Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Title: The Gargoyle

Author: Andrew Davidson

Genre: Romance, Mystery/Thriller

Published: 2008, 465 pages 

Challenge: Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010

From the Cover
On a dark road in the middle of the night, a car plunges down into a ravine. The driver survives the crash, but suffers horrible burns over much of his body. As he recovers from hospital, planning his suicide, a strange woman appears at the foot of his bed, insisting she saved his life a century ago. Spanning medieval Germany, Japan, Iceland, and beyond, The Gargoyle is a mesmerising novel of death, history, obsession, and faith..

My Thoughts
Let me just begin with these four little words... I LOVED THIS BOOK. It's been awhile since I've read a novel that is filled with such raw passion and intriguing mystery, and this book definitely has both. Written in the first person, The Gargoyle centers on the narrator (nameless) and a woman called Marianne Engel. When the narrator finds himself scarred for life and hospitalised due to severe burns, a woman by the name of Marianne Engel mysteriously appears in his life. Marianne Engel is an exotic and beautiful woman who claims that she was born in Germany in the year 1300 and has known the narrator for hundreds of years. The narrator is an atheist and pessimist who thinks that his life is no longer worth living due to his grotesquely disformed figure, post car-crash. Whilst he thinks that Marianne is suffering from psychological issues, he can't help but become mesmerised by her countless stories of love, war, courage and history. As the narrator goes through the process of physical healing, Marianne closely becomes an ally in his process of emotional recovery as well.

What's most interesting about this book is that it is dark and twisted, yet invokes passion and beauty all at the same time. I guess this is mainly due to the two main characters above, where one has given up on life, whilst the other breathes life. There were two main things that kept me turning the pages furiously:

1) The constant flits between the past and the present. This is where the reader is taken from the hospital room to the pages of history, and where the mystery of how Marianne came to know the narrator is slowly unraveled.

2) The various stories of undying love and passion (as narrated by Marianne) orginating from Italy, London, Japan and Iceland. My favorite one (and I think this is true for many others who have read the book) would be the tale of the Japanese woman, Sei. 

An extremely commendable debut from Davidson, this is a highly recommended book that should not escape anyone's attention. On a final note, I found this cool book trailer from Doubleday with comments from Davidson himself. Enjoy the show!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie

Title: The Pale Horse

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

First Published: 1961, 332 pages

Challenge: Thriller & Suspense Challenge 2010

From the Cover
When an elderly priest is murdered, the killer searches the victim so roughly that his already ragged cassock is torn in the process. What was the killer looking for? And what had a dying woman confided to the priest on the death bed only hours earlier?

Mark Easterbrook and his sidekick Ginger Corrigan are determined to find out. Maybe the three women who run The Pale Horse public house, and who are rumoured to practise the ‘Dark Arts’ can provide some answers?

My Thoughts
Mark Easterbrook is a writer who through the acquaintance of a doctor and a novelist finds himself embroiled in the mysterious murder of a Priest. Through some amateurish sleuthing and with the help of his new friend Ginger, he links several other murder cases to the Priest’s death and discovers convincing clues to suggest the killings took place via witchcraft – the perfect crime where there is no murder weapon, and where the killer cannot be linked to the crime scene.

I quite enjoyed reading this book in Christie’s many collections of cozy mysteries. The way in which Christie linked magic to murder was pure genius, and it gave a completely different atmosphere to what you’d normally find in a mystery/crime novel. As usual, Christie’s books are full of red herrings and keeps you guessing ‘til the very end. Overall, an interesting yet light an easy read that is perfect for a lazy weekend.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm Back and with an Award!

Wow, it’s been more than 2 months since my last post and for that folks, I truly apologise. Life’s gone a little haywire recently, since my addiction to football (thanks to World Cup 2010) and also a major shift in my career. Anyway, I’m back now and I really do hope to catch up with the book blogging community, as well as squeeze in some time to kick-start my reading & reviews once again. I’ve also just changed my blog design, which took several pain-staking hours to complete by the way – hope you like it ;)

During this short hiatus, I received the Versatile Blogger Award, courtesy of Ms Ulat Buku. Thanks Ms UB, it really means a lot to me. In keeping up with the tradition of this award, here are 5 little things about me:

1) I love the smell, feel and taste of coffee. I really wouldn’t know what I’d do without it.

2) The one thing I cannot leave home without is my book and my Blackberry…both of which help keep my sanity when facing the ugly morning traffic.

3) If I was a contestant on Survivor and there was only one makeup item I’d be allowed to bring, it would have to be my Benefit Bad Lash Mascara. It does wonders – trust me.

4) I have a 5 year old son who is currently obsessed with the late Michael Jackson. Every morning, he treats me to his dance routine of Thriller…

5) I just finished watching The Killers and I can’t get over how hawt Ashton Kutcher was in the movie… I like very much..

And here's my top 5 picks of who I'd like to share this Award with:  

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Dead and Gone

Title: Dead & Gone (Book #9)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Paranormal

First Published: 2009, 312 pages

Challenge: The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge

From the Cover:
The vamps have been out for years, and now the weres and shifters have decided to follow the lead of the undead and reveal their existence to the ordinary world. Sookie Stackhouse already knows about them, of course - her brother turns into a panther at the full moon, she's friend to the local were pack, and Sam her boss at Merlotte's bar, is a shapeshifter.

The great revelation goes well at first - then the horribly mutilated body of a were-panther is found in the parking lot of Merlotte's, and Sookie agrees to use her telepathic talent to track down the murderer. But there is a far greater danger than the killer threatening Bon Temps: a race of unhuman beings, older, more powerful and far more secretive than the vampires or the werewolves is preparing for war. And Sookie is an all-too human pawn in their ages-old battle...

My Thoughts:
Of all the books in the series, this has to be the most chair-gripping one todate. As usual, Harris throws in a few plots all at once; there's one on the mysterious were-panther murderer, one on the power struggle between the two fairy clans and last but definitely not least, an insight into the complex love life of Ms Sookie Stackhouse.

I have to say that Harris just topped herself this time with the chilling account on the fairy war. Harris managed to dispel the idea that fairies were all pretty and glowing inside. Who would've thought fairies could be so sinister and scary?! I loved it. It was completely intense; thrilling to the very last drop and quite emotional. What was a little disappointing though (just a teeny bit), was the unfinished business of Sookie's love life. Though it sounded like Eric might have been THE ONE, the sudden re-introduction of Bill Compton in a big way completely threw off that idea. So, who will be the lucky Vamp? Or will Sookie leave both of them in the dark and settle with someone more of her own kind? Questions I'm hoping will be answered real soon...guess we'll just have to wait and see then.  

This book completes my Sookie Stackhouse Challenge, hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads. First Challenge for the year over and done with. Hurray!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Among Equals by Jeffrey Archer

Title: First Among Equals

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Genre: Fiction

First Published: 1984, 466 pages

Challenge: N/A

From the Cover
In the 1960s four ambitious new MPs take their seats at Westminster. Over three decades they share the turbulent passions of the race for power with their wives and families, men and women caught up in a dramatic game for the highest stakes of all. But only one man can gain the ultimate goal - the office of Prime Minister...

My Thoughts
When my son picked out this book for me (thanks to my ever-growing shelf of delicious books, I've become quite fickle in the reading selection process), I actually groaned and moaned and pleaded him to pick a different one. I'm not a big fan of politics and neither am I a big fan of Archer's, so his choice didn't exactly get my mood pumping with anticipation. I attempted to read it anyway and as soon as I was half-way through, news struck that UK had just faced it's first hung Parliament since 1974. I was ecstatic. Here I was reading a book that's far more suited for the political junkie, and lo and behold, fiction becomes reality. Suddenly I was the guru of UK politics to friends who didn't have a clue....sweet.

The book focuses on 4 main characters and the progression of their political career; Charles Seymour, the aristocrat  who naturally was a Tory; Raymond Gould, the intellect who spurred the Labour Party but has one too many skeletons in the closet; Simon Kerslake, the humble, hard-working Tory with financial issues; and Andrew Kerr, the Scottish family man who astonished his Tory-supporting father by joining the Labour Party. Of all the 4 men, I found Andrew to be the most appealing character; he was witty, charming, described as being quite handsome and his political journey touched a very raw spot in me.

Though the plot may be a little dry in parts, there is sufficient content for the reader to grasp the mechanism of the UK political scene, and enough twists & turns to keep one entertained. A recommended read if you enjoy heavy reading and would like to know more about UK politics.   

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A ride like no other...

About a month back my banker colleagues and I went for this unique Malaysian activity called ATV i.e. All Terrain Vehicle ride. I say unique because despite ATV being widely used as a recreational sport in other parts of the world; be it a desert exploration or a fun ride on the beach, in Malaysia one can jump on an ATV and take it through the lush tropical jungle trails right smack in the mad city of Kuala Lumpur.

Located just 15 minutes away from KLCC (provided there's no traffic of course), the Adventure Park Kuala Lumpur hosts several ATV packages in Kampung Kemensah, Hulu Kelang, ranging from 1/2 hour rides to 4 hour expeditions. My colleagues and I chose the 1.5 hour ride which took us through a jungle trail leading to the 7 tier waterfalls. This was actually my second ATV trip in the span of a few months, so it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed it! Here are some pix taken during my first and second trip in July 2009 and April 2010:

On the 1.5 hour trail with my colleagues in April 2010

On the 4 hour trail with friends in 2009


 At peak of Bukit Tabur

Chill-axing at 7 tier Waterfall

Some tips to share

1) Kampung Kemensah is located behind Zoo Negara, Kuala Lumpur. From MRR2, turn in left towards Zoo Negara entrance. Do not drive into Zoo Negara's entrance. Just follow the small road located on the side. It will lead you to a Village-like area (very narrow roads, so be extra careful here). The ATV Adventure Park is located on the left, a few kms after you see the river and picnic area. There are signboards to the ATV Park located along the way.

2) Riding the ATV is much fun but it can also be a dangerous sport if you're not careful. Do follow the guide's instructions carefully. The ATV is designed to roll over large rocks and small logs but you have to make sure that you keep a strong hold on the steering wheel as it could easily swerve direction once it goes over a large rock - so hold on tight!

3) If you're into hiking, I highly recommend the 4 hour trail which leads to Bukit Tabur. The ATV ride will take you up halfway but you'll have to park ur ATV and hike up to reach the peak. Breath-taking views of Kuala Lumpur city up here.     

4) For further information (and more cool pix!), check out the ATV Adventure Park website here:

Remember to make advanced bookings too as the place is getting popular by the minute. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

From Dead to Worse

Title: From Dead to Worse (Book #8)

Author: Charlaine Harris

Genre: Paranormal

First Published: 2008, 359 pages

Challenge: The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge

From the Cover:

The supernatural community in Bon Temps, Louisiana is reeling from two hard blows: the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and the manmade horror of the explosion at the vampire summit in the up-north city of Rhodes. Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed, but too many vampires - some friends, some not - were killed or injured, and her were-tiger boyfriend Quinn is among the missing.

It's clear that things are changing, whether the weres and vamps like it or not. And Sookie, Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to the leader of the local vampire community, is caught up in those changes. She's about to find herself facing danger and death and, not for the first time, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood has stopped flowing, Sookie's world will be forever altered...

My thoughts:

The chapter starts off harmless enough, with our favourite heroine becoming the last minute bridesmaid for Halleigh Robinson, the soon to be Mrs Andy Bellefleur. All went well for Sookie...she was looking as pretty as ever and she managed to act the part of bridesmaid gracefully. Yes, all was well except for one thing; she was missing Quinn terribly and she had no idea where to find him. To add to her anxiety, several other events took place at the wedding that had left Sookie in sheer wonder...

i) Firstly, Sam reveals his interest in somebody Sookie would rather strangle than allow to date her precious friend and Boss, who doesn't seem to know any better...

ii) An unfamiliar vampire suddenly emerges from the shadows, startling both Sookie and himself.

iii) And an old, yet beautiful man makes himself known...

What's interesting about Book # 8 for me is that Sookie was portrayed as a Church goer, something I found ironic considering how receptive she is to the supernatural world. What's even more interesting is that Sookie fans are treated to some rare insights into Sookie's parentage, which also pieces the puzzle of Sookie's connection to the Fairies. Not so surprising were the usual fighting scenes of the good (or rather the lesser evil) vs the bad (really evil). Though I must say that one particular "good vs bad" scene was really full of suspense.

Overall, Harris is entertaining as usual and never fails to keep Sookie addicts wanting more. I didn't find this one as exciting as the last three books in the series though..maybe I was just missing Quinn too ;)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Truth About Melody Browne

Title: The Truth About Melody Browne

Author: Lisa Jewell

Genre: Chick-Lit

First Published: 2009

Pages: 372

From the Cover:

When she was nine years old, Melody Browne's house burned down, taking every toy, every old Christmas card with it. But is also took all her memories – Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday. Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a small flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She’s made a good life for them both and she likes it that way. Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years, she faints – and when she comes round she starts to remember. At first her memories mean nothing to her but then she begins to piece together the story of her her childhood. But with every mystery she solves another one materialises. And Melody begins to wonder if she’ll ever know the truth about her past…

My first reaction to this book was I’m afraid, a little lukewarm. I mean, the blurb on the back sounded a bit cliché (although I insisted on reading it because I’d heard so many great things about Jewell), the sentences were long and windy, and the writing style was a little confusing. For the first 70 pages of the book, I found myself trying to decipher some of the lines and figuring out whether I was reading a flashback derived from Melody’s current state of mind or whether I was just reading about her past in narrative form.

Despite my scepticism, I’m not one to put down a book so soon, and I’m glad I soldiered on with this one because it turned out to be a pretty groovy read after all. Once I got the hang of the flits in between the past and present, the storyline proved to be quite captivating. Melody is a character that one could immediately connect with and the revelation over the lost pieces of her life is heart-rending.

There were a few scenes that took place during Melody’s forgotten childhood that are very true and relevant to the real world today, and these issues were tackled beautifully by Jewell.

In one of the scenes where Melody was only 5, her stepmom Jacqui tries to explain to her about her parents’ divorce...“You see, children are the most precious thing in all the world, more precious and important than anything, and even though your mommy and daddy aren’t friends anymore, they’ll always be glad they used to be, because it meant that they made you”… In today’s world and age, divorce is such a common thing and I find myself constantly wondering about the effects of it on young children. I think Jewell did a wonderful job of explaining it in a manner that was both acceptable and easy on the mind of a 5 year old.

In another scene, little Melody is having ice-cream in Broadstairs with her mom’s landlord. She’s feeling sad and forlorn because she misses her baby stepsister (who lives all the way in London with her stepmom). She starts to cry because she’s worried that her baby stepsister will forget all about her. In an attempt to cheer her up, her mom’s landlord says…”Babies are very clever. She’ll remember your smell, and then, when she gets older, she’ll remember your face and, you know, she’ll save all her best smiles for you, because when she sees you it’ll be like a special treat”…. This was sort of a tear-jerking moment for me. Coming from a broken family, Melody formed a bond so strong with her step-sister, it was very hard not to get emotional at her reaction when she learns about their inevitable separation.

Overall, I think this is a wonderful read that people can relate to. Jewell has managed to highlight the severity of family issues on a child and at the same time, come up with a heart-warming story that does not disappoint.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

“I could not have what I wanted most: Mr. Harvey dead and me living. Heaven wasn’t perfect. But I came to believe that if I watched closely, and desired, I might change the lives of those I loved on Earth”.

From the cover: “My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighbourhood.” Watching from her place in heaven, Susie Salmon sees her suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet…
My thoughts on the Book:
I absolutely LOVED this book. I finished it in 2 days (a record considering my hectic schedule) and I think Sebold is a genius. Her writing style is completely engaging and it was so beautifully written that it had somewhat of an emotional impact on me. This is without doubt one of those stories that would stay with me for a long, long time. In The Lovely Bones, Sebold managed to play-down the dreadful notion that most people have of the afterlife, and made it sound both surreal and plausible at the same time. The character development was fascinating and believable, and her account of Mr Harvey, the murderer, was chilling to the bone. This is not a suspense/thriller though, despite the premise being set on murder. It’s more of a beautiful account of how a dead girl deals with her death, how her family deals with her death and how her death has affected the other people in her life.

If there was one teeny-weeny thing that I would pick on, it would be the part where Susie’s little sister attended the Gifted Symposium, in which that year’s annual challenge was titled “How to Commit the Perfect Murder”. Although I could understand the relevance/importance of having this part fitted in to the storyline, I really didn’t like the subject matter and I don’t think that any rational school principal would have picked such an inappropriate topic (assuming the intention was to inspire creativity amongst children).

Despite the little aversion I had on the above, I really think this is an amazing novel and I would highly recommend this to just about anyone.

Book Rating:

My thoughts on the Movie:
Overall, I’m finding it really hard to review the movie without spoiling it for those who haven’t read the book. There were quite a few aspects of the movie that didn’t really thrill me, mainly because it lacked the depth and intensity that I experienced from reading the book. I guess in most cases, it is quite difficult to put together a solid 2.5 hour show based on a 328 page novel, but I seriously believe that the script could have been improved by showing less of Susie’s heaven and more of the on-goings on earth following her death, and how she had been observing it. Basically, there really wasn’t enough content on the murderer and it lacked the drama required to show the audience the extent of the heartache that the family went through. As a result of this, I found the movie slow and boring, plus my hubby said that I fell asleep half-way through for a good 20 minutes (I eventually replayed the missed parts the following day just so that I could give a thorough review).

On the positive side, there were some features of the movie that are worth mentioning. The role of Susie’s grandmother, played by Susan Sarandon was definitely top-notch. Also, Reece Ritchie, the guy who played Ray Singh (Susie’s secret admirer), is just to die for – watching him is as good as devouring a delicious hershey’s cookies and creme chocolate bar. I also thought that Peter Jackson did an amazing job in portraying Susie’s heaven, especially the in-between, which was breathtaking. I also liked it that he didn’t change Susie’s monologue, and stayed true to the exact words being used in the book, which were once again, beautifully written by Sebold.

Movie Rating:


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

30 Books To Movies Challenge

I'm signing up for yet another challenge, one I probably won't be able to complete on time (considering the number of challenges I've already committed to - and still have NOT finished!). I really couldn't resist this one when I saw it on The Bibliophiles Lounge. Since most of the books I've enjoyed have been adapted into some sort of box office movie or other, joining this challenge was just the perfect thing to do.

The goal is to read 30 books that have been adapted into movies and also watch them. Rules are as follows:

  1. You don't have to select your books ahead of time. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
  2. If you decide to join this challenge be sure to create a post telling others. Also, please make sure you add a link back to this post so others can join in. You can join at any time!
  3. Non-bloggers may enter as well. If you have a blog, please post the review of BOTH the book and movie on your blog, detailing:
  • Your honest opinions of the book and movie
  • Which one did you enjoy more (book or movie?)
  • What do you think is so good about the book for it to have been made into a movie
For more details and to join the Challenge, please go here.
1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Random by Craig Robertson

Author: Craig Robertson

First Published: N/A (ARC)

Pages: 329 pgs 

From the Jacket: A serial killer known as The Cutter has Glasgow in his grip. His modus operandi changes with every victim and the police are utterly baffled. But when he attacks a member of the criminal underworld, The Cutter suddenly finds himself on the run from a group hellbent on bloody retribution. With his carefully laid plans falling apart, he decides to take action – with terrifying consequences…

I remember being pretty excited to be reading this book. For one thing, it was my first complimentary book that came in my mailbox (courtesy of Book Chick City and Simon & Schuster UK for signing up for the Thriller & Suspense Challenge), and for another thing, the first 100 pages were so riveting (see Teaser Tuesday # 1), it practically had me gripping the edge of my seat with my free hand.

