Thursday, 31 December 2009

Broken Strings

James Morrison and Nelly Furtado


Broken Strings

MySpace Video


This is one of my favourite songs for the 2009. I thought that its message is appropriate for the beginning of the New Year :)

Glitter Photos



I wish you health, joy and everything that you wish for yourself in 2010. May it be the best year so far!!!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Christmas Tour

I'm a little late posting this, but I only found out about it today. If you'd love to visit a number of author's homes, check out the following address-

http://deborahraney.blogspot.com/2009/12/holiday-home-tour.html

-you can go from one author's site to the next, and see the lovely videos, photographs, and hear the Christmas messages to you, too.
I had a great time touring, it brought back the feeling of Christmas :)
(up there is a picture of my Christmas tree).
Update: I wish to congratulate Stacy from Stacy's Place on Earth on her 1.000 blog post!!! Hop over to her place, she's having a great giveaway.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Glitter Photos

Hope you are having a wonderful Christmas!!!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Winners!!!!

It's the last Advent Sunday and that means we have the winners!!! Thank you ladies for participating in my Winter contest! I hope you had fun :) I know I did. I loved reading all your stories...
And thank you Michelle and Kimber for participanting and donating your books!!!
Here are the winners chosen by Random.org:
Glitter Photos

11/29 Cecile - you won Michelle's book Cleopatra's Daughter
12/5 Justpeachy - you won Kimber's Selling Forever
12/6 April - you won Kimber's Selling Forever
12/12 Cherry - you won one of the 2 books offered by me

Please contact me (franalokas (at) yahoo (dot) com) with your snail mail addresses Cecile and Cherry, and with your e-mail April and Justpeachy. I'll send your contact information to Michelle and Kimber.
Cherry please choose your reward from my previous post.
You all have 48 hours and if you don't send your information I will have to chose another winner.

I hope you are having a peaceful weekend. Thanks for participating!!!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Last Week of Winter Contest

Hi to you all!
It's the third Advent Sunday and the last week of Winter contest. Today I wanted to talk about my winter holidays. I did write a little bit about St Nicholas Day in my previous posts and today is St Lucia's Day. Today we plant wheat in a flower pot as a simbol of fertility and a good new year. We put it on the table during a Christmas lunch.

Two weeks before Christmas /right about now/ we start cleaning the house. It has to be spotless, like the divine control will stop by and check if it is enough clean. Like if we don't do it we won't be allowed to celebrate Christmas :)

The day before Christmas is lent and for lunch we have codfish. It's a tradition that my father and I prepaire it. Also, as mentioned before, we decorate the tree on a Christmas Eve before going to a Midnight Mass. We decorate a real tree, which is another source of stress because it's never tall enough or thick enough. After the Mass we open the gifts and eat all delicious stuff we prepaired during the week before Christmas. Another tradition is to sleep late on Christmas :) eat lunch and have a family come over and we exchange gifts.
We take down all the decorations on January the 20th. That day is a day of our town saint protectors.

To start with my own celebrations, I'm giving this week's commenter a choice of books (state in your comment which one you prefer) with Christmas story within. I haven't read any of those two but they were recommended to me. I hope you'll like them:

Choice number 1

Choice number 2

All you have to do is comment to be elligible and to be from one of the countries to which The Book Depository delivers :) The contest is open until Saturday 12/19/2009 and the winners from all three weeks will be randomly chosen and announced on 12/20/2009 - the forth Advent Sunday.

Friday, 11 December 2009

It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale - review

Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate it!!! I remeber the story about the oil burning for 8 days from my childhood very well :)
First let me brag a little. Here is the newest picture of my nephew. Isn't he just too cute!!!

