Saturday, December 26, 2009

How Christmas is celebrated around the world

These pictures were taken from Huffington Post (blog)




These pictures were taken from BBC News.



From ABC News:



Beautiful pictures, aren't they??? :) How was your Christmas? Anything special? Or extraordinary? Whatever it was, I hope you had loads of fun! I know I did!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone!

Pic taken from here

Wishing my wonderful readers and everyone else a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wanna win a straightening/curling iron?

The Princess from Park-Avenue Princess is giving away The Barbar 1900 Tourmaline Cordless Combo worth $145 courtesy of Barbar, which sells eco friendly hair products. Doesn't it look pretty?

To participate, you need to become a follower of her blog. And if you knew about this contest through my blog, do let her know that I sent you. We'll both get an extra 25 points! :)

Tempted yet? The contest is open worldwide and it ends on Jan 15, 2010. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More books to win!

Princess Bookie is giving away two sets of cool books and a mystery ARC. You must be a follower of her blog to be eligible. Open worldwide. Ends Dec 31, 2009.

Jessica from Book Bound is giving 3 winners the books of their choice. Open worldwide. Contest ends Dec 18, 2009.

Dar from Peeking Between the Pages is giving away two copies of Dragon House by John Shors. Open worldwide. Contest ends Dec 19, 2009.

Steph Su from Steph Su Reads is giving away a copy of Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. Open worldwide. Ends Dec 25, 2009.

Miss Eliza from strange and random happenstance is giving away a signed copy of Thumb Flagging by Jerome Peterson. Open worldwide. Ends Dec 20, 2009.

Reading with Tequila is giving away a cool set of books! And the more followers she gets, the more winners there'll be. Open worldwide. Ends Dec 27, 2009.

Teddyree from The Eclectic Reader is giving away two winners the book of their choice. Open worldwide. Ends January 31, 2010.

Robby from Running for Fiction is giving away some YA books. Open worldwide. Ends Jan 31, 2010.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Win a Chocolate Chip Mint Cake!

Are you already salivating at the thought of a scrumptious chocolate chip mint cake? What if you had the chance to win one for yourself? If you, like me, love chocolate, chocolate cakes, brownies and everything else chocolate, what are you waiting for? Go and put your name in!

To enter, head on over to Park-Avenue Princess where you stand the chance to win a delicious cake for you and your friends and family to enjoy together!

Open to followers of her blog only. So, make sure you have Google Friend Connect, follow the Princess' blog and you're on your way there.

Psst...if you knew about the cake giveaway through this blog, please let the Princess know that I sent you. We'll both earn a cool extra 25 points! :)

Her contest ends Jan 12, 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Santa sent my gift early

For the Book Blogger Holiday Swap, I got my gift from my Secret Santa, Veens of Giving Reading a Chance, last week. The book she gave me was The Host by Stephenie Meyer. It's fantastic. I keep seeing this book in the bookstore but didn't buy it because there are way too many unread books at home. But since it's a gift...then it's okay to have it. :D

Thanks Veens! I love my Christmas present and I can't wait to dig into it.

I'm also embarrassed to say that I've only sent out my gift to my Santee yesterday. But the guy at the post office said it should reach her country in 10 days' so there's still time for her to receive it before Christmas.

Happy Holidays everybody!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I won a CD (!!!) and who's Jenna Fox?

It's been a while since I listened to the radio so I stayed in my room and tuned in to Red FM 107.60. The deejay was inviting listeners to send in an SMS for a chance to win Taylor Swift's special edition album, Fearless (Platinum Edition, CD & DVD) which contains the songs Love Story and You Belong With Me. And since my phone was next to me, I thought what the heck and sent in my SMS. (Kinda cheesy songs but I like the lyrics and the beat).

Guess what? My phone rang a few minutes later and the radio deejay told me I'd won the exclusive album! Well, he didn't announce it right away. He asked if I had won anything from the radio station in the past 30 days and I said no. Then he asked for my details, said something like congratulations and I heard my voice on radio some 15 minutes later.

Now I can't wait for the CD to arrive so that I can listen to the rest of Taylor Swift's songs. I have two of her songs on my phone too.

*** *** ***

I'm also currently immersed in The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. It's kind of an easy and quick read - I'm on page 72 now. It's about a 17-year-old girl, Jenna Fox who was supposedly in a coma for one and a half years. She woke up not remembering anything about her life before the deep sleep. Her mom is weird and her grandma is even weirder. Jenna strongly feels that they are hiding a very important secret from her.

Um, I'm guessing that the story is kind of futuristic? Correct me if I'm wrong.

The story is written from Jenna's point of view so as a reader, we are in the dark along with Jenna who's trying to figure out who she really is. It's a story of discovering one's identity.

I like this paragraph from page 49:

I am out the door in seconds. I am going to school. Tomorrow. I hurry down the walkway. Will Mother change her mind? I glance over my shoulder to make sure she is not following me. Freedom. It feels as crisp and breezy as the open sky. But then I remember her pale face. Her tentative decision. My pace quickens. Distance is my savior. I flee from my closed world into one I haven't met yet.
The last sentence is my favourite.

Anyway, notice the short sentences? There are lots of them in the book so it makes reading kind of choppy. But so far so good. I'd love to find out what skeletons Jenna's parents and grandma are hiding in their closets, so I'm gonna continue reading it now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday mood and Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City Hall or Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee. I took this picture with my mobile phone's 0.3 megapixel camera.

Lots of things to be done during the holiday season and before classes begin. If only my break was two whole months instead of a month and a quarter. My last exam paper was on Nov 20 and it's back to school on Dec 28.

I got back home yesterday (Sunday) from a very cool Vietnam trip. Went to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, its old name, for a five-day stay. I did some research on the Internet and found out that there are around four million motorbikes in the city. There were some pictures found via Google search but they did no justice to the real thing.

Yup. The number of bikes on the road is almost uncountable. I also noticed that the only cars on the road were those huge ones, like those Pajero and Avanza-like cars. No Kancils or Mini cars on the road. I'm thinking that only the rich can afford cars and very good cars too. We even passed a car that had a touch screen in it. My sister and her friends oohed, aahed and waahed over almost everything they saw.

Even though there are millions of bikes on the road, it's not difficult to cross to the other side. Believe it or not, I think you can even cross the road with your eyes closed and you'll still be able to get to the other side unscathed. The motorists know how to swerve around and avoid you. Really, they are the most considerate drivers ever.

I was really excited to be going there actually. I didn't know that Ho Chi Minh City is Saigon City's new name. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh city in 1976 after the Communist leader, Ho Chi Minh.

When I took up Cinema Studies, I did a paper on the movie Apocalypse Now directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. The setting of the movie was in Saigon during the Vietnam War. So the city's totally historical and I couldn't wait to immerse myself in its rich history.

It was a treat to have the opportunity to visit the Củ Chi Tunnels which were the Viet Cong's (National Liberation Front) base of operations during the war. I haven't heard of these tunnels before and I'm glad to know about them now. Will share some photos and write more on my trip after this! But here's a summary of where we went:

Day 1: Arrived in Ho Chi Minh City at around 7.15 pm Malaysian time (6.15 pm Vietnam time). Had dinner at Phở 24 (pronounced like fur). Phở is a type of Vietnamese beef and noodle soup. Walked around Bui Vien Street for some sight-seeing.

Day 2: Went to Ben Thanh Market for some shopping. Lunch at Lotteria. Dessert at Yogurt Space. Had dinner at Lemongrass near the Opera House.

Lemongrass restaurant

Day 3: Went to the Central Post Office, Independence Palace, Cathedral Notre Dame. Had lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant (Quan An Ngon) - dessert = che suong sa hot luu. Went to Ben Thanh Market for more shopping. Dinner at a cruise ship called Mei Linh. Entertainment included.

Day 4: Went to Chinatown, Binh Tay Market. Then went to Giac Lam temple. After that, went to the Cu Chi tunnels! Lunch at a boat restaurant in the area. Dinner at a French restaurant called La Fourchette. Walked around.

Day 5: Breakfast at Sozo. Back to hotel to catch a cab to the airport!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Win a Kindle, books and lots more! (Giveaways elsewhere)

Bibliofreak is giving away 15 Kindles! Contest ends Dec 18, 2009. Open worldwide. Click on the link or picture above to go over there and find out how to win a brand new Kindle II. Hurry!!!

Park-Avenue Princess is holding The "Giveaway to Sell Your SOUL For...". You stand the chance to win your choice of a Kindle, Nook or Sony eReader. Other prizes include signed copies of Liquid Soul by Matthew Carter and a Gift Card for $20.00 to Open worldwide. Ends Dec 24, 2009.

Park-Avenue Princess is also giving away a hardcover signed copy of Violet Wings by Vicotira Hanley. Open worldwide. Ends Dec 22, 2009.

Becky from The Bookette is giving away five copies of The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus. Open worldwide. Ends Dec 06, 2009.

Alessandra from Out of the Blue is giving away a book of your choice. Open worldwide. Ends Dec 06, 2009.

Nely from All About {n} is giving away 11 books. Some books are eligible for international entries. Contest ends Nov 28, 2009.

Lori from Pure Imagination is giving away a copy of Fallen by Lauren Kate. Open worldwide. Contest ends Nov 25, 2009.

Running for Fiction is giving away a YA book of your choice. Open worldwide. Contest ends Dec 01, 2009.

Brizmus Blogs Books is giving away:

[as copied from her blog post]
-one lightly used copy of Hush, Hush
-one lightly used copy of Evermore
-one lightly used copy of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
-one used copy of the City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clark
-one lightly used copy of the Over the Holidays
-lots of surprise goodies

As she gets more and more followers, she'll be adding in more winners! Her contest ends Dec 18, 2009. Open worldwide.

A Pregnant Pause is giving away:

  • ONE free bag of YOUR choice

  • FIVE pursehooks as consolation prizes (random design)

FREE delivery to Malaysia and Singapore

Giveaway extended to 21st Nov (Sat) at 9.30 pm (GMT+8).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

In My Mailbox (23 Nov 2009)

Won from a giveaway held at Lizzy's Literary Life:

The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin

Decadent, tantalizing Berlin in a Germany torn apart by war at the turn of the 20th century...

The illegitimate, orphaned daughter of a cabaret dancer, Lilly Nelly Aphrodite's early life - and that of her only friend Hanne - is one of reinvention. Transformed from maid to war bride via tingle-tangle nightclub girl, she lands in the heart of the glamorous motion picture world and quickly becomes one of Germany's leading silent film stars. But when she falls in love with a Russian director, she has no idea that the affair will span decades, cross continents and may ultimately cost her everything.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Swap books and gifts for the holiday

I've decided to participate in the Book Blogger Holiday Swap this year. I have heard of it last year but didn't get the chance to join in the fun. Perhaps I heard about it a little too late. Not gonna make the same mistake again!

Don't know what it's about? Visit their FAQ page. The main idea is that you get the chance to be Secret Santa to another blogger from anywhere in the world. Also, somebody else will be YOUR Secret Santa. Therefore, you will not miss out on the fun of getting a Christmas gift.

Are you getting excited about the whole idea? Wait not anymore and sign up before tomorrow, Nov 12, 2009, which is the closing date!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recently watched movies

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)

A romantic drama about a Chicago librarian with a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, and the complications it creates for his marriage.

He's Just Not That Into You (2009)

The needy Gigi Haim is a young woman seeking her prince charming somewhere amongst her unsuccessful dates. After dating estate agent Conor Barry, Gigi anxiously expects to receive a phone call from him. However Conor never calls her. Gigi decides to go to the bar where he frequents to see him, but she meets his friend Alex who works there. They become friends and Alex helps Gigi to interpret the subtle signs given out by her dates. Written by Claudio Carvalho

Gracie (2007)

This is the story of a teenager named Gracie Bowen, who lives in South Orange, New Jersey, is crazy about soccer, as are her three brothers and former soccer star father. Although Gracie wants to join her brothers and father in the nightly practices, she is discouraged by everyone except her elder brother, Johnny. Her father does not believe that girls should play soccer and tells her that she is neither tough enough nor talented enough to play with the boys team.

Undeterred, Gracie finds reserves of strength she never knew existed, and persists in changing everyone's beliefs in what she is capable of, including her own. She faces an uphill battle when she fights to give women the opportunity to play competitive soccer. But as the beautiful and strong person that she has always been, she also brings her family together in the face of their own tragedy. Written by Anthony Pereyra

The Jane Austen Book Club (2007)

Six Californians start a club to discuss the works of Jane Austen, only to find their relationships -- both old and new -- begin to resemble 21st century versions of her novels.

{All movie descriptions taken from IMDb}

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Giveaway at Teens Read and Write!

Listen up! Want a chance to win books? Head on over to Teens Read and Write where they're holding their first huge giveaway. What's more, it's international so anyone can join in and try their luck!

The books up for grabs are:

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires#1)
Lost Girls by Robert Doherty
Saddled wth Trouble by Michelle Scott
The Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett
Midnight Reflections by Katrina Michaels
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
Dragon House by John Shors
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi
The Shifter by Janice Hardy
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers #1)
Marked by PC Cast
Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Intertwined by Gena Showalter
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Sea Glass by Maria V Snyder
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Lost Girls by Robert Doherty
Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Possessions by Nancy Holder
Fire by Kristen Cashore
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Midnight Charter by David Whitley
Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever by James Patterson
Children of the Lamp: The Akhenaten Adventure by P.B. Kerr
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
Fallen by Lauren Kate
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
Betrayed by P.C. Cast

Good luck!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Studying and on a Desperate Housewives Marathon

(From left: Edie, Lynette, Susan, Gabrielle, and Bree)

My final exams are coming up soon with my first paper falling on the 5th of Nov, which is this Thursday and the next paper on the 6th of Nov (Friday). My next two papers are on the 19th and 20th of Nov. After that, it's a month's holiday for me! Yay!

Last week, I spent most of my time in my university's library - studying! I don't remember the last time I have studied this hard. Well, because of too much time spent poring over books, I've been on a three-day break from Saturday till today, Monday. Yes, I've been watching Desperate Housewives (DH) and about to finish Season Three.

When I first heard of DH, I thought it was some chick-ish kind of show where the women or housewives were, um, desperate. The show was running on TV but I never bothered to watch it. Hmm, I don't even remember the first time I watched it but I knew that I was hooked right away. The housewives were desperate all right, but they sure are hilarious!

My favourite housewives are Gabrielle and Bree. Gabrielle for being a go-getter confident woman with a sharp tongue and Bree for always wanting to do the right thing and being able to keep her head held high under the most terrible circumstances. Who are your favourites?

I think the narration is very clever and there are pun lines all the time. There may be too many murders for my liking but they do spice up the show a little.

One of my favourite scenes is where Zach Young proposed unexpectedly to Gabrielle at the Scavo's pizzeria.

Zach: Ladies and gentlemen, please. I have something that I'd like to say also. Gabrielle Solis...will you marry me?

Silence. One customer begins to clap, then stops.

Customer: Should I clap?
Gabrielle: No, there will be no clapping! You, moron, come with me!

There are LOTS more funny scenes and you'll just have to watch them yourself to know what I mean. All right, I'm gonna go finish Season 3 now. G'night!

In My Mailbox (Nov 02, 2009)

  1. No Fireworks by Rodge Glass
  2. Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

Read them before? If yes, let me know your thoughts in the comments section. Have a great reading week! :)

Random Quote:

A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend. ~Author Unknown

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In My Mailbox (Oct 26, 2009)


  1. Mudlark by John Sedden

  2. The Bank Robber Diaries by Danny King

  3. Loving April by Melvin Burgess

  4. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

  5. The Great Automatic Grammatizator and Other Stories by Roald Dahl

Random quote:

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. ~ Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

Monday, October 19, 2009

What Are You Reading? (Oct 19, 2009)

Skin and Other Stories by Roald Dahl

In My Mailbox (Oct 19, 2009)

Received from nylusmilk:

  1. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  2. Beyond the Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Thank you so much for sending these two books to me! :)

Bought from the Times Mega Book Sale:

  1. Skin and Other Stories by Roald Dahl
  2. Leaving Home by Anita Brookner
  3. The Accomplice by Kathryn Heyman
  4. Fearless #8: Heat by Francine Pascal
  5. Fearless #9: Blood by Francine Pascal
  6. Fearless #16 Naked by Francine Pascal
  7. Fearless #20 Hurt by Francine Pascal
  8. Fearless #31 Normal by Francine Pascal

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In My Mailbox (Oct 11, 2009)

I've heard so much about this weekly event and decided to jump on the bandwagon too! This is my first time participating in In My Mailbox. It's being hosted by The Story Siren and to know how to go about it, visit here. It's really easy!

For Review:

The Blue Umbrella: A Novelby Mike Mason

I really like the cover of this book! The title's design is pretty captivating along with the colourful building on the right side.

Product description from Amazon:

An orphan faces an evil magician in this literary fantasy for readers of all ages that probes the depths of good and evil.

The life of ten-year-old Zac Sparks changes overnight when his mother is killed by lightning. He's sent to live in Five Corners with his Aunties, two cruel old hags who obviously don't like him. It isn't long before Zac knows something really strange is going on. Five Corners is populated with weird characters--a midget butler, a girl who doesn't speak, a blind balloon seller, and a mysterious singer who is heard but not seen. Then there's the Aunties' father, Dada. Zac's first encounter with Dada is so terrifying he faints dead away.

The one bright spot is Sky Porter, the proprietor of the general store across the street, a friendly soul who encourages Zac--when the Aunties aren't looking--and shows him a kindness that is sadly lacking from his dismal life. But Sky isn't what he seems either, and when Zac learns Sky's amazing secret he realizes, to his dismay, that this wonderful man may have a very dark side as well.

Discovering that Dada is an evil magician who has found a way to live forever, Zac knows many lives are at stake, including his own. With time running out, he must turn to the one person who might be able to help: Sky Porter. Can Zac trust him?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Love Animals!

It's World Animal Day today (Oct 4). I wouldn't know anything about it if I didn't read the newspaper!

So how are you celebrating the day? Do you have a pet? I don't have one but I have a soft spot for animals. It saddens me when I hear of animal abuse or stray animals wandering out in the street with no fixed shelter from the rain. At least there's the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) who takes in strays and cares for them.

If you're wondering what today is all about, please read this:

World Animal Day - a special opportunity for anyone who loves animals


  1. To celebrate animal life in all its forms
  2. To celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom
  3. To acknowledge the diverse roles that animals play in our lives – from being our companions, supporting and helping us, to bringing a sense of wonder into our lives
  4. To acknowledge and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kiddie Stuff Giveaway

KittyCat from A Pregnant Pause is holding a giveaway where the winner will win an item worth USD45 from a store that sells baby and kiddie products. It's open to US residents only. Contest ends Oct 5.

Hurry, it's a chance not to be missed!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I won the Superior Scribbler Award!

StephanieD from Misfit Salon presented The Superior Scribbler Award to five bloggers and wow, I'm one of them. Thank you so much, Stephanie! I'm really honoured to be even considered. :)

Some of the rules to be followed:

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

I'm now gonna pass on this award to the following five bloggers:

  1. KittyCat from Right Reads - A perceptive blogger who writes great reviews of most of my favourite books!
  2. Diane from The Book Resort - I like the insightful quotes that she posts every now and then. Her blog is a cheery one as it's adorned with cute, sparkly graphics.
  3. Nymeth from Things Mean a Lot - Another blogger whose reviews I really enjoy reading. She reviews books regularly. I'm amazed at how fast she reads them and still have the energy to write wonderful reviews!
  4. The Reading Monk - He reads thought-provoking books which I think I should read too.
  5. nylusmilk from The Literary Pursuit - Her K.I.S.S. style reviews are a joy to read. She also occasionally shares interesting bookish articles found during her Internet surfing.

I would really like to give this award to all the book bloggers out there as you're doing a wonderful job (reading, blogging and sharing!) in the book blogging community. All the same, keep up the great work, guys!

Boys Like Girls...and vice versa

I thought I had better get in touch with the latest music. The other day, I came across a blogger whose favourite band is Boys Like Girls. Apparently, this band is coming to Malaysia soon (not sure when) and I don't even know what songs they sing! Nah, it's not like I'm going to attend their concert. Concerts are usually held in Kuala Lumpur or Genting Highlands. They are rarely held in Penang. :(

So I visited You Tube and searched for this particular band. Ahh, seems like I've heard one of their songs, The Great Escape, on radio before. So that's what they sang. I listened to a few more of their songs on You Tube but found that The Great Escape is their nicest song.

The song 'Thunder' which is one of their ballads has great lyrics. Check out a portion of the song:

Your voice was the soundtrack of my summer
Do you know you're unlike any other?
You'll always be my thunder, and I said
Your eyes are the brightest of all the colors
I dont wanna ever love another
You'll always be my thunder
So bring on the rain
And bring on the thunder

Today is a winding road
Tell me where to start and tell me something I dont know, whoa
Today I'm on my own
I can't move a muscle and I can't pick up the phone, I don't know

And now I'm itching for the tall grass
And longing for the breeze
I need to step outside, just to see if I can breathe
I gotta find a way out
Maybe there's a way out

Some parts are cheesy but I like how they associated weather and environmental elements with feelings and emotions.

Nevertheless, they're not my favourite band. I'm just trying to keep up with the times. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday Finds (Sept 25, 2009)

This weekly meme is hosted by Should be Reading.

Click on the pictures to visit the book's page on Amazon.

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

I don't remember where I first saw it but it was through one of the book giveaways held by another book blogger. I'm intrigued by the story of Anastasia Romanov and have always enjoyed watching the cartoon version. Embarrassing, I know, but I like Dimitri's character.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Okay, so this wasn't a recent find but it's still in my wishlist! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Blue Umbrella trailer

The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

The Blue Umbrella, by Mike Mason from David C. Cook on Vimeo.

About the book:

What would happen if all the world’s weather was controlled by one man with a blue umbrella? If your mother had been killed by lightning, would you trust this man? This is the decision facing 10-year-old Zac Sparks in Mike Mason’s new page-turning fantasy novel, The Blue Umbrella (David C Cook, October 2009). Probing the depths of good and evil, the first in Mason’s series for 9 to 12 year olds is a superbly written children’s story with deep spiritual resonance.

When Zac Sparks’ mother dies, he’s sent to live in Five Corners with his cruel old Aunties. It isn’t long before Zac knows something strange is going on. Five Corners is populated with weird characters—a midget butler, a girl who doesn’t speak, a blind balloon seller, and a mysterious singer who is heard but not seen. Then there’s the Aunties’ father, Dada. Zac’s first encounter with Dada is so terrifying he faints dead away.

The one bright spot is Sky Porter, the proprietor of the general store across the street, a friendly soul who encourages Zac—when the Aunties aren’t looking—and shows him a kindness that is sadly lacking from his dismal life. But Sky isn’t what he seems either, and when Zac learns Sky’s amazing secret he realizes, to his dismay, that this wonderful man may have a very dark side as well.

Discovering that Dada is an evil magician who is intent on stealing the ultimate treasure, Zac knows many lives are at stake, including his own. With time running out, he must turn to the one person who might be able to help: Sky Porter. Can Zac trust him?

May Lady Luck be on my side

An update of some new book giveaways. I've listed them out according to contest deadlines. Do keep checking to see if I've added new ones. Good luck!

Mel from He Followed Me Home....Can I Keep Him? is giving away a copy of Bending Toward the Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 15. Hurry!!!

Steph Su from Steph Su Reads is giving away a copy of Ash by Malinda Lo. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 15. Hurry!!!

Melody from Melody's Reading Corner is giving away a book of your choice (you can choose from her list of favourite books!). Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 18.

Kristen from We Be Reading is giving away a bookstore gift card worth USD25. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 18.

Teresa from Shelf Love is giving away a book of your choice. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 18.

Jo-Jo from Jo-Jo loves to read is giving away one of two books. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 18.

Austenfan from Reality Bites...Fiction Does It Better! is giving away a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. Open internationally. Contest ends September 19.

Alice from Hello, My Name is Alice is giving away a book of your choice (choose from her list of books). Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 19.

Beth F from Beth Fish Reads is giving away THREE books to one lucky reader. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 19.

The Book Smugglers are giving away TWO copies of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 19.

Literary Feline from Musings of a Bookish Kitty is giving away a copy of First Daughter by Eric Van Lustbader and A World I Never Made by James LePore. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 20.

lizzysiddal from Lizzy's Literary Life is giving away a book of your choice. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 20.

Jenn from Jenn's Bookshelves is giving away a book of your choice as long as it's under USD20. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 21.

celi.a from adventures of cecelia bedelia is giving away a copy of a Sarah Dessen book. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 22.

Marie from The Burton Review is giving away a copy of The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 22.

Literary Feline from Musings of a Bookish Kitty is giving away a book of your choice. Contest ends Sept 23.

Bermudaonion's Weblog is giving away a copy of The Boy Next Door by Irene Sabatini. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 25.

Celi.A from adventures of cecelia bedelia is giving away a copy of Jasmyn by Alex Bell. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 25.

Alice from Hello, My Name is Alice is giving away a copy of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 25.

Hazra from Advance Booking is giving away a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 25.

Krista from Tower of Books is giving away Cleopatra's Daughter and The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 25.

Brittanie from A Book Lover is giving away a $15 gift card of a bookstore of your choice. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 27.

Lauren from Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 28.

Teddyree from The Eclectic Reader is giving away Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick OR Fire by Kristen Cashore OR Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. You get choose which book you'd like to win! Open internationally. Contest ends September 30.

Allie from Hist-Fic Chick is giving away a copy of The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 30.

Jo-Jo from Jo-Jo loves to read is giving away a copy of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran. Open worldwide. Contest ends Sept 30.

Robby from Running For Fiction is giving away FIVE books. Contest ends Sept 30.

Kim from The Book Butterfly is giving away THREE copies of signed books by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler. Open worldwide. Contest ends Oct 4.

Lauren from Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf is giving away a signed copy of Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough. Open worldwide. Contest ends Oct 5.

The Book Resort from The Book Resort is giving away a copy of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Open worldwide for her followers only. Contest ends Oct 23.

Diane from The Book Resort is giving away a copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Open worldwide. Contest ends Oct 31.

Total Security Nightmare

Imagine the horror when I realized that there was a very troublesome spyware which managed to steal its way into my computer a couple of days ago. The spyware Total Security is an impostor. It pretends to be an anti-virus programme and suggests "solutions" for you.

Beware!!! Do not keep it too long in your computer or it'll slow everything down. I have no idea how it got in my computer in the first place. Perhaps I got it by visiting some malicious website and the spyware had the chance to invade my computer system. It looked like a normal anti-virus software and it even displayed the number of "infections" in my computer.

It also had the same display as my Windows Security Center. The Firewall and Automatic Updates were shown as "On" but my Virus Protection was "Off". It said that my Total Security anti-virus was unregistered or something, I don't remember but it prompted me to do something to fix the problem. Then it got irritating as it kept popping up small windows asking me to run updates.

The nightmare was that it's difficult to delete it! I went to Program Files and tried to delete the tsc.exe file but it refused to be deleted. I searched high and low on the Internet and found a number of websites dedicated to the removal of this spyware.

Okay, here's how I finally got rid of it:

  1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to open up Windows Task Manager. Under the Applications tab, I clicked on the Total Security task and ended it. I quickly went to Program Files to delete the TS file. Still can't be deleted.

  2. I opened up Windows Task Manager again and ended the Total Security task again. Then, under the Processes tab, I simply clicked on an image name that was similar to tsc. Of course, this was somewhat dangerous but it was a risk I was willing to take. :D

  3. So I immediately went back to Program Files and tried to delete the TS file. To my relief, the file disappeared. The small TS icons on the bottom right of my desktop also went off.
Here are two websites that I visited to get information on how to remove this Total Security spyware:

Remove Total Security 2009 fake antispyware
Remove Total Security 2009 Total Security Removal Guide

But the comments in this site helped me the most:
How to remove Total Security Protection Center

I also downloaded the Spyware Doctor security software hoping that it'd remove Total Security but all it did was scan my computer for infected files. For it to protect my computer and to remove TS, I'd need to buy the USD29.95 full version. Well, looks like I don't need it anymore!

I Won A Book!

Yay!!! I won a copy of The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin from lizzysiddal's recent BBAW book giveaway. It's been a long time since I won anything so this is a really happy moment for me. :)

Thanks for the giveaway, lizzy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!

To all my Muslim friends who are celebrating Hari Raya, I'd like to wish you Selamat Hari Raya and drive safely home! :)

If you'd like to know more about this festival which is celebrated in Malaysia and other Muslim countries every year, you may visit this Wikipedia page.

It is celebrated after the fasting month of Ramadan.

As for me, I have a week's worth of holiday. It means it's time to get my study stuff sorted out and assignments done!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughts for the day

I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;

For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid!

-Jessie Rittenhouse


It Can Be Done

The ones who miss all the fun
Are those who say, "It can't be done."
In solemn pride they stand aloof
And greet each venture with reproof.
Had they the power they'd efface
The history of the human race.
We'd have no radio or motor cars,
No street lit by electric stars;
No telegraph nor telephone,
We'd linger in the age of stone.
The world would sleep if things were run
By those who say, "It can't be done."

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays (Sept 15)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Look who's talking - Miss Career."
"I can be perfectly happy without having a man hanging around and telling me what to do, if that's what you mean," Ida said. "You just can't depend on them. Take Jamal, for example - going to Singapore during Hari Raya!"
Again Sharifah blushed.
Mira broke the ensuing silence by saying, "Did you hear? Youngest Aunt said Rudi married a widower with two children."

pg 81, 'Home for Hari Raya', Lovers and Strangers Revisited by Robert Raymer.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What I'm Reading Now

A new weekly event and hosted by J. Kaye! It's called What Are You Reading On Mondays? I came across it while browsing through The Eclectic Reader's blog.

So, the question is: what am I reading this week?

Two books. Fearless #1 by Francine Pascal and Lovers and Strangers Revisited by Robert Raymer.

I discovered the Fearless series from the school library during my secondary school years. And was instantly hooked by it. Now I'm hoping to collect all the books in the series - all 36 of them.

For those who haven't heard of it before, it's about a teenage girl, Gaia, who's born without the fearless gene. She's specially trained in several forms of martial arts and can take down a group of men who dare try to fight her. Well, she's not afraid of anything so she's happy going out for a stroll in the middle of the night hoping to run into a criminal lurking in the dark. It would be a bad experience for the guy then.

As for the book, Lovers and Strangers Revisited, it's a collection of short stories written by university lecturer Robert Raymer. They are written with Malaysian elements incorporated in them which makes it all the more interesting. It has also been voted most popular in the Popular-The Star Readers’ Choice Awards 2009. Reading this book will certainly help me in writing a short story for my creative writing class.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roald Dahl Day

Today, the world celebrates one of the world's most well-known authors of children's books. It's none other than Roald Dahl's birthday today. Dahl was born on Sept 13, 1916 and wrote a number of books, which are still and will be appreciated by adults and children alike.

These are some of the popular children's books by Dahl. They are all old edition covers. I enjoy looking at first edition covers! It's like going back in history.

Anyway, here are some cool Roald Dahl facts which I found in Wikipedia:
  • Roald was named after the polar explorer Roald Amundsen, a national hero in Norway.

  • Dahl first attended The Cathedral School, Llandaff. At the age of eight, he and four of his friends were caned by the headmaster after putting a dead mouse in a jar of sweets at the local sweet shop, which was owned by a "mean and loathsome" old woman called Mrs Pratchett (wife of blacksmith David Pratchett).

  • Dahl was very tall, reaching 6'6" (1.98m) in adult life, and he was good at sports, being made captain of the school fives and squash teams, and also playing for the football team.

  • In November 1939, Dahl joined the Royal Air Force. After a 600-mile car journey from Dar-es-Salaam to Nairobi, he was accepted for flight training with 20 other men, and was one of only three who survived the war, as the other 17 died in combat.

  • His first children's book was The Gremlins, about mischievous little creatures that were part of RAF folklore.

  • He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending.
Have fun celebrating Roald Dahl Day!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...