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, 23 December 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Year of the Rat 2020 is definitely an unforgettable year. It will go down in history as the year filled with many unfortunate disasters, most prominently "COVID-19". This pandemic has changed the world by causing so many deaths, hospitalisations and lockdowns. We also have to practice a "New Normal" by consistently washing our hands, wearing a face mask and social distancing when we go out. In fact, if possible, we should stay at home more often than going out unnecessarily. 

The good in this is we get to spend more quality time with our loved ones. This pandemic has taught us to be more vigilant with our hygiene and stay clean always. It has also taught us to value our family and our lives more. Never ever take things for granted and feeling overly entitled is a passe. Being grateful, thankful and blessed are our daily gratification now.

So to end this, here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Hope the Year of the Ox 2021 will treat us better and bless us with good health.

Image Googled

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

#tbntbookchallenge:
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."

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Fukubukuro

 Fukubukuro (福袋, [ɸɯkɯbɯkɯɾo] “lucky bag”) is a Japanese New Year custom in which merchants make grab bags filled with unknown random contents and sell them for a substantial discount, usually 50% or more off the list price of the items contained within. The low prices are usually done to attract customers to shop at that store during the new year. The term is formed from Japanesefuku (福, meaning “good fortune” or “luck”) and fukuro (袋, meaning “bag”). The change of fukuro to bukuro is the phenomenon known as rendaku. The fuku comes from the Japanese saying that “there is fortune in leftovers” (残り物には福がある). Popular stores’ fukubukuro usually are snapped up quickly by eager customers, with some stores having long lines snake around city blocks hours before the store opens on New Year’s Day.

The above snippet was taken from Wikipedia.

So CMCO has been extended, yet again, to 20/12/2020. I just hoped that is the last extension and we can finally live our lives again albeit in a new normal lah. I'm sure face masks and hand sanitisers would be the must haves in our bags for a long time coming. I also can't wait to go to the office as working from home is becoming more of a burden and very stressful to me.

Anyway, you must be curious of my blog title and snippet :-) If you have seen Nyc Nat Nook, my blogshop's Instagram then you would know what this is about! For those who didn't know, since the season of gifting is just around the corner, I have decided to come up with some Lucky Bags for sale! It was supposed to be a mystery bag revolving around a theme but I've decided to partially reveal what is in the bag and have a few themes to suit the various palates. Not forgetting, it would be wrapped nicely for the occasion and will be priced affordably. 

Definitely economical and great as a Christmas gift, stay tune for more details via Instagram so please follow if you have not done so :-)

https://www.instagram.com/nycnatnook/

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

#tbntbookchallenge:
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.'"

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