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on 3 November 2016
mostly i find the first book of a series better than the rest, this is the case here..it was ok..flowed..i felt for the character, and was absorbed and readthe whole thing..however, the sex scenes were just gross. not very poetically written and you soon forget everything that happened apart from a vague recollection.i feel for sookie, but later she just does not act like a smart woman, who cares if she is a bartender and people assume she is dumb..she can still avoid a dodgy boyfriend. very readable but after reading the second and third i was lost..and cold=i did like the atmosphere and area and feel, i have never read about such an area or situation and the mid-west hick town as a bartender was interesting to place yourself in.
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on 20 January 2011
Dead until dark
Living dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
Altogether Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone
Dead in the Family

This is the order of the main novels.

I have just finished reading them all. Some of them are, arguably, weak as individual novels but the overall story is very entertaining. I like very much that over such a large canvas the author could elect to avoid repetitiveness of plot form: quite refreshing actually. The enforced forms of genre novels and, even worse, soap-operas are really getting very tired and I would like to believe that series as naturally developing as this one can offer a nice change to the jaded pallet. The often referred to sex scenes only seem to occur in appropriate places and not in every novel: again this is quite excellent in my opinion. There are many frequently occurring intelligent insights and not a little humour. Detail regarding American life is present to just enough of a degree to be interesting without becoming tedious. I am genuinely interested to find out what happens next.
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2009
I am an Ilona Andrews junkie, and quite into Ms Singh's Angel books, so bought this solely for these two authors, however these are all readable stories, of a goodly length, that absorb and entertain.

Britlingens Go to Hell: I presume this is based on a known world and characters, but as its totally unfamiliar to to me, it didn't really enthuse me as there wasn't time to get into it.

Angel's Judgment - Brilliant! It probably helps to have read the full length novel Angel's Blood (which I commend), and the additional background that comes in Angel's Pawn, a novella only available I think as an e-book. Having said that, they all cover a similar period and share characters, so reading them in any sequence will work.

Magic Mourns - well it's a Kate story - nuff said! I like the change of perspective, although I got a tad confused by the very sudden change of perspective right at the end - wings I thought, how'd she suddenly get wings? I got there! Its almost a year until the next one comes out, and the taster at the end of On The Edge makes me want to read it now, this instant! Whether this story will work if you haven't read the books I'm not sure - probably, but what an excuse to immerse yourself in the world of Kate Daniels, ;-)

Blind Spot - good, lovely interaction between the main characters, believable emotions - I've read this one twice, and will explore this author some more.

So, a good buy, although why all book are now coming out as these large format, floppy paperback I don't know - unless its to justify the cost (well duh!). Totally messes up my bookshelf planning...
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on 6 December 2009
How do you judge a book? If it is by how well it is written, then 'Dead until Dark' would probably get about two stars at the most. On the other hand, if you are looking for easy reading material and are happy to let your imagination fill in some of the gaps and ignore some of the shortcomings, then as many others have done, you might even rate it five star.

'Dead until Dark' is the first in a series of books that revolve around Sookie Stackhouse, described as a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Though she is pretty, she has not exactly been dating a great deal as there is just one small problem... Sookie can read minds. Something that can be more than distracting when you're out on a date and he is pondering, at best, if you have dyed your hair.

She has been hoping to meet one - Vampires have 'come out' since the discovery of synthetic blood, but even though Bill is trying to fit into 'mainstream' living, having fangs is not a recommendation when women are found murdered showing bite-marks. Sookie soon finds out that being involved with him makes life more than just a trifle complicated.

I bought the book after seeing it recommended and reading some of the reviews. Overall, it was value for money. The book was cheap and I enjoyed it but I could not recommend it full-heartedly. Whilst I am lucky in that I can ignore a lot of negative points as long as there is an interesting or entertaining story, a lot of people will find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the shallowness characters display at times and the lack of much in the way of character development.

Bill, the Vampire, made little impression on me - Sookie's boss Sam, is a much more interesting character. Too much to hope he'll get the girl in one of the other books, I suppose. The shallowness I spoke of... the most obvious example is when a much loved minor character dies and once we have had a page or two of emotions running high, it seems to have very little further impact.

There is no accounting for taste some might say, but as I did read the book in one sitting, it was cheap, I enjoyed it and I am quite likely to buy the next one, it seems only fair to acknowledge that, hence my four stars. I would probably not recommend this book to men - it is much more likely to appeal to female readers. I also would not recommend that you buy this book for younger readers. One scene in particular is pure adult erotica (not romance).
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on 22 March 2011
As a huge fan of HBO's True Blood TV show, the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris have been at the top of my reading wishlist for some time.

The series follows the story of Sookie, living in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. She has the gift of mind-reading, although she would never refer to it as a gift but more of a curse, as her head is constantly filled with noise. When she meets Vampire Bill Compton, she hears nothing and enjoys the peace. However, there is a serial killer in Bon Temps, one that goes after women who associate with Vampires. With both her brother Jason and her new Vampire boyfriend Bill both suspects, this first novel follows Sookie's investigation into the murders while trying to stay alive herself.

What strikes me most about Dead Until Dark, is how closely the TV show has followed the novels. The creators of the True Blood TV show on HBO have done a marvellous job of keeping the show as close to the novels as possible. It's always a shame when stories and characters are altered too much to suit a TV audience and ends up ruining a great series. However, reading Charlaine Harris' novels, it's obvious to see that nothing from the novels has been compromised to bring it to TV.

Having said that, reading the novels after watching the show on TV does have some downsides. While it's easy to picture the characters in the novels, the element of surprise is lost. While the story itself is still gripping and I found it difficult to put down, I already knew who the serial killer was from the TV show. I can imagine it's a spectacular read if you are unaware of the conclusion of the Bon Temps Serial Killer storyline.

It's a very entertaining and easy-to-read book. There's so much going on and very well paced. What HBO has fit into the entire Series 1 on TV, Charlaine Harris has fit it's entirity into this first novel. What I especially enjoyed is her creation of the Bon Temps townspeople. With Sookie working at Merlotte's Bar, Harris has enabled the reader to become familiar with everyone in the town. Sookie's telepathy only adds to this - the readers here the thoughts of Merlotte's patrons, meaning we get much more insight into the lives and thoughts of the less-important characters. She clearly paints a picture of the gossiping people of the small town, which really envelops you in the story. The main characters themselves are superbly well written and you feel so emotionally attached to them all.

Dead Until Dark has everything you'd want in a book - mystery, murder, romance, fantastic characters and a really enjoyable story. The only disappointment was that I knew how it would end. However, I fully intend on continuing reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels and I'm sure once I surpass the point in the storyline that is currently on TV, the story will grip me even more. Dead Until Dark is a brilliant book, but I did miss the element of 'what will happen next?'.

4 Stars **** (Would have been 5 stars, had I read this before watching the TV show!)
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VINE VOICEon 31 May 2009
I'm not going to put any storyline spoilers in my review, as most people have done on this page!

I must say I was disappointed with this book. I am a massive Sookie fan and have loved the other volumes in this series, however I feel I must make a point that writers should not rely on loyal fans to buy a book even though not much effort has been put in.

Now if you are a fan of the series you will want this book anyway; you can hardly miss this out, can you? Just don't get too excited. This book doesn't really have any particular storyline, it is more a case of several sub-plots to take the story along to the next book. This may sound cynical, but I felt like Harris had knocked out a quick edition to keep up with her publishing contract, and had possibly used several stories she'd tried to make a book out of previously which hadn't had enough milage in them. I think the fact she seems to have so many series and anthologies on the go at the moment is detremental to what goes on in the Southern Vampire books (my favourite!). The preview chapter at the end for the next book deepened my annoyance as there is clearly going to be something big happening in that one; it seems like she saved that story to stretch thigs out a bit.

And one more gripe - is it me or has Sookie gone from fun 26 year old to middle-aged milkmaid as the series progresses? Her internal dialogue is getting so moralistic and old fashioned that I practically groan every time she feels judges herself for every bit of trouble she's ever encountered.

So go ahead and read this book if you are a fan, but please don't get your hopes up and you might then find it more enjoyable. I was expecting fantastic but was deeply disappointed.
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on 8 July 2011
The fourth Harper Connelly book sees Harper and Tolliver deal with the fallout of An Ice Cold Grave's events and also coming out officially as a couple to friends and family. They're still trying to see more of their sisters and are still hoping to set up a home nearby so they can be more involved in their lives.

Charlaine Harris has a real nice writing style, not all her chapters end on cliff hangers but I can't seem to help myself from page turning (even if I've told myself I'm going to bed after this chapter!). Her characters are normal and relatable which helps to like them and follow their lives.

With Harper and Tolliver being back in Dallas, old friends and family emerge and, of course, thoughts about Cameron. Harper has always been convinced that Cameron is dead and she'd one day find her but an anonymous tip about a sighting in Texarkana still gets her hopes up about the possibility of her being alive.

We get a bit more insight into what happened before, during and after Cameron's disappearance and see some more of what Harper and Tolliver's childhood years were like.

The major letdown with this book, for me, was the ending. It seemed rushed and kind of thrown together. Also it felt very much like the whole story is being wrapped up and I'm wondering if this is, in fact, the last in the series.
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on 24 February 2010
I'm coming to the Sookie Stackhouse series rather late, and kinda wishing I wasn't. I made the mistake of not hopping on the bandwagon quickly enough, so I ended up watching 'True Blood' well before I even bought this first book. I knew who the bad guys were so I didn't get the benefit of the suspense as the mystery unfolded; I knew where the love scenes were so I didn't feel the chemistry in the same way; I was waiting for people and events that never appeared; and the voice 'reading' in my head through the entire thing was Anna Paquin's southern drawl - which is quite difficult to keep up, I can tell you!

Despite that, I really enjoyed it! It was quick and fluffy, with a few genuinely thrilling moments and some nice splashes of lust and blood in there, as there should be in a good vampire story. The relationships between the characters unfolded nicely and the end of the novel tied everything up neatly while still making me wonder what was going to happen next. I'm definitely looking forward to reading on, and I'll make sure I get plenty more Harris under my belt before Series 2 of True Blood hits the screens here!
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on 24 October 2010
I read this book because I enjoy horror stories-cum-mysteries, and thought that this might be an enjoyable working of the two, which it is in the main.

In this book, which has been turned into the True Blood series on HBO (another reason I read the book), we find Sookie Stackhouse as a telepathic waitress in a Louisiana bar. She falls for a vampire at the same time as there are a number of murders locally. It seems either her brother or a vampire is possibly involved, but are they or is it someone else entirely?

The book isn't bad, but it does drag a little in places. I know the story acts as the starting place for a series (if you're going to read this series, start with this book), but part of me felt there was a little to much exposition, and not enough drive in the story in places.

In addition Stackhouse really does come across as a naive waif type, which irritated me some. I didn't necessarily expect her to be all macho and butch, but I'm unsure how she got to her mid-20s with all the naivete that she brings to this first outing.

I'm wisely informed the series is good. Hopefully I'll enjoy the next in the series more.
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on 26 August 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed the 4 books that make up this series and think that Grave Secret brings the story of Harper and Tolliver to a clean, loose end free, finish. I hope Charlaine does not take this pair any further as, for me, this enjoyable tale has properly run its course.
All readers of supernatural thrillers should find this book a satisfying read. Whilst it is enjoyable in its own right,to fully understand the background to the story it tells it is obligatory to have read the 3 that precede it. Otherwise it is rather like skipping to the last pages of a well written novel without reading all that has gone before. Start with Grave Sight and move sequentially forward. I am sure you will find the experience rewarding.
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