Monday, January 31, 2011

Review; XVI, Julia Karr

Publisher: Speak
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Release: Januar 2011

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

Interesting, but not engaging

Imagine a future where every girl age sixteen or older has a tattoo on her wrist, signaling that she is ready to have sex. This is the world Nina Oberon lives in. The year is 2150, and Nina is soon going to turn sixteen and become a "sex-teen". Nina's best friend Sandy is looking forward to be what the government has labeled sexually mature, Nina is not.

This is a society where the government runs everyhing and there is a gap between citizens. People on welfare, for example, are feed non-healthy food to keep them overweight. The NonCons are trying to act against the goverment, and anyone being a NonCon can be arrested.

This book is a dystopian kind of fiction, and the main theme is sexuality and the sexual pressure teens must face. And that makes it an important and an interesting read. Unfortunately the book did not succeed in holding my interest and keeping me engage in the story. I constantly felt my thoughts straining whilst reading. The author has too much information on the future society pouring through the pages in the beginning, that I felt it hard to be engage in Nina and her story. We get a lot of descriptions about the world around her, but hardly anything about what she is feeling inside. That changes during the progress of the book, and we get a more complex picture of Nina. But sadly that was not enough for me.

I also had a hard time understanding some of the slang in this book. Maybe that is because I am Norwegian, but I would have prefered a list over unusual words and words made up for this book in the back.

I think this is a book that will be an interesting read in a class where the students may discuss the text afterwards. But I think the novel goes to too many lenghts to deem sex an evil thing that must be avoided at all costs, and some of the characters were a bit one dimensional. I mean, just being a guy does not meea your are about to have sex with every girl you see.

Other reviews:

Ya Librarian Tales

Phoebe North
Bloggers Heart Books

Saturday, January 22, 2011

New Meme: Scandinavian Saturday

I am introducing a new meme on this blog: Scandinavian Saturday.

Scandinavian Saturday is a meme about all things Scandinavian. It can be about Scandinavian traditions, authors, books news or other relevant stuff.

Do you want to participate? I am going to write some of the posts myself, but I am also looking for people who want to do a guest post:

Maybe you have read a great book by a Scandinavian author and want to talk about it, or maybe one of your favorite authors is from Scandinavia.

Maybe you have a been on a trip to Scandinavia and want to write about that.

Maybe you are an author of books in the genres I read about to being published in Scandinavia and would want to talk about that.

Maybe you are a Scandinavian author about to being published in English.

Maybe you are a Scandinavian bookblogger.

There is a lot of possibilities. The point is that the entry must have something to do with Scandinavia.

If you would like to participate, please write me an email. I will talk about this meme on my Norwegian blog, so you will also get the opportunity to reach readers in Norway.

I will be starting the meme in March.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Trailer Thursday (1)

This week's trailer is the booktrailer for Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck. It is so good, and makes me wanna read the book:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Challenges 2011

This is a post where I keep track off my progress in the challenges I am participating in this year.


(20 / 100 books read)

Books read in this challenge (1/30)
1. Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House

Books read in this challenge: ( 0/6)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teatser Tuesday (1)

This is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

My teaser this week:

I exhaled. At least for a few more months I was fifteen - and safe.
page 6 - XVI by Julia Karr

Review: The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

Publisher: Penguin Classics
Pages: 246
Format: Paperback
Released: First released i 1959, this version came out in 2009

Four seekers have arrived at the rambling old pile known as Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of psychic phenomena; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Luke, the adventurous future inheritor of the estate; and Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman with a dark past. As they begin to cope with chilling, even horrifying occurrences beyond their control or understanding, they cannot possibly know what lies ahead. For Hill House is gathering its powers – and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

A very scary ghost story

The Haunting of Hill House is one of the best ghoststories I have ever read.

Dr. John Montague have studied antropology and is using his education to study supernatural phenomenon. He rents Hill House, which is known to be haunted, and sends out invitations for a stay to a group of people who all have experienced something paranormal earlier in their life. Together they will investigate if there is any truth in the stories that are being told about the house. Among the people arriving at the house, we find Eleanor Vance and Theodora. Luke Sanderson is the house owner's nephew. None of them have any clue what they are about to participate in.

Shirley Jackson's wellknown classic was not a all what I had anticipated, it was way better. It had me glued to the pages right from the first sentence. The opening of the book is one of the best I have ever read. Just listed to this:

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

The main character in this story is Eleanor Vance, and a lot of the scenes are experienced through her eyes. Eleanor has spent the last ten years taking care of her mother, and she is thrilled to get the opportunity to stay at Hill House, meet new people and experience something out of the ordinary. Jackson makes sure that our sympathy lies with her.

The suspense is slowly built up. We get a lot of hints about the house and its story, but it takes some time before there is any real drama. But that does not make the story boring in any way, when there is finally some real action you are already at the edge of your seat. And it gets more and more spooky. I would not want to read this story home alone at night. Even though I read it with my boyfriend sleeping next to me in bed, I was still scared.

The Haunting of Hill House is so spooky, and the story will continue to haunt you even when you have read the last page. Read it, if you dare.

Other reviews:
Dark Echo
The Liminal State

I read this as part of the Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge, and the Gothic reading challenge.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

This weekly meme focus on the books we got our hands on last week and is hosted by The Story Siren.

I have decided to not buy so many books this year. Maybe I told you that last time I did an IMM meme, but I still need to tell myself that some more. I have a lot of great books waiting in my shelfs, ready to be read and reviewed and it is about time I really dig into my reading pile. But, I got some books in the mail this week that I had preordered. I am still waiting for other books that I also have preorderer - mostly books written by debut-authors or books in series I read.

Melissa Guibord: Warped
Alexandre Monir: Timeless
Julia Karr: XVI
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Have a great sunday everyone.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Blogger Hop 14/1 - 17/1

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books.

This weeks question is:

"Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?"

I have always been fascinated with the paranormal and things that are not easy to explain. Even from an early age I was drawn to books that featured ghosts and other paranormal creatures. I lent a lot of books about unexplained mysteries at my school library, and even though it scared me I also found it fascinating.

When I became a teenager, I discovered a very popular bookseries here in Norway called The Legend of the Ice People by Margit Sandemo. I was instantly absorbed into the universe she created, a universe with strong female heroines, paranormal creatures and events, love, mysteries and action. I read the whole series ( 47 books) in a few summer-months.

Since that day, I have always liked books that focus on the paranormal but as the years progressed I got a tendency to focus on suspense & thrillers when I chose books. To make this story a bit shorter: Like everyone else I discovered the Twilight phenomenon on the internet and wondered what this hype was all about. I bought and read the books, and even though they are not my favorites I started to buy other books in the same genre and that was the beginning. The first books I read, aside from Twilight, was Fallen by Lauren Kate and Evermore by Alyson Noel. Those two books mean a lot to me now.

I also read suspense & thrillers because I love mysteries, and it is always fun to try to guess who the killer is during the reading. I have always been fascinated with the dark depths in the human mind - what makes people become killers and even serialkillers.

And last but not least I read historical fiction because I am a big history buff. I love to read and learn about other times and I am especially fond of reading about The Tudors, WW2, the Dark Ages and The Victorian Era.

Happy hopping everyone.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: The Pain Merchants, Janice Hardy

Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens UK
Author: Janice Hardy
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy

(This book was called The Shifter when it was first released in the United States)

" Fifteen-year-old Nya is one of Geveg’s many orphans; she survives on odd jobs and optimism in a city crippled by a failed war for independence. Nya has a deadly secret. She is a Taker, someone who can extract pain and injury from others, but with unusual differences. Her sister Tali and other normal Takers become Healer’s League apprentices and put their extracted pain into enchanted metal, pynvium. But Nya can’t dump pain in this way. All she can do is shift it from person to person.When Nya’s secret is revealed to the pain merchants and the Healer’s League she is flung into danger. Then a ferry accident floods the city with injured, Takers start disappearing from the Healer’s League and Nya’s strange abilities are suddenly in demand. Her principles and endurance are tested to the limit when Nya’s deadly powers become the only thing that can save her sister's life."

An original adventure

Nya lives in a dystopian world. There is war and many people are struggling to make ends meet. Nya and Tali, two sisters, are orphans. Tali is attending the Healer's League, where she is learning to become a healer. Nya takes whatever jobs she can find in order to earn some money to buy food and shelter for the nights.

In this world, pain has become a merchandise. Healer's are able to cure people for pain, and then there are the Takers - people who not only have the ability to remove pain from another person's body but also transport this pain into other people or objects. Nya is a Taker, and her abilities are sought after.

I had not heard about this book before it showed up unexpectedly in my mail before Christmas. I liked the cover and once I started reading I could not put the book down.

There is action from page one - I became instantly curious about Nya and the world she is living in. Nya is a great heroine; feisty, takes charge and stands up for herself and her sister. She is a just person - a person who stands up for others and wants to make a difference.

The plot in this book is not like anything I have ever read before. It is highly original and there are some unexpected turns and twists as the story progresses. This is also one of the first books I have read in a long time where the love interest is not a big part of the story, Nya have so much more to care about in this book than to fall in love - is seems, and that makes the story even more believable.

The Pain Merchants is a story about friendship and family, about what a person would be willing to do to save those that are close to him/her. It is a story about the dangerous aspects of having too much power and about being true to yourself and your principles. Nya is also portrayed as a human being - she makes mistakes, like all of us, so the reader are able to identify with her.

I am eager to read the next book in this series, and will recommend The Pain Merchants to anyone who wants a book with a original and absorbing plot.

Visit the author's webpage here!

Other reviews for this book:
The Sharp Angle

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WOW: Blue Fire, Janice Hardy

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, where we talk about books we are looking forward to being released.

My pick this week is The Healing Wars 2: Blue Fire by Janice Hardy

Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.
Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.

I have just finished the first book in this series, The Pain Merchants, and it was so good. You can read my review tomorrow. Blue Fire is already released in the US, but since I want to have the same edition as the first one in this series, I have to wait for the UK release in March

If you have not read The Pain Merchants, go ahead and do it. It is really great and very original.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Review: Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone

Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him whose parents have been killed in a 'car crash'. He is bullied by them and his fat, spoilt cousin Dudley, and lives a very unremarkable life with only the odd hiccup (like his hair growing back overnight!) to cause him much to think about. That is until an owl turns up with a letter addressed to Harry and all hell breaks loose! He is literally rescued by a world where nothing is as it seems and magic lessons are the order of the day. Read and find out how Harry discovers his true heritage at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, the reason behind his parents mysterious death, who is out to kill him, and how he uncovers the most amazing secret of all time, the fabled Philosopher's Stone! All this and muggles too. Now, what are they??

Pure magic

I must be one of the few people in the whole world that have not read any of the Harry Potter books yet. I had actually decided not to read them, beacuse of all the hype, but ever since I discovered the YA - universe I have changed my mind. A lot of Norwegian bookbloggers are also raving about these books, so I had to see what the fuzz was all about. Now I am one of the people that loves Harry Potter.

The story should be known to a lot of you by now: Harry lives with his aunt Petunia and his uncle Vernon, because his parents is dead, killed in a car accident - or at least that is what he has been told. Petunia and Vernon treat Harry bad, they have only eyes for their own son Dudley.

One day Harry receives a mysterious letter and his whole world changes. It turns out that his parents did not die in a car accident...

Like I said in the beginning, I have avoided the Harry Potter books for a long time because of the hype surrounding them. But I decided to give the series a chance, and I am so glad I dit that.I had high anticipations when I started reading, but I was not let down. Not at all. I was completely sucked into the story from the first sentence, trapped in a world I did not want to leave. I almost forgot to get off the train and the bus whilst reading, all I wanted to do was to keep on reading and be in this amaxing world that J.K. Rowling has created.

I loved the characters, the story, the atmosphere. I loved absolutely everything with this book. I understand why these books have gotten such a huge fanbase. Now I am a fan too, and can't wait to read the rest of the series and watch the films ( I have only seen the first when it came out a long time ago).

I cannot describe the feeling this book gave me. You have to experience it for yourself. Just go and read it!

Other reviews for this book:
A Book Obsession
Notes from the North
Bibliophilic Book Blog
Candace's Book Blog

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I am sorry that I have not been blogging so much lately. I have had so much to do, busy at work, and a lot of school work ( I am studying literature). But I will do better.

I have gotten a lot of amazing books since I last did In My Mailbox. Here they are:

For review:

Janice Hardy: Pain Merchants; The Healing Wars 1
Kiersten White: Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy and The Healing Wars just showed up in my mailbox unexpected a few days before christmas. I was so happy, and literally jumped up and down. I have been wanting to read Paranormalcy for so long. The Pain Merchants also looks great. Thanks to the amazing people at HarperCollins Childrens UK who sent me these books. I am so grateful.

I have also received a few books from Netgalley:
L. A. Weatherly: Angel Burn
Mauren McGovan: Sleeping Beauty; Vampire Slayer
Eden Unger Bowitch; The Atomic Weight of Secret or the Arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black
Shirley Duke: Unthinkable
Mara Purnhagen: One Hundred Candles


I have bought a lot of books lately. Aside from the books I preordered in 2010, I will try to no buy any more books for a while. Anyway, here are the books I got in December and so far in January:

Kelley Creagh: Nevermore
PC Cast: Divine by Mistake (Bought in Norwegian)
PC Cast: Divine by Choice (Bought in Norwegian)
PC Cast: Divine by Blood (Bought in Norwegian)
Susan Krinard: Chasing Midnight (Bought in Norwegian)
Michele Hauf: Her Vampire Husband (Bought in Norwegian)
Maggie Shayne: Bloodline (Bought in Norwegian)
Christoper Pike: Thirst no 3

I discovered a sale on some books in a bookshop, and they only cost 3,52 USD each, so I had to have them:

Kate MacAllister: The Last of the Red Hot Vampires
Kate MacAllister: Playing with Fire
Kate MacAllister: Up in Smoke
Kate MacAllister: Me and My Shadow
Kate MacAllister: Love in the Time of Dragons
Kate MacAllister: Sex and the Single Vampire
Kate MacAllister: Sex, Lies and Vampires
Kate MacAllister: A Girl's Guide to Vampires
Kate MacAllister: Even Vampires get the Blues

What did you get in your mailbox? And if you have read any of Kate MacAllister's books I would love to hear what you thought of them.
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