Friday, July 6, 2012

FEATURED FRIDAY: Charlaine Harris "Dead Until Dark" Review

Happy Friday lovebugs!

Today is the first FEATURED FRIDAY of July.

For those of you who are new here, or who have just forgotten, the FEATURED AUTHOR this month is CHARLAINE HARRIS.

Let's get this show started!

About The Author (Goodreads): 

Charlaine Harris has been a published novelist for over twenty-five years. A native of the Mississippi Delta, she grew up in the middle of a cotton field. Now she lives in southern Arkansas with her husband, her three children, three dogs, and a duck. The duck stays outside.

Though her early output consisted largely of ghost stories, by the time she hit college (Rhodes, in Memphis) Charlaine was writing poetry and plays. After holding down some low-level jobs, she had the opportunity to stay home and write, and the resulting two stand-alones were published by Houghton Mifflin. After a child-producing sabbatical, Charlaine latched on to the trend of writing mystery series, and soon had her own traditional books about a Georgia librarian, Aurora Teagarden. Her first Teagarden, Real Murders, garnered an Agatha nomination.

Soon Charlaine was looking for another challenge, and the result was the much darker Lily Bard series. The books, set in Shakespeare, Arkansas, feature a heroine who has survived a terrible attack and is learning to live with its consequences.

When Charlaine began to realize that neither of those series was ever going to set the literary world on fire, she regrouped and decided to write the book she’d always wanted to write. Not a traditional mystery, nor yet pure science fiction or romance, Dead Until Dark broke genre boundaries to appeal to a wide audience of people who just enjoy a good adventure. Each subsequent book about Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic Louisiana barmaid and friend to vampires, werewolves, and various other odd creatures, has drawn more readers. The Southern Vampire books are published in Japan, Great Britain, Greece, Germany, Thailand, Spain, France, and Russia.

In addition to Sookie, Charlaine has another heroine with a strange ability. Harper Connelly, lightning-struck and strange, can find corpses… and that’s how she makes her living.

In addition to her work as a writer, Charlaine is the past senior warden of St. James Episcopal Church, a board member of Mystery Writers of America, a past board member of Sisters in Crime, a member of the American Crime Writers League, and past president of the Arkansas Mystery Writers Alliance. She spends her "spare" time reading, watching her daughter play sports, traveling, and going to the movies.

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My Opinion About Charlaine Harris' Books:

In general I've enjoyed every book that I've read by Charlaine Harris. Not all of them were a 5/5 exactly, but even the ones I would rate 3/5 were entertaining enough for me to return to the next book in the series.

Charlaine Harris has a good solid writing style that appeals to me. Her writing does not read like 13 year old girl fan-fiction, which is a huge plus. Her female roles are solid and aren't flimsy and "this could be any-woman" types which seems to be popular these days. More about that in the review.

In general I've really enjoyed Charlaine Harris. The only books of hers that I haven't been able to get into were those focused on Lily Bard. That's a super shame too because the books are set in my home-state (Well... kind of. Shakespeare Arkansas is not actually a place...but anyway!) Believe me... there's something about living in Arkansas that makes you feel like the entire state is your home-town.

Anyway. Enough about all of that. On to the review!

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The first review in July's Featured Friday segment is "DEAD UNTIL DARK". I went ahead and decided to start with the Sookie Stackhouse series since that seems to be the one everyone's on about lately.

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Dead Until Dark
Charlaine Harris
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Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Supernatural
Publication: May 1, 2001
Pages: 292


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.

Auggie-Talk Quill Rating

I have to admit first off that this book was not really my cup'o'tea at first. I actually stopped reading and started reading again a few times before I really got caught up in it. When it finally grabbed my interest though I was hooked. Luckily I didn't start reading the books until maybe 2006, so there were plenty to read one after the other.

Anyway, I would be very comfortable in saying that this is the only book of its kind. There are plenty of vampire/supernatural books out there these days, but very few of them are as original as the Sookie Stackhouse series. Charlaine Harris takes extreme care in researching the topics she's writing about so everything seems a little less made-up and a little more rooted in a possible reality. In her later books she does an extremely fine job of integrating aspects from ancient legends that are actually accurate (with her own little twists) to the originals. I appreciate this on many levels.

Another thing I appreciate is the main character, Sookie. The girl's got some personality. THANK YOU. I'm so used to picking up books where the main character (if female) is almost completely flat and dependent on the characters (mostly the male ones) that surround her to make her even remotely interesting. As far as Sookie is concerned, I think she's pretty vivacious and interesting all on her own.

Aside from the fact that Sookie has a pretty sparkly personality, and a kick rear talent, she's not your average size 2, goddess beautiful, horribly clumsy and stupid but entirely charming leading lady. Oh, no no no. As depicted, Sookie is a size 10 sunworshiper with an attitude and a backbone. Charlaine, you had me at SIZE 10.

Of course, TV land decided that a size 10 was too obscene a size for viewers and chose a frightfully slender Paquin (size 2) to play the lead role in the HBO series TRUE BLOOD. Now, don't get me wrong, I think they chose a GREAT actress to play Sookie. I love Paquin as Sookie, I just sometimes have trouble climbing over the fact that it was apparently necessary to shrink the main character a good 30 lbs for the sake of TV.


The book. Right.

I was very impressed with this first of the Sookie Stakhouse books, and in truth it's only gotten better. Harris' book has matured into a series that I feel connected to. It's like Sookie is my best friend. I wait VERY IMPATIENTLY for the Sookie Stackhouse books every year. It's just one of those series for me. I don't care if everyone starts to hate it after book #37... JUST KEEP WRITING SOOKIE STACKHOUSE BOOKS CHARLAINE! I'll read 'em. That guarantees you at least one reader. That's plenty, right?


Powell's Books: $3.95
Amazon: $10.20

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Heavenly Challenge ❀

Auggie-Talk's 2012 Heavenly Challenge
Prizes? YES!
To join the challenge and view the prizes, rules, and book lists click here.

That's all for this FEATURED FRIDAY, cupcakes!

See you tomorrow for this week's Stardust Saturday!

Until Next Blog,

Read On!



  1. That's exactly how I feel-- Sookie is my friend, so I am in for life on this series. If I don't have characters I can devote my affections to, I flat don't care about finishing a novel. Please keep Sookie going for at least a few more years, Charlaine!

  2. I still need to give this series a chance. I have a couple of the books. Guess I better make time to read them soon.