BOOK REVIEW: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Title: Living Dead in Dallas

Author: Charlaine Harris

Book Length: 291 pages

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery, Horror

Read Start Date: May 16, 2022

Read Finish Date: June 3, 2022

Number in Book Series: 2

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face to-face with a beastly creature that gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it).

The point is: they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favor, she obliges – and soon Sookie’s in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave and let the humans go unharmed. But that’s easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly….

My Review: Sookie is back for another tale of vampires and shape shifters. The book opens with a murder mystery–Lafayette the cook at Merlotte’s is found dead in the parking lot. It was rumored around town that Lafayette was into sex parties. Could someone from this scene have done it?

We are also introduced to even more supernatural creatures — a maenad, werewolves, even other shape shifters! The surprises keep coming!

Although the opening of the book was about Lafayette (and we come back to this by the end of the book), the middle of the book takes place in Dallas. Sookie is loaned to the Dallas vampires for an assignment — read the minds of humans to find out where a kidnapped Dallas vampire was taken. Through this adventure we meet a fresh set of characters, learn about an anti-vampire organization hell bent on destroying vampires, and watch Sookie get further ensconced in vampire politics.

Another hit from Charlaine Harris!

Other Books in this Series

Dead Until Dark is the first book in the series.

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out….Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

See my review of Dead Until Dark here.

Goodreads Monday July 25, 2022

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Budget Tales Book Blog. “Goodreads Monday allows you to post about what books are on your “to read” lists, the progress you have made on your current books and reading challenge, and any other Goodreads news!”

Books I Finished Last Week:

Title: The Reaper’s Quota

Author: Sarah McKnight

Published: 2021

Number of Pages: 190

Date Finished: July 24, 2022

Goodreads’ Summary:

Meet Grim Reaper #2497. Behind on his work, he must complete his quota of thirty Random Deaths or face termination in the worst way. Faced with an insurmountable task and very little time to complete it, Reaper #2497 struggles to hang on to the one thing he’s not supposed to have – his humanity.

See my review of this book here.

Books I am Currently Reading:

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris:

Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural—but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were-panther for the first time—a transformation he embraces more readily than most shapeshifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks—unless the killer decides to find her first…

Progress: 10 out of 295 pages

In the last week I haven’t made any progress. I usually read this book right before writing my own book to get into the first person storytelling groove. Since I have been on vacation this week, I haven’t done any writing.

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl:

So, I’ve written a book.

Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (“It’s a piece of cake! Just do 4 hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!”) I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.

This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.

Progress: Audio file Part 9 out of 10

I haven’t made as much progress as I would like on this book (only 7 audio files in the last week). Usually, I’d be finished by now but I haven’t had much time for listening since I’ve been on vacation. I will have to finish this book by today at the latest though since my library loan will automatically expire soon.

The Cruelest Month by Louis Penny:

Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.

It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. . .

When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?

Brilliant, compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is called to investigate, in a case that will force him to face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly idyllic town where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem.

Progress: Edoc approximately 60%

I was focused on reading The Reaper’s Quota last week so I didn’t get so far in this book (only 10%).

The Last Storm by Tim Lebbon:

A gripping road trip through post-apocalyptic America from Tim Lebbon, New York Times bestseller and author of Netflix’s The Silence.

Struck by famine and drought, large swathes of North America are now known as the Desert. Set against this mythic and vast backdrop, The Last Storm is a timely story of a family of Rainmakers whose rare and arcane gift has become a curse.

Jesse stopped rainmaking the moment his abilities became deadly, bringing down not just rain but scorpions, strange snakes and spiders. He thought he could help a land suffering from climate catastrophe, but he was wrong. When his daughter Ash inherited the tainted gift carried down the family bloodline, Jesse did his best to stop her. His attempt went tragically wrong, and ever since then he has believed himself responsible for his daughter’s death.

But now his wife Karina––who never gave up looking for their daughter—brings news that Ash is still alive. And she’s rainmaking again. Terrified of what she might bring down upon the desperate communities of the Desert, the estranged couple set out across the desolate landscape to find her. But Jesse and Karina are not the only ones looking for Ash. As the storms she conjures become more violent and deadly, some follow her seeking hope. And one is hungry for revenge.

Progress: Edoc approximately 21%

I was reading The Reaper’s Quota and The Cruelest Month, so have basically set this book aside for the moment.

