Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Giveaway - The Price of Blood - Patricia Bracewell

Here's a great giveaway for  historical fiction readers!

Patricia Bracewell's new novel, The Price of Blood, releases February 5/15. I have a copy to giveaway AND a copy of the first book in this trilogy, Shadow on the Crown, as well!

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

"Menaced by Vikings and enemies at court, Queen Emma defends her children and her crown in a riveting medieval adventure. Readers first met Emma of Normandy in Patricia Bracewell’s gripping debut novel, Shadow on the Crown.

Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England’s King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother’s ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder.

As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men—even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword.

Rich with intrigue, compelling personalities, and fascinating detail about a little-known period in history, The Price of Blood will captivate fans of both historical fiction and fantasy novels such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series."
credit: Christine Krieg

"Patricia Bracewell grew up in California where she taught literature and composition before embarking upon her writing career. She has always been fascinated by English history, which led to her studying Anglo-Saxon history at Downing College, Cambridge University. She has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Oakland, California."

You can find Patricia Bracewell on Twitter @PatBracewell. Pat will be tweeting out interesting #AngloSaxonFact throughout February. You can find Patricia Bracewell on Facebook as well.

Sound like a story you'd enjoy? Simply leave a comment to be entered. One reader will win a copy of both books. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Feb 7/15.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Giveaway - The Book of Life Blu-ray Combo!

Did you see The Book of Life in theatres? No? Well, here's your chance to own it and watch at home! The Book of Life releases January 27/25 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment - and I have a copy to giveaway!

"Join Manola, Maria and Chuy as they embark on a magical journey that takes them on an adventure of a lifetime in THE BOOK OF LIFE available on Blu-ray™ 3D, Blu-ray™ and DVD January 27. Written and directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro, the characters venture to the Land of the Remembered and embrace the rich culture and family history brought to life by the all-star voice cast of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Ron Perlman, Kate del Castillo, Christina Applegate and Ice Cube

THE BOOK OF LIFE is a breathtaking animated comedy with a dazzling visual style unlike anything you’ve seen before. Torn between thRe expectations of his family and the desires of his heart, a young man named Manolo sets off on an epic quest that spans three spectacular worlds in order to reunite with his one true love and defend his village. Not your ordinary fairy tale, THE BOOK OF LIFE is a wondrous fantasy-adventure filled with magic, music and fun!

THE BOOK OF LIFE Blu-ray™ brings culture and comedy into your home with unforgettable special features for parents and kids alike. Continue the fun with an all-new bonus short “The Adventures of Chuy”, highlighting the film’s lovable scene-stealing pet pig. Additionally, relive the musical hits from the film with the “Music Machine” featuring Latin-inspired versions of popular songs by Mumford and Sons, Radiohead, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart and more."There's loads of extras included in this combo as well!

Sound like one you'd love to own and watch!? Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Feb 14/15.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #40

- 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
Here's a thriller I've just finished (review next week, but darn it's really good!) The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood. The US/Canadian cover is on the left and the UK cover on the right. So, both covers let you know that there's a house involved, but I'm going with the UK cover this week. That partially opened door is quite ominous and captures the story. The tag line is good too. Is The Killer Next Door a book you've read? Which cover do you prefer? 
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on
 A Bookworm's World.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Start Fresh with DK Canada

Did you make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year? I've decided to think of changes I'd like to make as goals instead of resolutions - sounds a little less negative! DK Canada has a few suggestions for books that might help you 'tackle a craft project, master a new skill or enrich an existing talent' in their Start Fresh Boutique.

Last year, I just never managed to get a vegetable garden planted for the first time in a great many years. And I really missed it. So one of my goals for 2015 is to get some veggies planted this year.

Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet is newly released from DK. And it caught my eye because of that '3 square feet'. My household is smaller and I am older, so a smaller garden definitely appeals. And I was looking to get away from planting directly in the ground as all that rototilling and weeds are getting to be too much. There are tons of ways and methods of putting in a garden. I think I'm going to go with raised beds. We have tons of scrap lumber and metal around that I could easily build small beds. (Because buying new material just seems to defeat the purpose!) But I think I might also try some fun ideas - growing strawberries in colanders suspended from a fence. There are some great re purposing ideas too - stand a pallet on it's end and use that as a vertical garden!

New to vegetable gardening? This would be an excellent reference guide for someone starting out - what and how to grow, garden plans, pest and weed control and tons more. I found lots of great ideas, despite my years of gardening.

What makes this book (and really any DK book) so good are the full colour pictures. Every tip, idea and project is fully illustrated with clear, concise and easy to follow instructions. And I always think, well, I can do that! I've got many, many pages bookmarked, just waiting for this snow to be on it's way. Have a look inside Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet.

I Love DK contest

I love DK books! Quite frankly, they're my choice for any reference book I need. The range of topics, the colour pictures and the clear text make them hands down winners in my opinion.

Now if you're a DK fan too, there's a great promotion coming up.....

DK Canada  wants readers (and lovers) of DK books to send a short review or just a one or two sentence shout out about their favourite DK book of all time and why you love it. On Valentine's Day they'll select one of those reviews as a winner and that person will win a$250.00 shopping spree to chose $250 worth of DK books!

Share your favourite I Love DK pick with others - on Twitter with @DKCanada and the hashtag #ILoveDK. Or post to DK Canada's Facebook page. Get your pick in between January 19 - February 4/15 to be entered.

My pick? Ahh!! It's so hard to pick just one! Right now, it's the new release Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet. Chock full of great ideas. So.....what' your pick?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Over the Counter #248

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

First up is Life by the Cup: Ingredients for a Purpose-Filled Life of Bottomless Happiness and Limitless Success by Zhena Muzyka.

From the publisher, Simon and Schuster:

"Drawing on lessons she’s learned throughout her amazing and sometimes difficult life journey, the social entrepreneur and founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea shares seventeen soulful lessons to help you overcome obstacles, clarify your purpose, and bring awareness to each moment of your life. An inspiring roadmap for discovering the secrets of happiness and success for yourself at any stage in life, Life By the Cup’s message is that, no matter where you are, you can change your circumstances and live your dreams.

As a twenty-four-year-old single mom, Zhena had an infant in need of life-saving surgery and only six dollars in her wallet. She also had two other powerful motivators: hope and a passion to share her unique tea blends with the world. Combining her kitchen hobby of blending tea, her knowledge of herbs and aromatherapy, and her gypsy grandmother’s wisdom, Zhena started selling custom teas from a cart on California street corners. Now, over a decade later, her son is healthy and Zhena’s Gypsy Tea is a multimillion-dollar brand.

Zhena’s insights and gentle guidance will inspire you to increase your compassion toward others as well as yourself. You’ll also gain wisdom on how to hone your intuition, ask for help, and live out your true purpose without drastically changing the way you live. Discover your calling, bolster your courage, develop your own flavor of success, and you’ll see your own passion make a meaningful difference in the world."

Next up is Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth.

From the publisher, Tyndale House:

"Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe the Amish are on to something? Look around. We tweet while we drive, we talk while we text, and we surf the Internet until we fall asleep. We are essentially plugged in and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rather than mastering technology, we have allowed technology to master us. We are an exhausted nation. No one has enough time, everyone feels stressed out, and our kids spend more hours staring at a screen each week than they do playing outside.

It’s time to simplify our lives, make faith and family the focal point, and recapture the lost art of simple living. Building on the basic principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth shows readers how making conscious choices to limit (and in some cases eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and getting back to basics can help us lead calmer, more focused, less harried lives that result in stronger, deeper relationships with our families, friends, and God."

(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, January 21, 2015

Unbecoming - Rebecca Scherm - Review AND Giveaway

Unbecoming is Rebecca Scherm's debut novel.

Unbecoming opens in Paris with our protagonist Grace (known as Julie now) living under the radar, afraid that her past will catch up with her. Her past is her husband Riley and his friend Alls. They committed a robbery back in hometown Garland,Tennessee  that Grace planned - and got caught. They're about to be paroled.

Scherm's prose are detailed. Grace's feeling and thoughts are seemingly explored in depth - but are they really? Grace is a work in progress, much like the antiques she lovingly repairs. She changes who she is and how she acts according to her current situation, what she wants or needs. As such, she is a distinctly unreliable narrator.

Schrerm tells her story in past and present narratives from Grace. In the past, we slowly learn about Grace's life up until the moment the time of the robbery. In the present we wait with Grace to see if her past catches up with her.

In addition to being an unreliable narrator, I found Grace to be distinctly unlikable. Is that because I know what has happened and what's underneath the veneer? Perhaps. Her life with Riley and the love they have seems like it should be enough, but again - is it real on Grace's part?

Scherm is also quite detailed about the work Grace does repairing antiques and collectibles. I quite liked the descriptions and specifics as I love to haunt antique shops and flea markets. Grace has a keen eye for valuable things versus forgeries in objects, but does that include hereself?

The 'heist' part of the plot was not as prominent as the publisher's blurb would lead you to believe, but for me, it wasn't the main focus of the book - instead it's more of a character study. I was intrigued by Grace (Julie).

"Grace hated lying, got no joy from it, and this was how she knew she wasn't pathological."

"Grace could only have one friend at a time. Any more and it became harder to keep track of how they knew her, what she had told the, which pieces went where."

I thought the title was very clever. Unbecoming can be taken a number of ways - both as unflattering but also as a change of persona- becoming someone else. Viking has put together a great book club kit  with some great 'behind the scenes' articles from Scherm that will give you more insight into this book. You can find Rebecca Scherm on Facebook and on Twitter.

Sound like one you'd like to read? I have a copy of this new release to give away to one lucky reader, courtesy of Viking Books. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Feb 7/15. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Giveaway - Plus One by Christopher Noxon

Plus One by Christopher Noxon is newly released and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From the publisher, Prospect Park Books:

"A Tale of a Modern Man in a Modern Marriage Alex Sherman-Zicklin is a midlevel marketing executive in L.A. whose wife Figgy’s fourteenth TV pilot attempt becomes a huge Emmy-winning hit. Overnight, she’s sucked into a mad show-business vortex, and Alex quits his job to become the family’s domestic first responder. He falls in with a posse of plus ones, men who are married to women whose recognition, income, and fame far eclipse their own.
This wickedly honest comedy follows Alex as he struggles to regain his mojo while remaining a loving and responsible husband and father. Plus One is a hilarious story about modern family life and the fast-changing roles of parents and partners, told from the perspective of one wonderfully quirky family that hits the Hollywood jackpot." Read an excerpt of Plus One.

"Christopher Noxon is an author, journalist, and illustrator. His debut novel PLUS ONE grew out of his experience raising three children and managing a household after his wife, TV producer Jenji Kohan, created the programs Weeds and Orange Is the New Black. He's also the author of the nonfiction book Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown Up. As a journalist, he has written for the New Yorker, Details, New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, and Salon. He has also covered the Democratic National Convention for Reuters; lived as a patient with recovering addicts for a Playboy feature about troubles with drug rehab; and was the first journalist to report on actor Mel Gibson's ties to an ultraconservative Catholic splinter group in a feature for the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Los Angeles." You can find Christopher Noxon on Twitter as well as on Facebook.

One copy up for grabs, open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends February 1/15. Simply leave a comment to be entered.