Monday, 30 November 2009

Love beyond life


The Twilight Saga is a teenager phenomenon. There are 4 books which tells the story of a female human and a male vampire. They are in love. These are the titles of the novels:

- Twilight
- New Moon
- Eclipse
- Breaking Dawn

Bella Swan moves to Forks to live with his father. At high school she falls for Edward Cullen. He saves her from a car crash and after she is determined to find out why he is so fast and so strong and she realises he is a vamipre.

In these books there is a lot of action and love. There are vampires who are "vegetarian" (don't get fed with human blood), vampires who drink human blood, vampires who fight other vampires, werewolves who fight with vampires, werewolves who collaborate with vampires,... and Bella, who wants to be in peace and don't want her vampire boyfriend family and friends and the werewolves to get hurt.


Why are these novels so famous? Well, at first I didn't know about Twilight, Edward Cullen or Bella Swan, but I bought the first book and then I realised why people liked it: Stephenie Meyer knows how to describe emotions, characters and places.

The author began writing "Twilight" because she had a dream and she didn't want to forget it. She created a world of fantasy and she wrote it down. Then she thought it was long enough and could be a book. Her sister read the whole story and encouraged her to get published. So, Stephenie Meyer wrote 15 agents: she got 9 rejections, 5 no-answers and one person who was interested in the book.



"Twilight"


I like a lot this book. There are nice conversations and very good description of the characters. Bella is a normal human teenager and Edward is a very good looking vampire.

Synopsis:

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him - and I didnt know how dominant that part might be - that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him

****

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his vampire identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.

What bella doesn't realize is that the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk, and it might be too late to turn back....

Deeply seductive and irresistibly compelling, "Twilight" is an extraordinary love story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.



"New Moon"


This book is not as good as the previous one, but is okay. Edward breaks up with Bella and she feels depressed. Fortunately, Jacob tries to help her to get better.

Synopsis:


"Shoot," I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut.

It all happened very quickly then.

"No!" Edward roared... Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm—into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

****

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella could ever have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning...

Passionate, riveting and deeply moving, "New Moon", the compelling sequel to "Twilight", irresistibly combines romance and suspense with a supernatural twist.



"Eclipse"


This novel is better than "New Moon". There is a lot of action and some characters are developed.

Synopsis:

"Bella?"

Edward's soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again.

This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine—like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us.

* * *

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob—knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?

Following the international bestsellers "Twilight" and "New Moon", "Eclipse" is the much-anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer's captivating saga of vampire romance.



"Breaking Dawn"


I like this book though there are some parts which could be deleted.

Synopsis:



When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

****

To be ireevocably in love with a vampite is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dagerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imment choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her desicion, a startling chain of umpredicted events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life - first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse - seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed. . . forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Teilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.


If you want to read the first chapter of each book, just click on the links.

- "Twilight" first chapter
- "New Moon" first chapter
- "Eclipse" first chapter
- "Breaking Dawn" first chapter


© crisfusterber

Friday, 27 November 2009

Read an extract of "P.S. I Love You" by Cecelia Ahern


If you couldn't download the pdf file that had the first two chapters of the book, you can read it in this post, after the synopsis.

Title: PS, I Love You
Author: Cecelia Ahern


Synopsis:

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry.

Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other's sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other.

Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry's death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He's left her a bundle of notes, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed "P.S. I Love You."

As the notes are gradually opened, and as the year unfolds, Holly is both cheered up and challenged. The man who knows her better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing - and being braver than ever before.

Life is for living, she realises - but it always helps if there's an angel watching over you.


Extract

CECELIA AHERN

PS, I Love You


Chapter One


Holly held the blue cotton sweater to her face and the familiar smell immediately struck her, an overwhelming grief knotting her stomach and pulling at her heart. Pins and needles ran up the back of her neck and a lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Panic took over. Apart from the low hum of the fridge and the occasional moaning of the pipes, the house was quiet. She was alone. Bile rose in her throat and she ran to the bathroom, where she collapsed to her knees before the toilet.

Gerry was gone and he would never be back. That was the reality. She would never again run her fingers through his soft hair, never share a secret joke across the table at a dinner party, never cry to him when she got home from a hard day at work and just needed a hug, she would never share a bed with him again, never be woken up by his fits of sneezes each morning, never laugh with him so much her stomach would ache, never fight with him about whose turn it was to get up and turn the bedroom light off. All that was left was a bundle of memories, and an image of his face that became more and more vague each day.

