Seven Secrets of Happiness
Allison Hewitt Is Trapped
Where Would I Be Without You?
Time of My Life
The Last Song
The Secret of Joy
To the Moon and Back
A Walk to Remember
Dear John
Twilight
Eclipse
New Moon
Breaking Dawn
Peaks and Valleys: Making Good And Bad Times Work For You--At Work And In Life
Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness
Will You Be There?
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Snow Hill
Angels and Demons
The Da Vinci Code

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dexter Is Delicious (Dexter #5) by Jeff Lindsay

Introduction: Dexter is Delicious - He most certainly is! I used to be a big fan of Dexter TV series, falling in love with him each time I watched the show. So when I saw this book, I cant resist the urge to read it - perhaps because even if I have outgrown my "love" for Dexter, he still appeals to me ;) 

Overview: Dexter Morgan has always lived a happy homicidal life. He keeps his dark urges in check by adhering to one stead­fast rule . . . he only kills very bad people. But now Dexter is experiencing some major life changes—don’t we all?—and they’re mostly wrapped up in the eight-pound curiosity that is his newborn daughter. Family bliss is cut short, however, when Dexter is summoned to investigate the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl who has been running with a bizarre group of goths who fancy themselves to be vampires. As Dexter gets closer to the truth of what happened to the missing girl, he realizes they are not really vampires so much as cannibals. And, most disturbing . . . these people have decided they would really like to eat Dexter. 

My Opinion: In this installment, we can see a lot of changes in Dexter's life. Besides being married, he is now a father to Lily Anne. He started developing emotions which he dont know how to deal with - most especially, the desire to be Daddy Dexter who will provide and look after his family. I find all this "suddenly he has emotions" thing very amusing - simply because its so not him - that is, until there's too much of that going on that it simply got tiring to read. 

Also, I always love Debra's character - but in this book, given that she is a bit "not herself", she is just plain. But the pregnancy is indeed a surprise! :) And Rita - what's with the stammering? If its character building - well, sorry to say but its irritating! 

So to tell you the truth, I preferred the Dexter I met on the TV series. Don't get me wrong though, I didn't say this book is bad. Its actually good - well written and focused, giving me more insight as to what's going on inside Dexter's head. Its just that the plot has gone way out of my taste. I dont like how Dexter tried to get rid of his Dark Passenger - I mean, come on! That's all the reason why Dexter is so adorable to me. He is a cold and calculating killer, who surprises us by showing some hint of human emotions from time to time. That's the Dexter I know and love - A real charmer! 

I am tempted to give this book a 5 - because of the title, and because, well... its Dexter! But... I have to listen to my Dark Passenger here :p 

My Rating:

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Lovers by Vendela Vida

Introduction: I think this book is nice. I love the way it was written, and being a non-Muslim who haven't been to Turkey, I think Vida was able to give me a definite picture of what I'll find should one day I'll have a chance to visit the place. The story kept me wondering what's gonna happen to Yvonne - all alone and fragile in a place filled with memories of the happy times she spent with her late-husband. 

Overview: Twenty-eight years ago, Peter and Yvonne honeymooned in the beautiful coastal village of DatÇa, Turkey. Now Yvonne is a widow, her twin children grown. Hoping to immerse herself in memories of a happier time—as well as sand and sea—Yvonne returns to DatÇa. But her plans for a restorative week in Turkey are quickly complicated. Instead of comforting her, her memories begin to trouble her. Her vacation rental's landlord and his bold, intriguing wife—who share a curious marital arrangement—become constant uninvited visitors, in and out of the house.

Overwhelmed by the past and unexpectedly dislocated by the environment, Yvonne clings to a newfound friendship with Ahmet, a local boy who makes his living as a shell collector. With Ahmet as her guide, Yvonne gains new insight into the lives of her own adult children, and she finally begins to enjoy the shimmering sea and relaxed pace of the Turkish coast. But a devastating accident upends her delicate peace and throws her life into chaos—and her sense of self into turmoil.

With the crystalline voice and psychological nuance for which her work has been so celebrated, Vendela Vida has crafted another unforgettable heroine in a stunningly beautiful and mysterious landscape.

My Opinion: I love the idea behind this book about how Yvonne decides on going back to the place where she and her late husband honeymooned in order to remember how it was that time. I think that's very brave. Some people would choose to forget, but she chose to remember the feelings and hold on to the memories they bring.

I also love the truth that Vida showed about the people that her protagonist met in that foreign land - the culture, the art, the practices - both the positive and the negative... its all new to me. Its very informative. Although there are a lot of things I dont approve - like the use of heavy metaphors when the story can be fine without it? And often times I get disappointed by the passivity of the story. At one point, it became very boring and I cant even empathize anymore with the relationships she made with people... to Ozlem or even to Ahmet. Its simply lacking connection - or maybe it is made to be like that?

Anyway, this book may not appeal to everyone, and trust me - I fought my urge to abandon this book countless times, but I have to say - in all fairness to the author, this is one of the books I read that is nicely written.

My Rating:

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Opposite Of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Introduction: I finished this book in 12 hours! ;) One of my best records, I do believe :p Anyway, this book is an easy read - funny and light. I don't have a sister... but now I wish I have one. Really! :) 

Overview:
Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey’s carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents’ Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.
My Opinion: I like most part of this book... especially the early parts. Its not boring, and the flow is engaging. Although every once in a while I hate all the cliche that flood this book - like a supermodel sister who is nothing but graceful and drop-dead gorgeous, a bestfriend whose dashingly good looking, a stranger who turned her world upside-down. Seriously! Although I like how Sarah established the differences between Alex and Lindsey, and often times I can sympathize with Lindsey with everything that she's going through... but I just feel that this book needs a little more depth. I end up wishing I had written the ending instead.. I would love Alex to masterminded everything (since she is the genius anyway) and that she pretended to be the pretty but dumb just so Lindsey can have her own identity of being the smart sister.
Anyway, this story tells us that more often than not, when we compete with other people... we are letting them dictate who we should be. In the end, we lose not only our identity as a person... but to choice to choose the path that makes us happy.
Just like what Matt said... in life, there are times when the only right thing to do... is to "Jump!"


My Rating:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern

Introduction: I love this book... the cover is chic, the story is magic... what more can a girl like me ask for? ;) Its a fairy tale, probably as far-fetched as every other ones I have read when I was younger... but nonetheless, its another hope for a love story that'll might just sweep me off my feet.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

Introduction: 2 weeks to finish reading this book... what a shame! Oh busy life... :( Its sad that it took me so long to reach the ending of this book. Coz it was really touching... magical if I may say. I was literally sobbing while going through the last chapter. Not that its something new, its so easy to make me cry anyway... especially when its a story about family struggles.

Overview: Lou Suffern is practiced in the art of concealment. He is, also, always overstretched, trying to do too many things at once. His overburdened schedule gives him few moments of peace, even in his sleep. And when he spends time at home with his wife and family, he is always distracted, and, mentally, somewhere else.
On a cold winter morning, Lou is on his way to work when he encounters Gabe, a homeless street dweller, sitting outside an office building. Lou is intrigued by him, and contrives to get him a job in the post room. But this act of charity rebounds on him, and Gabe’s presence begins to grate on Lou -- particularly when he discovers that the latter seems capable of being in two places at the same time. Christmas is drawing near, and before the season is over, Lou’s life will be irrevocably change by the casual act of kindness he has performed.


My Opinion: Lou is a selfish jerk who thinks only about his career, and everyone else around him just nods and dont do anything about it. Then along came Gabe who gave him the gift to be in two places at the same time. I dont like Gabe... there's just too much mystery thrown in that he became vague as a character. Some situations are very improbable, but hey... its fiction, right? So whatever... :p Anyway, the ending, like what I said earlier, is very touching indeed.

This book will make you question your priorities, and make us see the sad truth that most of us neglect the really important things in life. Since its almost Christmas (a month or so away from now)... this book is a perfect read. Perhaps this will help us celebrate this season in a more meaningful way.

I guess the last thing I can say about the story is... we are no different from Lou. Most of the times we are so busy trying to reach our dreams - to be number one at work and be the best in what we do... that often times we forget to be the best in the MORE important things - like being the best daughter or son, the best mom or dad, the best sister or brother, the best wife or husband. Cliche as it may be, but there are far more important things than money.

Lets not be like Lou, and wait for his dying moment before he started telling his family how much they meant to him. Everyday, let the people we truly love know that they are what matters most to us. Because not only dont we have the magic pill to give us a second chance, we also dont have the privilege of knowing how much time we have left in this world. So lets not waste a second.


My Rating: 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Babylon Nights By Daniel Depp

Introduction: It took me forever to finish this book because I was a little tied up with life lately. I kinda feel guilty going home and looking at this untouched book... but I was just basically very tired to pick it up, more so flip the pages. Until yesterday, by the pool side... I managed to finish it at last! :)

Overview: Anna Mayhew, an almost "has been" in Hollywood, is planning her suicide. Vincent Perec, a razor wielding fan, is planning her murder. Then along comes private investigator David Spandau to put a hitch in both their plans.

Babylon Nights is Daniel Depp's follow up to 2009's Loser's Town, which introduced readers to the cut-throat, seedy underbelly of the film industry through the eyes of former rodeo rider turned movie stuntman turned private investigator, David Spandau. With Babylon Nights, Depp has written a tight and well told story using his background in the film industry to craft a true noir crime novel.

My Opinion: Depp has somehow transported me into the fascinating worlds of a fading Hollywood star, a psychotic fan, an ex-stuntman now problematic private detective and a black pimp. I witnessed and understood the passion of Anna who prefers dying than being tagged as a "has-been"; I became interested in the life of David, who would drink to drown his heartache; The crazy stalker who threatens Anna's life, and the very amusing pimp named Special.

This book is filled with surprises... a good read for me, if I must say. I liked how the love story between Anna and David developed. I even liked the ill-fated romance (or was it?) between Amalie and Vincent. Even though Vincent is the antagonist here, the author managed to make me sympathize with him... he gave him a heart through Amalie. Even Special, who surprised us in the end, is a very intriguing character indeed. 

I know there are a lot of little questionable twists in the story, like how Anna all of a sudden changed her mind about killing herself when she paid a significant amount of money for the vial that would do the trick. For me, the reason was just not established well - if David's presence or Vincent's threat... I guess only Anna knew. But anyway, overall, this book is fun and entertaining.

My Rating:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life by William Nicholson

Introduction: Well... the title was intriguing enough to make me pick up this book and take it home. Honestly, this book is one of a kind... its not an easy read compared to the ones I would normally choose... and it took me a while before I was able to fully immerse myself into the story. But well... it was worth it.

Overview: Welcome to Edenfield, an English village in Sussex. It is home to rich and poor, young and old, incomers and folk who've lived there for ever. Among the incomers is mother of two Laura, who, twenty years on, is still pining for Nick, her first love at university. He dumped her, broke her heart, and went to live in the States. Now he's back. Her husband Henry is a TV writer who commutes daily and resents the lack of acknowledgment his latest TV series is receiving. Journalist Liz, the single mother (who Henry lusts after on the train to London), still sleeps with her ex ten years after they split and hates herself afterwards. Local schoolmaster Alan, teaches their children and gets endless rejections for the plays he writes in his spare time. Martin, the struggling farmer, can't bear the yummy mummies and their privileged children; and the kindly local vicar hides a dark secret. These characters - and more - are richly imagined by an author of immense talent whose voice is by turns witty, waspish, sharply observant, and achingly tender. Nicholson brings together seamlessly the many strands of his story. Readers will empathize with these characters, laugh at them, cry with them, and long for a good outcome for each of them.

