Saturday, May 28, 2011

My purchases from Popular Warehouse Sales

If you are in Kuching and you love to read, chances are you might already have been to the Popular Warehouse Sales held on the 5th Floor of Permata Carpark. The sales started on Friday, 27 May which is the start of the school holidays and will run until Sunday, 5 June.  So, what did you get?

I went on the evening of the 1st day (flu and all) and these are what I got :

1. A boxset collection of 3 books written by Madonna! They are in hardcover and with very pretty illustrations.  I'll share more with you next time.  It's for RM10 only!

2. 3 paperbacks written by Jacqueline Wilson at RM3 each only.  There are for teens and I have an up-and-coming teen at home right now.  She is still in her princess' and fairy books and Geromino Stiltone stage but I know it won't be long before she moves on.

3.  When The Boys are Away and Take a Chance (2 books in 1) by Sarah Webb. Never read Sarah Webb but hey, 70% mark down?  I only pay RM6 for this.

4.  Three Girls and their Brothers by Theresa Rebeck in trade paperback. Never heard of this author but do you know that this is only for RM1.  Yup....One only! No typo there.

5. Last but not least, The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner.  I didn't had a good experience with an earlier book by Jennifer Weiner but at RM5, I'll take a chance.  And I check - no Kate Klein.

That's all.  A total haul of RM31 (US$10?).  Is that a steal or what?

Tralalalalala......... *that's me singing a happy tune* :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How do you decide which book to bring with you when you travel?

Or you dont read when you travel.

I will be out of the country for a week and one of the most complex decision I have to make before the trip is not what outfit to pack but which book to bring along with me.  You might laugh at me but whatever book I brought along, I would have no choice but to read it and sometimes I do bring the wrong book and ended up not liking what I am reading and not able to do anything about it can be pretty frustrating and can influence my mood for the trip.

this book makes me cry

For example, it would be a disaster to bring a book that tears me up when I do business travel as it would look odd and unprofessional for me to have bulgy eyes from too much crying. I still remember when I brought My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson with me during one such trip and I started reading while in the airport after I've checked in.  I also remember with horror that I started crying as I read while on the plane surrounded by many strangers who, if noticed my tears, might think that there's something wrong with me.

this book is very heavy

Hardcovers (and some paperbacks) are just too bulky and heavy to bring along on trips but they could be the title that you have been dying to read for quite a while and not willing to wait any longer.  So, should bulkiness and the weight be one of the consideration?  I think it would be quite inconvenient to lug around a monstrous book unless you are actually on a very long trip.

One point I can share is I try to start a new book with each travel.  This way, it my guarantee that the book would last me throughout the trip.  This is because I would deem it a disaster if I finish a book halfway into the itinerary and I don't have another back up book to read for the rest of the journey.  I guess I could buy a new book but since I have a lot of new books waiting for me at home, the last thing I want to do is to buy another new book and read it immediately. It would be such a betrayal to the rest of my books :), right?
So, is it a difficult decision for you on what book to bring with you when you travel?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Popular Bookstore Warehouse Sales

Popular Bookstore, the well known book retailer is having a warehouse sales in Kuching, Sarawak from Friday, 27 May till 5 June 2011.  The sales will be held in Permata Carpark.  The banner has been up since last week.  This is such a great timing since it's the start of school holidays and what better way to keep the kids occupied by getting them some new books.

If you are in Kuching and appreciate a good discount, head out to Permata Carpark at your earliest convenience.  I went to their last sales and managed to get some really good bargain

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Max on Life by Max Lucado (Preview)

‎'Knowing God is like mountain climbing. Some days the path is steep, others, the trail is easy. Clouds can eclipse the view. The sun might illuminate the peak. Most of all, it just takes time. Know this - God will help you.'.
taken from Max on Life by Max Lucado.

My copy just arrived. Gonna read it this weekend :)

Watch this spot for the full review of Max on Life coming soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang

Synopsis :

In present day Beijing, Mei Wang is a modern, independent woman. She has her own apartment. She owns a car. She has her own business with that most modern of commodities - a male secretary.  Her short career with China's prestigious Ministry for Public Security has given her intimate insight into the complicated and arbitrary world of Beijing's law enforcement.  But it is her intuition, curiosity and her uncanny knack for listening to things said - and unsaid - that make Mei Beijing's first successful female private investigator.

Mei is no stranger to the dark side of China. She was 6 years old when she last saw her father behind the wire fence of one of Mao's remote labour camps. Perhaps as a result, Mei Eschews the power plays and cultured mores - guanxi - her sister and mother live by ...for better and for worse.

