I won't lie. I'm totally buying into the hype that is Stieg Larsson. After absolutely loving both the book and film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I wanted to read the second book in the series before seeing its film counterpart.
Yet again Larsson has given readers an action-packed adventure. Picking up right after the first book concludes, we learn that Lisbeth Salander is taking full advantage of the money she swindled and is traveling the world. When she returns, she finds herself the suspect of a double murder. To make matters worse, a group of men are out to make sure she does not survive the investigation.
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is back as well, and he will do everything in his power to clear Salander's name. Of course, it puts his own life in jeopardy.
I really thought this book was as enjoyable as the first, though the beginning did start off rather slow. Once Salander found herself on the run, I couldn't stop turning the pages. And now I have to see the film and read the third book. I can't wait, which is why I give this book a very strong four out of five manhunts.
#34: Blockade Billy - Stephen King (2010, 132 pages)
Stephen King has been on a short story bender of late - well, not including Under the Dome. But, like Just After Sunset, King gives us a short story collection to enjoy. Blockade Billy features two stories, the first shares the name with the title, while the second is a tale called "Morality."
"Blockade Billy" follows the brief, yet-cleared-from-history tale of Billy Blakely, a catcher for the New Jersey Titans during the summer of 1957. Blakely is the best catcher the team has ever seen, but his secret destroys the team. What I loved best about this story was the narrative, which was told from the perspective of the team's manager in present day. King writes as though the manager were spinning the yarn to him, which gives it a folksy vibe.
"Morality" shows just how far some people will go for the almighty dollar. When a young wife is asked to undertake a sin by a priest who is nearing death, she does so thinking it will help save her family from their money woes. But what she receives in return shows just how far in over her head she became.
I thought this book was okay. The stories weren't horrible, but neither really wowed me. The first probably would have, had I cared more about baseball. The second just seemed rather...well, almost predictable, though I will say that the sin is pretty original. I will keep the book on my shelves, as I collect first-edition copies of King's books, but I probably won't read it again any time soon, which is why I give it a rather blah two out of five outs.
#35: Tomb with a View - Casey Daniels (2010, 292 pages)
The Pepper Martin series continues with the sixth novel, Tomb with a View.
After her boyfriend walks out on her when she confides about her ability to see ghosts, Pepper is angry. So she doesn't have time to assist the cemetery's resident James A. Garfield specialist prepare for the anniversary of the President's death.
And why she doesn't care to help work with the woman, Pepper cannot help but get involved when the woman is found murdered in President Garfield's tomb. Of course, that brings her ex back into the picture, and between him and the ghost of President Garfield, they're enough to nearly drive Pepper nuts.
I really enjoy the Pepper Martin series, and while this isn't the greatest book in the series, it's not the worst. I found myself relating more with Pepper in this book than in others, especially when dealing with her coworker, who is hateful enough to make you want to tear your hair out. I found the plot to be unique, and the story was fun. I have to give this a pretty good three out of five mystical mysteries.
#36: Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, vol. 2 - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1986, 737 pages)
I'm sad now. I've officially read every Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. No more new Holmes for this girl. :(
But, just because I'm sad that the stories are no longer new to me, I am really happy that I set my summer goal to read all of the Holmes' mysteries. And this book contained some of the big ones like "The Hound of the Baskervilles," which actually kicked off the book.
Just as with the first volume of Sherlock Holmes novels and stories, this volume kept me hooked from start to finish. Holmes is a fantastic mind, and I again tried to see if I could see where Doyle would take the master sleuth. I also enjoyed that, in a few cases, we got to see the mysteries from Holmes' point of view, as Dr. Watson was not around for them. I loved the changed perspective, and it only deepened my love for that amazing character.
I am such a Holmes geek. I'm now looking forward to see where other authors have taken him. But Doyle certainly is the master, which is why I give this collection a superb five out of five conundrums.
#37: Scott Pilgrim, vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life - Bryan Lee O'Malley (2004, 168 pages)
Scott Pilgrim is your average loser. He's 23, sharIes a bed with his gay roommate, doesn't have a job and is dating a high school girl.
But then Ramona Flowers walks into the picture, and his life is forever changed.
Even before meeting her, Ramona is rollerblading through his dreams. Then, once he does meet her, he worms his way into her life and talks her into dating him. But it's then that he learns that Ramona has seven evil exes, all of whom Scott must defeat before he can successfully date her.
Ever since I saw the preview for the film this past spring, I've been wanting to read the books. Luckily, it's a very quick read, and even if you're not the biggest fan of graphic novels, this is a fun book to pick up and peruse. I enjoyed seeing the hole Scott dug himself into, to the point that I can't wait to read the next one, which is why I give this a fun four out of five exes of doom.
Total Books Read: 32 / 50 (74 percent)
Total Pages Read: 14,382 / 15,000 (96 percent) - Woo! Nearly there! :D