One of my good blogger friends, Nymeth from Things Mean A Lot is celebrating her one year of blogging, and on top of that she is also giving away five books for the Buy a Friend a Book Week. All you have to do is leave her a comment here by 4 April (Friday), stating which book(s) you would like to win. You can be entered for all the five books but you can only win one; your name will be entered twice if you help to spread the word by posting about this giveaway.

Good luck!

Fill in the blanks for this weeks meme....

1. I always wanted to be a scientist when I was younger.
2. I really hate it when people treat/abuse the animals as if they are non-living things.
3. My best friend is living in the U.S.; however this doesn't keep us apart as we always keep each other in touch via snail mails and emails.
4. In high school I was a librarian, thus I got the privilege of borrowing two books instead of one.
5. My greatest fear is losing my loved ones.
6. My dream job is to enjoy what I'm doing and will never get tired of it, ever.
7. Some people really should practice some hygiene whenever they visit the public restroom.
8. My favorite author is Mo Hayder, and I always look forward to all her new releases.


ISBN-13: 9780307346384
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Pub. Date: September 2007

Angel Robinson loves to read. To make it better, she works as a manager at Blue Moon bookstore and she is good friends with the bookseller Elise Miller. Unfortunately, things doesn't turn out well for her for long as Elise decides to end her business and that means she has to find a job quickly. Her aspiring writer boyfriend, Malcolm, wants her to try out at a successful literary agency as an administrative assistant but she is not too keen initially, because she thinks the title is just a glorified term for slave but in the end she thinks there is no harm in trying and so this begins her job in the publishing industry, working with the well-known literary agent Lucy Fiamma.

Soon she finds working in the bookstore is so much different from working in a busy literary agency but she is fascinated with the work and the drive behind it. She begins to neglect her personal life and her relationship with Malcolm, not that she could help it. Her main responsibility is to read through manuscripts sent in by writers and to find if they are worth reading before she pass them on to Lucy, who will then make a decision whether or not to sell them to the publishers.

Then, Angel receives an email from an anonymous writer containing an intriguing chapter and this sparks her curiosity because not only the plot is good enough to keep her reading, but she is also wondering why the writer is behaving mysteriously. She brushes it aside, thinking that this is perhaps a tactic to keep her reading but as the emails keep on coming, she begins to panic as the mysterious novel, titled Blind Submission seems to be telling her story and she no longer trust anyone around her. There is her coworker, Anna who thinks she is her rivalry at work; her boss' assistant Craig who doesn't appear to like her and then, there is Malcolm whom she thinks he might be jealous of her 'relationship' with Damiano Vero, the Italian writer who has just sold his manuscript through her good judgement. Someone seems to be watching her and know what she is doing; and she fears that whoever it is out there is plotting against her.

Finally, when she reads the novel's plot has turned to murder, she decides she has to find out the real identity of the mysterious writer before she becomes the 'real victim' of this writer's story.

Blind Submission is an excellent read and one that I enjoyed it thoroughly. Debra Ginsberg has cleverly crafted a story within another 'story' for the suspense which I find it very original and refreshing. Like Angel Robinson in this novel, I was curious to find out the mysterious writer and the reason for him/her of doing so. Lucy Fiamma is not really a likeable character, although I admire her drive and her great ambition, I find her arrogant and too controlling at times. I liked Elise Miller though, the bookseller of Blue Moon because she seems like a good friend and a wonderful boss to work with. And the best part of reading this book is, I learn a little about the publishing industry, the relationship amongst the writer, the literary agent and the publisher, and lastly how manuscripts are being discovered and published. A page-turner with a twist and an entertaining book about books, I highly recommend this to all booklovers. Without saying, it is a keeper and will be shortlisted to my Book of the Year list. I am definitely looking forward to reading Debra Ginsberg's forthcoming novel, The Grift, to be released in August.

This week’s question comes from Julie, who asks:

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

Usually, it is the author's name that will catch my attention of a book, regardless if it is a hardcover or softcover, trade paperback or mass market paperback. If it is my favourite author, I will buy the hardcover because I know I just can't wait for the paperback to be released later although I still think mass market paperback is my perfect choice because it is lighter and easier to carry around. In my opinion, hardcover is more like a collector's item that one treasures and admires. I am not particular with the font printed on the bookcover though, because most of them are big and some even have it embossed, but it does take away my reading pleasure if the entire book is printed in small fonts as I don't want to spend most of my time squinting my eyes, especially not fun when I am reading in the late evening. It is very bad for the eyes since I am already myopic.

As for illustrations, I am not that particular about it although I have to admit I will most likely pick up an eye-catching cover if I am not familiar with the author. That said, I'd still pick up the other books out of curiosity though, since I don't want to risk the chance of missing any good books just in case.

I am still feeling a little bad for not completing some of the reading challenges last year, therefore I am skeptical about joining more this year. But then, I keep seeing all these new exciting challenges popping all over the blogosphere (and not to mention they have beautiful buttons) and so, I finally gave in to this since there is an option that I can choose one book to read! Hosted by Esther, Another Bloomin' Challenge will run from March 20 - June 20; the purpose is to encourage readers to get into the feeling of spring and are required to pick flowery titles for this challenge. (Please click the above link for more details.)

Some options to choose from:

BUD-VASE: Just as a bud vase highlights the beauty of a single bloom, this challenge level asks you to read a single book with a flower in the title.
NOSEGAY: Like a small bunch of flowers gathered together, this challenge level asks you to read two or more books with the same flower in the title.
BOUQUET: Fill a vase with the bounty of the season. For this challenge level read four or more books each with a different flower in the title.
GARDEN: When you just can't get enough, this challenge level requires you to read six or more books with flowers or flowery words (bloom, blossom, petal, etc.) in the title.

I will go with The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman, since I don't have too many books with flowery titles in my pile. Incidentally, I have also chosen this book for What's In A Name? Challenge hosted by Annie, so to me this is like killing two birds with one stone. ;-) (Note: Overlapping of books are allowed in these two challenges.)

Happy reading everyone!


ISBN: 9780230014916
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Published: March 2008
(Hardcover) 32pp

I didn't stumble upon this book by chance. I happen to find this book after reading Valentina's review and thought I will buy this for my daughter as her birthday present. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it at several bookstores. Some of them did carry her previous books but not this one. Not giving up, I went home and searched online, hoping to find it on a local online bookstore and again I was disappointed. But I want this book badly, so I called up the bookstore and make an enquiry. The staff told me they didn't have it, but would be glad to help to check and order for me if their supplier has it. So after waiting for about an hour or two, I received a call from them telling me their supplier has the book and asked if I want to place an order. Of course I said yes!

So I have this picture book in my hands today, although it is a little late for my daughter's birthday, but at least I have managed to get the book. Sounds like as if I had a hard time getting it, haha. But hey, it is all worth it.

In The Odd Egg, all the animals (the bird, the hen, the owl and the flamingo) are happy to have laid the eggs except the duck. Later the duck finds a beautiful egg, but the other animals think it is odd because it looks so huge. But the duck remains unfazed with their remarks and patiently waits for it to hatch... Will it hatch and what will hatch from the egg? I won't say more, but I do have something to say about the author/illustrator Emily Gravett. She has won the Macmillan Prize for illustration with Wolves which was published in 2005. This marks the beginning of her career creating children's books. Although I haven't read Wolves, but I fell in love with The Odd Egg so it is only a matter of time I will get to her other books. Her illustrations are great, and the little details she put in those pictures are fantastic (especially the pages are cut to show each egg hatching until it gets to the duck's odd egg). I can't wait to see my daughter's expression when I present this book to her later this evening.
Well, I have nothing much to post today, but I thought I will share with everyone the books I bought over the weekend. Initially I did not have the intention of buying any books, and since last Friday was a public holiday (Good Friday) and it also happens to be my daughter's birthday so we brought her out for a simple celebration (Although we had also celebrated her birthday with her classmates at the childcare centre the previous day). We had Japanese Ramen noodles and treated her an ice cream cup, and thereafter we walked and shopped around the malls and of course there will be a bookstore tucked around at one corner of a mall so naturally I had to go in and take a look. And it would be a real disappointment if I came out empty-handed, anyway I found what I want and have them added to my TBR pile.

Edited to Add (1.54 PM):

  • Chosen by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (House of Night Series #3)
    (I received this book just a moment ago! Yay!)

Has anyone read anything by C.S. Friedman? I have never read anything by this author but I am so intrigued after reading the blurb of Feast of Souls so I have to have it.

I am currently reading Blind Submission by Debra Ginsberg and though I'm only in Chapter Two (didn't read much over the weekend), I already like what I'm reading and can't wait to read the rest of the story. I am sure all booklovers will enjoy reading this book because it has a little suspense in it and what's more, readers will also get to learn a little about the publishing industry and last but not least, it is a book about books! I couldn't have asked for more. Let's hope I can find more time in reading this book so I can get to the review soon!


This week marks the 100th post of 'Randomness'.
Here's this weeks questions, and have a Happy Easter everybody.

A set of random questions:
1. What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Mango
2. What shampoo do you use? Sunsilk Silky & Straight shampoo
3. How do you like your eggs? Half boiled with a dash of pepper and soy sauce
4. What's the first thing you do when you get online? Check emails
5. What is your favorite tv show? Unfortunately I don't watch too much TV nowadays
6. Which do you prefer, the sunrise or the sunset? Both are beautiful in their own way!
7. When is the last time you went to the mall? Last Saturday!
8. What was the last food that you ate? Bread with peanut butter spread
9. What is your favorite animal? Penguin
10. Do you collect anything? Books, haha... I used to collect bookmarks, but I'm beginning to collect poppets now. They're so adorable! I'm also collecting fridge magnets.
(see related post)

Goes to Jaimie from Bell Literary Reflections.
Congratulations, Jaimie!!!

Please send me your addy to melreadingcorner(AT)gmail(DOT)com and I will have mail to you as soon as possible.

Thank you everyone for your participation! It has been fun. :D

You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next book you’re going to read? What?

(Obviously, there can be more than one answer, here–a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)

Usually after I have finished reading a book, I will just dive right into the next book but that doesn't mean I will not muse over the previous book I have read. If it is a horror or thriller story with some terrifying scenes/themes, it is enough to send chills down my spine and haunt me for days (although not as strong as compared to movies), or if it is a thought-provoking ones, it will lead me to ponder but this won't interfer with the book which I'm currently reading.

However, let's say if I have finished a book late at night, then I won't dive right into the next book but I will make sure to choose a new title next so I can start right away the next day.

ISBN-13: 978-0099488460
Publisher: Definitions (July 2007)
Paperback: 304 pages
Translated by Anthea Bell

I suppose the printed blood stains on the book cover speaks for everything. The Strawberry Picker is an intense suspense thriller which I devoured from cover to cover. I found this book at the Young Adults/Children section; at the bottom right of the backcover it stated that this book is unsuitable for younger readers which I agree since this is a book about murder after all.

Eighteen-year-old Jenna has two good friends, Caro and Merle. They share a flat together and treat one another like sisters. When they heard of the murder cases whereby the victims were brutally stabbed, had had their hair cut off and their necklaces missing, all of them were terrified. The public even named him as the necklace murderer. Detective Bert Melzig has a hard time finding the clues and cracking the cases as the killer leaves no traces behind, although he thinks the killer is a fetishist as well who keeps the victims' necklaces as mementos.

Jenna is uncertain about Caro's new relationship when the latter told her she has a new boyfriend who no one has met. She is more horrified when Caro later told her she doesn't know his name either, however Caro feels otherwise as she thinks it is a game and that it is romantic in a way to make wild guesses of his name and earned his love further if she has guessed it correctly in the end. On top of this, he barely touches her too. Caro thinks he is sweet and their relationship is so special.

Then Caro went missing for two days. When Jenna and Merle see her again, it is at the morgue and the police wants them to identify her body. Both girls are shocked, for they never expect this would happen to their good friend. This makes Caro the fourth victim of the murder case. After this, Detective Melzig is more determined to get the killer arrested, while on the other hand at Caro's funeral Jenna vows she will seek revenge and find the murderer. The news reached Nathaniel's ears, who happens to be Caro's mysterious boyfriend and a quiet strawberry picker. He finds Jenna fascinating, but what most attracts him is she is Caro's friend and in his sick mind he thinks he has not lost Caro in a way.

And when Jenna later meets Nathaniel by chance, she is immediately attracted to his shy and reserved way. She feels they have something in common, and from there he shares a little of his unhappy childhood memories with her. Jenna soon finds herself falling in love, but Nathaniel thinks she is behaving no different from the other girls he befriended and he decided to end it all with a heavy sick heart.

German author Monika Feth has written an intense page-turner in The Strawberry Picker; there are times that I forgot this is a young adults fiction. Although there isn't much suspense to the killer's identity, but I think the author has done a good job in creating the thrill especially towards the second half of the book where I find myself holding my breath and worrying for Jenna's safety. There are also times I feel like shaking her because with the killer still at large, she should at least be wary of the people around her and not letting down her guard easily. This reminds me of a cliché saying that looks can be deceiving after all. Then again, it might be hard for her to do so when she thinks she has met someone she is in love with.

There is one thing that leaves me unsatisfied with the book is the ending, which I think it is rushed and not much details are being described. Overall I still think The Strawberry Picker is a good suspense read which I enjoyed thoroughly. I hope I am able to find more of Monika Feth's books in future.

ISBN: 1845060245
Little Tiger Press (2004)
Ages: 3-7

I know I rarely write any review on children's book, but I just couldn't pass this up after reading Just For You!

Written by Christine Leeson and illustrated by Andy Ellis, Just For You! is a heartwarming story about Tilly Mouse and her siblings who go out the way of getting a birthday present for their mother because they had ruined the present.

Not to disappoint their mother, they decided to find something before she wakes up from bed. However, each time they find something suitable for their mother, someone will come along and claim they need it more...

Being considerate and compassionate, Tilly Mouse and her siblings give in to them and go on to continue with their search. They couldn't find anything until Tilly stumbles on a piece of paper, but it is too plain of a present but she has a better plan. With a little help from the friends whom they have met earlier, they began to work on a perfect present just for their mother...

Frankly speaking, I was touched by the story and I think this is good inspiration to the young children as this will teach them to be kind and to give and share. The illustration is great and attractive too, and I find myself drawn to it despite I am an adult. I highly recommend this book and can't wait to share it with my young daughter.
I have been adding books to my pile since the past few weeks... and I am quite satisfied with the purchases because some of them are on my wishlist for some time, while some of them I bought due to recommendations from fellow bookbloggers. ;-) Here's a list of what I bought recently:
  • Blind Submission by Debra Ginsberg
  • Sleep, Pale Sister by Joanne Harris
  • Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood
  • Decorated to Death by Peg Marberg
  • Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
  • Killing Fear by Allison Brennan
  • Death's Door by Quintin Jardine
  • Kiss of Fire by Deborah Cooke
  • A Breath of Fresh Air by Amulya Malladi
  • The Sound of Language by Amulya Malladi
  • Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Perhaps I was excited about getting these books that I didn't even notice I had bought a duplicate of Storm Front from my earlier visit. Now I did mention that I have a short memory, didn't I? Well maybe this is good evidence that I am not exaggerating after all, haha.

Anyway, I am not going to ignore the duplicate copy so I am giving it away to one lucky reader who is interested in reading this first book of the Dresden Files series but on one condition - Just give me the name of the protagonist of this series and I will add your name to the draw (Please email me your answer to melreadingcorner(AT)gmail(DOT)com). Closing date is 20 March (Thursday) at 11.59 PM (GMT +8:00). I will then randomly draw a lucky winner and post the result asap whenever I have the chance to get online (since the following day is a public holiday and that means family day to me). Good luck to all! :-)

Would you rather...
1. sky dive or bungee jump? None of them! I'm scared of heights.
2. eat a hissing cockroach or eat a slug? Eek! I think slug may be a little better than a hissing cockroach?
3. have lifelong free entry to all theme parks or lifetime free entry to all movie theaters? Movie theaters! Because there are always new movies showing...
4. spend one month without books or one month without tv? definitely without TV
5. have the ability to fly or be able to become invisible? To fly of course!
6. to have a personal shopper for life or a personal fitness trainer for life? I love shopping and would rather shop my own stuff so I'd choose to have a personal fitness trainer
7. be spiderman or be superman? Hmm... maybe superman
8. be stuck in the 70's or be stuck in the 80's? 80's. I love the songs during that generation!


On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how much do you like your own handwriting?

I'm quite satisfied with my handwriting, so I'd say a 7. To me, what most important is it has to be legible.

Do you prefer baths or showers?
Anything goes as long as I am cleansed.

What was the last bad movie you watched?
I can't remember which bad movie I had watched because I have a short memory, and I haven't been to a cinema for some time.

Main Course
Name something you are addicted to and describe how it affects your life.
Reading, that goes without saying. I don't think it affects my life greatly except that it burns a hole to my wallet and that I need more storage space to keep those pile of books (and not to mention getting new ones as well)!

Which instrument is your favorite to listen to?

Saxophone. I love listening to Kenny G's music. So soothing... it calms my mind and makes me relax.


Suggested by John :
How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:
__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.

This week's question is a challenging one, but I'm afraid I am unable to come up with any answer for this. One reason being that reading is such a subjective matter. Moreover, authors have the right to creating their own stories, no matter if the ending is good or bad, happy or sad. I am sure each author has his/her reason or temperament in writing a story and I truly respect that. Although I understand most readers would appreciate a happily-ever-after ending, but in my humble opinion this doesn't always qualify a great story. To me, a great story means it captures the reader's attention and never let it go until the very last page of the book. There might be happy or sad moments, or even a tragic ending in a story, but I think it is the reading experience itself that speaks for everything. In addition, it might be even better if it is thought-provoking to the readers as well. Just my two cents, and I apologize if this isn't a good answer.

ISBN-13: 9780451223371
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: March 2008

I have been catching up with my reading lately, and this book is my first selection for The Pub Challenge (2008). The rule is to read books that are published in 2008 so Thigh High by Christina Dodd fits just right for this purpose. I picked up this book by chance, because the blurb caught my attention; and don't you agree this cover is eye-catching too? But of course the latter is not the main reason I picked up this book, although it doesn't hurt to have an attractive bookcover isn't it?

Though I had read Christina Dodd's historical romances in the past, I never have the chance to read her romance suspense novels so I figure this book should make a good start. Thigh High is the third book in Christina's Fortune Hunter series, following Trouble in High Heels and Tongue in Chic. This is one of those times that I picked up a book without realizing it is part of a series, but still that doesn't stop me from reading it.

Ionessa Dahl, otherwise fondly called Nessa, dedicates her hard work at the Premier Central Bank in New Orleans. Due to an error she had made out of compassion to a client, she lost the chance of a good promotion to fellow colleague, Stephanie Decker who is now bank manager. To make matters worse, the CEO of the bank assumes she is linked to the Beaded Bandits robberies of his Premier Central Bank during Mardi Gras so he decided someone has to spy on Nessa at work.

