Saturday, December 29, 2018

Reflections 2018

The time has come to pause and just think back on 2018.  

How fast 2018 went.  I still clearly remember this time last year and with a blink, more than three hundred and sixty over days have gone by...

2018 is a relatively emotional year...

Trust was broken and mended but will it be the same? I really can't tell. I really hope for it to be.

Stress level was high due to personal yearning for excellence and which is measured in the form of grade glad to report that I am getting there...

I broke some barriers in my travel adventure when I went on a solo trip to the land of street food and bubble tea.  It was quite common for me to travel solo for work in my previous work but it's my first for a leisure trip.  I quite like it! haha..  It was also a wonderful time I had with the princess in the lion city even though it's just for a couple of days over the weekend.

I bought twelve books this year, the purchase of which is recorded in this blog here, here, here and here and too.

I read only about 36 books this year is is rather all time low but it's been like that for couple of years already so I guess I have to accept it.

PurpleQueenFairyReads will end the year with 55 posts which is 5 posts more than last two years which is rather unexpected but a pleasant unexpectation.  I would be happy to end with equal number of posts with the previous years but to be more is indeed a bonus.  Here's a cheer to an equally good reading year for 2019 and hopefully I can achieve target of 60 posts for the year.

I don't have any specific favourite book this year but I quite like Blood Sister by Jane Corry and Beach Music by Pat Conroy.

Reflecting back, there is 'something' that I though would be established this year but perhaps this is not the season for it to be so.

Come what may, I am thankful for all that happen in 2018 but it's time to say good bye and close the page and start a new page for 2019.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018

In three days time, it's CHRISTMAS!

I can't believe how time flies as after Christmas it's NEW YEAR! and I can't say I am ready for it!

It's been a busy month so am looking forward to some QUIET TIME for Christmas with my books and I.

Here's wishing each and everyone of you









and to the Chinese, Happy Winter Solstice Celebration for today...

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Synopsis :

Audrey develops a anxiety disorder as a result of an unpleasant incident and she can't leave the house. she can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then Audrey meets Linus, her brother's gaming teammate and she finds that she can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she's never been able to do with anyone before.

With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again - well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she'd thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

This is what I say :

This is Sophie's first YA genre.

I can't say I like it.  I actually got a bit confused with it as I was waiting to find out what 'unpleasant incident' that caused Audrey to develop such disorder.  It was never mentioned.  It was just hinted that it was truly, really unpleasant and that quite a few girls were involved.  I think Audrey was bullied in some ways by these girls and it was be a horrifying experience.

Even then, I can't really find the 'umph' in this title.  Perhaps the author is being careful on how she would write this seeing it's a bit off the beaten track fro her.

The script narration part was unique and interesting and certain gave the book some dimensions.  

Other than that, I still prefer the 'old' Sophie Kinsella although I guess it's a good try by the author to attempt something different.

I read this during my recent weekend gateaway and it was just the right book...neither too light nor too heavy.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Second Time Around Books - Book purchase #5

Image from my insta-story

The Second time Around Book Fair is annual event in my city for the past ten or so years.

Initially, when the fair was here, there would be quite an excitement in the household for the princess and I.  Unfortunately, as time goes by, the excitement also got less and less and this year, we didn't even talk about going at all.

This could due to the fact that the titles and selections are not very exciting after a while as the books are not very new and for me it's also due to the fact that I have many unread books lying around that I am not motivated to go.

Having said that, I nearly purchased a few titles while in Kinokuniya in the capital city last week.  Kinokuniya's selection is just too fantastic.  I found books that I am not able to find in mainstream bookstores.  I have to physically forced myself out of the bookstore!

Anyway, I did have a bit of time the other day after dinner and since I was in that part of the city, I decided to drop by The Second Time Around Book Fair just to 'check it out'

'Check it out' I did and I walked away with two books :
  • Room by Emma Monoghue which is a best seller and this particular copy is super new.
  • The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos  Ruiz Zafon.  I love this series originally written in Spanish and translated to English.  I read The Shadow of the Wind years ago (more than 10 years) and and I read the second title the Angel's Games about 5 years ago and what I really want is the third book Prisoner of Heaven but I can't seems to come across it all these years.  Anyway, I am happy to get my hands on The Shadow of The Wind.  Going to read it again...soon.....
Anyway, both titles cost about US$4 only for both copies so it's a good purchase.

