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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

You are My Only by Beth Kephart
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub. Date: October 25, 2011
Pages: 240
Age Level: 12+ (YA & Adult)
Source: Publisher/BEA

Synopsis via Goodreads
Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

After having read one of Kephart's other books, The Heart is Not a Size, and then this novel, I've discovered that if there is one thing Kephart does very skillfully, it is poignancy. While I had my issues with You Are My Only, just as I did with her other, the story was still one of profound rawness that truly tugged at my heart strings.

The characters were probably where a lot of my problems with this book were, though it certainly wasn't all bad. Emmy and Sophie both have similar narrative tones to each other that could have been a bit more distinguished, though I guess I can see how having them so similar makes sense. I preferred Emmy's perspective, mostly because there seemed to be so much more going on. While I sympathized with both characters, it was sometimes hard for me to feel a full connection with either of them. I feel like their actual personalities could have been more thoroughly fleshed out. Also, I had a hard time believeing Sophie to be 14, as she came off as much younger, while Emmy seemed older than her own 20 years. This was a bigger issue with Sophie, for me, because of the way things blossomed between her and Joey. I had to remind myself she was 14 versus the 11 or 12 that she appeared to be in my mind. That said, both characters had strong emotions, feelings, and yearnings that practically leapt off the pages. I liked both characters fairly well, but I feel like, had the book been longer, the author could have taken more time to develop them. In contrast, the supporting characters, while still a little under developed, were my favorites. The family of Joey, Miss Cloris, and Miss Helen was a great addition and I really liked their characters. Autumn was another colorful person that really added to the story.

The idea for You Are My Only was incredible, and almost as well executed. The story could have benefitted from having more room for development but it was still crafted quite efficiently. The dual narrative really got me pulled into the story and the pacing was quick and consistent throughout. Getting to see Sophie's path to discovering the buried secrets of her life and Emmy's journey through hell and back was so gripping and wholly encompassing. There was more actual 'action' going on in Emmy's side of the story which did leave me partial to her narritive, though I understand why Sophie's wasn't more dynamic. I kept flipping the pages, anxious to see how things would work out for these two characters and I can honestly say I've never read a book quite like this one before.

Kephart's writing style was very unique and poetic throughout. However, it sometimes felt like the writing was getting in the way of my ability to focus on the rest of the story by being a little overwhelming. It almost came off as trying too hard to be different, to be exquisite. It worked fine for the context but when it came to the dialogue, it made the conversations seem almost unrealistic, especially for a 20 year old and a 14 year old. I think this is part of why I had some trouble connecting with the characters and being able to grasp that they were the ages they were. In general, the prose was lovely, but it could have used toning down a smidge, in my opinion.

The ending was probably one of my favorite parts because I honestly don't think I would have changed anything about it. It was sort of happy but it was very realistic as well, and it pulled everything together so beautifully.

In Esscence

Characters: Liked okay but could have been more developed.
Plot: Very emotionally wrought and keenly imagined.
Writing: Beautiful but sometimes overwhelming and obtrusive.
Ending: Perfect.
Enjoyment/Likability: Liked pretty well.
Recommendable: Yes, but be in the mood for serious and heartwrenching.

Overall: A bit flawed but well worth the read.

Cover: So beautiful and a little haunting. Fits the story very well.

Buy You Are My Only
Amazon / B&N / Kindle / Nook / Book Depository

Friday, June 29, 2012

BEA Giveaway: ARC of Entice by Jessica Shirvington!

Entice by Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub. Date: September 4th, 2012
Pages: 464
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters, #2
Age Level: YA

Synopsis via Goodreads
Violet Eden is Grigori - part angel, part human. Her destiny is to protect humans from the vengence of exiled angels.
Knowing who to trust is key but, when Grigori reinforcements arrive, it becomes clear everyone is hiding something. Even Lincoln. The only thing Violet does know: Phoenix's hold over her is more dangerous than ever.
The race to find the one thing that could tilt the balance of power brings them all to the sacred mountains of Jordan, where Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme. And the ultimate betrayal exposed.

Entice is the second compelling book in The Violet Eden Chapters.


Contest Details

While at BEA, I managed to get a duplicate copy of a few books. This was either because the publishers had extra copies left, I grabbed one at a drop only to realize I did have time to make the signing for it, etc. Also sometimes a friend decided they didn't want one of theirs or I decided I didn't want one of mine as badly as I thought. I want to share these books with you guys who weren't able to attend BEA. So, please read the terms and conditions below and enter to win an ARC of Entice. I'll be giving away a couple more books later on so keep your eyes open.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Suburban Strange!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The Suburban Strange
Nathan Kotecki
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
October 2nd, 2012
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

Shy Celia Balaustine is befriended by a mysterious group of outliers called The Rosary at her new school, Suburban High. The Rosary exposes Celia to new experiences and ideas that help her break out of her shell. Soon though, Celia discovers something is not quite right at Suburban. Girls at the school begin having near fatal accidents on the eve of their sixteenth birthdays. Who is causing the accidents and why? Celia's own sixteenth birthday is fast approaching and she is inexorably drawn into an underground conflict between good and evil—the Kind and the Unkind—that is bubbling beneath Suburban High.


Okay so I actually really like this cover for some reason. At least most of it. The design around the girl's head looks a bit like a weird hat or shower cap the way they've done it. O_o Kinda awkward. Moving on though. This sounds like a mysterious and thrilling read and I hope it turns out to be as good as it sounds. What do you think? Does this sound like something you'd like to read?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness & Swag!

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking Adult
Pub. Date: July 10th, 2012
Pages: 592
Series: All Souls Trilogy, #2
Age Level: Adult (w/ YA Appeal)

Synopsis via Goodreads
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.


Contest Details

Thanks to Shannon with Viking/Penguin, one lucky winner will receive a finished copy of Shadow of Night along with the temporary tattoo and six buttons shown above. Please read terms and condition before entering.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

An Update & My Book Haul from 6/3 to 6/25!

Hey folks. So I know I've been really MIA lately. I was busy with BEA earlier this month and then staying with a couple of other bloggers for a few days before finally getting settled in at my friend's house. Not long after which, my computer quit working (along with my phone and iPod, but we won't talk about that). I have just recently got it back, fixed and ready to go. I realize I still haven't gotten BEA wrap up posts up yet but I will. I promise! And soon too. I also have an interview and a couple reviews coming up before too long as well. In the meantime, I haven't done anything mentioning the books I've received in quite sometime. So I'm doing a book haul wrap up below that contains all the books I've received between June 3rd and now. This will NOT include BEA books. Those will be in the BEA wrap up posts. Also, not all the books I'll have listed will be in the picture, either because they showed up at home or they are kindle books.

Books from The Strand
~Siren by Tricia Rayburn
~Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn
~A Breath of Eyre by Eve Marie Mont
~Saving June by Hannah Harrington
~The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
~The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
~Soul Screamers Vol. 1 by Rachel Vincent
~The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
~House of Dance by Beth Kephart
~ARC Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie

From Booktrader Used Book Store
~Other by Karen Kincy
~The Season by Sarah MacLean
~Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
~13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

From The Cranbury Bookworm Used Book Store
~The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
~Subject Seven by James A. Moore
~Incantation by Alice Hoffman
~If I Should Die Before I Wake by Han Nolan

From Lexie/Tegan
~ARC Transcendence by C.J. Omololu*
~ARC Speechless by Hannah Harrington*
~Spin by Catherine McKenzie*
~13th Reality by James Dashner*
~Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff*
~ARC Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris*
~ARC Point of Origin by Amanda Havard*
~Secret Society by Tom Dolby
~ARC Dearly Departed by Lia Habel
~ARC Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
~Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors

For Review from Author
~ARC Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram*

For Review from S&S
~This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel*
~ARC Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel*

For Review from Netgalley/LB
~Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown*

Bought for Kindle
~Eve by Anna Carey*
~Shifting by Bethany Wiggins*
~The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale*
~David by Mary Hoffman*
~Stolen Away by Alyxandra Harvey*
~The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines*
~We Hear the Dead by Dianne Salerni*
~Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted*
(* = Not Pictured)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Break My Heart 1,000 Times!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Break My Heart 1,000 Times
Daniel Waters
October 16th, 2012
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
Living in the aftermath of the Event means that seeing the dead is now a part of life, but Veronica wishes that the ghosts would just move on. Instead, the ghosts aren’t disappearing—they’re gaining power.

When Veronica and her friend, Kirk, decide to investigate why, they stumble upon a more sinister plot than they ever could have imagined. One of Veronica’s high school teachers is crippled by the fact that his dead daughter has never returned as a ghost, and he’s haunted by the possibility that she’s waiting to reappear within a fresh body. Veronica seems like the perfect host. And even if he’s wrong, what’s the harm in creating one more ghost?

From critically acclaimed Generation Dead author Daniel Waters, comes a delectably creepy and suspenseful thriller. Break My Heart 1,000 Times will leave readers with the chills. Or is that a ghost reading over the page?


Okay well first off, I'm not loving this cover. At all. For a book that sounds so haunting and darkly enticing, I feel it could have gotten a better cover. And it really reminds me of the cover for the anthology Dear Bully. Anyway, despite the lackluster cover job, this book sounds oh so deliciously dark and twisty. I haven't read of any of Waters' work before and didn't really have a particular desire to, until this one, which sounds soooo good! What do you think?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

BEA Book Giveaway: The Innocents by Lili Peloquin!

The Innocents by Lili Peloquin
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub. Date: October 16th, 2012
Pages: 272
Age Level: YA

Synopsis via Goodreads
Two sisters fight to belong in a town built on secrets and lies in this romantic new YA series.

Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and
Friends didn’t.
Boys couldn’t.
Their family falling apart never would.
Until they get to Serenity Point.

The Innocents is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weaves a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.


Contest Details
While at BEA, I managed to get a duplicate copy of some books. This was either because the publishers had extra copies left, I grabbed one at a drop only to realize I did have time to make the signing for it, etc. I want to share these duplicates with you guys who weren't able to attend BEA. So, please read the terms and conditions below and enter to win an ARC of The Innocents. I'll be giving away a couple more books later on so keep your eyes open.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BEA Book Giveaway: The Darkest Minds!

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pub. Date: December 18th, 2012
Pages: 496
Age Level: YA

Synopsis via Goodreads
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have been cursed with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby has spent nearly half her life desperately trying to hide the fact that she’s outwitted the camp’s sorting system—that she isn’t powerless, or safe. She’s one of the dangerous ones… and everyone knows what happens to them.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of teens who escaped their own camp, pursued along the way by terrifying bounty hunters. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close to him. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Before the end, Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.


Contest Details

While at BEA, I managed to get a duplicate copy of some books. This was either because the publishers had extra copies left, I grabbed one at a drop only to realize I did have time to make the signing for it, etc. I want to share these duplicates with you guys who weren't able to attend BEA. So, please read the terms and conditions below and enter to win an ARC of The Darkest Minds. I'll be giving away a couple more books later on so keep your eyes open.
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Waiting on Wednesday: Burning Blue!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Burning Blue
Paul Griffin
October 25th, 2012
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that—he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He's a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he's in—and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself.


This sounds like a very intriguing read and has me very curious. I need to read more books with a male POV and this one sounds like it could have the potential to be a fabulous book. But of course, it could fail too. Let's hope not though. I'll be keeping an eye out for this one.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Earth Girl!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Earth Girl
Janet Edwards
Harper Voyager
August 15th, 2012
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads
2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.

This sounds pretty exciting as well as original! And I really like that cover. Looking forward to this one releasing! What about you? Had you heard of or seen this one before?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Sunday Post (4) & BEA News!


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.


Blog/Me News:

Okay everyone so I will be leaving in the early AM hours to make the 2.5 hour ride to Atlanta to make my nearly 2.5 hour flight to New York City. Yep, that's right. I'm going to BEA for my very first time! Wooot! I am so ridiculously excited and I'm going to try and get tons of pictures to share with y'all. I'll also try and get a vlog done one night as well as daily wrap-up posts. Can't guarantee this but there will be atleast some overall wrap up posts once it is all said and done. I will also be in attendance of the Rebel Writers Books of Wonder signing and TAC. If you will be at something I'm at and want to meet just shoot me an email (thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com). I'll be staying with:

Taschima from Bloody Bookaholic
Briana from BAM Book Reviews
Lexie and Tegan from Poisoned Rationality
Amelia from Imagination in Focus

And there are plenty more awesome bloggers I'm looking forward to meeting while there. There aren't going to be many non BEA posts this week but next week will be better. :)

The most recent photo I have of me so maybe you'll know me if you see me. :D
(Yes that is me in the trunk of my new car. XD)

Book Haul (What I got last week) :

For Review from NetGalley
~Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

For Review from Simon and Schuster
~ARC of The Blessed by Tonya Hurley

~A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford

Bought for Kindle
~City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
~The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer ($0.64)
~Filter by Gwenn Wright ($0.99)
~The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines ($1.99)
~Promise by Kristie Cook ($0.99)
~Before, After, and Somebody In Between by Jeannine Garsee
~Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday ($2.99)
~The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver ($2.99)

If you'd like to join The Sunday Post meme simply follow the link in the description to Kimba's blog. Hope you all got some good books this past week too. :D

Two Amazing New Covers!

The Archived
by Victoria Schwab
January 2013
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Level 2
by Lenore Appelhans
Simon & Schuster
January 15th, 2013
The Memory Chronicles, #1
Young Adult

Synopsis via Goodreads

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow prisoners, Felicia passes the endless hours downloading memories and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and the boy she loved, Neil.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber disappears, and nobody but Felicia seems to recall she existed in the first place. Something is obviously very wrong. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, she learns the truth: a rebellion is brewing to overthrow the Morati, the guardians of Level 2.

Felicia is reluctant to trust Julian, but then he promises what she wants the most—to be with Neil again—if only she’ll join the rebels. Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself in the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.


Y'all have probably already seen these but I just happened across them. Absolutely love The Archived cover. The Level 2 cover, well maybe not quite so much. But still, these are two books I can not wait for! So what do you think of these two new covers?

Check Out My RAK! (May Edition)

I know you wanna see my RAK. *waggles eyebrows* Okay so first off, RAK stands for Random Acts of Kindness and is hosted by Vanessa and Isalys at Book Soulmates. RAK gives you the chance to randomly do something nice for another book lover, like surprising them with a book, e-book, etc. Plus who knows, someone just might surprise you with something you've been wanting too. Sign up for June's HERE.

May was my 12th month participating.

Sent To Ruby
~The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
~ARC of Forbidden by Syrie & Ryan James

Sent to Memrie
~Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
~The Broken Lake by Shelena Shorts

Sent to Nicola
~Verity by Claire Farrell
~Remembrance by Michelle Madow


Received from Nicola
~The Deepest Cut by J.A. Templeton

Received from Shayna
~What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

Received from Memrie
~Ruling Passion by Alyxandra Harvey


A big thanks to everyone for the awesome RAKs and to Vanessa and Isalys for hosting this awesome event! I'm already signed up for June and hope to get even more books out to people this month.

My Wishlists:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Guest Post: Twilight, Patriarchy, & Forgotten Feminists

Author Bio:
Mary A. Osborne is a small town girl living in the big city of Chicago. She is the author of Nonna’s Book of Mysteries and the forthcoming Alchemy’s Daughter, of the Alchemy Series. The series follows the lives of various owners of a mystical alchemical text which is passed from mother to daughter through the centuries.

An honors graduate of Rush University and Knox College, where she was mentored in the Creative Writing Program, Osborne has degrees in chemistry and nursing. Her series was conceived during a springtime trip to Tuscany, when the story sprang from the cobbled streets of Florence and into the author’s ear. Nonna’s Book of Mysteries received a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award and an Eric Hoffer First Horizon Award as well as nominations from the ALA (Bloomer Award) and IBPA (Ben Fischer Award for best first book) and several festival awards.


Twilight, Patriarchy, and Forgotten Feminists

By Mary A. Osborne

Before Twilight, exotic vampire stories from Eastern Europe traveled west, leading to occasional episodes of mass hysteria and inspiring Bram Stoker to write the quintessential vampire novel, Dracula, in 1897. The success of the book gave rise to a trendy new genre of fiction, later popularized by Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and Stephanie Meyer’s series. While I am not a fan of horror fantasy and am too chicken to watch scary movies, I was in some ways drawn to the dark themes and imagery of Twilight. The story evokes strong archetypes and explores hidden desires. I tore through the five-hundred page book in just a few days. Still, there is something about the vampire craze and the Twilight books that unsettles me. Could it be the fact that Stephanie Meyer sold about 10,000 times more books than I have? Well, maybe. But I think it has more to do with the underlying patriarchy of the vampire theme: the heroine, Bella, is an unexceptional mortal who stands in awe of her love interest, the supernatural Edward, who surpasses her in every way. Twilight is entertaining, but Bella is a far cry from the strong-willed characters of classic literature like Jo March, Jane Eyre, or the more recent Hermione Granger. The Twilight books are highly readable, and that may be enough. What they teach women about themselves is another matter.

As Twilight begins, Bella is something of a misfit, feeling quite out of place when she arrives in Forks, Washington State, from Phoenix. An ordinary girl, she considers herself hardly worthy of Edward Cullen’s notice, and she spends most of her time pining away for him. While century-old Edward is depicted as stunningly handsome, smart, and rich, Bella is just a plain teenage girl, possessing little in the way of talent, interests, or hobbies outside of her vampire lust. There are, of course, positive messages for teens in the book. Bella and Edward remain chaste and devoted to one another. Catholics appreciate the message that is offered when the newly married Bella chooses to carry her baby to term, despite the fact that doing so might kill her. As far as feminist ideals and the movement toward greater equality, the book is a step backward from books that celebrate the strength and independence of women.

For better or worse, I was not thinking of the popular trends in teen fiction when I wrote Nonna’s Book of Mysteries. The story is about a young woman who dreams of becoming a painter in Renaissance Florence at a time when apprenticeships for women do not exist. Emilia Serafini’s quest is guided by a mystical book of alchemy that is passed from mother to daughter in her family. Nonna’s won an American Library Association Bloomer nomination for best feminist books for teens, but the book is best loved, I think, by readers who prefer Little Women to Twilight. While Emilia is often preoccupied with thoughts of romance, like Bella Swan, she cannot easily sacrifice her ambition for love.

In Twilight, Bella derives her meaning and power from her love interest. Feminist characters like Jo March and Emilia Serafini discover their personal identities and earn their rewards when they pursue their individual passions, work hard to achieve their life goals, and learn from past mistakes. In Nonna’s Book of Mysteries, Emilia also learns from her grandmother’s legacy, the mysterious alchemical text. While alchemy refers to the transformation of base metals into gold, it is also a metaphor for the personal transformation which occurs when you commit to finding your highest destiny. To the alchemist, the achievement of inner wisdom matters more than the fulfillment of material wants and desires.

It may well be that Bella’s highest destiny was to marry Edward. I do hope they live happily ever after. For girls in the real world, my wish is for them to become smart, bold, and brave. Having a loving and supportive life partner is an undeniable blessing in life. But in my experience, ultimate happiness is achieved when you make use of your unique talents and stop at nothing in order to accomplish the thing you were born to do.


Thanks Mary for the guest post. As for you readers, I feel like this is quite a discussion worthy topic and would love to hear what you all have to say in the comments. And don't forget to check out Nonna's Book of Mysteries. You can buy it, or enter to win a copy HERE.

About Me

My photo
Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

My Partner in mean reading. :P

My Partner in mean reading. :P
Meet Rudy everyone!