Tag Archives: Charlaine Harris

Club Dead – Review

Club Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 3)
Club Dead is the third installment of the Sookie Stackhouse mystery series by Charlaine Harris. This series is currently adapted into an HBO TV series called TrueBlood.

Unlike the Aurora Teagarden mysteries which I really did not like, the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries are more intricate and much more fun to read.

To recap:

Sookie works at a bar called Merlotte’s in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She has this “disability” that enables her to hear people’s thoughts. Her boyfriend is a vampire named Bill who works for an underground organization of vampires. Vampire existence is widely acknowledged but not necessarily accepted.

In this third book, Sookie’s boyfriend Bill is kidnapped during a mission to Mississippi. Bill’s boss, Eric, sends Sookie into Mississippi to go retrieve her boyfriend, even though she recently found out that he had been cheating on her. With the help of a werewolf, Sookie goes into a deeper underground organization of vampires (she meets the King of Mississippi), to try and save her cheating boyfriend, all the while facing her own internal obstacles and becoming a stronger women.

I am hooked on the Sookie books. It took me a while to get through this book, but I’ve just been distracted from reading lately. This book is fun, its getting a little more dark (which is how I like my vampire books) and the characters are more developed, and interesting. The main characters from the first book are virtually non-existent in the second and third books, but I hope Harris brings them back for the future books.

FINAL GRADE: A

Club Dead
by Charlaine Harris
ACE Fantasy/Mystery, 2003
ISBN 0441010516
292 pages

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Dead Until Dark review
Living Dead in Dallas review
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Read, Knit, Bake, repeat

Instead of setting up New Year’s Resolutions this year, I gave myself 3 New Year’s Challenges.

1. Bake something new each month.

2. Finish a knit/crochet project each month

3. Read all the books in my designated reading challenges.

Well, I haven’t quite figured out how to divide my time fairly between the three areas, as well as family, friends and work.

Unfortunately, my reading has taken a slight step to the wayside as I’ve been baking and knitting like a demon this past month. I did manage to finish 4 books (albeit I started one in December).

You may see my reviewing more cookbooks and craft books this coming year. I teach a knitting/crochet class at the library on Saturdays, so I’m always brushing up on new techniques and good books for beginners to learn from.

This book I am particularly fond of picking through this month.

31 Chunky-Chic Designs Twinkle’s Big City Knits by Wenlan Chia. My main attraction to this book is that a large number of Chia’s knits are produced and sold in Anthropologie stores!

I’ll be posting a couple reviews for 2 mystery books next week, Club Dead by Charlaine Harris and On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle. Both very good, fun and quick reads! Mystery books are so addicting!

A Bone to Pick – Review

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A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris
Age: Adult
Genre: Mystery
 

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 2)In this sequel to Real Murders, A Bone To Pick once again takes us back to Lawrenceton and librarian crime-solver, Roe Teagarden. The books jumps right into two weddings and one funeral. During the funeral, Roe meets Bubba Sewell, the lawyer for the deceased Jane Engle. Roe and Jane were members of the now disbanded Real Murderer’s club that was so prevalent in the first book. Although they were club members, neither Jane nor Roe were very close. When Roe finds out that she inherited all of Jane’s belongings, including a house, over five hundred thousand dollars and a cat, Roe knew that there was more to the inheritance than just the financial benefits. Setting out to look for clues in Jane’s house, Roe comes across a hidden skull, and soon figures out that Jane left her a murder to solve.

In terms of mystery books, this one was a real dud. There wasn’t much of a mystery. Every character was a good guy, and most of the characters were really dull and without much substance. There wasn’t much plot to the book other than Roe coming to terms to with her inheritance and trying endlessly to find the love of her life. I was really disappointed with book, because Real Murders started out with a lot of spunk and energy. I’m going to give the third book in the series a try: Three Bedrooms, One Corpse, and hope that it doesn’t fall flat either. I rated Real Murder PG-13, but this book I would give a G to PG rating. Very neutral, and very tame.

A Bone to Pick
Charlaine Harris
Berkeley Prime Crime, 1992
ISBN 0425219799
262 pages

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Real Murders – Review

Since I am eternally on a wait list for the 3rd book of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery Series by Charlaine Harris, I decided to switch over to one of her other series. I picked up Real Murders, book one of the Aurora Teagarden mystery books.

First line: “Tonight, I want to tell you about that most fascinating of murder mysteries, the Wallace case,” I told my mirror Enthusiastically.

Review:

Real Murders (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, Book 1) Real Murders is set in a small town in Georgia. The heroine, Aurora Teagarden, is the local librarian as well as a member of a unique club called Real Murders. The club meets once a week to discuss famous historical murder cases. One person presents the facts and the rest of the group discusses motive, psychology and validity of the if-rendered guilty verdict. Although the monthly topics seem grim, things aren’t really too horrible until Aurora “Roe” finds one of the club members dead at their meeting hall. Soon someone in the small town starts a murder spree in a copy-cat format of previous, famous killings, while setting up the Real Murders group members as either potential victims or suspects.

I fell in love with Charlaine Harris’ storytelling with the Sookie Stackhouse books, and Real Murders only reinvigorated my joy of her books. Her characters are never too stylized or caricaturish. They are very natural. Even the heroines, Sookie and Aurora, are average women. They have average looks, work average jobs, but somehow find themselves in above average situations. Since this is the first in the series, I think many of the characters were developed just as an introduction, and might be expanded on in more detail in the following books. The writing is sharp and witty. Harris does not use curse words in her work, and this book stayed on the PG-13 side in terms of violent scenes as well as the more romantic scenes. I would feel very comfortable recommending this book to the young adults at the library. This book had a completely different feel from the Sookie Stackhouse series, which I think is a great benefit to the author. Mysteries can become very formulaic after a while, but this series has caught my attention. It helps that the main character is a librarian. I’ve since started looking for mysteries in my hometown, hoping something out of the ordinary would happen, resulting my investigation of clues. No such luck as of yet, but I am keeping my eyes peeled.

