The Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has all five stories in one (plus an extra short). Starting with the classic "Hitchhiker's Guide to the GThe Ultimate Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy has all five stories in one (plus an extra short). Starting with the classic "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", then moving on to "The Restaurant At The End of the Universe", then to "Life, the Universe and Everything", "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish", the short "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe", and finally "Mostly Harmless." I enjoyed all of these books to varying degrees, but there is definitely enough humour in here to entertain anyone.
My favorite is the original, ,"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Fast moving, it follows Arthur Dent, a human who is trying to get his house to not be knocked down, only to discover that the Earth is going to be destroyed so the house really doesn't matter. With his friend, they escape narrowly in time and start traveling the Galaxy, leaping from one wild adventure to another. From Zaphod, the President who is more renegade than public leader, Ford Prefect, a writer for the Hitchhiker's Guide, and Trillian, another human caught up in the space adventure, there are plenty of beings to keep the book moving.
For the rest of the books within this gigantic compilation, Arthur goes on many more adventures, as does his companions. I can't say I cared for the adventures quite as much, although they certainly had gems of humor in them and weren't terrible to read by any stretch of the imagination. You just tend to lose connection with some of the characters at times (except for Marvin, he is always consistent). I will say that I enjoyed So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish quite a bit as well. I liked Arthur's girlfriend and their discoveries while on Earth and with each other. I was sad that that particular part of the story was so short.
Overall the books followed a great theme. Traversing space with a book and a trusty towel and trying to survive. There were antagonists, sure, but they weren't the main focus of the book(s). The book was more about the journey. The style of writing is pretty clear, although very detailed. It definitely has some satire and there are other types of humor hidden all over. I can't say that I understood every joke, but that may be because a lot were in reference to politics in other countries. I did understand enough to be amused though.
A very interesting series of books. You don't have to be a science fiction lover to appreciate these works by Douglas Adams.
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Copyright 1992 815 pages
From the Gears, to Auel, there is a lot of historical fiction out there. But it's an enjoyable genre. So much so that I was compelled to start readingFrom the Gears, to Auel, there is a lot of historical fiction out there. But it's an enjoyable genre. So much so that I was compelled to start reading this trilogy, the Iron Carver Trilogy by Sue Harrison. This is the first book in the series, Mother Earth, Father Sky, and it is followed by My Sister the Moon and Brother Wind.
Chagak is living a pretty normal life for her people. As an adult, she will soon be married and is eagerly awaiting the prospect of a family of her own. But one day, returning to her village, she finds it being destroyed by warriors from another tribe. The lone survivor aside from her baby brother, she sets off for a different island with him in tow and manages to find an island inhabited only by a lone Shaman who allows her to stay. But she's not the only one who finds the island and she has to learn to deal with the prospect of becoming a wife to the man who killed her family.
Chagak is a very strong character. So strong sometimes that she doesn't' seem real. But it was a different life and just because I can't fathom a reality like that, doesn't mean it couldn't happen. And she has so many trouble that you really empathize with her and want the best for her. I also liked the Shaman, he was very fatherly and helpful and just made you feel good about humanity. That being said, he had his own troubles and could only do so much for Chagak. Of course the bad guys were bad with few redeeming qualities and I thought that was a little bit of flat writing. I like my antagonists with a little depth to them, but it's not an easy thing to do.
The plot was fairly simple. Girl's village gets destroyed, girl goes out on her own, girl has to overcome overwhelming obstacles in a land where women aren't considered equals. The history of humanity in the region. But it's written cleverly enough that you get enveloped into the story and want to know what happens to Chagak. If she can overcome all the odds and survive. And if that survival will be happy. There are a lot of tough scenes in it too, from rape to murder to other things. Like most prehistoric fiction, it isn't for the squeamish.
An interesting start to the series. It made me want to read the next one, that's for sure!
Confessions of a Key West Cabby; there has got to be some great stories in this one! Well, sort of. In fact, there really wasn't anything that excitinConfessions of a Key West Cabby; there has got to be some great stories in this one! Well, sort of. In fact, there really wasn't anything that exciting or notable in these quick vignettes from Michael Suib. Sure, they were charming, but not all were relevant and the ones that really engaged me were far and few between.
Michael Suib, disenchanted with his life as a businessman, packs up and moves south with his wife to Key West. Among many odd jobs, he takes a job driving a cab in Key West. It's through this job that he encounters all sorts of characters, both locals and tourists. He gathers his stories into a few different sections such as "Love" (guess what these stories are about?), "Southernmost Homeless" (about the key's inhabitants who don't have a roof over their head), and others.
Suib definitely encounters some characters. Or at least, he describes them as such. I found the tourists to be some of the brashest. The homeless residents seemed to be like homeless people everywhere, and didn't have any defining characteristics that made them stand out or of note above the sad state that they are in. The tourists on the other hand could be quite horrible. And they definitely follow the rule that people act worse away from home. Luckily Suib had a no-nonsense approach to offensive customers and promptly would eject them from his cab.
The little stories were entertaining, and easy to read in small bits. But most of them weren't that interesting and I found myself questioning why they were in there. Some I didn't even really understand. Such as the lady who was looking for a decent meal for her nephew/grandson/whatever he was. Maybe I missed something but I didn't understand that story at all. Others were good, such as the offensive or racist people that he removed from his cab. It gave you a sense of justice.
Just ok, nothing special. I really don't feel like I know Key West any better. These stories could have happened at any tourist destination and weren't unique to the locale.
Confessions of a Key West Cabby Copyright 2003 197 pages
So I made the mistake of not realizing this was the 9th book in a series. I don't blame myself too much. There was nothing on the cover to indicate itSo I made the mistake of not realizing this was the 9th book in a series. I don't blame myself too much. There was nothing on the cover to indicate it and I just picked it up in the free box at a local bookstore (which should have told me something). I like cozy mysteries, but this one just didn't have authentic characters or believable dialogue.
Clare Cosi is the manager of a coffee shop and it's more than work, at this point it is her life. She has a grown daughter, a detective boyfriend, and a coffee buyer ex-husband who she is still on friendly terms with. When she and her ex-mother in law go to visit a friend to pick up some machinery, they don't expect to get caught in a blast and subsequent fire when his coffee shop goes up in flames. And Clare doesn't think that it's an accident, she thinks its arson. Especially when other fires start breaking out and she finds herself in the middle of the mystery.
None of the characters in this had authentic voices. Maybe it's because I haven't read the others, but calling your ex-mother in law "Madame" (and every other character calling her that too, was just plain weird to me. Then you have the chief firefighter using a bazillion cliches as well and it just seems unbelievable. And that's how a lot of the conversations went in the first half of the book. Thankfully it seemed to tone out a bit as the book went on and the dialogue sounded how people actually talk in real life. Although he didn't stop hitting on her despite being told to leave her alone, not really a great guy. Add in a somewhat controlling boyfriend (although the author is careful to point out that Clare is not apologizing while she's explaining herself) and I can't say I liked any of the main males in this book. Clare herself is hard to keep up with as she's very sporadic in her actions.
There were a lot of different mysteries going on in this book. Like the story of the feud between her boyfriend and the fire chief (convoluted beyond what was necessary and no good reason for not sharing the whole truth). The arsons, the deaths, and a few other things as well. And it wasn't a simple story either. In fact, too much going on and too many players in the game. Maybe that reflects real life, but it seemed too coincidental to me. And some of the clues that were really pertinent weren't given until the last few pages so you couldn't really try to solve the mystery ahead of time, which may disappoint some people. I did enjoy all the descriptions of food in the book though, and appreciated that there were recipes at the end of the book. To me, that's the best part of the book. Can never go wrong with tasty food.
Not for me. I can't say I'll be looking up any others in the series anytime soon.
I'd have to say, that out of the three books in this series, I found this one the strongest. It had plenty of plot twists, the best pacing out of allI'd have to say, that out of the three books in this series, I found this one the strongest. It had plenty of plot twists, the best pacing out of all of them, and complex characters. And being that it's a trilogy you definitely have to at least read the second book before this one (the first has its own storyline and isn't quite as important). And that being said, I will be including details from the 2nd book in this review, so if you haven't read it, you're about to find out key plot elements if you continue reading.
Lisbeth is in the hospital after being shot in the head and buried alive by her father and brother. Because she is wanted by the police, she has to remain there even as her health slowly improves because one she leaves, she'll be transferred to prison. While she heals, Mikael, her journalist friend, is searching desperately for all the key evidence that will prove her innocence, and gearing up for a big expose of his own in which several key government officials will have much to worry about. The problem is that there's someone trying to shut him down before he can destroy an organization that has long been hidden in the shadows.
Lisbeth was more likable this time around. She's still strange, but she shows a little more humanity in this book and it makes you start to sympathize with her even more. She also does what she wants though, and is very independent. Mikael I liked at about the same level, which is to say not much at all. I find him too "perfect" and his ease of getting women into bed unbelievable. It kind of detracts from the story honestly (not the sex scenes, just the fact that he's in them). Yes he is a good guy, just not one that I like very much. Erica featured a little more in this story, and I was glad to have more information on her, because I find her character interesting, albeit a little strange.
The pacing was much better in this book. Sure there's still more detail than you really need, but its more condensed and the story moves along at a moderate pace. It wasn't as hard to drag yourself through the first half of the book (like you had to with the others). I also liked that it tied up the loose ends, yet was still exciting and had you at the edge of your seat for most of it. I found myself getting frustrated with the bad guys, which is a good emotion to have when you're reading a book, it means it's written well.
This was definitely a strong conclusion and my favorite book out of the three. If you haven't tried this series and like suspenseful books with maybe just a tad too much detail, this is definitely one to check out.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Copyright 2007 658 pages
I've become a fan of this series since reading them. Which is why it pains me to give this book only three stars. But if I'm being honest, I was utterI've become a fan of this series since reading them. Which is why it pains me to give this book only three stars. But if I'm being honest, I was utterly bored for the first half of this book. Which is exactly the same way I felt about the first book as well. And as good as the 2nd half is, well, if only half a book is riveting...
This book is the second in a trilogy, however, I do think it could be read independently of the first book. They are completely different storylines and you wouldn't lose much detail. However, the third book you have to read after this one, and it could not be read before. Lisbeth is in trouble. Despite her being socially off, she did not commit some murders that the police are pinning on her. Even though all the evidence points to her. She has to evade the police while trying to figure out what happened and only has a few friends she can count on. Namely a journalist who she had helped in the past but decided to cut ties with, and her old employer. The truth is out there, but Lisbeth has a lot of odds stacked against her and a ton of people looking for her.
Lisbeth is an odd character. She certainly isn't likable, but because of all the injustices against her you can't help but root for her. She's also incredibly smart, so much so that things that are difficult for most come easy to her. And it's why she can survive when it seems like everyone is out to get her. Mikael, the reporter, I find too much of a ladies man. His relationships never seem authentic. And while he's a kind person, he just doesn't hold a lot of appeal to me. It was the side characters that really made the story this time. Great officers, both good and bad, with detailed personalities. It was like you were interacting with real people. And the characters are where the strength of this book is. Without them, it would simply be an action story.
The level of detail in this book is astounding. And I think that is what made the first half of the book so slow and hard to get through. I really didn't care about every single piece of furniture that Lisbeth bought for her apartment, down to the exact name from Ikea. Or what precise shade of clothing everyone was wearing. I just wanted it to get to the dialogue and the story. Sometimes too much of a good thing makes it bad. But that being said, the second half of the book was exceptionally engaging. I couldn't put it down and stayed up way too late on a work night to find out what happened. Only to have a surprise at the end that made me want to immediately start the next book in the series. Larsson definitely redeemed himself and kept me wanting more.
Slow to start but a powerful finish, if you liked the first book or any books about intrigues, this is probably going to be a hit.
The Girl Who Played With Fire Copyright 2006 724 pages
Disclaimer/Spoiler Alert: Ok, so I'm not really giving away the story, but my thoughts on some of the characters could give some clues away. You haveDisclaimer/Spoiler Alert: Ok, so I'm not really giving away the story, but my thoughts on some of the characters could give some clues away. You have been warned.
Ok, so in a way this book was almost wildly predictable, but then the author throws a curve that really didn't have any clues leading up to it, probably just to make sure noone could solve the mystery. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Death by Cashmere is the first book in the Seaside Knitters series, which means that even after this book, there will be more mysteries to solve.
Izzy, after quitting her job as a lawyer, settles down on the coast to open a knitting shop in her hometown. Of course this shop is visited by a myriad of characters who are also friends and when the young woman who lives above the shop is murdered, they speculate on the cause and questions while purling and dropping stitches. But a lot of people are suspect and there's something not quite right about a few of the citizens in the town. While it's the police's job, the knitters can't help but get in the middle of things.
This book is not about Izzy. I would have suspected it to be, but the main character view is from her aunt Nell. Nell is the one who can't let things be and is investigating heavily. And because she has the time and connections it seems like this is the most appropriate for her. There are a lot of "dark" characters in this book and I can't help but think that one was purposely setup to look terrible when they really shouldn't have been. It was just a ruse to throw off the reader (unfairly) and I think it came across as kind of a cheap shot. My favorite character was probably Birdie because she just seems like that busybody everyone knows and loves anyway. She put a little life in the group.
The greatest descriptions in this book were of the food, not the knitting surprisingly. While the yarns were described in glorious detail, the food made me drool and sad that there was only a knitting pattern at the back of the book and not a gathering of recipes mentioned. I really want that recipe for pineapple fritters. Knitting jargon was used but it took a backseat to the mystery. And since this is classified as a cozy mystery, that didn't really bother me. What did bother me, and as I've said before, was that in general you had a lot of clues in this book, and then the author throws a wildcard that wasn't really in character or believable. In retrospect I can see where there might have been a few clues, but it still wasn't fitting to the story and how the characters were presented. And I'll keep repeating that fact until the rest of you believe it. I just was left dissatisfied with the way it was handled.
I certainly am interested in reading the next book in the series, but it won't be one I rush out to get. There are a lot of cozy mysterious out there of varying qualities and they are nice quick reads that don't demand immediate attention. This one fits into the middle of the spectrum.
Moran can certainly write an engaging story. A story involving Queen Lakshmi, who I'd never even heard of before, opened me up to a side of history thMoran can certainly write an engaging story. A story involving Queen Lakshmi, who I'd never even heard of before, opened me up to a side of history that I'm very much interested in. And looking forward to finding more books about.
Sati is the elder daughter of a deaf father and a mother who died in childbirth. With just her little sister for company and an abusive grandmother to hound her, she is saved from a brothel to be trained by her father and a neighbor for a spot in the Queen's guard. Positions come open rarely and she trains for year before being accepted in and finding a whole new arena in which she must do battle. And with the British slowly taking over the different kingdoms of India, politics are just as dangerous as they ever have been.
Sati is not a very strong character. Well, in some ways. She certainly trains well and does what she is told, but I never really feel like she ever stands up for herself in this novel. Yes, traditions and the culture don't let her do a lot of things. But with her intelligence and skills she should have been a little more capable of doing things for herself. Regardless, she still is an interesting character to read about and you can sympathize with her. Queen Lakshmi herself we only see a little of, and I was intrigued, but I was also surprised by how "bound" her character was by her station in life. Again, that might just be the constraints of culture though.
The book's premise was a good one. Few people (and I'm including myself) have ever heard of an all female guard in India, let alone one in previous history. I thought that this story was a good way of explaining how it worked and all some of the other practices in India. I don't know how historically accurate it is, since I've never studied it before, but I'm guessing it's pretty close and it seemed to be well thought out. There is some violence in the novel, but not overly much. And there is mention of brothel and rape. There's actually some sad, anger-inducing scenes involving that actually. But for as angry as it made me, I realized that it was probably an accurate reflection of history.
A very interesting book and engaging read. For a little big on Laskmi's guard, this is one to dig into.
**This book was received as an advanced reviewer's copy**
Wow, this is quite the tome! It's always a constant surprise to me when I meet someone who hasn't heard of Tecumseh. Being raised in Ohio, it was a naWow, this is quite the tome! It's always a constant surprise to me when I meet someone who hasn't heard of Tecumseh. Being raised in Ohio, it was a name we learned early on in history (there was even a wonderful outdoor theatre program about him in Chillicothe). Because his is a tale that comes from the other side of history, it's one that should be told, and this book goes above and beyond to bring the research for it.
Tecumseh was born under auspicious signs. It was clear that from birth he would be a great leader. Showing an aptitude for strategy and diplomacy from an early age, he rose through the ranks of the Shawnee quickly and was instrumental in joining the different tribes together to oppose the encroachment of the European/American settlers in Native American land.
This is historical fiction. So while it is about real people, I can't say that everything in here happened as the author described it. He of course took liberties with the characters personalities and conversation. Was Tecumseh really so noble in all of his thoughts and actions? We assume so because his history is documented and we have some of his letters. But everyone has their flaws. That being said the way he was presented here was very much positive and probably very close to the truth. The information presented about his family was new to me. I never realized what important roles they possessed in their community as well and how much support that he had in his endeavors.
This is a long book. The book itself over a thousand pages, and the actual story over eight hundred. It is so long because of all the footnotes and bibliography included at the end. So you can tell that the author did some research before writing this biography. Because the book is so big it moves at a very slow pace. After awhile I found myself skimming as I didn't care about all the little military nuances and battle plans that were being described. A history or military buff would probably be very interested in those sections though. I preferred the conversations and descriptions of the land, of which there were plenty of chapters about too.
Lots of information about a remarkable man. If you've ever been curious about the history of Tecumseh, I'd say this is a good place to start.
I started out reading this book thinking I wasn't going to like it. Crime books and thrillers are not my normal sort of genre, and then add in the facI started out reading this book thinking I wasn't going to like it. Crime books and thrillers are not my normal sort of genre, and then add in the fact that it started out very slowly, and well, I was almost a goner. But gradually the book became more interesting and the more I read it, the more I wanted to read it.
Mikael Blomkvist is a report who has just gotten himself into some trouble. Having lost a court case where he was charged with libel, he has to exit from his magazine to save it from going down the tubes, serve a few months in jail, and figure out how to get back at the guy who sent his career plummeting. So when he is offered a job working for an eccentric older business man to find out what happened to a member of his family, it seems like a no brainer. That is until dark things start happening as he is investigating. That and the appearance of a strange girl who can do things with a computer and get information that a reporter could only hope to get ahold of.
Mikael was a decent character. A little too perfect. Very forgiving, all the ladies loved him, so on and so forth. He didn't have any bad habits or personality quirks that I could see, and that made him a bit unbelievable. Even in a fiction novel I like my characters to have some flaws. That being said, his alternate, Lisbeth, had plenty of flaws even though she is "freakishly" intelligent and good at investigating. She too was a little too powerful at times and it really seemed quite unfair to the antagonists to have to go up against these two. But they were entertaining and you can't help but root for Lisbeth when she's righting wrongs. Mikael was more passive and because of that I didn't find myself rooting for him as much.
The plot was only somewhat predictable. There were a few things in the mystery I was able to guess and some things that I wasn't. I do think that the ending was probably a bit too easy and everything was wrapped up just a little too nice. But they did leave a little room at the end for the entrance of the next book, so not everything was wrapped up. And just because some of it was predictable doesn't mean it wasn't a good read. I liked the description of the people (although the scenery could have used some work) and the setting was interesting being in Sweden. This was a very graphic book when it came to other descriptions though and it could be quite violent. Abuse and rape and torture all had a part in this book, and even the consensual sex seemed somewhat impersonal as well. It wasn't a large part of the book, but it was definitely noticeable and mildly disturbing.
I'm intrigued enough to read the next book. I want to know what happens with the characters and what "bad guy" they are going to defeat next with their partnership. From slow to hard to put down, this was a roller coaster of a book.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Copyright 2008 644 pages
Have you ever thought about traveling across America by boat? No really, not around, across; through the rivers and portages taking each snakey way arHave you ever thought about traveling across America by boat? No really, not around, across; through the rivers and portages taking each snakey way around the land in a trusty motorized boat or canoe. Well Least Heat-Moon did, and with a friend (well a few friends at times) he did just that. Having read his Blue Highways and enjoyed it, I figured this would be a good one too.
Later in life after having traveled the blue highways of America, and with an impending divorce, Least Heat-Moon decides that he wants to take another trip across America. Only this time he wants to do it on a different kind of blue highway. The watery kind. So he buys a little boat, finds some friends who can help him on his way, and maps out a course where he can travel the most by river and by not having to use too many portages. He meets people along the way, stops every night to rest in a different city, and learns what the majority of America's waterways look like.
Least Heat-Moon is a decent narrator. He tells you a lot about himself and the people he travels with. You get to hear a few stories about the people he meets along the way, but really not too many. More often than not he's telling stories about the people he's traveling with's pasts and such. He also treats the boat as if it were a person, and there's a ton of description and history behind the boat and why it's named what it is and why he chose such a boat.
While this was an interesting book I still don't feel as if I know America's waterways. I know the laws, the ways that it has changed due to the damming and infrastructure and population of America, but I don't really recall too much in the way of scenery described. Oh sure there was some, but not the in-depth descriptions I was looking for. And that goes for almost everything aside from the boat itself. I wanted to know more about the people and the nature scenes and I felt that it was a bit lacking in this book. There was a lot of social commentary, a little politics, and a lot of personal history about the author and his friends. Which made it seem more like a memoir than a travel narrative.
An ok book, but not quite what I had expected it to be. If you're fond of Least Heat-Moon's writing, you'll like it.
Wow, this is one that really sticks with you. I just found it on my bookshelf one day (I'm really not sure where it came from) and finally picked it uWow, this is one that really sticks with you. I just found it on my bookshelf one day (I'm really not sure where it came from) and finally picked it up and read through it. And kept reading almost straight through because I was that entranced by it. It's not that it's a pleasant story; far from it in fact. But it is an important story, and based on glimpses of real life.
Lulu and Merry don't have the most conventional childhood, but they have parents. That is until their father in a drunken rage kills their mother and severely injures Merry in the process. Now parentless, they are sent to an orphanage where survival is a daily thing with the other girls. They have family, but none that can actually take care of them want them and so until they are fostered by a well to do family, the orphanage is their existence. Merry still visits her father and has become his link to the world and it weighs heavy on her shoulders. Lulu prefers to think that he doesn't exist and throws herself into her studies. As the years go by the events haunt them deeply and have an impact on every decision they make.
Lulu and Merry are both terrific characters. Although I preferred Lulu and her storyline, both were well developed and you could feel empathy towards them. And they were very realistic in what domestic violence does to families and how it impacts the children. The rest of the characters were pretty much side characters. I can't say they were as fully developed. But they were all important and as much as you didn't like the father, he was still an integral piece of the story. And I could feel myself growing angry at the orphanage and the people in it, which means you know the characterization was done well if you feel actual emotion.
It's a sad novel. Very sad because it is a completely plausible situation to happen in real life. And things like this happen all the time. There is violence done everywhere. But reading how these girls coped (or didn't cope) was somewhat inspiring as they were still trying to make their life and go on. Meyers has a way for really evoking emotion from the reader and the level of detail was just right (although perhaps not quite palatable for those who can't handle violence and descriptions of violence). I think the social message is important too. Domestic violence can be unexpected sometimes and support for the victims is not always there. So anything that increases awareness helps.
A very thought provoking book and one I would highly recommend. Lulu and Merry's stories will make you want to cry and change the world.