Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guest Blogger!! Christmas & Crime

I am proud to present my first guest blogger ever: Dorte of DJ's Krimiblog. Dorte is a fellow Dane, blogging mostly about mysteries and thrillers, and for this guest blogger post, she has chosen to combine Christmas and Crime. Thanks a lot Dorte, I love your post and I hope you will guest blog here again some other time.

Christmas and Crime.

Thank you very much, Louise, for inviting me to write a guest post for you. It is my first guest post ever! And thank you for waiting patiently until I had time to write it.

A comfortable armchair, a nice fire and a scary crime novel – is there a better way to spend the Christmas holidays? Of course you can read any old crime story, but why not pick at least one or two which are actually related to Christmas? Here is a colourful bouquet from my own shelves, all picked and presented just for your!

Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot´s Christmas (1938).

It is Christmas time and families are supposed to get together and enjoy the holidays. Old Simon Lee, the millionaire, gathers the family around him, even the prodigal son and the unknown granddaughter from Spain. His children are a bit skeptical as to his real motives until he lets it slip that he is making arrangements with his lawyer to change his will. The scene is set for traditional British crime, and of course the holidays do not pass without jealousy, suspicion – and a gory murder!

But the local Superintendent Sugden and the eminent Sherlock Holmes are at hand, so don´t worry! Peace and order will soon be restored.

Martha Grimes, Jerusalem Inn (1984)

As usual, this American writer has set her crime novel around an old British pub in the countryside. Inspector Richard Jury happens to meet the attractive but mysterious Helen Minton in a church yard. She tells him about her interesting place of work, Washington Old Hall. The following day Jury goes to see the place (or the lady?) only to discover that Helen Minton has just been murdered.

At the same time, some of Jury´s friends, including the nobleman Melrose Plant, are staying at Spinney Abbey, near the pub Jerusalem Inn where snooker tournament is going on. Another murder takes place in Spinneyton, and as the two crimes are related, Richard Jury is involved in both cases. Melrose Plant is very eager to lend him a hand – to escape the boredom of the affluent bachelor gentleman for a while. As connoisseurs of traditional, British crime may have guessed, Martha Grimes´ series has much in common with Dorothy L. Sayers´ Lord Peter Wimsey series and Elizabeth George´s Inspector Lynley series.

R.D. Wingfield, Frost at Christmas (1984)

Perhaps you know the British TV series about Detective Inspector Jack Frost but did not know the series was based on six crime novels published in the period 1984-2008? In my opinion the books are better (and more distinct) than the television episodes.

An eight-year-old girl does not return home from Sunday school, and our untidy DI Frost is put on the case together with the new man, DC Clive Barnard. Little Tracey is the daughter of a prostitute so of course Frost takes a closer look at her mother´s various acquaintances, as well as anything else he stumbles upon, and soon he is landed with a thirty-year-old corpse, plus a very fresh one. As usual, Frost leaves a trail of digression, disorder and broken rules behind him, but his instincts are sound and his heart is in the right place.

Kerry Greenwood, Murder in the Dark (2006)

This cozy mystery takes place in Australia in the roaring twenties. So if you want to get away from the cold and dark European winter, you can move back in time and enjoy a very different climate and culture in this Phryne Fisher mystery. Here Christmas is celebrated for several days on the decadent drink, drug and dance scene of affluent Australia. A spoilt little boy is kidnapped, and the mysterious ´Joker´ threatens to kill the generous and popular host of the Christmas party. Phryne Fisher must take action – in between the many indispensable meals, games and concerts. She solves the crimes expertly, but more like an intellectual puzzle or game than through hard work.

A good mystery for readers who want light entertainment instead of graphic violence, but the sex scenes would probably make Miss Marple blush.

Arnaldur Indridason, Voices (2006)

The third novel in Indridason´s excellent Icelandic series takes place in the capital. Voices begins when Santa Claus, in the shape of a doorman of a Reykjavik hotel, is stabbed to death, or silenced, in his basement room.

Voices is also about a little boy with a brilliant voice which was once recorded on old 45 records, now collectors´ items. And finally, the title refers to Erlendur himself, the taciturn policeman who has such a frail and difficult relationship with his own children. Even though the case does not demand it, he leaves his flat and moves into the hotel, squirming and fidgeting to get away from Christmas and all the social obligations in connection with this season.

An excellent, modern murder mystery, but also the darkest of my handful of Christmas mysteries.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Mini Review: The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner

The Killing Hour has its moments. It is a fast read, the main plot is good and it is always interesting to be hot on the heels of an evil serial killer. But the characters are not really coming to life, and the usual 'stubborn heroine with a troubled past' is used too often.

Kimberly, the main character and heroine of the story, is a young FBI-trainee, and she is by coincidence and stubborness thrown into the investigation of a killer who has been killing for years. Kimberly is a troubled young woman with many demons, which is not making her life easier. She does not have any real friends, and her relationship with her father is neutral at best. When the serial killer starts dumping bodies close to the FBI training grounds, Kimberly cannot stay out of the investigation any more, even though her superiors has asked her to keep her nose out of it. Her father is an FBI agent who now has his own agency, and he suddenly shows up to help. Kimberly herself is also having personal motives to catch this killer, and while the time is running out, the clues comes together and it ends with a little twist which was just a little bit surprising. Hard core thriller readers will guess the identity of the killer long time before the final revelation.

This review has previously been posted on

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Welcome to the world 300 years from now where everyone turn pretty when they reach 16 years. Before that they are Littlies and from around 12 years, they are Uglies. Uglies is also the title of the first book in Scott Westerfeld's trilogy about Tally Youngblood. When we first meet Tally, she is only a month from her 16th birthday, and she is feeling lonely in Uglyville, the part of the city where all the 12-15 year old teens live in dorms, go to school and pass time until they turn 16 so that they can have their operation and go from being Uglies into New Pretties.

Tally's best friend Peris, who is a month older than her, has already turned pretty, and Tally is bored and lonely. One night she sneaks into New Pretty Town, where all New Pretties are doing nothing but partying and enjoying themselves. After meeting Peris and feeling relieved that he still remembers her, she returns to Uglyville, but en route she meets another Ugly, Shay. Shay and Tally become friends, and it is Shay who tell Tally about The Smoke, a settlement where no one has had the operation, they have all stayed ugly. Shay is determined to stay Ugly, she wants to move to The Smoke and lead another life than just being a pretty party gal.

Tally is shocked and horrified that anyone would want to stay an Ugly, and she does not put much into Shay's speeches about The Smoke. In fact, Tally doubts that it even exists. When Shay does disappear before her 16th birthday and her operation, Tally decides not to follow her. Tally cannot wait to turn into a Pretty, and is picked up by the authorities on her birthday and taken to the hospital, where the operation is done. But something is not right, and very soon Tally is looking into a serious dilemma, leading her towards Shay and The Smoke and away from the operation she so much want.

Uglies was an interesting read with an interesting premise, but I was not swept completely away. I think the book took too long to get going, but when it got going, it was a great  read. I am looking forward to the other books in the trilogy (although I guess it is sort of a quartet, since there is a 4th book as well).

I read Uglies as a part of the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge hosted by Darren of Bart's Bookshelf.
Katrina from Katrina's Reads reviewed it here.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

What a surprise!! Book Blogger Holiday Swap package from Italy

Got home late Friday night. Cold and tired from an icy and rainy and dark evening out which wasn't much fun. And what do I see waiting for me on our dining room table but a package from Italy. I looked at it and wondered what on earth that could be and from whom. I do have a few friends in Italy, but we do not send packages to each other. We communicate by e-mail or through Facebook. Turning the package around, I notice a sticker on the back with the Book Blogger Holiday Swap image. And then I got it! I had completely forgotten about this fun event, since its been so long since I signed up and sent my stuff out in the world.

I eagerly opened the package and found wonderful things in there. Check what I got from Maria Grazia in Subiaco which is a town 63 kilometers from Rome, Italy: A leaflet about Subiaco, a litte 2010 calendar with motives from Rome, two bookmarks (one of them with Egyptian hieroglyphs on it) and two books which I haven't read previously: The Drowning People by Richard Manson and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Wow I say! What a wonderful, wonderful package. Thank you so much Maria! As an added bonus, I have now found a new-to-me blog, Maria's Fly High about books, movies and art. Maria blogs about classics, romantic Italian tv-series, goodlooking actors and much more. I just spend a bit of time over at Maria's blog, and I think you should as well.

Thank you SO MUCH, Maria. I was surprised and overwhelmed. I am looking forward to read the books, change the months in my new calendar and use those wonderful bookmarks. And who knows, maybe visit Subiaco some day :o) Merry Christmas to you from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Sunday Mini Review: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a fast and fine read. It is short, but deals with one of the modern world's biggest taboos, death.

Eddie dies at the age of 83, after having lived a life he is not sure was anything at all, a life he thinks did not have any impact on anyone. After his death he is confronted with 5 different people who all have a story to tell about their own lives. These stories all include some lesson for Eddie, getting him ready to find peace and go to heaven. There is a wonderful light tone in this book, even though Eddie and the people he meets in heaven all have their sorrows and sad lifestories. In fact, the meaning of their stories is to tell Eddie and also us, the readers, that no life is ever a wasted life, and no matter how unimportant one feels, we all have an impact on someone else's life.

This has previously been posted on

Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 30: Done!

I am happy to say that I have posted one post each day for a month during the NaBloPoMo-challenge. I also participated last year, but found this year to be much easier. I haven't used as many back doors as last year (recycling old reviews, just posting photos etc) and have managed to keep most of the posts on a book related level. Looking at posts from last year same time, the ones from this year are much better. I've said that before, I know, but I was actually a bit surprised when I realised it.

I have learned that I struggle to find anything meaningful to say EVERY single day. It would indeed be very hard for me to feel obliged to write a post a day. I love the experience of doing it each November, and I will most likely do it again next year. But now I am happy not to feel too stressed because I must post, no matter what. Like we always say, blogging should be fun, and I have found out that blogging each day simply interferes too much with life. Not that I am such a VIP that my calendar is bursting at the seams, but I have been feeling obliged to post every day, and not quit. But in 9 out of each 10 days, it has been a lot of fun.

I am looking forward to another month of great posts, but I am positive I will not be posting every day through December.

I am deeply thankful for all your comments and am looking forward to visit your blogs much more through December.

This is the 30th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.
Button created by Tracey Delaney.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 29: Sunday Mini Review: The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

I liked almost everything in this book. The meeting of Digory and Polly, the strange passageway between their houses, the 'mad' uncle Andrew and his aspirations to become a magician, his magic rings and the making of Narnia by strong and brave Aslan, the lion.
I was also in awe of the description of the doomed kingdom Charns, where the evil queen/witch Jadis ruled.

I wonder  if Narnia is still magical?!

This is the 29th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 28: To Have and To Hold or Spellbound by Jane Green

I wrote this review on British Amazon early in 2004. The book is called Spellbound in Europe and To Have and To Hold in the US.

Spellbound is a disappointing novel from Jane Green, who usually writes enjoyable "modern fairytales" like Bookends and Jemima J. In Spellbound we meet Alice and Joe, married for 5 years. Alice was the little mouse who was saved by the love of her life, Joe, who turned her into a fashionable trophy-wife. On the very first pages, it is clear that theirs is not a happy marriage. Alice is feeling insecure about everything, most of all her husband Joe, who is a serial adulterer. Alice does not know about Joe's affairs, and she ignores all the typical signs of adultery.

When Joe takes it one step too far, he is transferred to USA, and Alice, who does not know why her husband is being transferred, comes along. In USA they start all over again complete with Manhattan flat and Connecticut weekend house, and for a while they seem happy. Pretty soon they start drifting apart, and after a year of keeping himself on a tight leash, Joe once again falls into the arms of a woman other than his wife. The question is,m how much more can Alice take? Is she perfectly happy in her Connecticut house, without Joe? And what about her English best friend Emily and her boyfriend Harry?

The plot is thin in this book. Alice is an annoying woman, and more than once, I found myself having more sympathy with Joe and his girlfriends than with Alice and her friends. I know it is supposed to be the other way round, but the "good guys" in this story are more often than not unbelievably good and perfect, while the "bad guys" seem much more human. I would have rated this only one star, but ended upgiving it two, as I, after all, did finish it, and also recognizes Ms. Green's effort and work. It is a looong book, and not overly enjoyable.

This is the 28th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 27: Going to be away for the weekend. And a little cry for help...

I am going away for the weekend, so I am not going to be able to join the Thankfully Reading read-a-thon. I am a bit miffed by that, but on the other hand I am going to visit family and I am sure it is going to be much fun and cosy as well. So I'll probably only be around to post the NaBloPoMo-posts and maybe visit some blogs.

As some of you will have noticed, I am reading John Marsdens Tomorrow-series. This series consists of seven books in total, I've read the first four. Since they are not that readily available from Danish libraries, I have bought them one at a time. Which I do not mind at all, because I am going to force people I know to read them after I have finished the series myself, and then they can borrow my copies. Last night I decided to buy the last three books so that I was sure that I had them all for the Seriespalooza in December. So off to to spend some money. And to my horror I discover that Book Six - The Night is for Hunting - is unavailable!!! Okay, it is not exactly unavailable, but I can only get it used. Which neither is a problem at all - if it wasn't for the price which is high! Much higher than what I want to spend on a used book.

So I try The Book Depository. I check eBay. I even check a Danish online bookseller. Same result. I can get it used, but the price is very high. Why on earth is it this particular book in the series which is apparently sold out and not re-published? So I am asking you: Where should I look for it? Do you have any online places where you know you can get anything you want? Because I need this book :-D HELP...

This is the 27th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.
The photo is from flickr and is by Poems of a selfish record player.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 26: Darkness be my Friend by John Marsden

Minor spoilers if you haven't read the previous books in the series and intend to.

Book Four in John Marsden's fantastic Tomorrow series is called Darkness Be My Friend. And there is a lot of darkness in this one. Not just outside in the Australian bush, but also inside the very souls of Ellie and her friends Homer, Fi, Kevin and Lee. Australia has been invaded and more or less captured by the enemy for almost a year, and the different things happening in the previous three books are beginning to catch up with Ellie and the rest of the group. They have begun pondering what exactly it is they have done during their more or less guerilla attacks on the enemy through the three books, and they have begun to worry increasingly about their families who has been kept hostages and as workers for the enemy households since the invasion.

The hiding place in the Australian bush, a hidden site among mountains and forests called Hell, is once more the starting point for their adventures, which, in this book takes on a more professional air since they are being led by 12 soldiers from New Zealand. The enemy have now had almost a full year to spice up their war machine (and their surveillance skills) and the task the group of friends and soldiers are setting out to fulfill is the most dangerous yet.

After a breathless trek across paddocks and bushland during the darkest hours of the night, Ellie and co. find themselves in the one place they had not imagined they would ever see again, and here they start planning their next bold and dangerous move. I was again on the edge of my seat reading this, and I just think it gets better and better. As the title suggests, this one was the darkest one yet. Not much love, not too many jokes, it has become serious business, and the teenagers really mean business this time. Gone are the days where they sought to see the situation from the enemy's side.

I am very curious as to how this series end, and I have three books left. I am going to order Book Five right away, and will probably read that during the seriespalooza I mentioned a few days ago. If I can stand waiting that is.

This book is read as a part of the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge hosted by Bart's Bookshelf.

This is the 26th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 25: Aftermath by Peter Robinson

Aftermath is number 12 in the Inspector Banks series by Peter Robinson. Some of you will know that I've read a lot of books in the series, but completely out of order. That has not really bothered me, and it didn't bother me this time, although I remembered the case of this book because I've read about it in one of the later ones. That did tell me who the killer was before the police knew it. But never mind, it certainly was a great read anyway, and very well put together.

Young, tall and blonde school girls has been disappearing for months, and Inspector Alan Banks is heading a task force investigating the missing girls cases. No one is able to get to the bottom of those mysterious vanishings, and there is real fear that this is not just your average teenage run-aways, but that there is a serial killer on the loose, although no bodies has turned up.

