Archer proved that money is the main cause of troubles and how it influences our way of living. From a legal perspective, Jeff told the stories that a...moreArcher proved that money is the main cause of troubles and how it influences our way of living. From a legal perspective, Jeff told the stories that allow the readers to understand the grounds for crime and the loopholes or weaknesses within the legal system. It is not a straight forward storytelling, but always with unexpected twists that linger in our mind for a while... (less)
This is the third part of Felix's story...Unfortunately, it is not exciting compare to the last two books, Once and Then, but overall it is a good rea...moreThis is the third part of Felix's story...Unfortunately, it is not exciting compare to the last two books, Once and Then, but overall it is a good read to follow through the continuing life of Felix - becoming a retired grandfather to Zelda.(less)
A story that reminds us of the cruelty of war and the conflict of religious beliefs. Felix is a young boy who is desperately wanted to find his parent...moreA story that reminds us of the cruelty of war and the conflict of religious beliefs. Felix is a young boy who is desperately wanted to find his parents. His attempt to look for them turned to be not easy as Felix thought but it brought him to a roller-coaster adventure, trying NOT to be detected as a Jewish orphan.
The author allows readers to feel what Felix wanted in life - rescuing Zelda and be part of his plan! It is a heartbreaking story - full of bravery, hope and imagination ... the only things that made Felix's stories alive.
This book (contains two stories, Once and Then) is something to be blended with John Boyne's fable, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. (less)
This is one of the best short stories collections of Jeffrey Archer. Current setting, captivating characters and happy-sad mix endings. Jeff's short s...moreThis is one of the best short stories collections of Jeffrey Archer. Current setting, captivating characters and happy-sad mix endings. Jeff's short stories always bring refreshing, ordinary plots but at the end, expect the unexpected! Characters are ordinary individuals but they have extra-ordinary tales to tell... It is not only story-telling but Archer wanted us to understand what these characters experienced as if they were part of our daily lives. Majority of these stories were inspired from real people and places during Archer's travels locally and abroad.(less)
Heartbreaking story but allows readers to embrace the truth through the eyes of an innocent child. Bruno's fate somehow lingers in my mind for a while...moreHeartbreaking story but allows readers to embrace the truth through the eyes of an innocent child. Bruno's fate somehow lingers in my mind for a while...trying to understand his naiveness, curiousity and being a true dearest friend to Schmuel forever! ( A long review will follow)...(less)
MIRACLES HAPPEN EVERY DAY...let us pray to earthquake/tsunami victims
THIS BOOK REVIEW IS DIFFERENT FROM the rest of my previous reviews. Honestly, I d...moreMIRACLES HAPPEN EVERY DAY...let us pray to earthquake/tsunami victims
THIS BOOK REVIEW IS DIFFERENT FROM the rest of my previous reviews. Honestly, I don't intend to write this review very soon but today is very important for us to offer our prayers and support (in any means) to people who are currently affected by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake (that created tsunamis/surges) in Japan (coast of Sendai City) and for those people in Christchurch (New Zealand) that suffered the same fate few weeks ago. And maybe, it is my simple way to extend my concern which could also remind people to be vigilant in times of calamities.
What a coincidence that Candy Gourlay's debut novel has something to do with the human spirit in time of natural disasters. It tackles issues related to cultural indifferences, sibling relationship, belongingness (peers acceptance), and friendship. The story evolves in the personal life and family of Bernardo - a young lad, who lives in one of the towns of Metro Manila with unusual height of 8-foot tall - still growing; but for his neighbours/townmates he is a hero who has the power to stop earthquakes. Trying to live-up with the community expectation and his "humongous" structure, Bernardo (Nardo) also struggles to be just a normal kid and hoping that he finally visit his mother's family in London. On the other hand, the book also brings the life of Andi, the half-sister of Nardo who loves to play basketball! Ultimately, these young siblings meet-up and interactions are the main ingredients of the novel.
The book is categorised as a children's story, but honestly, there are underlying messages that the author would like to convey, not only for those kids who love to play basketball, who believe in myths/tales, but also for adults (like me) being captivated with Filipino hero characters (like Bernardo Carpio, Darna, Ang Panday, and many others) and supertitious beliefs. And most importantly, the story rekindles the human spirit, hope, faith and courage - having them could bring miracles in our lives, especially in time of calamities and family problems. In particular, the story also provides a glimpse of Filipino culture like: the struggles among Filipinos working abroad (aka OFWs) to bring a bright future for their families left back in the Philippines. On the lighter side of it, the author shows the comical side in the lives of Bernardo and Andi with their loved ones and friends. Cultural differences and individual expectation among siblings also bring sense of humor and entertainment in the story.
