Saturday, August 1, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #74

- 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
Well, you might just be saying to yourself - Luanne, you posted the same cover twice.Close but not quite! I've read the previous two books in Robert Galbraith's (AKA J.K. Rowling) Cormoran Strike series and quite enjoyed them. I'll be reading Career of Evil, the third book, releasing in October. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. So this week's choice comes down to font style and placement. This week, it's the US cover for me. What about you? Which cover do you prefer? Do you plan to read Career of Evil.
 You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is a regular Saturday feature at
 A Bookworm's World.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Film on Friday #39 - Belle and Sebastian

When I saw this new release from Film Movement - Belle and Sebastian - I just knew it was one I had to watch. As with all Film Movement releases, it was a featured film at many festivals and was the Grand Prize Best Film at the New York International Children's Film Festival.

My now twenty something son absolutely adored the cartoon series about a boy and his giant white dog. We had a very large white Alaskan Malamute at the time and I know he played out many adventures with Murphy in the backyard.

The film takes place in 1943 in the French Alps. Sebastian lives with an old shepherd named Cesar.  The village is worried about a 'beast' who has been attacking the local flocks and have vowed to kill it. Young Sebastian comes across the dog the villagers are seeking and instead, befriends it. The dog becomes Sebastian's protector. For there is danger in the village - the Nazis have occupied it - and the villagers are moving Jewish refugees across the border into Switzerland. You guessed it - Belle and Sebastian are a part of that.

This is such a great movie for families. There's danger, adventure and of course a dog who is so very special. Who wouldn't want to imagine themselves as Sebastian? Prepare to have your heartstrings tugged. (For younger viewers, please take not that there are some some animals killed as part of the story.)

The movie is worth watching for the scenery alone - the views and vistas of the French Alps are absolutely magnificent. The scenes shot in the snow are real - and just as magnificent.

Young Félix Bossuet is such a natural actor. His lines were believable and his facial and body language also spoke volumes. It was easy to believe him as just a boy and his dog. Tchéky Karyo plays 'grandfather' Cesar. I had literally just watched him in the television series The Missing and enjoyed his performance. I thought he did a great job in this film as well. And a review of the actors would not be complete without mentioning the dog - well trained and perfect casting!

Families watching with children will likely choose the English dubbing. It seemed a bit off to me in the beginning, but wasn't badly done at all. I did find that of the dialogue could have used a bit more editing before being used  - some of the phrases and language just didn't seem to fit the time and place. I chose to watch with the subtitles instead. There's a 30 minute plus feature included on the making of the film as well.

Director Nicolas Vanier did a great job of bringing Cecile Aubry's classic book to the screen and a new audience. And now I'm going to pass my copy on to that twenty-something son....

France/99 minutes/Original French with English subtitles/ English

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Over The Counter #274

What books caught my eye this week as they passed over the library counter and under my scanner? This week - books people have written about their jobs. Or memoirs if you prefer.

First up is The Story: A Reporter's Journey by Judith Miller.

From the publisher, Simon and Schuster:

"Star reporter for the New York Times, the world’s most powerful newspaper; foreign correspondent in some of the most dangerous fields; Pulitzer winner; longest jailed correspondent for protecting her sources, Judith Miller is highly respected and controversial. In this memoir, she turns her reporting skills on herself with the intensity of her professional vocation.

Judy Miller grew up near the Nevada atomic proving ground. She got a job at the New York Times after a suit by women employees about discrimination at the paper and went on to cover national politics, head the paper’s bureau in Cairo, and serve as deputy editor in Paris and then deputy at the powerful Washington bureau. She reported on terrorism and the rise of fanatical Islam in the Middle East and on secret biological weapons plants and programs in Iraq, Iran, and Russia. She covered an administration traumatized by 9/11 and an anthrax attack three weeks later. Miller shared a Pulitzer for her reporting.

She turns her journalistic skills on herself and her controversial reporting which marshaled evidence that led America to invade Iraq. She writes about the mistakes she and others made on the existence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. She addresses the motives of some of her sources, including the notorious Iraqi Chalabi and the CIA. She describes going to jail to protect her sources in the Scooter Libby investigation of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame and how the Times subsequently abandoned her after twenty-eight years.

The Story describes the real life of a foreign and investigative reporter. It is an adventure story, told with bluntness and wryness."

Next up is Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked: Field Notes From a Funeral Director by Robert Webster.

From the publisher, Sourcebooks:

"With curious anecdotes and unbelievable truth, funeral director Robert Webster reveals that answer and more, offering readers entertaining and quirky stories gleaned from a life lived around death. Webster tackles those embarrassing questions we all have about what really goes on behind the scenes when you've left this world:

- Strange things people put in caskets - The biggest rip-offs in the business - The crazy things that happen to a body after death - Lime, wax, and other ways to hide the truth - The most important thing an undertaker does - How to avoid the high-pressure funeral parlor - What, that's not a coffin the body is resting in "

(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 29, 2015

Bug in a Vacuum - Melanie Watt

Melanie Watt (Author of  the Scaredy Squirrel and Chester books, among others) has come out with a brilliant new picture book. I first heard about Bug in a Vacuum from the children's selection librarian at work - she raved about it. And, now that I'm a Gramma (insert big smile) picture books are back on my radar!

I knew it was going to be clever from the first pages...

Bug: 1. An insect  2. An unexpected glitch
Vacuum: 1. A cleaning machine  2. A void left by a loss.

I loved the cover, with its retro feel in colour, tone -  and vaccum style. Indeed, every illustration is a painting filled with details for old and young. The can of dandelion repellent in one of the first few pages  contains "Poisonous Chemicals to difficult to spell." Each product featured comes with similar warnings and labels. Small items lost under the fridge, tables etc., and found again in the vacuum also encourage playing I Spy.

Young readers will have fun tracing the bug's path as he flies in and through the house. Until the moment he/she meets...the vacuum. Napoleon the dog has lost his little friend to the vacuum as well.

Adults will recognize the five stages of grief as our poor little bug goes through them - Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Despair and Acceptance. ("The five stages of grief, also know as the Kubler-Ross model, introduced in 1969, are a series of emotions commonly experienced when facing a life-changing event.") Words are used sparingly - to great effect. The story could be told simply with the illustrations. Napoleon the dog only has thought bubbles, but he has too is going through the five stages. Or, using the dialogue, much discussion could be had about emotions, talking about how the bug is feeling and acting. Or just read it for fun!

Officially listed as a 5-9 years age range, I beg to differ. This story has appeal for all ages and can be read on so many different levels.  It's clever, humourous and beautifully illustrated. Watt is both the writer and illustrator. I absolutely loved it!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Finding Audrey - Sophie Kinsella

The opening prologue of Finding Audrey - the newest novel from Sophie Kinsella - had me hooked. We're quickly introduced to the Turner family - as they attempt to dissuade Mum from throwing her son Frank's computer out the upstairs window. Dad and younger son Felix are outside, pleading with her to not do it.  The last family member is Audrey - who is watching from inside the house with her sunglasses on.

The novel is told from Audrey's view. Her voice and the reason for the dark glasses are immediately compelling....

"The trouble is, depression doesn't come with handy symptoms like spots and a temperature, so you don't realize at first. You keep saying 'I'm fine' to people when you're not fine. You think you should  be fine. You keep saying to yourself: 'Why aren't I fine?'"

Kinsella does a fantastic job tackling the issues of anxiety and depression. The exact circumstances that led to Audrey's current situation are never fully detailed - which is perfect. Instead the focus is on Audrey and her progress. And that progress picks up speed when she meets Frank's friend Linus....

I loved this book!  I found myself laughing out loud many, many times. And just as many spent on sympathizing with Audrey's plight.

The characters are so engaging. It's impossible not to like Audrey. Her brother Frank's strategies and ploys to circumvent Mum's computer ban are epic. Wee Felix has few lines, but his sweetness is tangible. Dad is a bit of a bumbler and Mum is a bit of hard nose. (It was Mum I had the hardest time liking) But what they all share is a love for Audrey and a desire to help her feel better. Each family member is coping and supporting her in their own way. Linus - well, Linus is lovely. And I truly hope there are teen boys like him out there. Audrey's psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah, was also a great addition to the supporting cast. Her quiet advice is full of many truths.

Finding Audrey is about Audrey finding herself - and realizing that "...life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn't matter if you slip down. As long as you're kind of heading more or less upwards. That's all you can hope for. More or less upwards."

Kinsella injects her humourous style into her first YA novel, but also handles real and serious issues with a realistic eye. Well done.

Read an excerpt of Finding Audrey. You can connect with Sophie Kinsella on her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Giveaway - Rome in Love - Anita Hughes

Summer isn't over yet! Today's giveaway is the perfect addition for your beach bag!

Rome in Love by Anita Hughes releases August 4/15 and I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader!

From the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin:

"When Amelia Tate is cast to play the Audrey Hepburn role in a remake of Roman Holiday, she feels as if all her dreams have come true. She has a handsome boyfriend, is portraying her idol in a major motion picture, and gets to live in beautiful, Italian city of Rome for the next two months. Once there, she befriends a young woman named Sophie with whom she begins to explore the city. Together, they discover all the amazing riches that Rome has to offer. But when Amelia's boyfriend breaks up with her over her acting career, her perfect world begins to crumble.

While moping in her hotel suite, Amelia discovers a stack of letters written by Audrey Hepburn that start to put her own life into perspective. Then, she meets Philip, a handsome journalist who is under the impression that she is a hotel maid, and it appears as if things are finally looking up. The problem is she can never find the right time to tell Philip her true identity. Not to mention that Philip has a few secrets of his own. Can Amelia finally have both the career and love that she's always wanted, or will she be forced to choose again?

With her sensory descriptions of the beautiful sites, decadent food, and high fashion of Rome, Hughes draws readers into this fast-paced and superbly written novel. Rome in Love will capture the hearts of readers everywhere." Read an excerpt of Rome in Love.

Credit: Sheri Geoffreys

"Anita Hughes is the author of Lake Como, Market Street, and Monarch Beach. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and has taught Creative Writing at The Branson School in Ross, California. Hughes lives in Dana Point, California, where she is at work on her next novel." You can connect with Anita Hughes on her website, as well as on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sound like a book you'd love to read?! Enter to win a copy using the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US only, no PO boxes please. Ends August 8/15.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover #63

- 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
I'm really looking forward to Karin Slaughter's newest book releasing in September in the US and July in the UK. She's a fantastic crime novelist. Pretty Girls is a stand alone. The US cover is on the left and the UK cover is on the right. Well, both covers have a blurb from Lee Child. The UK is more explicit and definitely lets you know it's a crime novel. But this week, I think I am drawn more to the subtlety of the the locket falling in the  US cover. What cover do you prefer? Do you plan to read Pretty Girls?
You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover is 
a regular Saturday feature at 
A Bookworm's World.