Category Archives: The Byq Never Lies

Book Review: A Spot of Bother

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Title: A Spot of Bother
Author: Mark Haddon
Language: English
Format: Hardcover

Review:
I am being very honest that when I picked this book from the shelves, it is because of “The Curious Incident of the Dog In¬†the Night Time“. That was one incredibly wonderful book — see how I used an adverb and and adjective just to make sure you know how I like that book. However, I also have learned from experiences, that one should never, never ever, hold their expectation about a book based on one’s previous encounter with books from a particular author.

Yes.

So, I read A Spot of Bother with a totally open mind. And I am glad that I did.

I have to say that I quite enjoyed the book. It is definitely different from Curious Incident, so if you were thinking of reading this one, don’t bother to try to find similarities. You wouldn’t find one, and if you do it must be a bit of a stretch.

For example I could say that it is about a family, but many stories are about families. So, I will stop talking about the other book, and would talk about this one as an individual book.

Right.

Like I said before, the story was around a family. A father, mother, a son, and a daughter. Every one of them has their own problem. I am not going to tell you about their problems as it is basically the plot of the book, and I don’t want to be the spoiler.

Maybe it is my personal thing, but I kind of like the male characters more than the female ones. In fact, I found the mother character as incredibly annoying. I really don’t like her. I am not sure whether the author meant her to be the bad guy in the story or what, but I do feel that way about her.

The story was incredible. I have seen some other reviews, that people don’t like this because this is too “soapey” — which I could not disagree due to the amount of drama involved. But what is a story without a drama in it? Some said that there is no originality in the drama itself, that there are plenty stories with similar premise… but seriously there are hundreds of stories with similar premise. My argument is how to make it stand out.

I think Mark Haddon nailed it. Yes true, in a glance I could see why it is just another family drama, but his dark humour, bitter sarcastic jokes, and psychological break down…. suddenly, you could see why he was so successful with the previous work.

I will rate this book 4/5, and would recommend people to read it. It would definitely be a great summer reading, or a company for your travel ūüôā

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Book Review: Red Dog

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Title: Red Dog
Author: Louise de Bernières
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Review:

I know Louis de Berni√®res from his other book Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and love that book so much. It was probably one of the best book I have ever read. That is why I don’t have any hesitation to start reading this book — when I found it in my husband’s bookshelves. One thing I was not happy with — why didn’t my husband gave me this book much earlier?

This book is thin. Very. Especially if it is compared to Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

Not only that it is thin, but also incredibly light and easy to read too. I think it is just a perfect summer reading — unfortunately I did not know it and finished it before the summer has even started.

The¬†main protagonist is the Red Dog. Yes. A dog. Definitely a plus point from me. The human characters — although they’re basically the supporting character in the story, they are well described and definitely play an important role in shaping the story.

It is funny, and heartwarming. I can’t remember the last time I used that word — heart warming. I found it really difficult not to tear up a little in the last few chapters. Somehow I missed Chika.

Anyway I definitely will recommend this book, especially to those who like dogs. Yes, you can call me bias or something but from me, it is 5 out of 5.

Book Review: Saving Grace

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Title: Saving Grace
Author: Ciara Geraghty
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Review:

This book has been sitting for ages in my “to read” section, and finally I finished it. I have to say that finishing this book is quite a chore. Yes. A chore. And here is why.

First of all, it is not a bad book. I just found that the beginning of this book is a little bit draggy, and if I couldn’t get passed the first two chapter, I might not be able to go anywhere with this book. It is classic– if it is not clich√©, story about a woman who is described as far-from-perfect-borderline-self-destructive kind of protagonist trying to survive a trauma by finding the Mr. Right.

Not that there’s a problem with that in general. I just don’t quite like both the sentiment and the message sent by the story. So, before I rant further and start spilling the beans, I will move on to other things.

The characters. Well… I don’t like the main character. I don’t find the protagonist inspiring at all. I couldn’t remember most of the¬†other characters in the book either — they seemed like being thrown in just to patch the lack of the story the main character could give to the reader. Most of them¬†don’t add anything to the story really…

I believe that the author would like to insert a dry humour in the story. Well… some worked, some just completely… dry. I¬†do like the Irish touch in the story, and wish there is more about the Irish culture, or places, or whatever that could distinct this story from other chick-lits. It didn’t happen.

However in the last few chapters I started to feel a little bit emotional reading this book. Although I suspected that it is probably because the story hit too close to home. And, for that I give this book more brownie points.

In the end, this is still a chick lits. If you like chick lits in general, you will like this one. It is much deeper than most that I have ever read before. Better written too (especially because apparently this is a debut book). I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: South of The Border, West of The Sun

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Title: South of The Border, West of The Sun
Author: Haruki Murakami
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Review:

Hajime was the only child. Nobody could understand him, apart from the other only child at school, Shimamoto. When they grew up they went to different school and lost contact. But of course, I wouldn’t tell you the whole story, because what’s the point then? If you want to read the synopsis you could click here, and if you would like to read my review you can just go on.

This book reminds me a little about Norwegian Wood. I couldn’t say that I have the same feeling about them though. Because, although in a way I love Norwegian Wood more, I could relate to South of The Border more. South of The Border is not as dark and gloomy as Norwegian Wood, although dark and gloomy is still the theme of the book.

Unlike Norwegian Wood — South of The Border’s plot is really fast. It is almost as if I am watching a film while fast forwarding to the interesting bit only. Sometimes, I wish Murakami would elaborate more about some part of the story. That’s probably why I liked Norwegian Wood better than South of The Border. But I should stop comparing these books and focusing on South of The Border from now.

The main characer, Hajime do me anything. I don’t like him too much. I have to say that I don’t really like Shimamoto either. But somehow, these two people that I don’t really like could make a beautiful story between them. How bizarre! It is as if doesn’t matter how flawed the character, as long as in this book their existence complemented the other.

The ending… I really wish it could end differently, but I am glad it didn’t. I think it couldn’t be better than that. I think the whole plot was meant to lead to that kind of closure.

It is one of few books that I had to practically put so much efforts to put down. It was late and I was sleepy, but my eyes were glued to the page of this book. When I reached the last page, I was so sad the story ends there.

Of course, I would recommend this book.¬†It is perfect for summer reading, or for people who is new to “foreign literature”. I rated this book 4 out of 5.

 

Book Review: Roadside Crosses

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Title: Roadside Crosses
Author: Jefferey Deaver
Language: English
Format: Paperback

Review:
When a patrol officer saw a cross on the roadside he thought nothing about it. Not until…

Well… I shouldn’t tell you the story should I? If you want to read the synopsis you could click here. While I am going to do the review.

The main character of this book is Kathryn Dance, a kinesics expert — basically someone who observe one’s body language to interpret messages. Something that in the real life I don’t believe. But this is a book, so I enjoyed it. It is meant to be a fiction, isn’t it?

Anyway. Apart from the fact that I am not comfortable with “kinesics expert” thingy. I could say that I quite enjoy the book. I think it is Jeffery Deaver’s writing style that made me practically hooked to the story. I should say that he’s one of my favourites — and I don’t have many.

The fast paced storyline appeals to me. There is nothing that puts me off more than a dragging scene about two people reminiscing about something that has nothing to do with the plot (just for the sake of the word count).

I like the way he twist the plot without wringing it too much. I patted myself in the back for being able to guess the obvious. But boy… the last one, I did not expect that at all. It is always nice to have an unexpected something when reading a book.

Unfortunately, I don’t read the book according to its sequence. I did not read the first book, and this is the second one of the Kathryn Dance series. Maybe I could relate to this character more if I read it from the first book, but so far, I don’t have the same kind of fondness to Dance as to Lincoln Rhyme.

Would I recommend this? Of course I will. Despite of the characterisation, I would still rate this book 4/5 for the story alone. So yes, if you like crime stories, you would like this one.

What Does it Mean to Downsize?

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After working with WordPress.org for so many years, I found working with the free version of WordPress.com quite challenging. I agree that some of the features are quite helpful — the stats, the notification, etc. But those are nothing considering what I lost by “downsizing”.

Yes, I consider moving to free WordPress.com from WordPress.org as downsizing, and I don’t mind doing that for now since financially, it is just the right thing to do. And of course, just like many people who have to significantly change¬†their lifestyle after a financial hit, I do need to readjust things:

I found that the “theme” options are not as vary as what I used to have. They are not as customisable either. So are the widgets… I used to have plenty of them, customisable and all– for my blogroll feed, etc. But now I have to settle down with the “standards”. So far it is okay, except that I might have to remove the little amazon.co.uk affiliate link that I used to have lurking around the corner.

Some widgets like the old blogroll feed¬†I had was somewhat important to me. It helped me a lot in tracking which blog I follow is posting an update without having them sent to my e-mail. It is gone now, and I realised that some of the links I had had to be removed since they are now inactive. I don’t like that, but again, it is something that has to be done.

It is exactly like how people has to readjust after a financial hit, or retirement. They sold their big family home, and move to a small home for two. Making a more sensible purchasing decisions instead of splurging in a outrageous luxuries. I mean, I’ve been through this before, and I will be able to do this again.

But you have a job now, you ask. Yes I do have a job. But whether or not I think this is a good and rewarding job for me or not, I was warned in the beginning of the job not to post anything damning online — which could backfire legally for me. So, I will leave it like that, while looking a better rewarding job ūüôā But until then… Yes. This would be SuperByq for now.

Argh! Enough with this doom and gloom thing. I realised that I have been so productive in the beginning of this year. It is just my German that needs a bit of picking up. Remember my goal in the end of this year? Being able to speak German, and one other language — I am still considering which one. So, I will finish this entry by wishing you all the best of luck.

Prost!

Film Review: Halbe Br√ľder

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Title: Halbe Br√ľder
Year: 2015
Director: Christian Alvart
Actors: Sido, Peri Baumeister, Wilson Gonzalez Ochsenknecht
Genre: Comedy
Language: Deutsch with English subtitles

Review:
Julian, Yassin, and Addi never crossed path before in the past, but one day they were gathered in a lawyer’s office just to be told that they were half brothers from their mother’s side. They were also told that they have got an inheritance, but only be given one clue how to get to it. So, the three men embarked on a journey of a lifetime as brothers.

I watched this film during my flight to Indonesia. Since my German was very much limited, I found the English subtitles helped a lot. I grew up reading subtitles, so it did not bothered me for one bit. However, I also know that for some native English speakers, the existence of subtitles could spoiled the fun of watching films — or just simply disturbing. But honestly, not watching this film just because it is subtitled… you’re missing something.

This is definitely a good comedy film. Like¬†many comedy films, the storyline was just not logical. You cannot use your logic to make sense of some stuff in this film. It is not supposed to do that. Instead, it will make you say: “oh my dog… really??”, and laughed. And, no.. it is not that kind of “borderline bad cheesy” actions or “outrageously rude slapstick” either.

I cannot say much about the actors. I haven’t watched many German films (as much as I want to — I believe it would helped me in learning German better), so I don’t know many German actors. But these three main characters were definitely portrayed really well by these three actors. I wonder if they are the equivalent of Nicholas Saputra or Reza Rahardian in Indonesia — really good, but not yet go international.

It is not meant to be heavy, or deep. It does not promise you a good moral of the story. It does not try to confuse you with plot twists or anything like that. I believe its sole purpose of being made is pure entertainment. And it worked really well. It was enjoyable to watch, it definitely made my flight much more bearable, and it stuck in my head.

Again, I know that lots of people have problems with subtitles, but¬†I will say it again that not watching a good film just because you cannot be bothered to read subtitles means you are missing so many good things in life. So, I will recommend Halbe Br√ľder, especially for these kind of people. It is light, it is not difficult to follow, and it is a good film. Who knows in the end of the film you suddenly want to learn German? There are lots of people want to learn Japanese because they watch animes.

I also will recommend this to other people. Like I said, it is good film, and definitely worth watching — as I rated it 4.5 out of 5. However, it is not for children though, as there are explicit words, sex scenes, blood, etc. Don’t say that I haven’t warned you ūüôā

Prost!

Being Spoiled

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Yes… Me. I am being incredibly spoiled lately.

Ever since I came back from Indonesia, I haven’t done so many household work. It seems like Mr. Fix-It feels the need of keeping me as idle as possible :p~ or… I am just lazy. I am not complaining at all. I still cook though, because we sincerely believe that my cooking is somewhat¬†better than his, and it is important to keep us eating a well balanced meal (almost) everyday.

However, now he is in the kitchen cooking dinner for us. It is going to be Macaroni Cheese. I cannot put up any photos now because it is still cooking, but probably a bit later it will pop on Instagram.

And that’s not the only thing he’s been doing for me. Yesterday we had a dinner date, and went for a proper fine dining. I loved that so much. I loved the fact that he is trying to book us a table at one of the most notable restaurant in Norwich — The Assembly House. I love the fact that we could dress up, doll up, and look good for a nice dinner out.

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Look how cool he is in suit? Yeah? When we were in the cafe in the forum — as we arrived in the city too early for our booking, the ladies there were looking at him. Can’t help feeling completely smug that I was with this incredibly smart looking guy, whose awesomeness can only be equalled by my own dad (and sometimes my brother), and Noel Gallagher.

It was a three course meal dinner we had at The Assembly House. I chose “Pressed Ham Hock — with deep fried gerkhins, mustard mayo and croutons (with salad)” as the starter.

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And “Crispy Confit Duck Leg — with braised Red Cabbage, Lyonesse potato frisee, and bacon salad” as the main course. Yes, it was a struggle to finish both meals, but…¬†img_0134

I was incredibly greedy, I have to admit, but I couldn’t miss the dessert as it was Creme Brulee, with lavender shortbread. How could I say no?

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They were utterly tasty, and it was such a beautiful night, and a great night out. I hope Mr. Fix-It knows that I do really appreciate this effort, and that I do really enjoy the dinner (although in the end he had to help me out by eating the food I could not finish). And… oh…

My dinner is almost ready. Better put this up and get ready to eat…

Prost!

Superbyq is Moving… Again…

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I don’t know why but it seems that I have never learned my lessons. But forgive me, that after all these five years with me, you will have to listen again how frustrating it is to move my blog from one place to another. Yes… I am moving Superbyq from iPage.

First of all, I am moving superbyq to wordpress.com.¬†Few days ago iPage sent me an invoice for my incoming renewal — yes I was aware that it was that time of the year again. But unlike so many others, I do read my e-mails, and realised that in that invoice they said that they were going to charge me ¬£250++ for two years service. That is outrageous really.

I can understand if they need to raise the price. It is understandable that the price could not stay there forever. But bumping price from ¬£56+ for two year to ¬£250+? That is just preposterous. I am not having it. I did not even want to know how they dared to bump the price 4x the original price. I just thought it was an unfair business trick, as I know some amateur blogger like me would probably stop looking around for a new web hosting, or not reading their bank statement, or e-mails. But not me. I am basically a blogger without a regular income, I do care about every single penny come out from my wallet. So ¬£250+?? Go eat dirt…

That’s how I moved my blog… ¬†here. For now (when I wrote this), this blog is called superbyqcom.wordpress.com. I admit I could have had something nicer for the name, but oh well… I believe it would only be temporary anyway. I would map (I really don’t know the technicality of this), superbyq.com so… by the end of the process you would be able to go to superbyq.com like usual. Sorry for the incovenience…

I realised that my domain name service is about to end as well… so I decided that I might as well cut off my relationship once and for all from iPage and go to GoDaddy instead.

Right… I thought iPage customer service was awesome. They’re quick, and they solved problems. They were polite and helpful. But gee, GoDaddy’s customer service was top notch. They were friendly, helpful, and managed to calm me down, because… you see… moving Superbyq has always been stressful experience for me. And this one is definitely not an exception.

As much as I love being treated with all that formality, I think for this particular case I would like someone who can explain to me with the commoners’ language. I have to say that GoDaddy’s customer service who chatted with me at that time — Tyler (yes I remember because he was incredibly nice to me at that time). I suppose Tyler is a guy, so I would not expect him to look like this:

Okay. This is probably too early to say that GoDaddy is better than iPage. Because one weird thing about their page is that at first, I could find the chat button. So I could chat with them… typey-typey. But then, when I tried to talk to them again, I cannot find the button again. So I had to phone up to ask about my problem. For someone who hates talking on the phone, this is quite frustrating. Luckily the guy on the other side of the line was quite friendly and patient enough to explain what’s going on with my domain transfer.

Right. I will see you again. And I hope next time I will see you in the new Superbyq.com — instead of superbyqcom.wordpress.com. Not that I think [insertyourwebsitehere].wordpress.com is a bad thing… but… oh well. I should shut up.

Prost!

Film Review: The Hateful Eight

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Title: The Hateful Eight
Year: 2015
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Actors: Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Channing Tatum

Review:
Since I was never a Tarantino’s fan, I dismissed this film when I saw the teaser. However I did not say no when my brother in law said he’s going to treat my sister and I to the cinema, and watch this film. After all, I quite enjoyed Inglorious Bastards (come to think of it, I haven’t written its review, have I?), it could be that good — I thought.

The premise is that in the middle of a nasty winter in Wyoming, eight travellers stuck together in a little cabin because of the storm coming. Two bounty hunters, one prisoner, a war veteran, a new sheriff in town, a public executioner, a coachman, and a cowboy coming home to see his mum for Christmas. What could go wrong?

Well, it is Tarantino’s film, everything could go wrong, so there will be no surprise in it. What is a surprise was that I enjoyed the film thoroughly. It was slightly draggy for the first ten minutes, but then things escalated pretty quickly and I got really absorbed in the story. It was exciting, and well… it is understandable that it was rated 21+ — even with Indonesian butchering style censorship it was still pretty gory for your little ones, so just leave them with your mum.

I found Samuel L Jackson as the star of the film. He was awesome, funny, witty, and was pretty much owned everybody else in the film. I expected more from Channing Tatum but I don’t mind with his appearance. Kurt Russell though, I almost can’t recognise him, and he was good too — but again I think Samuel Jackson owned everybody else in this film.

I can’t compare it with other Tarantino’s films because I don’t watch many of them, but I can say that it was a good film. It was definitely entertaining and it doesn’t hold back at all. It has all things un-PC, so if you are a bit twitchy about that this is probably not your cup of tea. It has a lot of swear words and blood gushing scenes, so if you are into a sweet and lovey dovey drama, you might want to skip this one too.

Having said that, if you are 21 years or older, and you want to watch something worth your money on weekend in the cinema, I could recommend this– but not for first date unless you know your date like films like Kingsman or Die Hard, this might be a good choice. No, I don’t give warranty, you cheeky bastards.

My verdict is 4 out of 5.