Tag: Books: First Reads


Review: Mission to Paris

Posted 12 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Mission to Paris
By: Alan Furst
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Random House via NetGalley

Late summer, 1938. Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie. The Nazis know he’s coming—a secret bureau within the Reich has been waging political warfare against France, and for their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service run out of the American embassy. Mission to Paris is filled with heart-stopping tension, beautifully drawn scenes of romance, and extraordinarily alive characters: foreign assassins; a glamorous Russian actress-turned-spy; and the women in Stahl’s life. At the center of the novel is the city of Paris—its bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it were their last. Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.

I’ve always been meaning to read Alan Furst’s books–historical-espionage fiction set during/around World War Two and the Cold War–but for some reason I just never really got around to it. So naturally I was pretty excited to learn that I was approved of a galley copy of this novel from the publishers through NetGalley.

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

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Review: The Book of Stolen Tales

Posted 6 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Book of Stolen Tales
By: D.J. McIntosh
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Penguin Canada via NetGalley

John Madison travels to London to purchase at auction a rare seventeenth century Italian book of fairy tales for an anonymous client. Madison is warned about the book’s malevolent history. Before he can deliver it to the buyer, he is robbed by a mysterious man claiming to be the book’s author. When his client disappears and the book’s provenance is questioned, Madison must immerse himself in the world of European artistocracy and rare book collectors. As the dark origins of certain fairy tales appear to come to life, Madison discovers that a well-loved children’s story contains a necromancer’s spell and points to the source of a deadly Mespotamian plague.”

I read the first book to this trilogy, The Witch of Babylon a few years ago and greatly enjoyed it (but never got around to writing a review due to thesis time); it was unique and featuring a different part of the world for this mystery-adventure. I was pretty excited when I heard that this novel, the second in the trilogy, was coming out and am thankful to have received a galley of this novel courtesy of the publishers from NetGalley. In an ideal world, I would’ve gone back to re-read the first novel before jumping into this novel, but I couldn’t wait =P

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Review: Trains and Lovers

Posted 5 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Trains and Lovers
By: Alexander McCall Smith
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of the publisher via GoodReads First Reads Programme

The rocking of the train car, the sound of its wheels on the rails…there’s something special about this form of travel that makes for easy conversation. Which is just what happens to the 4 strangers who meet in Trains and Lovers. As they travel by rail from Edinburgh to London, they entertain one another with tales of how trains have changed their lives. A young, keen-eyed Scotsman recounts how he turned a friendship with a young woman co-worker into a romance by spotting an anachronistic train in an 18th-century painting. An Australian woman shares how her parents fell in love and spent their life together running a railroad siding in the remote Australian Outback. A middle-aged American arts patron sees 2 young men saying goodbye in the station and recalls his youthful crush on another man. And a young Englishman describes how exiting his train at the wrong station allowed him to meet an intriguing woman whom he impulsively invited to dinner–and into his life.

I received an advanced reading copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via a GoodReads contest. I’ve heard of Alexander McCall Smith’s works but I’ve never read any of his stuff (though I’ve heard good things of his work). This is a standalone novel and the premise sounded interesting so I greatly looked forward to reading this novel. This book will be available on June 11.

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Review: The King’s Deception

Posted 3 June, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The King’s Deception
By: Steve Berry
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe. As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England. But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown—an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.

At its heart is the Libyan terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103, who is set to be released by Scottish authorities for “humanitarian reasons.” An outraged American government objects, but nothing can persuade the British to intervene.

Except, perhaps, Operation King’s Deception.

Run by the CIA, the operation aims to solve a centuries-old mystery, one that could rock Great Britain to its royal foundations.

Blake Antrim, the CIA operative in charge of King’s Deception, is hunting for the spark that could rekindle a most dangerous fire, the one thing that every Irish national has sought for generations: a legal reason why the English must leave Northern Ireland. The answer is a long-buried secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire forty-five-year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch, who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land. But Antrim also has a more personal agenda, a twisted game of revenge in which Gary is a pawn. With assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society closing in, Malone is caught in a lethal bind. To save Gary he must play one treacherous player against another—and only by uncovering the incredible truth can he hope to prevent the shattering consequences of the King’s Deception.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Steve Berry book. The title of this Cotton Malone series (and the cover) immediately caught my attention as, if I recall correctly, he hasn’t had an adventure using British history yet and British history remains a love of mine (even as I went on to specialise in Russian history…but I digress). This book will be available on June 11. May contain some minor spoilers!

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Review: The Bat

Posted 31 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Bat
By: Jo Nesbø
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group via NetGalley

The electrifying first appearance of Jo Nesbø’s detective, Harry Hole.

Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.

I was fortunate to have been approved a galley copy of this novel from the publishers via NetGalley. It came at a good time too as I was in the mood for a mystery. The only novel I’ve read by Jo Nesbo was Headhunters (review) which I really enjoyed so I was looking forward to reading more by him. This book will be released (or re-released, rather) on July 2nd.

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