Mei's family friend 'Uncle' Chen hires her to find a Han dynasty jade of great value : he believes the piece was looted from the Luoyang Museum during the Cultural Revolution - when the Red Guards swarmed the streets, destroying so many traces of the past - and that it's currently for sale on the black market.  The hunt for the eye of jade leads Mei through banquet halls and back alleys, seedy gambling dens and cheap noodle bars near the Forbidden City.  Given the jade's provenance and its journey, Ie knows to treat the investigation as a most delicate matter; she cannot know, however, that this case will force her to delve not only into China's brutal history, but also into her family's fark secrets and into her own tragic separation from the man she loved in equal parts.

I am not a fan of Asian authors and there’s a reason for that. I find that their writing is too intense like they try too hard, they had too much to lose and are just too serious. That doesn’t mean that I don’t read any at all - just not that often.

Anyway, I came across The Eye of Jade during a warehouse sale last year. I was attracted to it as a review at the book jacket by someone from BBC equates it to China’s version of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall. My instinct told me no, put the book back but part of me said why not give it a try.

It turns out that I should trust my instinct. The book wasn’t so bad, just a bit boring and the focus wasn’t so much in finding the Eye of Jade but more on her estranged relationship with her family especially her mother and also the choices she made to become a Private Investigator or ‘Information Consultant’ since PI is considered illegal in modern day China.

Anyway, it turns out that Eye of Jade is indirectly connected to her family history (i.e. her mother) and has another meaning. I guess this being the 1st book in a series that the author is writing on, set the tone and pace for other books to come. The 2nd book in the series is entitled Paper Butterfly and was published in 2009. I won’t mind reading it just to see how Mei fares as a PI, ops...sorry, I mean Information Consultant.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The House Swap by Amanda Brookfield

Synopsis :

Sophie and Andrew are looking for relief from the daily grind - if not each other - so when a friend puts them in touch with William and Beth, newlyweds looking to swap houses for the summer, it seems a solution of sorts. They find themselves in a stylish Connecticut home, a stone's throw from New York, while William and Beth take over their lived in family house in South London, ideal for spending time with Willilam's teenaged sons.

The week away work an unexpected magic for Sophie, who begins to find a sense of happiness...but Beth has no such luck and, no longer the centre of William's world, grows increasingly miserable. And so the two marriages - one crushed by the weight of years, one shinny and new - slide into reverse. But who can forsee the dramatic consequences of their lives, and hearts, intertwining? The innocent holiday might just prove devastating....

Devastating is the correct word to describe the whole situation. Another word is disaster.

I don’t believe that the whole ‘fiasco’ is due to the house swap. I think what is meant to happen will happen regardless of what causes it. The house swap could be just a catalyst. On the other hand, there are others who might feel that some situation happens due to chain or series of events that take place and if the event didn’t happen, situations would be different.

In House Swap, that’s what Beth believed. If she and William had not swap house with the couple from London and if they didn’t spend their holiday there, then she would remain the centre of William’s world and be happily ever after. For me, I think it’s just a matter of time because as you read on, you will find that Beth is self destructive.

The story flow is quite different although the storyline of house swapping between strangers are not new. I didn’t really like this book because other then Sophie, I feel the rest of the characters are rather obnotious especially Andrew. I just hate his guts. Go and get a copy and find out why?

Anyway, I owned this review to a good friend who supplied me a complimentary copy of this book. House Swap is published by Penguin Books in 2010.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Favourite Epic Adventure : River God by Wilbur Smith

While this is my favourite novel of all times, The Egyptian Series which started with River God is my favourite epic adventure ever. It triggered my interest in ancient Egypt and encouraged me to read up books such as this.

I started reading River God quite a long time ago (I can’t even remember when) and until today, I would be happy to curl up on my reading sofa anytime with River God for company. There are four titles in this series starting with River God, The Seventh Scroll, Warlock and The Quest. I have read all the titles except for Warlock.

Among these, River God is my absolute favourite. It captivated my imagination of ancient Egypt and is the start of the amazing epic adventure of Taita, a royal slave, one of the most amazing fiction characters of all times. Try to read from River God and follow the sequence above. You will then appreciate how the plot and storyline is being developed.

River God set the pace and the tone of the whole adventure. Not only it is an epic of the grandour and subsequently the fall of Pharaoh, it also introduces the tragic story behind Taita. The Seventh Scroll is a bit different as it from the perspective of the modern world and the world of archaeologist in discovering the wonders that Taita has created and the treasures that he had siphoned away in the tombs of his beloved Queen Lostris and the traps that he set to prevent tombs' thieves from raiding the tombs.

