Saturday, November 29, 2014

You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover #32

- 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
Tess Gerritsen's latest Rizzoli and Isles book (#11) releases December 30th and is on my TBR list. Here's a sneak peek at some covers. The US/Canadian cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Pretty similar eh? I'm going with the UK cover this week. I like the tagline and the ominous figure in the background. I don't think it's the same girl on both photos, but the overblue stare on the US cover creeps me out a little bit. (which is probably the whole idea) Which cover do you prefer? Do you plan to read Die Again? 
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Film on Friday #26 - If I Stay

I always have some doubts when a wonderful book is made into a movie. Will it stay true to the book? Will the actors embody the characters? Will I still love the book after watching the movie? 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has just released the Blu-ray/DVD of If I Stay. And let me put your mind to rest right away - it was very well done.

If I Stay is based on the best selling YA novel by Gayle Forman. After a horrific accident Mia is stuck between here and there, life and death, staying or going.....and has to make a choice.....

We get to remember and re-live Mia's life up to this point. She's a gifted cello player with a promising future, a boyfriend she loves dearly and a wonderful family.

Chloe Grace Moretz plays Mia, and she was a great choice. She absolutely personified the mental image I had created for this character. She's engaging and believable. Keep your eye on Moretz - we're going to be seeing much more of this talented young actor.

Jamie Blackley plays boyfriend Adam. I did think some of his scenes were overplayed.  The supporting cast is stellar, especially Mia's family. (Stacy Keach as Gramps was great)

Music plays such a huge part in the book and with the movie it comes to life.  The soundtrack is really good and the playing is believable, both for Moretz, Blackley et al. (Adam is a rock musician who plays the guitar). Moretz's cello playing and love of music was really, really well done. As was Blackley's, but Adam's head banging with every last chord was also a bit overdone.

If you love YA, teen romances or hey, just a good movie, you'll enjoy If I Stay. (Especially if you loved The Fault in Our Stars.)

And if you want to own and watch If I Stay, make sure you enter my giveaway for a Blu-ray copy!  Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered! One randomly chosen reader will win a copy of If I Stay on Blu-ray and a paperback copy of the book. Open to US and Canada, one entry per person, ends December 6/14.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Over the Counter #240

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner. This week it's two new books  - but the covers and the colours seemed so similar even though the subjects are very different.

First up is Sticky Fingers - DIY Duct Tape Projects by Sophie Maletsky.

From the publisher, Zest Books:

"Sticky Fingers is a vibrant, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to creating amazing projects with the hottest crafting material on the market today—duct tape! The book includes tons of photographs alongside directions designed to make creating a wallet and making a bag even easier, while also providing a steady stream of ideas for personalizing and embellishing your duct tape creations. Each project includes icons showing difficulty level and project time, as well as helpful hints, such as how to keep your scissors clean and what to do with end pieces. So grab a roll of duct tape, pick a project, and get started!"

Next up us Caps/One Size Fits All by Steven Bryden.

From the publisher, Prestel:

" The first book of its kind, this in-depth look at the cult of caps explores one of fashion’s most enduring international trends.

The 21st century has witnessed a cap craze. Nearly every facet of society has embraced its own version—from rappers to punk rockers, cyclists to baseball stars, hipsters to high fashionistas. In Caps: One Size Fits All, Steven Bryden explores the evolution of the cap, tracing its roots from functional item to fashion must-have. Filled with expertly shot color images, the book features interviews with cap connoisseurs and icons of cap fashion, including Supreme’s Aaron Bondaroff and Craig Ford, owner of the London BAPE store. It explores the design and construction of caps as well as the incredible array of brands and types: from baseball to five-panel, painter's cap to the Pittsburgh pillbox, Ralph Lauren to Stussy. The book also peers into the closets of avid collectors, tracks the cap’s journey through pop culture history, and includes street style photos showcasing how people are wearing caps around the world today."

(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!)

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Sister's Grave - Robert Dugoni - Review AND Giveaway

I picked up Robert Dugoni's first novel way back in 2006 and have enjoyed every one since. His latest release is My Sister's Grave.

The last time Tracy Crosswhite saw her sister Sarah was twenty years ago. And although a man was convicted for her murder without a body, Tracy has never believed he was guilty. In fact, it's the reason she became a cop. When Sarah's remains are found, Tracy sees this as an opportunity to reopen the case and find the real killer. Old secrets don't like to be uncovered though......

