Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, By: Steig Larsson

*Warning! Adult Book Ahead*
Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Steig Larsson
Publisher: First Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, Division of Random House Inc.
Released: 2005 (original), 2008 (translation by Reg Keeland)
Summary: Mikael Blomkvist has just been convicted of libel for an article he wrote in his magazine the Millenium against a business man named Wennerstrom. He is fined and sentenced to 3 months in prison. Lisbeth Salander a hacker and employee at Milton Security is hired to do an investigation into the life of Blomkvist. Blomkvist is suitably depressed about his conviction when he is offered a job by Henrik Vanger. Blomkvist is tasked with solving the 40 year old mystery of the disappearance of 16 year old Harriet Vanger. The Vanger family is dysfunctional and suspect in the possible crime. After months of dead ends, Blomkvist discovers shocking new evidence and teams up with Lisbeth Salander, who knows everything about him but is very secretive about herself, to discover what really happened to Harriet Vanger. Along the way they uncover a killer, corporate greed, and danger around every corner, but the mystery must be solved.
My Thoughts: First and foremost, this book was a beast of a read! It clocks in at 600+ pages, but it is worth the read. This book is dark and gritty, filled with action and suspense with a mystery that keeps the reader guessing. This book was compelling and enjoyable. It brought up severe family dysfunction, corporate greed, and the moral line between good and bad.
I really liked the characters. Mikael Blomkvist was a good guy and likable, but it was Lisbeth Salander who really stole the show. Salander is such an enigma, I didn't know what made her tick. She could be violent, kind, and her worldview was different from anyone else's. Trying to figure out Salander is a compelling part of the story.
The mystery was also very good. It was shocking to find out what really happened to Harriet Vanger. There were numerous twists and turns.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will continue on with the series (#2) The Girl who Played with Fire and (#3) The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
I also loved the Swedish backdrop and details. I highly recommend this book, but be warned it's very adult and disturbing in some parts. Not for younger readers. Also the Swedish movie based on the book is very good, the actress who plays Lisbeth is awesome.
Dark, Gritty, Swedish!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review of Evermore, By: Alyson Noel

Title: Evermore
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: 2009
Summary: Ever's life is forever changed when her parents, sister, and dog are killed in a car crash while she survives. While recovering from the accident, she discovers a set of abilities she now seems to possess. Ever can now see peoples' auras, read minds, and discover secrets with just a touch. Ever is now branded as a freak at her new high-school in LA, living with her aunt. One day, a mysterious boy shows up, Damen. He's able to silence the thoughts of all the others, He makes Ever feel something she's never felt before. At the same times as Ever is falling in love, she must also figure out just who Damen really is.
My Thoughts: This novel had a Twilight-esque feel to it, with the girl and the handsome boy with a secret who is totally into her. I won't say this was one of my favorite books, just okay. Alyson Noel is a good writer, but her characters in Evermore just weren't the most enjoyable to get to know and read about. I've heard Ever described as annoying in other reviews I've read and I can understand where that feeling comes from. To me, Ever seems very immature and whiny, which can come across as annoying while reading. Also, while it is sad she lost her family in a horrendous accident, Ever didn't seem like a character I could relate with. She's rich, beautiful, and while plagued with what could be viewed as gifts, she takes the glass-half-empty approach and calls them curses. If comparing Ever to Bella Swan from Twilight, I would say Bella wins as the more likable, relateable character. I also had a sort of problem with the love interest Damen, I didn't think he was that great a guy. He wasn't particularly swoonworthy and I wasn't in love with his character. If it was a battle between Edward Cullen versus Damen, Edward would win every time. One other thing that annoyed me was the names of characters: Ever, Honor, Haven, Drina, Sabine! Doesn't anyone in the story have a halfway normal name? But, I could just be the strange one there. This novel was trying for the Twilight feel, but it just fell short. There were too many psychic abilities to be believed and not enough human(ness) in Damen to make him likable. While this wasn't my dream story, I would like to stress that this is just my opinion. I would encourage readers to pick up Evermore, and decide for themselves whether they like it or not.
just okay, not fantastic

Friday, March 9, 2012

Review of: The 39 Clues: One False Note (#2), By: Gordon Korman

Title: The 39 Clues: One False Note (#2)
Author: Gordon Korman
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Released: 2008
Summary: Amy and Dan are back! With clue #1 in their possession, they are now on the search for the second all important clue. This second clue centers around another important Cahill relative who shaped history, Mozart! Amy, Dan, and their au pair, Nellie, travel to Vienna and Venice in pursuit of the clue. They must always be on alert for their highly dysfunctional family and competitors. The game is dangerous, but victory means fame, wealth, and power. This is another exciting installment in the hunt for The 39 Clues.
My Thoughts: I really enjoy this book series. I love the sense of action and adventure that I, as the reader, get to experience with Amy and Dan. I also really enjoy the rich history that is essential to the stories. In a way, it sort of reminds me of the movie National Treasure, being a scavenger hunt on an epic scale. Each book is like a t.v. episode, the clue is found by the end and the hunt for the next one continues in the next book. I enjoy the characters of Amy and Dan, but sometimes I feel they are just too smart to be regular kids. Also, the concept of one family being related to all these famous game changers in history seems to be a bit far-fetched, but it satisfies that need that people wish for, to be related to someone cool in history. I also really enjoy the shortness of the stories and the illustrations interspersed throughout the text. I would recommend these books to anybody and everybody because they are so much fun. So, everybody should join the hunt for The 39 Clues!
Action, Adventure, and Knowledge!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Review of Shadowed Summer, By: Saundra Mitchell

Title: Shadowed Summer
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Released: 2009
Summary: Iris and Collette live in Ondine, Louisiana, a small town that is dull in the winter, fall, spring, and summer. The summer of their fourteenth year, Iris and Collette spend their time playing at spells and magic. One day, while in a graveyard casting a spell to speak to the dead, the magic becomes real for Iris. She awakens the spirit of Elijah, a boy who disappeared from Ondine two deacades ago. Suddenly, Iris's summer becomes one she will never forget, the summer she is haunted by Elijah and taxed with solving the mystery of his disappearance. With the help of her best friend Collette and Ben, they uncover the haunting secrets of Elijah and the town they call home.
My Thoughts: This book was seriously spooky. Upon first glance, the book looked like a sort of fun ghost story, which it was, but it was also a lot scarier and more serious than the cover portrayed. I liked the characters in the book and how they handled themselves. These were young teenagers who had been dealt tough blows early in life. Iris was much braver than I would ever be in that kind of situation. I liked the best friend aspect Iris and Collette shared. Everybody wants a friend that sticks with you through thick and thin. The character of Ben was also nice because it illustrated the aspects of a first crush nicely. The haunting scenes were very scary in this novel and helped it stand out as a good, classic ghost story. I also liked the feel of Louisiana that the book captured, it gave a real sense of place and people through the writing. I also really enjoyed the mystery surrounding Elijah. Finding out what happened to him and where he went was one of the reasons I couldn't put this book down. The book was also a short, fast read, clocking in at under 200 pages. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good, scary ghost story!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review of The Agency: The Body at the Tower By: Y.S. Lee

Title: The Agency: The Body at the Tower
Author: Y.S. Lee
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Released: 2010
Summary: This is the second book in the Mary Quinn Mystery series. This story starts out with a death inside the palace yard. A carpenter falls to his death from St. Stephens Tower, the Agency is called into investigate and Mary begins her second investigation under the guise of a 12 year old boy. As Mary enters the working site and enters the life of a 12 year old errand boy on a construction site she uncovers, with the help of James Easton, the truth and scandal of what really happened with The Body at the Tower.
My Thoughts: I read and enjoyed the first Mary Quinn mystery, The Agency: A Spy in the House, so I was excited to pick up the second one. While reading, I was transported to Victorian London and immersed in the trials and tribulations of a child laborer. One thing I really like about these books is the way Y.S. Lee makes Victorian London real to the reader. I was also pleased with the reappearance of James Easton, the love interest of Mary Quinn. Although, at the end I was a little disappointed in how it turned out, again! The mystery was also pretty enjoyable, but not really all that shocking. I also liked some of the new characters Y.S. Lee introduced and wonder if they'll be making an appearance in the next novel. Mary seemed more of an emotional waterpot in this novel than she did in the first. All the crying kind of took away from Mary's hard-nosed spy persona. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy Victorian London and historical fiction in general. Overall, this was an enjoyable, good book and I will be waiting eagerly for the next installment.
bloody good read

Monday, March 5, 2012

February Favorites!

I thought I would try something new for my blog and post a sort of recap of books that I really enjoyed or surprised me in a month of reading. I won't go into a full summary or do a blow by blow of the book because I already posted a review for that. These favorites of the month will just be a quick comment about the book. I know today is the 5th of March which makes me a little late to be doing and February favorites post but I'm doing one anyway!

Never Trust A Dead Man
By: Vivian Vande Velde
This book makes the list because it surprised me in a good way. I didn't think I was going to like it and this little book set out to prove me wrong. Very funny in a ghoulish sort of way.

Strange Angels
By: Lili St. Crow
This book makes the list because I like it! It's full of action, has a cast of cool characters, and left me ready for the next book in the series. People should definitely check this out.

The Monstrumologist
By: Rick Yancey
This one makes the list because it was a book that grew on me as I read it. It has good characters, lots of actions, and it fulfills on the gore factor. As I got nearer to the end, I couldn't put it down. Now I need to read the next book to find out what happens to Will Henry and the good Doctor.

Well, that's it. My list of February Favorites is complete. I'm going to try to keep this going for the coming months and I'm definitely going to continue on with my reading. I'm an addict, books are my drug. Well I'm signing off, Happy Reading! Oh, and pick up these books because they're pretty awesome :D