Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

MPOV: The Noodle Maker

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.41/5
First published: 1990
Author: Ma Jian
Translator: Flora Drew
Genre: Satirical fiction, Asian literature, Short story

1) Read a book by a Chinese author or a red book

From Ma Jian, the highly acclaimed Chinese dissident, comes a satirical novel about the absurdities of life in a post-Tiananmen China.

Two men meet for dinner each week. Over the course of one of these drunken evenings, the writer recounts the stories he would write, had he the courage: a young man buys an old kiln and opens a private crematorium, delighting in his ability to harass the corpses of police officers and Party secretaries, while swooning to banned Western music; a heartbroken actress performs a public suicide by stepping into the jaws of a wild tiger, watched nonchalantly by her ex-lover. Extraordinary characters inspire him, their lives pulled and pummeled by fate and politics, as if they are balls of dough in the hands of an all-powerful noodle maker.

Ma Jian's satirical masterpiece allows us a humorous, yet profound, glimpse of those struggling to survive under a system that dictates their every move.From Ma Jian, the highly acclaimed Chinese dissident, comes a satirical novel about the absurdities of life in a post-Tiananmen China.

Two men meet for dinner each week. Over the course of one of these drunken evenings, the writer recounts the stories he would write, had he the courage: a young man buys an old kiln and opens a private crematorium, delighting in his ability to harass the corpses of police officers and Party secretaries, while swooning to banned Western music; a heartbroken actress performs a public suicide by stepping into the jaws of a wild tiger, watched nonchalantly by her ex-lover. Extraordinary characters inspire him, their lives pulled and pummeled by fate and politics, as if they are balls of dough in the hands of an all-powerful noodle maker.

Ma Jian's satirical masterpiece allows us a humorous, yet profound, glimpse of those struggling to survive under a system that dictates their every move.

The above taken from Goodreads.

To be honest, this book did not grasped me as much hence I took quite a while to finish it even though it's a novella. Being not as engaging, I tend to read others in between but I had to force finish it so that I can proceed with the next #tbntbookchallenge! Not forgetting I do have a few e-ARC's to read and review in queue!

Each chapter holds a different short story though it's inter-related to each other, especially to the 2 main protagonists i.e. The Professional Writer (TPW) and The Professional Blood Donor (TPBD). As these different short stories were TPW's stories in which he hoped he could write, he can only tell it to TPBD as he's afraid of The Party. Most of these short stories ended with gruesome deaths, if not with bad endings. It sure wasn't as attractive to me since I never liked gory stuffs!

Translation wise, it seemed to be fluidly done as I didn't get lost in translation. I was able to understand the gist of it and was hoping for a much engaging story line. I guessed such satirical stories are not my cup of tea. As it is, I kept cringing at the gory parts LOL! The plots were different, as if being told of actual China in a novella way. Having said that, I did enjoy the last few stories which were quite enthralling.

Apologies for the out of focus pics, I was too sleepy to redo it LOL! Anyway, I did liked how the author has named it's content, straightforward and relatable to the relevant stories, a good introduction if you asked me.
Some of the notable quotes:

All in all, it truly was a unique yet dark read with lots of reference to death. The cover did piqued my interest but the title was somehow not so in sync. If you like gothic kinda story, then this novella is for you.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

MPOV: The Relic Spell (Book 1 of the Phyrian War Chronicles)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.67/5
Published: December 17, 2019
Author: Jimena I. Novaro
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction

Magic rolls through Orion Tamura’s history classroom like a tidal wave of golden light that only he can see. The spell is deadly, and Orion has no idea who cast it or what they want.

Answers are scarce—all of Port Monica’s sorcerers vanished fourteen years before, including Orion’s father. Armed with his limited knowledge of magic, Orion is the only one left in the city who is strong enough to investigate the origins of the spell.

But the city’s leaders will stop at nothing to censor and sabotage anyone who gets close to the truth. Invisible otherworlders watch every move Orion and his friends make, and a mysterious sorcerer who knows the answers haunts Orion’s dreams.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Thanks to BookSirens for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

This book definitely reminds me of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. I kept imagining Jay Baruchel as Orion LOL! Filled with lots of actions that I've lost the plot a few times! Honestly, I had to reread it many a times to grasp the terror which had definitely slowed down my reading progress.

A book about sorcerers and demons, Orion is a young sorcerer who has been catching demons with his friend, Max. He has been trained by his mother who is apparently quite ill. Both his father and Max's parents have disappeared 14 years ago including all of Port Monica's sorcerers without a trace leaving Orion the only sorcerer left to defend his city... well apparently not. With a deadly relic spell reenacted after 14 years and a new sorcerer in town, Orion has to find out the origin of the spell to try to stop it and also stop this new sorcerer!

I truly applaud Jimena for having written this so well! It's action-packed with loads of fighting scenes and yet she could translate it onto paper neatly! I do enjoy her nicely paced prose and was entertained from the start.

Somehow the overall premise did sounds like Twilight + The Mortal Instruments + Xena LOL! It seems to have borrowed scenes from all over, compressed and refined to become The Relic Spell. I guess this is just me thinking too much whilst reading this with my mind actively envisioning this, imagining that. Hence the comparison started when a scene sounds familiar or a part created similarly like this or that.

All in all, it's YA through and through with much sorcery and bravery plus a little love. It does carry some weight of the current social stigma which is difficult to comprehend with their current self. So relevant and on point, hopefully it will indirectly guide the youngsters accordingly with topics like trying to fit in with the cool kids, proving themselves worthy to others and bullying. Also as there's reference to Orion's love for Max, I wonder if it'll developed in the next few books or so. I liked how this book ends, at least it's not a cliffhanger and leave me hanging much LOL! With so much going on, I wonder how book 2 would fare...

Thursday, 16 January 2020

MPOV: The Arrangement

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.08/5
Publishing: January 28, 2020
Authors: Sylvia Day, Minerva Spencer and Kristin Vayden
Genre: Romance, Regency, Fiction

Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

Just so you know, I had a hard time trying to read this on my Kobo Touch as the format size was so small! The fonts were so tiny and when I tried to zoom in, it was hard to scroll as the function was not user-friendly. In the end, luckily there's Adobe Digital Editions so I could read it on my Apple instead.

Anyway, this novel is a collection of 3 historical romance by 3 different authors. I've only read Sylvia Day's so I did expect some hardcore stuff. All in all, I didn't expect it to be a little over the top since it's historical romance. Well, being exposed to historical romance at a young age, I guess I'm kinda old fashion so a little susceptible to adapt to such new concepts LOL!
Mischief and the Marquess by Sylvia Day - Available for the first time since 2007! 
Justin, the Marquess of Fontaine, and Lady Sophie Milton-Riley, are completely ill-suited to one another. But they will have to prove it in order to end to their mothers' insistence that they should marry. Yet the more they attempt to demonstrate how wrong their union would be, the more surprisingly, irresistibly right things feel...
The first novella is Sylvia Day's Mischief and the Marquess. As usual, she writes pretty well, adapting to the historical aspect but not as fluently. The story itself was fine but the head-on crude sex does not jive which made it seemed a little over board. It just didn't suit the genre for me and it turned me off. If it's written as current day romance, it would definitely had been a good read for me! Some snippets to share...

The Duke's Treasure by Minerva Spencer - First time in print! 
Plain, prickly Josephine Loman has loved Beaumont Halliwell, the Fifth Duke of Wroxton, since the first time she saw him. But the most beautiful man she's ever met had eyes only for Jo's erstwhile friend, who betrayed Beau's trust by marrying his brother. Beau hasn't been home in years, but when his brother dies in an accident, he must marry to save the impoverished dukedom. And Jo is the overlooked heiress who will turn his world upside down...
The same goes for this second novella, Minerva Spencer's The Duke's Treasure. This was totally a modern take hence I totally forgot it's regency romance so it fared much better. I've not read Minerva Spencer's books so it was quite refreshing for me with the Duke supposedly more chauvinistic but became more humanly due to his new wife. Interestingly, it still reflects the historical aspect at a minimum so I still kept thinking it's modern day romance. Some snippets to share with interesting choice of words /  sentences...

The Inconvenient Countess by Kristin Vayden - First time in print! 
As the eldest in a poverty-stricken family of daughters, Miss Diana Katherine Lambson's only option is a marriage of convenience. Her only prospect is a rogue with a miserable reputation. Her only true desire: freedom. And that is exactly what Charles Brook, Earl of Barrington, is willing to offer, in return for the respectability their union will give him. He will even provide Diana with a contract. But does she dare entrust her future to a scoundrel? Does she dare not to?
This final novella actually hits home! Well written prose without overdoing the sex part and keeping it historically seducing! I actually enjoyed this one a lot with all the teasing and fun bantering! Kristin totally killed it with the right pace, right prose with the right amount of sex so appreciating the historical aspects of it all. I've enjoyed being in Diana's and Brook's company from the start to the end! A snippet which I loved... so seductively sweet...

Overall, it has the same plot where the Duke was forced to marry the unintended bride, eventually both fell in love and lived happily ever after. All has the same epilogue where the duchess is pregnant and the duke is happily in love LOL! So if you are looking for a light read, this is the one. I would have finished it sooner if not for my initial hiccup!

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

MPOV: Circe

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.28/5
First published: April 10, 2018
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

The above taken from Goodreads.

This book is about Circe, a goddess who has been in shadows all her life until she was banished to an island for revealing she has magic. In Aiaia, she's the queen, the witch, the ruler of her own destiny. This book tells the story of her life's journey, of her hardship, the torments she has to endure to survive and eventually writing her own destiny.

I've come across many rave reviews of this book but I assumed it's overrated. How wrong I was!!! From the first chapter, I was engulfed in a well written, well paced story. So beautifully written that I savour every single word and did not speed read even though I was anxious to know the ending! It may be slow to some but it was magically right for me! Though I've not read The Martian by Andy Weir, I have watched the movie and somehow Circe reminded me of that.

I was able to envision Circe from the day she was born, how she survived being ridiculed and abandoned, when she has to endure all those vital moments. So poignant yet relatable in every walks of life. I could so feel her hostility and her heartaches but yet, she's strong-willed, unwilling to bow down when she knows she's right. I truly loved her attitude in life. I never knew I would enjoy Greek mythology as much.

I applaud Madeline Miller for actually writing such a life journey, a sort of memoir for Circe. I have not read her other novel, The Song of Achilles but now I'm intrigued. She's able to tell Circe's point of view with such angst and I truly feel for her! Maybe it's the feminist side but I guess her being a teacher also did helped to be more accurate and more wordy LOL!
“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
“Circe, he says, it will be all right.
It is not the saying of an oracle or a prophet. ... He does not mean that it does not hurt. He does not mean that we are not frightened. Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what is means to be alive.”
For all that she has to endure, Circe has remained as positive as she could. She did not give up easily and her pursuit in life just lived on without hesitation. She stood for what she believes in even though the hurdles were much higher. She truly dare to be different and preached for what she believes in. She's so amazing, definitely a woman of her own destiny.

Friday, 3 January 2020

2019: My Year in Books

Every year, I'll share my year in books, tabulated by Goodreads. Goodreads is an app tracking almost everything about books which is a Godsend! This time around, I've set my 2019 Reading Challenge at 38 books which, unfortunately, is short by 4. So as not to over stress my reading pace, I've reduced it to 30 for this year.

Below are the screenshots of it:

In summary, my highest rated books on Goodreads are:-
5 stars:
Diane Chamberlain's Big Lies in a Small Town

4 stars:
1. Agatha Christie's The Murder at the Vicarage
2. Sun-Mi Hwang's The Dog Who Dared to Dream
3. Alan Paton's Cry, The Beloved Country
4. Anna Bradley's For the Sake of a Scottish Rake

So do share your Goodreads year in books if you are using the app and also your highest rated ones :-)

Thursday, 2 January 2020

TBNT Book Challenge 2020

To kick start the year 2020, I will attempt to complete this book challenge, created by Two Book Nerds Talking! It's a simple one, less hassle plus some contest included hence the temptation, I mean motivation LOL! Do give it a try if you haven't committed to any as yet...

For more details, you can check out their Facebook page:

Saturday, 21 December 2019

MPOV: For the Sake of a Scottish Rake (Besotted Scots #3)

Thanks to Netgalley for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.33/5
Expected publication: February 18th, 2020
Author: Anna Bradley
Genre: Historical romance

After a sheltered upbringing, Lady Lucinda Sutcliffe is finally embarking on her first season, eager to experience everything she’s missed. When Lucy realizes that her uncle plans to quickly marry her off in exchange for a slice of her fortune, she begs a favor of a new acquaintance, Ciaran Ramsey. If Lucy remains single until she turns twenty-one, she—and her money—will be out of her uncle’s power. All the charming Scot needs to do is woo her for six weeks, and then jilt her...

The Ramseys don’t need the scandal of a false engagement attached to their name. But Lucy’s older suitor is both distasteful and dangerous, and Ciaran can’t allow his lovely friend to be forced to marry such a man. And besides, the more time Ciaran spends with his new “betrothed,” the more their ruse begins to feel very much like the real thing. Passion like this is impossible to feign, but how much is a rogue willing to risk for love?

The above taken from Goodreads.

I just loved the cover especially that lovely green dress and such a confident sway. Didn't expect it to be part of a series but the story itself is standalone so nothing to fret about.

Overall, it was an exciting read with good plots that kept me entertained. However, there were moments where it drags a little with over melodramatic self deprecation that was unnecessary in my book. I tend to skip through it and continue through the more important highlights. I would think Anna Bradley's style is quite suited for literature type too.

Definitely a breezy read with good humour and a little unexpected twist. I didn't expect Lucy to be such an expert at picking locks but then I didn't expect her to save herself in the end either. I liked the strong headed Lucy, unlike some typical romance novel where the hero must save the damsel in distress, hence the favourable rating.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

My first book discussion!

I've been in a book club (KL Book Appreciation Club to be precise) for years now but I've never attended a single book discussion. I've been to some events and participated in some giftaways organised by them but never their book discussions. Well, aside from calendar conflict or location distance, most of the time I do not have the book they were going to discuss as most books that I do have are usually older and not as current.

A while back, my Sister-in-law actually gifted me a Kobo Touch and I did not use it as much. Reason being, I still love the actual feeling of holding a book and not a gadget. Well, after much Kon-maring and spring-cleaning, I've finally overcome the joy of having gazillions of books! I honestly felt overwhelmed by the abundance of my to-be-read pile! I even hated lugging it! And now, I did feel the gratefulness of holding a gadget to read which is light-weight with dozens of titles in it! Imagine that! I never knew I would finally experience something like that!

I've actually started selling some of my books, majority from my to-be-read pile as there were some which had been there for years! If I wasn't going to read it then, I would definitely not read it anytime sooner. Well, I have my Kobo now so I could just get it from there as and when I want to read it.

Oh well, thanks to this new direction in my life, I finally had the chance to attend a book discussion! Thankfully, location was near to me at Lovely Ever After Book Rental, USJ Taipan. Also it's a romance novel at that! As it was the last one for the year, we had Christmas potluck and gift exchange too! It was such a fab discussion which I've truly enjoyed, lovely companions with yummylicious food! I honestly can't wait for the next one now LOL!

In this romance book discussion, it was about Suzanne Enoch's It's Getting Scot in Here. I've read and reviewed it here previously. A catchy title right??? I'm amazed of the thought provoking discussion, even for a romance novel! I truly had a field day, felt so much at home with these lovely ladies, what more can I asked for? So here's to more book discussion, not sure if I would attend those of another genre as yet. FYI, there are also Literature, Science Fiction and Young Adult. Perhaps in the near future. To end this post, here are some photos of the event courtesy of Zarina.
Group photo!

Our yummylicious potluck

Gifts for exchange

Additional gifts: cute owls and deers from Murni whereas the packet trinkets were from me
Thank you to Irene (she happens to lead the romance book discussions) who has been encouraging me to join and I finally did! Here are what I've brought home...
My cute owl from Murni, lovely Jon Paul bookmark from Sharnila and I've bought those cute doggy ones!

I received this from the gift exchange
So here's to more book discussions in the near future!!!

Thursday, 12 December 2019

MPOV: My cousin Rachel

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.96/5
First published: 1951
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: mystery, historical fiction

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly. Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose's letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet... might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?

The above taken from Goodreads.

I'm surprised at the outcome of this novel. I would have thought of something overly dramatic but it didn't. I kept thinking of Ewan McGregor as Philip and Katie McGrath as Rachel but in the actual movie, Sam Claflin was Philip and Rachel Weisz was Rachel LOL!!! It sure was a dark kinda story, neatly written in Philip's point of view. His narration was simply straight forward yet had that cliff hanger effect. It did made me wonder 'was she the murderer?' and 'how did she die?'. The way the story unfolds, though curious, led to that expected ending with a 'har?!!'

Well, I've truly enjoyed Daphne's gothic story-telling. It was realistic and memorable with such plotting. I've read quite a number of good reviews of her books including this so I'll definitely explore her other novels. I've always liked such mysteries to keep my reading enthusiasm up. This did reminds me of another novel, though different plot but with similarly gothic effect, Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Marina.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

MPOV: The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.05/5
First published: August 22, 2017
Author: Tessa Dare
Genre: historical romance, regency romance

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

The above taken from Goodreads.

Hmmm... another new romance author for me, Tessa Dare's filled with lots of humour bundled together with a gung-ho lady and an egoistic duke which sure makes this book entertaining! It may not be as perfect but the overall plots were nicely revealed and with the right pace. I liked that it was funny yet sad at times, with the right balance emotionally. This is a #funnycumbu for me!

Sharing one of the many funny quotes:
“If you’re a broodmare, that would make me the stud.”
“And there,” she said, “is the injustice of the world in a nutshell.”

Monday, 9 December 2019

MPOV: How to Embroider Almost Everything

I've received this e-ARC from Netgalley in return for my honest review.

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.55/5
Publication: October 22, 2019
Author: Wendy Gratz
Genre: Crafts, non-fiction

How to Embroider Almost Everything is an inspiring, fun, and sophisticated collection of 500+ stitch motifs from embroidery designer Wendi Gratz that offers a fresh new take on embroidery.
Get a detailed checklist of everything you’ll need to embark on your stitch journey: threads, needles, fabric, and more.
Find step-by-step tutorials for essential stitches and other techniques for creating the motifs, plus answers to common questions and invaluable tips and tricks.
Explore an amazing 500+ modern motifs for almost everything, including people and pets, trees and flowers, everyday objects, food, home, and more. Either re-create the motifs exactly as shown using the accompanying templates and stitch guides, or give them your own creative spin by changing details and colors to suit your own style.

How to Embroider Almost Everything helps you take your first steps to embroidering to your heart’s content and creating beautiful drawings with needle and thread!

Each book in the Almost Everything series offers readers a fun, comprehensive, and charmingly illustrated visual directory of ideas to inspire skill building in their creative endeavors.

The above taken from Goodreads.

A precisely written tutorial which was easy to understand with pictures to emphasis and elaborate. I had always wonder the basics of embroidery and I was so grateful to be given a chance to peruse it! I have a much better understanding now and I can't wait to get my hands to embroider more as there were so many templates in this book! An awesome reference book for beginners like me!

Initially, I wanted to embroider one hands on with the e-book but alas... aside from being at work, I'm currently busy with decluttering at home so everything is in a mess right now. I'll definitely share one with a hands on embroidery when I'm free of all this mess! Can't wait to have everything settled down before the New Year!

Thursday, 5 December 2019

MPOV: The Paper Menagerie

Note: I've only read The Paper Menagerie and not the other stories
My rating: 4/5 is for The Paper Menagerie only
Goodreads rating: 4.39/5
First published: 2011
Author: Ken Liu
Genre: short story, Asian lit, magical realism

Jack, a little boy from Connecticut, enjoys playing with origami animals that his Chinese mother makes for him and that come to life when she blows into them. As Jack grows into a teenager he tries to fit in with his American friends and starts to ignore the origami animals and his mother, who tries very hard to speak English and change her habits in order to please him. After a family tragedy takes place Jack finds a message from his mother in one of the origami animals and learns about her past.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

I was truly surprised at the outcome of this short story. Though I'm not of mixed parentage, I can feel the emotional turmoil that Jack is experiencing. How much he's tried to belong, being American and eventually removing his own mother just because she's Chinese. I felt like I was in a 'Pensieve' (from Harry Potter)... watching, or rather reading, someone's memory, going through his journey. That ending definitely had me in tears. It was well written, such a lovely melancholy read indeed.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

MPOV: It's Getting Scot in Here (Wild Wicked Highlanders #1)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.99/5
First published: February 26, 2019
Author: Suzanne Enoch
Genre: historical romance, regency romance, romance fiction

London socialite Amelia-Rose Baxter is nobody’s fool. Her parents may want her to catch a title, but she will never change who she is for the promise of marriage. Her husband will be a man who can appreciate her sharp mind as well as her body. A sophisticated man who loves life in London. A man who considers her his equal―and won’t try to tame her wild heart...

Rough, rugged Highlander Niall MacTaggert and his brothers know the rules: the eldest must marry or lose the ancestral estate, period. But Niall’s eldest brother just isn’t interested in the lady his mother selected. Is it because Amelia-Rose is just too. . . Free-spirited? Yes. Brazen? Aye. Surely Niall can find a way to soften up the whip-smart lass and make her the perfect match for his brother for the sake of the family.

Instead it’s Niall who tempts Amelia-Rose, despite her reservations about barbarian Highlanders. Niall finds the lass nigh irresistible as well, but he won’t make the mistake his father did in marrying an Englishwoman who doesn’t like the Highlands. Does he have what it takes to win her heart? There is only one way to find out...

The above taken from Goodreads.

An enjoyable read overall though it was quite a lengthy one at the prologue. It's interesting that it covered the before and how it came to be without leaving us hanging dry. Thankfully the story weaved into an exciting adventure of how Niall finally getting his bride with unconventional ways. Well, him being a highlander, it sure wasn't surprising LOL.

My first Suzanne Enoch's and I did liked the way she plots with her unwavering prose. Well balanced and not too much on the skin with more attention to the adventure. Definitely looking forward to the remaining 2 books and sharing here a passage where I never knew reading was a horrid habit!!!

Monday, 2 December 2019

MPOV: Big Lies in a Small Town

I've received this e-ARC from Netgalley in return for my honest review.

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 4.5/5
Expected publication: January 14, 2020
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery thriller, suspense

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher's life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn't expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

The above taken from Goodreads.

This book alternates between Morgan and Anna, both talented artists in their own right but in a different era. Current era, Morgan is in jail for a crime she did not commit and has regretted her actions way back then. In the 40's, Anna has won a contest to paint a mural for a post office. With a stroke of luck, both their lives intertwined through another artist, Jesse.

The story started off strong, written with much angst and mystery which got me hooked from the first page itself. It didn't dilly dally and had me in anxious fit! Thankfully I was reading from my Kobo so I couldn't just flipped to the last page just to know the outcome LOL! It's my first Diane Chamberlain read and it has definitely piqued my interest in her other books. I've enjoyed this one a lot and I liked how she has plotted the events that lead up to the ending, with the right pace. At some point, I was starting to guess the culprit and somehow knew that would happened. However, it doesn't damper the spirit of the story and that ending was so unexpected for me.

As New Jersey is a modern state even then with Anna being an independent woman, it was quite appalling how Edenton still has slaves and the male chauvinism was still sky high. The story itself was so realistic that I imagined events from another book, The Color Purple. It's sad that no matter how much she tried, Anna was still unable to fit in. I guess that the eventuality of that unwanted event was a good turn, for both Anna and Jesse.

I liked how it ended for both Morgan and Anna. It was definitely a beautiful closure for me so much so that I had a withdrawal syndrome after finishing this book LOL! It's such a memorable read for me for sure! Thank you so much, Netgalley, for this opportunity to read such a lovely book!

Saturday, 16 November 2019

MPOV: A Rogue by Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels #1)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.94/5
First published: February 28, 2012
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical romance, regency fiction

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them... even her heart.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Another first and it blew me away! I just couldn't get over the fact that Bourne is broken and Penelope is perfect which made them a perfect match! I guess I'm just partial to broken or badass men as it somehow seemed nice when they finally turned over a new leaf due to love. This novel is no exception.

Sarah MacLean sure has written it perfectly with the right nail biting pace with engaging plots making it hard to put it down! As with all romance novels, there is definitely a 'happy ever after' ending. It's how it was plotted that made the difference and I truly liked how this one ended... *happy sigh!* It sure has that feel good factor from the start until the end...

Some notable quotes:
"I am too imperfect for you," he whispered at her temple.
"You are perfectly imperfect for me."

I choose you. I choose love.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

MPOV: The Lady Risks All

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.88/5
First published: 2012
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Genre: Historical romance, regency fiction

Neville Roscoe, notorious and enigmatic, lives resolutely outside society, bound only by his own code of honor - until challenged by his desire for the one woman he cannot have.

Miranda Clifford is a lady imprisoned by rigid respectability - until tempted by a passion beyond her power to deny.

Flung together in peril, through danger and intrigue, they discover a love impossible to ignore ... or keep.

The above taken from Goodreads.

First of all, this is my first Stephanie Laurens and I have heard many rave reviews of her novels. Unfortunately, either this is the wrong book to start off or all her books are written as such, I honestly do find that her prose is just too long winded for my liking. She can just write on continuously about the same scene or metaphor, elaborating unnecessarily at times. I just can't stand it as it does feel like an essay, ready to be dissected. All in all, a somewhat entertaining yet forgettable kind of novel for me.

Thankfully the plot was bearable so I was able to speed read and finished it. At least I know the ending, even though it's expected, 'happy ever after' and all LOL! Will try another novel of hers, just to gauge and hopefully it turns out better than this.

Some notable quote:

Some new words:
Woolgathering - indulge in aimless thoughts or daydreams

Ninnyhammer - this term for a person who is a fool or a simpleton has for the most part vanished except in works that consciously seek to evoke a bygone age through antique language


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