Breaking Dawn

August 27, 2008

I left the cover ridiculously large for two reasons.  1) It’s clearer and sharper this way.  2) This book deserves it.

I LOVED this book.  I know there are a ton of people out there who think Stephenie Meyer’s writing is bad and these book are stupid, but there are probably more people who agree with me and say her writing is captivating (I’d like to see her critics write something better) and her books are amazing.  Ahhh, I loved this book.

**SPOILER ALERT**

If you haven’t read Breaking Dawn and you don’t want to know any details, stop reading right now.  I usually try not to give anything away when I’m reviewing, but I’d like to open this book up for discussion and that’s pretty hard to do without discussing any details.

Did anyone else think it was weird (or bad) that there was no huge battle scene at the end?  All that build-up and then . . . peaceful conclusion.  Not what I was expecting, but what I wanted to happen.  Then again, I’m used to Harry Potter where there’s always a huge battle scene and someone has to die.  So let me go ahead and say that while the Twilight saga has been dubbed the next Harry Potter (complete with obsessive fan base), these two series are nothing alike.  I’ll re-read Harry’s adventures when I want something thrilling, and I’ll re-read Twilight when I want love and romance (which, at the moment, I do, so I’m going to take my time and savor every moment of re-reading the entire series).  In fact, I’m going to go ahead and classify Twilight as “teen romance fiction.”  They’re not really romance novels, but only because they’re aimed at teenagers and many, many people would complain (more than they already have) if certain moral values were not upheld.

As for the book itself, I was skeptical when I heard that it would be broken up into three parts, one of which would be narrated by Jacob Black.  However, I was very pleasantly surprised.  Jacob’s book wasn’t my favorite, although I’ve heard it is for many readers, but it was definitely interesting and nice to get another viewpoint when you know Bella’s side of the story would have been all about sleeping and feeling ill.  Meyer really stepped it up a notch when she wrote Jacob’s story, and it was a cool way to understand what was going on from different angles.

Did anyone see any of the plot twists coming?  I’ll be honest: I really didn’t even try to imagine what would happen in this book.  I really wanted to be surprised.  Of course I guessed that Bella would become a vampire (seriously, four books and she doesn’t get her wish?  please.) but I didn’t know if that would include the whole marriage thing and if she was going to be in danger before or after the transformation.  To my delighted surprise, she was in danger for both, and that made for a more exciting conclusion (ahem, middle of Deathly Hallows).

However, I was not expecting a baby, and I have a little bone to pick with Ms. Meyer about which bodily fluids stay with you when you become a vampire and which don’t.   But I digress.  The baby was definitely an interesting angle and I certainly wasn’t expecting it.  I think I liked it, though.  And there had to be some way to get Jacob to stop loving Bella (although I think her being a vampire still would have done the trick – maybe.  Thoughts?).

I was truly sad when the book ended.  I can’t believe the series is over.  I know, I know, Midnight Sun will be out eventually, but that’s just another angle of Twilight, so it’s really not the same (not to say that I’m not extremely excited about its release).  This has been a series that I fell in love with unexpectedly and continue to love through the twists and unpredictable turns it has taken.  I really am planning on reading all four novels again just for the cozy, nostalgic feel of it, and I know I’m going to enjoy them just as much as, if not more than, the first time I picked each of them up.  I still think Edward is perfect and it’s no wonder every girl (maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much) who reads these books falls in love with him just a little bit (or a lot, probably depending on your age – have you seen the ridiculous amount of Facebook flair dedicated to Edward?).  I still relate to Bella, and think I would have made many of the same decisions she did throughout the books (maybe minus the whole Jacob fiasco in the second and third books).  I love all of the characters, and I think Meyer has really brought them to life throughout the series.  While I know writing another series as long as Harry Potter is not only ridiculous, but unneccessary as well, I still kind of wish she would.  Just so I could hold on to their stories a little longer.

4 out of 5 stars because, without reading the other three books recently, I want to go ahead and say this is my second favorite in the series, after Twilight.

Please post your comments on this book and the whole series.  I’d love to hear what you think!


Stargirl

August 21, 2008

I just got done listening to the audiobook Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  I like books that make you smile at the end.  🙂

Stargirl is the new girl in school – new and incredibly different.  For one, she goes by the name “Stargirl.”  She doesn’t dress or act the same as the other kids (as a cheerleader, she cheers even when the other team scores a point).  She’s always doing things for other people and rarely cares what anyone else thinks of her.  Until she meets Leo, that is.

This story is all about finding yourself and sticking to who you really are.  It’s funny, intelligent, and heartwarming, and, best of all, comes recommended by me!  This was a book that I delayed reading because I just wasn’t interested enough to take the time to read it.  The audiobook format works great for books like this because I can have them done in a matter of hours while I’m doing other things.  I love multitasking!

4 out of 5 stars because it’s not my favorite, but it’s still really good.


Step Brothers

August 4, 2008

 

My husband and I went to see Step Brothers this weekend in an effort to catch up on all the movies we’ve been missing lately.  If you know my opinion of Will Ferrell movies in general, you’ll be able to guess my reaction to his latest movie – good but not the best.  I think this movie is along the same lines as Semi-Pro.  I think it’s funny and I wouldn’t mind watching it again, but it’s not my favorite.  However, I do have to give it up for Ferrell and John C. Reilly.  They have once again created a hilarious duo, and it’s generally hard to have the right chemistry two movies in a row (I can only think of one other couple off the top of my head that can do this – Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan).

Brennan Huff and Dale Doback are two forty-year-olds who are still living with their respective single parents.  As it happens, Dale’s father and Brennan’s mother fall in love and marry, forcing the two previously spoiled boys to live in the same house.  Of course, hilarity ensues.  After some disastrous mishaps (such as Dale and Brennan trying to kill each other and wrecking Mr. Doback’s dream boat) the parents have had enough and force them to get jobs and live on their own.  I don’t want to give any more away, but the story, in my opinion, began to get a bit boring once the two had to become “normal.”  Of course, I’m sure this is the point trying to be made, but I think they may have pushed it a bit too far and made the actual movie boring in parts, instead of only showing the characters to be boring.  I will say, however, that the movie picks back up at the end and finishes strong.

2 out of 5 stars.  Not my favorite comedy by a long shot, but still worth a see.  I’d go to a matinee, though (or wait for it on DVD).


Eat, Pray, Love

July 5, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have just returned from a five-day journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia.  I also just finished one of my favorite books.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is an amazing story that I didn’t want to put down.  I felt as if I was traveling with her, and I was entranced by her, her writing, her story, her adventures, everything. I cannot speak highly enough about this book, and I truly doubt that any review I give of it will give you a good enough understanding of how great I think it is.

This book is made into three parts, each a personal journey the author undertakes to “examine one aspect of her own nature, set against the backdrop of a culture that has traditionally done that one thing very well.” So, she goes to Italy to study the art of pleasure, India for the art of devotion, and Indonesia for the art of balancing the two in her own life. Elizabeth (I can’t refer to her by her last name, I feel as if I know her too well – in fact, I think we could be friends, if we ever met) lets us see her at her worst moments as she goes through a heart-wrenching divorce, and takes us along while she travels in order to find herself.

The day I finished the section on Italy, I was craving Italian food the way only an Italian food junkie can crave it, and I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends who just happened to want to introduce my husband and I to an Italian restaurant in our new city. The section on India seriously wanted to make me start trying to meditate (me, who can’t even sit still for more than 30 seconds without becoming sickeningly bored). And while Indonesia has never really appealed to me as a tourist spot, I can understand exactly why she goes there and exactly why she loves it.

5 out of 5 stars. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The moment I started it I knew it was going to become one of my favorites. You’ll fall in love with Elizabeth and marvel at her accomplishments, and when you’ve come to the last page, you’ll be begging to read more. By the way, when you’re done reading, go to the author’s website. Under the FAQ page, you’ll find pictures of some of her most memorable friends.


White Fang

June 30, 2008

Well, I’m finally back.  Sorry for the delay in posts, but in the meantime I have gotten married and moved, so my life has been a little hectic.  It’s starting to get back on track though, and that means I’ve had more time to read!  So, without further ado, I give you my review of White Fang, by Jack London.

I think I tried to read this book when I was a lot younger and it just didn’t do anything for me.  I got bored and ended up putting it down before I really gave it a chance.  This time, however, I got hooked.  In fact, I read more than half of it in one afternoon.  The tale of White Fang is many things: intense, sad, funny, depressing, and happy.  You’ll run the whole gamut of emotions with this story.

The story is set in the late 1800s when the Wild was really wild and life was much tougher for men and animals alike.  London gives us a nice back story – before we even meet White Fang we meet his mother and learn about her cunning and her past.  When White Fang is born, we see through his eyes and discover the cold and dangerous Arctic along with him.  We learn that man is godlike in his way to control things both dead and alive and that while man means food and shelter, he also means pain and discipline.  White Fang must learn to adapt to two worlds, that of the Wild and his inner wolf, and the world of humans where he must find his inner dog.  I won’t give anything away, but throughout the story you’re also torn between wanting him to live in the Wild and wanting him to find love in the human world.

This is a great, short read for a summer afternoon or two.  Read it when it’s too hot to do anything outside and you’ll be transported to the cold Arctic for a few hours.  I understand now why this book has become a classic.  The story of White Fang is unforgettable and touches the heart.

5 out of 5 stars because this has quickly become one of my favorite books.


Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

April 26, 2008

You know, I really meant to make an effort at posting more, but it seems like life is just going to keep me from doing that for right now. My other blog has been lacking in the posting department as well, but I hope I can pick it up a bit.

This movie was funny, but not so funny that I just couldn’t stop laughing. Maybe it’s because I watched the Director’s Cut, which added about half an hour to the movie by way of showing you longer versions of the scenes in the movie. There’s a reason why they cut those scenes shorter for the theaters. Don’t get me wrong they weren’t bad, they just weren’t necessary to make the movie funnier or better.

Dewey Cox was a man with a dream: to be a famous musician. After leaving home at the age of fourteen, Cox lived a roller coaster of life and career. He married three times, slept with 411 women, had 22 kids, and had 14 step-kids. He became addicted to and then kicked every drug known to man. His career was littered with huge hits (“Walk Hard”) and devastating lows (his wife took the kids and left him with his pet monkey). Yes, it’s that kind of movie.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the movies this one is parodying (Walk the Line, and The Doors, among others). Maybe it would have been a bit funnier if I had, seeing as how parodies usually are. But it was still enjoyable, it made me laugh out loud, and John C. Reilly is always a hit. By the way, did you know he really did sing all his songs? Same goes for Chicago.

3 out of 5 stars because this is a movie that was meant more for guys than girls. Don’t get me wrong, girls will still love this movie (and I’m sure there are some who love this movie more than their boyfriends) but ultimately, it’s a guy movie. Albeit a funny guy movie that girls will appreciate more than a bloody, explosive guy movie (Sin City, I’m talking to you). I saw the movie, I’m glad I saw it, but I don’t need to see it again. However, I will recommend it to all John C. Reilly fans, because if anyone else had played Dewey Cox, the movie would have been a bust (and seriously, the song “Walk Hard” is so damn catchy!).


I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

April 8, 2008

I came across this book as I was investigating and testing our library’s downloadable audio books, and man am I glad I did!  It might have taken me awhile to read it, what with putting it down to finish laundry or working out or something, but I was able to do all those things while listening to it on my mp3 player, and I had it done it just about 4 hours.  I’ve never finished a book so fast in my life!

Nora Ephron (also known for writing and directing You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, and writing When Harry Met Sally, among other things) has written a very funny book about women and the insufferable quirks tied to our gender.  Why do we need purses to match every outfit?  We can’t find the things we put in them anyway, and probably didn’t need them to begin with.  Ephron’s solution is to buy a bag that is taxi-cab yellow and couldn’t possibly match anything, and therefore, in some weird way, matches everything.  She also discusses the need to wash your hair every day.  Not only is this unneccesary, Ephron says, but it takes too much time and money.  And yet, picking up a copy of Vogue one day at the hair salon cost her $20,000.

Matching wit with wisdom, Ephron has produced a book that can be enjoyed by women of all ages.  While some of the jokes may not be as funny to those of us under 30 (or even 50), it gives us something to look forward to.  Her humor is just my style – sarcastic, cynical, and yet somehow optimistic.  She tells you that aging is nothing to cheer about, but at the same time, it’s got its up sides.  She’s got advice in her section titled “What I Wish I’d Known,” and her stories of her experience as a White House intern are hilarious.

3 out of 5 stars, mainly because I just don’t think I’m old enough to fully appreciate all the content in this book.  I do, however, appreciate Ephron’s wit and wisdom, and I found myself knowing that when the aging process really begins to weigh me down, I won’t be alone.