The story starts off with the killer having dinner in a restaurant with an unidentified lady. Upon making payment for the dinner at the desk, he reaches his hand into the bowl full of business cards and pulls out a name… Jonathan Carr. Salter, Fyfe and Bryce Solicitors. 1042 Bath Street….the killer’s first victim, maimed with a carjack swung to the back of his neck and died from suffocation with his mouth sealed shut by a duct tape and his nostrils squeezed tight with a few drops of super glue. The killer later cuts off the victim’s finger as a souvenir - an absolutely gruesome and heartless murderer. After another carefully planned murder, the killer strikes again, only to discover that he had killed a person connected to the Glasgow Mafia. It was from this point onwards that I started to lose the plot. I thought that the introduction of the underground criminals into the storyline was boring and unnecessary. Although from the jacket it sounded like the killing of one of the Mafia’s men was a major hindrance to the murderer’s killing spree, it really didn’t do much to enhance the action, and was to the contrary quite dull and idealistic in parts.

What’s interesting about this book though is that the entire story is written from the killer’s perspective which gives the reader an insight into the dark and twisted mind of a psychotic serial killer. I also appreciated the research done into ensuring that the murders were believable – some of them were truly ingenious. I could also relate to one of the potential victims (scarily enough), who was selected by the murderer from Facebook! Yup, it’s definitely possible, especially made so when you read about it in Random.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Berried Alive by Kate Kingsbury

I picked this up at a warehouse sale organised by my local MPH bookstore for 5 Ringgit! (a book in Malaysia usually costs a whopping RM30 on average so this was a steal!). I’ve never actually read a book by Kate Kingsbury before. This particular one happens to be under her Manor House Mysteries, and fits perfectly under my Thriller & Suspense Challenge.

The scene is set during World War II, England, in a small village called Sitting Marsh, and centres on Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton. It was a hard and trying time for the villagers of Sitting Marsh, and the growing number of American soldiers on their turf was starting to annoy the wits out of them. Especially so for a particular somebody…. As it turns out, 4 of these American Servicemen were found mysteriously dead. Lady Elizabeth, being the perfect Lady of the Manor that she is, finds it upon herself to snoop around in an attempt to solve the mysterious deaths.

What I liked about this book was that it was an easy read – a short and sweet Cozy Mystery (only 202 pages long), with an assortment of interesting characters. Apart from the main character, Lady Elizabeth, there was Martin: the befuddled butler; Violet: the no-nonsense housekeeper, Polly: the heartbroken maid who keeps thinking she saw ghosts; Rita: the contemptuous control freak; and the most appealing character of all……Major Earl Monroe, the dashing and unattainable American soldier who has a particular penchant for Lady Elizabeth. It's really cute how Elizabeth constantly finds herself having dirty thoughts about the Major, and how she tries to contain her feelings because of his married status and the reputation she needs to uphold. Scandal brewing? Maybe, but there was definitely more mystery than a scandalous romance, although the insinuated fling was a nicely added touch.

I’d recommend this if you’re wanting a light and easy read that’s entertaining enough to keep you ploughing on. Having said that, it’s not exactly a cleverly plotted murder, and some may find it a little predictable. Even the title itself is kind of a give-away, but to be fair, the author does reveal the source of the deaths quite early on in the mystery.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday # 2

Should Be ReadingTeaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewehere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers (make sure that what you say doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

"She was dressed in her usual uniform of cut-off combats and hooded jacket, her copper hair tied up in a ponytail, sunglasses on her head and a cigarette burning between her fingers. From behind she looked about fourteen, but from the front her face was prematurely aged by stress, cigarettes and too many Spanish holidays. If Melody had used a condom on the two occasions she'd had sex in October 1987 she'd never have met Stacey....  

-pg.83 The Truth about Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

She’s tough.. She’s fearless…. And she’s a survivor…

Katniss Everdeen is no ordinary 16 year-old. She lives in the poor town of Seam under District 12 of Panem. With a dead father, a grief-stricken mother and a helpless younger sister, it is up to Katniss to ensure that food is on the table each day. But life is not all that bad when she goes hunting for food with Gale. At 18, Gale is a skilful hunter who teaches Katniss the way around the forbidden and dangerous woods of Panem. They share many things in common; both with the same adventurous streak and with families that are dependent on them, but the most common thing that they share is their trepidation at being called to participate in the country’s annual Hunger Games…a brutal game of survival where the weak perish and only the fittest survive…

Katniss’ already dysfunctional world suddenly turns for the worse, when her sweet, innocent 12 year-old sister is picked as the female participant for this year’s Hunger Games. In an attempt to protect the only sister she has, Katniss throws herself into the Games as a volunteer to replace her sister. As she steels herself for the inevitable departure from her family and from Gale, she discovers herself falling into an unexpected union with District 12’s male Hunger Games participant, Peeta Mellark….

I first heard about this from Ms Ulat Buku and Beth Fish Reads and saw that so many other people had been raving about it too. I’m so glad I picked this up, as this book is definitely going to the top of my favourite list for this year. In a nutshell, it’s an engaging fast-paced adventure, interlaced with a budding romance between the spunky Katniss and two other prospective suitors; the dependable and trustworthy Gale and the charming and delectable Peeta. If I had to make up my mind now, I would probably be a Team Gale supporter. Why? Well, he doesn’t feature as much as Peeta does in the first of the Hunger Games series, but I like it when a man is depicted as strong and reliable. Though Katniss has pretty much proven how independent she can be, I’d like to think that she ends up with a macho, macho man. Unfortunately, Peeta was too much of a softie for me. He is awfully charming and sweet though….(sigh)…

In any case, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the second and third book, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. It’s true what the critics out there say; this novel will continue to haunt you days after you’ve finished reading it. It’s truly a compelling story, from start to finish.

p/s: I’m psyched to find out that the Hunger Games will be made into a movie soon and equally happy to know that Suzanne Collins will be writing the screenplay herself. (I was extremely disappointed with the Twilight and New Moon movies. I felt that it failed to deliver the intensity of the plot, making it all look pretty cheesy instead). So, who do you think should play Katniss?? Personally, I can’t think of a suitable actress to play Katniss at the moment but I think Saoirse Ronan of The Lovely Bones makes a perfect Prim Everdeen.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday # 1

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewehere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers (make sure that what you say doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author too so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


"I'd come up with the idea of cutting off his finger after a bit of thought. I wanted something to make sure they knew it was me, something to remember me by. The finger was easy, straighforward and not too messy. It would make me look crazy enough but not a complete psycho. Didn't want them to think that."
-pg.12 Random by Craig Robertson

This is Craig Robertson's first novel so I was a bit anxious in picking it up at first. So far, so good though. I'm only up to page 40, and I'm already hooked!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Blog Award!


So last week, Dazzling Mage from A Reading Kabocha was sweet enough to think of me and honour me with my first blog award. I feel; a) Privileged, b) Inspired and c) Just thrilled to bits!

I started blogging sometime in September 2009 and I didn’t really get the hang of it ‘til early this year (in fact, I’m still a little clueless at things, like retrieving awards for example *sheepish grin*). But for the past few months, since hanging around the blogosphere, I’ve discovered an array of new genres and most importantly, have made loads of new friends around the globe. It’s certainly a nice feeling to know that there are people out there who share the same interests and appreciate my two cents worth.

The rules are:
  • Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.
In keeping up with the tradition of the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’, I’d like to pass this on to the following awesome bloggers whom I’ve recently discovered:
Keep up with the great work and spread the love guys!


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