Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Choice By Nicholas Sparks

After a few hours of non-stop reading, I have finished this book. Started reading around 4p.m. this afternoon.

Once started, I can't put down this book. It was THAT good for me though others might disagree

This is a simple love story. Travis, the hero in this story is the only unmarried male in his group. He changed girlfriends as fast as he change clothes. Nope, he is not a playboy. It just seems that he haven't found THE ONE yet.

Gabby just moved next door to Travis. Gabby moved here so that she can be nearer to her long term boyfriend. They have been together for four years and yet he have not pop the question. She thought she was happy but deep down inside she feels something is missing

Soon she discovered her prized dog, Molly, was pregnant and she suspected that Travis dog have something to do with it. She have been hiding her dissatisfaction  against Travis for quite some time. From the loud music that he play at night to his roaming dog.

Finally she went over and "exploded". Accused Travis' dog impregnating her dog. Though Travis tried to explain but she refused to listen

Then she brought her dog to the vet and discovered the vet is Travis. Travis explained to her that her dog is indeed pregnant but not from his dog coz his dag have been neutered. Gabby was very embarrassed and apologise profusely. Travis was very forgiving.

Since then Gabby tried to avoid Travis due to her embarrassment but Travis kept seeking her out. He was attracted to her. He was a bit disappointed that she have a boyfriend but yet he did not give up.

They found that they were attracted to each other and soon fell in love.

This is not the simple ending. In the second part of the story, Travis was faced with a tough choice whether to let Gabby go as Gabby willed or to define her will.

The first part of the story was light hearted. The joy of courtship. Ahhh...the wonderful experiences. Reminds me of my dating times. Such great memories. The part where Gabby was faced with a choice whether to stay with her boyfriend or to go with Travis was very touching.

The second part have a bit more suspense. I can't help cheating by flipping to the last page to know the result. Yes, it's very bad of me.

I give this book full marks.

The Devil In The Junior League By Linda Francis Lee

Just finished this book last night.

Fredericka Mercedes Hildebrand Ware(wow...what a mouthful), Frede to her friends have the perfect life. She is rich and from the old money group in Taxes. She is a member of Junior League of Willow Creek and is expected to be the next president-elect of JLWC. The members of JLWC are consist of those rich and high power women in the society. They are the trend setter.

She have a handsome husband, Gordon, that is until one day when she found a a mousy woman standing by her door step claiming that she is pregnant with her husband child. She threw her out with her husband. Unknown to her, Gordon had siphoned her money and assets away too.

Her impeccable reputation was in jeopardy and so is her financial situation. There is only one person who could help her. Howard Grout, a shark of a lawyer who is also her neighbour.

The price that he wanted for his services was something that Frede might not able to deliver. He wanted her to get his tacky wife, Nikki(once was Frede bestie), into JLWC.

To make the matter worse, Pilar(another one of her former bestie), who is also in JLWC seems to be up to something.

At first Frede did not really want Nikki to be in the JLWC. But later on she grown fond of Nikki.

My first impression of Frede in the first few chapter is that she is just a shallow and snobbish woman. As I read on, Linda managed to turn Frede into more human.

The part where her starving artist boy friend is actually super rich seems to be familiar. I recall reading a similar plot in Chris Mansby "marrying for money". The ending also seems to be something like "The First Wives Club" by Olivia Goldsmiths.

I just wish she would elaborate more on Frede's no good husband. The ending seems too convenient and easy for him

Overall it's a acceptable read. I give it 3 stars out of 5.

Bought this book from BookXcess at RM9-90 only. Worth the money

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Magpie Bridge by Liu Hong

This book is about Jiao Mei who is in London to further study. She is staying with Barbara, her father's former lover who sponsor her to further study there.

One night she was visited by her grandmother,Tie Mei, spirit. At first she thought it's just a dream. But later on the visit become more frequent.

The spirit told her that she is pregnant with British boyfriend's baby

At first it was unclear the purpose of the visit but later it was revealed that Tie Mei wanted Jiao Mei to find their ancestor's treasure, a piece of brass mirror which carries a terrible curse.

To me this book tried to imitate Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club but fail.

There are flash back between present and past for Tie Mei, Jiao Mei and Barbara. Also trying the merge the western influence and eastern influence together. Instead of making the story flow nicely together, this confused me. The constant flash back and changing view point makes me unable to enjoy the "mood" of the story.

Not a good read. I give it 2 stars out of 5.

This is my personal opinion only

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Azazel Fantasy Stories By Isaac Asimov

I found this gem during one of my rampage at Paylessbooks warehouse sale. Got it under the bargain book, RM12 for 5.

This is one of my most prize possession in terms of books. It is not a brand new book but the stories inside makes me want to read this again and again.

I was hooked on Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series a few years ago. Found that he have great vision on the future of this world. At the time when he wrote the Foundation Series, we still did not have the technology described therein and we still don't

Anyway, Azazel is totally different from the Foundation series.

It's about this two inches tall devil who have a great big ego. He have the power to grant wishes but his power is limited.

Each time when he was summon by his friend to help in one thing or another, the result would be disastrous.The Murphy's Law thingy.

There are 18 stories in this book.

You have to read this brilliant work with an open mind.

Picking A Fight

Once I had a colleague who likes to pick fight with people.

During my job interview, I sat next to his table doing the typing test. He told me that he had "gaduh" with almost everyone in the company before. It's his way to "get to know" a person.

Weird. But there are all sorts of weird people in this world. Some would pick fight for power, glory, status or ego. That, I can understand. But I really don't know what to say about people like him. Purposely picking fight for nothing. Or maybe he have a hidden agenda of his own.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Breathless In Bombay Stories by Murzban F.Shroff

I bought this book from BookXcess last month. Am always fond of books from Asian authors.

There are 14 short stories in this book, a total of 306 pages.

Each story is special. Each story is written in the point of view of an individual and at the end of the story there would be a surprising insight about that person or that person discovered something that he/she have been blind about.

I especially love the story titled "A Different Bhel". Story told from the voice of a woman named Hilda about a local notorious thug who had terrorised the place when he was young. The thug was painted as dare devil and totally bad man. But the end of the story, it was revealed that another person crime is worse than his.

"Traffic" was another great story. A woman fell in love with the wrong man. She was alienated by her friends and relative and the man threw her out on the street.In a moment of despair, she contemplated the unthinkable. But she was saved by a coconut.

In the story of "Babu Barrah Takka", a straight forward and honest man was forced to accept bribe for his daughter's future.

This book really merged the old traditions and modern life in Bombay city.

Love this book.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Odd and The Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

I have heard a lot anout Neil Gaiman but have yet to read any of his book. Saw this book at BookXcess during one of their sale.

It's suitable for young readers but I am always young at heart. Hence, I get to read this.

The story is a bout a little Viking boy whose name is Odd. But his name is not considered as odd during his time coz it meant "The Tip Of A Blade" which is considered as very lucky.

His mother was a Scoitish maiden kidnapped by his father the Viking in one of their raids. But she gradually grew to be accustomed to her husband.

Now, Odd's father was a good woodsman but he pass away during one of the raid.

He tried to take his father's place but his one of his legs was crushed when a tree fell on him. His mother re-married and the man already have sons. He was ignored.

One day he decided to runaway and  go back to his father's old house to stay.

There he run into the Gods themselves. The Gods were in trouble and he helped them to saved the City of God from the "Evil" Frost Giants

I love this simple but thought provoking book. Some of the things can really apply to our everyday life. Such as Odd's courage and determination. And then of the God's foolishness.

I think this book would very much be enjoyed by both boys and girls

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paddington, My Book of Marmalade by Michael Bond

I bought this book from BookXcess after browsing thru the "A Bear Called Paddington" by Michael Bond , given to me by nlyusmilk

As most of you probably know, Paddington Bear LOVES Marmalade.  In fact, he brings it with him everywhere.

In this book celebrates his loves for Marmalade. Story from the invention of Marmalade to his special encounters due to Marmalade. There are many anecdotes there. Can't help smiling.

This is a really good gift book for kids.

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

I was given this lovely book by nylusmilk not so long ago. Silly me. For a long time I have thought Paddington Bear is the same as Pooh Bear.Only when I read this book did I know they are not the same.

This book tells the story where Paddington Bear begins. He was found by the Brown family sitting on his suitcase in Paddington Railway Station in London. On him was a note  which reads, "Please look after this bear. Thank you."

He was a stowaway. He came from the "Darkest Peru" and his name was something really complicated which nobody can pronounce. Therefore the Browns named him Paddington.

He is the most polite bear in the world. However, he tend to get into a lot of trouble due to his naivety.

It's really a very good book for kids and those who are young at heart.

 Thank you very much, nylusmilk.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I have been a fan of Agatha Christie book since I was young. She is a real amazing lady. Just too bad my school library did not stock up more Agatha Christie books back then. 

Hence now whenever I saw Agatha Christie book I would grab. Found this lovely hardcover Agatha Christie book at my friendly neighbourhood bookstore, BookXcess, at an affordable price.

It was set in a fictional small village known as  King's Abbott in England where everybody know each other's dirty laundry. Hercule Poirot and live in this village after his retirement. Story is told from the voice of Dr Sheppard, the village doctor who also acts as Poirot's side kick. 

The story begins with the suicide of a wealthy widow, Mrs Ferrars, who was rumoured to have killed her husband. She was romantically link to Roger Ackroyd, a widower. Roger wanted to marry her but then he was horrified when she admitted to him about killing her husband. She also told Roger that she was being blackmailed by somebody. Soon after receiving this letter, Roger was murdered. Stabbed with a silver knife from the back.

Poirot was asked by Flora (Roger's niece) to investigate.

As usual there are many suspects which seems to have motive and opportunity to commit the crime. One by one Poirot managed to rule out all of them.

This story have an amazing plot twist. Frankly, I was shocked and amazed on discovering the identity of the murderer.

I give this book 4 star out of 5.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Slumdog Millionaire(Originally Published as Q & A) by Vikas Swarup

I have been hoping to read ths book since I finished reading "Six Suspects" which was also written by Vikas Swarup.

This book was originally published as "Q & A". It was made into a movie and have won awards. I managed to catch part of the movie only. The part where he was acting as a Tour Guide at Taj Mahal. The story in the book and the movie defer slightly.

This novel tells the story of Ram Mohammad Thomas (funny name ya? There is a story behind that) participated in a game show called "Who Will Win A Billionaire" and won. He was just an 18 years old poor Waiter from the slums.

Of course the Organiser did not believe that he could answer all the questions correctly without having outside help. How is it possible that a poor waiter from the slum have the knowledge required to answer the questions? Seems to be quite impossible.

The Organiser with the help of the Police got him arrested. The was questioned by the police and by hook and by crook they are determined  to have him "singing" out the truth. .

He was torture. There was a moment where he felt he can't take it anymore, a lady lawyer came and rescued him. She brought him to her place. He was asked how he knew all the correct answers to the questions.

He was aprehensive at first. Thought maybe it's a trap. But the thru a flip of his "lucky coin", he decided to trust her.

He begin to tell her how he knew the answer starting from the 1st question.

There is a story behind his answer to each question, right up to the 13th question.

I love this book. I gave it full marks.

 To some it maybe confusing as the story tend to "jump" jump here and there as he narrated how he knew the answers. The ending was beautifully written.

My regret is that now that I have read these two books, I will be having a very high expectation for his next book. Hope the next book will be just as good if not better than these two.
It seems that he "know" the answers to the questions due to his life experience. For each question, a chapter of his life unfolds.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup

I bought this from BookXcess during their 3rd Anniversary Promotion. If not mistaken there was an additional 20% on top of the price state.

It was an impulse buy andI have no regret in getting this book.

What attracted me to this book was the author's name. Am nuts about Asian writers. Have you heard of "Slumdog Millionaire"?It's written by this author.

The story starts with the murder of the notorious, Vicky Rai, the son of a corrupted politician and gangster, Jagannath Rai.

Vicky Rai was shot at a party in his home. The party was to celebrate his acquittal of a murder case.

Six people were found with guns in their possession when the police seal-off the murder scene.

They are :

1)Mohan Kumar, the Bureaucrat. He is as corrupted as can be. One day he went for a seance and the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi seems to have possessed him. Since then he was like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Scaring the people around him with his multiple personality.

2)Shabnam Saxena, The Actress. She is very successful and is the subject of envy for many people. Despite the stardom, she hungers for her family love. She trusted people and was bitterly betrayed.

3) Eketi, the tribal who travel from his native Andaman Island to India to retrieve a sacred object that was stolen from his people. At first he thought India is a good place to stay on but later found out that it is a very harsh place. People were very cruel, unlike those in his Island. He dreamt of going back to his beloved Island once he retrieved the stolen object and also bring his new found love back with him.

4) Munna Mobile, the Thief. His speciality is to steal handphones. He met a rich girl. At first he was just fooling around looking for a quick lay but then he fell in love. It's a forbidden love as they are of different caste.

5) Jagannath Rai, the Politician. He is a very corrupted and an ambitious politician who happens to be the father of Vicky Rai. He is like a gangster. Did many crimes and yet he always got away with it because people are too scared to go against him. Those who are brave enough were "eliminated". He wanted to be the next Chief Minister and Vicky Rai stood in his way.

6) Larry Page, the American who works as a forklift operator and have the same name as the Google's founding CEO. He is like "Mr. Bean". Always get in to trouble but some how he is always lucky enough scrape thru it. He came to India to marry his "Mail Ordered Bride".

The above mentioned people have motive to murder Vicky Rai.

The characters in this book are well developed and very lively. I can't help laughing like a hyena at the things that Larry got himself into. Also can't help felling anxious about Shabnam's and Munna's predicament.

This book is a must read for all mystery fan and those who love a bit of spice in their live.

Service Attitude

What I've encountered yesterday and today really makes me think that our society is really alienate lot.

We went to Sungai Wang Plaza to search for a camera yesterday. Before going, hui have done research only and a shop called Boeing Photo Sdn Bhd seems to give the best deal.

We are not familiar with the layout of the shops in Sungei Wang. Hence while hunting for Boeing Photo Sdn Bhd, we come across many other camera shop. We stopped to enquire whether they have stock for the model which we wanted.

First shop says "We don't have" but he did suggest alternative model and showed us the model. He was not sure where we can get the model.

At least this one was better that the previous guy at another shopping complex which say this model is obsolete though it's a relatively new model . When he was asked any model that will be replacing this model he just answered "Don't have". This guy obviously does not know his product

Back to the story.

We walk some more. Saw another shop. It's near Parkson and man by a young man. He was busy cleaning the display case when hubi approached him to ask about the model the model we wanted.

Without stopping his "cleaning" job, he answered that they do not have that model. I think it's very rude especially when a customer is asking you a question and you are doing another thing. It's as rude as talking with your mouth full

Then we come to another shop. This shop was man by a man who is in his late 30s. He was busy reading newspaper. When hubi asked him question, it was like there is gold in his mouth. Reluctant to answer. The attitude like "if you want to buy then buy. If not then buzz off".

Nevertheless, we encounter one shop whose staffs ave a positive attitude and was happy to help. He even managed to suggest alternative model and brand. He was able to reply most of hubi's question. Too bad they did not have stock for that camera

Finally we found Boeing Photo Sdn Bhd. Their staffs were quite knowledgeable and they have the model in stock. Managed to give us quite a good deal too

This morning we went to McD for breakfast. The service was really bad.

How can McD run out of eggs? No Eggs McMuffin, no big breakfast and no ice milo. Only have Fillet O Fish and Sausage McMuffin. By 10.30am, they have run out of Sausage McMuffin too. Left are Pancake, Fillet-o-fish and chicken.

The counter girl who serviced me was not smiling. There are confusing everywhere. Everyone seems to be "hiding" in the kitchen.

Later on I went to asked for a Paper bag. A Supervisor was reprimanding two girls as they seems to be doing the same job together. Two girls manning the same counter? No wonder there is chaos.

When the supervisor was there the girl flashed me a smile and enquired politely what I need.

Then I went back again for a cup of ice. This round the supervisor is not there. The said staff seems to be nonchalant

This really makes me think that people is getting cunning everywhere. When supervisor or the boss is here, must put on an act. When the boss' back is turn then it's their "ME" time and customers being ignored.


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