Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reviews by Rating


***** BEYOND STRANGE

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach
No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark #3) by Kresley Cole
Dark Needs at Night's Edge (Immortals After Dark #5) by Kresley Cole
Deep Kiss of Winter (Immortals After Dark #8) by Kresely Cole
Jerusalem by Andrea Frediani
Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon
Debutante by Thomas Galvin
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
Fatherland by Robert Harris
Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James
Fallen (Fallen #1) by Lauren Kate
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Sepulchre (Languedoc Trilogy #2) by Kate Mosse
The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse
How Huge the Night by Heather and Lydia Munn
Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky 
Prince’s Gambit (The Captive Prince #2) by C. S. Pacat
Kings Rising (The Captive Prince #3) by C. S. Pacat
The Summer Palace (Captive Prince short stories #2) by C. S. Pacat
Second Glance by Jodi Picult
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult
The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice
The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott
Random Magic by Sasha Soren
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
The Hobbit (Part 1 and Part 2) by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

**** VERY STRANGE / ***** BEYOND STRANGE

A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark #2) by Kresley Cole
Demon From the Dark (Immortals After Dark #9) by Kresley Cole
Lothaire (Immortals After Dark #12) by Kresley Cole
Shadow's Claim (The Dacians #1, IAD #13) by Kresley Cole
The Monkey House by John Fullerton 
Sire (The Vampires of St. Troy #1) by Thomas Galvin
Labyrinth (Languedoc Trilogy #1) by Kate Mosse
Shadow Souls (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #2) by L. J. Smith
Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3) by L. J. Smith
Phantom (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #1) by L. J. Smith*
Paris in the Twentieth Century by Jules Verne

**** VERY STRANGE

Eternally Dark by John Amory, Jenna Jones, TA Moore, BA Tortuga
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Wood Angel by Erin Bow
My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares
The Food of Love by Anthony Capella
The Avenger (Time Raiders #3) by P. C. Cast
What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen
The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (Immortals After Dark #4) by Kresley Cole
Dark Desires after Dusk;(Immortals After Dark #6) by Kresley Cole
Kiss of a Demon King (Immortals After Dark #7) by Kresley Cole
Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9) by Kresley Cole
Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark #11) by Kresley Cole
Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole
MacRieve (Immortals after Dark #14) by Kresley Cole
Dark Skye (Immortals after Dark #15) by Kresley Cole
The Lowlands of Heaven by F. J. Dagg
Surviving with Wolves by Misha Defonseca
The Collector by John Fowles
The Inspector General by Nikolai Gogol
Finding Anna series by Sherri Hayes
The Gates of Rome (Emperor #1) by Conn Iggulden
The Death of Kings (Emperor #2) by Conn Iggulden
The Field of Swords (Emperor #3) by Conn Iggulden
The Gods of War (Emperor #4) by Conn Iggulden
Blood of My Brother by James LePore
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis (1/7)
Tim by Colleen McCullough
The Expected One (Magdalene Line Trilogy #1) by Kathleen McGowan
A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland #1) by Judith McNaught
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: an Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Labyrinth of Stone by TA Moore
Dewey by Vicki Myron
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 
Captive Prince (The Captive Prince #1) by C. S. Pacat
Green but for a Season (Captive Prince short stories #1) by C. S. Pacat
The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant (Captive Prince short stories #3) by C. S. Pacat
Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat 
Wolfsangel by Liza Perrat
Blood Rose Angel by Liza Perrat
The Silent Kookaburra by Liza Perrat
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
The Revolt of the Eaglets (Plantagenet Saga #2) by Jean Plaidy
The Heart of the Lion (Plantagenet Saga #3) by Jean Plaidy
The Queen of the Damned (The Vampire Chronicles #3) by Anne Rice
Beyond series by Kit Rocha
The Fury (The Vampire Diaries #3) by L. J. Smith
The Reunion (The Vampire Diaries #4) by L. J. Smith
Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #1) by L. J Smith
Moonsong (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #2) by L. J. Smith*
Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell
Lament (Books of Faerie #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Ballad (Books of Faerie #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
Forever (The wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater
The Fall of Arthur by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien 

*** STRANGE ENOUGH / **** VERY STRANGE

The Gift by Julie Garwood
Grave Sight (Harper Connelly #1) by Charlaine Harris
Grave Surprise, An Ice Cold Grave, and Grave Secret (Harper Connelly #2–4) by Charlaine Harris
Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse #5) by Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #7) by Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse #8) by Charlaine Harris
Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes
Ripe for the Picking by Annie Hawes
Torment (Fallen #2) by Lauren Kate
Soldier of Rome: The Legionary by James Mace
The Recruit (Cherub #1) by Robert Muchamore
The Battle of the Queens (Plantagenet Saga, #5) by Jean Plaidy
The Queen from Provence (Plantagenet Saga, #6) by Jean Plaidy
The Hammer of the Scots (Plantagenet Saga #7) by Jean Plaidy
The Follies of the King (Plantagenet Saga #8) by Jean Plaidy
Vision in White (Bride Quartet #1) by Nora Roberts

*** STRANGE ENOUGH

Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold
Dark Angel by Mary Balogh
Ransom My Heart by Meg Cabot
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho
Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie
Trouble in High Heels by Christina Dodd
Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd
I, Lucifer by Glen Duncan
England's Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch
London's Perfect Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch
The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
Flight of the Falcon by Susan Geason
It Must Be Love by Rachel Gibson
The Luxe (Luxe #1) by Anna Godbersen
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #3) by Charlaine Harris
Dead to the World  (Sookie Stackhouse #4) by Charlaine Harris
Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #6) by Charlaine Harris
Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga #1) by Collen Houck
A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
The Pillars of Society by Henrik Ibsen
When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James
Dracula, My Love by Syrie James
Grace and Truth by Jennifer Johnston
Someone to Watch over Me by Lisa Kleypas
Exterminate All the Brutes by Sven Lindqvist
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
The Plantagenet Prelude (Plantagenet Saga #1) by Jean Plaidy
The Prince of Darkness (Plantagenet Saga #4) by Jean Plaidy
Menaechmi; Or, the Twin-Brothers by Plautus
Second Sight (The Arcane Society #1) by Amanda Quick
Love and Intrigue by Friedrich Schiller
The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) by L. J. Smith
The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries #2) by L. J. Smith
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A Great Place for a Seizure by Terry Tracy
Angelology (Angelology #1) by Danielle Trussoni
Loki: Nine Naughty Tales of the Trickster by Mike Vasich

** A LITTLE STRANGE / *** STRANGE ENOUGH

A Trick of the Dark by B. R. Collins
Awakened by a Kiss by Lila DiPasqua
Dark Mysteries of the Vatican by H. Paul Jeffers
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Kill Someone by Luke Smitherd

** A LITTLE STRANGE

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Playing Easy to Get by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jaid Black and Kresley Cole
Cambridge Wizard Student Guide The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Richard McRoberts
Evermore (The Immortals #1) by Alyson Noël
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
The Alarming History of European Royalty by Karl Shaw
Loki by Mike Vasich

* NOT STRANGE / ** A LITTLE STRANGE

La Cucina by Lily Prior
Obstacles by Chris Reardon

* NOT STRANGE

Eighty Days Yellow (Eighty Days #1) by Vina Jackson
The Cold King by Amber Jaeger

*this book was written by an anonymous ghost-writer 

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. 
Source

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.

MY OPINION:

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

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?

No.

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.

MY OPINION:

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?

MY OPINION:

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.

MY OPINION:

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?

Yes.

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.

MY OPINION:

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

UPDATES: 
(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.

WRAP-UP: 


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!


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