Friday, 28 September 2007

Book review: Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever

'These kids don't need broomsticks to fly'

That's the motto for the Maximum Ride series.

Since I am currently obsessed with reading all James Patterson's books, it was a simple matter to pick this up eventhough this is the first venture by James Patterson for teen adult market.

Maximum Ride series is a spin off from his previous adult novels, When The Wind Blows and The Lake House.

And as I wrote earlier, I prefer this than Harry Potter. Yes you, who have not known what to read after HP, I have found the perfect replacement to fill your time.

I have searched high and low for the first installment of Maximum Ride (Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment), but since I could not find it, I started with this second book; Maximum Ride: School's Out Forever.

Meet Max (14), Fang (14), Iggy (14, he's blind), Gasman (8), Nudge (11) and Angel (6) (oh, don't forget about the talking dog, Total). They are reengineered kids with wings to fly (human-bird hybrid). They were being hunted by the Erasers (another pack of kids with the ability of turning into wolves; human-wolf hybrid) since they escaped from the lab.

This book is funny! It is sharp, had street slangs and all the right punches from what you expected from James Patterson's books. It also proves girls can be tough (oh yeah, Max is the leader of the pack, and she's a girl!).

I was laughing along the way with the book, with a lot of scary moments when they were being hunted by the Erasers. Fang even had the time to blog (http://maximumride.blogspot.com/) eventhough the pack were always on the run. Along the way, they try to search for their own identity and long-lost parents.

A few scenes that makes me smirk and LOL:

When an FBI agent asked Gasman his name;
'And how do you spell that?' the agent asked.
'Captain, like the captain of a ship,' the Gasman explained. And then Terror, you know, T-E-R-R-O-R.'
'Your name is Captain Terror.'

Angel, who had the ability to read and manipulate minds, while fighting with an Eraser:
'You're getting scary, you know that?' I said to Angel, not really kidding. I mean, making an Eraser drop right out of the sky by just telling him to - jeez.

Angel even manipulate the mind of the President of USA! (no kidding)

And this one tops the cake, when they were trying to break codes and said maybe a book can be matched with the code series.
'Not yet' Nudge said. 'There're still a couple of things we haven't tried. Like if the numbers all relate back to a book.'
'Which book?' asked Iggy.
'A big book, with lots of words. A book that wouldn't be hard for you to find,' said Nudge. 'Something all over the place, that a lot of people have.'
'The Da Vinci Code?' the Gasman suggested.

By the end of the book, the kids were still on the run. I would expect that since this book is the second from the trilogy. But it ends on high notes, all ends well :)

Yes, the third (Maximum Ride: Saving The World and Other Extreme Sports) is out already, eventhough it hasn't reach our shores yet.

I am keeping my fingers crossed since I aready read rave reviews for the last installment. (ops, dear me, dear me, I just found out this series will have 12 books in total?)

Bring it on, James Patterson!

'The man is the master of his genre. We fans will have one wish for him: write even faster' -USA Today

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Red team

I thought we would not have a theme colour for this Raya.
However, since I already made a new red kebarung, dh decided that we MUST wear red for this coming raya.

Yesterday, a trip to Jalan TAR ensures that our little off springs will be getting red baju melayu and red baju kurung.

L-R: The pink red baju kurung (cotton casa?) for Amni (RM 35), red baju melayu for Fawwaz (RM 19.90) and another one for Fahri (RM 19.90).

The kids who will be in the red team this coming raya :) (their first picture 3-together)

Friday, 21 September 2007

Balik kampung ye?

Minggu ini, bila Fawwaz buat nakal atau Amni mula nakal, awal-awal aku cakap;

"Ha, kang ibu tinggal kat rumah ni.. Raya tak boleh balik kampung. Duduklah jaga rumah."

Terus jadi baik budak 2 orang tu.

Masalahnya, lepas sudah berkata sebegitu.. rasa menyesal pun ada.
Sebab hari-hari budak berdua tu ingat kami angkat beg (beg pergi nurseri) pagi-pagi sebab nak balik kampung.

"Nak balik kampung ye?"
"Bukan, nak pergi nurseri."
"Tapi saya nak balik kampung."

Huhuhuh..

"Bulan depan baru dapat balik kampung ye."

