Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) by Stieg Larsson


Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch - and there's always a catch - is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

I looked up books that have been translated to English and the only ones that appealed to me were The Little Prince and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I already own a copy of TGWTDT so it won by default. My husband also wanted me to read this book because he had watched the movie and wanted to know if it was like the book at all. 

When I began reading, I wasn't sure where the story was going. Frankly, I was confused and say "huh?" out loud to myself. As the book progressed I got more into the story but it still seemed a bit drawn out. It takes a little while just to meet the girl with the dragon tattoo (Lisbeth). Once the story picked up, it was gold. I devoured every page and had a hard time putting it down. I enjoyed the dynamic between the characters as well as their personalities. I know that the story has parts that are somewhat far-fetched but it also had a realism to it that I appreciated. It was so exciting to read a book by an author who knows how to write a thriller in such a way to keep the reader guessing about the "who did it" aspect. The only thing that I will say is that it may not be who you expect. 
I am excited to say that the translation is really well done. I have heard that some books that are translated are harder to understand because they don't translate well. This book however was well done. There are some Swedish words that are used throughout the book and I felt that the names were hard to pronounce but overall it wasn't bothersome. 

WARNING: There are parts of the book that may not appeal to everyone due to the graphic nature. If you are triggered by or put off by violence and/or rape then this book may not be for you. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day


From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world... or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was "home-schooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

I listened to You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) on audio book which I would recommend rather than reading it. I don't think that it would have the same affect as having the actual author read her life story. I've recently begun enjoying reading memoirs/biographies and when I saw Felicia Day's memoir recommended to me I knew that I wanted to read it. 
I've always thought that she was wonderfully weird and have enjoyed her cameos on shows and episodes of The Guild (the show that she wrote and created). I knew that her book would be over the top nerdy which is right up my alley. She is known as one of the first female gamers to pave the way for others and while I'm  not really a gamer per say I still really enjoyed her talking about her love of video games and how it inspired her journey. 
I found her story to be really relatable because she wasn't always very good at interacting with others and even had anxiety related to social interaction. I thought that her book was honest to a fault. I felt as if I got a front row seat to her struggles and eventual triumphs. I appreciated how she injected her sense of humor into things so as not to have the book be too dark but also her ability to be brutally honest about what she has been through in her life. 
I would recommend her book to anyone who feels out of place or struggles with anxiety and needs to know that there is someone who has struggled with that as well. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Pioneer Book Challenge

There is a book store close to where I live that sells books at reasonable prices. I was so excited when I discovered it because I feel like most bookstore chains charge way too much for books. I don't feel like I should spend twenty dollars or more for one book even if it is a new release. Then again, I am cheap. My husband makes jokes about my being frugal all the time but I know that he appreciates it when it comes time to buy books. 
A friend of mine recently reminded me that Pioneer Books was doing a book challenge wherein you can get a fifty dollar gift card for the store. I wanted to do it at first because I have never completed a book challenge despite how much I devour the written word. I know that some of you might be surprised by this fact. I thought that any book challenge would be fairly easy for me to complete but I didn't want to just be entered into a raffle with the chance of getting a gift card so I decided not to do it. My friend then explained to me that the store would give out gift cards to anyone that completed the challenge before the end of December '19. Fifty dollars for reading?! Yes, please! 
Once I looked at the categories that they wanted readers to read one book each from I knew that this was truly going to be a book challenge.  I tend to stay away from Oprah's book club because I don't tend to read a lot of adult books nor do I pay much attention to books that have won lots of awards. I think that books in that way can be a lot like movies that win a lot of awards. They tend to be the ones that bore me or I feel are pretentious or trying way too hard.  I like to have the freedom to read without knowing if it merited awards or not. I also saw that I would have to read a book from the science, Nature, Sports, and U.S. History sections. These genres do not thrill me! It was only through another friend that I discovered that there are loopholes to reading from each of these genres. I may not like sports but I could read a fictional book like Balance by Lucia Franco that is a romance about a gymnast and her coach (not worth time spent reading it but it fit the requirement that I needed to complete). 
I have actually enjoyed the reading challenge more than I expected to. I have begun to really enjoy biographies/memoirs. I recently read Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan and Anna Kendrick's book Scrappy Little Nobody and loved both of them. The reading challenge has opened my eyes to the genre and I have learned to try a genre before automatically saying that I won't like it. The challenge has also helped me to explore more adult fantasy books that I had no idea existed. I have to admit that those books have been the funnest for me to read. 
I've listed all 44 categories of the reading challenge below. If you are interested in completing it with me or have any suggestions for me to read for any of the categories don't hesitate to let me know. 

