28 december 2011

So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good-bye

These last few days I have though a lot about the future of this blog and I have come to a decision. I'm going to pause "Helena's Bookshelf" for a while.

Where it started off as something fun in my life, lately it has felt like another chore. And I've had constant bad conscious about not reading enough and not posting enough and not participating in enough memes and features. It's been a great year, you guys, and I've gotten to know some great people and learned so much. But I just don't have the time and commitment right now. 

I'm not gonna close the blog altogether, I still wanna keep all my kick-ass reviews. When I retrace my steps and read my first reviews that I had almost forgotten, I realize the job I've put into them and I feel quite proud. And maybe I'll get withdrawal symptoms after a while and decide to go back, who knows?

Anyway, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my followers for your time and support. You have made this one h*ll of a journey and a great expericene.

TACK!

17 december 2011

Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

The plot: From the moment she sets foot at her new school in Ireland, Megan is inexplicably drawn to the darkly handsome Adam DeRis. But Megan soon discovers that her feelings for Adam are tied to a supernatural fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that unites them could be their ultimate destruction.  (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: I’ve been holding back on reading this novel on purpose because I had read ecstatic reviews on it, but I’ve really been struggling with it. It’s taken me over two weeks to finish it, which is a long time for me. With a good book I read at every opportunity, but this one has spent most of its time lying in the bathroom. I even forgot to bring it to work to reads on the train there.

Although I usually frown upon the fact that everything paranormal is to be compared to Twilight (though it’s lessened somewhat as of lately) but when reading this novel I couldn’t help but doing it too. It’s just too evident. First there are the mysterious siblings at school that everyone’s sort of suspicious about. Then there’s the I-should-stay-away-from-you-but-I’m-not-strong-enough á la Edward Cullen and after that the professing of their undying love for one another after having know each other for what, two weeks? However, Twilight for me, though perhaps not Nobel Prize material, made me feel. I felt their love and their pain, but sadly this novel didn’t do anything in that department. There was no chemistry on the page.

That said, reading it was perhaps not a complete waste of time. The world building was sound and Megan was a likable character. I was intrigued by the mythological element of the Marks. Ancient prophecies are always great. Had the book circled more around that than the Megan-Adam love story, it probably would’ve been much better.

If you loved Twilight and want to read the same story again, this might be the book for you. If you loved Twilight but want to read books with other storylines this is not. Personally I will not pick up the next installment in the series.

4 december 2011

In my mailbox (32)



In My Mailbox is a meme created and hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

It is a great way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library.




Bought: 

I admit that these aren't books but movies. However, I still think they qualify to make it into my IMM this week.



We already had the five (I think) first Harry Potter movies in our movie collection, although in a semi-illegal format (or probably totally illegal), but when I could get my hand on all the HP movies in a totally legal and great looking box for a reasonable price, I seized the opportunity. Merry Christmas to me!


What was in your mailboxes this week?

3 december 2011

Christmas in Sweden, part 1

Warning: This post has nothing to do with books. It's all about my personal (and partly traditional Swedish) Christmas celebration. I think it's my teacher side wanting to educate you all. This is part 1: Advent.

I love Christmas. I always have. But even more than Christmas, I nowadays love Advent. You know the four Sundays before Christmas Eve, and all the weekdays in between of course. Second advent is coming up tomorrow, it's crazy how time flies.

Anyways, me and mom started our Advent preparations last Saturday. Advent for me is very much about traditions and the first tradition is the making of the wreath to hang on your door. So we went out in the forest and picked juniper twigs that we formed into wreaths, which we decorated with red ribbons and hung on our respective doors. This is mine this year (pretty, huh?) and beside it a decoration for the porch made of the juniper twigs that were left over.


















After the making of the wreaths, it was time for another important Advent tradition, namely baking gingerbread cookies. My mom always makes her own gingerbread dough and it's the best. We have a few different traditional pastry-cutters such as Christmas pig, gingerbread man and his wife, Christmas tree, heart, Christmas goat (an old Scandinavian pagan tradition dating back to the Viking Age) and my favorite: the angel. Mmm... gingerbread cookies warm out of the oven. You can't beat that.



 
At this time of year, in the northern hemisphere it is quite dark. And in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere it's even darker. And in the countryside in the northern parts of the northerns hemisphere far away for any street lights it is crazy dark! So the perhaps most important Advent tradition is that of spreading light.


Electric candle sticks can be seen in almost every window around Sweden this time of year, as well as electric stars. The one of the left is from my kitchen window. For me, the light of these electric candle sticks almost gives me butterflies in my stomach because it feels so much like Christmas. 



