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The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Twilight Saga)
The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating book! Why do Meyer's characters always miss the action?, 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"It was like talking to Diego had cleared my head. For the first time in three months, blood was not the main thing in there."
Bree, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Stephanie Meyer

Seeing as I read all four books in the Twilight tetralogy, I thought I may as well read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, an Eclipse novella by Stephanie Meyer. I was foolishly hopeful that Meyer might have written a decent spin off because the main character is a more traditional Vampire who sees people as food. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It's a shame because the story had potential.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner focuses on a minor character at the end of Eclipse. Once the Cullen's have won the war against the newborn army that Victoria created as a distraction so she could find and kill Bella (as a means of revenge for Edward's part in killing her mate, James), Carlise happens upon Bree. Bree surrenders herself to Carlise as she does not wish to fight. Carlise takes pity on her and defends her against the Volutri. The Volutri show no mercy, as is their reputation, and they kill Bree. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner tells Bree's story, from the time she was turned, up until the time where the Volturi kill her. At the beginning of the book, Bree is hunting for blood with three other Vampires. Two are reckless and belong to Raoul's gang. They savagely flip a car over and pull the screaming woman from the car. Bree and the other Vampire, Diego run and find themselves a pimp and two prostitutes, a less media worthy dinner that won't get them into trouble with Riley, the boss. Diego and Bree form a bond and the rest of the book is devoted to them figuring out the lies Riley has told, and the true reason they were created. After much deceit, betrayal and heartache, Bree ends up in the newborn army amidst the fight with the Cullen's. The rest, as they say, is history.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I think that if this was a first draft, I would be a little excited about its potential. It's disappointing that this is the finished version though. In my opinion, there was too much time spent thinking and trying to figure out what Riley was up to. I think this was necessary, but more action was needed to balance out the thinking. This is something that comes up in Meyer's Twilight tetralogy also. Meyer seems to devote a lot of time to mundane things, and peoples thought and feelings. As a result, the story never climaxes. Even at the end of the book there is no action (Bree misses the army as she is busy realizing Riley's betrayal and later when further action occurs, Bree is forced to keep her eyes closed), and the desperation of Bree's situation is lost. Bree simply accepts the inevitable. I wanted Bree to live more than she wanted to live. I also think it's sad that I didn't feel upset when Bree died. Yes, I wanted her to live, but I wasn't even teary eyed. This is because Meyer doesn't build up a satisfactory relationship between the reader and Bree, so the reader doesn't become invested and so doesn't care about what happens to her. Bree's only real purpose is to fill in some of the details that couldn't easily be worked into Eclipse.

There is another shallow relationship in this book. Bree and Deigo know each other for all of two seconds before they want something more. It isn't just a brief romantic interlude though. Meyer hints that the two have fallen in love, hence why Bree basically signs her death warrant when she turns down freedom in order to rescue Deigo. I wanted to shake Bree and tell her to go with Kevin. She would have been safe, but one brief kiss with one Vampire meant she just had to try to save him. I'm not sure that this is realistic. Wouldn't survival instincts be stronger than your feelings for someone you only just met? Meyer needed to spend a little more time developing their relationship for me to believe that Bree would act in this manner.

I also found the predictability of the plot irritating. It was blatantly obvious that Riley had lied about everything, and it took a painfully long time for Bree and Deigo to figure it out. Plus, it was obvious what had happened to Deigo. Riley's behavior read like a book, and only Bree refused to accept the truth. I found myself wanting to shake her and make her see the truth. I think the idea that newborn Vampires can't think clearly because of the thirst for blood, and the struggle Bree has to go through to keep her thoughts, is interesting. This wasn't fully explored, however, and I wanted to know more about this. This is a running theme throughout this book. The interesting parts weren't fully explored; the nest situation where the newborns fight with each other, the extra abilities the newborns have like increased speed or strength, the thirst and the lack of control newborns face, Kevin's power and Bree's power--were hinted at in the final few pages. This left me frustrated.

Final Verdict: I wouldn't read this book. It will leave you frustrated and wishing that this story had been developed to its true potential. Instead, it re-hashes much of Eclipse without offering anything original.


Breaking Dawn: Twilight, Book 4: 4/4 (Twilight Saga)
Breaking Dawn: Twilight, Book 4: 4/4 (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.94

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you've come this far, you might as well finish..., 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"My life and his were twisted into a single strand. Cut one, and you cut both. If he were gone, I would not be able to live through that. If I were gone, he wouldn't live through it, either."
Breaking Dawn, Stephanie Meyer

Breaking Dawn, by Stephanie Meyer, is the final book in the Twilight tetralogyand is twice the size of all the other books. Breaking Dawn continues Bella and Edward's story from the previous three books in the series. There is a small gap between the end of Eclipse and the start of Breaking Dawn, and other than wedding preparation, not much has happened. The first third of the book documents Bella and Edward's wedding and their honeymoon to a tropical island. Edward keeps his promise to take Bella's virginity after they are married, and surprise, surprise, Bella becomes pregnant. This is no ordinary pregnancy either. Within a few days, Bella has a large bump, which would usually take months to grow in a normal pregnancy.

There was far too much of Bella and Edward's wedding and the honeymoon. I really think this needed to be condensed into one or two chapters. It felt like the author should know all these details, but should have edited the majority out. It was boring, and I just didn't care! The honeymoon part was not only boring, but also painful. Bella persuades a reluctant Edward to take her virginity, which he does. In the morning, Bella is bruised and the room is in disarray. Edward vows that he will not have sex with her again while she is human because it's too dangerous. Bella then spends so much time trying to persuade Edwardto have sex again that she is actually begging him. What is that? It is so degrading to read about a woman begging a man for sex. I shudder just recalling it.

After this, the point of view switches to Jacob. Jacob is unhappy about Bella being pregnant but wants to protect her from his pack of werewolves, who want to kill her and the baby. The story reports about Jacob, Seth, and Leah's patrols, the love triangle between Edward, Jacob, and Bella, and Bella's rapid deterioration. This culminates in the birth of a Vampire daughter, and Bella's death.

Nothing eventful happens in this third of the book. It literally focuses on Jacob, Seth, and Leah running patrol and bickering because they don't really get along. When Jacob isn't running patrols, he's inside begging Bella to abort the baby. He and Edward actually agree on this. Bella feels better when Jacob's around and the love triangle continues. Jesus! She's married and pregnant and all she wants is Jacob. To me this is just too much love triangle. Meyer should defiantly have chopped this down. All the pining and brooding looks just annoyed me. Although, the werewolves do attack towards the end of this third, Jacob and Edward are inside delivering the baby. Once again, the reader misses all the action! Instead, the reader gets a gross scene where Edward bites into Bella to retrieve the baby. Yuck!

The point of view then returns to Bella, who is now a Vampire. Bella names her daughter Renesmee, who ages and develops much more rapidly than a human child. It isn't long before Alice has a vision of the Volturi visiting because they have heard news of Renesmee. The problem is that the Volturi think Edward and Bella have turned a child into a Vampire rather than giving birth to one. This is punishable by death. The Cullen family call on all their friends to join them in a stand against the Volturi. Will Bella and Edward find a way to convince the Volutri that Renesmee ages and so isn't a human turned into a Vampire? Will the Volturi even care? They've been looking for an excuse to take out the Cullen family for so long because they pose a threat to the Volturi's power. You'll have to read the book to find out, or what the movie. It might be faster and closer to quickly pulling a plaster off

The final third of the book is more interesting. Actually, it's probably the most interesting bit of the entire series. Why, you ask? Well, the focus is no longer on Bella and Edward being in love, or the love triangle. It's on the Volutri and preparing for a fight. The Vampires that travel to the Cullen's house all have different abilities, and these make for an interesting read as they practice. Plus, Bella's gift is also interesting and I liked reading about it developing. Of course, these interesting bits are tainted with some annoying aspects. For instance, rather than being a true newborn, Bella is a brilliant Vampire. She's in control and can instantly resist human blood. WTF! I'm sorry, but that kind of takes the fun out of having Vampires in the story. It also confirms that Meyer really just romanticised Vampires into humans who drink animal blood and aren't that dangerous, but are faster and stronger. It's just not interesting.

Final Verdict: If you've come this far, you may as well finish. You might want to skim the first two thirds of the book. I can sum them up with: the wedding, the honeymoon and the baby. That's it.


Eclipse: 3 (Twilight Saga)
Eclipse: 3 (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Skip to the last 1/4, there's a little bit of action which is a rareity in this series, 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"He's like a drug for you, Bella."
Eclipse, Stephanie Meyer

I'd actually forgotten about Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer. I had only remembered three books until I was sorting out pictures of the book covers and noticed Eclipse. That's not a good sign. Eclipse continues Bella and Edward's story from Twilight and New Moon.

In Eclipse, Edward leaving is forgotten, but the couple have to deal with Jacob, who is in love with Bella. A love triangle is born and the majority of the book is about how all three of them deal with this. Plus, there is a new threat to Bella's life. Victoria (from Twilight) has bred an army of newborn Vampires for the purpose of killing Bella, and the Vampires and Werewolves have to work together to stop them. Will Bella survive yet another threat on her life?

In terms of Bella and Edward's relationship, Meyer keeps on surprising me. Not only has their relationship been unhealthily obsessive so far, Meter takes it to a whole new level in Eclipse. Bella and Edward adopt gender stereotypical roles from before women's suffrage was achieved. Bella is completely controlled by Edward and does only what he says. He says she can't see Jacob, her best friend, so she doesn't. He even puts her under house arrest to enforce this rule. When Bella finally manages to escape to see Jacob, Edward is furious and almost starts a war between Vampires and Werewolves when he considers crossing the boundary to fetch her back! When Bella gets back, Edward is waiting and she is in big trouble. This relationship does not represent modern relationships, instead it romanticises jealousy and possessiveness.

Towards the end of the book, there is a plot point that is the most cringe worthy thing I have ever read. Bella decides that before she becomes a Vampire she wants to have one more human experience: losing her virginity. She tries to tempt Edward by losing control when she kisses him (a theme running through all three books: Bella essentially becomes a wild woman when she kisses Edward), unbuttoning his shirt and things like that. When he refuses because it is dangerous, she begs. It is so degrading to read; who in their right mind would beg someone else for sex?! Edward counters this by agreeing to take her virginity and turn her into a Vampire only if she agrees to marry him. Bella is reluctant but really wants to be a Vampire, so agrees. *Rolls eyes* Do I even need to comment on this?

Also, I would just like to comment on the level of cheese in this book. I wrinkled my nose up in disgust way too often. I'll give you a two choice quotes (there are many, many more though). First, "Look after my heart - I've left it with you," and second, `"And the sound of your heart," he continued. "It's the most significant sound in my world. I'm so attuned to it now, I swear I could pick it out from miles away. But neither of these things matter. This," he said, taking my face in his hands. "You. That's what I'm keeping. You'll always be my Bella, you'll just be a little more durable."' I just threw up a little.

The sub-plot of Victoria and her army of newborn Vampires was interesting. The Cullen's slowly come to understand that the various violent murders in the nearby city of Seattle were the result of newborn Vampires being let loose. It was a tad obvious that Victoria was behind this, despite Meyer trying to conceal it. I knew as soon as Alice had a vision of a Vampire hunting Bella, even though Alice didn't know who the Vampire was. Victoria had tried to get to Bella at the end of New Moon, to kill her as a means of revenging James' death (the Vampire Edward killed to protect Bella at the end of Twilight). To me it was obvious that she wouldn't just give up, especially as James was her mate. Anyway, I actually looked forward to the battle at the end of the book that pitted the newborns against the Cullen's and the werewolves. The problem was I never got to read about it! Bella couldn't be at the battle because she's human, and she begs Edward to leave with her. The reader, of course, goes with them and while the battle rages on, the reader gets to hear more about Bella's love triangle between Edward and Jacob. Boring! I wanted some action. It is a book about Vampires and Werewolves for crying out loud. This confirms that the main plot of this tetralogy is romance. The supernatural element (Vampires and Werewolves), and any action is purely sub-plots. In my mind, it should be the other way around.

Final Verdict: Skip to the last quarter of the book. There is at least a little bit of action when Edward and Victoria fight.


New Moon: 2 (Twilight Saga)
New Moon: 2 (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Don't use Bella as a role model, 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me."
Bella, New Moon, Stephanie Meyer

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer continues the story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from Twilight. The story opens with Bella's birthday. She is not a fan of birthdays because of the attention and she doesn't like to receive presents, but Alice Cullen has organized a birthday party for her at the Cullen residence. While there Bella gets a paper cut and in a house full of Vampires that's the worst possible outcome. Edward manages to get Bella out of Jasper's way, but she ends up with more cuts along her arm. Once Carlisle has bandaged her arm, Edward takes her home. He is cold, aloof, and leaves immediately. This continues the following day until Edward tells Bella he is leaving Forks and he does not want her to go with him. The rest of the book deals with the following questions: How will Bella cope without Edward? Will Edward ever return? Who is the new threat to Bella's life?

On the whole, New Moon is marginally better than Twilight, and I mean marginally. The same problems in Twilight still exist, but two in particular are amplified: Edward and Bella's relationship becomes more unhealthy (I didn't think that was possible), and Bella becomes more of an insult to women everywhere. Bella basically stops living once Edward leaves her in Forks. There are several blank pages in the book which only have a month written in the middle. This represents the time that has passed since Edward left, and Bella essentially stopped living. The fact that she can't live without Edward, and so just sits around doing nothing, seeing no one and clutching her sides trying to keep herself together, isn't realistic. It would be more realistic if Bella were at least mad at Edward for leaving her because of an accident. To make things worse, when Bella's dad forces her to go out with a friend and gets into a precarious situation, rather than getting to safety, she approaches the men because she hallucinates Edward's face. Throughout the rest of the book Bella puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations just to see Edward's face. In terms of being a relationship template for young adults, this essentially tells people to be obsessive, and that really unhealthy relationships are normal. It tells young adults not to move on when a relationship ends. In terms of Bella being a role model for young women, she's very, very bad. She gives up on her life and is unable to go on without Edward. This doesn't teach women to be strong and to push through hard times. I would have more respect for Bella if she had at least made an effort to move forward, even if she couldn't let go on the inside. Plus, the fact Bella forgives Edward the minute he's back, without so much as one angry retort, is frustrating. He left her and pretended he didn't love her, and the fact she doesn't give him a hard time reeks of desperation. I think Edward could actually drink her blood to within an inch of her life and she wouldn't even scold him for it!

Earlier I did say that this book was better than Twilight, book one. There are two reasons for this: Jacob and the Volturi. Jacob becomes Bella's best friend and he is a werewolf. He is kind to Bella and treats her with respect (unlike Edward). He made the story a little more interesting, although I think adding a love triangle between a human, a Vampire and a Werewolf is a bit predictable. I saw it coming as soon as Bella started hanging out with Jacob. The Volturi are kind of the head Vampires, who live in Italy. They are more traditional Vampires who drink human blood. I'm not sure why their eyes are red though, but oh well. I actually mildly enjoyed reading about Edward trying to commit suicide by sparkling in front of hundreds of humans (groans). Plus, the Volutri then demanded to see him and I enjoyed the powers that they possess. They also tell Edward that he must turn Bella into a Vampire or else they will kill her because she knows too much. I have to say that how Edward and Bella beg the Volturi for each other's lives is sickly sweet. It's not that I think they shouldn't do this. It's very cringe-worthy.

Final Verdict: If you have to read this book just try to detach yourself and don't use Bella as a role model.


Twilight: Twilight, Book 1 (Twilight Saga)
Twilight: Twilight, Book 1 (Twilight Saga)
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time!, 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength, and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."
Stephen King

Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer, tells the story of Isabella (Bella) Swan. Bella moves to Forks to live with her dad at the start of the book. She starts a new school and is all the town is talking about. One person at the school stands out; Edward Cullen. Edward is handsome, but aloof, and seems pretty disgusted by Bella at first. They are both drawn to each other though, and Bella begins to notice odd things about Edward. Finally, she figures out his secret; he's a vampire. That's not the biggest problem. You see Bella's blood is extra special to Edward. It's his crack cocaine. Will Edward resist eating Bella? Will their relationship survive the odds stacked against them?

I actually cringed writing that summary. Sigh. Let me start at the beginning. I first read Twilight in the summer of 2010. I'd been given the book to read by my boyfriend (he'd read them after watching the movie). I really enjoyed the book and lost a whole day as I raced through the pages, eager to find out what happened at the end.

A few months later, I decided to re-read the book. It was like reading a completely different story; one that lacked plot, and one that was badly written. I quickly became irritated by a number of things. First, the plot was severely lacking. Three quarters of the book literally go like this: Bella watches Edward, Edward watches Bella, Edward tells Bella to stay away from him, Bella ignores Edward, Bella does incredibly stupid things and Edward saves Bella. That's it! Finally, Bella learns what the reader already knows; Edward is a vampire. Shock horror! When the pace picks up a little, as James (a hunter vampire) sets his sight on Bella, Bella blacks out when the action starts and the reader misses it. What was Meyer thinking? Honestly!

Second, the relationship between Edward and Bella is creepy and young adults should not use this as a reference in their own relationships. For example, Edward sneaks into Bella's room to watch her sleep at night. What the hell? If someone did this to me, I would call the cops and report a stalker. What does Bella do? She likes him more for it.

Third, although Edward is supposedly a Vampire, he is pretty lame. He lacks all of the characteristics that make a Vampire. While Meyer says that Edward has a lust for blood, if she didn't tell the reader, you wouldn't know. He's too in control. I get that some vampires might drink animal blood, but they should still be dangerous. Jasper was a better take on a Vampire who drinks animal blood, but still feels the blood lust. Edward is just too good. Plus, Edward doesn't have fangs, which is weird. Instead, he just has sharp normal teeth. He isn't affected by crosses or stakes, and he can go out in the sunlight (i.e., he doesn't burn). Instead, he sparkles. What is that?! Why would an author do that?!

Fourth, Bella actually offends me as a woman. She is a terrible role model for young, impressionable adults. Bella is so weak. She's entirely dependent on Edward. When he goes away to hunt, she has no life. She does nothing. Oh wait, she obsesses about Edward. She's also so consumed by Edward that she passes out when he kisses her. When he says it would be best if he left, she almost dies! It is disgusting to read about a female character who is that dependant on a man. It frustrates me to no end.

Fifth, why would any writer talk about how god-like Edward is repeatedly? Meyer talks about Edward's chiselled marble skin, and his amber eyes, and his Adonis looks WAY TO MUCH. Seriously! I got it after the tenth time! Jeez!

Sixth, what is Edward's obsession with making Bella eat food? There are too many times in the book where Bella describes the food she is cooking to eat because Edward told her to.

My theory is that Twilight is a good read if you're not really thinking. If you just race through, without paying much attention and without using your brain, it's enjoyable. Once you engage in the story, it falls flat, really flat. There just isn't enough of a plot to make it interesting. It's literally about two teenagers falling in love. Okay, so one of those is a vampire, (laughs) although he's not really.

Don't even get me started on the movie. I didn't think it could possibly be worse, but oh how wrong I was. If you take a crappy book and take actors that can't act, well, that's Twilight for you.

Final Verdict: Don't waste your time.


The Host
The Host
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The book had potential but it fell flat., 11 July 2013
This review is from: The Host (Paperback)
This review was originally posted on: [...]

"Body and soul. Two different things"
The Host by Stephanie Meyer

I was given The Host as a gift after I'd read the Twilight tetralogy. This was back in 2008, and it has been gathering dust on my bookshelf ever since. I had absolutely no intention of reading it after reading the Twilight tetralogy earlier in the year. That was until I saw the trailer at the cinema's for the upcoming movie release. I was surprised that I actually found the trailer interesting. It seemed to have some action in the plot. After seeing a second trailer and finding that my interest was still there, I decided to put my prejudice towards Meyer aside and give the book a change.

The Host is set in the future, sometime after an alien race called Souls have taken over Earth. The Souls are not the typical aliens found in horror movies (i.e., little green men). The Souls are a gentle race of people who have taken over Earth because of the violent and aggressive nature of humans who cannot be left to their own devices any longer, and those who come to Earth do so for the experience. The Souls experience Earth by living inside a human host and taking over their minds. This erases the person who used to inhabit the body, or so it was thought. Wanderer is put inside Melanie Stryder, one of the few remaining human rebels, with the goal of accessing her memories and locating the remaining rebels. The problem is that Melanie refuses to be erased and remains very present. Instead, Melanie shows Wanderer images of the man she loves, Jared. Wanderer finds herself increasingly unable to answer the Seeker's demands for the location of the humans because she too has feelings for Jared. What will the Seeker do if Wanderer doesn't give her the answers, or if the Seeker realizes that Melanie is still present? Will Wanderer be able to resist leaving to find Jared, and will she unwittingly lead the Seeker right to them? If she makes it, without being followed, how will the rebel humans react the arrival of a Soul inside a loved ones body?

The story line of The Host has the most potential out of all of Stephanie Meyer's books. This story is essentially a science fiction novel, where aliens take over Earth in a really neat way, and yet the focus of the majority of the book is on the love triangle/square between Wanderer/Melanie, Jared and another male who shall remain nameless so there are no spoilers. The romance plot wasn't badly done as such, because the reactions of the characters were realistic. I liked that Jared reacted badly towards Wanderer/Melanie because essentially an alien showed up in the body of the love of his life. Who wouldn't react badly to that? Especially, as he doesn't know Melanie is still in there. I enjoyed how Meyer slowly softened everyone's feelings towards Wanderer, although Jared's constant back and forth between semi-okay to pure hatred was rather annoying to read. As Melanie puts it in the book, he is being pigheaded. I wish that this had ended a little sooner. It's clear that Jared is in love with Melanie though, and he cannot accept Wanderer as the mediator between the two. Then there's the problem that Wanderer has fallen in love with Jared because of Melanie's memories. I found this interesting, but in places Wanderer's continual love for Jared, despite his actions towards her, is a little strange. I understand that she loved him in the beginning, but after everything he does, even she admits that he is not the person in Melanie's memories anymore. Yet, she still pines for him and loves him. I could understand this after a few months, but after a year has passed, this should have gotten easier, surely? Then, there is Wanderer's love interest, who is VERY willing to accept her. Again, I find this a little strange. She is part of an alien invasion that stole people's bodies and inserted themselves inside. That said, the romance is slowly developed, which is unusual for Meyer, and is on the whole, realistic.

Rather than the romance being overdone, there was just too much of it. Rather than the romance falling in as a sub-plot to the alien invasion, it takes forefront with the alien invasion fitting in and around the romance. Had it been the other way around, I think this book could have really worked because some elements are really interesting. For example, I wish there had been more stories from Wanderer about the other planets that she lived. That was fascinating. I also wish more of the book had been devoted to the last quarter. I can't reveal what this is about without ruining the plot, but it was the most interesting part of the book and yet it was squeezed into the end. This feeds into Meyer's avoidance of any real action. In the Twilight tetralogy, Bella always misses the action (e.g., she's on the verge of unconsciousness at the end of Twilight when the Cullen's are confronting James, she's in hiding when the Cullen's confront the newborns in Eclipse, and while there is the threat of a battle in Breaking Dawn, nothing comes about). In The Host, there is more action, mostly at the end as aforementioned, in that there is much hostility towards Wanderer leaving her constantly fighting for her life, and there is the threat of the Seeker, who is determined to find Wanderer. The problem is that most of the action is too spread out so there's no urgency in the book, and the Seeker is one of the worst antagonists that I've ever read in a book. She's really only there throughout the book in passing as her actions are mentioned, and when she does catch up to Wanderer this is over all too quickly. I'm not sure why she was really seen as a threat in the first place.

Finally, I found it difficult to connect with the characters. I think that because Meyer tells you everything (actions and emotions), rather than showing you with descriptions of actions or feelings etc... I felt like I was just mindlessly reading through the book. This meant that I didn't really feel anything when major bits happened to the characters. I like some ambiguity. There's also the fact that many of the characters are hard to sympathize with or aren't in the book enough. I didn't really like Jared or Melanie throughout the entire book. Jared was aggressive and acted pigheaded throughout most of it, and while I like Melanie more, there wasn't much depth to her character. She was just the angry host for Wanderer who complained throughout most of the book. I get that if I were stuck in my own body while someone else controlled me, I'd be pissed, but it felt like Meyer brought her in at times to complain as a means of keeping her in the plot. The focus is very much on Wanderer. I did enjoy the scenes where Melanie and Wanderer worked together. I think more of these would have been good.

That all being said, I am excited to see the movie adaptation of this book. The trailers seem to show that the movie has capitalised on the action that happens in the book, which should make for an excellent movie. The book is very big considering what happens, so I guess in 90 minutes, only the best bits will make it in. I'm looking forward to the movie's release on 11th April 2013.

Final Verdict: If you like romance with a bit of science fiction in the background then you will enjoy this book. If you're like me, and prefer a lot of action, I'm not sure this book will be very satisfying.


I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
by Pittacus Lore
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay until you start to think and then large plot holes appear, 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"There were NINE of us who escaped...
Number ONE was killed in Malaysia.
Number TWO was murdered in England.
Number THREE was hunted down in Kenya.
Before they come for the others, they'll come for me...
I AM NUMBER FOUR."
John Smith, I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

John Smith is an alien from a planet called Lorien. He was one of nine Garde who escaped the planet when it came under attack. The Mogadorians are hunting down the nine Garde and killing them one-by-one. The first three are already dead. The Garde have to be killed in a certain order because of a protection charm, and John is number four, making him next. To stay hidden John moves from small to small town, changing his identity each time. He always keeps a low profile and never makes attachments to people. When John moves to a town in Ohio, he makes a real friend and gets a girlfriend. John doesn't want to run anymore. Can John keep a low profile and avoid detection or will he be forced to leave the town and people that he has come to love?

It's taken me a while to read I am Number Four because I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi and the book has aliens in it. Actually, I didn't find the sci-fi element overwhelming, and I thought the Legacies (powers that John has) brought a strong fantasy element to the book. So, overall, I enjoyed this book. I don't think it's a show stopper and I probably wouldn't read it again anytime soon, but if you're looking for a book to borrow from a library and there's nothing else, it's worth a read. It's kind of an easy read where you don't need to think very much. If you do, problems crop up in the story's plot, but I'll talk about that a little bit later in the review.

I liked the basic idea behind the book; Lorien was attacked by an alien race called the Mogadorians and only nine children escaped the invasion. Those nine children travelled to Earth, each with a Cepan (like a mentor) so that one day they could take the planet back and exact revenge. The nine children were part of the Garde, who receive Legacies (powers), once they reach puberty, which will allow them to fight the Mogadorians. The Mogadorians have followed the nine children to Earth and are killing them one by one before their Legacies fully develop. The problem is that when you start to think about the details of the plot, things start to fall apart. For example, one of the goals for sending nine children of the Garde to Earth was so that they can repopulate the planet; surely this is a bit too much for only nine children! Also, if an entire planet filled with Garde couldn't stop the Mogadorians, how can nine children who haven't received any/all of their Legacies?

There are also fairly large holes in the smaller plot points too. For example, Sarah is John's girlfriend in the book, and her ex-boyfriend, Mark is a bully. He bullies John by stealing his phone, fighting etc... Near the end of the book, John finds Mark at his house with Henri (John's Cepan/mentor who came with him from Lorien). Mark seems to know what John is and he joins them in the final battle. I'm really not sure how Mark came into the last third of the book. I don't know how Mark knows what is going on and why he would want to be involved in John's fight for survival when Mark dislikes John. There are so many questions surrounding this character, and I don't think there's any mystery background story to Mark, I think it's just an oversight of the book. This is just one example of the holes in the plot; there are a few!

Throughout I am Number Four the reader learns about what happened to Lorien and the Lorien people through flashbacks that John has. I found the flashbacks interesting because some of them are John's memories from a really young age that no human child would be able to access, and others are about the invasion itself. The flashbacks about the invasion were interesting to read and they brought some action to the story. I do wish that there was a little more action in these flashbacks because I think there was more potential to bring the battle to life. I also think that there were too many flashbacks about the same thing. John had multiple flashbacks to the invasion and each time he learned a little more. While I think this is interesting, it became a little repetitive. Also, some of the flashbacks were a little long-winded for such a small revelation. These flashbacks did break up the pace of the book because the reader would go from Alex training a new Legacy to a long flashback and then back again. For example, at one point, Henri is helping Alex expand one of his Legacies, Alex is trying to relax and he has a long flashback, when the reader returns to the present the Legacy is expanded already.

I found that the first few scenes where John received his first legacy exciting. I liked the danger that getting a legacy at school caused. It kind of fizzled out from there though. The first legacy that John gets is useful but it's more defensive than offensive, and he gets control really quickly. Yet, this power is highly coveted! I had high hopes that the other two legacies that John developed would be more offensive because other members of the Garde do have offensive powers. While one legacy was kind of offensive, this legacy is developed by all of the Garde, the other legacy wasn't offensive at all. I think that more could have been done with John's first legacy or generally just more scenes where training happened, just to increase the pace of the book.

I found the romance between John and Sarah very unrealistic. There was just such a sudden and strong connection between the two of them. Sarah hadn't long been broken up from Mark and yet she was determined to have John. John was besotted with her from the minute he sees her at school. There just isn't any build up to the relationship, it just suddenly is there. It doesn't make the reader invested because the reader hasn't wanted the relationship to happen. Plus, the relationship was too smooth sailing throughout. I mean, even when Sarah finds out that John is an alien, she just accepts it. I know that the reason for her finding out is fairly big evidence, but still. You think someone might be a little freaked out that aliens exist and her boyfriend is one; they haven't been dating long!

I also found that the romance was a bit soppy in places and over-the-top. John just didn't have a very strong male voice. He was too connected to his emotions. For example, at one point he thinks: I've never felt this way about anyone before. Like I'm floating on air when we're together, and I dread the times when we're apart, like now, despite having just spent the last couple of hours with her. Sarah gives some purpose to our running and hiding, a reason that transcends mere survival. A reason to win. And to know that I may be putting her life in danger by being with her - well, it terrifies me. I think John is a character that reflects what women want in a man, rather than a man per se. It makes the story less believable. I also found John's character was rather immature. Despite John and Henri being in imminent danger, John refuses to leave Paradise, Ohio because he has a girlfriend and a friend. His refusal to leave puts everyone in danger and he isn't even sorry for it. It's pretty selfish and doesn't make John very likeable. It would have been better for John and Henri to be ambushed as they leave or something.

The battle at the end was less than impressive. I kept waiting for John to do something amazing and it never happened. It was rather frustrating to read actually because the whole book built John up, and Henri says, "When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope," a few times. I really didn't feel any hope throughout in the battle. Nobody on the good guy side did anything that was impressive, except maybe Bernie Kosar (John's dog). I also found that by comparison to other characters involved in the battle, John fell flat. I wanted to know what they were up to rather than have John complain about how he couldn't do anything. Anyway, I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil what happens.

I'm going to watch the movie adaptation of I am Number Four next, so here's hoping it's an improvement. I have heard good things so I am hopeful.

Final Verdict: A book to read mindlessly. Thinking only means you see the large plot holes and the lack of depth in the characters.


Fallen: Book 1 (The Fallen Series)
Fallen: Book 1 (The Fallen Series)
by Lauren Kate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.94

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you're a fan of Twilight, you'll probably like this. Otherwise, avoid!, 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?"
Luce, Fallen by Lauren Kate

I have seen Fallen by Lauren Kate many times when I have visited book stores over the past 3-4 years. Each time, the book cover caught my eye and I read the blurb on the back of the book. I always concluded that the blurb sounded boring and appeared to fall solidly in the Twilight kind-of genre, where the main plot is a romance and anything supernatural is a sub-plot at best. Last month, when I visited the library, I caught sight of this book again. I decided that I would give it a whirl, based solely on how great the book cover is.

Fallen tells the story of Lucinda "Luce" Price, a seventeen year old girl who appears to suffer from delusions; she claims to be able to see dark and menacing shadows. As a result, she has been to see therapists and took anti-psychotic drugs for a while. Things take a turn for the worse when she sneaks off with a boy she likes, and he mysteriously dies in a fire. While the Police suspect Luce, there isn't enough evidence and she is sent to a reform school called Sword and Cross in Savannah, Georgia. While at the school, Luce meets Daniel and Cam, thus creating a love triangle. Luce is instantly and inexplicably drawn to Daniel because she feels certain she has met him before. Daniel is less than friendly to Luce, flipping her off the first time they meet. Luce is persistent though and with the help of Penn, she investigates who Daniel is. Then there is Cam. Cam is very friendly with Luce, and she enjoys the attention she receives from him. He buys her gifts and takes her on two dates; one outside the school gates, which does not end well! All the while, the shadows appear to be getting stronger and more prevalent; they sometimes hurt Luce and then there is the second mysterious fire. Will Luce choose Daniel or Cam? Will Luce figure out who Daniel is? Will Luce survive the menacing shadows that seem to be getting stronger?

I struggled to write the book summary to be honest. There isn't much that happens outside of the love triangle, so it was hard to write a plot that was longer than a sentence or two. Overall, I did not like Fallen at all. I am surprised because the book scores an average of 4 out of 5 (out of 296 reviews) on Amazon.co.uk. A large number of reviews (114 out of 296) describe the book as "enthralling", "interesting story", "intense" and a "thrilling and dark" story. I honestly feel like I read a different book! I think that some of the reviewers for Fallen will agree with me (those who gave the book a 1 (22 out of 296) or 2 (30 out of 296) star. This book was anything but enthralling. I found that the book had a very slow pace, with very few plot points occurring in each chapter to push the story along and it offered nothing new. Everything that happened in the book has been done before in other fantasy fiction, plus the things that did happen were predictable. I wasn't surprised when anything happened in the book.

The love triangle was the main plot in the story, and I found it frustrating throughout. There was an unbelievable number of cliché's which left me rolling my eyes or feeling nauseated, plus everything was so melodramatic. For example, "Her heart raced as Daniel stepped toward her, placing both hands on her shoulders. His thumbs fit perfectly along the grooves of her collarbone, and she wanted to close her eyes at the warmth of his touch--but she didn't. She watched as Daniel bowed his head so his nose was nearly touching hers. She could feel his breath on her face. She could smell a hint of sweetness on his skin..." This kind of writing is continuous throughout the book. Once Luce has met Daniel and Cam her every moment is consumed by them. She weighs up what she likes and dislikes about each one, leans towards one and then the other, and agonizes over what Daniel has said and done. She also continuously seeks out Daniel to the point where he suggests she is stalking him. It really did seem like that, and while Luce does admit it, she continues regardless. It is the amount of obsession and complaining that bothered me. It's really unhealthy and I don't think it's appropriate for young, impressionable readers to admire Luce. Finally, the constant references to Daniel and Cam's appearance were annoying. I really didn't need to be constantly reminded how handsome both boys are, in particular the description of Daniel as sculpted (e.g., sculpted shoulders) and or how green and alluring Cam's green eyes were.

The paranormal aspect of the book played a very small part. I can't say too much here without giving anything away. Essentially, I was disappointed because it confirmed that this book is essentially just another high school (or in this case reform school) romance where a paranormal element is added but not really explored (just like in Twilight). I understand that this book is a four book series and so book one is essentially establishing the romance and the next three books will explore it. However, considering book one should still be a story in its own right, one that's interesting, I feel like it completely failed. I'd rather have jumped right in at the end and read the story from there. Also, I doubt the author's style of writing or the predominant focus on the romance will change enough for me to like the series. I am convinced of this because once Luce discovers what Daniel really is near the end, the book jumps straight into a battle without much explanation. The reader misses what happens during this battle (and this would probably have been the only interesting part of the book had it been included) as Luce and Penn get to safety.

Final Verdict: I would not recommend this book unless you are a fan of Twilight. If however, like me, you really don't like Twilight, avoid this book because I think it is worse.


Grave Secret: 4 (Harper Connelly series)
Grave Secret: 4 (Harper Connelly series)
by Charlaine Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great ending to a brilliant series, 11 July 2013
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"The dead want to be found,"
Harper Connelly, Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris

Grave Secret is the fourth and final book in the Harper Connelly Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. According to Harris' website, she will not be writing a fifth book in the Harper Connelly Mystery series because she feels Harper has said all that she can. While I am sad that I will not be able to read anymore about Harper's adventures, I am satisfied with the ending of the series. I do not feel short changed, and I agree with Harris' decision that it was a good place to stop.

Grave Secret is similar and yet different to the previous three books in the series. The first three books all followed the same story arch: Harper finds a dead missing person/identifies the cause of death, Harper is pulled in the investigation and her life is put in danger, followed by a showdown at the end between Harper and the murderer (usually). Grave Secret has some of these elements, but two mysteries are pulled together and slowly begin to unravel in front of your eyes. Let me start from the beginning.

Harper and Tolliver stop in Texarkana at the beginning of the book to identify Rich Joyce's cause of death. His granddaughter, Lizzy, is a believer in people like Harper and she wonders whether her Granddaddy's death was a heart attack or something more sinister. Harper moves through the Joyce family plot, reading the cause of death for each family member. Harper reveals that Rich Joyce did indeed die of a heart attack, but the circumstances were definitely sinister. Believe it or not, this isn't the biggest reveal. Harper also reads the cause of death for Mariah, a woman who looked after Rich Joyce. While everyone believed Mariah had died of an infection, Harper reports that Mariah died from child birth. The family is in complete shock. If Rich Joyce was the father, the baby would be entitled to an equal inheritance (millions in this case). The family hires a private investigator to find out what happened to the baby. At the same time, Tolliver is shot and two people are murdered. Could it be sheer coincidence that Harper uncovered a powerful family's secret? Could the reappearance of Tolliver's dad be related? And, where does the sighting of Harper's sister, Cameron, who's been missing for eight years fit in?

I have to admit, I couldn't unravel this mystery. I'd had a pretty good idea of either the murderer or the motive in the past few books; at least enough that I wasn't completely surprised by the ending. This book was different. There were so many pieces to put together. I figured out part of the mystery, and when Harper and Tolliver enter the big showdown at the end, I felt smug that I'd figured it out. When the showdown ended rather abruptly in a manner that I was not expecting, I found that there were still several chapters left. I read shocker after shocker. I had no idea about the other two big reveals, and I don't think I'd have ever guessed them either. That's what makes this book so great!

I have to admit that the pace of Grave Secret is slower than the other three books. That might be because it's longer and there are a lot more minor scenes that become essential towards the end. I'm not sure that I enjoyed it as much as An Ice Cold Grave (book three) actually. While there was more violence in Grave Secret, I felt more invested in the mystery of the eight missing boys. That being said, the ending of Grave Secret is the best ending throughout the entire series. It is bittersweet.

The only grievance I have is with the focus on the brother sister status of Harper and Tolliver's relationship. We established in An Ice Cold Grave that there weren't biologically related and so it was okay. Yet, in this book, Harris returns to the issue constantly. I understand that it might shock people who have always thought of them as brother and sister, but that being said, Mark and Matthew (Tolliver's family members) are unsure of it and yet they don't consider Harper to be family. It's a strange situation, one that only needed a nod here or there. In my opinion, it was over done. Just as the hints in Grave Sight (book one) that Harper and Tolliver act more than brother and sister at times was overdone. I guess I am a fan of subtly.

Final Verdict: Almost the best in the series; outdone by a millimeter by An Ice Cold Grave. If you are a fan of the Harper Connelly Mysteries, you have to read this book. It answers a lot of unanswered questions and one mystery that has been present throughout all three previous books.


An Ice Cold Grave
An Ice Cold Grave
by Charlaine Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Best one in the series so far, 11 July 2013
This review is from: An Ice Cold Grave (Paperback)
This review was originally posted at: [...]

"But men are less used to the idea of being raped than women are, and it strikes them with a fresh horror. With women, that horror comes right along with the female genitals."
Harper Connelly, An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

The Harper Connelly Mysteries just keep getting better. The main over-arching storyline is the same throughout the first three of the books in this series; Harper is called in to find a missing dead body/identify the cause of death, Harper is attacked, Harper figures out who the murderer is and the book ends with some sort of show down. Yet for some reason, it doesn't feel like I'm rereading the same book with a slightly different mystery to solve. I don't know why because I would usually be frustrated with such high levels of predictability. I guess it boils down to the mysteries being so enthralling and well done that it doesn't matter that a few plot points are inevitably the same

In An Ice Cold Grave, Harper and Tolliver visit Doraville, a small town in South Carolina. Over a few years, six boys have disappeared. They were all believed by the Sheriff to be runaways or suicides, despite a few of the boys' cars being abandoned with all their possessions inside, or a backpack/cell phone/hat being found. There is a new Sheriff in town now, and she believes they have been murdered. The town pull together and pay Harper to find the bodies. Harper is taken to several locations where items have been found. This leads Harper to locate eight bodies, yes eight. Soon after, Harper is attacked which leaves her in hospital, lucky to be alive! Will Harper survive long enough to get out of Doraville? The only way might be for Harper to play detective and solve the mystery.

With the Harper Connelly Mysteries, I always sort of figure out `whodunnit'. In the first book, Grave Sight, I figured out who the murderer was and the motive fairly early on, but I was in constant doubt. In the second book, Grave Surprise, I had stronger suspicions from about the half-way point, but I couldn't fathom the motive. In the third book, An Ice Cold Grave, the motive was obvious. The person responsible was more difficult to figure out. I got part of it, but the other part was a surprise. I like having to figure out the mystery, but I don't like to read mysteries where the answer is obvious. I also like that if you had been paying close attention, you could have spotted the murderer through something they said. I didn't spot it until I was told, but I went back and sure enough, it's there.

The romance between Harper and Tolliver finally comes out. It has been very obvious, sometimes a little painfully obvious in places. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I think they are well suited and I wanted Harper to say something. Plus, they aren't biologically related. On the other hand, they call each other brother and sister, which is weird. Harper tries to abstain from the habit, but at least in this book, she doesn't succeed. I think that's the part that weird's me out. That she still thinks of him as a brother, and yet not a brother. You'll have to read it to understand what I mean. On the whole, I think its fine because while they grew up together, it's the same as growing up with a close friend from childhood. I just wish Harris wouldn't mention the fact that they aren't biologically related so often. I was a tad surprised at the level of detail that Harris includes about Harper and Tolliver's relationship. While I should have expected this after reading the True Blood series, which all contain graphic physical scenes, the tone of this book was so different that it threw me.

The showdown at the end of An Ice Cold Grave is the best yet. There were points when I really wasn't sure that Harper was going to make it. The only thing that kept me sure was the knowledge of a fourth book in the series, Grave Secret. This showdown was particularly brutal and I admire how Harper handled it. She continued to fight for her life and almost died trying to warn someone she endangered.

Final Verdict: If you enjoyed books one and two in the series, definitely read this book. You don't have to have read the previous two books in order to enjoy this one either, so if you like to read books that have serial killers then you'll enjoy this.


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