Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

iconiconBy the time you get to All Together Dead, book 7 of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Sookie is involved in the vampire world in a pretty major way. With each book, Charlaine Harris is creating a vast world for the vampires, with underground government (area sheriffs and the kings and queens of each state) and politics.

Of course, being vampires, they are a bit more... cutthroat about politics. Plus, there is the anti-vampire religious group, the Fellowship of the Sun, to contend with. And Sookie gets in the middle of all that when the Queen of Louisiana employs her for the vampire summit.

Although I still didn't like the love interest in this book very much, it had its moments. It seems to solidify something in her relationship with Eric, and they do a good bit of saving one another in this book.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

iconiconAlthough I loved all the Sookie Stackhouse books, I do have to say that Definitely Dead was one of my least favorites. Part of it is that I didn't much care for the main love interest in books 6 and 7. He was interesting, but not as compelling for me as Sookie's other love interests (cough cough Eric cough cough).

Definitely Dead is a little confusing if you haven't read the short story "One Word Answer," when Sookie finds out that her cousin Hadley, was a vampire and died. (The short story is in the book A Touch of Dead, which I will review when I'm finished with the novels, since that's when I read it.) I was a bit confused, since up until then there had been only vague mentions of Hadley, and nothing to indicate she was a vampire.

Anyway, one thing I did like about this book is that it introduces a new location and new characters. Like in the third book, Club Dead, Sookie's involvement with the vampires forces her to travel — this time to New Orleans. We also get a wonderful new character, Amelia, who is a witch.

In fact, one of my favorite... um... plot twists happens in this book: Amelia, who becomes one of Sookie's good friends, accidentally turns her lover into a cat. There are a lot of funny moments in the next couple of books owing to that delightful accident.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

iconiconWhen I finished Dead to the World, book 4 of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, I was still on a pretty long wait list for book 5. Remember, I was finishing one of these pretty much every day! So I got impatient and bought the ebook.

Although I was disappointed that Eric didn't play quite as big a role as in the fourth book, I actually kind of knew that already, since I read the Wikipedia page on Sookie Stackhouse. (There — I admit it!) This book also felt more like a mystery than the others (despite the fact that they are called "Southern Vampire Mysteries"), since there is someone killing weres and Sookie has to find out who it is.

As usual, Sookie does a rather spectacular job of saving her own butt. She can certainly hold her own with the vampires, and that's one of the things I like so much about these books!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

iconiconOf all the Sookie Stackhouse books, this was one of my favorites. I like Eric SO much better than Bill, and he plays a much bigger role in this book. In fact, I will probably buy the ebook for this one at some point, just so that I have it.

I'm not sure what I can say about this book without spoiling the third book (and perhaps the third season of True Blood) for some people, but of course the things I said about the earlier books still hold true. Sookie's narrative voice is funny and refreshing, and I love her character's spunk.

I do hope they incorporate this book into the show! I already looked up and there will be a fourth season of True Blood, but who knows how true to the book it will be. It may determine whether or not I remain a big fan of the show.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

iconiconWhen I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, there were long wait lists at my library for the first and second books. There weren't many copies, and I guess probably every teenager or twenty-something girl decided to read a little True Blood over the summer.

I put holds on all the books, however, and I was able to get the third and fourth books from the library. I'll probably go back and buy the ebooks eventually, though, because I liked the books so much — I'm certain I'll want to reread them.

Anyways, Club Dead, the third book in Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, is the basis for the third season of True Blood. We don't have cable, so I haven't seen any of the third (and current) season yet, but from what I've seen of the previews, they are changing a lot more this time. I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to spoil the books (or the show) for anyone; but at the same time, I'm going to run into this problem more and more as I review each book and get further into the series.

For now, suffice it to say that it seems like they are making a lot of changes to the characters of the two leading love interests in the book, Bill and Eric. In the third book, Sookie and Bill are having problems from almost page 1, whereas in the show, he has just proposed to her when he is kidnapped. Although in both the book and the show, Sookie spends the third installment trying to rescue Bill, these differences create a very different feel for why she is trying to rescue him.

Like I said, one of the reasons I like the books so much is how different the main character is from most romantic novels. Not only is she independent, sassy, and blue-collar, she also has a lot of love interests throughout the books. And she saves her own butt more often in the books than in the TV show. In my opinion, that's one of the things that makes the books better.

Don't forget to download your free ebooks!

Just a friendly reminder that today is Friday, and there is a new selection of free classic ebooks available to download from Barnes & Noble. Don't forget to head over there and download them — some of my favorites (like Frankenstein) are included this week!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

iconiconAlthough I haven't posted much lately, it hasn't been because I haven't been reading. In fact, quite the opposite — I've been reading up a storm. As a result, your patience will be rewarded with a daily review for quite some time to come.

Although I have many books to review before and after I read the Sookie Stackhouse books, because I loved them so much I'm going to review them first. I read all 10 books in about the same number of days, and I also read a book of Sookie short stories. Loved. Every. Minute.

I bought the ebook for the second book, Living Dead in Dallas, because I was on a long wait list at the library and, after finishing the first one and loving it so much, I just couldn't bring myself to wait patiently! Enter one of the biggest advantages to ebooks — you can start reading them right away, no matter what time it is, no matter how long the wait list is at the library.

And the second book didn't disappoint, either. It's basically the same story line as the second season of True Blood, with a few differences. Personally, I think the book is better, though of course the show does have the advantage of Eric eye candy.

One significant difference I noticed in the books was the portrayal of Vampire Bill's character. In the show he is presented as Sookie's one true love, but in the books he is old-fashioned and controlling, which she starts to tire of by the end of the second book. I rather like the fact that she is so sassy and independent, and dates a lot in the books — no fairy tale "and they lived happily ever after" here!

If you like vampire books, I can guarantee you'll love Charlaine Harris's twist on the genre!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A follow-up to the review of Barnes & Noble's eReader

Barnes & Noble announced last week that their new ebook reader, a free Nook application for iPhones and other devices, is ready to download. I was a little suspicious, since I've been reading on the eReader regularly and don't see any need to change the software. Plus, having dealt with customer support a few times regarding the eReader, I'm quite convinced that the support team is a bunch of idiots (and maybe the software developers, too).

Turned out my fears were well-founded: People have been having problems with the Nook app. It was nowhere near ready to be launched — people can't even open their ebooks. yet when B&N launched the new app, they stopped making the original eReader available in the app store. Needless to say, I'll be waiting — perhaps indefinitely, but at least until they get the problems ironed out — before I download the new reader.

Having read at least a handful of ebooks on the iPhone now, I definitely think there are a lot of benefits:

* I can read in the dark. (They enable you to set a "nighttime" color scheme that is easier on the eyes. I chose a light grey background with a darker grey font.)
* No more heavy books. I don't have to prop heavy hardbacks or large trade paperbacks up against my legs when I read in bed.
* I can hold the "book" and turn the page with one hand. I can sometimes do this with paperbacks, but it's so much easier when all that's required is a short, one-finger sliding motion across the screen.
* I can have unlimited books and don't have to find the space for them. Of course, there is only so much memory on my iPhone, but I can leave them in my online library (on B&N's server) except when I want to read them.
* I get free classics. There are tons of free ebooks available through Google Books, though they aren't formatted for the iPhone's screen. Also, until September 14th, B&N is also giving away a new selection of their (nicely formatted) classics every week.
* I always have something with me to read. I still think this is absolutely the best part of reading ebooks on the iPhone. No matter where I am, if I get bored I always have something with me. I can open up the eReader and be reading in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, if you didn't already download the eReader app, I advise waiting until they work the bugs out of the Nook app. What a pity they pulled the old app before the new one was really ready.