Hosted by Dolce Bellezza, this is another one of those reading challenges that I could not resist!

About Japanese Literature Challenge:

(1) Read one work of Japanese origin (literature, poetry, biographies, short stories, manga etc). If you can read more, all the better.

(2) Begins July 30, 2009 and ends January 30, 2010.

(3) Dolce Bellezza has some prizes! (Check out the link above to read more about it).

I cannot decide what to read right now, but it would most likely be a novel by Haruki Murakami since I have a few of his books in my pile.

And oh, I love this button! Isn't it cute?

And the button shown on the right (created by Tanabata) is lovely too!

Thanks to Dot from Scribbles for passing on the lovely Heartfelt award to me. I love reading Dot's blog so do visit her blog if you haven't done so.

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you're relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know that feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt award is all about: feeling warm inside!

I want to pass this award to all my blogger friends! You guys rock!
Release Date: 2007
Starring: Christian Byers, Daniel Radcliffe, Lee Cormie, James Fraser, Teresa Palmer
Directed by: Rod Hardy

Thanks to my busy life juggling between work and children, I rarely have time for movies. I love going to the cinemas; the feeling of watching a movie at home is nothing compared to the cinemas with an excellent sound system, and not to mention the overall atmosphere and the anticipation when stepping into the cinemas. It is a wonderful feeling.

My husband and I were fortunate to be able to watch the latest Harry Potter movie last week, thanks to my in-laws who agreed to look after our children for us. We enjoyed the movie, and it amazed me how Daniel Radcliffe, the wizard boy who played Harry Potter, and his fellow cast members, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have all grown. I knew Daniel had starred in another movie but I didn't had the chance of catching it on screen then. Last Monday, I happened to walk into a CD store and I found this DVD on the shelves. I grabbed it; and to make things sweeter they have a sale going on so it was like killing two birds with one stone.

Anyway, I enjoyed this movie. December Boys is based on a classic novel by Michael Noonan and it is about four orphan boys growing up in a Catholic convent in outback Australia during the 60s.

Misty (played by Lee Cormie), Spark (Christian Byers), Spit (James Fraser) and Maps (Daniel Radcliffe) called themselves the 'December boys' because they were all born in the month of December. Though they are happy staying in the convent, deep in their heart they are hoping that one day they would get adopted. When they knew they would be going on a holiday by the sea for their birthday, they are thrilled but never do they know this vacation will change their life thereafter.

During their vacation, they stayed with the McAnsh's couple. Both of them are wonderful people, but it is a pity that Mrs McAnsh could not have children due to an accident. The boys enjoy their stay with them, though Maps (being the oldest of the group) keeps a distance with them and mingle around more with a teenaged girl named Lucy. Lucy is staying with her uncle and like the boys, she is there on a vacation but they did not know about this. Maps began to spend more and more time together with Lucy, and for the first time Maps knew what love and desire is with Lucy.

However, their friendship would lead to a test after Misty overheard a conversation whereby the McAnsh couple would adopt one of them and tension and competition arise once the other three boys came to know about the news later, except Maps who seems to be indifferent of the whole idea of adoption. He is more affected when he later realized that Lucy is gone and would not return until the next summer. He also got to know the past history of the McAnsh's couple by chance, and he is not at all surprised that Misty is being chosen towards the end.

As much as Misty has craved for this, actually he is not prepared of leaving his friends. As for whether or not did he stay with the McNash's couple in the end, I will not tell so as I will not spoil it for anyone who has the intention of watching this. All I have to say is December Boys is a marvellous coming of age story; this is a story about friendship and family, and I loved the nostalgic and bittersweet feelings of this story. And it is great seeing Daniel Radcliffe playing a different role besides Harry Potter; he is such a talented actor.

Did you watch this movie? What do you think of it?

Thanks to Random. org, Iliana at Bookgirl's Nightstand and Julia at Julia's Books Corner has each won a copy of The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer, with compliments from Sourcebooks.

Congratulations, Iliana and Julia!

Please send me an email with your snail mail address and I will forward it to Sourcebooks.

Thanks, everyone, for participating!

ISBN-10: 0451456718
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: 1998
Black Jewels, #1
412 pgs

She has come. (Pg 39)

Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch by the name of Tersa wove a tangled web to see the dreams and visions. What she saw both shocked and terrified her, for she forseen a new witch would have the power of controlling the Realms, where the land of the living coexists with the land of the demon dead. Now the Realms are ruled by the Blood whereby each individual is ranked accordingly to the colours of their Jewels (for example, a Black Jewel is the most powerful and highest rank among the Jewels, and Opal is the dividing line between other lighter and darker Jewels. However, when one makes the Offering to the Darkness, that person could descend a maximum of three ranks from his/her Birthright Jewel).

Jaenelle, the witch-child with sapphire-eyes is what Tersa had foreseen in her vision. At age twelve, she already possessed some unique powers but still there is a sense of naivety in her. On the other side of the Realm, three men (Saetan, the High Lord of Hell and his two estranged sons, Lucivar and Daemon; both are Warlord Prince and wore Ebon-gray Jewels, the second powerful Jewels in the hierarchy) knew of the powerful witch that will descend to the universe soon but have no idea she is still a child. Afraid that Jaenelle might fall into the wrong hands, Saetan acts as her mentor and taught her some crafts, but Jaenelle has the ability to do some amazing stuff through her power though Saetan has no idea why a simple craft stumped her.

As for Lucivar and Daemon, they are one of the most interesting characters I came across in this story, besides Jaenelle that is. Though they are warlord princes, they are by no means powerful as they deem more of a sexual slaves to the Black Widow queens and priestesses as these witches rule some of the territories in the world of the living. Daemon has endured the suffering and humiliation for centuries, but what kept him sane is his dream of serving the Witch and to be her soulmate one day. Though there is nothing wrong with his intention, I find his attraction to Jaenelle a little disturbing considering she is a child, but yet I also find there is tenderness between them and that is the beauty of it. I see Anne Bishop has taken great care on writing their relationship so beautifully. You can tell there is great chemistry between them through their conversations; and some of the things Jaenelle said made me smile. She is such a bright and intelligent girl, and despite being a child she could be so wise and courageous on most occasions. This is one reason why I was fascinated by her. I cannot imagine what she would turn out to be if she has fully grown up but I know she would be someone very, very powerful aside from the abilities she possessed.

I wish I could go on and on about this installment but oh there is so many things to say that I do not know where to start. I am most fascinated by the characters (though it takes a while to memorise all of them and some of the names are so interesting!), and I like the naivety in Jaenelle because this is what makes her so real and intriguing. As for the plot, let's just say the story keeps getting better the more you read it but I have to warn you that there are some issues on abuse, violence and sexuality but they are all significant attributes to the story so it does not bother me much.

And oh, how could I miss the exchanges between Saetan and Jaenelle? Some of them cracked me up due to Jaenelle's naivete about the things around her and Saetan's attempts to answer her simple yet bold questions. And mentioning of Saetan reminds me of his estranged relationship between Lucivar and Daemon. The father and sons definitely have some issues going on but I liked how their relationships has changed gradually due to Jaenelle. Can you tell there is a lot of things going on in this book?

Daughter of the Blood is one of the best fantasy I have read. I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the sequels in the near future.

Other reviews:
Errant Dreams Reviews
Hypatia's Hoard of Reviews
Novel Reflections
Saving My Sanity
(Let me know if I missed yours.)

Paderborn, Germany
This is a weekly event hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page every Wednesday.

Marcia says:

I love beautiful, and interesting, cover art so every Wednesday I post my 'Cover Attraction' for the week along with a synopsis of the book. Everyone is welcome to stop by and, if they'd like, post a link to their favorite weekly book cover.

* * * * *

I found these two covers of The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles. Don't you think they are lovely?


An epic tale of love and courage, loyalty and adventure, set in a brutal and beautiful country at a pivotal moment in its history

Emília and Luzia dos Santos, orphaned when they are children, grow up under the protection of their aunt in the hillside village of Taquaritinga, Brazil. Raised as seamstresses, the sisters learn how to cut, how to mend and how to conceal. Emília treasures pretty, girlish things and longs to escape from the confines of the little town. Captivated by the romances she reads in magazines, she dreams of finding love in the bustle and glamour of the city. Luzia, scarred by a childhood accident that has left her with a deformed arm, knows that for her, real life can not be romantically embroidered, and so she finds solace in her sewing and in the secret prayers to the saints she believes once saved her life.

But when Luzia is abducted by a gang of rebel bandits, the sisters’ lives diverge in ways they never imagined. Whilst Luzia learns to survive in the unforgiving Brazilian outland, discovering love in the most unexpected of places, Emília meets the son of a wealthy doctor who seems to offer her everything she has always desired. But for the innocent dreamer, the excitement of her escape to the city is soon overshadowed by disillusion and loneliness. As she learns how to navigate the treacherous waters of Brazilian high society, the bandits' campaign against the land-owning ‘Colonels’ intensifies, and when a price is placed upon Luzia’s head Emília realises she must risk everything in order to save her sister.

* * * * *

To find out more or participate, go to The Printed Page every Wednesday.


Teaser Tuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

Here's my teaser for today:

Even a strong child, a powerful child, would be dependent on the adults around her. If her strength could unnerve him, how would her people, her family, react if they ever discovered what was contained inside that small husk?

(Pg 52, Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop)


Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia from The Printed Page.

These are what I received in my mailbox last week (books I ordered from Acmamall):

1) Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer

2) The Heights by Brian James

3) The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy (I have to thank Nymeth for mentioning this book! :-) )

4) Bloody Awful by Georgia Evans (I enjoyed reading the first installment, Bloody Good, so I'm hoping this one would be as good.)

5) The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson (I'm excited that Karen is writing another new series!)

So what books came into your house last week?


Booking Through ThursdayCheck Spelling

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers)

Reading something frivolous? Or something serious? Frivolous *
Paperbacks? Or hardcovers? Paperbacks
Fiction? Or Nonfiction? Fiction
Poetry? Or Prose? Prose
Biographies? Or Autobiographies? Autobiographies
History? Or Historical Fiction? Historical Fiction
Series? Or Stand-alones? Stand-alones *
Classics? Or best-sellers? Best-sellers *
Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose? Straight-forward, basic prose
Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness? Plots
Long books? Or Short? Long
Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated? Non-illustrated *
Borrowed? Or Owned? Owned
New? Or Used? New *

Edited to Add: There are a few questions I wanted to say "Both" (in asterisk) but I choose one (just for fun!) after much consideration!

A BIG Thank You to Keri from Books with Swords for passing on the Kreativ Award to me. The rules are that I must list seven favorite things and nominate seven bloggers for the award.

Here goes:

1. Books (of course!)
2. A necklace/bracelet my best friend gave me
3. Chocolates
4. Fruits
5. Tulips
7. Hard Rock T-shirts (I'm collecting them!)

Finally, I would like to pass this award on to some of the book blogs I have discovered recently: Bermudaonion's Weblog, Giving...Reading - A Chance and Half Deserted Streets.

I know I have mentioned this before that I am not going to participate in more reading challenges, but I found this challenge from Jo and Devourer of Books and I know I have to join based on the following reasons (as if I need them, haha):

i) I have only read till Book 3;
ii) I watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince with my husband last evening and the movie has really motivated me into reading these series again!

What: Read or listen to all seven books in the Harry Potter series.

When: The challenge will run from August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2010.

Where & How: Post reviews on your blog, chat about it on message boards, post vlogs or podcasts, comment on and converse about it in the monthly post at Galleysmith.

And that is not all! Michelle, the hostess of this challenge is giving away two Harry Potter box sets (one paperback and one hardcover) to two lucky winners. All you have to do is to sign up for this challenge by August 15th.

Paderborn, Germany
This is a weekly event hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page every Wednesday.

Marcia says:

I love beautiful, and interesting, cover art so every Wednesday I post my 'Cover Attraction' for the week along with a synopsis of the book. Everyone is welcome to stop by and, if they'd like, post a link to their favorite weekly book cover.

* * * * *

My find this week is The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb. Isn't the cover lovely? I like it so much that I am putting this onto my wishlist!

ISBN-13: 9780312379254
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: July 2009


When Nora Banks goes to answer the doorbell very early one November 1st, she thinks it must be a group of teen pranksters still out trick-or-treating. But it’s no prank—it’s the Feds, who have come to arrest her husband Evan for a white collar crime. Nora’s enviable, privileged life in the eighteenth-century house she’d quit her job to renovate to museum-quality perfection, is upended in an instant.

The Bedford wives close ranks against Nora and her children. Nora’s only support comes from her children’s nanny Beatriz. The two women bond to raise the boys as smoothly as possible while Nora goes back to work. Baking has always been her biggest passion, so she launches a business of her own, the Summer Kitchen. Tempted by the offer of an affair with one of the local husbands and thwarted by an alpha wife who actively tries to shut down her business, Nora has to reach into reserves she didn’t know she had to support her family and change her way of thinking about life, family, money, and romance.

* * * * *

To find out more or participate, go to The Printed Page every Wednesday.

ISBN-13: 9780385340144
Publisher: Bantam Books
Published: May 2009
331 pgs

No One You Know has been on my radar ever since I read several good reviews from fellow bookbloggers. The book blurb said "this is a riveting family drama about loss, love, and the way hope redefines our lives" so I had expected the story to be captivating and intriguing and I am glad it does not disappoint.

The story begins when Ellie Enderlin is on a business trip in Nicaragua when she stumble upon a man who was the lover and murderer of her sister, Lila. Ellie could not help thinking Peter McConnell being the one who killed her sister, after all he was married and he was believed to be the last person Lila had seen before her death. On top of that, Ellie could not help but wonder about the book her English professor has written about her sister and the case. The book made it to the bestselling list, but it made her feeling more loss and worst, betrayed. She thought she could share her grievances to Andrew Thorpe but apparently she was wrong.

Her parents became distant after Lila's death; the three of them withdrawn from one another and bury themselves into their own work. Ellie has always been considered as an average girl in her parents' eyes; she is not like Lila who is the Maths genius so she could understand their pain when they had lost Lila twenty years ago.

Now a coffee buyer, Ellie never expected a chance meeting with Peter McConnell would fuel her desire to look into the unsolved murder of her sister and how one thing leads to another as she delve deep into the past and present, and how it would change her aspect of life after knowing the real truth.

Once I started reading No One You Know, I could not put it down because the writing style is beautiful and lyrical, but most of all it is intriguing and haunting. Although the premise reads like a mystery novel, the story is basically about the relationship between the sisters and how the people around them affect their life. It is also a story about loss, betrayal and shall I say prejudice too? After all, Peter McConnell is labelled as the murderer but the police could find no evidence of him to-date. In fact, I think he plays a major role behind Ellie's quest of finding the truth, and I can't help but to wonder where the story would take if he does not come along and is only known as the murderer.

Anyway, I think the story is nicely wrapped up but what most matters is, I enjoyed reading it. And did I tell you I liked the prose? I guess I did. And, I liked how the author use the concept of Mathematics to blend in with the plot and made everything seems more intriguing and in a manner that one could not help but to marvel at the fantastic realm of Mathematics. For example:

"... one is a beautiful number. One is its own factorial, its own square, its own cube. It is neither a prime number nor a composite number. It is the first two numbers of the Fibonacci Sequence. It is the empty product: any number raised to the zero power is one. It might be argued that one is the most independent number known to man. It can do things that no other number is capable of."

"An equation isn't necessarily about numbers. It's about patterns. The universe is governed by mathematical patterns. Gravity, string theory, chaos theory, quantum mechanics - all of it can be expressed in terms of equations."

I look forward to reading The Year of Fog which I heard is just as good as No One You Know.

Other reviews:
A Striped Armchair
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Peeking Between the Pages
Presenting Lenore
The Bluestocking Society
(Let me know if I missed yours.)


Teaser Tuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

Here's my teaser for today:

"A story has no beginning or end," my sophomore English professor used to say. "Arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead."

(Pg 7, No One You Know by Michelle Richmond)


Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book covers (again)…

Do you feel disappointed when the cover’s don’t match the story? Have you ever been completely misled by a book cover?

If you had read my answer to last week's musing, you would have known that I also mentioned about how some covers do not match the stories. So when Rebecca, the hostess of Musing Mondays asked if she could use this subject for the next MM's question, I said yes because I wonder if book covers will influence a buyer to purchase the books at one point, and what happens if that person found out that the cover do not match the story?

For me, I won't buy a book not without reading the book blurb, with the exception of the authors I am familiar with and that I know I will like their books. However, they are also situations that I will buy a book based on the covers itself, for instance, mangas. So have I ever been misled by a book cover? Yes, I do, but not to an extent that it made me think negatively of the book (after all, contents is what most matters). Personally, I think books which featured models tend to have more mixed reactions as compared to other subjects because readers might portray him/her being the characters of the story and it might lead to a misunderstanding or a confusion if their image do not fit the characters. Thus, this is the reason why I do not care about movie tie-in covers as compared to the original covers.

What about you?

ISBN-13: 9780765360410
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Published: April 2009
Marked Series, #1

Evangeline Hollis is an interior designer, but a casual fling with a hunky stranger made her a Mark of Cain - a celestial bounty hunter charged with sending rogue demons and other Infernals back to hell. This she has herself to blame because the mysterious man reminds so much of her long ago crush, Alec Cain. Eve encountered Alec ten years ago and they were very much attracted to each other, but Alec had no intention of having her until now.

However, Eve is no longer the fresh young girl he met decades ago and now that she has become a Mark of Cain, she has to destroy the evil infernals and fight for survival not that she could help it. To complicate matters, she feels herself trapped between siblings Alec and Reed; the latter being the one who had marked her initially.

What I had expected to be an exciting urban fantasy with a kick-butt heroine became a great disappointment to me because I find there is not much actions going on except the beginning of the first few chapters, and also that it emphasize too much on the relationship between Eve and the two brothers who does not see eye to eye with each other. At some point, I wonder if there are too much attention on the trio and wonder if it would read as a romance instead, but then I think the elaboration helps in a way in describing the complicated relationship between them and so forth. There are also some sexual references so I do not recommend this book to young readers.

All in all, I think Eve of Darkness has an interesting concept featuring a team of bounty hunters, Archangels and demons but I did not find myself being hooked to the plot or care for the characters. Eve is an interesting character, but at times I find her contradicting. I also have questions regarding her being a marked one but I suppose there might be some answers explained during the sequels?

Another thing that puzzles me is the genre of this book; I do not know if this is classified as an urban fantasy or a paranormal romance since I found it under the fantasy section but it read like the latter.

Nevertheless, I have the other two installments, Eve of Destruction and Eve of Chaos in my pile but I have no idea when to read them next but please do not let my opinions deter you from reading this book though.

Other reviews:
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)

Booking Through ThursdayCheck Spelling

Follow-up to last week’s question:

Do you keep all your unread books together, like books in a waiting room? Or are they scattered throughout your shelves, mingling like party-goers waiting for the host to come along?

Let's put it this way, I categorize all my books into two sections - read and unread. I used to keep all my read books into boxes, but I have ran out of space for them so I am currently stacking them beside my unread books at one corner in our storage room since all the bookshelves where I keep my unread books are full!

I have no idea how many unread books I have (I'm too scared to count them), but I know I just cannot resist adding new books to the ever-growing pile!

What about you? How do you keep your unread books, and how many unread books do you have?

Guess what? Book Blogger Appreciation Week is here once again, and this time round it is going to be bigger and better than last year!

About BBAW 2009:

September 14-18, 2009

Anyone who blogs about books is invited to participate. In fact, everyone who blogs about books and reading to be a part of this week!

A week where book bloggers come together, celebrate the contribution and hard work in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recogonizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards. There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.

Please note that this year there are three separate blogs and feeds—one for the main event, one for giveaways, and one for awards.

Because books matter. In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word. Amy, the founder of Book Blogger Appreciation Week love this community of bloggers and want to shower her appreciation on to all book bloggers!

If you are interested in participating and would like to find out more about this exciting event, please visit the site here.

And don't forget, please help to spread the word!
I am happy to say I have completed another reading challenge - YA Book Challenge which is hosted by J. Kaye's Books Blog!

Here is a list of 12 books I read for the challenge:

I enjoyed reading all these books, but those that marked with an asterisk are my favourites!
ISBN-13: 9780330453820
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Published: June 2009
Airhead Trilogy, #1
320 pgs

What does a superbrain and a supermodel has in common? Absolutely nothing! In Airhead, Meg Cabot will show you what it takes to have a superbrain and having a super body at the same time!

Emerson Watts is your ordinary high school student living in New York City's SoHo neighborhood. She has average looks, and she loves reading and playing online video games. She thinks most of her schoolmates are nothing but the 'Walking Dead', since they strive on looking good on the outside but neglect their inner beauty. Anyway, Em could not care less but she does care a lot about Christopher, who happens to be her only best friend in school and she likes him a lot. The only thing is, Christopher treats her like a boy and she does not know what to do to make him notice her differently.

However, all that is about to change when she attends the opening of a new Stark Megastore with her younger sister when a huge plasma screen accidentally fell onto her. She wakes up in the hospital one month later to find herself in someone's body, and she is none other than the sensational teen supermodel Nikki Howard. Unfortunately for Nikki, she happens to be at the spot when the accident happened so the doctors decided to have a brain transplant of Em into Nikki's body, since Nikki is not in a good condition either and there is no way Em could be revive!

Because Em's operation and hospital bills are paid by the Starks, and that Nikki owned them a contract, Em decided to keep her new identity a hush-hush (not that she could help it anyway) and to pretend she is Nikki Howard so that the Starks will not push her parents into paying them the million dollars bill. However, being Nikki proves to be a huge challenge for her because she does not know anything about makeup and fashion, and on top of that she has to take care of her so called love life as well as getting herself out of sight from the paparazzi. Suddenly, what looked like a rich and glamourous life became a nightmare for her. In addition to all these problems, she still could not forget about Christopher...

Airhead is a fun and delightful read, and I find myself flipping through the pages quickly because of the engaging characters and the witty dialogues. Though I find the plot to be a bit far-fetched, nonetheless I find it entertaining and it made me wonder what Em would do under those situations. It is definitely fun reading about Em adjusting into her new life between her boyfriends, her best friend and celebutante Lulu Collins as well as getting a glimpse into her high profile modelling life. And there of course, lies the mystery of the Stark Enterprises and why they are keeping tabs of Nikki which further adds intrigue to this story.

Em is a great character, and I think she makes a fine example for all young ladies that looks does not equal to everything and that one does not have to feel afraid of showing one's intelligence and for being true to yourself. I definitely look forward to reading the sequel, Airhead: Being Nikki, soon.
Paderborn, Germany
This is a weekly event hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page every Wednesday.

Marcia says:

I love beautiful, and interesting, cover art so every Wednesday I post my 'Cover Attraction' for the week along with a synopsis of the book. Everyone is welcome to stop by and, if they'd like, post a link to their favorite weekly book cover.

* * * * *

My find this week is The Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi.

ISBN-13: 9780385528245
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: July 2009


In a matter of seconds, absolutely everything can change …

In this masterfully crafted page-turner, peopled with intense characters and centered on one devastating moment that involves them all, plot-twist queen Penny Vincenzi vividly captures how the actions of one person can dramatically affect many in the blink of an eye.

On an ordinary Friday afternoon, on a major motorway outside of London, a trailer truck suddenly and violently swerves across fives lanes of traffic—careening cars into one another like dominoes and leaving a trail of chaos and confusion. Within the space of a minute, an astounding miles-long pileup has amassed, and, as the survivors await help, their stories unfold.

Vincenzi expertly maneuvers the plot between the panic-stricken husband trapped in his car with his young mistress, his adultery sure to be discovered; the bridegroom trying frantically to get to the church on time (he won’t); the widow on her way to reunite with the love of her life after sixty years, now forced to ponder whether she’ll ever see him again; the junior doctor waiting to receive the crash victims in the ER … And at the epicenter of this field of destruction lies the truck driver, suffering from memory loss, while the mysterious hitchhiker, the only person who knows what really happened, has fled the scene.

Spellbound by these intimate and evocative tales, we watch as fate takes its powerful course and the far-reaching effects of the crash ripple through the lives of hundreds of people. Written with incredible verve, candor, and wit, Penny Vincenzi reveals human behavior in all its fascinating detail as she challenges hercharacters to face crisis boldly—and she surprises us with the results at every turn.

* * * * *

To find out more or participate, go to The Printed Page every Wednesday.


Teaser Tuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

Here's my teaser for today:

I was the world's first brain transplant...

... and the body they'd chosen to transplant my brain into was one of the planet's most famous supermodels.

(Pg 114, Airhead by Meg Cabot)

ISBN-13: 9781596912885
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Published: June 2009
352 pgs

I was first introduced to Shannon Hale's work after reading two of her YA novels: The Goose Girl and Enna Burning. Oh, how I loved these books! So after reading them, I had to rush out to buy the rest of her books.

The Actor and the Housewife is one of her adult books that I am most looking forward to so I was beyond thrilled when Bloomsbury sent me a copy for review!

Before I start writing my thoughts about this book, I want to ask you a question: Do you believe in a platonic relationship between a man and a woman? And what happens if he is a celebrity heart-throb and you are a ... well, an ordinary housewife?

When mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child, she meets British celebrity heart-throb Felix Callahan when she is going to seal a deal for a script she has written. From there, they exchanged a few witty remarks and after Felix gave Becky a lift and a drink later, they then found out they clicked and a friendship is born!

However, their relationship is an awkward one because not only their life is so different from each other but also of their marital status. Felix is happily married to French model Celeste Bodine and though she does not seem to have any problem with the issue, Becky on the other hand is worried that she might hurt her husband Mike in a way and she assures him that there is nothing going on between her and Felix. She loves him as a best friend and that is about it.

Though there is no romantic love between Felix and Becky, there is something quite special and unusual about their friendship for one party will feel something is amiss if there is no news from the other party. Mike couldn't help that he gets jealous, and this led Becky to take a deep look into her relationship with Felix and wonder if she could have the best of both worlds without hurting anyone along the process.

I had a wonderful reading experience with The Actor and the Housewife because it is both funny and heartwarming. The love between Becky and Mike is so strong that it melts my heart after reading all the things that happened between them. This book had made me laugh, giggle and cry. There are also a few scenes that are extremely emotional but I am not going there to spoil it for you.

As for Felix and Becky, I would think that things would be different if they have met each other earlier but the point is, can a man and a woman remains the best of friends forever? Reading the last few chapters was like a roller coaster ride to me because of the anticipation. In the end, I mulled over the ending and think, that is it. I suppose it depends on how one reader look at it, and that is all I can say about it.

So what do I think of The Actor and the Housewife? I think it is a refreshing and charming tale of a platonic relationship and I do think there is a slight fantasy wisp to it on a certain aspect. And yes, I enjoyed reading it!

Other reviews:
Book Nut
Books and Movies
Maw Books Blog
The Bluestocking Society
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)


Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book covers…

We all know the old adage about not judging a book by it’s cover, but just how much sway does a book cover have when it comes to your choice of book – whether buying or borrowing? Are there any books you’ve bought based on the cover alone?

I don't buy books based on their covers, but I do pick up books with attractive covers simply I am intrigued by their beautiful artwork and I am curious to find out what the stories are about. Personally, I think having an attractive cover is especially important to a debut novel because even if the story is fantastic, it still needs an eye-catching cover so that readers will pick it up and read all about it.

However, that does not mean I will buy any book with an attractive cover either. Though an attractive cover does make me pick up the book, still I will have to check the blurb and see if it interest me enough to buy it. Honestly, I cannot remember if I had bought any books based on the cover alone; I suppose I did on a few occasions and it turned out that the stories aren't that bad after all!

Now that we are discussing about covers, have you ever heard someone commented that certain covers do not fit the story plot well or that the models (never mind if they are illustrations or real life models) have mislead the readers somehow? What do you think of them?

And finally, back to the question... do you judge a book by its cover and have you ever bought any books based on their covers?

ISBN-13: 9781402218941
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc
Published: July 2009
372 pgs

I have not read anything by Georgette Heyer so when Danielle from Sourcebooks contacted me and asked if I want to review The Grand Sophy, I jumped at the offer!

After reading this book, I am happy to declare that I fell in love with Heyer's writing and I think the plot and the characters are very engaging! I liked Sophy Stanton-Lacey and I think she is simply one extraordinary heroine. She is bold, headstrong and a very intelligent young woman and she refused to let anyone bully or get into her way if she doesn't want to. Considering the generation and society at that time, I think what her attitude and some of the tings she did would be most likely to be frowned upon but that does not stop Sophy from doing the things she wanted to do. Simply put, I admired her.

The Grand Sophy begins with Sophy's arrival in the Rivenhall's residence when her father, Sir Horace, is to leave for Brazil and her aunt, Lady Ombersley has agreed to take her into the family temporarily until her father is back.

Sophy caused an uproar when she arrived at the Rivenhall's residence with a magnificent equipage and although the members are flabbergasted by her outrageous behaviour, they quickly warmed up to her and they are quite impressed by her sharp wit and intelligence. However, Charles Rivenhall, the eldest son in the family is not pleased with her at all and thinks she should behave like a real lady. Conflicts arise and sparks fly between them; and he is most certainly not pleased that one of his sisters, Cecilia who always seem to seek for her advice concerning her betrothed whom he deemed favourable but it seems Cecilia already has a gentleman in mind and he is none other than poet Augustus Fawnhope.

It seems this is not the only issue that infuriates Charles. Sophy also goes to extra length in saving his brother from an infamous moneylender when he loses his games and is in debt. Despite she managed to settle things without getting anyone hurt, Charles thinks what she did is improper and he is most certainly shocked that she own a gun and could handle it as well as him! But most of all, what bother him is the way she deals with things in general and her determination in rearranging the lives of anyone she encounters (in particularly the Rivenhall's members), never mind if her intentions are all good.

Seriously, I had great fun reading the exchanges between Charles and Sophy because most of their dialogues had me chuckling, and not to mention it made me wonder when or what it would take to make them see each other in a less prejudice manner. I really liked Sophy; I was in awe of her direct approach when dealing in certain situations and not at all wishy-washy.

I really enjoyed reading The Grand Sophy, and I can totally understand why this book is classified as one of Heyer's most beloved regencies. This is my first Heyer's book but definitely not the last!

Many thanks to Danielle for sending this book to me for review!



As The Grand Sophy hits stores officially in July and August is Heyer’s birthday month, Sourcebooks is very generous to offer two copies to my two lucky readers here!

  • This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only, courtesy of Danielle from Sourcebooks.
  • Leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you and forward your address to Sourcebooks if you win.
  • I will draw the two winners on 31 July (Friday). Good luck!
First of all, thank YOU so much for all your comments on my blogiversary! I was teary-eyed reading all the comments and well, they mean a lot to me! Thanks again for everything!

Now onto the draw result and according to, the number drawn is No. 2 and the winner goes to Wendy from Musings of a Bookish Kitty!

Congratulations, Wendy!

Please email me your address and the book title of your choice to melreadingcorner (AT) gmail (DOT) com and I will send the book to you as soon as possible.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for your participation!


Booking Through ThursdayCheck Spelling

An idea I got from The Toddled Dredge (via K for Kat). Here’s what she said:

“So here today I present to you an Unread Books Challenge. Give me the list or take a picture of all the books you have stacked on your bedside table, hidden under the bed or standing in your shelf – the books you have not read, but keep meaning to. The books that begin to weigh on your mind. The books that make you cover your ears in conversation and say, ‘No! Don’t give me another book to read! I can’t finish the ones I have!’ “

I wish I could take a picture of my unread books but I couldn't simply because there are way too many of them! I am sure most of you have this issue, right? How many times we tell ourselves not to buy or walk into any bookstores but in the end, we just can't resist that temptation and most of the times, we ended up with a few books to carry home! And there goes the TBR pile keeps getting higher and higher!

Honestly, I can't keep a list because my mood always changes. Today, I will tell you I might want to read Vision of White by Nora Roberts but tomorrow, I might pick something else or a different genre instead. Nonetheless, here are just a few titles that I wanted to read but just never got around to:

  • Bitten and Stolen by Kelley Armstrong (These are part of her Otherworld series)
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Paper Towns by John Green
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  • River Secrets by Shannon Hale
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
  • The remaining books of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (I had read Book 1-3)
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Well, I could go on and on but I think the above will do at this moment. Try asking me the same question tomorrow and I will give you another set of titles, hehe.

What about you? Any books that you want to read badly but have not done so?

Hamburg, Germany