My Small Kucing Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nejla by Barbara Hicthing

Pick this book at the Floating Book Fair  on the ship Logos Hope.

I quote from the cover of the book " A true to life story of love and tragedy in the Middle East".

Nejla got to know about the Bible from her stay with a cousin and she feel in love with it. When she went home, she brought along a copy of the Bible. Each day she reads it and learn to let Jesus into her heart.

Nejla is very close to her sister Leila. In fact, their father have arranged for them to marry two brothers, Hussien and Hamid. Leila is unhappy with the match as everyone knows that Hussien heart is blinded with rage. Nejla tries to help Leila by telling her about the Bible and God.

Subsequently, Nejla married Hamid and they found love. However, her mother-in-law hated her and tried as much as she can to make life miserable for Nejla. Nevertheless, Nejla with the love of God in her heart tried to forgve and love her mother-in-law and love her husband. And this love subsequently broke her.

First of all, I am not sure this book is a work of fiction or non-fiction. In some website, this book is classified as Biography while some classified as fiction.

Notwithstanding whether it's a work of fiction or not, I find that this book is hard to believe. There are so many bad things that happen to Nejla and yet she stayed calm.

Her conversion and the conversion of the people around her seems to be so "easy". For example the conversion of her Father-in-law.

The conversion of Leila is more believable as Leila made bargain with God if God would help her so that she don't have to marry Hussien, she would believe in God. That was what she believed until Nejla corrected her. Yes, that part is more believable as many had "bargain" with God although it does not work this way.

And why is that her Mother-in-law hates Nejla and Hussien's ex-wife, Serap, so much? The reason given was her mother-in-law wants her sons to love her and her alone. The idea does not hold water for me as it is the norm in the Middle East to arrange the marriage of their children. If that is the case, at some point of time, her MIL would have agreed to take Serap and Nejla as her Daughters-in-law.

In my opinion, the solution to the problems presented in this book is too simple. Nejla sounds like a Saint.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Diamond Smugglers by Ian Fleming

I pick up this book at the Subang Jaya Book EXchange Programme.

This is not another James Bond book but it's a non-fiction work of Ian Fleming. It highlighted the truth about a huge diamond smuggling operation. An estimated ten million pounds worth of diamonds were smuggled out from Africa every year.

It's interesting to read how the diamonds were smuggled out and also why the diamond company decided to band together to form monopoly of the industry.

Overall, it was an informative reads but not a page turner.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews

Weezie Foley is an antiques dealer. It's a week before Christmas and she is in a frenzy to decorate her little shop for the annual Savannah Historical District Contest.

Most of all, she wanted to beat her nemesis, Cookie and Manny. They have been trying to take away her business since they commenced business.

Things got worse when her decorations and things from her display went missing . To top it off,  she seems to be visited by some mysterious person.

Apart from that she is really looking forward to Christmas. But she don't understand why as Christmas draws nearer her long time boyfriend grow moodier.

I truly enjoyed this book. It's light, it Chrismassy and with a bit of intrigue. It warms my heart to read though Weezie gone through so many things and yet she managed to go on with a smile on her face.

For me, it's  well written and brings much cheer to me when I read it.

At the last few pages, the author have added some recipes, her Christmas Playlist and tips on keeping the happy in holidays. I love it especially the tips.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Mrs MisMarriage by Noelle Chua

This is a little bit of light reading that I pick up from Subang Jaya Book Exchange Programme.

The story is about Audrey Lee who is a Singapore girl, studying in Harvard and have a terrific boyfriend, Paul. She had no intention of getting married.

But one day, Paul, unexpectedly pop the question to her. On top of that he got a good job position in Singapore.

She know that Paul and her goes well together and yet she was unprepared for marriage. But refusing him, may lead to them breaking up. In the end, she married him and they moved to Singapore.

Unfortunately for her, Paul had become engrossed with his work after their marriage that they had no time to talk at all.

Suddenly, Audrey found herself lonely. To complicate the matter, many attractive men pop into her life during this period.  This seems to be a recipe for disaster.

I have no high expectation of this book . However, I was not disappointed.

This book is well written. The issues discuss was not far fetched and it could happen in real life. The neglected wife, the suspicious text messages, the online chatting and the non communication, it's all so real.

It's written with much humour too. I can't help laughing when Audrey end up flashing Paul's Boss.

Yes, I like this book.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan

Synopsis from

For decades they have remained close, sharing treasured recipes, honored customs, and the challenges of women shaped by ancient ways yet living modern lives. They are the Hindi-Bindi Club, a nickname given by their American daughters to the mothers who left India to start anew—daughters now grown and facing struggles of their own.

For Kiran, Preity, and Rani, adulthood bears the indelible stamp of their upbringing, from the ways they tweak their mothers’ cooking to suit their Western lifestyles to the ways they reject their mothers’ most fervent beliefs. Now, bearing the disappointments and successes of their chosen paths, these daughters are drawn inexorably home.

Kiran, divorced, will seek a new beginning—this time requesting the aid of an ancient tradition she once dismissed. Preity will confront an old heartbreak—and a hidden shame. And Rani will face her demons as an artist and a wife. All will question whether they have the courage of the Hindi-Bindi Club, to hold on to their dreams—or to create new ones.

An elegant tapestry of East and West, peppered with food and ceremony, wisdom and sensuality, this luminous novel breathes new life into timeless themes.

My Comments

I find that this book is strangely echos Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club. In that book, there were mothers highlighting their experience and the daughters highlighting their personal life as an immigrant in America.

However, I find that some characters in the book were given a lot of space and time while character like  Uma Basu McGuinness and Meenal were not given enough space.

It's really interesting to read about the Indian culture and history. The author did a good job in describing the rivalry between the Muslim religion and the Hindus. I didn't know there was a holocaust. The only one that I knew of was the Jews by Hitler.  I learnt something new here .

I think with more practice and experience, one of these days the author can be the next Amy Tan.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An Amish Wedding by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller and Kelly Long

Synopsis From

Three Amish women yearn for the perfect wedding.
"The Perfect Secret" by Kelly Long
Rose Bender has recently become engaged to handsome but somber Luke Raber. She agrees out of a sense of duty and a willingness to settle for solid friendship as a basis for the engagement. But as she watches her friend's excitement over her soon-to-be wedding, Rose wonders if there shouldn’t be more to her relationship with Luke. She begins to examine Luke and his life more closely and is amazed when she stumbles upon an exciting, secret side of him that engages her mind and heart.

"The Perfect Match" by Kathleen Fuller
Naomi Fisher has had great success at matchmaking her family members and friends. Now with her sister’s wedding right around the corner, Naomi wonders why she’s able to find husbands for her friends and family, but not one for herself.
"A Perfect Plan" by Beth Wiseman
Priscilla King has been planning to marry Chester Lapp since she was sixteen years old, and when Chester proposes on Priscilla’s nineteenth birthday, wedding plans begin immediately. What wasn't planned was all the problems the couple encounters as their big day approaches. A house disaster, a ruined wedding dress, and a sick attendant all make the couple wonder if God's sending them signs to call things off.
My Comments :
This is not my first time reading Amish fiction. In fact I have read "Amish Love" by the same authors which I have enjoyed very much.
This time, I was rather disappointed by Kelly Long's "The Perfect Secret". I feel that the story was a bit dragging. I wish the pace of this story is a bit faster.
As for "The Perfect Match" , it was fun. I am not sure how many of you would categories this story as fun but for me I enjoyed it. The character Naomi was a very charming lady.
Beth Wiseman's "A Perfect Plan" is not bad too. It houses many interesting things that would or may happen dring planning a wedding.
Despite some what disappointed by the first story, I find that the link between these 3 novella makes this book an enjoyable reads. It's perfect for those who are thinking of marriage.
Many thanks to the authors for thoughtfulness in adding a Glosary at the beginning of the book. It certainly helped me understand the story much better.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com   The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Thorn of Lion City by Lucy Lum

Synopsis at

Lucy Lum was the third of seven children, born in Singapore in 1933 into a Chinese immigrant family ruled with an iron hand by Popo, her fearsome and superstitious grandmother. Popo is a firm believer in the old ways, in stomach-churning herbalist remedies, in the dubious fortune-telling of mystics, and in mischievous little girls like Lucy knowing their place. She is forever dispensing her own wicked brand of justice, much to the despair of her adopted family.

This is Singapore in the 1940s, a former British colony now living under the specter of the invading Japanese—the hungry worms crawling down from the north, as Lucy knows them—and fear floods the streets. Lucy's father, a kind-hearted and talented linguist, finds himself being used by the occupiers as a translator, and brings back terrifying stories of his merciless employers, which he confides to his daughter under the heavy teak table they use as a make-shift air raid shelter in the bedroom.

With a fresh and powerful voice, The Thorn of Lion City breaks the long silence of the Singaporean Chinese. Heartbreaking and ultimately triumphant, it speaks of the softly-spoken, redemptive love between a father and daughter.

My Comment :

This is a truly an amazing writing. The way she wrote have an easy flow and easy for me to understand. I can imagine the scenes that she described.

I have read this book before but some how it's still good to read it again.

My heart really goes out to her for being an outcast by her shrew of a mother and grandmother. Her poor father suffered silently.

It was very touching to read about she being framed and the tortured by the two elders. Reading that, I wished that this book have been a work of fiction and not at Memoir. At least, those dreadful thing would have happen in the author's imagination only.

This bring up a malay proverb "Berat mata memandang, berat lagi bahu yang memikul". The meaning is that we are sad to see people going through hardship but it's much worse for the one who had to go through the hardship.

This is a good book to read to remind us how lucky we are now.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Diplomatic Corpse by Anne Marshall Zwack

Synopsis from

When Maggie's husband, smooth, silver-haired, patrician Jeremy, the British Ambassador to Vienna, drops dead unexpectedly of a heart attack, she is stunned.

But her shock soon turns to fury when she discovers that he died in the arms of a beautiful blonde Viennese hostess - and that moreover while she, Maggie, was expected to make all sorts of domestic economies on behalf of the British tax-payer, Jeremy and the athletic Mausie had been indulging in expensive sea-food dinners, skiing trips and all manner of luxuries. But Mausie turns out to be, as it were, only the tip of the iceberg.

As Maggie uncovers a trail of infidelities conducted under her nose in every one of the European cities she had so dutifully made her home in Jeremy's majestic wake, she determines to exact her revenge.

With Zoltan, Jeremy's mournful Hungarian driver, she embarks on a magnificent Grand Tour of their former postings, wreaking a pleasurable havoc wherever she goes.

Along the way, Maggie undergoes her own transformation and learns to re-evaluate her marriage, her own abilities - and just who her friends really are!

My Comments:

Picked up this book from the Big Bad Wolf (BBWS) 2011. I thought it would be just another mindless Chick lit.

However it turns out to be quite different. For me it was entertaining full of humor.

The story like is funny and witty. Maggie is a genius in thinking up uncoventional plans to extract revenge against those who had wronged her.

It's something like Olivia Goldsmith's "The First Wives Clubs" less the heavy discussion stuff.

I guess, it's a good read if one is in need of some cheering up.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Flower Drum Song by C Y Lee

Synopsis from

Originally published in 1957, The Flower Drum Song was a groundbreaking work of popular literature. An immediate bestseller, it inspired the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

This charming, bittersweet tale of romance and the powerful bonds of family tells the story of Wang Ta, who wants what every young American man wants: a great career and a woman to love.

Living in San Francisco's Chinatown-with his widowed father, Old Master Wang, who misses the old way of life in China, and his younger brother, who just wants to be a normal American teenager-Wang Ta becomes involved with a series of women as he searches for love and the American dream. Comic, poignant, and sexy, The Flower Drum Song is an astute portrayal of immigrants struggling with assimilation. This edition features a new introduction by David Henry Hwan

My Comments :

I got this from Subang Jaya Book Exchange Programme thanks to nylusmilk.

At first I have no idea why this book is so popular. Everyone that noticed this book was exclaiming "wow!".

After reading it, i know the reason. It's really a wonderful book.

It describe the crash of the old Patriarch trying to get his sons to retain the old Chinese culture and the pull of modernisation and western culture.

It also described vividly what was happening at Chinatown during that time.

The character, May Li and Old Man Li, added much charm in the book. It's refreshing to read of their naivety and how innocent they were despite that they have been in the service for General White before.

I like the story very much and I wondered Chinese girls at America during that time were as selfish as described by the character Chang.

Yes, this has certainly been an entertaining read for me. My only regret is that I was not born soon enough to watch the musical.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Emily The Strange : Stranger and Stranger by Rob Reger and Jessica Gruner.

This is the second Emily The Strange book that I have read.

In this book, Emily, some what of an inventor with a mischievous strike got in trouble when she accidentally created a duplicate of herself.

Maybe that's why the synopsis at the back of the book says Double Trouble?

In the beginning, all are well. But at a longer time, more and more strange things happened.

For example the fake Emily trying to kill her when she was sleeping or that her golem, Raven, was holding an axe as Emily woke up.

Then there is the curious case of their neighbor, Venus Fang Fang who seems to have a grudge against Emily.

This book reminds me of us human have their good and evil sides. Just like in Harry Potter, there was a scene where even Dumbledore dare not trust Harry completely. Even Harry himself was afraid that his evil side would take over.

Frankly, I enjoyed this book more than "Emily The Strange : The Lost Days". Could be attributed to I have grown accustomed to their style of writing or that the story in this book is easier to understand. Good versus evil

I recommend this book for young adult both boys and girls.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Emily The Strange : The Lost Days by Rob Reger & Jessica Gruner

I stumbled upon this book at The Subang Jaya Book Exchange Programme.

I picked it up due to it's unique cover.

When I open the 1st page, I discovered the print is upside down. After careful thinking, I guess it's not printing error. It is done purposely for marketing purposes maybe.

Anyway, this caused me to examine this book further.

I discovered that it's being written in a unique way. The book is full of illustration and at times, point form is used. Very interesting.

The story is about this 13 year old girl called Emily. She "appeared" in the small town of Blackrock without her memory.

She got no identity. Nothing on her that can give any clue on who she is and what she is doing there.

Temporary she stayed in an old refrigerator cardboard box behind the town bar cum Museum cum others.

In her search for her identity, she met the mysterious monosyllable Raven and weird kid with a parrot Jakey. More suspense awaits as she gradually found out more about herself.

I sort of like this book coz it's so unconventional. Don't expect logic in this book. It's really wonderful to immerse myself into the mysterious and strange world that has been created by Rob Reger and Jessica Gruner.

To me this book suit young adult no matter if is a boy or girl.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

More About Boy: Roald Dahl's Tales From Childhood by Roald Dahl

Would you like to know a funny thing? I didn't know Roald Dahl is well know author of Children books until the recent years.

I have always had the impression that he wrote adult books. His first book that I read was a Hardcover book which housed 6 of his famous book - "Kiss Kiss; Over to You; Switch Bitch; Someone Like You; Four Tales of the Unexpected; My Uncle Oswald". I love those.

I bought More About Boy: Roald Dahl's Tales From Childhood from Book Tree not long ago. Obvious from the title, the story is about his childhood staring with his Norwegian father who travel away from his village and had become a successful man. His first wife pass away and during one of his trip back to his homeland, he married Roald Dahl's mother.

His father pass away when he was young but his mother held on with the family and believe that education British education is the best. He was sent to a boarding school till he graduated.

Reading this, I did not feel bored. I found that Roald Dahl could be an imp at times. His mischievous plots sometimes lead to the cane meeting his bum.

There are plenty of photographs and letters that his mother kept, printed here.

There were also School Report/Report Card from his school to his mother which mentioned that his "idea limited" "consistently idle: too pleased with himself" "I have never met anyone who so persistently wrote words meaning the exact opposite of what he obviously intended".

For me this is certainly and entertaining book.

Have you read Enid Blyton "Malory Tower Series" and "St Claire Series"? or  Elinor Brent-Dyer's "The Chalet School Series"? The stories about boarding school, pranks and the school master/mistress are fictional. If you enjoy them, then you will surely enjoy reading about Roald Dahl's experience with boarding school.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5. It's a keeper.