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


Library Haul #4

Library Haul banner

It's a little bit late now, but I got a final haul of books from the library before Christmas! (I would do a vlog, but where would I find the time?)

First up is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green! I've been waiting for this one for ages, I've heard so much about it but have managed to avoid most spoilers. Am prepared for a very sad story though.
[EDIT - I read it and absolutely loved it. Will try and review it soon. Need to find the right words first though.]

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion I've decided to read after seeing the trailer for the film and realizing I adored what I was watching. A YA romance zombie story? A must read.
[EDIT - I've started reading this and I'm quite liking it. But it is pretty weird.]

(In additional news I watched Beautiful Creatures and while the film was decent and pretty, I don't think I'll ever be tempted to read the book.)

The final book, hiding there in the background is not actually a book. It's a comic book, a classic Jumbobog in fact. Jumbo-books are Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse stories. I haven't read them in ages, but I recently remembered that 15 or so years ago I read #117 and for the first time ever it had a cliffhanger along with a - to be continued -. And I never got #118. Well I have it now! I didn't even know libraries stock jumbobøger until I started working in one :)
[EDIT - read it and was so disappointed in how the story arch ends. I can't believed I waited so many years on such a poorly executed story and end :( ]


PT - Merry Christmas

Personal Thursday banner

The year is coming to an end, the days have flown by and Christmas finally came.

In Denmark we celebrate Christmas on the eve of the 24th. We sit down to enjoy a festive meal usually pork roast, turkey or duck along with white potatoes, sugary brown potatoes, gravy etcetera. For dessert it's usually rice pudding or porridge wherein a whole almond has been hid. Whoever finds it gets a small present. Because we're not overly fond of the traditional dessert in my family we have a tradition of lighting a little candle by each plate and the one whose candle burns the shortest and the one whose burns the longest gets the token presents.

Once we can't drag it out any longer we'll all leave the room and dad will light the candles on the tree. We'll then gather round and go "oooh" before (reluctantly) singing psalms while dancing around the tree and by dancing I mean walking around in a circle holding hands. Once we deem the awkwardness and bad singing has gone on long enough we'll retreat to the couches and start handing out the presents.

Christmas Eve came and went and with a 5-year-old (my nephew) running the show there was never a quiet moment. He behaved pretty well all in all though and it was a nice evening. The food was great and the presents held many surprises and happy faces all around.

I got a lovely pile of good stuff and while I obviously love getting presents, I love giving them even more - particularly when I've managed to find something the other person is genuinely overjoyed receiving.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas (or if you don't celebrate it in some form or another had a lovely evening nonetheless).

For now I can't wait to see the latest Doctor Who episode (which aired last night on BBC) and tonight we'll be going to yet another party as my uncle turns 48 today :)


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn’t like... and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas!

We all (I assume) know the story and so I won't go into detail with that. It's almost impossible to not at least at some point in your life see one of the many films that's been made based on the Dickens' classic tale of Christmas. I've seen a lot and my particular favourite is the film "A Christmas Carol" from 1999 starring Patrick Stewart as Scrooge.

I have never in my life before read the original book and the book club I recently joined had decided on this book as our December read. The book I read was a very old thing from 1942 and prettily illustrated by Arthur Rackam.

I must admit I was not impressed. Or rather, I just didn't get it. The book is the original old English Dickens-y language and it was so heavy to read. There are so many long descriptive sentences that are probably lovely, but to me they were noise. What's usually a lovely story became an annoyance to read and I'm really sad about that. I'd like one day to reread it, but this time in Danish or possibly in an easy-reader version in English, because I'm just good enough to understand the flowery lengthy wordings of Victorian English.

