Friday, March 30, 2012

Bloggiesta: To-Do List & Updates



Bloggiesta  is hosted by Suey of It’s All about Books and the1stdaughter of There's a Book from March 30 – April 1, 2012.

To-Do List:

- write that review I've been putting off for a week Done!
- cross-post my reviews to Goodreads
- link my reviews to Goodreads
- add genre tags to my reviews Done! And I tidied up the rest of the tags along the way.
- create a page for book reviews listed by rating Done!
- update Cat Diary posts with the new image and corrected introduction Done!
- schedule some Book Nook posts if I have time
- and, of course, meet some new bloggers and make new blogging friends Done! 

I might do some challenges if I can. Maybe I will also do some other stuff that comes to my mind or I learn while visiting blogs of my fellow Bloggiesta participants.

I was also planning to fix the captcha which wouldn’t turn off, but I have already done it. If, however, you are still prompted to fill in word verification as you comment, please let me know, so I can go try and fix it again.

There is also something wrong with my comment form, as it shows comment message below the comment box instead above it when someone already comments. I noticed this on other blogs, too, so I will try to find a solution for this too, if I have any extra time (and I will share it if I find it, of course).

Updates:

Apart from crossing off the completed items on my to-do list above, I will only be updating on Twitter (@StrangeNewWords).

Wrap-Up:

I will post my final thoughts on Monday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Need Your Opinion


Bloggiesta is almost here and I’ve started to put together my to-do list, but I need some help from you.

What I plan to do:

- cross-post my reviews to Goodreads
- link my reviews to Goodreads
- update Cat Diary posts with the new button/picture (which I’ve already made)
- try to figure out how to turn off the self-resetting captcha and fix it
- try to figure out how to repair the comment form (because my personal message shows below it, instead above it)
- do some blog hopping and meet new blogging friend and maybe learn some useful things
- maybe schedule some Book Nook posts if I have time

Now, there are some things I am not sure about:

- adding genre tags to my reviews – do you find them helpful?
- since the number of my reviews has got quite large, I thought I might create another page for listing my reviews in order of rating. Do you find it useful? It is something I would like to have when browsing through some blogs – sometimes I just want to see all 5-star rated books and it’s tedious to check the entire list for ratings.
- on related topic: as you might already know, my reviews are listed alphabetically by author. Would you like to have them listed also separately by title?

And if there is anything else you miss or find redundant on my blog, or if you have any suggestions what else I could do to make it better for you, please let me know in the comments.

I apologise for word verification, and I truly appreciate your effort if you decide to comment. I am an anti-captcha advocate myself, so I hate you have to face it on my blog. I tried to fix it as soon as I learned about Blogger resetting it, but it doesn’t want to turn off, there must be a glitch or something. Fixing this is on my to-do list, as you can see.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Another tag!


Stephanie from Steph’s Book Corner tagged me quite a while ago. I like tags, though some questions are quite challenging sometimes – both memory- and craftiness-wise – but I have trouble finding the time to actually answer them. Never mind, I finally did it.

The rules:

1. Answer the questions that the tagger set for you in their post.
2. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
3. Tag 11 people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you've tagged them!
5. Include these rules and a link to the person who tagged you with your post.

My answers:

1.     Which character in a book is your favourite: the Hero or Villian?

How about option 3: a (Presumed)-Villain-turned-Hero. Those are the best.

2.     Do you prefer to read books in a series or a standalone novel?

Do we even have a choice? It seems to me there are only series out there nowadays. It doesn’t matter as long as the book is good. I do wish there were more great standalones, though.

3.     Which novel in a trilogy do you prefer? The beginning, middle or end?

The end.

4.     Did you like to read as a kid?

Yes.

5.     How many books do you usually pack when going on vacation?

Since my vacations are usually only a few days long at a time, and I have company who demands my attention, only one, or two at the most.

6.     What was your favourite book when you were younger?

I honestly can’t remember. I loved Famous Five series by Enid Blyton.

7.     What are your thoughts on books being made into movies? Good or bad?

It can be both good and bad. I think it is mostly good because that is how a story reaches more people. Also, many people who like the film go and read the book afterwards. In that way, films based on books actually encourage reading. On the other hand, there are also people who would rather see the film instead of taking the time to read the book. But I think those kind of people would not read a book in any case whether there is a film based on it or not.

8.     What is your all-time favourite book?

And here comes my automatic response: The Lord of the Rings.

9.     What made you decide to start a book blog?

I love books (duh!) and I love talking about them, but I am horrible at remembering what I have or haven’t read, especially the authors and titles. One day my friend and I were talking about this, and she mentioned she had started a book blog, so I decided to follow her example. I just wanted a place to write down my thoughts about books, so that I could have some reference spot about what I have read.

10.  What is it about a book that makes you decide to read it?

Mostly a combination of book description and recommendations from people whose taste in books is similar to mine and whose opinion I trust. Book blogging definitely helped with that, so I keep adding way too many books to my to-read list.

11.  Do you ever re-read books?

Not as much as I used to, but I do like to revisit my favourite books, or at least the best parts of them.

12.  What is your most anticipated new release of 2012?

Well, I’ve just read Moonsong, and I know it’ll be a hard wait for Destiny Rising, which is supposed to come out at the end of the year.


11 questions for you to answer:

I’m totally cheating and copying my 11 questions from a tag I answered earlier this year. And I’m also not tagging anyone, I don’t have time for that. So, if you like the questions and can spare a few minutes to answer them, consider yourselves tagged.

  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?
  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?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cat Diary (17): Spring Activities


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


Yay, spring is here! This means there is a lot of fun stuff to do, such as:

  • bird-watching: sparrows and crows mostly, but I occasionally spot a blackbird or some other interesting flying fellow. I could watch birds all day; they never get boring.
  • plant-growth control: Things are starting to grow outside again, and I take my time every day to inspect the progress. 
  • running around like crazy, because all the light and warmth makes me sooo happy: no explanation needed, right?
  • resting in the sun: after all that running a cat needs some beauty sleep.

What about you? Do you feel all livened up, or are you suffering of spring fatigue, like Pepca does on some days?

Hope you are jolly and full of energy!

Till next time,


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Nook #12



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



Commentary: I like the book storage place right at hand under the seat. The spot has a pleasant view on the trees outside, and it seems comfortable. The colours are calming. It looks like a good place for relaxation.

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Downton Abbey Season 2 (2011)


CREATOR: Julian Fellowes; CAST: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter…

SUMMARY (from IMDB): Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship's domineering, conservative ma the dowager. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwile the butler presides over a staff which serves the family but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants’ quarters, intriguing amongst themselves.

MY OPINION:

World War I changes the world, and the changes do not go past Downton Abbey. Its inhabitants have to face fear, death, shortage, and basically any other suffering the war brings along.

In the midst of everything they continue struggling with their personal problems. In one way or the other every character has to overcome some sort of a difficulty and face the past before they can go on with their lives.

Fortunately, the changes are not all bad. For some characters, such as Sybil, the changing world brings her the opportunity she was searching for to finally get to live the life she wants.

The characters in Downton Abbey are diverse, and each of them is complex in their own way. They all have their good and bad sides, and the show excels at showing how it is up to an individual to decide what kind of a person they want to be.

Hence, I cannot say I dislike any character in particular (with the exception of Bates’s wife). Even Thomas and O’Brien are quite sympathetic, as long as they do not engage in any plotting, because that never has a good outcome. It would be best if they just did not listen to one another, I think, because separately they are just fine. However, I think their past actions will come back to haunt them.

The one person I did not expect to like is the Dowager Countess. I warmed up on her already in season one, but I really liked her this season. She reminds me of my late grandma a little. She sticks to her ways, but can adapt to the situation when it is best for her family. And she is hilarious, her lines are so clever and funny, spoken in her dignified manner, that they almost always make me laugh.

I do not even know where to start on Mary and Mathew. I will just say I love seeing their relationship change in so many ways. They have to deal with a lot, both personally and in terms of family and war matters, and they come out as winners. I love them. And that ending. Tears. My heart melted. That is it. I will stop now.

RECOMMENDATION: Downton Abbey is a wonderful, hear-felt series, portraying a life of a family in the early 20th century England. It draws you in and makes you live their lives with them while watching. I cannot wait for the third season. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dark Desires after Dusk (Immortals After Dark #6) by Kresley Cole


Note:
This is a review of an adult book. Please, do not read either the review or the book reviewed unless you are an adult.

SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch.

Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs – and claim his heart?

MY OPINION:

The fact that I read Dark Desires after Dusk over the course of a single day speaks for itself. I just couldn’t put it down.

I love Cade. He is a rogue on the surface, but he has a heart of gold. His macho ways and speech are hilarious, but beneath that tough-guy look there is a caring, attentive, and protective man.

Holly was raised as a human, thus having no idea of the supernatural world around her. She and her adoptive parents did not understand the impulses in her behaviour rooted in her supernatural part, so she was forced to suppress them with medications, developing an OCD along the way. Holly struggles with what she thought to be unnatural, and she has difficulties to recognize and accept her true identity.

The beginning and the ending are a little rushed, especially in regard to Holly. She accepts the truth about the existence of the supernatural somewhat too easily, considering her personality in general. The same goes for the end – I expected at least another argument with Cade before she accepted his explanation of things.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. Cade and Holly are lovable characters, and they make a good couple. The plot is action-packed, and it does not let the reader lose their attention from the first to the last page.

RECOMMENDATION: Dark Desires after Dusk is another unputdownable book in this adult paranormal romance series. The lovers of Immortals After Dark series and/or of the genre will surely enjoy it. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #15



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: 




"Saffy's skin cooled. There it was, the snag she'd been waiting for: Percy knew."
 
The Distant Hours 
by Kate Morton, p. 184





Monday, March 19, 2012

Moonsong (The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters #2) by L. J. Smith*


 *this book was written by an anonymous ghost-writer

SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Life is better than ever, Elena and her friends can’t wait to attend Dalcrest College. But when students start to disappear from campus, suddenly every new acquaintance is a potential enemy. Then Elena uncovers a long-hidden secret, one that shocks her to the core, she realises that darkness has followed her from Fell’s Church. But will it be Stefan or Damon who catches her when she falls?

MY OPINION:

Note: This review contains mild SPOILERS through Phantom (The Vampire Diaries series, books 1-8)

This series is just like a family. It drives me crazy, it annoys me, I see all its faults, and I still LOVE it. I could write either a mean review of Moonsong, or go all fangirlish. Or I can do both.

Firstly, let me get the mean part over with:

·       The love triangle is starting to irritate me. Why can’t they just do one of the following: either 1) Elena picks one of the brothers and sticks to her choice, or 2) dumps both of them, or 3) they all realise that she can love them both and go the Katherine way – I might slightly prefer the last option, lol.
·       Elena keeps saying Stefan is her true love. It bothers me that it is told, not shown. Therefore, I see it more as an infatuation than love. After all, it started because Elena decided on a whim (back in The Awakening) she had to have Stefan even if it killed her just because Caroline wanted him, too. 
·       Cell phones. It seems the author occasionally (when it is convenient) forgets this is supposed to be happening in the early 1990s. I don’t think college students used to have cell phones two decades ago. I have only noticed this time period discrepancy now, but it might have occurred already in The Return trilogy. I would have to reread to be sure, though.
·       Dumbness: I get it – they all want to have a normal life, without the supernatural interferences. But this is no excuse for stupidly burying their heads in the sand when there is something suspicious going on.

Nevertheless, the good side prevails. These are the things I loved

·       Matt and Bonnie getting to spread their wings each on their own and having more independent story-lines.
·       Damon. He is still the Damon we know, except that he does not hide his good side anymore while still retaining his edge.
·       Stefan showing some cracks in his goodness. We see he is quick in judgement, and he tends to overreact, but he basically stays good. Which brings me to:
·       Brotherhood. Stefan and Damon finally working on their relationship and taking care of each other. It is a though road, full of ups and downs, but it is an amazing and essential part of the story.
·       The plot kept me on my toes throughout the book. It is fast-paced, full of suspense, and it makes sense. All the pieces logically fit together within Moonsong as well as within the entire series. This does not mean it is predictable. On the contrary. The last twist is a complete shocker.
·       That said, Moonsong sets an exciting premise for the next book, Destiny Rising. And no, I’m not going to say anything more as to avoid spoiling you.
·       Finally, concerning the brotherhood and the Destiny Rising premise, Moonsong indicates the books are becoming similar to the TV show, which is great, but I wonder: do the books influence the show, or is it the other way around? I think the latter, and I don’t mind it at all.

Moonsong is a typical middle book of a trilogy, continuing where Phantom left off and laying an intriguing basis for Destiny Rising. Even though this series seems to be getting long, it still interests me. As long as there is Damon in it – and he is relatively happy while staying true to his character – I’m going to keep reading it.

RECOMMENDATION: I think those who liked The Return trilogy and Phantom will enjoy Moonsong. Also, if you are a fan of paranormal, and you have not yet read the series, what are you waiting for? Go, try it!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Nook #11



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



Commentary: One more living room. It looks almost as if one was outside: the large window lets in plenty of daylight, and the wooden furniture enhances the natural atmosphere. I love the modern, straight-lined design and the touch of antiquity added by the small table on the side. I love the pastel colours. Also, there is a lot of options where to sit or lie down with a book. 

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday #6


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


Today’s question is: What is the best book you’ve read in the last month? What is the worst book you’ve read in the last month?

MY ANSWER:

Since I haven't read much in March yet, I'm taking my February reads into an account.

The best book I've read: Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark #6) by Kresley Cole. I haven't posted my review yet. I couldn't put this one down - I read it in a day: it's funny, suspenseful, and steamy.


The worst book I've read: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. I heard a lot of praise about this book, but the unrelenting nihilism and meaningless sex just didn't work for me. Maybe it's just me or it's because I'm a girl, since I know a lot of people like it. You can read my review HERE.


Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to look around my blog, and if you like what you see, don't hesitate to follow me via GFC or Twitter (@StrangeNewWords), or subscribe to my posts via RSS or email. And, please, let me know if you decide for any of the above options, so I can return the favour.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will be left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance.

MY OPINION:

Stiefvater’s books read smoothly and quickly, yet they are relaxing and captivating at the same time. Shiver is no exception to this. The first person POV narrative going back and forth between Sam and Grace is easy to follow without repeating itself, and it gives the reader a great insight into both characters.

Although there is still some room for further character building, Stiefvater manages to present Sam and Grace in a way that made me easily connect with them, especially with Grace. Her attitude to her parents and the way she copes with life is not only realistic, but quite admirable. She is a great example of a teenager who takes the life such as it is and tries to make the best of it.

The one problem I noticed was the lack of the parents’ reaction after a major turn before the end of the book. It shows the parents in a very bad light, because only horrible parents would not do or say anything when seeing their child suffer. Even though Grace’s parents are not the best at parenting in any case, this lack of their reaction seems a little unrealistic to me.

The plot is fast-paced, increasing in its intensity throughout the book. There are several twists and turns which culminate just before the end. Fortunately for my peace of mind, the book does not exactly end in a cliff-hanger, so it left me satisfied. At the same time, there are some things I certainly want to find out more about, so am looking forward to reading Linger.

RECOMMENDATION: Shiver is an absorbing page-turner with likable characters and quite unpredictable plotline. I think readers of YA and/or paranormal will enjoy it. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland #1) by Judith McNaught


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf,” his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will . . . until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web . . . a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

MY OPINION:

I do not like romance books where the couple is on the opposite sides through most of the book and only get together in the end. Fortunately, A Kingdom of Dreams is the kind of romance I like best, that is one where the protagonists fight for their relationship together. So, I loved it.

The main protagonists are both strong characters who know what they want. Even though people try to turn them against one another, they see through the schemes pretty soon. In the meantime, they exchange a lot of banter, which I enjoyed reading, because it was both funny and meaningful for the development of their relationship.

Also, I fell in love with two of the minor protagonists, Breena and Stefan Westmoreland. Judith McNaught provides little information on them, but enough to make me love them. I wish McNaught decided to write a book focused on those two, although it does not look like it will happen. I can hope, though.

RECOMMENDATION: A Kingdom of Dreams is a fast-paced romance not only with a thoroughly compelling main plot but also with fascinating minor characters and an intriguing second romance hinted at in the background. Therefore, I think lovers of historical romance will certainly enjoy it. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book Nook #10



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



Commentary: Those big armchairs look comfortable, and there is a lovely, inviting fireplace. There are a lot of bookshelves at hand, which is perfect. I like brightly-coloured and well-lit rooms, although this one is perhaps a little too white even for me. I might want to paint one of the walls in a darker shade or add a picture or a thick rug. 

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

Friday, March 09, 2012

Terra Nova Season 1 (2011)


CREATORS: Craig Silverstein, Kelly Marcel; CAST: Jason O'Mara, Shelley Conn, Christine Adams …

SUMMARY (from IMDB): Centers on the Shannons, an ordinary family from 2149 when the planet is dying who are transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization.

MY OPINION:

I think the problem with this show is it being categorized as science-fiction. All right, the premise of travelling through time from 100 years in the future to a parallel Earth 80 million years back is science-fictional. But that is it. Unfortunately, the sci-fi categorization makes people get wrong expectations of something along the lines of a Jurassic park series version, so they are consequently disappointed. What Terra Nova is really about is family, nature, and humanity in general. 

The most important issue Terra Nova deals with is also the most obvious one: the consequences of mankind’s attitude to the environment. In 2149, our planet is over-populated and destroyed by pollution. The air is too poisonous to breathe unfiltered, the Sun is dimmed by gasses, new lethal diseases are plaguing the people, and there is general shortage of food. Only the rich can afford to live in clean air under domes. This is the picture of the world which may soon come to be if we do not change our life style. For this warning alone the series should get a lot more appreciation than it does.

Next, there is the issue of human nature. Even on the verge of extinction, there are people who would exploit a new chance for survival for their personal gain. Greed knows no boundaries. Again, the show sets an important reminder that if people do not start working together and stop being selfish, there is no future for us.

But in all this bleakness, there is hope. People will always have their faults, but they can change and improve if being given a chance. And that chance is something worth fighting for.

In the end, it all comes down to a family and an individual: the choices one makes affect everybody, be it in a positive or a negative way. A family can help an individual make the right choices and make-up for the bad ones to eventually create a better life for everyone.

In addition to powerful environmental and moral messages, Terra Nova has an interesting, fast-paced plot, at least through the second half of the season. Although, I admit that a few episodes in the beginning seemed disconnected from the rest.

Also, there were some surprising personal story arcs. For example, I really liked Skye’s development, which had some unexpected turns, as well as Mira’s. The Shannons are perhaps a little predictable, but they show us what it means to be a family, and I like how each of them stands their ground. They also show us how we need a support of a family even, or especially, when we make a mistake. 

Finally, I just want to say I was sad to learn Fox had cancelled the show just this week. I hope some other network picks it up and brings it back for the second season. I would like to see the loose ends tied up, since season one ended on a cliffhanger. And I hope someone kicks Lucas Taylor’s ass.

RECOMMENDATION: This is an excellent series focusing on environmental and moral aspects people have to deal with. Give it a chance. Keep your mind open. Do not just wait to be entertained. Take a fragment and think about it. Because that is what this show is about – making you think about your contribution to preventing the awful future it depicts from coming true. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan


SUMMARY (from Goodreads): Jake Marlowe, the last werewolf, is alone now. Sick to his bones of the unending toil of existence and bored beyond endurance by the monthly cycle of carnage and self-disgust. On the run torn between refusal to cede victory to the Hunters and simple yearning for it all to be over he is also on the verge of surrender. Then he catches the trace of an impossible, an inconceivable scent. Not just the scent of another Wolf: the scent of a female. Suddenly, the world contains the possibility of love. Which means that now, for Marlowe, the chore of existence is both infinitely sweet and unimaginably dangerous.

MY OPINION:

I had heard much praise of The Last Werewolf prior to reading it, so I had had quite high expectations, which the book did not live up to. 

Jacob, the last living werewolf, is a resigned man with a nihilistic view of the world. He does not believe in goodness. He does not see a purpose in life and the only value he cynically emphasises is the value of money. He has one redeeming quality – he uses his wealth to occasionally help people in need, and he does not want to give any credit to himself for doing that.

Tallula is similarly dislikeable, mostly because her character and her relationship with Jacob are both dealt with quite superficially. Despite giving the readers some back-story, Tallula mostly strikes me as a fairly unemotional person. Perhaps this is due to a very inadequate description of her coming to terms with her identity as well as coping with the situation she is dragged in when meeting Jacob. I would expect her to have a lot of questions, to struggle through new information, but she simply accepts things and moves along.

All things considered, I was unable to connect with the characters. For the most part of the story I did not even care what happens to them.

I was bothered by some other things, too. Jacob objectifies women, sex is meaningless, and vulgar language is used for its own sake alone. Additionally, there are also a few rather confusing parts where it is unclear which character is speaking or thinking.

The one thing that I was very curious about was what kind of theory of the origin of werewolves Duncan would set. However, the author only keeps teasing the reader with the promise of revealing this theory and in the end does not deliver it. Huge disappointment.

Finally, I have to give credit to The Last Werewolf for being bold and different from other books in the genre. For those very features, some people might like it, although it was not my cup of tea. 

RECOMMENDATION: This book is full of violence and gore; therefore, it is not for those with weak stomach.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Bloggiesta - I’m in!



It’s All about Books and There's a Book will be hosting Bloggiesta from March 30 – April 1. I try to catch up on things and improve and update my blog regularly, but there are some things I have been putting off, so I will take this opportunity to finally do them.

Bloggiesta is a great opportunity to learn new things, pick up some tricks, make new blogging friends, and improve the blogging experience overall. I was a Bloggiesta lurker last year, but now I am officialy joining in for the first time. I don’t know how much time I will be able to spend on it, but I am sure I will have fun.

If you want to participate, you can sign up HERE.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Book Nook #9



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


Commentary: Even though the winter is ending, let's have another room with a fireplace. This is pretty close to my dream living/reading room. I love the brightness and the fireplace looks warm and inviting. The couch is large enough to sit or lie down and be as comfortable as you want. And the most important: there is so much room for books! 

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

Friday, March 02, 2012

Downton Abbey Season 1 (2010)


CREATOR: Julian Fellowes; CAST: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter…

SUMMARY (from IMDB): Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship's domineering, conservative ma the dowager. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwile the butler presides over a staff which serves the family but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants’ quarters, intriguing amongst themselves.

MY OPINION:

Downton Abbey is a period drama, set in England in the beginning of the twentieth century. The years before WW I were an era of the world starting to change into a semblance of the world we know today.

For the people living at that time the change was difficult for both the young and the old, the rich and the poor. The rich and the old, settled in their ways, found change unwelcome, whereas for the young and the poor, striving to make the best of their lives, the change was not happening fast enough.

Downton Abbey deals with a wide spectre of social, family, and personal issues. It brings a lot of things we are taking for granted at present, such as women’s rights to inherit and vote, to the viewers' attention. It also tackles ambition, making one’s own fortune, crossing social class differences, sibling rivalry, gossip, revenge, and much more.

Unfortunately, the show deals with all the above mentioned things somewhat superficially. Often, it does not use well the potential of certain premises and/or characters. The characters do develop, they grow and change, but I miss something I cannot quite put my finger on. It is not that there is no depth, because there certainly is. Perhaps, everything is just dealt with too fast, leaving too many gaps the viewers has to fill in by themselves.

Still, the show is delightful to watch. There are some characters that are easy to connect and sympathise with. I love how the villains are multi-dimensional, so I cannot just hate them but have to understand them and feel for them on several occasions.

Also, I like how the Crawleys are basically good employers, kind to their employees, allowing them time off and rest when they need it, and how they care about their well-being. Even though this kind of presentation might be slightly unrealistic, it is within the limits of possibility, and it is one of the show’s strong points.

Rounding up the whole picture, there is a stunning setting and beautiful costumes. The acting is very good. These things combined make the viewer forget it is all an illusion and enable a smooth transfer into another kind of world for a while.

RECOMMENDATION: Lovers of period drama would certainly enjoy this genuine insight into the life of an aristocrat’s family and their servants a century ago.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Booking Through Thursday – Different Kind of Romance



This week the question comes from Ted:
   
Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? Who and what about them did you love?

read a lot of romance, so I come across characters I love often. I’ll just name a few most prominent ones.

One of my earliest crushes on fictional characters was Sebastian from Saddler’s Wells series by Lorna Hill. I loved him because he is funny, always ready to pull a prank, but otherwise well-mannered, kind, and caring. The fact that I read this series some 15 years or so ago and I still remember him should tell you a lot.

I can’t go past The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. But it’s not who you think. Oh, no. My absolute favourite is Carlisle. Zeus’s younger brother’s looks, nearly four centuries of wisdom, and, most importantly, he is so utterly good – what’s there not to love? Fortunately, he’s only a fictional character. Otherwise, I’m afraid Esme would make an exception to her diet and have me for a snack.

I’ve been having a huge crush on Damon from The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith for the past year or so since I started reading the series. Now, I’m going to minimize my gushing about why I love Damon to a minimum: he is mysterious, dangerous, smart and funny, but suffering on the inside and ready to do anything for the people he loves.

There are more, of course, such as Michael (gorgeous, decisive, loyal) from Sire by Thomas Galvin, Raphael (waiting for a girl for five centuries makes a guy awesome, don't you think?) from Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach, pretty much every male protagonist form Immortals after Dark series by Kresly Cole, ...

I could go on, but I will stop here. 

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