Just to relish my hunger for Shelley Adina's continuation for Lady of Devices. Apart from the countable number of the word ‘steam’, it was not quite s...moreJust to relish my hunger for Shelley Adina's continuation for Lady of Devices. Apart from the countable number of the word ‘steam’, it was not quite steampunk. The story relished not in describing or even relating to the technology but more in the adventure and plot development. Great in its own right but my stomach is still grumbling.(less)
"Transform into heat a portion of the surplus energy at our disposal; send the heat to the poles; then the polar regions, relieved of their snow-cap,...more"Transform into heat a portion of the surplus energy at our disposal; send the heat to the poles; then the polar regions, relieved of their snow-cap, will become a vast territory available for man's use. What think you of the scheme?"
Dissatisfying if you are a steampunk fan because simply, this is more suitable for younger readers. Nice enough but plenty of rooms for improvements....moreDissatisfying if you are a steampunk fan because simply, this is more suitable for younger readers. Nice enough but plenty of rooms for improvements. The plot was not neat, the characters did not touch you, and the conclusion was too pretentious. I mean, how many times do you want to reward your hero? It might make sense if the story was set in a longer time and Jack was more than an extra sidekick who happened to be his father’s son. And yes, I know this was published by an independent company but it does not mean you will be forgiven for GLARING grammatical mistakes. Can you not even tell the difference between it’s and its?!(less)
Started as a pleasant enough read, only to end not as a mystery left alone a detective novel, but a romance. And a sloppy one at that too. The crimina...moreStarted as a pleasant enough read, only to end not as a mystery left alone a detective novel, but a romance. And a sloppy one at that too. The criminal was predictable as was the plot and even an attempt to try and tempt the reader into guessing the wrong person as the perpetrator was a weak one. Dwelt too much on the feeling Annie and Nate had for each other, and one could not help wonder why all the twist if the story would end as easily and untroubled as it was? Should have put more Sybil in there.(less)
Entertaining but too short to really worth your USD3. Anyone with Kindle can borrow this from me. Should save some of your money for better and longer...moreEntertaining but too short to really worth your USD3. Anyone with Kindle can borrow this from me. Should save some of your money for better and longer books.(less)
As nice as the first book and now that Buroker realised the real meaning of steampunk, this book started to read like a real steampunk (the technology...moreAs nice as the first book and now that Buroker realised the real meaning of steampunk, this book started to read like a real steampunk (the technology no longer just surfaced with the countable mentions of the word ‘steam’). But when I heard about the prospective of FOUR to FIVE books and not just a trilogy, I could not help wonder if Buroker could really push all the goodness to the brim? I fear for repetition. This second book had already had the smell of it.(less)
Creating characters in an historical setting but with 21st century mentality had become a cliché I might give that a pass, but no, Phoenix Rising had...moreCreating characters in an historical setting but with 21st century mentality had become a cliché I might give that a pass, but no, Phoenix Rising had pushed it too much I was close to vomiting. Both Braun and Wellington were too extravagant, too perfectly pretentious, too Hollywoodish. In fact the whole story reeked the way an expensive movie with purposeless CGI stank. Totally overrated! And the plot was just plain...
It was saved by its entertaining narration, though. Oh, well. (less)
As the title said, it was funny. But s it usually happened with books like this, there were unnecessary banters that got under my skin. Plenty of them...moreAs the title said, it was funny. But s it usually happened with books like this, there were unnecessary banters that got under my skin. Plenty of them, in fact. Here are excerpts of my favourites from the book but mind you, not all of it is good as these:
Bicycling is a very popular form of transportation in Japan and I highly recommend you take part. If you go to Nara, Japan's ancient capital, you can visit the temples by bicycle and save yourself aching feet and heat stroke (Kyoto and Nara are extremely hot and humid in summer). The bicycle rental shop will give you a map and a choice of temple routes. A few warnings on bicycle behavior, however.
With sidewalks as the unofficial bicycle lanes in Japan, you’d think there would be more courtesies. Even a few bicycle rules would be helpful. After all, other vehicles have rules. When you drive a car in Japan, you drive on the left side. When you drive a boat, you bear right. But if you ride a bicycle, you ride straight down the middle.
