Tag: Books: First Reads

Review: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Posted 1 September, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommends
Edited By: Katarina Bivald
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publishers via GoodReads First Reads Programme

It all began with a correspondence between two quite different women: 28-year-old Sara from Haninge, Sweden, and 65-year-old Amy from the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa. After years of exchanging books, letters and thoughts on the meaning of literature and life, Sara, mousy, disheveled, who has never been anywhere in her life–has really lived only for her work in a beloved bookshop, which has just closed its doors for the last time–bravely decides to accept her unknown friend’s invitation to visit. But when she arrives, she finds her house empty, the funeral guests just heading home. . .

Sara finds herself alone. And what choice do the inhabitants of Broken Wheel have but to take care of their bewildered tourist? And what choice does Sara have, faced with a town where nobody reads and her desire to honour her friend, but to set up the perfect bookshop with all the books she and Amy shared–from Yann Martel’s Life of Pi to Iris Murdoch and Jo Nesbo, to Bridget Jones and Doug Coupland’s All Families Are Psychotic to Little House on the Prairie? And then watch as the townsfolk are, one by one, transformed in unexpected ways. . .

I didn’t know about this delightful book until I saw it listed as a Goodreads giveaway. I love books about books and book readers (see list) so this sounded like the perfect book. What more can I say? So I was delighted when I learned that I won an ARC of this novel for review. This book will be available on 25 August 2015.

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Review: The Book of Lost and Found

Posted 19 August, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Book of Lost and Found
By: Lucy Foley
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publishers via GoodReads First Reads Programme

From London to Corsica to Paris–as a young woman pursues the truth about her late mother, two captivating love stories unfurl.

Kate Darling’s enigmatic mother–a once-famous ballerina–has passed away, leaving Kate bereft. When her grandmother falls ill and bequeaths to Kate a small portrait of a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Kate’s mother, Kate uncovers a mystery that may upend everything she thought she knew.

Kate’s journey to find the true identity of the woman in the portrait takes her to some of the world’s most iconic and indulgent locales, revealing a love story that began in the wild 1920s and was disrupted by war and could now spark new love for Kate. Alternating between Kate’s present-day hunt and voices from the past, THE BOOK OF LOST AND FOUND casts light on family secrets and love-both lost and found.

The Book of Lost and Found sounds like my kind of read: a story about family and secrets and time and place disrupting a chance for happiness, a story involving plenty of travel. I won an ARC of this novel through the GoodReads First Reads programme and it came at a good time as I needed to unwind a bit from all of the studying for my comprehensive exams and summer was slowly rolling in. This book will be available on 25 August 2015.

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Review: The House of Shattered Wings

Posted 17 August, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The House of Shattered Wings
By: Aliette de Bodard
Format/Source: eARC courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley

In the late twentieth century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins, the aftermath of a Great War between arcane powers. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.

Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.

I first heard of Aliette de Bodard about a year or two ago I believe when one of her short stories, The Waiting Stars, was nominated for a Hugo and Locus Award. I was curious, checked it out, and greatly enjoyed it. Since then I kept a lookout for her other work–I know she had written a fantasy series previously–and was quite excited when I found out that this book was to be released this year. The premise sounded really interesting, not to mention look at that stunning book cover! I read an eARC of this novel courtesy of the publishers through NetGalley. This book will be available on 18 August 2015.

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Review: Paper Tigress

Posted 10 August, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Paper Tigress
By: Rachel Cartland
Format/Source: Paperback courtesy of the publishers via LibrayThing Early Reviewers Programme

Rachel Cartland came to Hong Kong in 1972 as one of just two female expatriates in the Hong Kong Government’s elite administrative grade.

Before she retired in 2006, her life was shaped by the momentous events that rocked Hong Kong during those action-packed years: corruption and the police mutiny, the growth of the new towns, the currency crisis of 1983, Tiananmen Square, the change of sovereignty and the devastation of SARS. The backdrop to her story ranges from Kowloon’s infamous Walled City to Government House to the rural New Territories.

Paper Tigress is full of humour and incident and, at the same time, an accessible account of modern Hong Kong and the forces that shaped it.

Bit of a funny story about this book, but I won a complimentary copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme in 2014 but only received a copy of it early this year. Had actually given up the prospect of it ever arriving when it did xD So here we are. I thought the premise of this book was really interesting, being one of two female expatriates working for the Hong Kong government, as well as the fact that it was about Hong Kong politics and 20th century history, an area I was not very familiar with.

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Review: The Marriage of Opposites

Posted 29 July, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Marriage of Opposites
By: Alice Hoffman
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism.

Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.

Building on the triumphs of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, set in a world of almost unimaginable beauty, The Marriage of Opposites showcases the beloved, bestselling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Frédérick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.

This is the second book by Alice Hoffman that I’ve read. I read Practical Magic (review) a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I tried reading The Probable Future but was immediately turned off about two chapters in with the frustrating mother-daughter dynamics. Nonetheless I was curious to check out her other books as they sounded very interesting. I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 04 August 2015.

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