Tag: Books: Contemporary

Review: The Returned

Posted 19 August, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

The Returned
By: Jason Mott
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Harlequin MIRA via NetGalley

Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That’s what all the Returned were.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep, flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it’s a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he’s their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

I forgot where I first heard about this novel (NetGalley newsletter? GoodReads?) but it was promising that this novel was going to be the next best thing so naturally I was intrigued. There seems to be a strong sense of science fiction (or the paranormal? I actually found it a bit difficult to classify this novel) running through this novel which had me curious so I was pretty happy to have been approved of a galley of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This novel will be available on August 27th.

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Review: The Rosie Project

Posted 12 August, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Rosie Project
By: Graeme Simsion
Format/Source: Paperback; my copy

A first-date dud, socially awkward and overly fond of quick-dry clothes, genetics professor Don Tillman has given up on love, until a chance encounter gives him an idea.

He will design a questionnaire—a sixteen-page, scientifically researched questionnaire—to uncover the perfect partner. She will most definitely not be a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker or a late-arriver. Rosie is all these things. She is also fiery and intelligent, strangely beguiling, and looking for her biological father a search that a DNA expert might just be able to help her with.

If you’ve read one of my Top Ten Tuesday lists from a few weeks ago, you’d know that I’m usually not one to read books that are immensely popular and talked about everywhere. If anything, I usually wait until the hype dies down a bit before I pick it up (it’s weird, I know). But I was intrigued about this book from the moment I read the premise (helps that the cover is very eye-catching) and I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book, I just had to check it out =P

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Review: With All My Love

Posted 18 July, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

With All My Love
By: Patricia Scanlan
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA via GoodReads First Reads programme

On a crystal clear Mediterranean day, Briony McAllister sits playing with her four-year-old daughter Katie while she waits for her mother Valerie to join them. Valerie has recently moved to a picturesque town in southern Spain to forget her turbulent past and find the peace that has always eluded her.

But Briony and Valerie’s relationship is about to change.

As Briony studies an old photo album from a box in her mother’s new home, a letter falls to the ground. My Darling Briony, it begins. Reading the words that follow, Briony is seized with a stunning realization: her mother lied about what happened to her beloved grandmother Tessa all those years ago, denying Briony the very relationship Valerie now enjoys with Katie. It is just the beginning of a series of discoveries that revisits a complex past—and changes forever the lives of three generations of women.

The premise of this novel sounded really interesting. I’m always up for a good family drama and this book sounds like it fits the bill perfectly. I won a copy of this novel through the GoodReads First Reads programme in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law

Posted 7 July, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Zaremba, or Love and the Rule of Law
By: Michelle Granas
Format/Source: Paperback; courtesy of the author

In Warsaw, a shy and high-minded polio victim lives a life of seclusion caring for her odd family until a chance encounter plunges her into the intrigues of dirty politics. Zaremba, a wealthy businessman, is about to be arrested on trumped-up charges and only she can save him. Swept along by events, Cordelia finds her feelings increasingly involved with a stranger for whom she is both rescuer and victim. When Zaremba is implicated in terrorist activities and disappears, Cordelia is painfully uncertain if she has been abandoned and must overcome surveillance, corruption, the media, and mounting humiliations and difficulties to learn the truth.

This is a story about love between a man and woman, but also love of family, country, and justice. Although set in Poland, where the CIA had a black site, it is a story that could happen anywhere, in a world where young democracies struggle against the temptations of covert operations and older democracies sometimes lead them astray.

I remember seeing this book in passing while browsing the Giveaways section in GoodReads but the novel first came to my attention when the author emailed me about it. The premise of the novel sounded really interesting; I can perhaps name you one novel I know that’s set in Poland (and I haven’t read the novel myself) and I’ve never read any set in that country (not even in passing, I believe). I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The Translator

Posted 1 July, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Translator
By: Nina Schuyler
Format/Source: galley copy courtesy of Pegasus Books via NetGalley

When renowned translator Hanne Schubert falls down a flight of stairs, her injury is an unusual but real condition–the loss of her native language. She is left speaking only Japanese, a language learned later in life. With her personal life at a crossroad, Hanne leaves for Japan. There, the Japanese novelist whose work she translated stunningly confronts her publicly for sabotaging his work.

Reeling, Hanne struggles for meaning and seeks out the inspiration for the author’s novel–a tortured, chimerical actor, once a master in the art of Noh theater. Through their passionate and intriguing relationship, Hanne begins to understand the masks she has worn in her life, just as the actor dons the masks that have made him a legend of Noh. The demons from her past and present begin to unfold and Hanne sets out to make amends in this searing and engrossing novel.

I found out about this novel through NetGalley. The situation that Hanne Schubert finds herself in sounded intriguing and the elements of Japanese culture, language and translating foreign language novels also drew my attention. I was approved of a galley copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This novel will be available on July 2nd. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

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