This is the official blog of Winna Efendi, author of several bestselling Indonesian novels.

Minggu, 31 Juli 2011

(book) The Lake

This is the first time I've rated her work with 2 stars. I'm not sure what it is that I find lacking, exactly, and maybe that's just me.. because I find this one flat. It doesn't really move forward until the last chapter, and I know Yoshimoto's style is not exactly what you call fast-paced.. but I find this one boring.

I don't particularly care about Chihiro, the main character. I find her selfish and annoying, with her constant complaining and how she feels about her family. I like Mama-san, her flower-like delicate mother, other than that I don't love the characters. I also find Nakajima odd, and even with the explanation of the horrid things he's gone though, it doesn't help to explain how he's behaving. Usually I find the dialogue and the narration make sense, like they touch a deep place within us and make us feel emotional. But with this one, I come up with nada.

I love Banana Yoshimoto's books, I really do. I wonder if maybe because it's been years since I read her books, the last one being Amrita, and I have a complete collection of her work.. I'm disappointed by this one. Makes for a quick read, wonderful cover by the way, and certainly still looking forward to her finest work :) despite how I feel about The Lake.

(drama) Castle season 3

Castle Season Three. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. Improved relationship between Beckett-Castle. I even hear the words finally spoken. And the kiss!

2. The family dynamics just got better. Also, the sidekicks get more screen time. Lanie, Esposito and Kevin Ryan time!

3. Alexis has her first love!

4. Better cases. Really.

5. The cap is involved.

6. Serious and darker tones. Better writing. Tighter plot.

7. More on Beckett's Mom's murder. That alone's worth it.

8. More double episodes. Which gets me really sitting on the edge of my seat. Threat to national security. Nuclear bombs! They never disappoint, and new characters, even just for a bit of screen time, are the best.

9. This is SO MUCH BETTER than season 2, especially than season 1. Thank you, writer and director.

10. Best cliffhanger ending in a drama series, EVER.

I'm in love with this one. Can't stop watching, even my boyfriend thinks I'm a Castle maniac. We'll just have to wait till September for a season 4.

Sabtu, 23 Juli 2011

(movie) Last Night

While I was certain that I'd love this movie, I wasn't initially sure how it could carry one night in the length of a movie.

It wasn't dramatic, just the way I like it, and surprisingly, it was so much better than I expected. This is one example when all the actors carry out their roles beautifully, the script provides the depth of human emotions, and the cinematography and directing are just right. The combination of the above factors in turn create a gem of a movie such as this one.

My favorite character has to be Truman. Brutally honest, but warm and gentle. I also love the emotions playing in every actor's face, the sadness, the laughter, the love, the giddiness - you can just feel it. And then there's the chemistry, just right to be not over the top, and not so subtle you could've missed it.

A movie like this makes me want to write. Write to explore human emotions, write to release what I feel about it.. and the soundtrack following the credit just makes me linger and think about it all over again.


(book) What Happened to Goodbye

As a hardcore Dessen fan, I wouldn't miss this book for the world.

As much as I was disappointed about her previous two books, Lock and Key and Along For the Ride, I'm happy to say that this one's got its rhythm back. Of course, it's familiar, it's formulaic, but it's comforting, and it's a Dessen original.

I can't say I'm in love with the naming part (I'm a bit indifferent about Auden, Mclean and Ruby as the lead characters' names), or the same old formula: girl in trouble, girl meets charming boy, girl evolves into someone better. But then this one again reminds me why I love reading all of her books.

It starts directly, in the form of a scene, introduced with narration about the past. It gets a little flat after that, but picks up pace before the good middle part started. I love the dynamics between Dave and Mclean, and Dave is such a cute character! I didn't like Nate from Lock and Key and Eli from Along for the Ride, but Dave's perfect. The thing is, their friend/relationship is developed so nicely that it adds flavor to the story. The best part of a Dessen book is usually the friendship and the relationship between the leads and the side characters. I'm not so fond of the other characters this time, but Deb, Opal and the parents are fully developed and that also adds to the story nicely.

