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.


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.


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

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!

* 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.