Completed Book Challenge 2014

11

completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon

 


 

That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Review: Dead Reckoning – Charlaine Harris

8

dead reckoning

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11

Sookie Stackhouse, Bon Temps barmaid and telepath, has issues in her life when Sam Merlotte, her boss, is having financial issues with the bar. This could mean she will have to find a job. Things are not helped when someone firebombs the bar, though it is unclear whether Sam was the target, or anyone else. Sookie soon learns that Sandra Pelt is out of prison, and is still out for her blood for her sister’s murder – which, naturally, Sookie committed. Sam and his girlfriend, werewolf Jannalynn, enforcer of the Shreveport pack, seem to be having issues, but Sookie cannot get involved with that now.

Sookie is having some strange issues in her relationship with Eric Northman, vampire Sheriff of Area 5. He seems distracted and distant from her lately, and even though they have a blood bond between them, she knows something is up. Matters are exacerbated when Eric and his right hand, Pam, seem to be having endless arguments – of which Sookie seems to be the centre. Victor Madden, the regent of Louisiana, is intent on pushing all Eric’s buttons, in hopes that Eric will snap and that Victor can put him down. Something really needs to be done about him. Sookie is afraid for her life, and calls up her witch friend, Amelia Broadway, to reinforce the wards at her house. Amelia jumps at the opportunity to return to Bon Temps, and arrives with the surprising news that she can break the blood bond between Sookie and Eric. Sookie has been interested for a while, seeing as she wants to know if she loves Eric because she loves him, or if she loves him because of the blood bond.

Severing the blood bond only seems to broaden the gap between Sookie and Eric, and he is beyond furious about her actions. Meanwhile, Sandra Pelt is making a hard play to kill Sookie, who needs to do anything and everything in her willpower to survive. She recently discovered a letter from her grandmother, confessing to having slept with the fairy, Fintan, and having her children through him, and gifts Sookie a cluviel dor, which is a magical and very precious gift that grants her one wish, but only for love. She is struggling with the knowledge she has of her grandmother. Alcide Herveaux, the packmaster of the Shreveport pack, returns to attempt to win Sookie over as well as get her to become the pack shaman. Sookie turns him down, and in a furious fight, kicks Claude and Dermot out of the house, and has Bob and Amelia leave. Amelia is crushed to be thrown out like she is. Dermot and Sookie come to an agreement, and he stays even after everyone else leaves. Sookie also learns that her favour of calling up Bill’s “sister” to save him came with strings he was not willing for, seeing as Judith is in love with him, and he is in love with Sookie.

What will happen between Bill and Sookie? Will he be content just to remain friends? What are Pam and Eric fighting so terribly about? Does Sookie still love Eric, even without the blood bond? Will Sandra Pelt get to Sookie? Will Sam’s bar go under? What is going on between Sam and Jannalynn? What will Sookie do with the cluviel dor? Will Amelia and Sookie sort out their differences? Will a plan finally be hatched to get rid of Victor?

GRADE 5Well these books are definitely taking a bit of a nosedive, but Kim did say that they would. They are getting a bit stale, losing what made them a lot more entertaining and interesting. Not that they are the worst books that you could waste your time with or anything like that, and they still fit the bill for useless and light, but there are just some things that are getting annoying. I think the worst for me (besides always yapping about her faith and what not) is what has happened to Eric’s character. He used to be cocky, cheeky, hilarious, sexy, all those things, and now he is like some brooding lapdog for Sookie, and I am over it. He has practically become nonexistent over the last few books, and it always feels like Harris brings him back in as an afterthought. Surprise, surprise, the whole world still wants Sookie, but the suddenness of Harris bringing Bill back as well as his suddenly chasing Sookie so openly again just doesn’t sit right or feel normal, either. Also, what the hell is up with the immense amounts of incestuous hinting over the last two or three books (more in your face now than ever) about Claude and Dermot and sleeping in beds and picturing each other naked and I have no idea what else? It seems Harris realised it was not hot (no matter how sexy Claude and Dermot are supposedly) and that it just grosses readers out – and tries in a miserable way to address this. Hmmmm… not so great. Makes me feel sick. There was also the whole unnecessary thing with Alcide in Sookie’s bed and all. I don’t know, the logic was more flawed than usual in this book, and no shocker that there was an immense amount of bad stuff happening in a ridiculously small amount of time again. One of the positives, though, is that I absolutely love how Dermot is trying to fit into the human world, and is a lot nicer than Claude, though I love how blunt Claude can be. Then there was the issue of the immense amounts of sex talk in here. It was everywhere. Meh. I did like reading about Bubba again, he always makes me smile. I don’t know, this wasn’t the worst book to waste my time with (seeing as how they read super fast), but these books are starting to drag. Harris doesn’t seem sure of the direction she wants to take the stories in, and once again introduced plenty subplots, and didn’t tie most of them together. Sookie is also becoming exceptionally grating as the books progress. Pity, too.

Review: Dead in the Family – Charlaine Harris

3

dead in the family

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10

Sookie Stackhouse, local Bon Temps waitress and telepath, is recovering from her torturous ordeal in the Fae War that she survived recently. Her roommate, witch Amelia Broadway, moves out of the house, and Sookie is alone and terrified. Her relationship with vampire Sheriff of Area 5, Eric Northman, is also suffering, and she needs to find a way to get out of it. Before she can think about it too much, her fairy cousin Claude Crane asks her if he can move in with her, which she allows. She gets a call from Alcide Herveaux, packmaster of the Shreveport werewolves, asking her if they can use her land on the night of the full moon, to which she agrees.

However, after the full moon, Alcide’s enforcer Basim tells her that there is a body on her land, as well as the scent of a fairy. Eric comes to see Sookie, and the two are interrupted when Eric’s maker, Appius Livius Ocella, appears at Sookie’s house with his latest protege, Alexie Romanov. It seems that Alexei is becoming hard to keep a handle on, and Ocella thought that Eric might be of assistance. Sookie’s blood bond with Eric weakens her even more when she is now aware of all three the vampires through her connection to him, seeing as they all share blood. She tells Eric of the fact that his “tracker”, Heidi, found a fresh body on her land after she told him of the unknown fairy wandering her land previously, and a party is formed to check out who is buried there. Alcide is requested to join, and the fresh corpse the group finds is Basim. It seems that Alcide’s new girlfriend Annabelle may be involved, and he calls a meeting, which Sookie and Jason must attend. However, it seems someone set Sookie up, because soon the cops arrive to investigate the possibility of a dead body on her property.

Sam Merlotte, Sookie’s boss and friend, is having issues at the bar when some of the locals start protesting against the fact that he is a shapeshifter, and are siding with a large majaroty of the population what want the two natured community to register themselves. Bill Compton, Sookie’s ex-boyfriend, is not healing very well from the wounds he sustained protecting Sookie in the Fae War, and seems to think that blood from his maker will heal him. Seeing as Sookie killed Lorena, she wonders if Bill’s “sister” would be of any help, and sets out to track her down to ask for her assistance. Sookie is getting edgy seeing as she has had a run in with Dermot, her great-uncle  that fought against her great-grandfather in the Fae War, who looks exactly like Jason but wants her dead. Scared of that, Sookie is also progressively getting more peeved with the fact that Eric has not been in contact with her, and that he is miserable with Ocella being around with Alexei.

Will Bill ever heal? What will happen to Sam in the Bon Temps community what with people now deciding that he is not like them, and that he will pay for it? Who killed Basim and tried to frame Sookie for it? Will Eric be able to help Ocella with Alexei? Will Ocella leave Eric alone when all is said and done? Was Annabelle involved with whatever happened to Basim?

GRADE 4.5So this one really didn’t thrill me so much. There were some serious issues that I had with it, things that have been irritating me a while since I have been reading these, but that just reached a crescendo. For me, a huge issue is the way Sookie continually refers back to her Christianity and faith and the type of Christian she is, and how her thoughts are not Christian enough or something like that. I absolutely cannot stand people that are like that. Don’t tell us all about how you are a good or a bad Christian because of your choices, just get the hell on with it already. People that talk like that, for me, are pretentious and not as devout as they may claim. Ten books on, every book has brought it up without fail. I am over it. Then, what was this ridiculous stuff of oneys and twoeys and deaders all of a sudden?!  As if weretiger, werepanther, wereanimal, wereanything and fairies weren’t embarrassing enough, it went on in this direction, too. Uhm… it looks even  more ridiculous. Dead in the Family also didn’t contain a particlar amount of humour, and Sookie is (again) whinging constantly and everything is still about her. It was interesting to read about Eric’s maker, but it was seriously underplayed, and silly. I wanted just a little more detail there. Harris also seems to have a thing of bringing famous dead people back. I love how Bubba is around in the other books, but seriously, how many famous dead people could you possibly rewrite? However, Alexei, shallow as his character was, most certainly had potential as the history surrounding the slain Russian royal family has always been interesting. Anyway, besides that, there is not really too much to report on further in here. It reads quickly (as do all the others), but squandered scenes that could have resonated more (Bill’s illness, Caroline Bellefleur learning about Bill, Ocella’s return, Eric’s fear, the protesters against the two natured, Sam’s bar, the fairy that is “stalking” Sookie, etc). Plus two… where was sexy, snappy, cheeky Eric the Viking?! Also, before this I had to read a short story called Two Blondes, and I have absolutely no idea why I had to. There was no mention of that little adventure or the politics of it, the whole thing with Victor taking over is taking quite the backseat, Sookie’s stilted psychology after her torture just righted itself way too quickly, Amelia disappeared quickly and Claude moved in fast. Nah, definitely not my favourite of the lot, to be honest, it feels really inconsistent with the other books.

Review: Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris

7

dead and gone

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9

Sookie Stackhoues lives and waitresses in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and is telepathic. A big change occurs in the world when the the wereanimals make their presence known to the world. Things are never going to be the same again, and Eric Northman, vampire Sheriff of Area 5, has done his best to ensure that the public announcement goes smoothly. Sam Merlotte, Sookie’s boss, is a shapeshifter, and the community seems to take this relatively well. Arlene Fowler, Sookie’s ex-friend and Merlotte’s waitress, has become heavily entwined with the cult called the Fellowship of the Sun, and resigns when she knows what Sam is. Sam’s stepfather doesn’t take the coming out well, and Sam rushes off to Texas to his mother who was shot when the announcement came out. Sookie is left in charge of the bar, and has her work cut out for her running the bar while Sam is gone. Sookie is also getting irritated with the fact that Octavia Fant, her witchy roomate Amelia’s mentor, is still staying with them, and it was not really Sookie’s choice. At least Bob, Amelia’s former lover who she turned into a cat, is back to his normal ways.

Sookie learns from her great-grandfather and fairy prince, Niall Brigant, that she should be careful. He has powerful enemies, and Braendan, another fairy prince, is intent on hunting all part fairies down and killing them as he sees them as abominations, and then sealing the two worlds off. Sookie has not seen Eric in a few months, but finally one night she is called out to see him at his bar, Fangtasia, and she is given a package to deliver to Eric. In front of the new King of Louisiana, Felipe De Castro, who owes Sookie for saving his life, Sookie gives Eric a package which contains a ceremonial knife. Afterwards, she learns that she is somehow tricked into a vampire marriage to Eric, meaning that nobody can take her. The marriage is only recognised by vampires.  The FBI shows up to question Sookie about her telepathic abilities and the identity of Barry Bellhop after they found out about the help she provided at the bombing of the Pyramid of Gizeh, but that will have to wait when her brother Jason’s pregnant wife, werepanther Crystal Norris, is found crucified in front of Sam’s bar. Suddenly the whole town suspects the worst of Jason again, and there needs to be some way to clear him. Sookie is terrified of having the FBI take her life away.

Eric and Sookie, meanwhile, are getting closer, and the more Sookie learns about Niall’s fairy war, the more danger she is in. Eventually she has to call in favours from there Weres and the vampires to keep her protected, and she is suddenly glad she had those chips to call in. Arlene seems to want to make things right between her and Sookie, though upon arrival it looks like Arlene and her Fellowship friends have something dark and evil in store for Sookie, and she calls in detective Andy Bellefleur to help her out. Things are getting more dangerous as Sookie is hunted down by Braendan’s people, and her fresh and new relationship with Eric causes some strife between her and Sam, which is unfortunate.

Will Braendan’s people get hold of Sookie? Will her favours that she has called in be enough? Will her and Sam get over her seeing a vampire again? What does Sookie’s vampire marriage entail? Will the FBI leave Sookie in peace? How will Eric and Sookie work out now? Who murdered Crystal Norris? How long will Octavia still be with Sookie and Amelia?

GRADE 6.5This was more of a return to form for me, and I enjoyed Dead and Gone. The wereanimals finally came out of their shell, and it went semi-smoothly… in Bon Temps, at least. Things moved along relatively quickly, and even the fairy stuff in here didn’t irritate me. In fact, I would like to applaud Harris for doing real fairies – creepy, scary, brutal warriors, and not this Tinkerbell crap. I know that sounds mad, but when it gets down to traditionalist fae stuff, that can be really interesting. While this was not too much of the lore and all that, it was just nice to have something a bit more hardcore you know? The war that was waged (unlike the two wars in the last book) was also pretty heavy. I liked Tray and Amelia seeing each other, too, and that Sookie and Bill have found a way to sort of be friends, which I like. Jason is still a twat, though what happened to Crystal was heavy, even if they were separated at the time. I was so happy when Sookie and Eric started kicking it together again. Yep, that was me, happy as can be. The fact that he has his memories back is great. Quinn’s quick visit to Sookie initially felt like a total waste of time, but then it all made sense. Arlene is also a shallow and foul person, so that was also something. Not a shock, not by a long shot, but still. This was a book that contained a hell of a lot of deaths, but again, you aren’t particularly attached to any of these characters, so it isn’t like Rowling-Ripped-Out-My-Soul bad, just a loss of a character you got used to popping up from time to time. I enjoyed Bubba making an appearance again, he is always welcome.

Review: All Together Dead – Charlaine Harris

11

all together dead

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7

Bon Temps barmaid and telepath Sookie Stackhouse attends the vampire summit with Sophie-Anne Leclerq, Queen of Louisiana. The summit has been shifted due to the catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina, and Eric Northman, vampire sheriff of Area 5, is unhappy that Sookie is going as a part of the queen’s party. Pam, Eric’s “child”, shares with Sookie that she has messed with his head in some way, and that he does not think properly anymore. At the summit, vampire trials will be held, and Sophie-Anne stands accused of killing her husband, Peter Threadgill, king of Arkansas. Sookie is now not only part of the entourage, but also as a witness, and will have to testify at the trial. Sookie has multiple jobs to do, and at the same time she is desperately attempting to purge her life of Bill Compton, her vampire ex that broke her heart. Sophie-Anne, however, is looking to use Sookie’s telepathic abilities to make sure that the people that are investing in her campaign after her displacement from New Orleans are genuine, and does not really want her distracted.

Arriving at the convention, Sookie meets with Barry “Bellboy” Horowitz, the only other telepath she has ever met in her life, who used to be bellhop at the Silent Shore Hotel in Dallas. It appears that Barry is now a part of Stan’s entourage. Stan is the king of Texas. Sookie is relieved that she has a sort of friend with her. Sookie’s weretiger boyfriend, Quinn, runs the events company that is hosting the convention, and Sookie sees him on and off while he is there. It seems that Quinn is as popular as ever in the vampire community, and she would love to know why. Sadly for her, she soon learns his deep and dark secret, and it changes things a little for them. Sophie-Anne wishes to broker a deal with Jennifer Cater, who has made the allegations against the queen. When going to meet with her, Sophie-Anne’s party discovers that the Arkansas party has been butchered. Upon leaving the scene, Sookie suggests that Sophie-Anne appoint her progeny Andre to step up as a the new king of Arkansas, a suggestion they all take seriously.

