Monday, March 30, 2015

Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

Synopsis :

Jennifer Weiner's rich, witty, true-to-life "New York Times" bestselling novel tells the story of three very different women as they navigate one of life's most wonderful and perilous transitions: the journey of new motherhood. Becky is a plump, sexy chef who has a wonderful husband and baby girl, a restaurant that's received citywide acclaim -- and the mother-in-law from hell. Kelly is an event planner who's struggling to balance work and motherhood while dealing with an unemployed husband who seems content to channel-surf for eight hours a day. And Ayinde's basketball superstar husband breaks her trust at her most vulnerable moment, putting their new family even more in the public eye. Then there's Lia, a Philadelphia native who has left her Hollywood career behind, along with her husband and a tragic secret, to start her life all over again.

From prenatal yoga to post birth sex, "Little Earthquakes" is a frank, funny, fiercely perceptive take on the comedies and tragedies of love and marriage.

I remember saying, a few posts ago, that I would not be reading anything by Jennifer Weiner anytime soon.  However, here I am again, having just read another title by her.  I can't seems to keep my words when it comes to this author.

Can't really blame me as I am a long time fan of In Her Shoes which I read early this month.  Maybe that's why I was quite eager to read Little Earthquakes as I have not come across this titles before. So, if you ask me if it was any good...I would have to tell you oh yes! it's good!

Little Earthquakes is both funny and sad at the same time. Jennifer introduced us to Lia first and Lia was sad and readers won't know what Lia was sad about.  Actually, Lia wasn't just sad, she was sorrowful and you can feel that from her.  Next you have Becky who's pregnant with her first child and running a restaurant and Kelly who's needed security badly due to what she lacked during her childhood and Ayinde, the wife of a famous athletic husband who unfortunately has to deal with some rather unpleasant situation just after the birth of her baby boy.

These women and their stories are the story of Little Earthquakes. Though they are different, the common link of having a baby brought them together and together they supported each other.  While it wasn't as good as In Her Shoes, Little Earthquakes was rather good for me.  I feel so sad for Lia and for Ayinde while Becky's story was rather funny and Kelly's was rather pathetic but equally enjoyable.

I would recommend Little Earthquakes to you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Uncertain Flea Market - March 2015

March is pretty much a month of madness.  Right after the Chinese New Year celebration ended early this month, things are just pretty crazy and hectic.  There are lots to do at home and there are even more to do at work.  I have been working every weekend and haven't have a weekend break yet in March and even this coming weekend is rather uncertain.  April is not going to be better with a couple of major events that I need to look into but in all things I am thankful so I am not complaining.

A rainbow at the end of all these madness is that the hubby managed to bring back for me some books that were left behind for me at our previous home.Some are keepers but some are ready for new homes.  I managed to sort them out a bit but further sorting would be required if my flea market is on this weekend.

The story is that earlier this year, I signed up for my usual flea market for this weekend.  Due to the hectic schedule for these two months I was quite happy for some wonderful friends to take over my booth since they were not able to get a booking for this weekend.

The uncertainty comes about now when I am not able to contact one of the ladies.  For some reason, her phone is not ringing and messages are not getting through.  I really hope she is ok but on the other hand, I have paid for my booth and if she didn't take it and I dont take it, I would practically burn my booking fee.

Life teach me to hope for the best but plan for the worst so I am hoping that all is well with her and that she would be at the booth this Sunday selling her wonderful cookies and delicious homemade cakes.  However, in planning for the worst, I need to get ready some of my stock to occupy the booth if she is not able to.

With that here is a preview of my tentative flea market :

Two wonderful titles from Alexander McCall Smith, The Right Attitude to Rain and The Careful Use of Compliments that I highly recommend for that relaxing read that you might badly need.  Books that do not need to you turn the pages non stop but yet arrested your attention that you can put it down and can't wait to go back to you when you are free.

There is The Hogarth Conspiracy by Alex Connor that is an extremely good read especially if you are in to art and such and Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith which is a real man's book and doesn't really speak to me.

The thrilling The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner that didn't get sell at the last flea market and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  I haven't review this book yet, it's coming right up and I just read it like yesterday and I think I am ready to put it in the sales.  I hope I won't take t out at the last minute as I still sickly enjoy those creepy photos.

I have a few titles by Patricia Cornwell whom I have not reason not to respect but I just don't enjoy what she writes but I am very sure that her fans are out there.

I am quite keen to clear my fictions so I am not sure if I would bring my non fictions. I will have to think about it. 

So here they are, a preview of what can be expected from this flea market, uncertain as it is, I really look forward to it.  If my friend came through and takes over my booth, I would equally look forward to the rest that I will be getting so whichever way also works for me...fingers cross for the best to happen :)

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

Synopsis :

The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people--mothers and daughters, husband and lovers--inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling--a woman you'll always remember in world you'll never forget. The Shell Seekers is a magical novel, the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while.

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer...and it lies in her heart.

I have been wanting to read The Shell Seekers every since I read by first book by Rosamunde Pilcher about a year and half ago entitled Winter Solstice.   It was a very relaxing read and while some might say it can be borderline boring, I find it calming.

The same can also be said for The Shell Seekers except that there's more storyline to it.  Focusing on Penelope Keeling, an elderly woman who is being pressured by her son and one of her daughters to sell her beloved and prized painting.  She is extremely reluctant to do so as she felt that the painting was given to her and her alone by her father who painted it, her children beg to defer as they felt it's part of their inheritance.

There are flash back on the life of Penelope to the time of her childhood and her youth and her adulthood.  The flash back also brought readers to the love of her life and why she is where she is today.  It was quite nostalgically and romantically sad at one point you might just want to give Penelope a hug for all that she lost and can very well understand why she is so reluctant to give up her The Shell Seekers.

I enjoyed reading this and glad I made the effort to seek it out. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

Synopsis :

Amber Hewerdine knows more than she is telling.  She knows that she hasn't slept since the arson attack which killed her best friend.

She knows that it is not normal for four members of your family to disappear one Christmas morning, and then reappear the next day, refusing to explain or ever speak of it again.

And she knows that somewhere, buried deep in her subconscious, is the key to what happened all those years ago at Little Orchard.

In my opinion, books such as this should be easy to read in that it should be engrossing, entertaining, thrilling and evokes sense of curiosity, excitement and interest among others.  It should not be difficult to read in that being tedious and draggy and overly descriptive.  Unfortunately that is how I viewed Kind of Cruel.

Termed a psychological suspense novel, it was kind of difficult to read Kind of Cruel.  The writing was kind of overly descriptive, the plot was kind of unrealistic, the characters were kind of annoying.  There are at times I felt that the author is more keen to show what she knows about this subject that she kind of over analyse the storyline.

The chapters were also kind of confusing moving from one character to another and there are chapters that presented themselves in first person that until now, I am not too sure what that was all about and how it added anything to the storyline.

The plot, although is rather unrealistic, is rather original and perhaps written in another way by another author who has better control over the writing skills, the book might turned out to be great.  As it is, it's kind of mediocre for now.

Although the cover image is kind of captivating, I was kind of wish I didn't read this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Synopsis :

On an old slaving ship named the Ibis, fate has thrown together a motley crew of sailors, coolies and convicts, including a bankrupt raja, a French runaway and a widowed opium farmer.

As their old family ties are washed away, they come to view themselves as Jahaj-bhais or ship-brothers.  Set against the backdrop for the Opium Wars, this unlikely dynasty is what makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive - a masterpiece from one of the world's finest novelists.

I would describe Sea of Poppies is a different book and it's difference made it good.  I quite like the earlier book by the same author that I read something mid of last year and likewise, that book was very different too.

Sea of Poppies was intended as the first book of a trilogy.  However, I am not sure if the author moved on to write book two and three.  As a story on it's own, it was still quite entertaining.  It started with the  individual stories of the many characters who ended up on the ship Ibis and how they ended up there. From a widow running away from her dead husband's families, a raja who is now a prisoner, a French girl who is running away to find a new life and the officers of the ship itself who has stories of his own.

Due to it's uniqueness I certainly would recommend this title to you.  On the other hand, I certainly would not mind checking other titles if I come across them in the future.

Friday, March 6, 2015

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner

Synopsis :

Meet Rose Feller, a thirty-year-old high-powered attorney with a secret passion for romance novels.  She has an exercise regime she's going to start next week, and she dreams of a man who will slide off her glasses, gaze into her eyes, and tell her she's beautiful.  She also dreams of getting her fantastically screwed-up, semi-employed little sister to straighten up and fly right.

Meet Rose's sister, Maggie.  Twenty-eight years old and drop-dead gorgeous.  Although her big-screen stardom hasn't progressed past her left hip's appearance in a Will Smith video, Maggie dreams of a fame and fortune - and of getting her big sister on a skin-care regimen.

These two woman, who claim to have nothing in common but a childhood tragedy, DNA and the same size feet are about to learn that they're more alike than they'd ever imagined.  Brought up by their father and step-mother, they are also discovering that they have a grandmother.  A sisterly fight broke them apart and each will go on their individual odyssey of self discovery.

I have a rather love/hate impression with Jennifer's books.  It started with much dislike when I first read this book and ended with the one just before this particular title.  However, my first introduction to what Jennifer Weiner offers is actually through a movie of In Her Shoes that I watched many years ago.  It was in 2005 that an American comedy-drama film based on the novel was released.  It is directed by Curtis Hanson with an adapted screenplay by Susannah Grant and stars Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and Shirley MacLaine. I think I watched it twice and loved it both times.

Such, I have always wanted to read In Her Shoes to see how similar or different the book is from the movie and the opportunity came when I managed to get hold of a copy at a book fair at the end of last year.  Even though I kinda say I wont rush to read another of Jennifer's title, I just have to read this particular one as you can say it's the one title that started it all.

So, did I enjoyed reading In Her Shoes?  A big yes, I certainly did.  It was slightly different from the movie but the core of the story is there and both Rose and Maggie were exactly as how I remember them from the movie.  Rose, the ever serious elder sister and Maggie, who hid her learning disability behind an attitude of flippancy.

And that romantic, bitter sweet and touching poem by E.E. Cummings that I so deeply love, it was so lovely to be read it again, against such heartfelt settings.

If nothing else, I will always rmember Jennifer Weiner for In Her Shoes and it's good enough.

Here is a trailer from the movie to entertain you.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Disclosure by Michael Crichton

Synopsis : 

A brutal struggle in the cutthroat computer industry...A shattering psychological game of cat and mouse...A shocking accusation that threatens to derail a brilliant career...These are the electrifying elements that you will find in this novel.

An up-and-coming executive at the computer firm DigiCom, Tom  Sanders is a man whose corporate future is certain.  But after a closed-door meeting with his new boss - a woman who is his former lover and has been promoted to the position he expected to have - Sanders finds himself caught in a nightmarish web of deceit in which he is branded the villian.

As Sanders scrambles to defend himself, he uncovers an electronic trail into the company's secrets - and begins to grasp that a cynical and manipulative scheme has been devised to bring him down.

Disclosure  by Michael Crichton was written at at time when the world was experiencing great growth in the digital age. Because of that, it feels a bit strange as the digital age is not just already upon us but upon us fast and furiously.

Having being the case, the books is still enjoyable, focus solely in a computer firm with the issue of sexual harassment covering a much larger corporate espionage and cover up.  Tom Sanders can be any corporate rat who's life and career was perfect one day and under the bus the next day.  However, he is a man of action and he took actions into his own hand but at the same time by doing so is he playing into the hands of the enemy?

I was initially not too keen to read this book as the last book I read that was written by Michael Crichton didn't appeal to me.  However, the same could not be said about Disclosure.  For a walk down memory land on the emergence of the digital age, do give Disclosure a try.