Tag: Books: First Reads

Review: Night Blindness

Posted 24 September, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Night Blindness
By: Susan Strecker
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of MacMillan Publishers via GoodReads First Reads programme

One October night, when Jensen Reilly is sixteen, she and her high school sweetheart, Ryder, are involved in a horrible accident that kills her brother, Will. Ever since then Jensen has been running—from her past, from the Connecticut shoreline home she loved, to boarding school and then out west, where she dropped out of college to elope with her professor, a charismatic artist who takes her further from the unbearable secret that weighs her down.

But when Jensen’s lovable father, Sterling, is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she returns to her childhood home for her first extended visit in thirteen years, and the memories of her old life come flooding back—as do the people she’s tried to escape. Torn between the life she’s created in Sante Fe with her free-spirited husband, Nic, and the realization that it is time to face her past, Jensen must make a terrifying decision that threatens to change her life forever.

I received an ARC of this novel via GoodReads. The premise of the novel interested me–I guess I have a soft spot for novels where the main character stays far away from home because of a horrible thing that happened in the past and it takes a major event to draw him or her home and face that horrible thing of the past in the process. I actually read this last month during my study period; it seemed like the perfect break from all of the material that I had to review. This novel will be available on 7 October 2014. May contain some mild spoilers ahead!

Read More

Review: Thornwicke

Posted 18 September, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

By: Charity Bishop
Format/Source: eCopy courtesy of the author for review

Seventeen-year-old Evangeline is about to discover what is different about her. She has had suspicions all along, but it is not until an aunt she never knew about turns up that her life tumbles into an adventure. Now, she is in the northern wood… a place where nothing is as it seems, where the ancient house of Dragonspire shifts its rooms around, and an unknown evil lurks nearby.

All she wants are answers to her questions.

If she is not a witch, what is she?

What is the creature that continues to follow her to and from school?

Why has her mother never told her about her aunt until now?

Has the great inventor, Nikola Tesla, anything to do with it?

And most of all, what is really in the northern woods?

Charity Bishop is the editor of Femnista, an online e-zine that I’ve contributed time and again to. She’s also a published author, having released several novels in the last year or two. I received an eCopy of one of her titles, Thornwicke, via a review/trade programme that she is hosting.

Read More

Review: The Moor’s Account

Posted 17 September, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Moor’s Account
By: Laila Lalami
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez left the port of San Lucar de Barrameda in Spain with a crew of more than five hundred men. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and as famous as Hernán Cortés. But from the moment the Narváez expedition reached Florida it met with incredibly bad luck – storms, disease, starvation, hostile Indians. Within a year, there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer by the name of Andrés Dorantes; and his Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori.

The four survivors were forced to live as slaves to the Indians for six years, before fleeing and establishing themselves as faith healers. Together, they traveled on foot through present-day Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, gathering thousands of disciples and followers along the way. In 1536, they crossed the Rio Grande into Mexican territory, where they stumbled on a group of Spanish slavers, who escorted them to the capital of the Spanish empire, México-Tenochtitlán.

Three of the survivors were asked to provide testimony of their journey—Castillo, Dorantes, and Cabeza de Vaca, who later wrote a book about this adventure, called La Relacíon, or The Account. But because he was a slave, Estebanico was not asked to testify. His experience was considered irrelevant, or superfluous, or unreliable, or unworthy, despite the fact that he had acted as a scout, an interpreter, and a translator. This novel is his story.

I’ve been seeing growing buzz about this book on the internet which piqued my own curiosity about it; Simon & Schuster CA kindly provided me with an ARC of this novel for review. I sort of had to think a bit, but in the end I added this book to the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in as parts of this novel was set in Spain 😉 This book will be available on 23 September 2014.

Read More

Review: You

Posted 17 September, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

You: A Novel
By: Caroline Kepnes
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

Love hurts…

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe works, he’s instantly smitten. Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: She’s gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and as sexy as his wildest dreams.

Beck doesn’t know it yet, but she’s perfect for him, and soon she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom made for her. But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes, and much more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade. Their mutual obsession quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences . . .

The premise of this novel was what piqued my attention; aside from the way the blurb ends, there’s just something about that hints at something unexpected underneath the surface. I was provided an advanced reading copy of this novel courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA for review. This novel will be available on 30 September 2014.

Read More

Review: Flirting With French

Posted 28 August, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Flirting with French: How a Language Charmed Me, Seduced Me, and Nearly Broke My Heart
By: William Alexander
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Algonquin Books via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme

William Alexander is more than a Francophile. He wants to be French. To sip absinthe at the window of a dark café, a long scarf wrapped around his neck, a copy of Le Monde at hand. Among the things that have stood in his way of becoming French, though, is the fact that he can’t actually speak the language. So Alexander sets out to conquer the language he loves. Readers will find out if it loves him back.

Alexander eats, sleeps, and dreams French. (He even conjugates in his dreams.) And while he’s playing hooky from grammar lessons and memory techniques, he travels to France, delves into the colorful history of the French language and the science of linguistics, and even goes to Google to find out what’s taking them so long to perfect translation software. Finally, he contemplates how it can be that in French, breasts are masculine and beards are feminine, and tries to make sense of idioms like c’est la fin des haricots (it’s the end of the beans)—which means, appropriately enough, “it’s hopeless.” But ca ne fait rien! (No matter!) What Bill Alexander learns while not learning French is its own reward.

The title of this book was what caught my attention when I was going through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers list; it pretty much lays out what the book is all about. I’m not an all-out Francophile–am rather an Italophile in that respect–but all things French do interest me. Plus language learning has been something that has interested me in recent years so I was piqued by this book. I received an advanced reading copy of this title from the publishers. This book will be available on 16 September 2014.

Read More