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The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson #22

Well, what to say.  Okay, I reviewed the first one with flying colours. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson is of course a sequel to the first one, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I blogged about that one a while back and this book is also another long one, 512 pages to be exact.

This is a kind of book that is hard to review because it is so long, so complicated and anything you say will give things away. There is so much detail in this book that it’s not a wonder why the darn thing counts so high in my Book challenge. I’m supposed to be checking in with my current totals, hence the reason I’m reviewing 2 books in one day, but it’s doubly difficult to review this thing without also giving away the next book, that I’m currently reading.

This started out slow, much like the first one. There wasn’t as many character introductions this time as most of the first book’s character’s came back (SEE, I’m revealing serious plot stuff already … wait …).  This really helped with character confusion that often happens, but I think contributed to the slow start. Of course it picked up after a bit and got interesting.

One thing about these books is the details. Oh my god the details. Seriously, this dude took a page from Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series because DAMN! the man threw in a shitton of details. I gave the first book 10 of my whore dollars because it was riveting (I’ve always wanted to use that cheesy marketing term), but this one wasn’t as much until the end, and then it slightly annoyed me how it ended because then I knew the 3rd book was going to go on with the same damn story line (and it does).

I think because the author died after handing the publisher his manuscripts they didn’t really get to have that author/editor playful banter back and forth to trim shit down. Of course being a bestselling book who am I to critique the wordiness and direction this series seems to go in?

Whatever. It’s still a really good book and if you started the first one and loved it, you’d enjoy this one too, but not on its own. This is a series that has to be read in order or you’d be lost. I won’t give it 10, but I’ll give it 8 G-String dollars and recommend it.


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor #11

Oh, a YA I can sink my teeth into (grammar note, should I have written “an YA” instead? hmmm).  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor‘s 418 pages grabbed my attention in one of those ‘look at me’ spots in my library. My reading stack was only 6 deep so I thought, HEY, why not pile one more on top. I was really glad I grabbed this one. I love fantasy tales such as this that grab your attention, make it interesting but are also clear on what’s going on.  Nothing’s more frustrating while reading a fantasy book to not know what things are because it’s made up and the author didn’t explain it.

I noticed at the point of reading this book that I keep gravitating toward the female protagonist lately. I don’t even mean to, it just happens. Of course there was no hint or anything in the title right? … shit.

How can I tell about this story without giving it away? It’s obviously about a daughter, but a strange daughter, and I don’t mean her parents are at their wit’s end with her kind of crap, more like her parent, and her life, are very strange. Atypical you would say. Her story begins as any other young, teenage girl with an introduction to her best friend and her ex-boyfriend turned nude model in her art class in the middle of Prague. Yeah, typical late teen stuff. So yeah, it grabbed me pretty quick and made me laugh. I cringed slightly at the stalker’ish things happening because I don’t like those topics being made light of, or ignored, but thankfully that line of the story is rebuffed rather quickly. Then you get to meet her family and that’s when you get really sucked in.

I never like to give out anything of the story, which probably doesn’t help promote the book, but I don’t like to give anything away. I don’t want readers to pick up this book and already know the gist of the story, I like the surprise of it all. It is a great fantasy book and I’ll have to really look on Laini’s blog linked above to see if sequel’s have been started or not. By the way, not only would I recommend this book, but also to check out her website. Girl has vibrant pink hair and the website is a blog on I like the seeming availability of an author if their website isn’t just a giant publisher’s advertising gig with a small blip about this book followed by 15 other books they’d recommend from their vaults. Give me access, real access, even if it’s imaginary on my end, to an author, their works and their ideas and I’m likely to be a follower in the future.

Alright, so for the whoreness of this book, I’d give it a whopping 8 G-String dollars. Occasionally I’d find a part that wasn’t clear to me and I had to reread it, but it’s still a really good read and I’d highly recommend it.

Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman #6

I almost forgot that I could include non-fiction titles in my journey to kicking ass on the book challenge. A pleasant surprise!

I received a Chapter’s gift card from my wonderful mom this past Christmas (hey mom, thanks again) and was giddy to spend it. We did go into the actual store, but I’m not good at buying books on a whim anymore. It creates clutter in my house and if I’m not likely to read the book again, I consider the purchase a waste of good book buying potential. So I left it unspent and waited to purchase online, where I could see reviews and decide if a book is worth it to have as a keeper. I had to decide what to buy, and frankly I was stumped as my first thought zipped to fictional books. I’m more into borrowing those things from the library anyway, so why buy?

Then a light bulb went off. I am constantly on the look out for new knitting ideas and patterns and to print them out from the internet is a waste of paper if I don’t use the pattern, so why not buy a whole book full of paper with the potential of waste!

No,not really.

I scoured Chapters for knitting books, and then took the time to read about each in user reviews. If it got poor reviews, even those from beginner knitters not understanding the patterns, I didn’t buy it. So there began the hunt for some good knitting books. I found 3, and this was the first one I picked up to read.

As an avid knitter, color changes didn’t frighten me, but they did seem a bit daunting and I held back from trying patterns that called for a them. Part of the reason is because I don’t much like weaving in ends. As a knitting whore, I’m open to knitting with acrylic as opposed to just wool, or other animal fibers, yet acrylic isn’t great for end weaving because of how slippery the fibers are. Ends slip out very easily so I avoided changing colors.

Until I read Mastering Color Knitting by Melissa Leapman that is. The author doesn’t only tell you the information, but also shows you in clear pictures. The information doesn’t just cover the change of color but also how to read the pattern properly for regular knitting and circle knitting, as well as how to weave ends, strand the yarn and do little fix ups for common errors.

So here’s the final tally. I’d definitely be able to scrounge up 8 G-String Dollars for this 176 page book.  It is that easy to read and really takes the fear out of it.  The reason I gave it less than full cash is because, like many other yarn books, the patterns included are knit with basically the most expensive wool they could possibly find.  That only means that when you go to knit up those patterns with your much more reasonably priced yarn, it won’t fill out the same or look like the picture. Drives me bonkers and I’d like authors to retry their own patterns with what you can find in the department store aisles rather than hand dyed wool from some obscure, yet expensive hub in the middle of nowhere.

Hangman by Faye Kellerman #3

Well hello page-turner with the nice bonus of giving me another new author to bore through.

And bore through it I did.  Truthfully it didn’t help that I had a lot of time on my hands since I had a bout of insomnia that my mom’s sworn remedy of Sleepy Time Tea only worsened with a racing heart (sorry mom! but ok, it may have been the chocolate cake too).  I finished it in a jiffy and it almost seems like I’m back to my old reading habits of pushing through a book quickly in order to find more of its kind, or in any effort to lose myself in a story and end up stumbling over a great writer.

I can’t even pinpoint right down to the nub why I enjoyed this book so immensely.  I had a discussion with my mom about writers and how I’m struggling through another book.  I truly believe a writer is more than just a brilliant mind putting words onto paper.  The characters must seem real, even if they aren’t based in our real world (as in Gandalf, or Mr. Tumnus) and if they don’t seem believable or the words on the page, although extensive, seem shallow, the entire book falls apart.  There must be a story.

This is a great story.  If you aren’t a mystery/crime reader, this book could even be for you because it’s much more than just murder/mystery fiction.  It’s believable, descriptive, not always perfect characters who are weaved into a story line.  What was amazing to me is too often mystery writers will have so many characters, often police/detectives, that you start to forget who is who, but that didn’t happen here.  I always knew who each character was and what their part in the story was.  I cannot say that this story stood out hugely against many others, but it did for me because the characters were different profiles from most of the others written about.  Yes, the main character/Lieutenant is a man, stereotypically, and yes, it’s set in L.A. but when you have a city that size, the amount of murders going on in books like this seem more believable.  Plus, the guy’s not an asshole, which is such a nice change!

The story doesn’t just revolve around the one Lieutenant either, and it doesn’t always follow him through every chapter and I think that is the main reason the rest of the characters stood out as well as they did.  Each were given their own turn in the spotlight.  It does follow the Lieutenant through his newest cases, one of which leaves him with an extra person in his house he didn’t have before.  The cases presented intertwine throughout the story, but aren’t linked together, and still stay separately interesting.

The best part was I didn’t guess the ending. I don’t always guess endings in murder books, but the moment I do, I tend to put away that author as it becomes too easy.  I like the suspense.

This book was 536 pages, finished in a scant 3 days (my daughter read it in 2).  I did put it down, but only because I had to.  It gets 8 G-String dollars.  This writer is going down on my list so I can go back in the right order to read the rest of her novels.   Strangely enough, I think part of the reason it didn’t get top dollar is because I read it out of order. It seems this is another series type where a mystery writer pens different books with the same main characters.  If I had read them in order, I’m sure I’d have more good things to say about her writing, but I can’t because I didn’t know there was an order.

P.S. Can I just put this out there to any publishers that may read this, or even the authors.  Can you please start numbering your books?  Many of us readers have almost a slight compulsion to read these books in order, so just a small number on the cover somewhere would be super handy.  Make sure it’s on the front because libraries cover up a good portion of the spine, unless you put it smack dab in the middle of the title as Sue Grafton did with all of her books (A to .. what is she on now, U?).  That’d be great.

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