26 april 2011

Book faux pas

Happy Easter to all of you (or Glad Påsk as we say in Sweden). I hope you had a nice holiday and some extra free time. I know I did. I went about 300 km (aprox. 286 miles) southeast to my in-laws for Easter, as per tradition. Winter has finally let go and left room for spring. The evenings are bright, the trees are green and the air is warm. A lot of time was spent outside enjoying my favorite season. What would then be a better spring activity (besides walking through the fields of wood anemones) than reading? Right? Well, it was just that I made the worst book faux pas a book nerd could ever do. I forgot to bring a book!

So sadly, I don't have any new reviews at the moment, because I haven't read a book since Wednesday last week. I'm almost experiencing withdrawal symptoms. On the upside though, I do have Easter break this week and hopefully I will be able to squeeze some reading in between all of the essays I have to grade.

24 april 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren. All links go to The Book Depository.


  •  Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz
  • The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz

I have the first two books in the Blue Blood series sitting on my shelf without actually having picked them up. But they were just so darn pretty I bought them in the beginning of this year. Now I found these two Melissa de la Cruz books (part 3 and 4) for only 3.14 and 3.03 respectively! If that's not a bargain, I don't know what is!?

Buying books for that prize hardly counts as breaking a book buying ban, now does it...?

20 april 2011

Audio book contemplation (Warning! Long-perhaps-not-so-relevant post)

Although it's a myth that the Inuits have infinite words for snow, it still is true that different languages have different words out of necessity. In Swedish for example we do have quite some words having to do with winter, because we have winter. Some years more the others, but always winter. These last two have been the coldest since the 40's. Brrr.

One word connected with winter that we have is "tjäle". It roughly translates to 'ground frost'. It happens when the water down in the ground freezes. And we all know that ice is more dense that water and takes up a larger space. This phenomenon occurs every winter, but more or less. This year, since it got very cold before the snow came and isolated the ground keeping it a tad warmer, we experienced a lot of ground frost. The ground frost, being bigger that the water, causes problems in the spring because when it thaws and once again turns into water, there are empty pockets of nothings in the ground when the ground frost has been so it kind of sags in some places. Ergo, the roads get very bumpy. And this is perhaps were you start seeing the purpose of me jabbering on about ground frost.

I commute to work. I go by bus in the morning (takes about 55 minutes) and by train in the afternoon/evening (takes approximately 40 minutes). I have always been prone to motion sickness, but lately I have been able to read while in the bus in the morning, except of course in the winter when it is too dark to see anything. (Wow, doesn't Sweden seem alluring..? Cold AND dark) However, recently with all these new bumps appearing (see ground frost discussion), I can't read a word without wanting to throw up. 

I still want to get my daily dose of great literature though... Hmmm.. what to do? Well, you see I procured an audio book. "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" read by Stephen Fry (darn, he's a gifted reader). My first audio book ever. Up until last week I was an audio book virgin, unless you count all the cassettes of Disney stories I had as a child. I actually do like this whole audio book things. It's relaxing, can be done in the dark of winter, and doesn't make one feel sick. And it makes me run around speaking RP all day, both to the dismay and appreciation of my pupils.

17 april 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren
. All links go to The Book Depository.

As part of my new restricted book-buying policy, I only have two new books to display this week.


Well, this is definitely a gamble. I have read some great reveiws of the first novel in the series and liked the sound of it. Attentive readers, however, may have notice a slight aversion I've developed when it comes to firsts in a series. That's why I decided to get both novels, though I don't know if I'll like 'em. But if I do enjoy the first, I will have the second to sink my teeth in right away.

16 april 2011

Library envy

I envy you people living in an English-speaking country because you seem to have great libraries. I'm not saying that our libraries in Sweden are bad, but they generally don't have as many English titles, given the fact that English is indeed not our mother tongue and most people seem to prefer reading books in their own language.

There are English books, sure, but usually not the newest and hottest titles. Perhaps they have some in the larger libraries in for example Stockholm, but not in the small library where I live. And waiting for the books to be translated into Swedish will keep you waiting - maybe forever. The market for books in Swedish just isn't comparable in size to the English-speaking market, for natural reasons.

Don't get me wrong - I love owning my books! But with a new car and potential house-buying in the overseeable future I might be looking at cutting down on my book-buying. Sigh.

15 april 2011

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

The plot: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. (Summary from goodreads.com)

Cover: It's clean and well-designed. I like that the girl on the cover works with the Cassie decribed in the novel.

First line: Now that I've found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night?

My opinion: When I first was introduced to YA dystopias by Suzanne Collins's "Hunger Games", I found it a bit refreshing with a break from the whole paranormal scene, but since then the dystopias seems to have exploaded on the market. They're the new vampires. Since I did love "The Hunger Games" I was quite excited for this one.

My expectations, however, sadly fell short and Matched was too much of George Orwell's 1984 for my taste. Naturally, a novel about an overcontrolling government is bound to make one's mind drift to the most dystopian of dystopias, but whereas Collins succeeded in finding a new take on the whole Big Brother-thing, I felt Condie did not.I was also puzzled with the fact that they could read, but not write. What's up with that?

As for the main characters, I could never really relate to them. I didn't mind them, but then again they didn't draw me in. And that is the biggest nail in the coffin for a fictional character, as far as I am concerned. All and all, I don't think I'll read the next installment.

10 april 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren. All links go to The bookdepository.


Falling in love with English boys by Melissa Jensen
(I just stumbled across this one on a blog somewhere and I purchased it because I feel that I sometimes need a break from all the paranormal and just throw some contemporary into the mix. Though I've never had a general preference towards English boys, maybe this is the novel to change my mind.)

Tomorrow when the war began by John Marsden
( A few years ago, probably ten, McDonald's had this drive that you got a book with your Happy Meal. Tomorrow when the war began - although translated into Swedish - was one of the books they were giving away. I remember choosing that one and then I lent it to someone and never got it back. However now with the major film, as it says on the cover, coming up maybe it's a good idea to actually read the book.)

7 april 2011


I cannot decide what I think about them. They seem to be the latest craze in YA fiction these days. It appears to me that almost every single book that is published is part of a trilogy. And I cannot decide how I feel about that.

On the one hand, it appeals to me. Not only do I know that I like the author's writing and the premise. I also (probably) like the characters and want to know more about them. So getting to linger some more in their universe might be wonderful.

On the other hand, in some cases the trilogy books aren't as good as standalone novels, especially the second installment in the series, which sadly often has lost the charm of novelty but still only feels like a preliminary to the final and resolving book(although there of course are exceptions). If the trilogy was planned from the start, the first two books usually end with a cliff-hanger where I would appreciate some kind of unraveling and not just new questions. Of course, the fact that one usually has to wait so long for the last two books also makes me a bit impatient, especially if the book left too many open questions.

And sometimes I would just like a kick-ass standalone novel.

Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Plot: Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves. (Summary from goodreads.com)

First sentence: The story goes that even after the Return they tried to keep the roller coasters going.

Cover: I'm not crazy about the covers for the edition that I have. They're okay but nothing more. I definitely prefer the simpler and more stylized ones from Orion with the crustacean.

My opinion: If I enjoyed The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I really liked The Dead-Tossed Waves. I was a bit surprised at first that the narrator of this novel was in fact not Mary, but another girl, who, which we later find out, is Mary's daughter Gabry. Surprising yes, disappointing no. I was actually rather intrigued by Gabry and her life in Vista. In a way, it is almost a Bildungsroman because it depicts Gabry's journey, both psychologically and emotionally, from an unsure and scared girl to a strong-willed and confident young woman.

As opposed to its proceeder, I did not find this novel dull at any time. It was fast-paced and action-filled throughout the whole novel, though not losing focus on survival or relationships. The romance that I somewhat felt was lacking from The Forest of Hands and Teeth (sorry for all the comparisons) was more to my liking in this novel. As much as I like zombies (hrmm...?), I really do want some romance in my novels.

Just as Carrie Ryan's first novel, this one also focuses on big existential questions, like Who am I? Where do I come from? What is right? What should I do with my life? Is this it? Is there something else? The Dead-Tossed waves, however, to me felt a lot more hopeful, which makes this novel more in my taste. When everything is awful, I still want to be able to cling on to hope.

Even if you feel that you're not exactly the zombie type, I recommend reading Carrie Ryan's post-apocalyptic zombie series because there is so much more to these novels than meets the eye. It challenges the reader to ponder the same questions as Gabry, questions of right or wrong and what is means to be human.

4 april 2011

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Jones

Plot: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death? (Summary from goodreads.com)

First line: My mother used to tell me about the ocean.

Cover: I don't mind it, but I don't love it either. I prefer the black cover with the red thingie on it (don't know what it is really). It's more esthetically pleasing to me.

My opinion: When I retrace my steps to my last few reviews I notice that they have something in common, namely that they're all first books in a series. I also notice that I complain about being a bit tired of the world building and get to know-ing of all characters. And then... I pick up yet another first. What was I thinking?

Ironically, what I somewhat missed in this book was the actual world building. How did the world as we know it come to an end? Who are the Unconsecrated? Where did they come from? Why? I've read in interviews with Carrie Ryan (don't remember where just now) that she purposely left that part out, but personally I would've enjoyed it.

I put off reading this book for quite some time (or put off buying it is probably more accurate) because I just wasn't intrigued by the whole zombie apocalypse, because let's face it - zombies aren't beautiful, romantic and chivalrous. They're yucky. What made me decide to read it though was the expected romance (which is promoted by the cover blurb), but it kind of fell short for me. It wasn't that whirlwind that I was anticipating, although probably a "healthier" YA romance. Just too bad that I was in the mood for the whirlwind.

Throughout the entire novel I had this constant creeping claustrophobic feeling because the characters are trapped in so many different ways. Obviously physically, they are trapped in their fenced village with a forest full of zombies outside. But also on a totally different level, when Mary wonders if is this really is all there is? Is there nothing more to life? Should she settle? Both for Mary and for the readers, many questions remain unanswered.

That being said, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a fast-paced and thought-provoking novel about dreaming and daring, hoping and losing. I liked it.

3 april 2011

Dagens i-landsproblem

In Swedish we have a little something called "Dagens i-landsproblem" (sort of translates to 'the industrialized country problem of the day'), which is when we complain about little things in our everyday lives that bother us, but if you think about it are just rather spoiled to complain about, given the "real" problems that many people in other parts of the world face every day, like not having food or water or have your home destroyed in a war.

Now I will present you with one of these "Dagens i-landsproblem" of my own. I might be a bit picky and conventional but it really does disturb me when books in the same series don't match. It really does. Like two of the books I received this week: 'The Forest of Hands and Teeth' and 'The dead-tossed waves' by Carrie Ryan.

Although both are paperback, both for the same market (US/Canada) and both are from the same publisher (Delacorte Press) they differ in size! The themes and colors and such on the covers match just fine, but the books themselves differ in size! The Dead-Tossed Waves is about half a centimeter bigger all around (in height and width). One can argue that half a centimeter can't make that big a difference, but in the bookshelf it does.

That bugs me.

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren. All links go to The bookdepository.

And the books keep coming like never before. I might have to reconsider my book buying...


The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
(I've thought about it for a while, however I was a bit put off by the zombie theme, but then I just figured I'd give it a go anyway)

The dead-tossed waves by Carrie Ryan
(And I figured I might as well buy book two if I like it a lot. I'm grown a bit tired of reading first books and then having to wait for a long time for the next installment)

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
(Another sequel. I read Wicked Lovely in the beginning of the year and enjoyed it a lot. Now I look forward to continuing the series)

Before I fall by Lauren Oliver
(I've never read anything by Lauren Oliver but I've heard so many great things about this book and the premise just seems very interesting)

So, what'd you get?