Friday, August 18, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #172

- 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
It was the subtitle on Elisabeth Carpenter's forthcoming book that caught my eye. 99 Red Balloons: A chillingly clever psychological thriller with a stomach-flipping twist. It is on my TBR stack, so we'll see if it lives up to that  description. So, the US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Two very similar looks this week. The title fonts are the same, but with a slight change in the tone of the red. Same tag line - switching candy for sweets. A different playground apparatus in each. Of course a red balloon in each. Scraggly (I love that descriptor) tree branches. Big difference - an actual girl in the US shot and a child's shoe only in the UK shot. But despite all those similarities, I think I prefer the UK cover this week. It seems more ominous - I think it's the background shading. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read 99 Red Balloons? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sleeping in the Ground - Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series is one of my hands down favourites. Sleeping in the Ground is the 24th entry.

I have such a delicious sense of anticipation when I open the cover of the latest Banks. I had no idea what the plot was about, but knew I would be in for another great read. I wanted to catch up with characters I've come to know and appreciate. What has gone on in their lives? Robinson keeps them moving forward in real time with each new entry.

Sleeping in the Ground opens with a wedding - and a funeral. A unknown gunman opens fire on a countryside wedding, killing and wounding many. Banks is away attending the memorial service of his first love from forty years ago, when he is called to the scene. He's become quite introspective with her passing, looking at his own life and decisions. But, it seems to be manifesting itself in anger and short tempered outbursts - quite unlike the usually composed Banks.

The killer is identified early on in the book and I wondered where the book could go from there, as there were still many pages remaining. Banks has some niggling doubts though and continues to investigate even as the case is declared solved. Robinson's plot was inventive and completely unpredictable. I truly enjoy being surprised by a mystery as I read so many.

Robinson excels at both plotting and characterizations. As I mentioned earlier, I read this series as much for the mystery as for those who populate the pages. Familiar supporting players are back, including one from Banks' past. The settings and descriptions have me yearning to sit in a pub with a packet of crisps, catching up on the latest.

As always, I enjoy Bank's music selections. I've often put the book down to look up and listen to a song that is playing in the book, curious as to how and why it fits that particular scene or moment. Banks is also into poetry now and those references are also well suited.

Robinson's prose are effortless and so very engaging. Sleeping in the Ground is a stellar entry in this series - and I will be eagerly awaiting number twenty five. Read an excerpt of Sleeping in the Ground.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Over the Counter #379

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Showing my age here.....excuse me while I flip over my record.....

The Rolling Stones All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track by Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon.

From the publisher, Black Dog and Leventhal:

"A comprehensive visual history of the "World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band" as told through the recording of their monumental catalog, including 29 studio and 24 compilation albums, and more than a hundred singles.

Since 1963, The Rolling Stones have been recording and touring, selling more than 200 million records worldwide. While much is known about this iconic group, few books provide a comprehensive history of their time in the studio. In The Rolling Stones All the Songs, authors Margotin and Guesdon describe the origin of their 340 released songs, details from the recording studio, what instruments were used, and behind-the-scenes stories of the great artists who contributed to their tracks.

Organized chronologically by album, this massive, 704-page hardcover begins with their 1963 eponymous debut album recorded over five days at the Regent Studio in London; through their collaboration with legendary producer Jimmy Miller in the ground-breaking albums from 1968 to 1973; to their later work with Don Was, who has produced every album since Voodoo Lounge. Packed with more than 500 photos, All the Songs is also filled with stories fans treasure, such as how the mobile studio they pioneered was featured in Deep Purple's classic song "Smoke on the Water" or how Keith Richards used a cassette recording of an acoustic guitar to get the unique riff on "Street Fighting Man."

(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, August 15, 2017

A Stranger in the House - Shari Lapena

Shari Lapena's suspense novel, The Couple Next Door, was a multi list bestseller. I loved it and couldn't wait to see what her next book would bring. Well, that book, A Stranger in the House, releases tomorrow and it was another late night page turner for me.

Karen and Tom, husband and wife. "But she's gone out with her car, and forgotten to lock the door. That's very odd for his wife, who's a stickler about locking the doors." "Something is wrong. He should call the police. He hesitates. Perhaps the police will thing they've had an argument....theirs is an almost perfect marriage."

The neighbour, Brigid. "Just as she does every morning. Brigid sits in her favorite chair by the large picture window in her living room." "She thinks a lot about Tom and Karen, about where they are and what they're doing, about their life together. It's like she's caught up in a particularly good television show and can't wait to see what happens next."

What a great premise eh? I was immediately hooked! So, something does happen (nope, not gonna spoil it for you!) But Lapena keeps the reader on their toes. We're given information about a crime, but not the full picture. Those three main characters are most definitely not likeable, instead they are self serving, secretive, shallow and manipulative. We have a fairly good idea of what has happened as each of the three is given a voice and point of view. With each new entry a little more of the big picture is revealed. The title is quite appropriate as no one is quite who they say they are.

Detective Rasbach, the detective from The Couple Next Door is also the investigator in this case. The emphasis is more on him as a character, than police procedural details.

The style of writing in A Stranger in the House is pared down to essentials and has a staccato feel to it. I thought it suited this plot, as well as the characters, echoing their thoughts, actions and lies. I did find some of the plot points to be a bit of a stretch, but still quite enjoyed the book. I liked the last twisty paragraph - a great ending.

If you enjoy psychological suspense, this one's for you.  Read an excerpt of A Stranger in the House.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End - Patti Callahan Henry - Review AND Giveaway

Books and the beach. Two of my favourite things! And you'll find them both in Patti Callahan Henry's new novel, The Bookshop at Water's End. An absolutely perfect summer read! And I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader.

Bonny and Lainey were known as the Summer Sisters when they were younger and spent summers in Watersend, SC. But those idyllic days ended when Lainey's mother disappeared one night. Now in their fifties, they are still friends, but have never gone back to Watersend. Bonny is a doctor, but a tragic mistake may cost her her career. Her marriage is also on the rocks and suddenly Watersend is the place she wants to be. She packs up her daughter Piper and Lainey decides to join her with her children as well. Being back revives old memories, hurts, first loves and lots of questions..... The one constant from now and then? Mimi and her bookshop.

Henry's description of time and place had me wishing to be in Watersend, sitting on a porch or browsing the bookstore shelves for a new read.

The Bookshop at Water's End is a character driven novel. The lives, hopes, wishes, dreams and mistakes of the women are very real and believable. The interactions and dialogue between the two friends, their spouses and children rings true. Each of the main characters (including nineteen year old Piper) is searching - for their purpose, for the place they belong, for forgiveness and for answers. Such a summer read would not be complete without some romance. Bonny's past with Owen - and possible future?- will have readers wondering about their own first love. And the mystery from all those years ago - whatever happened to Lainey's mother?

Henry's writing is languid and detailed, suiting the Lowcountry setting. And perfect for summer reading. Read an excerpt of The Bookshop at Water's End.

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of Losing the Moon; Where the River Runs; When Light Breaks; Between the Tides; The Art of Keeping Secrets; Driftwood Summer; The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story; Coming up for Air; And Then I Found You; The Stories We Tell; The Idea of Love. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. You can connect with Patti on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

I have a copy of The Bookshop at Water's End to giveaway - enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends August 26/17.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

She Rides Shotgun - Jordan Harper

She Rides Shotgun is Jordan Harper's debut novel.

Polly McClusky is eleven years old. She hasn't seen much of her father Nate in the past few years as he's been in prison. But when he shows up outside her school, she willingly goes with him. You see, there's a contract on both their heads....and Polly's mother has already been killed.

Polly and Nate are on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of those determined to wipe them out. Polly is an innocent, but that has to change. Nate needs to teach her skills - skills an eleven year old shouldn't need. An eleven year old he barely knows. But one that has 'gunfighter eyes' just like her father......

Whew! What a great premise. The danger, the action and the unknown direction the story was going to go immediately drew me in. But, it was also about the relationship between a father and daughter and Nate's unwavering desire to protect he at all costs. The reader cannot help but be firmly behind Nate and Polly as they run - and then fight back. Harper does a fantastic job manipulating the reader's emotions. Both characters were well drawn and I had no problem imagining what they looked like. The inclusion of Polly's stuffed bear as an extension of her personality and thoughts was a great device. With each new twist and turn in their lives, I became even more invested in the outcome - and the ride there.

I chose to listen to She Rides Shotgun - and I'm so glad I did. I'm sure it's just as good a read on the printed page, but for me, it was even better listening. I was sucked into the story and found it so hard to stop and climb out. David Marantz was the reader. I thought his voice interpreted Harper's work well. The tone and timbre he uses for Holly conveys her innocence. The gravelly tone for Nate drew a vivid mental image for me. He captures the danger and action of the book. His voice is easy to listen to and is very clear. Listen to an excerpt of She Rides Shotgun. Or if you prefer read an excerpt.

A caution to those who are adverse to violence. Those looking for a helluva a good tale? This one's for you. She Rides Shotgun has movie written all over it. I am now a devoted Jordan Harper fan - more please. You can connect with Jordan Harper on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

Friday, August 11, 2017

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #171

- 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
Hands up - who is looking forward to Harlan Coben's
forthcoming book? Don't Let Go releases in September and is on my must read list. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well it's an easy choice for me this week. I'm not a fan of the blue and red on the UK cover. And I definitely don't like the image of the man as I prefer to draw my own mental images of characters as I read the book. And the picture of a woman(?) within the other picture. Pass.  I would be much more inclined to pick up the bright yellow US cover. The red font works on the yellow. The man's image with in the door in the 'O'  is understated but effective. So, US cover for me this week. Which cover do you prefer? Any plans to read Don't Let Go? You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.