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Hello All, Just a quick note to say that I haven't been blogging here for a while because Peter and I decided to get our own doma...

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Archive for May 2011

Nuffnang and Hapee Special Screening

Hapee makes you smile, hapee makes you confident, hapee gives you fresh breath. Oh and yeah, with all those write ups, why wouldn't it be first class? At its affordable price and availability, it's positively brilliant.

Nuffnang - one of the world's best blog sites. They don't just pay you for ads that they run on your blog, oh no, they also have these amazing contests for you to join! A-MA-ZING.

So, with those reasons I stated above, aren't Hapee & NuffNang both first class? They're having a movie screening this friday too, June 3rd, 7:30PM at Greenbelt. Wahooo.

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In My Mailbox # 26

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It features bought, borrowed, or received books as well as other cool stuff from the mail.

I'm actually waiting for my PC to finish it's disk cleanup so I have some extra time to post a blog today :)

So, here's what I got for the past x months of book buying.

Borrowed from friends:

Princess Diaries # 2: Take Two by Meg Cabot.
The 39 Clues - Agent's Handbook
The 39 Clues # 11: Vesper's Rising by Gordon Korman, Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis & Jude Watson [review coming up soon]

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare - for a friend
So Yesterday - Scott Westerfield
Son of the Witch - Gregory Maguire

And a few other books for my friend [forgot the titles ha ha]

From my favourite Bargain Bookstore:

Wake by Lisa McMann - review coming up soon
A Great & Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Rebel Angels - Libba Bray
The Sweet Far Thing - Libba Bray
Patience Princess Catherine
Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet

Also saw Uglies by Scott Westerfield available at the bargain bookstore but resisted getting it! ^_^ I'm saving up for something BIG! :) 

So, that's about all the books I could remember getting within the past few month. What's in your mailbox? :)

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!

As I type this, I've already finished two books and haven't even made a review yet!

Why, you may ask? Well, I've just been really, really busy since I just started a new job - one that I had hoped to get for quite some time. And yay it's here [and no, it has nothing to do with reading]. With it comes another plus - and something very exciting [which I'm still waiting for]

I won't reveal anything yet. Well, not within a 5 weeks, but I'm just so happy ^_^

Pardon the lack of updates though. I'll get back to blogging uh.. when I'm not busy with real life!
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[Review] The Tree of Seasons - Stephen Gately

Summary from Goodreads: When Josh, Michael and Beth Lotts catch sight of some mysterious lights one summer’s evening, they are drawn into a dense forest near their home where no one dares ever go. What they find there is incredible.

The Tree of Seasons is a doorway into another world. There are four kingdoms in this world, each forever stuck in spring, summer, autumn and winter and each with its own ruler. The tree and the world it conceals have existed for hundreds of years and have never been uncovered by anyone, until now.

The Lotts find that peace has been shattered in this magical world. One ruler, who bears a remarkable resemblance to their aunt is intent on power at all costs. She causes destruction and suffering that threaten to tear worlds apart. Josh, Michael and Beth have arrived just in time to take part in the battle that the other three kingdoms have to fight in order to survive.

Thoughts: The book had potential when I read the blurb - little did I know that I would be extremely disappointed whilst reading the book. Initially, the story had promise - it's like Narnia, only written by someone else. Kids finding a magical world where magical creatures live. But ugh, the narrative and how the story was progressing definitely is not my cup of tea. It was confusing, it was unstructured, and it was quite redundant on some parts. Oftentimes, I find myself scratching my head and had to read some parts again - definitely not something you'd want if you have lets say, a bazillion more books that you would have to read.
Character-wise - they definitely lack character. Yeah, the three kids are siblings, and yes, they will do everything to try and save one another, but please - I know that at the start most of these kids have their own problems and negative traits that they have to overcome but they became so annoying! Ugh. Definitely not loveable. The villains - well, come on. There's always supposed to be villains - they should be hated, they should be hard to defeat. The protagonists definitely encountered the antagonist more than once, but ugh.. they always manage to escape. Seems bloody impossible, if you ask me.
The illustrations - for a children's book, they're not appealing. Definitely not. I wish the illustraions were cuter, more appealing, more - I don't know, loveable.
So, despite all my negative comments above, I picked up this book [and paid bloody hell of a lot of money for it] just because it was written by Stephen Gately - an ex member of Boyzone [bless his soul]. It was the first children's book he wrote, and I think he left it unfinished because he died unexpectedly. It probably took the editors a hell of a lot of time trying to edit the book out. And I guess I could forgive the story - since it was probably still under development and was just rushed out in the market.
It took me a while to finish this book. I now refer to it as my "sleepy" book - because for some reason, it just makes me sleepy. I would read a few paragraphs or pages every now and again, whilst reading telly or while preparing to go to bed. Hmm.. Not a book I would devour in a few sittings.
Published: 2010
Available From: the Book Depository
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Book was: bought from the Book Depository
Rating: Horrid, but since it was written by Stephen Gately, I would be more lenient in my rating [2.5/5]

[Review] Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot

Princess Mia has now come to terms that she is the princess of Genovia. Just a few weeks after, she has learned that her mother is pregnant, and is going to marry her Algebra teacher! Add to the fact that she is about to be interviewed on tv for the very first time. Oh, to be a princess and have the world on your shoulders.

