"Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability". She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome- and Sookie can't hear a word he's thinking. He's exactly the type of guy she's been waiting for all her life...
But Bill has a disability of his own. He's a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of- big surprise-murder. And when one of Sookie's coworkers is killed, she fears she's next..."
Dead Until Dark did not appeal to me on several reasons... let me clarify that statement-- I did not want to buy this book because I didn't think the synopsis on the back was very intriguing or interesting and the cover is rather silly. We all know that there is a mass of people out there raving on this series. I started watching the HBO True Blood series on Demand a few months ago and became addicted. I sat in my husbands recliner for several days watching the 24 episodes of Seasons 1 &2, and then had to impatiently wait for Season 3 to start in mid June. My mother in the mean time had been sending me her entire set of books, which I kept telling myself (and her) I was not going to read. I finally resigned myself to reading them... I mean I was in love with the TV series and the books had to be even better right?!!
So I finally picked up book 1 Dead Until Dark and I am happy to say that the events did follow along closely with the HBO series ( I guess I should really say the TV series follows closely to the books). And I should stress "events" because I was extremely shocked and disappointed to find that Tara was not mentioned in this book and Lafayette did not show as much flair as he did in the TV series. I absolutely love these two people... and then to find out that they are not related at all (ok that is definitely later, but still shocker to me). I had to get past all the first person POV and the fact that you really don't get to see what the other characters are doing when Sookie is not around, but hey the books are about Sookie and her friends not friends and Sookie. I did completely love the book!! At first I had mixed emotions, I wasn't sure if I would have read the book if I had not watched the TV show and didn't know if I liked the book enough to continue on with the series, etc. I waited a couple of days mulling it over and definitely decided that I needed to continue to read. So that being said I have read the entire series--yes all 10 books have been read!! So I have a feeling that this review is going to be hard for me because I don't want to give anything away and hope that I don't get my stuff mixed up!!
Sookie is a Southern girl living with her Grandmother in Bon Temps, Louisiana. She has what she calls a disability... she can read people's minds (whether she wants to or not at times). She is working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte's. Because of her "disability" keeping friends and having boyfriends is almost an impossibility. People around town thinks she's crazy and look at her funny or steer clear of her completely. Being able to hear every thought running through someone's head definitely has it's disadvantages when it comes to dating and therefore she doesn't date.
Vampires have decided to "come out" of the coffin and make themselves known to the public. The Japanese developed a synthetic blood making it possible for them to live among the living without harming anyone. This doesn't always work out the way it is suppose to but both sides are attempting to make a go of it.
Bill walks into Merlottes one night and Sookie instantly knows that he is a vampire. There is something definitely different about him and she is amazed that no one else in the bar immediately recognizes him for what he is. Sookie finds a peace that she has never experienced when she is around Bill and they hit it off quite well.
While Sookie and Bill are dabbling in Sookie's first romance there is a murderer running around town killing women. Some of the victims have close ties to Sookie and she is starting to fear for her life.
Dead Until Dark definitely did its job of introducing us to the world where Vampires and Humans are trying to find common ground and a peaceful existence with each other. The characters are all memorable and I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions. I don't know if my rating is due to the conflict I have with the book and the HBO series or if it was the book itself (and I have tried desperately to separate the two), but all in all I really enjoyed the start of this series and was drawn in enough to continue reading the next nine books cover to cover without stopping!!
I have been extremely absent of late to both my blog and the internet. Every year we go to a beach house just north of St. Augustine, and while there I don't use the internet...not because I don't want to but the signal there is not very good. So instead of getting upset that the computer can't keep up with me or it won't load properly I just relax without using the internet. In truth it is very nice most of the time not using the computer and just enjoying my time with the family playing on the beach or strolling through St. Augustine (I do love that city!).
kids on our deep sea fishing trip
When we got home we were busy running the kids to cheerleading and football camps/practices and having several of their friends running around the house. I felt it better not to get on the computer... once on it all else ceases to exist for a few hours. Besides I got totally engrossed in the Sookie Stackhouse books. I don't think I have read this many book in one month in over a year, and that was only because I was participating in a game/contest.
Once I got past the shock of how different the books are from the HBO series True Blood and got use to the first person POV I could not put these books down. I have succeeded in reading all 10 books plus one short story in an anthology. I will eventually get the book containing all the Sookie short stories, but for now I am content. I absolutely loved the books and really started understanding Ms.M's sentiments on "Dull Bill" and her rooting for Eric, however I was extremely disappointed when things did not quite work as planned with Quinn. If I didn't think my husband would sneak into my closet and take my collection away I would already be rereading them.
Then we had the dreaded problems with our modem. I guess it just worked its little heart out for the last 5 or 6 years and couldn't continue any longer. We got the run around from AT&T...one person tells you one thing and another tells you something else, then they try and remedy to the problem only to screw it up and have a total Jerk Off tell me something else entirely. So I said screw you and dropped AT&T completely and went with Comcast for telephone and high speed internet. So I was completely with out internet for almost 2 weeks here at the house. Everything seemed to going great until I went outside to mow my yard. The blasted cable guy left the box hanging wide open with all the wires exposed and when I try to log on after finding that mess my internet won't work. So here goes another day and a half without the internet. The new cable guys tells me that the problem with the internet has to do with the first guy not closing out the job properly. Yippee!! I am so done with all this at the moment. I am ready to chuck the computers out the window and say screw the internet. I did fine without it before I found it and I might be able to be fine without it again...
NO I won't I am addicted to my books and this is how I find new ones and share my thoughts about the ones I am reading!!
So I want to send out a big
to all my followers, readers, and friends that I have made during my time on the blog. I know that sometimes life gets in the way of being as active as we would like to be with our blogs and commenting on our fellow blog posts, but I want you guys to know how much I really appreciate all of you!
Join five women connected only by friendship and the road that runs like a lifeline through a run-down development called Happiness Key.
Southern California socialite Tracy Deloche finally gets a chance to swap business for a romantic evening with down home environmentalist Marsh Egan, but dinner goes cold when she spots her ex-husband prowling outside her cottage. Janya Kapur, finally settling into an arranged marriage, envies every pregnant woman she sees, but Rishi, her husband, is suddenly reluctant to talk about children. Waitress Wanda Gray loses her job after new owners turn the Dancing Shrimp into a tapas bar. At the suggestion of wise neighbor, Alice Brooks, Wanda starts her own business, until Wanda starts Pie War I with the local bakery.
When the empty cottage at Happiness Key is rented by single mother Dana Turner, all the neighbors believe this spit of Florida Gulf Coast land will be a fortunate harbor for a mother and daughter who have moved far too often. Until they discover Dana's shocking secret.
As the women of Happiness key struggle to discover the whole truth in time to help their new neighbor, their only weapon is friendship. But will friendship be enough?
Today I have the pleasure of sharing my blog with Mrs. Emilie Richards and she has generously agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her newest release Fortunate Harbor. Please help me welcome Mrs. Richards!!!
Will you please start of by telling us a little about yourself and how you started writing?
With a master's degree in family development and counseling, I worked in several kinds of counseling/social service positions until the birth of my youngest son. Since I planned to stay home with him for his first few years, I realized I had a golden opportunity to give writing a chance. I'd always loved what little fiction I'd written in school, but my life had gone in other directions. The moment I began, I knew I would never stop as long as my fingers moved and my brain still whirled with stories. Writing was like coming home.
Are there any idiosyncrasies or items that you must have while writing?
I've written everywhere in all kinds of situations. I don't need a view or the perfect study, and even though I'm surrounded by silly mementos, they aren't essential, either. Give me a working computer, a comfortable chair, and relative quiet, and I'm good to go.
Visiting your website, I see that you have a few series out, is Fortunate Harbor part of one of these series, a new series, or a stand alone? Please tell us a little about it. Fortunate Harbor is the second book of three which began with Happiness Key, and will end with Sunset Bridge next year. Happiness Key was a stand alone novel, or supposed to be, but as so often happens, I enjoyed the characters so much, and so did my publisher and readers, that I was asked to continue. So Fortunate Harbor picks up where Happiness Key leaves off. It's the story of a shabby beachfront community on Florida's Gulf Coast, and four very different women who become friends and confidantes. Fortunate Harbor introduces a new renter, Dana and her daughter Lizzie, who come to live in the last house in the little "development" called Happiness Key. Of course Dana is not what she seems, and life is filled with twists and turns for all the characters.
What inspired you to write Fortunate Harbor? I enjoyed my characters so much that given a chance to follow them a bit into their futures, I couldn't say no. I had introduced a number of situations in Happiness Key that were fun to explore more fully and resolve or even complicate. Ex-spouses, blossoming, unsolved mysteries. It's almost as if I wrote the first book with a second book in mind, even if that wasn't conscious. And once I was finished with Fortunate Harbor, it was clear to me that there were still plot threads to conclude. So Sunset Bridge is now in progress.
What would you say to someone who has never read one of your novels… how would you describe it to them in a manner that would entice them to read something from your bookshelf?
I think first and foremost I'm a storyteller, who explores complex characters and situations with a view toward positive resolutions. I want my readers to feel better about the world we all inhabit when they've finished one of my novels, but I still want them to have food for thought and feel they've grown in some small way along with my characters.
Is the location of Fortunate Harbor significant or special to you?
Fortunate Harbor is set on Florida's Gulf Coast where I grew up. Palmetto Grove isn't a real town, but I picture it near Ft. Myers. I lived a little farther north in St. Petersburg.
Who are some of the authors that inspired you or that you are currently reading?
I've been inspired in some way by every well written book I've ever read. The books that were not well written inspired me to work harder at my craft and try to avoid those mistakes.
Are you working on anything currently? Would you be willing to give up some top-secret information for the inquiring minds? I'm about halfway through Sunset Bridge. After that I have a new idea, this time a series I'm planning right from the beginning. So my next step will be to write that up and present it to my publisher for discussion. The beginning of a series is like the beginning of a love affair, filled with promise and possibilities. I'm looking forward to that, even while I'll be sad to part with Tracy, Janya, Wanda and Alice, of Happiness Key.
Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me and answer a few questions. I have really enjoyed spending the afternoon with you and look forward to sitting down with Fortunate Harbor in the near future!
Planned Television Arts has been kind enough to offer up one copy of Fortunate Harbor to be given away.
All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered.
The contest is open to the United States and Canada only.
The contest closes July 11 at noon (Eastern).
I will post the winner either that night or Monday morning.
The books that I review on this blog have, in most cases, been purchased from bookstores or I have received through contest wins. In the event that I have a book that has been given to me free of charge from the author or publisher in any way other than winning it in a contest I will place a label to that affect with the actual review. I place my thoughts on books on my blog to share with other avid readers, and gain nothing more than the enjoyment of sharing the love of books with other like minded readers.
If a link to the author's website or a buy link for any book should appear anywhere on my blog it is there strictly for convenience. I do not receive any monetary gains by placing these links on my blog.