Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Where are the reviews you ask?

Well....Gramma's been on vacation spending some time with this little guy.

And books were shelved - 'cause the real stories are so much better.....

Reviews to resume soon.....

Monday, June 29, 2015

Giveaway - The Drummond Girls - Mardi Jo Link

I've got a great giveaway for you today - one you're going to want to share with your friends....

The Drummond Girls: A Story of Fierce Friendship Beyond Time and Chance by Mardi Jo Link releases July 14/15. I'm looking forward to reading this one! 

And if you are too, I have FIVE copies to giveaway!

From Grand Central Publishing:

"An inspiring and heartfelt memoir about the friendship between eight women forged over two decades. The eight Drummond Girls first met in 1991 at Peegeo's Food and Spirits in northern Michigan where, at the time, they were all waitresses, bartenders, or regular customers. When one of them got engaged, they celebrated with a trip to Drummond Island--their first trip together to the remote 36-mile chunk of rock, dive bars, dirt roads, and beautiful forests--and it's where they became bonded forever. They've made this voyage every year since then as a way to retain a piece of their wild youth, despite the taming influence of marriage, motherhood, and management. This year, their focus is Beverly, oldest of the Drummond Girls at 65, whose memory is beginning to lapse. Undaunted, the other women intend to help Beverly remember all they've shared -- every campfire, every late night talk, every secret confided." Read an excerpt of The Drummond Girls

"Mardi Jo Link has worked as a police and general assignment reporter, magazine editor, and freelance writer. She is a Heartland bestselling author of the critically acclaimed memoir Bootstrapper--which won the Great Lakes, Great Reads Booksellers' Choice Award and the Michigan Notable Book Award--as well as When Evil Came to Good Hart and Isadore's Secret." (I loved her memoir Bootstrapper!) You can connect with Mardi Jo on Facebook as well as on Twitter.

Sounds great doesn't it!? Watch for my review! And, if you too, would like to read The Drummond Girls, enter for the chance to win one of FIVE copies up for grabs using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends July 18/15.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Celebrate Canada Day - with some great Canadian authors!

Canada Day is just around the corner......and what better way to celebrate than with a great Canadian read!

Six great East Coast authors - including:
Genevieve Graham
Julianne MacLean
Pamela Callow
Cathryn Fox
Donna Alward and
Kelly Boyce

- and six great books to be won!And a few extra surprises! You can enter here! Open to US and Canada!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #59

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

US cover
UK cover
I recently went to an information session at work put on by our selection librarians at work. They were highlighting some upcoming books that they thought would be 'hot' reads including The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler.  It sounds like a great read to me. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. I like that little house with its beacon windows on the UK cover, but the dusty worn old books on the US cover appeals to me more. (And its a closer link to what the book is about) So, which cover do you prefer?
 Had you heard of this book already? 
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature at 
A Bookworm's World.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Giveaway - Summer Secrets - Jane Green

Oh, have I got a great giveaway for you today! Could there be a more perfect book for beach or the porch!

Jane Green's new book, Summer Secrets has just released - and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader. (It's on my summer reading list too - watch for my review!)

From the publisher, St. Martin's Press:

"When a shocking family secret is revealed, twenty-something journalist Cat Coombs finds herself falling into a dark spiral. Wild, glamorous nights out in London and raging hangovers the next day become her norm, leading to a terrible mistake one night while visiting family in America, on the island of Nantucket. It's a mistake for which she can't forgive herself. When she returns home, she confronts the unavoidable reality of her life and knows it's time to grow up. But she doesn't know if she'll ever be able to earn the forgiveness of the people she hurt.

As the years pass, Cat grows into her forties, a struggling single mother, coping with a new-found sobriety and determined to finally make amends. Traveling back to her past, to the family she left behind on Nantucket all those years ago, she may be able to earn their forgiveness, but in doing so she may risk losing the very people she loves the most.

Told with Jane Green's keen eye for detailing the emotional landscape of the heart, Summer Secrets is at once a compelling drama and a beautifully rendered portrait of relationships, betrayals, and forgiveness; about accepting the things we cannot change, finding the courage to change the things we can, and being strong enough to weather the storms." Read an excerpt of Summer Secrets.

"A former feature writer for the Daily Express in the UK, Green took a leap of faith when she left, in 1996, to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, there was a bidding war for her first book, Straight Talking, the saga of a single career girl looking for the right man. The novel was a hit in England, and Green was an overnight success. Most weekends see her cooking for a minimum of twenty people in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, filling her house with friends and looking after their animals, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks." You can connect with Jane Green on her website, on her blog, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

Who else loved Summer Secrets?

"The quintessential beach novel, complete with juicy drama and characters you fall madly in love with. You will devour it!" -Elin Hilderbrand 
"Warm, witty, sharp and insightful. Jane Green writes with such honesty and zing." -Sophie Kinsella "The perfect summer read...You'll be hooked." -Kristin Hannah

One copy to giveaway. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends July 11/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Over the Counter #269

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? This week its sunken....cities and treasures.

First up is Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson.

From the publisher, Random House:

"A thrilling new adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of the New York Times bestseller Shadow Divers

Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister should have been immortalized in the lore of the sea—his exploits more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s. But his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.

Fast-paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost."

Next up is Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City by Mark Adams.

From the publisher, Dutton Books:

"A few years ago, Mark Adams made a strange discovery: Far from alien conspiracy theories and other pop culture myths, everything we know about the legendary lost city of Atlantis comes from the work of one man, the Greek philosopher Plato. Stranger still: Adams learned there is an entire global sub-culture of amateur explorers who are still actively and obsessively searching for this sunken city, based entirely on Plato’s detailed clues. What Adams didn’t realize was that Atlantis is kind of like a virus—and he’d been exposed.

In Meet Me in Atlantis, Adams racks up frequent-flier miles tracking down these Atlantis obsessives, trying to determine why they believe it’s possible to find the world’s most famous lost city—and whether any of their theories could prove or disprove its existence. The result is a classic quest that takes readers to fascinating locations to meet irresistible characters; and a deep, often humorous look at the human longing to rediscover a lost world."

(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, June 23, 2015

Love May Fail - Matthew Quick

Matthew Quick is the best selling author of a number of novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now.

His latest novel - Love May Fail - is newly released.

Portia Kane's marriage ends in spectacular fashion. Determined to save herself and perhaps find happiness - or at least solace - she heads back to her childhood home in New Jersey. Her high school English teacher Mr. Vernon was an unflinching, unfailing positive beacon in a somewhat bleak childhood. When she gets home, an old classmate gives her the bad news - Mr. Vernon was attacked by a student and gave up teaching. And Portia decides to save Mr. Vernon, just as he saved her. And maybe save herself in the process.

Quick continues the quirk factor in Love May Fail - each of the players is slightly left of center in one way or another. And many of the situations they find themselves in are just as unusual. I very much enjoy quirky characters that don't play to the mainstream.  But I did find Love May Fail somewhat recognizable. Quick relies on some familiar plot devices last seen in The Good Luck of Right Now, such as the church and religion, (this time it's a nun not a priest), a bar and its regulars, cancer makes an appearance again and literary references to a specific book. (Albert Camus replaces Carl Jung) And it is this somewhat familiar plot that drops this book from a fantastic read to a good read for me. I enjoyed it very much, but still there was just something that stopped me from loving it.

There are four parts to the book and each has a different narrator - Portia, Mr. Vernon, Sister Maeve and Chuck (bartender and also a past student of Mr. Vernon). Initially I was quite taken by Mr. Vernon (Quick was a high school teacher and the book's prologue reveals some of his own experiences that became part of Mr.Vernon) But, although I knew I should feel sympathy for the broken Mr. Vernon, I found it hard to see past his angry disillusionment. And the same for Portia. She is the driving force of the book, but I just didn't overly like her. Her determination to save her old teacher versus helping her mother bothered me. But, as she says "not everyone can be saved." The standout characters for me were Sister Maeve, Chuck and his wee nephew Tommy. Their stories, their struggles and their journeys were the most engaging for me - and the ones I was most invested in.

Faith, or if you prefer, serendipity binds the lives of every character to the others in mysterious ways. And that what if and why not is at the heart of Quick's novels - that if we let go and just go with it, things just might work out. Who's to say it couldn't happen? Read an excerpt of Love May Fail.

The cover? One of Mr. Vernon's lessons - and a pretty good one. The title? From Kurt Vonnegut's Jailbird.

"Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks." Find out more about Matthew Quick at his website, follow him on Twitter, and connect with him on Facebook.  Check out  what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Giveaway - The Cake Therapist AND Bake Happy - Judith Fertig

Oh, don't those cakes look sooooo yummy!? I've got an absolutely delicious giveaway for you today! One lucky reader is going to win a copy of each of Judith Fertig's books! And yes, they're both about cake - but one is fiction and one is a cookbook!

Let's start with the fiction title - The Cake Therapist.

From the publisher, Berkley Books:

"A fiction debut that will leave you wanting seconds, from an award-winning cookbook author.

Claire “Neely” O’Neil is a pastry chef of extraordinary talent. Every great chef can taste shimmering, elusive flavors that most of us miss, but Neely can “taste” feelings—cinnamon makes you remember; plum is pleased with itself; orange is a wake-up call. When flavor and feeling give Neely a glimpse of someone’s inner self, she can customize her creations to help that person celebrate love, overcome fear, even mourn a devastating loss.

Maybe that’s why she feels the need to go home to Millcreek Valley at a time when her life seems about to fall apart. The bakery she opens in her hometown is perfect, intimate, just what she’s always dreamed of—and yet, as she meets her new customers, Neely has a sense of secrets, some dark, some perhaps with tempting possibilities. A recurring flavor of alarming intensity signals to her perfect palate a long-ago story that must be told.

Neely has always been able to help everyone else. Getting to the end of this story may be just what she needs to help herself." Read an excerpt of The Cake Therapist.

And that story is going to make you want to bake! Choose a recipe from Bake Happy:100 Playful Desserts with Rainbow Layers, Hidden Fillings, Billowy Frostings, and more.

From the publisher, Running Press:

"Colorful, flavorful home-baked treats just say “happy,” and Bake Happy is all about adding a bit of joy back into your kitchen. A sweet baking book that will bring a smile to the dessert table, Bake Happy includes 100 recipes for cheerful cupcakes and cookies, bars and brownies, tarts and turnovers, and delicious cakes that are speckled, marbled, and striped. This cookbook can be used year-round and will satisfy your sweet tooth and your soul. Whether you’re in the mood for creamy chocolate, colorful cake layers, tasty cake batter, or special occasion desserts, you’ll find recipes for Citrus Glazed Sunset Cake, Rustic Cherry Pudding, Secret Filling Devil’s Food Cupcakes, and more. There are also various options for color and flavor combinations, and 30+ full-color photos throughout."

"Cookbook author Judith Fertig grew up in the Midwest, went to La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris and The Iowa Writers' Workshop, and now lives in Kansas City. Described by Saveur Magazine as a "heartland cookbook icon," Fertig writes cookbooks that reflect her love of bread, baking, barbecue, and the fabulous foods of the Heartland.

Fertig's food and lifestyle writing has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including Bon Appetit, Saveur and The New York Times. You can read some of her cookbooks like novels--the fabulously photographed Heartland, the award-winning and James Beard Awards-nominated Prairie Home Cooking (a "tour de force," says Saveur), the encyclopedic All-American Desserts, and Prairie Home Breads. Her IACP Cookbook Award-winning The Back in the Swing Cookbook (with Barbara C. Unell) takes you on a delicious daily journey to get you back in the swing after breast cancer.

And one of her books IS a novel, her debut The Cake Therapist (June 2015), the story of a talented pastry chef with a very special gift who opens a bakery in her hometown, with mesmerizing results." You can connect with Judith on Twitter as well as on Facebook, on Pinterest as well as on her blog!

One lucky reader will win both books. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends July 11/15.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #58

- 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
I recently attended an information session put on by the selection  
librarians at work. They were showcasing some new books that they feel will be 'hot' reads. The Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install was one of those titles - and is now on my summer reading list. The Canadian cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very different covers in terms of colour and tone this week. I find the Canadaian cover a bit too cute. The quirkiness of the UK cover appeals to me, so its my choice this week. Which cover to you prefer? Do you plan to read A Robot in the Garden? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature at A Bookworm's World.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Grand Summer Reads Giveaway - The Blessings - Elise Juska

Grand Central Publishing is running a summer long program aptly named Grand Summer Reads featuring four GCP titles to keep you in "reading bliss."

 The first title is The Blessings by Elise Juska. And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From the publisher:

"When John Blessing dies and leaves behind two small children, the loss reverberates across his extended family for years to come. His young widow, Lauren, finds solace in her large clan of in-laws, while his brother's wife Kate pursues motherhood even at the expense of her marriage. John's teenage nephew Stephen finds himself involved in an act of petty theft that takes a surprising turn, and nephew Alex, a gifted student, travels to Spain and considers the world beyond his family's Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. Through departures and arrivals, weddings and reunions, The Blessings reveals the interior worlds of the members of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family and the rituals that unite them." Read an excerpt of The Blessings.

"Elise Juska's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, Good Housekeeping, The Hudson Review, and many other publications. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction from Ploughshares and her work has been cited in The Best American Short Stories. She lives in Philadelphia, where she is the director of the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of the Arts." You can connect with Elise Juska on Twitter.

What's Elise reading? "I just devoured the new Anne Enright, The Green Road, about a complicated Irish family. Enright’s novels feel so lived in, the sentences so graceful and lovely yet unsentimental and sometimes devastating at the same time. Staying with the complicated-family theme, I also recently enjoyed Maile Meloy’s Liars and Saints and Akhil Sharma’s Family Life."

Check out the other titles for the Grand Summer Reads (And enter to win all four titles!)

I have one copy of The Blessings to giveaway. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends July 4/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Over the Counter #268

What books caught my eyes this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? All about pets this week.... First up is Lost: Lost and Found Pet Posters from around the World by Ian Phillips.

From the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press:

"Despite all the visual distractions of the digital age, one low-tech form of mass communication remains as popular as ever: the lost pet poster. Stapled to telephone poles and bulletin boards in cities and suburbs worldwide, these often hastily made signs are quirky combinations of hand-drawn illustration, emotional longing, and surprisingly offbeat humor.

For more than a decade, artist and animal lover Ian Phillips collected lost and found pet posters from around the world. Lost features the most notable selections from Phillips's collection chosen for their cleverness, humor, sorrow, entreaties, rewards, and in several instances sheer outlandishness. Featuring a veritable Noah's ark of animals---from everyday pets such as dog, cats, hamsters, and turtles to more unusual companions, including ferrets, parrots, cows, and cockatiels---these remarkable posters are their own form of folk art. Telling tales of friendship, loss, and hope, they are a powerful testament to the love and devotion shared by pet owners everywhere."

Perhaps your pooch would enjoy something from Outrageously Adorable Dog Knits: 25 Must Have Styles for the Pampered Pooch by by Jill Bulgan, Noelle Woosley, Rachael Matthews, Max Alexander, Caitlin Doyle and Gemma Birss.

From Race Point Publishing:

"Dogs can't knit. But they sure can wear it well.

Could your Chinese crested powder puff rock a vintage ruffled bonnet? Does your pug pine for a fabulous ten-gallon cowboy hat? Or perhaps your bulldog hopes to cast off his thuggish street cred with a preppy letterman sweater?

Featuring more than 25 super-cute knitting patterns and embellishments, Outrageously Adorable Dog Knits is a fun and simple way to swathe your four-legged friend in the very best of handmade finery!

With clearly explained step-by-step instructions and inspiringly hilarious photographs, this unique book provides adorable knitting projects and how-to advice for novice knitters and precocious purlers alike. So whether you wish to adorn your canine fashionista with a stylish beret, toasty legwarmers, adorable rabbit ears, or a cozy sweater for crisp winter nights, Outrageously Adorable Dog Knits is the perfect book for you."

(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, June 17, 2015

Jane Green Summer Secrets Beach Bag Giveaway!

@Jane Green is getting ready to launch her new book, SUMMER SECRETS on June 23rd and she has offered me the most fantastic summer giveaway for one lucky reader!

A large beach bag filled with Jane's favorite goodies to get you ready for summer! Inside the tote there's a signed copy of SUMMER SECRETS (Read an excerpt!) and an exclusive cold carry cup with the Jane Green Summer Secrets logo!

There's also a fantastic face and body bronzing duo from @Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, and hair cleansing cream from @Purely Perfect Products that will revolutionize the way you wash your hair - you'll never use shampoo again!

Factor 35 continuous mist sunscreen from @Hampton Sun is included, and a beautiful orange glass clover pendant from KZK Jewelry. There's also a delicious chocolate coconut almond snack bar from @Nothin' But Healthy, and a tube of moisturizing no-bump shave gel from @Completely Bare Products - you'll never have bumpy legs again!

It's quite a haul!  I have one of these fantastic bags to giveaway to a randomly chosen reader. For a chance to win, make sure you like Jane's Facebook page, and leave a comment telling me what the best thing about summer is for you?

Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends July 4/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Giveaway - Watch the Lady - Elizabeth Fremantle

Oh, have I got a great giveaway for you today! Fans of historical fiction and royal fiction are going to want to get their hands on Elizabeth Fremantle's just released new novel - Watch The Lady. I've got a signed copy to giveaway!

From the publisher, Simon and Schuster:

"From “a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction” (People), comes the mesmerizing story of Lady Penelope Devereux—the daring young beauty in the Tudor court, who inspired Sir Philip Sidney’s famous sonnets even while she plotted against Queen Elizabeth.

Penelope Devereux arrives at Queen Elizabeth’s court where she and her brother, the Earl of Essex, are drawn into the aging Queen’s favor. Young and naïve, Penelope, though promised elsewhere, falls in love with Philip Sidney who pours his heartbreak into the now classic sonnet series Astrophil and Stella. But Penelope is soon married off to a man who loathes her. Never fainthearted, she chooses her moment and strikes a deal with her husband: after she gives birth to two sons, she will be free to live as she chooses, with whom she chooses. But she is to discover that the course of true love is never smooth.

Meanwhile Robert Cecil, ever loyal to Elizabeth, has his eye on Penelope and her brother. Although it seems the Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen, as his influence grows, so his enemies gather. Penelope must draw on all her political savvy to save her brother from his own ballooning ambition and Cecil’s trap, while daring to plan for an event it is treason even to think about.

Unfolding over the course of two decades and told from the perspectives of Penelope and her greatest enemy, the devious politician Cecil, Watch the Lady chronicles the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty." Read an excerpt of Watch The Lady. A reading group guide is also available.

credit Paola Pieroni
"Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Sisters of Treason, Queen’s Gambit, and Watch the Lady, and has contributed to Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times (London), and other publications. She has also reviewed fiction for The Sunday Express. She lives in London, England." You can connect with Elizabeth Fremantle on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

You can connect with Elizabeth Fremantle today - Tuesday June 16th! She will be hosting a Facebook Qand A from 2pm-4pm EST. Join in on the conversation by using the hashtag #askelizabeth.

Enter to win a signed copy of Watch the Lady using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends July 4/15. Good luck!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Second Life - S.J. Watson

Okay, here it is - the book I'll be recommending as required summer reading this year....Second Life by S.J. Watson.

Watson' debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, was a runaway success. I absolutely loved it. (It's also a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth) When I heard Watson had a new novel coming out, it immediately went on my must read list. But I did wonder if he could match the success of that first book. The answer is a resounding yes!

Julia and her husband Hugh have been raising Julia's nephew Connor as their son since he was a toddler. When her sister Kate is murdered in Paris and the crime remains unsolved, Julia feels compelled to try to see what she can find out for both her sake and Connor's.

Julia connects with Kate's roommate and learns that Kate was active in online hook up sites - casual sex online or in person. You can see it coming can't you.....yep, Julia joins the same site......

"I have another message, but it's not from him. This one is from someone new. As I open it I get the strangest feeling. A plunging, a descent. A door has been nudged open. Something is coming."

I'll tell you what's coming - one heck of a great read! Psychological, suspenseful twisty turny, keep you up late kinda read. I found myself breaking my rule (never peek ahead in a book) more than once - you know - just to see what happens and then going back to read a little slower.

Julia finds herself caught up in this online world......and then it spills over into her real life.....

"I wish I'd never met him. I don't know who he is, this man, this person I've let into my life. I want everything to go back to how it was before."

Uh, huh. It's too late Julia.

Watson's premise is not all that far-fetched. I'm sure many folks indulge in online anonymity. But he's taken that 'what if' to a whole new level. And even when I thought I knew what the ending would be (I refused to peek ahead that close to finishing) I was still surprised by the final twist.

Fair warning to gentle readers - there are some sexual scenes.

Absolutely recommended! I can't wait to see what Watson pens next! Read an excerpt of Second Life.

"S. J. Watson was born in the Midlands and lives in London. His first novel was the award-winning Before I Go to Sleep, which has sold over four million copies in more than forty languages around the world. It was recently adapted into a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, and Mark Strong. Find out more about S.J. at his website, and follow him on Facebook and on Twitter." See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #57

- 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
Add caption
The Hand That Feeds You by A. J. Rich is a psychological thriller that's on my radar this summer. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well, it's definitely a choice between light and dark this week. I was trying to figure out what the image was behind the US cover, but wasn't able to. I think I'll go with the US cover this week. I find the UK cover a little dark - and a little tawdry.Which cover do you prefer? 
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature 
 at A Bookworm's World.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Film on Friday #37 - If You Don't, I Will

Today's Film on Friday entry is If You Don't, I Will from French director Sophie Fillières. As with all of Film Movement's films, it was an official selection at many festivals.

Pomme (Emmanuelle Devos) and Pierre (Mathieu Amalric) have been married for many years. That initial flush and fire of new love has slowly faded away. On a hike, Pomme asks " What have we become?" Pierre's reply? " Your parents."

Fillières takes us into this couple's life - and although it seems like they both still want to 'fix' things, it is quite obvious that this is more on Pomme's part than on Pierre's. Until one last hike, where Pomme decides she is going to stay in the forest - without Pierre. "I'll totally lose weight - among other things."

Fillières uses visual metaphors to great effect - the too heavy backpack is a great example. Pierre is initially carrying it - and complaining. When Pomme takes over and takes off, she begins emptying the contents, mirroring the self exploration of her life and marriage while in the forest. Pierre attempts to do the same back in civilization.

Silence and still shots are used effectively to underscore the contemplation, the loneliness, the hurt and the separation. The forest setting is absolutely beautiful.

Both actors use expressions and body language to great effect - Devos's are more subtle - she says much with a simple smile and a knowing eye. Amalric's are more overt - and more hurtful. I was firmly in Pomme's corner for the entire film. But at the end of the film, I rethought my stance - it does take two. I'm not going to reveal what does happen -  but I thought the ending was perfect. The last set of dialogue between the two is quite telling - and full of truth. The chemistry between these two actors was absolutely perfect and easy to believe.

If You Don't, I Will is another great addition to the Film Movement collection - and mine.

As always, there is a short bonus film included. A 17 yr old girl finds out she's pregnant minutes before she has to take her driving test - with her grandmother in tow. A good pairing - this is another look at love.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Over the Counter #267

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? All about gardening this week.....

First up is Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time by Craig LeHoullier.

From Storey Publishing:

"Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Craig LeHoullier, tomato advisor for Seed Savers Exchange, offers everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes — from sowing seeds and planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. He also offers a comprehensive guide to the various pests and diseases of tomatoes and explains how best to avoid them. No other book offers such a detailed look at the specifics of growing tomatoes, with beautiful photographs and intriguing tomato profiles throughout."

Next up is Handmade for the Garden: 75 Ingenious Ways to Enhance Your Outdoor Space with DIY Tools, Pots, Supports, Embellishments, and More by Susan Guagliumi.

From the publisher, Stewart, Tabori and Chang:

"The DIY craze has moved beyond the craft room and into the garden! Relying on easy-to-find, inexpensive, and repurposed materials, Handmade for the Garden is a treasure trove of original projects that not only make planting and growing efficient and successful but also add a personal touch to the gardenscape. Among the myriad projects in this hardworking book are mini hothouses; painted, stamped, and stenciled terracotta planters; hypertufa and cement pots and decorations; rustic and formal fencing and trellises; plant markers and stakes; and sieves and baskets. With Handmade for the Garden to inspire them, gardeners of all skill levels will be empowered to experiment with form and function to discover creative, artful ways to personalize and beautify their gardens with handmade objects."

(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, June 10, 2015

Crash and Burn - Lisa Gardner

I'm a fan of  Lisa Gardner's DD Warren series and had expected this latest book to be another featuring the Boston PD detective. She does make a cameo in Crash and Burn, but this is a stand alone novel.

Nicky Frank crashes her car on a rainy night. She manages to crawl out of the wreckage, desperate to find a little girl named Vero. When police come upon the scene they mount a full scale search for the little girl. Nicky's husband is also located - and he tells them to call off the search. There is no little girl - Nicky has suffered more than one brain injury and is delusional. Or is she? Sargent Wyatt Foster has his suspicions and opens an investigation.

Gardner does a great job of playing with the reader. Nicky has memories but they're fractured. Her husband Thomas is evasive and secretive. Is there really anyone named Vero? The story is slowly played out as memories surface and Wyatt makes progress.

There were two readers for this book -  Christina Traister and Mikael Naramore. Although there are readers who can cover every part,  I do enjoy having two performers, especially when there are male and female roles. Both were excellent and conveyed the tension and mystery of Gardner's book.

Listening to a book provides a different experience than the written version. There was one line that is repeated throughout the story - "Vero wants to fly." Now it probably wouldn't have bothered me as much reading it - but I was so sick of hearing it by the middle of the book! (And I had an urge to count how many times Nicky said it)

Minor quibble aside, it was a good suspenseful listen. I did have things pretty much figured out by the end, but Gardner inserts a last twist before the final pages. A good read/listen but not my favourite from Gardner - I'll be watching for the next DD Warren.

Listen to an excerpt.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Truth and Other Lies - Sascha Arango

Sascha Arango is an award winning German screenplay writer. The Truth and Other Lies is his first novel.

I was intrigued from the opening pages....

"Henry Hayden seems like someone you could admire, or even like. A famous bestselling author with the air of a modest everyman. A loving, devoted husband even though he could have any woman he desires. A generous, compassionate friend. But Henry Hayden is a construction, a mask. His past is a secret, his methods more so. Only he and his wife know that she is the actual writer of the novels that made him famous."

What a great premise eh?! But Henry can't seem to help himself. His mistress is pregnant and his carefully constructed life has cracks in it. What to do?

Except that this time Henry makes a mistake..... The Truth and Other Lies is Henry's attempt to correct that mistake. And the problem that is the result of that correction. And....Well, you get the picture.

Henry is not a nice character, and yet he is. His actions are terrible at times, yet he can be kind. But at the root of it all, he is self serving manipulator - but a brilliant one.

"Thanks to his experience of lying, or merely making excuses, Henry was confident that people would continue to believe him as long as he lied. It was only the truth he had to be sparing and prudent with."

Arango's novel was quite unpredictable, as was Henry. There are twists and turns and secrets and I had no idea what was going to happen next. The novel echoes that feel - it jumps about, startling the reader at times and keeping us off kilter.

I could easily see The Truth and Other Lies as a movie - Arango's screenwriting skills translated well to novel format.

Decidedly dark and twisty - and  a deliciously different read.  Read an excerpt of The Truth and Other Lies.

(The Truth and Other Lies reminded me somewhat of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley.)

Monday, June 8, 2015

Inspire Growth with DK Canada

Planting (and planning!) a garden is an ever-changing, ongoing process. DK Canada has some great book ideas for you in their Inspire Growth Gardening Boutique that might provide some food for thought. ;0)

I love to garden, but.....much as I would like to, there are some years I just can't plant a full veggie garden - we're either travelling or there's some renovation project that I know is going to demand a lot of time. But, I still would like to eat a sun warmed tomato or pick a pepper for supper.

Solution? Grow Vegetables in Pots!

I tried this in my younger years, living in an apartment with a tiny balcony. And now in my older years, I'm trying it on my back deck.

I'm going small this year with tomatoes, peppers and some herbs. But I am indeed inspired by Grow Vegetables in Pots. Why stop at the basic summer veggies? What about fruit? There's a wonderful hanging three tiered pot idea filled with strawberries that would be neat to try. Or just grow pole beans with a trellis like a large potted plant. And I quite intrigued by potatoes in a trash can!

Grow Vegetables covers choosing the right pots for your plants. (I will now be keeping my eyes out for old galvanized pails.....) If you're starting your own plants - seeds, soil and sowing times are covered as well. Even if you're taking the easier route (like me!) and using plants already started at a nursery, continued care is covered, such as fertilizing, pruning, pest control etc. There's a great appendix with colour photos detailing pests and disorders - and the solutions.

I'm a big fan of DK books because of those colour pictures, as I'm a visual learner. The layout of their books is always clear, concise and easy to follow along. Great reference!

And Canadian gardening aficionados - DK Canada has a great contest running until Aug 1/15. Win a DK Gardening Library worth $250.00! You can enter here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #56

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

US cover
UK cover
Well, doesn't this author's name conjure up memories? Judy Blume's newest book (for adults) - In The Unlikely Event releases next week. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Obviously plane travel is part of the story. This week I'm going with the UK cover - it's brighter and bolder. The US cover just seems washed out and I don't like the font. Do you have plans to read In the Unlikely Event? Which cover do you prefer? 
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature
 at A Bookworm's World.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Alphabet House - Jussi Adler-Olsen

I'm a huge fan of Jussi Adler-Olsen's Department Q mysteries featuring Detective Carl Morck.

I thought it was the next entry in the series, but it's actually an older stand alone book from Adler-Olsen making a North America debut.

Two British pilots, James Teasdale and Bryan Young are doing flyover photo reconnaissance of a German town during WW2 when their plane is shot down. In an attempt to avoid capture, they jump on a train of wounded German soldiers. And finally in desperation, they throw two Germans off the train and take their places. Unbeknownst the them until later, the train is full of shell shocked SS officers bound for a mental hospital.

Teasdale and Young are too good at their subterfuge - they end up admitted to the hospital and subjected to treatment. Much time passes - until one of them escapes. And one is left.

I thought this was a great idea for a book. Indeed, it has its basis in reality. Adler-Olsen's father worked in a psychiatric facility and Jussi wondered about malingerers or those living out their lives in such a facility.

Once the two Brits land in The Alphabet House, the pacing of the novel slows down. Adler-Olsen draws out the time, echoing what the two servicemen would be feeling. There are many cringe worthy moments that can only make the reader appreciate that much of this is based in reality.

The second half is from 1975 when the the first goes back looking for his comrade. In this second half the pace picks up as we discover what happened in the last thirty years to both men. And how the past has a long reach....

The Alphabet House explores war, friendship and the innate desire to live, all couched in a tense, atmospheric narrative. Read an excerpt of The Alphabet House.

The audio version has Graeme Malcolm as a reader. He's one of my favourite narrators - his rich, sonorous voice easily conveys emotions and ambiance. And I love his accent! Listen to an excerpt of The Alphabet House.

And the next Department Q novel? The Hanging Girl is due out in September 2015. Definitely on my must read list!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Over the Counter #266

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

First up is War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History and Love by Rebecca Frankel.

From the publisher, Palgrave McMillan:

"Under the cover of night, deep in the desert of Afghanistan, a US Army handler led a Special Forces patrol with his military working dog. Without warning an insurgent popped up, his weapon raised. At the handler's command, the dog charged their attacker. There was the flash of steel, the blur of fur, and the sound of a single shot; the handler watched his dog take a bullet. During the weeks it would take the dog to heal, the handler never left its side. The dog had saved his life. Loyal and courageous, dogs are truly man's best friend on the battlefield. While the soldiers may not always feel comfortable calling the bond they form love, the emotions involved are strong and complicated.

In War Dogs, Rebecca Frankel offers a riveting mix of on-the-ground reporting, her own hands-on experiences in the military working dog world, and a look at the science of dogs' special abilities-from their amazing noses and powerful jaws to their enormous sensitivity to the emotions of their human companions. The history of dogs in the US military is long and rich, from the spirit-lifting mascots of the Civil War to the dogs still leading patrols hunting for IEDs today. Frankel not only interviewed handlers who deployed with dogs in wars from Vietnam to Iraq, but top military commanders, K-9 program managers, combat-trained therapists who brought dogs into war zones as part of a preemptive measure to stave off PTSD, and veterinary technicians stationed in Bagram. She makes a passionate case for maintaining a robust war-dog force. In a post-9/11 world rife with terrorist threats, nothing is more effective than a bomb-sniffing dog and his handler. With a compelling cast of humans and animals, this moving book is a must read for all dog lovers-military and otherwise."

Next up is Miracle Dogs: Rescue Stories by Liz Stavrinides.

From the publisher, Macmillan:

"78 million dogs live as pets in the USA. These are the lucky ones. Five to seven million companion animals enter shelters every year, and more than half are euthanized due to the lack of space. Miracle Dogs celebrates and honors the rescuers and the dogs whose lives they've saved. It features wonderful stories and photographs of dog rescuers, dog trainers, and rescue organizations such as The Gentle Barn and Tamar Geller's Operation Heroes and Hounds, along with celebrity pet owners such as Chevy Chase, Hoda Kotb, Bob Einstein, Amanda Hearst, Jamie Lynn Siegler, and Lance Bass. Each story includes portraits of the dog and its new family, followed by a concise, compelling narrative detailing the dog's journey to its new home.

A professional pet photographer, Liz Stavrinides spends much of her time on projects related to animal rescue. Miracle Dogs was born out of her desire to collect and share the stories of the dogs she's met over the years, showcasing the incredible bravery and compassion of both canines and owners. Readers will be moved by stories like that of Wyatt, an assistance dog who helped a young boy with autism communicate with the outside world, or Fiona, who was found blind and starving and is now in a loving family. All of them have finally found their furever homes. Stavrinides' portraits are heartwarming--a loving and poignant tribute to man's best friend."

(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, June 3, 2015

The Ghost Fields - Elly Griffiths

My power went out this past Sunday - which was the perfect opportunity to sit by a window most of the day devouring the latest in Elly Griffith's wonderful Ruth Galloway series - The Ghost Fields. I've been eagerly awaiting this seventh entry.

Forensic anthropologist Ruth is on a dig in Norfolk, when she is called on by the local police to consult on a rather unusual call. A World War II plane has been uncovered by a developer clearing a field. Why call Ruth? Well, the pilot is still inside. And when Ruth determines that the body isn't that of the original pilot, but rather the son of a wealthy local family reported as killed in action, it becomes a murder case. Murder? Uh huh - there's a bullet hole in the skull and evidence the body has been placed in the plane.

Great premise as always from Griffiths. Her mysteries are well thought out and plotted with lots of possibilities as to the end result.  I was quite sure of whodunit this time, but was proven wrong in the last few chapters.

But what draws me to this series are the characters. I adore the character of Ruth.  I think it's because she isn't a 'cookie-cutter' protagonist. She's become a single mother later in life, she's hard on herself, generous with her friends, is highly intelligent, but shuns the spotlight. She's not beautiful in a conventional sense, but has that something that draws people to her. Griffiths has not endowed her with super sleuth abilities, rather she comes off as an actual person - unabashedly and happily herself.

The evolution of Ruth's relationship with Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson has been a constant from the first book. Indeed, this thread is just (if not more) as engaging as the mystery in each book.

There are many supporting players that I've come to enjoy (and dislike) as well. Griffiths has also fleshed them out with rich, full personal lives. Ruth's boss Phil's pronouncements are always good for a chuckle. Judy and Clough, who work with Harry, are part of Ruth's life as well. This is what I enjoy so much - Griffiths doesn't let her characters be - their lives are evolving as they would in real life. There were a few unexpected developments this time out with one of the Detectives. But my personal favourite is the enigmatic Cathbad, self proclaimed Druid.

I've learned something from every book in this series as well. Griffiths' cases use history as a basis. The Ghost Fields are abandoned air fields in Norfolk. The reasons and results from Ruth's archaeological investigations are always informative and interesting.

Setting is also a character in Griffiths' books. The Norfolk area, while seemingly bleak, is beautiful in Ruth's eyes. I think I would enjoy living in her little cottage in the Saltmarsh, 'where the sea and the sky meet.'

I highly recommend this character driven mystery series. You could certainly read this book as a stand alone, but do yourself a favour and start with The Crossing Places, the first book. Read an excerpt of The Ghost Fields.

"Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway novels have been praised as “gripping” (Louise Penny), “highly atmospheric,” (New York Times Book Review), and “must-reads for fans of crime fiction” (Associated Press). She is the winner of the 2011 Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in Brighton, England." You can connect with Elly Griffiths on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Beach Town - Mary Kay Andrews

It's not truly summer until Mary Kay Andrews releases her newest book. Well, it's here - Beach Town has just released!

Andrews has set her latest on the Florida Gulf Coast this time. Greer Hennessey is a film location scout. Her latest search turns up sleepy Cypress Key - a run-down, sleepy little town off the beaten path that is just what the director is looking for. Cypress Key won't be sleepy much longer with the influx of the movie stars and crew. But not everyone is happy that they're there.....

Beach Town captures all the elements of a chick lit novel - love found, love lost and perhaps found again - Eb, the mayor of Cypress Key is quite attractive.... Complications in the form of  misunderstandings, family and self sabotage - Greer has unresolved family issues.....And of course, there needs to be a sidekick friend, always a little 'out there' - CeeJay, hair and makeup maven. A dastardly boss with unrealistic expectations - movie director Bryce is definitely demanding. And lots of supporting players with their own issues and story lines.

I always look forward to the latest from Mary Kay Andrews - I like her warm, humorous storytelling. But, somehow this latest fell a little flat for me. It took a bit to figure out what it was that stopped Beach Town being another great read for me. And upon reflection - I didn't like Greer. Despite plot line developments that are meant to endear her to the reader, I just never warmed up to her. I found her self-serving and insensitive and I never felt like cheering her on.

Although there are lots of details about the movie biz, I found I wasn't overly interested - I prefer the books set on Tybee Island and the Outer Banks. Books that feature more 'everyday' people and situations. In Beach Town, those are the characters I enjoyed the most - Eb and his aunt Gin, residents of Cypress Key.

This latest just wasn't as heartwarming, heartfelt and humorous as I wanted it to be. Still, that being said, Beach Town was an entertaining read, light fare for beach chair perusing. And I will still be looking forward the the next MKA. Read an excerpt of Beach Town.

"Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia." You can connect with Mary Kay Andrews on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's Not Me, It's You - Mhairi McFarlane - Review AND Giveaway!

Do you ever feel the need for a read that will simply entertain and let you escape for a bit?  I have lately - and Mhairi McFarlane's novel, It's Not Me, It's You was the perfect prescription! (And I have a copy to giveaway!)

Delia Moss has been with her boyfriend Paul for ten years. She decides to surprise him on their anniversary with a wedding proposal. Paul's reaction isn't quite what she hoped for. And the misdirected text sent to Delia explains it all - Paul is having an affair. But, he says it was only a fling - it's Delia he loves.

Uh, huh. Delia leaves and heads to London to sort out life with her bestie.

Delia was such a wonderful character! I liked her right from the start and was cheering for her every step of the way - even through the few missteps she takes. She's absolutely the kind of friend you'd love to have. (And I liked her fashion style!)

McFarlane has added all the right elements for a great chick lit read - love lost and found - more than once. An endearing, flighty friend, a villainous boss, obstacles thrown up and obstacles overcome. And of course -  a happy ending. McFarlane adds to the usual mix of chick lit elements with a few different plot devices and storylines that I enjoyed. Delia has an interest in graphic novels - her Fox character and the accompanying line drawings were a fun addition that paralleled Delia's life story. An online supporting character - "Peshwari Naan" - was also different as well. The one bit I didn't like was Delia going along with the last few villainous boss schemes - I would have cried 'whoa' a bit sooner. That being said, Delia does do a lot of soul searching and self realization before the end pages. Kudos to McFarlane for the ending - she had me wondering.....

McFarlane is a clever writer. There are many humourous bits that had me laughing out loud. As well,  there are more than a few truths tucked in that might have you nodding your head in agreement. The story never lagged for me.

At 550+ delightful pages, it's great summer chunkster reading and deserves first dibs on your beach bag! I'll be looking up her McFarlane's backlist titles. Here's an excerpt of It's Not Me, It's You.

Mhairi McFarlane was born in Scotland in 1976, and has been explaining how to pronounce her name ever since (MH=V sound!). She is the author of You Had Me At Hello, and is based in Nottingham where she’s a freelance writer and blogger. You can follow Mhairi on Twitter. See what others on the TLC Book Tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.

And, guess what? I have a copy of It's Not Me, It's You to giveaway to one lucky reader! Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends June 13/15.