Things are not going well when more corpses turn up, and Sookie discovers a bomb near the queen’s room. Just when it looks like Sophie-Anne’s trial is off, an Arkansas survivor steps forward and keeps the trial going, which Sookie promptly has thrown out, and a would-be assassin is staked at the trial. She is very unhappy, too, when Andre approaches her to make her drink his blood, to bind them, and she is terrified and refuses. When things start looking really bad for her there, Eric steps in to save the day, much to Sookie’s chagrin, and she is forced to drink his blood instead. Quinn discovers this, and is furious with her and the vampires. No matter that, Sookie is now irrevocably tied to Eric, and will never be free of him. The king of Kentucky seems overly paranoid of something and has two Britlingers protecting him. The Fellowship of the Sun members are vehemently protesting outside the hotel that vampires are evil. Sookie and Barry band together to look into the deceased assassin to find some answers during the day, as answers need to be provided about whose life is in danger, who knows what, and what is coming.

Does someone want Sophie-Anne dead in particular? Does someone just want to kill all vampires? What is the conspiracy? Who murdered the Arkansas party? Who planted the bomb near the queen’s room? Will Sookie ever accept how closely linked she and Eric are? When will Sookie successfully move on from the hurt that Bill caused her? Will Sookie and Quinn work through their issues? Can they make their relationship work? What is it about Quinn’s past that Sookie does not know, but that has the powers to change everything? Will Eric ever work out his feelings for Sookie?

GRADE 7I had a great time with this one again. Things were definitely picking up. Still little Bill, which is fine by me, he is a bit bland and boring. Quinn made his appearance in here, but it was not overbearing, and the whole thing between Eric and Sookie was discussed a little bit more, something I did appreciate. No matter what happens there, they are tied together, and though Sookie “loathes” him, she also adores him, and he is awfully frustrated the he cannot remember the time he spent with her and what he owes her. The pace was nice, and there were so many plots going on at the same time here but it worked, it never got too much or overbearing. Andre, a character that I liked, has become rather not cool, sadly. Pam, naturally, is still endlessly entertaining. Also, the return of Barry Bellboy was fun, I like him and Sookie, and how they work together. It was interesting for me to read more about the vampire politics as well as how they do things, truly fascinating. The conversations between Barry and Sookie were cool, too, all in italics. This books kept me reading, kept me interested, all the way through. There was more stuff going on, but nothing overwhelming. Also, Harris worked in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and this is the first piece of literature that I have read that has talked about Katrina so much. The vampires are irrevocably tied to the South, so it was nice that it was included, though Katrina was one terrible natural disaster. Finally some of Quinn’s past is revealed, and I must say that it was not even remotely what I expected at all, it was pretty sad.

Review: Dead to the World – Charlaine Harris

15

dead to the world

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4

Sookie Stackhouse, local barmaid of Bon Temps and telepath,  gets a shock one night when returning home after her ex-boyfriend, Bill Compton, informs her that he will be doing some more research in Peru for the queen of Louisiana to construct the vampire database. She has made her New Year’s resolution not to beaten up again. On her way home, mopey and depressed, she comes across a half naked Eric Northman, Sheriff of Area 5, and Bill’s boss. Not that Sookie has any love for the man, nevertheless she stops to find out the problem. It rapidly becomes evident that Eric has no memory, and that he is in danger. She takes him home to care for him. The following night, she meets with Eric’s protege and business partner, Pam, as well as Chow, the bartender at Fangtasia, the bar they own. Jason Stackhouse, Sookie’s brother, soon figures that Eric is a vampire, and that Sookie is going to need to harbour him. Seeing as poster have been put up around town, offering a $50 000-00 reward for the Viking vampire, Jason arranges that Sookie be paid $35 000-00 for the duty.