When two bicycles are headed toward each other, the solution should be simple—both should bear left to avoid each other. Instead, the decision to bear left or right is put off until the very last moment. It’s not the actual collisions that are so dangerous, it’s the possible ones. If, at the last minute, you have to bear right, you may mow down the entire family walking to your right. If you have to bear left, you may be forced to head into that pack of junior high school girls. Equally chilling thoughts.
But there is another strategy. After years of observing bicycle behavior, I’ve noticed most oncoming, collision-producing bicyclists fall into one of a few categories. If you can recognize these types before hand, you can predict their behavior and save yourself a few collisions per day.
The Bailer ]The bailer is the easiest type to avoid. Bailers are always women; Men don’t bail. These matronly women, usually wearing a house apron and a sunbonnet securely tied under the chin, have hand protectors on their handlebars and most definitely a skirt guard over the back wheel. When an oncoming bailer approaches, even from afar, you can almost hear her warning sirens go off. As soon as she sees you in her lane she senses imminent danger and jumps off of her bicycle to let you pass. And she’ll do it with that intuitive old lady hop, by kicking both feet off the pedals at the same time and landing neatly on both feet beside her bicycle. She usually bows to you, acknowledging her intrusion into the bicycle lane. Then, with equal fashion, she’ll get back on her bicycle by placing her dainty left foot on the left peddle, coast until the bicycle is stable, then, in a very lady-like fashion, swing her right leg over to the other side. She’ll continue riding until the next oncoming bicyclist comes in which she’ll bail again. Although confusing at first, the bailer is the easiest to avoid because you can be sure that she’ll avoid you first.
The Charlie Brown The Charlie Browns are the wishy-washy people who, as soon as they see you coming, start weaving left and right, confusing you into swerving in the same manner. They’ll bear left for a second, then bear right for a second, then left again, then right again, and continue back and forth until they finally decide on one direction at the last moment. When you see this type coming, don’t look at them and try to do the opposite. Just pick a course, left or right, and stick with it. Thus, you will have made the decision for them and you will pass with ease.
The Bell-Ringer This person is best avoided by escaping down a side street. The bell-ringer is the person who is either late for work or late for the train and is headed full-speed, like a bowling ball headed down an alley for a strike, ready to knock everything and anything out of his way. When you hear the repeated cha-ching, cha-ching bell-ringing, you’ll know to get out of his way as soon as possible.
The Magnet The magnet is the hardest type to avoid. This is the oncoming bicyclist who seems to have a magnet placed somewhere in his body that pulls him toward your bicycle, even though he doesn’t even see you yet. Completely oblivious, his bicycle heads straight towards you with amazing precision. You make a precautionary move to the right, his bicycle moves that direction too. You move to the left, he moves too. He’ll never see you until he runs into you. There is only one way to avoid The Magnet—Bail
I never look at train schedules. I prefer to just arrive at the station and wait for the next train. If I know when the train leaves, I will end up sprinting through the station (taking on the stairs two at a time) and arriving on the platform in a pool of sweat, only to hear the final notes of the train master’s whistle while the train is pulling away.
But not Japanese people–they have an innate ability to know exactly how long it will take to get from one place to the next while subconsciously considering factors such as traffic flow and waiting time at pedestrian crosswalks. Japanese people arrive at the train station and with a mere 30 seconds to spare, walk casually through the station to the platform and board the train just as the doors close behind them.
When it comes to meeting someone, the Japanese people have timing down to a science. The scientific formula is: the Meeting Time minus the Finding Factor. The Finding Factor is a number from 1 to 20, which represents the chances of actually being able to find someone among the crowd at the designated meeting place. The chance of finding someone at Tokyo Dome, for example, is not as great as finding someone at the Parasite Museum. Thus, the Finding Factor of Tokyo Dome is high at 20 while the parasite museum is only 1. The reason fountains are installed at all major railway stations is to give people a place to meet. Meeting people at fountains is relatively easy, earning all fountains a Finding Factor of 2. So, according to the scientific formula, if you are meeting someone at Tokyo Station at 6:00 where the Finding Factor is 20, then you should arrive at the station at 5:40 because it will take you approximately 20 minutes to find the person you are meeting.
If you are driving to pick up someone, then the scientific formula is different: the Traffic Jam Factor multiplied by the Time of Day and the average number of bicyclists who will cross right in front of your car forcing you to jam on your brakes, which is referred to as the Brake Factor. Then square this amount by the amount of time it takes to circle the nearest block. Be sure to leave enough time to circle the block and arrive exactly on time, not 50 seconds before. This method of driving around the block must be an exclusively Japanese time management strategy. Such activity would be considered suspicious in the United States, where someone would call the police immediately.
Japanese people will often wait for you up to an hour. And when you finally arrive, they’ll say something pathetically polite like, “Oh no, it was my fault, for coming on time.” Maybe it is their fault. Foreigners have different ideas of time, which is why there is a different scientific formula for meeting a foreigner. When Japanese are going to meet an American, they should use the above scientific formula then add a 15-30 minute Late Factor. If a Japanese person is going to meet a South American, then they should triple the Late Factor. This is because, in South America, time is much slower, and one day can stretch into one week. Time is negotiable, and people freely add extra minutes and hours as needed.
This is in stark contrast to the Japanese, who run everything as if the world is going to end the next minute. For example, if you get on the right JTB tour, you can easily see all of Japan in one day. If you are willing to pay the extra money, I’m sure they would show you the whole Asian continent in 48 hours. If you choose this tour however, you’d better be on Japanese time because if you’re even a few minutes late they’ll already be in China. (less)
You know that romance always ends with the hero and heroine ending up with each other and then live happily ever after, tra-la-la. That is the main re...moreYou know that romance always ends with the hero and heroine ending up with each other and then live happily ever after, tra-la-la. That is the main reason I develop aversion to this genre – I am always enchanted by the thrill a good story can bring me. I picked up this book because I enjoy historical fiction and because of the American Victorian setting (I have a soft spot for anything Victorian, classical or neo-) and as it turned out, it was a good read. For a story which ending we have known, well, what really counts for me is how the you get to the finishing point.(less)
I should say, this was like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s mixed together but not to perfection. It was set in a frame bigger than just identif...moreI should say, this was like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s mixed together but not to perfection. It was set in a frame bigger than just identifying who was the murderer (in this book the murderer was announced while there was like a quarter of the book to be finished) so honestly, the thrill was not there. The characters spoke a lot, they must have a gallon extra supply of saliva, and Lord Peter could rant for pages and pages you lost track of what he was actually talking about. But ironically it was Lord Peter Wimsey who attracted me into continuing my read and wanting to read more. He was witty with his words, had a habit of suddenly quoting strands of poems, liked to harass his partner-in-‘crime’ Charles Parker and the long suffering Inspector Sugg, and said he was bullied by his valet Mr Bunter, but also suffered from a shell shock during the WWI. He was a man of personality.
I look forward to seeing more of his lordship. There are criticisms about him being too perfect and having too many gifts it is a crime to normal humanity, and I am set to finding that out. All in all not a perfect crime story and surely would not beat Dame Agatha but just nice and delicious to quench your thirst for detective story.
Oh, by the way, Lord Peter was an amateur and admitted himself to be one. And his motto was “As Whimsy takes me.” (less)
'Cinta itu " Adil" sifatnya, Allah telah mentakdirkan dia dalam keadilan, tidak memperbeza-bezakan antara raja dengan orang meminta-minta, tiada menyi...more'Cinta itu " Adil" sifatnya, Allah telah mentakdirkan dia dalam keadilan, tidak memperbeza-bezakan antara raja dengan orang meminta-minta, tiada menyisihkan orang kaya dengan orang miskin, orang mulia dengan orang hina, bahkan kadang-kadang tidak juga berbeza baginya antara bangsa dengan bangsa.'(less)
The Cloud of Witness is just that, cloud of witnesses. Starting from the Duke of Denver being suspected of murdering (his sister) Lady Mary’s fiancé,...moreThe Cloud of Witness is just that, cloud of witnesses. Starting from the Duke of Denver being suspected of murdering (his sister) Lady Mary’s fiancé, Lord Peter with the help of Inspector Parker tried to prove his brother’s innocence by following the trail of the case both figuratively and literally. No. 10 footprints were found on the crime scene, so was a cat-shaped jewellery, but did they belong to the same person? The former led Lord Peter to the railway station and back to London, the latter brought Inspector Parker to France. And then there was the farm with its foul-tempered foul-mouthed Mr Grimethrope and his beautiful but long suffering wife. And then I forgot what happened.
