Category Archives: Non Fiction

Book Reviews
June 8, 2011 posted by Christina

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide – Stephenie Meyer

“Fans of the #1 New York Times bestselling Twilight Saga will treasure this definitive official guide!

This must-have hardcover edition–the only official guide–is the definitive encyclopedic reference to the Twilight Saga and provides readers with everything they need to further explore the unforgettable world Stephenie Meyer created in Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.”

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Love her or hate her Stephenie Meyer is a woman who has taken the YA Lit world by storm. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, just about everyone is familiar with The Twilight Saga whether you’ve read the books or not. The Official Illustrated Guide has been quite an anticipated companion to the Twilight series, not only because fans have been desperate for new Meyer material for a while now, but because the release date kept getting pushed back for a few years. Have no fear though! The guide is finally here….but was it worth the wait?

Some might judge me but I, personally, am a Twilight fan. I might not be walking around with an Edward t-shirt (*cringe*) but I do love the books. If ever I share this information with others I usually get a judgmental smirk which has driven fans that experience the same to be a bit more discreet about their adoration.

The brave and dedicated headed proudly into the bookstores on April 12th for the guide’s release, while the rest of us either covertly made our purchases or ordered online.

After all that I bet you’re asking – so what the heck is in this guide anyway?

Everything from individual character bios, family trees, a summary of key plot points in each chapter, illustrated explanation of each character’s cars, an interview with the author, outtakes, FAQ’s, playlists and where they fit into the story and more.

I’ve heard plenty of complaints that there isn’t anything new shared in the guide, which I guess is true, but it never claimed to be a source of new information. For those who haven’t really gone on Meyer’s website, many of the outtakes and mini stories, such as how Esme came to meet Carlisle will be new to them. If you’ve gone through every extra on her website, then yes, the guide will just be a hard copy collection of those extras, just a little more organized and detailed.

I think the only thing I found disappointing on the “new” argument was that we STILL don’t know who Embry’s dad is. Not that I’m losing sleep over it or anything….but still! Just tell us!

Overall I thought it was a good little guide that covers just about everything. The illustrations were gorgeous, and I liked seeing how certain characters were connected such as Heidi and Victoria. I liked reading the vampire’s bios but by the time I got to the werewolves I had lost interest. Mostly because it was getting tedious reading about things I already knew from reading the books, as well as reading the same bits of information repeated in bios that connected with each other. For example, the story of how Carlisle met Edward, is more or less repeated (but altered for the perspective) in Edward’s bio.

The good thing is that it’s not the kind of book where you have to sit and read it from start to finish. When you start feeling that Twilight nostalgia it’s the perfect thing to pick up and read a little more on the wolves or other vampire covens. When you just can’t remember which plot point came first in Eclipse, pick up the guide, when you reread Breaking Dawn before the movie comes out you can check out exactly what Bella meant about her ‘before’ car, complete with illustrations. Plus, it looks so nice on your shelf with the rest of your collection.

What was the main thing I learnt from the guide? That I completely miss reading Meyer’s work. Even in this guide I could see the elements of her writing that suck me in to everything she writes. I sincerely hope she’s working on something new.

For diehard fans, The Official Illustrated Guide will be a must have for the collection. For those expecting something new you won’t really find it here. It’s a companion, a guide, not a new novel.  It’s not AMAZING, but it’s certainly not terrible.

Pages: 543
Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: Hachette/Atom
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★★½☆

How To Talk To Boys – Dianne Todaro
Book Reviews
April 14, 2011 posted by Christina

How To Talk To Boys – Dianne Todaro

“Why do we need a book about how to talk to boys? Shouldn’t it be natural?

Great question. Sometimes talking to boys is easy and fun but often it can get complicated, especially when you’re talking to that one boy who makes your heart go ‘zing’. This book will help you work out what boys are thinking and feeling so you’ll know how to talk to them, and how to attract that boy who will be very much ‘in 2 u’. It’s all about talking and listening.”

How To Talk To Boys is the companion guide to How To Talk To Girls, both of which discuss not just how to go about talking to the opposite sex but also how to build confidence to do so.

The main thing I noticed while reading the guide is that it focused more about girls and how our own minds work rather than what a boy is thinking. The guide places emphasis on building your own self esteem and getting to know  yourself as a way of becoming more confident to go up to a guy an start up a conversation.

Do I feel I’ve learnt much from this guide? Not really. I can’t say I read anything that I hadn’t already read back when I was reading Girlfriend and Dolly, if anything I probably learnt more from the magazines. After a while I was thinking, ‘yes I know how my mind works, but I need to know how theirs works’, which I felt was only touched on briefly.

Sometimes it felt like the book was trying too hard to be relevant to teens by using text abbreviations like OMG, in 2 u and in 2 me u c, as well as using slang like ‘thang’ a lot (who the heck says thang anyway?), which just made it awkward to read.

There was one paragraph that discussed alcohol and talking to boys which the author states that although alcohol can be fun, a relaxer and sometimes take away your inhibitions she generally adviced against it. I think there should’ve been a bit more emphasis on that point because alcohol should sooo not be involving in attracting the guy you like.

Overall, girls in the younger teenage age group will probably find this guide most handy and it does have some good hints and advice, in particular about learning that your most attractive feature is your confidence. Learn to build that up and you’ll find talking to guys not nearly as stressful. Good luck!

Pages: 176
Publication Date: February 2011
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Challenge: n/a
Rating: : ★★½☆☆