Sunday, June 29, 2008

ARC Reading Challenge Update

The list:

1. Crazy Fool Kills Five by Gwen Freeman
2. The Poem I Turn To edited by Jason Shinder (June 30, 2008)
3. Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer
4. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer

Tonight, I'm going to read and listen to The Poem I Turn To. The book comes with a CD too. Isn't it great? I can read the poems and listen to celebrities read their favourite poems. Don't know what I'm talking about? Look out for my review soon! :D

Friday, June 27, 2008

How Many Books Have You Bought This Month?

I'm a little bored right now and felt like asking a question that's book-related. I've played a few games of chess on Yahoo games this morning. Well, I won some games and lost too. :( I'm always happy when I win! And now, I'm taking a short break from it.

Anyway, that's my question:

How Many Books Have You Bought This Month?

I'm quite curious as to how many books people buy each time. Me? I bought only 2 books! Would love to buy more but if I had extra cash and less TBR books, I'd definitely love to go on a book shopping spree. :D

Raved-About Reads Challenge

Starting June 30, 2008

This will be Challenge number 7! Whoo-hoo! Well, what's this challenge about, you ask? Go ahead to MizB's challenge blog (she's the host) and read the rules there. For this one, you read 3 books which other people have been praising, building shrines for, giving 5 out of 5 stars, etc. :)

Here is my list:

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

If I have time:
4. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (I know, I'm so late in reading them!!!)

Hmm, looks like this challenge doesn't have a deadline...meaning no time limit! Well, if I managed to read all the books in my list, I'll be adding more for sure.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The ARC Reading Challenge

Guess what? I'm going to join another challenge! Yes! This time it's the ARC Reading Challenge (ARC = Advanced Reader's Copy) hosted by Teddy Rose. It runs from:

June 21, 2008 ---> September 21, 2008

Okay, it's June 26 today...I hope I can still join in the fun!

I have more than 10 ARCs now, so I'll need to pick at least 4 books to review for this challenge. For the rules, please click on the link above.

Here's my list:

1. Crazy Fool Kills Five by Gwen Freeman
2. The Poem I Turn To edited by Jason Shinder
3. Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer
4. Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer

Ooh, I'm getting really excited now! I've so many challenges already! Um, okay, maybe not as many as the others but to me, it's quite a number. :) I think this is my 6th challenge? I had better write it all out or else I'll forget one of them.

I'm Joining July Book Blowout!

Interested in joining yet another challenge? Well, this July Book Blowout is pretty simple, actually. It's being hosted by Mrs. S of Blue Archipelago. The goal is to read as many books as possible from:

July 1, 2008 ---> July 31, 2008.

Before August 7, 2008, you post the list of books that you've read. :D Extremely simple, right?

I think I'll read 5 books. Next month, classes are starting and I have to return to uni, so it'll be quite a busy month for me. Nevertheless, I'll *try* to read as much as I can!

For more details, just click on the link above. Have fun reading!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Which Section of the Newspaper Do You Turn To First?

Since I read The Star (my family's been buying this newspaper for as long as I can remember), I will take out the StarTwo section first. I find StarTwo more fun than the main section, don't you think so too? Usually, the main section is the last I'll look at. But if there's some hot topic going on or if the headlines stirred me up, then it's the main section first.

I guess I read the whole paper except for the Business section. Reading the whole newspaper can take hours. Therefore, when a lecturer said that reading a newspaper only takes up 20 minutes, I raised my eyebrows, looking at him/her incredulously. Well, maybe he/she meant reading the main section only, who knows?

I particularly enjoy reading the comics and sometimes my horoscope though I don't really believe what the 'stars' said. Once my stars said that I was going to receive a letter from overseas. Well, there wasn't even a letter that day. I'm not sure if the postman even came or not.

Oh, another section I like appears on Fridays. That'd be the Reading Room section. Now the writer for that section is Daphne Lee and when she introduces young adult books, I'm delighted.

Lastly, the one section that I never miss everyday: the TV Guide. :D

Monday, June 23, 2008

Plugins I'm Using In My Wordpress Blog

Using plugins for your Wordpress blog can really make your blog look good, function better than before, help you attract readers and so much more. This is why I love Wordpress plugins so much! I enjoy searching for new and interesting plugins, and then downloading them and finally testing them out. I'm ecstatic whenever a plugin works perfectly without giving me any headaches.

However, some plugins just decide to make my day more exciting by creating a few problems here and there. Thus, I have to crack my head and figure out what went wrong. When it FINALLY works normally, I breathe a sigh of relief or rather, exclaim 'YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' like a deranged person.

Anyway, what I'd like to ask is what kind of plugins that YOU are using for your Wordpress blog? Like I mentioned earlier, I'm always interested in new, unique, exotic plugins. So, why not tell me your favourite plugins or plugins that nobody should live without?

Here are the plugins that I'm using now for my blog:

Admin Drop Down Menus
Better Comments Manager
Contact Form
Feedburner Feed Replacement
Filosofo Comments Preview
Highlight Author Comments
Similar Posts
Social List
Subscribe Remind
Subscribe to Comments
What Would Seth Godin Do
WP Admin Bar Reloaded
WP Categories and Posts

There. I've listed out the plugins that I'm using right now and some of them I've been using since I started my Wordpress blog. What would I do without them? Sigh...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Interview With Carlo Gabbi

This would be my second interview with an author! Carlo Gabbi wrote An Amazing Story and you can read my review of his book in my other blog.

And here's the interview!

What books do you like to read and why?

Carlo: Books are written with the intention of sending messages, and in this way a book becomes a powerful tool transmitting the writer's experiences to the audience of the readers.

I like to read intelligent books which sends positive messages capable of widening up my capacities of understanding. As a reader, I’m looking through the pages of the book in my hands to find the answers conveyed by that particular author and then I analyse all of them.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

This is not a simple question. In life we move over different stages. From childhood into a young adulthood, from the young adult we become a man or a woman, and from here into a mature person. Therefore our needs with likes and dislikes are adjusting consequently with maturity.

This is a reason why we abandon authors we loved in a previous stage in life to search for new authors who are more suitable to our new age group and capable of returning to us those answers we need in our new particular life period.

We have to keep in mind that there always are strong writers that we have never heard or read of, so we cannot stick to a particular writer in our preferences. We have to enlarge continually the number of new writers we read, even if we may like one writer better than others.

The writer that has impressed me over the past years, and who is very talented, is Wilbur Smith, a South African author. He seems to know all about his beloved country since the primordial days of the Pharaohs. Masterly and seductively he presents the best books on the market.

Who are your target readers?

I try to write for a vast audience divided into different age groups. I believe that the majority of writers are using this way because it makes us proud to communicated with the largest possible audience.

With the “An Amazing Story” I used Dolores to convey a special message to the young group of women’s readers. I tell them to be stronger and don’t lose faith in life if they are struck by adversity, and as Dolores, be capable to create a better tomorrow and therefore learn to act wisely to make it happen.

At the same time, in this book, I send a message to all mankind to be aware of the risk we are incurring of destroying life in our planet and I encourage people to become environmentally responsible and contributing, as much as possible, to preserve what nature and God has patiently created for us.

If you could meet any author, who will it be?

Again it would be Wilbur Smith. I admire him for his deep knowledge of things, for his extraordinary way to convey facts to the readers and for the complete satisfaction left in me, when I reach the last page of any of his novels.

If you could meet any famous person, who would it be?

This is another difficult question. There are so many famous people around us. People who excel in sport, entertainment, science, literature etc.

My preferred person most likely will be someone who has dedicated completely his life and intelligence into a humanitarian purpose and who does his work disinterestedly only in the name of love of mankind.

What do you like to do, besides reading?

I like traveling, meeting people and visiting archeological sites. All this helps me to expand my knowledge of understanding who we are and why.

What was your ambition when you were a small kid?

That was so long ago and it’s hard to remember. Believe me, since those remote days life has changed so much. It was war time when I was young and life in Europe was an inferno. Miseries were around us. People had been left in rugs and destitute by the bombardments destroying life and entire cities.

Was I dreaming in those days to be a man a fight for my Country as many other teenagers did at that time? Possibly yes; being a hero was part of my dreams. But I was too young for that. So I did the best I could for my age and even if I was only a young teenager I came to develop the sense of responsibility created by the hardship around. I saw that my duty was to be the responsible man in the house and therefore protect in the best way I could my mother and our scarce resources.

Any more books that you plan to write?

At the moment I am re-editing some of my best short stories to be collected into a book which will be available by the end of this year.

In the same time I have started penciling a new book. This is the life story of loves and passions of my grandmother. The story starts at the beginning of 1900 and would take the reader across the Balkans and Italy from the “Grand Époque” of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and across the horrors that followed with the Two World Wars.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Only a few are lucky enough to be born story tellers, for the others to become one is a long strenuous work.

In narrating your stories, be concise and use the simplest word, so anybody can understand and follow the plots you are writing.

Never be completely satisfied of what you have written. It always exists a better way to narrate your story. In this process you will have the chance to continually improve yourself.

~~~End of interview~~~

I'd like to thank Carlo Gabbi for taking the time to answer my questions! =D And my dear readers, I hope you enjoyed the interview too!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Crazy About Chess

Chess, chess, chess…I’ve been playing chess frequently ever since last month. Yeah, kind of addicted to the game and it’s some sort of therapy for me too. My friend commented that I should try other games and not play chess all the time. Well, I tried other games but I always returned to playing those white and black pieces. :)

I learnt to play this game a long time ago. I don’t really remember when but that time, I learnt the movement of the different pieces. The king is the most useless one of all, only being able to move one pathetic step at a time. On the other hand, his wife(???), the Queen, is the most powerful. She can move anywhere. If you lose your Queen, you’ll feel like your game has come to an end. But then, the game is only really over when your king has been checkmated. So, you should keep playing and don’t give up that fast!

Another friend introduced me to play chess at Yahoo games last month. Yeah, it’s kind of my second home for now. I get to play as many games of chess with anyone, anytime. You also get to meet lots of colourful characters there too. Some are nice, some not so nice and some players are too brilliant for me. If I see their ridiculously high ratings, I won’t play with them! They’ll defeat me mercilessly, I tell ya!

My ratings aren’t that great anyway. However, I never resign from a game. I’ll keep playing until I either get my king checkmated or get a draw or a stalemate. Sometimes, even if my king is the only one left in my army, I still gain points. This is because my opponent couldn’t checkmate my king properly. So, in a way, I gain points as a result of my unlimited perseverance. :)

How long will I be playing chess and neglect my books? I don’t really know. I know I should balance my time with chess and books. I’ve been really behind in my readings. My plan was to try to read as much as possible but this chess thing came up out of the blue. I’ll just continue playing until school reopens or until I just get plain bored with the game. :p

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

YA Romance Challenge!

July 1, 2008 ---> February 28, 2009
I really like the button!

There's a new challenge in town and it's being hosted by Becky of Becky's Book Reviews! This will probably be my 4th challenge.

Here are the rules of the YA Romance Challenge:

1. Read six YA romance novels between July 1, 2008 and February 28, 2009.
2. Romance should be a strong element within the story. But it doesn't have to be the only element. Realistic fiction (contemporary). Historical. Fantasy. Science Fiction. Retold Fairy Tales. All genres are allowed.
3. They can be part of a series, or stand-alones.
4. They can be long or short.
5. Happy books are NOT a requirement
6. Audio books are allowed.
7. Up to three movies can be substituted for books. So you could watch 3 movies, read 3 books if you prefer.

If you aren't sure about which authors to read, here is a list of recommended authors taken from the YA Romance Challenge blog:

  1. Ally Carter
  2. Ann Brashares
  3. Anna Godbersen
  4. Cameron Dokey
  5. Carrie Jones
  6. Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  7. Cecily von Ziegesar
  8. Deb Caletti
  9. E. Lockhart
  10. Elizabeth Scott
  11. Francesca Lia Block
  12. Gail Carson Levine
  13. Jaclyn Moriarty
  14. Libba Bray
  15. Louise Rennison
  16. Meg Cabot
  17. Megan McCafferty
  18. Melissa Kantor
  19. Melissa Schorr
  20. Rachel Cohn
  21. Robin McKinley
  22. Sara Zarr
  23. Sarah Dessen
  24. Shannon Hale
  25. Sonya Sones
  26. Stephenie Meyer
  27. Susane Colasanti
  28. Tina Ferraro
  29. Zoey Dean

I'll do some research first on what books I shall read for the challenge. Anyway, I'll be putting Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer on my list, that's for sure. I bought it on Sunday! =D

Monday, June 9, 2008

What Happened To Project Petaling Street?

Did they forget to renew their webhosting or something? This is what I got when I just went there.

Hmm...I guess there won't be any pings for a while.

The Infamous Page 123 Tag

I've seen this tag on almost every book blog I've ever visited and yeah, it's like the most popular and one of the easiest tags around. Not much thinking, not much brainstorming, no need to crack your brain open to answer it the best way possible.

What you need to do is lazily pick up a book nearest to you, maybe a telephone directory will do too! They didn't specify what kind of book, right? So, I guess any book will do. =p

All right, I decided to finally do this tag when I visited Alice's blog.


1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The nearest book is Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. I'm going to find page 123. Ah, found it. Now, the 5th sentence:

Greg's proposal sounds nice and all, but whatever happened to that dream?

I'm not going to tag anybody, feel free to do this tag if you want. Also, nobody tagged me but I did find this tag from Hello, My Name Is Alice. =)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Finally, I Bought Eclipse!

The Borders store at Queensbay Mall had a book sale yesterday and today. Did you go and take advantage of it? I went and there were quite a lot of people. Buy 3 books for the price of 2, books at 50% off, 30% off, etc.

Last week, Borders had a sale at Sunshine Square Bayan Baru too. It was last weekend, I think. But when I went back a few days later, Borders was gone! I thought Sunshine Square was going to have their very own Borders bookstore. Well, apparently not since it's not there anymore.

By the way, I bought 2 books today. I'm not going to buy many books this year as I still haven't read the ones that I bought LAST year. But I simply had to get my copy of Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer and also Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. I got Where Rainbows End from Popular at only RM16.90. It's a real steal, isn't it??? RM16.90 is cheap! It's like USD5.22.

And I bought Eclipse for RM39.90 from Borders. Can't wait to read it!

I was going to use my Popular card just now but was disappointed to know that it has already expired. Hmmm...I have to renew it soon.

All the same, today I got to know about a book called 'Name Me Nobody' by Lois-ann Yamanaka. Interesting cover and the story's a pretty good one too. Find out more from Amazon!

One more thing. I noticed that the Young Adult section isn't that popular because there are always very few people hanging around there. And I wonder why...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

BTT: Reading Trend

The question:

Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

My answer:

Yeah, I think my reading tastes did change over the past few years. When I was a teenager, and like most other teenagers, we were quite crazy over those Sweet Valley books! Sweet Valley High, Junior High, College, University, etc. However, I've grown out of those Sweet Valley books. They are indeed funny and the Junior High books never fail to make me chuckle.

I discovered young adult books about 2 years ago. Hmm, maybe I started earlier but I'm not very sure about that. My reading is quite varied. And I still enjoy Enid Blyton books! They're my all-time favourite.

My first favourite classic book would be Jane Eyre. Yup, since I have more patience now if compared to my younger days, I can sit through an entire book in written English which is of a higher level.

When I was 13, my library teacher recommended Roots by Alex Haley to me. She said that it's really good. The incredible thickness of the book totally put me off and I just thanked her for her recommendation. I didn't know why I didn't read the book then. 4 years later, I finally plucked out the book from the library shelf and it took me around 3 weeks to finish it. And guess what? I sure was glad my teacher advised me to read it. Roots exposed me to the history of America and I definitely learnt many important things from it. In a way, that book kind of changed my way of thinking.

Madam Marina, thanks for encouraging me to read Roots!

Also, yes, I'm also starting to read books that are much more serious, that deal with issues we face in real life, things that I can relate to. Now that I'm older, I understand better. Hah! Now that I'm older, I feel I'm becoming lazier to read too! =D Bad, bad, bad...


Do you swear a lot on your blog? Curious about how much profanity that you use? Hehe...check this out!

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

I saw this from Between the Covers.

It's pretty low but not low enough! How does your blog fare?


Something else to fill my time with! How's your spelling? Think you can enter a spelling bee competition? I haven't participated in one before. If only my school had held one for us students!

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Different Views

Earlier, when I changed my blog's template to the current one, there were some visitors who said that they couldn't comment. I wondered why and finally figured out the problem. This blog doesn't load completely in Mozilla Firefox. I've been using Internet Explorer all the time and I didn't know. Only one day I was curious about how it'll look on Mozilla, and only then I knew the problem.

To fix it, I changed the colour of the links from white to black. Why? Cos on Mozilla, the background of my blog is white. The actual colour is purple.

Here, take a look:

On Internet Explorer

On Mozilla Firefox

So, which one are you looking at right now, hmm?

What I Read In May

Hmm, I think I only read 3 books last month! Yeah, I know it's pathetic but that's the most I could do. Last month was just simply busy and crazy for me, I'm surprised that I could even fit in 3 books. At least 3 sounds better than 0. =)

Here are the books that I read:

1. An Amazing Story by Carlo Gabbi
2. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
3. In The Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

Gosh, I hope to do better this month though!

I have to leave a comment at It's Not All Mary Poppins who's hosting the Book Binge for May.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Fourth Book In The Bella-Edward Series

I didn't know that there would be a fourth book in the Twilight saga written by Stephenie Meyer! I thought Eclipse would be the last! Wow! Luckily, I visited The Book Smugglers blog and saw this post.

And honestly, I'm getting quite excited over it. I haven't bought or read the 3rd book, Eclipse, yet. And unfortunately, I did not really enjoy New Moon. It had been quite a tedious read. Well, I just hope that Eclipse wouldn't be so disappointing!

Also, the 4th book, Breaking Dawn will be out in 2 months' time! It'll be out on August 2, 2008. I'm not sure when it'll be available in Malaysia. are the book covers in correct order!


New Moon


Breaking Dawn

My favourite cover would be Breaking Dawn's!

The NST advertisement

Did you watch the latest New Straits Times advertisement on TV? The one with the schoolboys on a public bus and a Caucasian woman asking for directions to the National Monument? My sister and I saw it on TV3 and when one boy in the ad blurted out the sentence, 'You don't belok-belok', we burst out laughing.

That sure was one funny ad! And a really good one too. Here's a 'summary' of the ad:

1. A group of rowdy schoolboys board a public bus and sit at the back.
2. They start teasing another boy who was reading an NST newspaper.
3. A Caucasian woman comes up the bus. The naughty boys notice her and wolf-whistle at her.
4. She smiles at them, approaches them and asks, 'Can you tell me how to go to the National Monument?' Something like that.
5. The boys look confused and start asking each other about what the National Monument is.
6. In the end, one boy answered the woman, 'You straight...You don't belok-belok.'
7. It's the woman's turn to look confused now. She was like raising her eyebrows and was like 'What??'
8. The poor boy continued saying, 'You don't belok-belok! Straight saja.'
9. Then, the hero aka The Boy Who Was Bullied For Reading NST told the woman, 'I can help you. You get down 3 stops from here and follow the signboard.' Something like that.
10. The woman looks relieved and says, 'Thank you. You've been really helpful.'
11. The naughty boys look embarrassed. The smart boy smugly advises them to read NST and gives them his copy.

~~~~~End of the advertisement~~~~~

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Scrambling With Scrabble

My mom and I just finished an arduous game of Scrabble! Haha! Why did I say something like that? You thought Scrabble is an easy game, didn’t you? Well, to those who play the game as frequently as they shower, then it should not be a problem for them to come up with words in the blink of an eye.

I haven’t played Scrabble in ages and I’m not going to start with my mom. But it’s good that tonight I managed to persuade her to play a game with me. Since there was nothing nice on TV and there’s not much else to do, she agreed to play. Hmm, I wonder if I can convince her to play another game tomorrow???

My brain was not so perky as I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for hours earlier but I did come up with some 4-letter and 5-letter words. I even helped my mom think of ways to use up her letters. She even scored 62 points for using the valuable but utterly dangerous letter ‘Q’! And with my help, too!

You must be asking the ultimate question of the day.

Who won?

Well, ahem, the winner is………………………ME! I scored 307 while mom scored 280 despite having a 62-point-score for 2 very short words containing the letter ‘Q’.

So…how’s your Scrabble experience? When was the last time you played the game? Try to play it as often as you can. Yeah, you can look up the dictionary if you're unsure of any words that may sound odd to you. Hehe! That's what we did! It's part of the fun anyway. Learning new words and all.
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