Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good bye 2014 and Hello 2015

I felt it was just yesterday that I did my good bye 2013 and hello 2014 post but in actual fact it's 365 days ago.  Where did those days go?

So, how was my year like?  You know what, it was a great year.  It was a year of change as I survived my first year in a new position in a new organisation with new portfolio and new set of accountability.  It wasn't really a change I want to make if I am perfectly honest but it is a change that's absolutely necessary to move on.

The family went on an unexpected holiday to an unexpected country and it was a wonderful experience for each and everyone of us.  It certainly brought us closer as a family unit and I thank God each and every single day for His blessings in our lives.

This post also marks a total of 70 posts did this year in Purple Queen Fairy's world which is exactly the same number of post as last year so I am pretty pleased about the consistency I have towards this blog.  It wasn't easy at times, I tell you but I am extremely glad.
However, admist all these thanksgiving, my heart can't help but aches for those going through a much trying time with families and friends lost and perished in flood and flights.  My heart and prayer goes out to them and reminding that in all things God is with us.

Nothing in this world is permanent. This is our temporary home and we can be called back to our permanent home anytime by our maker. Are we ready when the time comes?

In that let me still wishes everyone blessings for the forthcoming year.  Happy New Year from me to you. Thank you for dropping by.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

The lights are all out, the hubby's sleeping off his dinner :) and the princess is busy with her presents and here I am, taking this opportunity to wish each and everyone a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.

Indeed, it was joyous for us as we celebrated Christ's birthday with family and friends.  The celebration started early this week and will probably go on till this weekend and on to the end of the year as we welcome in the new year.

We were at a book fair this evening in one of the malls in the city and the only excitement for me is this Christmas tree made from stacked up books.  Needless to say, I didn't do any shopping at all which is a good thing as I bought quite a lot of books at another book fair in the city which ended last weekend.

Anyway, it's time for a read before bed, so once again, thank you for being here and here's wishing you great cheers for the Christmas!

I quite like this song this year so here's to you. God bless :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Live Wire by Harlan Coben

Synopsis :

A beautiful woman walking into Myron Bolitar's office asking for help should have been a dream come true.  Only this woman, Suzze T, is in tears - and eight months pregnant...

Suze's rock-star husband has disappeared, and she fears the rumors questioning her baby's paternity have driven him away.  For Myron, questions of fatherhood couldn't hit closer to home.  His own father is clinging precariously to life, and the brother who abandoned the family years ago has resurfaced - with danger following close behind.  Myron is soon forced to confront deep secrets in Suzze's past, his family's mortality - and his own....

Since I enjoyed reading my first book by Harlan Coben a few months back, I was quite excited to try out Live Wire recently.  I can't remember exactly where or when did I get this copy from but it has been with me since last year so it could have been part of my windfall or perhaps I bought it from one of the book sales I went to last year.

With that expectation, I thought quite highly of Live Wire.  While it didn't really deliver on that expectation, it was rather good as it's very different from the first book that I read.  Myron is actually an agent and Suzze is his client so it wasn't like he's an investigator or anything but for all that he does, he could have been.

It wasn't long before Myron gets caught up in the investigation and are forced to deal with some personal issues especially from people from his past and before you know it , there are no boundaries between past and presence.  The boundaries between what's real and what's fiction in the lives of these characters were rather blur too.

So, do I like it...ya, I quite. It wasn't too bad but no, it would not be a book that I would want to read again but trying out Harlan's book in the future is something that I would do.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Synopsis :

In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply in love.  Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for each other seems to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Caroline.But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for a funeral. Neither has lived the life they imagined...and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their loves.

Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers soon realize that everything they thought they knew - about themselves and the dreams they held dear - was not as it seemed.  And in teh course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead : Can love truly rewrite the past?

Having enjoyed reading The Rescue a while ago, I was quite eager to read another Nicholas Sparks.  I bought both books from a lady that wants to downsize her library.  I must say she and I have a bit of similar interest in  the type of books that we enjoyed as there are a few titles that I bought from her that I quite like. 

The Best of Me is officially my favourite title by Nicholas Sparks.  I just enjoyed the book so much that I decided that it belongs to my library and I will find a spot for it among other titles that I really really like.

The story you can say is about forbidden love and started with Dawson Cole surviving an explosion in an oil rig that killed a few of his friends.  During that moment of trying to stay alive in the sea, he saw a man that seemed to motive him along and that contributed to him being alive.  Returning to Oriental, he seems to glimpse this man there as well and each time, it was when he's about to face danger.

Amanda was Dawson's first love and now they are meeting for the first time in twenty five years and you can say most of the book took place during that weekend they are together.  The Best of Me has a rather bittersweet ending and I confessed that I cried buckets!  It was sad but it was a very good read.

The movie of The Best of Me was released in October 2014 and no, I have not seen it yet and I am happy to keep it that way.  In case you are interested, here is the official trailer for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

My Perfect Holiday Read

Year 2014 has been a pretty busy year for the family and the decision was made last December that we would be going on a long vacation this December.  Well, it's December already and plans were made throughout the year for this fantastic holiday that we are embarking.

Any plannings that I made would not be complete without planning on what to bring along to read and that planning and decision alone is a major project itself and took me quite a while to consider.  However, after much considerations which includes lots of elimination, the final two books are hereby shortlisted.

First is an autobiography on Aung San Suu Kyi, Perfect Hostage.  This would be a good book to read in the long flight to and from and I am confident that the life of Aung San Suu Kyi would be captivating enough but yet at the same time, i can stop anytime and pick it up again without having to be concerned about storyline and plots and so on.

Next is Heaven Is For Real which was made into a movie.  I was told by the princess that the movie's great.  I have not seen it so perhaps I'll start with the book first. I had an opportunity to get a free copy of this book a few years back via a review programme but I didn't choose this book. Such, it's a blessing to be blessed with this book this year.

So, with two perfect book, here's to a perfect holiday.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Murder in the Marais by Cara Black

Synopsis :

Aimee Leduc, the half-French, half-American detective in Paris, is approached by a rabbi to decipher a fifty-year-old encrypted photograph and deliver it to an old woman in the Marais, the old Jewish quarter.  When she does so, she finds a corpse on whose forehead, a swastika has been carved.  

With the help of her partner, a small people with extraordinary computer skills, she sets out to solve this horrendous crime and finds herself in the middle of a dangerous game of current politics and old war crimes.

Again, like this title that I last read, Murder in the Marais was also recommended to me.  I wasn't really that keen to start on it.  The cover of a rather large, gloomy and morbid building didn't encourage me at all.  The only reason I read it was because I appreciate the recommendation.

Reading Murder in the Marais was both enjoyable and a dread.  I enjoyed the plot that weaves in survivors of the second world war.  There were victims of the war who were denounced by their friends and suffer deadly fate.  There were women who sympathized with the Nazi either by choice or by force and were branded for their actions which followed them throughout their lives and then there were those that denounced their friends and have now changed their names and hiding in the midst of society.  For these people, the war might be over but the battle continues and but one wrong step, everything came tumbling down.

So, to read or not to read, it's up to you if you come across this title.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Absence of Nectar by Kathy Hepinstall

Synopsis :

If only Alice could get rid of her new stepfather, then everything would be as sweet as it had been before Simon Jester wormed his way into her mother's heart.  No one wants to believe that the pieces of Simon's tragic past don't seem to fit - or that he is trying to poison Alice and her older brother.

The ranting of an eleven-year-old girl don't amount to much in East Texas - until the one night her mother comes in to kiss she good night and instead whispers a single word ' RUN'.

When I bought this book from a vicious reader, she told me that this is an extremely good read.  I took her word for it and it is true that it's an extremely good read. I read in within one days as I could not put it down.  Thank goodness that I had a sore throat that day and reading this did keep my mind off my sickness and made the day more pleasant.

Alternating between creepy and disjointed but yet captivating at the same time, I have conflicting feelings on this story.  Alice seems to be mature for her age and her older brother seems very naive for his age.  Mother seems like a very weak woman who went to pieces when dad left the family and clung on to the first man that showed her interest and ended up with a monster in her home.

Enters another girl who was institutionalized for poisoning her family complicates the storyline but certainly adds a lot of punch to it. This is especially so when Alice's brother who is really hero-worshiping her tried to preach to her. The ending was just twisted, way beyond what you can imagine especially right at the very end.

The run of story is quite expected but at the same time there are twist throughout the book that I wasn't expecting and the book really kept me on suspense the whole day. It certainly was a very good recommendation.  Thank you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Four To Score by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis :

Stephanie Plum, Trenton, New Jersey's favourite pistol-packing, condom-carrying bounty hunter, is back - and on the trail of a revenge-seeking waitress who's skipped bail.

With the help of 73 year old Granma Mazur, ex-hooker Lula, a transvestite musician named Sally Sweet, and the all-too-sexy Joe Morelli, Stephanie might just catch her woman.  Then again, with more mishaps than there are exits on the JerseyTurnpike - including murders, firebombs and Stephanie's arch-rival bounty hunter chasing after the same fugitive - Stephanie better watch her back big -time if she wants to live to crack this case.

Four To Score is simply the fourth book about the life of Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter extraordinaire (not) that is just very addictive.  It has been a while since I have my last fix so I thought it's time again to have my fix.  

I actually thought I read Four To Score already but it seems like I missed this one and I was quite surprised to find it among my yet-to-be-read pile of books.  Yes, in case you are wondering, I do sort out my books from read and not-read.  In fact, among the read pile, there's some that are sorted as to-be-read-again in the future too although when the future would be I do not know. One if these days, I do an inventory and share the information with you.

Back to Four To Score, it's your typical Stephanie Plum's adventure.  It is this book that she first met Sally Sweet. the cross-dresser who made appearances in future books.  It's also the book that Stephanie gets together with Joe Morelli and everyone including the mums and grand-mums thought they are getting married and this freaks Stephanie out.

At the same time Stephanie tried to bring in Maxine a waitress and was also a target of someone who wants her to leave 'her boyfriend' alone.  As usual, Stephanie's car and apartment got blown up and that's the reason she moves in with Joe.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Books Second Time Around In Kuching Again - November 2014

Hills Shopping Mall, a mall downtown which is rather quiet will be bustling with people these two months.  That is because Hills Mall is the annual new home of the largest second hand book sales in Kuching since last year.  Choosing to call their books Second Time Around, the books are all pre-read books brought in from the States and Northern American and they can be either from personal collections or libraries.

t was last Saturday, around 11 am that the princess and I made our way to Hills Shopping Mall.  There wasn't much of a crowd yet when we got there but I managed to meet some friends and we bumped into my dad there too!

The princess made bee-line for the young adults section but the choice wasn't much.  Perhaps they have not unpacked much of their books yet.  I was asked to keep an eye on the Divergent Series which the princess is starting to read but I wasn't successful in my search for this series.

Personally, I was looking for A Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon but again, either the selection this year wasn't really there or the organiser has not really unpacked yet being it's just into the first two hours of the sales and they are going to be here until mid-December.

I did see a few of titles that I read previously and which I quite highly recommend to readers.  There are a few copies of The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edward so in case you see them, it's a great book.

I read a Wedding Blunder in the Black Hills as an e-book as part of a review programme that I did years ago, so it was quite refreshing to see this title.  I was quite tempted to get a copy just for my collection.

I didn't buy any books but the princess picked up a few Goosebumps Titles.  For some reason that I cannot comprehend, she is suddenly into scary books!

So, if you're in Kuching, head to Hills Shopping Mall from 10 am to 10 pm, Monday to Sunday from now till 21st December and bring home a book or two.  Who knows, we might bump into each other as I will certainly be going there again.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Wrong Man by John Katzenbach

Synopsis :

Ashley Freeman, a beautiful, bright art student, had what she thought was just a fling with Michael O'Connell, a blue-collar bad boy.  But now, no amount of pleading or reasoning can discourage his phone calls, ardent e-mails, and constant, watchful gaze.

For Michael's brash, handsome features conceal a black and empty soul.  Control is his religion and rage is his language.  In desperation, Ashley turns to her divorced parents and her mother's new partner - three people locked in a cold triangle of resentment.  But their fierce devotion to Ashley is the common bond that will draw them together to face down a predator. 

For Ashley's family, her ordeal is a test of primal love that will drive them to the extreme edge - and beyond in a battle of wills that escalates into a life-or-death war to protect their own.

I bought this book for the purpose of my flea market sales recently.  It was one of thirty books that was recommended.  I didn't really know what I was purchasing as the sales was conducted in a parking lot and I didn't have time to flip through the books.  When I managed to just look through them, I discovered that the first eighty pages are missing!

Anyway, with nothing to loose, I thought I just try reading the book from page 81 onwards and see if it will make sense. Surprisingly it does.  Even more surprising is that it's a very good thriller.  The plot's quite unique as the focus is on stalking and being stalked.  The writing was good in that the author managed to bring the suspense to the surface and keep it there.   Because I missed about the first 15% of the story, there are parts that I wasn't really sure what it was all about.  However, towards the end of the book, everything quite make sense and I didn't really miss much after all...nothing that imagination can't contribute too.

As it is, it is simply good already. Imagine if the book is 'whole', it would have even been better.  If you come across this book wherever you are, do give it a try.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy

Synopsis :

Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather have decided to create the best catering company in Dublin.  They have talent, premises - even a few contacts.  But not everyone is as pleased by the idea of 'Scarlet Feather' as they are.  Tom's parents wanted him to follow in the family business, and Cathy's mother-in-law believes Cathy should be at home.  

Yet neither Cathy's marriage, nor Tom's relationship with his girlfriend, are everything they appear to be, and Cathy and Tom are struggling to maintain their emotional ties amongst the catering triumphs and disasters of Scarlet Feather.

Right after the delightful Evening Class and the challenging Tara Road, I am finally reading the final book by Maeve Binchy that I have with me, Scarlet Feather.  This particular title is slightly different from the first two titles and while it was an enjoyable read, there was something missing but I can't really put my finger on the missing ingredients for  now.

Scarlet Feather is simply Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather, good friends and partners in catering business.  Cathey is married to Neil and Tom was dating the beatiful Marcella.  They are trying to grown their catering business with mixed support from friends and families - while some are encouraging, some are just waiting for them to fail.

I guess I can say that Scarlett Feather is rather charming in its way but it was rather slow and didn't really have a plot.  There are a couple of rich but abandoned kids from Neil's side of family that added interesting elements to an otherwise rather bland storyline.

I wont mind reading other titles by Maeve Binchy in future if I have an opportunity to do so but for now this is the last book that I have so it might be a while for that to happen as I won't be actively seeking out her titles.  However, if you happen to come across titles by this author, do give it a try.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

Synopsis :

Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson fled the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy.  The week before her graduation, in that sheltered wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of suicide.  Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden in the depths of Heart Lake for more than two decades.

Now Jane has returned to the school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter.  But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories.  And young, troubled girls are beginning to die again - as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface...

At first I thought this would be a rather 'dark' book but surprisingly it wasn't really so.  It was rather sombre as my initial impression was that the story will focus on teen suicide but as it happens, it turned out to be something rather different.

The Lake of Dead Languages is about Jane and the secret that Jane kept for twenty years and the secret is being slowly revealed as the story progress.  The plot is quite unique as things are not what they seems to be and the many characters are not who they say that are.  The story is a good example of how the burden of a secret can hold a person back and Jane is not able to move on in her life due to the incident twenty years ago.

However, it seems that she's not the only one and someone from her past is trying their level best to make sure she pays for they think she did or didn't do twenty years ago.

This book would not have been my first choice due to the title and the image on the front cover but it is a rather dark horse and it turns out to be rather interesting.  I highly recommend it to you if you come across this title.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)


Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

I decided to read the Kane Chronicles after reading The Percy Jackson Series.  Like the Percy's series, this was read as an e-book which I downloaded onto my PC.

Written by the same author, the Kane Chronicles is about a team of brother and sister, Carter and Sadie who came from a long line of ancient pharaohs.  While Percy' series about the Greek gods, the Kane Chronicles about Egyptian gods and it exist under then same universe as Percy's as there was mentioned of the New York event when Percy's final battle to defend Olympus took place.  However, it seems that the gods stay clear of one another as it's confusing already as it is.

Reading The Red Pyramid wasn't was exciting as reading Percy Jackson.  The characters are not very engaging. Both Carter and Sadie did not even get along well with each other at the start of the book.  Other than that, they are accompanied by Best, god of cats and Zia, a magician.

There are three titles under this chronicles with The Red Pyramid being the first and The Throne of Fire, the second and The Serpent's Shadow being the last title.  While I do enjoy the Egyptian mythology as much as the Greek ones, I somehow don't really like the way the mythology plays out in Kane Chronicles.

Will I continue with this series, I am undecided.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Preview : Flea Market - October 2014

October's coming to an end and in about two months we will be welcoming a new year.  However, before that there's still plenty for for me to do both at work, at home and also my book sales.  For this month, I will again be taking part in the flea market running from 31st October to 2nd November at the same mall like in previous months.

For this month, it's slightly different as it will be over three days and it might be the last sales I would be taking part in before calling it a year (I signed up for the flea market for the month of December but I'm not sure if I can make it or not due to a trip that I might need to take but that's a deciding for another day).

For October, I will bring to the sales the following titles :

Scarlett Feather by one of my newly favourite author, Maeve Binchy.  The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks which is a wonderful read and Venus Envy, chic lite by Louise Bagshawe which is not too bad.

Department 19 by Will Hill.  I have been wanting to read this science fiction with vampire theme but never got round to it for the past two years.  I don't think I ever would.  It is time to find it a good home with someone who will appreciates it.

I am uncertain if I want to sell this...a book on Mother Teresa, hardcover and in very good condition.  It came to me from the library of a dear friend and I am quite reluctant to let it go. Anyway, I still have a few days to think about it.

On the non-fiction front, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren didn't get sell at the last flea market. Neither did The Strong Family by Charles R Swindoll so I am hoping that they would find buyers this time round.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Venus Envy by Louise Bagshawe

Synopsis :

At twenty-seven, Alex Wilde feels like her life is going nowhere. She’s stuck in a dead-end job and her relationship history is a tale of woe. What’s more, she’s put on a few pounds lately...Sharing a house with three gorgeous girls doesn’t help. Her sister Gail got more than her fair share of the good genes, Keisha is an ice-cool man-magnet and Bronwen is so hip it hurts. 

With competition like this, is it any wonder Alex feels so inadequate? Alex has two choices: she can retreat to the safety of her duvet and stuff herself with chocolate or she can smarten up her act and face the world head on. Never one to choose the easy option, Alex realises she needs to up her game if she wants to stay in it..

I was advised not to read this book - that it would be a waste of my time.  I can't say the advice is valid but I also can't say that it's not wrong too.  I have read a few books by this author previously. Some I quite like, some I don'tVenus Envy would be somewhere in between.

A chic lite right to the core, there isn't much to say about this book.  The focus is on Alex who is feeling that she's not going anywhere.  She describes herself as fat but others seems to describe her as thin and sexy so either she has very low self esteem or her friends are just being polite.  Her sister describes her as a fat hag so can decide for yourself which is it? It doesn't really matter.

Alex falls for the charm of her boss, Seamus but decided to end it when discover that she's just part of a string of his many women and like she says to him, she doesn't like to share her man.  Entering her life is Tom who was Alex's best friend in Oxford. Tom who was fat is now muscular and fit due to being in the army and Tom is rich now.  However, Alex's sister, Gail has her eyes on Tom but is Tom interested in Gail?

While I dont really like the way Alex thinks and acts, I quite like her in many ways and I can't help but to cheer her on so, yes, this does fall into the category of like and I am glad I didn't take the advice given earlier.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

Synopsis :

When confronted by raging fires or deadly accidents, volunteer fireman Taylor McAden feels compelled to take terrifying risks to save lives. But there is one leap of faith Taylor can't bring himself to make: he can't fall in love. For all his adult years, Taylor has sought out women who need to be rescued, women he leaves as soon as their crisis is over and the relationship starts to become truly intimate. 

When a raging storm hits his small Southern town, single mother Denise Holton’s car skids off the road. The young mom is with her four-year-old son Kyle, a boy with severe learning disabilities and for whom she has sacrificed everything. Taylor McAden finds her unconscious and bleeding, but does not find Kyle. When Denise wakes, the chilling truth becomes clear to both of them: Kyle is gone. During the search for Kyle, the connection between Taylor and Denise takes root. Taylor doesn't know that this rescue will be different from all the others, demanding far more than raw physical courage. It will lead him to the possibility of his own rescue from a life lived without love and will require him to open doors to his past that were slammed shut by pain. This rescue will dare him to live life to the fullest by daring to love.

I have hits and misses with Nicholas Sparks.  There are some that I enjoyed and there are some that I just don't.    The Rescue fortunately falls into the category of 'like'...:)   I have not read enough novels by Nicholas Sparks in order to really know how he writes but I do realise that he tries to evoke a sense of melancholy in most of his novels and this was in evidence in The Rescue.

Denise is quite likeable and so's Taylor but the ultimate hero of the story for me is Kyle, Denise four-year old son.  To me, he's the one rescuing everyone around him by just being him and he did not just rescue his mum but also Taylor from his self destruction behaviour.

There were moments of real sadness especially towards the end of the story but overall it was a pretty engrossing read for a Nicholas Sparks' novel and one that I enjoyed more than the others.

Monday, October 13, 2014

And She Was by Alison Gaylin

Synopsis :

On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town...and vanished.

Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neuro-logical disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life.  A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again, and it's proven invaluable in her work.

But i hasn't helped her solve the mystery that haunts her above all others - and it didn't lead her to little Iris.  When a local woman, Carol Wentz, disappears eleven years later, Brena uncovers bizarre connections between the missing woman, the long-gone little girl and herself.

I love the cover of this book - red font text and a little girl in red dress against dark grey and black background - very mysterious and intriguing.

Book cover aside, it was an extremely enjoyable book even though it's a book on missing child, a theme that I don't really like.  However, the author writes it differently in that the main character is someone who has a disorder that enables her to recall every incidents and details in her life.

The book reminds me strongly of Carrie Wells of the television series, Unforgettable which I enjoyed watching quite a while ago.  In the series, Carrie's sister was also missing like Brenna's sister and also like her, she cannot remember how was her sister taken. Many similarities so perhaps the television series is based on this book.

Just 300+ pages long, I read this book over one weekend when it rained continuously and going out wasn't an enjoyable option.  It was a weekend well spent.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Bondmaid by Catherine Lim


Set in Singapore in the early 1950s, The Bondmaid captures the special ethos of a wealthy and powerful Chinese household in that bygone era.

A little girl, Han, is sold as a bondmaid into the House of  Wu, where she grows up with the young heir.  But the idyll of childhood attachment quickly turns into a nightmare of a thwarted sexual passion, as Han, beautiful, proud and uncompromisingly loyal, struggles against the forces of tradition and tyranny in a household where patriarchs and matriarchs wield inexorable power, lustful male relatives watch young bondmaids to claim their rightful share of pleasure, and gods and goddesses smile to see the human drama unfold. 

The Bondmaid chronicles the power of one woman's love - right to its terrifying climax.

After reading The Bondmaid, I can't believe that the story is set in early 50s and some more in Singapore..  For what the story represents and from the way it weaves, it could and should have set in feudal era in ancient China.

For someone who never enjoyed reading Asian authors, I quite like this author.  However, I didn't enjoy the way the author portrays women in this book - submissive, meek, dependent and totally without much character.  The author gave Han some gumption at the beginning of the book but the gumption seems to disappear the minute Han met the young master even at such early age.  She became totally besotted with him and you can guess that things don't fare well with such friendship what more to say relationship.

However, looking at it from another prospective, Catherine Lim might be trying to give a voice to the voiceless - the many bondmaid that went through many households of the rich.  These woman really didn't have much of a choice having being sold off at an early age to these families and how well they lived very much depended on themselves as well as their masters and mistresses of the household.

This book gave me a glimpse of the lives of such women and for that I appreciated it.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

Synopsis :

Ria and Marilyn have never met - they live thousands of miles apart, separated by the Atlantic Ocean : one in a big, warm, Victorian house in Tara Road, Dublin, the other in a modern, open-plan house in New England.

Two more unlikely friends would be hard to find : Ria's life revolves around her family and friends, while Marilyn's reserve is born of grief.  But when each needs a place to escape to, a house exchange seems an ideal solution.

Along with the borrowed houses come neighbours and friends, gossip and speculation as Ria and Marilyn swap lives for the summer.

I enjoyed reading Evening Class tremendously that when 'class was over', I was quite happy to start Tara Road.  One interesting titbits I discover about reading Maeve Binchy is that some of her characters made appearances in her other titles.  This is especially so when she based her book at the same location. While the characters might not make much impact in the storyline, their appearances are very much welcomed and gave the story and the plot much breath and space and certainly adds level of uniqueness in the story.

In Tara Road, I met Ria and Ria's a wonderful but rather naive person whom places much importance in her family and friends.  However, Ria has to face reality one day when the very people whom she placed much importance in turned out to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.  In many ways and at many levels, I feel so much for Ria.

Marilyn was only introduced about halfway into the book and while Marilyn's life turned out to be rather tragic as well, she formed a long-distance friendship with Ria that I really admire.

Tara Road was made into a movie in year 2005 which stars Andie MacDowell as Marilyn and Olivia Williams as Ria.  It was a wonderful read.  I think it would be a wonderful watch as well.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Synopsis :

A Chinese proverb says, "Falling leaves return to their roots." In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. 

Adeline's affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for -- the love and understanding of her family.

Even though I am not a fan of Asian authors, I quite like such self autobiography books by Asian authors.  I have enjoyed a few of such titles with the most memorable one being Wild Swan by Jung Chang, read many years ago.

Chinese Cinderella is more of a simplified version of her childhood by Adeline Yen Mah.  It is quite easy to read as it is meant for the young adults market.  Reading it is quite like having an aunty sitting in front of you, telling you the story of her life and you can just take that in, bit by bit.

Growing up, life was not easy for Adeline without a mother to care and protect her. She is bullied by almost everyone in the family except her grand-aunty and grandfather.  I can't help but to feel sorry for the little girl.

There are a couple of photos of the author and her family among the pages of the book.  I always enjoyed such photos as having the faces of the ones mentioned in the book really brought the story to a different dimension and make it more readable.

I am keeping the book for the princess the read.  I have a feeling she would enjoy it too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Preview : Flea Market - September 2014

The month of September is coming to an end (well, it will be in a weeks' time) and before we say good bye to September and hello to October, and without being a narcissistic about it,  there's just time to announce my book sales.

I did say at the end my my post here that I would share when my next sales would be.  Well, I am happy to announce that it would take place this coming Saturday and Sunday, 27th and 28th September in Green Heights Mall.

I am rather excited as I have not been participating in such sales for a couple of months and have quite a collection to put out to the public. 

So, would you be interested in a preview?    Here's a peek on what I am thinking of bringing to the sales :

 Perfect Strangers by Robyn Sisman which I reviewed hereAnd She Was by Alison Gaylin which I don't think I have done the review yet.  The Kite Runnier by Khaled Hosseini which is a best seller and a well known title and Vanishing Act by Fern Michaels which has followers of her own.

Next, I am thinking of bringing The Twilight Collection minus the first book which I have sold already.  Maybe I should just hold back these and wait till I can get hold of another copy of book one?  I am still undecided.

I will certainly bring The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, an amazing title and  a bestseller, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy which was a Winner of the Booker Prize and Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella, one of my favourite authors, of which I have another copy and did my review of it here.

On the non-fiction front, I am thinking The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader's Day by John Maxwell, extra copies of The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian and The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma.  I met Robin a few years back and I have a few of his books and this is a copy for a private library of a wonderful friend who has given it to me for my sales.

