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

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

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

breaking-dawn

Synopsis:

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs. Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life – first discovered in TWILIGHT, then scattered and torn in NEW MOON and ECLIPSE – seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed…forever?

This is the final part of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I was wary to begin with because it is a large books – 755 pages, and because I had heard some negative reviews about the book. However, although not as good as the other three books in the series, this is an enjoyable book, and worth reading.

For the final installment we attend the wedding of Edward and Bella, and then the honeymoon – which has interesting consequences. Faced with the repercussions of the honeymoon, the Cullens group together ready to face the Volturi – the vampire royalty. But this is not a fight they can win alone, so they call upon all friends and alliances for the final fight…

Interestingly, a section of this story is narrated by Jacob. I liked this. Although not my favourite character, he is vital to the storyline and Bella’s life. It was fascinating to read the book from a werewolf’s point of view, especially someone as close to the protagonist as Bella. It was well written and I enjoyed it.

There were, however, story lines in this book that I didn’t like/wasn’t convinced by. The main one is the Jacob and Renesmee story. It just didn’t work for me. Although these are fantasy books, for me that was just pushing a little too far towards the extreme.

My favourite character throughout the whole Sage has been Edward. I just love him – the way he looks, how he thinks, how he loves, just a great character. I would love it if Meyer did go ahead and publish Midnight Sun, Edward’s version of the Twilight book. In addition to Edward, I loved Renesmee – everything about her except the name. That too was a little far-fetched for me, however her character was adorable – just too cute.

For the most part, I loved this book. Maybe it was a little too long but it was engaging and fun. A nice way to end the Saga. I definitely encourage people to read this series if they haven’t – they are really good books.

8/10

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

new-moon

Synopsis:

I stuck my finger under the edge of the paper and jerked it under the tape. ‘Shoot,’ I muttered when the paper sliced my finger. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut. It all happened very quickly then. ‘No!’ Edward roared …Dazed and disorientated, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm – and into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires. For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of an evil vampire but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realise their troubles may just be beginning …

This book is the second in the Twilight sage by Stephenie Meyer. In this book Edward leaves, in a bid to protect Bella, although he is not hugely successful. Whilst he is away, to fill the void he has left, Bella starts spending more and more time with Jacob Black. But little does she know, he has a secret of his own… Around Forks at the time there are many mysterious killings, and the sightings of werewolves. Bella soon learns she is still being hunted, and that Jacob’s secret is as deadly as Edward’s. The book sees heartbreak, reunion, werewolves, hatred, vampires, extreme sports and love – plus a trip to Italy!

Before reading this book I read many reviews and comments made by people stating this book is not as good as Twilight or the next book, Eclipse. However, although I agree that this book is not quite up to the standard of Twilight, this book is gripping and exciting. I read this book in two days, and it is a 600 page book. Meyer writes in an accessible and exciting way. Although there was not as much spine-tingling excitement as Twilight, when vampires met head-to-head, there were moments of anxiety.

I enjoyed how Meyer developed other key characters, such as Jacob Black. I liked his friendship with Bella, but I felt once we knew his secret he was insensitive to how much Edward meant to Bella, and just how much she was hurting. I didn’t like how he changed when Edward returned, but I loved how he protected her when he could. As also, Bella was easy to relate to, and when her heart broke, so did mine. Of course, my favourite character is still Edward. In my opinion, there was not enough of him in this book, but I could plainly see why and I think his absence has helped to build up a climax which I am looking forward to reading in the next book.

Although not as good as Twilight, I would thoroughly recommend this book. It was a quick, easy read. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. I have many questions left and I am eager to read the next book in the series. These are top-class books and well worth getting your hands on.

9/10

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

twilight

Synopsis:

When 17 year old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town. But in spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town. But not, it seems, the Cullen family. These five adopted brothers and sisters obviously prefer their own company and will make no exception for Bella. Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her, but she feels a strange attraction to him, although his hostility makes her feel almost physically ill. He seems determined to push her away until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car. Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.

I was nervous to read this book due to the fame surrounding it, but actually, I loved it. I was gripped from the start. All the characters affected me. It took me little more than a day to read it. The story was exciting and breath-taking. I loved how Meyer went against the grain of traditional vampire characteristics, and there were no coffins or garlic in the book. The writing was fluid and gripping. The story is easy to follow and engaging.

The story follows Bella as she moves to Forks to live with her Dad. Not the most popular girl in Phoenix, she is surprised by the reaction she gets in this new town. Except, there is one family who avoid her, the Cullins. Yet they are the most intriguing, especially Edward, who is Bella’s lab partner. He stays away from her, making her think he only has feelings of hate for her, until a van skids on ice and nearly kills her. He saves her and then disappears. She doesn’t understand, so takes up her own investigation into Edward and his family. This leads her into a world of love, fear, blood, fantasy and excitement.

I really connected with Bella; her hate for gym and her clumsiness, and of course her intrigue. It was genuine and easy to believe. And I think I fell in love with Edward too. He was gorgeous, and his love and protection of Bella was beautiful. Hard not to be drawn into that world.

Although essentially a vampire story, it is also a high school love story, and actually believable. This is a book aimed at young people, but I recommend everyone to read it. I don’t have a bad word against it. This is the first in a four-part series, and I can’t wait for the next installment. One of the best books I have read so far this year.

10/10