A book on a flowery background with a set of headphones attached to it

Audiobooks – or no audiobooks

I love to read, but I must admit that sometimes it would be nice to read a good story without sitting still. I’ve tried reading while walking to and from school, but honestly it is not a very good combination. Not only do you get easily distracted from your reading, but you do not pay nearly enough attention to the traffic. I don’t even walk that much anymore. Either I take the train, where I can read, or I bike, where I cannot read. Enter: Audiobooks.

Audiobooks

I was never the big fan of audiobooks, actually. Don’t get me wrong; I think the idea is amazing! I just tend to let my mind wander, when I listen to audiobooks. Which leads me to be (slightly) confused when my mind finds its way back to the story. However, this year I decided to try listen to them again. Really try. Earlier I have listened to Passing by Nella Larsen, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I also started Half Bad by Sally Green, but quickly decided to read that one myself. Not so long ago I tried to listen to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, but had to give up, because my mind wandered. That’s it. My entire experience with audiobooks. Passing was quite good actually! The next ones not so much. This year I’ve bought 70 audiobooks. Yes I know, it’s only January, but I really want to give it a go!

Stalker

One evening a few weeks ago I was home alone. While eating my dinner in heavy silence I decided to put on an audiobook instead of turning on the radio or putting on some music. I chose Stalker by Michella Rasmussen (read by Kristina Pfeil Nielsen) and it didn’t take long for me to absolutely love it! The story was absolutely enthralling and if my boyfriend hadn’t come home and told me to go to sleep, I would have stayed up the entire night listening to the story. It was seriously amazing! The book is in Danish, but if you know Danish I recommend you listen to (or read) this one!

Stalker is about a young girl named Julie, who suddenly finds herself the attention of an unknown admirer. At first she feels flattered and finds it very exciting. Later however, she begins to see how her admirer is actullay quite creepy, and she realises that some of the things this admirer does are harmful. It dawns on her that this admirer is not just any admirer; it’s a stalker, who will do anything to get close to her.

Concurrently, a boy from Julie’s school begins to take an increasing interest in her. At first he doesn’t quite understand why he does the things he does, but later he begins to realise that there is an undeniable connection between him and Julie. He sees the pain she is in when no-one else does and he knows that he will do anything to protect her from harm.

Or no audiobooks

Having listened to Stalker I was convinced that I had made a mistake not listening to more audiobooks in my life. I was so happy I had bought a lot, because now I could listen to them all the time. Soon after, I started another book by a Danish author, namely Dæmonherskerens arving #3: Sjælens pris by Haidi Wigger Klaris. I read the first two books in the trilogy last year, but never got around to reading the third one and so I figured I might as well listen to it.

I am no more than twenty minutes into the story and I have had to stop. It is just….. I am sorry to say this, because I really don’t want to step on anybody’s toes, but honestly; this audiobook made me realise how much it means that it is the right person reading the book aloud. It is so awful. I really feel like the woman on the recording wants nothing to do with the book and that she was forced to make the recording. Her voice is completely flat. There is no trying to emphasise the main character’s emotions. And I mean, the main character has just made a choice that will forever keep her away from her friends and the family she has ever known. Her choice will tie her to a world she hates and a fate she hates, and she made her choice only because there was no other way she could save her friends. Yet, the speaker could have just as well read a recipe for homemade pasta aloud. There is just no spark.

That is the question

This broke my spirit a little. I started another recording, but more than halfway through the book I have realised that I don’t particular like the book, which doesn’t make the audiobook experience any better.

Do you have any amazing experiences with audiobooks that you can recommend I listen to? I would really love to hear your suggestions, since I really want to love the concept of audiobooks. I really want to be able to listen to a book on my bike ride to and from work, or when I go for a walk. Honestly, the concept of audiobooks is great! I just keep feeling disappointed by the fact that only a few recordings seem to be amazing, while so many others seem to be only half decent.

Girl in the woods, holding a book

#bookishsickness

Book tag

A while ago I was tagged to do the #bookishsickness. I know that it is mostly meant as an instagram thing, but I thought I’d put it here, because I think it is a fun way to come around some of the books I’ve read, but probably won’t write about.

Diabetes (a sweet read)

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (the entire trilogy, actually). I know it was widely discussed as being literary porn for women, and as not being actual literature, and a lot of people disliked it for merely that reason. I however loved it. I found it so sweet! Too much at times, but so adorable! I loved the overprotectiveness and the naivity. I loved the rush of sweet and innocent love, that sweeps Anastacia off her feet and I loved the struggle to merge the two worlds they both come from. I adored the scenes where Christian clearly longed for someone, he couldn’t have. I would have shaken my head at their relationship in real life and told either one to get a grip and move on or stop being so dramatic and dominant… but in the book they were just sweet.

