Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Synopsis :

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper.

Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer – and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato or get the ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope – and find love – is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does – will she want it back?

I was so attracted to this title when I first came across it years ago. Since then I have read this book I think about three times the latest being recently after I read Mini Shopaholic and was once again hooked on Sophie Kinsella. Currently, I am re-reading Remember Me?, also another stand alone title by Sophie Kinsella.

I really enjoy Undomestic Goddess, from the very first chapter when Samantha went for an ‘Ultimate De-stress Experience’, she reminded me so much of many people I know. Workaholics who worked day and night with no personal lives of their own and also expect others not to have a personal life like them too.

However, a ‘mistake’ caused Samantha to be at the other extreme end of the fence and she found herself slowing but surely enjoying this new life style. Thow in garderner Nathaniel and life in the country can be as adictive as top city lawyer but with better outcomes.  When an opportunity came for her to live life the way it was, she found that she’s different now and wasn’t sure if she can and if she wants to go back to her old lifestyle. I was rooting for her not too but you will have to read yourself it to find out if she did.

Funny and sad, sweet and cute, it's a lite chick that should be read by all workaholics and non workaholics alike.  Hightly recommended for some de-stressing sessions.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tomorrow's Sun by Becky Melby

Synopsis from Goodreads.com :

Emily Foster won't allow herself to move on until she earns enough money to make restitution for the accident that stole a young girl's dreams. Flipping houses sounds like the fast track to her goal, but when her first project turns out to be a stop on the Underground Railroad, Emily finds herself drawn to, but at odds with, the contractor she hires. Jake Braden needs to focus on gaining guardianship of his late sister's twins, but the story of lost love uncovered in Emily's house sets the stage for what might become his own lost love.

Review :

One lived in the 19th century, the other live in current 21st century. Both found love and both encountered slavery in the very same house but hundreds of years apart. While the love they found is the same, the slavery they encountered is different yet similar. One witnessed the slavery of human being and together with her father and the man that she loved, they helped slaves to escape to live a life of freedom. The other is a slave to an accident that she can’t forgive herself for and the consequences of that accident that she can’t accept and the need to just escape, physically from her pain and sorrow of her hearts.

The only thing that connects Hannah Shaw and Emily Foster are the letters that was left behind by Hannah  hundreds of years ago. Then there was the secret room that Emily discovered in her new house and some items that was found together with the letters. Through these, connections were made that stretched beyond time and also among those in current times.

I enjoy this book although it was a very slow start. I also can't stand how the author dramatized what Emily went through but not telling the readers what it was. I enjoyed the historical mentioned of the Underground Railroad and the people who risked their lives to make it possible for others to live freely.

Tomorrow’s Sun is the first book in the Lost Sanctuary Series by Becky Melby. It is published by Barbour Publishing. I review this for netgalley.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bookshelf Tour - First Tour

1st March 2012 is World Book Day. That's in a week's time.  It’s a day that has been set aside to promote reading, publishing and copy right. According to Wikipedia, the day was first celebrated in 1995. It’s a yearly event organized by UNESCO and was previously known as International Day of the Book or World Book Days.

In conjunction with World Book Day, I thought it would be a good time to open up my bookshelf and give you a tour. I should actually say bookshelves as I have about 3 shelves that I use to house my books.


Today, I will share with you one of the shelves. This is the shelf that’s in my living room or hall. It is also a display cabinet where I display souvenirs and other trinkets that the family collected as well as photo albums and receipe books and stuff.

It is also here that my Christian novels collections are being kept.

You can see, from left to right, they are :

Firstborn Series by Karen Kingsbury – I only have four books of the Firstborn Series. They are Fame, Forgiven, Found and Forever. The missing book is Family.  I really enjoy this series of Dyane Matthews and of the Baxter's Family

Sunset Series by Karen Kingsbury – Sunrise, Someday, Sunset. The missing book is Summer.  This continues from Firstborn.  So far, I haven't read Someday and Sunset yet.

The Promises She Kept by Erin Healy - I can't make up my mind about this book.  I have more questions than answers after reading this.

Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck -  A cute book with a great message. Fun to read.

A Cowboy’s Touch by Denise Hunter - 1st book in the Big Sky Romance Series.

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter - 2nd book in the Big Sky Romance Series

Sunset on Battery by Beth Webb Hart - A book with deep message. Be careful what you ask for. It might be more than what you can accept.

Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Welsh - Another book with deep message. Find out what happens when you blame a child for something and how the blame attached itself to the child even when he/she grows up.

Trouble The Water by Nicole Seitz - I haven't read this book yet.

A Time to Mend by Gary Smalley and Sally John - I haven't read this book yet.

Softly and Tenderly by Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck - book 2 in the series.  I think book 3 is out already.  I also missed reading book 1. Not too bad, quite enjoyable.

The only set missing from this collection is the Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury which is currently with a friend.

You can also see a black ceramic bell which I bought from Jakarta, Indonesia.  The others were a ceramic castle and other trinkets collected over the years.

That is all for today :). I’ll share the rest of my shelves another time.  In the meantime, Happy World Book day to you.

So, how do you shelf your books?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Geronimo Stilton - The Fantasy Adventure (YA)


Classified as young adult (or older children) series, suitable for children age 8 to 12, this is one of the favourite series of the princess.  It features a rat who's a newspaper editor named Geronimo Stiltion. Geronimo has lots of adventures and there's about 40+ stand alone titles so far.  There's also another series featuring his sister, Thea Stilton and her friends.

So far, there are 3 books in this particular series.  I'm not sure if there's going to be more.  Anyway, the 3 books are :
  • The Kingdom of Fantasy
  • The Quest for Paradise
  • The  Amazing Voyage

We bought this as presents in January 2012 for the pink princess and so far she has read them all and is starting to re-read them again.  I might just join her just to find out what the series is all about and just to be a kid once again!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Twilight Children by Torey Hayden

Synopsis :

For decades, former special-education teacher Torey Hayden has been a light in the darkness for severely troubled children. She has chronicled her breakthroughs in a series of internationally bestselling books, including the powerful and poignant One Child and The Tiger’s Child. But it wasn’t until she left the classroom that she faced three of her most extraordinary challenges.

While working in the children’s psychiatric ward of a large hospital, Torey was introduced to seven year old Cassandra, a child who had been kidnapped by her father and was found dirty, starving and picking through rubbish bins to survive. She refused to speak, so Torey could only imagine what she had been through. Drake, by contrast, was a charismatic four-year old who managed to participate fully in his pre-school class without uttering a single word. Last, there was Gerda, eighty two who had suffered a massive stroke and was unwilling to engage in conversation with anyone. Although Torey had never worked with adults, she agreed to help when all other efforts had failed.

My first encounter with Torey Hayden’s writing was her fiction entitled Overheard in a Dream. I was really blown away by that book that it became one of my top three books for year 2010. I don’t really see a lot of her titles in the bookstore. Subsequently, when I was presented with a chance to purchase Twilight Children during a warehouse sales, I bought it without a second thought.

Twilight Children is not a fiction. It shares the works Torey did with these three individuals. First was Cassandra who went through a terrible time and I am glad they didn’t dwell on what she went through. I don’t think I would be able to take it. Second was her work with Drake, a really sweet boy but who wasn’t what we thought he was and last was with Gerda which I didn’t really understand what she accomplished with Gerda before Gerda’s death in nursing home. But these are children of the twilight, unseen and unheard in the near darkness, without a voice they can be easily lost when darkness approaches and never be found. 

Because these are real account of her work, it wasn’t dramatised but more of a recollection of these cases and these people and what she went through with them and how they affected her emotionally. Twilight Children opens my eye and I’m glad I bought this book but I’m not sure I’m ready to read her other books as they all deal with children who were abused in one way or another and can be very sad.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Magnolia by Ginny Aiken

Synopsis :


Magnolia Bellamy is sick and tired of her reputation as one of ‘Bellamy’s Blossoms’ If only her parents hadn’t been so poetic in naming their three daughters, Maggie wouldn’t have to work so hard at proving herself. But prove herself she will! No matter what it takes, Maggie is determined to prevent contractor Clay Marlowe from cheating both the bank she represents and her client and friend, the charming elderly Miss Louella Ashworth.

Clay Marlowe finds the prospect of restoring the once-glorious Ashworth Mansion irresistible. Trouble is, he may have to eat the extra cost to bring the project in on budget.

Maggie and Clay – as different as two people can be – clash on everything from money to music. But along the way, each grudgingly begins to admire the other’s devotion to their common goal : leaving the past behind and pressing toward God’s plan for the future. But can their growing trust and love withstand a shocking revelation from Clay’s past?

This is the first book in the Bellamy’s Blossoms Series by Ginny Aiken. I don’t have copies of the rest of the series, but I am pretty sure they would be about the other sisters who made special appearance in this book.

Magnolia is not a likable character. She is rather hostile to Clay Marlowe. In chapter one she called Clay a carpetbagger and a Yankee and kept on referring him as such throughout the book. She has confidence issue and is rather judgemental of people. Clay, on the other hand is rather patient and a man of God and is especially patient in dealing with Magnolia although he has to ask for God’s grace most of the time!

The teaching of Christ is in evidence and if it’s been read by the right person at the right time, he/she might hear God’s words through this book.  With Christ in her life, Magnolia's life was subsequently changed, her outlook in life and attitude towards life changed as well and it was only then that she realised the greatest treasure she can ever had is right there with her.

The second book in this series is entitled Lark and the third is Camelia.  I don't have these other 2 titles.  The series is published by Tyndale House.  I purchased this copy from the ship Doulos a few years back.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Synopsis :

Becky Brandon thinks that having a daughter is a dream come true; a shopping friend for life!  But two-year-old Minnie proves to be a challenge.  She created havoc everywhere she goes, and her favourite word is 'mine!' On top of everything else, suddenly there's a huge nationwide financial crisis.

With people having to cut back, Becky decides to throw a surprise party for Luke to cheer everyone up.  But when costs start to spiral out of control, she must decide whether to accept help from an unexpected source - and thereby run the risk of hurting the person she loves.

Will Becky be able t pull off the celebration of the year?  Will Minnie ever learn to behave?  And...most important...will Becky's secret wishes ever come true?

‘Should I buy this book or shouldn’t I?’ have the question I asked myself for quite some times each time I’m in the bookstore. ‘Someone wonderful’ noticed my indecisiveness and decided to take the decision out of my hand. On my recent celebration, I was presented with Mini Shopahoilic as one of my presents. *hugs*

As such, over the recent long holidays, I entered the latest wacky adventure of Rebecca Brandon (nee Bloomwood) also known as Becky. This would be the sixth book on Becky that I have been reading for the past 8 years starting with Confession of a Shopaholic and the one before this, Shopaholic and Baby.

Becky’s adventure is always entertaining and in this latest instalment, she entertains us as she fumbles her way through organising Luke’s birthday party. In between doing that she has to deal with some issues with Luke and Minnie and Luke’s insistence that Minnie needs to be more discipline and thus requires a super nanny. Not to mention, Becky's parents’ reaction (which wasn’t what she was expected) to them moving out of her parents’ house and situations that only Becky can get herself into. The part where her parents tried to tag along with them to their new house is both sad and funny at the same time.  Anyway, Becky learns a few things about her friends and herself in this book.  She was even diagnosed as being a ‘shopaholic’ due to her reaction when in a hall. Hahah....what joke.

I thought I was rather tired of Becky after Shopaholic and Baby but no, Becky’s like a favourite pair of old shoes that you really want to stop wearing but you can’t and you want to dislike but you can’t too and that’s just because. No other reason. That’s how I felt about Becky. Her sense of dramatisation can really get on my nerve but her impromptu actions reactions and also the things that she can come up with really puts a smile on my face.

The book ended with Becky and Luke making plans to relocate for a few months to the land of silver screen *spoiler* so, I am very certain we shall see Becky again.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

Synopsis :

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River.  Despite the hard work, she can't seem to keep her head above water - and now the bank is threatening to foreclose.  She prays for a miracle but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders' Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high school sweetheart - the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens.  Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage.  But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal.  If she refuses his offer, she may lost her home.  If she accepts, she may lost her heart.

Shay isn't sure if the recent events are God's will or just a preacher's blunder.  Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life?  Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happend?

I was first introduced to Shay Brandenberger in Denise Hunter's first book in A Big Sky Romance Series - A Cowboy's Touch.  That was when her daughter Olivia stole Mandy's bike.  It was pleasant surprised to find out that not only the story line in Accidental Bride is rather unique but both Mandy and Abigail from the first book and even Abigail's Aunty Lucy are featured in this book.  In fact, both ladies (Shay and Abigail) are close friends now.

I like Shay.  I think she has guts and I feel for her as she struggles against the tide or society and economy.  She never really had it easy and she never got over the fact that Tavis once left her on the alter and having to face the town and family on her own.  It didn't help that her ex-husband had also left her and her daughter to fend for themselves.  How could anyone blame her for mistrusting Travis when he comes back into their lives. 

Galatian 1 : 10 'for am I now trying to wind the favour of people, or God? Or am I striving to polease people?' is refered a few times in this story and in particularly to Shay as she is more concern about what the others think and say of her and her daughter than what God is saying and until she does, she doesn't have much peace in her life. 

The Accidental Bride is a wonderful read which I enjoyed greatly.  I love the cover too.  So bright green and blue.  It is published by Thomas Nelson.  Thank you B&B Media Group for this review copy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis :

Kenny Mancuso shot his childhood buddy Moogey Bues in the knee and then jumped bail. Now bounty bunter extraordinaire Stephanie Plum is on the case to track Kenny down. Then someone finishes Moogey off, Kenny can’t be found, twenty four coffins are missing and there’s some ex-army heavy artillery roaming the streets. And Joe Morelli – the cop with more than a professional interest in her every move – is tailing Stephanie.

With a healthy disregard for the law and an unhealthy dependence on marshmallow hot chocolate, Stephanie’s match for anyone – even Morelli. That is, until her eccentric grandmother goes AWOL and little pieces of corpses start to disappear...

Yet another Stephanie Plum’s adventure from me. I must confess that I never plan to read Stephanie’s stories so soon after the last one but when Two for the Dough stared at me from the shelf of my local library, I couldn’t resist especially since I just read One For the Money and I am just curious on how the relationship developed between Stephanie and Joe since then.

In Two for the Dough, Stephanie’s bounty hunter job took a bit of a darker turn when she tried to track down Kenny Mancuso who is extremely unpredictable. On one hand, it helps in a way that she joined force with Joe Morelli who is also trying to track down Kenny but for a different reason. On the other hand, Joe wasn’t being very upfront on what he’s doing and Stephanie doesn’t like it. It doesn’t help that Joe invited himself to dinner with Stephanie and her family and it certainly doesn’t help that her parents like Joe and even acknowledge him as her boyfriend.

A Stephanie Plum’s adventure wouldn’t be so without Grandma Mazur but grandma was slightly injured in this book and I have to admit that for a while, I was worried for her. Ranger didn’t make much impact in this book, making brief appearance here and there as the focus is very much on Stephanie and Joe. Lula started work in Vinnie’s office and is extremely efficient in her filing.

Overall, it was a nice follow up from book 1. Now the question is, if I see book three, Three to Get Deadly on the library shelf, should I get it?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner


The Guy Not Taken is a collection of short stories written by the author over many, many years, tentatively from 1992 – 2006. That’s over 14 years. Some of the stories were written while she was still in college.

I didn’t had a good experience, book wise with Jennifer Weiner but I enjoyed the movie adaptation of her book, In Her Shoes. I am giving this a chance and all I can say is that I’m not really taken by this book. I like certain stories but have no idea where she’s going with some.

The ones that I like is The Guy Not Taken (title story) and in her ‘notes’ page, Jennifer gave a hint that the movie rights was optioned by Dream Works and a screen play is in the works but no, I have not seen the release yet. I think it would make a cute movie. The story is that this girl, who is now happily married, typed in the name of her ex boyfriend in a wedding registry and suddenly had the ability to change the name of the bride to her own name in the registry and the next thing she knows, she’s actually living out the ‘fantasy’ and is getting married to her ex-boyfriend.

The other story that I like is Dora on the Beach which tells of how 2 teenage girls holds an old lady hostage in her home and made her go with them clubbing, shopping and helicopter ride, all courtesy but against the well Dora, the old lady. After a few days, Dora had a chance to escape when she discovered that the gun the girls used are actually toy guns but she’s actually enjoying herself with all these fun stuff after she got to know the girls better. So did she escape when she had the chance to? I ‘m not telling.

There are a total of 11 stories in this book.