Thoughts - Well, at least Mia isn't as whiny as the first book. And I think most of her diary entries this time are much funnier! I love some of the lists she writes. Her English Journal also is great! I also love how she deals with her feelings for Michael and her secret admirer - it clearly shows the torment that girls go through thinking if the guy she likes likes her too and tries to assess each and every conversation that they would have - including body language. Aahh, definitely something that I could relate to, even though I'm not in high school [along with Mia's other insecurities as described many times in the book].

The time interval that had passed between the first and the second book has been very minimal - so the story flows very smoothly between the two books. I find the TV interview funny - obviously Mia hasn't been trained very much on dealing with the press!

Nevertheless, this book is quite an enjoyable and quick read - perfect for the hot summer days

Published: 2002
Available From: everywhere
Publisher: HyperTrophy
Book was: borrowed from a friend
Rating: Okay - funny read. [4/5]

[Review] The Chancer by Shane Lynch

This is the autobiography of Boyzone member, Shane Lynch. While this is not a known book to most people [I believe this is self-published?] if you are a fan of the band then most certainly you have heard of this. The book chronicles Shane's childhood, as he was growing up, through the early Boyzone days, and what he did as the band had split up. 

I admit it, I just bought the book because I wanted to read more about the Boyzone parts - and I was happy enough with all the details that he gave out during the time. However, it would have been even better if there were pictures embedded within the book, and not just text. A lot of the other biographies I have read surely had these photos. It would provide the fans some insight on their lives.

I got bored at some of the latter parts - it appears that when he found God, it was always repeating, again and again. And well, the story on how he found the occult was quite boring as well. But then again, that's just me. I'm not that much a fan of him as a solo artist - I'm just a huge fan of the band he's in.

He also detailed some stories of the reality shows he was in - which to be honest, I can't relate to as I don't live in the UK and haven't had a clue what the heck are those shows for and who the other participants were.

Nevertheless, if you wish to read more about Boyzone, or is a fan as well, you could opt to get a copy of this book. It's not available on most bookstores - trust me, I tried looking for this at Waterstones and WH Smith's in London and they had no stock so I opted to get this online instead!

Published: 2008
Available From: the Book Depository
Publisher: ???
Book was: bought from the Book Depository
Rating: Okay - but some parts definitely bored me.  [4/5]

[Review] The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Summary from Goodreads:

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes an Egyptian god, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Thoughts - This is the sixth time I've read a Rick Riordan book, and yet, he has this gift of storytelling that makes you want to pick up his YA books! They are just so addictive! Maybe it's just his writing style, or how he connects to his readers, or how he marries historical facts with the story, or his humour - I can't explain it!

Anyhoo, on to my feelings and thoughts about the book. Given that I've seen other blog reviews and gathered thoughts from other book blog friends, it appears that this book is not one of their Riordan favourites. Well, if you have managed to read the Percy Jackson series, you would know how most of his stories work: two children find out that they have ties to gods [Percy - Greek, the Kanes - Egyptian], meet new friends along the way, have an animal that would provide valuable help to their quest. I think it's part of a formula that he had developed, which makes me feel that some parts are predictable: the red herring would eventually give it away - it is always someone close to them that's the antagonist. [sorry for the spoiler]

Enough about what I noticed about the books. I'm here to review the Red Pyramid, so I'll concentrate there. I listened to the audio book so it was nice to hear the banter between Sadie and Carter Kane, complete with the accents. Since the book was based on a recording that the two kids made, I think I enjoyed it better. Although I got lost at some of the parts [where the narrator passes on between Carter to Sadie or vice versa], and the thought of "Huh? What just happened" had passed on to me, I was quick to pick up where they had just left off.

The secondary characters are loveable - I cannot believe there are that many Egyptian gods in the first place, and the Ushabtis definitely caught me off guard. What, with doughboy being so loveable and all. The other animals are absolutely cute and loveable too - Philip of Macedonia, Khufu, and Bast/Fluffy. Then again, I am always positive about stories with animals as characters.

The book was fast-paced, circling through a few weeks in the first chapter, but drastically sped up even faster at the final chapter, which moved on to a few months. Nevertheless, I wouldn't consider that to be an impediment on how the story was told.

Since this is a part of the series [I believe book 2 is out now as I type this], there is a cliffhanger, which I suppose has to deal with a new character to be introduced in the next book. I guess I'll have to wait and see until I read the next book to check out that character.

Overall, I find it a good read, regardless of some of the disappointed reviews around the web.

Published: 2010
Available From:everywhere
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Book was: listened to [audiobook]
Rating: Another good read from Rick Riordan [4/5]

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