Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Fictional BFFs

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we make a top ten list from a given topic.

This week's topic is

Top Ten Characters I'd Like to be Best Friends With

Whew, this one was hard! There are so many great literary characters that I admire, but that doesn't necessarily mean I would want to spend time with them in real life. I could only think of 6 this time (but if you add them all up, I guess I have at least 14 individual characters). Come back and ask me about television characters, and I will be able to give you a much longer list! But for now, these are the literary characters I would like to have as best friends.

1. Nancy Drew,  George Fayne & Bess Marvin (Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene). Who wouldn't want to be friends with these girls? I would love to tag along with them to exotic places and solve mysteries.

2. Merry & Pippin (Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien). I think this entire list could have been compiled of characters from LOTR (Gandalf, Aragorn, Éowyn, Gimli, Sam...), but I think these two would be great BFFs. They have a positive outlook on life, they like having fun and they appreciate good food and drink.

3. Stephanie Plum (Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich). I would never have a dull moment hanging with Stephanie Plum. I'm sure that whether we were ducking bullets, trying to apprehend an FTA or drooling over Ranger and/or Morelli, we would have lots of fun. And if she could just make up her mind about who of the two hunks she wanted, I could have the other one.

4. Dirk Pitt & Al Giordino (Dirk Pitt Adventures by Clive Cussler). This dynamic duo saves the world on a regular basis and have fun doing it. I wish I could join them on their adventures.

5. Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling). Sure, Hermoine would make a great friend, but there's something about Luna. She is true to herself no matter what other people think about her. She may be a little weird, but then so am I.

6. The cast of Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. I can't pick just one or two people from this book – I want to be friends with them all! Elfrida, Oscar, Sam, Carrie, Lucy; they are all such sweet and caring characters and I wish they were real so I could be with them all the time.

ETA: I just thought of another one!

7. Izzy Spellman (The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz). Izzy is clever, sarcastic and slightly wacko and not afraid to stand up for herself or anyone she thinks deserves it. She is definitely someone I would want on my side.

Which characters would you like to have as best friends?

Reading list - Received BC books

These are all the books I've received from kind BookCrossers over the past few years. I hope to read and release all of them sooner or later (probably later, but Ill do my best). I'll keep track in this post.

Status 30/11-10: 27/115 read - 6/115 released

16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber
1st to Die by James Patterson
5 Freunde auf der Felseninsel by Enid Blyton
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
A Pawn For a Queen by Fiona Buckley
A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Another View by Rosamunde Pilcher
At Home: Scrapbooking with Faye Morrow Bell
Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler
Beloved Exile by Parke Godwin
Bienes hemmelige liv by Sue Monk Kidd
Bombay Ice by Leslie Forbes
Brev till en bokhandel by Helene Hanff
Bristede Håb by Rosamunde Pilcher
Codex by Lev Grossman
Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher
Cyclops by Clive Cussler
Das Dschungel Buch by Rudyard Kipling
De kom til Bagdad by Agatha Christie
Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs
Den sista föreläsningen by Randy Pausch
Die Mädchen von der Parkschule III. Silvy will die Erste sein by Marie Louise Fischer
Die Prophezeiung by Heike og Wolfgang Hohlbein
Du kan aldri vite by Else Breen
E=mc2 mon amour by Patrick Cauvin
Enemy of God (Arthur 2) by Bernard Cornwell
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Excalibur (Arthur 3) by Bernard Cornwell
First Claim by Luke Short
Frankie Says Relapse by Siobhan Curham
Før stormen by Rosamunde Pilcher
Første sommer by Rosamunde Pilcher
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
High Crimes by Joseph Finder
Histoires a lire – huit novelles by misc.
Irish Girls About Town by misc.
J’ai vendu ma soeur by Danielle Simard
Joe Jones by Anne Lamott
Kapten Blod by Rafael Sabatini
Kim by Rudyard Kipling (audio book)
Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson
Le Chocolat, 80 recettes pour fondre de gourmandise by Christian Boistelle
Le petit Nicolas by Sempé
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
L’oeil de loup by Daniel Pennac
Magic Kingdom fra Sale – Sold! by Terry Brooks
Mein Freund Rex by Arthur Holman
Mein Paulek by Dagmar Chidolue
No Comebacks by Frederick Forsyth
Nothing Lasts Forever by Sidney Sheldon
Now We are Six by A.A. Milne
Others by James Herbert
Outsider by John Francome
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
Playing With Cobras by Craig Thomas
Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft by Boyer and Nissenbaum
Sans Atout et le cheval fantôme by Boileau-Narcejac
September by Rosamunde Pilcher
Shall We Tell the President? by Jeffrey Archer
Sharpe’s Eagle by Bernard Cornwell
Sharpe’s Revenge by Bernard Cornwell
Sharpe’s Tiger (1) by Bernard Cornwell
Sherwood by Parke Godwin
Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead
Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss
Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
Tennyson’s Gift by Lynne Truss
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
The Bourne Identity (1) by Robert Ludlum
The Bourne Legacy (4) by Eric Van Lustbader
The Bourne Supremacy (2) by Robert Ludlum
The Bourne Ultimatum (3) by Robert Ludlum
The Christmas Box Miracle by Richard Paul Evans
The Clue in the Old Stagecoach by Carolyn Keene
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Empty House by Rosamunde Pilcher
The End of Summer by Rosamunde Pilcher
The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert Parker
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
The Greek Symbol Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes
The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
The Little House & Zelda’s Cut by Philippa Gregory
The Magician’s Son: A Search for Identity by Sandy McCutcheon
The Memory Palace by Christie Dickason
The Mystery of the 99 Steps by Carolyn Keene
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
The Ringmaster’s Secret (Nancy Drew mysteries 31) by Carolyn Keene
The Russia House by John le Carré
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
The Secret of Mirror Bay (Nancy Drew mysteries 49) by Carolyn Keene
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
The Shakespeare Secret by J.L. Carrell
The Silent and the Damned by Robert Wilson
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
The Spider Sapphire Mystery by Carolyn Keene
The Stone Angels by Stuart Archer Cohen
The Tooth Fairy by Graham Joyce
The Winter King (Arthur 1) by Bernard Cornwell
The Wise Woman by Philippa Gregory
The Witch Tree Symbol (Nancy Drew Mysteries 33) by Carolyn Keene
Treasure of Khan by Clive Cussler
True North by Jill Ker Conway
Under Gemini by Rosamunde Pilcher
Windflowers by Tamara McKinley