Chicken Pox (a book you wouldn’t read again)

I am not sure there is such a book. At the same time, I could name many books I wouldn’t read again. I mean, I don’t think I ever read any one book that I just hated so much, I wouldn’t want to read it again. I have not finished a couple of books that I probabl won’t give another chance, but even if I didn, it wouldn’t be a proper re-read. On the other hand, I have read a lot of books that were good, but with a million or more unread books in the world, that I find interesting, I wouldn’t want to re-read a lot of books. Simply because I don’t have the time. L. J. Smith’s The Circle-series is an example of some of these books. I found them to be meh, and now I’ve read them, and don’t have to do it again.

Flu (a contagious read)

The Half Bad series by Sally Green. I read this trilogy late 2016 and early 2017 and it swept me away! I couldn’t put it down and the pages just kept turning themselves, it seemed! It is still one of my favourite series, both because of the amazing story, but definitely also because of the style of writing. I felt so connected to the main charcater (Nathan) without really liking him from the very beginning, and I only came to feel more and more attached to him. I ended up almost loving this broken soul. He is one of those charcaters you feel, you want to pick up and hide inside your heart, so they feel warm and safe and protected from all the bad things. One of those characters, who you know in your heart, will never heal. Like Katniss from The Hunger Games series. She is broken. She wil never heal. But she cannot stop living. Anyways, that really kept me hooked.

Insomnia (a book you read all night)

The Awakening & The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries #1-2) by L. J. Smith. I started the first one one evening and when I turned the last page I simply had to move on to the next. I remember finishing it in the middle of the night and almost panicking for not having the third book too. The next day I went to the library only to realise that the third book hadn’t been translated yet! It was so awful! I waited years before I found it, and then I found it in English published with number four as well. I was so happy, yet the fourth one really disappointed me and I sort of wished I had only read the first three in the series, despite then ending being too open.

Bad Nutrition (a book where you forgot to eat)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling. I remember finishing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix completely devastated and heart-broken, and when I got my hands on HP6 I just had to know what would happen next. I started early in the morning and read all through the day, and stopped only to use the lavatory and I only stopped to eat when my mother came and told me, she had dinner ready. It was amazing. I finished the book around 2 am that same night.

Home-sickness (a book related to a trip)

Vampire Kisses – the beginning by Ellen Schreiber. I bought this book in a book store in Costa Rica while vacationing there. I read it rather quickly, and I remember it as being good, but nothing ground breaking or phenomenal. However, I brought it on a trip one day, and we were caught out in the open, when the rain started falling. At that time, the rain came down at approximately the same time every day, and it just poured down like crazy for maybe an hour or three. Then nothing happened until the next day. We were on horseback when it hit, and everything was completely saturated. My book included. My heart almost stopped when I realised it! I looked at it with shaky hands only to realise that the damage was irreversible. However, my good friend told me, it was an important lesson to learn, because I seemed to care a little too much about my books. I belive she was right, although for many years (and still today actually) I would look at it on my shelves and think, that at least it can still be read. Even though it looks very worn.

Thank you

Thank you for reading this. Consider yourself tagged to do this tag, if you think it could be fun! And please do let me know if you do, so I can learn a little more about you!

The crime fiction book Ligblomsten by Anne Mette Hancock on a flowery background next to a bookmark

Ligblomsten

Author: Anne Mette Hancock

Published: Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2017

The book

Ligblomsten (Titan Arum – look it up, you’ll be surprised) is the first crime novel from Anne Mette Hancock. We follow Heloise, a journalist who has recently had some credibility issues at her work place. Heloise is a young and sturdy woman, who suddenly finds herself entwined in an old murder case, because she begins to receive letters from a woman named Anna Kiel. The woman who is wanted for a murder commited years ago. With the help of policeman Erik Schäfer she tries to unfold the mystery that connects her to this old case and the killer on the run.

My thoughts

I loved this one. Okay, there I said it – you can stop reading the review now.

No really, I really enjoyed this book so much. I have had cravings for crime fiction for months now, but had some other books I needed to finish, yet after Christmas I found some time to get started. And what a start.

Ligblomsten is told through various points of views, which is something I am often very fond of, because it adds perspective to the story. In a crime novel it also adds mystery through ‘the pronoun game’. You know, when everybody is always referring to “he” and “him”, but never mentioning a name or something personal that will make you realise who is in fact talked about. That ‘pronoun game’. This is no exception, and Hancock makes it work. I was constantly trying to figure out who was connected to whom, and who “he” could be.

At the same time the story is carried by a varied gallery of characters, who are actually very believable and likeable. I didn’t get very far into the story before I thought: “Oh no, I am going to hate this person.” But I didn’t. Despite the character having traits that I normally find very annoying in book characters.

I liked that we mostly follow Heloise instead of the investigators, since it made the story much more suitable for us laypeople. Crime novels tend to be a little to heavy on the police/investigation perspective, and then they lose me. This book however managed to balance the two worlds to perfection. In doing this, we readers are introduced to the private lives of Heloise and Schäfer, which adds to their character and gives us a deeper understanding of the two.

Both Heloise and Schäfer are very likeable, and as I have already mentioned, they are also very believable characters. I really look forward to reading a lot more about these two and the adventures (or horrors) they’ll come across!

