Monday, February 8, 2016

Perfect Days - Raphael Montes

Raphael Montes's novel Perfect Days was 'hugely celebrated' in his native Brazil. Thirteen other countries have snapped up publishing rights, including the US, where Perfect Debut releases on February 16/16.

Book covers are the first thing that grab my attention. How does the image used relate to the story? Vacation? Marriage breakup? It could be anything. But I doubt you'd ever guess the connection in this case. Let me explain.....

Teo is a loner, living with his paraplegic mother. He is quite brilliant and does well at medical school. Well, technically, he does well, but socially not so good. "He learned that if his playacting seemed real, it was all a lot easier." Teo counts the cadaver he works on as his best friend. Uh, huh, starting to get creepy isn't it? Not done yet...

Teo is surprised when he spots Clarice at a party - he actually feels something - he's attracted to Clarice. He begins following her, imagining how perfect their relationship is going to be. And of course there will be a relationship - why wouldn't there be? Except Clarice isn't quite on the same page....but Teo takes things into his own hands. Ready?

"By stuffing Clarice in a suitcase and bringing her home, had he become a criminal? It hadn't been premeditated, nor was he interested in a ransom. He just wanted what was best for Clarice."

Now, you may be thinking I've given away the entire plot and spoiled the book for you. Nope, not even close! Teo just needs a bit more time to convince Clarice that they're meant to be together. Road trip maybe?

Perfect Days is twisted, creepy and completely unpredictable. I had no idea where Montes was going to take the story (and was somewhat frightened to see what was next) but was unable to put the book down. You know, like watching a scary movie and telling the characters to not go down the basement stairs. Teo's inability to see that what he is doing is wrong and his rationalizing is downright terrifying. Or perhaps I should be more worried about the author? Perfect Days is definitely one of the creepiest books I've read in a long time. And there's one last gotcha in the final pages that was unexpected. Read an excerpt of Perfect Days.

Perfect Days is probably not for the faint of heart.....I loved the book trailer and reaction clip from Penguin...




Sunday, February 7, 2016

Books, Be Mine - Valentine's Day 2016 - Simon and Schuster Canada

Simon and Schuster Canada is running a fun Valentine’s Day event called Books, Be Mine.....and you're invited!

"Valentine's Day is meant to be spent with your one true love and we could not agree more, which is why we’re spending it with the light of our lives: books. Book lovers, unite!"

Join this event if you’re going to be snuggling up with a book on February 14th just like me. Be sure to check the Facebook page daily for reading recommendations, excerpts, and other fun, bookish things! See you there!  #ValentinesDay2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Look Book - Simon and Schuster Canada

Oh, who doesn't love a sneak peek of coming soon books! Simon and Schuster Canada is giving readers a chance to do just that -  from their Spring 2016 Fiction Sampler!

"The Look Book sampler offers the best in fiction from across the Simon and Schuster Canada Spring 2016 list. This array of debut authors and perennial favourites will allow you to step back in time with our historical fiction, time travel with our fantasy writers, fall in love with our inspirational romance, marvel at our literary stylists, and be enthralled by our dark thrillers. With chapter excerpts from the following Spring 2016 new releases:

Dark Territory, by Susan Philpott
He Will Be My Ruin, by K.A. Tucker
Owl and the City of Angels, by Kristi Charish
Black Apple, by Joan Crate
Still Mine, by Amy Stuart 
Glory Over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom
The Rivals of Versailles, by Sally Christie
Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, by Ann Y.K. Choi
Nightfall, by Richard B. Wright
Mannheim Rex, by Rob Pobi
I’m Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid
Umbrella Man, by Peggy Blair

Oh, there's quite a few on this list I'm looking forward to! How about you? Share your thoughts using #TheLookBook.  You can download the Look Book Sampler From All Ebook Retailers!

Friday, February 5, 2016

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #91

- 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
Try Not to Breathe is Holly Seddon's debut novel. And of course I'm drawn to descriptions that read..."For fans of Gillian Flynn, Laura Lippman, and Paula Hawkins comes Holly Seddon’s arresting fiction debut—an engrossing thriller full of page-turning twists and turns, richly imagined characters, and gripping psychological suspense." So, yes, it's been added to my TBR pile. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Again, very similar - sideways woman, white tones. But given the description of the book, I find it interesting that one has eyes open and one has eyes closed. A bit of a tie for me this week, but I'm going to go with the UK cover - I like the font better as well as the font colour. Any plans to read Try Not to Breathe? Which cover do you prefer?
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Ex - Alafair Burke

I don't even look at the flyleaf when I see Alafair Burke's name on the cover - I just know I'm going to enjoy it. Burke's latest is The Ex.  

The first few chapters of a book are always important to me - is my interest piqued? Do I want to know what happens next? Burke absolutely had me curious. The first few pages are the transcript of a police interview. Jack Harris believes he's helping the police with their investigation - he was in the vicinity when a shooter killed three people. Instead, it turns out they think Jack did it......

Olivia Randall is a powerhouse criminal defense lawyer - tough, brash and dedicated to her clients. She's also the woman who broke Jack's heart twenty years ago when she walked out on him. When Jack's daughter approaches her to defend Jack, she immediately says yes. After all, the Jack she knows couldn't kill anyone...........could he?

I liked the character of Olivia - flaws and all - she's someone you would want in your corner. The flaws and doubts made her believable. Jack was a tricky one - he comes across as likable, but there was just something about him. And that niggling doubt kept me reading another chapter...and another. Burke drops hints, teasers and memories as the book progresses. I did have my suspicions as the end neared, but Burke's gotcha at the end was well played.

Burke herself is a lawyer - the legal and courtroom scenes in the book benefit from her expertise. I would love to see another book with Olivia - perhaps she'll get her own series?

Burke has done it again - an excellent premise, great plotting and an entertaining, addictive, satisfying read. See for yourself - here's an excerpt of The Ex.

"Alafair Burke is the New York Times bestselling author of ten previous novels, including the standalone thrillers Long Gone and If You Were Here, and the Ellie Hatcher series: All Day and a Night, Never Tell, 212, Angel’s Tip, and Dead Connection. She is also the coauthor of the Under Suspicion series with Mary Higgins Clark. A former prosecutor, she is now a professor of criminal law and lives in Manhattan."  Find out more about Alafair at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter. See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Over the Counter #300

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter. Two blasts from the past that are generating another generation's interest - roller derby and vinyl....

First up is Scars and Stripes: The Culture of Modern Roller Derby by Andréanna Seymore.

From Schiffer Publishing:

"Join photographer and skater Andréanna Seymore on her fearless journey through the world of roller derby, beginning with her serendipitous introduction to the sport in 2008. Modern roller derby is a vibrant, empowering, and revolutionary movement transitioning from obscure subculture to mainstream pastime on both a national, as well as global, stage. Action-packed and emotionally provocative photographs taken over a five-year period reveal the joy, pain, and dedication of these athletes on and off the track.

Enriched by riveting and often touching commentary from nearly one hundred skaters, coaches, fans, and referees, this book captures the daring, entrepreneurial spirit of the participants, the extraordinary bonds that form, and the invigorating and infectious fanaticism that characterizes every bout. An increasing number of male, co-ed, and junior leagues all share a strong, do-it-yourself ethic that combines fierce athleticism with elements from punk, camp, and third-wave feminist aesthetics. In part because of this non-discriminatory nature, roller derby is currently the fastest growing sport in America."

Next up is Vinyl: The Art of Making Records by Mike Evans.

From Sterling Publishing:

"In our increasingly digital world, audiophiles know that the real recording is on vinyl. That’s why sales of vinyl continue to soar. Mike Evans offers a sumptuous visual celebration of this medium’s fascinating history and triumphant rebirth. From weighty 78s to feisty 45s, from eccentric EPs to legendary LPs, he brings vinyl recordings off the shelves and out of the crates, spotlighting:

· The development of discs from shellac to vinyl · Run-out groove messages, picture discs, limited editions, colored vinyl, and deluxe 180g reissues that make fans and collectors rejoice · The records’ iconic packaging and art, including the work of Reid Miles, Roger Dean, Peter Saville, and Hipgnosis · The history and development of various leading labels, such as Atlantic, Audio Fidelity, Casablanca, Decca, Def Jam, Motown, Verve, and more · Groundbreaking artists and their game-changing releases, from the first 45, Eddy Arnold’s “Texarkana Baby,” to the vinyl revival as led by Jack White’s Lazaretto.  No collection is complete without it."

(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, February 2, 2016

No Priors - Sophie Bérubé

No Priors is Sophie Bérubé's debut novel. Originally published in French in Canada under the title Sans Antécédents in 2011, it has been recently released in English.

Thomas is a bookseller who can 'read' his customers. He just seems to know what books they will like and how to make them all feel 'special'. When a lawyer named Roxanne walks into the bookstore, Thomas is surprised to find himself attracted to her - more than he imagined. The attraction is mutual and a relationship begins....

The reader is privy to that relationship - the ups and downs, ins and outs, the arguments and make ups and more. Bérubé pulls no punches in depicting a dark and troubling union.

But, No Priors is a 'he said, she said' story that will have you wondering who is telling the truth. The first half of the book is Thomas's view of the relationship and the second half is Roxanne's viewpoint. I must admit - I was fooled. I believed one over the other and was proven wrong. Bérubé does a great job of depicting Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Many of the scenes were disturbing, albeit believable. Both characters are 'damaged' and their willingness to stay in such a dysfunctional relationship is sad and hard to read.

As someone who rarely reads a book twice, I did find myself becoming a wee bit bored re-reading of the same events a second time. It was like reading about the same event but with a different ending each time. But, it is those opposite endings and differing views that will have you questioning who is telling the truth. Or is there a truth?  Bérubé's depiction of this toxic relationship seems scarily accurate.....Read an excerpt of No Priors.