Top Ten Tuesday- Books I’m Psyched About for 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week’s topic is books I’m excited to read in 2012. Now, since there are still a ton of books from 2011 I need to read (as well as older books), I’m only going to focus on new releases.

1. Hallowed by Cynthia Hand- I loved the first book in this series, Unearthly.  It was exceptional. The sequel comes out Januray 17, 2012.  The wait is almost over!

2. Fever by Lauren DeStefano- This is book numero dos in The Chemical Garden trilogy. The first book, Wither,  was so, so good and highly disturbing.  What’s going to happen next?  Fever comes out on February 21,2012. I’m psyched!

3. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver- Delirium was so fantastic. I’m dying to see what happens next.  Luckily, I don’t have to wait until the publish date of February 28, 2012 because the ever awesome Dixie and Maggie at Gone Pecan just sent me their ARC.  Holla!

4. Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter- Oh, I can’t wait to see what happens next for Henry and Kate. And let’s be real, more Henry. I need more. Book two comes out on March 27,2012.

5. The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting- This is book number three in The Body Finder series.  I only recently got into these but sister, I’m hooked.  I need more now. This one comes out on April 17,2012.


6. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth- Well…have YOU read Divergent? ‘Nuff said. The sequel comes out on May 1, 2012.

7. Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready- You guys, this is the third and final book in the Shade series. I don’t want it to end, but I need closure (and more kissing).  I’ll get that on May 1,2012.

8. When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle- Serle is a debut author who has written some fantastic, funny columns on other blogs.  This book sounds so good to me. It comes out on May 1, 2012.

9. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare- Can you believe that this is book number five in the Mortal Instruments series?  I still love these and don’t know if I can hold out until the release date of May 8,2012.

10. Underworld by Meg Cabot- This sequel to Abandon (which I loved.  I mean hello, John is hot) comes out May 8, 2012. Also, it’s Meg Cabot. She can do no wrong.

11. Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone- Let me just say that anytime you tell me that a book is like a YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife (my favorite book on the entire planet), I’m there. That’s what the buzz is on this one, which is being released on October 9, 2012.

12. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins- I don’t think it’s possible for Perkins to write a book that isn’t completely charming.  I’m totally excited to read this second and final companion to Anna and the French Kiss.  We don’t have a solid publication date yet, but we know it’s coming in 2012.

City of Fallen Angels (like, finally. I know)

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most important of all—Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace. (Goodreads)

The Story:

There is absolutely no way that I can review this book without getting a teensy bit spoilery. In fact, I’ve never even been able to bring myself to review the other books in the Mortal Instruments series  because I’m loving on them SO HARD. I can’t even put it into words because so much crazy business happens.  Let me just rephrase it with a few sentences. 1. Clary is a badass. 2. Jace is hot. 3. The story is good. So, so good.

With that in mind, if you’ve not read any of the previous books, consider yourself warned.

Let me bring you up to speed. Jace and Clary are finally together.  Clary is training as a Shadowhunter. Simon is a vampire who can walk in the daylight (thank you, Jace) and he’s dating Isabel and Maia (the wolf). In the last book, after Sebastian died, unbeknownst to everyone else, Clary brought Jace back to life after he was mortally wounded. Because of this, they are about to pay a hefty price.

The problems in MI books are always aplenty. Outside of the fact that Simon is trying to balance to girls at once (something he isn’t particularly adept at), Camille, an old, evil vampire, is trying to get him on her side. Meanwhile, Jace is having frightening dreams about Clary. They start out all sexy sexy but then in the dream he usually ends up trying to kill her so…not so sexy. This drives him away from Clary because he feels he’s a danger to her.  Yet, in typical guy manner, he doesn’t actually explain why he’s pulling away.  This pains Clary because she loves Jace (and, I suspect, that even cold and aloof he’s still smokin).

And there’s more. While all of this is going on, someone is killing people in an obvious attempt to heat up tensions between the Downworlders and the Shadowhunters. No one is sure who’s doing it, but somehow it all seems tied to Camille and her desire to have someone on her side.

My Take:

What, are you kidding? I loved it. Clare’s books never disappoint. She’s perfected the art of sucking her readers into this crazy, incredible paranormal world by writing books that are practically impossible to put down. Her stories get me. Every single time.

I love Jace and Clary’s relationship, which on the surface seems to exude such passion, but at its heart, it’s one of pure, sweet love.  I love his confidence and his insecurities and his determined love of Clary. And I love Clary’s willingness to risk anything for the ones she loves; her mom, Jace, Simon. She’s perfect and devoted without being mindless and self-deprecating like so many other popular heroines seem to be (Bella, I still hate you after all these years).

I also love the way Simon has grown. He’s become so much more than the lovesick best friend of Clary. He’s come into his own now. He’s funny and brave and his relationship with Clary is so touching now that they have set the right parameters. In this story in particular, the relationship between Simon and Jace takes such a good, interesting turn as well.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 The ending of this book drove me nuts (in a good way) because it just made me wish harder for the next book, City of Lost Souls, which isn’t due out until May 2012.

The Way I See It:

I think that the people who cast the actual Mortal Instruments movie have done a fantastic job, so we’ll stick with their choices.

Lily Collins as Clary Fray

Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Outside of My Comfort Zone

by Tee

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today, the subject they’ve chosen is Top Ten Books That I Read That Were Outside of Comfort Zone.  This includes books I liked or books I didn’t like (although usually I read books by authors I love or recommended by people I trust, so that doesn’t happen terribly often).  So here goes.

1. The Duff by Kody Keplinger-You guys, my neighbors used call me Prudence McPrude the Mayoress of Prudytown (for those of you who recognize, that’s taken from Will & Grace). Anyhoo, I’m not uptight, but I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life.  Growing up, teenagers didn’t have sex (or at least, they didn’t tell Prudence about it) and they didn’t use the f-word in almost every sentence.  So, since I heard that The Duff was chock full of sexytimes which had…gasp…no real commitment involved and that the protagonist was slightly foul-mouthed, I didn’t expect to relate to it at all.  But guess what?  I thought it rocked. Yes,  it was completely different from the choices I’d make personally, but I was still able to empathize with Bianca, the main character, and see the sweet, lusty draw of Wesley.

2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis– This is a science fiction book.  And there really isn’t any sort of swoon. Oh and in the first chapter, Amy gets all kinds of tubes shoved down her throat as she’s put to sleep (to be kept cryogenically frozen).  So, all in all, these are not factors I’d normally appreciate.  But man oh man was this a fantastic book.  It totally took me by surprise .

3. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin-Hello, it’s a book about a teenage girl who is killed in an accident and has to rebuild her life—albeit temporarily—in a place called Elsewhere.  Not subject matter that totally appeals to me.  But it was pretty good.  Sad, but good.

4. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles– The cover worried me.  And then the whole “guy from the wrong side of the tracks meets perfect rich girl” premise really worried me.  But this book sucked me in, baby.  And Alex, well, it didn’t take long for me to love him. Muy caliente.

5. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr- Yeah, I hate fairy books. Have I mentioned that before? I believe I have.  So why would I pick this book up?  I have no idea.  I guess because I know that people love this series.  But fairies and I don’t mix well.  I want to love it like everyone else does. I worry that I’m really missing out and often consider picking it up again, but really why bother? I couldn’t finish it the first time.

6. The Road by  Cormac McCarthy- This is not a YA book, but I had to mention it.  This book didn’t appeal to me on any level. I mean, the characters don’t even have names for goodness sake!!!!  I don’t even think there’s a single set of quotation marks in the whole thing (so its like this: The man says don’t go there and the boy said why.  This is not a direct quote, but it’s how I remember it)!  And worse, there’s a little boy in it who is starving and constantly in danger and a father who is barely able to care for him.  Not a good combo for me.  But, although I would never, ever read it again, it ended up being pretty decent.  Not amazing. Not worth all the crazy Oprah hype, but solid.

7. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness- Again with the sweet children who are in danger! Ugh!  I’m telling you, my little heart can only take so much.  But lordy, this book was amazing.  I knew it would be, but I was afraid of how it would affect me.  I don’t like worrying about little kids who don’t exist. I spend enough time worrying about my own children.  But this book was everything I’d heard it was. Seriously. Read it.

8. The Enemy by Charles Higson- I’ve mentioned this book before.  It was excellent, but it was totally stressful because I was so worried about the kids and whether or not they would a) get eaten by zombies who may or may not have once been adults they knew and loved b) starve to death or c) kill each other as they battled to be in control.  Still,  it was so stinking good.

9. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer– Thanks to Jacob Black, wolves sort of annoy me too.  I typically avoid books centered on wolf packs because wolves usually just remind me of dogs, and there’s nothing too interesting about the family pooch.  I read Nightshade only because the protagonist, Calla, was set to be a pack leader, and I found that interesting. It was excellent.  She was a great character and the story was good.  And, I’m not gonna lie, Ren was a sexypants.

10. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare- These books have vampires, wolves, fairies and all kinds of other crazy business going on.  You’d think I’d hate them.  But here’s the thing: they’re pretty much awesomesauce.  And they have Jace, who I love like crazy.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

by Tee

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week we’re discussing the Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First time.  Ahhhh, you know the feeling when you get so swept into a story that you don’t ever want it to end.  Or maybe it’s so incredibly engrossing that it’s like a drug.  Or maybe it evokes memories of a certain time in your life.  Either way, with certain books, no matter how many times I read them, there is nothing like that first time.

1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffinegger- This is hands down my favorite book of all time.  I read it many years ago over the course of two days when my husband was out of town and I—pregnant with my second child—couldn’t sleep (gotta love that pregnancy insomnia).  Henry, Clare and their beautiful story left such a lasting impression on me that I’ve often looked for books that can recreate the way this one made me feel.  This is part of why I’m so stoked to read Tamara Ireland Stone’s book Time Between Us, which is being called a YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife.  It’s still quite a wait though.

2. Any Harry Potter book– Yeah, I wasn’t real specific here because I loved all of them and felt completely engrossed in every detail of the story.  It was so magical and fun, while still being complicated and well-planned.  There are few books as perfect as these.

3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See– I love books that delve into other cultures. This story is set in 19th century China and revolves around a lifetime friendship that blossoms between two girls during their foot binding periods.  It is such an interesting look into this culture, but more so, it is such a beautiful tale about friendship.  I wept, people. I really did.

4.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl–  Holy cow I love this book.  I think I’ve read it at least thirty times and only two of those times have been as an adult.  It  completely transported me to Dahl’s incredible, whimsical world and made me wish it were real.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– Gah! I read this in high school and fell in love with Mr. Rochester almost immediately.  The only person I loved more than him was Jane.  She is still one of my favorite heroines of all time.  I read this every year and it still gets me.

6.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen– Of course when I read this six or seven years ago, I knew the basic story: Mr. Darcy has a stick up his butt and he falls in love with sassy old Lizzie Bennett and both are too prideful to see their own faults and errors.  But oh,  I had no idea there was going to be such humor or that I was going to love Elizabeth so much. Darcy won me over too, of course.

7. Twilight by Stephenie Meyers– Should I duck to dodge your flaming arrows of hatred?  When I read this series, the last book (and none of the movies) were out yet.  There weren’t crazy old ladies throwing their panties at Taylor Lautner and Trya wasn’t asking Robert Pattinson to bite her neck.  (I mean, whew! Thank God all that’s over because those things made me hate Twilight fans).  I’m not saying these are the most amazing books, or the most well-written—but I like the story.  I don’t care about whether or not I agree with Bella or whether or not I think Edward, swoony as he may seem, is a stalker (even though he totally is).  I just loved that I cared enough to keep flipping the pages at one o’clock in the morning.  I was excited to buy the next book and find out what was going to happen.  I love any series that can do that for me.

8. Where She Went by Gayle Forman– You guys, I wish I could bottle the way this book made me feel.  Part of it was the pure relief that a sequel to a book I adored could be SO good.  Part of it was that it was heartbreakingly beautiful. Part of it was that it was totally romantic.  And part of it (I know! There are alot of parts here) was being able to see Mia, who I’d grown to love so much, in such a happy, healthy place in life.  It was so perfect that I cried at the end (in a good way).

9. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden– This one also goes back to the fact that I love books about other cultures.  It was particularly interesting and  so beautifully written.  Have you read this?  You should. Don’t see the film instead. You have to read it.

10.  Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding– This book was hilarious! The first pages had me giggling like crazy.  I love Bridget (and Mark. Of course I love Mark) and all the stupid, completely embarrassing things she does, including listing every drink and ciggy she has.  Plus she uses words like F&*@wit, which I think is brilliant.

Mondays (um, Wednesdays) Bite: The Big Finale

As you know, Vee’s computer has been a bit of a crankypants, turning our final Mondays Bite post into a Wednesdays Bite.  So without further ado, here are her final answers to the questions posted by the awesome Ginger at GReads.

Chapters 21-24 & Epilogue

1.   In chapter 21 James calls Bella telling her he has her mother and the only way he won’t kill her is if Bella comes alone. What would you do in that situation? Come alone or tell Alice and Jasper?

I am a HUGE coward…so I probably wouldn’t have even made it as far as Bellla has already made it down this story line.  Had I made it through I would have fo’ SHO’ have told Alice and Jasper about this.  I also wouldn’t have assumed that all ballet studios looked the same.  For really?  Ugh.  That just irritated me, but alas, how could the story line continue had she not been a little dense about this, right?  It’s like when the girl in the horror film decides it’s a good idea to “walk down the stairs”…we yell at the TV, but yet, it always just happens.

2.   Was everyone else as shocked as I was when I first found out about the Alice/James situation? Do you think this adds to the story line or was it not needed? Why do you think they choose not to include these details in the movie?

I was shocked, it completely piqued my interest, and I almost wished Meyers had more details to share on Alice’s history…especially after I read the histories of the others in Eclipse.  I won’t even talk about how I felt about that being left out of the movie because I’ll combust.  I’ll just say, in as calm a voice as I can…wish it had been there.

3.   Edward had to do something extremely difficult in order to save Bella from becoming a vampire. Have you ever had a similar situation in your life where you had to push your will power to its limits?

Most boring answer ever: no, I never have.

4.   Bella and Edward get into the “to change Bella or not to change Bella” argument in the hospital. If you were Bella, would you want to become a vampire? Why or why not?

If I were in Bella’s situation, feeling the passionate love, and knowing – somehow – that this was my only soul mate and that I was as awkward in my regular human form as I was, I’d tot’s go for being a vampire.

5.   Twilight ends with everyone going to the prom. Did you go to your prom? Was your experience similar to Bella’s? Feel free to include pictures!!

Ha, ha…no, no, no…no pics for me.  But I did go to my prom, and, as I’ve shared before, I went to an all girl school.  Due to my lack of access to the other gender, a friend of mine fixed me up with her neighbor and man, did I wish that we’d met before.  Moral to the story: NEVER get fixed up on a blind date for the prom.  Bella’s prom night was 20 million times better than mine!

EXTRA: So, it’s over…Final thoughts?

Twilight is a delicious read!!

Top Ten Tuesday: Trends We’d Like to See More or Less Of

by Tee

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely ladies at The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they’ve picked a super-cool subject, Top Ten Trends We’d Like to See More or Less Of.  I know, right?  How long do you have?

Actually, when it comes right down to it, there are a few really, really annoying trends that continue to be overdone in YA books today (hey who’s judging?  Someone out there loves them), but it was tough for me to come up with a large list of things I wanted to see more of because YA authors continue to inspire me, make me cry, make me laugh and most importantly, make me feel a little swoony.  Still, here’s my list: a combination of things I’d like to see a little (or a lot) less of and some I’d be happy to see more of.

1.  Less Angels, Wolves, Vampires– For the love of everything  holy, I get that Twilight was a colossal, huge, gigantor hit.  I totally enjoyed it and the sequels.  But does every book have to be about these three things?  I mean, I know there were no angels in those books, but you get my point, right?  Many of the ones that have been done are great (Blue Bloods, for example) but many have fallen short (I won’t go into names).  On with the program!  Let’s have some new otherworldly creatures.  Or let’s see more books like The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, where such paranormal creatures are a part of the story, but they aren’t the only story.

2. Less “New, Dangerous Boy in School Coincidentally Assigned to Be Lame Girl/Heroine’s Lab Partner”- Really. I’m astonished at the sheer volume of books that use some combination of this idea to throw the main character and her possible love interest together. Is there no other way for them to meet, hate each other and then fall madly in scary, dangerous love?  And also,  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, where was this abundance of new crazy hot single male students when I was in high school?  Nowhere. There was not a single transfer. Nope. Not a one.  There were hot guys, but not mysterious ones who seemed to come from another world and coincidentally needed a Bio partner.

3.  Less Fairies- I’ll admit it. I hate fairy books.  I can’t explain why. I just have an unfair aversion to them. Maybe it’s because I spend way too much time at Disneyland and so my image of fairies has been completely warped by Tinkerbell.  I know there’s some creepy lore out there about these mystical, powerful creatures, but they just don’t do it for me.

4. Less Annoying Love Triangles- Sometimes a love triangle can be so good in that it stirs up your emotions and makes you say, “Dylan, what the shizz are you thinking? Brenda is a moody, selfish spoiled brat (who will go on to get fired by Aaron Spelling more than once) and Kelly is so much sweeter and so much prettier and so NOT one of those stick in the mud Walshes?”  I mean, come on. Who can hear that Sophie B. Hawkins song, “Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover” and not think of Dylan, Kelly and Brenda?  Is it just me?

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yeah, less love triangles, please.  Don’t get me wrong. I like love triangles, but there are some that feel so manipulative, like the author couldn’t think of another way to throw a wrench in the love story. Or worse, they spend so much time making one part of the triangle look so obnoxious that it’s impossible to believe our heroine could really be that stupid (Bella, for serious. You cannot be in love with two people at once. You can like two people. You can love one and be attracted to another, but you cannot be in love with both. Especially if one is an apeface like Jacob Black). I can go on for days about this.

5. More Ghosts- I really enjoyed Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready. To me it was incredibly unique.  And while I liked the love story aspect of that book, I think any story with ghosts is pretty intriguing if it’s well-written. So bring on the spooky stuff or the creepy stuff or the tragically sweet swoony stuff (or any combination).

6. More Real Girls- The ladies who can skin a squirrel and kick everyone’s arse are incredible to me. I love their stories because they are so far removed from me and my own sheltered life. But give me a real, normal girl any day and I’ll eat up her story in one sitting.  This is why Sarah Dessen’s girls speak to me or why I loved books like Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have).  These are characters who seem like people I once knew (or who are like I was when I was younger).  I feel an instant connection with them. Along with that, I’d love to see more stories about the relationships these girls have.  Not the romantic ones, but the ones they have with their siblings and best friends.  Real-life situations, for better or for worse.

7.  More Retellings- I recently enjoyed the pants off Entwined by Heather Dixon, which was a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.  It was familiar and yet totally fresh and new in its own right. And there have been other books that attempt to do the same, such as The Goddess Test and Abandon, both which successfully take on the myth of Persephone.  It’s always fun to see a new twist on an old idea.

8.  More Science Fiction- Now, I’m not a huge sci-fi buff, unless you count the fact that I’m crazy insane totally in love with Star Wars (now I know I put up a Star Trek picture, but I got too overwhelmed with the awesome Star Wars options on Google. It was very distracting).  But really, other than that, I don’t really read science fiction.  This year I picked up Across the Universe and was blown away.  The premise is fantastic, but more and more I forgot that I was reading something that wasn’t entirely plausible in this world as much as it was just completely engrossing.  And then as I thought more about it, I realized that my favorite book ever is The Time Traveler’s Wife, which, I don’t know if you realize, is about a guy who time travels (kind of sci-fi, right?).  I think I’m ready for more stories like these!

9. More Historical Fiction- I’ve not read a ton of historical fiction in YA, though I’ve read a few Adult Fiction and loved them. I think the opportunity to learn about life in another time period, especially one that is significant in history, would be a welcome change.  And they don’t even have to be heavy, serious stories.  Think Nicola and The Viscount or Victoria and The Rouge, both by Meg Cabot and thereby both as charming and romantic as any of her modern novels.

10. Fish out of Water/Or More Exotic Locales- One of the things I loved about Anna and the French Kiss (outside of the fact that I loved everything) was that Anna was an American student in Paris, someplace I’ve always dreamed of visiting. Or recently I picked up Falling in Love With English Boys, about a girl spending a summer in England with her mom.  Stories such as these,  where the main character has to get acclimated to a new environment, make new friends and face the normal challenges that girls their age encounter, make the story that much more interesting. And, as a huge plus, they give me a chance to travel, if only mentally, to some wonderful places.

Mondays Bite: Chapters 16-20

by Vee

OMG, party people, so we are more than half way through this read through and, um, ya’ll, this is just killin’ me.  Bella just broke Charlie’s heart, and I knew it was coming, I DID, and yet I cringed and my chest got a little tight and, ack!  Sniffle, I love me some Charlie, I don’t like it when he gets all hurt in the ticker.  Though that is my least fav part of this book, it’s also nice to go back through it.  And, speaking of getting a little broken-hearted, next week will be the last of these re-reads, and then what do I do?  Sigh.  Ah well, for now, we’ll continue enjoying the fun.  Thanks, as ever to Ginger at GReads.  And check out this week’s host, The Reading Housewives of Indiana!

Now for some seriously good questions (well done Yani of The Secret Life of an Avid Reader)!

1. {SERIOUS question} If you where in Carlisle position, do you think you would have been able to fight off your vampiric urges? Would you ever bring someone into that life, as he did with Edward and Esme?

Ahhhhhh!  Too. Hard. To. Answer.  Yeesh, you made me, like, stop and use my brain wrinkles on this one.

Hmmm…I think had I been Carlisle’s age when this happened to him I may have given in into temptation, but if I was who I am now, I would definitely be able to.  And, as I am one who savors and needs others around her, I also think I would do the same when it came to Edward and Esme, and in the same way.  It would have to be someone who was already a goner, otherwise it wouldn’t be much better than eating someone for lunch, would it?

2. {FUN question} We are introduced to Edward’s playful side in these chapters, before he gets all manic about the new vampires, I think we have a better picture of who he is. If you had to describe him in 5 words, what would they be? Good and Bad qualities, whatever you like!

Intense.  Intelligent.  Artistic.  Observant.  Delicious.  Er, I mean, Dashing.

3. {LONG question} While re-reading I have been taking notes: observations that I have come across re-reading and comparisons to the movie. One of my notes deals with page 383, in which Edward screams at Alice there is no other option. The first time around I didn’t get that he meant the future that Alice saw for Bella as a vampire (because we obviously hadn’t gotten to that part), but now that I know the whole story I see that is what he meant… Has this happened to you? Do you have any examples of things that are clearer now or things that you have realized while re-reading?

I think your own observation on Alice and Edward’s exchange stands out for me too.  That’s probably the major thing in this section of the book.

4. {PERSONAL question} We haven’t talked about this yet, but I think the idea of your human gifts amplifying in your vampire life is interesting (Jasper’s control of emotions, Edward’s mind reading), what do you think your gifts would be?

Oooooh, good question!  Ok, let’s see…I think I’ve got this crazy “good/bad intentions” radar and I sense a lot of times when people are coming from a good place.  Much of the time I’m right.  Sooooo…I don’t know what you’d call that super power but that would be mine.  I’d like to be called an “Intents-Radar-Ninja”, please.

Oh, here’s a P.S. on this answer…I was talking to a girlfriend of mine about this and she said I am a swesome ninja mom and I’d be like an Esme (except, I’m hoping, a bit more multi-faceted).  Dude, I totally forgot that, I AM a ninja mom, not that I go around beating up people to protect my kids or that I am just THAT amazing as a mom, but I passionately, happily, fervently love being a mom, not just to my kids but to anyone who will allow me to mother them.  It’s my calling in life, and perhaps part of my Intents-Radar-Ninja self is actually just a part of being a Ninja Mom…so let’s scratch the above and please call me Super Ninja Mom in the future, thank you.

5. {SURVEY question} We are coming to the end of the book, what has been your opinion on this re-read? First, when was the last time you read it? Second, do you feel you like it more, the same, or less this time around?

It had been over 2 years since my last re-read.  When I do re-read this series, I like to do it when the weather turns cool.  It’s definitely the kind of book I like to go through when I need some cozy time with just myself so I can delight in something that’s 100% fun, 0% about making me grow as a human.  I know that sounds like an insult, but honest to goodness it’s not.  What I mean is that this is a form of escape for me and I love it.  I always say that I could never love this book more than I did the second time I read it.  The first time it was a major “wham bam thank you m’am”, and I’d like to apologize to the virgin book I took advantage of.  I just NEEDED to get to the bottom of this story, ahhhhhhh!  It was like Vee-catnip.  The second time around it wasn’t about finding out the facts, it was about savoring the information and noticing all the things I skimmed through in my quest for more, more, more.  So I suppose what I am saying is, the first time I read it like a man (this whole book as my virgin bride comparison is getting kinda gross, sorry), the second time I read it like me.  This time around I am enjoying it because I hadn’t done it in a while and it was a little like coming home.  🙂

And before we bid each other adieu til’ next week’s re-read, I do wish to leave you with my favorite quote of these chapters, as this is such a delicious quote it cannot go unshared:

“He leaned over to kiss the top of my head, and then groaned.  I looked at him, puzzled.

‘You smell so good in the rain,’ he explained.

‘In a good way, or in a bad way?’ I asked cautiously.

He sighed.  ‘Both, always both.’”

WHA?!??!  This is a little sick (on account of the “bad way” being that he wants to eat her as an after school snack and all) but this line KIIIIIIIILLS me every time.  Le. Sigh.

Mondays That Bite: Twilight Read Along Chapters 6-10

by Vee

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s Monday, and that can only mean one thing: I get to indulge once again in some Twilight talk.  OMG.  For those of you who missed the gushing, I am still tote’s sending my love to Ginger at GReads for starting the fun.

The questions below came to us from Lisa at Lisa is Busy Nerding.  I had tons of fun answering them (thanks Lisa!), and hope YA Crushers have their own ideas to add as well.  And now, without further ado, week two of the funnest thing ever: the Twilight Read Along.  (Yay!)

1.  Because we have to talk about it sometime – are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?  Does that impact how you re-read the book?

Um, Team Edward.  Moo.  A totally emotional decision, and I won’t even bother stating my case.  I just be lovin’ me some Edward.  (And Jacob is a smelly dog.  Sorry,  I just had to get one dig in…)

Re-reading the books I had a totally different experience than when I read the books the first time .  This was true with all characters, including Jacob.  The first time I read them I wanted to go as fast as I could through the story because I felt so much in suspense, wanting to get to the bottom of all these mysteries.  The second time around I was able to digest the characters and much to my chagrin, I was able to see Jacob with less disdain when re-reading the first book because I felt he did do a lot that, I must admit, redeemed himself for me when we arrived at the series’ conclusion.  (She says in a begrudging tone.)

2. Bella spends a lot of her time by herself in her room when she’s not at school.  What do you think this says about her as a character?  Can you relate to her introverted nature?

I think the picture of Bella that Stephenie Meyers is trying to paint is of someone who isn’t necessarily the stereotypical teen girl.  It would take someone beyond the standard stereotype to catch the eye of someone who has seen them all.  Evidently Edward agrees.  The fact that Bella is an introvert who decides what is right for herself, despite what others might consider cool, foreshadows what’s to come and the decisions she makes in future books, which aren’t based on what most of us might choose but what she feels is right for her.  The convictions are strong in that young Padwan.  (Sorry, I’ve been having Star Wars marathons with my kids this summer…)

Do I relate?  Yeee-eh-uh.  As someone who was 100% non-sporty (let’s just say the klutz factor got in the way of my Olympic gold medal plans), not to mention kinda shy, being in my room reading was a favorite pastime.  Books saved me (remember my answer to question #1 last week?).  I could escape in books.  Books were my best conversation starters (and still are, actually).  Books rock the house.  As does hanging out alone, having quiet time with just you and your book in your room.  Yay books!

3. Probably my favorite chapter of the entire book, chapter eight brings us dress shopping, nearly getting assaulted, and then wraps up nicely with a quaint dinner and confession time.  In this we see the blend of typical teenage existence starting to get tainted by the paranormal world.  If given the choice right then, would you push to know more about the paranormal, or bury your head in the sand and live the teenage dream?

Push to know more.  Push to know more!!!!!  Ahhhhhhh!  Sevehn.

4. Already, it’s pretty clear that Bella is falling for Edward.  Is this happening too quickly to be plausible, or is it totally reasonable to you? What about Edward do you find to be swoonworthy at this point?

Unlike the person who plays him in real life, Edward is well spoken and thoughtful in what he says.  And – ok, let’s review – words are the way to Vee’s heart.  Also, if there’s mushroom ravioli involved: I. Am. Yours.  But I digress.  Chemistry, as it relates to love, can be a pretty tricky thing.  So it’s not entirely that implausible that she’s already giving him some stink eye.  Lez see…he’s evidently super hot, he can talk real good, and he does swoony gentlemanly things that guys his age, sadly, don’t always know to do.  (Offers her his delicious-smelling-jacket?  Hulloh?  Oh, and also, he pays for dinner.  And it was mushroom ravioli…did I mention that?)

5. Jessica has to forcibly remove all of the details on what’s going on from Bella, but through that we learn more about how she’s feeling and how she’s falling for Edward already.  If you were in Jessica’s shoes, what would you say to Bella?

“Bella, that is some hot piece of…”, oh wait…that’s not a proper answer.  If I were me, but in Jessica’s shoes, knowing only the little that Jessica knows about Edward, I’d say: “Bella, this dude is a little too dark and broody (though admittedly really fuh-huh-hine) so just tread lightly and look alive!  No dark, hidden corners with him for a while, ‘kay?”  Because in the real world, where he’s actually walking down the halls of school, I would think it was a little scary.  Dark, broody, never talking to anyone???  Hmmm…  But still, he’s Edward so I wouldn’t completely discourage it, either. I’d just ask that she be a ninja about it and watch out, because I don’t know who he really is, right?!!?!

For a list of next week’s questions, be sure to visit  Jasmine and Jacinda at The Reading Housewives of Indiana and check back with us on Monday when we discuss chapters 11-15 (it’s meadow time, party people)!

Even the photo stills of the scene in the Port Angeles restaurant make me sad (I really don't think the screenwriter - or the director - did it justice in the movie - yes more whining), so the only thing I could bear to include this week, was a photo of mushroom ravioli. Sigh.

Mondays That Bite: Twilight Read-Along, Chapters 1-5

by Vee

For all that is good and Twilight.  Did someone just, like, ask the universe, “Universe. what could we do to make Vee’s life, like, awesome sauce?”  And the universe said, “Oh, I know, I know!  [Evidently the Universe is a smarty pants, know-it-all…] Re-read Twilight as a group and discuss amongst yourselves.”  For real?  Happy birthday to me!  (P.S. It’s not my birthday.)  And so, we begin with the first set of questions for the Monday’s That Bite read-a-long.  I’d love to send my personal thanks and devotion to fabu Ginger at GReads who came up with this idea!

Feel free to add your own thoughts in response to the questions posed…because Lord knows that Twilight issues are a heated topic. (I have my rotten-tomato-proof cyber vest on, so go ahead, it’s ok.)

1. Have you ever had to start over in a new place, like Bella did in Forks? This new place could be a school, job, or town… just something with a new setting. How easy or difficult was this for you? 

My “start over” moment was easier than it was for Bella, what without a bloodthirsty being trying not to kill me whilst he also professed his love and all.  I went from my neighborhood elementary school to a middle school that no one else I knew went.  It was a completely different setting going from a “regular” public school, to a private school for girls who were much more affluent than I.  (It was on a scholarship.)  It was definitely a learning experience and it took some adjustments but at the end of the day I can honestly say it was one of the best things that could have happened to me.  Once I stumbled upon the campus’ “Jane Eyre Fan Club”, I was aaaaaaalright.  OK, I didn’t really, but it was something like that.  Even back then, books saved me.

