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.

Entwined

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Gorgeous Cover

Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it’s taken away. All of it.

The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.

But there is a cost.

The Keeper likes to keep things.

Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Here’s the scoop:

Entwined is a completely engrossing, totally enchanting young adult fairy tale. It’s based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm.  I, personally, was not altogether familiar with this tale, other than the Barbie DVD version, which I love (hey, I have two daughters and after a watching the same Disney and Barbie movies again and again, I begin to do things like ponder the swoonworthiness of the male romantic leads. It happens). Still, this version of the story is much better.

Azalea is the eldest of the King’s twelve daughters.  As such, she bears the burden of marrying a man who will one day succeed the King.  Her mother has taught her to believe in love,magic and the romance of dancing.  She serves as a buffer between the girls and their cold, distant father until her death on Christmas Eve.  From that point forward, the family is relegated to a yearlong mourning period that requires them to wear only black, cover the windows from all outside light, to stay indoors and to refrain from dancing.  Every item tied to their mother is locked away because of the pain it causes the King.  As the girls grieve, they’re pained also by the loss of dancing, something their mother loved and taught them well.  They feel it is their last link to her.

But the world in which Azalea and her sisters live is magical.  They’ve been raised on stories of spells cast on their castle by an evil former king–magic that has now been removed.  And they’ve heard that there are still enchanted passageways in the castle. In fact, they find one of these passageways and venture through it.  It leads to a beautiful pavilion filled with food and music and dancing.  The handsome, mysterious man who guards it, known only as The Keeper, invites them to dance for him each night.  The girls happily accept, returning regularly, despite the King’s constant questions about why their dancing shoes are always worn.  And as time presses forward,  The Keeper, who is both enticing and frightening, seems to want something in return for their passage to his world.

This is such a wonderful novel.  It’s set in a time period where there were elegant balls and ladies in gowns being courted by gentlemen who treat them like fine china.  The writing is rich and the story itself is magical and full of romance and humor.  The sisters are each unique and they share a bond of love both with each other and with their dear mother that translates beautifully onto the page.  The romance (actually romances) were perfectly done, while not detracting from the main story and the delicate balance of love and tenderness essential to the father/daughter relationship.

Crush Intensity: 4.5/5  This is a good read, especially if you like fairy tales.

Confessions of The Sullivan Sisters

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year’s Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin….

Here’s the scoop:  Almighty Lou (that’s Grandma) is the family powerhouse, marrying a whopping five men, each dying and leaving her richer than the previous husband.  They are the upper crust of Baltimore society (not that that really means anything, except to the people who believe themselves to be upper crusts as well).  Almighty likes things just so: She wants her grandkids to go to the right school, have a proper coming out, be seen with the right kind of boy and basically to do exactly as she says.  She’s not a particularly doting lady,  choosing to host a weekly afternoon tea with her granddaughters as opposed to do anything maternal like baking cookies or knitting a blanket (in fact, she’s vaguely reminiscent of Grandmere from The Princess Diaries).  

Almighty drops the bomb on everyone that she is terminally ill.  Unfortunately, one of her family members has done something to upset her and if she does not get a full confession by New Years Day, she will cut her family out of her will entirely.  Now Almighty’s three granddaughters—Norrie, Jane and Sassy—pour out their hearts in confession of how they feel they may have wronged their grandmother.

First up is Norrie. Norrie is expected to debut at the cotillion.  This is may sound kind of  cheeseball to normal folks like you and me, but in Almighty’s world, a cotillion is epic.  Norrie has been pressured by Almighty to invite Brooks Overbeck, grandson to her very best friend.  He’s nice enough, but he’s not the guy she wants.  While she attempts to do what Almighty demands, her heart draws her elsewhere.  And even though Almighty knows the outcome of the story, Norrie confesses it in letter form, hoping her grandmother will understand.

Then, there’s my personal favorite, Jane. Jane is the little rebel of the family and makes no apologies for it.  She has started a blog called myevilfamily.com (check it out. It’s a real site) wherein she rips her family a new one by telling their history and thus, embarrassing everyone in the process, most of all, Almighty.

And finally there’s Sassy.  Sassy—who literally believes she cannot be killed because of a few freak accidents she’s recently come through— is weighted with guilt because she feels entirely responsible for the death of someone very dear to Almighty.  She confesses her grave misdeed in a letter, believing that what she’s done is unforgivable.

The big question is, who is the one who has truly upset Oh Unmaternal One? Everyone is fessing up to something and the stories overlap in such a way that only with all three accounts do we see the full picture.

I thought this book was so cute.  Standiford created a cooky family.  Outside of Almighty Lou and her awesome granddaughters, their family consists of three brothers and a some adorably wacky parents.  They reminded me somewhat of the family in The Wedding Crashers—totally lovable, but kind of nutters.  For example, they refer to their mother, not as Mom, but as Ginger and they call their father Daddy-o.  Ginger spends her days sleeping, lunching, drinking cocktails and saying things like “marvelous”, leaving the child rearing to the housekeeper while Daddy-o does…I don’t know what all day. Almighty takes care of the family financially and though they’re all kind of off their rockers, they are so loveable.  I sort of picture them like this:

Too crazy and beautiful to know they're crazy and beautiful

You know?  Kind of half-drunk on champagne and feeling the need to wear every expensive garment they own all at once so that the entire world can see.  Not the kids so much as the adults, but you get the picture.

This story is a complete departure from Standiford’s debut novel, How to Say Goodbye in Robot.  Both are good, well-written stories with interesting, quirky characters, but Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters is lighthearted and funny.  It’s not a story about romance and major swoon, but about coming to terms with who we are as individuals and in the greater family unit.

As an only child, I always find stories like this to be engrossing because the  sibling dynamics are totally foreign to me (as it is when my children fight over who is going to open the garage door or who is going to take a bath first.  I’m like, who cares?  but to them it’s major).

Crush Intensity: 3.5/5 Super cute


Casting The Hunger Games Movie (like for reals)

The Hunger Games, the incredible first book in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, is being made into a film.  For some reason Vee and I were NOT asked to direct or weigh in on it (what the shizzo is that about?)  Despite this tragic news,  we’ve been talking about our dream cast.  Forget that the film now has a big-name fancy pants director (Gary Ross) or that the budget was just announced to be somewhere around $60 million (that’s more than Twilight thank heaven, but less than some huge epics).  We want to talk about who would be in our movie— age, money and sanity aside.

Tee

Alright friends, I’m nothing if not totally indecisive when it comes to the most ridiculous, unimportant things.  If you need help with a major life decision, I’m your girl.  But if you want to know which of two identical taupe shades you should paint your living room, I will agonize over the whole process.  All that considered, we should be thankful that I whittled my cast down to one choice per character on most everyone…except Katniss.

Kaya Scodelario as Katniss?

Kaya Scodelario

AS KATNISS

I know alot of people online are talking about her for the role of Katniss.  I think she physically fits the description of our resident bad ass, Ms. Everdeen.   Plus she’s  gorg.  If I didn’t think she looked like Katniss I’d probably hate her.  I’m interested to see her in the new Wuthering Heights movie next year, playing the character I love to hate, Cathy Earnshaw. This one has potential so she gets a solid…eh.

 

Or Emma Roberts as Katniss?

Emma Roberts

AS KATNISS

Confession: My kids and I love the Nancy Drew movie.  And we love Ms. Roberts.  She is cuteness personified.  Obviously “cute” is not a word we Hunger Games peeps would ever use to describe Katniss.   Buttkicker?  Yes.  Brave?  Yes?  Totally clueless when it comes to guys? Oh hell yes.  But not cute.  Still, for some totally irrational reason I think Emma Roberts would have the ability to carry off a tough, multi-layered girl like Katniss.  I have no evidence to point to, other than the fact that perhaps her Auntie Julia has passed on some of her wonderful acting talents, but this is what I believe.

Sidenote: I know Chloe Moretz is all the rage right now.  There has been lots of internet buzz that she’s a favorite to play Katniss.  Let’s me just say, she is adorable.  I loved her in Kick Ass and the clips I’ve seen from Let Me In (which I won’t watch because the original film scared the pants off me) look fantastic, but she is far too young to be Katniss.  Not only is she young, she looks very young.  If she is cast as Katniss, I may have to go on a Hunger Games boycott (which, you know, would only last until the movie came out, after which I’d totally go see it because I have absolutely no willpower, but still.  Be warned).

Ben Barnes as Gale

 

Ben Barnes

AS GALE

Well hellooooo Prince Caspian.  Or is that King Caspian now?  Sigh. Barnes has those brooding good looks that Gale is known for.  Though we barely get to know him in the first book, this is how I picture Katniss’ sidekick.  In fact, most of what Suzanne Collins tells about Gale has to do with his uber hotness (check), his hunting abilities (seeing him fighting all those CGI things in Prince Caspian leads me to believe he’d pull this off) and his devotion to Katniss and her family.  He is exactly how I imagine Gale, that poor guy stuck in friend mode with his best bud.  Wouldn’t they make such pretty babies? 


Hunter Parrish as Peeta

Hunter Parrish

AS PEETA

I know I just picked him in my casting for the Clockwork Angel review.  He’s kind of my go-to-blonde-guy (sorry Blonde Guys.  I’m not normally your biggest fan).  And he has an innocent look about him, which is exactly how I imagine our District 12 baker.  Peeta is someone who sees a sliver of hope in the darkest of times and this face conveys that.  What convinced me of this was when I rented It’s Complicated and saw Mr. P playing Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin’s son.  The moment I saw him, all I could think was “Peeta! Bread!  Peeta!”  When genius strikes, you don’t question it.

Hugh Laurie as Haymitch

Hugh Laurie

AS HAYMITCH

This is totally how I picture my man Haymitch.  I love that terribly flawed guy because despite his flagrant drunkenness and harsh ways, you can see that he has a heart.  Can you really blame him for being a little bit of a crazypants?  He’s been through alot.  That’s why I think Hugh Laurie would be perfect—because he’s not.  He’s good at playing a man who is intelligent, who has some inner demons but also has a heart buried somewhere under that hard exterior.

Elle Fanning as Prim

Elle Fanning

AS PRIM

Would you look at that face?  Isn’t she the most precious thing since baby Renessme chewed her way out of Bella’s tum tum?  No, really. Isn’t she so cute?  Dakota’s little sis is exactly how I picture Prim.  She has that fresh, innocent face that could convey hope in even the darkest of times.  And she’s just the right age (twelve).

Elizabeth Banks as Effie

 

Elizabeth Banks

AS EFFIE

Look out bishes! It’s time to talk about the cold-hearted mega byotch, Miss Effie.  I imagined Effie as someone picture-perfect; someone who looked beautiful on the outside, with her mega-watt smile and perfect composure, but who could convey an icy detachment with one look.  I can imagine that she’d have the same expression on her face in announcing the Hunger Games as she would in doing a big-time Panem celeb interview.  Dats cold.  Elizabeth Banks (who I love) fits the bill.

Jude Law as Cinna

Jude Law

AS CINNA

I’m not gonna lie.  I agonized over this one (remember: taupe paint).  It was so difficult to place my beloved Cinna.  I imagined him to be breathtakingly handsome with just a touch of fabulosity.  I think Jude Law could pull that off.  He’s pretty and kind of delicate-looking.  Still, before we sign his contract I’d be open to suggestions from others.

 

 

 

Vee

OK, so I should probably start this off with one big “I’m sorry”.

I feel like I start way too many of my posts with apologies and disclaimers but what can I say?  I was raised Catholic so my guilt is in every fiber of my plasma.  But see this time, this time it’s truly warranted…I really do need to apologize.  Why?  Oh, wait until you get to the bottom of my casting call.  Now don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Don’t go sending me your computer repair bill if you throw something at your computer screen and it breaks.

“WTF is she talking about?”, you might ask.

Listen, I didn’t mean for this to happen, but the brain eyes want what they want and sometimes there’s just nothing you can do about it.  As I read The Hunger Games, and as I quickly discovered my personal preference for Peeta over Gale, my head (acting as if on its own accord) morphed Peeta into who it wanted him to look like…siriusly.  And so it was only natural that this would transform Gale into the opposite of Peeta, cuz they are, right?

OK here’s the deal:  I like brunettes.  I’ve never been one for blond guys and I find it a great duress to imagine a literary character swoonworthy if he’s a blondie, which supposedly Peeta is.  Sooooo…there, I said it.  In my head Peeta is a brunette, very down to earth looking and Gale is blond and pouty.  What?!?!?  I SAID I KNOW ALREADY, STOP WITH THE DIRTY LOOKS!!!  Sorry, there’s the Catholic guilt kicking in…it’s making me a little paranoid.  Wait, are you still giving me the evil eye?  I can’t take this.

 

See? Look, she's thinking, I am SO going to kick the living shiz out of that paparazzi!

