Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning - Charlaine Harris I have feelings, and I'm starting to think I should have taken notes about stuff while re-reading these books, so I could remember everything. This one was...a lot. Vamp drama was at an all-time high, emotions were high, stakes (hehe) were high, and a lot of ground was covered in this one. Sookie and Eric's relationship is possibly permanently altered thanks to Appius, the jerk, who basically gave Eric to the OK Queen, which outranks his vampire marriage to Sookie. Pam...poor Pam. This was the one when we see more of the softer side of Pam, and my heart broke for her and the situation with Miriam. I'm really, really glad Victor died for good, after blocking her from being able to turn Miriam before the woman died. Bill and Sookie had at least one interesting moment, and I probably liked him more in these last couple of books than I ever did in the beginning. (I'm just not a Bill fan. I always liked Sookie & Eric.) That whole bit with her ending up in his hiding place, naked, kinda on top of him, while hiding from the people trying to abduct her was just hilarious. Who knows what's going to happen to the LA vamps now that Victor and all his vamps are dead, at the hands of Eric and his vamps, plus a few humans, and I hate that I can't remember what happens next. Actually, that bit in Fangtasia, with Bubba, was just about all I remembered from this book at all before my re-read. And then there's Sookie's fae relatives, and the other fae stuck on this side of the portal. But, she finally learned probably as much truth as she'll ever learn about her family's history like how often Fintan was actually around, impersonating the human man she'd always though was her grandfather, creepy freaking fairies. Sandra Pelt showed up again and hurrah for Sookie, Sam, and...uh...Jannalynn? Whatever Sam's Were girlfriend's name is, for taking Sandra out of the picture for good. I can't remember what happens with Sookie and Amelia's friendship. I like Amelia a lot, but she really crossed a line blabbing about Sookie in the Were bar, then her and Claude letting Alcide into Sookie's house while she wasn't there, and inviting him into her bed? Seriously? I know Amelia doesn't think too much before acting, but that, on top of her kinda pushing Sookie to break her bond with Eric was just way too much. I think this was the first book I had real issues with Eric, which is sad. I mean, he wasn't exactly a great guy, but I adore him anyway. When he took blood from Sookie, after the big fight, I was really not happy about the way he did it. And before that, him keeping everything about the situation with Appius and the arrangement with the OK Queen? Not cool. Kudos to Pam for trying her damnedest to get Eric to tell Sookie what was going on, because he should have, much sooner.

Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 9 (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)

Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel: Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 9 (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood) - Charlaine Harris I think I liked this one more the second time around, but I'm not sure why. This one, in my opinion, made up for the less action-y previous two books, and I feel like my re-read was a nice way to ring in the new year. (I started and finished it before 10AM.) Sookie and Eric's relationship is getting interesting (yay!), the fae war was brewing, Sookie and Jason learned more about their parents' death, Bubba made another appearance, Sookie was abducted and tortured (not a pleasant thing, but it was a tense bit that kept my eyes glued to the book), Arlene was really and truly exposed for how awful she can be (so I'm hoping Sookie and Sam are done with her, because I can't remember), Bill threatened to make Quin into a rug (which I thought was hilarious and had to put the book down for a second to stop laughing), Crystal was murdered (also not good, but I guess it was a convenient way to get her out of the picture for future plot things), and more. There were parts I wasn't crazy about Crystal being kinda taken out by Mel because Mel was gay and loved Jason (I mean really?), Crystal's actual murderers/crucifiers being the two fae who'd abducted Sookie, Tray being killed (sad), Sookie having that weird flash of love/"maybe he wasn't so bad *heart eyes*" moment about Bill when Bill was possibly/probably dying after saving her (blech), Claudine dying (I know, it isn't reasonable to expect everyone to live, but I loved Claudine), probably more..., but overall, I really enjoyed it and I'm diving directly into the next one.

V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta - David Lloyd, Alan Moore It took me several attempts to finish this, and this time around I managed (finally) but it took almost two months. I thought it was really just me, but after skimming over some reviews, I see I'm not alone in being a bit underwhelmed by this one.

I saw the movie when it came out, and I love it. It's one of our few traditions that we (or at least one of us) watches it ever November 5th, and we've done so since the first November 5th it was on DVD.

Anyway, I didn't actually know it was based on a graphic novel for about 2-3 years, then immediately snagged a copy when I found it in a bookstore. I've been trying to read it ever since, but kept failing to get very far. Part of that, possibly the biggest part, is that I wasn't really thrilled with the art. It's not really bad, it just left me feeling pretty "meh" about it. I also had a hell of a time reading and following the story because of the font style (I had to squint and re-read bits on almost every page because I couldn't make out what it said) and some of the dialogue that was written sort of phonetically to convey the accent or whatever. That kept pulling me out of the story and minimizing my interest.

The story itself, though, was really great. I think I would have liked it better with some changes (like text that was easier to read), and I doubt I'll be re-reading it anytime soon, but I didn't hate it and I'm glad I've finally read it. I was really surprised by how closely the movie followed the graphic novel. Usually there are a lot of changes, or at least that's what I've noticed from my limited experience reading comics and graphic novels, and seeing the movie based on them. This one, though, was pretty similar. The movie was so well done, I would go so far as to say to not bother reading the graphic novel if you don't have a very strong desire to, because there weren't many changes, and most of them were so insignificant it doesn't change anything major.

From Dead to Worse

From Dead to Worse  - Charlaine Harris I just finished re-reading this and I already feel like I barely remember what happened. Part of that is because I was reading it while sleep deprived, but part of it is because this was another one that didn't really have a lot going on. I mean, a lot happened, I guess the Were "war" thing, Jason/Crystal's marriage disaster and Sookie having to break Calvin's fingers because Jason is a cowardly asshole and Crystal is an unfaithful garbage can, Sam turned into a lion for a change, Sookie spent more time with great-grandpa Niall the fairy prince, the Louisiana vamps got new leadership, Sookie ran over a vamp, Bob was turned back into a human, Sookie found Hadley's ex and her son and found out Hunter is a telepath like herself, I think this was the one in which Eric remembered his time spent with Sookie, etc., but so much of it just felt kind of...bland, or something. I feel like this one and the last one were just kind of "filler" books. Definitely not my favorite, but still perfectly enjoyable, overall.

All Together Dead

All Together Dead  - Charlaine Harris Re-reading this one was weird because there were a lot of things I remembered very clearly (Sookie and Barry working together, the bombing of the vampire hotel, Sophie Anne being on trial, Sookie & Quinn being kinda-sorta together, Quinn's sister's first appearance, etc.), but also pieces I'd forgotten about (like Sookie and Eric's bond being strengthened, Tara & JB getting hitched--which I thought happened later, learning more about Pam's background, etc.).

I think I liked this one more the first time I read it, but this time it wasn't one of my favorites. I liked it a lot, and blew through it in a day, but for some reason it just doesn't really stick out to me :/ But, it sets things up for some plot things that are going to happen soon.

Definitely Dead

Definitely Dead  - Charlaine Harris I'd forgotten big chunks of this book, and some of the characters who weren't really part of the story until this one, so this was a really fun book to revisit. Two of my favorite characters, Quinn & Amelia (who were both left out of the show -_-), were kind of major additions (Quinn actually came along in the previous book, I think, but he wasn't a major character in it, he just had a cameo), and it was nice to "see" them again. I'd also totally forgotten about Bob, whose fate I can't remember but the bit about him being turned into a cat by Amelia is equally alarming and hilarious to me, so now I'm looking forward to remembering more as I read on.

This was the book that made me feel vindicated in my dislike and distrust of Bill Compton. I never really loved him, or liked him much (and I always shipped Sookie & Eric, when I thought of her with a vamp), and finding out how he'd deceived Sookie really pissed me off. I mean, I remembered it, and remembered exactly how she found out, but reading about it again didn't make me hate him any less.

I think I liked Sophie Anne more in the books than on the show, and I was glad to be reintroduced to her in this one. I feel like they made her...less, or something, on the show. She's more interesting in the books, at least in my opinion.

I keep having to remind myself that the show is honestly more like fanfic turned into a show than actual canon Southern Vampire Mysteries, because the differences can be so extreme. True Blood was ok, but I still tell people to not judge the books by it, because they're not really the same thing. So, if you've avoided the books because you don't like the show, and that's the only reason, give the books a try.

Dead to the World

Dead to the World  - Charlaine Harris This one, I think, was one of my favorites in the series when I read it the first time. It's still a favorite. For one thing, this is the book when Sookie kills Debbie. This is also the one in which Sookie and Eric hook up, but poor Eric isn't himself. And, the supe world expands dramatically in this one. In the previous books, we learn about a couple of supernatural beings, besides the vamps, but in this one we also find out more about other shifters and the witches. A lot happens in this book, and it really sets things up for a lot of different subplots that feature in future books, which is probably why it's one of my favorites, and the one that solidified my desire to continue reading this series the first time around.

Living Dead in Dallas

Living Dead in Dallas  - Charlaine Harris I'm so glad I decided to re-read these books now that I've finished watching True Blood. I remembered they were better than the show (although there were a few things I preferred on the show like how Lafayette didn't die in the show), but there's so much that was left out or condensed and altered for the show that I didn't really love. Like, little moments with Eric (Eric and Pam were two of my favorite characters in the books and on the show) that weren't in the show, but were really amusing in the books. Like when Sookie is going to go to the orgy party and Bill is out of town so she calls Eric and asks him to be her bodyguard. He then shows up in neon lycra and a trenchcoat. Book Eric is even more entertaining, imo, than True Blood Eric. I'm also pretty sure that Pam's opinion of Sookie is very different in the books than on the show. I'm not far enough into the re-read, and my memory is too rusty to be sure, but I want to say Pam and Sookie were actually friends, or at least quite friend-like, in the books. On the show, Pam despised Sookie. I mean, it was funny sometimes, but I preferred their relationship in the books, if I remember right.

Club Dead

Club Dead  - Charlaine Harris I couldn't remember why I'd rated this one lower than the first two, but pretty quickly I found out again. For one thing, Sookie--while still a mostly strong and independent woman in this book--was so whiny and just...not the Sookie I'd come to love from the first two books. I get it, though. Real people can experience changes in the way they feel about things that seem to be total opposites, but it isn't always a permanent situation. In this book, Sookie complained about Bill giving so much money to the Bellefleurs, while she struggled to make ends meet. But she doesn't want to be a kept-woman, etc., etc. I get it. She's not exactly poor, but she's still struggling. It's easy to get jealous, or direct your anger at your situation to someone who's doing better/could help you/etc.

There's more, but I'm too tired to list everything else out. Basically, she wasn't quite acting like herself, which was slightly annoying, but it was also easily explained by circumstances and the fact that people change, sometimes quickly and temporarily.

Ok, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this one (ranging from fury to excitement), but I'm too tired to put them all down. Note for future me, if I ever decide to read these again and can't remember this one: Bill is an ass. Eric is an ass, but I still love him. Sookie went through hell and wasn't exactly herself as we've come to know her in books 1 & 2, but I still love her. Alcide, I still have mixed feelings about because part of me likes him and part of me is annoyed by him. Sookie doesn't get nearly enough credit for the shit she accomplishes and goes through, and it was seriously toned down in True Blood, I think.

I will say that I'm still annoyed that El--er, I mean, Bubba, was left out of True Blood. I loved "Bubba" in the books.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1)

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) - Charlaine Harris The second time around, I still really liked this book. There are some problematic things in here, like Bill's behavior, though. The one scene with him that always stands out and doesn't sit well with me is when Sookie is worried he was killed with the Monroe vamps and she goes out to the cemetery to--hopefully--find him alive, and then tells him what happened with the fire and he's all enraged and shit and screws her into the ground. I mean, she went along with it and instigated it, but it still makes me really uncomfortable. There's other stuff, but that one even stood out in True Blood, even though I think they changed things in the show a bit so it was very obviously her seeking him out and being all "do me now, baby." I'm pretty sure I picked up on a lot of that stuff last time, and I acknowledge that these books are no great works of literature and they're not without fault. That said, if I were the type to have guilty pleasures, these books would make that list.

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon I finally managed to get a copy of this from the library, after months of wishing and hoping and waiting. This book, for those who missed it, was seriously hyped online for quite a while leading up to the release.

So, did it live up to the hype? Yes and no, for me. It wasn't quite what I expected I did expect romance, but I also expected Dimple's coding to be featured way more, but I had a good time reading it and mostly liked it. I could list tons of tiny parts I really loved, but I'm exhausted, so I'm just going to say that I really liked it, for the most part. I don't think there were parts I seriously hated or anything, but maybe a couple of things I didn't love.

When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi - Sandhya Menon I finally managed to get a copy of this from the library, after months of wishing and hoping and waiting. This book, for those who missed it, was seriously hyped online for quite a while leading up to the release.

So, did it live up to the hype? Yes and no, for me. It wasn't quite what I expected I did expect romance, but I also expected Dimple's coding to be featured way more, but I had a good time reading it and mostly liked it. I could list tons of tiny parts I really loved, but I'm exhausted, so I'm just going to say that I really liked it, for the most part. I don't think there were parts I seriously hated or anything, but maybe a couple of things I didn't love.


Audacity - Melanie  Crowder It's been ages since I read a novel in verse, so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this before I started it. (I think my last verse novel was read about 13 years ago :/ ) I also made the mistake of skimming over a few reviews before reading it, and was worried I would end up hating it. I shouldn't have worried, though, because I loved it.

I can understand--I think--why some people don't like the format, but it worked very well for me. I think there's something about a story told in verse that's actually less flowery and poetic than a lot of novel-novels tend to be. It's more concise and each poem drives things home a little harder. That might just be me and my experience, though.

Before I read this, I'm not sure I'd heard of Clara Lemlich. Her story and photographs look familiar, though, so I'm thinking I might have come across her name at some point. Either way, her story is a powerful one, and I think this book should find its way into the hands of more people.

I've had to delete and re-write this a few times because I keep getting way off track of reviewing the book, and onto rants about what we're taught in school (or, rather, what we're not taught about), so I think I need to wrap it up.

Clara's story is painful and depressing at times, but it's also inspiring and moving. There's a bitterness to it, but the hope shines through. I obviously wasn't around in the early 20th century for the strikes and the suffrage movement and all that, but I can't imagine the women like Clara--the women who helped change and shape history for so many people--could have done what they did without at least a glimmer of hope. And a firm belief in what they were doing to better the lives of themselves as well as others. The will and hope and heart of Clara and others like her are not things that should be forgotten. Their stories should be told, because without them, change would have taken so much longer, or not come about at all, and they were so important. Too important to be so easily ignored and forgotten.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. When I reach the point of teaching my kid about all this (early 20th century history), I'll most likely be checking this book out again as part of our curriculum for it.

Why I'm Afraid of Bees (Goosebumps, #17)

Why I'm Afraid of Bees (Goosebumps, #17) - R.L. Stine I'm pretty sure I read this one a loooong time ago, but it didn't stick in my head. I don't think it will this time around, either. Definitely not my favorite Goosebumps book and I had a hard time getting through it. It wasn't awful or anything, though, just not one of the really good ones in my opinion.

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel

A Head Full of Ghosts: A Novel - Paul Tremblay I'm not sure I can really put into words exactly what I think of this book. I have a lot of feelings and thoughts, but my brain has too much going on right now to really focus on writing a review. (Maybe I shouldn't have read this so close to NaNoWriMo :/ )

There are some possible issues people could have with this book, on both sides of things (mental illness being associated with possession, as well as the portrayal of Catholicism). Mental illness and possession have been linked before, but I think this book actually did a pretty good job of showing how harmful church interventions can be. So...I can't say anything about the portrayal of schizophrenia, if that's what Marjorie was dealing with, or the portrayal of the church because my family is protestant and I'm not practicing an Abrahamic religion at all. That said, I don't think I've ever seen or read anything that so clearly demonstrated how outrageous and damaging the "Oh no!
Your [family member term] is possessed by a demon! We must exorcise it!" stuff can be. I don't think exorcisms are really done anymore, but there's a good reason for that. People died. Like, a lot.
But...I didn't have any major issue with it. That could be just because I'm not in a position to be harmed by it, idk.

