Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Reread Twilight.

I know I keep promising to review Twilight, but I can't really imagine doing so. I was not feeling well at all yesterday, so I went to Health Services. I found this to be...not very helpful. I'm going back again today. I'm having some issues with my heart racing, so I just want to get that checked out, I guess.

As far as Twilight goes, it is really hard to explain the magic that is. Yesterday was my third read through the novel, and each time, I seem to be re-enchanted by Edward Cullen. I often have discussions and debates with my friend Chelsea about whether their relationship is abusive or something else [we're just playing Devil's Advocate...we love Edward]. Anyway, each time I reread the book, I'm looking at it from a different perspective. The first time I read it, I was entirely smitten with Edward and Bella. I loved every part of their relationship. I didn't read into it. The next time I read it, I read through thinking, "Yeah, but he's had over a 100 years to perfect his charm..." and sometimes had trouble separating the idea of a 100+ year old talking to a 17 year old girl. The second read through was probably the hardest, as I found myself thinking, "But he's nearly 100 years old," at completely inappropriate moments.

After reading debates on Bella and Edward's relationship as well as participating in discussions with Chelsea, I felt that it was time to read Twilight a third time. This time, I meant to pick apart their relationship with a fine-toothed comb. Everything Edward said, or Bella said, I read further into. But, after all of this, I must say that I am right back to where I started: enchanted by their relationship. I sort of thought the parts where Edward was sort of stalking Bella were kind of weird, especially because she found it endearing.

And I'm still not sure if Meyer displayed the exact kind of love that is supposed to exist between Bella and Edward. I guess the problem I have with it is that everything sort of moves very quickly. It feels weird to say that, since I know it takes them forever to kiss or touch in the novel--but their other feelings are just a huge overtaking. The problem I have with this is that we've all experienced that first love--the kind that feels like love in two weeks into the relationship. All of the sudden, it's just a rush of all of these new emotions that keeps it exciting and it's the first time you're going through it and you think to yourself, "oh my god, i'm in love." but you're not. you're just a stupid teenager.

On that note, Bella choosing her fate as a vampire never bothered me until I read some debates on the subject. And I suppose now it does. Of course I was inclined to throw everything in my life away for my high school sweethearts! It's just...a product of stupid first love [and second love]. Now, it just bothers me that Bella is willing to throw everything that she is away for Edward. I know Edward is all noble and shit and he's all, "no, you don't know what you're doing," but it's not the point of the thing. I just think they need to give their relationship a few more years. That sounds so old of me. Even more than that, though, I feel also that, if Bella is to be changed in the next book, I would prefer for her to come close to death and HAVE to be changed. I don't really want to read that she chooses this fate and is stuck forever.

I guess I just don't understand the simplicity of their love. And when you think about it, Meyer is fucking amazing. She's out there living the dream. She's created a worldwide phenomenon. I'm sure she didn't mean for people to be analyzing Bella and Edward as much as we all do. For some reason, and all you Edward fans might want to tune out right about now, I feel like she does a *better* job of establishing the love that exists between Bella and Jacob. I know this seems weird, but to me, they're all like hanging out and spending time together...and it just kind of happens. It's not really easy to explain. I can understand that. But I just can't understand, sometimes... I know Edward keeps saying in Twilight he wants her in both ways, i.e. human and vampire. But, as my friend Chelsea pointed out, he wouldn't have noticed her [or thought twice about her] had she not been his singer. It's just really irritating to think that he was driven by vampiristic desires and needs at first. Sure, they turned into more, I guess.

I'm not sure. To me, upon this third reading, it seems the meadow scene is supposed to be the scene in which everything progresses to a sort of "love" level, but I'm still left wondering. I don't want Bella to choose to become a vampire, to choose to give up everything that she is as a human, for Edward. I know she says it's what she wants, but it bothers me that they keep saying their lives are entirely about one another. I mean, it's just so high school relationship for me. It is that exactly, in fact, when you totally intertwine your life with someone else and then realize, "Fuck, I lost my own identity," because you don't have a life of your own anymore. I guess when you think about it in terms of marriage, eventually someone's life eventually intertwines with someone else's, and they eventually sort of have each other. But not at 17-18. God, how dumb I would've been to choose to be with the person I was with at those ages or first loves. Of course it feels new and different and like a rush of emotions!! IT IS.

And Edward's attempted suicide because he couldn't be with Bella? Not romantic. Again, here he is, making his entire life about her, willing to give up everything [now, he's immortal and has sort of lived out a normal lifespan, i suppose]. But, uhm hello, his family?! I mean, Bella pretty much blows off her friends at Forks High and is like smitten with Edward and Edward's family. Because Bella does this, we, as readers, are inclined to do this too, but if we take a step back from the bigger picture here, look at everything she's giving up.

I guess I just...I understand their love on a teenage first love kind of level. Because I've been there...when everything is strange and new and relationships just seems so "pretty and magical." And they seem rather effortless, when they are actually a lot of fucking work. What I don't understand is their love on a more adult kind of level. I guess none of this matters, if Bella is changed, because she'll lose her human memories anyway.

I don't know. On the one hand, I wouldn't read so much in to the novel if I didn't *LOVE* it, but on the other hand, the more I think about it, the more frustrating it gets. The thing is, I've never analyzed my books in such ways. I'm sure if I delved further into Rowling's Potter books, I could find a million and one nit-picky things that I hated. It just sort of follows that sometimes works are meant to be taken at face value.

Even after that lovely rant: Pick up a copy of Twilight, read it. And even after that lovely rant, my point was that, after reading it yesterday, I was left simply gunning for Bella and Edward to be la-de-da together forever. So I suppose... my problems with it are not all that important.

-Book It Girl.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac was an excellent read. I had heard good things about author, Gabrielle Zevin, and the book definitely lived up to its potential. It was so refreshing to read a teen novel that made me think. The narrator wasn't the typical teenage sappy girl pining over the typical teenage heartthrob [refreshing: major!]. Anyway, it was one of those things that makes you put it down and go, "damnnnn," rather than be all sappy and romance-y. As much as I love that cheesy teenage romance I've come to write about, there are times when I crave character complexity, And this novel brings that to the table.

A quick synopsis of the novel would be that it follows the story of Naomi, a junior in high school that hits her head and loses her memory of the last four years. The novel then takes you through the things she struggles with, as she tries to figure out the decisions she's made--who is this guy, Ace, that calls himself her boyfriend? Is she sleeping with him? And Will--her best friend? What's with this nickname Chief? Why hasn't she had a good relationship with her mother? How much can change in four years? Find out! Read Zevin's book!
Nota Bene: The book's high rating is largely due to the careful crafting of complex characters [say that three times fast]. I wouldn't recommend this if you're looking for a light, fluffy, feel-good read. It's not. Reading level would probably be from 13-18, I guess.

I'm currently also invested in some smut vampire novels [the Southern Vampire Novels] that aren't YA. They get a little racy and the narrator seems to think about sex far too much, but other than that, they're alright. I also happen to know [via wikipedia] that the narrator goes through guys really quickly and there's not one guy she sticks with in the series. This irritates me. Why should I get involved and invested in one guy if she's going to be on to the next one soon? Furthermore, the book seems to be driven by little peaks of action. Rather than be part of a larger plot, it seems as if events just keep happening to push the book along. I think that's why I was reaching for a guy to at least have something to look forward to in the novel. But there's really nothing to keep me interested. I don't know. I'll give an official report after I finish the next two books in the series.

-Book It Girl!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


A break away from my normal book posts to support To Write Love On Her Arms. Please click the above banner to learn about this amazing cause.

The TWLOHA mission statement: "To shine light on the issues of depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide by partnering with TWLOHA and building a team ready to engage."

Love is the movement.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Blue is for Nightmares IS a Nightmare.

Hi everyone! I'm back. I apologize for the delay in this update. School has been insane. For some reason, I've been able to chomp through two more books. I read Bloom and Blue is for Nightmares. For some reason, I like to save the books that I enjoy the most and hope to write about them at a later date. Let me just say, Bloom was a really cute, light read. Expect an update on that soon. For now, let's delve into today's review.

Blue is for Nightmares
Laurie Faria Stolarz

This book is about a girl named Stacey. She practices Wiccan and is actually a real witch. She has nightmares about her best friend, Drea that seem to suggest death is in her near future. Stacey and her friends are sixteen year old teens attending a boarding school named Hillcrest. Drea is Stacey's best friend, but Stacey's had her eye on Drea's on-again-off-again boyfriend, Chad, since last year. Will Chad come in between Drea and Stacey as they fight to save her from a mysterious stalker-killer? Is the mysterious killer really Chad? Why does he keep appearing in her nightmares? What does it all mean? Find out in Stolarz's Blue is for Nightmares.

Now that the synopsis is written, which by the way, was painful to write, I can talk about why this book has not at all sparked my interest in the rest of the series. The whole witch thing isn't enough to be some kind of enchanting magic. It seems more real to life than anything else. That's not a negative. Just a fact that I need to state.

My problem with this book might stem from the fact that the main character, Stacey, wets the bed in her nightmares, which occur nightly. Then, in the morning, shoves her urine-stained sheets under the bed and leaves them there until she can get to the laundry room. I'm sorry, but that is just utterly disgusting. Also, whenever the narrator has to pee, she describes being in excruciating pain. In real life, having to pee is not really associated with extreme pain--maybe a slight discomfort but definitely not the kind of pain the narrator describes having. Also, it's just ridiculous how big of a role the bed-wetting plays in this novel.

Another problem I have with the book is that the sometimes boyfriend of Stacey's roommate, Chad, is just not someone I ever really like in the novel. Perhaps Stacey does not do enough to describe what it is she desires about Chad. That makes their sometimes hook ups not exciting. When he is flirting with her, I'm not at all interested in the romance. Just getting through it and almost repulsed by it. I sort of end up thinking of him as a jerk. Furthermore, Drea, Stacey's best friend and roommate, is not a very likable character at all. Maybe the story would've been better if the crazy killer actually got to her. I don't feel anything when different things happen to people in the novel. I really would have cared less if everyone in the novel got killed as a result of the psychopath. That says something about how poorly the characters were created in this novel gone wrong.

The only redeeming quality of this book is the slight mystery of who the stalker-to-be-killer might be. At times, it was a bit eerie and fun to read, just to find out who it was. Other than that, Blue is for Nightmares is it's own personal nightmare. I have no desire to read any of the other books in the series after this one. This book leaves much to be desired. Definitely not a worthwhile read.

Stolarz's Blue is for Nightmares: 1/5

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Work. Read. Work.

Hi everyone! I'm all up to date in the Vampire Kisses series. I just finished the fourth one, Dance with a Vampire. I'm planning an update later tonight or tomorrow with a review of the last three. I've decided to sort of clump them into one long review and paraphrase on the story line. They've all somewhat meshed together in my mind anyway. The fifth one is coming out in July.

In the meantime, tonight I'm going to start the first book in the Blue Bloods series. I'm extremely excited, as I have heard that series is excellent. I already have the second book as well, so no cliffhangers. :) So, expect a review of the Blue Bloods series by Melissa De La Cruz coming up soon!

In addition to that, I recently purchased a book that is supposed to be about a student that struggles with going insane in college. It'll be a welcomed break to read from my vampire novels, though I do love them. You can expect a review of that book once I'm done. Expectations for that aren't high, though. I also read Like the Red Panda a few months ago [over Thanksgiving break] and I'm somewhat eager to write a review of that book too.

So, even though this isn't a review post...I'm just giving you all something to look forward to.

Pats game is Saturday night, so no reading then! Go Pats! :)


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Vampire Kisses

Vampire Kisses --Ellen Schreiber

I've been rereading the Twilight series over break, but I didn't want to review that for the blog, seeing as I feel I'd spoil my favorite series. In lieu of that, I picked up the first and second book in the Vampire Kisses series at Barnes and Noble. I've since found out that there's a manga associated with the series as well. It may just be the first manga I read.

Vampire Kisses follows the story of Raven, a goth girl stuck in a town she calls Dullsville. Her all-black outfits in a sea of prepster pastels causes her to stand out amongst her peers. From a young age, Raven has proudly proclaimed her desires to become a vampire when she "grows up." Her obsession with vampires and the weird unknown is eerie.

In what Raven calls one of the top three exciting things to happen in Dullsville, a new family, rumored to be vampires, moves into the old abandoned mansion in town that sparks Raven's interest. They are never seen during the day. The town begins to talk and Raven's interest peaks as the rumors spread and grow. She goes to investigate for herself. She finds herself sneaking into the mansion. The boy she meets there, Alexander Sterling, is definitely different, but is he the vampire everyone thinks he is? Or is he just like her? You'll just have to read it to find out.

I was pleasantly surprised with Vampire Kisses. I wasn't sure I'd really be able to identify with a goth girl, seeing as I've never had much experience with that lifestyle, but Schreiber gives Raven a definite personality, both witty and fierce. It is hard not to feel excited for Raven, as she stands up for herself and dares to be different.

Schreiber has a tendency to play up the goth angle a bit too much. Raven is interesting enough on her own, but it almost seems like a lapse in character when she begins spouting random information about her "Gothic Mate," or her Gothic-clad room. It just seems like a step out of who her character is in the rest of the book. I think this is because it seems like Raven is almost "too cool" to actually have to think about her lifestyle--it seems like it should come more naturally.

I also found it difficult to cope with the way Alexander Sterling was described, or should I say, wasn't described? All there is really to understand about him is that he has dark hair and dark eyes. Raven's interpretation of the rest of him is just that he's wonderful looking--to her. I believe she makes a comment to the effect of everything about him being beautiful. It just wasn't enough to know that he looked nice. I never gathered a complete picture of Alexander or Raven, for that matter. The only reason I filled in the blanks on Raven's look was because the second book in the series, Kissing Coffins, has a picture of a would-be Raven on the cover. The story could have definitely been strengthened by clearer pictures of the characters.

The characters personalities are definitely well established by Schreiber. This can be both good and bad for the novel. It allows the reader to gain a clearer picture of the events as they unfold, but it also causes problems when the characters seemingly deviate from their expected personalities. As stated above, it definitely does happen. I'm not sure that younger readers [i.e. 10-12] would really pick up on it all that much, but I think more mature readers will notice the slight deviations.

All of that being said, I am still amused at how much I really am enjoying the series thus far. I still have not found books that I can say are on par with Twilight in terms of storyline, but I have been reading a lot of teen vampire fiction recently and this was definitely one of the better stories out there. After reading the first book, I was so glad I had the second one right there, since it leaves off on such a cliffhanger. The relationship between Alexander and Raven is both believable and romantic, in such a way that it keeps you wanting to read more.

The only negative is that the vampires described are atypical of all of the myths that exist about them--they cannot be around garlic, they cannot go out during the day, they turn into bats, etc. etc. They do, however, age. The fact that they age has raised some interesting questions in my mind as to whether they age like humans and then continue for eternity at an old age or they age at slower rates than humans. It seems typical in literature for vampires to not age at all. I will be interested to see if Schreiber answers these questions at a later time in the book.

The series is definitely worth reading. I've finished the second one, and I'm going to head to the bookstore to pick up the third and fourth today. The books are barely 250 pages, so they're easy to blow off if you have an hour or two to devote to reading.

Ellen Schreiber's Vampire Kisses: 3.5/5

Have a great day everyone! I'm hoping to catch up on some sleep after work. :)


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Reading Style and The Truth about Forever.

Notes on the Way I Read:

I realized something about when I read--I do not envision the characters ever so vividly in my mind as many do. Now, even though I do not have clear pictures, I still cringe when I finally see actors/actresses cast in a book-gone-movie if they're not the way I "pictured them." But I can't say that I could explain the way I DO picture them. To me, they have definite features but they are almost like beings floating around in my subconscious. It's not like a motion picture in my mind when I'm reading about what characters are doing in a book. The beings take action. And I know that I'm picturing these things happening, all of them, but only certain details become tangible. I'm not sure if that's really how you're supposed to read a book, since everything seems to be happening in my subconscious.

On that note, on to my very first book review!

Sarah Dessen, The Truth about Forever

I read my first Sarah Dessen book in the ninth grade. Since then, I've read every book she's written so far and am eagerly awaiting her new book, out in April of this year. This is the first book I am reviewing, because I recently reread it over Winter Break [it's hard to find time to read while at college].

The Truth about Forever follows the story of a girl named Macy, who has lost her father [and would probably hate me for describing her that way!]. Macy has a boyfriend she regards as being perfect at everything, who goes away to Brain Camp for the summer. In his absence, she starts to realize things she never did about the world around her, as she meets another boy named Wes. She takes a new job and meets new people that thrive in an imperfect world. Much to her surprise, she finds happiness among them. These people, Wes included, help to show her the beauty in imperfection, as she comes to terms with her father's death and her own ideas of a perfect life.

In some ways, I feel as if the book is too short to give the relationship between Macy and others any true depth. For instance, her relationship with Wes is built primarily upon a game called Truth, much like Truth or Dare without the dare. They learn about each other through their answers to this game, which is interesting in some ways but also leaves something to be desired. It seems that there are no real complexities, as any questions Macy or Wes have are just plainly asked to one another. The book ends in such a predictable, feel good manner, which can be a good thing but didn't require the reader to think about it. I just felt like the book could have been more significant if the end had occurred in the middle or some other kind of real conflict arose.

I find that Dessen's writing is often suited best for younger teenagers [12-15]. Her novels do not often keep you guessing as to where the story is headed. I do, however, enjoy the qualities in her characters that make them believable. Dessen has a gift for creating seemingly real life situations. It is definitely difficult to write something memorable in a genre such as realistic fiction, because it is difficult to take a situation that could happen in real life and make it something worth reading. The Truth about Forever would definitely be considered a light read. As I said, it doesn't take much guesswork to figure out what's going to happen, and it's not really what I would consider a powerful book. But I think it's good for one of those day at the beach or rainy day reads.

Alright, there it is. The first review.

Dessen's The Truth About Forever: 3/5