The whodunit in My Sister's Grave is well plotted, with a nice little twist. (Although I must admit I did have this sussed out before the final reveal.) Setting the book in a small town really worked, making the storyline believable. Because in every small town, there's a sheriff who has his own ideas of how things should be run, right?

Tracy was a great lead character - tough and determined, but with a vulnerable side. Her loyalty and love for her sister Sarah are palpable. Although we never meet Sarah in present day, the flashbacks and reminiscences of other characters really brought her to life. Pairing Tracy up with old childhood friend (and lawyer) Dan was perfect and lent a personal secondary plotline to the story.

Dugoni's writing is easy and engaging. I was immediately caught up in the story from the first pages. There are twists and red herrings to keep you guessing until the final pages. And that final reveal is action packed, guaranteeing a 'stay up until I'm done' read.

Dugoni was first a writer, then a lawyer and finally settled on novelist. His background is apparent in all of his novels, successfully combining the legal and crime genres (with a touch of romance thrown in.) All in all, a good entertaining read. This is the first of a new series - and I would definitely pick up the next. Read an excerpt of My Sister's Grave.

Robert Dugoni is the New York Times and #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of My Sister's Grave and The David Sloane Series. He has published 8 novels, an expose, The Cyanide Canary, and the short prequel The Academy. Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed and New York Times-bestselling author of the David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One, and The Conviction. Murder One was a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for literary excellence. He is also the author of the bestselling standalone novel Damage Control, and the nonfiction work The Cyanide Canary." You can keep up with Robert Dugoni on Facebook and connect with him on Twitter.

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

I have a copy of My Sister's Grave to giveaway. So, if this sounds like a book you'd like to read(and own!) simply leave a comment (an a contact method). A randomly chosen winner will be announce on December 6/14. Open to US and Canada.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Giveaway Winners!

And the three randomly chosen winners of a copy of Sabotage by Matt Cook, courtesy of Forge Books are:


The randomly chosen winner of a copy of Genesis Code by Jamie Metzl, courtesy of Arcade Publishing is:


Congratulations! I've contacted all of 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. Keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #31

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

US cover
Canadian/UK cover
 I was hunting down cover art for my review of  Peter James's new book - Want You Dead. I came across the US cover on the left and the Canadian/UK cover on the right.  The US cover lets you know that fire is definitely a part of the plot. The Canadian/UK cover gives you the plot in a nutshell in the cover.  Tough call this week, but I'm going with the Canadian cover. The yellow type is eye catching and the background is ominous. Which cover do you prefer?
Do you plan to or have you read Want You Dead?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Want You Dead - Peter James

Peter James's latest book, Want You Dead, has just released. This is the tenth entry in James's Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series.

The opening pages set the stage for the whodunit in Want You Dead. In this case, we know who - and it's up to Grace to catch him.

Red Cameron left an abusive relationship and hopes she's found a fresh start in the widowed doctor she's just begun dating. She has.....but her old flame Bryce has other ideas. Red is his and will always be his. And he's more than a little upset by the breakup.

James writes from the point of view of Bryce, Red and Grace, The reader is privy to the entire picture and can only hope that Grace and his team make the connections in time.

I've always enjoyed Grace - he's a great lead character - strong minded, strong willed, intelligent and caring. The supporting cast of detectives returns, but one won't be returning for the next book. I was a little upset with that - I'm not really sure what this development added to the overall plot at all. I was really hoping that Grace's ex wife Sandy was finally out of the picture, but she makes another appearance in this book. And for as much as I am tired of her, James has piqued my curiosity - without giving anything away, the ending and Sandy's involvement will have me happily snapping up the next in this series.

James does add a good personal storyline to this series, rounding Grace out as a person. He's still coming to terms with his new role as a father. As is his wife Chloe.

I did feel that this plot wasn't one of James's strongest - the premise has been done before, but stalkers do seem to be hot this year. James puts his own spin on it, with a good, sinister antagonist.

