Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Someone to Watch over Me by Lisa Kleypas


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Lisa Kleypas is back with a scandalous tale of love in Regency London. Grant Morgan is the eligible bachelor who comes to the rescue of a woman who suffers from amnesia. Is she really Vivien Rose Duvall, one of London’s most talked-about beauties? She is sure it’s a case of mistaken identity – but it turns dangerous as she finds herself falling in love. Who is she? What are the secrets of her past? Someone to Watch Over Me is a riveting read, and Kleypas creates some twists and turns that will keep you flipping pages late into the night.

MY OPINION:

This is the first book by Lisa Kleypas I have read. Usually in romance, it is the male protagonist who is notorious, but in Someone to Watch over Me the roles are reversed. I found this both refreshing and amusing.

I guessed the solution of identity confusion some time before it is actually stated in the book, and I had certain suspicions about the intentions of some characters. However, Kleypas manages to keep the reader from finding out who the true villain is almost to the end of the book, and I enjoyed the suspense.

I wasn't too thrilled about Morgan at first, as he is too obsessed with the past. But, later on when he gradully overcomes his prejudices and reveals his hidden, sensitive, and kind side, he becomes a rather likable hero.

Someone to Watch over Me is a mixture of stereotypes and originality. In this way, it is an engaging but fast read which does not require a lot of thinking.

RECOMMENDATION: This is a perfect relaxation read for a rainy afternoon. It is a captivating and easy read. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #14



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!

MY TEASERS: 



"'Life is the death of all of us, sir,' Tristan said, and dropped into the chair in front of the desk, lounging carelessly. His father's eyes narrowed at him, but he did not address the issue.
"
 
Kindred Hearts 
by Rowan Speedwell, p. 10





Monday, February 27, 2012

From Dead to Worse (Sookie Stackhouse #8) by Charlaine Harris


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the manmade explosion at the vampire summit, everyone human and otherwise is stressed, including Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who is trying to cope with the fact that her boyfriend Quinn has gone missing.

It's clear that things are changing whether the weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie, Friend to the Pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, leader of the local vampire community is caught up in the changes.

In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death, and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood finished flowing, her world will be forever altered.

MY OPINION:

I do not even know how to review this book. I do not really have anything to say that I have not said for the rest of this series.

From Dead to Worse is once again an action-packed story. Sookie gets into a whole bunch of trouble but as always (almost) all ends well. I might have got used to Sookie so much that she did not annoy me in this book as much as in some other books.

Among the strong points of this book are less repetition than usually and interesting supernatural developments. Also, I loved meeting two new relatives of Sookie and I hope to see more of those two in the following books.

Generally, the books in this series, including From Dead To Worse, are like old friends, a little annoying sometimes, but I enjoy spending time with them nonetheless. 

RECOMMENDATION: From Dead to Worse is a nice, quick and relaxing read, both familiar and new at the same time. I think the fans of the series will enjoy it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cat Diary (16): Winter Balance


This is an occasional Sunday feature where my cat, pardon, Her Majesty the Cat, offers her more or less gracious insight into our lives.


Winter finally kicked in this month. We had some snow, though not a lot. But it was very cold and windy outside. Perfect time for relaxing and getting in some extra sleep. I balanced rest with various activities, such as doing book inventory.


Strangely, Pepca didn't appreciate me trying to help and promptly ordered me to get away from her books. People, huh.

Enjoy the last days of winter and have a great beginning of spring!

Till next time,


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Desperately Wanting Wednesday: Series I Need to Finish


Desperatly Wanting Wednesday, hosted by Parajunkee's View

Desperately Wanting Wednesday is a feature hosted by Parajunkee not only for releases that you're waiting on, it’s also for already released novels that you just haven’t purchased yet, or gotten to.

I've just come across this today, and I thought how cool it is. I had to join in and share with you the series I desperately need to finish. I rarely manage to read a book right after is is released, so I'm usual behind the rest of the world. This is even more so with the series, because I either have to wait for the books to get them from the library or buy them. In the latter case I almost always buy book after book and not the entire series at once, because I don't want to waste my money if I happen to start hating the series somewhere in the middle, and, secondly, because I have to be careful with money in any case. 