Jeremiah 'Mac' MacNaught is introduced to the staff as an insurance investigator, but actually he works as an undercover. He is intrigued with Nessa as he is with the mysterious Beaded Bandits robberies cases, and slowly both of them are attracted to each other as they began to see more of each other at work. To make things more interesting, Nessa's two zany aunts are always keen to play matchmakers to Nessa whenever they have a chance so they are delighted to find Mac an eligible applicant. But later, Mac is trapped in a difficult situation as he soon finds himself falling hard for Nessa, and on top of that he isn't sure what Nessa will think if she finds out the truth about his real identity in the end.

Christina Dodd has weaved a witty and fun romance suspense in Thigh High, taking her readers to a trip in New Orleans where readers get a glimpse of the colourful city and the residents' lifestyles. I was most amazed by their Mardi Gras parade, where during this festive event the performers will dress in different costumes with masks on their faces as they happily danced around the streets. It must be a sight to a foreigner like myself.

Besides this, I also enjoyed the characters in this book and the dialogue between the two protagonists; and I too find it a delight reading Nessa's two chirpy elderly aunts who are both young at heart despite they are in their eighties. I think readers who like a fun romance read will enjoy Thigh High. Although I'd still prefer Christina's historical romances, overall I'd say this book is a satisfying read.

Do you remember time before the internet? Before you had an email adress, online banking, websites, memes, blogs, message boards? When did you first 'log on'?

This week's question is a good one. Before there is internet, I read and watched TV a lot (and not to mention I worried about my school assignments and exams, haha). Unlike some children nowadays, I only got my first computer after graduating from school. And the reason I needed it was because I took a part-time graphic design course and some assignments could only be done using software programs, i.e. Photoshop and Pagemaker, etc. Having a computer at home had really saved me all the time and incoveniences. I think I started the internet subscription in 1996, and have never looked back since. ;-)

ISBN-13: 9780446616850
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: September 2006

I was first introduced to this book after reading Wendy's wonderful review. I am a big fan of crime suspense, so of course I have to pick this up after reading Wendy's review and ravings from other readers as well.

New Haven police reporter Annie Seymour receives an early morning call from her editor to cover the case of a dead Yale University student, Melissa Peabody as her body lies cold down near a high-rise condo. At first speculation, it seems she has committed suicide, but everyone at the crime scene knows there is more than meets the eyes because no suicide victim will die wearing nothing. Her identity later came to light and she used to be a high-priced escort.

Annie soon finds herself drawn to the mystery and is keen to uncover the truth, but having a police detective boyfriend who refuses to reveal much of the information and an attorney mom who sleeps with her publisher. To make things trickier, then there is fellow reporter, Dick Whitfield who seems to be on her trail wherever she goes.

Later she has the chance to meet up with the person behind the escort service agency, and through him she knew Allison Sanders, another escort and a friend of Melissa. Unfortunately, before Annie could fish out more information from her, she is brutally stabbed. And thereafter, Annie is asked by her editor to drop the case and to cover a parade of painted fibergrass cows grazing through the city instead, but much to her surprise was her mom wants her to stop investigating too.

From there, the plot thickens and there were many times that I found it difficult to keep away the book because not only the intrigue is piling high but I was anxious for Annie to solve the mystery too. I find Annie Seymour an extraordinary reporter and I liked her gutsy attitude in every ways. And to top things off, she seems real to me too after I get a glimpse of her inner world when reading some of her down moments.

I really enjoyed reading Sacred Cows, and have already bought the next two installments - Secondhand Smoke and Dead of the Day where we will get to see more of Annie Seymour. Karen E. Olson is one talented author to look out for, and I am glad to have found her books.

Other Bloggers' reviews:
Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Here are some of the books I bought recently.
  • Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema (I'm not familiar with this author, but I am intrigued with the blurb)

  • Predatory Game by Christine Feehan (This is #6 of the Ghostwalkers series)

  • Falling by Christopher Pike (I'm a great fan of Christopher Pike since I was a teenager. He writes great YA thrillers/fantasy, but I understand he is also writing novels for adults nowadays)

  • Broken Angels by Richard Montanari (I have not read his books yet, although I have read a few good reviews about them from fellow booklovers)

  • Taking Pictures by Anne Enright (She's the author who wrote The Gathering, so I'm interested to read this as well. By the way, this book is a collection of several short stories and is listed as the Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2007 . This copy is a UK edition)

  • Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult (I like her books; this is her latest release)
Has anyone read any of them?
Labels: 9 comments | edit post

If you could be any current celebrity for one whole week, who would you want to be?
Jessica Alba. She seems like an easy-going and down-to-earth celebrity to me, and what's more I like watching her on screen.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you enjoy talking on the phone?
5. I used to enjoy talking on the phone when I was younger, but I hardly have the time to chit chat nowadays as I'd rather focus my attention on my daughter and/or catch up with some reading.

Name a charitable organization to which you have donated (or would like to).

Main Course
What is a food you like so much you could eat it every single day for a month?
The only thing I won't get tired of eating is fruits, and the best thing is they are good for our health too.

Have you or anyone in your family had the flu this year?
Oh yes. Moreover, my daughter is in childcare most of the times, so chances are she gets the viruses easily if she has a low immunity.

You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?

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!

(And apologies for this going up late . . . my post-dated post didn’t publish when it was supposed to this morning! It’s just a few hours late, but still–sorry about that! )

Like last week's question, this sure isn't easy as I have several favourite male lead characters in mind, but the following is one of the few that will easily fill up the list (please note they are not in any particular order):
  • Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield in Matthew Reilly's novels - Ice Station, Area 7 and Scarecrow. He is your typical alpha male military hero who races against time to fight off the evil guys in various dangerous situations. (And not to mention Matthew Reilly always write great action-packed stories that pump up your adrenaline)
  • Harry Potter (Enough said).
  • Edward Cullen in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. He is one extraordinary sexy vampire who falls in love with a human girl.
  • Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. He piqued my interest the moment I picked up the book, and of course I always find it entertaining about his acquaintance with Elizabeth Bennet.
  • Sebastian Toussaint in Anne Stuart's Black Ice. A tortured dark hero and an assassin. Despite his ruthlessness he saves the heroine and ends up falling in love with her.

I know I have a few more but at the moment this is all I could think of; and with a TBR pile waiting to be read I am sure I will find new favourite male lead characters amongst them. I can't wait.

Kim from Bold.Blue.Adventure tagged me for this meme, which is to sum up your life in 6 words. I could think of nothing but an unfortunate incident that had happened in my life in the past few years that has changed my thoughts and attitude towards life. You see, I had lost my mom to cancer and stroke, which everyone in the family had least expected it because she looked so healthy. This incident has taught me a lesson that life is so fragile and we should treasure it every moment we have with our loved ones. Thus, my reply to this meme is:

Live Life, Enjoy Life, Treasure Life
(Because that's how I always feel)

Here's the rules:
  1. Write your own six word memoir
  2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
  3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
  4. Tag five more blogs with links
  5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

I tag the following friends:

Jaimie from Bell Literary Reflections
Iliana from Bookgirl's Nightstand
Gautami from My Own Little Reading Room
Jeane from Dog Ear Diary
Trish from Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?

... and anyone who's keen to play this. :-)


ISBN-13: 9780385522403
Publisher: Doubleday Publishing
Pub. Date: June 2007

It is Year 1962. Edward and Florence are newly wed couples, both young and full of dreams. Florence is a talented violinist who dreams of performing on the concert stage one day; and Edward is an intelligent young history student at a University College in London. They met by chance and fell in love with each other. And they wholly believe that their marriage will bring them happiness and the freedom they have craved.

But then, both of them have their own insecurities. Florence is overcome with worry and mixed emotions about their wedding night and seems to repel the idea of their consummation; and though Edward is eager, he also worries what Florence will think about the whole thing, after all Florence is a shy and sensitive young lady.

Ian McEwan has written an exquisite, precise story in On Chesil Beach about two young lovers' insecurities and their opinions about consummation, and how their unspoken thoughts will affect their lives thereafter. Though the story is beautifully written in typical McEwan's style, I just couldn't get sucked into the story and/or asked myself what would happen next. I enjoyed reading Atonement (which I think is a classic), but I just couldn't feel the same in this story. Perhaps the reason is, I just couldn't find anything interesting or exciting about a couple facing their difficulties in expressing their thoughts especially when communications about sex is considered a taboo at that time. I really wanted to rate it better for this book; and I think Mr. McEwan has a way with words but regrettably this story just isn't my cup of tea. I am hoping his next book will be better.

Note: Because I enjoyed Atonement so much, I went out the way to buy another copy with a different cover, as well as the movie soundtrack. I am currently looking forward to the DVD which I hope will be released very soon.

You Are a Dash

Your life is fast paced and varied. You are realistic, down to earth, and very honest.

You're often busy doing something interesting, and what you do changes quickly.

You have many facets to your personality, and you connect them together well.

You have a ton of interests. While some of them are a bit offbeat, they all tie together well.

You friends rely on you to bring novelty and excitement to their lives.

(And while you're the most interesting person they know, they can't help feeling like they don't know you well.)

You excel in: Anything to do with money

You get along best with: the Exclamation Point

Wow, this all sounds flattering, isn't it? And if I'm that good in handling money, I wouldn't be working so hard now, haha... *sigh*


ISBN-13: 9780553383881
Publisher: Bantam Books
Pub. Date: December 2006

27-year-old Tamila Soroush wishes nothing but a happy and unrestrictive life where she could do what she wants and not be afraid of being accused of being 'unrespectful' or even 'un-religious', for being an Iranian woman she is expected to follow every 'rules and regulations' which has been passed from generations to generations.

Then something changes on her birthday, for her parents has given her a one-way ticket to America, hoping she will find a new life there and never returns. But she has only three months' time before the visa expires, so that means within this time she has to find an Iranian husband with American citizenship before she is back home for good. So there she travels all the way to Tuscon, Arizona where she will stay with her older sister Maryam and her husband, Ardishir who works as an orthopedic surgeon.

Tamila is both curious and fascinated with the American culture, and for the first time she feels so happy, and free. She has also enrolled in an English class, hoping to learn more about the language and gaining some friends along the way. It was during her walk to her class one day that she stops at Starbucks for a drink and get to know Ike, who is working there and his dream is to open his own coffee house one day. He is immediately struck by her attractiveness and her naive ways since she is new to their culture. They became friends quickly, and Tamila is attracted to Ike too, although she is trying hard to suppress her feelings for him. After all, she is here to fulfill her dream of marrying an Iranian husband.

Then she finds a potential husband in Haroun, but he is acting too weird and insists she goes for a medical examination by his physician before he agrees to their marriage. Tamila has second thoughts about him, but Maryam thinks he is one fine young man she shouldn't missed. By this time, Tamila is already good friends with her classmates whom all came from various countries and they sympathize about her situation. Amongst them, Eva, a German military wife is especially helpful to her and offer her all the advice she can get, although Tamila thinks her behaviour is too loud and daring. Through Eva's 'help', she gets to know Masoud and though she asks herself if he is 'the one', but then time is running out fast.

Veil of Roses is a page-turner to me. Laura Fitzgerald has written a fine cross-cultural story filled with humor and emotions. In this story, I learn about Iranian people and their culture, and really sympathize about their situation, especially the women as they are living under a restricted life. It breaks my heart learning about the experience they are going through, and this has further made me think of not to take things, or life as granted. I liked Tamila in this story, and I think she is a very brave woman who is not afraid to pursue her dreams. Even though while she is staying with Maryam, she doesn't rely too much on her and feels she should learn everything in her own way. I loved everything about this story, and I loved the ending too, which had me teary eyed. Now I can't wait for Ms Fitzgerald's next release.

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