Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Keeping a blog is a contemplative thing. Very introspective if you do it honestly, and if you go back and read your past posts, it is easy to see how easily people change or maybe even go different directions, even though they never knew they were making a decision.

Of course, we are book bloggers and although the manifestation of our feelings and identity, always evident through our book reviews and interactions with fellow bloggers, is different than those who simply type about their day-to-day life, the essence is still the same. We write about what matters, and after reading so many books and interpeting so many ideas, we know that something matters only if we see it that way. We embrace the subjective, the abstract, but in turn get an amazing view into ourselves, because the books we read are who we are inside.

This is why I would like to thank each and every single one of my fellow book bloggers. Thank you for writing such wonderful posts and making me want to write as well. Thank you for reading all those wonderful books, thus making me want to read them. Most of all, thank you for being open, honest and supportive. We are making each other's words matter and thus liberating ourselves enough to spot what's right and wrong with the world we live in.

I wish you all the best in 2010, in terms of health, wealth or any other way you define happiness.

xoxo
-Nikola

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Giveaway Winner - P&P&Z/S&S&SM

After a long, long delay, I am lett ing you know the winners of the contest. These three people will win a set of both books, sent to them by the publisher. I hope they will love the books and I'm looking forward to the reviews! And the winners are...

Ryan G
brizmus
Trisha
Congratulations! xoxo
Many thanks to Melissa Monachello, without whom this giveaway wouldn't be possible!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In My Mailbox #2

video

Finally, a new blog post, and a new vlog! Hope you like it! Here are the books I mention in it:

  • Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
  • Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
  • Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison

Friday, December 18, 2009

Blog Back Soon

Dear bloggers,
Sorry for not posting in a while. I know it's really bad, and that I even had a giveaway going that doesn't have the winners yet, but don't worry, it's about to change. I've had a lot of trouble with my ISP, as well as school work, but I expect to write a post/do a vlog tomorrow and then go from there.
Thanks for generally reading my blog, and sorry about this.

xoxo
Nikola

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review: Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell


When you meet the man of your dreams on girls night out, it's hardly perfect timing!
In this fresh and funny contemporary romance by bestselling author Jill Mansell, Poppy Dunbar's whole life gets turned upside down after a chance encounter with a handsome stranger...
Never a troublemaker, Poppy had always been content with the way things were supposed to be done—which included marrying predictable Rob McBride. But that was before she met Tom Kennedy the night before her wedding. Could she really be falling in love with a stranger?
Unable to forget Tom, or go through with the wedding, Poppy runs off to London. Her new life and colorful friends are anything but predictable. Misunderstandings, family secrets, and jealous quarrels ensue, but can Poppy stop running long enough to figure out what—or, rather, who—is in her heart?



Reading Perfect Timing, I kept thinking how come this book wasn't available on the American market sooner. It is a by numbers chick lit book that still sports enough surprises and good-natured humor to be distinguished from the overcrowded market. The best part of the book are the characters - Poppy being the girl next door everyone knows, Caspar being the hunky artistic type, and Tom... Well, I'm not giving that one away!

Although sometimes the book feels crowded with characters, I must mention Ms. Mansell's ability to create believable characters and put them in believable situations. Although the book lacks the social commentary of, for example, Candace Bushnell's books, or may not feel fresh at all times, it is still a great book to curl up with when it's raining cats and dogs outside and you want to be transported to a world with happy ends.

RATING: 4/5

Friday, November 20, 2009

Book to Movie Review: Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging


Two installments of the hilarious Georgia Nicolson book series, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers, have now been adapted into a movie starring a bunch of unknown British actors, and a relatively funny cat. The good news? Although it's flawed, the movie couldn't really be deemed bad. The bad news (and something most book bloggers are generally interested in) is that it doesn't come within a mile of the books' spirit, humor and heart.

The protagonist is Georgia Nicolson (Georgia Groome), a 14-year-old girl with serious self-esteem issues. Her nose is the size of Jupiter, her parents are annoying... You get the idea. Her best friend is Jas (played by the charismatic Eleanor Tomlinson), with whom Georgia thinks up a genius plan on how to seduce the two new boys in school, played by two anonymous hotties. Of course, the plan backfires, and Georgie has to learn the lesson of... Boring.

The biggest problem with the film is the way they dumbed down (and sexed-down) the books so it could appeal to the tween crowd, at once evident from the title. You know you're in for a problem when you see the Nickelodeon logo at the beginning of the film. These characters are the High School Musical version of the original characters, and it just doesn't work.

That said, the movie is rather enjoyable once you forget about your expectations. There is a cutesy feeling going through the entire movie, and some of the performances are very naturalistic and measured. My favorite, however, was Angus, who may not deserve a pussy-flick of his own just yet, but who definitely shined in this one. Not a perfect adaptation, but not as horrible a disappointment as The Golden Compass was, this one's a good rental.

RATING: 3/5

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giveaway: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies/Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters


Finally, the giveaway I've been so excited to host, but good things are worth the wait, right? Welcome to the biggest contest on Nikola's Book Blog yet, where three (3) lucky winners will be walking away with a combo of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters! That's right, this is your chance to win two of the most talked-about books of 2009!

Giveaway rules:
1. The giveaway is open to America, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.
2. The giveaway will have three (3) winners, each winning a copy of each book.
3. The giveaway will close on December 2nd.
4. In order to enter, please leave a comment and make sure you leave an email address. No email address, no entry!
5. The winners will be notified by email, as well as advertised on the blog.
6. The giveaway is open to followers only.
7. Special entries are awarded on the following basis:


+2 for tweeting, facebooking, leaving the link in the sidebar, etc. (leave a link!)
+5 for linking to the contest using the image above

Big thanks to Melissa Monachello for making this giveaway possible!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays #4




Welcome to another Teaser Tuesday! I absolutely love this meme, and am excited to post another sport after a while! The meme is hosted by the person behind Should Be Reading. The idea is to grab your current read, turn to a random page (although I prefer to turn to the page I'm on) and share two "teaser sentences" with the crowd. Spoilers aren't cool. Here we go~

Caspar realized he couldn't look at the photographs any more. He shoveled them back into the envelope, wondering if Poppy had used his camera on purpose to make her point.
-Jill Mansel, Perfect Timing

Monday, November 16, 2009

In My Mailbox #1


video

In my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Welcome to my first vlog! Here's some things you should know:


  1. Usually, I'm much more handsome.
  2. My teeth aren't as big as they seem here.
  3. I speak better English when I don't record myself with a crappy camera that is being balanced on my computer.
I mention Amanda and Sharon. I also mention Eclipse, Perfect Timing, Sons and Lovers, Wicked, The Picture of Dorian Grey and Bikini. Most importantly, I mention Amanda's GLBT challenge. Go join!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wish List Wednesdays #3


Here's a short Wish List Wednesday post from me. First of all, it would be unfair not to mention the book Julie & Julia, since I dedicated a whole post to it without even reading itthat I (and by the way, thanks for such a great response). This is among the very top on my wish list. Another book I would really love to read is Brokeback Mountain. I admit this is Amanda's fault, with her GLBT literature challenges that I can't wait to take part in, she really got me thinking about reading this book - especially since I love the film so much!


Also, there are books that I haven't yet read, but have been craving for a while now - Equus, Wicked, Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, The Rules of Attraction, Running with Scissors... I hope I'll get around to reading some of these in a short while!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Giveaway Winner - Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

After using random.org (as usual), I have the pleasure of announcing the winner of the Coffeehouse Angel giveaway! Congratulations, KatieDoll! And thank you Suzanne Selfors, for making this giveaway possible!

