Friday, 31 July 2015

Not a Chapter-by-Chapter Post

Due to a slight hiccup regarding whose job it was to put the laptop in the car on Tuesday, I didn't have my laptop and Chapter-by-Chapter stuff with me when I had an internet connection this week. Rather than rushing to get it uploaded or using my phone to get it up, I've decided to just share my Christmas Crib progress.

That's Balthazar on the left and Caspar on the right. I was very worried about how Caspar was coming together but I'm really proud of how he turned out.

Don't tell Balthazar but I think Caspar's my favourite!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wreck This Journal: White Things

I'm finding the COVER THIS PAGE WITH WHITE THINGS page quite tricky. You don't often find things that are pure white and sometimes the white things that you find are more suitable for other pages in this journal, like the white round number 59 sticker that I found and had a slightly dilemma about which page it was best suited for.

There's the added hassle that there are a lot of white things that don't stay white for very long. Take flowers for instance, white petals might be white for a while but then they go brown, at which point they don't really have a place on a 'white things' page.

Luckily the petals that were scattered across the tables at my cousin's wedding are not organic and being artificial they've stayed white. This makes them perfect for this page, but also highlights another problem with this page.

It can be a bit tricky to get a decent photo of a page of something white.

I've been struggling with this page because I'm finding it hard to find things that are plain white and so I'm torn between just keeping on with it or perhaps sticking in the odd white thing with other colours on it. On the one hand, I know that this book is all about interpreting the instructions in your own way, but on the other hand, I think there's something cool about turning the entire page white.

Hopefully I'll find some more white things to stick in here over the next few months so I have something more to share in the future.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Book 60 of 2014: The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett

A few years ago I made it my mission to read all of the Discworld books. I had the complete collection (which I've since added to, with the help of friends and family) and so it only seemed natural that once I'd finished all the Discworld books, that I should go on to read some of the other books by Sir Pterry.

After reading the Johnny Maxwell books I moved on to The Dark Side of the Sun, one of Pratchett's very first books. This is a sci-fi story in which the character of Dom tries to get to the bottom of an ancient, extinct race known as the Jokers.

I found it a fairly quick read although I can't say that I really enjoyed it a great deal. It feels almost like blasphemy to say that about one of Terry Pratchett's books considering he's one of my favourite authors, but I really struggled with it. It did start well and I got really into it for the first third, but after that I found it really hard to figure out what was going on. There was clearly a lot happening but I just couldn't keep track of any of it.

I liked that I could see glimpses of things that would crop up later in the Discworld books. It was like Pratchett was trying out ideas which he would flesh out in greater detail once Ankh-Morpork came into existence. I had great fun playing 'Spot the Discworld reference'. It didn't take me long to find mention of Hogswatch and Soul Cake Friday. Dom also lives on Widdershins which gets a mention in Discworld as well. It's really cool to think that Pratchett was developing these ideas so far back before the Discworld books were created.

Even though I found myself growing confused as the book went on, I think I might actually have enjoyed it more if it was slightly longer. There were lots of characters and it seemed to jump around quite a bit. Perhaps if it had been a little longer there would have been more opportunity to flesh out these characters and places. I think that might have given me more to get my teeth into and so might have untangled some of the tangles.

Although I didn't enjoy this one as much as many of the other non-Discworld books, I'm still happy to keep delving into Pratchett's non-Discworld books. Reading this one has made me want to reread The Carpet People, another of his very early books. I'm going to have to find myself a copy of that one soon.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Reading Challenge Progress

I've not been very active on the Goodreads group recently (well, for the last couple of months). I haven't been able to get online as much as I usually do over the summer because of hospital appointments and the summer being a quiet time for the groups and things that usually bring me to my in-laws' house (and internet connection) several times a week.

But I'm still plodding away at the Reading Challenge.

In case you've not heard of it, or have forgotten what it looks like, I'm talking about this Popsugar Reading Challenge which appeared on the internet last year:

From here.

We're now past the halfway mark of the year and I'm doing really well. I've been reading them in almost exactly the order on the list (apart from the last two weeks which I got confused and inadvertently switched).

Here's how my reading list is looking so far:

  1. A book with over 500 pages: Emma by Jane Austen (4 out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  2. A classic romance: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  3. A book turned into a movie: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (out of 5 stars) Reread
  4. A book published this year: Miramont's Ghost by Elizabeth Hall (2.5 out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  5. A book with a number in the title: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  6. A book by an author under the age of 30: Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecroft Shelley (out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  7. A book with a non-human character: Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkien (out of 5 stars) Reread
  8. A funny book: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (4.5 out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  9. A book by a female author: The Game by Laurie R. King (2.5 out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  10. A mystery or thriller: Tales of Terror and Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (3.5 out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  11. A book with a one word title: Filth by Irvine Welsh (1.5 out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  12. A collection of short stories: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (out of 5 stars) Reread
  13. A book set in another country: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  14. A non-fiction book: Sherlock Chronicles by Steve Tribe (out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  15. A popular author's first book: The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  16. A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien (out of 5 stars) 1st time read
  17. A book a friend recommended: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (3.5 out of 5 stars1st time read
  18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (out of 5 starsReread
  19. A book based on a true story: A Strange Eventful History by Michael Holroyd (out of 5 stars1st time read
  20. A book from the bottom of your to-read list: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (3.5 out of 5 stars1st time read
  21. A book your mum loves: The Island by Victoria Hislop (out of 5 stars1st time read
  22. A book that scares: Terrifying Tales by Edgar Allan Poe (3 out of 5 stars1st time read
  23. A book that is more than 100 years old: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell (2.5 out of 5 stars1st time read
  24. A book based entirely on its cover: Becoming Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty (out of 5 stars1st time read
  25. A book you should've read in school by didn't: Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (out of 5 starsReread/1st time read
  26. A memoir: Vet Behind the Ears by Christopher Timothy (3.5 out of 5 stars1st time read
  27. A book you can finish in a day: How a Ghastly Story Was Brought to Light by a Common or Garden Butcher's Dog by Johann Peter Hebel (out of 5 stars1st time read
  28. A book with antonyms in the title: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood (3.5 out of 5 stars1st time read
  29. A book published the year you were born: Her Majesty's Wizard by Christopher Stasheff (2.5 out of 5 stars1st time read
  30. A book set in a country you've always wanted to visit: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by Deborah Moggach (out of 5 stars1st time read
I'm really pleased with how I'm doing with the challenge. Especially because I've only got 3.5 rereads on my list (the .5 is because at school I started reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles but never finished it, so it's both a reread and a 1st time read). That means that the majority of the books I've read for the challenge are brand new to me.

I have a habit of just revisiting the same familiar books over and over again, so usually my book journal shows a heavy weight in favour of the rereads. Of course, this list isn't showing all the books I've read this year, just the ones for the challenge, so there are quite a few rereads on my list for the rest of the year. But I'm still finding a lot of new authors and books.

And I'm reading a lot of classics. Mainly because they're free and it saves me from having to buy books when I can get them for nothing on my Kindle. Many of them, like Emma and Pride and Prejudice and Tess of the d'Urbervilles are books that I've always felt I should read, but just haven't gotten around to yet.

But now I am. And I'm finding I'm really enjoying them.

I'm still not sure if I want to take part in a challenge like this next year. On the one hand, I thrive on challenges like these. It gives me a motive to step outside my comfort zone. On the other hand, I normally follow a fairly regimented routine when I'm reading (working my way through my bookshelves, from one shelf to the next) and I keep on losing my place or having to jump forward or back to read the next book from the challenge list.

Perhaps I'll find something that's a little less demanding, with fewer books to read.

Or maybe I'll find another list like this for me to throw myself in to.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Weekly Rundown: Dunoon Day Out

You'll all be pleased to know that my left kidney is feeling much better this week. I'm pleased about it too.

I was also very pleased to feel well enough to go to Dunoon yesterday. It's a trip which we've been planning for a little while, not having been for a couple of years now. I always love going there. It's so like Rothesay in some ways (like the fact that all the shops are pretty much clustered around one street) and completely unlike it in others.

And as you may have noticed before. I do love a bit of charity shopping, and Dunoon has some lovely ones.

Unfortunately our friend who was supposed to come with us wasn't up to coming. But Mr Click and I had been up early and figured we might as well go anyway. The forecast had been for rain and showers but it stayed bright and sunny for the whole day and we only saw one little shower (well, we drove through it) on the way home.

Mr Click thoroughly spoiled me as well. It's always nice when you're treated to a day out and then get treats as well.

I'm currently on a bit of a weight-loss kick. A group of us at work have set ourselves a challenge. As is evidenced by the picture above, I'm not doing so well at this! It was a lovely cupcake thought.
And I did turn on the pedometer on my phone and I hit my activity goal for the day, so hopefully I burnt at least some of those calories off!

Of course, by the time we got home I was so tired I didn't actually take any photos of the things I'd bought because I was feeling lazy. I'd set myself a mission to get a new cardigan (since I inadvertently scorched one of the ones I usually wear for work and have not been successful in getting rid of the burn mark), a Jean Greenhowe/toy knitting pattern/any other knitting pattern book that appealed to me, any book that I've been looking for or really wanting to read, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (because I'm reading the book at the moment and now really want to see the film).

We found the cardigan in the second shop we went into. Mr Click also found a wonderfully Christmassy-looking jumper there as well. Some of the shops have moved around since we were last there and this one has moved into what was formerly a card shop. It was massive and they had so much stuff in there. I got totally distracted by a massive tub of buttons!

In the next shop I found the first of three Kathy Reichs books which I got. It's been a while since I last read the ones I have so I've gotten a bit behind in the latest ones to be published. I'm not sure when I'll dig out the series and read them all again, or if I'll just pick up from where I left off and continue the series that way, but at least I've got them in my book cupboard for when I'm ready.

Another good find for the day was a campervan blanket pattern in one of the craft shops. I took Mr Click in to show him and he bought it for me. I'm going to have to save up before I attempt it though (and also get good at intarsia); it calls for eighteen balls of one colour alone for the double bed version!

Then it was lunchtime. We went to a little fish and chip shop and Mr Click had me get a massive plate of chicken and chips. I was expecting a few bits of chicken, instead I got about six giant pieces of battered chicken breast. Mr Click had to ask for a doggy bag to bring most of them home with me!

The last stop before we left was another craft shop where I bagged four balls of wool. I've been trying not to buy any more yarn for my Nativity, but there are a few colours I was kind of in need of, for example, I have a lovely light blue and a lovely dark blue, but no perfect mid-blue for Mary. The purple I've been using for my latest Wize Man is probably about the same age as me and is fast running out; I was fairly certain that it wouldn't last me for the full hat (the only bit I have left to do). So I found a wonderful rich purple colour. Plus a dark grey and a dark brown (both slightly tweedy) which are exactly what I need for my shepherds, Joseph and the donkey.

Now I solemnly swear I will not buy any more wool.

Apart from when I go to Wales. If I see anything nice there I may have to buy it.

But that doesn't count because that would be a souvenir.

Anyway, I'll wrap this up here so I can get on with knitting Caspar's hat, sewing it up and onto his head, and getting his gift done. Then I'll cast on for Melchior.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Film Review: The Two Towers, Part 1

Last week we finished up with the final part of the The Fellowship of the Ring and watched as Frodo and Sam prepared to head off to Mordor on their own.

Now it's time to pick up where we left off and head straight back into the action; in this instalment of The Two Towers Frodo and Sam will meet Gollum; Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli will meet Eomer; and Merry and Pippin just get to meet more Orcs.

1. And we're off in the second film of the trilogy. I feel like this one should begin with: PREVIOUSLY ON THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

2. Ooh look, pretty New Zealand scenery.

3. Just a little recap of what happened to Gandalf, just in case you missed the first film (like the guys sat behind us in the cinema the first time we saw it).

4. And now we get to find out just what happened to Gandalf after that little incident on the bridge. It was very burny.

5. This Balrog definitely has wings.

6. It's just a dream. Back to Frodo and Sam now. I'm so glad this film doesn't play things the way the book does, otherwise I wouldn't be able to say anything about Frodo and Sam for another three weeks!

7. I'm glad they included the rope in the Extended Edition.

8. Hehe, anticlimax as Frodo makes it to the bottom safely.

9. Who's going to follow you down? Uh, Gollum.

10. Magic rope, comes when you call it!

11. They're lost. What they really need is a guide. I wonder where they can find one of those.

12. This might've been made easier if Gandalf had actually sat down with them and they'd planned out a route together before they left. Just saying.

13. One bite of Lembas bread fills the stomach of a grown man, so watch Sam munching away on it. Stupid, fat Hobbit.

14. Oh look. Here comes company.

15. Frodo and Sam are getting nowhere fast.

16. I wonder if the 'nasty stink' is actually Gollum. I mean, he eats raw fish, I doubt whether he's going to smell good.

17. Spider!Gollum!

18. Gollum seems so much smoother now, after seeing him with so much extra detail in the Hobbit films. It's like watching the old Pixar shorts from the early 90s.

19. Frodo's finally got what Gandalf was saying about pity. This may come in useful later.

20. Jeez Sam, Gollum was actually being somewhat nice then. You need to be a little more trusting. Then again, it is Gollum so I can see why he's not exactly signing up to be best friends with him.

21. Frodo should really be more specific about getting Gollum to lead them to the gate, he's going to follow those instructions to the letter.

22. I do quite like cheerful Gollum.

23. And now let's catch up with Merry and Pippin. Pippin's doing okay, Merry not so much.

24. The Orcs and Uruks are not going to win any beauty contests, are they?

25. At least Merry is conscious again, let's hope he stays that way.

26. If I tried taking off a brooch with my teeth, I'd probably stab myself in the lip.

27. And now it's time for some Aragorn.

28. Look out Gimli, you just dropped something.

29. And there goes Legolas stumbling. Hehe, can't help but notice those when I watch this.

30. Aragorn's found the brooch. Gimli's struggling with the pace though.

31. I want to go to Rohan. I'm not even that keen on horses.

32. They're taking the hobbits to Isengard! Best line in the film!

33. Saruman's just pinching Galadriel's lines from the first film now.

34. Saruman's got his minions cutting down more trees. I'm telling you mate, you're going to regret that.

35. Oh look, it's Peter Jackson again.

36. And this bit's a little familiar, perhaps because we already saw it in the first film.

37. I love seeing the 'real people' in these films. I want to know more about that family. I'm sure someone's fanfic'd them.

38. Hi Éomer.

39. Not looking good for Théodred. He might be alive, but not for long.

40. Rohan has the coolest music.

41. Yay! Éowyn. She's easily my favourite female character.

42. We just finished watching Titanic so it's kind of weird seeing Bernard Hill being Théoden in this.

43. Here's a bit of exposition, just in case you've not read the books.

44. How can anyone look at Gríma and think he's a good guy? He's so obviously evil.

45. If I was Éowyn and Wormtongue looked at me like that, I think I'd need to go take a shower.

46. Little bit more New Zealand scenery porn.

47. Oh, I want to go there.

48. I love Gimli. I know people hate him being the comic relief, but he's just so cool that I love it.

49. And now it's night and we're back to Merry and Pippin. We're right outside Fangorn Forest and the trees aren't too happy about being cut down.

50. Merry thinks that this might actually be a good thing though. He's giving us a brief recap of a chapter from The Fellowship of the Ring that never made it into the film.

51. It's kind of funny the way that Merry looks down at his legs when the Orc mentions them eating their legs. Just like he's checking what they mean, 'oh, wait, these legs?!'

52. Pippin's just this minute figured out why they've been kidnapped. Hobbit-napped?

53. Merry and Pippin make a break for it as the bad guys come under attack. Yay! Horse guys to the rescue.

54. Notice how Pippin's wrists were tied a moment ago and then suddenly come untied when it looks like he's about to be trampled.

55. But now we're back to Aragorn and crew. The sun's coming up and the Riders of Roham are approaching.

56. I love the way they ride in and surround the trio. Very dramatic.

57. And this is why Aragorn is the king-to-be. He's got the hang of diplomacy. Éomer is kind of lacking in that department, though I suppose he's got good reason.

58. He's not too friendly because he thinks they might be spies. That's justified I suppose.

59. Bad news, though guys. They killed all the Uruks and they didn't see any Hobbits. Not looking good for your friends.

60. Éomer obviously feels guilty because he gives them some horses. Here's two horses to make up for the two Hobbits we probably killed by mistake. Sorry guys.

61. Nice big pile of corpses. Oh dear, and there's a Hobbit belt in the pile. That's not a good sign.

62. Here's where Viggo Mortensen apparently broke a toe. I guess that scream is more than just because they've lost their friends.

63. And now we get to figure out what happened to Merry and Pippin.

64. It's ironic that Aragorn says 'their hands were bound' moments after we saw Pippin with his hands unbound.

65. It's all becoming clear now. Thank goodness Aragorn can spot near-invisible tracks.

We'll leave him there for now, tracking Hobbits. Next week we'll pick back up with all the exciting happenings in Fangorn Forest as well as catching up with Frodo and Sam as they follow Gollum's lead.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 18

I'm pretty much back up to speed with these posts (helped in part by the fact that after that epically long post I did this morning, this afternoon's is really short). I've got back into a routine with reading and writing them out; I might even of had this post done sooner if I hadn't (re)discovered Toki Pona this week and spent many evenings trying to work out just how easy it is to learn (answer: very).

Anyway, on with Twilight.

Last chapter we had Bella getting a warning about Edward, her telling Charlie about him and then going out to play baseball until it was gatecrashed by a bunch of new vampires. Well in this (mercifully short) chapter we get to meet them in person (vampire?) and learn that Bella is in real danger.

What Happens?

The new vampires are bad news and one of them would quite like to nom on Bella. Carlisle gets them away and Edward takes Bella with Alice and Emmett. One of the vampires is a tracker and has his sights set on Bella so they have to put together a plan in order to get her out of the town and to safety.

Thoughts as I read:

Are the new vampires going to eat Bella? Well, obviously they aren't going to eat her because there's another three books after this, but will they try and eat her? That would be exciting!

As Alice saw, there are three vampires (a pair of guys and a woman). They're described as being predators which doesn't bode very well:

As they approached, I could see how different they were from the Cullens. Their walk was catlike, a gait that seemed constantly on the edge of shifting into a crouch.

This is the start of about a page of describing them. We get to hear about what they look like, how they walk, what they do when they see Carlisle, what's in the woman's hair. I'm not going to repeat it all here, if you want to know that badly, read the book. Suffice to say, they've very different to the Cullens.

Their names are Laurent (who is vaguely French), Victoria and James. Considering I've not heard them mentioned by any of the diehard Twilight fans (I believe Twihard is the correct term), I'm guessing they won't play a major part in this book. All the same, Carlisle acts like they're going to be around for a while and introduces his 'family' which includes Bella. I'm as shocked as she is, but I'm wondering if this is invoking some sort of vampire rule about not eating members of another vampire's family or something.

Laurent was really looking forward to playing baseball (so apparently this is a vampire thing and they all like playing baseball). He also doesn't say anything about how Bella smells. Carlisle explains that they've finished for the day but suggests they play some other time. It's then that they reveal they live locally and Carlisle invites them to visit their home. He also reminds them not to hunt in the surrounding area because they want to remain under the radar.

This is followed by Laurent cheerfully reassuring everyone that they're not hungry right now:

Laurent nodded. "We certainly won't encroach on your territory. We just ate outside of Seattle anyway," he laughed. A shiver ran up my spine.

Regardless of how reassuring he's trying to be, when the wind shifts the illusion begins to fade. The breeze blows Bella's hair around and gives Laurent a good whiff of her scent:

"You brought a snack?" he asked, his expression incredulous as he took an involuntary step forward.

The idea of bringing a human along to hang out completely baffles Laurent. He does control himself though and soon promises not to eat Bella or hunt in Forks. All the same. I'm not so sure I believe him.

Carlisle takes the visitors home while Edward, Alice and Emmett escort Bella away from the field. Edward is clearly shaken by this latest development and so throws Bella over his shoulder to get away as quick as they can. At the Jeep, he throws her into the back, Emmett straps her in, and Edward and Alice hop in. It takes a moment for Bella to realise they aren't going home. She starts to protest and so Edward has Emmett physically restrain her. Charming.

Eventually Alice tells Edward to pull over and he yells at her:

"He's a tracker, Alice, did you see that? He's a tracker!"

This obviously means something to the vampires but Bella and I are in the dark. Alice continues to plead with Edward to pull over but at least this prompts him to give us a bit more information. Edward was able to read Laurent's mind and he knows he likes tracking things; the latest thing Laurent is planning to track is Bella. So not only is Bella in danger (yay!) but Charlie is too.

Bella, incredibly, does not take this news well. Who'd've thought it? She wants to go back for her dad. Alice agrees that this might be a good idea, but Edward isn't so sure. He does slow down a little though, so I suppose that's some slight progress.

It sounds like the only way they can prevent the other vampires from killing Bella is to kill them. But Bella has an idea. She suggests that she goes to tell her dad she wants to go back to Phoenix, then lead the tracker away from Forks. I'm not sure how this is a better plan than any other. I'm in the minority though, everyone except Edward thinks this is a brilliant plan.

But hang on, isn't Bella's mum in Florida? Surely Charlie knows this? How is she going to explain her change of heart? And what's to stop Laurent from stopping by Charlie even though Bella's not around? Surely draining her dad would give her the perfect reason to go back, straight into Laurent's waiting arms.

All the same, Edward suddenly agrees to go along with the plan. Bella's given fifteen minutes to get her stuff together and leave, then briefs the others on what to do when they get to Bella's house. I suppose they're going to protect Charlie from Laurent. They also have to figure out what to do with Bella's truck. Is Charlie really going to let his teenage daughter drive from Forks to Phoenix, or Florida, or wherever she's going to go? This plan will never work.

Bella's still pointing out flaws in the plan. Which she came up with. Should've put more thought into it there, Bella. She has realised the Charlie will be suspicious when Edward disappears and the fact that the tracker is going to assume that Edward is with Bella.

New plan: Alice and Jasper will go with her, which means Edward can be seen around town and no one will suspect him of running off with Bella. Plus Bella will be protected by vampires, so everyone will know she's safe. More of less.

"Edward, we'll be with her," Alice reminded him.
"What are you going to do in Phoenix?" he asked her scathingly.
"Stay indoors."

Hehe. It's funny because if she goes out in the sun, she'll sparkle. And it's sunny in Phoenix. See? Because it's not Forks.

Edward's a little unsure about this plan of action, but Alice assures him that she and Jasper can handle it. So it's decided. That's the plan.

Not much I can say to all this. It's a nice short chapter and I can't help but think the arrival of the new vampires is a little unexpected. I honestly can't see this plan working out too well and I really doubt Charlie will buy it at all. There's not much of the book left either, so they'll have to wrap it all up soon.

For such a short chapter we've got quite a few questions raised in it:

  • Are the new vampires going to try and eat Bella?
  • Do vampires have rules about not eating members of each other's families?
  • Do all vampires like to play baseball?
  • Isn't Bella's mum in Florida?
  • Does Charlie know where Bella's mum is?
  • How is Bella going to explain why she suddenly needs to leave town?
  • How will they stop Laurent from going and eating Charlie, or anyone else in town?
  • Will Charlie let Bella drive from Forks to wherever she's going to go?

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 17

After spending the last couple of weeks running late on these posts, I made extra effort to get this chapter read well in advance of the end of the week to make sure I could get it properly formatted and posted. I'm glad I did because it's a mammoth one!

Last week's last post saw Bella getting to meet the family and learn all about Carlisle's dark past. Then she was, rather bizarrely, invited to a baseball game. Chapter Seventeen is called 'The Game' so I guess we can figure out what will happen here.

What Happens?

Edward takes Bella home where Billy and Jacob are waiting for her. Edward makes a quick get away, leaving Bella alone with Billy who gives her a brief warning about associating with the Cullens. Once Billy and son have left, Charlie comes home and Bella finally comes clean about going out with Edward. He takes it fairly well. Then Edward shows up and takes Bella to the game. It goes well until some other vampires show up.

Thoughts as I read:

We're down to just over 100 pages to the end of the book now! I feel like we're getting through the book really quickly now. This chapter is obviously going to be about the baseball game. Although perhaps 'baseball' is vampire-speak for something else?

Edward takes Bella home where they find Jacob and Billy's car parked outside the house. Edward is kind of annoyed about this. Presumably because Billy has come to warn Charlie that Bella is shacking up with a vampire; obviously the better choice in this dating scenario would be a werewolf.
It comes as a surprise to me when Edward decides to let Bella handle the situation. He just instructs Bella to get the guys inside and that he'll be back later.

"Do you want my truck?" I offered, meanwhile wondering how I would explain its absence to Charlie.
He rolled his eyes. "I could
walk home faster than this trucks moves."


We get to witness a little smooch goodbye between our favourite klutz and her vampire. Billy is not happy to see this

Once she's away from Edward, Billy explains that he's brought food for Charlie. Bella successfully gets the Blacks inside and then tries to bluff her way through stopping Billy from going out looking for Charlie. Obviously it's only right that she tells her father she's dating a vampire before anyone else does. I do have to wonder why, if Edward can read minds, he didn't just get out the car before they pulled into view of Billy and Jacob, so he could get away unseen.

Billy despatches Jacob to the car in search of something. This leaves Billy and Bella alone, so Bella does the most hospitable thing she can think of and starts rudely hinting that Billy might like to leave now. Billy clearly knows what she's playing at because he quite stubbornly refuses to take the bait and go. He then jumps right into warning Bella about the Cullens and how they have a Very Bad Reputation. Of course, Bella's heard all this before and she lets Billy know it. That's a bit of a surprise for him.

From this point onwards the conversation becomes increasingly cyclical:

"Charlie likes the Cullens a lot," I hedged. He clearly understood my evasion. His expression was unhappy, but unsurprised.
"Its not my business," he said. "But it may be Charlie's."
"Though it would be my business, again, whether or not I think that it's Charlie's business, right?"

Even Bella seems confused by this point.

Billy gives in after a while and agrees that ultimately this is all up to Bella. All the same, he still tells her to stop it. There's a moment when he seems concerned but then Jacob comes back and interrupts it. Then it's time for them to go.

Home alone at last, Bella gets changed and then has a phone call from Jessica. The short version is the dance was fab and she kissed Mike. Oh, and Jessica wants the gossip on Edward. Luckily Bella is saved from this by Charlie arriving home.

She has to fill him in on Billy's visit, in as much as he brought fish fry. And then she comes clean about hanging around with Edward and their date later. He takes it pretty well:

It appeared that Charlie was having an aneurysm.

Ironic considering a few chapters back he was pushing to find out why she didn't want to go to the dance and didn't have a boyfriend.

Then it turns out that Charlie doesn't actually know which one of the Cullens Edward is. He keeps calling him 'Edwin' as well. Get it right, Charlie. It's Edweird!

"Edward is the youngest, the one with the reddish brown hair." The beautiful one, the godlike one…

Once the shock of someone actually wanting to date Bella passes, Charlie handles it all quite well. I think he spends more time dwelling on the thought of Bella playing baseball than he did getting outraged about her going on a date. And it's just as well that Bella chose this moment to come clean because they've barely covered the basics before Edward shows up to collect Bella.

Charlie clearly has to resist the urge to interrogate Edward. He does the stern father thing for a moment until Bella gets fed up with it all and leaves. Could've been some awkward conversation there if they hadn't left when they did, what with Edward being about fifty years older than Bella's father!

Edward's car this evening is a monster Jeep, complete with an 'offroading harness'. That sounds a wee bit ominous. It's also not Edward's car. This one belongs to Emmett. I'm seriously curious about how the Cullens afford all these cars. The insurance must be through the roof!

Something Edward said to Bella when she got in the car about not running all the way suddenly strikes Bella. She realises that he apparently intends for them to run at least part of the way to wherever they're going. Edward carefully reassures her that she won't be the one doing the running. This is followed up by another compliment about the way she smells:

"You smell so good in the rain," he explained.
"In a good way, or in a bad way?" I asked cautiously.
He sighed. "Both, always both."

I'm guessing this is because she smells good enough to eat. Nice smell, bad thing to do.

They bump along in the Jeep for a while until Edward announces that it's on foot from here. This means another piggyback run. Remember how Bella felt after the last one? Well, she remembers that and sort of freaks out a bit. Which prompts Edweird to announce that he'll have to do a little memory modification:

"Now," he breathed, and just his smell disturbed my thought processes, "what exactly are you worrying about?"
"Well, um, hitting a tree –" I gulped "- and dying. And then getting sick."

Got your priorities straight there, Bella.

Also, not only does Edweird go poking around in other people's minds where he's not wanted, but he also goes fiddling around in their memories as well! Charming.

There's a bit of kissing as he relieves her fears. By the end of this I'm not entirely sure if he did actually eliminate her fears or if she's just given up protesting and is just going along with it regardless of how she feels. This bit does leave me wondering how, if he can't read Bella's thoughts, he's able to tamper with her mind?

Anyway, by this point she's on his back and they're racing through the forest together. Bella's behaviour before the run has made Edweird angry, for reasons that I don't quite get other than the fact that Edweird often gets angry for no apparent reason. Edweird's attitude has annoyed Bella so when they reach their destination she starts walk off, only to be told that she's going the wrong way. Oops.

"Don't be mad, I couldn't help myself. You should have seen your face." He chuckled before he could stop himself.
"Oh, you're the only one who's allowed to get mad?" I asked, raising my eyebrows.
"I wasn't mad at you."

She does kind of have a point there.

This conversation then descends into an argument about whether or not he was mad, and if he was mad, whether or not he was mad at Bella.

"I'm never angry with you – how could I be? Brave, trusting… warm as you are."

Considering he's never angry with her, he spends an awful lot of time getting angry around her. Turns out he's angry with himself for the danger her being with him puts her in. That probably means he shouldn't do things like taking her to a vampire baseball game. It's quite the confusing conversation, but it's all made okay because he tells her he loves her. Aww. Romance.

And then it's time to go play ball.

Hidden in the middle of the forest is a massive baseball pitch. The rest of the Cullens are all there waiting for them. I still find the idea of a bunch of vampires playing sports together really bizarre. Also, is Bella just going to watch? Because boring!

"Are you ready for some ball?" Edward asked, his eyes eager, bright.

Clearly I am a disgusting human being, but I can't read that without thinking it sounds kind of dirty.

Esme is left to keep Bella company; looks like Edward trusts his family not to eat his girlfriend. Esme's not playing, she's acting as referee which gives us time to learn a little bit more about her (though she's obviously not as interesting as Carlisle seeing as she doesn't get a chapter all about her). She views her fellow Cullens as her family and children. This is a good thing for her because she lost a baby just a few days after he was born, this led to her trying to kill herself by jumping off a cliff. All of this is very matter-of-fact. Can you imagine trying to kill yourself to escape that awful pain and then finding some jerk's made you immortal? You'd have to deal with it or go crazy. Are there vampire therapists?

Esme also lets slip that she's quite pleased Bella has hooked up with Edward. As his surrogate mother, even though he's technically older than she is, she wants to see him happy. This makes me wonder if vampires' emotional development is arrested when they're made immortal, so even though Esme is younger than Edward (chronologically) she's got the emotional experience of being older than him in adult life experiences.

And so they play baseball. A game I know virtually nothing about. From what I can work out vampire baseball is exactly the same as regular baseball except it's playing in fast-forward so most of the time you don't know where the ball is. We do learn that they have to play during storms because the sounds they make hitting the ball (and each other) are just like thunder and lightning. By playing during stormy weather they avoid being discovered.

The game is going well until Alice and Edward suddenly stop. This is because the new vampires Alice had warned them about are on their way a lot sooner than expected. They've heard the game and are coming to investigate. It's immediately clear that Bella will be in danger, since the newcomers might not have the same outlook on eating humans as the Cullens. But there's no time to get away. Alice assures them that there's only three vampires on their way, so the decision is made; they just keep playing.

Edward does swap places with Esme in order to stay close to Bella. He has a bizarre moment where he tries to disguise her smell by letting her hair down; because that's how smells work. Alice is quick to tell him that it makes no difference, Bella is just too smelly.

There's also the danger that the newcomers might be thirsty, which would definitely spell more trouble for Bella. Edward's kicking himself for bringing her here now and all they can do is wait as the new vampires approach.

Haven't we covered a lot of ground in this chapter? I'm surprised it wasn't divided in two, I could see the whole Charlie finding out about Edward and meeting each other for the first time being a chapter in itself, instead it was really short. It took me most of the latter half of Titanic to read it all! The game was almost entirely lost on me, but I imagine it's the sort of thing that will play out well on screen. And I am just a bit curious about what's going to happen with these new vampires.

Today's questions:

  • Does 'baseball' actually mean something else for vampires? Uh, nope. It means baseball.
  • Why didn't Edward read Billy and Jacob's minds, know they were there, and get out of sight before they saw him?
  • Will Charlie find out that Edward is a vampire?
  • How do the Cullens afford these fancy cars, not just buying them, but running them as well?
  • How can Edward tamper with Bella's memories when he can't read her mind?
  • Is Bella just going to watch everyone else play baseball? Yes. Yes she is.
  • Do vampires have therapists?
  • When someone becomes a vampire, is their emotional development frozen at the age they are fixed at?

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Is It NaNoWriMo Yet?

I know that lots of people have been taking part in Camp NaNo this summer. Had I been a little quicker off the mark I could possibly have done something for that this year, each year after the main NaNo event I consider joining in on Camp and dismiss it for various reasons. Perhaps it's because I've been seeing a lot of bloggers and friends on social media talking about their Camp projects that's gotten me thinking about this November…

I'm starting to plan for National Novel Writing Month already. I have no idea what has possessed me to start thinking about it so soon. Normally the build up to NaNo happens for me when the days start getting shorter, the leaves on the trees start changing colour, and the kids are back at school. Autumn heralds the beginning of NaNo season.

Perhaps it's because the weather has been so unsummerlike recently. We've had wind and rain (and last week I had to put the heating on for a while in the evening because it just felt cold and damp). Maybe that's why my brain is whirling through ideas for a potential story.

What's more, it's not even a new story! It's one I tried the year before last and failed at. I've only got a couple of NaNo failures to my name and they've taught me one thing (well, they've taught me lots of things, but the consistent thing I've learnt is): I am not a Pantser!

I need to plan. I'm a planner in real life too. I like to know what I'll be doing, what to expect, what the back up plan is. It stands to reason that when it comes to writing stories I need to plan too. Especially as the thing that tripped me up the last time I tried writing this story was the fact it was a detective story and I didn't even know whodunnit. Or why. And I wasn't really clear on the how either.

The story I'm talking about is a modern day take on Sherlock Holmes, except they're children. And Sherlock's a girl.

I suspect the sudden desire to rewrite (or attempt to write for the first time, since I'm not planning on looking at my original attempt) is linked in part to the massive Holmes exposure I've experienced in the last few weeks. I've finished watching Sherlock, I've started watching Elementary, I've read Laurie R. King's Locked Rooms, hell, I've even spoken to an organisation dealing with Arthur Conan Doyle's time in a particular place!

All of this has been percolating in my brain over the last few weeks and a sudden desire to work on The Game is Afoot is apparently the result. So I'm currently reading synopses of Sherlock Holmes stories to see if something will be triggered in the back of my brain. I'm looking up character outline sheets. I'm making notes on specific scenes which come to me at inopportune moments (like in the shower when there are no writing implements to be had).

And I'm having fun trying to come up with ways to nod to the original stories, while making it unique. Or something.

Have you started planning for November yet?

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Book 59 of 2014: Christmas Eve by Robert Browning

Two book reviews in one week! I am spoiling you! Perhaps I should just go the whole hog and do a book review every day this week… maybe not, perhaps when I get a little bit behind next time.

As I've mentioned several times over the last couple of months; if you're looking for Christmas reading material, I could help you out. I'm very near the end of my reviews of the books I read in the lead up to Christmas last year (but I still have enough to carry us through for another month). Today's is a short little book called Christmas Eve by Robert Browning, which I got as a free ebook on Amazon. It's a small collection of poetry, all with a Christmassy feel.

When I picked it up to start reading it, I hadn't realised that it was all in verse. As a child and teenager I read an awful lot of poetry, but slipped out of that habit as I got older. Sometimes I'll feel in the mood for poetry and I'll seek it out, otherwise it sometimes creeps up on me like this. When I started it, I wasn't entirely sure I was in the mood for something poetic, but I soon found myself enjoying it.

A lot of the poems were written as rhyming couplets and it was these that I enjoyed the most. They were nice and predictable in a way, whereas the ones where the rhyme scheme switched to alternate lines felt jarring by comparison. I'm pretty certain that I've never read anything by Robert Browning before, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I think I'll look out for more by him in the future.

On the whole this book has a very 'Victorian' sort of feel to it. There's a lot of stuff here about Christianity and belief; it's quite the moral text. Normally I find too much of that in a book wearing, but I can make an exception at Christmastime.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Book 51 of 2015: The Vanished Knight by M. Gerrick

During the A to Z Challenge I found several new blogs, one of which was Misha Gericke's Five Year Project blog. Each time she commented on my blog, I made a return visit to hers and after a few weeks realised that I should really add some of my new blogging acquaintances to my Bloglovin' feed. It does make it easier to keep track of everyone. ;-)

I noticed that several of her posts were talking about the two books she's been working on from her War of Six Crowns series of books. I was intrigued by the information that she shared and after some hesitation (did I really have time to add more books to my To-Read list?) I signed up to be an early reviewer of The Vanished Knight and The Heir's Choice.

The Vanished Knight is the first in M. Gerrick's The War of Six Crowns series and features Callan, a teenage girl who has spent her recent years bouncing around the foster system. Her latest foster family is incredibly wealthy and promptly ship her off to a posh boarding school where all is not as it seems. It isn't long before she finds herself in a strange new world, fighting the dark entity that lives within her, and discovering that her parents may not have been who they said they were.

It took me a little while to get into the story, which I think is as much about me as the actual story. Fantasy stories always have a lot of work to do, setting up the world as well as introducing the characters, plot and other little details. I was a little distracted at first by the way the foster care system was presented, but once the story got going and Callan arrived at Graystone I was able to settle into it. By the time the real fantasy aspect picked up I was able to get properly absorbed into it.

One of the things that is really key to a good fantasy story (for me at least) is the world building aspect. I need to be able to picture the world and have it feel real. If there's magic or things that work differently to the real world, I like to have some sort of explanation or understanding of why it is different. I can be extremely critical of it when it doesn't work well.

The Vanished Knight's world building has been done really well. There are actual different languages spoken by different peoples (oh be still my geeky linguist heart) which I loved. It's amazing how something so simple can make or break a story. I couldn't help but study each sentence and the translation trying to figure out the structure of the language. Because I'm a dork and a linguistics nut and I do things like that.

Something that I think would really add to this book (or future books) would be appendices with some details on the languages. I also felt like a map would be a useful addition to help to illustrate the world. I was able to picture the individual places that the characters visited, but I'd love to see a map to see how those places relate to one another.

The character of Callan is intriguing and I'm curious to learn more about her in the next book. Especially about the 'entity' which inhabits her body. We get lots of little mentions of it but no concrete explanation. I'm guessing all will be revealed later. I hope that it's something that comes in the next book or two and isn't dragged out too long.

As for the other characters. They all came across as individuals, with Gawain and Kaela being my favourites. James is the one you love to hate. I was slightly miffed that the preview of the next book focused on James, but I'm guessing he's going to come into his own in the future; hopefully getting over the grumpy, spoilt rich kid thing he's had going on up until this point and maybe having a little heroic moment of his own.

I received the first two books for free in exchange for my own honest reviews; I'm looking forward to moving on to the next book in the series, The Heir's Choice, in the next week or so (check back soon for the review of that one).

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Weekly Rundown: Just Kidneying

It's been a funny sort of week this week.

Monday night I ended up with a bit of a sore back. 'Bit of a sore back' is sort of an understatement for the excruciating pain that started on my lower left hand side around 9pm and steadily got worse and worse until I caved in at midnight and allowed Mr Click to run me to the hospital. Two years ago I ended up in a similar situation which resulted in two nights in hospital (not something I was in any great hurry to repeat) so I resisted it for as long as I could.

It was probably my kidney. Possibly a kidney stone. Funtimes.

Two hours later, one very nice injection and two cocodamol later and I was finally able to go to bed and sleep for the remaining three hours of the night.

I fully intended to go to work the following morning. I'd slept surprisingly well (definitely a case of quality over quantity) but then felt like I was going to pass out when I was getting dressed. Realising that this wasn't the best way to feel when you need to go to work, I called in sick. And promptly threw up about ten minutes later.

Mr Click tucked me up in bed with Disney's Robin Hood playing, which I mostly slept through. Wakening up a little bit later I could feel the pain in my back starting again, so suggested to Mr Click that perhaps a bath might help. He dutifully ran one for me, which was nice for a while, until I had to throw up again.

I'm a big baby about throwing up so this then meant lots of tears and crying. After which I felt surprisingly good.

A brief telephone consultation with the doctor established that the cocodamol was probably the source of the sickness. Normally I'll take one every two hours instead of the prescribed two ever four hours. If I pace myself with them I get nausea; apparently if I don't, I puke. Lovely.

Since then I've been feeling a lot better, with just the occasional twinge of complaint from my left kidney. Hopefully it's over whatever it was that upset it.

I'm also slightly annoyed that I've ruined my good streak of no sickness from work. Still, three days in four years isn't bad (especially as for two of those days I was in hospital).

Normally when I have a day off work (holiday, not being poorly), I use the time doing fun things; like reading, or blogging, or knitting. By the evening I was feeling well enough to tackle my current Wise Man (who I have decided is Caspar). This may have been a mistake because he's slightly overstuffed and seems to have a bit of spine curvature. Hopefully it won't be so obvious now I've finished his gown and sewn it on.

I'm planning on spending the day chilling, knitting a little more and catching up online. I'm so behind on all the blogs that I read that an easy day spent reading blog posts and playing with yarn sounds perfect to me.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Film Review: The Fellowship of the Ring, Part 6

This week we've finally reached the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first film in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This installment isn't quite as long as some of the others.

Last week's review took us from the Mines of Moria (where we lost Gandalf) to Lothlorien (where the remaining eight members of the Fellowship got some spiffy gifts, hair anyone?) Now the Fellowship is going to lose another member and those who remain are going to go off in slightly difference directions. They don't call it 'The Breaking of the Fellowship' for nothing, you know.

243. Few more pretty shots of beautiful New Zealand scenery before the peace is shattered by marching Uruk Hai.

244. Gollum's still following them which is worrying Frodo. And Frodo being worried is worrying Sam. Sam is so sweet with Frodo. Excuse me while I just rein in my ramblings about what a great partnership they are; they both support each other and over the course of the film (and book) we get to see Sam taking on a much bigger role. It's almost Sam's story as much as it's Frodo's.

245. Boromir's making it kind of hard to feel the sympathy for him I was feeling earlier. Stop being a jerk to Aragorn.

246. My Extended Edition DVD came with a model of one of the Argonath. I've never even taken it out of the box because I'm scared about something happening to it.

247. I love that as the camera flies past one of the statues some birds fly out of its eyes. Little things like that make it feel so much more real.

248. Now it's Gimli's turn to be the voice of optimism.

249. Oh and notice how Sam switches between being awake and asleep in the background. Perhaps he's just trying to rest his eyes, unsuccessfully.

250. Considering they're all there to protect and help the Ringbearer, they don't actually do a very good job of it; letting him get stabbed by Cave Trolls, left behind on falling staircases and then wander off with homicidal Steward's sons!

251. They really should've kept more of an eye on Boromir. Though I can't help but cheer a little bit when Frodo gets a good kick in to knock Boromir over. Yeah, I'm done feeling sorry for him again.

252. Now Frodo, I know you want to get away from Boromir, but when has putting on the Ring ever worked out well for you. He should maybe have just ran back down the hill and yelled for Aragorn or something.

253. This means that Aragorn is noble and true and all that. It also means that it would probably be best if he didn't send Frodo off to Mordor alone. I know he's got Kinging to do, but after Gandalf he's the one I'd want to take me to Mordor.

254. Watch how the Uruk Hai kindly air fight until Aragorn is ready to start killing them. Hehe.

255. I think the Uruk Hair are actually inflatables because each time Legolas hits one with an arrow you hear a sound like air escaping.

256. Poor Pippin isn't too smart, is he? The way that he can't understand why Frodo's not coming with them. And then he gets to be all heroic and nearly killed. Poor Merry and Pippin.

257. Some more Uruk killing. If this is the best that Saruman can do, I'm not sure the good guys have really got too much to worry about. The main thing they've got going for them right now is that there are a lot of them. If they were up against an army instead of the Fellowship they wouldn't stand a chance!

258. At least Boromir is getting a chance to blow his own trumpet, uh, horn, and be a hero to make up for being such a dick to Frodo. Especially as he could quite easily get away and leave Merry and Pippin to be captured.

259. Boromir is so bad ass that not even being shot full of arrows will stop him. I wish he wasn't so ambiguously good because I want to like him all the way through the film, not just at moments like these.

260. Yay! Aragorn saves the day. Well, Boromir's already pretty dead, but at least he stops him from being finished off by Lurtz and helps make that action scene just a little bit longer.

261. Okay Lurtz, licking your blood off the knife? Really, really gross.

262. Yeah, Saruman's Uruk Hai might be a super duper fighting race, but they're pretty easy to kill really. Especially when compared to men like Boromir who take five or six arrows to take down.

263. Legolas gets to do his sad face again while we watch Boromir and Legolas having their moment together.

264. I've just realised that the film eliminates the aspect with the three remaining members of the Fellowship not being entirely certain which Halflings the Uruks got. I wonder why they did that, aside from the obvious inclusion of the scene with Aragorn saying goodbye to Frodo.

265. Also where has Sam been during this attack. I'm sure he could've taken out more than a few of the Uruk Hai with his trusty frying pan.

266. And whenever I watch this scene I remember the bit in the special features when Sean Astin impaled himself on a big piece of wood.

267. "I'm going to Mordor alone." "Of course you are, Mr Frodo, and I'm coming with you!" Hehe.

268. Sam's pretty smart. He probably knew that nothing he said would make Frodo turn around and come back, but having lost both his parents to a boating/drowning accident, he knew that Frodo couldn't let his gardener/friend suffer the same fate. Looks like they're going to Mordor alone, together, after all.

269. I think Aragorn is putting on Boromir's gauntlets here. If he is, it's a nice touch.

270. And now Aragorn is really stepping up to be a leader, especially as he's not got competition from Boromir any more. "Let's hunt some Orc!"

271. So it's the end of the film and we finally get a glimpse of Mordor. I remember the first time I saw this film, but this point I'd really gotten into it and couldn't believe it when it suddenly ended. It'd taken most of the film for me to get into it and just when I had, it finished. How was I to know then just how obsessive a fan I would be.

272. Just like that, Frodo and Sam take their first steps towards Mordor as a duo instead of as part of the Fellowship.

273. And we get to listen to Enya's May It Be. The music in these films is so perfect.

Pop back next week when I'll start my epic series of reviews of the next film, The Two Towers, and marvel at all of the changes (good and bad) from the books.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 16

I know, I know. I'm late (again). I'm still getting back into a routine for reading and reviewing these chapters. I feel like I'm getting on top of it now though, so these afternoon posts should go back to being somewhere around 4pm again soon.

Also, I'm going to give my Mum a quick birthday shout-out here (hi Mum!) since it's her birthday and all. I'll be calling her in a little while but I didn't include it in this morning's post and everyone should get a birthday shout-out on their birthday.

Earlier on today we got to meet Carlisle, Esme, Alice and Jasper on home turf as Edward took Bella home to meet the family. Chapter Sixteen is called Carlisle so it looks like we're going to be getting a closer look at the founding member of the Cullen family.

What Happens?

Edward takes Bella to Carlisle's study and gives her the full history on Carlisle (up to and including when he met Edward). Then they head to Edward's bedroom, with Edward filling Bella in on his brief rebellious phase. After this Alice and Jasper show up to invite Bella to a ballgame. Yup, you read that right.

Thoughts as I read:

I would've thought last chapter could've been called Carlisle since we learned a bit more about him. I'm guessing this means we'll learn even more about him. I'm hoping we learn something about Carlisle's relationship with Edward. Also, yay for another short chapter! It's much easier to write on your phone when there's not too much to write!

Edward leads Bella to Carlisle's office. Carlisle is actually still inside but doesn't seem to mind having his space invaded. Also, it sounds amazing:

Most of the wall space was taken up by towering bookshelves that reached high above my head and held more books than I'd ever seen outside a library.

I want to go there.

Edward shows Bella the Vampire's family history. Carlisle is being very accommodating and asks Edward where he intends to begin. The answer to this is 'The Waggoner' which I'm guessing refers to the picture that he shows Bella. There's a whole wall with pictures on it and they obviously date from different times and places. The Waggoner is apparently an old painting of London, circa 1650s.

Edward asks Carlisle to share the story but he can't since he's got to go to work. Oh and he's only speaking aloud for Bella's benefit, normally he and Edward would communicate non-verbally. Then he goes and leaves Edward to tell the whole story, since he knows it off by heart anyway.

When Carlisle found out he was a vampire he tried to kill him. A tricky task when you're immortal. He also resisted the urge to 'feed' which obviously shows that he has great strength of will. Starving to death didn't even work. Edward does let slip here that there aren't many ways to kill a vampire. So that does mean that there are some ways to kill a vampire? I hope we hear more about this later.

Carlisle eventually decided to go after a deer, since it was food before he became a vampire so wasn't technically a bad thing to eat. At this point he realised that just because he was a vampire, he didn't need to eat people, so if he was going to be a monster, the least he could do was be a good one.

Bella then gets side-tracked by the thought of Carlisle swimming the Channel. Because being immortal is easy to get your head around but swimming the Channel is crazy talk!

"You don't have to breathe?" I demanded.
"No, it's not necessary. Just a habit." He shrugged.

I guess the not breathing thing does make sense. He's kind of dead and all. But it's still sort of weird. At least Edward's not lost the 'habit'. I'm sure someone at school might have noticed otherwise. We have an Edweird moment as he confesses to Bella that he's still waiting for her to freak out about him. I'm sure that reminding her he's the undead really helps to keep the freaking out feeling at bay.

And now it's back to discussing Carlisle. He became a doctor, travelled through Europe and stopped up in Italy for a while. There were more vampires there who had been inspiring painters (and who are still there now). The Italian vampires believed that it was okay to feed on humans, an idea that Carlisle couldn't rid them of.

Time passed and eventually he ended up in Chicago, treating people suffering from the influenza epidemic. I have a funny feeling this is bringing us back into familiar territory. Sure enough, it was here that he met Edward and the rest we more or less know. And they've been together almost ever since. That's a long time to spend with one person. Vampires must have a lot of patience.

Except for a little while around the late twenties, when Edward went off and rebelled against the whole 'hippy vampire' lifestyle. Bella seems fairly relaxed by the revelation that her vampire boyfriend used to be a full carnivore. I'm not sure I'd take it so calmly, then again I wouldn't be with Edward in the first place.

Edward's been able to read minds since he was turned so he knew what Carlisle worried about. He also decided to justify his actions by going after the bad guys rather than innocent victims. That would be like the guys who were planning to attack Bella when she went on the shopping trip with the girls. I'm guessing he killed them since he does seem to show a little remorse for his actions during this time.

And now we finally get to see Edward's room. He's got a lovely view, a massive CD collection and no bed, since he obviously has no need. How annoying must it be to be a vampire and having to constantly update your media; records for tapes, tapes for CDs, CDs for mp3s; tapes for DVDs, DVDs for blu-rays. That would be frustrating.

Edward is clearly enjoying sharing everything with Bella:
I turned and he was looking at me with a peculiar expression in his eyes.

"I was prepared to feel… relieved. Having you know about everything, not needing to keep secrets from you. But I didn't expect to feel more than that. I like it. It makes me… happy." He shrugged, smiling slightly.

All the same, he's still waiting for the freak out:

"I hate to burst your bubble, but you're really not as scary as you think you are. I don't find you scary at all, actually," I lied casually.

I'm pretty sure he can tell when you're lying, Bella.

Then, just to test how scary she thinks he is, he pounces on her and (playfully) attacks her. Edweird doesn't let up until she concedes that he is in fact, a scary monster. Luckily they're interrupted at this moment by Alice and Jasper, who have decided that they want to come and hang out.

"It sounded like you were having Bella for lunch, and we came to see if you would share," Alice announced.


Obviously she's joking. Shame, really.

What follows is a cryptic conversation about going out to play ball because there's a storm coming. Bella's invited along though she's totally clueless about what she'll be doing. That makes two of us, Bella..

"What will we be playing?" I demanded.
"You will be watching," Edward clarified. "We will be playing baseball."
I rolled my eyes. "Vampires like baseball?"
"It's the American pastime," he said with mock solemnity.

Well, I wasn't expecting that.

This was an interesting chapter with more information (and not too many new questions raised). Bella is suddenly becoming really demanding but perhaps that's just because she's been spending so much time with Edward. I'm enjoying all the backstory we've been getting recently, though the baseball thing kind of came out of left field!

Now that we're getting more info on how vampires work in this series, I'm finding I have fewer and fewer questions each week:

  • Are we going to learn more about Carlisle in this chapter? Oh yes.
  • Will we learn more about Carlisle's relationship with Edward? A bit, yes.
  • In what ways can a vampire be killed?
  • Baseball?!

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 15

We're getting into the real meat of this story now and learning all about the world of Twilight vampires. I very nearly rewrote the details of Chapter Fourteen here before I realised that I had a weird sense of deja vu. Last chapter saw a sleepover at Bella's house, well, Bella slept, Edward just watched her as usual.

So let's get on with Chapter Fifteen: The Cullens

What Happens?

Bella wakes up to find that Edward is still in her room. He's also arranged for Bella to meet the family. This means we get to meet Esme for the first time, as well as have a brief encounter with Alice and Jasper. Then Edward plays the piano and gives Bella a tour of the house. And we get some info about Carlisle's origins. It's a busy chapter.

Thoughts as I read:

We've already learnt quite a bit about the vampire family in the last few chapters. I'm hoping that this chapter shows them in their natural habitat. Also it doesn't look too long. This makes me happy because it shouldn't take too long to get through. The long chapters usually mean a lot of Bella and Edward talking, and a lot of me feeling puzzled.

Oh look. This chapter begins with Bella waking up. That's original.

"Your hair looks like a haystack… but I like it."

That's so romantic. Bella ignores this comment because she's just thrilled to find that Edward stayed all night. This could take some explaining to her father over breakfast. Bella doesn't care though, she thought that him stopping the night might have been a dream:

"You're not that creative," he scoffed.

Really, Bella, you're not. And also, someone needs to slap Edward. He's just full of compliments this morning!

It turns out that Charlie has already left. He also unhooked Bella's truck's battery cables before bed to keep her from sneaking out. That's… weird. What is it with the men in this book?

Edward also reveals that he didn't stay for the full night. He did go home to change so that the neighbours didn't think he spent the night. Even though he did. Do Bella and Charlie actually have any neighbours? I'm not sure any have been mentioned. When he was around, Edward noticed Bella was talking in her sleep. She told him she loved him, which she now confirms now that she's conscious:

"You are my life now," he answered simply.

I find that kind of a strange thing to say in response to being told someone loves you. Plus coming from someone as weird and creepy as Edward, it just seems even stranger.


"Breakfast time," he said eventually, casually – to prove, I'm sure, that he remembered all my human frailties.
So I clutched my throat with both hands and stared at him with wide eyes. Shock crossed his face.

This is kind of funny. Thought Edward doesn't agree. He also refers to Bella as 'the human' which screams 'pet' more than 'lover'. Bella's playing word games as well, referring to her breakfast as her 'hunt'. I was almost expecting her to fall over or injure herself while she got it.

Edward decides that now would be a good time to meet the family which freaks Bella out a little. Correction. Not freaked out. Concerned that they won't like her. I'm guessing it'll be a 50/50 split with half the vampires liking her and half not. It's also obvious that Alice foresaw Bella's visit but Edward doesn't say that much about it because he gets weird. As usual. I wonder how much stuff they do just because Alice saw it happening. Before Bella can dwell too much on Edward's being weird (again), Edward tells her he doesn't like the look of her breakfast. It's probably not furry enough for him.

Edward then goes on to suggest that Bella introduce him to her dad. I feel almost as though he's trying a new tactic to scare her off. He also 'demands' to know whether or not she'll tell Charlie about them after she hesitates. I'm not sure if I like the use of the d-word there, Edward. Just ask nicely, Mood Swing Boy!

We follow this up with a discussion of whether or not Edward is Bella's boyfriend or something else. She makes him feel sad because she mentions them being together forever. Obviously his forever is a lot longer than hers.

It was hard to decide what to wear. I doubted there were any etiquette books detailing how to dress when your vampire sweetheart takes you home to meet his vampire family.

Until these books were published, that is.

Having seen the Fifty Shades of Grey film I can see how it was inspired by this book. Edward is all obsessed with Bella and makes her faint. He turned her on so much she fainted! That's just crazy. Correction. He made her forget to breathe. Her forever is definitely going to be a lot shorter than his at this rate!

Edward drives the truck to some house in the middle of a remote forest. It's a very nice looking house. Carlisle and Esme obviously knew that they were on their way because they're waiting for them. We're told that Esme looks like an old movie star. Perhaps she was at some point. It's weird because everyone is very friendly and nice.

Next up is Alice, who Bella likes and seems to like Bella back. She's all friendly and welcoming, if a little bit weird when she comments on Bella's nice smell. Meanwhile, Jasper is awkward but polite. There's no sign of Rosalie and Emmett, presumably because they don't like Bella or they like her too much (so inviting her for lunch might mean a little bit more than a shared meal around the table).

There's a piano in the room and we learn that Edward plays. I guess this is why Christian Grey plays too. Edward doesn't just play. He plays well. And he writes music. There's one for his adoptive mum and one for Bella. How romantic.

The others leave, allowing Edward to fill Bella in on Rosalie and Emmett. Rosalie finds it hard having outside knowing the truth about them and Emmett thinks Edward is crazy. Neither of them seemed that keen to hang out with Bella. Oh, and Rosalie wants to not be a vampire. That must make life awkward for her.

Edward's also got news from Carlisle. Apparently Alice has seen more vampires coming soon and Edward thinks that this might put Bella in danger. Before we can dwell on this for too long, Bella starts to shed a tear at the beautiful music he is playing. So he wipes it away. Then tastes it. That's weird, but I'm getting used to all the Edweird now.

Bella gets a tour of the house. I'm sort of surprised to learn that Rosalie and Emmett share a room. I suppose if they're a couple there's nothing wrong with that. Other surprising stuff in the house includes a cross hanging on the wall. It's Carlisle's and dates from the 1630s. Carlisle is three-hundred and sixty-two though he doesn't seem to be sure of the exact date he was born.

And so we get a history lesson about Carlisle's history. His dad was a preacher who led witch hunts. Carlisle successfully found a group of vampires but when he led the attack on them, he was attacked himself which led to him becoming a vampire as well.

So we end things with Edward realising that Bella has a whole bunch more questions and so leads her on. Presumably to his bedroom.

Which is where the chapter ends.

And how am I feeling about this chapter? Well, Edward is still weird and creepy. Edweird is a pretty good description of him and I'm sort of getting used to all the weird now. I'm not sure if he's getting less weird, or if I'm just getting immune to the weirdness. I do sort of like the fact that the vampires have a nice house which goes against the typical vampire stereotypes. It sounds like a nice place.

Not very many questions raised by this chapter because we're mainly just getting answers at the moment:

  • Why are all the men in this book a little bit weird?
  • Do Bella and Charlie have any neighbours?
  • How many times do the Cullens do something purely because Alice saw it happening in one of her visions?
  • Why did Edward taste Bella's tear?