Kaya Scodelario

AS KATNISS

She’s lovely but not SO unbelievable gorgeous that she knows it.  The kind of pretty that everyone but her is aware of.  She also has eyes that show her strength…you know, the kind of eyes that say, “I am so going to kick your ass right now!” and be able to follow through on that promise.  Just sayin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

See? She looks tired.

Katherine Keener

AS KATNISS' MOM


Katniss’ mom is kinda, sorta pretty but she tired!  I mean, hulloh, you would be  too if you had to live in District 12 and had lost a husband, gone through major clinical depression that you, somehow, nursed yourself back from, and were starving nearly everyday.  Also, coal dust is not good for your skin…it can make you wrinkle prematurely.  I hope Katherine Keener doesn’t take this the wrong way but she does a really good job acting tired.

Sami Hanratty is a cutie-pie like Prim

Sammi Hanratty

AS PRIM

Cutie-patootie Prim still has the fresh look of innocence.  She is, by nature, filled with hope.  She’s super cute as a button too, just like Sammi Hanratty! (She’s in one those American Girl movies I’ve never seen on account of I have two boys, thank God!)

Robert Downey Jr. is my Haymitch

Robert Downey Jr.

AS HAYMITCH

I have this bizarre “smell you” connection going on with Haymitch and I don’t know why.  I mean, I SWEAR it has nothing to do with my own out of control drinking problem. Just kidding you guys, I don’t have an out of control drinking problem!  It’s totally under control which is what I always tell my friends from AA when they call.  OK, so, really, I don’t know why.  He’s a kook, and I just happen to have a soft spot for kooks.  It also probably doesn’t hurt that from the get go I envisioned one Mr. Robert Downey Jr. as Haymitch, who I have just the tiniest of crushes on.  I might have cast Hugh Laurie, except I just really wanted to post this picture of RDJ giving me (me) the stink eye.

 

"Um, why is the Mockingjay holding that big giant ball? I think it clashes with her outfit!"

Kristin Chenoweth

AS EFFIE

This girl is the bitch-who-stole-mah-pads.  She is utterly obtuse and unable to access the part of her brain that says, “Heeeeey, I’m in the business of taking people to their deaths!”  She distracts herself by thinking she’s in the business of being a crazy etiquette nazi and it works for her.  You need to have the ability to give the crazy eye look if you’re going to play this gal and Kristin Chenoweth is just the girl.  I’ve seen the crazy eyes on that one and she does them gooooooood.

Jake Baruchal

AS CINNA

Oh, Cinna.  I heart Cinna.  I want to start the club and be the president.  Every girl needs a Cinna.  I could write a sonnet about why but if I start I’ll never finish, so let me just say that this one is the hardest to cast for me.  I wanted someone who is good looking, but not too good looking.  He should not be ripped because he has to stand in great contrast to the likes of Gale and Peeta, who are totally ripped and muscular (right?).  Someone who has a quiet serenity, and eternal wisdom about him, someone who with just one look tells you he knows more.  The force is strong in this one, young Padawan.  So tell me, how in the hizzle am I supposed to cast that?!?!  Imagine my luck, as I was watching a commercial for the upcoming release of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (on DVD and Blu-Ray!) and I see Jake Baruchal, the apprentice, gives the camera this quiet-resolve-type look and I was sold.  That’s my Cinna and I am sticking to it.

 

I'm sorry.

Chord Overstreet

AS GALE

I have nothing to say.  Sorry, I’m too busy with my head under my pillow.  Look, just enjoy the pretty picture of Chord Overstreet and be quiet.  Just thought I’d add that it’s almost a mystic, voodoo kind of thing that my final (and most important, to me anyhow) casting pick is also a fellow Glee cast member…

 


This is my Peeta, okay?

Cory Montieth

AS PEETA

Peeta, who even in all my cringe-filled-stupor I saved for last because I love him so.  Peeta is sweet but still capable of (I don’t care what anyone says) open a can of whoop ass.  The difference being that he can talk about how that makes you feel after it happened.  Well, on account of my brunette-preference, I pictured an aw shucks, cutie-patootie who still could bench press.  And so, fresh off of my first read of The Hunger Games, I tuned into my current fav TV Show, Glee, and watched as Cory Montieth did the whole “aw shucks” thing so adorably perfectly, and then turning around and kicking some a-double-ss  on the football field.

The Recap…

It looks like Vee and I will have to duke it out over Gale and Peeta (obv. Ben Barnes will win since he’s a prince and all), but this whole conversation has us wondering…who would your dream cast be?