Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Title: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Author: Stieg Larsson

Book Synopsis from Back of Book: Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of iniquity and corruption.

My Review: It took me a few months to finish this book, but not because of lack of interest. I was pulled in immediately with the Prologue and my attention was kept as the stage was set. My problem came with the amount of information that is presented throughout the course of the book, particularly in the beginning. I don't know much about journalism or business, so for me it took a lot of concentration to follow the conversations as they discussed the case against the main character, Mikael Blomkvist. I will admit, at some points, I didn't really try to understand. It was taking too long to read, so I just gave up and I figured that what was important would come across, even if it wasn't completely clear to me why. This method of reading seemed to work for me, and it was worth pushing through the 'heavy' stuff because the rest of the plot was amazing.

Another challenge for me was trying to remember the characters names and the places that they went. The book takes place in Sweden, as that is where the author is from, but the names are so foreign to me it was hard to keep them straight at first. Once they became established characters for me, it was much easier.

How the book is presented is fascinating. We follow Mikael and the other main character Lisbeth, but their story doesn't actually overlap until almost halfway through the book. I knew that they would eventually come together, so it was fun to read how they got to that point.

The plot was extremely intricate and the plot twists were surprising. The Vanger family is unlike any other family I've ever read about. Each member had their own unique quirk that added to the twists of the plot. When I finished, I immediately wanted to pick up the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire. There is a preview of the book at the back and after reading the first ten pages I know I'm going to enjoy it as much as the first book.

This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy a good mystery and you like to be surprised, this is a book to take a look at.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (It would have been 5, but I couldn't justify it with the skimming I was forced to do.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm alive and mostly well

I feel bad I haven't had a chance to do my blog posts for the past week and a half. With my mother-in-law in town it made it difficult to get on the computer because all of my downtime (the kids napping and after bedtime) was spent visiting with her instead.

It doesn't help that I've had morning sickness and just want to curl up into a ball most nights, plus I go to bed around 9:30 every night. It's a must if I'm going to survive November. I have to stock up on sleep while I can.

I will be on top of my blog posts now though. You can expect a book review of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo tomorrow followed by my normal schedule next week! Happy Writing!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday and time for the weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through the World of Books!

Now, I thought last week was a slow week for me, but I have a feeling this week will be an even slower one for me. My mother-in-law is coming to visit so I don't know how much reading I will realistically get done, but I'm hoping to knock a few books off of my list.

I am currently reading my ARC copy of Seers by Heather Frost. I've been feeling under the weather and it's been a great distraction for me. I'm excited to finish it in the next day or two.

Next, like I said last Monday, I hope to finish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson.

Then, hopefully, I will have time to start a YA book I bought a few months ago, Pure by Terra Elan Mcvoy. I buy books of all genres, but for some reason I'm craving something sans magic and mystery. I think Pure will do the trick nicely.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review - Birthmarked

Title: Birthmarked

Author: Caragh M. O'Brien

Book Synopsis from Goodreads: In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia's mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia's choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

My Review: I had been intrigued with this book for months, but I was hesitant to read it because I wasn't sure if my heart could handle it. In the bookstore I read the first few pages and my heart was breaking as Gaia took a newborn baby from her birth mom. As I read the mom's reaction, screaming for her baby, I knew I would react the same way if someone tried to take my own babies away from me. I'm glad I gave it a go though, because the story was great and I only shed a few more tears throughout the rest of the book, all having to do with babies of course.

The mystery of the Enclave was the most intriguing thing about the book for me. As with most trilogies, not all the questions were answered by the end of the book. I'm not sure if the questions I want answered will ever be addressed because of how the first book ends. I suppose I won't find out until the second book comes out, but for me the question I want answered is the difference between stars for me. I can't be too specific as I don't want to have any spoilers, but the motive of the Enclave is questionable for me and I'm seeking a bit of closure.

A few elements were predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised by some plot twists that I wasn't expecting. Particularly one with Gaia's mother.

Captain Grey, Leon, was also an intriguing character. Mainly because he wasn't easy to get a handle on. The reader was just as confused as Gaia when it came to what his true intentions might be. His inconsistency made me want to learn more about him. He ended up being my favorite character.

If you enjoy dystopians, you will enjoy Birthmarked. Though, if you're a Mommy, prepare to shed a few tears before the book is through.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another review for Transformation!

I just received a text from my dear friend, Jenni, who let me know that there was another review for Transformation on This review is a bit more positive than the first review that went up on Sunday so I just had to share it. It can be found HERE.

I'm off to bed now, sleep tight!

WIP - There's not enough time in the day.

First things first. Two weeks ago in my WIP post I mentioned that the first review of Transformation had been completed and I said I would post it once it was up and available to read. It was just posted on Sunday, so you can read the review HERE if you're interested.

Now I'm supposed to report on how well I did this past week in finishing up the character development for kleoS, but I can't.

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you felt like you were go, go, go all the time and yet at the end of the week you have no idea what it is that kept you so busy? Well, that's how last week was for me. The few moments I did sit down I was so tired I fell asleep.

Most of my writing/planning time is done in the evenings once my two little kids go to bed, but I've been going to bed by 9:30 all week. I just need lots of sleep in order to function right now. I blame the pregnancy.

Right now I'm starting to worry, just a little bit, about how well I'm going to be able to function during NaNoWriMo in November. If I keep up this exhaustion, I fear I won't have what it takes to complete the project.

Thankfully, in November I will be into my second trimester so I should be more energetic. My fingers are crossed that that will be the case. Until then, I will continue to try and develop these characters when I have the energy to focus on writing. I hope I have better news next week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I have decided to join the weekly meme, It's Monday! What Are You Reading? hosted by One Person's Journey Through the World of Books.

I'm really excited about this and I hope it helps introduce all of you to a whole new world of books!

Last week was a bit of a slow reading week for me.

I finished Birth Marked by Caragh M. O'Brien. Myreview will be posted on Friday!

I am currently reading The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones. It's been an enjoyable read so far, but not what I had been expecting.

One I finish with that, I will be reading my ARC of Seers by Heather Frost. I am extremely excited to read this book. I won't be participating in the Blog Book Tour that is currently in progress for Seers, but my review will be posted through within a few weeks of submitting my review.

Finally, if I don't receive any books to review in the mail before I finish with Seers, I will be attempting to finish The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson. I started it a few months ago but then I got busy reading books that I had committed to finishing. Unfortunately, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has been put in the "TBR Later" pile for far too long. I really hope I get the opportunity to finish it this week. I'm really intrigued with what I've read so far.

Now I want to know what you are reading! Pleas share.

If you would like to find out what everyone else is reading who is participating in the weekly meme, go to One Person's Journey Through the World of Books to find a list of all the participating blogs. Happy reading!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review - Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Book Synopsis from Goodreads: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

My Review: There are no words that can express the depth that this book takes you to. It is amazing in the impact it has on the reader.

There are books out there about suicide but this book is different. The deed has already been done. Hannah is gone and nothing will change that, but how the people in her life behave can change. Before ending her life, Hannah created seven tapes. Each side of the tape holds a story from her life that has contributed to her decision.

The thing I loved about this book was Clay. We follow Clay as he receives the package of tapes on his doorstep and we experience the tapes with him. We read what he's thinking as he hears the different stories. And he's real. As he listens he gets angry and he judges and he cries and he mourns. The best part, though, is that he changes. The tapes do what they were intended to do for at least one of the characters.

The other thing I loved about this book was that Hannah took full responsibility for her decision. The stories contributed to her decision, yes, but she never once said, "I did this because of you." She made that very clear. This was her decision, her choice. I liked this because it helps the reader sympathize that much more with her. At times it's easy to agree with Clay, that she is being vicious by dragging these kids' actions in front of twelve other people...but she isn't being vicious. She's trying to teach, to help them learn not to hurt people the way she was hurt.

Suicide is a sad thing, but it's real. It happens every day. Part of the problem is ignorance and part of it is that it's a taboo subject to talk about. Teenagers need to know about this so they can help their friends when they might be going through something similar. This book is a great way to help enlighten them. I would recommend it to anyone and I think everyone should read it. We all need to learn and be better because what we do does affect other people, even if we don't realize it.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIP - Planning has officially kicked up a notch!

The beginning of September marks a very important time for me. It's time to really start my plans for NaNoWriMo in November!

I am getting so excited for it I can hardly stand it! It doesn't help that my good friend, Jenni, just won Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the same program it's just done during the summer! Reading her blog updates about how much she had written just made me want to write that much more!

I've talked about this before so it's no surprise that I have a project all lined up for November, kleoS. It's very different from my first book, Transformation, so I'm really excited for the challenge of a different storyline.

Another difference is Transformation was written in third person and kleoS is going to be written in first person. I'm a little nervous, but really excited to try my hand at it.

I have more planned out than I had anticipated at this point. Cross-country drives are great for those type of braining-storming sessions. :-) Even with everything I have, I want to have more planned out. I want to make sure that I know who each character is and what each of their purposes are. I read so many books that impress me with how well thought out they are and I really want kleoS to be one of those books.

My goal for next week is to have the plot line completely outlined. Now, by that I mean I want to have a definitive beginning, middle, and end planned out so I know exactly where I want this story to go. Granted, stories tend to change while you're writing them and that's okay, I just want to have a guide to follow along the way. I will definitely let the story lead the way if I decides to veer of course. I guess I won't know until November though.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Monday

It's Monday.

I can't believe we're already into September. So crazy. Where does the time go?

Monday's are usually Muse Monday for me, but I'm considering changing it. I had been trying to share the dreams I've been having lately as an attempt to inspire story ideas in all of you, but I'm not sure if that is something I can continue.

I am expecting my third child and pregnancy always makes me dream very bizarre dreams. Not only that, but I have them every night. That should be a good thing right? It would be, except I can never remember the dreams when I wake up. It's so frustrating to try and write something down that isn't coming back to you. The last thing I need is to start my day off grumpy, because chances are I'll be short tempered within a few hours of waking up. The joys of pregnancy.

So now I have a conundrum. What should I do about Mondays? They are such a let down. It's the day of the week that shuts down the weekend. I would like to do something fun, but I can honestly say I'm drawing a blank.

There is a weekly meme for Mondays called What Are You Reading? I've been considering participating in that because I do read quite a bit throughout the week. It would be nice to talk a little bit about the books that appeal to me and the ones I'm reading for review, but I'm just not sure.

My question to you all is, would that be something you'd be interested in or is it too overdone? Should I try for something else more original while trying to post dreams when I can? Please let me know if you have an opinion.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Book Review - Hereafter

Title: Hereafter

Author: Tara Hudson

Book Synopsis from Goodreads: Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.

My Review: The first Chapter hooked me immediately while I was at the bookstore. I just had to buy it. But I must admit, I was a little disappointed with the book.

What was it that was disappointing? I knew this was a love story, it says so right on the cover, but I wasn't expecting such an intense connection. It was a little understandable on Amelia's part...sort of. She's been walking around in a fog for years, experiencing her own death over and over again at random times while simultaneously being numb to everything around her. I get that she would be drawn to Joshua because he allows her to feel almost alive again. But I wish that the author had kept it at that. Having Amelia be so obsessed with the person and not just the experience got old and it was almost uncomfortable to read. I mean...she's dead.

And then there's Joshua. He is unnaturally open-minded. I mean...if I was in his position I may have been able to get over the fact that I had just met a ghost and I would probably want to do what I could to help said ghost, but I don't think I would want to be in a relationship with one. It would take awhile to get to that point where I could look past the ghost aspect.

The big appeal to this book is the mystery. Amelia has no idea what her purpose is and if there are rules she has to follow as a ghost. For her, the fog is all there is after death until she meets Joshua. I also really liked how Amelia had to learn about her life because she had particular the details of her death. I loved when she realized the specifics of how she died. That was written really well.

I liked the book, I just didn't love it. Honestly, if the author had decided to tone down the love story a bit, it would have gotten a better rating from me.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars