Tag: Books: NetGalley


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: The Vatican Diaries

Posted 13 March, 2013 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
By: John Thavis
Source: e-galley, courtesy of the publisher from NetGalley

For more than twenty-five years John Thavis held one of the most fascinating journalistic jobs in the world: reporting on the inner workings of the Vatican. His daily exposure to the power, politics, and personalities in the seat of Roman Catholicism gave him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on an institution that is far less monolithic and unified than it first appears. Thavis reveals Vatican City as a place where Curia cardinals fight private wars, scandals threaten to undermine papal authority, and reverence for the past is continually upended by the practical considerations of modern life.

Thavis takes readers from a bell tower high above St. Peter’s to the depths of the basilica and the saint’s burial place, from the politicking surrounding the election of a new pope and the ever-growing sexual abuse scandals around the world to controversies about the Vatican’s stand on contraception, and more.

Perceptive, sharply written, and witty, The Vatican Diaries will appeal not only to Catholics (lapsed as well as devout) but to any readers interested in international diplomacy and the role of religion in an increasingly secularized world.

Given the recent events with the Conclave and the election of Pope Francis I, it was rather timely that I was approved to read this book through NetGalley. I’ve always been curious about how the Curia operated, not just as a matter of my faith but also because the Vatican is a unique state. The premise of this book sounded both fascinating and promising so I was really looking forward to digging into this book.

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