 



 It is also common to have a Christmas tree outside in your garden and decorate it with electric lights. To the right is our own Christmas tree. We went out into the tiny bit of the forest that now is ours and cut a tree. You can see for yourself that the light of the tree is important in all that compact dark.
 






However, not only electric lights are a part of Advent. So are of course ordinary candles. Thus is an Advent candle stick, with one candle for each Sunday of Advent. Tomorrow it's time to light the second one.

1 december 2011

Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

The plot: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now. (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: Perhaps since I was absolutely breath-taken with the first Simone Elkeles novel I read, Perfect Chemistry, I had a bit too high expectations of this second novel. Don't get my wrong, I though it was great, but it didn't knock me out of my socks like the first one did. 

The plot and the Romeo and Juliet theme is rather similar to Perfect Chemistry as well as the macho attitude of the male MC. It just didn't feel unique, but then again, I hadn't expected that. Elkeles uses the same writing technique of altering POV's letting us enter both their heads, which makes me fly through a novel in no time. After all, I finished this page turner in less than two days only reading on the train to work and before going to bed.

For a YA novel, the sex scenes were pretty graphic. Up until now I've never seen myself as a prude but during the time I've read this novel I've had to reconsider. I was at times almost embarrassed when reading it, especially when I read it on the train on my way for work the other day. But, as much sex as there was in this book, I missed some of the heartbreaking romance from the first novel. The falling in love part just went a bit too... fast this time.

Although not as good as its predecessor, Rules of Attraction is definitely well worth reading and I'll definitely read the third and final (?) novel abut the Fuentes brothers.

27 november 2011

In my mailbox (31)

In My Mailbox is a meme created and hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

It is a great way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library.

You may or may not have noticed that I did not post an IMM last week. Although it's sad not to receive any new books it also means that I'm doing awesome at my quest to buy less books. My new motto will be: Less is more! 

That means that I will not buy as many books but perhaps pricier ones, for example hardbacks, that I really really want to have. This week though, I have gotten myself some paperbacks that I really really wanted. I am also a bit OCD'd about my books, so if I've started a series in one format I have to get all of them in that format. So there'll be some paperbacks featured too.

Bought:




Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
I totally loved the first novel about the Fuentes brothers (Perfect Chemistry), and though I've heard that this one isn't supposed to be as good I'm still totally psyched to read it.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
I've read so many good things about this one and feel like I've waited forever for the paperback with this pretty cover to be released. Totally look forward to it.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this for some time. Not because it didn't seem great, but because its plot reminded me so much of The Hunger Games, and I though perhaps that they'd be too similar. But as time went on and I decided to get it anyway, because the reviews have been so raving.




And some work items...
And as I suspect you know, Christmas is just around the corner so I ordered some German Christmas goodies from buch.de for work. You may not know, but I am a German teacher and so of course I need to spread the Christmas spirit German style. (I actually cheated and had some Stollen last week...)


Weihnachten in Deutschland (Christmas in Germany) - CD
This is a compilation of common German Christmas Carols, obviously a must when creating holiday spirit German style. Myself I really like Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann.

Weihnachten mit Astrid Lindgren 2 (Christmas with Astrid Lindgren) - DVD
Believe me, I am fully aware that Astrid Lindgren is not German. She is Swedish! But what can be more Christmasy than Astrid Lindgren, I mean really? The answer to that is probably nothing! So this DVD contains Christmas and winter clips from "The Children of the Noisy Village" - my favorite - and also from "Life on Seacrow Island" synchronized in German.
Warten auf Weihnachten (Waiting for Christmas) - Book
A collection of short stories or excerpts from longer books all centered around Christmas, obviously also written in German. Also for teaching purposes.


How about you, what did you receive this week?

21 november 2011

Review: I'd tell you I love you but then I'd have to kill you by Ally Carter

The plot: The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women lives up to its name. Not only does this exclusive boarding school teach advanced language skills and correct deportment; its students also master the arts of tapping phones, hacking into computers, and spying in public places. At school, second-generation Gallagher Girl Cammie Morgan has impeccable credentials: She is fluent in 14 languages and able to kill an assailant in seven different ways. But recently life has dealt Cammie a card that she never anticipated: She has fallen in love with an ordinary boy who knows nothing about her exotic double life. A truly covert romance. (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: The title is obviously great (just as the sequels') and the covers with the tartan boarding school skirts are awesome too and what got me to want to read the novel in the first place. But what about the content?

This is a light and funny read. A very funny one. On more than one occasion, I've found myself laughing quietly to myself while reading. It is Cammie’s voice that makes this novel fun, for me. She's a teenager without being annoying. She’s ironic, sarcastic and utterly funny. 
“Number of empty Ben & Jerry's ice cream containers: 3 - two mint chocolate cookie, one plain vanilla. (Who buys plain vanilla ice cream from Ben & Jerry's, anyway? Is there a greater waste?)”

And although a super spy, Cammie's just as insecure about herself as any other teenage girl, making her easy to relate to. Add her falling for a "normal" boy and trying to get him without compromising her school and her spy identity.

I adore the spy boarding school setting of the Gallagher Academy, and the girls being female James Bonds. Talk about girl power! In a very small way it reminds me of Harry Potter, but only in the sense that they attend a specialized boarding school special subjects (spy-connected ones) instead of ordinary ones, except for foreign languages I suppose, although there are unusually many of them. As a language teacher myself I especially appreciate the boards in the lunch room telling the students what language to speak in. Or how Cammie sometimes is unsure what language she actually spoke just then. (There I can relate although I'm only speaking three languages.)

As I started by saying, this is a light and funny read and I'm definitely gonna check out the next installment in the series.

19 november 2011

District 5: Power

As of now I am a proud citizen of District 5: Power. Find out which of Panem's 12 districts you belong in. (Too bad though, that I couldn't pick Sweden as my country of origin, that's why it says other...)


May the odds be ever in your favor!

18 november 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

The plot: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited? (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: I have yet to encounter someone who's read Anna and the French Kiss and didn't love it. Of course, I am no exception though it took me long enough to get to it. I absolutely adored this novel and it was well worth its wait. I hardly know what to write that won't be just a massive chunk of superlatives. For a romance lover like myself, this book has it all. Paris. A main character to feel for and to relate to. A wonderful leading man. A believable love story that progresses in a normal way. A few bumps in the road. A happy end. 

...just read the fricking book already!!!

13 november 2011

In my mailbox (30)

In My Mailbox is a meme created and hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

It is a great way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. 



I didn't post any IMM last week because I wasn't at home but at my in-laws' celebrating All Hallows' Eve. And then I didn't get that much to share either. This week is a totally different story. Perhaps not that much in numbers but in content.


Bought:


 


 Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I doubt these books need any presentation. I finished Anna in just a few short days and of course loved it. Review coming up soon. I am yet to decided whether to jump right into Lola or save it for a rainy day when I know I'll need a pick-me-up. I just like knowing that I have great novels in front of me.


How was your book week?

30 oktober 2011

In my mailbox (29)




In My Mailbox is a meme created and hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

It is a great way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. 



Bought:




Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
This cover may look pretty in this picture, but it is soooo much prettier in person. All shiny and nice. I pre-ordered it a long time ago, but was a bit surprised though, when I found it in my mailbox this week. You see, according to The Book Depository (where I ordered it from), it wasn't to be released until November 1,and as far as I can tell it's still October and it most definitely was when it arrived on Wednesday. Oh well, I'm not complaining. Just the tagline from goodreads makes me want to sink my teeth into it: "The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

28 oktober 2011

Book Blogger Hop (8)

The Book Blogger Hop is a place for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  Hosted by Crazy for Books,  this weekly meme is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, get to know someone new and basically just share our love of books! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list! 

This week's question:
What is your favorite Halloween costume? Even if you don't celebrate, what kinds of costumes do you like?

I do not celebrate Halloween. It's not that I mind the tradition of Halloween - in America - but I don't live in America and Halloween has never been a part of Swedish culture. We have another type of tradition around that same time that sort of derives from the same roots, All Hallows Eve. But instead of dressing up we go to the churchyard and light candles to remember our dead. I love this tradition, I think it's very beautiful.

The more americanized Halloween has excises in Sweden for about ten years, no more, and brought here by store owners wanting to make money. Thus I boycott it. I might imagine celebrating it if I ever was in the US at the time of Halloween, though. And I'm sure I would've loved it if I actually was American.

In my part of the country though, we have a tradition of children dressing up on January 13 and going around "dancing the Christmas out". I once dressed up as a Christmas tree and it was a huge success, so I guess I'll go with a tree.

27 oktober 2011

Review: Blue dahlia by Nora Roberts

Plot: Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee-and into her new life at Harper House and In the Garden nursery. She isn't intimidated by the house-nor its mistress, local legend Roz Harper. Despite a reputation for being difficult, Roz has been nothing but kind to Stella, offering her a comfortable new place to live and a challenging new job as manager of the flourishing nursery. As Stella settles comfortably into her new life, she finds a nurturing friendship with Roz and with expectant mother Hayley. And she discovers a fierce attraction with ruggedly handsome landscaper Logan Kitridge.

But someone isn't happy about the budding romance...the Harper Bride. As the women dig into the history of Harper House, they discover that grief and rage have kept the Bride's spirit alive long past her death. And now, she will do anything to destroy the passion that Logan and Stella share... (Summary from goodreads.com)


My opinion: Sometimes I just need a break from all YA and love triangles and with Nora Roberts you always know what you will get - and from time to time that's exactly what I need. Although as predictable as ever, three strong and beautiful women befriending each other and finding themselves having to cooperate to finish as task, Nora Roberts still manage to keep my interest up during the course of the novel. I always like the supernatural elements of Roberts' novels and this is no exception. I am really curious to see who the Harper Bride is and what she wants. Being a history buff I can also appreciate that the answer most probably is to find in history.

Nora Roberts trilogies really are guilty pleasure of mine and I'll keep reading them when I need a break from the YA stuff. Not only does this novel contain great gardening tips (at least if you live in the American South and don't have as cold as climate as we do here) but also a ghost story and a steaming romance. After having read almost merely YA for a while now, I had forgotten how graphic the act of making love is depicted in books written for adults. I bet I was blushing while reading parts of the book. That won't stop me from devouring the other two books in the trilogy though, I'm sure.

26 oktober 2011

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

The plot: Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. 
(Summary from goodreads.com)


My opinion: I'm sad to report that I was somewhat disappointed with this novel. I had expected more from it. The novel started out great and I was hooked from page one, but then the pace was just too slow and I started losing interest.

Also, the romance aspect of the novel did nothing for me, and given the fact that I am a great admirer of love stories I was a bit bummed out. As it sadly too often happens in YA, the love story progressed too fast and the two lovebirds started sharing their undying love for one another like the day after they met and I didn't buy it. What's wrong with letting one's characters fall in love like normal people? I also didn't care that much about if the ended up together or not, which basically is death for a literary character in my book.

On the upside, what did I like about the novel was a male MC, the somewhat unique premise and the world building, it was intriguing. I do understand the need for detail when building a new world with so much lore, I really do, but this is a case of details gone wild. There's just too much of it and the pace suffers. I found myself skimming through large chunks of text to get somewhere. I finished it though, more out of some kind of "obligation" than actual interest.

If the authors had chopped about a third of the novel, i.e. all unnecessary details, thus pacing the story a bit, it might have been an excellent book, but now it just wasn't my cup of tea.

25 oktober 2011

Girl with the dragon tattoo movie

Why oh why?

I just saw a trailer for the first American re-make of the Swedish film "The girl with the dragon tattoo" (Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor) and I've one question (actually two): Why have they made Rooney Mara speak English with some kind of weird accent? And why don't they at least give her a Swedish accent if they want to give her one? Why oh why? 

Not only am I Swedish, I am also an English teacher in Sweden and I KNOW what a Swedish accent in English sounds like. And believe me, that's not it. The thing that usually gives us away is that we don't voice our s's (since we never do that in Swedish) and distinct stress patters that differ from English intonation, British, American or other. 

Oh well, I guess we should be happy that they at least shot the movie in Sweden. And of course, I will see the American version when it's released.

23 oktober 2011

No IMM

Well, there'll be no In My Mailbox this week because my mailbox has been sadly empty of books this week. Partly due to a rather limited budget for books at the moment and partly due to the fact that I have earlier ordered and pre-ordered some books that I wait for but that have yet to reach me.

It's not really a problem though because I have so many books that I haven't read yet to make me last all year through. Maybe I should get to them instead of always buying new ones. But then again, I really have a hard time keeping from getting new books...

19 oktober 2011

Review: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

The plot: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. 

So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart. (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: If I was to sum up this novel with only one word, that word would be AH-MAZING! And for someone who generally thinks that she's not that into contemporary novels that is saying a lot. Another word that also comes to minds in connection with this novel is unputdownable, because that is exactly what it was. I started reading it on Thursday when riding the train to work and finished it on Friday after getting home from work. On Thursday night I stayed up over an hour later than planned just because it couldn't put the book down. It was highly addictive! I even caught myself thinking about it at multiple times during work on Friday.

This love story for me was incredibly intense, and extraordinarily well-written. The sexual tension was excellently executed and thus very believable. I found myself having butterflies in my stomach on more than one occasion while reading.

I am generally in favor of stories told from two different POV's and so also with this novel. Having the privilege of getting to be inside both MC's adds to the story, I find, because then one can get to see and understand feelings and reactions from both sides. This writing technique is also very efficient in making me cover many pages in one sitting because I always want to go to the next MC and see how he/she reacts to what just happened. All the time with this novel, I had to force myself not to read "just one more chapter"...

So all in all, I can't wait to take on the other two Fuentes boys... were it not for my sad lack of book funding this month. Oh well. Christmas is soon here.

16 oktober 2011

In my mailbox (28)



In My Mailbox is a meme created and hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

It is a great way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. 



Bought:



Blå dalia (Blue Dahlia) by Nora Roberts
Svart ros (Black Rose) by Nora Roberts
Röd lilja (Red Lily) by Nora Roberts


Before I first read Twilight and discovered the whole YA scene and after I stopped reading children's and middle school books like the twins of Sweet Valley High I mainly read books for adult because there no other types of books to be found in Sweden at the time. Nowadays, YA is superbig here too and many teenagers even read English books. Yay! That was not the case ten years ago though. So technically, me, my mom and my two older sisters read the same books and the same authors. 

One of these authors was Nora Roberts and I can still appreciate her from time to time, especially her "paranormal trilogies", for example I've read the Key  Trilogy and the Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy. I borrowed the first novel in this so-called In the Garden Trilogy (Blue Dahlia) from my mother-in-law a few years ago and liked it. So where there was a three-for-two grab I decided go get the whole Trilogy. Sometimes I just need some Nora Roberts in-between all my YA.

And by the way, aren't the Swedish covers just so much prettier? They almost always are when Nora Roberts in concerned, for some reason.


Did you get something good this week?

12 oktober 2011

Review: Epic fail by Clair LaZebnik

The plot: Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail? At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point: As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects. As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list. 

When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long. (Summary from goodreads.com)


My opinion: I was very eager to get started with this novel, seeing as Pride & Prejudice is one of my all-time favorite novels (and not to mention the 1995 BBC miniseries. Colin Firth... yum). I just had do read this modern take on it.

For me, this novel was somewhat of a Catch 22. I'll explain what I mean. A big part of why I really enjoyed this novel was that it is based on P&P. I spent a considerably large amount of the reading time trying to figure out who corresponds to whom in the original story and the same for the plot really. I was a little bit lite detective work, and I enjoyed it very much indeed. But I also think it might have limited the actual story in the novel, having read the 'original' so many times and knowing it so well. However, as highly entertaining as I found it to try and link the characters and events of this novel to those of P&P, it also kind of made me lose focus on this story. I spent too much time comparing and not enough actually reading this story for what it was. Thus my Catch 22 moment.

9 oktober 2011

In my mailbox (27)


In My Mailbox is a meme created and hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

It is a great way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. 

All links go to Goood reads. 


Since I haven't been blogging for a few weeks, this IMM contains several weeks' worth of books. Sadly. I wish I'd be able to buy this many books each week...



Bought:


Flickan med snö i håret by Ninni Schulman
This is a Swedish novel written by a Swedish author and the title translates to "The Girl with Snow in her Hair". As always with the Swedish novels I post here it is a crime novel. The interesting thing about this one is that it is set in a small town just about half an hour-an hour away from the town where I grew up and I recognize many of the places and things mentioned in the novel. Fun! 





 Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
I'm not quite sure what made me get this one. It seems good, though. Any thoughts?

Beautiful Darkness by Cami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
I have the first novel of the series on my bookshelf but I haven't read it yet. However I read in a number of reviews that these novels tend to end with a cliffhanger so I though I'd better have the next one ready if I too would suffer from withdrawal symptoms.





Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
Soooo pretty! I've had my eyes on this baby for a long time and even pre-ordered it. Since then I've read that many people compare it with Fallen, which I really didn't like (couldn't even bring myself to finish it). I hope that's not the case.

Elemental Reality by Cesya MaRae Cuono 
Okay, okay I admit it! I got it because of the gorgeous cover! 

Enthralled by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong (editors)
And again with these short story collections that I hardly ever read. But still I keep getting them. Perhaps this one I should actually read. It seems promising.


What was in your mailboxes?

8 oktober 2011

Back in the land of the living

This has been a lot longer blog break than I ever intended but there was just no time for it. Or for reading even. So I had not to blog about. We've finally moved into our new house, yay! And cleaned out the old apartment. And done most of the teacher-student-parent talks that we are obliged, by law, to do every semester. Only four more to go and they won't be until two weeks so finally I'm back on the book track. I've read three books since last time and there'll be reviews soon. This last one I read really was exactly what the doctor ordered to get my reading mood going!



23 september 2011

AWOL

I am sorry I've been AWOL for a while, but I've just been swamped with the house and all. We've spend every evening and every weekend there for the last months to get it inhabitable before moving in, which happens tomorrow. Yay!

However, that still doesn't mean that I'll be able to blog more. Au contraire my friend. Due to a mix-up from the telephone/Internet company we probably won't get any Internet until earliest 2nd October. I am honestly not sure how I will cope! I hope you'll stick it out with me.

18 september 2011

In my mailbox (26)


In My Mailbox is a meme created and hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

It is a great way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. 

All links go to Goood reads. 




Bought:


Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers

The other day I found myself if pursuit of books with some romantic and/or sexual tension, you know the kind that makes your stomach full of butterflies. I've felt that missing from many books I've read lately. The Personal Demons series might be what I'm looking for, according to many reviews I've found. Any thoughts on these books?

16 september 2011

Review: The Single Girl's To-Do List by Lindsey Kelk

Plot: A hilarious and romantic standalone novel from the bestselling author of the I Heart series Rachel Summers lives every area of her life according to a to-do list and so far, she is ticking most things off. She has a job she loves (make-up artist to the stars), the perfect boyfriend, a cosy London flat and a fantastic circle of friends. All that remains on her life to-do list is to get married, have a baby and live happily ever after. Simple. Well, not quite! Suddenly, Rachel's perfect boyfriend wants to take a break. She's convinced it's just cold feet but when the break turns into a split, her best friends Emelie and Matthew step in and come up with the ultimate heartbreak cure -- the single girl's to-do list, the top ten things Rachel must see and do to kick-start her fabulous, new single life. But nothing can prepare her for the adventures that unfold as the to-do list takes them all over town and even abroad, and proves to all three that love is out there if you're willing to take a chance! (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: Before I read Twilight and found the whole YA scene (about 2,5 years ago-ish) I mainly read chick-lit, especially Sophie Kinsella. The Single Girl's To-Do List is the first chick-lit novel that I've read in about a year and I was looking forward to reading it. That pretty cover also helped selling it. 

I did, however, not like it as much as I'd though. I found the idea of Rachel changing her life after a tough breakup interesting and being a list-girl myself I could relate to that part. One would think, with so many crazy things for Rachel to do, the novel would be hilarious and fast-paced, but sadly I found the novel slow and at times even rather slow. I was actually not very interested in Rachel's new love life at all. It has taken me over two weeks to finish this book and that doesn't make for a good read, because I've been know to devour a book that I love in less than two days during the time I worked full-time. With this one, I just didn't have the urge to pick up the book wherever I was because I wasn't interested enough to know how it ended. However, I did finish it eventually so it wasn't a bad book, just not a very good one.

The part I liked best was the reader's Single Girl's To-Do Lists at the end of the novel. They were fun.

Long vs short chapters

I prefer a book with more but shorter chapters over a book with few and long ones. My reading always progresses much shorter with longer chapters, as odd as it may sound. But if I read on the train on my way to work or just before bedtime, I usually look at the length of the upcoming chapter and decide if I'm to start it or not. If it's short I most probably will but if I find it too long I won't bother because I will no be able to finish all of it anyway and I don't like stopping the reading mid-through a chapter. Short chaptered books thus are often faster reads for me. 

The book I'm currently reading has rather long chapters and it's taken me forever to read because I don't bother to open the book and read just a few pages and not coming to any kind of ending. Not even a cliffhanger ending but almost mid-sentence. I'm all for short chapters. How about you?

11 september 2011

In my mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is a way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. All links go to Gooodreads. 

Gifted:

Epic fail by Claire LaZebnik
This was sent as a RAK in August by Sara @ Just Another Story and due to some problems with the mail it finally arrived this Friday. Thanks so much Sara! It seems so good! A modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into it. 


Bought:

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles 
This book has gotten many great reviews and it does sound like a great read. What more reasons do you need? 

Soul Thief by Jana Oliver 
I would've preferred to get the UK version (called Forbidden) because it is so much prettier and I am obviously very shallow... but then I had the first book in the US version and shallow me wants the books to match.  


And also bought... 


Criminal Minds Season 3 (5-disc set) 

I am well aware of the fact that Criminal Minds is not a novel but a television series. For someone who says that she's not into crime stories and police work I've found myself totally obsessed with this series during the summer. And I do have an every so slight crush on Dr Spencer Reid. I always did like a nerd! 






What was in your mailboxes? 

10 september 2011

100 YA Books

This list of 100 YA books seems to be circling the blogosphere. I myself found it at Boktycke. And being slightly OCD'd, I like lists. I live by lists, especially to-do lists. Anyway I decided to answer the 100 YA Books list myself too. Bold titles include books I've read and titles in italics are books that have a place on my bookshelf but that I have yet to read.

So, here it goes.

  1. Alex Finn – Beastly
  2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
  3. Ally Carter – Callagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
  4. Ally Condie – Matched
  5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals  (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
  7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
  9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
  10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
  12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
  13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
  16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
  17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3, 4)
  18. Christopher Paolini  - Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
  19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
  20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
  21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
  22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
  23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
  25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
  26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
  27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
  28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
  29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
  31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
  33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
  34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
  37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
  38. John Green – Paper Towns
  39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
  40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
  41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
  42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
  43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
  44. Lemony Snicket -  Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
  45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
  46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
  47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
  49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
  50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
  51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
  52. Markus Zusak  - The Book Thief
  53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
  54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
  55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
  56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
  57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
  58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
  61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
  63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
  64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  66. Michael Grant – Gone  (1, 2, 3, 4)
  67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
  68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
  69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
  70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
  71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
  72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
  73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
  74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
  79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
  80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
  81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
  82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
  83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
  84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
  85. Scott Westerfeld  - Leviathan (1, 2)
  86. Scott Westerfeld  - Uglies (1, 2, 3)
  87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
  88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
  89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
  90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
  92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
  93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
  94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
  95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
  96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
  97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
  99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
  100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

Well, not too shabby, eh? Although I do have a long way to go before I've finished them all!

4 september 2011

In my mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is a way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. All links go to Goodreads.


Bought:




Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

I've read some great reviews on this paranormal novel and I do love boarding school novels/movies. Maybe because there hardly are any in this part of the world.


Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Also one of them pre-ordered books that arrived this week. Around the time that I pre-ordered it, I read loads and loads of raging reviews but lately I have come across a few not so great as well, so I guess I'm just gonna have to see for myself.


How was your week?

2 september 2011

Review: Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Plot: I see him and I know what this turmoil inside of me means: He's the one. My forever.

KAYLA is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a terrifying-and thrilling-gene that will change her life forever.

LUCAS is dangerous, gorgeous ... and a werewolf. As leader of the Dark Guardians, shape-shifters who gather deep within the state park, he has sworn to protect his pack. But when Lucas finds his true soul mate, his love could put them all in harm's way.

As Lucas and Kayla struggle with their feelings for each other, a greater danger lurks: Humans have discovered the Dark Guardians and are planning their destruction. Kayla must choose between the life she knows and the love she feels certain is her destiny. (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: When I showcased this novel in an IMM the other week, I got a comment that this book and the others in the Dark Guardian series were a guilty pleasure, and I might just have to agree with that. For me, a guilty pleasure is something you like although you know you shouldn't and that is sort of the case with Moonlight. There are no existential questions to ponder, very few twists you don't see coming and the end is incredibly predictable, but still I could not bring myself to stop reading.

The novel started off with a prologue, and I have mixed feelings about prologues. They can be awesome when carried out well, but they can also ruin a lot if they're not and I find that this prologue is almost a spoiler and I would've though it better to have left it out completely.

If you're looking for a deep philosophical novel this is not a book for you. You enjoy it while you read it but afterwards you never think of it again. However, it was a cute and incredibly fast and straightforward read. You get what you expect in a sweet package. And sometimes that is exactly what you want.

Book Blogger Hop (7)


The Book Blogger Hop is a place for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  Hosted by Crazy for Books,  this weekly meme is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, get to know someone new and basically just share our love of books! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list! 

This week's question:
What are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season? - A particular book release? Halloween? The leaves changing color? Cooler temperatures? A vacation?

The thing I look most forward to this fall is moving in to our new (but old) house. This summer, me and my husband bought an old school house in the Swedish countryside. It was built in the 1860's but renovations have been made since and there are running water and electricity. However, it still needs some updating to the 21st century regarding wallpaper and such, so we've been working hard evenings and weekends on with what will be the master bedroom.

