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!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Anybody Out There?

Author: Marian Keyes

First Published: 2006

Pages: 593 pgs.

Challenge: Romance Reading Challenge 2010

“Men who didn’t eat red meat were Feathery Strokers. Men who used post-shave balm instead of slapping stinging aftershave on to their tender skin were Feathery Strokers. Men who noticed your shoes and handbags were Feathery Strokers. (Or Jolly Boys). It was only when I realised how anxious I was that Jacqui might dismiss Aidan as a Feathery Stroker that I saw how much I liked him…”

Anna Walsh is a 30-something Irish gal who works in New York. She has The Most Fabulous Job In The WorldTM  and she also has Aidan; a non-Feathery Stroker who’s all the man a girl could ever wish for. A life-changing event suddenly turns Anna’s marvellous world upside-down and the only person who can fix it is Aidan. As she struggles to reclaim the life she once knew, Aidan seems to move further and further away from her grasp.

I love, love, love this book. It’s funny (I must’ve laughed outloud more than 5 times, even my husband wanted to know what I was reading) and at the same time, it touches on real issues that some women may have to face in their lifetime. It definitely took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride: At one point I was laughing my brains out and at another point I was feeling so sad and depressed that I needed to have a good girly chat with a BFF. Despite all the chick-lit humour, there is definitely a strong message that can be taken away as solid guidance. This is a great Marian Keyes book to start with and I would highly recommend it to all MK virgins out there (ehem…just like me). I’ll leave you with a snippet of one of my favourite passages from the book:

‘Jacqui’. I was staring between her legs, in high alarm. ‘Something’s happening!’ ‘What?’ ‘It’s the head,’ the midwife said. Oh, yes, the head. Of course. For a minute I’d thought Jacqui’s insides were coming out. More and more of the head appeared. Oh, my God, it was a human being, an actual new human being! It happens every day, millions of times, but when you see it happening with your own two eyes, it’s nothing short of miraculous. And then its face appeared. ‘It’s a baby,’ I yelped. ‘It’s a baby!’ ‘What were you expecting?’ Jacqui gasped. ‘A Miu Miu handbag?!’


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