Tag Archive | Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest

THE TRIAL: Lisbeth Salander – outsider and apparent enemy of society – is charged with attempted murder. The state has also ruled that she is mentally unstable, and should be locked away in an institution once again. But she is closely guarded in a hospital, having taken a bullet to the head, so how will she prove her innocence?
THE ENEMY: Pulling the strings of the prosecution is the powerful inner circle of Sapo, the state security police. Determined to protect the secrets and corruption at Sweden’s rotten core, Sapo is not an adversary to take on alone.
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS’ NEST: Only with the help of Mikael Blomkvist and the journalists at Millennium magazine can Salander avoid the fate that has been decided for her. Together they form a compelling and dynamic alliance. This final volume of the Millennium Trilogy is the culmination of one of the mesmerizing fictional achievements of our time.

I read the first two novels in the trilogy years ago. I got given this one for my birthday 18 months ago, but it’s been sat on a shelf since then and I had to force myself to read it this month (putting it on the list for the TNR Pile Challenge helped on that one). I really enjoyed the first two, but did find them hard going sometimes. I then watched the Swedish movie, and it totally put me off them. Oh, that and reading a micky take which was horribly accurate on the writing (e.g. Lisbeth walked down this road, then this one then this one, then stopped and lit a cigarette with a green lighter then carried on to another street! – way too much irrelevant detail). Also I was really threatened by the size of the novel. That’s a long time to be dedicated to just one book.

I’m really glad I picked it up though. It was loooong yes, but it didn’t really seem it. I read it in less than a week!

My problem really was remembering the details of what had happened in the previous novel. It literally follows on from The Girl Who Played With Fire and because it’s maybe 2 years since I read that, there were definite holes in my memory! Coupling that with my ‘issue’ of remembering who everyone is (both from previous novels AND new characters that were introduced in this book, just with similar sounding names) I found some bits a struggle.

Even though there were all these things that ‘detracted’ from the novel, I REALLY enjoyed it. The story is totally gripping, so much so I spent Saturday morning and ALL DAY Sunday reading it – I literally couldn’t put it down. I’m not a fan of the writing – Larsson totally TELLS not SHOWS – but when a story is this exciting, I can (almost) forgive it.

I went out on Saturday afternoon with my Swedish friend, and we were discussing the trilogy. I told her I hadn’t really enjoyed the Swedish film and she was really surprised. She thought it was brilliant. It made me wonder if the problems I had with both the books and the film, were more to do with the translation (or subtitles in the film) rather than the actual writing. Something I’ll never know unless I learn Swedish.

I’m gutted that Larsson died before these books were released as I think he had a great imagination and I would have liked to read more by him. Very sad. I’m really looking forward to seeing the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

That’s book 2 for the TBR Pile Challenge and book 2 for the Mystery & Suspense Challenge (I haven’t yet reviewed Snapshot but will do tonight or tomorrow). I’m doing so well this year. If only my writing was going so well!

Really Good Books

I was thinking earlier it would be really good to do a blog today. Then I started wondering what I could write – it’s not like I’m actually writing is it. So that would leave… reading. I’m really enjoying the book I’m reading now Jeff Abbott’s A Kiss Gone Bad, and the thought of that led me to… I’m reading a lot of really good books at the moment.

In 2009 I only read 17 or something books, and only a handful of them really stood out. I think I tried to do a top ten books I read that year, but didn’t have a top ten. There just weren’t enough good ones there.

Last year was the opposite. I read 45 books, and enjoyed a huge number of them. So, what better way to spend a blog, than with my top books of last year. I was thinking top ten, but going through my list, I’ve actually made a top twenty. Hope it’s not too boring:

YA:

  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I only read this to prove to people I wouldn’t like it. I loved it. I think it’s my favourite book of the year)
  • Avalon High by Meg Cabot (When I was researching YA novels before writing mine, I knew I had to read one of Ms Cabot’s books – the queen of teen and all that)
  • Summer Dreams Winter Love by Mary Francis Shura (this was my favourite book growing up, and I wanted to read it again. It still had that magic)
  • Della Says… OMG by Keris Stainton (I loved the sound of this when I started following Keris’ blog, and was lucky enough to get invited to her launch party where she signed the book. After all that I was so glad I loved it)

Chick Lit:

  • Love Lies by Adele Parks (I got given a small booklet on the street. It was the first two chapters. I couldn’t read just that, I had to get the whole book and read it.  But then I love Adele Parks so would have had to get it at some point anyway)
  • Foursome by Jane Fallon (This is the best book I read in this category. I loved everything about it, and will definitely be on the lookout for more books by her)
  • Husbands by Adele Parks (what can I say? I love the lady, I had to read more than one)
  • The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman (I got a copy of this from the publisher to review. I was pretty scared I wouldn’t like it then there would be loads of pressure on me to say something nice about it. Luckily it was great – it was Rowan Coleman, of course it was great)
  • The Baby Group by Rowan Coleman (ditto the great comment above)
  • What My Best Friend Did by Lucy Dawson (another that is in my top three of the year I imagine. Great. Not sure if it’s really chick lit, but I think it belongs here)
  • Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell (I read this when it came out ten years ago,  but after winning a ticket to an evening with Lisa, I thought I should re-read it before I went. So glad I did, I’d forgotten how good it was. And Lisa Jewell – she’s awesome and funny, and has a great story of how she got published. I like the idea that mine could go the same way…)

Thrillers:

  • Until It’s Over by Nicci French (my step mum gave me this, saying she loved it. Well, so did her step daughter)
  • The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner (Although this is only the second book of hers I’ve read, I am a huge Meg Gardiner fan, and this is my favourite book. Can’t wait to start on her other series of books)
  • Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay (Again second book of his I’ve read. Again this is my favourite)
  • Random by Craig Robertson (I got this free from the publisher because of doing the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. It’s his debut book, and it’s brilliant)
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played with Fire both by Stieg Larsson (I only picked the first up because of the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge. I was so glad I did. I watched the movie too – it sucked)

 Sci-Fi:

  • The Caves of Steel by Asimov (I read this on recommendation from the other half. He thought I should read something DIFFERENT, so I did. I didn’t want to enjoy it, but I did. I want to read the rest in the Robot series)
  • 1984 by George Orwell (It’s a classic – I had to read it at some time. This was the year. It totally deserves the hype it gets)

I really hope 2011 is as good for books as last year was. I’m on book three, and so far it’s certainly shaping up that way!

What were your favourite books from last year?

Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 Round-Up

Around Christmas I wrote a blog and in it had a big long moan about how badly I thought I’d done in this challenge. After that I sat down and worked out what thriller or suspense books I’d read throughout the year and was shocked to realise I’d actually read 11. Wow! I then thought about all the other books I’d read over the year, and went over to the host of the challenge Book Chick City to see what other people had read. shockingly someone had reviewed Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. I wasn’t too sure if it was a thriller or suspense, but as someone else had used it, guess what? I’m really happy to use it.

So that means… I completed the challenge. WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO! The thing I haven’t done is review all the books yet, but I will get there. Here’s the list of them – the highlighted ones are linked to the review. The unhighlighted ones will have a review as soon as I can add it.

There you have it, my 12 books. I’m really happy I did it. I think the challenge pushed me to read more thrillers than I would have normally done, because I tend to favour chick lit and romance. I don’t know why I do that, I really love thrillers.

One of my aims of doing this challenge was to introduce myself to new authors. I certainly did that. The first book I read, a Sandra Brown book, I only picked up because of the challenge. I was so glad I did – I totally love both of her books I read during the challenge. I can’t wait to read more of hers.

Nicci French was introduced to me by my Step Mum. Again because I told her about the challenge so she gave me that book. I totally loved it, and will be looking out for more Nicci French books this year, and in the future.

Simon & Schuster sent all the people in this challenge an ARC of one of two novels. I was so happy I got Random by Craig Robertson. I hated the goreiness of it, but loved that at the same time. Last time I saw his update on Twitter, he was writing a new book. When it gets published I’ll be first in line to read it.

I honestly wouldn’t have read Asimov if it wasn’t for this challenge and my boyfriend convincing me it would work really well for the challenge. Sci-fi? Me? Nah! But, yeah. I actually enjoyed it. So much so, I’m going to read the other books in the Robot series. I don’t think I’ll read any others of his though, Sci-fi does still… I was going to say scare me, but I think it just doesn’t interest me that much. Hopefully he’ll (the boyfriend) will bully (!!) me into reading more of Asimov, or maybe another sci-fi writer – and he’ll find something easy-reading that I’ll ‘get’.

I’ve had the Judith Cutler book (and another) for years and didn’t pick it up in all that time. This challenge made me pick it up. I’ll definitely be reading the other one I’ve got of her’s (Dying to Fall) and probably the rest of that series.

That’s it. All the others I think I would have read anyway. But that’s pretty impressive – five authors that now I’ll be looking out for, that would have pasted right by me without the challenge.

I’m really impressed with how much I enjoyed the books I chose for this challenge. Looking at this list, I can genuinely say I loved each and every one of them. How good is that?!

