Book Review – Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead as a Doornail

Author: Christine Harris

Format: Hardback

Published: 2005

 

When I pick up a Sookie Stackhouse novel, many time I feel like I’m putting on warm fuzzy bunny slippers.  There is a familiar comfort to the cadence and the flow of these books that I simply enjoy.  When I read Charlaine’s books I simply just sit back, enjoy the ride and maybe live a little vicariously through Sookie seeing as she gets to be around the types of beings I only get to dream of, vampires and werewolves and the like.

 

While I enjoy the Sookie Stackhouse books and they all have that familiar comfort this book felt a little outside of the norm.  I enjoyed the read and it was just as cozy as I described above but it was lacking at the same time.  In picking up one of these novels I’ve come to expect a good bit of mystery and intrigue, Sookie’s life to be in danger on more than one occasion and for there to be some rather sexy moments between Sookie and a supernatural male of choice.  Sadly this was not the case with the book. It had promise it had intrigue – Sookie’s life was in danger but not in such thrilling ways where I was on the edge of my seat.

 

Sookie also spent most of her time swinging from one even to the next trying to keep her head afloat and not really digging into any mysterious events or deaths even though there was a serial killer roaming around trying to kill shifters.  It was kind of clear at least to me who did the shooting long before Sookie even pieced any of it together and honestly the discovery of who did it was merely by chance.  Additionally the only sexy moment was when Sookie was getting her leg licked by a newly introduced shifter.  It sounds kinky and weird I admit but given the situation it was less kinky and more logical and a bit sexual.

 

Honestly this book in the series was akin to the second movie in a trilogy, lot of important information and filler but a bit lacking in the action.  I will admit it made a lot of sense for Sookie as a character to not get too romantically involved with anyone given everything that had happened in her life.  She had recently been through a lot of drama in the previous books and most people like Sookie would need a break and would sort of swing from event to event as it played in the book – so I can credit Charlene Harris for her use of character development in this book but it was still highly disappointing when you are expecting something a little more both romantically and mystery wise.  I am hoping the next book will pick back up with the romantic interludes and mysterious intrigue.  With that said I’ll have to give this book a 3 out of 5 pages – it is not worth skipping but you don’t want to expect to get much out of this book.

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Book Review – Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Title: Club Dead

Author: Charlaine Harris

Format: Hardback

Published: 2003

 

It’s been a while since I’ve read another Sookie Stackhouse Novel, or at least reviewed it.  After one horrific novel that plays at Vampires I decided to chase that off with something a bit better.  Now I’ll be the first to say that I don’t find the Stackhouse novels to be the end all of Vampires, but they do a better job than the book that shall not be named or as I like to call it ‘the book of dimples’.

Club Dead is the third book in at least a nine book series (I haven’t looked to see if there are even more or not).  This book take a different turn than the first two and wasn’t a classic murder mystery romance story of Sookie with her Vampire boyfriend Bill.  In this book (sorry I will spoil you some)  not everything is perfect in paradise for Sookie and Bill.

In the story we learn more about the Vampire world and the world of Werewolves an shifters as Sookie travels with a Werewolf named Alcide to Mississippi to save Bill’s life as his vampiric life is in danger and she is the only one who can possibly save him by using her mind reading abilities to find him.  Of course, she is having to enter dangerous waters as it is most likely the Vampire King of Missippi that has Bill.   Louisana vampires cannot help as they are tied with the Vampire Queen of Lousiana and a war would break out if things get too involved.  Thus Alcide is hired to help Sookie.

Over all, the tension of the book was decent from the worry and conflict over Bill, as he was ready to just up and leave Sookie high and dry without even properly breaking up with her to be with an old lover.  To a lot of the sexual tension felt as Sookie found herself highly attracted to Alcide and his animal magnetism as a werewolf.  I admit while very little occurred between Sookie and Alcide, it was very appealing to me to read as I have always been quite fond of Werewolves.

This book takes the Sookie character in new directions and really develops her as a person and I admit I’m intrigued to see how much of that will carry into the next books.  Over all the book was a decent read.  The mystery wasn’t too heavy this time around like it was in past books but there were a few driving questions that helped pull the book together.  In the end I will say that while the writing may not be to perfection for some people Charlaine Harris has a way of drawing you in as a reader and making you not want to stop reading till the end.  With such a writing style and ‘romance’ found in the book I honestly enjoyed myself with the book.  As such I will have to give it a 4 out of 5 pages.  If I was rating the story on mystery though I would have to knock things down a peg as again the mystery aspect of the story wasn’t as strong.

Book Review – Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Title: Living Dead in Dallas

Author: Charlaine Harris

Format: Hardback

Published: 2002

 

After reading the first Sookie Stackhouse book (as most people call it) I knew I wanted to read the second and shortly after reading and reviewing the first book I found myself rushing to the library to get the next book.  Unfortunately like took some unexpected turns and I was forced to stop reading it for a time and the conditions that caused me to stop reading caused me to not want to read the book.  Yet the completest in me very much wanted to finish the book so after a few failed attempts to borrow the book I picked it back up thinking I was hardly half way through the story to discover I was more than half way and finished in in a couple of hours.

 

The general story starts with Sookie discovering the death of a friend that was being pinned on Bill Compton who wasn’t to blame even if he isn’t her favorite person.  Of course while this is the setting for a good mystery there is more to the story than just that, in addition to this, Sookie and her abilities are are being sold and rendered to a Coven in Dallas where things take a turn for the ugly as she is forced to meet and face the anti-vampire community as they are involved with the disappearance of a Dallas Vampire.  Of course that disappearance is another mystery to be figured out by Sookie as she is a human and can investigate in day light hours.  Toss into this the fact that Sookie is having trouble with certain vampire characteristics of Bill’s creating some tension and there is also a maenad names Callisto causing some trouble as well.

 

In short, there is a lot going on in this book, though majority of it is set in Dallas where Sookie faces the Dallas coven followed by dealing with the anti-vampire community known as the Fellowship of Light.  In the end everything kind of ties itself up once Sookie is returned home and honestly I felt the conclusion of the death we see at the start of the book and some of the other issues was a bit rushed and trite – not to say that the general story wasn’t good.  I stayed at work extra just to finish the last chapter so it couldn’t be all that bad.  Also, if I hadn’t stopped and picked the book back up I may not have noticed this issue as much, so I will kindly give this book a 4 out of 5 pages and state that I do look forward to finding the time to read the next book in the series despite the fact that I have other books currently in my bag that need to be read first.

BITB Best Books of 2014

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It’s amazing to me how long the blog has been going.  I have our loyal readers to thank for that.  I know that we don’t always get a post every day, but we do try to bring the best reviews we can.  This year had some issues, too.  Illness (we’re better now), new jobs, moving, etc, but we managed to get past all of that and have brought in another new blogger for your enjoyment.

But onto the books.  As you know, Book in the Bag features regular posts from our panel of reviewers.  We all bring with us different backgrounds, experiences, tastes, etc.  The first time I did this, it seemed like the only books we liked were in German or were geared towards kids under eight.   The next year, we were into graphic novels, young adult, and tried-and-true favorites.  This year, it might be a little different – hell, it might surprise even us.

To be considered a top book of 2014, the book had to be given a five out of five review from someone on our panel of important people (ie, our staff reviewers).  The books are:

  • Big Appetites – Christopher Boffoli
  • The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind – William Kamkwabama
  • Invincible: The Ultimate Collection 1 – Robert Kirkman, Corey Walker, Ryan Ottley
  • Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey – Emma Rowley
  • Matilda – Roald Dahl
  • Proud Too Be Weirrd – Ralph STEADman
  • The Gurkah’s Daughter – Prajwal Parajuly
  • Mr. Wuffles – David Weisner
  • Thor, God of Thunder – Jason Aaron
  • Choose Your Own Autobiography – Neil Patrick Harris

Phew.  It looks like we were a tough crowd this year.  Hopefully we’ll find more enjoyable reading next year!

But what about you guys?  What were your favorite books to read in 2014?

Book Review – Choose Your Own Autobiography

Title: Choose Your Own Autobiography
Author: Neil Patrick Harris
Format: Hardback
Published: 2014

NPH is a trip, and I wish I knew him in real life.  This autobiography totally proves that.

For starters, the book is a throw back to the choose your own adventure books of my childhood (and his, he’s not that much older than me), complete with making you flip back and forth around the book for the whole story.

I gotta say, I was totally into those books as a kid, but I had a knack for *always* picking the fastest route to end the book.  I’d turn maybe two pages and then BOOM! i was dead or something.  And in this book, sure enough, I picked the fastest way out and was done in less than five pages.  I’m awesome like that.

So I read through the second attempt and managed to get a pretty good view of his early life – childhood and early breaks – and a huge chunk of his personal life,  but somehow managed to totally miss everything about HIMYM and movies and everything else.  Oops.  But I’ve found the cocktail recipe multiple times, so I’m probably going to need to try that.

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of the CYOA books, I’m going to have to explain them.  You’d read a section, written in second person, and at the end, it’d give you a choice.  You’d pick one and flip to the corresponding page.  Same here, except instead of “A bear is trying to eat you, what do you do?” You’re getting choices like “to read about the time you appeared on broadway…”

 

It’s a must for a child of the 80s, and a must for any NPH/HIMYM/Doogie fan.

Read this book.  Several times.

5/5.

 

 

Book Review – It’s Perfectly Normal

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It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley

Hardback, 1994, 2009

So, we’re back to the Banned Books List.  My library actually had an old copy and the new second edition, so I got them both to compare.  The only difference is an added chapter on the Internet and updating medical information and the resource list at the back of the book.  I ended up reading the newer one, for pretty much no specific reason.  They were both sitting there, I grabbed that first.

Anyway, IPN is a 90-ish page hardback book geared towards kids just about to start puberty.  All of the visuals are illustrations, some a little more cartoon-ey than others, but all drawn quite well.

At the very start of the book, we meet (what else?!) a bird and a bee, and they get to interject their comments for most of the book.  (The Bee is a little less willing than the bird, which is sort of odd since the bee is supposed to be male and the bird female, but whatever…)

As we go through the book, we get chapters on just about everything that somebody needs to grow up – puberty, both for boys and girls, growing up, sexual feelings, etc.

The drawings throughout the book include everything from anatomy to – my personal favorite – the page with male and female in all kinds of shapes and sizes and ages and colors.  A couple of the pics my knee-jerk reaction was OMG!, but really, I thought about how I was raised and what I’m doing at my age to feel okay with my body and myself still, and I think that a book like this would have helped so much.

So this is another book that’s on the banned books list because parents don’t want their kids to understand life when they’re at the right age to get that information, and as I’ve said before, that’s just really sad.

So share this book with any of the kids in your life – but do it the right way.  Have the adults read it too, and be grateful for the opportunity it gives for open, honest communications.  5/5 pages.

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