Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts

Synopsis :

Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend.  Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in charge. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town - a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing to help a homeless, jobless girl living secretly in a Wal-Mart.

From Bible-thumping blue-haired Sister Thelma Husband to eccentric librarian Forney Hull who loves Novalee more than she loves herself, they are about to take her - and you, too - on a moving, funny and unforgettable journey to...where the heart is.

I decided on this book as it's part of Oprah's Book Club. I have totally no idea who the author is.  First page into the book, I was quite hooked as I was partly interested in how Novalee managed to live in supermart for a few months without being detected.  I don't it would be possible in real life to do so.

The storyline was quite predictable with pregnant girl left behind by boyfriend, girl gave birth in dramatic circumstances, girl too trusting and gave money all away, girl left stranded again with newborn baby, guardian angle appear to rescue girl and baby and take them home, the whole community embraced them into their lives, then a few tragedies later everyone live happily ever after, the end.

In that sense, I quite like the book for its survivor message behind the story is rather strong. However, I found it also slightly judgmental and might not fare well with some people.  There might be some who would question on why does the book support teen pregnancy.  I don't think the author meant for it to be such other than just a story of acceptance, love, trusting and hope.  If you like these elements, then I guess you won't find much fault with Where The Heart Is.

Friday, April 25, 2014

'Let's read together for 10 minutes' campaign organised by Sarawak State Library

In conjunction with World Book Day, the Sarawak State Library organised a 'Jom Baca Bersama untuk 10 minit' which translate to 'Let's read together for 10 minutes' recently.

Held at the library itself, the event was officiated by the wife of the Sarawak's Chief Minister, YABhg Puan Sri Dato Hajah Jamilah Haji Anu.

So, what was it all about.  Basically, it is an attempt to promote the habit of reading and almost everyone there will have to read together (silently) for 10 mins from 10 am to 10.10 am.  It is also the library's attempt to break record but I'm not sure how successful that was.

You can say that I was at the right place at the right time as I got to witness and participate in the event.  Participants will either have to bring their own book and if they didn't, a copy will be supplied to them for that 10 mins. I was glad to have brought along with me, my current read from Oprah's Book Club Where The Heart Is by Bille Letts.  Review of this book coming right up!

Even footballers were invited to take part.  They didn't bring any books with them so I am curious as to what titles they were supplied with during the event.  However, I don't think it really matters as the participants were fast and quick in wanting to have their photos taken and autographs signed that the poor guy didn't have much chance to read. 

The Guest of Honour, Puan Sri brought along a copy of her book which I think is just great in being a good role model.  I especially loved it when she says 'a book is a book and nothing can replace it'.  I can relate to what she is trying to say.  She further shared that she read every night before bed so that's one thing we have in common (probably the only thing we have in common).

I think it's a good effort in promoting good reading habits and I applaud the initiative but then same as Earth Day, how effective it would be to read for just 10 minutes and how many present would continue doing so? The PurpleQeenFairy wonders.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith


This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to 'help people with the problems in their lives'.  

Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man and follow a wayward daughter.  But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is that of a missing eleven year old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.

After years of reading about Precious Ramotswe, I finally managed to get hold of a copy of her first book in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series.  I started the series from book two, Tears of the Giraffe and managed quite well since then with subsequent titles that I wasn't really keen to read the first book.  However, I decided it might if I can review the series in totality and am I glad I did.  The first book is great as it gives an insight into the past life of Mma Ramotswe.  There's the reveal about her father, baby Precious and girl Precious and also on life with her first husband who treated her badly.

Even though I didn't really follow the sequence in the series, it doesn't really matter as each book is pretty much stand along but to be able to read the first book does acquaint me better with Mma Ramotswe.

If you have not read this series, I encourage you to do so. It's very light read but yet enjoyable and pleasantly relaxing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Seven Up by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis :

All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he's still got a knack for slipping out of sight--and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-riddled corpse in Eddie's garden? Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie's friends suddenly vanished? For answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He'll give Stephanie all the help she needs--if she gives him everything he wants...

As if things weren't complicated enough, Stephanie's just discovered her Grandma Mazur's own unmentionable alliance with Eddie. Add a series of unnerving break-ins, not to mention the bombshell revelation leveled by Stephanie's estranged sister, and Stephanie's ready for some good news. Unfortunately, a marriage proposal from Joe Morelli, the love of her life, isn't quite cutting it. And now--murder, a randy paramour, a wily mobster, death threats, extortion, and a triple kidnapping aside--Stephanie's really got the urge to run for her life..

Here I am again with book seven of the Stephanie Plum series.  Aptly entitled Seven Up, things got quite interesting as Morelli kinda accidentally proposed to Stephanie in the ending to Hot Six.  in Seven Up, the reference of marriage popped up and caused some issues between Stephanie and Joe and Stephanie mother making appointment at the bridal shop.

Stephanie's sister Valerie moved back home with her daughters and that brought another angle of fun to the series as they are as different as day and night.  Between the above and having to find a human heart, Stephanie is having it rather complicated in this book.  

Seven Up ended with some unfinished business between Stephanie and Ranger.  You would need to read the following book, Hard Eight to find out what happen.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner

Synopsis :

For twenty-eight years, things have been tripping along nicely for Cannie Shapiro. Sure, her mother has come charging out of the closet, and her father has long since dropped out of her world. But she loves her friends, her rat terrier, Nifkin, and her job as pop culture reporter for The Philadelphia Examiner. She's even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body. 

But the day she opens up a national women's magazine and sees the words "Loving a Larger Woman" above her ex-boyfriend's byline, Cannie is plunged into misery...and the most amazing year of her life. From Philadelphia to Hollywood and back home again, she charts a new course for herself: mourning her losses, facing her past, and figuring out who she is and who she can become.

I didn't have much good experience when I read Jennifer Weiner previously. Good Night Nobody left me rather annoyed with the main character that I am still annoyed with her after so many years.  This Guy Not Taken was a collection of short stories.  While I do like a few of the stories within this collection, it generally left me rather lost.

However, I always remember that in all these book, reference is made to one particular book and that is Good In Bed.  So, when I had a chance to grab a copy of this book at a rather discounted price, I gave it a try (I am nice like that :).  The verdict is ....I am glad I did!

Good In Bed is the best of what Jennifer Weiner has to offer so far.  The story is well written. While it's basically a pick it up and put it down anytime book, it was rather engaging in it's own way.  Cannie is as original and quirky as anyone can be.  I quite felt for her at many levels throughout the book.

I thought she's rather brave in going through what she has to go through with her father leaving the family when she was young and her still needing his approval when she's older.  I guess that translates to her relationship with her boyfriend Bruce and her going after him after their breakup.  While I marveled at her character and strength, I thought she went rather extreme towards the end of the book and I got slightly impatient with her.  I quite feel that after the author having brought her up to such heights, didn't really know how to bring her down and such, caused her to crash fast and furious!

All in all, in my opinion, Jennifer has redeemed herself with this title but that doesn't mean I would immediately go out and get another of her title. Somehow, I feel that this is all she has to offer.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hot Six by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis :

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is faced with her most daunting task yet : bring in the mysterious former Special Forces agent Carlos Manoso (aka Ranger).  He's the man who taught her everything about fugitive apprehension, and Stephanie knows she will be testing her skills against the master.  But if she does catch him, she's not so sure she could turn in her friend - even if he's wanted for murder.

If this isn't enough to keep her up at night, Grandma Mazur is crimping her sex life by moving in with ehr and keeping her from getting any action from her cop boyfriend, Joe Morelli.  Now, with her love life messing with her head, two threatening goons on her tail, and three corpses, it's getting a little too hot for Stephanie, whose search for Ranger is bringing her dangerously close to the wrong side of the law.

Bear with me folks as I am going through a few titles in the Stephanie Plum series.  What is there not to like about Stephanie. Since my first book Ten Big Ones a couple of years ago, I have been having doses of Stephanie on and off these few years.  I didn't really follow the sequence but after Ten Big Ones, I did try to go through the series from book one itself, One for the Money.  Since then, I read Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, and kinda skip a few books and now I finally landed myself with Hot Six.  I have Seven Up and Hard Eight with me so I guess I will be reading them soon as I have already read To the Nines.

Although I don't see the relevant in the title, Hot Six is a classic and standard Stephanie's adventure.  From dealing with both Ranger and Joe Morelli and also Grandma Mazur moving into her apartment, and not go mention getting threatened, locked up and shot and having her cars blown up, it's all in a day in the life of this bounty hunter.

The skip this time round includes Morris Munson and the baddies are Alexander Ramos and his sons, Hannibal and Homer.  It was a hoot when Stephanie is caught by Hannibal when he found her in his tree spying on him.  This book is also when Bob the dog make his appearance in Stephanie's life.

If you are already a fan, you would know what I mean. If not, you would enjoy having a peep into Stephanie's life once in a while.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The 8th Confession by James Patterson

Synopsis :

As San Francisco's most glamorous millionaires mingle at the party of the year, someone is watching--waiting for a chance to take vengeance on Isa and Ethan Bailey, the city's most celebrated couple. Finally, the killer pinpoints the ideal moment, and it's the perfect murder. Not a trace of evidence is left behind in their glamorous home.

As Detective Lindsay Boxer investigates the high-profile murder, someone else is found brutally executed--a preacher with a message of hope for the homeless. His death nearly falls through the cracks, but when reporter Cindy Thomas hears about it, she knows the story could be huge. Probing deeper into the victim's history, she discovers he may not have been quite as saintly as everyone thought.

As the hunt for two criminals tests the limits of the Women's Murder Club, Lindsay sees sparks fly between Cindy and her partner, Detective Rich Conklin. The Women's Murder Club now faces its toughest challenge: will love destroy all that four friends have built? The exhilarating new chapter in the Women's Murder Club series, The 8th Confession serves up a double dose of speed-charged twists and shocking revelations as only James Patterson can.

It's been quite a while since I picked up something from James Patterson.  Nothing to it. Just that there's many new authors and many different titles that I want to try out.  I read this in just one day.  Pure James Patterson, the sentences and chapters are short which made turning the pages so much easier and progression naturally so much faster.

8th Confession is under the Ladies Murder Club series with characters such as Lindsay Boxer, a homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department; Cindy Thomas, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle; Claire Washburn, the Chief Medical Examiner for San Francisco; and Yuki Castellano, a San Francisco district attorney.

While there's murders to solve, there's also the personal lives of these ladies to deal with.  In this book, the personal life of Lindsay and Yuki take centre stage.  Since I have not 'met' these ladies in quite a while, it was quite nice to get re-acquainted with them again.

Plot wise, 8th Confession was quite unique but wasn't really that exceptional.  I feel it's more luck than anything for them to catch the killer. Poor Yuki, she falls in love and was dealt with a blow. I wonder how she would deal with it.  Maybe I should pick up the next book, The 9th Judgement.