To Read List:

Title: Chasing the Reaper

Author: Sarah McKnight

Published: 2022

Number of Pages: 113

Goodreads’ Summary:

The Reaper Chronicles Book 2

Steven Kelton awakens with a vase in his hands, a sniveling man at his feet, and no idea how he got there. He struggles to remember the details of his life as something sinister lurks just around the corner. Death seems to be following Steve at every turn. Stalked by a hooded figure in black, Steve spirals into self-doubt and false memories until only one thing is certain – he must protect those he loves, even if it means staring Death in the face.

Friday 56, July 22, 2022

Welcome to Friday 56! Hosted by Freda’s Voice, you turn to page 56 or 56% in any book or reading device and pick a sentence that grabs you.

He looked at me. His eyes narrowed. The lashes were the same red-gold as his hair, so they showed up only when you were close to him. And I had no business at all thinking about Sam’s eyelashes, or any other part of him, for that matter.”

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

This quote is actually from page 55 because page 56 is the last page of the chapter and therefore only a half page. This is the fifth book in the series, and although nothing has ever happened between Sookie and her boss, Sam (who is a shape shifter that mostly shifts into a collie), there is always some sexual tension between the two characters. I think that there are about 13 books in this series total, so I wonder whether Sookie and Sam will get together at some point.

BOOK REVIEW: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

301082._SY475_Title: Dead Until Dark

Author: Charlaine Harris

Book Length: 292 pages

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Mystery, Horror

Read Start Date: March 27, 2022

Read Finish Date: May 16, 2022

Number in Book Series: 1

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out….Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

My Review: Sookie Stackhouse is just an average girl, working as a waitress in her small Louisiana town bar. Sookie is telepathic, which makes her kind of the town “weirdo”, and she has trouble forming lasting relationships, both friendship and romantic. In fact, she has never really had a boyfriend. After the Japanese developed synthetic blood, the vampires of the world decided to “come out of the coffin” since they no longer needed to feed on human blood to decide. In Sookie’s little town of Bon Temps, there isn’t much vampiric activity, and Sookie has longed to meet a vampire — one day she gets her wish, and Bill Compton (a vampire who was turned shortly after the civil war) walks into the bar.

Bill has decided to move back to Bon Temps, as this is where he lived while human. He has also decided to “main stream”, hence why he came into the bar. Sookie is immediately taken by him, as are two “drainers”. Through Sookie’s telepathy, she discovers the plot to drain Bill of his blood (vampire blood can be sold on the black market as a drug for a lot of money). When the couple leaves the bar with Bill, Sookie follows them and saves Bill from being drained of all his blood (which would have weakened him for decades, if he wasn’t still tied up when the sun came up).

Soon after, Bill and Sookie start an unconventional romantic relationship. Sookie discovers that she cannot hear the thoughts of vampires, and it is wonderful. As Sookie becomes more entrenched in the vampire community, a murderer is going around killing women who take vampires as lovers. Who is it? Will Sookie be a target now?

This was the second time that I read this book, and back when it was on HBO, I also watched the series. This book is always a fun read for me. I really love how Charlaine Harris melds different fantastical creatures (from vampires to shapeshifters) in the same novel.

The book is not only about a telepathic waitress who falls in love with a vampire, but there is also an element of mystery, i.e., there is a murderer in Bon Temps who is killing women who have affiliations with vampires.

This book combines several genres…its like a horror novel about vampires, but at the same time has a murder mystery to be solved, and at the same time, is a love story.

I also really like how Sookie is not some dumb, thin-stick blonde. Rather, she is intelligent, although working as a waitress, and she is of average build (a size 8). Other than the telepathic part, Sookie could be anyone’s sister or best friend.

This book is great for some light and fun reading.

First Chapter, First Paragraph, Tuesday Intros July 19, 2022

It’s First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday! Hosted by Socrates Book Reviews this is where you share the first paragraph of one (or in my case several) of the books that you are currently reading.

In the cavernous marble hall that serves as an office, the Big Boss sits back against the plush velvet of his golden throne. He appears large and menacing on the platform above me. The glowing red coals deep within his hollow sockets pulse with displeasure as he stares down. He raises an old, creaking arm and points his bony finger at me. His bones are yellowed with age, and micro-cracks lace an intricate pattern up to his arm. I imagine a musty smell coming off him. He’s ancient, and whatever is left of his vocal cords grinds with effort as he speaks.”

The Reaper’s Quota by Sarah McKnight

The room was full of bad things. Three wooden crates stacked in one corner contained zip-locked bags of drugs. The lid had slipped from the top crate, and no one seemed concerned. There was nothing hidden here. The table pushed against the opposite wall was strewn with empty liquor bottles, overflowing ashtrays, a cracked mirror dusted with what looked like heroin, a fat roll of dollar bills stained with something that wasn’t water, and a handgun. Propped against the table was an AR15 with a bump stock. Jesse wondered if it was there to intimidate him. It was probably just there.”

The Last Storm by Tim Lebbon

I knew my brother would turn into a panther before he did. As I drove to the remote crossroads community of Hotshot, my brother watched the sunset in silence. Jason was dressed in old clothes, and he had a plastic Wal-Mart bag containing a few things he might need–toothbrush, clean underwear. He hunched inside his bulky camo jacket, looking straight ahead. His face was tense with the need to control his fear and his excitement.”

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Goodreads Monday July 18, 2022

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Budget Tales Book Blog. “Goodreads Monday allows you to post about what books are on your “to read” lists, the progress you have made on your current books and reading challenge, and any other Goodreads news!”

Books I Finished Last Week:

Title: People We Meet on Vacation

Author: Emily Henry

Published: 2021

Number of Pages: 364

Date Finished: July 16, 2022

Goodreads’ Summary:

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Books I am Currently Reading:

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris:

Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural—but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were-panther for the first time—a transformation he embraces more readily than most shapeshifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks—unless the killer decides to find her first…

Progress: 10 out of 295 pages

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl:

So, I’ve written a book.

Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (“It’s a piece of cake! Just do 4 hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!”) I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.

This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.

Progress: Audiofile Part 2 out of 10

The Cruelest Month by Louis Penny:

Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.

It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. . .

When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?

Brilliant, compassionate Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec is called to investigate, in a case that will force him to face his own ghosts as well as those of a seemingly idyllic town where relationships are far more dangerous than they seem.

Progress: Edoc approximately 50%

The Last Storm by Tim Lebbon:

A gripping road trip through post-apocalyptic America from Tim Lebbon, New York Times bestseller and author of Netflix’s The Silence.

Struck by famine and drought, large swathes of North America are now known as the Desert. Set against this mythic and vast backdrop, The Last Storm is a timely story of a family of Rainmakers whose rare and arcane gift has become a curse.

Jesse stopped rainmaking the moment his abilities became deadly, bringing down not just rain but scorpions, strange snakes and spiders. He thought he could help a land suffering from climate catastrophe, but he was wrong. When his daughter Ash inherited the tainted gift carried down the family bloodline, Jesse did his best to stop her. His attempt went tragically wrong, and ever since then he has believed himself responsible for his daughter’s death.

But now his wife Karina––who never gave up looking for their daughter—brings news that Ash is still alive. And she’s rainmaking again. Terrified of what she might bring down upon the desperate communities of the Desert, the estranged couple set out across the desolate landscape to find her. But Jesse and Karina are not the only ones looking for Ash. As the storms she conjures become more violent and deadly, some follow her seeking hope. And one is hungry for revenge.

Progress: Edoc approximately 21%

The Reaper’s Quota by Sarah McKnight:

Meet Grim Reaper #2497. Behind on his work, he must complete his quota of thirty Random Deaths or face termination in the worst way. Faced with an insurmountable task and very little time to complete it, Reaper #2497 struggles to hang on to the one thing he’s not supposed to have – his humanity.

Progress: Edoc approximately 20%

To Read List:

Title: For Butter or Worse

Author: Erin La Rosa

Published: 2022

Number of Pages: 368

Goodreads’ Summary: They go together like water and oil…

All chef Nina Lyon wants is to make a name for herself in the culinary world and inspire young women everywhere to do the same. For too long, she’s been held back and underestimated by the male-dominated sphere of professional kitchens, and she’s had enough. Now, as co-host of the competitive reality TV series The Next Cooking Champ!, she finally has a real shot at being top tier in the foodie scene.
Too bad her co-host happens to be Hollywood’s smarmiest jerk.

Restaurateur Leo O’Donnell never means to get under Nina’s skin. It just seems to happen, especially when the cameras are rolling. It’s part of the anxiety and stress he has come to know all too well in this line of work. So nothing prepares him for the fallout after he takes one joke a smidge too far and Nina up and quits—on live TV.

To make matters worse, the two are caught in what looks like a compromising situation by the paparazzi…and fans of the show go absolutely nuts. Turns out, a “secret romance” between Nina and Leo may just be what their careers need most.

Now all they have to do is play along, without killing each other…and without catching feelings. Easy as artisanal shepherd’s pie. Right?