Review: Winter in Madrid

Posted 4 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 1 Comment

Winter in Madrid
By: C.J. Sansom

The Spanish Civil War is over and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. Britain now stands alone while General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war. Harry Brett, a traumatised veteran of Dunkirk turned reluctant spy for the British Secret Service, has been sent to gain the confidence of old schoolfriend Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman. Harry finds himself involved in a dangerous game and surrounded by memories. Meanwhile Sandys girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged in a secret mission of her own to find her former lover Bernie Pipera passionate Communist in the International Brigadeswho vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama. In a vivid and haunting depiction of wartime Spain, Winter in Madrid is an intimate and compelling tale which offers a remarkable sense of history unfolding, and the profound impact of impossible choices.

I came across this book while trying out a new website for book recommendations (What Should I Read Next?); I typed in The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This book was either the first or second recommendation from the list. I looked it up on Indigo and Amazon; the premise sounded really interesting and since my TBR list was getting smaller and smaller by the day, I decided to pick it up next. I’m glad I did 🙂

Read More

Review: The Angel’s Game

Posted 4 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 0 Comments

The Angel’s Game
By: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.

Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed-a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.

When I found out that another of Zafon’s books was coming out, I became really excited as I had enjoyed his previous book, The Shadow of the Wind (which easily became one of my favourite books ever). At first I told myself that I would wait for it to come out on paperback (to match my other book) but after seeing it everywhere, I succumbed and bought the hardcover (for a good price, I might add) *blushes*

Read More

Meme: Teaser Tuesdays

Posted 3 August, 2009 by Li in Meme / 8 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

My teaser for this week: “Mr. Gibson finished reading it; and began to think of it in his own mind. ‘Who would have thought the lad had been so poetical; but, to be sure, there’s a “Shakespeare” in the surgery library: I’ll take it away and put “Johnson’s Dictionary instead…'” – p. 64, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ve finally started gotten around to reading it (it’s a pretty thick paperback…and I have the mass bound paperback version by Penguin), having seen the BBC version (couldn’t help myself) so I’m looking forward to reading it 😀

Review: Sepulchre

Posted 3 August, 2009 by Li in Books / 2 Comments

Sepulchre
By: Kate Mosse

I’ve been meaning to post up this review for the past few months but for some reason I didn’t get around to it *blushes* But here I am doing it now 🙂

In 1891, young Léonie Vernier and her brother Anatole arrive in the beautiful town of Rennes-les-Bains, in southwest France. They’ve come at the invitation of their widowed aunt, whose mountain estate, Domain de la Cade, is famous in the region. But it soon becomes clear that their aunt Isolde—and the Domain—are not what Léonie had imagined. The villagers claim that Isolde’s late husband died after summoning a demon from the old Visigoth sepulchre high on the mountainside. A book from the Domain’s cavernous library describes the strange tarot pack that mysteriously disappeared following the uncle’s death. But while Léonie delves deeper into the ancient mysteries of the Domain, a different evil stalks her family—one which may explain why Léonie and Anatole were invited to the sinister Domain in the first place.

More than a century later, Meredith Martin, an American graduate student, arrives in France to study the life of Claude Debussy, the nineteenth century French composer. In Rennes-les-Bains, Meredith checks into a grand old hotel—the Domain de la Cade. Something about the hotel feels eerily familiar, and strange dreams and visions begin to haunt Meredith’s waking hours. A chance encounter leads her to a pack of tarot cards painted by Léonie Vernier, which may hold the key to this twenty-first century American’s fate . . . just as they did to the fate of Léonie Vernier more than a century earlier.

Read More

Meme: Teaser Tuesdays

Posted 28 July, 2009 by Li in Meme / 3 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

I’m a bit cheating this week with my teaser, putting in 3 sentences instead of two but it’s a great dialogue from one of the characters; I had to complete it, lol: “The fourth is that you must not call me Senor Martin, not even at my funeral. I might seem like a fossil to you, but I like to think that I’m still young. In fact, I am young.” – p. 179, The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

As some of you may know, I absolutely loved The Shadow of the Wind, which I read earlier this year. I couldn’t wait for The Angel’s Game to come out on paperback so I picked up the hardcover. I finally started reading it yesterday; I’m about 1/3 in and I’m absolutely loving it so far. There’s a different atmosphere to this novel, which is natural, but there’s still the Zafon touch of mystery, great dialogue and intriguing characters. 😀