Thursday, 8 July 2021

[MPOV] Sewing Face Masks, Scrub Caps, Arm Slings, and More

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.38/5
Published: April 1st, 2021
Author: Angie Herbertson
Genre: non-fiction, crafts, sewing

I've gotten this e-ARC from Netgalley as I was interested in sewing more other types of face masks.

This is my pick for July's Book Challenge:
1. TBNT Book Challenge: A speculative novella OR a read with magical elements
2. Book Spin / Book Spin Bingo: letters T or A (Angie Herbertson)

Interestingly, very straightforward with many templates and it's easy to pick up sewing even for a newbie. It is very thorough with proper instructions and pics that you won't get lost. Very easy to understand which is a plus as like many sewists, I may not know most sewing jargons. 

There are a total of 14 patterns to choose from, all practical projects. It does piqued my interests on the other projects which I have to find time and material to do it LOL! Perhaps later when I am not bogged down by work and life :-)

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Vanscent 4 ply face mask

In this post, I'll be promoting a new product which Nyc Nat Nook is proudly selling. For those who didn't know, Nyc Nat Nook is a part-time online biz where hubby and I are selling products that we believe in, including some of my handmade stuff.

Nyc Nat Nook is glad to be a part of this journey during this pandemic bringing this essential product to you. If you are looking for a good quality, sturdy medical face mask, Vanscent might be your answer. 4 ply and lightly fragrant with bergamot, this medical face mask is the first of it's kind. It is refreshing yet effectively compliant for use. Each face mask is individually packed for hygiene purpose. 


To know more, please click on the link below:

Price: RM23 for each box with 30 pieces individually packed.

If you purchase 3 boxes for 1 delivery address, postage is free within Peninsula Malaysia. However, you will need to top-up RM5 for East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak).

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Sarawakian Penan Handwoven Bags

I have always made it a point to donate or support a local charity during my birthday month whenever I could. Be it street donations to beggars or supporting local creatives, big or small, it is a way for me to give back to the community. Like the saying ''sharing is caring'', giving is satisfying in my book. 

This year, I have decided to support the Penan families in Sarawak. The creative Penan folks have been weaving bags for sale and I have decided to purchase a set of these beautiful handwoven bags! A set consists of 3 different bags weaved by 3 different women hence feeding 3 different families. It is such an awesome project lead by Yasmin who can be contacted via her Facebook page:

Yasmin has been promoting them tirelessly over the months I have been following the page and she has overcome many criticism especially from negative naysayers. I truly applaud her for continuously helping the Penan folks selflessly. It is a win-win situation where you can support a charity and also shop for a lovely bag for yourself LOL!

Here is mine :-)
Such a huge parcel!

Surprise!!!

Pretty bags in a row!!!

PS: If you are not genuinely supporting this cause or do not appreciate handmade, please refrain from buying. I've seen questions like ''What is it made of?'' and then not buying sounds half-hearted with a closed mind in my book. I cannot fathom why you would want to know the material when you are supporting a charity especially since it is handmade. If you did not like it upon receiving it, you could just give it away right?! I didn't mean to be rude or offend anyone but this is just my 2 cents.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

[MPOV] The Vagina Monologues

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.87/5
Published: January 1st, 1996
Author: Eve Ensler
Genre: non-fiction, feminism, plays

Synopsis from Goodreads:
I decided to talk to women about their vaginas, to do vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues...At first women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn't stop them. Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one's ever asked them before.

Another pick for June's #bookspin #bookspinbingo with letter E or F (Eve Ensler)

I have always been curious about this book, mainly due to it's outrageous title, The Vagina Monologues, as though vagina could talk LOL! Anyway, the Asian upbringing in me was taken back a little whilst reading it, a bit of a culture shock kinda way, but after a while I get used to it. 

This book is based on real women's stories, their experiences and their monologues compiled by the author. The sharing of their discovery of their vagina, be it sexual or intimate, was quite profound and I am surprised that there are such support groups for this! Of course, only in the USA and not in Malaysia lah! Their stories were quite frank and straightforward that I could feel their anxiety or sadness or pain. 
I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting...
Aside from the vagina monologues, it's also about Female Empowerment or Girl Power. This is where violence against women came into view with the V-Day Movement. There are some sharing of such related stories too.
Eve Ensler, also known mononymously as V, is an American playwright, performer, feminist and activist. She is on a mission among so many other great and powerful women to help women accept their bodies.
The author credits her past marriage, rehab and therapy with helping her work through issues. A woman in progress, she pointedly never uses the word ''overcome''.
When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury and terrorise women, you destroy the essential life energy in the planet.

If you like reading on feminism or the likes then this would be up your alley. If you are curious like me, you must read with an open mind and not closed up rigid. Overall, this is an eye-opening read for me which made me love myself more.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

[MPOV] My Brilliant Friend (Book 1 of the Neapolitan Novels)

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.97/5
Published: September 25th, 2012
Author: Elena Ferrante
Translator: Ann Goldstein
Genre: women's fiction, Italian literature

My Brilliant Friend is the first book in Italian writer Elena Ferrante’s world-acclaimed quartet of Neapolitan novels, which documents the friendship between Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo. It was originally published in 2011.

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense and generous hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante's inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighbourhood, a city and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her two protagonists.

This is my pick for June's Book Challenge:
1. TBNT Book Challenge: A translated book OR written by a non native-English speaker
2. Book Spin / Book Spin Bingo: letters E and F (Elena Ferrante)

This is book one of the Neapolitan Novels quartet by Elena Ferrante. The story revolves around Lena and her neighbourhood, especially on her love and hate friendship with Lila. This book is about her childhood and adolescence, narrated in her point of view where she has typed it down into her computer. Here she shares her story from the day she met Lila, how their friendship progressed and eventually blossomed into the best buds they are today. 

This is not the first and I guess it will not be the last where a translated book got me nowhere. I'm not sure if it is due to the translation or what nots but I just couldn't get into the story, just couldn't grasp it nor resonate with it. It was hard for me to wear Lena's shoes and view it all through her eyes. I could imagined her speaking though with her slang. 

In the chapter of their childhood, there is quite a few reference of husband beating wife and children, brothers beating sisters, arguments between neighbours and drunken men fighting in this poor neighbourhood. It is similar to some of the TV series or movies I have watched hence I was able to relate here. Btw, this has been made into a TV series which I have yet to catch.

Lena does has a competitive streak which elevates her jealousy towards Lila and always wanting to be a step better though feeling inferior always. Both are relatively good in their studies but Lila had to stop schooling and started working for her family. However, she still goes to the library to read more. Lena does missed their friendship when Lila slowly distanced away from her then, leaving Lena to move on without her.

During their adolescence, Lila has blossomed into a beautiful young lady and all the legit bachelors came knocking on her door. Lena, however, became plumpier and not as pretty as Lila in her own view, which led to her being more inferior and lack of confidence, hiding like a shadow behind Lila but she still strives to be good in her studies. When Lila continues to befriend her again, Lena was happy to have her best friend back though with a kind of resentment at times or envy in another!

It is a complicated kind of friendship with many characters and subplots that were thrown in to make this poor neighbourhood dramatically alive. Through it all, I got confused, passionless, at times interested and a little intrigued. I do want to enjoy this acclaimed novel by Elena Ferrante but it is somehow not my cup of tea though I have persevered to finish it. It did reminds me of J.K Rowling's Casual Vacancy with a similar kind of scenario but of a different pace that I have DNF it. 

The author chose to write it like a screenplay, a memory play to be precise, with Lena reminiscing of her past with Lila and typing it into the computer. It did feels like a drama on TV but with the main character narrating the whole drama from her point of view only and the remaining characters are there to supply the drama with more chaos and friction, just like an actual TV drama. I guess I'm not in favour of such prose as such I got lost in translation, so to speak. I've speed read through just so I could finished and know how it ends instead of DNF it.

As this is book 1, the ending has a slight cliffhanger so you would need to have book 2 ready so as not to stop suddenly, like me now LOL! If you like melodramatic kinda novel like a telenovela then this quartet should be up your alley. Lena is like many of us, booknerds or not, who are insecure of ourselves, lack of confidence with the inferiority complex hence it is easily relatable on this point.
''They won't touch me, because I'm ugly and I don't have my period,'' she said, ''but with you they might. If anything happens, tell me.''

I looked at her in confusion. We were almost thirteen, we knew nothing about institutions, laws, justice. I went home. I realized that with those last words she had admitted that I was important to her, and I was happy.

Whereas Lila, starting in March, at sixteen, would have a husband and within a year, at seventeen, a child, and then another, and another, and another. I felt I was a shadow, I wept in despair. 

"Not for you: you're my brilliant friend, you have to be the best of all, boys and girls." - Raffaella Cerullo 

Friday, 4 June 2021

[Crochet] Spring Celebration CAL

This is definitely a way overdue post.

I have joined a Spring Celebration Crochet Along on Instagram in March-April and it was a mistake as I didn't have much time to actually do to complete it all. TBH, I should have thought it out before joining it. I've only managed to make 2 out of 11 designs! If only I have more time to do at least half of it but I couldn't... sad but true...

It was a stringent CAL with a tight timeline where those interested would have to follow the specially created Instagram account which would be closed to public when the registration ends. Then over a period of time, each design will have half of it's pattern published. Once we have finished that first half as required, we will have to Insta-story it so that the respective designers will add us into another special Instagram account which is private where the remaining half is published. If we missed the boat then we will have to buy the pattern in order to finish it if we want. Tedious right? Well, it can't be helped as to protect the respective designer's wellbeing. 

Anyway, it was a joy to complete this 2 designs. It was not as complicated but I just needed more time (I can only crochet at night about 2 to 3 hours). Thank you so much to the organizer and designers for this awesome platform! Here are my finished dolls...

Neo the Elephant by Alison @kornflakestew.co.uk

Immy the Lamb by Lucia Forthmann Crochet

Friday, 28 May 2021

[MPOV] Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 3.83/5
Published: December 7th, 2004
Author: Rebecca Wells
Genre: Women's fiction, contemporary, Southern

When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she's directed, her mother gets described as a "tap-dancing child abuser." Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for.

I'm reading this for May's book challenges below:
1. TBNT Book Challenge: A Bildungsroman (coming of age story) OR exploring relationships & family issues
2. Book Spin / Book Spin Bingo: letters B and R (Rebecca Wells)
My mother is not the Holy Lady, she thought. My mother's love is not perfect. My mother's love is good enough. My lover's love is good enough. Maybe I am good enough.
All the while reading this book, I somehow envisioned Jessica Lange as Vivi. I recently got to know there was a movie based on this book but the actress acted as Vivi was a different one. Am not sure if I will watch it yet. Anyway, back to this awesome book. This is one book which I would loved to be in! The story, the writing, the pact, the everything are so deep yet with so much feels!

The past: Vivi grew up seeking her mother's love and father's approval but her mother, Buggy, was a devout Christian who couldn't tolerate Vivi's wild behavior. Her parents were always arguing due to their different faith and believe. Vivi was also beaten by her own father. Hence after she got married, her husband was rarely home to help her raising their 4 children, she vent her anger on the children with Sidda getting the brunt of it. Vivi finally succumbed to depression and had a huge mental breakdown.

The future: Sidda is having a nervous breakdown and wanted to delay her marriage. Her reason was purely due to her relationship with her family. She idolized her mother, Vivi, and her best friends. As their past is a blur to her, she hopes to find out their secrets and resolved her insecurities once and for all so that she could move on with her life.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood is a story of awakening, family and friends... the relationship of 3 generations of women... the ups, the meltdowns all correlated to one another. From Buggy to Vivi, from Vivi to Sidda, it truly is a cycle from one woman's experience to another. The journey one experienced, so eventful and adventurous, I am envious of it all! On the other hand, it sure proves as relevant even now as most of the time we rarely discussed our feelings, our state of mind to each other or anyone. Mental health is real!

I won't divulge much but I can't help getting over those emotional chaos after reading this book! Definitely having a book hangover now LOL! I do find it is well written, easily absorbed and the way Rebecca Well plots the story is up my alley. If you are looking for a family oriented read with lots to think about, you should give this book a try.
Them that know don't tell; and them that tell don't know. For Siddalee Walker, the need to understand had passed, at least for the moment. All that was left was love and wonder.
Some new words for me:
Equipoise - balance of forces or interests

Vetiver - a fragrant extract or essential oil obtained from the root of an Indian grass, used in perfumery and aromatherapy

Genuflect - lower one's body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, typically in worship or as a sign of respect

Pissoir - a public urinal

Whippoorwill - a North and Central American nightjar with a distinctive call

Emphysema - a lung disease which results in shortness of breath due to over-swelling of the alveoli

Monday, 24 May 2021

Amok: Cover Reveal

What is Amok?

Amok is a new novel by Anna Tan, a talented Malaysian author based in Penang, which will be released on 24th June 2021. I had the opportunity to read the e-ARC of this awesome novel recently! Finally, the cover reveal is here! It sure looks as awesome as the novel itself!

You can read my full review here:

Amok: e-ARC review

What is faith, except hope in desperation?

All Putera Mikal wants is to gain the Amok Strength, the supernatural power granted by Kudus to the Mahan royal family. No matter how religiously Mikal keeps his vows, Kudus still denies him the Strength—whilst his father, Sultan Simson, flaunts the Strength despite his blatant defiance of the Temple and the priests’ visions of coming doom.

Then the prophecies come true.

Taken captive, Mikal must find a way to liberate his people and restore his throne in Maha—and the key to this is the Amok Strength. But what does it take to gain Kudus’ favour?


If you are interested, you can order from the Pre-order links here:

For Malaysia Only: Paperback (signed copies) preorder price: RM35 [Full price: RM45]

Signed Paperbacks: https://teaspoonpublishing.com.my/shop/amok-paperback/ 

For the rest of the world: Ebook preorder price: USD2.99 / RM12.00 [Full price: USD4.99 / RM20]

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amok-Absolution-Book-Anna-Tan-ebook/dp/B08YXQKPN7/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Tan grew up in Malaysia, the country that is not Singapore. She is interested in Malay/Nusantara and Chinese legends and folklore in exploring the intersection of language, culture, and faith. 

Anna has an MA in Creative Writing: The Novel under a Chevening scholarship and is the President of the Malaysian Writers Society. She can be found tweeting as @natzers and forgetting to update annatsp.com.

Where to find Anna online:

Website: https://annatsp.com

Instagram: http://instagram.com/annatsp

Facebook: http://facebook.com/annatansp

Twitter: http://twitter.com/natzers

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