.:: { Book } Before I Go To Sleep ::.

Before I Go To Sleep

As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child, thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

I was only randomly looking for new reads at the library and I was so excited when my eyes caught this book on the shelf. I watched the movie adaptation, and I loved it. Having done so however, did take away some of the thrill factor, after all I know how it ends. Not to say it was not exciting to read the book. I did manage to finish it in a few days, unable to peel myself away from the story.

The book received quite a lot of praises and adapted into a movie. Sounds like a guarantee for a good read. I did enjoy reading it, the idea of the story is great. Yes you could easily guessed how it would end. I could overlook that. What I found hard to overlook were the plot holes. And there were lots of them. I kept flipping back to prior chapters just to check some things actually plot holes, and quite obvious ones too! The ending also seems a bit rushed and over-simplified.

All in all, an okay read if you have free time to spare, but do prepare for some plot holes.

.:: { Books } How To Fall In Love – Cecelia Ahern ::.

How To Fall in Love

Where would be without tomorrows? What we’d have instead would be todays. And if that was the case, with you, I’d hope for the longest days for today I’d fill today with you, doing everything I’ve ever loved. I’d laugh, I’d talk, I’d listen and learn, I’d love, I’d love, I’d love. I’d make every day today and spend them all with you, and I’d never worry about tomorrow, when I wouldn’t be with you. And when that dreaded tomorrow comes for us, please know that I didn’t want to leave you, or be left behind, that every single moment spent with you were the best times in my life.

~ How To Fall in Love – Cecelia Ahern ~

What I find interesting about this book is the fact that both the main characters are a little bit broken in their own way. They are not perfect people out of fairy tales, they are normal people with real-life issues. Christine, a self-help book aficionado, lived an unhappy marriage and tried and tried, rather unsuccessfully, looking for her “happy place”. Adam was to inherit a big company and propose to her girlfriend, he didn’t want the job and his girlfriend cheated on him with his best friend. Adam was desperate and tried to commit suicide by jumping off Ha’penny Bridge. Christine stopped him and promised to show him that life was worth living and get his girlfriend back before his 35th birthday, which was due in two weeks. The problem was, Christine herself had no clue, and the two of them embarked on an adventure to fall back in love with life.

The thing about Cecelia Ahern’s books is they are not your regular chicklit, sometimes they are sprinkled with a little bit of magic or fantasy, sometimes it deals with real-life serious issues like suicide, which gives her books some depth but nonetheless a heartwarming and enjoyable read. I was obsessed with this book soon after I started reading, I couldn’t put this book down! Both Christine and Adam are not perfect but it made the story  felt even more realistic. The plot was predictable but I could not help not cheering for Christine. It’s another big hit by Cecelia Ahern and I now really want to grab her other books I haven’t read.

.:: { Books } On My Reading List ::.

Having to go on a half-hour commute to and from work each day, last year I delved back into my old favorite pastime – reading. At one point I even visit the library every single week, and borrowed my heart out. I haven’t been reading a lot these past few months but I’m making a point to start reading more books this year. And here are a few books high on my reading list at the moment.

Readi

2312 – Kim Stanley Robinson
Back when I was in school, I used to be a huge science fiction fan. So it wasn’t a surprise that when I saw this book randomly while perusing a bookstore, I totally and completely fascinated by the plot. This definitely goes on top of my to-read list!

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
This has been on my to-read list for ages, but somehow I never got the chance to actually read it! Again I was intrigued by the pretty cover ( the plot summary got me too! ), on top of that, the rave reviews definitely convinced me to read this book. Hopefully this is the year I finally sit down and read this book.

Seven Letters from Paris – Samantha Verant
Another one of those books I found while perusing a bookstore. The pretty pink cover just got me. The storyline sounds a lot like Before Sunset ( one of my all-time favorite movie ) and Just One Day ( Gayle Forman ). And give how I really enjoyed both of the aforementioned movie and book, I could not wait to read this one, and I hope this is just as good!

Shopaholic to the Stars – Sophie Kinsella
What would a to-read list be without one or two light easy reads. My book of choice is none other than the latest installment of the Shopaholic series which is always a fun read.

.:: { Books } Back to Printed Books, A Haul ::.

Book Haul

I mostly read on my Kindle now, books take up space and are not exactly lightweight. And let’s face it, I don’t usually re-read my novels, unless it’s extremely good. So I try to be selective on buying printed books. On the other hand, the experience of reading printed books could be something on a whole different level altogether. Having grown up with printed books, I sometimes find myself missing the sensation of holding and flicking through an actual book. When the  mood strikes I allow myself to buy a few. Here’s what I got recently…

Book Haul

The Lady of The Rivers – Philippa Gregory
I couldn’t be more excited when I found a hard cover version of this book in a discount book store – it was priced at AUD4.95! I’ve been specifically looking for a hard cover version because I own the first two books from the series in hard cover, and I thought they would look pretty in the bookshelves if they’re all uniformed in size. So you could imagine I was jumping with joy when I found this. My only disappointment is the fact they didn’t have The Kingmaker’s Daughter.

Farewell, My Queen – Chantal Thomas
A book I found accidentally when I was looking for Philippa Gregory’s books, and this it was like finding a treasure in a haystack. I’m so glad I snatched it. It’s a historical fiction about Marie Antoinette and I got it at a bargain price no less  ( only AUD3.99 ). When I got home, I googled for some reviews and found out that it has been adapted to a movie! I can’t wait to read this book and watch the movie adaptation!

The Borgias – Jean Plaidy
I was intrigued by the reviews I read on Goodreads and ordered this book off The Book Depository, which offers free worldwide shipping. And with two novels in one volume, it costs a lot cheaper compared to buying the individual books. Score! However it has a few staple holes, which go from the cover and through to the first 50 pages. I’m a little bit annoyed but it is what it is..

Book Haul

Baking Puffs and Pastries
Australian Women’s Weekly often publishes “special edition” cookbooks, like this one. And I enjoy reading them, as each focus on a certain theme. This one is definitely unmissable as it contain numerous choux and other pastry recipes. I haven’t got any chance to try a recipe from this book, but I can’t wait to do so!

Sweet, Volume 2
These last two are not books but magazines – food magazines are one of the only magazines I allow myself to buy. And even then I’m very picky with these sort of magazines – I don’t like the ones that have more ads than recipes. I’m happy to report that this one doesn’t fall into that category! Sweet offers a countless delicious and unique inspiration that never fails to tempt me to bake. I would never probably try lavender cookies, as much as I’d love to, but all the beautiful recipes in this magazine truly serves as a fresh inspiration for me to try and bake something new. The third volume is already out, but I intentionally grabbed this one because it was cheaper. I hope the third volume will be on sale soon!

Squires Kitchen Bake School, Spring / Summer 2013

Another great magazine full with inspirational recipes. Some recipes calls for Squires Kitchen brand ingredients, but they are easily interchangeable with other brands. I have tried the simplest recipe in the magazine – blueberry muffin and it was delicious!

.:: { Books } The Red Queen – Philippa Gregory ::.

The Red Queen - Philippa Gregory

The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

http://www.goodreads.com

I started reading this book a while ago, but put it down after a few chapters, finding the heroine has a somewhat contradictory character. Not a character I could either relate or sympathize. I picked this up again last week, and this second time around, Margaret Beaufort is still not my favorite character. She thinks herself as holly and blessed by God, but is ruthless, full of pride and jealousy – especially towards Elizabeth Woodville, The White Queen. There are times when I dislike her less, and I did progress quite quickly with the book once I get understand completely what sort of character she is, but baseline Margaret Beaufort is still not a heroine you’d cheer on. She likes to pray, but especially when everyone sees her and she wants everyone to notice she’s holly. She dreams of a life in nunnery, but at the same time is obsessed with becoming a queen. And she doesn’t hesitate to order getting rid of those in the way. You get the drill.

Enough rants. As a whole, the story runs a little bit slow and boring at the first few chapters when the main character is being introduced, and the last few – when Henry Tudor is preparing war against King Richard, but overall it runs at a good pace and, having read The White Queen before, I quite enjoyed reading “the other side of the story” of The Cousins War. Not the best Philippa Gregory’s book I’ve ever read, however if you’re a fan of historical fiction or Philippa Gregory it’s still worth reading. And I’m still looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

.:: { Books } Divergent – Veronica Roth ::.

Divergent

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

http://www.goodreads.com

I have to be honest, I thought the concept where the society is divided based on virtues sounds ridiculous. Having said that, I found myself indulging in this book cover to cover in one and a half day, stopping way past midnight only because my Kindle died on me. It’s fast-paced, it’s thrilling, it’s much more interesting and entertaining that I had hoped for. Much more. I have to stop myself diving into the second book, as much as I’d love to, I thought I’d give it some time, while waiting for the third book to come out.

.:: { Books } Gates of Paradise – Melisa de la Cruz::.

Gates of Paradise

Schuyler Van Alen is running out of time. The Dark Prince of Hell is storming the Gates of Paradise, intent on winning the heavenly throne for good. This time he has his greatest angels by his side, Abbadon and Azrael—Jack and Mimi Force, as they are known in the Coven.

Or so he thinks. Even as Lucifer assigns Jack and Mimi the tasks of killing their true loves, the Force twins secretly vow to defeat the Dark Prince once and for all. But how far will Mimi and Jack go to conceal their real loyalties?

Meanwhile, former vampire Bliss Llewellyn has joined forces with Lawson, the greatest wolf of the underworld, to free his people from their imprisonment in Hell. As they struggle against impossible odds, an ancient message, woven into the very fabric of time, reveals just how much depends on the success of their mission.

Lucifer seeks the key to the Gate of Promise, and when Schuyler is taken captive and delivered straight to Hell, she must make an unthinkable choice—the same one the archangel Michael was forced to make during the Crisis in Rome. Will Schuyler find the strength to do what he could not?

The epic, heartbreaking Blue Bloods series comes to a close with this final novel about staggering courage, unbearable sacrifice, and the immortality of true love.

http://www.goodreads.com

I have been thoroughly enjoying the Blue Bloods series, each book always left me desperate for more. And in the past few years, I have actually re-read some of the previous books once or twice.  Blue Bloods sits on top of my favorite vampire novels – even though it does get a little bit dark, what with the vampires are actually angels condemned from heaven and are now fighting the silver bloods / demons who are trying to get to the Gates of Paradise to get to heaven.

Having said that, I couldn’t be more excited when this last book in the series finally came out. I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed the previous ones, and I’m not complaining about how the story ends, however I wish for more. More of everything, more of everyone. More of Schuyler and Jack. More of Mimi and Kingsley. The story seems rushed at some points, and I’m not a fan of the spin-offs – the witches and werewolves ( I prefer totally different books and totally unrelated characters! ) and there aren’t a lot of romance and sweet nothings as in the previous books, but this final book wraps up the story in a great way, in a nice happy ending.