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.