Mel’s Readings: August – September

SIGNS OF THE GODS?
Written by: Erich von Däniken
Read by: Peter Berkrot
Notes: A lot of what was in this book they’ve talked about in Ancient Aliens, but it was a fun read nonetheless. Crazy as all hell, but interesting.
Score: 8/10

SERIAL KILLERS: TRUE CRIME ANTHOLOGY 2014
Written by: Various, including Peter Vronsky and RJ Parker
Read by: Me
Notes: Enjoyed this one much more than the 2015 one, but that’s just because I didn’t have to listen to that droning voice reading it.
Score: 8/10

MAYA TO AZTEC: ANCIENT MEZOAMERICA REVEALED
Written by: Edwin Barnhart
Read by: Edwin Barnhart
Notes: Awesome, awesome, awesome! If you have even only a passing interest in the Mayans and/or other Mezoamerican cultures, I highly recommend this set of lectures. It was over 23 hours, but I absolutely inhaled it, and got sad when I had to turn it off.
Score: 10/10

DEAD EVER AFTER
Written by: Charlaine Harris
Read by: Me
Notes: So I finally got around to reading the last of the Sookie Stackhouse books (that’s the books that True Blood was based on… in the beginning, anyways). And it was a fine conclusion to the story, all ends neatly clipped and taken care of. While she didn’t end up with the person I’d hope she’d spend her life with in the end, I can’t dislike it just for that (like I’ve read from other readers).
Score: 8/10

DEAD ICE
Written by: Laurell K Hamilton
Read by: Kimberly Alexis
Notes: Finally, a strong entry from the Anita Blake series. The series, now at 26 books, has been in steady decline, but looks like Hamilton is finally listening to her readers, and took Anita’s head out of her ass, and gave her stuff to do other than complain and have power-gaining orgies. In this book, Anita goes back to her roots, and Hamilton delivers a fine book filled with zombies, magic, and crazy bad guys. It would have had a perfect score, but Hamilton tends to repeat herself… a lot. A good 2 or 3 hours could have been shaved off the 20 hour reading time easily, I’m sure, and we’d have lost none of the current story.
Score: 8/10

GREAT PHARAOHS OF ANCIENT EGYPT
Written by: Bob Brier
Read by: Bob Brier
Notes: A little disappointed with this one, not because it’s uninteresting, but because it’s an almost word for word redux of certain lectures from his The History of Ancient Egypt, which I’d already listened to. Still gets a perfect score, though, because it is still an excellent set of lectures.
Score: 10/10

THE VIKINGS
Written by: Kenneth W Harl
Read by: Kenneth W Harl
Notes: Awesome beginning, meh middle, good end. The middle was meh because they went on and on about the Viking’s conversion to Christianity. The first lecture about it was fine. But then there were more; how Sweden converted, how Finland converted, how Norway converted, how Iceland converted, how… we get it, they converted, move on. And the, um, lecturer, uh, always seemed to, uh, need to, um, search for his, er, words. I got used to it, but it was annoying at first. There were also people occasionally heard in the background, and there was a constant humming sound, like he was right beside an AC or something.
Score: 7/10

THE HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME
Written by: Garrett G Fagan
Read by: Garrett G Fagan
Notes: I really want to give this one a perfect score, cause it was so very interesting, but I can’t. Not with this lecturer. I did finally manage to get used to his way for speaking, but it took me half the course. He’d pause right in the middle of……. a sentence, for a real long time sometimes, too. But the course was so amazing that I’m only going to knock him half a point for it.
Score: 9.5/10

LOST WORLDS OF SOUTH AMERICA
Written by: Edwin Barnhart
Read by: Edwin Barnhart
Notes: Not quite as good as Maya to Aztec, but still very, very good. You can almost never go wrong with The Great Courses.
Score: 10/10

RED LAND, BLACK LAND
Written by: Barbara Mertz
Read by: Lorna Raver
Notes: Absolutely stunning portrayal of life in Ancient Egypt, told with perspective and humour. Excellent!
Score: 10/10

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
Written by: Stephen Hawking
Read by: Michael York
Notes: Excellent, but rather repetitive if you, like I, have already read A Brief History of Time. Still, the man is brilliant, no denying that!
Score: 9/10

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Top 10 Favorite Book Series

It wasn’t until recently that I realized just how many book series there were out there. I mean, I knew there were a lot, but I had no idea just how many “a lot” was. I spent a good few hours hunting for new stuff to read about a year ago, and browsing series on Goodreads yielded hundreds of choices. Dare I say, thousands, even! It makes me wonder how I, an avid reader, could have missed so many. There were so many that I’d never even heard of. Some of them have 15 plus books, and there are a good amount of them about vampires, which is even more baffling that I missed them. But anyways, I’m babbling here. In this list I’ll count down my 10 favorite book series. I’ve included all genres, although to be fair, I don’t really read much else besides horror (both supernatural and “true crime” style) and fantasy. I’ve put them in order, but the order is approximate at best, especially for the top 5. The top 5 are all ongoing series (except for the Sookie books, author Charlaine Harris has made clear that the last one published was her final Sookie novel), and my favorites are pretty much based on what I’m reading at the moment. I’ve also based my rating on my enjoyment of the series, and not technical merit. I think it’s pretty obvious that someone like George RR Martin is not on the same level technically as, say, Laurell K Hamilton (Anita Blake) or MaryJanice Davidson (Betsy Taylor), so it’s kind of unfair to rate them the same way. Before I get started, here are a few honourable mentions:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Ancient Egypt by Wilbur Smith
Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Xanth by Piers Anthony
The Belgariad by David Eddings
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Merry Gentry by Laurell K Hamilton
Rachel Morgan by Kim Harrison
The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

And, extra special honourable mention, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The only reason this isn’t on the main list is because I’ve just started the series, and only have 2 of 14 books read. It’s not fair, then, for this to edge out a series of which I’ve read all (or almost all) of the books in the series.

And now, without further hubub, my top 10 favorite book series! 🙂

10 – The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

anne_rice_books

Starting off the list, unsurprisingly, is Anne Rice‘s Vampire Chronicles. I read the first three while I was still in high school, and the next 3 in college, but after The Vampire Armand, I kinda got bored with the series. Anne Rice got just too weird. And religious. Religion isn’t something I look for when I’m reading a vampire novel. I have a few of her later books, but they’re basically sitting on the shelf collecting dust. I doubt I’ll ever read them. But the series still makes the list (albeit at number ten) because of how amazing the first three are, and how much I still love them, even interview queennow. Interview with the Vampire is simply one of the best vampire books, ever. The books were so popular that of course Hollywood had to have a crack at it. Why it took them so long, though, I’ll never know. Interview was written in 1976, and the first film didn’t come out until 1994. Of which I’m forever grateful, now that I really think about it. 70’s horror films, especially vampire horror films weren’t really known for… well… being good :-p I shudder to think of what would have become of Interview with the Vampire had it been put into the hands of a 70’s horror director. Thankfully, though, we got Neil Jordan, and he gave us one of the most beautiful pieces of film in horror history. No, forget horror history, make that film history, period. True, the casting was a little off in it’s choices for most of the characters (ok, ok, it was a lot off), and many fans, myself included, even Anne Rice herself, were horrified to learn that Tom Cruise would be playing our favorite brat, Lestat de Lioncourt. After the movie came out, however, every single one of us who’d booed the casting took it back. Despite not liking Tom Cruise hardly at all, I have to admit he does a wonderful job as Lestat, and he even looks the part. He’s the only one, unfortunately. If I had anything bad left to say about this film, it would be that, that the characters don’t look like themselves. Louis is supposed to be young, with curly black hair up to his chin. And Armand looks like a 15 year old red-head. That description doesn’t bring Antonio Banderas to mind, does it? And Claudia… well I understood why they did it, but in the book she was just 5 years old. Queen of the Damned was made in 2002 and as much as I love the film, let’s just pretend that it’s not based on a book. We’ll all be much happier for it.

 

9 – Betsy, Queen of the Undead by MaryJanice Davidson

betsy

Betsy Taylor is a tall, blonde bimbo who’s only real passion in life is shoes. On her thirtieth birthday, she has the worst day anyone could possibly have, being fired from her job, then being run over by a speeding SUV. Horrified after waking in the morgue, she tries to kill herself multiple times, unsuccessfully. She then realizes why: she’s risen as a vampire. And not just any vampire, either. According to elder vampire Eric Sinclair, she’s the new vampire queen. Betsy, who’s biggest problems in life before were the stain on those new Louboutins she bought, is about to find out being queen isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Told in the first person, Betsy’s perspective, these books are absolutely hilarious. I’m generally not a fan of reading comedy, but since this was also a vampire thing, I decided to give it a go, and boy am I glad I did. The books are short, sweet, and always fun. I’ve fallen a bit behind on this series, though, I’ve only read up to number 7. But I have so much stuff to read now, that these fluffy little comedies have been shuffled to the back of the line.

  1. Undead and Unwed
  2. Undead and Unemployed 
  3. Undead and Unappreciated
  4. Undead and Unreturnable
  5. Undead and Unpopular
  6. Undead and Uneasy
  7. Undead and Unworthy
  8. Undead and Unwelcome
  9. Undead and Unfinished
  10. Undead and Undermined
  11. Undead and Unstable
  12. Undead and Unsure
  13. Undead and Unwary 

 

8 – Zinc Chandler, Special X by Michael Slade

Special X

I discovered this author quite by accident. I got a book as a gift, I think it was for christmas, but I have no idea who from. The book was by an author I’d never heard of before, but the title was cool: Ghoul. I started reading it, and yup, it was right up my alley. Each novel follows agents from the fictional Special X department of the RCMP as they hunt horrifying serial killers. You can tell it’s fiction already, Canada doesn’t boast enough serial killers to write a new book every year, hehehe. I’m way behind on this series too, I made it to number 7 (again? That seems to be my lucky number…) and then sort of pooped out. The books, although always with fascinating stories, are a little hit and miss sometimes. Ghoul, Ripper, Headhunter and Primal Scream were all excellent, absolute page turners, while Cutthroat and Evil Eye were a little hard to get through, sluggishly paced and sometimes downright boring. I had no idea the series had grown to 14 books, though! I’ll have to pick them up again.

  1. Headhunter (1984)
  2. Ghoul (1987)
  3. Cutthroat (1992)
  4. Ripper (1994)
  5. Evil Eye (1996)
  6. Primal Scream (1998)
  7. Burnt Bones (1999)
  8. Hangman (2000)
  9. Death’s Door (2001)
  10. Bed of Nails (2003)
  11. Swastika (2005)
  12. Kamikaze (2006)
  13. Crucified (2008)
  14. Red Snow (2010)

 

7 – Victoria Nelson, The Blood Books by Tanya Huff

blood books

This series, like most others actually, now that I think of it, I came into when it was already done. Not only was the book series done, but a TV show had come and gone as well, with myself none the wiser about it. I’m not entirely sure how I came upon this series, then, but I think it was one of my Facebook friends who had mentioned the show, and how he was ticked off at all the changes they’d made, but damn did that vampire look good. And after seeing a picture of the vampire in question, I decided that this show was something I needed to see. Right now. So after I started watching the show (and falling in love with it), I went hunting for the books. I read the first one in one sitting blood tiesI think, so that should tell you what I thought of it. The first book, Blood Price, is faithfully recreated for the show’s two-part Pilot episode, but after that the show pretty much goes it’s own way. (Dexter did the same thing, but at least we got a whole season of faithfulness before the writers crapped all over it, but I’m straying from the topic again.) I don’t actually mind that much when producers take some artistic license with the material they’re adapting (mind, I’m only talking about TV here. Adapting to film is a whole other monster), as long as they’re honest about what they’re doing. Dexter‘s writers were very clear in saying that season one would be the only one based truly on the books, and the rest will only bare some similarities in the characters. Same with Blood Ties here. True Blood, on the other hand, HBO bought the rights from author Charlaine Harris with the understanding that their vision was the same, and that they were headed in the same direction with their ideas. In fact, a (more or less) direct quote from Harris about it: “I sold the rights to Alan Ball because of all the people asking for the rights, his vision of the story was the closest to my own”. I bet she really regrets that now, with the ridiculousness that has become that show. But anyways, side-tracked again, who me? Maybe I should stop ranting and tell you what the books are actually about. Vicki Nelson is an ex-cop (known by her colleagues as Victory Nelson, for her impressive record) who’s now a private detective. She left the force because a degenerative eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, which starts off by slowly killing night vision and peripheral vision, will eventually leave her blind, and she didn’t want to stay on the force if that meant riding a desk for the rest of her career. One day she gets a client who is positive her boyfriend was killed by a vampire, and hires Vicki to prove it. Vicki takes the case, never for one second imagining that she’d not only meet a vampire in her search for the truth, but that he’d be Henry Fitzroy, bastard son of Henry VIII… and an ally. Such great books, and finally, a real female role model. She’s still beautiful (of course) but she’s a “real” woman. No “waif-fu” here, Vicki kicks ass cause she works out her 5’11” frame. She’s also not a “lost little damsel, waiting for her knight”. She does most of the saving here. If you enjoy vampires and detectives, this short series is a perfect read for you. I just wish there was more of it!!

  1. Blood Price (1991)
  2. Blood Trail (1992)
  3. Blood Lines (1992)
  4. Blood Pact (1993)
  5. Blood Debt (1997)
  6. Blood Bank – a short story collection

 

6 – Harry Potter by JK Rowling

harry potter

So, of course this series will be in almost all fantasy lovers favorites list. Never mind that they were aimed at kids, this is some quality reading right here. 7 books (later made into 8 movies) of pure, unadulterated, magical fun. If I have to tell you what these books (and/or movies) are about, you really need to crawl out from under that rock you’ve been hiding under. But on the off-chance that you like it there under your rock, it goes a little something like this: 11 year old Harry Potter discovers that he’s a wizard and gets recruited by a half-giant named Hagrid to attend a harry-potterspecial wizarding school, Hogwarts. The end. No of course it isn’t, although, to be fair, that’s pretty awesome all by itself. So, wouldn’t you know, little Harry is famous all over the wizarding world for having defeated (read: didn’t die when shot at by) the evil Lord Voldemort. Voldemort’s not as dead as everyone thought, though, and with Harry’s return to the wizarding world, evil is stirring once again. A classic story of good against evil, black against white, the noseless vs the… nosed? I dunno. You get my point. The books are incredibly well written, especially for something that was originally aimed at a younger audience, so that’s even more impressive. So many YA authors think that since their stuff is aimed at teenagers, it can afford to not be well written. It’s a shame too, because some of them have good ideas, but their writing is total shite (I’m looking at YOU, Stephanie Meyer!) Thankfully, JK Rowling isn’t one of those authors, so her books are a joy to read, for the young and old alike.

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)

 

5 – Dexter Morgan by Jeff Lindsay

dexter

Dexter Morgan is a wonderful character, both in writing and on the TV screen. I only heard about the book series after the show started playing, and though, at that time, I didn’t like the show, the idea is wonderful, so of course when I heard this was a series of books I went out and bought the first 3 all at once. I sat down with the first one expecting a real treat, and I definitely was not disappointed. The story (for the book series and the show) goes a little something like this: Dexter Morgan is a mild-mannered employee of the crime lab of Miami Metro police Dexter Season 8department, his exact job title is blood spatter analyst. His job is to find out how all that precious life juice got out of the victim and onto wherever it is that person got killed. And he’s very good at his job. Both of them. Because by night, mild-mannered Dexter becomes the Dark Passenger, or rather, he lets the Dark Passenger drive. He is a serial killer. His prey of choice? Other killers. Brilliant!! The reason it’s not a little higher than number 5 (besides the fact that the top 4 are absolutely amazing) is that book 3 kinda… well… sucks 😦 The first 2 were absolutely amazing, but then book 3 goes ahead and spins the whole story from a supernatural angle and that, to me, was the very wrong direction to take this story. Don’t get me wrong, I love supernatural stuff (which I think most of my readers (all 104 of you!! Hi!!) know by now, hehe). But Dexter, in his first 2 books, gave absolutely no indication that he was anything other than human. And for the supernatural element to be introduced out of the blue in the third book of the series, well, I didn’t think it was a good idea. I guess Lindsay must have gotten a lot of grief after that one, because in the next two books, while he still talks about his Dark Passenger, it goes back to the way it was in the first two books, no weird demon mumbo-jumbo. There are 8 books in the series, and the author has said that this is it for Dexter. This was also (coincidentally? Who knows) Dexter’s last season on TV. I’ve read the first 5 books, and am looking forward to finishing the series (although I’m sad that there will be no more coming), and I’ve watched 7 and a half seasons of Dexter, still need to watch the last few episodes of number 8. Oh, one small word of warning. The prose is very purple, and the author has a slightly twisted sense of humour. I love it, but I thought I should give a heads up, for those that don’t like that writing style.

  1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter (2004)
  2. Dearly Devoted Dexter (2005)
  3. Dexter in the Dark (2007)
  4. Dexter by Design (2009)
  5. Dexter Is Delicious (2010)
  6. Double Dexter (2011)
  7. Dexter’s Final Cut (2013)
  8. Dexter Is Dead (2015)

 

4 – Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter by Laurell K Hamilton

AnitaBlake

When one of your favourite book series is at number 27, and the author seems to have no end in sight yet, you’re bound to end up reading a series that’s run (or running) out of steam. Which is why this series is now at number 4, when it was at number 1 for so long. Trying to condense 24 books into a understandable blurb is hard, but I’ll do my best to keep it short and sweet. Anita is an Animator, which means she raises the dead. She works for a firm that deals in dead raising for legal purposes (family disputes, a lost will, etc), but she’s also a sanctioned Federal Marshall and vampire executioner. When things get supernaturally hairy, the police call in Anita to take the big bad guys down. Slowly, as she moves more and more through the supernatural world, she makes friends, and soon, lovers, and discovers, through them, that she has a lot more power than she’d ever dreamed of. These were my favourite books for a very Anita_Blakelong time. I discovered them not long after high school, and they were completely amazing till about book 12 or 13. That’s when the sex started to get out of hand. I like a good, steamy sex scene as much as the next vampire fan, but when that’s all the books are, with no character development at all, and little to no plot even? No thanks. Hamilton has finally started listening to her fans, though, because the last two novels that I’ve read, Kiss the Dead and Affliction, were concentrating much less on the sex, and more on actual story, and (and this is a big deal, you Anita fans know what I mean) she finally seems to be able to let go of her hangups about sex and just do it already. Seriously, a few of her books were exactly like this: “Oh, I’m horny, need to feed the Ardeur.” *Starts to have sex, stops* “Oh no, I can’t do this again, it’s just wrong.” *After talking for two chapters, finally have the sex* “OMG, what’s happening? What did we do (this time)??” *Some new power was gained by her, or her people. “We’re so strong!! But we have the attitudes of high school drama queens!” *More sex, more complaining about the sex, and more drama, mostly with Asher* And, yup, that was pretty much all that there was to the books. Even the passing of the biggest of the bads, “Mommie Dearest”, I barely saw because it was lost in all the sex and angst. But, like I said, her last two were better, so here’s hoping we see something new soon, instead of just the same old boring porn. And for those who like comic books and graphic novels, Marvel has turned the first three of Hamilton’s books into comics. They’re sold in separate little floppy books (in sheaths, you know, those old-school comics), or you can get them all together bound in a hardcover (which is what I did). Each book made 3 hardcover comics, except the first, which made 2. I’ve got the first two  and sometime in the near future I hope to get the third one. I also have the prequel comic, The First Death, which was the story of one of her very first cases with fan-favourite Edward. I don’t know if Marvel is going to keep going with the comics, but I certainly hope so. They’re incredibly well done. Also, Hamilton has mentioned “being in talks” with producers of film and TV for the rights to film, but it seems she’s “been in talks” since the late 90’s. Not sure we’ll ever see Anita up on the big screen. A shame. Done Underworld style, it could be great fun!

  1. Guilty Pleasures (1993)
  2. The Laughing Corpse (1994)
  3. Circus of the Damned (1995)
  4. The Lunatic Cafe (1996)
  5. Bloody Bones (1996)
  6. The Killing Dance (1997)
  7. Burnt Offerings (1998)
  8. Blue Moon (1998)
  9. Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
  10. Narcissus in Chains (2001)
  11. Cerulean Sins (2003)
  12. Incubus Dreams (2004)
  13. Micah (2006)
  14. Danse Macabre (2006)
  15. The Harlequin (2007)
  16. Blood Noir (2008)
  17. Skin Trade (2009)
  18. Flirt (2010)
  19. Bullet (2010)
  20. Hit List (2011)
  21. Beauty (2012)
  22. Kiss the Dead (2012)
  23. Affliction (2013)
  24. Dancing (2013)
  25. Shutdown (2013)
  26. Jason (2014)
  27. Dead Ice (June 9, 2015)
  1. Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death (2007)
  2. Anita Blake Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures (2008)
  3. Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse – Animator (2009)
  4. Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse – Necromancer (2009)
  5. Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse – Executioner (2010)
  6. Anita Blake: Circus of The Damned – The Charmer (2010)
  7. Anita Blake: Circus of The Damned – The Ingenue (2011)
  8. Anita Blake: Circus of the Damned – The Scoundrel (Ongoing)

 

3 – Sookie Stackhouse, The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris

sookie-book-set

Here’s another light fluffy series that’s just so much fun and easy to read. I can easily pick up one of these books and finish it in a single sitting, which I often did after the new book came out. It was the end not only for Dexter this year, but for Sookie as well, her 13th adventure being her last. Not to say that she’s dead (of course I can’t say she isn’t, either, because as of now I’ve yet to read book 13). The story is this: Sookie Stackhouse is a young woman living in a tiny Louisiana town called Bon Temps. She’s a waitress at the local watering hole. Oh, and she’s a telepath. Living in the world has always been difficult for her, since she could hear all the thoughts of people around her, so she’s built up a wall to protect herself, the guise of stupidity. One day, she meets a man who’s thoughts she can’t read, and she becomes excited, following him out the door. Saving his life from a gang of V (vampire blood used as a drug) dealers, their bond is immediate and quick. Here starts Sookie’s story of womanhood and survival and, yes, of course, true-blood-castromance. The show I wish I could say is a good as the books, but it’s really not. Seasons 1, 3, and 4 are good, about half of season 2 is good. But season 5 and the other half of 2 are pure shite. Especially season 5. It was just… ugh… I don’t even know. I didn’t bother continuing the show after that. When the show first started, it seemed as though they were going to try stick to the books, which is why, the author is quoted as saying, that she sold the rights to HBO in the first place, that their vision was the closest to hers (I bet she regrets that now!) So season 1, pretty good. There were changes, but nothing super dramatic. Lafayette, who was nothing but a bit player in the books, got to live in the show (which I have to admit being a wonderful change, he’s an awesome character), and Jessica doesn’t exist in the books. I guess they wanted more female main characters for the show? I dunno. But it’s not too bad. I hated her at first, while she played the brat, but once she “put on her big girl shoes”, I liked her much more. The rest is pretty similar to the books. Murdered women, murdered Gran, the culprit is Arlene’s fiancée. Then season two… oh my god. Everything dealing with the vampires (the stuff that was actually in the books) was good, but everything else… that creepy (and not in a good way) demon chick and the black-eyed orgies and stuff… ugh. I’ve never seen anything so ridiculous (until I got to season 5, that is). But anyways, I won’t keep going on about everything they’ve changed or added in that series, or I’m going to be here all night. All I’ll add is that they shouldn’t be allowed to write “Based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris” in the opening credits any more, because season 5? Yeah, there was not one single thing in that season that happened in the books. They should have to write “Based on characters created by Charlaine Harris”, or however it is they say it when they take a character, but not the authors own stories.

  1. Dead Until Dark (2001)
  2. Living Dead in Dallas (2002)
  3. Club Dead (2003)
  4. Dead to the World (2004)
  5. Dead as a Doornail (2005)
  6. Definitely Dead (2006)
  7. All Together Dead (2007)
  8. From Dead to Worse (2008)
  9. Dead and Gone (2009)
  10. Dead in the Family (2010)
  11. Dead Reckoning (2011)
  12. Deadlocked (2012)
  13. Dead Ever After (2013)

 

2 – Special Agent Pendergast by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

pendergast

I honestly don’t remember if I saw the film The Relic first, or if I read the book. But what I can tell you is that I didn’t remember about one before I read/saw the other, which is a very, very good thing. Because these two could not have been more different. The biggest case in point being the fact that Pendergast, the heart of the book series, isn’t theReliceven in the film. But enough about that. I’ll just say that it’s a good, fun creature feature, and if you’ve read the book, put it out of your mind and you’ll be fine. As for the rest of the series, it’s amazing. The only book that I enjoyed a little less was the second one, Reliquary, the others I all but inhaled after buying them. The stories revolve a very peculiar FBI agent named Aloysius Pendergast. He’s absolutely brilliant at detecting things others cannot, and his knowledge about, well, everything really, is unmatched. He’s a modern day Sherlock Holmes, if you will, minus the deerstalker and cocaine. The stories are all based in scientific fact, but let’s say they really stretch that limit. The things that are “possible” in the books are very much akin to the fact that light speed travel could be “possible”. Possible, but not very likely, especially not with our current technology. Each book has it’s own evil-doer, but three books follow the other Pendergast, Diogenes. And he’s Moriarty to Pendergast’s Sherlock. These books are so good, but again, with everything on my list to read, I’ve fallen a bit behind. I’ve read 9 out of 13 books. And (I just found out, right this second on Wikipedia) that the next three books I have to read are another trilogy inside the series, this one about Pendergast’s wife, Helen. I just got it on audiobook, too, if I’m not mistaken. I’m looking forward to reading it now, more, since I’m writing about it. These books are just brilliant, very entertaining. If you like detective stories mixed with a little horror, this is definitely for you, and I’d highly recommend it. Hell, I’ll recommend it even if you don’t like horror. The books are good enough that I think even non-horror-lovers will enjoy them.

 

1 – A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin

game of thrones

This series, which now occupies the number one spot and is one of my very favourite book sets ever, I came upon as a complete accident. I had never heard of the books before, and this was before the show. I’d never  even heard of the author before. So one night, around 4am or so, I was visiting with my husband at his parents. As usual, I couldn’t sleep, but being away from home, I had nothing really to do, so I hunted around for something to read. My eyes set upon A Game of Thrones, but at that point I wasn’t interested. I’d asked my husband about it and he said something like “kinda like Lord of the Rings, with mostly humans and less magic”. Well that description got a big old “meh” from me, and I was uninterested. But, after rummaging around some more, there was nothing else. So with a resigned sigh, ice and fireI took the book and began to read. My mind, as you can probably tell, was blown, right from chapter one. The writing is so good, the characters are so real, you could literally almost see them coming to life on the page. I read it, and the following four, and am now impatiently awaiting book six, which, as of yet, doesn’t have a release date. Martin likes to keep his fans waiting I’ve heard. Books 3 and 4 are 5 years apart; books 4 and 5, 6 years. That’s an insane amount of time to keep fans waiting. It’s a testament to how good the books are that the fans haven’t just given up on him. There’s also the fact that we’ve now got a show to keep ourselves occupied, if only for a while. When I first heard that they were doing a show, I was super excited. I had read the first three books by that time, and had fallen deep in love with the world and was happy to see it was going to get filmed. My happiness faded once I heard who had bought the rights: HBO. After what they did to another of my favourite series (True Blood), I was scared that they’d put these books through the blender, too. But thankfully for me, and everyone else who loves the books, HBO has been doing a pretty damn good job of sticking to the story. There’s changes, of course, more sex (this is HBO, after all), and quite a bit of the “boring” descriptive stuff is cut out, but that’s only natural when you have to condense a book so big. There’s a thing or two they changed that I’m kinda hmm-ing about, as to how they’re going to fix it when that story line comes back later, but nothing overly dramatic. Season 5 of the show just started this month, I can’t wait! As for book 6? I guess we all just have to wait and see.

 

And I’m done! Phew!! Not sure why, but this post took me 3 days to complete. I had my layout all done, I knew approximately what I wanted to say, I just couldn’t seem to get it out. Or I’d zone out, just stare blankly at the screen. I hope you enjoy this, cause it almost did me in! But tonight I persevered! This laptop won’t be getting the best of me! Mwahahahaha!!! *ahem* Ok, I’m done…

M.