So, here are the series I really, really want to finish: 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (from book #2 on)

Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole (from book #6 on)

Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris (from book #9 on)

Languedoc Trilogy by Kate Mosse (book #3)

The Magdalene Line Trilogy by Kathleen McGowan (book #3)

What are the series YOU desperately need to finish?

Monday, February 20, 2012

When the Duke Returns by Eloisa James


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Married by proxy as a child, Lady Isidore has spent years fending off lecherous men in every European court while waiting to meet her husband. She’s determined to accept him, no matter how unattractive the duke turns out to be. When she finally lures Simeon Jermyn back to London, his dark handsomeness puts Isidore’s worst fears to rest – until disaster strikes.

The duke demands an annulment.

Forsaking his adventuresome past, Simeon has returned to London ready to embrace the life of a proper duke, only to find that his supposed wife is too ravishing, too headstrong, and too sensual to be the docile duchess he has in mind. But Isidore will not give up her claim to the title – or him – without a fight.

MY OPINION:

Through the first 80 pages or so I really hated the female characters in this book. The heroine, Isidore, is hell-bent on losing her virginity and preoccupied with speculating about Simeon’s sexual (dis)abilities. Her mother-in-law, the Dowager Duchess, is a stingy woman who has completely lost touch with reality and only cares about propriety.

Additionally, this book is the last book of the series and I haven’t read any of the previous books. It wasn’t a big problem, since every book focuses on a different protagonist, but the story of Isidore’s friend Jemma seemed redundant to me. I understand this part was included in the book to conclude Jemma’s story arc which had been explored in one of the preceding books in the series, but I think in this case it would be perhaps better if each book was an entity on its own.

But then, as I almost lost my nerve with this book, things got better. As Simeon and Isidore start getting to know each other, the readers can see deeper into their personalities. They have some funny dialogues. Isidore slowly proves to be a caring, resourceful, and independent person who knows how to solve problems on her own. 

Therefore, I came to like the book as a whole by the end, mostly due to Simeon’s and Isidore’s relationship development, which the author handles very well. I enjoyed a slightly different ending from the usually abrupt and-they-lived-happily-ever-after ending. Instead, the story is a little prolonged and offers a short glimpse of the future.

RECOMMENDATION: When the Duke Returns is an undemanding, funny, and relaxing read if you can stand annoying female characters in the beginning and have some patience to get to the good part.


Now, I need your recommendation. If you have read any of the previous books in the series (Desperate Duchesses), do you recommend I read them, or there is no point doing that as I have already read the final book in the series? 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Booking Through Thursday – Fan Fiction




A while ago, I interviewed my readers for a change, and my final question was, “What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask?” I got some great responses and will be picking out some of the questions from time to time to ask the rest of you. Like now.

Pepca asks:
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)?

For that matter, do you ever READ fan-fiction??

Let me first just jump up and down and squee a little because that is my question Deb picked this week. It’s only fair I answer it, right?

I haven’t really written any prose fan-fiction. I wrote some poems inspired by some films and TV shows, but in Slovene, not in English. However, there is quite some fan-fiction in my head – lots of times when I wish something was different in a book or a film I imagine my own version, but I somehow fail to put it down in writing.

Up until recently, I haven’t read any fan-fiction, but lately I sometimes read fan-fiction based on The Vampire Diaries (be it the TV show or the books). 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Avenger (Time Raiders #3) by P. C. Cast


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): The Time Raiders project sends Alexandra Patton, a reluctant psychic, back to 60 AD Briton – a world where she can barely understand the accents, let alone its culture of brutality and superstition. Armed only with her "freakish" ability to talk to the dead, Alex must use all her gifts to entice Caradoc, a savagely sexy Druid warrior, into helping her succeed in her mission.

What they discover along the way is pure passion.

Now, torn between duty and the man of her dreams, should Alex return home if given the chance? Or dare she risk everything to begin anew in this strange and mystical land?

MY OPINION:

The Avenger has both good and bad sides.

What I liked:

- the way Alex’s ability to communicate with ghosts is dealt with – especially how it is accepted by an ancient/pageant society in contrast to modern civilisation. I think this is quite credible.

- Alex’s view upon the Celts and their life.

- I really liked the fact that Alex is a strong heroine – she neither whines nor brags about her ability/curse.

What I disliked:

I didn’t actually hate anything. However, the book felt somewhat rushed and there were two things I missed. Firstly, I would like to learn a little more about some of the characters, particularly Boudicca and her daughters. I would also love to see Caradoc’s view on “the future”, i.e. the present time, and I think the author missed a great opportunity for an exceptional plot element by omitting that aspect altogether.

Nevertheless, the positive things outweigh the shortcomings in The Avenger and make it a compelling read.

RECOMMENDATION: Those who love historical/time travel romance will most probably find The Avenger a fast and entertaining read which is hard to put down. Also, despite being a part of series, The Avenger is in fact, as well as the other Time Raiders books, a book which can be read as a stand-alone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I’ve Been Tagged!


Sarah from Sarah Says Read posted this cool tag and she also tagged me, so here I go. I am taking her as an example and going about this in a more causal way, too.

What to do

1. Post rules.
2. Post 11 fun facts about yourself.
3. Answer questions from the person who tagged you.
4. Make up 11 questions for people you tag.
5. Tag 11 people. (Yeah, I ‘m not tagging eleven people.)
6. Let them know they’ve been tagged. (I’m also not bothering to do this… if you see the post and see that you’ve been tagged, great. Feel free to join in or not.)

11 fun facts about myself:

  1. I’m an only child, so I when I was little I made up three imaginary siblings – two brothers and one sister – I played with them everything you can think of, such as board games where I made moves for four people.
  1. When still in pre-school, I invented “English”– a bunch of meaningless words I taught to an imaginary class. Who would have thought I would later become an actual English teacher?
  1. Another one from my childhood: my eight-years senior cousin was teasing me by “throwing” cats on the floor – when really they just jumped off his lap, but I thought it hurt them and I kept scolding him for that.
  1. I used to help herding cows when I was on vacation on my uncle’s farm.  
  1. I was kicked out of children’s choir due to allegedly being tone-deaf. Of course, I had been assigned to sing soprano. I joined an adult choir six years ago – now I’m singing alto and guess what – obviously I ’m not tone-deaf.
  1. Even though I can cook complicated (and delicious) meals, I am a lazy cook, so most often I rather just stick to the basics.
  1. I have nightmares if I read about scary or violent things or watch film with such content, so I avoid doing that before going to bed.
  1. I get so immersed in my thoughts I tend to go past people I know on the street without greeting them. Luckily, my friends know this and they don’t take offence.
  1. I love winter. The weather I like best: sunny, snow on the ground and below zero (°C). It’s even better if I don’t have to shovel the snow and go anywhere – but the weather is worth the trouble.
  1. I’m an over-thinker.
  1. In relation to number 10: I hate phoning. On the phone everything goes so fast and I often forget to say something because I don’t have the time to think about what to say or how to say it. So, if I have to do an important work or some official issue related phone call, I write down a list of points I have to tackle.
Sarah’s questions:

1. Do you like where you live?

Yes. I like my apartment, it’s just the right size and it overlooks fields, so it feels very secluded and peaceful, although I basically live along a main road, and I’ve got really close to the bus and the store, which is great.

2. What would you do if you were omnipotent?

I wouldn't want to be omnipotent, because the wish for power alone corrupts people. But if I were, I’d make everyone think more about other people then about themselves. I think that would pretty much solve all the problems in the world.

3. What’s your favourite holiday?

Christmas. Easter comes right behind.

4. What music did you like to listen to 10 years ago?

That was my rock phase, I think.

5. What are your favourite websites?

I can’t think of any in particular. Okay, at least not any which hasn’t got to do with book blogging or The Vampire Diaries.

6. What’s your favourite plant or flower?

I love carnations – not the ones you buy which don’t have a scent at all – but the real home-grown dark red carnations with a sweet scent.  I used to grow my own when I still lived in a house.

7. Do you have any pets?

Yes. I have had a cat for almost six years now. You can read (almost) all about her in Cat Diary.

8. What are some of your favourite TV shows right now?

Another easy one – you know what comes in first: The Vampire Diaries. Then closely behind follow: White Collar, Terra Nova, and my new-ish discovery, Downton Abbey. Oh, and NCIS.

9. If you could jump into any book, which would it be?

If you read this blog regularly, you already know the answer: The Lord of the Rings. But, as someone on the blogosphere put it, preferably after Sauron has been defeated.

10. What’s your favourite joke?

I’m terrible at remembering and/or telling jokes.

11. If you could buy anything right now, regardless of the price, what would it be?

Hmmmm…Books, of course … and a place to put them in. :D

11 questions for you to answer:

  1. Which fictional character would you be and why?
  2. Which is your favourite animal?
  3. If you could live in any time and place in history, apart from the present, when and where would it be and why?
  4. What is one thing you are not good at but you wish you were?
  5. If you could write (and enforce) any law, what would it be?
  6. Do you remember the first book you bought by yourself and which was it?
  7. Which was your favourite subject in school?
  8. Which recent film would you recommend waching?
  9. Which was the last book that was completely mind-blowing for you?
  10. Do you read while eating (or vice versa)?
  11. What is your favourite time of day?
The people I’m tagging:

Jillian @ Random Ramblings
Jennifer @ Book’d Out

and if anyone else wants to participate, fell free to do so. 

Teaser Tuesday #13



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!

MY TEASERS: 



"But it was too late for prayers and promises now. Her fate had been sealed from the moment, seven weeks ago, when she'd been dumped at the feet of the arrogant beast beside her, trussed up like a feastday partridge.
"
 
A Kingdom of Dreams 
by Judith McNaught, p. 4

Monday, February 13, 2012

All Together Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #7) by Charlaine Harris


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her long-time vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life-the shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit.

The summit is a tense situation. The vampire queen of Louisiana is in a precarious position, her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. And there are some vamps who would like to finish what nature started. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

MY OPINION:

As usually in this series, Sookie annoys me a little in this book. In All Together Dead I particularly disliked Sookie’s getting all self-righteous, deciding who gets to live or die. If Sookie was a real person we would probably get along and be polite to each other but I would be her best friend.

However, Sookie is not the reason I keep reading this series, I keep reading it because of an interesting take on the supernatural world and creatures and because of suspenseful plots.

What I liked about All Together Dead is the vampire politics with all their glamour and intrigue. The plot is dynamic and keeps you glued to the book from start to finish. There is a lot of violence and some scenes are pretty gory.  

Even though Sookie is not my favourite character, I will keep reading the series, because I want to find out more about this kind of supernatural world. And I am also curious if Sookie gets together with Eric (but don’t tell me if you happen to know, I want to be surprised).

RECOMMENDATION: This is a fast and easy, but compelling read which lovers of paranormal, especially fans of the series, would enjoy. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Nook #8



Book Nooks
*Every weekend*
Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
Hosting through April 2012: The True Book Addict (@truebookaddict)
Show us something pretty!



Commentary: This looks so cute, the colors are joyful and there is enough light. It seems like a soft, perfect cocoon to curl in and read.

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

Friday, February 10, 2012

Follow Friday #5

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.


Today’s question is: “What would you prefer: reading your favourite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading 100s of mediocre books? And why?”

MY ANSWER:

I haven’t read any superb book for a while – last month or so. I mean, I liked the books I read, but there wasn’t any that would shake my world, take my breath away, make me think about it for days and weeks….you know what I mean.

If I didn't read mediocre books, I wouldn't have fond my favourites, which would be a shame. I guess the middle was is the right way, that's why I read new books and and reread my favourites, after all.

However, if I had to choose, I’d rather read my favourite book(s) over and over again than read 100s of mediocre books. In any case, my favourite books are the books I want (and I do) reread again and again.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Definitely Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #6) by Charlaine Harris


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): As a person with so few living relatives, supernaturally gifted Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse really hated to lose one. But she never thought it would be her cousin Hadley, a consort of the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. Since Hadley was a vampire, she was already dead – weird! And now, as unexpected heir to Hadley’s estate, Sookie discovers that someone doesn’t want her snooping around, going through Hadley’s possessions and her past. But why? And who?

MY OPINION:

The sixth book in this series is pleasantly familiar and novel at the same time.

The familiar part is Sookie’s repeated yammering about her poverty and having to deal wit the supernatural world. It’s somewhat annoying from time to time, but I can live with it. I liked that Sookie’s behaviour where men are concerned is more guarded in this book than in the previous instalments.

I enjoyed learning about the vampire hierarchy and the parts about witches were interesting. Also, this book is different form the rest of the series in not sticking to one major plot but having multiple intertwining plotlines without creating confusion.

Despite plenty of action, I think this book is less turbulent. Perhaps I got that feeling from Sookie contemplating a lot about the ‘normal’ aspects of life – family, friendship, love – instead focusing solely on the supernatural world.

Naturally, Sookie saves the day in the end, finishing the story without any cliff-hangers but still leaving room for another story.

RECOMMENDATION: For the fans of the series, this is an easy and familiar read to relax with.   

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Cat Diary (15): Inspiration


This is an occasional Sunday feature where my cat, pardon, Her Majesty the Cat, offers her more or less gracious insight into our lives.


Were you wondering why there hasn't been a cat diary post for ages? It's because that maid of mine (you might know her as Pepca) wasn't inspired to write as nothing special was happening. Oh, please. I'm offended, of course. How could she not be inspired what to write when I'm trying so hard on daily basis?

For example, she could mention how helpful I was with monitoring her decorating the place for the holidays (and putting the decorations away afterwards).

Then, there was a period of time, just at the beginning of January, when all you could see outside was fog. It was pretty boring, I must say. It came so far I even gave some attention to alpine skiing broadcasts on TV.


Also, I found myself a new, peaceful sleeping spot on the bottom shelf of the hallway wardrobe (it has a sliding door which I can open by myself). It's not really my fault that Pepca thought she had to move her shoes from that shelf onto another. For my sake, she could leave the shoes right where they were, I felt very comfortable lying on top of them.

And finally, if nothing else, she could mention I am a hundred percent successful at keeping my New Year's resolution, which was to make Pepca laugh at least once a day.

I think that is plenty of inspiration to write about, don't you? Phew!

Wishing you lots and lots of inspiration, till next time, 


Friday, February 03, 2012

Cowboys and Aliens (2011)

DIRECTOR: John Faverau; CAST: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford…

SUMMARY (from IMDB): A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys and natives are all that stand in their way.

MY OPINION:

When I first heard of this film I knew it was bound to be good. And it is. It brings the western and science-fiction together very well.

The key ingredients for success are typical: a rich arrogant rancher, his haughty son who can do just about anything due to the dad’s position in town, a suspicious outsider with a search warrant on him, one feisty lady, a gang of robbers, and of course an ever-present threat of a fight with Native Americans. Now add alien invasion. And we have a winner.

Initially, the premise of the 19th century settlers of the West being able to put up a fight with their old-fashioned weapons against an advanced alien technology seems silly. However, the scenario is presented in such a way it makes the story believable. Naturally, the beginning is far from promising for the cowboys’ side, but the strategy they gradually develop makes it a fair fight which they – no surprise there – win in the end. The crucial factor is the expected joining of several opposing parties against the common enemy, making “united we stand, divided we fall” the moral of the film.

Despite the predictable ending, the film is thrilling, and it kept me on my toes. It is the kind of a thriller I like – just enough scary to startle me a few times but not give me any nightmares.

RECOMMENDATION: This blend of western and science-fiction is a suspenseful and believable approach on a premise of the 19th century alien invasion.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: an Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

MY OPINION:

Note: This review contains mild SPOILERS, including for The Twilight Saga through Eclipse.

As a huge fan of The Twilight Saga, I had to pick up this Eclipse novella eventually. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner tells the story of the vampire newborns who attack the Cullens in Eclipse.

The life of Bree and the vampires like her is very different from that of the Cullens. Bree lives in a constant fear among perpetually fighting vampires, always thirsty for blood. However, Bree is an intelligent girl, and she uses every bit of that intelligence to survive.

Thus, she eventually forms two doomed friendships: with Diego, an intelligent vampire, capable of self-restraint just as herself, and with Fred, a strange loner with an unusual talent.

The events in The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner are wholly synchronised with those in Eclipse. Through Bree’s observations, Meyer complements the parts of Eclipse concerning Victoria, Riley, and the Volturi. Seeing everything, especially the Cullens, through Bree’s eyes is fascinating. 

My only complaint about this novella is that I wanted it to be longer. Although I knew better, I grew to love Bree, and I was sad to say goodbye to her. I would love to read more about her. Well, maybe Meyer writes Fred’s story some day, I would definitely read that. 

RECOMMENDATION: Twilight fans will love this. Even if you are sceptic about picking it up because you know how it ends, it is well-worth reading it.

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