But, there were a few things that annoyed me in this book. James seems to beleaguer some points - in the first few chapters, there are at least 4-5 mentions that burnt human flesh smells like pork. Once or twice maybe, more than that was just overkill. And I do wonder about an abused woman putting herself back into the dating scene within four months of leaving a bad relationship. It seems a bit soon to me. Some of her actions and decisions I saw as just plain foolhardy, rather than being her being 'strong'. I found myself feeling unsympathetic towards her.

This is still one of my favourite British detective series, but for this reader, it wasn't one of the strongest entries. Read an excerpt of Want You Dead.

You can keep up with Peter James on Facebook and on Twitter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Over the Counter #239

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Foodie memoirs this week...

First up is The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest by Douglas Whynott.

From the publisher, Da Capo Press:
"A year in the life of one New England family as they work to preserve an ancient, lucrative, and threatened agricultural art--the sweetest harvest, maple syrup...

At a sugarhouse owned by maple syrup entrepreneur Bruce Bascom, 80,000 gallons of sap are processed daily during winter's end. In The Sugar Season, Douglas Whynott follows Bascom through one tumultuous season, taking us deep into the sugarbush, where sunlight and sap are intimately related and the sound of the taps gives the woods a rhythm and a ring. Along the way, he reveals the inner workings of the multimillion-dollar maple sugar industry. Make no mistake, it's big business--complete with a Maple Hall of Fame, a black market, a major syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security, a Canadian organization called The Federation, and a Global Strategic Reserve that's comparable to OPEC (fitting, since a barrel of maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil).

Whynott brings us to sugarhouses, were we learn the myriad subtle flavors of syrup and how it's assigned a grade. He examines the unusual biology of the maple tree that makes syrup possible and explores the maples'--and the industry's--chances for survival, highlighting a hot-button issue: how global warming is threatening our food supply. Experts predict that, by the end of this century, maple syrup production in the United States may suffer a drastic decline.

As buckets and wooden spouts give way to vacuum pumps and tubing, we see that even the best technology can't overcome warm nights in the middle of a season--and that only determined men like Bascom can continue to make a sweet like off of rugged land."
Next up is Harvest: Field Notes From a Far-Flung Pursuit of Real Food by Max Watman.
From the publisher, WW Norton and Co.:
"Max Watman’s compulsively readable memoir of his dogged quest to craft meals from scratch.After an epiphany caused by a harrowing bite into a pink-slime burger, Max Watman resolves to hunt, fish, bake, butcher, preserve, and pickle. He buys a thousand-pound-steer—whom he names Bubbles—raises chickens, gardens, and works to transform his small-town home into a gastronomic paradise. In this compulsively readable memoir, Watman records his experiments and adventures as he tries to live closer to the land and the source of his food.  A lively raconteur, Watman draws upon his youth in rural Virginia with foodie parents—locavores before that word existed—his time cooking in restaurants, and his love of the kitchen.

Amid trial and experiment, there is bound to be heartbreak. Despite a class in cheese making from a local expert, his carefully crafted Camembert resembles a chalky hockey puck. Much worse, his beloved hens—"the girls," as he calls them—are methodically attacked by a varmint, and he falls into desperate measures to defend them. Finally, he loses track of where exactly Bubbles the steer is.
Watman perseveres, and his story culminates in moments of redemption: a spectacular prairie sunset in North Dakota; watching 10,000 pheasants fly overhead; eating fritters of foraged periwinkles and seawater risotto; beachside with his son; a tub of homemade kimchi that snaps and crunches with fresh, lively flavor well after the last harvest.

With infectious enthusiasm, Watman brings the reader to the furthest corners of culinary exploration. He learns that the value of living from scratch is in the trying. With a blend of down-home spirit and writing panache, he serves up a delectable taste of farm life—minus the farm."

(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!)

If I Stay Twitter Party with Gayle Forman

Join @GayleForman as she live tweets If I Stay on @Cambio this Thurs.
Tweet your questions for her using #IfIStayIn!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Giveaway - If I Stay - Blu-ray and Book!!!

There have so many great books made into movies lately! I missed seeing this one in the theater, but If I Stay has just released on Blu-ray November 18th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. And with all the great additional content, I'd rather own it and watch at home! You can too - I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. But that's not all! I have a paperback copy of the book by Gayle Forman as well.

"The Blu-ray™ + DVD + Digital HD™ Combo, includes an original music montage, free song download from the Soundtrack, and a three-part immersive making-of experience featuring interviews with the cast and author/executive producer Gayle Forman!"

"Chloë Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley star in this romantic film based on the best-selling novel. Seventeen-year-old Mia Hall (Moretz) thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Blackley). But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate. Also starring are Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard as Mia’s parents, Kat and Denny, and Stacy Keach as Gramps. Rounding out the main cast are Jakob Davies as Mia’s little brother, Liana Liberato as her best friend, Gabrielle Rose as Grandma, and Aisha Hinds as Nurse Ramirez."

"Fans of the beloved book can see the story come to life like never before with compelling bonus features and deleted scenes. Celebrate the film’s music with an original “Never Coming Down” music video, “I Never Wanted to Go” music montage, a free download of the song “Mind” from the soundtrack courtesy of WaterTower Music and music commentary by R.J. Cutler on songs from the movie. Then, dive deeper into the making-of the film with “Beyond the Page,” a three-part book, author and cast introspective."

 If I Stay Blu-ray Exclusive Special Features:

⦁ “I Never Wanted To Go” Music Montage ⦁ Beyond The Page featuring interviews with the cast, crew and Author Gayle Forman ⦁ The Love of Music ⦁ Adapting IF I STAY ⦁ An Out of Body Experience If I Stay Blu-ray and DVD Special Features ⦁ “Never Coming Down” Music Video ⦁ Free download from the If I Stay Soundtrack of the song “Mind” courtesy of WaterTower Music ⦁ Deleted Scenes Commentary by R.J. Cutler and Alison Greenspan ⦁ Bookstore ⦁ Hospital Chapel ⦁ Audio Commentary by R.J. Cutler and Alison Greenspan ⦁ Music Commentary by R.J. Cutler ⦁ ⦁ Image Gallery ⦁ Theatrical Trailer  Subtitles: English / French / Spanish U.S. Rating: PG-13 Total Run Time: 171 minutes Closed Captioned: Yes

And if you want to watch If I Stay as much as I do, simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered! One randomly chosen reader will win a copy of If I Stay on Blu-ray and a paperback copy of the book. Open to US and Canada, one entry per person, ends December 6/14.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Not a book post....

You may have noticed that reviews have been a
little spotty last week
(and will be this week too)
 I recently flew down to attend my daughter's baby shower. Yes, I'm very happy to report that I will be a Grandma in January!
So, instead of a book review today, I thought I would share a few pictures of the crib quilt I made for the shower.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #30

- 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
Canadian/US cover
I was hunting down cover art for this week's review of her Sophie Kinsella's new book - Shopaholic to the Stars and came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the UK cover on the right.
The UK tells more of a story and gives you a good idea of the plot, The US/Canadian cover is definitely more eye-catching. It's my choice this week.
Which cover do you prefer? Have your or do you plan to read Shopaholic to the Stars?

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Over the Counter #238

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Children and their toys this week...

First up is Toy Stories by Gabriele Galimberti.

From the publisher, Abrams Books:

"For over a year, the photographer and journal­ist Gabriele Galimberti visited more than 50 countries and created colorful images of boys and girls in their homes and neighborhoods with their most prized possessions: their toys. From Texas to India, Malawi to China, Iceland, Morocco, and Fiji, Galimberti recorded the spontaneous and natural joy that unites kids despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns a veritable fleet of miniature cars or a single stuffed monkey, the pride that Galimberti captures is moving, funny, and thought provoking."

I'm hoping my library will order this one - What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night by Refe and Susan Tuma. You have to check out the website - it's priceless! And it is Dinovember.....

From the publisher, Little, Brown and Company:

"From the parents who brought us the web sensation "Dinovember" comes photographic proof of what toys do at night.

Since Toy Story (and maybe since the very first toys!) children and their parents have wondered what it would be like if toys came to life. Refe and Susan Tuma take this wonder several steps further in WHAT THE DINOSAURS DID LAST NIGHT.

Every November, writer and social media master Refe Tuma and his wife, Susan, work into the night to bring their four children scenes from the secret lives of their toys -- specifically the nighttime antics of their plastic dinosaurs. The dinosaurs wreck bathrooms, destroy vases, rock out, encounter terrifying hot irons, even do the dishes with hilarious, magical results.