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (20)

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 finished The Burglar and the Blizzard: A Christmas Story by Alice Duer Miller for the Holiday Reading Challenge. For a book subtitled A Christmas Story, I found it contained not even a gram of Christmas spirit (read my review).

My latest Book Depository order arrived last week (see what I got!) and I dropped everything else to start Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. I have been wanting to read it for ages, and since I am a notorious leaving-new-books-on-the-shelf-and-never-reading-them-after-buying-them type of person, I decided to read it while I still had the urge to. I am enjoying it so far.

More Christmas books for the challenge. I will be starting The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder on 1 December and reading one chapter a day until Christmas Eve. I also got a couple of Christmas books in my TBD batch, so I will not run out of reading material for the challenge just yet.

What are you up to this week?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which we share what books we have received in the mail, bought, borrowed or otherwise acquired during the week.

I went a little crazy and bought eight books from The Book Depository last week. Seven of them arrived on one day, in seven envelopes like usual, and my mailman had to come inside because there was not enough room in my mailbox. :)

From The Book Depository:

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop edited by Otto Penzler
The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
The Burglar in the Closet by Lawrence Block
Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Via BookCrossing.com:

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir

I promise I won't buy any more books this year. Unless I come across a good deal, of course. ;)

What did you find in your mailboxes this week?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: The Burglar and the Blizzard

The Burglar and the Blizzard: A Christmas Story
By Alice Duer Miller

Read: 19 – 23 November 2010
E-book from Project Gutenberg

2010 Holiday Reading Challenge

*This review contains spoilers*

Despite the title this novella from the 1800s does not feel very christmassy. Several holiday homes of rich owner have been broken into, and when Geoffrey Holland's sister becomes the burglar's latest victim, Geoffrey travels up to his house to check on it. When he arrives he catches the thief in his library and discoveres that he went to school with him years ago. Geoffrey is determined not to let the burglar, named McVay, out of his sight, but when McVay explains that his sister is staying in an old cabin in the forest and will most likely not survive the brewing blizzard, Geoff ends up locking McVay in a closet and setting out to find Cecilia. He finds her and takes her back to the house after a quick conversation which contains the best part of the story, starting with Cecilia:

"Oh, there is no reason for the rescued to be humane."

"They ought to be grateful."

"They are."

"Gratefuller then. Is it nothing that I have taken all the trouble to be born and grow up and live just to come here for you?"

"Perhaps I could be gratefuller if there were any prospect of a fire."

(Here I agreed wholeheartedly with Cecilia. Stop talking and take the girl back to the house, you moron!)

They finally make it back to the house where they are forced to stay over Christmas because of the snowstorm. To make a long story short: Geoff falls in love with Cecilia and bribes a detective of the police to be able to send McVay to Mexico to practically work as a slave in one of Geoff's mines so that Cecilia will not have to live with the shame of a trial. They all agree (the thief most of all), McVay is sent off and everyone lives happily ever after.

Nothing in this story sat right with me. I did not buy Geoffrey's love for Cecilia, I did not buy the detective's reason for taking the bribe (I'm not even sure he had a reason) and I certainly did not buy McVay's ready acceptance, egerness even, of his less than stellar future. None of the characters were very likable, Geoffrey least of all. The only one I had any sympathy for was the burglar McVay, but even he turned out to be a fool in the end. I am sorry to say that for a Christmas story, this falls way short. I need to go watch a movie adaption of A Christmas Carol to cheer me up now.

My rating: 2/6

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book Beginnings on Friday (8)

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by A Few More Pages.

I'm currently reading Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, and this is the opening sentence:

Finn had been flung on his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transitway.

How's that for attention grabber? We are thrown into the action right away here, and it sounds like Finn is in real trouble. It certainly made me want to keep reading to find out what was happening and who this poor guy was. I'm having fun reading this book.

What do you think of in medias res beginnings like this one? Do you prefer a different type of opening sentence?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

1st In a Series Challenge 2011

I've decided to join my first challenge for 2011; the 1st In a Series Challenge hosted by A Few More Pages. So many books on my wishlist and TBR list are the first book in a series, and I thought this challenge would be a good excuse to read some of them.

The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2011, and there are four levels:

1. Series Novice: Read 3 books that are the first in any series
2. Series Lover: Read 6 books that are the first in any series
3. Series Expert: Read 12 books that are the first in any series
4. Series Fanatic: Read 20 books that are the first in any series

I am aiming for Series Lover for now. I'll choose the books as I go.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Holiday Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we make a top ten list from a given topic.

This week's topic is

Top Ten Holiday Books

Christmas is my favourite holiday, and each year I try to read a few Christmas-themed books during November and December.

1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is my very favourite Christmas story, but I've actually only read the original once, three years ago. I plan to read it again this year, as well as watch all the movie versions I can find (A Muppet Christmas Carol and Mickey's Christmas Carol are my favourites).

2. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. Reading a book by Rosamunde Pilcher is a little like coming home, and Winter Solstice is a book I would like to live in - especially around Christmas.

3. The Christmas Hope series by Donna VanLiere. I have made a tradition of reading one of these books every Christmas. They are sweet, heart-warming tales perfect for the holiday. Currently there are five books in the series, and the first two have also been made into movies.

4. The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder. This book is like an advent calendar. It has 24 chapters so that you can read one chapter every day starting December 1st.

5. Various Christmas mysteries by Mary Higgins Clark. I haven't read any of her regular mysteries, but I love her Christmas mysteries like The Christmas Thief, All Through the Night and Deck the Halls.

6. Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber. Or any other of Macomber's Christmas books (and she has written a few), but I really liked this one.

7. Christmas in Harmony by Philip Gulley. This is a part of the Harmony series, which centers around a young minister and his (slightly crazy) parishioners.

I can't think of any more books at the moment, so the rest of this list consists of my favourite Christmas movies.

8. Love Actually. I never tire of this movie. It is so much more than just a romantic comedy, and the cast is spectacular.

9. It's a Wonderful Life. A Christmas classic. I watched it for the first time sometime this decade, and I've made a point of watching it every Christmas since then.

10. Any Disney short film collection. No Christmas is complete without Mickey, Minnie and Donald.

Oh, now I want to curl up with a mug of gløgg and a Christmas book! We do have a little snow here, and it suddenly got very cold, so that Christmas feeling isn't far away. I think some Christmas music is in order...

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (19)

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 posted a review of 'Twas the Night by Sandra Hill, Trish Jensen and Kate Holmes (I always have to remind myself not to put an "i" in her first name...). It was a sweet and fun holiday romance (review).

I'm reading The Burglar and the Blizzard by Alice Duer Miller for the Holiday Reading Challenge. It's very short, more like a novella, so I should finish it tonight provided my club meeting doesn't take forever.

I'm hoping my latest order from The Book Depository will arrive this week, because then I might have time to squeeze in Incarceron by Catherine Fisher before December. I've been wanting to read that one for ages, so I can't wait to get my hands on it. Of course I have more holiday reading to do as well, for instance the anthology Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop.

What's on your reading horizon this week?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren in which we share what books we have received in the mail, bought, borrowed or otherwise acquired during the week.

I haven't done an IMM post for a while, because I've been good and not bought any books (until this week that is – next Sunday might see a huge IMM post!). But I have received a few e-books in the past few weeks, two of which I've already read. This is quite out of character for me, because I normally buy lots of books and then never get around to reading them. It seems like I read e-books faster than paper books. Not sure why that is, but I'm a slow reader compared to many of you, so if that is the case, then it's a good thing! Anyway, on with the books:

From NetGalley:

The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt (review)
'Twas the Night by Sandra Hill, Kate Holmes & Trish Jensen (review)

The Goddess of Fried Okra by Jean Brashear
Award-winning romance author Brashear (currently sharing an anthology spotlight with NYT bestseller Robyn Carr in MIDNIGHT KISS) turns to women's fiction with this warm, wise, quirky, romantic novel about a young woman on a Texas roadtrip to reconnect with the spirit of her dead sister. Toss in some swordplay, fried okra, a kitten, a pregnant teen and a handsome con man. (NetGalley)

I'm really looking forward to reading this one, it sounds like a great book. And isn't that cover gorgeous? I might have to get the print version just to have that cover.

So what have you gotten in your mailbox lately?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: 'Twas the Night

'Twas the Night
by Sandra Hill, Kate Holmes and Trish Jensen

Published: 15 November 2010 by Bell Bridge Books
Read: 12-18 November 2010

E-book received from the publisher via NetGalley

2010 Holiday Reading Challenge

We’re about to find out who’s been naughty or nice . . .
It’s Christmas season, and a snowstorm has shut down Philadelphia’s airport. Somehow, Navy pilot Sam Merrick has to get to Maine for his best friend’s wedding. Enter the “Santa Brigade,” a group of boisterous oldsters headed to Maine on a bus chartered by their senior center. Only one problem: the group’s director is Sam’s wounded ex-flame, Reba. Their angry yet romantic sparks start melting the snowflakes . . .

Next the troupe adds bounty hunter Kevin Wilder, Sam's best friend, who needs a ride to Maine while hand-cuffed to his latest capture, the fiery (yet innocent) Callie Brandt. Then, as the Santa Brigade rolls through the night it picks up ex-pro quarterback Stan Kijewski and forest ranger Dana Freeman, a woman so hot she ought to be declared a fire hazard.
So now we have a bus full of cheerfully meddling seniors, three couples battling romantic dilemmas, an ex-NASCAR bus driver who refuses to let the snowbound roads beat her, a stocking full of oddball hitchhikers, and the magic of the holidays, where love waits under the mistletoe on this very special night. (From the introduction)

'Twas the Night was everything I expected it to be: light-hearted, fluffy and utterly predictable – in a good way. 

The writers describe it a most unsual anthology – in fact so unusual that they refer to it as a non-anthology. Sandra wrote all the chapters from Sam’s point of view; Trish wrote Kevin’s; and Kate wrote Stan’s. This round-robin style of writing works really well, and the different voices blend in well together. If I did not know better I would have thought one author had written the entire book.

Obviously the premise – three former juvenile delinquents, three gorgeous girls and a bus full of elderly people dressed as Santas – requires some suspension of disbelief, but at this time of year I'm willing to believe anything. This charming holiday tale contains everything you might require of such a book; boys meet girls, a snowstorm, charity work, girls playing hard to get, a mountain lodge, Jingle Bells, boys and girls falling in love and Christmas Eve. But it is more than just fluff. The main characters all have their own background stories, and especially Callie's current situation is interesting (though I feel it could have been explored even more than what was the case).

Callie and Kevin were my favourite couple because their story seemed the most plausible one. Plus, I loved feisty Callie and rugged Kevin (called "JD" – a most clever nickname) and the bickering between them. Sam and Reba were nice too (but seriously, what kind of nickname is "Slick"?), but I thought Stan was a bit arrogant and Dana a bit anonymous.

The Santa Brigade are a hilarious bunch of colourful old people from the guys' hometown who every December travel down the coast visiting homeless shelters, entertaining the kids and handing out presents. They include Emma Smith, the boys' former teacher, hairdresser and cyber-granny Maudeen, old playboy Morey, the anthropologist twins Dr. Meg and Dr. Maggie and Bad-ass Betty, the driver; all of them very, very nosy and very, very endearing.

Like I said this book is as predictable as they come. But that is okay, because the ride is fun and exciting and I enjoyed spending time with this crazy bunch of people. If you're looking for a sweet and fun romantic read for the holidays, 'Twas the Night is the book for you.

My rating: 4/6

Apparently this book was first published in 2001 with the title Here Comes Santa Claus.

Book Blogger Hop

Are you sure it is Friday again? But it was Monday yesterday, wasn't it? Only just over a week until Advent Sunday, and I have the feeling I won't have enough time to everything I wanted to do before Christmas. For instance I wanted to start baking cookies this weekend, but it looks like I will have to work all day tomorrow and possibly Sunday as well. Oh well, at least I will have money to buy Christmas presents for (that would be Christmas presents for other people, not books for myself... At least not that many books for myself). ;)

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 week she says:

Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!

Being Norwegian I don't celebrate Thanksgiving, though I wish we did, because it sounds wonderful. Food and family, what more could you want? I also like the idea of taking a moment to reflect on the things you are thankful for. We don't do that often enough.

I am thankful for my parents; that they are healthy and happy despite nearing 65. I am thankful that I am healthy and happy despite feeling lonely sometimes. I am thankful I have a nice flat and a cute car and a good job, even though I sometimes complain about the housework and the gas prices and the boring projects. I am thankful I live in a peaceful country and a small town that feels like home, even though it is cold and wet and includes nosy people. I am thankful I have the means to travel to other places, even though I always get homesick. I am thankful I can go home. I am thankful for the midnight sun and the northern lights; the clean air; the ocean and the sky. I am thankful for books and movies and music. I am thankful for good food and drinks. I am thankful for chocolate (and ice cream). I am thankful I have good friends in many different places. I am thankful for all of this and so much more, but most of all I am thankful I have someone I love and someone who loves me.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Booking Through Thursday - Borrowing

 Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme about (mostly) books and reading.

This week's question is: 

Who would you rather borrow from? Your library? Or a friend? (Or don't your friends trust you to return their books?) And, do you return books you borrow?

Actually I hardly ever borrow books. I don't have any friends who like to read nearby, so if I borrow from anyone it's usually my mother. I used to go to the library a lot when I was in school, but then I started buying books myself. I also became a member of BookCrossing and suddenly people started sending me books with no strings attached (I have a double-stacked shelf with nothing but BC books). I feel like I should read the books I have at home before borrowing from others. I also don't like reading Norwegian translations of books written in English, so whenever I borrow from my local library it's only books by Norwegian authors (which I don't read much of to begin with). I love my library and the librarian is a god friend of mine (not to mention it's located very close to my house), so I really should go there more often. I always return books I've borrowed, though perhaps not always in a timely manner...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: The Sevenfold Spell

The Sevenfold Spell
by Tia Nevitt

Published 27 September 2010 by Carina Press
Read: 5–12 November 2010

E-book received from Carina Press via NetGalley. 

Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?
Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying “good” fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.

Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.

Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia’s prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation, which plays right into the evil fairy’s diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she’s willing to make? (Goodreads)

Unexpected and Inventive

The Sevenfold Spell went straight to my wishlist the first time I read a review of it, so I was very excited to have my NetGalley request for it accepted. The concept of this novella appealed to me, as it's always interesting to go behind the scenes of a well-known story, so to speak. We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty, but the princess was not the only one affected by the curse upon her.

To be frank, this book was nothing like I expected. This is definitely an adult story, and the first few chapters had me almost blushing. I had begun to wonder "is this what it's going to be like?" when the story took a different direction and started to feel like a fairy tale instead of a romance novel. The events unfolding were interesting as well as inventive, and the confrontation between Talia's mother and one particular fairy godmother was hilarious. The end came all too soon, as I would have liked to stay in that world a little longer.

Talia is a spirited woman who doesn't let herself be stopped despite not being blessed with good looks. At first she comes across as somewhat selfish and arrogant, but she grows as a character, even during this short story. She learns along the way, and I ended up quite liking her. I must admit I questioned some of her earlier choices, but in the end she convinced me she had arrived at the right place nevertheless. 

Lastly I wanted to comment on the cover. I included an extra large image because I think it is simply gorgeous. The colours, the different elements blended together and the sparkle give it a magical feeling perfect for a fairy tale. I could sit and stare at it all day if I only had the time. It would definitely have caught my attention in a bookstore. 

All in all The Sevenfold Spell is an interesting take on the familiar Sleeping Beauty tale, with a strong female lead and a satisfying end.

My rating: 4/6

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (18)

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 finally found my reading mojo again last week, so I finally finished Bad Debts by Peter Temple (review). It turned out to be a very good book. I also finished The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt (review coming soon), which was an interesting retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

All About {n}'s Holiday Reading Challenge starts today (yay!), so now I'll be reading Christmas-themed books for the next few weeks. First up is 'Twas the Night by Sandra Hill, Kate Holmes and Trish Jensen. It looks like a fun holiday romance – there's nothing like a little romantic fluff to get you in the Christmas spirit.

More books for the holiday challenge: The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore and The Burglar and the Blizzard by Alice Duer Miller are two on my list. I might have to dig out a mystery or something as well, to avoid an overdose of jingle bells. ;)

What are you reading this week?

(Oh, it's snowing!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

On My Wishlist (11) - The Christmas Edition

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we want to read but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

Christmas at Harrington's 
by Melody Carlson
Published October 2010

Because I love Christmas books.

Christmas is approaching, and Lena Markham finds herself penniless, friendless, and nearly hopeless. She is trying to restart her life after false accusations landed her in prison, but job opportunities are practically nonexistent. When a secondhand red coat unexpectedly lands her a job as Mrs. Santa at a department store, Lena finally thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret? This tender story about fresh starts will charm readers as all of Melody Carlson's Christmas offerings do. Full of redemption and true holiday spirit, Christmas at Harrington's will be readers' newest Christmas tradition. (Goodreads)

The Christmas Secret
by Donna VanLiere
Book 5 in the Christmas series
Published October 2009 

I've made it a tradition to read one of her books each Christmas. This is the only one missing from my collection. And I love Christmas books.

When a struggling young single mother saves the life of an elderly woman, she sets into motion a series of events that will test her strength, loyalty, and determination, all the while setting her on the path to finding true love. Christine Eisley is the mother of seven-year-old Zach and five-year-old Haley. Her ex-husband provides little, if any, child support and makes life difficult for Christine by using the children as pawns. She works long hours as a waitress to make ends meet, but her job is in jeopardy because she’s often late to work due to the unreliable teenaged sitters she’s forced to use. When Christine saves the life of a woman who works in Wilson’s department store, the owner of Wilson’s wants to find her, to thank her, but Christine has disappeared, losing another job once again. He sets his grandson, Jason, to the task of finding the mysterious “Christy.” Jason, an accountant by trade who has lost his job to downsizing, thinks he is “above” working at Wilson’s. Soon, he discovers that this new task gives him more than he bargains for. The Christmas Secret is a novel for anyone who wants to see how love is a gift that keeps giving back; that hope is a treasure that never runs dry, and that faith is a miracle that is reborn with each new day. (Goodreads)

The Christmas Box
by Richard Paul Evans
Published November 1996 

I got The Christmas Box Miracle some years ago, not realising it was the story of the story in The Christmas Box, not actually The Christmas Box. Obviously I can't read The Christmas Box Miracle without first reading The Christmas Box. Plus, I love Christmas books. 

When I wrote The Christmas Box, I never intended to publish the story--it was simply an expression of love for my two young daughters, Jenna and Allyson. Though I often told them that I loved them, I didn't believe that they could ever really understand the depths of those feelings until they had experience the joy of rearing their own children, and by that time our relationship would have already changed. Forever. In writing The Christmas Box, I hoped that at some future time they could read this book and know of their father's love.

As I began to write, I was amazed at the inspiration which flowed into my mind and heart. I completed the book in less than six weeks and, when I had finished, I produced twenty copies of The Christmas Box to give as Christmas presents to my family and a few close friends. In the next four weeks those twenty copies were shared from family to family, and friend to friend. Now I share the message of this book with you in hope that we can all remember what is most precious to us, and that you, too, may experience the magic of The Christmas Box and pass it on.

With love and Christmas,
Richard Paul Evans


Are you wishing for Christmas books too?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

This weekend I'm doing my very first Book Blogger Hop!

If you've found your way here from the hop, welcome! I'm a Norwegian book lover with pretty eclectic reading tastes, which is reflected by my little blog.

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 week she asks:

If you find a book that looks interesting but is part of a series, do you always start with the first title?

Yes, I always start with the first book provided I can get hold of it (and I've been known to keep searching for a long time if it's a series I really want to read). Sometimes I've started with a later book, either because I didn't know it was part of a series or the order didn't matter much (like with Nancy Drew – try reading those in order!). When I was younger I didn't care that much about reading series in order, unless the next book was a direct continuation of the previous. But as I've gotten older, I've also gotten stranger habits, and now I insist on starting with the first book. This is why books like The Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith (Isabel Dalhousie #3) will stay on my shelf until I can find the first two books.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Bad Debts

Bad Debts 
by Peter Temple

Book 1 in the Jack Irish series

Pages: 319
Read: 21 October - 11 November 2010

Meet Jack Irish: some-time lawyer, part-time private eye, spare-time cabinet maker and full-time lover of strong coffee, swift horses and spirited women.

A phone message from ex-client Danny McKillop doesn't ring any bells for Jack Irish. Life is hard enough without having to dredge up old problems: His beloved football team continues to lose, the odds on his latest plunge at the track seem far too long, and he's still cooking for one. When Danny turns up dead, Jack is forced to take a walk back into the dark and dangerous past.

Australian Noir

I found this book a bit slow to start with. The main mystery is quite complex and needed time to build, and it has a political aspect involving conspiracy and corruption and lots of different names which made it a bit hard to follow. But once the story gets going, it gets very interesting and I didn't want to put it down. The ending might be a tad predictable, but it's satisfying nevertheless.

Jack Irish is a likeable fellow. He's been through some tough times, turning to alcohol  when his wife was killed by a deranged client back in the 80s. But he pulled himself together, and although he doesn't practice much law anymore, he isn't one of those bitter, grumpy guys the mystery genre is full of. Nowadays he earns a living locating people for various employers, working part-time at Taub's Cabinetmaking and acting as lawyer for Harry Strang, a former jockey who now makes his fortune doing other things in the horseracing business. Most of his clients are rather shady people, but Jack himself is a genuinely good guy. There is also a great cast of secondary characters, from the old guys drinking and watching the footy at the local pub to Charlie Taub, Jack's woodworking mentor. In the end my favourite character besides Jack turned out to be Cam Delray, a quiet, but surprisingly capable man.

The language is very Australian, making it sound authentic, but also tough to understand sometimes. I'm glad I've spent some time in Australia (and watched a lot of Aussie films and tv shows), because otherwise I would have had no idea what "arvo" meant or what the heck a "Drizabone" is (answer: "arvo" is short for "afternoon" - apparently Aussies love shortening words - and a Drizabone is a full-length waterproof riding coat). The language wasn't the only thing that caused me problems; the sub-plot involving horse racing and betting was tough to grasp for someone who's sat on a horse once in her life and have never understood how the odds system works. I did get the overall gist of it though, and that was enough to keep me interested.

To me the book has the same mood as great Aussie cop shows from the 90s like Stingers and Murder Call; suspenseful and noir-like. In my mind I kept picturing Australian actor Colin Friels as Jack. In fact, I think this probably would have made a good tv series, either a mini-series or as a mystery series with 1,5 hour episodes.

Bad Debts won the Ned Kelly Crime Award for Best First Novel in 1997.

My rating: 4 / 6

The Jack Irish series:
Bad Debts (1996)
Black Tide (1999)
Dead Point (2000)
White Dog (2003)

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (17)

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.

Did not finish any books this week either, but I did read a super-long Lord of the Rings fanfic (which I downloaded, converted to mobi format with Calibre and read on my Kindle. I love my Kindle - and Calibre.).

Still Bad Debts by Peter Temple. Sigh. I don't know why this is taking me so long to get through, because once I actually sit down and read I really enjoy it. It's just a chore to pick it up in the first place. I will try to make an effort to finish it this week, because next week it is time for Christmas books (see below).

I also received a review copy of The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt from Carina Press via NetGalley (my first review book - really excited!) which I'm about 40 % through at the moment. It's not that long, so I'm hoping to finish it today.

I wish I was a faster reader, because a Norwegian TV channel will start Rizzoli & Isles on Thursday, and I would like to read at least the first book in the series before watching the show. I might have to record the first couple of episodes and try to read The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen. I have also joined All About {n}'s 2010 Holiday Reading Challenge, so you should be seeing some Christmas-themed books here soon. The Challenge starts Nov 15, so there's still time to join!

What are you reading this week?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

On My Wishlist (10)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we want to read but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson

The linguist in me is dying to read this book. Correcting errors is after all a part of my job, and sometimes I wish I could travel around Norway armed with a red pen and correct all those horrifying writing mistakes out there.

The signs of the times are missing apostrophes.
The world needed a hero, but how would an editor with no off-switch answer the call? For Jeff Deck, the writing was literally on the wall: “NO TRESSPASSING.” In that moment, his greater purpose became clear.  Dark hordes of typos had descended upon civilization… and only he could wield the marker to defeat them.

Recruiting his friend Benjamin and other valiant companions, he created the Typo Eradication Advancement League (TEAL). Armed with markers, chalk, and correction fluid, they circumnavigated America, righting the glaring errors displayed in grocery stores, museums, malls, restaurants, mini-golf courses, beaches, and even a national park. Jeff and Benjamin championed the cause of clear communication, blogging about their adventures transforming horor into horror, it’s into its, and coconunut into coconut. (Goodreads)

Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett
Booktown Mystery #1

There seems to be a few cozy mystery series set in or around bookshops out there, and this one sounds good.

The streets of Stoneham, New Hampsire are lined with bookstores...and paved with murder.

When she moved to Stoneham, city slicker Tricia Miles met nothing but friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased-and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries-and hunt down someone who isn't killing by the book. (Goodreads)

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Mistborn #1

I understand Brandon Sanderson is one of the great fantasy writers of today, but I've never read anything by him. This sounds like a good place to start.

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the Sliver of Infinity, reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Rulers most hellish prison. Kelsier snapped and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark. Kel's plan looks like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she's a half-Skaa orphan, but she's lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed. (Goodreads)

What are you wishing for this week?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

October Summary

Okay, can the person who ran away with the last half of October please give it back?

October was another bad month reading and blogging wise. I started out well with some good books, but then I lost my momentum and haven't felt like reading much in two weeks. Instead I've been working, watching TV and stitching Christmas presents (need more time!). The last weekend of October I went to Oslo with one of my very best friends to see Mamma Mia! on stage and had a great time.

Read in October:
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz - 5/6
The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake - 4/6
The Mystery of the 99 Steps by Carolyn Keene - 4/6

Carrying over into November:
Bad Debts by Peter Temple
Summer Lightning by Tamara McKinley (will have to start this from the beginning again)

Reviews posted:
The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake

Other posts of interest:
Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Authors
Your Favourite Christmas Themed Books?
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'll Never Read
Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Crushes
Booking Through Thursday: Foreign

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2010 Holiday Reading Challenge

I love Christmas and obviously I love reading, so this challenge hosted by All About {n} is perfect for me. Here are the details from Nely:

1. Challenge will start Monday, November 15 and will end Friday, December 31.

2. You can read anywhere from 1 to 5 books for the challenge and, of course, if you're like me, you are more than welcome to surpass that number.

3. And now, here's the clincher... they must be holiday related books. That's right, the holiday doesn't really matter, but it would be more "jolly" if your choices were Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.

4. The size of the book does not matter, nor does the genre. It is also okay for the book to overlap with other challenges. The only thing I ask is that they are not children's books. YA is okay. And so are re-reads. I for one tend to read the same books every Christmas - they are tradition.

Oh, and there will be weekly prizes!

If you'd like to join me in this challenge, head on over to All About {n} and sign up!

Here is a list of the books I would like to read. I'm aiming for one a week, but
I'll try to read more if I can.
  1. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
  2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  3. The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder
  4. Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop by Otto Penzler (ed.)
  5. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
  6. The Burglar and the Blizzard by Alice Duer Miller

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading (16)

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 was another bad week for me reading-wise. I spent most of my time at work translating a huge project, and when I did go home for the night my eyes were so sore from staring at a computer screen all day I didn't feel like straining them any more by reading. There was one day they felt so dry that all I could do for the entire evening was lie on the couch with my eyes closed and listen to music. I still have quite a lot of work to do this week, but I'm determined not to let it go that far again. Not good for the mind or the body!

I had a great weekend though. I spent three days in Oslo with one of my best friends; shopping, eating out and seeing the British version of Mamma Mia! on stage. I love that musical, it always makes me so happy. I did get some reading done on the plane, so I'm about one-third into Bad Debts by Peter Temple. It's an Australian mystery novel set in Melbourne, with a lot of Aussie slang thrown in. Good thing I've spent some time in Australia, otherwise I think I would have had a hard time deciphering some of the conversations (Having a copy of Wordbook of Australian Idioms: Aussie Slang - No worries! She's Apples! helps too).

So to sum up: Nothing finished, nothing started and nothing decided. :)

What are you reading this week?
Related Posts with Thumbnails