December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

I finally head for the mountains and a relaxing Christmas. 12 days snowboarding, reading and having fun with friends sounds not too bad!

Merry Christmas everyone! ....and behave New Years Eve ;-)



December 20, 2011

Very good and FREE ebook: Sci-Fi/Action-Thriller!!!



I've got to share this Christmas gift :-) One of my favourite authors, Michael R. Hicks, will give away his "Season of the Harvest" for free! If you haven't read anything by this author earlier, this is the time to get one of his very best novels! The genre is a mix of Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Thriller/Action.

Click HERE to read my review of the novel. I gave it 5 of 5 stars!

The offer is only valid December 21.st through 23.rd, so you have to decide quickly :-) You'll find the e-book on Amazon!



Happy read!







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December 18, 2011

Review - "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline

Sci-Fi/Fantasy


This was actually something as rare as a cool book! I'm not a "gamer", but this novel was really for me after all! Who could imagine.. I just loved it, and read it in just 2 days.


A bit about the book

"Ready Player One" takes place in the nearest future. The world has changed to a far worse place to stay, but luckily there is the enormous virtual game called Oasis. Here humans can log in to play, go to school, earn money and even meet other peoples avatar. Oasis substitutes real life, and it is in this virtual world people socialize and live their preferred lives.

For Wade Watts, the novel's main character, Oasis is a far better place to spend time than in his aunt's trailer in a trailer park stack several stories high. His family is dead, and it's only because Wade can supply his aunt with some money earned in Oasis that she lets him stay - in a little cupboard on a mattress..

Together with millions of other people on earth, Wade dreams about finding the three keys hidden somewhere in the enormous Oasis universe. The founder of the virtual game, James Halliday, is now dead. He has left his whole fortune to the fortunate one who can solve the puzzle, find the keys and open the final Oasis gate. The challenge is to find these keys, and stay alive! Because even though your identity in Oasis is thoroughly hidden, dangerous things happen around Wade and his fellow contestants.


My evaluation

Here are no spoilers! The novel was SO well written, that it would be a shame to reveal the storyline. It is not as expected - that is all I have to say :-) Again, this is really a cool story! It is packed with action, puzzles, nerd romance and nostalgia from The Eighties. And it is this heavy 80s nostalgia that really captures me. I worked for IBM from 85-92, and have known the PC since its very first beginning. I remember games played on huge floppy discs with 128k RAM. And the novel picks it all up.

This super energetic cyber quest will give any data nerd the feeling of being the authors twin soul. I feel so at home with the puzzles about 80s music, movies and actors. To read this book was a great joy! A must-read for data nerds and lovers of the 80s !!!


Rating

of 5

I have been really lucky with picking great books lately !!! :-)



Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (August 16, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 030788743X
ISBN-13: 978-0307887436



Pic of the day: Lovely sunset from the beach just accross the road from our house



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December 17, 2011

GREAT Amazon customer service !!!

I am extremely impressed by Amazon! After my Kindle died Sunday (the screen just froze on me) I called their customer service for help. "No worries - we'll send you a new one today, expected delivery date December 16 at the latest!" Right... I didn't quite believe what I heard... I'm not the only one getting packages delivered in December...

But - yesterday, 5 days after my telephone call - December 16 - I got my new Kindle Keyboard!! And bear in mind, I do NOT live in Norway's capital with the main post office next door. I live deep in a fjord in western Norway..!

This is great service !!!

Christmas can come :-) The only job I have to do is a simple copy/paste between my PC and my new Kindle, and I'm good to go!

You hear a lot of bad customer service everywhere, so I thought it was just right to praise Amazon. This has been a very pleasant experience for sure!


Rating?

of 5, and a BIG smile :-)







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December 11, 2011

Review - "The Reality Dysfunction" by Peter F. Hamilton

Genre: Sci-Fi

A one word review: WOW! Just had to :-)

A bit about the book

This is the first book in Hamilton's "The Night's Dawn" trilogy. In AD 2600 the human race is finally beginning to realize its full potential. Hundreds of colonized planets scattered across the galaxy host a multitude of prosperous and wildly diverse cultures. Genetic engineering has pushed evolution far beyond nature's boundaries, defeating disease and producing extraordinary spaceborn creatures. Huge fleets of sentient trader starships thrive on the wealth created by the industrialization of entire star systems. And throughout inhabited space the Confederation Navy keeps the peace. A true golden age is within our grasp.

