Audio book – The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg

TheMoonlightPalaceRating: 2**

Published: October 1st 2014 by Brilliance Audio

This has been on my to be read reading shelf forever, I mean a couple of years. Have you read the book?
The cover is gorgeous and intriguing, but I would have most likely picked it up anyway because the plot is set in Singapore.

The book, particular the audio book I was listening to was excellent because of the speakers McFadden’s voice and all the different roles she was able to bring in live and perfect pronunciations to local places and people.

However, the story itself was fine, it has some historical fiction elements and as I know the Singapore’s map and locations pretty well it become handy, otherwise I would suggest someone keep the map open to full get the sense of the city.

The story tells about a 17-year-old girl named Agnes or Aggie as everyone is calling her. She is representing a multicultural background as majority of nationals in the country. She is an orphan living together with her aunt and uncle who loves her dearly and would go an extra mile to save and provide her all the best they can. And who isn’t when it comes to family – any time in a lifetime? Her uncle has served British army and there are some pinch of royal Sultan’s blood in her. The time set in the book is some 1920’s and they are at the very edge of poverty, struggle to survive and have proper school uniform. Agnes is going in one of the best High School’s in Singapore. But the house they live is Kampong Glam, a historical building that is slowly but visibly the building is breaking down, new roof leaks here and there isn’t nothing new, few rooms aren’t usable anymore.

Agnes is longing is engaging in relationship very fast without fully wanting but the next minute she is over heel about the temperamental British guy who keeps on insisting he is there for her and he does seem fishy. She gets her first job as journalist in the local newspaper, thanks to her uncle’s reference and she does remarkably well, turning the society and the ratio of newspaper readers. She is devoted to her family, torn between them and her boyfriend. She gets proposed but not everything seems to be as easy as that…

The main stress on this book, in my opinion, is about historic elements, powerful and strong woman, who is not forced down, but is ready to stand on her feet. She is naive at the first but her character grows when the book is about to end. It was an okay read, but didn’t attract me with very interesting side characters and the plot climaxes/ suspense.

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My December TBR

flickr794672871.jpgHello Everyone!

This is my December plan post what I plant to read. How your plan is working for you and have you already read something during the first 7 days? As I am writing my post right now, I am admitting I have not finished a book. My reading haven’t actually started, I am in the beginning of The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson’s book, but I have not had a spare time to relax my mind and pick up a book, I wish I did. I guess the month of thinking what to give to exact people as gifts for Christmas this year as I will be visiting family and relatives.. as probably everyone!

For this post I will draw results from my 15th November post on the blog about December Book Choice Poll The results were catastrophic! 😀 There was only one vote and thus the post kind of failed, but as I found it fun I will be continuing to post them on 15th date of each month. DecemberBookPoll

So, let’s get started:

One week has passed and in the next 1,5 weeks time I want to read these 3 physical books left from last month :

currently readinf

The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg 

It’s an audio book I borrowed from library, the setting is Singapore, one of my all time beloved places, so I tend to read everything and everything if any book has a setting there, fiction or non-fiction.

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson

I have started and although the very start was slow and because it took me years to get the second book in the series, it took some pages remember what the story was about. But it’s interesting and I am excited. Have you read the series?

and finally The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

 

The other books I plan to read are for the last two weeks of the December are e-book anthologies: Darkness Echoes by various authors

and The Kiss: An Anthology of Love and Other Close Encounters

Synopsis: A kiss is a simple communication. It can also be an exchange, a betrayal, an assault, a promise, a hope…or it could be a goodbye. The intimacy of a kiss cannot be denied. Whether shared, stolen or simply dreamed of, its recipient will be affected. Thirty-one stories by authors from around the world will tease your imagination as you anticipate ‘The Kiss’ in each weird or wonderful tale. This cross-genre anthology contains stories by Kate Aaron, Saxon Andrew, Jacques Antoine, Alison Blake, E. B. Boggs, Shirley Bourget, Ben Cassidy, Jason Deas, Sharon Delarose, Meghan Ciana Doidge, Suzy Stewart Dubot, Corrie Fischer, Brandon Hale, Traci Tyne Hilton, Colleen Hoover, Mona Ingram, J. L. Jarvis, Elizabeth Jasper, Anna J. McIntyre, Jess Mountifield, C. A. Newsome, S. Patrick O’Connell, Suzie O’Connell, Jeanette Raleigh, J. R. C. Salter, Molly Snow, Holli Marie Spaulding, Cleve Sylcox, Robert Thomas, Chris Ward and George Wier. 