First Book in a series
Man Booker Prize winner or nominee
Book by female author
Book recommended by friend or family
Newbery Award winner or honor
Pioneer Book Employee Pick
Book by an African-American author
Book from the Self-help section
Book by an author you’ve never heard of
Oprah’s Book Club selection
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1960’s
Book by a Nobel Prize winning author
Book with a red cover
Play or screenplay
Book from the Poetry section
Collection of short stories
National Book Award winner or nominee
Book from the Nature/ Ecology section
Book from the New Arrivals display
Book you’ve never heard of
Book set in or written about your home state
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1970’s
Pioneer Book Customer Pick
Pulitzer Book winner or nominee
Book from the Biography section
Book by an author born over 100 years ago
Book from the U.S. History section
Book from the Sports section
Book with a strong female lead
Book published in the year you were born
Book involving the ocean
Nonfiction book you probably disagree with
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1980’s
Book translated to English
Hugo or Nebula winner or nominee
Book from the Westerns section
Book from the True Crime section
Christmas or holiday book
History of a foreign country
Book with 500+ pages
Book from the Science section
Book from the Bestsellers display
Book set in or written about Utah
Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller from the 1990’s

Saga, Vol. 1 (Saga #1) by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)


When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. 

Wow! I have heard a lot of reviewers talking about this graphic novel and how much they loved it. When I read the synopsis I'll admit that I was intrigued but I have read so many books that have to do with star crossed love so I wasn't sure if I wanted to add another one to the list. I saw that it wasn't very long and that combined with all of the great reviews swayed me into reading it. 
I could not have been more excited while reading this! It starts off with a literal bang with a baby being born and soldiers coming to arrest/maim the two main characters. It was action packed from start to finish and I loved how Brian Vaughan outlined the beginning of the story. The world building was done beautifully and the characters were developed really well for a first installment. I also thought that it was brilliant to have Hazel telling the story along side of her parents in a way. It made for an interesting take on the story and a bit of foreshadowing in a different way. I loved the artwork! It was so colorful and detailed. It had an interesting look to it and I was intrigued by the different races shown throughout the novel. 
WARNING: I feel the need to talk about the violence and sexuality of this book because I know that it will make a lot of people uncomfortable. This graphic novel does not shy away from either of these areas and it shows in the language and artwork. There are quite a few times when certain body parts are shown in all their glory due to one of the characters going to a type of brothel and other sex scenes. I already talked about the action before in this review which should lead readers to assume that there is bloodshed but there are also times when characters that we meet are disemboweled.  If none of that bothers you then this graphic novel is a good choice for you. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Falling Up by Shel Silverstein


Millie McDeevit screamed a scream
So loud it made her eyebrows steam.
She screamed so loud
Her jawbone broke,
Her tongue caught fire,
Her nostrils smoked...
Poor Screamin' Millie is just one of the unforgettable characters in this wondrous new book of poems and drawings by the creator of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic. Here you will also meet Allison Beals and her twenty-five eels; Danny O'Dare, the dancin' bear; the Human Balloon; and Headphone Harold.
So come, wander through the Nose Garden, ride the Little Hoarse, eat in the Strange Restaurant, and let the magic of Shel Silverstein open your eyes and tickle your mind.
While I was reading Falling Up it brought back the memories and nostalgia from reading Where the Sidewalk Ends. It helped me to remember all of the reasons that I loved it in the first place. All of the poems are so clever, quirky, and funny. There were a few poems scattered throughout the book that had me in stitches. Falling Up is not only a fun read but a quick one that can be enjoyed no matter what age you are. I don't think that I will ever stop enjoying Shel Silverstein's work. He is a master of cute, funny poems! 

4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple #8) by Agatha Christie


Elspeth McGillicuddy is not given to hallucinations. Until she witnesses a murder at Paddington Station. But did she? No victim, no suspect, no other witnesses. In fact no one believes it really happened at all. Except her friend Miss Jane Marple, and she's returning to the scene of the crime to discover just exactly what Mrs. McGillicuddy saw.

Also published as: What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw

I didn't end up enjoying this book as much as the other Agatha Christie novels that I have read. I think that the characters in 4:50 From Paddington left something to be desired. I found them to be less exciting than past characters from her stories. This made the story harder to pay attention to and to enjoy. I also thought that the actual story was a bit bland as well. It was well written and a good murder mystery but it was just lackluster. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse #2) by Charlaine Harris


Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it).

The point is: they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favor, she obliges - and soon Sookie's in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She's supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave and let the humans go unharmed. But that's easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly....

I am loving this series so far! This story was just as good as the last book with the exception of the author separating the book into two story-lines to follow. I thought that was interesting way to go about it. It was interesting to be able to see the vampires issues and the human issues separated out. I enjoyed getting to see the differences in interactions with Sookie in each because on the one hand she was respected for her abilities/help and in the other arena she was criticized and belittled when she provided aid to others. 
I am hoping that there will be more of Eric in the next book because he interests me. I want to learn more about his past and how he came to be a vampire. I'm not going to lie...I'm shipping Sookie and Eric. I find Bill to be boring and he doesn't seem to really care about her. I know that Eric has his own secrets and motivations but he is a more exciting character. I feel like there is good in him.