Tag: Books: First Reads


Review: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

Posted 30 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
By: Anton DiSclafani
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of the publisher via GoodReads First Reads Programme

It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

The premise of this novel is a little outside of my comfort zone of reading as it involves an equestrienne boarding school. I was intrigued because I have never heard of such an establishment before, not to mention this novel is also set during the Great Depression. I received an advanced reading copy through the GoodReads First Reads programme. It will be available in bookstores on June 4th. May contain very minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa

Posted 28 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 3 Comments

Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa
By: Benjamin Constable
Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada

What writer Benjamin Constable needs is a real-life adventure wilder than his rampant imagination. And who better to shake up his comfortable Englishman-in-Paris routine than the enigmatic Tomomi “Butterfly” Ishikawa, who has just sent a cryptic suicide note?She’s planted a slew of clues—in the pages of her journal, on the hard drive of her computer, tucked away in public places, under flowerpots, and behind statues. Heartbroken, confused, and accompanied by an imaginary cat, Ben embarks upon a scavenger hunt leading to charming and unexpected spaces, from the hidden alleys of Paris to the cobblestone streets of New York City.

But Butterfly’s posthumous messages are surprisingly well informed for the words of a dead person, and they’re full of confessions of a past darkened by insanity, betrayal, and murder. The treasures Ben is unearthing are installments of a gruesome memoir. Now he must draw a clear line between the real and surreal if he is to save himself, Butterfly, and what remains of their crazy and amazing friendship.

I received a copy of this novel from Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. It was described as a cross between Haruki Murakami and the movie Amelie, which immediately piqued my interest since a) I enjoyed reading Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (review) and b) Amelie is one of my favourite movies ever. This novel will be available for purchase on June 4.

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

May contain some very minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: Looking For Me

Posted 20 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Looking for Me
By: Beth Hoffman
Format/Source: galley courtesy of Penguin Group Viking via NetGalley

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop. Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last. But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

I believe I first came across this book on GoodReads. The premise of the novel sounded interesting–the main character works in a repairs and antiques store–and of course I always love a good novel featuring some family drama. I was fortunate to have been approved a galley copy of this novel from the publishers via NetGalley. This book will be released on May 28th.

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Review: The First Rule of Swimming

Posted 14 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The First Rule of Swimming
By: Courtney Angela Brkic
Format/Source: galley courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

A woman must leave her island home to search for her missing sister-and confront the haunted history of her family.

Magdalena does not panic when she learns that her younger sister has disappeared. A free-spirit, Jadranka has always been prone to mysterious absences. But when weeks pass with no word, Magdalena leaves the isolated Croatian island where their family has always lived and sets off to New York to find her sister. Her search begins to unspool the dark history of their family, reaching back three generations to a country torn by war.

A haunting and sure-footed debut by an award-winning writer, The First Rule of Swimming explores the legacy of betrayal and loss in a place where beauty is fused inextricably with hardship, and where individuals are forced to make wrenching choices as they are swept up in the tides of history.

This story caught my attention recently for 4 reasons:

  1. the title of the novel (simple yet curious)
  2. the premise of the novel (family drama always catches my attention)
  3. it’s set in Croatia (haven’t read very many novels in this location)
  4. the cover’s pretty =D

So naturally this novel ended up on my want-to-read list. I was kindly approved a galley copy of this novel from NetGalley.

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Review: Questions of Travel

Posted 13 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Questions of Travel
By: Michelle de Kretser
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of the publisher via GoodReads First Reads programme

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

I received an advanced reading copy of this novel through a GoodReads First Reads contest a few months ago. The premise sounded interesting especially as I enjoy travelling. This book was shortlisted for 2013’s Miles Franklin Literary Award so I was even more curious about this novel. This book will be released in North America on May 14th.

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