The Quest wasn’t as good as River God but still able to capture the essence of adventure and romances of the ancient time. In The Quest, Egypt is struck by a series of terrible plagues that cripple the kingdom with disasters to follow. In desperation, the Pharaoh (grandson of Queen Lostris) sends for Taita (who has since retired from active service...haha) to go on a quest to discover the cause of all their woes. I notice that the plagues mentioned here is very much similar to the 12 plagues mentioned in the bible. No doubt that’s where the author drew inspiration from but other than that, the similarity ends.

I am actually surprised that this was never adapted for a high budget movie. Somehow, I think it would make such a great epic movie with the splendour of ancient Egypt coming alive and Taita...I don’t know who would be able to play such an amazing character. It would have to be one amazing actor worthy to step into such shoe. 

Who do you think can play a Taita?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An interview with author Denise Hunter

As the first book in the Big Sky Romance Series, A Cowboy’s Touch is the story about a truthseeker who ends up discovering the real truth and a cowboy who learns to let go of his past. Hunter shines as she draws her readers into an intriguing world of boots, chaps and cowboy hats. This heartwarming romance is a story of love, pain and forgiveness. It has also been named a Women of Faith novel for 2011.

Hunter can also talk about encouraging others to go for their dream of becoming a writer. She talks more about that in her interview below.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer? When did you first begin to write?
I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t start dreaming about writing a novel until I was in my early twenties. By then I was married and busy pursuing a degree. I put writing on the back burner until my grandfather became fatally ill. While I was visiting him in the hospital, I was struck by the brevity of life and felt God pressing on my heart to take the first step. I started my first novel a couple weeks later. I had two small children by this time, so I wrote while they napped. I wrote my first four books that way. Even if you can only write a page a day, by the end of a year you’ll have a complete manuscript!

Q: Are you a small town or a city girl? What inspired you to write a book about the life of a cowboy?
I’m a little of both. We live in a country setting just outside the city. It’s the best of both worlds. There’s something very earthy and organic about a cowboy’s life. I was drawn by the idea of living off the land. I think it takes us to a simpler time and place—even though the life of a cowboy is not necessarily simple! And Montana is such a beautiful state. I thought my readers might like to journey there with me through story.

Q: Can you tell us a little about what you have learned about the cowboy lifestyle while doing research for this book?
I learned a lot of fascinating details about the workings of a ranch: branding, breeding, cattle disease, etc. But what I came away with is a great respect for cowboys and their families. Those who choose this way of life do it because they love it. It’s not easy, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Q: Abigail’s title at her job is “the Truthseeker.” What is the significance of this title, and what do you think a real truthseeker does?
I thought it would be interesting to write about a protagonist whose job was to seek the truth and have her find out that she was missing the real Truth the whole time. Since Jesus is the Truth, a real truthseeker follows Him.

Q: Forgiveness seems to be a recurring theme in your books. Why do you feel it is so important? Your main characters both dealt with forgiving their past mistakes. Do you think that it is just as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive the mistakes of others?
With sin rampant in all of us, this is something we need to get good at! Eventually, someone’s going to do something you struggle to forgive. I think this is partly because forgiveness is easily misunderstood. It’s not saying that what they did is okay. It’s saying that you’re not going to hold it over them anymore. I do think it’s just as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive others. Oftentimes, it’s even harder.

Q: What would you like your readers to take away after reading A Cowboy’s Touch?
Abigail was essentially trying to work off her guilt. She thought if she could just keep exposing other peoples’ wrongs, it would appease her own guilt. I’d like readers to see that only God can redeem us.

The above interview was provided by B&B Media.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Forever (Firstborn Series) by Karen Kingsbury

That’s it.

I’ve read the final book in the Firstborn Series.  It all started with Fame, Forgiven, Found and now Forever. I miss reading book 3 which is Family as I wasn’t able to get hold of a copy. With all that I know of the Baxter from reading the Redemption Series and first 3 books of the Firstborn Series, I managed quite well with Forever even without Family.

Forever brings quite a lot of issue into a closure. It had a pretty dramatic start when Dayne Matthews was involved in a car accident while trying to run away from the paparazzi. He was badly injured and for a while, the doctors though he couldn’t make it. By God’s grace and miracle that he recovered but then he was emotionally hurt by Luke Baxter’s words to the tabloids. However, God is faithful in the end and shows that love is forever, family is forever, no matter what.

I love this book and happy for the storyline and for this season to be brought to an end so that we can move forward to a new and fresh season with new storyline and Forever did just that.

This book is also about what is forever and what is not. For Dayne, he found closure in the acceptance of his birth family. Ashley found acceptance and closure that her father needs to move on from their mother’s death. Luke found the brother that he had always wanted but never had and hadn’t knew how to deal with it when he had one.

I love the Firstborn Series and also glad for the opportunity to share my thoughts on this series. I can’t wait for Sunrise Series which I have just started.

God is forever and His love and his faithfulness is forever.