ARGH! I am really disappointed in Harris and her agent, publicist, editor, publisher, or whoever made the crackpot decision to not inform readers thatARGH! I am really disappointed in Harris and her agent, publicist, editor, publisher, or whoever made the crackpot decision to not inform readers that the Sookie novels are not the whole story. It boils down to this: I spent two-thirds of this book going "huh?" and doubting my sanity because the story keeps referring to events that have apparently already happened but I had no memory of reading. Completely frustrated and fed up, I decided to do some online research. Turns out there are several short stories involving Sookie and other characters from the series, and one short story in particular--"One Word Answers"--is the basis of this novel. Look, if you want to introduce multiple new characters and advance important subplots in short stories, fine... but how about letting your novel readers know? And if it's a publisher issue (heaven forbid one publisher advertises a book they don't put out), then Harris should really refrain from using the Sookie universe in her side projects.
It strikes me that, having gotten my rant out of the way, I should really write something about the book itself, but what can I say? I didn't really enjoy the story because I thought either Harris or I had gone crazy. Anything I would write would be (perhaps) unfairly negative, so I'll keep my opinions of the story to myself. ...more
I haven't read a romance novel since it struck me how cheesy they are in high school, and I'm stickingWARNING --- Possible spoilers and mature topics
I haven't read a romance novel since it struck me how cheesy they are in high school, and I'm sticking to that proclamation. Yeah, this is kind of a romance novel, but it's just as much a mystery novel. Oh yeah, and there are vampires and other things that go bump in the night.
From a purely sociological standpoint, I love the descriptions of how society has reacted to vampires "coming out." The series is not exceptionally well-written, but Harris does this part really well. She tells a great "what if" story of how society would react to vampires going public. (Jumping ahead in the series, Harris does eventually come into her own stylistically; future books read less like a genre mash-up and more like smoothly crafted, quirky tales.)
In short, it is kind of like a mature Twilight (more sex AND Elvis references, less teen angst), but if anything, Stephanie Meyer stole from Harris--this series premiered four or five years before Twilight.
There is one last teeny-tiny thing, but I'll admit it bugged me a lot... the sex scenes in this first book are straight out of Jude Deveraux's historical romances, which in and of itself is tolerable, but Harris apparently forgot that modern women (even poor women) have probably visited a gynecologist by the age of 25. Think about it. First times just don't really go down that way since the invention of the speculum. ...more
I have to admit, I'm a little surprised that this book was so popular. I mean, I'm not at all religious, but I'm pretty sure calling God a--SPOILERS--
I have to admit, I'm a little surprised that this book was so popular. I mean, I'm not at all religious, but I'm pretty sure calling God a fake and a liar, and Christianity a mistake, is blasphemous. I think back to the religious right's stomping of Harry Potter, and find it curious that this book wasn't attacked publicly. Of course, I don't pay much attention to the religious right, so maybe they did attack it and I just missed it.
So, how was the book? Pretty good. I don't think I would have enjoyed reading the three books separately since cliff-hangers annoy me--they are such a cheap and easy way to end a book--and I was annoyed when most of the characters from book one disappeared. The second book suffered from what I like to refer to as Back-to-the-Future-II syndrome, meaning it was this short, weird segue between books one and three that couldn't really stand on its own.
The ending to book three was long and drawn out, and seemed a little forced... Elephant-motorcycle-people's planet saved by pre-teens getting it on and then they must part ways forever? Um, why? Because a grumpy angel told them so. Plus, there was just so much left unexplained. Even with the "lantern slides" in this edition, I wanted to know what happened next. How do Will and Lyra fare? We get some hints about Lyra, but Will's back story was actually more interesting--what of his sick mother and Mary? I guess Pullman is just too addicted to cliff-hangers.
On the upside, the books are well-crafted and I was sucked in so that I read this in about a week (that is no small feat, I assure you). Lyra's world is so well-imagined and fascinating that I was actually angry when book two opens in our world with Will. The characters seemed a little uneven or stereotyped at times (a precocious tomboy? perish the thought), but still fascinating and fairly believable. Mrs. Coulter really steals the show as the most interesting person in the book because she's just so evil and hard to figure out at times... Just like some real people. The questioning of the entire Christian belief system was intelligent and very interesting; I just wish the answers at the end of the book had lived up to the thoughtfulness of the questions. It was almost like Pullman turned preachy on us at the end (when the angel showed up) instead of giving us coherent answers.
All in all, creative and compelling despite its flaws. Kind of like humanity....more
**spoiler alert** Gaiman's books for children seem to be getting scarier, but then again, some people argue that we have to learn our mortality--that**spoiler alert** Gaiman's books for children seem to be getting scarier, but then again, some people argue that we have to learn our mortality--that children's aren't really afraid of death. I loved all of the history and the metafiction twists, even if I did see the ending coming a mile away.
SPOILER: I was for some reason kind of bothered by how vengeful Bod became towards the bullies. I don't know... It just seemed kind of excessive....more
I read a whole lot of cookbooks, collect masses of recipes, and do an awful lot of cooking and baking. This is far and away the absolute best cookbookI read a whole lot of cookbooks, collect masses of recipes, and do an awful lot of cooking and baking. This is far and away the absolute best cookbook I've seen out there--and I was raised on both Betty Crocker AND Better Homes & Gardens cookbooks. They take a very scientific approach to developing recipes and testing ingredients/cookware. This allows them to figure out how things could go wrong and use somewhat nontraditional approaches that make food better. Plus, I appreciate that their cookware suggestions take price into account; they'll tell you when something is not worth the price, and often suggest a cheaper alternative. This is the only cookbook I've used where EVERY SINGLE RECIPE I've tried came out beautifully--and even looking like the pictures! This cookbook can truly change your technique in the kitchen....more
**spoiler alert** This book is somewhat difficult to review because it is inconsistent. It starts off being amazing--peppered with hilarity and plenty**spoiler alert** This book is somewhat difficult to review because it is inconsistent. It starts off being amazing--peppered with hilarity and plenty of environmental info without being preachy--but then it goes downhill. Like Mr. Bryson, the book just sort of loses steam somewhere in the middle of the trail, so when it ends, it is merely mediocre. I must admit, I think part of this has to do with false advertising on the cover getting my hopes up--they DON'T walk the whole trail, so when they start skipping over parts, it just seems like we and the book are missing something....more