Their plan had been very simple: to stay together for the rest of their lives. A plan that anyone within their circle would agree was accomplishable. They were best friends, lovers and soul mates, destined to be together, everyone thought. But as it happened, one day destiny greedily changed its mind.

The end had come all too soon. After complaining of a migraine for a few days, Gerry had agreed to Holly’s advice to see his doctor. This was done one Wednesday on a lunch break from work. They thought the migraine was due to stress or tiredness, and agreed that at the very worst he might need glasses. Gerry had been upset that he might need glasses. He needn’t have worried, since it turned out it wasn’t his eyes that were the problem. It was the tumour growing inside his brain.


Holly flushed the toilet and, shivering from the coldness of the tiled floor, she shakily steadied herself to her feet. He was thirty years old. By no means was he the healthiest man on the earth, but he was healthy enough to . . . well, to live a normal life. When he became very sick he would bravely joke about how he shouldn’t have lived life so safely. Should have taken drugs, should have drunk more, should have travelled more, should have jumped out of aeroplanes while waxing his legs . . . his list went on. Even as he laughed about it Holly could see the regret in his eyes. Regret for the things he’d never made time to do, places he’d never seen and sorrow for the loss of future experiences. Did he regret the life he had had with her? Holly never doubted that he loved her, but feared he felt he had wasted precious time.

Growing older became something he wanted desperately to accomplish rather than merely a dreaded inevitability. How presumptuous they both were never to consider growing old as an achievement and a challenge. Ageing was something they wanted so much to avoid.

Holly drifted from room to room while she sobbed fat, salty tears. Her eyes were red and sore, and there seemed to be no end to this night. None of the rooms in the house provided her with any solace, just unwelcoming silences as she stared around at the furniture. She longed for the couch to hold out its arms to her but even it ignored her.

Gerry would not be happy with this, she thought. She took a deep breath, dried her eyes and tried to shake some sense into herself. No, Gerry would not be pleased at all.


Holly’s eyes were tender and puffy from crying all through the night. Just as she had every other night for the past few weeks, she had fallen into fitful sleep in the early hours of the morning. Each day she woke to find herself sprawled uncomfortably across some piece of furniture – today it was the couch. Once again it was the phone call from a concerned friend or family member that roused her. They probably thought that all she did was sleep. Where were their phone calls when she listlessly roamed the house like a zombie, searching the rooms for . . . for what? What was she expecting to find?

‘Hello,’ she answered groggily. Her voice was hoarse from all the tears but she had long stopped caring about maintaining a brave face. Her best friend was gone and nobody understood that no amount of make-up, fresh air or shopping was going to fill the hole in her heart.

‘Oh, sorry, love, did I wake you?’ the concerned voice of Holly’s mother came across the line. Every morning her mother called to see if she had survived the night alone, always afraid of waking her, yet always relieved to hear her speak; safe in the knowledge her daughter had braved the ghosts of the night.

‘No, I was just dozing, it’s OK.’ Always the same answer.

‘Your dad and Declan have gone out and I was thinking of you, pet.’

Why did that soothing sympathetic voice always send tears to Holly’s eyes? She could picture her mother’s face, eyebrows furrowed, forehead wrinkled with worry. But it didn’t soothe Holly. It made her remember why they were worried and that they shouldn’t have to be. Everything should be normal. Gerry should be here beside her, rolling his eyes up to heaven and trying to make her laugh while her mother yapped on. So many times Holly would have to hand the phone over to Gerry as her fit of giggles took over. Then he would chat away, ignoring Holly as she jumped around the bed, pulling her silliest faces and doing her funniest dances just to get back at him. It seldom worked.

She ‘ummed’ and ‘aahed’ throughout the conversation, listening but not hearing a word.

‘It’s a lovely day, Holly. It would do you the world of good to go out for a walk. Get some fresh air.’

‘Um, I suppose.’ There it was again – fresh air, the alleged answer to all her problems.

‘Maybe I’ll call round later and we can have a chat.’

‘No thanks, Mum. I’m OK.’

Silence.

