Archive for November, 2011

We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea

Arthur Ransome

The four Walker children never meant to go to sea. They had promised their mother to stay safely in the harbour, and to be home on Friday in time for tea. But there they are in someone else’s boat, drifting out to sea in a thick fog. When the fog lifts, they can turn round and sail back to the harbour. But then comes the wind and the storm, driving them out even further across the cold North Sea…

This is one of my favourites from the Swallows and Amazons series. As a young teenager I read all of them, (even thought they had been bought for my brother!) but when it comes to re-reading this came out more than most of the others! The books are all about a group of children who have adventures together, most of them revolving around sailing. In this story, four of them, the Walker family brothers and sisters have an amazing adventure when the boat they are sleeping on drifts out to sea and they have to navigate their way through a storm, alone.

It is a very well-paced book, a good build up and then plenty of excitement through the most adventurous parts. It was nail-biting stuff the first time I read it! Will they survive? Will they get home? What will their mother say?! It is a real adventure, not pretending adventures in the Lake District (which is the basis of the other books), but actual danger and a huge sea that they have to deal with all on their own.

As well as being an adventure this book has great characters. We get to know the Walkers over the whole series, but in this story they grow and develop more than in any of the others. Each of the children reacts differently to the situation, they individually deal with the excitement, the responsibility, the guilt and the fear that this situation places them in. The tensions between them and their dependency on each other to survive heighten their relationships and feelings towards each other. Susan is trying to fulfil the mother role and coping with sea sickness! John is feeling guilty about involving the others in these circumstances and disagreeing with Susan as how best to deal with things now they are alone at sea. These are all very real brother and sister tensions in what has to be a very unreal setting.

This is a state of affairs that feels like it could never happen today, and yet it is so enthralling that it is perfectly believable. Ransome makes you feel that this could just happen and that these children just might be able to deal with it!

Verdict: An exciting read for an older child, an interest in sailing is definitely not mandatory!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Publication Date: Sept 2001
Format: Paperback
Pages: 416
Genre: Adventure
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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Frugal Fiction: Book Clubs

Each month we use our FRUGAL FICTION post look to at different ways to make the most of your money and get more books for your buck! We take £8.00, an average RRP for a paperback, and see how much literature we can get for our money.

 Reviewer: Jane

In this world of ever increasing cost we are constantly looking at ways to save money in everything we do and buy and books are no exception!  So, here I am with my £8.00 budget and a topic of ‘Book Clubs’ for this months ‘Frugal Fiction’…  Where to start I thought and then later that day upon collecting my son from pre-school, what should come home with him but the ‘Scholastic Book Club’ catalogue!

I have to say I am a sucker for catalogues in general, it’s lovely to have a little time out and browse through shiny pages of lovely loot, and finding a little gem here and there within those pages makes it so much more worthwhile.  Browsing through the latest Scholastic catalogue provided a great way to see lots of books for different ages, all grouped by section and age range as well as great value book collections – such as the Julia Donaldson Pack, 6 books including Zog, Tabby McTat and the Snail & The Whale to name a few – for only £14.99.

We all love a bargain and especially in this run up to Christmas time so books such as Dinosaurs Love Underpants and The Stick Man at only £1.99 can provide fantastic stocking fillers for the pre-schoolers. Not forgetting the upper age ranges either, with the Classic Reads for Girls Trio – The Secret Garden, Flambards and Little Women at £8.99, providing a great value pack for any little girl starting to enjoy our timeless classics.

Scholastic also offers a fantastic system of providing 20p in every £1 you spend to your pre-school or school in free books – every time you buy books your school benefits too!  Scholastic offers free delivery (a great bonus when ordering from any company!), hence making it a rather beneficial book club to be part of all round.

But, Scholastic aren’t the only book club of this type out there.  I also had a good look at Red House.  They provide a similar type of loyalty scheme whereby you earn points every time you buy and points mean prizes – in this case – free books!!  
Of course these types of clubs aren’t just predominantly about children’s books, the Book People for example are a fantastic book club offering reading material across the whole spectrum  – from pre-school, children and Young Adult to Adult fiction, DIY, Cookery and Gardening to Health and Beauty, the list goes on.  I searched out The (complete) Hunger Games Trilogy for £4.99, alongside the Morganville Vampire Chronicles (a complete set of the first 6 books) for £6.99!  Now that’s what I call a bargain!  So once again, great savings are to be made on sets of books.  Order time and time again and qualify for a Points Passport – more free books!

