I'm making all my Christmas gifts this year. Crazy? Always. Especially since this year, in addition to have a three-month old baby AND a 3-year old toddler, we just all had the plague, otherwise known as the Norwalk virus. Anyway, I've been working on these bookmarks for my bibliophile friends. I culled through various book quote and hand-selected the best of the best. I can post them later, if you would like to repeat this project for your own gift-making.

I've been totally into Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books. I won't officially review them since they are NOT young adult novels, but they are SOOO much fun. If you liked Twilight, you'll like these. It's like if Twilight had some friggin' backbone. HBO has been airing a series called True Blood based on these books. I rented the pilot episode for free from Blockbuster and couldn't stand to be left on such a cliffhanger, so I went out and bough Dead Before Dark the next day!

Sookie is a waitress in Bon Temps, Louisiana and has what she calls a "disability": she can read minds. Vampires have recently "come out of the closet" and Sookie unexpectedly realized that she can't read a vampire's thoughts, which is a most welcome relief. Soon she finds herself deeply involved in the emerging vampire culture and discovering more than she ever knew about various creatures that go bump in the night. Sexy, mysterious, funny, wicked fun. Little candies.

You'll find a lot of similarities between Twilight and this series, but I'd probably be more comfortable with my teenage daughters (when I have 'em) reading this series than Twilight, oddly enough. There's tons of sex, but it's not dealt with in the weird mormonistic way that Twilight deals with sensuality. What I really like about the books is that Harris has really thought about what it would be like if vampires really did make a sudden appearance on the cultural scene. Special airlines, hotels, bars. Synthetic blood markets. Fang-bangers (humans who get a kick off being bit). Drinkers (human junkies for vampire blood). New rights, laws, and regulations. Very fun for the brain.

I'll post the book quotes soon!
Welcome to today's guest blog by authors Ethan and Christine Rose! This husband and wife team has co-written their debut novel Rowan of the Wood which I'm about half-way through and it's totally fun. They've interviewed their main character, Cullen, on how it feels to be the the star of a book. Don't forget to check out the Rose's give-away!!! Follow their links and also check the previous post for more information. Christine Rose will be around all today to answer any questions you may have, so please feel free to leave comments! Thanks to the Roses for dropping by and sharing their interview with us, and congrats on your award-winning debut novel!

C&E: We’re here today with Cullen Knight, the hero of our new book Rowan of the Wood. Tell us Cullen, how does it feel to be a main character?
Cullen: Well, to be honest, it kinda sucks. It’s like having your most personal thoughts and most embarrassing moments published by the National Enquirer.
C&E: I guess we don’t give you much privacy.
Cullen: Are you kidding? I’ll be in the bathroom doing, well, you know, and I’ll be wondering if you’re watching and taking notes for your next book!
C&E: Well sure, Cullen, we can see how that might be annoying, but it’s for the good of the book. We have to make you a well-rounded character!
C&E: Okay! Let’s move on. Tell us about becoming a wizard. That must be exciting!
Cullen: Yeah, it must be; but I’m never around to see it… remember?
C&E: Um.
Cullen: Yeah! What’s up with that? I don’t really become a wizard?! I’m just possessed by a wizard!! And whenever I start to spaz out, he takes over my body and turns bullies into mice or something. Thanks for that, btw. As if I wasn’t mocked enough before, now when I’m scared my body is taken over by a wizard! What are you two drinking?
C&E: At the moment, Chocolate Martinis, with a peppermint twist.
Cullen: Okay Trudy. I guess we see where the inspiration for that character came from!
C&E: So! That about does it--
Cullen: You know that Stephanie Meyer lady gave her protagonist a hunky boyfriend. What about me?
C&E: --for our interview with Cullen Knight today.
Cullen: Do I get a girlfriend? What about a romance for me?
C&E: Join us Thursday (12/11) on Midnight Twilight Blog for our interview with Fiana.
Cullen: Her? You’re going to interview that psychopath? You know she’s insane, right?
E to C: Just walk away. Just walk away.

Please follow Christine & Ethan on the rest of their Geekalicious Blog Book Tour. Tomorrow they'll be over at Harmony Book Reviews with a guest blog post entitled After Twilight Comes the Knight. For the complete tour schedule and information about their holiday contests (giving away over $600 in prizes, including a digital camcorder), visit their webpage and sign their visual guestbook while you're there!


Christine and Ethan Rose are the authors of the new YA fantasy novel
Rowan of the Wood, available wherever books are sold. They
live in Austin, TX with their three dogs and Shadow the Cat.

Rowan of the Wood Guest blog tour!!!

Dejah View is excited to host Christine and Ethan Rose, authors of the new, award-winning YA fantasy novel Rowan of the Wood during their Geekalicious Yuletide Blog Book Tour! The authors are stopping by here on Sunday, December 7th to interview their protagonist, Cullen Knight.

An ancient wizard possesses a young boy after a millennium of imprisonment in a magic wand. He emerges from the child in the face of danger and discovers Fiana, his new bride from the past, has somehow survived time and become something evil.

The authors are also hosting a contest on YouTube and giving away a digital camcorder just for following four simple steps. Check it out!

Come back and visit on Sunday, read their blog, and post comments. The authors will be available all day Sunday and Monday to answer your questions. Every comment on this blog is an entry to win a signed, limited edition print of Christine's Green Man II painting. The authors are also giving away autographed books and over $600 in other prizes through their website.

More cool book-lover gift ideas

There was a lot of good ju-ju about the "Reading Is Sexy" mug, so I thought I'd pass on some otherway cool holiday gift goodies!

How can you not totally be in love with this kids' shirt?!?! from I also love their "guybrarian" tee-shirt, all by artist Sarah Utter. They have seriously awesome stuff over there...books, mugs, tees, music...and paper goods from my most FAVORITE designer, Jill Bliss! Her journals are so beautiful. I have gone through three of them, and they'd make wonderful gifts for taking notes and reflecting on all those great books for the readers in your life. But, being the financially-challenged DIY mom that I am, I'm leaning towards making gobs of these bookmarks. I love how creative people are! I just get lost in the world of craft blogs. Almost as addicting as clicking through the vast and neat-o world of kidlit blogs. I'll keep my eyes out for other awesome gifts for bookworms!


I am totally in love with Scott Westerfeld's books. This wasn't a strong as the Uglies series, but it still hooked me. The premise is that vampirism is caused by a parasite. Original, huh? Our particular parasite-positive, or "peep", is a guy who got infected on a one-night stand but due to some biological quirk isn't the blood-hungry raving monster that other peeps are. Instead, he helps track down nutty peeps and help them into recovery. But when he goes on a search to track down the peep who infected him, he begins to find a slew of mysteries and oddities that will have you reading way past your bedtime.

Handmade gifts for book lovers

Sew, Mama, Sew! is blogging its second annual guide to a handmade holidays. It's a terrific site, and if you're into craftiness you should check it out. Today's theme is handmade gifts for book lovers. Be sure to take a peek! While not handmade, per say, the Reading Is Sexy mug is especially cool. It's made out of 100% biodegradable corn plastic and comes from our neighbor to the south, Olympia! I have a button on my purse with this logo and get comments on it all the time.

I just finished three awesome books, so check back soon for some fresh reviews.

Also, in the holiday spirit, don't forget to preorder copies of J.K Rowling's Tales of Beedle the Bard!!!! You can do that by clicking the image below..

MotherReader: The Comment Challenge: 21 Days To Community

MotherReader: The Comment Challenge: 21 Days To Community

MotherReader is hosting a Comment Challenge! The goal is to post 100 comments between now (well, really it started November 6th) to November 21st. The idea is to make commenting on fellow kidlit blogs a habit. Commenting builds community and readership, and maybe even links you to your very own book-reading soul mate. It's a great way to explore the awesome world of kidlit blogs, which I'm only just now starting to journey into. If you have a kidlit site, or are a bibliophile, please comment below!!! I'll check out your site and, if we jive, I'll add you to my blogroll.


Here are two previews of upcoming YA books that have been made into movies! I can't wait!!

Twilight Trailer in HD

City Of Ember Trailer

Twilight has been especially anticipated up here in the pacific northwest, as much of it was filmed right in Forks, WA, La Push, and Portland, OR. Forks is giving tours now of the town complete with Bella's truck, house, and school. You can watch the short news clip about it by clicking here.

Any other rumors out there about YA books that are going to be made into movies?

Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox

I got this hardcover, if you can believe it, so that I would have a guaranteed good book to read while I was recovering from childbirth. I was not disappointed. I can't say that I fully enjoyed The Lost Colony, but this one renewed my faith in the wonderful Artemis Fowl series. Artemis has to get back in time to stop himself from committing a horrible crime—selling the last animal of soon-to-be extinct species. He has to hurry in order to get a cure for his rapidly ailing mother, who he believes has been infected by a viral strain of fairy plague.

Author: Eoin Colfer

The Secret of Platform 13

When I first saw this book on the library shelf, I though "What a cheap rip-off of Harry Potter!" referring, of course, to the famous platform 9 and 3/4. Not only that, but the story is about a prince who is stolen away from the mythical wizarding world to live obliviously in the real world, where he is kept as a slave in the basement by a horrid family who dotes on their fat, spoiled son. Believing the fat, spoiled son to be the stolen prince, a group must try to convince the wrong child to come through the magical platform 13 that connects to the magical world where his parents wait desperately for his return. But then I read the publishing date. This book was written years before Harry Potter first graced our shelves. J.K. Rowling wasn't even on the spectrum yet! So no one can really blame Eva Ibbotson of plagiarism of any kind, can they? Once I discovered that, I was able to enjoy the book much more, so now you can know that too in case the idea of copy-catting would otherwise turn you off to this wonderful read. Please check out this quick and fun read!

Author: Eva Ibbotson


I am so in love with this series. It's a cross between Clan of the Cavebear and Mists of Avalon. This is the fourth book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver; it's set in prehistoric times and is primarily about a young boy named Torak, his pack-brother Wolf (who really is a wolf, that's not just a name), and his best friend Renn. Torak has the ability to communicate with wolves, being as he was raised by them (it's not as Jungle Book as it sounds), and connects in the first book (Wolf Brother) with an abandoned pup. As Torak is also freshly orphaned, the two become "pack-brothers" and go in search of a larger tribe that they can form up with. Torak's abilities mark him as destined for great and dangerous things, and as he goes on his adventures in search of Soul Eaters and evil spirits, he is accompanied by Renn, a mage of the Raven clan. What I personally find most fascinating about these books is the portrayal of Wolf. Normally I really don't go for getting inside the heads of animal characters, but Paver's writing is so well-crafted that I look forward to chapters from Wolf's perspective. Paver completely understands the dog/wolf mentality and behavior, so it is believable as well as engaging. And as in the Clan of the Cavebear series, you can't help but learn a little about the medicinal properties of plants and the secret lives of forest animals.

Author: Michelle Paver
In this book, Torak is outcast (as the title implies). He must constantly be on the run from surrounding clans while trying to find a way to prove he is not a Soul Eater. However, a mysterious enemy has gotten a hold of his name-spirit and is slowly draining the sanity and strength from Torak. Wolf watches helplessly while Torak goes mad, and Renn must find a way to not only track down Torak but to release him from his trance. An underlying plot set us up nicely for the fifth book, Oath Breakerr.

Breaking Dawn

There, it's done. We know what happens to Bella and Edward, and our love-sick vampires live happily ever after. There was a lot of bad press about this book, which concludes the series that began with Twilight, but I actually thought it was one of the strongest. If you haven't read it and intend to, skip this review because it contains SPOILERS.

First off, I've always felt that these books had a strong pro-abstinence/anti-premarital sex slant to them. It was fun when it created this sexual tension in the first book or two, but then it started getting wearisome. On the one hand I just wanted Bella and Edward to get it done and over with and stop making such a big deal about it; on the other hand I couldn't imagine what would support the story if they did. Breaking Dawn answers the dilemma, but not exactly in the way I envisioned. Yes, Bella and Edward wait until they marry (at 19). Yes, they have sex soon after at Bella's request since she wants to still be human. They conceive a weird half-vampire baby which has to be chewed out of Bella's womb by Edward in a very Rosmary's Baby kind of way. Bella becomes vampire, Jacob falls in love with baby, blah blah blah. By the way, the way Bella treats Jacob is totally sick. She leads him on and acts so pious about it. It's mean. Anyway, all ends well. Against all odds these books are absolute page turners.

So now we have the MOVIE coming out soon! All of us up here in the Pacific Northwest are particularly excited, being as this series is set in Forks, Washington. Parts of the film are filmed up here in our neck of the woods (and in Portland, OR, mainly). What do you think of the casting? I'm not sure what to make of the gigantic pompadour sported by Edward . Despite the Conan hair, all the previews I've seen so far look really promising and I'm going to make absolutely sure to do my YA bibliophile duty and get a babysitter so I can see this in the theaters.
Author: Stephanie Meyer

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

This entire novella takes place in the space of one long night. It's a story about the strange and very sophomoric encounter and romance between two high school seniors who meet at a punk club. Nick, recently dumped by his first love, tries to avoid looking pathetic in front of said ex-girlfriend by asking a random girl, Norah, to be his five-minute date. This leads to a long night of give-and-take emotional and sexual episodes between Nick and Norah that are pretentious at best. Written in alternating first-person chapters, this narrative is full of f-this and f-thats, so if you're language sensitive this wouldn't be up your alley.

This book was strange. Norah's exactly who I thought I could be in high school: this hard-outer core chick who was really smart, eccentric, and straight-edge with this inner turmoil but clear mind (none of which was true, by the way). But what I found most strange about the book was that it had pop cultural references to MY generation, which is at least one or two generations older than the age of the characters. Either I'm old enough to have things of my generation becoming retro already, or the authors, who are my peers, are waxing nostalgic and believing that somehow teenagers in high school at this moment relate to My So Called Life and Heathers as cult classics. I dunno. Maybe.

In a nut shell, it's a very teenage book. It's everything I find most annoying about the teenage mindset now that I'm an adult (and a parent), everything I thought was so cool back in school that I'm annoyed with myself now for believing in. It pulls apart the younger me and the older me. Maybe that's why I just had to read it and finish it. In sum, a nostalgic trip for us old fogies, an engaging story for younger readers, and I actually would recommend it (as I do any YA book that is put to movie form).

Books have been read, babies have been born, etc.

I haven't posted anything on this blog in a long time, namely because for some reason I've had a lot of trouble accessing it on my old computer. But now I have a laptop (!!!) that is able to log onto my site again. The other reason is that I just gave birth to my second daughter! She is beautiful. Luckily the reason is NOT lack of reading material. I've read some good ones, so please check back soon. I may start looking into hosting this blog through, so I'll keep you posted. THanks for your patience, and happy reading!


I was excited to see a young adult book by Ursula LeGuin, but I was slightly disappointed. A warning: the first chapter seems like it's going to focus the book on a certain character who has run away and joined a new family. It's not. In fact, the rest of the book has nearly nothing to do with this one character. Just so you don't get confused like I did when the rest of the story went on without him. This is a story set in a fantasy medieval land in which certain people have certain powers. These powers, called Gifts, run in the family and perform a specific, subtle task, such as being able to communicate a little with animals or bend wills. The main character (who,again, is not the character introduced in the first chapter) is expected to have the gift of Unmaking (or something...I read this book months ago, sorry) and should be able to kill with just a controlled thought like his father can. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to show any signs of the Gift until he is startled on two different occasions and destroys whatever it is that scared him. Believing his powers to be out of his control, he follows the advice of his father and commits himself to being blindfolded. However, as time goes on, he questions the validity of his self-imposed blindness. This is an interesting story, because in the end it applauds mediocrity and mistrust in one's self. On the other hand, it undercuts the competitive aspect of our culture and questions what is expected of us. The ending strikes me as a metaphor to a gay son coming out to his his homophobic father. Actually, it's very parallel. I only wish the character was a little more confident in himself at the end, just to make it more cathartic.

Author: Ursula LeGuin

The Tail of Emily Windsnap

I suppose some nostalgic part of me still loves the idea of mermaids, which is why I borrowed this from the library. It's a good book for a middle school-aged child. The story revolves around a young girl who suddenly discovers that she's a mermaid in the water and human on land, although for some reason she's never experienced the transformation in, say, the shower or bath. It encourages sneaking out at night, keeping secrets from adults, assuming your mother is a moron who needs to be cared for, and being suspicious of authority figures, but if you're okay with that, it's a decent story.

The Sea Trolls

This Nordic adventure incorporates plenty of familiar tales and names: Odin; Beowulf; Thor, ect. The story actually revolves around a young boy studying to be a Bard and his young sister who are captured by a band of "Beserkers" who strongly resemble Vikings. What I found most interesting about this book was the absence of true villains, with the exception of the half-troll queen. Those that I thought would be so-called evil persons turned out not to be, which was quite refreshing. The wearisome aspects of the novel, however, include overt similarities to Lord of the Rings, including a specially-made cloak given as a gift to conceal the hero from the giant spider. Hum....Still a fast read, interesting themes, historical references subtly interwoven, and a fun trip to Middle Earth. Which is actually the land this novel takes place in. I know, I feel like I've read that name somewhere before, too.

Author: Nancy Farmer

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

I think I read this book too fast. I zipped through it while my daughter was taking a nap, which I think was only about an hour. It definitely is worth a re-read. I had just seen Jeff Kinney speak at my local bookstore; this book was hot off the press and inscribed with his John Hancock, and I was so inspired to get through this as quickly as possible. Seeing Jeff talk about his book was a real treat. The audience was full of bused-in children from local schools, all of whom were clutching their copies of Diary of a Wimpy kid close to their chest and raising their hands at every opportunity.

I was not surprised to learn that Jeff (I figured since he wrote "to Dejah" in my book inscription that we must be on a first name basis, see) did not intend to market this book as a children's novel. Instead, he said he wrote it to be of the "nostalgic adult" genre like Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story, but that the publishers instantly saw it as a terrific read for younger children. It is most popular now, as I think I mentioned in my review of the first book, with so-called "reluctant readers". Awesome. With both books on the New York Time's best-seller's list, I doubt he's complaining.

The second book absolutely lived up to my expectations. There were no cheap punches or short-cuts taken that tried to cash-in on the first book's success; instead, the sequel took it to the next level and I felt I got to know Greg even better (and perhaps see why he is the way he is).

So, bravo, Jeff ol' pal. You rule!

Author: Jeff Kinney

Love, Stargirl

Stargirl still works her magic, even when she's pining over her lost love.

This follow-up to Stargirl is written in letter/diary format by Stargirl herself, and it's interesting to see what goes on in her head. I loved getting glimpses into what appear to be totally normal trains of thought and actions, until you step back and realize that the actions are so very Stargirl, meaning eccentric and slightly bizzare. This novel is filled with love and compassion, the occasional melancholy and love-wisting, and an overall sense of creating community through random acts of kindness. I see so many elements of people I love in Stargirl, and I will keep these books on my shelf for a yearly re-reading.

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Green Angel

Yeah, yeah, Alice Hoffman writes a young adult book, blah blah blah. I found this to be overly prosy and immaturely crafted. It tried to have a dark goth sense about it and perhaps that's just not my genre. I finished it in about an hour (it's only 116 pages long) so I can't rightly say it's "one I've put back down", but I wouldn't read it again or give it to a friend. I think I would have enjoyed this book when I was an early teenager and going through my "nobody understands me and my deep poetry" phase. So there's that going for it.

Author: Alice Hoffman

Lioness Rampant

I absolutely loves this series. Alanna is a unique and enjoyable character; I raced through these books like candy. This last installment, I felt, was the weakest of the four. I kept feeling like I was missing pages, and the plot meandered a tad. It didn't have the same steam-rolling action that the first three had for me. Still, a highly recommended series for all ages.

Author: Tamora Pierce


This third installment of Scott Westerfeld's post-apocalyptic vision had me up way past my bedtime. As in the first two, we follow Tally Youngblood through her series of surgeries and hope that through it all she retains a sense of self, and yet we as readers can see the ways in which she is altered through Scott's use of language and unique compounds (bubblyheads, icy-making, fashion-missing, ect). I found his style to be unique and engaging. Westerfeld's underlying themes of environmentalism, bucking authority, and self-awareness come through loud and clear in this third book, and I thought it quite strong. I would recommend this series to any sci-fi or fantasy fan, although I think it translates well into many genres.

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Pendragon: the Merchant of Death

This book was recommended to me by a high school English teacher friend; he said that it was really popular with his students. I finally found the first book in the series (is it really so hard to put numbers on the spine? Really?). It's very teenager in tone, since it's primarily written as a diary. It doesn't go too overboard, but sometimes it's annoying. Other than that, it's a story about a teenage boy who finds out he's a Traveler meant to save the fate of a distant world. Gotta love those unknown hero plots. I think they are worth a shot; it was a good, quick read. It won't be the top sequel on my list, but it's definitely on my cue for upcoming reads.

Author: DJ MacHale


The sequel to Uglies is just as good. Missing is the great hippy commune out in the woods, which has been replaced—in questionable taste—by a found group of "primitive" mankind. Still, I enjoyed reading this book and getting back into his post-apocalyptic world of pretty-making. The language is slightly different; or, I should say, the vocabulary is different because even though the book is not in first person it mimics the new "pretty" way of talking. Once you get over that it's well-crafted. These books were recommended to me by my mother-in-law, and I hear they are very popular with both gals and guys. I can see why; there is much to grab on to in this series, and it's an accessible and interesting read.

Author: Scott Westerfeld


When I read the first paragraph, I thought this was going to be another lame teen novel. It begins, "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit." It goes on to detail what you would need to feed your cat in order to get the correct color of sunset-barf. I don't know why the author chose to keep this opening: it has nothing to do with the rest of the tone or writing of the book. So don't judge it on the first paragraph. After that, I was instantly hooked on this post-apocalyptic novel about a world in which everyone is surgically made to be "pretty" when they are 16. The world in which all the "uglies" and "pretties" live is very well developed, with original details, innovations, and flaws. The writing is effortless and I enjoyed the characters. The novel is not exactly unpredictable; yet, I was hooked from start to end.

If you like science fiction, I found a Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. short story called "Harrison Bergeron" that is similar in theme, except that instead of trying to raise everyone up to the standard of equality, the future world is bringing everyone down to a generic level.

Definitely check it out!

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

This was given to me by a middle school librarian who wanted to suggest to me that more books be written in this format (I like to draw and write), because it's very easy for struggling readers to connect to. The print is large and "handwritten", the drawings are clever, and the book is quite long, even though it only took me about an hour to read. Yet, there was nothing about the book that was remedial. It's not in the same class as Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian , but it's comparable in both style and theme. You could say that Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the middle school, white, tamed down version of
Sherman Alexie's book, but still has the same undercurrent of biting honesty. I think it's genius and speaks to a larger audience than just troubled readers.

Author: Jeff Kiney

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

The concluding book of this very fun trilogy had me a tad disappointed, but over-all I had a wonderful time reading the Peter Pan books. They are creative and fresh, the writing is great, and the innovations on the classic tale feel very exciting. The whole time I felt like I was reading the "truth" behind the made-up story of Peter Pan, or a prequel to what what would eventually become a classic tale. As with the first two, they are excellent read-out-loud books and are infused with Dave Berry's humour throughout. No going wrong with these books, even though the last one felt a little slow and disjointed to me.

Authors: Dave Berry and Riley Pearson

Meet your daemon

In celebration of Philip Pullman's Golden Compass being made into a movie, you can go to the official website and answer a twenty-question test to find out who your daemon is.

I have a sneaky feeling there are only something like 10 options. When I googled it, I saw instantly that most people had snow leopards as their daemons. Mine, by the way, was Aenad the Jackal, which stood for modest, spontaneous, responsible, sociable, and solitary. Nevermind the whole usher-dead-spirits-to-the-netherworld association. So there you have it. Because there aren't enough ways to waste time on the internet.


Nothing kinky. I mean this purely as a gender issue in sci-fi fantasy. I've been putting a lot of thought into this, especially since my husband keeps wanting me to review books like the Hobbit and Redwall and Stardust. I've read them. They just didn't hold the same amount of interest for me as other books I've been reviewing here, and I finally decided it's because there is a vast difference between "male" and "female" fantasy. Let me preface this by saying that I generally don't buy into stereotypical gender differences, but that's not to say that I don't acknowledge gender differences. And it's funny that I would find them so starkly in young adult fantasy books.

Okay, here's my thought. There is a style of fantasy written primarily for boys and men. I can spot it almost instantly. The best example, of course, is The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. A very small handful of female characters. Mostly action. Mostly fighting or preparing to fight. Of course, Tolkien is also an exception to the style in that he includes plenty of lush description and even a fair amount of character insight. Other books, though, tend to stay on the surface of characters and have an almost lackadaisical quality to the writing; it's sparse, and almost self-aware. I had a creative writing teacher who once said some books have the feeling that the author is looking over your shoulder while you read and distracting you. I would say that Male Fantasy has that quality. The best example of this is Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Two-dimensional characters who move swiftly from one tension point to another. Women as objects or evil witches. Stupid little author asides (I find this to be true of all Neil Gaiman's books, by the way).

Female fantasy follows similar sterotypes. Shannon Hale's Book of a Thousand Days comes to mind. There is one small scene of violence, but otherwise the majority of the story is set inside of a tower. For almost three years. But you get to know the characters so well. You're inside of Dashti's head for the entire novel. The Twilight Saga is overtly feminine literature. Each novel builds up to a big scene at the end, but otherwise dwells of character development (not to be confused with maturity) and insights. The language is prosaic and descriptive, and plots follow a long, general arch, as opposed to male literature which would look more like an EKG readout if it were drawn linearly.

There are plenty of androgynous books out there, too. All the Harry Potters, His Dark Materials, the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness all come instantly to mind. Perhaps they have just the right combination of the above qualities?

So there, Hubby; I've now reviewed the Hobbit and Stardust.

New Moon and Eclipse

Disclaimer: I am writing this BEFORE I've even finished a cup of coffee (and I can hardly open my eyes before two cups, generally), after having stayed up late so that I could finish Eclipse. I'm debating what sort of verdict to render upon this whole series. Of the three Twilight books, I found New Moon to be the most readable. For one, Edward is gone for most of the book, and we are introduced to a new character. So there's already more action than in the first novel, in which Bella and Edward basically breathe on each other for about three hundred pages. For the record, I like Jacob. Until he phased, I pictured him as a larger version of Noah Hathaway AKA Atreyu from the Neverending Story. He was my first movie-star crush. Which I think just dated me. But it was enjoyable nonetheless.

So New Moon gets a thumbs up. Enjoyable, still somewhat suffocating, but with more action than just watching Edward sparkle in the sunlight.

Now on to Eclipse. As Aunt Linda would say, I give this book an "Oh Brother." It was agonizing to watch Bella and Edward play house. Trust me, I married my high school sweetheart (who I love, but I'm trying to make a point); I KNOW what two teenagers playing house is like. It causes extreme eye-rolling and annoyance. Edward becomes a disturbing combination of father and husband, and is borderline abusive under a facade of keeping the damsel in distress out of too much distress. Meanwhile Bella becomes a contrite whine-fest who spends the whole book playing the field and then wanting others to berate her for it because she's too immature to stop.

Issues of sex and marriage abound, and I really don't know what I thought about the presentation of either. It felt like author Stephenie Meyer was trying to appease too many camps: teens who want to read a good sex scene (don't hold your breath); parents and publishers who don't want the book to be a sex-fest (you'll be pleased); and some kind of moral christian proper order of events that goes love, marriage, lose virginity, become a vampire. In the end, it becomes a contrived tension point that goes absolutely nowhere. So there.

Well written, interesting, but suffocating, contrived, and VERY teenager-ish. I'm glad I read them. I think they're worth it, and I'm glad to see so many people, teens in particular, reading them. It satisfies the teen need to feel that there's something super dramatic going on that the adults are all oblivious to. Also, no matter what you look like or who you are as a person, you might smell good. To vampires and werewolves. Enough to make you the center of a mythical world. And best of all, you might end up with the splendid choice of an overprotective vampire father-husband or a drooling immature werewolf brother-boyfriend. And isn't that what we all secretly desire?

Author: Stephenie Meyers