Life and Death Brings Full Circle (Book Review)

I feel as though I have come full circle here on this blog.

My very second blog post was written on August 17, 2008, over 7 years ago. Guess what it was about?  I titled it I CAN read fiction! (Click on title to read the post…it’s not long, very short.) In summary it was about me devouring the Twilight series. (No groaning allowed 😉 )

Spine of Life and Death FamilyBringsJoy.comStephenie Meyer released a 10 year anniversary edition of Twilight last week. Guess I was 3 years late finding it. I’m glad because I was able to read all the books in a row. It would have been very difficult to wait in between books to see what would happen next…especially between New Moon and Eclipse.

Anyway, included in the 10 year anniversary edition is a bonus book titled Life and Death, subtitled Twilight Reimagined. I had no idea what to think about this. Stephenie changed Bella into Beau and Edward into Edythe. It was a gender swap. However, it doesn’t mean all she did was change the names. Edythe and Beau are different personalities. I read some reviews the day it came out. Reviewers were bashing Stephenie saying all she did was change the names. This is not true. The beginning of Life and Death does start the same as Twilight, but there are changes to the story along the way. For example, Twilight is all about a love triangle between Edward, Jacob and Bella. There is no love triangle in Love and Death. Jacob’s character has a double in the reimagined version named Julie, but there is hardly a relationship between Julie and Beau. They are basically acquaintances. That is the only spoiler I will reveal. Except, hear me when I say this: THE ENDING IS NOT THE SAME AS TWILIGHT.

Life and Death familybringsjoy.comPersonally, I felt in a sense, it was ALMOST like I was reading Twilight for the first time again. I’m sure it helps that it’s been 7 years since I read it. However, again, the change of the genders does make it different. Interestingly enough, even though there is no relationship between Julie & Beau, there wasn’t as much exchange between Edythe and Beau as between Edward and Bella…not as sappy. I like sappy though. It was still good. I believe any true Twilight fan will appreciate this bonus book. I wasn’t expecting it, so I was pleasantly surprised.

I will forever be grateful for the imaginary world of Twilight. It has opened my world to fantasy fiction…an escape I love. Somehow, though, I’m not sure there will ever be another series like Twilight in my lifetime. I have yet to find one in the 7 years since reading it.

Thank You Stephenie Meyer,

Anticipation for Breaking Dawn Soundtrack

My Brother has a production company. He made this cool video!

If you like it too, please like it on YouTube.

I could totally see Plain Jane Automobile on the Breaking Dawn Soundtrack!

This particular song, We Live In The Dark, goes so well.

Can’t wait for the soundtrack to come out. 🙂


Videos Bring Joy,

Treasure-Trove Thursday {Twilight Series}

First of all, let me say for all of you Twilight bashers non-likers out there, I have not written a post about Twilight in a very long time. As a matter of fact, it has almost been a FULL year!  Yep, I checked and my last post about Twilight was on June 20, 2010.  My second blog post ever written on August 17, 2008 I wrote:

In the beginning...

It’s weird to look back.  It’s now 2011 and I have seen Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse at the movie theater.  I realize the majority of my early blog writings were about this fiction series.  However, the reading of this book series was a huge turning point in my life {happened to be when I began this blog.}  It gave me something else to be excited about outside my job as a Family Manager.  Not to mention spurred my love of reading fiction to this very day.  Twilight also positively impacted friendships, strengthened my relationship with my oldest daughter and added some sizzle & romance into my marriage.  Absolutely!  Hubby has benefited as well from Twilight. 😉I realize many people are tired of it.  That is entirely fine…to each his own.  All I have to say is PLEASE don’t rain on my parade.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying a book or movie.  It has been controversial…yes.  Yes, we have freedom of speech.  However, if I don’t like something as trivial as a fiction book; I don’t go to blogs, forums, websites, Facebook or Twitter and whine about it.  We are all entitled to our own opinions.  If you don’t like the opinions expressed, then just don’t read them.  I can’t tell you how many times I found people on Twilight forums who were extremely negative.  To them I ask, “Why are you here?  This forum was created for fans of Twilight, so why would you come here and spread all this negativity?”  Honestly, after a few months of finding more negative than positive comments on Twilight forums I “bagged” them!  I was going there to talk with other fans and instead was finding the opposite.  In other words, be kind.  If you don’t like Twilight, please don’t write a comment saying how much you hate it. It is unfortunate I feel the need to write this.  Nevertheless, this is why I stopped writing about it a year ago.  Negative or rude comments will be deleted.  I know my very sweet and loyal readers would not consider doing such a thing.  However, my blog is open to all and you never know who will stumble upon here.  Enough about this.

My daughter asked me at the dinner table tonight, “Mom, have you seen the new Breaking Dawn movie trailer?”

“WHAT!?!!!!  No…{excitement and huge grin on my face} It’s out now?!”

Guess what I watched tonight?! {couldn’t wait until Thursday to share!!}  For all of you who do LOVE the Twilight series as much as I do, this is for you:

November 18th can’t come soon enough now!
Joy, joy, joy,

"Hero at the Grocery Store"

I read this story for the first time last Christmas and remembered how much it touched me.

“Christmas stories happen in the most everyday places. I was part of one not long ago at the grocery store. I hope I never forget it, though the memory is bittersweet.
I had been shopping for almost an hour by the time I got to the checkout lines. My two youngest sons were with me, the four-year-old refusing to hold onto the cart, the two-year-old trying to climb out of the basket and jump down to play with his brother. Both got progressively whinier and louder as I tried to keep them under control, so I was looking for the fastest lane possible. I had two choices. In the first line were three customers, and they all had just a few purchases. In the second line was only one man, a harried young father with his own crying baby, but his cart was overflowing with groceries.
I quickly looked over the three-person line again. The woman in the front was very elderly, white haired and rail thin, and her hands were shaking as she tried unsuccessfully to unlatch her big purse. In the other line, the young father was throwing his food onto the conveyor belt with superhuman speed. I got in line behind him.
It was the right choice. I was able to start unloading my groceries before the elderly woman was even finished paying. My four-year-old was pulling candy from the shelf, and my little one was trying to help by lobbing cans of soup at me. I felt I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.
And then, over the sound of the store’s cheery holiday music, I heard the checker in the other line talking loudly, too loudly. I glanced over as my hands kept working.
“No, I’m sorry,” the checker was almost shouting at the old woman, who didn’t seem to understand. “That card won’t work. You are past your limit. Do you have another way to pay?” The tiny old woman blinked at the checker with a confused expression. Not only were her hands shaking now, but her shoulders too. The teenage bagger rolled her eyes and sighed.
As I caught a soup can just before it hit my face, I thought to myself: “Boy, did I choose the right line! Those three are going to be there forever.” My mood was positively smug as my checker began scanning my food.
But the smiling woman directly in line behind the elderly lady had a different reaction. Quietly, with no fanfare, she moved to the older woman’s side and ran her own credit card through the reader.
“Merry Christmas,” she said softly, still smiling.
And then everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.
It took a minute for the older woman to understand what had happened. The checker, her face thoughtful, hesitated with the receipt in her hand, not sure whom to give it to. The smiling woman took it and tucked it into the elderly woman’s bag.
“I can’t accept …” the older woman began to protest, with tears forming in her eyes.
The smiling woman interrupted her. “I can afford to do it. What I can’t afford is not to do it.”
“Let me help you out,” the suddenly respectful bagger insisted, taking the basket and also taking the old woman’s arm, the way she might have helped her own grandmother.
I watched the checker in my line pause before she pressed the total key to dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue.
Paying for my groceries and gathering my children, I made it out of the store before the smiling woman. I had made the right choice of lanes, it seemed.
But as I walked out into the bright December sunshine, I was not thinking about my luck but about what I could not afford.
I could not afford my current, self-absorbed frame of mind.
I could not afford to have my children learn lessons of compassion only from strangers.
I could not afford to be so distant from the spirit of Christ at any time of the year—especially during this great season of giving.
I could not afford to let another stranger, another brother or sister, cross my path in need of help without doing something about it.
And that is why I hope never to forget the Christmas hero in the grocery store. The next time I have a chance to be that kind of a hero, I can’t afford to miss it.” Stephenie Meyer, “Hero at the Grocery Store,” Ensign, Dec 2006, 20–21

Let’s Help Someone Today,

"You are my life now." Edward (Spoilers included)

My dear sweet husband suggested I go see Twilight tonight. He went with me on Friday, Nov. 21st to see the Premier. I just returned home from seeing it the second time and it was better than the first time!

