Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Percy Jackson and The Titan's Curse (Book #3 of Percy Jackson Series)


The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)

Synopsis:

IT'S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you're the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive...


I have now entered uncharted territory in my journey in the Percy Jackson Series as this title is not out as a movie and the book is my only guide journey forward.  Somehow I felt a bit of a discord between book #2 and book #3.  At the end of book #2, we met Thalia. At the start of book #3, a few months have gone by and both Thalia and Annabeth is attending a school together while Percy is somewhere else.

There are some new characters n The Titan's Curse.  Not just Thalia, we have Bianca and Nico, a brother and sister who are children of Hades, trapped in the same hotel in Vegas that Percy and his friends encountered in book #1.  There are also the followers of Artemis known as The Hunters lead by Zoe Nightshade.

All in all I didn't really like The Titan's Curse as much. I can't blame it on the momentum as the pace is fast enough.  Still, I have a feeling that it would make a great movie.  I can't wait for the chase and the battle with the skeleton warrior in Smithsonian and at the Hoover Dam  and the ultimate battle on Mount Othrys.  I hope they show that in the movie.

Next up is the battle of the labyrinth.


 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prospect Street by Emilie Richards


Synopsis :

When Faith Bronson's marriage ends abruptly, she finds her privileged life shattered.  Only just beginning to face the lie she has lived, she finds sanctuary with her two children in the shabby Georgetown row house that's been in her mother's family for generations.

This historic house harbors dark secrets of its own.  When Faith takes steps to rebuild her ancestral home, she meets Pavel Quinn.  Though he is connected to her past in stunning ways, his strong attraction to Faith is enough to convince him to keep silent, because the truth could drive her away forever.

But now the secrets of the house on Prospect Street are about to be revealed.  For it is only when the truth is told that Faith, her family and the man she loves can make a new beginning.

Having read Beautiful Lies recently and enjoyed it tremendously, I was happy to find another copy of title by Emilie Richards in my collection.  I honest do not know at times how many titles I have in my collection that I have not read.  Do you think I should do an inventory?

Anyway, I really enjoyed Beautiful Lies and such I was really excited to read Prospect Street as if it's really as good as Beautiful Lies, then I am in for a wonderful read.  I was wrong!  Prospect Street is not only as good as Beautiful Lies, it is so much better!  On a scale of wonderful read, it really ranked among the best read of the year!

The story revolves around Faith and the changes in her life with the end of her marriage.  Forced to move into a house owned by her mother, she makes changes to the house and while doing so uncovers the secret within the house. Secrets much older than she is but secrets that will affect and change all that she stood for and all that she believes in but at the same time secrets that will release her from family bondage that she never understood why.

In the author's note, the author gave readers an insight into her thoughts and on her fascination with
Georgetown.  She did that too for Beautiful Lies so it might be one of her trademark and I really appreciate her more for it.

Having encounter now two wonderful books by Emilie Richards, I am wonderful why I have not read her books before and why she is currently not in the shelves of my local bookstores.  Maybe she is but I never really pay attention.  I certainly shall pay attention from now onwards.

If you have a chance to get hold of Prospect Street, do give it a try. You will not regret doing so.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Playing Cards in Cairo by Hugh Miles




Synopsis :

PLAYING CARDS IN CAIRO is a fly-on-the-wall account - of life (for western readers) in a strange and exotic environment. Hugh Miles lives in Cairo and is engaged to an Egyptian woman. Twice a week he plays cards with a small group of Arab, Muslim women and through this medium he explores their lives in modern Cairo, the greatest of Arab cities. 

It is a secretive, romantic, often deprived but always soulful existence for the women as they struggle with abusive husbands and philandering boyfriends. The book is a window onto a city - and a way of life - which is at a crucial juncture in its history. Hugh Miles, who knows the Arab world intimately, is the perfect guide.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I came across this book - I was just really intrigued by the cover.  I love the vibrant blue as well as the mysterious Egyptian woman behind the veil.  Because of my interest of lives of women in culture that's foreign from my own, I approached this book with much openness,  However, I was also mindful that this book is from the perspective of a Western man and such how accurate he would be then on his interpretation of woman in Cairo?   Maybe only from the ones that he met and the ones that he spoke to.  However, I am also aware that he married an Egyptian woman so he might have something to share after all.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read.  Do I really know about women in Cairo after reading? Not really. Do I get an idea? Yes, I do.  Does Was it an eye opener? Yes, it certainly is. Would I recommend this book? Yes, I certainly would. 

I have already sold off this book at a recent book sale and the lady who bought it said she heard about this book and know that it's rather expensive (around US20 for a new copy) and she certainly was glad to get hold of my copy.  As for me, I miss the vibrant blue cover.

And that really sums up my opinion on the book.  You just have to read it yourself.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy


Sypnosis :

The Italian evening class at Mountainview School is like hundreds of others starting up all over the city.  But this one has its own special quality - as the focus for the varied hopes and dreams of teachers and students alike.

And by the time the group sets off on the end-of-course trip to Italy, a surprising number of those hopes and dreams have come true - in some odd and unexpected ways.

I have seen quite a few titles by this author when I was at a book sales end of last year.  However, I wasn't really brave enough to invest in her as I just wasn't sure if I would like what she write.  I did, however, pick up a couple of titles with Evening Class being one of them.

My verdict - I should have picked up more. It would have been a good investment because I really enjoy reading Evening Class.  I thought it was wonderfully written with enough character development as well as plot development.  Well...come to think of it, there wasn't really a plot.  I guess I am just taken by the way the author developed the many characters and linked them up with one and another and almost everyone knows someone who knows someone who's related to someone and you get the picture. 

First we have Nora who's the teacher teaching this group of mismatched personality who might not have anything in common with one another if not for their Italian evening class.  Nora's a real delightful character, very insightful, rather eccentric and very much a people person and managed to successful instill much interest and love not just for the Italian language but for the culture as well.

There are many characters to remember but the author managed to make each of them as important as the other.


This book gets an A from me and  I don't mind reading it again :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Innocent by Harlan Coben


Synopsis :

One night, Matt Hunter innocently tried to break up a fight - and ended up a killer.  Now, nine years later, he's an ex-con who takes nothing for granted.  His wife, Olivia, is pregnant, and the two of them are closing on their dream house.  But all it will take is one shocking, inexplicable call from Olivia's phone to shatter Matt's life for a second time...

An electrifying thrill ride of a novel that peeks behind the white picket fences of suburbia, The Innocent is at once a twisting, turning, emotionally charged story and a compelling tale of the choices we make and the repercussions that never leave.

This is my first book by Harlan Coben.  For some reason that I am not sure of, I always thought that Harlan Coben is female. Sorry for the mistaken identity but he certainly is not. Far from it, from the author's photo at the back cover.

The Innocent is quite a good read.  I read it while on a short holiday and it was a good company for the down time in between the holiday shopping and activities.

The thrill starts rather suddenly and immediately you are thrown into the world of Matt Hunter and the world of Matt Hunter is a world full of uncertainties, terror and many questions but no answers?

Who is actually Olivia?  Who is or are the the people who tried to frame her and torture him mentally and emotionally.  Is the mystery more in the world of Matt or is Olivia the real target?

I quite like the storyline but at the same time I didn't like some of the conveniences and coincidences of the story.  However, it's something that can be overlook and when you do that, you would really find that the story's rather refreshing.

Certainly recommended as holiday read.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters (Book #2 of Percy Jackson and The Olympian Series)


Synopsis :

The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan's amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a "half blood" whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan's series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment.
In The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

This is book #2 in the Percy Jackson Series and you can read my review on book #1 The Lightning Thief  here.

The Sea of Monsters is more straight forward as there’s less character introduction.  We also know Percy and Annabeth and Glover among others.  However, Percy found himself a brother, Tyson, who is half Cyclops (he has just one eye in lieu of two).  The way Percy met Tyson is different from the movie but both are equally acceptable.

In fact, there’s more differences between the book and the movie in Sea of Monsters than The Lightning Thief.  Let's see, in the book, Princess Andromeda is a huge luxury cruise ship which is abandon and empty at night but come alive in the daytime whereas in the movie, it’s just a yacht.  

In the book, the island where the Golden Flea is a lush beautiful island whereas in the movie, Polyphemus is based in the heart of an abandoned amusement park and I don’t think the Sirens and sorceress Circe made any appearance in the movie.  Was Percy turned into a guinea pig in the movie?  I quite forgot already but yup, Percy spent a few minutes being a guinea pig in the book.  

So, if you have the chance, read the book.