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Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart’s Nothing But Ghosts follows Katie D’Amore’s struggle to recover enough to live after the death of her mother, but her mother’s ghost is not the only spirit present in this novel.  Lost loves, mysterious socialites locked inside their estates, and other specters haunt these pages.  Kephart’s narration from the point of view of Katie is limiting, but an excellent choice as readers unravel the mystery of her town’s hermetic socialite alongside Katie.

“My dad has this knack for lighting the darkness, for uncracking all the cracks that break images apart, for returning the disappeared to the land of the living.”  (Page 5)

Katie must face her loss, her future, and the past, and she does it in the basement of a library and in a garden of Miss Martine’s estate as she and other kids work through the summer digging a hole for a gazebo foundation.  What Katie doesn’t expect is to find life in the past and the present, nor does she expect to see her father emerge from his own opaque painting to whisk broad, vivid paint across a new canvas.

“If you were looking down on me and my bike from a cloud above, you’d think we were a zipper.  That’s how fast we go, how straight down, all the way to Miss Martine’s.”  (Page 9)

“What if the glass breaks and the bird flies in? What if the whole upstairs shatters and crumbles? I imagine the finch making a nest inside my lamp shade — dropping the feathers into my shoes, over my breadspread, over my pillow, over me.  I imagine everything giving way to the finch.”  (Page 22)

Nothing but Ghosts is not simply a coming of age story, but a tale of how each of us deals with loss.  Kephart is a master of description, making each image vivid, each plot line significant, and she does it all in concise, poetic language.  In a way, readers may find that parts of this novel are simply a large narrative poem.  Very enjoyable, quick read, with deeper meaning and an even deeper sense of understanding.

Check out this book trailer too:

About the Author: (from author’s Website)

Beth Kephart is the author of five memoirs, an autobiography of a river, a young adult novel, and a newly released corporate fable called ZENOBIA: THE CURIOUS BOOK OF BUSINESS (co-authored with Matthew Emmens); four new books are forthcoming. A SLANT OF SUN was a 1998 National Book Award finalist, a Salon.com Best Book of the Year, and the winner of other honors. INTO THE TANGLE OF FRIENDSHIP was written with the support of an NEA grant; GHOSTS IN THE GARDEN was a Book Sense pick; FLOW: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PHILADELPHIA’S SCHUYLKILL RIVER was supported by a Pew Fellowships in the Arts grant; and UNDERCOVER, released in September of 2007, was named a best young adult book of the year by School Library Journal, Kirkus, Amazon, and others. The winner of the 2005 Speakeasy Poetry Prize, a contributor to many anthologies, an occasional teacher and frequent reviewer, Kephart has written for publications ranging from the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post, to Family Circle, Philadelphia magazine, Salon.com, Real Simple, and Parenting. Kephart is the strategic writing partner in an award-winning, boutique marketing communications firm called Fusion.

FTC Disclosure:  All title links and images will bring you to an Amazon Affiliate page; No purchase required.  Additionally, my copy of Nothing But Ghosts was borrowed from my local library and recommended by Amy of My Friend Amy and Beth Fish Reads.  

It may take me a while to get to books recommended by bloggers, but I do get to them.  Thanks everyone.

Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson & Ned Rust

I’ve been a bit busy reading, but I have some reviews from my mom, Pat, to share.  Today, my mom is going to share her thoughts on the latest young adult book from James Patterson.  Please give her a warm welcome.

James Patterson and Ned Rust’s Daniel X:  Watch the Skies is the next book in Patterson’s young adult series.  In this book, the aliens are taking over the town of Holliswood.  With the prevalence of televisions, computers, and portable devices, its easy to be in the face of every resident and document their downfall.

Daniel X, his sister Emma, and two brothers are still searching for who killed their parents.  This family must face the good and bad in this action-packed book.  Readers will speed through the drama to reach its conclusion.  It’s a page-turner and a five-star, must read.

Please check out the book podcast.

My mom would like to thank Hachette Book Group for sending her a free review copy.  Clicking on title links and coverage images will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page; no purchase required.

We’ve since passed along this book to Anna at Diary of an Eccentric‘s girl and maybe she’ll come back and give us her perspective.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins follows up where The Hunger Games (Click here for my review) left off.

In this novel, Katniss discovers that her final act in the arena had unintended consequences and she must now decide whether to run and hide with her loved ones or face a new reality–rebellion.  However, readers may find that the final act in the hunger games is not necessarily the catalyst for the rebellion so much as the Capitol’s unwitting acceptance of her defiance for the rules.

“The smell of roses and blood has grown stronger now that only a desk separates us.  There’s a rose in President Snow’s lapel, which at least suggests a source of the flower perfume, but it must be genetically enhanced, because no real rose reeks like that.”  (Page 20-1)

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games), like The Hunger Games, is an excellent book club selection for adults given the regime that makes up Panem and the inner workings of the Capitol itself.  From democracy run amok in the Capitol to a dictatorship or totalitarian regime in control of Panem and its districts.  While the totalitarian/dictatorship of the Capitol may not be precise in that President Snow’s manipulative actions run contrary to traditional totalitarian/dictatorship reactions of crushing the enemy and rebellion with an iron fist, readers will have a number of issues to discuss.  However, Collins may not be intentionally shedding light on these political structures, but simply writing dystopian fiction.

“Desperate, yet no longer alone after that day, because we’d found each other.  I think of a hundred moments in the woods, lazy afternoons fishing, the day I taught him to swim, that time I twisted my knee and he carried me home.  Mutually counting on each other, watching each other’s backs, forcing each other to be brave.”  (Page 117)

Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, and Gale find more action and intrigue in the sequel and must deftly navigate the twisted rules and procedures of their nation to find themselves and freedom.  Katniss, Peeta, and Gale are still in the midst of a young-love romantic triangle, but again the struggles they face against the government take precedence.  More is revealed about Haymitch in this book, which readers will find helpful given his past behavior, but still too little is known about the how the current government came to be and who President Snow really is and how he came to power.

If readers think the mockingjay on the cover is a nice touch, they may soon get sick of the symbol as Collins uses it repeatedly in her narration.  However, its use is not overly bothersome, just a bit overdone. 

Meanwhile, readers will be introduced to new characters, like suave Finnick, unintelligible Mags, and Nuts and Volts, rounding out the cast for some additional suspense, drama, and amusement.  The final scene in the book will leave many in shock, but anxious for the next installment.  Overall, Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) is a strong middle book to the trilogy.

***As an aside, there’s a quote from the book that should spark some recognition about current environmental concerns in readers, as we struggle to modify our behavior to preserve our resources***

“Where the sand ends, woods begin to rise sharply.  No, not really woods.  At least not the kind I know.  Jungle.  The foreign, almost obsolete word comes to mind.  Something I heard from another Hunger Games or learned from my father.”  (Page 274-5)

Also Reviewed By:
Lou’s Pages 
Dreadlock Girl 

MAX by James Patterson (audio)

James Patterson‘s MAX on audio is chock full of sound effects, drama, and thrills. MAX is the fifth book in the young adult Maximum Ride series, which centers on winged kids that range from ages 6 to 16. Max leads the flock of winged children, and in this novel, they attempt to find Max’s kidnapped mother with the help of the U.S. military.

Not only does this novel immerse readers in the angst, confusion, and desire of these kids to fit in, it also is a coming of age story for Max as she begins to understand her feelings for Fang.

Listeners will be completely absorbed in the twists and turns of this thriller as the flock flies from South America to other locations and boards submarines to locate Max’s mother beneath the ocean’s surface. Check out this audio excerpt from James Patterson’s Website to hear the sound effects and the charged voice of Jill Apple.

If you are interested in this audiobook, just leave a comment to be entered. I’ll draw a winner on July 25, 2009.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is a young adult novel set in the future after the collapse of the world and its rebuilding by The Capitol. To maintain order, The Capitol hosts The Hunger Games each year in which 2 tributes–a boy and a girl–are chosen from each of the 12 districts to compete to the death. Once all other tributes have died in the arena, the winner is set for life in terms of food–in a world without much food–position, money, etc.

“My quarters are larger than our entire house back home. . . . When you step out on a mat, heaters come on that blow-dry your body. Instead of struggling with the knots in my wet hair, I merely place my hand on a box that sends a current through my scalp, untangling, parting, and dying my hair almost instantly. It floats down around my shoulders in a glossy curtain.” (Page 75)

The heroine of this novel, Katniss Everdeen steps up and takes the place of her sister. She and her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark, are sent to The Capitol with their mentor and the last member from District 12 to win The Hunger Games, Haymitch. Once in The Capitol, Katniss and Peeta are groomed, presented, prepped, and molded to meet the television standards for The Hunger Games. The dynamic between these two tributes shifts throughout the novel, and in some case, like an undercurrent, it tips the plot on its ear.

“And just as the knife cuts through, I shove the end of the branch as far away from me as I can. It crashes down through the lower branches, snagging temporarily on a few but then twisting free until it smashes with a thud on the ground. The nest bursts open like an egg, and a furious swarm of tracker jackers takes to the air.” (Page 190)

Collins does an excellent job developing these young teens and staying true to the normal responses teens could have in this surreal world she creates. Katniss is a brave, but lonely girl striving to be noble, while Peeta struggles to remain the sweet boy next door and stay alive amidst the brutality of The Hunger Games. Collins’ characters are well-developed, and readers will enjoy the outrageous antics of the drunken Haymitch, the superficial Effie Trinket, and others.

The Hunger Games is an amazing look at a post-apocalyptic world through the eyes of teenagers. Collins is a masterful young adult novelist, and readers will be quickly absorbed into the world she creates. Readers will grit their teeth, bite their nails, and shake their heads as Katniss and Peeta struggle to survive amidst determined, skilled tributes from the 11 other districts.

Collins goes beyond the entertainment factor of most young adult novels to depict real-life situations in which young love buds and confuses, alliances are made, lies are told, and truth surfaces when characters least expect it. The Hunger Games is not only for teens, but also adults, though parents should be warned there is violence and innuendo.

Thankfully, readers won’t have to wait too long for the sequel, Catching Fire, which comes out in September 2009.

Also reviewed by:
Devourer of Books
Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’
My Friend Amy
Diary of an Eccentric
Beth Fish Reads
Muse Book Reviews
5-Squared

T4 by Ann Clare LeZotte

What I Saw (From T4, Page 8)

My visual
Sense
Was so
Strong.

If
A breeze
Shook
The leaves
On
A tree
I

Would

Shriek
With
Delight.

If
People
Ran fast
Past me
It looked
Like
A tidal
Wave.

Even
The motion
Of
A hand
Waving
Goodbye
Startled
Me.

Ann Clare LeZotte’s debut novel, T4, uses free verse to provide a powerful look into the impact of the Nazi regime on German nationals, particularly those deemed unfit to live. T4 (Tiergartenstrasse 4) or Action T4 was a Nazi euthanasia program between 1939 and 1941 to “eliminate” the disabled or mentally ill.

“I couldn’t communicate./I was trapped in my silence,/As if under a veil.//This made me feel upset/And angry sometimes./I put my face in my pillow/And sobbed and sighed.//” (I didn’t learn to speak, Page 7)

Paula Becker is a young girl living in Germany while the Nazi party is at war with the world and persecuting its own people. But she is not just a young German girl, she’s also a deaf girl. T4 is a free verse novel that utilizes simple language and images to accurately portray the young narrator’s voice. Paula is forced to leave her home and grow up on the run as the Nazi regime seeks out disabled and mentally ill patients for the T4 program. Only one or two poems in the novel seem out of order, but this coincides with the flitting mind of a young girl who is struggling to understand her world and find her place in it.

LeZotte’s narrative poems create a cohesive novel for young readers interested in learning more about WWII and the Holocaust. Readers will enjoy the simple imagery and easy-to-read poems, which allow Paula’s confusion, curiosity, and evolution to shine through. Some of the most poignant prose poems in this novel are “Poor Kurt,” “I Put on Stephanie’s Lipstick,” “But the Killings Didn’t Stop,” and “Postscript.” T4 is a novel for young readers and adults, which will easily generate discussion and pique children’s interest in learning more about WWII and the Holocaust.

Also Reviewed By:
Diary of an Eccentric
Maw Books

Giveaway Reminder:

2-Year Blogiversary Quote Challenge here, here, here, and here.

MAX by James Patterson

Welcome my mom’s (Pat) review of MAX by James Patterson; she was kind enough to read this one a month ago, and I’m just catching up on posting some of her reviews.

MAX, the fifth book in the series, features the bird kids–Gazzy, Angel, Fang, Nudge, Max and others–after they join forces with the coalition CSM to stop the “madness.” Off the Hawaii coast, ships, fish, and other creatures are being destroyed by something or someone. The bird kids always seem to be in danger, but they are keenly aware of the dangers they face.

Patterson’s young adult bird kid series really heats up in MAX. But will Max and her mother live through this ordeal? If you are eager for another page turner, this is the book for you. Action-packed up until the end, and you will want read it again just to see how the kids find their way out of trouble. Five stars, a must read.

Thanks, mom, for another review, and thanks to Hachette Group for sending this book along. Stay tuned for my review of MAX, which the hubby and I are listening to on audiobook.

Have a great weekend everyone; I’ll be offline spending time with the hubby and spring cleaning in June.

Check out this giveaway:

1 copy of Holly’s Inbox by Holly Denham, here; Deadline is June 10, 2009, 11:59 PM EST

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.

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’

Solar v. Lunar Eclipse

The third installment in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, Eclipse, does not disappoint with even more action and drama than the last two over an even greater length of pages–629 in the volume I picked up at Borders. I tried to slow down and take in the entire book, but found the pages flying by as I grew more eager to discover what choice Bella would ultimately make between her werewolf and her vampire.

***Spoiler Alert****

Vampire clans in Italy are an imminent threat to Bella and Edward if she is not changed, while other vampires closer to home are on a rampage on their way to kill her for revenge. Meanwhile, Bella’s love for Edward continues to be the center of her night sky. I think what irked me about this book is how dense Bella seemed. It wasn’t until page 327 that she realized Jacob was in love with her. Could she possibly be that obtuse? She had glimmers of intelligence throughout the book when it came to deducing which vampire clan was after her and which were not, but she had no idea that her “friend” loved her. Granted she is a teenage character, and she may not be that perceptive, but I would have given Bella more credit than that.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Jacob takes it upon himself to kiss Bella to prove that she feels the same way, and she hits him in the jaw, only to have her own hand broken in several places. The teenage unpredictability is endearing in her because she is so emotional and where’s her heart on her sleeve. Despite her inability to control her emotional outbursts with regard to Jacob’s advances and Edward’s caution, she is still unaware of her own feelings for Jacob for about another 200 pages. This bit of ignorance on her part, however, is believable because they are teenagers and many times I remember confusing friendship for something more or pretending that there wasn’t more in favor of mere friendship.

The choice is inevitable for Bella in the end, but I still wonder if there is not more to her choice. Perhaps she does not need to choose the path Alice sees for her. Perhaps there are alternatives despite her love for both men in her life. I can tell you if I were caught in between I would have a tough time choosing, though I think I would have walked away from both of them at some point to clear my head and figure out the best choice for myself rather than plunge into a decision head first, blindly. However, that is probably why these characters are teenages, minus the few hundred years Edward has spent as a 17-year-old vampire.

***End Spoiler Alert****

Despite my passion about Edward Cullen, Bella Swan, and Jacob Black, my favorite character is Edward’s sister, Alice. She is such a giddy schoolgirl when it comes to human events and coming of age incidents. Bella always reprimands her for going overboard about proms, dances, graduation, and birthdays, among other parties. She wants a sister she can dress up and “play” with it seems, and she has found that with Bella. What I enjoy most about this character is the interplay she has with her brother, Edward. She sees the future to a certain extent and he can read minds, it makes for an interesting dynamic. Who will win their little tet-e-tets? It’s a fun bunch of dialogue, and the dialogue between Edward and Jacob in the latter portion of the book is equally amusing.

As for the Solar and Lunar Eclipse title of this post, it alludes to the eclipse of Bella, her true self by both sides of the coin, the moon (Edward) and the sun (Jacob). I feel as though she has lost herself in the midst of this struggle between her two loves and herself.

I had a great time reading these books and can’t wait for the next installment, tentatively titled Breaking Dawn. It is expected to come out in Fall 2008.

This Book Also Was Reviewed Here:

The Bookworm

New Moon Rises

The second book, New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, is read. Yes, in a day and a half. I have uncovered another passion for an author and these characters. I can understand her passion for her characters and their voices like a writer should.

***SPOILER Alert***

Edward and Isabella reunite in this book, but their world has changed.

Its akin to a teenage, vampire-werewolf Romeo and Juliet in the modern world. Jacob Black, the family friend’s son stars in much of the first portion of New Moon, with Bella at his side. He comes of age and their relationship changes, but she is not ready to move on. She merely wants to wallow in her pain and her memories of Edward. Jacob won’t let her because he loves her too much. While the feelings are not reciprocated, it does not matter. The adventures in this book are more heart-racing and adventurous than the last.

I was riveted to the words on the page and stayed up until 1am to read to page 400. On the way to pick up the little niece and her mom, I read in the car and finished the book this afternoon. I have never been enthralled with two characters before. Ok, that may not be entirely true. My passion for Edward and Isabella is akin to my passion for Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights.

To think, I have read over 1,000 pages in the last three days, and all I have is another 600 to go in the third book. And no, I have not started it yet. I will be.

I love the red and white flower cover on this book and its depiction of how the passion and innocence of the characters is comingled. Their interactions are much like young teenagers, rash and passionate, but at the same time an enduring love and understanding binds them to one another. Edward aptly says in the book that there is a new moon lighting his night sky when he is with Isabella, and without her the sky is black and devoid of stars and moonlight. I can’t wait to get to Eclipse.

This Book Also Was Reviewed Here:

The Bookworm

Not the Twilight of Your Life

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer has to be one of the best vampire books I have read in a long time since giving up on Anne Rice and her vampire series. I won’t disparage Rice’s work in this entry, but I will praise Meyer for a job well done. It has been several months since a book has captivated my attention to the point where I lose track of time. I read over 200 pages of the book yesterday evening and said to my husband as he walked through the door, “Boy, you are home early.” To which he replied, “I’m a half hour late.” Where did the time go? Into reading about Edward Cullen and Isabella Swan, perhaps.

Unlike other vampire novels, the main vampire in this book, Edward Cullen, is a teenage boy, and Bella is also a teen. The unique morality that drives the Cullen family to hunt animals rather than humans is endearing, and certainly naive. However, readers must remember vampires, most of them anyway, were humans at one time and probably have a hard time adjusting to their new lives. So despite the moral compass governing their lives in Forks in the Pacific Northwest, they still desire human blood. The concept is simple, a boy and a girl meet and fall in love even though they are not supposed to, a boy from the wrongside of the tracks or a girl from the wrong side of the tracks; it really doesn’t matter.

The writing is very descriptive and intense. The energy between the couple leaps off the page. It is electric to follow them through the town of Forks. Their interactions with other classmates, their attempts to hid their true feelings from one another and their fellow classmates–something teenagers often do in high school in the first place–and their quirky introductions to parents., even his vampire parents. You might think I am giving away too many details about this book, but there is so much more beneath the surface.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in vampires or merely in human relationships, and yes Edward is human to an extent. It is the combination of those human qualities and his vampire attributes that attracts Bella, and who wouldn’t be attracted to him and his charisma.


I finished Twilight by Stephenie Meyer as you know. I have given a lot of thought to the cover choice for the book, which depicts of a pair of young arms with hands cupped around an apple. Oftentimes, I find book covers either have little to do with the book’s contents or are lame in many respects, but this cover has significant meaning given the themes in the book.

First off, Isabella Swan is forbidden fruit for Edward Cullen, much like the apple in the Garden of Eden was for Adam and Eve. However, Bella also represents his prey; the dichotomy of their relationship is summed up easily in the cover choice.

I just want to applaud the publishing house and the author for a wise choice. The image above is borrowed from the Stephenie Meyer Website.

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