Eric has been cursed by powerful witches, who are also werewolves, and this causes a problem. Hallow, the woman that cursed him, is intent on finding him. Sookie is dealing with other issues when she is contacted by Jason’s boss and learns that he has gone missing. Detective Andy Bellefleur and company are not particularly willing to take things seriously, and blow it off. Sookie is worried, and knows that Crystal Norris, the girl Jason was with on New Year’s Eve, is a werewolf. Making enquiries in Hotshot, where the girl lives, proves fruitless, though she is courted by Calvin Norris, the leader in the area. Sookie travels to Shreveport to meet with Alcide Herveaux, a Were who helped her recently when she was looking for Bill. It seems that he is back with his good for nothing ex, Debbie Pelt, who hates Sookie with a passion. Alcide takes Sookie with him to tell the packmaster of the powerful Were witches, as well as their power that is garnered from drinking vampire blood. The pack gets involved when one of their own is found slain.

Sookie needs to find her brother, Jason, and the police are starting to get involved. Eric, on the other hand, is showing no signs of recovering his memory, though he and Sookie are getting closer. Sookie has always been an unattainable conquest for Eric, and those walls fall away when Eric, helpless, falls in love with Sookie. She is lonely, and depressed, and yields to this unknown man, who is nothing like his former self. She needs to get over Bill, and she needs to find her brother. The witch coven needs to be stopped, so that the world can be put to rights again. Eric needs protecting, but it seems that a war is cooking up between the witches, who want to take over Shreveport, and the Weres and vampires.

Will Eric recover his memory? Will Sookie be able to protect Eric? What will happen with their relationship if Eric’s memory comes back? Will Debbie ever leave Sookie alone? Will Alcide ever get Debbie’s claws out of himself and go on with a normal life? Where is Jason? Is he dead or alive? Is he hurt? Will Sookie be able to stick to her New Year’s resolution of not being beaten up? Will the Weres and vampires band together to defeat the witches?

GRADE 7.5I must admit that this book entertained me far more than I expected. I can probably call it my favourite of the series so far. I had so many laugh out loud moments, and I was endlessly entertained by the events of the book. Eric Northman is by far my favourite character in the series, and I love getting to read more about him than anyone else. He is cocky, arrogant, extremely self-serving, and he happens to be funny as hell and extremely sexy. However, reading of an Eric that was definitely not himself in the slightest was jarring yet highly amusing, seeing as Eric reverted to a much more old school and conservative kind of man, believing Sookie needed to be protected and provided for, as well as taking Jason on about it. What I also liked (yes, I am likely to be shot for this) was that there was virtually no Bill. Not because I don’t like him, but because he is very bland and boring at the best of times. Sookie finally jumped Eric’s bones, something I have been waiting for for ages, though I was very sad at the conclusion about how things went there. Yes, I have been dreaming about Eric getting his way and seeing how things would turn out for them after that. The books speeds along, and introduces us to new characters, and I must say that Calvin Norris was interesting and well put together, though not Sookie’s type at all. He has manners, and no matter where he is from, he has pride and power. Jason going missing was something that was important, but at times did not feel important at all. I like Jason, and even though he did not feature heavily in this book, he did provide for much of the humour in it. Hallow was a total disappointment in the end though, I was expecting more bang, and there were certainly flaws, but oh well, you can’t have it all. It is a light, fluffy read, so don’t go in expecting a work of art, but it worked for me, and it was a quick read, and it hit the spot for me.

Review: Living Dead In Dallas – Charlaine Harris

20

living dead in dallas

The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2

Sookie Stackhouse, Bon Temps, Louisiana barmaid, is called from her regular job at Merlotte’s to do some work for the newly recognised vampires. A deal she had made with vampire bar owner and head of Area 5, Eric Northman, allows him to use her telepathic abilities to garner information from humans in exchange for turning them over to the proper authorities, and letting the humans deal with their indiscretions. On just such a meet on night, while fighting will Bill Compton, her undead boyfriend, Sookie is attached by a mythical maenad to send a message to Eric. Arriving in tatters, Sookie is doctored by Pam and Chow (other vampires that own Fangtasia), Eric, and Bill, and delivers the message. Eric needs to pay tribute, or Callisto, the maenad, will bring her madness.

Sookie is furious to have been the message as she was gravely wounded, and soon hears that the job Eric has for her is to go to Dallas with Bill to meet with Stan Davis, head of Area 6, to assist him with her abilities. Meanwhile, there is trouble in Bon Temps when Lafayette Reynolds, a gay cook of Merlotte’s, turns up dead in detective Andy Bellefleur’s car one morning. Sookie makes the trip to Dallas regardless, meets with Stan, and learns that he is looking for his “brother” Farrell, who went missing and has not been sighted in five days. She does what she can, and traces return that she will have to visit The Fellowship of the Sun, a cultist group of people who are dead set against vampires living among people, viewing them as abominations and as the damned. Sookie proves to be an asset to Stan and his people. She is tasked to visit The Fellowship of the Sun the following day with Isabel’s human, Hugo, and do some investigating. Sookie and Bill are extremely unhappy that Eric has turned up in Dallas under the pretext of being Leif, from California, to oversee their business, though it seems it is his prerogative.

Sookie meets with Hugo the next day, and the two set out to meet The Fellowship of the Sun. Upon arrival, the meet Sarah Newlin, wife of Steve, the man who established and runs the “church”. Sookie is getting bad vibes from Hugo as well as the other Fellowship members, and soon realises that Hugo is not on the side of the vampires, but the side of the Fellowship, and when she attempts to leave she is taken prisoner. Sookie is desperate to escape, and tries frantically to communicate with Barry, a bellhop at the Silent Shore Hotel they are staying at that happens to be a telepath. She needs to warn Bill and the rest about the Fellowship’s plans, and about how Godfrey, an extremely old vampire, is prepared to meet the dawn to atone for his sins of the past few centuries. It seems that the vampires are not the only ones interested in the Fellowship, as Sookie meets another shape-shifter there, one who will be extremely valuable to her. It seems that Sookie will not make it out. Back in Bon Temps, Portia Bellefleur, Andy’s sister, is doing her best to help him figure out who is responsible for Lafayette’s murder so she can clear his name.

Will Barry receive and relay Sookie’s message of danger? Will the Fellowship burn more vampires? Will Farrell die with Godfrey, who wishes to do so by choice? Will the maenad unleash her madness on the small town of Bon Temps? Who killed Lafayette, and was Andy somehow involved? Will he be able to solve the crime?

GRADE 7This was certainly not as tightly written as its predecessor, but it was a light and fast read nonetheless. The one thing I did not like so much is how the maenad was brought in, presented as a big deal, and then forgotten about toward the end. Like what was the point, really? Sookie is also a little more grating than one would like in this one, permanently whining about her relationship with Bill, and fighting with him constantly. Not everything he does is a personal slight. I don’t know, maybe my mind just doesn’t work the same way as most girls, but in any event. Eric provided the bulk of the humour in this one, once more. He is so cheeky, so dark, and really just entertaining. I enjoyed the concept of a cult church banding together against the vampires, and I suppose it wasn’t too bad to hear about more shape-shifters and that. Sookie did spend an awful lot of time kissing other guys though, which frustrates me because by goodness, pick one and get over it. If you aren’t happy with the dead dude, get yourself someone else, stop putting them all in danger because Bill is terribly jealous, or because you want a kiss in sunlight. I really am not a fan of reading about things like that. Or watching them, for that matter. What does that make this, a love square? Sookie in one corner, Sam, Bill, and Eric laid out in the rest? Not cool. Not an awful lot happens in here, or more like it does but in a hurry. The maenad, Callisto, is brought back at the end and feels like a real footnote in it all. Lafayette, too, is a story arc that was introduced, forgotten, then brought out again later to be worked with, but that was alright.