Tag: Books: First Reads

Review: Travels with Epicurus

Posted 19 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life
By: Daniel Klein
Format/Source: e-galley courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

One of the bestselling authors of Plato and a Platypus travels to Greece with a suitcase full of philosophy books, seeking the best way to achieve a fulfilling old age Daniel Klein journeys to the Greek island Hydra to discover the secrets of aging happily. Drawing on the lives of his Greek friends, as well as philosophers ranging from Epicurus to Sartre, Klein learns to appreciate old age as a distinct and extraordinarily valuable stage of life. He uncovers simple pleasures that are uniquely available late in life, as well as headier pleasures that only a mature mind can fully appreciate. A travel book, a witty and accessible meditation, and an optimistic guide to living well, Travels with Epicurus is a delightful jaunt to the Aegean and through the terrain of old age led by a droll philosopher.

I came across this while browsing through recent titles from various publishing companies. I thought the premise was intriguing–a mix of philosophy, travel and life–and I was fortunate to have been approved a galley copy of this book.

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Review: Paris

Posted 18 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Paris: The Novel
By: Edward Rutherfurd
Format/Source: e-galley courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

This breathtaking multigenerational saga takes readers on a journey through thousands of years of glorious Parisian history–from its founding under the Romans to the timeless love story of Abelard and Heloise against the backdrop of the building of Notre Dame; to the martyrdom of Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years War; to the dangerous manipulations of Cardinal Richelieu and the bloody religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants; to the gilded glories of Versailles; to the horrors of the French Revolution and the conquests of Napoleon; to the beauty and optimism of the belle epoque when Impressionism swept the world; to the hotbed of cultural activity of the 1920s and ’30s that included Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, and the writers of the Lost Generation; to the Nazi occupation and the incredible efforts of the French Resistance.

Edward Rutherfurd is amazing. I love how he’s able to write so many vivid stories over the course of how many centuries, all set in a particular city or country. Granted, I’ve only read one of his books so far, Russka, but the acclaim for his work is well-founded. I was excited that Paris was his latest location to set his novel because that city is just rich in history. I was fortunate to be approved of a galley to this novel via NetGalley.

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

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Review: The Smart One

Posted 1 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Smart One
By: Jennifer Close
Source: e-galley, courtesy of the publisher from NetGalley

Weezy and Will Coffey raised their children, Martha, Claire, and Max, to be kind, smart and independent. They helped with their homework, bought them a dog, and baked them homemade birthday cakes. It’s true that Martha’s a little too sensitive–she calls Claire several times a week to discuss natural disasters and local crime. And Claire has a short fuse with her sister–she becomes irate when Martha suggests that the two of them attend couples therapy. And Max, the baby and a senior in college, is a little too happy-go-lucky, though not as lucky as everyone would hope. Still, their parents did their best preparing them for the world. So why, Weezy wonders, is Martha living in her childhood bedroom after a career flameout? And why has Claire canceled her wedding and locked herself in her New York apartment? And how has Max managed to get himself into a girlfriend fiasco?

I found out about this book a few weeks ago on GoodReads; Random House of Canada gave it a stellar review and I’ve always enjoyed novels focusing on family and those family bonds so I was curious about this book. I was fortunate to have been approved for a review copy of this novel from NetGalley.

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Review: Bristol House

Posted 1 April, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Bristol House
By: Beverly Swerling
Source: e-galley, courtesy of the publisher from NetGalley

In modern-day London, architectural historian and recovering alcoholic Annie Kendall hopes to turn her life around and restart her career by locating several long-missing pieces of ancient Judaica. Geoff Harris, an investigative reporter, is soon drawn into her quest, both by romantic interest and suspicions about the head of the Shalom Foundation, the organization sponsoring her work. He’s also a dead ringer for the ghost of a monk Annie believes she has seen at the flat she is subletting in Bristol House.

In 1535, Tudor London is a very different city, one in which monks are being executed by Henry VIII and Jews are banished. In this treacherous environment of religious persecution, Dom Justin, a Carthusian monk, and a goldsmith known as the Jew of Holborn must navigate a shadowy world of intrigue involving Thomas Cromwell, Jewish treasure, and sexual secrets. Their struggles shed light on the mysteries Annie and Geoff aim to puzzle out—at their own peril.

This book is being likened to the works of Kate Mosse so I was immediately intrigued by this novel. I don’t think I’ve read much fiction set in the Tudor period beyond Hilary Mantel’s book (probably because there’s so many books and movies out there set in this period) but this book seemed like a different take on the period. I was fortunate to be approved for an ARC through NetGalley.

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Review: Old City Hall

Posted 24 March, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Old City Hall (Detective Greene #1)
By: Robert Rotenberg
Format: Paperback; courtesy of the publisher & GoodReads First Reads programme

Kevin Brace, Canada’s most famous radio personality, stands in the doorway of his luxury condominium, hands covered in blood, and announces to his newspaper delivery man: “I killed her.” His wife lies dead in the bathtub, fatally stabbed. It would appear to be an open-and-shut case.

The trouble is, Brace refuses to talk to anyone—including his own lawyer—after muttering those incriminating words. With the discovery that the victim was actually a self-destructive alcoholic, the appearance of strange fingerprints at the crime scene, and a revealing courtroom cross-examination, the seemingly simple case takes on all the complexities of a hotly contested murder trial.

I received a copy of this novel thanks to the GoodReads First Reads program. What really drew me to this novel first and foremost was that it’s set in my city, which for me is pretty rare in the books that I read, let alone a crime/mystery novel. Plus, I was in the mood for a mystery novel for a change of pace so this was perfect. May contain spoilers ahead!

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