Each scene is photographed in meticulous detail, letting viewers joyfully suspend disbelief and think to themselves -- just LOOK what the dinosaurs did last night!"

(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, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shopaholic to the Stars - Sophie Kinsella

I've been a fan of Sophie Kinsella from the beginning - starting with Confessions of a Shopaholic.

The latest (#7) in this series - Shopaholic to the Stars is newly released.

Inveterate shopper Becky two year old daughter Minnie have accompanied her husband Luke on a business trip to Hollywood. Well, there are stars in the streets and stars in Becky's eyes. She sees this trip as a fantastic opportunity  to shop (natch) and kick start her career as a Hollywood stylist.

I've always enjoyed Becky's imaginings of what she could do or be and her complicated machinations to rationalize and explain her (over) spending. At the root of it all, Becky is a kind and good person with a bit of  a shopping problem. Kinsella again gives us lots of evidence that although Becky has good intentions, old (shopping) habits die hard.

Kinsella does an excellent job skewering Hollywood, stardom and more. Although I still found many laugh out loud moment in Shopaholic to the Stars, I also found a Becky that wasn't so kind. She's determined to succeed in Hollywood - at the cost of almost anything, including her marriage, her friends, her parents,  and more. Some of the situations weren't so funny - it wasn't quite the Becky I've enjoyed in the past. Instead, she's quite selfish and self-centered.

There are numerous sub-plots - Luke's relationship with his mother, Becky's dad's quest, the reappearance of Becky's dreaded nemesis Alicia and the whereabouts of Tarquin. But - and stop here if you haven't read the book......nothing is resolved! I turned the last pages and went back, just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I hadn't. The book ends with "Becky will return soon" and a road sign pointing to Las Vegas. I will of course be picking up the next book as I do want to find out what happens. And I like Kinsella's writing. But, I just felt a little cheated after 473 pages. This is probably my least favourite Becky book so far. Read an excerpt of Shopaholic to the Stars.

You can find Sophie Kinsella on Facebook and on Twitter.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Watched by C.J. Lyons, courtesy of Sourcebooks is:


And the randomly chosen winner of a copy of Loop by Karen Akins, courtesy of St. Martin's Press is:


Congratulations! I've contacted you both 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, November 8, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #29

- 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 this week's review of The Long Way Home by Louise Penny. I came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the British cover on the right.
Setting is a large part of the book. Both covers show this, but I prefer the US/Canadian cover this week. Turning things upside down can be interpreted a number of ways. And I prefer the stark look without a figure in it. Which cover do you prefer? Do you plan to or have you read The Long Way Home?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Marco Effect - Jussi Adler-Olsen

I stumbled upon the first book in the Department Q series back in 2011 and immediately became a devoted fan of Jussi Adler-Olsen. The fourth in this series is The Marco Effect, newly released in North America.

Detective Carl Morck heads up Department Q in the Copenhagen Police Dept. It's a rather small department with only three employees - Carl, Rose and Assad (who started off as the cleaner).

Although Dept. Q usually tackles cold cases,  Rose and Assad decide the team should tackle a missing persons case. And that investigation leads them to start looking for a young man named Marco. Marco is on the run - not just from the cops, but from his Uncle Zola - the leader of a gypsy gang. Marco knows about that missing person.

I love this series! Carl is wonderfully cantankerous, but is incredibly tenacious, determined to find answers. Rose is mercurial and combative, but brilliant. Assad. Well, Assad is a mystery. Over the last three books, hints have been dropped and sly references made about Assad's past. In The Marco Effect, even more is revealed. But the man is still a mystery. The three combine to make an effective if eclectic team. Although the upstairs bosses have decided that Carl's team could use another member.The bickering between Carl and Assad is humourous and Assad's camel analogies were priceless.

The secondary storyline of Carl's personal life at home is just as addicting. He shares a home with his stepson, his paraplegic ex-partner, the ex-partner's physiotherapist and the physiotherapist's partner. And Carl is hoping that his relationship with his therapist can step outside the office. This rich secondary plotline absolutely rounds out Carl's character.

And let's not forget the case! Adler-Olsen is wonderfully inventive when it comes to crime. This one is far flung, reaching from Africa to Denmark.  Marco is also given a voice in this book. We are privy to his thoughts as he's on the run, desperate and afraid.

The Marco Effect was another great read from Adler-Olsen. Read an excerpt of The Marco Effect. I can't wait for the next in the series. But Adler-Olsen has a stand alone due out in North America in February 2015 - The Alphabet House - that's on my must read list.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Over the Counter #237

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? I've got a plane trip coming up -and I'm a nervous flyer, so these two seemed quite appropriate!

First up is Jet Set: The People, The Planes, The Glamour and the Romance in Aviation's Glory Yeary by William Stadiem.

From the publisher, Ballantine Books:

"In October 1958, Pan American World Airways began making regularly scheduled flights between New York and Paris, courtesy of its newly minted wonder jet, the Boeing 707. Almost overnight, the moneyed celebrities of the era made Europe their playground. At the same time, the dream of international travel came true for thousands of ordinary Americans who longed to emulate the “jet set” lifestyle.

Bestselling author and Vanity Fair contributor William Stadiem brings that Jet Age dream to life again in the first-ever book about the glamorous decade when Americans took to the skies in massive numbers as never before, with the rich and famous elbowing their way to the front of the line. Dishy anecdotes and finely rendered character sketches re-create the world of luxurious airplanes, exclusive destinations, and beautiful, wealthy trendsetters who turned transatlantic travel into an inalienable right. It was the age of Camelot and “Come Fly with Me,” Grace Kelly at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco, and Mary Quant miniskirts on the streets of Swinging London. Men still wore hats, stewardesses showed plenty of leg, and the beach at Saint-Tropez was just a seven-hour flight away.
Like a superfueled episode of Mad Men, Jet Set evokes a time long gone but still vibrant in American memory. This is a rollicking, sexy romp through the ring-a-ding glory years of air travel, when escape was the ultimate aphrodisiac and the smiles were as wide as the aisles."

 Next up is How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane: and other lessons in parenting from a highly questionable source by Johanna Stein.

"From the publisher, Da Capo Press:

"Looking for the perfect book to help you survive childbirth and parenting with your sanity intact? Look elsewhere.

For Johanna Stein (writer/comedian/forward/slash/abuser and occasionally neurotic/immature/way-too-candid mom), parenting is an extreme sport. Her stories from the trenches may not always be shared experiences—Have you ever wondered if your baby's "soft spot" is like a delete key? Trained your preschooler for a zombie invasion? Accused a nearly nude stranger of being pregnant? Made sweet, bimonthly love to your spouse while your toddler serenaded you through the adjoining wall? Attempted to calm your screaming baby on an airplane with a hand puppet, only to have it lead to one of the most disgusting experiences of your life?—but they will always make you laugh.

So, no, this book won't teach you how to deal with nipple blisters or Oedipal complexes. But if you want to learn why you should never attempt to play a practical joke in the hospital delivery room, then you're in the right place."

(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, November 5, 2014

The Long Way Home Louise Penny

I can't think of a more anticipated next book for mystery fans than The Long Way Home by Louise Penny.

This is one of my absolute all time favourite series. Penny's lead character is Quebec Sûreté Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. The crimes and mysteries are always intricate, well plotted and well written. There was a subtle secondary plot that began early on in the first nine books and it exponentially grew through the first nine books, culminating in a startling conclusion in How the Light Gets In.

Where could this series go after such a ending? Spoilers ahead.....

Many questions that were left at the end of book nine have been answered in the opening pages of The Long Way Home. I felt a little cheated that the resolutions surround Gamache's protégé Jean Guy had taken place without me and that life has moved on without the reader being involved. Gamache has retired to the small village of Three Pines, an oft used setting for Penny. Over the course of the series, readers have come to know and love the residents.

Some more than others. Clara and Peter are artists who make their home in the village. A year ago, Peter left, promising to Clara to return in a year to see if their marriage could be repaired. The year has come and gone with no word from him. Clara enlists Gamache in her search to find him.

So, we have a case that again utilizes Gamache's skills, albeit in an unofficial capacity. The path and the clues to Peter's whereabouts are found in a series of paintings and the world of art. Penny does an admiral job bringing her visual plotline to the written page, but  I did find it a bit esoteric and slower paced than I would have liked. And okay, by the end I was tired of hearing about the upside down smile painting. Jean-Guy, after having factored so heavily in previous novels, has been relegated to the sidelines. There were some odd side stories - notably the androgynous niece/nephew Bean. As a colleague and I discussed one morning, The Long Way Home almost seems like a character study with the mystery of Peter's whereabouts as the secondary plotline.

