Monday, August 14, 2017

Time Flies

Image from web.  My exact sentiments.
Time seems to be going by faster than I remember them.  As it is, it's already mid August and in another four and half months, the year 2017 would end and  we would start a new year all over again.

This year, I am again reading so much less than the years before.  One good 'excuse' hahaha... is that I embarked on a new course of studies early this year and it will take me two years to complete this course so I am still reading but just that I am reading stuff of a different kind than what I normally do.

With that and with work and family and other stuff, leisure reading is really taking a back seat and a quick count shows that I have read just about twenty seven books since the year began.  That is very much less than what I am used to so with just four and half months to go, my goal of fifty books for this year might not be achievable.

However, with three holidays to look forward to these few months, I might be able to squeeze in about a dozen of so titles so hopefully I would be happy to end the year with forty titles. Let's see how it goes.


With such limited windows for reading, it is very difficult to decide what to ready first.  I am currently reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger who is also the author of The Time Traveler's Wife so if I don't complete it by the time my holiday rolls by next week, it might just come along with me to the land below the wind.

But knowing me, I will just have to bring along another title and trying to figure out which title would be half the fun and half the frustration I can do without so which title would it be, only time will tell (hint).

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green


Synopsis :

Andi is a woman who has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she's finally found him.  Ethan—divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia—is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own.  But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. 

When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives and in their hearts.

This is what I say :

I got extremely frustrated when reading this book.  Another Piece of My Heart made me want to give the characters a piece of my mind!

Basically no one stands out.  Andi was quite a contender for being outstanding but her character took a change and she just somehow blend into the landscape of characters.  Ethan was pathetic throughout the book.  Emily was unpredictable, swinging from annoying to even more annoying to goodness knows what else.  And that's just about sums up who's who in the story as the rest are just wallpaper in the story.

I really don't get what the author wants the theme of the story to be as there seems to be no theme to get the storyline together.  Is it about extended family dynamics? Is it about teen pregnancy?  Is it about childlessness and adoption?  There';s no focus to bring the story together.

It's a bit like doing an assignment.  Started with something in mind but halfway change the direction of the assignment but not willing to waste what has been researched and written and ended pretty confusing.  A bit like what's happening now too, so I better end here!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

A Second Wind by Philippe Rozzo di Borgo

Synopsis :

The true story that inspired the major motion picture The Intouchables As the descendent of two prominent, wealthy French families and Director of Pommery Champagnes, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was not in the habit of asking for help.  

Then, in 1993, right on the heels of his beloved wife's diagnosis of a terminal illness, a paragliding accident left him a quadriplegic. He was 42 years old and unable to do anything - even feed himself - without help. 

The only person who wasn't bothered by Philippe's condition was someone who had been an outsider his entire life - Abdel, the unemployed Algerian immigrant from the outskirts of society who would become Philippe's unlikely caretaker.

As they say never judge a book by it's cover.  I certainly made the mistake of judging this book by it's cover....and it's title.  I thought it's a book of second chance, of hope and motivation and going on against all odds.  Maybe in a way it is about that but mostly the book is dark...it is depressing...sad....full of despair at time and generally, I had a hard time reading it.

However, I must remember that this is the story of one man...one who has lost almost everything including his movement and he is constantly in pain.  Who am I to judge that?

I do feel sorry for what he has gone through....and pray that the real Philippe has found peace in every aspect possible.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Touch & Go by Lisa Gardner

Image result for touch and go lisa gardner spoiler


Synopsis :

This is my family:  Vanished without a trace…

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life.

This is what I know:  Pain has a flavor…

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

This is what I fear:  The worst is yet to come…

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices. Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go?

This is the truth:  Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go.



This is what I say :

This is my first time reading Lisa Gardner.  It will not be my last time.  Touch & Go is really a refreshing thriller.

Because it's my first Lisa Gardner's book, I really didn't know what to expect and with totally no expectation, the reading experience really paid off.  It was exciting without been too overly so.  It was thrilling but at a controlled pace and not all over the place.  

While investigator Tessa Leoni seems to be the the main character in this series, Libby Denbe seems to be the one with the back story.  Plot wise and story wise it was enjoyable.  However, character development wise seems to be lacking and we don't really know the characters for who they really are. However, since the story line is good, I am quite ok with that.

I guess Lisa being a female author would appeal greatly to the women out there.  I am not sure how the men would find her books as I have come across some male readers who discriminate against female author.  All I can say is, it's their loss.

I exchange this book with a fellow reader as I was really keen to explore this author and I can safely say, no regrets.  Currently the book is with another friend and I think she's enjoying it too. :)

Friday, July 7, 2017

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis :

Unbuckle your belt and pull up a chair. It's the spiciest, sauciest, most rib-sticking Plum yet.

Recipe for disaster: Celebrity chef Stanley Chipotle comes to Trenton in a barbecue cookoff and loses his head - literally.

Throw in some spice: Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she'll talk to is Trenton cop Joe Morelli.

Pump up the heat: Chipotle's sponsor is offering a million-dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers.

Stir the pot: Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help find he killer and collect the moolah.

Add a secret ingredient: Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur. Enough said.

Bring to a boil: Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office at night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, and five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, and solve Ranger's problems and not jump his bones?



This is what I say :

I am getting slightly bored of Stephanie.  After fifteen books, I would have expected her to move on at some point in her life but she still seems to be the same, doing the same thing, facing the same issues both at work, love and parents. 

I mean I dont want to be the same me after fifteen books so I don't know why she wants to be the same...I would like for her to communicate with the author to make her different and it might go something like this :

Hey Janet,

This is Stephanie.  I am pretty tired of doing the same old thing book in and book out.  I mean, it's been fifteen time and I am quite tired (not to say costly) for my car to blow up all the time, my apartment too come to think of it.  I am tired of the losers my mum seems to parade in front of me. Can you get her to parade some rather good contenders?  Also if you intend for Joe and I to be together, I don't mind trying out the marriage thingy...I want to do the grown up thing for a change.

Can you also give me a make over, I seems to be in jeans and tees and ponytail hair for the past fifteen books and while that's good, something along the line of 'How do I look?' would be great too. And while I like Lula, she needs a change as well. Pls don't forever keeping her in her flashy and loud clothes  Can you like cause some life defining moment for her and give her a total change...perhaps she can get a concussion and get a personality make over...even temporary would be fine too.

Oh ya, and if I am not married to Joe, I don't mind trying out with Ranger then.

Love Stephanie

What do you think?  Anyway, somehow  I have a feeling aht Stephanie will always be Stephanie but one can wish right?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

House of The Hanging Jade by Amy M. Reade

Synopsis :

A dark presence had invaded the Jorgensens' house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .

Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade--an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it's the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life . . .


This is what I say :

I didn't buy this book. I read it as an e-copy and it took me 2 days.  I read it thinking that it's a horror story.  It is not.  I'ts more like a suspense romantic thriller but it wasn't very suspenseful and neither was it very romantic and thrilling.  It's a rather lukewarm in many ways.

The focus of the story is Kailani and the family she is working for as a personal chef.  I was quite bored with her character and it wasn't difficult to guess what was going to happen next.  I wasn't very impressed by the writing as well.  It wasn't that bad but unfortunately the story line and content was not able to contribute at all to zest up the book.

Sorry to say this but I wont be recommending this title to anyone at all.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Raya Greetings 2017

Beautiful image from web. credits to the originator

Taking this opportunity to wish those celebrating

SELAMAT MENYAMBUT HARI RAYA ADILFITRI

MAAF ZAHIR DAN BATIN

AND 

HAPPY READING

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Blood Harvest by S. J. Bolton

Synopsis :

She's been watching us for a while now...

Now you see her

Gillian is haunted by the disappearance of her little girl two years ago. A devastating fire burned down their home, but she remains convinced her daughter survived.

Now you don't

Ten year old Tom lived by a neglected church. Is he the only one who sees the strange, solitary child playing there? And what is she trying to tell him?

Now you run

There's a new vicar in town - Harry. But menacing events suggest he isn't welcome. What terrible secret is this town hiding?

Sometimes I wish that she'd just leave me in peace

This is what I say :

I am really  behind in my reading and in my posting.  I am actually reading a different kind of books nowadays...and am very slow in in social and casual read.  Currently having two books with me...one in the car for the boring moments while waiting for traffic to clear and another one on my bedside table which I can managed only about 3 chapters each night.  At the rate I am going, I probably will only read 1 book per month....horrors!!

Anyway, Blood Harvest was actually read quite a while ago and I forgot all about it because I have since sold off the book.