This is by far not the last book by Anne Mette Hancock that I will read.

Should you read it

I gave this book five stars on Goodreads and if you like a well-planned plot, an exciting and well-written story that is hard to figure out you should read this one. Moreover, the characters felt very human, and that just makes the reading experience so much better. Whether or not you like these characters has an impact on your experience too, of course, but I am positive that both hardcore crime fiction fans as well as new and curious crime fiction readers will find this book exciting and wonderful!

My book journal and a fountain pen on a flowery background

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

Welcome to 2018

I hope you had a wonderful 2017 and that you made it peacefully into 2018!

With 2017 behind us we move into 2018 and this is a year  have a lot of expectations to. I like the idea of a new year meaning a clean slate, but I also think this idea has been fairly romanticised. It sometimes seems like a new year automatically means that everything will be easier. Like it is any easier to quit smoking, just because the calender suddenly says 2018. Or that it is okay to keep doing something, you actually want to stop, just because there’s only three weeks left of the year, and then you’ll stop at New Year’s. But I do still see some sense in letting the new year become a divide between old habits and new ones. It creates a sort of calm in setting goals.

New Year’s resolutions

This year I have made some resolutions and I want to share them with you. I normally don’t make resolutions, because I think it is silly to make promises to yourself just because the year is ending and a new one begins. As you probably understood from the paragraph above. Except for this year.

Last year my friend Cecilie made some resolutions, goals so to speak, and she achieved every single one of them. This actually made me want to have some goals too. Then on December 31 I spoke with my boyfriend about it, and he said something (that I don’t remember), that made me rethink this whole resolution-thing again.

Therefore I have put together a little list of things I want to achieve this year.

Bookrelated resolutions

  • I want to read 35 books in 2018. This is not really a resolution, but more of a reading goal. I just put it here, because I think it makes sense.
  • At least 18 of the books I read in 2018 must come from my own shelves. I borrow way too many books from the library. I love to do this, but it also means that the books I actually buy just end up on my shelf almost as an accessory, because the library books need to be returned after a month.
  • At least 5 of the books I read must be e-books that I read on my Kindle. I love my Kindle, but since I don’t travel very much I actually don’t use it very much. Yet I have a lot of unread books on it that I really want to read. It just never happens, ’cause my Kindle is packed away and probably low on battery.
  • I will try to write a blog post every week. I love my blog, but I often feel I have nothing relevant to say, or that what I have to say is not enough to write an entire blog post. And then I write none, but stick to the long instagram posts instead. I hope that this resolution can help me to explore different post possibilities and force me into being creative (something I am just not by nature). But I am also afraid that this is the first of my resolutions that I will break… (yeah – I don’t give myself a lot of credit – this is also one of the reasons I don’t normally do resolutions; I tend to break them).
  • I will become more organised. I have notes lying everywhere! Papers, books, clothes etc. lying everywhere. I can never find my things and I can never remember where I put the things I don’t want to loose – you know, when you put some things in a specific place so that they do not turn up missing. This resolution therefore means keeping my lists and notes in specific notebooks. I hope to be able to gather all my book notes and the likes in one place. All my sport notes in another place etc. So far I have gathered three journals in order to do so, but hopefully I will one day be able to keep all of my notes in one place.

Non-bookrelated resolutions

  • For the first six months I cannot drink soft drinks. Soft drinks are my weak spot. I can go without candy, cake and other sugary items, but I crave soda pops often. I hope that after the first six months I will not crave soft drinks again – and maybe not even dink them, but in case this is proving very hard, I need to be able to look forward to a day, when I can binge drink sodas.
  • I will do my best to get rid of my running injury. Lately I have been a little too laissez-faire in my rehabilitation, and at the same time I have been way too eager to run like I used to, but it has to stop now. I love to run, and I would like to be able to run without pain again. And then hopefully next year (or later this year) I can have actual running goals.
  • I will work on bettering my exam performance attitude. Honestly, I never thought that this could be a problem, but I think it has become one for me. I don’t like finals. Nobody does, I know that – but I also don’t like them as in I don’t think they are the best way to assess my skills. I know it is the cheapest way probably. But I hate the fact that every thing I have done for the past eighteen months can be assessed in a 40 minutes oral test. A test in which I often perform badly, because I am so nervous, but also because I never seem to be able to grasp exactly what it is I am supposed to do. I just cannot seem to “knække koden” as we say in Danish – I’m sorry, but I don’t know what the English equivalent is. My dictionary says crack the code, but I don’t think it is used the same way… Well, anyhoues I need to actually try to want to perform well, because I know that that is what future employers will look at. They don’t know me and they haven’t seen me work. They just look at my test score. Reduce me to the numbers in my life. Okay. That was definitely not a change in attitude! I will work on that.

Wish me luck

Well, I ended up with quite a few resolutions… I will try my best to actually follow through on them. But hey – first post of the year in week 1 – that’s a good start!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year?