Velkommen

På bloggen her kan du finde anmeldelser af alt fra fantasy, science Fiction, kærlighed, chicklit, YA og NA til historiske romaner, krimier, spændingsbøger, og hvad jeg ellers lige falder over, der ser spændende ud. Herudover er der bl.a. Book Hauls og Kommende Udgivelser, samt Månedlige Opsummeringer. Occasional posts/reviews in English.
~ Iben
Bibliotekar, bogblogger & boganmelder

06/12/2012

Still Alive!

Holy cow, it's nearly been a month! Sorry guys!

I'm still alive, I've just been swamped in exam papers, just finished one today, and now getting started on the next. I am reading - actually enjoying a reread of the Hobbit right now so I'm ready for the film (Can't wait!!), and I've also got Bridget Jones' Diary 2 lined up as well as Insurgent and some other promising reads.

I will have a review up eventually, but right now I've got to focus on my papers. I can tell you though, that I recently finished Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding and I was blown away. That is such an excellent book, I recommend it as a must-read!

13/11/2012

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies #1

Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to "the Smoke" and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn't very pretty. The "Special Circumstances" authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

I really enjoyed Uglies. It's very well written and captivating and Tally's inner turmoil and frustrations are very relate-able.

I love how distinctly different the uglies and pretties are portrayed. It's such a different setup from the usual dystopian plots. The Barbie dolls on the cover of this version is so spot on. Uglies - regular looking, ordinary people - believe they look ugly, because the Pretties - 16 year old changed into "perfection" using plastic surgery, who party day and night) outshine them totally, before ageing enough to become Middle Pretties (surgery again, to become slightly more ordinary, but still pretty). Then adding into the mix those from the Smoke - it's interesting stuff, both psychological and philosophical.

The ending was frustrating as it's a pure cliffhanger, there's no ending, no wrap up - just pure: to be continued... The second book is therefore a future must-read; it will be interesting to see if Westfeld can keep up the writing, the universe and the strength of the characters.

Uglies is the first in the Uglies series followed by Pretties (#2), Specials (#3) and Extras (#4).


425 pages / published in 2005
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

03/11/2012

Voice of the Gods by Trudi Canavan

Age of the Five: Book Three

My review of book 1, Priestess of the White, can be found here
My review of book 2, The Last of the Wilds, can be found here
 
Unable to avoid being drawn into the terrible conflict, Auraya, now protector of the Siyee, fears she will be unable to meet the conditions of the all-powerful gods she once served. And an offer from a mysterious woman may be impossible for Auraya to refuse, but, if revealed, would brand her an enemy of the gods. Now, the immortal Wilds will not be deterred in their quest for powerful, long-buried secrets. But they have deadly adversaries who also seek the world-shattering truth . . . and it may appear in a form that no one anticipates.

I'm not big on spoilers (both for this book and it's predecessors), so I'll keep this brief.

The series steadily got better towards the end. The first book spent a lot of time building the world and its inhabitants (and of course, the characters) and the second was able to focus more the story itself. The third book has a lot of loose ends and questions to deal with and I do think it manages to wrap it all up nicely. I saw most of the twists and turns a mile off, but still appreciated them nonetheless. I really liked the main characters and as usual Canavan is excellent at juggling a large number of character point-of-views. Auraya, Emerahl and Mirrar are 3 very substantial and relate-able characters, and it was also nice to get closer to the Voices and understand the "enemy".  The ending didn't have a wow-effect though, nor was is particularly spectacular, and the epilogue was just plain useless, which leaves the book on a solid 4 stars.


626 pages / published in 2006
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

30/10/2012

Broken Sky by Chris Wooding

The Broken Sky series was originally published as 9 books, but in 2007-08 republished into the author's originally intended trilogy. I've read the 3 translated books.

Broken Sky is the story of two mirrored worlds, the Dominions and Kirin Taq. It’s about a pair of twins who find themselves torn from the safety of their home and thrown into the conflict, and how they become key players in the battle for both dimensions against the despotic King Macaan and his daughter.
(from the author's page about the series)

The 3 books:
  • Twilight War (Broken Sky: Act 1)
  • Communion (Broken Sky: Act 2)
  • The Citadel (Broken Sky: Act 3)

I'll start out by saying that I can't review the language/writing in the books. The Danish translations are absolutely horrendous, to the point where you sometimes wonder if they ran sentences through Google Translate. HOWEVER - the story is pretty intricate, awesome, action-filled and dramatic and I quite enjoyed it. Some of the characters are a bit too basic, but the plot really isn't. The tone is sometimes a bit silly, even childish, but some of the events are downright brutal - there is no mercy.

Do not be fooled by the covers (illustrated here are the Danish ones). All of them, original language and translated ones, just scream... something negative, I have nothing against the style at all, it's just not a good version of it. Though definitely incredible inspired and influenced by the Japanese cartoon style Manga and Anime, it's proper novels with "proper" writing (as in, not in the least, a cartoon). Having seen Animes though, is a help, because it's so easy to imagine the monsters and creatures in the books when you know what style they derive from. I would actually quite love to see them as an animated TV series.

Ironically – since it was born from the desire to write an animated series – Broken Sky went into development as an animated series. They’d even got to the stage of making trailers – which looked fantastic – but sadly the project has since died. Oh well…
(from the author's page about the series


The 3 books are very similar and all got 3 stars each. They are so inseparable that I read them back to back - obviously you don't have to do that, but I think I would have had trouble remembering who's who and why and what if I hadn't done it like that.


