Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reflections 2017

October 2017

I am writing this reflections even in October of 2017 but I know I wont post this till December 2017 but feeling very demotivated I am not sure if I am in the right frame of mind to reflect on 2017 as I might just rate it super low...

It's a very challenging year...even from the start and at this point, I don't know if it can get even lower but you know what, I have been in worse situation and I know I will get up for I refuse to get knock down but being down, sometimes you are just so tired that you want to be's not comfortable being down but it's such a struggle to get up.

December 2017

I decided the leave the above which was reflected in October and when I was extremely challenged from many facade.  From work to family to studies, things seems to be not moving in the right direction and I was dead bone tired.  I think I didn't read any book for that month.  As the local here says, 'no heart to read or do anything.  Basically just surviving each moment and going through the momentum'.

I also started studying again in May this year so that's something that has been keeping me busy and focus for the year.  It would be another two years before I complete the programme so that does time me away from my leisure reading as well.

Anyway, back to reading, this year is at one of it's lowest ever. if memory serves me right.  This year I have read about 36 books (If my calculation wasn't wrong) only which a super low for me which still works out to about 3 books a month which is acceptable I guess.  When I am down to one book per month, I guess that's when I should be panicking.

Best book for the year? No time to give it much thought but Blood Harvest and Beautiful Lies were good.

Rush Home Road was an unexpected good read.  So is Before I Fall and I got my hands on The Girl on The Train which I wanted to for quite a long time.

I discovered Lisa Gardner as a potential author to add on to my list of authors to look out for.

Where my blog/post management is concerned, I tried hard and I managed to squeeze in 50 posts in 2017 as well making it the same number of post for year 2016.  I have published more than 500 posts since I started this blog years ago and pretty glad it's still going strong (hopefully!)

In all things and in every circumstances, give thanks so I am thankful for 2017.  For all that is good and bad, thank you.

Thank you 2017 and good bye as well.

Image from web

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Beautiful Lies by Jessica Warman

Synopsis :

Rachel and Alice are an extremely rare kind of identical twins-so identical that even their aunt and uncle, whom they've lived with since their parents passed away, can't tell them apart. But the sisters are connected in a way that goes well beyond their surfaces: when one experiences pain, the other exhibits the exact same signs of distress.

So when one twin mysteriously disappears, the other immediately knows something is wrong-especially when she starts experiencing serious physical traumas, despite the fact that nobody has touched her. 

As the search commences to find her sister, the twin left behind must rely on their intense bond to uncover the truth. 

But is there anyone around her she can trust, when everyone could be a suspect? And ultimately, can she even trust herself?

This is what I say :

My introduction to Jessica Warman was Between, bought and read last year.  Beautiful Lies was bought as a result of both of us liking Between.  But I didn't read it last year, I kept it on my shelf for more than a year and it was only during the Christmas holidays that I decided to read as part of my marathon and it kept me occupied and entertained for two days.

Can I say Beautiful Lies is even nicer than Between?  While Between was heartwarming, Beautiful Lies was that plus more as in more thrilling and more passionate (in a good way!)

You can sense the anguish of twin who was left behind, having totally 'lost' her sister for the first time in her life.  Lost her as in not able to feel the connection that can always be felt between Rachel and Alice.

The author just did such a good job in keeping the suspense throughout the book without giving away the plot that at the end when the truth was revealed, it was rather epic and mind blowing.

While this is a YA genre, it doesn't really matter. I love it just the same.  

I think this book is a keeper. It earned a place back in my self together with Between.  

In the meantime, let me go and check if there's other titles by this author.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Welcome to My World by Miranda Dickinson

Synopsis :

Welcome to Harriet Langton's world. All her life she's dreamt of travelling the globe - fate always got in the way. Working as a travel agent, the closest Harri comes to her dream destination of Venice is booking the trip for someone else. But everything changes when travel fanatic Alex drops in. 

With her boyfriend Rob tied up with work, Harri is persuaded to help Alex in his quest for love. But in her attempts to help, Harri soon discovers that she's alienating those around her. 