I will send the winner an email right away (please reply ASAP!), and for the rest of you - brace yourselves! Very soon, there will be a new giveaway on the blog, which I think will get the entire blogosphere running over! Want a little hint? Here it is: Although the heroins of the novel are far from unknown, their swimming abilities suddenly become very important. After all, how else does one swim away from those dangerous tentacles? Two extra points in advance for whoever gets it right first!

Julie & Julia & Blogging


Last night, I watched the new-ish Meryl Streep/Amy Adams flick, Julie & Julia. What a great movie! I totally recommend everyone to see it, if not for its genuinely good combination of comedy and drama, then at least for its superb performances.

Also, I think this movie spoke to me as a blogger. Julie, played by Amy Adams, is battling the bad times in her life by cooking and blogging about it. There is a scene where she is in her office and suddenly she screams: "I got a comment!" I think each and every single one of us felt like this at some point. Also, we all want to see our blogs grow, get more followers and be read.
Now, this is something I've been thinking about for a while. When I was starting this blog, I had an idea of very serious reviews being posted, with little or no space devoted to me as a reader. Now I am thinking, perhaps this was a mistake. Cooking is no easier than reading! You have to mix all your ingredients (time, energy, even money) and then come out with something useful, or be ready to tell the world your time has gone to waste!

My idea of liberating my blog from the constraints of writing just book reviews was cemented in the last couple of weeks, when I really didn't have the time to read. Obligations just crashed upon me, and my blog was left deserted. I will not let this happen anymore. If I can't read, I will at least blog about why I can't read. And what I would read. And when I would do it.

So, thank you Julie and Julia. You truly were inspirational. And to my readers, bon apetit!

P.S. - I just have to read this book pronto! Does anyone have it? Of course it's not translated here in Serbia! I'd be sooo willing to mooch it!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Friday 56 #1

I found an amazing meme, and I wanted to share it with you guys! Please respond to it in comments, or even better, post about it, it's really fun!

Rules:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*
Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


Mr Beebe smiled as Miss Alan plunged into an anectode which he knew she would be unable to finish in the presence of a gentleman.
-E.M. Forester, A Room with a View

Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf


Virginia Woolf's well-known novel Mrs. Dalloway is without a doubt a classic of English literature. However, it has many characteristics not commonly associated with classics. It doesn't take ages to read. It doesn't distract the reader with superfluous distractions. Most importantly, as the book is read, one is irrevocably and achingly aware and understanding of the plights of a woman, out to buy the flowers herself.

This is exactly what the book is about, or it's plot at least. Mrs. Dalloway, an upper-class London socialite goes out to buy some flowers for her big ball that evening. On the way, she thinks about her life. About the things that already happened, as well as the things that might happen in the future. She remembers her old love, who she rejected simply because his passion brought out the worst in her. She thinks about her husband, her dull, reliable husband, who she feels grounds and protects her from her true self, the unimaginable horror she feels is lurking within. And finally, she is forced to think about a man just back from the war, a man she doesn't even know, but who seems to be able to open her eyes with a selfish, yet heroic act of despair.

The tortured soul of Virginia Woolf provides great source for the seemingly flawless, yet sadly disturbed title character. The stream of consciousness form of the book makes all these seemingly random scenes (yet, is anything in life truly random?) flow through the reader's mind like a dream. However, this dream does not tell of fairies and magical places. It deals with the reality and such things as wars and the effect they have on individuals, as well as on the collective consciousness, the choices one has to make in life, the difference between life and death, and the lengths one is willing to go just to find a piece of mind.

RATING: 5/5

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BookMooch and other updates.

Hello, darlings!

I was thinking I should write a non-review or giveaway post just so I could catch you up with what's been going on in my world. Lately, I have been reading books less for fun and more because I had to. Thank God I like them! I am currently hanging out with Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, a book I've read once before and absolutely loved. A review is coming soon.

Also, you may have noticed that I am hosting a super fun giveaway. The book is Coffeehouse Angel, which I've seen a lot around the blogosphere, so it was only natural to request a review copy. If you haven't read the review, now's your chance. It is a great, cozy, fluffy book for this time of year. I also expect many of you to enter the giveaway, so that's exciting as well!

I find it hard to visit all of your blogs, and I apologize for that. I wish there was an easier way for me to read all the posts (though I do read like 80% of everything) and especially to leave a comment. I am working on this, so give me time. :)

Finally, I have joined BookMooch! Any people out there who could provide me tips? I'm loving it so far and am sending out my copy of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre to a lady in America next week.

Kisses!
Nikola.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Giveaway: Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors


Again, it's giveaway time! After one copy of M. Griffith's Alec Thrace has found it's winner, it's time to offer something completely different. This time, it's an ARC of Suzanne Selfors' much hyped book, Coffeehouse Angel. Feel free to read my review here, it's a cozy, fluffy, delightful read, and I can't think of a better time to do a giveaway than now, when it's cold outside and coffee (or tea) becomes our best friend.

1. The giveaway is open to US only.
2. The giveaway will have one winner.
3. The giveaway will close on November 9th.
4. In order to enter, leave a comment with your email address. No email adress, no entry!
5. Special entries are awarded on the following basis:

+2 for following (never too late to start)
+2 for tweeting (leave a link)
+2 for linking to the contest, +5 for using a graphic.

6. The winners will be notified by email, as well as announced on the blog. Good luck!

Thank you Suzanne Selfors, for making this giveaway possible!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion - Giveaway Winner!

I am sorry for being a bit tardy when it comes to posting who the winner of the giveaway is, but here it goes now. Congratulations, Melissa (My World)! I will send you an email as soon as I am done typing this post, please reply ASAP with your address so I can let the author know where to send the book. I am also looking forward to your review.

I would also like to take this opportunity and thank my followers (104 of them at this point in time!) for reading what I have to say about books and commenting. I am doing my best to try and visit your blogs back, give me time! :)

Also, congratulations and good luck to everyone participating in the global readathon today. I didn't think I would be able to participate myself, so I didn't apply, but now I regret it. If anyone wants to chat, hit me up on AIM - my nick there is poses89 (or send me an email to poses89@aim.com).

Finally, make sure you check out my blog tomorrow for a new giveaway - one I believe will have everyone signing up like crazy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Review: Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother's coffee shop, she leaves him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tidy him over, never expecting this random act of kindness to turn her life upside down. The adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is actually a real guardian angel on a break between missions, and now he won't leave until he can reward Katrina's selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire.

Suzanne Selfors' YA novel Coffeehouse Angel was a surprisingly fun read. Both funny and poetic, the novel successfully dealt with a spectrum of themes and motifs, including the search of one's purpose in life, responsibilities, fears, self-confidence, life and death. The author managed to do all of this without preaching, and although the book risked being a Christian propaganda piece from the very title, it is a greatly delivered story.

Of course, it is majorly important that the protagonist is well-characterized. Katrina is very relatable, and a great portrayal of teenagers. The book may be PG, but all the necessary problems teenagers go through are addressed, which was a pleasant surprise. People dealing with Twilight post-partum depression, might just find an adequate replacement in the form of Coffeehouse Angel.

Thanks to Suzanne Selfors for sending me an autographed ARC of the book, as well as many promotional goodies. Word on the street is, this book might soon be featured in a giveaway on this blog. So, drop by regularly.


RATING: 5/5

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Meme Time!

1. What author do you own the most books by? Well, it is easy to say J.K. Rowling, since I own all seven Harry Potter books, plus Quidditch Through the Ages. However, I think I own even more Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus, Love's Labour's Lost, As You Like It, King Henry VI, King Henry VIII, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, As You Like it, The Merchant of Venice...

2. What book do you own the most copies of? Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, all in different editions. One is a hardcover Serbian translation, published in 1986. The second one is a Penguin Classics edition, and finally, the third one is a part of The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, part of the Oxford Paperbacks series. The funny thing is, all three books were given to me by the same person!

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions? No, I think it's quite normal.

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with? Wow, I never thought of characters that way. However, Dorian Grey would certainly be one of them, as well as Will from Cunningham's Flesh & Blood. Finally, I adore Mrs. Dalloway!

5. What book have you read the most times in your life? Probably a Harry Potter book.

6. Favorite book as a ten year old? That's easy! Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

7. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year? Probably Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion.

8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year? I adored Zoe Heller's Notes on a Scandal!

9. If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? To Kill a Mockingbird. But they can't have Atticus. He's mine.

10. What book would you most like to see made into a movie? Michael Cunningham's Flesh and Blood. I am also excited to see the newest Dorian Grey movie!

11. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read? This is a very difficult question. Canterbury Tales comes to mind, though I may be wrong. Also, The Mysteries of Udolpho, not difficult due to style, but due to slowness!

12. What is your favorite book? This is an impossible question to answer. I will simply skip it.

13. What is your favorite play? Probably Shakespeare's Macbeth, or A Midsummer Night's Dream. I am looking forward to reading Equus.

14. Poem? I am partial to Adam Zagayewski.

15. Essay? I have no idea.

16. Who is the most overrated writer alive today? I really have no idea.

17. What is your desert island book? Probably something with practical tips, and then some Cunningham for enjoyment.

18. And . . . what are you reading right now? I'm finnishing a light, fluffy YA read The Coffeehouse Angel, which I will review tomorrow. After that, I'm reading some Victorian and Modernist literature for school - Lord Jim, Vanity Fair, Wurthering Heights, The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man,...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Review: Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion by M.D. Griffith

Alec Thrace is a nineteen year old privileged son of the mighty House of Thrace on the magical island of Atlantis, far beyond the Pillars of Hercules in the Atlantic Ocean where science meets prehistory and intermingles from time to time with magic. Alec learns of a great adventure that his missing father left for him, to find and use a long lost medallion to bring the body of a great king back to Atlantis before the warring factions of Rome and Carthage can lay claim to it. However, Alec soon learns that there is more to the medallion than its golden exterior. Within it lies the secret of the one for whom it was made. Together, Alec and his friends race through the world discovering how dangerous it can be and how precious their mythical island nation is as well as what some would do to lay claim to its wealth and knowledge.

Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion seems tailor-made for fantasy fiction fanatics. If you are one, and also happen to like history, read away! I am sure you will love it. However, I strongly believe that any book should somehow appeal to more people than just its target audience. M.D. Griffith's debut novel fails. I was never grabbed by the sleeve of my shirt to go investigate further with the characters of this first installment in the Atlantis: The Hidden Kingdom series.

This does not mean that M.D. is not a talented writer. I am happily anticipating whatever is coming our way from his pen next. His vivid descriptions are a great proof of this. Mysterious, fictional places such as Babylon or Atlantis itself were almost Tolkien-like. However, as I read I missed the anti-religious coloring of Phillip Pullman, or the refurbishment of classics that J. K. Rowling is so good at. Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion covered a big time period, but like many other fantasy writers, M.D. Griffith made the mistake of not making it about something that transcends myths, puzzles and cliches.

RATING: 2/5

A big thanks to M.D. Griffith for the review copy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Giveaway: Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion by M.D. Griffith


Ah, it's good to be back. After not having internet for a while, it's nice to finally be able to communicate with authors, publishers and my favorite bloggers. On that note, I would like to open a new contest! This time, you can win one copy of M.D. Griffith's debut novel Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion. This is the first book in his Atlantis: The Hidden Kingdom series.

1. The giveaway is open internationally.
2. The giveaway will have one winner.
3. The giveaway will be open until October 22nd.
4. In order to enter, leave your comment together with your email address.
5. Special entries are awarded on the following basis:

+2 for following (never too late to start)
+2 for tweeting about the contest (leave a link!)
+2 for linking to the contest, sidebar is okay (+4 for using a picture!)

6. The winners will be notified by email, as well as announced on the blog. Good luck!

Thanks to M.D. Griffith for making this giveaway possible!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Review: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters/Jane Austen


Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest—and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!

Although not a sequel to its widely popular predecessor, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the reworked version of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility continues the tradition of putting these beloved characters into ridiculous and possibly deadly situations. A cross between the original novel and a much more violent version of Pirates of the Carribean, the novel builds up on Zombies and delivers laughs and the occasional stomachache. If you think bloody sea monster attacks are funny. Personally, I had a good time.

I expect most Jane Austen fans will pick up this book with reservations, but they should have a good time as well. In my humble opinion, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters should be less offending than the recent paranormal version of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, which suffered both stylistically, as well as content-wise. Pick up this latest spoof, and remember to read it on dry land!

RATING: 4/5


Thank you to Melissa Monachello from Quirk Books for approaching me with a review copy.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just a quick note...

...to let you know that my internet connection is down and I'm stuck with dial-up. This means I won't be able to visit and comment on other people's blogs. You can always reach me by email though. I will be fully back after I sort this mess out on Monday.

Thanks,

xoxo
Nikola.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book to Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


I know I am probably very, very late to participate in praising of the newest Harry Potter installment. The reason is that the biggest cinemas in my town had closed down about a year ago, due to renovation. Needless to say, I was completely depressed this summer when Half-Blood Prince came out, since I had nowhere to watch it. Yesterday, my mom (who by the way is another Potterhead) tells me that a small art cinema is playing the movie. It is totally unlike them to play such a commercial flick, but hey, it was good enough for me!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a complete triumph from start to finish. I am now certain that a Harry Potter movie can't miss the mark - sure, they've experimented with different visual styles and direction, but every single one of these movies I've loved. With the sixth, based on probably the most depressing book in the series, they have taken most liberty with. Scenes are added, certain things are omitted, but it works thanks to the talented people involved. For example, a lot of the movie revolves around Ron and Hermione's flirtatious behavior, and those scenes really showcase the talents of the young actors, who are obviously having a lot of fun in the roles, but never fall into farce. The same goes for the adults, most notably Michael Gambon in the role of Dumbledore. He completely understands this character and plays him in a detailed and controlled manner.

Finally, the direction is perfect. David Yates, the director of both Order and Prince seems to really understand that what holds these movies together and ensures their popularity is the human factor. Special effects, magical monsters and enchanted locations look wonderful, but are not a challenge. And in the very first shot of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry is being photographed by paparazzi, Yates is smart enough to subtly focus on Dumbledore's hand on Harry's shoulder. If this isn't a great movie, I don't know what is.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Awards! #2


Yay, I got another fresh batch of awards from other fabulous bloggers! Some of these are not so fresh - I feel bad and apologize for taking me so long to post about these awards and assign them to other bloggers. But here they are now, as well as my nominees!

Awarded by Jessica. My nominees are:


Awarded by Cynthia and Ryan. I have already nominated people for this award.

Awarded by BrownGirl. I have already nominated people for this award.

Awarded by Alyssa, Jake & Gregory. My nominees are:


Awarded by Ryan. My nominee is:


Awarded by Ceri. My nominee is:


Thank you to all the wonderful, talented book bloggers who have awarded me. I look forward to more reviews, debates, giveaways and other book-related fun!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Review: The Diary by Eileen Goudge


Good romance reads will never go out of style. Books that feature star-crossed lovers battling the world that doesn't understand them will always strike a chord with the audience - both with those who have experienced unparalleled stings of love and/or lust, or those who wish they could go through all this. Either way, The Diary is a book to recommend to those around you who need a little romance in their life.

The Diary tells the story of two women who find their dying mother's diary and uncover a big secret. It turns out that the love of their mother's life was not their father, but instead a footloose, charismatic young man. By reading the diary, the sisters slowly bond and realize that although every child keeps some secrets from their parents, it is usually the other way around as well.
The diary is essentially a beach read. It doesn't take long to finish it, and since it is always emotional, always in medias res, it does not take long to get into it. The lady and the tramp story is reminiscent of some other popular ones (namely, The Notebook), but Goudge also flirts with themes of maternity, small-town mentality and the passing of time, although she never diverts the reader's full attention away from the central romance. All in all, The Diary is everything it should be - a light, entertaining book that will strike a chord with all you hopeless romantics. It is a great novel in its niche.

RATING: 4/5

Big thanks to Eileen Goudge for sending me an inscribed copy of The Diary.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wish List Wednesdays #2


Wish List Wednesdays is hosted by Jennay at My Tea Time is Book Time. It's a weekly meme and anyone can join in!!! All you have to do is list a few of the books on your wish list (and all book lovers have one of those...right?). Come and share, so other readers can add more books to their growing wish list!

As can be seen in the picture on the right, Peter Schafer's drama Equus is at the very top of my wish list right now! I have heard so many great stuff about it, and am planning on seeing the film sometime soon. Of course, I didn't have the chance to see the Broadway performance starring Daniel Radcliffe, but I would give anything if I could just have this book in my hands right now!

For other items on my wish list, feel free to check out my Amazon wish list!

And what book are you craving?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meme: Me and My Reading Habits


Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Whereas tea and coffee are my beverages of choice when it comes to reading, I also like to snack from time to time. Fruit is the best solution, because it never leaves you too thirsty, meaning you don't need to take a break in your reading so you could go get a glass of water.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I would never do it. However, I have been in situations where I had a library book with notes in it, and I felt as if I was having a conversation with whoever it was that had read the book before me. Sometimes I felt he or she had great insight, and sometimes I just hated them. :)

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

Bookmarks all the way! Dog-ears are okay I guess, if you really can't find anything to put in the book, but I find it too much fun to collect bookmarks! I always buy a bookmark as a souvenir wherever I go!

Laying the book flat open?

Sure, I've done it.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?

Fiction, but I also love memoirs of certain interesting people.

Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy. I cannot stand audiobooks.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

Sure I'm able to put the book down, but I hate doing it in the middle of a chapter!

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?

Not really. It would just damage my reading experience. Chances are, it's not too important, and even if it is, you can usually figure it out from context.

What are you currently reading?

Two books. Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, and The Diary by Eileen Goudge.

What is the last book you bought?

Probably The Fire by Katherine Neville.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?

I usually have to read more books at the time, since I have required reading for university, but I also read books for pleasure.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?

Not really. I am just happy whenever I find the time!

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?

I prefer books that have literary merit. Usually, series books don't, since they are too concerned with plot, cliff-hangers, etc. That said, I am a huge Harry Potter fan, and there are certain other series books I just adore.

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Yes. Michael Cunningham is my all-time favorite author, hands down.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)

I don't. I love my books to be a hot mess!

Teaser Tuesday #3


Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MiZB at Should Be Reading.

Here are her instructions:

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!

Here is my teaser this week...

The Diary by Eileen Goudge (soon to be reviewed):

"So that story she used to tell us about Dad being the one to rescue her was all a lie?" Emily frowned down at the diary, from which Sarah had been reading aloud, as if it had offended her.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ms. Taken Identity by Dan Begley Giveaway - WINNERS!


Wow, what a turnout! Seems like the talented Dan Begley really is on the road to become a bestselling novelist. His lad lit debut Ms. Taken Identity is in stores now, but these two people were lucky enough to each win a copy (drawn by means of randomizer.org)!

Congratulations to Michelle and Neas Nuttiness!

The winners are required to respond to their email in the next 48 hours. In case this doesn't happen, someone else will be drawn.

Big thanks to Dan Begley for making this giveaway possible!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Booking Through Thursday #2

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly book meme that changes every week (you can find them all here).

This week's question: What's the most informative book you've read recently?

Although many wouldn't agree with me, I find chick lit books very informative. I believe there is always a reason why some book sell well, whereas others don't. The reason why chick lit books are flying off the shelfs surely has to do with sociology, as well as with different target audiences. For example, a lot of chick lit books have lately depicted women dealing with poor economical climate. Also, the focus from earlier chick lit books has been changed - today, it's not about getting a man, it's about focusing on yourself while occasionally going for romance. To cut the long story short, the most informative book I read recently was Candace Bushnell's Lipstick Jungle, since it offered a peek into the competitive, scary life of female career builders, what women have to sacrifice in order to have a career, as well as the difficulties women have when it comes to business. Read my review of Lipstick Jungle here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Interview: Jennifer Brown



Jennifer Brown is the author of the controversial young adult novel, Hate List. This emotional YA book deals with the traumatic experiences revolving around a school shooting, offering a glimpse into the minds of everyone involved and blurring the lines between bullies and victims. Jennifer stopped by Nikola's Book Blog to chat about the book.

What was the overall reaction to your book?
So far, the reaction that I've been seeing most is that it's making people stop and really think. I've also heard from a lot of people that the end is a bit of a tearjerker. I'm really glad it's making people think. I like books that make me think, so it feels good to have written my favorite kind of book. It's not a light read, emotionally, but is worth investing yourself in the end.

Hate List deals with the all-too familiar topic of school shootings. Were you inspired by a real-life school shooting, and did you research them in order to write the book?
No, Hate List was not inspired by any particular school shooting. In fact, I held off on researching school shootings until after I'd written my first draft because I didn't want to be influenced by the particulars of any specific shooting. It was definitely a weird way to do research -- write the book first and then go back and research and change things according to what I learned during my research -- but it was the process that felt right to me during the writing of this book.
Hate List is more about the main character's emotional journey than it is about the shooting itself, so the bulk of my research (all done before I started writing) was along the lines of finding out what my main character would be experiencing emotionally and how those feelings would manifest.

What do you think makes these young people decide to execute such a terrible thing?
Wow, I wish there was a cut-and-dried answer to this question. Certainly knowing the answer would be the first step in preventing school shootings from ever happening again, which would be a wonderful thing. My sense is that there are a lot of possible answers to this question. The easiest answers are, of course, that they're bullied and are outcasts or that they're just plain evil. But I don't really like either of those answers. I think those answers are too easy and, quite frankly, aren't fair to either the shooter or the victims. Or their families, for that matter. I think we can all agree that a young person who shoots up a school is a very troubled individual. But how they got so troubled... is a much tougher question to answer. And why they dealt with it by killing? Again, I just don't think there's a pat answer for that.

Valerie, the protagonist of Hate List, is both an accomplice and a victim. Would you elaborate on this?
Valerie is guilty of two things: Starting a "hate list" of people she hated, and not seeing that her boyfriend, Nick, was going to act on that Hate List by killing people. Because she was the one who started the list and even encouraged Nick by talking about how cool it would be for those people to just not exist anymore, she is an accomplice of sorts to the shooting. But the problem is... to Valerie... it was all just talk. Not real. A way to blow off steam. She never meant for any of those people to actually die. And now, with Nick gone, she has to "pay the price" for the hate list, which is now very public. She also gets shot while trying to stop Nick. So she stops the shooting she inadvertently set into motion with the list. She's both hero and villain, which has got to be a really tough spot to be in.

What have you been up to lately? Writing a new book, perhaps?
I am working on a new YA project. It will be similar in tone to Hate List, but a very different subject, of course. I kind of have this weird superstition about giving out details of a writing project before it's been written, so... *makes zipper over mouth motion*...