Monday, March 28, 2011

The Bookworm: Further Under The Duvet - Marian Keyes



This is my second Marian Keyes novel, the first having been Angels. But, this is my first Marian Keyes collection of journalism (any Keyes afficionado will know what this means). I never did get to read the first installment aptly entitled Under The Duvet. Notice this one has a Further before the Under? This is Part 2 people! And it is quite a standalone so no worries that you'll be lost. I wasn't! I see

I must say, I find it very refreshing to read short stories. It's a quiet reprieve after all those single-story novels, if you know what I mean. During those busy busy seasons, I feel like it's quite an accomplishment when I finish 1 story. And that is exactly why short stories are perfect! I can say, "I finished so many stories in one week!" Cheating I know, but who cares! It's MY accomplishment.

A rather funny thing happened while I was reading this book. I came across a section called Short Stories. And I thought this whole book was made up of short stories! Imagine my surprise! And that isn't even the shocker! I soon found out that these so-called Short Stories, were actually pretty long stories! And I wanted more short-er stories! It seems people are never satisfied, with people in this context meaning me of course!

One bad thing about this book, there is NO summary! Due to it being a collection of short stories (there! I said it! now you know what a collection of journalism means!!) BUT do not fear, for I will provide you with my very own summation of this story of short stories.

She starts of with a chapter called Handbags and Gladrags, talking about her experiences with what else, shopping! And a stint as a makeup writer for a magazine (VERY funny this one). Then we go On The Road, Keyes style. It's travels all the way baby! Let me tell you, she travels A LOT and this makes for lots of enjoyable reads. Health and Beauty is next, a treasure trove of tips for an ex-magazine writer. Woman to Woman is about the all-important woman power, getting married, and the F-word (gasp!) . Friends and Family introduces the Keyes family, the whole hilarious lot of them really, from cute nieces and nephews to gorgeous sisters-in-law. But Seriously. No no that is really a chapter title! This one is really touching, discussing how some of her travels have impacted on her life. And how she came to be an author. I didn't think people could come from that! And last but surely not least, Short Stories tackles well, just that. There are 8 of them and they ain't that short!

If it isn't already clear, this collection of journalism covers Keyes' many loves. Shopping (lots), traveling (quite a lot as well), family, the spa, make-up tips and tricks and loads more. Psst...she claims she stayed in a room once occupied by Tom Cruise! That's it for my mini-summary.

As for her writing style, I dig it! I like how freestyle it is and the stories flow smoothly from page to page. Although, she does use the F-word. And a variation of it, several times. But it is used so good-naturedly that it doesn't feel as obscene as it should be. Or maybe she desensitized me?

And so, you have got to trust me when I say, I really like this book! Me thinks it is time I read more short stories. If only to make myself feel better, about myself.

  • Title: Further Under The Duvet
  • Author: Marian Keyes
  • Format: Paperback 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books 
  • Release Date: 2006
  • Genre: Chick Lit
  • ISBN-10: 9780141021232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141021232
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review financially or otherwise. Everything mentioned are my own thoughts based on my experience.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    The Bookworm: How To Marry A Marquis - Julia Quinn


    Review by Amazon.com
    Setting: Regency England
    Sensuality: 8
    Elizabeth Hotchkiss needs to marry a wealthy man, and fast. The oldest child of four well-bred orphans, she's managed to keep the wolf from their door for years, but she's running out of options. The only marriage prospect in sight is her landlord, Squire Nevins, but his lecherous gaze makes Elizabeth's skin crawl. So when she discovers the book How to Marry A Marquis in her employer's library, she impulsively stuffs it into her reticule and takes it home. Encouraged by her insistent sister, Elizabeth reluctantly agrees to learn the book's rules well enough to catch a monied husband. But first, she must find a man to practice her wiles on. Enter James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale. Posing as the new estate manager per his beloved Aunt Danbury's instructions, he just happens to arrive at the Danbury estate on the very day that Elizabeth discovers the book. Is it too coincidental that James's Aunt Danbury needs his assistance in catching a blackmailer at the precise moment that Elizabeth needs a guinea pig? Perhaps, but neither Elizabeth nor James have reason to suspect that they're being lovingly maneuvered.

    James begins to search for a blackmailer, and Elizabeth is high on his list of suspects. While purposely spending time with her to explore her guilt or innocence, however, he's irresistibly drawn to her beauty and kindness as well as her practicality and sharp tongue. And when he learns that she's practicing to entice a husband, he can't resist offering to tutor her in courtship. Before long, the two realize their growing feelings for each other. But the course of true love never did run smoothly, and the lovers encounter a few obstacles along the way. Will the evil Squire Nevins easily give up his designs on Elizabeth and her sisters? What about the nefarious blackmailer? And how will Elizabeth react if she discovers that James is not who he pretends to be?


    My Review
    This is my very first venture into Julia Quinn after hunting for a romance novel to quench my thirst. I'd just exhausted my last novel by my fave author and was looking for something new to read. And then I stumbled upon this novel with its cute and catchy title (it worked by the way, I bought it!) I must say I am not disappointed with this book. The reason why I picked this book rather than one of her more famous books is because this one is a standalone whereas most of the others belong to a list of sequels.

    I must say I disagree with Amazon.com's sensuality rating. This one is definitely tamer than my normal novels but it is a tender story about two unsuspecting lovers. Unsuspecting being the key word here but I'm not spilling! To me, a great romance book is one that offers twists and turns at every angle. A good book however where you get the feeling like you know how it ends but it's the getting there that counts. How To Marry A Marquis for me, is a good book. I knew the answer to the mystery as soon as it had started. Such a shame, although it is pretty straightforward when you get to reading it.

    What I like about this book is its characters. The heroine, Elizabeth Hotchkiss is akin to a historical Bella Swan ala Twilight. A real klutz, a simpleton, an underestimated individual. And yet somehow manages to get the hot hero. James Sidwell is someone who in normal situations wouldn't get caught up by the simple life. But there is that something special about Elizabeth that sucks him in and won't let go. The side characters add sizzle to this story. Lady Danbury, James' aunt is the real sparkler for me. If anyone made a movie of this book, she'd win the Oscar. Another lovely inclusion to the list is the man of the house, Lady Danbury's cat, who ignores Elizabeth to no avail yet is her best friend in the most important of times. I wouldn't mind a cat like that. The latter bit anyway.

    Overall, this is a good read and a good choice for beginners to romance and historicals. There isn't a lot of mention of the normal customs associated with period pieces so this is as good a starter as can be.

    • Title: How To Marry A Marquis
    • Author: Julia Quinn
    • Format: Paperback 375 pages
    • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
    • Release Date: 16 February 2000
    • Genre: Romance, Historical Romance
    • ISBN-10: 0380800810 
    • ISBN-13: 9780380800810
    Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review financially or otherwise. Everything mentioned are my own thoughts based on my experience.

      Giveaway Goodies: WINNER of Mikissecret's Not So Secret Giveaway

      After going through all the lovely entries, and adding all those additional ones, the winner chosen by random.org is none other than

      lexacd

      Congrats! Based on her entry, she likes the Vintage Porcelain Rose Earrings. Great choice!

      You should have received an email about your item of choice and address. Please reply within 48 hours to claim your prize or the winner will be redrawn.

      Miki and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the giveaway. She has kindly offered everyone a 20% coupon code to be used in the shop. Codename: GIVEAWAY. I hope you'll take this opportunity to purchase those lovely items you were looking at!


      I hope you stick around for more reviews!

      Sunday, March 13, 2011

      Giveaway Goodies: Mikissecret, Not So Secret Giveaway!

      I must admit, when Miki first contacted me, it was not my first time venturing into her etsy shop, having looked through her pretty jewelry she calls Shabby Chic! Her items are also Vintage-inspired which make for some really sweet designs! I was especially delighted when Miki said that she wanted to sponsor a giveaway right here on my blog! This is my first fully-sponsored giveaway and I am SO excited!

      There is a NEW form of entry so take notice!

      But before we get to the juicy part,
      I want to share a few of my fave pieces with you
      .

      This is the Vintage Burgundy Rose Ring ($15), a colour I am a sucker for! I love everything in this colour so no surprise that this ring caught my eye! What's great is that Miki has this ring in SO many colours there is surely something for everyone.


      This is another one I like, check out the sweet, feminine colour! This is called the Royal Pale Pink Rose Ring ($26), and it looks just like it sounds. Check out the different ring base from the one above!


      However, I have to say, my fave ring base has got to be this one! This Romantic Ivory Rose Ring ($16) cab sits beautifully on this gold plated filigree ring base and I LOVE it! The great thing about these rings is that they are all adjustable to your size so you don't have to worry if you can't find it in your size.


      And for those who don't like very flowery designs, go with these lovely Dark Rose Earrings ($22). A simple way to spice up a tea party! When I saw these earrings, my first thought was a Mad Hatter's Tea Party! Don't you think it looks just the part?

      And last but definitely not the least.

      Vintage Ivory Rose Bobby Pin ($9) is perfect for the understated lady who doesn't want so much flash but still wants to add a touch of elegance to her look. I see myself wearing this with a flowy maxi dress at a lovely picnic!


      Miki also offers some sweet porcelain rings and matching earrings so be sure to have a peek! I'm sure you'll find something that captures your heart!

      All items are sent in either an eco-friendly gift box or a lovely laced organza bag. I think these sweet pieces will spruce up any outfit. Best of all, they make great gifts for yourself or your loved ones!


      And now,the Prize!! I know you were waiting for this part so here goes.

      GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION

      The winner can pick ANY one item priced up to $25 PLUS free shipping to any country, providing it is not prohibited by law. Sounds good right!

      So what do you have to do?
      Mandatory entry:

      Leave a comment here with a link to your favorite item from Miki's shop. (1 entry)

      Get bonus entries to maximize your chances:
      "Like" MikisSecret fan page on Facebook and comment with your Facebook name(1 entry)

      "Share" any item from the shop on Facebook and leave the link in the comments section (get 1 entry for each share that is not set to "everyone")

      *Every Facebook share that is open to "everyone" and leaves the link here will get 3 entries per item shared! Those who have posted links below, don't worry. We will give you the extra entries.

      That's a lot of entries! Awesome chances!

      Please leave a separate comment for every entry to make sure you get your bonus entries :) AND your email or there won't be a way for us to contact you to claim your prize.

      Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and ends Wednesday, 23rd March 2011 midnight.

      Winner's name will be posted on a separate post (so do look out for it) and will be contacted by email and has 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

      Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review financially or otherwise. Everything mentioned are my own thoughts based on my experience.

      Giveaway Goodies: All The Pretty Stuff's Awesomest Giveaway Ever

      Allthepretty stuff is giving away some mad makeup!

      The goodies?
      2 mac full sized pigments in vanilla and moonlight night
      2 mac lipsticks in mac red and kinda sexy
      1 mac prep and prime skin brightening serum
      5 mac eyeshadows in typographic, purplehaze, expensive pink, chrome yellow, and aquadisiac
      1 swarovski hello kitty couture pop from sugarfactory.com in watermelon


      For more details, visit: http://alltheprettystuff.blogspot.com/2011/02/awesomest-giveaway-ever.html

      Wednesday, March 9, 2011

      Foodie Hunt: Ikea Deals!

      Ikea Malaysia is having it's Ikea Sale until the 20th of this month. Not only are the furniture and home accessories on sale, so are some of the yummy food!

      There is the chicken chop that is only RM 9.90 at the moment. Sounds like a great deal! I haven't had it yet though, but I want to!

      And then there are the famous hot dogs which make a good meal whether for lunch, teatime, or dinner. They are having a promo for 3 hot dogs at just RM 5!! I had 3 hot dogs for dinner last week! Am sure going again before the promo ends which is also until the 20th.

      And Tuesday is Swedish Meatball day! 10 lovely meatballs for RM 8!!

      I say, go on a Tuesday with the family and get these 3 great deals all at the same time!! And they have free refills too. SCORE!!