But my real problem was with Clara. The residents of Three Pines have become quite 'real' over the course of the series. I quite like most of them - notably Ruth and her duck Rosa. But here's my problem - I was never taken with Clara to start with and throughout The Long Way Home my dislike of her steadily grew. This is a testament to Penny's writing skills, but it made it harder to become fully engaged in the case and its outcome.

I've chosen to listen to the last three or four books in this series. Ralph Cosham is the reader. His wonderfully paced, rich, sonorous voice completely embodies Gamache for me. The low, somewhat gravelly tone of Cosham's voice and his well modulated pace just draws you further into the story.  His French accent and pronunciation is well done and believable. The voices he provides for other characters are just as well done. The cranky old poet Ruth is a favourite of mine. Actually, all the residents of Three Pines come alive with his interpretations, and make me wish I could visit to Three Pines and chat with them.Sadly Ralph Cosham passed away this past September.

I enjoyed The Long Way Home, but didn't love this one. Penny is at work on a new novel - and it will be one I'll definitely read. I'm curious as to where she will take Gamache et al next.

Read an excerpt of The Long Way Home. Listen to an excerpt of The Long Way Home. You can find Louise Penny on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Giveaway - Sabotage - Matt Cook

I've got a fantastic giveaway for you today - three (!) signed copies of Matt Cook's debut novel Sabotage!

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

"A cruise ship loses power in the North Atlantic. A satellite launches in the South Pacific. Professor Malcolm Clare—celebrated aviator, entrepreneur, and aerospace engineer—disappears from Stanford University and wakes up aboard an unknown jet, minutes before the aircraft plunges into the high seas.

An extortionist code-named “Viking” has seized control of a private warfare technology, pitting a U.S. defense corporation against terrorist conspirators in a bidding war. His leverage: a threat to destroy the luxury liner and its 3,000 passengers.

 Stanford doctoral student Austin Hardy, probing the disappearance of his professor, seeks out Malcolm Clare’s daughter Victoria, an icy brunette with a secret that sweeps them to Saint Petersburg. Helped by a team of graduates on campus, they must devise Trojan horses, outfox an assassin, escape murder in Bruges, and sidestep treachery in order to unravel Viking’s scheme. Failure would ensure economic Armageddon in the United States.

 Both on U.S. soil and thousands of miles away, the story roars into action at supersonic speed. Filled with an enigmatic cast of characters, Sabotage, Matt Cook’s debut novel, is a sure thrill ride for those who love the puzzles of technology, cryptology, and people."

"Matt Cook is a writer and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. He wrote the first draft of his debut thriller novel, SABOTAGE, at nineteen. A close-up magician and former member of the Magic Castle Junior Society, he has performed in Hollywood and across the globe. For his support of the military, he was honored with the President’s Call to Service Award.

Matt created THE STARTUP STAR in 2010 with Jon Zhang. Published by the Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students, their entrepreneurial success book features advice from CEOs, founders, and venture capitalists of Silicon Valley. Matt’s first book, published when he was a sophomore, was honored by the American Authors Association with the Golden Quill Award in the business genre."

Matt’s hobbies include scuba, piano, and travel; he delights in weaving exotic locales into his stories. He now pursues an Economics doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania."

Sound like a book you'd like to own? Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered for a chance to win one of three signed copies. Open to US only, no po boxes please. Ends Nov. 22/14.

Giveaway - Genesis Code - Jamie Metzl

Another great giveaway today! Jamie Metzl's latest book is Genesis Code: A Thriller of the Near Future:

What's it about? From Arcade Publishing:

"Blue Magic, the latest designer drug linked to a rash of overdoses, might explain the needle mark on the arm of a young woman found dead in her Kansas City apartment. But when reporter Rich Azadian digs deeper, the clues point to a far more explosive story: MaryLee Stock was a special protégée of evangelical megapastor and power broker Cobalt Becker, who is poised to deliver his followers and the presidency to a firebrand right-wing senator in the next election. When Azadian sets out to prove that MaryLee’s death was no accident and she may have been carrying Becker’s genetically enhanced baby, the stakes become life itself.

In 2023 America—bankrupt, violently divided by the culture wars, and beholden to arch rival China—the rules of the game are complicated. With the danger mounting, the dead bodies of young women piling up, Chinese agents circling, and the US Department of National Competitiveness moving in to quash his investigation, Azadian’s only option is to go rogue, assemble a team of brilliant misfits like himself, and begin the fight of his life to find out who is killing these women and why, and if any others like them may still be alive."

"Jamie Metzl has spent a lot of time dealing with national security issues when serving in the Clinton National Security Council and State Department, and on Biden's Senate Foreign Relations Committee. An author of a history of the Cambodian genocide as well as the novel The Depths of the Sea (St. Martin's Press), he started thinking more deeply about the national security implication of the genetics revolution about a decade ago, and since then has written a number of articles on the topic, testified before Congress, and appeared on a range of talk shows. When he began GENESIS CODE four years ago, it was a thought experiment. He had little evidence China had such a program-but last year Wired ran an article on a young entrepreneur in China charging forward on just the type research that could open the door to the possibilities Metzl's novel explores so harrowingly.

This is just the beginning, according to the author; we are at the start of a genetic age that will ultimately challenge our notions of what it means to be human. After 250,000 years, our species is on the verge of taking control of our evolutionary process and we are hardly talking about the implications. GENESIS CODE may be a thriller set in our future, but the conversations it should spark are very much a contemporary issue with huge national and global implications." You can keep up with Jamie Metzl on Twitter and on his blog.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? I've got a copy to giveaway to one randomly chosen reader. Simply leave a comment (and a contact method) to be entered. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Nov. 22/14.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion

Graeme Simsion's first novel, The Rosie Project was a runaway international bestseller. I adored it. Then, I heard that Simsion had written a sequel....The Rosie Effect is newly released. And I got a little bit worried - would it measure up to the first book?

Don and Rosie have relocated to New York City. And things are about to change for the Tillmans......

"Then Rosie told me we had 'something to celebrate', and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner. I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet. The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace. And of losing Rosie forever."

The fun, of course, is following Don on his well meaning, but bumpy journey......

I've read some mixed reviews of this follow up. Yes, some of the plot machinations are a bit fortuitous and contrived, but hey, this is meant to be a fun read. For me it was - I quite enjoyed it. I was eager to follow Don on his latest Project, to experience The Incidents, The Misunderstandings, The Uproars and more. I laughed out loud numerous times in the lunchroom (as did a co-worker also reading it) But there were also heartstring tugging moments as Don attempts to understand and cope with the changes happening in his carefully ordered life. The supporting cast is back from the first book with some new additions. One new character was Lydia - she's really quite awful and while I understand why she was in the book,  I just didn't like her. Rosie is a bit different in how she treats Don as well, and I found her somewhat cold, but that could be the hormones talking.

I do love Don and his view of the world. His scheduling, his routines, (which are thrown into turmoil this time 'round),his reaction to the rest of the world - and theirs to him. It's impossible not to root for Don, to hope that things work out the way we want for him. Don narrates the whole story and never breaks character. It is truly eye opening to see the world through a 'different' filter. Simsion dedicated The Rosie Project to his friend Rod and his wife, noting that Rod is the inspiration for Don Tillman.

The Rosie Effect is fun and quirky take on the rom com genre. Definitely recommended - but read The Rosie Project first. Read an excerpt of The Rosie Effect. I wonder if there will be a third book?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Winner - The Bodies We Wear - Jeyn Roberts

The randomly chosen winner of a copy of The Bodies We Wear by Jeyn Roberts, courtesy of Knopf Books 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!

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #28

- 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
UK cover

US cover
I was hunting down cover art for my upcoming review of Graeme Simsion's new book, The Rosie Effect - the follow up to the best selling The Rosie Project and came across numerous covers this week! We've got the Canadian cover on the top left, the UK cover on the top right, the US cover on the lower left  and the
Australian cover
Australian cover on the lower right.

I'm going with the Canadian cover this week - just 'cause
I like red.

 Did you read The Rosie Project? Do you plan to read The Rosie Effect? (I'm quite enjoying it!)

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