But now something has gone catastrophically wrong. On the primitive colony planet Lalonde a renegade criminal's chance encounter with an utterly alien entity unleashes the most primal of all human  fears. An extinct race which inhabited the galaxy aeons ago called the phenomenon "The Reality Dysfunction." It is the nightmare which has prowled beside man since the beginning of history.


My evaluation

This is a brick! Close to 1300 pages in total, and it sure is sci-fi! But a modern classic sci-fi in a way that captivates you. This is an extraordinary feat of storytelling on a truly epic scale. You either love it, or you hate it. What is for certain, I will start the next book in the series this evening! 

The first 200 pages is, I must admit, difficult to absorb. Hamilton builds a broad specter of characters, planets and subplots simultaneously. These pages you need to read in one go. It is easy to loose control over who is where and why. But as the story develops, everything fits perfectly together and all the different pieces have their own purpose of doing that. 

I cannot say that Hamilton is a wordsmith. Sometimes he spends a lot of words describing details that seems on the side of the main storyline and it can be a bit heavy here and there, but the book is like an exquisite dish full of different spices and ingredients. Everything is necessary to give you the full fantastic flavour of it. The story has a tremendous depth to it - neural implants linking whole societies, living space ships, the dead souls possessing the living and waging inter galactic war.......where did he think all of that up? And with truly likeable and interesting main characters?

It is just a great start of a trilogy, and I cannot wait continuing this space opera :-)


My rating


of 5


Paperback: 1256 pages
Publisher: Orbit; Reprint edition (October 8, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316021806
ISBN-13: 978-0316021807
 


 Pic of the day: One truly lazy kangaroo I met outside Perth :-)




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A sad day - my Kindle died..

Panic attack this morning. The screen on my Kindle 3 (Keyboard) started dying - or, more correct - freezing up. Now 3/4 of the screen is not usable for reading... in other words, my Kindle isn't usable at all. With Christmas just around the corner (favourite reading holiday) and the fact that I live not very centrally in Norway, to put it mildly, I was on the phone with Amazon customer service at once! H - E - L - P !!!

What a fantastic service !!!

In 15 minutes I got confirmation to get another Kindle 3 for free, I got a pre-paid shipping label for the return of the non-functional one, the new Kindle was sent as we spoke on the phone and I got a confirmation on 5 - FIVE - days delivery time. In December! To "outback" Norway! If this really works, I will ble thoroughly impressed! Even my panic faded (somewhat.. :-) 

And no - I wasn't tempted to swap my Kindle Keyboard with any of the new gadgets! That said, it's only the Kindle 4 Mini which is available for us Europeans. My boyfriend has an American Amazon account, but touch screens are not for me even if I can get one. A new Kindle Keyboard is what I want! And that is what I get! Next week. Hopefully....

My Kindle isn't a matter of life or death - it's much more important than that !!!

My non-working Kindle Keyboard - Rest In Peace...


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December 05, 2011

Hobby sharing

In September I decided to once a month share one of my other hobbies with you - photography. For December I have chosen B&W - a wading Black Winged Stilt.

Enjoy :-)









 The pictures are taken in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, on one of our photo safaris to southern Africa.

December 04, 2011

Still alive !!!

Rumors of my death is somewhat exaggerated, but I do have been "gone" for over a month... Life suddenly turned out more busy than both expected and wanted, putting me at work for 3 weeks in Asia and 1 week in USA. No time for fun reading, just business. With December coming up I see my reading hours will still be few, but at least now I can concentrate on my Kindle content again :-)

I have read two books since my last blog post, but the reviews from these are missing. I have chosen not to write them. I may have been a bit too busy in my head to appreciate "Shades of Luz" and "Instrument of Evil", but they didn't engage me at all. One of them I couldn't finish, and the other I waited and waited for action - but nothing happened. Of 5 possible stars, they get 1 and 2. Again, it may very well be my own lack of concentration... and for that I am sorry. But I also have to be honest, otherwise reviewing is futile.

I am, however, ready to start a new book - "Missing Daughter, Shattered Family" by Liz Strange. Just have to finish Peter F. Hamilton's "The Neutronium Alchemist" first.

Happy December everyone, and remember - a Kindle is a great Christmas present :-))

Busy, but I did see a Koala in Perth :-)


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October 23, 2011

Review - "The Race" by Clive Cussler

Genre: Action/Adventure

Why can't I learn a simple lesson? Clive Cussler writes superb action/adventure books. Clive Cussler when using co-authors, in this case Justin Scott, does not write superb action/adventure books! This is all for the money.. Baahh... It gets me every time, and I make the mistake again and again - hoping, maybe this time, that things have changed. Well, they haven't..!


A bit about the book

The story takes place in 1910 and we are at the beginning of the aviation era. A news publisher, Preston Whiteway, offers $50.000 to the first aviator/aviatrix who is able to cross the States in less than 50 days. Whiteway even sponsors one of the favourite candidates, a tough and highly competitive girl - Josephine Frost - and this is where Cussler's/Scott's chief investigator Isaac Bell gets into the game.

Josephine's violent and convicted husband has just killed her lover and have tried to kill Josephine as well. There is no doubt that he will continue trying till he has succeeded. Isaac Bell has met Harry Frost before and he knows that Frost has built his fortune on gangs with thieves and murderers in every city and state accross the continent. Bell also knows that Frost not only will come after his wife, but also the news publisher Whiteway. And if Bell takes the case, well - then he'll also be on the list.  


Spoiler alerts...

The aviation race starts and what must happen happens. Isaac Bell manages during the whole competition to prevent every attempt of killing Josephine and himself. The attempts aren't even specially creative, and Bell - who has never been in an aeroplane before, manages to fly his own (!) as he hasn't done anything else in his whole life but flying. No instruction, nothing. Fantastic! He even wins the race! Yeeyyhh...

At the beginning of the story it is clearly visible that Josephines lover who is killed by Harry Frost will survive the attempt and somehow reappear. And of course he does. You'll find so many obvious subplots that it is pathetic. At the same time the novel is slooooooow. When has ever a true Clive Cussler novel been slow?!? 


My opinion, and

...my advice? Use your money more wisely. I was at least very disappointed - again! As mentioned, I used to find Cussler a very competent action/adventure storyteller, and his Dirk Pitt books are among the best in this genre. They are up to speed, are very exciting although easy to read, but creative and highly infectuous. Cussler mixes past "history" with present activities and has always a couple of parallell stories and subplots which always blend perfectly together in the end. There are always exciting twist & turns when you least expect it, and this fantastic mix has made Cussler to one of my favourite action/adventure writers. In the past, that is....

Cussler HAS written some good novels with another co-author, but he is the exception. This is the NUMA files with Paul Kemprecos. The first 8 books in this series holds in my opinion Cussler standard. However, I see that the 9th book "Devils Gate" he has swapped Kemprecos with the new Graham Brown for some reason, so here we go again...





How can Cussler accept this? He has now celebrated his 80th birthday, and yes - he is getting old. But why not end his career while on top? Why drag his own name through this co-author mud of destruction? I have now bought my last Clive Cussler novel! An era is over, I salute the author he used to be, and will probably re-read the whole Dirk Pitt series at one point in life. You were great, Cussler!

For you who want to read his good novels, check the list of his series HERE. I recommend all 21 novels in the Dirk Pitt series, and the first 8 NUMA files. The rest you can safely leave!


Pic of the day which goes with the novel: The de Havilland dual wing
Source: http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk
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October 21, 2011

Review - "Soul Protector" by Amanda Leigh Cowley

Genre: Paranormal

Gracie's boyfriend just left her after cheating on Gracie's younger sister Michelle, and she is now alone and depressed. It doesn't make the situation better when one of the evenings she is out with her friends two of them get engaged. Gracie is so overwhelmed by both her own sad situation and envy towards one of her best friends that when she gives Lydia a hug to congratulate her with the engagement she suddenly switches into her friend's body! She quickly manages to switch back, but fears that she can't tell anybody without them thinking she has gone completely insane.

The next time Gracie switches body it is planned. She needs to do it both to confirm to herself that she wasn't crazy the first time, and second to see if it really is possible for her to just decide to switch. It works perfectly fine, but this time Gracie gets abducted when switched, by a monitor - Dan. He clearly sees an orange aura coming from Gracies switched body. Dans job is to hunt down corrupt Soul Protectors who steal bodies for their own benefit, and the orange aura reveals that this person has gone over the recommended time limit for switching. When Dan finds out that Gracie is just not quite aware of neither her own Soul Protector situation nor the rules applied to a switched person, they become friends. Dan teaches her what the Soul Protectors are and their mission on earth.

Gracie falls in love with Dan, but there are complications on both sides. Gracie refuses to become a professional Soul Protector despite Dans recommendations, and continues in her present job. Dan himself is fully occupied with hunting down the corrupt Soul Protectors. How the story continues with Gracie, her friends, family and Dan is for me to know and you to find out, and I strongly suggest that you do!


My evaluation

This is a very good read! When I find myself not being able to put down the book even though it's in the middle of the night I just know I have found myself another pageturner. It is not high speed action that keeps me enthralled, it is more Cowleys way of developing her genuinely believable characters. They all have their strong and weak sides, and even though body swapping (still) isn't known to man, Cowley none the less manages to describe a perfectly sane attitude towards the phenomenon from Gracie's standpoint. This makes the story truly credible. Can this actually be done?

The whole idea of Soul Protectors are new to me. I found the plot very engaging and interesting and there are surprising twists and turns throughout the novel. It never gets slow! The lovestory between Gracie and Dan is also sweet, without me revealing any spoilers on the subject. This is only the first book in a series, and I must say I really look forward to the sequel. I am thoroughly curious about the developing of the characters and the soul protecting business going on. This novel I highly recommend, and I am amazed by the fact that this is Amanda Leigh Cowleys first novel!


My rating


(+) of 5



Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: YouWriteOn (July 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908481714
ISBN-13: 978-1908481719





Pic of the day: Jakarta by night - where I read this novel :-)

October 14, 2011

Review - "Interview with the Vampire" by Anne Rice

Genre: YA/Paranormal

Well, now I have read my first ever vampire novel! It will not be my last, because this was definately something else than expected. This novel was first published in 1976. This is decades before vampires became popular main characters in both books and TV series. This story is unique! There are more novels following in the same series, "The Vampire Chronicles". I already have them installed on my Kindle :-)


A bit about the book

Having suffered a tremendous personal loss, an 18th-century Louisiana plantation owner named Louis Pointe du Lac descends into an alcoholic stupor. When he really reaches a low point in his life, he is confronted by Lestat, a charismatic and powerful vampire who chooses Louis to be his fledgling. Lestat convinces Louis that the world is a much better place to stay as an immortal vampire, and after only a short periode of time Louis accepts the offer and moves with Lestat to Louisiana.

The two prey on innocent people, but Louis still isn't satisfied with his life. He fells in love with the daughter at the nearby plantation. When she finds out that Louis is a vampyre she throws him out of the house, and Louis enters a new depressive periode. To enlighten his life, Lestat gives their "dark gift" to a young girl. Louis and Lestat become "fathers" and life reaches new heights. They are a happy "family" for many decades.

The years go by and a dramatic episode alters the life of the vampires resulting in Louis and the girl seeking soulmates in Europe. Without revealing too many spoilers the story gets worse and Louis ends up alone.  



And here the story actually begins, because...

The whole novel is an interview with the vampire Louis! He is interviewed by a sceptical young boy who to begin with doesn't believe in vampires at all.. The story is mainly written from the vampires perspective, and this transforms more or less Louis from a terrible murderer to a very sympathetic, seductive and too human figure..

The other very interesting aspect of the book is that by presenting the story from the view of an immortal raised as a catholic, Rice could freely explore the nature of evil, the reality around death and dying and above all the human limit of perception of what actually happens when one die. This is truly a different vampire story which mixes a childish facination for the supernatural (from the interviewers perspective) and a more inquiring look at the human condition from the vampires point of view.

Being not too fond of the idea of vampire novels to begin with, I found this one intrigueing. It made me definately want to read the other books in the series. The speed of which I read a book tells more about the book than anything else. This one was done in only a few days. A promising start for sure :-)



My rating



of 5



Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 18, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345409647
ISBN-13: 978-0345409645
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches 



Pic of the day: Winter slowly creeps up on us - perfect days for reading ahead :-)



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October 07, 2011

Blog Hop - Follow Friday

A great way to get to know other fellow book bloggers and find new and interesting blogs to follow. Join the blog hop Follow Friday!

If you could pick one character in a book, movie or television show to swap places with, who would it be?

Today that is an easy question to answer! Right now I could do anything to swap with the Norwegian snowboarder Terje Haakonsen in "First Descent". They are snowboarding the wilderness of Alaska! *sigh*



Yes, today I am eager to jump a couple of months into the future. I have been drooling over the very good offers from Whistler, Canada. I am more than ready to bring the family back the following winter. All four of us snowboard, and we had a great winter holiday in Whistler earlier this year. 



October 06, 2011

Review - "In Her Name: Dead Soul" by Michael R. Hicks

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Romance

I got the welcoming opportunity of being one of the beta-readers of this book, and boy was I happy being chosen. I have been anxiously awaiting Hick's new book in the "In Her Name" series, and I was far from disappointed!!


About the book (from Amazon)

Three years after the brutal first contact encounter with the alien Kreelan Empire, the human Confederation is desperate for a victory. With over a dozen worlds under siege by legions of Kreelan warriors, President McKenna orders the Confederation military to deliver a victory to give humanity hope.

Roland Mills, Valentina Sikorsky, Ichiro Sato and his wife Steph, along with the irrepressible General James Sparks are once again at the sharp end of the spear in a mission to take back the colony of Alger’s World from the alien invaders before it’s too late.

But overwhelming firepower may not be enough. For leading the invasion of Alger’s World is Ku’ar-Marekh, a Kreelan warrior priestess with dreadful powers, whose spirit is trapped between life and death. Feared by the warriors of the Empire, she is known as the Dead Soul...


My evaluation

Hicks has done it again. This is an excellent novel, and one among the very best I've read in this genre! This sixth book in the "In Her Name"-series holds the same quality as my favourite Sci-Fi/Fantasy trilogy, which also happens to be Hicks first three novels in the same series - "In Her Name: Empire, Confederation & Final Battle". Thinking of it, I may put "Dead Soul" on the very top! This is a true pageturner, and I only had a short night between the first and last part of the book. I could not put it down!

The new Kreelan warrior - Ku'ar Marakh - is frighteningly scary, even compared to her blue companions. Allison as an early teenage "mini-heroine" develops beautifully throughout the story. I was very happy to meet Valentina Sikorsky again - the girl with the enhanced body and extended functionality from the previous book "First Contact". And Roland Mills, he is the perfect hero! The humans can finally match the blue warriors in warfare, with Ichiro Sato as "the chosen one" commanding fleet officer.

Hicks has his own beautiful way of developing unique characters, and it is brilliantly done! They have a wonderful depth to them, and they are so credible you may wonder where he picks them :-) In this novel you get everything - the fight between the Kreelan race and humanity, love and sacrifice, tactical warfare and hand-to-hand combat. You don't have to read the other books in the series to thoroughly enjoy this one, it stands very well on it's own two feet, but I recommend you spending time on each and every one "In Her Name" books. You will not be disappointed! 

No one above, no one even close! Being a reader is so enjoyable and rewarding when you find authors like Hicks!

Happy read! :-)


My rating

of 5



Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 441 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Imperial Guard Publishing, LLC (October 1, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B005S0WJ7Y



Yes - Hicks definately nailed it... :-)


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Kindle Fire success

It looks like Amazon with their new Kindle Fire has had a great sales start! Information leaked from amazon.com reveals that over 254.000 Kindle Fire's have been pre-ordered the first 5 days! This means an average of 2.100 units pr. hour! Not too bad!!

I don't think the Kindle Fire will sell better than the iPad in the long run, but I have to admit that I'm thoroughly impressed so far, bearing in mind that this is US only (unfortunately).

After having giving it a second thought I have decided not to buy one of the new Kindles. I am too fond of my now newly renamed Kindle Keyboard. It has nothing to do with pricing, more that I'm not that fond of touch screens. Buying the simple Kindle will then be kind of stupid since my excisting K3 in addition to a keyboard also has twice the battery capacity and storage compared to the small, new one.

If I was in the market for a new e-reader and found touch screen an interesting feature I would probably wait till the Kindle Touch reached Europe. It has a nice design, is small and quick and with a one-click easy-buy of e-books from the amazon.com store just a touch away :-)


What I more look forward to is this - and my snowboard out of storage again :-)


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September 15, 2011

Review - "Divergent" by Veronica Roth

 Genre: YA/Fantasy

This book I ate raw! It's not often that I plan to read "a bit" and finishes a book in one go like I did this one. The fact that this is Roth's first novel is quite amazing!


About the book

Beatrice lives in dystopian Chicago, a society divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).

On one appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.




Veronica Roth's own blog you'll find HERE


My evaluation

This novel is the first of a trilogy, where the next one in the series - Insurgent - is planned published May 2012. This novel stands, however, very well on its own two feet. The story is conclusive, even though you can feel the next book lining up. "Divergent" represents a kind of mix between "Enders Game" by Orson Scott Card and "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins without giving you the feeling of a spin-off. The story is quite unique!

The fact that this novel is Roth's first takes me as a surprise. Her writing and language really enthralled me from page one. I was not able to put the book down, despite starting it after a rather busy girlie weekend trip to Copenhagen. And that really tells it all :-) Roth ables in a fantastic way to build a dystopic world which you really feel and see. Tris is a truly believable main character and the challenges that she and her society struggles with get real in all its madness.

This is a pageturner for sure! You get spiralled away from page one, and the story definately picks up even more speed after Tris has made her choice. The challenges she has to handle are both personal and society related. During these (Norwegian) election times one can start wondering - which of the fractions can you really trust? Who keeps their promises, and last but not least - do any of these fractions have an underlying motive for their actions?

It's difficult not to review this book without any spoilers. If you love YA/Fantasy/Dystopian novels, you just have to make time for this book! If you in any way liked "Enders Game" or "The Hunger Games" you definately have to read this book. I hope I get my message through :-)


My rating


of 5


Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 501 KB
Print Length: 496 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062024027
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B004CFA9RS



A collection of items I found along the fjord...



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September 08, 2011

Gone baby, gone...

Instead of doing a Follow Friday stunt tomorrow I am going on a girlie trip to Copenhagen instead! Combining chatting, wining & dining, some photography and good company. I really do look forward to not seeing a PC! Too much work behind a desk lately!

Wish you all a lovely weekend! Take care of yourself, because I'm gone... :-)

Two pictures from my former trip to Copenhagen

 The little mermaid...


Nyhavn, with its boats, colorful houses and outdoor restaurants

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September 07, 2011

Hobby sharing!

This blog covers mainly books, reviews and reading experiences, but once or twice monthly I will share bits and pieces from my other time consuming hobby - photography. First up is a collection of my latest macro pictures.


My "Garden Collection of Flying Creatures..."







Do you have another hobby, apart from the obvious - reading? Why not share it? :-)

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Review - "A Door to Eli" by Hannah Huber

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Twelve-year-old Eli is autistic, living in a world that few but he can understand, and unreachable to almost everyone outside of his family. If Kylie Watson's little brother Eli has any supernatural power, Kylie doesn't want to know about it. She already knows that the world is not forgiving to individuals like her brother, and she believes that she can only protect him from its scrutiny if she herself knows as little as possible about the beautiful, uncanny drawings that Eli makes. 

For these are drawings that are not only stunning to everyone who looks at them, they seem, against all probability, to make things happen and change in the world around them. It even seems that with his drawings, Eli can make living beings appear out of nowhere …

Kylie will soon need to acknowledge her brother's power for what it is, for Eli and his drawings are transforming the sleepy, small-town world in which Kylie lives. A strange talking crow moves into the Watson house. The neighbors' home is attacked by a creature out of ancient myth. Kylie herself begins to see disturbing visions of future events playing out before her eyes. Eli creates doors that allow him to step directly into other universes that exist alongside our own.

And across the boundaries between worlds, a hungry being named Arius stalks Eli, hoping to claim the boy's power for himself. When Eli is whisked away in the middle of the night, it is left to Kylie, her best friend, and a menagerie of Eli's strange pets to follow his trail across universes, straight into the heart of Arius' dark home …


My evaluation

This is Hubers first novel, and I must say I am impressed with what this young girl has accomplished! This is an intrigueing book with a more than interesting story. Huber really manages to look at the world through the eyes of an autistic boy and has made this the important and vivid element of the story.

The novel is about fumbling and budding love between two young people, good against evil accross universes and the loneliness in being special, as Eli. The story flows in its own tempo. Some of the chapters are a bit slow but followed by chapters where the pace really is picking up speed.

Huber definately knows how to describe new, different universes. It is as we can smell, hear and feel a world we get eager to experience ourselves. All in all I liked the novel. The story is original and parts of it is truly beautiful. This is one of the better debut novels I have read, and I look forward to reading more from this writer!


My rating




(of 5 with a big + behind it :-)



Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 662 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B005J7MQJM

 


Pic of the day: Another lovely universe, Emerald Lake BC - Canada

September 06, 2011

Review - "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA

Every year in Panem the Capitol shows the reality program "The Hunger Games" where two teen "tributes" from each of the twelve surrounding districts are put to fight to the death. Katniss and Peeta, the tributes from the poor district Twelve, have both survived the games the year before (read "The Hunger Games, book 1). In this extremely anticipated sequel Katniss returns to her district and finds out that she is more in the center of attraction than ever.

The president Snow from The Capitol pays her a visit, and Katniss starts to fear that even if she survived the games, she is still in danger. She has come to be known among all the districts as the one who defied The Capitol. In the last Hunger Games she was able to force The Capitol to accept two winners, and that way saved  her friend Peeta in the process. She has become a symbol of rebellion!

"Catching Fire" starts with Katniss and Peeta's mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, where Katniss - oblivious or not - ignites rebellios thoughts with the common people. Then there is the Qarter Quell coming up, and the preparations for the 75th hunger games. Every 25th year The Capitol holds a special surprise for that particular game. Finally there is the 75th games themselves. To avoid any spoilers I will not go into any further details, but the story definately evolves!

"The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol's plans. The symbol of the rebellion."

A fan made book teaser!



 My evaluation

This is a GREAT read! After reading the "The Hunger Games" I was afraid that Collins couldn't keep up with the same high standards, since book number one was so amazingly good. Boy was I wrong! The author manages continously to impress with even new twists and turns in the story. You an only wonder where she gets her ideas from.. The triangle relationship between Katniss, Peeta and Gale kept me excited through the whole story. Who would she choose? Based on what? And, what would I have done?

The focus in this number two in the series is very different from the first book. The plot is  much more complex and ambitious. There is a bigger picture of both corruption, manipulation and rebel tendencies present here. All the time with Katniss as the narrator. Catching Fire didn't just hold the same qualities as The Hunger Games, it even surpassed the first book in my opinion. The main twist for the 75th Quarter Quell is the really big surprise of the story! What a genious Collins is :-)

Read and enjoy! This is definately not a waist of time!


My rating


of 5



Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 479 KB
Print Length: 391 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0439023491
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B003O86FMW




Pic of the day: Remnants of a summer... Malta

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September 05, 2011

Review - "Speaker for the Dead" by Orson Scott Card

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

This is book number two in "The Ender's Game" series. It follows Ender Wiggin, a young genius who used his military prowess to all but exterminate the "buggers," the first alien race mankind had ever encountered. Wiggin then transformed himself into the "Speaker for the Dead," who claimed it had been a mistake to destroy the alien civilization. 

Many years later, when a new breed of intelligent life forms called the "piggies" is discovered, Wiggin takes the opportunity to atone for his earlier actions. This long, rich and ambitious novel views the interplay between the races from the differing perspectives of the colonists, ethnologists, biologists, clergy, politicians, a computer artificial intelligence, the lone surviving bugger and the piggies themselves. 

Added to this rich novel we also have the romance between Ender and a young woman who calls for a Speaker because of her father. This young woman is the main reason that Ender decides to settle down for good on the planet Lusitania and join the other inhabitants in studying the "piggies" to avoid their extinction.

"...But when it comes to human beings, the only type of cause that matters is final cause, the purpose. What a person had in mind. Once you understand what people really want, you can't hate them anymore. You can fear them, but you can't hate them, because you can always find the same desires in your own heart." 


My evaluation

This novel is completely different from "Enders Game", but in my opinion more complete and - in lack of a better word - mature. Card's understanding of human relations makes the reader empathize and even sympathize with the characters in the book. You cannot avoid being entangled in the lives and the fights these people are subjected to. There is a good reason this novel too got both the Hugo and the Nebula award...

It would be very sad if the readers and the lovers (which I know come by the thousands) of "Ender's Game" ignore "Speaker for the Dead" and the two following books in the series only because Card has another focus in these books. Because this one is as difficult to put down. It is a truly fantastic story with trustworthy and very richly developed characters who questions our excistence. Like in "Ender's Game" it explores alienation and misunderstandings, but it is a richer - and also slower - book. As far as I am concerned it's also even better!


My rating


of 5



Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 609 KB
Print Length: 416 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812550757
Publisher: Tor Books (November 30, 2009)
Sold by: 
Amazon Digital Services
Language: English



 Blog-Pic: Abstract found by the fjord

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