"So many years I wear rubber slippers or sandals because no shoes fitting me. Timbuktu sandals good but London very too cold to have bare toes." - Nardo
After reading this book, it allows me to reflect on issues relating to natural disaster preparedness, culture shock (living, working, studying overseas) and immigration issues. It reminded me of my personal experience during the 1990 (16 July) earthquake that struck the Philippines with a magnitude of 7.8 (epicenter). I dont know but it was a death-threatening moment trying myself to hide under the office table as the whole building moved furiously. Another important highlight of the story is about the eagerness of Filipinos to work abroad. As poverty haunts them back in the Philippines, they work hard only to send remittances to their families. Referrred as Overseas Filipinos Workers (aka OFWs), they have the same fate that Nardo's has, struggling to be heroes - helping their loved ones back home despite the hardships of living/working abroad!
The author is clever enough to bring some of the Filipino way of living: giving a name to a child (using best friend's name, a syllable combination from parents' name, using grandparents' name, or father name - becomes Junior/Jr). I was surprised that the author did not use "Junior" (aka Jr) for Bernardo's nickname since his first name is derived from his late father's name. Moreover, I thought that the issue on immigration is a bit outdated and doubtful considering that Bernardo's petition took a long time to process. I assumed that the parents asked a solicitor's assistance to expedite the process which was not explicitly explained in the story. Another minor situation resented in the book that I disagree is Bernardo's arrival to London, a week after his immigration papers was approved by the Home Office. Obtaining a passport, visa and plane ticket need a substantial amount of money, and with the current financial status of Nardo's parents (just bought a house) could probably requires a longer time for him to fly to London. Unless his Aunt Sofia and Uncle have savings to cover the expenses.
"And the truth is, even though I didn't know him, I have missed him just as much as he has missed me" - Amandolina aka Andi
Finally, using a best friend's name for her daughter is also unusual (not common but the name itself might came from the friend parents: Amando and Lina) Filipino custom - mostly parents mix-up with their own first names to come-up with a name like my sister got (without her consent and hated it...hahaha) - Rodyma, a combination of the first syllables of my parents' name: Rodolfo (Rudy) and Magdalena! Or another example that might give you a smile - Luzviminda, derived from the three major island groups of the Philippines - Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Overall, this is a captivating story that brings hope to everyone - having a positive outlook in life. And of course, the power of prayers that could bring miracles in our lives...God Bless every one!
Note: Tall Story has been shortlisted in the following British book awards: Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, Blue Peter Favourite Story Prize, the Leeds Children’s Book Prize and the Hillingdon Secondary School Book Prize, Branford Boase, the Redbridge Children’s Book Award, the UKLA Book Award and the Carnegie Medal. The book is now available in the US since February 08, 2011.
Im happy to give away two paperback copies of the book (maybe signed by the author). If you are interested to join my Read-Release Global Challenge 2011, CLICK HERE. Deadline: 15 March 2011 (midnite)(less)
This one of the 25 books to be distributed on the 5th March 2011 during the World Book Night celebration in Un...more
"A million reasons to read a book..."
This one of the 25 books to be distributed on the 5th March 2011 during the World Book Night celebration in United Kingdom. Im fortunate to be one of the book-givers and distributing 48 copies of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.
About the Project: World Book Night is a celebration of great writing and the power of books and the pleasures of reading. This book is one of 40,000 copies printed of each of the 25 brilliant titles selected for World Book Night 2011. That's 1,000,000 books to be read and enjoyed and then shared. Be part of the reading revolution.
About the Book: London 1862. Sue Trinder, orphaned at birth, grows up among petty thieves - fingersmiths - under the rough but loving care of Mrs Sucksby and her "family". But for the moment she draws breath, Sue's fate is linked to that of another orphan growing up in a gloomy mansion not too many miles away.
This is a quicky read but with a lasting impression. Surprisingly, despite its erotic theme, the stories are not taboo with believable plots, a bit of...moreThis is a quicky read but with a lasting impression. Surprisingly, despite its erotic theme, the stories are not taboo with believable plots, a bit of twist which somehow awakens our senses...Indeed a "criminal minder"! (less)
Business is business but sometimes it is very hard to separate work from the private life. Victoria "V" Frost is a sex decoy who has the physique and...moreBusiness is business but sometimes it is very hard to separate work from the private life. Victoria "V" Frost is a sex decoy who has the physique and charisma to get the job done, even it threatens her own credibility not to be carried away with her victims' tactics.
Simplicity is beauty and Im referring to the plot and writing style of Excuse Me, Miss...not much of a twist but there is something special with the characters as the story unfolds.(less)
The Magic Paint is one of the short stories in this mini modern classics publication which is a delightful read. A slice of scientific facts and sense...moreThe Magic Paint is one of the short stories in this mini modern classics publication which is a delightful read. A slice of scientific facts and sense of humor, indeed the ending is unpredictable. The remaining stories: The Fugitive, Bureau of Vital Statistics and Buffet Dinner are not to be missed especially the Bureau of Vital Statistics with a bizarre setting and unexpected ending. (less)
I just finished five of Jackson's stories included in the newest Penguin Modern Classics publication, and Tooth is really disturbing story and I re-re...moreI just finished five of Jackson's stories included in the newest Penguin Modern Classics publication, and Tooth is really disturbing story and I re-read it again and again just to get a grasp of what the author wanted to tell me. I cant imagine the pain and agony of having a toothache which affects every part of our body, including the brain! Witch and Charles allowed me to smile while reading it… very short but interesting on how children reacted to situations with adults! Intoxicated is simple but something that we can relate on how we perceive our future, and finally, The Lottery has an unbelievable outcome - I was stunned unexpectedly!
That's it and I dont want to give all the best bits of these short stories that still linger on my mind... Im glad that I have the opportunity to read Shirley's story even she died before I was born!
**spoiler alert** INITIALLY, I WAS PLANNING to read this book in my white Kindle3G but I was lucky to grab a hardcopy from my favourite charity shop f...more**spoiler alert** INITIALLY, I WAS PLANNING to read this book in my white Kindle3G but I was lucky to grab a hardcopy from my favourite charity shop for 1 pound only! So, I spared a few schellings instead of purchasing its ebook version from Amazon. I was intrigued by the title and cover design of it, not to mention that this is one of the popular and recommended reads in GoodReads and to date, Room is still one of the best selling books in UK. Without a doubt, this book is also included in the 2011 Booklist of UK Channel 4's The TV Book Club.
However, I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars. Overall, I like the story, but not suitable for all ages! If I will recommend this for my mother (she is now 67 yrs old) to read, she might NOT be able to understand Jack's favourite children TV shows. On the other hand, I think the author is somehow able to manage enough to describe effectively of what a 5-yr old boy feels and thinks in embracing and enjoying life, together with his mother in a limited controlled environment. The planning and execution of Jack and Ma's escape are the best parts of the story! Unfortunately, Jack's new life outside the Room is not fully explored.
Lesson learned? Well, Jack's story reminds us that sometimes we created our own private Rooms which have limited access to other people or we do not want that every one could dwell inside. Maybe these Rooms provide us comfort, strength and encouragement to move on with our lives. Ultimately, these Rooms become our refuge and to some extent, we do not want to get out from these "comfort zones" and not taking risks to explore outside our Rooms, afraid to confront our fears to fail!
In terms of child development, our parents play an important role in shaping our personalities and to prepare us in embarking with so called – life! Early development is a crucial stage in our young lives to be socially and psychologically prepared to embrace life. Of course, there are external forces that influence our young behaviours, but again with the proper guidance from our parents, the negative impacts/effects from these forces can be minimised or can be handled accordingly!
Speaking of externalities, television and other media/entertainment devices (interactive games, computers, DVD players, etc.) are major influential factors in growing-up. For instance, my cousin's youngest son (turned 3 last December) manages to operate an iPad and watched his favourite heroes cartoon programmes in Youtube! Consequently, he does heroes stuff – doing heroes iconic moves while wearing Batman, Spiderman and Ironman costumes in a day! Believe me, he is not crazy and being an Uncle, I am amused while watching him. Of course, there is limitation about this and when his parents come into picture, he does his tantrums – manageable to handle just diverting his attention.
A 2006 US survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 75% of children under 6 years old watch some TV in a given day (www.ehow.com). Moreover, the study found out that children age 6 and under who watch television spend an average of one hour, and total "screen time" with these media gadgets goes up to nearly four hours and 30 minutes per day. There is a "misconception" among parents that allowing kids/babies to watch TV is educational. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), no screen time for children under 2 years old to prevent a reduction in communication and language skills. In addition, study also revealed that each hour of television per day results in a 2.68 decrease in a baby's language score. It is recommended that after the age of 2, parents could try to 1 or 2 hours of quality programming.
On the other hand, the Nemours Foundation observes that, "in moderation, television can be educational in addition to entertaining -preschoolers can get help learning the alphabet on public television [and] grade-schoolers can learn about wildlife on nature shows."I think that "moderation" is the key when it comes to allowing young children to watch TV and other screen media. It is viewed that excessive viewing habits (more than four hours per day) can hamper with other aspects of a child's life development – physical activity and socialisation.
By the way, I took the Channel 4 TV Book Club's quiz and I got 83% (two mistakes out of 12 questions). I thought got it all right. Well, Jack thinks I'm clever as his Ma! I took it again and of course I answered them correctly – Jack's thinks I'm so clever but he will probably be that clever (like me) when he turns six.
If you want to know more about the author's inspiration to write, then visit this link: Emma Donoghue.
FINALLY, THIS STORY also reminded me of the American girl, Jaycee Lee Dugard being captive for 18 years. After her disappearance at age 11, her story became a world-wide sensation in August 2009. Maybe majority of us book fanatics thought that Donoghue's novel is based on her captivity experience. Unfortunately, Donoghue reveals that she got the inspiration to write Jack's life from the Austrian Fritzl's case.
"In Room we knowed what everything was called but in the world there's so much, persons don't even know the names" - Jack (less)
This is my first free softcopy from GoodReads giveaways. This is also my first read about vampire lives. Initially, I got excited about having it for...moreThis is my first free softcopy from GoodReads giveaways. This is also my first read about vampire lives. Initially, I got excited about having it for free with the condition of writing a review for it. I dont expect a grandeur plot considering this is a sequel of Bowler's novel, Moon Rising. But I am still hoping that Sunrise to Sunset will stand as its own merit to provide us the continuing saga of Nessy's new life: half-Gulon-half-vampire adventures.
After awaken from unconsciousness, Nessy realizes that she could not remember anything about herself. With the help of her cousin, Hera and boyfriend Charles, she managed to regain her strength and memory, consequently discovered her identity. Her past life is recurring and blends with her present life as recounted by herself. With the new role in the communities of covens and Gulons, she confides that taking responsibilities in the protection of these different conflicting groups of the underworld is causing chaos and even brings bewilderment about her future. Then again, she also enjoying this acquired “dual” identity - exploring what her DNA is leading to, even it will risk her own life.
The story is different from the normal vampire love story. It deviated from the traditional type of the underworld battles between blooding-sucking vampires and werewolves. And for me, this is something original, however, there are few things that I am bit disappointed as the way the story was written.
Firstly, even though this is a stand-alone novel, a “prologue” seems necessary to allow readers (who haven’t read Moon Rising) understand the premise of Nessy’s adventures – highlighting some of the significant events that lead to the Sunrise to Sunset’s plot. Secondly, having it in a “first-person” narration/dialogue, the author deprived her readers to fully acquaint with other main characters like Hera and Charles. It is like I am reading a ”autobiography” of Nessy or a "memoir" of a vampire! Finally, there are few typo/grammatical errors that need editing/proofreading, including repetitive descriptions and dialogues as well as inconsistencies in time setting towards the end of the book. For instance, one chapter describes the sun is rising and suddenly the next/succeeding chapter is already night time.
DESPITE THESE minor discrepancies, the author brings very relevant and important lessons to be learned that we could relate to our real lives. Some of them are something to do with companionship, leadership, friendship, love, trust, loyalty, confidence and risk-taking. Being a leader does not only mean taking authority and power, but it also allowing ourselves to listen from our peers and act not for our own glory/gratification but for the welfare of the many. Building relationships and connections requires personal commitment and hardworks, and not an overnight affair.
"Our ways were beyond the marital boundaries that existed for humans. Our love for the chosen mate was like an elastic band, no matter how much it stretched, or was twisted, it would always remain" - Nessy(less)
A story that could happen to anyone but there is no suspense, no excitement at all. For Deborah, this is her roller-coaster and life-changing story bu...moreA story that could happen to anyone but there is no suspense, no excitement at all. For Deborah, this is her roller-coaster and life-changing story but this situation might be avoided if she has a different spiritual view in life! I dont know but if she has a strong faith in God, despite the love towards her husband, she will NOT do it and not suffer the consequences before God's judgement and with the law!
Why we have to blame someone for what turned out of our relationship or what we are now? We are the one who take charge of our lives, despite what happened in the past! Unfortunately, I dont have kids, but my parents brought up my other 9 siblings successfully, and as the author described Deborah's parenting, I think what happened to Adam and her relationship with Sophie, are just a manifestation of "bad" parenting! With this serious family problem, I do believe that children and close relatives should be informed and be aware of the situation.
Sorry maybe because of my cultural background and Im very upset of the outcome of the story which could be avoided if Deborah and Neil have a strong spiritual connection. Im happy of the jury's verdict but still she has to serve some few years in prison.
In fairness, the author was able to bring a very controversial social issue of the present time and somehow she managed to provide the reader a good understanding on how the court proceedings are conducted.
I thought this is a simple teenage story, unfortunately, I was surprised of the emotional and psychological effects on me while reading it. The author...moreI thought this is a simple teenage story, unfortunately, I was surprised of the emotional and psychological effects on me while reading it. The author tackled very sensitive issues on parenting, family relationship, growing up and sexuality. These issues were presented in a lighter mood which is more easier to comprehend from a viewpoint of a teenager. With a sense of humor, the entertainment part brought the reading of this book enjoyable as well.
"So, I guess we are who are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them." - Charlie(less)