With that, this made my books purchases for the year at 12 books. *pretty happy".

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Work Trip To The Capital City

I will have to make a trip to the capital city early December.

It is a most unexpected trip as I wasn't sure if I can obtained the approval to attend an event to which I wanted to, similar to what I attended last year.  To my pleasant surprise, boss gave approval.  (so, boss, in reading, thank you very much! Much appreciated for the opportunity).

The event will be held in the same venue as last year's but I have booked myself in a better hotel nearer to the venue and hopefully much safer.  It was a pay '2 nights for 3 nights offer' so it is an extremely good deal as it's just 5 mins walk to the event venue.

At the same time, I am extremely excited to check out the wonderful year end Christmas decorations which will be be up especially at the two bigger malls in the city as both malls are within walking distance from the hotel too.

Since I am on my reading marathon, one of the titles is coming along with me.  Just don't know which one yet!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Reading Marathon 2018

As at this time tomorrow, I am a 'free being' :) I would have submitted my assignments and with no examinations this semester, I am officially done for this semester. *doing the happy dance*. It's a pretty tough semester with much distractions but come what may, I did my best.

I will thus start my book marathon.   I started it last year and I thought it would be interesting to continue it this year.  The thought of dedicating a whole month to reading sounds very appealing.

Having said that, I still have a lot (and I mean, a lot) of other commitments so I really do not know how I will do but for this marathon but let's just give it a go and evaluate from there.

I have also kinda identify the following titles to take part in my marathon :

  • Death In Holy Orders by P.D. James - been in my shelf long enough
  • Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson - didn't make it to my recent gateaway
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - ditto
  • The Copper Beach by Maeve Binchy - it has been a while since I read this author
  • Simple Genius by David Baldacci - just to have at least one thriller in the marathon

These are pre-selected based on my intention.  I did this selection in between my assignments (as part of self motivating!) I really do not know if I would stick to this selection but I will give it a try.

You might however think '5 titles only mah...what's the big deal?  What kinda reading marathon is this with only 5 titles?' 

If you think like that, I quite agree with you as I had the same thoughts too but I didn't have time to select more titles so yes, there should be at least a couple of titles more.

All I can say is let the race begin!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Weekend Gateaway #4 2018

Image from web.  Credit to the creator. 

Due to some prior commitment this year, I wasn't able to make any long distance holiday plan. In fact, I wasn't able to really make any plans at all as my time depended on some external schedule which I can only know for sure pretty recently.

Thus I can only make short weekend plans as and when I am able to and this trip would most probably be the last weekend gateaway for the year but if possible, I might squeeze in another trip to the capital city.

This time round is just a flight away to the lion city as a reward for the princess after a hard fought public examination. Initially, we were supposed to travel to Osaka but due to some circumstances I wasn't able to bring her to the land of the rising sun this year so a short couple of days trip to somewhere nearer would have to do for now.

We are pretty excited as we have not travel just the two of us for quite a while and to be honest, she has no idea where we are going as it's supposed to be a surprised!  She thought she's pretty clever (which she is) with her guesses and deduction but she mustn't forget dealing with the queen here and she still has much to learn! *smirk*

Anyway for just these few days, I plan to bring just one book with me due to luggage restriction and it's just a short trip.

After much consideration, I decided to bring along either......

Take A Look At Me Now by Miranda Dickinson or Dark Places by Gilian Flynn. One is a chic lite and the other one is a psychotic thriller.  It's a short trip so I can only bring one.

Which shall it be?

Or perhaps I will bring a totally different title along with me at the very last minute.

