Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What To Read After Twilight and Totally Twilight Re-Cap


Totally Twilight Re-Cap

We've reached the end of November. The movie is out, the thousand cast interviews are (almost) over, Twilight's star has faded slightly for another year (or until the DVD comes out). I've had such a good time doing Totally Twilight. I'm also rather happy it's over - I want to get back to regular blogging. Thank you so much to all of you who participated via commenting and guest posts!

If you didn't get to every Totally Twilight post, here's what you missed:

Discussion Posts

The Twilight Movies: Helped or Hurt the Books?
Twilight Inspired Shopping
What Was Your First? Genre-Introducing Novels
Midnight Sun. What's the Status?
Sparkly Vampires Will Kill You!

Reviews

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part 1
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight: Director's Notebook by Catherine Hardwicke
Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1 Soundtrack Review

Guest Posts

Jen: Meeting Stephenie Meyer and Twilight ARC
Ashley: Stephenie Meyer - Thankful for Your Books
Holly: Twi-Cation! My Trip to Forks
Missie: My Book Boyfriend Jasper Whitlock Hale
Benji: My Twilight Story
Jessica: Twilight Jewelry
Shelby: My Favorite Twilight Character
Jenni Elyse: My Twilight Story

My Fan Fiction - All canon based fan-fiction

1. Mistakes and Consequences: Features Alice and Edward
2. Feel Nothing...Feel Everything: Features "Normal" Vampire, Pre-Alice Jasper
3. Future Little Housewives: Features Alice and Rosalie
4. Going Home: Features Edward and Carlisle

What To Read After Twilight

Like many Twilight fans, I went into withdrawal after finishing the series. Nothing else matched up. The only cure was to re-vamp Twilight. But you can't read Twilight forever (well, I guess you could, but even my Twilight obsession only goes so far).

What other YA paranormal romance series would you recommend to a Twilight lover? Alternatively, if you don't like Twilight, what would you recommend in lieu of Twilight?

My first thought is Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. It is arguably better than Twilight (Eeek! Blasphemy!) The romance is hotter and the world is better developed. And no one can argue that Rose is a shrinking violet. I also highly recommend Bloodlines, the first book in the companion series.

What else?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Twilight: Director's Notebook by Catherine Hardwicke

Twilight: Director's Notebook by Catherine Hardwicke
March 17, 2009; Little, Brown Young Readers


Summary

A personal, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the blockbuster film Twilight from groundbreaking director Catherine Hardwicke!

This intimate full-color "notebook", designed to replicate the one director Catherine Hardwicke kept on and off the set, takes you through the creative process that went into making Stephenie Meyer's breathtaking novel come alive on screen - from casting to costumes, stunts to story boards. With never-before-seen notes, sketches, and photographs taken directly from the visionary director's personal notebook, this book includes everything from her visual inspirations, to step-by-step breakdowns of action sequences, to a behind the scenes look at some of the most pivotal moments in the creation of the film, and much more. (courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

Twilight: Director's Notebook takes us back in time - to a day when Twilight was a low-budget, quirky indie movie and the cast were young, struggling actors. It feels like a lot longer than four years (filming started four years ago; the movie was released three years ago).

Catherine Hardwicke takes us behind the scenes with her handwritten notebook full of behind the scenes photos, story board shots, and inside information. Rob and Kristen may be the stars of Twilight (Taylor isn't big until New Moon), but Catherine is the star of this book. You get the feeling that she's a mixture of laid-back cool and manic energy. She's crazy, but in a good way. I imagine that she is a lot of fun and somewhat difficult and frustrating to work for.

The Notebook starts out with Catherine's vision of Twilight and quickly moves on to location scouting in Washington and Oregon. There are numerous pages of drawings, description, and costume fittings of the characters. I loved seeing how they used the characters' clothes to enhance their personalities - like having Bella wear earth colors and gradually go from tom-boy to feminine apparel as the movie went on. She tells various tidbits about the casting, like how Peter wasn't the original actor cast for Carlisle. The pages about creating the sets were fascinating. Everything from choosing and decorating the Cullen house to Charlie's house to Arizona-ing Bella's house in Phoenix (which was really in California). You even get some idea of what they could and couldn't do within their budget.

Catherine takes you through each of the major scenes in Twilight: the van crash, the meadow, the Cullen house, the baseball games, the ballet studio, and more. There is a lot of story-board art, some of which is artful and some of which looks more functional. The pages are also filled with screen shots from the movie, behind the scenes photos, and even some pictures from rehearsals. The photos and art are all captioned with funny quips about how the scenes were shot, what the actors struggled with, or the temperamental weather. I liked reading about how difficult it was to shoot before Kristen turned 18.

At the end, there were a few pages about the editing process, the little CGI they had to do, creating the soundtrack and score, and even a little bit about the Twilight mania. There's even a grainy photo of Rob recording songs for the film (I thought Let Me Sign was so much better than Never Think and wish it wasn't a bonus track on the iTunes version). I particularly liked seeing how scenes could change from light to dark, from sunny to cloudy through editing.

If you want to be a Negative Nancy, you can tear this book apart. Catherine only published this to cash in on the Twilight payola. The so-called "Director's Notebook" is nothing like a real director's notebook would be. The "handwritten", homey feel is a fake attempt to convince readers that Catherine is your friend and that you're getting tons of insider information when really you can find most of the photos and Catherine's stories on the Internet. All of this is probably true, but I don't care. I love this book. As flawed as the first movie was, it had an edgy, low-budget feel that felt more personal than the later movies when they had big budgets and a big reputation to fill.

Rating: 5 / 5

Monday, November 28, 2011

Guest Post: Jen - Twilight ARC and Meeting Stephenie!


Please welcome Jen of Lost in the Library to Alison Can Read. Check out Jen's blog! She is not actually a librarian, but you'd never know it with all her great book reviews and recommendations.

Twilight ARC and Meeting Stephenie!


Before Twilight by Stephenie Meyer was published I worked for a well know book store in Canada and was part of a committee that reviewed and recommended books online and in-store.

Twilight was sent to me by the publisher as an ARC and from the first two pages in I knew I was reading something special. I devoured it in a sitting and reviewed for the book store and began talking about it to everyone! I mean how could I not!? I emailed Stephenie right after reading it and told her how much I loved Bella & Edward’s Story and how I could not wait for more!

I received a reply from her (by email) on my birthday, that thanked me for my enthusiasm and talked a bit about where she was heading with the next book. (I still have the email in my scrapbook)

Two years later, the popularity for the series had exploded! Eclipse was due to come out and Stephenie Meyer was scheduled to appear at Indigo Yorkdale. It was my birthday again (coincidence –I think not ) The line was incredibly long and after a 4 hour wait I stepped up to meet her and get my books signed. And do you know what I said? I cried. Totally blabbered. I so wanted to say something intelligent and witty and fun so then she would think I was fabulous and want to be my new BFF! But I blabbered instead She was sweet, and said thank you. Signed my books, and now they sit on my shelves. I re-read them every summer, or every time I’m in a reading slump. Or every time, I need to get away.

Jen

www.lostinthelibrary.com

Manga Mondays (78): Vampire Knight vol. 13 - Matsuri Hino

Kekkaishi vol. 8 - Yellow Tanabe


Summary

Cross Adademy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!

Yuki is attacked by another pureblood outside a graveyard for meddling in the ways of the vampire society. Injured, she returns home to Kaname, who shares with her his past memories and the truth behind the Kuran family.(courtesy of Amazon)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

Volume 13 of Vampire Knight is the most confusing volume to date. I had to read it twice to even begin to understand it. By the end of my second go round, I was quite fond of the story and the characters.

We learn a lot more about Kaname in this volume. He shares his memories with Yuki and she essentially lives his past. I am not the rabid Team Kaname fan that I was at the beginning of the series, but I don't hate him either. This volume shows that he is a much more complicated character than I realized. It was nice to see him doing something other than trying to clip Yuki's wings. Plus, he has had a very sad and lonely life.

The themes of this volume appear to be loneliness and loss. Because that's what you see with Zero as well as Kaname. Zero visits his brother's grave for the first time. He's despondent over the loss of his brother and is also worried that he will lose every shred of his humanity.

Turns out Zero was in the right place at the right time - Yuki and Aido happen to be in the same cemetery and run into a dangerous vampire who attacks Yuki. Zero saves Yuki's life. There are no romantic moments between them, but there are some great passionate drawings showcasing the chemistry between the characters.

The only light moments in this volume (and in the series in general) comes from Aido. Even in serious moments, it's hard to take Aido seriously. He's a loyal lapdog for whom things never go quite right. It's nice to have a bit of levity.

I'm curious to see where the next volume takes us. While I like the sophistication of the series, I wish Hino could structure it so that it was easier to comprehend.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Totally Twilight: MY Fan Fiction Take 4!

Grab the Totally Twilight Button!





One of the most enjoyable parts of the Twilight culture for me has been Fan Fiction. A huge number of fan fiction stories have been written in the Twilight world. On Fanfiction.net, probably the largest fan fiction website, there are almost 9,000 Twilight stories. Only Harry Potter has more.  As you'd expect, the quality ranges from truly awful to arguably better than the original. A few stories mesh so well with the books that I forget to separate them from Stephenie's work.

Recommended Fan-Fiction

As fun as novel length, canon fan fiction is, there's something to be said for one-shots. You get to see a wide variety of events in the Twilight character's lives. LisaLovesCurry is my favorite one-shot author. She's extremely prolific, often producing multiple stories a week. They're quick little tales - usually about 1,500 words - and are always delightful. Her story Eternity has 210 chapters! My favorite is Chapter 70 (sequel to chapter 47).

My Fan-Fiction

I like writing short stories of Twilight fan-fiction. Everything I write is canon based. It helps further my Twilight obsession and I figure that it also helps develop my writing skills. See what you think!

Going Home


Edward POV, 1919 - about 6 months after his transformation

**I wrote this story over the past week. Since it's so new, it's not quite as cleaned up as some of my earlier stories. I really like it though, so I'm posting it anyway. Also, it's a bit longer than the stories I posted the last few weeks, but I think the length is necessary to the plot.

**A few background items. We learn from the Official Guide that Edward's father was emotionally distant, so I'm reflecting that here. I decided to set the story about 6 months after his transformation, because I figured it would take him several months before he had enough control to get near humans (assuming he had close neighbors). We know that Bella's control was an aberration. Also, since he's still relatively "new," his emotions are a bit more out of control than they would normally be (although he always has a tendency to overreact).

*Of course, Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight.


The brass key slid smoothly into the lock. The deadbolt clicked loudly when it switched to the unlocked position. I pulled the key out of the door and turned the knob. On the surface, it was no different from the thousands of times I’d opened the front door. But peel back one layer and nothing was the same. The key, for starters. The scent of metal and the noxious sour-sweet odor of varnish attacked my nose. I regretted the rigorous polishing I’d done earlier in the day in a fit of boredom. The irritating smell paled in comparison to the pain of the roaring fire in my throat. The last time I’d walked through this door a different pain in my throat was a sign of the influenza that would soon effectively kill me. Now the scorching heat was a sign of my newfound instinct to kill all my neighbors. How I wished tonight truly was no different from every other time I’d entered my home.

Growling quietly in irritation, I stepped into the entryway. I lifted my head and breathed in deeply, drinking in the scents of my home and my family. Even that made the venom pour into my mouth and my muscles tense. I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. I would kill my parents if they were here. I opened my eyes and breathed in again, trying to ignore the pain. I wanted to be as familiar with my parents’ scents as I was Carlisle’s.

Carlisle stood outside the door, on the bottom porch step. Do you mind if I come inside, Edward? I’d rather not be where anyone could see me if they wandered by. I’ll stay in the foyer while you look around, unless you need me for anything.

