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Lone Wolf & The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

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With busy work schedules and long working hours of late, my only Me Time is during the journey to and fro work. Imagining traveling to and fro extreme ends of Singapore, that’s a whole lot of Me Time. But of course, I can’t spend my Me Time stretching,lazing and reading a book in a train. Instead, I squeezed with the crowd physically, but mentally am drawn into the wonders of each book I read. Weee.

The two recent books that I’ve read are by Jodi Picoult, yes I know, yet again. Haha. But I am running out of good Novelist and to me, a good read is when you can feel and experience the pain and joy of each character and get to learn something out of it! Jodi Picoult is an expert in that!

I previously wrote a review on her two books, Change of Heart and House rules, and enjoyed them thoroughly. Till date, House rules is the best of all as I had a chance to learn more about Asperger’s Syndrome. It was previously something which I’ve not heard before but through her book, I got to learn and appreciate it better. It also came in useful when I learnt about a colleague who has a son with this syndrome, and she was pleasantly surprised that I’ve heard of it and can appreciate the goodness of a person with this form of autism. So Yirene Tan (my little sister), don’t despise my limited range of reading list, you should learn to appreciate Jodi Picoult’s writing too.

Now, back to these two books which I’ve recently read.

The first book, Lone Wolf is good and through this book, I learnt something about wolves! Previously, my knowledge of wolves were nothing but superficial, to me, there were merely close relatives of dogs and this beautiful and mysterious creature which I knew nothing about.

But after reading Lone Wolf, I learnt about how the pack function, the significant of each action / behavior and importantly how each and every wolf has a role to play. I enjoyed learning about Alpha Wolf (the highest ranking wolf who is well respected and make all decision), Beta wolf (second in command, a discipliner and the gatekeeper to Alpha) and all. It is all very fascinating to me and the amount of research that went into writing this book is just amazing!

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Source: Here

On the main story line of this book, she also pick our brain and challenge our moral values and beliefs. The key topic, will you turn off life support of someone dear if you know there may be no chance of him/her waking up and leading an active life which he strongly believed in. I am not sure, but I thought the characters were a little too hasty in the decision. But I shall not reveal any more about the book, go read it!

The second book, The Storyteller, is a heavy one. I hate the ending, the twist is so cruel that I couldn’t believe it. In this book, she explored the concept of forgiveness through a story about the Holocaust in Auschwitz, will you be able to forgive the Nazi if you are a Jew. Especially if you have a grandmother who survived the Holocaust. Again, Jodi Picoult had thorough research in writing this book, it was back by historians and stories of survivors and it sheds a story of a side of the Holocaust that I never knew and can never imagine. In her book, she didn’t just share the story of the survivor, she also shared the story of the people who created the pain. There were so much pain in the past and in the book, but it also made me appreciate the peace that we are enjoying right now. There is no winner in a war.

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Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

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Sophie Kinsella is my favourite chick lit author ever! Her shopaholic series is a killer and I have read every single book of hers! In all her books, there is always this ditzy, crazy, hyperventilating female character somewhat like Rebecca Bloomwood in the shopaholic series. I got her latest book – Wedding Night – through paying SGD1.55 reservation fee to our National Library and got it within 3 days after reserving for it! Weee! This beats paying twenties for a book I’m unlikely to read again and definitely beats waiting in line without reserving for the book!

So back to this book. Lottie (the crazy character) is insane. She misinterpreted her boyfriend’s recent behaviour as an upcoming proposal only to be dashed by the truth nothing close to a ring. After having her dreams dashed, she broke up with her boyfriend, met her teenage summer fling and got proposed by the very same summer fling who was having his own mid life crisis! The worst of all, she accepted the proposal! Her sister Fliss and her newly wed husband’s best man, Lorcan had a plan which does not involved tossing rose petals at a church wedding.

This novel is not for the faint hearted and I’m not sure what I would do if I am Fliss. Lock up my little sister or poison my future brother in law? But the plan which Fliss came up with was hilarious and unconventional. This is an entertaining read just for the fun of it.

Change of Heart, Jodi Picoult

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This book gripped my heart. A heavily pregnant mother who lost a daughter and her husband. Her only will to live is the child inside her. While her convicted murderer is sentenced to capital punishment, her child grew up with a dying heart. The dying wish of the man who hurt her is to donate his heart to her younger daughter. Will the mother grant the dying wish of the person who took away her love ones? Can she stand having part of that person in her daughter’s body? Will she be able to reject his heart selfishly and see her daughter die? Will the daughter want the heart of the man who killed her sister and father to stay alive?

This book also made me think a lot about religion and faith. It questions major religions but yet set you thinking in a broader view of spirituality. If religion’s main purpose is to bring people together, why is it the main reason tearing our world apart. At times when a so called miracle is performed, is it truly a miracle or is it merely something we choose to see. Many religions preach about faith but if all we need is faith, why are there so many dos and don’ts.

It is a heavy hearted book but one which set me thinking. Whoever says Jodi Picoult’s book is a girly read, that person have yet to read one of her books. There are a lot of thought and heart put into her writing and it is definitely a great read for everyone, young and old, man or woman.

Thunderhead by Preston & Child

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I told you I’m obsessed with Preston & Child’s books and I’m just done with Thunderhead. This book revolves around the young archaeologist – Nora Kelly – featured in many of the Preston & Child’s Pendergast series! In this book, Nora Kelly, received a letter written sixteen years ago by her long believed dead father. In the letter, her father shared about a discovery of a lost city of an ancient civilization which is worth a fortune and is going to make archaeological history. Prompted by the letter, Nora led an expedition into a harsh and remote corner of Utah’s canyon country to search for her father and his glory. As Nora begins to unravel the greatest mystery of American archeology, she unearths a horrifying secret buried for centuries.

As always, I was addicted to this book and devoured it impatiently while enjoying every twists and turns of the adventure. I love that the background story is often supported with archaeology facts and references and written with intelligence and suspense. Familiar characters such as Smithback and Nora made this an enjoyable read!

I’m glad I’m done with this book because I can’t wait to start on the next book, Sick by US blogger Laura Susanne. She is calling out for bloggers to do a blog tour for her book and I am eager to participate and host her blog tour on Somethingboutrenes! Can’t wait to read her story and am heartened to know of this courageous lady who is willing to share openly.

Codex by Douglas Preston

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I’m just done with Douglas Preston’s Codex and love every bit of it! This book is published before Tyrannosaurus Canyon and I love that they used the same character Tom Broadbent and his wife Sally. I like the way Preston builds the characters with various novels and gives it more personality and history in the read.

In this book Codex, it is about Tom’s dad’s – Maxwell Broadbent – last wish and game plan for his three sons. Maxwell Broadbent is a treasure hunter and tomb robber who amassed a huge collection of rare art, gems and artifacts. But unwilling to simply give out his inheritance to his three sons without making them work for it, he created a challenge for them to hunt for his treasures while burying himself (a dying man with cancer) along with all his rare collections. The race is on among the brothers and others who heard of this challenge. Exciting writing about the journey of the three sons where they hope to uncover the treasures in South America and met various challenges along the way!

Indulging in Books.

After discovering these authors, I have cultivated a new habit of reading. I love that I can depend on my trusty book and rely less on my phone during those train rides. I have also grown to spend lesser time in front of television and indulge in a good book instead.

The genre of books I read differ greatly from what I used to read too! I read a lot of light heart and brainless chick flicks in the past, but now, I am really into thrillers, crimes, and fiction of investigative nature. It is all too exciting! Haha.

Here are my favourite authors and the books that I have read recently!

Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child’s Pendagast Series: I have finally completed their first two books – Relic and Reliquary! It is a bittersweet emotion to read all their books. It means the end of Pendagast till their next release!

Linwood Barclay’s Bad Guys is good too. Nothing like the Pendagast series where history and facts are presented with New York as the backdrop. But this book about a reporter – Zack Walker – who got caught in a whirl of crimes while getting an insight in the life of a private investigator is good as well.

Douglas Preston’s Tyrannosaur Canyon is a joy to read! It is about finding out the identity of a fossil hunter who got murdered after his latest discovery of a complete fossil of T-Rex. His latest discovery holds the key to the answers of dinosaurs’ extinction and if misused may pose a threat to mankind.

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I’ve just borrowed another three books and am really excited to start reading them!

“French Milk” makes me wanna go Paris right now!

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I first came across Lucy Knisley’s work while reading A Cup of Jo’s blog post about Lucy’s new book Relish out this month! Joanna was raving about her earlier book – French Milk – a graphic novel journeying her six weeks Paris vacation she had with her mum when she turned twenty two.

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I did a quick search in the online catalogue of my favourite library in town and am glad that they carry it! It was my first time reading a graphic novel (minus those random comics I read in my younger days) so it took me a while to get use to reading short sentences and looking at pictures more than words. This is a quick read for people who hates reading while I gobbled it down in a few hours! I was a little skeptical initially, as her sharing on the last few days in US before her vacation was a little boring. But once she starts writing and drawing about Paris, I’m in love. Haha. She is funny and very real.

This is a good introduction to people who have yet to visit Paris (me!) and also a nice read for people loving Paris (me!). Hah. Now I’m looking forward to her new book – Relish – a coloured graphic novel sharing her food adventures, as the daughter of a chef, from New York to Mexico to Venice to Japan.

Here are some notes I took from this book which I hope will come in handy when I have an opportunity to visit Paris in the future!

  • Visiting the various art museums such as Musee De L’Orangeries and Musee D’Orsay
  • Eating yummy praline cookies from Laduree which is also famous for their macarons (they are opening a store in Takashimya on 15 April!)
  • Sipping tea and eating chocolate fondant and drinking wine at cafes / bistros
  • Visiting Marche Aux Puces, Paris’s oldest and largest antiques flea market
  • Visiting Montmartre flea markets and Sacre Coeur
  • Visiting Dehullerin which is famous for their kitchen equipments and accessories. Perhaps a few copper pots and pans for decorations?

Fly me to Paris now!

Riptide & Adventure of 2 Girls

Hotels in Japan usually do not come with English TV channels. None of the three hotels we stayed came with English channels. Since two of the tactics to be happy involve reading and limiting television, it is a perfect 17 days of reading and limited television watching in Japan!

During this trip, I finished reading two books which I enjoyed thoroughly! Here are the two books which tide me through the boring TV-less night in Japan and long train rides between Tokyo and Kobe.

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Other than the Pendergast series, Preston and Child also write other stand alone novels! I love their books as it is thrilling and they often take reference on certain facts, history and cultures. This time round, this book – Riptide – is about a Water Pit which holds the treasures hidden by a renowned seventeenth-century architect for the pirates. Many treasure hunters attempted unsuccessfully to unlock the deadly and cursed puzzle. But now, together with the most advanced technology and a team of professionals from archeologist to historian to engineer and IT specialist, the team will attempt to unlock this pit again. Even though this story is set in an island off of Maine, it took reference from an actual pit in Oak Island. The mystery of the water pit in Oak Island remains and no one knows if there are actually treasures in it. Have fun reading it!

The other book which I am really excited to share is written by two sassy Singaporean girls! I came across this book – Adventure of 2 Girls – in our local book store but resisted in an attempt to save money. After a quick search in our National Library site, I quickly made a reservation for the book and paid a reservation fee in hope of borrowing it for my Japan trip!

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Pamela and Ning dropped their careers and went backpacking for nine months around the world. I admire their courage and wanderlust spirit! It is a book narrating funny incidents they encountered, episodes on how they almost killed each other while bickering, and how this pair of BFF conquered the world! It is not just a book narrating on their adventure in various countries, but also a sharing on the people they met along the way. I love that they did not pick those easy and touristy destinations but ended up in the wilderness like the Sahara desert, Madagascar, and various villages in India. Most would not pick these locations and it’s just amazing how these two ladies survived the trip. Ning also graduated from Le Cordon Bleu after going through three months of intensive course in Paris along the way!

This book is easy and funny to read, and these two girls are such fun characters.

