Historic Afton, Minnesota

Hilton Garden Inn
St. Paul, Minnesota

My husband stayed at this hotel for two weeks and despite it was towards the end of March, the weather was still cold.


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.
  • 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 started reading Simon Van Booy's Everything Beautiful Began After a few days ago and I just find myself entranced by his beautiful writing. I've never read anything by this author but I do read a lot of glowing reviews about this novel as well as his short stories.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the walk back home through the dusk, she's going to ask her father for the story of how he met her mother.

All she knows is that someone fell, and that everything beautiful began after.

(Pg 7, Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy)

So my daughters are into Toy Story lately. No, scratch that… they love watching the animations and in fact, my eldest daughter has even pointed out a few characters for us: my husband and I are Mr & Mrs Potato Head (because they are the only couple aside from Barbie and Ken, and she knew we are too old for that, ha!), my youngest one the space alien (the reason given was, she too makes that little ‘Oooh’ sound occasionally), and as for herself she wants to be Jessie just because she thinks she is cool. My husband and I always have a good laugh whenever we watch the DVDs, especially when the three space aliens begin to make that ‘Oooh’ sound, or even on scenes where Mr Potato Head being get squashed or bullied and our two-year-old would squeal with delight and yelled, “Daddy!”.

Anyways, that enthusiasm set our goal for searching the three space aliens toys because all of us think they are the most adorable and yes, the hardest to find in stores. Can you imagine our thrill when we found these three little guys in a box at a shopping mall last Friday and I just grabbed the box without first looking at the price. When that excitement died down a little, I then took a peek at the price tag and was happy to note that it was on sale (costs S$65 and it makes me wonder what the original price was) so of course we bought it. And thereafter, I saw another box that piqued my interest and grabbed that box too (see picture below - a pop up tent that can accommodate two kids, or one adult if you are the petite size).

And finally, not wanting to end this post without a book-related issue, I thought I’d share with you some of the books I bought along the trip:

Sweep Vol I and III by Cate Tiernan (couldn’t find Vol II as it was out of stock)
The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series #2)

I also picked up the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly after seeing Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson on the cover and I wonder what is in store with the first part of Breaking Dawn, which is to be released in November.

So there you go on my shopping trip last Friday. Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead!

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. This month's Mailbox Monday is hosted by Staci of Life in the Thumb.

Here's what I received last week:

1) The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman (from the publisher)

2) Pompeii: City on Fire by T. L. Higley (from a dear friend, Violet)

3) The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy (from Violet)

What books came into your house last week?

ISBN-13: 978-1407121116
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: July 2011
Format: Paperback, 448 pgs
Source: Personal Library

Forever is the final instalment of Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls Series and readers who had read Shiver and Linger would be able to understand my anticipation and enthusiasm of reading this long-awaited novel; a series which have enticed many readers into Maggie’s world of werewolves unlike the others.

Forever continues where Linger left off but unlike the previous instalments, this book focused more on the struggles that Grace and Sam faced and how they are finding ways to improve (or hopefully to solve) the tricky situation they have fell into, together with the help of Cole, a friend of both who has the looks and charisma to charm your socks off easily (including myself) and Isabel, who I think has character no matter if you like her or not. Then, there are also Sam’s feelings towards Beck, a father figure whom Sam look up to and goes to whenever he has problems.

The beginning of the story tends to be going on slow in my opinion, but the pace picks up towards the middle and then there is no turning back. The switching point of views enabled me to get into each character’s mind (in particular to Grace, Sam, Cole and Isabel) and to feel the emotions they are through. To avoid spoilers and for other readers who haven’t read this series, I had chosen not to write the premise of what happened to these characters so all I have to say is there is a call for wolves hunting and that the lives of some of these characters are at stake.

While I enjoyed reading the romance between Grace and Sam, I had hoped that there would be romance between Cole and Isabel even though the emotions they felt for each other are subtle. In any ways I felt there is potential between them and I hope the author will write their stories in the near future.

Like any other highly anticipated and well read series, the ending is always the hardest to read because you never know where the author would take you and also, would the readers be able to accept a sad ending should it call for it. Forever, however, is one of those stories that didn’t wrap up with a big red bow. By saying this, I didn’t mean it to be a sad ending but rather an ending which makes you think, hope and to look back on the experience which the characters have been through. All in all, I enjoyed reading this series and I am glad to note that Maggie Stiefvater has a new release, The Scorpio Races, to be out in October in which she will take us into her world of horses and racing.


Well my reading progress may be slow as of late but in a way this is better as compared to reading slump if you ask me. Anyway, I am always thrilled to receive emails from the publishers/publicists on their upcoming books and I thought I’d share with you on the books which have sparked my interest.

The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman – This is the fourth book by Alyson Richman and it is about the reunion of a couple who haven’t seen each other for sixty years for they thought their other half had died in the Holocaust. The author weaves an epic love story that brings her readers to the glamorous pre-war Prague to the horrific Nazi Occupation and I am very curious to know where this story will lead.

So Near by Liza Gyllenhaal – This is a poignant novel about a young couple’s road back from tragedy after their two-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident when the car seat came loose. Cal, the husband, decided to pursue a lawsuit against the car seat manufacturer but his wife, Jenny, has other reasons and this is where complications set in. Their relationship becomes more complicated when a new acquaintance enters their life as they are not sure if his guidance is meant to pull them together or pushes them further apart.

Dry Ice by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson – This is an intense thriller set in the frozen heart of Antarctica where a secret weather research station is built to ‘create’ the weather to the likes of an agribusiness. But a deal and a replacement set the designer with a vengeful plan into sending fatal weather across the globe targeting the agricultural zones and the protagonists have to crack his code before all are destroyed by the so-called ‘natural’ calamities.

So what books are on your radar? Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
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Hello, everyone! Do you miss me? I sure miss you guys, considering that my blog has been so quiet lately and I apologise for that. In case you are wondering, I am still up and reading. For my friends who follow me on Facebook, you must have known that I have been spending too much of my reading time on playing Gardens of Time and Puzzled Hearts and let me tell you that these games are addictive, especially the former! But... do I ever regret of playing it in the first place? Absolutely not. Aside from taking up part of my time, I have to say not only I have fun playing them but I have also made a few friends along the way. To make things better, I just discovered that one of them (Hello, Melinda!) is a reader too and the other day she asked about a book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett and we ended up having a little chat via the comments.

Despite the fact that I have been spending some time on Facebook games, that does not mean that I will be giving up on reading entirely. Absolutely not! For starters, I love reading too much to give it up completely. My reading progress may be slow lately, but let me assure you that I am reading and my reviews will be up once I have finished reading the books, as always!

Anyways, I am currently reading Forever by Maggie Stiefvater and for those of you who follow this series, you would know that this is the final instalment of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and I can't wait to find out what happened with Sam and Grace, as well as Cole and Isabel, both whom I think have enough chemistry to sizzle the pages also! After this, I have no idea what to read next as I have too many choices in mind - should I read the review copies sent by the wonderful publicists, or should I indulge in those books which have been on my reading list like, forever? Also, I have heard so many good things about The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy, and Jo Nesbo's Harry Hole series starting with The Redbreast. What do you think? Any ideas? And to all Jo Nesbo's fans out there, do you know that there will be a film titled Headhunters based on his novel? (Watch the trailer.)

Onto a non-reading issue, I tried preparing a vegan chicken teriyaki steak yesterday afternoon and I am sad to say my attempt was a half success. The preparation took up some time though, since I need to boil the soybeans thoroughly to make them soft so that I could mash them. Frying them wasn't a problem, but I have to say it is surely a challenge to me to get the sauce right. In the end, I find the sauce to be a bit sweet to our taste, but overall it was a great experience and I have my husband to thank for for helping me with the soybeans mashing and listening to all my rants. We both agreed that if we want to make this dish the next time again, we'd better get a mincer quickly, LOL. (If you are interested in preparing this dish, you may wish to check it out on this link.)

Before I end this post, I am glad to note that BBAW (Book Blogger Appreciation Week) is here again! You can be sure that I will be participating and that I have a few bookbloggers I have in mind for the nominations!

Well I hope you all have a great week!


Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. This month's Mailbox Monday is hosted by Staci of Life in the Thumb.

Here's what I received last week:

1) Love Story by Jennifer Echols (bought from The Book Depository)

What books came into your house last week?