Book Review: Definitely Dead (Charlaine Harris)

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Book #6 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries Chronicles

Plot: Since Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has so few living relatives, she hates to lose one – even her cousin Hadley, undead consort of the vampire Queen of Louisiana. Hadley’s left everything she has to Sookie, but claiming that inheritance has a high risk factor. Some people don’t want her looking too deeply into Hadley’s past, or Hadley’s possessions. And they’re prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. Whoever it is, they’re definitely dangerous – and Sookie’s life is definitely on the line…

Rating: 7/10

I reviewed these books way back here, and boy, I seemed to have hated it quite a bit back then. It sucks, because I really seemed to enjoy it this time around. I was a bit worried that I would get confused because I started in the middle of the series, but luckily Harris doesn’t mind reminding her readers of previous events (incessantly so) and repeating information all the time here and there. Is Definitely Dead a literary masterpiece? Oh hell no. What it has is very grownup vampire business, and it a significant amount of sexy time in it, and the characters have a way of talking southern that is so obvious that the author really wanted them to sound southern. So if you don’t mind some hillbilly vampires, you are headed in for a good time.

Anyway, I enjoyed the following:

Quinn – he comes across as so big and masculine and human. I liked that. I know the whole story is mostly about Sookie and vampires, but this guy was at least partly human and I thoroughly enjoyed that. Let me just say it – totally my type of guy.

Bill fessing up to his true reasons for arriving in Bon Temps. I am so not team Bill, I’ll tell you that. He’s just too ick and grouchy and needy and a general pain in the ass. Sookie is welcome to choose Eric, Quinn, Alcide or even Sam Merlotte, but I won’t deal with her ultimately choosing Bill.

Sookie having fairy blood – her breakdown about it was super annoying but I did appreciate it that it explained the attraction all the supernatural creatures had towards her.

The books are surprisingly well written. Like I said, no masterpiece, but it doesn’t drag and the characters aren’t insufferable. I really hated Tara in the TV series, but she is much more tolerable in the books. Pretty much everyone is more tolerable in the books – even Bill – because I felt suicidal every time Stephan Moyer said “soookie” in the series. UGH.

What I didn’t like:

It annoyed my quite a bit that so many things happen to Sookie. Yep, I get that she’s the heroine and I get that things need to happen to move the plot along, but sheesh, if someone isn’t killing her cousin they are trying to kill her. The attack on Sookie and Quinn by the young vampires?Quinn taking her to that strange bar? Is he a dumb dumb? Like WHY? Jake Purifoy? I mean come on, he was written into the story for absolutely no reason – and I’m not on board with what happens with him in the next book either. I think adding so many witches was the first mistake Charlaine Harris made in this series – You can only pile so many supernatural creatures into a book and expect it to work out.

I also have some grief with the Queen of Louisiana. If we can focus on the little fact that there is a vampire Queen for Louisiana first. It is so preposterous. I have no idea about the gross capital income of that State or even its’ size, but allocating a Queen to it seems quite severe. And then her name is Sophie-Anne LeClerq. I understand that I’m dealing with a book where the main character’s name is Sookie Stackhouse, but I need good names for characters or I always feel a little bit done in. Sophie-Anne is also a bit of a pain and seems to have no real reason for her inclusion in the story except for Sookie to meet hot men, get rich and travel. Okay, apparently I need a Sophie-Anne in my life, so there we go.

I didn’t like that Alcide was just cut from the book. I love me some Alcide man. The fact that they chose to keep the Pelt melodrama and chuck Alcide was yet another bad choice, but anyhoo.

It sounds like I wasn’t all that fond of the book – but I actually was! It is in a nutshell some very vacant reading, it doesn’t require any brainpower (I have none to spare while exams are ongoing) and the story is fun. If I can deliver some honesty here, while I am MUCH more tolerant of Twilight than the usual populace on the internet, I do think the idea of virgin 100-year vampires is ludicrous. The vampires might have zero sexual inhibition in The Southern Vampire Mysteries, but at least that is more believable than all that prudishness.

Have you read the Southern Vampire Mysteries, and in particular Definitely Dead? What is your opinion of the book? Let me know!

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Movie Review: Magic Mike XXL (2015)

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Plot:Three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance.

Rating: 6.5/10

The thong wearing boys in bandannas are back. Whether we really wanted them to or not, they are and they are humping more than ever. Anyone who labels this franchise as good really shouldn’t be allowed to speak out loud, and I’m guessing they think Fifty Shades of Grey is the best movie of the year, but XXL isn’tthat bad. Sure, brain cells die and straight men won’t watch it no matter how whipped they are, but it can be fun if you take a good dose of humor in. Maybe some wine as well, as Andie MacDowell’s character discovered.

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I will go as far as to say that XXL is slightly better than the first movie. It works hard for some humor, and although the delivery is terrible in places, it was cute. The cheese is nearly as bad as The Expendables franchise, and I cringed in some places. Most of it comes from Joe Manganiello, who talks ALL THE TIME. I’m not sure why they upgraded him from all that grunting in the first movie. He’s the type of guy who just needs to grunt and girls are going to be happy. With plenty of references to his extra-large… package… and extremely corny lines, this guy is all over the place. I mean: “you want to pop the hood” is an actual line in here. Priceless. I’m not overly surprised how bad it all goes down as his main claim to fame is being Alcide Herveaux in True Blood. Matt Bomer gets time on the screen too, some character lines, which was nice – he is one of the few in here who has acting skills. He also looks like Prince Charming. Gorgeous.

Then there is the delightful Channing Tatum, a man with so much charm and boyish good looks he can do anything and make it work. He seemed a bit bored with this movie, but he was cute and entertaining all the same.

Then there is the fairly large female ensemble cast – starting with Amber Heard who made a much better lead female character than the very irritating Brooke in the original Magic Mike. Heard, who plays Zoe, is really not annoying, and that is just great. Her role in here is murky since there is no involvement between her and Mike. She’s just a girl who is charmed by Magic Mike, but no sexy sexy apparently. Which turned out fine – I really hope all women out there get that male strippers are not there to love you.

Jada Pinkett Smith also has a role as a sexy lady with lots of money who helps out Mike and his friends when they need it. Then there is Andie MacDowell who just really made me cringe with her stereotypical older wine loving mama. Elizabeth Banks also does a surprise pop-up, which I don’t really understand but rolled with it.

Anyway, don’t watch it if you are a straight male, or a female that takes offense quickly. It is hilarious though, embarrassing and perfect for a girl’s night full of silliness. No one ever got hurt by looking at gorgeous male bodies, did they?

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PS: Maybe just their dignity.