Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

In the last Sookie Stackhouse book, I listened to a twenty minute giggle inducing sex scene. In this book, there was no sex but a lot of, well, snogging. Sookie is like a bug light for supernatural beings. She’s now attracted the attentions of two vampires, a werewolf, a werepanther, a shapeshifter, and a weretiger. I didn’t think there could be so many werecreatures out there but I like it. Again I am in awe of Harris’s subplot work. If I had to pinpoint a weakness in my own writing it would definitely be this. Somehow she manages to make the subplots so well entwined with the rest of the story that I don’t even realize when she’s leading me off and sometimes I forget the main plot altogether until I have one disk left to and I realize something hasn’t been tied off quite yet. In this book the subplots dangle a little bit after the main plot is solved and that was just fine too.

The main plot of Dead as a Doornail revolves around the mysterious shootings of supernatural creatures. The first is a girl who we haven’t heard of before and who Sookie didn’t know was a shape shifter but it isn’t long before the shooter is aiming at people near and dear to Miss Stackhouse. (Honestly, though, for Bon Temps being such a small town and Sookie being all up in the supernatural world, how is it that she doesn’t know everyone who is a supe?) If my memory suites me right, Calvin Norris, head werepanther, is the first to get shot and some of his pack thinks that Jason, now a werepanther himself, is behind the shooting. Next is Sam, shapeshifter and Sookie’s boss, who then sends Sookie to ask Eric to lend him a bartender.

This book is packed with action and story. At book five in the series we are familiar enough with Sookie’s world and the characters and the history that Harris can throw a million little things at us and we just need to keep up. There’s a battle for pack leader in Alcide’s pack. The Fellowship of the Sun comes up. Private detectives are searching for Debbie Pelt. I found that if I was missing something it came back to me if I kept listening or it didn’t really matter that much.

Sookie, if you hadn’t noticed, is not the luckiest woman in the world. In this book she is the victim of arson, a shooting, and an attack. She’s not great at choosing safe friends. Even her human friends get into trouble. I have to give her props, though. She’s no *ahem* Twilight character. She has no interest is becoming a vampire. She is a strong, independent woman who manages to mostly take care of herself, except when things get a little too rough and tumble in the supernatural world. The only time that she’s even seemed remotely interested in getting married is when she’s been dating Bill for a while and even then it’s just in passing. Sometimes she is surprisingly quick on her feet.

This was an interesting one to listen to. Sookie has just too many suitors. Really. I’ve been voting this whole time for Eric (drool) and Alcide (who just seemed like a good kind of guy for Sookie). Alcide lost a lot of his charm in this book and while it’s easy to blame it on the werewolf in him it definitely made him fall in my esteem. And now there’s this new guy, Quinn. I may be a little biased on that one. I mean, he’s a tiger and the name. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. I’m already almost an hour into the next book.

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Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Spoiler warning.  I don’t care.  I need to talk.

The first time that I attempted the Southern Vampire series, I gave up within the first 50 pages of this book.  I remember being very super annoyed with Sookie’s Word-A-Day Calendar.  I can understand why.  It came up for the first time at the end of the second book and then popped up right away in this, the third.  What bothered me about it was that it seemed completely out of character for Sookie.  She’s told us repeatedly that she is a reader and that she isn’t stupid, so why is she so excited to use the word “obtuse”?  Actually, now that I’ve read what a few other people had to say about this installment, I can see that the first 50 pages were a big problem.  I don’t remember being annoyed with Sookie going around town and doing stuff either time that I attempted this but it did take a while to get into.

My very first question, though:  Exactly how big is the trunk of a Lincoln??  I think that I have been suffering under the assumption that all trunks are the same size.  In my world, that’s small.  I’ve never driven anything with more than two doors or less than six cylinders.  I’m lucky I can get my groceries in the trunk.  But a Lincoln can apparently fit a coital vampire and human.  Who knew?  All of those daddies who were worried about spacious backseats apparently had the wrong idea.

Harris is pretty good at making two plots compete.  Maybe it’s because I am listening to these books and it takes me a couple of weeks to get through one but sometimes I forget what the first mystery was by the time we get back around to it.  I’m not complaining about this.  I actually kind of enjoy it when everything gets all tied together at the end.

Sookie can’t help but notice that Bill has been a little distracted lately.  He’s apparently working on some big, secret project for the Queen of Louisiana and he’s sending money to his newly discovered family, the Bellefleurs.  Meanwhile, Sookie is feeling ignored and is barely scraping by.  (It seems like a number of people mention how crappy her driveway is in this book, too, but it could just seem like it comes up a lot.)  When Bill tells her that he must leave town and to destroy his computer if he’s gone for, say, eight weeks, she doesn’t seem too worried at first.  Then she is informed that he is missing and Eric (rowr) thinks he may be being held by the vampires of Mississippi.  Good thing Sookie can read their humans’ minds and good thing Eric has a werewolf who owes him.  Soon, Sookie is swept off to Jackson with Alcide, a very foxy (ha ha) werewolf with some great manners.

In Jackson, things are off to a fine start.  Sookie likes Alcide’s sister and enjoys Alcide’s company.  Then a werewolf biker gang gets involved and a dead werewolf ends up in Alcide’s closet.  Who put him there?  Why?  And can they save Bill who, by the way, apparently ran off with a vampire ex-lover?

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things to annoy about this book.  Sookie has already decided that she has to accept Bill as a vampire if they are going to be together.  I feel like this book was just setting up the boundaries.  Like, can he go and feed on people elsewhere?  Sure.  Can he run off with an ex-lover?  Probably not.  What was really surprising was how Sookie was more pissed about that than Bill raping her in a trunk.  I don’t even know how to make excuses for that because they are there but that’s a slipper slope that I intend not to touch because, frankly, it’s wrong and inexcusable and should have been the real reason that Sookie decides to break from Bill.  Also, I don’t feel like they solve anything with their talking.  It’s just like, “Let’s talk.  I’m upset.  I’m leaving.”

Can we just pause for a minute and talk about how much I love Eric?  I love him.  I love the very vikingness about him, right?  Like, he has so much respect for Sookie because she doesn’t just fold to him.  And then he calls her his future lover and she gets all mad.  He’s exactly the kind of jerk that women want in romances, right?  He takes a bullet for Sookie for goodness sakes!  And I love how he’s always showing up “in disguise” in, like, glasses.  He slays me.  (Ha ha ha.  I couldn’t help it.)

I’m glad I finally followed through on this one because I am still really, really enjoying these.  The other day I drove 5 minutes to McDonald’s and was rapt for those five minutes.  I really don’t know how to give higher praise than that.

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Again, I feel a little funny about my love for these books this second time around. I only made it through the last two in 2012 and I’m really looking forward to experiencing the third one over the next week or two. I wonder if the difference is that I’m listening to them this time instead of reading them. They are the kind of books that make it easy to get pulled in, even if you have just been distracted by the asshole who cut you off and all of the terrible things you are wishing you could say to him through a megaphone.

My opinions of this book are completely different this time around.

1. There are a number of reasons to give these books a shot. My reasons are that I finished the show years ago and kind of miss it but am positive that I cannot convince Hubby to watch them again and I also have tons of shows I’d like to watch for the first time. I also get to jonsing for books that take place in the south once in a while. Finally, the stories are funny and familiar and a little dirty in places and terribly amusing. Also, listening to sex noises on an audio makes me blush something furious. At least it’s not time to put my convertible top down yet. I always worry about people hearing what I’m listening to because I’m kind of a prude.

2. I do NOT hate Sookie anymore. It’s funny that four years ago I wrote that I hated her and then listed a ton of great things about her. I like her and I am rooting for her. She IS special and she IS brave and she IS smarter that you think. The last time around I gave up on these books once the Word a Day calendar showed up for the third time (which was the second time in the third book). Then I thought that it was Harris’s way of making Sookie smarter but now I see the real reason it irked me. Sookie isn’t dumb and the words on her calendar are not that smart. When she uses them, it feels like a disservice to her character. Maybe Harris wasn’t trying to make her sound smarter but I really don’t think they need to be there.

3. I still am not a fan of Bill but his greasiness didn’t bother me as much this time around. I have some personal theories about this that mostly revolve around how much me and my life have changed in the past four years but I will spare you the details.

4. I do still love Eric though. Who the hell wouldn’t? He reduces me to girlish giggles every time.

My Review from 2012:
When I finished reading the first book in the Southern Vampires series, I wasn’t sure as to whether or not I should continue. I decided that I would try the second book and see how it went. It went way better than I expected. I even made those audible reading noises, gasps and giggles. I hate that I enjoyed it so much, really, because that means that I’ll have to read the third.

If you are a fan of True Blood, I would say that it is worth giving the books a chance. They are similar enough to the show to feel familiar but different enough to keep you reading. I spent a lot of time comparing season two to book two and discussing the differences with my boyfriend who is watching the show as well.

I really hate Sookie, though. I am glad that she is not like Bella in Twilight. She is special. She’s not just a mopey girl who managed to fall in with a vampire. She even has a little more independence, though I would argue that she doesn’t have much. She is very strong, really. She is brave and not just when it means saving the person she loves. It is even when it means saving someone she doesn’t really care for. In this book, she sheds some of her innocence. It actually gets a bit dirty in parts.

Another character thing that I noticed is that I really don’t like Bill anymore. He’s just so greasy without meaning to be. I prefer Eric who is greasy because he’s Eric and makes no attempt to hide it.