And that’s all I plan to read this December. I chose the anthologies because those are short stories and I am sure I will enjoy to read them this month as the end of the year.

Wish you all successful reading month and Christmas planning – if you are celebrating, till my next post, happy reading! What do you plan to read? Any suggestions?

November Wrap up

Hello Everyone!

I have to admit that the last two weeks just flew for me, when everyone started to publish the posts about their plans what to read in December and what they have read so far  – I was taken a back,  and my mind was screaming: “It’s the end of November and I am not even close to what I wanted to read!” So I can’t wait to read today all the posts related to topic to the blogs I have been following and comment underneath. I was caught up with the life and short 6 weeks online course I bought a month ago, and the course is intense, grand and I am learning a lot of practical bits and pieces and it has a huge list of literature posts online to read about and practicals/discussions/open request assignments that are taking time, it is taking more time than I initially planned, ha-ha! And here goes my time management skills 😛

So in November I read 7 books altogether, please have a look at the photo below the paragraph! One non-fiction, 3 fantasy, 1 crime and 2 young adult.  My favorite was Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin and The Reckoning by Jane Casey, which was intense and a good read. My most disappointment was Editing Emma, maybe because I am not a teenager anymore??! The e-ARC of The Forest of Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao was surprising and I have though about it after I read and written the review, I am looking for more reviews to see how other readers found the book, in some ways I like it more now than at the time I wrote the review.

NovemberRead

I am currently looking at the photo of the books I read and it seems ages since I read The Reckoning or even Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare & co., and I feel I am hungry to read, like really hungry to sit down, and read. I traveled to Dublin by bus the past Saturday and as the journey is quite tiring and long – 4,5h one way and same day return, so tolling up to 9 h spent in bus lol, I read a little bit 🙂 and that was great. No photos from my Dublin trip because I went to visit a good friend of mine and we literary spent all the time chatting and no photo taking 😀 I wish we lived closer!

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We ate the OffBeatDoughnuts (in the photo are the filling with Irish cream) and I am suggesting you to try them if you are in Dublin/ plan to have a trip. Finally these are fresh, same day baked doughnut/cakes. My favorite are the ones with the filling inside, you must really try them!

That’s all about my November reading list. I think this is the month when I read the least amount of books, except for February when I didn’t read any book in order to pass the exam from PMI.

 

 

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager (forgot to add the blog post tile before!)

EditingEmmaRating: 2**

Published: August 10th 2017 by Harper Collins


Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Emma Nash is ‘ghosted’ by the love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any normal teenage girl would do…Emma spends the summer lurking in her bedroom, avoiding all human contact (and the shower), surrounded by the collection of chewit wrappers she saved from packs Leon gave her, back when he actually acknowledged her existence…But Emma soon discovers her ‘habit’ is harder to break than she first thought – turns out she’s not the only one ‘editing’ herself online (thank you Tinder for finding her mum’s profile, age 35, really?) and that life through an Instagram filter isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. But it could be worse, she could have outed her best friend, accidentally chatted up a 12-year-old boy and revealed to the world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s time or virginity… oh no wait, that’s exactly what happened…



The book is about a teenage girl who has heartache over a boy who crushed her heart, without letting know he is breaking up, and without a chance to fight against it. It’s one of those breakups when one just disappears and you find out they have a new girlfriend over a Facebook status update. A real Friendship status update. For Emma that is something that scatters her into million pieces and she is jammed on those moments they shared together, trying to put a jigsaw puzzle together, to understand…

Emma writes a blog posts and thoughtful updates throughout her day, every time she is thinking something she writes it down. Two weeks in reality feels as forever and she doesn’t know how to get back to be ok and she feels – she doesn’t want to. Doesn’t want to interact with anyone, and is wondering why woman isn’t allowed to just be when they feel like this. She is sure nobody has ever felt this way and her mum does not understand her at all.

