Archive | October, 2012

A Cold and Lonely Place – Sara J. Henry (Review)

31 Oct

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2013 by Crown

Description

Troy Chance returns in another riveting novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Learning to Swim

Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body–a man she knows. One of her roommates falls under suspicion, and the media descends. Troy’s assigned to write an in-depth feature on the dead man, who, it turns out, was the privileged son of a wealthy Connecticut family who had been playing at a blue collar life in this Adirondack village. And the deeper Troy digs into his life and mysterious death, the murkier things become. After the victim’s sister comes to town and a string of disturbing incidents unfold, it’s clear someone doesn’t want the investigation to continue. Troy doesn’t know who to trust, and what she ultimately finds out threatens to shatter the serenity of these mountain towns. She must decide which family secrets should be exposed, what truths should remain hidden, and how far her own loyalty can reach.
   A Cold and Lonely Place, the sequel to Learning to Swim, follows Troy on a powerful emotional journey as she discovers the damage left by long-hidden secrets, and catches a glimpse of what might have been.

My thoughts

I finally managed to finish reading this book. It took me more than a week because I didn’t have much time for reading, but I also found A Cold and Lonely Place a bit slow. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, because I really did, but I think the pace could have been more alert.

Published February 22nd 2011 by Crown

This is supposed to be a sequel to Learning to Swim, but I think it can be read as a stand-alone, even though some characters from the first book make an appearance or are mentioned in this one.

Troy Chance is a freelancer writer who is assigned to write some articles about Tobin, whose body is found in the frozen Saranac Lake. Even though she didn’t know the victim very well, Tobin’s death has a big impact on her, mostly because he used to be her roommate’s boyfriend. In order to write those articles she needs to dig deep into the victim’s life to find details about his childhood, his family, his relationship with Jessamyn and maybe to discover if Tobin’s death was an accident or if someone murdered him. With the help of his sister and the people who used to know him, Troy learns slowly that her first impression of Tobin was actually wrong (“I would have pegged him for trouble from the start, with his frat-boy good looks, floppy hair, sleepy brown eyes, and different manner. It was written all over him that he was the sort of person who assumes life should go his way, no matter what. I suspected he’d gone to an elite prep school, then partied himself right out of Harvard or Princeton before drifting up here, where no one ever asked where or if you’d gone to university”. She also thought that he was violent against Jessamyn and that he influenced her in a bad way).

The only thing which I didn’t like about this book was the pace. I liked the writing style, but the pace was too slow for me and I think that some paragraphs should have been left out. There were a lot of moments when the author was describing the food eaten by the characters and what they were cooking (e.g.: “She had brought wine, which we poured into juice glasses and had with bread and cheese…cicken and cheese blended with broccoli and noodles, with a spice I couldn’t identify…I cooked oatmeal and eggs”).

I found the storyline interesting, unpredictable and the characters were very likeable so, all in all, A Cold and Lonely Place was an enjoyable read.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and Crown for sending me this e-book.

My rating  

You can preorder the book from Amazon or The Book Depository.

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About the author 

Sara J. Henry’s first novel, LEARNING TO SWIM, has been called “an auspicious debut” by Daniel Woodrell (WINTER’S BONE) and “emotional, intense, and engrossing” by Lisa Unger. It won the 2012 Anthony Award for best first novel, the 2012 Agatha Award for best first novel and the 2012 Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was nominated for the Barry and Macavity awards. The sequel, A COLD AND LONELY PLACE, will be out Feb. 5, 2013 – Howard Frank Mosher calls it “a character-driven thriller set in one of the coldest and loneliest places in the United States: the Adirondack Mountains in mid-winter.”

On my Wishlist (4) – Shades of Grey / Nuanțe de cenușiu- Jasper Fforde

24 Oct
Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 6th 2011 by Hodder (first published December 29th 2009)

Description

Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour.

Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder by marriage to Constance Oxblood. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane – a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed.

For Eddie, it’s love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey…

If George Orwell had tripped over a paint pot or Douglas Adams favoured colour swatches instead of towels . . . neither of them would have come up with anything as eccentrically brilliant as Shades of Grey.

Different cover

           

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Shades of Grey is the beginning of a dystopian trilogy (the next books are Painting by Numbers – 2013- and Gordini Protocols) and it has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey.

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Tocmai am vazut ca aceasta carte a fost publicata si in Romania, de editura Litera. Iata descrierea si coperta:

Descriere

În lumea lui Eddie Russett, culoarea înseamnă destin. Odată testată, percepţia culorii le determină oamenilor locul în Cromatocraţie. Nimeni nu poate vedea preponderent decât o culoare şi nimeni nu ştie de ce –, dar sunt o mulţime de necunoscute apărute după Ceva Ce s-a Întâmplat, dezastrul care s-a abătut asupra omenirii şi care a fost urmat de deFaptizare şi de Retroziuni.