2. Do you picture the actors from the movie as the characters in the book while you are reading? 

Unfortunately for me, my brain was already biased.  I was convinced by my good pal Tee (yes this was all her fault, or so my beloved says) to read the books as the first promo photos for the movie were coming out.  So I will never know what “my” Edward looked like, though I will say, I am A-ok with the looks of the one that was cast.  And yes, that’s who I picture as I read.  And, physically speaking, that’s the Bella I picture (minus the lip biting, of course).  But Rosalie?  She’s supposed to be one of the most stunning women in the world. What happened?  Catherine Hardwicke, that crazy fool, thaz what.

3. What are your first thoughts on meeting Edward in Bella’s Biology class? At first he was annoyed by her presence, but then after a week away he returns & finds himself very interested in her. Do you think this helped or hindered the storyline? 

My first thought?  My first thought was:  “WTH?!?!?  What the flippity flap jack?”  I just couldn’t figure it out.  There wasn’t a clue in my head as to why he was so angry pants.  And it absolutely sucked me in from there.  There was certainly no turning back until I got to the bottom of that.  My opinion is tinted by the fact that I was one of the crazy people that went on to read “Midnight Sun” (the chapters released by Stephenie Meyer which was Twilight from Edward’s point of view) and so I think it is important to the storyline.  It’s confusing as crow though, I will admit.

4. Out of the secondary characters Bella meets at school, who is your favorite and why? (I am referring to the humans, not the vampires in this question.) 

If I am confined to picking a human: Angela, hands down!  Actually, Angela probably makes it to my top 5 even accounting for the vamps.

 5. There is a lot of dialogue between Edward and Bella in these first few chapters that I feel played a major role in developing their relationship. What are some of your favorite quotes? or moments? 

This is the singular reason why these books will always stay near and dear to my heart, despite any other nonsense (by which I mean all the hype, the Twi-crazies, the Twi-haters, so on and so forth).  I strongly believe this is why this book crossed so many generations in the crazay, it was the talking.  That’s how women fall in love…the talking, the banter, the feeling that this guy “gets you” where it counts: in your head.  Fav moments:

“Edward is staring at you again,” Jessica said, finally breaking through my abstraction with his name.  “I wonder why he’s sitting alone today.”  My head snapped up.  I followed her gaze to see Edward, smiling crookedly, staring at me from an empty table across the cafeteria from where he usually sat. 

Are everyone’s toes curled?  Just checking.

“Will you do something for me this weekend?”  He turned to look at me straight in the face, utilizing the full power of his burning gold eyes. 

I nodded helplessly.

“Don’t be offended , but you seem to be one of those people who just attract accidents like a magnet.  So…try not to fall into the ocean or get run over or anything, all right?”  He smiled crookedly. 

And one more for the road…

He glanced down at me from the corner of his eye, smiling wryly.  “I really don’t think I was invited.”

I sighed.  “I just invited you.”

“Let’s you and I not push poor Mike any further this week.  We don’t want him to snap.”

Let’s you and I…”  OMG, how much does a girl love to hear that phrase coming from her crush?  Just sayin.

For a list of next week’s questions, be sure to visit Lisa at Lisa is Busy Nerding and check back with us on Monday when we discuss chapters 6-10!

See? In my lip biting, no awkward vampire, just banter and talkie, talkie. Oh, and some swooniness, but that comes later. Can't wait for chapters 6-10!!! ACK!

Mondays Bite: Twilight Re-Read Along

Cover of the little known book Twilight. Heard of it?

Whether you love it or hate it, most everyone has read Twilight, the sparkly vamp themed love story penned by the then unknown housewife, Stephenie Meyers.

We are definitely not a part of the Twi-haters camp here— in fact Vee is known to be just a teensy bit crazy when it comes to professing her all-out love for this series.  And though I have some criticisms (and make fun of the characters ALOT), I also totally love these books because they’re fun and enjoyable and because I refuse to over-analyze them like all the other naysayers.

However you feel, there’s no denying that Twilight has opened the floodgates to the world of YA for many young adult fans and without these books, there just might not have been some of the great YA books we have today.  Twilight has gotten people back into reading and showed the world that YA is a genre with a huge, limitless market.

So why all the Twilight talk? Because we’re participating in a re-read hosted by Ginger at GReads! Now, we’re not getting all crazy and like, putting up posters of Edward Cullen or anything, but we are totally excited to read it again and discuss it with our book peeps.  Each week we’ll read 5 chapters and discuss five predetermined questions until the book is finished (again).  Check back with us every Monday to see our progress!

This week: Chapters 1-5