It is a great book...it's creepyly great and greatly creepy.  The suspense started right at the first chapter and it really builds up.  There was a point in the book where I was so creeped out I dare not go down to the kitchen for a cup of water (being quite late in the night and everyone has turned in).  And then, there's a part in the book when the vicar is in the church and he was reading out some verses and a voice joined him towards the end and ended the verse for him...that would be something that I won't forget in quite a long time!

So, if you have a chance to read Blood Harvest, grab it.  If you wanted something scary, Blood Harvest delivers!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See

Synopsis :

Acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. 

Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime. 

Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. 

Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

Never a fan of Asian writers but in this case, I give an exemption.  It wasn't an easy start though. It took a while for me to warm up to Dreams of Joy and throughout, I felt really like a typical Asian parent, both loving and criticizing the offspring at the same time, wanting to protect but at the same time wanting to expose them to lives

Anyway, even though it's a sequel, I did not read the first book which is Shanghai Girls but I can still follow the story line as it's a pretty much different story altogether.  I guess those who read the first book would doubly enjoy this title as a closure to the whole saga.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wrapped Up In You by Carole Matthews

Synopsis :

Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure!

Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right . . . but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide - and fully fledged Maasai Warrior - Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him?



I was quite tempted to DNF this.

I just don't know what to think of it.  The cover of the book was pleasant enough. Extremely attractive, in my opinion and so I was expecting a rather equally attractive story in Wrapped in You.

It wasn't that it's bad, It is actually quite cute but too romantic that it became unbelievable? I dont know. Perhaps the romantic in my is jaded but I wasn't really keen on the plot and storyline.

And a warrior who doesn't really eat and sleep and drink milk?  I wonder if the author really researched thoroughly?  I somehow don't really get that from the book.

I still don't know what to think of this.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens

Synopsis :

Sharla Cody is only five, but has already lived a troubled life -- only to find herself dumped on an elderly neighbor's doorstep when her mother takes off for the summer. Although Sharla is not the angelic child Addy Shadd had pictured when she agreed to look after her, the two soon forge a deep bond. 

To Addy's surprise, Sharla's presence brings back memories of her own childhood in Rusholme, a town settled by fugitive slaves in the mid-1800s. She reminisces about her family, her first love, and the painful experience that drove her away from home. 

Brilliantly structured -- and achingly lyrical, this is a story about the redeeming power of love and memory, and about two unlikely people who transform each other's lives forever.


This book is quite a dark horse.  I wasn't expecting to like it but liked it I did.  

The story alternates between Addy of young and Addy of current time.  However, the way the author alternates the story is very smooth and the flow was almost perfect.  While I was engrossed with the Addy of the past, I was intrigued by Addy of now. And the ending...a Hallmark ending for sure and make you sheds 

A most enjoyable book.   

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Bourne Sanction (Robert Ludlum's) by Eric Van Lustbader


Synopsis :

Jason Bourne needs to regain his life as David Webb so he accepts an invitation from his beloved mentor, Dominic Specter, to join the linguistics department at Georgetown. It's a relief to leave the Bourne identity behind, but Jason soon finds himself in a life-or-death confrontation where every move might be his last.
Specter tells him that a former student and son of his old friend was killed by Muslim extremists known as the Eastern Brotherhood. Their leader is a man named Semian Icoupov, and he must be stopped because his next terrorist target is believed to be right here in America.
While Jason is busy pursuing Icoupov in Russia, he's become a target himself. Inside CI, a battle is brewing for control over the agency. In order to show the incompetence of its current director, two Pentagon operatives plan to accomplish what CI never could--hunt Bourne down and destroy him.
I have  disappeared for quite a while, haven't I?  While, I have been faithful in my reading, the consistency is not really there as I have a lot of other stuff to do as well.  So, am trying my very best to get into the mode again....

Anyway, The Bourne Sanction....am not really a fan of the Bourne Series, whether books or movies.  I have watched a couple of the movies but the story wasn't appealing to me. Such, I have never read any of the titles in this Series whether written by Robert Ludlum or Eric Van Lustbader.

The Borne Sanction, although is number six in the series is my introduction to this series.  Surprising, it was a rather nice read.  It's both thrilling and the pace of the book is quite well paced.

Even though I have not read any of the other titles, it wasn't difficult to understand the storyflow. Basically, it can just be a stand alone story on it's own.

I read it because I bought this from a friend and I want to get my moneys worth although I wasn't very keen on it.  Anyway, it was quite worth what I paid for it.  However,  with the number of other titles that I have and that I have interest in as well as a number of non reading activities that need my attention,  this series would certainly not take priority.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Camel Club by Daivd Baldacci

Synopsis :

Existing at the fringes of Washington D.C., the Club consists of four eccentric members. Led by a mysterious man know as "Oliver Stone," they study conspiracy theories, current events, and the machinations of government to discover the "truth" behind the country's actions. Their efforts bear little fruit --- until the group witnesses a shocking murder ... and become embroiled in an astounding, far reaching conspiracy.

Now the Club must join forces with a Secret Service agent to confront one of the most chilling spectacles ever to take place on American soil --- an event that may trigger the ultimate war between two different worlds. And all that stands in the way of this apocalypse is five unexpected heroes.

After ready The Collector by David Baldacci recently, I was most excited to get hold of another title that features the same group of most interesting 'misfits'. This, in fact, is the first book of the series and it was good as it introduces and brought depth to some of the characters that wasn't really in the focus in The Collector which was book number 2.

The Camel Club is very different from The Collector. The thrill here is more espionage in nature.  There's an investigation on a murder but that was just a small part in the overall storyline.

Overall, I still like The Collector better but The Camel Club is a close favourite and I am looking into exploring other titles by David Baldacci which features these characters.  Can't wait to look for the other titles.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Synopsis :

The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. 

On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.

Hello...it's been quite a while.  I also do not know what I have been doing recently as I have not been reading much and have not being doing much of anything lately.

Anyway, I just finished a couple of books with The White Tiger being one of them.  Am normally apprehensive with any books that won prizes as they tend to be heavy in many ways, and with social messages embedded in the  storyline that at times I didn't really enjoy the story as I was too concern over what the moral message would be.

In this story, I think the message is quite clear.  The author wants to challenged  his readers into being a White Tiger, a rare species, doing something different, swimming against the current i.e. an entrepreneur in his opinion.  Otherwise, you will just become a chicken in a coop, even with situation around you are strangling you, you will would conform and not escape.  Like a chicken in a coop, knowing that it would end up in the fate of the chopping board,  it makes noise but still doesn't escape.

Generally, readers would get it that he is referring primarily to the society in India but I guess it's a metaphor that be applied to almost anything in life.

The White Tiger is my 'traffic light book'...i.e. I read it in the car when caught in traffic   It's only the last quarter of the book that I read it at a go as surprising, it was pretty interesting and I wanted to see how the ending would be.  In this respect, it actually doesn't really matters.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Collectors by David Baldacci


Synopsis :

In Washington, D.C, where power is everything and too few have too much of it, four highly eccentric men with mysterious pasts call themselves the Camel Club. Their mission: find out what's really going on behind the closed doors of America's leaders.

The assassination of the U.S. Speaker of the House has shaken the nation. And the outrageous iconoclasts of the Camel Club have found a chilling connection with another death: the demise of the director of the Library of Congress's rare books room, whose body has been found in a locked vault where seemingly nothing could have harmed him.

A man who calls himself Oliver Stone is the groups unofficial leader. Staying one step ahead of his violent past and headquartered in a caretaker's cottage in Mt. Zion Cemetery, Stone, drawing on his vast experience and acute deductive powers, discovers that someone is selling America to its enemies one classified secret at a time. When Annabelle Conroy, the greatest con artist of her generation, struts onto the scene in high-heeled boots, the Camel Club gets a sexy new edge. And they'll need it, because the two murders are hurtling them into a world of high-stakes espionage that threatens to bring America to its knees.


This is currently my favourite title by David Baldacci.  I super love it so much better even than The Forgotten which I read last month and which I declared my favourite title...well that was then and this is now! 


This is so far the only title by this author that I read it cover to cover within a week as it was that exciting. The style wasn't really the style of David Baldacci which I am familiar with. This is very much a combination of espionage thriller and something Sidney Sheldon or John Grisham would write.  The character, Oliver Stone reminded me so much of Ethan Hunt or Jason Bourne wheras Annabelle Conroy reminded me of Tracy Whitney, so with such strong resemblance of such strong characters, the book is pretty amazing.

I found out after I read that this is the 2nd book that features a group known as The Camel Club.  I got myself book #1 already from the library and you can be sure the review of that would be up pretty much very soon.  All in all, there currently 5 titles which David Badalcci features The Camel Club.

So back to my question,  is this title actually written by David?



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Once Upon A Blind Date by Wendy Markham

Synopsis :

Maggie is best buddies with Dominic. Charlie is best friends with Julie. Through the magic of the Internet, they set up their pals on the most romantic blind date ever. Naturally, Maggie and Charlie tag along for moral support-what are best friends for? 

Yet when the two matchmakers meet, their concerns for their charges take a backseat. As Maggie looks at Charlie, she thinks she feels the earth move. Laying his eyes on his fellow Cupid, all Charlie can think about is kissing her delectable mouth. Shes involved with someone. 

Hes Manhattans most committed bachelor. What will it take for a pair of modern matchmakers to realize this simple truth: that when it comes to finding a soul mate, true love can be found when you least expect it?

One glance at the title and cover, you would know that this is a chic lite through and through. However, for a chic lite, Once Upon a Blind Date wasn't really that cliche and perhaps due to the light and cheerful writing of the author, it wasn't boring as well.   Predictable, yes, very much so!

For those romantic at heart, you would love the theme of opposite attracts as the two of them couldn't be more different.  However, the difference was not the focus of the storyline but more their effort to matchmake someone not so interested to be matchmade.

For those relaxing brainless time that I need one and off, I recommend Once Upon A Blind Date.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Icon by Frederick Forsyth

Synopsis :

It is summer 1999 in Russia, a country on the threshold of anarchy.  An interim president sits powerless in Moscow as his nation is wracked by famine and inflation, crime and corruption, and seething hordes of the unemployed roam the streets.

For the West, Russia is a basket case.  But for Igor Komarov, one-time army sergeant who has risen to leadership of the right-wing UPF party, the chaos is made to order.  As he waits in the wings for the presidential election of January 2000, his striking voice rings out over the airwaves offering the roiling masses hope at last--not only for law, order, and prosperity, but for restoring the lost greatness of their land.

Who is this man with the golden tongue who is so quickly becoming the promise of a Russia reborn?  A document stolen from party headquarters and smuggled to Washington and London sends nightmare chills through those who remember the past, for this Black Manifesto is pure Mein Kampf in a country with frightening parallels to the Germany of the Weimar Republic.

Officially the West can do nothing, but in secret a group of elder statesmen sends the only person who can expose the truth about Komarov into the heart of the inferno.  Jason Monk, ex-CIA and "the best damn agent-runner we ever had," had sworn he would never return to Moscow, but one name changes his mind.  Colonel Anatoli Grishin, the KGB officer who tortured and murdered four of Monk's agents after they had been betrayed by Aldrich Ames, is now Komarov's head of security.

Monk has a dual mission: to stop Komarov, whatever it takes, and to prepare the way for an icon worthy of the Russian people.  But he has a personal mission as well: to settle the final score with Grishin.  To do this he must stay alive--and the forces allied against him are ruthless, the time frighteningly short....
 



Would you believe that I haven't ready any titles by Frederick Forsyth in years.  I have The Afgan in my TBR pile and other than that, It had been years since I encounter This author.

All I can say is that  Icon did not disappoint.  It's a great espionage thriller from beginning to the end.    We get the background story of Jason Monk  at the same time  current developments in the main storyline.  The story merge halfway through and from there it picks up and just gets better and better.

Being a story of the 'spy' kind it's good to note of unexpected spy in the storyline that added a hint of surprise and a trail of wonderment and generally made the story so much better.

I really enjoyed Icon.  

It should not be long before I pick up The Afgan....fingers crossed!

Friday, March 10, 2017

One For My Baby by Tony Parsons

Synopsis :

Returning to London from Hong Kong after a brief, idyllic marriage ends in tragedy, Alfie Budd finds his world collapsing. Believing his chance for love has passed, he takes comfort in fleeting affairs with his students at Churchill's Language School while watching his parents' marriage, his grandmother's health, and his career ambitions rapidly deteriorate. 

But then Alfie meets two people who help him to start healing: the old Chinese man he sees practicing Tai Chi in the park every morning and a single mother who needs Alfie's help in completing her education. 

Soon, our bereft widower is learning much more than Tai Chi and falling for one student above all others. 

But can Alfie give up meaningless sex for a meaningful relationship? And how much room in our hearts do we really have for love? 

I first read Man and Boy which served as my introduction to Tony Parsons about four years ago but for some ready and it was rather memorable because my book disappeared and I couldn't find it and I ended up reading the last chapter in the bookstore.  While I didn't update this in my blog then, I can say that I found my book after a few months and it wasn't where I left it but somewhere else so to this day it's still a mystery how it ended up in that bag.

Anyway, One For My Baby is what I called a 'dude lite', a chic lite from the male perspective.   It wasn't that bad.  Alfie was rather weak and seems to just fall apart after the death of his wife.  Tony seems to stereotyped and portrayed him as a player.

But coming from Tony Parsons, it didn't wow me but is an acceptable read.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Beach Road by James Patterson


Synopsis :

Tom Dunleavy has a one-man law firm in legendary East Hampton. But his job barely keeps him in paper clips. His principal clients make a living serving the rich. The billionaires and mega celebrities swarming the beaches already have lawyers on their payroll.

Then a friend of Tom's is arrested for a triple murder near a movie star's mansion. Tom knows in his gut that Dante Halleyville is innocent. Dante asks him to represent him in what could be the Trial of the Century.  Tom recruits Manhattan superlawyer Kate Costello to help. She's a tough hire, because Kate is his ex-girlfriend-but she agrees. In their search to find who really executed three locals, Tom orchestrates a series of revelations to expose the killer-and what emerges is staggering.

The final scenes of Beach Road unveil a truth that will leave readers gasping in shock.



Beach Road is a book co-written by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge.  It basically has the short chapter James Patterson formula.   However, it's uniqueness is that you will never be able to guess the ending.

To me the ending can be everything and this has one of the most epic ending of all times.  The plot itself is pretty standard fare but the ending!

I think I read Beach Road twice over a period of a few years and it's one book that I don't mind reading again, if I have the time as I simply just love the ending.  It really had mt gasping in shock!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Red Dust - A Path Through China by Ma Jian

Synopsis :

In 1983, at the age of thirty, dissident artist Ma Jian finds himself divorced by his wife, separated from his daughter, betrayed by his girlfriend, facing arrest for “Spiritual Pollution,” and severely disillusioned with the confines of life in Beijing. So with little more than a change of clothes and two bars of soap, Ma takes off to immerse himself in the remotest parts of China. His journey would last three years and take him through smog-choked cities and mountain villages, from scenes of barbarity to havens of tranquility. 

Remarkably written and subtly moving, the result is an insight into the teeming contradictions of China that only a man who was both insider and outsider in his own country could have written

I have high expectation of this book.  I shouldn't have.

However, having said that, it's was a nice companion for me during a recent work travel.  While I travel in the comfort of trains, cabs and planes, Ma Jian travels by foot, buses and whatever means that he can through deserts and mountains.  While I enjoyed the delicious company paid meals, Ma Jian have tea, grubs and whatever that was offered to him during this travel and whatever can salvage or buys.

I read how he had to sleep in the tree when he was lost in the jungle or out on the field in the dessert when he took a wrong turn whereas I was in the comfort of the five stars hotel room that I was put up in.

I should perhaps not have expectations but have gratitude instead.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Forgotten by David Baldicci


Synopsis :
Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.
A picture-perfect town on Florida's Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt's death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller's father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.
What Puller finds convinces him that his aunt's death was no accident . . . and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make sure the truth is never revealed.
This is the second book by David Baldacci which features Army Special Agent John Puller.  However, it my first introduction to this character and I can say  he's a pretty acceptable character.  Reminds  me a bit of John Reacher, the character of Lee Child but different as well.
It didn't take me long to read The Forgotten.   While it's not overly exciting, it was pretty much thrilling.   Other than John Puller, the author also introduces a mystery man  which adds some hint of uncertainty and mystery as to who he might be and where he stands.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Forgotten.  I can say it's now one of my favourite title by David Baldacci.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich


Synopsis :

The Crime: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars
Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one.

The Cousin: Joe Morelli
Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom's sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family.

The Complications: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux
Less than a week after Dom's release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He's getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.

The Cupcake: Stephanie Plum
Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She's a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she's involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

The Crisis: A favor for Ranger
Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie's evening activities.

The Conclusion: Only the fearless should read Fourteen

 Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result.  

The above synopsis basically sums up the whole book.   It's not so much about the content where  this series is concerned but about the way it's been written...the interactions between the different characters, the behaviours of the characters, the synergy and the craziness of the collaboration, 

Once in a while I do need a craziness fix and I can always depend of Stephanie to deliver that.  For some reason, I can't seems to find anyone else within my circle and even outside my circle that read this series. Maybe in years to come, I will get tired of Stephanie but for now she still very much entertains me.

It's also very easy to follow the series. Just go by the numbers :)  Next up would be Finger Licking (whatelse but) Fifteen.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver


Synopsis :

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—"Cupid Day"—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagine
d.


 How could I let this book vegetate in my shelf for so long. I think this is one of the books that came into my possession when a friend migrated back to her home country about three(?) years ago.  Such a hidden gem.

Before I fall is like Gossip Girls meet Groundhog Day.  Yup, it's a time loop book with  Sam waking up to the same day over and over again and each time she tried to live the day differently and ends it differently, she still wakes up to the same day. One time she was a total bitch - insulted her besties, stole her mum's credit card and went on a shopping spree and at slutty with a teacher.  Another time she acted saintly by trying to 'rescue' everyone around her.  Along the way, she learned a lot about her friends and herself and she did that all on the same day.

It was pretty sad toward the end when she and I realised that there's one thing she can't change and that was how she would end.  I pretty much bawled my eyes out.

Movie adaptation starred Zoey Deutch will be released in March 2017.  I hope it does justice to the book.




Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Girl In Times Square by Paullina Simons


Synopsis :

Lily's life is turned upside down with the disappearance of her flat mate, incredible revelations about her family and a personal discovery, all of which will affect her forever. What if everything you believed about your life was a lie? Meet Lily Quinn. She is broke, struggling to finish college, pay her rent, find love. Adrift in bustling New York City, the most interesting things in Lily's life happen to the people around her. But Lily loves her aimless life until her best friend and roommate Amy disappears. That's when Spencer Patrick O'Malley, a cynical, past his prime NYPD detective with demons of his own, enters Lily's world. And a sudden financial windfall which should bring Lily joy instead becomes an ominous portent of the dark forces gathering around her.

But fate isn't finished with Lily. She finds herself fighting for her life as Spencer's search for the missing Amy intensifies, leading Lily to question everything she knew about her friend and family. Startling revelations about the people she loves force her to confront truths that will leave her changed forever. 


Paullina  Simons is an author that is not known to me.  I have not seen any of her titles.  I can't remember how I got this book.  All I know is that it's a trade paperbag and as thick as a hardcover and it's taking up precious space in my shelf.  That's why I read it...to clear it out of my shelf.

With such 'un-noble' intention, I should be rewarded with a crappy book but instead I was very much surprised and taken by the wonderful story that unfolded itself to me.  Lily is a strange but strong character.  I love the chemistry she has with Spencer and I like the fact that they did not let age, society and family came in between them.  

They became my 'friends' for the 2 weeks that I took to read this book.  I can't bring the book out as it's massive and heavy which is good too as I get to enjoy their story leisurely.

I bawled my eyes out at certain chapter especially towards the ending.

I  very much enjoyed The Girl in Time Square.  I hope there's another book about them as promised by the author in her official site.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Confession of a Karaoke Queen by Ella Kingsley


Synopsis :

Maddie Mulhern is suddenly in charge. Her parents - former 80s pop duo Pineapple Mist - have left for the summer on a nostalgia tour, entrusting her to manage their struggling karaoke bar, Sing It Back. Panicking over the dodgy finances, Maddie takes a gamble: she signs up for a fly-on-the-wall reality TV series. With her faithful staff (divalicious drag queen Ruby, shy barman Simon and wannabe actress Jasmine) she'll transform the bar into a huge success. Simple. Right? 

Executive Producer Evan Bergman knows that scandal sells. It's no coincidence that he hires cool, attractive Nick Craven as director. Evan wants drama on screen - and he'll do anything to get it. As the series builds to a live finale, will Maddie see the truth in a Careless Whisper? Will Nick be able to keep his Poker Face? One thing's for sure: we all do things at karaoke that we regret ..

I bought this book without really knowing much about it.  Just that it's a chic lite and I need such book to clear my head on and off.

Confessions of a Karaoke Queen is quite a fun read.  It wasn't that good but it wasn't that bad either.  Somewhere in between would very be the way the describe it.  Because it's a chic lite, there wasn't much character development and the story line is basically just Maddie trying to revitalise the karaoke joint owned by her parents without their knowledge (they are away on holiday) and the way she though would work would be via a reality show and 'get down on it she did'. (cue Kool and The Gang :)

Along the way, what's a chic lite without a love interest?