Book Review · Books

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris [BOOK REVIEW]

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Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris is the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. We follow the life of Sookie, a waitress in Louisiana, who also has the ability to read people’s minds. 

When a vampire enters the bar and Sookie can’t read his mind – she is intrigued and wants to know this mysterious man better. But vampires usually mean trouble, and maybe Sookie is not really for all the troubles to start coming her way. 

After watching the TV show “True Blood” and finding out that there is a book series, I had to read the books. I am usually a person that reads the books before watching the adaptations. The first book was great and I also loved the TV Show. 

I liked everyone, apart from Sookie. 

Possibly because she acts very immature at all times and behaves like a spoilt child, when others tell her no. Maybe it is the lack of fear, empathy and emotion she feels. Or maybe, it is just the fact that she feels entitled because of her special ability, and likes to talk about how people always treat her badly because she is different. I just didn’t like her at all. And given the fact that she is the main character in this series, I am wondering how I like this book. Sookie – if you don’t behave in the next books, we’re going to have some problems!

I loved this book because of the side characters. In Dead Until Dark, we meen many amazing characters that I loved who have their own stories to tell. This was something I really enjoyed, and considering I watched the TV Shows and knew some of these stories, I was actually excited to read the book version of them. It felt like I was meeting them again for the very first time. I was really hoping to meet Tara though, but she is not in the first book… Oh well. Maybe she’ll appear after? Don’t tell me if you know. 🙂 

Charlaine Harris has an interesting writing style that kept me engaged. I was invested and curious throughout the whole book. I loved the adventures and the plot twists that kept coming up. The ending was meh, but considering the fact that it is a build-up for the second book, I wasn’t too surprised. It definitely gives you something to think about until you read the next book though.

Vampire Bill was the character that intrigued me the most.

I was so glad that he was not the usual vampire type we are used to, of the likes of Edward Cullen or the Salvatore brothers. Bill seemed more mature, more mysterious and I loved it. 

I actually enjoyed the whole vampire world in this book. The rules and the hierarchy model was pleasantly surprising. It is interesting to dive in more in how the vampires respect each other depending on their ranks and age. Even though I do wish that the mythology was more followed through, it was nice to read a book where vampires are living in the society, and are more or less accepted. We could see how people still have their prejudice though, as is the example that the women who tend to hang out with vampires are called “fangbangers”, and they tend to be frowned upon by society. 

Overall, I believe Dead Until Dark is a great first book, and a promising beginning of the Sookie Stackhouse series. I will definitely be continuing the series!

Highly recommended if you are a fan of vampires, fantasy, romance and a bit of mystery, followed by many different side characters that you will instantly adore.

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Book Review · Books

Dracula by Bram Stoker [BOOK REVIEW]

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Dracula by Bram Stoker is the ultimate horror classic of all times. This is where it all started. A tale about a creature that feeds on the blood to survive, but also a tale of friendship and love, described and presented in a way we rarely have a privilege to see these days. 

If Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, Twilight and the Sookie Stackhouse series pop to your mind when you first think of vampires, this book might feel extremely slow to your taste. However, if you want to experience the real horror and the building tension through many diary entries – you will enjoy this book completely. 
I am a fan of both, and I had moments where I fell in love with the detailed explanations of weather and whereabouts. But the setting of writing many polite letters to people dear to the characters also made me cringe. I suppose a cringe can’t be all bad for a horror book though? 
Through many diary entries of various characters, we follow their experience with the Count Dracula. Young Jonathan Harker is sent to go to Transylvania and arrange for the apartments the Count Dracula  wants to buy in London. During his stay, he faces many unusual things. Meanwhile, his fiance Mina and her friend Lucy are in London, and Lucy is facing some unusual experiences herself, when Dr. Seward arrives to help better her condition.

“How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads; to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams.”

I knew what I was getting into, and I believe knowing this is a classic, and not a fast-paced romance with a paranormal twist put me in the right mood from the very beginning, so I was aware of what I was going into, and I really enjoyed it!
Dracula as a character is so mysterious, so powerful, very feared and secretly admired. I both loved and hated the fact that we don’t get to really see much of him, but we have to be satisfied with what the other characters are going through. And even though, he continues to be a shadow, a fear, a thought of everything they are doing. He is always there, even when he isn’t, and it requires great skills as a writer to create that presence for a character.
The characters of Lucy and Mina were very interesting – from a time perspective. How things have changed for women in all these years. What women were doing and thinking at that time, and how different it is now. I suppose I could make all the comparisons in the world – but one thing stays true will all classic books – they leave a mark of the time they were written, and this mark always gets better as time goes by. 

“It is really wonderful how much resilience there is in human nature. Let any obstructing cause, no matter what, be removed in any way – even by death – and we fly back to first principles of hope and enjoyment.”

I am glad I read Dracula, and I will try to read more classics in the new year. The writing style, the past of them, they remind you to take a big breath and acknowledge many things you take for granted in today’s world. In a world of page-turners, you sometimes need a slow book that makes you think deeply.

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Book Review · Books

The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries #2) by L.J. Smith [BOOK REVIEW]

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The Struggle is the continuation of the Vampire Diaries Series by L.J. Smith. The second book that features the life of popular girl Elena Gilbert and her endeavors with the mysterious vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore.

The Struggle continues where The Awakening ends; Elena is looking to talk to Damon, knowing that he has something to do with Stefan’s disappearance.

I felt like there was more action in this book, compared to the first one. It made me more engrossed with the story and I was very excited for all the twists.

Elena was obviously the main character in this book, alongside Stefan and Damon. I am not sure how I felt about Elena in this book. She seemed to ignore everyone for a while and just be her selfish self – which resulted in getting people in trouble.

On the other hand, I really loved the history of Stefan and Damon. The memories from hundreds of years ago. The author manager to portray the time very well, and I was easily transported into another world, another time… I think these scenes were definitely the favourite part of this book.

I wish we saw more chapters with Bonnie and Meredith. Even though best friends, it didn’t feel like they were too involved in the story. We didn’t get to know them properly and it has already been two books. I really hope book three will let us meet these two characters better.

I am happy with the book in general.

The scenes, the plot, the twists – they were all very carefully put together. Elena’s love choices are opening up, letting us wonder which brother she might choose. Making us choose sides (team Damon here!). This battle between the love and hate of the two brothers definitely seems interesting.

The ending was everything I was hoping for and now I can’t wait for the next book. The Awakening and The Struggle were only an introduction and the real adventures are yet to begin!

I recommend it to all of you that love young-adult, teen romance and vampire stories. It will keep you on your toes for sure!

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Book Review · Books

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) by L.J. Smith [BOOK REVIEW]

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I had The Awakening and the Struggle (the first and second books from the Vampire Diaries series) on my shelf for years.

When I say years, I mean it. It all started when I was in high-school, around 6 years ago, and I was in love with the Vampire Diaries TV Show. When I found out there are books as well, I begged my mum to buy them for me. And once I had them, I never got to read them, because teenage logic…

I recently noticed the Vampire Diaries books sitting on my shelf, forgotten, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to read it in October, because of the whole spooky vibe. So there it is now – even thought the wheel didn’t choose it, I did, because it deserved the attention!

Elena Gilbert is a popular girl in high-school and she always gets what she wants. Boys want to be with her, girls hate her, or want to be her best friends. And when this new boy Stefan comes into town, all mysterious, Elena wants him. But Stefan is hiding a deadly secret that Elena might now be ready for just yet. And her life, as well as the life of everyone living in Fell’s Church is in grave danger… Elena finds herself between two brothers – one who came for a new life, and the other, who came for revenge…

Reading this book, while already knowing what the plot it, I thought I found find it boring. But no. I still enjoyed every single page of it, and I still devoured this book in one day.

From the first chapter, this book is intense and captures your attention. It is written in third person, but it also contains diary entries that belong to Elena and capture her deepest thoughts that she doesn’t dare share with anyone else.

I loved Elena!

Her character is exactly what I was expected and what I have known to love – brave and fierce, and also willing to sacrifice her own happiness and safety for the people she loves the most. 

Elena’s friends, Meredith and Bonnie are the friends every girl needs. Funny and caring. A few pages in, and you will get to love them too.

Stefan – the mysterious new guy in school. The guy that tries to stay away from the girl he really wants because he’s a danger to her. A little bit of Twilight vibes, but we can get past that. Because there is one thing that Twilight didn’t have, that you can find reading The Vampire Diaries…

DAMON

Even though we only get a glimpse of him in this book, we can feel his presence throughout the whole book. We can feel his connection with Elena, as weird and spooky as it may be. All that danger that he carries with him, we all want to see whether there’s anything good in him at all. His story is the most intriguing one, I think. His hunger for revenge makes you really understand both sides of the story and choose a side for yourself.

So, are you team Stefan, or team Damon?

I loved reading this – it was an amazing experience and it reminded me of my high-school days, of those innocent happy memories. My teenage life didn’t include vampires, but hey – it was still awesome!

Pick the Vampire Diaries up if you love Young Adult spooky books, if you loved Twilight and if you love vampire, love and mystery stories in general.

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Book Review · Books

Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

It happened, people. I finally did it. I have officially read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and I have mixed feelings about it.

After years of you guys begging me to read this book, I have finally managed to dig into this vampire world with Lissa – the Moroi (mortal) vampire and Rose – her guardian, sworn to protect her.

These two best friends are on the run, after Lissa’s family has been killed. Now, they unwillingly return to the Vampire Academy, and try to live their normal lives, but danger is on their doorstep.

I loved the plot, and the idea of the world building, even though, I have to admit, I wish we had more pages of the Vampire Academy description. Or maybe this is just me screaming – ”I want a vampire Hogwarts description right here, right now!”

I loved their friendship, and I loved how both of them would sacrifice so much for each other. It is a character quality we rarely see, and it was so well delivered that it gave me shivers for a few scenes.

However, the characters themselves weren’t much likeable. Lissa, well, we hardly get to really know her. She is mostly a shadow of Rose’s opinions of herself. And as of Rose, as much as I admired her bravery and wisdom, sometimes she was just so dumb for her own good.

I loved the plot twists, and the cliffhangers, especially the few ones right at the very end, but it took so long for them to come. Despite that, this book was still such a fast read, and you can’t take your hands off it.

”For they (women) are strange and mysterious creatures,” he continued in his scholarly voice, ”and a man must be a mind reader if he ever wishes to make them happy.”

I wanted to not mention the romance bit of the novel, but I have to stay honest to myself and do it. Unrealistic romances will happen that will make you cringe. I won’t spoil it for you, but I happened to love these two people together, even though their so called love happened instantly.

”And sometimes, if I was really, really lucky, he’d smile at me. A real smile too – not the dry one that accompanied the sarcasm we tossed around so often.”

A typical high-school fantasy novel, with vampires included, this will be a great addition to your shelves if you love this genre. I greatly enjoyed it, but being older I think these things stuck a bit to me.

If you haven’t read this, I do recommend it. Even though it had a few weak points, I would definitely read the second book of the series.

Have you read Vampire Academy? Is it on your TBR?        I would love to see what you think! 

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