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review 2019-03-29 16:02
All Together Dead / Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris

Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has her hands full dealing with every sort of undead and paranormal creature imaginable. And after being betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Sookie must not only deal with a new man in her life—the shapeshifter Quinn—but also contend with the long-planned vampire summit.

The summit is a tense situation. The vampire queen of Louisiana is in a precarious position, her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans. And there are some vamps who would like to finish what nature started. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.


2019 Re-Read

Another evening, another Sookie Stackhouse book. At least I managed to cook some dinner last night, although my kitchen is still a mess. I have to find a way out of this groove I have found myself in—there are other things I need to be reading and other tasks that need my attention. But I may only find the way out by finishing up this series as a re-read.

I’ve always felt that this is the book where Sookie proves that she has good judgment—she seems to understand the plots and conspiracies of the vamp world better than they do, perhaps because she’s an outsider to that world and able to observe it dispassionately. This talent of hers, which Eric calls “thinking outside the box,” attracts unwanted attention from the Queen and her sidekick, Andre. Staying unbound to them is proving difficult. Instead, she ends up bound to Eric the Uncertain.

Eric runs hot and cold towards Sookie, unwilling to admit that he’s unusually attracted to a human woman. It seems kind of like the men who’d like to sleep with a woman but don’t want to be seen with her in public. Good for Sookie, standing up for herself and her right to be acknowledged.

I think just about everyone has been unappreciated at a job at some point in their life. Sookie gets her moment of this as she holds a bomb that she’s scared to set down, waiting for the bomb squad to show up, talking to a bystander about her status in the vamp scene:

”Ha,” I said. “Oh, ha-ha. Yeah, ‘cause they love me. You see how many vampires are up here? Zero, right?”
“One,” said Eric, stepping out of the stairwell.

Lots of foreshadowing for upcoming installments. On to book 8, From Dead to Worse this evening.

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review 2019-03-28 14:39
Definitely Dead / Charlaine Harris
Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris

Since Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has so few living relatives, she hates to lose one - even her cousin Hadley, undead consort of the vampire Queen of Louisiana. Hadley's left everything she has to Sookie, but claiming that inheritance has a high risk factor. Some people don't want her looking too deeply into Hadley's past, or Hadley's possessions. And they're prepared to do anything in their power to stop her. Whoever it is, they're definitely dangerous - and Sookie's life is definitely on the line...


2019 Re-Read

You know, I have library books that I can’t renew and that I should be reading. My kitchen is in chaos and I had cornflakes for supper last night. My to-do list is as long as my arm. And yet, I’m re-reading this series instead of doing any of that. Je ne regrette rien.

This is the heart-break volume, when Sookie finds out that she’s based a lot of ideas about her life on shifting sands—and doesn’t know what is exactly true any more.

“I’d been blindsided with the most painful knowledge: the first man to ever say he loved me had never loved me at all. His passion had been artificial. His pursuit of me had been choreographed.”

To add insult to injury, she is informed by an ancient vampire that she has fairy heritage and that is her big attraction for vampires, who are to fairies what cats are to catnip. He doesn’t even realize that he’s kicking her when she’s down. Quinn has entered stage right at exactly the right to time sooth Sookie’s wounded pride.

Despite the emotional turmoil and unending vampiric politics, Sookie has to deal with her doubly-deceased cousin’s belongings. During the clean-up of Hadley’s apartment, she discovers yet another body-in-a-closet.

“Was this the second body I'd found in the closet, or the third? I wondered why I even opened closet doors any more.”

At least she comes out of these events with a female friend, Amelia, plus some credit with the Queen of Louisiana. She’s going to need both.

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text 2016-08-03 12:04
July 2016 Reviews


I'm very pleased with how much I managed to review in July, 19 things total. TV and movie reviews are still way down - I just don't seem to be interested in watching much lately. Not a bad thing, since it's usually the other way around if I prefer one thing over another, with my desire to read nearly at zero and my TV watching taking over everything.


The quality of the stuff I reviewed in July could have been better. There were a surprising number of things I awarded one or even a half star to, plus a few 2-star things. However, not all of it was bad, and the month did at least feature some quality covers.


My top favorite cover for the month:


Binti - Nnedi Okorafor 


I love how the warmer orange looks next to the cooler color of her skin. That cover has stuck with me since I saw it for the first time. Now that I've read the story, though, I have a couple other things to add. 1) With that little otjize covering her skin, poor Binti would feel horribly exposed. 2) Binti's supposed to be 16 years old, and I think the person on the cover looks older than that.

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review 2016-08-02 19:59
The Year of Yes / Shonda Rhimes
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person - Shonda Rhimes

The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too.

With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No.

And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear.

Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.


A combination of memoir and self-help book, The Year of Yes was a quick and easy read.  It is written in a very conversational tone (unlike many books in the self-help genre) and that may put off some readers.  So help me, I had absolutely no idea who Shonda Rhimes was and I must confess that I have never seen any of her TV shows.  The writing in this book left me wondering about the writing for the shows—she must put on a different hat for writing those, for I can’t imagine this style producing award winning programming.


If you are looking for a little inspiration to get out of any ruts that you have become comfortable in, this book may be helpful.  I might warn you away from it if you are unemployed, as her obvious enjoyment of her high-powered job could be a bit hard to take.  But I do think she shines a much-needed spotlight on some particularly female career problems, namely being able to claim our success without embarrassment and not shying away from telling our workmates exactly what we want and need.  I’m sure that non-caucasian readers will benefit from reading about Rhimes’ experiences with being asked repeatedly about being a successful African-American woman.


One chapter which younger readers will potentially find useful was the one on sorting out real friends from hangers-on.  Not all of us are successful enough to have hangers-on, but I think we all at some point or another realize that not all the people we hang out with are really our friends.  They are there for what they can get and when you actually ask them to give in return, you will see their true faces.  To bravely purge these people from your life is a liberating experience and Rhimes describes it well.


I admired Rhimes’ honesty regarding her refusal to get married.  As she said, when she was engaged, she received more approval from friends and family than she did for all of her other achievements (not inconsiderable) combined.  Why does society still do this to women?  You may have a full, wonderful life, but if you aren’t married, you quickly get the message that nothing else matters.  As one of those rebels who refuses to marry, I very much appreciated her description of her decision to break off wedding plans, despite the disappointment of her family.  She has chosen to adopt children, which I find admirable.

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review 2016-08-01 20:56
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet / Eleanor Cameron
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet - Eleanor Cameron

In print since the 1950's, the Mushroom Planet series is back with a new design by illustrator Kevin Hawkes. Don't miss the adventures of Chuck and David, two boys who travel to the alien planet Basidium in their homemade spaceship. This timeless series is a classic that is sure to be read over and over again.


***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***

I’m pretty sure that I was in Grade 6 when I first read this book. I was also busy reading Children’s Digest during those years and I’m pretty sure that’s where I had been reading about mushrooms & fungi before encountering this little adventure. I remember being completely enamoured of the Mushroom Planet and going on to make many spore prints from mushrooms found in a little grove of trees in my uncle’s pasture. (My mother was a very patient woman, now that I look back on it. She put up with so many of my little biological projects. Flowers being pressed in the encyclopedia, mushrooms releasing their spores under jars, snails doing their thing in goldfish bowls).

I actually had to request this book through interlibrary loan in order to revisit it. It was worth the effort. Probably not too exciting to today’s children (it was, after all, written before the moon landing, which I remember watching on TV during Grade 2) who are used to Mars rovers and space craft visiting Pluto and Jupiter. But it also had the magical elements of a gentle fantasy that endeared it to me yet again.

Good memories.

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