Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Living Dead In Dallas

Liv­ing Dead in Dal­las by Char­laine Har­ris, is the second book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series. I have to say I am only two books into this series, of at last count ten novels, but I adore it so far. It is hard to resist a series where every mythical creature that you have ever heard about, and I am sure, some you have never heard about, come to life. I can hardly wait to see which ones come to life in the upcoming books.
Sookie is hardly your typical heroin and I think that is why I like her so much. She is not super strong and rarely does the butt kicking herself. Instead she is a very human and as a result very a very likable character who is not afraid to send up a flare when she needs help it is very refreshing. That doesn’t mean that she does not stand on her own two feet she does, even if that means a fight with Bill, her vampire. She had amazing inner strength that is on display in the books a lot of the time.
The vampires are also refreshing in these novels as they make no apology for what they are. They are just trying to get on with their now very public lives. You see since blood has been duplicated in a lab vampires no longer need to feed on humans so they are free to live among the humans, it is referred to as main streaming in the novels. They run businesses, have relationship and are fighting for their rights in a non to tolerate world (if that does not sound familiar to you there is something wrong with you). Char­laine Har­ris takes you right into the vampire world from the special requirement that have been set up so they can travel to the special hotels that have sprung up to cater for vampires, you can almost feel what it is like to be a vampire yourself.
Sookie’s world has not been the same since she met Bill and started a relationship with him. For one thing he has taught her to accept her gift as a gift and not the disability that she always thought that it was. She embraces her gift in this novel in a way that she has never done before. Sookie reminds me a little of Miss Maple every where she goes a dead body seems to show up – hardly surprising given the name of the books. Her relationship with Bill also had me smiling it is hard enough dating a man sometime add in the fact that he is also a vampire and you can imagine the misunderstandings you end up with. Surprisingly it appears to be a very human relationship.
Harris has kicked the action up a level in the book and I found it to be a real page turner. Harris seems to have really settled into the characters it is almost like she knows who they are now and where they are going now. Most of the characters from the first book are back in this installment and Eric, who I have to say is my favorite, is more of a presence in this novel and I have to say the novel really benefit’s from it. This installment is more complex than the first novel with two distinct story arc’s developed throughout the novel. These books leave you wanting to read more to find out what could possibly happen next to Sookie and her friends I am glad I bought all nine at the one time.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Mortal Instruments book 1 The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The City of Bones is the first book in The Mortal Instruments trilogy. This book is a little bit of a departure for me of late as it is not vampire related at all, vampires are only mentioned in passing in this novel. It is though a fantasy novel.

The imaginary world that has been created by Clare is so well woven with ours that you sometimes forget that you are in a make believe world at all. The characters are fun to read however there is very little character development at all in this the first novel, perhaps there will be more in the next two novels. The novel is quite funny in places and I often found myself laughing out loud or at the very least smiling, that being said the descriptive nature of the writing caused me to get bogged down and wishing that it moved a little quicker. Whoever edited this novel also needs a swift kick it was terrible in some place so that I found myself re reading parts to make sure I had it correct.

I have seen in other reviews that people are quite upset about what they see as the lack of originality in the novel or rather elements that were taken from other sources. While I picked up on some of what other reviews said most of it went over my head so I would not use that as a guide to whether or not you picked up this novel. There was one plot line that not only irked me but I also found it a little repulsive but I am sure I know what the end result of it will be so I quickly for over it. I thought the world Clare created was highly original if not all of the plot lines. The story kept me interested until the final page though I had no problem setting the book aside to do something else.

If you decide to pick this book up please remember that it is the first of three so there will be unanswered questions or plot developments that you may not like at least for the short term. That being said all of the books are now out so the waiting will not be that much of a drag for you.

The internet , books, DVD's and Me

I never thought that I would say this but I think that the internet is going to be the death of me. I have signed up to some really great blog sites that satisfy my need for all things vampire on a daily basis and sometimes more than once a day. I knew that I was not alone in this obsession, in fact some of my friends are right there with me, but still it is good to know that people we don’t even know feel the same. Now on the down side I have a list of books to read that is longer than well me and it is being added to quicker than I can read a single book. I really had no idea there was so much out there on vampires.
So as my quest for all things vampire reaches fever pitch I have decided that I should probably never ever enter another bookshop ever again. In the last three weeks I have managed to buy over 26 books. Yes you read that right 26 books. Now these were all books from series that I really wanted and I did get them on sale so really I saved myself a lot of money (that is female logic at work). In my defense I have been a reading machine of late and I have already powered my way through seven and I am on to the eighth now.
I also have more DVD’s to watch than I think I am ever going to have time to watch. I have unopened at home, True Blood S1, Eureka S1, The Dresdin Files S1 and Kyle XY S1 (yes I know they are not all vampire related what can you do). On the up side in the last few weeks I have managed to watch Moonlight, Being Human and S1&2 of Buffy. Buffy is however a re-watch for me so I am not sure if that counts. Now it may seem to you that I have more time on my hands than I should have, but be gentle, I am on holidays from university for only two more weeks and then the time well will run dry. My aim is to get True Blood watched in the next week or so and then continue on with Buffy at what- ever pace I can. I will save the non vampire related ones for the break over Christmas and the New Year. It beats the other crap on TV.
This is not a new problem for me for some reason I cannot walk past a bookshop or DVD without popping my head in and that usually results in my wallet being pulled out. Now how is this for the female logic – I bought all of the books and DVD’s on sale so I actually really saved myself a lot of money!!! Well it works for me so I am going to run with it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My week.

As it turns out for me keeping a blog has had some side benefits. It forces me to out my many and scattered thoughts in order so that I can write something that is actually worth reading. Not only that I am finding that once I put my thoughts down on paper they no longer roam around in my mind keeping me up at night. Not only that, difficult decisions that need to be made are easier to nut out on paper I am finding. Who knew and why didn’t you tell me sooner?

I have been in a little bit of a funk of late not unhappy mind you just peeved about certain things which is very unlike me. I am finding that the more I start to look after myself and worry about what I think the more other people’s self interest bothers me. We all have friends that are impossible to please I know I do but it has never bothered me in the past like it does now. I am pretty laid back and usually just go with the flow but lately the flow has been ticking me off. I am not sure what made me sit up and take notice but the flow does not always suit me, now what I would usually do is simply change my plans to suit everyone else but I have stopped doing that if something doesn’t suit me anymore I simply say no. I have put a few noses out of joint but I am past the point of caring about that now. There comes a time in your life when you have to put yourself first and finally that time has arrived for me.

I have decided that I am going to rename Sunday Joanne’s day. I am not going to commit to doing anything on a Sunday ever again well at least that is the plan anyway. I am turning Sunday into a complete rest day for myself. If I want to go to the movies I can, if I want to stay inside and read all day I can or if I simply want to watch DVD’s all day I can. I am finding that I am really tried and I never seem to catch up with the weekends being as bust as or busier than week days. Well that is stopping as from this week when Joanne day officially kicks in. A I have said I don’t like saying no and in fact it was not too long ago that I would never have said it but you know what the more you say it the easier it gets. But remember to always say it with a smile. People are a lot more understanding than you think and those that aren’t are frankly not worth knowing at least that is the conclusion that I have come to.

Financial year end has thrown my reading challenge off course I have been extremely busy at work and worn out when I get home. I was so tired last night I did not even have the energy to lift ta book up let alone turn those heavy pages. Year end is a killer but one the up side it only happens once a year (see I still have my sense of humor)! Instead went to bed early and got a good night’s sleep so hopefully I will be ready to go tonight. I am still undecided as to what I am going to read at this stage but I will obviously review it for you once I am finished. Watch this space.

True Blood Season one is out here today on DVD and I will be grabbing my copy tomorrow at lunch time. You see today they are selling it for $39.95 but tomorrow it will go on sale for $28.37 sometimes it pays to wait a day and to also shop around. As you will know I have read the first book so there will be no surprise for me in how the series ends but I am sure there will be some differences between the book and the series and I am looking forward to watching it over the weekend and seeing what they are and what they have done with the book. Hopefully there will be plenty of special features for me to enjoy as well.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bloodlust by Alex Duval

Bloodlust is the first novel in the Vampire Beach series there are five other novel currently after this one. This book is aimed at the teen market and I guess that we have already established that I have no problem reading teenage novels.

Jason Freeman and his family have just moved to DeVere Heights in Malibu. Jason see’s this change as a way to spice up his predictable life. It is not long before Jason runs into the beyond words beautiful Sienna he also quickly learns that Sienna and his new found friends are hiding a dark secret. While this book is about Jason it is his new found friends that make the story flow. Jason knows that there is something not quite right with his new friends and try as he might he cannot ignore the strange things that keep on happening around him.

It seems that the new take on vampires for the 21st is that they secretly live among us, are ultra rich and of course can go out in the sunlight. (I have to say here I miss the old days). I am not sure if this is a Twilight spun revolution or not but it seems to be here to stay thank goodness the sparkling didn’t stick is all I can say. While of course this is a vampire story it is also the age old teenage story of trying to find your place in the world so there is something for everyone.
The novel is extremely short and the ending feels a little rushed to me, that being said it should be remembered that this is the first of six novels so it really is a setup for the following five novels or at least I hope so. I did not get the use of some of the slang terms the author used they may be American Slang or it could be that the novel was written in 2006 and slang moves so quickly that the sayings are not used anymore. That is something for all authors to remember slang changes and it can date a novel more than time does and quickly.

Overall I enjoyed this novel and I am planning on reading the rest of the series. So my rating 3 out of 5 for this one.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 1)

Sookie Stackhouse lives in our world well almost, in Sookie’s world Vampires "came out of the coffin" and are now a legal part of society. So we have Bill the vampire looking for a place to fit in and a place to call home. Sookie herself is trying in vain to fit in as well, Sookie has the ability to read minds and she calls it her disability. She is delighted the night a vampire walks into the bar that she works at and into her life. While Sookie can hear everyone else’s thoughts Bill is completely silent to her all she hears is what he tells her. The fact that she cannot hear Bill’s thoughts is a great turn on to Sookie it is only with him that she can be totally a peace in a world where the voices of those around her never turn off. Yes I know that it sounds a lot like Twilight but it is anything but. For my money this is a far better story from a far better writer.

This novel has just the right amount of horror, mystery, humor and let’s not forget sex. Let’s not be under any allusions this is an adults only novel the sex is not hidden subtext it is on full display and often. The novel is a quick, easy and highly enjoyable read. Once started it is extremely hard to put down.

I give this novel 5 out of 5 you would be hard pressed to find a better vampire mystery novel anywhere. It is not hard to see why these novels were chosen to make into a TV series. Oh yes that is right these novels have been made into the TV series True Blood. I can highly recommend the TV series as well. Reader and watcher beware though these are aimed at an adult market.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Marked a House of the Night Book 1

Basic Plot:-
In these books vampyres (please note this is not a spelling mistake this is how it is spelt in the novels) not only exist but are also tolerated by humans. Without giving away to much of the plot the vampire mythology has under gone yet another shift in these novels. Vampyres are not created they are marked and it happens in your teenage years and there is no telling who it will happen to. Once you have been marked you enter The House of the Night a school where you learn to be a vampyre. There are the usual teen problems of fitting in, finding friend and belonging. It should be remembered that this is book one so there will not be a neat and tidy ending to this book. There is a hook that is of course meant to drag you on to book two.
The book is a quick and I have to say very easy read if you are looking for something in-depth or something to sink your teeth into (pun intended) than this novel is not for you. What I will tell you that this book is clearly aimed at teens and there is a lot of suggestive language and themes in it. I have seen other reviews where people have been comparing this book to Twilight, they are very different books and any comparison is worthless. The writing however in this book is poorer than in the Twilight novel which was not that great to begin with.
Overall I enjoyed this book so I will be getting the second book and the third which I will review when I am done.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Book Club and Vampire Novels

I am a member of a book club and have been for about seven years now and I came to the conclusion a few months ago that for me book club had run its course. I am studying at University as well as working full time so I am not what you could refer to as time rich. I had really turned away from reading in the last few months and I talked myself into thinking that it was university that was to blame when in fact it wasn’t. Then I had a light bulb moment. I was in KMART looking at the books as I always do and it hit me while standing there holding a copy of Marked, the simple fact is that I have not been enjoying book club nor the books that we have been reading for quite some time. I think there are things in your life that run a certain course and for me the book club road has come to an end for two reasons.

BookClub. There is far too much politics these days in book club. It should be a place that you go to escape real life for a few hours instead you constantly have to be careful who’s toes you might step on before you do anything. You cannot even attend a book club group event and hope to relax there is always personal questions and some in depth discussion required even at a Christmas event. Life is too short to be around people that drive you crazy.

The Books. I have also found myself less than thrilled with the books that have been pitched of late and the depth of the conversation of those books. It seems to me that there has been little care put into selecting books to pitch and as little thought into the discussion of them. Life is also too short to be reading books that you don’t enjoy and then have to discuss them.
Leaving the book club was not an easy decision for me to make I have at times over the years out a lot of hard work into the club but the simple fact is I don’t have the same passion or patients for it anymore. I want to read the books that I want to read and in the time frame that I decide. So on that note, I have bought myself a whole lot of new – yes you guessed it vampire novels to read. I have got the first three books of The House of Night novels and all nine True Blood Novels. Once I have read a book I will write a review and post it here. The challenge is to even keep reading once University goes back next session.

Stayed Tuned.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My top five vampires

I have been giving this a lot of thought lately because I keep getting asked who my favorite vampire is. Some people are in fact quite shocked when I tell them that Edward Cullen does not even make my top five. In their defense the only other vampire most of these people know is Dracula who is not on my top five list either. I have had to go to great pains to tell these people that I loved the Twilight saga books and I have read them several times each as well as the partial draft of midnight sun, so I believe that I know Edward Cullen pretty well it is simply that he does not appeal to me as much as my other vampires. So who are my top five?

1. Henry Fitzroy from Blood Ties. Henry has just been voted sexiest vampire of all time (and he killed the competition) and I have to say I could not agree more. He is without a doubt one of the sexist characters in TV vampire or not. Now the show Blood Ties is based on the Blood books by Tanya Huff and Kyle who played Henry took a character that we all loved and made him even better and I didn’t think that was possible. The thing that I love most about Henry is that he loves the fact that he is a vampire and he still feeds on people be they willing or not. Now I should point out here that Henry does not kill when he feeds he takes what he needs and no more and not less. There is no moping around about having killed people in the past, in fact two of his lines that are my favorite are “I have killed in the past and I will kill again it is what I am”, “Every time I feed I am deciding to live” Here is where I should point out the Henry Fitroy was a real person and in fact the bastard son of Henry the 8th who just happened to die mysteriously at the age of 17. Now Henry was the only bastard child to ever be acknowledged by the king and as such was raised to be a king. They use this fact in the show and Henry is every bit the prince all the time.
2. Angel/Angelus – I mean really do I need to say anymore than that. It was really hard for me to bump Angel from number one to number two as he was my first vampire love but it had to be done. Now there will be hardcore Buffy and Angel fans out there that want my blood but rest assured I include myself as a hard core Buffy and Angel fan. Angel is just the right mix of vampire and man for me. The way he loves and protects those around him is something to see and watch. Surprisingly he is quite the nerd at times which makes for some really funny moments on the show. I think that his character actually becomes stronger when he is in his own show rather than simply a cast member of Buffy which I suppose is not surprising. His relationships with Wesley and Cordy are really touching. Angel comes into his own with the birth of Corner and they are actually some of my favorite episodes from the whole series. Angel is just the right blend of brooding and glamour in a show that while serious does not take itself too seriously. Angel has fun when he is not saving the world or being a champion and I love the character.
3. Spike. There is one reason and one reason only that I love Spike and that is he never takes anything seriously even when his life is in danger he still manages to get off that one liner that makes you laugh. He is flamboyant, funny, ruthless and sexy all at the same time. I really enjoy the interactions between him and Angel the most, the struggle for top dog status never grows old when it involves those two. The process of Spike getting his soul back is a delight to watch. I have to say I enjoyed watching his relationship with Dru there are moments where it is clear that he loves her deeply and would do anything for her.
4. Mick St John from Moonlight. He is a newer vampire to our screens and played by an Aussie so there are ticks in every box for this one. The thing that is different about Moonlight is that there is very little supernatural stuff at all in the show, apart from the vampires off course. Mick is a detective that helps out a reporter, Beth, which of course turns into his love interest. Mick like Angel is not comfortable with the whole being a vampire thing but not in a sulky way he handles it quite well. While he does not feed on humans he does drink human blood generously supplied by his contacts at the Red Cross. Mick is a relatively young vampire considering the company above he has only been a vampire for 50 odd years. It is his relationship and therefore honesty with Beth that the show revolves around and the struggle that is how can we be friends or even more than friends when we are so different. Like Blood Ties this show only lasted one season on TV which is a terrible shame it is a great show and there was a lot of potential for it to go a lot further given the ending of the show.
5. Josef from Moonlight. Josef is the oldest vampire living in LA and I think if memory serves me correctly he is about 450 years old. He is been around the block and he knows what to get. He is rich and a really good business man the term ruthless comes to mind but not in the usual way associated with vampires. Josef unlike Mick does fees on humans and usually beautiful and willing woman. What Josef gets from Mick is someone that doesn’t care that he is rich he likes him for him and Josef respects him for that. Josef relies on Mick to keep the peace in the vampire community and to ensure that their existence remains a secret no matter what. Josef is smart, rich, self confident and at times quite funny.

So there you have it my top five

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vampire TV and a little more

I have always has a fascination with all things supernatural and at the top of that very long list is vampires. Up until a few months being a Buffy or an Angel fan, or any vampire for that matter meant a lot of strange looks from people. Well the worm as really turned as far as that one is concerned. Now I am regularly stopped in the lunch room and asked what is a good vampire book to read? It seems that I am in now and I hadn’t even realized that I was out!!!!
The worrying thing is that people that are new to vampires tend to think that they are all pretty and sparkly like Twilight and the lead Edward. The look of disappointment when you tell them that this is not the case is quite priceless actually. One can only guess at their reaction if they were to watch Night watch or something similar!!!
So what is new for vampire fans?
Lots of stuff is new. It seems with the success of Twilight and TV shows like True Blood and DVD releases of Moonlight and Blood Ties Hollywood as caught up to the rest of us. You can look forward to a vampire movie release in a cinema near you shortly. The calendar for 2009 is jammed packed and 2010 is also looking promising.
My new favorite TV series is Blood Ties. For those of you that haven’t seen it do yourself a favor and get it now. It is hands down one of the best shows that I have seen in a long time. The show centers around Henry Fitroy (vampire) a novelist and Vicki (human) a PI. The unlikely duo team up to investigate strange events in their home town. The developing relationship between the two leads is the best part of the show and it is a shame that it was cut short after only two seasons. Despair not the TV show is based on the Blood Books by Tanya Huff and there are five of them to keep you entertained. There is a sixth book but that is simply a collection of short stories about the main characters. The books explore the relationship between he leads in more depth than was possible on the show and certain aspects of the books were left out of the TV show and they add a tantilsing twist to the characters. These books a simply a must read.
Another TV vampire that has been warming the winter nights for me is Mick St John from the TV series Moonlight. Mick is another vampire detective that teams up with a report to solve crimes. This series deals a little more in reality and the crimes are of the human kind not the super human kind. Of course the relationship between the two leads Mick and Beth is the basis of the show but there are some really interesting side characters as well, my favorite being Josef the oldest vampire in the town, and an interesting friend for Mick. This show was also cut short after one season, a decision I am sure is being regretted as you read this.
I have started to watch Buffy again from the start and I quickly remembered why Buffy and Angel quickly became two of my favorite shows. It is important if you are new to Buffy and Angel to ensure that you watch the first three seasons of Buffy before you begin to watch the Angel series if you really want to enjoy and take in as much as possible from both shows. Both of these were long running series with Buffy running for seven seasons and Angel for five. I get the impression that Angel’s demise came a little quicker than Joss had planned with the end seeming rushed and actually not an ending at all but rather a cliffhanger for the end of a season.
Both of these shows have been continued on in graphic novel format which I kind of like. I have not followed the Buffy comics but I have the Angel ones and I have to say they would have made for great TV. So get out and grab the first season of Buffy but be warned it is addictive TV.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Twilight Saga

The Twilight Saga

I was lucky enough to be introduced to these books long before the hype began to take off. While these books are never going to be literature of the highest order they are cracking good reads. I could not put the books down once I started reading them. My favorite of all the books is Midnight Sun, which of course is the unfinished Twilight from Edward’s point of view. Many people have asked me if I think that SM will ever finish the novel and I really think she has no choice but to finish it. The fans want the story finished and so I really believe that she will eventually have it published.

Which brings us to the second most asked question “Why do you think these books are so damn popular?” It has often been said that sex sells but what you will find is that Love sell’s more. There is not a woman in this world that has not felt like Bella or wanted to Bella. Edward is also the perfect man in so many respects but most importantly he is willing to change his true nature for the woman that he loves what more could you ask for.

My least favorite of the novels is New Moon there is far too much Jacob and far too little Edward for my liking. Breaking Dawn is also far too long and the whole middle section of the book could have been edited out as far as I am concerned.

Now for the movie. I could not have been more disappointed with Twilight if they had forced me to watch it in the rain. It was one of the worst adaptations that I have ever seen. Now I have been told that I am biased on this because I loved the books so much but I have to say it has been months since I have seen the movie and I still feel the same. So much so that I have bought the DVD and have still not been able to force myself to watch it. There was far too much changed and left out of the movie for my liking and I am sure that I could have written a better screen play then the one that we ended up with. If they screw New Moon up as much as they did Twilight it will be the last movie from the Saga that I watch.

Time will tell on this one