Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Nook #7

Book Nooks
*Every weekend*
Show us something pretty!

Commentary: Since it's pretty cold here, I would love to be somewhere like this. It looks warm and cozy and blue is a calming and relaxing colour, and there is lots of space for books. I also love the fact that there is a lot of light in the room.

Details: Location and artist unknown, not given in the original post. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Vampire Diaries as The Lord of the Rings

If you read this blog regularly you know how much I love The Lord of the Rings. You probably also know I am a big fan of The Vampire Diaries. The other day, I was reading this post at The Salvatore Boarding House where Stephanie compared TVD to LoTR :

Stephanie: Do you think if we got wizards to replace the witches it’d make the show 100x better? I mean wizards HAVE to be more competent than witches, right? I mean Gandolf the Grey totally became The White Wizard because he got shit done.
Cin: Stephanie, you keep talking about LoTR’s and I’m going to find you and kiss you. Seriously.
Stephanie: LoTR’s and TVD are pretty similar, right? I mean Stefan is obviously Frodo, Klaus is Golum (but a hot one at that), and that damn necklace is the ring that must be destroyed. I could probably make comparison’s to LoTR’s all day

Presented with this fabulous idea, I could not resist thinking about it and making comparisons on my own.

This is what I've come up with:

SPOILER ALERT: This post from now on contains SPOILERS for both LoTR and TVD – that is, for those of you who haven’t read LoTR and aren’t watching TVD.

Let’s start with the evil of all evils – Sauron. My whole TVD-isation of LoTR is based on who the TVD variety of Sauron is. I’m going with the theory of big bad so far seeming to be Mama Original Witch, also known as Esther, or her spirit.

As the power of Sauron lies in the Ring, Esther’s power lies in her necklace. Hence, the necklace, just as the Ring, must be destroyed.

The mission to destroy the Ring falls upon Frodo. Stephanie suggested Stefan as Frodo. However, Frodo inherits the Ring from Bilbo, who stumbles upon the Ring by accident/fate. Now, Stefan acquired the necklace by accident after Rebekah had lost it, so that would pretty much make Stefan Bilbo, not Frodo. But as Stefan doesn’t retire in a home (read: Rivendell) I wouldn’t make him Bilbo. But first, let’s see: who did Stefan give the necklace to (just as Bilbo gave the Ring to Frodo)? Elena. So, I’m going with Elena as Frodo.


Frodo wouldn’t achieve much without some help from Sam. Elena definitely needs her own Sam. Well, considering that it’s Elena, she could use not one, but two Sams. Who can think of anyone always tailing Elena, getting her out of trouble (and into trouble), I ask you? But of course: the Salvatore brothers. Yep, I've just degraded the Rippah and his crazy, impulsive brother into hobbits. Hey, they should be flattered; Sam is a kick-ass hobbit. Besides, Stefan and Damon could also stand in for Merry and Pippin, who often do something stupid, but save the day in the end.  


The Ring/the necklace is connected with two more characters. Sauron gave rings to mortal men who turned evil and became the Nazgûl with their leader, the Witch King of Angmar, also known as the Wraith-King. Esther gave her necklace to Rebekah, who in my opinion will not think twice about siding with mommy even if it meant turning all evil, thus paralleling the Wraith-King.

Next, the Ring was long possessed by Gollum, a not-thoroughly evil creature, who is hated by everybody, rejected by his family, miserably lonely. Reminds you of someone? Someone like a bastard son, for a long time one of his kind, longing for friendship and family, but lacking skills to form true bonds with other people, therefore wrecking havoc and bringing violent death everywhere he goes? Klaus. In the end, Gollum is the crucial factor for the destruction of the ring – led to this by stalking Frodo. I can certainly see a possibility of Elena having to join forces with Klaus to beat the greater evil, which will probably be fatal for Klaus just as it is for Gollum (though, I wouldn’t mind keeping Klaus and his charming villainy around forever).


Moving on, we need some more people on the good side. First of all, someone must call the meetings, head the discussions, organise fundraisers and expeditions, make sure the tradition is recorded and properly observed. In short, someone with nothing better to do to but chair the Council. We need Elrond. Who better and more experienced in looking important and giving speeches than….ta-da: Carol Lockwood!


