Monday, July 12, 2010

Review for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" by Steig Larson

We all have one. A family...the uncle who drinks too much at family reunions, the aunt that calls you cute and pinches your cheeks even when you're 22 years old, the cousin who got into trouble with the IRS, the selfish brother and the never-present father....the list is endless and different for each of us. But think darker.....think corruption, think kidnapping, think murder, think..... the horrifyingly unthinkable. Only then will you have a snapshot of some members of the Vangar family.

Mikael Blomkvist is a financial reporter, a crusading journalist who's out to get the bad guys in the gritty business world. But as the novel begins, he has just been convicted of libel against a wealthy businessman, Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. There is much more to this theme of corruption than meets the eye. Under the pretext of writing a history of the Vangar family, Mikael is enticed by Henrik Vangar, an elderly and very wealthy CEO of the Vangar Corporation, to find his beloved neice, Harriet, who disappeared 40 years ago on their secluded island. But there is much more to the Vangar family than meets the eye. A missing girl, an unsolved mystery, brutal murders...they are all connected somehow and Mikael needs help to prove it. Who better for this job than Lisbeth Salander, the tatoo-wearing, multi-pierced genius hacker who possesses a photographic memory. There is much more to Lisbeth Salander than meets the eye.

I was on the edge of my seat with this book. It is filled with many twists along the way and the story is layered with more than one mystery to be solved. The author jumps quickly between scenes and builds the mystery and suspense wonderfully. It has mature themes that sometimes are hard to read, but belong in the story. Things happen to characters, especially Lisbeth, that make you want to cringe, but are all important in the making of each character, making them flawed and hence, more believable. Mikael and Salander, this unlikely duo, not only unveil terrifying events, but they also discover a deeper connection between them that surprises and unsettles them both. This book has something for everyone....corporate corruption, serial murders, twisted families, misogeny, the publishing business, Swedish history, sex, adultery....all of it woven expertly together in an intriguing tale. It is safe to say that I will be reading the next installment in this Millennium trilogy. I am hooked.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Review for "Tully" by Paullina Simons

Tully Makker is a survivor. She survives her father's abandonment at the age of 7. She survives her uncle's "attentions" at the age of 12. She survives her mother's abusive hands throughout her childhood and adolescence. Her best friend's betrayal in her senior year of high school is the hardest for Tully to survive. She survives....but not without scars....scars on her wrists, scars that haunt her in her sleep, scars upon her heart. There are those who try to help Tully throughout her life. There's Robin, a good man who loves her unconditionally with all of her scars. A man who asks nothing of her, who endures her silence and betrayal, and still loves her with every ounce of his being. There's Julie, one of her best friends from childhood. Yet she too is trying to come to terms with her own life and her own mistakes and regrets. And there's Jack, the man who open's Tully's eyes and her heart, who makes her face her grief, a grief he too shares.

Undeniably, "Tully" is a story of survival and self-discovery. It's about a friendship so strong that it endures even beyond death. It is about a love so strong that it endures through months of absence and years of dreaming. What makes the character Tully so real is that she is far from perfect. She makes mistakes, big ones, mistakes that made me say "What the hell are you doing?" I disagreed with many of her choices, so much so that I wanted to shake some sense into her. But always throughout the story, I wanted Tully to take that step, to take off the armour, trust someone, let them in, let them help her unburden herself from all of the grief she carried around. I wanted her to see that her life was good....if she would only live it for herself.

Paullina Simons has fast become one of my favourite authors. She makes me adore her characters....fall in love with them...cheer for them...cry for them....mourn for them. She makes me find it within my heart to forgive them their sins...even when I wouldn't forgive myself the same sin. I cried a lot in this book, for the author has left the door open for me to examine my own life decisions, to ask the "what if" questions, to examine the skeletons in my closet. Sure, I have many regrets, and yes, my life could have been different. But like Tully.....I have survived.
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