Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How to Speak Emoji by Fred Benenson

I found this in the humour section of NetGalley but... I didn't find it very funny. The book had a very engaging title, but it totally didn't live up to my expectations.

Then again, I'm not sure what my expectations were for this book. I only know that I wanted to laugh.

So this is basically the kind of book you'd get if you plan to spam your whatsapp/chat groups with one of those "guess the meaning" emoji games. At least, that's what I think. Because after a short 'dictionary', where the most common emoji are explained, the book basically gives you the emoji equivalent for famous quotes, ways to flirt, and a few various other categories.

I guess that might be funny, but it just didn't speak to me.

It wasn't a total waste because I did get a few ideas I could use the next time I want to challenge my brother to an emoji-guessing game, but it wasn't the book that I was hoping for.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Teaser Tuesday: Peak by Anders Ericsson

Hey everyone! Hope you had a good start to the week. I just realised that half my vacation back home is over, so I'm like "OH NO" (I have to go back to reality soon). But on the bright side, I'm meeting loads of friends this week, and I just got a new stack of books, so yay for that!

Right now, I'm reading Peak by Anders Ericsson. It's on how people become experts at what they do. I first heard it on the Freakonomics podcast and thought it sounded interesting - so when I came back, I borrowed a copy from the library.

My teaser:
"The deliberate-practice mindset offers a very different view: anyone can improve, but it requires the right approach. If you are not improving, it's not because you lack innate talent; it's because you're not practicing the right way."
The teaser may sound dry, but the book is really readable, and I'm really enjoying it.

What about you? What are you reading?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. 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!

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

In Chinese culture, it's believed that the seventh lunar month (the seventh month in the Chinese calendar) is when the gates of hell open and the dead can come back to the world. It's a month where the smell of incense is thick (and the haze makes it worse). If you're not a fan of all this smoke and ashes, you may wish for the Japanese Obon, which is similar but only lasts for about a week. At any rate, it's the seventh month now, and I decided to read The Ghost Bride.

Anyway, The Ghost Bride is a fantasy novel set in Malacca, back when it was still a British colony. Li Lan is the beautiful protagonist, and the story starts when her father asks her if she'd like to be the bride in a ghost marriage.

Her family's quite poor, but the groom's side is rich, so if she marries him, she'll live in comfort. But the prospective groom visits her in her dreams (bad decision on her part) and he is so repulsive of course she won't want to marry him. Instead, she prefers his cousin, who was originally her intended.

And because the story is complicated, this isn't even the main plot.

The bulk of the book features Li Lan after she accidentally left her body and meets Er Lang. He enlists her help in finding out information from her prospective ghost groom, and we get to see what the spirit world is like.

While it's quite complicated to follow, I didn't have any problems with the plot, probably because I have years of Chinese dramas behind me. I thought it was pretty well-paced, and I never grew bored with the story.

I really liked the descriptiveness, although it went a bit overboard sometimes. Although I could believe the idea that Li Lan didn't really know about the spirits because of her father being a strict Confucianist, I didn't get why she had to explain every single little bit of life, including translating the word 'baju' into English. I can only assume it's for the ang moh's, or perhaps the author is illustrating the hold our ex-colonial masters still have on us.

Oh, and even though relationships (and romance) is one of the pillars of this book, I wasn't annoyed by it at all, which is a first for me. I mean, there are three guys that Li Lan gets involved in and they are:

- the Ghost Groom: Odious so whatever
- Tian Bai (Ghost Groom's cousin): Li Lan gets a crush on him because who wouldn't when their intended is so repulsive
- Er Lang: the mysterious dude that helps Li Lan. They bicker a lot, but I genuinely like how their relationship develops.

So to me, it's not a love rectangle because two of the three guys aren't even serious candidates. Which really helps because I am not a fan of love triangles or shapes of any kind.

If you're looking for a lyrical, absorbing fantasy book set close to home, you should definitely pick this up.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Book Fair at Harris!

I don't know how many of my blog readers are in Johor, Malaysia, but if you're there, you should definitely head down to Harris at Tebrau city right now! They have a book fair going on, and there are a few tables full of books going at RM5 (nett) each.



That's about SGD 1.68 or USD 1.24, which is extremely cheap. Even the second hand books in Singapore cost more than that.

I managed to pick up five books myself (though I nearly suffered from choices overload and couldn't decide at first)


The books are:

Android Karenina (haven't read, totally looking forward to it)
A Case for Solomon (finished today, extremely good)
Sisters of Fortune (not sure what it's about, but it looks good)
A World of Curiosities (some kind of book of interesting facts so I'm looking forward to that)
How Not to Read (the humour and I didn't agree, so I gave it away to a friend)

Proper reviews to come!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Murder is Easy by Agatha Christie

After so long, I've finally read another Agatha Christie book. And even though this wasn't a Poirot or even a Miss Marple, I really enjoyed it.

Murder is Easy starts when Luke Fitzwilliam comes back to England. On his train, he meets Miss Pinkerton, who is on her way to Scotland Yard to report a serial killer. At first, he thinks that Miss Pinkerton is a dotty old lady who is seeing too much into things, but then, he reads about her death. One death is a coincidence, but when the doctor that Miss Pinkerton claimed would be killed next turns up dead, he decides that it's too much of a coincidence and decides to go down to the village to investigate.

Luke, and his friend's cousin Bridget are two very interesting characters, and I really enjoyed their verbal sparring. I'm not even surprised that they end up together (I actually think it's a lot more believable than most of Christie's romances), although it does sort of jump out of nowhere. But I've sort of gotten used to the fact that "constant quarreling" somehow means "flirting" in the books, so I realised what was going on before they made it clear.

By the way, how old is Luke? He's "honourably retired on a pension" but has a friend who has a cousin (Bridge) who is in her late twenties. So obviously he's not extremely old, but I doubt he's that young either, since people do tend to believe that he and Bridget are cousins rather than uncle and niece. Unless cousins had a much greater age gap back then. Christie never clears that up, and I think that is one of the unsolved mysteries of the book.

I must say, the mystery just sorts of get solved, which isn't very satisfying. But, it's fun to read the amateur detectives go about their business, so on the whole, I really enjoyed this book. I've a soft spot in my heart for Christie, so I might be giving her books more latitude than others, but I enjoyed it, and I think Christie fans will enjoy it too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lost in Wonderland by Nicky Peacock

This book basically proves that you should read the blurb to refresh your memory before reading the book, because I started without reading, and the book and I ended up with a rocky start. But in the end, I managed to get my bearings and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Lost in Wonderland has two characters: Mouse (aka Kayla), who has been raised in Wonderland, and Shiloh, her crazy older brother. In this book, Wonderland is a secret non-governmental organisation that trains their operatives to kill serial killers (because the daughter of one of their founders was abducted and killed by one). The monster that Shiloh and Mouse encounter is back, and what goes on is a thrilling tale where nothing is what it seems.

Although the beginning was confusing (and I admit that was my fault - I tend to dive into books without checking the blurb on Goodreads first), a quick check put me on track and I really enjoyed it. The 'Dark Wonderland' vibe got stronger as the book progressed and the ending, while open, still provided me with enough closure that I didn't want to hurl the iPad against something.

All the chapters are short, which is to say that they are extremely fast-paced, and I basically finished the book in less than an hour because of that.

If you're looking for a quick, thrilling read, this is a good book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

I managed to go to the library on Saturday, so I have a stack of new books to read! Today, I started the fifth and last book - The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. I've been meaning to read more fiction set in/inspired by Asia, and this was quite highly recommended. It's inspired by the custom of ghost marriages, and it's set in Melaka!

My teaser:
" "Yes," said the ghost as she folded herself on one of the dining chairs. Unlike myself, she had far less mass, for her sleeves trailed through the wood of the chair, and she was so light that a puff of air would have dislodged her from her perch" (Page 115)
What about you? What are you reading this week?
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. 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!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Book of Lies by James Moloney

I re-read The Book of Lies last week and I still love it. I think it's amazing how some books just stay with you. It seems almost random at times.

The Book of Lies starts when a boy comes to an orphanage. His name is Marcel, but someone gives him a new name (Robert) and a whole new backstory. But thanks to a little girl called Bea, he remembers his true name. Also, there are two other kids at the orphanage: Proud Nicola and angry Fergus. Obviously, Marcel clashes with Fergus. Obviously they play a big part, or I wouldn't mention them.

Soon, the three of them find out that they are not who they think they are. Like Marcel, Nicola and Fergus have had their memory wiped and new ones installed. And then the real action begins.

This story has tons of twists and turns, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The truth of who the kids really were - for example - was confusing, and even at the end, not very clear.

I really liked the four main characters (Bea, the little girl that helps Marcel is one too), and the way that Nicola grows was really great. Fergus... Grew a little, but I think that this isn't his book to shine.

Oh, and silly me only realised this was a trilogy on my last read! So I'm gonna have to look for the second book as soon as I can (which is not looking hopeful, because this series came quite a few years ago, and it's not in the eBook library so...)

I totally recommend this for fantasy lovers! Especially if you like stories with magic books that have a mind of their own.

Friday, August 19, 2016

So You Want To Be a Wizard by Diane Duane

I read this book after a friend recommended it to me. Like she says, it's more science-fiction than fantasy, though there are elements of both.

Basically, the story is about Nita, a girl who is bullied. One day, she finds a book called 'So You Want To Be A Wizard' and presto, she becomes one. She also meets Kit, a fellow wizard, and Fred, a uh, thing from outer space (Fred is adorable though. Seriously my favourite character in the book). As wizards, they have to slow down entropy, but while chasing after Nita's pen, they end up challenging one of the darkest forces in the universe.

I thought the story had some inconsistencies, like Nita and Kit casting a spell to get her pen back even though the first thing she reads is on not to 'waste' magic. It seemed like she didn't grasp what being a wizard was. But that's not a very big quibble because it's not a fatal plot flaw (I mean, it's a bit too convenient since it launches the major events, but I get it).

What I thought was strange (and was probably my fault) was that I couldn't follow most of the second half. I read the first half in one sitting, and at the second, found myself completely unable to follow along. I'm not sure why though. Perhaps it's because of the science-fiction elements in what appears to be a fantasy book. Yes, I know it's SFF, but it's still rather strange to see the tropes mash, and the science-fiction stuff was definitely stronger in the second half (at least to me).

So I'm a bit conflicted as to whether I want to read the second book in the series. What I understood, I liked, but it wasn't a 'must continue' sort of thing for me.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Unlocking Worlds by Sally Allen

This is a book for story lovers or people looking for reading inspiration. It's basically a book filled with book reviews, roughly categorised into 15 lists.

The lists range from Children's Books to War novels to books about Russian life and British novels, so there's definitely a wide variety of books.

At first, I was a little hesitant as to whether the author's tastes and I would match, because she raved over The Goldfinch (and happened to meet someone who loved it too, and generally made it sound like everyone loved it), when only 44% of The Goldfinch's readers actually managed to finish the book. After reading through her recommendations, however, I may end up giving The Goldfinch a go.

The books she recommends, however, seem to be varied (though with an emphasis on literary fiction, which she admits to being partial too). And since apart from the Children's list, I haven't read many of the other books, I found myself mentally putting a few books on the TBR list.

And I did keep an eye out to see if it was all trad published books, but since she doesn't mention it in her review, I only know for certain that one book is self-published.

That one 'definitely self-published book' sounds fantastic though. I'll definitely have to read that.

I also found one other commonality with the author (apart from a love of reading) - the habit of buying a book at the airport bookstore. I don't know why, but I liked the book a lot more after I read that.

Overall, this seems like a good inspiration book for book lovers. It's easy to go to specific sections and find something that sounds interesting.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

I borrowed this book because it seems like it'd be related to the Black Zemi. It is, but this is something that I should have read before I entered - it is that introductory.

The Inevitable is basically about the 12 forces that will change society forever. According to the author, they are:

1. Becoming (we're gonna require constant upgrades)

2. Cognifying (Artificial Intelligence)

3. Flowing (Things are going to be readily available, and in small bits)

4. Screening (like it says - everything on a screen)

5. Accessing (people are gonna stream stuff, not buy it)

6. Sharing (What is mine is yours and all that. It's about who owns information)

7. Filtering (welcome the algorithms)

8. Remixing (fan made PVs, Fanfiction is gonna be the future)

9. Interacting (Virtual Reality is the future)

10. Tracking (every single thing about you will be recorded and stored)

11. Questioning (We will find more and more new questions)

12. Beginning (The Future is Now)

And then there are like 50 pages of notes, which showed me the book was surprisingly well-researched. I say surprisingly because most of it seemed to be from the author's personal experience, or his personal vision of the future. Personally, I was hoping for something more in-depth.

I was also a little disappointed that he didn't cover some topics - in Filtering, for example, he didn't mention the disintermediated industries, and how that poses a challenge for filtering.

There was also a too-rosy picture of everything. I like most of the technologies here (and have defended some of them to more skeptical teachers and classmates), but even I was like "whoa there" in a number of chapters.

There were so many missed opportunities - for example, though he mentioned that people tend to overshare when given the choice, the issue of networked privacy didn't come out. That could have been a valuable discussion in how people's views and expectations of privacy changes with advancements in technology. And all the legal challenges that will come were largely left out. Not to mention challenges in defining the open standards necessary.

So even though there was some mention of potential problems, it wasn't a balanced coverage by any means.

While the book isn't bad (it's probably aimed towards the complete newbie), I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. For forces that will change the world, I much prefer The Shift by Lynda Gratton. And of course, the 'counter argument' to this will be Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Teaser Tuesday - Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

I'm finally back home for the summer break (my last summer break! I feel so old), so I'm doing a re-reading sort of thing. At least until I get to the library, though I'm quite content to reread my old favourites.

Right now, I'm re-reading Ways to Live Forever, which I remember as a tear-jerker. I don't remember much else though, so I'm looking forward to rediscovering the book.

My teaser:
"He was alright on Saturday," I said. I couldn't get over how unfair it all was. "There wasn't anything wrong with him!" (Page 99)
What about you? What are you reading?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. 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!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Method 15/33 by Shannon Kirk

The first thing you have to know about the book is: I really liked the blurb. Like, I liked it a lot. When I was reading Lectus' review, the blurb (plus her comment on the MC) was what convinced me to request this book.

Method 15/33 is about a 16 year old pregnant girl who happens to be kidnapped. Unlike most 16 year olds, however, she's incredibly smart and has the ability to turn off her emotions.

So obviously, she devises a plan to escape her captors and get revenge on them.

I seriously love all the pieces with Lisa (the 16 year old genius) in them. I just wanted to find out how she was going to take her revenge, and if she would succeed (or if her condition was gonna cause her to slip up). So that definitely made this a page turner for me.

However, I do agree with Lectus that the FBI parts aren't as interesting. I didn't think they were very slow, but they weren't what I wanted to read. I wasn't interested in solving this crime (I've already met the criminals), I wanted to read about Lisa and her plans! But I do admit, having their perspective from the start did pay off in the end, since I was used to the dual-narrative, and I think the ending used that pretty well.

The ending was satisfying, by the way. I won't give away any spoilers, but you probably won't be throwing the book against the wall in frustration. It is a little sad though, even though it's not the perfect ending.

If you're looking for a dark, slightly twisted book with a different type of heroine, you should definitely give Method 15/33 a go. You won't be disappointed.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Someone Else's Child by Helen Klein Ross (ARC)

I finished this book during the summer, before I got the motivation to study (and now I'm posting this review, after I finished my exams :p). Someone Else's Child started rather slowly for me, but soon, it gripped me and I finished the later half of the book in two sittings (mostly on the train, and luckily I did not miss any stops).

Someone Else's Child is a multi-POV novel about kidnapping. It's not a thriller though. Basically, Lucy (whose ethnicity I'm not too clear about?) wants a baby very badly. When she finds a baby seemingly abandoned in a supermarket, it seems like her dreams have come true. For Marilyn, it's her worst nightmare. All she did was leave baby Natalie alone for a little and then she's gone. Natalie grows up as Mia, until one day, Marilyn finds her, and everyone has to figure out what is going to happen.

I say 'figure out' because Mia is confused, Marilyn is confused and Lucy basically flew off to China to hide. The police don't play much of a presence either - in the latter half of the book, Mia is clearly the main character.

Unlike most books, I did read some of the reviews on Goodreads before reading (had to get a cover for Teaser Tuesday), and I must say, I don't feel as much hate towards Lucy as some of the other readers do.

True, she did a horrendous thing and she does have a lot of making up to do for it, but... I don't know. She didn't seem like an evil person in the sense that most villains are. She seemed like someone who gave in to human nature and made a huge mistake, then never got to courage to own up to it.

Maybe I saw too much of her perspective or something.

Don't get me wrong here, my favourite characters are Mia and Wendy (Wendy is the Chinese nanny). I don't like or condone what Lucy does, but I didn't find myself very angry either, which is weird because these things can get me hopping. In fact, I have the same amount of empathy for Lucy as I do for Marilyn.

Conclusion: I probably reacted to this book weirdly, but I won't deny that after a slow start, it grabbed hold of me and would not let go.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Code of Love by Andro Linklater

My exams are finally finished, and I managed to finish reading this book as well! It's not a light read, but it's an interesting one.

The Code of Love basically has two stories: One of a mathematician trying to break a coded diary, and one of a couple during WWII. Obviously, the two stories are intertwined, and the diary is from Donald (one half of that couple), who wrote the diary as a Japanese POW. The diary was sent to the mathematician by his wife (other half) Pamela.

Let's just get this out of the way: the decoded diary is not very interesting.

But, I think the story is in how the diary was decoded, as well as the experiences that the two of them went through. While Pamela did stay safe in England, she didn't exactly have a quiet life. Plus, she's away from the guy she loves, even though the war (SPOILER ALERT) ended up damaging their marriage. (Woah, I just got P!NK's Just Give Me A Reason in my head all of a sudden).

As for Donald - like I mentioned, he was a POW, and that was not a good thing to be. Especially not under Japanese rule. It was interesting to see another side of the wartime experience (I did learn about the death railway and such in history class), although it felt very "white". I mean, set in Asia, but all "white". Still, it is primarily about one person, so I can't fault the book for that.

I think people interested in the "personal lives" of people who lived through WWII will enjoy this book.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Why I'm No Longer Using WriteOn


Slightly less than two years ago, I talked about this writing site that I signed up to, named WriteOn. It was great for quite a long time, and when I did a WriteOn vs Figment vs Wattpad post, I chose it as my favourite (which reminds me, with all the updates that have happened, that post is really out of date, but I'm probably not the right person to write the updated version). And then two months after it was out of beta (slightly more than a year ago), the place started changing, and not for the better. But still, I really believed in the site, and I continued to use it until one or two months ago, when I just stopped. Unlike Figment, which I just stopped using for no particular reason, I can identify three reasons why I've stopped using WriteOn, and I thought it would be good to have it down in a post.

For the record, WriteOn has introduced me to some awesome writing friends, and email is amazing (not to mention chat groups) because that has become how we keep in contact). So yeah, the site was incredibly helpful to me at one point in time, but now... I think it's more toxic than anything. Anyway:

Reasons why I'm leaving (in no particular order): 

1. Support has more or less vanished.

I have seen the official accounts a few times, but unlike the early days, where the mods were present and interacting with everyone, support seems to have more or less vanished. I know I can't expect a high level of support all the time, but considering the fact that there has been at least one thread talking about where the mods might have gone, I think it's safe to say that a lot of the users miss them.

2. A lot of (the) members (I know) have left.

Brackets are needed because the site is probably adding new members every day, and I'm just not seeing them. But yeah, a lot of the people that I know have either become a lot less active, or have left and it's a bit of a shame. I mentioned that one member who gave awesome feedback has gone, and well, a lot of the other members from that period of time seem to have left too, which doesn't really give me a reason to stay.

3. The Forums are getting/are already toxic

I started using the site less and less because of this (it started from one toxic member, who thankfully was left, but it seems like nature really does abhor a vacuum), and well, I visited the forums recently and was pretty shocked at how hostile the members are to each other. It's really just two camps of people, but the feud seems to have started on a different writing site, so I don't understand why it was brought here in the first place. Both sides seem intent on holding on to the grudge, and I feel like while one side is genuinely clueless about how they're contributing to the problem, another side seems to revel in making waves, and well... I really don't need a toxic environment.

What am I using right now?

Well, I occasionally post chapters on my Dayre (though that isn't the primary purpose for it), but surprisingly, the writing site I am most likely to be on is Wattpad. I'm still very terrible at it (and don't know how to use it properly), but I have managed to make a few friends, and well, friends are basically what anchors me to sites/apps, so I'll probably be there for a little while. I'm not very into forums right now though, because of the whole toxicity thing. But I guess I'll probably be back one day.

(Although truth be told, I haevn't logged on for about two weeks because I've had exams.)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Business Cat by Tom Fonder

I requested, downloaded and read this comic book in less than an hour, so... I guess you shouldn't expect a very long review.

Business Cat is precisely what it's title says - about a Cat CEO. Since I'm one of those people that like Dilbert, Garfield AND Texts from Mittens (wait, does that mean I have to go for the 'racial sensitivity training' thing? (; ), I was obviously going to read this book. And I was not disappointed.

This 130 page book is pretty short, but I chuckled quite a few times throughout it. I'm not a follower of the website, so I don't know how much new material there is. I did like the cat vs dog story (especially towards the end) and I really love how the cat CEO interacts with his employees. It's really funny.

There's really nothing much more I can say. I enjoyed it, and I'm guessing that if you like cats and business humour, you will too.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore

Yes, it's a boring business book review today.

Crossing the Chasm was recommended to me by my teacher, when he found out that my team wanted to do something on social media and why people choose certain platforms over others. While Crossing the Chasm is written for the business looking to bring their product to the mainstream market, I thought it was pretty useful in helping me understand why some products take off while others don't.

The essence of this book is on how to sell to "pragmatists", or the "Early Majority" in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. I remember an article on how in some cases, laggards can turn into innovators (the case was something on smartphones and kindles or something like that), so I'm not sure how strong the theory is per se, but if you believe the theory holds true, then you're going to be very interested in what the book says.

The strategy in this book is to basically get the company to understand that innovators/early adopters and the early majority are two distinct and separate groups. And because they evaluate and choose products differently, you have to change your strategy when crossing the chasm. This includes targeting niches, positioning yourself and pricing.

There were quite a few examples in this book, but to be honest, I didn't recognise a lot of them (oops?). I guess it really does go to show that the product life cycle is getting shorter and shorter. Either that or I really need to be more observant. But while the examples may be dated, the principles didn't feel so (but I'm not in this industry, so take this with a huge huge grain of salt).

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Maxims and Reflections by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I'm not sure why I decided to borrow this book, but I did. Basically, it's a collection of Goethe's passing thoughts, which is really strange because I don't think I've read Goethe before (I know, I'm terrible. I should probably remedy that soon).

Maxims and Reflections is basically a book of quotes. Some, I really liked, such as:
"Books, we find, are like new acquaintances. To begin with, we are highly delighted if we find an area of general agreement, if we feel a friendly response concerning some important aspect of our life. It is only on closer acquaintance that differences begin to emerge, at which point the great thing is not immediately to recoil, as may happen at a more youthful age, but to cling very firmly to areas of agreement and fully to clarify our differences without on that account aiming at identity in our views."
or
"Fairytale: presents impossible events under possible or almost impossible conditions as though they were possible.
Some, I disagreed with (although I can't really find one, because I made way too many bookmarks). And there are more than a few that I think will cause debate, such as
"Anyone who doesn't know foreign languages knows nothing of his own" 
and
"None clamour for freedom of the press except those who want to misuse it." 
Basically, although this book is full of short quotes, it's going to take a very long time to read. In fact, I think the best way to read it is in short bits and pieces, thinking over what he says. Which is why this book took me much longer than I expected to read it, and got a bit too heavy for me at the end (or rather, I decided to read the last third in one sitting and the last section really just flew by me).

Perhaps I should come back to this book one day in the future, when I have more time/a paperback copy and don't have to return it in 21 days.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Teaser Tuesday - The Code of Love by Andro Linklater

Hey everyone! I hope you've had a good start to your week! I'm in the middle of exams, but I managed to make a quick stop to watch some fireworks after my exam yesterday.


Right now, I'm reading The Code of Love, but I'm reading it very slowly. It's basically when I'm between study breaks, which isn't very much. It's pretty interesting so far though. My teaser:
"In the next three months, the rest of Britain's Pacific possessions, from Malaya to Borneo and New Guinea along with a string of island colonies, all surrendered, including most shatteringly, on February 15, 1942, Singapore, the rock on which the whole defense of the Far East rested, together with a garrison of 120000 men.  
At first it was impossible for Pamela to separate her own bitter anxiety from the mood of recrimination and doubt that settled on the country." 
It's kind of interesting reading this book, because we've studied this in history class.

What are you reading this week?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Jenn of Books and a Beat. 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!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Monstress by Marjorie Liu

This comic had me from the words "alternate matriarchal 1900s Asia". Ok, so the matriarchal thing wasn't the deal-breaker, but the word "Asia" was. I love it whenever Asia features as an influence. While this isn't wholly Asian, there are more than enough Asian influences to keep me happy.

Monstress follow Maika Halfwolf, an Arcanic teenage girl with something living inside her. After breaking free from a Cumaea (just know that the Cumaea would happily hunt the Arcanic people like her), she goes on the run with a cute little fox-girl called Kippa and a two-tailed cat called Master Ren. This volume contains the first six issues of the comic, and provides a comprehensive opening.

Kippa was the star of the show (at least for me). I know Maika is the main character, but Kippa is just so innocent and cute. She lightens the story, and I really, really hope she stays a central character for a long, long time.

And I don't need to talk about the world building, because it's amazing and the art is gorgeous. In this volume, we've only started to explore the world, so I'm sure there's a lot more that will be revealed in the later issues.

I read this in parts (in its separate issues), so I'm not sure how things would look in the end, but the copy I read was very much one issue of comic + extra content (letters, fanart, etc). I do hope that the finished volume has all the comics together, and all the bonus content at the end, rather than just putting the issues together.

Oh, and I'm actually quite curious - is this more or less violent that Tokyo Ghoul? My friend was saying that Tokyo Ghoul was too violent for me, but if Monstress is on the same level (and trust me, it's violent. You do not want to give this to kids or younger teens), then I should be able to read it.

Basically, if you're into gorgeous art, interesting characters and a world that isn't based completely on the West, you're going to love this. It does, however, contain a lot of explicit violence (and bad language - I assume that despite being Asian, they all speak English and so have normal English curse words, which is peculiar but oh well), so I wouldn't recommend it to younger readers or those with weak stomachs.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.