My Small Kucing Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sidney Sheldon's After The Darkness by Tilly Bagshawe

Last week I went to Big Book Shop Moving Out Clearance Sale. To my delight, this book was one of those on sale. Got this for RM7-50 only.

I feel in love with Tilly Bagshawe's works after reading "Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of The Game", purchased from BookXcess last year.

Sidney Sheldon's After The Darkness tells the exciting story of Grace Brookstein, the young and beautiful wife of billionaire Lenny Brookstein. Her life is the envy of all her friends and even sisters. What is not to envy? She have everything that a woman wants, a loving husband, a charmed life, rich and surrounded by tonnes of "friends".

That is until the death of her husband in a tragic sailing "accident". After his death, it was discovered that billions of dollars were missing from the company. FBI suspected Lenny and Grace took the money and had prepared to run away before Lenny's "accident".

Grace's life took a drastic dive. Not only that she become penniless, all her "friends" and her "sisters" also deserted her. She become the most hated woman in the country.

She tried to clear Lenny's and her name, she was drawn into well planned lies and deceit which sole purpose to make her as the "'scapegoat". When she became "dis-Grace", there was someone who "helped" and stood by her. She thought she had found a true friend.Unknown to her, this friend was a "wolf in sheep's clothing". Grace was used and betrayed mercilessly.

There was a surprise ending which drove the knife of betrayal deeper into her heart. A Judas.

Yes, this books is about false sense of security and betrayal. It's a world where the naive and those with kind intention were fed to the dogs. Lenny and Grace had showed kindness to their friend. But when no benefit can be had with association with Grace, these friend become like "pea forgetting the pods'". There were so many Judas in this book.

Some may ask, with so many betrayal and will this book make sense? Yes, the book makes sense. The betrayal were not overly exaggerate. I may not have a degree in Psychology but I know something about human nature and the need of survival. During desperate time, self preservation tends to dominate.

I have to salute Ms Tilly Bagshawe. I found that this book is equal if not more exciting that some of Sidney Sheldon's novel.

There are many exciting twist in the plot. None were confusing nor unbelievable. She really makes my heart bleed for Grace. I love the way how she developed the character "Grace" from being a naive sort of personality into a woman with inner straight-like a bamboo bending but not breaking under strong wind.

This is certainly a very good book. I wonder if Ms Tilly's next book will be able to surpass this one

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Slumgirl Dreaming : My Journey to the Stars by Rubina Ali with 2 Others

I am not fond of biography as some tend to drag. I prefer memoir as it's less formal.

Saw this thin memoir selling at Bookxcess the other day. I had read the book, Slumdog Millionaire and watched part of the show. I love the book, Slumdog Millionaire very much. Hence when I saw this, I was curious as I recalled there was a scandal about this not so long ago.

It tells the story of young Rubina Ali who lived in the bleak of poverty in the slum in Mumbai. From young she thought everywhere else is the same as the slum she was born in. That is until she was old enough to watch Television drama which makes her dream of a live as an actress.

She was lucky as she was selected from among 500 slum children to be in the multi-Oscar winning film by Danny Boyle- Slumdog Millionaire.

This book tells the story how she lived before she was selected for the film and what transpired during the filming and the subsequent stardom.

At the end of the book she expressed some regrets and her disappointment on empty promises by certain people to her and her family. But life goes on.

I found that this is an easy read. Finished this book in two hours. Yes, very interesting.

The way she described her life in the slum and the aftermath was captivating.

In this book she seems to be more far mature for her age. This does raise some doubts in my mind. I am not sure whether this is true or it's just window dressing. Do we ever really know a person? Sometimes, we don't even know ourselves.

Nevertheless, there was a nice feeling when reading this. Who doesn't like the story of Ugly Duckling turning into a Swan?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reviving Local Dialect Cuisines by Pang Nyuk Yoon

I was the lucky winner of this recipe book from Veronica of Quay Po Cooks on her Mother's Day Give Away. Thank you very much, Veron.

This is a very useful book for me.  Those of you who know me well, you will know my cooking taste horrible. Maybe I can improve some by following the recipe here...but then...maybe not..It depends on talent too.

The book is written in two language, English and Chinese. It starts off with describing the food legacy and a short excerpt about the author.

This book featuring cuisine from 5 major dialects - Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew, Hakka and Hainanese. Each part starts off with a bit about the dialects in Singapore and the heritage.

What I love about this book is each recipe the author would give the name of the ingredients in English and in Chinese for those like me who are "Banana Chinese".

For example, this 10 treasure Duck Soup. Root Poria is called Fu Shen and White peony root is called Bai Shao in Chinese. This definitely made it easier for me to shop for the ingredient from my local Chinese Medicine Hall.

Yes, this is an interesting cook book and useful too.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Terrific Photos From EOE Online

Still remember my post on trying out EOE Online last week? I received the photographs a few days ago.

Bought these two photos album from them at RM5 each. Each album can fit 80 pieces of 4R size photo. The front and back cover is made of plastic. To me, the price is reasonable.

The photos turns out quite good especially outdoor photos with a lot of greenery because EOE Online use FUJI paper to print.

The color turns out very good.

This is what happen when I can't make up my mind on which photo to print and wish to save some $$. I collage them all into a print. I was not sure what page format to use when creating the collage. Whether A4 or Letter Paper or others. Hence, I simply choose one, upload the photo and hoped for the best. Lucky for me the EOE Online staffs were very alert and adjusted photos so that it would fit the 8R size without having the head "chop" off.

Will I use EOE Online service again? Definitely a "YES".

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Story revolves around the life of two woman who are of different generation in Afghanistan.

Mariam was a harami (illegitimate child). From early on her mother have told her that the life as a woman is hard. Her mother warned her about her father but she still sided with her father more than her mother.

Then her mother pass away and her father was forced to marry her off to a man who is older than her by 30 years.

Laila  is the beloved child of an educated couple. Theirs were a love match and they brought up their children to be open minded.

When there was a war, Laila's two brothers were drafted. Her mother was heart broken and taken to her bed. Her father in turn pour all his love to Laila. He had wanted Laila to have an education.

Laila have a childhood friend Tariq. They are as close as two peas in a pod. one of Tariq's leg was blown off by a mine when he was a kid. Nevertheless, he was Laila champion.

All went well till a tragedy happen. Mariam and Laila were thrown together. Both their fate were link together.

This is indeed a splendid read. Yes, the story was sad but it was not depressing sort of sadness. It's more of missed opportunity type. Lives wasted.

Mr Khaled Hosseini is very good at bringing u the right emotion and reaction in this book. The story have ring of truth instead of fiction.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker

This is a typical tale of why we should not tell lies, for adult.

Norman Huntley and his friend Henry were in a church when they “invented” an 83 year old woman, Ms Hargreaves. Then they thought it’s funny to post a letter to this “Ms Hargreaves” and invited her to come over for a visit.

It was fun while it lasted. But imagine their surprise when Norman received a letter from a Miss Hargreaves saying that she would be pleased to pay him a visit. At first, they assumed someone were pulling their legs.

As the day drawn near, they start to panic as many things they invented seems to be coming true..up the the part about a Harp..

That day they met the train, and to their surprise Ms Hargreaves was every bit like what they have thought up, including the dog and the parrot.

Here arrival really brought havoc to Norman’s life. People start to wonder where did they meet and speculate. He tried telling the truth to his father and girlfriend. His father believed him but his girlfriend was doubtful.

In order to cover one lie, Norman have to invent more lies.

The matter turn worse for Norman when he had a fight with Ms Hargreaves and she started to make his life miserable.

How can he get back to his life again? How to make Ms Hargreaves go away?

This is a very interesting and not to say funny book. It have it’s funny moment. Very descriptive on funny moments.

I love the eccentric Miss Hargreaves and felt that it serves Norman right for telling lies. It's not that he wanted to tell lies but it's like a norm to him to talk without thinking.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No Place Like Holmes By Jason Lethcoe

Book Description From

The new resident in 221A Baker Street is about to give Sherlock Holmes a run for his magnifying glass!
When Griffin is sent to stay with his detective uncle at 221A Baker Street for the summer, he is certain that his uncle must be the great Sherlock Holmes! But Griffin is disappointed to discover that Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street and his uncle lives unit 221A. His uncle is a detective, just not a very good one. But when Griffin meets a woman with a case that Holmes has turned away for being too ridiculous, he and his uncle team up to help her. Along the way, Griffin shows his uncle just what it means to have true faith in God, even when the case challenges that. The woman claims that her husband was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster, but monsters aren’t real—or are they?

My Comments:

I have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes stories and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to review this book by Thomas Nelson Publisher through their blogger review programme. As usual, I am not required to give a positive review. Just an honest review would do.

This books is geared towards young readers of the age 9 to 12 years old. It's well written and resonant the gentle teaching of the old school like respecting the elders. I really missed this type of books. The market is being flooded by too many vampires type of books for young readers and I think it is refreshing to get a hold of books that bears some of the former theme.

Adventures and excitement awaits readers of this book. It's certainly a page turner. At times, Griffin is portrayed more mature than his age. As usual with mystery and detective novels, this story has many twists and turns. Nevertheless, it is impressive how Jason Lethcoe managed to incorporate into the story, the believe in God, Prayer and a little faith can go a long without sounding to preachy.

One thing that I don't understand is why this book is classified as Non-Fiction. Aren't Sherlock Holmes a fictional character?

Overall, this is a good read worth 4 stars out of 5.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Get Your Photos Printed at EOE Online

A year ago my desktop crashed and a lot of photographs that I stored there were gone. It was a real heart breaking experience. That is why I told myself, I must get the photographs printed. I preferred to have hard copy of the photographs.

I start to survey the cost of getting the photographs printed. Then a friend, Claire, told me about this EOE Online. It's an online photographs printing service that offer good service with reasonable pricing.

Found the website and the instruction. I can get the photographs printed in a few easy steps.

It's very easy to do.
  • Register here
  • upload your photos into an album. EOE Online offers unlimited storage.
  • select the photos you wish print from the album
  • select the print size and print quality
  • select payment choice (credit card or Maybank2U or bank in transfer)
  • pay them and the photos would be delivered to your doorstep.
This certainly is an attractive offer and hassle free. I can't help myself and registered. The system is indeed easy to use. There are step to step guide on how to upload the photo.

I have just submitted a batch of photographs to be developed.

Gosh! I was surprised when the system calculated the payment that I should make. I thought the amount payable would have been higher. But then I noticed that currently they are having this promotion, 4R print at only RM0.30 and free delivery* for orders above RM35.00.  This offer is unbelievable.

I have surveyed elsewhere and most shops quoted me RM0.35 to RM0.50 for 4R print and I have to drive all the way there to deliver them the thumb drive. Then wait another day to pick up the prints. With EOE Online, not only that I get to save some money but also travelling time too!

I hope the photographs will arrive soon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah

Isabelle Lee is an American girl. Her parents were from China. In her heart she is an American but people around her viewed her differently.

She can speak only "kitchen Chinese" not proper Chinese.Her mother and Aunt, the typical Chinese, are forever pressing her to get marry and have children

When she lost her job and dumped by her boyfriend, she was at lost on what to do. Her best friend suggested that she need a change of scenery and among the suggestion was that she goes to China for a change.

At first she thought it was a crazy idea but when the situation become too pressing, she decided it's not too crazy after all and decide to go to China. After all, her elder sister, Claire is in China and  is a big shot lawyer there.

Hence starts her adventure in China. Claire found her a job in a Expat Magazine. She venture into the realm which she loves - food review. At first she was doubtful whether she could handle the work as her Chinese is not the standard Chinese. It's more of kitchen Chinese which she pick up from listening to her parents and aunts talking informally.

Nevertheless, Ed, the editor was willing to help her out. From there she rebuilt her life bits by bits. She got to know more about Claire. Seems that Claire have turned into a beautiful swan in China but is she truly happy?

Meantime, Isabelle love life seems to bloom too with two amazing guys at her heels. Who would she choose.

Usually, the books that I pick up which relates to China involves a lot of heartache and tears like The Good Earth and Peony's Love. I was expecting a similar type of story for this book. I was surprised that this is not such book

Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading it very much. It's refreshing. This story seems to be so normal, in a good way. The flow of the story was smooth and the plot were interesting.

The scene and characters felt authentic. It's like taking sneak a peek into the life of a real person. Ya, ya a "Kaypoh" (busybody). It's fun to read about Claire and Isabella .

People say loves is blind and it was actually so here. There are times when I felt like reaching into the book and give Claire and Isabella a shake to wake them up.

Yes, this book certainly give a fresh breath of live on books related to China. There are just too many tearful books in the market right now. Maybe this will be a new trend for coming books that relates to China. Chinese descendants from all over the world going back to China and experiencing China. Stories being told from their point of view instead of the from Maoist Era.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Gap Year For Grown Ups by Annie Sanders

Sarah Lewis is married with a predictable husband, David and two grown kids who are twins. They have just moved out to go to college.

Now Sarah is having a sort of empty nest syndrome. She felt bored and frustrated of doing the same thing daily. She got married to early and had not enjoyed life before being saddle with a family to take care off. Now the kids have gone, she felt there must be something more to life than this.

One day, she just can't take it any more and she told her husband that she is leaving. She left and went to France. She stayed with her bestie. Before long, she had her music and the company of a gorgeous man. But soon, disaster struck.

This books is not your typical chit lit as it dives into issues regarding family like her daughter Claire hanging out with the wrong crowds, extra-marital affairs and the result on the family and children.

However, this book did not click with me as I find that Sarah is a very shallow woman. A rather selfish one. Although she have blabber that she have made a lot of sacrifice in the marriage, but who did not?

For me, the emotions expressed by the characters in this book were lacking of authenticity. Nothing outstanding that makes me cry or makes me laugh.

The ending was too perfect.

This may be a good read for others as each person have different preference in books

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Don't Look Twice By Andrew Gross

Life was good for the local detective, Ty Hauck. Though he was divorced, the break was a amicable one. He gets to see his daughter and he have a new girl friend.

But then a day trip with his daughter to downtown turned into a blood bath when a gunman suddenly open fire into the store.

From a glance it looks like a revenge. But is it as simple as that. As Ty dig future, many parties seems to tried to advice him to change his course and do not pursue the investigation.

He was determined to get to the bottom of it. How far is he willing to go? The more he dig, he does not only put himself in danger but also of his family. Even his en strangled brother Warren also seems to be entangled in all of it.

I find that Ty is not a lovable character. Someone just opened fire at them and his daughter were in shock. Yet all he can think of is his work. Left the daughter to go to the hospital alone.

I love the beginning and the middle but when comes to the ending, I was kinda lost. The reason for the blood bath was just too big to digest

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Taikor by Khoo Kheng Hor

I have been yearning to read this book ever since I read his other book titled Mamasan.

Taikor is a historical saga the life of Ya Loong from 1922 to 1982. He s the eldest son and have two younger brothers. He was born in Thailand but when his father pass away, his mother bring all of them to Penang to seek the help of her sister.

Later on, his mother caught the eyes of a rich man and she become his wife. He was a widower with three daughters.

Although Ya Loong was barely 10 years old, he was very matured. And because of this, he constantly loggerhead with his step father. His step father decided that he cannot control Ya Loong any more and decided to sent Ya Loong to China in order to learn a trade from his Uncle there.

Sadly, he got in to trouble in Shanghai and had to come back to Penang to help his step father. Things did not work out and from that moment on he was on his own.

He had gone through the Japanese Occupation period, the lawless period and seen the forming of Malaya. Throught out that time he slowly rise into the position of a Taikor in the Penang underworld. As he grows older, he tries to break from his triad activities but somehow, people would still come to him for advices.

I love any novel that got to to with Malaysia. Of course I was delighted to read this book. It's full of historical events and happening. Although the author did say he changed some of the dates of the event to coincide with the happening in this book, I find that it is very exciting

Ya Loong is just such a powerful character and have vision for the future.

This book is the 2nd printing in 2008. Noted two typo errors:-

Page 141,  paragraph 3 "You think I'm a diety or something?..."

Page 240, Paragraph 4, " His scared member and jewels were cut off?"

Nevertheless, these two tiny error did not hinder my enjoyment of this book.

I would highly recommend this book for readers who wish to know more about the Malaysian history.