Archive for the ‘Beyond the Normal: Supernatural Fiction’ Category

Breathing New Life Into the Southern Vampire Mysteries?

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

  Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris (Find in our catalog)

Well, really!  Why review this one?  Hasn’t everyone read one of the Southern Vampire mysteries or, at least, seen an episode of TrueBlood??? 

I’ll start off by saying I LOVE this series!  It really doesn’t matter how quirky it gets.  Why?  Because, I will never (hopefully) have to experience the crazy life Sookie leads.  This series falls in the realm of escape fiction for me.  I love the romance, the spontaneity, the humor, but, in particular, the sass and attitude of Sookie.

This last book, however, wasn’t a stellar contribution to the series.  Like the last one, the writing seems to be getting formulaic.  Most of the lines fell flat along with character development.  The fae characters are just getting boring.  Even the re-introduction of some of the were characters felt like “too little too late”.  Alcide used to be someone I hoped Sookie would fall for.  Now, it was just icky.   Remember the 4th book when Eric loses his memory.  Now that was hot.  This one just wasn’t. 

I wonder if this has to do with the HBO series, which just released the 3rd season on DVD.  I am also finding it harder not to see the book characters as the actors from the show.  Darn it to all.  This is why I should never watch a show/movie from a book.  It just ruins the whole thing for me!

Two thoughts jumped out at me, though, as I was reading it …

1st – Did anyone catch the reference to Lily Bard Leeds???  If you haven’t already read Charlaine Harris’ other series about Lily Bard, you are truly missing out.  Lily has a tragic past that she is trying her best to just put behind her.  She moves to Shakespeare, Arkansas and assumes a low profile as a cleaning lady.  We meet her in the first book, Shakespeare’s Landlord (Find in our catalog). Living in a small town can make you a suspect fast if you are new.  When Lily sees someone use her trash trolley to dispose of a body, she needs to find the killer before her world is turned upside down.  Supernatural?  Not a bit!  But, it is a great story.  I loved reading about Lily and her world, even if the trauma leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I am anxious to see if Lily makes any more appearances in future Southern Vampire books.  It will be a fabulous meld of works.

2nd – What if you have read all of the Sookie books?  What will you read now?

Recently published (Feb 2011) was the latest installment of the Hollows series by Kim Harrison.  In Pale Demon (Find in our catalog), our witchy heroine Rachel Morgan takes a cross-country trip to save her life.  After being accused of practicing demon magic, Rachel must stand before the council of witch and try to convince them of her innocence.  Making this trip interesting are vampire, pixy, and egotistical elf.  The interplay of the characters is great.

Posted by Kristina

(The new series of True Blood starts this Sunday on HBO - Ed)

Beyond the Normal – 1st BlogaBook Reviews from Kristina

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Harford County librarian, Kristina’s favorite reading is supernatural fiction.  Kristina every so often is going to be sharing her views on some of the recent supernatural fiction that has come her way.  As Kristina builds up an archive of reviews you will be able to follow her blog posts by clicking on the category, “Beyond the Normal.”

Here are Kristina’s first reviews:

  First Grave on the Right  by Darynda Jones (Find in catalog)

This debut novel by Darynda Jones introduces us to Charlotte Davidson, also known as Charley.  From first impressions, Charley is a young private investigator who assists the local police department.  However, she holds a secret she rarely shares with anyone.  The only people who fully know Charley’s secret are dead and come looking for her help.   Charley is used to this life until some strange erotic dreams start making her nights sleepless.  With the help of her 14 year old spirit spy, Charley sets out to uncover the truth about her nightly visitor.

If you are looking for a sexy spunky romance, this one is for you.  Charley’s character is sassy, never looking for a fight but not backing away from any that come her way.  While the tone of the book can be darker, with mentions of child abuse and wicked stepmothers, the theme is light enough to be a quick engaging read.

This also comes as an audiobook on CDs. 

  Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee (Find in catalog)

 Jasmine’s heart has been broken, shredded and tossed aside.  After her ex-husband’s cheating escapades, Jasmine vows to never hurt or love again.  Hopefully, her month vacation watching her aunt’s bookstore will be just what is needed.  While Auntie Ruma takes a trip to India to have her heart healed, Jasmine figures she will whip the bookstore into shape.  Before leaving, Ruma warns Jasmine that the house may get cranky at times.   When books start rearranging themselves and the dust never seems to go away, Jasmine wonders what is going on.  Worse yet, there is a smooth talking stranger who seems determined to break through Jasmine’s rough shell. 

 This softer tale leads us gently to discover the journey of healing after experiencing the heartbreak of infidelity.  Set on Shelter Island in the middle of the Puget Sound, the story incorporates the isolation of island life and with the internal search that can set Jasmine on the path of self-learning.  Banerjee weaves pieces of Indian culture into the story in a way that makes you want to pull the curry and masala out of your cupboard.  It was very easy to envision the differences between Jasmine’s metropolitan life and the saris that she and the other family members wear to her sister’s wedding.  While this wasn’t a particularly deep story, it certainly was an enjoyable read.