Tag Archives: love

Why? Because I Love You by Mary Lee

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why?becauseiloveyoucoverWhy? Because I Love You by Mary Lee, picture e-book, published in 2012.

Little Pup wants to know why he has to do things like take a bath or wear a hat. Grey Bear answers honestly and with love.

This is such a sweet little book about the love between friends. Little Pup questions everything that Grey Bear asks him to do, just like a toddler exploring the world and pushing the limits. It is always because Grey Bear loves him and wants what is best for him. Little Pup is lucky to have such a caring bear in his life.

The illustrations are really cute, especially Little Pup. These clear and simple pictures are excellent for young children. I love the expression on Little Pup’s face when Grey Bear serves up a salad!

The story is easy to follow using basic language, making it great for toddlers and preschoolers. It would also be suitable as an early reader for lower primary school students.

Great-Grandma’s Gifts by Marianne Jones

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ggrandmasgiftscoverGreat-Grandma’s Gifts by Marianne Jones and illustrated by Karen Reinikka, picture e-book, 25 pages, published by Split Tree Publishing in 2013.

A quaint book about a little girl that grows up to be a grandmother and shares her love for her children an grandchildren through sewing. Arlene learns to sew from her mother, sewing clothes for her doll. When she grows up, she continues to sew things for her own children, and then for her grandchildren.

I was a little confused about the title, as Arlene doesn’t sew anything for great-grandchildren in the story. On reflection, I suppose the real gift is from Arlene’s mother, who would be a great-grandma, as she is the one who taught Arlene to sew. I also wondered why Arlene would be cutting up shirts, coats and dresses if she had such a large supply of cloth to use? Or was the pile of cloth just old clothes that could be re-purposed?

The text is clear and simple. I liked that some of the words were coloured for emphasis, for example, the phrase “as red as a valentine” was done in red, and the colour words were in their own colours. Each page has a coloured background with simple illustrations, which looked to be done in watercolours.

This picture book didn’t really tickle my fancy. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t capture me.

Great-Grandma’s Gifts is most suitable for lower to middle primary school children.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

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The Twilight Saga is composed of four sequential books exploring the interaction of vampires, werewolves and humans through the eyes of a clumsy, stubborn and rather naive teenage girl. I think this series would appeal to teenagers and adults interested in vampires and the supernatural, or those just looking for something a bit different in the romance line. It follows a fairly predictable course of girl meets boy, they fall in love, they aim to live happily ever after, but I enjoyed the supernatural complications of this story.

 

IMG_4633Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, young adult paperback, 434 pages, published by Atom in 2006, this edition published by Atom in 2007.

In the first book of the Twilight Saga, we are introduced to Bella, an ordinary, though somewhat clumsy teenager. She has moved from the warmth of Phoenix to the constantly overcast and drizzly town of Forks, where her father is Police Chief Swan. During her first day at her new school her eyes are drawn to five of the most beautiful teenagers she has ever seen, one of which is her biology lab partner, Edward Cullen. He seems to take an instant dislike to Bella, but she is intrigued, and soon becomes obsessed with him. Discovering that he and his family are vampires doesn’t deter Bella from dating Edward. However, she soon finds that not all vampires are as nice as the Cullens, as she is chased from Forks by a vampire that would like to eat her for dinner.

 

IMG_4641New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, young adult paperback, 497 pages, published by Little, Brown and Company in 2006, this edition published by Atom in 2007.

In the second installment of the Twilight Saga, Bella attends a birthday party at the Cullen’s house that goes dreadfully wrong, resulting in Bella being injured and almost attacked by Edward’s brother, Jasper. When Edward fails to convince Bella of the risks of dating a vampire, he leaves her instead. Bella is destroyed, and spends several months surviving, but forgetting to live, totally consumed by the hole in her chest that Edward’s departure has left her. In an attempt to help her overcome her depression, her father encourages her to spend time with her friends, especially an old family friend, Jacob Black. Bella finds it easy to be with Jacob, and soon they are spending large quantities of time together. Bella is again devastated when Jacob stops talking to her and stays away. Jacob is keeping a secret from her, but why, and what could be so shameful he can’t share it with her?

 

IMG_4637Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer, young adult paperback, 559 pages, published by Little, Brown and Company in 2007, this edition published by Atom in 2008.

This third book in the Twilight Saga, sees Bella wondering how to have both Edward and Jacob in her life without antagonising the ancient tensions between the vampires and the werewolves. This is complicated by a string of disappearances and deaths in nearby Seattle that might spill over to hurt the Cullens. It appears to be the work of a gang of violent and uncontrollable newborn vampires, but who is creating them and why? Meanwhile Bella is preparing for her high school graduation, and the issue of whether to stay human or allow Carlisle to change her, as Edward refuses to do so until Bella marries him.

 

 

IMG_4636Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, young adult paperback, 702 pages, published by Atom in 2008.

In the final chapter of the Twilight Saga, Bella is still human, and preparing for her life with Edward. They decide to consummate their marriage on their honeymoon, even though Edward thinks he may hurt Bella in the process. The product of such a liaison is a surprise to them both, and may kill Bella or lead to her transformation into a vampire. To Bella it is her baby, but is it really a monster, an abomination that she carries? The child will change all their lives, including Jacob’s, and will bring conflict and danger close to home. The vampires and wolves need an alliance to survive, but still they may not be able to better their enemy, and Alice and Jasper have abandoned them to their fate. Is this the end of the Cullen family?

 

This series reminded me a lot of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, though Twilight is definitely the junior version, much more suitable for high school students. Twilight contains some violence and sex, but essentially it is a love story. Love between a vampire and a human was bound to be fraught with issues, but Bella and Edward are so devoted to each other, that they will fight hard to stay together. Jacob’s love for Bella complicates matters, and I actually hoped for a lot of the story that Jacob would triumph and win Bella over, as she obviously loves him too. Perhaps I just prefer the idea of spending a mortal life with a warm and loving werewolf, than an eternity with the constant thirst for blood as a vampire, even if it is for love!

I found Edward to be somewhat dislikable, with his controlling ways, and his tendency to keep secrets from Bella in the guise of protecting her. This makes their relationship uneven, and I think truth is always better, so that decisions can be made together. Edward is rather resistant to this idea, and even goes to the lengths of having his sister kidnap Bella and keep her hostage while is is off on a hunting trip. Protection is one thing, but such overt control dismayed me, along with her inability to be angry with him when he returned. I also found him to be arrogant and smug. His attitude improved through the story, but I had already formed a dislike for him, while championing Jacob. Though Jacob has his own problems, with his adjustment to discovering his werewolf side, and the whole ‘mortal enemies’ thing with the vampires, he really just wants Bella to be happy. He loves and respects her, and will be there for her, even when it’s not in his best interests. I liked his fierce devotion and his honesty with Bella. I felt like he deserved to have Bella’s whole love in return. This story made me think of that saying ‘nice guys finish last’.

Bella is a complicated character. In some ways she is strong, when accepting that she has fallen for a vampire, and that her best friend is a werewolf. Yet, then she shows a weakness by being unable to live when Edward leaves her, and just forgives him easily despite how his actions have hurt her. I know we should all forgive, especially those that we love, but I wanted her to be a bit stronger in making him understand how his actions were inappropriate, and how they made her feel. Then I remember that she is only eighteen for most of the story, and she has little in the way of experience in relationships. I also found her intense desire to become a vampire baffling, when it would mean leaving her parents behind, whom she loves and is close to. I was pleased that by the end of the story she had become more than just Edward’s girl, as she discovers her own identity and her own strengths.

This series is not high brow literature, but they are entertaining and I found them to be an engaging read. The plot was somewhat predictable, though fairly well developed. My biggest complaint was that I got a bit tired of hearing about how beautiful and perfect Edward is! I was also a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more action of the vampire fighting kind, especially in Breaking Dawn. There was a lot about sexual desire and allusions to sex, but no actual sex scenes, which surprised me. The whole series was actually pretty clean with no foul language and no explicit scenes, just innuendo and plenty of kissing. Along with the dearth of vivid vampire killing, this does make it better for younger readers. Overall the Twilight Saga is a likable series of books to relax with.

 

 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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IMG_2509The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, paperback novel, 313 pages, published by the Penguin Group in 2012.

Since Hazel was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she has withdrawn from school, her friends and from the world in general. Her parents fuss over her and encourage her along to the Cancer Kids Support Group at a nearby church hall. The group is constantly changing as some of the kids have treatment or pass on. Regular support group goer, Isaac, brings along his friend Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor, for support one evening, and Hazel’s life changes dramatically.

The Fault is Our Stars is a poignant tale of love, death and life. Hazel and Augustus are living with death just over the horizon, and they try to live well, for themselves, each other and their families, though they face many more challenges than the average teenager.

Augustus and Hazel are not average teenagers, and I found them to be more sophisticated in their life views and speech. The obstacles that they have encountered have matured and changed them despite their youth. I liked them. I enjoyed their banter, and the way they were together. I liked Augustus’ terrible driving and his sense of humour, I liked Hazel’s intelligence and composure, her tenacity and her laughter. And I completely understand Hazel’s obsession with the book she has re-read dozens of times, and her intense desire to know what happened after the story ended so abruptly. The characters had taken on life for her, as so many characters do for me. Hazel and Augustus came out of the book as I read, making their journey part of my life too.

Beautifully written, insightful and real, this emotional story will stay will me forever. I laughed and I cried and cried, and had to put the book down for a couple of days before I felt like I could finish it. And all the while I was thinking about Augustus and Hazel, and how I wanted them to grow old together, to laugh and love and be together into a future where I know they can not venture. They did not waste the time they did have together, and this is a reminder to live our days to the full and not to let opportunity slip by.

I think the themes in The Fault in Our Stars may be too overwhelming for most primary school students, so this is a book best left to read in high school or beyond. It is a book that will touch you, that will remind you that life is precious, and that will make you want to hug your kids tight and never let go. Read it and let Hazel and Augustus into your heart.

Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester

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IMG_1393Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester, hardback picture book, published by Penguin Group (Australia) in 2013.

The wishes of a mother for her child. From waking to birdsong, experiencing the great variety of nature, and drifting into dreams, Kissed by the Moon, reads like a lullaby of love between mother and child.

This heart-warming book captures the beauty of the mother and child relationship. For her child she would like the simple pleasures of love, happiness, contentment, safety and experiencing nature in all its forms, things that many parents want for their own children. It is also beautifully and brightly illustrated, a pleasure to see. Kissed by the Moon is a lovely book to read to children before bed, from toddler through primary school, it will remind them of their parents’ love and help them to settle down for a peaceful sleep.