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.

Advertisements

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 – Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Until Dark

Author: Charlaine Harris

Format:  Hardback

Published: 2001

 

For the longest time I have been curious about the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  I knew there was a TV show that was based on the novels and that the novels had to deal with some of my favorite mythological creatures Vampires and Werewolves, though truth be told I am more a Werewolf girl than a Vampire girl but seeing as Werewolves are not in the media lime light I’ll take what I can get.

 

Picking up the book, I was surprised and raptured away very quickly by the story it did not take very long for me to be sucked in and lost in the world of the story and intrigued by everything about Sookie and her relationship with the new local Vampire Bill, the characters were real and dimensional in my opinion and I simply had a lot of fun reading, it.

 

As there are lulls in my line of work, I tend to read at work.  As I was reading I found myself getting frustrated when I was expected to do my job.  I did it of course because it was my job but I wanted nothing more but to continue reading the book.  If it says anything I rarely read a book like this in one day and I pretty much read it in one day and I am clamoring for more.  I am quite literally sad that I don’t have the next book in the series, I have lots of books but not the next one.

 

To give an over view of the book Sookie is a girl with the ‘disability’ of being able to read minds who has always wanted to meet a Vampire ever since they had become known and acknowledged in society.  She met one and found that he was the one being that she couldn’t read the mind of.  From there they got to know each other and drew close as Sookie took it upon herself to look into the murders of some girls who are similar to her as a way to protect Bill the Vampire as Vampires were being looked to as the potential killers.

 

It is hard to describe the plot of the story in some respects but it is quite a good read and I enjoyed it very much.  Despite how much I enjoyed the book, I have to still give it a 4 out of 5 pages.  It is fantastic but I don’t think it quite hit the levels of a must read for all.  Good but not that good.

Writer Wednesday – Terri-Lynne Smiles

1. Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
Terri-Lynne Smiles

2. What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
Cross-genre novels. Currently, The Rothston Series combines elements of science fiction and contemporary fantasy into a believable explanation for real world events. Next year when the series is finished, I have a number of other novels to be released, including a murder mystery without a murder, a futuristic thriller set on an isolated planet/colony, and a discovery story about a woman who finds herself wrongfully imprisoned. The commonality is that they all involve science in one form or another.

3. What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
The Rothston Series is what’s hot for me right now. The first book, Foreseen, introduces the college-age characters in an exciting romp into the world of adepts – people who can covertly change the decisions made by those around them. The second novel in the series, Choices, follows the two protagonists on a tense and sometimes terrifying trek around the globe as they flee for their lives. It leans slightly toward horror in some of their encounters but sets the stage for the final two installments of the series. Origins, the third book, will be out later this fall, with Common Ground concluding the series in 2015.

4. What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
I don’t have a favorite book (unless you count 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias), but I have several authors I enjoy for different reasons. I’ll spare your readers my long-winded explanations of the strengths and weaknesses of each and just stick to the list:

  • Edgar Alan Poe
  • Agatha Christie
  • Dean Koontz
  • Ray Bradbury
  • David Baldacci
  • J.K. Rowling

5. What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
I was a healthcare lawyer for over 25 years before leaving to pursue writing full-time (meaning almost every waking moment). Writing is much more difficult and absorbing than law. I’m also an active volunteer for a number of charitable organizations and the Board Chair of the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

6. What link can we find you at? (One or two please; don’t go overboard here!)
Main Website – www.terrilynnesmiles.com
Facebook – Author Page – https://www.facebook.com/TerriLynneSmiles
The Rothston Series on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Foreseen-The-Rothston-Series/

 

 

 

*****

On Reading…

Reading is important for everyone – writer or not. I can’t say that enough. I read about an hour or two a day but don’t stick to any particular genre – I find that too limiting in terms of voice and style. For example, in the past two months, I finished Veronica Roth’s light YA novel Divergent, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and John C. Brewer’s international thriller The Silla Project. I am three-quarters of the way through Michael Williams’ literary Trajan’s Arch and failed at reading Brandon Sanderson’s high fantasy Elantris. I have also started Malcolm Gladwell’s nonfiction Outliers, and am re-reading from cover-to-cover 20 Master Plots by Ronald Tobias. During this same period, I also read two unpublished manuscripts – one romance, one contemporary fantasy – and portions of two proposed how-to books. I used to give up on novels that didn’t rivet me to my seat, but now force myself to finish if I can because each book I read provides more insight into writing – either by positive or negative lesson. Nonfiction, on the other hand, enhances my understanding of the world, which then informs my writing. That means if I’m not getting anything out of a nonfiction book by the end of the first chapter, I’m unlikely to go further.

Anyone who writes fiction has heard over and over that reading is essential to writing. This is one of the few “truths” for authors. If you’re short on time, don’t abandon your reading. If you don’t have time to read, your writing will stagnate.

 

imaginarium

Book Review – Halls of Ivy by Roland Nuñez

Title: Halls of Ivy

Author: Roland Nuñez

Format: Paperback

Written/Published: 2010

Today I am actually reviewing a book that was a request for our blog.  It is the first of many on my list.  Halls of Ivy is New Adult novel that focuses on a series of suicides that have been occurring on a college campus that aren’t quite what they appear to be.  As it turns out these suicides may actually have more nefarious connections than simple suicides something along the lines of murder.  Over all the concept of the book sounds promising but I found the execution to be severely lacking.

 

As a fan of murder mystery and a writer of said genera I have come to have certain expectations of a murder mystery.  What I would qualify as a fantastic mystery is one where I cannot figure out who the murder is as I am reading and when I get to the end I can look back and ask myself how did I miss all these clues that were laid out here, here and here.  That was not the case in Halls of Ivy.  To be honest I wouldn’t call Halls of Ivy to even be a good mystery.  There was no mystery or true investigative style or line that one could follow along and try to puzzle things together along with the protagonist.  It was a presentation of scenes of scenes with no connections between how this one even lead to this next event or what impact certain things had on others.  To be honest book was more set up and less murder mystery.

 

The cause behind the suicides was not even mentioned or indicated until the last third of the book and when the cause was brought up there was no question that it was the cause of the suicides.  It wasn’t enough for a case to be made properly to like say the police or an authority figure but in the world of writing there was no question and the character even was strongly inclined to say this is more than likely the cause – allow me to dig deeper to verify this.  This left no mystery and the book was more set up and filler than an actual mystery.

 

As the blurb says on the back of the book Cheyenne Winters was interviewing 21 students which indicates that it was a large cast list for the story but all the same there were several characters that added no substance to the core story or were just added filler to help make a conclusion easy and convenient.  It felt a little like it was a matter of let’s make our villain a little worse and have them rape someone and by having the villain do that it helps the police realize that there is real danger with this person (despite the fact that there was more than enough that indicated that there was real danger) it wasn’t till it was revealed that they raped a person that they were considered a dangerous threat.

 

Another issue I found myself having with the book was how often it jumped in time and formatting.  The book starts in 3rd person where Cheyenne is facing a committee about the school crisis to 1st person of Cheyene telling her story to a student bio followed by a student interview.  This is all well and good and is an interesting way to present a story yet the execution was severely lacking as there were also instances where after an interview the story would shift to 3rd focusing on the students, before shifting to something else the next chapter.  This was annoying and got confusing especially considering that Cheyenne came to the school late in the school year and interviews were when she was there at the school and the 3rd person narrative focusing on the students jumped to a previous point in the school year such as the first day of the school year and student orientation.  Then there were scenes in the 3rd person narrative that seemed to be present rather than past.  Then as the story progressed the time line seemed to coalesce and become one cohesive thing but all of it was in 3rd person even the parts that were focused on Cheyenne, which was very confusing and frustrating to me.  Additionally, the student bios were not always prevalent to the story and were present throughout the story till page 251 (this is a 272 page book).  I personally feel that a character bio is irrelevant and pointless at this point particularly when the mystery and story is being wrapped up.

 

Lastly, the ending seemed lacking, we never reach a conclusion of the hearing for Cheyenne, we only get what she thinks will be the results of the hearing, and there are several things that happen in the last chapter of the epilogue that have no bearing on the story at all save to potentially set up a second book which is advertised in the back of this first book.  The advertisement for the second book in some ways reveals that Cheyenne’s predictions about her career is wrong but we don’t get the results of the hearing or the purpose really of why Cheyenne is the focus of the hearing either when she was one of many people involved in the school suicide crisis.

 

Overall I feel like the story of the book was poorly executed and there was a lot of fat and filler to be found in the story.  The best thing I can guess with a lot of these extra characters who had little to no bearing on the main story itself is because they are going to potentially play a part in the next book.  Of course this is only a guess on my part and I could be wrong and that these random side characters who did nothing more than take up space and time were just that side characters taking up space and time.  It is hard to say – and to be honest I have no desire to find out – this book was a difficult read for me and it was also difficult to follow along at times.  This is why I’ll give this book a 2 page rating.  It had a good premise and concept, but very poor execution.

Book Review – Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Title:  Heat Wave

Author: Richard Castle

Format: Hardback

Written: 2009

Published: 2009

Heat Wave is an interesting book to consider, when it is a book that was written by a fictional character of a hit TV series.  Though the book was obviously written by a real person, Richard Castle is not, himself, a real person, and sadly there is no information on the actual author who wrote the book.  ABC, the company that produces the show Castle wishes for readers to believe that the character Richard Castle wrote the book.

In the TV series Castle is acclaimed to be a New York Times Best Seller Novelist, and to be honest the quality of the writing in my opinion was lacking in that respect.  Don’t get me wrong, the book was amusing to read and I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t place it as a best seller, or of the quality of a bestselling author.  There were a few idiosyncrasies with phraseology, and things were rather rushed at points. Also I wasn’t fond of the combined nickname for detectives Raely and Oacha.  Throughout the book they are referred to as Roach in the singular sense many times and I had to pause and remind myself that Roach represented two people, not one.  Also the use of a lot of names with the same starting letter caused things to get a bit difficult at times.

Yet, despite my issues with the book, and it not being of the caliber of a bestselling author, it was still a decent read.  I was amused and found myself laughing aloud on occasion, as there were several witty moments in the book.  It was also interesting to see where certain episodes of the TV series were loosely incorporated into the book.  The book though rushed did not truly capture my interest until near the end when Detective Nikki Heat was hot on the trail of her murder suspect, and by that point I was mainly eager to know if my prediction of who committed the murder was accurate.  I will say that I was correct, but I won’t say who the murder was, for those who would wish to read this book.  Over all, I give the book a three out of five pages.

%d bloggers like this: