Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Review: The Pilot's Wife By Anita Shreve

I'm sure when something bad happened to us, we all had asked the same question, "Why does this have to happen to me, why?" As if by finding the answer, we could somehow undo it. I feel that the author of this book had written a very heart gripping story by invoking a feeling that we can all share with her story's heorine Kathryn.

It was through the grief and the feeling of "unjust" that Kathryn had unknowingly launched an emotional journey of self-discovery, just to find out that she didn't really know her husband afterall. The book is really a page turner. I couldn't put it down. The writer's writing was powerful in that it was able to put me into Kathryn's shoes and made me feel I was somehow sucked into Kathryn's mind and was exploring and investigating along with her.

This is very unlike all the other shallow novels I read before. This one is deep and this one has very clever plots and beautiful writing. This is a book that will always remind you that people's lives are not really what we see on the surface, so don't beat yourself up by comparing. The big question raised by this book is "How well can we ever really know another person?" This is such a good point and this is what makes me wonder. I feel that if I really dig deep, I'm afraid I will be shocked by my own discovery. Very often, we are just too busy, too overwhelmed with meeting life's demand that we become too oblivious to really see who our friends, our co-workers, or even our family are....

I also like this book because it used real beautiful backdrops instead of fictional ones, and it introduced me to places that I hadn't known before... like the Isles of Shoals:

The story also introduced me to Malin Head, Ireland, which I also never heard of:

When the book said,

"The building was white and smooth and clean. She saw the sign above the door: Malin Hotel.

It was several minutes before her eyes adjusted enough so that she could make out the scuffed mahogany of the traditional bar. She noted the scarlet drapes, the stools with beige vinyl tops, the dreariness of the room alleviated only somewhat by a fire at one end…."

I was curious about this hotel and I found that it was actually a pretty quaint and nice hotel like Kathryn found it to be. It's a place that I would want to stay in my future vacation (click on the picture below to see the slide show.. really nice inside!!):

My favorite quote from the book is "To be relieved of love, is to give up a terrible burden." I can't agree more that loving someone can give us lots of burden.

Overall this book is a great supsense and a very emotional provoking read.

For book club discussion questions, please click here.

I would like to hear from you how you like this book too, so please rate this book. Also, if you submit a review of a book that I hadn't reviewed here, we will send you a free jewelry gift if we choose to publish it on our blog...

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Naked in Death

Amazon Editorial Review: It is 2058. New York cop Eve Dallas doesn't have to confront gun crime anymore, no one does. Guns are simply relics. She is assisted in detection by instant communications and probability predictions from the all-pervasive computer network. But this latest homicide is an old-fashioned crime in many ways. Sharon DeBlass is a high-class hooker from a wealthy, powerful family. Her brutal, possibly sexually motivated shooting sends shockwaves through her family, the upper echelons of political society and police headquarters. From the note under her body, it seems that a serial killer with a penchant for antique weaponry and a grudge against prostitutes is on the loose. The killer gets uncomfortably close to Eve Dallas as she pieces together his identity, flying in the face of authority and risking her career. Naked in Death introduces the reader to Dallas: a fascinating heroine, complex and vulnerable, a great detective with an aeroplane hold full of baggage. In the course of this murder investigation she meets Roarke, a charming self-made billionaire, and passions are stirred. This is the first in the incredibly successful suspense series featuring Dallas and Roarke and their developing relationship. With some 20 novels already in print and more to come, the In Death series should satisfy the most ravenous appetite for gritty murder mystery. Nora Roberts, world-renowned romance writer, uses the pen name J D Robb for these books. But those expecting a gentle read should put this book back on the shelf immediately. This tale has street language, sex and violence. And it is highly addictive stuff which will have you turning the pages far too fast. The denouement may not be a huge shock, but that is quite satisfying. Roberts plants clues, and the reader can indulge in a bit of self-congratulation for having solved the crime. (Kirkus UK) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Masters of Deception: Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusion

Description from Rings of seahorses that seem to rotate on the page. Butterflies that transform right before your eyes into two warriors with their horses. A mosaic portrait of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau made from seashells. These dazzling and often playful artistic creations manipulate perspective so cleverly that they simply outwit our brains: we can’t just take a quick glance and turn away. They compel us to look once, twice, and over and over again, as we try to figure out exactly how the delightful trickery manages to fool our perceptions so completely. Of course, first and foremost, every piece is beautiful on the surface, but each one offers us so much more. From Escher’s famous and elaborate “Waterfall” to Shigeo Fukuda’s “Mary Poppins,” where a heap of bottles, glasses, shakers, and openers somehow turn into the image of a Belle Epoque woman when the spotlight hits them, these works of genius will provide endless enjoyment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss

Description from On dry land, most organisms are confined to the surface, or at most to altitudes of a hundred meters—the height of the tallest trees. In the oceans, though, living space has both vertical and horizontal dimensions: with an average depth of 3800 meters, the oceans offer 99% of the space on Earth where life can develop. And the deep sea, which has been immersed in total darkness since the dawn of time, occupies 85% of ocean space, forming the planet’s largest habitat. Yet these depths abound with mystery. The deep sea is mostly uncharted—only about 5 percent of the seafloor has been mapped with any reasonable degree of detail—and we know very little about the creatures that call it home. Current estimates about the number of species yet to be found vary between ten and thirty million. The deep sea no longer has anything to prove; it is without doubt Earth’s largest reservoir of life.
Combining the latest scientific discoveries with astonishing color imagery, The Deep takes readers on a voyage into the darkest realms of the ocean. Revealing nature’s oddest and most mesmerizing creatures in crystalline detail, The Deep features more than two hundred color photographs of terrifying sea monsters, living fossils, and ethereal bioluminescent creatures, some photographed here for the very first time. Accompanying these breathtaking photographs are contributions from some of the world’s most respected researchers that examine the biology of deep-sea organisms, the ecology of deep-sea habitats, and the history of deep-sea exploration.
An unforgettable visual and scientific tour of the teeming abyss, The Deep celebrates the incredible diversity of life on Earth and will captivate anyone intrigued by the unseen—and unimaginable—creatures of the deep sea.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Janissary Tree: A Novel

Description from This is the Winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel. It is 1836. Europe is modernizing and the Ottoman Empire must follow suit. But just before the sultan announces sweeping changes, a wave of murders threatens the fragile balance of power in his court. Who is behind them? Only one intelligence agent can be trusted to find out: Yashim, a man both brilliant and near-invisible in this world, an investigator who can walk with ease in the great halls of the empire, in its streets, and even within its harems--because, of course, Yashim is a eunuch. His investigation points to the Janissaries, who, for four hundred years were the empire's elite soldiers. Crushed by the sultan, could they now be staging a brutal comeback? And can they be stopped without throwing Istanbul into political chaos? This first book in the Investigator Yashim series is a richly entertaining tale, full of exotic history and intrigue.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Architecture of Happiness

Description from The Achitecture of Happiness is a dazzling and generously illustrated journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations.One of the great but often unmentioned causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of walls, chairs, buildings, and streets that surround us. And yet a concern for architecture is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture's task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Piano Teacher: A Novel

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Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.
This book seems to have all the exotic elements of a great epic romance. Set in Hong Kong in the 1940s and 1950s, with all the political and historical upheaval in the Fast East, exotic people, interesting culture, complicated relationships... I look forward to reading this story.
Description from In 1942, Will Truesdale, an Englishman newly arrived in Hong Kong, falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But their love affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese as World War II overwhelms their part of the world. Will is sent to an internment camp, where he and other foreigners struggle daily for survival. Meanwhile, Trudy remains outside, forced to form dangerous alliances with the Japanese—in particular, the malevolent head of the gendarmerie, whose desperate attempts to locate a priceless collection of Chinese art lead to a chain of terrible betrayals.Ten years later, Claire Pendleton comes to Hong Kong and is hired by the wealthy Chen family as their daughter’s piano teacher. A provincial English newlywed, Claire is seduced by the heady social life of the expatriate community. At one of its elegant cocktail parties, she meets Will, to whom she is instantly attracted—but as their affair intensifies, Claire discovers that Will’s enigmatic persona hides a devastating past. As she begins to understand the true nature of the world she has entered, and long-buried secrets start to emerge, Claire learns that sometimes the price of survival is love.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Outliers: The Story of Success - That Will Not Help You Get Ahead

I picked up this book because it's not that thick and it has so many good reviews. However, the book taught me a lesson that the thickness of the book has nothing to do with the ease and the speed of reading, and that "popularity" has nothing to do with "good content".... The book was so boring and was so tedious in all those "outliner" stories that it made me fall asleep constantly. I knew it was going to be a lousy book after I read the introduction, cause it was so boring and tedious and the introduction sounded pretty irrelevant to "success" which is the topic of the book....The author was forcing a link of relevancy by saying at the end of the introduction.... "The value of the world you inhabit and the people you surround yourself with make you the person you are...." something like that.... So all of a sudden, I got this after I read all the boring mumbles about the health issue in a small town up in Pennsylvania, and then the book began its first chapter about "success", only it didn't get any better, cause I found myself reading another boring mumbling chapter about some Canadian Hocky Team and its scoring history and the long tedious tables of birthdays and names and hit/miss (whatever the game calls it) records of the teammates....Again, what was the point of this book? Teaching me how to appreciate Hocky? Chapter after chapter, there are more boring long stores that the author forcibly made them connect to the book's topic on "how people become successful". I totally felt like a loser just by buying this book and even felt more like a loser by reading it. I should have tossed it away and not cared so much about the money I paid for it. "Money can't buy time". My dad told me over and over when I was a kid, and obviously, I hadn't learnt. So forget about the book, some of the things we need to become successful are, "not to follow the crowd", "value our time" , "be able to cut our losses before more loss or damage is incurred" , "always learn our lessons and remember them". Guess this book did teach me something afterall....