You will only know from my forthcoming posts :)

In the meantime, can't wait for some R&R (although it's just for a few days)!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Throne of Glass (Book #1) by Sarah J Maas

Synopsis :

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

This is what I say :

I heard a lot about this author. In fact, I was recommended her books a few years back when she was in my country for some promotional tour.  I wasn't keen to at that time but have been keeping an eye out for her titles ever since but most of the time, her books are at retail price so I didn't explore further.

I happen to come across this copy as a e-book recently so decided to give it a go.  Throne of Glass is the first book of the series that features assassin, Celaena Sardothien.  From here, the story evolved to another six or so more titles in the series.

Even though classified as young adult fantasy fiction, I quite enjoy this as while Celaena might be an assassin, she is still an eighteen year old girl and there's some level of naivety in her that can be endearing.  However, don't let that fool you as she can just cut your throat at the next sentence.

I think the author doesn't know yet how her character will evolve and thus unable to pair her with either Prince Dorian or Captain Westfall although personally I would think she's better suited for the captain but then we never know.

I quite like Celaena as a character and I quite like the storyline of Throne of Glass.  If  I have the chance, I will get hold of this collection.

The first book is followed by the second title, Crown of Midnight.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Books Blessing

Recently, I posted on Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angel that I just read and I mentioned that it was a gift from a relative.

Actually, my aunt gave me more than just one book....she gave me a few and I thought I'll share them with you here.

Yes, they are all Sidney Sheldon's title and they are all double titles copies.  Needless to say, I have read all these titles and some of them even a few times with If Tomorrow Comes being a long time favourite and Windmills of the Gods both of which I re-read a few years ago and even Nothing Last Forever which I just re-read last year is here as well.

These are all keepers and I am sure I would want to re-read them again in the near future.

Thank you aunty CK for remembering my love for reading and thank you for these wonderful books.  Much love to you.

On the other hand, although I didn't buy them, these books does add on to my collections and I need to rearrange my collections on my shelves once again

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Toy Cemetery by William W. Johnstone

Image result for toy cemetery

Synopsis :

When Jay Clute was a kid, he was terrified of his Aunt Cary's toy collection- -of their staring eyes and limp arms. 

Now his aunt is dead, and it all belongs to him. Nothing has changed--not the painted smiles, the garish clown-like colors . . . 

or the tiny hands dripping with bright red blood.

This is what I say :

I actually do not know what I just read.  

Toy Cemetery is confusing and disturbing.  It is both fascinatingly disgusting and disgustingly fascinating at the same time.

I actually read an e-copy of this book and have no idea about this author.  The author certainly doesn't mince his words and uses it pretty liberally both literally and figuratively.

The story itself is pretty disturbing and even the ending leave much to the imagination.  I can say the ending of the book doesn't signify the ending of the story.

Actually, I don't know what I am talking about.  I am still disturbed by this title.  Even if you are a fan of horror, I won't be recommending this title to you.

However, in view of Halloween round the corner, I guess this book is at it's appropriate season.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon

Synopsis :

Jennifer Parker is brilliant, beautiful and bold.  A lawyer, the most glamorous and successful in America, she dominates the court with her sparkling intelligence and persuasive charms.  She seems unbeatable - but is she really?

When Jennifer fells in love, she can hardly believe her luck.  Adam Warner is handsome, smart, destined to be the next President of the United States - and married...

Jennifer finds herself pregnant and abandoned.  Although determined not to allow her broken heart to get in the way of her success, she soon realises that being alone makes her ever more vulnerable to those who seek to destroy her.

This is what I say :

The last time I read Rage of Angels would probably be more than twenty years ago when Sidney Sheldon was the rage then.  I think I used to have a copy of the book but I can't remember where it is now...probably I lent it to a friend and never got it back!

Anyway, one of my aunties gave me a few copies from her collections recently when she' doing some housekeeping.  

This is a double title copy and so far, I only have time to read Rage of Angels.  It's nice to be reacquainted with Sydney's heroine again.  I can't say I enjoy this title now as much as I did the last time but it was still refreshing and enjoyable.

