Alice tagged me to do this birthday meme.

  • Determine your birthday month and get a word that rhymes with it or you can affix to it. Caps lock your birth month (ex: MAYday! JUNE dune, APRILicious, JULYvely, AUGUST pocus, parched MARCH…). Be unique.

  • Your birth month plus the word affixed or rhymed shall become the tag’s title in your case.

  • Get your birthday and add the digits involved. Example, if your birthday falls on the 25th of July, add 2 and 5 you get 7.

  • Whatever is the sum, write a list of the MATERIAL gifts you wish to receive, the number of which shall correspond to the sum of your birthday. For example, applying the case above (in rule number 3), you will write seven (7) things you wish to receive.

  • After your wish list, put your name and birthday in the Bloggers’ Birthday Directory, with a link to your blog/s. Note: when you add your birthday, please place it in a way that the dates appear chronological (January, February… 1, 2, 3)

  • Pass this tag meme by tagging as many people as you want.

Birthday: December 21

Calculation: 2 + 1 = 3

My wishlist:
  1. Books
  2. Bookshelves
  3. Laptop

Bloggers’ Birthday Directory:

February 20 - Caryl February 23 - Jammy March 7 - Mari March 29 - Rachel May 3 - Vannie May 8 - joanjoyce May 27 - Zang Caesar September 25 - Alice Teh September 30 - Mckhoii October 22 - MommyBa December 18 - JoshuaOngYS December 19 - Alpha December 20 - Suzanne December 21 - Melody YOUR BIRTHDAY HERE

I tag Gautami, Jen, Nymeth & Stephanie! :-)

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1. What are your plans for today? Nothing. Just the same as usual.
2. Who was the last person you talked on the phone with? My husband.
3. What was the last tv program you watched? A food variety show last evening.
4. What was the last thing you ate? Bread with tuna spread.
5. What time did you get out of bed today? 5 a.m.


I am late this week. Anyway, the theme for this week is Challenges.

1. If you participate in any challenges, get organized! Update your lists, post about any you haven’t mentioned, add links of reviews to your lists if you do that, go to the challenge blog if there is one and post there, etc.

2. If you don’t participate in any challenges, then join one! There’s a good selection of possibilities over on my right hand sidebar (scroll down) where I list those I participate in. There’s also A Novel Challenge, a blog that keeps track of all sorts of reading challenges.

3. Towards the end of the week, write a wrap-up post about getting your challenges organized OR if you’re joining your first challenge, post about that any time during the week. Once you have your post up, come back and sign Mr Linky with the link to the specific post, not just to your blog.
I have signed up six reading challenges but I am ashamed to say that I have not completed any of them to-date! Here is the list of what I have participated and the books I read so far:

1) What's In A Name Challenge

  • Blue Justice by Illona Hans
  • Cat O'Nine Tales: And Other Stories by Jeffrey Archer
  • Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie
  • Into The Storm by Suzanne Brockmann
  • The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman

2) Another Blooming Challenge

  • The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman

(The above challenge is over. I cannot believe I did not read this yet! I have to blame it on my reading mood though, for it influences the books I choose to read next.)

3) TL;DR Challenge

4) 2008 TBR Challenge


5) The Pub Challenge

(I still need to read 3 more books to complete the above challenge.)

6) The Short Story Reading Challenge

  • Holidays Are Hell by Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu & Vicki Pettersson
  • Hell On Heels by Julie Kenner, Kathleen O'Reilly & Dee Davis

Well, although I have yet to complete any challenge, that does not mean I will not participate in any of them in future. They are so fun and addictive, plus it is always good to see what other readers are reading and get those books through their recommendations.

I have seen a few new challenges around, and I am still debating whether or not if I should participate, haha! So how many challenges have you completed?



What is the weather like today where you live?


On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how career-minded are you?


What type of window coverings do you have in your home? Blinds, curtains, shutters, etc.?


Main Course
Name something that instantly cheers you up.

My family and my books!

How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning?
None! I hit the button the moment the alarm clock rings. Hate the shrilly sound and that it will wake my daughter up!


Questions courtesy of Jennifer this week; thanks, Jennifer!

1. Birthdays are usually the time when you get all those mixed feelings. Although it is always a joy to celebrate birthdays, at times you wonder if the time has passed by too quickly.

2. Autumn is my favorite season because of the cooling weather. It is also nice to see some colours to the surroundings when all the leaves are turning red or yellow.

3. I feel my best when I am relaxed.

4. Meat sticks with rice is my favorite food!

5. First impressions are important because this is the first image you portray to other people when they first meet you.

6. The best piece of advice I ever received was from my mom. Whenever I was down or when I needed some guidance, she was always there for me.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to reading and watching some late night TV shows, tomorrow my plans include spending time with my family; I am also hoping to catch up on my blog hopping and Sunday, I want to relax and read!

Julia tagged me for this meme.

All you have to do is answer the questions with one word, and tag four people.

1. Where is your cell phone? Handbag
2. Your significant other? Johnathan
3. Your hair? Black
4. Your mother? Loke
5. Your father? Lee (My parents do not have any English names, and I do not wish to disclose their real names either. So their last names will have to do.)
6. Your favorite thing? Books
7. Your dream last night? Parents
8 Your favorite drink? Tea (Green tea)
9. Your dream/goal? Successful
10. The room you’re in? Office
11. Your hobby? Reading
12. Your fear? Loneliness
13. Where do you want to be in 6 year? Vacationing! (Would love to travel to the U.S. and/or to Europe)
14. What you’re not? Daring (Especially when bungee jumping and sky diving are concerned. No way!)
15. Muffins? Yes
16. One of your wish list items? Books
17. Where you grew up? Singapore
18. The last thing you did? Reading (Papers)
19. What are you wearing? Office-wear
20. Favorite gadget? Cellphone
21. Your pets? None
22. Your computer? Dell
23. Your mood? Happy! (Hey, it's Friday!)
24. Missing someone? Yes
25. Your car? None
26. Something you’re not wearing? Socks
27. Favorite store? Bookstores
28. Like someone? Yes
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Can't remember (Oops, that's two words!)

I tag Jennifer, Jaimie, Wendy and Trish, and anyone who is interested in playing.
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What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

Generally, a reader is a person who would read anything. No matter if they are books, magazines, newspapers, internet etc. However, I think there is a difference between reading for pleasure and reading for information (or as a profession). For example, a person may be working as a proofreader but that does not mean he/she has an interest for reading, but he/she is still considered a reader because he/she reads.

I am not sure of you, but I would like to think of a "reader" who has a passion for books. That's me, being a booklover and all.

ISBN-13: 9780765342300
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Published: March 2002

Quoted from the Introduction of this novel by Terry Windling:

"Briar Rose" is another name for the old story "Sleeping Beauty", which is one of the best known ane best loved fairy tales in the western world. No one knows precisely how old it is, for we have no written record of when oral storytellers first began to tell the tale - but we do know that our sleeping princess is at very least several centuries old."

I am sure most of us have heard of "Sleeping Beauty". This is one of my favourite stories during my childhood days, along with many others. This novel is a re-telling version written by Jane Yolen in a bittersweet way. Fantasy aside, there is also a modern setting to this story which makes everything seems more real to the readers.

Rebecca Berlin has been enchanted by her grandmother, Gemma's stories since she was a child. Gemma would tell them nothing but the story of Briar Rose, one which Rebecca would never get tired of hearing it. But, Gemma is getting old and weak and before she passed away, she wanted Rebecca to promise her that she will help her to find the castle, the prince and the maker of the spells. She was also Briar Rose, the princess.

Rebecca is determined to uncover the truth but her two other sisters, Sylvia and Shana, think she is insane to take Gemma's words seriously. She later finds Gemma's wooden box which contains some old photographs and clippings and she began to take the lead from there. No one knew about Gemma's past and why she is hiding away the box, not even Rebecca's mother and this makes Rebecca more determined to find the truth.

Before making her trip to Poland and on her father's suggestion, she contacted the Polish Jewish program for a translator. Magda Bronski, a student is recommended and soon, with her assistance for their journey, Rebecca will discover the shocking fact about Chelmno, the place where hundreds thousands of people were being killed during the war and how an encounter with a Mr. Josef Potocki will unlock the mystery surrounding her grandmother and her secret past.

Although I love the story, it is not really an easy read due to the context of the Holocaust. It is a dark modern fairy tale but it has mesmerized me. Jane Yolen's writing style is just marvelous. The way she put Gemma's story in alternate chapters throughout the book works perfectly. Like Rebecca, I too find myself very intrigued with her version and was anxious to know what happened and whether or not Gemma was the real Briar Rose as she had claimed. This is a powerful and moving novel which I would highly recommend to anyone.

Other Bloggers' reviews:

Maw Books Blog

Darla tagged me with this meme. I have done this before, but it is one which I will never get tired of playing. :-)

The rules

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

I have finished reading Briar Rose by Jane Yolen last night. It is a re-telling version of Sleeping Beauty and I really enjoyed reading it. I will try to post my review soon. I am currently reading The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani.

The story is set in Persia during the seventeenth-century, and it is about a young woman who will blossom as a brilliant carpet designer under her uncle's guidance when she and her mother moved into their house after her father had passed away. She is hoping to get married one day but it seems that the prospect of doing so is dim and she wonders if she has to forsake her own dignity or to risk everything in an effort to maintain it.

Here are the 3 sentences:
But from neck to hips, my body had rounded in ways that surprised me. My breasts, which had been so small, were now like two ripe apples, and my hips curved like a melon.
"What is the reason, are you secretly engaged?"

I have not read this page, but it sure seems like our young heroine is slowly turning into a young woman.

I am not going to tag anyone, but please feel free to play along if you are interested. And don't forget to leave me a comment as I would like to know what you are reading.
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This week's questions are book related....

1. Who are your favorite authors? I have several favourite authors; I can't possibly list out just one.
2. What are your favorite books? Any book of any genre that has a great plot and engaging characters.
3. What kind of books do you tend to read? Sci-fi, Romance, Mystery...etc...? I tend to read all genres... (well, except non-fictions) as long as they interest me!
4. Do you prefer to borrow books from the library or buy them? I used to borrow books from the library during my school days, but now that school is way out of my league and I am able to afford them, I either rent or buy them. Moreover, I prefer to read books at my own pace.
5. Do you prefer hardcover or paperback? Paperbacks, because they are easy to carry.
6. What was the last book you read? What are you reading now? It is a YA novel titled I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter. I am currently reading Briar Rose by Jane Yolen.
7. Do you read everyday? I try to whenever I have the chance.
8. On average how many books do you read per year? I do not keep tracks in the past, but since I have started blogging, it has help me to keep track of the books I read.
9. Do you belong to any book clubs? Not at the moment.
10. Recommend a good book. I wish I am able to give you a whole list of my favourite books! However, if you view the sidebar on the right of my blog, you will be able to find some books I read which have marked with an asterisk. Those are my favourites and they are also shortlisted for 'My Book of the Year'. ;-)



1. A smile is another good way of breaking the ice when meeting someone new.
2. Scrabble is my favorite board or card game.
3. I would love to have more time in my life and less stress.
4. When I think of the Summer Solstice, I think of nothing but the hot weather and ice lemonade.
5. I just remembered I need to buy some toiletries on my way home today.
6. One of my favorite song lyrics goes like this: You always choose to stay, I should be thankful for everyday, Heaven knows what the future holds, Or least where the story goes, But I never believed until now (Yesterday by Leona Lewis).
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to reading more of Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, tomorrow my plans include household chores and laundry and Sunday, I want to spend more time with my family!



If you could live on another continent for 1 year, which one would you choose?

Anywhere that has four seasons because it is always summer here.

Which browser do you use to surf the Internet?

Internet Explorer.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you know about the history of your country?

Probably a 8.

Main Course
Finish this sentence: Love is…

... a deep emotion that you feel for someone or something, but it is also about giving and many more.

Have you ever been in or near a tornado?

No, and I am hoping it will always stay that way!



Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

Words are powerful. An alphabet may seem meaningless, but put them together to form a word, plus some imagination and emotions from a writer and a book is borne! Sometimes, it is the story that sweep me away; but there are also times that I care about the characters and think they do help in keeping a story alive.

I admit I am not a huge fan of poetry, but I am touched with their beautiful prose and am also amazed with the poet's creativity to form a story with little words used, especially if they rhyme. It is an art to me.

Then again, there are also books that take me to other countries; and even though it is nothing as compared to visiting the actual places, it is still an eye-opener for me.

It is hard for me to specify only a factor of my favourite books or authors, for I think a good book comes with the writer's great imagination and his/her usage of words. A story will not be engaging if only one stands alone.


ISBN-13: 9781423100041
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Published: March 2007
Series: Gallagher Girls Series, #1

I am a fan of spy stories. I especially love it when the stories feature courageous and intelligent young woman working as an undercover but yet deep in her heart, she is craving for a normal life, to be able to do whatever she feels like doing so without thinking anyone is out to get her behind her back, and then again there is this issue about falling in love. Not just with any young man, but one who does not fit into her world and is way out of her league.

Cammie Morgan is a sophomore at The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women; it is an exclusive boarding school that is targeted for extraordinary young women not only excel in various different languages but in defense training, chemical warfare and all kinds of modern technology as well. In other words, they are trained to be spies and their identities are always to be kept in confidentality.

During one of the assignments designated by their newest hot teacher, Mr. Joe Solomon, Cammie and her classmates are to spy on Mr. Smith, one of their most senior and has the most experience teacher in school and find out what he drinks at the Roseville town carnival. The class thinks his proposal is crazy, but no one utters any word.

Just when Cammie has retrieved the "prize" which Mr. Smith has thrown in the trash can, she notices a boy across the street that has caught her attention. Josh Abrams appears to have noticed her too, and both of them are equally attracted to each other. Cammie really likes him, but she could not let her identity out so she lies about her life. Bex and Liz, Cammie's two best friends think their relationship would not work, but still they go out their way of supporting her by covering for her whenever there is a call for "emergency". Even Macey, a girl whom they think as a snob who seems to know it all offers some good advice about regular boys.

However, Cammie does has her insecurities too just like any other girls who are in love because Josh has a girl friend, Dee Dee, whom he has known for some time and she likes him too. To make things worsen, his good friend Dillon finds out about her secret identity and she is not sure if she should give up Josh or let herself and the school down.

Do not be fooled by the title, for there is nothing gross or bloody in this story. Although I find this book is no different from any other high school romance books, but I like it that the author, Ally Carter, toss in some actions and adventures into the story, making it a fun read as well. Besides these, this is also a book of friendship and loyalty. I enjoyed reading the friendship between Cammie, Bex and Liz. In my opinion, they are closer than sisters. I even liked Macey too, although she gives me the impression of being snobbish and proud, but looks can be deceiving and I was glad that she is not the person whom I think she is initially. I also find Mr. Joe Solomon a joy to read, because he is one extraordinary teacher. Good looks aside, I find his teaching methods fun and unique. I can understand why some of the Gallagher girls having the hots for him. Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy is the next installment and this book will be added to my wishlist.
I am thrilled when Pump Up Your Book Promotion e-mailed me and asked if I was interested to host author, Debbie Williamson and her memoir, Stand on my blog today. Since I have never done this before, I gladly accepted their request because not only do I get the chance to explore a new book but also I would like to learn more about the author and her thoughts when writing this book.

Here is a synopsis of Stand:

One courageous woman shatters the chains of abuse that bound her family for generations and dares to brave the crippling memories of sexual abuse; shatter the illusions of denial; reveal her family s bitter legacy of violence; reach for healing and wholeness, and take her place on a path to forgiveness and peace. Replacing shame with hope, fear with truth, and shadows with light, Debbie Williamson shares her arduous journey to wellness. She did not choose this journey. At nine years old, she was a victim of sexual abuse. The hidden trauma of childhood rape often maps a life filled with destructive patterns and shame. Such was almost the case for Ms. Williamson. As a young woman struggling to repair her family, she finds the courage to take a STAND. Grasping for health because her life truly depends upon it, she uncovers and shatters her family s tragic tradition of violence. With focus and conviction, Debbie Williamson overcomes a lifetime of denial to heal herself and protect the next generation.


Q: How long have you been writing?

I started to write poetry as a child and I have always kept journals. My short story writings I started as a teenager. Poetry has always been my strongest writing and remains so today.

Q: Who is your biggest source of inspiration?

I have a lot of inspiring aspects to my writing. I love to tell stories. Most of my inspiration comes from life experiences that I want to share. If I had to name anyone in particular it would be my grandchildren. They are my inspiration.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your book?

“Stand” is a memoir, of abuse, tragedy, healing, and forgiveness, and in the end it is a love story.

Q: Why did you feel the need to share your story with others?

I want to change the cycle of abuse so it will not spread to the next generation. I wanted to share my journey of healing through forgiveness with people. It has made such a profound impact on my family I had to write about it.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing about your life?

Walking through the past was probably the hardest part, not only my own but my mother’s past as well. Her childhood was very disturbing and I had to separate myself from her to write about it.

Q: Was the road to publication smooth or bumpy?

Is this a trick question? It was bumpy. I self-published the book. It was a learning experience, but in the future I am not sure if I would choose self publishing. The only publicity you receive is what you create and this can make or break your book.

Q: What have you done to promote your book?

I talk a lot, which is nothing new for me other than I seem to talk about myself. This is new and a stretch for me. I have been out there with book signings and I am doing reach out with shelters in my area and abuse recovery sites online. I have spoken with counselors and case workers on abuse and about the book. I answer inquiries from social workers and I have spoken to church groups about forgiveness and the impact of forgiveness.

Q: Do you have a website?,

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes, I would like to say that dreams start as an idea that grows and becomes a passion. Dreams are what will change our world; if you have the courage to follow them they become miracles.


Excerpt of Stand:


The details of my suicide were planned right down to the final moment. I envisioned it clearly. On the appointed evening, I would drive home from work as usual, pick up speed, aim for the large oak tree that was near the shoulder of the road by my house and crash head on.

Everyone would believe it was an accident. My children would never know that I did it intentionally. I would be free at last. No more would I have to live my life.

That was my glorified version of how to step out of this life; it did not happen.

Instead, I swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and went to bed one afternoon. I woke up in the emergency room drinking charcoal. My daughter had found me and called her dad to tell him she couldn’t wake me up.

After that event, the ultimate shame hovered over me like a swarm of bees. The constant buzzing relentlessly reminded me of what I had just done to my children.

Two days after I got home from the hospital I called a friend who recommended a self-help program. Two weeks later, I was on my way to Boise, Idaho for what turned out to be a life-saving event. From that point forward, I began to live my life. Do you ever wonder how you got to where you are in life? And then wondered why you made the choices you did? I’ve asked myself these questions most of my adult life. I finally figured it out for myself, and my story has a happy ending.

My story includes three generations of abominable abuse of the darkest variety: sexual, emotional, and mental. My story sheds light on the shadow side of the adult human who uses children to relieve his sexual appetites and need for power and domination over the innocent and helpless. But my story ends in triumph instead of despair.

Being raped and sexually abused as a child imprisoned me in a lifetime of emotional and mental anguish. Not only did I survive and triumph, I found great happiness. I want to share the how and why with you.

We all have a story to tell and I am hoping mine will make a difference to someone out there. It is my hope that you won’t feel alone or think of yourself as another tragic statistic who dreams of leaving by the back door of suicide as I once did.

Yes, I wrote this story to give you hope because it is an inspirational and triumphant coming-of-age memoir. I also wrote it for my children, that they may recognize the miracles that have been bestowed upon us and stopped this sickening cycle of abuse.


Debbie Williamson's Bio:

Born in Salt Lake City, she grew up in Southern California and now lives in Utah with her family and four miniature schnauzers. She and her husband are the parents of 9 children and 11 grandchildren. Family is her number one priority and when not working with university and church groups, she can be found golfing and sailing with her children and husband, Gary.



PS: I was also given a chance to review this book along with hosting the blog tour, but unfortunately time is running a little tight for me but I am looking forward to reading it soon.

This month is an exciting month for me! First, I have won a book at Valentina's Room; then I have managed to mooch The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins at BookMooch. I have been eyeing for this book (as well as Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte) after I read The Thirteenth Tale.

Besides my latest acquisitions, I have some exciting news to share with everyone. First, Nymeth from Things Mean A Lot is hosting the Bookworms Carnival and this month's theme is Fairy Tales. Please click here to read what the participants have to say about the books they read.

Are you a Stephenie Meyer fan? Or do you know anyone who wants to read her books badly? Now this is your chance to get yourself or your friend(s) her entire books collection! Natasha from Maw Books Blog is giving away not only FIVE copies of The Host but a Grand Prize of the entire Stephenie Meyer collection! What's more, each winner of The Host will also win a I Heart Ian button, a I Heart Jared button, and a Twilight Lexicon Magnet. The grand prize winner will also win all of the above as well as a t-shirt of your choice from Twilight Lexicon! (Open to U.S. and Canada addresses) Please click here for more details.

Finally, Ms. Debbie Williamson, the author of Stand, is having a virtual book tour this month and I will be posting the interview at my blog tomorrow. So stay tuned!
This week, the theme is SCAVENGER HUNT!

Here's how to play:
Dewey has listed several keywords (see below) and the challenge is to find as many of them in other Weekly Geeks’ blogs. And what's more, there is a prize!


1. (THE PRIZE. Did you find it?) Subsciption to Bookmarks Magazine
2. youtube
3. war My Own Little Reading Room
4. Sunday Salon Mog's Book Blog
5. Buy a Friend a Book
6. BTT (or Booking Through Thursday) Just Add Books
7. omnibus
8. Speculative fiction
9. Short stories Nothing of Importance
10. Ani Difranco (or just Ani)
11. Printz The Hidden Side of a Leaf
12. Man Booker Prize (or just Booker) Out of the Blue
13. Newbery Karen's Book Nook
14. Mother Talk
15. interview A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
16. history
17. glbt (or any other arrangement of those letters, or with a q in there)
18. fantasy Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
19. film That's the Book!
20. giraffe Book-a-rama?
21. biography A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
22. Geraldine Brooks
23. graphic novels Out of the Blue
24. classics Book-a-rama
25. faerie
26. Amelie Out of the Blue
27. doo doo doo
28. 24 Hour Read-a-thon Journey to the End of the TBR Pile
29. etsy Book-a-rama
30. poetry My Own Little Reading Room
31. Bookmooch
33. R.E.M.
34. Bookworms Carnival Things Mean A Lot
35. library Naked Without Books
36. Lost (must refer to the TV series) Age 30 - A Year of Books
37. Six Feet Under
38. ReadingAnimals (I’m featuring her because I feel bad that I can’t figure out how to comment at her blog.)
39. hedgehog
40. pregnant
41. nosebleed (or nose bleed)
42. 42 (No, that’s not a mistake; number 42 is to find the digit 42.) Becky's Book Reviews
43. herding cats
44. Django Reinhardt
45. A.S. Byatt Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
46. Homer
(The next three are suggestions from my son.)
47. ROFL
48. cheezburger (must be spelled with Z!)
49. d20

50.-?: Each participant gets to put one keyword in the comments, so be sure to visit Dewey's WG#8 post to check on them if you’re trying for the prize!

Note: I will try to find and add more links as I go along. ;-)

ISBN-13: 9780553805550
Publisher: Bantam Books
Published: September 2007

No Time for Goodbye starts off with a bang when Cynthia Bigge, a fourteen-year-old girl wakes up and find her family missing. Initially she thought her parents were angry at her for being drunk and staying out late with her boyfriend, but with no note or any trails to indicate their disappearance, she knows something bad must have happened to them because her brother, Todd, is gone too.

Now twenty five years later, she is married to Terrence Archer and they have an eight-year-old girl, Grace. Though years have passed, Cynthia has not given up hope and continues to find any hints or clues that leads to her family's disappearance. She even appeared on a popular TV crime-stopper program 'Deadline', hoping that the viewers will provide her with some answers but unfortunately there is none.

It further infuriates her when they found a psychic who claims she is able to look into her past but she had asked her for money if she wants to learn more about it. On top of this, she is also suspicious of a brown car who seems to be following her and Grace around their premise, and when she mistook a man as a grown up version of her brother, Todd at a foodcourt one day, Terry wonders if she is imagining everything or worse, having a mental breakdown. Cynthia is also very protective of Grace's safety and always insisting that they should never allow her out of their sight.

Cynthia's aunt, Tess, is the one who has raised Cynthia since the disappearance of her family. When she knew she is old and sick and is dying soon, she told Terry that she had been receiving some money in an envelope from an anonymous someone in several occasions. The total sum amounts to forty-two thousand dollars and she had been instructed that these money is to get through Cynthia's education all the way after she was graduated from the university. Tess has never told this to anyone until now. Terry begins to wonder if these money comes from Cynthia's parents, or from someone who is responsible for their disappearance but of course he has no answers.

Hating to wait around and getting to nowhere, Cynthia hires a private detective, Denton Abagnall, to dig into the case but it turns out a dead end for her when she later learns that both her aunt and the detective being murdered. She is very sure that their death are not coincidences and that it has to do with her parents' disappearance. Meanwhile, she is also feeling hurt that Terry seems to have doubts in her so she left the place, bringing Grace with her. When Terry finds out she has left, he panicked. He has no one to turn to when a name strikes in his mind; he is Vince Fleming, ex-boyfriend of Cynthia and he was with her before the night her parents disappeared.

Together with Vince's help, they went in search of Cynthia and Grace but soon they will learn something more about the case that will bring danger to them but to Cynthia and Grace as well.

Reading No Time For Goodbye is like a roller coaster ride to me. The story is fast-paced and there are always full of surprises. Linwood Barclay really knows how to build up the suspense and keep you guessing until the end. It is told from Terry's POV which I think it works well with this story. I was quite blown away after reading the end of the book; the author has done a great job in plotting the premise thoroughly because each intriguing scene is like a piece of puzzle, it is only when they are all pieced together do they form the whole picture, and that is where the whole mystery is solved.

Other than the thrilling part, there are also several scenes that left a smile on my face. One is Grace's passion for meteors and asteroids; she has a cheap telescope and she use it to keep a look out for them as she often told her parents she does this before it is too late and they will hit onto earth.

Also, I find it sweet that Detective Denton Abagnall's wife always make an effort to call her husband informing him what dishes she will prepare for him when he is out solving the cases, so that there is something he can look forward to when he goes home. I felt pity about his death because he is one of the characters I liked, besides Aunt Tess that is.

This is one of the best suspense thrillers I read this year. I will definitely keep a look out for Linwood Barclay's books in future.

Other Blogger(s) reviews:


Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?
I guess I am in between.

What is your favorite color of ink to write with?


How often do you get a manicure or pedicure? Do you do them yourself or go to a salon and pay for them?

I hardly go to any, and I prefer to keep my nails short anyway.

Main Course
Have you ever won anything online? If so, what was it?

Yes! Books giveaways hosted by fellow book bloggers. :-)

In which room in your house do you keep your home computer?

Our study room.


1. Family is high up on my bucket list.
2. My favorite quote is "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do"; it's from Confucius.
3. Reading and curiosity inspired me to start blogging.
4. Strawberries are best dipped in chocolate.
5. My favourite local dish cooked by my mom was in the last dream I remember having.
6. The most enjoyable time to go for a walk is when the mood strikes.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to catching up with my reading (because the book I'm currently reading is a page-turner), tomorrow my plans include giving a treat to my father (Father's Day is approaching!) and Sunday, I want to spend time with my family and have a good time with the in-laws eating out!



A combo of two suggestions by: Heidi and by litlove

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (ot, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

I am not a member of any book club, but I know it would be loads of fun to join one. Although I am not sure if there are any rules or regulations, but in my opinion it is always good to have group discussions and the host/moderator will then decide on what book to read based on the members' suggestions. Or maybe the host/moderator will come up with a reading list and whichever book has the most votes will be read.

Though I have never joined a book club, I did have a few joint-reading sessions with two of my bloggie friends, whereby we will choose a book and will read a few chapters as agreed at one time before we proceed to the next chapters. In this way, we will finish the book and share our views at the same time. Of course I think this will only work best with a small group of people, let's say like two or three readers.

I do not think I will less likely to appreciate the books if I am obliged to read them with other readers; although I am sure all readers will agree that it is always the best to read on your own free will, but the purpose of joining a book club is to share the reading experience besides having fun. I am always happy to discuss the books I read with other readers, after all each of us has different opinions and it is always interesting to hear their thoughts.