Feel like this book is a ripped off... It can be summarized into the following: Combinations of factors that contribute to success are complicated and diversed... can be luck, can be your family, can be your school, can be just your birth place or your birthdays... etc etc.... (so does that mean the author himself doesn't quite know what the exact formula to becoming successful is? So he wrote a book just to explain why he doesn't know and nobody can possibly know the exact factors that make people successful??? Cause they can be uncontrollable, or predetermined... or whatever...), but according to the author, you can still make it thru hardwork and perseverance.... Doesn't this sound familiar? So all the tedious mumble jumble outliner stories that torture me many evenings all boiled down to this. Now if you want to be successful, don't be like me, stay away from this book, go watch a movie, try out a new restaurant, arrange a date with your spouse or someone you like.... go to a concert... but never stay home and read this book like I did.

May be many of you diagree with me, you are welcomed to email me your review of this book and get a free gift if we publish it. Also please rate this book by clicking on the stars below. (The star rating is used to rate the book itself, not this post of my review, if you want to critize about my review, please do it in the comment form, and please don't use the stars. Thanks for your cooperation.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Widow Of The South

Editor's thought: I would like to read this book because the civil war fascinates me. I first learnt about the American history in slavery when I was in the 5th grade in Hong Kong. The images of the slaves being captured during their escape (told by my world history teacher at the time) left such horrific imprints on my young brain that I became more appreciative in my own freedom. I didn't really think of it as a racial issue cause at the time I knew regardless of race, slavery was conducted all over the world, in ancient Egypt, Rome, in China too of course. The Chinese were slaving and selling Chinese slaves..... I watched it a lot on black and white TV about those Chinese slaves being abused, sold, locked up, chained, drowned....etc etc by their masters.... (Chinese dramas in the 50s...) What the American civil war fascinates me is the million of deaths that incurred in the USA (civilians and soliders combined, could it be more? can anyone tell me?) for the cause of fighting for the freedom of others....As a child, I was impressed by the fact that many white people died because of the freedom fight for the black people. I was wondering what other country in the world would fight for the benefits of other ethnic groups or race. I couldn't find any but the United States of America. (If you know, email me cause I would like to know...)

Slavery was a bad and cruel practice in all human history, not only in America, but around the world. The American history of slavery is the most mentioned, I think mainly because of the scale of the civil war and the impact of the war to the country. I had never heard any other countries that launched wars to free their slaves....(as I said, if there was, let me know... I am very courious...)

A historical romance that explores the pain, the loss and horror that people suffered during the civil war seems to be a very interesting fiction to read. I feel that the black people weren't the only people who experienced pain, loss, horror as a result of slavery, I feel that many many white people too suffered the same as a cost they paid for having such a cruel practice, which led to the civil war. During the history of American slavery, I felt that there were a lot more victims than winners (regardless of their skin colors..)... The African Americans have fought a long war and walked a long walk to get their rights and freedom, but I want everyone to know that during such a long journey, many white Americans have been fighting and walking with them all along. The war for freedom is never about a particular race, it's about the conviction of mankind to stand up for what is wrong.

Description from In an Author's Note at the end of his book The Widow of the South, Robert Hicks tells us that "when Oscar Wilde made his infamous tour of America in 1882, he told his hosts that his itinerary should include a visit to 'sunny Tennessee to meet the Widow McGavock, the high priestess of the temple of dead boys.'"Carrie McGavock, The Widow of the South, did indeed take it upon herself to grieve the loss of so many young men in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, which took place on November 30, 1864.Nine thousand men lost their lives that day.She and her husband John eventually re-buried on their own land 1,481 Confederate soldiers killed at Franklin, when the family that owned the land on which the original shallow graves had been dug decided to plow it under and put it into cultivation.Before the battle begins, Carrie's house is commandeered for a field hospital and all normal life is suspended.Carrie is anything but normal, however.She has buried three children, has two living children she pays little attention to, has turned the running of the house over to her slave, Mariah, and spends her time dressed in black walking around in the dark or lying down lamenting her loss.She is a morbid figure from the outset but becomes less so as the novel progresses.The death going on all around her shakes her out of her torpor, but death is definitely her comfort zone.One of the soldiers who is treated at the house is Zachariah Cashwell, who loses his leg when Carrie sends him to surgery rather than watch him die.They are inextricably bound in some kind of a spiritual dance from then on.Their reasons for being drawn to each other are inexplicable, apparently, because they remain unexplained, and when Cashwell tells Carrie he loves her, she beats him nearly to death because she loves him too.At least, that is the reason Hicks gives.He violates that first caveat given to all writers: "show us, don't tell us."There is doubtless something deeply flawed in Carrie and screamingly symbolic about her behavior; it is surely elusive.Too bad, because Carrie was a real person whom Hicks lauds for her compassion and ability to grieve without end.Then, he throws in this gratuitous "love story" and confuses the issue.Carrie's relationship with her husband and children remains unexamined. Hicks is better at describing death and "the stink of war" than he is at life.If you read War and Peace and loved all the war parts and were bored senseless by the peace parts, this is your cup of tea. --Valerie Ryan

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media

From the Inside Flap: This Time it Went Beyond Bias. Do the mainstream media have a liberal bias? Sure they do, everyone knows that, says CBS veteran and New York Times bestselling author Bernard Goldberg. But the media crossed an important line in the 2008 presidential race, moving from their usual unthinking liberal bias to crass partisanship of the crudest kind, practically acting as spin doctors for the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. In A Slobbering Love Affair, his most provocative book yet, Goldberg demonstrates how the media launched an unparalleled effort to ensure the election of the man they regarded as The One. From the thrill Obama sent up Chris Matthews' leg to the outrageously slanted "news" reports of the New York Times, Goldberg shows in exacting detail how the media, abandoning even the pretense of objectivity, moved from media bias to media activism. With his trademark blunt, honest, insider's perspective, Goldberg reveals:

* How the media ignored, downplayed, or sanitized the rantings of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Obama's long-standing "spiritual" adviser, and the radicalism of former terrorist (and Obama associate) Bill Ayers
* How the Obama campaign, while claiming to be "post-partisan," kicked reporters off Obama's plane after their newspapers endorsed McCain

* Why Obama's election makes it more likely conservative talk radio will be stifled by a new "Fairness Doctrine" that has nothing to do with fairness at all

* Why the liberal media preferred Obama to Hillary* What we can expect from the media's coverage of Obama's presidency

* BONUS: An exclusive interview with Rush Limbaugh on the unholy alliance between Obama and the mainstream media. A blistering takedown of the media's slavish support for Obama, A Slobbering Love Affair highlights how the mainstream media has not only surrendered its integrity and objectivity, but could even endanger our democracy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century

Click here to see our book club discussions...

Description from “Conventional analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination. It imagines passing clouds to be permanent and is blind to powerful, long-term shifts taking place in full view of the world.” —George Friedman
In his long-awaited and provocative new book, George Friedman turns his eye on the future—offering a lucid, highly readable forecast of the changes we can expect around the world during the twenty-first century. He explains where and why future wars will erupt (and how they will be fought), which nations will gain and lose economic and political power, and how new technologies and cultural trends will alter the way we live in the new century.The Next 100 Years draws on a fascinating exploration of history and geopolitical patterns dating back hundreds of years. Friedman shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, at the dawn of a new era—with changes in store, including:• The U.S.-Jihadist war will conclude—replaced by a second full-blown cold war with Russia.• China will undergo a major extended internal crisis, and Mexico will emerge as an important world power.• A new global war will unfold toward the middle of the century between the United States and an unexpected coalition from Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Far East; but armies will be much smaller and wars will be less deadly.• Technology will focus on space—both for major military uses and for a dramatic new energy resource that will have radical environmental implications.• The United States will experience a Golden Age in the second half of the century.Written with the keen insight and thoughtful analysis that has made George Friedman a renowned expert in geopolitics and forecasting, The Next 100 Years presents a fascinating picture of what lies ahead.

Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books

Description from “It’s not that I don’t like people,” writes Maureen Corrigan in her introduction to Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading. “It’s just that there always comes a moment when I’m in the company of others—even my nearest and dearest—when I’d rather be reading a book.” In this delightful memoir, Corrigan reveals which books and authors have shaped her own life—from classic works of English literature to hard-boiled detective novels, and everything in between. And in her explorations of the heroes and heroines throughout literary history, Corrigan’s love for a good story shines.

Monday, January 19, 2009

R.S.V.P.: Menus for Entertaining from People Who Really Know How

Description from What defines a truly great host? Is it the quality of her surroundings, her china and linens, the savory surprises at her table, the diversity of the people she gathers around her, or simply her ability to put guests at ease? As Nan Kempner shows in R.S.V.P., it is all this and much more.

