Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Pride and Joy - Enid Blyton Collection

I have read many of Enid Blyton's books and have collected quite a numbers of it. None are first print or anything like that but I just doesn't have the heart to give them away. I love them very much. 

Here are a few that I managed to dig up the other day.

The "Color" collection. Sadly, I only have these two "color".

The first time I came across the "color" book was when my primary schoolmate, Christopher, loan me his "The Blue Story Book".

Gosh, it was a magical experience reading that. Then on my own, I managed to buy The Yellow and The Red Story Book. There is another book. The Green Story Book. I have read that one too.

Next comes The St Clare's collection.

 Managed to collect all 6 books.
 It was not an easy task. I had to buy them one by one.

We were not rich. For me, story books like these are a luxury item.

Each weekend, we would go to visit my grandma. At the end of the day, an Uncle who have car will come to visit Grandma too. We would get a ride home in his car. Those days he would quietly slip me RM10. On the weekend that he was not free, we had to walk quite a distance and took bus home. We had to change two buses before we reach home.
Every Friday after school, me and my friends would go to a shopping complex called Q-Mart at Old Klang Road. With the RM10, I would then select a book to buy. Those days, it cost RM4-90 a book. It's consider pricey for we can get a bowl of noodle for RM1-80 at that time.

From there, slowly my collection of books grew.

Malory Tower Collection nearly escaped me. The brownish color was not that attractive. I thought it would be rather dull book. 

I think it was Chinese New Year or something where I suddenly have influx of $$. Hence, I took a chance and bought one.

I enjoyed it very much and went back for more.

It's truly a journey to relish in collecting all 6 of them.

It was simply delightful reading about the Midnight Feast, the Sports, the holidays and everything in it.

There are people who hates Enid Blyton because of her personal life. If all spoken are true, then she could have been a rather unpleasant lady.

However, the books she wrote were extremely good.

In these two boarding school series, she teaches children to be independent and try to work out their problem instead of being a "Tell Tales". There were many example on teamwork, tolerance and of course the balance between working hard in their studies and also of having fun.

Some may say, "What?? these old and musty books? Sell to the Recycling Centre also no value. What for keeping them and take up the space. Can always get e-book."

For me they held a lot of fond memories and have sentimental value.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Peony In Love by Lisa See

Set in the seventeen century China, Peony is a young girl of 16 years age from the Chen family. She is betrothed to the second son of the Wu family.

Being the only daughter of the first wife and all the rests of the concubine bears only girls, Peony, is much loved by her parents.

During that era, unmarried girls are secluded at home and are trained to be good wife to their future husband. The same happen to Peony. She was taught to sew, play musical instrument and most important of all to read.

At that time the work of Tang Xianzi "The Peony Pavilion" is one of the most popular work and have been made into opera.

As fate would have it, Peony loves The peony Pavilion and had tried to get her hands on as many version of it as possible. On the month of her 16th birthday which also coincide with the 7th month celebration of the Weaver Maid and Cowherd, her father commission an opera troupe to their luxurious home to entertains them and their guests.

Her mother was against it. For her mother thinks it is not appropriate for unmarried girls to be seen in public. However, her father assured her that all will be taken care of.

That night turns out to be the turning point of Peony cloistered and protected life. For that night she bump into a man which makes her thinks of the seven feelings that makes us human.

 Here starts her journey from this life and later one the journey to the realm beyond.

This is truly one of the most wonderful and beautifully written book that I have ever read. The description of the love and lost that Peony had was very heart wrenching. It is a adventure itself to see her trying to do the right thing and things kept turning out unexpectedly

There are so many layers of stories in this book. Nothing is what it seems.

I stared reading this book last night and it is a real page turner. This is definitely a MUST READ. This is indeed a sad day for me. Why? Because I fear the next book which I laid my hand onto may not be as good as this.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flawless by Tilly Bagshawe

Diamond is a girl's best friend. Do you agreed? This book is all about diamond.

Scarlett(what a name!) is a stunning British girl with an artistic stripe. The jewellery she designed is simply gorgeous. And she uses certified diamonds only.

She is not just any beautiful girl. She have talent and the stubbornness of an ox. She champions the right of the poor diamond miners in Africa and Siberia. Her stubbornness had lead her into a dangerous path.

Brogan is the tycoon which she had offended. He owns a company which invested in diamond mining in Siberia. It's a very big business and he does not like bad publicity. He is determined to crush Scarlett.

At the same time, fate brings her face to face with Jake Meyer. A devilish handsome and charming diamond supplier whose supplies comes from dubious origin. Outwardly she hates him but somehow fate seems to conspired against her and forced the two of them together.

To add suspend to the story, in comes Jake's twin brother, Danny. He fell in love with Brogan's young wife.'s like adding fuel to a fire.

Anyone who loves Sidney Sheldon's book would certainly love this book. It have a good dose of  charm, suspense, mystery, drama and romance.

I have read two of Tilly Bagshawe's books. I love "Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of The Game"  but did not like "Do Not Disturb".

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Manny by Holly Peterson

Jamie Whitfield live in the Grid where the rich lives. She is a part time TV News Producer and the wife of Philip, a successful partner in law firm.

Philip is forever too busy to make time to have father and son quality time with their son Dylan. Jamie feels that Dylan needs some male company which she and the nanny could not provide.

This is where, Peter Bailey, comes in. Jamie hired him to be the "Manny"(the male version of nanny) for Dylan despite Philip's objection.

Hiring of Peter does not only improved Dylan's human to human interaction but also makes Jamie open her eyes to what is happening around her. Although she protest that she is not one of those " socialite" but sometimes peer pressure seems to be too much and she had to succumbed to the demand. What worse is that she seems to be attracted to Peter.

The good thing about this books it highlighted what most working couple are facing nowadays especially the endless chase for money. Money is never enough, or as according to Philip. The need to be accepted socially, as thought by Jamie. And how all these affect the lives of the children and also the relationship between married couple.

Also highlighted how extra-marital affairs tend to start. A friend who is not communicating with her husband and both blatantly having affairs. What can one do when one walk in on ones husband doing it with ones so call friend? What can a man do when a sexy married woman pull him into a closet and show him she is not wearing any panties underneath? What can one say when someone told you that they do it for the excitement that can't be found in their husband?

At work, there is also scene of betrayal where someone could purposely make false story just to pull a prank and revenge with no concern who die in the middle.

Then there is also the office politic angle at Philip's office which does not seems to sit well in this book.

Yes, this book tries to tackle many issues...a tad too many issues and not enough time/room to elaborate. Hence the characters and plot comes out as stiff and lacking of depth. There are so much potential in this novel but again and again a particular issue was not given the chance to develope properly before jump into another issue.

Sometimes, I think it is best not to bite more than what ones can chew.Yes, there is room for improvement for this book. If only the author can elaborate more on the characters and gives them more life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson

I was going crazy after reading two tear jerking books in a row. I dug into my vast collection of books pending to be read for something "happier" when I chance upon this book. Actually, I had kinda forgotten that I have this book. That's the hazard of having too many books.

Well, I guess ones can't go wrong with Chit-lit if ones wanted something light to pass time.

Rosie Duncan was badly hurt emotionally but she managed to rebuilt her life in New York as the owner of a small florist shop. She thought by building a wall around herself and running away from her past would keep her from getting hurt again. Outward, she looks happy. Her business is blooming and she have a set of great friends. None of her friends know of her secret except from Celia.

She thought all is well until she met Nate who at times seems to be interest to be more than just her friend.

Meantime, there is another worry. Her brother, James arrived at her doorsteps and he seems to be keeping a secret.

On top of all the confusion, suddenly, her past caught up with her. She thought of running away and hide but then her pride wouldn't let her.

Frankly I didn't have high expectation on this book. Thought it's just another mindless chit-lit that would get me pass the sadness of the previous two book. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book presented just ample dose of drama, love and friendship.

It leaves me with a warm and optimistic feeling inside. Rosie was such an optimistic girl. If only all things in life could be wrapped up in such a neat packet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Concubine's Daughter by Pai Kit Fai

This book spin the saga of a mother and daughter in early 20th century based in China.

The mother, Li-Xia meaning The Beautiful One by her father in hope to boost her selling price higher. Li-Xia's mother was the Chen Jin(Thousand pieces of gold) from a noble house which become poor. She was sold to the uncouth Yikk Mun a spice merchant as a concubine.

She gave her life ad saved Li-Xia when Yikk Mun wanted to kill the newborn daughter. There were gossip flying everywhere that they are of the Fox Spirit.

Li-Xia was ignored most of the time by her father. He had tried to cripple her in order to make her have the prized "Lotus Feet".

When she came to an aged, she was sold to another merchant. There another part of her life begin. Li-Xia had always dreamt of being a scholar like her mother and this dream had lead her to a lot trouble.

Her dream had lead her to near death experience till she met Benjamin Devereaux. Would love between two opposing culture survived? And what about the treachery of the servants and the revenge of the notorious Sau-hai when Li-Xia escaped their crunches? 

Among all these evil, Siu Sing was born. She was whisked away by a faithful servant(Fish) at the instruction of Li-Xia for her safety before her Benjamin get the chance to look at her.

Fish brought the near death baby to her cousin in the hills. Here, Siu Sing earned another foe in her life. She learn the marital art and to be a scholar from Fish cousin. Then treachery happen and Siu Sing was left all alone in the world. Her "brother", Ah Keung, from the same master seems to came to her help but in the end he was one of her worst foe.

In Siu Sing's quest to look for her father, she came face-to-face with all types of people. She had to relied on her learning to survive. 

I love the first part of this book very much. Li-Xia's plight was very real and vivid. I was really depressed to read of the cruelty of the people against her.

But the same cannot applies to the part of her daughter, Siu Sing. It seems so far fetch and like a scene out of those Hong Kong TVB Kungfu Drama where one go to learn martial arts up the mountains. As suddenly as she was whisked up the mountain, she was also suddenly plunged into the art of erotic pleasure. The art of pleasuring men.

Despite the so-so plot on the second part of the book, this books is still worth the read. The first part of the book is worth all the tears. Wonderfully written.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris

Who doesn't love a good mystery book? Paula Holliday was a media executive who quits her job to become a "gardener".

One day she got a big project from the local Historical Society to restore the ailing garden of the Peacock sisters who had pass on.

While she was digging, she dug up the beautifully reserved body of a baby. This become the big news of the town. Then strange things started to happen to her which makes her more determined to find out the identity of the dead baby.

The more she dig the more complicated it become. The more unanswered questions comes up.

This is a good book to go into. The suspense will keep you on your toes till the very end. There are many unexpected twist in the story. The way it was written also easy to understand.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pearl of China by Anchee Min

I nearly missed this book when I went to BookXcess to pick up my online order. Lucky that I saw this book displayed near the Customer Service Counter.

This round Anchee Min have really out done herself. The story is so vivid and believable that for a moment there, I thought it was a biography.

Have you heard of Pearl S. Buck, The author of The Good Earth? This is a fiction story about her.

It tells the story of two girls in the small town of Chin-Kiang, China. One was Pearl and the other was Willow, a Chinese girl. Pearl was the daughter of zealous Christian missionaries while Willow comes from a family who were very poor.

They fight and the become the best of friends through the thick and thin of the Chinese revolutions.

They shares their dreams and hope with each others. They supported each other when their marriage gone awry.

Pearl and her family was forced out of China when civil war erupts in China. Meantime, Willow got married to someone close to Mao.

Nevertheless, their friendship remains strong. Willow was dreadfully punished for her friendship with Pearl.

This is truly a tale of till death do you part.

Near the ending I was thinking why the heck Willow don't just denounce Pearl. Pearl is no longer in China and won't even be much affected by her action. She suffer so much for Pearl. It's just so sad.

This is truly a good read

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Skimming by Claire Tham

The story focus on the lives of 3 person who known each other since their college days.

Wai Keong is the quiet and obedient son of a rich man. David is agressive and comes from a poor family. Li is the girl which both of them coveted on.

Wai Keong know Li first and they have dated through their university days. David was Wai Keong best friend and had felt in love with Li the first time he set his eyes on her in Wai Keong's room.

Wai Keong found that Li is special and different from other girls. Li was fond of Wai Keong but some how David kept pursuing her and she found that David seems to be rather exciting.

Li started to avoid Wai Keong and finally Wai Keong discovered their relationship during one of their travel. He left David and Li without a word.

Meantime, David and Li become a pair.Li had wanted to meet David's family but David was ashamed of his family. Finally he brought her to meet with his family and Li discovered the difference between the two family. She didn't mind at first. She also brought David to meet her family but things does not work out as she imagined. This casted a doubt in her mind. David sensing this and had pestered her to marry him. She had refused initially but she discovered that she might be pregnant and she quickly agree.

They married and lived in an apartment which were loan to them buy Li's family. David was not happy with that. Then Li discovered that she is not really pregnant. She had wanted to be the perfect wife. They conceived again and again but each time met with failure.

David started to distance himself from Li. Meantime Li bumped into Wai Keong at a reunion party. And their love "rekindled".

 Wai Keong knew that Li was using him but he still went ahead with it. Li and David got divorced and yet Li still harbor feelings towards David.

Finally Wai Keong could not stand being the second fiddle anymore and confronted Li.

I find that in the first chapter about Wai Keong was rather boring. But things started to speed up when it comes to the part about Li and David.

The characters are well developed. Wai Keong is someone which I would love to knock some senses into for being so "soft" and boneless. Li seems to be a two timing slut which can't seems to make up her mind which I would love to "cekik". Last but not least, David the so call best friend who would go behind his best friend and steal his girl...haiz what can I say? It takes all type to make up a world

A very frustrating story.


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