I only have one small regret to come from this challenge. At the beginning of 2010 I looked around the internet and got recommendations of authors from people/places (including other people taking the challenge) and got a list of authors I wanted to read. But, I didn’t read any of them. That upsets me. But I’ll get over it. Just because the challenge is over… doesn’t mean I have to stop reading thrillers & suspense novels.

Plus… You never know what other challenges will be round the corner in 2011…

Most Exciting Blog Ever!!!

Well, I’m more excited that I’ve ever been for so many reasons. 

Firstly, yesterday I had more visitors to my blog than I’ve ever had before. 20 more to be precise! 20!!! That’s about 40 more than my daily average. Wow. I have no idea why yesterday was a popular day, but it totally made today great when I looked at that this morning. And that’s without mentioning P. o. r. n. – which someone very helpfully asked if I’d mentioned to get so many hints. Hmmm. I imagine it’s an anomaly, but if not HELLO new readers (again!) *waves* 

What else am I excited about? Well. You know that old writing course I’m always on about because I never do? Well, I only went and did some this morning. I’d already written this assignment so it just needed editing, but although I say it myself, it’s pretty good.

One of the parts was to write a descriptive piece about a maternity ward. Pretty hard when I’ve never actually been to a maternity ward but still. When I read it, I actually got goosebumps it was so cute. I think it was that and not the air conditioning in the room anyway 😉 

So, I’ll give it another read this afternoon then send it off tonight. Woop! That will be 4 assignments done. Only 16 left to go! I wish I hadn’t written that, that’s a little depressing! 

I was reading Stylist Magazine this morning (a free mag given out in London) and there’s an advert/article for a How to… night they’re running in August. It’s How To Get Yourself Published. And, Sophie Kinsella and Lisa Jewell will be there. And read from their new books. As if that wasn’t enough there’s champagne AND canapes. This all coincides with me getting paid today so I could buy a ticket. It’s like fate or something. So, I’ve got a ticket. How awesome is that.

Also last night I found out about a chick lit event (also in August) in Brixton. Lisa Jewell (again), Jenny Colgan, Jojo Moyes and more are going to be there. I think this one is free! I’d know if I booked a place – I need to do that. 

Also good, not as good, but adding to the niceness of today, is that I’ve nearly finished the book I’m reading (well 50 pages left)! Woop! The story is amazing, I just don’t care about  the characters. As the story’s been going on I started hoping that a certain something would happen. It did. It was probably pretty predictable, but I think it’s great I thought of it too. It means my ideas could be the same as a published author. Of course it could just mean that it was predictable, but I’m not going to take it that way! 

I KNOW which book I’m going to read next, but I’m pretty torn up on the decision. I know it’s the right one and I cannot wait to read it, but there’s so many I’m desperate to read NOW. They are:

  

  • The Happy Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson
  • After the Party by Lisa Jewell
  • Temptation Street by Shari Low

I’m going to read the Rowan Coleman one as I got it free, to review (got to love the author’s fan page on Facebook) and I want to read it before it is released (19th August). It’s just so cool having a book that is not on sale for another few weeks.  

Actually this weekend I’m having a family relaxing weekend. My aunt and uncle live an hour outside London – and have a swimming pool in their garden! Me + Books + Pool = my happy LONG weekend. Oh yes. I reckon I’ll start THHFBH tomorrow, so read that and at least one more by Tuesday when I come back to work.

I seriously must be one of the happiest people ever today. Not even my job managed to put me in a bad mood when I found out I HAVE to work extra tomorrow (”please can you… no one else can…”) so have to cancel my plans. Grrr. But really, don’t care cause I’m really happy and excited about the next month of my life. 🙂

Assignment 2 – done (finally)

That’s right, 10 months and a change of direction in the course later, I’ve finally finished and sent the second assignment of my writing course.  I’m pretty happy with it.

I had to write a short story, and I sent one I actually wrote a little while ago, but while I was doing the course.  I’m actually really happy with it, so it will be interesting to see what my tutor has to say – to see if it’s as good as I think it is.  I did spend about 3 months working on it, so it should be pretty good.

That means I move on to assignment 3.  I’ve already started reading the modules for it – really interesting ones about writing, editing and selling novels.  Just what I need after Italian Infatuation.  I’m not going to start writing the next assignment until I have the feedback from this one – that should be less than 10 days.

I’m about halfway through The Girl Who Played With Fire.  I really wanted to finish it in February, but as I only started it on Thursday that was pretty unrealistic.

The problem when I read, a good book,  is that I get totally engaged – to the detriment of anything else I should be doing.  I’m currently reading a really good novel, so haven’t read any more of the course since Thursday.  When I finish this book, I’ll have to stop myself from reading another – make sure I get on with the course.

I found a really interesting blog today by Kaye Dacus (the ‘pop quiz’ and following answers) that was all about commas.  I didn’t get time to read all of it, but it was really interesting.  It cleared something up for me that’s been bugging me for a while.  This is the kind of thing I should be doing to help with my writing.

We’re up to entry eight on the Searchterm Challenge on ErgoFiction.  I’m really enojoying reading them all, and finding it so interesting to see the different directions people are taking.  Read all eight – plus a new entry each day here.

Books and Writing

I didn’t know this, but apparently I’m the kind of person that would prefer to read a good book than watch TV.  Or I was last night anyway.  While my housemate sat and watched ‘soap night’, I sat and read my book.  I love soap night: (if I’m home in time) 4 episodes of different soaps back to back.  My boyfriend hates soaps so I tend not to watch them when he’s around, which he usually is every other night of the week.  Soap night was like a guilty pleasure night where I could sit and watch an hour and a half  to two hours of soaps.

But recently I’ve not really been bothered.  I’ve prefered to read a book.  Obviously it means I’ve been reading some good books.  I was thinking the other day that I would rather read a book than watch a film.  I think, I’m not too sure about that.  If I am, I’m not sure I like that. 

I finished Coming Home by Melanie Rose on the escalator out of the tube this morning.  I literally had 2 pages left when I got off the tube so HAD to read them before I got to work.  I love a bit of chick lit and this satisfied me completely.  I think I especially liked it as you didn’t know who the heroine was going to end up with – there were 3 potentials there.  That’s how my novel ‘Holiday’ is going to play.  There’s going to be 2 potential love interests. 

I do have a criticism though, no maybe just a dislike.  The first chapter happens before she loses her memory.  I would have liked it to start after so we, like her, have no idea where she’s come from.  Melanie’s got another book that came out a while ago, so I’m going to find that at some point, she’s definitely someone I’ll keep an eye on for new books too. 

I’ve now started The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.  So far it’s nasty – I’ve only read the prologue, which is about a girl who’s been kidnapped.  Still I know it’s going to be good, and I guess it’s some of the nastiness that makes it good.  The last book had really good descriptions of some severely gruesome things so I was picturing them as I was reading.  Not always a good thing.   

I have read so much this year.  It makes up for last year when I read less than 20 books – which I’m still shocked about. 

I’ve recently admitted to myself I’m not good at writing descriptions.  When I write, I tend to write what people say, and think and the story.  There’s never really descriptions of where they are, what they look like etc.  Even in Italian Infatuation I left big gaps where I need to fill in details about the countryside and the villa, I don’t even know how detailed charcters are – I suspect not very.  

To get over this, I’ve decided to set myself challenges where I HAVE to describe things.  There has just been a man sat in reception at work, I’ve done a description of him.  I’m going to do people and places.  Lots.  You know what they say – practice makes perfect!!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson

Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist is hired by Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of Vanger’s great-niece Harriet. Henrik suspects that someone in his family, the powerful Vanger clan, murdered Harriet over forty years ago.

Starting his investigation, Mikael realizes that Harriet’s disappearance is not a single event, but rather linked to series of gruesome murders in the past. He now crosses paths with Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, an asocial punk and most importantly, a young woman driven by her vindictiveness.

Together they form an unlikely couple as they dive deeper into the violent past of the secretive Vanger family.

Saying I wasn’t interested in the Millenium trilogy when it came out would be a bit unfair.  I didn’t know anything about it.  Somehow it went over my head.  Suddenly people were reading it everywhere I looked – well everywhere on the tube.  Still I didn’t look into it.  Then someone told me I HAD to read them, they were brilliant.  Well, with a recommendation like that I had to get them.  I am so glad I did.

It took me a while to get into the novel, but I think that may have been because I was very tired when I stared reading it, but once I got into it I was hooked.  There are three stories that interlink through the novel and keep you interested.  I think there’s still a couple of questions that would make sure I read the next one, even if I wasn’t hooked on Salander and Blomqvisk anyway.

I did find it a little hard to keep up with all the names, so did spend some time flicking back and forward to double-check who someone was.  I’d say that was because they are Swedish names so not easily recognisable to me.  Or pronounceable.

The thing that amazes me the most is how clever Larsson was.  The tiniest little clue led to something else which led to something else.  I would love to see the prep for the Harriet murder case.  I wish I could write like him.

I highly recommend this novel, if I was giving star ratings this would be about 9.  It’s just so good.  One warning though, it’s graphic.  And not in a nice way.  There were moments when I wanted to stop reading because it was too much – I think that shows what a great author Larsson was.