Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark
Dead Until Dark

Having watched the True Blood tv series before reading any of CHarlaine Harris’ books, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the source material. It turns out that the Harris books are funnier than the series. They also address some of the moral issues (mainly, how Sookie feels about the fact tht Bill is a killer) that are glossed over in the series.

There are differences between the first season of True Blood and this first novel in the series – I missed seeing so much of Lafayette, and Tara is completely absent from this book. There is still a lot of hot sex, though, and Sam is as gently compelling here as in the show.

Enough of comparisons, though. Dead Until Dark, taken on its own terms, is a a fun read. Sookie is vivacious, smart though naive, afflicted with a ‘gift’ and enthusiastic about the new and unusual in life. Bill the Vampire (and I loved how she laughed at his prosaic name) is brooding and mysterious, a real Darcy-esque vampire, but with enough that is different and intriguing to set him a little apart from the vast array of brooding romantic vampires out there.

With an unworldly but intelligent heroine, a cast of interesting and textured characters to populate her world, and a horde of vampires just as varied, it’s hardly surprising that the Sookie Stackhouse novels are so popular, or that they have inspired such a popular TV series.

Buy Dead Until Dark (Original MM Art) (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)at

Review: Digger J Jones by Richard J Frankland

Digger J JonesI’ve enjoyed Richard J Frankland’s work as a playwright for many years – I was delighted to see his first book on the stand.

Eleven year old Digger J Jones is a terrific character – a feisty little scamp with a lot of personality. His diary entries make up the story – short, snappy observations from an alert, smart and funny kid.

The book, set in 1967 at the time of the Vietnam War and the Australian referendum for Australian Aborigines to finally be counted in the national census, looks at these historical events through a child’s eye. Digger’s straightforward assessment of how they impact on his life cut to the chase.

The loss of his brother Paul in Vietnam and his determination to ‘fight that discrimination’ and be counted as a citizen are explored alongside his day to day adventures – making enemies and friends, trying to live up to his newfound love for the nun Ally, discovering that poetry isn’t just for girls, and getting up to shenanigans with his best friend.

Digger J Jones is bursting with humour and heart. It might be a good book for any child – particularly boys – who have trouble getting into reading.

Buy Digger J Jones from Boomerang Books

Review: f2m – The Boy Within by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy

f2m The Boy Within

Ford Street Publishing is certainly not tying itself down to just one genre for its YA readers. There’s been Foz Meadows’ “Solace and Grief” (vampires), George Ivanoff’s “Gamer’s Quest” (fantasy/SF/gaming) and now “f2m – The Boy Within” – a transgender coming of age story.

f2m is the first-person story of Finn – born Skye – who decides, on his 18th birthday, to finally take steps to becoming the male he knows he is, inside the female form he was born with. It’s not going to be easy, though. What will his family think? And what about the punk band for which he plays lead guitar, the Chronic Cramps? Will his oldest friends see this as a betrayal of their feminist principles from their female friend Skye, or will they learn to embrace Finn in their formerly ‘all girl’ band?

There’s a lot to learn in this book: about being transgendered, the choices that can be made, and the challenges transgendered people and their families can be faced with. It would be a great book for anyone going through those changes, or their family and friends, because it offers so much insight. It’s a great, easy read too – I gobbled it up in less than two days!

However, it would be a dull book if it was only some treatise in educating the public about transgender issues. Instead, it’s is about being true to who you really are, even when that’s really hard (and even if you’re not entirely sure who that is yet). It’s also about friendship, family secrets, unconditional love, courage and compassion. Those are themes that any person can relate to regardless of age, gender, sexuality or preferred brand of music.

While the book is not autobiographical, co-author Hazel Edwards has known Ryan Kennedy for over 20 years – since Ryan was an 11 year old girl.

Find out more about f2m, including how to buy it at Hazel Edwards’ website.

EDIT: TheΒ  f2m: The Boy Within is also available at, or as a Kindle book at f2m (NA). f2m will be launched in New Zealand on 21st July 2010 and will also be getting an e-release there.

Always delighted to see a good review!

The Literate Kitty has given The Opposite of Life a wonderful review: Werewolves in London? Try bloodsuckers Down Under.Β  It starts with a discussion of the four Noble Truths of Bhuddism, works through a fantastic precis of Lissa’s background and ends with “Life may be hard and cold… but it still has the ability to surprise and delight, as Lissa finally realizes. It’s up to her (and each of us) to make that be enough.” It’s a really neat review. πŸ™‚

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