My Small Kucing Blog

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Deer and the Cauldron, Vol. 1 by Jin Yong, John Minford (Translator)



Synopsis by goodreads.com

Also known as Duke of Mount Deer, this is the first of a three-volume picaresque historical romance by China's best-loved author. It tells the story of Trinket, an irreverent and comic anti-hero, and his adventures through China over more than twenty years at the beginning of the Qing dynasty. 

The story spans vast territories, from desert islands to northern ice fields, from Peking and the Imperial Court to the sacred mountain of Wu-tai-shan to the legendary Shaolin Temple to the boudoir of Princess Sophia. Rich in plot and historical detail, the book is peopled by a multitude of characters, including members of the Brotherhood of River and Lake, song girls, gamblers, beggars, itinerant (and often fighting) monks, Taoists, Cossacks, Jesuits, herbalists, dissident literati, corrupt magistrates, Manchu princes, Ming loyalists, and the one-armed Princess with the deadly 'flicking' style of kung fu. 

Anyone with a taste for popular culture or modern China will find The Deer and the Cauldron a fascinating read

My Comments : 

I have watch the drama series that was based on this book when I was just a child. I remember I love it very much. Oh the lovable "Whiskers" and also the Xiao Bao(Trinkets). 

It has been an unbelievable experience to read this book. Thank you very much to the person who took the time to translate it into English.

What I like about this book ....well... everything. Love the Kungfu and the politics.  There are certain parts that is better expressed in the drama . However, certain parts also better in the book form. Leave it to readers' imagination.

What I dislike? Not to say dislike but rather there is something lost when it's translated in English.  At times, I find it hard to grasp what is it about. For someone like me who have a bit of knowledge on how the story goes, it was okay. But I suspect for those who have nil knowledge on Kungfu flicks and stuff like that will have a hard time understanding.

Overall, am giving it 4 stars out of 5. Am now looking forward to reading Vol 2 of the said story. 




Monday, July 14, 2014

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith


Synopsis from www.goodreads.com


When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days--as he has done before--and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.


When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...


A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.


My Comments :

Cormoran Strike was hired to look for a missing author,Owen Quine, by the author's wife. Soon things turned sinister and heated up as Strike go on with the investigation. There was even an attempt on his life.

What I like about this book is that Robin, his assistant, is taking a more active part in the story. I love her character and starting to dislike her fiance, Matthew. Love the chemistry between Strike and Robin.

What I dislike about this book is that though everyone seems to have reason(s)  to want the author, Owen, to disappear but their reasons seems to be shaky and muddled. I did not feel the thrill of the investigation. Not much digging done. More like both Strike and Robin go from one person to another a listened . From there Strike made a judgement and found the culprit. Feel it's lack of "umph" factor.

Nevertheless it's a good second suspense book from the author.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Big Bad Wolf Books Double Trouble Sale - Penang & MIECC 2014



Gosh! I think it's first time every they "open fire" in two place at once....

PENANG and KL...or rather Selangor as MIECC is in Selangor, right?

Good to see that they are expanding to various states in Malaysia. At least for those who can't come all the way to KL will still be able to enjoy books at a low price.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Putrajaya International Book Fair 2014


Saw this poster some weeks ago. Gonna be a big fair I heard. Kinda keen to see what they have there as it's said have activities for all family members

Still undecided whether it will be worth travelling all the way to Putrajaya for this as it's an hour away in smooth traffic.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Judge Dee series by Robert Van Gulik

Summary :

In this series, Judge Dee, magistrate in China during the Tang Dynasty (600s). He is a semi-fictional character based on the historical figure Di Renjie, magistrate and statesman of the Tang court.

The author Robert Van Gulik came across this character in a second-hand book store in Tokyo . He then translated the book into English and used the character and style to write his own Judge Dee historical mysteries.

Mainly it deals with mysteries and crimes that Judge Dee managed to solved in the beginning of his career.

My Comments :

I have come across this series when Bookalicious posted up that they have Judge Dee books in their store.

Intrigue, I search online and found some free ebooks. The first book that I read in the series was Poisoned Bride And Other Judge Dee Mysteries . After that book, I was hooked.

I have been fascinated by Justice Bao series in the television. Justice Bao is about a good judge that is just and fair in the old days. I knew there are a lot of Judge Bao stories in Chinese books but I have not come across and English book for that. Hence am very excited to find Judge Dee series carries the same tone of stories as Judge Bao.

What I love about is that each book have a complicated plot. Judge Dee does not only solve one mystery but sometimes 2-3 cases at the same time. Plot are usually beautiful and smooth. 


It was also very helpful that the author added in the background of the ancient justice systems in either beginning or at the end of each book so that readers can understand more why and how Judge Dee can come to the said solution and on how the author took the motive from real cases that had occurred before.

However , I feel that there are some scene especially the torture and execution maybe disturbing to some people. 


I was a bit disappointed at
The Chinese Nail Murders



as it have the similar plot and solutions

Poisoned Bride And Other Judge Dee Mysteries

The last 3 books were hard for me to read as they have a heavier tone. In these 3 books, Judge Dee have more senior position . He is getting old and feeling worn out(Sounds a bit like Sherlock Holmes in his last legs?). Sad to say that some of my favourite characters in the series started to disappear. 

Overall, am giving this series 4 stars out of 5 stars

For more information, check out the series in Goodreads. 








Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sneak Peek to My Library

It's unbelievable. I have not been posting here for nearly half a year. I have been busy with house moving. That was followed by year end holidays and the back to school rush.

Today have a bit of time and here is the sneak peek of the library. It's "work-in-progress".  Things are still pretty messy. Not easy to arrange over 2000 books and  at the same time feed my reading addiction.

 Finally, my pride and joy can be "released" from their jail. I do love Arthur Hailey's books very much.

 Some "light" reading to cheer me up after some depressing books.

 Who doesn't have or have not read a Dan Brown book? 

Another pride and joy. Books by a Malaysian author. Only books missing is Nanyang. It's really great to read about time before Malaysia is formed.


 My near completion of Sue Grafton alphabets series.

 Another terrific series by a talented author, Shamini Flint. The topic she touched in her books are controversial and one will appreciate it more if ones have some knowledge of history and political background on each of the country touched

 These are the "golden oldies" . My reads when I was in Primary school.

 Took quite long for me to save up my pocket monies back then to buy each book. Hopefully, one day my son will read them to improve his Bahasa Malaysia language. But then now am not sure that it will do as Bahasa Malaysia have evolved quite a lot since my days in school. 



 I bet everyone who is a keen reader would have come across or heard of Pearl S. Buck "The Good Earth "  at one time or another. But have you heard of the other titles?

Some of the older books here were trash to others while it's a treasure for me.

 Ho! Ho! Ho!...hands up who likes Harry Potter series.

Another of my addiction...Isaac Asimov series. Thanks to Thomas Heng who first introduced books from this author to me.

Well, guess it's back to work now. Will post up more reviews when I have the time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth



Synopsis By www.goodreads.com

One choice can transform you, or destroy you.

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.


My Comments:

Story begins with unrest starting everywhere. Seems that it's dead ends wherever Tris turned to. She seems to be torn between friendship and loyalty; love and the greater good of everyone.

The pace is fast enough for me but it was not as good as supporting characters are dropping dead left and right. A bit confusing. By middle of the book I feel kind of frustrated as every thing and everywhere seems to be hopeless and bleak.

But by the ending I was intrigue. There was a special twist in the end which makes book three promising. Hopefully it will deliver a good explaination about the things that happens in Book 2 here

Overall, I rate Book #2 3 stars out of 5