Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith

Synopsis :

For kind, curious, philosophically minded Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, getting through life with a clear conscience requires careful thought.  And with the arrival of baby Charlie, not to mention a passionate relationship with this father Jamie, fourteen years her junior, Isabel enters deeper and rougher waters.

Late motherhood, however, is not the only challenge facing Isabel.  Even as she negotiates a truce with her furiously disapproving niece Cat, and struggles for authority over her son with her formidable housekeeper Grace, Isabel finds herself drawn into the story of a painter's mysterious death off the island of Jura.  And, perhaps most seriously of all, as she wrestles with these complications, Isabel's professional existence and that of her beloved Review come under attack from the suspiciously handsome Professor Dove.

The is the third book in this Sunday Philosophy Club Series by Alexander McCall Smith that features new character, Isabel Dalhousie. It is also the second book in this series that I read but in chronological order, it would be book number four.

Even so, it wasn't difficult to catch up with the stories and characters as the author has a delightful way of introducing and presenting them the way you would introduce a friend.  And yes, you can consider Isabel Dalhousie a friend as she would want to be yours.  That's the kind of character she is.

In this book, she was intrigued by a painting painted many years ago by a rather mysterious artist.  In her quest, she visited the place of origin of the painting and uncovered more than just a story of the artist's death. In the midst of all these, she faced unexpected challenges from her editorial work that are pretty believable but her decision and action were unexpected and not everyone can achieve what she does subsequently.

If you are looking for a slow relaxing read without complications of plots, then this series might be the one for you.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Right Attitude To Rain by Alexander McCall Smith

Synopsis :

The delectable new installment in the bestselling and already beloved adventures of Isabel Dalhousie and her no-nonsense housekeeper, Grace.

When friends from Dallas arrive in Edinburgh and introduce Isabel to Tom Bruce – a bigwig at home in Texas – several confounding situations unfurl at once. Tom’s young fiancee’s roving eye leads Isabel to believe that money may be the root of her love for Tom. But what, Isabel wonders, is the root of the interest Tom begins to show for Isabel herself? And she can’t forget about her niece, Cat, who’s busy falling for a man whom Isabel suspects of being an incorrigible mama’s boy. Of course Grace and Isabel’s friend Jamie counsel Isabel to stay out of all of it, but there are irresistible philosophical issues at stake – when to tell the truth and when to keep one’s mouth shut, to be precise – and philosophical issues are meat and drink to Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. In any case, she’s certain of the ethical basis for a little sleuthing now and again – especially when the problems involve matters of the heart.

Being a fan of No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series written by the same author, I was quite keen to explore another series by the same author.  The Right Attitude to Rain happens to be the third book in the Sunday Philosophy Club Series.  Even without ready the first two book, it was easy to read this title.

What can I say?  If you are familiar with The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series, you would known already of the author's style of writing.  Very much into character development to a certain extend, the storyline and the plot are all rather mellow but if you have interesting quirky characters, who really need a complicated plot that can easily back fire and just spoil the whole book.

What I can say is that while I enjoy the book and while I quite like Isabel Dalhousie, I have not warmed up to her yet.  I am still treating here as aquaintance rather than as a friend.  Perhaps that will change as I get to know her better and I certainly hope so as I do rather enjoy the writing of Alexander McCall Smith.

If you come across Isabel Dalhousie, do say hi to her and give her a chance ya, and maybe we can compare notes one of these days. :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner

Synopsis :

Forensic psychiatrist Jo Beckett's specialty is the psychological autopsy- an investigation into a person's life to determine whether a death was natural, accidental, suicide, or homicide. She calls herself a dead-shrinker instead of a head-shrinker: The silence of her "patients" is a key part of the job's attraction. When Jo is asked to do a psychological autopsy on a living person-one with a suspect memory who can't be trusted to participate in his own medical care-she knows all her skills will be put to the test.

Jo is called to the scene of an aircraft inbound from London to help deal with a passenger who is behaving erratically. She figures out that he's got anterograde amnesia, and can't form new memories. Jo finds herself racing to save a patient who can walk and talk and yet can't help Jo figure out just what happened to him. For every cryptic clue he is able to drag up from his memory, Jo has to sift through a dozen nonsensical statements.

Suddenly a string of clues arises, something to do with a super deadly biological agent code-named "Slick," a missing wife and son, and a secret partnership gone horribly wrong. Jo realizes her patient's addled mind may hold the key to preventing something terrible from happening in her beloved San Francisco.

In order to prevent it, she will have to get deeper into the life of a patient than she ever has before, hoping the truth emerges from the fog of his mind in time to save her city-and herself.

The Memory Collector is part of a collection that I bought last year.  I was just attracted to the title before I got attracted to the story.  However, it took me quite a while to read it as I was much occupied with the many commitments that the new year brings.

I wasn't really liking Jo Beckett as the main character as I felt she's rather weak and non of the other characters are captivating enough to create much impact for me.  While some might say the story is kinda limpy but it is the storyline itself that was able to draw me in and caused me to turn those pages.  The story is based on a biological weapon that caused a person to loss his or her short term memory, it can have devastating effect on the person or persons that came into contact with it.

I wasn't really liking it at first but the story grew on me and I ended up enjoying the story for its thrilling effect and the race to stop the devastation.  It was indeed quite an enjoyable read which I am rather glad I gave it a try.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February 2015 Flea Market

When I think of February, there would be a few thoughts that goes through my mind...first would be 'Where did January go? it's now the second month of the year!'

Next though would be 'Wow...it's that time of the year where romance is in the air' and whether you might argue that it's over commercialized or not, it's still a great opportunity to share your love with those whom you hold dear in your heart.

For the Chinese, this particular February is also the celebration month of the Chinese New Year Festival which falls on the 19th of the month.  You can say it's the main festival for celebration for families and friends near and far and no matter which country you are in, excitement and joy would fill the atmosphere.

Weeks and even month prior to this auspicious celebration, families would start to spring clean their home and likewise for yours truly, I started some major tidying up of the home since end of last year.  Sad to say, I am not done yet but happy to say that I spring clean my collection of books and once again, this weekend, you will find me at the flea market, attempting to find new owners for my books.  However, due to prior commitment, I shall only be there on Sunday so if you're living in my city, do come by Green Heights mall over this weekend.

Among those looking for new homes would be

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh - a wonderfully different book that I have not reviewed but just read recently but trust me, it's a wonderful book as much as it's different.

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher, Death From the Woods by Brigitte Aubert and The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner are all recently read with one book being recently  reviewed and two reviews coming right up but all are titles which I rather like.

Among the non-fiction titles, I will bring to the market, First Things First by Stephen R Covey and Ziglar On Selling by Zig Ziglar.

There are many more titles but unfortunately I have boxed them so it's quite difficult to bring them out again.  The best thing would be for you to check these out yourself this Sunday from 10 am onwards in Green Heights if you are interested.

See ya and have a great February!