Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't you love book giveaways??

Brizmus Blogs Books is giving away a copy of Ondine by Ebony McKenna. Open worldwide. Ends March 25.

Reggie from The Undercover Book Lover is giving away a cool set of 12 books to one lucky winner. Titles include The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, The Sight by Judy Blundell, Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn and Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready. It is open internationally and ends on her birthday, March 10, 2010. Wait no more! Go over there and enter! :D

In another contest held by In Which a Girl Reads, one winner gets the chance to choose any book he/she wants from The Book Depository. The giveaway is held to celebrate Choco's blog reaching 400++ followers! Don't miss your chance to enter. It's open worldwide and ends on March 06, 2010.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In My Mailbox (Feb 22, 2010)

Won: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Editorial review from Amazon:

Ethan Wate is struggling to hide his apathy for his high school "in" crowd in small town Gatlin, South Carolina, until he meets the determinedly "out" Lena Duchannes, the girl of his dreams (literally - she has been in his nightmares for months).

What follows is a smart, modern fantasy - a tale of star-crossed lovers and a dark, dangerous secret. Beautiful Creatures is a delicious southern Gothic that charms you from the first page, drawing you into a dark world of magic and mystery until you emerge gasping and blinking, wondering what happened to the last few hours (and how many more you're willing to give up).

To tell too much of the plot would spoil the thrill of discovery, and believe me, you will want to uncover the secrets of this richly imagined dark fantasy on your own. ~Daphne Durham

This book came last Thursday. Finally, it's here! Yay! I won this book from a contest held by The Eclectic Reader. Thanks again, Teddyree!!!

So, what books did you guys get? :)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bliss (Happy 101) Award

Wow, I won this award from Morgan of Smitten With Books. Thanks, Morgan!

The rules for the Bliss (Happy 101) Award are that I list out 10 things (only 10???) that make me happy, then pass it along to 10 other bloggers.
  1. Making my nephew and nieces laugh and smile.
  2. Laughing and having fun conversations with family and friends.
  3. Fridays!  The last day for classes and the beginning to a weekend with time for myself.
  4. Losing myself in a good book.
  5. Trips to the cinema.
  6. Watching a brilliant movie on DVD with English subtitles.  I love movies that come with English subtitles even if they're in English.  Why?  Cos I want to know everything that's been said so that I follow the storyline thoroughly.
  7. Receiving books in the mail.
  8. Christmas!
  9. Relishing the scrumptious taste of my favourite hamburger after a long time of not eating it.  The same goes for pizza.
  10. Stepping into bookstores like Borders, Popular (local bookstore) and MPH (local bookstore).  If only I can add in Kinokuniya (one of the biggest bookstores in Malaysia), which is in Kuala Lumpur but unfortunately I don't go there often.
  11. Receiving comments from my blogger friends!
  12. When my favourite songs play on the radio.
  13. Accomplishing a difficult task well.
  14. Receiving compliments.
  15. Knowing that I'm appreciated.
....and the list goes on.....!!!  Okay, so that's an extra 5 things that make me happy.  I couldn't stop at 10.  :)

Now to pass on to 10 blogger friends:

49 Followers Contest at Storywings!

Just stumbled over this blog, Storywings who's giving away a cool bunch of books to some lucky winners! Click on the link to find out more about her book giveaway. Don't miss it - there are tons of cool YA books to be won! I'm gonna try my luck now. :D

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Goodreads or LibraryThing?


I've been a member of a free account at LibraryThing since 2007. I'm not sure if I'd want to upgrade to a lifetime membership at a fee of $25. That will be around RM84.70 (Malaysian Ringgit). Lots of book bloggers have been steadfastly using LibraryThing but what's all the hype around Goodreads???

Now I'm confused. Which one is better? Okay, Goodreads earns one point as it's free to use whereas LibraryThing only allows us to catalogue up to 200 books for free. After that, it's $10/year or $25 for life.

BUT, from some of the reviews and analyses I've found through Google regarding these two book cataloging sites, some users prefer LibraryThing as it provides detailed information on a book. It also enables book searches from more sources than Goodreads. Let's say you want to catalog a rare book, then chances are that it'll be 'found' via LibraryThing.

If social networking is what you're looking for, then Goodreads will be the better choice as its focus is more on making friends. LibraryThing, it seems, attracts serious readers who don't give one-word reviews like those, supposedly, in Goodreads.

Therefore, I decided to do a search on Google for user reviews of these online library sites! :) These were some of the sites and blogs that I came upon:

1. Felicity from delved into the pros and cons of the two sites. Do read the comments on her post too. Pretty interesting feedback she's got there.

2. For a quick comparison, then check out DearMYRTLE's post.

3. Matt from Spudart lists out the effectiveness of available features from LibraryThing and Goodreads.

4. Ryan Burrell not only reviews two but THREE popular online libraries, which are LibraryThing, Goodreads and Shelfari. I haven't used Shelfari and don't intend to create an account there anyway.

5. And finally, hop on over to Kristie (J)'s post, Book Cataloguing - An analysis of online sites where she compares LibraryThing, Shelfari and Goodreads. She has even included snapshots of her excel spreadsheet that she's been using for over 10 years! Now, that's cataloging for you.

Well, I guess it all boils down to what you need. Each online library caters to different target groups who'll know how to make the most out of it. If one site ain't enough for you, there's no harm in creating accounts in other sites too. :) Though it'll definitely take more time to maintain all those accounts.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Movie day: Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief

I had wanted to watch Avatar in 3D but most unfortunately, all tickets were sold out for the afternoon show.  Grrrrrrr!

Left: movie poster; right: book cover

The only other watchable movie, for me, was Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief (title in the UK and Australia).  All I knew was that it's based on a book, The Lightning Thief, which is the first in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, written by Rick Riordan.  While waiting to enter the movie hall, I just loitered in the waiting area and looked at the various posters displayed.  I studied the above movie's poster and was pleasantly surprised to see that Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean and Uma Thurman would be acting in it.

All right, I'll just list out some of my favourite parts of the show:
  1. The appearance of Pierce Brosnan as Mr. Brunner who's confined in a wheelchair.  Quite unlike other Brosnan's macho, manly and sophisticated acting roles.  Well, he did appear in a better form later in the movie.
      Uma Thurman as Medusa
  3. The appearance of another famous star that I know: Uma Thurman.  She makes a grand entrance, looking ultra-cool in sunglasses and a 'turban' round her head.  Okay, it's not really a turban but I don't know what it's called.  Its main function is to conceal her head full of hissing snakes!  Whoever looks at her will turn into stone.  Forever.  Yup, she's Medusa.
  4. The moment Lady Gaga's Poker Face starts playing.  It's when the three youngsters were enticed to consume the delicious but addictive lotus flower that'll make them forget their entire quest.  They were in Las Vegas, which makes it all the more befitting.
  5. The ending where Percy's stepfather meets his 'match'.  This scene appears after some of the credits have rolled.
Of course, there were a lot of clichés in the movie.  First, it's about a teenage boy who performs poorly in school but later discovers that he is actually different from the others.  In this story, Percy finds out that he's a demigod or half god (how cool is that???) and that his father is Poseidon, god of the sea.  Therefore, he has special powers that can really help him in battle with the evil ones.

Next, the 'love' interest.  At the camp for special kids, Percy finds himself drawn to Annabeth, the daughter of Athena who's the goddess of civilisation, wisdom, strength, strategy, craft, justice and skill.  The good thing is that Annabeth is great in sword fighting and that she always aims to win, which means she's terribly competitive.  Plus, they don't kiss at the end of the show which was a relief.  I roll my eyes at kissing endings.  Besides, it's also an indication that there'll be sequels after this.  More lovey-dovey scenes to watch out then.

I had to smirk when Percy emerges triumphant in his first 'battle' with his campmates.  He looked so annoyingly smug.  He was initially defeated by Annabeth but found out that touching water could heal his wounds and give him strength to fight skillfully.  How appropriate.

Another cliché: the sidekick, Grover who makes a sacrifice.  Okay, Percy offered himself first but Grover insisted to stay on in the underworld.  Well, it was obvious that he would enjoy himself there with the lovely and flirtatious Persephone!

Despite all its flaws (it'd be amazing if there were none), the movie is definitely worth a watch.  Some laughs here and there, brief appearances by movie stars (Uma rocks!) and the exposure to Greek mythology!  I'm so gonna read the Percy Jackson books.

In My Mailbox (Feb 15, 2010)

For review: The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn

About the book (from GoodReads):

An astonishing novel that removes Emily Dickinson’s own mysterious mask and reveals the passions and heartbreak of America’s greatest poet.

What if the old maid of Amherst wasn’t an old maid at all? Her older brother, Austin, spoke of Emily as his “wild sister.” Jerome Charyn, continuing his exploration of American history through fiction, has written a startling novel about Emily Dickinson in her own voice, with all its characteristic modulations that he learned from her letters and poems.

The poet dons a hundred veils, alternately playing wounded lover, penitent, and female devil. We meet the significant characters of her life, including her tempestuous sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert; her brooding father, Edward; and the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, who may have inspired some of her greatest letters and poems.

Charyn has also invented characters, including an impoverished fellow student at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, who will betray her; and a handyman named Tom, who will obsess Emily throughout her life. Charyn has written an extraordinary adventure that will disturb and delight.

About the author:

The author of 38 other books, Jerome Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and has received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Charyn was born in the Bronx in 1937 and lives in New York and Paris. Entertainment Weekly wrote that his previous novel, Johnny One-Eye: A Tale of the American Revolution, now available in trade paperback, belongs in the “great British tradition of picaresque novels,” and according to a starred review in Publishers Weekly it “deserves to be spoken about in the same breath as E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I won a book I really wanted - Beautiful Creatures!

Guess what???  Last week, I received an e-mail from Teddyree of The Eclectic Reader notifying me that I've won the book of my choice!  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  It was absolutely, completely, totally fantabulous news!  Somehow, I'm really drawn to the cover of Beautiful Creatures.  Perhaps it's the combination of the colours and also the swirls of the title of the book.

Book description from goodreads:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

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

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

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

It's a pretty thick book, with over 500+++ pages in the hardcover version. I think I'll be getting the paperback version so it'll be less than that. Phew. The thickest book I last read was The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray and that took me over a month to finish even though I savoured every page I read as I enjoyed reading the Gemma Doyle trilogy.

So now I had just better tackle my present TBR and of course, wait impatiently for Beautiful Creatures to arrive in my mailbox!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Now reading: The Catcher in the Rye

It's Monday and I'm in the middle of The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  Sadly, the literary world recently lost one of its celebrated authors as Salinger passed away at the age of 91 on Jan 27, 2010.  An article on him was published in The Star newspaper. I haven't read it yet...therefore, I'm sort of bookmarking it here!

Anyway, I'm actually reading the novel as it's one of the required readings in my English class. I had the novel a long time but haven't read it yet. So now's the chance for me to bring down my stack of TBRs, which never seem to reduce.

Check out the various covers of the novel below.  I'm not sure of the years they were published but I do know that the red one (most right) was the first edition cover!  And it's being reprinted.  I prefer it much more than the boring white one I have now.

Simply modest cover

Actually, I'm only halfway through Chapter 3. During class, the lecturer mentioned that Holden Caulfield suffers from a mental illness and can never stick to one topic during the narration of the story. He is also known to use crass language and likes to call some people phony. He's a pretty colourful character, so I'm really looking forward to the rest of the book.

This post is part of the weekly event, It's Monday! What Are You Reading? It used to be hosted by J. Kaye but now the new host is One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

First winner of the year

The winner of my first contest (The Adoration of Jenna Fox) of the year 2010 is:

Kelly (e-mail: kghobbs)

Congratulations!  I will be sending you an e-mail right after this for your details.  :D

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway.  It has been fun and do look out for the next one!

In My Mailbox (Feb 06, 2010)

Each of these books arrived on three separate days, so I jumped for joy every time I saw a white packet in my mailbox! It felt like getting a present every day.

1. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening and The Struggle by L.J. Smith
2. Wake by Lisa McMann
3. Frostbite by Richelle Mead

I won these fabulous books from a contest held by Reading with Tequila.
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