Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah & James Howe

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery by Deborah & James Howe

Premise:

The Munroe family finds an adorable baby bunny at the movie theater.  Harold, the family dog, and Chester, the cat, aren’t particularly concerned about the newest member of the family until funny things start happening to the food at night.  Could the cute and seemingly innocent bunny be the culprit?  Chester is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, but how far will he go in his quest for the truth?

My thoughts:

I read Bunnicula as a child, but had never gone back to it since that time.  I forgot what a little gem of a book this is!

The book is written from the perspective of the dog, which makes for some very funny reading.  Things are explained from a dog’s point of view, and with a dog’s understanding and priorities.  Seeing things from his perspective gives the story a unique twist and makes it really fun to read.

Even though the book is quite short, there is a lot of humor and personality packed into the pages.  Chester is a thoroughly neurotic cat and he goes a bit bonkers in his quest to find out what Bunnicula gets up to at night.  Harold is a happy-go-lucky dog who is willing to give their new bunny a chance, but he’s also forced to rein in Chester just a tad bit.  The Munroe family seems to be good-naturedly dimwitted, and eventually the situation is resolved in such a way that they are none the wiser about the eating habits of their little bunny.

I think that the characters of Chester and Harold really make this book.  It’s almost like they’re the cat-dog version of the famous Laurel and Hardy comedy duo.  Chester is serious and uptight, whereas Harold is the bumbling, kindly oaf.  They play off of each other sooo well!  The scene where they are both trying to sit in the same chair is hilarious!

I recommend Bunnicula to children who are beginning to read chapter books, up through preteens.  It also makes a fun, quick family read-aloud.  This would be a great book to read around Halloween, too!

A favorite quote:

“Chester turned to me and said under his breath, ‘That lettuce looks repulsive, but if there’s any milk left, I get it.’  I certainly wasn’t going to argue with him.  I’m a water man myself.”  (p. 10)

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Advertisements

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman  It’s a 1987 Newbery Medal winner.

Premise:

Jemmy is the unfortunate whipping boy for Prince Brat, spoiled and wayward heir to the throne.  Feeling bored, the Prince decides to run away and takes Jemmy with him.  In the outside world the Prince discovers that he needs Jemmy’s help, and the two boys develop a bond which neither one expected.  Can the boys outwit a couple of cutthroats who are determined to catch them so that they can collect a ransom from the king?

My thoughts:

I’ve loved this book since I was a kid!  It’s very short and ideal for children who are reading beginner chapter books.  There are occasional black and white drawings scattered throughout the book.

I don’t know how Fleischman did it, but he manages to pack a lot of personality and a great lesson into a very short story.  Prince Brat and Jemmy have very nicely developed characters, each one making you either loathe or love them.  The lesson contained in this book is about friendship and giving people second chances.  Jemmy could have easily left Prince Brat to fend for himself, given how much he had already suffered because of the Prince’s mischievous ways.  However, when the boys were truly in need, they had to rely on one another and they formed a bond which defied convention.

The Prince also got a look at life outside of the castle, which he had never been allowed to engage in before.  He meets a couple of thieves, a young lady and her dancing bear, the hot-potato man, and a rat catcher in the sewer.  He also has many first-time experiences such as shaking a commoner’s hand, going to the fair, exploring the sewers, and eating a potato.  The new adventures and relationships he experiences set him up to be a more thoughtful and considerate ruler when his time comes.

I recommend The Whipping Boy to children who are beginning to read chapter books (though older kids would enjoy the story, too).  It also makes a fun, quick family read-aloud.


Possible Objections:

  • Some violence

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

The Elixir Vitae Adventures: Ortus by Stacey Horan

This post contains an affiliate link.

A special thank-you to Stacey Horan for providing an ARC for me to review!

Title: The Elixir Vitae Adventures: Ortus (Book 1) by Stacey Horan

Premise:

Abigail and Quinn Link must go live with their grandpa when their mother suddenly dies from cancer.  Their grandfather, Professor Larson, asks the children to fill in where their mother left off — guarding the elixir vitae or fountain of youth from those who would use it for their own gain.  They travel around the United States finding and solving clues, while trying to simultaneously fit in at their new boarding school.

My thoughts:

I love the cover of this book!  I know that seems kind of silly, but I wanted to share something that I think was absolutely spot-on with this book.  I also loved the personal note which I received from the author when I won it through Goodreads.

The premise of the story is a good one.  The children go on adventures with their grandfather to find clues all around the United States to discover the whereabouts of the elixir vitae.  They do this by means of a magic portal map and key.  So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the execution of the story leaves something to be desired.  The actual narration sounded like a teenager telling about the events of their day — more like a diary entry than a novel.  I found myself wishing for more detail throughout the story, more richness, more variety in sentence structure, and more complex thoughts.

The characters were okay, but I didn’t become attached to any of them.  They needed more fleshing out and a closer glimpse into their psyches to show readers what makes them tick.  It also seemed that their emotional reactions were off at times.  Sometimes they had extreme negative reactions in situations which didn’t call for it.  I wondered why this person was all of a sudden screaming at that person.  Would they all benefit from some anger management classes?

Finally, there were enough errors in the text itself that it couldn’t be overlooked.  The editing wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t careful enough, either.  Of particular note, I counted eleven instances of the wrong word being used.  That’s kind of a lot.  Throw in a few misspelled words, missing words, extra words, and a paragraph break in the wrong place, and you can see how it could become a problem.

I recommend The Elixir Vitae Adventures: Ortus to those who like adventures which feature kids as the heroes.  If you’re willing to overlook some bumps in the delivery, you might enjoy this story.


Possible Objections:

  • One instance of taking God’s name in vain
  • One of the kids says, “Holy shhhhhh” – implying you know what

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #4 in the Twilight series

Premise:

Edward and Bella are finally married and jet off to Rio de Janeiro to spend a lovely honeymoon together.  Though they didn’t know it was even possible, Bella becomes pregnant.  The entire Cullen family must figure out how to keep both Bella and the baby safe during the pregnancy and delivery, and how to protect the child from the meddling Volturi.

My thoughts:

This is the final book in the Twilight series.  While I raced through the three previous books, this one I took my time with.  I didn’t really want to get to the end.

When compared to the three previous books, I believe that this book demonstrates a notable step up in the maturity factor.  No longer are readers subject to long scenes in which Bella and Edward look for novel ways of stating that they can’t live without one another.  Thank goodness for that!

I enjoyed the story line of this book and to me it felt like it jumped into the complexity of an intricate soap opera.  You have all of these characters with complicated relationships, loyalties, and motivations.  They are all thrown together to defend their families, friends and way of life, and it makes for some socially tangled interactions.  That’s something which most ladies love to imagine!  Many of the characters are challenged in the way they view other “monsters”, and it’s nice to see them overcome their prejudices.

One of the aspects which I most enjoyed was getting to meet all of the vampire allies and to get a feel for what their strengths were.  It’s nice to see some new characters who are not antagonistic, and to witness their interactions with the Cullens.

Finally, I like how Meyer wrapped things up within the story.  Bella becomes a vampire and does a great job adjusting.  Charlie is brought into the secret only as much as is necessary to ensure he can still be a part of Bella’s life.  Jacob gets his happy ending.  And independent vampires and other paranormals score a win in their desire to be free of the repressive rule of the Volturi.  What more could you ask for?  It’s happily ever after for all of our favorite characters.

I recommend Breaking Dawn to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.


Possible Objections:

  • Violence & some gore
  • Sensuality
  • One use of the d-word

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Shrunken Treasures: Literary Classics, Short, Sweet, and Silly by Scott Nash

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Shrunken Treasures: Literary Classics, Short, Sweet, and Silly by Scott Nash

Premise:

The author has taken classic works of literature and condensed the essential story into short verse form.  Each story is fun, playful, and rhyming.  They are also complemented by cute, juvenile illustrations.  The works included are: The Odyssey, Frankenstein, Moby-Dick, Jane Eyre, A Thousand and One Nights, Hamlet, Don Quixote, The Metamorphosis, and Remembrance of Things Past.

My thoughts:

I stumbled on this book when I was doing a search of the library’s system for Jane Eyre graphic novels.  It’s such a neat concept for a book that I just had to share it with you!

I love that the author decided to share the gist of these classic stories in a way that is accessible and appealing to young children.  The rhyming verse and charmingly playful illustrations combine to create a book which children would love reading with their parents.

I should note that the author made a few changes to stories which needed a bit more innocence than their original story contained.  For instance, Frankenstein has a different ending because, obviously, you don’t want the Dr. and his monster killing one another.  Hamlet also experienced significant changes, but I think it was done in a very clever way.

I recommend Shrunken Treasures to parents who want to introduce their children to the classic stories in a way that is fun and easy, while keeping the story at a child’s level.  It would also appeal to adult fans of classic literature who like to see interesting adaptations of their favorite works.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

The Phantom of the Opera – Movie 2004

This post contains an affiliate link.

Last night I watched my first film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.  Let it be said though, that this film is based on the musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber, not the original book.  If you’re looking for a movie that closely mirrors the book, you’re going to be disappointed.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of musicals, I sat through this one without a problem.  It was so well done that I was willing to put up with a ton of singing just so I could see the story played out.  Gerard Butler was an amazing Phantom and I thought that Emmy Rossum made a very believable Christine.  Their singing was a joy to listen to.

The look of this movie was absolutely magical!  The costumes and sets were perfect and added a wonderful richness to the tapestry of the story.  I thought the Phantom was a little too handsome in his role (when compared to how the book described him), but I’m not going to complain too loudly.  Apparently he’s extremely talented with prosthetics and hairpieces in this version.

As far as differences between the movie and the book, I hesitate to get too critical.  I’ve never seen the musical before, so I can’t comment on how closely this version resembles the original.  It definitely strays from the novel, but that’s what I expected.  There are many changes which push the story even further into the realm of fantasy and theatricality.  Candelabras being held by moving arms originating from the walls?  Oh, yes.

My biggest criticism of the film is that there are a couple of scenes which were shot in such a way as to make you dizzy while watching them (a fight scene and the mirror room).  That is a no-no for me.  If I wanted to feel motion sickness, I’d go take a ride on a roller coaster.

I recommend The Phantom of the Opera to all the ladies out there who enjoy a love story combined with a musical.  If that isn’t you, this movie might be a little over the top for you.

Possible Objections:

  • Brief view of a man’s nude backside (blink, and you’ll miss it)
  • 1 instance of the d-word
  • Some mild sensuality
  • A hanging which is a bit graphic

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA POSTS:

August 2017 Book Haul

PLAY THE VIDEO BY CLICKING BELOW…

I was so glad to get this video filmed before my cold knocked me on my behind.  This month I have another odd assortment of books, but I hope you’ll find something that piques your interest.  You can tell I filmed this late at night, because my nighttime crazies are coming through pretty strong in the video!

4 Favorite Children’s Books #5

This post contains affiliate links.

Here are more of our favorite children’s books coming your way!  Are any of these your favorites, too?

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff

Mouse goes to the movies and gets a kit for making a popcorn string, which he wants to put on the Christmas tree.  Along the way, he gets distracted into making a snow mouse and from there subsequently gets distracted into doing a whole string of other Christmas activities.  We absolutely love these books which feature Mouse.  They are full of fun and action, and the illustrations are just wonderful.

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell

This is a simple and cute story about a little bear who can’t go to sleep because it’s too dark.  Big Bear brings a lantern, but Little Bear says it’s still too dark.  So Big Bear brings another, and another, and another…  When all of the lanterns have been lit and Little Bear says it’s still too dark, Big Bear takes him outside to look at the light from the stars and the moon.  Finally Little Bear falls asleep.  This book has a lot of repetition and would be good for a child who is afraid of the dark.

Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Spencer has too many toys.  They are spread out all over the house, and he just keeps getting new ones for birthdays, Christmas, etc.  Finally, Spencer’s mother says that it’s time to get rid of some toys, but how can he part with his special friends?  He and his mother haggle over which toys to get rid of, until they’ve filled one box.  However, Spencer can’t bear to get rid of the box–the best toy ever!  Does any of this sound familiar?

Touch the Brightest Star by Christie Matheson

This book is absolutely adorable!  It’s a perfect bedtime story, leading your child to perform a simple action on each page of the book, and gradually calming them to be ready for sleep.  The illustrations are lovely and I think I’ll be purchasing this one for my daughter’s next birthday.  It’s one of my new favorites.

The Littles and Their Amazing New Friend by John Peterson

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: The Littles And Their Amazing New Friend by John Peterson

Premise:

When a hot air balloon ride goes awry, some of the Littles find themselves blown to a new place which they’ve never explored before.  There they encounter a Tiny community which seems to have jumped right out of the pages of early American history.

My thoughts:

This is probably one of my favorite Littles books and I’ll tell you why.  First, it has tiny animals in it.  How cool is that?  Just imagine tiny horses that tiny people can ride.  Do you see how the cuteness quotient has risen exponentially through the roof?

Second, I liked that this book actually had a message.  Whereas most of the Littles books are just fun, cute adventures, this one seeks to teach a message.  Their new friend Glory is growing up in a community much like that of the early American settlers.  Her father holds the belief that females should be limited to certain roles and activities, and he tends to stymie his adventurous daughter.  Towards the end of the book he changes his thinking, and readers are left with the message that girls/women are capable of anything that boys/men do.

I recommend The Littles and Their Amazing New Friend to children who are just starting to read chapter books, or as a nice family read-aloud.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

New Moon — Movie 2009

This post contains an affiliate link.

Last night I watched New Moon, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name!

After a disastrous birthday party in which Bella is almost killed, Edward decides that it would be safer for her if he were not a part of her life.  Abandoned by her true love, Bella is swallowed by depression.  Her friend Jacob Black starts to bring a little light back into her life, though he is hiding a secret of his own.  And though Edward tried, Bella is still in danger.  Will Edward and Bella be reunited, or will Bella fall for her best friend, Jacob?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

Overall, I would say that this movie is on par with the previous one, Twilight.  It’s a must-see if you’re a fan of the series, and an okay movie if you like paranormal romance in general.

Let’s just jump right into my criticisms.  I really like the look of the Cullen family, but especially in the scenes where the whole family is interacting together, they are way too unnatural.  That is rather a disappointment because in the books you get a sense that this is a family that is warm, loving, and really watches out for each member.  For some reason that warmth and family atmosphere did not translate through in the movie.  That’s too bad.

My second criticism is over the slight changes made to the original story.  In the movie they make it seem like Carlisle doubts whether vampires have souls, when in the book he actually does have faith in an afterlife.  Also, they manufactured the scene where Victoria is hunting Charlie, and Harry Clearwater saves him by essentially sacrificing himself.  Maybe they wanted to make Harry’s death tie into the vampire theme a little more, instead of somebody dying of natural causes?  There were several other changes made to the story, most of them seemingly slight, but they add up over time to produce a story which kind of rankles if you’re a big fan of the book.  I’m not a huge fan of changing a story when translating it to film, if there doesn’t seem to be a good reason for it.

Finally, my biggest criticism is how they changed the romantic tension between Jacob and Bella.  The book is quite clear that Jacob is very interested in Bella in a romantic way, but she never seriously entertains the idea of getting involved with him romantically.  All of those almost-kisses in the movie are completely made up, and I think it complicates their relationship in a way that isn’t true to the original story.

There are also some things which I really liked!  Edward is still sultry and amazing.  I enjoy his acting style and think he really nailed the sexy vampire thing.  Jacob is amazing, too!  He is warm, intense and down-to-earth–just like Jacob is supposed to be.  Finally, the werewolves were very cool!  I pictured them a bit larger in my head, but they were still impressive.  I love the whole new mystical side which is added to the story with the wolves.  Grudgingly, I’ll add that Stewart displayed more convincing emotions in this movie than in the previous one.  Perhaps she’s just a very subdued kind of person.

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you would enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Twilight — Movie 2008

This post contains an affiliate link.

Let’s talk about Twilight, the movie adaptation of the book by the same name!

Bella Swan moves in with her dad, starting over in the town of Forks, Washington.  There she encounters the enigmatic Edward Cullen and they fall for each other.  However, Edward is hiding a dangerous secret that could put their relationship in jeopardy.  Will Bella decide to stay with Edward, and if so, will she be safe?  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

My thoughts:

So I watched Twilight the other night and decided I should review it before moving on to the next movie in the series.  Unfortunately, I remembered it as being better than it was.  Sad face.

I love the story overall, but there were a few things in the movie that I didn’t care for.  The first thing I have to mention is Edward and Bella’s first interaction in Biology class.  It was bad.  Just bad.  They both spoke and acted like they were a bit slow mentally.  I get it that this was their first real conversation, so it was bound to be awkward, but why make it downright painful to watch?

This brings me to my second criticism.  Robert Pattinson does okay in the displaying-real-emotions department, even sneaking in some humor at times.  However, Kristen Stewart did not pull it off at all.  Her emotions were flat, and sometimes completely unbelievable (as in her response in the hospital scene when Edward talks about leaving).  Stewart’s lack of real emotions grated on me throughout the movie.  Also, there were too many “slow stares” between Edward and Bella.  Just staring at each other does not a passionate scene make.