Beside that I also always love the air in the fall, so I also look forward to long walks on countryside roads beside forests of yellow and red.

1 september 2011

August RAK Wrap-Up


Another RAK month already passed by. I think it's almost scary how fast time flies nowadays. The RAK idea is marvelous and it's so exciting to see if you'll get something and what it will be. However, it is also exciting so send books out and see how they'll be welcomed.

For me, if July was a little slow in the RAK department, I had better luck in August!  



Gifted:
I was sent Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne from The Reading Owl @ Graceful Reads. Thank you so much! Review's coming up soon.

Sara @ Just Another Story also sent me Epic Fail by Clair LaZebnik but that novel has yet to arrive. I do look forward to it though! Thank you Sara! 


Sent:
I only had the finances to send out one book this month and that was to birthday girl Kelsey @ Enchanted Books. I decided to get her The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han because it was on top of her wish list and because I loved it when I read it last year. Now that I think about it, I sent this one last month too...

28 augusti 2011

In my mailbox (23)

This week my mailbox has been sadly empty - of books that is. Otherwise I have gotten loads of great things. Like my new driver's license with my new name on it, a new credit card with my name on it and my first paycheck (although the money of course goes directly into my bank account) from my new job.

But books - none, zilch, zero, nada. I'm hoping for a better week next time.



26 augusti 2011

Book Blogger Hop (6)


The Book Blogger Hop is a place for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  Hosted by Crazy for Books,  this weekly meme is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, get to know someone new and basically just share our love of books! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list! 

This week's question:
Non-book-related this week. Do you have pets?


I do not have any pets. The main reason is that I am allergic to furred animals, as are my sisters. We did have two leopard geckos for a couple of years though, back when I was around 13-14 years old. 


Lizards were not all that having pets was cracked up to be. It's not like you could take them out and cuddle them; they'd just run away and hide in the sofa. Once they escaped the terrarium during the night and it took us two days and much lizard poop later to find them again (among the cables behind the TV where it was nice and warm). And the live crickets that they had for a diet wasn't all that pleasant either. When we sold our house and moved to an apartment we gave them away. 

In the future, me and my husband are looking into maybe getting fish.

23 augusti 2011

Review: Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Plot: 17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them... (Summary from goodreads.com)

My opinion: What originally drew me in was the gorgeous cover. I just love the blue dress and red heals. The premise also sounded unique and the love story promising. So, did it live up to my expectations? Yes, it did! I found this a rather intriguing read that I finished in a few short sittings (although portioned out over a few days). Despite the fact that I just started a new job and have had loads of new things to do, resulting in a very tired me, I kept turning the pages late in the evening. I just had to find out what would happen next!

I really liked Lila, who was a character that I easily could relate too (though I don't master telekinesis and my mother is very much alive) and that I cared about. Alex really was a swoon-worthy love interest and Lila's all-life crush on him is easy to understand. There was good tension there..

The only thing that was a downer for me about this novel was the way too open end and the obvious pass to the coming sequel. I don't mind a series when the author is this good, the premise this exciting and the romance this... romantic, but I do wish that even books that are part of a series could have an actual ending too.

Hunting Lila was a fast paced, funny, compelling and romantic debut novel and there were few dull moments. This truly is a great novel and you should read it!

21 augusti 2011

In my mailbox (22)

 In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is a way for everyone to share their new books with the world: bought, gifted, won, borrowed or from the library. All links go to Goodreads.


Bought:




Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I only got one book this week, but then again, what a book! Another book that I pre-ordered ages ago but that finally found its way home to me. I realize I might be the last one on earth who hasn't read this book yet, but then I have something to look forward to. *swoon*

20 augusti 2011

UK / US / Sweden

I do love beautiful covers so much that I sometimes wait for months to the book with the prettiest cover. This is a feature which compares covers from the UK, the US and Sweden.


Amy & Roger's Epic Detour


UK / US / Sweden


What's interesting about the covers this time is that the US and Swedish cover actually use the same cover, just that the crop is a tad different. On the US version we see more leg and on the Swedish cover part of Amy's face and hair. The UK cover consist of momentums from the actual detour so it might fit better with the storyline, but it just doesn't cut it for me. As I've said before, I much prefer covers with people on them so this week it's a tie between US and Swedish, because let's face it, they're basically the same.

16 augusti 2011

Teaser Tuesday

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! 




"There was a crease by his eyes that looked suspiciously like the beginnings of a laughter line. I felt a pang of jealousy that someone else was making him laugh, getting to hear him laugh." 

 - p. 24 Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson