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

29/10/2013

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!




Title
series (optional)
ISBN13:
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!


23/10/2013

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.




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




Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

16/10/2013

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


UPDATE
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.

13/10/2013

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

12/10/2013

Read-A-Thon Mini-Review #5

It's very nearly the beginning of hour 10 and I've just finished my 5th book

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling 

Having since my first read of Rowling's Tales read the Brothers Grimm's original fairy tales I had a slightly different take on Rowling's this time around. I think she manages quite aptly to produce some stories that have the feel of ancient fairy tales with a cultural setting and context. I loved Dumbledore's comments and background info and overall it's just a great addition to the HP Universe.


ISBN13: 9780747599876
109 pages / published in 2008
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

Read-A-Thon Mini-Review #4

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

It took me a little while to get into, but once it got me, it got me good. Jules Verne's classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is an epic story of vast dimensions and should be read by all. I've never been very good at science and the sea I know next to nothing about so I accept a lot of what I read, but I do know enough to know that Verne obviously didn't know about decompression sickness also known as diver's disease. Of course many things have been discovered since he wrote this book in 1869, but I still think it paints a solid and fantastical imagery of how life under the sea looks like.



216 pages / published in 1869
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

Read-A-Thon Update

Hour 5 of the Read-A-Thon is almost over, what are you reading now?

I've just begun on Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Read-A-Thon Mini-Review #3

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Had I not seen the film I would probably never have read this book. Having seen the film, I can only conclude that the book is one of those rare ones that don't measure up. The film had me in tears. It was full of so many beautiful moments, and in the book, those moments are just a few lines describing briefly how something happened. I'm grateful the book and thus the film exists, but the book pales in comparison.



ISBN13: 9781405259415
182 pages / published in 1982
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

Read-A-Thon Mini-Review #2

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

I just finished my second book and I'm a bit conflicted. While on the one side I loved The Uncommon Reader, it also threw me completely when it went from being spot on to so completely uncharacteristic of the Queen that it became gibberish. It does however have some excellent points about reading and the effects of reading on the reader and those I took to heart. I will admit that the book uses a fair amount of big words that I don't entirely or some even remotely know what actually means.



ISBN13: 9781846681332
121 pages / published in 2007
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

Read-A-Thon Mini-Review #1

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

My first read of the Read-A-Thon was Wilde's short story about the ghost of Canterville whose hauntings are ridiculed by the American family that moves into his castle. It's a sweet little story with a very comedic comical twist to usual ghost stories. It reminds me very much of the cartoonish storytelling you'd find in a Donald Duck magazine from when I was a kid.


49 pages / published in 1887
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

Read-A-Thon Countdown

It's October the 12th and it's noon in London which means that in just one hour the Read-A-Thon begins!

You can follow my progress on Twitter where I'll post fairly often using #Readathon and right here on BoB where I'll post my mini-reviews after each read book.

Time to grab some lunch before the reading begins!

09/10/2013

Read-A-Thon Ready!

I'm so ready for this weekend's Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon -- Sign up here to participate and see what time the event starts in your timezone. I'll be chatting and tweeting my progress on my Twitter profile Gemmanebi.

Obviously having started using Youtube, I just had to vlog this rather than blog it!


The books I've lined up are;
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold by Terry Brooks
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Reached by Allie Condie

Here's more about them here:

07/10/2013

Book Haul #10

I got books in my mailbox! The very last books I bought before realising I was out of money (and probably will be until I get a job) - but what a couple of last purchases these are!


Peter V Brett's Daylight War - this one's been out for over a year but I've been waiting (im)patiently for the paperback version to go with the two sequels I own, also in paperback format.

Brandon Sanderson's Elantris - I've wanted to read more by Sanderson for ages and the summary of Elantris frankly sounded awesome.

Daylight War was also my very first purchase from The Book Depository and while I loved the #LoveThisQuote bookmark they also sent me I couldn't help but notice that the book is in worse condition than the secondhand copy Elantris is. That strikes me as a bit funny.

03/10/2013

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

The year is 1539. Henry VIII must take another wife and the dangerous prize of the crown of England is won by Anne of Cleves. Although she is fascinated by the glamour of her new surroundings, she can sense a trap closing around her.
Katherine Howard, meanwhile, is to flirt her way to the throne. But her kinswoman Jane Boleyn is haunted by the past and the Boleyn inheritance of suspicion, betrayal and death. In this time of upheaval and uncertainty, these three young women must try to survive the most volatile court in Europe.

Though a big fan of Gregory's books I hadn't yet read The Boleyn Inheritance as it centres around 3 women who were fairly unknown to me. That all changed once I'd seen the TV series The Tudors (staring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Natalie Dormer and . many more). I loved the show (though recognised its many deviances from the historical facts as we mostly know them), and it introduced me to some of Henry's lesser known wives. While Jonathan Rhys Meyers is hot as hell and Natalie Dormer stole my heart completely in her portrayal of Anne Boleyn, Joss Stone blew me away with her character Anne of Cleves. This demure, purehearted woman treated with such unkindness and yet proving herself to be the strongest, kindest creature in the court was just aweinspiring - and I wanted to know more. Meanwhile Tamzin Merchant made me uncomfortable prancing around naked as Katherine Howard - mainly because Katherine was only 14-15 years old and Tamzin's body reflects that (though she was over 20 when she played the part).

After seeing the show it became obvious to me that I needed to know more and The Boleyn Inheritance was the perfect fit. It is once again an incredibly well written book by Gregory and the characters came alive before me. It's split into 3 points of views, changing every chapter between Jane Boleyn, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard.
 While it took me over half the book to realise that I'd somehow mixed up Jane Boleyn (also known as Lady Rochford) with Catherine Parr, Henry's sixth and last wife, it had me hook, line and sinker with Anne and Katherine.

It portrays a far more cautious Anne than the TV series - an Anne faced with the reality of her situation. She'd insulted the king, their marriage was bad/non-existant and we all know how Henry gets rid of annoying wives.

Katherine Howard turned out to be not just a dimwitted girl who's "lucky" enough to get with the king - there's far more to her. She's dimwitted, yes, but she knows it. Her naivety was so endearing to me and I ended up feeling very sorry for her fate.

Jane Boleyn was the wildcard for me and her character is magnificently written. She was married to George Boleyn - Anne Boleyn's brother, who was executed alongside Anne under accusation of adultery and incest amongst other things. Jane's story is so complex and so bitter. She was so clever and yet so blind. Overly ambitious or actually mad?

Another noticeably point was the description of Henry VIII. It's borderline impossible to make Jonathan Rhys Meyers look bad so I had in my head this gorgeous man, but in reality he was morbidly obese, he reeked of rot from an infected leg wound and he was insane. The King of England was mad and his rule was absolute. The court lived in continuous fear as his mood changed as the wind blows. One day he's sort of Protestant, the next kind of Catholic. The population was repressed and killed for the tiniest offences.

Also, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, (Katherine's uncle and Jane's relation through marriage) was an absolute scumbag.

All in all, a 5 star experience, that gave me such an insight into how these 3 women (possibly) experienced the Tudor Court.



The Boleyn Inheritance
ISBN13: 9780007190331
518 pages / published in 2006
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


For some obscure forgotten reason I've only reviewed 3 of the 6 fantastic books Gregory have written about one of my all time favourite places in time - the Tudor Court. I have read all her books though and I can heartily recommend them to anyone interested. She takes fact and adds in enough fiction and emotion to make some of the most engaging historical reads of my life.

The Tudor Court series by Philippa Gregory, sorted in historical order
  1. The Constant Princess (published 2005) ●●●●●
  2. The Other Boleyn Girl (published 2001) - review ●●●●○
  3. The Boleyn Inheritance (published 2006) ●●●●●
  4. The Queen's Fool (published 2003)  - review ●●●●○
  5. The Virgin's Lover (published 2004) ●●●●○
  6. The Other Queen (published 2008) ●●●●○