Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Giveaway - Murder on the Île Sordou - M.L. Longworth

Here's one for the mystery fans today! I have a copy of M.L. Longworth's latest book, Murder on the Île Sordou: A Verlaque and Bonnet Provençal Mystery, to giveaway!

From the publisher, Penguin Books:

"The fourth book in the series finds Verlaque and Bonnet on vacation on a remote island in the glittering Mediterranean.

Like Donna Leon and Andrea Camilleri, M. L. Longworth’s books enchant mystery lovers with a taste for good food and gorgeous landscapes. In Murder on the Île Sordou, Judge Antoine Verlaque and his girlfriend, law professor Marine Bonnet, are hoping to enjoy a relaxing holiday at the Locanda Sordou, an opulent hotel that is reopening after decades, but someone has other plans.

Maxime and Catherine Le Bon have spent their life savings restoring the Locanda, which lies on an archipelago just off the coast of Marseille. The murder of one of the guests casts a shadow over everyone’s vacation, and Verlaque and Bonnet are once again called to investigate. But things go from bad to worse when a violent storm cuts off all communication with the mainland. Will the killer strike again?"

Photo Credit: Marcus Lyon & The Glassworks

"M.L. Longworth has lived in Aix-en-Provence since 1997. She has written about the region for The Washington Post, The Times (U.K.), The Independent (U.K.), and Bon Appétit Magazine. She is the author the Verlaque and Bonnet series, as well as of a bilingual collection of essays, Une Américaine en Provence. She divides her time between Aix and Paris, where she teaches writing at NYU’s Paris campus." You can find M.L. Longworth on Twitter.

M.L. Longworth was recently profiled on NPR’s Crime in the City series (“Mystery Writer Weaves Intricate Puzzles in Sleepy French Town”), in a wonderful introduction to the author, the Verlaque & Bonnet series, and Aix-en-Provence.

Murder on the Île Sordou releases on Sept. 30/14. If you'd like to read this mystery, simply leave a comment to be entered into a random giveaway. One copy, open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends Oct. 4/14.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Idiot's Guides in Full Colour - and 30% off!

I've always been a fan of the Idiot's Guides series - the information is always clear, concise and well laid out. There's such wide number of books (literally hundreds) covering almost every topic you can imagine. But....Idiot's Guides just got even better.....they're in full colour now! Yep, glossy full colour photos to go along with all that great information! And to celebrate, Idiot's Guides are 30% off for a limited time.

With the summer gone (insert sad face...) and the temperatures dropping, it's time to pull out the slow cooker again. It's so nice to come home to a meal already cooked. I've really only used it in the fall and winter and then only for soups and stews. I knew there was more I could do with it, but never got around to finding new recipes. But when I picked up the new Idiot's Guide to Slow Cooker Cooking by Rachel Farnsworth, I got excited. Why?

Well, I definitely found some new recipes for main dishes, from chilies, soups and meat dishes from lamb, beef, chicken and pork. And I want to try the mac and cheese recipe. But what really caught my eye were the recipes for things I never thought of cooking in the slow cooker. Breakfast! If I like coming home to supper already cooked, what about waking up to breakfast hot and waiting? (The timer on the slow cooker is a very useful feature!) Oatmeal in the slow cooker! Pumpkin Pie oatmeal is on the must try list. As is French Toast Casserole for a Sunday morning.

Homemade yogurt?! Jam? Breads! From loaves to dinner rolls to desert loaves. I love fresh bread. And desserts! Rice pudding for the DH and lemon pound cake for me. There's a neat recipe for individual cheesecakes. You simply make them in small wide mouth jars, then place the jars in the slow cooker to bake. Who knew?

There's a glossary of cooking terms included as well as an introductory chapter detailing the basics of slow cookers. The ingredients list for each recipe is bolded, the instructions are clear and easy to follow. But what really makes me want to try the recipes are the colour pictures - everything just looks so good! Slow Cooker Cooking is full of great recipes and new ways to use this kitchen appliance.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover #22

- You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover - Which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...
UK cover
US/Canadian cover
I was hunting down cover art for my review of Lars Kepler's latest book, The Sandman, and came across the US/Canadian cover on the left and the
 UK cover on the right. Both are definitely creepy, but I'm going with the N.A. cover this week - it just scared me little more. Either way, it's a great read and a fantastic series. Which cover do you prefer? Have you read, or do you plan to read The Sandman?
  You Can't Judge A Book By Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Film on Friday #20 - The Fault in Our Stars

When a well-loved book is adapted as a movie I always wonder if the film can live up to my expectations.  In this case, it's John Green's fabulous book, The Fault in Our Stars. I didn't get to the theatres to see it, so I happily sat down with the newly released The Fault in Our Stars Little Infinites Blu-ray.

Director Josh Boone's vision of the book was excellent! For those of you unaware of either book or movie (and how can that be!) The Fault in Our stars is the love story of Hazel and Augustus - who meet at a teen cancer group. Actors Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort both did an amazing job bringing these characters to the screen. Supporting actors Laura Dern and Sam Trammel also embodied the mental images I had created for Hazel's parents. Woodley and Elgort nail the sarcastic dialogue, the poignant scenes and the 'get the tissue box moments' (seriously you're going to want to have that handy) and made me fall in love all over again with this story.

There are so many great scenes and lines from the book that stuck in my head as I was reading and I wondered if they would appear in the movie. They did - including my personal favourite - "Some infinities are bigger than other infinities." This Blu-ray edition is actually called the Little Infinities Extended Edition (and comes with a limited edition little infinities bracelet) The Fault in Our Stars tackles a serious topic with humour, grace, wit and so much emotion. It's impossible not to love the story.

Although I loved getting lost in watching the movie, I was also eager to see the additional features included - an extended version, deleted scenes (including a cameo cut from John Green), features on the cast, the process of taking a book to a movie and many more.

Is it a movie I would watch again? Absolutely. Definitely recommended to movie and book lovers - one of the best book to film adaptions I've seen.

 And if it's a movie you'd like to own, I have a copy of the The Fault in Our Stars Little Infinities version to giveaway! Open to US and Canada - you can enter here - share your favourite Fault in Our Stars moment. Ends Sept. 28/14.
Already own the movie? You might want to watch it again - with John Green. #TFIOSPARTY

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Over the Counter #230

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Wildlife this week - past and present....dead and alive......

First up is Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris with Joanna Ebenstein.

From the publisher, Blue Rider Press:

"Welcome to Victorian taxidermist Walter Potter’s fantasy world of rabbit schoolchildren, cigar-smoking squirrels and exemplary feline etiquette in Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy… 

Walter Potter (1835–1918), a British country taxidermist of no great expertise, built anthropomorphic taxidermy tableaux that became famous icons of Victorian whimsy, including his masterpiece The Death & Burial of Cock Robin. His tiny museum in Bramber, Sussex, was crammed full of multi-legged kittens, two-headed lambs, and a bewildering assortment of curios. Potter’s inspired and beguiling tableaux found many fans in the contemporary art world: it was reported that a £1M bid by Damien Hirst to keep the collection intact was refused when the museum finally closed.
Here, perhaps for the last time, many important pieces from the collection are showcased and celebrated with new photographs of Potter’s best-loved works. Darkly witty and affecting, Walter Potter’s Curious World of Taxidermy makes a charming, whimsical (and yes, slightly morbid) gift."
Next is Extreme Birds: The World's Most Extraordinary and Bizarre Birds by Dominic Couzens.

From the publisher, Firefly Books:

"Extreme Birds is a photographic showcase of 150 birds at the extremes of nature. It reveals nature's ingenuity and sometimes its sense of humor. The species in this book were chosen for their extraordinary characteristics and for behaviors far beyond the typical. They are the biggest, the fastest, the meanest, the smartest. They build the most intricate nests, they have the most peculiar mating rituals, they dive the deepest and they fly the highest. These are the overachievers of the avian world.

Some examples:
  • Most skilled nest builder: The tiny southern masked weaver reveals a surprising grasp of the principles of architecture. In just five days it weaves and knots thousands of fine grass strands to build a complex sphere-like nest that hangs from the tip of an overhead branch.
  • Deadliest enemy: The southern cassowary is big (140 pounds), tall (6 feet) and fast (30 mph). This flightless bird can also leap 5 feet into the air and has 5-inch long claws that are capable of stabbing and disemboweling a human being.
  • Most creative decorator: The blue bower bird creates an elaborate "bachelor pad" bower and decorates it with colorful baubles. Blue is preferred, and the shinier the better. Enlivened with entertaining facts and anecdotes, Extreme Birds is an engaging celebration of nature's tremendous imagination. It will appeal to all readers, especially birders and naturalists."
(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!)

What's Your Favourite The Fault in Our Stars Moment?

"The Fault in Our Stars is newly released on DVD and Blu-ray!(Sept 16) Are you ready to bring on the feels? As a member of The Fault In Our Stars Ambassador Program, I helped in creating a list of the top moments from the film that I would love to relive! Featuring brilliant performances from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort that made the film a favorite of fans and critics alike, this inspirational modern day tale of star-crossed lovers will have you going from laughter to tears and back again."

Have you read the book or seen the movie?! What are your favorite moments that you would like to relive? Comment with your favorite book or movie moment and you will be entered to win a Little Infinities Extended Edition Blu-ray copy of TFIOS!! Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends Sept 28/14.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Distance - Helen Giltrow

The Distance is Helen Giltrow's debut novel.

Giltrow's premise intrigued me - Charlotte Alton, a London, England society woman has a secret life - she deals in information and in those circles is known as Karla. Karla makes things - and people disappear. Simon, a former client, a hired killer, reappears after Karla helped him disappear a few years ago. He's back in the game and needs her firm's help with smuggling him into a prison to carry out a hit. But it's not just any prison....it's a self governing prison colony set up in an abandoned village. The inmates are running things. To go in would be crazy.....

Wow! The Distance delivered one heck of a breakneck read. Both Karla and Simon are large than life characters. Karla is able to access, interfere with and manipulate data, people and situations. Simon, well, Simon takes a beating and keeps on ticking. (way beyond what I think any body could handle, but hey it makes for a wild story) The driven nature of both of these characters accelerates the plot into overdrive. And had me yelling "No.....why would you...." more than once.

The protagonists are intriguing, but The Distance is a plot driven book. The narrative switches between Karla and Simon, offering the reader a chance to see what's happening from all sides. But, no one is telling the truth, and everyone has their own agenda. What we think we know is turned upside down a few pages later. The last few chapters are excellent, throwing in a turn I suspected might be coming, but with even more twists included. The ending is excellent, leaving the door open to a second book with these characters perhaps? (Kinda hoping that's true)

I was fascinated with the idea of a self governing prison colony in current times. Giltrow's prison is stark, bleak and brutal. Her descriptions paint very vivid and visceral images. The ease with which Karla manipuates information is frightening.  I can see this book as a movie - maybe with Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg.

Gentle readers be warned, there is graphic violence in The Distance. Fans of powerhouse non-stop thrillers that will keep you up - this one's for you. Read an excerpt of The Distance.

What a great debut this was. I'll be watching for Giltrow's next book. You can keep with Helen Giltrow on Twitter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway - Ark Storm - Linda Davies

Today I've got a copy of Linda Davies' newly released book Ark Storm for giveaway!

From the publisher, Forge Books:

"The Ark Storm is coming—a catastrophic weather event that will unleash massive floods and wreak more damage on California than the feared “Big One.” One man wants to profit from it. Another wants to harness it to wage jihad on American soil. One woman stands in their way: Dr. Gwen Boudain, a brave and brilliant meteorologist. 

When Boudain notices that her climate readings are off the charts, she turns to Gabriel Messenger for research funding. Messenger’s company is working on a program that ionizes water molecules to bring rain on command. Meanwhile, Wall Street suits notice that someone is placing six-month bets on the prospect of an utter apocalypse and begin to investigate. Standing in the shadows is journalist Dan Jacobsen, a former Navy SEAL. War hardened, cynical, and handsome, Jacobsen is a man with his own hidden agenda.

Linda Davies's Ark Storm brings together the worlds of finance, scientific innovation, and terrorism in a fast-paced thrill ride that will leave readers gasping." Read an excerpt of Ark Storm.

Linda Davies is a graduate in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University, and worked for seven years an as investment banker before escaping to write novels. Davies's first novel, Nest of Vipers, has been published in more than thirty countries, selling over two million copies. She is also a winner of the Philip Geddes Prize for journalism. Davies is married with three children. She lives by the sea in Suffolk." You can find Linda Davies on her website, her blog, and on Twitter.

If this sounds like a book you'd like to read, simply leave a comment (and a way to contact you) to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no PO Boxes please. Ends Sept 27/14.