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Breaking Dawn

Stephenie Meyer‘s Breaking Dawn is the last book in the Twilight series and is a jam packed book of 750 pages. Edward and Bella are some of the best characters I have come across in a vampire series in some time, and Jacob just rounds out the group. The supporting characters in the series are varied and just as captivating. Breaking Dawn begins where book 3, Eclipse, left off. This is not my favorite of the novels, and if you are a Twilight fan you will read it regardless of my review, but if you are looking for pure escapism and a good, though outrageous story, this book is for you. I still think a good 200-300 pages could have been pared out of this novel and sections reworked to make them tighter and more evolutionary in terms of character development.

***Spoiler Alert***

We resume Bella and Edward’s story with the wedding. They are getting married; she has begrudgingly agreed to it. There is not a whole lot of description of her dress or much of the preparations other than to say that Alice has gone all out. Since Book 1 in Breaking Dawn is from Bella’s point of view, it should not surprise readers that the descriptions of her dress and other things are sparse. Bella is not a frilly type of girl. On their honeymoon, they make love like married couples, regardless of their age or agelessness. While I expected everything up until this point, I was not expecting these characters I love to be as static or flat as they were throughout this section of the book. The plot plodded along and the characters went through the motions, but there was little tension, passion, and feeling between these two.

The first twist in the book was predictable from my stand point because it was foreshadowed early enough on in the book with seemingly misplaced stories about immortal children. Bella and Edward conceive a child, but no ordinary child–she is half human, half vampire. This is nothing new. I have read the genre for some time, and this is a “legend” that has been worked into a number of novels, though many writers prefer to think of vampires as unable to sire children with or without human lovers.

Renesmee, their daughter, was predictable in her need for blood. I surmised this early on in Bella’s ordeal carrying this child. The child’s name is elementary and sappy according to many Internet blogs I have read thus far, but I can tell you that it fits perfectly with Bella’s character, though I’m surprised that Edward did not chime in with his opinion on the matter. The immovable force that is Edward is largely absent from this novel, which made it disconcerting and diminished the evolution of this book. A lot of this first section of the book could have been condensed into a tighter package, and the characters of Bella and Edward should have retained some of their tension and passion-play from the previous books, even though they are now man and wife.

The ordeal with carrying the baby to term should have been wrought with greater conflict between the newlyweds than it was. Most of the time Edward was passively sitting beside his wife, helpless. While this shows his inability to solve all of Bella’s problems and to always protect her, it was a bit too much of a character shift. It should have evolved; we should have felt his resolve slip away as he grew more resigned to Bella’s fate and her decision.

I liked the interactions between Rosalie and Bella–that was a twist I had not expected. I did not expect Bella to turn to Rosalie in this respect or if she did, I did not expect their bond to be so steadfast and hardy. What a great addition and new dynamic to the expanding Cullen network.

Book 2, which is from Jacob’s point of view, threw me for a loop because I was expecting a section from Edward, the father of Renesmee. Instead, Meyer brings us back to our good friend Jacob and his feelings after his “alone” time in the wilderness. His point of view is lively and more on track with the character development Jacob experienced in the first three novels. This section had me riveted more so than the first part of the book. Yes, Jacob still loves Bella in the most passionate and unrequited way, but you can’t turn those feelings off, especially if you are a teenager and have raging hormones. Those expecting Jacob to just shut those feelings off is deluding themselves. Just because the “love of your life” marries someone else, does not meant that you can forget about them or turn off your feelings.

The best part of this section of the book is the debate about free will and the collective mind. . .which is better to have for battle and living one’s life? The battle for free will is strong throughout the series, particularly with Jacob and the shapeshifters. Jacob believes in free will, which is why he can no more order Seth and Leah back to La Push than order himself to forget Bella. However, while he admires and supports the ideal of free will, he is still bound by his nature. He must imprint and to imprint upon Renesmee was inevitable because Bella always thought of him as family regardless of her love for Edward. Jacob finds imprinting on young children disturbing, but now he is forced into a similar situation as Quil. This dichotomy is fantastically played out in the La Push community and particularly among Jacob and several other shapeshifers. In terms of the best written sections of the book, those can be found in Jacob’s point of view.

Book Three, which is from Bella’s point of view, is all over the place, and Meyer had a ton of ground to cover. Bella was expected at the Volturi when she was finally transformed into a vampire, but a vision appears that suggests that that visit may be unnecessary since Irina spied Renesmee and assumed she was one of the forbidden immortal children. This sets up a whirlwind of events in which Alice and Jaspar vanish for parts unknown and the rest of the family rounds up as many vampire friends as possible to witness the growth and maturity of Renesmee to prove to the Volturi that she is not an immortal child, but a half-breed.

While there are many things in this section that I found far-fetched even for a fantasy novel, like Bella’s ability to stave off hunger and behave contrary to all other newborn vampires, I did enjoy Bella’s struggles with her mind shield and her bravery in trying to save all of those she loved. I think the struggles before and after the Volturi arrived would have been more poignant if she had collapsed or expressed some deep thirst for blood.

Finally, the build up of suspense while Bella and Edward and their friends waited for the Volturi was fantastic, though the descriptions and intimate details of all the friends and their pasts may not have been necessary. However, for a breach of vampiric law this substantial, bloodshed of some kind should have been called for, at least for Irina’s death. She was part of the Cullen family or so the Denali clan claims. The discussion and minor battles between Bella’s mind shield and Jane and Alec were not enough to satisfy the tension that had built up over the last month in the Cullen household.

***End Spoiler***

Happily ever after was an inevitability between these characters, and as a writer, I can understand wanting to satisfy the expectations of as many readers as possible, which is a difficult if not impossible task. I commend Meyer for trying to pack so much into the novel, and I think that the path she choose for them was appropriate. Bella is much more likable as a vampire, though she is still sometimes utterly ridiculous in her actions. I can see how she never really fit in as a human and was a perfect fit for the vampire family. Edward remains the same as he was in the other books, though more lustful. However, his endearing remarks to Jacob were a bit premature for me. Jacob’s development throughout the series is nearly complete, but he has further to go. If there were to be another book in this series, it should be about his evolution and his role in Renesmee’s life.

Finally, I wonder what the cover has to do with the title, Breaking Dawn (which I assume relates to the breaking dawn of their new future together as a family), and the book itself. The white queen could be Renesmee or it could be Bella, but who is the blood red pawn? Is the pawn Edward or is the pawn Renesmee. The white statue of the queen suggests vampire to me, while the red pawn suggests shapeshifter or human. Any thoughts dear readers?

Also Reviewed By:
It’s All About Books by Suey
Becky’s Book Reviews
Book Escape
Book Room Reviews
The Bookworm
Maw Books
The Written Word
Diary of an Eccentric
A Patchwork of Books
Book Addiction

If I have missed you, please send me your link and I will add it.

Book Buzz List…or Eye-Popping Reads

I was tagged by Book Escape.

List three categories of books. 3 MUST Read Books, 3 Keep Your Eyes on These, and 3 Look For These Soon. Keeping with the theme, I am going to tag at least 3 bloggers. They should put these same lists on their blog but SUBTRACT one book from each list and ADD one of their own. Then they should tag at least 3 more bloggers. It will be fun to see how the lists change as it goes around the blogosphere. Please come back to this post and leave a comment so I can see how the lists are changing as they go around the blogosphere. Since this is Book Buzz…please keep your lists to titles released in 2007-2009.

3 MUST Read Books:

1. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson (My Review)
2. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
3. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

3 to Keep Your Eyes On:

  • Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer
  • Blind Submission by Debra Ginsberg (My Review)
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

3 Look For These Soon:

  • Cross Country by James Patterson (Due in November; looks like the series will continue and this series is much better than the other co-authored books have been)
  • The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran (Moran’s Nefertiti was great and I’m looking forward to the next book)
  • The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

Now, I’m supposed to pick three bloggers to join in.

1. It’s All About Books (Suey)

2. Diary of an Eccentric (Anna)

3. Books & Other Thoughts (Darla D)

Author Buzz Book

Interested in getting books for free? Check out Author Buzz

I won this book from Author Buzz, and it arrived in the mail from C.W. Gortner with a fan. I was surprised to find the extra gift inside.

According to the Author Buzz site, “THE LAST QUEEN: A NOVEL, the passionate story of Juana of Castile, daughter of Isabella of Spain and sister of Catherine of Aragon, comes to vivid life.”

This book instantly reminded me of “The Other Boleyn Girl” at least in concept. I just love historical books, and can’t wait to get to this book.

If you haven’t checked out Author Buzz, I think you should give it a try.

I’m still reading Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, but I hope to finish it soon and post my review, though I am sure there are tons of others on the Web for everyone to keep busy.

