Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

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Synopsis:

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs. Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life – first discovered in TWILIGHT, then scattered and torn in NEW MOON and ECLIPSE – seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed…forever?

This is the final part of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I was wary to begin with because it is a large books – 755 pages, and because I had heard some negative reviews about the book. However, although not as good as the other three books in the series, this is an enjoyable book, and worth reading.

For the final installment we attend the wedding of Edward and Bella, and then the honeymoon – which has interesting consequences. Faced with the repercussions of the honeymoon, the Cullens group together ready to face the Volturi – the vampire royalty. But this is not a fight they can win alone, so they call upon all friends and alliances for the final fight…

Interestingly, a section of this story is narrated by Jacob. I liked this. Although not my favourite character, he is vital to the storyline and Bella’s life. It was fascinating to read the book from a werewolf’s point of view, especially someone as close to the protagonist as Bella. It was well written and I enjoyed it.

There were, however, story lines in this book that I didn’t like/wasn’t convinced by. The main one is the Jacob and Renesmee story. It just didn’t work for me. Although these are fantasy books, for me that was just pushing a little too far towards the extreme.

My favourite character throughout the whole Sage has been Edward. I just love him – the way he looks, how he thinks, how he loves, just a great character. I would love it if Meyer did go ahead and publish Midnight Sun, Edward’s version of the Twilight book. In addition to Edward, I loved Renesmee – everything about her except the name. That too was a little far-fetched for me, however her character was adorable – just too cute.

For the most part, I loved this book. Maybe it was a little too long but it was engaging and fun. A nice way to end the Saga. I definitely encourage people to read this series if they haven’t – they are really good books.

8/10

Eric by Terry Pratchett

eric

Synopsis:

Eric is the Discworld’s only demonology hacker. The trouble is, he’s not very good at it. All he wants is the usual three wishes: to be immortal, rule the world and have the most beautiful woman fall madly in love with him. The usual stuff. But what he gets is Rincewind, and Rincewind’s Luggage into the bargain. Terry Pratchett’s hilarious take on the Faust legend stars many of the Discworld’s most popular characters in an outrageous adventure that will leave Eric wishing once more – this time, quite fervently, that he’d never been born . . .

This is the ninth book in Pratchett’s Discworld series, and features some of the favourite characters – Rincewind, The Luggage and Death – all of whom are hilarious and tremendously fun to read. They are three of my favourite characters in this series, and I am always happy to read about them. Death with his dry sense of humour makes me laugh every time he is featured in a book, Rincewind and his great philosophy: run away make great reading and the Luggage is legendary – with its sharp teeth and hundreds of legs, scaring even the most fearsome. Highly entertaining.

In the ninth installment of the Discworld adventures we are introduced to Eric – a teenager with an acne problem who tries to conjure up demons. Instead, he realises Rincewind. With a snap of the fingers, they are transported back into the Faust legend, where armies defeat their enemies by the use of a wooden horse. This was an interesting re-write of the legend, and I definitely prefer it with Rincewind as the star! We find ourselves transported off with Rincewind and Eric to see universes created and the problems with Hell, all in one short book.

I enjoyed this book, like all the others I have read, but it isn’t my favourite. I laughed and enjoyed Pratchett’s writing ability and sense of humour. I liked his take on the legend, making it his own. I think the problem with this book was that is wasn’t his own adventure and it wasn’t very long. That said, I did enjoy it and would recommend it as a quick-read Discworld novel.

7/10

The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis

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Synopsis:

An orphaned boy and a kidnapped horse gallop for Narnia… and freedom.

Narnia, where horses talk and hermits like company, where evil men turn into donkeys, where boys go into battle, and where the adventure begins.

During the Golden Age of Narnia, when Peter is High King, a boy named Shasta discovers he is not the son of Arsheesh, the Calormene fisherman, and decides to run far away to the north – to Narnia. When he is mistaken for another runaway, Shasta is led to discover who he really is and even finds his real father.

This is the third book in the Narnia series – if read in chronological order. This is a fun children’s book that takes us back to the wonderful land of Narnia. Peter is still on the throne and Aslan is around. Shasta is an orphan, running away from a fisherman’s life, helped by Bree, a horse from Narnia, also running away. On their adventures they are pushed together with Aravis and her horse and they see all types of adventure on their bid to get to Narnia – including lions, deserts and war.

I really enjoyed this book. Lewis is a great writer, engaging his audience. This is a book primarily aimed at children, and it is easy to see why they are popular, however as an adult I also enjoyed this book, and recommend it to adults too.

The characters were great. Aslan is still based loosely on God and this could be seen through the way he guided the children and his other actions. He is still my favourite character, however I loved Aravis, a strong willed girl who took no nonsense and Shasta as he grew up and became noble.

The whole book was engaging and fun. It was exciting and easy to get into. Short and sweet, a book well worth reading.

8/10

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

the-constant-princess

Synopsis:

Splendid and sumptuous historical novel from this internationally bestselling author, telling of the early life of Katherine of Aragon. We think of her as the barren wife of a notorious king; but behind this legacy lies a fascinating story. Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both rulers and warriors. Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land. Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows ever more bearable. But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is strong. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it. Philippa Gregory proves yet again that behind the apparently familiar face of history lies an astonishing story: of women warriors influencing the future of Europe, of revered heroes making deep mistakes, and of an untold love story which changes the fate of a nation.

This is the first book in Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series. In this book we meet Katherine of Aragon, first as a girl of 5, then as a girl of 15, as she marries Arthur. We watch their love and affection develop, and their intimacy increase, until one fateful day when Arthur dies. Katherine, a strong-willed woman, determined to be Queen of England, steps up and tells one great lie – that their marriage was not consumated. The result – her marriage to Arthur’s brother Henry. We see them crowned, and Henry become Henry VIII. With her power she manipulates, goes to war and struggles with the reality that her parents have used her as a pawn in their power struggle in Europe. But Henry is youthful and lustful – he longs for war, love, attention and an heir. How long until his eyes stray and her deadly secret is revealed?

