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Få inspiration til din næste læseoplevelse og læs mere om alt lige fra kærlighed, krimi, YA og historiske romaner til fantasy, science fiction og gys. Alt er på dansk - på nær de anmeldelser, jeg har lyst til at skrive på engelsk. Occasional posts/reviews in English.
~ Iben
Bibliotekar, bogblogger & boganmelder

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