Sookie Stackhouse

The End is Coming… DEAD EVER AFTER

Dead Ever After

DEAD EVER AFTER (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlaine Harris

Release Date: May 7, 2013

… And I’m terrified!

I was reluctant to start this series when a friend first introduced it to me. I was just starting to get my feet wet with YA books and I wasn’t ready to dive into a paranormal romance. I’d tried reading the first book in the BDB series based upon her recommendation and I just couldn’t get into it at the time. So I was hesitant to start this series.

While I’d always loved the paranormal, and all things vampire, I wasn’t much of a fan of romance novels and hadn’t actually read a PNR book before. But I became an instant fan of author Charlaine Harris’ characters and world.

As soon as I finished reading book one in the series, I purchased the eight-book omnibus for Kindle and proceeded to read it in one very long two-day reading marathon. And as the ninth book, DEAD AND GONE, was also available I dove right into that one.

I was obsessed. Especially as DEAD AND GONE seemed to be the only one with a cliffhanger ending. Well, if not a cliffie, there were definitely questions. BIG questions. Ones that sent me to the forums to try and find answers.

Of course I didn’t find out their meaning. Not until the next book came out – which felt like a lifetime of waiting until its release. And, even then, I didn’t feel they were answered satisfactorily. Yes, I still wonder….

And while I wasn’t the biggest fan of books ten through twelve, I am still looking forward to majorly obsessed with this upcoming final book in the series, though there will be a follow-up, AFTER DEAD: WHAT CAME NEXT IN THE WORLD OF SOOKIE STACKHOUSE, which I’ve read will, among other things, also talk about Sookie’s HEA.

I think this series does need to end, though in some ways I don’t want it to. But I know that it won’t end the way I want it to. I just know it. And as much as I am looking forward to this book’s release, I am also dreading it.

I’ve never before been one of those fans that disagrees with an author’s choice for a book’s outcome. These books are the author’s stories, not mine… though I make them mine. But for some reason things are different when it comes to the Southern Vampire Series. I feel like I might just disagree with the way things end.

Say… if it’s a Sookie + Bill lovefest. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Bill Compton

… and not in a good way!

Or if Good Ol’ Sam becomes her HEA. Really? After all the skanks he hooked up with? How could that make for a happy ending.

The author has mentioned on her blog and in interviews that Sookie won’t become a vamp. And with the way things have been progressing in the past few books, she and Eric seem to be growing apart.

So I can’t imagine this series ending in a way that will leave me with the warm and fuzzies. I’m already heartbroken. Why?

Because I believe Sookie’s HEA is with Eric the Northman. They are perfectly matched.

For the first nine books of the series it seemed as if they were, anyway. He was always there for her. Always. Until that terrible moment in DEAD AND GONE. But that wasn’t by choice.

The dude wore spandex for her, for goodness sake! Spandex!

And while Sookie seemed to try anything and everything to stay away from him, they still were drawn to one another. It was totally not just for the sex.

But now… after reading the description, finally, I’m feeling my heart sink. I just know things are not going to end well. And that after three point five years of waiting – no, it’s not as long as some – I’m going to be crushed.

I’m dying on the inside a little. Frickin’ A Sookie!

So, no, I am not ready. But I am going to take the plunge because my curiosity will eat me alive if I don’t.

But what about you?

Are you ready?

What is your HEA for Sookie?

What do you think is going to happen?

Are you prepared to be devastated?

Sookie Stackhouse has one last adventure in store.

Life has taken her from a waitress in Merlotte’s Bar, Bon Temps, to part owner; from social outcast to the heart of her community; from a vampire’s girlfriend to the wife of one of the most powerful vampires in the state. She has survived earthquakes, revolutions and attempts on her life. Sookie has endured betrayal, heartbreak and grief . . . and she has emerged a little stronger, and little wiser, every time.

But with life comes new trials . . .

The question is, in the end: who will love, who will live, and who will be dead ever after?

Sookie finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut.

He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime. But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

Deadlocked {Review}

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Published: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Ace
(Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

On Goodreads…

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

***

HOW IT RATES…

THE LONG…

Deadlocked is the twelfth book in author Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampires or Sooke Stackhouse series. Once again trouble lands right at Sookie’s door in the form of a dead girl. Well, not technically her door, but her boyfriend, Eric Northman’s.

While Eric was the last person to be seen with her, there are any number of suspects. From Felipe de Castro or his entourage who are visiting, to Mustapha Khan, who just so happens to be conspicuously absent when the police show up, to any of Eric’s or Sookie’s enemies. And there are always plenty of those.

Trying to find out who the killer is means figuring out the motive behind framing Eric. Is it to drive Eric and Sookie apart? To get Eric out of the picture to get to Sookie? To cast doubt on Eric’s ability as Sheriff? Or is it part of a much more elaborate and sinister plot?

Deadlocked is a quick read, although the pace doesn’t really pick up until the very end. And while this twelfth book in the series moves the story along, ties up a number of loose ends and answers several questions that have been begging for them, it doesn’t bring the same level of excitement to the story as some of the earlier books in the series. And it seems to wrap up some of the storylines too neatly and conveniently.

This installment in the series did scale back the violence, although there was some. It eliminated all but the briefest sexual encounter. And it once again had very few scenes with of one of the more exciting characters in the series, Eric Northman.

More than anything this book felt as if it was winding the series down, moving it toward its conclusion. Even some of Sookie’s musings envisioned endings to many of the characters’ stories in a perfect world. And it took the story in a direction that may please some fans of the series and upset others, depending on just how they want Sookie’s story to end.

Appearances, albeit brief, are made by some longtime favorite characters in the series. New obstacles to Sookie and Eric’s happiness are introduced. And happy endings are given to some of the many characters in the world and unhappy ones to others.

With a few surprises, a few “Oh Sookie” moments, and an ending that will leave readers on edge as they wait to find out where this series will conclude, Deadlocked is a necessary, if not electrifying, installment in this series.

So, what more can I possibly say about Deadlocked?

I’m caught somewhere between it being just “okay” for me and a “liked.” I liked getting answers, even if they’re not the ones I want. I liked that the plot was moved along. And I liked when the pace picked up at the end.

I just didn’t feel connected to the story. And I didn’t have fun reading it. The mystery didn’t have that quality that kept me riveted as some of the earlier ones did. I found myself more annoyed with Sookie than anything. I felt things were too conveniently wrapped up and I just didn’t care about how things ended for some of the characters.

But more than anything I just missed Eric and Pam. My two favorite characters in the series. For the third book in a row I didn’t feel Eric’s presence. Whether that was the author’s intent or not, I can’t say. But it just feels as if he’s being pulled away from the story. He’s no longer the Eric that is always there for Sookie. Stopping by for a quickie doesn’t count.

And his involvement in this story was negligible, even though it was about a girl found dead at his doorstep.

While I understand trying to wrap up a story and close all loopholes, I felt as if some characters were brought back into the story for no logical reason other than to say goodbye. Some of whom I already thought I’d said goodbye to for good.

I enjoyed Deadlocked more than Dead in the Family, but a bit less than the previous book in the series, Dead Letters. And while I will definitely take this series to its conclusion, no matter how heartbroken I know I’ll be about the direction this story seems to be headed, I will probably stick with re-reading just the first nine books in the series as I’ve done four times already.

…AND SHORT OF IT

Not enough Eric. While the author may have other plans for good ol’ Sookie, it is hard to see such an important character in the series play such a minor role in this book. Especially since the frame job surrounds him.

Not enough excitement. While I admit that the violence was escalating in a rather shocking way in poor Sookie’s life prior to this book, there didn’t seem to be that much going on here. Even with a murder, an underhanded plot and a huge cast of characters.

Not enough heat. While the scenes don’t have to be the steamy kind of hot, there should have been some heat. From somewhere. But there was just no fire or passion in any of the exchanges between any of the characters. The one brief booty call was rushed and not at all sexy. And without any intensity in the glances or fiery arguments, there just wasn’t any real spark.

A nerve-wracking conclusion. Well, the ending certainly delivers. It created that twisty knotty feeling that was missing throughout this read. The way things left off will make many readers very nervous about what to anticipate in the last book. The last ten percent of the story was exciting. And the ending will definitely keep readers guessing about what’s to come.

MY FAVORITE BITES…

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I’d loved two vampires. Bill had broken my heart. Maybe Eric was on the way to doing the same thing.

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I began to think I was spoiled. There was no such thing as boring sex with Eric.

I wondered if he’d dance for me, if I asked him nicely. I was having a very pleasant fantasy about that when Claude reemerged on the stage, still in his spangled tights and boots.

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Bill Bites ~ Dead Until Dark

Bill Compton

While this graphic is amazing – thank you Rachel at Parajunkee Design – not so Bill Compton. As anyone who knows me knows, I am not a Bill fan. Not particularly from the television show, but absolutely not from the books.

And while I’m not all about character bashing, every so often I have to vent about just how frustrating and despicable Vampire Bill is. Especially as he just doesn’t seem to want to take the hint and go away.

The fact that he will apparently be playing a starring role in the next book in the series is making me very, very nervous. No Sookie! No!

So, I thought that when my frustration over Bill’s lying, cheating and controlling behavior got the best of me, I’d create a post to share a few of the reasons why this vampire gets under my skin. And not in a good way.

Don’t let the title fool you. “Bill Bites” posts might seem like they would be posts about things that Bill does that are just a little bit sexy. Or perhaps they would include a few delectable morsels about Bill that are just so bite-ably charming and disarming…. They’re not.

I called this “Bill Bites” because he does. Bite, that is. And not in the sexy, sink your teeth into the flesh kind of way. No. I’m talking in the “to be irritating” or “to be bad or threatening” kind of way. Yeah. To me Bill bites in those ways. Eric Northman on the other hand…

So, I thought I’d start at the very beginning. Way back in book one. Although he intrigued me some, and wasn’t totally on my bad side, there were just a few things about Bill that made me already think he bit it.

Why Bill Bites in Dead Until Dark.

1. His attire

He was wearing khaki Dockers and a green-and-brown striped golfing shirt, polished loafers, and thin, brown socks.

“Dillard’s,” he said….

~~~

What kind of vampire is this guy? Dockers? Golfing shirt? Loafers? Brown socks? He could work at Best Buy with that outfit. What self respecting vampire would dress so blandly? Sexy? Definitely not.

2. His attitude

When I felt the quality of Bill’s silence, I apologized.

“I’m sorry,” I said. If it hadn’t been so dark, he would have seen me turn red.

“A vampire’s daytime resting place is his most closely guarded secret,” Bill said stiffly.

“I apologize.”

“I accept,” he said, after a bad little moment….

~~~

Geez, Bill. She apologized already. Sookie had no idea she said something inappropriate. And already you’re throwing up an attitude, making her plead for your forgiveness. Get over it stuffy Vampire Bill!

3. His social graces… or lack thereof

“Okay,” I said sharply. “Listen up, Bill! When you came to my house, I had to invite you. When you came here with me, I had to invite you. You haven’t asked me out. Lurking in my driveway doesn’t count, and asking me to stop by your house and leave a list of contractors doesn’t count. So, it’s always been me asking you….”

~~~

He’s already started with the stalking. He’s already put Sookie to work for him. He’s never taken charge. It’s the South for goodness sake! For someone from the Civil War Era you think he’d know what it meant to be a gentleman. Even if he is a vampire. Apparently Bill Compton missed the memo.

4. His questionable decisions

Jerry slithered willingly over to Bill….

…. The strain in my vampire’s face was terrible to see. His fangs slid out. I saw them fully extend for the first time. The synthetic blood was not answering all of Bill’s needs, all right….

…. Bill, shaking with temptation, was actually bending to sink his fangs into Jerry’s neck when I said, “No!….”

~~~

He isn’t strong enough to protect her from his skeevy friends. So what does he do? He lets her watch various acts of debauchery. And then he decides to get it on the action. Right in front of her, much to her mortification. Yeah. Not smart, Bill Compton. Not smart.

5. His hair fetish

…a breeze wafted my hair around my face.

“Take the clip out?” Bill asked…. Bill began running his fingers through my hair, spreading it out on my shoulders.

[And...]

“Let me comb out your hair,” he said.

[And...]

I stared into space while Bill braided my hair, a pastime that he apparently found soothing.

~~~

Sure, there is something unbelievably sexy about a man combing or brushing a woman’s hair. However, on Bill it always felt a tad motherly. And if he wasn’t doing it as foreplay, but rather to calm himself, that’s kind of selfish. But that’s Vampire Bill for you.

There are so many reasons why Bill Bites in just this first book in the series, but I thought I’d only list the five. Although, I don’t think I can just end it without mentioning….

The fact that he was so proud of the hot tub he added to his home, the fact that he gave Sookie a tour of his house instead of taking her from the moment they walked in the door, and the fact that he proudly admitted to like lying around in warm water made him seem just a bit less sexy and a bit more creepy.

Plus, he was so ready to relinquish Sookie to Eric without a fight, he readily accepted his status as a lesser vampire and he was more than fine praising Eric’s sexual prowess. Again, who does that? As a vampire he is a bit of a letdown.

And this is all only the first book in the series. He gets worse. Much, much, much worse. And yet he’s still around. He’s still stalking Sookie. And in the book releasing in May they’re teaming up? Why? How can this be happening?

 

Desperately Wanting Wednesday – Deadlocked

Desperately Wanting Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Parajunkee in which you spotlight the books you either just can’t wait for or you own but are dying to read.

~~~

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
Release date – May 1, 2012

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Stalk it….

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With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

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~~~

Deadlocked is a DWW “can’t wait for” book. If I owned it, I would not be waiting. I would be devouring it.

Because I’m fairly new to the non-YA book world of dark reads, I don’t have a huge list of books I’m pining for or that I own but haven’t yet read. But I have been hooked on Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire series for the past couple of years and I need my fix.

Ever since I got caught up on this series, which was somewhere around book nine, I’ve been desperately wanting each and every upcoming novel sans waiting. But that hasn’t happened….

And as the series gets closer to its conclusion, I’m getting even more desperate to devour just as much of this series Eric Northman as is humanly possible. I am only human after all.

While I am curious to find out about this dead body on his front lawn, why the hell Sookie is teaming up with Bastard Bill and just what the visit from Felipe means, let me just be honest and say that what I’m really desperately wanting this Wednesday is Eric.

Be a voyeur…. To get a sneak peek from Chapter Two of DeadlockedCLICK HERE.