Tag Archives: Charlaine Harris

Grave Secret

This is a review of the novel “Grave Secret” by Charlaine Harris. It is the fourth novel in the Harper Connelly Series. It follows on from “An Ice Cold Grave“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Harper has been hired by a wealthy rancher family in Texas. Lizzie Joyce isn’t too specific about what it is that she wants. She’s intrigued by Harper, so just about any reason to hire her will do. So she decides to get Harper to confirm that her grandfather did indeed die of a heart attack. Harper explores the family grave sites, and discovers that old man Joyce, was surprised nastily before his fatal episode of cardiac arrest, and that another person interred there died rather differently than what has been accepted as the explanation for her death for years.

While the Joyce family gets to the bottom of their mystery, Harper has her own family mystery to deal with. There’s been a reported sighting of Cameron. Could it really be her? And if not, will they ever find out what happened to her missing sister Cameron?

I enjoyed this book. It was nice to get closure on the Cameron issue. I feel like Harper and Tolliver are going to have a nice life from here on out. I do wish that there were more Harper Connelly novels, but I understand that Harris is finished writing them. Who knows, maybe Harper will pop up again like Harris’ other characters do (for example: Lily Bard’s appearance in the Sookie Stackhouse novels, or the reappearance of other characters in Charlaine’s newest novel “Midnight Crossroad”).

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An Ice Cold Grave

This is a review of the novel “An Ice Cold Grave” by Charlaine Harris. It is the third novel in the Harper Connelly Series. It follows on from “Grave Surprise“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Harper has been invited to Doraville, North Carolina to help with the investigation into the disappearance of woman’s grandson. But even more chilling, is the fact that he is only one of eight missing young males. Initially it had been thought that the boys were simply runaways, (it is the age for that kind of thing after all) but the new sheriff remains unconvinced of this theory of her predecessor. Harper begins her search for the missing grandson with his grandmother leading the way, and before long Harper has located the boys. It’s her hardest (emotionally) case yet. To see each boy’s last moment is horrific.

And someone is deeply unhappy with Harper. So unhappy that they decide to attack her. It is only her quick thinking that stops the attack from being fatal, but she is badly injured. Tolliver and her are forced to stay in town longer than they had planned, and again, they become drawn deeper and deeper into the case. Who has been taking boys in Doraville? What sick and depraved person is lingering in this North Carolina community?

I enjoyed this novel and the return of the character Manfred Bernado. There’s a somewhat shocking (Or is it really? This re-read has had me picking up on signs since the beginning) development towards the end of the novel, I won’t spoil it. I like that each of Harper’s mysteries throughout the series are different. As always, Charlaine Harris did not disappoint!

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Grave Surprise

This is a review of the novel “Grave Surprise” by Charlaine Harris. It is the second novel in the Harper Connelly Series. It follows on from “Grave Sight“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

Harper Connelly and her brother Tolliver Lang are back on the road, finding the dead, and/or determining the cause of death for those that they find. They have been invited to Bingham College in Memphis Tennessee, by Dr Clive Nunley as special guests for his “An Open Mind: Experiences Outside the Box” class. It’s obvious that he is hoping to expose Harper as the shady fraud he believes her to be. Pity for him, he’s wrong. But he’s not the only one that gets a shock during Harper’s guest appearance. Dr Clive Nunley has asked Harper to tour the old cemetery on campus grounds, and list the cause of death for those interred there. The Professor has only just discovered the untouched records of the cemetery, and Harper has no way of obtaining any helpful information before her appearance. It’s clear that Dr Nunley considers this to be a perfect test of Harper’s “abilities”.

He’s sorely disappointed when Harper passes his test. However, Harper has found something unexpected. On her examination of an old grave, she’s discovered two bodies as opposed to the expected single body. There’s the grave’s original occupant and there’s fresher remains. Even more surprising is the fact the Harper has recognized them as the remains of a child that she was hired to find years earlier. Tabitha Morgenstern went missing in Nashville, and she’s been presumed dead for all this time. Who murdered Tabitha? It seems too much of a coincidence that Harper is the one who finally located her. Tolliver and Harper find themselves embroiled in mystery again.

I really, really love the way that Charlaine Harris writes mystery. I will never tire of her writing style. Also to be admired, is the way she creates her characters. All of them have such personality and are so individual. I enjoyed this novel. I liked how it highlighted another part of Harper’s life and work, how she dealt with clients, media and skeptics.

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Grave Sight

This is a review of the novel “Grave Sight” by Charlaine Harris. It is the first novel in the Harper Connelly Series.

Harper possesses a rare ability that connects her with the dead. She can locate bodies and determine the cause of death. She can see why they’ve died, but in the case of a murder or foul play, she cannot see the killer, just the dead person’s last moments. This ability was bestowed on Harper after she was struck by lightning as a teen. She’s made a living out of her strange ability, helping people find the bodies of their lost loved ones and providing them with closure. Her brother Tolliver Lang (they’re step siblings) travels around with her and helps her with her searches and provides support (finding the dead can be very draining).

Harper and Tolliver find themselves in the small town of Sarne in the Ozarks. Harper has been tasked with finding the body of the missing (and presumed dead) teenaged girl Teenie Hopkins. She and her boyfriend, Dell Teague, both went missing. Dell was found dead, and Teenie was just presumed to be a runaway. But then ugly rumours began to spread. It’s been said that Dell murdered Teenie and then committed suicide. His mother Sybil would like to put a stop to these rumours, so she’s hired Harper.

But when Harper finds Teenie, she finds a whole lot more, and the deaths of the two teenagers become a mystery that sorely needs to be solved.

Running in the background is the deeper mystery of Harper’s missing sister Cameron, who vanished when they were teens. Harper believes that Cameron is dead, and hopes that someday she will find her. But she and Tolliver may never discover what happened to Cameron Connelly.

I first read this book some time ago, and loved it then. Re-reading it, I still love it. Like anything I’ve read of Charlaine Harris’ it’s compelling and very hard to put down. The Harper Connelly Series is darker and more somber than the Sookie Stackhouse Series (Trueblood), but just as intriguing. I love the way that Harris writes her mysteries. I am always wanting to continue reading and I like the pace of her novels.

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Dead Ever After

This is a review of “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris. It is the thirteenth and final novel in the Sookie Stackhouse Series. It follows on from “Deadlocked“.

As this book is a part of a series, the following review may reveal some details of the previous novel/s. Do not read if you intend to read this series in the future and don’t want to know of any potential plot spoilers.

If you are a fan of the HBO show Trueblood, then you ought to know that the show has not yet reached this point in the series. (Even though the show seems to be straying more and more drastically from the novels…but don’t get me started on that!)

Sookie is dealing with the aftermath of using the cluviel dor. She used it to bring Sam back to life. This did not go over well with Eric, who wanted Sookie to use it to get him out of a difficult situation. While Sookie believes she’s done the right thing (without even thinking about it no less) by saving her friend, Eric takes this as evidence that Sookie does not love him enough, or more than Sam. For Sookie it’s really a no brainer: who could possibly let their dearest friend die, just so you could fix a situation not of your own doing?

Well, now Eric is not speaking to her. Sam is acting weird. He’s not himself, he seems depressed and not at all like she imagined. Sookie is down in the dumps. She’s lonely. Down a boyfriend, down a best friend (until he snaps out of his funk) and she has no idea where her life is headed. Lucky she still has Tara.

Meanwhile, forces unknown are plotting against Sookie Stackhouse. They want her punished in the worst kind of way. Sookie always seems to have a following of enemies, and these ones seem über dangerous. They’ve hatched a convoluted plan, and it’s all Sookie can do to keep her head above water. Things are looking gloomy for poor Sookie.

But Sookie does have friends. The best friends a telepathic barmaid could ever ask for. Weres, shifters, witches, demons, vamps and regular ol’ humans. And those friends are going to help her no matter what.

I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the different POV sections. I was impressed that everything got tied up neatly, and I liked that characters I had been interested in knowing more about turned up in this novel. Sookie got her happily ever after, and while it wasn’t my first choice for her, I understood it and I’m glad Sookie is happy (and I don’t hate her choice either).

I have heard friends say: “Oh Sookie got a bit skanky there for a while.” I don’t think this is true. Sookie came to her sexuality quite late in life. I enjoyed that she explored sex and different sexual partners. Really, it was not so many at all. And sometimes in life you do have to kiss a couple of toads, before you get your frog prince. I love that Sookie grew and matured. I loved that she made mistakes. I loved that she forgave herself over and over. I loved that she fought.

I love that she is a survivor.

Sookie Stackhouse, I’m going to miss you girl!

Favourite Passage:
I looked out the window at the fields and ditches, choked with growth, the heat hovering over them like a giant blanket. If weeds could flourish with such vigour, maybe I could, too.

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Side note: I have heard it said that Charlaine Harris received death threats concerning the way she ended this series. I have read that fans sent her mail saying that they would kill themselves if Sookie did not end up with a specific suitor. All I can say is: What the?!

Charlaine Harris has created this wonderful series for readers to enjoy. This led to the creation of the kick-ass show Trueblood. What kind of “fan” sends mail or threats like that? I’m sorry but you are no fan at all in my mind. I love that Charlaine Harris wrote this wonderful series. I am grateful that I got to read her creation. I am impressed with her integrity. She stayed true to her own plan for Sookie, amongst all this pressure from fans, in spite of all Trueblood has done to change her storyline, and although she could have kept writing for large amounts of money for quite some time.

Charlaine, I love you even more now. You will always be one of my favourite authors. I adore your strong female characters (every single one), I admire how you paint such a clear picture of small town life in Southern USA, almost without effort. I love that your heroines grow and learn and change and adapt. It means so much to have role models who survive (nearly anything). They give me strength.

So from a fan to an author: I am thankful for you and your works. I cannot wait to read whatever you work on next!

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Meeting Charlaine Harris

Tonight I got to meet Charlaine Harris. 🙂

I must say, she met my expectations and exceeded them. She was lovely, humorous, graceful and entertaining.

I got a picture with her and my book signed, and even though I was towards the end of a very long line, she was still polite and obliging.

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Charlaine Harris is touring Australia for book signings of her newest novel “Deadlocked“.

If you have a chance to meet her, I highly recommend it 🙂

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Sweet and Deadly

This is a review of “Sweet and Deadly” by Charlaine Harris.

This was Charlaine Harris’ first published novel.

Catherine Linton is alone in the world. Six months ago her parents were killed in a horrific car accident. And she has just found a dead body. Worse, it belongs to someone she used to know. Someone who was close to her father.

Catherine has not forgotten the suspicious nature of the accident that claimed her parents, and cannot shake the inkling that maybe the deaths are related…

Working in a newspaper office, she is in an ideal position to hear town gossip, secrets and scandal.

I liked this novel. It did start off a bit too slow and …. Bleak? (I think that is the word I am after). I didn’t much like Catherine to begin with. But I soon found myself intrigued, and wanting to get to the end.

I have heard it said that Charlaine Harris did not want to name this novel ” Sweet and Deadly”, I must say I agree. It doesn’t suit.

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A Very Vampire Christmas

This is a review of the short story “A Very Vampire Christmas” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the December 2010 edition of Glamour Magazine.

“A Very Vampire Christmas” is the fifth Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

It takes place in the Sookieverse but has nothing to do with Sookie Stackhouse and chronologically comes after the Dahlia short story “Death By Dahlia“.

Dahlia and her best friend Taffy are out doing some Christmas shopping. Dahlia doesn’t usually take part in this kind of thing, but she’s decided to give it a go this year.

They are happily (in Taffy’s case, Dahlia is more bewildered than anything) shopping, when they notice lots of children lining up for their Santa photos. But there is something wrong with Santa’s helpers…

They are elves. Not your cute-sy elves either. Real elves. Flesh consuming elves.

A funny Christmas story 🙂

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Death By Dahlia

This is a review of the short story “Death By Dahlia” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the anthology “Down These Strange Streets”.

“Death By Dahlia” is the fourth Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

It takes place in the Sookieverse but has nothing to do with Sookie Stackhouse and chronologically comes after the Dahlia short story “Dahlia Underground“.

Dahlia is attending a party held to celebrate the ascension of the new vampire sheriff for her area, Joaquin. The party is in full swing, when a scream from the kitchen shatters the mood.

Joaquin assigns Dahlia and fellow vampire Katamori the task of finding out what is amiss. The two vampires head to the kitchen to see what has happened. They find the dead body of a human. A female half-demon had found him and screamed in fright (Sookie Stackhouse fans will recognise Diantha).

As Katamori and Dahlia try to piece together what has happened, they establish a timeframe for the murder, and begin to eliminate people from their suspect list.

An entertaining little read, and probably my favourite Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

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Dahlia Underground

This is a review of the short story “Dahlia Underground” by Charlaine Harris. It can be found in the anthology “Crimes By Moonlight”.

“Dahlia Underground” is the third Dahlia Lynley-Chivers short story.

It takes place in the Sookieverse but has nothing to do with Sookie Stackhouse and chronologically comes after Dahlia’s brief appearance in the Sookie Stackhouse novel “All Together Dead“.

Dahlia wakes from her day-sleep to find herself trapped under piles and piles of rubble. She is very injured (a few broken limbs) and completely
alone. She is rescued by a human fire fighter.

Once she is back at the nest, she and her fellow vampires decide that the humans responsible (members of the Fellowship of the Sun) need to be found.

While doing some recon, Dahlia and Taffy discover that the Fellowship are doing more than just hiding. They are plotting to kill the human firefighters that helped find survivors of the Rhodes bombing.

It’s up to Dahlia to find the missing Fellowship members before they take the lives of the firefighters.

A great little read.

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