Is that a good enough preview of my forthcoming sales?  There are many more so ya, if you are where I am, come and check out my collection. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Interprertation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld

Synopsis :

On the morning after Sigmund Freud arrives in New York on his first and only visit to the United States, a stunning debutante is found bound and strangled in her penthouse apartment, high above Broadway.  The following night, another beautiful heiress, Nora Acton, is discovered tied to a chandelier in her parents' home, viciously wounded and unable to speak or to recall her ordeal.

Soon Freud and his American disciple, Stratham Younger, are enlisted to help Miss Acton recover her memory, and to piece together the killer's identity.  It is a riddle that will test their skills to the limit, and lead them on a thrilling journey - into the darkest places of the city and of the human mind.

I think I read this book before.  I just can't really remember but there were sense of deja vu throughout reading this that the chance of me reading this before is real high.  I just can't remember I guess with the many titles that I read over the years.  That is one reason why this platform is useful for me to keep track of what I read and what I have read over the years.

The Interpretation of Murder wasn't really that great a book.  It is however set in an era that held much charm and stories written about that period do have a hint of charm and mysteriousness that is rather intriguing to me.  That was one main reason why I was attracted to this book this time round.  It certainly wasn't the title and the synopsis wasn't really that captivating but it's more the cover image and the fact that it's in the early 1900s that captivated my interest and thus my attention.

The plot does make a good mystery but the fact that it's based on an actual event and wasn't really that original certainly doesn't give much credit in the imagination department of the author.  The writing was quite confusing as the focus wasn't just on the murder and the attack but also on some issues relating to the followers or disciples of Sigmund Freud.

Anyway, anyhow,  I completed the book and I hope I won't read it by accident again in the far future.  I guess I won't if I am still faithful with this blog, right?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lightning by Dean Koontz

Synopsis :

A storm struck one the night Laura Shane was born, and there was a strangeness about the weather that people would remember for years.  But even more mysterious was the blond-haired stranger who appeared out of nowhere - the man who saved Laura from a fatal delivery.  

Years later - another bold of lightning and the stranger returned, again to save Laura from tragedy.  Was he the guardian angel he seemed?  The devil in disguise? or the master of a haunting destiny beyond time and space? 

How was your weekend?  Mine went too fast but it's all good as we get another day off tomorrow to celebration the country's birthday, so happy birthday Malaysia! I am proud to call you home.

I read this over the weekend.  Like The Eye of Darkness, Lightning was one of Dean Koontz's earlier book and it was as good as Eye of Darkness like I know it would be.   I could not remember if I read this book previously when I was hooked on Dean Koontz about twenty years ago.  What I know is that Lightning's storyline is like how I remembered Dean Koontz to write and it's really how I like it.

I had guessed quite accurately who the stranger who kept on appearing to Laura is.  I wasn't very far off but what I didn't count on was Dean's fixation with a particular world war and incorporate that into the storyline.

Lightning is extremely thrilling and intriguing and the right book for those seeking these elements in a book.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Village by the Sea by Anita Desai

Synopsis :

Forgotten by the evolution of the centuries and indifferent to the advances of the twentieth century, Thul, a tiny fishing village not far from Bombay, continues to follow those rhythms of the seasons that have always been handed down. 

Hari and Lila were born and raised in the village, but now their family is falling into despair: the father to alcohol while the mother is seriously ill. As for money, that there is not even enough to meet the most basic needs between.

If there is a book about change, this book would be it.  I feel that 'change' is the central theme that the author is trying to share with readers.  The willingness to adapt to change can really lead to change in quality of lives and directions of lives.

The focus of the book is a teenage boy by the name of Hari.  He and his sister, Lila had to take over in caring for their family when their mother fall sick and their father was too drunk to take care of the family.  With limited food, Hari and Lila were quite lost as what to do to keep the family together.

The village was facing change with factories being planned by the government to be built in the village.  The villagers were skeptical of new fishing methods and were not willing to accept the need to have proper fishing boats.

It was quite a read following what Hari and Lila did for the survivor of their family.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Talisman by Lynda La Plante

Synopsis :

The long dark skein of the romany curse runs down to the fourth generation.  

Edward - a brilliant academic, he inherits not only the dark romany looks of his prize fighting father, but he carries he curse of Midas.  Alex - the second son.  Unjustly imprisoned and desperate for revenge once released, he cannot break the ties of blood that bind him to his brother.  He will use the Midas Curse to build an empire on corruption.  Evelyn and Juliana - the fourth generation.  Heirs to a fortune, a legacy in the shadow of a romany curse.

The Talisman is a vast, compelling sage that sweeps from the mines of South Africa, through the boardrooms and gambling clubs of modern day London to the international world of fashion - tracing the phenomenal rise to wealth and power of a family whose bloodline is cursed.

I never intend to read this book.  I didn't think it would be nice.  The story is that one afternoon, I was stranded somewhere with no reading material except this particular one and I picked it up and started on it.  The more I read, the more infuriating I become.  In the end, I decided to borrow it to read and it took me a week to finish and now I have returned it back to where it belonged.

The story is second part of the Legacy saga that this follows the next generation of the characters in Legacy.  I didn't read Legacy but it didn't stop me from being able to follow the story.  So, was it nice?  Not particularly so.  I didn't like any of the characters in the book. I especially didn't like either Edward or Alex and even their off-springs of Evelyn (which is a boy) and Julianna are not engaging nor charismatic.

I didn't like the writing as well as I find it very chaotic and rather narcissistic at times.  If it's not because of the time that I have invested in the book that afternoon, I would just forget about it.  

However, just because it doesn't work for me, it doesn't mean it wont' work for others.  If you are a fan of family saga, you might find this your cup of tea.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Perfect Strangers by Robyn Sisman

Synopsis :

Suze Wilding and Lloyd Rockwell are perfect strangers.  She lives in London, he lives in New York.  They know nothing about each other - until one summer they exchange jobs and homes.

Suze is impetuous, impatient and NEVER wants to get married.  Lloyd is complicated, cautious and contemplating marriage to the eminently suitable Betsy.  But when Suze discovers a plot at work to get rid of Lloyd, the two begin communicating long-distance and they wonder what might happen if they ever met face to face....

Perfect Strangers is the perfect book for a perfect Saturday afternoon with a cup of english tea and a couple of cookies to go with it.  It is also perfect if you paired it with a sparkling wine and some grapes or cheese to nibble on.  Whatever you have it with, it is just perfect for some alone time.

Suze is just the guest that you would be worried about if you are the type who keeps your house picture perfect, like Betsy.  However, Suze can be extremely loyal and believe in Lloyd when no one, including Betsy and Lloyd himself would not.  Lloyd is too trusting for someone in advertising and the fact that he's willing to leave his position in the hands of his assistant for two weeks' secondment in London is just too naive to believe.

One look and you would know that Perfect Strangers is a lite chick and being one, it's certainly not a book to take seriously about.  Even then, it has it's moment of seriousness (although in a very light degree) and will be worth your time if you have them to spare.

So, for a cup of tea or a glass of sparklie, here's to Perfect Strangers.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Time After Time

The saying that time flies can certainly be very true.  In this case, it certainly did as I just realized that I have been doing one review after another and it was in April (which felt like only yesterday) that I had my last post on a non-review post.

May, June and July seems to just speed by and I am wondering if someone out there is speeding up time.  If there is, it would be good if they can slow down time a bit too don’t you think?

I went on a short holiday to the capital city with the princess for some quality time.  It was a great trip.  I visited a couple of bookstores there one of which I will write about sometimes in the near future.
On the reading front, things are looking good.  I have enjoyed my reading session and the books I decided on seemed to be the right one most of the time.  My favourite read these few months would be BeautifulLies and Prospect Street by Emilie Richards.  Beautifully written, well researched, they were a surprised but pleasant find.  I will certainly keep my eyes for this author in future.  On the other hand, I surprised myself by reading the whole Percy Jackson Series from The LightningThief to The Last Olympians (5 books in all) as well as Mockingjay (the final book of The Hunger Game Series).  I am still thinking if I should read Divergent or not as I do not have all the books in the series - just the first book.

I added a few books in my collection as well.  Was gifted Heaven Is For Real and bought Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green just a few days ago and generally I have been quite good in not purchasing too many as I still have lots and lots in my collection that I have not read – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series, a few titles by Dorothy Koomson still sit pretty in my shelf and my desire to re-read My Best Friends Girl has not been successful.

I took part in flea market in throughout the months of May to July in selling part of my collection and they have been great.  I was able to ‘expand’ by business *ehem* as I was blessed with a couple of boxes of books from a book exchange centre as well as from a private library in Klang Valley that I managed to bring over and let me tell you, the collections are/were great.  Why the present and past tense? That’s because some has been sold already while some are still with me waiting for the next sales.  There are some great fiction titles as well as motivation books and books relating to the Christian faith that should have someone wanting them as they are by great authors such as Rick Warren, John Maxwell, Max Lucado, Joyce Meyer and such.  God willing, I shall continue with my flea market book sales the next few months to come before the end of the year.

I also have some new books (as in never been read books) that I bought over from an event organiser who received the books as lucky draw prizes and they didn’t want them as prizes for the draw so I bought them instead.  It is certainly a win-win situation as the books include titles by James Patterson among others and I will be putting them in my flea market.  

Such, if you’re interested in any of the books that I have and if you’re in Kuching, do come by the forthcoming flea market.  I will announce the dates at the forthcoming post.

Until then, happy reading and stay healthy.