Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Visit Stockholm, Sweden and you'll be entranced by cleanliness from the moment you arrive. Brightly-hued flowers mingle with the beauty of Old World brick and stonework while freshly-scrubbed Swedes wind their way to work. Even in this modern metropolis, you cannot but marvel at the effort taken to present such an immaculate, crisp image to the outside world.

But Stieg Larsson knows better.

First published in English a year ago, Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has garnered considerable praise for its deft characterization in service to a high tension mystery/thriller plot. Yet it's not the usual thriller trappings that enthrall readers entirely. This is no banal police procedural or run-of-the-mill locked room mystery (though elements of both figure prominently in the novel). Instead, there is something simply riveting about what Larsson reveals about his native Sweden - things which, I suppose, most Swedes already know, but which Americans could not even begin to fathom.

Calling Larsson's Sweden "seedy" just isn't the right term. Take the image of a 1970s-era Times Square completely out of your mind. Likewise, drop your noir-driven conceptions of cheesy first-person narrative. These are crimes, criminals and environments of an entirely different nature.

The plot is anything but simple, and readers may be initially put off by the complicated Vanger family tree that greets them inside the front cover. For what it's worth, I never needed to refer to the family tree, and I imagine most except the most retentive readers won't have to. Beyond this superfluous map, the novel begins with quite a paradox of reading conditions. I defy anyone to read the prologue and not be immediately captivated by the vague mystery presented. In contrast, the first few chapters past the prologue are enough to drive away all but the most devoted reader. It's an odd pairing, to be sure, but I encourage tenacity - the layers of this mystery may peel back slowly, but the payoff is worth the wait.

I have to say that I tried to read this book for about a week. I'd pick it up when I had 10 minutes at lunchtime and set it down, the next day I'd do the same thing and I just couldn't get into it. Well, I woke up one Saturday and decided it was a good day to read and never set the book down again. It is one big page turner. For a minute it was hard to get into the Swedish names and places, but you get over that quick as the plot thickens. Great book!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Got A New Car

A brand new 2005 Malibu!!

Well, maybe not a new car, but one that's 7 years newer than my last one. The old one was just fine and I really liked it, but it was 11 years old and that was our newest car. So if we needed to travel on short notice we weren't sure we could count on it totally. I hope it finds a good new home. Here's a picture of the new one.

I really like the moon roof, and it has heated seats which will be a nice feature in the winter. The radio has the feature where it tells you what's playing and who sings it - which is nice. Being a Malibu (which is what we traded) you'd think everything would be the same, but the knobs are all different and in different spots. It's a nice car and I look forward to years of reliable service.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wake Up America!

I've been visiting Judy at More Than Sew So lately and she has some startling revelations!! Take a look at what she has to say in her 'What Would You Say' post dated the 23rd of this month. It's time for us to wake up!! What do you think?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Narrows by Michael Connelly

FBI agent Rachel Walling finally gets the call she's dreaded for years: the one that tells her the Poet has returned. Years earlier she worked on the famous case tracking down the serial killer who wove lines of poetry into his hideous crimes. Rachel has never forgotten the killer who called himself the Poet — and apparently he has not forgotten her.

Harry Bosch gets a call, too. The former LAPD detective hears from an old friend whose husband recently died. The death appeared natural, but this man's ties to the hunt for the Poet make Harry dig deep — and lead him into a terrifying and unknown world.

So begins the most deeply compelling, frightening, and masterful novel Michael Connelly has ever written. The Narrows places Harry Bosch in league with Rachel Walling, at odds with the FBI, and squarely in the path of the most ruthless and ingenious murderer in Los Angeles's history. What follows is a taut and tantalizing mystery that has Harry Bosch racing from the hostile vistas of the Nevada desert to the glittering Las Vegas Strip to the dark corners of Los Angeles.

Through it all, Bosch works at his newfound life as father to a young daughter, balancing the deepest love he has ever felt with his own sense of mission and his deep awareness of evil.

A lot of twists and turns keep you reading to see what's next. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a murder mystery. Good read.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The One

I just read an interesting post at More Than Sew So. It's a synopsis of what's going on in our country. Take a look and see what you think.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkins for 2009

We carved a few pumpkins this weekend. Mine is the scary one. Did you know pumpkins eat their young? lol

My daughter did this cute cat one. The little one next to it was grown in our backyard and was very small.

This was the smallest one that we grew. Next year I hope to plant 'giant pumpkins'. We planted these very late in the season and only got three pumpkins - these smallest two being the smaller of the three. Peanut took one home with her. Did her mommy and daddy help her carve it? We'll have to wait and see.

So everyone get your pumpkins posted. I want to see lots of them.

Cleaning up the Camera

Yep, just like it says. My camera had a bunch of pictures that I needed to get posted. Most recently we camped out and had a 'trick or treat' at the campground. Little Peanut is going to be a 'cow' this year.

In the recent past we had a lot of company in town from TX, CA and IN. I have a picture on the wall of these three cousins taken at Jen's graduation (the one on the left)and made them all line up the same again for this picture. Their hair dos aren't nearly as 'high' lol.

I wanted to grab a video off my son's facebook of Muffin standing, but I haven't figured it out yet. Okay, I wasn't able to figure that out, but I did snag this cute picture of Muffin in her duck costume.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kill For Me by Karen Rose

Six teenage girls have been kidnapped. Five have been murdered. One survived. Only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence.

Susannah Vartanian and Luke Papadopoulos have both sworn to stop the murderers for their own personal reasons. The investigation will lead them to the shady realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask their identity. They soon discover a chain of deception so intricate they don't know who to trust. Finding comfort in each other's arms, they begin to unravel the intricately knotted threads, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and won't hesitate to take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact. When Susannah discovers an unexpected link to the girl she is trying to save, her life is soon in danger and Luke will do everything he can to save the woman he loves.

This was a dark, suspense filled novel that kept you at the edge of your seat. In the beginning I had a hard time starting because it was SO sinister and dark dealing with the scum of the earth. Once I got past the evil beginning I could see that it was people doing their very best to overcome and turn around the evil situation. If you have any history of violence in your past you probably shouldn't read this book. It might be too painful. Otherwise, it was a very good read.

Friday, October 16, 2009


With all these post of book reviews it looks like I'm doing a lot of reading. Actually I did all the reading in August when we went to the UP for a couple of weeks. I just positioned all the book reviews with a little time between them not knowing that I wouldn't get the time to do a regular post in between. Ah, the best laid plans lol.

Last weekend we went to Pymatuning Lake which is on the border between northern Ohio and PA. It was a beautiful weekend. There were two festivals going on in different local areas. We went to the Pumpkin Festival on Saturday at Conneaut Lake. They have a large amusement park on the lake, a midway with carnival rides and games, a band stand that had a dj and a perfectly sunny day. I reminded me a lot of when I was a teenager and went to Walled Lake Amusement Park or Edgewood Amusement Park. Just a great laid back kind of day.

Sunday we went to the Covered Bridge Festival in Ashtabula County. At the fairgrounds they had all the carnival rides and games again and in the animal barns they had crafts for sale. I love going through that kind of thing and usually don't make the time to do it. We bought a really cool 'tin man' made out of tin cans.

When we left the fairgrounds we went on a 67 mile tour of the countryside viewing 11 covered bridges. At most of the bridge sites they had little festivals going on selling hot dogs or chili, stuff like that to raise funds for different charities.

I didn't note which bridge is the top one, but you can see some of the color that I think was peak. The color was just amazing. This second bridge is the Root Road Covered Bridge. It's 114 ft town lattice built in 1868. Root Road crosses the Ashtabula River. The bridge was raised 18 inches during the rehabilitation in 1982-83 and new laminated girders and a center concrete pier were added.

While downloading these pictures I found a couple of my girls. The first is of Muffin in August or September. Does she not have the bluest eyes? She is always so interested or concerned looking. Just puts a smile on your face.

One weekend in September we watched Peanut for an evening. We took her to a local restaurant that has a mini train running around the top - she loved it. Then we went to the Mill Pond and watched the ducks. She wore herself out running on the boardwalk and feeding the ducks. Her and Papa finally sat down for a few seconds to just watch them.

That kind of brings things up to date, in a way, we had a lot of family in town last week from TX, CA and IN. Like I said, it's been busy. Get to see my girls this weekend as we go camping at a local park for their Halloween trick or treat event. I'm sure it'll be lots of fun.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark

Bestseller Clark is at her best when writing of crime against children, as shown in this chilling tale of kidnapping, murder and telepathy. Before leaving for a black-tie affair in New York City, Margaret and Steve Frawley celebrate the third birthday of their twin girls, Kathy and Kelly, with a party at their new home in Ridgefield, Conn. Later that night, when Margaret can't reach the babysitter ...
More, she contacts the Ridgefield police. The frantic couple return home to find the children missing and a ransom note demanding $8 million. Though the Frawleys meet all the conditions, only Kelly turns up in a car along with a dead driver and a suicide note saying that Kathy has died. But Kelly's telepathic messages from her sister keep telling her differently, and Margaret won't give up hope. Even the most skeptical law enforcement officers and the FBI, who pursue suspects from New York to Cape Cod, begin to believe Kelly is on to something. Clues from ordinary people lead to a riveting conclusion.

This book grabbed me in the first chapter and kept me reading. It was interesting how the mind works with the kidnapper and her desire to have a child. And for the twin Kelly and her 'twin connection' to still connect with her sister. Questions that we all still have about twins and the things that connect them. Very good read.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer

Inside the desperate world of TV ratings, an investigative reporter discovers that a serial killer is targeting women named Susan and killing one on the same day each year.

Television reporter Riley Spartz is recovering from a heart-breaking, headline-making catastrophe of her own when a longtime police source drops two old homicide files in her lap in the back of a dark movie theater. Both cold cases involve women named Susan strangled on the same day, one year apart. Last seen alive in one of Minneapolis's poorest neighborhoods, their bodies are each dumped in one of the city's wealthiest areas. Riley senses a pattern between those murders and others pulled from a computer database of old death records. Now the deadly anniversary is approaching.

But not just lives are at stake—so are careers.

November is television sweeps month, and every rating point counts. Riley must go up against a news director who cares more about dead dogs than dead women, a politician who fears negative stories about serial killers will hurt the city's convention business, and the very real possibility that her source knows more about the murders than he is letting on.

When Riley suspects the killer has moved personal items from one victim to the next as part of an elaborate ritual, she stages a bold on-air stunt to draw him out and uncovers a motive that will leave readers breathless.

This book was a real page turner and a quick read. Right from the start I couldn't set it down. If you love suspense you'll like this book.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Top Ecard Droppers for September

Thanks for all the visits by the Ten Top Droppers for September. I know it's not always easy so I really appreciate it.

Harmony in Motion 27
Mother By Design 18
Cooking Japanese Style 18
Rambling Unsettled Vagabond 15
One Blog & Two Sides 14
The Sewing Mom 13
Crazy Mom With 4 Boys 13
Allotments 4 You 10
Yarn Hall 10
Luv A Bargain 10

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cinderella Giveaway

I was just doing my daily stop at Harmony in Motion and saw this great giveaway. She's giving away the Platinum Edition, 2-Disc Special Edition DVD of Cinderella to one lucky USA reader! So head on over and let her know you want to be a winner.