Obviously all these kind of companies appear online too so you don’t just have to wait for the latest catalogue to end up in your paws, you can view their entire range online.  One way or another, this kind of shopping can be effortless for those not able to get out to bookshops at opening times.  Unfortunately though, the downside to this type of shopping is often the cost of delivery which these companies charge.  Whilst a £3.95 delivery charge may not seem a large amount (taking into consideration petrol, parking and time costs), it can obviously bump up the cost of your order, especially when ordering on a regular basis.

So, how did I get around to spending my £8.00 budget?

Scholastic – The Stick Man for  by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler £1.99

Scholastic – Aliens Love Panta Claus by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort – £1.99

Red House – The Night Before Christmas (incl. musical CD) by Clement C More – £3.99

Advantages: You can get some great books, new and classics for fantastic prices that you probably won’t find on the high street. You can order as many books as you like because you don’t have to carry them all home – they get delivered straight to your door!  You can find some good packs of books, especially for children, which can save a lot of money against purchasing individually. And of course, all of this can be done from the comfort of your own home, in your pj’s with a cup of tea if you so desire!!

Disadvantages:  Be careful what you buy in terms of book packs – these can often be spread across age ranges rather than just aimed at one group.  For example, you may believe you are purchasing a pack for a pre-schooler which may then end up having a couple of books in more suitable for a 5+ year old child.  So I would say, know what you want beforehand and check that all the books in the pack are suitable for you at that time.

Sometimes the quality of book packs from these kind of clubs can be slightly lower than that of which you are expecting – hence what appears as extremely good value can sometimes make you realise why they were such a good price!  Obviously last but not least, the delivery costs – which can bump up your purchasing costs quite considerably.

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Fire and Thorns

Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do.

This gorgeous coming of age tale transports you completely to a world of sumptuous palaces, humid jungles, lush oases and stunning, yet unforgiving, deserts. A land of beauty and of danger, this superb world building is not at the expense of the story’s pacing. There is never a dull moment and like our protagonist Elisa; we are thrown from one experience to another. However the action never feels forced or gratuitous as each experience moves the story forward and informs Elisa’s character development. The main problem you have as a reader is deciding where to leave your book mark as you reluctantly turn in for the night!

Although this is an action filled fantasy adventure with a few crush worth males thrown in for good measure, this is very much a character driven story and it is the character arc which I LOVE most about this book. We watch a girl with cripplingly low self esteem blossom in to a determined, capable and confident young woman.

Elisa’s voice is intelligent and brutally honest, to the point of causing the reader discomfort. When we first meet her Elisa is, in her own opinion, a lazy underachiever who is so fat that she is unable to walk for more than a few minutes before tiring and becoming physically uncomfortable.

Taking the childhood teasing of her glamorous, capable older sister to heart Elisa has spent years believing that the disappointment of her birth caused her mother’s death. These feeling of worthlessness have prevailed despite the honour of being the bearer of the Godstone and destined to do great things in the service of her god.

Filled with conflicting emotions and confusing self beliefs, on the one hand Elisa feels suffocated by the expectation of predetermined greatness. On the other, she is increasingly concerned that her biggest fear, (that she will not fulfil her destiny) will be realised. Simultaneously, she seems to be wilfully sabotaging herself with her extreme eating. It is, after all, one thing to fail at something if you haven’t tried, soul destroying to fail because you were somehow lacking, and Elisa believes she is lacking. A lifetime of being talked over, of others making life changing decisions without consulting her, with her destiny predetermined, her food intake is the one thing she can control.

I have read other reviews which have looked negatively at our protagonist’s eventual weight loss, viewing it as a bad example to impressionable young girls. I could understand their point if the weight loss was the cause of Elisa’s character development and increased confidence. But this isn’t a fluffy make over story. While she does eventually revel in the aesthetic element of her weight loss it is the changed to her health, to her physical capability that she notices first and values most. Elisa’s development begins long before the period of extreme physical demand which happens to result in her weight loss. I believe that it is in fact the changes in her character from an increased sense of control, of self awareness and a sense of purpose that enable the permanent changes in her behaviour, resulting in sustained weight loss and improved self confidence.

