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Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review: The Lost Symbol

Title: The Lost Symbol
Author: Dan Brown
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publication: 2009

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object--artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon’s beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

The book follows the same formula as Dan Brown previous novels—the hero was forced to solve some puzzles in order to save something or someone. And in this book, Robert Langdon was forced to hop into an adventure to and solve some puzzles, symbols, code or his friend, Peter Solomon will die. In this adventure, Langdon was joined by Peter's younger sister, Katherine Solomon to save Peter.

As I finished the book, I found out that I got one major problem with this book.

Once I start reading, I just can’t put it down. With the chapters ended with cliffhangers and suspense, it makes me unable to stop myself from pausing from my read. I found myself wanting to continue to read and find out what happen next. In the end, I can’t believe that I finished this book within less than a week!

Overall, I'm impressed by Dan Brown work. I have no interest in Masonic, symbols or anything like it… (thus, I can't comment much on the story line, facts, or whatsoever). But, I still found this book thrilling and entertaining—a great read to enjoy myself. Dan Brown descriptive writing is great. It almost makes me feel that I was there to witness things. Although after reading his previous reading, I found this book a bit predictable to me. But it's a great fiction!

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

#4 Teaser Tuesday: The Lost Symbol

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Paralyzed by fear, he was no longer pounding or shouting. Instead, he had closed his eyes and was doing his best to control his hammering heart and his panicked breathing. - Page 486, The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown.

There's 665 pages! I wonder how long will it takes for me to read this book :O

Book Review: English as Second Language

Title: English as a Second Language
Author: Megan Crane
Genre: Chick Lit
Publication: 2004
Rating: 2/5

Smart, sarcastic Alexandra Brennan is bored with her dead-end job in New York City and uncertain about where her life is headed. But when her smug ex tells her she could never get into graduate school in the United Kingdom, that's precisely what she does. Armed with American cigarettes and extra-strength coffee, Alex leaves home and crosses the Atlantic. She's ready to face all that Great Britain has to offer, including beer, blokes, and more books than she can possibly read in a year. What she discovers, however, is that instead of running away from home, she may have actually found it.

I had read so many great reviews of this book and decided that I should try to read this book too. After reading it, I wasn’t sure what I felt about this book. I’m not sure if I like it or not.

This book is about Alex’s life in graduate school. The story starts off with Alex who moved to the UK to show her ex that she could get into graduate school. She met up with a few friends—Cristina, Melanie, Toby and a few others. Then there were a lot of drinking, partying and smoking going on and I was lost. I wasn't quite sure what this book was about.

I thought that this book was poorly written. The same arguments with Alex and her friends keep on repeating over and over again towards the end—and arguments that seems to lead them nowhere. And all of the sudden, the book ended with the characters completed their year in graduate school. Really??

I was quite disappointed because I’ve seen lots of good reviews and high rating for this book. I don’t think that I wanted to read Megan Crane’s other book (although I heard that her later work is much better). I wasn't convinced. Perhaps this isn’t my cup of tea...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Book Review: I Heart Vegas

Title: I Heart Vegas (I Heart #4)
Author: Lindsey Kelk
Genre: Chick Lit
Publication: 2011
Rating: 4/5

Angela Clark loves her life in New York. She a Brit who’s conquered the Big Apple. Unfortunately, she’s also a Brit who’s lost her job. And when, just a couple of weeks before Christmas, the immigration department gets wind of this, Angela needs to find a new job urgently. Or a husband. And she doesn’t think her boyfriend Alex will be keen.

A girls’ weekend in Vegas with her best friend Jenny seems the perfect way to forget her troubles. From the minute they arrive Angela is swept up in a whirl of cocktails, outrageous outfits, late nights and brushes with the chapel of love. But rather than escaping trouble, Angela is up to her neck in it….

But what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – right?

I have never read any of ‘I Heart’ series. I was first introduced to Lindsey Kelk books with The Single Girl’s To Do List last year. So when I saw this book on sale, I decided to give it a try. Besides, I like Lindsey Kelk writing style in The Single Girl’s To Do List.

I love Lindsey Kelk writing. The writing is witty (something that I always look in anything I read). Lindsey succeeds in making her character; Angela seems so real and easy to relate to.

I find this book an easy read with lots of laugh out loud moment. It is exactly what I look for in any chiclit books — a little bit of romance, friendship and mayhem.

I totally recommend this book to all chicklit fans. I think I’m going to hunt for the rest of the series now. And I will definitely read the continuation of Angela’s journey in I Heart London.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl #2)

Title: The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl #2)
Author: Eoin Colfer
Genre: YA, fantasy, adventure
Publication: 2002
Rating: 4/5

The world's youngest, brightest, and most dangerous criminal mastermind is back!

Artemis Fowl receives an urgent e-mail from Russia, In it is a plea from a man who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya: his father. As Artemis rushes to the rescue, he is stopped by a familiar nemesis, captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon unit. Now, instead of battling the fairies, he is going to have to join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people in the world he loves.

As I mentioned in Teaser Tuesday, I started to read Artemis Fowl series to convince my little sister that it's a good book. And I fell in love with Artemis character after a few pages in book 1.

In the last book, Artemis stole fairy gold from the 'people' and came out alive. In this book, Artemis met with Holly again and joined forces with the fairies. Artemis shall help the fairies with the trouble within LEP, and in exchange, the fairies would help Artemis to save his father.

Well there's one thing for sure: this book is better than the first one. This book is full of action and thrill with a few laugh-out-loud moment. I like how the author develop the character from the first book. Overall, it was an enjoyable read even for someone who rarely read YA genre like me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#3 Teaser Tuesday: The Arctic Incident

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

If the goblins had somehow managed to hook up the terminal to a power source, then all  the safety features would have been activated. Including... - Page 27, Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident, Eoin Colfer.

I recently read my little sister's Artemis Fowl series to prove to her that this book is interesting. A few months ago, she coaxed me into buying this book, and told me that it's boring. I picked up the book, and fell in love with Artemis XD

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Review: The Holmes Affair

Title: The Holmes Affair
Author: Graham Moore
Genre: Crime & Thriller, Mystery, action, adventure
Publication: 2011
Rating: 3/5

A Brutal Killer

Sherlock Holmes' famous creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has a new obsession: a brutal killer who is preying on young and vulnerable woman. Conan Doyle is roaming the dark streets of Victorian London hunting a man who is determined to evade capture.

A Missing Diary

As his search continues, Conan Doyle records the clues the killer leaves behind in a private diary — a diary that, 100 years later, has never been found.

A Deadly Secret

Enter Sherlock Holmes' fanatic, Harold White, who must find the missing diary — and in so doing discover a secret that Conan Doyle risked everything to hide...

I have always been a fan of mystery/detective novel ever since I was very little. I couldn't resist myself to buy this The Holmes Affair when I saw the book on the display.

This book is written in two plots —  one in 1900 and one in 2010, with each story switching after each chapters. The first plot run with Arthur Conan Doyle investigating a murder back in 1900, and the second story with Harold White, a Holmes' fan in searching for Conan Doyle missing diary.

I found that the alternating chapters quite interesting. I find myself much more interested with Harold's mission in finding Conan Doyle's diary. It was fun, adventurous and suspense as compared to Conan Doyle investigation in 1900. I wasn't really satisfied with how the author conclude Conan Doyle investigation. I thought that it was too easy. But, I understand how hard it is to write a mystery fiction (since I have attempt to write one myself). 

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to mystery-adventure fans.

According to some source, The Holmes Affair and The Sherlockian are the same novel with different title.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: Visions of Sugar Plums

Title: Visions of Sugar Plum (A Stephanie Plum Holiday Novel)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre: Chick Lit, Crime & Thriller, Humor
Publication: 2004
Rating: 4/5

It's five days before Christmas and things are not looking merry for Fugitive Apprehension Agent Stephanie Plum. She hasn't got a tree. She hasn't bought any presents. The malls are jam-packed with staggering shoppers. There's not a twinkle light anywhere to be seen in her apartment-and there's a strange man in her kitchen.

Sure, this has happened to Stephanie Plum before. But this guy is different. He's mysterious, sexy-and has his own agenda. His name is Diesel, and he's on a mission. The question is, what does he want with her? Can he help her find a little old toy maker who has skipped out on his bail right before Christmas? Can he survive the Plum family holiday dinner? Can he get Stephanie a tree that doesn't look like it was grown next to a nuclear power plant? These questions and more are keeping Stephanie awake at night. Not to mention the fact that she needs to find a bunch of nasty elves, her sister Valerie has a Christmas "surprise" for the Plums, her niece Mary Alice doesn't believe in Santa anymore, and Grandma Mazur has a new stud muffin. So bring out the plastic reindeer, strap on your jingle bells, and get ready to celebrate the holidays-Jersey style. 

This is the first Stephanie Plum between the numbers novel where Diesel (a character in Evanovich Unmentionable series) was introduced. This book was a quick read with some funny and sexy moment. You will finish this within a couple hours. A good book if you're looking for something with light.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: American Gods

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Publication: 2003
Rating: 3/5

Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident.

Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible.

He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever he the same...

Neil Gaiman's American Gods was probably the strangest book I have ever bought. It wasn't the genre I read. But I decided to give it a try when I saw many people went crazy for Neil Gaiman a few years ago. The thing is, I bought this copy in 2005. I read it halfway up to the part where they were talking about tiger balls. I picked up this book again two weeks ago, and decided to give it a try.

This is my first Neil Gaiman book. I was searching for Stardust, but the book was out of stock. So, I decided to give this one a try. The first part was interesting. But it get a bit confusing after a while. There were lots of characters. And I had a hard time keeping up with what is happening when the scene changed a few times, There were times where I questioned why certain characters were there. They didn't seem important. Some scene makes me wonder if the story strayed from its point.

It was a long read. But it was also a page turner. What makes me continue to finish this book was to find out what happened to Shadow. Neil Gaiman is a talented writer and I enjoyed his writing style and narration throughout the book. I might give his other books a try. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

#2 Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

We were in the stairwell and all of the sudden we were plunged into total darkness. I felt Diesel step closer, felt his hand protectively settle at my waist. - Page 61, Visions of Sugar Plums, Janet Evanovich.

Book Review: Scandal in Spring

Title: Scandal in Spring (The 4th Wallflower Series)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication: 2006
Rating: 2/5

After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman's father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can't snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses—the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone . . . anyone . . . other than Matthew. But she doesn't count on Matthew's unexpected charm . . . or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams.

But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered . . . one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy's wildest fantasies.

This is the final copy of historical romance books that I received from a friend.

This book was alright. The story was predictable. I still love Lisa Kleypas' style. It was smooth and fun to read. She writes good romance.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: The Taste of Innocence

Title: The Taste of Innocence (A Cynster Novel)
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Genre: Historical Romance
Publication: 2007
Rating: 1/5


He knows all too well how dangerous love can be...

Charles Morwellan, eight Earl of Meredith, has seen many happy Cynster unions, but he also watched his father's obsessive love nearly destroy their family. Yet, he knows his duty, and so has chosen a bride. Sarah Conningham is beautiful, intelligent, and knows the value of his offer. Imagine his shock when she refuses to wed for anything less than intense, unbridled, unbounded love.

Now, he's determined to win her! In a tantalizing game of pleasure and persuasion, Charles courts Sarah with excruciating propriety during the day, but each night spirits her away into the moonlit gardens, where he tutors her in the art of passions. Yet, after their wedding, his polite mask returns, leaving Sarah wondering which man she actually married: the controlled aristocrat, or the lover whose touch leaves her gasping. But then Sarah's life is threatened and Charles must discover just how much he is willing to surrender to protect... the taste of innocence.

I have never thought that there were a day that I would rate a book with one out of five. But, it happened with this book. Yes, it was that bad.

I found this book too painful to read. I tossed and turned during my read, and I just can't get into the book, or the characters. It was that boring. There was too much description of kissing, and love making (too much that I decided to skip lots of that part). While some might enjoy the detailed scene of love making, I found that it's too much and repetitive. At some point, I feel like I'm reading a porn novel (if that genre existed).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Review: A Kiss at Midnight

Title: A Kiss at Midnight
Author: Eloisa James
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 3/5

Miss Kate Daltry doesn't believe in fairy tales . . . or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince . . . and decides he's anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancee, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn't love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble . . .
Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune . . .
Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

What I think:

The story begins with a prologue like this:
This story begins with a carriage that was never a pumpkin, though it fled at midnight; a godmother who lost track of her charge, though she had no magic wand; and several so-called rats who secretly would have enjoyed wearing livery.  And of course, there's a girl too, though she didn't know how to dance, nor did she want to marry a prince.
I absolutely love the prologue. Although, I couldn't help but to feel that the beginning (starting from chapter 1) was quite slow. But, the story gets interesting as I read along. I could see that the author was trying to develop the relationship between the characters. 

I absolutely love the humorous banter between the characters. It has a few spontaneous, wit dialogue and sexy, romantic moment. It was quite refreshing to read another remake of Cinderella. A must read book for all fairy tale & Cinderella fans.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Review: The Lady Most Likely...

Title: The Lady Most Likely...
Author: Julia Quinn, Eloisa James & Connie Brockway
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 3/5

Three of the brightest stars of historical romance invite you to a party at the country home of the Honorable Marquess of Finchley

Hugh Dunne, the Earl of Briarly, needs a wife, so his sister hands him a list of delectable damsels and promises to invite them— and a few other gentlemen—to her country house for what is sure to be the event of the season.

Hugh will have time to woo whichever lady he most desires . . . Unless someone else snatches her first.

The invitation list includes:

The horse-mad but irresistibly handsome Earl of Briarly
The always outspoken Miss Katherine Peyton
The dashing war hero Captain Neill Oakes
The impossibly beautiful (and painfully shy) Miss Gwendolyn Passmore
The terribly eligible new Earl of Charters
The widowed Lady Georgina Sorrell (who has no plans to marry, ever)

And your hostess, Lady Carolyn Finchley, an irrepressible matchmaker who plans to find the lady most likely... to capture her brother’s untamed heart.

And again, I picked up this book as a friend gave it to me. I actually got 5 historical romance novel from her, and I was planning to make this a historical romance week :)

The Lady Most Likely... is a novel in three parts written by three different authors, who continue the stories. The first part was written by Julia Quinn. The second part was Connie Brockway and the third was Eloisa James.

The first part was my favorite. I love Julia Quinn style the most in this book. It was a sweet romance with a bit humor. And it was a bit sexy. There were some minor romance between Lady Carolyn Finchley and her husband. I like that. The second part had a cute story line but, it get confusing at some part where the author changed the point of view. And the third part was bland. 

The thing about three different author is that, some of the character, like Hugh, changed. He had different personality in the first part, and he changed in the second and third part. But, I guess, that's understandable as the three author had different style.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

#1 Teaser Tuesday: American Gods

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This is my first Teaser Tuesday. A friend of mine, Michelle Chew introduced this to me, and I thought I'm going to try this.

"You know me," he said. "You all know me. Some of you have no cause to love me, but love me or not, you know me." - Page 136American Gods, Neil Gaiman.

He began to struggle, then, pulling at the ropes, flailing his body, trying to get down, to get free, to get away - Page 463, American Gods, Neil Gaiman.

Book Review: Love in the Afternoon

Title: Love in the Afternoon (The 5'th Hathaway Series)
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4/5

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted…and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man—just to avoid spinsterhood?

Captain Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans to marry Beatrix’s friend, the vivacious flirt Prudence Mercer, when he returns from fighting abroad. But, as he explains in his letters to Pru, life on the battlefield has darkened his soul—and it’s becoming clear that Christopher won’t come back as the same man. When Beatrix learns of Pru’s disappointment, she decides to help by concocting Pru’s letters to Christopher for her. Soon the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher develops into something fulfilling and deep…and when Christopher comes home, he’s determined to claim the woman he loves. What began as Beatrix’s innocent deception has resulted in the agony of unfulfilled love—and a passion that can’t be denied…

I don't usually read any historical romance book. I don't ever recall reading a historical romance. Love in the Afternoon was a gift from a friend, and I thought that I should give it a try to this genre. Lisa Kleypas' Love in the Afternoon was a page turner. I'm surprised that I finished this one within one day. It has a few light and funny with some hot and sexy moments.

I like the main character, Beatrix. She's brave, kind heart and witty. Christoper, not so much. I didn't fell in love with the hero at all. He was... ordinary, I guess.

I love how Lisa Kleypas grabbed the readers with the letter in the beginning. I enjoyed the book. The first half was amazing, the second half, not so much and the ending could have been better. I just thought that the part with Christopher and his problem was a bit short and abrupt. But I still enjoyed reading them. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Book Review: (un)like a Virgin

Title: (un)like a Virgin
Author: Lucy-Anne Holmes
Genre: Chick lit
Rating: 4/5

Is Gracie in love for the very first time? You know that bit in The X Factor, when the singer tells everyone about the rocky road they travelled to pursue their dream? Well, that's Gracie Flowers' story. Gracie is very focused for a woman of almost twenty-six. Her favourite book is 'The 5-Year Plan: Making the Most of Your Life'. And her five-year plan is going very well. That is, until she is usurped from her big promotion by a handsome, posh idiot; she is dumped by her boyfriend; and discovers her loopy mother is facing bankruptcy. Hormones awry and ice cream over-ordered, a dream Gracie thought she'd buried ten years ago starts to resurface. A dream that reminds her of the girl she used to be and everything she wanted to become.

This is the first Lucy Anne Holmes I've read. I bought it because I was attracted to the cover, plus, Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello read them too.

I have to say that I absolutely adore this book. It has the right amount of humor, romance and heartbreaking moment. I definitely couldn't put it down as I read along. It was a page turner, and the fact that the chapter is nice and short captivated me.


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