Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Giveaway - Sisters of Treason - Elizabeth Fremantle

Calling all historical fiction fans! I've got a great giveaway for you today. Elizabeth Fremantle's newest book - Sisters of Treason.

From the publisher, Simon and Schuster:

"From the author of Queen’s Gambit, which People magazine called, “A must-read for Philippa Gregory fans,” a gripping historical novel about two sisters who tread as dangerously close to the crown as their tragic sister, Lady Jane Grey, executed after just nine days on the throne.

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Fremantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for.

From “a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction,” (People) Sisters of Treason brings to vivid life the perilous and romantic lives of two little known young women who played a major role in the complex politics of their day."

"Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Queen's Gambit and has contributed to Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair and The Sunday Times among other publications. She lives in London, England." Read an excerpt of Sisters of Treason.

Sound like a book you'd like to own? I have one copy to giveaway. Open to continental US only, no PO boxes please. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Ends August 9/14.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Peter Pan Must Die - John Verdon

John Verdon has just released Peter Pan Must Die, the fourth book in his Dave Gurney series. I've been a fan from Verdon's first release, Think of a Number.

Dave Gurney is a retired NYPD homicide detective, who had one of the highest clear rates in the department. Now, he and his wife Madeleine have moved to the country. Madeleine has embraced the change, but Dave can't seem to let his past life go.  He's been approached over the past few years to help solve the unsolvable. He can't seem to say no, despite the danger that pursuing answers brings to his doorstep.

Jack Hardwick (another recurring character) has left law enforcement to hang out his shingle as a private detective. His fledgling case is that of a woman already convicted of murdering her husband. He's been hired to re investigate the case - and he wants Dave's help. Dave agrees to have a look, but doesn't commit until...

"It was little more that the clicking together of the first two pieces of a five-hundred-piece puzzle, but it felt good. A click was a click. And the first click had a special power."

Sometimes a crime series has characters or plot as its strength. In Verdon's case, its both. Dave Gurney is a wonderful character. His puzzle solving skills, his reasoning and his careful, analytical mind make solving case along side of him great reading. It is intriguing to follow along with his thought processes as he links together seemingly disparate incidents and clues. But this character is not one dimensional. Instead Verdon also explores Gurney's psyche and the reasons he constantly puts himself in danger. This drive for answers also exposes his loved ones to danger, especially Madeleine. I've come to appreciate Dave as a person more over the course of the last three books. But, I have to say that I really, really enjoy Madeleine. Her view of life, her intelligence, her joy in everything she she sees and does makes her my favourite. The relationship between her and Dave has been explored further with every entry in this series and is as much of interest to this reader as the cases. As Dave says:

" Our minds work differently. I get into something and just sort of stay in it. Madeleine has a way of changing her focus, of paying total attention to whatever's in front of her - adapting to the moment. She's always present, if you know what I mean."

Verdon does a spectacular job with his plotting. Where you think the story will go is turned around several times over the course of the book. A few plot devices seemed a bit far fetched, but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.

I quite enjoy this series and will be watching for number five. You could read any of the books as a stand alone, but I bet you'll be hunting down the other three!

Read an excerpt of Peter Pan Must Die. You can find John Verdon on Facebook.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Winner - The Ways of the Dead - Neely Tucker

And the lucky winner of a copy of The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker, courtesy of Viking Books is:

Techeditor

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time, a new winner will be chosen. Thanks to all who entered. Check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Winner - The Kraken Project - Douglas Preston

And the lucky winner of a copy of The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston, courtesy of Forge Books is:

Curlypow!

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond within 48 hours. After that time a new winner will chosen. Thanks to all who entered - keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways.

Winner - The Family Romanov

And the lucky winner of copy of The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming, courtesy of Random House is:

Freda M!

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Please respond in 48 hours. After that time, a new winner will be chosen. Thanks to all who entered - keep your eye on the sidebar for other great giveaways.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #13

- You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover - Which is very true.
But you can like one cover version better than another...
 
US/Canada version
UK version

I was hunting down cover art for Jennifer Weiner's latest book - All Fall Down - and came across the US/Canadian on the left and the UK cover on the right. I prefer the North American cover this time. The UK cover does spell out exactly what the book is about, but I like the roller coaster imagery.Either way, it's a really good read! Which cover do you prefer? Have you read All Fall Down?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature on A Bookworm's World

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Over the Counter #221

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? It's retro this week...

First up is Betty Cornell's Teen-Age Popularity Guide:  Here you are - everything I learned as a teenage model about good looks, grooming and personality...all my secrets of poise and glamour in one big book to help YOU become the most popular girl in your set! by Betty Cornell.

From the publisher, Dutton Books:

"Available again for a whole new generation of readers, the original 1950s popularity guide that was the inspiration for teen author Maya Van Wagenen’s memoir Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek!

Filled with fun tips and vintage wisdom, Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide offers advice and guidance for teens who want to be poised, self-confident, and “shiny bright.” Betty covers topics ranging from “Figure Problems,” “Good Grooming,” and “What to Wear Where” to hints on dating, hosting a great party, and becoming “the most popular girl in your set!”

Next up was Fabulous Frocks by Sarah Gristwood and Jane Eastoe.

From the publisher, Pavillion Books:

"No item of clothing has endured for longer than the dress. Yet the last century alone has seen the most radical changes of style – hemlines swinging from ankle to thigh; outlines alternating between the body-hugging and the bell – and our fascination with the ‘frock’ has not gone away. From Gres’ draping to Dior’s New Look, from Mary Quant’s mini to Hussein Chalayan’s mechanical marvels, this book looks at the dress in twentieth century fashion. Thematic chapters – Changes, Feminine, Sex, Must-haves, Fantasy, Classical and Art – set out the inspirations and implications for each new change alongside the stunning photography. It is more than eighty years since Coco Chanel invented the little black dress, but every woman still has one in her wardrobe today. It’s decades since women discovered trousers and separates, but every woman dreams of wearing a glorious, glamorous gown at least once, whether it’s on a Hollywood red carpet, or just on her wedding day. Fabulous Frocks is a book to fire a fashionista’s imagination."

(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, July 16, 2014

All Fall Down - Jennifer Weiner

I've been a fan of Jennifer Weiner from her first novel, Good in Bed. Her latest book, All Fall Down, has just released.

You know that analogy about the duck gliding serenely across the surface of the water - but what you can't see is how fast its feet are moving under the water? Well that is Allison Weiss's life.

On the surface she has it all - a beautiful home, a handsome husband, an adorable daughter and a very successful career as a blogger.

But lately her husband Dave has become distant, her daughter Ellie has behaviour issues, their house still looks like they just moved in, there are financial worries, her father has onset dementia, her mother isn't coping and the pressure to produce for the blog is all adding to the stress and pressure in Allison's life. The answer? A pill, or two, or three....

"Not one thing, but dozens of them, piling up against one another until the pills became less a luxury than a necessity for getting myself through the day and falling asleep at night."

While waiting to see the pediatrician, she idly fills out a magazine questionnaire and realizes...But she's not an addict, right? She can control it. And cut back if she wants to. Right?

As Weiner's tale unravels, so does Allie's life. The reader can empathize with her busy life and her stressors and can almost....but not quite, buy her rationalizations. And we can only watch as Allie's life mirrors that roller coaster on the cover and plunges downward.

Allison is not always a likable character - and that's to be expected given her situation. But I did like her voice. The supporting cast was a mixed bag. I thought Allie's mother's story was just as heartbreaking and telling. I was disappointed in Dave - he had suspicions of what was going on with Allie, but chose to not 'push' the issue, until things were far beyond the point of no return. I quite enjoyed Ellie's CAPITAL pronouncements.

What's frightening is that this book is not so far removed from the truth. Addiction doesn't always take place in a back alley in a bad part of town. I thought the ending was perfect - because life rarely is.

While Weiner's earlier books had more of a 'chick lit' feel to them, her later works tackle more serious subjects - contemporary women, their issues, emotions, thoughts and modern day life. She does it with warmth, humour, compassion and a sense of reality.

Read an excerpt of All Fall Down. You can keep up with Jennifer Weiner on Facebook and on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Awesome Giveaway! Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella Prize Pack!

Mother and daughter writing team Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella have just released their latest collection of essays - Have a Nice Guilt Trip.

"Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella are back with another collection of warm and witty stories that will strike a chord with every woman. This four book series is among the best reviewed humor books published today and has been compared to the late greats, Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron. Booklist raved of the third book in the series, Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim,  “readers can count on an ab-toning laugh session, a silly giggle, a sympathetic sigh, and a lump in the throat as life’s moments are rehashed through the keen eyes and wits of this lovable mother-daughter duo.”


This fourth volume, Have a Nice Guilt Trip, maintains the same sterling standard of humor and poignancy as Lisa and Francesca continue on the road of life acquiring men and puppies. Ok, to be honest, Lisa is acquiring the puppies, while Francesca is lucky enough to have dates with actual men. They leave it to the listeners to decide which is more desirable and/or or easier to train." Read an excerpt of Have a Nice Guilt Trip.

And to celebrate, they're giving away not just one copy of their new book....but their four previous books as well!

You read that right - one lucky reader will win all five books! Simply leave a comment with your dream trip destination to be entered. Open to continental US only, no PO boxes please. A winner will be randomly chosen on August 9th.

But wait - there's more! You can also enter to win an awesome "Guilt Trip Giveaway" prize pack worth more than $1,000! Every Wednesday from July 14th through August 29th, Lisa and Francesca are giving away everything you need for your own personal Guilt Trip. That's 7 prizes over 7 weeks! Visit this page on Lisa's website for full details and the entry form.

You can keep up with Lisa Scottoline on Facebook and on Twitter. And Francesca Serritella on Facebook and on Twitter.