Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Perfect Winter Reading

I've been seeing a lot on blogs lately about perfect "beach books" that are fun, quick and easy reads just right for summer vacation.

But here in Australia, it's winter. What I'm looking for are perfect "winter reads" - you know the thing - something just right to curl up in bed with when the weather outside is dreary.

I must admit, there's not much curling up in bed going on here. My kids are home on school holidays at the moment, and one of them has the flu. To top it off, my car is being repaired after a minor accident, so I'm trapped in my house with children that are either sick, or bored, or both!

But on to the good news! Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris, second in the 'Southern Vampires' or 'Sookie Stackhouse' series, is a perfect winter read.

Sookie is a pretty waitress in a bar with the gift (curse?) of being able to read other people's thoughts and emotions. She also has a vampire boyfriend, a shapeshifter boss, and a job to do: she is the official 'telepathic detective' to the local vampire leader, responsible for helping to solve any vampire-related mysteries using her gift.

In Living Dead in Dallas, Sookie is 'lent out' (charming, I know, but that's vampires for you) to another nest of vampires living in Dallas, to help them solve the mystery of the disappearance of one of their members. And so begins the rollercoaster ride...

Living Dead in Dallas has a (human) murder mystery, an anti-vampire cult, a secret society of shapeshifters, a wild sex party and more! (What's not to love?) And though this series is sometimes billed as 'horror', Charlaine Harris writes with a tongue-in-cheek style that has the reader laughing rather than screaming.

In some ways, this series so far reminds me a little of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Lovable, quirky characters, and a mystery that's wrapped up by the end of each book.

If I have a complaint about Living Dead in Dallas, it's this: Charlaine Harris gives us just a taste of new characters, or developments in the overall plot, without expanding on them. It seems obvious to me that she's just introducing them with the plan of expanding in future books of the series. I would have enjoyed a little more depth to the novel, which could have been achieved by exploring one of the new developments in more detail. (Perhaps more about Barry? - I liked him!)

Overall, I enjoyed Living Dead in Dallas very much, and I can't wait for a copy of Club Dead to be ready for me at my local library.

Happy reading everyone, I'm going to check out some of the other reviews for this book at Beth Fish Reads now!


Beth F said...

I put in a help request for Mr. Linky. I don't know where he went! :-)

I'll be back tomorrow to read your reviews. I hope the link problem is sorted out soon.

Shanyn said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog - I found it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to read anything else while I was waiting for Sookie books to come in. I am all set except for one left that is coming in inter library loan, but I have a few to read before I need to read that one, thank goodness. I will be sad when it's over :(

The series reminds me of Stephanie Plum, too! Except Stephanie Plum's were all soooo similar I had to take a break from them for a little while.

I'll try to think of a winter read for you!

Fiona said...

Hi Shanyn!

In just over a week second semester of uni will start, and I'll be snowed under with IMPORTANT ACADEMIC READING!!! I'm really enjoying the chance to read for pleasure while I can!

Anonymous said...

Hey Fiona!! I signed up for this one too. I won't be able to read any until I finish the two 999 reading challenges that end early Sept. After that, I'll get back to Sookie!

Fiona said...

Thanks for stopping by! I'm a regular visitor to your blog.

Lula O said...

I've got the first one on hold at the library. It's taking a long time to get it. Have you seen the TruBlood series on HBO? I'm wondering how close it is to the books.

Fiona said...

I haven't seen True Blood, but my hairdresser has (!) and we have discussed it.

It seems that the whole first series of True Blood was based on Dead Until Dark.

I have read a few of the other reviews via Mr Linky on Beth Fish Reads...from what I gather the series is fairly true to the book with a few exceptions. People seem to like the romance between Sookie and Bill better in the TV series.

Holly said...

I too see a resemblance to Plum books

Bev said...

Saw your blog at J Kaye and stopped by to say hello. Never thought of it that elsewhere in the world that it's winter - hope the kids are feeling better : D Here in Ohio the high today is going to be in the high 60's-a little cool for July. As far as the flu goes - Swine Flu is making the rounds a first ever here in the states.

Merry Weather

Fiona said...

Now following 'Merry Weather'! I love meeting new people and new blogs :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

I saw the resemblance to the Plum books in the first of the series, but not as much in this one. I kept getting distracted by the vampire behavior, and the question of what are reasonable expectations for vampires.

Fiona said...

Just read your review. I like the way you think about the underlying themes. It may be a while until I read the next Sookie, I'm up to my eyeballs in uni at the moment!

Fiona :)