Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Opposite of Fate : A Book of Musing By Amy Tan

This is a non-fiction book by Amy Tan describing on her thoughts and her family life.

She was born in a family who believe in fate. And being that she had to find balance between the family believe and her "American" way of life to find her own destiny.

It's really fascinating to read about what her family expects of her and how she devise ways to have her own ways.

There are description on how she had the inspirations for each book particularly The Joy Luck Club. She also writes of the reason why she added broken English in her books instead of straight up English.

This has been an eye opening book for me. Yes, I never thought that there are so many reason behind her books. So many scene from the books are based on real life. No wonder her books and the characters are so vibrant and alive.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Lightkeeper's Ball by By Colleen Coble

Book Description

Olivia seems to have it all, but her heart yearns for more.

Olivia Stewart's family is one of the Four Hundred—the highest echelon of society in 1910. When her sister dies under mysterious circumstances, Olivia leaves their New York City home for Mercy Falls, California, to determine what befell Eleanor. She suspects Harrison Bennett, the man Eleanor planned to marry. But the more Olivia gets to know him, the more she doubts his guilt—and the more she is drawn to him herself.

When several attempts are made on her life, Olivia turns to Harrison for help.

He takes her on a ride in his aeroplane, but then crashes, and they’re forced to spend two days alone together. With her reputation hanging by a thread, Harrison offers to marry her to make the situation right. As a charity ball to rebuild the Mercy Falls lighthouse draws near, she realizes she wants more than a sham engagement—she wants Harrison in her life forever. But her enemy plans to shatter the happiness she is ready to grasp. If Olivia dares to drop her masquerade, she just might see the path to true happiness.


I love a good romance as I love a good mystery. This book has it all. It's a historical romance where there is a handsome and slightly dangerous hero(who might be also be the villain) for me to swoon on; and also a delicious hint of mystery. Who is it who wants to harm Olivia?

There are enough twist in the plot to keep the suspense going in this book. I am not ashamed to say that I cheated. I flipped to the ending coz I can't stand the suspense. I wanted to know how the story ends

I would recommend this book to those who love romance and mystery.

This is the 3rd book of Mercy Falls Series. Don't worry. This book can be read independently from the other two books. How I wish I could lay my hands on the other two books.....
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this bookfrom the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gone Bamboo by Anythony Bourdain

Synopsis from

Gone Bamboo pits Henry, a CIA-trained assassin, and Frances, his hard-nosed, hard-bodied wife against two governments and a cross-dressing mafioso. Henry and Frances have gone bamboo-living an idyllic, retired life in the Caribbean-but when Donnie, a powerful capo relocated by the Federal Witness Protection Program, inadvertently jeopardizes their plan, all hell breaks loose. Despite the fact that Henry once tried to kill Donnie, the two join forces against the transvestite mob boss looking to ace Donnie. But things aren't going to be so easy...

Written in Anthony Bourdain's signature style-raucous, funny, a bit vicious, and always fun- Gone Bamboo is a feast of murder, hitmen, and the hitwomen they love. Reminiscent of Dashiell Hammet's Nick and Nora, Bourdain's Henry and Frances are a tough-talking, unlikely couple that will win you over-if they don't kill you first.

My Comments:

I feel HUNGRY when I read this book. Not hungry for words but rather hungry for food. This book is not about food but somehow food seems to sneaks into it. Gosh...the delicious description of food which Tommy cooks really had me drooling.

As for the story, to me it was and average read. This is due to too much usage of crude language and street lingo. It just turns me off. Maybe to some, the usage of crude language makes the story sound more authentic. Well, each person reserves the right to their opinion.

If you can turn a blind eye on the crude language, you might find that there are laughs to be had here. It's really funny to read how Tommy have a crush on Frances.

Overall, I would rate it as 2.5 stars

Monday, April 11, 2011

Buy Jupiter and Other Stories by Isaac Asimov

I am a fan of Isaac Asimov. It's hard to get any more of his books as most are out of print. That's why I was delighted to find this hardcover book during one of the Pay Less Book Warehouse Sale.

There are 24 short stories in this book. At the end of each story there is a short but sometimes long commentary from the author on how each of the story got written, what was the original title and some personal opinion on each story.

Some of the stories could be rather eerie too like the story of "Each An Explorer", about the possibility of plant/vegetation developed high intelligence till it can control human.

Love this book. This is definitely for keeps.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

I have read The Time Traveller's Wife and found it a good read but somehow rather sad. Was doubtful whether to buy this book, Her Fearful Symmetry, by the same author or not. But then since it's only RM8 from The Big Bad Wolf Sale, I might as well take a chance.

The story is about Julia and Valentina Poole, a set of mirror image twins. They are 20 years old when they received a letter from their aunt Espleth's solicitor informing them that their estranged aunt had left them an apartment in London. The condition is that they are to stay in the apartment minimum one year before they are allowed to sell the apartment and that their parents are not allowed into the apartment at all. Curious?

They have no idea what they are getting into when they decided to go ahead and stay in the apartment. Living upstairs of them is Martin who have OCD. Living below them is Robert, their late aunt's lover. "Living" with them is their Aunt's ghost/spirit who is trapped in the apartment.

Frankly, this is my 2nd attempt to read this book. The first round, I kept getting stuck at page 1. The mood just wasn't there.

Finally decided to try again last evening. I find that I like this book more than The Time Traveller's Wife.  It's more straight forward and without much of the flash back/forward like in the former book.

The plot is very captivating. There is just so many questions to be answered.Yes, it is intriguing to know why their aunt and their mother do not speak to each other anymore. Love the way the story unfolds.

But one thing I don't understand is at page 127, why Martin took and smoked the cigarette which Julia had put onto her lip. I thought he had this fear about germs and bacteria??

A slight spoiler here...I think in the end, everyone got what they just deserved.  I am equally delighted that the ending was not sloppily done. It's has the grace.

Friday, April 08, 2011

The Way Things Look To Me By Roopa Farooki

Asif Delcan Kalil Murphy is a 23 year old young man with heavy responsibilities. His parents had pass away and left him to take care of his two sisters, Lila and Yasmin.

Lila have moved out of the house as had abandon the sole responsibility of caring for Yasmin to Asif. Lila is fed-up of Yasmin getting all the attention all the time while she and Asif always takes a back seat. She felt that Yasmin could have been independent if only she have been push to it. She felt that Yasmin have been misdiagnosed when she was young.

Lila tried many ways to seek attention when she was a kid and now she had grown up, to her beauty brings attention. Thus, she took great care of her appearance. But what she wants the most is somebody to show her that they care for her.

Yasmin is diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome when she was a kid. She is very bright but she is unable to express herself. She cannot interpret other people reaction. Her brain is constantly recording things that happening around her till at times she felt that her brain is going to explode. However, recently she discovered something new is happening to her and maybe there is a way that would make everything right.

Asif tried to take care of Yasmin as much as he can but he felt that there is something missing in his life. At times he resent Yasmin. How he wished that his mother die earlier so that they ar forced to stay with their relative and he can continue with his life instead of as now having to take care of his Yasmin. But no matter what, he carry on with his responsibility.

The plot was not bad.

I like the was how the author reveal what is happening in the life of each character. I pity Lila as she so much wanted some attention from her mother and she was willing to do anything to get it. Yes, this part was well expressed in the book.

The character that I dislike the most is the mother. I felt that she had fail Asif and Lila.

Overall not a bad book. Could have been better

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Cloud Mountain By Aimee Liu

Hope Newfield is an American woman tutoring foreign students in English when she met Leong Po-yo(Paul). It was 1906, a time dissatisfaction growing against foreigners in America especially the Chinese. They fell in love and eloped to Wyoming to get married.

There they met two more mixed race couple. And a friendship was formed from there.

When Paul and Hope came back to Berkeley to stay. When people found out about their marriage, they were outraged. For some time, they fear for their life.

Life was hard for them. The Chinese looked down on Paul for marrying a foreign woman while the American were not so open minded on Hope's marriage to Paul. Even the butcher and vegetable vendor seems to shy away from her.

Due to an unhappy event, Paul decided to bring Hope back to China, his home country. Hope was like a fish out of water in China. Things were so different there.

All sorts of things seems to be pulling them apart. Paul's mother does not like Hope. His works seems to bring him away from Hope most of the time. Hope was lonely. However, their marriage managed to survive the War Lord era and Two World Wars.

I am impressed by the lenght of this book.The events described here are incredible vivid and life like. I can practically feel the venom targeted at them by the good neighbours when they got to know that Hope had married a "Chink".

And when comes to China, I can feel Hope's helplessness and loneliness. Her husband practically put the trust to their houseman more than her. During times when she needs him the most he was not around for her. It's really impressive that despite everything, Hope managed to held on to their marriage. Maybe it's due to her name being "Hope"?

My only complaint on this book is that it's a long book to read...but then some can say it's value for money. Yes, this is a rich book.

Monday, April 04, 2011

An Obedient Father by Akhil Sharma

The story is about Ram Karan and his daughter Anita. Ram Karan is a lowly official in the Physical Education Department of Delhi school system. And he is up to his nose with corruption although he gave himself various reason why he is like that.

His wife have pass away and his eldest daughter, Anita is a widow. She have come back to stay with him bringing along her daughter Asna.

Ram Karan heart and mind is filled with a secret guilt which eat him up bit by bit.

Towards the ending of the book, the secret also consumed Anita. Both of them are like fighting madness with madness

I like the beginning of the book which it is easy to understand. But starting from the middle part, things gets more muddle. Especially when the author attempt flash back and fast forward to the future. For me, this trick failed to capture my imagination.

Love the part where the author describe the working and Indian culture.

hate the ending of the book as there are so much dissatisfaction and anger. Lesson learnt here is don't let anger consume you.

Guess this book is a miss for me.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Lottery by Patricia Wood

Perry L.Crandall, (the L stands for 'Lucky') have an IQ of 76, but he is not stupid. He is just a bit slow. He lives with his Gram who taught him everything he needs to survive.

She taught him it's important to have list so that he won't forget. They list down who they can trust. This is very important. She taught him it is okay to be slow but "don't be smart". She taught him to buy lottery every week. They would bought 5 tickets weekly.

One day, his Gram just would not wake up from her sleep. She had taught him what to do in this situation. To call 911 and to call his Boss, Gary, to let him know that he won't be able to go to work that day.

He is orphaned at the age of 31. His friends, Gary and Keith, were there for him when he broke down and cried.

Then he went and win twelve Million dollar from his weekly lottery ticket. Suddenly, he found himself with very concerned family members which comes out of the worm holes to help "protect" his interest.

Perry is something like Forest Gump.His wish is simple. And when he won the Lottery, he just followed his list. The list where his Gram and him listed in the event that they win the Lottery.

Amidst all these, his "family" tried all sort of tricks to get their grubby hands on the money. Would he survive their onslaught?

I nearly missed this book if Winnie from Bookxcess did not point this out to me. The cover of the book was not that attractive. Looks like some sort of cheap novel. But after reading this book, I totally revised my opinion. I think it's fantastic. It is a MUST READ.

To me, it's like a motivational book. To know what is our personal goal and target instead of comparing it with others. Take one step at a time for each person will have their own pace. Be thankful for the thing you having now. Always know what is your needs and no need to covet what you do not need.

This book will makes you think a lot without being preachy. 

I love Page 52 . It's about Perry feeling extremely down. Everything in his life have gone terribly wrong. And he missed his Gram terribly. I was sad to read this. Patricia Wood really wrote well in this part.

What I don't like about this book is the usual complaint...the fonts is too tiny and as mentioned earlier the cover of the book. Frankly, if Winnie had not mentioned it's a good read, I would not have bought this book as the tiny font scares me off. I hope authors/publishers would consider this point when they decide to get the book printed. Make the books easier on the readers eyes. You win, I win.


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