FINAL GRADE: A

Real Murders, Aurora Teagarden Myesteries, Book 1
by Charlaine Harris
Berkeley Prime Crime, 1990
ISBN 0425218716
290 pages

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Living Dead in Dallas – Review

First Line: Andy Bellefleur was as drunk as a skunk.

Review:

The sequal to Charlaine Harris’ Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, takes the reader more into the world of the supernatural. Characters we were introduced to in Book 1 of the Southern Vampire Mysteries reappear with more fervor, their character are more refined while main characters from Dead Until Dark drift into the background. With this book storyline, that scenario works well.

Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 2)
In Dead Until Dark, the senior vampire, Eric, of Bon Temps learns of Sookie’s telepathic ability, and is able to use her skills to find out which of his employees is trying to embezzle money from Fantasia, Eric’ vampire bar. In Living Dead in Dallas, we learn that Sookie is being loaned out to a group of vampires in Dallas. Sookie goes to Dallas accompanied by Bill, to help with the investigation of a missing vampire. As soon as she steps foot in the airport, she is quickly thrust into dangerous company. With one of the vampires missing, the Fellowship of the Sun is the prime suspect in this vampire-kidnapping. The Fellowship of the Sun is an equivalent to the KKK, or some other organized hate group. Bill is out of the picture for the majority of the book, and Sookie as our primary narrator is left to fend for herself through traumatic ordeal after traumatic ordeal.

While Dead Until Dark played more on the humans in the novel, this book delves deeply into the Supernatural, with the rough introduction of a Maenad who attacks Sookie towards the beginning of the novel, to further emphasis and explanation on shapeshifters. What I liked about Living Dead in Dallas is Sookie. She is your normal, average feel. She’s not too smart, or too dumb, she’s neither too strong nor too weak. She isn’t lucky, but she isn’t unlucky either. She falls into dangerous situations, but she tends to walk into these situations head-on knowing fully the consequences and possible outcomes. She is a strong female role model, a girl who wants to be loved and taken care of, but a girl who can stand her ground when she needs to, and still be charming and polite. Bill is more subdued in this book. He is less mysterious and more annoying than anything else. His senior vampire, Eric takes a stronger presence in this novel and is more entertaining as an outlandish vampire than boring Bill.

I’m curious to see how this will play out on the TV show. I wish I still had HBO so that I could keep watching Trueblood. From what I’ve heard and seen the TV show is almost word-by-word taken straight from the book.

FINAL GRADE: A-

Living Dead in Dallas
By Charlaine Harris
Ace Books, 2002
ISBN 441009239
262 pages
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Dead Until Dark- Review

For fans of the Twilight series, or even the disappointed fans of the Twlight series, Charlaine Harris’ mystery/vampire romance novel is definitly a book for your shelves. There were a number of similarities between the two books, but where Twilight was mostly rated PG, Dead Until Dark would be rated R.

First Line: I’d been waiting for the vampire   for years when he walked into the bar.

Review:

Sookie Stackhouse is your typical small-town waitress at Merlotte’s in an upper Louisiana city of Bon Temps. Well she’s almost typical, minus her “disability” as its called in the book. Her disability is being able to read minds. One night during Sookie’s shift a vampire sits at one her tables. Ever since synthetic blood was discovered and sold on the mainstream markets, vampires “came out of the coffin” and began to mainstream, that is live among humans and be accepted, more of less, among humans. Vampires, in this world, are just another minority to be tolerated. I found that aspect of the book very unique. Most vampires hide, or are thought to be myths, but in Harris’ world, vampires go on to Talk Shows, and TV Evangelists speak as negatively of vampires as they do of any other group they do not agree with, *coughhomoesexualscough*.

Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 1)
After using her powers to save Vampire Bill’s life from two trashy vampire blood drainers, Bill and Sookie form a friendship with healthy amounts of flirtation and sexual tension. It soon turns into a love triangle when Sookie’s boss and owner of Merlotte’s Sam starts to form feelings for Sookie beyond that of just friendship. Add to the mix a series of murders going on around town, and you have yourself one fun and interesting storyline. The victims, all except one, were waitresses at Merlotte’s, the bar where Sookie works.  Once Sookie realizes that her very handsome brother Jason is being accused of these murders, Sookie sets out to find out just who the killer is.

One commanility I noticed with Twilight, is that Sookie is unable to read Bill’s mind, even though she can read everyone else’s, or at least get waves of impressions from them. In the same way Edward became fascinated with Bella because he couldn’t read her mind, the same development happened between Bill and Sookie. Bill also took interest in Sookie when he realized he couldn’t use his “glamour” on Sookie. Glamour is a friendly term vampires use for hypnotize.

The writing is fun, especially when you imagine everyone speaking with that Louisiana drawl when you read. The sex and violence scenes are tastefully written and are not very graphic. The characters are cleverly written and Sookie is a hilarious heroine throughout the novel. The series has recently premiered on HBO as the newest show, TruBlood. I watched a few episodes of the show before starting the book, but after a few chapters I was able to put the actors out of my mind and enjoy the writing for its own value.

FINAL GRADE: A

Dead Until Dark
by Charlaine Harris
Penguin Group, 2001
ISBN 0441015979
312 pages

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Teaser Tuesday – 10-7-08

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
  • My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today:

    “The crisis came sooner than I thought it would,” Bill said from the darkness.

    The crickets had resumed their chorus, and I listened to them for a long moment.

    Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 1)

    PS. this book has recently been made into a TV series for HBO called TruBlood. A great show worth checking out. =)