Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse by Stephenie MeyerTitle: Eclipse
Author: Stephenie Meyer (Website)
Series: Twilight Saga #3
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Hardcover (629 pages)
In the dead silence, all the details suddenly fell into place for me with a burst of intuition.

Something Edward didn't want me to know. Something Jacob wouldn't have kept from me...

It was never going to end, was it?

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob--knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which? Summary from Dust Jacket
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There are spoilers in this review. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m pretty sure these spoilers aren’t anything new.

I first read Eclipse when it came out in August 2007. I was so excited to read it. New Moon had left me with such anxious feelings and I wanted peace. I needed peace. So, I waited as patiently as I could to find out what would happen to Bella and Edward, and begrudgingly Jacob.

I read Eclipse in one day. I needed to know if Bella ended up with Edward. I needed to know that Jacob wasn’t in the way anymore. Unfortunately, I didn’t get quite what I wanted. Eclipse is what showed me that I detest love triangles more than any other literary device there is. I’d rather see my favorite characters die than in a love triangle. Sadly, love triangles are over-abundant in YA books.

I’m not one to throw books if I get mad at something in the story, but when Bella finally relented to kiss Jacob and discovered that she was in love with him, I very nearly threw my book across the room. I was so mad! I almost didn’t keep reading. It was my worst nightmare coming true. When I finished Eclipse, the peace and calm I had wanted about Bella and Edward’s relationship wasn’t there. Sure, she chose Edward, but it felt like she only chose him because she had to.

The epilogue in Jacob’s point-of-view bugged me too. I didn’t care what Jacob was feeling. I wanted more Bella and Edward. It almost left a sour taste in my mouth, but I got over it. After realizing that I liked most of the book and that Bella did end up with Edward, I was okay. I decided that I liked Eclipse, just not quite as much as I had liked Twilight.

Just like with New Moon, I’ve only read Eclipse three times now whereas I’ve read Twilight five times. I couldn’t bring myself to read Eclipse again until after I read Breaking Dawn and knew Bella ended up with Edward for good.

2014 Reread Thoughts

Reading what I term “The Great Dog Snog” (coined by some friends on the Twilight Lexicon when Eclipse first came out) was still irritating. It’s definitely not my favorite scene in the book. It’s seriously like the longest kiss in the world (Bella and Edward don’t even have that long of a kiss)! But, what I did notice this time around is that Bella wasn’t just choosing Edward because she had to. She chose Edward because she wanted him more and that made me feel better. I think in that respect the Eclipse movie helped a lot because of the emotions shown in the movie. So, now I can read Eclipse more happily than I could that first time around.

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon by Stephenie MeyerTitle: New Moon
Author: Stephenie Meyer (Website)
Series: Twilight Saga #2
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Hardcover (608 pages)
I knew we were both in mortal danger.

Still, in that instant I felt well. Whole. I could feel my heart racing in my chest, the blood pulsing hot and fast through my veins again. My lungs filled deep with the sweet scent that came off his skin.

It was like there had never been any hole in my chest. I was perfect--not healed, but as if there had never been a wound in the first place.

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning... Summary from Dust Jacket
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There are spoilers in this review. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m pretty sure these spoilers aren’t anything new.

I first read New Moon in June 2007, right after I finished reading Twilight for the first time. When I finished Twilight, I wanted more so I begged a friend to let me borrow her copy of New Moon, thinking I’d have the same experience I’d had with Twilight. Boy, was I wrong!

When Edward left in New Moon, I was almost just as devastated as Bella was. I couldn’t handle having him gone. The whole reason I loved Twilight so much was the tension, conflict, and angst in Bella and Edward’s relationship. And, without Edward there, there was really no relationship. Plus, I just loved the idea of vampires, especially Stephenie Meyer’s take on them.

While I read New Moon, I was glad that Bella found Jacob and that he helped her feel better. But, I couldn’t help thinking that this shouldn’t be Jacob. It should be Edward. I was more anxious about Jacob being with Bella than I was when she was with Edward, even knowing Edward was “dangerous” to her. Jacob was trouble, in my opinion. I knew he could cause problems when Edward came back. (I knew Edward had to come back.)

I liked learning about how Quileute legends affected the tribe. I figured out that Jacob was a werewolf before Bella did and it was infuriating that it took her so long to figure it out. It was also infuriating that she thought the wolves were behind the deaths around the area. I also didn’t like that she was so worried about them since the legends plainly state that they were made to destroy vampires. I understood why she felt that way, having seen what a vampire can do, but still.

My favorite part of New Moon was Volterra. I loved learning about the Volturi in more detail. I had been curious about them ever since Edward had mentioned them in Twilight. I also loved, of course, the reunion between Edward and Bella, my very favorite scene being when he flipped her toward the wall to protect her from the Volturi guard. I was so glad he was back. And, then I realized that Jacob would be a problem and that I just couldn’t like him. And, thus began my first experience with a love triangle and my first experience with hating a character so much that I wanted them to die. (Yeah, I know. I’m a little melodramatic.)

While I’ve read Twilight a total of five times now. I’ve only read New Moon three times. New Moon is my least favorite book of the series. Until I had read Eclipse, I couldn’t bring myself to read New Moon again. And, then when Eclipse didn’t have as satisfying of an ending as I wanted in terms of the love triangle, I still couldn’t bring myself to reread New Moon. I didn’t read it a second time until after I read Breaking Dawn and knew Bella ended up with Edward for good.

2014 Reread Thoughts

During this reread of New Moon, I knew what happened. I knew how the whole story ended. Yet, I still felt anxious once Edward left. I had to reread my favorite chapters at the end of New Moon concurrently with the rest of the story to help me through the heart-wrenching parts as well as those parts with Jacob getting a little too close for comfort.

five-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-starsfive-stars

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly BlackTitle: The Coldest Girl in Cold Town
Author: Holly Black (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Hardcover (419 pages)
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. Summary from Dust Jacket
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I’ll admit it. I was drawn to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown because of the cover. I love it! Plus, I had never read anything by Holly Black yet and I thought this would be a good place to start.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but what I got was a unique story that was fun, suspenseful, and even had a little bit of romance in it. I liked it a lot.

I loved the concept of the Coldtowns. I thought it was really unique and it seemed like a good way to quarantine the infectious vampirism disease. But, there’s a part of me that wondered if Coldtowns really could keep vampires in. I honestly don’t think they could, but I didn’t let that bother me too much as I read the story because it made for a good setting to the story.

Tana seemed a little aloof to me. I couldn’t quite pin down her motives or personality. She seemed to suffer from PTSD and maybe that was why it was hard to get a read on her. I really liked Gavriel, though. I loved how contradictory he was. He didn’t want to be a monster, but at the same time, he knew he was so he used it to his advantage.

I really liked the romance in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but I wanted more. There were only a few scenes. The romance wasn’t the main point of the story, so it didn’t take over the book. I liked that about it, but at the same time, I think I would’ve liked this book more if there was more romance in it.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a stand-alone book as far as I can tell. By the end, the main conflict is taken care of, sort of. (It actually depends on what you consider to be the main conflict.) But, the story is left open enough that if Holly Black wanted to write a sequel she could. I kind of want her to, so she could expound on the romance more, lol.

Anyway, I really liked the story and the characters, but as I said, I was left wanting more. Maybe, I’ll just have to go reread Twilight to get “the more” I want.

three-starsthree-starsthree-stars

Paranoia by JR Johansson

Paranoia by JR JohanssonTitle: Paranoia
Author: JR Johansson (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Series: The Night Walkers #2
Genres: Thriller, YA
Format: eBook (326 pages)
In the aftermath of the events that nearly killed him, Parker Chipp is trying to learn to cope better with life as a Watcher. And it seems to be working ... until he wakes up in jail with a hangover and 12 hours of missing time. Darkness has somehow taken control and Parker doesn't have a clue how to stop him. He finds an unlikely ally in Jack, the mysterious guy in the motorcycle jacket who offers to help Parker master his abilities as a Watcher. But even as they practice, the darkness inside Parker is getting more and more powerful, taking over Parker’s body and doing everything he can to destroy Parker's life.

When Jack reveals that there is another kind of Night Walker, known as a Taker, Parker starts to wonder if the strange things happening in Oakville are more than just a coincidence. After all, people are more than just sleepwalking. They're emptying their savings accounts with no memory of doing so, wandering into strange parts of town and disappearing, they're even killing other people--all in their sleep. If Parker wants to find out what's happening or have any hope of seeing his father again, he’ll have to defy Jack and put his own life in danger ... because the more he learns about these other Night Walkers, the more certain he becomes that his life isn't the only one that could be lost. Summary from Goodreads
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UBI really enjoyed reading Paranoia. It was so much fun and just as clever and creepy as Insomnia was.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Night Walkers. Because Parker didn’t know much in the Insomnia, we relied on what he knew and what he told us. In Paranoia, he learns a lot more about Night Walkers and their world. It was really interesting and unique.

I loved getting to know the secondary characters better–Addie, Finn, Mia, and now Jack too. They added a lot to the story and to Parker’s motives.

I loved the romance and the sexual tension in this book. There was some awesome chemistry between Parker and Addie. I was a little frustrated with what seemed to be a love pentagon, but luckily that only lasted for two or three chapters and turned into a mild love triangle. I wish the triangle hadn’t been there at all, but it definitely was on the tamer side so I didn’t begrudge it too much.

I expected a lot of the things that happened in the story. But there were a few things that I didn’t expect and I’m still wondering if they’ll turn out to be “something” in the final book.

I’m excited to see where we go from here, what we’ll learn next, and how Parker will cope with it all.

four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank BeddorTitle: The Looking Glass Wars
Author: Frank Beddor (Blog, Twitter)
Series: The Looking Glass Wars #1
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Format: eBook (408 pages)
The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook. The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss's parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts. Summary from Amazon
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I’ve been meaning to read this series for a few years now because of a recommendation from a friend. The story sounded very interesting; I just didn’t take the time to read the first book in the series until now.

At first I started reading The Looking Glass Wars without any prior knowledge of Lewis Carroll’s original stories besides the movie adaptations. I was a little confused going in, so I put off reading The Looking Glass Wars and read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass first. After reading the two originals, I was a little worried I wouldn’t like this series because I didn’t enjoy Carroll’s novels very much. Fortunately, I enjoyed The Looking Glass Wars much better than the original because the story at least had a plot which made sense and the characters were fun.

I really liked the idea of Alyss Heart being real and that her story had just been twisted by Lewis Carroll. It made for some fun adventures, especially with adding Redd as an antagonist and Dodge Anders as a love interest. It was much more my type of story this way.

It took me about a third of the book to get into it, however. The first part of the book follows Alyss as a child and how she winds up in 19th century England. It was okay and it gave some back story, but I liked the book much better after she had grown up and returned to Wonderland.

I also thought there was a lot of telling and not showing. There was enough action that I could overlook it once Alyss grew up and returned to Wonderland. But, the telling and not showing lent to my boredom with the first third of the book.

I’m glad that I gave it a chance, though, and didn’t just stop reading it. I look forward to reading the other two books to see how this trilogy will play out.

three-starsthree-starsthree-stars