[DIARY] WRITER’S BLOCK

Life caught me by the lapels and refused to let go. For a while now I’m almost afraid of looking at watches & clocks, seeing each day draw to an irrevocable close. 2015 is turning out very different from what I imagined, it’s little wonder that I’ve stopped churning out annual resolutions to ‘be better’, ‘work harder’, ‘stay humble’. Rat race is the word, conformity is the endgame, and fighting it is exhausting. But that doesn’t mean we should all be products of this Borsalino hat test – squeezed through a tube for quality checks just to be exactly what is ‘perfect’. I’ve been thinking of trying new things; I haven’t felt fully mentally stretched since cramming for statistics finals in university so perhaps it’s time to kill some brain cells in ways other than drinking. Even if sometimes hard wok goes down the drain and you’re forced to watch it go, learning is never a bad thing. Allow me a brief moment of pessimism but in the end, you’ve just gotta remember that some doors open and others will always remain shut.

In other news, writer’s block is scarily real! 5,000 words has never been so hard for me. Sneak peek of a one-liner in my Golden Point 2015 Submission, maybe.

“He makes no sudden movement, but a hand slips stealthily into his left breast pocket, feeling for the cool metal of his .38 Taurus Model 85. “

Did someone say murder mystery? Or raunchy erotica. Or both.

Also, has anyone found a cure for writer’s block?

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[DIARY] LOVE YOUR IMPERFECTIONS

31 days into 2015 and it has been surreal. I’ve been thankful each day for the people I’ve met, especially to those I’ve learnt to count on for simply being there.

The obstacles in my current career are finally levelling out. I’m beginning to understand why some of my colleagues would fall in love with this jet-setting lifestyle. Don’t be fooled – good money and free travel comes at a price. When I tell my friends about the hardships we face on a daily basis, everyone rethinks the facade of a glamorous lifestyle we lead. A certain kind of sadism cannot be denied (of me) since I’ve stayed beyond my 2-year bond not for the money but the sheer intensity of hard work involved. I love challenges and when they come my way, they become means of making me a better person, because the process of clearing major hurdles forces one into endless introspection.

I like to think that what I’ve really done in this past 2 years was to experience the world, gather my thoughts on living, get to know a lot more people. And then I really want to write them down. Whilst I will leave my job, the journey is not over. For those who can live vicariously through my words someday I hope you know that life is about giving and receiving experiences, not the things you buy or get to keep. I also know that life is not about making sure something or somebody stays in your life as long as possible when you know they are not yours to keep.

2015, I don’t expect you to be awesome. I foresee bad days, heartaches, disappointment and yet another emotional roller coaster ride. But I trust myself to know that when 2015 comes to an end I’ll emerge triumphant with battle scars that makes me both imperfect and wiser. This is what we have to do.

Accumulate experiences like it is the air you have to breathe, for in time to come we’ll have our own stories to tell. Tell yourself to keep going, run the extra mile, and don’t be afraid to fight losing battles, or to lose. Never lose sight of who you were. Never forget who was there for you when you needed them the most. Most importantly, never fall out of love with yourself. Love who you are, and appreciate who you’re not. Embrace and acknowledge all your imperfections. Because the most imperfect people have been through the worst.

“I am not a graceful person. I am not a Sunday morning or a Friday sunset. I am a Tuesday 2 a.m., gunshots muffled by a few city blocks, I am a broken window during February. My bones crack on a nightly basis. I fall from elegance with a dull thud, and I apologize for my awkward sadness. I sometimes believe that I don’t belong around people, that I belong to all the leap days that didn’t happen. The way light and darkness mix under my skin has become a storm. You don’t see the lightning, but you hear the echoes.”
Anna Peters

I want to hear some good stories when December 31st comes round.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

viktoriajean

Book Review: The State We’re In

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Publisher: Headline Review
Date Published: 4th July 2013
My Ratings: 7 / 10
Average Goodreads Ratings: 3.9 / 5

SYNOPSIS:
What are the odds that the stranger sitting next to you on a plane is destined to change your life? Especially when they appear to be your opposite in every way.

She’s a life-long optimist, looking for her soul mate in every man she meets; he’s a resolute cynic – cruel experience has taught him never to put his faith in anyone.

People can surprise you. In the time it takes to fly from London to Chicago, each finds something in the other that they didn’t even realise they needed.

Their pasts are such that they can never make one another happy and it’s when they get off the plane, that their true journey begins…

REVIEW:
At times, Joanna (Jo) Russell’s naivety gets on my nerves. She attempts to salvage a youthful mistake of ditching a fiance at the altar, by flying 300miles to wreck his upcoming wedding. That simply shows how much of a tragically hopeful romantic she is. I hated her less when she’s simply unhinged and having fun, while not harbouring thoughts of how romantic love is the one thing that should determine how you run your career and life.

The story runs beautifully. We see a parallel story running side-by-side, an almost continuation of the affair that never was. On one hand Eddie Taylor at his bedside and the son that he had left 29 years ago, Dean, flies over to bid him hello and farewell, but leaves for his house in Chicago in a fit of anger when he discovers that it was not Eddie who had asked to see him, but the meddlesome nurse who felt sorry that no next-of-kin was holding the dying man’s hand. On the other hand, delusional Jo Russell leaves her parent’s house and flies to Chicago to stop her ex-fiance – Martin’s – wedding, determined that the letter of invitation was a cry for help, and that Martin was pleading with her to not hold her peace. Somehow, she was inclined to believe that she had to take him away from his current bride-to-be. That Martin was the One.

I mean, who in their right state of mind still believes in the One?

Fate, or whatever forces that be, dictated that Dean and Jo were to spend 10 hours in the pressured tube bound for Chicago in the Club Class. The moments of emotional upheaval that they shared were rather less physically intimate than usually required for Dean to feel for anybody, but in rare cases more fictional like this, Dean cared for the delusional 35-year-old.

The forces that be also created a tragic interweaving of their histories. The father that Dean came to abhor happened to have left Dean, his mother and sister, 29 years ago, for the woman that happened to be Jo Russell’s mother – Clara Russell. And in a dramatic irony, Jo finds out that her ideal picture of what family had been and should be, was destroyed by a single phone call revealing that after decades of marriage, her mom was leaving her dad for a dying man – Eddie Taylor.  And that her dad was actually gay.

What?

That much was revealed in the span of this novel which had moments of epiphany that tugged at my heartstrings, despite the loathing I felt for Jo Russell at certain points where she was behaving less than half her age. How thoughtless and selfish a woman past her 30s can be really got on my nerves.

Dean, however, made a huge impression with his touch of sensitivity. His genuine care and concern filled up the void left blank by absent members of his family. He was the true hero of the book, taking baby steps in placing trust upon people and learning to commit like nobody in his life had ever shown his before.

The part where he was beginning to fall in love with Jo got a bit unrealistic and unconvincing, though. It was clear that girls were throwing themselves at his feet – cleavage, cellphone numbers and all – yet Jo was all he had on his mind after a mere 10 hours in the air. And Jo was being such a selfish, self-obsessed and indulged woman. Perhaps the oxygen up there is insufficient indeed.

However towards the end I grew to love Jo Russell. There was a reason behind her first-hand account while everyone else’s stories were written by the third-person. Here’s where the spoiler comes: Dean and Jo doesn’t end up together. Jo marries somebody else, and the little epilogue is simultaneously the saddest and the most heart-warming bit in the entire novel. The moment we’ve all been holding our breaths for – Dean and Jo were each other’s love of their lives but for reasons only explained in the book (ask me personally cos I don’t wish to spoil the book for you) they don’t end up together, ever.

Amidst the interweaving tales of marriage, relationships and families – broken or not – lies the keen reminder that nobody is perfect. Perfection should not be expected of anybody. And that forgiveness, big or small, is the hardest yet most essential part of any human relationship.
This is one piece of thoughtful contemporary literature that I would recommend to lovers of Jodi Picoult or even Jill Mansell and Kristin Hannah.

If ‘The State We’re in’ were to be made a movie…
Joanna Russell: Isla Fisher (Bring back the Shopaholic, please!)
Opening Ceremony And 'The Great Gatsby' Premiere - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Dean Taylor: Hugh Dancy
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Eddie Taylor: Sean Bean
sean

Clara Russell: Christie Brinkley
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xoxo Viktoria Jean

Book Review: I Heart New York

Whenever I’m done with a grueling day at work, a piece of light, fun chick-lit (or the likes of it) brings back the cheer in me. Lindsey Kelk’s humour is not at Sophie Kinsella’s, but rather, in a homelier manner her characters are likeable, relatable and slapstick funny. I couldn’t help liking Angela Clark. She is neither stupid nor ditzy. And the ballsy take-no-shit in her makes me want to follow the rest of her adventures to Paris and Las Vegas. FYI I’ve also ordered the rest of the I Heart series!
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Angela Clark finds respite in New York after finding her fiance in the backseat semi-naked with another woman, at her best friend’s wedding. Worst thing is…EVERYONE knows about it but her. She traipses off to a new continent with nothing but 2 pairs of underwear and suitcase full of mismatched clothes. There’s nothing an overhaul can’t do, right?

This was an easy book to read. At the heart of the novel, a girl just needs time off to discover what she really wants in life. I would have totally done the same thing, to leave everything behind and start afresh in a new place. She makes a new best friend from the hotel concierge desk – Jenny – who takes her on a whirlwind ride in the new city, and as she takes on a bright revamped outlook on life, she draws people with her new vibrant personality, and men flock to her side. What a laugh, when she has to keep a blog detailing all the juicy secrets of her life and both her dates find out about it.

Getting to know the cast in I Heart is much like meeting a new set of friends whose lives appear totally typical but whom are in fact as screwed up as the rest of us. Reading I Heart New York was like cruising down the Big Apple for the first time: walking down Saks at Fifth Avenue, ogling at Macy’s and Bloomingdales, fighting vertigo on the Empire State Building. New York’s magic comes alive amidst frenzied dates to band gigs, late nights in Manhattan and detours to Boston. I must say, I’m definitely awaiting the arrival of the rest of the installments in the series!

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release: September 7th 2010
Genre: Chick-Lit, Fiction, Popular Culture, Romance, Big Apple
My Rating: 6 / 10
Recommended for: Travelers, summer reads, light reads

If I HEART was ever to be made a movie, I would cast:
ANGELA CLARK: Alicia Silverstone
as

ALEX REID (the rockstar): Nicholas Hoult
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TYLER (the perfectly dreamy handsome & rich businessman): Kevin Zegers
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JENNY LOPEZ (the best friend!): Cheryl Cole
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SYNOPSIS:

Angela Clark is in love—with the most fabulous city in the world!

When Angela catches her boyfriend with another woman at her best friend’s wedding, she’s heartbroken and desperate to run away. With little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins, and her passport in hand, Angela decides to jump on a plane for . . . NYC!

Settling into a cute hotel and quickly bonding with benevolent concierge Jenny—a chatterbox Oprah wannabe with room for a new best friend—Angela heads out for a New York makeover, some serious retail therapy, and a whirlwind tour of the city. Before she knows it, she’s dating two sexy guys and blogging about her Big Apple escapades for a real fashion magazine. But while it’s one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it’s another working them out for yourself. Angela has fallen head over heels for the city that never sleeps, but does she heart New York more than home?

(Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, get ready for the summer debut of the year…
When you’re running away from a broken heart, there’s only one place to go…
Adjusting tiaras at the foot of the aisle, Angela and her best friend prepare for the wedding of the year. But events don’t go as planned. And when a girl is in possession of a crumpled bridesmaid dress – and can’t go home – New York (for the very first time) seems like an excellent idea.
Angela’s new friend Jenny Lopez gives Angela a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps, and a makeover. Who hasn’t dreamed of starting afresh with a sassy New York wardrobe, a new haircut and a trip to the make-up counter?
Before she knows it, the new Angela is getting over her broken heart by having dinner with two different boys. And, best of all, she gets to write about it in her fabulous new blog. But it’s one thing telling readers all about your romantic dilemmas. It’s another trying to figure them out for yourself!
Warm, funny and unputdownable, I Heart New York is an unforgettable debut)

Book Review: You Don’t Have to say You Love Me

Neve Slater’s self-esteem is buried somewhere underneath her size 32 waist-line. She battles to fit herself into a size 10 in order to finally attract the attention of her love interest William, and decides to enter a ‘pancake relationship’ with the sex-god celebrity journalist Max.

Max’s social reputation as a full-time jerk with the ability to charm the knickers off any woman was Neve’s sure-fire guarantee that she would never fall in love with him. So to gear up for WIlliam’s return to the country and back into her life, Max offers to be her ‘pancake boyfriend’ —- the first pancake relationship in her life which is bound to be imperfect and not made to last.

‘We both got so obsessed about that first pancake being thrown away that we forgot something really important,’ Max explained. ‘That first pancake tastes just as good as all the other ones. It’s not its fault that it was first in line and the pan wasn’t hot enough so it got a bit lumpy and misshapen.’
‘And when you’re really famished that first pancake tastes better than all the ones that come after it,’ 

Here we have a pair of perfectly compatible man and woman too busy coming up with excuses for how they should not be together, that they fail to see how right they are for each other. Happens a lot, no?

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“That was the worst thing about having a relationship with someone, even a pretend relationship. You opened up, let someone in, and when it was over, they had all the ammunition they needed to completely destroy you.” 

You don’t have to be a snarky bitch to love their verbal sparring and offhand flirtations. Manning’s fabulous plot is moulded by her wonderfully written prose with comedic interjections that made this novel so enjoyable. The shallow man-whore becomes the tamed romantic. The nerdette with oversized hips gains confidence through her unlikely pancake soulmate, and when WIlliam inevitably returns to the country, Max has to let go of Neve, to whom he eventually confesses that

“We don’t stop, not even when we reach the finish line. It’s a journey for life, Neve.”

I fell in love with the book cover (with the lips) the moment I’d laid eyes on it, and I’ve never even heard of Sarra Manning until I bought the book on impulse. I fell in love with it further when I found out that the male character Max has the typical outlook of a bad-boy I personally would love, with a secret mellow side he only shows to a selected few. Personally, I felt that Manning’s novel gives off a more realistic vibe in comparison to the plethora of chick-lit on popular best-selling shelves. I fell deeply in love with the book somewhere past the middle point with the ferocity with which Max was delivering the duties of being Neve’s trial lover. His conviction was the reason this make-believe relationship stood apart from commercialized versions of love. It was literally as if he was telling Neve: You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.

“She was so fed up with unrequited love and platonic love and all the other kinds of love that weren’t passionate, romantic, can’t-live-without-you, I-have-to-have-you-right-now, the-beat-of-your-heart-matches-the-beat-of-mine love.” 

This book is about finding your way around unfamiliar grounds and learning to push past perceived boundaries that any physical characteristics has limited you to.

Author: Sarra Manning
Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Corgi (February 3rd, 2011)
Rating: 8.5 / 10

If this were to be made into a movie…

NEVE SLATER – bookish, good-natured fat girl: Scarlett Johansson
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MAX – celebrity journalist, smooth-talking ladies’ man: Justin Timberlake
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CELIA SLATER – the bubbly, devious younger sister: Karlie Kloss – always encouraging, fun, and effortlessly perfect
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WILLIAM – the long-time friend who is unattainably perfect: Matthew Lewis
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SYNOPSIS:
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve’s heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she’s an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve’s lost her heart – but to who?

Book Review: The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris

Do not read this book on an empty stomach, for it will leave you foraging for every last morsel of chocolate in the refridgerator.

With the promise of being introduced to the world of The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Jenny Colgan has left me more than hooked: I literally devoured her novel in 2 sittings, with a couple of Reese’s peanut butter cups and a bag of Mars PODS to go along. 20130912-072626.jpg

What’s promised is rightfully delivered: Paris is ever so picturesque, and French cuisines ever so mouth-watering. Jenny Colgan successfully reignites the spark of Parisian magic in contemporary chick-lit by infusing the element of top-secret home-made luxury-chocolate recipes (plus we all know it’s every girls’ dream to be able to guiltlessly binge on chocolate, not a hot Parisian with dreamy French accent).

If interested, you can expect elaborate and vivid descriptions of chocolate making processes. The tale of an artisan chocolatier – Thierry Girard – springs to life, the Parisian Willy Wonka whose chocolatier is the highlight of the story. His brief but significant relationship is revealed in italicized snatches of flashbacks, inserted between the modern, blossoming love affair between Girard’s son Laurent and the novel’s heroine, Anna Trent. As much as we can smell love in the air, the thick scent of ‘rich dark chocolate’ is so often repeated and emphasized, reflecting the chocolatiers’ dedication to their craft, as Colgan never lets us forget that the story is set in the culinary capital of Paris.

I’ve enjoyed the novel thoroughly from cover to cover – her simple and deftly delivered prose were easy on the eyes and thus would be a comforting light-hearted pick-me-up. However, I hardly had to think while reading for the words were fairly simple and the plot somewhat predictable towards the end. The bittersweet aftertaste from the novel is something I was expecting from the description of the bitter chocolates that Parisians found tasty — totally unlike the overly-sweetened milky creamy American commercial brands — and that, I felt, perhaps foreshadowed a non-sugarcoated ending to this unconventional chick-lit.

Publisher: Sphere
Release: 14th March 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit, Fiction, Food, Paris, Romance
My Rating: 7 / 10
Recommended for: Holiday-goers, summer reads, weekend reads

If Chocolate Shop was ever to be made a movie, I would cast:

ANNA TRENT: Blake Lively
Noon By Noor - Presentation - Fall 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

LAURENT GIRARD: Henry Cavill
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CLAIRE (French Teacher): Gwyneth Paltrow
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood

THIERRY GIRARD: Fat Russell Crowe
ACTOR RUSSEL CROWE ON NBC NETWORKS THE TONIGHT SHOW.

SYNOPSIS:
As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris.

It’s a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime – to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.

With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate – and herself – than she ever dreamed.

September Reads

These couple of chick-lit came in the mail from Book Depository!
A cosy, much-desired break from heavy literature. Can’t wait to lose some sleep over them.
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Easy – Tammara Webber
Hubble Bubble – Jane Lovering
I Heart New York – Lindsey Kelk
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris – Jenny Colgan
Unsticky – Sarra Manning

“Sometimes we get so used to not really feeling anything, just going with the flow, that we forget how it feels to be really happy or sad.” 
― Lindsey KelkI Heart New York

Book Review: The Food of Love

I’ve truly learnt a lot of Italian phrases from Anthony Capella and here are some of my favourites:

“…what your first Italian date told you to say to anyone who got fresh with you..”
1.“Cacati in mano e prenditi a schiaffi”
lit: Take a shit on your hands and then smack your own face

2.“Lei e’un cafone stronzo, vada via in culo”
lit: You’re a piece of shit, so get back up your own arse!

2.“Guardone ti sorella e allupato ti bagnasti”
lit: It turns you on to watch your sister and me

And many more laugh-out-loud quotable Italian phrases. ♥
“Si nonnema teneva ‘o cazzo, ‘a chiammavamo nonno”
lit: If my Grandmother had a dick, we would have called her Grandpa

That, combined with the hilarity of cross-cultural language crises, a love triangle, and irresistibly mouth-watering descriptions of Italian cuisines, is the reason why this book is Awesome with the capital A. Recommending this to food-lovers and those seeking to immerse in an Italian adventure.

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Publisher: Viking Adult
Release: July 15, 2004
Genre: Chick-Lit, Fiction, Food, Paris, Romance
My Rating: 7 / 10
Recommended for: Holiday-goers, summer reads, weekend reads

If The Food of Love was ever to be made a movie:

LAURA PATTERSON: Hayden Panettiere
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TOMASSO MASSI: Milo Ventimiglia
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BRUNO: Zachary Quinto
Heroes

 

SYNOPSIS:
In Anthony Capella’s delicious debut novel, Laura, a twentysomething American, is on her first trip to Italy. She’s completely enamored of the art, beauty, and, of course, food that Rome has to offer. Soon she’s enamored of the handsome and charming Tommaso, who tells her he’s a chef at the famed Templi restaurant and begins to woo her with his gastronomic creations. But Tommaso hasen’t been entirely truthful he’s really just a waiter. The master chef behind the tantalizing meals is Tommaso’s talented but shy friend Bruno, who loves laura from afar. Thus begins a classic comedy of errors full of the culinary magic and the sensual stmosphere of Italy. The result is a romantic comedy in the tradition of Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne that tempts readers to devour it in one sitting. Evoking the sights, smells and flavors of Italy in sensuous prose, this lively book also features recipes for readers to create (or just dream about) Bruno’s food of amore.

The Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time (Crime Writers’ Association)

  1. Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time (1951)
  2. Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (1939)
  3. John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963)
  4. Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night (1935)
  5. Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926)
  6. Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca (1938)
  7. Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely (1940)
  8. Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone (1868)
  9. Len Deighton: The IPCRESS File (1962)
  10. Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon (1930)
  11. Josephine Tey: The Franchise Affair (1948)
  12. Hillary Waugh: Last Seen Wearing … (1952)
  13. Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (1980)
  14. Geoffrey Household: Rogue Male (1939)
  15. Raymond Chandler: The Long Goodbye (1953)
  16. Francis Iles: Malice Aforethought (1931)
  17. Frederick Forsyth: The Day of the Jackal (1971)
  18. Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors (1934)
  19. Agatha Christie: And Then There Were None (1939)
  20. John Buchan: The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915)
  21. Arthur Conan Doyle: The Collected Sherlock Holmes Short Stories (1892-1927)
  22. Dorothy L. Sayers: Murder Must Advertise (1933)
  23. Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Mystery & Imagination (1852)
  24. Eric Ambler: The Mask of Dimitrios (1939)
  25. Edmund Crispin: The Moving Toyshop (1946)
  26. Margery Allingham: The Tiger in the Smoke (1952)
  27. Peter Lovesey: The False Inspector Dew (1982)
  28. Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White (1860)
  29. Barbara Vine: A Dark-Adapted Eye (1986)
  30. James M. Cain: The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)
  31. Dashiell Hammett: The Glass Key (1931)
  32. Arthur Conan Doyle: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
  33. John le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
  34. E. C. Bentley: Trent’s Last Case (1913)
  35. Ian Fleming: From Russia, with Love (1957)
  36. Ed McBain: Cop Hater (1956)
  37. Colin Dexter: The Dead of Jericho (1981) (tie)
  38. Patricia Highsmith: Strangers on a Train (1950)
  39. Ruth Rendell: A Judgement in Stone (1977)
  40. John Dickson Carr: The Hollow Man (1935)
  41. Anthony Berkeley: The Poisoned Chocolates Case (1929)
  42. Ellis Peters: A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977)
  43. Ellis Peters: The Leper of Saint Giles (1981) (tie)
  44. Ira Levin: A Kiss Before Dying (1953)
  45. Patricia Highsmith: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
  46. Graham Greene: Brighton Rock (1938)
  47. Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake (1943)
  48. Scott Turow: Presumed Innocent (1987)
  49. Ruth Rendell: A Demon in My View (1976)
  50. John Dickson Carr: The Devil in Velvet (1951)
  51. Barbara Vine: A Fatal Inversion (1987)
  52. Michael Innes: The Journeying Boy (1949)
  53. P. D. James: A Taste for Death (1986)
  54. Jack Higgins: The Eagle Has Landed (1975)
  55. Mary Stewart: My Brother Michael (1960)
  56. Peter Lovesey: Bertie and the Tin Man (1987)
  57. Susan Moody: Penny Black (1984) (tie)
  58. Len Deighton: Game, Set & Match (1984-1986)
  59. Dick Francis: The Danger (1983)
  60. P. D. James: Devices and Desires (1989)
  61. Reginald Hill: Underworld (1988)
  62. Mary Stewart: Nine Coaches Waiting (1958)
  63. Paula Gosling: A Running Duck (1978)
  64. Michael Gilbert: Smallbone Deceased (1950)
  65. Lionel Davidson: The Rose of Tibet (1962)
  66. P. D. James: Innocent Blood (1980)
  67. Dorothy L. Sayers: Strong Poison (1930)
  68. Michael Innes: Hamlet, Revenge! (1937)
  69. Tony Hillerman: A Thief of Time (1989)
  70. Caryl Brahms & S. J. Simon: A Bullet in the Ballet (1937)
  71. Reginald Hill: Dead Heads (1983)
  72. Graham Greene: The Third Man (1950)
  73. Anthony Price: The Labyrinth Makers (1974)
  74. Adam Hall: The Quiller Memorandum (1965)
  75. Margaret Millar: Beast in View (1955)
  76. Sarah Caudwell: The Shortest Way to Hades (1984)
  77. Desmond Bagley: Running Blind (1970)
  78. Dick Francis: Twice Shy (1981)
  79. Richard Condon: The Manchurian Candidate (1959)
  80. Caroline Graham: The Killings at Badger’s Drift (1987)
  81. Nicholas Blake: The Beast Must Die (1938)
  82. Martin Cruz Smith: Gorky Park (1981) (tie)
  83. Agatha Christie: Death Comes as the End (1945)
  84. Christianna Brand: Green for Danger (1945)
  85. Cyril Hare: Tragedy at Law (1942)
  86. John Fowles: The Collector (1963)
  87. J. J. Marric: Gideon’s Day (1955)
  88. Lionel Davidson: The Sun Chemist (1976)
  89. Alistair MacLean: The Guns of Navarone (1957)
  90. Julian Symons: The Colour of Murder (1957)
  91. John Buchan: Greenmantle (1916)
  92. Erskine Childers: The Riddle of the Sands (1903)
  93. Peter Lovesey: Wobble to Death (1970)
  94. Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest (1929)
  95. Ken Follett: The Key to Rebecca (1980)
  96. Ed McBain: Sadie When She Died (1972)
  97. H. R. F. Keating: The Murder of the Maharajah (1980)
  98. Simon Brett: What Bloody Man Is That? (1987)
  99. Gavin Lyall: Shooting Script (1966)
  100. Edgar Wallace: The Four Just Men (1906)

New bucket list: read everything on CWA’s top 100.
Have been on a Mystery/Crime Novel rampage of late,
& it might be near impossible to get my hands on some of these listed but I’m gonna try!
Here we goooo~

reader

talent is a wonderful thing, but it won’t carry a quitter

“This is the key to life:
To expect everything to be given to you from above, yet to be genuinely surprised and forever grateful, when they are.
Expecting all good things to be yours, while not knowing how to take anything for granted.
If there may be a key in life, this is the key.”
― C. JoyBell C.

keyh
“My accident really taught me just one thing: the only way to go on is to go on.
To say ‘I can do this’ even when you know you can’t.” 
― 
Stephen KingDuma Key

in itty-bitty pleasures we revel

Couple of days ago I revived the much-missed feel of carrying dead-weight heavy books in my arms…
by hitting the public library!
Which, sadly I have avoided since, 4 years ago, I found actual shit between pages of Nora Roberts.
By then I’ve forced myself to accept the fact that people do bring public books
into places where they do their private businesses.
So please, anyone who’s reading this, do not smear public books with your booger, poo,
pasta cream sauce, or stuff you wouldn’t want to see in close proximity while enjoying your favourite novel.
Thank you.

My take-home reads:
Hester’s Story by Adèle Geras
Citadel by Kate Mosse
The Suitors by Cécile David-Weill
Happily Ever After by Harriet Evans
Blindspot by Jane Kamensky & Jill Lepore

Reveling in the freedom to read everything I’ve ever wanted to
given the time I have between flights, in the hotel, or in cafès with my latte.
Life’s good.

boooook