Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Adventures in Booga Booga Land: Squid Sushi Loses His Marble (DVD) by Richard Milne

When I saw this DVD being offered for review by, I can't help myself but to request this for my son. The DVD is provided by the publisher, Thomas Nelson Publishing to me with the understanding that it will give it an unbiased review.

The stories are based on the parables of Jesus "acted" by Marty the cheeky Monkey and Gerard the cute giraffe. I don't know why but my son kept calling Gerard as horsey. He certainly love Marty the Monkey. Marty can't help getting himself into trouble.

There are 3 stories in this DVD

- Squid Sushi Loses His Marbles (The Valuable Pearl - Matt 13:45-46)
- Wally the Waitor (The Weeds - Matt 13:24-30)
- The Flaming Monkey (The Wedding Banquet - Matt 22:2-14)

I think the stories is suitable for my son's age(3 years old). It's simple and fun. Each story is about 15minutes. Not too long for him to grow bored with it.

Although the graphic is nothing fancy but there are some laughter to be had by Marty's acts alone.

Overall it give it 4 stars

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Me and Mr Darcy By Alexandra Potter

Emily Albright is an American and is Manager of a book store. She had a string of disastrous relationship with modern men. They just does not have the gentleman charm of the flamed Mr Darcy, a character from Jane Austen's book "Pride and Prejudice". She had it with all modern men. Her dream man is Mr Darcy.

When her best friend Stella invited to a weekend full of "fun" and men in Mexico, she hastily declined and booked herself on a tour to Britain. It a Literature Lovers Tour to explore the world of Jane Austen.

There are no handsome hunks on the tour. It's just a bus load of "Kooks and old people", as Stella put it. The only man who is remotely of her age is Spike, a journalist that got on the wrong side of Emily. But as fate has it, the two of them were thrown together more and more.

To Emily's surprised, she met Mr Darcy during the tour. He is exactly as described in Jane Austen's novel. Gentlemanly and sexy. For a moment there, Emily thought she had imagined it all but everything seems so real. Is he the man for her?

This is sort of like a modern fairy tale. Most of the thing seems to have been exaggerated like the part where her date split the bills with her by counting up to the cost of the pizza topping.

The plot was sort of predictable. It's a smart move to introduce Mr Darcy into the story or else it would be very bland. The kind of girl meet boy, fight and fell in love.

What I like about this book is that it have a hint of "Fantasy Island" and "Love Boat", where everyone in the tour got to know one another well and they went on the tour with problems in their heart. At the end of the tour, their heart are somehow fixed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Final Notes From a Great Island By Neil Humphrey

For the past few days I have been reading this book.

It is about Neil Humphrey who have been in Singapore for about a decade and now he decided to move on to the land Down Under. Before he go, he decided to have one last "tour" of Singapore. To go to the places which he had been to.

I find that this book is a bit bland at certain parts. Nothing much that holds my interest. Jokes seems to fell flat. For example the part where he was threaten by a vicious dog. A Police man who is smaller size than him stands between him and the dog. Then the bus came and he ran to the bus with the dog close to his heels. All this while he was shouting for the police to shoot the  dog before it bites him. Maybe that part was intended to be funny but I find it's nothing to laugh about

Guess this book just doesn't suit me. Maybe others will think differently for each will have their favourite type of book to read.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Schooled In Murder by Mark Richard Zubro

Tom Mason is a teacher in Cleveland High School. He is also the Union Representative.

He hates faculty meeting. It's endless and boring. Nothing much get done there. Two groups the old school and the suck up kept at each other throat.

It was one such meeting..Tom got bored and sneak out to take a break. When he came back, the meeting room was empty. Meeting was adjourned.

He heads toward the stockroom and unwittingly bump into two teacher having their tryst there. Both are male teachers and one of them are married. Tom saw a leg sticking out from behind some boxes. When they look further, they found that Gracie(the teacher who storm out of the meeting) was dead with the black board eraser stuffed inside of her mouth.

The Police was called in. The school administrators were unhappy as it gives bad impression of the school. They come to Tom as he is the Union Representative there.

Everyone were interviewed by the Police. End of day, Tom was exhausted. But when he went into the car, he found a second corpse laying behind his car.

This plus the fact that he discovered the first body and that he had sneak out from the meeting earlier made him seems suspicious. He is one of the prime suspect. What worst is that he soon discovered that there are people who is trying to pin the murders onto him.

He had to discover who is the real murderer fast before the Police pin it on him. Together with his lover, Scott Carpenter, a former professional baseball player they tried to investigate.

I find that I don't like this book. Everything seems to be jumble up. Most of the male teachers seems to be homosexual while the female teachers are lesbian. Both groups also tend to be bi-sexual. There are no fidelity in marriage nor in couple/partners.

I am not anti homosexual or lesbian but there are just too much reference on this. Kinda hard for me to keep track of who is doing it with who and who is the partner of who.

The plot is simple. The reason for the murder seems to absurd especially since so many people are involved. The reason would be more logical if the murders were done on an impulse.

As usual, I might not like this book but other might find it interesting for each person passion for reading is not the same.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

U Is For Undertow by Sue Grafton

I have been following Sue Grafton Kinsey Millhone Mystery (The Alphabet Series) since I found the first few from Paylessbook Warehouse Sale. I have book A to T.

I was delighted to find this "U"(latest book) from the Big Bad Wolf Sale. RM8. Paperback but large print. Let's hope I will be able to get my hands on book V to Z. I wonder what she would write after she completed book A to Z.

Anyway, in this book Kinsey Millhone was approached by Michael Sutton to investigate a "memory". Michael "remembered" an incident when he was 6 years old where he witness two "pirates" burying a treasury in someones backyard.

This memory happen to pop up when he was watching a show about a little girl kidnapped around that time and the case was never solved. He managed to put two and two together and come out with the "pirates" were actually burying the little girl's body.

Soon after, Kinsey starts to investigate she found that there are many holes in Michael's "recollection". Nevertheless, she is convinced that there is something vital in Michael's story.

She started digging and she made some people very nervous. They have things that they wish to forget.

Unlike her previous books, this books seems to touch on family relationships. Particularly about parents and their kids.

Though the book have no car chase nor action packed plots but it's still an enjoyable read. Sue Grafton managed to use flash back to bring readers up todate on what happen in the past. Maybe that's why the book is name "U is for Undertow". There seems to be an undertow current in the past events.

Am looking forward to getting my hands on her next book- V is for....... I wonder what will be the title.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spandau Phoenix by Greg Iles

It was an unexpected assignment. Berlin police sergeant Hans Apfe was pulled into duty as he was getting home to his lovely wife Ilse.

His duty is to guard the rumbles Berlin's Spandau prison. The Berlin Spandau Prison was recently demolished after the death of its last prisoner..Prisoner #7.

Why is the demolished prison so important that it needs guards from 4 countries- Germany, Russian, America and British? It seems to be an international concern.

It's all because of the notorious Prisoner #7. He is known to be Rudolf Hess, Hitler's fanatical Deputy Fuhrer. He was captured in his crazy mission of flying all the way to Britain for a peace mission for Hitler. Since his capture in 1941, he had been locked up in that prison. Some had speculated that Prisoner #7 is not Rudolf Hess.

That night, Hans, stumbled into 6 pieces of paper hidden in a brick under the rumbles. It seems to be the diary of Prisoner #7.

The diary holds the answer to all the question. And all nations which would be affected if the contents of the diary is made known are anxious to get their hands on the diary.

Hans discovered how deathly the diary can be when he was "detained" in his own Police station and one of his colleague murdered in front of him. He was rescued by his estranged father. Together they went to rescue his wife Ilse with men from several agencies after them.

This is a very fast paced book. Something like Tom Clancy's Power Play Series. Innocent bystander turns into desperate combatants at the brutal violence, global intrigue, treason, and terror. Every nations are in a battle for supremacy. There is nobody you can trust.

It was so fast paced that I felt lost at certain parts. One part of me wants to know the outcome as soon as possible and another part of me was frustrated by the twist in the plot.

The down side of this book is that I read this at a wrong time. One part of this involves nuclear reactor exploding. This reminds me of the situation in Japan now. Made me real nervous.

Overall an exciting read. I like Greg Iles book very much. The one I like most is "24 Hours". Story about a kidnapping.

Friday, March 11, 2011

20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

I have read her "Village of Stone" and liked it. This is the 2nd book by Xiaolu Guo which I bought.

Saw this book at BookXcess earlier last year. The price was below RM20 but I was reluctant to get it as it was a thin book (204pages only). Kedekut punya pasal. There are always much bigger fish to fry when comes to BX.

That's why I was happy to see this in the Big Bad Wolf Sale. Got it for RM8 only.

This is indeed an interesting book. Story is set in the current commercialised China. The main character, FenFang was just 17 years old when she decided to run away from home and venture into Beijing. She felt trapped in the runt of her village life. Day in day out doing and seeing the same thing.

There are 20 "fragments" in this book. Each"fragment" tell a story of FenFang's experience of her life in the city. From the part where she work in factory to being a Film Extra, from having a boyfriend to breaking up, of the interaction between her and the people around her and etc.

At times, I can't help thinking that Xiaolu might be writing about herself.Well, I haven't googled about her yet so I don't know whether my suspicion hit the mark or not.

Anyway, it's a really enlightening sort of book. Captured the mood of FenFang aptly. Fresh coz everything is put in a matter of fact way. Unlike many of books regarding China which consist of a lot of heart wrenching tales. A very modern view sort of book.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Different Sky by Meira Chand

Fuih...finally finish reading this terrific book. Started reading this yesterday. Just can't stop.

Story about the life of 3 people in Singapore between 1927 to the year Singapore obtain its Independence.

Raj, Mei Lan and Howard met once in a trolley when they were young. They were trap in the the trolley because there was a riot. Each have different view about the riot.

Raj was a young Indian from India who came to Singapore to seek his fortune. He wants to work to become a successful businessman. He has a kind heart.

Mei Lan was born in a rich and famous Chinese family which have very constricting views about how females should conduct themselves. Mei Lan felt that she is suffocating from that. She have dreams and ambition. She works on that. From young she was taught that Singapore is just a place to stay while China is their home. Thus when Japanese launched war at China, her family worked to help China. But then Japanese came to Singapore also. Everyone suffered greatly

Howard was an Eurasian boy born here who unfortunately have darker skin than his fellow Europeans. During that time, it was frowns on if Europeans marries local woman. He was never really accepted by the locals and was look down on by the Europeans. He does not really agree with the Communist view but was forced to work with them for survival.

Somehow fate have brought Raj, Mei Lan and Howard together again and again in an unexpected ways throughout this book.

They had to go through World War II. Suffered before, during and after the Japanese Occupation. Each have their own story to tell and experience.

It is really amazing how Meira Chand spin the tales of these 3 people lives. They are bound together by fate and yet they are separate.

Meira managed to capture the view point of each characters aptly.Everything was so vividly described.

Another wonderful book bought from The Big Bad Wolf Sale. RM8. Jangan Jealous.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

A Time To Embrace By Karen Kingsbury

Since getting an ARC of A Time To Dance from Booksneeze, I have wondered what would happen to John and Abby next.

I was lucky as a friend have to the sequel to this book.

Here, John and Abby have "mature". John were still the Coach. However, there was a smear campaign against him when he told a parent the truth about the son.This made John felt very down and have thought of resigning from coaching.

He loves his students very much but he can't help noticing that one of his student, Jake being lead astray. Jake started to bully Nathan whom he was a friend of.

Not only that, John's own son also seems to be going down the wrong road.

To top it off, John was involved in an accident which left him paralysed. His daughter Nicole gave birth to a baby but there is a problem with the baby.

It seems like one thing after another kept happening to John and his family. Would this cause a strain in his relationship with Abby? Would he be able to overcome their misfortune? Would he be able to forgive the one who caused the accident? But one thing for sure, this round he pray to God for guidance and blessing.

At certain part of this book, it seems to be rather "preachy" but one thing for sure this is an heart moving book.

I particularly love page 150, the part where an article describe John as more than a Coach. He cares more than football and is someone where the student can talk to. He was like a second dad to them.

How I wish there are more caring teachers like this in reality. Nowadays, teachers seems to care about if to get the student pass the examination and finish the syllabus in time. There are not much student teacher time where a teacher gets to relate more with students. Understand their individual needs and things like that. Can't really blame the teachers also as the education systems here is so examination orientated.

In my life, I am lucky to have two great teachers like John. The first one was Mr Yeoh Swee Aun. He pass away in 1990. The other is Mr Phua Seng Tiong. Both loves their students very much and cares a lot for them.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery

It was the early nineteen century. Aurelia was an orphan. She doesn't know who is her father. Her mother passed on while she and and her uncle were in a ship to Japan. Her uncle was a Missionary who was selected to go to Japan to spread the religion. Unfortunately he died in a fire the first day they arrived in Japan.

Alone with no place to stay, Aurelia hide in a Teahouse. She was adopted by the Teahouse family and was personal companion of the young Mistress of the house, Yukako.

Tea Ceremony was a big thing during that time. Only a Master can perform the Tea Ceremony.

The Shin family was once very rich and was looked up to by everyone. However, the family fell from grace due to the changes in the Imperial Japanese decree trying to abolish most of the ancient customs. No more Shogun. And Tea ceremony is looked on as ancient art. Out dated. No longer valued.

Nevertheless, Aurelia devoted herself to the Shin family despite the failing fortune. Mistress Yukako tried to help the family but was hinder by ancient practices.

Aurelia fell in love with the Tea Ceremony practise and also Mistress Yukako. She was there for Yukako through all the all the up and downs. Although Mistress Yukako treats her well, was just not meant to be. Aurelia will always be an outsider.

In the end, she went back to the land where she was born.

What I like about his book is that it's very rich with the ancient customs and each move are vividly portrayed.

The thing I don't like about this book is it is too long winded. Felt that it's dragging. Another negative point about this book is that the font is very tiny. Hard to read.

This would be a good book for those who loves to know more about ancient Japanese Tea Ceremony. I guess, this book is just not for me.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The House Of Djinn by Suzanne Fisher Staples

This book is the sequel to "Shabanu : Daughter of the Wind" and "Haveli".

Initially I was kinda lost because I didn't read the other two books.

In this book, is set in Afghanistan. Story begins with Shabanu who have been in hiding for 10 years since the day she staged her own death to escape the evil crunches of her brother-in-law and for the safety of her daughter.

Her daughter, Mumtaz, have been raised by her husband's family and have been given the education and security which Shabanu demanded for her daughter.

Mumtaz's closest friend was her cousin Jameel.Her protector was her Baba the leader of the Clan. Only Baba can understand her loneliness without a father and a mother. Being constantly bullied by the women in the family.

One day, Baba suddenly died. And it was revealed that Jameel is to take over as the leader of the tribe. His uncles were "overlooked" in this matter. One bear grudges while the other was happy to step aside for Jameel.

It was also revealed that Jameel is to wed Mumtaz. This cause both of them to questions their feelings and whether they are willing to give up their future in order to fulfill their obligation to their family.

For me this book is an average read mainly because I did not have the pleasure of reading the previous two books.

However, the emotional turmoil of the main characters were well reflected in this book. The flow of the story was well done and smooth.


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