Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

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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

 

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New Moon — Movie 2009

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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

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Twilight — Movie 2008

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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

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Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

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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

 

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New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

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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)
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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

 

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Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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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

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