Here is my take on the movie. There were some changes made from the book, but minor. For example, eating in the diner instead of home, she didn’t leave Alice and Jasper in the airport like in the book, among other small things. They didn’t have the golden onion award in the book. I thought that was cute. The first time I watched it I THOUGHT way too much! I was constantly comparing it with the book and the reactions from the other viewers didn’t help much either…it was distracting. Even though, I still was very sad when it was over. It didn’t seem like 2 hours and I wanted to see what was going to happen next (even though I know what will happen)! I knew I would want to see it again. Today was the first chance I could go back since the premier. I was shocked to see a full theater for a Monday in my small town! I saw things today I missed the first time and enjoyed it much more. I am considering reading Twilight and Midnight Sun (partial draft) again very soon.

If you have gone to see Twilight, did you see Stephenie Meyer’s cameo? Did you know Robert Pattinson has 2 songs in the movie? One of them is not on the Soundtrack. Listen carefully when Edward sucks the venom out of Bella.

Now that I have seen the movie, I know for sure the actors, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are truly acting. I have seen countless interviews with the couple before the movie. I have read many articles about them also. I thought, “Wow, they seem perfect for the parts.” Now I can tell the Robert from the Edward and the Kristen from the Bella. Am I making any sense? If not, I know what I mean. They did a really good job. My oldest daughter went with us to the premier and said, “Kristen looks better in the movie.”

Anyway, I can’t believe New Moon will not be out until 2010! My son figured out yesterday that my 13 year old daughter will be 19 when Breaking Dawn comes out! Can the fans wait that long?! Besides, I really wish they could just skip New Moon. I cried so much and was just plain mad while reading it. (Sorry, Stephenie!) I just couldn’t get past Edward leaving Bella and I don’t know how I will bear seeing it on the big screen. One of my friends said, “They should just combine New Moon and Eclipse together.” That is not a half bad idea. Then they could break Breaking Dawn into Two Movies! I am all for that!

Catherine, the director, did a great job with such a low budget film. Maybe now, Summit will allow a bigger budget with more computer animation for the super powers. This is the first book I have read that became a movie. Everyone always says the book is better. Of course it is! The book covers more time than a movie can in just two hours. I was not disappointed at all. I think they did a great job! Kudos to everyone involved with making Twilight. In my humble opinion it was a huge success! I will be seeing it again on Thursday!

Long live Edward & Bella…way better than Romeo & Juliet…they get to live forever together,

The Hunger Games

I am on a roll! I just finished reading my 6th fiction book (6 & a half if you include Midnight Sun)! This is not including me re-reading Twilight, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. If you include those then I will have read 9 books since August! I can’t believe it!

  • Twilight
  • New Moon
  • Eclipse
  • Breaking Dawn
  • The Host
  • The Hunger Games – Newest one I just finished!

Thanks to Stephenie Meyer, she has helped me realize that I can read for recreation! Before the Twilight series I always read non-fiction. I am feeling more “well-rounded” as a person. I’m not just a TV & Movie junkie anymore!

Anyway, so I frequent Stephenie Meyer’s website quite frequently and noticed she recommended a book, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. She had just finished reading it and said it was one she could not put down. I figured if she liked it, I might as well. Borders was out of the book. I told the sales person it was recommended by Stephenie and he was in shock, “really!?” He immediately said he needed to inform the manager so they could order many for the demand this might incur. 🙂 I laughed and said, “yes, that might be a good idea!” 🙂 Anyway, Amazon sent it quickly to me. I finished the 374 page book in about 4 days! It is definitely a winner! It will make you think a lot. As a matter of fact, it increased my gratitude level tremendously. I realized how much I take for granted…food for one. My husband and his family will get a kick out of that! 🙂

You learn at the end that there will be more books to follow…talk about a “cliffhanger!” I don’t know how I will be able to wait until the end of 2009 to read what happens next.

Happy Reading,


P.S.: I have also enjoyed listening to audio books on CD in my car when I travel for long periods. My favorite website is I listened to The Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray…very good science fiction.