Total Eclipse of the Heart...

The drama continues in the third book in the vampire/werewolf, love triangle series by Stephenie Meyer. Following the first two titles, Twilight and New Moon, Eclipse picks up where we left Bella, Edward and Jacob - with more drama, high romance and Bella still grappling with when to become one of the undead. The BIG NEWS is that the series has been optioned for a film and now has a director - the fabulous Catherine Hardwicke of Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown fame. It's nice to know that someone that really *gets* the material and can deliver an authentic story will be at the helm.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #80

Well, I wasn’t going to read it. Another Chicklit. I thought, and a bit too cute, judging from the cover. But I was stuck in an airport and it was there. Soon I was turning pages, surprised to be hooked by this engaging debut about a wounded healer and her African elephants.

In Still Life with Elephant by Judy Reene Singer, horse-trainer Neelie Sterling is not a good listener. She knows that and she tries hard. But when her cheating husband, veterinarian Matt tells her his partner is having his baby, Neelie can’t deny that she is dense and blind as well.

As a last-ditch effort to save her marriage, she volunteers to join Matt's rescue mission to save injured elephants in Zimbabwe. The trip is dangerous, exhilarating and the nursing of the elephants back home is grueling and frustrating. However, Neelie soon learns that healing could be mutual and there is “still” life (pretty marvelous at that) worth living, especially when the charming millionaire who sponsored the rescue comes knocking.

Nicely paced and sparkled with humor, a debut novel to wrap up the summer. The elephants will steal your heart and the romantic in you will cheer. For fans of Jennifer Weiner and Jenny Colgan.

Fabulous(?) Fiction Firsts #76

If you need a quick dose of breezy chicklit. for the dog days of summer, give Katherine Center's debut novel The Bright Side of Disaster a try. I have it on good authority that it is quite engaging.

Jenny Harris never anticipated single motherhood but when her fiance ran out for cigarette the night she went into labor and never returned, she has her hands full. Things are not all bad though, apart from sleep deprivation, baby worries and the raging hormones... She found new friends in a mommy group and a handsome neighbor with a particular talent with cranky babies. It's too bad that her fiance has a change of heart.

wwjd?

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #71

If you enjoyed The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, (Did you like the movie too?) I would suggest The Last Summer (of you and me). It is teen author Ann Brashares's break into the adult market, and a summer read, perfect for the beach.

Paul (McCartney) named after Sir Paul by his wayward father, and sisters Riley and Alice have been pals since they were babies, growing up next door to each other summering on Fire Island. Tomboy older sister Riley and Paul have a strong connection that transcend the seasons, until the summer when Alice turns 21 and heading to law school.

That summer, she and Paul decide to act on their mutual attraction with unforeseen consequences. When a family tragedy strikes, it forever alters the course they have set for themselves. A coming-of-age story sure to please the Brashares fans.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #65

Successful teen author Shannon Hale is breaking into the adult market with Austenland. Unabashedly chicklit, it is an engaging read you won’t want to put down.

Jane Hayes – pretty, clever, a 30something with a thriving career (graphic artist) and even better hair, has one embarrassing secret obsession. Despite a stream of promising boyfriends (numbered but not named), her heart belongs to Mr. Darcy (as in Jane Austen’s), in the form of Colin Firth.

When Great Aunt Carolyn leaves her a legacy of a three-week, all-expense-paid holiday to a Jane Austen fantasy camp, her bags are packed. At Pembrook Park, Jane swaps her 21st century persona for a 19th century sensibility, complete with wardrobe, country dances, walks in the park and a supply of gentlemen as romantic interest. But when Jane falls for the gardener, breaks the rules and is expelled, an unexpected “Mr. Darcy” (Colin Firth in a wet shirt) comes through with the goods.

The plot is fresh though the ending is predictable. The language is snappy and humorous. The characters are well observed. Although the heroine is not without fault – she is dreamy and vulnerable, she is also smart, resourceful, and endearingly hopeful. I hope we'll meet again.

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