Monthly Archives: January 2016

Review: The Conductor

Posted 25 January, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Conductor
By: Sarah Quigley
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In June 1941, Nazi troops march on Leningrad and surround it. Hitler’s plan is to shell, bomb, and starve the city into submission. Most of the cultural elite are evacuated early in the siege, but Dmitri Shostakovich, the most famous composer in Russia, stays on to defend his city, digging ditches and fire-watching. At night he composes a new work. But after Shostakovich and his family are forced to evacuate, only Karl Eliasberg – a shy and difficult man, conductor of the second-rate Radio Orchestra – and an assortment of musicians are left behind in Leningrad to face an unendurable winter and start rehearsing the finished score of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony.

Regular readers of my blog know that I can never say no (not entirely, anyway) to a historical fiction novel set in Soviet Russia. I found out about this book during a general browse at Chapters Indigo a few years ago. I eventually picked it up but then it sort of languished on my TBR queue for another few years before I finally picked it up to read (as an aside, I’d like to think I’m making some headway in getting around to the books that have been sitting longer in queue).

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So You Want to Read… (Sarah Addison Allen)

Posted 22 January, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 4 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a new monthly feature here on in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

Happy New Year! And with a new year comes a new post for So You Want to Read… 🙂 For this month I decided to go with Sarah Addison Allen. I love her books, they’re like my comfort books whenever I’m feeling blah or I need a break from some heftier read or RL matters. To date I’ve read all of her books except her latest, First Frost, as I’m waiting for it to hit paperback 😉

  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon (review) — Hands down my favourite book by her. I love everything about it–the small town feel, the magical realism elements, the characters, the family aspect, of following your dreams, of second chances at life and love–yeah, this is usually the first book by her that I recommend to other people 🙂
  • The Sugar Queen (review) — Another wonderful read by her, I actually read this book a little later from the others. Definitely has a seasonal feel to it with the snow and everything, but I think readers can relate to the Josey’s plight in stepping out from her mother’s shadow and being comfortable with herself. But all the female characters felt very well-rounded and their respective stories were interesting.
  • The Lost Lake (review) — I consider this her most maturest book to date, probably because of the things that were happening in her personal life at the time before writing this book. But it still has all the hallmarks that make her books so wonderful: that of family, of friendships, of rediscovering yourself and what perhaps you thought you had lost or left behind.

I hope this list helps if you’re interested in checking out Sarah Addison Allen’s books for the first time! What’s your favourite novel by Sarah Addison Allen? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which of her books have you been meaning to check out?

Review: Named of the Dragon

Posted 21 January, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Named of the Dragon
By: Susanna Kearsley
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Although it goes against her workaholic nature, literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw lets herself be whisked off to Wales for the Christmas holidays by her star client, flamboyant children’s author Bridget Cooper. She suspects Bridget has ulterior motives, but the lure of South Wales with its castles and myths is irresistible. Perhaps a change of scene will bring relief from the nightmares that have plagued her since the death of her child.

Lyn immerses herself in the peace and quiet of the charming Welsh village, but she soon meets an eccentric young widow who’s concerned her baby son is in danger—and inexplicably thinks Lyn is the child’s protector.

Lyn’s dreams become more and more disturbing as she forms a surprisingly warm friendship with a reclusive, brooding playwright, and is pulled into an ancient world of Arthurian legend and dangerous prophecies. Before she can escape her nightmares, she must uncover the secret of her dreams, which is somehow inextricably located in a time long ago and far away…

I clearly went through a lot of Susanna Kearsley’s backlist last year, lol. By the time I posed this question, I had about 3 of her books left that I hadn’t read. I decided to pick up this book next of the three because the setting was very different–Wales this time–and unlike the other book, this one had more favourable reviews.

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Review: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Posted 20 January, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 8 Comments

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
By: David Mitchell
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, and costly courtesans comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland. But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken—the consequences of which will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings.

Omg you guys, this book has been on my TBR queue forever. Whenever I update my TBR lists (yes, I do keep a written list of the books on my queue), it’s always there, at the top (well, top 3), indicating that it’s been on the queue for a very long time. After years of listing it on seasonal TBR lists for Top Ten Tuesdays, I finally opened the eBook and started reading it 😀

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Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 19 January, 2016 by Lianne in Meme / 25 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 Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR Queue

a.k.a. an excuse to talk about what’s on my bookshelf right now, waiting to be read 😛

Starting from the most recent addition to my to-read pile and working my way back:

  1. Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris — I’ve been catching up on the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries lately–I forgot how great they are! Reviews to follow 😉
  2. The Lake House by Kate Morton — The change in book cover from her previous novels absolutely irks me, but I did get it for a very good price on Boxing Day so I’ll let it go 😛
  3. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — I’ve been eyeing this standalone fantasy for a few years now, I heard a lot of positive things about it so I picked it up last month.
  4. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson — Yeah, got the hardback on Christmas and with Bands of Mourning coming out within the next tw weeks, yeah, it’s all good 😀
  5. Love in the Time of Scandal (Scandalous #3) by Caroline Linden — I have the first two books sitting on my TBR and was initially not thinking about picking up the third. Then Boxing Day sales happened and I snatched it up ASAP, lol.
  6. I See a Man by Owen Sheers — I read his earlier novel Resistance (review) years ago and absolutely loved it. I was quite excited when I heard that he was coming out with a new novel so yeah, I ended up picking it up late last year 🙂
  7. Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix — I was honestly a little hesitant about this book as I thought the first three novels were fantastic and wrapped up nicely. But in the end I succumbed and picked up this book as there’s so much story that can be set in the Old Kingdom and more aspects of it to explore. Plus I heard good things about the book 😛
  8. The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse — Last year I seem to have been on a quest to collect all of Kate Mosse’s books, lol. I enjoyed her Languedoc trilogy and was curious to read her standalones and short stories. So here we are, this lovely volume sitting on my TBR pile.
  9. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson — Incentive to finally read Life After Life 😛 It was also on sale, how could I not pick it up?
  10. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis — It won the Giller Prize last year and I’ve heard good things about this book so I picked it up before it became sold out like what happened to me last time with the previous Giller Prize-winning novel

And those are the books that ended up on my TBR queue recently! What books did you add?