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Title: Speaker for the Dead
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 382
Date read: July, 2007


Summary: In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening....again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery....and the truth.

Review: Orson Scott Card himself thinks that this sequel to "Ender's Game" is superior to the first. In fact, "Ender's Game" wasn't even a novel at first, it was merely a short story that had to be expanded into a novel to serve as a prequel to "Speaker for the Dead". As much as I respect his writing abilities, I can't agree with him on this. "Ender's Game" is - IMHO - by far the better of the two both in terms of plots and characterizations. But as you can see from the rating, that doesn't mean that this book isn't great too. I had sever difficulties putting it down once I got into it, and am already keeping a look out for the 3rd and 4th books of the Ender series.

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Title: These Happy Golden Years
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 237
Date read: July 2007, January 2010, August 2012


Summary: Fifteen-year-old Laura learns that living away from home and teaching school can be a bit frightening when most of the students are taller than she is, but every week Almonzo Wilder arrives to take her to her family for the weekend.

Review: I love all of Laura's books, but if I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be this one. It takes up exactly where "Little Town..." leaves off and describes Laura's life now that she's suddenly a grown-up school teacher. I couldn't imagine teaching school at an age where I still ought to GO to school! It's fascinating. And the courtship between her and Almonzo is just adorable. I always finish this book with a content sigh :)

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Title: Little Town on the Prairie
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 223
Date read: July 2007, January 2010, August 2012


The long winter is finally over, and with spring comes a new job for Laura, town parties, and more time to spend with Almanzo Wilder. Laura also tries to help Pa and Ma save money for Mary to go to college.

This is one of my favourite LIW books. I'm fascinated by the descriptions of life in town. Two things that struck me in particular were a) how modestly they lived and b) how quickly they had to grow up. Just think of Laura, going off to teach at age 15. I was no where near mature enough for that at that age. And they all seemed so selfless too - always passing on things to each other, because they didn't need them themselves, and thought the other person would like them more.

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Title: The Long Winter
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 251
Date read: July 2007, Jan 2010, August 2012


The town of De Smet is hit with terrible, howling blizzards and Laura and her family must ration their food and coal. When the supply train doesn't arrive, Almanzo Wilder and his brother realize something must be done. They begin an impossible journey in search of provisions, before it's too late.

My mum used to say that this was the most boring book of the lot. Perhaps for that reason alone I never felt so. I realize it's quite repititious, but you get to follow an entire town during a difficult time, and get lots of survival tips... should you ever be in a situation where they're actually needed ;) If I remember correctly it's the only book not told solely from one person's POV which I think was a good choice as there would otherwise have been far too much telling and not enough showing.

Reread in January 2010: It's been insanely cold for an insanely long period of time (after Danish standards anyway), so I figured it was quite appropriate to reread this now. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed it as much as always. Definitely made me realize how lucky I am to live in a day and age where electricity, heat and transportation are things we can take for granted.
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Title: Farmer Boy
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 236
Date read: July 2007, January 2010, August 2012

Summary: The Story of a boy named Almanzo Wilder...While Laura Ingalls grows up on the western prairie, a boy named Almanzo Wilder is living on a farm in New York State. Almanzo and his brother and sisters work at their chores from dawn until supper most days -- no matter what the weather. There is still time for fun, though, especially with the horses, which Almanzo loves more than anything.

Review: It took me quite awhile to read this one the first time around, because I didn't originally think that a book not about Laura could possibly be as good. I don't know why I thought that, seeing as it was the same person writing them, and fortunately my mum talked me into reading it. Now, it's one of my favourite of the series. It has a lot more explaining how they do this or that, but that doesn't bother me at all, since lots of this is completely new to me. I also like the fact that this book spans over almost exactly one year, so you get to see how life on a farm was back in those days.

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Title: By The Shores of Silver Lake
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 220
Date read: July 2007, March 2011, August 2012


The days of moving from place to place are finally over for the Ingalls family. After going through a very hard time on Plum Creek, good news comes in the form of Aunt Docia, who hasn't seen them since they left the Big Woods. She's married now, and her husband works for the railroad in the Dakota Territory. He's in desperate need of help, so Pa decides to leave the Plum Creek area and move west with the railroad.

After they've moved west, they have the job of setting up their new home in the wilderness all by themselves. The last workmen have moved out and they are all alone. Or so they think. One man remained behind and he and his new wife become the family's closest friends. Little by little, new people start arriving and making their own homes. Pa has to act fast if he's to claim the homestead he'd picked out!

This is very obviously a 'transitional' book where Laura has to get her and her family from one place to the next but not much happens. It's a true sign of a good author, however, when even books where 'not much happens' are well worth reading :)
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Title: The Devil Wears Prada
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Genre: Chick-lit
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 392
Date read: July, 2007


Summary: Most recent college grads know they have to start at the bottom and work their way up. But not many picture themselves having to pick up their boss's dry cleaning, deliver them hot lattes, land them copies of the newest Harry Potter book before it hits stores and screen potential nannies for their children. Charmingly unfashionable Andrea Sachs, upon graduating from Brown, finds herself in this precarious position: she's an assistant to the most revered-and hated-woman in fashion, Runway editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly. The self-described "biggest fashion loser to ever hit the scene," Andy takes the job hoping to land at the New Yorker after a year. As the "lowest-paid-but-most-highly-perked assistant in the free world," she soon learns her Nine West loafers won't cut it-everyone wears Jimmy Choos or Manolos-and that the four years she spent memorizing poems and examining prose will not help her in her new role of "finding, fetching, or faxing" whatever the diabolical Miranda wants, immediately.

Review: Chick-lit and fairly enjoyable, but as you can see from the rating, I wasn't knocked off my feet. It was okay, but Andrea needed to grow a spine in the worst way. I couldn't believe she'd let her boss treat her like that - and CONSTANTLY. It'd be one thing if Miranda had at least some redeeming qualities, but there were none. Which made for a train-wreck-like book (i.e. you couldn't look away), but not one that could be labelled 'comfort book' by any stretch of the imagination. I kept waiting for Karma to bite back and it never happened, which left me with a terribly unsatisfied feeling.

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Title: On the Banks of Plum Creek
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 235
Date read: July 2007, March 2011, August 2012


Summary: Laura and her family find a new home in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where the nearby creek and swimming hole lure Laura with dangerous, yet thrilling adventures. Too soon, their life is threatened when prairie fires and other strange events jeopardize their crops.

Review: I remember being totally scared by the grasshoppers after reading this book. I'd read about the plague of the locusts in the Bible, but it never really *clicked* exactly what it meant until after reading this. I can't remember if I noticed this before, but on this readthrough it constantly strikes me how simple a life the Ingalls lived. I know it's (mostly) written with rosy-coloured glasses but I really think there were a lot of advantages to it - more time to play (no TV or computer), more time to spend with your family (again, no TV or computer to compete with)... on the other hand I would miss having more than 3 books at my disposal ;-)

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Title: Dancing Shoes
Author: Noel Streatfield
Genre: YA
Rating: 6/10
# pages: 237
Date read: July, 2007


Summary: Life at Mrs. Wintle's School of Dancing is a big change for Rachel and her sister, Hilary. Tap lessons, musical comedy, singing lessons, acrobatics - it's a far cry from the quiet contry life they led before Mother died. Now they're living in London wiht eccentric Aunt Cora Wintle, who's determined to turn them into memebers of her dance troupe, Wintle's Little Wonders.

But Rachel doesn't want to be a Little Wonder! She can't dance, and she'd rather die than wear the ruffly costume. Not only that, she doesn't want Hilary to be a Littel Wonder either. Hilary is truly talented, and should be studying with the Royal Ballet!

To make matters worse, there's conceited cousin Dulcie. She's the school's star dancer, and the apple of Aunt Cora's eye. And if there's one thing Dulcie hates, it's the thought that somebody else might be as good a performer as she is...

Review: Ever since watching "You've Got Mail" I've wanted to read books by Noel Streatfield. Thanks to an online friend of mine, I've finally been able to. It's a children's book, to be sure, but quite sweet for what it is, and I enjoyed the atmosphere of it. I also have "Theater Shoes" and "Ballet Shoes", but as far as I can see it's not a continuing series, but rather separate stories?

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Title: Little House on the Prarie
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 222
Date read: July 2007, August 2012


Summary: Laura Ingalls is heading west! The Ingalls family packs up their covered wagon and sets off for the big skies of the Kansas Territory, where wide open land stretches as far as the eye can see. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.

Review: This is probably the 'Little House' book I enjoy the least. It's still charming, but it seems so hopeless. They come, they build a house, they leave. I know it's only a year 'wasted', but it must still have been very frustrating to be sent on like that.

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Title: Three Men In A Boat: To Say Nothing Of The Dog
Author: Jerome K. Jerome
Genre: Classics
Rating: 7/10
# pages: Audiobook
Date read: July, 2007


Summary: Imagine Bertie Wooster and two of his idiot friends out on a boat... with no Jeeves. That about describes "Three Men in a Boat : To Say Nothing of the Dog," Jerome K. Jerome's enchanting comic novel about three young men (to say nothing of the dog) who discover the "joys" of roughing it.

The three men are George, Harris and the narrator, who are all massive hypochiandriacs -- they find that they have symptoms of every disease in existance (except housemaid's knee). To prop up their failing health, they decide to take a cruise down the Thames in a rented boat, camping and enjoying nature's bounty.

Along with Monty -- an angelic-looking, devilish terrier -- the three friends set off down the river. But they find that not everything is as easy as they expected. They get lost in hedge mazes, end up going downstream without a paddle, encounter monstrous cats and vicious swans, have picnics navigate locks, offend German professors, and generally get into every kind of trouble they possibly can...

Review: Absolutely hilarious! I love the dry wit of Jerome's writing, even if some of his tangents went just a bit too far out. It's the perfect book for reading aloud, and I wish I'd known it while I was still living at home, so I could've gotten dad to read it to us on one of our vacations.

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Title: House
Author: Ted Dekker & Frank E. Peretti
Genre: Christian fiction, suspense
Rating: 5/10
# pages: Audiobook
Date read: July, 2007


Summary: "House" is an epic supernatural thriller that gives a new meaning to the phrase "haunted house". In rural Alabama, two couples find themselves in a fight for survival. Running from a maniac bent on killing them, they flee deep into the woods. They seek refuge in an old house that's been vacated for years, or so they think.

They soon discover that others are dwelling in the lower level of the house, and they don't take kindly to visitors. With danger present in the house, they try to leave, but the house won't let them. Worse, they soon realize the killer has purposely lured them to this house. As they huddle around an old fireplace, a tin can falls through the chimney. Scrawled on its side is a message from the killer: He claims to have killed God and now demands more dead bodies. The characters come to realize that the house, while real, mirrors their own heart and soul, and unless each can defeat the evil within, the evil in the house will surely claim them. House is a modern tale that will have readers searching their own spiritual pulse long after they reach the last page.

Review: Honstly? I was really disappointed by this one. It doesn't live up to the standards set by neither Ted Dekker nor Frank Peretti, but was more the sort of book I'd expect somebody like Stephen King or Dean Koontz to write. The symbolisms were more heavy-handed than even Narnia (don't get me wrong, I love that series, but subtle it is not). To give the book the benefit of doubt it may just be that it's not a book appropriate for audiobook format, and I might have thought differently if I'd read it myself instead.

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Title: The Little House in the Big Woods
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 138
Date read: July 2007, February 2010, August 2012


Summary: Little House in the Big Woods--the first book of the series and Laura Ingalls Wilder's first children's book--is full of the thrills, chills, and spills typically associated with "boy" books. Any boy or girl who has fantasized about running off to live in the woods will find ample information in these pages to manage a Wisconsin snowstorm, a panther attack, or a wild sled ride with a pig as an uninvited guest. Every chapter divulges fascinatingly intricate, yet easy-to-read, details about pioneer life in the Midwest in the late 1800s, from bear-meat curing to maple-tree sapping to homemade bullet making.

Review: This is one of the best comfort-book-series around - although I always get so hungry when reading it! I want to try fresh made maple syrup and culled corn too! A cozy book about life in the US more than 100 years ago.

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Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 10/10
# pages: 608
Date read: July 2007, October, 2008


Leaving out the summary, so there are no spoilers.

Review: I loved it. Honestly loved it. After the disappointment that was OotP and the 'okay'-ness of HBP I was thrilled to see JKR get 'back to basics'. With fun jokes she keeps the book dark, but not too dark, and she doesn't pull any puches so we all know this is real, and this is WAR.

The only thing not up to her standards is the epilogue, and I doubt I'm the only fan to think Rowling sold herself short in including that. A huge waste of pages, but forgivable after the previous 600 pages of adrenalin-inducing action. I laughed, I gasped, I cried. Thank you for a worthy ending to a wonderful series.

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goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Third
Author: Lorna Summers
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 965
Date read: July 2007, April 2009, October 2011, December 2014

Summary: Set in a post-apocalyptic world similar to that of "A Handmaid's Tale" this story takes place in a world where only a small percentage of men and women are fertile. The population is kept from extinction by 'thirds' - fertile women who chose to serve as a surrogate mother as often as they can before they retire.

Charlotte Bennigan is an experienced third. Matt is her 6th "little husband", and she's already been pregnant 8 times by the time he moves in, so she assumed she knew exactly what to expect. She knew how to have a friendly, affectionate yet professional relationship with him. But Matt is nothing like any little husband she's ever met before and suddenly it becomes difficult to separate business from pleasure and remember what's appropriate for a third and her 10 year younger little husband.

Review: Third is one of those few books that I really cannot put down - forgoing sleep in order to read just a couple of more pages, not only on my first read-through, but in every subsequent reread. It's LONG (965 pages), but doesn't feel long, because I'm totally drawn in from the very first page. It's well-written, poignant, funny, devastating and just plain fascinating. Though I know what's happening quite well by now, I still alternatively laugh out loud and wipe my eyes while reading it. It has some of my favourite literary scenes, that just break my heart with the beauty and emotion of them.

I love the characterisations - the people become REAL to me, and they draw me in the way few others can. Lorna has managed to make the people three-dimensional, and I ended up caring for all of them and wanting to learn more about their internal relationships, their triumpths and their failures.

Third is still in the final stages of editing and thus not ready for purchase yet. I'll be sure to let you know when that changes.

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goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)

Title: Kun ét liv ("Only One Life")
Author: Sara Blædel
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 8/10
# pages: 350
Date read: July 2007, July 2014


A young immigrant-girl is found murdered and Louise Rick joins the team working on the case. Shortly after the team have another murder case on their hands, but is it the same killer?

Samra is from Jordan and attends 9th grade in Holbaek. She has Danish friends, but otherwise lives according to the guidelines set by her family.

The police is immediately put on the case of finding Samra's killer, and they spend a lot of time pressuring her family as they fear it may be a case of 'honour killing' as Samra is suspected of having a Danish boyfriend, and often sneaked out of the house to meet her Danish friends.

Samra's father and brother are arrested, but it's only when Samra's mother starts talking that the case starts to move forward.

The third book in the series of the female detective, Louise Rick. Fast-moving and fascinating story, and full of twists and turns where half are believable and the other half unfortunately a tad too far-fetched. Still, it's an interesting book, especially because of the insight into so-called "honour killings".

It took me a surprisingly long time to read this the second time through. I enjoyed it well enough while reading it, but it was just far too easy to put aside. Finally I got stubborn and decided just to push through and finish.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Kald mig Prinsesse
Author: Sara Blædel
Genre: Suspense
Rating: 9/10
# pages: 320
Date read: July 2007

Summary: "Call me Princess" The homocide department of Copenhagen police station receive news that a young woman has been raped, and detective Louise Rick is put on the case. The woman was raped by a man she met on a dating site, but the identity he stated was false. Looking through unsolved rape cases, Louise finds more following a similar pattern and when a young woman is shortly after found choked while raped by the same man, all resources are put into finding the serial rapist who operates in the shadows of the anonymity of the internet. But all leads turn up cold, and Louise Rick realizes that they need to turn to untraditional methods. So she creates a dating-profile herself.

Review: I could not put this book down! It was fascinating and chilling, because it could so easily happen. I could not stop thinking of the Danish TV series "Anna Phil" though, because Louise Rick was SO similar to Anna Phil. I wonder if one was inpsired by the other, or if all female detectives just are like that ;-)

My only beef with the book was that it ended too soon. I doubt I spoil anybody by revealing that they catch the guy in the end ;) but the book ends right when they arrest him. I would have appreciated another 20 pages or so - perhaps as an epilogue - wrapping things up. There were too few reactions to the identity of the rapist.

Unfortunately this book hasn't been translated to English yet, but when it does, do check it out!

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Title: Motherstone
Author: Maurice Gee
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 184
Date read: July 2007

Summary: This final book in the Halfmen of O trilogy sees one of the recently disbanded priests of Ferris forming visions of grandeur. He has discovered the secret of Freeman Wells' ancient weapon. The weapon is a weapon of mass destruction that threatens the very existance of O. His opposition also has the secret of the weapon and between the two of them they threaten to blow O out of existance. Susan's quest is now to venture to Freeman Wells' home in the thousand islands and form two new stone halves for the motherstone. By doing this she will heal the ever declining nature of the halfmen of O.

Review: Why is it that all evil men in this series have names that start with 'O'? I don't believe it's a coincidence. Anyway, this book is even darker than the two others, as Susan, Nick and their friends from O fight to stop the Armaggeddon. But in the end, only the humans of O themselves can stop tragedy from happening - and only at great loss to themselves. I thought it an extremely sad book, and there definitely is some sort of warning in it for us. It was written in the 1980's at a time where the world was still fearing what the cold war would lead to. So perhaps this book was meant as a reaction to that threat and as a message to the Americans and the Russians? Your guess is as good as mine, but I found it a bit too realistic not to have some sort of message implied.

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Title: The Supernaturalist
Author: Eoin Colfer
Genre: Fantasy, ya
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 253
Date read: July 2007

Summary: In a future dystopia, cities have become for-profit businesses. Orphanages are not exempt from the struggle to make money, and at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, kids are forced to endure product testing and frequently end up injured as a result. With orphans facing an average life expectancy of 15, 14-year-old Cosmo Hill knows that he is on borrowed time. Unfortunately, his escape attempt nearly proves fatal. While he's lying there dying, a small, hairless blue creature lands on his chest and begins to feed. He is rescued by the Supernaturalists, a motley crew of young people who have dedicated their lives to destroying the Parasites, which feed on the essence of the living. Cosmo joins the group as a Spotter, someone who can actually see the creatures and thus destroy them. However, facts soon emerge that cause the Supernaturalists to question everything they believe in.

Review: A lot darker and more serious than the Artemis Fowl series, and unfortunately not nearly as good. There were some nice twists and turns though, that keep you guessing until the very end. Enjoyable, but not up to her usual standards.

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Title: Much Ado About Nothing
Author: William Shakespeare
Genre: Play
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 124
Date read: July 2007

Summary: Much Ado about Nothing is one of Shakespeare's better-known comedies. Centered around two romances - Hero and Claudio, and Benedick and Beatrice - the story follows these very different courtships. For Hero and Claudio, it's love at first sight and, as with any immediate attraction, they have a lot to learn about each other - not the least of which is trusting each other! Beatrice and Benedick, on the other hand, have known each other for quite some time and it takes a little none-too-subtle prodding from their friends to help them realize and admit their feelings.

Review: [livejournal.com profile] ruthette arranged a readthrough of this at [livejournal.com profile] readersrunamok. I'd never read it before, but have heard a lot of good things about it, so even though Shakespeare isn't usually my cup of tea, I decided to join in on the fun. "Much Ado About Nothing" is easily the best play I've read by him. It's funny with lots of quick puns. I read it both in English and in Danish in order to get the full value of it - the Danish so I'd actually understand what was going on, and the English in order to enjoy the puns! [livejournal.com profile] ruthette told me something interesting that I wasn't aware of - originally 'Nothing' and 'Noting'(i.e. overhearing) meant the same, so the title is really "Much Ado About Noting", which makes great sense, once you know the play.

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