This was an enjoyable read. Gregory takes us on a historical adventure, in both England and Spain, incorporating their two histories. She writes about European battles between France, England and Spain, and of Spanish battles with the Moors. She looks at how people are the same, even if they have different religion, and she shows what lengths people will go to to achieve their ambitions.

I liked how Katherine was written, a strong women, determined to do whatever it takes to achieve her destiny, even lying and manipulating, but yet a gentle, loving woman, who mourned Arthur’s death and was crushed by the death of her little boy. Henry was a bit irritating, but well written, as he was just a spoilt boy, as can be seen through his history and his string of marriages.

The ending is not a surprise because this is based on English history, but I liked how Gregory broke off. There are no surprises but that does not spoil the book at all. Gregory has re-told this event in history with creativity and passion. This is a good book, well worth reading.

8/10

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

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Synopsis:

There’s a little yarn shop on Blossom Street in Seattle. It’s owned by Lydia Hoffman, and it represents her dream of a new life free from cancer. A life that offers a chance at love . . .

Lydia teaches knitting to beginners, and the first class is “How to Make a Baby Blanket.” Three women join. Jacqueline Donovan wants to knit something for her grandchild as a gesture of reconciliation with her daughter-in-law. Carol Girard feels that the baby blanket is a message of hope as she makes a final attempt to conceive. And Alix Townsend is knitting her blanket for a court-ordered community service project.

These four very different women, brought together by an age-old craft, make unexpected discoveries — about themselves and each other. Discoveries that lead to friendship and more . . .

This is the first book in The Blossom Street Series. I have already read Back on Blossom Street – the thrid book, and that did not effect my reading at all. We meet Lydia, a woman determined to live life having beaten cancer twice. She opens a knitting shop on Blossom Street, Seattle – A Good Yarn. She offers a knitting class, and this draws in three different ladies – Carol, who has given up her job to try and have children; Alix, a rough girl who had clashed with the law and Jacqueline, an uptight high society woman. With the classes these four women’s lives have been entwined and friendships have been formed.

This is the typical chick-lit book – enjoyable, quick to read, fairly predictable, and fun. I liked all the characters, Alix in particular, I liked her no-nonsense attitude. I like Macomber’s writing style. It flows and she writes in an enjoyable way. Macomber touches on family issues, women who can’t get pregnant and the fear and reality of cancer. She writes well and sensitively and all issues were dealt with in a sensible and realistic manner.

I have enjoyed both of the books I have read. I don’t really have any complaints, it is your average female fiction. I look forward to reading the next book in this series, and other books by Macomber.

8/10

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

eclipse

Synopsis:

‘Bella?’ Edward’s soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, and kissed me again. His kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine – like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us. 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 approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which? Following the international bestsellers Twilight and New Moon, Eclipse is the much-anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer’s captivating saga of vampire romance.

Well Meyer has done it again, created an amazing book. This is up there, equal to Twilight, the first in the saga. As always, Bella is hunted down by danger – one particular vampire intent on taking revenge; mate for mate. As Victoria builds up her army, Bella is faced with problems of her own. Edward wants to keep her safe – which to him means away from Jacob. It looks like she will have to choose – best friend or boyfriend? And on top of that, she has to decide if she wants to become a vampire. As vampires and werewolves unite against this new evil, we watch Bella struggle with love, friendship, danger and the prospect of immortality.

I loved this book. Yes maybe it was predictible, but that did not spoil the story. It is written in a simple but engaging and fast-moving way. It is clear why this series is such a success. There is adventure, love, danger and awesome battle scenes, with the odd death along the way. This book is thrilling – energetic and gripping. And I found myself laughing in places too.

My love for Edward continues in this book. He is dangerous, but so considerate and lovely. He adores Bella and will do all he can to keep her safe and happy. I quite enjoyed his battle with Jacob for her. I did think Bella was selfish, leading both on, and I didn’t like how Jacob played dirty, but actually that added to the depth of the book. And I liked the character Alice, Edward’s sister. She is a doll. She was the one who had me laughing – I want to know someone like her.

I can only praise this book really. I loved it. I love the series. I am well and truely hooked and am looking forward to reading Breaking Dawn, the last in the saga. I recommend you read these books.

10/10

The first two books in the series are:

Twilight twilight1 and New Moon new-moon1

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

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Synopsis:

Beautifully told through notes left on their kitchen fridge, this is an intimate portrait of the relationship between a hard-working mother and her teenage daughter. Stunningly sad but ultimately uplifting, it is about being a ‘good mother’ or a ‘good daughter’, and is a reminder of how much can be said in so few words, if only we made the time to say them.

What a sad, touching book, that made me cry. The story is told through notes written by both mother and daugher, Claire, in the hardest year of their life – when Claire’s Mum was diagonised with breast cancer. Both are busy so the best way to communicate is through notes left on the refrigerator door. The notes are intimate, with them considering love, life, their relationship and whether they are good people.

I read this book in one sitting. It was quick to read but engaging. And so sad. I really enjoyed this book. We see growing pains of a teenager, as she discovers boys, works hard at school and deals with divorce. Kuipers looks at breast cancer and how it effects the sufferer, and their family. It is so honest and raw. We see pain, heart break and illness. It is a good awareness for cancer. It is realistic and honest, and achingly sad.

There are unanswered questions, and I don’t think the characters could be developed properly as their form of commuication was notes but this was a lovely book and well worth reading.

8/10