The timid Canadian artist Maggie lives in 32 The Hill, across the street from Lucy and Terrence in 37 The Hill. One night where she again is unable to sleep, she hears noises and voices from Lucy and Terrence's place, and decides to call the police, reporting what she fears is domestic violence. Two  young officers, Dennis and Janet, respond to the call, and before the night is over, one of them is dead.

Banks is called to the scene, and within a few hours it becomes clear that the domestic violence case and the missing girls case are linked, much closer than anyone imagines in the first hectic hours of investigating the domestic violence case.

And so the scene is sat for a thrilling mystery moving fast and without forgetting the excellent development of all the main characters, some of which we already know a lot about from previous (and later) books in the series. Recommendable!

This is the 25th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 24: A couple of used book finds

Some months ago a small used books book store opened only a single block from where I live. I have passed by this little shop many times, but either I haven't had time to drop by or else I haven't had any cash on me  (they only accept cash) or I haven't been able to spot something interesting or some other excuse - like not buying any books. So it has taken some months before I actually went in there. A young guy, a student I think, runs this little shop complete with free coffee whether you purchase anything or not. All books are used, some more than others, and while there are expensive things among the shelves, most are really, really cheap. Last week I went in there for the first time, and this past Sunday, I sort of happened by again. I came out of there both times with one book. On my first visit I found one which I have been meaning to read for ages, ever since it was recommended to me in an online book club I used to be a member of. I found it in it's Danish translation, but that will not matter much, hopefully. Have you read it? The book I am talking about is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

On Sunday I was back in there, not looking for anything in particular, just browsing. While I browsed around I found The Faber Book of America, and while it looks very interesting, it also looks like a book where one can only read a few of the essays in it at a time. But now I have it, and can get to it whenever I like. Its not like it was a book I knew about, it just looked intersting and a bit challenging and I just had to have it. Synopsis from Mary Ward Books: Gathering together poetry and memoirs, speeches and letters, fiction and reportage, the editors of this book present the world of the American dream, of American nightmares, and of American days.

I am sure I am going to visit that little shop again very soon. The owner told me that he gets new (old) books down there often, and that he is right now trying to find old copies of books in their original language, mainly English. Hooray for that.
This is the 24th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 23: Upcoming Happenings in Book Blog Land and an award

There are always lots of fun things going on in Book Blog Land: Read-a-thons, challenges, memes, weekly features, giveaways and much more. This post is written in order to highlight a few of those happenings which I plan to take part in myself. Some of them I already talked about like the Thankfully Reading Weekend, The 2009 Virtual Advent Tour and the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap. And also, lets not forget the Women Unbound Reading Challenge.

But there are also exciting new stuff which I would like to present and for which you can still sign up. The first event is GalleySmith's Seriespalooza. Head over to her page and have a look at what that is all about. Another challenge which looks like a lot of fun is Darren's TwentyTen Reading Challenge on Bart's Bookshelf. I haven't signed up for this yet, but as soon as I get some free time to compile a reading list, I think I will.

I was also honored with the One Lovely Blog award by Esme of the wonderful blog Chocolate and Croissants. Thanks Esme, it means a lot and I really appreciate it.

This is the 23rd post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 22: Sunday Mini Review: It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers by Louise Rennison

I read this book some years ago thinking it was about a young woman, not a girl.
One one of the first pages of It's Okay, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson) it says that Georgia, our heroine, is a youg Bridget Jones. And that is not all that wrong.
The book is about Georgia, aged 14 and her teenage trouble with parents, little sister, boyfriends, school, looks etc.
The plot or non-plot of this book would have been utterly boring, if it wasn't for the very funny use of the English/British language. I am also sure every girl aged 12-99 can relate to some of Georgia's antics if not all of them.
By now the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson has become a long series, but this is the only one I've read.

