Tag: Books: First Reads


Review: The Magician’s Land

Posted 27 August, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3)
By: Lev Grossman
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Viking Publishers via GoodReads First Reads programme

The stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy

Quentin Coldwater has lost everything. He has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams that he once ruled. Everything he had fought so hard for, not to mention his closest friends, is sealed away in a land Quentin may never again visit. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him. Meanwhile, the magical barriers that keep Fillory safe are failing, and barbarians from the north have invaded. Eliot and Janet, the rulers of Fillory, embark on a final quest to save their beloved world, only to discover a situation far more complex—and far more dire—than anyone had envisioned.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young magician with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. His new life takes him back to old haunts, like Antarctica and the Neitherlands, and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers buried secrets and hidden evils and ultimately the key to a sorcerous masterwork, a spell that could create a magical utopia. But all roads lead back to Fillory, where Quentin must face his fears and put things right or die trying.

Here we are, at the final volume of The Magicians trilogy. I received an advanced reading copy of this novel courtesy of the publishers through a GoodReads giveaway. This book was released on 5 August 2014.

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Review: Safe & Sound

Posted 7 August, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Safe & Sound
By: T.S. Krupa
Format/Source: eCopy courtesy of the author for review

When great love is lost forever, what does it take to find the courage to move on?

When Jill met Jay Greenfield she knew she found her forever love. Together their lives were perfect. But when a tragic accident takes Jay’s life, this young bride is left to pick up the pieces. With support from her two childhood best friends, Lanie and Stella, Jill attempts to piece her life back together.

Meanwhile, in the process of settling the estate, Jill learns that her husband was not quite the man she thought he was. She finds herself transported to the small beach town of Oak Island, North Carolina. But the fairy tale ending she envisioned no longer exists. She must face the reality that Jay is gone as she finds herself having a chance at love one more time.

Safe & Sound follows the yearlong journey of love, loss, friendship, and conquering the unexpected.

I received a copy of this novel from the author for review. The premise intrigued me and I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz for this novel on other blogs so I was curious to check it out. It also seemed like an interesting read for those hazy summer days so I decided to read it when I did 😉

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Review: The Twyning

Posted 7 August, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Twyning
By: Terence Blacker
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of the publishers via Armchair BEA

This is the story of Efren, a young ratling born into the Court of Tasting, in the rat Kingdom below the streets; and Dogboy, a 13 year-old boy abandoned and living wild.

The Kingdom is in turmoil after the death of the old king, murdered by a human scientist, Dr Henry Ross-Gibbon. Ross-Gibbon is obsessed by the annihilation of all rats, and uses Dogboy to help him catch his samples. In this time of uncertainty and outright war against the world above, a new regime emerges from the courts of Spies and Translators. But Efren’s fate does not rest with the relative safety of the world below. For the world above is about to make a decisive and devastating attack on the Kingdom, leaving Efren exiled, the citizens scattered, the Twyning dead. And there cannot be a Kingdom, without a rat to rule.

Hurt and alone, Efren escapes to the world above, where he finds shelter with Dogboy and Caz, a runaway 11 year-old girl. But the children discover an unlikely ability, they can talk to Efren, and he can talk to them…

Upon a quick scan of the story, it sounded interesting, and I decided to go with this title as a prize that I won during one of the many contests held during Armchair BEA this year. Upon receiving the ARC and re-reading the premise, I seemed to have miss the detail that one of the main characters was a rat, lol. Not that this would affect my reading of the book or anything, but it does make the premise, errr, different 😛 This book will be available on 9 September 2014 in North America (it is available now in the UK, I believe).

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Review: The Explanation for Everything

Posted 4 August, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Expanation for Everything
By: Laura Grodstein
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the publishers via LibraryThing Early Reviewers Programme

College professor Andy Waite is picking up the pieces of a shattered life. Between his research in evolutionary biology and caring for his young daughters, his days are reassurringly safe, if a bit lonely. But when Melissa Potter—charismatic, unpredictable, and devout—asks him to advise her study of intelligent design, he agrees. Suddenly, the world that Andy has fought to rebuild is rocked to its foundations.

I’ve seen this book floating around GoodReads and elsewhere for some time now but I wasn’t sure if I was going to really like it or not. In the end my curiosity won me over and I decided to check it out. I received a copy of this book courtesy of Algonquin Books through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme. Contains SPOILERS ahead!

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Review: The Late Starters Orchestra

Posted 1 August, 2014 by Lianne in Books / 8 Comments

The Late Starters Orchestra
By: Ari L. Goldman
Format/Source: Hardback courtesy of the publishers via LibraryThing Early Reviewers Programme

In a cluttered room in an abandoned coat factory in lower Manhattan, a group of musicians comes together each week to make music. Some are old, some are young, all have come late to music or come back to it after a long absence. This is the Late Starters Orchestra–the bona fide amateur string orchestra where Ari Goldman pursues his lifelong dream of playing the cello.

Goldman hadn’t seriously picked up his cello in twenty-five years, but the Late Starters (its motto, If you think you can play, you can) seemed just the right orchestra for this music lover whose busy life had always gotten in the way of its pursuit.

In The Late Starters Orchestra, Goldman takes us along to LSO rehearsals and lets us sit in on his son’s Suzuki lessons, where we find out that children do indeed learn differently from adults. He explores history’s greatest cellists and also attempts to understand what motivates his fellow late starters, amateurs all, whose quest is for joy, not greatness. And when Goldman commits to playing at his upcoming birthday party we wonder with him whether he’ll be good enough to perform in public. To the rescue comes the ghost of Goldman’s first cello teacher, the wise and eccentric Mr. J, who continues to inspire and guide him–about music and more–through this well-tuned journey.

With enchanting illustrations by Eric Hanson, The Late Starters Orchestra is about teachers and students, fathers and sons, courage and creativity, individual perseverance and the power of community. And Ari Goldman has a message for anyone who has ever had a dream deferred: it’s never too late to find happiness on one’s own terms.

I had been seeing this book around quite a bit in recent months–on NetGalley, on other blogs–so I was quite curious about it. I love music, and I enjoy classical music, and wished I had learned to play an instrument properly. In fact, if I had a choice, it was a toss-up between a violin (which I was especially interested in when I was younger) and the cello (which interested me when I was older). But I never learned so yeah, the premise of this non-fiction title intrigued me further. I received a copy of this book courtesy of Algonquin Books from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme. This book was released on 10 June 2014.

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