Tag: Books: First Reads


Review: The Indigo Pheasant

Posted 17 September, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Indigo Pheasant
By: Daniel A. Rabuzzi

London 1817. Maggie Collins, born into slavery in Maryland, whose mathematical genius and strength of mind can match those of a goddess, must build the world’s most powerful and sophisticated machine— to free the lost land of Yount from the fallen angel Strix Tender Wurm. Sally, of the merchant house McDoon, who displayed her own powers in challenging the Wurm and finding Yount in The Choir Boats, must choose either to help Maggie or to hinder her.

Together— or not— Maggie and Sally drive to conclusion the story started in The Choir Boats— a story of blood— soaked song, family secrets, sins new and old in search of expiation, forbidden love, high policy and acts of state, financial ruin, betrayals intimate and grand, sorcery from the origins of time, and battle in the streets of London and on the arcane seas of Yount.

ChiZine Publishers kindly sent me a e-copy of this book and the first volume to the series, The Choir Boats (review), for review. It was released a few days ago so it’s available now if you’re wondering.

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Review: The Choir Boats

Posted 6 September, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Choir Boats
By: Daniel A. Rabuzzi

What would you give to make good on the sins of your past? For merchant Barnabas McDoon, the answer is: everything. When emissaries from a world called Yount offer Barnabas a chance to redeem himself, he accepts their price to voyage to Yount with the key that only he can use to unlock the door to their prison. But bleak forces seek to stop him: Yount’s jailer, a once-human wizard who craves his own salvation, kidnaps Barnabas’s nephew. A fallen angel a monstrous owl with eyes of fire will unleash Hell if Yount is freed. And, meanwhile, Barnabas’s niece, Sally, and a mysterious pauper named Maggie seek with dream-songs to wake the sleeping goddess who may be the only hope for Yount and Earth alike.

ChiZine Publishers kindly sent me a e-copy of this novel and its sequel, The Idiot Pheasant, for review. I don’t usually read YA (save for the Rick Riordan’s books…and Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Through Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making (review)) however this novel does cross over to a number of different genres so adults and youth can enjoy this novel.

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Review: The Orchardist

Posted 23 August, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Orchardist
By: Amanda Coplin

At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, a solitary orchardist named Talmadge carefully tends the grove of fruit trees he has cultivated for nearly half a century. A gentle, solitary man, he finds solace and purpose in the sweetness of the apples, apricots, and plums he grows, and in the quiet, beating heart of the land-the valley of yellow grass bordering a deep canyon that has been his home since he was nine years old. Everything he is and has known is tied to this patch of earth. It is where his widowed mother is buried, taken by illness when he was just thirteen, and where his only companion, his beloved teenaged sister Elsbeth, mysteriously disappeared. It is where the horse wranglers-native men, mostly Nez Perce-pass through each spring with their wild herds, setting up camp in the flowering meadows between the trees.

One day, while in town to sell his fruit at the market, two girls, barefoot and dirty, steal some apples. Later, they appear on his homestead, cautious yet curious about the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, Jane and her sister Della take up on Talmadage’s land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Yet just as the girls begin to trust him, brutal men with guns arrive in the orchard, and the shattering tragedy that follows sets Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect them, putting himself between the girls and the world, but to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the Book Depository (for a contest I won some time ago) so that was delightful. It’s an intriguing premise so I delved right into it. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: The Devotion of Suspect X

Posted 16 April, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Devotion of Suspect X
By: Keigo Higashino

Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor. Overhearing the commotion, Yasuko’s next door neighbor, middle-aged high school mathematics teacher Ishigami, offers his help, disposing not only of the body but plotting the cover-up step-by-step. When the body turns up and is identified, Detective Kusanagi draws the case and Yasuko comes under suspicion. Kusanagi is unable to find any obvious holes in Yasuko’s manufactured alibi and yet is still sure that there’s something wrong. Kusanagi brings in Dr. Manabu Yukawa, a physicist and college friend who frequently consults with the police. Yukawa, known to the police by the nickname Professor Galileo, went to college with Ishigami. After meeting up with him again, Yukawa is convinced that Ishigami had something to do with the murder. What ensues is a high level battle of wits, as Ishigami tries to protect Yasuko by outmaneuvering and outthinking Yukawa, who faces his most clever and determined opponent yet.

I received a copy of this book from GoodReads a short time ago (but it is now available to purchase in bookstores). The premise sounds interesting and it has received a lot of positive reviews from many book reviewers and journalists thus far. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!

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Review: Midnight in Peking

Posted 24 February, 2012 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Midnight in Peking: How the Murder of a Young Englishwoman Haunted the Last Days of Old China
By: Paul French

Peking in 1937 is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, opulence and opium dens, rumours and superstition. The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of Pamela Werner’s body sends a shiver throughout the already nervous Peking. Is it the work of a madman? One of the ruthless Japanese soldiers now surrounding the city? Or perhaps the dreaded fox spirits? With the suspect list growng and clues sparse, two detectives–one British and one Chinese–race against the clock to solve the crime before the Japanese invade and Peking as they know it is gone forever. Can they find the killer in time?

I received an advanced reading copy of this book from GoodReads; this book is coming out in hardback sometime in May 2012. I was pretty excited to read this book because during my undergraduate program, I never got around to taking a Chinese history class. It’s amazing how complex and multi-faceted Chinese history is and how interconnected it was with other countries so I was curious to see how French presented 1930s China through this murder case.

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