Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dos & Don'ts in Japan


by Richard L. Carpenter
illustrations by Paul Davis

It has been a hectic year and I was shocked by how much time has flown past since I last typed a blog entry here. Fortunately I got myself a nice read to share here to get myself jump started into continuing in this blog.

I have always been interested in the Japanese culture. Their products and cultures have pervaded most of lives nowadays, from the sushi and sashimi bars sprouting everywhere to the manga and anime which I chased with a fervour much like housewives following soaps. My hectic pace of life have not avail me the chance to plan a trip to the land of the Far East, but this book here gave me some preparation on what to expect from this isolated nation.

One-liner intro: What to do and not to do when in Japan (as the title suggested).

Best part: Refreshing look into the nation and its culture; summarized and concise, without too lengthy explanation; examples of what others did wrong when they were in Japan; suggestions useful for business travellers and backpackers alike; illustrations which although not really useful, provided a more leisurely read than plain words.

Not-so-best part: None, this is just the perfect book for travellers, more so than those voluminous guide books.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Underlighters


by Michelle Brown

Note: This is a book review based on a free copy from the author. Many thanks go to the author for this generosity.

This book is one of those few which catch me in a grip in the beginning and just force me to flip through the story, trying to unravel the mysteries and know the truth behind. It is, unfortunately, also another book which left me disappointed in its choice to sparingly use obscenities in its story. How employing such useless words in a book could make it into a better story is just beyond me.

One-liner intro: A original page turner of a horror story that is marred by obscenities.

Best part: Imaginative and original future world, which is getting harder to achieve since more and more stories featured an apocalyptic future; exploring a world of liberal gender relationship (this may not be 'best part' for different readers).

Not-so-best part: The use of obscenities, which is an obscenity unto itself; storytelling more suitable for first person narrative than a journal.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

MPH Book Sales 2013 @ Singapore EXPO

The end of August will see the return of MPH's book sales in Singapore EXPO. With volumes and price cuts to offer for your favorite paperbacks, hardcovers and magazines, this will be a bookworm's chance to replenish his stock, especially if he has missed the golden opportunity to do so in the last GSS (Great Singapore Sales).

Date:           30th Aug (Fri) - 1st Sep (Sun) 2013
Admission:  (30th Aug) 3.00p.m. - 9.00p.m.
                     (31st Aug - 1st Sep) 9.00a.m. - 9.00p.m.
Entry fee:    Free

Location:     Singapore EXPO, Hall 6B
Website:      Singapore EXPO Events page (link may expire after the event)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Age of Voodoo (Book 5 of The Pantheon series)


written by James Lovegrove

Being in love with Lovegrove’s novel, especially his Pantheon series, could be addictive. Even so, I was rather surprised to find that this latest story following the same pattern to be so disappointing. Although his style of military action never cease to run out of steam throughout the course of the novel, the novelty behind the idea seemed to have dwindled, leaving behind just a husk of a story which tried to continue the legacy of a bestselling series. 

One-liner intro: Military action mythical sci-fi coupled with voodoo magic 

Best part: Introduction of a relatively misunderstood religion and myth; military action 

Not-so-best part: Voodoo priestess playing an unimportant role; lack of grandiose; disappointingly unimpressive gods and their manifestation

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Singapore Library's Double Your Loan 2013

Just as the whole of Singapore celebrates the middle of the year with the annual GSS (Great Singapore Sales), so does all libraries in Singapore, but with its Double Your Loan promotion. So what are you waiting for? Go get double the amount you could borrow now!

Date:           10th June - 11th Aug 2013
Admission:  10 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily (libraries within malls will follow the mall's opening hours)
Entry fee:    Free

Location:     All Singapore public libraries

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fantastic Four: The Master of Doom


written by Mark Millar
penciled by Bryan Hitch

Doctor Doom had been the antagonist of the Fantastic Four for as far back as I had read Marvel Comics. You wouldn’t get one without getting the other, and you wouldn’t get a good Fantastic Four story without exploring how the villain plotted against the family or how he was involved even though the situation didn’t involve Doom directly. As cruel as he gets, even Doom has a master. So who would be powerful enough to make even the evil doctor bow to and call him master? 

One-liner intro: A brilliantly engaging read with twists and turns to get you hooked to the question: Who is the Master of Doom? 

Best part: Showing that even Doctor Doom has a teacher; death of Uatu (not really…); really surprising twists in the beginning. 

Not-so-best part: A rather dull final part wanes off to a rather usual ending; a more brilliant stroke by one of the most brilliant mind in Marvel-verse would be nice.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ultimate Origins


written by Brian Michael Bendis 
colored by Butch Guice 

Whenever I read Marvel Comics, I felt that the characters and stories are a little too constrained by the endless revival of heroes and villains, as well as the fact that no matter how bad the villain becomes, he always get away through jail time. Add on to that is the fact that most characters no longer has any surprises left in them, all of them explorer throughout decades of comic publishing and repeated revamps. 

Ultimate Comics related characters are another story entirely. Even though the familiar characters are present in this universe, they no longer share the same background. To add on to the suspense, certain familiar characters have been cast in different light, taking on the role of another character when you thought they couldn’t be related in any way. 

And to add more suspense onto even that, your familiarity with the Marvel universe will surprise you even more, when it was revealed that a certain famous person X is also the reason another certain famous person Y is born. The more you know, the more you will be surprised. You like it? Then read Ultimate Origins

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