So, do you belong to any book club? :-)

I found this at Marianne's blog.

Actually... blue happens to be my favourite colour. :-)
So what is yours?


You give your love and friendship unconditionally. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at!


ISBN-13: 9780425220610
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Published: April 2008
Series: Epic of Palins Series, #1

I decided to read something different after reading several fictions in a row. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading fictions, it is one of my favourite genres (in fact, most of them are!), but after reading them for a while I want something light and entertaining; one that doesn't give me a heavy heart or leaves me pondering. I picked Dagger-Star not only I was attracted by the cover but it was also my latest acquisition.

Red Gloves is an extraordinary heroine. She is not only beautiful, but a ruthless mercenary as well. As her name indicates, she is always wearing a pair of red gloves and she never takes them off; she had an ugly past she does not want to talk about and she has vowed that she will kill anyone who has seen her bare hands. Besides the red gloves, she also has a dagger-star birthmark on her chest.

Together with her sword-sister, Bethral, they travel around looking for anyone who will hire them. Due to a bad storm, they came upon a demolished farm and seek refuge from a goat-herder named Josiah. But Josiah is not truly a goat-herder, for he is the Baron of Athelbryght and he is a few people who have survived the war but the fallen of Palins have left him bitter and sore after the betrayal of his beloved woman.

When Josiah noticed Red Gloves' birthmark, he feels a surge of hope as he recognizes that sign as a Chosen One that will help them to save the remaining of Palins; and one that will take over the throne one day. However, Red Gloves dismissed the thought and is only interested in being a mercenary. She and Bethral took their leave after staying for a night and during the journey, they saved a man who is being sold for slavery. Under this circumstances, they are forced to return to Josiah to get all the help needed for the badly injured man. This is where Priestess Evelyn comes in, for she is known to heal. Soon, Red Gloves finds herself entangled into the Palin's world of prophecies and mages, and this time around she will help them to restore the shattered world after a validation from the Priestess Evelyn and a bargain made with Josiah.

I was caught into the adventurous tale of Dagger-Star and although I felt the magical element lacking, overall it is still a satisfying read as I enjoyed reading the action scenes and the sexual tension between Red Gloves and Josiah. Red Gloves is exactly what is portrayed on the cover - she is alpha and stubborn; one who is always ready to fight when necessary. On the other hand, Josiah appears to be more beta but that does not mean he is weak. I just loved the ending; I wish I can say something more about the plot but I am afraid of revealing some spoilers along the way.

Elizabeth Vaughan is also the author of the Chronicles of the Warlands trilogy. Though I have yet to read this trilogy, I have read good reviews about them. I am hoping to pick them up one day soon.

This week's theme: Photo Week.

1. Decide what to illustrate and start taking photos: Most of you are book bloggers, so you may want to post photos of your favorite reading spot, your TBR pile(s), your local book store, your favorite librarian, your child reading, etc. You may want to post several photos of a certain topic (like all nine of your kids reading!) or a mixed bag of photos that are unrelated except that they’re bookish. Or you may want to post just one photo, it’s up to you. If you have a different type of blog, post photos of whatever you think is suitable.
2. Create a post of your photos.
3. Don’t forget! Also link in your post to another participant’s WG photo post. Weekly Geeks is a community thing, remember! If you’re one of the first finished, of course, you may have to add your link later. See if you can find someone you don’t normally read to link to.
4. Once your post is up, come back and leave a link to that specific post (not just your regular blog url) in the Mr Linky at the bottom of this post.

I know I had posted a few pictures of my bookshelves some time ago... and since there is no new shelves added (I just wish there is more space in our study room!), I am posting the same picture although I have shuffled the books and only to-be-read piles are arranged on the shelves. I really, really love this bookshelf! We chose this colour because it matches with the rest of our furniture. I store all my manga collections at the bottom left of the shelf, and for your information, there is no more space in there for more!!

Below picture is another bookshelf. It is smaller as compared to the one above, but I am not complaining. We bought this shelf when we first moved into the house, and since my TBR pile keeps growing, that explains the above shelf. I have some stacks in our storeroom as well, but I am not going to post that along with the junks! ;-P

This picture was taken several months ago at Borders. My husband took this when I was browsing through the new arrivals nearby. I wasn't sure what my daughter was looking at, but I am glad she has an interest in books! I then took her to the Children's section after I had completed my acquisitions. ;-) It was funny why my husband did not take a picture of her reading the Ladybird's books!

I can't wait to read what other readers have posted for their WG's posts! What fun!

Edited to Add:
Here are a few of my favourite WG's posts:
Last week’s theme was: Catch Up On Reviews Week.

How to:
1. Catch up on your reviews as much as you can this week.
2. Towards the end of the week, write a wrap-up post about how that went for you. You could list all the books you reviewed, if you like, and if some of the posts are up already, you could link to them.
3. Come back and sign the Mister Linky at the bottom of the page with your end-of-the-week wrap-up post.
I am so way behind time, and I have myself to blame because I have been procrastinating! Anyway, last week's theme is pretty straightforward, and I am relieved that I do not have to rack my brain and worry about what to write.

I always post my review after I have finished reading a book, so here they are (not much reading as compared to other readers but they will have to do):

  1. Fire and Ice by Anne Stuart (This is the 5th installment of the Ice series. Besides having a kick reading all the the action-packed scenes, I also enjoyed reading the tensions between the sexy bad boy heroes and their courageous heroines.)
  2. The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield (One of the best reads I read so far this year! Full of intrigue and suspense, and I love the author's writing style! I am definitely looking forward to reading more of her books in future!)
  3. Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese (I got a reviewer copy from the author. This is a collection of 15 short stories; each tale tells a story about the difficult situation a character faced and a glimpse of his/her inner thoughts. Though some are dark, I find them thought-provoking in a way.)