I nodded but didn’t turn around to look at him. I didn’t want to see the apprehension and pity on his face that I could already hear in his thoughts. Instead, I walked up the main staircase to the second floor hallway. My feet sank into the thick navy oriental carpet that ran the length of the hallway. Kneeling down, I traced my fingers along the thousands of footprints that were now plainly visible. My mother’s heeled boots left pointy divots all over the carpet. I couldn’t tell the difference between my footprints and those of my father until I noticed that the slightly smaller prints almost always walked toward his office. The imprints of my loafers went to my mother’s sitting room as often as my own room.

I averted my eyes as I passed my mother’s sitting room. I wasn’t ready to see that yet. I continued on past the doors for the bathroom and the guest room until I reached the last door on the left. My father’s office.

The six paneled door matched all our other doors, but somehow it still managed to look darker, more imposing. I turned the doorknob slowly and pushed the door open. The unlit room was as visible to me as it would be in the noonday sun. Memories trickled slowly into my mind as I stepped into the room. Some more clear than others. None of them happy. One particularly stood out. It occurred last May, only five months before my parents died.

********************************************

I stood alone in the hallway in front of the door to my father’s office. My hands were starting to sweat. I looked down and realized that they were outstretched in front of my chest, the fingers of my right hand curled and tapping so fast against my left hand that my palm was covered in crescent shaped marks from my fingernails. I clenched my fists together and then wiped my hands on my trousers. I took a few deep breaths, but my heart continued to pound.

You’re being ridiculous Edward, I thought. I was acting as though I was heading into an interrogation room. I certainly wasn’t going to cut it as a soldier if I couldn’t even face my own father. I pressed my fingers against my eyes, took another deep breath, and then knocked on the door.

“Come in,” my father called.

I opened the door slowly and stepped into the room. My father’s office was his haven. It was a fairly small room, only slightly larger than my bedroom, but felt much larger due to the high ceiling. The floor was the same dark hardwood as the rest of the house but most of it was covered by a striking red carpet. The color of power, my father liked to say. It set the atmosphere of the room. All four walls were lined with bookcases, stretching all the way up to the high windows set just below the ceiling. The bookcases were so full that I couldn’t even push my index finger between any of the books. There were shelves of law books: West reporters containing decades of cases all across the country, treatises by Blackstone, Bentham, Holmes, and more. An entire wall was covered with books about history, particularly British and Greek history. Another wall was lined with the great works of fiction and theater, with Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Homer receiving the most prestigious eye level berths.

Aside from the bookshelves the most prominent feature of the room was the massive, hand carved, mahogany desk. It was covered in papers, all carefully organized into stacks. One for each client matter. There were at least ten stacks spread across the workspace. All had an eerie reddish glow from the red and white Tiffany lamps sitting on both ends of the desk. My father sat tall behind the desk, looking through his spectacles at a thick book.

“Good evening, Junior,” said my father, setting his book down. “Come in. Sit down.” He gestured toward one of the two high-backed, leather covered chairs in front of the desk. I hesitated for a second before walking to the chair and sitting. As a child, I was strictly forbidden to enter my father’s office. When I was about seven years old, I snuck in one afternoon to look at the books. I heard my father’s voice coming down the hall as I was paging through my favorite - a book about the African veldt, with dozens of colorful drawings of lions, elephants, giraffes, and more - and ran to the space underneath the desk to hide, my heart pounding as the door creaked open, scarcely breathing lest I be heard. Father found me within minutes, since I shouted when he unknowingly kicked me in the stomach when he sat down at the desk. One of his clients was in the office with him so he laughed off my presence, but later he switched me so hard I could barely sit for days. Even when I had permission to enter, being in the office still made me nervous, as though a snake was waiting just out of sight, ready to strike.

“Good evening, Father,” I said stiffly. “How is your work going?”

He scowled. “The opposing party in a case I’m preparing for served a subpoena upon us today requesting that my client produce all the notes my associate took during his interviews with my client’s employees.”

“I thought all the work an attorney does for his client was supposed to be confidential.”

“Precisely.” Father nodded approvingly. “Privileged is the correct term, or work product doctrine in the case of items such as notes. The opposing party is arguing that we waived the privilege for various reasons. I am currently looking for legal authority to support my opposition to the subpoena.”

“That sounds...frustrating,” I said stupidly, not being able to think of anything better.

Father’s eyes shifted between his book and me impatiently. ““Is there something you need, Junior? I want to have a rough draft of this opposition finished tonight and I’ve barely started. I assume you did not come in here to discuss the vagaries of legal theory.”

I could already tell this was not going to end well. What I really should have done was tell my father that I just dropped by to say hello and quickly exited. But he wouldn’t have believed me and would have been angered both by the lie and by his wasted time. So I stuck to the original plan, however ill fated it was.

A large knot developed in my throat. I swallowed uncomfortably and fixed my eyes on the curved edge of the desk. “The last baseball game of the season is tomorrow, Father. We’re not particularly good, but we’ve held our own.” Not particularly good was an understatement if there ever was one. We were second to last in our high school division, a ranking of which we were proud, given the alternative. I did all right. I could catch almost any ball thrown my way in the outfield and stole more bases than anyone else on the team, but let’s just say, batting was not my forte.

I swallowed again, the knot rising higher. “I was hoping you could come and watch me play.” My voice came close to an embarrassing squeak at the end. I looked up to see Father running his finger along a line of text in his book and jotting down notes. He wrote several sentences in slow, careful script, seemingly forgetting that I was there. Had he even heard me?

Just when I was going to repeat myself, Father set the book down and sighed, an angry gust of air. “Baseball, Edward? You’re still playing that game?” Well, yes. What did he think I’d been doing every afternoon and many evenings for the past three months?

Father fixed me with a piercing stare. I resisted the urge to sink lower in my chair or to run out of the room. “Junior, you’re almost seventeen years old. You have one year left of high school. Are you going to waste it with such frivolities as baseball? Harvard is not going to admit you on the basis of your batting average.”

Harvard, Harvard, Harvard. Scarcely a conversation went by without some mention of the venerable Harvard. Sometimes I wondered whether he was on their payroll. I had nothing against the college, but it seemed like treason to laze away my time at school when thousands of boys my age were dying in the trenches in Europe. But Father would hear nothing of it. Neither would Mother, but at least her opposition was based on fear for my safety. Father simply thought fighting was beneath my station - my destiny as a future attorney.

I tried in vain to wage a defense, however slight. “I’m not neglecting my studies, Father. I’m near the top of my class in every subject. I even won the History Department award for my paper on the Battle of Waterloo.”

Near the top of your class?” Father said in a flat, withering tone. “Perhaps if you spent less time on these childish pursuits and more time with your schoolbooks then you would be at the top of your class, not among them.” He clapped his hands together, a piercing noise in the otherwise silent room. My heart skipped a beat in surprise.

“I don’t want to hear anything more about baseball.” He spat the word out as if it left a bad taste in his mouth. “Now, if you will, go back to your room and study and allow me to finish my work.” With that, he shifted in his chair and leaned over his book. It was as obvious a dismissal as a door slammed in the face. I stood up and left the room without a goodbye, since one was clearly not wanted.

********************************************

It was always like that. All he cared about was work. The next deposition, the next oral argument, the next brief, the next cross-examination. My mother used to tease my father that the law was a harsh mistress. Sometimes, I don’t think she was joking.

I walked behind the desk and sat down at his chair. The desk was empty of the formerly ever present files and stacks of paper. One of the partners in his firm had likely removed all the client documents. All that remained was the Wedgewood fountain pen that my mother gave him for their tenth anniversary atop a blank notepad. I lifted the pen to my nose. His scent overwhelmed the pen’s metallic and ink odors. His pen was his wife. His notepad, files, and books were his children.

I looked across the desk at the chairs and imagined the shadow of myself sitting there. What did my father see from this angle? A nervous seventeen year old boy who longed to have his father watch him play ball? I laughed once, sharp and bitter. Certainly not. He saw a bother. A child who should be seen and not heard. Or ideally, not seen either. On the occasions when he deigned to acknowledge my presence, his only concerns were that I fulfilled his goals for my life. The right grades, the right friends, the right university, the right career. I was as much a status symbol as his Cadillac.

What a contrast from the man huddled in the foyer downstairs. In six months, I’d learned a million times more about Carlisle than I learned about my father in seventeen years. And even though I hardly spoke, Carlisle understood nearly every facet of my personality, every interest, every fear. Work eclipsed Father’s life. Carlisle’s world revolved around me. Despite his love for medicine, his work resided on an outer ring of his universe. His family, small as it was, always took priority. How ironic that people would consider Carlisle the monster if they knew what he was.

Restless, I pushed up out of the chair and walked over to the shelves of legal texts. I ran my fingers along the embossed lettering of the spines until I pulled out Blackstone’s Legal Commentaries. Blackstone, the English scholar, whom Father quoted so frequently that I felt as if I knew him, despite the fact that he died several hundred years before I was born. Father thumbed through the book so often that the remnants of the oil left from his fingers stained most of the pages.

What if my father had lived and I did exactly as he wanted? Would Harvard be enough? Would he sit in the bleachers at my intramural baseball games? Surely not. After all, Harvard College is only a stepping stone to Harvard Law School. No time for playing. What about law school? Would we sit chummily in his office debating about the most recent Supreme Court decision? Would he clap me on the back when my article was published in the Harvard Law Review? No. My opinions would be inferior and my article would be poorly written.

Nothing was ever good enough. I slammed my hand down on the book, nearly severing the spine. To my surprise, the fountain pen was crushed between my hand and Blackstone. I hadn’t realized I was still holding it. Black ink gushed onto my hand, soaking through the pages of the book. Something snapped inside me as I watched the ink flow down my wrist like blood. The anger and sadness that had been building with every step I took in the office erupted into a wild boil.

I dropped the book, drew my arm back, and threw the remnants of the pen as hard as I could. Black ink splattered across the room and the tip of the fountain pen struck the leather of Father’s desk chair with a loud Thwack, sticking out like a dart.

I looked around wildly and grabbed a colorful handblown glass paperweight , a gift from a grateful client, off the small table set between the two chairs in front of the desk. I vaguely remembered that he used to keep a dull green clay snake I made in primary school on that table. Of course a client’s gift would replace mine. I threw the glass paperweight at one of the Tiffany lamps. The room erupted in minuscule shards of glass, red and white from the lamp and the entire rainbow from the sphere. They covered the desk, the chairs, the floor, my clothes, even my eyebrows.

I picked Blackstone back up off the floor and pretended not to hear Carlisle flying up the stairs as I ripped the spine in half. Carlisle burst into the room just as I tore a hundred pages from the book and tossed them upward - legal confetti.

Carlisle flung his arms around me, pinioning mine to my sides. “Stop, Edward! Please stop!” I growled and hissed and strained against his arms. I was only beginning. The ruins of my father’s life were strewn across the room, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to destroy all of it. I was still much stronger than Carlisle and I knew his arms were throbbing with pain trying to hold me back. I was almost free. Keeping his mind focused only on my fury strewn face, he surprised me by kicking my knees in, causing both of us to fall to the ground with a tremendous crash.

“Listen to me, Edward,” he said firmly in my ear, lying on top of me and pushing his elbows in my back to keep me on the ground. “You do not want to destroy your father’s things. It may make you feel better right now, but I guarantee that you’ll regret it later.”

“No, I won’t,” I hissed back, petulantly. My childish response shamed me enough that I stopped fighting and instead lay on ground with my eyes closed, breathing harshly. Carlisle sensed the change and gradually lifted his arms from me, staying close enough that he could restrain me in an instant if I tried to get up.

“I think you will,” he said quietly. “Your memories of your parents will fade. Eventually, their belongings will be all you’ll have left of them.” An outline of his father appeared in Carlisle’s mind. The facial featured were so blurred and cloudy that they were unidentifiable. Only a shadow remained.

I slowly lifted myself onto my elbows and then onto my knees. Carlisle quickly grabbed my shoulders to keep me from moving further. I shook him off. “I’m fine,” I muttered.

Kneeling on the floor, I picked up a stained page of Blackstone. “I'd be happy if I never saw anything in this room ever again” I asked, gesturing around the room. “This was my competition. The law always came first. The law was always better than me.”

I glared at Carlisle, daring him to make the obvious reponse: Don’t be ridiculous, Edward. Of course your father loved you more than his work. He just didn’t know how to show it. But of course Carlisle knew better.

“What will destroying them accomplish? It won’t bring your father back. It won’t change the choices he made during his life. I understand what it’s like to always be overshadowed.” A clear image of his father’s cross and the family Bible, the only items Carlisle owned that his father once touched, appeared in his mind. Carlisle was always less important than the Church to his father. Yet he treasured these heirlooms rather than resenting them. For all intents and purposes, they were his father now. “In a hundred years, would you rather remember the man your father was or the man you wished he had been?”

I shrugged and started gathering the pages strewn about the floor. Carlisle leaned down to help, but I shook my head. “No. I’ll do it.” I stacked the pages together in a pile and walked over to the trash bin behind the desk. I looked at the destroyed book in my hands. I still hated Blackstone and all he represented. All the lost opportunities. But now that the book my father loved so much was obliterated, it was like he had died again.

I sank into the desk chair and lay my head against the desk, still clutching the sheets of paper. I clenched my teeth together, but my chin started quivering in spite of myself. “I just killed Father’s prized possession. I just killed...him. You’re right. This is all that’s left.”

Carlisle walked over and stood next to me, putting a hand on my shoulder. Everyone does things they regret when they’re angry, Edward. Your father, unfortunately, gave you a lot of reasons to be angry.

“He’d hate me if he could see what I just did.”

He wouldn’t understand. But I do understand. And I don’t blame you. He loosened the stack of paper in my hand and shuffled through them until he found a page stained equally by black ink and my father’s fingerprints. He set the page in front of me. Here. Hold onto this. I’ll throw the rest away.

“Why would I want to keep that?” I asked, pointing to the evidence of my temper tantrum.

The consequences of a man’s flaws are as much a part of him as his shining achievements. I think this page reflects your father better now than it did before. I nodded vaguely and took the page from him. The ink was still slightly damp. I pressed my thumb onto the page where most of the ink had accumulated and then pressed my ink covered thumb on the upper right hand corner, next to a clear imprint of my father’s thumb. Father and son together.

“I think,” I said, standing slowly, staring at the page of Blackstone, “that I’ve seen all that I can handle tonight. Let’s go...home.”

What do you think? If you like it, let me know. If you think it sucks big time, I appreciate lying too. :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feature & Follow Friday #73

Welcome to Feature & Follow Friday (err Thursday) on Parajunkee.com


If you are new to the #FF fun, Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

*Thanks so much to Rachel for allowing me to be part of the Follow Friday fun. Parajunkee is one of the best blogs out there and FF is a highlight of the blogging community. The FF has been one of my favorite parts of my week for over a year and I'm so excited to help my fellow book bloggers get to know each other better.

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! Now to make this #FF interesting we do a FEATURE blogger.

If you are interested in becoming a Feature click on the link here for Follow Friday Feature or go to Parajunkee and click the drop down link above FEATURES > Feature & Follow Friday and get on the waiting list!

It is also required, that if you participate you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) and the two Feature blogs.


Our Feature - Books and Beyond





Books & Beyond

I have always LOVED books & reading has been my ultimate escape from the world from the time I was a wee kiddy.

Some kids would ask their parents for spare change for candy or ice cream or baseball cards, I asked for my Dad's change to buy used books at the libraries book sales..He actually liked that I had a voracious reading appetite & began leaving piles of change on my dresser every book sale day. He paid for book club memberships, took me to used book stores, bought me piles of books for my birthday, Christmas, etc. I miss him :(

I would read a book and tell all my pals about it or would post about it on facebook & one day I was sent a link to a book review blog & a light bulb went on above my head. I knew I could do that too & have a blast doing it.

I love animals. I got over 20 stray/feral cats in my immediate area spayed & neutered & vaccinated (some found homes, the rest are too feral so they are healthy & feral now). HUGE spay & neuter advocate. Took in (off the street) a 6-8 month old Pitt Bull (named Bella, I had JUST discovered Twilight that winter..lol) Bella is beyond awesome & loves the cats too. She is now a bit over 3 y.o.

I could honestly go on and on but I won't bore you all to tears..lol..I WANT you to want to follow my blog after all ;)

As we speak I am reading a few books: ""The Vampire Relationship Guide:Meeting & Mating-Evelyn LaFont"" (it is absolutely FABULOUS!) & ""
The Gossip Ghouls: Zombies and Lipstick
Ebook By AuthorZ"" (Freebie on Smashwords, def a gem)

Peace, Love & Books

Question: It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are Thankful for - blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?


Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for the entire book blogging community. It has provided me with a steady group of Internet friends and has been a place of consistency when everything else in my world is new (since I just moved).

I am super grateful to Rachel of Parajunkee for allowing me to co-host #FF. It's been so much fun and I love helping book bloggers connect.

A few other bloggers that I'm most grateful for (a few among many):

Jenny of Supernatural Snark

Melissa of I Swim For Oceans

Missie of The Unread Reader

Small of Small Review

Rummanah of Books in the Spotlight

Savvy of Books With Bite

A few books that I'm grateful for:

In the "Duh" category - Twilight and Harry Potter. Throw Pride & Prejudice in there too.

