About Kristin

I'm a girl who loves to read, write, blog and hang out with my near and dear ones. I'm enjoying life with my husband, dachshund and two guineapigs. Life is good!

No hope for Gomez! by Graham Parke


FACTS

Title: No hope for Gomez!
Author: Graham Parke
First published: January 2010
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pages: 194

THE SYNOPSIS

It’s the age-old tale: Boy meets girl. Boy stalks girl. Girl already has a stalker. Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

We’ve seen it all before, many times, but this time it’s different. If only slightly. When Gomez Porter becomes a test subject in an experimental drug trial, he is asked to keep track of any strange experiences through a blog. What Gomez isn’t ready for, is so many of his experiences suddenly seeming strange; the antiques dealer trying to buy his old tax papers, the phone-sex salesman who hounds him day and night, the super sexy research assistant who falls for him but is unable to express herself in terms outside the realm of science. But when one of the trial participants turns up dead and another goes missing, Gomez begins to fear for his life. No longer sure who he can trust and which of his experiences are real and which merely drug induced delusions, he decides it’s time to go underground and work out a devious plan.

THE STORY

I was told by the author that this was a weird book. I love weird books, so my hopes were high when I started reading this one. I was expecting humorous and different, and this book absolutely delivered!

This book is so many things: it’s a love story, it’s a murder mystery, but foremost it’s Gomez’s blog. The story starts out as one would expect: Gomez is blogging about his everyday life. Nothing much happens at work, he doesn’t meet many people and his only routine is work and visiting the doctors office where he’s participating in a drug trial. But then he decides he likes Dr. Hardgrove, the lab assistant, and the story suddenly becomes twisted and absurd (and in this case, that is a good thing).

As a policeman and a participant of the drug trial disapear and show up dead, Gomez is quickly becoming a private detective, trying to solve the mysteries. He becomes paranoid; can he trust that Dr. Hardgrove has nothing to do with the deaths? Why is his neighbour making all these loud noices in the middle of the night? Who is the strange man stalking his love interest? And who is the man showing up in his store wanting to buy his old tax papers?

Because of it’s many absurdities, this book is hilarious. I honestly laughed all the way through it, all the way from the very first page The language was excellent; easy to read, intellectual and a bit quirky. I really felt that the writing style matched Gomez’ personality perfectly.

THE CHARACTERS

What makes this story amazing is the amount of exceptionally strange characters. They are what I remember best about this book, and I think they’ll stick with me for years to come. Even though the book is short, the characters sneaked their way into my mind and now I can’t stop thinking about them.

Gomez is obviously the main character. Since this book is written as his blog, I got a pretty “good” insight into his personality and life in general. The problem is; I don’t know if Gomez is telling the truth. He is in a drug trial, he appears to be a bit schizophrenic and paranoid, and he is generally a bit unusual (or should I say; he’s an original). He’s a funny character, but I don’t think he means to be funny.

Hicks is Gomez’s co-worker. He is very particular about keeping to habits and sticking to what he knows. Because he can’t really do anything useful, he spends his day sweeping the floors in the antique store where he and Gomez work. I haven’t given Hicks much more thought, but I’m starting to think he might represent something more in this story.

Warren is an author and Gomez’s neighbour. Gomez is annoyed with Warren, but I’m not 100% sure why… He comes off as nice in the beginning, but as the story envolves he turns more and more annoying. For example: he won’t leave Gomez alone and he is very insistent about getting Gomezs’ opinions on his novels. I’m not sure if this is the real Warren, or if we see him through Gomez’s twisted mind.

I guess I also have to mention the man in costumes. He shows up in Gomez’s store wearing all sorts of weird clothing. He wants to buy Gomez’s old tax papers. Don’t even ask me what I think he represents, ’cause I have no idea! I’m still thinking about him and trying to figure him out.

TO SUM IT ALL UP

If you are searching for a humorous, absurd, weird story, then this book is for you. I read it in two sittings, so it’s a super quick read. The fact that it’s written in blog posts makes this book unusual (in a good way) and interesting. It’s a lovely mix of all things fun!

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You can also check out my video review here:

For a limited time you can get the sequel to No hope for Gomez! for free. Check out Grahams blog for directions.

Please ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

 

FACTS

Title: Please ignore Vera Dietz
Author: A.S. King
First published: 2010
Publisher (my edition) : Ember
Pages: 326

THE SYNOPSIS

Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone–the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

THE STORY

Vera Dietz is a 18-years old girl living in a small town with her father. Her best friend was Charlie, the neighbour boy, but he’s dead – very dead. Vera still sees him sometimes, but no one can know that. She tries to escape Charlie by drinking, but that only makes him show up more often. Charlie wants her to tell everyone the truth about his death. She was the only one who saw, and only she can reveal the truth.

***

I started this book knowing nothing about the story. I read it simply because it was the Michael L. Printz Honor Book of 2011, and those books are usually the greatest YA contemporary books there is. Let me tell you: I was not disappointed with this read.

Please ignore Vera Dietz is a very unusual book in the term that it stands out from all the other YA books. Chapters are told from different peoples point of view (mainly Vera, but also Vera’s father, Charlie; the dead kid and the pagoda – a place in Vera’s town). The story is also told from the past and present time. The book feels special, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that makes me feel that way. There’s just something about this books atmosphere that drew me into it.

The ending dissapointed be a tiny bit. I was expecting more of a revealing end to Vera’s secret, but that didn’t happen. Instead the ending worked more as a sum up to the story.

Oh! And the writing was excellent! 

 THE CHARACTERS

I don’t know where to start to describe Vera Dietz. She is probably one of the strongest characters I have met in a very, very long time. Sure, she is lonely and valnurable, she’s made a few mistakes in her life, but she is such an independent, strong, humoristic, smart, polite and loving girl. I felt like I got inside her head, and I understood her even though I can’t relate to her problems. How she interacts with and thinks about other people is also worth mentioning. Even though she has a lot of problems herself, Vera seems to put others first and work hard on not to hurt them.

Charlie, the dead kid, bugged me. He is a quirky boy who seems nice at first, and he loves Vera a lot, but still he manages to act like a complete a** towards her. I couldn’t understand why Vera is his best friend, but then again they grew up together and had always had each other. Charlie comes from a violent family, and throughout the book he changes from being the weird, unusual kid that really don’t care about anything into a more aggressive boy who starts rebeling against anything nice in his life. He chose the wrong path in life, and sadly that leads him to his death.

I didnt’t notice until the end how strong a character Vera’s father is in this book. He comes off as a pathetic, sad person at first, but as he gets a chance to explain his actions he becomes a very likable character.

TO SUM IT ALL UP

This is an intelligent and special contemporary YA book that surprised me with it’s powerful characters and storyline. It basically moved me…a lot. If you like Looking for Alaska, 13 reasons why and The perks of being a wallflower you HAVE to read this book. It suits both girls and boys age 14 and up.

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Love ♥

The Spook’s Apprentice / The Last Apprentice

 

FACTS

Title: The Spook’s Apprentice (UK) / The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch (US)
Author: Joseph Delaney
First published: 2004
Publisher (my edition): Random House
Pages: 338
Series: The Wardstone Chronicles (#1)

THE SYNOPSIS

Someone has to stand against the dark. And you’re the only one who can.’ For years, the local Spook has been keeping the County safe from evil. Now his time is coming to an end, but who will take over? Many apprentices have tried …Some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Just one boy is left. Thomas Ward. He is the last hope. But does he stand a chance against Mother Malkin, the most dangerous witch in the County?

THE STORY

This is a spooky middle-grade novel about Thomas Ward, a 13-years old boy who is in training to become the next spook. To become a spook you must be brave, smart and independent (spooks are not known to have many friends). You see…a spooks job is to keep the county safe from ghosts and ghasts, witches, boggarts and all other scary creatures. One should think having such a job would make you popular, but people are afraid of the spook. Who in their right mind would go after these scary creatures? And of course; there’s always a chance the spook will be possessed or be followed by evil spirits.

Thomas (called Tom) is not an ordinary apprentice. He is the seventh son of a seventh son, which is suppose to make him more powerful than other boys. He is also the son of a kind witch, so there’s talk about him having some powers on his own.

The trouble starts one day when Tom has been in the village to collect food. A gang of scary boys stop him and demand he gives them his food. Tom is uncertain and a bit afraid. Just as the boys are about to attack, a girl steps out from the woods. Her name is Alice, and she’s a witch (you can tell, ’cause she’s wearing pointy shoes). Alice makes the boys go away, and Tom now owes Alice a favour. But owing a witch a favour can be dangerous. Especially when you don’t know if the witch is good or bad, and especially if her grandmother, Mother Malkin, is the most powerful, bad witch there ever was!

***

I found this story very entertaining and not too over the top. Sometimes in books like these there can be too many monsters, too many things happening and the main character is often a bit too brave for his/her age. The story was fast-paced, there were many peaks (almost every chapter had its high-point) and the story was told in an exciting and easy enough language.

THE CHARACTERS

Even though this is a middle-grade book, I found that the characters were very well developed. Sometimes in these kinds of books, the characters can be very unpersonal without much insightfulness or determination.

The main character in this book, Tom, is uncertain about many things. He’s unsure if he’s fit to become a spook since he’s scared of ghosts and monsters. He’s not certain if he has inherited his mothers witch powers. And Tom is not at all certain he is independent enough to take on the hard decisions that The Spook keeps throwing at him. But Tom does have one thing: he knows he can’t move back home with his family, and so he needs to fight to keep the apprenticeship and become a spook. He develops throughout the story, and I’m sure he’ll keep developing throughout the book-series.

Alice is the witch Tom meets in the forest. She is quite a complex character to be a young teenage girl. She appears nice and helpful (sometimes), but she is also very tricky and does deceit Tom when he needs her the most. She is smart and knows too much dark magic, which makes The Spook doubt her. Alice doesn’t have much witch power yet, but when she grows up she can go either way – good or bad. The problem with Alice is she can’t be trusted, so the reader have to make up his or hers own mind wether or not to believe in her.

The other characters in this book come off as a little…how to say this…boring. Even The Spook, who is supposed to be a very strong, powerful and clever man, is a bit blah. The bad guys in this book (witches and boggarts) don’t survive long enough to develop a personality, which is OK, but I missed some more insight into Mother Malkins personality other than pure evil. I would also have liked to read more about Tom’s mother, the good witch. But perhaps these characters will develop more in the next books in the series.

TO SUM IT ALL UP

Whenever I’m in a bit of a reading slump, I tend to reach for middle-grade books like this one. They are easy-reads and often very entertaining (without having to think too much). This book was action-packed and imaginative. I thought the plot was new and fresh, and I didn’t feel like I had read this kind of story before.

The main-characters, as I see it, are Tom and Alice. I feel like this book would be better suited for boys since it is written through Toms point of view, but Alice’s appearance makes me think girls will enjoy it as well. I have a feeling I’ll be seeing more of Alice throughout the book series.

I would recommend this books to boys and girls (years 10-14) looking for an adventurous and fantastical book about magical creatures. It’s great for those who don’t like full-on fantasy, but like using their imagination and reading about things supernatural.

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Love ♥

Taylor Swift RED: a fashion post

Hello dears,

and happy Monday! I guess there’s no secret that I like Taylor Swift. She’s just so likable and nice. Her new album RED will be released October 22nd, and so I thought I’d do a few Taylor-related posts in her honor. I’m starting off with a fashion post. You might have seen the RED album cover + the cover of her single “We are never ever getting back together”? Here are photos from that photo shoot:

I was inspired to create a few collages of her simple style from these photos. I’ve made 5 different variations, one as close to the Taylor original as possible and 4 others. I added a few autumny colors and pieces to fit the season. All the clothes except 1 item are from ASOS, but I’m sure you can find similar clothes and accessories about anywhere. I hope you like them:)

THE ORIGINAL

ShirtShortsHatShoesGlasses

ROCKSTAR

ShirtShortsHatShoesGlassesTights

CUTIE

ShirtShortsHatShoesGlassesTights

LADYLIKE

ShirtShortsHatShoesGlassesTights

 PREPPY

ShirtShortsHatShoesGlassesTights

Love♥

Have a very nice autumn weekend

Dearest ones,

it’s Friday and it’s time to celebrate the weekend once again. I don’t have any plans this weekend other than try to finish reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Man! It’s such a long, long book. But I do really enjoy it, so I won’t complain.

Since it’s now October this will be the first official autumn weekend. I am expecting to find pumpkins and leaves all over town. I want the whole place to smell like pie and freshly picked apples. I guess what I’m trying to say is: I’m in a real autumn mood and I want everybody else to be as well. In the evenings I want some serious autumn storms raging outside my windows so that I can stay inside with my blanket, loads of candles and some comfort food.

Here are some fun autumn inspired links to look at over the weekend!

***

I love these photos and all the beautiful autumn colors

These dachshund mittens are perfect for chilly fall mornings

Mmmm…autumn delight cake! Looks yummy!

Autumn decor you can make yourself (if you’re crafty & got the patience)

Fall 2012 makeup trends. Are you up to date?

Are you reading any of these books? I’ve started The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

This knit sweater is the biggest hit in Norwegian fashion this autumn. Why not try making it? PS: I’ve already got it;)

photo borrowed from: http://kalastajanvaimo.indiedays.com/2012/09/22/some-more-diy/

***

See you monday! Love ♥

Unicorn art

Hi there!

Lately I’ve been searching for black&white photographs of unicorns (yes, I know unicorns are mythical creatures, but you all know what I mean). You see…in my world unicorns exist :)  I want a print to hang in my home-office area, and I found this beautiful one online

Horse by Jo Chesher

You don’t happen to know of any other photos do you? I want a real eerie and powerful one. A little scary perhaps…mystical. I’m looking for photographs, not drawings and paintings. Any tips will be gratefully appreciated!

Love♥

I’m a pirate

Happy Thursday friends!

Yesterday I promised you a few photos from my trip to the zoo/pirate theme-park that we went on in….August I think it was. Some of the photos are a bit bad quality (I took them with my cellphone).

Oh my G! I had such an amazing time there. We were only there for two days, but the whole trip was just so perfect. The weather was good, we got an amazing pirate apartment (I’ll explain later), I saw some amazing animals and I even got to meet the Captain of all pirates!

This place I keep bragging about is called Dyreparken (translated into English as The Zoo). It’s in the very south of Norway in a city called Kristiansand. If you ever go to Norway, this is something you don’t want to miss! This year they opened an addition to their zoo; the pirate themed park where you can actually live in pirate houses (or even a castle if you’d like). Pirates are walking around in the streets and every morning at 8AM, you are woken up by the pirate ship sailing into town. There’s music, dancing and everything… I was amazed!

When we got there, we were supposed to live in a small pirate-themed room. But since it was the end of the summer season in the park and not very many people visiting, we got ourselves a pirate apartment! Oh yeah! We had our own deck with canons, we got a huge bedroom with hammocks hanging from the roof, outside our windows laid a sunken pirate ship. The dining-table had a peg-leg…I mean. This place was just so perfected. Had I been 8 I would have screamed with joy (I am almost 27, and: heck! I still screamed with joy)!

Every morning we went into the zoo to look at all the animals. It’s been a while since I had visited the park, so there were a few new exotic animals I hadn’t seen before. The most amazing thing was watching the lions and tigers being fed. Those animals are just perfection! I really wanted to go in there and hug them, but since I don’t have a deathwish I was perfectly happy just watching them from behind the fences.

The animals I really fell in love with were the African goats. I got to pet them and talk to them. I met a very cute pregnant goat. Even though she was obviously a girl, I named her Gilbert the Goat. I went to visit her every day and we are now the best of friends. I miss her!

It turned out Gilbert had a huge family, so I got the chance to say hello to all of her siblings and her husband as well…

As you might notice from this overly enthusiastic blog post, I really loved this trip. I can’t wait to get back next year and meet all the pirates and animals again. I guess I’ll never grow too old for these kind of places. Here are more photos from my trip.

See you tomorrow! Love♥

Skiathos Greece

Hi you nice people!

I know I came home from Greece about a month ago, but I still haven’t uploaded any photos. Come to think of it, I haven’t shown you photos from my trip to the zoo/pirate-themed theme-park either! I’ll show them to you tomorrow – I swear!

So last month I went to Skiathos, a small island of Greece. It was the end of their season, so things were starting to close up. Tourists were going home, and so were the people living and working there. I learned that very few people actually stay in Skiathos during the winter months. Many travel to the greek mainland (except for the farmers and those very, very local families).

Most days were spent on the beach reading, eating ice-creams and drinking ice cold Coca-Colas. The nights were all about eating, and I tried some pretty amazing local dishes that were very tasteful! One evening I saw the movie Mamma Mia at an outdoors movie theater. I don’t like that movie (at all), but I must admit it was great watching it underneath the stars with the sounds and smells of Greece around me. Most of the movie is shot in Skiathos, so I guess they’re extremely proud the movie became a big hit.

Following are some photos (just click on the photos to view in larger format). I’ll talk to you again tomorrow with my pirate/zoo photos. Have a lovely wednesday! Love ♥

I’m gonna leave you now…

…but only for a week. I still have one week of summer vacationing left, and this is where I’m heading on Tuesday morning:

I’m going to Skiathos, Greece! I have no plans what so ever for this holiday. I usually travel to places that are big on museums, culture and you know…exploring. This however will be a 100% relaxing trip. I’m not much of a sun person (I like to lurk in the shadows…hehhh). I guess I’ll find myself a beach parasol and just read – nap – eat – drink – read – nap…

I have no idea how much blogging/YouTubing/Twittering I’ll manage to get done. I don’t really know if my hotel has public internet. I just want to wish you all a happy time while I’m away, and I’ll definitely give you an updated blogpost as soon as I’m back home.

See you all soon!
Love ♥

The turn of the screw by Henry James

Hey and happy Saturday!

I usually don’t blog on weekends, but why not try something new! I’ve got nothing better to do on a Saturday night ;)

I read a book today, and in my mind I imagine you would like to know what I thought about it. You see, I rented the movie “The turn of the screw” and thought: “that’ll be great fun – watching a ghost story alone on a Saturday evening”. The movie cover was amazing, and that Downton Abbey girl is playing the main character, so it’s safe to say I was looking forward to watching it.  Of course I’m an over excited reader, so I always read the book before I watch the movie, and so I started reading and finished the book this afternoon.

I was about 20 pages into the story when I realized I had seen the movie before. That kind of killed some of the excitement. As I read on, I noticed I remembered every single thing from the movie. So… I read the book!

FACTS

Title: The turn of the screw
Author: Henry James
First published: 1898
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Pages: 121

THE SYNOPSIS

A young governess is sent to a great country house to care for two orphaned children. To begin with Flora and Miles seem to be model pupils but gradually the governess starts to suspect that something is very wrong with them. As she sets out to uncover the corrupt secrets of the house she becomes more and more convinced that something evil is watching her.

THE STORY

I am very into old ghost stories, esp. those located in England/Ireland/Scotland. I have read an amazing amount of collected ghost stories books, and I’m a bit surprised The turn of the screw had been overlooked.

The story is very much like any other ghost story from the late 19-century. An old mansion, a governess, a woman in black and some creepy children. That being said, it’s also a complex story that can be interpreted into a psychological tale (I read somewhere). I decided to just read it as a normal ghost story, but I can see that some people might want to give the story more depth.

THE CHARACTERS

There are some interesting characters in this book (or maybe just one). I was very fond of Miles – one of the scary siblings. He was so sweet, but also so scary at the same time, and he really made the story interesting. He was portrayed so beautifully by Henry James. I noticed Miles always managed to creep me out even though he was just smirking or saying something very ordinary. The scenes with Miles is perhaps what makes this book worth reading (in my opinion).

The governess was a bit dull and perhaps a bit hysterical. She jumped to conclusions as soon as anything happened. I know that this is a short story, but I do like ghost stories to leave out a bit of the mystery for the reader to figure out (even though that means more pages). Other than this she is a main character, and kind of worked as a detective in this story. She’s the one who figures things out so to say.

The other characters were a bit plain, and I didn’t take too much notice of them. There were maids and ghosts (or horrors as they are called in the book), a wealthy uncle and a narrator, but they were kind of over shadowed by Miles and the governess.

TO SUM IT ALL UP

Henry James is known to write beautiful books. His language is spotless and aesthetically beautiful. He is thorough with his characters and story lines, and I guess you read his books because they are classics, not because you want a fast paced, action packed book. This all apply to The turn of the screw as well. It was not very exciting, but it was OK. The story was pretty straight forward, and since it was so short I never really got into it.

If you want a classic ghost story, I guess you could read this book. Just don’t expect to be super-scared by it. Go watch the movie though, because that’s pretty awesome!

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Love ♥