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


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

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.

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.


Crossed by Ally Condie

Book 2 in the Matched series

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

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.

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


The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory

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...

 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!


Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Book 3 in the Graceling series

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

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.

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


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!


Angels Don't Die by Soren Paul Petrek

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

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.

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