Saturday, November 27, 2010

Giveaway: TLA Releasing DVDs

As you may have noticed in my sidebar, I am participating in the 2010 GLBT Reading Challenge, that explores and celebrates the GLBT culture in art. The November mini-challenge has to do with watching a queer-themed movie and I decided I should do a guest post on their blog. In the post (click here to check it out), I talk about what makes a movie queer and the difference between Queer as Folk and Brokeback Mountain. I think you'll like what I have to say.

It is now my honor to have my email answered by Mike from TLAVideos, the biggest online retailer dedicated to gay cinema. Mike is really cool and has offered three romantic titles for a giveaway on my blog Boy Culture, Coffee Date and the hot new release, Is It Just Me? What are you waiting for? The rules are below and the DVDs are waiting!

Giveaway rules:
US only
Giveaway ends December 11th
Enter by commenting and leaving your EMAIL
18+ only (as the movies are unrated)

Bonus entries:
+2 for following (old and new followers)
+2 for leaving a link in your sidebar (+4 if you leave a graphic)
+2 for tweeting about the contest
+4 for blogging about the contest
+4 for visiting TLA and coming back with a title that seems interesting to you.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book to Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One

Yesterday, I got this amazing opportunity to attend the press screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I am a movie and theatre reviewer for a local website and my editor was so anxious for me to go, then come back and write my review. And now that I've done it, I wanted to share some of the excitement with you - in advance of the big premiere tomorrow. Don't worry, no spoilers here.

The first thing that comes to mind is how truthful to the book this movie is. It almost reminds me of The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, which were almost annoyingly by-the-book. I guess splitting the book into two movies allows for more details to be shown. However, I am not completely satisfied with the splitting - it leaves us without a proper ending of Part One and although the movie is more than exciting, the final product has absolutely no resolution. Although the final scene is art in itself, it seems almost arbitrary, as it could have happened anytime in the past two and a half hours. Not to mention, there are seemingly endless scene that could easily have been cut.

I was really happy that the movie was not released in 3D. I believe 3D just keeps reminding you you're at the movies and that you're supposed to scream and laugh (kind of like a theme park). And trust me, although the action sequences are jaw-dropping, this movie is much too poignant and emotional to be seen as light entertainment. Unfortunately, Part Two will be released in 3D, which I hope will not interfere with the movie's emotional tone. And here's a big surprise: there's an animated bit in the movie. Now, I'm not going to tell you what, but it is beautiful and creative and I was really happy (although shocked at first).

The actors are all amazing, of course, but no one more than Emma Watson, who's really grown into a strong actress. The opening scene of the movie is all about her, as Hermione casts Obliviate on her parents, and it instantly got me to start crying. Rupert Grint is fun as usual, though he does get a dramatic moment or two. Daniel Radcliffe is also good, though the weakest of the three. Anyway, Part Two will be his chance to shine. There is also a (surprisingly graphic) nude scene involving two of the main characters, though that's another surprise I won't ruin. And don't worry, it's all in good taste.

All in all, though not my favorite movie of the bunch, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a fabulous piece of movie-making and a satisfying beginning of the end of my childhood. Make sure you bring tissues, as well as a friend to clutch to when things get especially tough. That Nagini sure gave me a heart attack!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Literary Blog Hop #1

Literary Blog Hop

This blog hop is open to those bloggers with substantial number of reviews and post featuring literary fiction. This week's question comes from Debbie Nance at Readerbuzz.

What is the most difficult literary work you've ever read? What made it so difficult?

I gave this question a lot of thought. I am a student of English literature, so naturally, I kept thinking in those terms. Beowulf? The Canterbury Tales? Shakespeare? Not really. Although these weren't exactly easy, I find it's easier to read a book once you know its literary context.

However, I remember struggling with a book that was required reading in my high school - Homer's Illiad. Of course I never finished it (I never even read more than a couple of dozen pages), but it's funny how I tried to read it so many times, that I now know the first few lines by heart (in Serbian, of course). Another hard read was Ulysses by James Joyce, and only because I started reading an edition with no footnotes and explanations. Which is suicidal. But it is a great book and I love it.

The Literary Blog Hop can be found here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Interview & Giveaway: Roxanne St. Claire

Fellow book bloggers and readers, it is my honor to welcome Roxanne St. Claire on my blog today. Roxanne has written everything from chick lit to category romance to suspense - and she has just recently launched her new trilogy, Guardian Angelos with the first novel entitled Edge of Sight. Let's welcome this New York Times bestselling author to Nikola's Book Blog!

Thanks for having me here at your blog.

Is it exciting to be launching a new series? What are your ambitions with the Guardian Angelos?

Of course it's exciting to launch a new series, and daunting, too. After eight books and two novellas under the Bullet Catchers umbrella (my previous series), it's a little scary to create an all-new cast of characters and put them in compelling, unforgettable situations. I've written the first three books in the series, and found they were grittier, more emotional and tougher than I'd expected, but I loved the challenge.

My ambitions are to continue the series. Publishing is a grueling, difficult business and genres are cyclical. I hope that Guardian Angelinos has lit a chord with readers who love "romantic suspense" - a fast-paced, sexy, emotionally charged story that follows a stand-alone adventure within a bigger world.

Not only are you a prolific writer, but you've written romance, chick lit and suspense! That's amazing! What's your favorite genre to write?

I love to write whatever I'm writing at the moment. I have recently sold my first Young Adult novel, which will come out in hardcover from Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House, in 2012. So right now, I'm loving the fresh, unexpected, pure stories that appeal to teen readers. I'm so excited that this book has been optioned for a feature film, and hope to write many more for younger readers.

When we were talking about this interview, you described my blog as "eclectic". If I were invited over for coffee at your place, how do you think I would describe your bookshelves?

A mess! I stash and stuff and rarely reorganize. My bookshelves have everything from classic to trash. I love Bronte (both of them!) and Austen, spent my teen years devouring hardcore mainstream commercial fiction (Sydney Sheldon, Judith Krantz, Jacqueline Susann) and then moved into the romance genre that I love and write - Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown and Debbie Macomber. I have at least a hundred Young Adult novels, rows of Harlequin category and my share of literary works as well. We're both eclectic!

One of the hot topics in the book bloggers' community is piracy. Do you have any experience with book piracy and what are your thoughts?

I just don't know what to say about this. I don't understand it, I don't appreciate it and I certainly don't condone it. Book piracy takes bread off my table, gas out of my car and tuition from my son's college funds. It's stealing what an author has a right to be paid for. I sweat, bleed and struggle to write the best books I possibly can and someone believes it's perfectly okay to take my work and enjoy it without any compensation to me. I realize there are geographical restrictions on books that I have no control over. I also believe these will be changing over time, and readers in other countries will have access to e-books on an international basis, with appropriate compensation for the publishers and editors. In the meantime, please go to the library, buy a used book, borrow from a friend or seek out the zillions of free reads on the internet. But don't download a stolen book.

The next chapter of the Guardian Angelions is set to be published in March 2011. Are you working on the book or is it almost done? Also, what should we expect?

The next two books are "in the can" as they say - completed, revised, copyedited and on their way to production. They'll be released back to back in March and April. First up is Shiver of Fear, a thriller set in Northern Ireland where Marc Rossi is sent to track down a woman on a secret mission and finds her far more attractive and dangerous than he expects. That will be followed immediately by Face of Danger, the story of Vivi Angelino, who bucks the FBI to step into the shoes of an Oscar-winning actress as a body double and becomes the target of a serial killer. I hope readers love these and all of my books!

Thanks for the interview, Roxanne!

Thanks for inviting me!

Roxanne is very cool and has offered one copy of Edge of Sight to one lucky winner. The rules are as follows:

US/Canada only
Giveaway ends November 27th Extended until December 4th!
Enter by commenting and LEAVING YOUR EMAIL.

Bonus entries:
+2 for following (old and new followers)
+2 for leaving a link in your sidebar (+4 if you leave a graphic!)
+2 for tweeting about the contest (leave the link!)
+4 for blogging about the contest
+4 for visiting Roxanne's website and coming back with a title you'd love to read, other than the Guardian Angelinos series

Good luck!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Thanks to Amanda, who posted about this last night, I too have been observing the Amazon controversy. And I am outraged - though not in the sense everyone else is. If you don't know what's been going on, here's a short version for you: Amazon was peddling a book entitled The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child Lover's Code of Conduct by Phillips Greaves. Here's what was in the product description:

"This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should the ever be caught."

The whole nation outraged, people started boycotting Amazon via Twitter (hashtag #amazonfail), Facebook (groups such as Boycott Amazon for Selling Pedophile Guide) and finally Amazon itself, via reviews. At the same time, defenders (of sorts) have spoken, with comments mocking the protester's shock ("It eliminates the need for candy and a van", says a commenter on Facebook). Finally, the book was pulled.

Here comes the part where I tell you what I think, but not before I make it perfectly clear that I am not a pedophile and do not condone pedophiles. In fact, I think it's cowardly and disgusting. I'm all for whatever two consensual adults wanna do together, even if it seems disgusting to me. However, pedophilia, rape, necrophilia and other situations where it's not consensual and/or not between two adults are not okay.

That being said, I think that this is most likely much ado about nothing. First of all, I couldn't find any information about this book, and I've looked. Nothing! No synopsis, no reviews. Sure, it's entitled A Pedophiles Guide, but that does not mean anything. Is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy really what it says in the title? Perhaps this is a big case of judging the book by its cover. Secondly, there is the issue of the author - the name is obviously a pseudonym, Google is no help, and the only thing we know about him is what he posted (quoted above). And this could very well be a marketing trick.

Finally, the issue of censorship. After Amazon pulled the book, I am a bit disappointed. Does this mean that now all the books by Marquis de Sade (especially 120 Days of Sodom) will be pulled as well? And then the movie version? And what about A Single Man and Lolita? If these books and movies get pulled, that will be the biggest #amazonfail of them all.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Right, so here's the deal: My blog's been on the long 2-month or so hiatus, I may have lost some followers and I failed to keep up with the giveaways I was hosting (this is being fixed). But now I'm back. Like, Mariah Carey back. My incredible humor aside, I am happy to be back at something that is so fulfilling. I knew this to be true after my last post - and all the lovely, heartfelt comments by my fellow bloggers. You guys are my friends, although I don't know you. I'm grateful for each and every one of you.

Now, on to the review. I finally read Breakfast at Tiffany's, a book that is as iconic as the movie that was based on it. It's a story about a young writer reminiscing of the year he moved to New York and met Holly Golightly, a girl who would change his life. This is in fact a novella - it could easily be read in one sitting (though I savored each and every word, so it took me a bit more) and it is incredibly easy to digest. However, the things that are kept under its witty exterior are far more interesting than the plot itself.

Holly Golightly, the object of our narrator's affection, can be easily described as a gold-digger. Yet, she is also innocent and naive and sweet. She is a mystery, we are not certain about her past and much less about her future. However, she is the ideal of change and of the American Dream. Making your dreams come true, no matter how much you have to suffer for them, is the driving force behind this character. And since her dreams are as far-fetched as having breakfast at Tiffany's, the plights are never-ending.

I actually preferred Breakfast in its paper form, as opposed to the movie. There is no romance in the book (in fact, the nameless character of the narrator is implicitly gay), yet the relationship between him and Miss Golightly is far more believable. Also, the plot is not burdened with the romantic context, therefore it's much more real and to the point.

I guess I'm not completely smitten with this book. While it was generally pleasant and inspiring, I thought it lacked a final punch, sort of like a firm conclusion to the story. Nevertheless, it's a contemporary classic that is a joy to experience.