Now, remembering all the books that I read, I proceed onwards:
Last year, I found out that our youngest teen niece read Sunshine, Robin McKinley’s first adult novel, a vampire book, which had been rejected by her twenty-year-old sister because it isn’t a romance. Well! Ignoring the slight irritation that the niece for whom it was intended wouldn’t even try it – this year, the oldest niece got a romance and the youngest got this, a very hot new vampire book for teens.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer Seventeen-year-old Bella Swann leaves sunny Phoenix to allow her mother to travel with her new husband, and moves in with her father in a tiny town in Oregon. Shy, not too popular back in Phoenix, she’s surprised when she’s suddenly the most popular girl in class. She finds herself falling for Edward, one of the mysterious Cullens, who stick to themselves and are shunned by the rest of the school. Though we know from the back cover what Edward is, it takes Bella a while to figure it out – by which time, she and Edward are trysting over cafeteria lunches. He says he’s dangerous, and though she knows it’s true, the attraction is too strong for her to leave. Though Edward has sworn to eat only animals, attraction and hunger must be kept in careful balance, and his vampire family is slow to believe he’ll leave her alive. The romance is compelling, and gets mixed in with suspense as Bella is stalked by a truly evil vampire near the end. This book will fulfill your gothiest fantasies and make you believe in the romance of the Lonely Ones.
Sucker for romance that I am, I was pulled right into the story and read the whole 400+ page book in about two days. I loved the development of Edward and Bella’s relationship, and the dark vampires mixed in with high school (wait – haven’t we seen that before?) I was highly amused, reading the author’s bio, to note that she is almost certainly Mormon – how many good Mormon girls out there write vampire romances? And it manages to stay squeaky clean, even as it builds up impressive steaminess. I was not quite convinced by the kidnapping, and I wish that Meyers hadn’t played so loose with so many vampire traditions. Her vampires don’t burn in sunlight; they sparkle. Towards the end, our heroine, who willing put her life in danger to save her parents, starts begging her vampire lover to change her, and this irritated the heck out of me. Seventeen is way too young to be making that kind of decision! amnachaidh points out, rightly, that the teen readers for whom this is intended will have no such qualms, and that I really shouldn’t expect differently from a vampire romance. And I would have liked to hear more about the Native American tribe of werewolves that are the vampire’s sworn enemies. Still, I enjoyed the book, and Niece 4 said she was really excited about reading it.
In the middle of my holiday book cramming, what should I find on the hold shelf, but the lovely tupelo’s latest book. It’s good enough for two people to read in less than two weeks.
Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City by Anne Soffee This memoir takes place before Snake Hips. As Soffee graduates from college with an English major, she decides to put it to work in Los Angeles making a name for herself as a gonzo journalist of hair metal. With neither job prospects nor a place to stay, Soffee heads out from Virginia in search of her destiny. Now, I know next to nothing about hair metal, and the dark bars she frequents in pursuit of bands are far outside of my experience and (to be perfectly honest) interest. (In fact, were it not for the fact that I adore tupelo, and how much I loved Snake Hips, I would probably never have picked up the book.) It turns out that, as Soffee has given up a future of wrapping gift baskets in the mall for her new life, hair metal is on the decline. Though she finds some unpaid jobs at first, they become harder and harder to come by. Depressed and spending most of her time in bars, Soffee falls into alcoholism and prescription drug abuse. It sounds like we have the making of a book that is Not for Me, between the depressing real life issues and the music that I don’t listen to. Except that Soffee is so wonderfully wry with her writing that she made me laugh at all of her mishaps, and sigh with her over the coolness of meeting stars that I had never heard of before.
Mission: Organization by Jody Garlock This book I requested for a display and ended up taking home with me. I don’t think the organizational advice is anything really outstanding, but the step-by-step summaries of episodes of the shows are very nice. It’s nice home decorating porn for a former HGTV junkie like me.