Tag Archive | The Girl who Played with Fire

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:


  • 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…)


  • 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)


  • 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…

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Exposé: Millennium publisher Mikael Blomkvist has made his reputation exposing corrupt establishment figures. So when a young journalist approaches him with an investigation into sex trafficking, Blomkvist cannot resist waging a war on the powerful figures who control this lucrative industry.

The Murder: When a young couple are found dead in their Stockholm apartment, it’s a straightforward job for Inspector Bublanski and his team. The killer left the weapon at the scene – and the fingerprints on the gun point in only one direction.

The Girl Who Played with Fire: Ex-security analyst Lisbeth Salander is wanted for murder. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society – but no-one can find her. The only way Salander can be reached is by computer. But she can break into almost any network she chooses…

I read the first in the Millenium trilogy in January after I was given these two books for Christmas.  As soon as I read the last page, I knew I’d have to start the follow-up soon.  I think I lasted about four weeks before the urge overtook me and I had to read it.

I’m torn on what to say about it, because I really loved it, but had a few issues with it.

I’ll start with the love for it.  The story’s great – almost from the first page you get gripped.  The whole time I was reading it I was trying to work out one or another thing that was happening.  I didn’t succeed.  I read the whole 600 odd paged novel in an incredibly quick time because I just had to read more, and more and more.

After 150 pages I realised the main story hadn’t started, but it didn’t matter because I was so gripped with the characters and the sub plots that they alone would have kept me interested.

The characters.  I love the characters.  Even more so in this one than the first.  And I love what happens to them.  By the end of the book I was so happy about something that transpired.  I know that sounds cryptic, but I don’t want to give away anything.

There’s just a couple of let downs to the book.  I sometimes found it hard to follow the characters as they progressed through the novel.  I know no Swedish at all, which meant I didn’t know how to pronounce any of the names correctly, so couldn’t make that connection in my mind, also sometimes they were similar.  When a couple of characters appeared for the second time, I had to think back, or trace back, to find out who they were.  For example there’s Blomvist, Bjurman, Björk and Berger.  Maybe it’s just me?

While I was reading the novel, I was also doing a workshop on showing not telling when writing.  I found I’d read big passages that I thought were telling not showing.  They also seemed to have no significance.  I had to keep telling myself it’s to show the state of mind of that character.

These little things weren’t enough to put me off it.  Like I said, I did love it and would recommend it to anyone (although I’d definately say read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo first).  I honestly can’t say whether I prefer this one or the first one; I truly hope the next one will be as good.

Migraines, WBD and journeys

First thing this morning I got a migraine.  What a horrible way to start a day.  It’s almost gone now which is excellent (thank god for drugs!) but I still feel a little drained. 

It’s World Book Day today.  Although, it’s only celebrated in the UK and Ireland.  And it seems to only be for children.  But still.  It’s cool.  I’d like to celebrate by finishing my book today – there’s 150 pages left.  It’s not impossible.  But, I do have plans tonight, so it might not be probable.  We’ll see.

I’m going home this weekend (how long do you have to live away from your hometown before you stop calling it home?).  My car’s decided to stop working so I’m getting the train.  Although I’m going to hate it, I’m kind of excited, cause that means I can do lots of reading on the journey.  Question is, if I finish my current book before I go (likely) do I start a new one, or just focus on my writing course?  Hmmmm.

With this head, I don’t really feel inspired to write anything else.  I’ll make up for it tomorrow.  Actually I may not – it’s Fiction Friday tomorrow.  Woop!

Mid Week Mumbles

We had a temp at work today.  While we were chatting about how quiet my office is compared to her usual office, I mentioned that I pass the time by doing my writing course.  Nothing weird about that, as I do. But, there’s not that many people I’ve told that.  10 months ago I wouldn’t have told her either.  I’m starting to feel more confident about writing and not so shy about talking about it.

I think the fact I’m now taking part in Fiction Friday and posting something I’ve written weekly has been a big step towards this.  Also entering the ErgoFiction Search Term competition (although no one knows which story is mine) has helped.  Plus I guess I’ve thrown the 1st draft of my novel out there, and 3 or 4 other people have read it.  That’s rather a lot from a girl who doesn’t like admitting to writing. 

The temp asked if I was doing the course with an aim to write a novel –  I told her I have (and explained only the first draft).  Even 4 months ago I didn’t admit I was writing a novel, even to people I knew.  Strange how quickly things change. 

I cannot read my current book, The Girl who Played with Fire, fast enough.  It’s gripping.  Especially as I thought I’d worked out something, but in the last 3 pages found out it wasn’t what I thought it was.  I think I like this more than the first in the series The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, because I ‘know’ the characters more in this than in the last one, so I feel more empathy for them. 

Right off to do a little work before home time!

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!!

Facebook Flaws

There’s actually only one (one I’m talking about anyway), and that’s more to do with the person typing this than Facebook itself.  I think the reason I’m doing less writing at the moment, is because I’ve been spending lots of time on Facebook.  I was so happy when I discovered Facebook Lite, that isn’t banned at work, but now I almost wish that was too. 

Today has been so crazily quiet.  I’ve been sat here for about 2 hours and done pretty much nothing.  Except look at Facebook and surfed some blogs.  Not good enough NTWG!!

Last Friday I entered a competition by Harlequin author Donna Alward to win her help as a mentor for a year.  To enter you had to send in a pitch of your novel.  Wow.  Unfortunately (as expected) I didn’t get into the top 5, but it was a great thing to try.  In doing it I’ve realised there’s some pretty major changes that have to happen in draft two (if it ever gets started! No, I don’t mean that – I will start – soon! ).  I kind of knew that already, but was holing onto a little hope that there would be a way around it (changing it to a full length novel where I could set the guidelines more myself, rather than a 50k Mills & Boon where there are strict guidelines).  My dream as an author is to have my first novel (at least) sold as a Mills & Boon novel.  I’ve had that dream for years, so am going to try to keep that.  If I finish it and if submit it (big IFs here) and it gets rejected, maybe I can rewrite for another publisher. 

I did make some big advances in the research area yesterday, so lots of blanks can now be filled in.  I’m really happy about that.  It just means that I need to get describing things, which isn’t my favourite thing.  Not sure how I’m going to describe the rolling hills of Tuscany, when I’ve only seen photos; or a villa that I’ve seen photos of, but is slightly different in my head.  I guess that’s something I need to start on.  I might set myself some exercises of describing countryside and buildings.  After lunch, he he.

I’ve got to the point in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo where I now can’t put it down.  I’m reading it in my 15 minute breaks, lunch and at night – yep, it’s keeping me up.  I’ve been pretty good though and forced myself to stop reading at a semi decent time, so not too tired because of it.  I’ve only 150 pages left, so I’m determined to finish it by the end of the month – I think I’ll be well done by then.  Might even be able to fit in another short one by Sunday? 

I made a mistake last night and read the back of the next book in the series – The Girl who Played with Fire.  I wanted to know if it was about the same people or not. When I found out I realised I shouldn’t have, I’m not going to say why or anything, but if you’re tempted to do what I did – DON’T.  Wait until you get to the end of the first! 

I’m getting quite excited at the prospect of choosing my next book to read.  I said I was going to read Gone with the Wind, but I’m hesitating because it’s so big, and long and it will be so heavy to carry round.  Also I’ve got this new Lisa Jewell one that the boyfriend bought from the charity shop a couple of weeks ago.  But now I’m thinking maybe Flash Forward.  Another part of me thinks I shouldn’t read another book, but spend the time I would be reading editing Italian Infatuation.  Maybe I’ll read one more in January, then limit it in February, but concentrate on the editing process.  Maybe…