Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Mistake I Made - Paula Daly

I've read Paula Daly's first two books - Keep Your Friends Close and Just What Kind of Mother Are You? - and devoured them both in a day. Her new book, The Mistake I Made, was also a one day hammock read!

Okay, so right off the bat, I wanted to know what the mistake was. Single mother Roz is struggling to make ends meet after losing her business, inheriting her ex husband's credit card debt, falling behind in the rent and still trying to give her young son what he needs. She works long hours as a physiotherapist, but never seems to get ahead. An eviction notice is the final straw - and her decision to accept an offer that will help her get out of debt is....a mistake. Remember that Robert Redford movie Indecent Proposal?

Daly's writing has a delightfully chatty, conversation tone to it, like you were listening to a friend tell you a slightly salacious tale. One you'd lean closer to hear....

I like scary movies, but I must admit to watching some parts from behind a pillow. Shouting out 'why would  you go in the basement'!? I felt a bit like that with Roz. She definitely makes some questionable choices. While she can rationalize them, the reader just knows that bad is going to lead to worse.....

Daly helps that along with some excellent foreshadowing at the end of chapters, guaranteeing that you won't be able to put the book down.

"It would be this decision, within the list of bad decisions, that would send out lives on the roller-coaster trajectory that was to change everything."

Daly writes great psychological thrillers. Her characters are likable, just trying to do the right thing. And sometimes to do the right thing, you have to do a few wrong things....There are a few plot points that ask the reader to suspend disbelief. And I encourage you to do so. The Mistake I Made is an entertaining, psychological suspense novel that you won't be able to put down.

Fun fact: I was quite fascinated by Roz's physiotherapist diagnoses, having visited one myself many times. And only on looking at the author's notes, discovered that Daly herself was a physio until turning her hand to writing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sleep Tight - Rachel Abbott

I love audiobooks - they're great for taking on the go with you and for me - when I can't sleep. Mysteries and suspense novels are my fave (I have a fondness for British authors) and I'm always happy to discover new authors. Rachel Abbott is a new to me author and one I would absolutely listen to again. Sleep Tight is the one I chose to start with.

Olivia Brookes's children are the most important thing in her life. When she comes home one day to find them - and her husband missing - she fears the worst. Tragedy is not a stranger to Olivia. DCI Tom Douglas is called in. Thankfully they are located - and no harm done. Or is it? Two years later DCI Douglas is called in again - this time to investigate the disappearance of Olivia and her children. But, this time there may not be such a happy outcome. Olivia has left her purse, the car is in the garage and oddly enough, all the pictures of the family have been destroyed.

Excellent premise and great plotting! I had my suspicions as to what had happened, but I'm happy to say I wasn't completely right. I love twisty, turny who's telling the truth and who's lying books. Abbot has penned a good one. And I enjoyed this one all more I think because I listened to it.

Reader's voices and interpretations of a novelist's work can make or break a story for a listener. Sleep Tight employs two readers - Melody Grove and Andrew Wincott. Both narrators have voices that are clear, pleasant and easy to understand (both are British).  I thought the voices - Grove's quieter and Wincott's more powerful - suited the mental images I created for the characters. Some readers have the ability to create numerous voice for all the characters, but I quite enjoy multiple cast members. I liked the dual narrative - it made me feel like I am more involved in the story and the investigation, rather than just an observer.

I thought Sleep Tight was a really good listen.  See for yourself - here's an audio excerpt of Sleep Tight.

Fun fact: "On 5th August 2015 Amazon confirmed that Rachel Abbott is the #1 bestselling author in the UK on the Kindle over the past five years."

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Pattern of Lies - Charles Todd

Charles Todd returns with the latest (#7) in the Bess Crawford series - A Pattern of Lies.

Bess is a Sister with England's Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. She has served her country since the beginning of the war in both France and England. It's 1918 and the hope is that the War will soon be over.

A chance encounter on a leave plunges Bess into another mystery. (For in addition to being a stellar nurse, she's just as adept at solving mysteries) Mark Ashton, an officer and former patient invites Bess to his family home to visit with his mother. The family owns the Ashton Powder Mill in Kent - the scene of a horrific tragedy that killed over a hundred men. Ruled an accident by the Army, the villagers think differently. Bess is stunned by the hostility shown to the family. As the rancor - and the danger - rises, Bess agrees to see if she can help. There's a possible witness to the event that can clear patriarch Phillip Ashton's name - he's a tankman in France.

Oh, I just love this series! I think it's the slow, meticulous building of clues, the measured connecting together of pieces of information, observations and snippets of conversation. It's such a change from my usual fast paced murder and mayhem mysteries. The thoughtful, careful pacing of the book lets the reader settle in to relax, enjoy and travel back in time. Todd does a fantastic job of bringing the war and the time period to life. Descriptions of time and place generate vivid mental images. I really enjoy the glimpses into the war nurses' everyday lives. A sense of honour, duty, and loyalty is infused in the character and the plot, again underscoring the time period.
 
I like Bess - she's strong minded, strong willed, clever, caring and tenacious. Familiar supporting characters return - Bess's father, Colonel Sahib (I have such a strong mental image of this British officer who served in India with the Gurkha's), Simon and Sergeant Lassiter, a cheeky Australian officer who seems quite fond of Bess. There is attraction between Bess and the two men - I often speculate which one will be her choice. (The Aussie would be mine!)

As the war is drawing to an end, I wonder where Todd will take this series in peacetime. This reader will be eagerly awaiting the next book! Read an excerpt of A Pattern of Lies. Fans of Maisie Dobbs would absolutely enjoy this series as well.

Charles Todd is the author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina. Visit their website at Charlestodd.com and like CharlesToddNovels on Facebook. See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.



Saturday, August 29, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover #68

- 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

Ruth Ware's debut novel In A Dark, Dark Wood has been generating some buzz. So naturally I have added it to my TBR pile! The US cover is on the left and the UK/Canadian cover is on the right. Wow, there's a real difference this week between the two covers! I'm going to go with the US cover - it seems to promise a darker read. The UK pink type, tagline and shot of the girl seems fluffier. Gimme scary.....Which cover do you prefer?
Do you plan to read In A Dark Dark Wood?

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Giveaway - The Girl Without A Name - Sandra Block

Good morning mystery fans! I've got a great giveaway for you today! The Girl Without a Name is the second book in Sandra Block's series featuring Dr. Zoe Goldman. And I have three copies to giveaway!

From Grand Central Publishing:

"In what passes for an ordinary day in a psych ward, Dr. Zoe Goldman is stumped when a highly unusual case arrives. A young African American girl, found wandering the streets of Buffalo in a catatonic state, is brought in by police. No one has come forward to claim her, and all leads have been exhausted, so Zoe's treatment is the last hope to discover the girl's identity.

When drugs prove ineffective and medical science seems to be failing, Zoe takes matters into her own hands to track down Jane Doe's family and piece together their checkered history. As she unearths their secrets, she finds that monsters hide where they are least expected. And now she must solve the mystery before it is too late. Because someone wants to make sure this young girl never remembers.

"The Girl Without a Name is a powerful novel of memory and forgetting, of unexpected friendship and understanding...and of the secrets we protect no matter the consequences."

Sandra A. Block graduated from college at Harvard, then returned to her native land of Buffalo, New York for medical training and never left. She is a practicing neurologist and proud Sabres fan, and lives at home with her husband, two children, and impetuous yellow lab Delilah. She has been published in both medical and poetry journals. "Little Black Lies" is her debut, and "The Girl Without a Name" is the next novel in the series. You can connect with Sandra Block on her website, as well as on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sound like a book you'd like to read? You can read the first six chapters here. And I have three copies to give away, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Sept 12/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Over the Counter #278

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner. Sigh... my sweet tooth strikes again......

First up is No-Churn Ice Cream: Over 100 Simply Delicious No-Machine Frozen Treats by Leslie Bilderback.

From the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin:

"In every country you'll find people eating ice cream on street corners, in markets, and in fancy restaurants. But the number of people who make it at home is much smaller. The reason? Making this sweet treat yourself is kind of a pain. Ice cream machines can be expensive, bulky and hard to store, or cheap and inefficient. But what if you could make your own ice cream at home without all of the fuss, for a fraction of the cost of buying it, and without any special equipment? No-Churn Ice Cream is a mouthwatering collection of shortcuts and classic culinary techniques that help you achieve delicious, artisanal results.

All you need to make your quick and easy no-churn ice cream are the following simple tools: - A freezer - A whisk or electric mixer - A can opener - A bowl and a freezable container, such as a loaf pan - A sweet tooth!

Inside you'll find recipes for all the basic flavors, plus more complex and exciting flavors such as Pineapple-Peppercorn and Sweet Potato Marshmallow Swirl. Treat yourself with a decadent Stracciatella gelato or Bananas Foster sorbet, or cool off with some Lavender-Almond sherbet. Your flavor variations are limited only by your imagination. Why not add some bacon to that batch of chocolate-caramel ice cream? Leslie Bilderback, author of Mug Cakes, is here to show you how."

And how about a little pie to go with that ice cream? You might find a recipe you like in Pocket Pies: Mini Empanadas, Pasties, Turnovers and More by Pamela Clark.

From the publisher, Sterling:

"This cookbook does for pies what cupcakes did for cake: shrink the size so they're easy to cook, freeze, serve, or pack for lunch while keeping ALL the flavor of the original. Featuring 116 recipes both savory and sweet, the delicious choices range from Gooey Chicken Pies, Argentinean Empanadas, and Spiced Apple Parcels to White Chocolate and Ginger Mousse Tarts."

(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, August 26, 2015

The Hesitation Cut - Giles Blunt

I am a big fan of Giles Blunt's John Cardinal mystery series. But I've also enjoyed his stand alone novels that cover a broader range of style and themes.

Blunt's latest novel, The Hesitation Cut, is another stand alone novel that is dark, unsettling and so very hard to put down.

Brother William has lived in the Our Lady of Peace Monastery for the last ten years. He's outwardly happy with his life and his work in the library. But when Lauren, a young female poet comes to the monastery's library to do some research, life changes - for both Brother William and Lauren.

Brother William can't stop thinking about her - her looks, her voice, and that scar on her wrist. She just seems so sad......Brother William makes Lauren his next calling - he can help her, save her and look out for her. And so, he leaves the monastery and heads to New York City as Peter to find her.

And he does. But Peter's desire to help evolves into desire alone. Obsessive desire.

Neither Peter or Lauren is a likeable character. (The character I liked the most was Lauren's on again off again boyfriend Mick  - and he has serious flaws as well.) As the story progresses, both characters alternate between victim and perpetrator. Obviously both characters have mental health issues and their meeting is simply the fuse for an implosion in both their lives.

That fuse is slow burning. The reader is helpless, along for the ride, as Blunt builds the tension and the suspense with another layer, another incident and another nuance until it seems there can be no turning back. Sharp eyed readers will take note of a few off the cuff remarks that hint at something more in Peter's past.

As he did in Breaking Lorca, Blunt has crafted an intense psychological study in the pages of The Hesitation Cut, exploring love, hope, devotion, faith and obsession. But it's also an excellent thriller that keeps the reader wondering what is going to happen next - and to whom. Read an excerpt of The Hestiation Cut. You can connect with Giles Blunt on his website, as well as on Twitter.