Tag: Books: First Reads

Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe

Posted 10 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Someday, Someday, Maybe
By: Lauren Graham
Format/Source: galley courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. Meanwhile, she dreams of doing “important” work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It’s hard to tell if she’ll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won’t call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.

I recently found out about this novel through GoodReads and was rather excited about it. I loved watching Lauren Graham on Gilmore Girls so I was curious about her first fiction novel would go. I was approved of a reading galley of the novel from NetGalley.

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Review: The Last Camellia

Posted 9 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Last Camellia
By: Sarah Jio
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publisher & GoodReads First Reads programme

On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.

More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?

I won an advanced reading copy of this novel from GoodReads’ First Reads programme. The premise of the novel sounded interesting (eve of World War Two + an English estate + a mystery + an international ring of flower thieves? Colour me intrigued) and I had been meaning to read Sarah Jio’s novels for some time now so yay! This novel will be published on May 28th. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Posted 2 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
By: Anthony Marra
Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publisher & GoodReads First Reads programme

In the final days of December 2004, in a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa hides in the woods when her father is abducted by Russian forces. Fearing for her life, she flees with their neighbor Akhmed–a failed physician–to the bombed-out hospital, where Sonja, the one remaining doctor, treats a steady stream of wounded rebels and refugees and mourns her missing sister. Over the course of five dramatic days, Akhmed and Sonja reach back into their pasts to unravel the intricate mystery of coincidence, betrayal, and forgiveness that unexpectedly binds them and decides their fate.

With The English Patient‘s dramatic sweep and The Tiger’s Wife‘s expert sense of place, Marra gives us a searing debut about the transcendent power of love in wartime, and how it can cause us to become greater than we ever thought possible.

I first heard about this book through the GoodReads First Reads programme where I won a copy. The premise sounded very interesting–I haven’t read any books set in Chechnya beyond what I learned in history classes, which makes this book especially interesting–and it’s already catching some buzz. It will be available for purchase on May 7th.

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Review: A Delicate Truth

Posted 1 May, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

A Delicate Truth
By: John le Carre
Format/Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher via a Twitter contest

A Delicate Truth opens in 2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far-right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

Cornwall, UK, 2011. A disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be—or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? Summoned by Sir Christopher (“Kit”) Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely observed by Kit’s beautiful daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary to the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, how can he keep silent?

This is actually only the second John le Carre I’ve read. I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a few years ago and re-read it last year before watching the 2011 adaptation (review). Since then I had been meaning to get around to more of his books but just haven’t found the time, really. This book is to be released on May 7th and I won an ARC of this novel through Chapters Indigo/the publishers on Twitter. May contain some minor spoilers!

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Review: Amity & Sorrow

Posted 27 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Amity & Sorrow
By: Peggy Riley
Format/Source: galley courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley

A mother and her daughters drive for days without sleep until they crash their car in rural Oklahoma. The mother, Amaranth, is desperate to get away from someone she’s convinced will follow them wherever they go–her husband. The girls, Amity and Sorrow, can’t imagine what the world holds outside their father’s polygamous compound. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of Bradley, a farmer grieving the loss of his wife. At first unwelcoming to these strange, prayerful women, Bradley’s abiding tolerance gets the best of him, and they become a new kind of family. An unforgettable story of belief and redemption, Amity & Sorrow is about the influence of community and learning to stand on your own.

This novel caught my attention just last week. The cover was intriguing (why were their wrists bound together like that? The colours are also easy on the eyes and the font type is simplistic but pretty) and the premise was just as intriguing. I was pre-approved for a galley copy of this book through NetGalley so I decided to check it out. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

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