Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! Merry Everyday in 2014!!!

For those of us whose homes are cluttered with books, this Christmas tree seems to be a marvelous idea!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Review: Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

Told by a twelve year old girl in the snow country, this is a story about love, loss and painful recovery.  It's simply written and yet it illustrates the complicated details of the lost souls trapped in the beauty of the chilling cold.  The characters won my sympathy many times over. The story is emotionally charged and thought provoking. It reminds the readers to cherish every moment in life and be truly grateful for everything and every second. It's a beautiful work of fiction.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

The breathtaking beauty of Montana, with its vibrant ranch life, makes the perfect setting that changed the lives of three sisters to the better.  The romantic tension, the suspenseful plots and the charming characters make this book a very exciting and entertaining read.  Thanks to Nora Robert's ability to engage the readers using the beautiful landscape and the ultra interesting ranch life, I felt as if I had spent a really refreshing vacation in beautiful Montana.  Country life is never sexier.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Directing, Casting, Acting Are All Wrong For This Movie

Having read the novel, this movie is a huge disappointment. I wonder how much participation does the author have in the making of this movie.  From scenery to the plots to the casts, this movie is a far cry from the epic romance it is adapted from.  The cattle drive in the movie is so lame and boring.  When I read the book, I was seeing the epic cattle drive with lots and lots of cows and over a dozen cowboys riding their horses with Willa and her sisters against a majestic scene. The book gave me an image of the stunning horsemanship of Willa, Ben and other cowboys.   But the movie is so watered down with just a small gang of cows mooing in the background and a Willa who looks like she was never on horseback much.

I have a feeling that neither the director nor the main cast members read the novel.  It seems as if they only spent some time looking at the screenplay and just shot as they read on.

If I were the author, I would not let them make such a poor adaption of my novel.  Willa and Ben totally have no chemistry in the movie, let alone passion.  They aren't into the characters and they are so detached and remote emotionally.  They are like reading the scripts in a rehearsal.  They don't look like Willa and Ben at all, and they certainly don't look like cowboy or cowgirl. They just don't have that rancher vibe.

If it's up to me, I would cast Ben Affleck as Ben:

Jennifer Garner as Willa:

If they can't get the big stars, they should at least try to get actor and actress that have similar vibe.  The Willa in the movie is too meaty on the face and build  so she doesn't look like the Willa that is described in the book.

Mario Lopez as Adam:

Scarlett Johannson as Lily:

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Woman's Trip to Bookstore Brought Home a Newborn

According to the Associated Press, a woman walked into a Los Angeles-area Barnes & Nobel looking for books and came out with a baby instead.

I wonder what book the mother was intending to get when she visited the bookstore at such late stage of her pregnancy and at such hour of the evening?  Anyway, congrats to both the mom and the baby!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Book Review: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The story of this book reminds me of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves."  If there is one good thing about this story, it's this valuable lesson that I learnt from the tragic ending of  two of the main characters, Hannah and Emmeline. There is no doubt that the English writing is good, and this book is just about that.  I'm not impressed by the plot, story, or the characters.  They actually bored me.  Instead of being a page turner like the book cover claims, the pages kept me closing the book and putting it aside.

May be if I hadn't watched "Upstairs Downstairs",  "Downton Abbey" or "The Titanic", I would find this novel more interesting.  I felt like I was reading someone painstakingly describe and write about what I had already seen with my own eyes, someone who tried very hard in putting those fancy images in English texts. This book is more of a show off of the author's use of the English language, than the telling of a compelling, or even convincing story.  The English writing is riveting, not the story.

I never got "The Game" that the book spent so many pages talking about.  This so called "Game" was often played by the aristocratic children of the House at Riverton.  From what the book showed me, the life of those aristocratic people in that era couldn't be any borer. How can that be?  That was a fascinating time, a fascinating era,  how could life be this boring in high society?   May be it's just in the House at Riverton.

To me, the book is like a painting of a grand estate in the early 20th century that illustrates lots of details of the landscape and yet it's an empty mansion that has nobody inside.  The story's narrator, the 90+ years old Grace, who was a young house maid who served the family and the young ladies, failed to retain my attention.  It's just not convincing for Grace to tell me the stories of her mistresses in such great intimate details on events when she was not even there to witness. Even Grace herself admitted that she wasn't there but yet, when she was telling Hannah's story with her lover, her husband, her outings and her experience and feelings, Grace was able to tell in great details, not just the place, the time but the inner thoughts and feelings of Hannah and Emmeline...  Grace was often telling stories of her masters and mistresses that nobody could possibly know except the masters and mistresses themselves. Grace could easily confuse me into believing that it was not Grace who was the narrator, but at some point, Hannah took over to become the narrator of the story.

I don't understand why this book was loved by so many.  I admire the writing skills, but not the story telling ability of the author.  The story has little passion, little suspense, but pretty boring and unimpressive characters.  It's a shame, the story could have been made really exciting and exotic.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Review: Stepping on Roses, Vol. 2

In this book 2 of the "rag to riches" romance, the story follows the heroine, Sumi's new life as the new bride of the heir of a prominent and wealthy Japanese family, Soichiro. Sometimes a picture speaks better than a thousand words.  The fancy illustrations of the book are amazing and they perfectly illustrate the emotional dilemma that Sumi was facing in the middle of a love triangle.  This volume gives the readers a glimpse of the secrets of Sumi's new husband, Soichiro and his ambition.  The dialogue continues to be funny and entertaining.  This book is another hour of light and fun reading that somehow is able to stress on the importance of one's duty and integrity over selfish romantic love.  The story ends with a question on what secrets is Soichiro really hiding and what is he really plotting, which I'm determined to find out in the next volume. This book has engaging illustrations, a little suspense and really fun and quirky characters.  It's a good one hour break in between serious readings.  The book cover is just gorgeous.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: After the Parade by Dorothy Garlock

This is a very comforting novel with romance, passion and suspense that kept me turning the pages.  This book is a follow-up of  the novel "With Heart" that I previously read.  This sequel is however more entertaining and has a faster pace than "With Heart".  The love between Kathleen and Johnny is admirable in a way that the years apart didn't drive them into other people's beds like the couples that I read about in other contemporary romance fictions.  This is why I like this novel.  There was setback in the marriage, yet there was always the unbreakable love and passion between Kathleen and Johnny that kept pushing them back together and that kept me cheering them along.  It's rare that I cheer for any heroine in a fiction, but I did when reading this book.  This book is an enjoyable read.