While some of the books I review on my site are furnished by the publishers, authors, or publicists for the purpose of review all of my reviews are truthful, honest, and my sincere opinion.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

100+ books in 2012

Alright, I'm going to try this again this year. See how I do at it.

1. Always in My Heart by Catherine Anderson
2. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett 
4. A Mile in My Flip Flops by Melody Carlson  
5. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates 
6. The Void by Bryan Healey
7. The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
8. A Cheater's Promise by Maurice Derrick Geter
9. Forever Hilltop by Judy Baer
10. Unlocking the Poet's Realm by Matt Wiebusch
11. Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
12. The Sara Chronicles: Book 2 Evolution of Us by L. Hughes
13. After All by Deborah Raney
14. Drawn to Injustice by Timothy Masters and Steve Lehto
15. Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos
16. Passages by Brian Hardin
17. Kiss the Darkness by Robert Wacaster
18. Not This Time by Vickie Hinze

Review: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

I purchased this book from Doubleday Book Club. They're usually running some pretty great deals!

About the Book

Are you and your spouse speaking the same language' While love is a many splendored thing, it is sometimes a very confusing thing, too. And as people come in all varieties, shapes, and sizes, so do their choices of personal expressions of love. But more often than not, the giver and the receiver express love in two different ways. This can lead to misunderstanding, quarrels, and even divorce. Quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch are the five basic love languages. Dr. Gary Chapman identifies these and guides couples towards a better understanding of their unique languages of love. Learn to speak and understand your mate's love language, and in no time you will be able to effectively love and truly feel loved in return. Skillful communication is within your grasp!
For more information about The Five Love Languages you can visit 5lovelanguages.com. You can "Like" Gary Chapman on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter

My Review

I was recommended this book a while ago while I was deep in depression and thought my relationship was on the outs. I didn't get a chance to read this book then, and I can say that I would have made things quite easier for me. I'm past all that now, but it was still a great book to read and gave me some great insight into myself and my relationship.

The five love languages are basically 5 ways that people express and understand love. The way Mr. Chapman describes it (and what really made the concept click for me) is that it's just like speaking language. If you're raised in a home that speaks English you learn English and that is your primary language. You can learn to speak another language, but you'll be most fluent in your primary language. The love languages are the same way.

Understanding the different languages is really quite simple. The explanation behind the different languages is very easy to understand. As soon as I'd read about one of the languages I would associate that language to someone I know. Having a "real-life" example for each language helped me understand that language a little bit better. It was easy for me to pinpoint other people's languages but it's been a bit harder for me to pinpoint my own language.... There is a section in the book that helps you figure out your own, and after reading it I've narrowed mine down to three. But before that sections I was thinking well I am all of those. But really we're only one, sometimes two. So I just need to pay attention a little bit more to what I feel and I should have it figured out fairly soon. And if you're not like me - and can't figure out the language for the people in your life- there is also a section to help you figure out what language other people are.

This book specifically deals with the love language of couples, but I think this concept is beneficial for any relationship - siblings, friends, parents, children. And since there is a whole series of these books I don't think I'm too far off in my thinking...

What I liked the most about this book is that for each language there was a story that gave an example of that language. Chapman would introduce us to a couple, tell us what their problem(s), and then tell us what their love languages were. He also gives examples for each language of how to show love to another person using that language.

This was  very well written book. I wish I would have picked it up earlier, as it could have made a very difficult part of my life a little bit easier. But even though things were going good for me and my boyfriend (who is now my fiancee) when I read this it still gave me some insight into why we do (or don't do) certain things. It also helped me in communicating what I need and want in my relationship. So this book isn't just for relationships that are failing, but if yours is I would recommend reading this. This book (and I'm sure the entire series) can help you better understand the relationships you have with eveyone that you love.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I got this book from Paperback Swap - it's a great service for rotating your personal library. For every book you send out you get a credit for another book that you want to read (you can also sign up on their sister sites and get CDs and DVDs).

About the Book

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.

It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

It’s a contagiously exciting, stunningly intelligent novel about society at its most hidden, and about the intimate lives of a brilliantly realized cast of characters, all of them forced to face the darker aspects of their world and of their own lives.

Once you start The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, there's no turning back. This debut thriller--the first in a trilogy from the late Stieg Larsson--is a serious page-turner rivaling the best of Charlie Huston and Michael Connelly. Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch--and there's always a catch--is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson's novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don't want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo.

For more information about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo you can visit Steig Larsson's website.You can also "Like" Stieg Larsson on Facebook.

My Review

I know I'm a little late on reading this one, as the movie is already gone from the theater. But I like to read the books for movies before I see the movie. So I guess I'll be waiting for the DVD to come out.

I liked this book. I think the characters were well developed, the story was great. However I felt like it took too long to get going, and the ending was a bit drawn out for me. I think there was quite a bit from the beginning and the ending that could have been cut and this still would have been a good story. I do have to warn you that it can be a bit hard to read. There are a few scenes that were a bit graphic, and not in a romantic graphic sort of way. So if you have trouble reading gruesome material you may not care for this book.

The story, once it gets going is pretty good. There's so much going on in the story but having the mystery of Harriet Vanger's disappearance as the backbone to everything else was a great tool. I wanted to find out what happened and who was responsible for it. There were so many twists that I didn't think it would ever be all sorted out! I wanted to see what was going to happen with everything else too. My favorite scene is when Lisbeth gets revenge - It was very disturbing, but at the same time I was so glad that she did what she did! I don't think I would have handled things the same way she did, but I'm not like her. She did what she had to do to and I'm pretty sure she got her point across!

I really liked Lisbeth she was a great character. I've never known anyone like her, she was so different, but I really connected with her. I wish she would have been in the story more, it seemed to not focus so much on her as opposed to the other characters. She didn't play as central of a role as I would have wanted her to - given the title refers to her, it seems she would have been a bit more involved. Mikael was an ok character. He was well developed. Although I was just kind of indifferent about him. I didn't hate him, but I didn't really like him either. He just seemed to be kind of selfish and ditzy. The ending with him kind of upset me, although it wasn't really a surprise, just showed his true colors - yet again.

Overall it was a pretty good book. Once I got into it I couldn't put it down. I will be picking up the other two in this series.