May 12, 2006

Charlaine Harris

Date: May 11, 2006 6:04 PM
Topic: Charlaine Harris

I love the Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries which features mind-reader Sookie Stackhouse as narrator. The first book, Dead Until Dark, came out in 2001, and I came across it quite by accident while browsing the paperback mystery section in the library. I read it and was hooked. I have made sure to read everyone as they have been published. It's not necessary to read the books in order, but it's probable best to do so. Although Harris, like most series authors tries to bring readers up to speed with each book, a lot of nuance concerning plot and characters are lost.

Some have likened this series to Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels because of the intrepid heroine and the variety of paranormal creatures that abound. There are vampires, of course, and, as in Hamilton’s world, these undead now have made themselves known to the human world and have legal status. Others connected to the nether
world include - werewolves, fairies, witches, were-tigers, were-foxes, and demons. It seems that the list gets longer with every book. Unlike Anita Blake, Sookie stories have a less sex and more plot. Some refer to the series as Anita Blake light.

The settings are usually southern Louisiana. Sookie lives in Bon Temp and often must travel to New Orleans. In the most recent novel -
Definitely Dead (Ace, May 2006) much of the story does take place in the Big Easy. Harris explains in an author’s note that this book had gone to press before Hurricane Katrina, but the reader should keep in mind that the story takes place before the devastation of last summer.

Here are some of the notes I made while reading Definitely Dead: Quite a bit of the first part of the story is about things currently going on is Sookie’s life. Like Eric - the handsome Viking Vampire and the boss of her former lover Bill. Sookie fills in the gaps for anyone new to her musings. She’s had sexual relations with both vamps although not at the same time. Bill was her very first love. But things have been strained between them recently and he is dating someone else although it is obvious to the reader if not Sookie that he still has strong feelings for her.

Eric owns a bar - Fangtasia - in New Orleans? Not sure but somewhere in the state of LA. He also has a thing for Sookie but has pretty much been hands off with her until the novel where he lost his memory and she found him walking naked along a road near where he lived. So they made a great twosome while his memory was blank. Sookie eventually found out that some witches had put a curse on him. She took care of that. Eric was back to normal but without remembering their “close encounter”. Sookie decides it’s best to keep it that way.

In this novel the tall, muscled, gorgeous Quinn comes calling. First he must tell Sookie that the Queen of Louisiana wants her to come to New Orleans. Then he lets Sookie know that he finds her most attractive and of course the feeling is mutual. There are plenty of kisses between them but not much else until close to the end.

Southern Vampire Mysteries in order of publication

Dead Until Dark (Ace, 2001)
Living Dead in Dallas (Ace, 2002)
Club Dead (Ace, 2003)
Dead to the World(Ace, 2004)
Dead as a Doornail (Ace, 2005)
Definitely Dead (Ace, 2006)

May 7, 2006

Danse Macabre by Laurell K. Hamilton

Date: May 7, 2006 5:52 PM
Topic: Danse Macabre by Laurell K. Hamilton

I just received an advance review copy of the new Anita Blake novel -Danse Macabre. Here is how Anita’s narration begins. “It was the middle of November. I was suppose to be out jogging, but instead I was sitting at my breakfast table talking about men, sex, werewolves, vampires, and that thing that most unmarried but sexually active women fear most - a missed period.”

Yes, Anita thinks she might be pregnant! And that’s just the first page, first paragraph! She is talking about this with her best friend, Veronica (Ronnie). So the big question is, assuming Anitareally is preggers - who could be the daddy? She starts ticking off the names of the various lovers - 6 at last count. Then it turns out that Ronnie has reluctantly decided to have a monogamous relationship with her current beau, Louis, a wererat. Now, as she listens to Anita list thevarious, possible dads-to-be, she admits that she is terribly jealous, and that life isn’t fair. Ronnie is stuck with one guy while Anita has so many!

I’m not giving anything away. All of this happens in chapter one.

As for a pregnant Anita, in my opinion, it can’t happen. What’s she going to do with the kid when the ardeur hits?? Doesn’t work!

Bite - An Anthology

Date: May 7, 2006 2:39 PM
Topic: Bite - An Anthology

Bite (Jove, 2004) is a collection of vampire tale by female authors all of whom add a touch of romance to their stories.

Probably the best known is Laurall K Hamilton, author of the very popular Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series. In "The Girls Who Was Infatuated With Death", a desperate mother begs Anita to find her teenage daughter before the girl allows herself to be turned into a vampire. Anita takes the case but needs the help of the gorgeous, seductive vampire Jean-Claude to find the teen. First, however, they must slake their lust before turning to the problems of a runaway.

Sookie Stackhouse, heroine of "One Word Answer" as well as Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series, finds herself in a jam when ordered by the vampire queen of Louisiana to stake a rogue vamp. Fortunately Sookie's undead, former lover Bill steps in to help.

MaryJanice Davidson's "Biting in Plain Sight" is easily the most charming story in the collection. This sweet, amusing tale has a more languid pace than the raucously funny Undead Series (beginning with Undead and Unwed) which brought the author much critical acclaim. Sophie is a vampire who finds true love with Liam, an unpretentious good ol' boy from northern Minnesota. Together they, aided by Betsy (Queen of the Vampires and Eric Sinclair (her sexy consort) track down and eliminate a rather, dumb, bad-guy vampire.

Angela Knight's imaginative romance, "Galahad" is set in the same universe as her novel Master of the Night (Berkley, 2004). Caroline has recently acquired the magical powers of a witch which she uses in combination with those of the vampire warrior Galahad as they fight the forces of evil bent on the destruction of mankind. There is a good deal of action nicely intertwined with erotic play.

May 2, 2006

Fear Me by Stephen Laws

Date: April 30, 2006 4:25 PM
Topic: Fear Me by Stephen Laws

I’m reading Fear Me by Stephen Laws (Leisure, 2005). Very powerful and scary from the first sentence.


Three women, Yvonne, Bernice, and Jacqueline meet in an underground parking garage with plans to kill a certain man who has literally made their lives a living hell. Yvonne seems the most fragile and frightend of them, but when the man they know as Gideon makes his hidious appearance they each, in turn, fire the gun that finally leaves him unmoving and dead. PERHAPS! I’m still uncertain about this, and may not know until I get to the end.

Part 1 Lust

Paul visits his mother in an asylum. The doctors had said she suffered from Alzheimer, but she had been in exactly the same state for 12 years. She was always verbally abusive to her son on his visits. Even so Paul felt a duty to see her as often as possible.Later, after Paul has left, his mother wakes up hearing the mesmerizing voices of the trees singing to her. This often happened, and she was the only one who could hear. Sometimes their song was a comfort other times not. The singing today seemed a mixture. Still she unhesitatingly followed their command to leave her bed and walk outside the hospital. When she arrived at a forested area a stranger appeared with a shotgun, aimed it at her and fired.

Soon after, while at the house, Paul and his father are confronted by a young man who storms into their house and tries to murder both of them. With great difficulty Paul overtakes the man. The father, badly injured, tells Paul that he must run and hide because it is Paul that they seek. Before he can explain what this means, he falls unconscious. Now Paul is left to his own devices which turn out to be more horrifying than he could ever imagine.

Laws knows how to build suspense and keep the spook factor high. This is not a book to read on a dark and stormy night although even as I say this I must admit that yesterday evening I was so engrossed in the story that I kept reading even with a terrifically loud thunder storm overhead. Fortunately the lights stayed on.

I’m almost halfway finished and probably won’t post anymore information about the plot. I do not want to spoil it for anyone. Suffice it to say that chapter by chapter more menacing events occur. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.