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.


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.


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.