‘Well, all right . . . give me a ring if you change your mind. I’m free all day.’

‘OK.’ Another silence. ‘Thanks, though.’

‘Right then . . . take care, love.’

‘I will.’ Holly was about to replace the phone when she heard her mother’s voice again.

‘Oh, Holly, I almost forgot. That envelope is still here for you – you know, the one I told you about. It’s on the kitchen table. You might want to collect it. It’s been here for weeks now and it might be important.’

‘I doubt it. It’s probably just another card.’

‘No, I don’t think it is, love. It’s addressed to you and above your name it says . . . oh, hold on while I get it . . .’

The phone was put down, the sound of heels on the tiles toward the table, chairs screeched against the floor, footsteps getting louder, phone being picked up . . .

‘You still there?’

‘Yeah.’

‘OK, it says at the top “The List”. Maybe it’s from work or something, love. It’s worth just taking a . . .’

Holly dropped the phone.



Chapter Two


‘Gerry, turn off the light!’ Holly giggled as she watched her husband undress before her. He danced around the room performing a striptease, slowly unbuttoning his white cotton shirt with his long slender fingers. He raised his left eyebrow towards Holly and allowed the shirt to slide from his shoulders, caught it in his right hand and swung it around over his head.

Holly giggled again.

‘Turn off the light? What, and miss all this?’ he grinned cheekily while flexing his muscles. He wasn’t a vain man but had much to be vain about, thought Holly. His body was strong and perfectly toned. His long legs were muscular from hours spent working out in the gym. At almost six foot he was tall enough to make Holly feel safe when he stood protectively beside her five foot five. Most of all she loved that when she hugged him her head would rest neatly just below his chin, where she could feel his breath lightly blowing her hair and tickling her head.

Her heart leaped as he lowered his boxers, caught them on the tip of his toes and flung them at her where they landed on her head.

‘Well, at least it’s darker under here, anyway,’ she laughed. He always managed to make her laugh. When she came home tired and angry after work he was invariably sympathetic and listened to her complaining. They seldom fought, and when they did it was over stupid things that amused them after, like who had left the porch light on all day or who had forgotten to set the alarm at night.

Gerry finished his striptease and dived into the bed. He snuggled up beside her tucking his freezing cold feet underneath her legs to warm himself.

‘Aaaagh! Gerry, your feet are like ice cubes!’ Holly knew that this position meant he had no intention of budging an inch. ‘Gerry,’ Holly’s voice warned.

‘Holly,’ he mimicked.

‘Didn’t you forget something?’

‘No, not that I know of,’ he answered.

‘The light?’

‘Ah yes, the light,’ he said sleepily, and pretended to snore loudly.

‘Gerry!’

‘I had to get out of bed and do it last night, as I remember.’

‘Yeah, but you were just standing right beside the switch a second ago!’

‘Yes . . . just a second ago,’ he repeated.

Holly sighed. She hated having to get back out of bed when she was nice and snug, step onto the cold wooden floor, and then fumble around in the darkness on the way back to the bed. She tutted.

‘I can’t do it all the time, you know, Hol. Someday I might not be here and then what will you do?’

‘Get my new husband to do it,’ Holly huffed, trying her best to kick his cold feet away from hers.

‘Ha!’

‘Or just remember to do it myself before I get into bed.’

Gerry snorted. ‘Fat chance of that happening, my dear. I’ll have to leave a message on the light switch for you before I go, just so you’ll remember.’

‘How thoughtful of you but I would rather you just leave me your money.’

‘And a note on the immersion,’ he continued on.

‘Ha-ha.’

‘And on the milk carton.’

‘You’re a very funny man, Gerry.’

‘Oh, and on the windows so you don’t open them and set the alarm off in the mornings.’

‘Hey, why don’t you just leave me a list of things for me to do in your will if you think I’ll be so incompetent without you?’

‘Not a bad idea,’ he laughed.

‘Fine then, I’ll turn off the bloody light.’ Holly grudgingly got out of bed, grimaced as she stepped onto the ice-cold floor and switched off the light. She held out her arms in the darkness and slowly began to find her way back to the bed.

‘Hello? Holly, did you get lost? Is there anybody out there, there, there, there?’ Gerry shouted out to the black room.

‘Yes, I’m hhhhowwwwwwcch!’ she yelped as she stubbed her toe against the bedpost. ‘Shit, shit, shit, fuck, bastard, shit, crap!’

Gerry snorted and sniggered underneath the duvet. ‘Number two on my list: watch out for bedpost . . .’

‘Oh, shut up, Gerry, and stop being so morbid,’ Holly snapped back at him, cradling her poor foot in her hand.

‘Want me to kiss it better?’ he asked.

‘No, it’s OK,’ Holly replied sadly, ‘if I could just put them here so I can warm . . .’

‘Aaaaah! Jesus Christ, they’re freezing!!’

Which made her laugh again.


So that was how the joke about the list came about. It was a silly and simple idea that was soon shared with their closest friends, Sharon and John McCarthy.

It was John who had approached Holly in the school corridor when they were just fourteen and muttered the famous words, ‘Me mate wants to know if you’ll go out with him.’ After days of endless discussion and emergency meetings with her friends, Holly eventually agreed.

‘Aah, go on, Holly,’ Sharon had urged. ‘He’s such a ride, and at least he doesn’t have spots all over his face like John.’

How Holly envied Sharon right now. Sharon and John had married the same year as Holly and Gerry. Holly was the baby of the bunch at twenty-three, the others were twentyfour. Some said she was too young and lectured her about how, at her age, she should be travelling the world and enjoying herself. Instead, Gerry and Holly travelled the world together. It made far more sense that way because when they weren’t together . . . well, Holly just felt as though she was missing a vital organ from her body.

Her wedding day was far from the best day of her life. Like most little girls, she had dreamed of a fairy-tale wedding with a princess dress and beautiful, sunny weather, in a romantic location surrounded by all who were near and dear to her. She imagined the reception would be the best night of her life, pictured herself dancing with all of her friends, being admired by everyone and feeling special. The reality was quite different.

She woke up in her family home to screams of, ‘I can’t find my tie!’ (her father), or, ‘My hair looks shite’ (her mother), and the best one of all was, ‘I look like a bloody whale! There’s no way I’m going to this bleeding wedding looking like this. I’ll be scarlet! Mum, look at the state of me! Holly can find another bridesmaid ’cos I’m not bleedin goin. Oi! Jack, give me back that feckin hair dryer, I’m not finished!’ That unforgettable statement was made by her younger sister, Ciara, who very regularly threw tantrums and refused to leave the house on the basis of having nothing to wear, regardless of her bursting wardrobe. She was currently living somewhere in Australia with strangers, and the only communication the family had with her was an email from her every few weeks. Holly’s family spent the rest of the morning trying to convince Ciara how she was the most beautiful woman in the world. All the while Holly silently dressed herself feeling like shite. Ciara eventually agreed to leave the house when Holly’s usually calm dad screamed at the top of his voice, and to everyone’s amazement, ‘Ciara, this is Holly’s bloody day, NOT YOURS! And you WILL go to the wedding and enjoy yourself AND when Holly walks downstairs you WILL tell her how beautiful she looks and I don’t wanna hear a peep out of you FOR THE REST OF THE DAY!’

So when Holly walked downstairs everyone oohed and aahed while Ciara, looking like a ten-year-old who had just been spanked, tearfully gazed at her with a trembling lip and said, ‘You look beautiful, Holly.’ All seven of them squashed into the limo – Holly, her parents, three brothers and Ciara, and sat in terrified silence all the way to the church.

The whole day just seemed a blur to her now. She barely had time to speak to Gerry, as they were both being pulled in opposite directions to meet Great-aunt Betty from the back arse of nowhere, whom Holly hadn’t seen since she was born, and Grand-uncle Toby from America, who had never been mentioned before but was suddenly a very important member of the family.

And nobody told her it would be so tiring either. By the end of the night Holly’s jaw was sore from smiling for photographs, and her feet were killing her from running around all day in very silly little shoes. She desperately wanted to join the large table of her friends who had been howling with laughter all night, obviously enjoying themselves. Well for some, she thought. But as soon as Holly stepped into the honeymoon suite with Gerry her worries of the day faded and the point of it all became clear.

Tears once again rolled down Holly’s face and she realised she had been daydreaming again. She sat frozen on the couch with the phone still off the hook beside her. The hours just seemed to pass her by these days without her knowing what time or even what day it was. She seemed to be living outside of her body, numb to everything but the pain in her heart, in her bones, in her head. She was just so tired . . . Her stomach grumbled and she realised she couldn’t remember the last time she had eaten. Had it been yesterday?

She shuffled into the kitchen, dressed in Gerry’s dressing gown and her favourite pink ‘disco diva’ slippers that Gerry had bought her the previous Christmas. She was his disco diva, he used to say. Always the first on the dance floor, always the last out of the club. Huh, where was that girl now? She opened the fridge and stared in at the empty shelves. Just vegetables and yogurt long past its sell-by date leaving a horrible stench in the fridge. She smiled weakly as she shook the milk carton. Empty. Third on his list . . .


Christmas two years ago Holly had gone shopping with Sharon for a dress for the annual ball they attended at the Burlington Hotel. Shopping with Sharon was always a dangerous outing, and John and Gerry had joked about how they would once again suffer through Christmas without any presents as a result of the girls’ sprees. They weren’t far wrong. Poor neglected husbands, the girls always called them.

Holly had spent a disgraceful amount of money in Brown Thomas on the most beautiful white dress she had ever seen.

‘Shit, Sharon, this will burn a huge hole in my pocket,’ she said guiltily, biting her lip and running her fingers over the soft material.

‘Aah, don’t worry, Gerry can stitch it up for you,’ Sharon replied with her infamous cackle. ‘And stop calling me “shit Sharon”. Every time we go shopping you address me as that. If you’re not careful I might start taking offence. Buy the damn thing, Holly. It’s Christmas, after all, the season of giving and all that.’

‘God, you are so evil, Sharon. I’m never shopping with you again. This is like half my month’s wages. What am I going to do for the rest of the month?’

‘Holly, would you rather eat or look fab?’

‘I’ll take it,’ Holly said excitedly to the sales assistant.

The dress was low cut, which showed off Holly’s neat little chest perfectly, and it was split to the thigh, displaying her slim legs. Gerry hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her. It wasn’t because she looked so beautiful, however. He just couldn’t understand how on earth such a little slip of material had cost that much. Once at the ball, Ms Disco Diva once again overindulged in the alcoholic beverages and succeeded in destroying her dress by spilling red wine down her front. Holly tried but failed to hold back her tears while the men at the table drunkenly informed their partners that number fifty-four on the list prevented you from drinking red wine while wearing an expensive white dress. It was then decided that milk was the preferred beverage, as it wouldn’t be visible if spilt on expensive white dresses.

Later, when Gerry knocked his pint over causing it to dribble off the edge of the table into Holly’s lap, she tearfully yet seriously announced to the table (and some of the surrounding tables), ‘Rule fitty-fife ov the list: NEFFER EFFER buy a spensive white dress.’ So it was agreed, and Sharon awoke from her coma from somewhere underneath the table to applaud and offer moral support. A toast was made (after a startled waiter had delivered a tray full of glasses of milk) to Holly and to her profound addition to the list.

‘I’m sorry bout your spensive white dress, Holly,’ John had hiccuped to Holly, before falling out of the taxi and dragging Sharon alongside him into their house.

Was it possible that Gerry had kept his word and had written a list for her before he died? She had spent every minute of every day with him up until his death and he had never even mentioned it, nor had she noticed any signs of him writing it. No, Holly, pull yourself together and don’t be stupid, she told herself. She so desperately wanted him back that she was imagining all kinds of crazy things. He wouldn’t have. Would he?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

A will to help


Holly Kennedy is a 29-year-old woman, intelligent and happily married until his husband Gerry dies because of an illness. From that moment her life changes but she couldn't imagine that Gerry planned to help her in her mourning. He wrote her some letters which would be opened one each month and she had to do what he asked in there. He wanted to help her to overcome his death. Each letter ends with the sentence: “P.S. I love you”.

This book is the first one Cecelia Ahern has published. It got the number one in Ireland in 2004 and it also got in the UK Sunday Times bestseller list.

Four years later, in 2008, this book was adapted to a screenplay. Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler starred the film.

I enjoyed the reading of "P.S. I Love You" because although it made me feel blue sometimes, it also made me laugh. It is a dramedy (drama + comedy) book. The author also shows the different steps a person takes when someone loved dies. For example, the first one is rejection of what has happened.


The characters seem real people. Cecelia Ahern knows how to transmit the feelings and emotions:

Holly held the blue cotton sweater to her face and the familiar smell immediately struck her, an overwhelming grief knotting her stomach and pulling at her heart. Pins and needles ran up the back of her neck and a lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Panic took over. Apart from the low hum of the fridge and the occasional moaning of the pipes, the house was quiet. She was alone. Bile rose in her throat and she ran to the bathroom, where she collapsed to her knees before the toilet.

If you want to read the first two chapters, click here.


Below this line you can watch the trailer of the film.





© crisfusterber

Monday, 23 November 2009

Short film: "Black Button"

Sometimes you have to make a choice. There are two options and you can't make another one. Which one will you choose?



Friday, 20 November 2009

Short film: "Real Love"

If you had an imaginary friend when you were a kid, would you still have this friendship when you are 16 years old? Would you feel in love with him/her?


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Short film: "Strangers"

This film is about racism and how two "different" people get together to save their lives. There is no dialog, just music and images. Enjoy it!



Monday, 16 November 2009

Read an extract of Marian Keyes new novel


Marian Keyes has been published again by Penguin Books. Here you have more details:

Title: The Brightest Star in the Sky
Author: Marian Keyes


Synopsis:

At 66, Star Street in Dublin, someone is watching over the lives of the people living in its flats. But no one is aware of it - yet...

One of them is ready to take the plunge and fall in love; another is torn between two very different lovers. For some, secrets they want to stay buried will come to light and for others, the unveiling of those secrets will have tragic consequences.

Fate is on its way to Star Street, bringing with it love and tragedy, friendship and heartbreak, and the power to change their lives in the most unexpected of ways…



Extract


Day 61
June the first, a bright summer’s evening, a Monday. I’ve been flying over the streets and houses of Dublin and now, finally, I’m here. I enter through the roof. Via a skylight I slide into a living room and right away I know it’s a woman who lives here. There’s a femininity to the furnishings – pastelcoloured throws on the sofa, that sort of thing. Two plants. Both alive. A television of modest size.
I appear to have arrived in the middle of some event. Several people are standing in an awkward circle, sipping from glasses of champagne and pretending to laugh at what the others are saying. A variety of ages and sexes suggests that this is a family occasion.
Birthday cards abound. Discarded wrapping paper. Presents.
Talk of leaving for the restaurant. Hungry for information I read the cards. They’re addressed to someone called Katie and she appears to be celebrating her fortieth birthday. I wouldn’t have thought that that called for much celebration but it takes all sorts, I’m told.
I locate Katie. She looks a good deal younger than forty, but forty is the new twenty, according to my information.She’s tallish and dark-haired and bosomy and gamely doing her best to stay upright in a pair of spike-heeled knee-boots.Her force field is a pleasant one; she vibrates with levelheaded warmth, like a slightly sexy primary-school teacher.(Although that’s not actually her job. I know this because I know an awful lot.)
The man next to Katie, glowing with dark pride – the pride is in large part to do with the new platinum watch on Katie’s wrist – is her boyfriend, partner, loved one, whatever you want to call it.An interesting man, with a compelling life force, his vibrations are so powerful they’re almost visible. I’ll be honest:I’m intrigued.
Conall, they’re calling this man. The more polite members of the group, at least. A few other names are hovering in the ether – Show-off; Flash bastard – but remain unuttered. Fascinating.
The men don’t like him at all. I’ve identified Katie’s father, brother and brother-in-law and not one of them is keen. However, the women – Katie’s mother, sister and best friend – don’t seem to mind him as much.
I’ll tell you something else: this Conall doesn’t live here. A man on a frequency as potent as his wouldn’t stand for a television of such modest size. Or plant-watering.I waft past Katie and she puts a hand up to the nape of her neck and shivers.
‘What?’ Conall looks ready to do battle.
‘Nothing. Someone just walked over my grave.’
Oh come now! Hardly!
‘Hey!’ Naomi – older sister of Katie – is pointing at a mirror that’s propped on the floor against a cupboard. ‘Is your new mirror not up yet?’
‘Not yet,’ Katie says, sudden tension leaking from between her teeth.
‘But you’ve had it for ages! I thought Conall was going to do it for you.’
‘Conall is going to do it,’ Katie says very firmly. ‘Tomorrow morning, before he goes to Helsinki. Aren’t you, Conall?’
Friction! Zinging around the room, rebounding off the walls. Conall, Katie and Naomi volleying waves of tension against each other in a fast-moving taut triangle, the repercussions expanding ever outwards to include everyone else there.
Entre nous, I’m dying to find out what’s going on but, to my alarm, I’m being overtaken by some sort of force. Something bigger or better than me is moving me downwards. Through the 100 per cent wool rug, past some dodgy joists, which are frankly riddled with woodworm – someone should be told – and into another place: the flat below Katie’s. I’m in a kitchen.
An astonishingly dirty kitchen. Pots and pans and plates are piled higgledy-piggledy in the sink, soaking in stagnant water, the lino floor hasn’t been washed in an age, and the stove top sports many elaborate splashes of old food as if a gang of action painters has recently paid a visit. Two muscular young men are leaning on the kitchen table, talking in Polish. Their faces are close together and the conversation is urgent, almost panicked. They’re both pulsing with angst, so much so that their vibrations have become entangled and I can’t get a handle on either of them. Luckily, I discover I am fl uent in Polish, and here’s a rude translation of what they’re saying:
‘Jan, you tell her.’
‘No, Andrei, you tell her.’
‘I tried the last time.’
‘Andrei, she respects you more.’
‘No, Jan. Hard as it is for me, a Polish man, to understand, she doesn’t respect either of us. Irish women are beyond me.’
‘Andrei, you tell her and I’ll give you three stuffed cabbages.’
‘Four and you’re on.’
(I’m afraid I made up those last two sentences.)
Into the kitchen comes the object of their earnest discussion and I can’t see what they’re so afraid of, two fi ne big lads like them, with their tattoos and slightly menacing buzz cuts. This little creature – Irish, unlike the two boys – is lovely. A pretty little minx with mischievous eyes and spiky eyelashes and a head of charming jack-in-the-box curls that spring all the way down past her shoulders. Mid-twenties, by the look of her, and exuding vibrations so zesty they zigzag through the air. In her hand she’s carrying a pre-prepared dinner. A wretched-looking repast. (Greyish roast beef, in case you’re interested.)
‘Go on,’ Jan hisses at Andrei.
‘Lydia.’ Andrei gestures at the, quite frankly, filthy kitchen. Speaking English, he says, ‘You clean sometime.’
‘Sometime,’ she agrees, scooping up a fork from the draining board. ‘But sadly not in this lifetime. Now move.’
With alacrity Andrei clears a path for her to access the microwave. Viciously, she jabs her fork into the cellophane covering her dinner. Four times, each puncture making a noise like a small explosion, loud enough to make Jan’s left eye twitch, then she slams the carton into the microwave. I take this opportunity to drift up behind her to introduce myself, but to my surprise she swats me away as though I were a pesky fly.
Me!
Don’t you know who I am?
Andrei is giving it another go. ‘Lydia, pliz . . . Jan and I, we clean menny, menny times.’
‘Good for you.’ Breezy delivery from Lydia as she locates the least dirty-looking knife in the murk of the sink and runs it under the tap for half a second.
‘We hev made rota.’ Feebly Andrei waves a piece of paper at her.
‘Good for you again.’ Oh how white her teeth are, how dazzling her smile!
‘You are livingk here three weeks. You hev not cleaned. You must clean.’
An unexpected pulse of emotion radiates from Lydia, black and bitter. Apparently, she does clean. But not here? Where, then?
‘Andrei, my little Polish cabbage, and you too, Jan, my other little Polish cabbage, let’s imagine things were the other way round.’ She waves her (still soiled) knife to emphasize her point. In fact, I know that there are 273 different bacteria thriving and fl ourishing on that knife. However, I also know by now that it would take the bravest and most heroic of bacteria to get the better of this Lydia.
‘The other way round?’ Andrei asks anxiously.
‘Say it was two women and one man living in this flat. The man would never do anything. The women would do it all. Wouldn’t they?’
The microwave beeps. She whisks her unappetizing dinner from it and, with a charming smile, leaves the room to look up something on the internet.
What a peppy little madam! A most fascinating little firebrand!
‘She called us cabbages,’ Jan said stonily. ‘I hate when she calls us cabbages.’

Friday, 13 November 2009

Films to be released in November (II)

Red Cliff




Ten9Eight: Shoot for the Moon




Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans




Broken Embraces




Ninja Assasin




The Princess and the Frog




The Road




The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pixar Lamp

Some days ago I watched this short animation about the real story of the Pixar lamp. I hope you enjoy it.



Monday, 9 November 2009

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time



Some days ago, I watched on TV the advertisement of the film "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time".

It is based on a videogame which tells the story of a young prince who must save his kingdom and his beloved ones after a sandstorm has transformed the people in demons. It has happened because he used the Dager of Time. He wants to put things back to normal again. A princess will help him to get to the hourglass and return the sand to the Hourglass using the dagger, which, in the meantime, let the prince the gift of going back in time for a short period of time.

Other films are based on videogames and have not been succesful. For example, Hitman, a very good game. I liked the movie but I understand most people feel the same about it. Nevertheless, I believe people will enjoy this Prince of Persia film because of the plot. It is also a Disney production and it is directed by Mike Newell, who also directed "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Harry Potter and the Globet of Fire".

In Spain, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will be released in May 2010. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer.



© Cristina Fuster Bertrand

Monday, 2 November 2009

November Puffin Events: Author, talks and signings

(http://www.puffin.co.uk/static/events/)

Your chance to meet, listen and chat to our Puffin authors. Our events guide will tell you who, what and where and when-everything you need to get out there and see your favourite Puffin authors live!


Saturday 7th November

  • Event Name: Meg Rosoff at The Burnham Market Book Festival
  • Date/Time: Saturday 7th November 2pm
  • Venue: The Hoste Arms
  • City: Burnham Market, King's Lynn PE31
  • Description: Meg Rosoff will be talking to journalist Nicolette Jones about her life and work and reading from her latest novel published by Penguin, The Bride's Farewell
  • Price:£10.00
  • Event contact: For tickets and further information, please contact 01328 730270 or visit www.whitehousebooks.co.uk

Saturday 14th November


  • Event Name: Joe Berger at Southwark Book Festival (Morning event)
  • Date/Time: Saturday 14th November, 11am
  • Venue: Nunhead Library
  • City: Gordon Road, London, SE15 3RW
  • Description: Author, illustrator and Guardian cartoonist Joe Berger will be talking about his picture book Hattie the Bad as part of the Southwark Book Festival.
  • Price: FREE - but places are limited, so please contact the venue in advance
  • Event contact: Nunhead Library Tel: 02077320409

  • Event Name: Joe Berger at Southwark Book Festival (Afternoon event)
  • Date/Time: Saturday 14th November, 14.00
  • Venue: Peckham Library
  • City: 122 Peckham Hill Street, London, SE15 5JR
  • Description: Author, illustrator and Guardian cartoonist Joe Berger will be talking about his picture book Hattie the Bad as part of the Southwark Book Festival.
  • Price: FREE - but places are limited, so please contact the venue in advance
  • Event contact: Peckham Library Tel: 02075250230

Saturday 21st November

  • Event Name: Cathy Cassidy at The Northern Children's Book Festival Gala Day
  • Date/Time: Saturday 21st November 10.30-11.30, 13.10-14.10
  • Venue: Stockton Riverside College
  • City: Stockton-on-Tees, TS17 6FB
  • Description: Come and meet Cathy Cassidy, author of Angel Cake, Dizzy and many many more
  • Price: £1.00
  • Event contact: For tickets and further information, visit www.ncbf.co.uk

25th November

  • Event Name: Charlie Higson at Bristol Grammar School
  • Date/Time: Wednesday 25th November 6.30pm for 7pm
  • Venue: Bristol Grammar School
  • City: University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SR
  • Description: Charlie Higson, author of the 'Young Bond' series will be talking about his brand new zombie horror series 'The Enemy'. www.the-enemy.co.uk
  • Price: £5.00 (includes light refreshment and live music)
  • Event contact: For tickets and further information please visit www.bristolgrammarschool.co.uk/events





Sunday, 1 November 2009

Films to be released in November

Disney's A Christmas Carol


That Evening Sun


The Fourth Kind


The Men Who Stare At Goats


2012


The Fantastic Mr. Fox


Uncertainty

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