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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Book Review: Dead to the World (Charlaine Harris)

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With Bill travelling Peru to continue building the vampire database the vampire queen of Louisiana wants, Sookie Stackhouse is rebuilding her life in Bon Temps without him. She has a lot to focus on – her brother is dating a shape shifter, she is still working on her self-control to not read people’s minds, and she is also dealing with the snide remarks about her previous relationship with the vampire.

Sookie finds Eric Northman on the side of the road one night, stumbling, clad only in jeans. There is obviously something very wrong with him – he can’t remember anything about his life or even his position as the Sheriff of Vampire area 5. Pam and Cho show up, and they ask Sookie to look after Eric while they try and catch the witch that cast the spell on Eric. Jason, Sookie’s brother, negotiates a massive fee for Sookie’s help, and the vampires reluctantly agree because they know the witches have put a large price on Eric’s head should he be delivered to them.

The offending witch is Hallow, a powerful, underhanded and corrupt woman who drinks vampire blood and that, combined with her powers, makes her a formidable enemy. Pam tells Sookie that the witch wanted profits from Eric’s vampire bar, Fangtasia, as well as Eric for a lover, and when he refused, she cast the spell on him.

Sookie has another problem to deal with when Shirley Hennessey, Jason’s boss, calls to ask where Jason is because he isn’t at work. Worried, Sookie checks up on him, but although his truck is at home, he is missing. The police don’t seem too overly worried about this, as Jason is known to do whatever he wants.

Sookie takes it upon herself to find her brother. The options of his whereabouts are endless. When the police find tiger tracks near his house, they think he was mauled to death. Sookie also knows that Pam and Cho could very well have taken Jason hostage as insurance while she takes care of Eric, and Sookie is also worried that Hallow and her coven might have taken him.

With Eric having no idea who he is, devoid of his charming but offensive personality, he and Sookie soon become lovers. Pam and Cho propose a plan to take out Hallow and restore Eric, but will they be successful? What will the vampire do when he is his old self again and knows that he has become Sookie’s bed mate? Can Sookie find Jason alive and well?

Rating: 6.5/10

The Fourth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series comes in at nearly the same pace as the previous three. I have to say that I wasn’t as completely enchanted and having fun as with the other books. Sookie really gets around a whole lot and she doesn’t discriminate when it comes to sleeping partners, and that is starting to grate on me. I think she blatantly ignored it most of the time that her brother was missing, because hey, she was banging the hot Viking vampire.

There were a lot of things happening in this book that could have been explored to great detail – Hallow, Jason’s disappearance, an inbred wolf community, Eric losing his memory, the fairy rocking up. Everything was swept under the rug most of the time and not really written to what it could have been.

Hallow turned out to be so disappointing. She was the complete reason that Eric lost his memory, but her character was underdeveloped and she was destroyed as a by-product. I also think the fairy was incredibly lame. Why include her if you are not going to completely incorporate her completely?

Oh yes, and regarding Eric’s memory: It would have been way more fun if Eric had pretended to lose his memory – it jibes perfectly with his character and is something he would do. THAT could have been a plot twist.

Debbie Pelt’s demise was something I found petty pleasure in. No matter my irritations with the heroine, I am still on Sookie Stackhouse’s side and want her to live happy and safe. Debbie was very evil and deceptive about it, and I really like Alcide, who deserves better.

Bill is still his annoying self, and he has tons to make up for in the future books. Talk about moody, difficult and obsessed – and people say Eric is the difficult vampire in here?!

I am definitely continuing with these books, but I do hope that there is a developing story line somewhere. So far the books are completely separated from each other and there is no continuing story line, which is something that can make the books much more enjoyable.

Book Review: Club Dead (Charlaine Harris)

Club Dead

The telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse is still in a relationship with vampire Bill Compton, although it seems like he is more interested in his current, mysterious project than in her. Bill won’t disclose much of his assignment, but makes sure that Sookieknows that it is a secret to be kept from Eric Northman, the attractive Sheriff of Area Five. Bill eventually announces that he is leaving Bon Temps to finish his assignment, and tellsSookie that if he goes missing she should hide his computer in her house and then place herself under Eric’s protection.

Bill is missing for days, and eventually Pam shows up at Merlotte’s. The vampire is full of information: not only does she share that Bill answered the call of Lorena, his previous girlfriend, another vampire, and she tells Sookie that Bill is now actually among the missing, and that Eric is actively looking for him.

A few days later Eric shows up in Sookie’s house and asks her to go to Mississippi and search for clues about Bill. He promises her protection in the form of AlcideHerveaux, a werewolf whose father owes some money to the vampires.

Alcide is attractive and friendly but he also has some issues to deal with. His ex-girlfriend, Debbie is planning to get engaged at the supernatural club in Jackson that Alcide and Sookie plan to search for information. Sookie pretends to be Alcide’s girlfriend, and that makes Debbie very jealous and Sookie gets a new enemy.

Through some misfortune, a dead werewolf and mind reading, Sookie establishes that Bill is being kept in the King of Mississippi, Russell Edington’s mansion. Sookie manages to get her and Eric entry into the mansion, but can they get Bill out alive? How will Sookie deal with her new fascination with Alcide, not to mention her ongoing attraction to Eric? What is up with Lorena and what will Bill have to say for himself when he is finally free, and need to answer why he left Sookie in the first place?

Rating: 6.5/10

The third book in the series, Club Dead, is as fun and frothy as the other two previous ones. The book is well written and structured, but there were places where scenes were drawn out. So far these reads have been fun, interesting and sexy all at the same time (can I please find a man like that?!)

The fun about these books is that it is nothing like Twilight. I don’t know if these were written before or after Twilight, but these books are original and so different from the Stephanie Meyer ones it is funny. For one, Sookie Stackhouse is definitely able to survive without Bill Compton. She speaks her mind and doesn’t mess with the men she knows she won’t choose over Bill. The vampire lore is much more on par with what has always been said – vampires sleeping during the day in coffins, etc.

The addition of Alcidewas a good idea, and I found his humanity a delightful contrast to the vampire mannerisms. I do find it highly amusing that each man Sookie meets wants to jump into her pants (it feels a bit Elena Gilbert-ish) but I still like her character.

Eric Northman still sounds so delicious and hilarious and cocky (I really need to watch True Blood) and I wish he could be featured more heavily in the books.

I’m still irritated that the vampires need to sleep at day though (or more jealous as I would love to sleep during the day)

This series is highly addicting! I’ve been binge reading for the past two weeks on these books but as I am a super-fast reader and not keen to run out of my current obsession, I am going to start having to pace myself!

Read reviews on book one and two here and here

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part One (2011)

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Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is finally ready to marry Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), her vampire boyfriend. Her marriage to him will mean the final severance of her friendship to werewolf Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) who is in love with her and also a mortal enemy to vampires. Bella plans to become a vampire to be with Edward forever, but this means that a war could break out between the Cullens and the Quileute werewolf pack.

On the night of her marriage, Jacob unexpectedly shows up. She lets it slips that she plans to sleep with Edward while she is still human, and he is outraged. His pack restrains him before things get ugly, and he runs off into the woods.

Edward takes Bella to Isle Esme for their honeymoon. They have sex for the first time, and Edward is appalled how he hurt her. With some convincing she gets him to try again, and it goes much better the second time around. Their honeymoon is only marred by a native who suspects that Edward is something supernatural.

Bella wakes up one morning suddenly very sick, and realizes her period is late. She is stunned when she sees a slight bulge in her stomach. They realize that she is pregnant and Edward is furious with himself. They fly back immediately, and Edward promises to save her life – by aborting the unknown thing growing inside of her. She secretly calls Rosalie (Nikki Reed) for help – the vampire who had always secretly wanted a child more than anything. She and Bella are able to convince the rest of the clan to wait and see what happens.

When Jacob hears Bella is back, he races to see her. He is nauseated when he realises what happens, and turns into a werewolf and runs away. His pack makes sense of what is happening, and Sam Uley, the pack leader, decides they must annihilate the creature – and Bella too as it is growing in her. Jacob stands up against Sam, and claiming his heritage as the true leader of the tribe, breaks away. He alerts the Cullens of the wolves’ plan and with them on alert Sam doesn’t dare attack just yet. Jacob is soon joined by Leah (Julia Jones) and Seth Clearwater (Booboo Stewart), turning his pack into three members.

Bella becomes weaker and weaker because her body won’t sustain any food. Jacob is first to notice that the foetus is craving blood. After that, Bella’s health increases slightly. A few days later she goes into labour and gives birth to Renesmee. It seems that she is dead, but Edward refuses to give up. Jacob heads downstairs, fully intending to kill the new-born, but he imprints on her – a powerful love only a werewolf can feel to its true mate.

When the werewolves learn of Bella’s death, they head to the Cullen’s to kill the baby. They stop when they realise that Jacob imprinted – they would never kill his soul mate. While Bella lies on the table, “dead”, Carlisle (Peter Fascinelli) realises that her heart is beating rapidly. She starts to heal as the vampire venom spreads through her veins, and the Cullens clean her up. Bella’s heart finally seizes up, and she awakens as a vampire.

Rating: 7/10

The second last movie of the franchise Twilight was surprisingly good. I know Twilight has a lot of haters out there, but I suspect it has just as many secret fans too. This movie is decidedly gory at times. The birth of Renesmee is disgusting, and Bella’s deterioration during her pregnancy is excellently done. She looks BAD. Kristen Stewart’s acting has developed enough so that she can grimace in pain and look in love (which is not actually acting since she was dating Pattinson at the time. She still mostly looks vacant, but I have to say I spotted improvement.

The rest of the cast pretty much continues to act as the always have done. I don’t know why, but when Kellan Lutz smiles it looks like he is grimacing in pain. Maybe he just forgot his lines. Looks like the type. He should stick to Calvin Klein-ing around (as mentioned before). I think Elizabeth Reaser should have stayed golden haired for the entire series. Her dark hair isn’t true to the books and doesn’t suit. Can vampires even get dye to stick to their hair though?  I still like Nikki Reed as Rosalie. As the character, I am glad she found some happiness by being part at the end with the birth of Renesmee. Rose’s story is perhaps the saddest of all of them, because she just wanted a kid and a husband to grow old with.

The wedding was beautifully done. I loved the dress.  It was as extravagant as in the book, just like Alice planned.

The movie is definitely better than the first three, and it is a decent enough watch.