I have to be completely honest here… I wasn’t looking forward to Breaking Dawn 2, the movie. I’m a die-hard fan of the saga, but the first instalment of Breaking Dawn released last year was so bad it made me laugh. Where was the screenplay? Was there even one?
So when I sat at the theatre to see Part 2, I was kind of angry with myself. I was ready to give my money to people who hadn’t delivered over and over again. Because let’s be clear here, the saga has gone down since the beautiful initial rendition by Catherine Hardwicke.
But I have to admit, Breaking Dawn 2 is the best movie since Hardwicke’s Twilight, if in a totally different way. It’s action-packed and the only downside in my view were the love scenes. O dear… They’re awefully embarrassing. But the twist at the end and the final battle (which weren’t in the book btw) were impressive and breathtaking.
So here we are. There’s no more Twilight in the horizon. It’s all over. And I want to say a massive thank you to Stephenie Meyer for creating a world and a universe that made so many people fall in love with reading again… and writing.
Just thought I’d share a little bit of my life with you. There’s this amazing exhibition at the Tate Britain, one of London’s most famous museum… and this exhibition centers around THE PRE-RAPHAELITES!!! Oxford Whispers was inspired by a pre-raphaelite painting titled The Wounded Cavalier.
So if you’re lucky enoughto travel to London over the enxt few months, please go there. It’s beautiful and so romantic.
Lots of love,
When Madison and Rupert meet for the first time…
ON THE OTHER SIDE of Tom Quad, Great Tom, the loudest bell in all Oxford, struck nine o’clock. The sharp November air smelled of woodsmoke, and Madison longed for Louisiana’s heat.
She missed her good old Converse sneakers, jeans and granny pants as she pulled a skimpy piece of material down her legs. No way this was called a dress.
Her eyes were fixed on the imposing facade of Christ Church Hall when she begged, “I’m freezing here. Can we go inside?”
Pippa gestured toward the entrance and strutted inside. Madison had met the girl—and her Irish mane of red hair—on her first day in England, on the train up from London.
For a week now she had given Madison the guilt trip. A graduate at Christ Church College, Madison was Pippa’s ticket to the social event of the Michaelmas term: Christ Church Ball. Pippa’s persistence had paid off and here she was, ready to cause mayhem with the male students.
Madison took a deep breath and followed the bright halo of Pippa’s hair up the sixteenth-century staircase that led to the Great Hall. Oliver, Madison’s dormmate, flanked her. A tuxedo had replaced his skinny jeans. She patted his thin shoulders to inject some confidence into him, but he kept starring at Pippa’s electric-blue dress. Star-struck.
At first, Madison struggled to recognize the grand, silent Dining Hall, although its vaulted ceiling rose to the heavens as usual. Tonight, the room was overcrowded and overheated. Still, it was a better option than being locked in her room obsessing over the morning’s drama and the Puritan in the painting.
“Ollie, could you please get us some drinks?” Pippa’s smile showcased her dimples. “White wine for both of us.”
How to resist the musical lilt of her voice? Ollie couldn’t and headed for the bar. “Jolly good. Beats dancing anytime.”
Pippa turned to Madison. “I’m glad I lent you the dress. The way you look tonight, all the guys will get you a drink. You’ll be the first one to get wasted.”
“I could use a few glasses right now … I feel like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”
But Pippa’s attention had already shifted toward a potential target for the night. Irish Queen Bee waved at a muscular guy and strutted in his direction. Between chasing able-bodied male victims and college gossiping, there was never a dull moment in Pippa Connelly’s life.
Madison could leave now and let everyone else have a great time, but she didn’t want to sabotage herself again.
Her skin stung. She lifted her head to survey the space in front of her and met the glassy stare of Chris Church’s founder: Henry the Eighth. Hung on the other side of the hall, his portly figure spread over a full-length portrait.
Anne Boleyn, I am not.
Resolve solidified Madison’s stance and squared her shoulders. Tonight, she would face the music. Literally.
At Yale, she’d been too busy studying and juggling jobs to be part of the party scene. But things were looking up now. She was in a master’s program at Oxford University, England. Take that. And in the month since her arrival, she had been pretty lucky, meeting Pippa, then Ollie. Yes, things were definitely looking up.
Thinking of Ollie, Madison gazed at the crowded hall in search of her roommate. He wasn’t at the bar, and she needed a glass in her hand so she would have something to do with herself.
With an old Madonna tune playing in the background, she marched toward the bar.
Please God, keep this dress below my panty line.
Ollie was nowhere to be seen. She ordered a glass of white and ignored the push and pull of the other students around her eager for a drink.
“First time here?” asked a clipped voice behind her at the jammed-up counter.
She turned around. A guy about her age towered over her. She leaned against the bar to support herself as she lifted her gaze from the light blue shirt he wore, to a crisp collar, and followed the line of his neck to the handsome face above. No tuxedo here.
Madison cleared her throat, but only managed a ‘Yes’ that sounded more like a croak.
The smell of his freshly laundered clothes drifted over her. Bergamot or lavender, Madison couldn’t say which, but the fragrance contrasted with the sweat and cheap perfume of the crowd.
He’s hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell.
He chuckled, clearly enjoying her agitation. But his voice was soft when he asked, “American? Where from?”
“Louisiana.” Adonis is chatting me up.
The full-lips-slash-chiseled-cheekbones combo was full-on cliché, but would melt a freakin’ iceberg.
He gave her a rueful smile and she tried turning away, but couldn’t find the necessary space at the crowded bar. Pivoting her head, she strained for a better view of possible avenues of retreat.
“You arrived with Ginger Girl.”
“No idea who you’re talking about … Blondie.” The steel in her voice had chinks in it.
Sparkles lit up in his eyes, and her heart missed a beat. Shivers— chilly then warm—ran down her spine, and back up again. The student bartender shook her elbow and signaled toward a glass on the bar. She held out the exact change, keeping her arm strong, her hand still, but her new friend stopped her midway.
“Allow me. I’m Rupert, by the way.”
“I’ll pay for it,” she answered in a tone that rang ﬂ at. “Mine’s Madison.” No froggy sound this time. Phew.
“Maybe we could go somewhere quieter.” His offer sounded like a naughty invitation, one that said, “I wanna do bad things with you, honey.” Or at least it did to Madison’s wired brain.
“Sorry, I’m spending the evening with my friends,” she forced herself to articulate. God, could she sound more laaaaaaame?
“I see, although I’m not sure your friends will play by your rules. Pippa Connelly doesn’t often leave a party on her own. You shouldn’t be left all by yourself.”
Taking her wine, she finally managed to move out of his way. “Is that the best pick-up line you have?” Yes, more of that. “Something tells me you don’t leave parties on your own, either.” Woo-hoo.
He shrugged and cast his eyes downward. “True.”
“Good luck then. No doubt you’ll find a desperate girl or two tonight.” She flashed him the Scarlett O’Hara smile her mother had taught her. As if the LeBon women had ever been Southern belles.
Madison walked away, her chin up.
For once, she hadn’t screwed up socially. She had even been quite good toward the end of this verbal ping-pong, even if she did say so herself.
She peeked back toward Rupert. His eyes remained glued on her, while he ignored an anorexic blond girl standing at his side. Satisfied, Madison brought the glass to her lips. The wine was almost as sweet as the rum her grandmother drank back home. She spotted a dark corner to savor her social victory in peace.
After three steps, an inner storm struck. As it had done earlier that morning.
The ballroom and the laughing crowd fell away from the foreground, as if she were on a roller coaster.
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, stalked by her ex’s frat brother, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Her econ professor gives her an email address for Landon, the class tutor, who shows her that she’s still the same intelligent girl she’s always been. As Jacqueline becomes interested in more from her tutor than a better grade, his teasing responses make the feeling seem mutual. There’s just one problem—their only interactions are through email.
Meanwhile, a guy in her econ class proves his worth the first night she meets him. Nothing like her popular ex or her brainy tutor, Lucas sits on the back row, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. At a downtown club, he disappears after several dances that leave her on fire. When he asks if he can sketch her, alone in her room, she agrees—hoping for more.
Then Jacqueline discovers a withheld connection between her supportive tutor and her seductive classmate, her ex comes back into the picture, and her stalker escalates his attention by spreading rumors that they’ve hooked up. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.
Author Recommendation: Mature Young Adults (language, drinking, sexual situations)
Did I like it? I loved it.
Okay, I’m going to try and be objective here. Easy by Tammara Webber is… a great book. I heard about Tammara through the New Adult forum on Goodreads. I didn’t start with Easy but her YA trilogy Between The Lines. I devoured it in three days: one book a night. When I turned the last page of Good For You (book 3), I directly purchased her latest (stand-alone) novel, Easy that had just been released (lucky me!).
And began another sleepless night…
What needs to be said first about Tammara Webber is the strength of her writing. It might not win her the next Pulitzer prize, but who cares… In my opinion, it is impeccable: fluid, strong, clean. She has a distinctive voice, and every one of her heroes (whether Reed, Emma etc.. in BTL, or Jacqueline in Easy) sounds totally unique. That’s a sure sign of her competence as a writer.
I don’t usually like books that are trying too hard to deliver a “message.” Most of the time, it is heavy-handed and clumsy. Yes, Easy deals with rape, but not the ‘attacked in a dark alley’ story. It deals with this very fine line treaded by many, and those stupid words we often hear. “She was totally hammered.” “Did you see how she was dressed?” “She followed him into his bedroom, so what else can she expect?”. “She’s so EASY.”
Easy reminds us that: No is No, whatever the circumstances, whoever the girl.
Now, on a lighter note, I melted for Lucas. I usually don’t like tattoos. I’m not a fan of the ‘artsy’ look. I don’t fall for guys driving Harleys… But he’s a character I’ll keep in my heart for a long time. The relationship with Jacqueline unfolded in a realistic and sweet (and sexy) manner.
It is a New Adult / Upper-YA / Mature YA novel, not just for the topics it deals with, but also for the way the author handles them.
Easy is about empowerment and standing up straight for yourself by doing what is right.
Book Stats (from Goodreads) ~
Kindle Edition: 316 pages
Self-Published: May 25th 2012
Last week I shared my satisfaction and joy (New Adult / Upper YA / Mature YA: Here, at last!) after reading two fabulous New Adult (NA) novels: Easy by Tammara Webber (which I will review in a couple of days) and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (for review, click here). Last night, I finished (at 1am) the touching Because of Low by Abby Glines. I just thought I would expand a little by giving some background to why I love reading NA and why I love writing it.
I dived into Harry Potter. I devoured Twilight. Now what?
I’m not a teen anymore (humm! haven’t been for a while). But in some unexpected, time-defying ways, I grew up with those heroes. They nurtured my thoughts, my dreams. I cheered for them, cried with them…. and fell in love with them (you, broody vampire, yes you!).
I’m now desperate for the next adventure, for the next step in my ‘growing-up.’
‘Coming-of-age’ doesn’t only happen in high school. A lot of the excitement, joys and heartbreaks also fill those ‘in-between years,’ when you’re legally an adult but don’t always know how to be one. Or why you should even try to be.
But hardly any book deals with this transition into the ‘big bad’ world, about these life-changing, earth-shattering ‘first-times.’
The first time we leave home, our family, our parents, the friends we grew up with, but didn’t always choose.
The first home, the first job, the first real love.
I want to write about those days, those years, and share the stories with you. You may be experiencing these emotions right now… or you lived through them some time ago and want to understand how and why they define who you are now.
I had fantastic comments last week both on this blog and on Twitter. They made me think and raised great questions. I have one for you and would be grateful if you could share your thoughts. Do you consider HIGH SCHOOL or COLLEGE the place for the ‘first times’? And why? It can be based on your own experience or what you observe (with your kids, for example).
Also, if you have read NA books you have loved, please let me know. I’m always looking for a new NA read and a book to review.
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?
All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far…and almost doesn’t make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge — and over….
What I thought about it?
I wasn’t entirely sure if I would like GOING TOO FAR based only on the synopsis and what some of my friends (other YA/New Adult readers) had told me about it. Another boilerplate story about two entirely different characters: the loud, rebellious blue-haired teen versus the law-abiding, stiff, introvert police officer? Both of them would be fighting their own demons, while falling in love, and revealing a more likable side of their tortured souls…
I feared the cliches by the bucket. I was positively surprised and, I must admit, I felt bewitched by Meg and John’s love story and friendhip. Some reader might not like Jennifer Echols’ voice, the way she tags you along in her story-telling. I can see that. But you have to give to her that her writing resonates apart in the crowded YA literature. Is it whimsical? Maybe.
GOING TOO FAR reads a little bit like a short story, due maybe to its short timeframe (a week). But I really liked the density, depth and intensity of the book.
Will Meg and John stay together for ever AFTER? I don’t know. I’m not sure. But their friendship and respect for each other will nuture the rest of their lives.
An interesting read.
Book Stats -
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: MTV Books (20 April 2009)