Reading, makes me feel relax.
Reading, helps me to de-stress.
Reading, makes me ponder a lot, reflect my own life.
Whether it is romance, suspense, thriller, mystery, historical, horror, or chic-lit,
Reading, brings me a new level of pleasures and satisfaction.

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

Title:         Lost Voices
Publisher:   Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Imprint:     Harcourt Books
Pub Date   07/04/2011
ISBN:        9780547482507
Author:      Sarah Porter

I suppose most of us here grew up in a family and a home who give us love and protection, a place where we feel secure. What happen to those children, where they could not live with their family, either their parents are no longer there, or their parents do not love them? In Lost Voices, these unhappy children will become mermaid. When they are at the most despair moment, they transform into mermaid. Since they are mostly not fairly treated when they were a human, naturally they dislike human. And they also cannot be discovered by the human; afraid what will the human will do to them if the human know about their existence. There is a queen mermaid leading the tribe, the one with the best singing. The mermaids have sweet voice, but their song is a death song, a song which lures the human to death. However one of the mermaid, Lucy, she does not like to sing the Song of death. She would like to make use of her talent in singing, to do something more useful. But this also puts her at odds with her new friends.
I tried to read this book several times in the past one month, but only few days ago I was able to pick up the mood and finish reading it. This book is about friendship, letting go and forgive. It is the first book in a trilogy.

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Note: I receive the ARC of this book from the publisher via the Net Gallery.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Across the Nightingale Floor (from Tales of the Otori series) by Lian Hearn

Across the Nightingale Floor is the first of the Tales of the Otori trilogy. It covers a period of just over a year, when Otori Takeo was sixteen years old, and Kaede was fifteen years old. 

It covers how Takeo was rescued by Lord Shigeru and being adopted by him later. One day, Lord Shigeru's friend, Muto Kenji visited them and revealed that Takeo's father was of The Tribe, a group of families with special powers. And Takeo had inherited lots of talents from his father, which made the Tribe wanted to claim back Takeo. In order to adopt Takeo, Lord Shigeru was forced to marry Shirakawa Kaede. But Lord Shigeru also had another plan. The wedding was going take place in Inuyama, home of Lord Iida. Lord Iida had killed Shigeru's father and brother. The wedding gave Shigeru a reason to get near Lord Iida for his revenge. Takeo supposed to kill Lord Iida before the wedding, but Kenji betrayed Shigeru and brought Takeo back to the Tribe. And his action cause Shigeru being crucified. On the same night, Kaede killed Lord Iida when he attempted to rape her. Lord Arai took the opportunity to take over all land from Lord Iida. 

The story is told primarily in first-person narrative by Otori Takeo. At first, I thought I will get bored very quickly but on the contrary, the more I read the more I get fascinated. The characters are well developed and the story was alternate between Takeo and Kaede. Both of them have sad story but they did not give up getting what they want.

Japanese historical story always made me feel very bitter. In those days, there was not much thing where you can decide what to do. You can hardly choose your bride or groom. Lots of arrange marriages due to political reason. There were no laws, the Lords are the law. I actually long to have Takeo's super power:

Acute hearing - so that I can hear what my kids are doing when they are out of my sight (Takeo could draw the layout of the house, based on hearing what's happening at that house, and he could calculate how many people and animals in that house).

Split into multiple self - to attend both kids at the same time.

Invisible - to hide myself so I can get some rest when both kids want my attention non-stop. LOL!

I enjoy reading this book very much. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Some fact about Tales of the Otori -
Tales of the Otori is a series of historical fantasy novels about a young warrior Otori Takeo, set in a fictional world based on feudal Japan. The whole series has 5 books -

The trilogy: Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, and Brilliance of the Moon,
Sequel: The Harsh Cry of the Heron,
Prequel: Heaven's Net is Wide.

The whole series cover the whole life of Otori Takeo - from a village boy become a warrior, to avenge his adoptive father, to fight for his land and inheritance, at the same time escape from The Tribe who want to claim him, and marry the woman that he loves, Shirakawa Kaede, another main character in this series.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

Lucy Wiltshire is managing Saving Grace, a home for 13 homeless girls, who age 18 and above. They cannot go to shelter because they are considered as adult at age of 18, but they are not capable to live by themselves yet. They still need to attend school, and then they need to get a job before they can be on their own. Lucy has been putting a lot of effort on Saving Grace. She wants to help the girls. However running a non profit is not as easy. Lucy has to worry about the funding. The biggest contributor, Sinclair Hotel has just cut down the donation to Saving Grace due to poor performance of the group. And now Lucy has to make sure she get enough fund else Saving Grace won't last for more than 6 months.

Alex Sinclair was a famous football star. He quit due to his injury. Then he decided to run for the First Congressional District of South Carolina for some personal reason. However his playboy image while he was the football star does not make him any good. He has to change his image in order to secure his vote. He has decided to ask Lucy to be his fake fiancé, and she will get paid a lump sum of money after the election is over.

At the same time, Lucy's ex-boyfriend, Matthew Campbell who has left her two years ago, has come back for her. Lucy would very much go back to Matt, but her desperate need of the money to keep Saving Grace, made her left no choice but to agree with Alex to become his fake fiancé.

Save the Date is a heart warming and touching story. It is more than just a romance. Lucy could not accept after she found out who is her real father. She struggles to face and forgive her grandmother, a person she hates since she was very young. She feel guilty has to lie to the people around her, as she cannot tell them her relationship with Alex are not real. And it is a big sacrifice for her, to give up her happiness for the 13 girls in Saving Grace. She actually wanted to get married with Matt if not because of the money issue. 

On the other hand, Alex has his own problems too. He does not run for the congress for himself. And he is desperate to win to show others he's not just a playboy football star.

Again, the spiritual content in the book made me ponder a lot. This is a very good book.

I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Note: I receive the ARC of this book from the publisher Thomas Nelson via Net Gallery.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something about You by Julie James

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde is treating herself to a much needed one-day break in a local luxury hotel. However she does not enjoy the night there. She has been tortured by the couple staying next door, who decided to have sex marathon for the night. Feeling frustrated not able to get rest, finally she calls the hotel to lodge a complaint. When the hotel security comes to the hotel room to check against the couple, what they find is a dead women body.

FBI Agent Jack Pallas has been assigned to take up this case. Being the only witness, Cameron has to give corporation to the FBI. However Cameron and Jack are not in good terms due to some unhappy incident that takes place 3 years ago - Jack humiliated Cameron in front of the media. Due to this, Jack's career almost destroyed and he was transferred out from Chicago and just returns recently. He blames Cameron for the transfer. Despite dislike each other, Jack and Cameron has no choice but to work together solving the case.

The whole story is written in a very humor way. I am laughing right from the beginning till the end. There are few scenes where Cameron's life is in danger where my heart is beating fast for her. In overall, it is a very good read. Very good book if you are looking for something to relax and have some laugh.

I rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stealing Time

Title: Stealing Time
Publisher: Carina Press
Imprint: Carina Press
Pub Date: 01/31/2011
ISBN: 9781426891144

Evie Read is dying. She is very ill and doctor said nothing can be done already. On her way home, she met with an accident. James Wesley has saved Evie from the accident but she is badly injured. He is so moved by Evie's determination to live that he makes her immortal — a vampire, like him. Shocked by the change, but Evie eventually is glad that she is given a second chance at life. Evie and James fall in love with each other. Just when they begin to enjoy life together, their life is being threatened and they have to run away.

The first half of the book, focusing on the changes happened to Evie and how she copes with the new life as vampire. It is rather slow and a little long. Things become more excited and more actions, when they started running away from home, and facing other bad vampires, who wants to threaten the peace between humans and vampires. Just when things becoming more complicated, when Evie's human friend get involved, and I expected more actions, it ends abruptly. There is no mention whether there is any sequel to the book, but I feel the story is hanging there.

It is very normal for us, when there are things happen, we will always think what if I do it another way; what if it did not happen; bla bla bla; for Evie in this case, despite given second chance to live, but being a vampire is like a totally different life to Evie. She has to adapt to the rules in the vampire world. And f, which is total different rules from the human world. But first of all, she is not given a choice whether she would like to be a vampire or not. James made her a vampire based on her will - I do not want to die. So do we really have a choice in our life? 

I rate this 2 out of 5 stars.

Note: I receive the ARC from Carina Press via Net Gallery.