Monday, June 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Dead Until Dark

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

I know, I know.  Once again, more than two sentences - but I had to do the whole scene, it was just too good to chop up!!  I'm thoroughly enjoying this novel, and I encourage you to join me each Monday and Friday for my Read & React feature!  This Friday will be Part 3 (Chapters 5 & 6), but it's not too late to join in!  For more information, read the announcement from last Sunday!  Or go directly to the Read & React posts!
Part 1 - Chapters 1 & 2.
Part 2 - Chapters 3 & 4.
Everyone is welcome - Hope to see you there!!

The Tease:
""That's interesting," he said.  "I had a psychic once.  It was incredible."
"Did the psychic think so?"  My voice was tarter than I'd meant it to be.  I could hear Bill's indrawn breath.
Eric laughed.  "For a while," he answered ambiguously."
- Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1), by Charlaine Harris

 What's your Tease?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Read & React: Dead Until Dark - Part 2

Welcome, y'all, and thank you for joining me for our second Read & React!

This time, we'll search for bodies and go clubbing, in Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, which is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Please join me as I read (& react!) for the very first time to this highly praised novel.

Before we begin, a quick note on spoilers: There will be some (OK lots) - but only for the chapters actually covered in the post, and as we go on, the chapters that have been covered in previous weeks.  I may also make comparisons between the chapters covered and all seasons of HBO's adaptation of the series, True Blood.

As far as the comment section, please join in!!  I want to know what you think of my commentary, of the story itself, the characters, everything!  But if you've read the series before, or read ahead in this book, please don't let anything slip about what's coming up next!  Thanks in advance!

So put on your best clubbing clothes and let's go!


What Happens:

The next morning, Sam Merlotte calls Sookie and tells her that Dawn hasn't come in to work again, and asks if Sookie would please stop by Dawn's house on her way in to the bar and remind Dawn that she's supposed to come to work once in awhile.  Sookie really doesn't want to get involved, and reluctantly agrees.  She pulls on her uniform and drives over to Dawn's house, where she meets Rene Lenier and realizes that he lives right across the street from Dawn.  When Dawn doesn't answer her knock at the front door, she heads around to the back and peeks in the bedroom window, with Rene in tow.  From the way Dawn's body is sprawled across the bed, Sookie knows at once that Dawn is dead, and sends Rene to call the police.  A short time later both Sam and the police arrive, and while Sam lets the police into the house (turns out he's the landlord), Andy Bellefleur questions Sookie.  They have a rather heated discussion, and Sookie accidentally reads his mind, and Andy catches her at it, and tries to provoke her into reading it again and proving that she can.  She also tries to read Sam thoughts, but somehow he can feel what she's doing and he shuts her out of his head.

She finally gets to work and tells Arlene, Lafayette and Terry Bellefleur (Andy's cousin, a Vietnam veteran who sometimes tends bar for Sam) about Dawn's death.  When Sam arrives later in the morning, he has new information - Dawn had vampire bite marks, and was strangled to death, just like Maudette.  Sookie hears Sam's tone and reminds him that there are lots of vampires other than Bill.
"It made me remember how he'd held my hand at Dawn's house, and then I remembered how he'd shut me out of his mind, known I was probing, known how to keep me out.  "Honey, Bill is a good guy, for a vampire, but he's just not human."
"Honey, neither are you," I said, very quietly but very sharply."
 That night she goes home, exhausted, and finds Bill waiting for her.  She tells him about Dawn's murder, and is relieved when he doesn't know which one of the waitresses was Dawn.  Bill tells her that if a vampire was the murderer, the bodies would have been completely drained of blood, and not strangled.  During the conversation she mentions Andy Bellefleur, and Bill has a very odd reaction to the name.
"There are still Bellefleurs here," he said, and there was something different in his voice.  His arms hardened around me to the point of pain."
 She tells Bill that both Dawn and Maudette were known to frequent Fangtasia, a vampire bar in Shreveport, and since Sookie doesn't think that Andy Bellefleur cares enough to follow all the leads, she asks Bill if he will take her there on her next night off from work.  He reluctantly agrees.


Another dead body!  With fang marks!  Poor Dawn - we knew ye not at all.  Bill is probably right that a vampire would not have been able to leave a dead body full of blood, and so therefore the murderer is human.  I found it interesting that in this story, the vampires don't seem to mind drinking blood from dead bodies, where in other vampire stories that isn't always the case.