Ca pedeapsă pentru răzvrătirea împotriva birocraţiei Colectivei, Eddie – un Roşu, aşadar cu doar o treaptă deasupra Cenuşiilor, clasa muncitoare – este trimis să facă un recensământ al scaunelor în Carminul de Răsărit, în Hotarele Îndepărtate, un ţinut unde locuitorii au un mod aparte de a interpreta Regulamentul. Într-o lume în care întrebările şi cei care le adresează nu sunt văzuţi cu ochi buni, Eddie se îndrăgosteşte, se răzvrăteşte împotriva Prefectului, află un mare secret şi este înghiţit de un copac carnivor.

Nuanţe de cenuşiu este un roman provocator, sofisticat şi plin de substanţă.

Entangled – Nikki Jefford (Review)

20 Oct
Kindle Edition, 303 pages
Published February 20th 2012 by Nikki Jefford

Description

Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.

Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.

The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.

Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.

***Entangled is a young adult paranormal fantasy romance suitable for ages 15 and up.***

My thoughts

I don’t have much to say about this book. I just didn’t care about the story, nor the characters. I didn’t hate it, but I had difficulties finishing it because it wasn’t entertaining enough for me.

I thought the cover was very pretty (even though I realise now that it doesn’t have anything in common with the story) and I found the description quite interesting, so I was very happy when I got the chance to read Entangled. Unfortunately, it disappointed me.

“Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.” This part actually happens after 8 chapters. What happened before? Well, let’s see…

Charlene threatens to commit suicide because her boyfriend (who previously cheated on her) dumped her and he’s now dating another girl. Then she threatens to kill the new girlfriend and then she thinks of a plan to get him back and she ends up killing her own sister (it was an accident, but still…) and put a girl in a coma.

The mother is a passive woman. She knows everything about Charlene’s “plans”, about the suicide attempt but she doesn’t react in any way. She thinks everything is a joke, she sort of encourages her daughter to get back her boyfriend and takes both Charlene and Graylee to shopping. That’s her way of dealling with the problems.

Graylee fantasies about Raj, an Indian warlock who is in love with her, but who pulls her hair and somehow bullies her. How does she react? By trying to choke him with a string and by threatening him. This is how they relationship starts. She and her sister have a good relation until Graylee finds out that Charlene has been blocking her powers for several years. That’s when everything changes. The sister rivalry begins and Graylee ends up being dead.

“Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.” When she wakes up and finds out that she died she has no reaction, like it is not a big deal. Why does she wake up? Because a ressurection spell was done, but the mother didn’t specify wanting the girls in separate bodies. What happens next? Read the description.

All the characters were annoying and not well developed. They were not believable and many of their actions didn’t make much sense. The plot had potential, but the result wasn’t a good one. At least not for me. Maybe you’ll enjoy it more.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Nikki Jefford for sending me this e-book.

My rating:      

You can buy it from Amazon or The Book Depository.

Next books in the series:  

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell (Review)

17 Oct

Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Orion

Description

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

My thoughts

US cover, Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

I’m not a big fan of romances but I absolutely loved this book. It is a love story, but not a light one.

Eleanor & Park is the story of two teens who live in Omaha and meet for the first time on the school bus, in 1986. She is the “new girl”, “big and awkward, with crazy hair, bright red on top of curly…she had on a plaid shirt, a man’s shirt, with half a dozen weird necklaces hanging around her neck and scarves wrapped around her wrists. She reminded Park of a scarecrow…”. That is Park’s first impression of Eleanor. He is a “weird Asian kid. He had green eyes. And skin the color of sunshine through honey”. That’s how Eleanor sees him.

They are both outsiders, but each of them in a different way. She just moved in the neighborhood to her mom and stepdad’s small house, where she has to share a small room with her other four younger siblings. She is poor. Her family is not perfect…her stepfather drinks a lot and is violent towards everyone, her mother doesn’t do anything about that, even though her husband beats her and treats her like a servant and her real father has a new family and doesn’t really want Eleanor to be a part of it. On top of that, everyone at school labels her as an outcast the moment she steps onto the school bus. He feels like an outsider because of his Korean origin and sometimes people make racist jokes about him. Parker has some friends but he doesn’t have a lot in common with them. He and his brother take taekwondo lessons because their dad loves martial arts and wants his sons to act like “real men”. He loves music and comic books and after a few days those two things manage to create a powerful bond between Eleanor and Park. But their relationship has to face quite a lot of obstacles. Will they manage to overcome all the difficulties and have a happy ending? Read and find out.:)

The book was a page turner for me. I read it in two days (it took me so long because I didn’t have much time for reading), I really wanted to know what was going to happen with the two characters.

The story is told from Eleanor’s and Park’s perspectives. I loved the main characters, they were strong and the author allowed them to stand both as individuals and as a couple. The characters evolved throughout the book; in the end they managed to find themselves and to accept the way they were.

I liked the author’s writing style. The story seemed very real and all the characters were very believable. Music and comic books have a big role in this book. There are a lot of references to bands and singers from that period (The Smiths, The Beatles, Elvis Costello and many, many others). That’s why I think the US cover is perfect for this book.

I recommend Eleanor & Park to everyone and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and St. Martin’s Press for sending me this e-book.

My rating:

 

You can buy/preorder the book from Amazon or The Book Depository.

Books made into Movies – The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

14 Oct

Description

Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. Finally, it was Bilbo–alone and unaided–who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside . . .

This stirring adventure fantasy begins the tale of the hobbits that was continued by J.R.R. Tolkien in his bestselling epic The Lord of the Rings.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

You can buy the book from Amazon or The Book Depository.

Descriere

Hobbitul, preludiul trilogiei Stăpânul Inelelor, este povestea unor aventuri extraordinare prin care trece un grup de piticuţi, în căutarea unei comori păzite de dragonul Smaug Magnificul. Participant fără voie în această expediţie periculoasă, Bilbo Baggins, un hobbit iubitor de confort şi lipsit de ambiţii, îşi descoperă spiritul de aventură într-o călătorie în care întâlneşte trolli, elfi, păianjeni uriaşi, orci, dar şi prieteni adevăraţi.

O puteti cumpara de pe raobooks.ro sau elefant.ro.

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About the movie / Despre film

The Hobbit is an upcoming film series consisting of three epic fantasy-adventure films. The films are, by subtitle, An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug(2013) and There and Back Again (2014).

Synopsis for An Unexpected Journey
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” follows title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakensheild. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever … Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths ofguile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Sinopsis

Aventura urmăreşte călătoria personajului principal Bilbo Baggins, care ia parte la o expediţie de proporţii epice, pentru a redobândi de la fiorosul dragon Smaug regatul pierdut al gnomilor, Erebor. Abordat pe nepusă masă de vrăjitorul Gandalf cel Sur, Bilbo se alătură unui grup de treisprezece gnomi, conduşi de legendarul războinic Thorin Scut de Stejar. Călătoria lor îi va purta în Ţara Pustietăţii, pe tărâmuri înşelătoare, pline de goblini, wargi, orci, şi vrăjitori.

Deşi ţinta lor se află la răsărit, către Muntele Singuratic, ei trebuie mai întâi să treacă prin tunelurile goblinilor, unde Bilbo o întâlneşte pe creatura care îi va schimba viaţa pentru totdeauna… Gollum. Singur cu Gollum pe malurile unui lac subteran, neştiutorul Bilbo Baggins nu doar că descoperă în el însuşi un curaj şi o ingeniozitate care îl surprind şi pe el, dar intră şi în posesia “preţiosului” inel al lui Gollum, cu calităţi misterioase şi foarte folositoare. Un simplu inel de aur, de care se leagă soarta întregului Pământ de Mijloc într-un mod pe care Bilbo nici nu şi-l poate imagina încă.

Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves,
And harps of gold, where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the heights,
The winds were moaning in the night,
The fire was red, it flaming spread,
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale,
And men looked up with faces pale.
The dragon’s ire, more fierce than fire,
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Evangeline Lily, Andy Serkis, Richard Armitage

In Theaters December 14th, 2012.

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I absolutely loved the book and I can’t wait to watch the movie!

The Twisted Window – Lois Duncan (Review)

13 Oct

ebook, 184 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Open Road Young Readers (first published May 1st 1987)

 

Description

The new guy at Tracy’s school is handsome, intense, and desperately needs her help—but there’s something about him that isn’t quite right.

High school junior Tracy Lloyd is unsure about the new guy in school. Brad Johnson is attractive, smart, and polite, but Tracy can’t help but feel he watches her too closely. Then one day Brad confides in Tracy a horrible secret: His little sister Mindy has been kidnapped by his stepfather, and he needs Tracy’s help to get her back. But even as Tracy commits to a plan to help her vulnerable new friend, details emerge that suggest nothing is what it seems.
The Twisted Window is a zigzagging thriller that keeps readers guessing up until the final page. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lois Duncan including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

My thoughts

I’ve never read anything written by Lois Duncan before and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It is a page turner and you have to read until the last chapter to receive the answers to your questions: Why and when has Brad became so disturbed and what exactly happened to Mindy, his little sister?

The story begins with Brad searching for a particular type of girl to help him out. We don’t know why and what his plan is (for a few pages I actually thought he was a murderer who was looking for his next victim), but he finds Tracy who seems to be the right choice. She is attracted to him and she thinks he is interested in her, but soon she finds out that’s not the case. He just wants her help to get back his sister who has been kidnapped by his stepfather. Brad has good answers to all of Tracy’s questions (why isn’t the police involved, why is he hiding from his mother the fact that he found Mindy?…) and he convinces her to help. She mainly agrees because she is angry with her father abandoning her to her uncle and aunt’s home and she makes a connection between her story and Mindy’s.
After succeeding in helping Brad she finds out that he is not exactly what he seemed, that everything was far from the truth. She realises that she made a bad decision trusting him and now she has to fix her mistake.

I liked that the story was told from alternating point of views, mainly from Tracy’s and Brad’s, that it was full of suspense, twists and turns and I think the author did a good job describing the characters.

I think that Tracy’s decision of helping Brad was rushed…he was a stranger, a person whom she met only a couple of days before. I understand that there were some events that triggered her decision, but still…she could of seen that there was something odd about Brad’s behavior. There were many signs that indicated the fact that she was making a mistake, but she saw them too late.

The Twisted Window is an intense YA thriller and I recommend it to others.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and Open Road Media for sending me this e-book.

My rating

Different covers

    

You can buy it from Amazon, The Book Depository.

The Vampire Diaries: The Hunters: Destiny Rising by L. J. Smith – Sneek Peak

12 Oct

You can read the first 80 pages here.

 

 

 

On my Wishlist (3) – Ten – Gretchen McNeil

12 Oct
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Description

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
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I really want to read this book since it’s a retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None which I absolutely loved (you can find my review here).
You can buy the book from Amazon or The Book Depository.

Oferte

9 Oct

Promo NautilusCu ocazia împlinirii a 92 de ani de la naşterea lui Frank Herbert, Editura Nemira îi răsplăteşte pe fanii SF & Fantasy cu o reducere de 40% pentru titlurile colecţiei Nautilus.

Promoția se desfăsoară în perioada 8 – 15 octombrie. Reducerile nu se cumulează cu alte promoții sau gratuități.

Colecţia Nautilus este cel mai celebru brand din science-fictionul românesc. Dacă n-aţi auzit de Nemira – Nautilus, înseamnă că n-aţi auzit de cele mai mari nume ale SF-ului mondial, precum Isaac Asimov sau Frank Herbert. Sau de George R.R. Martin, de Philip K. Dick sau de Orson Scott Card, de antologiile Gardner Dozois şi de mulţi alţi autori publicaţi în cele peste 350 de titluri ale colecţiei, care împreună constituie esenţa SF-ului mondial.

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În luna octombrie TRUE BLOOD împreuna cu revista BRAVO GIRL

Nu rata ediţiile de chioşc TRUE BLOOD. Vampirii Sudului de Charlaine Harris

New York Times Bestseller

Preţ excepţional: 10,99 lei/ pachetul de 2 cărţi!

Jumătatea şi sfarşitul lunii octombrie readuc la chioşcuri savuroasele cărţile din seria TRUE BLOOD. Vampirii Sudului la un preţ ispititor de bun.

Astfel în data de 16 octombrie puteţi achiziţiona revista Bravo Girl împreună cu unul dintre cele 3 pachete la alegere: MORŢI PÂNĂ LA APUS (vol. 1) + MOARTEA LA DALLAS (vol.2) sau CLUBUL MORŢILOR (vol. 3) + MOARTĂ PENTRU TOŢI (vol.4) sau MORT DE-A BINELEA (vol. 5) + CATEGORIC MOARTĂ (vol.6).

Iar în data de 30 octombrie puteţi cumpăra revista Bravo Girl alegând dintre pachetele: MORŢI CU TOŢII (vol. 7) + MAI RĂU DECÂT MOARTEA (vol.8) sau MORT ŞI-NGROPAT (vol. 9) + MOARTE ÎN FAMILIE (vol.10).

Song of the Day (4)

9 Oct

“I wanted love, I needed love
Most of all, most of all
Someone said “True Love” was dead
But I’m bound to fall for you
Oh, what can I do?”

                                                                                                                                               (The Black Keys – Tighten Up)