Monthly Archives: June 2013

Review: The Watcher in the Shadows

Posted 30 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Watcher in the Shadows
By: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Format/Source: Hardback; my copy

When fourteen-year-old Irene Sauvelle moves with her family to Cape House on the coast of Normandy, she’s immediately taken by the beauty of the place–its expansive cliffs, coasts, and harbors. There, she meets a local boy named Ishmael, and the two soon fall in love. But a dark mystery is about to unfold, involving a reclusive toymaker who lives in a gigantic mansion filled with mechanical beings and shadows of the past.

As strange lights shine through the fog surrounding a small, barren island, Irene’s younger brother dreams of a dark creature hidden deep in the forest. And when a young girl is found murdered, her body at the end of a path torn through the woods by a monstrous, inhuman force, Irene and Ishmael wonder–has a demonic presence been unleashed on the inhabitants of Cape House? Together, they’ll have to survive the most terrifying summer of their lives, as they try to piece together the many mysteries and secrets hidden in a town torn apart by tragedy, amidst a labyrinth of lights and shadows.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon became one of my favourite authors after reading The Shadow of the Wind (commentary) and I’ve pretty much have been picking up every novel of his that’s been translated since. He’s apparently written a number of young adult titles prior to The Shadow of the Wind and have since been slowly translated into English. I never got around to reviewing the first two novels in the Nieblas series, The Prince of Mist and The Midnight Palace, which is strange because I thought I did. But anyways, this title recently came out, which was exciting.

This book is part of the Books on France Reading Challenge 2013 that I am participating in.

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Review: Angel Baby

Posted 29 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Angel Baby
By: Richard Lange
Format/Source: Hardback courtesy of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Programme

To escape the awful life she has descended into, Luz plans carefully. She takes only the clothes on her back, a Colt .45, and all the money in her husband’s safe. The corpses in the hallway weren’t part of her plan.

Luz needs to find the daughter she left behind years earlier, but she knows she may die trying. Her husband is El Principe, a key player in a high-powered drug cartel, a business he runs with the same violence he has used to keep Luz his perfect, obedient wife.

I received a copy of this novel courtesy of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme. The premise of this novel sounded interesting; as I mentioned in one Top Ten Tuesday list, it even reminded me of BBC America’s Orphan Black in a way because of the theme of the main character wanting to find and get back to her daughter. Of course, that’s where the comparison stops but it was enough for me to check out. Since receiving the novel, I also found out that the film rights were aquired by Warner Bros.

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Review: Summer

Posted 29 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

By: Edith Wharton
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

Charity Royall lives unhappily with her hard-drinking adoptive father in an isolated village, until a visiting architect awakens her sexual passion and the hope for escape. Exploring Charity’s relation to her father and her lover, Wharton delves into dark cultural territory: repressed sexuality, small-town prejudice, and, in subtle hints, incest.

Continuing along with getting around to all of Edith Wharton’s books (having already read The Age of Innocence (review), The House of Mirth (review) and Bunner Sisters (review)) is her short novel Summer. It seemed fitting to read it since summer officially started a week ago and I needed a break from Balzac’s Cousin Bette (a bit of a slow read, that one). And fancy that, this novel was pretty short too. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Book of Secrets

Posted 28 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Book of Secrets
By: Elizabeth Joy Arnold
Format: galley courtesy of Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley

Chloe Tyler’s life changed at the young age of eight when she became friends with the Sinclair children. Through some of the most cherished books of all time, Chloe, along with Nate, Cecilia and Grace, found a magical escape from their troubled childhoods. They acted out The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (wondering all the while how Turkish Delights really tasted), admired the sketches of the hookah-smoking caterpillar and the Cheshire cat’s grin in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and plotted their escape alongside Robinson Crusoe. As they grew up, they set up camp fires a la Lord of the Flies and found secret hiding places for their well-worn copy of Catcher in the Rye and A Wrinkle in Time. Nate and Chloe’s friendship blossoms into an intense romance in their teens, where a tragic event will change the course of their relationship. It isn’t until they have been married for twenty-five years that they must finally come to terms with the past that they have turned their back on for so long and their failing bookstore that they once so loved.

I’ve always enjoyed a good book about books (i.e. Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind, John Connelly’s The Book of Lost Things) so I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this novel. I was fortunate to have been approved of a galley copy of this novel through the publishers. This book will be available on July 2nd. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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Review: Across the Aisle

Posted 28 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Across the Aisle: Opposition in Canadian Politics
By: David E. Smith
Format/Source: galley courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

How do parties with official opposition status influence Canadian politics? Across the Aisle is an innovative examination of the theory and practice of opposition in Canada, both in Parliament and in provincial legislatures. Extending from the pre-Confederation era to the present day, it focuses on whether Canada has developed a coherent tradition of parliamentary opposition.

David E. Smith argues that Canada has in fact failed to develop such a tradition. He investigates several possible reasons for this failure, including the long dominance of the Liberal party, which arrested the tradition of viewing the opposition as an alternative government; periods of minority government induced by the proliferation of parties; the role of the news media, which have largely displaced Parliament as a forum for commentary on government policy; and, finally, the increasing popularity of calls for direct action in politics.

Readers of Across the Aisle will gain a renewed understanding of official opposition that goes beyond Stornoway and shadow cabinets, illuminating both the historical evolution and recent developments of opposition politics in Canada.

I came across this title on NetGalley. I was intrigued by it because of its timeliness; in recent times, the official Opposition here in Canada has been pretty uninspiring and divided, enabling the Conservative party to consolidate their authority over policy and the direction of the country. It is frustrating so I was interested to see how Smith argues about this situation.

What I appreciated the most about this book was how in-depth Smith’s analysis and presentation of the official Opposition was in relation to parliamentary politics and Canadian politics. He draws in a lot of material through its history, spanning back to the early days of the country, which is a nice refresher on Canadian history. All of the factors mentioned in the book blurb above were discussed in great detail, supporting his premise regarding the nature and role of the official Opposition.

Across the Aisle is an illuminating and well-researched piece. Apologies that this review is so short; it’s been a while since I’ve read it and alas, the galley copy has been archived since I’ve started this review. Regardless, I highly recommend this title if you are interesting in Canadian history and Canadian politics.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Read the author’s profile from The University of Saskatchewan Researchers Page || Order this book from The University of Toronto Press