While the story of Fire and Thorns concludes in the absence of infuriating cliff hangers I am left with a strong desire to return to Elisa’s story. Lucky for me Fire and Thorn is the first of a planned trilogy.

Verdict: Believable world building: Check, Fantastic plot and pacing: Check, Crush worthy male characters: Check, Character development: Check. This fantastic debut has it all. I am eagerly anticipating the continuation of Elisa’s story.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 425
Genre: Fantasy, Action
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: N/A
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Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

J.K Rowling

Amie was the only entry in our Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows competition. I think that you will agree with us here at Big Book Little Book when we say that while we didn’t receive the quantity of reviews we desired we certainly received quality.

For most children, summer vacation is something to look forward to. But not for our 13-year-old hero, who’s forced to spend his summers with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who detest him. The third book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series catapults into action when the young wizard “accidentally” causes the Dursleys’ dreadful visitor Aunt Marge to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift up to the ceiling. Fearing punishment from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (and from officials at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who strictly forbid students to cast spells in the nonmagic world of Muggles), Harry lunges out into the darkness with his heavy trunk and his owl Hedwig.

As it turns out, Harry isn’t punished at all for his errant wizardry. Instead he is mysteriously rescued from his Muggle neighborhood and whisked off in a triple-decker, violently purple bus to spend the remaining weeks of summer in a friendly inn called the Leaky Cauldron. What Harry has to face as he begins his third year at Hogwarts explains why the officials let him off easily. It seems that Sirius Black–an escaped convict from the prison of Azkaban–is on the loose. Not only that, but he’s after Harry Potter. But why? And why do the Dementors, the guards hired to protect him, chill Harry’s very heart when others are unaffected?

When deciding which Harry Potter book to review, it took me some time. I pondered over the The Philosophers Stone, because it’s the first one. Once Harry receives that very special letter, we discover a world with things such as Quidditch, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Gringotts Bank. And a world where magic is real.

Then I thought about the Deathly Hallows, because SO MUCH happens, so many hearts are broken and questions answered. With each turn of a page it really is like journeying on a roller-coaster. Although I knew, there’s always been one book that captured my heart most out of the seven.

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban.

I remember exactly how I felt as I closed the book; I had fallen hook, line and sinker for Sirius Black, and my heart was aching for more.

In some ways I felt this took a (all be it slight) step back from the war with Voldemort. (Sorry – he-who-must-not-be-named.) I was able to get under the skin of lots of characters, find out lots of background information that effects present day relationships.

This book is the introduction of some great characters; Professor Lupin; the Hippogriff Buckbeak; Professor Trelawney; Cedric Diggory: Cho Chang: Sir Cadogan (Who guards the Gryffindor Tower entrance temporarily); the dementors (one of the scariest beings I’ve ever read about).

I also think this is a book where Harry changes a lot. He’s thirteen, which for me has always represented a turning age, you’re officially a teenager! Book three is where he realises how great of a wizard he is/can become, feelings stir ‘in the region of his stomach’ (Hello the beautiful Miss Chang), and Harry learns that even in the darkest times there is still hope, which we have to hold on to it even if it may break out hearts.

Prisoner of Azkaban also contains my favourite, LAUGH OUT LOUD line. Honestly, I just think of these words and I chuckle.

 “HARRY, THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A GENTLEMAN!’ Wood roared, as Harry swerved to avoid a collision. “KNOCK HER OFF HER BROOM IF YOU HAVE TO!”

Those two lines fill me with such happiness, it caught that atmosphere of that chapter perfectly.

There is so much more about this book that I could say, how it’s three-hundred-and-seventeen pages of thrilling teenage magical excitement. (And who honestly isn’t intrigued by the idea of a time turner?) It’s dark; it’s scary; it’s funny; it’s heart-warming; it’s heartbreaking.

I think that’s what I loved most about it, how it doesn’t disappoint you, it fills up, but makes sure to leave you wanting more.

Post by competition winner AmieSalmon

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: April 2000
Format: Paperback
Pages: 317
Genre: Magic, Adventure
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Guest Reviewer
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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On My Wish List

As book lovers we often find that our eyes are too big for our bookshelves! So once a month we join the ladies at Book Chick City and take part in their meme ON MY WISH LIST, where we post about some of  the books we are keen to get our hands on.  Whether they be old books, newly released or  those yet to be published.

Title: The Forbidden Game Bind-up: The Hunter; The Chase; The Kill

Author: L. J. Smith

To lose the game is to lose your life in bestselling author L.J. Smith’s THE FORBIDDEN GAME.
To capture the love of Jenny Thorton, Julian–a visitor from a dark world–draws Jenny and her friends into forbidden games; the contest for a human soul. The prize is Jenny’s freedom. The stakes are all of their lives. Jenny’s friends are determined to help her win. But Julian is the master of the Game. Jenny’s most desperate fight will be with him, this eerily handsome boy with electric blue eyes. He knows her deepest secrets, her darkest fears. He has almost infinite power. And the only thing he wants is for Jenny to surrender to him–body and soul.

Before we had Vampires that sparkle and  boy wizards there was Point Horror. These three titles by L.J Smith were my absolute favourites in an extensive collection. However, between  parental house moves, university and my own marriage the books I’d safely squirrelled away have gone AWOL.

I Loved these books as a teenager, to the point of obsession and I fell head over heels for the character of Julian.I would love to read them again and see if the stories still have the power to grip me.

I love you Edward, Patch, Peeta, Cole and Elder but Julian was my first book boyfriend and as such will always hold a treasured place in my heart and hopefully very soon a space on my bookcase.

Post by Caroline

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The Long Song

Andrea Levey

With The Long Song, Levy once again reinvents the historical novel.
Told in the irresistibly willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas, The Long Song is at once defiant, funny, and shocking. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow, decides to move her into the great house and rename her “Marguerite.” Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist war, followed by the violent and chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so that she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her “freedom.” It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Prompted and provoked by her son’s persistent questioning, July’s resilience and heartbreak are gradually revealed in this extraordinarily powerful story of slavery, revolution, freedom, and love.

Set in Jamaica in the 1800’s this book follows the story of July, a slave girl taken from her mother aged only about 8 years old. July narrates the story herself and uses language that would have been her own. This can take a little getting used to, but obviously, lends authority to the story. It also enables July to step between different times and parts of her life. She would come out of the story and back to the present day. This brought out her sense of humour and allows us to share the reflections she is making as she writes about her life, not least of which is her debating whether what she has written is actually true. This makes for interesting reading!

July has quite an eventful life. She experiences both positive and negative results of living in slavery, which makes this a fascinating and intriguing read. Her personal relationships, which are so impacted by her slave state are very varied, her view of herself is really interesting, and how she sees herself in relation to others. This book felt very driven by the characters, and at times therefore felt a bit slow. However there is actually plenty of action, and on reflection I felt that the slowness came because I couldnt tell where the story was going next. It was like a wide river, meandering along, but with no shortage of things to look at on the way!

The history side of the story also appealed to me. I don’t know much about what happened in the countries where slavery was when it was brought to an end and I learnt loads! It was even more interesting to read it from the point of view of the slaves. In particular the story brought home the difficulties and complications any such transition would incur.

Only after reading the book did I realise that Andrea Levy also wrote ‘Small Island’ which has been adapted for television and is something I would like to read. This is a book I may not have ordinarily read (it was a book club book) but I would like to read more of her work. If you have found books like ‘The Colour Purple’ and ‘Gone with the Wind’ interesting, then I think you will like this.

Verdict: An interesting and sometimes unexpected read. Definitely one to try.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: April 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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Oliver Jeffers

Stuck is the eight picture book from award winning author illustrator, Oliver Jeffers.
Floyd’s kite is stuck in a tree. He throws a shoe up to shift it, but that gets stuck too. So he throws up his other shoe and that gets stuck, along with…a ladder, a pot of paint, the kitchen sink, and orang-utan and a whale who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Will Floyd ever get his kite back?

I think that, in the spirit of openness and honesty, I need to start this review with a confession. I’ve stated that this copy was provided for review by the publisher but perhaps that is a little misleading. In actual fact I unleashed my fan girl, Jeffers worship in an email to the publisher and begged for a copy! I’m happy to report that Stuck did not disappoint.

I don’t want to give away any more of the plot as I really want you to delight in its first reading. This is a story that is full of unexpected, hilarious twists and turns that really will having you laughing out loud. However, this book loses none of its charm on repeated reading. My daughter Ava and I find ourselves giggling in anticipation of our favourite parts.

Jeffers illustrations appear deceptively simple and childlike and yet with a clever use of colour and a few pencil strokes he is able to portray complex facial expressions and body language, clearly conveying Floyd’s growing frustration. I sit in amazement as my four year old accurately interprets these emotions, distinguishing between Floyd’s optimism and lightness when he has an idea and his irritation when it doesn’t work out according to plan “He’s in a bad mood AGAIN!”

Verdict: Jeffers is safely ensconced on his pedestal. The Pixar of picture books, astounding and delighting children and their parents alike- I would happily buy his work even if I didn’t have the excuse of children to buy it for!

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Publication Date: September 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Picture Book, Early Readers
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: N/A
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Around The Table: The Twilight Saga Part 2

We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects. As with the movie adaptation of Breaking Dawn, to do justice to this discussion we have had to divide this feature in to two parts! Warning: Caroline and Helen go off on one!

We welcome your contributions and comments related to the featured discussion.

Caroline: What do people think of the character portrayal in the films?! I know that you can’t portray everything in a two hour film but I felt like they left out all of Bella’s other friendships. In the books she at least makes an effort to create and maintain friendships outside of Edward and Jacob.

Helen: I liked the third film, as the one I saw first, but agree that Bella is more limited by the film. I liked Edward better in the films though hmmmm Wonder why! 😉 He seems a bit less perfect somehow, or maybe it’s just that you see him as he is and not just him through Bella’s eyes which is what the books are.

Caroline: *fans self* Yes I think you are right, his flaws are more obvious in the films.

Helen: Shame she never finished that book written from his perspective.

Caroline: It was great that both the wolves and the vampires had big extended supportive families, something that is becoming rarer in our society. I loved all of the secondary Characters. Seth was a sweetheart (and what a fantastic name!) and Emmett brought light relief.

Helen: The other minor character I really liked was the girlfriend of chief wolf. The one, who got hurt, can’t remember her name, but she was interesting too. Was it this book where Jacob has to face down the pack? I found all that really interesting too, especially reading in fairly close proximity to the Shiver series

Caroline: I thought that Leah was a really interesting character and I would really like to read more about her in the future.

Helen: I liked Leah too; her whole story would be a good film I think (if a little short maybe!). I liked all the stuff with the wolves and the legends, it gave it all more depth.

Caroline: I was thinking a book about what happens to Leah post Twilight? How does she cope being the only female? Does she ever mend her broken heart? It felt like she was the only “good guy” who didn’t get a happy ending and she was made out to be such a b!&$h I want Stephenie to write her story so that she gets to her to have a happy ending!

Helen: Good idea, and more Twilight then too.

Caroline: On the Leah issue, why do you suppose we are allowed to wallow with Bella when Edward left but made to feel unsympathetic for Leah when Sam left her for her cousin?

Helen: Partly because Bella is the main character!!Also Leah does take it out on everyone else, Bella mostly seems to go into herself and not be so negative to others – they just get ignored!!And when we first meet Leah she isn’t really seen in a positive light, this carries on as the boys/wolves don’t know how to cope with her. She needs another girl wolf to empathize with about everything

Caroline: Do you think it’s because Bella and Edward were “true love 4eva” but the fact Sam left Leah meant that it couldn’t been as strong a love? Despite the fact that “imprinting” seems to merely be some kind of weird natural selection gig!

Helen: Hadn’t thought about the true love side, seems a bit hard on Leah though. All the stuff with Jacob and Renesme made imprinting seem like a bit of a plot device to get him over Bella and bring about that oh so convenient happy ending! Leah was a handy way to show imprinting over riding love before Jacob did it with Bella.

Caroline: Poor Leah all that heartache and angst just to be used and abused as a plot device.

Helen: Leah definitely needs a book; we should write to SM and tell her 🙂
Caroline: Absolutely! TEAM LEAH
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Around The Table: The Twilight Saga

We love to get together as a team and discuss all manner of book related subjects. On the 3rd Sunday of the month we take a transcript of one of these discussions or copy and paste a Facebook thread (which has been corrected for spelling and typos) and post it on our site. We welcome your contributions and comments related to the featured discussion.
Warning this post contains spoilers.

Jane: Most of us have all read and enjoyed The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers and with Breaking Dawn: Part One, about to hit the Big Screen, a discussion about these cult books seemed extremely timely and justified! I think it goes without saying that this series provided extremely enjoyable reading and the love triangle between Bella, Jacob and the mysterious Edward kept us all enthralled till the very end. As far as vampire stories go, this one was certainly different and fairly action packed, with some interesting characters and plot lines along the way.

Karen: Twilight will always have a special place in my heart and the series took me completely by surprise.
Caroline: The Twilight Saga was important for me because it opened up my reading habit. Without it I probably would have gone on discovered Maggie Stiefvater’s or Cassandra Clare’s work, read The Hunger Games and generally got the YA bug.

Helen: Aah Twilight, yes I really enjoyed them, vampires without the gore, it was great!

Jane: What characters did everyone like (or not!) and were there any that you changed your mind about as the story progressed? Did everyone enjoy all of the books, or was there a particular one you favored more than another? And of course, no discussion would be complete without finding out what we really thought of Bella and the choices she made – Jacob or Edward and whether she should have become a vampire or not? …

Karen: When Jacob started to ‘evolve’ for want of a better word, I really went off him. It was to the point that in Breaking Dawn I would curse in disappointment when I came across ‘his’ chapters.

Helen: I was on the team Jacob, finding Edward irritatingly perfect (apart from being a vamp of course!) and I was annoyed at Jacob’s story development too Karen, but mostly because I found the way Stephanie tied all those ends together just a little too convenient and I felt she changed Jacob a bit to do this.

Caroline: I have to say that I found Jacob so irritating the first time I read Breaking Dawn. On the second reading (yes I admit it I’ve read them all twice…and listened to the audio books), once I knew how everything turned out I was able to tolerate him more. I have to say though, despite the explanations and examples of imprinting in the earlier books I still find the whole imprinting to the baby CREEPY!

Helen: Totally agree it was creepy; he should have stuck to liking Bella and had a bit of heartache when she got married! Maybe that was a little too realistic! In my opinion it’s all a bit convenient that they can all be immortal together forever and perfectly happy too!

Karen: I was not expecting Bella to become vampire. It kind of goes against the grain doesn’t it! I thought that Edward would somehow become human.

Helen: I began to think Bella would have to be ‘changed ‘from quite early on, I just couldn’t figure out how this might happen without making perfect Edward into a bad guy! When Bella does change I felt she dealt with it all too well and was far too in control. However these gripes don’t mean I didn’t enjoy all the books. The twist on the usual vampires (being ‘vegetarian’) was interesting, and all the stories and connections with the Native Americans and the Wolves, were intriguing. I do like a good bit of teenage angst as well, and although I never really felt that Bella was interested in Jacob (that was the film angle not the book) I did like their relationship.

Karen: It’s been awhile but one thing that still bugs me is that you have a girl who is willing to give up her human life, never see her family etc to become a vampire yet would be so hesitant with agreeing to marry Edward?!

Caroline: I agree, Karen. I would have married him like that *clicks fingers* sod how it looked to everyone else! Going back to what you were saying about the ending…It was all just a little perfect. At the time as a fan I was really please with how it turned out. I’m a sucker for a happy ending and it tied everything up, oh so neatly with no possibility for more installments and their futures mapped out. But having read a lot more YA and looking at it from the perspective as an adult reader the ending is starting to bug me

Helen: Going back to the films, they made it out to be much more of a love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob. I always felt that it was obvious in the books who would end up with Bella. Jacob didn’t stand a chance.

Caroline: Just a little bias then!

Helen: He just seemed so much nicer and friendlier and all that, maybe I’m not into brooding vampires!

Caroline: I think the idea of immortality is an interesting one, who would really want to live forever? What would you do with yourself? Would you really value life? Sorry feeling philosophical over my cornflakes!

Helen: I agree with you about the whole immortality thing, forever is a long time, and there must be a limit to how long you want to keep going to high school too.

Caroline: OMG being surrounded by all than angst and drama for eternity!

Helen: Yep, there is only so much teen drama you can take when you are 3009 years old!!!

To Be Continued…

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Remembrance day


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
         In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders field.
 In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (1919)
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