So much, and almost nothing, happened in this book, and I came out of it with way more questions than answers. Was Marjorie schizophrenic? Was their father mentally ill, or otherwise unstable? He sure seemed to be unraveling. What about the mom? She was at least portrayed as being on the way to dipsomania. And then there's Meredith. What the heck, man? Was she possessed? The ending sure seemed to suggest she might be, or maybe that she's being...haunted? IDK. That whole thing with the coffee shop getting cold left me wondering. And oh boy, that twist at the end with Marjorie convincing 8 year old Meredith to poison the whole family? Daaaayum. Poor kid. But that also left me with questions. Did Marjorie get the potassium cyanide? Was it really their father who'd acquired it and was planning to poison them all? And then there are Merry's memories from then. How much can really be trusted? She was only 8, which means she definitely could have remembered a lot, but she was also young enough and traumatized enough to have some false memories. So many questions! I normally hate that, but I liked it in this book because speculating on what was real and what wasn't is fun, and maybe Merry herself doesn't really know what's real in her memories. It wasn't really terrifying (there were a few intense, kinda scary bits, though), or at least not in the way you'd expect. Personally, I've always found it far more terrifying to think about the super-religious families and what they put their kids/whoever through with jumping to the conclusion their loved one is possessed. Human horror is more horrifying than monsters any day.

The blogger bits were kind of interesting, I guess, but I don't feel like they added much to the story, honestly. They were fun to read (and I'd love to find a blog like that one), but I could have lived without them for sure.

I think my favorite thing about this book was how it reminded me a lot of campy horror movies, but in a way that was very self-aware. No, that's not exactly right. Closer to satire, I think. Think Scream, particularly the character Randy from the first two films. This book reminded me of the Scream franchise. Oh wow, I'm really getting off track here. Anyway. The Scream franchise is probably my favorite horror franchise, and part of that is because of how it calls out horror genre tropes/cliches and plays with them. This book did that with possession stories.

So, I really liked this book, but not in the ways I expected. I thought I was going to get some kind of haunted house or possession story, but it was...not really that at all.

The Duality Paradigm (Book 1)

The Duality Paradigm (Book 1) - Lia Cooper I have conflicting feelings about this, now that I've finished it. It took me a long time to really get immersed in the story (which isn't unusual for me when I'm starting a new series, but I felt like it took a little longer than normal with this one for some reason), then I spent about 35% really enjoying it, and then I was kind of let down by the last few pages.

I might be too tired to articulate my thoughts right now in any detail, but I'm going to try.

I really liked the world Lia Cooper created, with supernatural beings being known by normals. I just generally enjoy that more than the hidden, secretive thing or some reason. I think I like the way things work (definitely for the weres), but I don't think I learned enough in this one to be certain. The magic system seems really interesting, though, and I'd like to know more about the other supernatural beings in this world.

Ethan and Patrick were pretty good characters, but I didn't love either of them. I liked them both, mostly, but they could be petulant and kind of stupid (or willfully ignorant, I'm not sure which). I think I liked Ethan a little more, probably because I generally like the magic-user character(s) the most in urban fantasies. I just didn't feel like there was much character growth. Both of them seemed to be making progress, but then at the end...I'm not sure.

The writing itself was good, and I was a little surprised to find out this was Lia Cooper's debut novel. It could use one more quick edit (there were a few misspellings/misused words, a couple of words and phrases doubled in a sentence, and a few instances of a word missing from a sentence, I think), but it wasn't bad.

I might not continue the series, but I'm not sure yet. I do want to know what else happens because there were loose ends I want to see tied up. I also want to know more about this world, now that I'm familiar with it and will hopefully be less confused with the next book. (I found myself re-reading a few parts to try to figure things out, and I think I mostly did, but I still have some questions.)

Currently reading

Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy by Hallie Lieberman
Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Progress: 153/368pages
The Trumpet of the Swan by Karen White, Fred Marcellino
The Poetic Edda by Lee M. Hollander, Anonymous
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré