Monthly Archives: April 2016


April Updates

Posted 30 April, 2016 by Lianne in Website / 8 Comments

April, April, you came and now you’re leaving. At least the weather’s finally getting nicer and I got to wear some nice spring clothes again? 🙂 Regardless of the weather, the blog was pretty busy:

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  1. Books reviewed this month include: Ilana C. Myer’s Last Song Before Night (review), Andre Alexis’ Fifteen Dogs (review), and Cynthia Swanson’s The Bookseller (review). You can check out all the books I’ve reviewed recently in the book review tag.
  2. Two ARC were reviewed this month: Gaito Gazdanov’s The Flight (review) and Ashley Hay’s The Railwayman’s Wife (review). You can check out all of the ARCs I’ve read and reviewed to date in this tag.
  3. Several movies were reviewed/posted about this month: The Martian (review), the 1968 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (review), and the 1996 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (review). You can check out all of the movies I’ve read and reviewed in the past in this tag.
  4. Also in conjunction with the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare, I also watched and reviewed two stage adaptations done by The Globe: one for As You Like It (review) and one for All’s Well That Ends Well (review). You can check out all of the theatre adaptations I’ve watched and reviewed in this tag.
  5. I also compiled a list of Shakespeare characters that I found most memorable. And participated in the Shakespeare Awards hosted by the Orang-utan Librarian.
  6. For this month’s So You Want to Read…, I focused on Poetry round 2 in conjunction with National Poetry Month. You can check out my recommendations in this post as well as my first batch of recommenations over here. For all my previous recommendations under this feature, check out this tag.
  7. On a final note, to anyone who is interested: series 4 of Orphan Black has started but unlike previous years, I won’t be making batch posts recapping the episodes. Instead I will make just one general post about the season when it is over (as I don’t have time right now to do the batch episodes and scheduling my posts this year has been rather, err, advanced). So stay tuned with that!

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And that’s about it from me for the month! How was your April? Wishing everyone a lovely May! 🙂

Review: The Railwayman’s Wife

Posted 29 April, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Railwayman’s Wife
By: Ashley Hay
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

When Anikka Lachlan’s husband, Mac, is killed in a railway accident, she is offered—and accepts—a job at the Railway Institute’s library and searches there for some solace in her unexpectedly new life. But in Thirroul, in 1948, she’s not the only person trying to chase dreams through books. There’s Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, but who has now lost his words and his hope. There’s Frank Draper, trapped by the guilt of those his medical treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle to find their own peace, and their own new story.

But along with the firming of this triangle of friendship and a sense of lives inching towards renewal come other extremities—and misunderstandings. In the end, love and freedom can have unexpected ways of expressing themselves.

The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can sometimes be to tell them apart. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

I honestly had not come across this title until Simon & Schuster CA kindly sent me a copy for review. The premise sounded interesting–three different people struggling to reconcile with their own griefs and experiences–and I don’t read very many novels either set in Australia or written by Australian authors so that was a bonus. This book was released on 05 April 2016.

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Review: The Light in the Ruins

Posted 28 April, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Light in the Ruins
By: Chris Bohjalian
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.

I’ve heard of Chris Bohjalian and his works for some time now and was interested in checking out his books, especially this novel, but I never got around to it until now. I’ve heard good things about this book, not to mention it’s set during World War Two in Italy (which I find to be a little scarcer to find as a literary setting compared to other places within the subgenre), so yeah, it was nice to finally pick up this novel.

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The Shakespeare Awards!

Posted 27 April, 2016 by Lianne in Meme / 6 Comments

In honour of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Orang-utan Librarian is hosting the Shakespeare Awards! The closing date to participate and vote is 10 May 2016 (see the original post for more details).

I found out about these awards from Pages Unbound. It looked like a lot of fun and since I love Shakespeare so much (see tag), I decided to participate 😀

Most Tragic

Oooh, tough one…I’d say Hamlet (review) because he was quite a promising young man (bookish, clever, a bit cheeky) only to be swept up by family tragedy and machinations, as well as his own existential crossroads and eventual path for revenge.

Best Comedy

As You Like It (review). Touchstone alone gets my vote for anything comedic. And Orlando and Rosalind are so sweet together. Plus, it was hilarious how everyone ended up in the Forest of Arden at the end 😛 All in all, a pretty feel-good play 😀

Most Romantic

I’d have to go with Romeo and Juliet (review). Argue what you may about the way it turned out and the rashness/speed in which developments too a turn but it endures for a reason. Re-reading it last year I was startled at how beautiful, romantic, and poetic the dialogue between Romeo and Juliet was.

Most Entertaining

Twelfth Night (review). What’s there not to be entertained about? (see 2012 stage production)

Best History play

Omg so tough! I have 3 favourites…mmm, I’d have to go with Julius Caesar (review; second review to be posted later this year): the drama! the speeches! the blood! Mark Antony!

Best Sonnet

I will have to say Sonnet XVII (review) as it speaks of the power of the word and its endurance through time.

Best Film Adaptation

Drats, all my favourite adaptations are stage performances! But I’ll have to go with the 1968 adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (review) as it was the first adaptation I’ve ever watched and I still love the earnestness of the leads’ performances.

Most Beautiful Language

This took a bit of thinking but Richard II (review) gets my vote for this category. There’s some beautiful passages about kingship and about England here. In addition the play is structurally impressive; the themes, the contrasts, the way the characters are portrayed…I can go on and on about this play (which I will in a few months for the Shakespeare issue of Femnista 😛 )

Weirdest

Measure for Measure (review). I’ve read it twice now (second review to be posted in…July (long story)) and I’m still trying to make sense of some of those storylines.

Most Unpopular

Henry VIII (review). Dull and clearly reads like a propaganda piece for the new monarch. And did I mention forgettable? When I was counting down the remaining Shakespeare plays left to read last year, I totally forgot about this one :3


If this wasn’t being tallied for awards, I would go on and on with my second and third votes for each category easily 😛 Anyway, what do you think of the plays I mentioned? If you voted, who did you vote for? Let me know, I’d love to chat! 😀

Movie: The Martian (2015)

Posted 27 April, 2016 by Lianne in Entertainment / 8 Comments

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet.

source

I finally got around to reading the book by Andy Weir last year (review) and greatly enjoyed it. Admittedly, it was watching the first trailer to the movie adaptation starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastin that prompted me to pick the book up sooner rather than later 😛 Contains spoilers if you haven’t watched the movie or read the book!

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