Week of June 8: More nosey questions

1. What is your favorite day of the week? Friday, of course!
2. How do you usually wear your hair? Just the way it is
3. What is your favorite item of clothing? T-shirts and jeans
4. Where would your dream vacation be? U.S. and Europe
5. Who is your favorite author? book? This is a tough question for me as I have too many favourite authors and books
6. How often do you log on? Most of the times I'll logon for a few hours on weekdays; and an hour or two during weekends if I've the chance
7. What is one of your favorite internet sites to visit? I have several favourite sites, and book blogs are just one of them
8. Coke or Pepsi? I rarely drink them
9. Do you prefer healthy snacks or junk food? Healthy snacks is always good, but I'll go for junk food once in a while
10. Are you a morning person or a night owl? I suppose I'm more of a morning person


When you drink soda/pop/coke, do you prefer to drink it from the bottle, a can, or after pouring it into a cup?

I prefer to drink it from the can, but I make sure to clean the rim before I drink.

What television show are you willing to stay up late to watch?

Anything as long as they don't bored me to tears.

Name one person, place, or thing you think of as brilliant.

The invention of telecommunication.

Main Course
Would you be willing to work 4 10-hour days instead of 5 8-hour days in order to save gas?

Why not? Besides the benefit of saving gas, I get to sleep in late for another day!

If you were a superhero, what would you call yourself?

I think I'd just stick to my own name.



Questions courtesy of One Knutty Knitter; thank you, Knutty!

I'd love to feature your questions, if you'd like to leave some for future use please feel free!

1. Idle hands are a big no-no when it comes to creativity.
2. I love humming to myself in the shower.
3. My favorite time of the day is when I fetch my daughter from the in-laws' house after work. I always get this warm feeling when she says, "Mummy, I miss you!".
4. The last tea I drank was iced lemon tea.
5. I like to be outdoors with my family in the Summer.
6. My mother always said never look down on oneself no matter what other people think of you.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to catching up on my reading and watching late night shows on TV, tomorrow my plans include doing household chores and cooking and Sunday, I want to relax and spend some time reading with my daughter!



Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

Another great topic this week!

My book-tastes have definitely changed over the years. I used to read a lot of thrillers, horrors and romances in the past. But ever since I have started blogging and after reading so many wonderful book reviews from fellow book bloggers, I decided to be "adventurous" and try out all the different genres as recommended. Now I fell in love with fictions, fantasy, YA, and even Children's picture books! In other words, I am not as choosy as before and I will read anything that sparks my interest. (The down side is, I will be spending more money on books!)


ISBN-13: 9781587367335
Publisher: Wheatmark
Published: November 2007

I first came across this book after reading Wendy's wonderful review. I remember I commented on her post that I will have to add this book to my wishlist, and thereafter when the author contacted me and asked if I would like to receive a reviewer copy, I grabbed the offer. Perhaps he has read my comment. Nonetheless, I would like to thank him for sending the book to me.

Down to a Sunless Sea consists of fifteen short stories; each story allowing the readers to glimpse into the characters' world and their troubled inner thoughts under various dark and difficult situations. Each story is a different reading experience for me, for some are filled with a wry sense of humor, there are others which are considered thought provoking; and then there are some that leaves me cold. Nonetheless, Mr. Freese has portrayed each character very well and have captured their thoughts through his descriptions perfectly.

In Down to a Sunless Sea, it is a story about a boy called Adam. He has phobias and is feeling very insecured throughout his childhood life, and how it affects and changes his life after the death of his mother.

I'll Make It, I Think is somewhat a sad story about a young man dealing with his physical deformities. He gives names to some of his body parts, and I think in a way of his doing so, he is separating them from himself.

The Chatham Bear portrays the "wilderness" in today's society in a dark humor way. In Herbie, I sympathized Herbie, the boy for having an aggressive father for he is always taking charge of his life. Herbie craves for love and hoping to be accepted by his father through his skills in polishing shoes.

Alabaster is about a boy's meeting with an old woman, a survivor of the Holocaust. She confided in him how she wished she was at his age, for she had lost her youth and confidence but in her heart she is always a little girl even though her days are numbered. This is one story that touches me greatly.

In Juan Peron's Hands, the narrator gets his revenge by severing the dead Juan Peron's hands because he sees his hands the cause of the deeds he had done to other people. Little Errands is about a man suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and how he is always checking things to make sure he has done them correctly and in order. Arnold Schwartzenegger's Father Was a Nazi portrays a humorous side of how Arnie is raised by his father.

Echo and Young Man focus more on the psychological and philosophy issues respectively, and Nicholas is a boy’s perspective on today’s educational system. Billy’s Mirrored Wall touches on the differences we see between a child and an adult, and Unanswerable is about a father teaches his son to swim by throwing him into the water and leaving him there, in a way forcing him to learn but how this little ‘harmless’ intention will cause confusion to the boy as he grows up.

These short stories collections sums up the various emotions and the difficult situations the narrators faced and though some are not happy tales, Mathias B. Freese has penned each story beautifully and I find his writing style refreshing. He shares with his readers the different perspectives from a child/human's mind, which some of them have lead me pondering.

Mr. Freese has spent twenty-five years as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist caring for the deviant and damaged; he has also written a novel titled I Tetralogy.

Other Bloggers' reviews:

ISBN-13: 9780743298032
Publisher: Washington Square Press (Reprint edition)
Published: October 2007

There was a lot of hype when this book was first released, and here I wish I had read it earlier because this book really live up to its expectations.

This story revolves around two women, Margaret Lea and Vida Winter. Margaret is a young biographer. She has a troubled past, one that involves her dead twin sister and it is only when she stumbles upon her birth and death certificate does she knows about her existence. Though she does not understand the reason her parents is keeping this information from her, she is very keen to learn more about her.

Then one day, she receives a strange letter from renowned author, Vida Winter who requested her to write her biography. Margaret has not read her books, but she is intrigued by this special request and wonder why she is being picked by this author, after all she is only a young biographer. Like other readers, she is particularly keen to find out more about one of her collections originally titled The Thirteenth Tale but only contains twelve enchanting stories. With so many unanswered questions surrounding the author, she decided to take up the offer.

Once Margaret has met Vida, she is immediately mesmerized by her mystique aura. Vida tells Margaret she is willing to tell her story now that she is old and almost dying, but upon a condition that she will tell her story at her own time without Margaret's interruptions or queries. And so, this begins Vida's story where it features a strange pair of twins, Adeline and Emmeline and the Angelfield family, the governess and how finally, a devastating fire that destroys everything. Eager to find out the truth about Vida's identity, Margaret goes out to do her research while being drawn to Vida's tale at the same time. Soon, she will learn something more about Vida's mysterious past, and how the ending enables them to confront their ghosts and to reveal their truth.

The Thirteenth Tale is one captivating story that pulls me in and never let go until the very last page. Besides the intrigue part, there is also a gothic atmosphere surrounding the story. Diane Setterfield has done a great job in building the suspense in this story-within-a-story, and her characters are both engaging and interesting to read. Margaret Lea is an intelligent young woman, and one of the things I like about her is her eagerness to explore. Another thing is, she is a reader and her passion for reading is well described in this paragraph:

I never read without making sure I am in a secure position. I have been like this ever since the age of seven when, sitting on a high wall and reading The Water Babies, I was so seduced by the descriptions of underwater life that I unconsciously relaxed my muscles. Instead of being held buoyant by the water that so vividly surrounded me in my mind, I plummented to the ground and knocked myself out. I can still feel the scar under my fringe now. Reading can be dangerous.

I actually grinned to myself after reading the last sentence. Although I have never encountered any 'life threatening' experiences while reading a book, but there were a few occasions that I missed my stops while reading in the bus/train, or I remained oblivious when someone called my name. Oh yes, reading can be dangerous, depending on how you look at it.

There is also a mention of books like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, The Woman in White in this story that have caught my interest and have added to my wishlist.

I really enjoyed reading The Thirteenth Tale and this will be one of my favourite reads for this year. And I would like to thank Jaimie for agreeing to read this book with me when I asked her the first time. I can't wait to read her thoughts.

Other Bloggers' reviews:
To all my dear friends:

Thank you, everyone, for your congratulations and warm wishes! I am so touched after reading everyone's post; they means a lot to me!

{{Hugs to All!}}

(Picture downloaded from Anne Geddes' site)

I love tulips. Tulips are my favourite flowers amongst all. But I am not going to talk about flowers today, because I have something exciting to share with everyone. I am expecting a baby girl and I am currently in my second trimester! In fact, I have wanted to announce this news earlier but I decided to wait a little longer, knowing that the first trimester can be bumpy and unpredictable. And to my dear bloggie friends, please forgive me for holding this news until now. ;-)

The baby will be due in mid October; and everyone at home are really looking forward to that day to arrive, especially my four-year-old daughter because she has been telling me she wanted to have another sibling. When I told her that she will have a younger sister soon, she asked me this question innocently, “Will I have a brother next time?” My husband and I had exchanged looks and laughed. Sometimes, children asked the funniest questions.

Anyway, that does not mean I will stop my reading thereafter despite I will have my hands full with our two young daughters at home, just that I may not read as many books as compared to now, but I will definitely try my best. After all, Melody’s Reading Corner will not be complete without the books and their reviews!

ISBN-13: 9780778325369
Publisher: Mira
Published: May 2008

What does a tattooed Japanese Yakuza punk has in common with a leggy and brainy California beauty? At first glance, they make an odd couple but sparks fly between them in this exciting romance suspense, Fire and Ice by Anne Stuart. This is a joint-reading with Alice and Julia, and I had a great time reading with them as usual.

20-year-old Jilly Lovitz takes off for Japan not only she wants to pay a surprise visit to her sister, Summer and her Japanese brother-in-law, Takashi O'Brien but also secretly hoping she will meet Reno, Taka's cousin. A notorious Yakuza punk with a head of flaming-red hair and red tattooed tears on his cheekbones, Reno is not your typical hero but Jilly had a crush on him ever since she had met him two years ago.

But it is bad timing for she is being chased by a group of ruthless Russian hitmen that intend to use her as a bait to lure Taka out and she has no one to turn to except Reno. She never expects them to meet again under this bizarre situation, and not only she has to get used of him being her protector but they have to stay close together wherever they go.

Reno is attracted to her, but he cannot allow himself to get any closer to her as Taka and her sister have ever warned him not to hurt her, given his notorious reputation. He did not think she is his type anyway, and he is glad of this arrangement but things are not what they had hoped or expected. There are a few occasions that each of them are separated while escaping from the assassins and though they don't want to admit it, both of them do actually care for each other. With no way to go, Reno decided to keep Jilly at his grandfather's place, knowing that no one will dare to mess around with the elderly Ojiisan with his team of bodyguards. But never did they know that a traitor is hiding in disguise being one of the bodyguards and Reno later found out that Ojiisan's heavily guarded place is as dangerous as the outside world.

Soon they find themselves on the run again, and this time their attraction for each other is coming on too strong and unfortunately when Jilly is being captured by the baddies, Reno will have to find a solution and risk himself before he gets both of them killed.

Fire and Ice is an exciting, fast-paced romance suspense that got me hooked from the very first page and never let go till the end. Besides the plot, I also find it interesting to read the two protagonists that appears to be so different from each other and yet you could see sparks fly whenever they are in each other's company. Though Reno gives me the impression of being a tough and bad boy, he is not what I expected him to be initially. Funnily, it is Jilly who annoys me at times because she can be a tad stubborn and in my opinion she is a lot more trouble than Reno appears to be.

This book can be read as a stand alone but I would recommend to read the Ice series in order: