Melody

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!
I figure I will post a full paragraph (instead of two sentences) as my teaser today because it is just too good!


The rules of the Hunger Games are simple. In punishment for the uprising, each of the twelve districts must provide one girl and one boy, called tributes, to participate. The twenty-four tributes will be imprisoned in a vast outdoor arena that could hold anything from a burning desert to a frozen wasteland. Over a period of several weeks, the competitors must fight to the death. The last tribute standing wins.

(Pg 21, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
Melody


I haven't been doing Weekly Geeks for a while and I really missed doing so! This week's issue is a revisiting theme from Dewey and I am glad to see this theme is brought up to our attention once again!




Here's the rule:
1. Write a post encouraging readers to look through your archives (if you have your reviews in a particular place on your blog, point them there), and find the books that they have also written reviews. Tell them to leave a link to their review on your review post. For example, I've written a review for Gods Behaving Badly and Jane Doe leaves a link to her review of Gods Behaving Badly in the comments section of my review.

2. Edit your reviews to include those links in the body of the review post.

3. Visit other Weekly Geeks and go through their reviews. Leave links for them.

4. Leave a note somewhere on your blog to let people know this is your new policy.

5. Write a post later this week letting us know how your project is going!


I love reading other bookbloggers' reviews and it is always fun comparing notes (not to mention it is always helpful when we are in need of some recommendations/advice of a certain book). So whenever I have finished reading a book, I will google the reviews of that book and link it onto my review post. However, please do not feel bad if I have accidentally missed your review as my doing so is entirely unintentional. I love hearing everyone's opinions so please feel free to send me the link of your review post if you want it to be linked to mine (and vice versa). Anyway, here is my reading history for your easy reference.

Happy reading and happy linking!
Melody

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about recording your reading…

Do you keep track of what and/or how many books you read? How long have you been doing this? What's your favorite tracking method, and why? If you don't keep track, why not? (question courtesy of MizB)

Keeping track of the books I read has never crossed my mind until I started blogging (which was three years ago). When I first started this blog, it was merely out of curiosity and fun. But once that phase was over (which did not take too long after exploring other book blogs), I found it to be a great idea to keep track of the books I read and review them at the same time thus I follow this route where I am today.

And guess what? I love this method! Not only do I manage to keep track, review but also I get to know many bookbloggers along the way. Why shouldn't I have done this earlier? I had asked myself this question a few times; but then it is always better to be late than never, isn't it?

So, how about you? Do you keep track of the books you read?



After reading my reason for starting this blog, it is now time to pass on some awards in the act of karma and also a way of telling my friends I appreciate their support and their friendship even though we have not met in person.

Sandy from You've Gotta Read This presented me with the Proximidade Award. (Thank you, Sandy!) Sandy's blog is one of my regular reads and not to mention she is also one of my favourite blogger friends.

"This blog invests and believes in the Proximity - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this clever-written text into the body of their award."

I received this award from Alice some time ago and passed on the same to a few friends so this time around I will pass it to some friends whom blogs I have lately discovered and are now my regular reads. They are:

Jessica from Paperback Passion
S. Krishna from S. Krishna's Books
Dot from Scribbles
Tammy from The Book Reports

And the following friends whom I have not passed on this award but want them to get it this time around:

Naida from The Bookworm
Matt from A Guy's Moleskine Notebook
Violet from Violet Crush
Dar from Peeking Between the Pages

* * * * *

And then, there is Beth from Beth Fish Reads presented me the Zombie Chicken Award. How cool is that? (Thank you, Beth!)

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all..."

I bestow the award to the following friends who makes the effort of posting their blogs regularly and whose blogs I always enjoy reading:

Alice from Hello, My Name Is Alice
Nymeth from Things Mean A Lot
J. Kaye from J. Kaye Book Blog
Amy from My Friend Amy
Joanne from The Book Zombie

Melody
ISBN: 9780373200016
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: March 2009
256 pgs



Rachel Chandler has not seen her brother, Emmett, for fifteen years. Not after he appeared to be involved with a radical group of protesters and that the bomb had accidentally killed several people, including his girlfriend. And for these fifteen years, no one seemed to have heard of him but deep in Rachel's heart she knew he is very much alive since she always receive a package on her birthday every year from him. But she could never guess where he is because every year the package is post marked from a different country.

However, that does not stop Rachel from finding her brother so she decided to look for him in Hawaii since he was last heard to be in that place. Despite her fear of flying, she gritted her teeth and went through her ordeal, but with the help of a little diversion from a friendly priest who first struck a conversation with her.

Just as she is anxious and thrilled to meet Emmett again, she is somewhat intrigued by the man because he does not seem to be the same Emmett whom she has grown up with. He appeared to be tougher and meaner, but Rachel thought this has got to do with the missing years that had torn them apart from each other. And another thing that troubled Rachel is, Emmett seemed to be giving her the warm and cold treatments at times and she fears he is not the real Emmett but an impostor who is out to get the trust which was left for the real Emmett after their parents had passed away when they were younger.

On the other hand, "Emmett" definitely has an agenda in mind but he does not expect the man's sister would be there to complicate things for him. Yet everytime he wanted to push her away, the deeper he find himself entangled in the web of lies and he is not sure if he should keep her with him or just send her away.

Tangled Lies is one of Anne Stuart's older works and I am very glad that this book is reissued as part of Harlequin's 60th Anniversary celebration. Being a fan of Anne Stuart and having read several of her novels, I am always in awe of her ability of creating a dark hero whom I am sure most readers would not consider one to be due to his 'extraordinary' position, be it a hitman or a cult leader (just to name a few) but yet she managed to tempt us into liking the hero and send us a few surprises along the reading journey. Tangled Lies is one of them and I loved it that there are enough sizzling romance and suspense that had me enthralled from the beginning till the end.

I also want to thank Alice and Julia for reading this book together with me. It was a blast reading with you both (as usual) and thank you for waiting on me at one time when I was behind my reading schedule. I am definitely looking forward to more of our joint-reading sessions in the near future.
Melody
Berlin, Germany


Melody
ISBN-13: 9780399155437
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Published: January 2009
256 pgs



"... Life is beautiful. Some people just remind you of that more than others."


I love reading. I love food. And I love reading about food and cooking thus I was very eager to dive into this book after reading so many good reviews from fellow bookbloggers.

The School of Essential Ingredients is basically centered around Lillian, the protagonist, and how her cooking class enlightened or enriched the life of her eight students in some ways.

Each of these students has his or her own story to tell. For Claire, the lessons help her sees in a way of balancing between her personal life and her role being a mother and wife. For older couple like Helen and Carl, it is about finding themselves and to be in love with each other again after all the ups and downs they had had experienced. For Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer, she is learning to stay true and to adapt her life in America. For young Chloe, it is about finding her own self again after leaving her boyfriend who seems to be always the one in control of their life. For Tom, it helps diverting his attentions after he lost his wife to breast cancer. As for Isabelle, she is an elderly lady who is beginning to lose her memory, and finally for Ian who has found love along the way.

Though these little stories are unique in its own way and are a pleasure to read, and it may even seem that this book centers around more on these eight students, but I could not help but to be amazed and impressed by Lillian's strength and determination in putting her restaurant together. I especially loved reading about Lillian's life and how she struggled as a young girl in putting her family together as it seems her mother is forever immersing herself in books. She seeks solace in cooking and hoping the food she prepared would bring her mother to her senses (no pun intended), in which she finally did.

The School of Essential Ingredients is a delight to read, and Erica Bauermeister's writing style is simply beautiful. I have to say her descriptions of the aromas and flavours made my mouth water; and the greatest satisfactory is it is from each character's story that allows me think of the life we are living and how even the mundane around us can somehow changed our life in one way or another. I am sure this book will not only appeal to people who enjoys food but to any readers as well.


Other blogs reviews:
Booking Mama
Books on the Brain
Devourer of Books
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Peeking Between the Pages
S. Krishna's Books
So Many Books, So Little Time
You've Gotta Read This
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)

Melody

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:


With an almost detached glance Rachel Chandler looked down to see her strong, pale hand grip the armrest of the 747 that was gleefully soaring through air pockets and the most god-awful turbulence to the peaceful paradise of Hawaii. If I hold on tight enough, she thought in a controlled panic, then this ridiculously heavy piece of machinery won't fall out of the sky and into the vast, green-blue Pacific Ocean beneath us.


(Pg 13, Tangled Lies by Anne Stuart)
Melody
Sandy from You've Gotta Read This! bestowed two awards on me lately and I cannot thank her enough for these! And I am also grateful and honoured that she read and comment on most of my posts.

Besides enjoying reading her reviews, interviews and musings, I am also drawn to Sandy's sunshine personality (she is friendly and easy-going) and to top it off, she has a great sense of humour too!

To spread the love, I shall award the "I Heart Your Blog" award to you (ALL my bookblogging friends!) because I just love reading your blog so do keep those book recommendations coming!!

As for the "Sisterhood Award", I want to take this opportunity to highlight the following people who have supported my blog and became great friends along the way through the years. They are (not in any order):

Melody

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about bookstores…

How many bookstores do you frequent? Do you have a favourite? If so, which one and what makes it so?

I am fortunate that there is a bookstore situated near my workplace, thus I always make sure to stop by at least once every week during my lunchbreak. However, this store is only a branch of a major bookstore chain (Kinokuniya) so I do not always get what I want from this store (but I can pre-order the books or give them a list I want and they are always happy to oblige). Another thing I should mention is, this chain also have a fantastic range of mangas and Chinese novels (as well as Japanese and stationery).

Another bookstore I love to visit is Borders. They always have the latest releases on shelves earlier and offer more varieties. I always can not resist their online coupons so I will try to make a trip there despite anything (which is a few bus stops away from my workplace).

Besides the brick and mortar, I also visit online bookstore like AcmaMall for the convenience and again, for variety. These three stores are my favourites thus far but then again, I would visit any bookstore that I have come across because I just simply love visiting it.

How about you? Do you have a favourite bookstore?

Melody
This is a weekly event hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page every Wednesday.

As quoted by Marcia:

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 Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux. (I am a fan of Jude Deveraux's historical romance but with this gorgeous cover, I don't think I will miss it!)


Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Published: March 2009

Synopsis:

Jocelyn Minton is a woman torn between two worlds. Her mother grew up attending private schools and afternoon teas, but she married the local handyman. After her mother died when Joce was only five years old, her father remarried into his own class, and Joce became an outsider — until she met Edilean Harcourt. Although she was sixty years Joce's senior, Miss Edi was a kindred soul who understood her like no one else ever had.

When Miss Edi passes away, she leaves Joce all her worldly possessions, including an eighteenth-century house and a letter with clues to a mystery that began in 1941. In the letter, Miss Edi also mentions that she has found the perfect man for Joce — a handsome young lawyer. Joce is shocked to learn that the mystery, the house, and the future love of her life are all in Edilean, a small town in Virginia that Miss Edi never told her about. Hurt that the woman who meant so much to her kept so many secrets, Jocelyn moves to this tight-knit village in an attempt to understand the legacy that has been left to her. As she begins to dig into Miss Edi's mystery, she soon discovers some shocking surprises about her family's history and her own future — and she meets a man with his own mysterious past.

* * * * *

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

I figure I will post something new today (I will continue to post more pictures on Germany next time around).

This is Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou, China when we visited in 2007. I remember the weather was quite cold when we visited at that time.
Melody
ISBN-13: 9780312532758
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: 2009
306 pgs
Series: #1 The Immortals Series



"... how can I expain how ever since the accident, the only people whose thoughts I can't hear, whose lives I can't know, and whose auras I can't see, are already dead?"



Ever since a car accident that claimed her family lives, sixteen-year-old Ever acquires the ability of seeing auras around people, hearing their thoughts and knowing their life story through touching. Being the sole survivor and without much options, she stays with her father's twin sister, Aunt Sabine, who is single and is kind enough to take her in.

Besides having the capability of sensing other people's life, Ever can also see and communicate with her dead younger sister, Riley, who became her companion even though she finds her a little annoying at times. Not wanting to mingle around with too many people and often labelled as a freak, things changed after she meets Damen Auguste, the hottest new guy in school.

Damen Auguste is gorgeous and charming but that is not the only thing Ever is attracted to him. For Damen seems to know what she is thinking (besides making tulips appear before her like magic, that is), most of all he seems to be able to silence the noise and random energy in her head. Unlike other people, Ever cannot see his aura or hear his thoughts, but yet she feels they are connected in a way she cannot explain. Ever knew right from the beginning that there is something more and unexplainable about Damen, but still she cannot help but falls helplessly in love with him.

But, the romance between Ever and Damen is not often smooth as Ever still feels the guilt over the accident. And to top it off, they have to face the beautiful and heartless Drina who claimed to be Damen's lifelong partner and she will do anything to stop Ever from being close to Damen forever.

As I first read Evermore, I thought there are bits of scenarios that are quite similiar with Twilight (by Stephenie Meyer) but as I read further, I realized they are so different in many other ways. To begin with, Evermore is not a story about vampires. If you ask me, I would say this is a coming-of-age story about Ever, and how she overcome her guilt and accept being herself. Ever is a likeable character and I thought she is quite an independent and a responsible young woman. However, there is too much guilt and remorse in her, in which I would understand considering she being the sole survivor after the accident.

Then, there is the strong sisterly love between Ever and Riley, even though the latter is dead. What most touches me is the way she watches over Ever and be her companion. And of course, there is the undying love between Ever and Damen but I am not going there to spoil it for you. Secondary characters like Haven and Miles (both of whom are Ever's only friends in school) are entertaining and offer some laughter (or thrill) to the story. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Evermore and find it to be quite addictive. I will definitely look out for the next installment, Blue Moon to be released in July.



I contacted Alyson Noel last week to ask if she would grant me a short interview and I was thrilled that she said yes.

Here is my interview with Alyson:

Melody: Can you tell us more about yourself and how did you get into writing in the first place?

Alyson: I was always an avid reader, thanks to a mom who introduced me to the magic of books, but it wasn’t until sixth grade when I read Judy Blume’s ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET that I knew I wanted to write someday too. But other than some really bad poems penned in junior high and short stories in high school, I mostly just talked about writing as opposed to actual writing, until the tragic events of 9/11 when I was working as a NYC based flight attendant and figured a job change might be in order! After enrolling in some online writing classes where I worked on my novel, I signed with my then agent who sold it in a two-book deal to St. Martin’s Press, and FAKING 19, my debut novel, was published in March 2005.

Melody: Where do you get the ideas for Evermore? How and why did you choose this title? (I find it quite special.)

Alyson: Grief is what spawned the idea for EVERMORE. A few years ago I’d lost three people I loved in five months, and just when the dust began to settle my husband was diagnosed with leukemia (he’s in full remission now!) and it felt like my entire world was crashing down. Going through that period of extreme grief and fear got me thinking a lot about life and death and what, if anything, really separates the two. It also forced me to face my own mortality, (something I’d avoided until then!), and how our youth loving culture sort of seeks physical immortality by trying to remain youthful looking for as long as we can—and yet, what would happen if we really could achieve it? What would it mean for us, our loved ones, society in general? And since I’ve been interested in all things paranormal since I was a kid, Ever and Damen’s story seemed like the perfect vehicle to explore all of those themes. Also, I loved the idea of “normal” people being thrown into extraordinary circumstances by becoming immortal.

Oh, and as far as the title goes, my agent, editor, and I actually tossed around quite a few names before settling on EVERMORE. But I’m so glad we chose it, it was always my favorite out of the bunch!

Melody: In what ways do Evermore differ from other vampire stories (in particularly to the Twilight series)? Can you tell us more about Ever and Damen?

Alyson: Well, if you haven’t read the book yet, then stop reading HERE. Seriously, move on to the next question because a spoiler is coming!

Ready? They aren’t vampires. They’re immortals whose immortality stems from an alchemical elixir—no blood sucking required. Also, Ever suffered a near-death experience in the accident that claimed the lives of her family, only to awaken from the ordeal with psychic powers that allow her to hear peoples thoughts, see their auras, know their life story by touch, and also to visit with her dead sister Riley. There is a mystical dimension called Summerland that they visit—a place where one can manifest anything they desire by merely—desiring it. And there will be many more visits to Summerland in BLUE MOON!

Melody: What do you find most challenging in writing this series?

Alyson: Keeping track of all the details and minutiae that crops up along the way! Since my previous books were all stand alones, I wasn’t required to keep track of those things once the book was finished. But with a series, it’s different. So I have a big green notebook filled with notes, photos, articles, etc. I’ve found it’s way too easy to forget whether Ever has Art class fifth period of sixth (it’s sixth—I just checked!), and a quick glance at my IMMORTALS bible helps keep it all straight.

Melody: When is the release date for your next installment, Blue Moon? Can you also tell your readers what will they expect from your next installment(s)?

Alyson: The second book in the series, BLUE MOON, comes out on July 7th. A bit from the back cover says:

“Just as eager new immortal Ever’s powers are increasing, her beloved Damen’s are waning. In an attempt to save him, Ever travels to the magical dimension of Summerland where she discovers an ancient text that details the workings of time. Now Ever must choose between turning back the past and saving her family—or staying in the present and saving Damen . . .”

The series will include five books in total, all of which follow the story of Ever and Damen. I’m finishing up book #3, SHADOWLAND, now!

Melody: Who are your favourite YA authors? And finally, any other things you would like to share with your readers?

Alyson: Oh, I have so many favorites I’m always afraid of leaving someone out! But I was lucky enough to get early reads on some great books this year, like: Courtney Summer’s CRACKED UP TO BE (in stores now!), Cindy Pon’s SILVER PHOENIX (out in May!), Amanda Ashby’s ZOMBIE QUEEN OF NEWBURY HIGH (available now!), and Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s CRAZY BEAUTIFUL (out in Sept)—all great reads!

Melody: Thank you, Alyson, for taking the time in answering my questions!

Alyson: Thank you for having me!!
* * * * *

Alyson Noel is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of FAKING 19, ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS, LAGUNA COVE, FLY ME TO THE MOON, KISS & BLOG, SAVING ZOE, FIRST KISS (THEN TELL)- an anthology, CRUEL SUMMER, EVERMORE and BLUE MOON.

Check out Alyson's Immortal series here and her blog here.
Melody

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:


Everyone has an aura. Every living being has swirls of color emanating from their body. A rainbow energy field they're not even aware of. And it's not like it's dangerous, or scary, or in any way bad, it's just part of the visible (well, to me anyway) magnetic field.


(Pg 11, Evermore by Alyson Noël)
Melody

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about talking to strangers…

We were all warned as children to 'never talk to strangers', but how do you feel about book-talk with random people? When you see people reading, do you ask what it is? Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? Why or why not? What do you do if people talk to you? (question courtesy of Dena)

I love talking about books, but sadly not many of my family members or friends are booklovers. Before I started blogging, I keep my opinions on books to myself while hoping that one day, I would turn my family or friends into booklovers. So far, that day has not arrived, but I did find a lot of enthusiastic bookbloggers who share the same passion and I am very happy to know them and call them as friends.

As much as I love blogging and chatting with friends online, I have to say meeting with people upfront and talking to them about books is entirely another different matter. Not really an extrovert, I don't think I will walk up to any person and strike a conversation with him/her in a bookstore. Also, I guess it has to depend on the person if he/she is approachable. If they give me the impression that they are chatty, I guess I would. Then, there were also times that someone came up to me and asked if the book I was holding is interesting or worth reading, and I was more than happy to talk to them.

And because I am a frequent patron of one particular bookstore, most of the bookstore assistants there knew me and we would talk about anything just like old friends. They would ask me about my reading and would also highlight me on any new releases, or their bestselling titles. And for a person who loves to read during the commute, I do feel curious to know what other commuters are reading but the most I will do is to try to sneak a peek of the titles they are holding.

How about you? Would you approach anyone to talk about books?

Melody

Booking Through ThursdayCheck Spelling

Tami inspired this week’s question:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

I don't know why, but fantasy is the first thing that flashed into my mind after reading these questions. Like books, movies is another form of an escapism for me so I am always looking for actions, intrigue, great special effects and a toss of some magical/fantasy elements and it would make a good movie material in my opinion. For example, The Lord of the Rings is one excellent example although I have not read the books yet. (Don't get me wrong, other genres do interest me too but I am thinking more of the fantasy genre when it comes to movies.)

There are so many fantasy books out there that have great potentials into making a movie but for some reasons, these books stand out on my list:

  • The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (This is about a boy whom has lost his mother to cancer and isolated himself but he loves reading and one day, he realized he could hear things and feel emotions from the books. From there, he enters into a strange new world where he would get to encounter a pack of hungry wolves and all various strange creatures, including the Crooked Man, which is an evil troll who frightens him most and will try all ways to tempt him in order to gain his power over the kingdom.) I find this premise highly fascinating and another thing that wowed me is some re-tellings of fairy tales/folk tales which also mingled into this story.

  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (A beautiful re-telling tale from the Grimm Brothers, and what's more there is some romance in it too.)

  • Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman (A dark magical tale full of magic and sorcery. This is a story about a girl's journey to become a powerful Magister, one whom has more power than any sorcerers on earth. Readers will learn about the positive and negative of the human's nature disposition through this story in which I find it to be enlightening in some ways.)

  • And of course, any Neil Gaiman's books.

So, which books would you like to be made into movies?

Melody
ISBN-13: 9780307454621
Publisher: Vintage Books
Published: May 2008
355 pgs




April and Frank Wheeler seemed to be the perfect couple in anyone's eyes. They are young and beautiful, have two lovely children and although each thinks they would have done better, life appeared to be smooth and serene for them.

Perhaps they married young, or they are just bored with their everyday life but deep down, the relationship between April and Frank is not everyone thinks it is. Frank thinks his job is boring, and April seemed uninterested being a homemaker although she does play on stage. In short, they feel unfulfilled both in their marriage and life. And though they pretend things went on well between them, they knew they are already drifting apart from each other. But then, April believed that things will change for the better if they moved out of the place and start somewhere afresh.

At this point, I felt the story pacing is somewhat slow but there are certainly more characters being introduced to the story. I was thinking more about the two protagonists and wondering if they would do anything to save their marriage, but then things back in the 1950s is very different from the society we are living today. Issue like equality between men and women is not as greatly emphasized as compared today, and then of course no one would like to create a scandal, no matter how unhappy they are.

Then, April starts questioning herself about her feelings for Frank and whether or not if she is prepared to have another child rekindle my interest in this book again and from there, the story seemed to be moving quickly. And I quite enjoyed reading the exchange between Helen (a real-estate broker) and her husband, Howard Givings, who seemed to be able to see underneath the Wheelers' facade.

For readers who are expecting a happily-ever-after ending, I am afraid the ending will be a disappointment but to me, it was like reading a true story of an unhappy couple feeling trapped with their life and in each other. It was sad, and yet powerful and thought-provoking in a way. I feel this book is more than April's and Frank's story, for I think miscommunications and unhappy marriages are common issues still faced by many married couples today.

Richard Yates' writing is beautiful; and the dialogues are sharp and to the point. The author had really done well giving insight to the readers about the characters' thoughts and their emotions. I am looking forward to watching the film adaptation, especially if Kate Winslet is playing the role of April.

Note: I would like to thank Alice for reading this book together with me. (Alice, it has been fun, as usual!)


Other blog review:
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)
Melody
Berlin, Germany



Melody
This is a newly weekly event hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page every Wednesday.

As quoted by Marcia:

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 Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. (I ordered this copy last week and I can not wait to receive it!)


Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Published: January 2009

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongingsof Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

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

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:



"Wait here, my darling," she was saying. "Just for a minute, till I call you," and she left him alone in the kitchen, where the hot brown smell of roasting beef brought tears to his eyes. She handed him an Old-Fashioned glass full of ice and whiskey and disappeared into the darkened living room from which, now, he could hear an ill-suppressed giggle of children and the scrape of a match. (Pg 108)


Melody


Here are the lists where I post my reading history from the past years:

2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
Melody

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about new authors…

What is your policy when it comes to new authors? Do you feel comfortable purchasing a book or do you prefer to borrow new authors from the library? How often do you 'try out' a new author?


Besides finding books from my favourite authors during my book shopping, I have to say exploring the titles by new (or new-to-me) authors is another of my must-do thing to me while I am at the bookstore. Usually I will stop by the new releases section first, and make sure to grab a copy of the books I want before I dedicate some time to other titles or authors whom I am not familiar with. And guess what, I don't really have a policy with new authors. If I find a book highly recommended by fellow bookbloggers, it definitely sparks my interest so I will make sure to check it out during my next visit to the bookstore.

However, I also do check out new titles/authors during my book shopping. I don't know about you, but I have this mentality of 'not coming out of a bookstore empty-handed' so if it happens that my favourite authors do not have a new book out at that moment, I will browse through the new authors' piles and decide which book will hold my interest. If I like the story premise, I will buy it but then I will have to be picky because I had had experience buying them and ended up disappointed. I know borrowing them from the library will be the wisest choice but nowadays I don't visit the libraries anymore (due to time constraint and moreover I would rather read my books at my own pace).

How about you? Would you buy a book by a new author or would you prefer to borrow it from the library?

Melody
ISBN-13: 9780007286386
Publisher: HarperPress
Published: 2009
331 pgs




The year is 1951 when Claire Pendleton arrived into Hong Kong, together with her newly married husband Martin who had transferred there to oversee a water project. Claire's marriage to Martin is based more on convenience rather than love; one reason being to escape from her family and it is not like she has many options to choose.

She took up a job as a piano teacher to the daughter of the Chens, a wealthy Chinese family but Locket Chen is not that keen in playing. Intrigued with their extravagance lifestyle, Claire started to steal little things from Mrs Chen and enjoyed how those little luxuries brought some joy to her, even if it means she has to lie and wear them in fear. She then got acquainted with their chauffeur, Will Truesdale when the Chen family invited her and her husband to a party, and from there their relationship blossomed and turned into an affair.

The story then goes back to the 1940s when we would learn more about Will Truesdale's past, and more characters are being introduced. One of them is Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite whom Will has fallen in love with. Unfortunately, their relationship is a short-lived one due to the Japanese invasion and left many affected and deeply scarred . Will was left in an interment camp along with other foreigners but he had refused assistance from Trudy, since she was cast as an outsider due to her mixed race.

Some events happened thereafter which caused a strain between the Chens family and Will (for whatever happened I would not say) as it seemed the Chens harboured a deep secret that involved Trudy. And after the war, no one seemed to know the whereabouts of Trudy and one wondered if she was left dead by a vicious gendarmerie, who was anxious to get some information on the Crown Collection (a Chinese artifacts which is believed to be missing during the war).

However, there is not much mystery surrounding the artifacts as I felt the book focused more on the characters and their life before and after the war. I would say the relationships dominates the most in this story, mixed in with the cultures and some history. Towards the ending, the readers will learn about those characters who survived the war and what they did in the past will continue to haunt them in years to come.

Although The Piano Teacher is a beautifully well-written story, I felt there is not much explanations given on the relationship between Will and Claire. I am not even sure if they were in love in the first place, as it seemed both needed an escape from their unhappy past. Despite these, it is still an enjoyable read in my opinion.
Melody

Booking Through ThursdayCheck Spelling

We’ve all seen the lists, we’ve all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.
What’s the best book that YOU haven’t read yet?

"So many books, so little time!" I am sure all of us booklovers will relate to this, right?

Anyway, here are just a few that comes to mind (which I have in my pile):

I would like to hear about your best book(s).

Melody

Hamburg, Germany


Melody
ISBN-13: 9781846681332
Publisher: Profile Books
Published: 2008
121 pgs



I was first introduced to this little gem after reading Nymeth's lovely review a while back. What shall I say? I am absolutely in love with this book! I trust most readers (especially booklovers) would enjoy this little story about how reading has became an obsession for the Queen of England.
It was all the dogs' fault, as the Queen quoted, as they had wandered off and was heard to be yapping at something in one of the yards. It happened to be a travelling library, and it parked next to the bins outside one of the kitchen doors. Now the Queen had never seen this sight before, and she was very happy to befriend Mr Hutchings, the driver cum librarian and Norman Seakins, a young man working in the kitchens and had happened to be in the library looking at books when the Queen came into the library.

Fascinated by the sight of books and also feeling a little obligated to borrow a book, the Queen selected a book by Ivy Compton-Burnett. And it seemed from that moment onwards, her opinions on books and reading changes. She became engrossed in them so much so that she had Norman transferred out of the kitchen to be her amanuensis (Norman looked up this word in the dictionary and realized it refers to a literary assistant position; one who writes from dictation and copies manuscripts).

With Norman being her amanuensis, the Queen began to read more and more and less interested in her day-to-day activities, which is much dismay to Sir Kevin Scatchard, her private secretary and the other advisors. These days, her conversations always surrounded around books and until the Prime Minister decided to do something about it.

The Uncommon Reader is a delightful read to all booklovers, and I personally feel this novella is a good introduction to the non-readers to reading as it is fast-paced and written in a subtle, humourous style (it is a classic in my opinion). I had a wonderful time reading this book, and I could definitely relate to the Queen when she felt some of her time should be devoted to reading.

You have no idea how many post-it tags I used for tagging my favourite passages. Here are just a few of my favourites:

“Pass the time?” said the Queen. “Books are not about passing the time. They’re about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one wishes one had more of it.”

The appeal of reading, she thought, lay in its indifference: there was something lofty about literature. Books did not care who was reading them or whether one read them or not. All readers were equal, herself included.

It was a few weeks later that she looked up from her book and said to Norman: "Do you know that I said you were my amanuensis? Well, I've discovered what I am. I am an opsimath."
With the dictionary always to hand, Norman read out: 'Opsimath: one who learns only late in life.'

And one that made me chuckle:

Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met with in the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them.

Other blogs reviews:
A Guy's Moleskine Notebook
A Striped Armchair
Bart's Bookshelf
Bermudaonion’s Weblog
Blogging ‘bout Books
books i done read
Books of Mee
BooksPlease
Care's Online Bookclub
Fizzy Thoughts
It's All About Books
Just Add Books
Page After Page
Reading Adventures
Rebecca Reads
S. Krishna's Books
Stuff as Dreams Are Made On
The Bluestocking Society
The Biblio Brat
The Book Zombie
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
The Written World
Things Mean A Lot
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)

Melody

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!

Well, I just got The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee yesterday. I was thrilled to see it on shelves because this book has been on my wishlist ever since I have seen it listed on B&N's site.

And here's my teaser for today:




They didn't know each other very well. They had been married barely four months. (Pg 6)

Melody

Mailbox Monday

It has been a while since I ordered my books online (thanks to the bookshop situated near to my workplace), but since it does not have the titles (except Tender Morsels) that I want, thus this gave me the chance to get them online, again. Here are the books I received lately:
So, what books came into your house lately?
Melody

Musing Mondays

When reading do you read every word? Do you ever skip chapters or skim over parts? (question courtesy of Wendy)

I try to read every word in a book. Very rarely I would skip chapters or skim over parts unless I feel the story is not progressing or the story no longer held my interest. Even if I encounter any one of these, I always give it a second chance and try to read a little more, hoping there is a turn in the story but if it continues not to hold my interest, I will just give up the book but that would be the last resort.

On the other hand, I would re-read a passage all over again if I happen to love it or if I don't get into it the first time.

How about you? Do you read every word?