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

Friday, 22 January 2021

[MPOV] Joy at Work

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.48/5
Published: 7/4/2020
Author: Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein
Genre: Personal development, non-fiction

The workplace is a magnet for clutter and mess. Who hasn't felt drained by wasteful meetings, disorganized papers, endless emails, and unnecessary tasks? These are the modern-day hazards of working, and they can slowly drain the joy from work, limit our chances of career progress, and undermine our well-being. The authors offer stories, studies, and strategies to help you eliminate clutter and make space for work that really matters. They will help you overcome the challenges of workplace mess and enjoy the productivity, success, and happiness that comes with a tidy desk and mind.

#tbntbookchallenge for January: A book about new beginnings

It's a coincident that I've wanted to read this in January and there were changes in my job that I have to be laterally transferred to a new JV. It truly helps to set my mind positively of this new change and also helps me to be more inclusive. 

I've always had a negative mindset and pretty judgmental at that. A very bad working trait, I know, but in the long run I've realized I was brought up in such mindset. So I have been working on changing this for a long time but it is hard as it is a trait I've known since small. As such, I have a 'mini me' in my mind telling me if I'm swaying to the 'dark side' so to speak LOL! It isn't easy but I'm taking baby steps to correct it. Hence reading this book does helped in a way to declutter my work space and in turn my mind.

I did not find any flaw to this book as it was well written with views from both authors except that Scott may seemed more in authority than Marie Kondo. Other than that, I've enjoyed how Marie has shared about her family which made her more relevant and more humane. It's nice to know she has also struggled with her work too LOL!

All in all, time to work on getting mine right and not dwell on the past, time to let it all go and keep moving forward! Here are some excerpts I've liked and the Americans one is eye-opening:

"No matter what your ideal work life is, the final goal is the same, to be able to work with joy."

"When teams are in sync, work feels energizing and our productivity is high."

"Our work and our lives are the cumulative result of our past choices. Whether you stay or leave, don't hold on to the past or be fearful of the future."

Thursday, 14 January 2021

[MPOV] The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man (The Hundred-Year-Old Man #2)

My rating: 2/5
Goodreads rating: 3.72/5
Published: 7/8/2018
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Translator: Rachel Willson-Broyles
Genre: fiction, humour

The sequel to Jonas Jonasson’s international bestseller The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

It all begins with a hot air balloon trip and three bottles of champagne. Allan and Julius are ready for some spectacular views, but they’re not expecting to land in the sea and be rescued by a North Korean ship, and they could never have imagined that the captain of the ship would be harbouring a suitcase full of contraband uranium, on a nuclear weapons mission for Kim Jong-un …

Soon Allan and Julius are at the centre of a complex diplomatic crisis involving world figures from the Swedish foreign minister to Angela Merkel and President Trump. Things are about to get very complicated …

#tbntbookchallenge for January: An inspirational read

I've chosen this book for January's TBNT Book Challenge as it's inspiring that a 101 year old man still moves as Allan does and has a wonderful adventure to boot! He's definitely inspiring for me :-)

Anyway, I was excited upon finding out about the sequel hence I did have a very high expectation for when reading it. It actually did not excite as much and I was rather sad that it was kinda flat mostly. There were moments when it was actually funny and exciting, thinking that special Jonas' zest is back but after a while, it dissipates again. All in all, it was nice to know where Allan has ventured to but I did wished it was as good as the first.

The one thing I did liked about this book is how the author blatantly shot the political figures which was totally spot on! Oh well, it's just a novel and enjoyable at that but how apt! Anyway, it did got on the soft spot of most readers, I would think, with the way it was written and translated nicely. I sure hoped Allan would continue to grace us with his presence but not too commonly though.

Here are some excerpts that sorta tickled my funny bones:

'With the possible difference that Trump drew conclusions without doing the actual reading.'

'Above all, he had grown tired of the president's habit of repeating himself, like a scratched record.'

"We haven't had it before. Relax, Sabine! We only live once. That's the only certainty in life. How long, though - that varies."

Saturday, 2 January 2021

TBNT Book Challenge 2021

Two Book Nerds Talking (TBNT) has continued to come up with a book challenge for year 2021. Since I have done this year's so it makes sense to continue as it helps to clear my 'to be read' piles of books. It finally moved the mountain little by little so I hoped that it will eventually flatten it soon! So here's the list of book challenge, if you are interested too...

I know there are many book challenges available but I do like to support our local community like TBNT. So here's to reading more books and less book buying in the year 2021!!! 

For more deets on TBNT, you can check out their Facebook page:

Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020: My year in books

So Goodreads has compiled my year in books for 2020. I am surprised that I could overachieved my goal of 30 especially since we have been in lockdown for most of the year! So it got me thinking to increase it gradually for next year. Anyway, here's the screenshots from Goodreads:

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

[MPOV] Murder at the Lakeside Library (A Lakeside Library Mystery #1)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.5/5
Published: July 13, 2021
Author: Holly Danvers
Genre: Murder mystery fiction

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

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmont must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

Rain Wilmont has just returned to her family's waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain's corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain's mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premise.

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thorton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

While theories swirl about the Thorton's death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn't careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at Lakeside Library the first in Holly Danvers' new Lakeside Library mysteries.

I'm not sure why but this novel somehow reminds me of Alexander McCall Smith's novels. I'm not a fan of AMS so I'm surprised that this novel triggered my brain upon reading it. Anyway, I can imagined it as another Diva movie kinda story.

The first half was quite a breeze to read through as it's uneventful until the second half kicked in with more action thrown into the frenzy. With the plot twist towards the end, it sure made the story worthwhile with that unexpected ending. Overall, an easy read to fill the Christmas and New Year holiday gap! 

I've enjoyed how the two best friends finally reconnected with the murder bringing both of them closer. The adventure they got into trying to solve the murder mystery was quite uplifting but it wasn't the hype for me. It just fell short on adrenaline with the characters didn't quite connect to me at times. Maybe I was expecting more since it's themed with 'library'.

Books, library and murder is always a perfect lethal combination.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

[MPOV] Sheltering Rain

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.53/5
Published: 2002
Author: Jojo Moyes
Genre: Women's lit, family fiction, historical romance

12) Read a book with 'Rain' in the title OR a cold book.

Estranged from her mother since she ran away from her rural Irish home as a young woman, Kate swore a future oath that she’d always be a friend to her daughter, Sabine. But history has a way of repeating itself, and Kate now faces an ever-widening chasm between herself and her daughter. With Sabine about to make her own journey to Ireland to see the grandmother Kate abandoned, Kate is left wondering how they ever made it here, and what she can do to close the gap between them. 

For Joy, seeing her granddaughter is a dream come true. After the painful separation from Kate, she’s looking forward to having time with Sabine. Yet almost as soon as the young woman arrives, the lack of common ground between them deflates her enthusiasm. And when Sabine’s impetuous, inquisitive nature forces Joy to face long-buried secrets from her past, she realizes that perhaps it’s time to finally heal old wounds.

So this is the final book I've chosen for this year based on TBNT Book Challenge. I have decided not to attempt the bonus round, Read a book that is more than 500 pages with a female protagonist, as I felt it is a little too stressful for me LOL!

Sheltering Rain is apparently Jojo Moyes' first book. I realised that it pales in comparison to Me Before You. Maybe it was her first or maybe it was the genre, at times family drama is just not my thing. The pace was really slow and there were just too many lengthy fillers that I've finally speed read to the end. 

This book is about 3 generation of women who happened to harbour secrets of their own and they don't seemed eye to eye at all, somehow of a killjoy. Grandma Joy had a whirlwind romance, got engaged after meeting for one day and eventually married Edward. Mom Kate, on the other hand, had a daughter on her own in England and never got married but had a string of boyfriends. Daughter Sabine was brought up to be independent and lived her life freely. After Sabine was sent to visit her grandma in Ireland, things very slowly changed with long kept secrets slowly being revealed. When Edward's health deteriorated, Kate has to return home and everything turned for the worst when all 3 women were in the same house before it slowly became better.

After ploughing through, thankfully I've enjoyed the ending when all the bubbles started bursting. There were many lows but those few highs were definitely the highlight for me like when Joy had to endure Duke's death... that was such a harrowing moment for me, had me in tears and luckily I was at home reading. There were some melancholy moments but Kate's insecurity was such a dread for me, though she finally realised she is still in love with Thom. Sabine's entitled attitude got everything wrong about her mother that added salt to the wound but eventually everything panned out right.

Some notable quotes:

"But not for long. If you stay here in that thing," he pointed dismissively at her jacket, warm enough for the worst that London could throw at it, "you'll catch pneumonia. C'mon, it's sheltering rain."

"I can't believe this...," she said, almost to herself. "I can't believe Daddy... I thought you were perfect," she said. "I really thought the two of you had this perfect love."

Monday, 30 November 2020

[MPOV] Chasing the Duke (12 Days of Christmas #7)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.64/5
Published: December 7, 2020
Author: Tracy Sumner
Genre: Regency romance

An unwilling Duke and his defiant Lady must embrace a desire beyond reason to heal the wounds of the past.

She vows to never let herself fall in love again…

With her final season in the ton a surprising success, Lady Camille Bellington retires to her family’s Yorkshire estate for Christmas with a marriage proposal in hand. Beautiful and charming, but too independent for society, Camille has given up on the hope to marry for love. So she will marry for duty. The man of her childhood dreams hasn’t been home in three years, even to secure his dukedom, and her heart went with him. She’s not chasing a duke ever again.

The woman he desires is lost to him…

War hero Tristan Tierney, Duke of Mercer, returns to his ancestral home for the holidays to find himself burdened with a title and the woman he left behind betrothed to another. As he’s only seen death and destruction for years, he’s come to believe true love is a myth. His aloof demeanor veils his deepest unspoken desire, to possess Camille Bellington.

Childhood friendship gives way to something altogether more dangerous as two people give love a second chance.

An interesting novella that starts well and ends well. Though it packs a punch, it was well written that it didn't felt like it was rushed nor chased. From the intro to the gist of it, the pace was just nice and I've enjoyed it especially since it's more of an old fashioned regency romance. This novella has more of the interesting plot and less of the sex plot which is hard to find nowadays. I'm just old school who enjoys a good romance plot :-)

This is the seventh in the series so I'm sure the remaining 11 would be as good. A creative way to include it in the Christmas season. Moreover with Covid-19 still hurting the economy and the world, we need more heartwarming books like this to fill our livelihood. Thanks to BookSirens for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

"I love you," he whispered for her alone. "I would have told you, bathed you in adoration, if you hadn't run away from me after what was the most magical night of my life."

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

[MPOV] Lost Light (Harry Bosch #9)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.18/5
Published: April 1st, 2003
Author: Michael Connelly
Genre: Mystery, thriller, crime fiction

11) Read a book themed around "Light" OR by an Indian author

The vision has haunted him for four years--a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant's death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he's on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he's ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.

Firstly, I just realised there are 22 books in this Harry Bosch's series! I'm sure there are more coming but I picked this mainly because it meets November's theme for TBNT Book Challenge :-) 

This is the first book after Harry Bosch has retired from the L.A.P.D and has just gotten his P.I license. He picked up a cold case which he can never forget and tries to solve it but encountered many hurdles thrown his way. As he is determined to continue, he faces more ruthless threats and the hurdles just got bigger and badder!

The story was a little flat at the start with Harry reminiscing his past and reasons with his present. The pace finally picks up in the middle when Harry was knee deep into the case and more threats presenting itself. With loads of referencing here and there, I did get lost a little but at the end, the outcome sweetened the deal and the victim got her prayer answered. Better late than never.

Overall, it was well written, straight-forward and right on the dot. I'm impressed that the author could still write so much and keeps us entertained. I guess crime stories are never ending with a few ruthless and insane people in this world still creating chaos. Definitely entertaining and it was nice the way it ended for this book. At book 9, it can still be considered as a standalone as not much cliffhanger ending here and it was well explained throughout without being repetitive.