The conversation Sookie had with Andy was significant, I think, in showing Andy's feelings and prejudices, but also gave quite a bit of insight into his personality, and shows that he really isn't the dumb cop that most of the town thinks he is.

Also, Sookie seems to narrow in on the fact that Sam isn't completely human, based on how he was able to keep her out of his mind, but at the same time she doesn't seem terribly concerned about the fact that her boss isn't completely human.  Hello!  What the heck?!  But I guess if you can date someone who isn't human, you probably don't care if your boss isn't human.

Chapter 4

What Happens:

Over the next two days, the town folk become more worried and concerned.  Sookie is constantly told to be careful, to lock her door, don't let anyone in the house.  Then Sookie's brother Jason comes under suspicion when the police find out that Jason dated both Dawn and Maudette.

The evening of the second day, Sookie gets dressed up for trip to Fangtasia, unsure at first what to wear, and finally settling for a little white sleeveless dress.  Bill picks her up in his car, and they drive to Shreveport, listening to Kenny G on the stereo.  Entering the club, Sookie is shocked and amazed at the clientele dressed up in their vampire finest, and the vampires themselves in their silent, stony glory.  Bill introduces her to the bartender, Long Shadow, and she politely asks him if he has ever seen either Dawn or Maudette, producing pictures of the two women from her purse, adding a picture of Jason as the last moment.  Long Shadow says he's never seen Jason before, but admits that the two women have both been in the bar before.

Bill buys her a drink and a synthetic blood for himself, and they sit in a booth, where Bill is continually hit on by multiple women and one young man, all eager to have a vampire companion.  After a while, Bill takes her over to introduce her to Eric, who is sitting in another booth with a female vampire named Pam.  They both admit to seeing Dawn and Maudette in the club before, but know nothing about them.  Bill and Sookie return to their booth and get into a small argument, and Sookie, out of boredom, lowers her guard and begins to listen to the thoughts of the customers around her.  Most of them are solely focused on sex, but she receives a bit of a shock when she realizes that one of them is an undercover cop who is heading into the bathroom where he knows that a vampire is feeding on a human and has already called for police backup.  She tells Bill and he begins to hustle her out of the bar, pausing only to warn Eric and Long Shadow that the club is about to be raided.  As they are leaving, Sookie accidentally tells Eric that she knew about the raid because she read the cops' mind, which definitely peaks Eric's interest in her.

On the way home to Bon Temps, they kiss in the car and are interrupted by a cop.  Bill almost loses his control and Sookie mistakes his withdrawal as not wanting her.  When they reach her home, she thanks him for taking her and promises not to pester him again.
"He stood still.  Finally he said, "You - are - incredibly - naive."   "

Well," I said blankly.  "I am?"  "

"Or maybe one of God's fools," he said, and that sounded a lot less pleasant, like Quasimodo or something."
She promises not to call him again and goes into the house.


OMG!  Bill the Vampire loves Kenny G!  Ha!

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

So we finally get to meet Eric and Pam, and see Fangtasia for what I'm assuming will be the first of many, many times.  Eric is older and stronger than Bill, and Sookie definitely should not have told him that she can read minds - that will most definitely come back to haunt her!

And she really is naive, not realizing that Bill's sudden coolness towards her on the way home has nothing to do with disliking her, and everything to do with liking her too much and not wanting to lose control and take the risk of harming her.

Differences Between the Book and True Blood:

Pretty much we are still on track, with very few differences between the show and the book.  The main differences I've noticed are:
  • Terry Bellefleur is described as a veteran of the Vietnam War, which would make him a bit older than Sookie, Arlene and the rest - while in True Blood, he is closer to their age and suffers from PTSD due to his being in Afghanistan.
  • Rene isn't living with Arlene, but still ends up across the street from Dawn's house.
  • And...Um...I think that's it.  At least I don't remember anything else.

So please leave YOUR commentary below, but remember, if you've read ahead, don't spoil anything for those of us who haven't!  Thanks for joining, and we hope to see you for the next edition of...DEAD UNTIL DARK!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Read & React: Dead Until Dark - Part 1

Welcome, Fabulous Readers, and thank you for joining me for this, the very first ever Read & React at SunnyReads!  As you can see, we are sinking our fangs into Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris, which is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Please join me as I read (& react!) for the very first time to this highly praised novel.

Before we begin, a quick note on spoilers: There will be some (OK lots) - but only for the chapters actually covered in the post, and as we go on, the chapters that have been covered in previous weeks.  I may also make comparisons between the chapters covered and all seasons of HBO's adaptation of the series, True Blood.

As far as the comment section, please join in!!  I want to know what you think of my commentary, of the story itself, the characters, everything!  But if you've read the series before, or read ahead in this book, please don't let anything slip about what's coming up next!  Thanks in advance!

So there's all that.  So here we go!


What Happens:

Sookie Stackhouse wastes no time at all in introducing herself and the very first line hooked me like few have in the past.
"I'd been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar."
In fact, she had been hoping one would visit the sleepy little town of Bon Temps in rural northern Louisiana ever since the vampires "came out of the coffin" two years before.  Sookie is a waitress in a bar called Merlotte's, named after the owner, Sam Merlotte, and she describes herself as  
"...blond and blue-eyed and twenty-five, and my legs are strong and my bosom is substantial, and I have a waspy waistline."  
 She knows she is pretty, but she doesn't date much anymore because of what she calls her "disability."  Everyone else just thinks she crazy.

She immediately knows he is a vampire, even though no one else in the bar seems to notice.  Later in the evening she realizes that he has been joined by "the Rat Couple," Mack & Denise Rattray, local drug dealers and all-around white trash. She's a little dismayed when her friend and co-worker, Arlene, points out how much Denise is flirting with the vampire, stroking her throat and the sides of her neck with her fingers, while her husband Mack stares at the vampire.  Sookie wanders closer to their table and lets down the guard on her "disability," and discovers that the Rat Couple have been previously jailed for vampire draining, and that they currently intend to drain this vampire of every drop of blood in his body and sell it for $200 per ounce.

Shocked, she suddenly realizes that the three have left, and she runs out to the parking lot to try and warn him, grabbing a chain from the back of a pickup truck that belongs to her brother Jason, who is inside the bar flirting with every girl he can.  She finds the vampire in the shadowy corner of the lot, on the ground with the Rat Couple already draining his blood while he's held in place with a silver chain.  Mack attacks Sookie with a knife, and she flings the chain at him, which wraps around his neck, then grabs the knife he drops and chases the pair away.  Picking the chain off of where it has burned its' way into the vampires flesh, she helps him sit up and asks if he's OK.  She then does something that she rarely does and purposely tries to listen to his thoughts, and suddenly realizes that she can't hear him.
"...and in my excitement I did something I ordinarily would never do, because it was pushy, and personal, and revealed I was disabled.  I turned fully to him and put my hands on both sides of his white face, and I looked at him intently.  I focused with all my energy.  Nothing.  It was like having to listen to the radio all the time, to stations you didn't get to select, and then suddenly tuning in to a wavelength you couldn't receive.  It was heaven."
  While she's marveling at how amazing it would be to have a companion whose thoughts she couldn't hear, he is wondering why she isn't afraid to be alone with a hungry vampire, then realizes that while he's been recovering, she's been wrapping the long thin silver chain that had held him down around her arms and neck.
"'But there's a juicy artery in your groin," he said after a pause to regroup, his voice as slithery as a snake on a slide.  "Don't you talk dirty," I told him.  "I won't listen to that."
 Then she laughs in his face when she finds out is name is Bill, and not something more dignified like Antoine, or Basil, or Langford.  She stands up and dusts herself off cheerfully, waving goodbye to Bill the vampire.

The next day her brother Jason shows up (he's already heard about the fight with the Rat Couple), and tells her and Gran about Maudette Pickens, a young woman who was just found murdered.  That night when she gets to work, her boss Sam gives her a lecture about chasing trouble in dark parking lots.  Then two nights later Bill comes into the bar again, and Sookie asks him to meet her after her shift is over, so she can ask him to come to one of Adele's club meetings and talk about the civil war, since he was there.  But after the bar closes, instead of finding Bill in the parking lot, she finds a really pissed of Rat Couple who beat the crap out of her, kicking and beating on her until she thinks she's about to die.

Suddenly she hears a dog growl and then a new voice, and the beating stops.  Bill is there, apologizing for being late, and convinces her to drink some of his blood before she dies.  The blood heals her completely, and while she recovers she tells Bill that she is telepathic, then asks if he'll come talk to Gran's club.  He agrees, and asks if he can "call on her some evening." As she heads to her car she suddenly remembers to ask if the dog was ok, but Bill has already vanished into the night.


Wow!  Lots of stuff happening in this first chapter, lots of characters to introduce, and settings to fix in place.  Also, it seems we are not going to waste any time at all getting straight to the blood drinking!!  Normally I  wouldn't expect to see that until later in the story, but apparently we're getting that out of the way right off the bat!

So if I was a Rattray, I would know that on average a human body has about 6 quarts of blood.  There's 32 fluid ounces in a quart, times 6 quarts is 192 ounces, times $200 per ounce is $38,400!!  Of course, that assumes that my math skills and Google are both correct - But still, wow, not bad for an evenings' work!

However, one would assume that a vampire with any experience at all under his belt would not allow himself to be so easily trapped by a couple of white-trash stoners, but maybe Bill the vampire isn't as savvy as we would like to think?

Also - I love Gran!!  She's almost as excited about the new resident of Bon Temps as Sookie is, which is really cool to see in a Gran-type person.  You'd expect her to be all finger-shaking & safety-lecturing, but I guess that job is falling to the hunky bar owner Sam.  Charlaine Harris does an amazing job of setting the scene and describing the characters, so I'm digging what we've got so far.  I love that she has made the vampires' blood into a human drug, as I can see that causing all sorts of problems in the future.  I was afraid that might be one of the liberties that True Blood had taken with the story.  I don't have much else to say about this opening chapter, so let's move on to Chapter 2!

Chapter 2

What Happens:

The next morning Sookie tells Gran that Bill will be "calling" on them the following evening, and Gran begins planning her house cleaning strategy.  Gran & Sookie hear via the gossip line that the Rat Couple were killed in a freak accident involving a trailer house and suspected tornado (insert Dorothy joke here), so on her way to work Sookie stops by the trailer to see the damage, and is found there by Sheriff Dearborn and Mike Spencer, the funeral director.  After trading sharp words with the Sheriff, Sookie arrives at work, and during the busy evening Rene saves her from the unwanted attentions of a customer, and then tells her that she reminds him of his little sister Cindy, who done run off to the big city.

The following day Sookie spends the day helping Gran prepare for Bill's evening visit, and Sookie ponders the possibility of dating a vampire, and wonders if they can even "do it."  Bill arrives after sundown and is introduced to Gran, who gossips about the Rattrays' death and the tornado, completely unsuspecting that said tornado might be in her very own living room!  Then she settles down to business and begins quizzing Bill on the Civil War and which families were in Bon Temps 130 years ago when he lived there.  They finally work out a date and time for Bill to come speak about the Civil War to Gran's club, The Descendants of the Glorious Dead.  Finally Bill suggests that he and Sookie go for an evening stroll, and Gran shoos them out of the house.  As they wander through the darkness, Bill asks her if the scene at the Rattray's trailer had bothered her.
"I feel very...hmmm. Fragile.  When I think about the trailer."  "You knew I was strong."  I tilted my head from side to side, considering.  "Yes, but I didn't realize the full extent of your strength," I told him. "or your imagination."
 She ask him how he became a vampire, but he avoids the question, and he tries to glamor her and they discover that it doesn't work on her.  She ends up telling him about her childhood and what it was like growing up telepathic.  While discussing whether or not vampires have souls, Sookie mentions that it's not his fault he caught the virus, which is what the vampires have been telling the humans, that their condition is based on a virus.
"Bill snorted, even managing to sound elegant doing that.  "There have been theories as long as there have been vampires.  Maybe that one is true."  Then he looked as if he was sorry he'd said that. "if what makes a vampire is a virus," he went on in a more offhand manner, "it's a selective one."
 On the way back to Sookie's house she offers to help Bill find workmen and contractors who can be trusted to do the repairs on his house, which she learns is just across the cemetery from her and Gran.  Once home again they share their first kiss.
"I felt him shudder. He turned his head so his lips touched mine.  After a moment, I reach to circle his neck with my arms.  His kiss deepened, and I parted my lips. I'd never been kissed like this. It went on and on until I thought the whole world was involved in this kiss in the vampire's mouth on mine."
 The next morning, Sam calls and asks Sookie to come into work to cover for another waitress, Dawn, who hasn't shown up.  Sookie agrees, but once there she finds herself distracted and accidentally reads Arlene's mind and finds out that Arlene is afraid she might be pregnant again.  Arlene snaps at her to stay out of her head, and Sookie goes to the ladies room where Sam finds her.  Sookie has never told Sam about her telepathy, but he's heard the rumors and has figured out the truth, and when Sookie expresses how much work it takes to keep her guard up all the time, and how relaxing it is to be around Bill, Sam invites her to try to read his mind and see if she can hear him.  She declines, but secretly decides to try sometime when he isn't expecting it.

After her shift is done that evening she stops by Bill's house on the way home to deliver the contractor information, and finds a strange car in his driveway.  When she knocks at the door a female vampire answers the door, and inside the house Sookie finds that Bill has guests - three vampires and two humans who are basically sex and blood slaves.  Bill seems almost cowed by these strange vampires, who are trying to convince Bill to drink from the male human Jerry, and Sookie "hears" that the human man is infected with the one blood virus that is harmful to vampires and is trying to take out as many vamps as he can before he dies.  Sookie warns Bill just in time, and Jerry attacks Sookie, trying to strangle her for warning the vampire of his condition.  Bill breaks Jerry's wrist and drags him off of her, the others all leave to take their revenge on Jerry, leaving Sookie and Bill alone in the house.
"The minute I heard the car start up outside, I fainted."
 When she awakens, Bill explains that when vampires live together in "nests," they become less and less human, and far more cruel.  She gathers herself together, still terrified, and gives Bill the list of contractors she brought, telling him they can all be trusted and don't mind working for a vampire.  As she leaves he asks if he can kiss her again, but she refuses.
"He reached past me to open the door, but I thought he was reaching for me, and I flinched. I spun on my heel and almost ran to my car, tears blurring my vision again. I was glad the drive home was so short."

So, there's several interesting points here.  Apparently there is a "party line" that the vampires have been feeding to the humans which states that it is a virus that makes them a vampire.  Bill sounds as if he doesn't believe that, but then realizes that he might be spilling beans that shouldn't be spilled, and tries to cover his ass by claiming that it is one theory among many, and that the virus is apparently very selective.  I'm not buying it, Mr. Bill the Vampire - I think you're hiding something.

The second interesting point, I think, is that while most blood conditions (viruses, disease, HIV, AIDS, etc) don't affect vampires, the author left a little hole in their armor.  If they drink from someone who has something called the "Sino-AIDS virus" it can seriously harm or even kill the vampire in question, which is why poor Jerry is trying to spread the virus to as many vampires as possible before he begins to look sick.

Also, for the first time Sookie seems to suddenly realize that dating a vampire isn't just all moonlit walks and brainy-silence - and not all vampires are nice.  Some are icky and depraved and perverted, mean and cruel and scary.  I think it's good for her to realize that Bill - in his attempt to "mainstream" - is the exception, not the rule.  I am curious as to why Bill doesn't seem willing to stand up to the Psycho Three until they threaten Sookie - are they older than Bill?  Stronger?  The story doesn't really say (at least not at this point), but I'm fairly sure they will show up again, as they did in True Blood.

I think it's fairly obvious that Sam Merlotte carries a torch for Sookie, and I think she knows it but isn't willing to go there with a boss, since good jobs are hard to find.  But I hope that she tries to listen to his thoughts soon, to see if she can "hear" him.

Oddly enough, I'm finding that generally speaking, I don't like Bill the Vampire.  Is that weird? Hopefully that will change soon.  He's not as likeable as Bill in True Blood is.

Differences Between the Book and True Blood:

So far there aren't very many differences between the two, at least as far as the story line goes.  The main differences I've noticed so far, are:
  • No Tara.  This is very very sad, y'all - very sad indeed!
  • No one says "y'all."  What's up with that, y'all??
  • Hardly any Lafayette, who is one of my favorite characters in True Blood.  And since he usually has the best one-liners, AND the best eye-liner, I'm kinda missing him...
  • Apparently Sookie already suspects that Sam is not completely human - but I don't think she knows just what he is.  Yet.
  • In True Blood, Rene Lenier is basically an outsider from somewhere else, and is dating / engaged to Arlene.  But in the book, Rene grew up in Bon Temps, went to High School with Jason, and was already married to Arlene and then divorced, and now they are sort of dating again.
  • Speaking of Jason, in the book he doesn't seem to be the prime murder suspect in Maudette's death that he was in the show.

So that wraps up the first entry in our very first Read & React!  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you will come back again next week (I'm planning for Monday) for the next installment, where we'll cover Chapters 3 and 4 of Dead Until Dark.

So what did y'all think?  Do y'all like Bill the Vampire?  Is Sookie biting off more than she can chew, or will she be all right?  Should she be dating Sam instead?  Why is Jason such a man-whore?  Please leave YOUR commentary below, but y'all remember, if you've read ahead, don't spoil things for those of us who haven't!  Thanks for joining, and y'all come back next time for the next edition of...DEAD UNTIL DARK!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Dead Until Dark

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

I am really liking Dead Until Dark much more than I thought I would!  Humorous and fun, with just a little dark and edgy for contrast!  Sookie makes me laugh, but I'm a little disappointed that no one says "y'all," - at least not yet!
Just a reminder, come on back on Friday for Part 1 of the "Dead Until Dark" Read and React, covering Chapters 1 and 2.  For more information, read the announcement from Sunday!  All are welcome - Hope to see you then!!

The Tease:
"When Gran urged me to get in the shower and change my clothes, I realized that she regarded Bill the vampire as my date.  That made me feel a little odd.  One, Gran was so desperate for me to have a social life that even a vampire was eligible for my attention; two, that I had some feelings that backed up that idea; three, that Bill might accurately read all this; four, could vampires even do it like humans?"
- Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1), by Charlaine Harris

 What's your Tease?

"John Carter" Movie Poster and Release Date

This may be old news to many of you, but Disney's "John Carter" (recently changed from "John Carter of Mars") now has a new poster and release date - March 9, 2012!

The title character will be  played by Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights), and the film is directed by Andrew Stanton, who also directed "Finding Nemo" and "Wall-E,"  and will be his first live-action film.

John Carter is the main character in the 11-volume "Barsoom" series, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  The movie is based on the first novel in the series, ("A Princess of Mars") in which John Carter, a Civil War Veteran, goes to sleep in a cave in the desert and wakes up on Mars, or Barsoom as the inhabitants call it.  Through many adventures, he saves a princess and ultimately the very planet itself, as every self-respecting hero should.  (Did I just make John Carter sound like Mario?  I think I did...)

I am very much looking forward to this movie, and I think the poster is amazing, even if it is a bit simplistic. 

What do you think?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Announcement: Upcoming Read & React

Hello readers!  Thanks to some input from a few of you, and after much thought over the last few days, I've decided to go ahead and try to do a Read & React of Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1), by Charlaine Harris.  I would like to invite you all to join me on this adventure!

I've never read this book (or series) before though I have spent the last two months getting caught up on HBO's adaptation of the story, True Blood.  Also, I've never done a Read & React before, so I'm not exactly sure how this will work.  We may have to adjust the rules as we go along.

The first thing is, you don't have to be reading the book with me.  If you've read it before and want to re-read it along with me, that would be great - but it's not necessary.  If you've never read it before and want to join along, that would be awesome also!

But the point is you don't have to.  If you don't have time, or want to save the book for some future date, that's great.  However it might make it a little difficult to follow the commentary, as there will be spoilers.  Because, you know, I'll be talking about the the book, and the characters and what happens to people and stuff like that.  'Cuz that's how I roll.

So to help out any of you Fabulous Readers who may wish to skip those posts, they will be clearly labeled, with a spoiler warning at the top.  I hope that you will ignore them and come with me on this little trip to the deep south, but I'll understand if you need to skip a post here and there.  Just don't forget to come back and read the other stuff I do!

So now that that is out of the way, let's talk about the flip side - those of you who have read the books, maybe several, or the whole series.  Join in, I want to hear from you!!  But please don't let things slip for portions of the book (or future books) that I haven't reached yet!  I will be talking about the current chapters, how events relate to previous chapters, and also about all seasons of True Blood and how the book differs from the show.  But if you read ahead, (or have in the past) wait for me to catch up please!

So here's how it will work:
Dead Until Dark has 12 chapters.  I'll take two at a time, and the Read & React posts will be scheduled for Mondays & Fridays.  I don't want to drag it out too long by only doing one chapter a week - I don't know how to read that slow!
Our first post, which will include Chapters 1 & 2, will be scheduled for this coming Friday, June 24, 2011.  I hope you will join me!  It could be fun - right!?!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Another question

So now that it has been decided that I should next read Charlaine Harris' Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1), I'm curious if there would be any interest among my readers / followers / addicts, of me treating this as a "read & react" sort of thing, where I read a chapter or two, and then comment on what happened and my thoughts / comments on those chapters (and since I just finished watching Seasons 1-3 of HBO's adaptation of the series, I would probably also be wanting to comment on the differences between the book and the show). If anyone wanted to, you guys could also follow along on your own read (or re-read), and comment on my commentary.  It could be fun, right?!

Currently there are several versions of this happening over at with several different sci-fi / fantasy series (the most notable, IMHO, is Leigh Butler's re-read of the Wheel of Time series, and she has also just started a Read & React for GRRM's Game of Thrones - both of which I find fascinating to follow along with, even though I'm not currently actually reading either of those book / series, but I have in the past).  I've really been enjoying them, and that's where I stole the idea, and I thought of applying it to Dead Until Dark, because it seemed more manageable.

So the question remains - Would you, my most Fabulous Readers, be interested in me doing this?  Would you get bored with my rambling commentary of Sookie and her friends and the oddness of her world, or would you enjoy following along?

If y'all think that this idea might be fun, please let me know in the comments.  If yes, I'll probably start this weekend - short notice, I know, but I'm already two chapters in and so far I'm enjoying it, and I don't wanna get too far in before we start.  So let me know!  Thanks!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Question for my Little Addicts...

To all my Little Addicts, and also any and all visitors, I would like to pose this question:

What should I read next?

This weekend I procured three new books.

Coyote, by Allen Steele

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1), by Charlaine Harris

The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

In all honesty, I have already started Dead Until Dark, but only the first two pages! 

So you tell me - What should I read next?  Leave a comment below with your choice, but hurry - I didn't plan very well and finished Water for Elephants today at work, and I need to start a new book NOW!!! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Water for Elephants

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

I am thoroughly enjoying Water for Elephants, although I must say in all honesty, I wish I had read the book before seeing the movie, as I'm finding it difficult to stay focused on reading it when I already know what's going to happen.  But I am enjoying it and it is a wonderful story!  In the scene this teaser is from, Jacob awaits news of Marlena after her accident.

The Tease:
"As the days pass I grow more anxious about Marlena.  Each time I approach the cookhouse I hope that I'll find her there.  And each time I don't, my heart sinks."
- Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

 What's your Tease?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review - Movie catch-up! (2)

In the last 4 weeks, Bob and I have seen three movies.  Or as he likes to call it, I dragged him to see a bunch of movies he didn't want to see in the first place!

Thor * * * *
This was a darn good movie.  I'm not a fan of comic books in general, so I know nothing about how Thor fits into the Avengers or whatever, 'cause I've just never been exposed.  So coming in from the outside, this movie was done very well in my opinion.  The beginning narrative takes a few minutes to explain the Asgardians(?) and their war with the Frost Giants on Earth which eventually, over time, faded into human myth.  The scenes that take place in Asgard were amazing and stunningly beautiful.  The story is rather fast paced, and a lot happens, and sometimes it's not always clear why at first, but before the end of the movie everything ties together. 

It was fun to see the SHIELD tie-in (from Iron Man), Natalie Portman was great, and while Chris Hemsworth (Thor himself) wasn't shirtless nearly often enough, I thought he did a great job in the part.  I also thought the Rainbow Bridge, Frost weapons, and other "magical" elements of the story were rather cleverly concealed as highly advanced science, while still leaving an element of "magic" to the story, thus making you feel that people of Asgard are people, and not necessarily "gods."  Tons of fun! 

Priest * * * *
I somehow managed to get Bob into the theater without him remembering that this was a vampire movie until it was too late!  Muahahaha - score for me!  Fortunately, Priest is not your typical vampire story - it's kind of a post-apocalyptic vampire western, if that makes any sense.  The vampires are a product of evolution, and they are most definitely NOT human, cultured, seductive, or sparkly.  They ARE mutated, slimy, gross, disgusting, and creepy!   Humanity has been fighting against the vampire hives for a very long time, and while they finally won the war, they nearly ruined the earth in the process.  The few remaining vampires have been contained in heavily fortified "reservations" and most humans huddle in massive cities controlled and protected by "the church."  The priests of the church are the ones who finally won the war for humanity, but integrating back into society after being a warrior hasn't been easy for them. 

There's lots of parallels to be seen, and some not-so-subtle commentary on some current and past American events, but once the story takes off it takes off fast, in a grab-you-by-the-jugular-and-don't-let-go sort of way.  It's loads of fun, some scares and thrills, great action and fight scenes (I love Maggie Q!!!) all racing faster than a massive speeding train full of hungry blood-suckers!! 

My only problem with the movie was the ending.  Specifically that it didn't.  End, that is. Turns out the whole movie is a setup for the NEXT movie, but if they don't ever make that sequel, then we won't have anything anywhere near a satisfying ending.  All we know is that the survivors agree to meet at a rendezvous point, and then the credits roll.  However, it's still a good movie and it's still totally worth seeing!! 
I loved it - and even Bob admitted that it was pretty good, which was a pleasant surprise for him!

 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides * * * * *
You've seen the previews, the trailers, the commercials.  So you know that this one is about the search for the Fountain of Youth.  There's been a lot of talk around the 'net about how the franchise has fallen into a rut, character are doing things that don't make sense, blah blah yada blah.  Bottom line?  If you like Johnny Depp, pirates in general, previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or sword fighting - then you will probably like On Stranger Tides.  Yes, there is some stuff that doesn't always make sense.  Yes, there are some loose ends.  Yes, Captain Jack Sparrow is still the same.  Yes, some really improbably stuff happens.

But ultimately none of that matters. Why? Because it is a Pirates Movie - 'nuff said!!!

One thing that I really liked was the scene where Jack was taken to see King George; Jack wanders around touching & sniffing everything, seemingly randomly.  But watch the scene closely, and you'll see that Captain Jack has a method to his madness - he's not just wandering around the room in a drunken haze.  He's carefully and cleverly plotting his escape!!  This scene added a layer of subtle cleverness to the character that I knew had to be in there somewhere, but that hadn't really been showcased in this way before. 
Penelope Cruz shines as Angelica, Blackbeard's daughter (or is she?), and the ending scene with her and Jack brought us back to a very familiar place.  I sense that we haven't seen the last of Angelica...

I personally loved the movie, as it was everything I expected and wanted from a fourquel - it was fun, it was sword fighting, it was pirates!  ARRRRRGH!!!

Movies that I'm looking forward to this summer (June & July) include:
X-Men: First Class
Super 8
The Green Lantern
Mr. Popper's Penguins (I love Penguins!!!)
Bad Teacher (might wait for the DVD)
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
Cowboys & Aliens - (OMG!!!  Looks. So. Awesome).

Have you seen Thor, On Stranger Tides, or Priest?  I'd love to hear what you thought of them if you did!!  Also - what movies are you looking forward to seeing in the next few weeks?  As always, my Little Addicts, let me know in the comments!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - 2 Teasers!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title and author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To Be Read (TBR) Lists if they like your teasers!

Amelia Peabody and her husband Emerson, having been banned from their much beloved Valley of the Kings in Egypt, agree to accompany a would-be archaeologist (who may also be a German spy) to Palestine in August of 1910.
Another year - another dead body!

The Tease:
"I am hardened to death in many forms.  I had seen worse.  He lay on his back, his hands folded and his eyes closed.  He might have been sleeping had it not been for the stain, now dark and hardened, that had dyed his white beard a rusty brown." - A River in the Sky,  by Elizabeth Peters

I've also started reading Water for Elephants, which was loaned to me by a co-worker.  So as a special bonus, let's have a tease from that also, shall we?  Why yes, yes we shall!

The Tease:
"I'm searching in vain for an elephant when my eyes come to an abrupt stop on a woman.  She looks so much like Catherine I catch my breath - the plane of her face, the cut of her hair, the slim thighs I've always imagined were under Catherine's staid skirts." - Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

 What's your Tease?