Saturday, January 29, 2011

Faith by Lesley Pearse


Faith by Lesley Pearse is what I call a female drama novel for female readers. Totally 600+ pages, it has been a long time since I read one of such novels. Faith, set in the 70s and 90s is about Laura Branningan who has been in jail in Scotland for the murder of her best friend, Jackie. However, she insist that she is innocent even though she was convicted.

Stuart, an ex-love, who has been away for the past few years believes her innocence and sets out to gather evidence for her to appeal against her conviction. The question is, if Laura did not kill Jackie, then who did? In Stuart’s investigation, Laura is forces to go down memory land, from her life as a little girl to her adulthood, her friendship with Jackie and what leads her into the arms of Stuart and out into the arms of another man and subsequently forced her to face circumstances of her current situation.

I enjoyed reading Faith. The storyline is straight forward, not just about a woman wrongly accused of a crime she didn’t commit but also on her life story. Lesley Pearse wrote in such a way that it’s very easy to read and you can follow the storyline even though it weaves from past events to current happenings. The sequence of the story told from point of view of different characters in the novels makes it interesting but luckily not confusing. There are certain parts that I didn’t like especially the part when Laura was attacked by her seedy ex-boss which I felt is over dramatising the situation and totally unnecessary.

Overall, Faith told us to have faith in ourselves and also need to have faith in others and at the same time shows that sometimes we should not judge people by what we see and even what they tell us. There’s a lot more than what meets the eyes most of the time.

Published by Penguin (http://www.penguin.co.uk/), Lesley is a bestselling author of many other interesting novels, of which I would be keen to get my hands on. This copy is borrowed from a local library.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Invasion (C.H.A.O.S. Series) by Jon S. Lewis

Synopsis :


Colt McAlister was having the summer of his life. He spent his days surfing and his nights playing guitar on the beach with friends. He even met a girl and got his first car. But everything changes when his parents are killed in a freak accident.

He’s forced to leave his old life behind and move to Arizona with his grandfather. The only person he knows at the new high school is a childhood friend named Dani. And Oz, a guy he’s sure he’s never met but who is strangely familiar.

But what if his parents’ death wasn’t an accident? His mother, an investigative reporter, was going to expose a secret mind-control program run by one of the world;s largest companies. Before she could release the story, what if agents from Trindent Biotech made sure she couldn’t go public? Vowing to uncover the truth, Colt gets drawn into a secret world of aliens, shapeshifters, flying motorcycles and invisible gateways.

I have many problems with this book. First, there were a few mistakes that were not picked up during editing process. A few errors of who said what and who did what. Next, I felt the storyline is a cross between Stargate (Stargate TV frenchises series) and Harry Porter. The invisible gateways what linked earth to other planets in the universe is so like the wormhole in Stargate that does the same. You just have to work through it and you are on another planet. The similarities to Harry Porter...there’s 2 boys (Colt & Oz) and 1 girl (Dani) in Invasion. Harry Porter also has 2 boys and 1 girl as the main characters. Colt is the chosen one by CHAOS to fight against the invasion which is the same as Harry being the chosen one to go against Voldemort. Then The CHAOS Military Academy can be the science fiction version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and the book even introduce a hologram map which shows where everyone are in a particular location which sounds so much like the maraudes map that Harry has.

Even the above synopsis wasn’t really accurate...Colt met a girl during the summer? Nothing much was mentioned of the summer actually. It was rather rushed through. I also felt that the main characters weren’t well developed. It’s like the author can’t wait to get into the storyline and doesn’t really feel the need to expand the characters involved. Me think that would have brought more depth to the book if he has done so. :)

Would I buy this book for myself? No. Would I buy it for a young adult? I don’t think so too.

Anyway, this the the first of Colt's adventure and hopefully the rest of the other books would be better developed.  All the best to Colt if I dont read the rest of his adventures.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tuesday’s Child by Louise Bagshawe


As the say goes, Tuesday’s child is full of grace...

Well unfortunately, full of grace does not describe our Tuesday’s child, Linda Evans at all. In fact, she’s the exact opposite. Eternally clad in her Doc Martens (she buys one annually as she thinks it’s pointless to have too many shoes. Yikes!), she loves heavy metal music and computer games and shuns anything ‘girly’. In fact, she works as a computer game reviewer for magazine. She doesn’t put on makeup and keeps her long blonde hair in a scrunchie. Oh yes, and her best friend/mate is a guy, name’s Ollie and they shared a flat (or rather she rent a room in Ollie’s flat).

However, Lucy's world is about to change. She lost her job as the magazine was sold off by her boss, Ollie gets engaged and Lucy hates his fiancée. (psst : we all know that she’s secretly in love with him, dont' we?). Anyway, Ollie got her a new job as a receptionist in a real estate office and her new boss who is not just an American but a rich and handsome American wants her to dress up and act like a girly girl.

Lucy tries to turn herself into the kind of girl she thinks they want her to be - with hilarious and unexpected results.

I enjoyed reading this book so much. It was so much fun and I laughed so much. It is a chic lite but a chic lite with a difference as Lucy is not your typical chic lite girl. This is my first time reading Louise Bagshawe. I have another of her book that I bought recently so I am looking forward to reading that. I got this copy from the local library and returned it before I managed to take my standard photo of the book. The cover image here is taken from Amazon.com.uk.  You can read the first chapter of Tuesday's Child too.

So, if you’re in for a fun and relaxing read, Tuesday’s Child is for you. Grab a beer, settle down and enter the world of Tuesday’s Child. You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Things First by Kurt & Brenda Warner (with Jennifer Schuchmann)


Synopsis :


Kurt Warner is the two-time NFL MVP–winning quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals. Brenda Warner is an ex-Marine turned stay-at-home mom who collects coats for low-income kids and rocks babies to sleep at a hospital for chronically-ill infants. Together they’re the parents of seven, going into their 12th year of marriage, and founders of a foundation that helps disadvantaged children and families. Their formula for success? They put First Things First—family, faith, and giving to others—it’s their family motto, and it drives everything they do. First Things First is an honest, insightful, and entertaining look at life inside the Warner household. Kurt and Brenda speak candidly about their marriage, the values they are working to instill in their kids, things they’ve done right, mistakes they’ve made, the importance of giving back, and the legacy they hope to leave behind. Includes a 16-page full-color photo insert.

I received a trade paperback version of this book from Tyndale for review. When I got it, I wasn’t sure when I’ll start reviewing it and I wasn’t sure how long it will take me to do it. I browsed through the pages, looked at the beautiful coloured photos. I decided to start with the Forward by Jesse (their eldest daughter) just to get a feel of the book. After the Forward, why not continue with the Prologue by the authors and after the Prologue, I challenge myself to just read chapter one to get a feel of the book as I really need to complete the other book I have with me. Before I know it, I’m halfway through the whole book! In total, I read this book in less than 2 days!

For a non-fiction, it was an engrossing read. It was like Kurt and Brenda just fling open the door of their lives and share with us their family stories. It wasn’t so much as a parenting guide book with their recommended do’s and don’ts but more like a how they actually live the lives of the being a Warner and how they are guided by the ‘rules’ they established for themselves. However, the interesting thing is that they do not always agree on these ‘rules’. For example, Brenda says Kurt is not to sign autographs when he’s with his family and she gave her reason why (which I don’t really agree with but nevermind). On the other hand, , Kurt sometimes still does it as he feels that it brought so much joy to his fans.

Each chapter has a theme and then we have Kurt’s version and then there’s Brenda’s version. Sometimes, I enjoy reading the different perspective to a situation. However, sometimes I was annoyed when there’s repetitive in both versions which made me just a bit impatient in wanting to move along. This could be due to editing.

The Warner also introduced us to the different characteristic of their kids. In total, they have 7 kids with 2 from Brenda’s earlier marriage. Each kid has different personality and brought different parenting challenges to Kurt and Brenda. The writing is light with humour thrown in here and there and is really a fun book. I really enjoyed reading this.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Key To Midnight by Dean Koontz

Synopsis :


Alex Hunter hasn’t come to Japan to fall in love. But Joanna Rand is the most beautiful, exciting woman he has ever met. But Joanne is not who she thinks she is. 10 years before, and halfway across the world, a brutally bizarre experiment recreated her mind. A violation so hideous that her dreams are filled with terror and her memories are a lie.

If they are ever to be free, Alex and Joanne have to reopen the dangerous door into the nightmare past. Somehow they have to find the key to midnight.

I love books by Dean Koontz. He's such a great storyteller and I used to read a lot of  what he wrote. That is books that I can associate Dean Koontz with...mysterious unexplained thriller with lots of elements of terror and suspense. I remember fondly weekend marathon reading during college time and I would complete one book in one or two days, reading them from morning till night and feeling exhausted but much thrilled at the same time. I can still remember titles such as Servant of Twilight, The Mask, Eyes of Darkness among some of his books that really captivated my attention. That was many years ago.

I picked up The Key To Midnight about a year ago. There are hints and shadows of Dean’s style in The Key To Midnight but there’s a lot of difference too. Reading it is like reading a James Bond thriller but without the poise and sophistication of a real classic ‘action’ thriller and although there are some twist and turn in the storyline which added some much needed ‘omph’ to the story. Dean did explain at the end that The Key To Midnight is meant to be different from his other ‘babies’. I guess that’s my diplomatic way of saying I didn’t really like this book.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Cupid Effect by Dorothy Koomson

Synopsis :


After departing London to follow her heart’s desire to become a psychology lecturer, Ceri D’Altroy vows to leave her matchmaking ways behind her for good. Unfortunately, all she seems to do is inspire the new people she meets to change their lives.

There’s Ed, who’s decided to declare his love to a woman who is way out of his league, Mel and Claudine, two long-term friends who are now tempted to start an illicit affair, and Gwen, the chain-smoking head of department who has a deep, dark secret she only wants to share with her new employees.

No one who comes into contact with Ceri is ever the same again. Could this unsuspecting young woman be a modern-day Cupid?

Like the synopsis says, the story is about Ceri who left her job in London and moved to Leeds to lecture at the college there. She wasn’t that excited by her adventures into the love lives of those she met in Leeds because she doesn’t have a love life of her own, except for her love fantasy that involves Angel, the 250-year-old vampire from the hit TV series Angel and also Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Even her married best mate, Jess gets pick up in a bar just because she’s with Ceri! And when she (Ceri) gets pick up, it’s by someone who wants to invite her to church! Anyway, I do like Dorothy’s sense of humour as Ceri met someone at the end of the book and no prize if you can guess the name of the guy that might just be the one for her.

From the copyright page, it seems that Dorothy Koomson wrote this in year 2003 and such it could be the 1st book that she published. I won’t be surprised if this is the case as her style of writing wasn’t really developed and such the story and writing wasn’t as captivating as the other books that I have read, namely My Best Friend’s Girl , The Chocolate Run and Marshmallows for Breakfast. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading The Cupid Effect as there were a few funny moments. I might just read it again once of these days.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Full Tilt by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis :



Jamie Swift has one priority in quiet Beaumont, South Carolina: running the local newspaper. Romance runs second. But with the arrival of her silent partner, the notoriously mysteriously and sexy Maximillian Holt, Jamie’s life gets shaken up. Max claims he’s here to give his brother-in-law a vote of confidence. A former wrestler, Frankie Fontana’s now taking his shots in the political ring. Beaumont could use a major with scruples, but what it gets is a crime – and what Jamie gets is a story that’s taking her for a ride on the wild side, complete with two assassins, a washed up stripper and an insane poacher. Between a spray of bullets and a fast gateway, could it get any more romantic or dangerous? Max and Jamie are betting their lives on a long shot.

This is my first introduction to Janet Evanovich. I have another of her book that I have yet to read. Although this book is published in 2003, the style that it’s written is very 80s. Needless to say, this is not my kind of book - for now. I might like it 10 years ago but I certainly felt that it’s slightly immature for me at this point of time. It’s a good read, fast and entertaining, silly and exasperating at times –trying to guess who the villain(s) is/are which wasn’t that difficult but there’s a missing ‘omph’ that I can’t put my fingers on.

This is the second book that Janet co-wrote with her good friend, Charlotte Hughes. The 1st was Full House and the 3rd is called Full Speed which also has Jamie and Max.

Janet Evanovich is such an accomplished writer with many titles under her belt and legions fans that will sing praises to her work but unfortunately, based on this book, I can’t say I am one of them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saving Faith by David Baldacci


Synopsis:


In a secluded house not far from Washington DC, the FBI is interviewing one of the most important witnesses it has ever had, a young woman named Faith Lockhart. For Faith has done too much, knows too much and she’ll tell too much.

Feared by some of the most powerful men in the world, Faith has been targeted to die. But when a private investigator walks into the middle of the assassination attempt, the shooting suddenly goes wrong and an FBI agent is killed.

Now Faith must flee for her life – with her story, with her deadly secret and with an unknown man she’s forced to trust.

I bought this book from here and this is my first encounter with David Baldacci. I enjoyed Saving Faith for what it is - a without pretendence espionage thriller with the good guys and the bad guys and the traitors and makes you wonder who’s the good guys and who the bad guys are. Washington DC is the city of focus and the author gave us an insight to political lobbying in action and which are facts and which are fictions will be very much your personal opinion.

Although this book was written in 1999, it’s an enjoyable and exciting read right from the start. With both the FBI and CIA hunting for her, you might think that Faith has no hope of survival, but have faith (pun intended) for to me the title refers to more than just saving a woman. It’s about saving/having the faith to keep us going when all else fails.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hide and Seek by James Patterson

Synopsis :

Maggie Bradford is on trial for murder – in a celebrity trial of the decade. As one of the world’s best-loved singer-songwriters, she seems to have it all. So how could she have murdered not just one, but two of her husbands?

Will Shepherd was Maggie’s second husband. A magnificent athlete and film star, he was just as famous. But Will had dark, dangerous secrets that none of his fans could have imagined and that his won wife could never have dreamed of.

That sounds like a good read especially when you’re on holiday and won’t want to read anything too heavy.  Something to relax by after a day of shopping or after a day by the beach.  It also works well when you’re in the airport in between flights. The writing is fast paced. A chapter is only about 2 – 3 pages and you’ll be tempted to move on to the next chapter after completing one. Before you know it, you’re reached the last chapter. I read mine within 2 days while on work travel.

While it's a good read, to me, Hide and Seek follows what a call a 'foolproof' template or formula of :

        Main character + a mysterious past + murder + twist in story = bestseller.

Replace the main character and the mysterious past, etc, you will get another bestseller on your hand :)

Hide and Seek was first published in 1996. I got my copy last year in a 2nd hand bookshop last year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Second Glance by Jodi Picoult


Synopsis :


A developer has slated an ancient Abenaki Indian burial ground for a strip mall, and now strange happenings have the inhabitants of tiny Comtosook, Vermont, talking of supernatural forces at work. Ross Wakeman is a ghost hunter who’s never seen a ghost – all he’s searching for is something to end the pain of losing his fiancée, Aimee, in a car accident. Ross lives only for a way to connect with Aimee from beyond. Searching the site for signs of paranormal, he meets the mysterious Lia, who sparks him to life for the first time in years. But who is Lia? The discoveries that await Ross are beyond anything he could dream of in this world – or the next.

I was just thinking before getting this from the library that it has been a long time since I read a good ghost novel...one that is not gross but a good haunting with interesting storyline. Guess which book fell right into my hand while at the library recently.

Reading Second Glace is like going out on a first date. This is because this is the first time I read a Jodi Picault novel. So, like a first date, I was excited when I got this book from the local library. I look forward to it the moment I got it. And you know what, it was a good first date.  Really good! It was everything I wish or hope for....exciting, fun, enjoyable but at the same time, proceed with caution but in a relaxing way.
Unfortunately, like a good first date, it has to end and it ended too soon but it ended well with a happy note. It was a real good right up to the end and good bye was said with lots of hope and expectation because I know that it wasn’t the last date. There would be many more to come.

I can’t wait for the second date! :)