Tag: Books: First Reads


Review: Faithful

Posted 3 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Faithful
By: Alice Hoffman
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA through Netgalley

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

I’ve been curious about this book since I first heard about it from Simon & Schuster CA earlier this year. I’ve read two of Alice Hoffman’s books to date (see author tag), both of which I’ve enjoyed, but something at the back of my head told me that this book was going to be something different. I was approved an eARC of this novel by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 01 November 2016.

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Review: Her Nightly Embrace

Posted 2 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Her Nightly Embrace (Ravi Pi #1)
By: Adi Tantimedh
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

The first in a trilogy of whip-smart novels—currently in development as a TV series set to star Sendhil Ramamurthy (NBC’s Heroes and Heroes Reborn)—about a destructive private investigator and his eccentric coworkers, who handle cases so high-profile that they never make the headlines.

Ravi Chandra Singh is the last guy you’d expect to become a private detective. A failed religious scholar, he now works for Golden Sentinels, an upmarket London private investigations agency. His colleagues are a band of gleefully amoral and brilliant screw-ups: Ken and Clive, a pair of brutal ex-cops who are also a gay couple; Mark Chapman, a burned-out stoner hiding a great mind; Marcie Holder, a cheerful former publicist; Benjamin Lee, a techie prankster from South London; David Okri, an ambitious lawyer from a well-connected Nigerian immigrant family; and Olivia Wong, an upper-class Hong Kong financial analyst hiding her true skills as one of the most dangerous hackers in the world—all under the watchful eye of Roger Golden, wheeler-dealer extraordinaire, and his mysterious office manager, Cheryl Hughes.

Thrust into a world where the rich, famous, and powerful hire him to solve their problems and wash their dirty laundry, Ravi finds himself in over his head with increasingly gonzo and complex cases – and the recent visions that he’s been having of Hindu gods aren’t helping. As Ravi struggles to stay ahead of danger, he wonders if the things he’s seeing are a delusion – or if he might, in fact, be an unrecognized shaman of the modern world…

I had no idea about this book until I received an ARC of it from Simon & Schuster CA. The premise sounded interesting and jam-packed with crazy happenings and it’s also being developed into a television show. I started reading this actually a few months ago whilst waiting at the dentist’s office; seemed like the perfect book to pass the time waiting. This book will be available on 01 November 2016.

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 11 October, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Probably the last batch of mini book reviews for this year? I read most of the following books months ago, but anyway…Included in this batch are:


Death at La Fenice (Commissario Brunetti #1)
By: Donna Leon
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

There is little violent crime in Venice, a serenely beautiful floating city of mystery and magic, history and decay. But the evil that does occasionally rear its head is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane vice-commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable abilities must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world-renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice.

But as the investigation unfolds, a chilling picture slowly begins to take shape–a detailed portrait of revenge painted with vivid strokes of hatred and shocking depravity. And the dilemma for Guido Brunetti will not be finding a murder suspect, but rather narrowing the choices down to one. . .

I had been eyeing this series for such a long time, it always crops up whenever I’m looking up crime mystery series to check out. Well I finally picked it up as a book to read whenever I was on break at work and it certainly didn’t disappoint: Guido Brunetti is an interesting character, smart and good at what he does. A different side to Venice comes to life in this novel as Brunetti investigates the death of a well-known conductor, plunging the commissario into the world of music and art and the shadows of the Second World War. It was interesting to follow Brunetti in the case as he navigates through an intricate cast of characters from Wellauer’s life and work, figuring out who had the motive to kill the maestro. I don’t know if I’ll get around to read the rest of the books in this series (as it’s a bit of a long one), but this book was an excellent introduction to Guido Brunetti, his life, his Venice, and his mode of case-solving. Definitely worth checking out if you’re into this the crime mystery genre and you like your mysteries set in Italy.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Review: Goldenhand

Posted 10 October, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Goldenhand (Abhorsen #5)
By: Garth Nix
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via Edelweiss

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with Dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind. She’s also a Remembrancer, wielder of the Dark Mirror. Lirael lost one of her hands in the binding of Orannis, but now she has a new hand, one of gilded steel and Charter Magic.

When Lirael finds Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious after being attacked by a hideous Free Magic creature, she uses her powers to save him. But Nicholas is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Fearing it will escape the Charter mark that seals it within his flesh and bones, Lirael seeks help for Nick at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier.

But even as Lirael and Nick return to the Clayr, a young woman named Ferin from the distant North braves the elements and many enemies in a desperate attempt to deliver a message to Lirael from her long-dead mother, Arielle. Ferin brings a dire warning about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning?

Once more a great danger threatens the Old Kingdom, and it must be forestalled not only in the living world, but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.

Oh goodness, the fifth book is upon us! I’m so happy that it follows the events of the original Abhorsen trilogy (as Clariel (review) was IMO not a very good outing) and reacquainting with old friends (which also works out perfectly as I had just re-read the original trilogy earlier this year). I was fortunate to be approved of an eARC of this book courtesy of Harper Teen via Edelweiss. This book will be available on 14 October 2016.

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Review: Napoleon’s Last Island

Posted 3 October, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Napoleon’s Last Island
By: Thomas Keneally
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

From the bestselling author of Schindler’s List and The Daughters of Mars, a new historical novel set on the remote island of Saint Helena about the remarkable friendship between a young woman and one of history’s most intriguing figures, Napoleon Bonaparte, during the final years of his life in exile.

In October 1815, after losing the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was banished to the island of Saint Helena. There, in one of the most remote places on earth, he lived out the final six years of his life. On this lonely island with no chance of escape, he found an unexpected ally: a spirited British girl named Betsy Balcombe who lived on the island with her family. While Napoleon waited for his own accommodations to be built, the Balcombe family played host to the infamous exile, a decision that would have devastating consequences for them all.

In Napoleon’s Last Island, “master of character development and period detail” (Kirkus Reviews) Thomas Keneally recreates Betsy’s powerful and complex friendship with the man dubbed The Great Ogre, her enmities and alliances with his remaining courtiers, and her dramatic coming-of-age. Bringing a shadowy period of history to life with a brilliant attention to detail, Keneally tells the untold story of one of Europe’s most enigmatic, charismatic, and important figures, and the ordinary British family who dared to forge a connection with him.

I actually didn’t know about this book until I received an ARC of this novel from the publishers. I don’t think I’ve read any fiction titles capturing the last years of Napoleon Bonaparte’s life, exiled and away from France. I haven’t read Thomas Keneally’s Schndler’s Ark but nonetheless I was intrigued that he wrote this. This book will be available on 04 October 2017.

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