Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lovers & Players by Jackie Collins

Synopsis :

In Lovers & Players, the Diamonds family rules.  Red Diamond is an abusive and much loathed billionaire. His three sons, Max, Chris and Jett are summoned to New York, for a family meeting which rocks their world.

Diahann, a beautiful black ex-singer, works as Red's housekeeper - a job her daughter, Liberty, does not approve of.  A waitress who is a would-be singer herself, Liberty has dreams of her own and while she pursues them, Damon P. Donnell, married hip-hop mogul supreme, pursues her.

Young New York heiress Amy Scott-Simon in engaged to to marry Max. At her bachelorette party she runs into Jett.  Jett has no idea who Amy is.  She also doesn't realise who he is.  A one night fling leads to major complications.

As the lives of these characters intertwine, power, money, fame and love are the ties that bind - emotionally and otherwise - in this highly charged love story about family relationship and deadly choices.

I think a lot of us grew up on Jackie Collins one time or another as she was one of the top authors in the 80s and 90s.  I can't say the same for the new millennium.  Although this particular title was written in 2005, it still reaks very much of the earlier era when Jackie was at her prime.

Lovers & Players is a very typical Jackie Collins story.  The men are good looking, some rather ruthless, very few are perfect gentlemen. The ladies would either be equally good looking and some would be as ruthless as the men but one or two would be the sweet innocent beauty.

Then money, lots of money would come into play and power and position would be the name of the game.  The story would not be complete without a murder or two and not to forget the occasional blackmail to zest up the mood.

And that would be the foundation of most of Jackie Collins book and Lovers & Players's no different.

None of the characters here appeal to me.  I thought the story of Liberty was a waste of time.  Jackie should have just focused on the father, Red Diamond and the three brothers, Matt , Chris and Jett. Jackie made out to be rather chauvinistic and self centered creatures.  I thought they would have potential given more depth.

 Everything was rather predictable including the ending.  The solving of the murder was rather boring.   However, being the classic Jackie Collin's book that it is, it does make good holiday read.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mafia Princess by Marisa Merico

Synopsis 1 (from the book) :

Marisa Merico, the daughter of one of Italy's most notorious Mafia Godfathers, was dazzled by her father, Emilio DiGiovine.  To her e was all-powerful, sophisticated and loving; to the rest of the world he was staggeringly ruthless. Marisa knew her father would do anything for her, but she hadn't expected just how much he would ask for in return.  This is the shocking true story of a small-town British girl who became a Mafia Princess.

 Synopsis 2 (from a web that hosted a photo album and better describe her than from the book) :

Drugs, guns, money—as the former boss of a powerful Italian mafia clan, Marisa Merico saw all of it. Merico was 22 when she “stepped up” to take over the family business, the ’Ndrangheta—one of the most successful and violent crime syndicates in the world. She felt it was her moral obligation to run the clan, taking direction from her father, who had just been sentenced to prison. Being boss woman was a natural fit for Merico, who grew up playing with guns and watching her family control the Milan drug market during the ’80s.

It's a bit different and strange reading the life story of someone whom you have never heard of and still enjoy reading the story.  It's even more strange when I googled the author and her images and plenty of news articles about her popped out instantly.

Marisa is currently in her 40s and living in England. Her life story is just so foreign to me.  I can't imagine growing up among all the violence and death and at the same time experiencing extreme poverty and extreme wealth during different stages of her life.

Mafia Princess is certainly an engaging read.  From the first page when Marisa tells the story of how her mum travelled to work in Italy and fallen in love and how she was born on the kitchen table, it was fourth gear all the way until the last page.

The writing wasn't very polished but very sincere in sharing her great love for her father even when she knew that she shouldn't and the grief she felt when she had to go to jail and leave behind her baby girl, among others.

I read this within a couple of days and at different situations and life experiences that she encountered I tried to imagine how it would be like to be her.  I shouldn't have done that. It just make me felt so "meh"!  It's sureal to the extreme degree.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

Synopsis (taken from

One moment June Nealon was happily looking forward to years full of laughter and adventure with her family, and the next, she was staring into a future that was as empty as her heart. Now her life is a waiting game. Waiting for time to heal her wounds, waiting for justice. In short, waiting for a miracle to happen.

For Shay Bourne, life holds no more surprises. The world has given him nothing, and he has nothing to offer the world. In a heartbeat, though, something happens that changes everything for him. Now, he has one last chance for salvation, and it lies with June's eleven-year-old daughter, Claire. But between Shay and Claire stretches an ocean of bitter regrets, past crimes, and the rage of a mother who has lost her child.

Would you give up your vengeance against someone you hate if it meant saving someone you love? Would you want your dreams to come true if it meant granting your enemy's dying wish?

 I have read a few of Jodi Picoult's book over the years.  There are some that I quite enjoyed like Second Glance.  And then, there are some that I don't quite enjoyed like Vanishing Acts.  So where does this leaves Change of Heart?  Anyway, I am glad to say that I really like it.

It's a very touching story with bits and pieces of twist and turn but nothing that changes the direction of where the story goes.  Readers get to know the story through the eyes and thoughts of a few people involved. First was June Nealon - a mother and wife whose husband and daughter died in the hands of Shay Bourne and about to lose her second daughter to illness.

Then, we have Father Michael who was part of the jury that was involved in the persecution of Shay Bourne eleven years ago but who is now his spiritual adviser.  Father Michael is a rather conflicted man and carries the guilt of convicting Shay with the death sentence.  Maggie, self appointed lawyer to Shay is a rather insecure Jewish girl who is very good at her job but has low self esteem due to her size fourteen self.  Last but not least, we get to know of Shay from his jail mate, Lucius who murdered his lover and who is suffering and dying from aids.  

In the last chapter, we get to know the ending from Claire.  The only person whom we did not 'hear' from directly is Shay himself.

Although the books touches on issues like spirituality, religion, capital punishment, death sentences, etc.  it's still a book about people and that's what Jodi Picoult is rather good at and I would say to me, this is one of her better book.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Logos Hope in Kuching - July 2013

Hello again
 Hope Logos is finally in Kuching.  It arrived on Thursday, 11th July and open itself to the public the next day.  I went to pay a visit that very Saturday

Karen Kingsbury's collection

The type of books are more or less the same as per previous visit by the ship two years ago.  As expected, there were different titles and more selection of books.  There’s a whole collection of Karen Kingsbury but not her new titles.

I badly wanted this
 There’s a whole collection books by of Bodie & Brock Thoene and the AD Chronicles caught my attention.  This is a 12-book series and the ship has 11 of the titles.  I was very torn on whether to get it as to purchase 11 books will dent my coffer drastically and I wasn’t sure if I would like the series.  In the end, I decided to just get the first book and if I do like it, I guess I can wait for the ship’s next visit and pray that they stock the titles!

Happy :)
I also managed to get Summer, book #2 in the Sunrise Series.  This completes the whole series and the ball is now in my court for me to finish reading the series. The wild card in my purchase would be Prophet by Frank Peretti.  I have a book that he co-write with Ted Dekker so it was just out of curiosity that I decided to add it to my collection.

Good Night
All in all, it was a pleasant visit to Hope Logos.  I might go again before the ship sails off on 1st August but even if I don’t I’m rather happy with what I got from the ship.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Little Magic by Nora Roberts

Synopsis :

In 'Spellbound' a beautiful lady casts a thousand-year spell on the man of her dreams - and unleashes a nightmare only love can conquer.  'Ever After' follows an enchanting woman as she journeys to an otherworldly land - and introduces a handsome artist to the transforming power of love.  "In Dreams' links a young woman to a stranger's past - and to the curse that has trapped him forever in the eternity of his own dreams.

A Little Magic is a collection of novellas by Nora Roberts.  All three stories are rather enchanting and charming if you are a fan of romances.

My favourite would be Spellbound.  It has all the essence of Nora Roberts and the lure of forklore and mystic that Nora Rorberts is rather fond of and rather good at.  I was rather bored by Ever After and kept on expecting something but there was nothing.  Such, I was rather skeptical with In Dreams but it turned out quite ok.  I didn't like it as much as Spellbound but it was certainly better than Ever After.

And since the book is entitled A Little Magic, you can expect magic to make it's appearances in all three stories.    Not for the levelheaded but certain a book for those with whimsical soul.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hope Logos is back!

Two representatives from Hope Logos promoting the ship's arrival and activities on board

(sorry, it's rather blur)

The last time the floating ship, Hope Logos was in town was in October 2011. Fast forward to July 2013, it’s making its way back here again.

The ship which is currently sailing from the Philippines, should be berthed at the Sim Kheng Hong Port in Pending started 11th July and will be here until early August.  From the official schedule, Kuching is the only stop for the ship in Malaysia, after which it will set sail for Phuket, Thailand.

This would certainly be excellent news for those who had enjoyed going onboard the ship about 2 years ago.  You con do so all over again!  

It would also be good news for book lovers too as there’s a huge array of books for you to choose from with some of these books unavailable in our local bookstore.  However, I wonder how many of you actually read or started reading the books you bought back then.  I, for one must confess that I have not read all the books that I bought from the ship in year 2011!

Having said that, I would keep an eye on series by my favourite Christian author, Karen Kingsbury.  I love her Redemption and Firstborn Series and also Sunrise Series.  I really hope that they would have more current titles as the titles that I saw previously were rather old titles.  What would I love to see available?  I would love to see The Bailey Flanigan Series.  I would also like the see The Chance, one of Karen’s latest title.   

Above all, I would also like the see The Trouble With Cowboys, book 3 of the Big Sky Romance by Denise Hunter.  I read  book 1, A Cowboy's Touch and really like it.  I also read book 2, The Accidental Bride and love too, so it would make my collection complete to have book 3. *fingers cross*

Anyway,  you can start saving up to buy lots and lots of books.  :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Flea Market - books for sales

Green Heights Mall in Kuching will be organising a flea market this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday which is 6th to 7th July 2013.  It will take place on the ground floor of the mall from 10 am to closing time.

You can expect second hand items like clothing, fashion accessories, munchies and lots of other stuff.  The good news is that I will be again, selling my collection of books but this time round I will include in the sales, some treasures that I have in and around the house. These include bags, backpacks, etc.

this book is looking for a new owner

The last time I took part in the flea market was in May this year.  The sales wasn't very good for me so I'm keeping my fingers' crossed this time.  I'm going to bring some fantasy books so fans of such, do come by and check them out.

these two too
The princess is very motivated by her last sales so she will be letting go of some books that she's not reading any more.

from princess's collection
Anyway, do come by Green Heights Mall this weekend and support us and at the same time bring home a book or two. :)