Well, it was not exactly the complication of the case that drew me nut. It was the countless court proceedings and inquests. Calling one witness after another (and none of them deaf as post as in the previous book; that spiced up the dullness a little, you see), each giving accounts more infuriating than the previous; God, I am no lawyer and never even dreamed of being one! And as in Whose Body, Sayers had the tendency of wanting to make everything clear. Literally. Thus we have the final plea by Sir Impey Briggs, detailing the sequence of events, ONE BY ONE. God! I almost scream/ “Ms Writer, please. Leave. That. To. Our. Imagination!!!”
I definitely prefer the first book than this one, but thankfully, I am not allergic to Wimsey. The third book was much better. (less)
Despite the blaring ‘Mystery’ in the title of the series, this was a chick lit. Only 30% of it was really about solving the mystery over the assistant...moreDespite the blaring ‘Mystery’ in the title of the series, this was a chick lit. Only 30% of it was really about solving the mystery over the assistant manager’s accident; the rest was about New York, Clare’s relationship with her ex-husband and the detective, charity auctions, coffee… Mystery and crime lovers, better stay away from this. If you like chick lit and light mystery (as some people put it, though personally I found the term oxymoron) this will work on you just fine. The coffee part was just excellent, even a non-coffee drinker like me found her tummy growling.(less)
I just could not enjoy this one, I do not know why. I really enjoyed The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole and if I read this right after that my rating wo...moreI just could not enjoy this one, I do not know why. I really enjoyed The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole and if I read this right after that my rating would have been higher. Maybe it was because I had watched the movie and had known the plot (was it a movie? I am not sure), or maybe it was because I was in a foul mood when reading this. I almost gave it one star if I did not remember that draggy Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction got two (this was definitely better than Mass Destruction, I would feel bad to rate it any lower).(less)
In a book, especially that with a first person view, the narrator is important. He or she decides for the reader whom to hate, whom to like, whom to e...moreIn a book, especially that with a first person view, the narrator is important. He or she decides for the reader whom to hate, whom to like, whom to empathise with. If the narrator fails, then the story basically falls apart. This was the case for this book. The failure started from the narrator herself, Catherine de Medici. She tried to convince me into sympathising for the husband who had made her suffer and then to fall for Coligny with whom she shared an intimate relationship, but she failed to even make me feel for herself.
The writer tried to depict Catherine as a woman with strong believe and principal, the Catherine of Medici as most of us know, but at the same a loving mother and faithful wife. There was a bigger focus for the latter, the way someone trying to convince you that the fierce-looking bloke next door was not as fierce as he seemed to be. “She may be bad and all that but you must understand her situation” kind of explanation. Unfortunately it just held no appeal to me and I regarded the attempt as a failure. The narrative was detached and maybe because it covered a long period of time, felt somewhat rushed; like someone pushing you to swallow a bit of hard rock cake before you could really munch it. The Catherine in this story succeeded more as a mother than a convincing respectable leader.
And it did not help for her to display her intelligence only by quoting Machiavelli in every possible ‘intelligent conversation’ that happened to cross her path. She was like a student trying so hard to please a teacher. Text book answer if you please! I mean, action speaks louder than word. The writer could do much better to prove Catherine’s credibility by narrating what she did that made her worthy to be the Catherine de Medici. Instead the writer wasted her time writing the you-know-what-scenes-romance-must-have and then hurried everything else along and expected her readers to take the package as it was. Not me, thank you.