Sunday, January 16, 2011

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder

Title: Inspector Singh Investigates - A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder

Author: Shamini Flint

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

First Published: 2009

Inspector Singh is a Singaporean policeman who gets sent to Malaysia to investigate the murder of a Singaporean ex-model’s husband. Chelsea Liew was the “IT” girl of Singapore until she ended her career and married a high profile Malaysian businessman. After many years of a violent marriage, it finally ended when Chelsea’s husband was found murdered near their mansion. The Malaysian courts accuse Chelsea of murder and remand her in prison whilst Singh begins on a quest to find the truth and solve ‘whodunit’ once and for all.

I wasn’t expecting much when I first picked up this book. For one thing, I’ve had many lukewarm experiences when it comes to new authors and the summary on the cover of this book didn’t sound all too mysterious to begin with anyway. After reading a few chapters, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was fairly engaging and managed to hold my interest well beyond page 120. I think Flint did a great job in bringing the reader to the scene. The prose was interesting and she has the knack for expressing scenes and human emotions in a captivating manner. I also liked the links this story had to several social issues such as women’s rights (in a Muslim country) and environmental awareness.

The only thing lacking for me was the fact that the mystery wasn’t solved with genuine sleuthing capabilities. Rather, the whole mystery was unravelled by the fault of the killer himself. I adore genuine mysteries solved with an ingenious mind, so this bit was a little disappointing for me. I also didn’t like much of the conclusions drawn about Malaysia (by the author) via the character of Inspector Singh. Though some of it may ring a truth or two, not all of it was accurate to my mind. Nevertheless, there’s a high chance I might be picking up Inspector Singh’s next adventures: A Bali Conspiracy Most Foul and The Singapore School of Villainy.

A little bit about the Author (taken from the inside cover):

Shamini Flint lives in Singapore. She began her career in law in Malaysia and also worked at an international law firm in Singapore. She travelled extensively around Asia for work, before resigning to be a stay-at-home mum, writer, part-time lecturer and environmental activist.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Stepsister Scheme

Title: The Stepsister Scheme

Author: Jim C. Hines

Genre: Fantasy

First Published: 2009

Challenge: None

What do you get when Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White get together after the end of the supposedly happily-ever-after? In the Stepsister Scheme, Jim C. Hines, combines the beauty and intelligence of these well-known fairy tale princesses into an utterly chick fantasy adventure that is far from the fairy tale we all know it to be. Princess Danielle Whiteshore (also known as Cinderella) is on a quest to save her prince who has mysteriously disappeared a few months after their wedding. It turns out that the Princess’ stepsisters had something to do with it. In come Talia (aka Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (aka Snow White), the Princess’ allies. Together, they embark on a thrilling adventure filled with sword-fighting, magic and twisting treachery.
I have to say, although with the promising storyline and funny characterisations, this book fell a little short for me.  It was adventurous enough, with many cliff-hanging scenes, but somehow the entire adventure felt a little farcical compared to other fantasies that I’ve read before. I guess this mainly had to do with the fact that the intended humour didn’t quite reach out to me – it just wasn’t as funny as I expected. The idea behind this book was brilliant though; a refreshing take on the conventional fairy tale plot, and Cinderella wasn’t as fragile as I thought she’d be. My favourite character would be Snow though – she’s hot, bursting with spiritual energy and is bubbly through and through.
There are 2 other books in this Princess Series , The Mermaid’s Madness and Red Hood’s Revenge. Again, the synopses for these look interesting but I’m not so sure if I’ll be picking these up any time soon. We shall see.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 in Review and WELCOME 2011!!

It's been a while since I last blogged and kept up with the blogosphere, especially the bookish related. I've had an extremely busy second half of 2010, mostly related to my job and 2011 promises to be no less busy…sigh…

Despite spending my weekdays (and sometimes weekends) slogging over work, going through a change of jobs and slaving through banking exams, I’ve managed to somehow achieve the following in 2010:
  • Read 19 books
  • Finished 1 out of 5 reading challenges joined
  • Did 4 very exciting outdoor/travelling trips. Managed to write a review on 2 of them.
  • Found 30 new inspiring blogs to follow
  • Began my addiction to Twitter
As mentioned, 2011 promises to be another busy year for me. I still have one more major banking exam to complete and to top tings off, I’m expecting a baby. Yes, another cute addition to the family and I’m super excited about it. It’s been a while since my last pregnancy; to be precise the last one was 5 years ago. I’ve been battling with morning sickness (more like 24 hours sickness) but crossing fingers this will be over soon. So, with pregnancy and a new baby on the way, I’m expecting zero outdoors and travelling trips in 2011 but perhaps more time to indulge in reading. I hope to read more, at least double the amount read in 2010. I’m also planning to read more books written by foreign authors, mainly Asian, as well as books that are not so popular, for example those that I’ve found in a quirky bookstore or in a garage sale but promise to be an interesting read. I’ve always enjoyed reading books recommended by fellow bloggers in the US and UK, especially YA and vampire stuff, so these will still be on my reading list for 2011. And to start off the year, I’ve already enrolled myself in yet another vampire reading challenge hosted by Book Chick City here.

To all blogger friends and non-blogger friends alike, here’s wishing you all a fabulous 2011 year ahead!

The Vampire Chronicles Reading Challenge 2011

I've always been an Anne Rice fan. My first ever paranormal book that I read was an Anne Rice; the ever so famous Interview with the Vampire. That was probably more than ten years ago. Subsequently, I got caught up in other genres and never really read the rest of the Vampire Chronicles, so I'm quite excited to be joining this challenge hosted by Book Chick City.

The books in the Vampire Chronicle series, in order are:

1. Interview with the Vampire
2. The Vampire Lestat
3. The Queen of the Damned
4. The Tale of the Body Thief
5. Memnoch the Devil
6. The Vampire Armand
7. Merrick
8. Blood and Gold
9. Blackwood Farm
10. Blood Canticle

You can find details of the challenge here. And if you're following this challenge like me, don't forget to share your experiences on Twitter too using #VampireChronicles2011.


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