Then, Frodo and his friends need someone who can handle weapons; after all, there are orcs or enemy vampires or, even worse, Klaus’s hybrid army all around. In other words, they need someone as skilful as Legolas. It would be great if he were in good spirits, too. Can you imagine someone like that, whistling away on the road in the morning after having a shot or two of bourbon for breakfast: “…merrily, merrily, merrily, I’m walking through the forest / I’ve got a bow and a quiver full of wooden arrows…Wait! What’s there? Let’s shoot some orcs, I mean vampires, I mean… whatever!” SPROINK! *THUMP* It’s Alaric! Who else?! So, now we know why he doesn’t have to eat (too often), he’s an Elf, a sip of miruvor (the Elvish drink they brew in Rivendell) = bourbon is enough to sustain him.


Speaking of someone able of handling weapons, the Wraith-King needs a lesson about underestimating  women. It’s Eówyn who defeats the one whom no living man can kill. I-’m-angrier Caroline would do the job more than well, I believe.


Some TVD characters are rather difficult to associate with LoTR, but I’m making some speculations, anyway. 

Jeremy could sort of parallel Gimli and his love for pipe weed and axe wielding (though Jeremy is much nicer to look at).

Katherine could be a twisted version of Galadriel – the kind of Galadriel who would take the Ring.

Then there is Denethor, with his bad parent I-am-disappointed-in-you attitude. Rings a bell? I’m thinking Bill Forbes.

The hundred dead witches might equal the Sleepless Dead, although the latter are much more efficient.

Boromir and Tyler have some things in common, both (subconsciously) doing what they know is bad.

Could Bonnie go all evil, thus becoming like Saruman?

Gandalf is…unparalleled. This is the biggest problem. I don’t think there is anyone in TVD who could equal Gandalf. So, we will have to wait and see if there appears someone worth and capable of Gandalf’s greatness.

Do you think I’ve forgotten someone? For instance, Aragorn? I haven’t. But I had to save the best for the end.

Finally, there has to be someone who possesses great knowledge, someone to guide the hobbits (and all other helpless creatures), someone brave to lead the armies, someone to kindle hope when everyone despairs, and someone moral to rule over the free people of the world in the end. Who would that be? There is only one who can be all that: ELIJAH!  


That's it. I had so much fun doing this. So, if you’re familiar with LoTR and TVD, what do you think? Any suggestions?

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the photos used in this post.
Note: I’ve been inspired by posts and comments from all over the place, but especially: The SBH, Vampire-Diaries net, Thomas Galvin’s blog, and Vampire Diaries Online.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dracula, My Love by Syrie James

SUMMARY (from Goodreads): A vibrant dramatization, told from Mina’s point of view, brings to life the crucial parts of Stoker’s story while showcasing Mina’s sexual awakening and evolution as a woman, and revealing a secret that could destroy her life. Torn between two men – a loving husband and a dangerous lover – Mina struggles to hang on to the deep love she’s found within her marriage, even as she is inexorably drawn to Dracula himself, the vampire that everyone she knows is determined to destroy.


I have never read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But, I have heard of Dracula in other books and in films, and he was clearly evil. So, I was intrigued by the premise this book sets of Dracula not being at all that bad.

Dracula, My Love is a retelling of Stoker’s story from Mina Harker’s point of view. Syrie James captures the spirit of the late 19th century writing style perfectly, making the setting and the characters come to life, and the book reads smoothly and effortlessly. 

I was delighted to get to know Mina, a modern, open-minded, independent woman. She is rebellious, but still irreproachable, and that is a difficult composure to master.

Dracula is an old type of a vampire, very powerful and dangerous, yet mysterious and charming, all in all, a complex character.

Van Helsing is a typical fanatic – bent on achieving his purpose of banishing what he believes is evil at all costs. He is an arrogant man who thinks he knows everything and will not even consider the possibility of being mistaken.

Jonathan is a brave and ambitious man who rose from rags to riches with a lot of hard work and some luck. He loves Mina, but for some time puts the propriety before his love for her, which made me dislike him at first, but then he comes around and becomes quite a sympathetic character.

I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story. Mina’s and Dracula’s version of the events mirror what is known to other people very well. I had some problems with certain details, but I expected those would be solved by the end of the book and everything would fall together into a satisfactory whole. I was totally on Mina’s and Dracula’s side the whole time, rooting for them.

And then the last 60-70 pages happened. As much as I loved the book up until those last chapters, I hated the ending. Let me make it clear – I have no problem with tragic endings, or inconclusive endings, or with 180 degrees turns at the end. But this one made me angry, because it destroyed several plot and character elements up until then. In my opinion, the ending ruined the book as a whole. There are three crucial elements that lead to this.

Firstly, the fight against vampires in this book has an old-fashioned, religious undertone, which I do not like. To me scattering the Host crumbs into earth is sacrilege, and I do not think evil would be fended off by such an act. I know, you will say, this is fiction, but still, it bothered me. I do not like how this book sticks to the concept of condemning one kind of ‘people’ (i.e. vampires) just on the basis of what they are and not on the basis of how they live.

Secondly, another thing I hated in the book is stupidity. I can accept that an inexperienced 19th century woman would not know or realise certain things about life. But please, an intelligent, educated woman and five men who think themselves sophisticated and all being as ignorant as they are towards the end of this book downright angered me. SPOILER: Nausea, messed-up sleeping schedule, loss of appetite on one hand and weird food cravings on the other hand are surely a sign of a woman turning into a vampire, right? Not a chance she could be pregnant, nope. Oh, my. END OF SPOILER

Thirdly and lastly, Dracula’s behaviour at the end shows great inconsistency of his character in comparison to his personality in the rest of the book. It seems as if the author could not decide what kind of character Dracula should be – if we were not in the 21st century I might even think the ending underwent religious censorship.   

I think this is the longest review I have ever written. I apologise for such a rant. Even though I was upset and disappointed by the ending I am glad I read the book, because the rest of it was a delightful read.

RECOMMENDATION: I think lovers of paranormal romance and gothic novel would certainly enjoy this book. My dissatisfaction with the ending, affected by my personal set of beliefs, should not discourage you from giving it a try. You might find it to your liking.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter Mini-Readathon Wrap-up

So, this was a crazy day for me. Let's wrap it up. Here are my answer's to Sarah's questions:

1. How many books and/or pages were you able to read?

99 pages of The Avenger by P. C. Cast.

2. About how many hours were you able to read for? (Were there many distractions, breaks, etc?)

Approximately an hour and a half. I had this other thing that took longer than expected and I was beat afterwards due to driving around all day and stuff, so I'd have probably just gone to bed if it hadn't been for the mini-readathon. It was a good motivation for reading, so basically 99 pages in an hour and a half is a success to me.

3. Do you have any likes/dislikes about the 12-hour readathon, compared to a 24-hour readathon?

I haven't done any 24-hour event yet because I virtually can't dedicate so much of my time in one day, so 12-hour readathon is great. It's easier to fit 12 hours somewhere in my schedule.

4. Favorite and least favorite books that you read today?

I read just approximately one third of The Avenger by P. C. Cast, so I can't talk about favourites. So far, I love this book.

5. Do you have any suggestions for things you’d like me to do differently if I host another mini-readathon?

Not one I can think of right now. I am looking forward to another one (if you decide to host one). I hope I don't have anything else on the same day, so I can fully enjoy it.


I had fun this time too, despite being tired and not having enough time to do a proper 12-hour readathon. I loved your challenges ideas, although I only did three - I'm still figuring out how to save a wordle screenshot (either I'm doing it wrong, or my computer is too messed up to obey me, probably both). Jenn's challenge - to cast a book your reading - is interesting, I have perfect faces in my mind for the characters in The Avenger, but I suck at remembering actor's names and i don't have time to search through the web.

Overall, I had a great time. Thanks for hosting this, Sarah!

Winter Mini-Readathon Mini-Challenge #3!

The challenge was: make a word 'read' from any kind of objects in the house, take a photo of it and post it.

This is a perfect chance to show off my bookmarks. Apart from two, I made the bookmarks myself some years ago from an old calendar. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Mini-Readathon

Today, Sarah at Sarah Says Read is hosting Winter Mini-Readathon.

1. Tell everyone three random things about yourself:

- I love winter.
- I watch What a Girl Wants almost every time it's on TV.
- I get the best ideas at night.

2. Is this your first readathon?


3. Do you have any specific goals for today? (# of books or pages to read?)

I had a choir event today, but I couldn't not sign-up for this, hoping to be able to catch a few hours of reading time. The event took longer than it was supposed to. So, the new plan is to try to read 50 pages of The Avenger by P.C. Cast.

4. Do you have any specific snacks, drinks, or books planned?

Snacks and drinks - no. Books: The Avenger by P.C. Cast.

5. What hours do you plan on reading during? 

Noon to midnight, or better said: as much as I can before midnight.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Monte Carlo (2011)

DIRECTOR: Thomas Bezucha; CAST: Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester, Katie Cassidy…

SUMMARY (from IMDB): Three young women vacationing in Paris find themselves whisked away to Monte Carlo after one of the girls is mistaken for a British heiress.


This is a typical comedy of mistaken identity with predictable complications. It is a good film to give your mind a rest, but not much more.

Naturally, there are some beautiful scenic views of both Paris and Monte Carlo. The dresses are pretty, the romance is sweet, the secrets are revealed, the bad get punished, the good are rewarded, and the love wins.

On the whole, this is a nice, undemanding film to relax with. And yes, there are some laughable moments.

RECOMMENDATION: This is a family-friendly relaxation film. Don't expect to blow your midn off, but if you need a distraction after a difficult day Monte Carlo might just do the trick.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mood and Criticism

I have not been at my best lately, as you might already know if you follow my tweets. I am having some health problems in addition to the usual chronic health conditions, so my mood is swinging from not-so-good to very bad most of the time. But that’s not what I wanted to write about.

I have come to notice that when I read something in a bad mood I am much more critical than otherwise. I am more likely to notice mistakes and they seem less tolerable to me. I pay more attention to character flaws and/or plot holes. I am bothered by things that would not bother me (so much) otherwise. I do not laugh at things I would if I were in my normal or good mood.

So, you what do you think? Do you think a reader’s mood and criticism towards a certain book are connected? Have you noticed anything similar in your reading? Do you enjoy some books less when you fell unwell than you would otherwise?

I am very curious about your opinion. Feel welcome to sound off in the comments!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Flight of the Falcon by Susan Geason

Flight of the FalconSUMMARY (from Goodreads): Set in eleventh-century Normandy, this adventure novel is an intriguing glimpse of the life of a young noblewoman in the early Middle Ages. Sybilla St-Valery, the daughter of a nobleman and soldier, has been staying with relatives in the Duke of Normandy’s castle. When news of an imminent English attack reaches them, Sybilla must undertake a dangerous journey home to her mother and the family estate. But these are treacherous times to be on the road. En route, she is kidnapped by her father’s enemies, who demand that Sybilla’s mother hand over the deeds to the St-Valery estate in exchange for her daughter’s safe return. With only her faithful hound, Hannibal, and falcon, Merlin, to help her, can Sybilla escape her captors and reach St-Valery before her home is lost?


This is the kind of book I would read when I was ten or eleven. All right, obviously I would read it now too (since I did), but you know what I mean.

Flight of the Falcon is a short historical adventure novel, which I read in an hour. It is a gripping read with some unforeseeable twists. I liked the heroine, Sybilla. She is a smart girl on the verge of womanhood. She is a little rebellious, but good-natured, and self-reliant.

Moreover, this book is also educational, especially for children and teenagers who come across it as the first representative of the genre. It provides some historical facts about France and England in the eleventh century as well as an insight into the life of people and of what was expected of aristocrat girls at the time.

I think children and teenagers would find this book a suspenseful and rich read both for the plot and the characters. Since I have read lots of historical fiction, this book seemed very simplified to me, but I still enjoyed it as a relaxation read.

RECOMMENDATION: Flight of the Falcon is an entreating book for readers of all ages who like reading about history and adventure.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Midnight in Paris (2011)

DIRECTOR: Woody Allen; CAST: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody…

SUMMARY (from IMDB): A romantic comedy about a family travelling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.


The first things that strike the viewer of Midnight in Paris is beautiful scenery and heart-warming music. However, this film is about much more than a trip to Paris.

The film deals with existential issues: the acceptance of the present situation and making the best of it. Another important focus of the film is writing, or perhaps art and creativity in general.

The cast is amazing, the film is full of famous names who give a great performance. Those who especially stood out to me were Kathy Bathes as Gertrude Stein and Adrian Brody as Salvador Dali.

Midnight in Paris is a film filled with nostalgia and famous artists. It is delightful to watch, comic and serious, also giving the viewer some food for thought. 

RECOMMENDATION: Midnight in Paris is film full of beauty, with a great cast and a wonderful and instructive story.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Booking Through Thursday – Interview, Part 2

btt button

        But enough about interviewing other people. It’s time I interviewed YOU.

1.     What’s your favourite time of day to read?

I most likely read in the afternoon or in the evening when I have peace and quiet.

2.     Do you read during breakfast? (Assuming you eat breakfast.)

No. I used to, but then I started going online during breakfast.

3.     What’s your favourite breakfast food? (Noting that breakfast foods can be eaten any time of day.)

Pancakes. But I eat them very rarely because I’m too lazy to make them in the morning.

4.     How many hours a day would you say you read?

I strive for at least one, but depends on how much other things I have to do.

5.     Do you read more or less now than you did, say, 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was at the university and I mostly read study books and material, which I don’t count as reading. I read much more now.

6.     Do you consider yourself a speed reader?

Not really – I read a book a week. I do have occasional reading flashes when I finish a book in a day.

7.     If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. Wouldn’t that be cool? Not to mention it would save me a lot of time and strength.

8.     Do you carry a book with you everywhere you go?

No, not everywhere. I only take a book with me somewhere if I know I will have time to read.

9.     What KIND of book?

Depends. If I have to carry it around in a bag all day, then a paperback, because it is lighter. But if I go by car, I rather take a hardback because it is less destructible. Mostly I just take whatever I’m reading at the time, regardless of the format.

10.  How old were you when you got your first library card?

If school library counts, then 7. I got my first public library card at the age of 13 or 14.

11.  What’s the oldest book you have in your collection? (Oldest physical copy? Longest in the collection? Oldest copyright?)

Probably, either one of my grandmother’s Bibles, or church songbooks, or cookbooks that she handed down to me.

12.  Do you read in bed?


13.  Do you write in your books?

Nooo. Of course not.  

14.  If you had one piece of advice to a new reader, what would it be?

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t like what you read. Keep trying different things until you find something you like.

15.  What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask? (Actually, leave the answer to this one in the comments on this post, huh? So I can find them when I need inspiration!)

I haven’t participated a lot in BTT for a while, so I’m not sure if this has ever been asked:

Have you every written any fan-fiction? If yes, why and for which book(s)? If no, would you like to and for which books(s)?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Recruit (Cherub #1) by Robert Muchamore

SUMMARY: James is an eleven-year-old boy whose mother unexpectedly dies. He is separated from his sister, the only person he loves, and put into a juvenile facility until social services could find him a foster family. However, after getting into a lot of trouble in school and with the police, a mysterious organisation called Cherub approaches him with the offer to join them and become a secret agent. Thus, James sets in an unpredictable journey of adventure and growing-up.


This was an unusual but entertaining read for me. The Recruit is an action-packed book I could not put down, and I read it in one day.

The characters quickly grew on me, especially James. James is a smart, but troubled boy who always finds himself a trouble. Though he does not lack any material goods, he suffers from being emotionally neglected, which results in aggressive outbursts. Eventually, he realises this will not bring him any good. He recognises his last chance for making something from himself, and he takes it. Doing so, he starts his way towards maturity.

James, as well as other children, act older then they are, due to their life situations. On the positive side, they are street-wise, know how to survive, and they look after each other. However, on the negative side, there is a lot of violence and bad behaviour, such as smoking, drinking, and using moderately strong language.

The Recruit is a suspenseful page-turner. It is a fantasy work which deals with family relationships, friendship, growing-up, and taking responsibility for one’s actions through an adventure story.

RECOMMENDATION: This is the kind of book I imagine teenage boys would enjoy – I am thinking from the age of 14 or so on – and everyone else who loves this kind of a book. 

Monday, January 09, 2012

Bout of Books 3.0 Start Line & Updates

Bout of Books

Amanda of On a Book Bender hosts the Bout of Books 3.0 readathon from January 9 - 15, 2012.

My Goals:

I will try to do my average amount of reading and read at least an a hour day or 50-100 pages a day. Although, I hope I'll manage to read more than that. Nevertheless, 500 pages is my minimum goal for the week.

The books to choose from:

I have a pile of books ready at hand, so I have plenty of choice for different moods. I will most likely tackle one or more of these:

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #6) by Charlaine Harris 

Back-up books:
All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #7) by Charlaine Harris

(I’ll also update on twitter @StrangeNewWords, and you can find me on Goodreads):
The format is adapted from Amanda's. 

January 9:
The books I’ve read today (and the number of pages): The Recruit (320)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 320
Total number of pages I’ve read: 320
Today #insixwords: Neglected blogging, read one whole book.

January 10:
The books I’ve read today (and the number of pages): The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (190), Definitely Dead (51)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 241
Total number of pages I’ve read: 561
Today #insixwords: Already reached weekly goal. Surprised myself. 

January 11:
The books I’ve read today (and the number of pages): Definitely Dead (146)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 146
Total number of pages I’ve read: 707
Today #insixwords: Still going strong, reading-wise. Otherwise: whatever. 

January 12:
The books I’ve read today (and the number of pages): Definitely Dead (144)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 144
Total number of pages I’ve read: 851
Today #insixwords: A good blogging and reading day.

January 13:
The books I’ve read today (and the number of pages): Definitely Dead (34), All Together Dead (38)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 72
Total number of pages I’ve read: 923
Today #insixwords: Had to pick up a back-up book.

January 14:
The books I’ve read today (and the number of pages): All Together Dead (31)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 31
Total number of pages I’ve read: 954
Today #insixwords: Blogger ate up my reading time.

January 15:
The books I’ve read today (and the number of pages): All Together Dead (101)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 101
Total number of pages I’ve read: 1055
Today #insixwords: Recharging my batteries for next week.


Books read: 3 and a half
Pages read: 1055

This was a great reading week for me as I read twice as much as my goals were. I haven't had time to write all the reviews, yet. Also, I had wanted to visit other participants' blogs more this time around, but then life interfered, so my socializing was lame, again, but I hope I will improve that next time.

How did you do with your goals? I hope you had fun reading.

And thanks to Amanda for hosting!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Winter Mini-Readathon Sign-Up & Invitation

A fortnight from today, that is, on January 22, 2012, Sarah at Sarah Says Read is hosting Winter Mini-Readathon

Here's the scoop from Sarah: 

  • The Sarah Says Winter Mini-Readathon will be on Sunday January 22, 2012.
  • The object is to read for any 12-hour block on that Sunday. I’ll be reading probably from 10 am to 10 pm, US Eastern time.
  • There will be 5 mini-challenges, and one bonus challenge (from my sister Heather at All You Need Designs. She also made my mini-readathon pics! Aren’t they awesome?)
  • One of the challenges will be hosted by the very cool Jenn at Booksessed.
  • The prize for each of the 5 mini-challenges will be a $5 Amazon e-gift card. This is a little different than the last mini-readathon, so we’ll see how it goes. There are more winners this way! Prize for Heather’s bonus challenge / giveaway will be announced later.
  • Participating in the challenges will last until 12 PM (Eastern) on Monday the 23rd, and the winners will be announced on Tuesday.
  • Feel free to spread the word by tweeting or blogging about the Mini-Readathon! If you do a blog post to tell others about it, use the link to that post when you sign up in the linky widget below.
  • The Twitter hashtag for that day will be #ssrminiread and my Twitter name is @SarahSaysRead.
  • Sign-ups last until the day of the event.

I participated in her Summer Mini-Readathon and I tell you, it was amazing and fun. So, if you are planning to catch up on your reading and have a great time on January 22, go and SIGN-UP!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Book Nook #6

Book Nooks
*Every weekend*
Show us something pretty!

Commentary: It's a beautiful and cozy place, it has enough of light and U love the book cases. 

Details: Location and artist unknown, not given in the original post. 

Friday, January 06, 2012

Just Go with It (2011)

DIRECTOR: Dennis Dougan; CAST: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman…

SUMMARY (from IMDB): Danny (Adam Sandler) must engage Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), his faithful assistant, to pretend to be his soon to be ex-wife. Danny must pretend that he is married, because he lied to his dream girl, Palmer (Brooklyn Decker) the most gorgeous woman in the world. To keep the woman he loves, covering up one lie soon turns into many lies.


This was one of the funniest romantic comedies I have seen lately. The jokes are not only laughable but also tasteful, and they made me laugh a lot throughout the film.

The actors do their job splendidly. The chemistry between Sandler and Aniston seems pristine and Nicole Kidman excels as Katherine’s (not-so) evil high school classmate.

In addition to the relationship plotline, the film is a satire of people’s obsession with eternal youth and beauty which leads to exploitation of plastic surgery. The film also mocks the fashion of keeping unusual pets. Some stereotypes that are included in the film only round up the whole picture. 

All in all, Just Go with It is a rather predictable film, yet there are certainly some things that catch the viewer by surprise. Above all, this is a genuinely funny relaxation film mirroring some peculiarities of modern society.

RECOMMENDATION: When you feel like relaxing and having a good laugh over a well-played comedy, this might be just the right film to watch. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

2012 Goals & Ways to Find Me

This year is already a few days old and it is time to share with you my goals as far as reading and blogging in 2012 is concerned.


As last year, I am not joining any challenges, except for the Goodreads challenge. My goal is to read 50 books, not counting rereads and books not written and/or translated in(to) English. You can see the books I read on 2012 Challenge tab.

I am planning to do a few rereads of my favorite books.

Also, I am joining a reading project at my library which is promoting reading Slovene books and is running through April, so that will be five more books. 


I will continue pretty much in the same way for now. So, you can expect:
  • hopefully 1-2 book reviews a week
  • Fridays are reserved for film reviews, I have quite a few already written, so January is covered, but then I will see. Maybe I will make it a regular Friday (or every second Friday) feature.
  • Cat Diary will continue on Sundays, not every Sunday (you've noticed that didn't work, I suppose), but at least once a month.
  • I will occasionally join memes, such as Teaser Tuesday, Top Ten Tuesday, Follow Friday,...
  • And as always, there might be some tours, events and occasional posts on whatever book- or blog-related gets on my mind.
Of course, if I think of something else, you will be the first to know.


I made some improvements to my blog - nothing big, but it might be useful, so here I am letting you know about it. Also, I have to brag a little with the accomplishment. It might not be a big thing for you, but I needed a few days of stubbornness to figure out the technicalities. 

All right, adding the search box was easy and I hope it helps in case you need to find something on my blog. 

The second thing took me a few days to figure out, but I did it:

It is high time to give you some more options of following my blog, so here they are. I added a collection of buttons just below the GFC gadget in the left sidebar, so you can subscribe to my updates in a reader or via email or follow me on Twitter or Goodreads, and there is also my contact email address. I just wanted to let you know, in case you find it more useful then the GFC alone. 


So, what do you think of all of the above? Have you been missing something in my blog? Is there any content (reviews, memes,...) you wish more or less of it? Do you find my blog orderly or is it too cluttered? Is there anything you think I could improve? 

You are welcome to express your thoughts and suggestions in the comments and I will try to make this blog better if I can, although it might take awhile.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Vision in White (Bride Quartet #1) by Nora Roberts

Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1)SUMMARY (from Goodreads): With bridal magazine covers to her credit, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot is most at home behind the camera – ready to capture the happy moments she never experienced while growing up. Her father replaced his first family with a second, and now her mother, moving on to yet another man, begs Mac for attention and money. Mac’s foundation is jostled again moments before an important wedding planning meeting when she bumps into the bride-to-be’s brother…an encounter that has them both seeing stars.

Carter Maguire is definitely not her type: he’s stable, and he’s safe. He’s even an English teacher at their high school alma mater. There’s something about him that makes Mac think a casual fling is just what she needs to take her mind off dealing with bride-zillas and screening her mother’s phone calls. But a casual fling can turn into something more when you least expect it. And with the help of her three best friends – and business partners – Mac must learn how to make her own happy memories…


Vision in White is the first in a series of four books about four friends co-owning a wedding planning company called Wows. It is a typical Roberts’ romance – compelling, heart-warming and funny.

Mackensie comes from an unstable family, so she believes everything has an expiration date, nothing lasts. That is why she has trouble forming relationships and trusting people, apart from her three friends. With her friends’ help she learns to break up with the pattern she subconsciously took from her mother and finds her way toward happiness. Nora Roberts is an excellent portraitist of this kind of personal growth and she does not disappoint in Vision in White.

Carter is not a typical romance hero. He is a teacher, a kind and unexciting man. At least that is the first impression. In the course of the story we find out that he is not all stay-calm-and-quiet: he is tough and he stands up for himself as well as for people he loves. I liked how he and Mackensie seem the exact opposite, but as the plot unravels, they slowly discover things they have in common, which helps them both as individuals and as a couple.

Although Vision in White is a predictable read, it is far from boring. Mackensie and Carter quickly become the characters you care about and it is delightful to watch how their lives work out.

RECOMMENDATION: Vision in White is a sweet, heart-felt romance which makes you feel good. It is a fast and relaxing read. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #12

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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!


Dracula My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker

"I was resolute: none of them could ever know the truth. When I later wrote in my journal, I recorded only a partial, altered version of the previous night's events, pretending I had only had a very strange dream.
Dracula, My Love 
by Syrie James, p. 254

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

In 2012, I wish you: 

Happiness deep down within.
Serenity with each sunrise.
Success in each facet of your life.
Family beside you.
Close and caring friends.
Health, inside you.
Love that never ends.
Special memories of all the yesterdays.
A bright today with much to be thankful for.
A path that leads to beautiful tomorrows.
Dreams that do their best to come true.
Appreciation of all the wonderful things about you.

Happy New Year!

2012 Challenge

I am not joining any challenges, but I am setting my own personal challenge which is to read 50 books January 1st – December 31st 2012:
  • · rereads don’t count
  • · books not written in English and not translated into English don’t count either
Books are listed in order of reading (with the level of strangeness, see my rating system); those reviewed are linked to their reviews and also listed under Reviews by Author and Reviews by Rating tabs. The books not counting (rereads, non-English) are in italics and numbered separately, but I list them here to keep track of the total number of the books I read. 
  1. Dracula, My Love by Syrie James (3)
  2. The Recruit (Cherub #1) by Robert Muchamore (3.5)
  3. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: an Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer (4)
  4. Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #6) by Charlaine Harris (3)
  5. All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #7) by Charlaine Harris (3.5)
  6. When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James (3)
  7. The Avenger by P. C. Cast (4)
  8. Someone to Watch over Me by Lisa Kleypas (3)
  9. From Dead To Worse (Sookie Stackhouse #8) by Charlaine Harris (3.5)
  10. The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (2)
  11. A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland #1) by Judith McNaught (4)
  12. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater (4)
  13. Dark Desires after Dusk (Immortals After Dark #6) by Kresley Cole (4)
  14. Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell (4)
  15. Moonsong (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #2) by L. J. Smith* (4)
  16. Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater (4)
  17. Evermore (Evermore #1) by Alyson Noel (2)
  18. Menaechmi; Or, the Twin-Brothers by Plautus (3)
  19. The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott (5)
  20. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (3)
  21. Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) by E. L. James (5)
  22. Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2) by E. L. James (5)
  23. Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3) by E. L. James (5)
  24. I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan (3)
  25. My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares (4)
  26. Awakened by a Kiss by Lila DiPasqua (2.5)
  27. A Trick of the Dark by B. R. Collins (2.5)
  28. The Collector by John Fowles (4)
  29. Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie (3)
  30. Torment (Fallen #2) by Lauren Kate (3.5)
  31. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum (3)
  32. Paris in the Twentieth Century by Jules Verne (4.5)
  33. Kiss of a Demon King (Immortals After Dark #7) by Kresley Cole (4)
  34. Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga #1) by Collen Houck (3)
  35. Dracula by Bram Stoker (3)
  36. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult (5)
  37. Deep Kiss of Winter (Immortals After Dark #8) by Kresely Cole (5)
  38. Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat (4)
  39. How Huge the Night by Heather and Lydia Munn (5)
  40. Debutante by Thomas Galvin (5)
  41. Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater (4)
*this book was written by an anonymous ghost-writer
Books not counting for the challenge (and reasons):
  1. Čefurji raus! by Goran Vojnović (a Slovene book by a Slovene author, not translated into English) (4)
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (reread) (2.5)
  3. Für jede Lösung ein Problem by Kerstin Gier (originally written in German, not translated into English, read it in Slovene) (4)
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) by E. L. James (reread)
  5. Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2) by E. L. James (reread)
  6. Kako sem postal slaven by Ivan Sivec (a Slovene book by a Slovene author, not translated into English ) (4)
  7. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (5) Part 1 and Part 2 of my review.
  8. Lessons on Creative Writing by Michal Viewegh (a short story by a Czech author, I'm not sure whether it's translated into English, read it in Slovene) (3.5)

50 books:
I read 41. I also read 8 books which I did not count in the 50 books challenge because they were either rereads or not written and/or translated into English. And it still doesn't make 50.
Rating stats – according to my Goodreads ratings, though I rated several books with half-stars:
Did not rate: 0
* not strange: 0
** a little strange: 2
*** strange enough: 17
**** very strange: 14
***** beyond strange: 8
I'm not too disappointed by not making my goal, though, considering the reading slumps and other issues, together with the fact that I could find a lot of books I really liked, I'm okay with my reading in 2012. However, I will try to improve in 2013.
Books I Read in 2011