Wednesday, January 21, 2015

[Heroes of Olympus] The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan

I've never heard of the series until way long after I watched the first movie. Tu pun tgk kt tv, not during the screening kt cinema 

And I've always been fascinated with Greek mythology eversince primary when those were the only books left in the library that I hadn't devoured hehe.. I disagree with the term Greek gods though. Naughty overgrown kids with super powers seem more appropriate 

Nways, these lead me to be curious enough about the Percy Jackson series that I wanted to buy them. However, since its under the childrens book genre, I had second thoughts. I know if I bought one, I'd want to collect the whole set no matter how annoying it turns out to be (read: Twilight)

This book seemed the perfect choice as it wasn't part of the series (at least not officially) so I could test the waters and see if I liked it

I find myself painfully aware that this is a childrens book as I read (this coming from someone who queued in front of a still-closed Popular in the wee hours to get her copy of Harry Potter). It has 3 stories from Rick Riordan himself that any age (Ehem2~) can enjoy. The final story is, however, written by his son, the one who inspired Percy Jackson. I find it amusing that while Riordan Sr wrote it easy enough for a 7-year-old to enjoy, his son's style of writing is more mature. Maybe because his target readers are his peers rather than kids la kot kan hehe..

Anyway, this is good enough to half-convince me to buy the series so, we'll see.. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hide and Seek by James Patterson

My first James Patterson!

I was expecting something more gripping but this will do. It has a Sidney Sheldon vibe to it that makes it a rather relaxing read.

The title is a bit confusing though as I didn't see any game of Hide n Seek happening until the very last few pages.

2 things stood out for me, which is not-so-related to the book.

1. It was in the midst of a World Cup in Brazil (which made me check the year it was published haha..) I raised an eyebrow when it said the USA beat Italy 3-2.. But I definitely laughed out loud when it was said that they beat Germany 2-11 in the semis. Seriously? Oh well, fiction kaaan, anything opuld happen.. Though I doubt the two Germany fans back home would be happy with this piece of 'hikayat'

2. The lawyer for Maggie Bradford went by the name JASON WADE! Cue You and Me, You Belong To Me, First Time, Hanging by the Moment, Good Enough and all my favourite Lifehouse songs hehe 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What can I say, its a well loved classic! =) 

I've been meaning to find this book for years now and only found it recently. Of course I had expectation, with it being a very well known childrens book but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved it for all the different reasons I had expected to. 

Who would've expected that the ending tore my heart apart..

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Missing Golden Ticket and Other Splendiferous Secrets by Roald Dahl

A very short read, only 118 pages with lotsa illustrations by Quentin Blake. Contains Dahl's notes on each month of the year. It also has 2 candy recipes that seem simple enough for kids to try out. I especially love the discarded chapter from the published Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, just because its been a secret before haha.. The original ending is also quite ok, though the published one is much better by the mile. There's also some bits and pieces of trivia on Roald Dahl that I find amusing.

I think I'll give it.. Hmm.. 3.95  as you won't miss anything much if you don't read it.. But it will definitely complete your Chocolate Factory experience if you're a fan.

P/S "Ages 7 and up" was written on the back. I certainly am..

Supernatural ~ Fresh Meat

Aaaaahhhh.. To have spent the night in an adventure with the Winchester brothers *smiles dreamily*

This is the final Supernatural book I have in hand which I haven't read yet. I bought it last year but saved it as I didn't want to not have any more of their books in my TBR list. However, this year I just HAD to read as the book has been calling and calling to me for the last few weeks anyway J

This time, in addition to the brothers, Bobby makes an appearance and stays throughout the book. I've always missed Bobby in the series after he died so this was a nice surprise.

The brothers, as usual, had just finished a particular hunt for an avenging ghost when Sam found some suspicious missing person on the web (while Dean, of course, was stuffing his face!). The concluded that it might be a wendigo and decided to ask Bobby for help as they trust his tracking instincts more than anyone.

Thier first bruh with the wendigo did not go that well, so they went to the local hunters bar and found, Jason, who has a brush with the wendigo earlier and was mad that he failed to catch it. Together, they ventured again into the woods to catch in.. with success!

After parting ways and already planning on another hunt, they got a call from Bobby that people were still missing. Returning to the 'crime scene', they soon realized they were facing something more sinister, a creature from the Filipino lore, an aswang.

I actually Googled aswang and wendigo haha..

Anyhow, of course la they save the day hehe.. but its the way we get to the end that matters, right!

I had somehow unintentionally read a few words towards the end, shattering me of any suspense.. or so I thought. True as its usual self, the book gave enough twists and turns to make me question what I had just read. I kept planning on 'one more chapter'.. without any avail, that is..

The middle part was quite intense as Dean was involved in a bad avalanche.. or make that avalanches! I like that we could actually feel as if we're in his place. At the same time, Sam and Bobby, in trying to ascend a steep cliff, were attacked by vampires who were determined to kill them there and then.

I'm giving it 4.25 stars coz I love it even if I love Carved in Flesh better. I just hope I'd get my hand on more Supernatural books soon!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks

I'm thinking of more like a 3.75 stars rating.. and not because its not that good!

I fell in love with Sparks when I first read The Wedding. The oh-so-sweet twist in the end made me swoon and from then on, I was always alert of his books whenever I went to local bookstores.

This book however does not have much of a grip on me as others.. in other words, I could actually stop at any chapter to do something else instead of wanting to read at one go. I rushed through some parts (my bad) particularly the parts when Denise was teaching Kyle. It took me by surprise (and made me regret my rushed reading) when I realized the method Denise used was devised by the author himself for helping his own son. THAT made me look at those parts in a very much different way.

All in all, it was predictable, though the misfortune towards the end was something I wish hadn't happened as it was a bit too gut-wrenching for someone who told herself to never cry over books hehe..

Would I still read it? Definitely.. and I'd read slowly too to savour every bit of it =)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Brass Ring by Dianne Chamberlain

I was really looking forward to reading this book, as my first Diane Chamberlain, Breaking the Silence, lingered in my mind for days after reading it. I had Googled her after, just to see what kind of books she wrote, and found that they were on of my favourite genres. One I usually call, Jodi-Picoult-style. When my usual book seller put this book on her web, I quickly bought it in hopes of feeling the magic I had felt in the previous book but after a few chapters..

..I'm not quite sure if I like this book or not.

Don't get me wrong, there IS a story here. A good one too. But the pace was a bit too slow for me and in the end, I found that I disliked Claire. I felt like she was taking advantage of her paralyzed husband, Jon. Jon on the other hand, felt a bit spineless (no pun intended) as he didn't seem to want to fight for Claire as she 'tried to find herself'.. in another man's arms!!

Maybe its because of our Muslim upbringing, but I've read other books that are worse and they don't disturb me as much as this one did. I just don't understand how you can't talk to your husband (whom you had teamed up to build a successful business-cum-counselling-thingey) abou something that has defined your childhood, your past and even your ownself yet get so eager to talk about it to another man you have just known?! To the extent of sneaking around and using your bestfriend as an alibi, without even telling her you were doing so. That's sneaky, not I'm-trying-to-cope-with-my-problems as Claire seems to want people to believe.

Well, yeah! This genre is based on so-called real life experiences.. but not if there doesn't seem to be any guilt in Claire who seems so selfish about her own problems, she was willing to ignore her wheelchair-bound husband who, though independant, clearly loved her furiously.

Randy, the other man, at first didn't seem important in this story. Until he turned into, well, the other man. I thought we were going to have a peak into his childhood with Margot and her twin. They seemed to have a good childhood (except for when her twin, why can't I remember his name?, died on the bridge that night) I was looking forward to it but was disappointed when I was only given a teeny weeny glimpse of his past. Other than that, I only saw Randy as someone not man enough to respect a marriage. My first impression was correct, Randy was NOT important at all and wouldn't have changed much of the course of the story if he wasn't there.

The only 'light' I saw was when the book centered on Vanessa. I felt like 'she' was more of the story than Claire even if it was Claire who dominates the book. Her feelings of betrayal towards Claire and her whole view of the world after what happened to her felt real enough to make me feel this book could be saved (and it might be the reason I'm still giving Ms Chamberlain another chance)

I think, if you are just getting to know Dianne Chamberlain, DON'T start with this book. I loved her other book very much so I still think I could give another try on her books. And I'm glad I didn't start with this one

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Guest List by Melissa Hill

Hmm.. I could never make up my mind about Melissa Hill. Her books are not that chick-lit enough that helps you to relax and unwind while you enjoy a good laugh or two.. nor are they serious life-changing slash deep thinking stories that makes you questions morals and all that stuff. Her books also do not have magic sprinkled here and there that makes you believe that fairytales are real. I’m always left feeling a bit unsure about her every time I read her books YET, I keep coming back for more..

..I guess thats the attraction then, huh?

The Guest List was recommended by a book seller I usually buy books from. Since she told me this book is her favourite of all Melissa Hill’s books, I quickly placed an order for this book to see how great it was.

Turned out, it isn’t something I’d say great. But it isn’t something I’d tell people to avoid either.
The story is about Cara, who’s been waiting for her boyfriend to propose to her after many years of relationship. She wasn’t the bossy type and she didn’t push Shane into it. It was more like she wanted to make sure there was a ‘them’ in the future.

The books starts with two over-the-top weddings they had just and were about to attend. One was her younger sister’s wedding whom their parents were still paying for even after a year.. and the other her college friend who had sent a ridiculous ‘gimme-money-for-my-wedding’ invitation to her. Because of these two weddings, they had (playfully?) agreed that when it was their turn, they were NEVEr going to overspend like that, and that they would prefer a personal and intimate wedding instead.

And then Shane proposes!

..then all hell breaks loose!

Her younger sister, Heidi, who had just wanted to announce her pregnancy (Ohhh, you get the spoilt-brat feel right away when she first appears in the book) was furious that Cara ‘stole the spotlight’ from her with her engagement announcement and throughout the book you’d be so annoyed at Heidi, you’d wanna smack her bottom for being so selfish and all.

Her mother was more of the bridezilla than Cara herself was entitled to be, pushing them to have a great big wedding, wanting her to wear the big poofy kind of dress her mother preferred and wanting to invite 300++ people that would dash Cara’s hope for an intimate wedding.

It didn’t help that Shane’s parents also wanted kind of the same thing, a big affair to show off their son and daughter-in-law AND to save their failing business. It came to a point where they weren’t talking to each other and that gave, even me, a headache.

The only one supporting Cara and telling her to plant her feet firm on what she wanted was her glamorous sister-in-law, Kim. At times, she had to be the peacemaker between Cara and her family, while fending off the morning sickness she, too, was having (making Heidi even more mad about the whole thing).

Another sort-of supporting pillar for Cara was her estranged oldest sister, Danielle. Danielle had left home when Cara was small so she never really got to know her sister. They’d meet once in a few years but it wasn’t enough to make them close. Cara always wondered what happened to Danielle and her family (particularly her mother) that made her run away hundreds of miles from home. Though Danielle did not really want Cara to have her wedding near her now-home, she still helped with organizing it, even though she knew it meant she had to face her mother again.

Ohh, and she also had her boss, Conor, a classic rich bachelor, in her corner to support her.
After a bit of a drama from Shane’s parents, the whole lot finally agreed with Cara and Shane’s wishes so a Caribbean wedding was finally in order.

You’d think that was the end of the drama eh.. but there was another twist coming. A twist I would’ve love if I hadn’t read about it in a Chicken Soup book a few years ago.. and thats the only reason it didn’t spark as much as it should have for me. It felt a bit stale..

I also felt like the story was a bit rushed. The wedding drama took too much space in the tale while the 'twist' drama which I'm sure is more interesting, only took a few chapters towards the end. It would've been nice if both main dramas in this tale were better entwined.

The book as whole is.. well, ok. Won’t be my first choice if I wanted something simple yet entertaining but I guess one day, I might give it another try, just to see if I have a different opinion of it =)