Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
Harlequin MIRA
August 2012
Format: e-book, 486 pages

First line: Moments before the wedding was to begin, Sonnet Romano shuddered with a wave of nervousness.

Summary from Goodreads: Sonnet Romano’s life is almost perfect. She has the ideal career, the ideal boyfriend, and has just been offered a prestigious fellowship. There’s nothing more a woman wants – except maybe a baby…sister? When Sonnet finds out her mother is unexpectedly expecting, and that the pregnancy is high-risk, she puts everything on hold – the job, the fellowship, the boyfriend – and heads home to Avalon. Once her mom is out of danger, Sonnet intends to pick up her life where she left off. But when her mother receives a devastating diagnosis, Sonnet must decide what really matters in life, even of that means staying in Avalon and taking a job that forces her to work alongside her biggest, and maybe her sweetest, mistake – award-winning filmmaker Zach Alger. So Sonnet embarks on a summer of laughter and tears, of old dreams and new possibilities, and of finding the home of her heart. At once heartbreaking and uplifting, Return to Willow Lake plumbs the deepest corners of the human heart, exploring the bonds of family, the perils and rewards of love, and the true meaning of home. Profoundly emotional and resonant, this is Susan Wiggs at her finest.

My thoughts:  This is the 9th book in Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicles series and I couldn't wait to read it. I was excited when I found out the story was about Sonnet and Zach, best friends since elementary school. I've always loved reading about Sonnet and am glad she has her own book.

At the heart of this story is Sonnet Romano and the various relationships she has in her life. She is a successful, overachieving woman who was raised by her single mom, Nina, and until she was in college, had limited contact with her father. About to embark on a new adventure in her life, she puts everything on hold when she finds out her mother is not only pregnant but has also been dealt a devastating medical diagnosis. Her move back to her small hometown of Avalon gives Sonnet time to reassess not only her career, but many of her relationships as well.

Being back in Avalon puts her in daily contact with Zach, her best friend of always. After a one-night stand the night of her step-sister's wedding, things have been different between them. Now, with Sonnet back in Avalon and taking a job that puts her in direct contact with Zach, she is uncertain what to expect. Can they make things work between them? 

What I found interesting in this book, and I'm not certain it's just because I read an advanced copy of the story or not, is that Susan Wiggs never once mentions Daisy's husband's name. In the beginning of the book, which is Daisy's wedding, we are given hints as to who she ends up marrying - and if you read Marrying Daisy Bellamy, you would know. But, if you are like me and read that book when it first came out, you might have forgotten. Even throughout the rest of the book, we are never given the name of Daisy's husband - something I find a bit weird. I now am going to have to get my hands on a completed copy of the book to see if anything changed. This in no way impacts the storyline, I just found it curious...and I'm wondering if anyone else noticed it, too.

Return to Willow Lake is about family and what's really important in life. I love how the book starts and ends with scenes of Sonnet talking to her mom. It's also about second chances and realizing that sometimes what's been right there all along is the right thing. I enjoyed this visit back to Avalon and I hope we have not seen the last of these characters!

I received a complimentary e-copy of Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs from Katie at Little Bird Publicity.

Books in this series:
  1. Summer at Willow Lake             6.  Lakeshore Christmas
  2. The Winter Lodge                        7.  The Summer Hideaway
  3. Dockside                                          8.  Marrying Daisy Bellamy
  4. Snowfall at Willow Lake             9.  Return to Willow Lake
  5. Fireside


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Contest for Josi S. Kilpack's Latest Book!!! (CLOSED)

I love Josi S. Kilpack's Sadie Hoffmiller series and am very excited that the eighth book in the series, Tres Leches Cupcakes, will be released the first week of September.  This is a culinary cozy series featuring the quirky and interesting Sadie. She doesn't fit into your typical investigator role - which is what makes the books so entertaining. And, the recipes included in the books are pretty sweet too! 

Contest Details:  In conjunction with the release of Tres Leches Cupcakes, the author, Josi S. Kilpack, and the publisher, Shadow Mountain, are sponsoring a contest for free books.

To enter, leave a comment in the comment section on this blog before September 16th, 2012. Winners will be announced and notified September 17th 2012. For additional ways to enter, go to

About the book: For Sadie Hoffmiller, going undercover as an informant for the Bureau of Land Management on an archeological site in Santa Fe, New Mexico, seems like the perfect way to stay safe and busy while a threat against her life remains unresolved. Sadie’s days are spent digging up artifacts in the middle of nowhere while also digging up information on her fellow “dirt geeks.” With the help of her baking prowess—no one can resist those amazing dulce de leche bars—and Pete’s cousin, Caro, who takes to the detective work wholeheartedly, Sadie is finding herself again.

But the bright Southwestern sunshine only serves to illuminate the danger that lurks in the shadows. When recent burials are found on an ancient site, Sadie finds herself in the middle of an unexpected—and unwanted—investigation. The more she digs for the truth, the more secrets she uncovers—secrets that people would kill to keep hidden.

Before Sadie knows it, she’s arrested for starting a bar fight (which was totally not her fault), her new friend is missing, and she’s worn out her welcome in Santa Fe in more ways than one. A trip to the annual hot air balloon fiesta in Albuquerque is supposed to give her a break, but before long, she learns that when you’re dealing with the black market antiquity trade, you’re not really safe anywhere you go.

I am so excited for the release of this book!! I have read the entire series of these books, except for Banana Split which I plan on reading very soon and I have  thoroughly enjoyed all of them!! 

Comment below (by September 16th)to enter and be sure to visit Josi's website for the other ways to enter this awesome contest! - CONTEST CLOSED

Good Luck!!!

Books in this series:

Review: On the Run by Iris Johansen (audio)

On the Run by Iris Johansen
Narrated by Jennifer Van Dyke
Random House Audio
Length: 9 hours

From the back of the audio case: #1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen is back with an electrifying new thriller that pits a mother and daughter against a relentless killer who takes no prisoners, accepts no surrender, and leaves his intended victims with no choice but one: to run for their lives...

Wherever you stop, he'll be waiting...

The picture was a warning: they'd found her. For eight years Grace Archer hoped this day wouldn't come - and knew in her heart that it would. She'd taken her daughter, Frankie, to a rural Alabama horse farm that might just as well have been at the end of the earth. But the man out to kill them would gladly follow them that far. And now, it seems, he had.

A woman with a highly classified past, Grace had never run from anything in her life. But as a mother, she'd do anything to keep eight-year-old Frankie safe. Now that safe world has been shattered, and a ferocious hunter has been unleashed. Suddenly the agency that owed Grace its gratitude and protection has abandoned her and only one ally remains: a men even more dangerous than her worst enemy.

My thoughts: While I love Iris Johansen for her Eve Duncan series, I do enjoy her other books and this one was no exception. It is a tale full of passion and suspense and even as an audio, the book moved at a quick pace.

After having lived under the CIA protection on an Alabama horse farm for years, horse trainer Grace Archer suddenly finds her cover is blown. It seems the CIA wants payback and intends to use Grace and her daughter Frankie as bait to capture evil Middle Eastern kingpin Marvot.

Grace isn't just a horse trainer - she is able to communicate with the horses in a way that no one else can, which is why Marvot wants her. She doesn't necessarily call herself a horse whisperer but she is capable of teaching horses to do some pretty marvelous things and Marvot wants Grace to teach his Arabian stallion and mare - known as "the Pair" - to take him into the desert to find hidden treasure. Grace has nowhere to turn except to Jake Kilmer, a former commando and Frankie's father. But, can she trust even him?

The action in this book is non-stop right from the beginning and I loved all the tension between Jake and Grace. My only complaint is the use of the paranormal - and it doesn't even have that big a part in it - I just don't care for it. Luckily, it didn't take away too much from my enjoyment of the book, although this is not the first time I've seen some paranormal use in Iris Johansen's work. I hope it's not a sign of what's to come in all future books. A little here and there I can handle, but if it becomes the main focus of her books, I'm afraid she'll lose a fan.

On the Run is a stand-alone book, however, I would love to read more about these characters. What happens next with Grace and Jake? What about with Frankie or even some of Jake's men, like Donovan? Might Iris Johansen include some or all of these characters in future books? I hope so!

Audio thoughts: It's no big secret that I love anything narrated by Jennifer Van Dyke. I've listened to quite a few books she's done - all by Iris Johansen - and she just has a way of not only creating individual and unique voices for all the characters, but also adding tension to her voice when needed.  I can't wait to see what other audio books I can get that she's narrated!

(I got this audio book from PaperbackSwap.)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blog Tour, Scavenger Hunt & Review: Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller

If you're coming from the blog tour, welcome! Below you'll find the next excerpt of Big Sky Mountain and the link to tomorrow's piece as well. If this is your first stop on the tour, you'll need to start from the beginning to get the whole excerpt. Go here, to see the full list of blog tour stops. 

Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller
July 2012
Format: e-book, 279 pages

First line: A fine sweat broke out between Hutch Carmody's shoulders and his gut warned that he was fixing to stumble straight into the teeth of a screeching buzz saw.

Summary from Goodreads: The "First Lady of the West," #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller, brings you to Parable, Montana-where love awaits.

With his rugged good looks, vast wealth and family name, hell-raiser Hutch Carmody is still the golden boy of Parable, Montana. But he's done some growing up-making peace with his illegitimate half brother and inheriting half of Whisper Creek Ranch, which should have been all his. These days, Hutch knows there are some things money can't buy: like the heart of loving, ladylike divorcée Kendra Shepherd.

Kendra's quiet mansion reminds her of what she wants most-a devoted husband and the pitter-patter of little feet. She can't get Hutch Carmody out of her mind. But a rough-and-tumble cowboy like Hutch, coming home for family dinner? Seems crazy! Then again, crazier dreams have become reality under the vast Montana sky.

My thoughts: This is the second book in Linda Lael Miller's Swoon Worthy Cowboy series and boy-oh-boy does she know how to write about cowboys that make you swoon!!! 

Big Sky Mountain is Hutch and Kendra's story and like Joslyn and Slade in Big Sky Country, Hutch and Kendra have a complicated past. Once a couple way back when, their relationship fell apart and Kendra married another man. With Kendra now divorced and raising her ex-husband's 4 year old daughter Madison, the attraction is back, sparking even hotter than before. Will Hutch and Kendra forgive the mistakes of the past and find love again? Will Hutch be able to love Madison as if she were his own?

Big Sky Mountain is an understated romance between two ordinary people who need to come to terms with their issues and emotional baggage before they can have a healthy relationship. It is a tale about second chance love. I loved Hutch and Kendra's story and I also loved how we get to see the characters from the first book, too. I have to admit that I wasn't much of a fan of Hutch's in the first book - he came across as somewhat of a jerk at times, but there are so many scenes where we really see a vulnerable side of him here in Big Sky Mountain. When Madison starts calling Hutch 'cowboy man' part of me melted. Watching the scenes where he interacts with her are heartwarming and there are many times when Madison herself steals the show! 

I am looking forward to reading the third book in this series, due out early next year. Linda Lael Miller has given some hints as to who the book might feature and I am anxious to read their story!

Scavenger Hunt/Excerpt:
And getting sucked into Hutch’s orbit would be the stupidest thing I could possibly do.”
“Would it?” Joslyn asked, raising one delicate eyebrow as she waited for a reply.
“Of course it would,” Kendra whispered fiercely. “The man broke my heart into a gazillion pieces, remember? And now he’s dumped some poor woman virtually at the altar, which only goes to prove he hasn’t changed!”
“Did it ever occur to you,” Joslyn inquired, unruffled, “that Hutch might have ‘dumped’ Brylee for the simple reason that she’s not you?”
             “No,” Kendra said firmly, shaken by the mere possibility, “that did not occur to me. He did it because he can’t commit to anything or anyone long-term, because Whisper Creek Ranch is all he really cares about in this world—because he’s a heartless, womanizing bastard.”

Tomorrow's stop: Book Binge

I received a complimentary copy of Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller from Kate at Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc.


Review: When First They Met by Debbie Macomber (e-book)

When First They Met by Debbie Macomber
Ballentine Books
June 2012
Format: e-book, 27 pages

First line: I've always been a big football enthusiast.

Synopsis from B&N: Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street and Cedar Cove series have won thousands of fans, thanks to her signature blend of heartfelt romance, delightful humor, and warm wisdom. Now, in this original short story available exclusively as an eBook, Macomber shares a sneak peek into her new series set in Cedar Cove, which features Jo Marie, before she becomes the owner of the beloved Rose Harbor Inn.

From the moment Jo Marie sits next to Paul inside the Seattle Seahawks’ stadium, she feels a spark. Paul’s striking blue eyes and kind smile tell her that he’s someone special—different from any man she’s met before. When they strike up a conversation, Jo Marie and Paul realize how much they have in common, yet there’s one thing keeping them from a fairy-tale ending: Paul is in the military and will ship out of Seattle within the next six weeks. As Jo Marie wonders if she should once again open her heart, she decides that, no matter the stakes, she can’t forgo her chance at true love.

My thoughts: This is the prequel to Debbie Macomber's new series, Rose Harbor Inn. It's a very short story that gives us the background story to the upcoming new series about a small Bed & Breakfast located in Cedar Cove! We are introduced to Jo Marie and her lightning quick relationship with soon-to-be husband Paul. I am looking forward to reading this series and am hoping, as a huge fan of the Cedar Cove series, that we will get updates on those characters we came to know and love. I love the idea of Jo Marie starting a Bed and Breakfast and hope that along with getting to know her and her guests, that we will also be given some good recipes. 

(I purchased this e-book.)

Books in this series:

  0.5   When First They Met
       1.  Inn at Rose Harbor


Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
February 2012
Format: Paperback, 655 pages

First line: Dr. Jonasson was woken by a nurse five minutes before the helicopter was expected to land.

From the back cover: In the concluding volume of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition in a Swedish hospital, a bullet in her head.

But she's fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she'll stand trial for three murders. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist, she'll need to identify those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she'll seek revenge--against the man who tried to killer her and against the corrupt government institutions that nearly destroyed her life.

My thoughts: This is the final book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy and I am totally bummed!!! It is really a shame that Larsson died before writing the ten books he had envisioned for this series. 

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest picks up almost immediately after the events of The Girl Who Played With Fire, and it's hard to say too much more than that without spoiling what happens in that second book.  I will say that the story follows the natural conclusion of the events in the first two books as everything dovetails toward a "behind-closed-door" trial. The first part of this book takes place in the hospital where Lisbeth is recovering and it was quite fascinating reading things from her perspective, then switching to others involved and seeing each of their limited pieces of the evolving puzzle. 

As most of you know, I always tend to read series in order - in fact I'm quite anal about doing that - and in this case, I would say it's almost a must. The characters are so complex and real that an understanding of their background is almost necessary to really get the complete picture and the only way to do that is to start with book 1.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, I am totally bummed that there will not be any more stories about Lisbeth Salander. She is quite a complex, interesting, and even amazing character. I can only hope that the other two books are made into movies here in the United States, with Daniel Craig playing Blomkvist and Rooney Mara playing Salander. I know I will certainly be keeping this series of books on my bookshelf to reread again in the future.

Have you read this series? What are your thoughts on only the first 3 books being written as opposed to Larsson's original plan of 10?

(I purchased this book.)

Books in this series:

     1.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
              * book review
              * audio review 
     3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest 


It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (8.27.12)

It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

How is this the last week of August already? This summer has flown by. For those heading back to school - hope you have a great year!!!

Books Completed last week:

  • A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama (audio review book)
  • Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr (library book)
  • The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber (library book)
  • Where Azaleas Bloom by Sherryl Woods (review book)
  • A Stitch in Crime by Betty Hechtman (library book)
Reading Now: 
  • At the King's Pleasure by Kate Emerson (mine)
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (mine)
  • Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah (library audio book) - in car/house
  • I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (library audio book) - ipod
  • The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson (review book)
  • The Good Woman by Jane Porter (review book)
 Reviews Completed last week:
 Other posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Raising Wild Ginger by Tara Woolpy
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
  • When First They Met by Debbie Macomber
  • On the Run by Iris Johansen 
  • The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe
  • Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller
  • Return to Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs
  • Split Second by Catherine Coulter 
  • A Hundred Flowers by Gail Tsukiyama
  • Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
  • The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
  • Where Azaleas Bloom by Sherryl Woods 
  • A Stitch in Crime by Betty Hechtman
What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (14) 8.26.12

Tynga of Tynga's Reviews is starting a new meme to spotlight the books we receive each week.  Here's what I got: 
The Shoemaker's Wife
by Adriana Trigiani
I got this from the library when it first came out in April, but loved it so much I wanted my own copy. This past week, Adriana was at the local bookstore and so I not only purchased a copy, but had her sign it!!! Have you read this one yet - it's amazing!!!
Very Valentine
by Adriana Trigiani
Another book that I've read but wanted for my collection - plus the 3rd in the series is coming out sometime next year and I really want to reread the first two books. Also got this one signed!
Brava, Valentine
by Adriana Trigiani
This is the second in the Valentine series and I got it signed, too!
From the library:
Winter Garden (audio)
by Kristin Hannah
When I went to the library looking for some new audios, I wasn't sure what I wanted...saw this and realized I had never read it.
A Cup of Friendship (audio)
by Deborah Rodriguezs
I've never heard of this author or the book, but it looks intriguing.
Chasing Fire (audio)
by Nora Roberts
Have been waiting for this to be available - can't wait to start listening to it.

What did you get this week?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Ninepins by Rosy Thornton

Ninepins by Rosy Thornton
Sandstone Press
April 2012
Format: Paperback, 320 pages

First line: Half past two: she was certain she'd said half past two.

From the back cover: Deep in the Cambridgeshire fens, Laura is living alone with her 12-year old daughter Beth, in the old tollhouse known as Ninepins. She's in the habit of renting out the pumphouse, once a fen drainage station, to students, but this year she's been persuaded to take in 17-year-old Willow, a care-leaver with a dubious past, on the recommendation of her social worker, Vince. 

Is Willow dangerous or just vulnerable? It's possible she was once guilty of arson; her mother's hippy life is gradually revealed as something more sinister; and Beth is in trouble at school and out of it. Laura's carefully ordered world seems to be getting out of control. 

With the tension of a thriller, NINEPINS explores the idea of family, and the volatile and changing relationships between mothers and daughters, in a landscape that is beautiful but - as they all discover - perilous.

My thoughts: This is the second book that I've read by Rosy Thornton and I am a fan. Her writing is beautiful and compelling. While Ninepins is a bit darker than The Tapestry of Love, I was caught up in the tale right away and had a hard time putting the book down.

Laura is a single mother who has suddenly found her life to be much more complicated than it was before. She find herself dealing not only with a daughter on the cusp of her teenage years, but also a tenant who is nothing more than a troubled teenager on the cusp of adulthood. As Laura struggles to come to terms with all these changes - mostly those dealing with her daughter, but also at times, those dealing with Willow - she finds herself turning to Vince, Willow's social worker, for help and advice. As you might expect, a relationship develops between Laura and Vince, but what I like about this relationship is that it never takes center stage. 

At it's simplest, this is a book about three women that end up living together. They all have to adapt their attitudes and learn to make adjustments to accommodate the needs of the others. Without giving away anything, there are certain events that occur that cause the tension to be really high at times and this is what gives the book that thriller-like feeling. 

Now having read two of Rosy Thornton's books and liking how different they were from each other, I will definitely be checking out her other books. Have you read anything by her?

Thank you to the author for sending me this book to review - I really enjoyed it!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Review: Angel's Peak by Robyn Carr

Angel's Peak by Robyn Carr
Mira Books
January 2010
Format: Paperback, 373 pages

First line: Once the sun went down in Virgin River there wasn't a whole lot of entertainment for Sean Riordan, unless he wanted to sit by the fire at his brother Luke's house.

From the back coverFour years ago, Air Force sweethearts Franci Duncan and Sean Riordan reached an impasse. She wanted marriage and a family. He didn't. But a chance meeting proves that the bitter breakup hasn't cooled their sizzling chemistry.

Sean has settled down in spite of himself --- he's not the cocky young fighter pilot he was when Franci left, and he wants them to try again. After all, they have a history ... but that's not all they share.

Franci's secret reason for walking away when Sean refused to commit is now three and a half: a redheaded cherub named Rosie who shares her daddy's emerald-green eyes. Sean is stunned --- and furious with Franci for the deception.

News travels fast in Virgin River, and soon the whole town is taking sides. Rebuilding their trust could take a small miracle --- and the kind of love that can move mountains.

My thoughts: This is the 10th book in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series and as I slowly make my way through the series, I find that I love each new book just a little bit more than the previous ones.

Angel's Peak is primarily Sean and Franci's story. Not seeming to want the same things, mainly commitment and children, they part ways after a long period of dating. Now, some three and a half years later, their paths cross and quite clearly the love they shared hasn't abated. While each had moved on with their lives, there is one thing that Franci never mentioned to Sean - she had just found out she was pregnant when they split. Now three and a half, little Rosie is looks just like her daddy and when he sees her for the first time, there is no mistaking who she is. Is Sean able to change his ways and his mindset when it comes to marriage and kids? Will he marry Franci because he loves them or because he thinks it's the right thing to do?

As with all the Virgin River novels, there are multiple plotlines. Not only do we get Franci and Sean's love story, but we get a budding romance for Sean's mother Maureen and a friendship between the 'grandmas' Maureen and Viv. We also get to catch up with honeymooners Luke and Shelby, witness the next step in Noah and Ellie's relationship, visit with 'Shady Brady' and Cheryl, and get the usual appearances from most of the characters from previous books. I particularly enjoyed catching up with Noah and Ellie and, without giving too much away, there is a scene in the book where the love and kindness of the people in Virgin River never cease to amaze me.

There were quite a few moments in Angel's Peak that had me a little teary-eyed, especially the scene I just mentioned. Maybe it's all the love stories involved, but this one just spoke to me and while I have enjoyed all the Virgin River books so far, this one might just be my favorite one! And that little "Wide Iwish Rose" not only stole my heart, but she seems to steal all the scenes that she's part of!

Have you ever read a series where you find that each new book is even better than the previous ones? If so, please share!

(I purchased this book.)

Books in this series:
  1. Virgin River                                   11.  Moonlight Road
  2. Shelter Mountain                         12.  Midnight Confessions
  3. Whispering Rock                          13.  Promise Canyon
  4. A Virgin River Christmas          14.  Wild Man Creek
  5. Second Chance Pass                    15.  Harvest Moon
  6. Temptation Ridge                        16.  Bring Me Home for Christmas
  7. Paradise Valley                             17.  Hidden Summit      
  8. Under the Christmas Tree        18.  Redwood Bend
  9. Forbidden Falls                            19.  Sunrise Point
  10. Angel's Peak                                   20.  My Kind of Christmas - due out Oct 2012   


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
May 2006
Format: Trade Paperback, 630 pages

First line: She lay on her back fastened by leather straps to a narrow bed with a steel frame.

From the back cover: Part blistering espionage thriller, part riveting police procedural, and part piercing exposé on social injustice, The Girl Who Played with Fire is a masterful, endlessly satisfying novel.

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past. 

My thoughts: This is the second in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy and I devoured it! I had read the first book about 2 years ago, and so before finally starting this one, I decided to listen to book 1 just to refresh my memory of what had happened. I am so glad I did, especially since listening to it gave me the correct pronunciations of all the towns/places that come up - and each time I came across a Swedish name that had been in the first book, I kept hearing narrator Simon Vance's voice in my head!

This book is primarily about Salander and her past. It's been about a year since the events of "Dragon Tattoo" and in that time, the friendship between Salandar and Blomkvist has practically dissolved. Salandar travels the world with her new-found wealth and continues her obsession with becoming nearly invisible to the world-at-large. Meanwhile, Blomkvist is working with a couple on a book and articles about the sex-trafficking trade in Sweden. The expose could prove to be explosive and damning to many of those discussed in the trade, but what Blomkvist doesn't know is that all roads will end up leading back to Salandar and an incident that happened to her when she was 12 years old.

When the couple is found murdered, along with another interesting person, Blomkvist works with the police and their initial evidence points straight at Salander. Salander, who uses her hacking skills to find out what Blomkvist has been up to, finds out all that is going on and is able to use her skills to go underground, trying to elude the police. She is able to stay in contact with Blomkvist via her hacking and he works on proving her innocence while trying uncover how she became involved in the first place. She does her own version of sleuthing - all while staying hidden away - her skills never cease to amaze me!

This second installment keeps you on your toes and hooks you from the first page. I found myself glued to the book, just to see what would come up next. I am eager to begin the third book, but am already feeling a huge disappointment that there will not be the original 10 books Larsson had envisioned for this series. I hope the third one doesn't leave us hanging!

 (I purchased this book.)

Books in this series:

     1.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
              * book review
              * audio review 
     2. The Girl Who Played With Fire
     3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
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