I tought he would be appropriate introduction for today's review. I've already promotied this fabulous book It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale, so I tought I could write a small review for it. It's a realy great book about relationships and different kinds of love.
About the story from author's webpage:


(Grand Central, November 09) Lana Biel longs to leave her family’s Vermont wildflower farm so she can travel and see the world. And her sister Karin wants nothing more than to put down roots and conceive the child she and her husband just can’t seem to have. When a lighthearted fling with a mountain biker leaves Lana expecting, she finds herself tumbling headlong into motherhood while her sister Karin can only look on.
For help, Lana turns to Eli Ward, a professional meteorite hunter and her best friend for the last ten years. But Eli’s keeping secrets that could turn their friendship on its head. As the Vermont seasons change and the flowers in the wildflower meadows begin to fade, Lana must make some meaningful decisions about her family, her friendships, her love life, and her dreams.

I wasn't sure what I thought about Lana at the beginning, I couldn't understand her way of thinking and her behaviour. But after few pages, things started to make sense to me and I could connect with her and understand her. I loved Eli from the beginning, I could empathize with him. He was so in love and didn't know what to do with his relationship with Lana. Lana's sister Karin was everything you expect from the person that cannot have a child. Although her husband suffered as well I don't think he could understand her hurt. She tried to be supportive to her sister but just couldn't overcome her wish for her own baby. I didn't like Lana and Karin's father and I just couldn't fathom his change of attitude towards his daughters. Relationship between Lana and Karin is a real sister love but since Karin was the older and had to take care of Lana during their childhood she did have an attitude of a mother. I think she was too nosy for my taste and didn’t understand Lana’s way of life.
As I said, it really is a story about family, friendship and love. I recommend it to anyone who wants an emotional read with obligatory (but resonable) happy ending.

To find out about the author and her other books please visit lisadalebooks.com.
Don't forget that you can still enter this week's Winter contest - there are two chances to win Kimber Chin's book!
And stop by on Sunday, when the last week of Winter contest starts

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Over The Top Award - Thanks Cecile!

Thanks to great Cecile (from fabulous blog All I Want And More Books) for giving me this great award!!!
Here are the rules:
1.) Thank and post URL to the blog that gave the award.
2.) Pass the award along to 6 brilliantly over the top blogs (blogs you love!) Alert them so they know to receive the award.
3.) Copy and paste this quiz... Change the answers, ONE word only. (2 are acceptable!)

My answers:
1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your hair? Short
3. Your mother? Redhead
4. Your father? Love
5. Your favorite food? Lasagne
6. Your dream last night? Nightmare
7. Your favorite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal? Retire
9. What room are you in? Office
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Health
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something that you aren't? Liar
15. Muffins? Chocolate
16. Wish list item? New cell
17. Where did you grow up? Croatia
18. Last thing you did? Write a memo
19. What are you wearing? Formal outfit
20. Your TV? Off
21. Your pets? Sleeping
22. Friends? Great
23. Your life? Happy
24. Your mood? Fine
25. Missing someone? Yes
26. Vehicle? None
27. Something you're not wearing? Boots
28. Your favorite store? Bookstore
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Last week
32. Your best friend? Girl
33. One place that I go to over and over? Work place
34. One person who emails me regularly? Cecile
35. Favorite place to eat? Home

Well six blogs... I really enjoy reading all of your blogs, so I give this award to all of the visitors of my blog. Thanks for coming and commenting!!!

And don't forget, you can still enter this week's Winter giveaway!!!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Part two of Second Week of Winter Contest - guest Kimber Chin with presents

Today is a second Advent Sunday and a part two of Winter contest with fabulous Kimber Chin. She's with us today and sharing her Christmas traditions. She is also giving away another copy of her great e-book Selling Forever (read my review here), and she will hang around my blog today, so please stop by and ask her what ever you want to know about her books.

Welcome back Kimber! I'm so happy that you are here today. Thank you for being a part of this Winter contest. Here goes Kimber's story:

Spending Christmas With A Christmas Crazy

Christmas is my mom's holiday.

It is the only holiday when her 5 living children visit all at the same time (if they can, my sister is now in Australia, half the world away, and can't make it to my mom's place every year). My mom is determined to provide a Christmas experience no one can duplicate.

And she certainly does that.

My mom puts up her artificial tree at the end of November and doesn't take it down until the end of January. She makes an annual excuse about honoring Ukrainian Christmas but since we're not Ukrainian (we are Canadian with Irish/English roots), that is all it is, an excuse.

