Sunday, November 21, 2010


This week my readings seem to be all about ghosts. First, there is the Mediator series I picked up from the bigbadwolf sale (RM5 a piece, six books in all). I recall reading the first two books during secondary school, but I couldn't find the rest of the books after that and thus the series was forgotten. Previously, it was published under another pen-name, but after Cabot became famous through The Princess Diaries, I think the publishers saw it fit to republish it under Cabot's name.

If you've watched Ghost Whisperer, then you'd be familiar with the premise of the Mediator series. Susannah "Suze" Simon has been seeing ghosts since she was two years old and has been helping them with their unfinished business most of her life. Her move to California means meeting new friends, new mentors and of course new ghosts. In fact, she shares her bedroom with a hundred-something year old male ghost.

The series goes through different cases, each showing her kick-ass ability as a mediator. There is a main arc through out the series regarding her "roommate" which became a central focus for the last three books. I believe the series are aimed at the young adult category due to the simplicity of the writing and plot. The first two books were probably published when Cabot just started off as a writer as it shows in her writing as I can recall passages from book I repeated in book II. Cabot's writing tend to have a happy ending, and this series also have one. Somehow, the ending of this series reminds me of Casper the movie, albeit it's a happier one.

The other ghost story that I've just finished is The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. It's a ghost story set in 1940s, after the end of World War II. The Hundreds is an estate that has seen better days and now is struggling to make it through the changing times. The struggle seems to take its toll on the Ayres family who owns the estate and begins to break them down one by one.

Waters has chosen such an interesting voice for the narrator. For what's essentially a ghost story, the narrator is a doctor - a man of science who tries hard to rationalise the strange happenings at the Hundreds. It's a battle of science against superstition throughout the novel, with the ending left to the reader to choose which side they stand on.

Though this novel unfolds slowly at first, I can't help feeling a bit creeped out as the action picks up in the last third of the book. Since several of Waters novel have been adapted for TV, perhaps a producer will be willing to pick this up. I think it will make for a haunting movie.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I Shall Wear Midnight

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before - I love reading Terry Pratchett's works, especially his Discworld books. Oh, and also Good Omens, his collaboration with Neil Gaiman (another author I enjoy reading).

I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in the Tiffany Aching arc in Discworld, which started off with The Wee Free Men. The arc follows Tiffany Aching, a young witch from Chalk and her adventures growing up and learning about being a witch. Tiffany has befriended the Nac Mac Feegles (blue-skinned fairies with a penchant for drinking and stealing), faced the Queen of Elves with a frying pan and kissed Winter, all in her short tenure as a witch-in-training. So what else could Tiffany get into?

In this book, Tiffany is really growing up. She's almost sixteen and the only witch in Chalk, which means facing the trials of being a witches while dealing with the problems that comes with being a teenager. Plus, people are becoming more suspicious of witches (Salem Witch Trials, anyone?). Meeting a man with no eyes and a horrible stench on her journey to Ankh Morpork certainly points to something bad happening. Of course, the Nac Mac Feegles, who has claimed Tiffany as their hag, are around as her protection. But this time, Tiffany has to face the problem on her own.

While the story starts off slow, the early events in the book actually acts as a building block for the main plot. When the bad guy makes an appearance, the early parts of the book indeed makes sense. Pratchett ties up things nicely. His wit is of course why I love reading his books. A memorable quote from the book is this:

"Here was a person whose mere existence had led Tiffany, one evening, to wonder about that whole business of sticking pins into a wax figure. She hadn’t actually done it, because it was something that you shouldn’t do, something that witches greatly frowned on, and because it was cruel and dangerous, and above all because she hadn’t been able to find any pins."

Pratchett has created a lovable heroine in Tiffany. She's proud of being a witch and practical as hell. In fact, that's actually the basis of being a witch in Discworld; it's all about practicality, doing what needs to be done. As a heroine, she's not perfect. There are times when she's too proud, when she's jealous (hey, she's almost sixteen :P), when she makes mistakes. But she's not afraid to admit she's wrong and she's forgiving as well. Plus, she can be invisible and can transfer heat and pain. How cool is that?

Overall, this is a book I'd recommend for someone who's looking for a novel on growing up, with a twist. And for anyone who loves reading something witty from a brilliant author. I'm sad that this might be the final book in the Tiffany Aching arc, but it has been a wonderful ride.

Oh, for anyone who wants to start reading Discworld but not sure where to start (with around 39 books available, it can be a bit overwhelming), here's a reading order guide for you.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Apparently there exists a punctuation mark called an interrobang i.e. ‽. This is the result of late-night blog hopping after downing two mugs of coffee LOL.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Online Grocery Shopping

One fine day, our boss's PA noticed that the small cups of mineral water we were supplying some external auditors at the office were finished. As no one wanted to drive to the nearest supermarket/hypermarket, Doorstep came to the rescue. Apparently one company in Malaysia has caught on to the trend of online grocery shopping and set up a website. Not sure about its popularity, but gathering from the logos of corporate customers that they proudly displayed on their site, it must be doing quite well.

Order/Payment Process: Ordered via website. Very convenient, though I think the catalogue needs more work. E.g. in the laundry detergent category, perhaps it could be broken down into types i.e. liquid/powder/softener instead of just broken down into brand name. Nevertheless, that's not really a deterrent for choosing items.
Customer Service: Friendly and even called me up because they were wondering whether I actually was a corporate customer since I wanted the items delivered to the office. Not sure what the difference between household and corporate. Probably the minimum amount needed to get free delivery?
Time Taken to Delivery: As I could choose the delivery slot I wanted, it's useful for time management. Delivery was on time, within the chosen time slot. And delivery is currently free of charge for orders above RM50 :D
Packaging: Small items were put into plastic bag, though it was torn open for checking upon delivery LOL.
Would buy again? Yes, if I don't have the time to go out and do my grocery shopping. But considering that they don't offer fresh food items yet, those occasions might be far and few in between LOL

Feel free to use name me as your referrer if you're opening an account with them, yeah? LOL


Oh today is a good day. A morning swim revealed the fact that my gym's pool is shaded from the morning sun (which means I should be going for a swim in the morning during weekends LOL). And apparently today's special offer at the green coffee shop is a Buy 1, Free 1 :D


Bigbadwolf has posted a picture of their upcoming warehouse sale on their facebook profile. Now I'm wondering whether I should take a leave on Friday just to attend this! So tempting!