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.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Percy Jackson and The Last Olympian (Book #5 of the Percy Jackson Series)

Synopsis :

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

Finally, I read the final book the the Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series.  All in all, it has been a great adventure with Percy and his friends.

I started with The Lightning Thief which was good, followed by Sea of Monsters which was slightly more enjoyable.  After that come The Titan's Curse which wasn't really that great and my least favourite but Battle of the Labyrinth was fantastic and finally The Last Olympian which was just a wonderful end to this particular series.

The Last Olympian is an amazing and exciting end to all that has been built up so far.  The book is just full of action and battles between the heroes and the monsters let by Kronos. Percy stands up to being a leader and let everyone in defending of Month Olympus,

Everyone play a role in the last book, even Percy's mum were involved in the battle and Percy certainly lives up the the expectations of being the son of Poseidon.  I really enjoy this book with Battle of the Labyrinth being my favourite but this a close second and in time to come, after I see the movie (I am sure there will be a movie), I might like it even more.

While this is the last book in this series, it is not the last adventure for Percy and his demigods friends.  There is another series entitled Heroes of Olympus which I am deciding where to read or not.  That charts the adventures of seven heroes including Percy and Annabeth as per the Oracle of Delphi's prophecy at the end of this series :

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire, the world must fall,
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death 

Sounds exciting? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Synopsis :

The United States government is given a warning by the pre-eminent biophysicists in the country: current sterilization procedures applied to returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere.

Two years later, seventeen satellites are sent into the outer fringes of space to collect organisms and dust for study. One of them falls to earth, landing in a desolate area of Arizona. Twelve miles from the landing site, in the town of Piedmont, a shocking discovery is made: the streets are littered with the dead bodies of the town's inhabitants, as if they dropped dead in their tracks.

This book has 331 pages.  I read until about 70 pages and realized that I can't really go on.  This book is very scientific especially biological warfare which is something that I am not keen on.  However, in the light of books written by Michael Crichton like Congo and Jurassic Park and the one book that I read not too long ago, I am quite certain that the suspense is there...but it's been slowly built up.

For all I know, I am still at the introduction section and if I have persevere on, I would be have really enjoyed the thrill of what this book as to offer.  Unfortunately, I wasn't really keen to persevere on and for all I know it would be my lost but somehow this book just doesn't call out to me. 

Maybe another time, another season then.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Percy Jackson and The Battle of The Labyrinth (Book #4 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series)

Synopsis :

Percy Jackson isn't expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos's army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth - a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn.

After a rather disappointing book #3, The Titan's CurseThe Battle of the Labyrinth certainly picks up the pace and I can say that it's my personal favourite book in the series thus far.

Finally Annabeth has her turn to her quest.  If you have read the series, you would remember that in The Lightning Thief, it was Percy's quest. In  book #2, The Sea of Monster, the half-blood who really went on the quest is Clarrisa, daughter of Ares and in book #3, The Titan's Curse, it was actually Zoe, one of Artemis hunter's, who went on the quest.  Of course, Percy went along in all those quests, whether he was invited to or not.   In going into the Labyrinth, Annabeth invited him along together with Glover and Tyson.

There's quite a lot that went on in Battle.  The pace was fast and the battle was furious throughout the book.  I love the twist and turn of the labyrinth.  The author introduced more characters, some are rather loveable while some are loathed.    There were lots of excitement and certainly picks up from a rather mild Titan's Curse.

Rachel Elizabeth, the girl that Percy met in book #3 played an important role in this book.  I wonder if she would do the same in the next book which is also the final book in the series, The Last Olympians.

I can't wait to start it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sleeping Arrangement by Madeleine Wickham

Synopsis :

Chloe needs a holiday. She's sick of making wedding dresses, her partner Philip has troubles at work, the whole family wants a break. Her wealthy friend Gerard has offered the loan of his luxury villa in Spain - perfect.

Hugh is not a happy man. His immaculate wife Amanda seems more interested in her new kitchen than in him, and he works so hard to pay for it, he barely has time for his children. Maybe he'll have a chance to bond with them on holiday. His old friend Gerard has lent them a luxury villa in Spain - perfect.

Both families arrive at the villa and realise the awful truth - Gerard has double-booked. What no-one else realise is that Chloe and Hugh have a history, and as tensions rise within the two families, old passions resurface. It seems that Gerard's 'accidental' double booking may not be an accident after all.  Soon, an unexpected romance begins to seriously heat up this holiday, and it isn't long before long-buried secrets and fiery passions erupt.

Although I enjoy what Sophie Kinsella writes, I didn't enjoy it when I read when she wrote Gatecrasher as Madeleine Wickham.  But here I am, once again, with another title by Madeleine Wickham but this time round, I like it better.

Sleeping Arrangement is more sombre with a more serious message.  Although the setting is quite unique in that it happens in a Spainish villa with two family arriving at the same time to enjoy what each family thought as their exclusive holiday home turns out to be not so because the owner also lent it to the other family.  Somehow I doubt double booking of holiday venues happens in real life.  However, in the context of this story, it is rather cute.

So why do I like Sleeping Arrangement?  While the plot is not one of the best in the world, it is not too bad and quite acceptable.  The writing has hints of humor and the author managed to make the characters quite interesting and intriguing. I can't say I can stand the characters as they are rather weak but I think they make what they can with what was thrown at them.

All in all, Sleeping Arrangement does make me want to try out other titles by Madeleine Wickham which Gatecrasher failed to do.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Prophet by Frank E. Peretti

Synopsis :

John Barrett's comfortable,successful world is being rocked to its foundation. As a well-known anchorman for the popular 'NewsSix at Five' program, he's caught his producer in journalistic wrongdoing - and she appears to be hiding something much bigger.

Suddenly John's father's 'accidental' death isn't looking so accidental.  And John's estranged son, Carl, has returned to challenge his integrity and find the man behind the TV image.And what are these mysterious 'voices' Barrett is hearing?

Prophet is an unique book.  It's not a book that any author can just sit down and write out.  I believe it requires a certain level of theological understanding to be able to write such book. 

How I ended up with this title is  unique in itself.  I was at one point quite interested in what Ted Dekker writes. I got The Heaven Trilogy somewhere on my shelves.  I also bought a book entitled House written by both Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti.  Such, when I come across Prophet, I thought I'll just give it a try as even though I have not read House (it's sitting pretty in my shelf) I have a feeling it would be a wonderful read....just I haven't got round to it yet!

So, how did Prophet fare?  I enjoyed it.  I think it is a powerful book with a great message that needs to be read with an open mind and an equally open heart and if you can read it with an open spirit it would be quite good too.

John's the main character that went through great transformation from the beginning of the story right till the end.  He started off as a cynical, materialistic robotic human being that does not really care about presenting the truth although he is a journalist.  He father, John Sr was viewed a a 'mad prophet' and just before his death, presented John with a coat...the prophet's mantel and thus transferring the prophetic anointing from father to son.  It certainly wasn't easy for John but with support from his son, Carl, and mum and a couple others, he finally found his calling and concerns more about sharing the truth.

There's a lot of message in this book and like I said earlier, if read with much openness, it could changed your perspective in things of this world.

I might read it again in future.