Review: Time and Again by Nora Roberts

bookreview

Time and Again is a novel that is really two stories in one. The first is Time Was with Caleb Hornblower and Liberty Stone. The second is Times Change with Caleb’s younger brother and Libby’s younger sister.

Time Was

Caleb Hornblower was born in February 2nd, 2222. That makes 2 is favorite number. He’s a pilot and loves the freedom of space and the speed of flying. On a routine run back to earth from the Mars colonies he runs into a meteor shower and has to do some quick maneuvering. Just when he thinks he’s safe he sees the scariest thing that a man in space could see… yawning blackness. An uncharted black hole is before him and there’s no way he can survive. He wasn’t a pilot for nothing and with instruments blaring and bells whistling, Caleb banks the ship and goes into freefall.

Liberty Stone is outside her family’s cabin enjoying the thunderstorm. Wild lightning is streaking across the sky when suddenly a plane rockets across the angry purple clouds. At least she thinks its a plane. Racing back inside, Libby is determined to find the crash and the poor souls who were flying in this weather. She meets Caleb Hornblower, a man who looks as if he’s had one too many rounds in a bar fight. She gets him home and cleans him up.

Things get interesting when Caleb wakes. He thinks he’s still in the 23rd century. Libby knows something is weird with Caleb but she writes it off due to the crash. He had trouble remember his name, the date is obviously another thing he’s trying to puzzle back into place.

Times Change

Jacob Hornblower is mad as hell. His brother disappeared from a routine run and nearly six months afterwards his ship turns up… empty. The memory banks and ridiculous report left inside said he stayed in the early 21st century because of a woman. Well he was going to meet Liberty Stone himself and then he was going to punch his brother in the jaw and haul his butt home.

Two years later and Jacob has fine tuned all the equations, built a ship meant to do what his brother had done accidentally and was hurtling toward the sun with the shields down. The temperature’s rising outside, and his instrument panel is blinking like crazy but its pure satisfaction that fills him as the computer calmly tells him the time every few seconds. His theories were right and it was only a matter of time before he and his brother returned.

What Jacob didn’t factor in was Sunbeam Stone. While her sister and brother-in-law were somewhere where Libby could research her next paper, Sunny was determined to figure out her life. She was good at a lot of things, but just because she was good at it, didn’t mean it was the right thing for her to do. A little vacation at the family cabin and she’d get her head on straight and figure out her life. She wasn’t expecting to find a stranger in her bedroom. He wore crisp new clothes and brand new shoes that were obviously not hiking boots. A swift kick from her and he landed flat on his back. He was angry to see her but she was just as angry when she realized he was Caleb’s younger brother. Where did he get off not coming to their wedding?

Rating: ★★★½☆

[phpbay]time again nora roberts, 10, 377, “”[/phpbay]

Review: Never Resist Temptation by Miranda Neville

bookreview2

Cross-dressing and false identities comprise Jacobin de Chastelux life since her uncle tried to use her as his marker in a bet with Lord Storrington. Now she’s a cook in the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and is quite happy. She is saving her money to open her own pastry shop as soon as she can. But then the unthinkable happens! Her dish is accused of poisoning a man the next day when leftovers were purchased. And not just any man—oh no, the man is her hated uncle.

Lord Storrington does not know who Jacob Leon is, but knows that this chef could be the very thing he needs to lure Lord Candover back to the tables. Anthony is determined to ruin Candover for having an affair with his mother that led to her death. He thought he had the man three months ago when his niece eloped with the man’s pastry chef but somehow the bastard managed to get a hold of twenty thousand pounds.

This story was deliciously fun. When Anthony first feels attraction to the heroine she is disguised as a man and his mental Olympics is hilarious. I really enjoyed the mystery to the tale behind Candover’s poisoning and watching Anthony and ‘Jane’ figure it out. I also loved Jane’s lesson of French pet names. How weird they were! Also I had fun reading her reaction to the verbal slip Anthony says right after ‘finding out’ she was a virgin. She starts throwing things and cursing him in French.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Never Resist Temptation

Review: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (with spoilers)

bookreview

I was very excited to get my Breaking Dawn in the mail from Amazon. They managed to get it to me one day before they told me that it would arrive on my doorstep and I devoured the novel, all 700+ pages, in two days, which is consistent with how I’ve read the other three that came before.

The novel did many things I did not expect, and one thing in particular that I did expect. This review will contain spoilers, so read at your own risk. Suffice it to say I give Breaking Dawn four stars.

The wedding, surprisingly takes place within the first hundred pages. I thought that it would happen at the end after Jacob did something to delay it so he could win Bella for his own. This is not the case. The wedding is lovely and Bella gets through it just fine and afterwards can’t believe how uptight she was about the whole thing.

On their honeymoon, Bella and Edward make love successfully; unfortunately the scene fades to black, which annoyed me. The morning after Bella stirs and is blissfully happy but sore, Edward is composed and staring blankly at the ceiling and ruins her buzz by killing the mood. He won’t make love to her again, claims that she’s lying when she says she’s feeling fine—no great, all because he can see how rough he was with her. Bella only recalls that he held her tighter when she wanted him to, etc. Edward is sickened by how much of her skin is covered in bruises that match his hands.

Luckily, Bella manages to break him out of his funk through the use of sexy lingerie Alice packed for her and some innocent seduction. The second and third and so on times, Edward manages to ruin furniture instead of Bella’s skin, making him extremely satisfied… Bella too.

Meanwhile, I started to think about how much food Bella was consuming and came to the conclusion before it was revealed that she was pregnant. Her pregnancy is ridiculously accelerated and Edward freaks out. Bella knowing something is up, makes plans of her own to protect the life inside her and calls Rosalie for help, making the female vampire happy for the first time with her decisions.

From here the novel switches from Bella’s point of view to Jacob’s, which made me call up my friend and ask for some spoilers because I just don’t like the werewolf. During this part of the novel we witness Bella’s pregnancy, a break in the werewolf tribe as Jacob takes partial leadership, and Bella becoming very attached to Jacob’s presence.

The pregnancy takes a lot out of Bella until they realize that because the child is part vampire Bella’s diet needs to change from human food to a liquid diet of blood. Drinking blood immediately affects Bella’s health for the better, but also that of the baby’s. Every time the child moves inside Bella it leaves bruises on her skin and potentially breaks a rib in the process.

Edward is seriously going crazy and blames himself at this point and goes as far as offering Bella to Jacob if she really wanted a child as long as she’d be willing to give their child up as it was hurting her so much. Of course Jacob thinks on the idea and manages to bring it up to Bella who denies that its children she wants so much as her and Edward’s child that she wants.

Bella dies during birth, but luckily Edward manages to successfully turn her into a vampire while Jacob does CPR to keep the venomous blood flowing through her veins before it activates. Jacob leaves when he thinks it’s failed and goes downstairs where he intends to kill the child, now in Rosalie’s care. He never does, because once he lays eyes on their baby girl he bonds with her. This ends Jacob’s point of view in the story and switches back to Bella’s viewpoint.

The rest of the story deals with what I thought would happen to postpone the wedding—the Volturi are coming and they plan to execute the Cullen family for their Immortal Child (which is not what Edward and Bella’s child is per se, the term refers to something else). Alice and Jasper leave after Alice gives some very stern instructions to the family. The whole Western hemisphere is being herded together to witness the growth and humanity of the child.

It ends happily and Bella has amazing control on her thirst and on her special gift. I love the last few scenes between her and Edward. I am looking forward to reading the series again from Edward’s point of view, starting with Midnight Sun.

What did you think of the series ending?

Rating: 3 Stars

Review: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

bookreview

The second book in the Twilight saga is entitled New Moon and if the first book was about finding true love, then this book is about losing true love. I am not particularly fond of this book. It is because it contains so little Edward. We are introduced to the other paranormal group just up the road however. We meet those that live La Push Reservation, home to the Quileute Tribe. Some we’ve been introduced to before, like Jacob Black. Others are new.

If you couldn’t wait for the library to hand you this next book in the series, you read the beginning chapter that was at the end of Twilight. A teaser that leaves you wondering what happens to Bella when she cuts herself at the Cullens house. Her blood makes them thirsty, none more so than Jasper who has the least control. Edward gets Bella to safety but the damage is done.

The next few days he becomes more and more distant to Bella. She’s desperate to break through to Edward when suddenly he starts to talk to her again. Only she wished he wouldn’t. I wished he hadn’t too. He breaks it off with her at the edge of the forest. It is better than the sewers Angel dumped Buffy in, but I was heartbroken and Bella more so. Here it is, I thought, the end of a good story (but just you wait… keep reading).

So deep is her grief over losing Edward she loses herself and becomes a walking shell. It isn’t until half a year later that she can even stick her head above the water. She does it only because Charlie is running scared and pulling ultimatums about going to Florida to live with her mother. Bella can’t do that. Doing that means leaving the magic of Forks behind and relegating Edward to a memory and not a reality. So she asks a friend to the movies… anything without romance. She couldn’t handle that. It’s after the movies that the story gains interest again. She hears Edwards voice… in her head. His voice is a beautiful hallucination warning her of the danger ahead.

What follows next is a series of stupid reckless moves as Bella fights to hear his voice. She turns to Jacob Black to help her fix motorcycles, thinking the danger in riding them would provide her with Edward’s voice. She becomes Jacob’s friend, and over the hundreds of pages left he becomes the sun to warm the desolation of her life. I don’t like Jacob. He keeps pushing the friend boundary, so certain of Bella turning to him and forgetting about Edward despite her repeated warnings that she’ll never love anyone but Edward.

But then the story changes again and it’s like sweet music playing in your mind because you just know Edward’s coming back into the picture. And like Bella, you fear you are going to miss him, lose him again. The book ends on the sweetest note imaginable and you close this sad book feeling ridiculously happy. The ending is four and a half stars.

Rating: 3 Stars

Eclipse Party Game Ideas

The official countdown for June 30th has begun. That means it’s time to get ready for your Eclipse party. Every Twilight themed party needs games. Below are some of the games you can entertain your party with while waiting in line or at home before/after the movie. (EDIT: Eclipse is being re-released for Bella’s Birthday September 13th, 2010. The movie will be back in theaters September 10, 2010. Who’s excited?)

Forks Yearbook:

You will need paper, pencils, and a timer.

How to Play: Players have one minute to name all the characters, actors, and places in the Twilight Saga that start with any given letter of the alphabet.

Who Wins: The person with the most names listed or with the most unique names listed (derived by crosschecking everyone’s lists) wins.

Eclipse Jeopardy:

If a small party, play as individuals. If a large party divide into teams.

Set up: You will need index cards, pencils, and tape. Come up with 5 questions to fit 6 categories for a total of 30 questions. Put the questions and answers on one side of the index card and the value amount for the question on the other side. Create a board from the index cards by taping them up on a wall or window.

How to Play: A player or team will pick a category and dollar amount. Someone will take the index card down and read the question on the back. A correct response earns the dollar value of the clue. If the response is incorrect, reveal the answer and no points are distributed.

Category ideas include: Individual Actors, Entire Cast, Movies, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Vampires, Werewolves, Humans, and Stephenie Meyer.

Who Wins: The person or team with most money at the end of the game.

Alice’s Visions:

(Game Name taken from Twilight Scene-It.) You will need paper and pencils or a chalkboard/dry erase board and chalk/markers.

How to Play: Players will try to stump the group by drawing scenes from the Twilight and New Moon movies. Each drawing is given three minutes. How many turns taken depends entirely on the amount of players participating, if necessary divide group into teams again. For every drawing guessed correctly, the guesser/team will get a point. In team play, if at the end of three minutes the scene is still unknown the team of the drawer will get one minute to guess. If they get it right the team earns two points.

Who Wins: Team with most points.

Twilight Charades:

Divide the group into Team Jacob/Werewolves and Team Edward/Vampires. Evenly. If there’s an odd number, have the person who sits out designate what the others will act out and keep time.

How to Play: Every member of the Jacob/Werewolves Team will impersonate a vampire or human character. It’s up to Team Edward/Vampires to figure out who they are as quick as they can. Afterwards it’s time to switch and the Edward/Vampire Team will impersonate a werewolf or human character (preferably different humans than already depicted) with the Jacob/Werewolf Team guessing.

Who Wins: The team with the shortest time wins!

Newborn Hunt:

Play in backyard, at a local park, or soccer field. You will need a flashlight and perhaps a pair of extra batteries.

How to Play: This is a mix of hide and seek and tag. Players try to hide from the seeker who guards the jail or safety zone depending on rules. If it is the jail, then all players hit with the light must go to the jail and wait. If it’s the safety zone, players will try to get there while avoiding the seeker.

Additional Ideas for Game Play:

  • Have players form pairs or teams. Any untagged pair or team member can release a caught person from jail.
  • If teams are formed and there’s no jail, just a safety zone, you can play by points. Team with the most safe people at the end of two rounds wins.
  • Play starts with just the seeker, no teams, as the seeker tags other players, these players join in the hunt. The winner is the last man standing. If a new round begins, the last player tagged is now the seeker.

Who Wins: No real winner. Game is ongoing as the seeker position is handed over, usually to first person tagged.

Standard Games:

Eclipse Game Prizes and Party Favors:

If you’re interested, here are some ideas for party prizes and favors.

Got other party ideas? Share them below!

Adapt New Moon Party ideas to your Eclipse Party: New Moon Bash: Party Ideas!; More New Moon Movie Party Ideas

Twilight and Eclipse Party Favors:

[phpbay]twilight party, 25, “”, “”[/phpbay]
[phpbay]twilight favors, 25, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Eclipse Movie Party Ideas Continued in Twilight Eclipse Party Ideas: Invitations, Food, and Supplies.

Review: Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

bookreview

Book three in the Twilight saga is by far my favorite of those books published. (Breaking Dawn, book 4, is coming out in August) Eclipse is simply beautiful. It’s longer than the other two books but does not contain chapter one of the next book (darnit!). In Twilight, true love was found. In New Moon, true love was lost. In Eclipse true love is a choice.

Eclipse is all about Jacob and Edward and their love for Bella. Edward hates Bella’s attachment to Jacob, but he feels he should not get between. Why? Simply put, because Edward feels he should suffer the consequences of his actions last year. That having to deal with Jacob is part of the price he has to pay for his foolish decision to leave Bella.

Victoria, the vampire out to get Bella from the last book is still at large. It is Bella who puts all the clues together and comes up with the answer. Edward and Jacob and the rest of the Cullens and Werewolves have to work together to protect her. Are the dogs and bloodsuckers really going to work together? Hmm… you could say trouble is in the air.

I have three favorite scenes in this book. The first is the night Bella goes over to the Cullens for her weekend abduction (this is part of the plan with the werewolves and the vampires) and stays with Edward alone. I won’t say exactly why I like this scene, but if you could probably guess if you have read the other books by this point. I loved it. It is hands down the best scene out of all three books. I laughed out loud quite a few times because of Bella’s remarks.

The second is Bella’s quasi dream where she overhears Edward and Jacob talking in the tent. Jacob asks that Edward speak plainly since he can’t hear his thoughts like Edward can hear Jacob. They talk about Bella and Edward is so noble in this scene you just want to find him and cuddle him to death. Pun intended. Their truce ends at daylight.

And lastly I loved the ending scenes from the time Bella stops crying to the very end. They feel like one big scene, culminating once again in Edward and Bella’s meadow. It is here he’s determined to be the selfless he’s ever been. He’s been watching her and it seems she’s doing everything everybody else wants, making them happy at her own expense. So he puts his wants aside and lets Bella choose how to best make herself happy. She’s happy right where she is and the other pain will fade in time… she hopes.

The point of view changes from there to Jacob’s and as I read it I was feeling vindictive. Not a very nice thing to begrudge a fictional character, but I was glad for his pain. I still am. It’s just another sign in my opinion at Stephenie Meyer’s skill at writing her own characters. We don’t get that wrapped up in the story too often. It is very rare, last seen in Harry Potter, the story of the boy wizard. I hope you will pick up this saga and find yourself as riveted by this compelling love story as I was.

Rating: 5 Stars

Happy Readings!

P.S. What book four will be about I can not begin to guess. True love is able to heal all wounds? What do you think? Leave a comment and tell me!

New Moon Movie Party Ideas: Favors, Music, Supplies, Food

newmoon2

Continuation from New Moon Party Ideas: Themes, Invitations, Favors, Activities. This post deals with party favors, party food, party setup, and party games.

Temporary Tattoos:

They’re cheap and fun! Apply them to the arm or cheek and declare your team pride. You can use them as cheap party favors and they’d be great to wear at the movies.

For the wolves:

For the vampires:

[phpbay]new moon tattoos, 5, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Aren’t they fabulous?

Rubber Bracelets:

Rubber bracelets are another cheap favor idea for your New Moon movie party. You can get them in a variety of styles and colors and for any team. Show off your wolf and vampire pride!

[phpbay]new moon rubber bracelets, 5, “”, “”[/phpbay]


The Twilight Saga: New Moon Notebook Decal Sticker (4) Party Supplies

These are really fun and they’re great keepsakes.

Music:

Obviously the music of choice will be the movie soundtracks! What better way to hang out and have fun than listening to the New Moon Soundtrack or Twilight Soundtrack?

Party Supplies:

You’re going to need New Moon themed party supplies. Check out the listings below for ideas.

Napkins:

Plates:
[phpbay]new moon party plates, 5, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Cups:
[phpbay]new moon party cups, 5, “”, “”[/phpbay]

Tablecloths:
[phpbay]new moon tablecloths, 5, “”, “”[/phpbay]

So there you go, lots of party supplies to pick and choose from. Ebay is a great way to save money on your party.

New Moon Party Games:

Last time I shared some DIY games. This time I’m sharing official party games about the Twilight Saga. You can play Scene It? to jog everyone’s memory about Twilight right before heading out see New Moon or play the official New Moon party game or whip out those trading cards.

Food Recipes:

You have to have yummy party snacks and food! Below are some ideas and if you included the making of them during the party with all the guests you’re sure to have a blast.

Werewolf Kibble (Puppy Chow):

Ingredients:

  • 1 12oz. box crispix
  • 1 stick (8 tblsp.) butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Melt butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips in microwave.
  2. Stir together until smooth. Pour over crispix and fold until all are coated.
  3. Put mixture into a plastic garbage bag with powdered sugar and shake until all are coated.

Feeds: A whole pack of werewolves. While I can’t give an exact feed ratio, suffice it to say it takes about a weekend of 6 college boys and girls to finish. It’s delicious!

Jell-O Vampire Popsicles:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (3 oz.) pkg. Jell-O — any red flavor
  • 1 package Kool-Aid — any red flavor
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups cold water

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Dissolve Jell-O, Kool-Aid, and sugar in boiling water.
  3. Add the 2 cups of cold water and stir well.
  4. Pour into Popsicle molds or ice cube trays or Dixie cups.
  5. Freeze partially then add sticks.
  6. Freeze until firm (about 2 to 3 hours).

Feeds: About 2 dozen vampires. Whew – now you don’t have to watch your neck so much.

For more food ideas check out Love At First Bite: The Unofficial Twilight Cookbook. (Some recipe titles: Bell’s Lasagna, Harry’s Famous Fish Fry, Mushroom Raviolis, Red Velvet Cake, and Blushing Bella Punch)

NEW: Eclipse Party Game Ideas

Got any other ideas to make your New Moon Movie Party a success? Share in the comments!

New Moon the Movie – Filming and Release Updates

I’ve been combing the internet trying to find out more about New Moon, and I am sure many of you are doing the same. I haven’t found an official website that will host information about the movie. Which is surprising since I know the script has been written and the actors signed/resigned for the new film. In an effort to learn more I went to Summit Entertainment and checked out their press releases.

From a press release on December 13, 2008:

“Production on NEW MOON is scheduled to begin in the coming months and the studio is planning to release the film towards the end of 2009 or early 2010.”

More information on production and release dates was found at Reelz Channel:


If Reelz is right, the movie will start filming in March of 2009 and be released for audience (world-wide?) consumption on November 20th, 2009. That would be fantastic! While I honestly can’t say that I love Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) I do look forward to this movie.

One of the things I hope they do is have Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) appear or briefly manifest himself during all of Bella’s hallucinations. He could appear over her shoulder scolding her, or hover just out of eyesight and be blurry or ill defined… a menacing guardian angel.

Luckily for Edward fans 90% of the time he and Bella (Kristen Stewart) are separated from each other occurs in a blink of an eye… remember how the chapters became month titles? Not much to go on there – a reckless episode in Port Angeles with Jessica, the idea to refurbish some motorcycles, learning to ride the motorcycles, urge for gory movie, Jacob turning wolfy, more stunts, some cliff diving and wham – back to the hot vampires. 30 minutes to 45 depending on length of film montage… right? right? I hope!