It's not easy to admit a guilty pleasure, but I'm admitting mine: I love vampires and I love Sookie Stackhouse. As an avid fan of the hit HBO series True Blood (by creator of Six Feet Under's Alan Ball who describes the show as "popcorn for smart people"), I recently experienced that day-after-Christmas kind of disappointment when Season 2 ended with a huge cliffhanger and many months before the premier of Season 3. As the series is based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, I turned to the library to fulfill my need to know what's going to happen next. Though it goes against the grain of what I generally read, I found myself in the middle of the mystery section checking out Dead Until Dark, Book One of the series, and I suggest you do too. While by no means a literary gem, these books are a whole lot of fun, and I commend Harris' flair for the dramatic in the supernatural realm. Sookie Stackhouse is a telepathic waitress (which makes her a social pariah) in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. The buzz in town is a resident vampire, as vampires have recently been "liberated" and now present themselves openly to society; thanks to the Japanese invention of synthetic blood, vampires are no longer a threat to humanity...right? Vampire Bill of Bon Temps is immediately drawn to Sookie, and she to him, as happily, she can't read his mind. An unlikely romance blooms as well as a rash of unsolved murders...all female, all vampire-sympathizers. From there, it just gets better. Telepaths? Check. Vampires? Check. Shape-shifters? Check. Maenad (look it up)? Check. Werewolves? Check. Witches? Check. To top it off, Sookie Stackhouse is a heroine you want to applaud -- she works hard for her money, she speaks her mind, she doesn't take any flak, and she throws a right hook that would make even a vampire flinch. So while Season 3 of True Blood is in production (and waiting is the hardest part), I'll get my fix where it all started.
Recommended by Rachel DeBusk