Tag Archives: vampires

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

It’s been a long time coming for the supposedly “last” book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. With a huge fan base and a wildly popular HBO TV series (Alexander Skarsgard, anyone? Nomnomnomnom), Charlaine Harris is living the life that most poor starving authors can only dream of. Unfortunately, she may have been too deeply asleep when she wrote Dead Ever After… Someone needs to pinch the crap out of her! dead-ever-after-by-charlaine-harris-cover-3_4_r560

DEA seems to exist solely to tie up any plot threads that are still left–gasping for air–no matter how weak they may be. Eric, the fairies, Sam, the Weres, Amelia… You name it. Unfortunately, Harris seems to bring up a few new characters and then forget about them–leaving their stories unanswered. But not in a cliff-hanger/spinoff kinda way. More like a “Oh, I totally forgot about that, but oh well my manuscript is due tomorrow! *Send*” kinda way.

Also, as much as I’ve enjoyed the majority of the SS series… Can we please stop detailing Sookie’s mundane day-to-day life?? She literally wasted a whole sentence–awholesecondofmylife!–bemoaning how hard it is to stuff a Digiornio box in the trash. Seriously?? Way to yank me out of the moment. I know plenty about taking the garbage out, not so much about the TrueBlood vamps. That’s what I’m paying you to write about, not pizza boxes.

AND–I DON’T WANT TO SPOIL ANYTHING FOR YOU–BUT… The way she handled Sookie’s love life in this book was very strange. And I would NOT have made the same choice had I been in her shoes. Ew. I mean, woof.

All in all, since I have OCD about this sort of thing–I’m glad I read DEA. However, if this had been my first Charlaine Harris experience… I would’ve run screaming for the hills. I can appreciate a light pool-side read every now and again, but if Sookie’s story gets any lighter it just might float away.

3 bite marks of 5

 


The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

Obviously, if you’ve followed my blog long enough you’ve heard my sing my girl-crush love about Holly Black many times before. I totally adore her and she’s one of my all-time favorite authors (which is really saying something!)

Holly–if you’re reading this–let’s hang out!

The Poison Eaters has been on my list for over a year now, and I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. It’s a collection of Mrs. Black’s own fantastical short stories with her signature dark twist.

And, as usual, she’s done a good job with them. She’s managed quite a few anthologies over the years and so I had no doubt she’d be able to seamlessly blend her own tales together.

We got to sample stories about vampires, secret cults, faeries, werewolves, unicorns, and a bunch of other things you’ve never even heard of. And we got to revisit Kay, Roiben, Corny, and Val from her beloved Ironside trilogy.

As with most collections, there will always be stories that rise above the others and The Poison Eaters was no exception. Some of my favorites included:

  • A Reversal of Fortune: kind of like the short story version of the old folk song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Crazy, and you’ll never look at gummy frogs the same way again.
  • The Dog King: werewolves surround a medieval castle, but the real danger may lurk inside its walls.
  • In Vodka Vertias: a school prank gets way out of hand and ample doses of sex are involved…
  • Paper Cuts Scissors: a lonely geek’s girlfriend has willingly trapped herself inside a novel and he’s desperately searching for a way to get her out again.
  • The Poison Eaters: told in the classic rule of three format many fairy tales lay claim to, three sickly girls must follow their destiny.

The aforementioned really stood out to me, but they each had their own little crisp ending that made you pause for a minute after reading. The Poison Eaters is the perfect book to curl up with this fall after your house has fallen asleep and you’ve got a steaming mug of tea in your hands…

4 virgin boys of 5


Uninvited by Amanda Marrone

Uninvited by Amanda Marrone tells the tale of Jordan, a high school girl whose two month relationship with Michael–the high school all-star–was the highlight of her life. Unfortunately her brief moment in the sun was ruined when she broke up with Michael, and completely went sour when he turned up dead shortly thereafter. Michael’s parents declared that his death was a suicide, even though his throat had been slashed under mysterious circumstances. Jordan knows better. Michael loved life (and girls) too much to kill himself. 

Jordan’s life since Michael’s death has been a sad series of random party hook-ups, getting trashed with her no-good “frenemies,” and trying to avoid attention in the hallways at all cost.

That is, until Michael appears one night at her window.

Demanding to be let in.

Declaring his undying love.

Wanting to spend forever with her.

If only she’ll open the window…

Well… Uninvited was on my Amazon wishlist (an awesome way to keep track of your reading list, I might add…) for about a trillion years before I got around to reading it.  I stumbled upon it at my store one day and knew it was time. And I have to say, I was a bit disappointed.

I didn’t  mind Jordan as a character, but I didn’t like or understand the fact that she was terrified of walking down the hallway by herself, but could go to random parties and have sex with strangers without a problem. The two don’t seem to mesh very well. I get the fact that she was abusing drugs and alcohol, and that affects your judgement, but at the same time how could she be so painfully shy during the day and so promiscuous at night? If nothing else you’d think all the sex would make her more popular! Rachel was an interesting best friend, and if she had been the main character the book would’ve had a completely different spin.

That being said, I did like how Marrone was really up front with all these teen issues. Most authors skirt around talking bluntly about teens having sex and doing drugs because they want to avoid “gate keepers” (parents and teachers who read books before they allow their kids access) getting in the way. Marrone was fearless in that regard, and I do appreciate that. I also liked that she made Jordan really conflicted about Michael and her feelings for him. She missed being with him, but deep down she knew that something was wrong with him.

However, even though Jordan was characterized by her poor decision-making, I could never see why she was in love with Michael. From what I gather, he was very handsome, but he was such a jerk! Any guy who is going to force physical activity on a girl right away is no bueno. I guess it all boils down to teenage girls and their poor self-esteem. It’s a universal theme in young adult fiction, sadly enough.

The conclusion was a little anti-climactic, and I never felt connected enough to the secondary characters to really care what happened to them. Oh well, it wasn’t a long or difficult read…

Uninvited can stay unread.

2 of 5 stars


The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris

So, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion by Charlaine Harris was just released recently and I just finished it today. It includes a short story about Sookie and Sam attending a wedding, a series timeline, recipes from Bon Temps, a FAQ section with Harris, an interview with Alan Ball, and a character dictionary. I thought it would be a great read since I love the series and the show, and I’ve read all the Sookie Stackhouse books to date.

I was wrong.

Charlaine Harris’s companion guide to her series was a total nose-dive in my opinion. I really enjoyed the first 80 pages, which were the short story about Sam’s brother’s shifter wedding. The recipe book was also pretty cool. The rest of it? Absolutely useless.

The FAQ section didn’t jump out at me, as many of the questions seemed like they should have been common sense for a true fan who has read all the books (or even followed the HBO series). Also, Alan Ball’s interview was a total waste of time because he gave indirect, noncommittal answers to almost ever question he was asked and I finished reading the interview with more of a WTF? feeling than an Aha! feeling. I get that you’re the producer/director of a television phenomenon and you don’t want to disclose too much, but come on! This interview is going in an actual book–one that will probably sell hundreds of thousands of copies, if not millions–not some trashy newsstand gossip rag. 

The time line was horrible because it was basically a summary of everything that’d happened in all the books, a plot synopsis for everything. I don’t need to know the exact year, month (down to the day) time line of every thing that’s happened. I know Hurricane Katrina is mentioned in some of the books, and I can fill in the rest for myself from there. *sigh*

The recipe section was cute, because it consisted of reader-submitted recipes that mimicked those mentioned in the series, like Caroline Bellefluer’s famous chocolate cake. And since I LOVE southern cooking, I was all about this.

But, above all… The absolute bane to my existence was the character dictionary. THE BANE TO MY EXISTENCE. I went into it thinking Oh, cool we’ll learn more about the backgrounds of all the stand-out characters.

Then I noticed it was like, 250 pages long.

Whaaa…?

Turns out it’s about every Tom, Dick, and Harry ever mentioned in any one of the books, short stories, or novellas. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I’m not just talking Jane Bodehouse, the town drunk specific, I’m talking Unidentified Vampire #2 and Unnamed German Shepard Shifter specific. Seriously. Every single person, every single relative of that person, every single brother’s sister’s aunt’s uncle’s cousin’s in-law’s mother. Seriously. If it wasn’t for my book-reading compulsive disorder I would’ve completely ditched the guide at this point. I remember all the main characters and some of the more interesting side ones, and that’s it. That’s all I need to know. I sincerely doubt Harris even remembered all of these herself. That’s how many there were.

If you’re a hard core Sookie fan, then my suggestion is to check this out from the library. Read the short story and write down some of the recipes, but just stop there and turn it back in for the next person to use. For real. I know this sounds harsh, because I love True Blood, but this book was an epic fail in Charlaine Harris’ otherwise long and successful series.

2 of 5 stars


Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is at it again in Charlaine Harris’ eleventh installment in the TrueBlood series, Dead Reckoning. In her characteristic style, Harris once more intertwines life in the dirty south with life as the dirty dead. The brand new book picks up where Dead and Gone left off. Sookie is still dealing with the knowledge of her fae ancestry, and her new found faery relatives Claude and Dermot. She’s still struggling to figure out her relationship with her undead boyfriend–the ancient, sexy, (and a bit scary) Eric Northman and she has as many enemies now as ever before.

After Merlotte’s is bombed, moltov cocktail-style, Sookie’s rare moment of peace is over. Not only does she have to figure out “who dunnit” but now Eric and Pam are being threatened by Victor, the regent of Louisiana. Victor has denied Pam’s wish to save her lesbian lover from an untimely leukemia-fueled death by converting her to vampirism. Now the legality of making a “child” without their ruler’s persmission has come into question. And of course Ms. Stackhouse somehow ends up in the middle of it all. A vampire battle royale is sure to ensue.Dead Reckoning

Not to mention the fact that the crazy she-bitch Sandra Pelt is after her again.

Or that Sookie is finding out that her deceased grandmother may have kept some MAJOR secrets from the family all these years.

And Eric seems to have been hiding something from her lately…

Plus there’s that damn baby shower she promised she’d throw for Tara.

If she can survive that long, that is.

It was refreshing for me to read this book after what heavy fodder The Memory Keeper’s Daughter turned out to be. This was light-hearted, fun, and entertaining. It certainly isn’t a brain teaser by any means, but that’s ok. I enjoyed revisiting the old characters– it was like catching up with a long distance friend after not talking for a while. While some readers may be up in arms over some of the more obvious plot holes (like Eric and Sookie’s faery grandfather Niall, supposedly being in touch much longer than previously mentioned…) I took it all in stride. This book is a beach read, not the next great American novel, and one should enjoy it for what it is.

However, I will say that anyone interested in the Trueblood Series could easily stop reading after the 5th or 6th book and be just as happy. I feel like the more recent in the series have gotten a bit tedious with Sookie’s day to day life (running errands and working at Merlotte’s, etc…) Harris also has the irritating tendency of mentioning well known stores/brand names like Walmart and Hardee’s in her novels, which I find very distracting. Any amateur writing workshop will tell you to avoid this, as it dates your work.

All in all, I would encourage die-hard Trueblood fans to read Dead Reckoning, but it isn’t a must. It entertained me for a couple of days, but I wasn’t sad when it was over. As much as it kills me to say it–I actually find the show more engrossing than the last few novels, even if it does dramatically deviate from the plot line.

Bottom line: I wasn’t dead set on Dead Reckoning.

3 stars of 5