I wonder if the estate of Sydney Sheldon would commission Tilly Bagshawe to write a sequel?

Anyway, I still have a few titles title so I can't wait to go through them during the holidays.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Devils and Dust (A Jack Keller Novel) by J.D. Rhoades

Synopsis :

“You bring death,” the voice said, “and Hell follows with you.” Relentless bounty hunter Jack Keller returns in Devils and Dust, the long-awaited fourth installment of the critically acclaimed series from award-nominated author J. D. Rhoades. 

Keller’s been in exile, living a quiet life in the desert, since his disappearance after the cataclysmic events of 2008’s award-winning Safe and Sound. Now his old friend and former employer Angela has tracked him down and needs his help. Oscar Sanchez, Angela’s husband and Keller’s best friend, has disappeared while investigating what happened to the sons he was trying to bring to America. If anyone can find Oscar, Keller can, but along the way he has to confront his own demons and his unresolved feelings for Angela — now his best friend’s wife. 

Keller’s quest takes him from a corrupt Mexican border town to a prison camp in the swamps of South Carolina and pits him against human traffickers, violent drug lords, and a vicious group of white supremacists perpetuating an evil as old as civilization itself in the name of God. All of them are about to learn a hard lesson: if Jack Keller's after you, he's bringing Hell with him.

This is what I say :

I read this as an e-book.  I didn't have much expectation.  It was a good thing.  It was a pretty good book.  Thrilling and exciting and momentum picks up towards the last few chapters.

Jack Keller can be any of those tough guy.  There are elements of Jack Richer (from Lee Child) in him.  Nothing really memorable about him but like all other heroes, he's very much a tormented soul.

I never knew of this author.  This is a great introduction to this author as I am very open to read his other titles and his other characters which had cameo here....characters like the 'Iron Hourse' squad and the FBI lady which didn't make an appearance but who's name was mentioned with much awe.Overall, Devils and Dust is an easy read and fans of thriller will certainly not be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Final Theory by Mark Alpert

Synopsis :

David Swift, a professor at Columbia University, is called to the hospital to comfort his mentor, a physicist who's been brutally tortured. Before dying, the old man wheezes "Einheitliche Feldtheorie." The Theory of Everything. The Destroyer of Worlds. Could this be Einstein's proposed Unified Theory--a set of equations that combines the physics of galaxies with the laws of atoms? Einstein never succeeded in discovering it. Or did he? 

Within hours of hearing his mentor's last words, David is running for his life. The FBI and a ruthless mercenary are vying to get their hands on the long-hidden theory. Teaming up with his old girlfriend, a brilliant Princeton scientist, David frantically works out Einstein's final theory to reveal the staggering scope of its consequences. 

This is what I say :

Final Theory is written by an actual scientist (physicist) so it's as real as it can get in terms of terminologies and getting the formulas correctly. 

A thriller in nature, the story started with murder and death and some codes being passed on and shared with the main character and with the authorities and mercenaries hot on his heels, he has to ensure that he gets to the theory first before the others caught up with him.

Actually, the story reminds me of The Da Vinci Code but with scientific formula instead of secret codes. David Swift is also a university professor like Robert Langdon.

With the similarities, it's all in the way the author wrote it and presented the story line  and it was thrilling and captivating enough for much enjoyment especially for those who love thriller.

This is the first title by Mark Alpert published in 2009 and he did a sequel to this entitled The Omega Theory which was published in 2011 and none thereafter for this series.  He has another series (which has better ratings in goodreads) but which I have yet to check out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Stepchild by Joanne Fluke

Synopsis :

Haunted by her dreams . . .

Kathi Ellison is an English literature major at the University of California in Berkeley, living with her boyfriend off-campus. She is also the daughter of a candidate for the U.S. Senate and his wife, a role that could affect her life should her father win the election. 

But before she can consider her future, Kathi must first come to terms with her past. A car accident when she was four-years-old killed her mother and left her in a coma for several days. The migraines and nightmares that plagued her as a child have recently returned with a vengeance, leaving her mind full of visions that feel more like memories. 

Memories that are not her own. Memories of a frightened and traumatized child named Sheri Walker. 

Memories linked to her mother's death that her stepmother doesn't want her to remember . . .

This is what I say :

The Stepchild is quite entertaining.  I was looking for something mysterious, spooky and haunting and while The Stepchild doesn't really fit the description, thinking further, it kinda does fit the description to a certain extend.

It was quite chilling and I have an idea where the story was going and I was quite right. The author does throw in something which if explained would fit the elements of spookiness and haunting.

It must be mentioned that the story was written in the 80s and such the absence of telecommunication tool was very much in minimal then and it was pretty apparent. 

I also felt that te story was rather rushed and before you know,  it's the end and I was left with a 'what the ****' moment before my brain woke up, connects and realise that the story has ended.

Anyway, as an interim read, I have no complains.  I read The Stepchild as an e-book.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Beach Music by Pat Conroy

Synopsis :

A Southerner living abroad, Jack McCall is scarred by tragedy and betrayal. His desperate desire to find peace after his wife’s suicide draws him into a painful, intimate search for the one haunting secret in his family’s past that can heal his anguished heart. 

Spanning three generations and two continents, from the contemporary ruins of the American South to the ancient ruins of Rome, from the unutterable horrors of the Holocaust to the lingering trauma of Vietnam, Beach Music sings with life’s pain and glory. 

It is a novel of lyric intensity and searing truth, another masterpiece among Pat Conroy’s legendary and beloved novels. 

This is what I say :

If you read my post here, I must update that I didn't bring this book with me for that particular trip.  It's just too heavy and bulky.  At the last minute, I chosen a lighter paperback.

Having said that, I have finished reading this title and it was a pretty good read. To think that this copy sat not on my shelf but on a coffee table together with a few other titles for a few years as I used them as decorative items.  The reason it had that 'role' was because I thought it would be a boring read! How wrong can I be! hahah...

Beach Music certainly wasn't boring.  Told from the perspective of Jack McCall who couldn't deal with his wife's suicide, he exiled himself and his young daughter to Europe and doesn't want anything to do with his friends and family back home.

Until he was called home and from there he learned the stories of generation past that might help him deal with all that he has to deal with.

Now, the title, why Beach Music?  There's some reviewer who commented that it's the 'shag dance music' that they used to dance to in their youth.  However, personally, I felt that it's the music that calls one calls Jack home, back to the beach and the house that falls into the sea where it all started.   It's also the natural music that calls the loggerhead back to the sea once they are hatched and loggerhead conservation that features quite extensively throughout the book. 

I guess if you read in between the lines, you can actually see the similarities of these creatures in the lives of the characters.

The writing is quite beautiful and there's a few quotable quotes that again, if you look deeper, can be found throughout the book.

My only qualm would be that character developing is rather poor especially with some of the minor characters that was mentioned once and then never heard of Martha.  And also probably that the author packed too many sub-story line into this title that it got slightly overcrowded.

But still, it's a thumbs up :)

Friday, September 21, 2018

Book Purchase #4 - September 2018

Ehem......hello...I can't believe here I am again with another such post!

I thought I was being rather good in managing my purchases but after this post, a phone call came of some books that's available at a charity sales and the call asked if I'm interested?

One look at the titles, I was hooked and I put in a reservation for 6 titles. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it,  3 of the titles that I wanted was reserved by others so I ended up with only 3 titles.

These are all titles by Jeffery Archer and forms part of a chronicles or series with about 6 to 7 titles.  I had the first title and have been on the look out for the others but I wasn't willing to pay retail as it would really put a dent in my wallet.

So I guess I can't say no towards getting them at a rather good price and contributing towards charity at the same time.

As some of the titles were taken by others, it will take a while for me to complete the chronicles.  Wish me luck!

ps with this, my books purchase for the year is at 10.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

Synopsis :

San Francisco art patron Bibi Chen has planned a journey of the senses along the famed Burma Road for eleven lucky friends. But after her mysterious death, Bibi is forced to watch from the spirit world as the eleven travelers bumble through their adventures.

Determined to make the best of it, the pleasure seekers embark on a trail paved with uncertainty, questionable food and tribal curses.  Then, on Christmas morning, they cruise across a misty lake - and vanish.  

Coloured with picaresque characters and haunting imagery, this mesmerizing tale is about the actions we choose, the moral questions we might ask ourselves, and above all, the deeply personal answers we seek when happy endings seem far out of reach.

This is what I say :

I have not read a novel by Amy Tan for quite a long time.   Although Saving Fish From Drowning is not a new title,  I have never come across this title before.  I got this copy from a '2 for 1' deal in October last year and I am most certainly glad I did although I have to give up 2 titles for this 1 title.

I have quite forgotten how Amy's books are like even though I have read her classic titles such as The Joy Luck Club and The Kitchen God's Wife.  All I know is that she does write about her Chinese heritage and culture which is a major influence in her writings.

It is slightly different for Saving Fish From Drowning.  Although the story is told from the view point of a Chinese lady (or rather, a dead Chinese lady), the Chinese cultural elements are not prominent.  Maybe because she set the story in Burma or Myanmar and a majority of her characters are of mix ethnic and nationalities, it doesn't have have the 'Amy Tan' flavor.

That doesn't mean it's bad but it's just different and because I quite forgotten her earlier work (like what I mentioned above), this absence of 'Amy Tan's flavor' doesn't bother me much.

I quite enjoyed Saving Fish From Drowning.  In fact, it's the second book I bought with me during my recent gateaway.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Synopsis :

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning.  Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Kitty can't speak and has no memory of the accident that's to blame. She lives in an institution, unlikely ever to leave. But that doesn't keep her from being frightened when she encounters an eerily familiar face. 

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. She's struggling to make ends meet and to forget the past. When a teaching job at a prison opens up, she takes it, despite her fears. Maybe this is her chance to set things right. Then she starts to receive alarming notes; next, her classroom erupts in violence.

Meanwhile, someone is watching both Kitty and Alison. Someone who never forgot what happened that day. Someone who wants revenge. And only another life will do. . .

This is what I say :

My copy of Blood Sisters is an ARC given to me about a year ago.  I actually thought it's a horror novel and wanted to keep it for near the halloween season.   However, Blood Sisters  is not a horror genre but can be considered a psychological thriller.

It started off rather confusingly with snippets of phrases and it took a while for me to get the timeline and characters in syn.  Once I have done that, it was a very smooth read right till the end.

I really enjoy reading Blood Sisters.   The plot was thrilling enought to keep me guessing and flipping the pages till the very end and even at the very end, the author throws in a surprise which made me did a double take and reflecting back on what I have read as it does change my perspective of one of the characters and made me went 'wow!' in a 'psychotically admiring' way :)

With a rather high rating in, this title is highly recommended if you are keen for a relaxing yet thrilling escape with the sisters.

This is actually one of the titles I brought with me when I had my weekend gateaway last month.  The sisters were good company when I have to hours to kill while waiting for my connecting flight.  I actually bought two books with me which is a good thing as I finished reading Blood Sisters during my trip itself and the other copy came in useful for the returning connecting flight.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

Synopsis :

Piper McCloud lives with her normal ma and pa on a normal farm in normal Lowland County.  But Piper isn't your normal girl.  Ever since Piper was a baby, she's been able to hover a few feet off the ground, and if the people of Lowland County knew she could fly, they would have something to say about it. 

So, it only seems best that Piper be sent away to I.N.S.A.N.E., the top secret school for children with extraordinary abilities like hers.  Her new friends have powers like telekinesis, X-ray vision, and the ability to create their own weather.

Piper likes her new life at school, but soon, she realizes things arn't as they seem.  Now, the school she was sent to for her own protection might be the most dangerous place she's ever been.

This is what I say :

I can't remember how this title ended up in my collection.  All I remember is that it's a long time residence in my bookshelf but not at my part of shelf but rather, the princess's.  Anyway, while clearing the shelf recently, I happen to just read the synopsis and thought it might be a good idea to make it my 'traffic read' .

I am quite glad I did.  Although The Girl Who Could Fly is more relevant for teens and pre-teens, it is still entertaining enough and I do enjoy it.  Actually, it's Piper who's entertaining. She is just so bubbly, hyper and generally optimistic and all time high. :)

This book has elements of Mrs Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children but is more mild and certainly more relevant for the age group mentioned above.  There wasn't much of any characters development and the focus is very much just on Piper.  Even think, the development focus on just the storyline but then as this is for pre-teens and teens, perhaps it's intentionally so, so that children of that age group would be captivated by it.

The sequel to this title is The Boy Who Knew Everything and I think it ends there.  I don't have the sequel and I am not sure if I would want to read it too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book Purchase #3 - August 2018

Just when I was feeling pleased with myself that I only bought 2 books since early this year, I ended up purchasing 5 books recently.

It was a Popular Sales held in Boulevard Mall during the school holidays recently and I was at the mall for an event.  A quick 10 mins visit ended up with the following purchases :

  • Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger - because it's so cheap!
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I have been watching the series entitled Sharp Objects which is by this author and I have not read her books so why not...and it's so cheap!
  • Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater - just because the price is unbelievable and if I don't purchase, I might regret it. 

So, in case you are wondering, my every other statement above ends with 'it's so cheap!' How cheap can it be!  Well, I only paid an amount that equals to USD3.00 for all five books! Yup! how not to buy.  Just for the fun of it, let's convert to other currency....£2.20 or 2.52 Euro for all 5 copies.

These are new books...not pre-loved copies.

Let me say it again....I paid about USD3.00 for all 5 books!

This is one of the best deal ever.

And this up my books purchases to 7 books this year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Weekend Gateaway #3 2018

Clipart image taken from web. Credit to the creator (tap.sf)
Yup, I have a gateaway coming up this weekend.  Following  #1 which was to the beach and #2 which was to the capital city, #3 is slightly further away.

It's a trip to reward myself after rather hectic month(s) and a motivation for the forthcoming hectic month(s) ahead too.

There will be many firsts for this trip which I might share after the trip but then I might not as this isn't really the platform for that.

Anyway, you know me, the first thing I would do is to decide on which book or books to bring with me as I do have quite a fair bit of hours to kill in between flights.

So, for this trip, the selected title to accompany me is :

Beach Music by Pat Conroy.  Actually I have started on this book and I am enjoying it so I know it would be good.  The only set back is that the book is pretty bulky and heavy so that's giving me second thoughts.

Anyway, we will see what I decided at the last minute!

Land of bubble tea and street food, here I come!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Reposting from FB - Dr Maslee Malik's top 10 Favourite Books

Saya berhasrat untuk menjadikan Malaysia sebagai negara membaca tahun 2030. Bererti, rakyat Malaysia rakyat paling banyak membaca pada tahun 2030. Kayu ukur kepada pendidikan yang berjaya ialah budaya membaca yang tinggi. Membaca ialah seruan pertama dalam Islam (al-Alaq:1).
Saya mengalu-alukan sesiapa sahaja untuk berkongsi 10 buku kegemaran mereka daripada pelbagai genre dengan tagar (hashtag) #MalaysiaMembaca. Saya mulakan dahulu dengan diri saya.
1. "The Alchemist" karya Paulo Coelho.
Perjumpaan pertama saya dengan penyelia PhD saya di University of Durham, beliau minta saya pulang dan membaca buku ini. Saya tidak faham kaitan buku dengan tesis saya. Perjumpaan seterusnya beliau minta pandangan saya tentang buku ini. Benar, buku ini tak ada kaitan dengan tesis saya, tapi ia memberikan saya semangat yang kuat untuk terus belajar dan menyiapkan PhD saya. Antara kata-kata dari novel ini yang sangat bermakna bagi saya ialah "You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say."
2. "Trust: The Social Virtue and the Creation of Prosperity" karya Francis Fukuyama
Banyak yang dihuraikan oleh Fukuyama terutama sekali tentang kesalinghubungan antara sosial dan ekonomi. Kepentingan untuk tidak bersikap individualis yang bakal merosakkan keseimbangan ekonomi negara sangat cemerlang dihuraikan oleh Fukuyama. Kata Fukuyama, “To truly esteem oneself means that one must be capable of feeling shame or self-disgust when one does not live up to a certain standard.”
3. "Manuklon" karya Rahmat Haron
Sebuah novel futuristik yang penuh dengan peristiwa kembara, dijiwai oleh manusia biasa dan klon yang saling bertentangan demi untuk mendapatkan kuasa. Golongan manusia yang ditindas oleh bangsa manuklon berjuang bermati-matian untuk membebaskan tanahair mereka manakala pemerintah manuklon pula berusaha sedaya upaya mereka untuk mempertahankan kuasa mereka. Ya, sangat banyak yang boleh kita lihat hari ini begitu real seperti yang diimajinasikan Rahmat Haron.
4. "Intelektual Masyarakat Membangun" karya Syed Hussein Alattas.
Untuk seorang ahli akademik, Syed Hussein Alattas sangat menekankan keperluan untuk ahli akademik menjadi sarjana yang bukan hanya di dalam dewan kuliah, sebaliknya di jalanan dan di tempat-tempat awam demi membangunkan pemikiran masyarakat.
5. "Rasuah" karya Syed Hussein Alattas
Syed Hussein Alattas juga sudah lama mengkritik budaya rasuah yang begitu kronik dengan memberikan sebab musabbab yang jelas bahawa budaya ini benar-benar akan merosakkan negara.
6. "Sejarah Umat Islam" karya HAMKA.
Saya sentiasa sarankan buku ini kepada pelajar saya apabila mereka mahu bermula membaca sejarah khususnya sejarah Islam. HAMKA berjaya melukiskan dengan sangat jelas tentang garis masa dan peristiwa-peristiwa penting termasuklah sedikit analisa yang menarik di dalam sepanjang sejarah Islam. Di akhirnya, HAMKA juga menceritakan bagaimana Islam sampai ke Kepulauan Melayu.
7. "Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life" karya Ismail Raji al-Faruqi.
Di dalam buku saya Risalah Buat Pemuda Muslim terbitan Telaga Biru, saya menghuraikan kepentingan tauhid dalam kehidupan seorang 'homo-Islamicus'. Tauhid syarahan Ismail Raji al-Faruqi begitu real, praktikal dan sangat besar peranannya dalam kehidupan harian kita.
8. "Al-Munqidh min al-dalal" atau diterjemahkan sebagai "Guide for The Perplexed" karya Al-Ghazali.
Ini antara buku autobiografi yang saya suka. Penuh dengan ilmu dan hikmah. Siapa yang tidak kenal Al-Ghazali? Dan siapa yang jatuh cinta terhadap buah fikirannya tetapi tidak membaca buku ini?
9. "Al-Kimiyya al-Sa'adah" karya Al-Ghazali.
Salah satu daripada elemen pendidikan yang akan diterapkan ialah kebahagiaan. Pendidikan yang menjadikan semua manusia bahagia. Konsep kebahagiaan yang begitu mendalam dihuraikan oleh al-Ghazali dalam buku ini. Hakikatnya, kata al-Ghazali, kita semua manusia yang inginkan kebahagiaan. Kebahagiaan yang paling tertinggi ialah kebahagiaan bertemu denganNya.
10. "Hikmah Hati" karya Maszlee Malik
Bukan kegemaran pada membacanya, tetapi pada menulisnya. Saya sangat terpengaruh dengan banyak karya arwah Azizi Hj. Abdullah sehingga di situlah minat saya terhadap sastera muncul dan cubaan untuk menulis karya kreatif telah saya mulakan. Buku ini masih ada di pasaran.
Dr Maszlee Malik
Menteri Pendidikan Malaysia