Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflection - 2011


Year 2011 has been a busy and an interesting year.

I did a total of about 118 posts for this year.  Very little for some but quite a lot for me.  Quite a fair bit (about half?) of them were committed posts with deadlines for publications as these are new releases that publishers depend on for online publicity. It would also be interesting to note that half of the books I read this year were e-books.  I still very much prefer a printed version but I guess this shows that I am also open to other forms of publications. 

I also met a lot of interesting people through my blogging this year and even got to attend a seminar.  I look forward to learning from them as most of them are extremely experienced in this field which I am still very much a novice.

I enjoye the networking opportunities and events that I cover for this blogs and the plans to expand this is very much a reality through this new site and a revival of this old site.  While some might say blogging is history as they move on to other media platform such as twitter, etc, I would say, 'it's just the beginning'.

Happy New Year everyone :)  Thank you for dropping by and have a wonderful 2012 ahead.

Let me end by sharing with you this wonderful song by Lincoln Brewster, the message of which I hold close to my heart.  God bless.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cat O' Nine Tales by Jeffery Archer


Taken from the book jacket :

Cat O’Nine Tales is the 5th collection of irresistible short stories from the master storyteller. These yearns are ingeniously plotted, with richly drawn characters and deliciously unexpected conclusions and with the added bonus of illustrations by the internationally acclaimed artist, Ronald Searle.

I love the rich red cover of this book.  Very striking and attractive. A very much added appeal.  I wonder if the colour contributes to the sales volume of this book.  I wonder if any surveys were carried out on the appeal of covers vs sales of books.  Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, there are a total of 12 stories in Cat O'Nine Tales. Hm....shouldn't the title be Cat O'Twelve Tales then?  Perhaps it refers to nine lives a cat is supposed to have and I guess if you have been convicted of a crime and been behind bars, it meant that you have used up one life of the nine that you have. Is it? I don't know. Just thinking outloud.  Sorry, I digress again.

Back to the book, the stories are all part of the legacy that Sir Jeffery Archer gained while spending about 2 years behind bars for perjury from year 2001 to 2003. Some of these stories were told to him directly while some are stories that he picked up along the way. Whichever method he obtained the stories, they are all delightfully Jeffery Archer style and are all delightful read.

The stories all told of some crime of another.  Some of the prepetrators got away with the crime and some did not.  Starting with the 1st story The Man Who Robbed His Own Post Office (my absolute favourite) to the last, In the Eye of the Beholder, Jeffery Archer spins his tales in such a way that you forgot they are short stories and are surprised when one tale ends and the next begins.

I enjoyed my time with the book. Thank you, NS for lending this to me. :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Read - The Gift by Cecelia Ahern


If you could wish for one gift this Christmas what would it be?

That’s the question asked at the back cover of the book where the synopsis normally is and with that you have to take a leap of faith and leap into the book to find out more. Having had good experience reading Cecelia’s novels here and here, I jumped right in.

The story of Lou Suffern is told to a boy by a police officer when the boy was caught throwing a frozen turkey into the home of his dad and his new family. While waiting for his mum to pick him up from the police station, Officer O’Reilly told him this story....everyday Lou Suffern battles with the clock. He always has two places to be at the same time and always has two things to do at once. One day on this way into work, Lou meets Gabe, a homeless man sitting outside the office building. Intrigued by Gabe, Lou gets him a job in his company. But soon, Lou begins to regret helping Gabe for Gabe’s very presence unsettles Lou – everyone likes Gabe and the things that Gabe said is very profound and Lou doesn’t like it. Also, how can Gabe appeared to be in two places at the same time?

The Gift is very different from Cecelia’s other novels that I have read. In fact, it reminded me so much of being written for a Hallmark Movie. It has this feel good feeling that tries to touch your soul with a moral message. It has its moment of fun that makes you smile, certain moments that make you shake your head with disapproval and also its moment of sadness that makes you sob while reading.

This is a great book to buy as a gift. Even the cover looks like a wrapped gift for Christmas. If you know of someone who is like Lou, you can present this as a gift to him or her.

But the question lingers on after reading The Gift,.... who is Gabe? Is Gabe short for Gabriel? As in the archangel Gabriel? For Gabe disappear at the end of the book as suddenly he appears and no one knows where he went.

Like I said, The Gift is very much like a Hallmark movie and here’s a song from another feel good movie that I like and which I would like to present to you as a gift! The song is entitled The Christmas Shoes by Newsong. Enjoy :) 



Merry Christmas everyone.  May God's blessing be with you and those close to your heart.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Abduction by Mark Gimenez

Synopsis :

When hotshot lawyer Elizabeth Brice turns up to collect her daughter Grace from football practice, the coach tells her she needn’t have bothered, as Grace’s uncle has already picked her up.

The only problem is – Grace has no uncles.

And so begins a furious race against time to save Grace from unknown kidnappers. Grace’s internet geek father John leads the search, forced to unite with his terrifying wife and even more terrifying father Ben, a battle-hardened Vietnam Veteran.

Somehow they must find Grace before it is too late. But secrets from the past make the little girl’s survival more uncertain with every passing minute.....

The Abduction is interesting and it’s not just about rescuing an abducted girl but more the unexpected circumstances surrounding her disappearance. The author is extremely talented in bringing the suspense forward and keeping it so real that you would just want to keep on reading. Just when you thought you know where the story is heading, another curve ball is thrown at you.

The characters are well developed. You will like Col Ben Brice who turns to alcohol to escape his past. You will feel sorry for John Brice who has everything money can buy but not the love of his wife and you might feel angry at Elizabeth Brice for being such a tough nut but your opinion of her might changed further into the book.

Not many readers in this part of the world knew about Mark Gimenez. The local bookstores are just saturated with authors such as John Grisham, James Petterson, Sidney Sheldon. Let me tell you, go and read books by Mark Gimenez. He’s as good a writer as the others and even better than some.

I really enjoy his writing from the very first book which I read about 5 years ago, Colour of Law to The Perk and this. His other two books are The Common Lawyer and Accused (which is sequel to Colour of Law) which I have not read. To me, it’s just a matter of time before I do. And when I do, you can be sure I will share them with you.

This is the 2nd time I’m reading The Abduction since I bought it about 3 years ago. Go, get your copy and be thrilled.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Triple Dog Dare – One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys by Jeremy V Jones


In case you are wondering why boys are being left out after reading this, well, wonder no more because the publisher is also publishing a version for the boys.

Entitled Triple Dog Dare, this one year devotion book follows the same format and concept as Truth & Dare (for girls) but the style are written to appeal to boys age 9 to 12. Even the cover has a boy shooting a sling against a gigantic robot. Is it the modern day version of David vs. Goliath or just a depiction of a boy going against worldly things or temptations of the world like internet, mobile phones, books (pornography?) which the giant represents?

Anyway, here is what the back cover of the book says,

So you think devotions are nothign but boring 'quiet times' for wimpy kids and Good Two-shoes?  Think again.  Being a young man of God is all about action. Really. Remember how David knocked down Goliah, Daniel faced those lions, Paul survived a shipwreck and Jesus stood up for a woman about to be killed?  God made guys to take His Truth and do something with it, to man up and change the world.  Think of this book as your action plan to do just that.

These devotions will challenge you to live a bold, action-packed life for God.  Every day you'll read a few Bible verses and a short truth about being God's man.  But then you'll be challenged to put it into action.   You'll roll up your sleeves and take on dares like drawing a comic strip, collecting school supplies for needy kids or creating your own movie.  Are you up for the challenge? 

We triple dog dare you.

Since Christmas is round the corner and the new year is about to start, I think it would make a wonderful present for any boys.   This book is published by David Cook.  You can check it out at www.davidccook.com. 

Thank you B&B Media for this review copy. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Love Finds a Way by Wanda E. Brunstetter


Love Finds a Way consists of 3 rather cheesy and short Christian romance novella. First, you have Blueberry Surprise which tells how love comes to Lorna, a young widow who’s not really ready to move on after her husband’s death a year ago. She’s still staying with her in-laws and working 2 jobs to keep herself occupied.

Upon encouragement by her colleagues and in-laws, she went back to school and there she met Evan Bailey, her new coursemate who’s looking for a Christian wife in a Christian college. How stereotype is that? I mean there’s no harm in wanting to be equally yoke but to purposefully look for a wife like that, sorry, I just can’t accept it.

The second story, called Grandma’s Doll is about Sheila who travels to her grandma’s hometown to choose something from the attic as a keepsake. She particularly wants her Grandma’s doll that she played with when she was young. However, grandma might have already sold the doll off to an antique dealer whom on the other hand had sold the business to a new person. There no prize to guess that this new dealer is young and handsome and no prize too for guessing what happen next when he offers to help Sheila find the doll.

The final story is the shortest. Entitled Matchmaker 911, it’s about how a dad tried to match make his daughter, Wendy to a young and handsome paramedic whom he met in a hospital cafeteria one day as he felt that his daughter needs a man in her life.  He began to make fake 911 calls and it wasn't long before he got into 'trouble'.  The funniest among the 3 stories.

There you have it, 3 stories summarised in a few paragraphs and about 250+ words. Save you the trouble of getting the book. 

I review this for Netgalley.com.  This book is published by Barbour Publishing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Truth & Dare – One Year Dynamic Devotions for Girls by Ann Margret Hovsepian


Dare to Put Your Faith into Action!

Truth & Dare is a devotional book targeted at girls from age 9 to 12. It is very thick as it caters for 365 days. The usefulness of this book is that it doesn’t start of any particular day or month of the year. Instead it started with a ‘weekend’ and users can start using it any weekend they choose to whether it’s in December, January, February or any time of the year.

Truth
Every devotions start with a verse that would be relating to the topic of the day. For example, on the topic of ‘Who’s living your life?’ the bible verse is Galatians 2 : 20 which says ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.’

That would be followed by a couple paragraph of explanation on this title and the related verse.

Dare
Then comes the dare, which for this topic is – Give Jesus control of your life!

This would be followed by a triple-dog dare which has 3 things that the author would dare the user to do like dare 1 – write down 5 good qualities you have and thank God for being the One to help you grown in this area; dare 2 – with your parents, look up the lyrics of ‘crucified with Christ’ a song by Philips, Craig & Dean. Can you make those words your own? dare 3 – ask an older Christian what this verse means to him or her.

Journaling
There would be a section at the bottom for the user to write down what she learnt from this devotion.

As the whole thing is very structured, it is very easy to use and what was written in the journal section is useful for future reflections and a good way to chart spiritual growth.

I also find that the topics are quite universal and across all age that even adults can use some of them for small group reflections and studying of the Word of God.

I think it would make a wonderful Christmas present for any girls. This book is published by David Cook. You can check it out at http://www.davidccook.com/. Thank you B&B Media for this review copy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Husband Material by Maeve Haran

Synopsis :

What makes a good husband material? Someone who’s kind? Someone who’s brilliant in bed and puts the rubbish out afterwards?

After 16 years of marriage to the charming but unfaithful Giles, Amanda’s sure of one thing : she isn’t going to make the same mistake twice. So when she, literally, bumps into charismatic property developer Angus Day in his cobait blue sports car there’s no way she’s going to fall for that charm baloney again - even if he does offer to pay for her damage.

This time she’s going to choose someone suitable. Like the delightful Luke Knight, a caring, sharing new man who helps old ladies across the street – rather than throwing them into it. Amanda is smitten and despite the misgivings of her daughter Clio, she wants him to be her very own knight in shining amour.

Amanda is in her 40s and she is looking into dating again after her divorce. Her 16 year old daughter encourages her to and even put a singles advert for her in the paper. She finds herself attracted to Angus Day but is he too charming for her? Then she was introduced to Luke Knight and is attracted to him too. She now has a choice between Knight and Day (night and day), get it? Haha...:)

The book is quite enjoyable if taken at face value and not to be analysed too thoroughly. The characters are lovable especially Clio and Isobel (Angus’s mother) and the whole book does take on an air of fairytale like which is pretty unrealistic. Having said that it does touch on a few social issues like what might happen when a single mother takes on a new man, the danger when a mother brings a new man into her life and into her home. It also brought to light the concern and struggle of single mum in trying to give the basic to her family while not able to offer them treats and holidays and how devastating it can be to her and her children when her ex-husband has a new family.

First time reading Maeve Haran. I bought Husband Material in a warehouse sales quite a while ago. I quite enjoy it. I think I will keep it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Love, Honour and O’Brien by Jennifer Rowe

Synopsis :

She stared into the speckled mirror, wondering how she had come to this. How could she, Holly Love, apple of her parents' eye, competent manipulator of invoices in Gorgon Office Supplies, have ended up alone and starving in a dead man's flat?

How indeed? Most reluctant heroines would throw in the towel at this point. But Holly Love is made of sterner stuff. She's sworn to track down the cheating swine who ripped her life apart, and make him pay. But as she tries to keep her head in the face of a bizarre mystery, a gloomy old house, a hearse driving Elvis impersonator and a gang of vengeful thugs not to mention a garrulous and possibly possessed parrot Holly is forced to come to terms with a great truth. However bad things seem, they can always get worse.

This is a rather refreshing book. First, it was set in the Blue Mountain in Australia and not in any towns or cities in the United States that you would come to expect. For the fact that I have been to Blue Mountain certainly added some interesting charm to the whole story.

Anyway, no matter where the setting is, Love, Honour & O’Brien is very delightful. I feel sad for Holly Love as she gets ready to start her new life being a married woman. Unknown to her, her ‘knight in shining amour’ is really a ‘crook in rusted tin can’. He promised to marry her but has ran off with her money. Knowing that she’s in for such disappointment makes me feel sad for her. At the same time, I sense some gumption from her and kind of know that she would be ok after she got over the shock. Somehow, I knew that Holly has the strength to get up and move on.

Get up and move on she did after her private detective died on her and she ended up taking over his practice and his talking parrot and finding herself some true friend in the person of a psychic and an old lady who watches detective shows every night.

I enjoy this book and all that the characters bring with it. Although some of the characters are just too quirky and rather lame and some of the plot too coincidental to be real but it’s amusing and fun to read and rather entertaining thoroughly. I would love to read the second book and see how Holly fares as a detective. Very well, I’m sure.

Love, Honour and O'Brien is due for released by Poisoned Pen Press on 15th January 2012. I review this for NetGalley.com.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Interview with Carlos Parra Diaz, author of Hope Underground

Have you read Hope Underground?  Are you inspire by the stories of the miners?  Here's an interview with Pastor Carlos Parra Diaz that was sent to me by B&B Media Group.  May you be further inspired.

Q : In Hope Underground, you mention several instances that suggest God’s intervention. Did you personally experience God’s presence while there and, if so, how did it affect you?

A : This recognition of divine intervention throughout the entire process of the rescue has been the consistent perspective of the miners, their families, the rescue personnel and millions around the world. For myself, I had always believed that God is real, a living God who chooses to be close to those who love Him. But during my weeks at Camp Hope, I experience for myself just how real God is and how deeply He loves the human beings He has created. And how directly involved He is in the daily lives of His children.

Q : Through no fault of their own, all 33 miners were thrust into the world spotlight. Since then, how have their lives been altered?

A : The miners have moved on with their loves. Some have taken new jobs. Others have retired from mining completely. Many of them have travelled extensively since their rescue, sharing their experiences with audiences around the world. While their lives have returned to some semblance of normalcy, they have all experienced a profound change, so that none of them will ever return to the lives they lived before.

Q : You made the decision to present the miners with a special gift while they were trapped in the mine. Could you tell us a little about that?

A : Yes. I had already presented Bibles to each of the families at Camp Hope, but I wanted to do more. In my mind was the thought that a Bible would be one way I could help the miners in the prolonged wait facing them. The comfort of God’s Word and His promises could help the miners bear up under the various physical, emotional or spiritual difficulties that were bound to appear.

Q : After visiting with the miners following the resuce, which of these visits do you feel had the greatest impact on you?

My visit with Jose Henriquez, the ‘pastor’ of the trapped miners, was a special pleasure for me. He was among those I’d been able to speak with while they were still underground. He’d shared with me about their difficult survival during those first 17 days when they had no contact with the outside. It was Jose who, from the beginning, proposed to the group that they set aside a certain time each day for prayer. All had accepted and when they came together to pray he would recite certain Bible texts he knew from memory. But his repertoire of memorized verses were soon exhausted. The group longed for a Bible so they might read more of God’s Word. Like all their other needs at the time, this seemed like a wish that would not be fulfilled. Then four days after they’d been found alive, the miniature Bibles arrived below. A direct answer to their prayers. Jose told me their communal prayer time at midday and 6 pm were greatly enriched because they were all able to read God’s Word for themselves at any moment of the day they felt a need. An those moments, he added, were many.

Q : What lessons in faith can be learned from the mine collapse?

A : God was able to get our attention and call humanity back to Himself. Through the miracle of the San Jose Mine resuce, witnessed by people all over the world through the media, God has issued a call to his creation, every human being, to make a decision while there is still time to do so. Jesus Christ laid down His life on the cross as a substitute for sinful humanity, as a guarantee of salvation and eternal life, free of charge, to anyone who will receive this precious gift. By reminding the world of His reality and His love, even in the depths of the San Jose Mine, God is once again offering every human being the opportunity to make a very simple decision : Will you follow God? Or will you reject Him?

For most people, this spectacular rescue is already yesterday’s news. However, for the millions who prayed for a miracle, this event has become a spiritual heritage for the whole world, a stirring reminder that God listens to the pleas of His children.

http://www.hopeunderground.com/.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Four Blind Mice by James Patterson

Synopsis :


On the verge of resigning from the D.C. police force, Detective Alex Cross knows he can’t refuse this case. His partner John Sampson has a friend who has been framed for murder and is facing the gas chamber. His accusers? The United States Army.

As a new woman in Cross’s life brings him hope in the face of a devastating loss at home, Cross and Sampson go up against codes of honour and silence and three ruthless killers. But a bigger threat lies in wait : their controller, a lethal genius who will introduce Cross to new depths of terror...the last of the FOUR BLIND MICE.

It always gives me the quiver to share my opinion on books by such mega author. It gives me extra quivers if I don’t like the book. James Patterson has more books under his belt than most authors. He’s practically a brand rather than a person. Four Blind Mice is part of the Alex Cross series and it was first published 9 years ago.

What can I say, it’s as expected as can be from an Alex Cross thriller. Fast paced with short chapters. The urgency is there as they raced against the clock to solve the murder. But the murder is just the top of the iceberg. The real terror dates back to the time of the Vietnam War and the horror that comes with it. The past cannot be changed but can Alex change the future? If he does it, will he ever be the same again?

I dind't really like it but fans of Alex Cross and James Patterson would certainly be happy with Four Blind Mice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer

The following review was done last year but got lost in the draft folder (the irony of it!). I’m posting it as I wrote it last year. The book belongs to an ex-colleague. I have since, returned the book to the owner. Thank you, dear friend for lending it to me. :)



Sypnosis 

In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked into Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burnt all the cash in his wallet and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a hunter….

With anticipation from such an intriguing synopsis, I ‘delved’ Into the Wild about 6 months ago. 6 months later, I am still In the wild and it looks like I might not make it out. The book is only 200 pages, so no, it wasn’t the thickness, the prints were small but it wasn’t un-readable. So, what happened?

It’s a story of a man who seems to have lost his mind, give up life in society and civilization and decided that it would be a better choice to live in the wild and especially in the Alaska wild. What was he thinking? Did he seriously think that he’ll survive the unfriendly terrain? What about his family? I can’t imagine that he doesn’t think of the pain that he is causing his family?

I never finished reading the book. Maybe another time, another season but for now I don’t think I want to. It's too depressing.

A few days ago, I caught the tail end of the movie which was also based on this book and also entitled Into The Wild. The movie ended with a shot of school bus where Chris was found and then penned across the vastness of the wilderness. I can’t help but be in awe of the majestic abandon wilderness of Alaska, the freedom it represents and for a moment there…I caught his vision, for a moment I saw what attracted Chris to do what he did. But only for a moment. And then it’s gone.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bookfest @ Singapore 2011


Do you remember my wish in this post?

Well, talk about being at the right place at the right time :).  While in Singapore over the weekend, I made it a point to drop by Bookfest @ Singapore 2011 which is currently being held in Suntec Convention. It opens daily from 10 am onwards.  Admission is free.

Entrance to the hall

I reached there around 11 am on a Sunday.  It wasn't very packed.  The event felt more like a huge bookstore rather than book festival. It is very well sectioned and systematic with English language books on one side of the hall and Chinese books on the other end. The whole set up reminded me of Popular Warehouse Sales that I have attended but without the discounted books.


There’s a huge range of books and stationeries available but unfortunately, the books were not very cheap and the most discount given was around 20% only. For example, I bought a Geromino Stilton book (for YA) at 20% discount but the same book is being retailed at 15% cheaper in Singapore Intenational Airport and purchases of 2 books will get a further 20% discount. This wasn’t even in the departure lounge. Just at the check in area which is assessable by the public.



There were talks scheduled throughout the days on various topics but I wasn't paying any attention to them. 

Good selection of Chinese books

Anyway, it was a good experience and although I didn’t buy any books for myself, I bought a few YA books and some tools for craft works.
The event is conveniently located in Hall 601 – 603 of Suntec Convention Centre. The nearest MRT Station is via Esplanade Station, Exit A. 

Their official web is at : http://www.bookfestsingapore.com/about.htm.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hope Underground - The 34 Chilean Miners - A Story of Faith & Miracles by Carlos Parra Diaz


Synopsis :

It was the longest underground entrapment in history. For 10 weeks the faith and endurance of a group of Chilean miners, their families and rescue workers were severely tested as the miners reminded trapped 700 meters below the Atacama Desert. Many feared the rescue effort would be merely a body-recovery process.

Yet instead of abandoning hope, the miners’ families chose to place themselves at the mercy of the elements and camp around the mind – in what later became known as Camp Hope – uniting in their prayers for a miracle.

The Chilean Government and the rescue team, despite several major setbacks, never gave up. On the contrary, President Pinera reaffirmed his country’s commitment to saving the miners while at the same time acknowledging that only God could help them succeed in this impossible mission.

For their part, the trapped miners clung to the belief that this was not to be their end, and with faith and hope fought against almost certain death.

And God didn’t disappoint. Ultimately all the miners were found alive and their rescue was watched live by a billion viewers.

Hope Underground is the personal account of Pr. Carlos Parra Diaz about his work as chaplain of Camp Hope. Pastor Parra is perfectly placed to share with us exclusive details of his daily interaction with the miners and their families, as well as how God manifested His presence in this truly amazing story. Hope Underground is a most-read for anyone who seeks a deeper spiritual insight into this trilling and unique real-life drama.

Can you remember where you were on 5 August 2010 and what you were doing? What about 13 October 2010?

While these might be pretty insignificant dates to you as you go about your day to day stuff, these are very important dates for 33 miners and their friends and families. For 69 days from 5th August to 13th October, the miners were trapped about 2,000 feet underground and with the 1st 17 days without any contact with the outside world and without any knowledge if they would ever get out of their nightmare.

Hope Underground is the story of these miners and their families, how they cope with this disaster and their unshaken faith in God. Told from the perspective of Pastor Carlos, it’s very captivating and encouraging to read about the strong faith these miners and their families have.  Readers will get to know their stories through Pastor Carlos interaction with their families and the notes that they sent up to him after they have been discovered.  It's so touching to read that as people gathered to pray for their safety, they themselves also gathered and prayed everyday at 12 noon.

I read the rescue itself with 'frogs in my throat' and eyes glued to every words. It's really a victory for the heavenly realm as they emerged safety and with greater faith in God having gone through such challenging experience.  In the midst of  the world's tragedies, Parso Carlos has a few questions - why does the story of San Jose Mine stand out in such contrast? Why did God permit this disaster to happen?  Why focus the eyes of the world on this single incident.  In the end, the answers came to him is both simple and profound (his own words).  It is for God to show the world that He exist and that He hears the prayers of His people whom He created.  It is the unambiguous message of God's love and for the entire world who needed to hear God's voice and see His caring hand on Human lives and that Our God is a God of love. And He allowed all this to happen to get our attention. To call humanity back to Him.

Hope Underground is available Winter 2011.  You may pre-order the book at http://www.hopeunderground.com/. Thank you B&B Media for sending me this book.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Southern Fried Sushi by Jennifer Rogers Spinola

Synopsis :


Ride the rollercoaster of Shiloh Jacobs’s life as her dreams derail, sending her on a downward spiral from the heights of an AP job in Tokyo to penniless in rural Virginia.

Trapped in a world so foreign to her sensibilities and surrounded by a quirky group of friends, will she break through her hardened prejudices before she loses those who want to help her? Can she find the key to what changed her estranged mother’s life so powerfully before her death that she became a different woman—and can it help Shiloh too?

Shiloh Jacobs thought she's on top of the world with her dream job as an award winning journalist with Associated Press in Tokyo, Japan and a dream man in her Argentinean boyfriend, Carlos. Unfortunately, those dream turned into nightmare shortly after she arrives in the states to attend her estranged mother’s funeral. She lost her job (due to her own mistakes) and broke up with her cheating boyfriend and things are just not looking up for Shiloh and her mountain of debts.

However, nightmare is not allowed to last long in a small town in Virginia. A group of locals seems to have taken her under their wings and begin to shower her with Southern charm that Shiloh (who loves everything Japan) is not used to. This book is about Shiloh’s transformation as she learns from the very people whom she quite detests, not for any reason, but for their steadfast trust in God for everything. How can these people still praise God while facing trials and tribulations is something that Shiloh couldn’t comprehend?

If you feel like Shiloh, then this book would be for you. While it’s a fiction story, the message behind the story is very strong. The book is written to evangelise about God’s love and forgiveness and acceptance. If you are facing issues if your life and you have questions, you might find the answers in this book.

Southern Fried Sushi is published by Barbour Publishing in October 2011. I review this for Netgalley.com.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Valley of Silence (The Circle Trilogy) by Nora Roberts

Synopsis

In the kingdom of Geall, the scholarly Moira has taken up the sword of her people. Now, as queen, she must prepare her subjects for the greatest battle they will ever fight – against an enemy more vicious than any they have seen. For Lilith, the most powerful vampire in the world, has followed the circle of six through time to Gaell.

Moira also has a personal score to settle. Vampires killed her mother – and now, she is ready to exact her revenge. But there is one vampire to whom she would trust her soul…

Cain was changed by Lilith centuries ago. But now, he stands with the circle. Without hesitation, he will kill others of his kind – and has earned the respect of sorcerer witch, warrior and shape-shifter. But he wants more than respect from Miora – even though his desire for her makes him vulnerable. For how can a man with an eternity to live love a woman whose life is sure to end – if not by Lilith’s hand, then by the curse of time?

Valley of Silence is the third and last book in The Circle Trilogy and like all final book, it tidies up the story, any loose ends will be as neatly packaged as possible to allow closure.

Not much else can be said here. I was expecting a real ‘omph’ to the end, especially the battle in the Valley of Silence but the battle wasn't really that exciting. I have to read certain parts twice as I actually forgot what happened to the battle between Lilith and Miora (vampire queen and the human queen) as both have much score to settle with one another. 

I have to keep reminding myself that Nora Roberts isn't an action author so we should not expect too much of exciting battle narration. What was expected was the development in the relationship between Miora and Cain since the others were paired up in book 1 and 2 but what wasn’t expected was how the relationship ends seeing that one is a human and the other's a vampire.  They are not my favourite couple in the trilogy but there is something likable about Miora and you can’t help but admire her gentle quiet strength and Cain is just an unusual vampire, not just because he fights other vamps but he is just likable to me in his own way.

I have enjoyed the Circle Trilogy from Morigan’s Cross to Dance of the Gods and now this but it’s now time to move on to other trilogies under this author for there are quite a number of them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dance of the Gods (The Circle Trilogy) by Nora Roberts

Synopsis :

Blair Murphy has always worked alone. Destined to be a demon hunter in a world that doesn’t believe in such things, she lives for the kill. But now, she finds herself the warrior in a circle of six, chosen by the goddess Morrigan to defeat the vampire Lilith and her army.

Learning to trust the others has been hard, for Blair has never allowed herself such luxury. But she finds herself drawn to Larkin, a man of many shapes. As a horse, he is proud and graceful, as a dragon, beautifully fierce, and as a man...well, Blair has seen her share of hunks, but none quite so ruggedly handsome and playfully charming as this nobleman from the past.

In two months’ time, the circle of six will face Lilith and her army in Geall. To complete preparations and round up forces to fight, the circle travels through time to Larkin’s world, where Blair must choose between battling her overwhelming attraction to him – or risking everything for a love that can never be...

Dance of the Gods is the second book of The Circle Trilogy. It continues from Morrigan’s Cross.

While the 1st book focused on getting the six together, the 2nd book is more of their preparation in the forthcoming battle. It’s set partially in Ireland and partially in the land of Geall. While the 1st book focused on the characters of Hoyt and Glenna, this focused on Blair and Larkin whom have gotten together. Like I said earlier, this is a thriller written by a woman for women, and how can Nora Roberts justify that without some form of romances.

Blair and Larkin are as different as day and night. One is from 21st century and the other is from a medieval land in another realm. Blair would be unlike any woman Larkin would have met. She came from a line of demon hunters (think Dean and Sam of the TV series, Supernatural). She fights and fights well too. Sir Larkin is of noble birth. His father, is the queen’s brother and acting King of Geall while awaiting the rightful queen, Miora to take to the throne. But they are attracted to each other and both are great warriors. Their characters are greatly developed in this book.

Readers are also given a glimpse into the world of Lilith, the vampire queen and her lover, Lara and their ‘son’ Davey. My heart was in my throat when Larkin stole into their caves to rescue some of the captives and was bitten by Davey.

While reading, I tried to assemble my fantasy cast of Hollywood actors would portray the characters in this book if the trilogy are to be made into movies (ps. you never know) and these are my final selection for the various key roles :

Larkin – Jack Gyllenhaal (Prince of Persia)
Blair – Milla Jovonvich (Alice of Resident Evil)
Hoyt/Cian – Hugh Jackman (X-Man)
Glenna – Rose MacGowan (Paige Matthews from tv series Charmed )
Miora – Scarlett Johansson
Lilith – Vanessa Williams

I am greatly influenced by their past roles to cast them as such. What do you think? Perhaps you have your own fantasy line up. ;)

The next and final book in this series is Valley of Silence.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sunrise On The Battery by Beth Webb Hart

Synopsis :

She wanted her husband to attend the town's society-driven church.  God answered her prayer in a radical way.

After achieving what few believed possible, Mary Lynn Scoville felt empty, an emptiness that no shopping trips, European vacation or social calender can fill. Married to a handsome real estate developer and mother to three accomplished daughters, she is one Debutante Society invitation away from fruly having it all.

When a surprise encounter leads her to newfound faith, Mary Lynn longs to share it with her husband but Jackson wrote God off long ago.  Mary Lynn prays for him on Christmas Eve and her husband undergoes a life-altering Damascus Road experience.  As Jackson begins to take the implications of the Gospel literally, Mary Lynn feels increasingly isolated from her husband and betrayed by God.  She wonders if there really is a more abundant life that Jackson has discovered, richer than any she's every dreamt of.

Sunrise On The Battery was pretty difficult to read as I read it quite fast to get this review up.   This is the type of book that requires slow reading, reflecting on message as you move along.  However, eventhough it was read in haste, I still enjoyed it. 

The story is told from the perspective of 3 members of the family, Mary Lynn, husband Jackson and eldest daughter Catherine.  Each of them have their own issues in life that they need to make right.  It all started with a simple prayer by Mary Lynn while in church on Christmas Eve, I want my husband to know God' and God honours her request.  While on a long haul fight to London, Jackson, an avid reader, left the books that he brought along to read in another plane.  Mary Lynn passed him her Bible and he read them during the 5 hours journey and he started to have questions and Jackson is the go-getter type that with his questions, he wants answers and he made appointments with a church pastor upon their return from London to seek answers to his questions.  

From there readers get a glimpse how why Jackson is the way he is today.  Why he leads his life like a task master and pushes his daughters to be the high achievers he never was and he wanted the dreams and achievement for his daughters that he was deprived of when young but with each such action, sometimes the consequences are just too much for our human self to take and we need divine intervention.

While it's Mary Lynn's desire for change, she is not ready for the radical change in her life.  Part of her still craves the things of the world, the social statues and the acceptance that eluded her in her growing up years. It wasn't long before Jackson's overzealousness caused the family to be socially persecuted.  Mary Lynn began to question herself and to question God and to nearly give in to temptation. But God is faithful and there would be no turning back for the Scoville family.

Sunrise On The Battery is published by Thomas Nelson.  I review this for B&B Media Group.  Thank you, Audra (and not Andrea nor Audrey) for sending this copy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Morrigan's Cross (The Circle Trilogy) by Nora Roberts

Synopsis :

In the last days of high summer, with lightning striking blue in a black sky, the sorcerer stood on a high cliff overlooking the raging sea...

Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from the family’s embrace. Her name is Lilith. Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss. But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world – and those beyond it...

Hoyt is no match for the dark siren. But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance. At Morrigan’s charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith. A circle of six : himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the own he’s lost. And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will earn how strong his spirit – and his heart – have become...

Morrigan’s Cross is the 1st book of The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts. Because it’s the first book of three, it sets the basis of how the trilogy would be like. It also introduces all the characters of the circle and how they all come together.

Hoyt is actually a sorcerer from the past together with his brother, Cian. After Morrigan protected his family and their descendents from Lilith with cross pendents, Morrigan, through a place called the Dance of the Gods, transported Hoyt to modern day New York where his brother Cian, now goes by another name, has a host of businesses that he built up over the thousands of years since he became a vampire. Cian was not keen to battle Lilith, his sire, but his loyalty to his brother is so strong that he agrees to join force with him in this battle.

Glenna is a modern day witch, also from New York who went to Hoyt’s rescue even in her dream when Hoyt was injured by Lilith during an initial battle. Glenna would also be part of the circle and is Hoyt’s love interest and they ended up getting married in this book even when they are preparing for battle and their union made their magic much stronger.

Blair the warrior in the circle, is actually a descendent of Hoyt and Cian. She is a direct descendent of their sister, Nola and her family has been demon hunters all these years. Hoyt recognised her through the cross that she wore, one of the very same cross that Morrigan crafted to protect his family thousand of years ago.

Moira, the scholar and Larkin, the shape shifter actually came through the dance of the gods from the land of Geall as commanded by Morrigan.  Geall is a land from beyond (from another realm or universe) and not of this world.  The land is still medieval in many ways and lack modern day convenience. Miora, who's mother was killed by Lilith's minion, is the future queen of Geall and Sir Larkin is her faithful and supportive cousin.

Morrigan’s Cross brought all of them together and focus on their training to fight against Lilith and her army and in the second book, Dance of the Gods, we will see them travel to the land of Geall where the final battle would take place.

I started on the second book the minute I finished the first! It is very captivating.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts

The Circle Trilogy by Nora Roberts consists of  :

Book 1 – Morrigan’s Cross, published in September 2006
Book 2 – Dance of the Gods, published in October 2006
Book 3 – Valley of Silence, published in November 2006

I find this a pretty clever move to publish the books almost at the same time. Readers are able to follow the trilogy rather quickly, one after another, a month after the previous book(s) rather than wait for a longer time frame like most series.

Dance of the Gods and Valley of Silence have been in my collection these few years. However, I never have Morrigan’s Cross and for quite some times, I have been thinking if I should just read Dance of The Gods and Valley of Silence without Morrigan’s Cross. Because it wasn’t an urgent decision, I didn’t make any. However, the intention was always there and I always would be on a look out for Morrigan's Cross whenever I did any book shopping or when I’m at the library.

Such, it was a moment of joy when I saw Morrigan’s Cross on the shelf of my local library a couple of months ago. With that, I started on my Circle Trilogy right from book 1 to book 3 and having completed them, I can tell you that I really enjoyed them.

The Circle Trilogy traced the mission of 6 people who have been commissioned by the celtic god of war, Morrigan to go into battle with Lilith, a thousand year old powerful vampire. The six are Hoyt, a sorcerer Glenna the witch, Cian the vampire, Hoyt’s brother who was sired by Lilith, Blair, the demon hunter (warrior), Moira, the scholar or the ruler and Larkin, Moira’s cousin who is the shape shifter.

All three books started with an old man telling a group of children these stories and ended with that too. It was only in book 3 that we know who the old man was but a guess along the way would be of no harm :)

I just want to say that The Circle Trilogy is not a fantasy gene. It is a thriller for woman with romances injected in and set against a background of vampires and celtic gods, time travel and inter-ream travel.  Because it is not a hardcore fantasy tale, it might not appeal to the hard core fantasy fans.  I, on the other hand, loved it!

Review of Morrigan’s Cross coming up next!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My visit to Logos Hope in Pending Port, Kuching


Logos Hope is finally in Kuching. It was a rather warm afternoon when we decided to visit the ship after a rather scrumptious lunch in Puzzle Cafe. Part of me was rather apprehensive as there might be a crowd and I’m not too fond of crowds.

Anyway, someone announced that most of her friends have been onboard already so kiasu-ism kicked in and off we went to Pending Port. As you can see from the pictures, it was a wrong move as the crowd really built up and we have to queue for at least half an hour to get on board.

crowd started at the parking area

There were some people that tried to jump queue right in front of me as I was taking photos. Do you think I allow that to happen? Some of the crew members were interacting with the crowd as they help with crowd control so that was rather nice.

Still a long way to go.

Anyway, as we entered the ship, we have to sit through a 2 mins presentation on Logos Hope which I totally forgot the minute the presentation ended. Sorry, with the crowd and the heat, my mind wasn’t on the presentation at all. I thought they might make that optional as part of crowd control.

Next is the book exhibition area. It was packed as it’s rather small place and it was rather difficult to slowing browse through the books due to the crowd. However, I did see titles that I like and especially some of the books to complete my Sunrise Series. However, I forgot to check if they stocked book 4 (Family) of Firstborn Series by Karen Kingsbury. I need that to complete my set although I have already read the series. That would be my excuse for going back for subsequent visit. :)
I recognised these title :)

Books for teens are rather limited too. There were lots of Hannah Montana and High School Musical series but that’s about it. I also felt that titles are not very current. Perhaps I didn't have time to properly looked through.  Another reason for me to visit again :)

Due to the crowd, we have to queue to pay for what we bought and even to queue to purchase some refreshments from the International Cafe. Juices (orange and lemon) cost RM2.00 per cup. Ice cream is RM4 each and is rather delicious, cake is RM6 per piece, salted popcorn is RM2.00 per pack. I loved the salted popcorn. It’s been a while I had salted popcorn.

Queue to buy food & drink

After the cafe, we proceed to the theatre where visitors can take photos with the crew in their exotic and fun outfits as well as learn about cultures from all over the world.
this is the exhibition on Holland


So, did I buy any books? That's for another post. :) 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Did they all take the same flight?


All these books arrived more or less at the same time, within days only although they were requested at different times.  It does make me wonder how the local postal system works as some of them were being held up in the post office for quite a while.  Perhaps Mr Postman enjoys reading too?

My homework are :

1. Hope Underground - The 34 Chilean Miners. A story of faith & miracles by Carlos Parra Diaz

2. Sunrise on the Battery by Beth Webb Hart

3. Triple Dog Dare (1 year dynamic devotions for boys) by Jeremy V Jones

4. Truth & Dare (1 year dynamic devltions for girls) by Ann-Margret Hovesptan

Much as I look forward to start them, I don't know which to start first!?  Perhaps all at once and confused myself in the process?  At the same time, I want to go to Logos Hope.  I haven't been yet, have you?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Logos Hope is finally in Kuching

Logos Hope in Kuching - photo courtesy of Jerrick Studio

After an exciting wait, Logos Hope is finally in Kuching, Sarawak. The ship will make Kuching its home from 28th October – 13th November 2011. It will be berthed at the Sim Kheng Hong Port, Pending. Everyone in Kuching should know where that is.

For those interested to go, please note the following opening hours :

Tues – Sat : 10.00 am – 10.00 pm
Sun : 1.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Mon : Closed

With exceptions :

Mon, 7th Nov : 10 am – 10 pm
Tues, 8th Nov – Closed

Entrance fee is RM1.00 per pax and it’s free for children 12 years and below but must be accompanied by an adult.
a brochure which I picked up a while ago

The ship promised a total of 5,000 titles of books. I can’t wait to go. If you see someone going absolutely royally loco over the books, that would be the Purple Queen Fairy! :)

See you there.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seminar by AZAM on responsible blogging

AZAM is loosely translated as Sarawak Movement for Progress

Blogging is still something very new to me. It all started with me loving to read and having no platform to express my opinion on what I have read. A blog serves that purpose. However, the more I blog, the more my interest grow (and still growing) and such, it was a lucky moment when I was selected to attend a seminar on ethics and responsibility of blogging recently.

I arrived super early for this event as I received numerous messages to be there by 8 am so I actually arrived before that as an act of being responsible! Anyway, I brought Tami Hoag along to keep me company so time passed pretty fast while I waited for the seminar to start. It was supposed to start only at 9.30 am!  I also had time to post on my FB and that made me felt real savvy indeed! hah!

Tami came along for the ride

The seminar had a pretty interesting mix of speakers. Actually, any mix would be interesting to me at this point! I super loved Dr Danilo Arao from the Philippines. He was an ideal choice as the opening speaker as he spoke extremely well, exceptionally humorous while being able to disseminate the information to the audience effectively. The next speaker was Prof Salleh Buang, a well know personality in the legal world. For someone who’s in his 70s, he also spoke with conviction but unfortunately, the subsequent speaker, Mr Edruce did not make any positive impression on me at all.

Mr Cyril Dason, the speaker from Sarawak Bloggers, the person whom I owe my invites to, spoke passionately about the importance of total freedom of speech for blogs, tweets, etc. According to him, without such freedom in social media, there’s no point to having a social media plateform. He wasn’t a polished speaker (can see that he's nevous) but his raw undiluted passion shown through and I am convicted by what he shared. Great job, Cyril.

The highlight of the event was the session by Rockybru, a journalist as well as a controversial blogger with lawsuits behind his name. He shared that he had 16 million unique visitors to his blog so I guess a lawsuit or two don’t really bother him. Speaking on the topic on gatekeepers, my expectation from him was extremely high and I hung onto his every words hoping for that pearl of wisdom to drop but unfortunately he wasn’t that impressive in his presentation and didn’t get that pearl I was looking for. Instead, I felt like I just had a cup of lukewarm coffee.

Rockybru is on the left. 

I was extremely zonked when I got back home after this whole day event. Even though I just sat and listen, it was mentally tiring but the experience was worth it. Thank you, AZAM for the opportunity.  It was a great effort and is fully appreciated!

Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery just as the event was starting so one takeaway lesson would be to equip myself with backup battery for the camera. I have to make do with the camera from the phone.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Feature Author – The Other Side of Me by Sidney Sheldon

Synopsis :

Growing up in 1930s America, Sidney knew what it was to struggle to get by. Millions were out of work and the Sheldons travelled America in search of employment. Grabbing every chance he could, Sidney worked as bus-boy, a clerk, an usher but dreamt of being so much more – a writer and what’s more, a writer in Hollywood.

By a stroke of luck, he found work as a reader for a top Hollywood producer. Then, writing through the nights, he slowing built a reputation and found himself in demand. Although the war and pilot training for the US Army Air Corps interrupted things, Sidney returned to work with the hottest producers and starts in Hollywood including Cary Grant, David Selznick, Irving Berlin and Judy Garland. And his future was brighter still....

This is the self biography of Sidney Sheldon which he entitled The Other Side of Me. Sidney told his life story in the same way like how he told the stories that many loved...Naked Face, Rage of Angels, Master of the Games, If Tomorrow Comes, etc. The book is very typical Sidney Sheldon and if you love his novels, you would enjoy The Other Side of Me. I certainly did.

The focus in this book is more on how Sidney struggled to be a script writer and producer in Hollywood and in Broadway in NY. Perhaps many fans might not known (I certainly didn’t) that before Sidney started writing his novels, he has many credentials of working in movies, theatres and even wrote and produced television series under his belt. Many also might not known that he wrote the scripts of many well know movies as well as produced well know series such as The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Hart to Hart. Well, you would know after you read this.  He had 7 writing credentials on broadway plays, 25 wiritng credentails for motion pictures and created 4 television series.

Sidney shared very briefly on his experience on writing the novels and only towards the end of the book. I would have like it better if he shared more but like the title said, perhaps he wanted the world to know the other side of him - the one who’s not a novelist but a writer in general.

Highly recommended to fans of Sidney Sheldon.

Friday, October 21, 2011

'READ' bookshelf

This image was in a forward email I received.  You might have received it too.

Would you like for your books to be housed in this?  I certainly would!  It's so innovative and I can imagine how happy my books would be in such a shelf. :)


I'm not sure whom to give the credit to but it's certainly a wonderful design.

Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis :

So your car has been blown up (again).
A local gang has put a contract on you.
There’s a psycho on the loose.
When did going out for nachos get so complicated?
When you’re Stephanie Plum, kick- ass bounty hunter.

Life is never easy for this super-sassy Jersey girl and when Stephanie witnesses a robbery on her lunch break, things start to get a whole lot tougher. She must not only keep the local bail-jumpers in line but also find a ruthless killer known as the Junkman, before her finds her. And then there’s the mother of all challenges – staying faithful to her cute cop boyfriend, Joe Morelli, by resisting the charms of her seriously sexy mentor Ranger.

Sounds like a tall order but this is Stephanie Plum. And when your partner’s an ex-hooker with a penchant for lurid spandex and your grandma likes to pack heat, you take it all in your stride.

She’s sassy, she’s tough and she kick ass. At the same time, she’s vulnerable and can get real soppy. That’s Stephanie Plum for you. Throw in Grandma who has a gun in her handbag, Lulu, the filing clerk where Stephanie works who never does any filing and Sally, a bus driver by day and cross dresser band member by night. Don’t forget too boyfriend, Morelli and co-worker, Ranger who added much spices in Stephanie’s already too much exciting life.

I wasn’t sure if I would like this book having didn’t really like an earlier book of Janet Evanovich that I read beginning of this year.  However, me think that since this is the famous Stephanie Plum series, the one that generates big bucks for the author so there must be appealing factor. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a good entertaining read.  If you are reading this while waiting for someone/something, you might probably wish you can wait a little bit longer so that you can continue reading this book!

This is the 10th book (duh!) in the Stephanie Plum series. The title Ten Big Ones refers to the reward for bringing in the ruthless killer Junkman and you will be surprised as to who’s the one collecting! A google search reveals that there's now about 20 books in total for this series. I have some serious catching up to do.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills by Kim O’Brien

Synopsis :

It Was a Relationship of Convenience. . .Until It Became a Romance

Millie Hogan and David Denvers both have big problems in small town Deer Park, South Dakota. Millie—a waitress with designs on Hollywood—has a mother who keeps setting her up on disastrous blind dates, even though Millie’s never met a man she could trust. David—a widowed dentist with an almost-teenaged son and opinionated parents—is being stalked by an amorous former patient.

When a lost filling lands Millie in David’s office, the two of them cook up a plan—a fake relationship. No one gets hurt, and no one gets nagged. It’s a great plan—until they really start to care. Now what will they do? Turns out, it probably doesn’t matter: when Millie learns a shocking family secret she wonders if she’s really wife material. Maybe it’s best to stick with the plan and head for Hollywood. And since David’s folks think Millie’s all wrong for him, well. . .he realizes he may have to let her go. Isn’t that what you do when you love someone?

This is a rather delightful read. It is pretty predictable how this story would end for this type of book but the process towards that expected ending was rather quaint and delightful.

Millie reminded me of the pretty girl that every other girl hated in high school whereas David could have been the dork that admires Millie from afar. But high school is over and now David is the persona of success and stability and Millie, while still pretty, is now at the other spectrum of popularity.

They are both lovely characters and singles whose families and friends are forever trying to hook them up on dates would appreciate what these two are going through. I love the ‘aunties’ as well as the other supporting characters in this book. A wonderful read if you are looking for something relaxing and enjoyable.

One takeaway lesson for me from this book is to view the offer of gifts from our family or friends differently. Never ever reject gifts from your loved ones as the gifts are signs of their love and by rejecting these gifts, you are rejecting the message behind the gifts.  Even thought you dont like what was given, be it clothes or even food, by rejecting them, you are rejecting their love unconciously.
I have no idea why the title is A Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills. Could it just referring to the ending? Perhaps a different title would be more appropriate. Anyway, this book was released by Barbour Publishing last month.

I review this for NetGalley.com.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wreath by Judy Christie

Synopsis :

What do you do when you’re too young to be on your own but have no one to turn to?

Sixteen-year-old Wreath Willis makes a list: Find a place to live. Buy cheap food. Finish high school. Get a job. Go to college. Now she’s finishing high school by day and squatting in a junkyard by night, flying below the authorities’ radar while she makes a few awkward friends and searches for an illusory “good life.” But when a teacher grows too suspicious, Wreath is afraid she’ll have to move on before she graduates. Could it be this was a good life?

Believe it or not, Wreath IS the name of a girl in this book – Wreath Wisteria Willis. Although categorised as a young adult (YA) fiction, just about anyone from teens and above can read it. 

I can’t help but to root for Wreath as she tries to fit in and be invisible to the world around her so that she can finish high school and go on to college. At the same time, she has to learn how to survive and alone without anyone in this world to turn to, she actually turn to God without knowing it. God answered her prayers and sends good people to watch out for her. There’s Clarice, a lawyer whom she met on the road and gave her a ride, Julie, a teacher from school who bumped into her while at a park, Law, the guy whom Wreath has a crush on, Faye who gave her a job and needed Wreath just as much without realising it and JD, owner of the hardware store who is the wild card in this story.

Wreath would make teens felt ashamed of their constant whining for all things frivolous from their parents. Parents can’t help but to feel for Wreath when her mum died and as a mother, I can't help but shade a tear or two.

Although you might felt that there’s no way this could have happened in a real situation as how can a girl be homeless without anyone knowing, how could she have stayed in that junkyard for so long without attracting attention but as a book, you might be encouraged and challenged by her surviving sprit and her simple faith and especially her love for her mother whom she misses terribly. Wreath does give you that feel good feeling and if you like something like that, you will enjoy this book.

Wreath is published by Borbour Publishing and will be out this Fall (October 2011). I review this for NetGalley.com.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Turnabout’s Fair Play by Kaye Dacus

Synopsis :

The matchmaker has met her match. . .

Flannery McNeill has sworn off men. . .at least the handsome, charming kind who is nothing but trouble. So when handsome and charming Jamie O’Connor shows up as an usher at her best friend’s wedding, Flannery tries her best to avoid him. But it seems like someone is conspiring to throw them together. Two someones, to be exact—Flannery’s grandfather and Jamie’s grandmother.

Maureen O’Connor thinks Kirby McNeill’s granddaughter is perfect for her grandson and convinces Kirby to help make the two a couple. But soon the matchmakers find the tables turned when Flannery conspires with Jamie to play matchmaker, too.

As the juniors scheme to bring the seniors together, a hilarious tumult of mayhem and misconceptions ensues but will it end in romance?

This is the 3rd book in the Matchmaker Series by Kaye Dacus. I didn’t read the first 2 books which is not a problem since the stories are not related. The characters in the first 2 books were mentioned in this third book so I guess if you have read them, you would know what to expect.

Turnabout’s Fair Play is a fair read. The storyline is quite simple, nothing that would surprised you and makes your heart goes pitty-patter but it’s the way the characters interact with each other that makes them real. I especially enjoy reading the romances between Maureen and Kirby and just can’t have a smile on my face whenever they made appearances in the book.

I find it extremely cute when the author throw in references to book review blogs as the main character, Flannery is an Editor of Christian Fictions in a publishing firm. Jamie is a super nice guy, a real knight in shining armour except that his amour is slightly dented due to issues in his life. I think Flannery is lucky to catch the eyes of someone like Jamie.

This title will be released by Barbour Publishing in November 2011. Go and get your copy. I review this for NetGalley.com.