Week of Dec 30: Happy New Year!

This is the last post for 2007!

1. What is your New Year's resolution? I don't wish to set unrealistic goals, and am not sure if I'd stick to them anyway. Ha! So mine will be simple: Do whatever I am capable of doing, try my best in whatever things I do and be happy and stay healthy!

2. How do you celebrate New Year's Eve? Probably have a quiet & simple celebration at home with my husband and daughter.

Random word association New Year's style:
I think...
1. champagne an occasional drink
2. kiss romantic
3. midnight sleeping
4. party fun
5. dress lovely
6. New York City glamour
7. confetti colourful
8. sparkly clean
9. resolutions New Year
10. beginnings new

Next, name your top 5 moments of 2007:
  1. The first time to organize a Dinner & Dance for our company of 800 people at a 6-stars hotel;
  2. Participating in NaNoWriMo and in completing the goal;
  3. Winning the 'best opening lines' for my NaNoWriMo novel organized by the local Municipal Liaisons;
  4. Participating in various reading challenges;
  5. Reading more books and making more booklover friends online.

I can't believe that Year 2007 is almost over. Why is the time always passes so fast? And that it always manages to slip past you without you realizing it. I can say this year is a quiet year for me, which I think is a good thing. I have also read a lot, bought more books and has made more new friends this year. Yeah, this year is definitely a great reading year for me. So what about you? What/how do you feel about this year? Last but not least, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a ...


    ISBN-13: 9780452288348
    Publisher: Penguin Group (USA), 288pp
    Pub. Date: June 2007

    Polly Birdswell has a troubled past. But that is all over after she has pulled herself out from her alcoholic depression and then moved to coastal Maine, close to Bride Island to get on with her new life where she now calls home and which holds her childhood memories. Besides that, she is also keen to seek custody of her seven-year-old daughter, Monroe.

    But she has some difficulties to overcome, as her stepfather wants to sell the island. She decides to claim it, and this is where she has to regain the trust of others and accept herself again.

    Bride Island is a moving and a thought provoking read. Personally, I think it is quite an inspirational read, as the protagonist is determined to move on with her life and not only prove to others but herself that she is a changed person. Though fictional, the characters and the overall plot seems real to me. It was also through Alexandra Enders' writing that I read about the beauty of coastal Maine. She had described the setting nicely and it was as if I am travelling the place with the protagonist as well.
    I am very glad to say this is my first year in participating in several reading challenges. It is a wonderful experience, to be able to read books with fellow participants and it is also through this channel that I have known and made a lot of booklover friends around the world. :-) It is indeed a pleasure to read their reviews, exchange comments and share the reading pleasure through recommendations and all. What could I ask for more?

    Besides this, another reason I participate in these challenges is, I want to see how far I could read in a year. It is more like a personal challenge for myself. Although I am very happy to say I have read more books as compared to last year, still I regret to say I am not able to complete these challenges even though I have tried my best. Thus, I would not take on too many reading challenges in the following year, although the temptation is so great.

    Fall Into Reading 2007 Challenge

    I would like to thank Katrina of Callapidder Days for hosting this challenge.

    My list:

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Pending)
  2. Bride Island by Alexandra Enders (Completed on 29 December 2007)
  3. School's Out by Christophe Dufosse (Currently Reading)
  4. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Completed)
  5. Yakuza Moon by Shoko Tendo (Completed)

  6. 2nds Challenge

    I would like to thank Joy of Thoughts of Joy for hosting this challenge.

    My list:

  7. Hidden Agendas by Lora Leigh (Completed)
  8. In Search of a Distance Voice by Taichi Yamada (Pending)
  9. The Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards (Completed)

    • Reading the Author Challenge

      I would like to thank Verbivore of Incurable Logophilia for hosting this challenge.

      My list:
      Books by Erin McCarthy

      • Smart Mouth (Pending)
      • My Immortal (Pending)
      • Mouth to Mouth (Pending)

      I am ashamed to say I did not even read any of these books for this challenge! I remember when I first signed up for this challenge, I was so excited and had looked through my TBR pile for an author to read. I decided on Erin McCarthy because I enjoyed her debut novel Bad Boys Online so much. Regrettably, with several reading challenges going on and in addition with my change of reading mood, I have kept these books aside thinking I would pick them up once more when my reading mood changes again, but by the time I feel like reading them, the challenge is almost over! I admit this is my fault for not able to complete this challenge, but still that doesn't mean I will give up these books.

      On a different topic, comes the first week of January will be the Buy a Friend a Book Week (BAFAB). I will be posting a list of books to be won during that period so do look out for it. :-)


      It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

      List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?

      Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

      This year is a great reading year for me with all the reading challenges, recommendations and all! I have several favourite books this year so I have shortlisted them for my Book of the Year (in fact have been dong this since 2005) which I have posted previously. (Please click here to read some of my favourites and which book that made it on the top of the list.) And based on this list, I can see there is an assortment of crime thrillers, romance suspense, fantasy and a few fictions. :-)

      When I visited 3M's blog this morning for my daily read, I understand that she will be hosting a reading challenge called The Pub (2008) Challenge (Please click onto the links for more details.) Like her, I find most of my books read in 2007 don't published on the same year, and here is how 3M got her idea about this challenge. The objective is to read titles published in 2008.

      And here are the rules:

      • Read a minimum of 8 books published in 2008. (Library books are acceptable!)
      • No children’s/YA titles allowed, since we’re at the ‘pub.’
      • At least 4 titles must be fiction.
      • Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
      • Titles may be changed at any time.

      Although I haven't worked out the titles yet, but I will definitely sign up for this challenge. It sounds fun. I am really looking forward to another great reading year next year.

      I just love this cake! Our daughter chose this when we flipped through a bakery catalogue last week, wondering what logcake to get when she stumbled upon this and made a decision for us. You see, she loves strawberries so it wasn't a surprise to us why she had chosen this cake, LOL.

      Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!!! :-)
      It has been a great reading year this year. One of the reasons being I participated in several reading challenges and they have allowed me to read more than I used to. Another good thing about this is, I have also try reading other books which were recommended by fellow booklover friends and this has really expand my reading preferences. Thank you so much, my dear friends! :-)

      Finally, here is a list that shortlists on my Book of the Year 2007:

      1. Talyn by Holly Lisle
      2. Pig Island by Mo Hayder
      3. Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook
      4. Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh
      5. Flint's Code by Paul Eddy
      6. Officer Down by Theresa Schwegel
      7. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
      8. Ice Blue by Anne Stuart
      9. Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard
      10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
      11. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
      12. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
      13. Atonement by Ian McEwan
      14. Ice Storm by Anne Stuart

      It is really a hard decision just choosing a title amongst all because I enjoyed reading all of them, and each book tells a great story. But then, my purpose of having this "award" would be pointless if I decided to present it to all the shortlisted titles. So after some thought and weighing about with the titles, I have finally chosen a book amongst all. And this goes to - {drumroll please} - Talyn by Holly Lisle! (Please click here to read my review.)

      I have to say I really, really enjoyed reading this fantasy book. It has all the elements of a great book: a good original plot, good characterization, action, adventure, thrill, and not to mention a good fantasy that sucks you in!

      So there you have it, folks! I hope you will pick up this book if you have the chance, and that you will enjoy reading it as much as I did.

      Merry Christmas to all!!! :D

      Starting from this year, I want to make a list of the books I read for the year, and that explains this post. Anyway, here's the list of books I read in 2007:

      1. Talyn by Holly Lisle
      2. The Husband by Dean Koontz
      3. Pig Island by Mo Hayder
      4. Angel Fire by Linda Lael Miller
      5. All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz
      6. Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook
      7. My Nerdy Valentine by Vicki Lewis Thompson
      8. Every Breath You Take by Judith McNaught
      9. Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh
      10. Flint's Code by Paul Eddy
      11. The Dollmaker by Amanda Stevens
      12. No Regrets by Shannon K. Butcher
      13. Officer Down by Theresa Schwegel
      14. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
      15. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
      16. Sight Unseen by Samantha Graves
      17. Ice Blue by Anne Stuart
      18. Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall
      19. Be Mine by Laura Kasischke
      20. Shadows at Sunset by Anne Stuart
      21. Thief With No Shadow by Emily Gee
      22. Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard
      23. Dark Seduction by Brenda Joyce
      24. High Noon by Nora Roberts
      25. Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong
      26. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
      27. Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson
      28. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling
      29. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
      30. In Your Eyes by Laura Moore
      31. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
      32. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
      33. Ratatouille by Kitty Richards
      34. The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley
      35. Dangerous Love by Kate Lock
      36. The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Anne Stuart, Jennifer Crusie & Eileen Dreyer
      37. Prom Nights From Hell by Meg Cabot, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Stephenie Meyer & Lauren Myracle
      38. Damnation Street by Andrew Klavan
      39. The Resort by Bentley Little
      40. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
      41. Once I Was A Princess by Jacqueline Pascarl
      42. Everything Happens For A Reason by Kavita Daswani
      43. The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson
      44. Hidden Agendas by Lora Leigh
      45. The Doorkeepers by Graham Masterton
      46. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
      47. Marley & Me by John Grogan
      48. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
      49. Atonement by Ian McEwan
      50. Yakuza Moon by Shoko Tendo
      51. The Wolves In The Walls by Neil Gaiman
      52. The Wrong Man by John Katzenbach
      53. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
      54. Ice Storm by Anne Stuart
      55. The Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards
      56. Bride Island by Alexandra Enders

      ISBN-13: 9780143112303
      Publisher: Penguin Group (USA), 272pp
      Pub. Date: May 2007

      I picked up this book after reading Kim Edward's bestselling phenomenal The Memory Keeper's Daughter. I really enjoyed reading that book, and I liked it so much that I have shortlisted for my Book of the Year 2007.

      There are a total of eleven short stories in The Secrets of a Fire King. Here in this fine collection, Kim Edwards has once again touches the readers' hearts through her well-crafted stories where she takes us around the world through the stories settings. Each story has a love element to it; and what I enjoyed about Kim Edwards' works is she managed to make the stories seemed to be a reality through her engaging characters, and of course not to mention her poetic prose through her writing. Some of her stories are thought-provoking; and my favourite was The Secrets of a Fire King, where coincidentally she has chosen this for the title as well. It is about a young performer (the protagonist who called himself a fire-eater) who gets involved in a love quadrangle and that one of them is a revival preacher. I was really intrigued by this story and the ending has really took me by surprise.

      I would highly recommend this book if you don't mind reading short stories that is.

      Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!!

      I was tagged by Jen for this fun meme.

      Here's how to play: "Take the letters of your name and write out a title of a romance novel for it. It's that simple, see if you can actually do it. You can omit the words "A" and "The" from the title to suit your needs if you want". It's a lot harder than it looks but try for help.

      Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts
      Extreme Danger by Shannon McKenna
      Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward
      On the Loose by Tara Janzen
      Double Take by Catherine Coulter
      Yellow Rose Bride by Lori Copeland

      And here's the final part: I would like to tag Julia, Alice and Darla and anyone else who wants to do this. ;P
      Labels: 4 comments | edit post
      Oh my, how time flies! The year has almost comes to an end, and honestly I am not even sure if I am ready for 2008. New Year usually means a new beginning to me, this is the time where I will set my resolutions and although I don't always follow them, I make sure I will do my best in whatever things I do.

      Anyway, I try not to get too sentimental on this day especially since it brings back too many wonderful memories to me. When I was a teenager, my parents would celebrate this day by buying a cake and giving me an Ang Pow, which is actually a red packet where you can put some money inside and is usually given on occasions such as the Chinese New Year or during the Chinese wedding receptions, and of course not to mention on birthdays. It is a symbol of good luck.

      I had my first big party the year I turned 21. I remember a lot of my friends did the same thing too; I suppose it is kind of a celebration of a new journey for us and that was when we were truly treated as an adult.

      Looking back now, I am amazed at how fast the time has gone by just like that. It is as if all the things had happened just only yesterday. I will treasure today, as well as the days that comes. Happy Birthday to me! :)


      1. What fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?(Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)
      2. What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?(Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)
      3. And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?

      Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

      If you see on my right side of my blog, you would notice that I have a column titled 'Books Read in 2007'. There are several titles that I marked with an asterisk that I enjoyed greatly and those are to be shortlisted for my 'Book of the Year' this year. (I will choose a book amongst the shortlisted pile towards end of the year, so do look out for it if you are interested. ;P)

      As for non-fiction books, I don't read as much as I do with fiction books but I will make it a point to read more next year. Hey, wait a minute, perhaps I should put Life's Golden Ticket onto this list since it is more like an inspirational book to me although it is written in story form.

      Here's a list of my best fiction books published this year:

      1. Pig Island by Mo Hayder

      2. Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh

      3. Ice Blue by Anne Stuart

      4. Life's Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard

      5. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

      6. Ice Storm by Anne Stuart

      As to whether or not do "best of" lists influence my reading, I will say although I do check them out, but ultimately it is the story plot that makes me to pick up the books.

      I found this fun meme over at Sam's blog, where she found it on Free Range Librarian. What you have to do is to list the first sentence of the first post for each month this year. Sounds pretty easy huh? Here's mine:

      January: Everyone loves a haunted house story, and so do I.
      (A review of an animation, Monster House)

      February: I don't really have any reading habits.
      (My reply for Booking Through Thursday: Habit-Forming)

      March: This belongs to one of Vicki Lewis Thompson's Nerd series, beginning with Nerd in Shining Armor which Kelly Ripa picked it for her "Reading with Ripa Book Club" at one time.
      (A review of a book, My Nerdy Valentine)

      April: I missed last week's BTT!
      (My reply for Booking Through Thursday: Location, Location, Location, Part 2)

      May: I hope everyone has a happy Labour's Day holiday.
      (Random Thoughts)

      June: No, I don't.
      (My reply for Booking Through Thursday: Paper or Plastic?)

      July: None of them!!!
      (My reply for Randomness: Would You Rather...)

      August: expeditious
      (Chosen word for Word on Wednesday)

      September: So I went on leave yesterday, thought I needed a little break from work and also take it as an opportunity to reward myself after all my hard work for the company's dinner and dance... (Blah, that's just a lame excuse, oh well...)
      (Miscellaneous Ramblings (Part 2))

      October: I was tagged by Alice to do this fun meme.
      (My Desktop Free View)

      November: Yes, I do read horror.
      (My reply for Booking Through Thursday: Oh, Horror!)

      December: I was tagged by Sam for this Christmas meme.
      (Christmas meme)

      Oh boy, it does seems like I have been doing a lot of memes and tagging stuff, doesn't it? Hehe. Consider yourself tagged if you want to play! ;-)
      Labels: 4 comments | edit post

      You Are Chardonnay

      Fresh, spirited, and classic - you have many facets to your personality.

      You can be sweet and light. Or deep and complex.

      You have a little bit of something to offer everyone... no wonder you're so popular.

      Approachable and never smug, you are easy to get to know (and love!).

      Deep down you are: Dependable and modest

      Your partying style: Understated and polite

      Your company is enjoyed best with: Cold or wild meat


      ISBN-13: 9780778325000
      Publisher: Mira, 347pp
      Pub. Date: November 2007

      This is the fourth installment of the Ice Series by Anne Stuart. Unlike her previous installments (i.e. Black Ice, Cold As Ice and Ice Blue) that focus more on the heroes' perspectives, the protagonist in Ice Storm is a strong, enigmatic and icy cool heroine who heads The Committee where their roles are international secret agents.

      Isobel Lambert was used to giving orders. But after having lost her capable operatives to their loved ones and fearing she would complicate things with their new lives by assigning them dangerous tasks, thus she had no one but herself when a next assignment was called for. However, it didn't make things any easier for her either as she was about to meet the dangerous Josef Serafin, an assassin and also a terrorist threat and later found out he was once the man she loved and had killed seventeen years ago.

      Josef, or better known as Killian, had made a deal with the Committee that he would trade his inside information in exchange for his security. He knew this was an offer the Committee wouldn't turn down, and knowing he had found Isobel he wasn't about to let her go, for he had to settle a score with her for what she had done to him several years back. And it was later that they realized someone wanted them dead, and they had to find out who before it was all too late.

      I always enjoyed reading Anne Stuart's book because she writes interesting characters, great dialogues and most of the times they are an intense read. Ice Storm is a page-turner in my opinion; and there wasn't a time you will find a scene boring as Josef and Isobel managed to keep your attention till the end of the book with their cat and mouse games as they raced against time and each other. Readers will also get to revisit Bastien and Peter's lives (the heroes from the previous installments Black Ice and Cold As Ice respectively) as they supported Isobel in tackling her current difficult task. This book is definitely a keeper for me, along with Anne Stuart's other Ice series.

      Note: Once again, I would like to thank Julia for reading this book together with me. It is always a pleasure reading with her and I am definitely looking forward to more reading-together with her next time round.

      Week of December 16: Happy Holidays Random Word Association

      I say, you think:

      1. santa claus
      2. holiday carols sing
      3. snow white
      4. mistletoe plant
      5. season greetings
      6. candy cane peppermint
      7. eggnog drink
      8. presents gifts

      2008 TBR Challenge is finally here! I have been waiting for this for some time ever since I have seen the 2007 TBR Challenge around but it was too late for me to participate, so this time round I am not going to miss it. Anyway, here's my list:


      Please click onto this link for more details.

      Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))

      If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

      Yes, I'm a user of Library Thing and Shelfari. I like them because I think they helps me in keeping track of my expanding book collection. Another great thing about Shelfari is, I get notifications via email whenever someone added a book review which it happens to be on my bookshelf, and on top of that you are also notified whenever your friends have added any books on their shelves. It's fun to see what everyone is reading. Other than that, I don't have a habit of cataloguing my books but I do make a list of the books I read on my blog as a reference.


      ISBN-13: 9780307341556
      Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, 254pp
      Pub. Date: July 2007

      Camille Preaker had a troubled past and a history of self-mutilation, but she had put that behind her and gets on with her life working as a reporter for a second-rate Chicago newspapers. Everything seems normal but bland for her until her editor, Frank Curry hands her an assignment at her old hometown, Wind Gap whereby two young girls were murdered. But she has her qualms as she has not returned in eight years but Frank wants her to cover the story, thinking this would help in boosting the readership as well.

      She meets up her estranged neurotic mother and a half-sister she barely knows yet intrigues her. In a way, she is grateful that her mother had let her stay at her house, although it is an icy welcome. She interviews the victims' families but couldn't get any clues from them, and the hometown police didn't offer any much help either. So she snoops around but as she digs deeper into the story and the case, she can't help feelling she is reliving her childhood trauma again, and the scariest thing is things aren't what they appear to be.

      Sharp Objects is a page-turner, both intriguing and thrilling. Gillian Flynn's sharp writing style has hooked me starting with her great opening line and it continues to keep my attention till the last chapter and she doesn't reveals the murderer until towards the ending. Although I have somehow guessed who the murderer was, the truth behind it still blown me away.

      Gillian Flynn has written a great debut with this book. It is no wonder this is a winner of the CWA New Blood Fiction Dagger; and Stephen King also quoted this 'A terrific debut, relentlessly creepy' on the cover as shown on the right.


      Oh wow! I had a good surprise when I dropped by Alice's blog earlier and found out she has awarded me with this award - Blog Buddies Award!

      Thank you so much, Alice! You are one of the sweetest friends I met at bloggieland.

      And I would like to share this award with my fellow bloggie friends, and they are:

      Labels: 9 comments | edit post

      This movie is about the battle of Thermopylae, led by King Leonidas with his small force of 300 Spartans against Persia's King Xerxes and his huge armies. Though the size of King Leonidas' armies was pathetic as compared to Xerxes', but all of his men were chosen and well trained from young to be the best warriors. They had nothing to fear, and they would continue to fight until their last breath was drawn.

      This movie is rated 'R' for graphic violence and some nudity scenes. Frankly speaking, I didn't know about the rating since the hubs and I watched it on DVD, so I was both taken aback and put off by the violence scenes. Thinking that the movie would be somewhat boring (i.e. fighting and more fighting), I stopped watching and did a little reading while the hubs continued to watch. And it was until when one of King Leonidas' warriors was killed and his father went ballistic that I decided to focus my attention back to the movie. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sadistic, but that was because King Leonidas' warriors were supposed to be 'un-beatables', and the plot thickens when King Leonidas was asked to kneel before Xerxes and the consequences that follows when he said no.

      Overall, I think this is a good action and war movies if you don't mind the gross scenes (although I understand this is essential to the movie but I'm a coward when it comes to this). The computer effect is great. And though this might sounds a little silly, I quite like the movie title as I find it very appropriate. After all, this is mostly about King Leonidas' and his brave 300 Spartans.

      Stephanie tagged me with this meme. Here goes.

      5 Things I was doing 10 years ago: (Wow, this is a challenge to me considering I have a short memory, LOL.)
      1. Changed job
      2. Addicted to internet and ICQ
      3. Took a part-time course in Graphic Design
      4. Read (but of course)
      5. Cross stitched

      5 Things on my T0-Do List today:
      1. Organize a health talk for the staff
      2. Do grocery on my way home
      3. Fetch my daughter from the childcare
      4. Start sending out Christmas cards!
      5. Catch up with my reading

      5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
      1. Buy a new house
      2. Buy a new car
      3. Travel around the world
      4. Buy more books (need I say more?)
      5. Donate money to the Cancer Society

      5 Things I'll never wear again (or have never worn):
      1. Mini skirts
      2. Bikini (I wear a one-piece swimsuit)
      3. Winter boots
      4. Wedding dress
      5. High heel shoes (no more than 2 inches anyway)

      5 Favorite Toys: (Current or Past)
      1. Computer / Laptop
      2. CD / DVD player
      3. Cell phone
      4. Digital camera
      5. Thumbdrive

      5 people to tag:
      1. Jennifer of From My Corner
      2. Julia of Julia's Books Corner
      3. Alice of Hello, My Name Is Alice
      4. Kathy of *RittyRats*
      5. Debi of Nothing of Importance
      Labels: 16 comments | edit post

      This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:
      Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)

      Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

      I'm glad to say most of my favourite books are available, except the following:

      Now can you tell I'm a huge fan of Anne Stuart? :-)

      (Note: I'm fortunate to have a best friend who's living in the U.S. who managed to find Nightfall and Into the Fire for me. Thank you so much, Jennifer!)

      How come I'm not surprised with this result at all?! I love pocky, and I LOVE green tea. LOL.

      You Are Green Tea Pocky

      Your attitude: natural and zen

      Peaceful yet full of life. Deep and thoughtful.

      You're halfway to tantric bliss!

      "Thank goodness it's over!"

      Well, I'm not sure about the other NaNoWriMo participants, but this is exactly how I felt after a month's long of writing and more writing. But then again, it was fun in a way, although there were also the down moments when I encountered writer's block and had to burn midnight oil for several nights to make up for the lost wordcount. (Note: I made myself to write at least 1,667 words per day, because when you use that amount and multiply by 30 days, you get 50k words, LOL!) Anyway, that was all over, so it is time to relax and party.

      Rozen and Sarahcoldheart, our Municipal Liaison (ML) and co-ML respectively were great supporters during the NaNoWriMo period; asides from that they also updated the local participants with any relevant news and organized events like the kick-off party on 27 October and of course, the TGIO party which was held last Saturday at the Earshot Cafe at the Arts House.

      I was glad I was able to attend the TGIO Party. It was fun, although there weren't many particpants who turned up for the event as compared to the kick-off party. Here are just some of the pictures to share (all taken by yours truly):

      A fellow participant reading out his NaNoWriMo excerpt.

      What's a party without a cake?! And don't you think this cake is lovely?

      Our Municipal Liaisons (Rozen and Sarahcoldheart) blowing off the candles on the cake.

      Rozen (first left) and Sarahcoldheart cutting the cake while we looked on.

      I was so thrilled that I won a prize for the "Opening Lines Competition"! I was shocked when Rozen called out my name. I love my prize, especially the $10 Kinokuniya book voucher, hehe.

      Goodbye, NaNoWriMo 2007! By the way, the total wordcount for this year is 1098,496,066!

      (Picture taken at Ngee Ann City)

      I was tagged by Sam for this Christmas meme.
      1. What is your most enduring Christmas memory? Hmm... I don't think there is any particular moment that stands out for me.

      2. Do you have a favourite piece of Christmas music? I don't have any favourite Christmas songs, and I like most of them anyway.

      3. Do you stick to the old family traditions? Well, we don't really have any old family traditions. To us, Christmas is all about holiday and gatherings.

      4. What makes your mouth water at Christmas time!? Wow, there are so many goodies during Christmas! It's hard to choose one actually, but I will go for the log cake if you ask me, because I have a sweet tooth. :D

      5. How soon do you put the Christmas tree up and when do you take it down? How I wish I can have the real tree! Mine is only about 20 inches high and it currently stands on our TV console. We just put it up during the weekend, not that it is a hard thing to do, hehe. It's a simple Christmas tree with a few shiny colourful balls as accessories. Although the size of the tree is small, but it definitely adds up a Christmasy feeling to the house.

      I would like to tag Julia, Alice, Darla, Wendy and Rhinoa for this meme.

      Friday's Feast

      What is your favorite carnival/amusement park ride?

      Probably the roller coaster (it's both fun and scary; and the great thing is, you get to scream with other people and don't have to feel embarrassed about it!)

      How do you react in uncomfortable social situations?
      I will try to look for some familiar faces and mingle with them, otherwise I will approach a few friendly people and start a conversation with them.

      On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy discussing deep, philosophical topics?

      I guess this has to depend on whom I will be talking to. If it's family or close friends, probably a 9, otherwise will be a 6 or 7.

      Main Course
      Did you get a flu shot this year? If not, do you plan to?

      Yes, I had one beginning of this year before I went for a vacation trip.

      Approximately how many hours per week do you spend watching television?

      I hardly watch TV, perhaps only 2 hrs a day. I'd prefer watching DVDs than watching TV because I can choose what movies to watch.


      Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

      I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…

      Well, there are times that I do read on a roll, and sometimes I just don't. And there are also times that I read books of the same genre in a row due to a certain theme of the reading challenges. However, I don't have any fast rules when it comes to reading because it depends a lot on my mood.

      Yeah, more holiday quizzes! LOL.

      What The Holidays Mean to You

      For you, the holidays are about celebration. You enjoy all the fun and fellowship that the holidays bring.

      You celebrate the holidays in a offbeat style. You believe the holidays are for doing whatever you feel like - and some of your "traditions" are pretty wacky.

      During the holidays, you feel magical. You love all of the decorations and how happy people are. You like to sit back and take it all in.

      You think the holidays should be nostalgic and sweet. The holidays bring out your inner child.

      Your favorite holiday memories strongly evoke your senses. You are vividly aware of all the tastes, smells, and sounds of the holidays.

      I was tagged by Rhinoa to come up with 7 random things about myself. Here goes:

      1. No surprise here, but I love to read. I started reading when I was in Primary One. Besides reading, I also love to write essays and draw. I submitted my chinese essays to the local papers when I was in Primary Six, and a few of them got published. That was the first time I received my 'earned' money, and was feeling very proud of myself. I remember telling my mom about it and she was so happy for me that she cried happy tears.

      2. Asides from books, I also read mangas. Some people think they are for young children or teenagers, but I don't think so because I view them as another form of art.

      3. I was a school librarian when I was in High School. This was my E.C.A. (Extra Curriculum Activities) and each student has to join at least one for the grades. And of course the best thing was I could borrow two books at a time instead of one.

      4. I was also an Art student in High School. I remember the good and bad times during the Arts lessons. There was one lady teacher (we shared the same surname!) that left me a deep impression because she was so funny and she loved to mingle around with us as if she was part of us. She told us her favourite colours are red, white and blue. Not surprisingly, we used these colours in most of our assignments.

      5. I am myopic. The world is a blur to me once I take off my glasses or lenses. I can't imagine what I'd do if I lose either one of them especially outdoors. Anyway, I prefer lenses than glasses because they are so much clearer, although I have to pay extra attention not to lose them while cleansing!

      6. I love fruits. I can't think of any that I dislike, seriously.

      7. I used to collect bookmarks (especially with pictures of roses) when I was a teenager, but now they are replaced by fridge magnets.

      I'm tagging Julia, Alice, Stephanie and Cmate for this meme.

      ISBN-13: 9780345464842
      Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, 500pp
      Pub. Date: May 2007

      What would you do if you find your daughter met an obsessive stalker who wouldn't let her out of his life? And how far would you go to save her before everything is too late and someone will be hurt? You will probably ask these questions if you read The Wrong Man.

      Scott Freeman thinks her daughter has a secret admirer when he first picked up an unsigned note that read: No one could ever love you like I do. No one ever will. We were meant for each other and nothing will prevent that. Nothing. We will be together forever. One way or another. Being a college professor, he always tell himself to be rational, but the contents of the notes made him uneasy, so he decided to seek the truth with the help of his ex-wife, Sally and her partner, Hope.

      Before this, Ashley supposed to have a wonderful life. She is a beautiful and bright history art student, but she made a mistake of having a fling with an attractive blue-collar bad boy one night and from then onwards, her life becomes a nightmare.

      Michael O'Connell thinks he is in love with Ashley after the day he has met her. He wouldn't leave her alone and claims to make her his despite she has told him many times that their relationship wasn't anything but a one-night stand which didn't mean to be happened. He would make anyone's life miserable if one gets too close to her. Desperate, Ashley has no choice but to seek help from her father, whom in turn asked Sally and Hope for advice and opinions.

      But they had underestimated Michael, for he is a clever and cunning young lad and has a vast knowledge of computer skills and others such as picking locks and so forth. Soon, they find themselves getting into serious trouble as Michael finds several ways in messing up their work life.

      And when everything fails and they couldn't find enough evidence pointing towards Michael, that is the time that they decide to take things into their own hands and they will do anything to drive Michael out of their life, even though if it means someone has to die.

      I felt I was riding on a roller coaster when reading The Wrong Man because I wouldn't know what to expect next. Although I find the story chilling, yet I was drawn to the intrigue and the excitement and can't wait to find out what would happen in the end. And the best part is, nothing beats the ending because it ends with a twist, and I didn't see it coming.

      John Katzenbach has left me a deep impression with this book. I will definitely keep a look out for his other books in future.
      I must be in need of a vacation badly because here I am thinking of holidays already!

      You Are Christmas

      More than most people, you are able to find magic in life's small moments.

      Traditions mean a lot to you, and you tend to be quite nostalgic.

      You are a giving, kind person who really understands the true meaning of holidays.

      You inspire others to be as altruistic and caring as you are.

      What makes you celebrate: Tradition and a generous spirit

      At holiday get togethers, you do best as: The storyteller. You like to recount memories with everyone.

      On a holiday, you're the one most likely to: Give a gift to everyone you know


      ISBN-13: 9780380810956
      Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 56pp
      Pub. Date: July 2005
      Illustrator: Dave McKean

      I picked up this book after reading Coraline, because I enjoyed it so much. Not surprisingly, Neil Gaiman has became one of my favourite authors.

      Lucy heard noises, and she was sure that they were the sound of the wolves coming out from the walls. She told her parents and her younger brother about it, but they didn't believe her, claiming that "if the wolves comes out of the wall, then it's all over". They failed to elaborate further, so she didn't ask more.

      One night while she was asleep, she heard the noises again and to her horror saw the wolves coming out from the walls. So the whole family escaped their house, which the wolves occupied thereafter. Lucy decided to rescue her pig puppet which she has left behind, and then she had an idea. So the whole family crept back into their house quietly and hide into the walls, waiting for a chance to scare the wolves off.

      Once again, I have to marvel at Mr. Gaiman's imaginations for weaving such wonderful stories. The ending caught me off guard (the same applies to Coraline), which I find it a good thing because I love a great surprise. Not forgetting the illustrator, Mr. McKean has captured all the scenes perfectly. I especially love the way how he created all the objects in different dimensions. I will definitely pass on this book to my daughter when she is older, or better still start reading this to her as a bedtime story.

      Other Bloggers' reviews:
      I snagged this from Darla. And the best thing is, both of us shared the same results, hehe.

      Tenderheart Bear
      You are thinker, organizer, peacekeeper, and leader all in one. You have a power to command attention and people listen to you. However, you are often so concerned about not hurting others' feelings that you don't tell them what they need to hear and this gets you both into trouble. But you always have loyal friends to help you out.


      ISBN-13: 9784770030429
      Publisher: Kodansha International, 192pp
      Pub. Date: May 2007
      Translator: Louise Heal

      As the title suggests, Yakuza Moon is a memoir of Shoko Tendo, who is a gangster's daughter. In this book, Shoko tells her readers about her childhood, and her life revolving around the yakuzas. Having a yakuza father is tough, aside from this uncontrollable fact she also has to endure the abuse she suffered especially when her father came home drunk in the middle of the night and creates chaos in the house.

      Shoko later gets herself involved with the wrong crowd, and became a yanki (juvenile delinquent). During her teenage years, she ditch school, sniff thinner and gets high on speed. When she became older, she got involved either with gangsters who treated her badly or married men who treated her as a kept woman.

      Finally, she told herself she wanted to be her own person again, and that was when she had her body tattooed, to symbolize she is being free. She has also became a stronger person after the death of her parents, and is not afraid to put her past behind and be a new person again.

      There was a sentence she quoted which I liked:
      "Now that I’m alone, do I warrant a full moon? Have I finally overcome my weaknesses and grown up? I’m heading along a new path in life, but if it turns out to be a dead end, I guess I can start over with the next full moon.”
      I applaud her bravery after reading this part. Indeed it takes a lot of courage for a person to accept his past and decide to start his life anew.

      Yakuza Moon isn't an easy read in my opinion; I have mixed emotions reading this autobiography as there were times I was annoyed that she was degenerating herself, but yet at the same time I also felt sorry for her for behind her rebellious mask, I think she is just an ordinary woman craving to be loved.
      I found this meme over at Stacy's blog and thought this was fun...

      5 Things found in my room (In this case, I will take our study room):

      • Two bookshelves
      • A framed 2,000 pieces puzzle of Snoopy and his friends in a library
      • Dozens of TBR pile on our study desk
      • Some boxes of Read books on the top of my bookshelf
      • Computer desk with all of our computer stuff
      5 things I’ve always wanted to do:
        • Travel to the U.S. and Europe
        • Take up Creative Writing Course
        • Take up Baking lessons
        • Learn a foreign language (i.e. Japanese or French)
        • Take up Graphic Design Course (which I did about 10 years ago!)
        5 things found in my bag:
        • Umbrella
        • Wallet
        • Cellphone
        • Compact Mirror
        • Tissue Packet
        5 things in my wallet:
        • Small amount of cash
        • Credit cards
        • Driving Licence
        • Kinokuniya Membership Card
        • A photo of the hubs when he was a toddler
        5 things I’m currently “in to”:
        • Reading (as always)
        • Writing (as always)
        • Blogging
        • Watching DVDs
        • Listening to CDs of my favourite artistes
        I won't tag anyone; please feel free to play along and leave me a note so I will come visit. :)
        Labels: 9 comments | edit post
        The time is 11p.m. while I'm typing this. I can't sleep. It's Saturday, so there's no reason for me to go to bed early. And there's nothing interesting to watch on TV. So what did I do? I ended up doing my NaNo, but it's no fun when you are running out of ideas and there are times that I just want to kill off the hero, haha... but of course my story will not go on if I do that, so I let him live. Nah... I'm just kidding. I'm in my rambling state because I'm behind my target so please excuse me. Blah Blah Blah...

        Another thing is, the power supply of our desktop computer has blown this morning when the hubs was about to download some pictures (fortunately the circuit breaker tripped in time to cut off the supply), so that means we can't use the desktop but at least we have a laptop around. (Ah... at least my NaNo will be saved, so I better quit rambling.)

        Anyway, back to my favourite topic: Books! Here are the books which I have bought recently:

        The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly

        Ice Storm by Anne Stuart

        Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson

        The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

        A Student Of Living Things by Susan Richards Shreve

        Heart Stopper by Joy Fielding

        Hunting And Gathering by Anna Gavalda

        Note: I have been waiting for Matthew Reilly and Anne Stuart's books like for ages, so I was thrilled to find their new releases. And also, because of Wendy's great reviews, I have decided to pick up Sacred Cows and The Almost Moon. Thanks, Wendy! Now I can't wait to read all of these books!