Thankfully there is her best friend Steph, who rescues her and suggests some points. Disaster starts when the new school year has begun and she will be forest to meet him in Biology for sure and his new girlfriend in general. When she writes the blog, when her mum is dating younger man and mum’s dating isn’t something she is comfortable… there are so many things she isn’t comfortable about, words and…

Overall this is very young adult contemporary with a non-perfect girl. It get’s my points for pointing how miserable one could feel over a relationship issue and what a broken heart actually means, but the actions taken afterwards… not even the spying on social platform as her own personality.. It just …. she annoyed me! 🙂

Emma is supposed to be 16, but this felt as complete 13-16-year-old age group oriented book, of course, the topic is quite actual for anyone that age, i had an issues with the main character. I can imagine a 16 year old girl and a heartbroken heart, but some of the actions bring so much disbelieve that I could not place the story taking reality, e.g. the way she treated Lawrence for instance – pretty much the same attitude she is going herself through with Leon except it’s opposite.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

YoungJaneYoungRating: 5 *****

Published: August 22nd 2017 by Little Brown


Synopsis: Young Jane Young‘s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss‑‑who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married‑‑and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late‑night talk show punchline; she is slut‑shamed, labeled as fat and ugly, and considered a blight on politics in general.
How does one go on after this? In Aviva’s case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. She tries to start over as a wedding planner, to be smarter about her life, and to raise her daughter to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, she decides to run for public office herself, that long‑ago mistake trails her via the Internet like a scarlet A. For in our age, Google guarantees that the past is never, ever, truly past, that everything you’ve done will live on for everyone to know about for all eternity. And it’s only a matter of time until Aviva/Jane’s daughter, Ruby, finds out who her mother was, and is, and must decide whether she can still respect her.



I jumped in the story without knowing much, yes, knowing I like the author I ordered the book via library and knew I want to read her latest book to see what do I think.

I don’t like the cover, but I absolutely loved this heartwarming and heartbreaking story!

This was so refreshing read, fast moving and interesting to read the plot from 4 characters view point, still connected and story goes on, the characters were nicely built with suspense elements and interesting details. I enjoy G.Zevin’s story telling. I am so glad it was not even a tiny bit cheap story and stereotyped in some way, sad it hasn’t made through the final of Goodreads nominee vote for the last round and I had to check double have I missed it..

It touched several topics including politics, society norms and it’s own absurd, smart and strong woman, friendship and mentions Jewish community more than once.

It is a story about how to find your own way to live and think you are doing the best when you have done the worst, made mistakes and when everyone around you is leaving you and don’t care about you at all. My heart was breaking for Aviva’s mother and the pain she was going through as well, how she faced the classic backstabbing from those the most dear to her. However, I did wonder did Aviva knew about them at the time when being in college…

My favorite parts of the book were told by Rachel, Jane and Embeth view point. The book made me lough at times and cry at the end.

Embeth is wife to the politician who was the one who did cheat, and there she is, still together with this man who goes into campaign again and being more than 10 years in politics you don’t even need to prepare a speech, you can just go and say whatever you have told over and over again and everyone will be happy as long as you keep a joke here and there. I found her character warming and ready to put up with the public nonsense.

 

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare

30312891Rating: 3.5 ***

Published: May 23rd 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books


Synopsis: A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.
Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.
When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.
 



***Spoilers alert***

Finally I read this bulky 700 pages book, really took me a long time to spare hours non-stop for reading as I wanted to read in one or two goes rather than every few attempts!

I am not fond of cover at all. I also found myself very critical about the book, because, alright, I have read all the books in the series, the author is famous, but that doesn’t mean I am going to close my eyes to some illogical points, where I would be critical to any other author.

I think the synopsis was wrong and sounds more depressive than it actually is. That is one of the reasons why I postponed the read, as I had no wish to read about heartbreaking love feelings between Emma and Julian and it wasn’t that bad!

One thing for sure this was an easy jump to familiarize each of the characters, bringing all of them together in one book, finally, focusing on “new characters” and literary pushing Clary & co at the back of the story, bringing to the plot once or twice. It is a very comfortable and interesting read (thumbs up for author’s writing style), learning stories in depth of characters – Diana (this was my favorite part of the book, waiting to read what’s underneath and crossing fingers for it not to turn something awful), Emma, Mark, Diego… and others…, suspense, intrigue and wanting to know what’s going to happen, but…

My issues with the book were cliff ending chapters, back and forth the story line with Zara and her team to be suddenly dropped at all, only to read about her again at the very finale. The very final plot climax, sorry, but did not made any sense…for what the book was build up, felt kind of cheated on.. I also felt there was unnecessary side stories to the main plot, either to extend the length of the book, sorry, I don’t know, as a reader I learn about this Dark War warning coming over at 1/3 of the book, and i expect it to start sometimes in the middle, but it doesn’t, there’s quite a lot of drama and repetitive elements from the previous books – so am I supposed to be ready for the huge unknown drastic ending to the whole Shadowhunters?

Sorry if I hurt your feelings about the book! Still, chose to vote for this as it is the only one I have read in Goodreads awards nomination final category.

Incoming and outgoing letters

Hi Everyone!

Today I am starting to write a new post series of the inbound and outbound snail mail I have received and sent during the past month. Yes, I am penpalling for a long time, to be precise, for 16 years now. It has always been fun and I still keep in touch with my few very first pen pals. I didn’t blog about it before because I have always been writing letters, buying cute stationery (oh, it’s really exciting when you go abroad!), been collecting stamps longer than pen palling, but it’s definitely boosting the collection as I have found many great pals and friends throughout my correspondence who have similar interests and sometimes complete opposite, but we have found topics to talk in our letters that is is always fun to wait for a new letter in my postbox, receive it and open to read it.

As someone who write regularly I have some stationery stash at home and some good amount of pens and markers, stamps, washi (colorful paper tapes) and colorful plastic /scotch tapes, envelopes ready to be used. Some of the stationery is really cute and it makes me sad it’s nearly over 😀 thus it is nice to mark the companies and knowing where can I buy more of those and look upon for variety. I haven’t tried to order anything from amazon, ebay, alibaba, and etsy, but there are couple of items I would like to – fancy “air mail” stickers and more. Can you suggest something? Do you write letters?

With this post I plan to share some of the websites I have come across and of course the envelope + stamps that either I am sending out or have received ^^ My outgoing mail in the past month: Indonesia, Germany, UK, Canada, Latvia, South Korea, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, Singapore.

  • Incoming letters:

The card with little hedgehog is handmade by my pen pal’s in Czech Republic, the letters flew in from Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, Sri Lanka. Some of my penpals also make their own envelopes using variety of papers, decoupage, stamps and so on.

  • Stationery to share:

Roger la Borde – The blue background with elephant Bought in Easons, NI

Argus – stationery with tulips, it’s Czech and Slovakian company Bought several designs when I was on trip to Estonia this Spring

Molly & Rex Journal    ” and so THE adventure begins…” Didn’t find their website online, but I bought the notebook with air balloons in TK Maxx, also known as TJ Maxx stores in States. Although it is a journal, it is perfect for the price to be used as writing paper! There are 8 different color pages with lines and I am always looking for a new journal when I am in the store. Last year I had one, I think, it was  named “Creativity takes courage”, which also was very colorful and a must buy ^^

Thank you for reading my post and that’s all for today! I am looking for your suggestions if you know some good brands for stationery and sites, thank you!