In the meantime, if you are in the D.C. area next week, stop by the Bethesda Barnes & Noble to hear some local writers read. Should be a good time.

Writer’s Event in Bethesda, MD

What: Writer’s Night

Where: Barnes and Noble in Bethesda, MD

When: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 7:30PM

Join us for a celebration of words. We are hosting our first ever Writer’s Night and we are encouraging poets, short story writers, creative writers and non-fiction writers to come share a little bit of what they are working on. Come share your works with an appreciative audience. Please contact our Community Relations Office at 301-986-1851 if you would like to participate in the reading. Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 4801 Bethesda Avenue (at the corner of Woodmont and Bethesda Ave.) Bethesda, MD. All Events are Free and Open to the Public.

Are you going? You should to support local writers. Maybe you’ll see me there!

Rose Red and the Haunted Diary

Joyce Reardon and Stephen King’s The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red was the latest audio book selection of my husband for our daily rides to and from work. It is billed as a thriller or suspense novel, but I found that the diary format did not lend itself to suspense over the audio. I’m not sure if I would feel differently if I had read the hard copy of the book.

The book begins with Ellen Rimbauer and her budding relationship with her future husband John Rimbauer, who is building a mansion to surpass all mansions in Seattle–Rose Red. The construction of the home is rittled in controversy as it is built on an Indian burial ground and contractors are killed on the site.

Her marriage to John is wrought with marital turmoil as she continues to uncover the depths of her husband’s perversity and sexual desire. While the premise of the house being haunted is obvious from Ellen’s visits to psychics in Chinatown and the various disappearances inside the home, I was not scared while this audio book played, and I found it a bit predictable.

The diary is entertaining until you get near the end when the supposed paranormal investigator, Joyce Reardon, interrupts the narrative to interject her reasons for eliminating portions of the narrative and to explain about speculation at the time of Ellen Rimbauer’s behavior after major events happen in the house, etc.

Overall, this was a good book to listen to in the car and maybe to pick up and read, but it is not something that will frighten you. It is interesting to see how Ellen learns how to take control of her life with the help of her African handmaid Sukeena.

If you have reviewed this book, feel free to drop me a link and I will add it to the review.

Baby Proof. Not Bulletproof

Emily Giffin’s Baby Proof chronicles the struggles of one woman, Claudia Parr, who decides that she never wants to have children and how it impacts her relationships with her family, her friends, and her love life. I picked up this book as part of the Irresistible Review Challenge, and it is my last book to complete the challenge. I chose this book because it has gotten mixed reviews from some fellow book bloggers. I first saw this at the Written Word and her review was unfavorable, and a review from This Redhead Reads was equally unfavorable. I have not seen any positive reviews of the book, but that rarely turns me off from reading books that I believe to have an interesting premise.

Claudia Parr does not want children, and this decision impacts her relationships. She has taken the view on life that marriage and children are interlinked because when she meets a man, they automatically write her off because she does not want children. Then she meets Ben, her soul mate, and they both want the same childless life…or so she thinks. I’m not telling you anything you won’t find out from the book jacket.

***Spoiler Alert***

Ben and Claudia get married and travel spontaneously until their good friends get pregnant, and Ben changes his mind, decides he wants kids, and that Claudia should want them too. She does not feel the same way and is angry with him for breaking their deal, and she leaves their shared apartment to move back in with her friend. Soon she and her husband are engaged in divorce proceedings, and there is little discussion between the two about children, their marriage, or wanting to salvage their relationship, despite the fact that they believe they are soul mates.

Meanwhile, you learn that her mother left her and her sisters with their father…and that she is not very maternal. Claudia is more like her mother than she wishes to admit. Unfortunately, the problems grow worse as Daphne, her sister who is unable to become pregnant, asks Claudia to donate her eggs, and her other sister Maura continues to struggle with her unfaithful husband and being the perfect suburban mom.

***End Spoiler***

This book could have lost some weight, maybe about 100 pages or so. I wanted to skip through some large sections of the book, but held back from doing so.

The resolution of this book is unsatisfying. Claudia has done little to change her behavior and how she reacts to obstacles. While her conclusion about her relationships with her sisters and her ex-husband may be satisfactory under traditional societal norms, many of those women that determine they do not want children may be angered by the ending. I, on the other hand, am not angered by the ending so much as the lack of consistency in the character and Claudia’s inability to understand herself and really examine her identity in depth before making life altering decisions. Her indecision and in ability to engage in introspection, especially when it comes to her marriage, is mind boggling to me. I have not read any other Emily Giffin books, and this is probably not the one I should have started with. Other bloggers and friends have said that they love Giffin’s books.

Also Reviewed Here:
Book Escape

Diary of an Eccentric Giveaway!

**This is a sticky post. Newer posts below**

Are you ready to enter another contest? Anna at Diary of an Eccentric has one for you. You heard it here, now spread the word because the deadline is August 1. You don’t have much time to put your name in to win a fantastic book, Mrs. Lieutenant: A Sharon Gold Novel, by Phyllis Zimbler Miller.

Look for my upcoming review of the book in the near future too. But get a move on and enter that contest! Don’t you just love giveaways?

To Adore


To Adore: to worship or admire as divine or as a deity; to be very fond of

Mary E. Pearson‘s The Adoration of Jenna Fox begins with a teenager who wakes up from a coma to discover she has no memory of her life or her “accident.” But the story is much more than Jenna’s struggle to find her identity and reclaim her past. The novel examines how one person’s struggle with identity can impact a family, friends, and even people s/he doesn’t know.

***Spoiler Alert***

Jenna Fox is a teenager severely injured in an accident, and many medical professionals presumed she would die. However, through significant risk and determination, Jenna survives and awakens from a coma. She doesn’t understand the world she awakens in; a new home in a new state and a place where her grandmother doesn’t look at her in the same way. Jenna grows uneasy with the life she now leads, seeking greater freedom for herself. She makes friends again, returns to school, and learns the biggest secret of her life.

It is clear from the videos Jenna watches to regain her memories that her parents adored her, but they seem to have adored her to the point that she was perfection in their eyes, rather than their daughter–an imperfect teenager. She felt adored; she felt like she had to be perfect. I wondered if this is why the accident occurred–she wanted to break free from the perfect mold she had become. She feels guilt over her decision, and she even expresses her desire to break free before the accident. Jenna seems to ask the same question of herself; did the accident happen because her parents adored her too much and she merely wanted to be normal?

***End Spoiler Alert***

I will not go into the secret or any of the pertinent details leading up to the secret, but I will mention that I uncovered it long before it was revealed. However, I don’t think that this detracts from the overall examination of human identity and acceptance within society for those things that are not easily understood or explained.

I read this book fervently over the last week. There are so many nuances in this society that Pearson created, and each of those nuances could be discussed numerous times over.

But the one question that sticks in my mind is how far would you go to save your child when all hope is lost? I know many parents would say they would do anything to save their child, but it makes me wonder whether those decisions are made for the right reasons or for selfish ones…at least partially.

I wonder if the parents in this book thought about how their decisions would impact Jenna and her life, or if they merely wanted to save their child because she was their only child and their miracle child. However, no parent wishes to die before their child, nor to witness the death of their child. The dichotomy of this point is likely to haunt me for some time. I don’t have an answer to my own question, but I would love to hear your answers.

Yes, this is my 7th book for the Irresistible Review Challenge, which means I am nearly done with my first challenge. I first saw a review for this book here at A Patchwork of Books, which is also where I won the book. Thanks so much to Amanda’s generosity.

Anyone else reviewing this book, please leave me your link and I will add it to this post.

Also Reviewed Here:
Becky’s Book Reviews
The Hidden Side of the Leaf
It’s All About Books
Maw Books
Valentina’s Room
The Compulsive Reader
Eva’s Book Addiction (contains spoilers)
I heart reading
Karin’s Book Nook
Bookworm 4 life (contains spoilers in the quotes)
Book Obsession
Melissa’s Book Reviews
Library Queue
Life in the Thumb
Regular Rumination
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’

Boston Bibliophile Giveaway

**This is a sticky post. Newer posts below**

Another day, another contest. You heard it here, Boston Bibliophile is holding a giveaway for The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry.

Not only should you enter this contest, but you should check out the Website for the book. It is phenomenal.

I also want to let everyone know that I have updated the sidebar with some new Book Blog links and goodies. Please check them out.

Also, Today is the last day to enter the Quilt Giveaway at Old Red Barn Co.

Set of Fourteen Books Free….


Here’s a fantastic, phenomenal contest at Book Room Reviews. I’ve entered and so should you! These are great books, and there is a chance to win the new Stephenie Meyer, Breaking Dawn!

A multitude of chances to win, and a great deadline of Aug. 9. My birthday is the same as Book Room Reviews’ and she will announce winners on that day! I wish you luck.