My Opinion: Shamefully, It took me 5 days to complete reading the story. Probably because I was too tired with all the events the past days, and every sentence Nicholson writes is filled with wit that you can't bear to simply skim through paragraphs. But  in the end... all I can say is that every minute I took a break from my busy life to read this book... it was all worth it. 
The story starts with Laura, married to Henry, mother of two children, getting a letter from Nick, the former love of her life. Each decision she then makes has a ripple effect on all those she comes into contact with.We hear from Laura's husband, her children, her employer, and more. 
Although honestly, with the diverse characters each telling their own life story of despair, frustrations and love interests... it can get a bit confusing and difficult to track who is who.So concentration is essential and reading it in a rush wont give justice to this masterpiece.
I guess the main thing that I realized in this story... is that people may seem to think that we deserve a life far better or far different from the ones we are living now. We continuously hope for another chance to change things... to change our lives completely... but in the end... would we really? But I guess this is what makes us human... our search for happiness portrayed in that lingering question we always ask ourselves... are we happy now? And how happy should we be?
My Rating:

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson

Introduction: What made me pick up this book? I adore the cover... its gorgeous! Well, I am never really a fan of tattoos. But after reading this book, I can say I'm pretty much fascinated by this art... that I'm actually already thinking what kind of tattoo will be my very first one (probably the last too since I'm afraid of needles :p).

Overview: Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of an elite tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. When a girl makes an appointment for a tattoo of the name of her fiancé embedded in a heart, Brett takes the job but the girl never shows. The next thing Brett knows, the police are looking for her client, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn't her fiancé's...

My Opinion: I like this book in general and Brett too for being such a kick-ass heroine. Its an easy read despite the mystery details thrown in. It has had me kept guessing who the murderer is... and although the ending seemed to be a bit overflow of information, it did made sense.  I love the characters simply because they stand out from each other... taking Joel for example. His life seemed to be so colorful... I would love to find out more about him in the next books. Although at some point I was a bit non-sympathetic towards Brett's daring (or stupid) ways... like hiding too much vital information from her brother and then taking matters to her own hands which doesn't always end up good for her anyway. Also, I just didn't feel the chemistry between Simon and Brett... its like for most part... what they feel for each other isnt real. I am hoping for a better love interest for her in the upcoming series. But anyway, there is so much to love about this book... the characters are very likable, the Vegas setting is fab, and the story is anything but boring. In fact, each chapter felt like uncovering a piece of a puzzle. 

Anyway, did I already say I'm getting a tattoo? ;)

My Rating:


Friday, October 7, 2011

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares

Introduction: "Love demands everything, they say, but my love demands only this: that no matter what happens or how long it takes, you’ll keep faith in me, you’ll remember who we are, and you’ll never feel despair."
This book didn't make me cry like some of the books I read... but it touched me so deep it was impossible to stop reading. So that afternoon, instead of going shopping as planned, I never let go of this book until the end. I love most part of this book.   

Overview: Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be.


My Opinion: There are so many wonderful things I can say about this book. Brashares really did a good job in bringing the story not only around the world but in different era (past and present) as well. Despite of the changes in the time-period, it wasn't confusing and the setting always felt authentic. Maybe one of the reasons why I like this book is that I had always been fascinated by the belief of reincarnation. Added by the twist that Daniel can remember all his past lives and he used that ability to find the girl he wants to be with... the story, I can say, is indeed engaging. Plus, the way it was written is so clear and so believable that I didn't have a hard time following the plot. I also like Ben's character and how wise he is... especially when he pointed out that we all have to live at the moment, otherwise its not living. Although seriously, I wish the ending could have been better. And I wish there was atleast a part in the book that thoroughly introduced Joaquim, how he can steal bodies and how he found Lucy. But anyway, since everyone else is saying that this book is a part of a trilogy... then I guess I just gotta have to wait for the next 2 for some closure. ;)

My Rating: 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Snow Hill by Mark Sanderson

Introduction: I'm not going to make my words play nice here: This book is definitely not for me. I was intrigued when I read the overview, and indeed it sounded promising (atleast to me.) But I was greatly disappointed in the end.

Overview: "Friday, 18 December, 1936. I went to my funeral this morning!" So begins the diary of Johnny Steadman, an ambitious reporter on London's Fleet Street. When he gets a tip-off about a Snow Hill policeman's death he thinks he's found the scoop that will make his career. Trouble is, no-one at the station seems to know anything about it - or they're not telling. Johnny's one lead takes him to the meat market at Smithfield where he encounters violent death close up and personal. Undaunted by this chilling message, his investigation drags him deep into a web of corruption that reaches further than he could ever have imagined. Johnny must risk everything to save his closest friend and expose the ruthless killer at the heart of this dark story. But to bring them to justice he must first go undercover. Six feet undercover. After all, a dead man cannot be tried for murder.

My Opinion: Well, I dont like the characters... most of them are stupid enough to put themselves in danger. And not just once! When I read the overview, I was like... wow! Masquerading your own death to catch the killer seemed exciting. But come on! The chapter after the funeral... came the exposition of this "so-called" undercover stunt. Already?! And faking it again? you gotta be kidding me!
I know its based on what seemed to be a true story, so maybe the characters and the plot is not hyped-up. But then again... if you dont, how will it be "larger than life" enough to catch the readers' interest? Definitely "young ambitious reporter" stereotyping and "heart of gold homosexual" character cliche didn't work so well on me. Well, I'm just not recommending this... I'm not saying its that bad. I know our tastes vary so please dont be put off by this review.

My Rating:

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate

Introduction: I will go directly to the point... I love this book! It touched me... made me realize and understand certain aspects of life. I feel for the characters... I just wish all of them will eventually find love, since they already have friends who will stand by them at all points of their lives.

Overview: As 28 year old New York paralegal Rebecca Strand's widowed father lays dying, he confesses a secret: he had an affair 26 years earlier when Rebecca was just a toddler. Now he wants Rebecca to deliver the secret stash of letters he wrote, but never mailed, to the daughter he fathered. Rebecca's lawyer boyfriend, Michael, is adamant that she forget the woman exists. He's sure the woman will be an opportunist who will demand half of Rebecca's father's million-dollar estate. But Rebecca, now without any family in the world, can't help but wonder about her one living relative. With her relationship with Michael in tatters, Rebecca drives from New York City to Maine to find Joy Jayhawk, who operates a Weekend Singles Tour service out of an orange mini-van that her regulars dub "The Love Bus." Enter a cast of lovable, colorful characters, from Joy's eccentric mother to the singles on The Love Bus, and a sexy carpenter for whom Rebecca finds herself unexpectedly falling in love...

My Opinion: This book tells a story of a woman who wanted to have a sister. Actually, its about a woman who wanted to belong... who wanted to be accepted as herself and not to try hard to fit in. When Rebecca found out about her half-sister from a death-bed confession of her father, she was determined to find her. Only however, Joy is not as positive about this whole "I have a sister" revelation as her. But the best thing that this portrayed, is that we cannot always get what we want... especially not if we give up at once. We have to try hard for the people we care about. The relationship stories of Joy and Harry and Ellie and Tim... showed very contrasting faces of love. It tells us when to keep holding on, and when to give up. The seek for love by the ladies of Divorced Club of Wiscasset is hilarious yet inspiring... their bitterness to their failed marriages and their hope of finding the "right one".


This book... is about love... for family, for friends... and for that someone who will treat us the way we deserve to be. :)


My Rating:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dracula by Bram Stocker

Introduction: I have never read any classic, and was obliged to do so when the reading group I recently joined suggested that we read and discuss Dracula (as our Halloween gig ;p). I would really prefer the original version of Dracula by Bram Stocker, but its unavailable for me at the moment. So I decided to read the one edited by Jan Needle.

Overview: The story of the notorious vampire Count Dracula, lord of the "un-dead", who rises from his coffin at night to suck the blood of the living is, undoubtedly, the stuff of nightmares. A lunatic asylum, a bleak Transylvanian castle, an ancient cemetery...these are the dark backgrounds to the even darker deeds portrayed in this most bloodcurdling of tales.

My Opinion:  Although I didn't have the chance to read this book before a week ago, I certainly know the story as this has been made to a movie or a TV show or even became as a hand-down story from my parents or relatives. Dracula is indeed one of the most famous horror novel ever written. Set in the 19th Century Victorianism, it depicts how at that time men (without thinking twice) weep and risk their lives protecting the virtue of a lady they highly respect and adore. Although it was sad how they failed the battle against Dracula when Lucy died and became one of the "un-dead", atleast it showed their brotherhood and pure spirits in their struggle to rid Mina of the same fate. It wasn't really clear whose the protagonist in the story since Jonathan, Van Helsing and Dr. Seward seems to equally grace the story, each having their own remarkable identities. But I guess this made the story even more interesting as you can sympathize not only with one character but everyone in the story. I love Mina's character particularly her being a determined and brave lady, her being knowledgeable about things that surprises the men, and her love for her husband. This book is easy to read (since it has already been translated to suit the younger generations) despite the heavy setting, and the illustrations made a clear shot to my imagination. The headings in red, white pages with ‘blood-soaked’ borders and detailed pencil drawings are very dramatic and complements the story. Yet another book that kept me glued to my seat (well, bed literally).

My Rating:

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Last Song by Nicolas Sparks

Introduction: I decided to take it light for a couple of days because I know I will be busy with work. So I grabbed a book by Nicholas Sparks knowing that its going to be an easy read. I dont mean it any other way simply that Sparks' books had always been easy to follow type - predictable, true... but always heart-warming.

Overview: Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.
The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels—first love, love between parents and children — that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them.

My opinion: This book is exactly what I expected. From the first few pages, I already know how this is going to end.I dont actually like Ronnie's character at first (maybe that's because I am a daddy's girl). I hated how she treats her father, although understandably so... that's because she blames him for ruining their family. But as she evolved in the story and get to know her better, I started liking her. And although this book is exactly how I predicted it to be... and I didn't mean it in a bad way... it still filled me with loads of emotions in the end (knowing hoe melodramatic I can be :p). I know this story will be all about finding true love, seeking forgiveness, desire for second chances to make things right... and realization to never give up hope. I read so fast during the first few chapters only to be unable to finish it at once. I had to stop many times towards the end of the novel to wipe my tears. I was touched by this book, not mainly by Ronnie and Will's love story though... but by Ronnie and Steve's story of a great love shared between father and daughter. It left me with a feeling of gratitude to life - for all the things I have, for the things I lost... and for granting me a family others can only wish for.

My rating:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch

Introduction: Again, another book that asks us "what if you had a chance to do it all again? If you could leave your seemingly routined and monotonous life as a full time wife and mom to have a second chance with the one you tagged to be the love of your life, would you do it?" But to tell you honestly, I dont regret reading this book. Its cozy yet thought provoking, perfect for light reading.

Overview: Jillian has a life straight out of the women’s magazines she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, and the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple. With her investment-banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ Range Rover ads.
Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage or stop her from asking "What if?"
Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. She’s back in her Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job. And she’s still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend, and star of her what-if fantasies.
Armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, she’s free to choose all over again. She can reconnect to the mother who abandoned her, she can use ad campaigns from her future to wow her clients, and she can fix the fights that doomed her relationship with Jackson.
Or can she?


My opinion: I always love reading books that tells about going back to the past to try to correct a mistake (or a decision) only to realize that our protagonists will never change anything at all anyway. But I particularly love the way this book is written, in a sense that when Jillian goes back to the past, she is really convince that it is a chance for her to change her fate and eventually end up not with the husband she chose seven years ago but the boyfriend she love even seven years after. She became unhappy with her current life because she believed that she will be happier with her ex boyfriend whose passionate and free-spirited. She got tired of the routines of being a house wife and a full time mother. This is a good read, and I'm sure you'll enjoy the ride back in time with Jillian - with her second chances and realizations.

I guess, this book tells us that regardless of the choices we made... there will always be moments when we will ask ourselves "what if?". So... it may not be history that needs changing after all :)


My rating:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where Would I Be Without You? by Guillaume Musso

Introduction: I trusted to read this book partially because I loved the first book I read by Guillaume Musso (Will You Be There). But to tell you honestly, the beginning part was fab. But the ending... well the least I can say is that, "it just didn't impress me much!" :p

Overview: Parisian cop Martin Beaumont has never really got over his first love, Gabrielle. Their brief, intense affair in San Francisco and the pain of her rejection still haunt him years later.
Now, however, he’s a successful detective – and tonight he’s going to arrest the legendary art thief, Archibald Maclean, when he raids the Musée d’Orsay for a priceless Van Gogh.
But the enigmatic Archibald has other plans.
Martin’s pursuit of the master criminal across Paris is the first step in an adventure that will take him back to San Francisco, and to the edge of love and life itself.

My opinion: This is a really ‘different’ read, with no clear genre to categorize it with. It’s a love story, a police thriller and then turns towards the paranormal at the end. So a bit of everything, really.
Set in Paris and San Franscisco in the mid 90s, the story revolves around Gabrielle and Martin – a young couple who met during their younger days and fell in love. The story leaps forward to find Martin working as  a French policeman with a special interest in art crime. Martin and Gabrielle have not met since that summer twelve years before and it is clear that both their lives has gone pretty empty and lonely.
Martin is determined to capture the famous art thief Archibald Maclean who has outsmarted him for many years. His chase led him back to San Francisco.

It’s an interesting read, a unique plot line and although I had guessed a couple of the twists, it’s an entertaining read.

The story enters into the paranormal at the close, which was for me, a safe way of explaining some things and tied the story up quite well, but on a personal level I really didn't like. Anyway, I still enjoyed reading this book. Its different, and some of you might just like it.

My rating:

Monday, September 5, 2011

To The Moon and Back by Jill Mansen

Introduction: To tell you the truth, I hesitated reading this book after reading the exerpts. But I always believe in giving chances, in hope that the novel will touch my heart somehow:

Overview: When Ellie Kendall tragically loses her husband she feels her life is over. But eventually she’s ready for a new start – at work, that is. She doesn’t need a new man when she has a certain secret visitor to keep her company...
Zack McLaren seems to have it all, but the girl he can’t stop thinking about won’t give him a second glance. If only she’d pay him the same attention she lavishes on his dog.
Moving to North London, Ellie meets neighbour Roo who has a secret of her own. Can the girls sort out their lives? Guilt is a powerful emotion, but a lot can happen in a year in Primrose Hill.


My opinion: To The Moon And Back is a sweet romantic contemporary novel about love, loss, and second chances. This is a story of one girl's struggle to go back living after having lost the only man she can possibly love. Often times we are faced with this kind of dilemma, when its hard for us to move on simply because we put what we have lost in a pedestal... believing so much that no other thing can replace it. 


Although this book is full of clichés, personally I still found the book interesting because there were quite a few surprises on it, and I almost said "NOOO!" out loud a couple of times. In other words: typical "chick-lit", but I like those books, obviously or I wouldn't be reading them. :p

I like the idea of Ellie making her husband come back to engage a conversation with her. Its funny imagining talking to a make-believe husband, yet at the same time, its heartbreaking being in this situation when the only way you can be with the person you love so much is through your imagination. My favorite character was Roo, who undergoes a massive change during the book. But I liked her both before and after. She really is a bit too much - doing things we can hardly think of doing... and then drastically changing in ways we cannot even think possible! That's why I love her!


My rating: 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: A Zombie Novel by Madeleine Roux

Introduction: I remember someone said, "a movie about zombies can never fail". I agree with him anyway :p I used to love watching zombie apocalypse happen xD Its always funny... no matter how scary they make it look like :p And I guess there is always something romantic in falling in love with someone while the rest of the world become cannibals. Lol.

So... then I wonder (when I saw this book), will a book about zombie wins my heart as well? But guess what, I loved it so much I stayed up late for couple of days simply because I cannot put it down:

Overview: When the Zombie outbreaks hit, Allison Hewitt, together with 5 other people were trapped in a bookstore. With no way out, she found blogging as her only way to contact the outside world. Allison's blog becomes other people inspiration, just as it is her only way to narrate all the zombie-killing adventures he finds herself into. Although she learned the hard way that in desperate times like this, it is mostly the alive that she has to be more careful of.  Allison accounts how she found friends in the most unlikely of times, and how she found love - which will she be able to keep anyway? There's a search for her mother as well.

My opinion: Although there are some loop holes I can find, like the squirrel attack (why is it that there are no other animals who got infected?), but over all, I like this book. I like how its made to look like a blog - I like Allison character of being scared to death thinking of how to survive but brave and smart when she's faced with the real struggle.

If really the world faces zombie apocalypse, I wish I can have the same confidence and bad-ass attitude as Allison has in this book. I dont like her choice of weapon though, I prefer something that will kill them without me having to be so close :p But geez, no decent toilet and no shower for days? Nvm then... kill me the first day! :p

My rating:

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Seven Secrets to Happiness by Sharon Owens

Introduction: When I saw this book, I ignored it the first time because I thought its one of those chick flick novels where I can practically predict what will happen in every page. But finding nothing more interesting, I came back for it and decided to humor myself. Ending up, I have never loved a book this way so far. Truly worth my time:

Overview: Ruby O’Neill is living a fairy-tale life, married to the love of her life, Jonathan who adores her just as much.  It is a snowy Christmas Eve and Ruby blissfully decorates their Christmas tree, excited about giving Jonathan her present. Then a telephone call shatters her fairytale life forever. In the New Year Ruby picks herself up with the help of her best friend Jasmine, buying a shop  in which she spends busying her self with sewing seven lovely little velvet bags. Through them her life is touched by the lives of others and she learns six secrets which begin to mend her wounded heart. And little does she know that a man, Tom Lavery, though wounded himself, holds not only the seventh secret but also Ruby’s chance of having love blossom again in her life.

My opinion: This book is so lovely I read it twice :) This is a story about losing a love, and finding a new one despite the fact that you will never forget the past. Who says you have to forget to be happy again anyway? ;) I love how the seven secrets of happiness is portrayed by people and circumstances surrounding Ruby’s life. I also love the presence of Jasmine, that although her character is a big difference from Ruby’s (Jasmine being outgoing and so into casual dating), you can see a very honest friendship being shared by these two remarkable women.

This book deals with love and loss and the ways in which we have to move forward and look to the future.
I would really love to share with you those seven secrets to happiness, but I think reading it and being able to relate to the story is the only way for you to appreciate what they are really all about. :)

My rating:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Will You Be There? by Guillaume Musso

Introduction: I was going through a number of books at the library when this tiny treasure caught my eyes. Well, the title and the subtitle fairly intrigued me (since I always loved these kinds of stories anyway), but I guess this is a story that will always make me wonder what the ending would be. Anyway, I’m sure most of us must have asked ourselves this question atleast once in our lifetime: if you could go back in time, what would you change?
 
Overview: Elliott Cooper is a sixty-year-old famous sur­geon whose life revolves around his twenty-year-old daughter, Angie. He would have been per­fectly happy if Ilena, the woman he was pas­sion­ately in love with, hadn’t died thirty years ago.
One day, he was given a chance to go back to his own past and meets the young man he had been thirty years ear­lier. In that time, where the Seventies were going full swing, the young Elliott was a pas­sionate, enthu­si­astic and ambi­tious young doctor who had no idea of the tragedy that he will cause the woman he loves.


Since then, the two Elliotts weirdly face each other, in a series of intense circumstances, debating and coming up with an agreement of saving Ilena. But saving Ilena raises complications involving his daughter, Angie and his lifelong friendship with his best friend, Matt. Not to mention the toll its adding to his fight for his own life – where he is suffering from lung cancer and with only few months to live.

My opinion: This book will make us believe in second chances, but will also raise a question – will you really dare to change something in your past? I think this book will appeal to those who have loved and lost, and wished for a chance to do things differently. Its an intriguing story about love, friendship, hope and destiny. Love – that transcends death, and the sacrifices we are willing to make, even the hardest one which is letting go. Friendship – that most of us are blessed with to have someone we can trust with our lives. Hope – that we will be able to change things for the better. And if not, that everything happens for a reason. And Destiny -  that we do make our own destiny. But to change it after its done? I guess this book will give us that chance to go through it and later ask ourselves, what are you willing to give up to change fate? 

Although I hate to say that the conversation seems flat at times, but I still applaud how the time differences of being in the past and in the future were established strongly. And the best thing that I love in this book… are the quotes at the start of each chapter.

My favorite quote so far:
“We go through the present blindfolded… Only later, when the blindfold is removed and we examine the past, do we realize what we’ve been through and understand what it means” – Milan Kundera

My rating: