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 there...you 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.