Some of my favorite books this year:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith
Die For Me by Amy Plum
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Now for the Follow Fun!







RULES To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:



  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers - Books and Beyond & The Book Addict.
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say "hi" in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!


Happy Follow Friday! Follow it up with your twitter address if you want to get that one out!

*********

Guest Post: Ashley - Stephenie Meyer: Thankful for your books

Photobucket


Please welcome Ashley of Bookaholics Anonymous to Alison Can Read! Ashley has been blogging for a little over a year. She's a pharmacy tech, which I think is really cool because my parents are pharmacists.

Stephenie Meyer: Thankful for your books


A few days back I had a post on my site called Stephenie Meyer: Thankful for your books.

It was meant to give a shout out to those books that meant something to us. Well, as you can tell from the title, the books that meant something to me were the Twilight books. They jump-started my love of reading. For the sake of my guest post I'll explain the events. Before the movies came out I wasn't a reader-reader. Sure, I read a few books here and there and when I did it took me forever and a day to finish it. I'm talking a few weeks or maybe, even a month to finish one book that was half the size of some of the ones I read now in a week. (Think Nevermore. You know how long that would have taken me to read before I became a regular reader.) Honestly, I didn't even know the movie was based on a book until a friend told me, and because I enjoyed the first movie I went out and bought the book to read. I devoured the book. In my opinion it was better then the movie. Then I realized why some people weren't happy with the movie because it didn't do the book justice for those who had read the book. So for the people who only watch the movie they don't understand fully (or maybe they do.) In the movie you have visual aid to help, but in the books you can picture Bella, Edward, Jacob, and the rest any way you see fit. You don't have to see how others perceive them. Remember this is my opinion after reading the Twilight books. Needless to say I was hooked. I wanted more of that otherworldly stuff. So I went to Walmart and that's when I fell in love. Vampire Academy, Evernight, Shiver, Marked - each of these books would have probably never interested me if I didn't take that first step towards Twilight. I know for a fact I would have never thought to take a step into the book department. It would have been a shame to because then all these awesome books I've read this year would mean nothing to me. I probably wouldn't have even heard of half if not most of them.

I know it seems like I've done quite a few Twilight related posts lately, but with the first-half of the last movie coming out. I'm going to go a little fan-girly on you all because had it not been for these movies and the books I wouldn't have fallen in love with reading. (I mean actually falling in love with it.) Sure, I read Harry Potter when it came out, and I adored them and then I read a few I guess we would call them adult novels, but I never really grasped reading or what it meant to me. Does that make sense? I wasn't like I am now which is a little obsessive when it comes to buying books and talking about them. I just can't say no! I wouldn't have found this awesome community of bloggers and I wouldn't have made these awesome connections with all of you who I call friends. Not many people in my life actually ask me how I am and really listen, but I feel like a select few of you do. I owe these friendships and reading to Twilight. :)

I want to thank Alison for having me on the blog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Twilight Inspired Shopping

A few weeks ago Jessica did an awesome guest post on Twilight Inspired Jewelry. Definitely check it out! I love Twilight inspired items of all kinds (although I do have a weakness for jewelry) plus there is no better way to waste time than to browse through Etsy. So I'm following up Jessica's post with some more great Twilight Inspired Items.

[Edited to add a few more items]

Clothing


*Can't honestly say that this is quite my style, but it looks exactly like Bella's scarf in the first movie.


*As you can tell, I love the clothing from the first movie.


*Fingerless mittens are so convenient.


Bella's BB Dakota Jacket
*I tried this on once and would have bought it except it didn't have side pockets - which I like in a jacket
*Thanks to Colleen for this link!



Bella's Comforter
*This is so cute, but I'm not a purple gal
*Thanks again to Colleen for this link!

Art


*Great reproduction - even captures Bella's room


*Wow, I wish I could draw like that


*Now I really feel inferior


*Can you believe this is made out of felt?!


*Talk about creative...

Accessories


*This is hilarious.


*Normally I wouldn't go for destroying a copy of Breaking Dawn, but this is cool.


*One of a kind


*Incredible. I wish I had a place for this. Maybe I'll make a place.


*Even I might be too embarrassed to carry this around, but I still love it.


*Tempting...


*Best looking one I found


*Was anyone else a big My Little Pony fan as a kid?


*Lather yourself up with Jacob - I'll wait for the Edward soap

Things I've Actually Bought

My Twilight obsession does know a few boundaries, but not many. I don't sleep on an Edward pillow (sounds rather creepy, actually). I don't own any Twilight t-shirts (although there are several I'd like to buy). For the most part, I've bought quality craft items because I think the "official" items look and are cheap.

*I actually bought this one - it's on my iPhone right now




Twilight Turquoise Bracelet
*I was obsessed with Bella's bracelet from the first movie. I found a crafter on Etsy who made replicas with real turquoise and real sterling silver. It was a beautiful, quality looking piece. I wore it for almost a year when it finally broke. The silver is too thin and delicate and it snapped. I even had it soddered back together once and it broke again. I was so disappointed. I still think it was a good item, but the design wasn't meant for daily wear. Unfortunately, the artist no longer is on Etsy and I can't find quality replicas anymore.


Twilight Charm Bracelet
*My husband got me this for Christmas last year. I have one for Harry Potter too. It's very cute.

What's your favorite item?


I think mine is the wooden New Moon box. Or the drawings

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Was Your First? Genre-Introducing Novels

Grab the Totally Twilight Button!





What Was Your First? Genre-Introducing Novels

A large part of Twilight's magic for me was its novelty. I had never read a vampire novel. I hadn't even read a paranormal romance before Twilight. The standard conventions of paranormal romance: insta-love; brooding, mysterious guy with supernatural power; love triangle; life threatening danger - all of this was new to me.

Twilight felt fresh and wondrous. I think we can all agree that Twilight is not the best written series. I've read other books since Twilight that follow the same pattern but are better written, have more developed characters, sexier romance, and better world-building. But not one of them has captured my heart in the way that Twilight did and continues to do.

Would I have felt the same if I'd spent the previous several years reading books like Vampire Academy, House of Night, Vampire Diaries, or other series? I can't be sure, but I don't think Twilight would have held the same cache.

Like any first, the first book in a genre that you come to love will always be memorable. Twilight will always hold that distinction for me. It didn't re-introduce me to reading, but it did introduce me to paranormal romance and re-kindled an obsession with young adult novels.

Some of my other "Firsts"

Fantasy: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Historical Fiction: Ann Rinaldi's books - especially A Break With Charity

Historical Fantasy: The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray

Contemporary Fiction: Babysitter's Club by Ann M. Martin - okay, this was a long time ago

Dystopia: The Giver by Lois Lowry (although it didn't make me a lover of the genre - just that book)

Science Fiction: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (still not a sci fi lover though)

What are your firsts? Do you think any of them would hold less magic if they were the twentieth book you'd read in that genre?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movie Review: Breaking Dawn Part 1

Grab the Totally Twilight Button!





*Spoilers: I've tried not to give away any blatant spoilers - not like there are any if you've read the book - but since I describe scenes from the movie, you might want to avoid them if you're wary of spoilers.

I've established a pattern with the Twilight movies. I see each movie on the day it's released. I leave the theater feeling a mixture of happiness and disappointment. Then I take a day or two to process my "grief," as it were, over things the movie omitted or screwed up and watch the film again. The second time, I'm ready to accept the movie for what it is and I love it.

Breaking Dawn broke my Twilight movie trend. It is the first movie of the series that I loved on the first viewing. I was so impressed. Like all the Twilight movies, I don't see this one winning an Oscar any time soon and there were still a few occasions where I was laughing at the movie rather than with it, but overall it was very well done. It's particularly impressive considering that Breaking Dawn is the book in the series that I, like most readers, have the most issues with. In some ways, the movie was easier to handle than the book.

Breaking Dawn is clearly separated into four different acts: Wedding, Honeymoon, Pregnancy, Birth/Death/Transformation/Imprinting. With so much going on, I was impressed with how well paced the film was. It didn't feel as choppy as some of the previous movies. Neither did it drag enough that I felt compelled to look at my watch. Each scene developed the plot enough so that we knew what was happening and then it moved on.

Wedding

A wedding is such a fun, happy time that it's hard to screw up. The movie did a great job showing Alice and Renee's excitement, Charlie's reticence, Rosalie's attempted kindness, and Bella and Edward's nervousness. I did miss the scene from the book where Charlie accused Alice of sticking him with a needle, but you can't have everything.

Edward, being the worrywart that he is, thinks that Bella might change her mind if she knew everything about his past. This leads into a flashback scene of Edward's years as a vigilante, human-drinking vampire - which was omitted from the first film. Very well done flashback. I loved the costumes, the colors, and the suspense of the hunt.

The wedding vows were simple and sweet. Very touching. I loved the toasts. With the exception of Edward's well-spoken words, they were really cheesy. Roll your eyes cheesy. But I laughed at them in the same way that I laugh at bad jokes.

The Dress

Love the dress. It was so simple in the front but had a gorgeous, complicated lace back. It's refreshing to see something other than the ubiquitous strapless gown. I think it looks more elegant than what Stephenie described in the book.

Alice, Rosalie, and Esme's dresses were gorgeous. I loved the twenties influence yet they still managed to look modern and elegant.

My only qualm was that I hated Alice's hair. I'm glad they finally cut her hair as short as I envision it being from the books, but I didn't like the slicked back look. I think pin curls would have been better for the twenties feel. But I suppose that could have looked really bad as well. I'd rather have the spiky look from the books.

The Honeymoon

Perfectly captured the book. Romantic, sexy, and tasteful. Of course the sex scene is one of the main things people were waiting to see. I liked that they pushed the limits of what they could show, but it didn't cross the line into being voyeuristic. Lots of close-ups on Bella's face. It wasn't one of my favorite scenes in the movie because I'm not that into watching other people have sex. Just doesn't do it for me. So my main reactions during the scene were "Geez...I'd kill for Bella's eyelashes" and "Rob has some odd scars/birthmarks on his back."

I think the best - and most real - scene during the Honeymoon was Bella's human moments. It perfectly showed a young girl's nervousness and amusing attempts at primping prior to a big moment with a boy.

The movie also does a good job of showing the aftermath of the sex scene - feathers, destruction, bruises, and how Edward manages to totally kill the mood. Perfect reflection of the novel. I liked how he kept pushing Bella to do anything other than sex. Especially chess.

Pregnancy

The pregnancy portion of the movie follows the book pretty well. We see a lot from Jacob's perspective, although not as much as was in the book. That's fine with me. I'm happy with less Jacob.

What stood out to me here was emaciated Bella. Wow, she looked horrible. I wonder how they did it. She looked like she was starving to death. It was very disturbing.

Rob did a good job expressing how upset and scared Edward was. It was some of his best acting in the series. It was interesting seeing the change in his personality as the fetus evolved into a baby in his eyes.

Birth/Death/Transformation

Very gory. They pushed the limit on PG-13 even more here than in the sex scenes, it seemed. I had to look away. Kristen does a great job at playing someone who is in unimaginable pain and then someone who is essentially dead. Rob also did a great job at portraying Edward's anguish. Like the emaciated Bella, this scene was not only graphic, it was very disturbing. But in the way that it should have been. They did a great job translating this from book to film.

I loved how the transformation was portrayed. It is something that is very hard to convey, but I think how they did it made a lot of sense. The only problem I saw with it was that I didn't think it fully conveyed how much pain Bella was in - although it did a little. I also liked seeing Bella's physical change - how her body fills out and her hair changes. I'm excited to see the full transformation in the next movie.

Imprinting

Jacob's imprinting is a hard concept to come to terms with, in the book or the movie. I thought the movie did the best it could at showing it. I liked the set up throughout the movie - to explain what imprinting is and to get the idea across that it is not purely sexual. The film didn't do this perfectly, but neither does the book. The viewer (or reader) still has to take a leap of faith in assuming that Jacob doesn't really feel that way about a baby.

I can't decide whether the actual moment of imprinting was done well. It obviously made sense to me. It probably would make sense to a non-reader, but I'm not sure. They announced it just to be clear.

Fight Scenes

There are a couple of fight scenes between the Cullens and the wolves that weren't in the book. I loved them. These are things that didn't happen, but are entirely in line with what could have happened. It makes for some great action and allows the Cullens to show off their skills.

What Didn't Work

There are always some moments in the Twilight movies that are dumb, but only two things really stick out to me as being bad:

1) The wolf voice-overs: I get that it's hard to show the wolfpack conversing while in canine form. They did it by having voice-overs as the camera focused on a wolf's face. By itself, this would be only mildly cheesy, but instead of using the character's normal voice, they transformed each voice into a loud, dark echo. It sounded like the wolves were having a Darth Vader impersonation contest.

2) Carlisle's Costume: Oh. My. Gosh. What were they thinking? It seems like one character in each movie has his or her turn at looking awful and this time it was Carlisle. He looks horrible. To start with, there's the wig. His hair has been fine in the previous films. Couldn't they use the same wig? He looks like he has a bad comb-over. It ages him a dozen years or more. Not only that, but the sweaters they put him in make him look like he's gained twenty pounds. Perhaps Peter did gain a little weight, but it doesn't seem like it from the interviews I've seen him in. I think it was just bad wardrobe choices. The costume designers seem to forget that physically Carlisle is only 23 years old. Since Peter is in his mid 30s, they don't need to go out of their way to make him look even older.

Overall

Despite a few problems, I thought Breaking Dawn Part 1 was a fantastic movie. The best shot, acted, and scripted movie to date. I can hardly wait for Breaking Dawn Part 2!!

Have you seen Breaking Dawn yet? What did you think?

Manga Mondays (77) Kekkaishi vol. 8 by Yellow Tanabe

Kekkaishi vol. 8 - Yellow Tanabe


Summary

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet, skilled in the art of the "kekkaishi," fight against their families' bitter rivalry and a gaggle of monsters and ghosts on the loose!

By day, 14-year-old Yoshimori Sumimura is just a regular kid going to junior high school, but by night he is a "kekkaishi," or demon-fighter who specializes in generating magical barriers around his prey before making them disappear. His neighbor is 16-year-old Tokine Yukimura, who is also a kekkaishi! Together they share the knowledge of their ancient art and their nights battling beings from the netherworld. Sounds fun, but their families don't get along, because each believes themselves to be the "true practitioners" of the art of the kekkaishi.

With the help of their new kekkaishi-in-arms Gen, Yoshimori and Tokine battle the Dark Watchtower, a mysterious cabal of hideous ayakashi demons, to defend Yoshimori's ancestral lands! But the three friends are badly outnumbered, and when Gen's fury causes him to go too far, they may lose him forever--in more ways than one...(courtesy of Goodreads)

Review

*Warning: Potential spoilers. My manga reviews tend to be more of a summary than a review. I find it hard to review manga in the same way I do regular books.

This volume has it all. Action, anger, sadness, and moments that make you go "aww..." It starts off right where volume 7 ended. Tokina and Yoshimori are in the middle of an epic battle with demons wearing human skins. Gen is injured and being held hostage by the demons. The kids are definitely in over their heads, but they hold up surprisingly well.

While Tokine and Yoshimori fight, Gen tries to summon his strength. He is half ayakashi (demon) and can bring out his demon nature by force of will. But that is strictly forbidden and he is caught by a member of the Shadow Organization. Even in the middle of a battle, Gen isn't allowed to turn himself into an ayakashi.

This leads us to Gen's backstory. It's a critical part of the series, I think, because it illustrates the characters of Gen as well as Masamori (Yoshimori's brother). I am now fond of both people. Gen lived a quiet life with his family - his sister and brothers. For years, Gen bore the brunt of his brothers' bullying, but when his ayakashi nature developed, Gen lashed out. Gen didn't want or mean to hurt people, but he couldn't control himself. Eventually, he nearly killed his beloved sister. He was sent away to the Shadow Organization - a unique home for wayward boys. There, Masamori took him under his wing, believing in him when no one else would. I understand why Gen worships Masamori now.

The volume closes with some interesting moments illustrating Masamori's intelligence and keen political sense. As the newest member of the Shadow Organization's executive committee, he is ambitious to make changes to the group, but is first positioning himself to have the power and authority to do so. Then we get to see a cute seen building Tokine, Yoshimori, and Gen's friendship/partnership. I'm excited to see what the trio will be up to next.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (57) & Totally Twilight Re-Cap

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I'm Alison (on the off chance you couldn't guess that from the name of my blog). I review Young Adult novels with a few Middle Grade books and a weekly manga feature.

Totally Twilight Posts

Week three of Totally Twilight is complete. Check out my posts from this week and be on the look-out for all my Twilight posts this coming week - including my Breaking Dawn movie review!

Midnight Sun: What's the Status?
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Soundtrack Review
Guest Post by Missie: My Book Boyfriend - Jasper Whitlock Hale
The Twilight Movies: Helped or Hurt the Books?
Guest Post by Holly: Twi-Cation! My Trip To Forks
MY Twilight Fan Fiction - Alice!



Grab the Totally Twilight Button!





Library Stash


Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
*80 pages into this. It's really good so far!


MÄR, Märchen Awakens Romance Vol. 1 by Nobuyuki Anzai
*Heard so many great things about this one. I'm excited to read it.

CD Stash


I Am Very Far by Okkervil River
*Love Okkervil River!
 
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