Tag: Books: Books on France Reading Challenge 2013

Review: The Mona Lisa Speaks

Posted 1 November, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

The Mona Lisa Speaks
By: Christopher Angel
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the author as part of The Mona Lisa Speaks Book Tour

Brilliant and confident Robertson Ross, an outdoorsy Canadian computer expert hired to update the Louvre’s security system, falls in love with Mathilde, a classic beauty and cultured Parisian art dealer. But, when he discovers that she’s deeply in debt to Jacques Renard, a powerful and dangerous lord of the French criminal underground, he has to embark on the risky and thrilling theft of the Mona Lisa to save her – and their unborn child.

Rob’s biggest problems actually begin after he successfully steals the Mona Lisa and replaces her with a perfect copy. Facing betrayals and double-crosses at all turns, he needs every bit of his intelligence, cunning, courage, and computer skills to stay alive and reunite with his true love. This is a story of thrills, danger, and a Canadian from the frozen North falling in love with Paris.

The premise of this novel caught my attention–art, Paris, a caper with high stakes. Oh, and the main character’s Canadian (it’s always nice to see more Canadian characters in fiction). Strangely enough, despite having been to Paris, I actually didn’t get a chance to go to the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa for myself (should’ve read in advance that the museum was closed on Mondays). Nonetheless I thought it was interesting that this novel featured the museum quite prominently.

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

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Review: Last Train to Istanbul

Posted 1 October, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

Last Train to Istanbul
By: Ayse Kulin
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Amazon Crossing via NetGalley

As the daughter of one of Turkey’s last Ottoman pashas, Selva could win the heart of any man in Ankara. Yet the spirited young beauty only has eyes for Rafael Alfandari, the handsome Jewish son of an esteemed court physician. In defiance of their families, they marry, fleeing to Paris to build a new life.

But when the Nazis invade France and begin rounding up Jews, the exiled lovers will learn that nothing—not war, not politics, not even religion—can break the bonds of family. For after they learn that Selva is but one of their fellow citizens trapped in France, a handful of brave Turkish diplomats hatch a plan to spirit the Alfandaris and hundreds of innocents, many of whom are Jewish, to safety. Together, they must traverse a war-torn continent, crossing enemy lines and risking everything in a desperate bid for freedom.

This title caught my attention for two reasons: 1) it’s set around and during World War Two, 2) I don’t know much about Turkey’s involvement or situation during World War Two and 3) I haven’t really read a novel by a Turkish author. I was approved of an ARC of this novel through the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This novel will be available on October 8th.

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

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Review: J’Adore Paris

Posted 25 September, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

J’Adore Paris
By: Isabelle Lafleche
Format/Source: Paperback; won a copy from HarperCollinsCA via Twitter

When chic Parisian lawyer Catherine Lambert lands her dream job as intellectual property director for Christian Dior, she is on top of the world. She’s prepared to embark on the ride of her life in the world of fashion, fighting high-profile legal battles against international counterfeiters. She’ll also be reunited with colleague-turned-boyfriend Antoine in her beloved hometown.

But Catherine’s visions of front-row seats at the couture shows and strolling the Champs-Élysées hand in hand with the love of her life are soon displaced by the realities of dingy police vans and threatening anonymous phone calls. The code of ethics that she knew from mergers and acquisitions does not seem to apply in the nefarious counterfeiting underworld, and Catherine finds her life turned upside-down by surprise meetings in dark alleys and an unexpected degree of notoriety among the criminal element. Will Catherine and her loyal assistant, Rikash, manage to outsmart even the most crooked of characters and come out on top?

I first heard of this novel earlier this year on GoodReads and it sounded both interesting (main character works as a lawyer/intellectual property director for a major luxury fashion company? Colour me intrigued), intriguing (facing international counterfeiters? Definitely don’t read about those on a daily basis) and fun (Paris, haute couture, totally there!). I won a paperback copy of this novel from HarperCollinsCA during the summer and after reading a number of serious titles recently, I needed a change of pace. Contains some spoilers ahead!

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

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Review: The Bones of Paris + Giveaway

Posted 3 September, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 20 Comments

The Bones of Paris
By: Laurie R. King
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Bantam Publishers via NetGalley & Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the author as part of The Bones of Paris Book Tour

Paris, France: September 1929. For Harris Stuyvesant, the assignment is a private investigator’s dream—he’s getting paid to troll the cafés and bars of Montparnasse, looking for a pretty young woman. The American agent has a healthy appreciation for la vie de bohème, despite having worked for years at the U.S. Bureau of Investigation. The missing person in question is Philippa Crosby, a twenty-two year old from Boston who has been living in Paris, modeling and acting. Her family became alarmed when she stopped all communications, and Stuyvesant agreed to track her down. He wholly expects to find her in the arms of some up-and-coming artist, perhaps experimenting with the decadent lifestyle that is suddenly available on every rue and boulevard.

As Stuyvesant follows Philippa’s trail through the expatriate community of artists and writers, he finds that she is known to many of its famous—and infamous—inhabitants, from Shakespeare and Company’s Sylvia Beach to Ernest Hemingway to the Surrealist photographer Man Ray. But when the evidence leads Stuyvesant to the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol in Montmartre, his investigation takes a sharp, disturbing turn. At the Grand-Guignol, murder, insanity, and sexual perversion are all staged to shocking, brutal effect: depravity as art, savage human nature on stage.

Soon it becomes clear that one missing girl is a drop in the bucket. Here, amid the glittering lights of the cabarets, hides a monster whose artistic coup de grâce is to be rendered in blood. And Stuyvesant will have to descend into the darkest depths of perversion to find a killer . . . sifting through The Bones of Paris.

The premise of this novel sounds really interesting (a murder mystery set in the City of Lights? Haven’t read many mysteries set in the city) plus I’ve never read anything by this author but her bibliography is pretty extensive. I was fortunate to be approved of a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review as well as take part in a blog tour for this novel. This novel will be available on September 10th. Be sure to check out the end of this review for a chance to win a hardback copy of this novel! US only (sorry international followers!)

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

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Review: The Count of Monte Cristo

Posted 2 September, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Count of Monte Cristo
By: Alexandre Dumas
Format/Source: eBook; my copy

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.

And here we are at what I call my obligatory mammoth read of the year, lol =P In all seriousness, I’ve been eyeing The Count of Monte Cristo for the longest time, especially after reading The Three Musketeers (review) and La dame aux camellias (review). I sort of had to wait until all my coursework was completed so that I could focus on this book a bit more xP May contain some spoilers ahead!

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

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