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:3.5]

[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: 4]

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.