"He did and I waited a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. My vision and focus came back and I could pick up the outline of the rock walls and jutting surfaces. I could see the light that had followed us in. 'What is it?' Lindell asked. 'Lost light. I wanted to see the lost light.'"

Friday, 16 October 2020

[MPOV] Her Wicked Marquess: Imperious Lords 4

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.45/5
Published: September 28th, 2020
Author: Lisa Torquay
Genre: historical romance

Thanks to the author for this lovely e-book in return for my honest review.

Can there ever be real love between a powerful lord and the actress he took as a mistress?

A year ago, Hester Green's fascination with Lord Worcester led her to accept his proposition to be his mistress, her first foray into the delights of the bedroom. And what delights! Every time they spent the night together, he made her even more addicted to his prowess. But now the gossipmongers are abuzz with his impending betrothal to a duke's daughter. That is too much to swallow, and she severs their liaison even though it wrenches her insides to do so.

Drake, the Marquess of Worcester, has no intention of bending to his mother's manipulation. Even less marry the girl the dowager spread rumors as being his intended. And he has zero intention to allow it to damage a perfectly convenient arrangement with the woman he can't get enough of. But Hester moves out of the house he bought her—and out of his life. He'll find ways to keep her close, though the woman is revealing to be more of a rebel and less of the meek mistress she once was.

I am a sucker for historical romance so I would not have passed the chance to read one especially when the plot piqued my interest. As it is very rare a mistress becomes a wife of a Marquess, I am perplexed initially but after reading on, I am glad that I did. The mistress has spine with a modern thinking. The same goes to the Marquess who is open-minded too and I've enjoyed how he 'trashed' his mother who's of the traditional mind set of hierarchy and bloodlines. 

This is an enjoyable read throughout albeit with a little over thinking and writing. I guess with the reiteration of some thoughts which became a little repetitive that made it a little long-winded. Other than that, it was nice to read such a modern take on historical romances. This is book 4 of the Imperious Lords but it was well written to be able to read it as a standalone. However with the little droplets of the previous lords and future ladies, it does intrigued ones mind to continue reading the series!

There were strong messages in this novel and here are some notable quotes which I've noted down:

For the matrons who'd dedicated their entire lives to enforcing rules and morals that benefited only the men in their ranks. For most of the married ladies who must swallow their husband's drinking, gambling and whoring, and gained no reward except for an indiscretion here and there. For the debutantes who'd follow on their mothers and grandmothers steps, and who'd probably not go against the unfairness of it all. Deep in her heart, she sensed their loneliness, the measure of sacrifices they made in the name of aristocratic standards.
In her point of view, men caused prostitution. They were the ones using the power and riches they didn't share with their mothers, wives or daughters to take advantage of vulnerable women and then blamed these women for their own exploitation. And dared call the offspring they engendered in these exploited women whoresons, as though they had nothing to do with the making of those innocent children. How pathetic.

Monday, 12 October 2020

[MPOV] Insignia: Asian Fantasy Stories (The Insignia Series #4)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.67/5
Published: March 26, 2017
Author: Allison Thai, Joyce Chng, Anna Tan, Kelly Matsuura, Russell Hemmell, EK Gonzales, Nidhi Singh, Sheenah Freitas and Tina Isaacs
Genre: short stories, fantasy

Thanks to Anna Tan for this lovely e-book in return for my honest review.

A total of 9 short stories from 9 awesome authors about Asian fantasy, folktales and literary tales. Split into 2 parts, the first one is about adventure and folktales from claws to ashes to tear to ribbons which had me at awe with the depth of each adventure. Although each has a different background, it did standalone distinctly without much confusion. The second one is about adult and literary tales from fireflies to birds to train being untouchable with lady that was as distinctive as the first part and as good, if not better. Well written with well plotted stories that were uniquely their own. 

I am glad to have been given the chance to read this albeit 3 years later (I had misplaced it then and found it recently). I have enjoyed it immensely for some and surprised that I have finished it that fast! Such an easy read with great imaginations that made this a memorable read. 9 different style of writing that made it more entertaining with different plots and twists with the right pace. I have truly enjoyed it. 

For more details of The Insignia Series, please click on the link below:

Sunday, 11 October 2020

[MPOV] The Sacrifice of Darkness

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.69/5
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Published: October 27th, 2020
Author: Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne Oliver
Artist: Rebecca Kirby, James Fenner
Genre: comic, graphic novel

10) Read a Graphic Novel OR an Illustrated Book

Thanks to Boom! Studios and Netgalley for this e-ARC in return for my honest review.

“When I was a young girl, my husband’s father flew an air machine into the sun. Since then, the days have been dark, the nights bright.”

Roxane Gay, Tracy Lynne Oliver ,and Rebecca Kirby adapt Gay’s New York Times bestselling short story “We Are the Sacrifice of Darkness” as a full-length graphic novel, expanding an unforgettable world where a tragic event forever bathes the world in darkness.

Follow one woman’s powerful journey through this new landscape as she discovers love, family, and the true light in a world seemingly robbed of any. As she challenges notions of identity, guilt, and survival she’ll find that no matter the darkness, there remains sources of hope that can pierce the veil.

A tragic event forever bathes the world in darkness. Follow a woman and a man's powerful journey through this new landscape as they discover love, family and the true light in a world seemingly robbed of any. As they challenge the world's notions of identity, guilt and survival, they find that no matter the darkness, there remain sources of hope that can pierce the veil.

I'm hardly a comic person so requesting this comic was mainly to complete my TBNT Book Challenge and also it was written by Roxane Gay, an author I truly liked. I am glad that I did as I've enjoyed it a lot plus it's a meaningful read. Straightforward and simple yet impactful illustrations that can be easily understood with sentiments shared across the globe.

It is so relatable in our current world with so many issues we are facing that leads to mental illness in some. I may not have experienced it fully but I get the gist of it. I liked both Highwater father and son's love for both women which were exceptionally romantic filled with a strong bond that is considered very rare in current world. 

I truly applaud the authors for writing and illustrating this cool comic that I've finished in one sitting. Hiram and Mara aside, Joshua and Claire, no matter their background and issues, together they were able to overcome it and conquer the world at the end.
How could one man, a miner no less, be so full of darkness that he needed to swallow all of the light of the sun?
Mining is the desire to uncover, to search, to dig for precious things, to be content in the finding as well as the not finding. To mine is to have faith in the unseen.

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

[MPOV] Ink (Some Like It Haunted Collection #1)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.47/5
Published: 20/10/2020
Author: Ellen Mint
Genre: Paranormal romance

Layla's getting one bad boy demon for her birthday…

All Layla wanted was to spend her Halloween birthday alone. She never expected a nearly naked man in a red thong to appear out of nowhere in her living room. He calls himself Ink and insists he’s an incubus bound to her. Not about to fall for that, she plans to toss him out on his shiny butt when she remembers her friends kept hinting at a late birthday present. Layla fears they got her one hot session with a man built for sex. And it’s not nice to return a gift without trying it out…
In this steamy prequel to a paranormal reverse harem series, Layla learns that her entire life has been a lie and that sometimes a man who wants to answer her every desire is exactly what he appears to be.

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

A witch who doesn't knows her capability with an incubus chained to her truly made this Halloween read so steamy and hot! This is a fast and furious read which I've finished in one seating! There was so much going on in this novella that I kept flipping and reading and flipping and ... the end! It was exciting with non-stop action of various kinds that finished nicely and didn't leave me hanging even though this is a series. 

Well written with a good pace and climax. The characters especially the incubus is unique in my books. Definitely a fantasy most women would love to have LOL! As it's a novella, I did feel that it is just too short when it has ended. I guess that's why we should look forward to the next series in line... a darn good technic to keep us wanting for more :-)

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

[MPOV] Rebecca

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.23/5
Published: August 1938
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Genre: Gothic fiction, mystery, crime, romance suspense, historical, classic

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady's maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives--presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

A book narrated by the nameless madam throughout the novel, depicting her chance encounter and eventual marriage with Maxim de Winter. Her life at Manderley was hugely over shadowed by the late Rebecca de Winter, Maxim's first wife. Rebecca had apparently drowned while sailing during a thunderstorm and her sudden demise has left a big void in Manderley. With each turn, the new Mrs. de Winter has been reminded time and again of various items or routines belonging to Rebecca. In fact, Manderley is Rebecca. 

The narrator's insecurity and naïve self was not helping much to gain credibility and confidence with the staffs. She's feebly voiced with not much opinion, leaving her gaps to be indirectly bullied especially by Mrs. Danver, the person in charge of the staffs at Manderley who also happened to be Rebecca's personal maid. The story progresses to slowly reveal the daily grinding the narrator endured and wishing that her husband would save her from the staff's wrath. When a body was found, the tables turned with so much drama that will test Maxim's love for the narrator.

Again, I am awed by this author. I thought My Cousin Rachel was good enough but Rebecca is so much better! I just loved how Daphne has written this book with the slow progression of the plot, slowly building the climax of the story and then that ending! Jealousy and revenge seemed to be the anthem of this book leading to a woman's wrath over the other. Antagonizing yet sympathetic, no wonder Rebecca has garnered many rave reviews over the years.
"I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden too, whatever the poets may say."
If you are looking for a literature classic with some mystery crime and a side of romance, Rebecca is definitely the right choice. With it's various characters that brought out the many mysteries and plots it carry, I am looking forward to Netflix's adaptation of this novel coming in a few weeks, hoping that they will do justice for Daphne.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Books read in 3rd quarter of 2020

Time sure flies and we've reached the end of 3rd quarter of 2020! So here's a recap of books I have read during this quarter:

Definitely a productive quarter with lots of reading and sewing completed! I sure hope I'll have more opportunities to read more ARC's aside from clearing my TBR's LOL! Also hoping to realize my dream and living it eventually *fingers crossed*!

Anyway, it has also been 2 years since Nyc Nat Nook has been born! We did not go all out due to our own commitments plus with COVID-19 still abuzz but we do promote it occasionally online. We do have plans on growing our brand and products coming soon so lets hope 2021 will be a more productive year *fingers crossed*!

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

[MPOV] Leather and Gold (The Masters of Mayfair #1)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 4.43/5
Published: August 2020
Author: Gemma Snow
Genre: Historical romance, erotica, BDSM


If there was a single word to describe the desire Emmeline Westington Wright, widowed duchess of South Framley, felt for Captain Alexandre Pierron Simonnet, that would be it. Forbidden. Captivating. Tempting. Dangerous.

She sent him away eighteen months ago, ostensibly in search of her errant brother, the Marquis of Fulton. But when Captain Simonnet returns to South Framley and the duchess's estate, she must admit to herself that the errand was nothing more than a way to keep the devilishly handsome captain on the other side of the world…and her own wicked desires at bay.

Now he’s returned home. And it could destroy them both.

Because despite herself and her raging need, Emmeline’s want goes deeper than a salacious affair. And if she’s willing to share her secret room and most intimate needs with the man who knows and understands them and her better than anyone, she might just share something even more essential—and even more scandalous: her heart.

But not even a duchess can hold an explorer’s attention for too long. Can she?

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

A breeze to read this but definitely not for the faint hearted, LOL! This is a historical romance, true to it's root, but with elements of BDSM that made this novella more of an erotica. It was unusual for me as it's premise being a regency romance and all as such I did not expect this. Mind you, I have read EL James and the likes but theirs were modern day romance and not historical. Hence it took awhile for the story to set in for me. I guess I'm a little old fashion here :-)

Once settled, the overall storyline was kinda enjoyable with Emmeline and Alexandre "pushing and pulling" drama, teasing each other at the start and slowly gave in to the relationship. Since this is a novella, it did feel like their courtship was briefed and ended in marriage very fast LOL! All in all, it's a sexy happy ever after albeit a very devilishly desirable one!

Monday, 21 September 2020

[MPOV] Money Stories from Malaysians Volume 1

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.46/5
Publisher: self-published
Published: March 2019
Author: Suraya Zainudin
Genre: short stories

Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 1 is a compilation of 10 short stories from 10 different authors.

9) Read a Book by a Malaysian Author OR a Book set in Malaysia

This month's read is a Malaysian themed book written by Malaysians set in Malaysia. Coincidentally it's also Malaysia Day on 16th September 2020 with 57 years since Malaysia has been formed from Peninsular to Sabah and Sarawak.

I've enjoyed the short stories a lot especially since it is relatable with humour and lots of monetary references. Well, it is a book about 'money' LOL! Honestly, with funny jibes and all, it is not a boring book. These 10 authors have put much thought and plot into their stories to make it worthy. A breezy read to boot!

If you are interested to read this awesome book, you can purchase it directly from here:

FYI, Volume 2 has been recently released so I'll definitely get it once I've settled all my pending e-ARC's :-)

Sunday, 13 September 2020

[MPOV] The Darkest Evening (Vera Stanhope #9)

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.36/5
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Published: September 8th, 2020
Author: Ann Cleeves
Genre: Mystery, thriller, suspense, crime fiction

On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.

Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It’s also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there’s a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.
As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family’s complicated past. 

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

I've always loved a good mystery crime fiction and The Darkest Evening definitely delivered it. Although it's part of a series, the story itself was a standalone with many references to the past so no confusion here. I liked that it is as detailed as it can be but at times it did feel a little tiring having to follow up with so many casts and plots. Other than that, it was an awesome read till the end.

I have been kept guessing 'who did it?' and gotten it all wrong! With so many casts involved, it sure caused many confusions for me. At first, I thought it could be Karan or Harriet or Juliet. Then Mark or Josh. But in the end, it was the not so obvious choice! Oh well, it was a good one too which kept me engaged from the start until the end.
I honestly felt it could have been shorter as there were many fillers to me with thoughts from various casts pondering about the case or about each other. I know that makes the case more solid but it did feel a little too much at times.

All in all, it was a crime fiction that I've enjoyed. I was surprised at how realistic it was, such a believable story and well described that I can imagined it easily. With a little art and poem, the mystery became more artistically challenged LOL!

And miles to go before I sleep ~ Robert Frost

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

[MPOV] Surviving Tomorrow

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3/5
Publisher: Aeristic Press, 25 & Y, Valeron and Boralis Books
Published: Jun 1st, 2020
Edited by: Brian Thomas Schmidt
Genre: speculative fiction, dystopian, sci-fi, fantasy, anthology

Thanks to Peter J. Wacks and team for this e-book in return for my honest review.

SURVIVING TOMORROW is a collection of 29 stories about survivors 
by writers like Neil Gaiman, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Cory Doctorow,
Robert Silverberg, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Andrew Mayne,
Scott Sigler, Orson Scott Card, Alan Dean Foster, A.C. Crispin, and more.
All profits go to providing COVID-19 tests directly to the front lines of this crisis.

Surviving Tomorrow is a collection of 29 short stories from various author's like Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Scott Sigler and many more. With such anthology, we have the chance to read many types of stories in various genre's and writing styles since it's from different authors. Overall, it's such a refreshing read about survival in one form or another and getting into momentum to read it as fast and as many since I can stop at any section easily and won't get hung up LOL! It's a mixture of dystopian, science fiction and speculative fiction kinda anthology which suit many palates or taste buds. I have enjoyed going through each story and liked that it is brief (although there were a few which was more of a novella) and not as over-empowering. Definitely great for a fast and easy kinda read.

This anthology is in support of COVID-19 relief and tests provided directly to the frontlines of this crisis. To know more, please click on the website below:

Thursday, 27 August 2020

[MPOV] Ghost Knight

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.71/5
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Published: 2012
Author: Cornelia Funke
Translator: Oliver Latsch
Illustrator: Andrea Offermann
Genre: Young adult, mystery fiction, fantasy, paranormal

8) Read a ghostly book OR a food memoir

I've picked this ghostly book for #tbntbookchallenge and I have not regretted it at all. I had a few in mind but this hardcover was the prettiest of them all! Thankfully, a spark joy cover with a spark joy story!

Jon is an 11 year old boy going through a hard time accepting his mother's boyfriend, Matthew. His father has passed away earlier on and he doesn't want Matthew to replace his father. He has even nicknamed Matthew as The Beard. With more trouble and mischief, his mother finally sent him to a boarding school. Unfortunately a new trouble started brewing at this boarding school when Jon is being hunted by a ghost who kept calling him Hartgill! Coincidentally, his mother's surname is Hartgill. He found comfort with a new friend named Ella and together they embarked in an enthralling journey of ghosts, mysteries and murders.

As it's a book for young adults, I have expected it to be a breezy read. I did not expect it to be distinctly English and yet easily absorbed. I could imagine the story itself with a little help from the many lovely illustrations. Overall it was an entertaining book which I've thoroughly enjoyed. As the print on the cover says it: 'A perfect English ghost story.'

I liked that it touches on relevant issues faced by many young teens and the way it intertwined, coming in full circle was a really good one. Jon having trouble accepting a new stepfather but in the end having to solve the mystery with the said stepfather, who would have thought that? A strong female character, Ella, helped to balance the story as Jon's partner in crime, touché!
"My best friend is a girl," I said. "And you know her uncle. In fact, you're going to marry him."
It did slow down a bit at times especially when Jon was overthinking but the overall momentum was good enough to keep me entertained. I honestly liked the illustrations which were simple yet adorable!
I saw Longespee leaning against the wall. He looked so much like a living man that it was hard for me to believe he'd been dead for centuries.
"You are my squire, Jon Whitcroft," he answered. "You can call me any time. And I, you."
I have yet to read Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy (I've watched the movie many times as I love it!) which has been on my TBR pile for a long time. I guess it is time to bump it up! Anyway, if you are looking for something light yet with some mystery, Ghost Knight is a good pick :-)

Friday, 21 August 2020

[MPOV] The Magnolia that Bloomed Unseen

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.5/5
Publisher: Kindle
Published: November 7, 2019
Author: Ray Smith 
Genre: Romance, historical fiction

"You've seen the woman in the photo. The woman screaming ..."

So begins the story of Molly Valle, who at forty-eight thinks she knows all that life has to offer a single, middle-aged woman - namely, men’s dismissal and disrespect. But when handsome activist John Pressman arrives in her Mississippi hometown, he challenges her self-doubt along with nearly everything else in her world. Soon, Molly discovers a strength and beauty she never knew she had—and a love so powerful, it can overcome the most tragic of consequences.

The Magnolia That Bloomed Unseen is a love story, an adventure novel, and a self-realization journey. It reignites the truth that many women—and men—have unconsciously extinguished: you are special and worthy of love, and it’s never too late to make your dreams come true.

Thank you to Ray Smith and Netgalley for this e-book in return for my honest review.

This romance novel is about Molly and John, told from Molly's point of view from the moment they met until that tragic day. RC is a writer/journalist whom Molly has met when he was still schooling. In her advance years, Molly has appointed RC to write her story, her biography.

It has been a short romantic journey from the day Molly and John met, albeit a tumultuous one during the apartheid movement filled with racism obstacles. The Magnolia that Bloomed Unseen is unlike any other romance novels so do not expect a happy ever after ending.

It's written in alternate point of views between Molly, John and RC though mostly from Molly. It did digress a lot about insecurities, self-worth and appreciation to life with how their relationship brought out the best of each other. As it was set in Martin Luther King's era, racism and the treatment of coloured people then were the centre of the plot.

Though it was well written with a clear, distinct prose, well described and mesmerizing, at some point some parts were kinda slow and it did droned on a little too much that it felt repetitive for me. Fortunately, the story itself did intrigued me and I wanted to know the ending which turned out to be unexpected for me.

Overall, this novel is like any other romance novels written by a male author. I just had not expected the depth and the message it carried. It has hit a spot for me as a middle-aged woman after reading this novel and made me realized my many hidden dreams. I guess it is time to rethink my future again.

Some notable quotes:


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