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Suggested books for fans of True Blood and Sookie Stackhouse.
Finally, Season 5 of HBO's True Blood has begun. As a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, the books the television series is loosely based upon, I look forward to the twists and turns this season has in store for viewers. I first discovered the Sookie Stackhouse series after seeing an all-day marathon of True Blood, Season One on a free preview of HBO. I was so hooked, I immediately signed up for HBO and then marched down to my local book store to buy all of the books in the series.
The Charlaine Harris books were well written and engaging. I read every book in the series, up to that point, in a matter of weeks. Harris had revived my passion for reading and left me wanting more. So, with my desire for engaging, grown-up paranormal fiction piqued, I began my search for more books in the genre. Not only did I find more excellent reads by Charlaine Harris, but I also found several other authors who are just as engaging.
Vampire Queen with a Thing for Shoes
- The "Undead" series by Mary Janice Davidson. This one is a little more irreverent than the Sookie Stackhouse books. Where Sookie always seems to be fair-minded and considerate, Davidson's Betsy is shallow and self-centered and I wouldn't have it any other way. Betsy is a tall, beautiful Minnesota girl with a passion for designer shoes. After surviving an attack by a group of wild animals, she is hit by a Pontiac Aztek and killed. Much to her surprise, she wakes up in the county morgue and soon discovers that she is a vampire. Thank goodness she had her highlights done right before her demise because she wouldn't want to be doomed to an eternity with dark roots. Davidson's books are funny, sexy and action packed making them a great read while basking in the sun on the patio and sipping a strawberry smoothie--Betsy's favorite drink. For a complete list of all books in the series in order, check out Mary Janice Davidson's official website.
Curvy Women Rule
- Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett. I discovered this gem of a series while scavenging the bookstore after completing all of the books Harris and Davidson had to offer. Anyone who is a fan of vampire fiction, particularly works that would be considered "chic lit", knows that vampires are all stunningly beautiful and perfect. Bartlett's Glory St. Clair is no exception. What makes her different, however, is that the standard of beauty when she was "turned" was quite different than today. When the handsome Jeremiah Campbell III sank his teeth into Glory's lovely neck, she was a voluptuous and full-figured beauty; the standard of her time. Things have changed, however, but Glory can not. Sure, she can have plastic surgery or go on a crash diet but, unfortunately for her, vampires heal in their sleep and she just wakes up in her original state. Bartlett's "Real Vampires" series is another humorous and steamy paranormal romance that always has a mystery to solve. Glory's favorite beverage is AB negative but I suggesting drinking a nice, spicy Bloody Mary while curling up with this book. There are eight books in the series so far. You can learn more by reading Gerry Bartlett's homepage.
Wizard for Hire
- The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Harry Dresden is Chicago's only practicing professional wizard investigator. You can find him in the Yellow Pages. This book is definitely not "chic lit". Butcher grabs you by the throat and pulls you through a dangerous world of fairies, (but not the good kind) vampires, (these are certainly not the Cullens) and other creatures. Finesse isn't Dresden's forte but he always manages to get the job done. Oh, sure, he may destroy a city block or two and leave a pile of bodies in his wake but, in the end, it all works out. I love this book series and because Harry Dresden is a real man's man, I would suggest slowly sipping Jameson's on the rocks while venturing into Butcher's dark world. To learn more about the author and his books, go to www.jim-butcher.com.
- Vampire for Hire Series by J.R. Rain. This one really tickles my funny bone. Samantha Moon was an F.B.I. agent until, 6 years ago, she was attacked and turned into a vampire. Now, Samantha is balancing her life as a night-time private investigator, wife, and mother of two all while coping with her new "life" as a vampire. In order to cover up her condition, she claims to have a rare skin disease that prevents her from being exposed to the sun. Reading about her slathering on sunblock while racing to her darkened mini-van to pick up the kids from school is almost as entertaining as her intriguing investigations. I enjoy this book series almost as much as I enjoy the story of the author himself. As a former private investigator, Rain does a great job orchestrating Samantha Moon's investigations. The thing that shocked me the most is that Rain is, indeed, male. His insight into his heroine is uncanny and I can't wait to see what else is in store for Ms. Moon. When Samantha isn't drinking animal blood shipped from the butcher, she enjoys a glass of white wine, so, I suggest you do the same while reading this series. For more information on this talented author and his books, see his web-page.
Paranormal Bounty Hunter
- Rachel Morgan Stories, by Kim Harrison. This series begins with Dead Witch Walking and is about the gorgeous and courageous Rachel Morgan. Rachel is a fiery red-head who just happens to be a bounty hunter and a witch. In Harrison's world, all magical beings congregate in "The Hollows" and it's Morgan's job to keep those creatures in line. She's a kick-butt investigator with serious attitude and it's a thrill to read about her adventures. The great news is, her home life isn't any less exciting than her work. Rachel walks the thin line between death and survival in all facets of her life. Always engaging, often sexy and sometimes scary, these books will keep you on the edge of your seat. These books can get pretty intense. Perhaps a nice, warm tea will calm your nerves while turning the pages of a Kim Harrison book. Information for all ten books in the Hollows series can be found at www.kiimharrison.net.
Where my favorite characters reside.
Sookie Stackhouse's fictional Bon Temps is not far from Shreveport, where Eric Northman runs his bar, Fangtasia.
Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor rules the undead in St. Paul.
Harry Dresden investigates paranormal crime in Chicago.
Glory St. Claire opened up her "Vintage Vamps Emporium" in Austin.
Rachel Morgan keeps the the Hollows in line in Cincinnati.
Charlaine Harris and her "voice"
Charlaine Harris adds a wonderful "voice" to her writing. I can't tell you how many times I have tried new authors only to throw the book out midway because I can't tolerate their writing style. So often, writers employ a "look-at-me-aren't-I-smart-with-my-big-words" method that's a real turn-off to most readers. Harris' words fly off the page. She does a wonderful job in letting us into the mind of Sookie. Another series of Harris that I recommend is the Harper Connely stories. Harper is an investigator with the gift of being able to communicate with the dead. In the Harper Connely books, Harris uses her usual quick wit to weave intricate mysteries that keep the reader guessing until the end. All of the authors I have recommended have the same gift of a good writing "voice". If you're looking for some engaging summer reading, give one of these book series a try.
©Denise Mai, June 19, 2012. All rights reserved.