"Playing Possum": Sookie Stackhouse brings enough birthday cupcakes for her nephew's entire class but finds she's one short when the angry ex-boyfriend of the school secretary shows up. "Dahlia Underground": Venerable vampire Dahlia Lynley-Chivers survives an attack by an anti-vampire terrorist group, only to show them they tried to blow up the wrong bloodsucker. "Two Blondes": Harris dispatches Sookie Stackhouse on a weekend getaway with an errand to a strip club that involves more than Sookie bargained for. "Death by Dahlia": Harris takes vampire Dahlia Lynley-Chivers to a lavish party that turns deadly. And with so many different creatures of the night in attendance, Dahlia will have a hard time identifying the most likely suspect. "If I Had a Hammer": An original story featuring Sookie, JB, Tara and Sam "Playing Possum" was first published in the anthology An Apple for the Creature, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. "Dahlia Underground" was first published in the anthology Crimes by Moonlight: Mysteries from the Dark Side, edited by Charlaine Harris. "Two Blondes" was first published in the anthology Death's Excellent Vacation, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. "Death By Dahlia" was first published in the anthology Down These Strange Streets, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. "If I Had a Hammer" was first published in the anthology Home Improvement: Undead Edition, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.
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Is there anything you would change about this book?
The narrators! Johanna Parker is the voice of Sookie Stackhouse. So very disappointed by this and doubt that I will finish listening to it. Amanda Ronconi is just wrong and she mispronounces names. At least listen to previous audiobooks or read the series to learn how they should be pronounced!
Would you be willing to try another book from Charlaine Harris? Why or why not?
I have every other book
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?
Playing Possum is an anthology of short stories that Harris has written over the years, all centering around the Sookie Stackhouse Series. Three out of the five stories are staring Sookie herself, and the other two stories surrounding Dahlia the vampire, a side character in the Sookie Universe. Because each story was written at different times for other anthologies, they each have a different narrator. Here are my thoughts on each story and its narrator.
Playing Possum was the first story read. Now to be fair, the narrator was not introduced at the beginning, or end so I had no idea who read this one. After I finished the book I did some research, and found out that Angela Dawe is the narrator for this story.
Sookie and her second cousin Hunter star in this thrilling tale of a psycho ex-boyfriend that tries to kill them all! Sookie was asked by Hunter if she would make cupcakes for his class party, and while she is there, all hell breaks loose! The school secretary has unresolved issues with her ex-boyfriend, who apparently is off his rocker. When he shows up at the school meaning harm, Sookie's super powers are activated, and the ride begins. Any story that involves Hunter is a great story! Hunter is such an adorable little boy, that not only has Sookie's ability as well, but also has the maturity that needs to come along with it. Sookie fans will truly enjoy this one, now on for the narrator...
Angela Dawe as Sookie, NO! I'm not sorry to say that I am a huge Johanna Parker fan. Johanna has been the voice for Sookie for the entire Stackhouse series, and did a fang tastic job! To use someone else as Sookie is just an insult, and although I did try my best to give her a fair shake, Angela fell short of my expectations. And YES, I did have expectations because we are talking about Charlaine Harris, and Sookie!
Dahlia Underground was about a vampire nest out of Rhoades where The Summit took place in Book 7, All Together Dead. The hotel that The Summit taking place at got blown up in an attempt to kill all the vamps attending, Dahlia emerges from the rubble, and is on the hunt. This story ends up capturing my heart, and bringing a character from the Sookie Universe front and center that I don't even remember that well. Dahlia's character is really rough around the edges, but does have some humanity left in her enough to connect and bond with her rescuers, and leave a happily ever after ending.....awe.
The narrator was Natalie Ross. Second strike! I did not care for Natalie Ross at all. I mean, we are talking about a 400+ year old vampire. The tone of this woman's voice was just all wrong for the character, and the story in my opinion. Next please!
Two Blondes another thrilling tale starring Sookie and Pam. Pam takes Sookie on a girls weekend vacation, or so Sookie thought. During the long car ride to their destination, Sookie finds out from Pam the real reason they are going out of town. The story fit right into the feel and essence of the Sookie world, and I loved it!
Narrating this story was a well known narrator to me, Amanda Ronconi. I must admit, I love me some Amanda Ronconi, but did she have what it takes to fill some big shoes? The answer should be obvious to anyone that knows her....YES! Although Sookie does have a heavy southern drawl, and Amanda doesn't, it was alright, I was alright, everything was good. It's not the tone, or accent of the narrator, it's the attitude, the spark, the “IT” factor, and Ronconi possess it! Now I wouldn't go as far as saying better than Parker, but an acceptable and satisfactory stand in for. Excellent choice Harris.
Death by Dahlia tanked me on the whole Dahlia world. I was unimpressed with the characters, the story line, and yes the narration as well. Nicola Barber delivered a better job as Dahlia than Natalie Ross, at least I thought, but didn't increase the value of the story for me. Bummer.
If I had a hammer was an excellent come back from the previous story Death by Dahlia! It was all about my favorites, Sookie, Sam, Tara, and JB. Tara had just had the twins, and they needed more room, so they recruited the help from Sookie and Sam. During the renovation, a bloody hammer is discovered, and that coupled with a supe as a nanny and BAM, a great hit! I loved the story in it's entirety, and it left me wanting more. I forgot how cool the Sookie Universe is, and this short sucked me right back in as if it never left me. Big props for this one Harris! The narrator was again Amanda Ronconi. I am so glad because after the other disappointments, I don't know if I could have stood for another. Thank you Ronconi for doing a great job with Sookie and her friends.