On a more positive note, there were some things that I absolutely loved about the movie.  It’s fun to see such a fantastical story come to life in front of your eyes.  I really enjoyed the scene where the Cullens are playing baseball.  It was a nice way to showcase their abilities.  Also, Charlie, Billy Black and Jacob all did a fine job in their roles.  It really makes a difference when you have good supporting actors.  I couldn’t get over how young Jacob looked–like a little boy!

I recommend this movie to ladies in their teens and older who enjoy a good paranormal romance.  If you are a fan of the Twilight series, I think you would enjoy this movie.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #3 in the Twilight series

Premise:

The vampires and werewolves of Forks, Washington face a new threat when Victoria seeks revenge against Edward and Bella.  Though werewolves and vampires are natural enemies, they will have to work together if they want to save their loved ones from the mayhem which is swiftly approaching.  The conflict and constant tug-of-war between Edward and Jacob over Bella finally comes to a head, with Bella making her final choice.

My thoughts:

If you love drama and angst, then this is the book for you!  I just finished Eclipse this evening, and it definitely left me feeling sad.  The ending is so tragic and even though I know that everything will turn out alright in the end, I still feel so sorry for poor Jacob.

It seems to me that this story revolves less around action and more around relationships and feelings.  It completely capitalizes on the love triangle between Jacob, Bella and Edward.  Their feelings, motivations, guilt trips, selfish actions, fights, and hissy fits are all on glorious display for the reader to bask in.  It feels like watching a soap opera from up close.  Personally, I would have liked a bit less of the angst, squabbling and indecision, but I can see how it would appeal to a younger audience.

The steaminess quotient definitely jumped up a notch with this book, compared to the first two.  With the talk about marriage, Edward and Bella are more forward in their physical relationship than they have been in the past, though there isn’t anything explicit.  Even Jacob gets his turn to smolder in this book!

The relationship between Edward and Bella is still one of (what I think is) unhealthy co-dependency.  I get that young people like this idea that there is one person out there who is your soul mate, and that it would kill you if you had to part with them, but I can’t keep my brain suspended in the clouds like a teenager can.  My mind craves a bit more realism in their relationship, and for their characters to realize that you can’t completely depend on someone else to define yourself or your happiness in life.  Sigh…I know that won’t be coming in the next book, though.

Despite that criticism, I loved the book and couldn’t put it down.  It’s just so juicy and full of drama!  I think the conflict and uncertainty in the relationships makes the story so engrossing, and that’s what makes it so addictive.

I recommend Eclipse to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.


Possible Objections:

  • Violence
  • More intimate scenes & discussion of sex after marriage; also a sexual assault is alluded to
  • A few uses of the d-word

 Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #2 in the Twilight series

Premise:

Edward has left Bella, thinking that she will be safe if he isn’t a part of her life.  Bella just can’t cope without him though, until Jacob Black brings some sunshine back into her life.  Just when life is starting to settle into a new normal, all heck breaks loose.  The vampire Victoria seeks revenge for the killing of her mate, hikers go missing in the woods, some kind of giant animals are on the prowl, and Jacob is avoiding Bella.

My thoughts:

Once I get reading these books, I can’t put them down!  This one took me about a day and a half to read.

I like this book even more than the first one!  I think it’s because Bella and Jacob’s interactions are much more down-to-earth and comfortably familiar than when she interacts with Edward.  Her relationship with Jacob is based on friendship and that’s simply more satisfying to read about.

I was also fascinated with the werewolf culture and getting to know those characters better.  Jacob Black is, of course, a wonderful and likeable character, but he’s backed up by others at La Push whom I’d like to know more about, as well.

The part where Bella and Alice go after Edward is…different.  It almost seems like a different story altogether because the vampires are so very absent from most of the rest of the book.  I think their reunion is a bit unbelievable; Bella just a little too needy and ready to forgive.  If I were in her shoes I’d be stinking angry.  I like the bit about her powers though, especially since I know how that will play out in a later book.

The way that things end with Bella and Jacob is very sad, but since I already know the story line, I’m not too heartbroken.  It just seems like poor Jake gets the short end of the stick.  He did what was right and was a faithful friend and in the end he gets slighted.

A favorite quote: “I was like a lost moon–my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation–that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity.”  (p. 201)
W
I recommend New Moon to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Notable: Book #1 in the Twilight series

Premise:

When her mother remarries, Bella Swan moves back in with her dad in the tiny, morose town of Forks, Washington.  She thinks life there will be dull until she meets the enigmatic and gorgeous Edward Cullen.  He fascinates Bella and she can’t help but try to unravel the mystery surrounding him.  To her great astonishment, she finds that he is equally intrigued by her.  But will their irresistible attraction end in heartache or joy?

My thoughts:

I had already read this book several years ago.  I was absolutely engrossed by it back then, and it still keeps me riveted today.  Even when I knew what was going to happen, I was still on the edge of my seat.  I guess that’s the sign of a good story!

I don’t know how Meyer did it, but she concocted a thoroughly engrossing and satisfying love story with Edward and Bella.  I think it might have something to do with the forbidden nature of their relationship, and the way that they ease into each new step very slowly.  The romantic build-up is quite slow and of course that’s like sweet torture for the reader.

Meyer’s writing style is really to my taste, as well.  Just like J.K. Rowling kept her Harry Potter stories going along at a nicely measured pace, Meyer does the same.  You’re propelled quickly through the story without it feeling like any kind of burden or work on your part.  I’ll confess that this series is one of my favorite contemporary romance stories.

I only have a couple of criticisms.  The first one is really related to my own stage of life right now.  Since I’m older and well past my teenage ideas of all-consuming love, that aspect of the story is a little annoying to me.  I’m more into the idea of steady love which is based on friendship, respect and trust.  I’m sure most preteens and teens swoon over the I’ll-die-without-you love sentiments contained in Twilight, though.  My second criticism is that towards the end of the book (and throughout the rest of the series) Edward and Bella get a bit annoying in their dialogue.  You can only read, “I can’t live without you” and similar sentiments so many times before your mind rebels.  You want to shout at them to grow up a bit and say something more original or have a normal conversation.  Even with those couple of criticisms though, I love the story.

I recommend Twilight to all the ladies out there who enjoy a good romantic story with a bit of danger thrown in.  I think it’s best suited to teens and up, as things get a bit violent, especially the farther you progress in the series.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER TWILIGHT POSTS:

 

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: The Phantom of the Operaby Gaston Leroux

Premise:

The Paris Opera House is haunted by a phantom who seems to hold sway over all that happens there.  Unfortunately, the Opera Ghost becomes enamored of a young lady named Christine, who falls under the spell of the phantom — her “Angel of Music.”  Will Raoul, her true love, be able to save her from the phantom’s spell before tragedy strikes?

My thoughts:

I was already familiar with this story from having seen the movie, so reading this book was not an entirely new revelation to me.  Nevertheless, it was still enjoyable and worth my while.

The whole love triangle between Christine, Raoul and Erik is very intriguing.  These poor young lovers have to defend themselves against this seemingly omnipotent villain who will do anything to procure the lady he’s obsessed with.  I was struck with just how much genius Erik was blessed with.  Was there anything this man couldn’t do?  Any skills he didn’t have?  He seemed superhuman to me, and perhaps that was the author’s intention.

I’m going to be perfectly honest here and tell you that I wasn’t as impressed with Christine’s character as I thought I’d be.  She was a little too wishy-washy for my taste, never seeming to know what she wanted. While the author tried to explain her shifts in mood and intentions, it seemed like perhaps our heroine was a trifle simple-minded.  This was a girl who needed to get out of that darn Opera House, have a stroll around town, and start to think for herself.  A lesson to all the young ladies out there: Never let a man have control over your mind.  Ahem, back to the book.

The storytelling doesn’t flow quite as seamlessly as I expected, but that could be in part because of the translation from French.  Also, it seemed like there was a lot extraneous information contained in the book.  I think that I prefer the way that the movie took away some of those bits that didn’t seem to add anything to the narrative (to my mind).

I was really captivated with the description of the Paris Opera House, and after I finished the book I sought out a little more information about it.  Just let me say that it is a fascinating building and well worth studying.  The pictures alone will blow your mind!

I recommend The Phantom of the Opera to those who enjoy a good Gothic novel or to fans of classic literature.  I don’t think that it would greatly appeal to the average reader.

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA POSTS: