Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sookie # 11

My reading's been so hit or miss lately...My iPad has really cut into my reading time because it's just so darned fun! But I did make time to fit in the newest Sookie Stackhouse...and as always, it fits the bill in so many ways.

In Dead Reckoning, things should be going well for Sookie: her relationship with Eric is solid, her most recent enemy is dead, and she's still got all her close friends and relatives nearby. Naturally things cannot stay this way, and the book begins with a fire bombing of Merlotte's and ends with...well, lots and lots and lots of carnage. And amid all this, Sookie must face some ugly truths about herself, Eric, and her family.

I don't go into a Sookie Stackhouse novel expecting literary development of characters and with that in mind, I'm never disappointed. Even so, Sookie is definitely changed in this novel: how can she not be, with all the trials and traumas she's faced over the span of the previous novels? Still, I expected (read: hoped) that her relationship with Eric would be the one constant, and apparently this isn't something that's going to be in the cards. It's going to be interesting to see how Eric's contract with the Queen of Oklahoma plays out and whether he's willing to give up the lure of power for the human he loves.

There are indeed a few timeline discrepencies in Dead Reckoning, but beyond that, it's still a solid entry in the series. I love that Sookie was able to stand up to interfering friends and family, but her resignation that the way she has to live her life now (plotting murder, dealing with demons, looking out for enemies) shows that her life is actually out of her control in many ways. I love her relationship with Pam, and Dermot's earned a place in my heart with his determination to "help" Sookie as best he can. I just wish I could smack some sense into Eric...but then again, that would make life kinda boring for Sookie if she didn't have to worry at all about her love life.

Dead Reckoning is a page turner, especially towards the end, and it's filled with the gore and characters we've come to expect. Is it always consistent with previous novels? Nope. Are there characters who are acting oddly? Yep. Will I continue on with the series? Absolutely. Ms. Harris's world of Bon Temps and its inhabitants still engages and brings me in touch with people I've grown to love. I could nit pick all day but that's not what Sookie's about. I'm just going to continue to enjoy the ride.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bite Me

In Bite Club, we're back in Morganville with Claire and the gang, and there's a new gym opening up. This is perfect for Shane, who feels the need to work off some of his anger issues. What he doesn't realize is that he's actually being recruited by followers of bad guy Bishop to become part of an elite human fighting force to take down the current vamps in charge. All Shane knows is that he loves fighting, and everyone in the world, including Claire, is against him. Add into the mix the invitation Claire has received to go to MIT (her lifelong dream), and it's questionable whether this couple's relationship can survive.

Bite Club has its moments, with Claire working closely with my favorite, Myrnin, and even taking charge of the situation more than once. I could definitely feel her struggle with her decision to remain in Morganville to be with Shane or leave to go to MIT, and her problems with Shane were heart breaking. I like having Shane's father Frank as the new "brain" behind the town, and the way Michael, Eve, and Claire stick together in order to discover what's going on with Shane's suddenly aggressive behavior is terrific. What I didn't like is how Claire was willing to stand by Shane despite his horrific behavior towards her (I know, I know, he was "under the influence" but he had to have had the tendencies for it to work). I think the author tried to give us insight into Shane's conflicted emotions through the vignettes from his point of view but that didn't really work for me, either. He was just being a jerk and Claire was way too accepting.

I love the Morganville series, and Bite Club actually surprised me with how much action it contained. I was beginning to worry where the conflicts for future novels would be coming, but Ms. Caine still has life to inject into this series. I just hope that with Claire's new sense of independence toward the vampires, she also grows some for herself in her relationship with Shane. Strong females need to be strong in all areas of their lives.


Monday, May 02, 2011

The Soldier's Wife

Vivienne de la Mare lives a quiet existence with her two daughters and mother-in-law on Guernsey Island; her husband Eugene is away fighting in World War 2, though their relationship was anything but close even before he left. Vivienne's life takes what will become a metamorphosis when she makes the decision to stay on the island despite the threat of German occupation; it soon becomes her duty to provide for her family and stay out of the way of the Germans living next door once the Occupation begins. What she cannot deny, however, is the unsettling fact that the Germans might be much like herself, feeling many of the same forbidden emotions; most of all, she cannot deny her deep attraction for artistic Gunther, who touches her more profoundly than Eugene ever has.

This book might be simple in its premise--forbidden love between two people whose countries are at war--but it encompasses so much more than that. Vivienne is charged with not only providing for her family but also taking risks for others throughout her island community. With her own marriage loveless, Vivienne finds solace lying in Gunther's arms late at night, but she knows how much she is risking should a discovery be made of their illicit affair. Is the love contained in one small bedroom worth the risk of an entire way of life? Can Vivienne justify the possibility of being taken from the family that so desperately needs her? The emotions are raw and the images evoked are heart wrenching.

The essence of The Soldier's Wife is quite different than the other famous book set on Guernsey, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The Soldier's Wife highlights the deprivations of both war and marriage, with no light activity to make life bearable. And while I loved TGLAPPPS, The Soldier's Wife is a deeper, more complex look at an island--both the geographical and the emotional sort. Highly recommended for the rich writing and the beauty of feeling.