Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

living dead in dallas

Synopsis from Amazon:

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse isn’t happy. Her co-worker has been murdered and no one seems to care. If that wasn’t enough she’s got blood-poisoning and a raging fever. Luckily, some friendly vampires graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it). But, seeing as they did save her life, when they come asking for a favour she can hardly refuse. She quickly finds herself using her telepathic skills in the search for a missing vampire, but when they break their good behaviour condition over a tasty blond, things go rapidly and horribly wrong …

This is the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire Mystery series by Charlaine Harris. In this adventure, Sookie is attacked on her way to see Eric, by a mythical creature, and after having had her poisoned blood sucked, is told she is off to Dallas to use her gift. There she meets the anti-vampire group, and has to fight for her life. While all this is going on, she is trying to find out who murdered her friend and why.

There is a lot going on in this book. It starts with a murder and ends with an orgy. In between there is a lot of fighting and maybe mythical characters. Up until the last fifty pages I really enjoyed this book. It was exciting and gripping. The last bit of the book was full of sex and that put me off.

I like how Harris is introducing more mythical beings instead of just including vampires – I think this adds a new dimension to the story. It will be interesting to see where she takes the stories with all these characters and beings.

Harris is a very distinctive writer. She has her own style, which comes through in both her Sookie Stackhouse books and her Harper Connelly books. I like how she writes, for the most part she is engaging and gripping.

Apart from all the sex, which I still think is unnecessary, I think this is a good book.

8/10

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Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

dead until dark

Synopsis from Amazon:

Small town Louisiana has a big problem – or rather a number of big problems. And now some of them have come knocking on Sookie’s door …Sookie is an unassuming cocktail waitress in an (outwardly) unremarkable town. She’s quiet, keeps to herself and doesn’t get out much. Attractive as she is, her hidden ‘talents’ send men running. For some reason her mindreading skills are just a bit threatening …Then the unreadable Bill appears on the scene. Tall, dark and handsome, Bill seems to be the man of her dreams. Except he’s not technically human. Bill is a vampire and a vampire who keeps seriously bad company, some suspected – unsurprisingly – of murder. Things get a bit close to home when a co-worker is murdered and Sookie starts wondering whether she will be next …

Well it is fair to say Charlaine Harris really does know how to write a good story. This is the first book in her Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie is a waitress in a small town, where everyone knows everyone else. Yet she has a gift; she can read people’s minds, which makes her the strangest person in the community. But things are set to change in this sleepy town, as vampires are now legal beings and are trying to “go mainstream” and live in amongst humans. This is good news for Sookie – it gets her a boyfriend – a tall, dark, handsome vampire. But not everyone is happy with having vampires roaming around, and soon there are girls dying, girls who Sookie works with and who associate with vampires. With fear and death all around, Sookie fears she will be the next victim….

This book had action right from the first page to the last. Harris weaves a great web of suspense, suspicion and fear. She writes in several characters, all of whom could be committing the crimes. The deaths themselves were gruesome. She had no fear in writing a realistic murder. I liked how she wrote about vampires too. She stuck to the traditional ideas about vampires – such as them keeping out of sunlight and feeding on humans. Although I thought it was interesting that she invented “fang-bangers”: those who wanted to be bitten by vampires; I thought that was original.

I liked Sookie. She seemed strong and sensible, and fairly likable. I loved her Gran though – her interest in the vampires was fairly amusing. I couldn’t figure out her brother – his character kept changing. That makes me wonder if he will feature more further on in the series. Of course, the other key character was Bill. For a vampire, I liked him. I couldn’t work out how vampires don’t have emotions but do fall in love but I liked how he was written. He was dangerous, and he showed that, but he had affection too.

My complaint would be the amount of sex in the book. There was a lot. It did seem that when they weren’t out investigating, they were having sex. I didn’t think the book needed quite that level of intimacy – in a way it did spoil the book for me a little bit. However, I did enjoy the book for the most part and would recommend it. It didn’t take long to read; it was gripping and exciting; and Harris keeps her status as one of my favourite authors.

8/10

An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

an ice cold grave

Synopsis from Amazon:

Harper Connelly was struck by lightning as a teenager, and now she can find the dead. In her third case, Harper and Tolliver, her stepbrother, are hired to find a missing grandson. But the truth is far worse than a single dead child, for numerous teenage boys, all unlikely runaways, have disappeared from Doraville, North Carolina. Harper soon finds the eight bodies, buried in the half-frozen ground, but then, still reeling from coming into contact with her first serial killer, she is attacked and injured. Now she and Tolliver have no choice but to stay in Doraville while she recovers, and as she reluctantly becomes part of the investigation, she learns more than she cares to about the dark mysteries and long-hidden secrets of the town: knowledge that makes her the most likely person to be next to end up in an ice-cold grave.

This is the third book in Harris’ Harper Connelly series, and of course, is as good as the other two – both of which I gave top-ratings too.

In this installment, Harper is in South Carolina. The grandmother of a missing teenage boy has contacted them to see if she can find his body. Not only does Harper find the body of one boy, she finds the bodies of eight. In this small town, a serial killer is at large. At once the place is swarming with police and the media. However, having had his dirty secret revealed by Harper, she is his next victim, and he lands her in hospital. Yet that is not the end of his man nor the investigation…

Well, this is by far the most creepy, what with it being a serial killer, who did horrific things to the boys before their deaths. Along with the suspense is an engaging and exciting book. Harris does not whip out of writing about the horrors of rape and torture – and although that is very sinister, it adds to the book. As ever, she continues story lines from the other two books – such as Tolliver’s and Harper’s changing relationship and their missing sister Cameron.

I love this series and am so looking forward to the next one, which is out later this year (2009). Harris is gripping and exciting. I love the way she writes and her characters. I enjoy reading about Harper, the realism in her physical pain and the way she becomes emotionally involved with the cases and the people. I highly recommend this book and the entire series.

10/10

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

grave-surprise

Synopsis from Amazon:

A bolt of lightning struck Harper Connelly when she was 15, leaving her with a strange spider web of red on her torso and right leg, episodes of weakness, shakes and headaches – and an ability to find dead people. Harper is summoned to Memphis to demonstrate her unique talent, but there are still plenty of sceptics, even as Harper stands atop a grave and announces there are two bodies buried there. The police are convinced there’s something fishy going on when the grave is opened to reveal the centuries-dead remains of a man, which they’d expected (that being his grave, after all) and a dead girl, which no one expected – except Harper, of course. And suspicions are raised even further because Harper had failed to find eleven-year-old Tabitha Morgenstern when she was abducted two years before. Harper and Tolliver need to find the real killer to prove Harper’s innocence, especially after their nocturnal visit to the cemetery in hopes that Harper can sense something more is followed by the discovery, the following morning, of a third dead body in the grave . . .

This is the second book in Harris’ Harper Connelly series – and pretty much as good as the first. There is a reason why I have only heard good things about this series – her writing is exciting and engaging; her characters are realistic and her storylines, and the suspense as they unfold are perfect.

In this book, we travel from Saines to Memphis with Harper and Tolliver – her step-brother. She is going to give a demonstration of her ability to a group of university students. The old grave yard has a surprise in store for her though – in the oldest, darkest grave, is a recent body. The body, an 11 year old girl called Tabitha, who Harper had been looking for 18 months ago. Coincidence? Harper sets out to find out. Yet the grave has one more surprise for her. When she goes back, another new body is in there. How are the two related? What is the key? Alongside this, Harper learns more about the supernatural and has to struggle with her feelings for Tolliver.

There is a lot to this book, yet it reads quickly. It is exciting, thrilling even. I was starting to think there was something deeper between Tolliver and Harper, so I am glad that has started to be explored. There are links back to the previous book, to allow the story to continue, and keeps other storylines open, such as the disappearance of their sister Cameron. I think that is important and very well done.

I liked all the characters. All of them seemed believable. There are issues all of them face, and I like how Harris explores things such as grief and sexual orientation, as well as families and religion.

I read this book in two sittings. You will not want to put it down – it is fabulous, a must-read.

10/10

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

grave-sight

Synopsis from Amazon:

Harper Connelly had a lucky escape when she was hit by lightning: she didn’t die. But sometimes she wishes she had died, because the lightning strike left her with an unusual talent: she can find dead people – and that’s not always comfortable. Everyone wants to know how she does it: it’s a little like hearing a bee droning inside her head, or maybe the pop of a Geiger counter, a persistent, irregular noise that increases in strength as she gets closer. It’s almost electric: a buzzing all through her body, and the fresher the corpse, the more intense the buzz. Harper and her brother Tolliver make their living from finding the dead, for desperate parents, worried friends . . . and police departments who have nowhere else to look. They may not believe in her abilities, but sometimes the proof is just too much for even the most sceptical of police chiefs to deny. But it’s not always easy for someone like Harper, for the dead *want* to be found – and too often, finding the body doesn’t bring closure; it opens a whole new can of worms.

I really enjoyed this book. It is the first Harris book I have read and I was gripped. We are introduced to Harper Connelly and her step-brother Tolliver. Having been struck by lightning at the age of 15 Harper was left with a unique gift – she finds dead people. This talent takes her to Sarne to find the body of a missing teenager. When found however, the town goes nuts. To separate Tolliver and Harper, Tolliver is arrested and thrown in jail, and Harper has several attacks on her life. In the midst of this, she does some investigating work, and this small town reveals some dark secrets…

This is the first book in the Harper Connelly series, and if all the books are this good, we will be in luck! This is an exciting, engaging and gripping book. I really enjoyed how Harris wrote. Even though Harper’s talent is questionable, I found myself pulled into the story and believing what was written. I was trying to solve the mystery too.

I enjoyed reading all the characters and the setting. I chuckled at the fact Sarne had been written as the stereotypical hill-billy small-town, with in-breeding. That did make for a fun read! I thought the way Harper and Tolliver were written were great. I connected with both of them and liked how Harris wrote in their history so we understood them better.

I don’t have any complaints about this book – I loved it. This is a must-read.

10/10

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

five-quarters-of-the-orange

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake – but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface. This is where Framboise, a secretive widow named after a raspberry liqueur, plies her culinary trade at the creperie – and lets memory play strange games. Into this world comes the threat of revelation as Framboise’s nephew – a profiteering Parisian – attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes she has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers of Les Laveuses. As the spilt blood of a tragic wartime childhood flows again, exposure beckons for Framboise, the widow with an invented past. Joanne Harris has looked behind the drawn shutters of occupied France to illuminate the pain, delight and loss of a life changed for ever by the uncertainties and betrayals of war.

What a lovely book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it hard to put down. There is so much that can said about it. It is full of intriguing recipes, which might be worth trying out. Harris looks into many issues, including love, childhood, death, war, secrets, family and mental illness, yet none of it is so daunting it is a hard read. All are dealt with well and sensitively, and add depth to the book.

There is action all the way through the book, right up to the last page. The descriptions were so thorough I felt like I was there with Framboise.  The narrative does jump around from childhood to middle age and back to childhood again, however this did not bother me at all, I felt it fitted right in with the story.

My favourite character has to be Paul, slow Paul who actually is quite a sly dog, I loved him and found myself growing very fond of him. As the book progressed on and we delve more into the recipe book I felt more and more sorry for the Mother, a misunderstood and ill lady. I think Harris wrote her wonderfully.

The only complaints I can think of were there were a lot of characters with similar names, and I forgot who was who, and there was also some writing in French and German that I didn’t understand which wasn’t translated. Apart from that, this is a superb book.

9/10