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
published in 1843

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes

From the acclaimed bestselling author of "Sushi for Beginners" and "Angels" comes a collection of personal essays on shopping, writing, moviemaking, motherhood and all the assorted calamities involved in being a savvy woman in the new millennium.
Her novels are read and adored by millions around the world, and with "Under the Duvet," Marian Keyes tackles the world of nonfiction. These are her collected pieces: regular bulletins from the woman writing under the covers. Marian loves shoes and her LTFs (Long-Term Friends), hates realtors and lost luggage, and she once had a Christmas office party that involved roasting two sheep on a spit, Moroccan-style. She's just like you and me ...
Featuring a wide compilation of Marian's journalism from magazines and newspapers, plus some exclusive, previously unpublished material, "Under the Duvet" is bursting with funny stories: observations on life, in-laws, weight loss, parties and driving lessons that will keep you utterly gripped -- either wincing with recognition or roaring with laughter

I have never read any of Keyes books before but have had her recommended to me many times. The other week at the library things were very slow and while cleaning discs (they have an amazing machine the size of a cd player that polishes away the worst scratches; you basically just have to sit there and change the discs every 2-4 minute) I gave her biography a go. Well, I say biography; it's a collection of essays, where of most have been published before in various magazines and the like.

Much to my co-worker's amusement I giggled my way through the book. I really enjoyed her style and her honesty. She reminded me a fair bit of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones character - but Irish. I loved reading about her tours, her parties, her family and her house. But maybe most of all I appreciated her very honest depiction of her alcoholism. For someone who's been fortunate enough to never experience such a thing even by proxy it gave me a far better insight into how it effects people.

All in all I don't think this was a bad start to Keyes, I'm definitely very much tempted to read something else by her now and more like to do so sooner than later.

Under the Duvet
by Marian Keyes
ISBN13: 9788777148262
240 pages / published in 2007
(read in Danish)

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


PT - Job & Car

Personal Thursday banner

For today’s Personal Thursday post, I meant to write you a nice little thing about how we do Christmas in Denmark / at our place, but today have been insane. Utterly mental.

How I’d thought it go:
  • Sleep at mom and dad’s place Wednesday night as carpenters would arrive very early Thursday morning to install new window in my apartment
  • Job interview at 11:30
  • Spend until Friday chewing my lip waiting to hear their decision
  • Go home sometime in the afternoon with cat and enjoy new window in apartment

This is how it actually went:
  • Dad (who was at my apartment to take care of things while I was at the interview) called at 8:50 informing me that the master carpenter had royally f’ed up and measured wrong – meaning the window that they had didn’t work. It takes 6 weeks for a new to turn up. Add in Christmas and New Year and make that 8 weeks
  • Generally a bad start to the day, made even worse when an hour later it became clear that the carpenter boss couldn’t care less. 
  • Window was cancelled. Not interested in spending so much money on something I need now and not when winter is almost over. Also, you lose my will to give you money when you treat me bad. This is one of many strikes from his side
  • Off to the interview I went and drove everything else out of my mind
  • Interview went well I think
  • Dad noted I’d need a car – we’ve talked about this before. New work (omg work) is 100 km from where I live. Public transport is possible but ugh
  • We found a car online
  • We drove to town to look at said car at a dealership my dad trusts
  • About 45 min later we left again
  • I now also own a car

Like I said insane.

Merry Christmas


Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown

What if Darth Vader took an active role in raising his son? What if "Luke, I am your father" was just a stern admonishment from an annoyed dad? In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Celebrated artist Jeffrey Brown's delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. Life lessons include lightsaber batting practice, using the Force to raid the cookie jar, Take Your Child to Work Day on the Death Star ("Er, he looks just like you, Lord Vader!"), and the special bond shared between any father and son.

2 stars seems harsh but by Goodreads' defintion it "it was okay" and by my own It was ok, but could have been better and I guess it was. The pictures are nicely drawn and sort of sweet, but single frame comics have never really worked for me. I need stories. If you're a big Star Wars fan you might really like this book - or you may hate it for "twisting the story". All in all I only finished it because it barely takes 10 minutes to glance through, I'm sure if you're a fan you might take longer and even reread once in a while.

Darth Vader and Son
by Jeffrey Brown
ISBN13: 9781452106557
64 pages / published in 2012

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


PT - The Basics

Personal Thursday banner

I've set a challenge for myself the upcoming year and made a posting schedule for BoB. Every second Monday in a month I plan on doing the Childhood Favourite thing/meme/tag/? and every single Thursday I'll try to make a personal post - a blog entry telling you a bit more about me. I'm not sure what the form will be yet; maybe there won't be one. One Thursday I may present to you a list over why I'm possibly related to Bridget Jones, another I might tell you everything you didn't really need to know about my cat Sofie. I have a cat, did you know that? Well now you do. See? isn't this fun? We're getting to know each other! Well, you're getting to know me at least, maybe if you've commented I'd be able to get to know you back.

Note: I'll maintain my review schedule of whenever I've got one ready for you.

To kick off this awkward first Thursday I'll tell you a few things about me. The basics.

I'm 25 years old and I live on my own in what's considered a fairly big city here in Denmark - nearly 107.000 people! I'm single and live in a tiny flat with my cat Sofie, whom I've had since May. I got her from a shelter; her previous owner hadn't anticipated how full of energy a young cat is. The size of the space she's set her claws in in my heart is enormous.

I've studied library and information science at university for 5 years and this August 2013 I got my Master's degree. My thesis was about digital identity - how we create a separate identity online, but how it also affects us offline. It is pretty interesting.

For the past 4 months I've been looking for work as a librarian and on November 18th I was so freaking lucky to get a sort of a internship at a Northern library for 3 months. I'm working there now and absolutely loving it. Being a librarian is my calling. The internship is unpaid unfortunately so while I'm working almost full-time I'm stuck on unemployment benefits, so I am also searching for "proper" (=paid) work. I am however, incredibly thankful for living in a country that enables me do this. It's through the Job Center and the Job Fund that I got the internship which gets me lots of experience to put on my resume.

I've read books all my life and I've had Borough of Books to document my addiction since the 17th of August 2010. So basically I got my Master's degree the day before BoB's 3rd birthday. That's my excuse for forgetting such a milestone - maybe I'll do something fun to celebrate next year?

Extra info about me today is the fact that I'm currently suffering from the worst cold I've had in years. They had to send me home from work today and I'm now stuck in bed with a massive head ache and a blocked nose.. *ACHOO*


Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris

Lily Bard Mysteries #1

Disguising herself with short hair and baggy clothes, Lily Bard has started a new life; she's becoming a cleaning lady in the sleepy town of Shakespeare, where she can sweep away the secrets of her dark and violent past.
However her plan to live a quiet, unobserved life begins to crumble when she discovers the dead body of her nosy landlord. Lily doesn't care who did it, but when the suspicion of the police and local community falls on her she realises if she doesn't unmask the murderer, her life might not just crumble; it might also end.

Charlaine Harris' books have always been guilty pleasures of mine. I genuinely liked the Southern Vampire series (aka True Blood, if you want to call it that) and I loved parts of the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries and Harper Connelly series. Though the series might always drag on a bit, be a bit silly or (very) unrealistic, there's was always something that kept me reading. They were well written enough, engaging, entertaining and good company.

The Lily Bard Mysteries though I don't think I'll bother reading more of. The main character irritated me from the start, she's just not my kind of person and her decisions were often downright stupid. Furthermore she was lusted after way too obviously to the point of ridiculous plot pushing. The guy she ends up screwing around with is *gasp* not white (nor is he black 'cause that would have been pushing it) and many remarks are spent pointing out how non-racist she is (and how exotic he is). Meanwhile other characters make such racist remarks it made me cringe and side-eye the whole damn book.

All in all the mystery was pretty boring and the general plot a let down. But for some reason I still gave it 3 stars back when I finished reading it.

Shakespeare's Landlord
Lily Bard Mysteries #1
by Charlaine Harris
ISBN13: 9780425206867
216 pages / published in 2005

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'
Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.

To Kill A Mockingbird was not what I thought it'd be. I had never read it before but knew of it as this big American Classic and I always wanted to read it sometime. I'd never properly read the description of it so in my head I expected a book detailing the life of a black man's struggle against the white man's reign. As such it took me aback to discover the book is from the point of view of a young girl who's attorney dad tries to teach her and her brother a valuable lesson in life.

It is quite a good book, once you get into it (and accept the way it vastly differs from what you might have thought it'd be about), but it's also very long and heavy in my opinion. I was quite often bored despite it being well written and the main characters being fairly evolved.

I feel like I should probably give it 5 stars for painting a very accurate picture of the culture and mindset of the South in that era. But I was so very bored for the first 100 pages at least, having expected something entirely different and I'm honestly a bit unsure of what the ending meant. I'm glad I've read it, but not in love with the book at all.

To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
ISBN13: 9780434020485
309 pages / published in 1960

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier,
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
It's a small story, about: a girl, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

It took me a long time to get into this book as to be honest, it was exceedingly dull.
I'm not quite sure what I had expected but Death narrating a book as he looked back at some events that played out in Germany during World War II wasn't it.

Eventually though, the main character, nine-year-old Liesel grew on me as did her story, her mindset and the people surrounding her. The book even ended up being difficult to put down towards the end. It was also a very interesting look at how the typical German population experienced the war a madman forced upon them.

I read the book in English and loved the many German words and phrases that infiltrated the lines. I learned German for about 5 years throughout school and reading this book made me want to revisit that gorgeous language.
The book is all in all well written but it is also quite heavy to read; at times it's very descriptive as in almost poetic - a genre that's never appealed to me.

I'm not sure I ever want to see the film they've turned the book into as I'm doubtful a child can carry the film and convey all the feelings that Liesel conveys both directly and indirectly on the pages. Furthermore I'm afraid Death will look comical and the characters stereotypical. 

The Book Thief
by Marcus Zusak
ISBN13: 9780552773898
554 pages / published in 2007

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


Danish Books #1 - Aber dabei by Julia Butschkow

Danish Books is a new thing I'm gonna try out. I've often wondered what to do with the (few) Danish books I read. Seeing as most of these books haven't been published in English (and likely never will) there is hardly much point in reviewing them to the international audience. On the other hand though, maybe if I review something fantastic, demand might just pressure an international publishing house to translate it. Who knows?

Most likely though, this review will only be interesting for Danish readers, so here's what I'm going to do. I'll review it in Danish and write a summary in English.

ABER DABEI er en kollektivroman, fortalt af de personer, der omgiver Jens Martin, overlægen på en psykiatrisk afdeling i København. Mens konen går hjemme og er på nervemedicin, lader Jens Martin sig forføre af en af sine patienter. Hun drømmer om at skrive, men mangler stof. Derfor udspørger hun Jens Martin om de øvrige patienter på afdelingen: om advokaten Ivan, som taler konstant og tilbyder sex til både patienter og personale. Og den kvindelige forfatter, som under arbejdet med en roman om sin nazistiske bedstefar har fået billeder af udmagrede kz-lejrfanger så meget ind under huden, at det har udløst en svær spiseforstyrrelse. Hun dør, hvis hun taber sig mere.

Aber dabei er efter min mening langt mere end novelle end en roman. Som i en novelle er der ikke noget egentlig start- eller slutpunkt. Den tegner derimod mere et stemningsbillede, et indblik i de udvalgte personers liv og psykiske tilstand. Det kan til tider være svært umiddelbart at regne ud hvem det enkelte kapitel handler om, hvis øjne vi betragter verden ud fra, men med lidt nærlæsning e står det klart igen, og noget andet er, det står klart hvordan smerte er ens lige meget hvad der er skyld i det.

Bogen er meget velskrevet, og hovedpersonernes tanker og følelser kommer til live på siderne. De rykker sig meget gennem bogen, og jeg følte som læser, at jeg rykkede mig med dem.

Aber dabei is more of a short story than a novel. It portrays the life of several main characters who all have something to do with each other one way or another (mainly the psychiatric ward). It's very well written and though it's a short ready you develop a lot of feelings for the characters, who all have very deep reasons for being who they are.
("aber dabei" stems from German and is in Danish used to mean something along the lines of "but there's a problem")

Aber Dabei
by Julia Butschkow
ISBN13: 9788763825658
184 pages / published in 2013

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

I was so happy when I finally got my hands on the final book in Brett's Demon Cycle, but I realised that I had to reread the prior two books to get the most out of it. As both are some of the best books I've ever read I didn't mind that terribly much. Below are two mini reviews of each of those books before my full review of the final book Daylight War. You can click the title of either book to go to the original full review of those from Nov 2010 and June 2011.

The Painted Man #1
I first finished reading The Painted Man by PV Brett on November 26th, 2010. Back then I gave it 5 stars and loved it. Almost 3 years later I’ve reread it and can confirm that it’s worth all 5 or more. I love this book. I love the characters who are so well written, so full of life and character and feelings and thoughts followed by action. Arlen, Leesha and Roger are to me some of the dearest characters I’ve ever encountered and my love for their stories has been rekindled as I reread the book. I love the world it is magnificently set in and I love every detail about the Core, the demons and the wards. It is so damn well created and carried out! PV Brett created a master piece in the first book of the Demon Cycle and I was anxious to read (and judge) the next.

The Desert Spear #2
The Desert Spear expands the character list and gives us many many pages from the point of view of Jardir. I know many readers were frustrated about this, but personally I loved it. Jardir is an awe-inspiring character and details and depth of his culture and people is just stunning. The main characters, the minors, indeed the entire lands are put to the test as even worse foes rise up even while they're fighting one another. It's incredibly well written and I fell in love all over again with the characters. In short it's yet another brilliant book and I loved it then and love it still.

The Painted Man by Peter V Brett

The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett

The Painted Man
Demon Cycle #1
ISBN13: 9780007276141
544 pages / published in 2008
    The Desert Spear
Demon Cycle #2
ISBN13: 9780345524140
658 pages / published in 2010

Reviews by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

The review below of The Daylight War WILL CONTAIN MILD SPOILERS for books 1 and 2!

On the night of the new moon, an army of demons rises in force, seeking the deaths of two men, both of whom have the potential to become the Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity. Arlen Bales, the Warded Man, denies he is the Deliverer, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Among the desert tribes, Ahmann Jardir has proclaimed himself the Deliverer, forging his followers into a mighty demon-killing force. Jardir's rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose motives and past are shrouded in mystery. Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity's enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all - those lurking in the human heart.

The Daylight War blew my mind.

In this thrilling 3rd book in the series, we get the story of Inevera and like the others, there is so much more to her. The characters, their storylines, the way it all flawlessly intertwines is just breathtaking. I don't think I've ever read a series that's been this consistently good, no, great, throughout.

Besides Inevera's past we follow the lives of the people from Cutter's Hollow as in book 2 and the complicated feelings and choices of the 4-5, 6? main characters. I'm honestly unsure how many count as main characters by now. Obviously there's Arlen, Rojer and Leesha. Then there's Jardir, and now also definitely Inevera. Abban gets his own POV too, and so does Renna, so they matter. And there's also the matter of Rojer's wives. Etcetera. Funny thing is though, Brett writes them all so well defined that you're never  (or at least I never were) overwhelmed by the amount of characters. They all play crucial parts and by Gods it's good.

I tweeted my feelings when I finished the book, desperate for more - and the 4th book, The Skull Throne,  isn't due till 2015, but Brett (@PVBrett) was kind enough to tweet me back a link to the first chapter of book 4 - a chapter I honestly think should have been the last chapter of the Daylight War as it makes the cliff hanger so much more kickass. The chapter can be found here -- ABSOLUTELY DO NOT READ IT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE DAYLIGHT WAR!! --

The Daylight War by Peter V Brett

The Daylight War
Demon Cycle #3
ISBN13: 9780345524157

688 pages / published in 2013

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


Still around!

I'm still around and I haven't forgotten BoB!

I have actually also read a fair few books that are waiting to be reviewed but I just started working :D

As you may know I graduated this August with a Master's degree in library and information science. Since then I've been looking for work without success.

However I've been so lucky to get a 3 month long work experience gig at one of my favorite libraries so temporarily I'm working almost full-time. I've just had my second shift today and so far it's such a great experience. My colleagues are so nice and welcoming, and the work is.. brilliant. A great mixture of customer service, administrative tasks and books; books all around :D

I hope you all are well and I will do my very best to post another review soon :)

~ Iben


Pet Sematary by Stephen King

The house looked right, felt right, to Dr. Louis Creed. Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle; the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago. Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive note of threat. But behind the house and away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path into the woods where generations of local children had processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their departed pets for burial. A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding...

Once again I took my sweet time in reviewing a read book and once again I've got to wring my brain to remember the details (seriously, it's scary how bad my memory is sometimes - I can remember the overall feel of the book but details are like mist, you can't see it up close).

I love Stephen King's writing. Starting a new book by him is like putting on a pair of warm socks that fit perfectly. It's a marvellous feeling and you feel right at home; he's just great.

The edition of the book I have has an introduction by King from 2000 in which he says that Pet Sematary was never the scariest book he'd ever written, but it was the one where he felt like he'd finally crossed the line - and it is indeed a far more disturbing book than scary. I was never completely captivated by it though.

I'm in two minds about the characters. On one hand to me only main character Louis actually stood out and where many of his feelings were very palpable he never grew on me. I could understand his frustrations and King made it clear the dark draw the Sematary (spelling intended) had on him, but I could never really get into his head. Though on the other hand I'm not sure I'd ever want to be in his head.

I had read a review before reading the book and it warmed me that the ending was unsatisfactory. Personally while I'm usually not a fan of open endings (I want to know it all!) I think it works great in this case. You've got to end a book at some point, and this leaves you hanging with a grim smirk on your lips.

Pet Sematary  by Stephen King

Pet Sematary
by Stephen King
ISBN13: 9780450057694
465 pages / published in 1988

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

Also, for those who've read the book, you'll understand why it freaks me out a tiny bit that Sofie does this every single time I leave the book lying around.
My kitty Sofie and Stephen King's Pet Sematary


Library Haul #3

I went to the library! and it was filled with glorious purpose books.

I got,

Neil Gaiman's Fortunately. the milk

Markus Zusak's The Book Thief

EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey

Sara Gruen's Ape House

Penn Jillette's God, no!

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Check out the vlog below to hear more about my choices :)


New Look!

Slightly new look on Borough of Books!

I've tweaked the layout and template of BoB ever so slightly as I wanted more room in my actual blog posts and less clutter in the sidebars. I've narrowed it down to just one sidebar now to the left and moved a few things down to the bottom of the page and removed a few others completely.

In order to make better use of the broader posts I've also revamped the look of the info- and ratings box. Covers are now to the left, check it out below!

series (optional)
xxx pages / published in xxxx

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

I'm considering of getting rid of LinkWithin as I think it is a bit of an eyesore and the posts it links to aren't matched to the labels I use, which I would have preferred. I'm also a bit unsure if it's really all that useful.

I hope you all approve of the new look and please let me know if anything looks wonky!


Fractured by Teri Terry

Slated #2

My review of Slated (Slated #1) can be found here

How do you know where to go when you don't remember where you came from?
Kyla's memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.
Or so she thought.
Kyla shouldn't be able to remember anything. But she can - and she's beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she's on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes...

I forgot to review Fractured immediately after reading it and I've now finished 9 books since it, so this is going to be a mini-review rather than a proper detailed one because I have the worst memory ever.

Fractured was a solid sequel to Slated. It carries on where the first book left off and it keeps on developing Kyla's character and identity. Everything is still shrouded in mystery, unasked/unanswered questions and twists and turns. Who can she really trust and who was she? We find out a lot but many answers just lead to new questions.

It doesn't end here though as the third and final book Shattered (Slated #3) is due in spring 2014 and I can't wait to read what Terry has in mind.

(Slated #2)
ISBN13: 9781408319482
432 pages / published in 2013

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller is based on an irresistible premise: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing.
Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it then proceeded to become a runaway bestseller - Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world. Made into a controversial hit movie of the same name, Battle Royale is already a contemporary Japanese pulp classic, now available for the first time in the English language.

The first few chapters of Battle Royale reminded me a lot about The Hunger Games and obviously the entire concept is similar. The main difference though? - The Hunger Games is a good read, Battle Royale isn't.

Here are my annoyances with Battle Royale:

First off, it's been incredibly poorly translated. Initially I shrugged it off as just incorporating the Japanese cultural style (if you ever watch an anime with the original voice actors you can very clearly pick up on the way of acting and speaking to each other - quite different from the more relaxed/disrespectful way of Europe/US), but it soon became clear that the translator messed up. Towards the end I even found direct errors that suggests it wasn't exactly proofread too hard. Here are some examples of the typical writing style:

Secondly, the characters. Everybody loves the main character. He's amaaaazing. He's good at everything. He's so good looking. He's a sport star. He's a rebel. He plays the guitar. A few characters managed to have a bit more to them, but mainly they were all either insane or incredibly naive.

Thirdly, the plot. It's filled with what can best be described as Hollywood clichés and it's always very obvious what will be happening next and you don't have to bother ever feeling the least bit worried for the MC & co.

Fourthly, and this one is obviously pure subjective, but I'm not a fan of gore and don't like reading very descriptive passages about how somebody is literally having their eyes clawed out *shudder*.

Fifthly and lastly, as mentioned above I didn't like the writing style much, but another thing that really irked me was how the characters would constantly stop whatever they were doing and have incredibly deep and insightful conversations about the government and the psychology involved in getting class mates to kill each other (and remember they are all supposedly 15 years old or so, attending Junior High School). Furthermore they'd often discuss happenings in the game, predicting how some things had gone down, without possibly being able to know that.

I must also confess that the Japanese character names confused me constantly. It starts out with 42 characters and they all have very long names in a language. I was okay during the individual's chapter (and their point of view) but when a character started talking about other characters I had no way of remembering who was who.

Furthermore what is never spelled out in the book and I had to go to Wikipedia to find out: Battle Royale takes place in 1997 in an alternate timeline—Japan is a member region of an authoritarian state known as the Republic of Greater East Asia. This would have been nice to know as I was constantly trying to figure out if this was supposed to "be real" or completely fake, so it was hard to understand the context.

All in all, I'll say that I can completely understand those who say Suzanne Collins copied the concept for her Hunger Games trilogy. But in my honest opinion, hers work so much better. I would be willing to reread Battle Royale written by a different translator as obviously that will have a big influence on how the book is perceived, but I don't think it would really change the fact that the book has so many other flaws that shouldn't be caused by translation.

Battle Royale
(Original title: バトル・ロワイアル [Batoru Rowaiaru])
ISBN13: 9780575080492
617 pages / published in 1999

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

I just saw the film. It's horrible. Like ridiculously bad, Quite hilariously bad. It also strays quite far from the book and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.


Read-A-Thon Wrapup

Mini Challenges - A Readathon tradition!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Probably hour 11 or 12. I was tired, it was hard concentrating on reading and I wasn't too comfortable on my couch. I kept on reading till the very end of hour 13 (2-3AM) though as I found new energy once I was curled up in bed with my book

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?I can only speak for myself here as everybody has very different taste in books. I prefer shorter or easy reads as I think I'll be demotivated being stuck with the same book for too long. The longest book I've read during a Read-A-Thon was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which is 307 pages long. I won't really attempt to list any specific books, I can only recommend you look through your bookshelves, virtual or physical, to-be-read lists and see what strikes your fancy. If you wish to do like me, choose books that are short or you know to be easily read. Don't be afraid to reread. Books are brilliant and many stories and characters deserve to be revisited.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Honestly, no. I live in my own little bubble during the Read-A-Thon. I'm too busy reading usually to participate much in the many challenges and must admit I barely read the official hourly posts. I write my mini-reviews and I keep Twitter up-to-date on my progress and mood. I do enjoy the many comments on both my blog and Twitter and make the time to answer and engage.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Again, I don't really have any comment of the official happenings. Personally I'm happy with how much I read, particular since I failed to get my hands on very many books I hadn't read before and thus felt I lacked a bit of material (all my unread books are mostly very very long and not suited for this).

5. How many books did you read?
I read 7 books in total

6. What were the names of the books you read?
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
 I think perhaps it's a draw between The Uncommon Reader and Artemis Fowl.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Either The Canterville Ghost or War Horse. But both are good books still.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
More cheering? I don't know, I have no clue if those that commented or tweeted me were cheerleaders or not, so I can't really say anything about their performance. Regardless, I think it's awesome anybody is willing to cheer on the readers. Well done you!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I'm definitely participating again, I love it! I'm mostly likely just going to be a reader once more, because I'm selfish like that. I love having an entire weekend just dedicated to reading. I read a lot regardless, but I haven't watched TV or Youtube throughout the entire 24 hours, all my entertainment stems from what the books feed into my imagination.


With 8 minutes to spare  of the 24 hours I post this now and say thank you to all those who participated in the Read-A-Thon. It's my favourite book-ish event and I love the atmosphere on Twitter, everybody cheering each other on, making new friends, finding new book bloggers or readers, etc. It's just fantastic.

Read-A-Thon Mini-Review #7

With just an hour to go of the Read-A-Thon, I've finished my 7th book. I'm unsure if I'll read any more after this, as I don't think I have anything I'd be able to finish in under an hour. It's been a great run though and I've read 1086 pages which I'm very happy about.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

I read White Fang a few years back which in many ways is the reverse story of The Call of the Wild. In one a wild wolf joins humanity, in the other a domesticated dog is forced to become a wild raw primitive thing and eventually joins his brethren in the wild.
London does a great job describing the story through the eyes of the beast in a way where you both empathize with Buck and understand how he thinks things work but also in a way where the reader, as a human being, can understand what the dog cannot. It's a brutal story with both bloodshed and heartbreak and it left me wanting to hug my babybrother of a Golden Retriever (as he does not live with me but with my parents, I tried to hug my cat instead. She bit me.)

129 pages (ebook) / published in 1903
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

Read-A-Thon Mini-Review #6

It's 11:11 AM and I just finished my 6th book. I slept from 3 AM to 10 AM, which means I have read for approximately 14 hours out of the 21 so far (hour 22 just began). That's 957 pages so far :)

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I love the Artemis Fowl series and book 1 is definitely among the very best of them. Artemis is one of my favourite "villain" of all times I think is safe to say, and every single main character along side with him are amazing. Holly, Butler, Foaly, Root - the list goes on of complex lovable characters. The fairies are one of the most thought through and well defined fantastic cultures I've ever encountered in modern books.
All in all an amazing book no matter if you're 12 like Artemis or 25 like me - or older.

ISBN13: 9780670911332
280 pages / published in 2001
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013