Oh, I'm also happy that the other characters from her previous books get mentioned: Gervais, Heidi, and specifically Jason, who's changed so much since we last read about him in The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride.

I personally feel that the divorce should be discussed more. Not just the aftermath, but flashbacks to the scene, a heartfelt discussion about how things change, people move on and finally accept it.. I feel that it would help us to understand the parents' decision better, and let Mclean understand them a little better.

I could go on and babble about this book, but suffice to say I love it. Love it a lot better than the last two books, and even though the ending's kind of blurry, I know that it's realistic enough that it should happen that way. As much as I don't like Mclean's immaturity by escaping her problems, I could understand her confusion and her hurt, which gets me teary eyed as I reach the book's climax.

A satisfying summer read indeed.

(book) Smile

Pertama tertarik baca karena admin Twitter Gramedia membuat serial tweet tentang buku ini. Nggak ngeh juga kalau ini berbentuk grafis, malah sempat mengira ini novel YA biasa. tapi setelah melihat kalau ini ternyata bergambar dan sinopsisnya kelihatan menarik, akhirnya beli deh.

Dan saya suka! Pernah juga pasang kawat, tahu jelas susahnya makan ini itu, sakitnya setelah dikencangkan, mulut yang jadi lebar, susahnya kalau difoto sambil tersenyum.. dan semuanya di usia 11-14 tahun, hampir sama dengan Raina.

I adore the graphics. Warnanya cantik, dan gambarnya khas Amerika, kayak lagi baca Archie. Begitu membalik halaman pertama langsung melihat betapa indah dan detilnya gambar, juga nggak asal-asalan dan semua halamannya berwarna. So worth it. Ceritanya juga ngena dan sederhana.. dan yang terpenting, memberikan pesan moral tersendiri, bahwa penampilan bisa mempengaruhi cara pandang terhadap diri sendiri. Pada saat remaja kita mengalami krisis kepercayaan diri dan mencari jati diri, sama seperti Raina, dan bagaimana cara menghadapinyalah yang penting :D

So, smile a wide smile!

Sabtu, 16 Juli 2011

(TV series) Castle season 1-2

Pertama kali nonton karena suka misteri pembunuhan yang agak light, tapi juga serius dan bikin otak muter. Not just a comedy where nothing really happens, tapi yang banyak action dan suspense. This one's perfect for weekend nights. Awalnya sangat seru, tapi begitu season 1 berlanjut, nggak terlalu banyak perkembangan dan perubahan plot kecuali mengenai pembunuhan ibu Detective Beckett. Lalu di season 2, interesting things happen. Banyak kasus yang lebih serius digarap, lebih misleading, lebih susah ditebak, lebih beragam, dan lebih seru.

Oh ya, Detective Beckett is gorgeous and Castle is just charming. Saya suka setiap karakternya yang jauh dari stereotipe - kick ass female detective, playboy writer, mature daughter, flighty mom, funny sidekicks.. :) I'm happy about the dialogue and the script as well! Setiap dialognya fresh dan lucu!

Can't wait for season 3.

(movie) Beastly

Bland. I was expecting fresh plots (though it's a recycled version of Beauty and the Beast). Sadly, the characters are flat with not much development, the acting's painful to see, and the dialogue feels like they're being read out loud at a reading practice. No emotion whatsoever.

Basically, the two leads have no chemistry. Even though the script is quite cleverly written, with beautiful winter cinematography (especially that glass house!), the movie fails to accomplish a connection with the audience and that wonderful happy ever after romance we're all looking for.

I don't even know what else to comment.

Kamis, 14 Juli 2011

Pemenang Kontes Avatar

Pertama-tama, saya ingin mengucapkan banyak-banyak terima kasih kepada semua teman-teman yang telah berpartisipasi dalam kontes avatar. Banyak haru dan senyum saat melihat berbagai variasi avatar, dari sketsa pensil buatan sendiri, foto yang sedemikian cantik, kombinasi montage foto, dan tulisan tangan yang semuanya dicurahkan dari hati. Sungguh sangat bahagia melihat karya kreatif yang indah tersebut.

Semuanya saya posting dalam Readers' Montage, dan walaupun ingin sekali memberikan penghargaan setingginya kepada setiap peserta, saat ini saya hanya bisa memberikan hadiah kepada dua pemenang, yang karyanya memang sudah bikin saya jatuh cinta sejak melihatnya.

Pemenang pertama adalah Adhysti Siswoyo, yang mendapatkan hadiah berupa 1 buku bertandatangan. Saya juga memilih karya Cicilia Tjandra sebagai pemenang, yang mendapatkan voucher The U Coffee sebesar Rp. 50 000,- dan free Privilege Card :)

karya Adhysti

karya Cicilia

Mudah-mudahan teman-teman terus berkarya, dan saya akan terus mengadakan kuis dan giveaway yang lebih seru lagi.

Rabu, 06 Juli 2011

Giveaway! Kontes membuat avatar berlatar buku

Berhubung Refrain masuk cetakan kesepuluh dan The Journeys cetak ulang lagi, aku ingin membuat giveaway berhadiah lagi. Hadiahnya adalah 1 novelku yang bertandatangan (terbuka utk domisili Indonesia), juga vouchers, free membership, dll (khusus domisili Jakarta).

Nah.. caranya gampang :) yaitu dengan membuat avatar/profile picture. Formatnya bisa foto buku, pose kamu dengan buku, ilustrasi jpeg seperti di Tumblr dengan quote buku, sketsa karakter novel, apa pun.. selama berhubungan dengan novel Ai/Refrain/Unbelievable/Remember When :) bisa jadi avatar FB atau Twitter, jangan lupa tag aku juga.

Kontes dibuka sampai 14 Juli 2011. Avatar yang disubmit bisa lebih dari satu, tema juga bebas. Contoh avatar berupa foto saya attach di bawah ini, ciptaan Cito Meriko :)

That's giveaway of the month.. thanks!

Jumat, 01 Juli 2011

On faith

Life; work, stuffs, are not easy.
Love; relationships, love, friendships, bonds, are not easy either.

That's one thing about life. You never know where you're going to be, how you're going to end up. One day you're up in the air, the next day you might be tossed down in dirt. One day you might laugh your heart out, then there are times you will cry - be it those silent tears running down your face, or the loudest sobs you've ever had. One day you will lose someone, and some other time, if you wait patiently enough, you will meet another person and your heart will bloom again. You might let go, you might never forget. That other person might be the one, or he will be just another heartbreak. You never know.

One day you might find out that the person you trust and know best turns out to be a stranger. Maybe a stranger you meet on the street will later be the love of your life. Maybe you'll have your heart trampled and lose your faith to love. Or maybe you're that lucky girl who gets a proposal with a ring inside your champagne glass. Maybe, we never know.

Sometimes all it takes is one lucky coin on the street to make your day. Some other times you feel like walking down a dark alley with dead ends. Sometimes you're on a high because you get a promotion, sometimes you hit your lowest mark. Sometimes you just want to curse the worst words in your vocabulary, sometimes you're all smiles your cheeks hurt.

I've been there, we've all been there. Death, losing a job, losing a fortune, heartbreaks, love that doesn't last, regrets, fear. Tears of joy, soulmates, true love, being the best version of ourselves, winning, hugging your loved ones close, letting go without grudges, the best of friends.

Isn't life funny that way? And isn't it just fair that way?

It's not easy getting over our grief, facing problems with courage and strength, overcoming the stormy times in our life. And it's easy not to be grateful for every little thing we have, sometimes forgetting to count our blessings and choose to moan and whine instead. It's not easy hearing critics thrown in your face, watching people's backs as they walk away and never return. Life is damn difficult.

It takes a special strength to be able to face your demons and walk straight, with no hesitation. There's no guarantee that we won't ever stumble on the way, because we will. Because I know I will. But always be reminded that God is with us every step of the way. Because I'm lucky enough to know that someone is always holding my hand and walk beside me, even though sometimes I forget, or I'm too blind to see, too scared to believe.

Nothing is ever easy. You just need to have faith.

one Friday night, thinking of everything and nothing, and you.
picture credit: faqs.org