Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I finished and reviewed Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory, the first in the Jolie Wilkins series. It was a cute holiday read. I also (finally) finished Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. I had to take a break in the middle of it because of a friend staying with me and then going on vacation, that is why it took me much longer than ususal to finish it. I'll have a review up this week, but for now let me just say I love this series!

I said last week that I would probably read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton in honour of going to see Pirates of the Caribbean 4 this week. Well, I didn't pick up that particular book, but I stuck to the pirate theme and started Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer. I also watched Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3 yesterday, so I definitely have pirates on my mind these days. :)

Most likely The Doomsday Key by James Rollins. The Devil Colony will be out soon and I need to catch up on the Sigma series.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review: Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
By H.P. Mallory

First published: 2010
Series: Jolie Wilkins #1

Read: 15 - 25 May 2011
Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge #6

From GoodReads
A self-deprecating witch with the unique ability to reanimate the dead. A dangerously handsome warlock torn between being her boss and her would-be lover. A six hundred year old English vampire with his own agenda; one that includes an appetite for witches. The Underworld in a state of chaos. Let the games begin.

Life isn’t bad for psychic Jolie Wilkins. True, she doesn’t have a love life to speak of, but she has a cute house in the suburbs of Los Angeles, a cat and a quirky best friend.

Enter Rand Balfour, a sinfully attractive warlock who insists she’s a witch and who just might turn her life upside down. Rand hires her to help him solve a mystery regarding the death of his client who also happens to be a ghost. Jolie not only uncovers the cause of the ghost’s demise but, in the process, she brings him back to life!

Word of Jolie’s incredible ability to bring back the dead spreads like wildfire, putting her at the top of the Underworld’s most wanted list. Consequently, she finds herself at the center of a custody battle between a villainous witch, a dangerous but oh-so-sexy vampire, and her warlock boss, Rand. 

Witches and warlocks and werewolves, oh my!

This will be short and sweet, because I really don't have much to say about Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble. In short, it was a cute read. I chose it to read on my Scotland trip because I figured it would be light reading, and it turned out to be a perfect holiday companion. The book is teeming with creatures of the night; a hot warlock, a hot werewolf, a hot vampire, a hot ghost, a hot fairy... Oh yeah, and there's a war brewing in the Underworld.

I had a little trouble connecting to Jolie, the main caracter and narrator. Her constant self-doubting and insecurity, despite having all sorts of sexy creatures wanting to "bed her", started to get old after a while. I quite liked Rand the warlock (he's British, what's not to like?), and I would have liked to see him doing something else than telling Jolie why they couldn't sleep together.

The concept of the book is interesting and it was fun meeting all the different species of the Underworld and see them interact. The book doesn't exactly end in a cliffhanger because there is not enough suspense for that (someone on Goodreads called it a hill-hanger, which I thought was a pretty good word), but there is no conclusion to the story. Presumably the next book Toil and Trouble picks up where Fire Burn left off. I'm sure I will pick it up at some point, because I would like to know how this whole thing ends. 

Bottom line: Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble lacks the charm to make it a top read, but an abundance of sexy Underworld creatures and the suspense of a coming war make it a great read for the summer holidays.

My rating:

The Jolie Wilkins series
  1. Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (2010)
  2. Toil and Trouble (2010)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

As the master of procrastination that I am, I would rather be hopping than doing my tax forms, so here we are!

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books. Each week she asks a question so that blogger can get to know each other a little bit better. This weekend the question is:

What book-to-movie adaption have you most liked? Which have you disliked?

Whenever I get this question I have such a hard time remembering which of the movies I have seen that are based on books. I think this is because to me the book and movie are two entirely different things, so in my mind they are not connected. I like the Harry Potter movies (the 4 I have seen), but I think my favourite has to be Lord of the Rings. Yes, the movies are very different from the book, but they really brought Tolkien's universe to life for me.

Disliked? I was very disappointed in Inkheart, which lacked the magic and atmosphere that make the book so special. And who decided casting Brendan Fraser as Mo was a good idea?

What is your favourite book-to-movie adaption? Are you like me and insist on reading the book before watching the movie?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Video: Medieval Helpdesk

I wanted to share this hilarious video by two Norwegian comedians with you guys, because it is absolutely spot on. It always reminds me of me trying to explain to my mother how to use her computer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge - Day 3

Day 03 – Your favorite series

This is a tough one. I love series and have started a large numer of different series (not finished quite so many - must do something about that). I admire the Harry Potter series for how well planned it is and how well everything fits together. The Nancy Drew series was a favourite when I was younger and I still love to re-visit it from time to time. But the series I have read the most books from (and own the most books from) and still keep on reading is the Dirk Pitt adventures by Clive Cussler. They are pure escapist entertainment, just like an action/adventure flick. I have to admit that the later books have not been as much fun as the older ones, but I still have a few old ones I haven't read yet, so I'm happy. :)

What is your favourite series?

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I'm back home after a lovely holiday in Scotland where I saw lots of sheep, tried haggis, visited a whiskey distillery and got the song Loch Lomond thoroughly stuck in my head. There was hardly any time for reading (but that is the sign of a good trip, right?)!

Nothing! I was just too busy to read much!

I decided to take my Kindle with me to Scotland, so I left the poor half-read Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz at home. In its place I started Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory, but I soon realised there was no way I was going to finish it during the trip (no need to take 200 books with me...). I hope to finish both of these two this week.
I had planned to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides last night, but our little cinema was full long before I got there, so I had to turn around and go home again (I really wish they would sell tickets in advance!). I'm thinking I'll read Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton while waiting for another chance to see the movie.

Have you seen Pirates 4 yet? What did you think (no spoilers, please!)?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge - Day 2

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

I have no idea. There are probably many books I read several times when I was a kid or teenager, but I don't remember which ones anymore. My favourite Nancy Drew books would probably be a safe bet. These days I don't tend to re-read books, at least not more than once, but I know for sure that I have read Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher three times (so far). I love reading it around Christmas because it gives me that warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling.

Friday, May 20, 2011

She's Back!

Edinburgh Castle

Yep, I'm back in Norway after a few great days in Scotland. We have visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, Loch Lomond and the Isle of Arran, and even though the weather could have been better we had a good trip. I will be posting some pictures as soon as I get them sorted out.

I had written and scheduled a few posts to be published while I was gone, but Blogger decided not to put any of them up. :( So it's been very quiet here lately, but by the end of the weekend everything should be back to normal starting with It's Monday, What Are You Reading on Monday. As I announced before I left for my holiday I'll also be doing the 30 Day Book Challenge (the first three posts of which should have gone up while I was gone), so look out for that and let me know if you are participating too.

Have a great weekend everyone!

30 Day Book Challenge - Day 1

Day 01 – Best book you read last year

The book I gave the higest rating was The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. It was a beautiful and bittersweet book that stayed with me for a long time afterwards.

A close second is The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, which was a fresh take on the mystery genre and absolutely hilarious (Stephanie Plum, eat your heart out).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge

There seems to be a few of these floating around the blogosphere these days. They look like fun, so I couldn't resist jumping on the bandwagon. :) I don't think I'll be posting every day, but I'll try to do at least a few a week. Please let me know in the comments if you are doing this too, I'd love to see your answers!

I found this one over at Lost in Books.

30 Day Book Challenge

Day 01 – Best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Going On a Summer Holiday

No more working for a week or two... *whistles Cliff Richard song*

Today I'm leaving on a well-deserved holiday (at least I think so) and will be gone until May 20. Mum and I are going to stay a few days outside Oslo to visit friends and then we are going to Scotland for four days. We will be visiting Edinburgh and Glasgow among other places, and I'm hoping to catch a glimpse of old Nessie. Should be fun!

I'm afraid there won't be all that much activity on the blog while I'm gone, so I hope you kids will behave in my absence. I'll still be reading my email so if you need anything, just drop me a few lines. Otherwise I'll see you next weekend! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

Last week I had a friend staying from Wednesday to Sunday, so I hardly read a single page during that time. But I did get to play tourist in my own home area, have a Lord of the Rings extended edition marathon (12 hours straight – exhausting but worth it!) and have lots of fun. This coming Thursday I'm going on holiday with my Mum. We will be staying a couple of days in Drammen where I lived for a while when I was in uni, and then we are going to Scotland on Sunday. I've always wanted to go there, so I'm really looking forward to it (but the forecast says rain all week long... Hope it changes soon!).

I have been re-watching Firefly lately, so it seemed like a good time to try my hand at my first graphic novel; Serenity: Better Days. Read my review here.

Seeing as I haven't gotten any reading done for several days, it is still Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. I want to finish it before I leave, because I don't want to take a half-read book with me. But I have three days, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Not sure what I'll take with me for the trip – something light and entertaining I think. I'm not sure whether I'll bring my Kindle or just a regular book. I usually don't read much on these kinds of trips, because we have so much planned, so I doubt I'll need more than one book. Any suggestions for fluffy holiday reads?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Review: Serenity – Better Days

Serenity: Better Days
By Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews (story), Will Conrad (art)

Published: October 2008 by Dark Horse Books

Read: 2 May 2011

When the Serenity crew uncovers a heaping pile of cash – marking their first successful heist – they divulge their most outlandish fantasies, and look forward to a little R&R in a tropical paradise. Unfortunately for these space cowboys someone is hot on their heels in search of a prize more prescious than money.

Will Appeal to Fans of Firefly

I discovered the brilliant but short-lived tv series Firefly rather by accident a little over a year ago. I was browsing IMDb and came across this series that was described as a "space western" and had an average rating of 9.4. I figured with such a high rating it had to have something going for it, so I decided to buy the DVD set even though I wasn't expecting it to be more than mildly entertaining. What I saw completely blew me away. It is one of the best television series I have ever watched, and by the end of the 14 episodes and the movie that came a few years later, I had fallen head over heels in love.

Better Days is the second of three graphic novels written by the creator of Firefly, Joss Whedon and set between the original series and the movie Serenity. It is also the first graphic novel I have ever read (unless Donald Duck books count) and I am not sure I am a fan of the format. Being so used to novels I missed all the information you get from continuous text. The story felt a bit choppy like there were bits missing here and there, and I was a little confused for a while. But once I got into the style, I quite enjoyed myself.

Since the story is co-penned by Joss Whedon the dialogue was spot on and I had no trouble hearing the actors' voices inside my head. The resemblance to the actors in the artwork was pretty good too (except for Kaylee, she did not look like herself). The plot felt like something that could have happened on the show – something I would have loved to see happen on the show, actually. It was great seeing the crew's fantasies about what they would do with their newfound riches (Jayne's cracked me up!), and the ending was sweet.

While this oh-so-short graphic novel did little to satisfy my craving for more Firefly, it did put a smile on my face and reminded me of what could have been had the show been allowed to run longer. It was a fun story that will surely appeal to fans of Firefly.

My rating:

Serenity series:
  1. Those Left Behind (2006)
  2. Better Days (2008)
  3. The Shepherd's Tale (2010)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness - May

For a couple of months now I have participated in this awesome feature at Book Soulmates:

I received some fantastic e-book RAKs in April:

From EmmaD: What Would Nancy Do by Maureen Mullis
From Christina at Reading Exstensively: PS. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
From Ashley from Bookaholic Does Blogging: Master of None by Sonya Bateman
From Lainy at So Many Books So Little Time: Amazon gift card

Thank you all so much! You guys are the best!

Now come join the May RAK!

The Rules:

• Sign up each month you'd like to participate in.
• Show off your participation! Grab one of the buttons available :)
• Create a wishlist and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
{Post on your blog, Amazon, where ever as long as there's a link to it.}
• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wishlist and contact that blogger for their address.
• At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!
Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us :)

Lets's keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.
Remember, there's always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

My wishlists are pretty full because I add anything that sounds interesting, but these are the main two: Kindle wishlist and general wishlist.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Month in Books: April

April was another average reading month for me with four books read. I still don't know how I managed to read double that amount in January... I was hoping to be able to read more over Easter, but staying at Mum's meant I had to be sociable most of the time (oh, the horror!). But April is a perfect example of how my reading has changed in the year since I started blogging. 3/4 of these books are books I never would have picked up a year ago, either because they didn't appeal to me at the time or because I wouldn't have heard of them. Imagine what I would have missed!

Read in April

Links go to my reviews

16) Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan
17) Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
18) Tripwire by Lee Child
19) The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell – favourite book of the month

Incoming Books

Lots of incoming books this month. My read/incoming rate is way out of propotion, so either I have to read faster or I have to stop buying new books. I wonder which will be easier...

For review
The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Melissa Bloomfield (NetGalley)
Murder in the 11th House by Mitchell Scott Lewis (NetGalley)

What Would Nancy Do by Maureen Mullis (thank you EmmaD!)
PS. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (thank you Christina from Reading Exstensively!)
Master of None by Sonya Bateman (thank you Ashley from Bookaholic Does Blogging!)
+ a gift card from Lainy at So Many Books So Little Time

The Third Pig Detective Agency by Bob Burke
A Scottish Ferry Tale by Nancy Volkers
Kickback by Garry Disher
Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones
Shock Wave by Clive Cussler
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Challenge Progress

First in a Series Challenge – 5/6
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
2. Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block
3. Heat Wave by Richard Castle
4. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
5. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

2nds Challenge – 1/3 
1. Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

Mystery & Suspense Challenge – 4/12
1. Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block
2. Heat Wave by Richard Castle
3. The Survivor by Sean Slater
4. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Other Posts of Interest

Top Ten Tuesday
Books I want to see made into movies
Bookish pet peeves
Mean girls in books

Booking Through Thursday
Coming soon to a theatre near you

National Poetry Month
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Once After Pushkin by Carol Rumens
Dust of Snow by Robert Frost
Stop All the Clocks by W. H. Auden

So how was your April?

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

Wow, it's actually May! No more snow! Although it's still cold here at night (it almost reached freezing last night), we are having lovely weather with sunshine and no wind. In less than a month we will start seeing the midnight sun (provided it's not hiding behind clouds like most of last year). I have a dentist appointment at noon that I'm not exactly looking forward to (dentists are scary!). It's a 40-minute drive to the dentist's office, so I'll just finish this post and then I have to get going. Wish me luck! 

Over Easter I read Tripwire by Lee Child, the third installment in the Jack Reacher series. I think Reacher is on the fast track to making my list of fictional crushes.

I also read and reviewed The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell, which I absolutely adored. It's a steampunk/time-travel romance novella with a spunky main character and lots of humour. Check it out if you're in need of a mood boost!
I picked up Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz, the second book about wacky PI Isabel Spellman and her equally wacky family. It's such a fun series written in a very different format than most mysteries. Check it out if you are a fan of Stephanie Plum and the likes (you can find my review of The Spellman Files here).

One of my best friends will be visiting from Wednesday till Sunday, so I don't expect to be getting much reading done this week. I will try to finish Curse of the Spellmans before she arrives, and then I may or may not start something else while she's here. I imagine we will spend the time driving around town and watching movies at night instead of reading. :)

What are your reading plans for the week?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Review: The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale

The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale
By Christine Bell

Published: 25 April 2011 by Carina Press

Read: 27 April – 28 April 2011

Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley

Publisher summary
I'm a time pirate - born in 1810, now a 21st-century woman. I travel through time trying to right wrongs without disrupting the fragile balance between what is and what can never be.

That's why it's vital that I go to 1836 and find the man who conned my brother out of his Time Travel Mechanism as quickly as possible. If the technology falls into the wrong hands, it could change the world as we know it. The notorious Duke of Leister definitely qualifies as the wrong hands. An amateur scientist of the slightly mad variety, he's bound to figure out how to use the TTM sooner rather than later. 

I knew this wouldn't be easy. But I wasn't counting on him being as sexy as hell. Or winding up chained to his bed... 

The Most Fun I've Had All Year

This book had me at "time-pirate". No, that's not true, it had me at the brilliant title. No, that's not true either, it had me the moment I saw the gorgeous cover. Somehow I just knew this novella would be good, and I was not disappointed. The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale was the most fun I have had reading a book all year.

The book is a mix of steampunk and time-travel romance, which I thought worked very well. Bell has described it as "steampunk light" because of the lighter tone. The humorous aspect was just right, making the story funny but not silly.

Stormy, or Dorothy (yep, after that Dorothy), is one of those characters I would love to have as a friend. Left to fend for herself on the streets of London when her mother abandoned her, Stormy is tough, brave and relies on her "steely time-pirate resolve". The story is written from her point of view, and Bell has given her a witty and no-nonsense voice. Her partner in crime, her younger brother Bacon, is endearing and innocent; constantly making mistakes, but still the eternal optimist. As for the Loony Duke... Well, he's not just a hot body (though he certainly is that too).

I love how the Victorian era and the 21st century come together through Stormy. Although she grew up in London in the early 1800s, she is now firmly a 21st century gal, and sees the past through modern eyes. Her references to modern pop culture are hilarious and had me giggling throughout the story. Star Trek, Batman and moonwalking – it's all there.

I was completely engrossed in this tale, alternately laughing out loud and fighting back tears, which is no mean feat for such a short story. My only complaint is just that: it was too short! There are so many elements to explore further, and I would have loved to spend more time with the characters and get to know them better. But I hear Christine Bell is working on a sequel that will be a full-length novel (sqee!), and I cannot wait to revisit the world of Stormy Gale.

My rating – because I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it:

Visit Christine Bell's website or follow her on Twitter.
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