December 31, 2010

2010 Top 10 Favourite Reads

Here are my Top 10 reads for the year in no particular order :

The Riddle-master's Game (Fantasy Masterworks)The High Lord (The Black Magician Trilogy, Book 3)

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 5)The Graveyard BookThe Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel (P.S.)

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3)Dance with the Devil (Dark-Hunter, Book 4)Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12)

Sense And SensibilityPride And Prejudice

It hasn't escaped my notice also that out of the 10, only 2 are new reads. :-)

Historical Fiction Challenge 2011

The Historical Fiction Challenge 2011 is hosted on Historical Tapestry. The guidelines are as described below :

Timeline : 1st January 2011 - 31st Dec 2011.
  1. You do NOT need a blog to participate.
  2. Books may overlap other challenges.
  3. You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
  4. There are 5 levels to the challenge.
  5. Learn more and sign up here.


I signed up for the Daring & Curious Level. The books I read for the challenge are :
  1. Follett, Ken : The Pillars of the Earth (Review)
  2. Follett, Ken : World Without End (Review)
  3. Gaffney, Patricia : Crooked Hearts (Review)
  4. Gregory, Philippa: The Queen's Fool (Review)
  5. Kaplan, Mitchell James: By Fire, By Water (Review)

My favorite read :
The Queen's Fool: A Novel (Boleyn)

December 29, 2010

Review : Seven Sorcerers by Caro King

Title : Seven Sorcerers
Author : Caro King
Reading Dates : 28 Nov - 1 Dec 2010
The Seven Sorcerers
The Fabulous
The books in the series so far :
  • Seven Sorcerers
  • Shadow Spell
From Amazon :
Nin had never liked Wednesdays, but this one took the biscuit. On this Wednesday she woke up to find that it was raining buckets and that her brother had ceased to exist. Nin realizes she is the only person to remember Toby because whoever took him is about to make her disappear too. Enter Skerridge the Bogeyman, who steals kids for Mr. Strood. With his spindle, he draws all memories of Nin out of her mother's head. She escapes to the Drift, a land filled with the fabulous and the dreadful. What is the sorcerers' secret and will Nin and Toby escape their fate at the House of Strood?

Book Review of Seven Sorcerers.
I enjoyed reading Seven Sorcerers.

Mainly this is because of the different creatures that Nin meets throughout the book. While I don’t find Nin herself particularly interesting, those she interacts with in the world of the Seven Sorcerers certainly are. And it was certainly intriguing how some of the most beautiful creatures were among the deadliest. I especially liked how the ones who are most helpful towards Nin are also those usually associated with being the bad guys. My favourite characters surprisingly was a mud man and a bogey man. Besides this I thought it very cleverly done that a number of characters aren’t truly black or white.

Another reason I’m curious about this one was the mystery of the dying land. What is the plague that is kiling the Fabulous and their world ? What part has Nin and her friends to play in this ? What did the Seven Sorcerers do to escape their demise ? Although I didn’t get all the answers I was looking for, I certainly had fun trying to figure them out.

My conclusion : Definitely worth a read. Fantasy readers looking for a lighter fare should try this out.

December 26, 2010

Review : The Pack by LM Preston

Title : The Pack
Author : LM Preston
Reading Dates : 24 Nov - 28 Nov 2010
From Amazon :
Shamira is considered an outcast by most, but little do they know that she is on a mission. Kids on Mars are disappearing, but Shamira decides to use the criminals most unlikely weapons against them the very kids of which they have captured. In order to succeed, she is forced to trust another, something she is afraid to do. However, Valens, her connection to the underworld of her enemy, proves to be a useful ally. Time is slipping, and so is her control on the power that resides within her. But in order to save her brother's life, she is willing to risk it all.

Book Review of The Pack.
The Pack was an okay read and was certainly a huge improvement over Explorer X-Alpha.

While the occasional typographical errors and stilted conversations do pop up, these seem to be limited to what would be considered the more emotional scenes. Which of course lessens the impact of the story. Still, it was an interesting enough read.

The parts I liked had more to do with Shamira’s investigations and how the former victims of the crime organisation bands together to help others in a similar predicament. It was certainly fun to try and figure out the mystery of how Monev is managing to take over Mars. Even to see if I could figure it out before the main characters.

What I didn’t like was the heroine herself. Although her behaviour is supposed to be a cover to protect a vulnerable heart, she just comes off as an arrogant and spoilt know-it-all. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why her new found friends put up with her. The idea that they liked her was absolutely unbelievable. However, compared to the other characters she is at least recognisable as an individual. The other characters need more work on their personality before they appear to be more than copies of each other.

My conclusion : This book isn’t one I’m planning on re-reading and while I’m curious about what comes next, I’m not interested to purchase it. So, I’d suggest borrowing the book for a read if you’re interested.

Read another review on the book by :

I won this book from Bookish in a Box.

December 25, 2010

On My Wishlist #11

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted at Book Chick City.

On My Wishlist

Do you have any books that you desperately want but haven't bought yet? The books can be old, new or forthcoming.

Lover Mine: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
From Amazon:
Darius, a fallen Brother, has returned to the fold with a new identity and a very different destiny. Now, John Matthew, plunged into the heart of war, must face off against evil incarnate-and rescue his one true love.

Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9)
From Amazon:
Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?

December 24, 2010

How did I do for my challenges?

2010 Completed Challenges
  1. Book Chick City 2010 Summer Romance Challenge
  2. Book Chick City 2010 Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge
  3. Stephanie's Written Word Everything Austen II Challenge
  4. Read Your Own Books August
  5. Storywings Paranormal Reading Challenge 2010

2010 Failed Challenges
  1. Home Girl's Book Blog 2010 100+ Reading Challenge (96/100 books,  96% completed)

2010-2011 Ongoing Challenges
  1. Stage and Canvas Science Fiction Challenge II (2/4 books, 50% completed)

2011 New Challenges
  1. 2011 The Read-A-Myth Reading Challenge (0/4 books)
  2. 2011 Mystery and Suspense Reading Challenge (0/12 books)
  3. What's in a Name Challenge 4 (0/6 books)
  4. 2011 New Authors Challenge (0/15 authors)

For 2010, my goals were to read as many books as I could in genres I know I enjoy. But for 2011, I'm trying to encourage myself to diversify my reading.

December 23, 2010

Thursday 13 #6 : My favourite pictures from my September trip

Thursday 13

Choose a theme. Then list 13 things that fit that theme.
Here's a selection of my favourite pictures taken during my weekends spent in Penang.

Penang Bird Park 16-09-2010Penang Bird Park 16-09-2010Penang Bird Park 16-09-2010Penang Bird Park 16-09-2010

Tow Boo Kong Temple 25-09-2010Tow Boo Kong Temple 25-09-2010Tow Boo Kong Temple 25-09-2010Tow Boo Kong Temple 25-09-2010

Khoo Kongsi - 25-09-2010Khoo Kongsi - 25-09-2010

Clan Jetties - Tan Jetty 25-09-2010Clan Jetties - Tan Jetty 25

Pinang Peranakan Mansion 25-09-2010

December 22, 2010

Review : Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Title : Pride and Prejudice
Author : Jane Austen
Reading Dates : 13 Nov - 17 Nov 2010
Pride And Prejudice
From goodreads:
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen's witty comedy of manners--one of the most popular novels of all time--that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the "most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author's works," and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as "irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be."

"The wit of Jane Austen has for partner the perfection of her taste."
--Virginia Woolf

Book Review of Pride and Prejudice.
Pride and Prejudice remains my favourite Jane Austen novel. This is the only book I’ve ever re-read 5 times in a row the first time I picked it up. And no matter how many times I’ve re-read it since, I still love it.

There are really just 2 main reasons for this. The first are the characters. I enjoy them all especially the sillier ones. I can never quite decide who is the more ridiculous and funny. The things they say and think are so absurd that it’s hard to dislike them even when they are behaving abominably. The story and characters just leave me with a warm feeling until the end.

The second is of course the main characters, Elizabeth and Darcy. It was rather lovely to read how they progressed from dislike to love. I like that Darcy isn’t attracted to Elizabeth because of her looks but because of her personality. He doesn’t see her as beautiful until after he is in love. And once in love, proofs more than once how important Elizabeth’s happiness is to him. Vice versa, I also like that Elizabeth only falls in love with him after he earns her respect and gratitude.

My conclusion : An absolute must-read.

Want to ...

Which versions of Pride and Prejudice below have you seen ?
Pride & PrejudicePride and Prejudice (Restored Edition)Pride and Prejudice
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