Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Book Club: New Moon

Two days later, and another book done. This time I decided to stretch the fun out for an extra day, and somehow managed to get to bed before the sun peaked out from behind the mountains. While it seems unlikely, the second book in the Twilight trilogy is possibly better than the first. What could possibly be better than an impromptu relationship with an Adonis like vampire? Unrequited love, cliff diving, and werewolves. That's what. (No spoilers intended; any keen reader should pick these up from clues in the first novel, as well as the title of the second.)
Whatever action elements were missing from Twilight Meyer more than makes up for in the second installment, New Moon. This time the focus is shifted from the perfection of Edward, and Bella's insecurities, and instead follows Bella's attempts to avoid a complete mental breakdown after her life takes some unexpected twists. We get to know Bella's family friend Jacob Black much better, and although he can't compare with Edward's down right perfection, his earthy, boyish nature will make many of the female readers waver in their loyalty.

With Bella's world turned around the dour mood of the second novel puts real perspective on her situation and it is here that the genius of writing in the first person shines through. Changing the rules with any established myth can be an dangerous and potentially cliche thing to attempt, but seeing this new world through Bella's eyes allows us to accept her occasional skepticism and surprise without question. It is much easier to believe what Bella thinks, rather than what we would think, and thus we gladly surrender ourselves.

Although the end comes abruptly (there is a preview chapter of book three at the end, giving false hope of another twenty pages) the best part of New Moon is the scenario set up for future novels. With Eclipse coming out August 7th and the fourth slated for September 2008 I'm excited to have another YA series to look forward to.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
Genre: Urban Fantasy (YA)
Good if you're looking for: something to distract you from the fact that there will be no more Harry Potter books
Effort to Enjoy: 2 (out of 5)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Book Club: Twilight

After an accidental reading-enthusiast explosion of book recommendations on an unsuspecting friend I've decided to spare the innocent bystanders and you to my reading whims instead. Welcome to the Subtle Book Club!

I know what you're expecting to review. But no, I'm not going to. I figure you're still going to read Harry Potter 7 even if I tell you that in the end Harry di. . . just kidding. I'm not that cruel. Instead I'm going to tell you about my AFTER HP book.

It's Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and I've been hearing about it for MONTHS. First we talked about it ENDLESSLY in my SciFi writing class (I know.) THEN Stephenie was on numerous panels at the fantasy convention (I said I KNOW) and on top of all that no less than 5 people have recommended it to me, one of them even enticing me with the fact that in her acknowledgments she thanks one of my favorite bands.

I finally got around to starting the book last night . . . and then I finished it last night. The story is about a 16 year old girl who moves Washington to live with her Dad, and starts spending time with a strange classmate. Ok. I'll let the cat out of the bag. He's a vampire. (The inside flap of the book confirms it.) But ladies don't let that put you off! In fact, this is probably better classified as a Urban-Fantasy-Romance. Yes, it has vampires. No, it won't keep you up at night chewing on garlic bread.

While the plot itself might be a bit simplistic Meyers does an excellent job making sure that you are interested in what really matters: the relationship between Bella and Edward. Although mildly concerned about the whole vampire issue, the complexities that it brings to their relationship is what is really intriguing. I've heard from several guys that they find the main male character extremely shallow, but that doesn't seem to stop all the girls from swooning and giggling as they read

Long story short, if you like Harry Potter, Dracula, and any books with characters named LaMaster Scott Gange then you'll love this book.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Urban Fantasy (YA)
Good if you're looking for: something light that will grip, and entertain, and make you wish you had gorgeous vampires at YOUR school.
Effort to Enjoy: 2 (out of 5)

Friday, July 06, 2007

For The Love Of Beef

I'm aware that I have an unusual taste in guys. My friends have never understood why I didn't join in their reveling over Brad Pitt until they learned that it was because I would rather watch Rick Moranis. When I dreamt that Johnny Depp and Phil Hartman were both hitting on me, I was really excited about Phil Hartman. And do I really need to mention that my first celebrity crush was on Steve Gutenberg? (And not even the Goot from Police Academy. It was the Goot from Three Men and A Baby. I KNOW.)

I'm aware that by posting this I'm setting myself up for severe ridicule. But I have no fear. Why? Because I love Shia LaBeouf and I'm proud to say it. I've loved him since he was the awkward tween-ager in Even Stevens, and now that he's officially old enough to drink I'm formulating my plans to get him hammered so I can put him in my lunch box and trade him with my friends. (That's right Haras. I used your line in reference to Shia, so DEAL.) Currently there are THREE movies in the theaters boasting Shia's name on the marquee:



and Surf's Up.
For my money it's all about Disturbia. Although he's amazing, the sterile CGI of Transformers kind of turned me off, and even with his cute voice, seeing him in penguin form isn't quite the same.

I know that not everyone will truly comprehend how hot Shia has gotten. Case and point my conversation with Ylime after seeing Disturbia the first time. (That's right! Three times in one week.)

Me: He is just SO cute I can't even handle it!
Ylime: Yeah. He's pretty cute I guess. But he has kind of a big nose . . . (trails off not wanting to crush my dreams with her insightful revelation.)
Me: I KNOW! That's why he's so cute! It just makes me love him even more!
Ylime: Hmmmm. That would make me love him less . . .

So for those of you unfamiliar with his history, (aren't you ashamed!) let's take a trip into the past, and explore the beginnings of who is, without question, my current celebrity crush . . . for this month at least.

After proving himself in Even Stevens, the Disney Chanel decided to give Shia another leg up and put him in the starring role in Holes. It was a proud day for us all. The white-fro was endearing as could be, and watching him teach Zero to read? Kill me now.

Despite Keanu's bad coughing fits (Constantine), and Will's BA-attitude (I Robot), Shia rose to the admirable role of side-kick in both flicks, and made us all wish that we were a fallen angel, or a rouge cop against an army of robots just so we could have witty banter with Shia.

Next came The Greatest Game Ever Played. As far as sports drama's go you wouldn't expect golf to hold your attention much. And what guy WOULDN'T look cute in traditional 1913 fashion. One word: knickers.

Now even though I've only seen bits and Pieces of A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, the promise of an angst-filled, continually sweaty, school-uniform wearing Shia is enough to make me (insert sexual euphemism here). And his shoulders. HIS SHOULDERS!

"Still, what can’t this talented actor do? He’s able to project innocence that changes to anger in the blink of an eye; he can break our hearts with looks of longing or despair; and his amusing physicality in comic scenes is most impressive. I can’t wait to see what he’s like in five or ten years. Watch your backs, Johnny Depp and Tom Hanks. "

Need I say more?