Archive | February, 2011

The Passage

28 Feb

imagesI just finished reading The Passage written by Justin Cronin!  It was amazing.  Literally the best book you’ll ever read, that you’ve never heard of.  I think so anyway.  I had never, heard of this book until I came across someone’s blog who had mentioned that it was a great read, and that it was nearly 800 pages long.  I did some research and read some reviews on amazon.com and decided it was worth it to give it a shot, so worth it!  I still haven’t heard anyone else mention this book before.  It seems that it hasn’t quite caught on with people yet…but it will!  I have no doubt about it.

The Passage is set in the future, but not too far into the future.  The story is about vampires, although they really never use the word vampire.  They have their own names for the creatures that were created and who changed the entire planet.  It’s nothing like Twilight, or any other vampire story you’ve ever read.  This book gave me some crazy nightmares.  The other person I know who’s read it had nightmares too.  I’m telling you, it’s quite a book that can get inside your brain like that.

Justin Cronin manages to get you attached to so many of the characters throughout the book.  My favorite is a girl named Amy, who you learn about at the beginning of the book.  I liked the first couple hundred pages of the book the best.  There is a part after that that is kinda dry and a bit hard to get through.  Mainly it is trying to get a grasp on several characters that get introduced pretty much all at once, and with strange names to boot.  After that though it gets really good.  I literally spent most of the last two days doing nothing but reading so that I could find out what was going to happen.  I literally could not put the book (kindle) down!

A friend of mine also read this (she finished it first) and we both came to the conclusion that the author left it wide open for a second book.  After looking online I found that it’s supposed to be a trilogy, and they are making a movie(s).  I can’t tell you how excited I am for the next book(s) to come out!  I wish I had an idea of when they are going to be released, but I have no clue.

I really can’t say enough good things about The Passage!  If you don’t believe me, you’ll just have to find a copy for yourself and see what you think!

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Kindle

26 Feb

For those of you who might be on the fence about buying a Kindle, I thought I’d do a little review.  I have had my wifi only 3rd generation Kindle since September and I absolutely love it.  It is by far the best gift I have ever received and I use it on an almost daily basis.  I find that I do read more with my kindle because I always have it with me in my purse so if I find myself unexpectedly waiting I can just pull it out and start reading.  I also think I read faster on my Kindle.  It’s nice that you don’t have to worry about repositioning the book when you switch to the other page (especially when reading in bed).  The fact that it can hold up to 3,500 books at a time is a huge plus because you have so many options there’s always bound to be something on there you’re interested in reading.  Another great feature is that there are literally hundred of free books (through Amazon), and thousands that are free through other sources (which I’ve never tried, but I’ve heard good things).  Also cool is the fact that most of the “classics” are free because the copyright has expired!

Kindle

I have the gray colored one.  At the time it was the only option for wifi only but the while may be available now, I’m not sure.

Kindle Cover

The cover I have!  Love it!

My number one favorite feature (believe it or not) is that it has a build in dictionary.  So easy to use too!  I’m far too lazy to pull out a dictionary for a word that I don’t know so I’ll just keep reading and get a feel for what the word means.  With the Kindle you can scroll to the word and it automatically pulls up a short definition for you, and if you want a longer version it’s only one click away!  I seriously find myself reading my textbooks for school, finding a word I don’t know, and looking to try to scroll to the word to find the definition.  Then I realize, "Oh yeah, this is a REAL book, no such option.”  I never would have thought that I would use the dictionary as much as I do.  It’s just so easy and convenient, especially when you’re reading older books.  They tend to use a lot of words we don’t use today, or words that had different meanings back then.

The screen is super easy to read.  When I first opened my brand new Kindle I was trying to peel the protective sticker off the front of the face, then I realized that it wasn’t a sticker, it was the real screen.  It really does look that much like paper.  A lot of people prefer the Nook because it has color.  While color could be beneficial if you’re reading a book about art, or a children’s picture book, for the most part it’s not an issue that Kindle is only grey-scale.  I used to use the Kindle app on my ipod touch, which has a backlight.  The Kindle does not have a backlight.  That can seem like a pain if you want to read at night but I just use my bed-side lamp (like if I was reading a real book) and it’s not an issue.  I do find that there is much less strain on my eyes (they never get tired reading at all) when there is no backlight on the screen.  As far as the anti-glare, it’s pretty good.  I’ve never tried to read outside in the sun, but under lights there is sometimes a slight reflection of the light, but not so much that you can’t read the screen.

I did have issues with the first Kindle that Amazon sent me.  For some reason it kept restarting on it’s own, randomly.  Amazon was great!  They overnighted me a new one even before I sent the old one back so that I was never without my Kindle.  I could still use the old one it was just a pain when it would restart in the middle of me reading a page.  The new one has done this to me maybe twice, nothing like the old one.  Another issue I’ve had, even with this new one, is that once or twice now it has lost track of the page that I was on.  That can be a pain because for the most part they use a numbering system that is not page numbers (larger numbers and harder to remember).  There is the percentage completed listed on the screen though and that can help you find your spot pretty easily.  Also, if you hold down ALT + B, it will automatically bookmark your page.  I do this when I’m ready to stop reading and so far that has always worked.  There is a new update out that is slowly going to make page numbers available on all books.  Right now they say there are around 1,000 with page numbers available.  So far it is none of the books that I have downloaded, but it’s not a huge deal.

Overall, I think that just about anyone could benefit from owning a Kindle!  I really do love mine.  I also love owning real paper books (there is something super special about holding a real paper book, the look, feel, and smell) but I ran out of bookshelf space a long time ago.  Plus, the only free real books out there are from the library and you don’t get to keep those.  So, if you’re on the fence about trying to decide to Kindle or not to Kindle, my advice is to go for it!  Especially since I’m sure Amazon would take it back (within a reasonable time frame) if you ended up hating it.

One last thing!  Here’s a link to a wonderful web site for free Kindle books (only those free through Amazon)!  Lots of search options if you’re looking for something specific.  It’s also nice because there are pricing categories to search other than free too! 

http://www.ereaderiq.com/

Happy reading!

How Many Times Does Stieg Larsson Mention Coffee?

15 Feb

Stieg Larsson is the author of The Girl Who series, which includes The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  If you have read those books, or even just one of them, I’m sure you must have noticed the fact that they mention coffee about a million times in each book.  The books are all set in Sweden, and according to Wikipedia Sweden is one of the heaviest coffee-drinking countries in the world.  I guess that explains it, at least partially.  I think I could get used to Sweden just based on their coffee consumption!  Maybe I need to plan a trip there!

So, I decided to see just how many times coffee is mentioned in each book, just out of my own curiosity.  Luckily I have a kindle that allows me to search for a word, otherwise there’s no way I’d set out to try to find out if they were paper copies.  Here are the results:

Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: 118

played with fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire: 107

The_Girl_Who_Kicked_the_Hornets_Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest: 103

That’s a grand total of 328 times that the word coffee is mentioned in the series!  I wonder if there are any other books out there where one word is so common (and no I don’t mean words like, the, and, of, it, etc).  I’m sure there are, but I can’t think of any. 

I think one of the reasons I noticed it every single time they went to brew some coffee is because I love coffee!  Just reading the books my mouth was watering each time they mentioned it.  I was shocked to find that they would get home super late from a long day at the office, or whatever had been going on that day, and they would go immediately to make coffee.  Morning, noon, night, middle of the night, always having coffee, with open-faced sandwiches of course!

I think I’m going to go make some coffee now!

coffee

Gruyere Macaroni and Cheese

8 Feb

DSCN0127

I made this recipe as an adaptation from a blog written by Katie, which you can check out at: http://parkerkatiecasey.wordpress.com/2011/02/06/272/

The only thing I did a bit differently was to puree the cauliflower with a bit of milk in my food processor after it was done cooking.  Then I added the cauliflower puree to the cheese sauce once it was all melted.  So good, and you can’t even tell there’s cauliflower in there for any of you picky eaters!

DSCN0128

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

7 Feb

The_Girl_Who_Kicked_the_Hornets_Nest

I hate to say it, but compared to the other two books in this series, I liked this one the least.  I’m glad I finished it (because the end was the best part).  I would have been upset if I wouldn’t have finished all three. 

I think my main dislike was the fact that even though Lisbeth Salander (my favorite character in every one of the books) is mentioned throughout, she really isn’t playing a big part for most of it.  She does come out more towards the end which is what makes the end of the book better, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth reading if you enjoyed the other books, I just think it wasn’t as action-packed and suspenseful.

Then there’s the title of the book.  I really liked that the other two titles made no sense, but as you read along they did make sense.  I have no idea what they are talking about when they say “hornet’s nest”.  I mean, I guess it could be a metaphor for stirring up trouble or something like that.  It would make sense, but I still don’t like it so much.

I’m moving on to a new book which I’m excited to start either tonight or tomorrow called The Passage by Justin Cronin.  I had never heard of it but came across a blog talking about favorite books and it was on the list.  It sounds really good!  Supposed to be very scary and horrific, about zombies and the not far in the future world.  It’s 800 pages long so I don’t expect to finish it too soon, although many of the reviews said that the reader just could not put the book down and was up many sleepless nights reading.  We’ll see!