Series Review: The Harper Connolly Mysteries by Charlaine Harris!

If there is one author who makes me sound like a broken record, it’s Charlaine Harris. I loved her Aurora Teagarden series, I loved her Sookie Stackhouse series, and unsurprisingly- I liked her Harper Connolly series. I reviewed the four books in the omnibus separately (1, 2, 3, 4), but I’ve finally put together my series review, where I tell you a few things I thought about the series as a whole.

The Harper Connolly Mysteries by Charlaine Harris!



Harper Connelly has always been unique: ever since she was struck by lightning she’s had the ability to locate the dead. She can sense the final location of a person who’s passed, and share their very last moment. The way Harper sees it, she’s providing a service to the dead while bringing some closure to the living – but she’s used to most people treating her like a blood-sucking leech.
She does what she can to put her unique ability to good use, with the aid of her step-brother Tolliver, but it’s not always easy. Her cases can be heart-wrenching, complex – and sometimes, if someone would rather the body wasn’t found, they can even even be dangerous…

The Premise
The premise was what originally drew me towards this series although, admittedly, Charlaine Harris could write a VHS manual and I’d want to read it. Harper is able to sense the dead, and when she finds them, she can see their final moments. I love a paranormal story that’s a little different and I’ve never read anything like that before. Plus, the living characters can be just as interesting in how the death affected them. As Harper points out; The dead could wait forever, but the living were always urgent.

The Romance
This is the part that I wasn’t as much of a fan of. It’s no secret that the romance in this series is, at best, semi-incestuous. You can write it however you want, but the majority of people are always going to find that a bit icky (a word borrowed from an interview Harris herself did about the couple), even if it’s ‘just’ step-siblings. I try not to judge but no thank you.

The Writing
This wasn’t Charlaine Harris’s usual. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a complete shake up, but it felt weaker. I loved that she took the opportunity to talk about some of Americas problems, while Harper faced serial killers, rapists and torturers along with the run-of-the-mill murderers. But the character development and the actual mysteries wasn’t up to her usual standard. I actually find it really interesting that this series was written a few years after the Lily Bard mysteries, which I’m currently reading. They both deal with dark subjects but Lily feels much more real- of course, she doesn’t see dead people so…

Overall, this was very much a three star series for me. Not bad by any means! Readable and fun. Just not the high level that I usually put Charlaine Harris at and I didn’t immediately want to jump into the next book. 

I couldn’t fathom people who longed for the past. They weren’t thinking about the absence of antibiotics, that was for sure.

Have you read this series? What did you think? 
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2016 in Reading!

Apart from how I did with my reading goals from 2016, this is the only post I’m going to do about my reading in 2016. You all know what I read! I showed you every month. I just like to go over my statistics and hand out my favourite book of the year award! So in 2016, I read 61 books! 5 more books than I read in 2014, but 19 less than I read in 2015! Although at around 19,000 pages, I only read 2,000 pages less. It’s strange how the length of book can really effect things like that.

This year there were 12 books I rated 
I rated 19 books as 
I rated 15 books as 
I rated 14 books as 
And 1 book as 

My average rating was 3.4 which is another reason two of my 2017 reading goals are to stop delaying and say goodbye to my comfort zone. I’m sure if I read books that I know are challenging, but probably amazing, my average rating will go up and I’ll have a better reading year! That being said, I did read some phenomenal books and here are my favourites…

Third place goes to… Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir
I wrote a whole review about this book back in July, a couple of weeks after I finished the book actually. Any book that takes me a month to read and isn’t given up on is a good book. It’s very rare I don’t mind slow-reads. I fell in love with Katherine of Aragon and Alison Weir when I read this book, and the next book in this series is basically my most anticipated book of 2017!

Second place goes to… The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Surprised, huh? Expected this to be number one? I loved The Fellowship of the Ring with as much devotion and amazement at Tolkien’s genius as anyone would expect from someone who spends every birthday watching 11 hours of the extended edition movies. I was all set to put it up there in first place and call it a day, when I realised that as much as I loved it, I loved another book slightly more…

My favourite book in 2016 was… If You Go Away by Adele Parks
This is just such a beautiful novel. Even with my rave review back in October, there’s a hundred more reasons why I adored it. I could talk for days about the growth of the characters, the honesty and brutality of its depiction of war, the slow-burning development of the relationships. This novel melted my icy heart with the love story, and I haven’t met a story since that has wrapped my feelings so tightly around its pages.

What was your favourite read from 2016?
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My 5 Reading Goals for 2017

I love the beginning of a new year and setting goals. There’s a lot of hope involved and I think we all need some of that right now. Since reading is a big part of my life, I wanted to have some reading goals that were separate from my general 2017 goals. And I wanted to leave them more vague and open-ended because I find them a little more inspiring, they can be taken different ways, and I’ve already been looking for different books to fit the challenge. So here are the 5 goals I have…

My 5 Reading Goals for 2017

1. Stop delaying.
When I first started reading again, after a long health-related slump, I looked at a lot of the books on my shelf that I wanted to read and decided to save them for later. I’ll read them later. I’ll get to them after some practice. I’ll read them once I get a grip on reading again. That mindset was a fair idea back then, but it stuck around. I still find myself putting off certain books that I know I want to read right now, books I’m ready for. I just finished my 200th book since starting reading again! I know how to read and it’s time for me to stop delaying. This year, I’m going to read what I want to read, when I want to read it.

2. Goodbye comfort zone.
A lot of the books I delayed are actually outside of my comfort zone which is where this goal comes from. I didn’t want to challenge myself too much back then, but now I’m looking at these books with a new perspective. I’m ready. So goodbye comfort zone and hello classics, non-fiction and even longer books. I’m not saying that I’m going to completely give up my cosy crime series, but it’s time for me to push the boat out and see how far I can get on open water.

3. Read a book in German.
And what is more out of your comfort zone than a book in a language you don’t speak, eh? I’m currently learning German and I’d like to read at least one book in the language this year. I’m thinking The Thief Lord, or Herr der Diebe by Cornelia Funke. I loved that book as a kid and since I have the English copy I can just flip between the two when I get confused. And, y’know, it was originally in German so extra points for that. This is probably a goal for later in 2017 though!

4. Replace.
Kind of borrowing from my 2017 goals with this one but I felt like it fit with my reading goals because I do want to link my book buying with, not only how many books I’m letting go of, but how many books I’m reading. My current thought is that I’ll bring in one book, for every ten that go out or read. Also, and this isn’t explicitly to do with reading but more the potential of reading. I have a lot of books on my Amazon wishlist and I’ve been doing Books I Want to Buy and Why posts about them for a while, that need a clearing up. Something has come over me in 2017, my tastes have changed and my shelves need to reflect that!

5. Read 80 books.
This is my first year making a Goodreads challenge that’s going to be an actual challenge. I managed 80 books in 2015 but not in 2016, so now I want to see if I can get back to that. I’m both excited and nervous about this, I want it to push me to read more but I don’t want it to stop me reading longer and more challenging books. We’ll see! After all, it’s just a challenge on a website. Not the end of the world.

What are your reading goals for 2017?
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