Monthly Archives: December 2011

Review: The Silent Oligarch

Posted 27 December, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Silent Oligarch
By: Christopher Morgan Jones

Deep in the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources sits a nondescript bureaucrat named Konstantin Malin. He draws a nominal government salary but from his shabby office controls half the nation’s oil industry, making him one of the most wealthy and feared men in Russia. His public face is Richard Lock, a hapless money launderer bound to Malin by marriage, complacency, and greed. Lock takes the proceeds of his master’s corruption, washes them abroad, and invests them back in Russia in a secret business empire. He knows little about Malin’s true affairs, but still he knows too much.

Benjamin Webster is an investigator at a London corporate intelligence firm. Years before, as an idealistic young journalist in Russia, Webster saw a colleague murdered for asking too many hard questions of powerful people; her true killers have never been found. Hired to ruin Malin, Webster comes to realize that this shadowy figure might have ordered her gruesome death, and that this case may deliver the justice he has been seeking for a decade.

As Webster peels back the layers of Malin’s shell companies and criminal networks, Lock’s colleagues begin dying mysteriously, police around the world start to investigate, and Malin begins to question his trust in his increasingly exposed frontman. Suddenly Lock is running for his life- though from Malin or Webster, the law or his own past, he couldn’t say.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book recently thanks to GoodReads so I decided to read this book as soon as I could in order to provide a review before the novel is formally released next month.

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Meme: Teaser Tuesdays

Posted 26 December, 2011 by Lianne in Meme / 10 Comments

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Should Be Reading

Once again, I come bearing three teasers xD Here’s my first teaser:

“Not all supernatural activity was seen as good. Saints’ lives and sermons are full of alternative wonder-workers, witches, magicians and soothsayers, who could cast spells, cure, affect the weather and tell the future. These were bad people in the eyes of the writers, but they were clearly numerous. People disagreed over whether they were fraudulent or had real (demoniacal) powers.”
– p. 180, The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400 – 1000 by Chris Wickham

Okay, so that was four sentences instead of two, but I thought that passage was interesting. I’ve been reading this book on and off for the past few weeks since it’s a history tome but it’s been a fascinating read so far. A little disorienting that it’s covering several geographical sections of Europe (after specialising in such a specific time period and region for so long), but it’s an enlightening read of what the continent was like after the collapse of the Roman Empire. I’m currently on a chapter about society, culture and values during the immediate post-Roman period.

“‘Alan, just tell me. I need something. If I can’t use it you have nothing to worry about.'”
– p. 72, The Silent Oligarch (ARC) by Chris Morgan Jones

I won an advanced reading copy of this novel a few weeks ago on GoodReads so I’m reading it in hopes of producing a review before the book is formally released next month. The plot has to do with business and politics in Russia (very fitting given a) the situation unfolding over there at the moment and b) given that I studied the region when I was at school). It’s been a slow start but this chapter I’m reading at the moment (which the following quote came from) has been pretty intriguing. I’m hoping it’ll pick up steadily soon enough.

“Now certainly Bilbo was in what is called a tight place. But you must remember that it was not quite so tight for him as it would have been for me or for you.”
– p. 67, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

After flailing to no end about the trailer that was released for the first movie, I decided it was time to re-read the book (which I actually never got around to after reading it the first time years ago. Very weird considering I’ve re-read LOTR numerous times over the years since I first read it). It’s been a lot of fun re-reading it, I forgot how flummoxed Bilbo was at the beginning for having been chosen by Gandalf. Martin Freeman is going to be fantastic =D

Meme: Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 26 December, 2011 by Lianne in Meme / 15 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Top Ten Favorite Books I Read in 2011

Cannot believe another year has come and gone! This year has been quite the year in reading; so many wonderful books read! In no particular order (and going more or less in order of when I read it this year):

01. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (review)
One of the first books I read this year, I was struck by how poignant this book was. It’s a great coming of age story in Gaiman style. It’s also one of those rare books that managed to get me rather choked up at the end (I even mentioned that in my review at the time, lol).

02. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (review)
I haven’t read any of Hemingway’s books (have to get around to his works one of these days) but I know bits and pieces of his life. McLain does an amazing job of portraying his early life through the eyes of his first wife.

03. George VI by Sarah Bradford
I watched The King’s Speech earlier this year and absolutely adored the movie so I started checking out books about George VI. I knew the basics of his life and how he became king after his brother abdicated but I never knew the actual extent of the obstacles he had to overcome and the amount of pressure he had to endure. Reading this book, I gained a sense of admiration for the man and how he was able to overcome many of the problems that faced throughout his life with a sense of determination and courage.

04. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (review)
I finally got around to reading this book after a friend had recommended the book to me a few years ago and after I had bought the book the previous year. I am struck by Nemirovsky’s prose, especially as this book was not the polished final copy. The characterisations and the experience of Occupied France was just astounding.

05. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (review)
Another one of those books I read this year that left me thinking, “Why didn’t I read this sooner?” I have to say, I enjoyed this novel more than War and Peace (which I read about three years ago) because of the internal characterisations. There’s just so much going on, you just want to analyse every single detail. Once again Tolstoy gives a masterful portrayal of Russian society in this period.

06. The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte (review)
One of my favourite reads this summer, I just could not put it down. It throws you straight into the action and leaves you wondering what exactly happened from there on out. I also enjoyed the intricate parallels to a chess game and other, slightly more obscure, classics.

07. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
Probably the best science fiction novel I read this year, Leviathan Wakes was an enjoyable space opera, introducing you to an interesting, not-so-distant future complete with political intrigue, alien mysteries and good ol’ human conflict.

08. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (review)
This book piqued my curiosity with its initial premise; I don’t read a lot of novels set in a circus. But all of the praise that this book has garnered has been well-placed; what I think is my favourite part of this novel is the lush visuals that Morgenstern provides. I really wish there were tents like the ones she described in real life. I also enjoyed the way that the competition unfolded between Marco and Celia and their love story.

09. Juliet by Anne Fortier (review)
I read this book during my vacation back in October and absolutely loved it. Talking to a friend, I realised that it’s been marketed as a romance, but it’s more than that. I thought that Fortier’s presentation of the Romeo and Giuletta story with a historical basis was an interesting one. And yes, the romance was nice too =P

10. The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis (review)
Another book was originally supposed to take this slot, but then I read The Silver Pigs and it instantly became a favourite of mine. Marcus Didius Falco has to be one of the best literary characters ever imagined; his narrative is reason alone to pick up this novel. The mystery and the presentation of Roman life under Emperor Vespasian was also interesting, but Falco’s approach to life and the mystery was just stellar.

Honourable mentions:
The Villa Triste by Lucinda Grindle (review)
Venetia by Georgette Heyer (review)
Hidden Empire by Kevin J. Anderson (review)
The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato (review)
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Posted 25 December, 2011 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
By: Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.

I got around to reading (at least the first book) the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson last year (you can read my review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in this post). I didn’t get around to writing a review of the second book but I recently got around to reading the final installment (after realising that they’re never going to be releasing the final volume in the mass bound paperback format). Some spoilers ahead!

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