Desperate to leave her life behind, will her dreams finally come true? Or will Harri's leap of faith be her biggest mistake yet?

This is what I say :

To me this is a good holiday read especially if you want to hide from the world when the world is busy with unreal celebrations which you don't feel like being part of.

This is a good read especially when you're on a reading marathon with time in your hand and you can read and stop anytime you fancy and pick it up again when chores are done and you're ready to go into another world.

This is Welcome to my World to me this holiday season.  It allows me to be in my own world and just chilling and enjoying the book over both coffee/tea and cakes and chocolates.

Where the book is concerned, sometimes I feel like cheering Harri on. Sometimes I feel like sitting her down for a talk but overall, she is quite likable and generally a good person who just want to please her friends and those she cares about but she can be so naive and she really needs to be exposed to the world.

Glad to read this as part of my marathon.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Image credit to Lancer

My Best and Warmest Wishes 

to you and your family for this season.

Image from web

May you know the reason for this season.

Have a wonderful celebration


stay safe

Lots of love from

Image from web

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos

Synopsis :

Sing Them Home is a deeply moving portrait of three grown siblings who have lived in the shadow of unresolved grief since their mother’s mysterious disappearance when they were children. 

Everyone in Emlyn Springs, Nebraska, knows the story of Hope Jones, the physician’s wife whose big dreams for their tiny town were lost along with her in the tornado of 1978. For Hope’s three young children, the stability of life with their distant, preoccupied father, and with Viney, their mother’s spitfire best friend, is no match for their mother’s absence. 

Larken, the eldest, is an art history professor who seeks in food an answer to a less tangible hunger; Gaelan, the only son, is a telegenic weatherman who devotes his life to predicting the unpredictable and whose profession, and all too much more, depend on his sculpted frame and ready smile; and Bonnie, the baby of the family is a self-proclaimed archivist who combs the roadsides for clues to her mother’s legacy, and permission to move on.

When, decades after their mother’s disappearance, they are summoned home after their father’s sudden death, they are forced to revisit the childhood tragedy at the center of their lives. With breathtaking lyricism, wisdom, and humor, Stephanie Kallos explores the consequences of protecting the ones we love.

Sing Them Home is a magnificent tapestry of lives connected and undone by tragedy, lives poised—unbeknownst to the characters themselves—for redemption.

This is what I say :

I started Sing Them Home on Wednesday and by Sunday afternoon, I completed the novel.  As this is part of my marathon reading effort, I started on the next book although it's just for 1 page. hahah...

The synopsis is quite accurate.  It's a book on grief and of loss but it's also of healing of the soul.  It is not a sad book and the interesting bit comes from the perspective of the mother back when she's alive and when her children were still young.  This 'looking back' gave the book much depth that otherwise is a bit lacking if it's just on the children.

I was mistaken in thinking that the book is on a glimpse of life after wasn't but the way the narration goes, it's quite different (you have to read certain parts as how a person might narrate a play) and it's unique in that way.

This is a good start to my marathon. :)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Books Second Time Around - coming to an end

Books Second Time Around in Hills Mall is coming to an end.  Sunday, 17 December would be their grand finale here for the year.

I went there two night ago, for the second time just to see if there's still any books that catches my attention with the purpose of trying out my luck in locating titles from authors such as Mark Gimenez, Carlos Luiz Zafon and maybe Joseph Finder.

My first visit there was when they first started the fair in early November.

I was in luck (in a way) as I managed to locate a title by Joseph Finder that I have not read before.  My first introduction to Joseph Finder was in Buried Secrets August last year.  From there, I bought Paranoia from the same sale last year and it's only now that I bought the third of Joseph Finder's title, Company Man.  Can't wait to get started on it!

Bought two more Chicken Soup Titles to add to my collection but let's not talk about that *feeling guilty*.

So, if you are in my city, remember tomorrow's the last day to check out the sale.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reading Marathon

Finally, all that I am supposed to do are done!! *happy dance*

In fact, as at yesterday, at five in the afternoon local time, it was a temporary jail break for least until after the new year :) before the next challenge begins.

Technically I have one month to focus on my work, my reading, my house cleaning, my everything else before I have to delve into another world again...

This weekend and during the forthcoming holidays, I intend to do some marathon reading.  For some of you, that's normal but for me it's not but it's a luxury to be able to do so nowadays.

So which book gets the privilege?

Well, say hello to

Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos - a family saga with a bit of peek on life after death.,

I am thinking of attempting a couple more books.  However, am not too confident if I can do it.  What do you think?

If I can identify a couple more titles, I shall update them here.  So, do come back, ya :)

In the meantime, wish me luck! :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Family of Women & Miss Purdy's Class by Annie Murray

Family of Women
A story of three generations of women:

Bessie: scarred by a childhood of poverty in the slums of Victorian Birmingham and left a young widow with four children, is a hard, bullying woman who will go to disturbing lengths to keep her family under her thumb.

Violet: one of Bessie's four children, marries young to escape, into the arms of a man whose life will be broken by war,

Linda: grows up on a large housing estate in the 1950s with older sister Joyce and her beloved young sister Carol. Intelligent and energetic, she craves education and something more than the life she sees around her. Torn from her longed for place at the grammar school, she gives up hoping for anything better. It takes a tragic love affair to make her question the limitations of her life and the secrets which haunt her family.

Miss Purdy's Class
In the New Year of 1936, Gwen Purdy, aged 21, leaves her home to become a schoolteacher in a poor area of Birmingham. Her parents are horrified, but she has the support of her fiance, a recently ordained clergyman. Her early weeks in Birmingham are an eye-opener: at the school she faces a class of 52 children, some of whose homes are among Birmingham's very poorest. 

Little Lucy Fernandez is a 'cripple' and an epileptic. Through her, Gwen meets Daniel Fernandez, the elder brother in a fatherless household. The family has roots in a Wales' small Spanish community, and Daniel is a young man as fierce and passionate in his emotions as in his social concerns. Gwen falls in love, and is quickly engaged in his battle to win rights for the working classes. As the Brigades are mobilized to fight the Spanish Civil War, Gwen has to face the fact that Daniel has secrets in his past which she would rather not face up to...

This is what I say :

When I bought this book years ago, I thought it's a great deal to have two stories in one book. I don't think the same anyone as the stories weren't really the type that I enjoyed.

There's a lot of bitterness in Family of Women. Perhaps because of the circumstances at that era.  The story is more on Violet than the others. It's an eye opener of women in that generations.

Miss Purdy's Class was all about Ms Purdy..not so much about the children in her class.  She started off well but in my opinion she wasn't a role model towards the end.  To me she wasn't a very responsible person.

I really cannot understand where the author is going with her characters.  Maybe I am too impatient or I am just too different.  Perhaps others might appreciate these characters more than me.

However, I do appreciate the opportunity. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Books Second Time Around 2017

Books Second Time Around has been around in Kuching for the past years.  The standard variables are :

  • They will be in Hills Shopping Mall
  • They will be here in November and December
  • There are lots of books
  • There are lots of titles
  • Some books are super old 
  • Some are relatively new - depends on your ability to locate
  • All books are second hand
  • They are very reasonably priced
  • I love going there
  • I am scared to go there as I know I will leave the place rich in books but poorer in wallet
  • It's actually the only time I go to Hills Shopping Mall
  • I went there last night
  • I know I will go again...and again...and again...

They have a whole section this year just for Chicken Soup.

I am in trouble.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Books without k become boos!!

Is it even possible to wish someone 'Happy Halloween' when it's a season that is associated with fear and tricks and pranks?

Anyway,  Halloween  is a culture that is not celebrated in my part of the world but due to cultural exposure and commercialism, Halloween is being celebrated here in recent years and it's mostly associated with parties and dressing up in costumes, having fun and etc.  It certainly is not a family celebration and I quite doubt that those partying Halloween style even know what and why they are celebrating.  In my opinion, it's just very much a case of an excuse to have fun

Anyway, I would just associate this celebration of boos!! with some pretty creepy books. that I have in my collections and which I must just have a go at them once I am done with what's keeping me away from reading.

What are the titles? you might ask :)...well in the spirit of treat or trick, let me firstly present to you, my version of Trick or Treat.

First up, a trick in the form of  Investigating the Unexplained by Paul Roland.  This book have contents such as ancient mysteries, paranormal puzzles, extra-terrestarial enigmas and comes with some interesting photos too.   However, the whole thing can very well be a hoax and turns out to be a trick after all right?

Reader's Digest Great Ghost Stories have been sitting on my shelf for ages.  It is a collection of short stories from authors such as Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Emile Zola and even Frederick Forsyth and Elizabeth Gaskell.

I have half the mind to read one story one Halloween but it would then take me more than twenty years to finish it!!!  How about one story a month for the next one year?  Should be quite a treat to read them don't you think?

So, which do you prefer?  Trick or Treat?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Mayada, Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson

Synopsis :

A member of one of the most distinguished and honored families in Iraq, Mayada grew up surrounded by wealth and royalty. 

But when Saddam Hussein’s regime took power, she was thrown into cell 52 in the infamous Baladiyat prison with seventeen other nameless, faceless women from all walks of life. 

To ease their suffering, these “shadow women” passed each day by sharing their life stories. Now, through Jean Sasson, Mayada is finally able to tell her story—and theirs—to the world.

This is what I say :

By the fact that I am having this post, you might probably would have guessed that I brought this title with me on a recent holiday.   

Mayada, Daughter of Iraq is a real story...pretty much an autobiography and I am always caution in reviewing such books.  I mean, who am I to review what a person has gone through and say that it's a good read or otherwise.

All I want to say about Mayada is that I am humbled by her.  It is heartbreaking and I was quite reluctant to continue at times but yet,I want to know what happened to her and the other women. 

I got to find out what happen to her but not so much the other women in the cell.  I think neither did she.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Exchange (2 for 1 deal)

Recently, I took eight titles from my collection that I no longer read and have them exchanged for new titles.

The place where this took place is a coffee cafe in town that hosts a book corner.  Their offer is 'two for one' that is for patrons to bring and exchange two titles/books for one title/book from their collection.

Some might say 'hey, that's not fair, shouldn't it be a one for one' but to me it is quite okay.  I do not mind exchanging two titles that I no longer read anyway for a title that I would want to try reading.  Yes, I would end up with less books but when reading it concern, quantity is not the game plan here.  Moreover they are not selective of the titles and accepted all the titles that I brought whereas I have a choice of my preferred titles from their shelves.

So, from the eight books that I brought, I selected four of the above and the madamoiselle  was kind enough to let me take another title when she saw me still browsing through the shelves even after the exchange.

And with that I increased my TBR pile by another five titles. 

With author such as Maeve Binchy, Nicholas Sparks and Amy Tan, among others, I think it's a good deal and am extremely happy.

I have been so good in managing my inflow of new titles the whole year.  In fact, I am still managing that pretty well as I have not been doing any book shopping this year..or not that I can remember. :)

I can't wait to go through them but due to current commitment, these will have to wait till December.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Holiday Read

If you have been looking through my post of previous years, you will find a pattern of the importance I placed on what I termed 'Holiday Read', i.e. simply, novels that I would want to read while I was on holidays.

Sometimes having the right book or wrong book (for that matter) can make or break a holiday as it affects my mood. The right book will just compliment everything whereas a wrong one would just throw me off tangent.

Well, I have not been on much holidays the recent years except for a couple here and there and the recent one here but there's just one more coming right up and I am so excited as to what to bring along with me...I am excited about where I am going too for that matter!

It's a holiday with some friends (I haven't had holidays with friends for like many, many and plenty of many years) and we're going to the land of beautiful people and plastic surgery and no! we're not going for that but we would happy just to be admiring the many beautiful people from this country.

So, which books coming along to this amazing trip...

First contender is Dreamscapes by Tamara McKinlley just because the book is rather light and the cover's pretty too.

Next is Take a Look at Me Now by Miranda Dickinson as the story is about a holiday and it's a chic lite so why not since I am on a chic lite type of holiday.

Last but not least, Mayada by Jean Sasson decided to make itself known to me of it's intention to be part of the contenders.  Although will be heavy read in nature, it has much to offer as well.

So, which do you think should be my holiday read?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nothing Lasts Forever by Sidney Sheldon

Image selected from web.  I think that's the cover of the copy I read years ago.
Synopsis :

Three young doctors-their hopes, their dreams, their unexpected desires...

Dr. Paige Taylor: She swore it was euthanasia, but when Paige inherited a million dollars from a patient, the D.A. called it murder.

Dr. Kat Hunter: She vowed never to let another man too close again-until she accepted the challenge of a deadly bet.

Dr. Honey Taft: To make it in medicine, she knew she'd need something more than the brains God gave her.

Racing from the life-and-death decisions of a big major hospital to the tension-packed fireworks of a murder trial, Nothing Lasts Forever lays bare the ambitions and fears of healers and killers, lovers and betrayers.

This is what I say :

I don't think this is the first time I am reading Nothing Lasts Forever.  I have a feeling I read it before as the story was quite familiar but I just couldn't remember it.  If I read it, it must be before I started this blog as it wasn't reviewed so I guess it's quite okay... to re-read it I mean.

It is still pretty much enjoyable to read this again (that is if I read it before) as story wise, it wasn't that spectacular but where novels by Sidney Sheldon are concerned, it's the way he wrote it that made them special.

This time round, I actually read an e-copy so there's no book cover.  I found the above image from the web and I remember reading a few titles that was published as such (most probably in the 90s) and that's probably when I read this particular title.  I might even owned a copy at one time but I certainly don't now so I might have given it away.

Like most Sidney Sheldon's heroine, the doctors featured are all pretty, capable, strong and vulnerable. It's pretty much a successful formula and certain delivers when you're looking for an entertaining read.

Anyway, it was great to read this again and this post better be a reminder so I don't forget about reading it.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Last Night At Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

Synopsis : 

Heartbreak, headlines and Hermes – welcome to Brooke's new world…

Brooke and Julian live a happy life in New York – she's the breadwinner working two jobs and he's the struggling musician husband. Then Julian is discovered by a Sony exec and becomes an overnight success – and their life changes for ever.

Soon they are moving in exclusive circles, dining at the glitziest restaurants, attending the most outrageous parties in town and jetting off to the trendiest hotspots in LA.

But Julian's new-found fame means that Brooke must face the savage attentions of the ruthless paparazzi. And when a scandalous picture hits the front pages, Brooke's world is turned upside down. Can her marriage survive the events of that fateful night at Chateau Marmont? It's time for Brooke to decide if she's going to sink or swim…

This is what I say :

I wasn't expecting this with such title and such cover.  I'ts pretty misleading in my opinion. I mean I get the 'Last Night' part and I also quite get the Chateau Marmont part but putting these together to form the title...I don't get that.

But you know what, I love that pair of shoes on the cover (there's a few version of the cover and the above image was on the one I read) so I am not going to harp too much on the cover and title and just go on with the story.

It's a chic lite as expected and it explores the dynamics of a couple when one of them became a superstar.

While I do get that Brooke is an independent woman, I don't really get her at times too.  But I do feel for her being caught in a situation like a fish outside the water and thus she's just flapping around trying to get back into the water, into the life she once knew.

It was pretty entertaining at first but I got real frustrated with it halfway through and I just wanted it to end.  However, I quite like it towards the last chapter or so and it was an enjoyable read so at the end, was pretty happy with it 

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern

Synopsis :
Ever wondered where lost things go?
Ever since the day her classmate vanished, Sandy Shortt has been haunted by what happens when something – or someone – disappears. Finding has become her goal.
Jack Ruttle is desperate to find his younger brother who vanished into thin air a year ago. He spots an ad for Sandy's missing persons agency and is certain that she will answer his prayers and find his brother.
But then Sandy disappears too, stumbling upon a place that is a world away from the only one she has ever known. Now all she wants, more than anything, is to find her way home.
This is what I say :
At one time of my reading life, I was pretty crazy about Cecelia's title.  It was one collection that I want to ensure it's complete in my shelf.  That craze has since passed but I still enjoy Cecelia's titles once in a while.  My all time favourite has to be Rosie Dunne aka Love, Rosie aka Where Rainbow Ends which I read about 2 or was it 3 times and this is followed pretty closely by If You Cold See Me Now.
There's a couple more 'flings' with Cecelia's other titles but so far, nothing memorable but A Place Called Here is pretty unique by itself.
Imagine a place where all things which are lost in this world go to...socks, homework, assignments, keys and even human being!  Once they're there, they can't leave.  How do they get to is not minute you're here and the next minute you're there...I mean Here. :)
I am still marveling at the author's creativity and unique imagination in coming out with such one of its kind story line.  I know that if I want to read something whimsical and cute, I just have to pick up a title by Cecelia Ahern and that's exactly what I would get...uniquely whimsical and whimsically unique and that's how A Place Called Here is.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Synopsis :

When Elspeth Noblin dies of cancer, she leaves her London apartment to her twin nieces, Julia and Valentina. These two American girls never met their English aunt, only knew that their mother, too, was a twin, and Elspeth her sister. Julia and Valentina are semi-normal American teenagers--with seemingly little interest in college, finding jobs, or anything outside their cozy home in the suburbs of Chicago, and with an abnormally intense attachment to one another.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders Highgate Cemetery in London. They come to know the building's other residents. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword puzzle setter suffering from crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; Marjike, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including--perhaps--their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment and life behind.

This is what I say :

I quite like The Time Traveler's Wife written by this author which I read around this time last year.  I remembering being real caught up the story and still loving it even now.  With that, I must say I have high expectation for Her Fearful Symmetry.

I bought this book from another reader and kept it for quite a while and only decided to read it during a recent holiday.

The story line started well.  I thought the novel has potential. Unfortunately, it didn't last.  Not that it wasn't good but just I didn't like how the story line took a turn for something rather morbid (in my opinion) and I just not willing and able to accept it.  I mean, how could she do that?  That's selfishness to the next level!!!  Just couldn't take it!!!

And then there's this side story of Martin and his wife Marjike, I really do not know how this fits into the storyline.  Other than Martin being a neighbor and an extremely OCD one for that matter, how does all this fit into what the author is trying to tell?

If there's a movie adaptation for this title, I think visually, it would be quite interesting, morbid and exciting at the same time.  For once, I think would prefer a movie adaptation rather than the book.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

Synopsis :

Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man. Soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate. Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother's life. Now he's a priest who lives by a law of love and compassion. It is powerful men and hypocrites who abide by legal law but eschew the law of love that most incense Danny. As an avenging angel, he believes it is his duty to show them the error of their ways, at any cost. 

Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in that pursuit.But when Danny and Renee's paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of them may make it out of this hunt alive. 

This is what I say :

The Priest's Graveyard is not Ted Dekker's usual supernatural thriller.  Instead, it is more a vigilante psychotic suspense thriller that kept me glued to it's pages for 3 days.

It's a good thing that I was super free for those three days and I was able to gave it the attention it wanted.  It was a great 3 day. *happy face*

I didn't like The Forbidden written by Ted Dekker with Tosca Lee.  I was pretty ok with House written by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti which I read last year.

This is one title written by just Dekker himself that I am reading although I have with me another series of his that I haven't read.  The storyline for The Priest's Graveyard was quite simple.  However, the author being a 'superstar' author that he is, is able to really explore human emotions, dimensions and makes you question morality and if one two wrong does make one right.  And also how damaged can one person be that they appeared undamaged. Sorry, can't share more without spoilers!

However, character wise, I didn't warm up to either Danny or Renee but they seems to warm up to each other pretty fast and pretty well.

Overall, it was a wonderful book to start off my holiday.

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 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 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?