Ning is Singapore’s first professional female magician and escape artist, and is a graduate from the School of Film & Media studies. She was also awarded with a scholarship for excellence in writing, so it is no wonder that she writes well!

As for Pam, she is a radio DJ/talk show host, published writer, and former deputy editor of a magazine. She is also a graduate of English and holds a masters degree in Psychology. It is really fun reading about the various encounters from the different perspectives of the two girls!

The best book to read while on holiday! A piece of advice, do not read this if you are stuck at work with no time for a holiday. Because this book will surely tempt you to drop all things and book a flight out of our sunny island!

I love Fishpond

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My book from Fishpond is here! I love Fishpond and have bought several books from them! I find their prices competitive and at times lower than Bookdepository and their delivery is reliable and fast! At times they even bring forward the delivery date from the original date they estimated upon purchase. I also love that Fishpond provides friendly and fast email response and gives regular updates on the status of your order. Now I can’t wait to read them, except that work is crazy at the Frontline!

Reason to buy from an overseas online retailer? The books cost much less than our brick and mortar bookstore! At Kino, this book costs over $30 but I only paid $22! They also provide international free shipping! They save on rental and other operational costs and spend it on postage! Also, you can get books that is newly release in US / UK and by the time you get your hands on it, it is not even in our local bookstore!

Preston & Child: The Pendergast Series

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I love Preston & Child‘s Pendergast series. I accidentally stumbled upon their third book, The Cabinet of Curiosities and love that there are many history and interesting facts with a plot situated in a Natural History Museum in my favourite city New York! After this book, the story continues with various mysteries and adventures and somehow or rather, FBI Agent Pendergast often appears to be involved in them officially or unofficially. The main character Pendergast who is stoically aloof and eccentric, yet with his politeness and intellect made him a unique and charming character. Since then, I’ve read all the books (minus his first two, I don’t like to backtrack the story), and am looking forward to his latest book Two Graves which was released in December! I’ve already bought it off Fishpond and am waiting impatiently for its arrival! This series is a must read for people who enjoys crime scene investigation, thrillers and mysteries with hints of history and cultural background.

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

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Canadian author, Linwood Barclay, writes excellent thrillers! In this book, No Time for Goodbye, it is written from the point of view from a husband whose wife’s family vanished in a morning when she was fourteen-year-old. Now that they are happily married with a young daughter, this mystery bugs her and prompts her to go on a TV program which tries to investigate this puzzle. The plot unfolds with a strange car in a neighborhood, untraceable phone calls, ominous gifts and the revelation of the killer’s shocking identity. It is an exciting read with many twists and turns! A good read with high entertainment value!

House Rules

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I love this book, House Rules by Jodi Picoult! It is a story about a teenager, Jacob, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, and how he is embroiled into the murder of his tutor with all evidences pointing to him. Jacob who is hopeless in reading social cues, takes words and the world literary and is unable to express himself, has to face the justice system to prove himself not guilty. I love that the story is narrated by multiple characters such as Jacob, Emma (his mum), Theo (his brother) and Oliver (his lawyer) and a few others. Picoult is able to express the feelings of each character and is brilliant in weaving the emotions and stories into an enjoyable read. In addition, there are many crime scene investigation and forensic science concepts used in this book which I love! It is also a rewarding read with information relating to Asperger’s Syndrome shared in this book, and one can better empathize and understand this little known condition. One can see Picoult’s effort and research behind this book! House rules is definitely one of my faovurite read by Picoult!

Bringing up BeBe

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Having seen this book – Bringing up BeBe by Pamela Druckerman– being featured in various magazines and blogs, I’ve always wanted to buy one. But the risk of buying a book I don’t enjoy and having it sit on my bookshelf to shame my poor taste in reading choice is too great. With this fear, I hopped over to NLB’s easy search website to search for it’s availability and with some luck, it is available at the library near my workplace!

Bringing up Bebe is about an American mother’s discovery in French parenting while residing in France. Her journey began when she realized French kids eat well-rounded meals, are better behaved and in control of themselves. While reading it, I regretted not owning the book, as I love tagging pages I find insightful! So instead, I jotted down some points in my phone for future reference!

Here are some insights and my review of Bringing up BeBe.

  • Practicing La Pause: When a baby starts crying, French parents often pause for 5-10 mins before attending to them. This teaches baby patience and gives them a chance to self-soothe.
  • Saying Attend: To allow rowdy children to practice self-control, French parents issue a sharp attend, which means “Wait” instead of saying “Quiet” or “Stop”. Instead of rejecting them, French parents allow them to remind calm and wait happily.
  • Being Sage: Being sage implies more than be good. It is to behave appropriately, use good judgment and be aware and respectful of other people. It is to imply that the child has certain wisdom about the situation and is in command of himself/herself. It also means that the parent trusts the child.
  • Unspoken Baby feeding schedule: Every French parent attempts to feed their child in the morning, noon, at four pm, and at eight pm. This attempts to follow adult’s eating schedule, with breakfast, lunch, tea break and dinner. This is unlike the norm in America / Singapore where feeding takes place every few hours or whenever a baby cries. French parents nudge their children towards the schedule progressively and flexibly, to regular hours that are more compatible with their daily life.
  • Getting back their Ligne by Three Months: Most French mums target and are able to get back their ligne (figure) by three months postpartum. It is a norm and an expectation by everyone. French’s secret? By paying a lot of attention in what they eat.
  • Gaining back their Pre-baby Identities: Most French mums are physically separate from their children, you will never spot a French mother climbing a jungle gym with their child. French parents will often store toys away from common spaces instead of allowing them to clutter around the living room. French assumes that being a parent is very important, it shouldn’t subsume one’s other roles.
  • The Perfect Mother doesn’t Exist: French mothers don’t valorize guilt, they consider it unhealthy and unpleasant, and they try to banish it
  • Allow Children to Discover Food: French parent persists in giving different food to children. This allows them to explore food in different colours, textures, smells and tastes.
  • C’est moi qui decide: “It’s me who decides”, most French mother says it with conviction. They have authority without seeming like dictators. They don’t aspire to raise obedient robots. To the contrary, they listen and talk to their kids all the time.
  • The Cadre Model: It is a firm frame, surrounding a lot of freedom. French parents are very strict about a few things and pretty relaxed about everything else. This makes them seem more reasonable and thus makes it more likely that children will obey.

These are just some examples that Druckerman discussed in her book, Bringing up Bebe. The French has many conflicting principles and few hard and fast rules! If you are confused with what exactly is French parenting, don’t worry, I’m equally confused because it is all encompassing and ever contradicting. This book is smart, funny and it opens my eyes to a French culture so deeply rooted but unknown to the outsiders. Druckerman shares them in a storytelling style that is both engaging and insightful! There are many more fascinating observations in her book, and parents of little children and parents-to-be should definitely read it! People who love all things French should read it too!

Next on my reading list would be Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t get fat!

Oh and by the way, No, I’m not pregnant. Hah.

// All the insights are extracted or paraphrased from the book Bringing up BeBe by Pamela Druckerman.

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Anyone read this? What’s your take? I would love to try reading it to find out what the controversies are all about! According to Wiki, it has sold 20 million copies worldwide, with book rights having been sold in 37 countries, and has set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series!

I first saw it many months ago when it is ranked equally high in Bookdepository.com with the Hunger Games series and never give a thought about it. Then came Mr Brown’s article and this news yesterday – 50 Shades Of Grey Argument Ends Up In Court After Man Squirts Sauce Over Girlfriend. HAHA and now, I can’t get over this book!

I heard women love it and men hate it. Haha. Apparently it is an erotic series with sexual practices surrounding bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism (BDSM). Nothing wrong in exploring your sexual fantasy right women (of age and in appropriate life stage)! Hah.Tell me if it’s any good!

Preston, Child & Barclay

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After reading all the three books of Hunger Games, I am hooked on thrillers and books on adventures. Anyway, the second book of Hunger Games is great and the third book is a little draggy. But I’m glad I read them all!

Anyway, back to these three new authors my friend recommended, if you are into thrillers, mysteries, crime – solving and books on adventures, you will love them all!

Reading Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston’s books is both entertaining and educational, with Death Match you learnt more on AI and old technologies, with the Cabinet of Curiosities, you learnt about histories of museums and cultures in the past. I love their detailed writing and how beautiful they painted the scene and scenarios. The Preston & Child series often have a touch of history, culture, or archeology touch. I like.

As for Linwood Barclay, it is like reading a crime scene unfolds in front of you. His writing is easier to read compare to Child and Preston but it less detailed.

Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux

Just finish reading “Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, Third Edition” by author Therese de Lisieux and translated to English by John Clarke.

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This book was recommended by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, who sees St. Therese as her spiritual master. I reckon that since she was not a Catholic and is a regular Protestant Christian like me, if she can enjoy reading it, I can probably do that too. But I must admit, this is one of the hardest book to read, the language is unlike modern novel, there are many terms relating to Catholic practices which I’m not familiar, and it is more like her diary than a biography. She pours out her innermost thoughts and longings and I must say, it is incredible to read the heart of a little girl so young and yet so filled with such deep love for God. She knew her life, her mission, and she displayed her obedience and love in the little ways. I must admit I only read 3/4 of the books as it got a little too hard to read towards the end. But I was greatly humbled after reading it. It is a must for all Catholics and all God loving people!

Online Books Shopping [Pre-delivery review]

I am addicted to online books shopping! Yes you heard me, I am turning into a nerd! Haha. I bought 5 books till date from 3 websites and 1 has arrived. I love reading physical book, love the smell of it and love that you can hold it and make notes, fold, and bring it any where! I know your Kindle can do that too, but I hate it when my technology runs out of power and it is just different. It is comforting to know that this books can be passed down to friends and many generations without worrying that the edition will turn obsolete. I do believe that physical books will continue to have a big market in my generation!

Aside from that, focusing our attention back onto the topic of online books shopping, we shall see which website is the most reliable! I will update again when all the books arrive but meanwhile here are the books I bought.

Amazon

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Bought: Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, Third Edition , Therese de Lisieux (Author), John Clarke (Translator)

Good: Amazon is best for out of print books or hard to find books. This book was recommended by Gretchen Rubin in her The Happiness Project book and I so wanted to get my hands on it which is of this edition and by this translator! Having searched many other websites (both local and overseas) to no avail, I turned to Amazon! The good thing about Amazon is that, you can buy both new or used books from their seller! Which is awesome to save some money and reuse, reduce, recycle! I bought it on 12 April 12 and received it in my mailbox on 20 April 12! Efficient! Almost 3 weeks ahead of the estimated delivery date.

Bad: Amazon’s price is quoted in US dollars and their delivery charges can costs more than the books itself. Though reliable, unless it is a hard to find book, I won’t recommend using this because of the price.

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Book Depository.co.uk

Bought: Two books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Good: The prices are quoted in Singapore dollars and they provide free worldwide delivery (at least to most countries, and yes Singapore is part of it!). The price is slightly lower than Amazon (but much lower if you include delivery charges of Amazon) and definitely lower than local bookstore. I bought it today on the 22 April 12 and we shall see when it will arrive.

// One of the books arrived on time! The other one got sent to the wrong unit by our local postman and when I informed Books Depository that I have yet to receive my other book, they prompt sent a new one! Great service recovery!

fishpond

Fishpond.com.sg

Bought: Two books, Baby proof by Emily Giffin and When I fell from the sky by Juliane Keopcke

Good: This website was originally created for the Australia and New Zealand markets with book sellers in UK and USA. The prices are also quoted in Singapore dollars and they too provide free worldwide delivery. The price is lower than Amazon but at times comparable to Book Depository. I bought this two books on 11 April 12 and this two books are from two different sources so my guess is that they might arrive on different days. We shall see, the estimated arrival date is between 24/04/12 and 30/04/12 for one book and between 25/04/12 and 01/05/12 for the other. I shall update again when it arrives!

//23/04/12: One of my books arrived 1 day earlier than expected in good condition! Yay!

//25/04/12: The other book arrived! Well on time!

Gosh. I’m such a addicted nerd! But I’m glad and am looking forward to receiving and reading these books!


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The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

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“Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place. “ – Amazon.com

I am sure many of you have either read this book or seen the movie and gosh I love this book! I never expect myself to enjoy reading this genre of books, after all, I didn’t read any of the Harry Potter or Twilight series but this book was awesome. I just can’t put it down and when I did, I wish I don’t have to work or do other things but just hole up in a corner to quickly finish the book! The main character Katniss is easy to love and though it is set in a tragic plot where young children have to kill each other to survive just for pure entertainment, it is chillingly sick yet exciting. It made me root for Katniss throughout the book as thought I came from the same district of Panem too.

The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

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Everyone wants to be happy and everyone does things hoping that we will be happier when we achieve them and that’s why we work harder, buy more things and jump into any chance just to do that.

I’m not having a depression nor am I unhappy with my life, but I picked up this book at Ubud, Bali airport because I think I can be happier than my current state of mind.

This book is another take on our New Years Resolutions which are centered around activities and changes that we think will make us happier. Gretchen chronicled her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Unlike Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, Gretchen didn’t have the option to uproot herself and abandon her family, instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions and test out principles by experts from Thoreau to Oprah to Dalai Lama.

This book has inspired many to start their own 12 months Happiness Project but not me. I find it a chore to list down 12 areas of my life which I want to improve and using resolution charts to track my progress. However, I realized in many instances when I read her book, she is very similar to me and I am glad, I agree with many of her resolutions and outcomes after she tested them!

Here are some of my favorites resolutions of Gretchen.

  • January – Boost Energy, Vitality: Exercise better & Toss, Restore, organize
  • February – Remember Love: Marriage: Quit nagging, Don’t expect praise or appreciation, Fight right, Give proofs of love [This is my favorite chapter!]
  • March – Aim higher, Work: Enjoy now
  • April – Lighten Up, Parenthood: Acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings & Take time for projects [Even though I’m not a parent just yet, but if I have a child, I would love to buy the book “How to talk so Kids will listen and listen so Kids will talk” which Gretchen recommended.]
  • May – Be serious about play, Leisure: Find more fun & Go off the path
  • June – Make time for friends, Friendship: Be generous & Show up [I am guilty of not putting in effort in maintaining friendships]
  • July – Buy some happiness, Money: Indulge in modest splurge and buy needful things
  • August – Contemplate the Heavens, Eternity: Read memoirs of catastrophe [I bought 2 books where one is recommended by her and another which I came across while reading a news article.]
  • September – Pursue a passion, Books: Make time
  • October – Pay attention, Mindfulness
  • November – Keep a contented heart, Attitude: Laugh out loud & give positive reviews
  • December – Boot camp perfect, Happiness

Something Borrowed & Something Blue

I am back on my reading track and thanks to CW for lending me two great books from the same author from the same series! I finish reading one during my Bali trip and I couldn’t put the book down. I quickly came home to read on the sequel and gosh, I love them both. Love them but love them differently.

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Something Borrowed is written as the voice of Rachel. The good girl, a hard-working attorney and a faithful friend who is her charmed but self centered best friend Darcy’s maid of honor. Rachel has always taken the backstage, accepting her sidekick role and allowing Darcy to shine. But all that changed on the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel confessed her feelings to Darcy’s fiancé and discovered that he feels the same way too. Something Borrowed makes me want to beat up Darcy and cheer for Rachel during their roller coaster love triangle ride! It is a book with an exciting start and an exhilarating reading experience with a slight disappointing ending which left me satisfied but not pleased.

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The second book, Something Blue was written from Darcy’s side of the story. The beginning was painful to read because I dislike Darcy. Darcy was a pain and I can’t stand her nonsense. But I am glad I pressed on. This story is about the transformation of Darcy. It paints the journey of Darcy maturing and moving on with her life and I love the ending. I am certainly pleased with the ending. I love happy ending.

If you love reading chick flick, you must read this. You must. It is that good. I am now curious about the other books written by Emily Giffin.