Friday, March 23, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #203

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
"In this riveting tale of psychological suspense, a divorce lawyer risks her career, her sanity, and her life when she falls into an illicit, all-consuming affair with her client—who becomes the primary suspect in his estranged wife’s sudden disappearance." That's the premise of JL Butler's forthcoming novel, Mine. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, so black is the dominant colour with red in the title of both covers. A woman's silhouette appears on both as well. The overall tone indicates danger. But, I have to say, I am very tired of the 'woman on the cover' shots. So an easy choice for me this week - UK. The window shot is a bit cheesy, but I really like the sky and trees above the building. What about you? any plans to read Mine? Which cover do you prefer this week?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Love Unleashed - Rebecca Ascher- Walsh

I read Love Unleashed by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh in one sitting. And right beside me was my fifteen year old dog. She's deaf, terribly arthritic and sleeps most of the day away now. But she still gets up to greet anyone coming in, wags her tail and shares her love every day.

The subtitle of  Love Unleashed is: Tales of Inspiration and the Life-Changing Power of Dogs. And these tales truly are inspiring.

Ascher-Walsh profiles thirty-five remarkable rescue dogs. Dogs who have been given a second chance and a new life. Dogs who have changed the lives of not just their owners, but many, many others. And in a myriad of ways. A nursery companion dog - in a zoo. A dog who doles out hugs to anyone who needs one in NYC. Police dogs, therapy dogs. Even a courthouse dog who helps children during testimony. A retired bomb sniffing dog who now sniffs out the deadly C-difficile bacteria in hospitals. Dogs who raise money for shelters through their on line presence. Storm chasers and so many more. Every profile is accompanied by a colour photo and full write-up.

Each dog has a unique story. And every one of them was a rescue. Yes, the dogs are amazing, but so are the people who work with the dogs, own the dogs and champion rescue dogs. They too are inspiring.

My old girl is a rescue. Full of fleas, ticks, mange, worms, she had been abused. She was also a black dog, who get passed over in many adoptive situations. We met her just as her quarantine ended and took her home that day. She has given us nothing but love and devotion each and every day. I know her time with us is coming to an end, but the time with us and the love she has given will never be forgotten.  I encourage anyone contemplating having a dog in their lives to check out their local shelter.

Love Unleashed was such a wonderful little read. Absolutely recommended. Peek inside Love Unleashed.

Credit: Mark Mann
"Rebecca Ascher-Walsh is a writer who specializes in celebrity and lifestyle coverage, but who also loves dogs and telling stories about amazing animals. She contributes to many newspapers and national magazines including Entertainment Weekly, Adweek, and the Los Angeles Times. She is a volunteer at a high-kill shelter in Manhattan and a founding director of the Deja Foundation, devoted to funding the medical care and training costs of dogs rescued from high-kill shelters." See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Notes From a Public Typewriter - Michael Gustafson - Review AND Giveaway

Notes From a Public Typewriter, edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti, releases on March 27/18 - and I have a copy of this delightful book to giveaway to one lucky reader, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.

Notes is a collection of  missives left in the typewriter at Gustafson's business - The Literati Bookstore - an indie bookshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

When Gustafson opened his store in 2013, he included a typewriter as a community building experiment.

"What if people could walk into a bookstore and type anything they wanted? Would they write Haikus, confessions, or declarations of love?Would they contemplate the meaning of life? Would they make fart jokes? Would people even know how to use a typwriter?"

The answer is yes to all of the above. Notes From a Public Typewriter is a collection of those thoughts, desires, confessions, hopes, dreams and more. The notes range from heartbreaking to joyful with some laughs mixed in. There are many poignant entries, connection made and lost. All left anonymously. And it's impossible to put down. I read each entry and imagined who would have wrote it? Why they wrote it?  Did things change in their lives?

Here's a sampling:

"So much more effort. And no delete key. Kind of how life used to be.."
"Why does this thing have a hashtag symbol? They didn't have Twitter then #weird"
"Sometimes I get lost just to assure myself someone cares enough to find me."

Gustafson includes his own thoughts in short essays throughout the book. I like his voice and ideas.  And to those who live in Ann Arbor, lucky you - this sounds like a wonderful bookstore - and more.

Notes From a Public Typewriter is a slim volume at just over 150 pages. But, there is lots of food for thought between the covers. What do you think you would type?

Fans of PostSecret and Found would enjoy this book. Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. Ends March 31/18. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Over the Counter #411

What book caught my eye this week as it passed over the library counter and under my scanner? Learning new languages this week.....

How to Speak Chicken by Melissa Caughey.

From Storey Publishing:

"Best-selling author Melissa Caughey knows that backyard chickens are like any favorite pet — fun to spend time with and fascinating to observe. Her hours among the flock have resulted in this quirky, irresistible guide packed with firsthand insights into how chickens communicate and interact, use their senses to understand the world around them, and establish pecking order and roles within the flock. Combining her up-close observations with scientific findings and interviews with other chicken enthusiasts, Caughey answers unexpected questions such as Do chickens have names for each other? How do their eyes work? and How do chickens learn?"

(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, March 20, 2018

The French Girl - Lexie Elliott

The French Girl is Lexie Elliott's debut novel.

Six Oxford students spent a summer vacation together in France ten years ago. They were friends - and friends with benefits.. Their getaway doesn't go quite as planned - a beautiful French girl named Severine who lived next to the villa changes the dynamic of the group. And now she's changing the future. Ten years on, the police have found Severine's body in a well on the vacation property. The group is now part of a murder investigation by the French police.

Kate Channing is one of those six and she is our narrator.  Elliott slowly ekes out the details of what happened that summer week. Something happened that irrevocably changed each of the six. Kate herself sees Severine as a presence and although she does not speak, Kate gives her emotions.

"Severine glances at him with disdain, and suddenly I wonder: if Severine is a creation of my mind, are her reactions my own deeply hidden feelings?"

The friends are still in contact with each other. Our sense of who they are is coloured by Kate's views. I found them to all be flawed and not overly likable. But could one of them be a murderer? It is the relationships between them that takes center stage in the book. Elliott's depiction of those bonds, memories, interactions and current sparring is excellent. She is a gifted writer.

The publisher has described The French Girl as "exhilarating psychological suspense". I enjoyed The French Girl, but found it to be a bit of a slow burn rather than a fast paced suspense read. But, that slow burn absolutely works for exploring the relationships. For this reader, that was more of a draw that the actual whodunit.

"One's and Cosmopolitan's Best Books of the Month."Read an excerpt of The French Girl.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Let Me Lie - Clare Mackintosh

Let Me Lie is the third book from Clare Mackintosh. I devoured the suspense and twists in her first two books and was eager to dig into this latest.

Anna's parents both committed suicide within a year. On the one year anniversary of her mother's death, someone drops a card through her mail slot. Inside is a cryptic message ... "Suicide? Think again."

Anna always questioned their deaths. The bodies were never found and she can't believe her beloved mother would leave her. She decides to check in with the local constabulary on the case. Retired detective Murray Mackenzie is on the desk, now working in a civilian capacity. But old instincts die hard and he decides to look into the case further - on his own.

Murrary ended up being my favourite character. His personal story (his wife is mentally ill) was very well depicted and drew this reader in. Their relationship and how Murray copes were some of my favourite bits of the book. He's kind and intelligent as well as being a clever investigator. Anna's emotions and mental health are also explored. However, I wasn't as drawn to Anna, despite her being the lead character. I questioned some of her actions and decisions plot wise. But on the flip side, without some of those decisions, we wouldn't have as many  questions and avenues to explore. Mackintosh does give us lots of characters that may or may not have suspicious motives, keeping us guessing.

Interspersed are italicized chapters from, well, someone. These are deliberately vague and let the reader decide who it might be. In the beginning, these missives had me thinking things were going to unfold in a certain way (one I wasn't interested in). (Sorry, being deliberately obtuse. )As these entries continue, more and more detail is added, so that their identity becomes evident and the direction changes. Clues to the past are found in these narratives.

Let Me Lie was not as fast paced as the first two novels. I found the first part of the book to be a bit of a slow burn. Things do pick up in the last few chapters and one last final twist was a real 'gotcha'!Read an excerpt of Let Me Lie. I'll be watching for Mackintosh's next book.

Friday, March 16, 2018

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #202

 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
Squeee! Linwood Barclay has a new book coming out in July called A Noise Downstairs! Perfectly creepy without even knowing what the plot is@The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Okay, lets get to it. Black on both covers, white title and a difference with the author's name in size and colour. Now when I first looked at the US cover, I thought the image was of blinds with a bit of light seeping through. But on looking at the UK cover, I can see typewriter keys - with a wee bit of blood on one of them. Both covers feature tag lines that entice the reader, but I think the US line appeals to me more. Another hard call this week. I like the colours of the US cover better, as well as the tagline. But I like the image of the UK cover better. A tough choice, but I'm going to go with US this week. No matter the cover, it's going to be a great read!
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Zero Day - Ezekiel Boone

Zero Day is the last entry in Ezekiel Boone's Hatching trilogy.

It's the final showdown. Man against the carnivorous spiders that are threatening the extinction of the human race. The first book was the outbreak, the second the continuing fight and in this last book it's do or die.

"The world is on the brink of apocalypse. Zero Day has come."

Yes, the premise reads like a B-movie plot, but it's great fun to read. And cringe -worthy, creepy, crawly spiders skittering all around.....

 Boone has created an ensemble cast that I've come to know and enjoy over the course of the first two books and this is what kept me coming back. They are an eclectic group with many different outlooks and personalities and I'm hard pressed to pick a favourite. No surprise that there is an ending to this ongoing battle. And I have to say, I quite enjoyed the 'wrap-up' of where the lives of the large cast went. (And in that wrap-up I wonder if I'm the only one that thinks one or two of them might make appearances in the future?)

This trilogy could probably have been told in fewer pages, as the fight against the spiders seems a bit repetitive over the course of three books. That being said, Boone does have a way with words and does spin a good tale. I enjoyed his a wonderfully dark sense of humour. Boone fleshes out his narrative with lots of descriptions and side stories that I enjoyed.

I chose to listen to Zero Day, as I did with the previous books. The narrator was George Newbern, one of my favourites. He has a unique voice - clear, pleasant to listen to and easy to understand. He has a wry tone that matches the book and captures Boone's dark humour. His inflections rise and fall, giving the tale movement. Listen to an excerpt of Zero Day. 

You can connect with Ezekiel Boone on his website or follow him on Twitter. He has a new book coming out later in 2018 called The Mansion - it looks like another fun read.