Monday, 17 September 2007

Buah-buah hati saya :)

Dalam ramai-ramai anak saya, Fahri seorang sahaja yang pandai tongkat dagu semasa kecil :P (his special talent for the moment)

Abang Fawwaz kata nak ambil gambar dengan adik Fahri, tapi suruh dekat² dengan adik, punyalah susah. Bolehlah, semua buah hati saya dalam gambar ini :)

Hujung minggu habiskan masa buat apa ye? Masak nasi ayam untuk satu keluarga (pertama kali ummi puji masakan saya sambil berpesan kalau saya bersara, boleh buka kedai nasi ayam :P).

Dan sibuk menggubah hantaran untuk Siti (komen di sini). Siti, I hope you love it :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

2nd Hajj?

We went to TH just now and registered for Hajj (again!).

The year would be 2017.
Bolehlah tu, anak-anak dah besar :P

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Maximum Ride!

What would you do when you are crazy about this series but you have not read about it yet?
Ok, I admit it.. I am a crazy bookaholic.

And yes, the kids with the big wings also blog! I already believed they exist! Move aside, Harry Potter! You don't even blog :P

And to justify my readings.. ahem.. here is a wonderful article :) (P/S: Who wants to give me the Maximum Ride series? *wink wink*)

Reading fiction could help enhance your social skills.

Bookworms are no nerds.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, pschology researchers at the University of Toronto discovered that frequent fiction readers possessed stronger social abilities than frequent non-fiction readers.

Readers more exposed to fiction performed better on tests measuring empathy and social cognition than readers of expository non-fiction.

As fictional narratives often correspond to our social environment, they give opportunities to relate to characters and situations in the stories. “By continually placing ourselves in these fictional social worlds and simulating social experiences, we can either hone the processes used for comprehending others, or come to learn concrete information about how onterpersonal relations work,” says Raymond Mar, a PhD candidate on psychology at the University of Toronto.

"The difference between fiction and reality; Fiction has to make sense." TOM CLANCY

Monday, 10 September 2007

The VCDs

Last week, our office had Garage Sale and my mom contributed quite a lot of old VCDS to sell.

And demmit, my mom even had the nerve to pick some of my best Hindustan movies and going to give it away. I had to rush and pick up my Dil To Pagal Hai and Chori Chori Chupke Chupke VCDs. I beli yang original ok!

Manalah pula VCD Kuch Kuch Hota Hai ni?

Oh yes, eventhough I am not watching Hidustan anymore, I am still living in the era of Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol :P

I am still not shocked to know DDLJ is still running with full packed cinemas in India.

As of 13 April 2007, the film's initial theatrical release lasted 600 weeks--more than 11 years--a world record.

Oh, do read the analysis from a Mat Salleh here..

Friday, 7 September 2007

Fasting for pregnant women & breastfeeding moms

Question :
Is it permissible for my wife who is breastfeeding my ten-month-old son not to fast during Ramadaan?

Answer :
Praise be to Allaah.

With regard to breastfeeding mothers – and also pregnant women – two scenarios may apply:

1- If the woman is not affected by fasting, and fasting is not too difficult for her, and she does not fear for her child, then she is obliged to fast, and it is not permissible for her not to fast.

2- If the woman fears for herself or her child because of fasting, and fasting is difficult for her, then she is allowed not to fast, but she has to make up the days that she does not fast.

In this situation it is better for her not to fast, and it is makrooh for her to fast. Some of the scholars stated that if she fears for her child, it is obligatory for her not to fast and it is haraam for her to fast.

Al-Mirdaawi said in al-Insaaf (7/382):

It is makrooh for her to fast in this case… Ibn ‘Aqeel said: If a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding mother fears for her pregnancy or her child, then it is not permissible for her to fast in this case, but if she does not fear for her child then it is not permissible for her not to fast.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked in Fataawa al-Siyaam (p. 161):

If a pregnant woman or breastfeeding mother does not fast with no excuse, and she is strong and in good health, and is not affected by fasting, what is the ruling on that?

He replied:

It is not permissible for a pregnant woman or breastfeeding woman not to fast during the day in Ramadaan unless they have an excuse. If they do not fast because they have an excuse, then they have to make up the missed fasts, because Allaah says concerning one who is sick (interpretation of the meaning):

“and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Sawm (fasts) must be made up] from other days”[al-Baqarah 2:185]

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers come under the same heading as those who are sick. If their excuse is that they fear for the child, then as well as making up the missed fasts, according to some scholars they also have to feed one poor person for each day missed, giving wheat, rice, dates or any other staple food. Some of the scholars said that all they have to do is make up the missed fasts, no matter what the situation, because there is no evidence in the Qur’aan or Sunnah for giving food in this case, and the basic principle is that there is no obligation unless proof of that is established. This is the view of Abu Haneefah (may Allaah have mercy on him) and it is a strong view.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was also asked in Fataawa al-Siyaam (p. 162) about a pregnant women who fears for herself or her child, and does not fast – what is the ruling?

He replied by saying:

Our answer to this is that one of two scenarios must apply in the case of a pregnant woman.

The first is if she is healthy and strong, and does not find fasting difficult, and it does not affect her foetus. In this case the woman is obliged to fast, because she has no excuse not to do so.

The second is where the pregnant woman is not able to fast, either because the pregnancy is advanced or because she is physically weak, or for some other reason. In this case she should not fast, especially if her foetus is likely to be harmed, in which case it may be obligatory for her not to fast. If she does not fast, then like others who do not fast for a valid reason, she has to make up the days when that excuse no longer applies. When she gives birth, she has to make up those fasts after she becomes pure from nifaas. But sometimes the excuse of pregnancy may be lifted but then immediately followed by another excuse, namely breastfeeding. The breastfeeding mother may need food and drink, especially during the long summer days when it is very hot. So she may need not to fast so that she can nourish her child with her milk. In this case we also say to her: Do not fast, and when this excuse no longer applies, then you should make up the fasts that you have missed.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (15/224):

With regard to pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, it is proven in the hadeeth of Anas ibn Maalik al-Ka’bi, narrated by Ahmad and the authors of al-Sunan with a saheeh isnaad, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) granted them a dispensation allowing them not to fast, and he regarded them as being like travelers. From this it is known that they may not fast but they have to make up the fasts later, just like travelers. The scholars stated that they are only allowed not to fast if fasting is too difficult for them, as in the case of one who is sick, or if they fear for their children. And Allaah knows best.

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (10/226):

The pregnant woman is obliged to fast during her pregnancy, unless she fears that fasting may affect her or her foetus, in which case she is allowed not to fast, and she should make up the fasts after she gives birth and becomes pure from nifaas.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Book review: Cradle and All

I picked up this book, not knowing what a bizarre coincidence it was, when I just watched the remake of The Omen last 2 weeks. It was a Christian novel, no doubt about that. I just didn't know it was a Christian novel until I started to read it.

"Breathtaking.... The master is back. Oh, what a writer!" -Larry King, USA Today

That was the quotation printed on the book cover.

However, the story does not move in such a breakneck speed like The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (one of my favourite novels). In fact, when I was reading this, since I have just watched the movie about Satan's child, I could not shake off the comparison between the novel and the movie.

The plot outline was simple: Two virgins find themselves pregnant. And around the world, it seemed that apocalypse is coming. The question is, which one is the God's child and which one carries the Satan's?

The book had so many creepy scenes, but, even it move in fast paced scenes, I still feel that the book cannot be absorbed much by me. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the turns of events in the book, which makes me questioning what happen next. It had such a shocking ending that reading it (eventhough it was a tad slow for me), seemed blurred. Many secrets were revealed that makes the main character, Anne Fitzgerald (former nun turned P.I.) questioning her faith.

I love knowing Colleen's secrets at the end of the book.
I was shocked knowing about Kathleen's uneventful day when she got pregnant.
And I feel like I was watching a movie with an open ending.

I guessed, I just had to stick with James Patterson's other CSI lookalike novels. This book screamed faith on Christianity all over it.

Why am I writing this?

We always marvelled at some people who embraced Islam after reading the Quran and compared it with the Bible.
We were proud of Ahmad Deedat and Dr. Zakir Naik who can quote comparisons between these two; The Quran and the Bible.

But, as a Muslim, we were ignorant of the fact to know about other religions. I believe that as a Muslim, I should not be reading about Islam only.

We were afraid that other Muslims would be looking at us and questioned why we read this kind of book that stressed on Christianity. We were afraid that people would label us as losing faith in Islam when we watched Christian-like movie, such as The Omen, Stigmata or The DaVinci Code.

But, I feel that if I am ignorant of these things, I would not understand others' religion. I have been to a church in England before, where Princess Diana and Prince Charles got married. And actually looked around the people who offered their prayers in the church. I have also been in a church turned to a mosque in Turkey. And marvelled in the time where Islam is strong.

As other Muslims converts had done, they read our Islamic books with open mind, but we, as a born Muslims do not read other religions' books, and feel that it would harm our faith.

I have not read The Bible yet. But DaVinci Code, amidst its Christianity controversy, makes me understand more about the root of Christianity.

I am glad I read it with an open mind, it actually strenghten my faith in Islam.

Alhamdulillah..