October 30, 2008

Breaking Dawn

By Stephenie Meyer
I put off reading this book for a while. I’m not sure exactly why, but I think I was worried. Bella Swan, the main character of the four books in the Twilight series, is very emotional. She feels things deeply and sometimes makes what I consider stupid decisions because she’s so darn self-sacrificing. It’s hard for me to read a book when I just want to reach into the story and shake the characters and yell “What are you doing!” I was worried that this story was going to drift irrevocably in that direction and I didn’t really want to put myself through that.
But finally I couldn’t put it off any longer, so I picked up, all 768 pages of it, gritted my teeth and started. At first, I was right. Bella was an idiot and I was going to hate this book. Then everything changed. It reverted back to the quality writing and great story-telling of the first three books and it never looked back. Stephenie Meyer has proven herself an excellent story-teller. She’s able to write romance without being soppy and gross and she’s able to write suspense without being a scary chiller, which is quite a feat. I will admit that I did have moments while reading when I had to set it down and take a break because it was INTENSE, both emotionally and physically.
The book is split into three parts. The first is told from Bella’s perspective and then we hear the events from Jacob’s (her friend) perspective, and then it goes back to Bella’s story. It’s a very interesting way to see events and to experience the story and it truly adds to the book. It also added to the question of “Will the good guys all make it?” If Stephenie can tell their stories from the perspective of someone who hasn’t been the narrator all along does that mean that the narrator isn’t going to last until the end of the book? Before the book came out there was enough speculation about the ending of this series to cast doubt on Bella’s ‘happily ever after’.
While I’m not going to say if there is a storybook ending or not, I will say that I was pretty satisfied with it. It does veer off a bit with the first part, but it’s necessary to make the story complete and full. I’ve never been a fan of the Edward-Bella-Jacob love triangle either, but this book does a great job of tying it all in and making it a necessary part of the other books in order to complete the overall story.
It’s a great book and totally worth reading. And…Bonus: it’s good for weight-lifting in a pinch, especially if you get the large print edition.

Her Royal Spyness

I happen to love almost all things British and one of my favorite ‘things British’ is Jeeves and Wooster. It’s a TV show based on the P.G. Wodehouse books, but made hilarious by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. (Having seen Dr. House as Bertie Wooster has exponentially increased my respect for that man’s acting ability). The show is set in swinging London in the 20s and 30s and features the high class of British society that doesn’t need to work for a living and so instead does ridiculous things and say ridiculous things and is pretty much ridiculous, but so fun to watch.
Her Royal Spyness is set in that same time period and with those same types of characters, the main character being the exception (of course). Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie (or Georgie to her friends) is 34th in line to the throne, but she’s completely broke. When an odious Frenchman threatens to take her family home she knows she needs to rise above her troubles to figure out how to save the family, but when he ends up dead in her bathtub things really get interesting. It’s a great murder-mystery that’s not too complicated, but not too easily solved either.
In the tradition of Jeeves and Wooster there are plenty of bumbling idiots with too much money for their own good, but Georgie manages to remain a definite part of that “class” without looking the fool. It’s a quality fluff read – my favorite kind.

The Sleeping Beauty Proposal

By Sarah Strohmeyer

This book isn’t a direct re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story, but it looks at the question “What if someone was practically sleep-walking through life waiting for someone else to start it for them?” Genie hasn’t really been living her life. She’s just been waiting for her prince to come make everything perfect. When her boyfriend of four years proposes to someone else on national TV she lets everyone believe that he proposed to her. It’s the wake-up call that she didn’t even know she needed. Now as she’s struggling with her conscious and the realization that the world treats you very differently if you’re engaged, she’s slowly realizing the things that are important and becoming a fuller person.
I have a hard time with deception. It’s the number one reason that I don’t read certain books or go see certain movies (like how is Hannah Montana a role model when her life is built on deceiving people who admire her?). I decided to try this book anyway because Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite Disney movies and I wanted to see how the author worked with the story. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. For the most part she just keeps her mouth shut and other people assume things, which is just as sinful but easier to take then aggressive deception. The thing that ended up bugging me the most was the way her parents treated her once she was “engaged”. They weren’t complete stereotypes, but they were willing to give her money for a house and throw her a lavish wedding, when they wouldn’t do anything for her while she was single, living in a hole of an apartment with a crap job. Ugh.
It’s a cute book, though. It’s fun and slightly quirky, with a healthy dose of romance without going trashy. Plus it has a cute cover.

October 14, 2008

Yeah Fall!

"The American spring is by no means so agreeable as the American autumn; both move with faltering step, and slow; but this lingering pace, which is delicious in autumn, is most tormenting in the spring."
- Frances Trollope

"There is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!"
- Percy Bysshe Shelley