Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bone Thief - Jefferson Bass

All caught up on Kathy Reichs? Miss the early Scarpetta novels? The Bone Thief is the 5th book in The Body Farm series by Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Jefferson is a veteran jounalist and forensic anthropologist Bass is the actual founder of The Body Farm. (This was the setting for one of Cornwell's first Scarpetta books)

Dr. Bill Brockton is the recurring character and guess what - he's a forensic anthropologist at the Body Farm. So absolutely all the technical details and descriptions are accurate.

In The Bone Thief, Brockton stumbles upon a black market dealing in stolen body parts. The FBI wants Bill to use Body Farm parts in a sting operation. When Bill's good friend Dr. Garcia suffers a tragic accident and needs a body part that he will probably never receive through regular donation protocol, Bill is forced to reexamine his own principles.

A good series and one I will continue to follow. The technical detail is great, the plot is very current, drawing from recent headlines. The secondary plot line involving Bill's personal life is sometimes a bit awkward and forced. The supporting character of lab assistant Miranda has lots of potential to develop into a larger role.

Read an excerpt of The Bone Thief.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Over the Counter # 6

Catching my eye this week as it passed over my library counter and under my scanner was bed in a tree: and other amazing hotels from around the world.

From the publisher Dorling Kindersley (DK):

"A handpicked selection of 27 extraordinary hotels from around the world. Every hotel offers an unforgettable and original place to stay.

Hotels spotlighted include the Ice Hotel in Sweden, an actual bed in a tree, a room underwater, a wine barrel and even a night in a suitcase!

Each hotel entry suggests three interesting, and often unusual, things to do nearby.

The book also features vouchers offering a 10% discount at selected hotels"

My favourites? Definitely the gypsy caravans and the tree houses.

(Over the Counter is a new 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, April 28, 2010

Guest Post - Dianne Warren - Cool Water

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome Dianne Warren as my guest blogger today! If you stopped by yesterday, you read my review of her latest book - Cool Water. It was a 5 star read for me. The characters in Cool Water stayed with long after turning the last page.....

Character in Cool Water

"When I teach writing, one of the most common questions I get is about character development. Certain how-to books tell you to make lists of character traits and what people wear and how they talk and what kind of childhood they had. I do none of this and I venture to guess that most fiction writers do not. By the time you finish writing a book you might know what your characters keep hidden in their dresser drawers, but you can’t create a character by deciding this before you start... unless of course what is in the drawer is part of the premise. There’s always an unless.

For the most part, what a character looks like – blond hair, dark hair, short, tall – doesn’t matter to me, unless the character is seen through the eyes of another character, in which case the interpretation has more to do with the looker than the one being looked at. Instead of presenting a full-colour portrait of a character, I might pick out one object of clothing that symbolizes the character, or says something about that character’s life.

For example, when Lee gets out of bed in his first chapter he grabs a wrinkled shirt out of the laundry basket. The shirt symbolizes the loss of Astrid, who used to do his laundry. When Marion buys the mint green pantsuit, watched in the store by Vicki, we see a shy woman planning a “date”. So the description of apparel is not without context. There’s no point where a description of the characters’ clothing is provided by me, the writer as observer in the scene, just to paint a portrait of the character for the reader, as in “John the doorman, with his dark wavy hair and blue eyes, stood under the awning in a blue suit, wearing black patent shoes....”, etc.

When I created my cast of characters in Cool Water, my interest was in their lives within the context of the community of Juliet, and their interconnectedness there. It’s hard to say how their individual characters were built, but I know it didn’t happen from the outside in. I think character is born of solitude. And when you understand a character in solitude, you understand how he or she will act and react around other people.

I’ve been asked several times if I like the characters in Cool Water and I have to say, yes, most of them. Although there are some very bad people in the world, I believe that most people are just trying to get by in the time that they have on earth, enjoy themselves at least some of the time, find friends and partners in life, do a good deed once in a while. Life is in many ways a lonely business and people are fortunate when they experience moments of the sublime in their loneliness. Lee has one these moments as he rides the horse alone in the darkness. Norval experiences one in the swimming pool. Shiloh, as he lies against a hay bale in the ditch after hitch-hiking away from town.

Although I consider my characters to be realistic, I do not see Cool Water as a “naturalistic” novel. I’m not interested in day to day details for the sake of those details, or for the sake of creating busy work for a character as he or she gets from A to B in the plot. I strive to make the realistic details of what a character does play double duty. For example, when Lee cleans Astrid’s silver tea service, he’s making life without Astrid and Lester his own. He plays with the word samovar, which slips the teapot into the world of Lee’s – and the novel’s – desert mythology.

For me as a reader, character is where my interest lies. There’s no one kind of book about character that I like – realistic, post modern, historical, stream of consciousness, whatever – but I want to be convinced that what a writer says about people is insightful and honest. That’s the wonder of fiction; through imagination – basically, making people and their stories up – you can achieve some kind of truth about the world we live in."

Thank you so much for stopping by Dianne!

Read an excerpt of Cool Water.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cool Water - Dianne Warren

Often I will sit and peruse the cover of a book before opening it and starting to read, wondering what connection the cover has to the story inside. I love the feel of diners and those postcards promised a good story....

Cool Water takes place in tiny Juliet, Saskatchewan over the course of two days. In rotating chapters we follow the lives of a few of the inhabitants.

Lee was a foundling, taken in by the Torgesons. They've passed on and he's now alone on the farm they've left him, unsure of himself and his place in life. Blaine and Vicki Dolson have six children - and a truckload of debt. Local banker Norval Birch has always followed the rules, but begins to question what he's really accomplished in life. Willard and his brother's widow Marian have shared the same house for nine years. They are unable to identify and act on the fact that they love one another. Lynn questions her husband's faithfullness when she finds a woman's phone number in his pocket.

None of these scenarios are earth shattering, but that is the genius behind Cool Water. There's nothing special about the characters - they're just everyday people trying to do the best they can. We become privy to the happenings behind closed doors, the feelings, emotions and memories of the characters.

Dianne Warren's prose are simple, yet eloquent and aching. The inhabitants and the town of Juliet are so clearly drawn, I had very defined mental images of both. Warren has captured the feel of small town perfectly. Living near a town of the same size, I found myself walking down Main Street the other day, looking at those I met on the sidewalk just a little bit differently.

Tying many of these stories together was a horse, both present and from the past. The horse is prominent in Lee's journey as he unwittingly recreates a hundred mile ride from the past. Lee's story touched me the most of all the characters. I was surprised by the redemption of Norval's wife Lila. At first she came across as distinctly unlikeable, but as events unfolded I was caught off guard by her reaction. But Vicki was another character who I related to - the thought of cutting and blanching bushels of beans is daunting, yet I too do it year after year.

Warren was a Canadian author new to me, but one I encourage you to discover. An absolute five star read.

Read an excerpt of Cool Water. This would be a great choice for a book club - there is a reading group guide.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Giveaway - The Swimming Pool - Molly LeCraw

Thanks to the generosity of Doubleday Publishing, I have two copies of Holly LeCraw's debut novel The Swimming Pool to giveaway.

From the publisher:

"A heartbreaking affair, an unsolved murder, an explosive romance: welcome to summer on the Cape in this powerful debut.

Seven summers ago, Marcella Atkinson fell in love with Cecil McClatchey, a married father of two. But on the same night their romance abruptly ended, Cecil's wife was found murdered—and their lives changed forever. The case was never solved, and Cecil died soon after, an uncharged suspect.

Now divorced and estranged from her only daughter, Marcella lives alone, mired in grief and guilt. Meanwhile, Cecil's grown son, Jed, returns to the Cape with his sister for the first time in years. One day he finds a woman's bathing suit buried in a closet—a relic, unbeknownst to him, of his father's affair—and, on a hunch, confronts Marcella. When they fall into an affair of their own, their passion temporarily masks the pain of the past, but also leads to crises and revelations they never could have imagined. "

Read an excerpt of The Swimming Pool.

Sound good? Simply leave a comment to be entered. Open to the US only, no po boxes please. Ends Sunday May 23th at 6 pm EST.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Winners - The Pocket Therapist - Therese Borchard

And the three lucky winners (chosen by of a copy of The Pocket Therapist by Therese Bouchard, courtesy of The Hachette Book Group are:

1. Bookfoolery
2. Sarah Fish
3. Gina (Prim and Polished)

I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses - please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Clouds Roll Away - Sibella Giorello

The Clouds Roll Away is the third novel in Sibella Giorello's Raleigh Harmon series. It was the first book by this author that I had read.

The setting is in the South, where racial tensions and undercurrents still simmer. When a burning cross is found on the yard of a black rapper who has moved into an old plantation, the heat is turned up and FBI Agent Harmon is called in to investigate the hate crime. Her unique specialty is forensic geology. The author draws on her own geology degree for background.

Harmon is an interesting character and the sub plot involving her personal life is just as appealing as the case itself. She's just moved back to Richmond, Virginia having survived a disciplinary move to another field office. Her mother is mentally living in the past, and Raleigh's past wants to catch up with her - in the form of an old boyfriend.

The main plot idea is a good one. However I thought it got a bit muddy in places, specifically in the procedurals. The law enforcement characters seemed to be caricatures. In the beginning Wally the lodger seemed like a character out of place. His involvement is not really clear until the end when he is used as a vehicle for a redemption theme.

The Clouds Roll Away is marketed as Christian suspense. Although the crime in heinous, there is no overt violence. The Christian message is there, but again is not 'in your face'. Giorello's writing flows easily and her descriptions of scenes were worth reading slowly and savouring. I did feel a little lost in the beginning as I had not read the previous two books. I did enjoy this book, but it was the character herself I really connected with. The crime was intriguing, but was secondary for me. Fans of this genre would definitely enjoy this series - the fourth book is in the works.

Read an excerpt of The Clouds Roll Away.

Fans of this genre would enjoy this series.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Over the Counter # 5

Catching my eye this week as it passed under my scanner and over my library counter was:

Glamourpuss: The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs.

Yep, you read that correctly - kitty wigs. The book is captioned photos of cats wearing wigs....

From the publisher Chronicle Books:

"Glamourpuss -- According to, we have officially reached "totally new levels of redonkulessness." The Kitty Wig craze—sprung from the feverish imagination of Julie Jackson and her purring partner in crime—has swept the globe. Glamourpuss presents 60 stylish portraits showcasing furry models in the most fetching custom-made cat wigs ever created. The chic felines in this delightfully odd book answer the age-old question: what on earth do cats do all day? Make no bones about it—these utterly fashionable minxes are the hottest pet trend since cats in hats!"

Need to know more? Want a kitty wig for your pampered puss? Check out the author Julie Jackson's website. Photos by Jill Johnson.

(Over the Counter is a new 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!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deception - Jonathan Kellerman

Deception is the 25th (!) novel in Jonathan Kellerman's hugely successful Alex Delaware series.

Alex Delaware is a psychologist. He's been working for years with the LAPD as a consultant with his good friend Detective Milo Sturgis. Together they've solved many a crime by combining their talents.

A young woman is found dead in her home in unusual circumstances. But the DVD found next to her ratchets up the stakes even more. Elise was a teacher at a private prep school. On the DVD she claims she was emotionally and physically abused for the last year and half - by other teachers at the school.

As Milo and Alex delve into the case, they are hampered in their efforts by both City Hall, the police department and the wealthy parents of the students at the school. What is going on and how far does the deception go?

I always enjoy this series - I've read every one. I have no doubt that I will enjoy the read every time I pick up the latest. The plotting is good and current - this type of allegation has been in the headlines. Earlier novels featured more of Alex being a psychologist and actually working with patients. Recurring characters such as Robin seem to be an obligatory entry in this novel. The focus in Deception is more on Milo and the machinations of the political and police departments. The quick witted banter between Milo and Alex is entertaining. Did I enjoy it - yes. Is it one of the better books in the series - in my opinion, no. But that certainly won't stop me from picking up the next one.

Read an excerpt.

Kellerman is the husband of Faye Kellerman who writes a very good recurring police series as well. And their son Jesse Kellerman is also a thriller author.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Giveaway - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith

I'm looking forward to listening to Abraham Lincoln; Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith. Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group I have three audio book copies to giveaway!

From the publisher:

"Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation."

Listen to an excerpt of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Or read an excerpt.

Check out the video! Or this mini mocumentary. There's even an iPhone app! Become a Facebook fan. Or join the Undead Book Club.

To be entered into this giveaway, simply leave a comment. Open to both the US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Saturday May 22nd at 6 pm EST.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Read, Remember, Recommend - Rachelle Rogers Knight

Subtitled: A Reading Journal for Book Lovers.

Well that's me for sure! So I was more than happy to have a look at Read, Remember, Recommend.

The book a spiral bound softcover, divided into six sections.

The first section is one I know I will use again and again - Awards and Notable Lists. There are loads of entries, covering well known - Pulitzer, Oprah - as well as lesser known. I was thrilled to see that the compilation covered Canadian and international lists as well. Books that appear in more than one list are marked with a symbol. The symbols are identified in a footnote section at the end of the tab. I did find the symbols somewhat confusing - perhaps a numbering system would have been easier to search. For the most part, the lists have two empty spots for filling in the winners of the 2010/2011 entries. This wasn't necessarily consistent though. Some entries have blanks for three years, others only two. Some left no space - the Quill and Quire list for example. I would have liked to have seen more blanks left - perhaps up to 5 years. I quite enjoyed seeing how many of the books I had read on the lists. There is room to create your own lists as well.

The second section also features formatted pages to list those books you'd like to read. There's about 60 entries. (For me - that wouldn't do a year!) Checklists for own, recommend, to read and want are included with the above two sections.

The third section is journal pages - a place to keep track of your thoughts. As a blogger I find I keep more detailed notes than the journal would hold. The fourth section is a place to record books you'd recommend to others. The fifth is a place to record the books you've loaned out (and hopefully had returned!)

The sixth section was one I found very useful. It's a resource section, listing the web addresses of the awards and lists mentioned in the first section. It also has a great list of blogs - I saw many I already follow. There's a glossary of literary terms included, which would be useful to those writing reviews or for book club discussions.

I will be keeping this handy on my desk at work to use as a reference tool in reader's advisory. Personally as a blogger, I wouldn't use the journal pages - I keep track on my blog and catalogue my books with one of the online sites available, but this would make a great, reasonably priced gift for the booklover on your list.

There is also a teen version of the book. And it looks like electronic versions will be available in the future. Take a peek inside.

You can visit the author at her blog - Bibliobabe.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Winner - Bitten - Kelley Armstrong

And the winner(chosen by of my Happy Blogiversary giveaway is:

buddyt ( an international winner!)

A copy of Bitten by Kelley Armstrong is yours!

Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing addresses. Thank you for all the good wishes everyone - very much appreciated!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Winner - Last Snow - Eric Van Lustbader

And the lucky winner (chosen by of a copy of Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader, courtesy of The Book Report Network is:


I've contacted you by email for your mailing address. Thanks to all who entered - check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bitten - Kelley Armstrong

I haven't really gotten into reading the paranormal genre. But when I was offered the opportunity to read Bitten, the first book in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series, I bit. I had heard Kelley speak at a library conference and was impressed by her.

Bitten is the story of Elena, the only female werewolf. She isn't happy, has turned her back on her Pack and is trying to live a normal life in Toronto. But when the Pack calls on her to help with a dangerous rogue bent on destroying them, she reluctantly agrees. She'll help them, but then she's done with them - for good.

I was easily caught up in the story from the first few pages. Armstrong's writing is sharp, crisp and intriguing. The storyline is solid and doesn't depend on 'glances and moments'. Bitten is a combination suspense/thriller/mystery with yes - some romance thrown in. I became enamoured of the characters - they were well drawn. The book was a definite page turner - I'll be picking up the next book in this adult series.

Kelley Armstrong is a Canadian author and one of the pioneers of the paranormal genre. Bitten originally came out in 2001.

Read an excerpt of Bitten.

** Remember you still have time to enter the giveaway for a spankin' new copy of Bitten. Ends Sunday April 18th at 6 pm EST.**

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Over the Counter # 4

Catching my eye this week as it passed over my library counter was Sexually, I'm More of a Switzerland, edited by David Rose.

Really with a title like that, how could I not pick it up and browse?

From the publisher Simon & Shuster:

"Straight from British shores, here is another dose of love, or the lack of it, from the pages of the London Review of Books. The editor of They Call Me Naughty Lola has cooked up yet another irresistible collection of brilliant, bawdy and often absurd personal ads from the world's funniest, and smartest, lonely-hearts column. These ads prove that even if you're lonely, you don't have to be boring, as advertisers in this book demand much more than long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners from their potential mates.

Arranged by theme ('The Usual Hyperbole and a Whiff of Playful Narcissism'), and including footnotes to obscure references, Sexually, I'm More of a Switzerland promises to be 'a naughty treat' (Entertainment Weekly)."

(Over the Counter is a new 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!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The One-Week Job Project - Sean Aiken

Sean Aiken graduated from college with a degree in Business Administration and was class valedictorian. A year and half later Sean is still trying to figure out what to do with his life.

"Whether we're coming out of school and entering the work world, thinking about a career change after twenty years in the same position, or victim of a layoff due to the changing economy, most of us will look deep inside ourselves for an answer to the question 'What should I do with my life?' Ultimately I think we all want to be happy. But what that really means and how to get there remains uncertain."

Well to try and get there, Sean decided to try different jobs - 52 of them to be exact - a new one every week. The jobs were eclectic and varied. Pizza maker, fashion buyer, dairy farmer, Hollywood producer and 48 more! Sean started locally in British Columbia, but as word spread via his blog, radio and television interviews, the project snowballed and reached into the US as well. Eventually his best friend Ian joined the project, video documenting the project.

Sean comes across in his writing and in photos included in the book as incredibly likable. His personality is a major part of the success of this project. But his honesty impressed me as well. With each new job he tries, he discovers something new about his likes or dislikes and about people in general and most importantly - himself.

As the project gathers steam, "Something didn't feel right. My spiel had become routine. "Somewhere in the midst of all the noise, I'd gotten away from my original intentions. I started to base the success of the project on the media coverage it received."

"For years I'd based my decisions on what others people thought. Society had painted an image of success in my mind that I tirelessly tried to emulate." This sentiment is repeated by many of the participants - especially those a bit older. "I wish I would have acted without the fear of what others thought."

I found the following observation to be quite telling. " I noticed that the people who were the most passionate about their jobs felt they were contributing to something greater that themselves. The genuinely believed in what they were doing and understood the significance of their job in the bigger picture. It matters that they show up to work each day, because they give something valuable, whether to the company, the community, or the world."

Many of the participants spoke of finding your passion to be happy. By the end, Sean does discover his passion - "to explore, to try new things, travel, meet interesting people, learn about myself and then share these lessons with others."

I really enjoyed this book on many levels. I found the jobs interesting and truly enjoyed Sean's adventure and journey. But I also think it makes you question what you're doing. What can I do to be happier or to make a difference? Can you combine what you love with the necessity of making a living and supporting a family?

The One-Week Job Project was an entertaining, thought provoking read.

Check out the website. Follow along on the blog. Find The One Week Job Project on Facebook and Twitter.

And here's something cool! Still trying to find out what you want to do with your life? Like what Sean did? Do it yourself! Apply for the One Week Job Program. 3 people, 8 jobs and it's paid. Apply here.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Giveaway - Admission - Jean Hanff Korelitz

Looking for your next book club selection? Something different? What about Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz? And there's a reading guide as well.

Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group I have 3 copies to giveaway.

From the publisher:

"Admissions. Admission. Aren't there two sides to the word? And two opposing sides...It's what we let in, but it's also what we let out."

For years, 38-year-old Portia Nathan has avoided the past, hiding behind her busy (and sometimes punishing) career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia is faced with an extraordinary test. Just as thousands of the nation's brightest students await her decision regarding their academic admission, so too must Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission.

Admission is at once a fascinating look at the complex college admissions process and an emotional examination of what happens when the secrets of the past return and shake a woman's life to its core."

Read an excerpt of Admission. Listen to a BlogTalk Radio interview with Jean.

Leave a comment to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Saturday May 15 at 6 pm EST.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Winners - Black Hills - Dan Simmons

And the three winners (chosen by of an audio book copy of Black Hills by Dan Simmons, courtesyof The Hachette Book Group are:

1. mandie 5644
2. Cheryl F the lucky ladybug ( yes #1 came up!)
3. Terri

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Giveaway - Presumed Innocent - Scott Turow

Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies of Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow to giveaway.

From the publisher:

"PRESUMED INNOCENT brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of crimes. Prosecutor Rusty Sabich is transformed from accuser to accused when he is handed an explosive case--that of the brutal murder of a woman who happens to be his former lover."

Read an excerpt of Presumed Innocent. or Listen to an excerpt. You can find Scott Turow on Facebook as well.

The sequel to Presumed Innocent, titled Innocent releases May 4th.

Simply leave a comment to be entered. Open to both US and Canada, no po boxes please. Ends Saturday, May 8th at 6 pm. EST.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Over the Counter #3

The latest book to catch my eye crossing over my library counter was Don't Throw it - Grow it! by Deborah Petereson & Millicent Selsam.

Okay who hasn't tried to stick toothpicks in an avocado and grow it on the windowsill? This book gives you a few more options....

From the publisher Storey Publishing:

"Eat your vegetables — and plant them too!

Plant the pits, roots, shoots, and seeds of almonds, anise, avocados, beans, celery, citrus, dates, fennel, figs, ginger root, kiwi, mango, mustard, papaya, peanuts, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, sesame, squash, turnip, tropical guava...and more!

You an also have houseplant fun with fruits, nuts, herbs, and spices. From the common carrot to the exotic cherimoya, dozens of foods have pits, seeds, and roots waiting to be rescued from the compost bin and brought back to life on your windowsill. Planted and nurtured, the shiny pomegranate seeds left over from breakfast, and the neglected piece of ginger root in your refrigerator will grow into a healthy, vigorous houseplants — kitchen experiments in the wonder of botany."

(Over the Counter is a new 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!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slip of the Knife - Denise Mina

I stumbled across Denise Mina as an author years ago when I picked up her first novel Garnethill.

Her gritty style captured me then and Slip of the Knife just confirms why I enjoyed it so much.

Paddy Meehan is a female reporter in Glasgow, Scotland. When her ex boyfriend Terry is found shot execution style, she mourns his passing. She is stunned to find out he has left her his house and a folder full of notes - he was also a reporter. As she digs further into his death, it looks like The Troubles have a part in his passing. How far will Paddy go to find the truth - especially after her son is threatened.

There is so much more to the plot than just that brief overview. The subplots involving Paddy's troubled personal life, her family and friends are just as fascinating. Meehan is a recurring character who is overweight, cantankerous, loyal and dogged. She is a wonderful protagonist simply because she is so far from a 'perfect' character.

Mina's writing is gritty and real. Her descriptions and conversations leap off the page. She has a sly sense of humour, often injected when least expected. Historical fact is carefully woven into fiction.

Read an excerpt of Slip of the Knife.

Absolutely recommended!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Love Nest - Julia Llewellyn

There is sometimes just a 'right time' to read a book. A sunny day, warm enough to sit outside was the perfect time to read The Love Nest. Light, witty and just downright fun to read.

The premise of the novel is quite entertaining - all based on the characters 'movin' on up' in the housing market. Each sale is dependent on the next....

Grace's childhood home - a manor - is to be sold off to pay debts now that her mother has died.

Karen's husband Phil desperately wants to move to the country from London and thinks the manor would be perfect for their family. Karen doesn't.

Gemma and Alex are trying to have a baby and want to move to a family home -in fact Karen and Phil's house would be just right.

Rock star Nick Crex thinks that Gemma and Alex's loft would be just the property to invest in. But he doesn't want his girlfriend to know about it.

And Lucinda, the real estate agent, thinks Nick might just fall for her, if she can get him that loft. But all is not smooth sailing....

Llewellyn has created many characters, all with very different personalities. I didn't warm up to all of them, but they all provoked a reaction. Some of them were selfish and shallow, others were warm, quirky and caring. I especially took to Grace and would love to had more of her story. There are enough personalities to keep things interesting. The plot has myriad threads, but I had no problem keeping them all straight. Llewellyn has done a fantastic job of weaving all the stories together. The ending for each story isn't all fairy tale - some turned out different than I would have imagined.

An enjoyable read that definitely kept me entertained!

Read an excerpt of The Love Nest.

Llewellyn was a new British author for me, but one I will be reading again. Fans of Jill Mansell and Marian Keyes would enjoy this chick lit author.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Giveaway - A Week in December - Sebastian Faulks

Thanks to the generosity of Doubleday Publishing , I have two copies of Sebastian Faulk's latest novel - A Week in December to giveaway.

From the publisher:

"From the author of the bestselling Birdsong comes a powerful novel that melds the moral heft of Dickens and the scrupulous realism of Trollope with the satirical spirit of Tom Wolfe.

London: the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days we follow the lives of seven major characters: a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamist theory; a hack book reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on reality TV and genetically altered pot; and a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop.

With daring skill and savage humor, A Week in December explores the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life; as the novel moves to its gripping climax, its characters are forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they—and we all—inhabit."

Read an excerpt of A Week in December.

Like to own it? Just comment to be entered. Sorry - this one is for the US only, no po boxes please. Ends Saturday May 1st at 6 pm EST.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Winners - Worst Case - James Patterson

And the three lucky winners (chosen by and of an audio book copy of Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge courtesy of the Hachette Book Group are:

1. Martha Lawson
2. lanie
3. purplepassion126

Congratulations! I've contacted you by email for your mailing addresses. Please respond within 72 hours. Thanks to all who entered and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Over the Counter #2 Garden Gnomes - A History

Yes, Garden Gnomes - A History from Shire Books caught my eye this week as it passed under my scanner. I think it was the gnome with a gun....

From the publisher:

"This is the intriguing story of garden gnomes and how they have come to reside in the flowerbeds of gardens across Britain. Originating in Europe, gnomes made the leap across the channel in the nineteenth century, where they were welcomed warmly by wealthy Brits who saw them as the must-have garden accessory. But the fortunes of the humble gnome were not to last, and they soon found themselves sneered at by serious gardeners. Turned away from fashionable gardens, the little gnomes found a friend in many a working class gardener, who adopted them in increasing numbers, and in a variety of humorous poses. Today, gnomes are as popular with the masses as ever, and this entertaining illustrated history will appeal to those who love, and hate, these small bearded characters."

And this little portly fellow lives in my library - yes I have a library gnome - and it looks suspiciously like my husband. ( It was painted to resemble him - he has a liking for gnomes.)

..........Beware......they're everywhere - even on Easter.........

( Over the counter is a new irregular feature in which Luanne realizes she cannot physically read every book she sees at work)