New York hostess extraordinaire and inveterate guest of some of the world's most accomplished, Nan Kempner offers a tantalizing glimpse into the homes -- and entertaining philosophies -- of more than two dozen of her favorite hosts and hostesses. With twenty complete menus, R.S.V.P. divulges tried-and-true strategies for a large range of events, from a dockside breakfast to a gala sit-down dinner. Here is a casual city luncheon hosted by Crown Princess Pavlos of Greece; cocktails on the Grand Canal in Venice with Larry Lovett; Anne Bass's fall-inspired country menu; the raucous Texas-sized cookout served by Lynn Wyatt; and a full-scale boar hunt on the Loire Valley estate of Count Hubert and Countess Isabelle d'Ornano.

For each event, Nan recollects the mood at the table and the individual elements that made each gathering so exceptional. She has also convinced her friends to share their most closely guarded recipes, most of them simple to replicate and all certain to please even the most discerning partygoer. R.S.V.P. also gives an enticing tour of some of the world's most brilliant houses, with an insider's view of Oscar and Annette de la Renta's Santo Domingo villa; Ross Bleckner's art-filled New York City loft; and designer Valentino's sumptuously appointed yacht. Stunning color photographs showcase each house and vividly re-create these events.

French Girl Knits: Innovative Techniques, Romantic Details, and Feminine Designs

Description from Superbly fitted and fashioned in luxurious yarns, these imaginative patterns follow four thematic vignettes inspired by French daily life, film, and history. Each section features dramatically different types of yarns, colors, and stitch patterns combined with timeless, figure flattering silhouettes that are suitable for knitters of all skill levels. Using innovative seamless construction methods, the need for sewing seams has been nearly eliminated by fashioning patterns in one piece from start to finish, easily allowing for adjustments for a custom fit. A handy design workshop features in-depth tutorials that teach seamless construction methods and provide valuable technical information for both beginning and seasoned knitters. Perfect for all body types, the designs are figure flattering with curve friendly waist shaping, empire waist detailing, and stitch details such as lacing, openwork, lace edgings, and bell sleeves that highlight the silhouette.

Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time

Description from : Mix tapes: We all have our favorites. Stick one into a deck, press play, and you’re instantly transported to another time in your life. For Rob Sheffield, that time was one of miraculous love and unbearable grief. A time that spanned seven years, it started when he met the girl of his dreams, and ended when he watched her die in his arms. Using the listings of fifteen of his favorite mix tapes, Rob shows that the power of music to build a bridge between people is stronger than death. You’ll read these words, perhaps surprisingly, with joy in your heart and a song in your head—the one that comes to mind when you think of the love of your life.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History

Description from The first and last economic depression that you will experience in your lifetime is just ahead. The year 2009 will be the beginning of the next long-term winter season and the initial end of prosperity in almost every market, ushering in a downturn like most of us have not experienced before. Are you aware that we have seen long-term peaks in our stock market and economy very close to every 40 years due to generational spending trends: as in 1929, 1968, and next around 2009? Are you aware that oil and commodity prices have peaked nearly every 30 years, as in 1920, 1951, 1980 -- and next likely around late 2009 to mid-2010? The three massive bubbles that have been booming for the last few decades -- stocks, real estate, and commodities -- have all reached their peak and are deflating simultaneously.
Bestselling author and renowned economic forecaster Harry S. Dent, Jr., has observed these trends for decades. As he first demonstrated in his bestselling The Great Boom Ahead, he has developed analytical techniques that allow him to predict the impact they will have. The Great Depression Ahead explains "The Perfect Storm" as peak oil prices collide with peaking generational spending trends by 2010, leading to a more severe downtrend for the global economy and individual investors alike.
He predicts the following:
• The economy appears to recover from the subprime crisis and minor recession by mid-2009 -- "the calm before the real storm."
• Stock prices start to crash again between mid- and late 2009 into late 2010, and likely finally bottom around mid-2012 -- between Dow 3,800 and 7,200.
• The economy enters a deeper depression between mid-2010 and early 2011, likely extending off and on into late 2012 or mid-2013.
• Asian markets may bottom by late 2010, along with health care, and be the first great buy opportunities in stocks.
• Gold and precious metals will appear to be a hedge at first, but will ultimately collapse as well after mid- to late 2010.
• A first major stock rally, likely between mid-2012 and mid-2017, will be followed by a final setdback around late 2019/early 2020.
• The next broad-based global bull market will be from 2020-2023 into 2035-2036.
Conventional investment wisdom will no longer apply, and investors on every level -- from billion-dollar firms to the individual trader -- must drastically reevaluate their policies in order to survive. But despite the dire news and dark predictions, there are real opportunities to come from the greatest fire sale on financial assets since the early 1930s. Dent outlines the critical issues that will face our government and other major institutions, offering long- and short-term tactics for weathering the storm. He offers recommendations that will allow families, businesses, investors, and individuals to manage their assets correctly and come out on top. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can take advantage of new wealth opportunities rather than get caught in a downward spiral. Your life is about to change for reasons outside of your control. You can't change the direction of the winds, but you can reset your sails!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Associate

Description from Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.

But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want—even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about.

Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.

With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains—from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle’s “cubicle” at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country—and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, THE ASSOCIATE is vintage Grisham.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War

Description from Dean Acheson was one of the most influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history, presiding over American foreign policy during a pivotal era--the decade after World War II when the American Century slipped into high gear. During his vastly influential career, Acheson spearheaded the greatest foreign policy achievements in modern times, ranging from the Marshall Plan to the establishment of NATO. Now, in this monumental biography, Robert L. Beisner paints an indelible portrait of one of the key figures of the last half-century. In a book filled with insight based on research in government archives, memoirs, letters, and diaries, Beisner illuminates Acheson's policy-making, describing how he led the state department and managed his relationship with Truman, all to illuminate the vital policies he initiated in his years at State. The book examines Acheson's major triumphs, including the highly underrated achievement of converting West Germany and Japan from mortal enemies to prized allies, and does not shy away from examining his missteps. But underlying all his actions, Beisner shows, was a tough-minded determination to outmatch the strength of the Soviet bloc--indeed, to defeat the Soviet Union at every turn. The emotional center of the book focuses on Acheson's friendship with Truman. No pair seemed so poorly matched--one, a bourbon-drinking mid-Westerner with a homespun disposition, the other, a mustachioed Connecticut dandy who preferred perfect martinis--yet no such team ever worked better together. Acheson's unstinting dedication to an often unpopular president was reciprocated with deep gratitude and loyalty. Together, they redrew the map of the post-war world.Over six foot tall, with steel blue, "merry, searching eyes" and a "wolfish" grin, Dean Acheson was an unforgettable character--intellectually brilliant, always debonair, and tough as tempered steel. This lustrous portrait of an immensely accomplished and colorful life is the epitome of the biographer's art.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Book Review: Adored

I bought this book on impulse when I was at the check-out counter in the grocery store. The cover of the book made me think that it could be some interesting romance novel. But to my disappointment, this is the worst romance novel I had read in my life. The explicit sex scenes were so grotesque that it made me want to be a nun. There is no romantic substance in the book, no good story, it's a whole lot of random, rough, unromantic sex, for no good reason. I would rather read a story about a prostitute cause at least it will be more logical and the prostitute won't trash the value of a woman like the main character in this novel did. The main character Siena (supposedly from a very rich family) was living like a prostitute, only for free and the sad part was she didn't need to prostitute herself .... The kind of sex she engaged in, just grossed out the average women, like myself. I don' t know who the author wanted to target by writing a trash like this. All women characters in the book were all subsmissive and were all trashed, suppressed, by the men, emotionally or sexually. There were also a lot of foul language and the book is way too long and boring.

I don't know how to classify this novel, it's not a romance novel cause nothing there is romantic. It's not an erotica cause there is nothing erotic but the opposite, the sex in the book was totally gross and not erotic to the average women. It's not a chick's fict cause the story devalues women, has nothing to make any woman feel good or inspired; on the other hand, its whole point is that women are worthless sex toys for the gratificatioin of men and that after she became a really worn out underwear, she got to find some ignorant and stupid man who will be willing to pick up that dirty underwear and wears it as his favorite brand new buy.... what a story..... I don't think this author will be too successful in the future if this is how she writes... Anyway...

Oh, no matter how bad this book is to me, may be it isn't as bad to others... Or if you are curious about how bad this book is, I would like to exchange this book with you. Please email me. Also, please rate this book below and drop a comment if you also read this book. (the star rating is evaluating whether you like the book itself, not my comment or reviews. If you hate my comment, just leave a comment and say so, but don't use the star rating. Thanks for your cooperation....) Any good comment (positive or negative about the book, except for comments about my review) will be given a free gift if we decide to publish look forward to hearing from you!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Free Gifts For Your Book Review

Have you read any new book lately and got something to say? Or have you seen any books listed in our blog that you want to share with us your review? You will get a free jewelry set when we publish your book review on this blog!! Submit your review on any of the books listed here on our blog (except the ones that are listed under "Editor's Reviews" cause these books are already read and reviewed by us, we want reviews on books that we haven't read), or email us ( a review of the latest book you read that hasn't been listed here yet.... If we decide to publish your book review, we will send you an acceptance notification and a free jewelry set like below and a link back to your blog if you have a blog: (You have to be living in the U.S. cause we currently don't ship internationally). We will only accept reviews that are not published and will not be published anywhere else. If you have a blog, you can only post the book title of your review on your blog and a link to our blog where you can show your readers the detail of your book review that is published on our blog. If you have a review that you think you can give us the exclusive right to be posted in our blog, please send it in to receive a free jewelry set.

After This

Description from On a wild, windy April day in Manhattan, when Mary first meets John Keane, she cannot know what lies ahead of her. A marriage, a fleeting season of romance, and the birth of four children will bring John and Mary to rest in the safe embrace of a traditional Catholic life in the suburbs. But neither Mary nor John, distracted by memories and longings, can feel the wind that is buffeting their children, leading them in directions beyond their parents’ control. Michael and his sister Annie are caught up in the sexual revolution. Jacob, brooding and frail, is drafted to Vietnam. And the youngest, Clare, commits a stunning transgression after a childhood spent pleasing her parents. As John and Mary struggle to hold on to their family and their faith, Alice McDermott weaves an elegant, unforgettable portrait of a world in flux–and of the secrets and sorrows, anger and love, that lie at the heart of every family.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Description from BOOMSDAY'S heroine is Cassandra Devine, a charismatic 29-year-old blogger who incites massive political turmoil when, outraged over mounting Social Security debt, she politely suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75. Her modest proposal catches fire with millions of her outraged peers ("Generation Whatever") and an ambitious Senator seeking to gain the youth vote in his presidential campaign. With the help of Washington's greatest spin doctor, the blogger and the politician try to ride the issue of euthanasia for Boomers (they call it "Transitioning") all the way to the White House, over the forceful objections of the Religious Right and, of course, Baby Boomers, who are deeply offended by demonstrations on the golf courses of their retirement resorts.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Amazon Review: Kevin Baker's Dreamland is the kind of novel that begins with a two-page list of characters and ends with a nine-page glossary. In between, this vast, sprawling carnival of a book takes in Coney Island and the Lower East Side, midgets and gangsters, Bowery bars and opium dens, even Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. It is, in short, a novel as big, lively, and ambitious as Gotham itself, and if you can stomach some of the more garish local color, it's every bit as much fun. Set at the turn of the century, in a New York as polyglot as any city on earth, Dreamland opens with an act of misplaced--and very stupid--compassion. Eastern European immigrant Kid Twist intervenes when villainous gangster Gyp the Blood is on the verge of murdering a young newsboy for sport. But surprise: that's no street urchin--that's Trick the Dwarf, self-proclaimed Mayor of Little City and a Coney Island tout, who dresses up as a boy, he says, as "a way I had of leaving myself behind." Trick hides Kid Twist in the hind parts of the Tin Elephant Hotel; Kid Twist meets Esther Abramowitz, impoverished seamstress and labor agitator, then falls in love; Trick woos Mad Carlotta, a three-foot beauty who thinks she's the Empress of Mexico; and Freud and Jung sail for America, where they squabble about psychoanalysis. There are also a few subplots involving police corruption, Tammany Hall, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire--but who's counting? Suffice to say that it all really does come together in the end, and you won't be bored for one step of the way. Baker served as chief historical researcher for Harold Evans's The American Century, and it's clear that he put his time there to good use; Dreamland is full of vivid historical detail, from Lower East Side slang to the lyrics of popular songs. If this is middlebrow entertainment, it's middlebrow in the same way as Dickens: extravagantly plotted, elegantly written, and compassionate to the core. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession

Description from The Emperor of Scent tells of the scientific maverick Luca Turin, a connoisseur and something of an aesthete who wrote a bestselling perfume guide and bandied about an outrageous new theory on the human sense of smell. Drawing on cutting-edge work in biology, chemistry, and physics, Turin used his obsession with perfume and his eerie gift for smell to turn the cloistered worlds of the smell business and science upside down, leading to a solution to the last great mystery of the senses: how the nose works.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Guy Not Taken

Description from Jennifer Weiner's talent shines like never before in this collection of short stories, following the tender, often hilarious, progress of love and relationships over the course of a lifetime.

We meet Marlie Davidow, home alone with her new baby late one night, when she wanders onto her ex's online wedding registry and wonders what if she had wound up with the guy not taken. We find Jessica Norton listing her beloved river-view apartment in the hope of winning her broker's heart. And we follow an unlikely friendship between two very different new mothers, and the choices that bring them together -- and pull them apart.

The Guy Not Taken demonstrates Weiner's amazing ability to create characters who "feel like they could be your best friend" (Janet Maslin) and to find hope and humor, longing and love in the hidden corners of our common experiences.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

100 Poems By 100 Poets: An Anthology

Description from To pass the time on a long train ride from London to Cromwell, playwright Harold Pinter and his two companions, Geoffrey Godbert and Anthony Astbury, set up a challenge: Choose 100 poems by 100 poets — living poets excluded — to represent the finest poetry ever written in English. The three agreed to organize this collection unconventionally, alphabetically by author rather than chronologically. The resulting anthology is challenging, eclectic, very personal, and great fun. With its surprising juxtapositions and gargantuan range of voice and style, 100 Poems by 100 Poets brings old favorites into a new light and less well-known poems out of the shadows.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession With Cosmetic Surgery

Description from : A star writer for the New York Times Styles section captures the follies, frauds, and fanaticism that fuel the American pursuit of youth and beauty in a wickedly revealing excursion into the burgeoning business of cosmetic enhancement.Americans are aging faster and getting fatter than any other population on the planet. At the same time, our popular notions of perfect beauty have become so strict it seems even Barbie wouldn’t have a chance of making it into the local beauty pageant. Aging may be a natural fact of life, but for a growing number of Americans its hallmarks—wrinkles, love handles, jiggling flesh—are seen as obstacles to be conquered on the path to lasting, flawless beauty. In Beauty Junkies Alex Kuczynski, whose sly wit and fearless reporting in the Times has won her fans across the country, delivers a fresh and irresistible look at America's increasingly desperate pursuit of ultimate beauty by any means necessary. From a group of high-maintenance New York City women who devote themselves to preserving their looks twenty-four hours a day, to a “surgery safari” in South Africa complete with “after” photographs of magically rejuvenated patients posing with wild animals, to a podiatrist's office in Manhattan where a “foot face-lift” provides women with the right fit for their $700 Jimmy Choos, Kuczynski portrays the all-American quest for self-transformation in all its extremes. In New York, lawyers become Botox junkies in an effort to remain poker-faced. In Los Angeles, women of an uncertain age nip and tuck their most private areas, so that every inch of their bodies is as taut as their lifted faces. Across the country, young women graduating from high school receive gifts of breast implants – from their parents. As medicine and technology stretch the boundaries of biology, Kuczynski asks whether cosmetic surgery might even be part of human evolution, a kind of cosmetic survival of the fittest – or firmest? With incomparable portraits of obsessive patients and the equally obsessed doctors who cater to their dreams, Beauty Junkies examines the hype, the hope, and the questionable ethics surrounding the advent of each new miraculous technique. Lively and entertaining, thought-provoking and disturbing, Beauty Junkies is destined to be one of the most talked-about books of the season.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happiness: A History

Description from Today, human beings tend to think of happiness as a natural right. But they haven’t always felt this way. For the ancient Greeks, happiness meant virtue. For the Romans, it implied prosperity and divine favor. For Christians, happiness was synonymous with God. Throughout history, happiness has been equated regularly with the highest human calling, the most perfect human state. Yet it’s only within the past two hundred years that human beings have begun to think of happiness as not just an earthly possibility but also as an earthly entitlement, even an obligation. In this sweeping new book, historian Darrin M. McMahon argues that our modern belief in happiness is the product of a dramatic revolution in human expectations carried out since the eighteenth century. In the tradition of works by Peter Gay and Simon Schama, Happiness draws on a multitude of sources, including art and architecture, poetry and scripture, music and theology, and literature and myth, to offer a sweeping intellectual history of man’s most elusive yet coveted goal.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Holiday Present

This book contains two romantic stories during the Christamas holiday. Both stories use the 1800th England as backdrop. Each story is about the happy ending romance between a rich, aristocratic handsome lord and a woman who comes from inferior social class. If you want to escape into a fairy tale love fantasy, this book is a decent entertaining read. If you are looking for a literary masterpiece that can blow you away with brilliant plots and inspiration of the world, this is a book too predictable and formulated.

I would like to exchange this book with any of the old books you read. Please email me if you are interested in the exchange.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Sugar and Spice

This book has 4 short stories of Christmas romance from 4 different authors. The story line for each is pretty silly and cheesy, none of the stories is impressive to me, and neither are any of the characters. I personally feel all the characters act a little childish. But I have to say I quite enjoy the 13 recipes that the book provides. It is overall a fast and easy read, and it does help set up the mood for Christmas. The recipes are pretty good. I baked a lot of goodies after I read the book. Oh, one of the stories in the book does have one good quote, "True leaders who climb the ladder of success always keep one hand free to help those behind them." That's the only intelligent writing in the entire book!!
The following are the 13 recipes:
1. Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies
2. Bon-Bon Brownies
3. Lemon Meringue Pie
4. Double Apple Crisp
5. Strawberry Shortcake Swensen
6. Cherry Cheesecake
7. Blue Blueberry Muffins
8. Minnesota Peach Cobbler
9. Fudge Cupcakes
10. Multiple-Choice Cookie Bars
11. Christmas Sugar Cookies
12. Christmas Date Cake
13. White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints
I would like to exchange this book with any of the old books you read. Please email me if you are interested in the exchange.