986 pages (3 books) / originally published in 1999-2001
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

25/10/2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

One choice decides your friends
One choice defines your beliefs
One choice determines your loyalties - forever
One choice can transform you

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

Divergent was a great read. Unable to put it down I sped through it and loved every second. I had heard a lot of positive hype about it and it didn't disappoint!

The dystopian world is very well formed (though... a bit too fantasy), and I really liked both main characters and side kicks. I especially liked the mind set of Beatrice and following her struggles to adapt to her choice. The romance felt very real (and steamy!). I did have a few annoyances along the way and am never a fan of open endings with very little, if any, closure, but the writing style and the general story still earned it 5 stars and I look forward to reading book 2 - Insurgent (despite the somewhat bad reviews that one is getting).


487 pages / published in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

16/10/2012

Readathon Wrap-Up and Reviews

The readathon was fabulous. It was really quite addicting to read that much in such little time, focusing solely on that (or at least trying to focus!) and this definitely hasn't been my last time for joining in on the fun!

I didn't read constantly as I was dragged out shopping between 13-16 and called it a night at 1 AM. I did get 3 books read though, a total of 1036 pages!

My 3 reads (who amazingly all turned out to be 4 star reads) were:

Ultraviolet by RJ Sanderson

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.
Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison’s condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can’t explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori—the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that’s impossible. Right?

(Ultraviolet #1)

My first read for the readathon and it was really quite amazing. Ultraviolet was very well written and so different from anything I've read before. I had somehow gotten into my head that it was a dystopian novel, but it's not in any way. Alison's struggle to prove she's not mad - even to herself - was fascinating to read. The ending did take me a bit by surprise, well not as much the ending, but the revelation of the plot. I would probably have preferred something more.. real. Still, though - a great read. Ultraviolet took me about 5 hours to read - I knew I was being dragged off for the afternoon for what turned out to be a shitty convention and some grocery shopping, so I started the book a little early to make up for the delay.

410 pages / published in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012


Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Accompanied by her stepbrother, Tolliver (who works as her manager), Harper heads to small-town Arkansas for their next job. Her client is a socialite named Sybil Teague, who wants Harper to find a teenage girl who disappeared on the day her son was found shot dead in the woods. The girl, Monteen "Teenie" Hopkins, has a reputation for being "wild as a razorback," and scandalous rumors abound about the two. But once Harper locates Teenie's corpse a short distance from the spot where Sybil's son died and reveals that she was shot in the back while trying to escape, the real trouble starts. As more town residents begin to turn up dead -- and with her brother in jail on bogus charges -- Harper must find the real killer before she becomes his next victim.

(Harper Connelly #1)

I didn't know what to expect with this book, but soon something became very clear - it was just as well written and easily readable as Harris' True Blood books. With plot weighing less on the paranormal and more on the characters, it was very much like a regular crime/thriller book. I genuinely liked the main characters and though some of the plot was easy to guess it was still very entertaining - will definitely be reading more from this series. Grave Sight took me about 6 hours to read (though that includes breaks for dinner, walking the dogs and being distracted by a 007 film).

263 pages / published in 2007
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012


Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer

Artemis’s mother has contracted a deadly disease—and the only cure lies in the brain fluid of African lemurs. Unfortunately, Artemis himself was responsible for making the lemurs extinct five years ago. Now he must enlist the aid of his fairy friends to travel back in time and save them. Not only that, but he must face his deadliest foe yet... his younger self.

(Artemis Fowl #6)

I can't recall ever being let down by an Artemis Fowl book and this one didn't either. The characters are a joy as usual and the plot as surreal and convoluted as always. It's such an easy series of book to read and as such it was great for the final stretch of the readathon! I had less than 4½ hours to read it and I made it with less than a minute to spare - it was quite dramatic :D

363 pages / published in 2008
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl #5

Ten thousand years ago, humans and fairies fought a great battle for the magical island of Ireland. When it became clear to the fairy families that they could never win, they decided to move their civilization underground and keep themselves hidden from the humans. All the fairy families agreed on this, except the eighth family, the demons. The demons planned to lift their small island out of time until they had regrouped and were ready to wage war on the humans once more. However, the time spell went wrong, and the island of Hybras was catapulted into Limbo, where it has remained for ten thousand years. Now the tainted time spell is deteriorating and demons are being sucked back into the present space and time. The fairy council is concerned about this and is monitoring any materializations. But when the spells deterioration accelerates, the materializations become unpredictable. Even the fairy scientists cannot figure out where the next demon will pop up. But someone can. Artemis Fowl, teenage criminal mastermind, has solved temporal equations that no normal human should be intelligent enough to understand. So when a confused and frightened demon pops up in a Sicilian theater, Artemis Fowl is there to meet him. Unfortunately, he is not the only one. A second, mysterious party has also solved the temporal equations, and has managed to abduct the demon before Artemis can secure him. Once again, Artemis will have to pair up with his old comrade, Captain Holly Short, to track down the missing demon and rescue him, before the time spell dissolves completely and the lost demon colony returns violently to Earth.

I'm not actually going to say anything here other than that Artemis Fowl books are well worth the read. I think I've given them all 4 stars. They're well written, funny, interesting and different. Artemis is slowly aging, but he was never a childish character, though I've read about him since I was on. I liked him then and I like him now.


376 pages / published in 2006
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

13/10/2012

Readathon progress

Saturday 14:00 -- Let the 24 hour ReadAThon begin!!

UPDATE 14:30 -- So, we're 30 minutes into the readathon and though visiting my parents for the weekend I had expected to just read all day - however mom had some free tickets for a convention on house and home and we all decided to go. It was so not worth it - so dull.

However I have managed to read a fair bit of Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson, I'm on page 177 out of 410 and it's really good! It's no struggle at all to read a lot of it in a short time - in short a great read to start out the readathon with!

UPDATE #2 16:56 -- 59% done with Ultraviolet, got a lot read in the car home.

UPDATE #3 18:43 -- have finished my first ReadAThon book :) 4 stars to Ultraviolet; a very well written paranormal YA book!

UPDATE #4 21:18 -- am 50 pages into Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris and really enjoying it so far. I like her style of writing. Haven't read the back cover though so have no idea what to expect in regards to the plot.

UPDATE #5 01:02 -- it's just past 1 AM now which means the 12th hour of the readathon has just begun. I have just finished my second book and it was a good one. It turned out to be in the crime genre with supernatural elements thrown in to add to the thrill and suspension. I think I'll have to get hold of more books in this series.
For now though, the ReadAThon is over for me for tonight, it's time to get some sleep. To all those brave souls who are staying awake the full 24 hours - I salute you!

UPDATE #6 09:35 -- I'm up and about after a good night's sleep and it's time for breakfast and my third book! I'm reading Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer - it's the 20th hour and I've got less than 4.5 hour to read 369 pages!

UPDATE #7 11:53 -- 71% done with The Time Paradox, quite an easy read

EDIT TO UPDATE 7 - only 52% done, had mistakenly entered 262 rather than 363 when updating the book's details on Goodreads

UPDATE #8 14:06 -- the 24 hour ReadAThon is officially over! I finished my third book just in the nick of time (and now actually suffering a bit of a head ache because of that). Will return later with wrap up post!

12/10/2012

Readathon

First, up - I'm sorry about the infrequency of reviews. I've been super busy the past few weeks, trying (and failing miserably) at catching up with school work, so I haven't had much surplus to also write decent reviews.

Tomorrow though I’m participating in Dewey’s Readathon for the first time ever! To those who don’t know it’s 24 hours where we globally sit down and read all we can.

However because of those damn time zones in Denmark those time zones span from 2 PM Saturday to 2 PM Sunday, so I won’t be able to dedicate myself to it completely as I’m also visiting my parents this weekend. I do have a pile of books lined up though, both physically and digitally.

Borrowed from the library I’ve go:
Ultraviolet by RJ Anderson
Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Digitally I’ve got:
Brands by Marcel Danesi (uni-homework actually) Frostbite (A Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead
Beastly by Alex Finn
Dead until Dawn by Charlaine Harris
And many many more

I doubt I’ll get through even half of the above, I have never done a readathon before and don’t really know what to expect. I do know though that unless a book is really fetching I struggle to read for absolutely hours on end (unless I’m lying by a pool on holiday). There’s just always so much else to do!

We’ll see how it goes, I’ll update regularly on my process both here and on twitter (Nimue1988) and hopefully it’ll be a good experience ^^ Good speed to all those also participating!

Are you joining in on the fun? Throw me a link in the comment section!

30/09/2012

The Shining - Carrie - Misery by Stephen King

Omnibus
For the first time ever in one volume three nightmarish tales of horror from the best selling author Stephen King.

Previously  the only book I've read by King was his half-memoir/biography / half-instructions-maual called On Writing. I've attempted other books in the past, but never felt the need to read him and just never been pulled in. The above 3 books all pulled me in so hard I was left momentarily stunned. They are so incredibly well written, I can't believe I haven't read them before. Carrie stands on its own a bit as it's a slightly different writing style and use of POV, but in The Shining and in Misery the thoughts, mental processes and consequent actions of the characters are just so tangible.

If you haven't already, these are all books I can only recommend you to read.


686 pages / published in 1992
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012



The Shining
Danny is only five years old, but he is a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of an old hotel, his visions grow out of control. Cut off by blizzards, the hotel seems to develop an evil force, and who are the mysterious guests in the supposedly empty hotel?

Incredibly well written, The Shining is such a psychological thriller/horror. It freaked me out a few times, but never in the now-I'm-afraid-to-close-my-eyes kind of way. The ending felt a bit ... off, but I have no clue as to how it "should" have ended any differently.


originally published in 1977



Carrie
Carrie White may have been unfashionable and unpopular, but she had a gift. Carrie could make things move by concentrating on them. A candle would fall. A door would lock. This was her power and her sin. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offered Carrie a chance to be a normal and go to her senior prom. But another act--of ferocious cruelty--turned her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that her classmates would never forget.

It being King's debut novel, I felt that style of it was a bit off - like he hadn't truly found the right "voice" just yet. It wasn't as gripping as the other two stories and Carrie is not very likeable or relate-able (but then again, I don't really think she's supposed to be). Still an okay read though.


originally published in 1974



Misery
Novelist Paul Sheldon wakes up in a secluded farmhouse in Colorado with broken legs and Annie Wilkes, a disappointed fan, hovering over him with drugs, axe, and blowtorch and demanding that he bring his heroine back to life.

Amazing. Simply amazing. I couldn't put it down, it was so scary/gross at times it was just plain awesome and extremely well written... however it doesn't quite get a full 5 stars though; there was something about the ending that left me confused even after a reread of the last pages. Again, like in The Shining, I think some stories are just hard to end without it being too anti-climactic, too happy even. After so much horror, how can the Main Character or the reader relate to something mellow?


originally published in 1987



Word of warning though: The films made out of Carrie and The Shining are dung. I haven't seen Misery in it's film version as I don't want any more frustration. Basically both films screw up massively, killing off wrong people, changing the major themes and just straight up making a mess of it. I was so disappointed. Rumours has it, so was King.

13/09/2012

Book Haul #3 - 4 Classics

Look what I bought today :D It's really quite silly as they are all available for free as ebooks being so old, but decided that there's a better chance I'll get to reading them if I have them in paperforms + I can bring one or two of these on holiday next week rather than my iPad :)


Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky / Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy / The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo / Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

11/09/2012

Top Ten Bookish Confessions

I don't usually go for these memes (and this one is even outdated as it's the one from August 28th), but I suddenly felt like answering :)

Top Ten Tuesday is the fancy meme by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Bookish Confessions (Anything! You dog ear, you hated a book but said you loved it, you have $500 library fines - anything goes!)
  1. I use anything as a bookmark. My cell phone, scrap paper, bus card, pen, a playing card my cat's chewed to pieces, a glow in the dark star - anything. I never dog ear.
  2. I write and highlight in school/uni related books (obviously only the ones I own)
  3. I struggle through books. It will have to be exceptionally badly written for me to put it down for good, it might be put on hold for months, but ever so slowly I will (usually) finish it.
  4. I like ebooks just fine, but find physical books easier to lie with in bed. Also as long as ebooks in many cases are as expensive or almost as the physical copy I'll rather buy the physical.
  5. I do read more than one book at a time, I have a hard time with it sometime, but sometimes it just can't be help.
  6. I detest YA love where the characters fawn over each other and how *gorgeous* they are and have found their one true love, but have absolutely nothing in common or simply don't know anything about each other.
  7. To quote ReadBreatheRelax: I am really worried that J.K. Rowling’s new book is going to be terrible.— The cover is atrocious….and the subject matter sounds so unlike her. I’m just straight up scared.
  8. Since I read so much in English, I've expanded my vocabulary. However, I don't always know how it's correctly pronounced which led to some entertaining moments with words like thorough and ominous (I was initially convinced it was omnious).
  9. I love the look of ancient books - those old leather-bound things from 50+ years ago. Even more I think it's awesome to read old Danish (translations) and see how differently words were spelled and the different syntax from modern language.
  10. In light of my economy being petite while studying, I've become a big fan of the library again rather than buying. I used the library endlessly when I was a kid, but had a streak where I didn't feel like it. Now I'm back, baby!

04/09/2012

The Last of the Wilds by Trudi Canavan

Age of the Five: Book Two

My review of book 1, Priestess of the White, can be found here

The war between the Circlians and Pentadrians is over, but the cost has been high on both sides.
Although the architect of the White's victory, Auraya has little cause for self-congratulation: her days are spent trying to reconcile the Dreamweavers and the priesthood, while her nights are filled with nightmares where she walks in fields of blood and gore while the dead rise in accusation.
The Dreamweaver, Leiard, still struggling to come to terms with the ever more powerful memories of the long-dead Mirar, flees into the mountains with Emerahl, perhaps the last of the Wilds. Although not a Dreamweaver herself, Emerahl is powerfully gifted and helps Leiard to make sense of his strange jumble of memories. What they discover will change his life forever.
And far to the south, the Pentadrians lick their wounds and set about finding a new leader. Their faith unshaken by defeat, they are still resolved to bring the truth to the heathens of the north. Peace, it seems, must wait a while yet...

The Last of the Wilds held me enchanted throughout the entire book and easily beat the first book in the series. The world and main characters are now already built and defined and book two can and does focus on developing them further.

I love Canavan's ability to have so many point of views - I never felt even slightly annoyed when one chapter ended and it was time to see what somebody else was up to - every single character was just so interesting this time around. We are introduced to a few more characters and they along with the existing main characters are much more fleshed out and every single story line was just so interesting and... readable. The Gods are even more present in this book, and feel more human? Maybe that's just what happens when characters interact directly with deities who aren't omnipotent-present-etcetera.

I love how detailed and rich the world, the story is set in, is. It's quite remarkable and along with the very intricate story lines that mostly keeps me unable to guess what's happening next, it's really a joy to read this book. I'm really looking forward to reading the third and final book in the series, Voice of the Gods to see how it all turns out and how Canavan sorts out all the twists and turns.




614 pages / published in 2006
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

30/08/2012

Books I read but didn't review

 It's time to throw in the towel, I've got some books I've read, but neglected to review and they're now too far away in my memory for me to give them a proper review. Instead I'll do a brief review of each here


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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Every year, the Scorpio Races are run on the beaches of Skarmouth. Every year, the sea washes blood from the sand. To race the savage water horses can mean death, but the danger is irresistible.
When Puck enters the races to save her family, she is drawn to the mysterious Sean, the only person on the island capable of taming the beasts.
Even if they stay together, can they stay alive?
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I enjoyed The Scorpio Races, to my pleasant surprise it felt far better written than the previous books from Stiefvater. Particularly the main characters felt more likeable and properly outlined to me. It took a while to get into it, and while it never properly hooked me, it was hard to put down by the end. This is a book I can really picture making a good impression as a film, it's very visual and to my (granted, limited) knowledge, pretty unused territory. I mean... killer horses racing. Sure there's young love and all that, but even their relationship works - mainly because it's so understated and not the usual OMG HE'S BEAUTIFUL I MUST HAVE HIM! ;)

 
482 pages / published in 2011


Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson


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Every teenager wants to fit in and be just like everybody else. So imagine how hard that is when your father runs a taxidermy business out of the family home, your mother runs the student cafeteria, and your sister has just been elected high school mascot, which means she walks the halls in a giant bird costume. But as Jenny Lawson grows up, falls in love, gets engaged - in a way that is as disastrous as it is romantic - and starts a family of her own, she learns that life's most absurd and humiliating moments, the ones we wish we could pretend had never happened, are the very same moments that make us who we are.
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Let's Pretend This Never Happened isn't your usual blog-inspired books where blog entries have been stolen and bastardized into chapters. It's a book that happens to be written by a blogger, and that makes a huge difference. However, many of the things Lawson tells about does make more sense if you're already an avid reader of her blog (www.thebloggess.com) as it puts some things into context. I laughed out loud numerous times, especially the first half of the book was just pure gold. I am obviously biased as I'm a major fan of her blog (which, I totally think you should check out if you haven't already; living the weirdest life, she writes about everything - including her depressions and her anxieties and every so often amongst the thousands of comments, you find the ones telling her thank you  for - literally - saving their lives by letting them know they're not alone and breaking the taboo.)


313 pages / published in 2012


I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

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Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books - but we are real.
Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing.
But they know.They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They killed them all. I am Number Four. I am next
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I saw the film and it left a lot of questions unanswered and as such decided to read the book. Mostly it managed to annoy me with the 15-or-so-year-old main character who finds his one true love. 'Cause that's how them aliens does it. It never really caught my full attention and throughout it I remained unimpressed. I never felt engaged, the characters were pretty bland and the action failed to be exciting. To be honest with you I can't remember why I gave it 3 stars, most likely it was just well enough written and still held an interesting concept, even if poorly executed.


360 pages / published in 2010





Reviews by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

26/08/2012

Behind the Scenes

Goodness, I've been gone for a while.

To give you the quick version - I was hospitalized, they feared meningitis, it turned out to "just" be a nasty infection. My last review was actually published just after I'd been released and was on forced holiday at my parents'. I've been incredibly tired for a long time, but now, nearly 2 weeks later I'm a-okay again and all is well :)

Upcoming events are school starting up again (3rd semester of the Master degree), my birthday the 7th of September and the total of 3 parties/dinners I'm hosting (study group/old friends/family), a We Love The 90's concert the 15th and going to Turkey for a week afterwards.

I'm currently rereading the Broken Sky series by Chris Wooding and while the books are quite decent and action packed, the translation to Danish is absolutely dreadful. I'm also currently reading my way through the entire collected stories of the Brothers Grimm. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright weird with no point to it whatsoever. It's quite fun reading really :)

17/08/2012

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

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For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town's idyllic facade lies a terrible secret -- a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.
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The Stepford Wives is a very short book, but still holds quite a story. It was in no way as gripping nor even as remotely scary as some sources would have me believe, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless and am glad to finally have read one of those books everybody just seems to know off. As such I won't dwell too much on the story, as it's already been worked through countless times by people far more clever than me.

I will say though that while Joanna's feelings, frustrations and being is very well written and she feels so real, the ultimate big secret of Stepford - not so much. The ending is pretty rubbish, seeing as we're never told what actually happens. My mind, being so caught up in today's technology as it is, scoffs at the notion of anybody in the 70's being able to create a robot that even vaguely resembles a human being.

After reading the book, I immediately borrowed both films and saw those too. The old one from '74 (or was it 73?) is a mess, but pretty close to the book, though where the book refuses to answer plainly what's going on, the film doesn't leave you hanging. The film from 2004 is visually pretty; it's an updated modern version and sports a proper ending although vastly different from the original. Neither really manages to showcase the Joanna from the book.





116 pages / published in 1972
 Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

09/08/2012

The Rogue by Trudi Canavan

Book 2 in the Traitor Spy Trilogy 

My review of book 1, The Ambassador's Mission, can be found here

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Living among the Sachakan rebels, Lorkin does his best to learn about them and their unique magic. But the Traitors are reluctant to trade their knowledge for the Healing they so desperately want and, while he assumes they fear revealing their existence to the world, there are hints they have bigger plans.
Sonea searches for the rogue, knowing that Cery cannot avoid assassination for ever, but the rogue's influence over the city's underworld is far greater than she feared. His only weakness is the loss of his mother, now locked away in the Lookout.
In Sachaka, Dannyl has lost the respect of the Sachakan elite for letting Lorkin join the Traitors. The Ashaki's attention has shifted, instead, to the new Elyne Ambassador, a man Dannyl knows all too well.
And in the University, two female novices are about to remind the Guild that sometimes their greatest enemy is found within.
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First off, note to self - review books shortly after finishing them. Leaving it too long reading and a dozen other books makes it hard to remember the fine points.

But what do I remember? I really enjoyed it. Canavan is juggling quite a handful of POVs as usual, but in my opinion she does it really well, keeping the story flowing and captivating.

There were a few details I couldn't quite remember from the first book and as such was a bit behind on the significance of some things, but mostly it was easy enough to pick up this book #2. We follow 3 familiar characters, Lorkin, Sonea and Dannyl, getting a deeper understanding of who they are and we are introduced to a new girl, Lillia, who I think will play quite a significant part in the third book.

The book's ending is quite typical for the second book of a trilogy. Though not a whole lot of action takes place throughout the book many essential things still happen keeping the plot moving forwards and it was never a chore to pick up and get reading. I am very curious how it's all going to end. So far the major obstacles and "bad things" are dealt with before the end of each book, and (though my memory is arguably impaired right now) I can't think of anything major that combines them besides the characters' individual story lines.. Oh and black magic of course. Mustn't forget that.*

*Also, the next book is called The Traitor Queen so that gives a bit of a hint. (The third and final book is due for release in just a few days! on the 14th of August)







512 pages / published in 2011
 Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

05/08/2012

Reading the Classics

Inspired by the wonderful Sam from Tiny Library (who's far better at reading the big books than I am) and her post about joining the Classics Club, I've decided to follow suit. I'm still debating whether or not to sign up - simply because it appears you can at most take 5 years to read your list - and this isn't my list of books I'm in a hurry to read. These are books that will be fun to read when I feel inspired as well as some books that will require me to attack them like they're a homework assignment in college. These are all books I strive to read, simply to educate myself, to broaden my horizon. Some I've read before, but wish to reread as I've found that my reading perspective and comprehension has changed vastly from when I was younger, a few I've read and am done with.

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Crossedout - finished
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  1. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee (1960)
  2. Paradise Lost by John Milton (1668)
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
  4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1811)
  5. The Children of Húrin by JRR Tolkien (1988)
  6. Don Quixoteby Miquel de Cervantes Saavedra (1605)
  7. Emma by Jane Austen (1815)
  8. Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818)
  9. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814)
  10. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1817)
  11. Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)
  12. The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (1972)
  13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
  14. Peter Pan by JM Barrie (1911)
  15. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (1980)
  16. The Odyssey by Homer (-750)
  17. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)
  18. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (1843)
  19. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (1838)
  20. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)
  21. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe(Chronicles of Narnia #1) by C.S. Lewis (1950)
  22. White Fang by Jack London (1905)
  23. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)
  24. The Shunned House by HP Lovecraft (1924)
  25. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories byH.P. Lovecraft (1926)
  26. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1865)
  27. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
  28. The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkien (1977)
  29. Roverandom by JRR Tolkien (1998 – written in 1925)
  30. LotR 1 – The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien (1954)
  31. LotR 2 – The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien (1954)
  32. LotR 3 – The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien (1954)
  33. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (1937)
  34. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862)
  35. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo(1831)
  36. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)
  37. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (1873)
  38. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by JulesVerne (1864)
  39. The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (1874)
  40. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (1595)
  41. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1602)
  42. Macbeth by William Shakespeare (1605)
  43. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (1595)
  44. Othello by William Shakespeare (1622)
  45. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (1599)
  46. King Lear by William Shakespeare (1603)
  47. The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare (1590)
  48. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)
  49. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (1610)
  50. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare (1597)
  51. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (1589)
  52. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
  53. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx (1848)
  54. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
  55. 1984 by George Orwell (1949)
  56. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890)
  57. The Canterville Ghostby Oscar Wilde (1887)
  58. A Study in Scarlett (SH #1) by Arthur ConanDoyle (1892)
  59. The Hound of the Baskervilles (SH #5) by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)
  60. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
  61. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1882)
  62. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
  63. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
  64. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
  65. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894)
  66. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
  67. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1390)
  68. Thus Spoke Zarzthustra by Friedrich Nietzsche (1883)
  69. The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche (1882)
  70. The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach (1841)

Animal Farm by George Orwell

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Animal Farm is the most famous by far of all twentieth-century political allegories. Its account of a group of barnyard animals who revolt against their vicious human master, only to submit to a tyranny erected by their own kind, can fairly be said to have become a universal drama. Orwell is one of the very few modern satirists comparable to Jonathan Swift in power, artistry, and moral authority; in animal farm his spare prose and the logic of his dark comedy brilliantly highlight his stark message.
Taking as his starting point the betrayed promise of the Russian Revolution, Orwell lays out a vision that, in its bitter wisdom, gives us the clearest understanding we possess of the possible consequences of our social and political acts.
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I've arrived very late to this party and as such Animal Farm didn't teach me anything I didn't already know or hadn't heard before. However it was still a very interesting read and I'm glad I finally made the effort to read this short story which holds such high political and sociological value in both modern day and the past.

It's a very short story for such a big message, but had it been longer it would have been close to unreadable - as it is we're already hit over the head repeatedly with the point of it just to make sure that message gets through.

I loved the allegories used, and I loved what the animal represents. Irrationally my dislike for pigs grew after reading it. It's really something everyone should read, and I'm actually pretty sad we don't here in Denmark. It's not part of any curriculum in school; the time where I got closest to reading it was in High School/College (it's sort of the same in Denmark) but in Advanced English we chose to focus on Shakespeare and some other big names rather than this.

-- All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others --






89 pages / published in 1945
 Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

30/07/2012

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, grifters, and misfits the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth a second-rate travelling circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. Jacob, a veterinary student who almost earned his degree, is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie, and it is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.
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Water for Elephants is hands down the best book I've read all year if not for longer. It's amazingly well written and it was so captivating I couldn't put it down.

The book tells two tales - the past and the present. Old man Jankowski is bitterly stuck in an old folks' home reminiscing his past - and what a past! Giving the reader a very detailed insight to circus life in America under the depression it shows just how brutal humans can be to both each other and to animals. But it also shows the goodness and kindness that prevails in some and those made it all worth it. And while obviously circus life plays a huge part of this book, so does the simple subject of aging and how we treat our elders. Jacob's frustration of being old and slow and treated like he's senile hit me hard. I forced my mother to read the book too (she gave it 4 stars, finding the ending a bit too forced), she works in Elder Care and she thought it was quite a reminder on how to see the elders and remember that they have a past and weren't always just a slow frail thing in a rocking chair.

Jacob is such a lovable character, both young and old and I adored Rosie. I'm a bit on the fence about Marlena and the romance; basically I just didn't really feel the appeal but accept that they just have a connection, off the same age, on the same wavelength etc. August scared me so so much, he's just such a perfectly written twisted horrible man, and Uncle Al isn't really far behind. The multitudes of smaller characters worked seamlessly with the story and the main characters, their stories telling us about the hardship of life back then, while the main characters mainly just focus on the Jacob's story.

The back cover summary pretty much says all that needs to be said about the story, the rest you must discover as you read it - and in my honest opinion it's well worth the read.






429 pages / published in 2006
 Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012


** On another note I also saw the film and though the first half was pretty good, especially visually, despite them cutting some things and mashing together some characters, the second half was just plain bad and it really lost a lot of the story's value for me.

23/07/2012

Crossed by Ally Condie

Book 2 in the Matched series

My review of Matched, book 1, can be found here

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The society chooses everything.
The books you read. The music you listen to. The person you love.
Yet for Cassia the rules have changed. Ky has been taken and she will sacrifice everything to find him. And when Cassia discovers Ky has escaped to the wild frontiers beyond the Society there is hope. But on the edge of society nothing is as it seems... A rebellion is rising. And a tangled web of lies and double-crosses could destroy everything.
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I struggle to decide what to think of Crossed. On one side it's well written and kept me reading, but on the other not a whole lot actually happens. The amount of pages spent on them wandering around remembering odd fragments and lies trying to decipher what's true and what's an evil plot laid down by Society! Personally I'm not fond of garbled questions to which the answer may or may not lie in the previous books - particularly when the previous book wasn't noteworthy enough for me to remember such details!

The ending bothers me as it goes nowhere, apart from onwards to the third book, you get no resolutions at all; I would have liked for Condie to throw us just a little bone.

I'm now in the situation where I've mostly enjoyed the book, but have lost interest in the series as a whole and am in no any hurry to read the next (though I probably will). Book 3 will be called Reached and is due to published in November 2012 according to Goodreads.







367 pages / published in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 201

16/07/2012

The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

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Into the treacherous Tudor court walks Hannah Green, a bookseller's daughter with a gift to read more than his banned books. Entangled in the schemes of the handsome traitor Robert Dudley, she is sent as a Holy Fool to spy on Princess Mary and finds a complex woman driven by a fatal desire to turn England back to its true faith - while her half-sister Elizabeth waits to take advantages of any mistake she makes.
Caught in the deadly rivalry between the daughters of Henry VIII, torn between her infatuation with Dudley and duty to her family, Hannah must find a safe way through tumultuous times - when the wrong religion is a death sentence, science and magic are one, and true love is a fatal weakness...
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 Philippa Gregory is my undisputed Queen of Tudor-related novels. I absolutely love her writing style and I love submerging myself in the stories she tells.

Hannah is a fictitious character set in a world of mostly fact. The books I've read prior by Gregory always focus on a real person (like Elizabeth, Mary Stuart, Katherine of Aragon, etc) but it doesn't even diminish the book that Hannah didn't exist - because someone like her could have existed. Her story is told so vividly, describing a 16th century London that's so real I could almost smell it (and ew, that place smelled horrid, they didn't believe in showering back then) **

I think my only complaint, if we can call it that, is that while the big characters' fates (such as Mary's and Elizabeth's) are set in stone, Gregory could do with Hannah's as she pleased - and though she goes through hell, it ends up as close to picture perfect as you could have it back then. It's a bit of a conundrum, because it's not like I don't want her to have a happy ending; it's just not a walk in the park to centre a book around both factitious and fictitious characters (are those even real words or did I just make them up?).
Another teeny tiny complaint is how very long the books feels when it dwells on life at Mary's court (hint: it was dreary).

But all in all - if you enjoy historical novels and if you like me have soft spot for all things the Tudors, read Gregory's books!





490 pages / published in 2003
 Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012


**Bonus info: Hannah starts out living near the Temple Area by Fleet Street in London - a street and area I visited extensively while in London in the start of June this year so I could basically visualize the entire thing!

13/07/2012

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Book 3 in the Graceling series


Review of Graceling (Graceling #1)
Review of Fire (Graceling #2)

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Eight years after "Graceling," Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle -disguised and alone- to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
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Bitterblue takes place 8 years after Graceling and some 30 years after Fire. It was quite an eye opener to me in the sense that I somehow completely missed the connection between Fire and Graceling (King Leck's origins!) and I think I should reread the entire series at some point to get the full story.

The book has both its good parts and its bad ones.

The good ones include Bitterblue herself, the complexity of the characters, the love story that is far from walk in the park (it's not easy being a Queen) and the overall story and twists to it.

The bad ones include being utterly confused and even frustrated a lot of the time as everybody is dealing with their past and Leck's lies that still linger like festering sores. Sometimes the confusion reaches a point where I read on, but didn't really understand what was going on or why. It's also been some 2 years since I read Graceling and some of the characters from it are present in this one as well and it took me quite a while to remember who they were and what happened to them in the previous book.

Dealing with madness and general illness of the mind leading to murder, horrific crimes and even suicides, it's a dark book, where Queen Bitterblue is one of the single candles trying to shed light on her city/kingdom with a pained past. I do think Cashore drops the red thread once in a while, but she picks it up and I found the book hard to put down some times even despite the confusion.






576 pages / published in 2012
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

10/07/2012

Library Haul #1

I just visited the library to collect a book I'd ordered, but ended up going home with a few others as well.

Despite the fact that I'm studying to become a librarian, I'm not a big user of libraries. Mostly because I'm not a fan of the library here in Aalborg. I don't like the layout, the look, the architecture or the feel of it. It somehow lacks an inviting feel to it and the way they've set up the book shelves just doesn't appeal to me at all. Mostly it's one big hall with book cases on rows where everything is shelved and categorized by (I think) the DK5 system: a numeric genre categorization system, which means that obscure numbers rather than words tell you what's where (83 for books in English for example). Though efficient for librarians stocking shelves, it's difficult to manoeuvre when you don't have the system memorized (and I certainly don't).

Beyond that big area they've got a children/teen's area (where I as an adult feel like I'm trespassing if I enter, despite the fact that I like YA books - but to be honest their collection is horrendous anyway), a crime area and something called the Zone, which caters to new/popular/highlights.

To try and return to the point of this post, here are my library borrows :)


The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (I've heard about the film and know vaguely what it's about)
Animal Farm by George Orwell (I've never read this, but apparently everybody else have!)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (the one I came for, want to read it before watching the film)
The Magician's Assistance by Ann Patchett (no clue about this one, just thought it sounded interesting)

Annoyingly enough, I hadn't been home for 5 minutes when I got a text from the library telling me that another book was ready to be picked up (The Scorpio Races by Maggie  Stiefvater). That led to a bit of facepalm, will have to see if I can squeeze another visit to the library into my schedule tomorrow!

05/07/2012

Angels Don't Die by Soren Paul Petrek

 Review of Cold Lonely Courage (in which Madeleine's story begins) can be found here

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When an American agent is taken hostage, famed WWII assassin, Madeleine Toche resurfaces to rescue him, taking on the PLO and all comers in the middle of Israel’s Yom Kippur War. Toche, feared as the Angel of Death, must send the PLO a bloody message, release the agent or die. With the help of the Mossad, Toche unleashes her fury, leaving a path of destruction everywhere she goes.
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I really enjoyed Cold Lonely Courage, but Angels Don't Die didn't live up to my expectations of a sequel. Where CLC takes place during WWII and in many ways feels very authentic and possible, ADD was set at a very slow pace and it felt more like a Hollywood sequel than a story that can hold its own.

I never felt a connection to the characters, they're all somewhere in their 50's, and in true Hollywood style when the agent (who happens to be Madeleine's god son) gets kidnapped (let's just call a spade a spade here, okay?) she, her husband and the agent's parents set out to get him back calling in favours from all over (because they all happen to know just about anyone needed when performing a rescue mission).

It took me ages to finish it, because I could never really work up interest to read on. It's a real shame too, because I loved Madeleine in the first book. But now (with stories of the past being told as we go along, just to prove how incredible she is) we are constantly being told that she's basically invisible and she can pretty much take on an army on her own, if need be. Why bother reading on, when you already know it can't possibly end any other way, than happy ever after?







published in 2012
 Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2012

30/06/2012

Classics getting a makeover

I just came across this article in the New York Times - To Lure ‘Twilight’ Teenagers, Classic Books Get Bold Looks


Because the old classics are public domain, any publisher can release a version of one, with the content untouched, but the cover redesigned.

We all know that Twilight made Wuthering Heights and some other classics re-famous through Bella name-dropping them as her favourite books. I thought that was awesome as I don't really care why (or even what) people read - just as long as they do.

And my initial opinion (which remains even now) - Those covers are stunning! I am actually half tempted to buy them, so their strategy could definitely be working!

The traditional covers also make young protagonists look much older than their true age, while the newer ones portray characters like Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice” as the young adults they actually are, making them more appealing to young readers. 

On the other side though - to quote the article again: If kids want to read ‘Emma,’ they want to buy it in the adult section, not the teen section,” she said. “Kids don’t want to feel like they’re being manipulated.”