Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Once Upon A Blind Date by Wendy Markham

Synopsis :

Maggie is best buddies with Dominic. Charlie is best friends with Julie. Through the magic of the Internet, they set up their pals on the most romantic blind date ever. Naturally, Maggie and Charlie tag along for moral support-what are best friends for? 

Yet when the two matchmakers meet, their concerns for their charges take a backseat. As Maggie looks at Charlie, she thinks she feels the earth move. Laying his eyes on his fellow Cupid, all Charlie can think about is kissing her delectable mouth. Shes involved with someone. 

Hes Manhattans most committed bachelor. What will it take for a pair of modern matchmakers to realize this simple truth: that when it comes to finding a soul mate, true love can be found when you least expect it?

One glance at the title and cover, you would know that this is a chic lite through and through. However, for a chic lite, Once Upon a Blind Date wasn't really that cliche and perhaps due to the light and cheerful writing of the author, it wasn't boring as well.   Predictable, yes, very much so!

For those romantic at heart, you would love the theme of opposite attracts as the two of them couldn't be more different.  However, the difference was not the focus of the storyline but more their effort to matchmake someone not so interested to be matchmade.

For those relaxing brainless time that I need one and off, I recommend Once Upon A Blind Date.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Icon by Frederick Forsyth

Synopsis :

It is summer 1999 in Russia, a country on the threshold of anarchy.  An interim president sits powerless in Moscow as his nation is wracked by famine and inflation, crime and corruption, and seething hordes of the unemployed roam the streets.

For the West, Russia is a basket case.  But for Igor Komarov, one-time army sergeant who has risen to leadership of the right-wing UPF party, the chaos is made to order.  As he waits in the wings for the presidential election of January 2000, his striking voice rings out over the airwaves offering the roiling masses hope at last--not only for law, order, and prosperity, but for restoring the lost greatness of their land.

Who is this man with the golden tongue who is so quickly becoming the promise of a Russia reborn?  A document stolen from party headquarters and smuggled to Washington and London sends nightmare chills through those who remember the past, for this Black Manifesto is pure Mein Kampf in a country with frightening parallels to the Germany of the Weimar Republic.

Officially the West can do nothing, but in secret a group of elder statesmen sends the only person who can expose the truth about Komarov into the heart of the inferno.  Jason Monk, ex-CIA and "the best damn agent-runner we ever had," had sworn he would never return to Moscow, but one name changes his mind.  Colonel Anatoli Grishin, the KGB officer who tortured and murdered four of Monk's agents after they had been betrayed by Aldrich Ames, is now Komarov's head of security.

Monk has a dual mission: to stop Komarov, whatever it takes, and to prepare the way for an icon worthy of the Russian people.  But he has a personal mission as well: to settle the final score with Grishin.  To do this he must stay alive--and the forces allied against him are ruthless, the time frighteningly short....
 



Would you believe that I haven't ready any titles by Frederick Forsyth in years.  I have The Afgan in my TBR pile and other than that, It had been years since I encounter This author.

All I can say is that  Icon did not disappoint.  It's a great espionage thriller from beginning to the end.    We get the background story of Jason Monk  at the same time  current developments in the main storyline.  The story merge halfway through and from there it picks up and just gets better and better.

Being a story of the 'spy' kind it's good to note of unexpected spy in the storyline that added a hint of surprise and a trail of wonderment and generally made the story so much better.

I really enjoyed Icon.  

It should not be long before I pick up The Afgan....fingers crossed!

Friday, March 10, 2017

One For My Baby by Tony Parsons

Synopsis :

Returning to London from Hong Kong after a brief, idyllic marriage ends in tragedy, Alfie Budd finds his world collapsing. Believing his chance for love has passed, he takes comfort in fleeting affairs with his students at Churchill's Language School while watching his parents' marriage, his grandmother's health, and his career ambitions rapidly deteriorate. 

But then Alfie meets two people who help him to start healing: the old Chinese man he sees practicing Tai Chi in the park every morning and a single mother who needs Alfie's help in completing her education. 

Soon, our bereft widower is learning much more than Tai Chi and falling for one student above all others. 

But can Alfie give up meaningless sex for a meaningful relationship? And how much room in our hearts do we really have for love? 

I first read Man and Boy which served as my introduction to Tony Parsons about four years ago but for some ready and it was rather memorable because my book disappeared and I couldn't find it and I ended up reading the last chapter in the bookstore.  While I didn't update this in my blog then, I can say that I found my book after a few months and it wasn't where I left it but somewhere else so to this day it's still a mystery how it ended up in that bag.

Anyway, One For My Baby is what I called a 'dude lite', a chic lite from the male perspective.   It wasn't that bad.  Alfie was rather weak and seems to just fall apart after the death of his wife.  Tony seems to stereotyped and portrayed him as a player.

But coming from Tony Parsons, it didn't wow me but is an acceptable read.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Beach Road by James Patterson


Synopsis :

Tom Dunleavy has a one-man law firm in legendary East Hampton. But his job barely keeps him in paper clips. His principal clients make a living serving the rich. The billionaires and mega celebrities swarming the beaches already have lawyers on their payroll.

Then a friend of Tom's is arrested for a triple murder near a movie star's mansion. Tom knows in his gut that Dante Halleyville is innocent. Dante asks him to represent him in what could be the Trial of the Century.  Tom recruits Manhattan superlawyer Kate Costello to help. She's a tough hire, because Kate is his ex-girlfriend-but she agrees. In their search to find who really executed three locals, Tom orchestrates a series of revelations to expose the killer-and what emerges is staggering.

The final scenes of Beach Road unveil a truth that will leave readers gasping in shock.



Beach Road is a book co-written by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge.  It basically has the short chapter James Patterson formula.   However, it's uniqueness is that you will never be able to guess the ending.

To me the ending can be everything and this has one of the most epic ending of all times.  The plot itself is pretty standard fare but the ending!

I think I read Beach Road twice over a period of a few years and it's one book that I don't mind reading again, if I have the time as I simply just love the ending.  It really had mt gasping in shock!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Red Dust - A Path Through China by Ma Jian

Synopsis :

In 1983, at the age of thirty, dissident artist Ma Jian finds himself divorced by his wife, separated from his daughter, betrayed by his girlfriend, facing arrest for “Spiritual Pollution,” and severely disillusioned with the confines of life in Beijing. So with little more than a change of clothes and two bars of soap, Ma takes off to immerse himself in the remotest parts of China. His journey would last three years and take him through smog-choked cities and mountain villages, from scenes of barbarity to havens of tranquility. 

Remarkably written and subtly moving, the result is an insight into the teeming contradictions of China that only a man who was both insider and outsider in his own country could have written

I have high expectation of this book.  I shouldn't have.

However, having said that, it's was a nice companion for me during a recent work travel.  While I travel in the comfort of trains, cabs and planes, Ma Jian travels by foot, buses and whatever means that he can through deserts and mountains.  While I enjoyed the delicious company paid meals, Ma Jian have tea, grubs and whatever that was offered to him during this travel and whatever can salvage or buys.

I read how he had to sleep in the tree when he was lost in the jungle or out on the field in the dessert when he took a wrong turn in the comfort of the five stars hotel room that I was put up in.

I should perhaps not have expectations but have gratitude instead.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Forgotten by David Baldicci


Synopsis :
Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.
A picture-perfect town on Florida's Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt's death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller's father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.
What Puller finds convinces him that his aunt's death was no accident . . . and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make sure the truth is never revealed.
This is the second book by David Baldacci which features Army Special Agent John Puller.  However, it my first introduction to this character and I can say  he's a pretty acceptable character.  Reminds  me a bit of John Reacher, the character of Lee Child but different as well.
It didn't take me long to read The Forgotten.   While it's not overly exciting, it was pretty much thrilling.   Other than John Puller, the author also introduces a mystery man  which adds some hint of uncertainty and mystery as to who he might be and where he stands.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Forgotten.  I can say it's now one of my favourite title by David Baldacci.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich


Synopsis :

The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars
Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one.

The Cousin: Joe Morelli
Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom's sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family.

The Complications: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux
Less than a week after Dom's release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He's getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.

The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum
Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She's a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she's involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

The Crisis: A favor for Ranger
Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie's evening activities.

The Conclusion: Only the fearless should read Fourteen

 Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result.  

The above synopsis basically sums up the whole book.   It's not so much about the content where  this series is concerned but about the way it's been written...the interactions between the different characters, the behaviours of the characters, the synergy and the craziness of the collaboration, 

Once in a while I do need a craziness fix and I can always depend of Stephanie to deliver that.  For some reason, I can't seems to find anyone else within my circle and even outside my circle that read this series. Maybe in years to come, I will get tired of Stephanie but for now she still very much entertains me.

It's also very easy to follow the series. Just go by the numbers :)  Next up would be Finger Licking (whatelse but) Fifteen.