Tag: Books: Recommendations


List: Books By Canadian Authors to Check Out (+ Giveaway!)

Posted 1 July, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 10 Comments

Happy Canada Day! It’s a long weekend up here, which is nice, and to celebrate everything Canadian, I’ve decided to put together a wee list of some of my favourite books by Canadian authors that I’ve read in the past year (2015 – 2016).

Edit (09 July 2016): A little late as I’ve been away at the end of June/start of July, but you can consider this post as part of this month’s edition of So You Want to Read… (see previous posts)

  • Still Mine by Amy Stuart (review) — I read this book earlier this year and it’s absolutely marvelous! Very atmospheric, foreboding, and mysterious; you’re not quite sure who to trust in this wee mining town in the middle of nowhere, and the protagonist is fighting her own past demons whilst searching for clues to the whereabouts of a missing woman. I’ve mentioned it recently how it’s a perfect vacation read, but it’s a great read any time, really.
  • Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis (review) — This was last year’s winner of the Giller Prize, which prompted me to check it out (plus I got some verbal recommendations when I was at the bookstore shortly afterwards). It was absolutely stunning, from the premise of bringing human consciousness to this group of fifteen dogs to capturing the essense of human experience. Not to mention from the Canadian standpoint it gives a curious/change of perspective of the city I live in.
  • Family Furnishings by Alice Munro (review) — No list of Canadian literature is ever complete without mentioning Alice Munro πŸ˜› I selected this title, the latest compliation of her works, because it’s all around a solid collection. I found I prefer her later stories to her earlier ones–much easier to get into, the themes and scenarios interesting–and think this is a great starting point if you’ve never read anything by her before.
  • Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden (review) — Joseph Boyden is a quite a big author up here, writing about Aboriginal experience in Canadian history and about Aboriginals and their lives as a whole. I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of his books until this year and suffice to say it was quite a read! I learned a lot about the Aboriginal contribution to the Canadian forces during World War One as well as a myriad of other topics such as the residential schools and the serious issue of morphine addiction. Can’t wait to read more books by him!
  • The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (review) — Any book by her, really (see author tag), but to date this title has to be my favourite from her. It’s absolutely atmospheric, feels like you’re almost in northern Scotland, at Slains, facing the sea. Both storylines–the 17th century one and the present day one–were absolutely enthralling, I couldn’t quite put it down once I started reading it. I’ve enjoyed almost all of her books save for one of two but if you’re new to her works or want a sample of her storytelling, this is definitely the book to check out.



And that’s my list of recommendations of books to check out by Canadian authors! Have you read any of these titles? If so, what did you think of them? If you haven’t read any of these, well, now’s your chance! I’m hosting a flash book giveaway where you can win your choice of book from the above five titles* πŸ™‚ This giveaway is open internationally so long as The Book Depository ships to your country. This giveaway will run until 08 July 2016 at 11:59PM. A winner will be selected the following day and will have 48 hours to respond to the email so please make sure you enter a valid email address! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me at webmaster [at] eclectictales [dot] com. Bonne chance! πŸ˜€

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* – If you’ve read the above titles by Alice Munro, Joseph Boyden, or Susanna Kearsley, I’d be happy to send you a book of theirs that you haven’t read.

Edit: Congrats to the winner of this giveaway, Denise! I hope you enjoy the book of you choice. Thanks again to everyone who entered!

So You Want to Read… (Marina Fiorato)

Posted 15 June, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 4 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

Another month, another edition of “So You Want to Read…” This month I decided to focus on Marina Fiorato and her bibliography; I don’t know if it’s because the first time I travelled to Italy it was summertime but her books seem to be perfect to focus on these summer months. I forgot how I first encountered her books–it must have been during one of my searches for historical fiction set in Italy–

If you’re interested in reading her books for the first time, here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • The Daughter of Siena (review) — Also happens to have one of my favourite book covers ever, but anyway, I think The Daughter of Siena is a great starting point if you’re curious to check out her books: lots of intrigue, fascinating city and culture and history (every Italian city has its quirks and its own unique history, and Siena definitely fits the bill on all of this), interesting characters, lots of conflict and tension and overlapping interests. Quite the page turner.
  • The Venetian Contract (review) — Another fascinating and informative novel from Marina Fiorato. I only visited Venice once and while I thought I knew enough of the basics of what went on there during the early modern period/Renaissance/at its height, I learned so much more about Venice and its situation in the 16th century, and especially its relations with the Ottoman Empire. I admit, the primary interest why I wanted to read this book was because the architect Andrea Palladio was featured here (he’s known for a number of architectural buildings he constructed in the period, many of which you can see in Vincenza) and his presence certainly didn’t disappoint here.
  • Beatrice and Benedick (review) — If you love the Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing (review) then you should check out this book. It puts Beatrice and Benedick’s story in a more historical setting and while I quibbled that perhaps she drew a bit too much directly from the play in terms of dialogue, it’s still a lot of fun to read, not to mention a different setting in Italy (Sicily this time).



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Marina Fiorato for the first time! If you’ve read her books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

Top Ten Tuesdays

Posted 31 May, 2016 by Lianne in Meme / 14 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic: Beach Reads Week

I think I say this year in and year out but I’m not one for the beaches. Nonetheless I am big on bringing a book or two with me when I do go away for vacation so the following is a list of recommended books to take with you to the beach/to the cottage/on vacation/wherehaveyou πŸ™‚ I tend to bring some lighter fare, so you’ll notice an absence of my usual recommendations in the classical literature & literary genres πŸ˜‰ So in no particular order:

  1. Still Mine by Amy Stuart (review) — This was such an atmospheric novel that was also pretty fast-paced and all around unputdownable. Definitely a perfect book to bring with you on the plane or on the train or at the cottage πŸ™‚
  2. The Guilty Plea by Robert Rotenberg (review) — Either this book or the first Detective Green novel, Old City Hall (review), would make for a good beach read if you’re into mystery and suspense novels with a cast of charactes ranging from all aspects of the case: the homicide detective, the Crown attorney, the defense, the suspect, the witnesses, etc.
  3. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (review) — Oops, do I sense something a trend here? Another mystery novel, this time from J.K. Rowling’s mystery pseudonym. This one’s a slower burn compared to the previous two novels I recommended but I nonetheless enjoyed reading the twists and turns and getting to know the hulking, abrasive Cormoran Strike.
  4. Made to Kill by Adam Christopher (review) — Still in the realm of mysteries, but with a sci-fi bent, this book was pretty interesting: robots, espionage, Hollywood glamour, and good ol’ noir mystery.
  5. The Martian by Andy Weir (review) — Sure, it’s hella intense as you read and watch as Mark Whatney struggles to survive on his own on Mars whilst NASA figures out a way to bring him home, but it’s fascinating and the character himself is entertaining despite of the crappy situation he finds himself in.
  6. Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk (review) — For some light fun now (well, lighter anyhow), I recommend this book. I’ve been pushing this book quite a bit in the past year, and with good reason: it’s pretty hilarious, in the same vein as Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary and the BBC sitcom Miranda, and some of the observations on-point.
  7. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters (review) — If this doesn’t fuel the wanderlust further, well… πŸ˜› This book is absolutely stunning, I can’t believe I didn’t get around to reading it sooner, but it’s perfect for those sunny summer days out, contemplating about life and all that πŸ™‚
  8. The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (review) — And now for a different locale, there’s this book. Poor Inspector Peter Glebsky just wants to have a holiday up at a ski chalet and gets sucked into a mystery of sorts that may or may not involve aliens. Yup, you read that right πŸ˜›
  9. Girl in the Afternoon by Serena Burdick (review to be posted in early July) — No beach/vacation read recommendation list is ever complete without a dash of dysfunctional families. For that I present to you this year this book: it’s set in the latter half of 19th century Paris (at the time the Impressionists were emerging as a movement) featuring a young woman whose family and those she loves are holding a lot of secrets. Suffice to say I could not put it down.
  10. A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke (review) — I recommended this book last year but it bears repeating and recommending again because it’s fantastic: set in a remote Tasmanian island where the widow finds out that her recently-deceased husband was not what he seemed to be. I found this book absolutely absorbing from start to finish. Also, I mentioned I’m not big on beaches and stuff, but I’d make an exception for this island that the main character ended up in, the location sounds absolutely calming.



And that’s my list of recommended beach/vacation reads! What books did you list for this week? Are you going away for the summer months?

So You Want to Read… (Kate Morton)

Posted 13 May, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 6 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

Happy May! For this month’s “So You Want to Read…” feature, I decided to focus on Kate Morton. I initially was going to post the following for April, but given that it was National Poetry Month, I decided to feature poetry then and pushed Kate Morton’s post for this month. But the following blurb is still valid πŸ˜‰ : for some reason her books just scream “Spring!” for me (must be the book covers) so that’s why I decided to feature it now πŸ™‚ I’ve read all of her books to date and early on she became an instant favourite of mine; I’m always excited to hear a new book of hers coming out, she does such a wonderful job in bringing a historical period to life and writing a fascinating mystery and family drama and integrating two storylines set in two different time periods in one. Readers of historical fiction would definitely enjoy reading her books.

If you’re interested in reading her books for the first time, here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • The Forgotten Garden (review) — I think this is the book many fans of her books first read; it was certainly mine! But it wasn’t her first novel–That Would be The House at Riverton–but it certainly is a good place to start. This book kept me wondering about the mystery of Nell’s parentage and what happened all those years ago. It does seem a bit ambitious now compared to her other novels in that it juggles three different timelines instead of two, but nonetheless it was fascinating and rife with human drama and intrigue.
  • The Distant Hours — I’m personally surprised I never wrote a review of this book here on my blog because it’s certainly a gripping read. The impression it left on my mind from when I read it was that it was very much steeped in family drama, perhaps moreso than any of her other novels (and that element is big in her books!). Complete with an eerie house, yeah, this book was a very atmospheric read, almost Gothic really.
  • The Secret Keeper (review) — Kate Morton wrote another cracking mystery with this novel, this time looking at a mother’s past and tensions that led to the dissolution of a friendship and mysterious circumstances during the Second World War. Family again is a notable theme here, and I especially enjoyed the interactions amongst the siblings in the 2011 storyline.



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading something by Kate Morton for the first time! My descriptions are a little shorter than usual as it’s hard to say something different about each of them; all of her books, including those I didn’t mention, all have fascinating mysteries that will have you glued until the last page. Highly recommended all around! If you’ve read her books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚

So You Want to Read… (Poetry, Part II)

Posted 18 April, 2016 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! πŸ™‚

Happy April! For this edition of “So You Want to Read…” I decided to feature Poetry again as it’s National Poetry Month. My first poetry post and list of recommendations for the form can be found in this post. I decided to feature this form again as I’ve read a ton of great poetry last year, some of which are worth checking out if poetry isn’t your thing or you’re hoping to read more of the form πŸ™‚

So continuing where I left off, these three poets are also worth checking out if you’re reading poetry for the first time:

  • Pablo Neruda — One of the, if not the greatest poet from Latin/South America. Pablo Neruda wrote some really sensual and poignant love poetry, but he also wrote a lot of poetry about the political atmosphere of his country over the decades, the misery and suffering of the people under dictatorship. His poetry is both moving and also eye-opening. I read an omnibus of his work that was bilingual (review) which can be pretty daunting because it’s a massive book but worth checking out if you just want to dive straight into his work and you’re not sure where to start–or if you just want to read all of his work.
  • Dylan Thomas — Another poet from the 20th century, I first encountered his work around grade 12 high school when one of his works was used in a movie. I then used it for an English assignment and thought it really haunting but never sought to pick his works again until last year (review). The rest of his poems, especially later on, are very much in the same vein as “And death shall have no dominion” in the haunting visual, the mournful tone of was is lost, the use of imagery and tone. You may have to be in a particular mood to read his poems, but they’re still very accessible.
  • Edgar Allan Poe — Finally, for a turn to the nineteenth century, may I recommend Edgar Allan Poe πŸ™‚ I only got around to his poems early this year (review) after having picked up the book late last year and omg, one of my better book-buying decisions, lol. Sometimes he uses phrases and passages repeatedly to drive his point across, but his poems are full of imagery and feeling with some stunning use of words and turn of phrases, yeah, I’d highly recommend checking out his poems if you’re delving into poetry for the first time. And the volume is not that long either, so that’s a plus!



I hope this list helps if you’re interested in reading some poetry, either for the first time or in passing. Have you read anything from the above poets before? Which poets would you recommend to first time poetry readers (or readers who don’t normally read or like poetry)? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! πŸ™‚