Every inch of my mom's two bedroom apartment is decked out for Christmas. She has Christmas clocks playing carols on the hour. She has Christmas salt and pepper shakers. She has a toilet seat cover that calls out 'Ho! Ho! Ho!' when you sit down (very unnerving for guests).

The 5 of us (her children) do contribute to her holiday obsession. A decade ago, I spotted a Christmas wreath 90% off at a department store during July sales. There was a reason no one had bought it. This crime against good taste was a psychedelic lava lamp in the form of a wreath. The hubby shuddered at the sight, telling me it was the most hideous thing on the planet. I knew it was perfect for my mom. She cried when I gave it to her. Of all her Christmas things, that is one of her favorites.

The apartment isn't the only thing decked out. Having a Christmas crazy for a mom means we all have Christmas outfits. Being a black business suit type of gal, my favorite is the brightly colored reindeer sweater. This sweater has bells and bows sewed onto it everywhere. It also comes with matching socks. It is so crazy that I avoid looking at myself in the mirror when I wear it. I do wear it though because it makes my mom happy (and my sisters laugh).

That is really what Christmas is all about. It is about making people happy. My mom makes people happy by going overboard with Christmas decorations and traditions. Her children make her happy by good naturedly going along with her ideas.

It is wonderful spending Christmas with a Christmas crazy when that crazy is also crazy about you.

Kimber Chin's novella, Selling Forever, was written especially for and dedicated to her favorite Christmas crazy, her mom. It isn't a Christmas story but it is light and happy just like her mom is. Kimber Chin is sharing a Christmas romance on
http://businessromance.com/ .


Contest rules are similar to yesterday's:

1. Tell us what is your favourite holiday movie and what are you plans for this year's celebration
2. For an extra entry become a follower of my blog
3. For one more extra entry post Winter contest widget on your blog and blog about the contest
4. Please, if you do things for extra entries state that in the comments
5. Ask Kimber a question - 2 extra entries
6. Contest ends 12/12/2009
7. Winners will be randomly chosen on the last Advent Sunday 12/20/2009
8. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me. If he/she doesn't show up I'll draw another name and the same procedure applies to that winner


Hope you are having a great Sunday!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Second Week of Winter Contest - guest Kimber Chin with presents

Tomorrow is the second Advent Sunday which means the second week of Winter contest. Since today my guest is generous author Ms Kimber Chin, we are having two day Winter contest. And you could win a book on both of the days.

But let's first say huge WELCOME to Kimber! I'm so happy you are here this weekend. And thank you for sharing your Christmas customs with us.

Today, Kimber will talk about her hubby's Christmas holiday. This is a very interesting story, because he's from Guyana!!!

Here goes Kimber's story:

Ice Apples And A Guyanese Christmas

The hubby and I spend Christmas apart. We have our own private celebration before I fly to my mom's. Then I celebrate with my mom and siblings. The hubby celebrates with his parents and siblings.

Our Christmas celebrations are very different because I was born in cold Canada and my wonderful hubby was born in warm Guyana. Guyana is the third smallest country on mainland South America. Although it hugs Brazil and Venezuela, Guyana has its own distinct culture and customs.

Much of the Christmas celebrations are the same. They decorate Christmas trees, although they are tropical pines, not the northern kind. They give presents including toys for the children. One greatly anticipated present at Christmas is what the Guyanese call 'Ice Apples.' To you and me, these are normal, everyday apples but for the Guyanese, because these northern fruits have to be imported from England, they are a special and costly treat. My mom-in-law says each person got a single ice apple and these were presented, wrapped in tissue paper.

There are also special foods, often made only at Christmas because they take a long, long time to prepare (think fruit cake long). My hubby's favorite is Garlic Pork. Garlic Pork is a Portuguese gourmet dish and consists mainly of, you guessed it, garlic and pork. I can smell garlic on the hubby's breath a week after he eats it. My favorite is pepperpot. This yummy stewlike mix originates from Guyana’s indigenous peoples, the Amerindians. Black cake is a gift from the English, a Christmas pudding with more caramel, wine, and substituting English fruits with those found in Guyana. To wash it all down, we drink ginger beer or sorrel. Sorrel has a citrus, spicy taste (a unique combination).

The best thing about a Guyanese Christmas, however, is spending time with family and friends. Some things are universal.

Every story Kimber Chin writes is dedicated to her wonderful hubby. Without him, she wouldn't have had first hand experience with romantic love. Kimber Chin is sharing a Christmas romance on http://businessromance.com/ .

Thank you Kimber.

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas' Day. Kimber told me that she doesn't celebrate this day. Do you? Well, in Croatia this is a big holiday (although it's a working day). We put our boots in front of the window or balcony door and during the night St. Nicholas comes and leaves you a present if you were good during the year. If you were bad you get a silver twig from his helper Crampus and the gold one if you were extra bad. I got my share of twigs during my childhood :) St Nicholas was a real person and Christian saint known for his charity work. European emigrants brought the story about him in the USA and that's how Santa Clause came to be. In my mother's childhood little Jesus brought presents on Christmas, only later did Santa Clause became popular and began bringing presents on Christmas. So put your clean and shine boots in the window, maybe you'll find something in the morning :) I will be putting mine...



So back to our guest - today Kimber is giving away one copy of her extraordinary e-book Selling Forever!!! You can read my review in yesterdays post. And she will hang around my blog today so fire any question you got, she will answer it. And don't forget to come back tomorrow when we will have another very interesting story (this I promise:)) and another giveaway with Kimber!
The rules:
1. Tell us what is your favourite winter holidays song and do you celebrate St Nicholas' Day
2. For an extra entry become a follower of my blog
3. For one more extra entry post Winter contest widget on your blog and blog about the contest
4. Please, if you do things for extra entries state that in the comments
5. Ask Kimber a question - 2 extra entries
6. Contest ends 12/12/2009
7. Winners will be randomly chosen on the last Advent Sunday 12/20/2009
8. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me. If he/she doesn't show up I'll draw another name and the same procedure applies to that winner

Friday, 4 December 2009

Selling Forever by Kimber Chin

I got this lovely e-book directly from generous author Ms Kimber Chin. She gave me all her other books for free, too. She is this way, very generous and friendly person. Selling Forever was written for author's Mom., and as Ms Chin says: "She is a happy, sweet person so I wrote a happy, sweet story for her".

Selling Forever is a short story about two very different yet very similar persons. It's a story about the love at first sight but at the same time about loving someone before you even met him/her. From this you can see that although a short story, Selling Forever isn't a simple one. It has great depth and meaning. It tells about all the obstacle person in love has to overcome to be with the loved one. Two main characters are well developed and you can understand their point of view. This has to be a short review since it's about short story, but I really recommend reading it.

About the story form Ms Chin's website:
Can Cara close the deal on love? The Best Sales Plans… Real estate agent Cara Jones needs a celebrity handyman for her charity auction. Reclusive billionaire Richard Thompson is the perfect choice. All she has to do is find his trigger and trip it, without becoming emotionally attached. …Sometimes Go Awry Richard wishes to be valued for himself, not simply for his money. He certainly isn’t going to fall in love with a pushy, pie baking saleswoman, no matter how sweet she tastes.


To find out about more about Ms Chin's other books, please visit her website: http://businessromance.com/

As I said before, Ms Chin being very generous person, offered to be around my blog for two days, and she's giving prizes too!!

So, stop by tomorrow for the first part of Ms Chin's story about her Christmas customs. She'll hang around the blog for two days (Saturday and Sunday) and you can ask her questions that she will be glad to answer.

Hope to see you tomorrow! And don't forget that you can still enter the contest with Ms Moran and win a signed copy of Cleopatra's Daughter!!!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The first day of Winter contest!!! (guest: Michelle Moran)



The day has finally arrived!!! It's a first Sunday of Advent and the first day of Winter contest. As I've mentioned before, the goal of this contest is to share our customs regarding the winter holidays - whichever you celebrate.

Today's quest is Ms Michelle Moran and she'll share her story with us.
Here's a little bit about Ms Moran (from her web http://www.michellemoran.com/):

Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University. Michelle has travelled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. In 2006, Michelle was married at the Chateau d'Esclimont in France, a 16th century location which spoke to both her and her husband's love of history. Every year, both Michelle and her husband embark on a historically-themed trip for two to three months. In 2008, they retraced the journey of Homer's Odysseus, and most recently they followed the path of the American Revolution from Boston to France to Virginia. A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, will debut in March 2011.
You can find out more about her work at http://www.michellemoran.com/. And you can read my review of her book Cleopatra's Daughter in my yesterday's post.

Host: Hello Ms Moran! Thanks for coming here today!!! Please, tell us how you are going to spend your Christmas holidays this year.

Michelle: This holiday season my husband and I will be going on a trip to Scandinavia. Every year we go on a different historically themed trip, usually in the summer for two to three months. We thought it would be interesting, however, to add another trip to our schedule, this time at Christmas. Neither us have wandered through the Christmas markets of Europe, listened to carols in a Danish church, or sipped hot chocolate by a Swedish fire. We're very excited about spending this Christmas abroad, and though we'll miss our families, new adventures await!!!!

Host: Ohhh, I love your plan. It sounds very exciting! Three years ago I went to Wien on a second Sunday of Advent. It was really magical experience. I visited several different Advent fairs through Europe and I think you'll love Europe in Christmas time.
Thanks for sharing your plans with us!

Ms Moran will stop by during Sunday so please leave your questions and she will be happy to answer them. Ms Moran has offered a signed copy of her book Cleopatra's Daughter - that I really recommend reading - to one lucky commenter this week!





CONTEST RULES
So, to be eligible to win Cleopatra's Daughter, you have to leave a comment describing how you celebrate your favourite December holiday. Please, write a little story, don't just leave one sentence. I would really like this contest to be about sharing and learning about different customs.
The contest is open worldwide and you have to leave your comment during this week (last day is Saturday 12/5) to be entered in this week's contest. You can leave as many comments as you like but only one comment will count towards the winning. To get an extra entry, you have to put the Winter contest widget (it's on the sidebar) at your blog's sidebar and leave it there until December 20 (please state in the comments that you did so). On the forth Sunday of Advent (12/20) I'll draw the names of the winners of 3 Advent Sundays (there will be one winner for each of the three Advent Sundays). The winner will have 48 hours to contact me. If he/she doesn't show up I'll draw another name and the same procedure applies to that winner.

Good luck! And let the sharing begin!!!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran - small review

I received this wonderful book from a very generous author Michelle Moran. I haven't read her previous works and I was very curious. At first I didn’t have time to read it because I didn't want to drag it for a long time. But as this things happen, when I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I read it in one night (448 pg hardcover) and didn't regret a minute of sleeplessness. The book is magnificent. It compels you to keep reading to find out what will happen next.

Here's a little bit about the story:
The book tells a story about the children of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. After the death of their parents, twins Alexander and Selene and younger brother Ptolemy are in a dangerous position, left to the mercy of their father's greatest rival, Octavian Caesar. However, Caesar does not kill them as expected, but takes the trio to Rome to be paraded as part of his triumphant return and to demonstrate his solidified power. As the twins adapt to life in Rome in the inner circle of Caesar's family, they grow into adulthood ensconced in a web of secrecy, intrigue and constant danger. Told from Selene's perspective, the tale draws readers into the fascinating world of ancient Rome and into the court of Rome's first and most famous emperor.

My initial fear before reading this book was that it would be too technical with too many too long descriptions of ancient times. I was pleasantly surprised from the first page. The story flowed easily and fast with enough descriptions to keep you wanting for more. Everything described was essential for the storyline. I liked the main characters. Selene was a believable narrator and I could connect with her and her angst. I loved her description of the Alexandria and Rome, her observations and judgements. Description of Greek's and Rome's customs and way of life was fascinating. I lost my self in that time period and after the story ended I wanted more. Besides of this book being a great fictional story, I think it is an educational book too; because you can learn a lot without even noticing it. Learning without effort can be provided only by a great storyteller who Ms Moran most centrally is.
I wanted to keep this review spoiler free because you will want to experience this story on your own. I recommend Ms Moran's web page, it's very interesting and full of information about the story www.michellemoran.com.

Book details
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (September 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307409120
ISBN-13: 978-0307409126






About the author
A public high school teacher for six years, Michelle Moran is currently a full-time writer living in California with her husband. She is the author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, and Cleopatra's Daughter. Her fourth novel, Madame Tussaud, will debut in March 2011.
Web: http://www.michellemoran.com/
Do you want to know if Ms Moran hangs the sphinx and pyramids on her Christmas tree? Stop by this blog tomorrow when she will describe her plans for this year's Christmas holidays - on the first day of Winter contest!!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Don't forget about Winter contest

Winter contest starts on Sunday 11/29 - please join me and one of my favourite authors. We'll share our Christmas traditions and plans :) and some gifts too.




Thank you Lea for making this great widget!!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Moon - I've seen the move...

...and I loved it!!!
It has a great pace, it keeps you on the edge. Although I knew what's going to happen in the story, I could still get involved in the move and feel the rush and the heath. Yes, my Ladies, there is a lot of heath!!! I think I'm switching sides; while in the literarly world I still adore my Edward in the movie world I'm team Jacob. I think Taylor did a great job and outdone Robert in so many ways (and not just with the abs:)). Switching directors did a great thing for the Twiligh saga. I love the music, I've orederd a soundtrack already. The Volturi look great, like monsters not those idolised vampires. Special effects were very good, the volves seemed almost real.
All in all, I had a great time last night and can't wait to see Eclipse!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you folks from the USA!!!

P.S. Don't forget about Winter contest - starts 11/29

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Winter contest

Just a quick announcement: On 11/29 which is the first Sunday of Advent I'll start my first Winter contest. Please join me - there is one surprise for each of three Advent Sundays and the winner will be announced on the forth Sunday - 12/20! This will be in honour of all existing winter holidays, so please join me whatever holiday you might celebrate!


Prepare yourself; the rules will be strict and hard!!!

Just kidding, I hope that this contest will be fun and that you'll like it.


Hope to see you here!


P.S. One or two of our favourite authors will make an appearance........

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Another one I can't wait for!

And isn't that actor just tooooooo cuuuuteeeee?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

If you need a massage

video

It would be nice to try this, wouldn't it be?

Friday, 13 November 2009

The Best Poem

This poem was nominated by UN as the best poem of 2008, Written by an African Kid

When I born, I black
When I grow up, I black
When I go in Sun, I black
When I scared, I black
When I sick, I black
And when I die, I still black


And you white fellow
When you born, you pink
When you grow up, you white
When you go in sun, you red
When you cold, you blue
When you scared, you yellow
When you sick, you green
And when you die, you gray


Moving, isn't it?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Can't wait to start reading

Although I'm not sure when I'll have time for it.... :(

Saturday, 31 October 2009

The winner of Cecile's birthday party present!

Happy Halloween!!!

I hope you'll have a wonderful time!!!!


And the winner from yesterday's contest is......


AmyC

(chosen by random.org)


Congrats Amy!!! I've sent you an e-mail. You have until Tuesday to send me your mailing address or I'll choose another winner.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Happy Birthday, Cecile! (and a party with presents)



Glitter Photos

And many happy returns!

For those of you who don't know her, Cecile is a great person and friend - I feel privileged to know her! Visit her at http://alliwantandmore.blogspot.com/

And because I just adore parties, and since Cecile is living a hundreds of miles away, I've decided to throw my own party for Cecile!
So in honour of Cecile's birthday, I'm giving away a present to one lucky commenter today. And what that present could be, you wonder? A book, of course. Everyone who knows Cecile knows she just LOVES BOOKS, and here goes this appropriate present:






To win this book you have to tell me do you know Cecile, what do you think of her (only nice remarks, please :)) and bring her a cyber present - it's her party after all! You have until tomorrow evening (Europe time) when I'll randomly pick a winner. Please make sure I have a way of contacting you!
Please spread a word about this party around the www, we want to have a big one :)


P.S. If you don't know Cecile, you can still win just leave your cyber present in the comments :)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

In loving memory...

My favourite cat named Hector was run over by a car yesterday. I'm feeling sad and lonely... It feels like a balance of the world. On Monday I was super happy because I became an aunt for the fourth time, and today I'm feeling extremely sad because I lost my cat. You just can't feel overjoyed because something will happen to ruin it...
He was a wonderful cat, he caught mice to stop them from coming into the house but never killed them, and he liked to oversee my baking of the Christmas cookies, to sleep by the fireplace, to take the walks with me like he was a dog and to meow in greeting whenever he saw me.
This is the last picture of him.

Hector 2005 - 2009

Sunday, 25 October 2009

I'm a proud aunt!

Today, I became for the forth time an aunt!!!
My older sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy, today. He's 53 cm long and weights 3.7 kg.
She's petit so she had to have a c-section, and after a long day both baby and mother are fine.
Welcome to the family Rocco!

I know he looks like an alien in this picture, but it is his first - he has time to learn how to pose for a photograph :)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

A little bit of dark humor...


video



This is something to cheer you up (and me as well)!

Studying...

Hello everyone!
I'm so sorry I haven't been around my blog lately. As many of you know, I went back to college to get my MBA diploma. Last week I had all sorts of 'fun' activities related to registering for my classes. On Monday (10/19/2009) my classes have started. In the mornings I have to work at my regular day job and in the afternoons and evenings I attend the classes. That is the reason I won't be around my or yours blogs a lot. I'm very sorry about that but I just don't have time to surf the net on a non-business related stuff :)
I'll be around, lurking in the shadows!
Have a great week, and please stop by my blog because I'll post but not as frequently as I did before.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale



This book sounds great, I've already ordered it!

Here's a little about it:
(Grand Central, November 09) Lana Biel longs to leave her family’s Vermont wildflower farm so she can travel and see the world. And her sister Karin wants nothing more than to put down roots and conceive the child she and her husband just can’t seem to have. When a lighthearted fling with a mountain biker leaves Lana expecting, she finds herself tumbling headlong into motherhood while her sister Karin can only look on.
For help, Lana turns to Eli Ward, a professional meteorite hunter and her best friend for the last ten years. But Eli’s keeping secrets that could turn their friendship on its head. As the Vermont seasons change and the flowers in the wildflower meadows begin to fade, Lana must make some meaningful decisions about her family, her friendships, her love life, and her dreams.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Sherrilyn Kenyon ~ Born of Night

This is the first book in The League series by S. Kenyon.
Here goes the blurb:
In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption . . . Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League--and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father's political alliance has made her a target. As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other

I'm not in a reading funk! Yay!!! It just seems like I've been reading a lot of not so good books that couldn't keep me awake through the night.
But this one - Born of Night - kept me awake till the early morning hours when I had to get up and go to work. The reason I'm all bleary today is that I haven't had a minute of sleep last night. And I don't regret a minute of it. This was Sherrilyn Kenyon I knew and adored! I mean, you have your badass hero and beautiful heroine, but with Kenyon nothing is ordinary or simple. The way she describes the feelings of Nykyrian, his suffers and struggles - it makes you want to hug him. He's not good, he made many mistakes in his life and Kenyon is not trying to justify him but she makes you understand his actions. Although he looks remote and emotionless, through his own voice we can hear that things aren't what they seem to be and that he just doesn't know how to comfort people or how to be nice. He sees his feelings as a liability, but also he doesn't feel worthy to be loved by anyone. He tried to reach to other people in the past, only to be cruelly rejected by them. He just doesn't want to try anymore. He locked himself out of the world and doesn't want to get burned again.
Kiara struggles with herself and her feelings for Nykyrian. It's not easy to accept and love an assassin. And the one known for his brutality, especially after going through her own mother's murder and several attempts on her life by assassins like him, it seems impossible.
There are a lot of side characters that are well developed and they have their role in the story which couldn't flow this easily if they weren't present.
I want to keep this review spoiler free - so I'll just say that this book is one of the best by S. Kenyon. If you want to tryout her writing, I strongly recommend you read this book. I can promise you that you won't regret it. The only other two books by Kenyon that are close to this one, that I can think of at this moment, are Acheron and Dance With the Devil. They are just an emotional read, and they make you aware how important our childhood is and how grownups should be aware that every word can be a very strong weapon.
The League series was published in 90s but with many editor's rewrites that Kenyon didn't approve or like. This 'new' issue has been rewritten and restored to its first version. Those of you who read this series before will find the rewritten version a very different and improved.
I give this book 5+ feathers - it's just out of the scales. Can't wait for the other two - Born of Fire and Borne of Ice that come out in November and December.

The book details:

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Subject: Romance - Fantasy
Edition Description: Mass Market Paperbound
Series: League Novel
Publication Date: September 2009
Binding: Mass Market Paperbound
Language: English
Pages: 560

If you want to find out more about the author and her books visit http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Hiking excursion :)

Yesterday I went for a hiking to the nearest mountain. The day was beautiful, sunny and warm. We visited mountain cabin for hikers, botanical garden, saw horses (no wild animals, thank God) and climbed a few lower peaks. It was a great day, just what I needed - to get away from closed space. Here are some pictures:

One part of the mountain






The rocky trail



Pines in the botanical garden




B-friend at one of the peaks





Me at the beginning of the trail






The device that measures a number of sunny hours in the day (not sure how it's called)




The chapel at one of the peaks




Funny looking wood

The Cult pictures

Those of you who read my blog know I've been to this fantastic concert - the Europen tour of the group The Cult - LOVE LIVE.
I just wanted to share a few pictures from that great event :)

The Cult

Me before the concert


The Cult on the stage

Hope you are having a great day! I'm off to do some hiking since in my part of the world today is a national holiday and I don't have to work. Yay!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The cover for Spirit Bound by R. Mead


Spirit Bound comes out May 18, 2009. Can't wait!!!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Are you a believer?


Well, this isn't exactly what I wanted to ask, but rather: what makes you a good person?
Do you think that faith makes you a better person? Do you think that person should hold and live their faith?
Why do I ask this, you may wonder? Well, I was unpleasantly surprised this evening when I got a response to my request from the person who declares herself as a Christian and preaches about Christian values on-line and in real-life. I am a Catholic but that's beside the point, 'cause I think being polite and nice to other people is a basic thing you learn while growing up. I understand people are busy, and that's why I personally like when people remind me that I've forgotten to do something I promised before. We are all people with our flaws but I don't think that's an excuse for rudeness. I was disappointed in this person and her response, and I'm not angry just sad.
So tell me, do you think that people should respect other people and does this have anything to do with religion? Is this a matter of decent upbringing or just tells about what kind of a person you really are? Does this make you a hypocrite when you preach one thing but in real life do something entirely different (even if the reason is that you’ve just been too busy) – is that an excuse?

(cartoon is the copyright of wonderful author Fredrika Ulfström - see her work at http://www.frikaworld.com/)


Uh, thanks for listening, I already feel better just sharing this :)

Short report

I left on a Wednesday for a business trip and came back on the Friday evening. But it wasn't all business - on Wednesday I went to The Cult concert. It was great, the band gave his best and the crowd went crazy. It was 2 hours of absolutely positive vibes. It made my business stuff a little bit less hard. On Saturday I went to another business related fair and on Sunday was my Name-day - St. Francis of Assisi. It was also a big celebration of another saint in my boyfriend's parish. So we had a big party :)
Today is just another working day. I didn't have time to read, so I'm really behind with my TBR pile. The lectures on my MBA University start on October 19 and I'm really afraid my TBR pile will be neglected even more!
Hope you all had a great weekend and I wish you happy and successful week.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Fur seal dancing on a M. Jackson's music!


video

I am off to business trip - see you all on Saturday! Have a great week and enjoy this video!

My Bloody Vampire - 31 Days of Dark Delights Event



Check this out at Bitten By Books - a lot of fun things :)