Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

SOOKIE’S BACK!! Yaaaaay!!! I say that not just because there’s a new book, but because she’s back in business…as in, good book business. After Dead in the Family, I had begun to worry that the series was sliding downhill, but alas, we are saved. (For now, at least.) My hubs – who has read the entire series – asked me to rate it “one to ten, how many stars? Wait…only compare it to the other Sookie books and don’t factor in all those depressing, sad books you read…” Hmmm, how long until he understands that not all sad books are bad books??? Anyhoo, I gave it a seven.

So someone attempts to firebomb Merlotte’s and Sookie and Sam are caught in the crossfire. Was the attack meant for Sam or Sookie? (Sookie, of course.) Victor has recently been made regent to the new King Felipe and he’s invaded Bon Temps and Shreveport, setting up two new bars that have put a kink in both Sam and Eric’s businesses. Claude and Dermot are living with Sookie and there is something suspicious happening with the fairy refugees that were left behind when the world of fae was sealed off. Eric is keeping a major secret and one of Sookie’s (many) enemies is back for vengeance.

It starts out a little slow, but the pace does pick up and there’s quite a lot of action in the second half. There are a few storylines that don’t go anywhere, but I assume they will be central to the next book. And I do tire a bit of the fairies, since I haven’t really made a connection to those characters yet.

However, the best part for me is that it gets back to the heart of the series: Sookie, Eric and Bill. Yep, you read that right, Bill’s back in business too!! (Hush, all you Bill-haters out there…) Sookie and Eric on the porch swing and Sookie and Bill – naked – underneath Bill’s house (the set-up for the latter was a bit hokey, but I can let that slide). Not exactly book 4 material, but still good. (At this point in the game, I should face reality and admit my weakness for a good love triangle.) And the ending is open-ended, frustrating, and annoying, much like Dead and Gone, but successfully makes you want more, more, more.

I’m really happy with this book and my interest has officially been re-piqued. All the books in this series are TOO SHORT and I’d like to see them at least 100 pages longer, but a fun and quick read is just what the doctor ordered sometimes. My interest in “True Blood” as been rekindled as well…just when we were planning to drop the cable altogether…damn you, Eric Northman!!

Should I admit to owning this poster? No, probably not...


Dragon*Con 2010 Rundown

I’ve been meaning to write about the crazy shenanigans that went down at Dragon*Con ever since I got home on Monday, but alas, said plans have been thwarted each and every day by a menagerie of evil-doings. First of all, and much to my horror, I have apparently contracted the “Con Crud.” I know, could they have devised a more disgusting name?? Just saying it makes me feel worse. I had never been exposed to so many nerds at one time, so I guess my body had no immunity to the nerdy germs of over 40,000 con-goers. (Note: everyone there was a proud, self-proclaimed nerd, so I shouldn’t be offending anyone with my liberal use of the term.) The runny nose, sore throat and throbbing headache have obstructed my ability to form coherent sentences thus far. 

Before that however, my arms and shoulders were out of commission as a result of having to carry my very large and very heavy luggage down 17 flights of stairs. Let me explain…we stayed in the Hyatt, which was sort of the central hubbub of the entire event and needless to say, it was insanely crowded. You could easily wait 20-30 minutes for an elevator and when you finally did get one, it was so full that you were most uncomfortably up close and personal with those around you. Those nerds were fearless too, because they would pack into the elevator to the point that the safety buzzer would sound (over the weight limit) and of course, there would inevitably be some drunk person who would start jumping up and down and exclaim “we’re gonna die!” Yeah, I have a touch of claustrophobia, so as of Saturday, I started taking the stairs. We were staying on the 17th floor. I managed pretty well, with the exception of Saturday night and Monday afternoon. 

Vampire squid (notice the heels!) and Jellyfish

Saturday night we went to the Georgia Aquarium. In costume, of course. I was all gussied-up in my vampire squid costume and 3 inch heels. By the time we got back to the hotel, my feet were pretty much killing me since I don’t wear heels on a regular basis. I debated whether or not to venture back out into the crowds in said heels and eventually decided to give it a go for the sake of looking cute in any photos that might be taken. Well, I made it down the 17 flights of stairs, through the hotel, and to the top of another set of stairs leading to the street when I faced the reality that there was no way I’d survive the rest of the night in those shoes. I made the decision to turn back alone, face the crowds and venture back to the room. This was a daunting task, mind you. And I’ll admit, I had had a few beers so I was teetering a bit already.  

This decision turned out to be a very bad one, as by the time I reached the stairwell, there was a steady flow of people moving up the stairs at an alarming speed. I was somehow swept into the stream and found myself practically jogging in order to keep up. Pain. Oh, the pain. Why didn’t I just stop and squeeze into the corner and hobble up the stairs at my own decrepid pace? I don’t know. I think I told myself to just push through it and get it over with as soon as possible. Anyhoo, there was a nice young man behind me who exclaimed “How are you running up these stairs in those heels?!” He then asked me what floor I was on and upon hearing the 17th, he declared himself my “stair buddy” because he was seriously worried that I was going to fall out. Thank goodness for my stair buddy, because by the time we made it to the 17th floor, he literally had to hold me up to get me to my room. It was rough. 

It wasn’t as rough as Monday afternoon though, when after waiting over 30 minutes for an elevator space big enough to accommodate myself and my luggage, I made the foolish decision to just carry it down the stairs. You see, the back stairwells had not been cleaned the entire weekend and by the end of the convention, the stairs were riddled with vomit, broken glass and puddles of sticky liquid at every turn. I have new luggage that is zebra print on the outside and silky purple on the inside (I’m sort of in love with it) and I didn’t want it touching that floor. So I carried it down. Big mistake. I used muscles that I don’t think have ever been used before. On Tuesday, my neck, shoulder, and arm muscles were so sore that it literally hurt to be wearing a shirt, much less typing on a computer. 

And to top off my excruciatingly long excuse for why I haven’t posted anything all week, I’ve been working 10 hour days to make up for the time I took off and spending my nights doing laundry and cleaning the house that the hubs so lovingly left a wreck for me. Dragon*Con: the gift that keeps on giving. So, without further ado, here is what went down… 

Diana Gabaldon 

Diana Gabaldon was the reason I decided to go to Dragon*Con in the first place, so naturally she was the highlight of the trip for me. She mainly talked about The Exile, the new graphic novel coming out this month. She also read an excerpt from book 8 (a continuation of the Jamie/Lord John/Claire fiasco), which was a total spoiler for me since I haven’t finished book 7 yet. She did warn us prior to the reading, but I didn’t want to get up and leave, and I was so enthralled by the story that by the end I realized I was leaning forward on the edge of my seat with my mouth hanging open like an idiot. I pulled myself together, shut my mouth and inwardly shouted “Claire!!! How could you?!?” I look forward to finding out how on earth such debauchery transpired… 

Anyhoo, Diana G was awesome. She is so gorgeous in person! And she seems like a genuinely nice person. She was giving out complimentary copies of Outlander (you know, one can never have too many) and stayed to sign books and take photos. She told a story about an interview that she did in Germany where she was asked to explain the fascination with men in kilts. She responded “I suppose it’s the idea that he could have me up against the wall in less than 30 seconds.” Yowza! Just when I thought I couldn’t like this lady any more… ;) 

She told us that we’ll have to wait until 2012 (at least) for the release of book 8.  Her next book, Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner, will be released in 2011. Jamie is the Scottish prisoner so she thinks that should tide us over until book 8 comes out, but I am still fretting over how I will manage to cope with the withdrawal….Oh, and there is a short story about Roger’s parents titled “Leaf on the Wind” which is in the anthology Songs of Love and Death, to be released in November 2010. (Rumor has it that Roger’s dad was a time traveler as well and supposedly this was hinted at somewhere in the Outlander series…I totally missed that, but I’m super pumped about learning more about his parents because I have lots of love for Roger Mac.) 

(It was suggested after the fact that I should’ve held up a sign that read “Skarsgard as Jamie Fraser!” Oh well, hindsight is 20/20, right?) 


I was pleasantly surprised to discover a large number of men in kilts at the convention. I don’t know why, but since it’s best not to question a good thing, I just enjoyed the view :) As is the yearly tradition at Dragon*Con, Jenny from rounded up all the (willing) men in kilts for a good old-fashioned kiltblowing! She sets up a stage with lighting and photography equipment and when each kilted man graces the stage, she blows up their kilt with a leaf blower! I know what you’re thinking, and I agree…it’s a genius idea! It’s not nearly as dirty as it sounds however; she made it perfectly clear at the beginning that this is not a pornographic event and she kindly asked the men to hold their kilts down in the front to prevent any unnecessary exposure. Most of them cooperated, but of course there were a few who were all too willing to flash the crowd and bare it all (and a few who accidentally bared it all!). Personally, I found this particular event to be utterly entertaining and quite possibly one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. 

Laurell K. Hamilton

There was one participant who was, shall we say, particularly nerdy and he was clearly nervous about getting up in front of a room-full of screaming women. He didn’t quite know what to do with himself on stage, so he did a few clumsy pelvic thrusts and jerked about for a minute before leaping off the stage and into the arms of his, hmmm…shall we say, super-nerdy girlfriend (in a most unbecoming Little Bo Peep get-up). Actually, while he was in mid-air, she reached up and grabbed the lanyard around his neck to pull him into her lap. They proceeded to very sloppily grope and make-out with each other before she literally dragged him out of the room. Oh. my. god. it. was. hysterical. Bravo for him for having the guts to act out his gal’s fantasy! This is probably my favorite story from Dragon*Con. Unfortunately I didn’t get said extravaganza on video, but you can rest assured that I pulled the video camera out after that one! (I will try to figure out how to post videos and share some with you.) 

Oh, and Laurell K. Hamilton was present at the kiltblowing and she got up on stage to “get blown” as well. 


I wanted to see lots of crazy costumes and Dragon*Con did not disappoint. These people take their getups very seriously. It was like a 4 day long Halloween party where everyone actually participates! I discovered a new genre of costuming called “Steampunk,” which combines Victorian era clothing with futuristic technology that is steam-powered with brass gears and dials. I couldn’t get enough of it. It reminded me of There Will Be Blood with crazy bronze weapons and fancy dresses and a touch of piratical whimsy, if that makes any sense. We literally spent hours just people watching and I only got photos of a minute fraction of the impressive costumes that blew me away.  Some of the costumes were hilarious, like this “Carl” from Aqua Teen Hunger Force… 

He was so excited about getting his picture made, which of course made it even better :)

 And some were painstakingly detailed and beautiful beyond words, like these ladies from Gone With The Wind… 

This is my kind of costume!

 And of course there were plenty of comic book characters… 


I’m not sure what this guy is, but his costume was most creative! 


I have no idea what this guy is supposed to be either, but he was so cool and I think that it’s steampunked, whatever it is… 


There were creepy costumes too, like this one (no one seems to know what it is) and we did see a few Furries as well. 


While waiting for our table at Trader Vics, we befriended this zombie Superman. Here I am, innocently giving him a hug, when little did I know, his suit was…er…let’s just say that it was WAY too revealing in the frontal region. I suppose I never looked below his belt until Rachel showed me the full-body photo of us and I was most appalled to discover what was going on down there! 


Of course, that wasn’t nearly as creepy as this old man that we saw outside on the street. We tried to discreetly get a photo of him, so Rachel used me as decoy. I’m pretty sure that he’s wearing a girl’s skirt (which is obviously waaaaaaaaay too short and revealing) and what makes this so incredibly frightening is that I don’t think he’s wearing it as a costume. There’s always a few bad apples in the bunch, I suppose. 


True Blood 

I sat in on three True Blood panels with Sam (Sam Trammell), Pam (Kristin Bauer), Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis), and Maryann (Michelle Forbes). While I was very disappointed that Alexander Skarsgard wasn’t there, I did get to hear lots of stories about him. They didn’t divulge any juicy secrets about the up-coming finale or season 4, but it was interesting to see them in person. Sam was the most entertaining, he was very charming and in my opinion, much better looking in real life than he is on-screen. My friends (and even my Mom) always dither about whether Sam is hot or not, but after seeing him at Dragon*Con, I conclude the verdict to be hot. 

Well, that pretty much concludes the summary of my first Dragon*Con experience. The last-minute cancellations of the Fringe panel and Paul Wesley from The Vampire Diaries were very disappointing, but I came away with some good memories all the same. It was wonderful to meet Greggo! And I got my book signed by Herself! Haven’t yet decided if I’ll ever make it back, but I have plenty of amazing costume ideas floating around in my head if I do!