed before."

Just when I was resigned to the end of the book only being a few pages away, Joyce surprised me - with the most perfect, unexpected ending. If you loved Harold Fry's story (and I would recommend reading Harold's story first to fully appreciate this book), you'll love Queenie's too.  This is one of my favourite books of 2014. Read an excerpt of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. You can find Rachel Joyce on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Giveaway - The Bodies We Wear - Jeyn Roberts

I've got a great giveaway for you today - Jeyn Robert's newest book - The Bodies We Wear.

From the publisher, Knopf Books:

"A  streetwise girl trains to take on a gang of drug dealers and avenge her best friend’s death in this thriller for fans of Scott Westerfeld and Robin Wasserman.

People say when you take Heam, your body momentarily dies and you catch a glimpse of heaven. Faye was only eleven when dealers forced Heam on her and her best friend, Christian. But Faye didn’t glimpse heaven—she saw hell. And Christian died.

Now Faye spends her days hiding her secret from the kids at school, and her nights training to take revenge on the men who destroyed her life and murdered her best friend. But life never goes the way we think it will. When a mysterious young man named Chael appears, Faye's plan suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Chael seems to know everything about her, including her past. But too many secrets start tearing her world apart: trouble at school, with the police, and with the people she thought might be her friends. Even Gazer, her guardian, fears she's become too obsessed with vengeance. Love and death. Will Faye overcome her desires, or will her quest for revenge consume her?" Read an excerpt of The Bodies We Wear.

"Jeyn Roberts is the author of Dark Inside and Rage Within. Her first story was published in a middle-grade anthology called Let Me Tell You when she was sixteen. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in writing and psychology and received her MA from the prestigious creative writing graduate course at Bath Spa University. Jeyn is a former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier, and tree planter. Her favorite authors include Betty Smith, JK Rowling, Ernest Hemmingway, Douglas Coupland, and Jonathan Stroud, and her 5 favorite books of all time are A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Girlfriend in a Coma, Memoirs of a Geisha, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, and Harry Potter. Visit her at or follow her on twitter at @JeynRoberts. Jeyn lives in Canada"

I've got one copy of The Bodies We Wear to giveaway - simply leave a comment to be entered. Ends Nov 1/14. Open to US and Canada.

Monday, October 20, 2014

One Kick - Chelsea Cain

After turning the final page of the sixth Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan thriller (Let Me Go), I wondered if there could be anything in the future for these characters. For me, this series seemed to have run its course.

Well, Chelsea Cain has unleashed a new character on readers. Her new book, One Kick is the first in a new series featuring Kick Lannigan. What a great character name eh?

Kick was kidnapped as a six year old and famously rescued when she was eleven. The years spent in captivity shaped her path - and her personality. She's tough as nails, but vulnerable, fearsome, yet fearful. And she has a goal - to prey on those that prey on children. A wealthy man named John Bishop, approaches Kick to help him find two local missing kids. There's a chance they could still be alive - and Bishop believes Kick has the key to finding them locked in her past. But who is Bishop really? And what is his agenda?

Cain writes great kick *** characters. Lannigan is definitely one of those, but with a wounded side that makes us fear for her as she wades into danger. One Kick introduces us to Lannigan, lets us get to know her and sets the tone and the background for the next in the series. One Kick has a resolution, but the last few pages are a kicker (sorry, couldn't resist) that will leave readers with the same questions Lannigan has. I 'll be watching for the next book.

Cain's books are not for the faint of heart. There are disturbing themes, descriptions and language. Those looking for a dark thriller will absolutely find it in One Kick. Read an excerpt of One Kick. You can find Chelsea Cain on Facebook and on Twitter.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Winner - Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past by Sharyn McCrumb, courtesy of Abingdon Press is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you 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, October 18, 2014

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #26

- 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
This week's entry is for another book I'm looking forward to reading. Stephen King's new book, Revival, releases on Nov 11/14.  The US/Canadian cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. This week, I'm going to go with the UK cover. Interesting that there's lightning on both covers, but it's that scary rundown tent that draws me to the book. Which cover do you prefer? Do you plan to read Revival?

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

You - Caroline Kepnes

You is the deliciously creepy new novel from Caroline Kepnes.

When Guinevere Beck walks into a New York bookstore, she immediately catches the eye of the clerk, Joe. A light flirtatious conversation ensues, but for Joe it is much more than that. Beck is the one he's been looking for. They're meant to be together. But Joe wants to make sure everything is right first - so he begins gathering information.... he discovers where Beck lives, begins watching her home, stalking her online profiles and hacks into the cell phone she 'lost' at the bookstore.

You is told entirely from Joe's point of view in an unending, seriously disturbed stream of consciousness narrative. The matter of fact attitude in dealing with roadblocks (Beck has a boyfriend already) to his ultimate goal (Beck) is truly chilling. But just as frightening is his ability to explain and rationalize almost anything. Beck isn't quite the golden girl Joe envisions. But no matter, they will be a beautiful couple. He just has to win her over - bit by bit.

None of the main characters in You are likable. And yet, when I thought about Joe and Beck, it is actually Joe that elicits a modicum of sympathy. I know! Beck is the 'stalkee' and the one in seeming danger, but I really didn't like her at all. Kepnes's character development was excellent.

Kepnes has penned her own version of the 'stalker' novel. It's different - and it's darn good. Kepnes has written for Entertainment Weekly and television. She knows how to grab the reader and hold them. I was hooked from first page to last. And I started getting a little paranoid after the first few chapters.....Read an excerpt of You. And I loved the ending. This one has film written all over it.

You can keep up with Caroline Kepnes on Facebook and on Twitter.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Over the Counter #234

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Goin' to the dogs this week....

First up is Off the Leash by Matthew Gilbert.

From the publisher, St. Martin's Press:

"OFF THE LEASH is a group portrait of dog people, specifically the strange, wonderful, neurotic, and eccentric dog people who gather at Amory Park, overlooking Boston near Fenway Park. And it’s about author Matthew Gilbert’s transformation, after much fear and loathing of dogs and social groups, into one of those dog people with fur on their jackets, squeaky toys in their hands, and biscuits in their pockets.
Gilbert, longtime TV critic at The Boston Globe, describes his reluctant trip into the dog park subculture, as the first-time owner of a stubbornly social Yellow Lab puppy named Toby. Like many Americans, he was happily accustomed to the safe distance of TV viewing and cell-phone web surfing, tethered to the digital leash. But the headstrong, play-obsessed Toby pulls him to Amory, and Amory becomes an exhilarating dose of presence for him. The joyous chaos of wrestling dogs and the park’s cast of offbeat dog owners – the “pack of freaks” – gradually draw him into the here and now. At the dog park, the dog owners go off the leash, too.

Dog-park life can be tense. When dogs fight, their owners – such as the reckless Charlotte – bare their teeth at each other, too. Amid the rollicking dog play, feelings tend to surface faster, unedited. But Gilbert shows how Amory is an idyllic microcosm, too, the home of enduring friendships and, as the droll but vulnerable Hayley knows, romantic crushes. Meeting daily, a gathering of dog owners can be like group therapy, or The Office, or a standup concert.

As a TV critic, Matthew Gilbert is well-known by his readership for his humorous and wry writing style. A charming narrative that will appeal to anyone who has ever enjoyed watching a puppy scamper through a park, OFF THE LEASH is a paean to dog lovers and their pets everywhere, perfect for fans of Marley & Me and Merle's Door."

Next up is The Dog Lived (And So Will I) by Teresa J. Rhyne.

From the publisher, Sourcebooks:

"The tale of a dog who wouldn't let go and the woman who followed his lead. Teresa Rhyne vowed to get things right this time around: new boyfriend, new house, new dog, maybe even new job. But shortly after she adopted Seamus, a totally incorrigible beagle, vets told Teresa that he had a malignant tumor and less than a year to live. The diagnosis devastated her, but she decided to fight it, learning everything she could about the best treatment for Seamus. Teresa couldn't possibly have known then that she was preparing herself for life's next hurdle — a cancer diagnosis of her own.

 She forged ahead with survival, battling a deadly disease, fighting for doctors she needed, and baring her heart for a seemingly star–crossed relationship. The Dog Lived (and so Will I) is an uplifting and heartwarming story about how dogs steal our hearts, show us how to live, and teach us how to love."

(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, October 15, 2014

Angel Killer - Andrew Mayne

Andrew Mayne is an illusionist and magician who has worked for David Copperfield, Penn and Teller and David Blaine. He's also the star of A&E's Don't Trust Andrew Mayne And....he's also an author. Mayne self published his novels and had some success. Angel Killer sold really well in that format and Bourbon Street Books picked it up, with a hard copy of Angel Killer just published.

I normally eschew self published books, but was incredibly curious to read Angel Killer (especially after a large publisher picked it up.) I found the premise intriguing - an FBI agent who grew up in a 'magic' family. When a killer calling himself the Warlock starts staging and executing seemingly impossible crimes, Jessica Blackwood is called in. The FBI seems to think her unusual background will be the key they need to find this killer. But it's easier said than done - The Warlock is incredibly devious and seems to have a long range plan.....

Well, Mayne is smart as well - he's writing what he knows. The use of magic and illusion as the serial killer's signature is unique. And having an agent just as familiar with the sleights of hand and misdirection is fresh and different. And quite fascinating.

Mayne is setting the stage (yes pun intended) for Jessica. We get to know her background and mindset and I quite liked her. We're also introduced to the mysterious Damien n - I definitely want to know more about him.

The plot is inventive and again, out of the ordinary. There are a few instances where I questioned the leap to the next point or some technical wizardry, but overall I thought it was really good.

And through it all runs the idea of magic. I am always entertained by illusionists and am not sure how I feel about knowing the truth behind some 'tricks' I've seen, but it's pretty interesting to discover how some of them are achieved.

Angel Killer is being marketed as the first Jessica Blackwood novel. I would definitely pick up the next in this series - even more so that the end of Angel Killer is not truly the end - the last page is a definite link to a larger plot still not uncovered. I've peeked at other's thoughts on this book and many readers mention their dissatisfaction with the ending. I actually like the unfinished threads - the idea that there's more in store for this character and the anticipation of the continuation of a good tale. Read an excerpt of Angel Killer.

"Wildly innovative, highly-visual with a little bit of mischief thrown in, Andrew Mayne is at the forefront of the next generation of magic. Star of A&E's Don't Trust Andrew Mayne, he’s performed his unique brand of illusion on five continents, his YouTube videos have millions of views and he’s cultivated thousands of fans for his magic, books and podcasts calling themselves ‘Mayniacs’."You can find Andrew Mayne on Facebook and on Twitter.

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Giveaway - First Impressions - Charlie Lovett

I've got a wonderful giveaway for Jane Austen fans today! Charlie Lovett's new novel First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen releases October 20/14..

What's it about? From the publisher, Viking Books:

"Charlie Lovett’s best-selling debut novel The Bookman’s Tale introduced scores of readers to the true meaning of the word bibliophile. In his delightful second novel, FIRST IMPRESSIONS: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, Lovett once again immerses readers in a world where books hold closely guarded secrets that threaten to turn the literary world upside down. For Lovett, a former antiquarian bookseller and collector, old books hold a power like none other; in his thrilling, suspenseful mysteries, their contents become matters of life and death.

In 1796, Jane Austen is living in Hampshire and working on her first book, an epistolary novel tentatively titled Elinor and Marianne, when she strikes up an unlikely friendship with an aging cleric named Richard Mansfield. An author himself—albeit of a less-than-artful book of allegories—Mansfield soon becomes Jane’s closest literary companion. On long walks through the countryside and engaging chats by the fire, they offer each other not only friendship, but also professional advice. Neither can foresee the impact their collaborations will have on future generations.

In present day London, Sophie Collingwood is a lifelong book lover bereft at the loss of her beloved Uncle Bertram. After his books are sold off to pay debts, Sophie takes a job at an antiquarian bookshop hoping to earn enough to slowly buy back the books and restore his collection. When, on the same day, two customers request a copy of the same obscure book—the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield—Sophie is drawn into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice.

Sophie, a dogged a dogged researcher and devoted Jane Austen fan, is quickly drawn into a frantic search for a book that threatens not just Jane Austen’s reputation, but Sophie’s own life. Combining a very Austen-like love triangle; a portrait of one of our greatest literary legends; and a tribute to the typesetters and printing presses of the eighteenth century, First Impressions> will charm bibliophiles and Jane Austen lovers everywhere. Lovett skillfully pulls readers into his world where true joy comes from a life lived in books."

"Charlie Lovett is a former antiquarian bookseller, an avid book collector, and a member of The Grolier Club, the preeminent club for bibliophiles in North America. He and his wife split their time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Kingham, Oxfordshire, in England."

PS - Did I mention that a hardcover copy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, courtesy of Penguin Booksis part of this prize pack? For a chance to win both books, simply leave a comment with the title of your favourite Jane Austen book. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Oct 25/14.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Murder 101 - Faye Kellerman

Murder 101 is the latest entry in Faye Kellerman's long running Decker/Lazurus series. In fact it's number twenty two.

Kellerman has aged her characters over the course of the series. Peter Decker has recently retired from the LAPD. He and his wife Rena Lazurus have moved to quiet Greenbury, NY to be closer to their grown children. Peter has taken a job with the Greenbury PD. But truthfully he's a bit bored - there's not a lot of crime in the town.  A possible art forgery in a cemetery crypt seems pretty exciting. But when a body is found, Decker is back in his element. He has a new partner as well - a young man named Ryan, with no experience, and a bad attitude.

I always enjoy the mystery in Kellerman's books and the path Decker takes to solve the cases.  This one was good, but I did find the international connection to be a bit of stretch.

But, the strength of this series is the characters. Rina and Peter are such engaging characters. I've enjoyed watching their relationship grow from their first meeting to this comfortable older stage. Their joy in each other, their love of their family, their faith and their convictions are wonderfully depicted.

The title is a nod to Decker's attempts to teach young Ryan the basics of a investigation (and a little bit about life as well. Rina plays a larger role in Murder 101 - she's actually part of the investigation this time round.

I like that path that Kellerman has chosen to take for Peter and Rina. I wonder if there will be further cases in Greenbury? And, as much as I enjoy the family aspect of this series (daughter Cindy has had her own book and I'm growing tired of foster son Gabe's issues), it is Peter and Rina I prefer to follow.

With such a long running series, there are bound to be some books that are stronger than others. I thought this latest entry was a really good read. Read an excerpt of Murder 101. You can keep up with Faye Kellerman on Facebook.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

One Step Too Far - Tina Seski - Enter to win!

I'm really looking forward to reading One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis.

It releases January 27, 2015....but Harper Collins is giving away 1000 Advance Reading Editions now!!

"No one has ever guessed Emily's secret. Will you? Read One Step Too Far to find out!

Enter for Your Chance to Win One of 1,000 Advance Reader's Editions of One Step Too Far, the Book EVERYONE's Going to Be Talking about next year. We really are giving away 1,000 copies of this #1 international bestseller months before it is available in the U.S,

This is your chance to get in on the early enthusiastic buzz about this novel.

If you enjoyed Gone Girl or The Husband’s Secret , we think you’ll love One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis. And, of course, we hope you’ll let us know what you think about this intricately plotted, thoroughly addictive new thriller. So, enter for your chance to win from October 8, 2014 at 9:00 A.M. through October 27, 2014 at 9:00 A.M. You could be one of a thousand lucky readers who will receive an early copy of One Step Too Far before it goes on sale in the U.S. on January 27, 2015."

Enter here - and good luck! Watch for my review in January!

Winner - While the Gods Were Sleeping - Elizabeth Enslin

And the winner of a copy of While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal by Elizabeth Enslin is:


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, October 11, 2014

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #25

- 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
This week's entry is for a book I am really looking forward to. John Grisham's last book, Sycamore Row, was excellent. I'm really looking forward to his newest book, Gray Mountain,  releasing on Oct. 21/14. The US/Canadian cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. This week, I'm going to go with the North American cover. I must admit to not being quite sure what is on the UK cover - I think it might be a match flame? Which cover do you prefer? Do you plan to read Gray Mountain?

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

One Plus One - Jojo Moyes

I only recently picked up one of British author JoJo Moyes's titles - Me Before You. I chose to listen to it on the way back and forth to work. I absolutely loved it and found myself taking backroads so listen a little longer!

My library hold for the audio version of her latest book, One Plus One, came in at the beginning of last week - and I again started taking the slower road home!

Jess has been a single mom to her goth stepson Nicky and her math prodigy daughter Tanzie for two years - since her husband had to 'get away for a bit' and went to live with his mother.  Jess and the kids live on a council estate along with Norman the dog. Jess does what she can to make ends meet - barmaid and cleaning, scrimping and saving. Ed is a computer whiz, under investigation for insider training. And their lives collide in the most chaotic, wonderful way.

Moyes is such a wonderful writer - her characters are flawed and lovable - and the listener can't help but wish for a happy ending. The story is engaging, funny, sad, romantic, real and oh so incredibly addicting and entertaining. And for those thinking to lable it 'chick lit', I think it's much more than that. Moyes explores real situations such as bullying, poverty, parenting and more.

After listening to the first book in audio, I knew I wanted to listen to all of Moyes's titles. The publisher has chosen excellent readers for One Plus One - their voices all suited the mental images I had for the characters, their voices were incredibly expressive and I immediately felt like I was part of the story.

Highly, highly recommended as both a read and a listen! Listen to an excerpt or read an excerpt. You can keep up with Jojo Moyes on Facebook and on Twitter. Me - I'm off to put a hold on The Girl You Left Behind audiobook.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Over the Counter #233

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? A pair of really great cookbooks this week...

First up was The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden by Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge.

From the publisher, Rodale Books:

"Dr. Brent Ridge and New York Times bestselling author Josh Kilmer-Purcell are not your average couple: The two Manhattanites left their big city lives behind, and found themselves living in bucolic Sharon Springs, New York, where they became "accidental goat farmers." But what began as a way to reconnect with their own style of modern country living soon exploded into a wildly successful brand, Beekman 1802, named after their historic home. Brent and Josh are now world-renowned for producing everything from magnificent handcrafted goat’s milk soaps to artisanal Blaak cheese, and now, with The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook, they’re bringing their special vintage-modern touch to classic, remarkable recipes bound to become family favorites year after year.

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook will show off the delicious and decadent recipes that the Beekman Boys have collected from across the generations of their family, from Brent’s grandmother’s Fourth of July Fruitcake to Josh’s mother’s Hot Chocolate Dumplings. Each recipe will be accompanied by a personal memory from the authors or a story about how that recipe came to be. With eco-conscious and vintage-oriented food production gaining traction as a major culinary trend, this beautiful package will reel in readers, whether they’re nostalgic for some classic Americana in their kitchen or just hankering for the perfect Blackberry Betty recipe."

Next up is One Bowl Baking: Simple, From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts by Yvonne Ruperti.

From the publisher, Running Press:

"Yvonne Ruperti, recipe developer extraordinaire, will tempt readers into the kitchen with a uniquely simplified approach to baking. In this one-of-a-kind recipe collection, Yvonne shows how to create beautiful, delicious, and wholesome desserts from scratch using just one bowl. No mixer, no food processor. It’s for anyone looking for the ease and convenience of box mix baking, but with quality ingredients and gourmet results. Best of all, practically all of the recipes are mixed and in the oven in just 15 minutes or less. That’s it! One Bowl Baking includes more than 100 effortless recipes for all types of super delicious treats, including: Layer cakes, Cookies, Muffins, Scones, Tarts, Cheesecakes and more!"

(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, October 8, 2014

Horrorstör - Grady Hendrix

My annual fall visit to a large flat pack furniture company with a Swedish sounding name (c'mon you know who I mean right?) is around the corner. When I saw the cover of Grady Hendrix's new book, Horrorstör, I knew I absolutely had to read it.

Things are happening in the night at the Orsk furniture store in Cleveland Ohio. When the staff arrives in the morning, there's broken glass to clean up, broken display furniture and some unmentionable smells and substances. And the staff are getting weird 'help' text messages on their phones. The security tapes don't show anything, but sales are down and corporate is concerned. So Basil, the new deputy store manager decides to stay in the store overnight to see if he can catch who is doing the damage. He enlists Amy, a partner with a bit of an attitude and cashier Ruth Ann, the nicest person in the store, to stay overnight with him. And what happens that night...... something you're going to have to discover for yourself.

I had so much fun reading this book - Hendrix clearly wrote it with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. The format is exactly like that unnamed store's catalogue - the furniture, names, descriptions and pictures preceding every chapter were just as much fun as the story. (I was quite amused by some of the colour choices available - night beech, snow and beaver oak)

But what had me laughing was the 'corporate speak'. Having worked in a big box retail store in years gone by, I recognized much of it. Basil's quoting of policies and procedures as things go from bad to worse is just perfect. Hendrix's parodying of that other store is just perfect - the Bright and Shining Path that leads you through the shopping experience, the "Market Floor - also referred to as the 'open-wallet' area - designed to put customers under the maximum retail stress. The goal is to get them to open their wallets and buy something, even a light bulb, because once we crack their wallets, they will spend, on average $97 per visit." (Guilty)

Okay so there's all that - but what is causing all the damage at night? Think Scooby Doo - without the dog and a little nastier....Read an excerpt of  Horrorstör.

I'll say it again - this was just plain fun to read! Is there a humourous horror genre? You can keep up with Grady Hendrix on Twitter and on Facebook.  Any questions? Just Orsk!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Monogram Murders - Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie created some of the most memorable and beloved characters ever to populate a mystery novel - Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. The first Poirot novel was published in 1920 and the last in 1975. Almost forty years later, Sophie Hannah was tapped to write a new novel featuring this iconic detective, with the Christie estate's blessing.

“Sophie Hannah’s idea for a plot line was so compelling and her passion for my grandmother’s work so strong, that we felt that the time was right for a new Christie to be written.” —Mathew Prichard, grandson of Agatha Christie

The Monogram Murders is set early in 1929 London, England. Poirot is taking a wee sojourn at Mrs. Blanche Unsworth's boarding house. He's also become quite enamored of the coffee at Pleasant's Coffee House. One evening, a young woman rushes into the coffee house and declares that "...It's too late. I am already dead, you see, or I shall be soon. I can't hide forever."

Well, Poirot's 'little gray cells' cannot ignore this declaration and as he is sitting pondering her words later in Mrs. Unsworth's drawing room, another resident - Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard is also pondering....on the murder of three people at the Bloxam Hotel. Poirot's little gray cells and powers of observation cannot resist the lure of such a case - and he joins Catchpool in his investigation. Hannah has chosen to narrate The Monogram Murders from Catchpool's viewpoint, as he writes down the case.

There is of course, going to be much speculation as to the result of bringing a beloved character 'back to life.' I think Hannah did a good job. She doesn't try to completely recreate Christie's style, but instead introduces her own new foil - Catchpool. I'm not completely sold on him though - I found him to be a bit pedestrian, considering he is with Scotland Yard. But, he does provide Poirot with the slate needed to display his powers of deduction. The Monogram Murders is rife with red herrings, misdirection, twists and turns. This is a mystery that demands the reader's full attention. (I missed many a clue and found myself flipping back to reread) Hannah's plot was intricate and involved, but I found myself a bit disappointed with the ending, as there was one last plot point never fully closed.

Those looking for a book written as Agatha Christie won't find it in The Monogram Murders. But those looking for a classic mystery written in the style of Christie will enjoy this book. I did. Read an excerpt of The Monogram Murders.

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

Monday, October 6, 2014

Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past - Sharyn McCrumb - Review AND Giveaway

A Christmas book? Already Luanne? I know, I know, but can I be the first to tell you that there are only eighty days until Christmas! One of my favourite things to do in the days leading up to the twenty fifth is to read holiday tales. So, really, I'm just giving you lots of advance notice.....and a chance to own Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past!

I've found that many novelists publish a holiday story featuring their recurring characters or settings. And that's true with Sharyn McCrumb's first Christmas book. McCrumb also writes what she knows.....

...."My books are like Appalachian quilts," says Sharyn McCrumb. "I take brightly colored scraps of legends, ballads, fragments of rural life, and local tragedy, and I piece them together into a complex whole that tells not only a story, but also a deeper truth about the culture of the mountain South."

Nora Bonesteel has lived her whole life in her family home in the mountains. She has fond memories of years and Christmases gone by. When her newish neighbour comes to call, prattling on about their house being haunted, Nora has an idea what might be going on....

McCrumb also includes a parallel storyline featuring Sheriff Spencer Arrowood and Deputy Joe LeDonne, who are reluctant to carry out an arrest warrant on Christmas Eve. When they arrive at the house, they too are in for a bit of a surprise....

McCrumb's description of the settings evokes vivid pictures of time and place. But it is Nora's memories that stayed with me - Christmases gone by that were celebrated in a simpler fashion, without the commercial frenzy. It was about the people, not 'things'. McCrumb's style of writing is comfortable, almost folksy, leaving the reader feel like they're part of the story.

This was an great start to this year's holiday reading! Read an excerpt of Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past. And if you too would like to read this book, I have a copy to giveaway to one randomly chosen reader. Simply leave a comment with your favourite holiday memory to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends October 18/14.

Sharyn McCrumb is an award-winning Southern writer, best known for her Appalachian “Ballad” novels, including the New York Times best sellers The Ballad of Tom Dooley, The Ballad of Frankie Silver, and Ghost Riders. Nora Bonesteel's Christmas Past, releasing in October 2014 by Abingdon Press, is McCrumb's first Christmas novella in the Ballad series.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

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

And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Murder on the Île Sordou by M.L. Longworth, courtesy of Penguin Books, is:

Donna!  Donna never replied so Carl  - it's all yours!

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!

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #24

- 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 the new Hercule Poirot mystery, The Monogram Murders, written by Sophie Hannah and came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the UK cover on the right. This week,  I'm going to go with the UK cover. It has more of a period feel to it - closer to time frame of Agatha Christie's novels. And I like the silhouette of Poirot. However, I'm sure that cover blurb by Gillian Flynn on the NA cover will catch people's interest. Either way, it's a really good read. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read, or do you plan to read The Monogram Murders?

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Film on Friday #23 - Ilo Ilo

All of Film Movement's releases have garnered film festival praise and accolades. Such is the case with Ilo Ilo, from director Anthony Chen. It was a winner at Cannes and a New York Times critic's pick.

Ilo Ilo is set in 1997 Singapore. Teck and Hwee Leng are comfortably middle class with one son, Jiale, and another baby on the way. Jiale is constantly getting into altercations at school, embarrassing his parents - mostly his mother. Mom is working lots of hours and decides they need someone to help with the housework  - and Jiale. They hire Teresa - a Filipino.

There is no great plot twist to Ilo Ilo, rather it is the documentation and exploration of a small group of people whose lives intersect for a window of time. Teresa is not accepted by Jiale in the beginning - he treats her quite cruelly and maliciously. Mom takes her passport for safekeeping'. Dad is quite distant - he is keeping his job loss a secret from his wife. I found the family's treatment of Teresa quite depressing, although I realize it is reality based. As the economy worsens, tensions grow higher in the family. Jiale and Teresa's relationship changes, much to the consternation of his harried mother.

The standout actor for me was Teresa. She too has personal issues that we only learn of through the phone calls she places home. The 'secret' world of the 'domestic help' is where we see Teresa smile, instead of the robotic yes ma'am, no ma'am blank face she adopts with the family. But I want to add that each actor was excellent.

It was only on reading the director's notes that I discovered the origin of the title - and the basis of the film. Ilo Ilo is Philippine province that Cheng's own nanny/maid was from. I wonder how much of Jiale's role and antics stem from Cheng's childhood.

Ilo Ilo has small moments of joy and happiness, but I found the majority of it quite sad - each character is struggling. I was thinking about it at the end and I don't recall Mr. or Mrs. Lim smiling in the film at all.

I enjoyed the look at life in Singapore. Although 'nothing happens' in Ilo Ilo, I was quite engaged from start to finish, wondering where these character's lives were going.

As always, there's a short included with the film. It's a short animated film called Blik, about a young boy who is enamoured of his older neighbour. Quite amazing animation but the lack of faces bothered me a bit.

Singapore / 2013 / Mandarin, Tagalog & English with English subtitles / 99 min

Thursday, October 2, 2014

To Dwell in Darkness - Deborah Crombie

I only 'discovered' Deborah Crombie a bit ago, but I instantly knew the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series was one I would be following. The latest (#16), To Dwell in Darkness, has just released.

Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid has recently been transferred from Scotland Yard to a London borough. When a bombing in a local train station results in a horrifying death, the case falls to Duncan and his new team. Gemma is also an Inspector with the CID and it is Melody, one of her Detective Sergeants, who is on the scene when the attack occurs. But things are not as straight forward as they might first appear. Duncan isn't sure about his new team and ends up taking Melody, Gemma and a former sergeant into his confidence as he runs his own investigation parallel to the official one. Gemma, too, is dealing with a nasty case, but it is not given as much time as Duncan's.

Crombie's cases are intriguing. The factual evidence is there for us to start putting the clues and pieces along with the team. The interviews, the interrogations, the intuition and the characterizations - the personal aspect, is what makes the investigation really interesting.

But, the most captivating of all, is the large group of characters that appear in each book, their lives changing and growing with every new entry. They're an eclectic bunch, but I have become fond of them all. They're so well drawn, they've become almost real, especially Duncan, Gemma and their children. I feel like I know them. Although others may complain that the domestic details of the characters detracts from a good mystery, I find it gives the story much more depth. I've become invested in their lives and want to see where Crombie takes them from here. Sitting down with the latest feels like catching up with old friends.

I found the historical headers referring to St. Pancras at the beginning of each chapter interesting.

The case is wrapped up by the final pages, but there are some threads left dangling that have only whet my appetite for the next book in this wonderful series. Read an excerpt of To Dwell in Darkness.
"Deborah Crombie is a native Texan who has lived in both England and Scotland. She lives in McKinney, Texas, sharing a house that is more than one hundred years old with her husband, two cats, and two German shepherds." You can find Deborah Crombie on Facebook and on Twitter.
See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.