This is the 22nd post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 21: A Killing Frost by John Marsden

This is Book Three in John Marsdens Tomorrow-series about the teenager Ellie and her group of friends who are out camping during the Christmas Holidays in the Australian bush when their country is invaded. By now I am a die hard fan of this series. It is so well written and the character development is very, very well described plus it is totally believable.

As we begin A Killing Frost it has been almost half a year since Australia was invaded, and Ellie, Robyn, Fi, Lee and Homer are still hiding out in Hell, their hiding place deep in the Australian bush, between mountains, trees and thick shrubbery. Winter is looming, its getting colder and colder and the friends are beginning to seriously get on each other's nerves. The lovestories which began to develop in Book One and became fully fledged in Book Two are over. The friends cannot really stand each other no more. At first I thought that it was a darn shame, but then I thought about it. And I know that if I had been hemmed in for almost half a year, even if it was with my best friends, I would've been desperate to see new faces and hear new voices.

So the group decides that it is time to move on. They have now developed some relatively good guerilla skills, and as the book moves forward the ugly face of war shows itself more and more. War has been present from Book One, and there has been tough choices to make. But in this one, Ellie and the rest of the group are made to make some very difficult choices, and if the things happening in the first two books did not change them, then what happens in A Killing Frost definitely will.

But it is not all hate and violence. There is also courage, faith, surprises and a bit of luck thrown in as the groups moves towards one of their biggest warfare accomplishments. Again I sat on the edge reading this one, sometimes having to put it aside because the suspense was almost unbearable. I finished it in a day, and am now eagerly looking forward to Book Four! A Killing Frost was meant to be the last book, since the series was originally thought to be a trilogy, but luckily there are a lot of loose ends so that the series could continue. Had it ended with A Killing Frost it wouldn't have been that weird, but the reader would have been left with a lot of thinking.

Any YA- and Dystopia fan should read this series. Highly recommendable.

This book is read as a part of the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge hosted by Bart's Bookshelf.

This is the 21st post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 20: Blog Improvement Project: Guestblogging

About a week ago I wrote this post about my hesitation concerning guestblogging. Writing a guestblogger post and also having someone guestblogging on your page was the current Blog Improvement Project task. I asked for advice and received some very valuable comments from bloggers around the book blogging world. I was not writing the post to have bloggers fall over themselves to invite me to their blogs guestblogging away, but I nevertheless received invitations from some, and since this is my first time doing such a thing, I was indeed grateful. Within an evening of mailing back and forth, Dorte of DJ's Krimiblog and I agreed that I should post a guestblogger's post on her blog this week. The subject was up to me. Since Dorte's blog is mainly about thrillers and mysteries, I decided to write about a series of mysteries set in Ancient Egypt. You can read that post here.

Dorte is also going to guestblog on my blog, but due to her hectic schedule (in addition to her day job as an English teacher and taking care of her family, Dorte is also an avid reader, writer and blogger in both Danish and English) Dorte's guestpost will not be up until sometime in December. I am already looking much forward to see what Dorte choose to blog about.

I was also invited by Aarti of BOOKLUST to do a guestblog on her blog in the near future. Aarti runs a weekly feature called Rosie's Riveters, and that feature is, in Aarti's own words: Rosie's Riveters is a weekly posting written by Booklust readers about riveting females in literature. I am looking much forward to do that guestpost as well, although I haven't figured out exactly what riveting female I will blog about.

All in all I think this Blog Improvment Project task was fun. I was hesitating and reluctant at first and I agree that it was all made very easy for me when readers of this blog sort of offered their blogs to me without me having to ask, but perhaps I have a bit more guts now to ask people. And one thing is sure, I will definitely ask people to guestblog at my pages, because I think that a new voice from time to time can only be a good thing.

Blog Improvement Project is hosted by Kim of Sophisticated Dorkiness.

This is the 20th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 19: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

SPOILER ALERT. Do not read this review if you haven't read The Knife of Never Letting Go - the first book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy - since there will be spoilers.

I simply loved The Knife of Never Letting Go which left me rather breathless and which was a truly unputdownable book. I loved the speed with which it moved and I was looking much forward to read the sequel. The difficult Book Two. And sadly I was rather disappointed.

We begin the story exactly where Book One ended. Viola has been shot and is carried away by Mayor Prentiss' men, and Todd is brought to an office of the Mayor where he is interrogated and beaten up. Only thing on Todd's mind is where is Viola, is she dead or alive? He does not receive any answers and is instead being locked up in the cathedral tower. Mayor Prentiss of Todd's old town which he ran from in Book One, has taken over all of New World and has proclaimed himself President. Peaceful times are over, and while it all looks good on the surface, not all are happy with the new self-proclaimed President and his new rules and regulations. Anxiety and anger is brewing beneath the surface.

Todd is kept a prisoner, but is also being sent to work on different projects with the President's son Davy, while Viola is being hospitalized in a so called healing house, where only women work. This particular house is being run by the strict Mistress Coyle, who takes a special interest in Viola. Viola's only thought is where is Todd, is he dead or alive.

Side by side the story unfolds told in part by Todd, part by Viola. Days become weeks, weeks become months, and Todd and Viola move in very different directions, both not really knowing what the other is doing. One thing they know though is, that they somehow need each other. But as the days, weeks and months go, it becomes harder and harder for them to re-connect.

I didn't feel the fast pace of the first book in this book at all and Todd and Viola's stories simply did not grab me. I found the dialogues to be very long and long parts of the book bored me. The character development of all characters is well done though, and the friendships developing between unlike parties were also very well thought out. There is discussion material enough in this book for any YA reader (and adult reader as well) to last many hours (father/son relationships, friendship, love, war, segregation because of sex or color of skin and much more) and in the back of my mind it might have been laid on too thick in places. But then again, I am an adult reader and this book is aimed at a younger targetgroup. I am happy I read this book. It wasn't THAT bad. And the end holds promise of a great Book Three, which I am certain I will read.

The Ask and the Answer cannot really be read as a stand alone book. You need to read The Knife of Never Letting Go first. Otherwise this book will not make much sense.

This book is read as a part of the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge hosted by Bart's Bookshelf.

This is the 19th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 18: Today I'm guestblogging!!!

Yeah - today I am guestblogging at Dorte's blog DJs Krimiblog. So head over there and check out my post about the Lord Meren mysteries.

I will write a longer post later about my guestblogging experiences for the Blog Improvement Project.

This is the 18th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

**Edit: It seems like I have posted this a day too early. I am not guestblogging over at Dorte's blog until tomorrow, November 19 ;o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NaBloPomo # 17: More than halfway there

This past Sunday, we were halfway through the National Blog Posting Month, where the aim is to post (at least) one post a day. I also participated in this last year as a tool to get back into blogging again after not having been very active for a year. And it proved a great thing to do, although on some days, specially around this time, it was very hard to come up with something borderline meaningful to write. Last year I did post a lot of older reviews written pre-blogging times on other sites. You can say that I had a little back catalogue of texts I could use for those days where blogging was not what I felt most inspired to do. This year I only have a very little number of old reviews I can use, so most days I am trying to find something to post about. Usually if I do not think I have anything to say, I just refrain from writing that day - or week. But not during November. I WILL post every day. Not to prove myself, but because I enjoy it 9 out of 10 days. I can live with few days where blogging feels like an obligation instead of fun.

One thing I have noticed is that when I compare the posts I wrote last year during the NaBloPoMo and the posts written this year, then it is clear that this year's posts are better! Perhaps because I have been blogging regurlaly through the year, perhaps because I feel more at ease now in the book blogging community, perhaps because I have to write most of the posts from skratch this year, and because I do not have such a back catalogue I can grab texts from so often.

I don't know, but I know that it is much fun and that I enjoy it a lot. It is a great excercise for me having comitted myself to it, so I expect the next 13 days to be as much fun. Only regret is that I do not feel that I have enough time to visit other blogs and do as much commenting as I would've liked. The day need more hours!

This is the 17th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here. The NaBloPoMo button is made by Tracey Delaney.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 16: More Holiday fun in the blogiverse

This time last year I had reconnected with my English blog after a year of absence. I began making my way round the first few book blogs I happened upon, one of which was Marg's ReadingAdventure. From Marg I learned about Kailana's The Written World, because Marg and Kailana were hosting The Virtual Advent Tour. At that time I had already been making a few Weekly Geek's posts and was finding out just how valuable it is to get to know your fellow bloggers and to interact with them on their pages. So I thought why not sign up for this as well. And so I did. It was a great month of Advent reading and posting. I so enjoyed reading the day's Advent Posts and my google reader and blog roll grew each day. I also enjoyed writing my own Advent Post, but it was definitely as much fun to read others.

I was thrilled to see The Virtual Advent Tour is going to roll this year as well, and have immediately signed up. Its hosted by Marg and Kailana again this year (4th year in a row), and we take off December 1. There is still time to sign up. Also, who can NOT sign up when seeing those pretty buttons?!

This is the 16th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 15: Sunday Mini Review: Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie

Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie takes place in Ancient Egypt, and is about love and murder in a dysfunctional family around the year 2000 BCE. Its a fine and cosy mystery, and the scene set in Ancient Egypt shows us that when it comes to murder - and love - not much has changed since then.

This is the only book Christie wrote taking place in Ancient Egypt, but she wrote several with a Middle Eastern Scene, such as the well known Death on the Nile (legend had it that she wrote this while vacationing on the Old Cataract hotel in Aswan in Egypt. It is a fabulous hotel, closed these days for refurbishment, so the link goes to google image search) and Murder in Mesopotamia [Iraq] which centers around an archaelogical dig in Iraq. This is not so strange, considering that her husband was the world famous Near Eastern archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, whom Christie followed around the world on archaeological expeditions.

Don't forget to check out the Agatha Christie webpage, its full of great info and links.

This is the 15th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 14: Thanksgiving and read-a-thon-fun

I am Danish and we do not celebrate Thanksgiving. But that does not mean that I cannot post a little heads-up about what is going on the world of book bloggers during the Thanksgiving-weekend and later one. I read about the Thanksgiving Reading Event on BethF's blog Beth Fish Reads. The idea of this reading event sprung up between Jenn of Jenn's Bookshelf, Jen of Devourer of Books and Beth. I am not sure that I am at home during that weekend, but if I am, I am going to join in on the event, which is, in Beth's words:  

'completely casual. No rules, no prizes, just a way to connect with others who are thankful to have a quiet weekend to read.'

It all takes place from November 27 - 29 and the Twitter hashtag is #thankfulreading, should you decided to join. Read more about it on any of the blogs mentioned above. I think it is a great idea!

This is the 14th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here. The NaBloPoMo button is made by Tracey Delaney.

Friday, November 13, 2009

NaBloPoMo # 13: Guest Blogging?? Any advice? Do's and Dont's?

The Blog Improvement Project just presented the most daunting task (dauting to me anyway). This week and the next, we are looking into the concept of guest blogging and guest bloggers. While I do not mind asking a blogger if they would write a guest post for my blog, I can feel that I am a bit shy (and I am definitely not a shy person normally) offering myself and my fabulous posts to any old blogger...

Some of my reluctance has to do with the language barriers. Yes, you have told me more than once that my English is fine, and I am very thankful for that. But the fact is that it is not my native tongue, and there will always be something making a post in English less lively than one in Danish. So I am a little self conscious about that, although I guess I can overcome it. Another part of my reluctance is because I feel humble (and again, in real life I am actually not as humble as I probably should be) when I compare my blog to other blogs. So many of the blogs seem so pro, and it seems like the bloggers always know what to say, in an interesting way.

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I am just a tiny bit nervous about this whole thing. On the other hand, I would not have made this post, if I had decided NOT to try this out! So perhaps you can help!?

Not by offering that I can come write on your blog. Before we come to that, I am curious to know a bit about your experiences with guest blogging and guest bloggers. Do you blog directly at their blog or do you send your post as an e-mail. What to do and what not to do, how to contact potential strangers? I already know that I will not ask say a politician to write at their blog about political issues etc., but it does not necessarily have to be a book blog about books and reading.

This is the 13th post in the NaBloPoMo-challenge. See my page here.