Thursday, March 26, 2009

Everyone is Beautiful - By Katherine Center

This book is rated a 4.5 stars by our blogger friend "Reading Mama". Here is the review....

Description from Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.Lanie sets change in motion–joining a gym, signing up for photography classes, and finding a new best friend. But she also creates waves that come to threaten her whole life. In the end, Lanie must figure out once and for all how to find herself without losing everything else in the process.Katherine Center’s Everyone Is Beautiful is a hugely entertaining, poignant, and charming new novel about what happens after happily ever after: how a woman learns to fall in love with her husband–and her entire life–all over again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Heard That Song Before - By Mary Higgins Clark

This is the first audio novel I had listened to and this is the first novel I have from Mary Higgins Clark. I think the story is an okay suspense. May be because I was listening to an abridged audio version of the story, I just didn't feel the thrill and suspense anxiety like I normally did when I was reading a suspense mystery.

There are elements in the story that are obvious to me (even I had never read any books from this author and am not familiar with her style):

  • The accused was obviously not guilty and I knew that at the very beginning. It's just how such plots usually are. The one who has all the evidence pointing against him / her is never going to be the one.
  • There are lots of characters who are directly related to, indirectly related to or remotely related to the accused and all these people will act in suspicious way to make themselves look like they are either directly involved, indirectly involved or dragged into the murder.
  • The motive is the usual one, money...(which is the root of all evil)
  • Everybody is going to find out at the end who the real murderer is.

It's interesting for me to listen to how the author linked everybody together and that in the end it will all make sense as to why everybody did what they did.

I think may be if I read the book, I will appreciate the story more because the abridged audio just doesn't have enough details and doesn't show clearly, the train of thoughts of everybody. The abridged story just didn't grab my emotion or curosity as much.

It's overall an entertaining little mystery, but I won't listen to another abridged audio book again, particularly on mystery novels.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

To the Edge of the Sky: A Story of Love, Betrayal, Suffering, and the Strength of Human Courage

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our current Book Lovers Giveaway. Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Book Description From To the Edge of the Sky is the harrowing account of a remarkable woman's life in communist China—a tale of human courage in the face of shocking inhumanity and hardship. Anhua Gao, her name means Tranquil Flower, was born in 1949, the year that Mao Tse Tung declared the foundation of the People's Republic of China. It was a turning point in Chinese history, the first time in more than a century that peace had come to China. After many horrific battles between the Japanese and the Chinese, and after many years of civil war between Mao's Communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang, a new China was born. To The Edge of the Sky is, like Jung Chang's Wild Swans, an inspiring and heartrending story of life under communist rule and, at the same time, a compelling and detailed history of China's political upheaval through the twentieth century.
Gao's early childhood is idyllic—both of her parents are highly respected workers in the Communist army and the family lives in comfort, with many privileges—but by the time Anhua is eleven both are dead—her father of bone cancer, her mother from heart failure—and their reputation proves a fragile shield from the horrors of communist China. With an assured and deliberate voice, and from the perspective of her new and hard won safety of a new life in Britain (her mother once pointed out the island country to her on a Chinese world map, located on the far left "on the edge of the sky"), Gao interweaves a picture of calamitous Mao-ist policies with her own story of shocking family betrayal, cruel imprisonment, and bureaucratic absurdity.
Despite the appalling depths of Gao's suffering and deprivation, To the Edge of the Sky remains remarkably free of bitterness or rancor. But Gao's outrage at the social injustices of the State and her compassion for those who fell victim to it is a sober reminder of the value of freedom and all that comes with it. Most of all, this is the story of a woman who, against unbelievable odds, survived to find a happiness she had not dared hope for. To the Edge of the Sky is a powerful and evocative autobiography to read and recommend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook: Everything I Know About Love and Marriage

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our current Book Lovers Giveaway.
Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Description from Ever since Eve asked Adam, "Do I look fat in this fig leaf?" it has been apparent that husbands don't know how to relate to their wives. Men believe they understand women and vice versa, but really men know as much about women as a cocker spaniel knows about assembling a Weber grill.
Welcome to The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook, Steve Doocy's laugh-out-loud perspective on love, marriage, and family. The book can be used for its hilarious husband and wife wisdom or, if things aren't going well, as a projectile to get somebody's attention. This is not an advice book. It is a don't even think of trying this book. The author, his family, and his collection of friends (some very famous in the worlds of entertainment, business, and politics) have already discreetly made almost every conceivable marriage mistake, and it is their hope that this irrev- erent manual can save you the trouble of being an idiot on your own.
Doocy, co-host of Fox & Friends, who has been married for twenty consecutive years, provides real slice-of-life stories on everything from early marriage ("I love you, you're perfect, now wear this thong") and pregnancy ("You're eating for two? Who— you and Shaquille O'Neal?") to sending your child to college ("Is that a funnel?") and retirement (high-fiber appetizers on Viagra dates). Most of the stories conclude with "corrections" and additional wise words from Doocy's real-life wife, Kathy, who, after two decades of picking up Steve's socks in the garage, has developed a zany sense of humor herself.
There is also a handy troubleshooting section for when things go haywire, like during the eye- opening experiment undertaken especially for this book, wherein the author wanted to prove to his wife that they were perfect for each other, so he had them join an on-line dating service. Out of a database of several hundred thousand guys, he was not in her top 532 local men. Despite the fact that their one- month experiment ended a year ago, she's still getting photographs of single men whose head shots appear to have been taken at a recent skinhead convention. Luckily for him, she still prefers "bonehead to skinhead."
This book is a celebration of the pageantry that is wedlock, which starts with an "I do" and sometimes ends with a boiled rabbit. Let's face it, marriage isn't always as smooth as a forty-year-old's forehead after six months of Botox. In fact, marriage is ridiculously hard, but laughing about it is now incredibly easy with The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What's Your Favorite Fiction? Giveaway

Hi All,

We are giving away a very pretty jewelry set. This is a brand new jewelry set that will dress up your spring wardrobe. We will randomly draw out one lucky book lover on March 31, 2009 at 7:00pm PST. We will post our result here and please come back to check the winner announcement and instruction to claim your prize. The following are entry rules for this giveaway:
  1. Post a comment on this post to tell us your most favorite fiction and why you like it the most.

  2. You live in the U.S. with U.S. mailing address.

  3. The deadline to post comment is 6:00 p.m PST March 31, 2009

Good luck, and we look forward to fostering a friendship with all of you so we can encourage more people to read.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blogrolling Friendship Giveaway March 1 to March 15, 2009

Dear fellow bloggers,

The giveaway had ended today. As you can see on the giveaway post, nobody had left any comment. That means we had not received any entry for this giveaway.... So this giveaway has no winner. It's unfortunate cause this giveaway is so easy to win, imagine, if only you had left a comment, you could be the only one participant so you could have won this gorgeous necklace set. May be next time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recipe for a Book Club: A Monthly Guide for Hosting Your Own Reading Group: Menus & Recipes, Featured Authors, Suggested Readings, Topical Questions

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our Blogrolling Friendship Giveaway.
Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Description from 12 months of books, authors, menus, and recipes for book clubs.
Unlike other basic reading group guides, "Recipe for a Book Club" combines good eating with good reading for the millions of Americans who participate in book clubs. Written by two book-and-cooking sisters who formed their own monthly reading and eating groups that continue to meet, "Recipe for a Book Club" starts in January and ends in December, with a reading theme for each month and a menu and recipes to go with it, a featured favorite book and author, suggested reading list, and interesting questions to ponder and discuss. From January’s theme of New Authors to December’s theme of Inspiration for the new year, this attractively illustrated guide is ideal for all reading groups, whether brand-new or long-established.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Attack of the Political Cartoonists

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our Blogrolling Friendship Giveaway.

Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Description from Where the pen meets the sword With laser-like insight and rapier-sharp wit, the political cartoonist is alive and kicking in the 21st Century. Here 150 members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, whose work has appeared in every major newspaper in the U.S. and beyond, join in this celebration of an art form for the mature mind. The cartoonists collected here have won hundreds of journalism awards, including more than a dozen Pulitzer Prizes. More importantly, they do not suffer fools - in politics, religion, or culture - and are always the first to step forward to shout "The Emperor has no clothes!" With an introduction by Lucy Caswell, professor of the Cartoon Resource Library at Ohio State University, and a foreword by U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, it's . . . Attack of the Political Cartoonists!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our Blogrolling Friendship Giveaway.

Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Guest review from Heat is a remarkable work on a number of fronts--and for a number of reasons. First, watching the author, an untrained, inexperienced and middle-aged desk jockey slowly transform into not just a useful line cook--but an extraordinarily knowledgable one is pure pleasure. That he chooses to do so primarily in the notoriously difficult, cramped kitchens of New York's three star Babbo provides further sado-masochistic fun. Buford not only accurately and hilariously describes the painfully acquired techniques of the professional cook (and his own humiations), but chronicles as well the mental changes--the "kitchen awareness" and peculiar world view necessary to the kitchen dweller. By end of book, he's even talking like a line cook.

Secondly, the book is a long overdue portrait of the real Mario Batali and of the real Marco Pierre White--two complicated and brilliant chefs whose coverage in the press--while appropriately fawning--has never described them in their fully debauched, delightful glory. Buford has--for the first time--managed to explain White's peculiar--almost freakish brilliance--while humanizing a man known for terrorizing cooks, customers (and Batali). As for Mario--he is finally revealed for the Falstaffian, larger than life, mercurial, frighteningly intelligent chef/enterpreneur he really is. No small accomplishment. Other cooks, chefs, butchers, artisans and restaurant lifers are described with similar insight.

Thirdly, Heat reveals a dead-on understanding--rare among non-chef writers--of the pleasures of "making" food; the real human cost, the real requirements and the real adrenelin-rush-inducing pleasures of cranking out hundreds of high quality meals. One is left with a truly unique appreciation of not only what is truly good about food--but as importantly, who cooks--and why.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our Blogrolling Friendship Giveaway.

Also, submit your review of this book and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Description from Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed is the glass-half-empty follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns, Germs, and Steel explained the geographic and environmental reasons why some human populations have flourished, Collapse uses the same factors to examine why ancient societies, including the Anasazi of the American Southwest and the Viking colonies of Greenland, as well as modern ones such as Rwanda, have fallen apart. Not every collapse has an environmental origin, but an eco-meltdown is often the main catalyst, he argues, particularly when combined with society's response to (or disregard for) the coming disaster. Still, right from the outset of Collapse, the author makes clear that this is not a mere environmentalist's diatribe. He begins by setting the book's main question in the small communities of present-day Montana as they face a decline in living standards and a depletion of natural resources. Once-vital mines now leak toxins into the soil, while prion diseases infect some deer and elk and older hydroelectric dams have become decrepit. On all these issues, and particularly with the hot-button topic of logging and wildfires, Diamond writes with equanimity.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How Can I Make My Blog Better? Step One....

Before you read on, we would like to remind you of our Blogrolling Friendship Giveaway.

Also, submit your review of any book you read and we will send you a free gift if we publish it on this blog.

Lately, I have been brainstorming on how I can make my blog a better one. I'm relatively new to blogging. The reason I started this blog is because I love to read for entertainment, personal growth and everything else. There is an old Chinese saying that says, "One Can Find Gold Houses and Beautiful Girls in Books." This anicent saying reflects the book culture in anicent China and how reading and learning from books had been regarded as crucially important for one (men only at the time) to climb up the social ladder and to succeed. I'm just amazed that my ancient ancestors' perception about reading and learning still stands true today in the 21st century.

So with my love and passion for reading books of all kinds, I hope to use my blog to talk about books that entertain me, books that teach me, books that inspire me and books that improve my life. I would like to exchange ideas with others who share the same passion, whose life are also touched and enriched by all these wonderful books they read.

As my first step in making my blog more resourceful, I decide that I will gather a list of other good quality blogs from fellow bloggers who love books and who love to talk about them. If you have an interesting blog talking about books or a book blog that contains good content, please email me. Wish me luck in my search for great book blogs. Look forward to visiting your blogs.