The Girl Who Played With Fire

I recently took up reading Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series again and finished The Girl Who Played with Fire. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo about a year ago but you all know how I am, I will drag out a series for forever to prolong its’ life.

Anyways, super busy so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I really enjoyed Larsson’s follow up to Tattoo, so much so that I went right out and got book three from the library. Never you mind that I haven’t so much as cracked the book since then. There are just so many other books to read! My co-worker lent me The Walking Dead, Compendium One and I always feel obligated to read the books that people lend me before starting any others. Not to mention The Walking Dead book is pretty bad ass!
So back to The Girl Who Played with Fire. Here’s the thing, I loved that this one didn’t have all of the Swedish financial crap that the first one had in it and I loved learning more about Lisbeth Salander’s life. However, I preferred the mystery that surrounded Tattoo so much more! The mystery in book two was just so so. Of course that didn’t stop me from devouring the bloody book every free second I had! And that’s that.
Bottom Line: If you read the first book of the series of course you should read the second. If you haven’t read the series yet, Start! Seriously, it’s worth it just for the movies and Daniel Craig.
And onto the next . . . I recently finished Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip - Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica.

The Magicians

Last month it was my turn to host our monthly book club and let me tell you, I’m really impressed with our little book club because we’ve managed to keep this commitment with one another each month (minus one or two because of the holidays and a wedding) even though we all have crazy and hectic schedules. It just makes my heart happy. But enough with gush. In keeping with tradition, since I hosted I was allowed to choose our book. As you can imagine, I took this responsibility very, very seriously and ended up picking Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.  I chose The Magicians for two reasons: 1) I wanted to lure my friends into reading a series with me that would require them to read multiple books and have many wonderful bookish discussions with me and 2) Someone once described the book to me as being a cross between Harry Potter and Catcher in the Rye, um yes! Not only are these both books that I love but it made The Magicians sound like a grown up gritty version of Harry Potter. Wonderful, right?! Apparently not, because wouldn’t you freaking 
know it, they hated it. No joke. Let’s delve a little deeper shall we?

GoodReads description:
Quentin Coldwater is brillant but miserable. He's a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he's still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.
Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he though it would.
Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real.
Da Da Daaaaa!!! So you have to admit that this sounds neat right? Reading the description it sounds like my life: Brilliant, check. Obsessed with fantasy novels, check. Feeling like graduating from law school isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, check. But then wait for it….Hogwarts is real! Could you just imagine?! I would die.
So you can see the appeal of the book. Unfortunately, I was kind of disappointed with it. See, I was hoping this novel would pull me into another world. Show me the magical world of Fillory and what not but alas, it was not to be. For me, since Grossman failed to adequately describe the world he envisioned the entire book felt rushed and undeveloped. I was left wanting more out of the book. It kind of reminded me of The Night Circus in that way, you know a good novel that need to be established a bit more to be truly amazing.
On the plus side, I loved how gritty parts of the novel were. Since we’re following college kids and graduates, there was a lack of childlike wonder that I appreciated. As a reader, I know that life isn’t all rainbows and fucking butterflies and I respect when fantasy novels embrace that.

Now onto my friends gripes, their largest one being Grossman has not one independent creative thought in his body. They all felt that The Magicians followed The Narnia Chronicles too closely. I, who have not read any of the Narnia books was ignorant of any similarities so it obviously didn’t bother me but after to listening to some of the comparisons I can see where they were going. I just wonder if, since  Quentin’s obsession is with the books of his childhood, if Grossman did have a similar obsession with The Narnia Chronicles and this was his way of paying tribute to the books he grew up on. Then again he may have just stolen some of the ideas.
Bottom line: Read it, it was good but don’t expect to fall into the book.
And onto the next . . . I finally decided to come back to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series and recently finished The Girl Who Played With Fire.

Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List

Work and planning for the big move to DC have taken a toll on my blog and instead of catching up on reviewing all of the books I’ve recently read, I’m doing a  Top Ten Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

This week the topic is:
The Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR List
1.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I’m pretty sure everyone has at least heard of this book, if not read it. Well, I’ve decided to give it a go because I’m in love with Emma Watson and she’ll be in the movie adaption of the book coming out this fall. It was also one of the books in my $6.00 library book fair haul. Say “what?!”
2. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
I’m crazy excited for this book which is told from the perspective of a girl who can neither speak nor move but who’s mind is actually brilliant. Her story sounds haunting and it’s from such a unique perspective that I can’t help but be eager to start reading it. P.S. it also helps that critics and book lovers alike are raving about this novel.
3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
The infamous Bloggess always cracks me up when I read her blog so there is no way I can pass up a book that promises to be just as funny.
4. The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston
The description of the book reads: In the nonfiction tradition of John Berendt ("Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil") and Erik Larson ("The Devil in the White City") . . . Um can you say hooked?? Mentioning not one, but two of my favorite books ever is a sure fire way to get me to want to read this book. And as if that wasn’t enough my Best Friend in the whole world recommended it to me and then sent me the book. Score! Will be reading this very soon!
5. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Another book in my library book fair haul, this book seems like it’ll be the perfect sit by the pool, easy cheesy read.
6. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I am a huge history buff and I’m especially intrigued with the American Civil War which is why it’s nuts that I haven’t read this book yet. Worry not, I’m tackling this bad boy this summer.
7. Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French
Having just finished The Count of Monte Cristo I’m all about revenge this summer. Here’s a snippet of the book’s description: “Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs come hell or high water. In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences. “ Sounds awesome!
8. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Stieg Larsson
Confession time: I put off finishing a series because once I finish it that’s it. Well, it’s been a year or so since I started this series and I feel like it’s time to finish it.
9. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
I fell in love with George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series so I’m hoping these books can transport me as well.
10. The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
I recently read Jane Eyre and adored it so when a friend mentioned there was a book which captures the story of the Rochester’s crazy wife I knew it had to be added to my TBR list.
(Note: I’m also pretty pleased with myself because I actually have 6 out of 10 of these books waiting for me at home. Go Me!)


Jenny Pox: Avoid Her Like The Plague

Alright y’all I just finished Jenny Pox (The Paranormals, #1) by JL Bryan and it was amazeballs!

Goodreads description:                 

Eighteen-year-old Jenny Morton has a horrific secret: her touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague, the "Jenny pox." She lives by a single rule: Never touch anyone. A lifetime of avoiding any physical contact with others has made her isolated and painfully lonely in her small rural town.

Then she meets the one boy she can touch. Jenny feels herself falling for Seth...but if she's going to be with him, Jenny must learn to use the deadly pox inside her to confront his ruthless and manipulative girlfriend Ashleigh, who secretly wields the most dangerous power of all.

Ahhh Jenny Mittens! Who doesn’t feel for a girl who’s forced into wearing gloves year around so she doesn’t accidentally kill people? So being a book blogger myself, I like to keep up with the book blogging community and, people let me tell you: the community is talking about this bloody book! At first, I was a little skeptical about it because a lot of bloggers seem real keen on only reading paranormal romances, regardless of their literary value. Leaving me to worry that this would just be another weird, YA love story. But like I said, it seemed like every site I went on was raving about Jenny Pox so I decided to give it a try. Well that, and Amazon was and is offering the book free of charge for the Kindle. The whole free thing really helped make up my mind.

Luckily, it turns out the book blogging community was right on point with how good this book seriously is. First off, the author doesn’t make the mistake (depending on who you ask because apparently tons of adults are oddly addicted to teen love triangles) of only focusing on the budding relationship of Seth and Jenny. There is more, much more, to the story and, since I was reading it on the Kindle, every time I thought the author was getting ready to conclude his story he would surprise me with another twist that contributed to the depth of this already super intriguing story. Not only that this book was much more adult (read: has some sexy time) than I originally expected it would be and I loved it! Trust me half way through the book you’ll be like “Oh my gooodnesss!!

I also loved that Bryan took the paranormal aspect of the story into the horror genre, think Carrie. Parts of the book were eerie, gross, and other parts were downright scary. Bryan does not shy away from describing how powerful Jenny’s curse can be. I think the best part about it was that I wasn’t expecting the story to go in this direction and when it did I was like “Child, no you are not going to have those characters get all dark and twisty” but then he did and I loved him for it. Except when I was eating lunch, then I did not love him for it. Not one bit.

My only criticism, and it really isn’t a big one, is that during the latter part of the story things escalated way too rapidly. You’ll see, one minute we’re talking small potatoes and then boom it’s the end of world. I guess I just would have appreciated a more gradual lead in, but again, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.
Bottom line: Read this book! It’s part of a series (aren’t they all now?) and I plan on reading the rest of them sometime soon. You know, after I get to all of the other books I keep meaning to read.
Next up: Book club was at my house last month and we read Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read

This month over at The Broke and the Bookish we’re allowed to rewind and pick a topic from the past. I chose:
The Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read:
1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: For some reason I never heard of these books before the latest movie series came out in 2005. See when I was younger I kind of jumped from reading about the Sweet Valley High twins to V.C. Andrews Flowers in the Attic and John Saul novels. Big jump, I know. And since I never had that transitional book phase I feel like I missed out on this series. While I do want to read them now, I'm kind of reluctant to because of how much I've heard about the Christian undertones of the novel. I just feel like I might get brainwashed and wierds me out and it. (Quit judging) Maybe once I have kids I’ll delve into this series with them.

2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: We can all agree that I’m a reader, and when this book first came out all my friends wanted to know if I had read it. Once again I became freaked out by the sheer trendiness of the novel and I steered clear. It was too much pressure to try and want to get involved with this bloody novel. I feel like it’s a kind spite thing now.

3. The Lord of the Rings Series by J. R. R. Tolkien: Pathetic, I know but let me defend myself! I haven’t read these yet because  I’ve just started giving fantasy novels a chance. (Thank you, Mr. Martin) Fear not, I just purchased the series, including The Hobbit, so I will be reading sometime soon. Although, I’m kind of terrified to start The Hobbit because it seems like everyone who has cannot get into it. Talk about ringing endorsements.

4. Eragon and the other books in the Inheritance series Christopher Paolini: People love these books. I mean my sister rushed out and paid top dollar for an English version of the last book as soon as it came out in Europe. I just don’t know if they’re my thing. I love The Game of Thrones series but don’t know how keen I am about reading fantasy novel without the grit.

5. The Sookie Stackouse Novels by Charlaine Harris: It’s not that I can’t believe I haven’t read these books because one, everyone and their momma has or two, because they’re hailed as being so amazing but more so because I’m so in love with True Blood. Like “I would probably be the biggest fang banger in the Bon Temps” love with True Blood. I’m just surprised I haven’t read them all yet in a pathetic effort to stay connected with my favorite vamps. I did start the first book in the series right after last season ended but kind of stopped after that. Maybe it was because I got my fix from another source when I started watching Vampire Diaries on Netflix . . . either way I do plan on reading the rest of these someday.

6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë: Everyone and their mother has heard of Heathcliff and Catherine and that alone should have enticed to me to read this bloody book by now. What’s more  is that I loved Emily’s sister’s book Jane Eyre and that should have pushed to read it by now. Sigh. Worry not the book was bought and is waiting for me on my shelves.

7. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: I'm probably the only person on the planet who didn'y read this book in high school, even my husband who doesn’t read anything has read it. Everyone loves  and they all say the same thing, “It’s amazing!” Well, I will soon be in with the cool kids because I am currently reading all about Edmond and his quest for revenge. Hooray!

8. Any Classic Ever Written: I get it. This is kind of broad but seriously y’all I haven’t read any classics because apparently no one thought to put me in advance placement courses in high school (Their loss, because this lawyer turned out to be brilliant and, maybe, not so humble) and the classes I was in didn’t place too much emphasis on reading. So like I said I can't believe I haven’t read any classics: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Scarlet Letter, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice (I did read Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies but I’m guessing that doesn’t count). You name it I probably haven’t read it, but I am trying to rectify the situation by reading one classic a month.
9. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: Bookish people read this book and since I consider myself to be bookish I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t completed it even though I’ve tried to read it once before a million times. I will conquer you!

10. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell: My friend mentioned this book when I brought up the list and I was actually quite surprised. It seems that I completely forgot that this book even existed, which is crazy because it’s one of the top five most read books of all time. The more I think about it the more astonished I am that the book isn’t on my “to be read list”. Seriously, my BA is in history and aside from WWII, the Civil War and Sherman’s march is what drew my interest to the subject. I should be ashamed of myself.